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The Week That Was: Silva's Outburst

March 15, 2024
Corbin Hosler

Dagoberto Israel Silva Aranda has experienced both the highs and lows of competitive Magic.

He's played five Pro Tours in the past, qualified for every Regional Championship since the program's debut, and made the Top 16 of three of them entering The Gathering Showdown Series last weekend. He's a national champion, and he's got another trophy in his case from having won Grand Prix Liverpool in 2018 alongside teammates Daniel Becerra and Marcelino Freeman. Silva knows when he's playing at the top of his game and the game is cooperating.

The Gathering Showdown Series was one of those weekends.

"There were a lot of moments over the tournament where I felt like this might be my weekend," Silva recalled in the days after his victory over Victor Pérez in the finals of the Regional Championship for Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean qualified him for both the Pro Tour and Magic World Championship 30. "When I needed a Grief or [I'd] lose the game, and I immediately [drew] the Grief; or when I played a game against Izzet Murktide where my opponent had Ragavan, Dragon's Rage Channeler, and kept sculpting his hand with Preordains—I thought I wasn't ever winning that game—and then I was able to plan a turn where if I drew exactly Mystical Dispute I could win... I drew my one-of Mystical Dispute, and I won."

Drawing the perfect cards will come and go; putting yourself in the best position to capitalize on those draws is the skill that Silva has honed over more than a decade of Magic. A lot has changed over that time, but a lot hasn't—the Cuautitlán native is still putting up results, and now he's broken through again for what may be the biggest win in his career—this victory not only returns him to the Pro Tour for the first time in more than five years, it sends him directly to the Magic World Championship later this year.

Dagoberto Silva, winner of The Gathering Final Showdown Mexico City

It's a career-making win for Silva—even if it came with a bit of homework.

"I've actually been really busy since the tournament: I'm trying to get everything ready to secure my Visa for the Pro Tour," he explained. "I'm incredibly happy that I was able to achieve this and play on the Pro Tour again. After my previous finishes, I came in hoping and expecting a Top 16 or Top 8, and now I'm playing at the Pro Tour!"

Silva is one of a handful of talented Magic players across the globe celebrating their newly earned seats at Magic World Championship 30. The Regional Championship cycle has been in full swing, with 11 events taking place over the last three months. Modern has been the format of choice, and it's safe to say it was an eventful season. Frank Karsten has all the details of how things shook out in what would turn out to be Violent Outburst's final weekend in the format, but even as the cascade decks rose to the top, we saw a myriad of Modern possibilities. From the Goryo's Vengeance-Ephemerate reanimation package, to classic archetypes like Azorius Control and Burn qualifying players for the Pro Tour, anything could find success in the hands of a skilled pilot.

In Mexico, that player was Silva, and the deck was Living End – a fitting farewell to Outburst.

"The list I played felt incredibly powerful, and sometimes it seemed like as long as I made the correct mulligan decisions, it was not possible to lose," Silva explained. "I have to thank Mario Flores for the work he put into refining the final list. I mainly worked on the sideboard plans, and it was very good for me all weekend."

Shardless Agent Violent Outburst Living End 598976 616999

While much has been made about the Temur Rhino variants making the best use of cascade cards, 2024 Modern looked not all that different from 2014 Modern: Living End and cycling creatures. And Silva wasn't the only player to take down a Regional Championship with the deck—Guillermo Loli did the same at the South America Magic Series Regional Championship, and James Wilks won the ANZ Super Series Final (the Regional Championship for Australia and New Zealand) with the same.

It's not a coincidence. Living End was one of the best all-around choices for this Regional Championship cycle, with Rhino variants close behind. Whatever the future of Modern is, it is certain to look different than this season—but the seeds of what's to come are being sown now as players quietly start to test their ideas for Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 at MagicCon: Amsterdam, which is the next time we'll get a high-level look at Modern. Early indications are that players may move to the Yawgmoth, Thran Physician combo decks that should benefit from fewer Rhinos, and the deck certainly looked pretty darn great in the hands of Reid Duke and Carmen Klomparens as they trounced Corey Baumeister and me in this week's MTGO Masters Modern pod.

That sets the stage for a Pro Tour that's only a hair over three months away, but there's a lot going on in competitive Magic (and Modern) between now and then. Namely, the small matter of returning to Standard for Pro Tour Thunder Junction April 26-28 in Seattle.

Silva now has multiple tournaments to look forward to later this year. He's ecstatic to have reignited his Pro Tour dreams, and is looking forward to a return to the top of the game with a completely different perspective than the last time he boarded a Pro Tour plane.

"I haven't been able to achieve this since COVID. I'm so happy to get the opportunity to do this," he gushed. "I love playing the game and seeing the world!"

Looking Ahead

The last cycle of Regional Championships officially concluded last weekend; and over the next few weeks, we'll highlight the incredible stories coming out of events across Asia, Australia, and South America.

There's also a handful of large regional tournaments coming up. Modern will be back on the menu at the Hunter Burton Memorial Open this weekend, with LMS Prague bringing more high-level Modern on March 23-24.

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