I played in my first tabletop Mythic Championship last week.
Like the Pro Tour branding of yesteryear, tournament reports have all but fallen by the wayside. Rambling essays, spanning thousands of words about tournament prep; personal anecdotes; the opponents, the plays, and the nerves; all distilled into a single self-serving Word document about what it's like to play the game at the highest level…those aren't exactly the things that drive website traffic or card sales. While originally hesitant to publicly chronicle my journey to a bittersweet 70th place, encouragement from Cedric led to me penning everything that went into what felt like my first time playing on the Pro Tour, terminology and technical accuracy be damned.
Going into the event, knowing that the formats would be Modern and Modern Horizons Draft, I started prep work on the Limited format long before I started working on Modern. For my casting duties on the SCG Tour®,I was fairly up-to-date with the base-level inner workings of most Modern matchups, and until the Banned List announcement in early July, it was difficult to evaluate exactly what I should be prioritizing in that department.
I've been lucky enough to work with Autumn Burchett in some capacity for a significant chunk of their last three or four Mythic Championships, and we were making a run with one another this event as well, choosing to completely eschew the large-team dynamic that many players lean into for the events. Autumn had also talked with Sam Black a few months previous, both expressing wishes to work in a smaller testing environment, rather than a large testing-house-styled affair. We made a group chat on Facebook and the Barcelona squad was set.
Early on in testing, Autumn made an open GoogleDoc for us to share notes on the draft format. As we figured out the format, the notes became more and more sparse, largely in part due to us having similar thoughts on the format, and fewer things of note that were happening in our 30th and 40th drafts.
After a few weeks, Sam began sporadically posting about the Stream of Thought Control decks that he was working on, and that he would likely be forcing them in Barcelona. (He wrote about it here.) Autumn and I were skeptical at first but decided to try them out.
Despite some mopey half-hearted attempts at what Sam was talking about, Autumn and I 2-1'ed a few consecutive drafts with the archetype, and I switched to my alt account on Magic Online in order to get more reps with the archetype. The archetype itself felt strong, but the importance of wheeling crucial cards for the deck, rather than prioritizing them early, was unbelievably difficult to balance, and decks waffled between easy 3-0s and 1-2s that were lucky to get the first match win.
Now the final round of the 2nd draft has begun I can show my draft deck from yesterday, 2-1'd losing a close finals. Sam broke the format, and I now force Stream control in almost all drafts. Added some MTGO 3-0s included as other examples of the archetype #MythicChampionshipIV pic.twitter.com/VzzbdH4ogI— Autumn Burchett (@AutumnLilyMTG) July 27, 2019
After going 28-2 across my last ten Draft Leagues while drafting traditionally, it was hard to justify completely jumping on board with Sam's plan, but it certainly felt like the power level was there. To give a quick summary of my opinions of Modern Horizons Draft:
- White is the worst color by an incredibly significant margin, and you need more than a Battle Screech to justify leaning into the color.
- Blue is the best color, but a large enough number of people believe this to make it overdrafted relative to its power level.
- Black is the second-best color, and by a small enough margin that moving in early is generally going to be great. The heavier in black your deck is, the better many of the more powerful cards, like Defile and Crypt Rats, are going to be.
- Red is roughly on par with black, but its cards are generally more pointed towards specific decks, and it's harder to move in to red early because so many of its better cards are secretly gold. For example, Spinehorn Minotaur is effectively an Izzet card, Goblin Matron a Rakdos card, and so on.
It wasn't ever really a secret that something from the Bridgevine deck would end up getting the axe. The only question was specifically what from the deck would end up eating it. Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis still being legal made it fairly attractive as a deck, so long as a consistent list could be fleshed out.
