A Month of MCQ Events I: Double MCQ Frankfurt
After months without any regional and local way to qualify for a Mythic Championship (besides attending MagicFest Events and playing a lot on Magic Online), the local Mythic Championship Qualifiers are finally here! Andifeated attended the first German-speaking MCQ Weekend, featuring two exciting and big tournaments. Read his tournament report and Esper Control Sideboard Guide to prepare for your own MCQ events.
The Mythic Championship Qualifiers Are Here!
In Autumn 2018, Wizards of the Coast announced that the Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier System would be put to rest and that they would go back to the system they had retired in 2015 – big Mythic Championship Qualifier Tournaments that would invite the winner directly to an upcoming Mythic Championship. Since the last PPTQ Events concluded in December 2018, players were left without any local tournaments to earn an invite for premier events.
I loved those big tournaments where you had to face the strongest players in your region and play lots of Swiss rounds in order to determine the very best eight players to win that elusive plane ticket. If you were willing to drive for six hours on the highway, you could almost play one of those 200-player tournaments every other weekend. If it's a good use of time and resources is another question. But my friends and I went on some ridiculous roadtrips back in the day on a hunt for an invitation to play on the highest stage of Magic: The Gathering. Since I never made it past a semifinals appearance at big regional tournaments, I couldn't wait to have them back.
Some things have changed since then. Since Wizards doesn't pay for your plane ticket anymore (but pays out cash prizes), the actual prize you win has gone down a bit, depending on how far the journey to the Mythic Championship is for you. But since there are very sweet promo cards that every participant receives, the overall cost of attending the events have also gone down.
While the first season of MCQ Events is open to every player, future seasons will only allow players with at least 200 seasonal Planeswalker Points to attend the tournament and fight for their invite. In order to make it easier to earn that many points in three months, Friday Night Magic Tournaments will pay out twice as many Planeswalker Points as before. So attend your local FNM in order to stay qualified if you can't make it to a MagicFest every season!
Frankfurt – The First German MCQ Weekend
Berlin didn't manage to get an affordable venue, so Frankfurt was allowed to host two Mythic Championship Qualifier Events. That's pretty good for me for two reasons:
- Frankfurt is right in the middle of Germany and I only need to drive four hours instead of eight
- Two MCQ Tournaments, but only one journey!
I have a friend whose parents live near Frankfurt and don't mind hosting us whenever a big tournament takes place in Frankfurt. German players from every corner of the country are also able to easily travel to Frankfurt. An enjoyable weekend with lots of friends was to be expected.
I chose to play my trusty Esper Control deck after testing a lot of aggressive decks when I was preparing for the event.
I was so happy that I managed to collect all versions of my cards in English and in their original prints as that's the way I like to collect my cards.
I only went 8-8 in both tournaments combined, but I didn't mind my record since I had a lot of fun catching up with friends. I also learned a lot about me as a player with regard to my preparation and the Standard metagame in general.
Andifeated's Sideboard Guide
Here is a quick overview of my match-ups and how you should sideboard for the following decks in my opinion:
This match-up is very scary, but has become much better with the War of the Spark cards. Never tap out if your opponent resolves a Wilderness Reclamation and always keep a solution for that broken Enchantment. I generally leave in one Kaya's Wrath; some lists run Carnage Tyrant or Biogenic Ooze in their sideboard instead.
Teferi, Time Raveler and Thief of Sanity are the most dangerous cards in this match-up. Whoever can stick and protect them usually wins. Outside of that, try not to be the player who needs to act first. If you need to tap out and resolve Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and have it met by a Counterspell, defeat is already on the horizon. Be patient and aware of how swingy and devastating the threads in this match-up are.
Red Deck Wins
You need to stay alive in the early stages and not lose to Experimental Frenzy in the long run. This balancing act can be quite difficult, but if you play around their instant speed spells, this match-up can become pretty even.
This match-up is what they call a slugfest. Esper is a bit behind as Grixis is full of potent threads and better ways to deal with Esper's spoilers. Just keep in mind that Grixi opponents can hardly beat a transformed Search for Azcanta / Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin, unless with crazy sideboard cards like Bedeck // Bedazzle. (It killed both my Teferi and my Sunken Ruin in one game!)
It's essentially the same deck, but they are already sideboarded in game one and have access to Hero of Precinct One, which can easily run away with the game if left unchecked. It's another slugfest like Grixis Midrange, but since they have access to very cheap threads that you still need to answer early, it's even more difficult. I'm still not sure on how to split my removal against them – Cry of the Carnarium can deal with both Thief and Hero while cleaning up some Soldier Tokens, but you still need to be able to fight their planeswalkers and card advantage cards. Plus, you can't afford to keep in too many removals.
This match-up is pretty much a coin flip. If you can find a boardwipe, you'll be ahead; if you can't, you'll have a hard time. Duress and Dovin's Veto might not look that great against an aggressive creature deck, but if you take a closer look at your opponent's deck, you'll realize how many noncreature spells they're really playing – especially the blue version with counterspells and Teferis from the sideboard.
This match-up is really hard. They have a quick clock due to Llanowar Elves, problematic planeswalkers that need to be dealt with, and counterspells alongside creatures with Flash. I haven't figured out how to tackle their strategy the best way yet as they attack from so many different angles. Feel free to reach out to me and discuss this match-up.
The Winning Decks
Overall, I don't think playing Esper was a bad choice. If you take a look at all the decks that had success at Mythic Championship Events over the last two weekends, only one conclusion can be drawn: The Standard format is wide open. There's a chance of success with any strategy that you like.
On Saturday, Andreas Hamann won the 188 player tournament with his take on Bant Midrange:
On Sunday, Marius Heuser won with German MPL Player Christian Hauck's take and sideboard guide on RDW:
If you want to succeed in this Standard environment and at your upcoming MCQ Events, you need a tuned decklist and to be prepared for many different match-ups with a good sideboard strategy. So start practicing!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.