Vicious Rumors (The News)

Magic Esports Updates

With their most recent announcement about the MPL and high-end play in general, WotC cleared up a few things. This goes along with their earlier announcement of the overall structure of Mythic Championships and the Players Tour. The information this time includes:

  • How tiebreakers work for getting into the Rivals League and the MPL.
  • MPL Weekly is going on hiatus from January through June.
  • Players Tour and Grand Prix (tabletop) tournament changes.

If any of this info if of interest and you want to know more, the whole article can be found here.

MC VII

Mythic Championship 7 starts today and runs all weekend. The format is Standard and the games will be played on Arena. I’ve found Arena to be far superior from a viewing perspective than paper, but others will disagree. You can catch the coverage on twitch starting in a few hours.

The decklists for all competitors have been released for the event. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Jeskai Fires (12)
  • Jund Sacrifice (9)
  • Golgari Adventure (8)
  • Golgari Sacrifice (7)
  • Izzet Flash (6)
  • Simic Flash (4)
  • Azorius Control (3)
  • Rakdos Sacrifice (3)
  • Simic Ramp (3)
  • Temur Reclamation (3)
  • Five-Color Fires (2)
  • Sultai Ramp (2)
  • Esper Control (1)
  • Gruul Adventure (1)
  • Jund Fires (1)
  • Rakdos Fires (1)
  • Temur Adventure (1)

Most of this isn’t surprising. The most popular deck is Jeskai Fires, which has been considered one of the best decks since Oko was banned. Also near the top of the list are Adventure and Cat/Oven decks. Other than the ones I talk about below (Sultai Ramp and Izzet Flash) I want to take a moment to point out Alexander Hayne’s Esper Control deck that looks especially sweet. Also, Jean-Emmanuel Depraz is playing Temur Adventures and I’m hoping for a strong showing from him.

Secret Lair

You’ve undoubtedly seen the in-game advertisements for the paper product Secret Lair. Each package comes with a code for an unique sleeve in Arena. The full package was sold Monday of this week, and people are selling their extra sleeve codes on eBay. You can pick up a full set of 7 for under $15 (US), and I’ve seen them as low as $13. Individual sleeves will likely be under $3. The supply for these isn’t limitless, and I have to imagine the number of people who ordered the full ten set packages is relatively low compared to the number of people who just ordered one. Definitely don’t overpay for these, but picking them up at this price is a decent deal.

They will be available on the in-game store at some point later, but it will likely have a higher price.

Folio of Fancies (Competitive Decks)

MCVII Sultai Ramp

from Luis Salvato & Daniel Vega

Deck
4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169
1 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales (WAR) 220
3 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39
2 Gadwick, the Wizened (ELD) 48
4 Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183
2 Incubation Druid (RNA) 131
1 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99
4 Paradise Druid (WAR) 171
4 Casualties of War (WAR) 187
4 Circuitous Route (GRN) 125
4 Growth Spiral (RNA) 178
4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246
3 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
2 Dimir Guildgate (GRN) 245
8 Forest (RTR) 270
2 Island (RTR) 255
4 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253
4 Watery Grave (GRN) 259

Sideboard
2 Aether Gust (M20) 42
3 Disdainful Stroke (GRN) 37
2 Epic Downfall (ELD) 85
1 Finale of Eternity (WAR) 91
1 Legion's End (M20) 106
4 Lovestruck Beast (ELD) 165
1 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99
1 Planewide Celebration (WAR) 172

It’s no secret that I’m a real sucker for Sultai.

Luis Salvato and Daniel Vega are running identical Sultai Ramp lists. I think the biggest key to this deck is the inclusion of four main-deck Casualties of War as the big payoff. With the current prevalence of all permanent types in top decks, it’s not unreasonable to believe you’ll fairly regularly hit 4-5 targets every time you cast this. At first it looks weird, because since the card was released most people have been playing one or two. I think four is very correct in a deck like this that won’t have trouble casting it by turn five. Having another one in your hand is way better if your opponent manages to stabilize from the first.

MCVII Izzet Flash

from Huey Jensen

Deck
4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115
4 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39
4 Brineborn Cutthroat (M20) 50
4 Gadwick, the Wizened (ELD) 48
4 Ionize (GRN) 179
2 Negate (M20) 69
4 Opt (ELD) 59
3 Quench (RNA) 48
3 Ral's Outburst (WAR) 212
2 Scorching Dragonfire (ELD) 139
1 Blast Zone (WAR) 244
2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
9 Island (ANA) 57
4 Mountain (ANA) 59
4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257
4 Temple of Epiphany (M20) 253

Sideboard
1 Aether Gust (M20) 42
1 Embercleave (ELD) 120
3 Flame Sweep (M20) 139
2 Lava Coil (GRN) 108
4 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58
1 Negate (M20) 69
1 Scorching Dragonfire (ELD) 139
2 Skarrgan Hellkite (RNA) 114

William “Huey” Jensen and several others are bringing Izzet Flash. I first wrote about this deck after it had a good showing on the first day of the MCQW at the end of October. There are a few minor changes including the full playset of Gadwick the Wizened. But other than that, this is very much the same deck we saw then.

This is the kind of simple in purpose, yet complex in decisions, deck I really enjoy playing. The biggest choice you’ll need to make is when playing Gadwick. Do you tap out for full value and leave yourself vulnerable? Or, maybe leave a mana or two open for instant speed tapping down your opponent while countering something?

