2020 Season Grand Finals Day 2 Coverage

Welcome! Our Day 2 Coverage of the Grand Finals will begin soon. Yesterday 32 top Magic players of the 2020 Season have started the action with 6 rounds of Swiss play. Today, Oct 10 at 9 A.M PDT the Swiss continues with yet another 6 rounds – 3 of them to be played in Standard and another 3 in Historic format – after which the Top 8 will be determined.

Check out our other resources dedicated to 2020 Season Grand Finals:


Format

Day Two: Standard and Historic Constructed

  • 6 Swiss rounds, ending to a Top 8 cut.
    • Rounds 7-9: Standard Constructed
    • Rounds 10-12: Historic Constructed
  • All matches are a best two-out-of-three games.
  • 30-minute timer for each player, each match.
  • Players that earn their eighth match win are advanced to Top 8 and do not compete in additional Swiss rounds.

Livestream


Round 7 (Standard)

Yesterday Autumn was very successful in fighting Omnath, sneaking just a few Embercleave lethals past those overly content Adventure players. Following their flawless performance in both Historic and Standard, Burchett sits on top as the sole leader of the Swiss part, with a clear 6-0 record. Will Austin Bursavich be able to stop this onslaught of Gruul Adventures?

Game 1: Both players have started slow, settling for average keeps on the mulligan. Bursavich sat there with a mana-heavy hand, while Autumn has been developing a few threats, but with no Embercleave in sight to actually threaten the opponent.

Austin slammed a Beanstalk Giant to hold off Gruul’s forces, and Burchett had little action in their hand to advance past the defenses. Adventures used a Shatterskull Smashing to clear up the opposing side of the board a bit and then used Brazen Borrower to fizzle out Autumn’s Primal Might. Gruul ended up significantly behind on board and had to throw in a towel the next turn.

Game 2: Even without access to especially good mana, Bursavich chose to keep the hand that contained Bonecrusher Giant – the raw power and versatility of the card is just that high. Burchett put a good amount of pressure on the opponent with Stonecoil Serpent and Brushfire Elemental, and Embercleave in hand really denied any good blocks for the Adventures deck that had the Omnath on the board.

The next attack phase wasn’t in any way easier for Bursavich – Autumn flashed in Embercleave for just two mana, suiting up a 5|5 Kazandu Mammoth – there was little counterplay available for Austin.

Game 3: Storm’s Wrath in Bursavich’s starting hand promised to play a crucial role in the match – Beanstalk Giant helped setting up for it, fetching that much-needed second red source. However, Lovestruck Beast wasn’t as easy to deal with long-term – but again Beanstalk Giant pulled double duty there to help stall the board.

The game now presented a maths exercise around Embercleave in combat phase – Bursavich needed to commit just enough to deny a good equipment target. Things got worse for Burchett as they were not able to find second red mana to play out Embercleave.

Finally, Austin did cast an impactful Storm’s Wrath in addition to Bonecrusher Giant to fully clear Gruul’s board, and attacked for 16 with two Beanstalks – and that was the end for Burchett’s unbeaten run.


Round 8 (Standard)

Once again we have this matchup here – the revelation of the weekend, Gruul Adventures deck, versus the villain of the tournament, Four-Color Adventures. Even though the former has been designed to specifically beat the latter, the Omnath engine slapped onto Lucky Clover core is still such a resilient combination that the matchup is close to 50/50. The skill of decision making and – let’s admit it – the luck of the draws are what will decide this head-to-head.

Game 1: Rough mulligan forced Levy to go down to 5 cards on the draw. On the other side, Handy kept developing a creature every turn, setting up for the Emberleave turn. A Giant Killer delayed the lethal attack for a single turn, but the inevitable end followed on the next combat step.

Game 2: Stonecoil Serpent is such a good piece in this Gruul build because it can fill any slot in the curve-out and is flexible in every other way. For example, at one point Emma even chose to have Serpent as a 3|3 instead of a 4|4 even though she had mana available – just to play around Giant Killer.

