Mythic Championship II is right on our doorstep and with it a few different levels of excitement. Modern has been one of Magic's most beloved formats for years now and will once again be on the big stage, while we're also all excited to see how the London Mulligan plays out in the real world.
As has become tradition, I am here once again to provide my predictions for the Mythic Championship. Historically I've done pretty well with these, so let's get right to it!
Prediction One: Izzet Phoenix Will Perform Poorly Overall
You can't talk about Modern without talking about Izzet Phoenix.
For the last few months Izzet Phoenix has sat firmly on top of the Modern metagame, putting up numbers and percentages not often seen in typically "wide open" Modern metagame breakdowns. The deck is powerful, consistent, and it's gotten to the point where people aren't calling a judge when they get hit by maindeck Surgical Extraction.
Now with the Mythic Championship looming, Izzet Phoenix is in for a rude awakening. The metagame has been slowly adapting for weeks, but you can bet that every player in the room in London is going to have properly prepared for Izzet Phoenix. We've been seeing more copies of Chalice of the Void, more clean answers to Thing in the Ice, and more creatures that don't fold to a Lightning Bolt. Furthermore the Izzet Phoenix decks are starting to get more inbred, now relying more heavily on their graveyard for cards like Pyromancer's Ascension to gain an edge in the mirror but becoming more vulnerable to graveyard hate that they were previously good at circumventing.
The London Mulligan rule isn't doing Izzet Phoenix any favors either, as the deck rarely mulligans. Izzet Phoenix is built on the consistency that comes with playing a boatload of one-mana cantrips. It's more concerned with volume than finding specific cards; that's what the cantrips are for. Many of the decks that are either close or favored against Izzet Phoenix utilize the London Mulligan much more effectively, giving them an edge they didn't have before.
Izzet Phoenix will still be heavily played and some players will find success with it, but on the whole the deck will not perform above average.
Prediction Two: Tron Will Be One Of The Top Three Most Played Decks
I've talked a lot about Tron lately for a number of reasons, most of which is that it is very well positioned in Modern right now after a period of inactivity.
Tron boasts a good matchup against both Izzet Phoenix and decks that try to beat it like Golgari Midrange. Tron also does well against all but the best Dredge hands while turn three Karn can always swing the harder matchups. This isn't really a secret anymore, as Tron has been putting up serious numbers recently.
But that's not all!
The new London Mulligan rule is amazing for Tron, as Tron aggressively mulligans more than any other modern deck. Tron is a deck concerned with assembling a small subset of cards; superfluous copies of extra Tron lands or payoffs just aren't needed. Now those five and four card hands will be much cleaner, meaning turn three Tron with a payoff a lot more often.
Tron will certainly be well prepared for, but the power level alongside good matchups and the allure of the London Mulligan will be too much to resist for many. It won't necessarily put up outstanding results, but there will be a lot of Urza's Towers registered in London.
Prediction Three: There Will Be A Devoted Druid Combo Deck In Top Eight
On Monday I played a unique and inventive take on the Devoted Druid combo deck, utilizing Chalice of the Void and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben to help deal with fair matchups while threatening a turn two kill with Devoted Druid.
Druid Prison Combo | Modern | parabol336 | 5-0 MTGO League
- Creatures (38)
- 1 Ezuri, Renegade Leader
- 1 Kataki, War's Wage
- 1 Kor Firewalker
- 1 Selfless Spirit
- 1 Walking Ballista
- 2 Eternal Witness
- 2 Knight of Autumn
- 2 Scavenging Ooze
- 2 Sin Collector
- 2 Tireless Tracker
- 3 Duskwatch Recruiter
- 4 Devoted Druid
- 4 Militia Bugler
- 4 Simian Spirit Guide
- 4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
- 4 Vizier of Remedies
- Sorceries (2)
- 2 Postmortem Lunge
- Artifacts (4)
- 4 Chalice of the Void
As a longtime naysayer of the Devoted Druid combo decks, this deck really impressed me.
The innovation of adapting Chalice of the Void, one of the better cards in the format right now, into a deck that can kill very quickly is already nice, but the fact that it serves to protect your combo from troublesome cards like Path to Exile, Fatal Push, and Lightning Bolt is fantastic. These sorts of removal spells are what always kept Devoted Druid down, and having Chalice of the Void, and to a lesser extent Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, to fight back against those deck is awesome.
This deck also plays nicely with the London Mulligan, as it is a deck looking to assemble a two card combo that doesn't require a bunch of mana. It also plays well against other linear decks, as it can either kill on turn two or three or just slow people down with Chalice of the Void and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben.
I don't know if it will be this exact deck, but there will be a Devoted Druid in top 8 of the Mythic Championship.
Prediction Four: There Will Be At Least One Copy of Kaya, Orzhov Usurper In Top 8
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper was initially laughed at when first previewed. She didn't seem to do anything besides maybe gaining a few life here and there. Then people started to actually put her into decks, and realized that three mana is very inexpensive for a planeswalker and one-mana permanents are really important.
She's done some good work in Standard, but now she's starting to branch out into older formats where graveyards are even more important and one-mana permanents are often the most important cards in their decks. Amulet of Vigor, Hardened Scales, Aether Vial, Goblin Guide, Glistener Elf, Champion of the Parish, Death's Shadow... the list goes on and on of important one-mana permanents in Modern, and Kaya can exile three of them without ever taking a turn off to plus. That's really good!
Kaya recently went all the way to the finals of SCG Cleveland in the hands of Zach Allen's Esper Control deck, but what impresses me about Kaya is her flexibility. You can play her in control, in something like Abzan Midrange, Lantern Control, or any other deck with a fair slant.
Kaya's great and she will pop up somewhere!
Prediction Five: There Will Be More Copies of Ancient Stirrings In Top Eight Than Faithless Looting
With Izzet Phoenix so popular and Dredge nipping at its heels all the talk lately has been about Faithless Looting.
"Is Faithless Looting too good?"
"Should Faithless Looting be banned?"
It is time for Ancient Stirrings to rise. Faithless Looting decks are currently under fire, as graveyard hate masses and players prepare to handle cheap spells fueling Arclight Phoenix and Prized Amalgam. Decks like Tron and Amulet Titan are stepping in as metagame answers to these decks, and big mana is poised to have a great weekend for another reason.
Dredge notwithstanding, the London Mulligan is just better for Ancient Stirrings decks than it is for Faithless Looting decks. Faithless Looting decks are usually predicated on volume rather than specific cards, as they want the most material available to power their Faithless Lootings and don't need to mulligan much. Ancient Stirrings decks are usually looking to assemble a small combination of cards and do something powerful, meaning they mulligan great and use the London Mulligan rule well.
It's going to be an Ancient Stirrings weekend in London.
Now War Is Declared And Battle Come Down
The London Mulligan is a big change to the core of Magic, so getting to see it on the big stage being stress tested by the best in the world is a great way to see if it can be broken or not.
While I am currently on vacation on a cruise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I can't wait to get home Sunday and see how the Mythic Championship is shaping up. What decks are doing well, if anyone broke the London Mulligan. But most importantly I'll also want to see how well my predictions did!