Welcome back to our coverage of the 2020 Season Grand Finals! After 12 rounds of Swiss, the hyper-competitive field of 32 players has been narrowed down to just Top 8. Today, at the end of the double-elimination bracket competition, we will know the name of the champion!
In this article, you will find the decklists of the Top 8, info about the format, and play by play coverage of the event.
Also, check out our other resources dedicated to 2020 Season Grand Finals:
Day Three: Top 8 Double-Elimination Playoff
- All matches are a best two-out-of-three games in Standard, except the Championship match which will be a best two-out-of-three matches.
- The player with the higher seed chooses the play/draw order for players at the beginning of each match, except in the Championship match in which case the upper bracket player may choose the play/draw order for all matches in the final series of the tournament.
Upper Bracket Quarterfinals
The first round of play-offs pitted Seth Manfield against Gabriel Nassif. These two have already played recently on the highest level – Manfield was able to defeat Nassif in the Mythic Invitational Grand Finals, piloting Historic Sultai Midrange against Gabriel’s Jund Sacrifice. This time Nassif gets to take revenge playing the undisputed best Standard deck – however, Manfield’s Dimir Rogues build already caused a few upsets in the field full of Omnath.
Game 1: Manfield wasn’t too happy to see Lucky Clover cast by Nassif on turn 2 – Seth didn’t have a counter on the ready. On the next turn, Adventures deck developed yet another engine – Edgewall Innkeeper. With this one Rogues are able to deal fairly consistently, but Clover presented a much more irritating problem.
Nassif followed with Omnath, and having 3 copies of Escape to the Wilds in the hand, he just started to force them out onto the stack, disrespecting Seth open mana. At some point, Rogues won’t have a counterspell – and even if they do at every point, there’s a big creature on the field to go face in Omnath.
Manfield was behind in the game almost desperately from the very beginning but still fought a value battle against Clover bravely. While being at incredibly low life total, Seth managed to sustain himself with Cling to Dust for a long while. Eventually, the Clover power was too much and got Nassif over the line. The Frenchman played out the game very patiently and made sure to give no window of opportunity to his opponent.
Game 2: No early Lucky Clover was available for Nassif this time, which did set up for a much fairer scenario. Manfield got to side in a bunch of Agonizing Remorses as well, and carefully weaved in them alongside keeping mana up for counterspells to control Adventure value in the early turns.
Nassif still managed to sneak in Omnath by playing carefully around Lofty Denial and Drown in the Loch. One non-synergy Remorse has in Seth’s deck is that they don’t discard but exile cards, and so don’t contribute to Drown in Loch count. Manfield dealt with Omnath eventually, but the double Innkeeper followed and the value train has left the station once again.
Seth managed to set up Lurrus to recur Enforcers, but Bonecrusher Giant dealt with that threat in no time. Manfield was stuck with Lofty Denials and Mystical Disputes in hand – Gabe had a ton of mana available and maneuvered around that easily. Adventures deck once again was too much for Dimir to control, and Nassif took full advantage of that masterfully.
Upper Bracket Semifinals
Autumn Burchett has crushed quite a bunch of Omnath Adventures decks in the Swiss part – and they continued on the warpath in the quarterfinals. A clean sweep of Patrick Fernandes’ Adventures and, Autumn goes on to face Gabriel Nassif, whom we just saw dispatch Seth Manfield’s Dimir Rogues to the bottom half of the bracket.
Game 1: Gemrazer in the starting hand of Burchett provided safety against a possibly early Lucky Clover. However, Nassif always plays around every possible scenario, so he held on to his Clover until at least he could get a single bit of value from it. A huge tempo play from Gabriel to deny Autumn a mutation trigger:
Nassif followed it up with a Bonecrusher play copied by two Clovers to dismantle the rest of Autumn’s board and then tutored for land with Fae of Wishes since he lacked a green source by turn 5. Alongside with that, Gabe picked a couple of removal spells from the wishboard, setting himself up quite well for the rest of the game.
