Jared Boettcher is the No. 14-ranked player in the world. There hasn't been a Pro Tour rookie with Boettcher's success in well over a decade. With three Grand Prix Top 8s, a 9th place finish at Pro Tour Born of the Gods, and a 10th place finish at Pro Tour Journey into Nyx, Boettcher has proven himself to be a very real contender. This weekend, Boettcher aims to further cement his lead in the Rookie of the Year race and earn himself a spot at the World Championship.
His opponent, Owen Turtenwald, is the No. 5-ranked player in the world. An absolute titan of Magic's Modern era, Turtenwald has a staggering fifteen Grand Prix Top 8s and a Pro Tour Top 8. Turtenwald has locked up Platinum for next season already, but needs to put up a good finish here this weekend to give himself a shot at the World Championship.
Boettcher won the roll and both players kept their opening hands. Turtenwald and Boettcher remained quiet as they waited for the round to begin.
In the first game, Turtenwald cast Coral Barrier on his second turn thanks to a turn one Elvish Mystic while Boettcher found himself stuck on two lands with only a Generator Servant to advance his board state. Amphin Pathmage came down and Turtenwald's board was getting out of hand quickly. When Seige Wurm joined the party on the fourth turn, things looked particularly grim for Boettcher. Boettcher managed to find a third land, but he still didn't have another play. Boettcher conceded when Turtenwald cast more threats and sent his massive team into the red zone on the following turn.
Turtenwald started on six cards in the second game. Things got off to a blazing fast fast when Boettcher led off with Foundry Street Denizen and kept the pressure going with a second turn Bronze Sable and a third turn Carrion Crow. This time it was Turtenwald's turn to be stuck on two lands, but Elvish Mystic at least allowed him to hold down the Carrion Crow for a turn and while trading with the Bronze Sable. The beats kept on coming from Boettcher, but Turtenwald found Netcaster Spider and successfully stalled the board against Boettcher's aggressive start.
When Turtenwald finally found a third land, he was able to pump up his Netcaster Spider with Living Totem. Boettcher was unable to attack into the abundance of three and four toughness on Turtenwald's side of the table. Turtenwald hadn't found a fourth land yet, but he seemed to be crawling his way back into the game. Another Living Totem joined Turtenwald's side of the table, then Siege Wurm, Charging Rhino, and Amphin Pathmage all on subsequent turns. Boettcher couldn't interact favorably, and despite drawing two copies of Inferno Fist, he was unable to break through Turtenwald's fortress of fatties. When Boettcher finally found Heat Ray to deal with Turtenwald's Siege wurm, there was a Quickling at the ready to save it. Boettcher tried to keep his head above water, but Turtenwald's side of the board had grown too large. One more attack from Turtenwald was enough to elicit the Boettcher's concession.
Boettcher 0 – Turtenwald 2