I’m as baffled as Jesse is, however I’ll take what I can get.
I don’t go in to tournaments with a lot in the best way of expectations. Regardless of how a lot you’ve ready or how nice your deck is, Magic has a ton of variance, and typically it simply gained’t be your day. Even once we had Caw-Blade, some individuals on our group didn’t make Day 2 (and belief me, Izzet Phoenix is certainly not Caw-Blade, Birds apart). This has the aspect impact of it being a pleasing shock when issues do break your approach and also you do find yourself ending nicely. Nonetheless, I used to be fairly ready for this Mythic Championship, and I felt like I gave myself the most effective shot of succeeding. That, plus a disgusting quantity of luck, is all it took to Prime eight as soon as once more.
Prep for this event began because it often does—me speaking to Pat Cox (extra generally referred to as tdubs) about Draft, and him making enjoyable of me for my Set Critiques.
Additionally why did he put that struggle card over Sauroform Hybrid in his Restricted set assessment?
— Pat Cox (@wildestnacatl) February 5, 2019
In my protection, I based mostly my scores off the Area bots (to not be confused with the Area Boys, although very similar to the bots, they will not be the most effective supply of strategic recommendation), and assumed each inexperienced deck would all the time have 4 Sauroform Hybrids. That really dovetails properly into my subsequent matter.
In relation to Constructed, testing best-of-three on Area appeared like a wonderfully fantastic option to go about issues. When you get to Diamond/Mythic, you face decks and opponents that provide believable preparation for the Mythic Championship. The identical isn’t true for Draft, no less than whereas we now have bots drafting on Area.
I did 80% of my Drafts on MTGO and stand by that ratio. Drafting on Area is enjoyable, and a great way to find out how the playing cards play, however isn’t how I’d advocate working towards for the Restricted portion. A lot of the sport is determining what the bots undervalue, and it may give you a warped sense of which decks are open and what decks appear to be. For instance, Gates and the Gate payoffs all go tremendous late on Area, so in the event you drafted solely on Area, you can simply start to overvalue playing cards that go into that deck (and be in for a impolite shock when the Gates don’t certainly circulate). Likewise, the Greedy Thrulls move like water, and wheeling Imperious Oligarch occurs steadily. Nonetheless, so long as you combine your preparation, you have to be superb, and I don’t assume anybody can be silly sufficient to solely follow on Area and subsequently go Zero-Three in consequence.
When it got here to Normal, determining a deck wasn’t straightforward. After enjoying a bit and watching streams, I felt like I understood why you’d play every deck.
Apart on streaming and the present info hole:
This can be the absolute best time for individuals who aren’t on an enormous staff or don’t have ample time to organize. You would watch your decide of MPL members, every of whom principally performs their Mythic Championship decks. Discovering a great deck is simpler than it’s ever been. I imply, Workforce Final Guard principally simply performed Alex Hayne’s Mono-Blue record, sideboard and all. Granted, the subsequent Mythic Championship has some bizarre prerelease elements to it, however I feel generally you don’t have an excuse to not play an excellent deck, and will focus extra on ensuring you understand how to play your deck as an alternative.
The format hasn’t modified a ton post-PT, so right here’s a useful information that will help you decide a Commonplace deck:
- Mono-Purple: You’re good at drawing Mild Up the Stage and luxuriate in Surprising your opponent’s face.
- Mono-White: You’re hoping everybody forgot that Kaya’s Wrath exists. You’re additionally planning on drawing between three and 4 lands each recreation (that was our technique at PT Guilds of Ravnica).
- Sultai: You need to be 45% in each matchup.
- Nexus: You need to lose greater than you win, however really feel very intelligent if you do win.
- Esper: You’re good at drawing the half of your deck that’s removing spells towards aggro, and the half that’s counterspells and discard towards management. Additionally, you draw one shockland and all Glacial Fortresses every recreation.
- Izzet Phoenix: You forgot to purchase playing cards after Guilds of Ravnica (and/otherwise you thought the MC was Trendy).
- Mono-Blue: You’ve got twenty cool matching Islands (or twenty totally different Islands, if that’s the way you roll).
