With this piece we start a section of PDVG dedicated to the world of digital card games, especially focused on the world of MTG: Arena (and surroundings) and, if theActivision / Blizzard they do not bury it completely, Hearthstone.
The weekend of the 23 and 24 February took place Mythic Championship in that of Cleveland, Ohio. The Mythic Championship is part of the circuit that from 2019 will replace what was once the Pro Tour circuit. The change was necessary after the advent of MTG: Arena, which led to the digital revolution the most famous card game of all times.
The total prize pool of this circuit is X millions million dollars, which will be equally divided between "physical" and "digital" invitation tournaments.
Following a brief analysis of the metagame of the first two days and the final top8 of the Cleveland tournament.
Exactly as we expected to be the masters of the tournament we have Sultai Midrange and bunches based Nexus of Fate (we ring the Wizard that banned him from the BO1 format), with over 1 / 3 of the field occupied by these two archetypes.
Afterwards we have a large number of aggro and aggrocontrol decks (WW and Mono U) and to follow all the rest with percentages lower than the 10% presence. Among the "others" I would like to report those 7 Izzet Phoenix on 499 and I'm going to briefly explain why.
Izzet Phoenix was the only archetype present whose percentage of achievement of Day Two was 100%, ie all 7 players who decided to bet on this deck have passed the cut-off of the first day.
It is also true that with such small numbers this result may not be indicative, but I personally believe that more capable players have decided to take in hand an archetype that at the moment can be considered almost like a "rogue"Deck.
Among the big ones of day one, the decks with the best percentage are those based Nexus of Fate (confirming what impact this card has on the metagame), while as expected Izzet Drakes has shown its inconsistency (the classic bouquet I would like but I can not), not even reaching the 50% of the passage of the day.
We finally come to the heart of the analysis, that is the study of the decks that have reached the fateful 8 top of this Mythic Championship.
MonoU Tempo - Autumn Burchett - Winner
1 Essence Capture (RNA) 37
3 Negate (RIX) 44
3 Entrancing Melody (XLN) 55
1 Island (XLN) 265
1 Disdainful Stroke (GRN) 37
3 Surge Mare (M19) 77
2 Deep Freeze (DAR) 50
1 Jace, Cunning Castaway (XLN) 60
Mono U It was the great surprise of this Mythic Championship, with well 3 decks placed in the top8, including the winner.
The strategy of this deck is very simple, but not easy to put into practice: put a creature with evasive ability into play as soon as possible, enchant her with Curious Obsessionin order to have a draw-engine active from the 2 round to maintain the necessary cards to protect the enchanted creature.
As soon as it is possible to drop Tempest Djinn with adequate protection, that is Dive Down, Siren Stormtamer or any counter, you try to close the game with a finisher really out of scale, since for 3 mana we usually have a flying 3 / 4 that tends to grow in the turns that follow.
When the gameplan goes as illustrated, the deck is a machine, but already when you skip the drop to 1 or worse yet Curious Obsession, things get more complicated. And it is in these situations that the player's greatest abilities Mono U Time expert come out.
Knowing when to mulligate (the most difficult art to learn in the world of Magic, in my opinion), know when to force a game even without protection or even know how to manage the race in aggro mode, make Mono U a deck that requires a deep knowledge of the whole metagame, since being monocolour also leads to structural deficiencies to manage particular threats that the opponent can put in the field (one above all, the total lack between main deck and side of something to handle spells or artifacts, with the only hope of counteracting them before they come into play).
The other two decks Mono U who have reached the top8 (Reid Duke e Julien Berteaux) really differ for a few choices, especially for the sideboard, where we always see the presence of a large number of negate, just to counter those threats we were talking about before, but also Entracing Melody, one of the best solutions against Hydroid Krasis o Wildgrowth Walker, cards that we find in 4x in the decks Sultai Midrange that were stradominanti in the metagame.
