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2020 Season Grand Finals Championship Match

October 11, 2020
Corbin Hosler

A season unlike any other led to an unforgettable championship match. After two days of competition, the field of 32 competitors at the 2020 Season Grand Finals had been winnowed to just eight. All that had stood between them and the title was a double-elimination Top 8 bracket.

The Top 8 featured plenty of dramatic moments and highlights—and several crucial Flings. In the end only two players remained.

For Austin Bursavich, it was his third Top Finish over the past year, an incredible feat in itself but nearly unheard of from someone doing it in the same year as their first breakthrough Top 8. However, Bursavich has played high-level Magic for a long time: he made his first Grand Prix Top 8 in 2011. He was in the Grand Finals after yet another Top 16 finish, and had cruised to clinching the first seat in the Top 8.

Austin Bursavich

He saved his best for when it mattered most, and after dropping his first round on Sunday he rattled off four straight victories to make through to the championship match, first defeating the "anti-Omnath" Gruul Adventures decks, then dispatching a pair of Hall of Famers in Raphaël Lévy and Gabriel Nassif.

Aaron Gertler knew about that. The Dreamhack Open Anaheim champion had defeated the same two Hall of Famers to punch his ticket to the last match before anyone else. The Grand Finals was his first Top Finish, but it wasn't a surprise. He was completely at home playing on MTG Arena, and had played more games on the platform than anyone else in the field.

Aaron Gertler

Entering the tournament as part of the same testing team, their mutual understanding and mastery of the Omnath Adventures decks put them both in the unenviable spot of defeating someone who helped them get there.

The pair would play to be the first to two match wins, the victor crowned the champion of the 2020 Season Grand Finals.

The first game was classic Omnath Adventures. Both players traded ramping spells and resources, then turns with Omnath, Locus of Creation in play. In a match that was all about resolving haymakers and burying the opponent in card advantage, an unanswered Omnath was one of the most important ways to navigate to victory in a match that was guaranteed to swing back and forth wildly from turn to turn.

Omnath, Locus of Creation Lucky Clover Fae of Wishes

One of the other ways to take over was Fae of Wishes. With the battlefield at parity it was Bursavich who was able to use Granted to "wish" for a timely Redcap Melee, clearing the way for a lethal attack on the back of a 9/9 Beanstalk Giant.

If there was a one card in the championship match that could take over games, it would be Lucky Clover. In the second game, that's exactly what Bursavich had. Along with an Edgewall Innkeeper, it meant that as the players traded resources and attacks throughout the game, he was able to eke just slightly more advantage from his adventure spells. That allowed him to stave off Gertler's assault, and when Escape to the Wilds showed up Bursavich earned his first match win toward two.

Gertler had punched his ticket to the championship match first, but he now found himself in the position Bursavich had been in all day: one match away from elimination.

It went from bad to worse for Gertler at the start of their second match when an opening hand didn't work out. He had a pair of the powerful Lucky Clover, but was unable to find the additional lands to cast his adventure spells. In short order, Bursavich put himself just a game away from victory.

But you can't count anyone out in Magic, and Gertler proved he was up to the challenge. The second game played out much like the first, in the sense that Gertler found two Lucky Clovers. The difference was that this time he found his third land drop: the flow of card advantage started and never ceased. As he navigated his way through the answers that Bursavich tried to present, Gertler developed his mana and leaned into Omnath for the Game 2 win.

Gertler had staved off elimination on the play. If he could pull off another win, he'd send the championship to a decisive third match.

Gertler's hand was slow, but had answers to the scariest threats Bursavich might play, including Shredded Sails for Lucky Clover and Giant Killer for the inevitable Omnath. Bursavich kept a mana-light hand with double Edgewall Innkeeper, but the one thing that Shredded Sails and Giant Killer can't answer is the steady stream of cards provided by Edgewall Innkeeper.

That's exactly what Bursavich spent the first few turns doing. Over time, it added up.

As Gertler's life total dwindled to the slow beatdown of Edgewall Innkeeper and Fae of Wishes, the game drew ever-closer to what had become Bursavich's signature move. And after winning the previous two matches by casting Fling, sacrificing a massive Beanstalk Giant, there was no other way for the Top 8 to end.

Congratulations to Austin Bursavich, champion of the 2020 Season Grand Finals!

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