By Jason Parker
December 5, 2019
The MTG Arena Mythic Championship VII takes place this weekend! From December 6-8, Long Beach, California will be the battleground for the massive event featuring 68 players hoping to get a share of the $750,000 prize money. Sadly, I have had a hard time grinding back into Mythic.
But with these meta changes, it could be my time to push for it! But you aren’t here to listen to me talk about my Path to Greatness (™). We’re here to discuss the MTG Arena Mythic Championship VII! To take part in social media, of course, use the hashtag #MythicChampionshipVII.
The actual matches will be taking place on the MTG Twitch stream, so don’t miss out! Today I want to talk about a few important things. The major talking points are the amazing changes to the meta, popular decks, and who I think are going to batter their foes into insensibility. It’s not based so much on metrics, placements, or any of that.
This is a card game! I’m going with the Heart of the Cards (and decks I think are fun and interesting).
It’s been a hard year for MTG Arena players. We were overrun by the tyrannical dictator Oko, and the Fields of the Dead. There were decks and cards that absolutely ran over any chance of a fun, diverse meta. I’m all for ridiculous cards, but not when they overtake the whole of the game. So, this is the first Mythic Championship post-Oko ban.
Part of me was terrified. Would Fires of Invention be the new thing that has to be banned? Would 30-50% of decks be Fires? Thankfully, that’s not the case. Here are the top three most-played decks for the MTG Arena Mythic Championship VII:
That’s right, there’s no clear dominating force here. Any decktype has a real shot of winning, now that the Elk has left the forests. According to an infographic courtesy of Magic.GG, Jeskai Fires may be the most popular deck, but Jund Sacrifice was the most popular for the Magic Pro League players.
MTG Arena Mythic players tend to lean more towards Jeskai Fires. Why could that be? I think Fires, in general, has far more flexibility. Fires of Invention offers the most important thing: Mana Fixing. Fires of Invention lets you cast whatever, provided your lands add up to the converted mana cost. Want to cast a wild Cavalier? That’s in the cards now. Board Wipe? That’s also well within the realm of possibility.
For some reason, I thought Simic Flash would be higher in the amount played. Simic Flash makes up 6% of the field. 3 MPL Members and 1 Challenger took up the mantle of Flash Decks. It’s not the most powerful deck in the game right now, but it really makes people stop and consider every move they make. As long as a flash deck has mana open, and cards in hand, every single spell has a chance to be countered.
But what was the most picked card of the tournament? Now that is a fascinating thing. The top three cards are Forest, Island and Swamp. Mountain is at 7, and Plains didn’t even make the top 30! That tells me that White is in a pretty weak state right now. There are plenty of decks that have White in them, but they aren’t what makes the deck go.
The top played card that isn’t a land (#5) is Mystical Dispute, with 12 in the Main Board and 99 in the Sideboard. That’s incredible! Mystical Dispute is an incredible counterspell, too. With how many decks run blue right now, Mystical Dispute stands out. Normally a 3-cost counterspell, if it targets a blue spell, it loses the 2 colorless off the cost. Now it’s a 1-blue counterspell!
Having 99 copies across Sideboards is telling just how important countering blue shenanigans right now is. It’s also great to simply have for any color, but it’s strongest against blue. If that player taps 3 colorless mana, the countered spell goes through. In the late game it loses value, but is that necessarily true? Making your opponent tap three mana can hinder other plays and allow you to drop yet another counter in a pinch. Simply put, Mystical Dispute is amazing.
What’s the most picked card in the mainboard that isn’t a land? Why, it’s Casualties of War! Casualties of War is a 6-drop black/green sorcery that can absolutely level someone’s board. What does it do that’s so terrifying?
Choose one or more —
Did you have something useful on the board getting you victory after victory? Not anymore you don’t! This card is a mid to late game monster. I can’t tell you the amount of times someone fished for this card and removed any possibility I had of winning a game. There are some other really interesting statistics in the most-played cards.
Duress is in 2 Main Decks, and 86 Sideboards. Duress is a 1-drop discard spell in Black, and it also gives you a look at your opponent’s hand. This is especially great in MTG Arena when you don’t have to take time to write down cards. Once it’s visible, it’s visible.
Two creatures feature very highly in the runnings, too. That’s Bonecrusher Giant (78, 7) and Lovestruck Beast (36, 47). Lovestruck Beast is more balanced across Main/Side Boards though. Perhaps this is because Lovestruck Beast is an amazing turn-1 play. Now your opponent must answer that 1/1 creature or start dealing with a 5/5 in but a few turns.
Bonecrusher Giant, on the other hand, has an Adventure that deals 2 damage. In addition, damage can’t be prevented this turn. There aren’t a lot of fog effects in the meta right now, so that’s less relevant. But the ability to ping a creature for 2 and blow up early game momentum is not to be underestimated.