Raphael Levy’s early game defense relied heavily on Brazen Borrowers, but past a certain point, Handy was able to flood the board with creatures anyway. Meanwhile, the Frenchman’s was all out of answers, and Embercleave finished the job in style and incredibly fast.


Round 9 (Standard)

And here we have finally arrived at the dreaded Omnath Adventure mirror. Since both decks in the matchup are only gated by mana and not any kind of reasonable power considerations – it all comes down to whoever can pull off the most broken turn first. There’s plenty of room to outplay though if no-one manages to pull far ahead, as Fae of Wishes is a big part of the equation and can create interesting game states.

Game 1: Austin on the play resolved turn four Omnath, then slammed Fabled Passage turn 5 for the insane mana boost, followed by Beanstalk Giant for yet another Omnath trigger. At this point, Fernandes decided he saw enough – he was already desperately behind on any conceivable metric. Interactive gameplay in its prime.

Game 2: Fernandes was on the play this time, but his Omnath play came down a little bit later than the tight schedule demanded – on turn 5. He also had no ways to enable two triggers in a turn – but Bursavich on the other side did. Escape to the Wilds into Fabled Passage, into disgusting Lucky Clover turn once again left Fernandes in ruins. Austin had a hand – and exile zone – full of spells, with Clover and Omnath already developed – a clear path to the victory. As a coping mechanism, Patrick Fernandes had no choice but to smile and accept it.

With this victory Austion Bursavich sealed his 8th win and so became the first player to seal the Top 8 spot!


Round 10 (Historic)

We’re moving into the final part of the Swiss, and it is the three rounds of Historic that will decide who will take up the remaining 7 spots in the Top 8 after one of them has been locked by Austin Bursavich. Here we have Seth Manfield who piloted Dimir Rogue build in Standard – and also chose to defy Omnath in the Historic segment as well, registering a Jund Sacrifice deck instead. Manfield runs a build that is pretty similar to the one he himself faced in the finals of the last Mythic Invitational. Against Omnath Ramp, it will be tough to overcome all the lifegain and mana advantage of that deck, but in the power of Collected Company we do believe.

Game 1: An early Dreadhorde Butcher from Manfield forced a trade with Lotus Cobra. Seth followed with double Mayhem Devil setup into Collected Company powerplay. Company pull did not disappoint – a turn 5 lethal was on the board. However, Manfield was too focused on the opposing Omnath and unfortunately missed it, leaving everyone – Magic casters, viewers, and the opponent – confused. Autumn conceded next turn anyway, but it was awkward for a moment there.

Game 2: Burchett got to side in a playset of Yasharn, Implacable Earth, which is obviously a premium card in the matchup as it shutdowns all sacrifice synergies. However, even after a mulligan they failed to see a single copy of it. Grafdigger’s Cage came down instead to help against possible Collected Companies.

Manfield kept adding to the board and attacking Autumn every turn with even more forces, but the lifegain from Uro was enough for now to keep Omnath Ramp afloat. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon stepped into action to clear the board space – but thanks to Woe Strider an Mignight Reaper, Seth still was able to get back some value.

Bad news for Jund was that Ugin still remained on the board. Ironically, Manfield was able to deal with it, but missed the fact that Redcap Melee can deal damage to planeswalkers. He acknowledged the punt completely, even the best of the best can make mistakes.

Game 3: Alright, with a mental reset for Manfield, we’re going into a game 3 here. Whoever wins this, seals the place in the Top 8!

A powerful aggressive start from Jund with several Dreadhorde Butchers put Autumn under a great deal of pressure. Manfield was 1-hit off lethal as soon as turn 4, while Burchett had really nothing going for them, with a hand full of lands and ways to find more lands. As such, Seth was able to close the game out easily – it was a rough match for him, but we still take those.

