The second Mythic Championship of the season began with more than 500 players battling along the Thames River in London, and after two days of fierce competition that was Prerelease-meets-Mythic Championship we have narrowed the field down the Top 8.
It was an event of firsts. The War of the Spark debut at the event, the "London Mulligan," exchanging lists before playing - it was a weekend of trying new things, and the players who did the best were the ones who could adapt. Here are the highlights that stood out to us from Day 2.
From Around the Floor
WIth War of the Spark making its debut at the Mythic Championship, it's to be expected that not everyone would be familiar with the new, planeswalker-laden format. But no one quite saw this coming.
In what I think is a PT/MC first, my opponent did his first EVER draft on day two of a Pro Tour. #MythicChampionshipII— Nick Prince (@nicknprince) April 27, 2019
Flight issues led to a missed draft, but a 4-1 finish in Modern does get you into Day 2, after all.
There's Something Peculiar About the Cats Today
In Draft Pod 1, easily the sweetest deck was assembled by MPL member Jean-Emmanuel Depraz.
Featuring four Charmed Stray alongside three Ajani's Pridemate and plenty of proliferate cards, it looked like an absolute blast to play. One Charmed Stray would boost the other, then swing in to put a +1/+1 counter on Ajani's Pridemate, and eventually Huatli's Raptor or another proliferate card would make the Cats get out of hand completely.
It was a rare sight to see this many Cats in a single draft. On average, there's only 2.4 copies of any common in a draft, and the probability of seeing four or more (assuming independence) is only about 21%. The probability of seeing 3 Ajani's Pridemate is even lower. With that in mind, it was a delight to see Depraz put together this unusual draft deck and pilot it to a 2-1 record. Indeed, the brand-new War of the Spark Limited format is filled with possibilities.
Mwonvuli Acid-Moss Doing Work
Coming into this event, the London mulligan rule was on everyone's mind. The experimental rule says that when you mulligan for the Nth time, you draw 7 cards and put N cards back onto the bottom, which can reduces the amount of non-games. However, it also increases the consistency of decks that require certain combinations of cards, such as Tron.
So it did not come as a surprise that Tron was the most-popular archetype in both Day 1 and Day 2. As many as 41 players (12.8% of the Day 2 metagame) were trying to cast Karn Liberated on turn 3 during the Modern rounds today, sometimes going down to 3 or 4 cards in search of one copy of each Urza land.
Meanwhile, there was only a single player in Day 2 who was playing Mwonvuli Acid-Moss: Thien Nguyen. The spell could not only ramp him into Primeval Titan or Scapeshift, but it also proved to be excellent interaction against the most popular deck in the room.
Those 3 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss—there were more copies in his main deck than in the rest of the entire tournament combined—proved to be very well-positioned indeed. After 16 rounds of Swiss, Nguyen stood on top of the standings and advanced to the Top 8 as the first seed.
Two Tron Decks and Three Humans Decks in the Top 8
The Top 8 players and their decks were:
- Thien Nguyen (TitanShift)
- Eli Loveman (Humans)
- Alexander Hayne (Tron)
- Brian Braun-Duin (Humans)
- Adrian Zhu (Tron)
- Chris Kvartek (Humans)
- Javier Dominguez (Izzet Phoenix)
- Matt Sperling (Affinity)
The Human tribe did very well in particular. The Modern win rate of all Human players—yes, all competitors were humans, but we're trying to refer to the deck—was 54.3%. Izzet Phoenix also seemed to have been a good deck choice for the event, as it posted a 52.7% win rate during the Modern rounds. So seeing these decks in the Top 8 was not a surprise.
The two Tron decks in the Top 8 was a bit of a surprise, however. The deck gained a lot from the London mulligan rule, but it also had a target on its back, and many opponents brought cards like Damping Sphere or Alpine Moon (or Mwonvuli Acid-Moss) to stop the Urzatron from successfully assembling. Likely because of this, the deck posted a below-average 47.7% win rate during the Modern rounds overall. Still, with Adrian Zhu and Alexander Hayne at the helm, two copies of the deck reached the Top 8.
First Mythic Championship Top 8 for Brian Braun-Duin
It's been six years in the making, but BBD finally did it. As someone who hasn't been afraid to embrace his failures, it's hard to overstate how momentous an accomplishment this was for the longtime grinder-turned-MPL member, and he was still in slight disbelief following the handshake in Round 16 that locked him for his first Mythic Championship Top 8.
"It's crazy," he marveled. "There have been events where I test more than 97% of the field and then go 8-8. I've played a million matches with Humans, but I didn't do too much testing for Modern."
For the 2016 World Champion, it's another huge milestone in his career. He's truly ascended to the top of the game, and now the Sunday Mythic Championship stage awaits him.