It didn’t help that Burchett had no access to Embercleave still, but with the sheer amount of bodies on the board they kept powering through, putting Nassif to just 4 life. On the next turn, as Nassif kept spinning his wheels looking for Omnath, Autumn either needed Embercleave or some removal to go for lethal. It was Primal Might that got them ahead in the match in the end:
Game 2: Double Lucky Clover draw punished Autumn’s borderline creature-light keep very hard. Copied Bonecrusher deleted Burchett’s whole board – and they had nothing in hand to resupplyl the frontlines. A lonely Embercleave got stuck in Autumn’s hand as Nassif delved deeper into the embarassment of riches that is Fae of Wishes + 2 Lucky Clovers. The game was effectively over at that point, and Embereth Shieldbreaker was just too late to the party.
Game 3: No luck for Autumn, who missed a third land drop on the play. Eventually the drew a source – but that was only a tapped one, Evolving Wilds. As such, Burchett’s early development was incredibly slow – meanwhile, Nassif resolved Omnath into Fabled Passage, a classic explosion of value that this deck can generate. Autumn was forced to play one spell per turn and on the defensive – and it is not the place where Gruul Adventures want to be, the one leading to a swift defeat.
Upper Bracket Finals
Aaron Gertler is the player who put the original Temur Clover Adventure deck on the map back in February, winning a Dreamhack with the initial build of the archetype. And even the pioneer of the list can’t deny that Omnath – though it doesn’t have a direct synergy with a narrow Adventure theme – is just too powerful of a card not to include in the former pure Temur deck.
Game 1: Seven cards on the play, two Lucky Clovers in the starting hand – it doesn’t get better than Aaron Gertler’s opener in this game. Nassif’s Petty Theft on those Clovers did little other than delay Aaron for a turn. He popped off with the artifact shortly, tutoring for three lands with Fertile Steps, and three wishboard cards with Fae of Wishes. One of those sideboard techs was Shredded Sails – Gertler used that to remove Nassif’s own Clover twice.
Gabe fought back with Omnath, but Aaron had more Clovers and more mana – and that what matters more in the end in this matchups than the mere availability of Omnath. Every turn coming from each player felt powerful, but Gertler’s were just of a tiny bit crazier value, every time. Slowly but surely he overwhelmed Nassif with Clover value to take the lead in the match.
Game 2: Same story here, Aaron Gertler once again was lucky with his Clovers, getting two in the first few of his draws. Nassif’s game plan was all in the hope to beat Aaron down quickly with Bonecrusher Giants. Gertler tutored for Storm’s Wrath as an answer – Gabe had a Mystical Dispute, but only a turn too late!
The board did reset, but the game state did not stabilize for Gertler. Aaron resolved an Omnath, but Nassif forced a chump block with Beanstalk Giant – and the turn after that pushed for lethal. Aaron never got to use his Lucky Clover setup!
Game 3: Nassif had to mulligan to 5, got a reasonable hand with two Clovers, but missed a third land-drop. Meanwhile, Aaron’s mana development was on schedule. Fortunately enough, Gabe ripped an untapped source, and Fertile Steps in conjunction with two Clovers caught him up in no time.
Just like in the game one, Gertler went after Nassif’s Clovers with Shredded Sails. An insanely well-crafted turn that involved Omnath (of course), left Gabe without those key artifact permanents. The Frenchman had to shift gears there and then, switching from long-game grindy gameplan to the beatdown one. However, Beanstalks and Bonecrushers weren’t enough against the infinite resources that Gertler started to amass.
As often in the case of Nassif, the match ended up being a race against the chess clock for him. But in the end, it was the fact that Aaron’s Gertler build was just better tuned for the mirror with those Shredded Sails in several copies, and that once again ended up being a dealbreaker.
Lower Bracket Round 1
We have arrived at the lower part of the bracket, where things become real – a loss means elimination for good. Emma Handy did drop a match against Omnath in the Upper Bracket Quarterfinals against Aaron Gertler, who went all the way since, claiming the ticket to the Championship match. Meanwhile, Austin Bursavich lost an Omnath Adventures mirror against Raphael Levy.
Game 1: A solid start there from Emma – Stomp to deal with Austin’s Lotus Cobra, and Edgewall Innkeeper on the board to draw a card of the creature side of the same spell, Bonecrusher Giant. Bursavich answered with Omnath + Fabled Passage + Escape to the Wilds powerplay to set back any of that advantage Emma accumulated.