Provided that our deck-building mastermind, Josh Utter-Leyton (Wrapter) hadn’t touched a Magic card since GRN, it’s no shock that we ended up on Phoenix. Wrapter, BK, and I jammed a bunch with the deck, then confirmed up in Cleveland to seek out that not a single individual throughout our staff agreed on matchup outcomes of principally any matchup. OK, that’s an exaggeration, however we did have a variety of failures to agree on actuality, if we might even inform what actuality was. It’s all the time troublesome deciphering what is definitely happening in a matchup—numbers aren’t the entire story, as pattern sizes are small, however what a matchup seems like could be simply warped by outlier video games. Often it’s not too exhausting to resolve issues, however I felt like we had decrease confidence than ordinary by the point we needed to submit our decks.
Right here’s what seven or eight of us registered:
- 1 Izzet Drakes
- 2 Esper
- 3 Nexus
- 4 WW
- 5 Sultai
- 6 Mono-Blue
- 7 Gruul
- 8 Mono-Pink
- 9 Drakes
- 10 2-1 After the Draft
- 11 9-Three, Time to Win Out
- 12 12-Three
- 13 12-Three-1, and Very Fortunate
1 Blood Crypt
Four Steam Vents
Four Sulfur Falls
Four Crackling Drake
Four Goblin Electromancer
Four Arclight Phoenix
Four Chart a Course
Four Radical Concept
Four Lava Coil
2 Tormenting Voice
1 Ral, Izzet Viceroy
1 Beacon Bolt
1 Entrancing Melody
2 Niv-Mizzet, Parun
2 Entrancing Melody
2 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Shivan Hearth
1 Beacon Bolt
1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Spell Pierce
1 Murmuring Mystic
1 Ral, Izzet Viceroy
Some notes on the deck:
- We used the identify “Drakes” and “Phoenix” principally interchangeably, and that led to 2 outcomes: confusion when individuals thought somebody was speaking concerning the eight Drake Zero Phoenix deck (which was extra common on the time) and me making numerous dangerous Drake references. I loved each of this stuff.
- Pteramander sucks. I stored wanting to chop down on them till we hit zero copies. It dies to too many playing cards, and is means too sluggish. In your greatest attracts, it’s an awesome turn-5 play, however that’s not what this deck wants.
- Blood Crypt was to forged Discovery or Dispersal, as wanted. I might reduce it shifting ahead.
- Ral’s nickname quickly turned the Ralchicha (salchicha means scorching canine in Spanish). It’s essential you already know this.
- This deck can’t actually play counterspells in the primary deck, because it wants all its spells to convey again Phoenix, however that makes it exceedingly weak to Esper and Nexus decks.
We have been joyful sufficient with the deck, although these of us who have been extra expert at having 2-Three Phoenixes in play on flip Three have been extra optimistic than the others. Unsurprisingly, I used to be amongst this group. Plus, I had plenty of momentum from the final Mythic Championship, and was decided to show that these of us not within the MPL nonetheless might compete on Magic’s largest stage.
Out on the Play
Out on the Draw
Sideboarding is fairly straightforward with this deck. When removing is dangerous, counterspells are good, and there isn’t a ton extra to determine. A couple of notes:
- Beacon Bolt is a superb hedge towards management decks that usher in playing cards like Lyra, Thief of Sanity, or Niv-Mizzet. It’s fairly low value to have a few Bolts within the deck.
- Spyglass was sort of weak. I’d swap the 2 for a Disdainful Stroke and a Spell Pierce, and convey them in towards all of the matchups the place Spyglass is sweet.
- Entrancing Melody is surprisingly good even towards medium-sized threats. It’s nice towards Krasis, however nonetheless strong towards Three-Four mana playing cards.
Now that we had our deck, it was time for the Restricted assembly.
Our Restricted conferences are likely to have a number of constant options: BenS skips them regardless of being considered one of our greatest assets for Restricted, we spend an inordinate period of time rating the seventh and eighth greatest commons of every colour, and Pat Cox will get mad when individuals examine rares to different rares in P1p1 situations. My objective for this one was the remove the latter two points (it’s properly past my energy to unravel the primary one, regardless of that seeming to be the simplest one to deal with).
