Mythic Championship II took place over the weekend, featuring Modern Constructed and the experimental London Mulligan. Many expected combo decks to perform well. They did overall, but were just shy of making the Top 8 of the event. As expected, the most linear strategies that were already at the top had the chance to perform better under the new mulligan conditions.
Just As Expected
The decks people expected to do well showed up in force, and the metagame appears to be relatively the same as it was leading up to the event.
Many tried their hand at new archetypes that would supposedly benefit from the rule, such as Serum Powder Eldrazi variants. I expect this card to be on the sharp decline very soon, as its results were fairly underwhelming. Bigger winners with similar effects were Leyline of the Void and Leyline of Sanctity.
Others opted for more reliable decks like Tron, Humans, and Izzet Phoenix, which were played much more than the rest of the archetypes below them.
Tron being the most played deck does not strike me as odd in the slightest, as it appeared to be the front runner from all the preliminary testing going on in the weeks leading up to the tournament. While it didn't put up the win percentage to fully back that up, that didn't stop it from having a good showing, with two copies (nearly three) in the Top 8 of the tournament.
Going forward, I believe there will be some rising demand for many of the Tron pieces, especially with War of the Spark making its debut this week. The new Karn, the Great Creator and Ugin, the Ineffable add even more efficiency to the suite of threats the seven-mana landbase can enable.
Cards to keep your eye on are Wurmcoil Engine, Oblivion Stone, and Expedition Map. The deck even gets a nice new piece of bling when War of the Spark: Mythic Edition drops today in Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.
Only one Phoenix deck managed to crack the Top 8, piloted by none other than reigning World Champion Javier Dominguez, but the archetype had a great showing overall with a positive win record. With a smaller field, many players were able to adjust their decks against the top Modern deck, and yet it still finished quite well.
Notable tech for these lists is the one-of copy of Set Adrift, an uncommon from Khans of Tarkir. I've already talked to death about this deck, as have others—you won't be surprised to know I've got eyes on Manamorphose, Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror, and Pyromancer Ascension.
The last dominant archetype I'd like to mention here is Humans, which Eli Loveman used to take down the event. Newer tech such as Deputy of Detention and Whirler Rogue were key cards in a lot of matchups, but the strength of this deck really just lies in its linearity and ability to play disruptive creatures.
Many of the on-camera wins we saw with this deck involved Thalia's Lieutenant and Champion of the Parish aggro plans, but the more disgusting plays the deck powered out mainly involved Kitesail Freebooter and Meddling Mage. Who needs Duress and Counterspell when you can simply put them on a creature and start bashing?
The deck contains the obvious pieces that make it tick like Noble Hierarch and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, but financially I look to cards like Cavern of Souls and Aether Vial as standouts. These will likely be high-priority acquisitions moving into Modern Horizon's release.
Just Outside the Spotlight
While the top decks of the format comprised a majority of the top slots, I feel it's best to examine the decks that had higher win rates over the course of the tournament. As I mentioned before, the London Mulligan was very kind to decks looking to assemble a specific sequence of cards. I called Tron out before, but even more impressive is Ad Nauseam's win rate, likely due to this mulligan rule.
While there were only eight players piloting this deck at the tournament, a 67% win rate is nothing to scoff at considering the caliber of players. While this deck weaves in and out of the metagame, it's never really been a terrible choice to enter a tournament with.
It also has a lot of very specific cards, like Angel's Grace, Phyrexian Unlife, and Lotus Bloom. While the namesake card is pushing a $20 price tag, the rest of the unique pieces likely have a lot of room to grow with their sub-$10 prices.
I know I've been carrying on about Scapeshift for a while, but I think we're likely going to see the main pieces of this deck become more expensive. Scapeshift saw some minimal pressure due to the printing of Evolution Sage in War of the Spark, but I think there's likely to be more if Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle decks are able to hack it after the release of Modern Horizons.
Primeval Titan gets even more interesting to me as a spec target, as it's still well under $20 a copy. If we see the London Mulligan rule implemented fully, this is certainly one deck you'll want to be invested in, as it's one of the most consistent combo decks in the format.
I'll point this one out again too, as UW and Esper Control's successful showing at the Mythic Championship was enough to get me moving in on some Cryptic Commands. This deck did far better than I expected it to, considering the room had strong Tron stench, but its decent matchups against most of the field make it a compelling choice. With recent innovations such as Surgical Extraction and Rest in Peace seeing mainboard play, you can bet that UW had a much easier time finding the right answers with the London Mulligan in effect.
These are the premier decks running Jace, the Mind Sculptor and his cohort Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, and will have players excited from just a raw power standpoint alone. At present, I don't think UW decks are anywhere near on par with decks like Tron, Humans, and Izzet Phoenix (I'll put Dredge at the top of the format as well). But a few key additions from Modern Horizons could cause a paradigm shift towards blue control.
Aside from Cryptic, I think Path to Exile will be the most relevant card to hold going forward, despite its upcoming reprint in Signature Spellbook: Gideon.
Bring it on Home
I'll have to admit, I wasn't incredibly high on this Mythic Championship. It highlighted the worst parts of the format for me again, and despite having some very exciting and controversial moments, was an underwhelming pro-level event. However, with new cards getting injected into the format with War of the Spark, we may see some shifts very soon. Regardless of my opinion of the format, there is no denying that there will be cards on the move due to this event.
Cards to get out of:
- Serum Powder. Really, just that one card.
That does it for this week! You can follow me on Twitter @chroberry or Instagram @chroberrymtg if you want to see extra goodies and spoilers for next week’s article. Feel free to let me know how you feel about my targets here in the comments, or if there’s anything you think I missed!