With records of 7-1, both of these players needed but one more win to clinch a Top 8 berth. Neither one was a stranger to high-stakes Magic: As coincidence would have it, both had played at the 2014 World Magic Cup, Laurent Calligaro as part of Team Luxembourg, Jonas Zimmermann for the German team.

When asked for any other noteworthy tournament appearances, they shook their heads. Calligaro mentioned a Top 16 as his best Grand Prix finish. Zimmermann eventually offered up the fact that he had always done well in the Frankfurt metropolitan area, citing his wins at the WMCQ and two PTQs (under the old system) in nearby Hanau.

It was the first and probably not the last time we would get to see Jonas Zimmermann at the MKM Series

It was the first and probably not the last time we would get to see Jonas Zimmermann at the MKM Series

As for the MKM Series, this was the first time either of the two had attended one of the events. “I'm enjoying myself and will surely come again,” said Calligaro to which Zimmermann nodded in agreement.

The matchup here was Naya Burn played by Calligaro against Zimmermann's Jeskai, the quintessential battle of aggro versus control.

The Games

Things began with Calligaro's Wild Nacatl matched by Zimmermann's Path to Exile. A pair of burn spells eventually made their way past Zimmermann's Remand, but Calligaro's next creatures were all dispatched by Lightning Helix, Ajani Vengeant, another Lightning Helix, Electrolyze, and Lightning Bolt.

Meanwhile, Zimmermann suspended a pair of Ancestral Visions while still at a very healthy life total. Even before the first Vision cleared the exile zone, Calligaro conceded in the face of Sphinx's Revelation.

Laurent Calligaro 0-1 Jonas Zimmermann

Laurent Calligaro now had to fight an uphill battle and win two games in a row!

Laurent Calligaro now had to fight an uphill battle and win two games in a row!

The second game began much better for Calligaro, with Grim Lavamancer and Goblin Guide attacking by turn two. With his opening of Sulfur Falls and Celestial Colonnade, Zimmermann was a little slow to the fray.

But not, as it turned out, too slow. Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix cleared the battlefield of any threats, Dispel took care of an Atarka's Command which would otherwise have prevented the Helix's life gain, and things were once again looking great for Zimmermann.

Over the next couple of turns, Snapcaster Mage for Lightning Helix and Celestial Purge took care of Wild Nacatl and Monastery Swiftspear, and finally Gideon Jura sealed the deal.

Laurent Calligaro 0-2 Jonas Zimmermann

“I think you can draw into the Top 8 now?” asked Calligaro. Zimmermann wasn't quite sure on that. Neither were we. But after this decisive victory, with a record of 8-1 now, Zimmermann was definitely a strong contender for the playoffs.