Mythic Invitational Hype Train: MTG Arena Challengers and Co-Streaming

Posted in News on March 13, 2019

By Wizards of the Coast

In just over two short weeks, the historic $1 million Mythic Invitational will take place at PAX East and in front of thousands of fans on twitch.tv/magic, and we're pulling out all the stops—including bringing eight Challengers from the Mythic ranks of MTG Arena to compete head to head against some of the most well-known players in the world!

The eight Challengers joining the 56 players we already announced are:

  1. Beatriz "AliaDeschain" Grancha
  2. Ondřej "Honey" Stráský
  3. Edoardo "quicksort" Annunziata
  4. Lewk "lewk" Faley
  5. Teruya "witch" Kakumae
  6. Taiju "adver" Sugiyama
  7. Zachary "zkiihne" Kiihne
  8. Thiago "bolov0" Saporito

Click each name below to learn more about these skilled Challengers!

Beatriz "AliaDeschain" Grancha

Twitter: @AliaDeschain
Hometown: Valencia, Spain
Playstyle: I like to win by using the combat step.
Non-Magic Interests: I work in a Magic: The Gathering online store and have worked on esports. My hobbies are playing the ukulele and plants.
Non-Magic Fun Facts: I played every single map at least twice in Heroes of Might and Magic III and all the expansions. I know a lot about plants and trees.
Do you play Magic with anyone on a regular basis? I play Magic with Javier Dominguez (my boyfriend) and my coworkers, Guillem Salvador, Juan Guillenea, and Rafus Granero.
When did you start playing Magic? In 2003, during original Mirrodin.
How did you first get into Magic? My ex-boyfriend and friends taught me
When did you start playing MTG Arena? I started on the Closed Beta, December 2017
What was your first competitive Magic tournament? Grand Prix Bilbao 2005
What event or finish has meant the most to you over your career? Qualifying to this tournament
What is the most important thing that Magic has brought you? All the experiences related
Magic is entering a new era—there's a million dollars on the line, the MPL is getting started, events like this Invitational are bringing top players together. What does that mean to you as a Magic player? I love esports, and I love Magic, so MTG Arena is perfect for me.
There are professionals, amateurs, and influencers playing in the Mythic Invitational. What does it mean to play with this diverse range of competitors? It's so exciting, all the different player personalities in the same place, together!
Do you have any rivals at this tournament? Yes, I want to beat them all.
What is your favorite card in Standard? History of Benalia
Are you going to PAX East with anyone? Yes, with Javier Dominguez and Andrea Mengucci

Ondřej "Honey" Stráský

Twitter: @OndrejStrasky
Hometown: Prague, Czech Republic
Playstyle: I prefer taking the more aggressive lines over the passive ones, and I feel most comfortable when playing underpowered creature decks.
Non-Magic Interests: Mostly just hanging out with my girlfriend.
Non-Magic Fun Facts: I broke my arm while playing soccer, twice. I attended a school choir, because I fancied a girl there.
Do you play Magic with anyone on a regular basis? My teammates, every three months the Mythic Championship rolls around.
When did you start playing Magic? Twelve years ago
How did you first get into Magic? Everyone was playing it in my high school, so naturally I had to pick it up. I'm the only one who stuck with the game, though.
When did you start playing MTG Arena? At the end of 2018
What was your first competitive Magic tournament? Grand Prix Prague 2009—wow, that's ten years ago.
What event or finish has meant the most to you over your career? Helping Oliver Tiu finish third at the 2016 World Championship
What is the most important thing that Magic has brought you? My friends; all my roommates are people I met through Magic; we would have never met otherwise.
Magic is entering a new era—there's a million dollars on the line, the MPL is getting started, events like this Invitational are bringing top players together. What does that mean to you as a Magic player? I retired from professional Magic a couple months ago, but now I'm here grinding everyday like a madman. A lot has changed. I'm really happy with MTG Arena. It's a very enjoyable way to prepare for tournaments. I never really cared about the money, but I do love the fact that there are now more high-level tournaments, and I can't wait to play in the Mythic Invitational.
There are professionals, amateurs, and influencers playing in the Mythic Invitational. What does it mean to play with this diverse range of competitors? Over the years, I've gotten used to playing against the professionals, so I know what to expect from them. The amateur players should throw a nice curveball into the field. I, for one, am pretty excited to battle against these celebrities I watch on Twitch from time to time, but never actually get the chance to compete against.
Do you have any rivals at this tournament? Definitely bolov0, aka Thiago Saporito. He crushed me in my first Pro Tour Top 8, and I have been losing badly to him ever since. Definitely on the lookout for some sweet, sweet revenge. It's not going to be easy as he's one of the most talented people to ever pick up a Magic card.
What is your favorite card in Standard? Kaya, Orzhov Usurper. I love the design, and that card helped me to qualify for this tournament!
Are you going to PAX East with anyone? One of my roommates is coming with me to provide support and help me with the tournament. We've yet to determine which one, but there is a 66% chance it's going to be a PT Champion.

