Mythic Championship III is in the books as the first Mythic Championship played on Arena. 64 players composed of 28 MPL members and 36 challengers competed on Day 1 of the tournament, hoping to make the top 12 and qualify for Day 2 by playing 8 rounds of Swiss. These 12 players would join MPL players Brad Nelson, Brian Braun-Duin, Ken Yukuhiro, and Rei Sato, who pre-qualified for the top 16 of the tournament by winning their respective divisions in the MPL Spark Split series leading up to the tournament.
First, we can simply look at metagame breakdown of the entire tournament and all of the top 16 decks:
Even though this data represents a very small sample size either way, we can get a clearer view of which decks performed the best on day 1 of the tournament by removing the 4 players who pre-qualified for Day 2.
Esper Control by Shota Yasooka
4 Narset, Parter of Veils 3 Teferi, Time Raveler 3 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria 3 Basilica Bell-Haunt 1 The Elderspell 3 Kaya's Wrath 4 Thought Erasure 2 Command the Dreadhorde 2 Revitalize 2 Cast Down 2 Discovery/Dispersal 2 Bolas's Citadel 3 Oath of Kaya 4 Isolated Chapel 1 Plains (331) 4 Hallowed Fountain 4 Glacial Fortress 4 Godless Shrine 4 Drowned Catacomb 4 Watery Grave 1 Swamp (339) 1 The Elderspell 1 Basilica Bell-Haunt 3 Duress 2 Ixalan's Binding 2 Enter the God-Eternals 3 Cry of the Carnarium 1 Despark 2 Search for Azcanta/Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin
Esper Control had the highest metagame share at the beginning of the tournament, especially in the hands of MPL players, and it maintained a very good conversion rate to the top 16. Shota Yasooka was the top finisher with the deck in 7th place. He also had the most interesting card choice of the four Esper Control decks in the top 16, with 2 copies of Bolas's Citadel in the maindeck. Marcio Carvalho notched a 9th place finish with a more traditional version of the deck that included the full 12 of the Planeswalkers that represent this archetype.
Esper Control by Marcio Carvalho
4 Narset, Parter of Veils 4 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria 4 Teferi, Time Raveler 2 Basilica Bell-Haunt 3 Kaya's Wrath 4 Thought Erasure 2 Command the Dreadhorde 2 The Elderspell 3 Cast Down 1 Moment of Craving 2 Search for Azcanta/Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin 3 Oath of Kaya 4 Drowned Catacomb 4 Glacial Fortress 4 Godless Shrine 4 Hallowed Fountain 4 Isolated Chapel 1 Plains (331) 1 Swamp (339) 4 Watery Grave 1 Moment of Craving 2 Nightveil Predator 2 Cry of the Carnarium 1 Dovin's Veto 2 Lyra Dawnbringer 1 Ixalan's Binding 3 Duress 3 Despark
The six White Aggro players in this tournament were comprised of four Boros versions, one Azorius version, and one Mono-White version. The maindecks among these variants are generally the same, but each has access to different sideboard cards. Lee Shi Tian and Kentaro Yamamoto were able to crack the top 16 with Azorius and Boros, respectively, while Rei Sato brought another Boros list directly to Day 2.