I’d spent most of my Restricted prep speaking to Pat (who informed me to not play Four Azorius Guildgates in my 2-color deck, then laughed once I misplaced on account of drawing one) and drafting on MTGO, ideally with Wrapter and BK over. I all the time discover it useful to bounce concepts off teammates, even when typically that includes letting Wrapter learn Chillbringer 5 days earlier than the Professional Tour. Nonsense apart, these guys did get me a lot of the means there when it got here to Restricted, and between that and Martin convincing all of us that Plague Wight was busted, I volunteered to run the Restricted assembly.
My strategy was made simpler by this being a guild format. As an alternative of ten 2-color pairs to speak about, there have been solely the 5 guilds (plus the Gates deck and the Esper Dovin’s Acuity deck). I laid out tough decide orders for every guild, however didn’t fear about ordering previous the highest 5 commons. I actually didn’t need to get slowed down in rating irrelevant issues, and as anybody who has seen the web and its present crop of articles can inform you, people love rating issues. I felt like we have been largely profitable, and we stored the assembly to a trim 2.5 hours, going over every archetype, the playing cards that made them tick, and the place uncommons slot in. We additionally ranked every uncommon towards the highest uncommons and prime commons, giving all of us a very good baseline for once we opened a uncommon we hadn’t had an opportunity to play with. Highlights of the assembly included:
- Tom Martell calling Plague Wight unplayable. Martin then stated, “I feel you imply unblockable.” Martin was right.
- Blade Juggler being one of the best black widespread in each Rakdos and Orzhov. It’s simply insane.
- BenS threatening to punish anybody who took Lumbering Battlement over Sharktocrab (don’t fear, Ben wasn’t truly on the assembly—he simply heard about it later).
- Matt Nass asking if we should always speak about Dimir, getting laughed at, then later dropping to Dimir whereas 2-Zero within the MC.
After wrapping up the assembly, individuals broke off. A few of us went to check the deck we’d chosen to play, whereas others determined to get a final couple of Drafts in. I did neither. As soon as I’ve gotten to the purpose the place I really feel ready, I have a tendency to not play any extra. Plus, what if I misplaced a bunch of video games with my Constructed deck? I wanted the arrogance to go together with all that momentum. I did really feel very ready for the event, despite the fact that that’s on no account an indicator of success. All it meant was that I used to be able to battle, and I’d put myself in a great place to get fortunate, which is likely one of the techniques I’m greatest at (I imply the getting fortunate half, clearly).
There’s nothing like the beginning of a Professional Tour. I do know, I do know, they’re referred to as Mythic Championships now, however they may all the time be Professional Excursions in my coronary heart. Regardless of how a lot Magic I play, I’ve by no means discovered something that compares to opening your first pack on Day 1, and seeing how fortunate (or unfortunate) you’ve gotten. There’s no low as little as having a practice wreck mid pack 2, and already crafting the dangerous beat tweet in your thoughts. On the flip aspect, there’s nothing as enjoyable as getting the insane hookup pack one, and attending to take pleasure in an entire two extra packs when you already know you’re heading in the direction of an superior deck (my second draft on the final Mythic Championship was like this, and it’s a delight to know that you simply’re drafting the fitting deck in the proper seat).
My first Draft was nowhere close to like that. I opened with Warrant // Warden, then took Grotesque Demise, adopted by a smattering of mediocre blue, white, and black playing cards. I had no clear path after pack one, besides that I knew pink and inexperienced weren’t open. My first 5 picks of pack two have been horrendous too. Because it turned out, Logan Nettles (to my left) was Azorius, and apparently no good Orzhov playing cards have been opened. I used to be deep in tweet-crafting mode, the place I’d bemoan my abysmal luck and clarify why I began 1-2 or Zero-Three. Then, a ray of hope. I received Consecrate // Eat sixth decide, adopted by Greedy Thrull seventh decide. Perhaps Orzhov was open, however the packs have been simply dangerous? Did I’ve outs?
