The 2020 Partial Season concludes this weekend. Magic's return to Zendikar reacquainted us with former Standard staple
As players battled through a Standard field dominated and shaped by
Here's a look at all the excitement from Day One of the 2020 Season Grand Finals.
Cobra or Clover?
That one question succinctly sums up the Standard metagame at the Grand Finals. Players had pegged
Consensus entering the tournament was that Omnath Adventures–which combined Omnath with the power of
The result was what many expected. Omnath lived up to its billing as seven players brought Omnath to both Standard and Historic, and four of them finished 4-2 or better. The ability to curve
But Omnath wasn't the only route to success. Seth Manfield is in second place after Day One by going, literally, Rogue.
The unique deck leaned toward the control end of the aggro-control spectrum. Both
"I had a feeling there would be a lot of Omanth, but in testing I felt like the Dimir decks had a slight edge there," explained Manfield, who tested primarily with Ivan Floch for the tournament. "The combination of cheap creatures, countermagic, and card draw to go over the top later in the game couples nicely with the mill the creatures provide. My innovation was adding Lurrus and cutting some of the expensive creatures you see in most builds."
Burchett Leads the Way
Any discussion on Standard must include Burchett, who "believed in the 'Cleave" and was rewarded for their testing and skill with their undefeated Day One run.
"I wasn't super happy with either Omnath deck, and I was nervous to play either because Adventures felt like a huge underdog to Ramp in our testing, but Omnath Ramp can be targeted with non-Omnath decks pretty effectively," they explained. "But at the 11th hour, the day decks were due, Emma [Handy] and I discovered Gruul had really good records against the Omnath decks in the previous weekend's events, so we decided 12 hours before decklist submission to play some games with it. We were destroying Ramp and felt slightly ahead against Adventures, so we stayed up for most of the night jamming games as Emma figured how to tune the deck and I gave her feedback on her ideas. This would be a less good deck in an open metagame, but with Omnath at the top the deck is quite good."
Burchett earned the headlines but, when you add their results to their testing partners Luis Salvatto and Emma Handy also playing the deck, Gruul Adventures makes a case as the best deck in this field by earning a combined 8-1 overall, 5-1 against Omnath decks.
A Check-In with Historic
We watched Historic one month ago at the Mythic Invitational, which left the format far from settled. Goblins was by far the most-represented deck but ultimately fell short against Jund Sacrifice and its array of
Things have changed with Zendikar Rising. Omnath Ramp was the most popular Historic deck at the Grand Finals, Jund Sacrifice came in second, and just one player registered Goblins.
One of the highlights of the Historic metagame was the Four-Color Midrange that a powerhouse testing team brought to the event.
The deck looks similar to the Sultai build Manfield took to victory at the Mythic Invitational, but with one major change: the addition of
"We initially wanted to sideboard it," he said. "But it's a decent card on its own, and we wanted more chances to just lock out what we thought would be one of the most popular decks."
While adding Yasharn may have been a subtle change, there was nothing lighthanded about the introduction of the "Neostorm" deck. It's a combo sight to behold:
Sea Gate Stormcallerstarts off the chain by copying Neoformas the next instant or sorcery. Neoformcopies grab Dualcaster Mages to keep copying the original Neoformstill on the stack. Glasspool Mimics then get pulled out.
Tuktuk Rubblefortends the chain, granting haste and enabling a lethal attack.
If you think that sounds like something Ken Yukuhiro would play, you'd be right.
Looking Ahead to Top 8
Day Two will kick off Saturday with three more rounds of Standard followed by the final three rounds in Historic. It's a race as players who reach eight match wins first lock up their spots in Sunday's Top 8, and every win counts as the field narrows throughout the day.
Burchett has a huge edge to earn their way into Top 8 with their 6-0 record, and at 5-1 both Manfield and Austin Bursavich only need to pick up three more wins to clinch. There are no guarantees with this skilled field as nearly the entire field still has a chance at the Top 8 when we return for Day Two.
Watch the action live beginning again at 9 a.m. PDT on twitch.tv/magic!