It was a long road to the final matches of the Kaldheim Championship. As the Top 8 advanced to its conclusion and the sun was long since set in Europe, it was Arne Huschenbeth and Grzegorz Kowalski still battling it out for the title of champion.
Kowalski has been one of the top players in the world. He finished as the runner-up to Javier Dominguez at the 2018 World Championship, competing in both the Magic Pro League and Rivals League from their beginning. He was making his third Top Finish, and not long after his top four finish in the 2020 Mythic Invitational. He was piloting the Standard format's most popular deck in Sultai Ultimatum, and had fought his way back up through the lower bracket, overcoming both opponents and technical issues along the way. Now, he found himself in the finals of a major tournament for the second time.
On the other side of the virtual table sat the German fireball that was Huschenbeth. He dominated the Kaldheim Championship field all weekend. His technical play was on display as he got off to a perfect 8-0 start before falling to Javier Dominguez, the same player he then beat in the Top 8 to earn his spot in the championship match. He was the lone Dimir Rogues pilot in the Top 8, but his tricky and mana-efficient deck had the ability to apply pressure to Sultai Ultimatum while also packing
The matchup was a classic Magic struggle: power vs. finesse. Huschenbeth's Rogues deck thrived on mana efficiency and synergy, while Kowalski's relied on the power of its bombs like
But that power comes with a tradeoff, and the Sultai deck is forced to spend its first few turns playing lands tapped or casting ramp spells to get ahead on mana. That opened a window for strategies such as the Rogues deck, and in the first match Huschenbeth put on a perfect show of what the deck is capable of. He began to mill Kowalski with
The second game was a devastating reminder of just how efficient Rogues can be. Through just two turns, Huschenbeth cast two
Just like that, Huschenbeth found himself just one match win away from the championship title.
The second match started off much better for Kowalski. Huschenbeth had an early
But fate smiled on Huschenbeth, and a
From there, Huschenbeth had the gas to keep up with Kowalski, and while the Rivals League player was able to get to
It certainly seemed like Huschenbeth's tournament to lose. He was the last remaining undefeated player in the Swiss, and had advanced to this point without dropping a match in the Top 8. Could he finish it off with a perfect 4-0 to clinch the title?
If he could, it wouldn't be made easy.
Kowalski led with
But this was Huschenbeth's tournament to lose, and losing wasn't something he had done much of throughout weekend. He was able to reload with
With that, Arne Huschenbeth completed the run, shocking the Magic world and himself in the process. Congratulations to the winner of the Kaldheim Championship!