Pack three was nothing however hits. I took Mortify, then Dovin, then Kaya’s Wrath, then each good Orzhov card you might think about, capped by wheeling the Greedy Thrull I handed in favor of Dovin. The swings on this Draft have been wild, however given the place I ended up, that simply made it really feel that a lot sweeter. Right here’s the ultimate deck:
2-1, although my deck was ok that I’m dissatisfied I didn’t Three-Zero. Being the one Orzhov drafter is fairly good. #2019MC1 #teamcfb pic.twitter.com/hT7JX5WqAu
— Luis Scott-Vargas (@lsv) February 22, 2019
The blue splash was straightforward to justify, and the deck was nuts general. I truly ought to have performed a second Undercity’s Embrace, as Pat Cox had an excellent level about pod Drafts—I used to be fairly positive there have been no different Orzhov drafters, so Embrace goes up in worth. I sided it in twice, and need I’d fundamental decked it.
Some notable occurrences in the course of the Draft rounds:
- In spherical 1, I forged Carnage off of Tome, making my opponent discard Warrant // Warden earlier than I attacked. That was good.
- I acquired smashed by a sick Gruul deck spherical 2, regardless of having Eat and Wrath each video games.
- Spherical Three I used to be introduced with the next opener towards an aggressive Rakdos deck, on the play:
Comply with-up: would you retain or mull this on the play towards low to the bottom Rakdos? pic.twitter.com/KbnOEcrbs4
— Luis Scott-Vargas (@lsv) February 22, 2019
I stored, as a result of this hand might simply win after lacking one land drop, and would nonetheless be in it after lacking two. I in fact drew two lands instantly, making the sport not near being shut.
2-1 After the Draft
This was a disappointing 2-1, as my deck was superior, however the Gruul deck that beat me was additionally nice. Now, about these Phoenixes…
The primary couple of rounds of Constructed are thrilling too. Not solely do you get to see in case you have a useful deck, however you additionally get to run round taking a look at what everybody else introduced. It’s a blast, and I hope we don’t transfer towards deck lists being open for MCs (the Invitational is a special animal). You additionally get to see how your group is doing, and it may be fairly enjoyable whenever you understand you broke it—once we performed Colorless Eldrazi in Trendy, having one loss complete after two rounds of Constructed clued us in that we’d damaged it.
- Sultai Spell Pierced my Tormenting Voice in recreation 1. I didn’t anticipate that, although my two Phoenixes meant that I didn’t actually care.
- I misplaced the Niv-Mizzet race badly within the Drakes mirror. Untapping with Niv is a large recreation, and also you principally by no means lose should you do.
- I acquired to forged some post-combat Chart a Programs towards Mono-Blue. In case you are able to efficiently raid Chart, you’re often profitable, and I definitely was in that recreation. Turning into Izzet Management towards Mono-Blue was a really profitable technique, and I didn’t lose any matches to the blue menace.
- Entrancing Melody on Llanowar Elves led to a flip Four Ralchicha. That was a enjoyable recreation.
- I performed the second-craziest recreation of the event (the craziest being recreation 2 towards Marcio on Sunday. Spoiler: I made Prime eight). My opponent had a fast pair of Tempest Djinns, however I acquired again three Phoenixes on flip Four (I informed you I used to be fortunate). That led to a standoff, and we each principally sat there for about seven extra turns. My opponent then had Merfolk Trickster into Deep Freeze to hit me down to five, at which level I had the next flip:
- Choose, discover Niv-Mizzet. Play Niv-Mizzet, then string collectively sufficient spells to kill two Tempest Djinns and two Pteramanders, bringing again three Phoenixes.
At that time, my opponent Entrancing Melodied my Niv (?!), however I used to be capable of play a second Niv and Lava Coil the traitorous one away, locking up the sport.
I ended the day 6-2, which was a begin I used to be fairly proud of. Clearly I wasn’t going to Prime eight once more, nevertheless it set me up for a pleasant 11-5 end or so. Sadly, the remainder of the staff wasn’t faring as nicely, as I used to be hoarding all the luck for myself. Everybody however Ben made Day 2, although except for Siggy and Juza on 5-Three, the remainder of the squad was Four-Four. Ben truly couldn’t make dinner, as he was again in Florida by the point spherical 7 began.
I had a troublesome Draft pod on Saturday.