Next on schedule – Primal Might out of the wishboard to delete Handy’s big Gemrazer and so eliminate the threat of proper Embercleave attack next turn. After that, Gruul Adventures didn’t have a lot to do – only watch all the usual Omnath broken stuff – until the game was over.
Game 2: On the play, Emma had a reasonable draw on the play and put a significant amount of pressure on Austin who was busy ramping. Brushfire Elemental in tandem with Fabled Passage and a couple of timely removal like Thundering Strike played out very efficiently and Bursavich was on the ropes if not for Storm’s Wrath topdeck.
The situation got even worse next turn as Emma, unfortunately, miss-clicked through her main phase to unwittingly end the turn. She did attack for lethal next turn still, and it was closer in the end than it should have been. Austin just lacked one last interaction spell to stabilize there.
Game 3: This time Handy didn’t have a Stomp to deal with Bursavich’s Lotus Cobra – and thing started to get out of hand quickly. Turn 3 Omnath, turn 4 Escape into the Wilds and Fabled Passage generated Austin a disgusting amount of mana – Lucky Clover into Stomp into two Inkeepers had swung the game state completely.
Bursavich’s inclusion of Lotus Cobra in the Adventures deck is an unorthodox decision, but these kinds of explosive starts are where the pay-off for that lies. Emma was never able to catch-up after that as Austin overwhelmed her with mana advantage.
Lower Bracket Round 2
Gruul Adventures may be the hero of the tournament, but we have already lost one of them last round to Austin Bursavich. In fact, Burchett’s list is the only remaining non-Omnath deck of the Top 8. Will this game be the end of Gruul run, or does the hero continue its journey?
Game 1: Autumn mulliganed to five – not ideal, but Austin himself did not have exactly a goldfish draw. Even though Gruul were behind on resources, if they kept drawing action, the game would be still very much open.
Bursavich however was able to turn the game into a race, using the efficiency of Bonecrusher Giant and Brazen Borrower, and won by turning creatures sideways.
Game 2: Much better start for Gruul in this game, curving Heart’s Desire token into two Brushfire Elementals into Fabled Passage. Austin fumbled there on turn three, unable to draw a land off the top – and that was it. Turn 4 lethal from Gruul Adventures, an almost vulgar display of power.
Game 3: An interesting sideboard tech from Autumn – Ranger’s Guile – would have paid off Burchett massively, if only they would have played around Giant Killer from Austin. On the key turn, where Burchett attacked him with a 5|5 Elemental, Bursavich took the damage without hesitating, which led Autumn to believe that Austin must not have an access to Chop Down and so they tapped out for another big creature. He did, however, and doubling it with Lucky Clover unleashed huge damage onto Gruul’s board.
And yet, Autumn did not slow down their pace, and the copy of Embercleave in hand was waiting to be used at the first opportune moment. Austin’s life total dropped to just 2 points of health and he had to deploy multiple chump-blockers to stabilize. He also made sure to keep 2 mana at all times for Negate to counter Embercleave or Stomp going face.
This careful planning, combined with Burchett flooding out a bit, led to the Omnath deck eventually stabilizing on the board and start accumulating card advantage through Lucky Clover. He found lethal with a Fling to gigantic Beanstalk to eliminate the last Gruul competitor from the tournament.
Lower Bracket Round 3
It was Raphael Levy who knocked down Austin Bursavich to the lower bracket, and now we have the rematch. Austin admitted that he had an off-game that time, and his incredible run since proves that he is definitely a master of piloting Omnath Adventures!
Game 1: Levy stumbled on finding the third source of mana for two turns – and even after that, he did only draw a tapped source. Austin’s start was not the most explosive, but he had no land problems – and as we know, who has more access to mana in this matchup usually comes out ahead significantly.
In the end, Bursavich’s way to a victory here was quite fair and straightforward – what he did is he assembled a big board of Adventure creatures and leveraged them in conjunction with Shatterskull Smashing.
Game 2: Another game that proves how much lands matter in this matchup. It is not only the amount of mana, but it is also the Landfall triggers that is a separate incredibly valuable resource. Bursavich failed to find a Fabled Passage alongside his Omnath, but Levy did – and it instantly put him miles ahead. Raphael then snowballed his position, taking nonsensical long value turns – Austin just hit auto-pass and left the room.
