Mythic Championship Cleveland 2019
|Mythic Championship Cleveland 2019|
|Date||February 22–24, 2019|
|Location||Cleveland, Ohio, United States|
|Format||Standard and Booster draft|
Mythic Championship Cleveland 2019, or Mythic Championship I, took place on February 22–24, 2019, in Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It was the first Mythic Championship since the branding change from "Pro Tour". 499 players participated, making it the second-largest individual Pro Tour/Mythic Championship, behind only Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica. The event was also notable for its winner; Autumn Burchett was the first English player to win a Pro Tour, but also the first-ever non-male champion, as Burchett identifies as transfeminine non-binary. Runner-up was Yoshihiko Ikawa in his second Sunday appearance. Luis Scott-Vargas became the fourth player to reach double-digit Pro Tour top eights with his fourth-place finish.
Few structural changes to the Pro Tour were announced with the name change to Mythic Championship; the event retained its core structure of 16 rounds of tabletop Magic, including Standard and Booster draft. Prize structure and qualification methods were also more or less the same. One change, however, was that after Mythic Championship London 2019, an invitation no longer includes paid airfare to the event. Instead, every player in attendance wins at least $500, regardless of performance. This increased to prize payout to approximately $500,000, assuming an event size of 500; however, it does not necessarily represent a net increase in overall player compensation. This effect was not in place for Mythic Championship Cleveland, for which players still received paid airfare despite the increased prize purse.
The release of Ravnica Allegiance resulted in major changes to the Standard metagame. The five additional shock lands meant that a wider variety of color combinations had a viable manabase, and cards such as Wilderness Reclamation spawned entire new archetypes, particularly with Nexus of Fate, resulting in a best-of-one ban of the latter. Another big hit was Hydroid Krasis, which became an integral part of several decks in the format, including what was previously Golgari Midrange, now Sultai Midrange due to the addition of the Krasis (and to a lesser extent Hostage Taker and certain sideboard cards). Other decks with success leading up to the Mythic Championship included Mono-Blue Aggro, which was strengthened by the printing of Pteramander; Mono-Red, which had acquired new weapons such as Light up the Stage and Skewer the Critics to become more of a burn deck than what had been the case prior to the release of Ravnica Allegiance; Rakdos Midrange, which won Grand Prix Memphis in the hands of Jody Keith; Azorius Aggro, a white-based aggro deck that shifted from Boros in the previous Standard format to Azorius to make use of Negate and/or Deputy of Detention; Esper Control or Midrange; and Izzet Drakes.
The featured drafter of the first Ravnica Allegiance Booster draft was MPL member Mike Sigrist. Sigrist drafted a reasonable Azorius deck with three Lawmage's Binding, but fell to Thiago Saporito's Simic deck featuring Biogenic Ooze in the first round. He won the next two matches to start the event with a 2–1 record. Also featured was former R&D Play Design member Tom Ross, who drafted Orzhov after opening arguably the best card in the set, Ethereal Absolution. However, he lost to Francisco Sanchez in the first round after not realizing he could sacrifice the Captive Audience Sanchez had played with his Final Payment. Like Sigrist, he won the next two to start 2–1. Sanchez ended up going 3–0 in the pod with his Rakdos deck. Other players who got off to a strong 3–0 start to their campaign included Patrick Chapin, Jon Finkel, Paul Rietzl, William Jensen, and Martin Jůza.
The constructed portion of the event consisted of the anticipated archetypes. Sultai Midrange was the biggest deck at 21.5%, followed by Nexus decks, predominantly Simic, at 14.3%. White Aggro decks, consisting of both Azorius, Boros, and mono-white, was favored by 12.4% of competitors, while Mono-Blue Tempo was the last deck to have a metagame share of more than 10%. The three next most popular decks were Esper Control, Izzet Drakes, and Red Aggro. Most of the KMC-Genesis/Ultimate Guard conglomerate played Mono-Blue Tempo, and Azorius Aggro was played by most of Hareruya Latin, but overall, few teams had all of its players running the same deck. Many Mono-Blue Tempo decks, which had a favorable matchup against the biggest deck in the field, Sultai Midrange, rose to the top of the standings on day one, including in the hands of Reid Duke, William Jensen, and Autumn Burchett, who all started the event 7–1. The two overnight leaders, Michael Bonde and Rob Pisano, however, played Simic Nexus and Esper Conrol, respectively.