I was confident that Hogaak was the most busted thing to be doing in the format, and a good bit of my testing centered around things like this:
- 4 Bloodghast
- 4 Carrion Feeder
- 2 Cryptbreaker
- 4 Gravecrawler
- 4 Hedron Crab
- 4 Insolent Neonate
- 3 Prized Amalgam
- 4 Stitcher's Supplier
- 4 Vengevine
- 4 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
The deck was fairly inconsistent, but its good draws were very impressive. The biggest issue was with what Hedron Crab did to the mana. It frequently create situations in which you wanted your first land to be Steam Vents, but Gravecrawler draws demanded double black, and the low land-count-to-mulligan-frequency ratio made it difficult to expect finding more than two lands in the early turns of the game. I moved on to trying other things in the meantime.
I tried, but eventually wrote off, all of Azorius Control, Burn, Urza decks, fair Thoughtseize decks, Izzet Phoenix, Grixis Shadow, Valakut decks, and Mono-Red Phoenix variants. The decks fell into one of three camps:
1. Too hard to tune.
Urza and Azorius-based control fell into this area. With a smaller testing group, it's difficult to have up-to-date and well-tuned versions of every single archetype in a format as diverse as Modern. This is going to leave a couple of reasonable decks on the cutting room floor, but it became apparent that I would have to sink a ton of time into these decks to find a good list, and then evaluate from there if I wanted to play them. Time is the most finite resource during playtesting, and it felt like poor resource allocation to sink too much into these archetypes.
2. Fundamentally something I didn't want to be doing.
Golgari-based decks, Death's Shadow variants, and Valakut decks were the big things here. All of the decks were fine, but for speed reasons or the rules of engagement that these decks operated on, they all had issues that didn't feel like they could be fixed with some individual card choices.
3. I didn't think I could play the archetype at a world-class level.
Izzet Phoenix was the biggest deck here. In spite of the fact that I originally qualified for the tournament in part with Izzet Phoenix, the deck had evolved in the time since and lost a ton of the percentage points that it got on the back of free wins. Nonlinear cantrip decks have historically been something I've struggled with in general, and a Mythic Championship didn't feel like the best tournament setting to try to teach a middle-aged dog new tricks.
Of the decks I did play, I brought the cards for three decks with me to Spain: Humans, Dredge, and Hogaak. I was most confident in the first two, as they were proven archetypes that were unlikely to be completely embarrassing in the field.
After commentating #SCGPhilly, I hopped on a plane with Corey Baumeister from Philly to Atlanta. From Atlanta, I had the extreme pleasure of having two seats to myself, all the way to Barcelona. Better still, it was directly adjacent to Mythic Championship spotter extraordinaire Beej:
Both running hotter than the sun, with nobody in the seats next to us— Emma Handy (@Em_TeeGee) July 22, 2019
Imma hopefully get some sleeeeeep pic.twitter.com/SonyhglOZQ
After finally landing in Spain a cool sixteen hours after leaving Philly, going through customs, taking a shuttle to the terminal where Sam landed, taking three trains, and walking roughly two kilometers, we arrived at the place we'd be calling home for the next week or so.
Tuesday testing consisted of playing League after League of Humans, testing Dylan Hand's list from his article on the deck the previous week:
- 4 Champion of the Parish
- 3 Kitesail Freebooter
- 4 Mantis Rider
- 4 Meddling Mage
- 2 Militia Bugler
- 4 Noble Hierarch
- 4 Phantasmal Image
- 4 Reflector Mage
- 4 Thalia's Lieutenant
- 4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
With Piotr Glogowski winning the Modern challenge online with Hogaak the previous week, it felt irresponsible to not have more cards for the matchup. On top of that, Izzet Phoenix was gaining steam online. This led to me wanting to test Chalice of the Void out of the sideboard, with a list that looked like this:
- 4 Champion of the Parish
- 2 Deputy of Detention
- 3 Kitesail Freebooter
- 4 Mantis Rider
- 4 Meddling Mage
- 4 Noble Hierarch
- 4 Phantasmal Image
- 4 Reflector Mage
- 4 Thalia's Lieutenant
- 4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
The list itself is mostly straightforward, with the manabase being a little off in order to support Chalice. Force of Negation was an attractive answer to a lot of the cards that Dredge played, specifically Life from the Loam and Conflagrate, with some other applications against cards along the lines of Ensnaring Bridge.
