Though it looked like it could end up as a 3-0 blowout for Kai, Dan mounted a spirited defence to keep himself alive into this fourth round of the finals. Each player is playing the Duplicate Limited deck that they built way back on the first morning of the tournament two days earlier. Kai went with the popular black-white deck, so popular that Dan went with it too. Despite these similarities, their decks are about as different as they could be in this format. Kai's deck has many more creatures than Dan's and much of their decks are very different, at least in the first game.
Dan mulliganed to begin the first game and Kai's deck was not forgiving as it burst out with a Mtenda Herder pumped up by Capashen Standard. Dan's second turn answer of Tireless Tribe looked pretty meek - Odyssey 1/1 creatures just aren't expecting to get flanked!
Dan continued to play out creatures for a mana each as Kai struggled to find a black mana source. As Dan played out both black and white creatures, including Vebulid, he also found an Erase for Capashen Standard, taking away Kai's offence. Meanwhile Kai played whatever white spells he could but watched as his position slowly eroded.
Finally, after seemingly endless turns, Kai drew a Mana Cylix and was able to play Circling Vultures that was Smited when it attacked into a Flying Camel. But with access to the other half of his deck, along with the help of a Sleeper Agent from Dan's side, he eventually took back the momentum in the game and knocked Dan to 0.
Budde - 1
Clegg - 0
In a welcome break from watching Dan Clegg think, the time between games was filled with light-hearted chatter and reminisces from Pro Tours past. While Kai Budde may dominate the European Grand Prix scene, he has never even made a top eight in North America, let alone four, but he's still an excellent player!
Kai began game two with a mulligan but a first turn Mana Cylix assured him of access to both his colors. A Sewer Rats then faced off against Dan's Carnophage and Icatian Scout. This was not an intimidating situation for Dan until the Rats were imbued with Unholy Strength and began serving the beats.
Kai seemed unable to draw any further threats after that and when Dan found a Hope Charm for the Unholy Strength after blocking; he was able to overwhelm Kai with his greater number of creatures and threats.
Budde - 1
Clegg - 1
Both players had mirror openings with Carnophage followed by Resistance Fighter. Dan also played a Soldevi Sentry that was ironic considering that everyone at the table had been discussing the merits of the card and how WotC playtesting of the Invitational formats had indicated it was not any good. Apparently the playtesters at WotC have nothing on real Pro Tour players! Who wouldn't want a 1/1 regenerator in a format full of 1/1 creatures?
Dan played out some of his many non-creature spells such as Coalition Flag and Sadistic Glee while Kai dealt with them using Erase and Hope Charm. They each traded Resistance Fighters but then Dan played Capashen Standard on the Soldevi Sentry and the game quickly came under his control, as there was no card in the format that could deal with such a beast if Dan kept mana open. Lucky for Dan, he never drew a fourth land in either of the last two games but he never needed more than three. Kai attempted a variety of solutions but between the 2/2 regenerator and drawing several more land, he was unable to.
Final Result: Budde 1 - Clegg 2
Suddenly, Clegg was back in contention!