This the only quarterfinal match with both players already qualified for Worlds, so there’s a lot less pressure for Jelger and Alex. It’s also the highest profile match in the single elimination as the top 8 is featuring a lot more unknowns than in previous years. Alex wasn’t too confident going into this match as his deck is, in his own words, “not that good”. He build it on Magic Online some time ago because the threshold men were the only cards he owned. He won a lot with it and then went into semi-retirement so he decided to just run it at Nats. He went 3-3 with it in the type II section but ran the tables in the Rochester draft. Jelger went 4-1-1 with his Wake deck before 4-0ing and double IDing himself into third seed.
Alex says it’s his “least worst” matchup in the top 8 so it might be more interesting than you’d expect from a deck featuring that many suboptimal beaters.
Alex won the toss and mulliganed his first hand. His next hand was okay and game 1 of the quarters got underway. Turn one and two Nimble Mongoose off of a City of Brass and a Breakthrough for 0 let Alex madness two Rootwalla’s in play and put him at exactly 7 cards in his graveyard. He attacked for six and eight putting Jelger at five before Jelger’s Wrath cleared the board. Alex rebuild with a Werebear and a Wild Mongrel but Cunning Wish got Jelger Moment’s Peace and his attack was fogged. A morphed Exalted Angel gave Jelger a threat and a way to gain back some precious life points. A discarded Wonder made sure the Exalted Angel couldn’t attack anymore but the resulting standoff only favored the Wake deck as Jelger started working his Compulsion to find a Mirari and lock Alex. He found it after a couple of turns and easily rode it to victory as Alex couldn’t do a single thing to stop it.
Another turn one Mongoose for Alex but this time no Breakthrough for 0 showed up to let the little beater grow a little. Looter provided a little long term card advantage although Alex’s deck is way less adept at taking advantage of the ability than the regular Madness decks. Two Mongrels showed up over the next two turns while Jelger build his mana base with two Krosan Verges. A Moment’s Peace bought him some extra time to protect the Angel in his hand with countermagic. It came down on turn five with four lands up to unmorph it or counter whatever Alex had up his sleeve. Alex chose not to attack into the Angel, played a morph and passed it back. Jelger unmorphed the Angel, untapped and played Wake causing Alex to think for several minutes. He finally decided to Loot in response and after a little more thought he let it resolve. The Wrath of God that followed did get a Logic from Alex but that left him one card short of killing Jelger who was at 17 after the 5/6 Angel attacked. He settled for attacking for eleven and got his team Wrathed next turn. Jelger had a Mirari after the Wrath too, but he had just one card in hand after the Legendary Artifact. A Compulsion came off the top though and it found Jelger a Mirari’s Wake and a 2/5 Teroh’s Faithful. Alex was going to come up with something very good to win this one. When Jelger got Exalted Angel in play Upheaval was Alex’ only out and he didn’t get it in one of his two turns to live.
Rootwalla was the first man on the board this game followed closely by..nothing. Alex just attacked for three on turn two. That’s definitely not the way to win this matchup. Turn three brought another pump and another Rootwalla and a Mongrel came down on turn four. Meanwhile Jelger put out Compulsion and a Krosan Verge happy to sit back and take some damage while setting up a good hand and mana base. He made his first move on turn four Cunning Wishing for Moment’s Peace and playing it to keep himself alive. Turn five brought a Teroh’s Faithful and a cycled Renewed Faith putting Jelger back at 15 with a sizeable body in play to block Alex’ little men. Another Faithful got Jelger close to his starting life total and well in control of the game with Alex’ only real option being Upheaval again. After five turns or so the Exalted Angel came down and the game looked all but over but then, out of nowhere, Alex got Upheaval to resolve and followed it up with a Mongoose and two Rootwalla’s earning the scoop from Jelger.
This game Jelger got to play for the first time this match, giving him some extra time to stave off Alex’ early beats. Krosan Verge came down for the fourth consecutive time and a Memory Lapse stopped a Werebear from entering play on turn two. It came back on turn three and turn four saw two more Werebears joining the first. Jelger got a Circular Logic with a Wish to protect his Wrath of God and he played it on turn six, killing Alex’ army of 1/1’s. Alex finally found a blue source on turn five but it was a little outclassed by Jelger’s Exalted Angel. With no creatures in play on Alex’ side to the Angel on Jelger’s the game didn’t take too long to finish.