The deck itself felt painfully fine, and occupied a zone of being a reasonable backup if everything else I played felt like beating my head against a wall, or if it felt like the level that the online metagame was on was "beat the graveyard decks."
On that note, SodekMTG opened a Patreon account with detailed information related to his Dredge list that he'd seen some success with before. His mastery with graveyard decks, coupled with his recent success, made it a no-brainer to subscribe and drink everything he had to say about the archetype. By Tuesday night, I was mostly off Humans and on the Hogaak train. I have a great deal more experience with Stinkweed Imp than Champion of the Parish, and the deck's power level is higher than that of Humans.
On Tuesday, Glogowski also announced that he'd put a primer for his Hogaak 75 on his Discord for people who subscribed to his Twitch channel. Similar to the situation with Sodek, it felt like such a low cost for such valuable information that it was easy to click the "subscribe" button. From there, I began testing the deck online.
I didn't lose a match before going to bed.
The next morning was Wednesday: deck submission day. Sam and Autumn heard me joking from the next room about how well I'd been doing, and they asked me what my record was like on the day. By 3pm, I'd lost three total matches.
I was comfortable with locking Hogaak in for the main event, but Autumn wanted to test some sideboard matches with their Jund list against specifically Hogaak.
In the testing, we came to the conclusion that, even with Leyline of the Void in its opening hand, Jund frequently struggled against Hogaak's explosiveness if Hogaak tagged Leyline. This evaluation led to me changing all of the anti-graveyard hate cards in Glogowski's sideboard to copies of Force of Vigor due to how impressive it was, doubly so against any deck that was looking to couple its graveyard hate with hand disruption.
After hearing that Hogaak went slightly higher than 50% against Jund in sideboard games, Sam was on board with Hogaak and we arrived at the following list:
- 4 Bloodghast
- 4 Carrion Feeder
- 1 Golgari Thug
- 4 Gravecrawler
- 3 Insolent Neonate
- 2 Lotleth Troll
- 4 Satyr Wayfinder
- 4 Stitcher's Supplier
- 4 Vengevine
- 4 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
Sam's big contribution to the list was Lotleth Troll. I lamented at some point during playtesting that the deck really wanted Putrid Imp, and he jokingly suggested the Troll. We immediately went on a hunt for the card, realizing it was a great enabler for the Zombie synergies in the deck and also played nicely with our sideboard plans that involved Force of Vigor. My only regret is that we played any copies of Golgari Thug.
Sitting down for the first draft had me in a strange place. For reference, my first pod was:
1. Julien Stihle
2. Emma Handy
3. Ian Jensen
4. Jonathan Rubin
5. Yuki Matsumoto
6. Julien Potier
7. Mark Jacobson
8. Thomas Enevoldsen
I knew Draft was the format I was the most nervous about, and in spite of my success online, I could feel my heart pounding in my ears. Sam had run through a draft with me in the morning to help me frame pick orders for the Stream of Thought Control deck in my head, but I was so scared of tanking my first draft that I couldn't figure out if I should just go with conventional wisdom, or take a leap of faith.
I decide to let the first pack be my guide and tell me if the archetype is something that I can force. They announced for us to remove the band from our first pack, and we were off:
Future Sight is an underwhelming card in Modern Horizons Draft normally, but an absolute bomb in the Stream of Thought Control deck. It was also the P1P1 of the draft that Sam and I had done together than morning. If there ever were a sign to just stick to the plan and force it, this was it. At the end of the draft I was left with this beauty:
To give a brief rundown, there are two important things going on that the deck is trying to accomplish:
Ransack the Lab and other cantrips help the deck churn through its library as quickly as possible before eventually using Stream of Thought and a Regrowth effect to choose what cards are in its library, while milling the opponent for four over and over until they die.
Splice a ton of cards onto Weather the Storm. The way that this interaction works is that every copy of Weather the Storm has the spliced spell attached to it. That means that a Weather the Storm with a storm count of three and a Splicer's Skill spliced onto it will gain twelve life and produce four 3/3 tokens. With all of the cantrips and mana rocks in the deck, this is much easier than it sounds.
