The Winners and Losers of the First Mythic Championship
Mythic Championship 1 was one of the best premier tournaments in recent memory, with a wide variety of deck archetypes leaving a mark on the Standard metagame. Like any major tournament, there were winner and losers, and Hans is here to take the time this week to go over the cards and decks that left an impression. Some were good, some were bad, but they were all meaningful, so check out his findings below!
1. Mono-Blue Tempo
Mono-Blue Tempo by Autumn Burchett, 1st Place, Mythic Championship 1 Cleveland
|19Island||4Merfolk Trickster||4Curious Obsession|
|1Mist-Cloaked Herald||1Chart a Course|
|4Siren Stormtamer||4Dive Down|
|4Tempest Djinn||2Essence Capture|
|2Deep Freeze||1Disdainful Stroke||3Entrancing Melody|
|1Essence Capture||1Island||1Jace, Cunning Castaway|
Making up 12% of the decks in day one, Mono-Blue Tempo looked great coming into the tournament. Some of the best players at the tournament, including Green-Black aficionado Reid Duke and eventual-champion Autumn Burchett, chose this archetype as their weapon of choice. The main reason for the deck's rise to stardom has been the addition of Ravnica Allegiance's take on Flying Men: Pteramander. Pteramander most importantly provides redundancy in the form of another one-mana evasive 1/1, but its ability synergizes with the deck's game plan of using instants to protect its threats. While the deck's day-two conversion rate at Mythic Championship I wasn't anything extraordinary, the archetype put three copies in the top eight of the tournament as well as emerging the winner of the tournament. It's been a while since a tempo deck has solidified itself as Standard's best decks, but Mono-U Tempo has done just that.
2. Tempest Djinn
For a card that still remains around bulk-rare prices, Tempest Djinn has put up an impressive performance. A mainstay of the feature match area all weekend, the three-mana flyer put the pressure on its opponents every time it hit the battlefield. Despite being one of Mono-Blue Tempo's most mana-intensive cards, a card that finishes the game in no time by hitting for five or six points of damage is a welcome sight for the deck. Whenever the djinn was out in multiples on camera, it was forcing chump blocks and unfavorable blocks. While the card plays a niche role in Standard, it also wouldn't surprise me if being a four-of in a tier deck doesn't propel its prices up a few more euros.
3. Hydroid Krasis
Hydroid Krasis was everywhere this past weekend, and it's safe to say that it has replaced Carnage Tyrant as the card that midrange matchups end up revolving around. Whether it was being cast on curve as a pseudo-Rogue Refiner or being the finisher for Nexus decks, the card made sure that the Mythic Championship was all about a certain mythic Jellyfish Hydra Beast.
Sultai Midrange by Noah Ma, 10-0, Mythic Championship 1 Cleveland
|4Breeding Pool||1Carnage Tyrant||3Cast Down|
|2Drowned Catacomb||3Hostage Taker||2Vraska's Contempt|
|4Forest||4Hydroid Krasis||3Find // Finality|
|1Hinterland Harbor||1Incubation Druid||3Vivien Reid|
|1Memorial to Folly||4Jadelight Ranger|
|4Overgrown Tomb||4Llanowar Elves|
|4Watery Grave||4Merfolk Branchwalker|
|4Woodland Cemetery||4Wildgrowth Walker|
|2Assassin's Trophy||1Carnage Tyrant||1Cast Down|
|2Disdainful Stroke||4Duress||3Kraul Harpooner|
|1Ritual of Soot||1Vraska's Contempt|
Hydroid Krasis' emergence as the focal point of matchups even forced Sultai Decks to evolve with the metagame by incorporating multiple copies of Hostage Takers into the main deck. Since there is such a strong emphasis on how players can buy back Krasis in these matchups, Hostage Taker provides another way to deal with the opponents' Hydroid Krasis and cast it. Furthermore, due to Hydroid Krasis having a base stat of 0/0, an answered Hostage Taker still cleanly deals with the opposing Krasis.
1. Rx Aggro
Red aggro decks have been a dominant force for the last several Standard formats, but they may be beginning to run out of steam. The midrange deck of the format, Sultai Midrange, employs four copies of a card that can swing life totals and stabilize the board; the tempo deck of the format can protect its creatures as well as pressure the red deck's life totals using big-bodied creatures; the control deck of the format is packed to the brim with incidental life-gain in the form of Absorb, Moment of Craving, Kaya's Wrath, and Vraska's Contempt. This doesn't mean that the red decks can't get hot and spike a tournament – rather, their place in the metagame has changed due to the amount of "hate" cards that have entered the format with Ravnica Allegiance.
2. Dread Shade (feat. Steel Leaf Champion)
Another tournament, another slew of performances by Tempest Djinn, Benalish Marshal, and Goblin Chainwhirler. Dread Shade (and to a more minor extent, Steel Leaf Champion) has spent most of its Standard shelf-life sidelined without a deck to call home. A large reason lies in the lack of an aggressive, black shell to take advantage of the triple-mana creature, a luxury that the other creatures in the cycle enjoy. Ever color other than black has access to a decent pool of pushed creatures that, in the right deck, can form the framework for a competitive list. The highlight of creatures in black that cost less than or equal to 2 CMC, on the other hand, are limited to the likes of Kitesail Freebooter, Graveyard Marshal, and Seekers' Squire. Not only do these cards have little synergy among themselves, they also fail to work in conjunction with Dread Shade. It's unlikely that Dread Shade will find its way into a competitive list this Standard, and for such an impactful and well-designed cycle of creatures, Dread Shade will remain a disappointment.
3. Nexus of Fate
Nexus of Fate decks did well in the tournament, with a very favorable 71.8% day-two conversion rate as well as being the second most-played deck at the tournament and placing a copy in the top eight. Despite these numbers, the deck was eerily passed over on stream coverage, and judges were instructed to shuffle Michael Bonde's Simic Nexus deck in the top eight so that the card could be included in the deck instead of a tournament-issued proxy. The fact that the card is only physically available as a foil promo caused an unnecessary headache for tournament officials, and I assume its unengaging gameplay was a big reason why it didn't make it as often as it could have onto the feature-match area. Like a guest at a party that no one wants to have, Nexus of Fate was an unwelcome face at Mythic Championship I. Taking into account how the card was banned in Best-of-One matches over on Arena, Wizards will have (hopefully) learned their lesson the next time they want to introduce a promo-only card into Standard.
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