Highlights of Mythic Championship IV Day 1

Posted in Event Coverage on July 26, 2019

By Corbin Hosler

Almost 500 players arrived in Barcelona to compete in Mythic Championship IV, and the battlefield would be Modern, a format that has undergone seismic shifts over the last several months and still wasn't sorted out entering the weekend. From individual stories – including a 13-year-old who qualified via a Legacy tournament – to the Team Series to the World Champion's pool, Mythic Championship IV had it all on Day 1.

Modern Horizons is Back

Okay, it may never have really been gone, but Modern Horizons again took center stage this weekend, as players drafted the set for the first three rounds of the Mythic Championship. There were snow lands aplenty, plus a few unexpected wrinkles from the format.

But it wasn't just Limited where Modern Horizons made its presence felt. The Modern metagame has been forever changed by the set, and it made for a weekend of extremely powerful decks. Speaking of which...

The Modern Metagame

There's no way around it: Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis is back with a vengeance. Neither the banning of Bridge from Below nor the abundance of Leyline of the Void this weekend (it was the most-played card of the tournament) was enough to keep a good ‘gaak down. Even Magic Pro League member Reid Duke, the master of Jund, chose to sleeve up Hogaak and Faithless Looting this weekend over his trusty Tarmogoyfs and new toys like Wrenn and Six.

The field is well-prepared for Hogaak, and it remains to be seen how it holds up as we move into Day 2.

Below Hogaak are a host of familiar archetypes: Izzet Phoenix (with new addition Aria of Flame), Eldrazi Tron, Humans,- White-Blue Control and Jund. All came in with at least 8% of the field, well ahead of the rest of the pack.

But this is Modern – even at the highest level of player you'll find brews, and that was certainly the case in Barcelona. Take Jim Davis, for instance, who brought Goblins to the tournament.

Jim Davis' Goblins

That was just the tip of the iceberg. Quest for the Holy Relic was represented, and multiple players showed up with Sram, Senior Artificer Cheerios combo. Two players brought Merfolk, and there were even several "Snowshift" decks, jamming a snow package including Ice-Fang Coatl into Scapeshift decks.

Modern's Origins Meet Its Future

Samuele Estratti will forever hold a special place in Magic history: he won the first-ever Pro Tour/Mythic Championship for Modern. The year was 2011 and the tournament was in Philadelphia. A brand-new format with endless possibilities, the top decks were comprised largely of cards that now reside on Modern's banlist. But the tournament proved that Estratti – and the format – had the chops.


Estratti was back in action in Barcelona, playing the format he helped to define with his 2011 Pro Tour Philadelphia victory.

Modern, of course, went on to become one of Magic's most popular ways to play, and Estratti's victory also helped kick off the careers of Nate Holt and Shawn Kornhauser, who would eventually go on to create the Enter the Battlefield documentary that was narrated by Wil Wheaton and aired on Netflix.

 

Estratti has since moved away from playing Magic professionally, but he was in attendance competing in Barcelona this weekend. His opponent midway through Day 1 was just learning to read when Estratti won that tournament, and at just 13 years old, Milan Bhayana was by far the youngest competitor in the field. The wunderkind qualified for the Mythic Championship via a Legacy MCQ at MagicFest Niagara Falls earlier this year, and he came to Spain with his trust Jund deck, completely unaware of whom he was squaring off against.

 

Estratti emerged victorious from their match, and Bhayana dropped soon afterward. But he considered his first Mythic Championship an unequivocal success.

"It's been a lot of fun, which is the important thing," he explained. "I'm in Spain, so I'll probably spend the rest of the weekend seeing the city because there's so much to do here. And I'll be in Richmond playing last chance qualifiers for the next Mythic Championship!"

World Champ Running Hot

It's hot in Spain, and the Mythic Championship is heating up as well. But that doesn't mean reigning world champion Javier Dominguez isn't having some fun with coverage cooling off. After a 6-2 finish (5-0 in the Modern rounds with Izzet Phoenix), Dominguez is already running hot. No matter how the rest of the tournament goes, he's enjoying competing in front of his friends and family in his hometown.

Hocquemiller and Santos Lead the Way

After three rounds of Modern Horizons draft and five rounds of Modern play, two players emerged undefeated: France's Arnaud Hocquemiller (White-Blue Control) and Bernardo Santos (Hogaak) sit atop the leaderboard at 8-0 and 7-0-1, respectively. We'll be back tomorrow with eight more rounds of play as we march toward the Top 8 here at Mythic Championship IV!

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