Jan Merkel wins Rivals Gauntlet, earns final invitation to Magic World Championship XXVII

Izzet Control has a big weekend.

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Image via Wizards of the Coast Magic: The Gathering

Jan Merkel won the Rivals Gauntlet by defeating Gavin Thompson in the finals, earning the last invitation to the Magic World Championship XXVII.

Piloting Izzet Control, Merkel defeated Thompson and his Gruul Adventures in an upper bracket semifinals rematch to come out on top of this weekend’s Rivals Gauntlet. Merkel also defeated Shota Yasooka, Lee Shi Tian, and Kai Budde in his top-eight run.

Merkel’s victory locks in the final spot at the upcoming Magic World Chamionship XXVII on Oct. 8 to 10. He will join 15 other players for the opportunity to compete in Standard and Draft for the world championship.

Here is every player qualified for Magic World Championship XXVII:

  • Ondřej Stráský: 2020-21 MPL Season
  • Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa: 2020-21 MPL Season
  • Gabriel Nassif: 2020-21 MPL Season
  • Seth Manfield: 2020-21 MPL Season
  • Eli Kassis: 2020-21 Rivals League Season
  • Stanislav Cifka: 2020-21 Rivals League Season
  • Matt Sperling: 2020-21 Rivals League Season
  • Yuta Takahashi: 2020-21 Rivals League Season
  • Sam Pardee: Challenger Gauntlet
  • Noriyuki Mori: Challenger Gauntlet
  • Arne Huschenbeth: Challenger Gauntlet
  • Keisuke Sato: Challenger Gauntlet
  • Rei Sato: MPL Gauntlet
  • Yoshihiko Ikawa: MPL Gauntlet
  • Jean-Emmanuel Depraz: MPL Gauntlet
  • Jan Merkel: Rivals Gauntlet

Budde, Thompson, and Tian will earn an invitation to the MPL next season alongside Merkel. All other players in the Rivals Gauntlet will be invited to the Rivals League next season.

The top-eight decks from the Rivals Gauntlet were another diverse field. Izzet Control, Mono-Green Aggro, Naya Adventures, Gruul Adventures, Jeskai Mutate, and Dimir Rogues all had their representation in the top eight. Sultai Ultimatum struggled against Izzet Control throughout the tournament, making it a tough final run for the boogyman of Standard for the past few months.