Just 24 hours before decklists were due for the 2020 Season Grand Finals, Autumn Burchett and Emma Handy were feeling somewhat dejected. They had spent the previous week trying to find a fresh way to attack the Standard metagame but were struggling to break any new ground in a field sure to be dominated by
As the clock for decklist submission ticked down to its literal final hours, the duo took one last look over the metagame and the data they had available. They thought more about that small field sure to be dominated by Omnath, and Handy had a small revelation.
"We came up with this about nine hours before submission," Handy recalled. "It was 1 or 2 a.m. and we are looking over lists and go ‘wait, we don't think Rakdos or Dimir are going to show, right? Those are the only decks Gruul loses to.' We played games against a stock list, and I just crushed them. I ended up just tuning it and posting a new list every hour up until it was time to submit. It's treated us pretty well so far."
That's an understatement.
Not to flex too hard, but @AutumnLilyMTG, @LuisSalvatto, and I went a combined 8-1 through Standard with Gruul in the second half of D1 of #2020GrandFinals— Emma Handy, Goblin Matron (@Em_TeeGee) October 9, 2020
This is mostly to say that if any of y'all haven't tried the deck out, y'all really should.
Handy and Burchett were spot-on about the Grand Finals metagame, and Gruul Adventures helped carry Burchett to an undefeated Day One record while also performing well for Handy and Luis Salvatto.
Also Liz did work on our first 4c Adventures list.— Emma Handy, Goblin Matron (@Em_TeeGee) October 10, 2020
Also Autumn, Luis, and Piotr all had work on Gruul.
I'm just the best at surrounding myself with smart people.
The secret to success for Gruul Adventures is it presents varied threats that are difficult to answer. It can play very aggressively with
They weren't the only players to find success fighting against Omnath rather than casting it. Magic Pro League member Seth Manfield seems to win with everything he picks up, and it was no different this weekend. However, Manfield's deck choice was as the only Dimir Rogues player.
He continually came out on top of his Standard foes.
Dimir Rogues was a known quantity before the tournament, as was a Dimir Mill build. Manfield liked bits of both—the aggression, the countermagic, the ability to keep Omnath off the battlefield—but knew the deck wasn't quite where it needed to be.
So the Hall of Famer went to work. He cut the deck down to its bare bones, and built up a streamlined list that combined the most efficient creatures from the Rogues build with the control elements from the other decks. He tuned the deck until it could run
It remains an Omnath-dominated field at the Grand Finals, with Austin Bursavitch clinching the first Top 8 slot with Omnath Adventures, but as this pair of surprise breakout decks showed there was room for Standard to be decided by the players.