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You're Invited: Mythic Championship VII Preview

December 05, 2019
Rich Hagon

You're invited.

Such a simple phrase, yet it covers so much blood, sweat, and tears of both joy and despair—especially when the invitations are sent out around the multiverse to the highest ranks of Magic players. Seats at the 2019 Magic World Championship, seats in the next season of the Magic Pro League, and seats in the newly-formed Rivals League are all on the menu.

Yes, it's that time of year, with Mythic Championship VII coming your way from Long Beach, California. Speaking of which, let's get the first set of invites on their way:

You're invited.

What: Watch Mythic Championship VII
Who: Everyone
When: Friday, 9 a.m. PST / 12 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. UTC
Where: Twitch.tv/magic

Over the course of 30 or so hours of live broadcasting, we'll bring you all the action as our players graciously—tenaciously—accept their invites, or regretfully—tearfully—decline to take part in the next step of professional Magic. This three-day Mythic Championship forms the backdrop to all the season-defining—and sometimes career-defining—races for our competitors. The handy Mythic Championship VII Survival Guide provides an extended look at the week ahead.

67 will come out of the gates on Friday morning. On one side, the MPL. That's 32 of the finest players out there, who have been competing at Mythic Championships throughout this season, plus three splits of MPL Weekly play. On the other side, 35 Challengers, drawn from across the globe of Magic. There are Legacy masters, Limited experts, content creators, full-time streamers, speedrunners, Magic Hall of Fame members and more, all hoping to show the MPL a thing or two. Want to know more about them? Meet the Challengers of Mythic Championship VII and find your champion before the show starts.

63 of our field of 67 will play eight rounds of traditional best-of-three Standard Constructed on Friday. Moving straight to Day Two is the prize for our MPL Weekly split winners: Márcio Carvalho, William Jensen, Shota Yasooka, and Piotr Głogowski. That's some serious talent waiting in the wings, and each one is playing to close out their season on the highest note possible.

On Saturday, seven more rounds of Standard await the Top 24 from Friday—in addition to those four split winners. Bringing the right deck—and playing it to the very best—is key for those looking to make it to (and through) Day Two. With a fresh Standard format, the consensus is there's no consensus on which deck is best. Need proof? Every one of the 67 players' decklists is available to see, and Magic Hall of Fame member Frank Karsten's usual brilliant analysis dives into what's being played, and why.

Once Saturday is done, it's on to the final day of the 2019 professional season featuring our Top 8 battling it out in true double-elimination fashion, where the second loss of the day is the end of the road. And, sometime early on Sunday evening in California, we will know the identity of our last Mythic Champion of 2019.

You're invited.

What: The 2019 Magic World Championship
Who: Javier Dominguez, Autumn Burchett, Eli Loveman, Matias Leveratto, Thoralf Severin, Jean-Emmanuel Depraz, Ondřej Stráský
When: Early 2020
Where: Top secret location about to be revealed

Invites for the World Championships have been going out throughout the season, with seven of the sixteen coveted seats already spoken for by players. They begin with reigning World Champion Javier Dominguez, who has been in stunning form throughout the season. He's joined by his finals opponent from Mythic Championship V, Jean-Emmanuel Depraz, plus the five other Mythic Championship winners. Now they wait to find out which nine players will join them in—oh. I can't? Well, when can I?

Sorry about that. It seems that I'm not allowed to tell you exactly where the 2019 Magic World Championship is going to be held because we're revealing that in the broadcast on Friday. Let's just say it's going to be rather nice.

You're invited.

What: The 2019 Magic World Championship
Who: The Mythic Championship VII winner
When: Sunday night
Where: Top secret location about to be revealed

Like the previous Mythic Championship winners this season, the one who claims the trophy this weekend gets more than just a title, Mythic Points, and a serious payday—there's also the eighth seat at the World Championships locked up, coming to you next February from—no, no, still can't say.

You're invited.

What: The 2019 Magic World Championship
Who: The Top 4 from the MPL at the end of the 2019 season
When: Sunday night—or just maybe Saturday

Here's how the MPL standings look right now for the main contenders for a World Championship seat:

2019 Magic World Championship Race: MPL
1 Márcio Carvalho 125
2 Seth Manfield 119
3 Andrea Mengucci 117
4 Lee Shi Tian 114
5 Brian Braun-Duin 113
5 Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa 113
7 Reid Duke 112
8 Ken Yukuhiro 109

Fully half of those eight are already in the Magic Hall of Fame: Seth Manfield, Lee Shi Tian, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, and Reid Duke. Márcio Carvalho and Brian Braun-Duin faced each other in one of the greatest ever on-camera matches at the 2016 Magic World Championship finals, Andrea Mengucci won the Mythic Invitational earlier this year, and Ken Yukuhiro is arguably the finest player anywhere in Japan—a perennial Magic powerhouse.

Four seats are available to MPL players, and the closeness of the race means that any of those sitting just outside the cut are in a great position to turn things around. Saturday at Mythic Championship VII is going to be an epic slugfest for these seats, with Carvalho not only having the lead, but also the knowledge of a certain day two appearance, thanks to his split win.

You're invited.

What: The 2019 Magic World Championships
Who: The Top 4 Challengers by Mythic Points at the end of the 2019 season
When: Sunday night—or just maybe Saturday

The last four spots in the big show go to the Top 4 Challengers by Mythic Points across the 2019 season. Here's their leaderboard coming in:

2019 Magic World Championship Race: Challengers
1 Raphaël Lévy 91
2 Ondřej Stráský 83
3 Sebastian Pozzo 80
4 Luis Scott-Vargas 75
5 Chris Kvartek* 71
6 Gabriel Nassif* 58
7 Stanislav Cifka* 37

(*Qualified for Mythic Championship VII)

The top three here will all be seen in [not yet disclosed] in February. Lévy can' be caught by the Challengers playing in Long Beach, but there aren't enough points to knock him out of the slot.