Then if someone explains to me the usefulness of a monocopia of Jace, Cunning Castaway it could solve one of my biggest questions since the time of the three shells of Demolition Man.
Esper Control - Yoshihiko Ikawa - Runner Up
1 Moment of Craving (RIX) 79
1 Negate (RIX) 44
1 The Eldest Reborn (DAR) 90
4 Thief of Sanity (GRN) 205
3 Hostage Taker (XLN) 223
2 Lyra Dawnbringer (DAR) 26
2 Duress (XLN) 105
1 Kaya, Orzhov Usurper (RNA) 186
As a control player this is obviously my favorite deck of format and tournament. A nice controller that has potential answers to any threat is placed in front of him.
The former is necessary in many matchups, sometimes as a simple mass wipe (let's think about it WW o Boros, but also the same Mono U), but often also for the secondary effect, that is to exile the creatures that are killed that turn by this card. This allows the player to Esper not having to worry too much about the recursion from the cemetery with cards like // Find Finality, another card that makes Sultai Midrange a very annoying deck to deal with.
The most interesting choices of this Esper Control but we have them in the sideboard where we find some of my favorite cards of the format. Primarily Thief of Insanity, a real bomb if not faced just touching the ground. Usually the decks that play against Esper Control they tend to sidesthe removal for creatures, since they are basically useless in the 1 game. At that point the player of Esper Control he can opt for an alternative plan, which is to drop 3 one by one Thief of Insanity and going to win the game by simply protecting it, using the opponent's resources briefly.
A card like Lyra Dawnbringer it is certainly oriented to a metagame dominated by RDW, where the Lifelink ability can change the course of the game. Perhaps the reading of the metagame was not perfect and from this point of view, if in the sideboard of this Esper Control we had two more copies of Moment Craving in place of the legendary white, perhaps today we would have had the good Ikawa as the winner of the Mythic Championship of Cleveland (too slow Lyra against Mono U).
The last card I would like to pay attention to is Kaya, Orzhov Usurper. This Planeswalker began to appear, after this tournament, in the maindeck of many Esper Control that I met on my way to the Mythic rank (for now I always stuck to Diamond 2). You too, like Cry of the Carnarium it is a card used above all to block the recursion with the cemetery of some decks, but at the same time it is a card that also allows us to climb life points against more aggressive decks, to manage the threats of the Mono U that are all at 1 cost apart from the Tempest Djinn and in the last measure also act as a finisher with its -5 effect (although rarely playing Esper Control I won a game in this way, usually the opponents concede first).
Izzet Phoenix - Luis Scott-Vargas - Top4
And here it is, one of the Magnificent Seven at the start of the tournament, which reached the top 4. Izzet Phoenix it is a very old archetype of the format that, apart from the single copy of Blood Crypt, with the remote possibility of using the split effect Discovery // Dispersal, does not use any card from Ravnica Allegiance.
For those who play Izzet Drakes, sees very well that the base of the two decks is very similar, with the difference that while Drakes once stopped the first threats tends to finish the gasoline, Phoenix has the possibility, at advanced game, to still be dangerous with the recurrence of the Phoenicians.
I tried the deck several times, but I think the game just hate me: usually my Phoenicians, even if they played half a bunch, remain buried in the 30 cards that remain at the end of the game, when the opponent now has the victory in hand.
On the other hand, a deck that does not update at the last exit expansion, is in danger of seeing these insurmountable blocks to be faced and certainly not enough the two copies of Niv-Mizzet, Parun or the monocopia of Murmuring Mystic to be afraid of a deck that can draw on cards like those indicated above.
Among the cards to report in the sideboard of this deck there is certainly Sorcerous Spyglass, one of the most effective cards against the Planeswalkers in circulation. In addition to giving us the idea of what the opponent can do in the coming rounds, allows us to block the effects of Teferi and comrades and usually, the decks that abuse the Planeswalker, have few solutions against artifacts. The fact of being an artifact makes it particularly attractive for all decks and therefore could have the role that Null Rod he had for many years in the Vintage metagame.