Edoardo "quicksort" Annunziata

Twitter: @edo_annunziata
Hometown: Udine, Italy
Playstyle: Focused and disciplined. Although I can't say my technical play is at level with the greatest out there, I believe I am pretty good at understanding what I'm trying to accomplish in a matchup and playing toward that goal.
Non-Magic Interests: I am studying for a master's degree in computer science. I like and regularly play board games in general as well.
Non-Magic Fun Facts: 1) In high school I was part of a competitive math team. Team math competitions are a surreal experience if you've never seen one; they are played in sports arenas with the crowd cheering on the stands, and competitors solve hard problems against the clock trying to be faster than the opponents, with a point system deciding the winner. We placed 2nd in the 2014 Italian national tournament. That is, to this day, one of my proudest accomplishments. 2) I wear long-ish hair because of a school theatrical play I was in in middle school. I used to have short hair, and I was asked to grow them longer. I liked that hair style and decided to keep it after the recital.
Do you play Magic with anyone on a regular basis? I keep in touch with strong local players. We regularly share decklists, strategies, and insights, and review each other's games post-mortem to spot potential mistakes.
When did you start playing Magic? I have been playing on and off, mostly casually, and occasionally on Magic Online, since Kamigawa. I have started playing more seriously and improving as a player when MTG Arena came out.
How did you first get into Magic? Playing casually as a child
When did you start playing MTG Arena? As soon as the game went into Open Beta
What was your first competitive Magic tournament? I haven't played much competitive Magic at all, just a couple of PPTQs at a nearby store.
What event or finish has meant the most to you over your career? It has to be this one, without the shadow of a doubt. As I'm writing these words, I'm receiving messages from all over the world congratulating me and asking me, me of all people, for advice and guidance. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that I had luck on my side, at least in the final hours of ladder, and that the difference between myself and the 9th or 10th (or 20th for that matter) ranked player is statistically insignificant, but I like to think that my preparation and dedication to this beautiful game that I re-discovered thanks to MTG Arena pushed me over the line. I can't wait to play against the best of the best in this unique event.
What is the most important thing that Magic has brought you? Avoiding result-oriented mentality like the plague. It's not uncommon to win games of Magic having played badly, or to lose having played well. The only way to get better (at Magic or at anything else) is to continuously scrutinize one's own actions and accept and correct mistakes. To assume that if something worked once it will work again in the future regardless of context means thinking like a lab rat.
Magic is entering a new era—there's a million dollars on the line, the MPL is getting started, events like this Invitational are bringing top players together. What does that mean to you as a Magic player? In spite of having never been at any point a game for children (even though children can certainly play it), Magic still has a bit of unjustified stigma in the eyes of the general public, to some people it's still "that children's card game." I hope that by becoming bigger and better, we as a community will finally be able to break free of that perception and finally present Magic as what it has always been: a great game anyone is welcome to play.
There are professionals, amateurs, and influencers playing in the Mythic Invitational. What does it mean to play with this diverse range of competitors? Everything will be a little more unpredictable, and hopefully more fun. I think mixing those different categories of players in a single event is a great way to acknowledge everyone's different contributions to the game.
Do you have any rivals at this tournament? When chess Grandmaster Akiba Rubenstein was asked who his opponent would be in the following round, he answered "the black pieces." I'll be facing this tournament with the same mentality; it's just another few matches of Magic, and I'll just try to play at the best of my possibilities.
What is your favorite card in Standard? Settle the Wreckage. It's a card that changes the way you play by the sole virtue of existing, even if it's not in your opponent's hand. Or deck. I find it very interesting when things like that happen.
Are you going to PAX East with anyone? I'm going by myself.

