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Five Mythic Championship Ravnica Allegiance Predictions


It's that time again!

When the Pro Tour... err I mean Mythic Championship rolls around, you know that you can look for my usual predictions article right beforehand. Overall we've done pretty well over the last few years:

  • Pro Tour Amonkhet - 3.5 out of 5
  • Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - 2.5 out of 5
  • Pro Tour Ixalan - 4 out of 5
  • Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan - 4 out of 5
  • Pro Tour Dominaria - 1 out of 5
  • Pro Tour 25th Anniversary - 3.5 out of 5
  • Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica - 3 out of 5

Of course we've got some different branding this time around, but let's be real -Mythic Championship events are just Pro Tours with a new, fancy name. The recent OP changes have been wild and exciting and I'm more than willing to learn some new nomenclature to help grow the game. My thoughts on the most recent changes can be found here.

But enough about the changes; call it what you want it is here and we've got predictions to make!

Prediction One: Sultai Midrange Will Put Up Temur Energy Numbers

Standard right now feels pretty great.

We've got a vibrant metagame with each of the four main macro archetypes represented (aggro, midrange, control, and combo), with each archetype jockeying for position each week. However the format is starting coalesce into about five or six distinct strategies, which means that the control and midrange decks get to do a much better job of adapting themselves and their answers.

Kraul Harpooner
Cry of the Carnarium

Sure, Mono-Blue Aggro is good against Sultai Midrange, but what about once they've got Kraul Harpooners? What happens when Esper Control plays a Thief of Sanity turn three after sideboarding, and the Sultai Player calmly responds with a Plaguecrafter? What happens when Adanto Vanguard and Tithe Taker meet Cry of the Carnarium? As Sultai Midrange has time to adapt, it can usually find the right answers among the three colors it plays.

Sultai Midrange is basically just Temur Energy.

A Green midrange deck that touches on Blue, Sultai Midrange has all of the tools necessary to overcome the aggressive creature decks and out grind the other value decks, with Negate and Duress in the sideboard for the control and combo decks. And the more it gets tuned, the better it gets.

Temur Energy and its variants were the scourge of Standard for a while, eventually leading to a ban. While I don't think Sultai Midrange is that good, I expect it to put up similar or better numbers to 23.6% metagame share Temur Energy had at Pro Tour Ixalan.

Prediction Two: There Will Be At Least One Copy Of Angrath, The Flame-Chained In Top 8

Okay, I know I know, the Temur Energy prediction is a scary one. Temur Energy ended up getting multiple cards banned in what was considered one of the worst stretches of Standard in history. So let's make a happier prediction; a much more metal prediction.

Angrath, the Flame-Chained

Angrath put on your metal face! It's time for the big show!

Angrath, the Flame-Chained is the classic "good card with no home." It lines up very well against Sultai Midrange, picking off annoying early creatures like Wildgrowth Walker and Jadelight Ranger, creating card advantage every turn, and turning huge Hydroid Krasis against their owners, while being solid in other areas too. The problem is there just aren't many established decks capable of casting it.

Enter Jody Keith.

Jody has been destroying everything in the past few weeks with his Rakdos Midrange deck, making Top 8 at SCG Tour Dallas and then following that up with a Grand Prix win in Memphis. That's quite a run!

While Jody has only one copy of Angrath, which resides tucked away in his sideboard, the card feels excellent for the archetype. Angrath is only really held back by an embarrassment of riches at the five man slot, with Siege-Gang Commander and The Eldest Reborn also earning their slots. Regardless, there's no denying that Rekindling Phoenix and friends have a serious place in this metagame, which means Angrath has room to shine.

There will be at least one minotaur making metal faces in Top 8!

Prediction Three: The Best Performing Nexus of Fate Deck Will Be Simic

What a polarizing card Nexus of Fate is.

Nexus of Fate

It's been decried as the current stain on the Standard format, denounced as unplayable, banned in best of one on MTG Arena, and one of the hottest topics since it's awkward, foil-only printing as a Buy-A-Box Promo. Still Nexus of Fate is alive and kicking in Standard and I think the general fear is that one of the pro teams is going to break it for the Mythic Championship. By far the scariest of the Nexus of Fate decks is the Simic Nexus deck.

While other Nexus of Fate decks feel like Standard decks, Simic Nexus feels more like a Modern deck.

This deck is downright terrifying when it gets going, which it gets to do with surprising speed and consistency. It's not messing around with planeswalkers or silly taplands, it just has a great mana base, maxes out on all the good cards, and has a very high chance to just winning the game when it resolves Wilderness Reclamation.

Memorial to Genius

Memorial to Genius is just a brilliant innovation, working the decks card draw engine seamlessly into its mana base effectively for free. While this is certainly a Search for Azcanta deck through and through, being able to have a card advantage source you don't need to actually resolve in addition to resolving Wilderness Reclamation is amazing.

This is the only Nexus of Fate deck that actively scares me.

Prediction Four: There Will Be Zero Copies Of Light Up The Stage In Top 8

One of the most interesting aspects of this Standard format has been the almost universal failure of aggressive Red decks.

Light Up the Stage
Skewer the Critics

There was tons of excitement (or fear, I suppose) surrounding aggressive Red decks with the coming of Ravnica Allegiance, as the spectacle mechanic on cards like Light Up The Stage and Skewer the Critics looked to be exactly what the doctor ordered. Hell, both cards have been making waves in Modern and even Legacy lately!

Yet things just haven't broken that way in Standard.

The other aggressive decks, White Aggro and Mono-Blue Aggro, tend to be either faster or more interactive, and with the Red Aggro decks needing to cut back on Goblin Chainwhirler because of how ineffective it is against Nexus of Fate decks and control decks things get even worse. The best deck in the format plays four copies of Wildgrowth Walker, and even the control decks tend to gain between six and eight life every game incidentally.

Furthermore, the one ultra-powerful card in the Mono-Red Aggro deck currently is caught in the crossfire. Almost all decks have a maindeck answer to Experimental Frenzy, while the ones that don't usually aren't interested in letting you have another turn.

Light Up The Stage is awesome, but the time isn't right.

Prediction Five: There Will Be A Tearjerker Sendoff For Brian David-Marshall

I've known Brian David-Marshall for almost fifteen years, all the way back to the times of Neutral Ground where I played my first Prerelease (Legions) and PTQ. For those unaware Neutral Ground was the Mecca of New York Magic, where many of the game's best players and hopefuls cut their teeth. Brian was the co-founder of Neutral Ground, and the fact that he is so well known without most people even knowing this speaks volumes to his contributions to the game.

Mythic Championship Ravnica Allegiance will be Brian's last event doing coverage.

Just seeing all the replies to Brian's tweet from all of the biggest names in the Magic community, from players, coverage, #WotCStaff, artists, and more, says all you need to know about how much of a contribution Brian has made to our game.

This is probably the easiest prediction I've ever had to make in any of my eight predictions articles.

There won't be a dry eye in the house Sunday evening, as I'm sure they're going to give Brian a fitting and well deserved send off. The above interview where Brian interviewed my good friend Christian Calcano about his long deserved first Pro Tour Top 8 was the only time I've cried during Magic coverage, as it was an all time great New York Magic moment.

I don't doubt there will be tears to shed Sunday evening as well.

Change Is The Only Constant

Mythic Championship Ravnica Allegiance is in many ways a new beginning, while also being a reminder that the only thing that we can count on in life is that things will change.

It's an exciting new page for professional Magic, and while the faces come and go I can't wait to see what the future holds. On the less important scale of "the future of the game" and "a Magic legend rides into the sunset," I hope I at least get a few of my predictions right too!

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