Magic World Championship XXVI 2020 Day 3 Recap

Magic World Championship XXVI has is now over, and what a spectacle it has been! With the biggest prize pool in the history of Magic: The Gathering on the line, four players remained as they battled for a massive first prize of $300,000 as well as the prestigious World Champion title. This has shown that MTG Arena is stepping up to become a big force in the esports world.

As usual, please check out our text coverage of the tournament as we have lots of great moments to relay to you today that we could not possibly fit all in here. Read on until the end as we have match results, final standings, VOD, round by round highlights from day 3 and a summary of the tournament!

Day 3 Results

Day 3 VOD

Day 3 Highlights

Round 1: Marcio Carvalho vs PVDDR

The final day of the tournament got off to a start with a match between the two players of the upper bracket of the top 4 – Paolo Vitor Damo Da Rosa and Marcio Carvalho, on Azorius Control and Jeskai Fires respectively. It would be a rough matchup for the Jeskai Fires player, as he looked to ask the questions and apply enough pressure with his big creatures and hope to resolve a Teferi, Time Raveler. Game 1 came down to Carvalho sticking a Teferi and dealing the final bit of damage from a topdecked Kenrith, the Returned King, before PVDDR could stabilize. PVDDR’s sideboard strategy against Jeskai Fires on the play:

1 Narset, Parter of Veils
3 Aether Gust
2 Mystical Dispute
2 Archon of Sun’s Grace
2 Shatter the Sky
1 Dream Trawler
3 Dovin’s Veto
2 Absorb

Azorius Control’s counterspells were less good so he stuck to the tapping out strategy, and having Mystical Dispute up to ensure he can counter Teferi, Time Raveler. In the second game, the plan worked accordingly as he had an answer for every threat and managed to have an unanswered Archon of Sun’s Grace generating Pegasus tokens. In game 3, Paolo changed his sideboard strategy further:

1 Narset, Parter of Veils
4 Aether Gust
2 Mystical Dispute
2 Archon of Sun’s Grace
1 Glass Casket
1 Cerulean Drake
1 Dream Trawler
3 Dovin’s Veto
4 Absorb
3 The Birth of Meletis

All Absorbs are taken out, and Shatter the Sky went back in as on the draw he would find himself a turn behind and would need a way to come back into the game should he fall behind. Glass Casket was a way to deal with Legion Warboss and Cerulean Drake is a great blocker for Cavalier of Flame. Game 3 was all about Archon of Sun’s Grace again, as Carvalho could not find a great way to deal with it and the huge life swings it creates.

Just with this one match, PVDDR advanced to the grand finals, and Marcio Carvalho would drop down to the elimination bracket where he would face the winner between Seth Manfield and Gabriel Nassif.

Round 2: Seth Manfield vs Gabriel Nassif

As with yesterday, the elimination bracket for the top 8 entailed gruelling best-of-three matches. Seth Manfield on Mono Red Aggro, and Gabriel Nassif on Jeskai Fires.

Match 1

In the first game of the first match, Manfield masterfully crafted the win with exact damage and no other cards in hand, as Nassif almost stabilizes with thee Sphinx of Foresight. Nassif’s sideboard plan was as follows:

1 Devout Decree
1 Disenchant
2 Chandra’s Pyrohelix
1 Scorching Dragonfire
1 Elspeth Conquers Death
2 Omen of the Sea
3 Brazen Borrower
1 Cavalier of Flame

The second game went Nassif’s way, as he topdecks a lifesaving Deafening Clarion at 2 life. A Cavalier of Flame got the job done in the end, but there was a missed potential lethal from Seth Manfield as he could have cast Stomp on Nassif first to activate Light up the Stage, then attack with his creatures to sneak in the last two damage.

In the third game, Seth Manfield assembled a deadly combination of Torbran, Thane of Red Fell and Chandra, Acolyte of Flame to take the first match on the fourth turn.

Match 2

In the first game, Nassif had a turn three Deafening Clarion to clear the board, and facing a deadly Torbran on the other side and at mercy next turn, draws a Cavalier of Flame off the top to finish the defenceless opponent off. Manfield’s sideboard strategy against Jeskai Fires was:

2 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
1 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator
4 Unchained Berserker
3 Bonecrusher Giant
4 Runaway Steam-Kin

The second game was very interesting as well, as Seth Manfield opts to let his Tibalt, Rakish Instigator die only to see a follow up Kenrith that would give Nassif a big body and more importantly, gain 5 life per activation which would take Manfield out of reach. Nassif takes it to the deciding match, as he wins 2-0.

Match 3

The deciding match started off great for Manfield, as he took the first game by going wide, deploying all his creatures and activating Castle Embereth. Nassif had a Kenrith on board, but without Fires of Invention he could only keep his mana up to gain 5 life and unable to develop the board by casting his Cavalier of Flame in hand.

In the second game, Manfield drew a second turn Unchained Berserker and followed that up with a Chandra, Acolyte of Flame. Nassif’s Teferi was sitting there unable to do anything about them, as Manfield dropped a Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. In one of the best plays we’ve seen so far, he opts to take Teferi down to 2 loyalty with a 1/1 Elemental token rather than kill it outright with the Unchained Berserker, to maximize the damage output.

This meant that Nassif could not bounce the Torbran, but drew his single copy of Elspeth Conquers Death to deal with the Torbran and swung back with a Cavalier of Flame. With Nassif now at 7 life and him looking to stabilize, Manfield drew his second copy of Robber of the Rich, cast both and swung exactly for 7. If he did kill the Teferi on the previous turn, he would be 2 damage short!