Stráský is already in thanks to his Mythic Championship VI victory. He won't be holding an invitation slot away from the other Challengers.

Pozzo is in a fine—albeit not perfect—position we'll touch on more in a minute.

The real crunch, therefore, is for Luis Scott-Vargas. Effectively in third place, he will get passed by Chris Kvartek as long as Kvartek plays this weekend. That leaves Gabriel Nassif and Stanislav Cifka in contention with LSV.

Cifka is a long shot: He needs to at least reach the finals, where first place is the obvious ticket in and finishing second awards 42 Mythic Points. That's enough to get to 79 in total, which also nudges LSV out but would still come up short against Kvartek for just showing up—unless it's Kvartek is who wins that hypothetical finals. (You can see how things can get messy in a hurry if the right, successful players do exactly what they're planning to do.)

Nassif is a different matter: Reaching the Top 16—24 Mythic Points—is where we can get into tiebreak land. If Nassif reaches Saturday, that's going to be a real cliff edge day for Kvartek and Pozzo both.

You're invited.

What: The 2020 Partial Season Magic Pro League
Who: Javier Dominguez, Márcio Carvalho, Seth Manfield, Andrea Mengucci, Jean-Emmanuel Depraz, Lee Shi Tian, Brian Braun-Duin, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, Reid Duke
When: Sunday night (but we can call it now)

Congratulations to this "power nine" who already know they'll be invited to the MPL next season. Dominguez is winning this race by a country mile, but everyone here is assured of more MPL in their immediate future.

You're invited.

What: The 2020 Partial Season Magic Pro League, seats 10-20
Who: MPL players 10th through 30th in standings now
When: Sunday night

From Ken Yukuhiro and Autumn Burchett, tied for 10th place on 109 Mythic Points, all the way down to Eric Froehlich in 30th on 48 Mythic Points, a seat in the next season of the MPL is still a possibility, with 20 of the current MPL getting to stay for next season.

Right now, Alexander Hayne (87 Mythic Points) has the hot seat in 20th place, but Christian Hauck, Carlos Romão, Martin Jůza, and Mike Sigrist are all within four points of the Canadian champion. Once you reach John Rolf in 26th place earning a Top 8 spot is the minimum requirement, and Jessica Estephan and Janne Mikkonen already know that they won't be invited to the MPL for the start of 2020.

You're invited.

What: The 2020 Partial Season Magic Pro League
Who: The Top 4 2019 Challengers by Mythic Points
When: Probably Saturday, maybe Sunday

Here's the season leaderboard in the race for the top Challengers:

2020 Partial Season MPL Race: Challengers
1 Raphaël Lévy 91
2 Ondřej Stráský 83
3 Sebastian Pozzo 80
4 Luis Scott-Vargas 75
5 Chris Kvartek* 71
6 Matias Leveratto 66
7 Thoralf Severin 61
8 Chih-Cheng Yeh 59
9 Gabriel Nassif* 58
10 Stanislav Cifka* 37

(*Qualified for Mythic Championship VII)

Raphaël Lévy is all set for the MPL next season: the Magic Hall of Fame member can't be passed by four other players.

Ondřej Stráský can be passed by three others, but that requires a ton of things to go very wrong from his perspective, which begins with fellow Czech Stanislav Cifka winning the whole event. (Which, of course, is something he'd ordinarily want as Cifka's roommate.)

Chris Kvartek will be joining Stráský in hoping that doesn't happen (sorry Cifka), and both he and Stráský will be keeping an eye on the progress of Gabriel Nassif who doesn't come into the reckoning unless he's still playing deep in Day Two where things start to get interesting.

Despite multiple permutations, a quartet of Lévy, Stráský, Pozzo, and Kvartek are by far the most likely combination to see MPL play next season.

You're invited.

What: 2020 Partial Season Rivals League
Who: 2019 MPL players 21-32, 8 MTG Arena players and 8 tabletop Magic players
When: Sunday night

The Rivals League has a huge range of possible rosters right now, but it's shaping up to be a seriously high-quality league. From season one of the MPL we could see the likes of Eric Froehlich, Ben Stark, Martin Jůza (so that's three Magic Hall of Famer members right there), plus Jessica Estephan, former World Champion Carlos Romão, 2018 Player of the Year Luis Salvatto, and more all invited.

Then there are players with a terrific tabletop record this season. Expect to see players like Thoralf Severin, Luis Scott-Vargas, Louis-Samuel Deltour, Matt Sperling, and Eli Kassis receive Rivals invitations. From MTG Arena, there's a slew of talent that can earn invitations including Mythic Championship winner Matias Leveratto, one of the greatest of all-time in Kai Budde, plus so many excellent players snapping at their heels. We can't say with any certainty quite who is going to get all those invites, but we can say they're going to be very, very good.

And so, as I tick my last list of the 2019 season, it's time to tie it all together. Three days in Long Beach, one last push through a ferociously strong field, and a ton of invites waiting to be given out—all ready to change the direction of a lot of Magic lives. But, of course, there's one invitation that's more important than any other.

Yours—which was the very first handed out here. In case you missed it earlier, here's another just for you:

You're invited.

What: Watch Mythic Championship VII
Who: Everyone
When: Friday, 9 a.m. PST / 12 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. UTC
Where: Twitch.tv/magic

See you there.

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