Plus, the Bonecrusher Giant is a 5/4 for 3, and that’s brutal. The first even remotely white spell in the top 30 goes to #20, Teferi, Time Raveler. He’s in 71 decks, showing the power of the Superfriends. It’s really fascinating that he’s the only white spell in the top 30 most-played cards of Mythic Arena. It seems like white cards are really low demand at this moment.
What I’d like to know, is how this will affect card development going into 2020. It’s very clear what the most powerful colors right now are.
With 68 players spanning the Magic Pro League and Mythic Challengers, there is a variety of players competing in the MTG Arena Mythic Championship VII. Really, anyone can win. Just because you have won tons of MPL matches doesn’t guarantee victory here. It does, however, show that you as a player know about what to keep, what to mulligan, and ideal moves to make.
I look for more than that, though! I follow a pretty wide series of MTG Arena players, and I love seeing them come to the big stage. It’s my hope that I can dust myself off and one day join them. I mean that with all sincerity. I’m simply glad to have the game in my life and can play MTG anytime I want. But for now, let’s discuss some of these players and their decks!
Andrea Mengucci is a classy fellow with an equally classy deck. Simic Ramp is built for getting plenty of mana on the board in a hurry, to really make their opponents sweat. Risen Reef, Leafkin Druid, and Arboreal Grazer all help you get those lands on the field or mana in your pool. Oh, don’t forget about Growth Spiral, it’s just as good at card draw and land drops.
From there, it’s a matter of making the other player dread Hydroid, Cavalier of Thorns, or simply batter their defenses down with the 1-of End-Raze Forerunners. Nissa, Who Shakes the World makes every land a threat simply by being on the field. He’s running 1 Agent of Treachery, but with a pair of Quasiduplicates in the mainboard, it’s no big deal to steal whatever he cares for. He doesn’t even have to do graveyard shenanigans like Blood for Bones. This is a fun, frustrating deck. It’s not my personal favorite in terms of what it can do, but it’s got plenty of answers to problems he could face.
But the real fun in this deck if you ask me, is waiting for your opponent to not be able to counter. Drop a massive 10+ Finale of Devastation, go get that End-Raze Forerunner, and go all in. It’s really serious damage.
Jessica Estephan might be one of my favorite MPL player. I learn a lot from the streams when I can catch them. That is, after all, one of the best things about MTG: Learning. But Izzet Flash? This deck makes my soul burn with anger. It’s so good, it’s so strong, and it can stop so many things.
Simic Flash is fun for Wolves, mostly. Izzet Flash, on the other hand, is almost nothing but counterspells. The drawback to Simic Flash in my eyes is the high cost of many of the cards (at least 2 four-drop creatures). After you get a Brineborn or two on the board with this deck you have:
There’s only one 4-drop instant in the deck, but it’s a doozy. Plus, you have a potential Gadwick, the Wizened for card draw and tapping permanents, and card draw with Spectral Sailor. 26 lands, 18 instants, and even more frustrating answers are waiting in the sideboard. I’m kind of surprised that The Royal Scions aren’t in the mainboard. I guess I only really see that with Izzet Phoenix though.
Am I only highlighting decks that make me frustrated in my matches? Well, that’s pretty on-brand for me. Golgari Adventure is an incredibly powerful deck right now, and I think Autumn’s take on it is a sound one.
It has all the hallmarks of the incredibly aggrivating deck. You have Foulmire Knights for deathtouch, Order of Midnight to keep your cards coming back, and Smitten Swordmaster to suddenly win out of nowhere with “Curry Favor”. I must have started writing this when I was still tired. I looked at Autumn’s Sideboard and saw “Vraska, Golden Girl” instead of “Vraska, Golgari Queen” and “Massacre Girl.” So, as an aside, now I want a custom art of Vraska. I like that Beanstalk Giant is in the deck to. The actual creature is a 7 drop, which is a little rough. But between Edgewall Innkeeper and Lucky Clover, there is more than enough mana ramp to go around.
I’m glad to see this new style of mechanic, Adventures are showing up in these big-time matches. I think the only thing to really surprise me, is I would have liked to see Assassin’s Trophy in the mainboard. That’s a personal preference though. I think it belongs in the sideboard though, just in case you need to swap out for some immediate, early-game problem-solving.
No matter who wins the MTG Arena Mythic Championship VII this weekend, I know one thing for sure: It’s going to be an incredible three days of MTG Arena! This is a wide, varied meta thanks to the recent bans. I don’t think any one deck is going to dominate, but if I had to guess that one would, my money is on Fires of Invention. There are simply so many ways to run Fires of Invention. It’s such a flexible, fun card to run. You can find all of the decklists right here.