This meant that Nassif was eliminated at 4th place, and Manfield advancing to face Marcio Carvalho’s Jeskai Fires.

Semi Finals: Seth Manfield vs Marcio Carvalho

Match 1

Carvalho took the first match in two games as he was able to find the right amount of disruption and creatures to stop Manfield. Manfield got very close on the first game but a lifegaining Deafening Clarion was able to seal the deal and on the second game he was unfortunately flooded with lands. Carvalho’s sideboard strategy was as follows:

1 Devout Decree
1 Justice Strike
1 Aether Gust
1 Shatter the Sky
1 Deafening Clarion
1 Dream Trawler
1 Shimmer of Possibility
2 Teferi, Time Raveler
1 Cavalier of Gales

Match 2

Carvalho was now playing for his spot in the grand finals, and he took the first game as he swung for 16 damage with a Bonecrusher Giant and a Cavalier of Flame. In the second game, Manfield drew a timely Anax and Embercleave combo, despite stumbling for his second land drop early in the game.

Now hanging on by a thread, the third game of the match was in the cards. In truly exciting fashion, it looked grim for Manfield as he dealt 0 damage on the fifth turn of the game, facing down a Bonecrusher Giant, Sphinx of Foresight and a Cavalier of Flame. Carvalho casts a Deafening Clarion for both of its modes, trying to clear the board and gain a lot life. With 3 damage applied to Cavalier of Flame, Manfield cast a Stomp to finish it off, which took Carvalho by surprise. Manfield then assembles the deadly Torbran and Chandra combo again, and even had an Embercleave to take it to the final match!

Match 3

A back and forth match between the two giants as they each execute their game plan in the first two games. In game one, Carvalho had both Kenrith and Dream Trawler to finish the game, and in game two Manfield had a 1, 2, 3, 4 punch ending with Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. The deciding game went Carvalho’s way however, as Manfield could not apply enough pressure and was slowed down by Bonecrusher Giant and Aether Gust. Once again, Dream Trawler and Kenrith finished the job, as Carvalho once again faces PVDDR in the grand finals for the World Champion title!

Grand Finals: Marcio Carvalho vs PVDDR

The tournament was structured so that the finalist from the upper bracket (PVDDR) needed to win only two matches to take the title, while the lower bracket (Marcio Carvalho) needed three matches to win it. The matchup was already in Azorius Control’s favor, so Carvalho’s odds were already stacked against him.

Match 1

PVDDR took the first match 2-0 as Carvalho was unable to apply enough pressure in both games and could not stick a Teferi on the board, freeing PVDDR to do according to his game plan. He was one Kenrith topdeck away from winning the second game, however. Carvalho’s sideboard strategy against Azorius Control was:

1 Tithe Taker
1 Disenchant
3 Legion Warboss
4 Mystical Dispute
1 Elspeth Conquers Death
1 Bonecrusher Giant
2 Aether Gust
1 Shimmer of Possibility
2 Cavalier of Gale
1 Sphinx of Foresight
3 Deafening Clarion

Legion Warboss and Tithe Taker were the key cards to help go under the control deck and apply further pressure. PVDDR was now one match away from winning the whole tournament!

Match 2

The second match went all Carvalho’s way as he sequenced his spells perfectly to lure out counterspells and removal spells, in order to craft the lethal attacks before the game went out of his control. In the second game, both of his Teferi met a Banishing Light but that meant he could resolve his Fires of Invention, and was free to swing for a lethal attack with Cavalier of Flame and Cavalier of Gales.

Match 3

In game one of the third match, PVDDR ran out his only copy of Archon of Sun’s Grace on turn four to start generating Pegasus tokens, knowing Jeskai Fires does not have a good answer to it. In the second game, a stream of creatures involving a double Legion’s Warboss and a a follow up Kenrith was able to take down PVDDR, who did not have any appropriate removal for them.

The third game was all about the singular copy of Tithe Taker out of the sideboard, which came down on turn 2 causing havoc to Azorius Control’s plans. With PVDDR down to 9 life, Carvalho slammed a Cavalier of Flame to discard four cards and draw four, as finding a land would mean being able to activate the Cavalier and swing for lethal. He did not find a land however, and was forced to sweat a few more turns as he was still able to deal the final 2 damage with Stomp. The final deciding match was now on the cards.

Match 4

On game one of the final deciding match, Archon Sun’s Grace was once again the MVP for PVDDR as he generated as much as 6 Pegasus tokens with it and Carvalho was unable to turn around the life swing even with a Dream Trawler in hand.

In the second game, Carvalho saw a Tithe Taker and Legion Warboss in his hand, and needed to draw at least a white and/or red source with only an Island and Castle Vantress in hand. He took a calculated risk, as we saw in the last match a Tithe Taker can run away with the game on its own – especially with a Teferi in his hand as well. Alas, it was not meant to be as he stumbled on lands and PVDDR took the second game, the match and the World Champion title!

Photo via

Wrapping Up

Thank you everyone for joining us this weekend! We hope you enjoyed our coverage of the World Championship, as much as we enjoyed watching and learning from the pros with the highest level of competitive Magic – combined with the great work put in by Magic Esports team, we are hopeful that MTG Arena can grow into one of the best esports games for years to come!

Don’t go away however, as we will be back momentarily with more content:

  • Sideboard guides directly from the tournament
  • Starting Friday, February 21 2 PM PST, we’ll be doing a coverage of DreamHack Anaheim 2020 Arena Open, which has a $100,000 prize pool
  • On February 22, we’ll have our guide and decks for the Festival of the Gods: Fires of Purphoros – Standard Artisan event

In the meantime, why not come in and join our Discord server and say hi?

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