Earlier this year, Wizards of the Coast announced that at the end of February, the Top 8 Mythic Constructed players would get an invite to the Mythic Invitational at PAX East – the highest-EV Magic tournament of all time. Everyone was given 28 days to get to the top of the Magic Arena leaderboard and stay there. This was the system to qualify for the Mythic Invitational, and upon its unveiling, I scoffed and thought anyone seriously trying to qualify that way was crazy. It seemed like way too much work and I didn't even think about trying.
I started playing some best-of-one ladder matches on Arena just for fun to complete my quests with Selesnya Tokens and Mono-Red Aggro. The Selesnya Tokens list was made specifically for best-of-one and then I later theorycrafted a sideboard and brought it to SCG Dallas in February. I went 6-3 on Day 1 at that tournament, but I played against six bad matchups and still felt the deck was good. Shortly after getting back from Dallas, Evan Whitehouse informed me that grinding up the ladder playing best-of-one was insane and that best-of-three was significantly better. Since I had just enough wildcards for the Selesnya sideboard – conveniently mostly uncommons – I decided to try it.
I went from Platinum 3 to Diamond in a couple of hours.
Now, you may ask: How is best-of-three is better than best-of-one? The answer is that some games of Magic you just can't win. You can get unbelievably flooded, totally mana screwed, or just mulligan to oblivion. In best-of-one, you get punished for every single one of these, even versus a weaker opponent. Best-of-three lets you punish these weaker opponents and make up for the game you could not win due to variance. Just as an example, if you go 6-3 in games in best-of-one on Arena, you'll gain three stars. In best-of-three, you can get six stars with the same game record, and in the worst case, you're up two stars and a game in another match.