This past weekend, team Massdrop MTG competed in the Mythic Championship, previously known as Pro Tour, in Cleveland. The formats were Ravnica Allegiance Draft and Standard. The team had some great individual finishes and is now close to the top of the Team Series standings. Read on for everyone’s personal tournament report!
The Mythic Championship in Cleveland was a rollercoaster from start to finish. I drafted a Gruul deck that I felt could get 2 wins, and instead I ended up with 0. Then, in Standard, I faced one of the few people playing a rogue archetype, and narrowly lost in three games. Suddenly, I was 0-4 and it felt like everything was crumbling as I would need to win all four remaining matches just to make the second day of competition. Fortunately, my Standard deck of choice was Red Aggro Splash Green, and I had confidence that it was good enough to rattle off four wins in a row. I sliced through Simic Nexus, White Aggro, and then Ben Stark's Red Aggro Splash Black. In the final round, do-or-die for day 2, I faced Sultai, losing a brutal game 1 and mulliganing to 5. I felt like that was surely the end and I was frustrated to get that close to pulling off the comeback only to fall so short. Not ready to throw in the towel, I pulled off a miracle win in that game and then completed the 0-4 to 4-4 reverse sweep as I won game 3. Dante, a Phoenix Airport therapy dog, helped take me to victory as I used his card as my Treasure token in the final game. [In person, he helped take some of the edge off of a 3.5 hour delayed flight, and now he is immortalized in the above banner]. I finished the day with an awesome meal with my pals and it was time to rest up for the second day.
On the second day, I was in a 7 person draft pod. The packs were low power level and I felt my draft deck could win the pod and put me in good shape to hit the 11-5 finish I needed for Platinum. Instead, I frustratingly only ended up with a single win. I then lost to Steve Rubin's Mono Blue Aggro to fall to 5-8. I was completely dead for any additional Pro Points or cash prize at this point, but I wanted to play out the tournament for pride, to try to reach a 50-50 record, and to show that the deck I worked on was a strong creation. I rattled off the next two and faced Tom Martell's Izzet Phoenix deck. Despite there being nothing tangible on the line, we both really wanted to win for personal reasons and fought a close match. History repeated itself as in the third game, Dante came out as my Treasure token and I pulled off the win. 8-8 wasn't the finish I wanted going in, but my fire is still burning strong. The Red Aggro Splash Green deck I worked on took my long-time buddy Alex Majlaton to his first Mythic Championship top 8 and that made everything feel better.
This Mythic Championship was one of the first that I was not able to test a lot for. Life duties and such made it so that I was unable to test all the decks I wanted to try.
That means I had to shortcut and narrow down my Constructed deck choice very quickly if I wanted to play something with enough reps.
The choice was Temur Reclamation which I ended up a reasonable 8-2 with and seems like a lot of people became interested in my deck when it got posted.
Sadly I went 0-3 in my first draft, but I turned it around in the second draft and went 3-0 with this deck:
My end result was 11-5 which was good for $1500 and a flight to the Mythic Championship in London, so all in all, a successful weekend.
Plus, my friend Alex Majlaton achieved his first Mythic Championship top 8!
The Mythic Championship did not go well for me. After finishing the first draft 1-2 with a mediocre Simic deck with powerful creatures but no interaction, I hit some rough matchups with Izzet Phoenix and did not qualify for the second day. Never one to be deterred, I registered for the GP the next day. I cashed in some luck points and opened a fantastic Azorius deck, going undefeated on day 1 through the power of Dovin Baan, Mass Manipulation, and Sphinx of Foresight. I followed it up by going 1-2 despite having a sick Rakdos deck, and finished just short of a top 8 appearance going 2-1 with an aggressive Gruul deck. All in all, the weekend was a success as the six Pro Points earned were enough for me to re-up Gold and qualify for MCs London and Barcelona, where I will continue on my quest for a good MC finish!