No less than I’ve acquired a simple pod to start out day 2. #2019MC1 #teamcfb pic.twitter.com/gQlogbryA4
— Luis Scott-Vargas (@lsv) February 23, 2019
My Draft wasn’t a lot simpler. I began Rakdos, however took a pair Orzhov playing cards once they introduced themselves. I hoped Shahar (to my left) was Simic or Gruul, however sadly he was neither, which didn’t bode properly for both of us. After being on the receiving find yourself some fairly weak packs, I ended up with a 6/10 Rakdos deck:
Deck was a couple of playing cards brief, so going 2-1 continues to be a great outcome general (regardless of it being irritating to lose in the best way I did). #teamcfb #2019MC1 pic.twitter.com/jVBQOVzrtr
— Luis Scott-Vargas (@lsv) February 23, 2019
These Draft matches have been a wild experience:
- In recreation 1 of spherical 1, my opponent forged: Eat, 2x Greedy Thrull, Kaya’s Wrath, Mortify, and Ethereal Absolution. I used to be as soon as once more mentally getting ready myself to lose the spherical, however squeaked out an excellent tight first recreation, with Rakdos Roustabout dealing the ultimate level of injury. I do need to word, by the best way, that once I say I used to be mentally resigned to dropping the match, I didn’t cease making an attempt or something like that. I used to be simply capable of see myself dropping to a vastly superior deck, however nonetheless did my greatest to win… and win I did. My opponent flooded recreation 2, and I utterly stole a spherical.
- I then defeated Oliver Tomajko in one of many least shut matchups I’ve ever seen. He was piloting a superb Esper deck, however it relied on a ton of Slimebinds and Lawmage’s Bindings as removing. That doesn’t work out nicely towards a sacrifice deck that additionally has Unwell-Gotten Inheritance as a injury supply, and I received to Act of Treason with Priest of Forgotten Gods, sacrificing an enchanted creature. I can’t rely how a lot card benefit that was.
- In my final spherical, my opponent was enjoying straight Bant, and his deck was clearly cobbled collectively after some late colour switches, because of opening Biogenic Ooze and Mesmerizing Benthid. Sadly, he performed each these playing cards on curve each video games, and I died in a really irritating method. I’m not as anti-rare as a few of my compatriots, however dropping to self-described “crap plus mythics” was not a enjoyable expertise.
9-Three, Time to Win Out
I couldn’t get there once more, proper? The Phoenix deck was wonderful, however nothing particular, and I wanted to Four-Zero earlier than hopefully with the ability to draw. There was simply no approach I might get to tug yet one more rabbit out of my hat, however I sat right down to play anyway.
- I beat Martin Juza on Sultai, after he forged the most important of Vraskas when all I had out have been two lands and an Electromancer. His mana flood plus my string of perfects obtained me there, although had it been the Carnage Tyrant that competed for that spot, I might have died messily.
- I obtained to arrange a pleasant Spell Pierce towards my buddy Shaheen, who was on B/U/G Reclamation. I had two Phoenixes and two Radical Concepts within the ‘yard, and a hand of Electromancer, Pierce, and two lands. I performed Electromancer, and flashed one Radical Concept again. Shaheen responded with Forged Down. I then forged the opposite Concept, and Shaheen went to Negate it (hoping to cease me from discovering a 3rd spell). I then acquired to spell Pierce the Forged Down, now that he was tapped out, which saved my Goblin and was the third spell for the Birds. I adore it when a plan comes collectively.
- Towards straight G/B Midrange, I pulled out an in depth match. My opponent conceded recreation Three prematurely, annoyed by flood and a mull to five, then flipped his prime card, solely to see a Cry of the Carnarium that might have wiped three Phoenixes. I didn’t have deadly on my flip. Don’t scoop till you’re lifeless.
- In my win-and-in, I defeated Peter on Mono-Blue soundly. He did take one recreation, however when Phoenix has Electromancer in play, it’s really easy to maneuver across the blue deck’s counters. I stole a Tempest Djinn and rode it to victory, two primary Islands and all.
I used to be stunned to have gotten there, however I nonetheless had to attract. My tiebreakers have been horrible, so I used to be steeling myself and able to play. I wasn’t accepting congratulations—not but—as I’ve been 12-Three and missed earlier than.