Lewk "lewk" Faley

Twitter: @lucasfaley
Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa, US
Playstyle: When possible I like to be aggressive and dictate the pace of play by presenting my opponents with threats in a manner that is difficult to answer.
Non-Magic Interests: I am a student studying pharmacology and public health. I also love to binge-watch TV.
Non-Magic Fun Facts: I believe I have what it takes to be a competitive eater, and I went on my first ever flight when I was 29 for Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch.
Do you play Magic with anyone on a regular basis? I like to play in drafts at my local shop once or twice a week. My friend Wyatt Darby also has some cubes that we will occasionally play on weekends.
When did you start playing Magic? I played Pokémon cards as a kid and wanted something with a little more strategy.
When did you start playing MTG Arena? I was invited to the Closed Beta.
What was your first competitive Magic tournament? I went to an Extended PTQ sometime in Lorwyn block. I didn't own all the cards for the deck I wanted to play or know how half of my opponents' decks worked, but I had a lot of fun.
What event or finish has meant the most to you over your career? Qualifying and playing in my first Pro Tour was amazing. I got to play against a number of my Magic idols and proved to myself that I belong.
What is the most important thing that Magic has brought you? Friends. I've had a number of ups and downs in my life, and the people I've met through Magic have helped me get through the hardest times.
Magic is entering a new era—there's a million dollars on the line, the MPL is getting started, events like this Invitational are bringing top players together. What does that mean to you as a Magic player? I view this as a real chance for me to make it on the big stage. I know everyone views me as a nobody, but this is a chance to prove that I belong.
There are professionals, amateurs, and influencers playing in the Mythic Invitational. What does it mean to play with this diverse range of competitors? It's amazing. I am excited to meet some of my favorite players and content creators—and to beat them, of course!
Do you have any rivals at this tournament? Wyatt Darby is both a friend and a rival.
What is your favorite card in Standard? Runaway Steam-Kin
Are you going to PAX East with anyone? I am inviting Robert Taylor along. He is a friend and also puts a ton of work into promoting competitive Magic in the Midwest area.

Teruya "witch" Kakumae

Twitter: @fushiginokunin5
Hometown: Osaka, Japan
Playstyle: I like decks that attack.
Non-Magic Interests: I cannot imagine this.
Non-Magic Fun Facts: I listen to music and go to café shops.
Do you play Magic with anyone on a regular basis? I practice with team Musashi before every major event.
When did you start playing Magic? I started in 2002.
How did you first get into Magic? I bought some cards with my friends at a card shop.
When did you start playing MTG Arena? I started around the beginning of February.
What was your first competitive Magic tournament? Friday Night Magic
What event or finish has meant the most to you over your career? Being at the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
What is the most important thing that Magic has brought you? Good friends
Magic is entering a new era—there's a million dollars on the line, the MPL is getting started, events like this Invitational are bringing top players together. What does that mean to you as a Magic player? I would like to aim for being an MPL competitor.
There are professionals, amateurs, and influencers playing in the Mythic Invitational. What does it mean to play with this diverse range of competitors? I think it became possible to enjoy the game with various competitors.
Do you have any rivals at this tournament? No, but anyway, I think that it would be good to find such a competitor.
What is your favorite card in Standard? Risk Factor
Are you going to PAX East with anyone? No

Taiju "adver" Sugiyama

Twitter: @advers5
Hometown: Hokkaido, Japan
Playstyle: Casual Commander
Non-Magic Interests: I go to graduate school.
Do you play Magic with anyone on a regular basis? Graduate school student friends
When did you start playing Magic? Dragons of Tarkir
How did you first get into Magic? Invited by a friend
When did you start playing MTG Arena? During the Open Beta
What was your first competitive Magic tournament? This is the first.
What event or finish has meant the most to you over your career? Participating in the Mythic Championship
What is the most important thing that Magic has brought you? Participating in this event
Magic is entering a new era—there's a million dollars on the line, the MPL is getting started, events like this Invitational are bringing top players together. What does that mean to you as a Magic player? It means that amateur players like me will be given equal opportunities.
There are professionals, amateurs, and influencers playing in the Mythic Invitational. What does it mean to play with this diverse range of competitors? It's a challenge
Do you have any rivals at this tournament? No
What is your favorite card in Standard? Goblin Chainwhirler
Are you going to PAX East with anyone? No

