Austin Bursavich wins MTG 2020 Grand Finals

Bursavich defeated his teammate for the championship.

MTG Mythic Championship VI Trophy
Screengrab via Twitch.tv/magic

In the Magic: The Gathering 2020 Grand Finals dominated by Omnath, Locus of Creation, Austin Bursavich ran through the lower bracket and dominated the finals today in straight sets en route to being crowned the tournament champion.

Bursavich, who will walk away with $25,000 of the $250,000 prize pool, had a stellar tournament run. He was the first player to lock in his top-eight position on day two with three rounds to spare. After losing to Raphael Levy in the first round of the top eight, Bursavich won four straight three-game matches in the lower bracket to earn his spot in the finals.

Teammates Aaron Gertler and Bursavich battled in an all-Omnath Adventures marathon best-of-three match. Bursavich showcased not only skill but stamina playing in a long finals after making his way through the lower bracket. Not only were the finalists teammates, but they were also relative newcomers to the upper echelon of Magic esports.

This was Gertler’s first top finish, and Bursavich only recently started making waves in 2019. Gertler himself had his own tough road to the finals match. While Bursavich finished his swiss rounds early, Gertler found himself in a hole with four losses through nine rounds. He rattled off four victories and one intentional draw to earn a top-eight spot.

Bursavich dominated match one of the finals series. While the game was generally close in terms of life total, it was Bursavich’s skillful bluffs and lines of play that made the difference. In game two of match one, Gertler walked right into a two-for-one Giant Killer, leaving Gertler with no defenses. Match two started off poorly for Gertler who was stuck on two lands with three Edgewall Innkeepers on the battlefield. Bursavich, who hit all his land drops, cast a Blazing Volley, which cleared the board and led to a quick game-one victory. Gertler bounced back strong with an equally as dominant victory in the following game to tie the series. Bursavich took back control in game three. He applied constant pressure and found lethal with his classic Fling and Beanstalk Giant combo, which helped him win several top-eight games.

Here are the full top eight results

  • Raphael Levy defeated Austin Bursavich 2-0
  • Aaron Gertler defeated Emma Handy 2-0
  • Autumn Burchett defeated Patrick Fernandes 2-1
  • Gabriel Nassif defeated Seth Manfield 2-0
  • Austin Bursavich defeated Emma Handy 2-1
  • Patrick Fernandes defeated Seth Manfield 2-0
  • Austin Bursavich defeated Autumn Burchett 2-1
  • Raphael Levy defeated Patrick Fernandes 2-1
  • Austin Bursavich defeated Raphael Levy 2-1
  • Austin Bursavich defeated Gabriel Nassif 2-1

Coming into the 2020 Grand Finals, it was clear that Omnath Adventures was the best deck in Standard. Dropping Omnath, Locus of Creation, a card that may see an emergency ban sooner than later, into the already strong Temur Adventures shell allowed the deck to put together explosive turns. At one point in the tournament Burchett, who ran Omnath Ramp in Historic, cast two straight Genesis Ultimatums with mana left to spare. The top eight showcased the dominance of Omnath. Five of the top eight players were running Omnath Adventures. By the end of the lower-bracket round two, all remaining decks were Omnath Adventures.

The Omnath Adventures mirror made for some long games. Caster Reid Duke pointed out that whoever’s turn it was it felt like they were ahead due to the long, powerful turns Omnath Adventures is capable of. For some in Twitch chat, these games were a delight, but for some, it was a drawn-out slog. The lower-bracket finals between Bursavich and Nassif ended with both players having less than two minutes on the clock.

The non-Omnath decks had mixed performances throughout the day but ultimately fell to Omnath. The upper-bracket quarterfinals began with Manfield and his Dimir Rogues list attempting to topple Nassif playing Omnath Adventures. While it seemed like earlier in the tournament Manfield found the right answers in every situation, that didn’t happen as consistently against Nassif. Manfield went on to lose to Fernandes in the lower bracket.

The only other non-Omnath deck in the top eight is Gruul Adventures, piloted by Burchett and Handy. Handy was knocked out of the tournament, quickly dropping matches to the finalists Gertler and Bursavich. Burchett had more success by defeating Patrick Fernandes in round one. 

Burchett put on a stellar performance in close losses to Nassif and Bursavich. The match between Bursavich and Burchett was notably an excellent display of high-level Magic. Both players engaged in an intricate dance of playing around each other’s threats and bluffing. it was Bursavich who navigated the murky waters the best to secure the victory.

The conclusion of the 2020 season marks the beginning of Zendikar Rising split. The first Zendikar Rising Qualifier Weekend is Oct. 24 to 25, which will happen alongside the first Magic Esports League Weekend.