Peter Wellman takes a look back at the Magic the Gathering 2020 Arena Grand Finals and the performance of British competitor Autumn Burchett
This year’s grand finals on Magic Arena were tense to say the least. Most decks brought to the virtual table were a four colour control deck called ‘Omnath Adventures’ featuring their namesake: Omnath, Locus of Creation.
The deck was powerful, a multitool of control pieces, held together by the ‘Adventure’ mechanic. Efficient two for ones and long combo turns of playing more and more cards until they eventually won meant the deck was very prevalent at this year’s Grand Finals.
However, among this room full of control decks came Autumn Burchett, with Red-Green Gruul adventures, a blisteringly fast aggressive deck looking to overrun these slower decks.
Brewed with team-mate Emma Handy, this deck looked to be faster and more aggressive, playing very powerful threats, forcing their opponent to answer them. Using Brushfire Elemental alongside Embercleave to deliver a deathblow, the deck aims to end a game swiftly.
Within the top eight, the first two games were not particularly close and Autumn came into the top eight with a perfect 5-0. Autumn’s games on coverage were very quick and that seems to have been the theme in standard.
During those games on coverage, we saw the deck attacking with a surprising amount of power, taking games from the Omnath menace with ease.
Within the Historic format, Autumn chose to run an ‘Omnath ramp deck’. Post-match on day two, Autumn stated the deck sort of goldfishes (plays against itself) until it wins, however it is by no means brainless. Autumn ended day two in third place.
The top 8 itself was a close competition, with Autumn being knocked down to the lower bracket by Gabriel Nassif after a very tricky mulligan in the third match.
The second match was won by a clutch Primal Might off the top of the deck, on a crucial turn when Gabriel Nassif decided to invest in the board.
Autumn’s third game unfortunately was lost on the mulligan, which saw Autumn relegated to the losers bracket where they had a really close game against Austin Bursavich.
This game was a nail biter from beginning to end. Choosing to mulligan to five unfortunately meant that Autumn was low on cards.
Whilst this aggressive deck doesn’t need many cards to work, the strength of Green-Red Aggro is its ability to drop one card that can just win the game. However, the draw was not in Autumn’s favour.
Drawing a Bushfire Elemental before getting out-valued by a combination of lucky clover, doubling the effect of Stomp to remove two of their threats, meant that their early board presence was unfortunately undone.
However, Autumn’s second and third games were very close. Boarding in Ranger’s guile to play against the single-target removal of the control deck was a premium choice. Playing one Bushfire Elemental and attacking, then following up with another one on the following turn led to an impressive attack for 12 on turn three, making for a close game.
Game three was unfortunately another case of Autumn being out-valued by the Lucky Clover. This two mana artifact, left unanswered, generated enough advantage that Autumn got Austin Bursavich down to two life, before being removed in a one-turn kill from Austin.
Austin accrued a large amount of value with some very efficient two-for-ones. This game was as close as it could get and Austin went on to win the tournament.
Autumn ended up in fifth place with a thrilling performance. Bringing an aggressive deck into a room filled with slower ramp and control decks was the right plan. Autumn read the room and alongside Emma Handy both managed to pick up an impressive tournament finish.