Mythic Championship VII kicks off this Friday, and it's the last stop on the world tour for Mythic Points, MPL qualification, and earning seats for the 2019 Magic World Championship. With a refreshed Standard format and amazing players from around the globe descending on Long Beach, the casters and coverage team are in full swing gearing up for the 67 competitor show.
- Sean "Day9" Plott: Host
- Maria Bartholdi: Desk Host
- Becca Scott: Reporter
- Marshall Sutcliffe: Play-By-Play
- AliasV: Play-By-Play
- Cedric Phillips: Expert
- Brian Kibler: Expert
- Paul Cheon: Expert
Joining the casters off-camera is a familiar face for coverage fans.
Checking in with everyone—and to get a few predictions ahead of the event—we asked the coverage team a few questions. From the format to the deck, competitors, and called-shots for winners, here's what's on the coverage team's mind heading to Mythic Championship VII.
Oko (and Veil of Summer and Once Upon a Time) out. New Standard in. Which cards, decks, and strategies have you been enjoying in the post-ban format?
Paul: The Jeskai Fires deck has been a lot of fun to play and looks to be one of the strongest decks in standard as it was completely unaffected by the recent bans. I've also really enjoyed playing the Golgari Food deck that _Batutinha_ did well with on an Magic Online PTQ. It's playing four copies of Casualties of War in the main, which seems to be very strong in the current metagame dominated by various sacrifice decks that play a wide variety of permanent types.
Cedric: Sacrifice strategies of all shapes and sizes (Golgari, Sultai, Jund, and even Four-Color) have been interesting to watch evolve.
Maria: I love the Izzet Flash deck. Normally, I hate counterspells. But boy, do I love tempo! Almost nothing feels better than countering your opponent's spell and then flashing in a threat.
Marshall: Even though it's popularity has waned a bit, I'm a big fan of the Simic Flash deck. The specific combination of powerful instant speed creatures and spells (and sometimes creatures that act as spells) gives a great deal of flexibility in a proactive shell, something you don't see that often. Particularly Brazen Borrower is a card I have loved since I saw it, and I'm glad it's doing some heavy lifting in Standard now.
AliasV: Aggro has felt really good post-Oko. I've been enjoying Rakdos Knights with Embercleave to finish out the games. I love explosive finishes that seal the deal out of nowhere!
Corbin: While everyone else is going grindy with Adventures and Cats, I'm enjoying attacking with Rakdos Knights. Believe in the 'Cleave.
Of course, the game's greatest are working hard to break the format again. What decks do you expect to see from Mythic Championship VII competitors?
Paul: I expect the most popular archetype to be a Sacrifice deck that's built around the interaction between Cauldron Familiar and Witch's Oven. There have been many different flavors of this deck in Jund, Rakdos, and Golgari and I'm very curious to see which version ends up being the most successful at the event. I also expect Jeskai Fires and Golgari Adventures to be the other two more represented decks in the field.
Cedric: I expect a Sacrifice deck that really pushes Mayhem Devil and Korvold, Fae-Cursed King to the limit to be great this weekend.
Maria: I expect to see Jeskai Fires, Cat/Oven Combo, Izzet Flash, and Golgari Adventures. I think these are the top decks of the format. Maybe someone will bring something that breaks it wide open? You just never know.
Marshall: I expect a combination of a sacrificed-based deck around either Cauldron Familiar or Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, as well as a Jeskai Fires type deck. These seem to be the most powerful, consistent options depending on if you want the grindy midrange thing or the "Here's my combo, do I win?" thing.
AliasV: I expect to see plenty of Cauldron Familiar, Witch's Oven and Trail of Crumbs, plus ways to counteract those cards. I think green is still very strong, so there should be plenty green-based decks making an appearance, Golgari in particular.
Corbin: I expect the basic metagame to break into three tiers: Cat decks, Fires of Invention decks, and Embercleave decks. There are other viable decks like Wilderness Reclamation or Flash decks, but I expect those to be the three-most represented pillars.
Embercleave. Nissa, Who Shakes the World. Teferi, Time Raveler. With Oko and friends gone, do you believe there is there a new best card in Standard?
Paul: I believe that there is a bit more balance and many of the different strategies have a few key cards that are extremely important to their overall strategy. Some of my picks for most powerful cards in standard are: Embercleave, Fires of Invention, Wilderness Reclamation, Edgewall Innkeeper, and Gilded Goose.
Cedric: Given the slower nature of this format, Korvold, Fae-Cursed King may be the new best card in Standard.
Maria: Fires of Invention. It enables so many broken things. If it sticks, you can effectively win the game right on the spot.
Marshall: Fires of Invention feels like the most busted card in Standard now, with a few different decks built entirely around it. It gives you access to a level of mana you can't get any other way, and the cards it runs keep the fuel on the fire by finding more copies of themselves, and also killing the opponent very quickly.
AliasV: Nissa is still insanely strong, I'm not sure if she's the best card in standard, but she's damn close to being, if not! The crazy cat lady in me wants to say Cauldron Familiar is the best card, but that would be way too much of a stretch!
Corbin: I don't think so - but if there is, it's probably Gilded Goose. It does everything - it makes your other cards better, and is a recurring source of value.