Boros Aggro by Kentaro Yamamoto
2 Gideon Blackblade 4 Skymarcher Aspirant 4 Law-Rune Enforcer 4 Dauntless Bodyguard 4 Snubhorn Sentry 4 Adanto Vanguard 4 Benalish Marshal 4 Venerated Loxodon 4 Legion's Landing/Adanto, the First Fort 4 History of Benalia 2 Conclave Tribunal 12 Plains (331) 4 Sacred Foundry 4 Clifftop Retreat 2 Gideon Blackblade 2 Conclave Tribunal 4 Baffling End 1 Mobilized District 3 Experimental Frenzy 2 Tomik, Distinguished Advokist 1 Demystify
Azorius Aggro by Lee Shi Tian
4 Skymarcher Aspirant 4 Venerated Loxodon 4 Benalish Marshal 4 Dauntless Bodyguard 2 Snubhorn Sentry 4 Law-Rune Enforcer 2 Tomik, Distinguished Advokist 2 Adanto Vanguard 4 Legion's Landing/Adanto, the First Fort 4 History of Benalia 2 Conclave Tribunal 2 Baffling End 14 Plains (331) 4 Glacial Fortress 4 Hallowed Fountain 2 Baffling End 3 Tocatli Honor Guard 1 Teferi, Time Raveler 2 Deputy of Detention 4 Gideon Blackblade 1 Disdainful Stroke 2 Finale of Glory
Esper Hero was the second-most played deck among MPL players, bringing the share of Esper colors among MPL players extremely high. However, it had some lackluster results on day 1 of the tournament, with only Kai Budde earning his way into Day 2 with the deck. Brad Nelson and Brian Braun-Duin brought the deck directly to day 2, which obscures the deck's poor performance when only looking at the Top 16 metagame percentage. However, both Brad and Kai went on to make the top 4, which could suggest that the deck is powerful in the winner's metagame but requires a high skill level to pilot. This makes some sense, as it is a midrange deck that has the option to configure itself many different ways in each matchup.
Esper Hero by Brad Nelson
4 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria 4 Teferi, Time Raveler 3 Narset, Parter of Veils 4 Hero of Precinct One 3 Elite Guardmage 2 Hostage Taker 4 Thought Erasure 1 Command the Dreadhorde 3 Tyrant's Scorn 2 Despark 1 Mortify 3 Oath of Kaya 4 Glacial Fortress 4 Godless Shrine 4 Hallowed Fountain 4 Isolated Chapel 4 Watery Grave 4 Drowned Catacomb 1 Swamp (339) 1 Island (335) 1 Despark 1 Command the Dreadhorde 2 The Elderspell 2 Duress 1 Arguel's Blood Fast/Temple of Aclazotz 2 Enter the God-Eternals 2 Kaya's Wrath 2 Cry of the Carnarium 2 Dovin's Veto
Brad, BBD, and Kai all worked together for this event, so the only difference between their decklists was that Kai was running 1 copy of Ugin, the Ineffable over Mortify.
Mono Red Aggro had a strong performance, with two of its five pilots making the top 12 and Shahar Shenhar taking it all the way to the top 4.
Mono Red Aggro by Shahar Shenhar
2 Chandra, Fire Artisan 3 Fanatical Firebrand 4 Ghitu Lavarunner 4 Goblin Chainwhirler 4 Runaway Steam-Kin 4 Viashino Pyromancer 4 Light Up the Stage 4 Lightning Strike 4 Shock 3 Wizard's Lightning 4 Experimental Frenzy 20 Mountain (343) 1 Chandra, Fire Artisan 3 Dire Fleet Daredevil 4 Lava Coil 3 Legion Warboss 2 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator 2 Fight with Fire
Raphael Levy and Shahar Shenhar had very similar maindecks, with Shahar trimming one copy of Fanatical Firebrand for the second copy of Chandra, Fire Artisan. He also included a third copy in the sideboard, giving him a whopping 7 copies of the game-defining 4-drops that let the red deck compete for value in longer games.
Bant Midrange was piloted by a sizable 9 players on day 1, but failed to bring any of these pilots to day 2 of the tournament. Hopefuls for this archetype can have their spirits slightly lifted by Ken Yukuhiro, who managed to finish 5th after taking the deck directly into the top 16, and Simon Goertzen, who made the top 16 as the lone pilot of a Simic variant of this archetype.