It then was a clear minimize, and I received to attract with good man Alex Majlaton, who I’m pleased received to crack his first Prime eight.
12-Three-1, and Very Fortunate
11th time’s the allure.
The tenth time definitely wasn’t, as I’m not scripting this with a *1st* on the prime of the web page. That’s how the cookie crumbles, although, and I did get one candy match within the Prime eight.
I used to be paired towards Marcio Carvalho on White Weenie. This matchup used to favor WW, however now that individuals are chopping Adanto Vanguard, I truly just like the Phoenix aspect. Vanguard was all the time the perfect card, and even Tithe Taker wasn’t near being as efficient.
Related video of our match might be discovered right here:
Precise match protection is right here.
Within the video games I gained, I tended to stay an Electromancer and play a flurry of spells, notably ones that ended up with Phoenix in play. As soon as the Phoenix deck is buzzing, WW has a really exhausting time breaking by way of, and Crackling Drake can typically kill in a single hit. Recreation 2 was truly the perfect recreation by far, and I extremely advocate watching it. I drew higher in that recreation than any recreation of the event, and it was a nail biter from begin to end.
My Prime Four match was quite a bit much less thrilling. I acquired destroyed, and badly. Esper is a troublesome matchup, and dealing with down a number of important deck Cry of the Carnarium made it nigh unattainable. I might have probably gained recreation Four, as I didn’t mess around The Eldest Reborn, however I’m not beating myself up over it—that’s only a very arduous matchup. OK, that’s a lie: I’m beating myself up over it, however errors do assist you to study. My mistake on this case was mistakenly assuming that The Eldest Reborn wouldn’t be in post-board, however that assault ought to have clued me in that it was. My block was dangerous (I traded a 1/1 flyer for a Goblin Electromancer, after which acquired Murmuring Mystic eaten by The Eldest Reborn), and I acquired punished for it.
Last standing: 4th place, $15,000, some quantity of Mythic Factors with unclear worth, and extra affirmation that I’m one of many luckiest.
Huge congrats to Autumn Burchett for profitable! They performed nice, and deserved it. Their win additionally means lots to a ton of parents, and I really like how a lot positivity surrounded it. Much less huge congrats to Reid for an additional wonderful end (sorry buddy, it’s a must to win the event for the most important congrats), and due to Reid for lending me some candy Shocks that I nonetheless haven’t returned.
Group ChannelFireball additionally had a pleasant Saturday, as Martin completed 11-5 and Wrapter completed 10-6. Mixed with my end, that put us in first place within the staff collection. In fact, I’d be like fourth or fifth, however belief me, I’ve been carried so many occasions by teammates that it’s good to have the ability to repay the favor.
I also needs to observe, that whereas I joke (all the time, about every part), I’ve a terrific staff. Workforce ChannelFireball + Group Extremely Professional + associates do a superb job ensuring that everybody is ready. We performed a smattering of various decks, as none of us discovered a deck that was busted (inventory Mono-Blue was in all probability the only option for the event), however having a discussion board filled with nice gamers and [deleted BK joke] all the time makes me really feel assured going right into a MC. Who is aware of, perhaps we’ll break it for London and have some sick Trendy deck.
With all that stated, some thanks:
- My workforce (as I principally stated above).
- Gaby Spartz, for flying to Cleveland in February to help me. I did even considerably trick her (unintentionally), as she thought it was my birthday, however she got here anyhow, even after realizing my birthday was the week earlier than.
- ChannelFireball, for having event prep be part of my obligations. It’s very empowering when President and CEO Jon Saso tells me to not fear about X, Y, and Z and tells me one of the best factor I can do is win the event.
- Huey Jensen, for being the perfect, even when he didn’t inform me to play nice Mono-Blue as an alternative of mediocre Phoenix.
- The Kiefers, for serving to make Denver an incredible place to check. We in all probability ought to have carried out that sooner.
- Pat Cox, for being nice at yelling at me once I do silly issues.
- BK, for being a very good sport.
I then flew house, ready like mad for GPLA protection (which turned out splendidly), and eventually discovered time to put in writing this. Hopefully I’ve trigger to write down one other quickly, because the Invitational is arising, and I consider I’m due.
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