"Oh, this is different," Piotr Glogowski said as he donned the headphones the players would wear for their match.
"Yeah, it really is," agreed Pascal Maynard.
It really is. That's because it's the quarterfinal of Pro Tour Ixalan.
It was Maynard's second trip the Pro Tour Top 8, after making it to the Sunday rounds at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch last year. Glogowski, meanwhile, was playing in just his third Pro Tour and first this year. Still, both players had played exceptionally through the Swiss rounds to advance to the Top 8, and had their eyes set on much more as they squared off with a trip to the semifinals on the line.
Glogowski was playing the most popular archetype of the tournament in an energy deck. His build included a fourth color in order take advantage of The Scarab God, and he also had Skysovereign, Consul Flagship instead of Glorybringer in the main deck. Maynard, on the other hand, went a little more rogue for the tournament, opting to bring a straight white-blue turbo God-Pharaoh's Gift deck that aimed to dump the seven-cost artifact into the graveyard along with creatures and then bring it back with Refurbish to begin making giant creatures as early as the fourth turn. Pieces like Minister of Inquiries and Strategic Planning helped make that a reality.
Both players kept their opening hands, with Glogowski looking at a typical Temur Energy hand—a few lands, a Servant of the Conduit for some acceleration, and a Rogue Refiner to rebuild. Maynard's hand was a favorable opening, with Minister of Inquiries to fill his graveyard and a Refurbish to bring back God-Pharaoh's Gift should the Minister hit one.
Piotr Glogowski (left) and Pascal Maynard (right) both sought to continue their strong play in the quarterfinals.
The action got started early, as Sacred Cat began the beatdown for Maynard. Glogowski developed his own board with the Servant, while a second Minister of Inquiries arrived for Maynard, soliciting a "Wow" from Glogowski.
Bristling Hydra was a threat, but the Minister of Inquiries landed a God-Pharaoh's Gift into the graveyard, and Refurbish put it into play right on time. Like clockwork, it returned Angel of Invention, and the giant Angel crashed in for 7 damage.
"I choose not to block," Glogowski said drolly.
"Good decision," Maynard replied without missing a beat.
A few Angel of Invention attacks later and the pair were off to the second game.
Game 2 featured duplicates on both sides—a pair of Longtusk Cubs for Glogowski while Maynard had two Minister of Inquiries. Four activations later, Maynard found a God-Pharaoh's Gift for his graveyard, and had Refurbish to put into play to reanimate Champion of Wits and refill his hand. A few seconds later, Glogowski said simply "You've got me," and conceded the game.
Pascal Maynard took an early lead in the quarterfinals, going up 2-0.
With his back against the wall, Glogowski began Game 3 with a strong opening, filling his board early with Longtusk Cub and Rogue Refiner. Maynard managed to maneuver a God-Pharaoh's Gift into his graveyard thanks to Chart a Course, but was still under the gun as Glogowski knocked him down to 15 life.
Skysovereign, Consul Flagship took control of the skies for Glogowski, but it was cleanly delayed by Angel of Sanctions, which removed the Flagship for a time before falling prey to Harnessed Lightning. That allowed Glogowski to attack Maynard to 9 life. But the best thing about Angel of Sanctions is that it comes back, and embalming the creature again took the Vehicle out of action. That forced Glogowski to fill out his board further, and Maynard played right into that plan with Angel of Invention.
Glogowski was falling behind on board, but things threatened to get even worse as Maynard drew Refurbish for his turn. He opted to hold it in hand to play around Negate, and attacked for just 2 with Angel of Invention. The play was punished, as Glogowski drew and slammed a land and cast River's Rebuke, bouncing all of Maynard's board and ending the game in one big swing. His back was against the wall, but Glogowski responded with a dramatic flurry to push the match into a fourth game.
Piotr Glogowski needed to win back-to-back games to continue his pursuit of the title.
Maynard's opener in Game 4 didn't fill his graveyard quickly, but it did have the tools to set up a fourth-turn God-Pharaoh's Gift thanks to Champion of Wits and Refurbish, while Glogowski had Attune with Aether and a Servant of the Conduit to open.
Glogowski had Abrade in hand, but opted for Bristling Hydra on the third turn, opening the window for Maynard's Refurbish to allow him God-Pharaoh's Gift to reanimate Champion of Wits. Abrade took down the God-Pharaoh's Gift, but Maynard's hand was stacked after drawing four from the Champion. While Abrade did take out the God-Pharaoh's Gift, the damage was done as Maynard now had plenty of tools to work with.
Angel of Sanctions took out Servant of the Conduit, while the 4/4 Champion of Wits suicided into Bristling Hydra, which became a 6/5 after Glogowski dumped all his energy into it. When he passed the turn back, Maynard punished the play by casting Fairgrounds Warden to take the Hydra off the board. Clinging to just a Negate and staring down a board of a 4/4 Champion of Wits, Fairgrounds Warden, and an Angel of Sanctions, Glogowski found himself in desperate need of help.
Abrade brought that help, taking out Fairgrounds Warden and allowing Bristling Hydra to eat the 4/4 token. Still, Glogowski fell to 1 life from the attack. When his draw step failed to yield any help, he extended his hand and congratulated Maynard for advancing to the semifinals of Pro Tour Ixalan.
Pascal Maynard defeated Piotr Glogowski 3-1 to advance to the semifinals!