Game 3: Mulligan to 5 for Bursavich, but Fae of Wishes into a tutor for Escape to the Wilds caught him up a bit on the card advantage. Meanwhile, Levy hit too many lands from his own Escape, but no Omnath to take full advantage of the Landfall.
Suddenly, Austin had all of his engines online and found himself very far ahead – an incredible turn of events after a 5-card start, but this is what Omnath deck can pull off pretty casually.
But the game was not over yet as yet another unlikely swing of fortune balanced things. On his big Escape turn, Austin flooded without landfall pay-offs, which allowed Levy to catch-up with a single Escape of his own and reset the board with a tutored Shatter the Sky.
Both players proceeded with an insane turn after insane turn with their haymakers. Levy got close to a win there when he resolved Kenrith, the Returned King – but after Austin dealt with that, Raphael was lacking sources of damage despite Bursavich being just at 4 life. Bursavich used that window of opportunity to assemble a Beanstalk Giant + Fling combo for a lethal!
Lower Bracket Round 4
It’s the lower bracket finals – the winner of this one will advance to the Championship where he will attempt to defeat Aaron Gertler in a best-of-5 series of matches.
Game 1: Both players started with turn two Lucky Clovers – Bursavich being on the play made sure to win some tempo and get ahead on mana by bouncing Nassif’s artifact temporarily with Petty Theft. However, as he didn’t have access to either Omnath or Escape, Gabe had plenty of time to catch-up and develop his own mana with Fertile Footsteps.
The game unfolded at a medium pace, no player got to pop off for a while. Bursavich’s focus was on the combat phase with his Beanstalks, while Nassif more set up for value game with a Lucky Clover on the board.
The long-term advantage was on the side of Nassif there – he only had to carefully play around Bursavich’s Fling in the wishboard, and to not die to it randomly. It took some time, but Lucky Clovers got Gabe over the line – a flurry of Stomps to the face finished Austin off in this incredibly prolonged and grindy game 1.
Game 2: Bursavich was undoubtedly very happy to see not one, not two – but three Lucky Clovers in the top 10 cards of his library. Value coming from the Fae Wishes and – soon after that – from Stomp was too much for Nassif to overcome.
Game 3: Nassif was faster and luckier on the Clovers, and so had the advantage in the matchup when it comes to long-term value. It was two Clovers on the side of Gabe versus two Innkeepers on the side of Austin Bursavich, who felt the pressure to play the beatdown role.
Nassif set up a beautiful Storm Wrath which turn a corner for him in a big way:
It was also important because Nassif had the cushion on Bursavich when it comes to chess clock – check out the timers on the screenshot above. And yet, it seems it was Gabe who crumbled under the weight of the pressure in the final moments instead as Austin found a clutch Fling victory!
Omnath Adventures mirror in the Championship match! We expected it coming into the tournament – and we got it. Austin Bursavich plays out of his mind today, but Aaron Gertler is known as THE master of the Lucky Clover archetype. Who will take it all in the end?
Match 1, Game 1: Impressive double Lotus Cobra start for Aaron – if only Austin had 1 more land here, he could’ve wished for a devastating Blazing Volley:
Bursavich pulled the combo off eventually, and Gerltler stuck without white mana, which ultimately led to his loss:
Match 1, Game 2: Early Lucky Clover for Austin, but Gerlter had an answer on the ready:
No broken turns for either player for a while, a fair Beanstalk gameplay instead is the name of this game:
Austin Bursavich goes crazy about finding that key Giant Killer for opponents Beanstalks which ultimately led to a win:
Match 2, Game 1: Poor mulligan phase for Gertler, no land number three – a non-game. Aaron can do nothing but smile and shake it off:
Match 2, Game 2: This is one is all about Aaron Gerlter going off with Lucky Clovers, running away with the game:
Match 2, Game 3: This game developed as an extremely slow type of grindy mirror, with both players having access to their engines:
Austin has the board advantage, but Aaron has access to more potential mana and cards long-term:
Once again, for the millionth time it seems – Austin Bursavich sets up a lethal Fling there:
And there’s nothing Gertler was able to do about that! Austin Bursavich is your 2020 Season Grand Finals Champion!