Mythic Championship Cleveland began and ended on high notes for me. Upon my flight arriving in “The Land”, I found myself in possession of Cedric Phillip’s courtside ticket for that night’s Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game due to some bad luck in Cedric’s travel plans. I usually like to spend the last evening before a Pro Tour/Mythic Championship finalizing sideboard plans and doing a draft or two on Magic Online, but I could not pass up this opportunity to see two of the worst teams in the NBA go toe-to-toe up close. Plus the ticket included access to the arena's Courtside Club which had tons of free food and more importantly, free beer and wine! Now it could have been a mistake to gorge myself on shellfish from the buffet located in the basement of a basketball arena while washing it down with Bud Lights and cabernet the evening before the Mythic Championship, but it’s difficult for me to leave that kind of value on the table!
While I woke up feeling good as new, my stomach quickly turned when I saw who was in my first pod – Martin Juza, Teruya Kakumae, Jeremy Dezani, Shota Yasooka, and Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa! I ended up drafting a mediocre Azorius aggro deck that featured a bunch of bad ground creatures (see below). WARNING: Do not try this at home! It’s bad! Draft flyers! I somehow was able to beat both Shota and Dezani in the first two rounds and met Juza in the finals where his hyper aggressive Rakdos deck took me down in three games. I ended my tournament rattling off 3 wins in a row with my Gruul midrange deck for a 11-5 record and securing an invite to MC London!
It's hard not to feel disappointed with my performance at the Mythic Championships in Cleveland this past weekend. Of course, you always wish you had a little more time, but I actually felt pretty good about my preparation. I was confident in my ability to navigate the draft and had a decklist and sideboard plan I was comfortable with. I registered Mono White Aggro with a full complement of Tithe Takers, eschewing the usual blue splash in favor of a more consistent mana base and an increased ability to customize the creature suite in sideboarding.
I started the tournament off pretty well, winning my first two rounds with an aggressive Rakdos deck before losing the draft pod final to a strong Orzhov deck. My Standard metagame prediction was pretty much spot on, but I think my bad matchups were a little worse than anticipated. I was worried about Sultai Midrange and Izzet Drakes and lost all three matches I played against those decks, including an incredibly close last round against Louis Deltour to miss Day 2. Although I could have maybe considered playing a Baffling End or two in the main deck, I think my list was a reasonable choice for the tournament, and could have produced a much better result if my pairings broke slightly differently. It's always frustrating when you put forth your best effort and fall short, but I'll do my best to redeem myself two months from now at the next Mythic Championships in London.
Going into the tournament I felt pretty good because of the amount of testing I had put in. I tested with CFB and Ultra Pro and for Standard; most of us had decided to play a UR Phoenix deck that was performing well for us, me included. The deck felt good against Sultai and Mono Blue which we believed would be two of the top decks.
Day 1 started off well in the draft when I picked some good Orzhov cards early and kept getting them late. The deck was solid and I ended up going 3-0, which was exciting, especially because I was interviewed on camera by Brian David-Marshall as one of the 3-0s. Starting off in Standard I picked up a win vs Mono Blue and but then lost a feature match to Huey Jensen playing Mono Blue. This started a depressing losing streak as I lost two more matches to Esper Control and Mono-White. Thankfully, I was able to recover at the end of the day picking up a close win to Sultai. In the second draft, I started with a few Pteramander and went into Simic that started off medium, but I got saved by three Applied Biomancy in pack 3. I went 3-0 with this one, as well. I can’t tell you how awesome it felt to 6-0 draft. During the next 2 rounds in Standard I played some close matches against Andrew Jessup and Shota Yasooka, and I managed to win both. My dream for the Top 8 ended in the third-to-last round with a loss to Alex Majlaton because I couldn’t answer the resolved Experimental Frenzies. After that I picked up a win vs Martin Juza, and a feature match loss to Paul Rietzl to finish off the day. Overall I went 11-5, but in Standard I finished 5-5. I feel that UR Phoenix was well positioned and powerful but fell to its inconsistencies in the matches that I lost. Overall an 11-5 record is an awesome finish and the Pro Points will secure Gold for me for the year!
Our next big tournament together will be the Mythic Championship in London at the end of April! It will be extra special as it will be a prerelease for War of the Spark. The drafts at the MC will be the first time any of us touch the cards from the new set. Plus, the Constructed portion will be Modern with a new mulligan rule which is sure to be exciting.
Stay tuned for more from myself and the Massdrop MTG team.