“I guess you would like to play first, as you got the higher seat?” asked Walter Wölfler. Dalibor Szeghö answered in the affirmative. “And it's not like it matters all that much in this matchup, right?”

The players shared a good laugh at that. Wölfler was playing Reanimator, while Szeghö had brought Food Chain. The friendly banter continued with the realization that this match featured the only two non-Germans in the Top 8, Wölfler hailing from Austria, Szeghö from neighboring Slovakia. Said Szeghö, “Until now, the Austrian guys were rooting for me. Now I don't know.”

Game 1

Going first didn't really help Szeghö, however, as he had to take a mulligan and then had to contend himself with a hand of one land, Ponder, and a bunch of creatures. Ponder didn't help either, so Szeghö could only watch—possibly in horror—as Wölfler took his turn …

He began with Lotus Petal and Badlands, cast Faithless Looting and discarded Iona, Shield of Emeria, sacrificed the Petal and cast Dark Ritual followed by Thoughtseize, and finally went to exhume Iona and chose blue.

Walter Wölfler

Just a few turns later Szeghö picked up his cards. “No chance at all.”

Dalibor Szeghö 0-1 Walter Wölfler

Game 2

The second game was almost as lopsided. Szeghö led with Deathrite Shaman, while Wölfler spent his first turn discarding Tidesprout Tyrant and Griselbrand to Faithless Looting. Szeghö exiled the Tyrant with Deathrite Shaman during his main phase …

Why would he do that? you may wonder. Well, because he had Surgical Extraction in hand and actually wanted to use it on Griselbrand earlier rather than later. That's why he pointedly gave Wölfler this apparent opening and basically invited him to go for it. And it wasn't as if Wölfler could refuse to take the bait. He cast Exhume, had all of his Demons extracted, and never recovered.

Dalibor Szeghö

Deathrite Shaman continued to keep Wölfler's graveyard under control and beatdown by Baleful Strix plus Eternal Scourge eventually evened the score.

Dalibor Szeghö 1-1 Walter Wölfler

Game 3

The all-deciding third game began with a mulligan for Wölfler. His six-card hand was a real winner though: Two copies of Chancellor of the Annex, Lotus Petal, a land, Entomb, and Reanimate. This allowed him to get Griselbrand onto the battlefield on turn one, with Chancellor-protection to boot!

Szeghö would have needed either one Force of Will plus blue card and a Surgical Extraction or two of one or the other to stop that. Needless to say, he didn't have the necessary cards in hand. Despite Szeghö's valiant attempts to defend himself, bypassing the Chancellors' abilities with Flusterstorm and putting Baleful Strix into Griselbrand's way, but the Demon, the extra cards, and Collective Brutality sealed the deal before long.

Dalibor Szeghö 1-2 Walter Wölfler