Round 1 VS Julien Potier
An early Ransack the Lab bins Nether Spirit in Game 1 and buys enough time to get my synergies online. As soon as I win the first game, a sense of relief washes over me. "I can do this. This deck is real. I'm good enough to be here. I am capable of winning games and carrying myself like I belong. Let's do this."
Game 2 plays out similarly, but much faster, and I get an easy 2-0 over Julien, despite him having a reasonable deck.
Round 2 VS Yuki Matsumoto
Yuki is possibly the most pleasant opponent I played in the entire event. He did a great job of making things feel casual in a hyper-competitive setting, and for that I'm eternally grateful.
An unexpected maindeck copy of Spell Snuff counters my Regrowth on Stream of Thought, and sudelnly I find myself in the position of the aggressor with only five cards left in deck. I begin prioritizing Splicer's Skill splices over everything else in order to make enough bodies to win. I make a mistake of sacrificing my Cave of Temptation to put counters on a Golem so it can attack over Wall of Blossoms, only to have the token meet a removal spell. This chokes me on white mana, and I'm a point short of winning for a couple of turns. This gives Yuki a window to cycle a Windcaller Aven on Conifer Wurm and cinch the win.
I easily win Game 2 when Yuki suffers a flood of biblical proportions.
I lose Game 3 to the same trick as the first game, but I likely sacrificed a bunch of early life that I didn't need to sacrifice in order to posture myself in such a way that I could win a Crypt Rats fight against my opponent's X/2 creature. I had the tools to win this match and a mix of greed and precaution cost me. I knew I'd have to tighten up for the third round.
Round 3 VS Thomas Enevoldsen
Turn 1, Game 1: "Move to discard, discard Nether Spirit."
It bought enough time to go the distance.
Game 2 I was surprised by a copy of Stream of Thought from Thomas for all twelve cards in my deck. Got got.
Game 3, his deck of infinite cycling creatures didn't quite have enough threats to stand up to what my deck was doing. The match had taken a long time and we ended up going to turns. On Turn 0 of turns I hit Thomas with Stream of Thought for twelve cards, shuffling mana sources back into my own library. On Turn 2 of turns I cast Regrowth on Stream of Thought and then re-cast it for twelve more cards. He didn't have any more cards.
I was incredibly relieved to escape my first Mythic Championship draft with a 2-1 record, but knew it was within my grasp to have done better. I didn't want to waste a reasonable start by playing sloppily and vowed to tighten up before Constructed.
Round 4 VS Haotian Wang (Eldrazi Tron)
I had twelve power on the battlefield on the second turn of Game 1.
Game 2, Haotian had a graveyard hate piece into Karn, the Great Creator on the third turn via active Tron. The game was as noncompetitive as the first, in the other direction.
Round 5 VS Mike Cieszinski (???)
Frankly, I don't remember this match, but if memory serves correctly, it was over quickly.
Round 6 VS Sam Black (75-card Mirror)
Emma Handy (@Em_TeeGee) July 26, 2019
Of course I have to play the only other person in the 400-something person tournament on the same 75.
The first two games are fairly uneventful. I think I played quite well to win the third game, even if it appears that I got quite lucky in order to win.
There's one major decision point that was covered on camera:
On Turn 3, the battlefield is as below. I am currently resolving a Faithless Looting with four cards in hand:
I have a read that Sam has a copy of Assassin's Trophy in hand. He kept on seven and didn't have a way to deal with two Leyline of the Voids. He had one Leyline of his own, but his draw thus far has been anemic enough that I believe he has been holding back an answer to a single Leyline, and believe it is likely that he also has a Vengevine in hand.
The only reason he wouldn't have cast out any other smaller creatures before this is if he has one or zero and doesn't think mana will be a choke point for creatures later, or if he thinks he'll have a way to recur a Vengevine if he thinks something like a Force of Vigor off the top of his deck would reactive his graveyard. This means that he likely has an Assassin's Trophy, one or two small creatures, and a Vengevine in his hand.
