Mythic Championship I wrapped up recently in Cleveland, and crowned our first Mythic Champion along with it; Autumn Burchett.
Their deck of choice for the event, Mono Blue Aggro, was a known quantity, but most of us outside of the Professional scene would have seen it as the a cheaper alternative to Mono Red.
Instead, it was a perfect choice for an event full of some of the best players in the world, winning Autumn $50,000USD and worldwide recognition.
Along with this, there were some exceptional plays, decks and metagame choices in one very exciting weekend.
It would appear for the Pro teams, the base level of the Mythic Championship testing was Sultai Midrange. Noah Ma’s list from the Mythic Championship gained 27 out of a possible 30 points in the Constructed rounds, so is a good example for us to look at.
An evolution of the Black-Green midrange deck from before the release of Ravnica Allegiance, this deck leverages the powerful Explore synergies from Ixalan and Rivals of Ixalan cards, along with a series of haymakers and great mana provided by Core 2019 and the latest Ravnica sets.
The Blue splash in the deck comes at practically no cost, due to the Shockland/Buddyland combos in Standard, and enables some sneaky counterspells out of the sideboard.
And of course, a playset of Hydroid Krasis.
The Black Green deck of Standard past would sometimes run out of gas while it drew Llanowar Elves or middling Explore creatures in the late game. The deck would also struggled when flooding or stumbling against aggressive decks, even with the Wildgrowth Walker package.
Hydroid Krasis found its home here, as a powerful mid-to-late game play akin to Sphinx's Revelation, drawing you cards, gaining you life to survive, and giving you an evasive threat. The fact that each Hydroid Krasis played gives you more opportunities to draw a new one is a back-breaking late game play. Memorial to Folly is another ubiquitous feature of these decks, enabling you to bring back Hostage Taker or even more Jellyfish Hydra Beasts.
However, Autumn and a lot of the players in the event correctly read the metagame and predicted that Sultai would be a major player.
Sultai gives you a lot of choices; what to keep with Explore, when to pull the trigger on Hydroid Krasis, and even sequencing your mana and plays against aggro. Decks like these will appeal to aspiring and current Professional players as each choice gives you a chance to leverage your skill against worse opponents.
Autumn and a large cohort of players ran rampant in the Constructed portion of the Mythic Championship by attacking Sultai directly with Mono Blue Aggro.
This deck is chock-a-block full of aggressive and evasive creatures that cost 3 mana or less, and are backed up by situational counterspells and one very important little enchantment named Curious Obsession.
Each of the creatures in the deck individually don’t look like they will pull their weight, but add up to an extremely cohesive whole.
Both of these cards are evasive 1-drops that are in the deck to put pressure on early, and wear a Curious Obsession to start drawing into more small creatures and counterspells. Ravnica Allegiance draft playable Essence Capture also makes an appearance here to counter critical creatures and buff your unblockable creatures as a bonus.
The Sultai Midrange deck from earlier fears these aggressive starts, as counterspells and tricks like Spell Pierce, Dive Down and Wizard’s Retort all negate Sultai’s usually powerful removal suite. Each turn that goes by with a Curious Obsession active on a creature takes the Sultai deck one step closer to a lost cause, as each of their big end game plays except Krasis become moot in the face of a counterspell (Find//Finality, Vivien Reid).
The sideboard for Mono Blue isn’t exceptionally deep, but definitely gets to play some interesting cards for the mirror match and against other aggressive/proactive decks.
The 3 copies of Surge Mare help block against aggro while on the draw, as a lot of the Red decks will struggle to kill a 0/5 Creature. Entrancing Melody is particularly great in the mirror as well, as you can steal an opponent’s cheap creature, along with any enchantments on it (you’ll just want the enchantment to fall off though, as they still control the enchantment and will draw a card if you hit a player with it).
This is a massive blowout in the mirror, as the games often come down to who controls the most Tempest Djinns or adapted Pteramanders (which can still just be stolen for the low, low price of 3 mana and an Entrancing Melody).
The final deck that I’ll talk about did not make the Top 8, but won 8 out of a potential 10 matches in the Constructed portion in the hands of one of the most experienced Pros of all time, Raphael Levy.
That’s right, Merfolk is here and it’s extremely powerful. Like a weird Mer-man rising out of a still pond, it is full of hidden surprises and synergies, all of which add up to a potentially Standard-breaking deck.
This deck’s power comes from an incredible draw/discard engine in Benthic Biomancer, which doesn’t only accrue +1/+1 counters from it’s Adapt ability, but from a bunch of other cards in the deck. Deeproot Elite and Jade Bearer have both never looked so potent, buffing your team, and helping you filter through cards to make sure you draw your Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca and Merfolk Mistbinder.
At it’s heart, this is pure Tribal aggro, as there are next to no removal spells in the deck. The Incubation half of Incubation//Incongruity is more vital than Incongruity as it finds you your Lord effects, but in a pinch you can exile a Ghalta or Hydroid Krasis and turn it into a frog.
So why is this deck so good? It plays like a creature combo deck, with a million different ways to go off. Deeproot Waters is powerful fuel for your Kumena, Merfolk Mistbinder and Deeproot Elite and doesn’t even cost you any mana to activate! A lot of cards replace themselves and buff your team, so each draw with this deck looks powerful and consistent.
Definitely keep your eye out for this one, and I’ll be making sure to play some amount of Kaya’s Wrath and Settle the Wreckage in the face of all this tempo/aggro.
The first Mythic Invitational with a $1 million prize pool will be held at the end of the month at PAX East, and for the first time, players were able to secure an invite just by playing Magic Arena. The Top 8 Players when the bell struck at the end of the month will all receive invites, airfares and PAX East passes, with a guaranteed prize of $7,500 just for turning up. This is going to be a particularly exciting first look at Magic Arena eSports!
Good Games Cannington player Brandon Blackburn had been wielding Merfolk in his run at the Mythic Invitational, reaching #1 on the ladder just a few days out from the season ending. A series of losses in the last day unfortunately knocked him out of contention, but he’ll definitely be back in force for the next month and the very first Mythic Qualifier Weekend on Magic Arena.
Magic Arena also can earn you invites to the exclusive Mythic Championship III. This is a brand-new qualification system involving Magic Arena play only. Players in the top 1,000 of the Mythic Rankings (both Constructed and Limited) will have a chance to participate in a Mythic Qualifier Weekend (MQW). All players will participate on Saturday and those who meet the win threshold will make it to Sunday.
The top 16 finishers on Sunday will be invited to the Arena Mythic Championship III. This is a huge change and gives a lot of players access to the Mythic Championship from the comfort of their own homes.
Changes to qualifying for the Mythic Championship in paper/tabletop have not yet been finalised, but the days of the PTQ/MCQ are not over! You can still also qualify for the Mythic Championships the old-school way, by getting top placement in a GP or in a side event MCQ.
But be sure to stay tuned to announcements from your local Good Games store to find out how to qualify over the coming months!