Mythic Championship I: The Results Hangover
- Rodrigo Martin
Are you already tired of all the Mythic Championship I data out there, yet you still don't know what to play once the new set comes out? Don't let numbers get you dizzy! Here are the best tips taken from 2019MC1 to catch you up on the Standard format after this big tournament.
Hi everyone! I hope you enjoyed the first Mythic Championship of 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio last February 22-24 as much as I did. Today, I'm not going to deep dive into the tournament results – something that has already been written extensively about on many different websites. In fact, if you want a great coverage and analysis of the winners and losers from the event, take a look at Hans' article here.
My mission in this article is to condense all previous data, lists, and facts from the tournament for the "interregnum" until War of the Spark becomes legal in Standard. What should you play, and what can you expect during the next two months of March and April? Let's find out:
Top 5 Decks You Should Be Playing
- Mono-Blue Tempo
- Sultai Midrange
- Esper Control
- Azorius Aggro
- Nexus of Fate variants
At this point, you already know the winning lists in the tournament, especially the one piloted by Autumn Burchett, the brand-new champion of the first Mythic Championship. Congratulations to all the victors and to the great public image that showcased Magic's professional circuit.
My first and main advice is this: If you want to play any of these decks, either tabletop or digital, take a winning list as your reference and train in as many games as you can until you deeply comprehend every detail of the strategy and sideboard choices. Especially in Mono-Blue Tempo, all five decks have a complex strategy with limited resources, requiring perfect sequencing and decision-making at every moment of the game.
Here's a short mention on the rest of the archetypes that did not make #1:
Sultai Midrange: This is probably the best choice if you want to adapt as the format evolves, since it has plenty of maindeck variations to choose from. Pay attention to what Mike Sigrist said about the deck and consider maindecking Kraul Harpooner if you expect a lot of Mono-Blue Tempo in your metagame.
Esper Control: This was one of greater performances throughout the tournament, despite losing the final game against Mono-Blue Tempo. The deck is very well positioned for the next coming months, especially as the format continues to stabilize.
Azorius Aggro: As the third most-played archetype during Day 1 of the tournament, this deck is an eligible contender. It has an aggressive curve paired with permission spells on the sideboard, plus Tocatli Honor Guard to face the Sultai match-up.
Nexus of Fate decks: In my opinion, this is the most difficult archetype to evaluate, since there are different versions – the Simic Nexus that made Top 8, the Temur variant with Expansion // Explosion, and the one that relies on the synergy between Gate-matters cards. Compared to the aforementioned decks, this one discourages me the most (because) just in case the deck's namesake card gets banned at some point.
Nexus of Gates by Leonardo Barboza
Mythic Championship I, Cleveleand (7-3)
|3Azorius Guildgate||4Hydroid Krasis||4Expansion // Explosion|
|3Boros Guildgate||4Growth Spiral|
|1Breeding Pool||4Nexus of Fate|
|4Gruul Guildgate||4Circuitous Route|
|3Izzet Guildgate||4Gates Ablaze|
|4Plaza of Harmony||4Guild Summit|
|1Selesnya Guildgate||3Wilderness Reclamation|
|3Archway Angel||2Carnage Tyrant||3Gatebreaker Ram|
|2Lava Coil||3Negate||2Niv-Mizzet, Parun|
Worst 5 Decks You Don't Want to Play Right Now
- Izzet Drakes
- Jeskai Control
This section can be summarized in just one sentence: If your deck has red in it, then don't play it.
All joking aside, in the previous Standard format, red was the predominant color due to cards like Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Hazoret the Fervent, and so many others. Currently, we are on the opposite side of the spectrum. Although we have Goblin Chainwhirler, red-based decks are simply not powerful enough to compete with the rest of the meta.
If we look at the "Big Five" mentioned above, none of them include red cards, making it clear that red is the least powerful color at the moment. Mono-Red decks performed horribly at Mythic Championship I and right now, decks running Hydroid Krasis have advantageous ways to win life; Sultai decks have Wildgrowth Walker; Esper Control plays Absorb, Moment of Craving, and even Kaya's Wrath; and aggro-based strategies can simply outrun Mono-Red's speed.
Moving on to Izzet Drakes, the archetype also resulted in a disastrous performance. You need only to read Brian Braun-Duin's review, wherein he explains his reasons for choosing the deck.
In addition, Rakdos and Gruul, two of the most hyped guilds during spoiler season due to their interesting mechanics of Spectacle and Riot, have been left in "no-man's land" and are not a real option when it comes to competing for the best deck.
Finally, despite the fact that nobody remembers Jeskai Control nowadays (though I still do), one of the most played strategies from Guilds of Ravnica Standard – basically Deafening Clarion and Niv-Mizzet, Parun – are no match for Esper Control cards.
