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The Top 16 is Set!

Another day of the Mythic Invitational, another slate of can't-miss matches and highlight moments. With the first two groups decided on Thursday, the remaining 32 competitors got their opportunity today to earn their spot in the Top 16.

Here are the storylines that stood out today.

Today's Big Takeaway

The Top 16 Is Set

It was a wild day of matches on Day Two of the Mythic Invitational. It started out heated with a much-anticipated match between a pair of challengers—Luis Scott-Vargas and Cedric Phillips—and ended with the best in the game proving why they're members of the Magic Pro League.

Luis Scott-Vargas and Cedric Phillips

In the end, here are the eight players who advanced:

  • Gabriel "Yellowhat" Nassif (Challenger, Hall of Famer)
  • Seth Manfield (MPL member, Hall of Famer)
  • Janne "Savjz" Mikkonen (Challenger)
  • Reid Duke (MPL member)
  • Grzegorz Kowalski (MPL member)
  • Jean-Emmanuel Depraz (MPL member)
  • David "TheAsianAvenger" Nguyen (Challenger)
  • Piotr Głogowski (MPL member)

After a first day of competition in which the challengers stepped up and allowed just three of the first eight Top 16 slots to go to Magic Pro League members, the group of the world's most talented players struck back on Friday. Five of the eight qualifiers were MPL members, while one of the challenger positions actually belonged to Gabriel "Yellowhat" Nassif, a member of the Magic Hall of the Fame and one of the best to ever play the game.

Cedric Gets on the Board

We spoke yesterday of the "group of death," and play in the ultra-loaded Group C—six Hall of Famers and more than 50 Mythic Championship Top 8 appearances littered the group—and play got off to a hot start between two competitors who weren't afraid to talk a little trash heading into the tournament.

It just so happened that those two players were Cedric Phillips—mainstay of the Magic community in coverage and content roles but formerly a high-level competitor himself—and none other than Luis Scott-Vargas, a player in the debate for greatest of all time.

The hype heading into the match was undeniable.

Phillips came ready to finally take a game off of the Hall of Famer, and he couldn't have chosen a better time.

And you better believe Phillips wasn't holding back after the match.

Hall of Famers Emerge from "Group of Death"

We hyped it up heading into today, and Group C—also known as the "group of death"—didn't disappoint. Six Hall of Famers were in the field of sixteen, and two of them, Gabriel Nassif and Seth Manfield, secured their Top 16 spots by winning three matches in a row.

On the bottom end of the bracket, Reid Duke shook off a first-round loss to Mike Sigrist by reeling off four wins in a row—over PterodactylsFTW, teammate William "Huey" Jensen, streamer Merchant, and then a rematch against Sigrist himself. Meanwhile, on the other end Janne "Savjz" Mikkonen entered the lower bracket and promptly knocked off Hall of Famer Shota Yasooka before defeating Sjow and MPL member John Rolf to advance.

TheAsianAvenger Makes All the Plays

One of the best qualifier stories to come out of today belonged to David "TheAsianAvenger" Nguyen, who received a Challenger invite to the event. He impressed many by knocking off Thiago Saporito and MPL member Márcio Carvalho in successive rounds. His underdog was seemingly cut short with a loss to Grzegorz Kowalski, but that meant that Nguyen had one final chance in the last match of the day.

There, he met Teruya Kakumae, and the pair played a tight match that Nguyen ultimately won to punch his ticket to Saturday. And he wasn't holding back his enthusiasm after the match.

Match of the Day

How many Rhythm of the Wild is too many? Well, if there's an answer to that, we haven't found it yet. And yet, when Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is involved there's no telling which side will come out on top.

The match of the day undoubtedly must go to Savjz vs. PterodactylsFTW, who staged an epic Game 3 that saw wild swings, unexpected interactions, and a crazy finish you have to see to believe.

From Around the Tournament

No Hesitation

Sometimes it isn't about having the right card in hand—it's about making your opponent think you do. This game may not have ultimately gone John Rolf's way, but it did provide for an exciting next-level play.

Mono-Blue Is Back

MPL member Piotr Głogowski was the only person in the 64-person tournament to register Mono-Blue Tempo, a somewhat shocking development considering the deck just won the Mythic Championship in the hands of Autumn Burchett, who was also competing in this tournament.

But it seemed most players had soured on the archetype—except for Głogowski, who used the tried-and-true deck to clinch his spot in the Top 16 and perhaps bringing back Mono-Blue Tempo in the process.

Not to be lost in Głogowski's finish? The stoic player busting out his "happy hat."

The Wilderness Has Been Reclaimed

Just how crazy can you go with Wilderness Reclamation? Just ask Grzegorz Kowalski, who is the clubhouse leader in highest-damage Explosion.

Looking Ahead – The Top 16 Awaits

After two days of play-in groups, it's time for the Top 16 of the Mythic Invitational. To recap, that means the eight players from today plus the eight players from yesterday will play out one more group battle to lock in the Top 4 for Sunday's finale.

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