Discarding the Vengevine is a given, but from there it gets trickier.
Casting Wayfinder plus Neonate is the requisite number of spells to trigger Vengevines from the graveyard and will require three mana next turn. The problem is that I'm not confident I'll have three mana next turn.
Sam knows that we're only playing a single copy of Swamp in our deck, and knows it is in my graveyard. If I think that he has a copy of Vengevine in his hand, and he doesn't have a way to deal with both of my Leylines, it's likely he'll be committing his mana to Vengeveine next turn in order to just try to kill me over two turns.
If he's committing his resources to a Vengevine gambit, I also believe he will cast Assassin's Trophy on my end step in order to turn it into an effective Sinkhole. This means I won't be able to cast Satyr Wayfinder and another spell. Taking that into account, I need to keep Insolent Neonate in order to have any hope at all of recurring my angry Plants. I need to keep Overgrown Tomb and Insolent Neonate and hope to rip a one-drop creature off the top.
Because green mana is so much more important for us in sideboard games, the default play is to go after my Overgrown Tomb in order to color screw me off Assassin's Trophy, Satyr Wayfinder, and Lotleth Troll (Vengevine to an extent as well, but it doesn't appear the game will reach the point that I'm casting Vengevines). On the other hand, if I play out the second copy of Overgrown Tomb, Sam will go after my Blood Crypt in order to try to knock me off Insolent Neonate and flashing back Faithless Looting next turn. This means that I have to hold Overgrown Tomb in my hand rather than play it.
Okay, maybe I got a bit lucky.
Round 7 VS Ben Weitz (Four-Color Hogaak)
As it turned out, some teams were still on Hedron Crabs and Altar of Dementia. Ben has a Crab in the first game that I'm never able to kill but has such unlucky self-mills that I'm still in the game for a long time. Eventually I get out-milled and die to a more impressive battlefield.
Game 2, my Force of Vigors win the day and I steamroll Ben.
Game 3, we have less than two minutes on the clock and I keep a shaky seven due to my desire to have a shot at winning the game in time:
Ben ends up not having the hate card, has the answer for mine, and then runs me over in about 90 seconds. Hard to be upset when their list is tuned so hard for the mirror.
Round 8 VS Filipe Lima Cardoso (Izzet Phoenix)
Filipe is another strong contender for most pleasant opponent of the tournament. We make fun small talk, say nice things about one another, and play some nice games of Magic.
Post-sideboard I have an answer to a prematurely deployed Thing in the Ice, and Filipe spends a little bit too much time spinning his wheels as he dies to what's on the battlefield.
Game 3 I took a line that literally kept me up almost all night that night:
My :( play:— Emma Handy (@Em_TeeGee) July 26, 2019
Lightning Axe TitI, discard BG. Crack Delta. Get Rav trap'd & die
Better play: cast BG and accept that I'm dead if they flip TitI next turn.
BEST play: Axe TitI, discard BG. Retain prio, sac Delta. Return BG. Have prio for Gaak thru Trap post-Axe
Magic is incredible
I'd like to blame one of the most emotionally taxing days of Magic of my entire life, but that's pointless. I'm at the Mythic Championship because I want to prove I'm one of the best of the best, and seeing this kind of stuff is what I have to do if I want to make a decent run at Top 8 or requalifying.
That being said, I was honestly elated with a 5-3 record, and literally cried when I got my fourth win earlier in the day. Day 2 was my "soft goal" going into the event and anything else felt like a freeroll.
Except I didn't sleep at all Friday.
My mistake in the final round kept me awake, as well as the pressure that came from allowing myself to dream of putting up a strong finish at my first
Pro Tour Mythic Championship got to me a little more than I'd like to admit. I finally drifted off to sleep around 5:15am and was back up and ready to battle at 7:25.
"Intimidated" isn't a strong enough word.