Zachary "zkiihne" Kiihne

Twitter: @zkiihne
Hometown: Amherst, Massachusetts, US
Playstyle: I play to leverage my board position and the cards I have in hand right now. I love cards like History of Benalia; Chandra, Torch of Defiance; and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar that push your opponent into awkward positions on their own, are hard to answer, and present a very fast clock.
Non-Magic Interests: I am a Computer Science and Economics major at Umass Amherst. I graduate in May.
Non-Magic Fun Facts: I am a Peer Mentor in a 22-story freshmen dorm
Do you play Magic with anyone on a regular basis? My biggest testing partners are Evan Whitehouse, Bobby Fortanely, and Chris Turnbull. They, along with a whole host of other friends, help me test and discuss decks.
When did you start playing Magic? Summer of 2008 soon after Morningtide's release
How did you first get into Magic? My friend showed me the game with a Shadowmoor intro deck
When did you start playing MTG Arena? When the Closed Beta came out
What was your first competitive Magic tournament? Grand Prix Boston 2010
What event or finish has meant the most to you over your career? My first Grand Prix Top 8, GP Providence 2016, where I went undefeated in the Swiss
What is the most important thing that Magic has brought you? An understanding of randomness and variance, both in a game context and a larger life context
Magic is entering a new era—there's a million dollars on the line, the MPL is getting started, events like this Invitational are bringing top players together. What does that mean to you as a Magic player? It means I need to step up my game. It is very clear that you need to be the best or you get nothing, there is no room for mediocrity.
There are professionals, amateurs, and influencers playing in the Mythic Invitational. What does it mean to play with this diverse range of competitors?
It means that I am not playing against an MPL member every round.
Do you have any rivals at this tournament? I am not good enough to have any rivals yet.
What is your favorite card in Standard?
History of Benalia
Are you going to PAX East with anyone? Evan Whitehouse

Thiago "bolov0" Saporito

Twitter: @bolov0
Hometown: Santo Andre, Brazil
Playstyle: I like to be aggressive.
Non-Magic Interests: I sleep.
Non-Magic Fun Facts: Nothing else
Do you play Magic with anyone on a regular basis? No. We have a Skype call that me and my friends use sometimes.
How did you first get into Magic? My brother used to play with his friends at school, so he introduced me to the game.
What was your first competitive Magic tournament? Brazil Nationals 2006
What event or finish has meant the most to you over your career? Top 4 at Pro Tour 25th Anniversary with Carlos Romão and Márcio Carvalho
What is the most important thing that Magic has brought you? My friends, for sure.
Magic is entering a new era—there's a million dollars on the line, the MPL is getting started, events like this Invitational are bringing top players together. What does that mean to you as a Magic player? I'm frustrated at not being part of the Magic Pro League, but will be trying my best to get into the MPL for next year.
There are professionals, amateurs, and influencers playing in the Mythic Invitational. What does it mean to play with this diverse range of competitors? Happiness! Probably one of the most fun tournaments I have ever qualified for.
Do you have any rivals at this tournament? No
What is your favorite card in Standard? Godless Shrine
Are you going to PAX East with anyone? No

We're excited to kick off our high-level Magic: The Gathering Arena play featuring 64 of the best players in the world, popular streamers, gamers, and personalities all competing for their share of $1 million and a $250,000 first prize.

Our coverage team for the event will be announced soon, and you'll be able to follow all the action live from PAX East March 28–31. We'll be streaming on twitch.tv/magic beginning at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday morning, but if you don't speak English, or you'd like to hear things from a different angle, we've got another option for you as well.

Co-Streaming

We're trying something new with the Mythic invitational on Twitch. Streamers will be able to co-stream the official Mythic Invitational feed on their own Twitch channel between March 28–31!

Following Twitch's Content Sharing Guidelines, you can co-stream the PAX East Mythic Invitational from twitch.tv/magic using OBS or XSplit. This allows anyone on Twitch to be able to cover the event in their voice and with their community. To be clear, co-streamed content is not endorsed by Wizards. And we expect anyone who participates in co-streaming to follow Wizards' Fan Content Policy. If all goes well with this test, we hope to do this at future competitive events!

Our hope is that this open policy encourages more regionalized viewing options and gives creators the ability to convey information to their community in their voice. We do plan to work with select regional creators to make sure they are set up for success to co-stream to their local communities, with commentary in their own languages.

While we hope twitch.tv/magic is your go-to place to tune in to the Mythic Invitational, more viewing options on Twitch is always better. We look forward to seeing how creators take advantage of this feature.

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