The MPL season wrapped with the end of Eldraine Split, and Mythic Championship VII is the last stop for Mythic Points in the 2019 season. Among the 32 members, who has made the biggest impression on you through competition?
Paul: Without a doubt, it's Javier Dominguez. He has been the most dominant player over the past two years and has shown no signs of slowing down. By the end of this event, he will be qualified for the World Championships in three different ways! I also admire his passion and dedication to the game. He's got the complete package that people need in order to be considered among the best players in the world.
Cedric: Andrea Mengucci and Javier Dominguez are incredibly skilled players and great people who I love watching compete at the highest level. I expect another great finish from both of them this weekend and well into the next decade of Magic.
Maria: Javier Dominguez. He didn't win any splits, but he's last year's World Champion, got a Top 8 in London, and won Mythic Championship V. If you're not counting him among the best players playing the game right now (or even the best player) you're doing it wrong.
Marshall: Andrea Mengucci has been crushing everything all year. I remember when he made his big Pro Tour debut when we tried a "King of the Hill" thing where one player got to stay in the feature match as long as they kept winning. It was Andrea, and this was years ago. It feels like he never stopped winning.
AliasV: Several players have had a stellar season. Javier Dominguez and Andrea Mengucci stand out for me as having two of the most impressive seasons this year. I think they're definitely two players to watch out for at Mythic Championship VII.
Corbin: From the MPL, Ken Yukuhiro. Not only is he in the top 10 in points, he's done largely on the back of bucking the trend in Standard. Bringing brews to high-stakes tournaments takes some guts.
There's 36 Challengers from around the world battling in Mythic Championship VII. Some return—Gabriel Nassif, Chris Kvartek, Kenji Egashira—but many more are making their MTG Arena Mythic Championship debut. Who are you excited to see compete in Long Beach?
Paul: The person I'm most excited to see play is Stanislav Cifka. He has been a part of the legendary "Czech House" full of fantastic Magic players. From Mythic Championship VI winner Ondřej Stráský to Pro Tour champion Ivan Floch, he will have no shortage of amazing playtest partners to prepare for this event. He's no stranger to playing cards games at an elite level and I expect to see another good result from him at this event.
Cedric: It's weird to call Antonino De Rosa old school but given how long he and I have been around, old school it is! He has a vast list of accomplishment and I expect to see another one added to his resume this weekend.
Maria: I'm super stoked to watch Kenji Egashira. He came so close to a Top 8 in Mythic Championship V, I'd love to see him get there this time. He's one of the first streamers I ever watched regularly, and I couldn't be happier to see him crushing.
Marshall: I'm excited for Kenji Egashira! He has leveraged his previous invite into some big stuff, and he's looking to solidify—or even expand—his status for next year. With a finalist finish at the MOCS and a return to the biggest stage for MTG Arena, everyone will know what I've known for years: Kenji is really, really, good at Magic.
AliasV: I'm excited to see Crokeyz and Mogwai competing. I've followed their Magic careers since they started streaming MTG Arena and have been really impressed with their competitive performances, especially Crokeyz. It would be great to see them make Day Two at the very least!
Corbin: Chris Kvartek. Watching his rise this year has been a treat, and he's got a lot riding on this tournament after qualifying twice the hard way through MCQWs.
Javier Dominguez is one of the hottest players in the world. Autumn Burchett notched a Mythic Championship win to start the season. 30 more MPL players and 36 incredible Challengers each hungry for their own success. Will we see a repeat champion, or a new face hoist the MC VII trophy?
Paul: My pick to win the entire event is Márcio Carvalho. He has been one of the most consistently impressive performers in the past 4-5 years. He has picked up several high profile finalist finishes, but this might be the event where he takes it all down. Also, he called his own shot during MPL Weekly by naming his deck "MPL Winner" and eventually won the split. This gives him a tremendous advantage and he should be one of the favorites to win it all at Mythic Championship VII.
Cedric: A familiar face is going to run the place: Andrea Mengucci. While he didn't win Mythic Championship V, I believe his play was the best of the 68 players in the room. I see no reason why that will not be the case again, and he will improve upon his third place finish the last time he was in Long Beach. Long Live #MengucciCuisine!
Maria: I'm going to go with Andrea Mengucci who's been having a pretty incredible last few seasons. Also, I really like the way he says "veeeeedeo."
Marshall: I think we'll see an MPL player with the trophy in their hands at the end of this thing. The MPL have proven why they got to the top of the game, with six of eight in the last top 8 being from the MPL. I love watching the best doing their thing, and I think it's time we saw Mike Sigrist finish the job and get the big Mythic Championship win.
AliasV: It's pretty difficult to pick a winner from such a stacked field, but if I were to take a wild guess, I'd say one of the MPL members who made it straight through to Day Two have a very good chance. Therefore, Shota Yasooka would be my pick to win it all.
Personally though, I always hope to see an underdog win, so I'm definitely rooting for Crokeyz on the Challengers side!
Corbin: Brad Nelson. It's Standard and he's already got a 2nd place-finish this season. Standard is what the man breathes.
We're just days away from the showdown in Long Beach. Don't miss a minute of the action all weekend when the Mythic Championship VII broadcast kicks off Friday, December 6 at 9 a.m. PST / 12 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. UTC at Twitch.tv/magic.