In a grueling best-of-seven matchup, Brad Nelson defeated Guillaume Matignon. For the first time, the Player of the Year title was decided through a one-on-one matchup. Traditionally, pro tour points earned throughout the year are added up to determine who the title will be awarded to, but at the conclusion of the 2010 season, both competitors were locked at 66 points. Naturally, a playoff format was devised to break this tie.
There were several unique wrinkles in the matches themselves. One-on-one matches of this magnitude are usually played in a best-of-five series, but this matchup demanded a best-of-seven. The double sealed deck format was unique as well, where played receive six booster packs from each of the Scars of Mirrodin and Mirrodin Besieged sets, rather than three packs of each.
Fans gathered around the main stage at Magic Weekend Paris to watch an epic showdown while viewers at home logged on to a live webcast in the middle of the night. Close friends and family, some who had actually never seen Magic: The Gathering pro play before, travelled up to halfway around the world to provide their support. With several major Magic events taking place during the same weekend, many other professional players were also drawn into the crowd. Nelson’s brother, Cory, happens to be a pro tour player himself.
Initially, Brad Nelson split two standard format matches with Matignon, but then went on to win two of the three double sealed deck matches. An infect-heavy sealed deck strategy put Matignon on the ropes, and adjustments from his sideboard proved too little, too late. Matignon faced elimination with just two matches left to go, yet hope was still present for a storybook rally.
However, Nelson finally sent his counterpart packing with a series-clinching game 6 victory in the return to standard format play. For a closer look at the strategies these competitors used, the official WotC play-by-play and deck lists serve up some great in-depth analysis.
In addition to bragging rights and an impressive trophy, the Magic: The Gathering Player of the Year is awarded an initial placement in the next year worth of Magic pro tour competitions and provided full accommodations and travel to each event.