Izzet Drakes by Fabrizio Anteri
Mythic Championship I, Cleveland (6-4)
|21Lands||11Creatures||28Instants and Sorceries|
|1Blood Crypt||3Crackling Drake||1Beacon Bolt|
|8Island||4Enigma Drake||4Chart a Course|
|4Steam Vents||4Discovery // Dispersal|
|4Sulfur Falls||4Lava Coil|
|2Disdainful Stroke||2Entrancing Melody||2Fiery Cannonade|
|4Negate||1Niv-Mizzet, Parun||2Ral, Izzet Viceroy|
Top 5 Outsiders That Somehow Did Well
- Simic Merfolks
- Dimir Midrange
- Jund Midrange
- Mardu Vampires
- Mardu Aristocrats
Don't get me wrong. So many others have already written about these spicy decks. Saffron Olive already commented on them in his tournament recap; Abraham Stein already looked for out-of-the-box creative archetypes.
At the end of the day, there is life beyond main tier decks. A great example is Raphael Levy, who achieved an 8-2 record with Merfolk that is neither more nor less than an improved version of one of the Magic Arena intro decks. Player Seth Manfield also decided to pack a Dimir-based deck full of card advantage based on Hostage Taker and Thief of Sanity to win against grind match-ups.
If you are really looking for a super different brew to try, Frank Karsten has something for you: It's a warrior-themed deck wherein Goblin Chainwhirler combines with Status // Statue to clear the board of opposing creatures while getting value from Growth-Chamber Guardian, Rekindling Phoenix, and Rix Maadi Reveler.
Finally, here are a couple of Mardu lists. The first one is a tribal vampire using unusual cards like Judith, the Scoruge Diva and Venerated Loxodon. The second employs a swarm strategy with an "aristocrat style" by playing a bunch of token producers paired with Judith and Priest of Forgotten Gods as a sacrifice outlet.
Jund Midrange by Frank Karsten
Mythic Championship I, Cleveland (6-4)
|25Lands||28Creatures||7Instants and Sorceries|
|4Blood Crypt||4Goblin Chainwhirler||1Find // Finality|
|4Dragonskull Summit||4Growth-Chamber Guardian||1Collision // Colossus|
|2Mountain||4Gruul Spellbreaker||2Lightning Strike|
|3Overgrown Tomb||3Gutterbones||3Status // Statue|
|4Rootbound Crag||2Kraul Harpooner|
|4Stomping Ground||4Pelt Collector|
|4Unclaimed Territory||4Rekindling Phoenix|
|3Rix Maadi Reveler|
|1Angrath, the Flame-Chained||3Cindervines||2Collision // Colossus|
|1Duress||3Fiery Cannonade||2Find // Finality|
|1Kraul Harpooner||3Lava Coil||2Shivan Fire|
Top 5 Key Cards in the Current Standard Metagame
If we look at the most played cards of the tournament, there is again an obvious lack of red followed by white cards. Blue and black have the most impactful cards in both maindecks and sideboards. It's also noteworthy that both Hostage Tacker and Thief of Sanity can be played in Sultai maindecks as well as in Esper Control's sideboard, so their presence is doubled. Hydroid Krasis is the all-star format-wrapping creature, which works at any midrange strategy, plus big mana decks with Nexus of Fate, while Kraul Harpooner is the premium hate card against Mono-Blue Tempo that green-based decks should include in their 75. (Mainboard the card when necessary.) Pteramender is the most played blue creature, representing the deck of the moment, Mono Blue Tempo. But it can also be found in Izzet Drakes and Izzet Phoenix, which have risen from the ashes thanks to LSV (no pun intended).
As for spells, we have three blue cards and two black ones. Negate and Duress are the best sideboard answers against control and combo strategies, while Cast Down is the most efficient removal of the current format, where not many relevant creatures are legendary. Last but not least, Opt and Chemister's Insight are both proof that blue is in very good shape, having one of the best draw engines from recent years as well as an instant cantrip. They're useful in every blue-based archetype from tempo to midrange to control to combo.
Top 5 Conclusions
Here are my final thoughts with my top five recommendations if you want to succeed in the upcoming months:
- Choose one of the "Big Five" decks and master it.
- Do not play any red-based deck.
- Consider "janky" archetypes for some fun and attack the format from a different angle.
- Run either counterspells or discards spells on your sideboard.
- Do none of the aforementioned tips.
And that ends this Mythic Championship I recap! As always, thank you so much for reading and if you want to share your own thoughts, please feel free to leave them below or hit me up on my recently created Twitter account.
See you next month!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.