It's Mythic Championship Time, which means it's also predictions time! As has become tradition here on CoolStuffInc.com, I am here on the eve of the Mythic Championship with my big five predictions as to how the event is going to go.
This predictions article is going to be a little different than usual, as for this Mythic Championship Wizards of the Coast has released all the decklists to the public earlier this week. While pragmatically I'm a bit biased, as this takes a little of the juice away from my predictions articles (which are usually metagame-prediction based), I'm not thrilled with this change. A big part of the excitement of tuning into Pro Tour coverage is sort of a Christmas Morning feeling of opening Twitch and seeing what the format looks like as matches and results start to trickle in. I think having players submit lists early so the coverage team can have a good handle on everything and produce excellent deck techs and rundowns is great, but releasing it early in the week feels off.
But I digress; we've got predictions to make!
As we already have our metagame breakdown I'm going to be focusing more on how I think specific decks and cards are going to perform. One nice benefit to this Mythic Championship is that it's all Constructed, so there's no draft portion to muck up predictions. Let's go!
Prediction One: Field Of The Dead Decks Will Have A Sub-50% Win Rate
It is unfortunate that Mythic Championship V will be played under the shadow of Golos, Tireless Pilgrim and Field of the Dead. Over 40% of the field has registered some version of Golos Field, which is an absolutely astounding metagame share for a Standard Pro Tour. As we've seen in the previous weeks, the Golos Field deck is so powerful and resilient that it seems resistant to hate, and frankly there isn't really much that could be considered "hate" in the format to begin with.
Bant Golos | Eldraine Standard | Brian Braun-Duin, Mythic Championship V
- Creatures (14)
- 1 Kenrith, the Returned King
- 1 Realm-Cloaked Giant
- 2 Agent of Treachery
- 3 Arboreal Grazer
- 3 Hydroid Krasis
- 4 Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
- Planeswalkers (2)
- 2 Teferi, Time Raveler
- Lands (30)
- 1 Plains
- 2 Forest
- 2 Island
- 1 Azorius Guildgate
- 1 Blossoming Sands
- 1 Castle Garenbrig
- 1 Castle Vantress
- 1 Izzet Guildgate
- 1 Orzhov Guildgate
- 1 Plaza of Harmony
- 1 Selesnya Guildgate
- 1 Simic Guildgate
- 1 Temple of Malady
- 1 Temple of Mystery
- 1 Thornwood Falls
- 1 Tranquil Cove
- 2 Breeding Pool
- 2 Fabled Passage
- 2 Hallowed Fountain
- 2 Temple Garden
- 4 Field of the Dead
It sucks too because both Golos, Tireless Pilgrim and Field of the Dead are actually pretty fun Magic cards, but the issue is there's just too many good things happening around them. Growth Spiral has become one of the most important cards in the format, while Hydroid Krasis is such an absurd plan B it feels more like a plan 1A. Throw in the best Wrath of Gods in the format alongside some of the best planeswalkers in the format with a mana base that can cast any answer in Standard and you've got yourself a real mess.
However, it's not like this wasn't known going in.
Players are here to either play Golos Field or beat it and it's not hard to see how the metagame has skewed so hard toward beating it. Maindeck Disdainful Strokes, huge Embercleave attacks, fast Agent of Treachery... Nobody is coming to Mythic Championship V to lose to Golos Field.
This fact, along with the huge number of players playing the deck, will have the overall numbers come in with a sub 50% win rate. The deck will still do well, but there will be many more failures than successes.
Prediction Two: There Will Be At Least Four Maindeck Disdainful Stroke In Top 8
As soon as I saw the version of Simic Food that Reid Duke, Kai Budde, William Jensen, Andrew Cuneo, Gabriel Nassif, and Shahar Shenhar submitted for the Mythic Championship, I was sure that at least one of them was going to Top 8.
Simic Food | Eldraine Standard | Reid Duke, Mythic Championship V
- Creatures (20)
- 1 Maraleaf Pixie
- 1 Paradise Druid
- 2 Leafkin Druid
- 4 Gilded Goose
- 4 Hydroid Krasis
- 4 Questing Beast
- 4 Wicked Wolf
Oko is just silly, with numbers so big a first grader can't even add them up. While he has played second fiddle to Golos Field taking all the headlines, there's no doubt that Oko is one of the most powerful cards in the format. Being surrounded with a shell of Standards greatest hits like Nissa, Who Shakes The World, Hydroid Krasis, Questing Beast, Gilded Goose, Once Upon A Time, and more puts together a phenomenally powerful deck. The big question of course, is "can it beat Golos Field?"
And their answer is putting FOUR copies of Disdainful Stroke into their maindeck, essentially presideboarding for a matchup they'll be seeing over and over again. Disdainful Stroke is still fine against most of the other decks around, and the rest of the deck is so good that it can power through even when Disdainful Stroke is dead.
