It's the old guard versus the new as up-and-comer Jacob Wilson faces off against Hall of Fame member Jelger Wiegersma.
Platinum Pro and fifteenth-ranked Jacob Wilson is a rising star in the professional Magic community. Wilson already has a Pro Tour Top 8 to his name and this, his second, means that Wilson is nearly 20% to Top 8 any given Pro Tour he's playing in. Wilson recently took some time off from school to focus on Magic. A win here this weekend would validate countless hours of hard work from Wilson over the last few months. Wilson is armed with the ubiquitous Abzan deck that aims to disrupt the opponent with targeted discard and spot removal while attacking with some of the best threats in the format.
His opponent, Jelger Wiegersma, is a Hall of Fame member competing in his fifth Pro Tour Top 8 this weekend. Wiegersma has long been considered one of the best Magic players to ever play the game, but there's one title that's always eluded him. Wiegersma has never won an individual Pro Tour and he now has the opportunity to fulfill his lifelong dream. Wiegersma is considered one of the greatest Limited minds in the history of the game and it's not surprising that he went undefeated through the Draft portion of this weekend. Wiegersma is playing the surprisingly unpopular Splinter Twin deck, a strategy that aims to create billions of hasty creatures by combining Splinter Twin with either Deceiver Exarch or Pestermite to achieve victory.
Hall of Famer Jelger Wiegersma and fifteenth-ranked Jacob Wilson had personal reasons for wanting the Pro Tour trophy. However, only one of them was going to keep their dream going after the quarterfinals.
Wilson lamented how bad the first game of the match-up was as they shuffled.
"You could always get lucky," said Jelger in a reassuring tone.
Voice of Resurgence came down for Wilson and Wiegersma would be under some serious pressure. Wiegersma was unable to interact efficiently on Wilson's turn because of Voice of Resurgence. The powerful two-mana creature cuts Wiegersma off of his controlling game-plan. He would need to assemble his combo if he wanted to win.
Siege Rhino came down soon after and Wilson now found himself just two turns away from victory.
Not unfamiliar with Abzan mana, Wilson gave up his old Modern tricks for the more traditional and straight-forward approach.
Wilson's version of Abzan, championed by Team Face to Face, was a great choice for this weekend's Pro Tour with strong matchups against other Abzan strategies and aggressive decks, but Wiegersma's Splinter Twin deck presented a unique problem that would be difficult to overcome without access to the same disruption as the other Abzan strategies.
"That's a nice shirt," joked Wiegersma.
The two were wearing identical outfits.
"I stole it from a friend."
Wiegersma wasn't happy with his opening seven, but six cards were better.
Wilson led off with Noble Hierarch and Wiegersma was content to play some lands while he set up for his combo.
Voice of Resurgence was next, followed by another copy of Noble Hierarch that allowed Voice of Resurgence to attack for four. Things were looking good for the Canadian, but he knew the Dutch master across the table could win completely out of nowhere.
Qasali Pridemage came down and Wiegersma would be forced to get it off the table before he'd be able to deploy his combo. Anger of the Gods cleaned up the board and bought Wiegersma some valuable time. However, Wilson had Loxodon Smiter to keep the pressure going.
A Pro Tour victory still eluded the Hall of Famer, but Wiegersma was far from ready to throw in the towel.
Wiegersma was ready with Cryptic Command to bounce it and draw on the following turn, but a Thoughtseize from Wilson revealed that Wiegersma hadn't yet assembled his combo as a second copy of Cryptic Command was stripped from his hand.
"Did you have a removal spell that time?" Wiegersma inquired..
"I did," replied Wilson.
"That was a pretty good hand for you then."
Wiegersma decided to pull the trigger on Anger of the Gods to take out Wilson's mana creatures. With just Gavony Township and Razorverge Thicket in play, it seemed like Wilson was falling behind fast.
Lingering Souls provided a bit of a clock, but Wiegersma used a pair of spot removal spells to take take of the tokens.
Again, Wilson had Voice of Resurgence. Wiegersma had Lightning Bolt for Voice of Resurgence. Pestermite was next and Wiegersma attempted to enchant it with Splinter Twin. Wilson would need a removal spell if he wanted to survive. He cracked Marsh Flats and tried for Path to Exile, but Dispel protected the combo and Wiegersma was victorious.
Jelger Wiegersma defeats Jacob Wilson 2-1 and advances to the semifinals!