[Historic] Simic Ramp

from Brandon Burgess

Deck
4 Gilded Goose (ELD) 160
4 Llanowar Elves (DAR) 168
4 Paradise Druid (WAR) 171
4 Once Upon a Time (ELD) 169
4 Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183
3 Entrancing Melody (XLN) 55
4 Oko, Thief of Crowns (ELD) 197
4 Leyline of Abundance (M20) 179
3 Mass Manipulation (RNA) 42
4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169
6 Island (MIR) 336
7 Forest (MIR) 347
1 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246
4 Hinterland Harbor (DAR) 240

Sideboard
4 Veil of Summer (M20) 198
2 Negate (M20) 69
2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58
4 Questing Beast (ELD) 171
2 Shifting Ceratops (M20) 194
1 Vivien Reid (M19) 208

Since Historic Ranked has been available I haven’t been playing much else. And of course, with me being the degenerate I am, have looked for the best strategy. Last week it seemed to be Gruul Aggro. This week Simic Ramp looks to be the strongest option. Brandon Burgess posted this list and I’ve been doing well with it. This is a much better option for getting through games quickly than the Simic Nexus deck I was playing prior, and people don’t seem to get as salty against Oko as they do against Nexus of Fate.

The Leylines have been amazing, sometimes getting the best of both worlds in a turn two Oko AND a turn three Nissa. The weakness of the deck seems to be against combo (Fires of Invention/Repeated Reverberations player, I’m looking at you), but thankfully I haven’t seen too much of it.

Experimental Frenzy

[Historic Brawl] Kumena

Commander
1 Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca (RIX) 162

Deck
1 Merfolk Skydiver (WAR) 205
1 Merfolk Mistbinder (RIX) 164 
1 Zegana, Utopian Speaker (RNA) 214
1 Mist-Cloaked Herald (RIX) 43
1 Benthic Biomancer (RNA) 32
1 Merfolk Trickster (DAR) 56
1 River Sneak (XLN) 70
1 Silvergill Adept (RIX) 53
1 Kopala, Warden of Waves (XLN) 61
1 Watertrap Weaver (XLN) 87
1 Herald of Secret Streams (XLN) 59
1 Seafloor Oracle (RIX) 51
1 Tempest Caller (XLN) 86
1 Jade Bearer (RIX) 134
1 Kumena's Speaker (XLN) 196
1 Deeproot Elite (RIX) 127
1 Merfolk Branchwalker (XLN) 197
1 Jadelight Ranger (RIX) 136
1 Jungleborn Pioneer (RIX) 137
1 Swift Warden (RIX) 146
1 Incubation // Incongruity (RNA) 226 
1 River Heralds' Boon (XLN) 204 
1 Blink of an Eye (DAR) 46
1 Essence Scatter (M19) 54
1 Chart a Course (XLN) 48 
1 Sleep (M19) 74
1 Negate (RIX) 44
1 Quench (RNA) 48 
1 Once Upon a Time (ELD) 169
1 Frogify (ELD) 47 
1 Arcane Signet (ELD) 331 
1 Vivien's Arkbow (WAR) 181
1 Deeproot Waters (XLN) 51 
1 Simic Ascendancy (RNA) 207
1 Hadana's Climb (RIX) 158 
8 Island (MIR) 336
6 Forest (MIR) 347  
1 Command Tower (ELD) 333
1 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
1 Evolving Wilds (RIX) 186
1 Unclaimed Territory (XLN) 258 
1 Temple of Mystery (M20) 255
1 Thornwood Falls (M20) 258
1 Simic Guildgate (RNA) 258
1 Hinterland Harbor (DAR) 240
1 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246
1 Woodland Stream (XLN) 284

I’ve had a thing for Kumena ever since I came back to the game in early 2018. I played Merfolk more than any other tribe in the early days of Arena. Fishcast is one of my favorite podcasts, even though they’re typically the Mono Blue Modern Merfolk types. I even have a Kumena Commander deck that I built with my middle son.

Kumena is just great to play as a commander, so I put together a Historic Brawl deck based around the Merfolk of Ixalan. This deck is a lot of fun if you can find Historic Brawl games.

This is as good a time as any to give another gentle push to arenabrawl.net. The website allows you to find Brawl games, both Standard and Historic, at any time.

Settle the Wreckage

As you can see, I’ve been playing a lot of blue lately. All of the decks I posted this week have Blue in them, and all but one have Green. This wasn’t a conscious decision, but I’m not going to push out different decks without a good reason.

I believe the Standard meta has stabilized for the next six weeks leading up to the release of Theros Beyond Death in January. Jeskai Fires, Cat Oven, and Adventures are what you can plan to see the most of on the ladder, but there are other viable options if none of those interest you.

The Historic meta is still fairly fresh, though there are some clear top tier decks, and definitely room to experiment. I’m still not near the top end of the ladder, so I’m not sure if it degenerates into a few strategies up there. Play what you enjoy and spend some time tuning it when you enter a rank.

Theros Beyond Death will hopefully shake up all of the metas going forward and allow some fresh ideas to enter Standard and Historic, while bolstering Brawl. Preview season for that should start in a few weeks and you can be sure I’ll be covering it here.

Big <3,
Hank

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