This is the sort of metagaming that a small field tournament brings and it is brilliant. A few other players playing Simic Food are playing a couple of maindeck Disdainful Strokes, and I expect them all to have a phenomenal weekend.
Prediction Three: Ken Yukuhiro Has The Best Deck In The Room And Will Top 8
Ken Yukuhiro has registered a Modern deck for the Standard Mythic Championship.
Dino Blade | Eldraine Standard | Ken Yukuhiro, Mythic Championship V
- Creatures (28)
- 4 Acclaimed Contender
- 4 Blacklance Paragon
- 4 Fervent Champion
- 4 Inspiring Veteran
- 4 Knight of the Ebon Legion
- 4 Rimrock Knight
- 4 Rotting Regisaur
His deck is powerful and linear, with a very clear plan of action that can win the game on turn four. Not only that, but Ken has adhered to the central tenant of Modern deck selection - play the most powerful thing that people aren't prepared for. Everyone is worried about Field of the Dead and Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, Ken just wants to make something big and get people dead.
While the deck is listed by coverage as Mardu Knights and the deck does sport a mostly knight creature base as well as knight-themed equipment in Steelclaw Lance, this is really an Embercleave plus Rotting Regisaur deck that has more in common with Modern Infect than Modern Humans. Play some creatures, make your opponent deal with them, then put an Embercleave on your Rotting Regisaur and attack for 16. Then do it again, and again, and again.
A few other players are playing more normal looking Mardu Knights, but I'm convinced that Ken Yukuhiro has the best deck in the room for this exact tournament. It's pretty tough to call for a deck to make Top 8 when only one player is playing it as Magic can be volatile, but that's exactly what I'm doing.
Prediction Four: There Will Be More Copies Of Embercleave In Top 8 Than Fires Of Invention
Ken's deck is a part of the larger story that is the coming out party of Embercleave.
Both spot removal and Teferi, Time Raveler aren't effective against Golos Field, which means that numbers of both are down across the board. This opens up new opportunities, and Embercleave is quite the payoff for such lack of interaction.
Aside from Ken's deck, a number of players have registered Embercleave in their Gruul Aggro decks, once again looking to take down as many Golos Field decks as they can. Embercleave looks very nice on Questing Beast, as even if they can block it deathtouch means you only need to assign one damage to the blocker and the rest can go to the face. Gruul also gets to add Collision // Colossus to the equation as well!
Jund Embercleave | Eldriane Standard | Caleb Durward, Mythic Championship V
- Creatures (29)
- 1 Shifting Ceratops
- 4 Bonecrusher Giant
- 4 Growth-Chamber Guardian
- 4 Gruul Spellbreaker
- 4 Rix Maadi Reveler
- 4 Rotting Regisaur
- 4 Skarrgan Hellkite
- 4 Questing Beast
- Instants (3)
- 3 Collision // Colossus
- Sorceries (1)
- 1 Legion's End
- Artifacts (3)
- 3 Embercleave
Prediction Five: The Ban Hammer Is Coming
Sign, Play Design team... why have you forsaken us?
We previously announced the next B&R date as Nov. 18. After further reflection on the (very busy) competitive gaming schedule and discussion on implementation windows with our digital teams, we are shifting that next announcement to Oct. 21.— Magic Esports (@MagicEsports) October 9, 2019
Wizards of the Coast has announced that they're going to have a "sooner than expected" Banned and Restricted announcement this coming Monday, and frankly it is extremely unlikely they would do this without banning something.
It's been a rough year power level wise for Magic.
Planeswalkers just keep getting cheaper, harder to kill, and more omnipresent, while Field of the Dead runs rampant. They also just keep printing very powerful artifact enablers and payoffs into a format where Mox Opal is somehow still a legal Magic card. Pushing limits is good, but consistently hitting those limits is getting frustrating.
Banning cards is bad for Magic as a whole. It damages consumer confidence and makes people not want to buy cards because they fear they're just going to get banned. However, broken formats are even worse; the ban hammer is coming.
Field of the Dead is a safe, simple ban of a non-face card that is currently running wild. Mox Opal has been living on borrowed time forever and it feels like that time is up. Maybe Arcum's Astrolabe goes in Pauper too?
Whatever the specifics are, the hammer will fall Monday.
Enter The Arena
The MTG Arena Mythic Championships have been great so far, with phenomenal coverage and an esports feel. I expect this to continue with Mythic Championship V, despite the less than ideal metagame breakdown.
I also hope that Wizards of the Coast has the program up to snuff so we don't see any of the lag players are experiencing online on the big screen. With Riot announcing their new card game and many other competitors in the mist, this is the time that Magic needs to shine.
Will my predictions hold? We shall see!