1. Patrick Cox
2. Masayuki Tazawa
3. Simon Gortzen
5. Emma Handy
6. Eduardo Rodriguez
7. Mattia Rizzi
8. Piotr Glogowski
As Ari Lax put it: "Welcome to the Pro Tour. Why else would you be here?"
He was right. I was still hungry.
Unfortunately, word of the archetype that Sam, Autumn, and I were all forcing had gotten around the room a bit, and I was a bit nervous to try to force the deck for the second time in a row, particularly at such a strong table.
My first pick was tough, with me eventually settling on Springbloom Druid. It put me at a decent hedge between the greedy multicolor deck I wanted to play and a more typical green deck. Then Corey decided to shove me in a direction by passing me a bomb:
Hogaak is a strong card in its own right, but when you begin building around it early in the draft, it's absolutely bonkers. There are a ton of ways to fuel the graveyard, and an 8/8 trampler is nothin' to shake a stick at.
Pick 3? I'm glad you asked.
Now, Altar is the kind of card that you have to hate-draft if you're in the Stream of Thought deck, because you can randomly just die to it, no matter what deck has it. It also happens to combo well with Hogaak, both as something to fill the graveyard while digging for Hogaak, and also as a combo piece in a graveyard-centric Golgari deck. I'd had the deck once in online testing and was quite happy with it, and decided to take Altar, with the plan being to take cards that could fit in both the Golgari deck and the Stream of Thought deck, because this pack also had another gem:
Splicer's Skill is secretly the most important card in the Stream of Thought deck because of how much value it adds to every spell in the deck. I decided that if Splicer's Skill tabled (as it usually does), then that would be a signal that nobody was trying to hate the deck out. If it didn't? I got 'Gaak on baakup.
Long story short, the Splicer's Skill doesn't wheel, and I move into a beautiful combo deck:
- 1 First-Sphere Gargantua
- 1 Gluttonous Slug
- 1 Mother Bear
- 1 Nantuko Cultivator
- 1 Nimble Mongoose
- 2 Rank Officer
- 1 Rotwidow Pack
- 1 Springbloom Druid
- 1 Treetop Ambusher
- 1 Warteye Witch
- 1 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
- 1 Saddled Rimestag
Round 9 VS Patrick Cox
Pat's on Snow and ends up killing me with Conifer Wurm Game 1 before really seeing what my deck does.
Game 3, I turtle up and produce a ton of useless bodies on the battlefield while Pat chips in for damage over the course of a few turns. On the second-to-last possible turn, I rip Altar of Dementia, play my eighth land, sacrifice my two First-Sphere Gargantuas, immediately unearth them, mill him with both of them, and then two more creatures, for a total of 26 cards milled. Unsurprisingly, it was enough in our Limited game.
Round 10 VS Mattia Rizzi
My deck doesn't really function either game (read: I don't find Altar or any big creatures), and all of Mattia's creatures had a virtual four power, meaning I die pretty quickly while stumbling.
Round 11 VS Corey Baumeister
Corey and I make some jokes about arriving together and meeting each other again, but we're all business once we've drawn opening hands.
Game 1 I clown his Rakdos stratagem with my Rakdos sword. It isn't always skillful Magic at the Mythic Championship.
Game 2 I lose to a kicked Goblin War Party and allow him to Goatnap one of my creatures while I have a copy of Altar of Dementia on the battlefield. Even if I sacrificed the creature, I was still dead on the battlefield, and decided that him not knowing the trick (or rather, him thinking I didn't know the trick) could come up in the next game.
Game 3 is incredibly back in forth, with me going to a dangerously low life total before finally finding Hogaak and winning via the following sequence:
- Tap Nimble Mongoose and Saddled Rimestag to make Hogaak.
- Sacrifice Rimestag, then Mongoose, then Hogaak, to mill fifteen cards from Corey.
- Activate Mother Bear, get two 2/2 bears.
- Tap the Bears and exile the rest of my graveyard for Hogaak.
- Mill Corey for an additional twelve.