RDW - Alex Majlaton - TOP 8
1 Goblin Chainwhirler (DAR) 129
4 Lava Coil (GRN) 108
4 Cindervines (RNA) 161
3 Collision // Colossus (RNA) 223
2 Treasure Map (XLN) 250
1 Say Fleet Daredevil (RIX) 99
We assume that online this deck is shown in the tournament report as a Gruul Aggro, but it is clear that it is simply a matter of one RDW with green splash for a particular card: Cindervines.
This card, taken in turn two, can be one of the biggest threats ever seen for decks based Nexus of Fate (which usually do not have major removal of main deck if not some bouncer) and in general for all control decks.
Always referring to the world of Vintage (from which I come) we can see a certain resemblance with Pyrostatic Pillar, card that as a combo player I feared more than anything else.
Apart from that the choice of maindeck is very "standard", with obviously a manabase modified to hold the cards with green splash from the side and the choice to play well 4 copies of Experimental Frenzy, paper that when touches the ground usually allows us to recover lost games, even if I find that 4 copies are a bit 'heavy.
Apart from the aforementioned Cindervines, in sideboard of this RDW we note the monocopia of Say Fleet Daredevil, paper that I personally love and that could also find space in the main of some RDW in the future (certainly in 4x and not in a single copy).
Having had access to the green, it is also used to play Collision // Colossus, excellent card to handle steering wheels like Pteramander, the various Drakes, Niv-Mizzet, Parun, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, Doom Whisper e Hydroid Krasis.
Azorious Aggro - Marcio Carvalho - TOP 8
2 Baffling End (RIX) 1
2 Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants (M19) 3
2 Disdainful Stroke (GRN) 37
4 Tocatli Honor Guard (XLN) 42
1 Island (XLN) 265
1 Spell Pierce (XLN) 81
2 Negate (RIX) 44
1 Unbreakable Formation (RNA) 29
This is one of the few decks I have not had the chance to try, as I still have too many cards to mount it. As for RDW with green splash, here too we have a classic WW that adjusts the manabase with double blue lands to have access to a few sideboard cards, the beauty of 5 counter, to counter cards that can win games alone against this archetype, such as a mass wipe or a deck based Nexus of Fate that starts to queue shifts on shifts.
La Tocatli Honor Guard it is used princinpally against Sultai Midrange, since almost all his creatures have an effect that triggera when they come into play, while Unbreakable Formation is the classic trick of the WW decks and derivatives that can have the double task of closing a turn before the game or avoid a mass wipe.
Now, having not tested it as it should probably I'm wrong, but it is possible that there was no space for a card like Dovin, Grand Arbiter? It's probably too slow for the metagame, but the ultimate is really a bomb.
Nexus Simic - Micheal Blonde - TOP 8
1 Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183
3 Atzocan Archer (XLN) 176
2 Biogenic Ooze (RNA) 122
2 Crushing Canopy (XLN) 183
1 Druid of the Cowl (M19) 177
3 Incubation Druid (RNA) 131
2 Negate (RIX) 44
1 Nezahal, Primal Tide (RIX) 45
Here is the only Nexus-based deck that came in the top8. With a very similar deck, I climbed the BO1 ladder before the ban Nexus of Fate, just that I used to Devious Cover-Up as counter to make recursion of Root Snare and other utilities if necessary.
Here too very peculiar sideboard choices Atzocan Archer, useful to be able to block an early Thief of Insanity and in any case have an 4 constitution blocker against RDW (to avoid its bolt doing 3 damage), which also allows us to make a nice 2 × 1 with the 1 constitution creatures of both RDW that of WW.
Instead the beautiful Biogenic Ooze, which marries great the philosophy of the recursion of turns that characterizes the deck, perhaps an interesting enough idea to find a couple of main slots to exploit it properly.