Bant Midrange by Ken Yukuhiro
4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World 4 Teferi, Time Raveler 4 Llanowar Elves 4 Paradise Druid 4 Incubation Druid 4 Hydroid Krasis 2 Frilled Mystic 2 Shalai, Voice of Plenty 3 Entrancing Melody 3 Mass Manipulation 1 Finale of Glory 4 Hallowed Fountain 2 Island (335) 2 Glacial Fortress 3 Sunpetal Grove 4 Temple Garden 4 Breeding Pool 4 Hinterland Harbor 2 Forest (347) 1 Entrancing Melody 1 Frilled Mystic 2 Negate 2 Ixalan's Binding 2 Ripjaw Raptor 2 Deputy of Detention 2 Carnage Tyrant 2 Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves 1 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales
Simic Ramp by Simon Goertzen
4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World 4 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales 4 Hydroid Krasis 4 Incubation Druid 4 Jadelight Ranger 4 Llanowar Elves 2 Blink of an Eye 4 Growth Spiral 4 Nexus of Fate - Foil - Buy-a-Box Promo 2 Blast Zone 4 Breeding Pool 10 Forest (347) 4 Hinterland Harbor 5 Island (335) 1 Memorial to Genius 3 Mass Manipulation 2 Negate 2 Pelakka Wurm 4 Thorn Lieutenant 2 Thrashing Brontodon 2 Entrancing Melody
Sadly for fans of Arclight Phoenix, the Izzet Phoenix deck that attracted the highest number of Challenger pilots also performed the worst. The deck had one solid 8th-place finish in the hands of MPL member Jean-Emmanuel Depraz.
Izzet Phoenix by Jean-Emmanuel Depraz
4 Arclight Phoenix 3 Goblin Electromancer 4 Crackling Drake 3 Lava Coil 4 Chart a Course 3 Tormenting Voice 2 Finale of Promise 4 Opt 1 Warlord's Fury 4 Shock 3 Lightning Strike 2 Radical Idea 2 Spell Pierce 1 Ral's Outburst 6 Island (335) 6 Mountain (343) 4 Steam Vents 4 Sulfur Falls 1 Lava Coil 2 Disdainful Stroke 2 Beacon Bolt 2 Entrancing Melody 1 God-Eternal Kefnet 2 Ral, Izzet Viceroy 3 Saheeli, Sublime Artificer 1 Charging Monstrosaur 1 Adeliz, the Cinder Wind
The final archetype that made it to the top 16 of Mythic Championship III is none other than Simic Nexus in the hands of eventual champion Matias Leveratto.
Simic Nexus by Matias Leveratto
3 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales 1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World 2 Narset, Parter of Veils 1 Callous Dismissal 1 Blink of an Eye 4 Opt 4 Growth Spiral 3 Chemister's Insight 4 Nexus of Fate - Foil - Buy-a-Box Promo 4 Root Snare 3 Search for Azcanta/Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin 4 Wilderness Reclamation 3 Memorial to Genius 5 Island (335) 4 Breeding Pool 4 Hinterland Harbor 5 Forest (347) 3 Blast Zone 1 Mobilized District 1 Simic Guildgate 1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World 2 Crushing Canopy 3 Negate 4 Paradise Druid 3 Biogenic Ooze 2 Bond of Flourishing
Only three players brought this deck to the tournament, and it managed to take down the entire event. Matias demonstrated a high level of skill while piloting this deck in feature matches throughout the tournament, frequently using sideboard plans and taking lines of play that surprised the commentators. This could indicate that the deck is quite powerful in this metagame if one is able to master the deck.
After three exciting days of high-level gameplay on Arena, Mythic Championship III cannot be considered anything other than a massive success. Even though the initial metagame looked extremely skewed towards Esper, the winner's metagame featured a very healthy variety of decks from several archetypes. It was certainly more fun to watch traditional Best-of-3 standard played at the highest level on MTG Arena rather than the failed duo-standard format that was featured at the first large Arena tournament, the Mythic Invitational. The players who came with the strongest decklists including comprehensive sideboard plans for the expected metagame were the ones who reached the top standings in the tournament.
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