Going into Constructed with the ability to requalify for Mythic Championship VI in Richmond was great. My deck was good, and I just needed a 4-1 record in order to lock it up.
Round 12 VS Jon Stern (Unreal Company)
Without much interaction, I get rolled Game 1.
I have a piece of interaction and a fast draw Game 2 to even things up.
Game 3 is a sweat on both sides. The rate at which Stern is tanking lets me know that he has a ton of decisions, and I have to sequence my spells accordingly. I blow a Force of Vigor on a Utopia Sprawl when Freed from the Real is on the stack in order to prevent Stern from having his combo on the battlefield, despite it being less value. He then casts a Finale of Devastation for 2 with a Devoted Druid on the battlefield. My last two cards in hand kill the Druid, and I lock it up.
Stern is kind enough after the match to compliment the points at which I chose to interact, and I feel proud of navigating the matchup well. It was incredibly amicable of Stern to have such grace when losing, and it did a lot to help me center myself.
Round 13 VS Etienne Busson (Burn)
He's playing Burn, and I just have "the draw" twice in a row to clown him out. I even had Force of Vigor and a spare green card Game 2. Sometimes you just have it all. Etienne took it in stride and was pleasant after the match, in spite of the situation.
Round 14 VS David Brucker (Mono-Green Tron)
I played David last year in a Grand Prix in which he was on Tron. I knew that I just needed two wins in the next three rounds to come back in November, and I wanted it so bad. I also was aware that traditional Tron was a bad matchup for me. Realizing that Brucker was an old-school pro, I couldn't help but hope that he'd have changed decks in the last year.
Round 15 VS Dmitriy Butakov (Jund)
Back against the wall to requalify, and I'm facing one of my toughest opponents of the match. Unsure of what he brought, I keep an average seven and hope for the best.
He was Junding. Thank God.
At this point I begin the typical
PTQ MCQ-finals rituals. I shove headphones in my ears, listen to music that'll get me in the zone, and wait. The round goes almost half an hour over. It's the longest hour of my life.
Round 16 VS Xiao Tan (Breach Titan)
I sit down and Xiao lost his decklist. We call a judge and get a five-minute extension while they find another. After waiting before this, I can hardly sit still. My hands are sweating. I want this. I want it so bad. I've literally never cared about the
Pro Tour or qualifying, and even making it to this event was almost an accident. But after this event, it would feel so good to come back and start chaining Mythic Championships.
He shows me his decklist.
Whelp, sometimes they just want it more.
I have average-ish draws that unfortunately don't have Hogaak. I am a turn behind both games and lose.
There's something freeing about having such a high-stakes match be so close to over before it began. I made the best decisions that I had available, but the maindeck Chalice/Relic deck with a Turn 4 kill isn't exactly something I was adequately equipped to fight. C'est la vie.
Honestly, the tournament was everything I could've reasonably hoped for. I didn't crash and burn my first tabletop Mythic Championship, which feels like more than some people I know have the ability to say. I won a camera feature match and feel I played well in order to do so. I got to have some of the best players in the world as teammates and friends for the best Moroccan and Ethiopian food I've ever had, and I made it home safely.
To put a bow on this before my editor kills me for word count, I gotta stick to tradition:
- All the people who posted online resources to help me
- TAiTU, the Ethiopian restaurant that was so good we ran it back twice
- Meeting so many European friends in person for the first time
- Day 2ing my first
Pro TourMythic Championship
- Having positive records in both formats both days
- Having one of the best decks in the room
- Sam for teaching me to draft
- Autumn for always dragging me along with them to Mythic Championships
- Jake Humphries for being a great sounding board for my Modern rants and getting me back into Magic in 2011. My life wouldn't be the same without him.
- Travis Gibson and Jacob Bard for lending me cards.
- Frank Skarren for helping me get to Barcelona
- Fanta Naranja + Spezi
- Punting Round 8
- Barcelona's tap water being disgusting
- Delta losing my bag for the third time this year
- Losing exactly Round 16
- Bombing the Sunday PTQ