Reigning world champion Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa entered the 2020-21 Magic Pro League season already qualified for the Magic World Championship XXVII.
By defeating Marcio Carvalho in the finals in 2020, Damo da Rosa was the first person to earn an invitation to this weekend’s tournament.
A stellar MPL season—which saw Damo da Rosa finish second place with a 64.5-percent win rate, according to MTG Data—set an expectation that the hall of famer could win back-to-back World Championships, a feat accomplished only by Shahar Shenhar in 2013 and 2014.
“I would like to win back-to-back Worlds, but I don’t think it really adds any extra pressure to the event,” Damo da Rosa said. “There was much more pressure when I hadn’t won the title yet than now that I’ve already won it.”
The hall of famer had every excuse to take it easy in the 100-plus matches during the season divided across seven League Weekends and three set championships. Since he had already qualified for Worlds, he was playing primarily for a spot in the MPL for its final season.
Damo da Rosa took this opportunity to assert his status as one of the best players in the world by consistently staying in the top four of the MPL standings along with fellow World Championship competitors Gabriel Nassif, Seth Manfield, and Ondřej Stráský.
The majority of the MPL season was played in a mix of Standard and Historic, two constantly changing formats. In a year with over a dozen bans between both formats, Damo da Rosa needed to adapt to a tumultuous time in Magic.
The Magic World Championship XXVII presents a new challenge with the introduction of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Draft for the first three rounds. Draft hasn’t been a part of intra-league play since its inception in 2019.
Since Standard deck lists were due Sunday and unintentionally announced on Tuesday by Wizards of the Coast, Damo da Rosa has spent much of his preparation time testing the new Standard format that is only three weeks old. Damo da Rosa settled on Mono-Green Aggro, one of the two best decks in the format from his perspective.
As for Limited, Damo da Rosa is still exploring the format but his extensive Limited and Constructed résumé bodes well for the Brazilian star. Experience may be the edge Damo da Rosa needs to earn another top finish and possibly a back-to-back title.
“I think I’m more experienced than most of the players on the field, and I’ve played a lot of high stakes MTG before, which is not true for a lot of the competitors,” Damo da Rosa said. “This could definitely be an advantage when nerves start kicking in.”
Catch Damo da Rosa at the Magic World Championship XXVII on Oct. 8 to 10 starting at 11am CT each day on the Magic Twitch Channel.