Mythic Championship I Day Two Metagame Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on February 23, 2019

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

Day One of the 2019 Mythic Championship I in Cleveland painted a clear picture of players' Standard Constructed deck choices: Sultai Midrange, Esper Control, Nexus of Fate decks, and two flavors of aggressive strategies—white-based and Mono-Blue Tempo—all dominated.

Here's the picture for Day Two:

Archetype Day One Count Day One % Day Two Count Day Two % % Conversion
Sultai Midrange 107 21.50% 68 21.60% 63.60%
Nexus of Fate 71 14.30% 51 16.20% 71.80%
White Aggro 62 12.40% 42 13.30% 67.70%
Mono-Blue Tempo 60 12.00% 36 11.40% 60.00%
Esper Control 45 9.00% 29 9.20% 64.40%
Izzet Drakes 30 6.00% 13 4.10% 43.30%
Red Aggro 28 5.60% 17 5.40% 60.70%
Rakdos Midrange 18 3.60% 9 2.90% 50.00%
Selesnya Tokens 10 2.00% 7 2.20% 70.00%
Gruul Midrange 10 2.00% 8 2.50% 80.00%
Temur Reclamation 9 1.80% 7 2.20% 77.80%
Izzet Phoenix 7 1.40% 7 2.20% 100.00%
Esper Midrange 5 1.00% 4 1.30% 80.00%
Grixis Midrange 5 1.00% 2 0.60% 40.00%
Gates Midrange 4 0.80% 0 0.00% 0.00%
Mardu Aggro 4 0.80% 2 0.60% 50.00%
Abzan Angels 3 0.60% 1 0.30% 33.30%
Golgari Midrange 3 0.60% 2 0.60% 66.70%
Merfolk 3 0.60% 1 0.30% 33.30%
Simic Midrange 3 0.60% 1 0.30% 33.30%
Bant Midrange 2 0.40% 1 0.30% 50.00%
Dimir Midrange 2 0.40% 2 0.60% 100.00%
Jund Midrange 2 0.40% 1 0.30% 50.00%
Dimir Tempo 1 0.20% 0 0.00% 0.00%
Jeskai Control 1 0.20% 1 0.30% 100.00%
Jeskai Drakes 1 0.20% 1 0.30% 100.00%
Naya Midrange 1 0.20% 0 0.00% 0.00%
Orzhov Midrange 1 0.20% 1 0.30% 100.00%
Sultai Reclamation 1 0.20% 1 0.30% 100.00%
TOTAL 499 100.00% 315 100.00%  

While a player's conversion to Day Two is also influenced by their Day One draft, Constructed weighs heavier and matters more in the run up to Top 8. And from the day-over-day conversion we glean a few takeaways.

The top five strategies performed well on Day One. While there are obvious differences between Sultai Midrange, Nexus of Fate, and aggressive decks, the five major archetypes players brought this weekend—spanning control, midrange, aggro, and combo if you consider Nexus of Fate that way—all did what they were meant to: succeed. Thanks to MTG Arena and plenty of time for large tournaments, the format is mature and the most successful strategies are known. There are few surprises at the top tables this weekend, but nobody was expecting any anyway.

Izzet Drakes looks on the way out. In addition to being only six percent of the Day One field, Izzet Drakes underperformed compared to other major strategies. Blue is in a strong position overall thanks to efficient counterspells like Negate and Spell Pierce, but the Izzet combination of Drakes and spells isn't holding up against a wall of prepared midrange and control decks with faster aggressive decks coming underneath.

However, Izzet Phoenix is on the rise. Unlike Izzet Drakes, Izzet Phoenix leans into Arclight Phoenix package to leverage plenty of spells. The explosive starts and recursive nature of the Phoenix give that deck an edge against removal that just isn't in the Izzet Drake package. The issue with Izzet Drakes isn't being Izzet, but needing a little more against the Mythic Championship field.

Nexus of Fate decks and Temur Reclamation are edging ahead of the pack—kinda. While Grand Prix Memphis saw non–Nexus of Fate Wilderness Reclamation decks nearly disappear, they're back with a vengeance in Cleveland. And like in Memphis last weekend, one of the best ways to leverage Wilderness Reclamation is Nexus of Fate. Both styles of Wilderness Reclamation decks notched above-average conversion rates.

Simic, Bant, and Guildgate versions of Nexus of Fate decks all play out a little differently, but the winning combo feels the same: Land Wilderness Reclamation, begin taking extra turns with Nexus of Fate, and use those extra turns to attack with something big—Hydroid Krasis and Gate Colossus work great—as many times as needed. While Temur Reclamation decks aren't into extra turns, untapping a transformed Search for Azcanta to dig to counterspells or removal at the end of every turn adds up to a ton of value.

It's any deck's Top 8 to make. Even with favored picks by players, the biggest single deck is still just 20% of the metagame on Day Two. There's no clear path for any deck to Top 8, and given the stability of the composition of the field from Day One to Day Two it looks to be a broad mix of decks no matter how we get there.

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