Sixty-eight players. Two days of intense MTG Arena competition. Dozens of topdecks, celebrations and grand entrances later, we have our Top 4 here at Mythic Championship III in Las Vegas.
The Top 4
And there's something for everyone here. We've got a living legend in Kai Budde, the German Juggernaut who helped to put Magic on the map in the beginning and now is ready to step back into his spot at the top as Magic enters its next evolution.
We've got Shahar Shenhar, the wunderkind (and kid) who at just 25 is a two-time World Champion (2013 and 2014) and is looking to keep his own impressive Sunday streak alive.
Speaking of streaks, we've got Brad Nelson, who reeled off the first (and, so far, only) undefeated split in Magic Pro League history to punch his Top 16 ticket and then followed that up with another undefeated run today, sending him to the Top 4 on a 10-game winning streak in professional Arena play.
And like all good finals, we've got a true underdog story. That would be Matias Leveratto, who gave up competitive Magic years ago. But then came MTG Arena. And it wasn't long before Leveratto was pulled right back in. And why not? Arena was the perfect outlet for Leveratto's drive to play, and when it was announced that you could qualify for the Mythic Championship via Arena, Leveratto was all-in.
And for good reason. He worked hard to climb the ladder and his dedication paid off with a trip here. But never did he expect to convert it into a Top 4 appearance, and now he'll return with a chance to complete the Cinderella run with a victory.
And he's got at least one fan rooting him on.
"I'm so happy for him," beamed Luis Salvatto, the reigning Player of the Year and fellow Argentinian said. "He really deserves this."
War of the Spark Standard has been one of the best and most diverse, not to mention downright silly at times – Command the Dreadhorde is not a card many expected to show up at the top tables of Standard – and the Top 4 here featured some new and old.
- Nelson: Esper Hero
- Budde: Esper Hero
- Shenhar: Mono-Red
- Leveratto: Simic Nexus
The Esper Hero deck that Nelson and Budde played was the result of weeks of intense testing, and the team's work paid off in unlocking the deck's full potential. Hero of Precinct One allows the deck to not just go toe-to-toe with the go-wide decks like Mono-White Aggro, but its flexibility (especially after sideboarding) allowed Nelson and Budde to leverage their mastery of the format into Top 4 slots.
Their reward? A mirror match first thing Sunday morning.
Professional Magic has always rewarded preparation and good teamwork, and undoubtedly the most successful pairing of the weekend was the testing done by some of the longtime members of Team KMC Genesis and Team Ultimate Guard. A group of about eight tested together for this event, and it's safe to say the hard work paid off with three of the group making the Top 4, with Leveratto breaking up the party.
The Saga of Brad and BBD
Brad Nelson and Brian Braun-Duin's friendship – and practical jokes – have always provided some of the best lighter moments at events, but the duo has taken it to a whole new level this weekend. And it's been a joy to watch day after day – see for yourself!
It’s go time! pic.twitter.com/siHcBM4A6f— BashBrosPodcast (@BashBrosPodcast) June 22, 2019
Today's Best Moments
What is a day of competition without some memorable moments from the stream?
With a shot at the lower bracket final on the line, John Rolf faced at a pivotal decision point against Lee Shi Tian. At 2 life and staring down 9 power, should he use Cry of the Carnarium to clear the board and then play Lyra Dawnbringer, or reverse that order? Each offered its own advantages and risks, and in the end Rolf opted to wipe the board first.
That didn't quite work out.
Unfortunately for Lee, it was his turn to be on the receiving end of bad news in the next round.
Finally, it's important to know that just because the stream ends, doesn't mean the stream ends. The official channel hosted streamer Voxy after it went off the air, and it's safe to say she didn't expect a sudden influx of 10,000 viewers, making for one of the best moments of the day.
That's all from Saturday at the Mythic Championship – we'll see you at 8 a.m. local time in the morning to crown a champion!