Seth Manfield is in the Top 8, and that is Standard-only, so the best news is he doesn’t have to play Jund Sacrifice anymore! 🙂


Round 11 (Historic)

Another ramp mirror and we know how they go. The differences in the decks there are quite negligible and mostly are about min-maxing manabases and picking the Landfall pay-offs to players’ liking. For example, Patrick Fernandes likes Felidar Retreat as a wincon and also runs the forgotten MVP of 2019 Standard Golos, the Tireless Pilgrim, while Burchett is more about Kenrith and Ugin.

Game 1: The players have stormed through the early game neck and neck – Lotus Cobra on each side, waiting for Omnath insanity. Autumn got to go off first – they was not able to cast Genesis Ultimatum right-away, but did set-up a strong potential follow-up.

This forced an urgent response from Fernandes in form of Ugin, to reset the board. However, Burchett once again flipped the tables by hitting from Ultimatum both Omnath and Ugin of their own. The game went back in forth with players taking turns casting their Ultimatums. Autumn spinned the wheel more times than Patrick Fernandes, so they won.

Game 2: Autumn had to mulligan, and still got 7-land hand after that. Reluctantly, they decided too keep – because if there is a deck that can pull off a win from this hand state it is Historic Omnath Ramp. Unfortunately for Burchett the library kept giving them even more lands. Meanwhile, Fernandes resolved Omnath followed by not one but two Ultimatums – the game was over at this point.

Game 3: Another mediocre opener for Burchett that had no early ramp and all the lands in hand felt bad – but Fernandes himself got stuck on three lands for a turn, giving Autumn a window to catch-up. Both players were visibly frustrated by their draws and focused on stalling their opponent with Aether Gusts – no one was able to get to their Ultimatum yet, keeping the game in the uneasy balance.

Finally, it was Burchett who topdecked their Genesis Ultimatum first and won the game on the same turn out of nowhere – thanks to Kenrith and its haste ability. That is the ridiculous power of Omnath Ramp and that is also Autumn Burchett advancing into the Top 8!


Round 12 (Historic)

It is the last round of the Swiss, and so the fate of the remaining five Top 8 slots hangs in the balance. The featured match between Emma Handy and Ken Yukuhiro is a win-and-in: whoever prevails gets there, while the loser will be almost certainly eliminated. The Japanese player is one of the three competitors that registered Neostorm Combo deck – the list performed unevenly over the course of the weekend. This matchup against Emma Handy’s Omnath Ramp will likely turn into a combo fest with little interaction on either side. Both decks are just built in the very linear fashion, prioritizing their own gameplan above everything else.

Game 1: Ken Yukuhiro had the combo assembled by turn 4, but Emma slammed Yasharn to shut down Ken’s ability to sacrifice Sea Gate Stromcaller to Neoform. While Yukuhiro looked for ways to deal with that pesky hate piece, Handy began to unfolding her own gameplan. Double Lotus Cobra into Ultimatum generated a ton of mana, and Ken had to burn Pact of Negation just to stop Omnath from resolving. Emma didn’t care too much, played out an Ugin and that was it.

Game 2: Once again Ken had access to his Neoform combo early, but Yasharn was in the way of it and had to be dealt with Aether Gust. Yukuhiro played out the next couple of turns slowly and trying not to run his Neoform into Emma’s own Aether Gust – until he had no more patience it seems and tried to force the play.

Unfortunately, the punish from Handy was harsh as she got to resolve Yasharn when Yukuhiro was tapped out. The things went from bad to worse from there as Ken had no choice but to hard cast his Tuktuk Rubblefort and Sea Gate Stormcaller in the last resort attempt to assemble some kind of board presence. Emma answered with an Ugin – and sealed the Top 8 finish, the first one in her pro career!



The 2020 Season Grand Finals resumes with a Top 8 competition tomorrow, Oct 11 at 9 A.M. PDT. Come back to MTGA Zone as we’ll continue our play-by-play coverage and analysis of the tournament!

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