The top eight players after day one:
For the second draft of the event, pod 1 was featured, with coverage following Reid Duke's draft. Duke had drafted a Clear the Mind-deck to success the previous day, and commentators noted that he seemed to favor the Azorius strategy throughout the draft. Although dabbling in Simic towards the end of the first pack and in the beginning of the second, Duke did end up with a solid Azorius deck with three Sphinx of New Prahv. The deck earned him the 3–0, leaving him atop the leaderboard coming into the final rounds of Standard. Also featured was Michael Bonde, one of the overnight leaders. He had a much tougher time than Duke, switching between colors until ultimately settling into Esper with Dovin, Grand Arbiter as the highlight. Although the deck was regarded by commentators as highly mediocre, he went 2–1 with it, including a win against Piotr Glogowski where the latter made a big mistake to miss an on-board win in the deciding game, allowing Bonde to come back and take the game and the match. The other overnight leader, Rob Pisano, also had a very unfortunate draft and went 0–3. Pisano ultimately went 2–6 on the day, disappointing after a perfect 8–0 start, but enough for him to secure Gold in the Pro Players Club. Marcio Carvalho, who also was 7–1 overnight, but with lower tiebreaks and therefore on a different pod, won his pod to advance to 10–1, resulting in a co-lead between him, Reid Duke, and Michael Bonde.
Carvalho was the first to pick up the necessary wins to advance to Sunday play, after defeating Duke in round 12 and Bonde in round 13, thus reaching his sixth career Pro Tour/Mythic Championship top eight. Duke and Burchett were the next ones to lock up their 12th wins in round 14, with Duke winning a close match against Bonde where the Dane was in the process of turning the game around, but spent too much mana on his Biogenic Ooze, denying him the possibiliy of using Root Snare when Duke adapted his Pteramander and attacked for exactly lethal. Duke needed to play out against Daniel Grafensteiner for the win, whereas Burchett could draw with Carvalho, and in round 16 they drew with each other. Bonde himself defeated Andrea Mengucci in round 15, and was able to draw into top 8 in the final round with Yoshihiko Ikawa, who defeated Paul Rietzl in round 15. Also joining him was Luis Scott-Vargas, who was 9–3 after the draft and needing four straight wins; he did just that against Chih-Cheng Yeh, and was the last player to earn the right to intentionally draw with Alex Majlaton into Sunday play. The final top eight competitor was Julien Berteaux, who defeated Joe Soh in round 15 and drew with Carvalho - all eight competitors could negotiate draws for round 16.
|1||Autumn Burchett||$50,000||30||Mono-Blue Tempo||First English player and first non-male player to win a Pro Tour/Mythic Championship|
|2||Yoshihiko Ikawa||$20,000||28||Esper Control||Second Pro Tour Top 8|
|3||Reid Duke||$15,000||24||Mono-Blue Tempo||Fourth Pro Tour Top 8|
|4||Luis Scott-Vargas||$12,500||22||Izzet Phoenix||Tenth Pro Tour Top 8|
|5||Marcio Carvalho||$10,000||20||Mostly-White Aggro||Sixth Pro Tour Top 8|
|6||Michael Bonde||$9,000||18||Simic Nexus|
|7||Julien Berteaux||$7,500||17||Mono-Blue Tempo|
|8||Alex Majlaton||$6,000||16||Mostly-Red Aggro|
Carmine D'Aniello was disqualified in round 15 for drawing extra cards.
- Mythic Championship Cleveland marked the last event for Brian David-Marshall as part of the coverage team. David-Marshall had been a member of coverage since the very beginning of the professional scene, earlier as a text reporter and since 2005 also as a play-by-play commentator and video reporter.
- Six players posted perfect 6–0 draft records: Julien Berteaux, Marcio Carvalho, Reid Duke, Jack Kiefer, Paul Rietzl, and Francisco Sanchez.
- Eugeni Sanchez of Spain managed to post a pristine 10–0 Standard record with his Mono-Blue Tempo deck. Three additional players went 9–1: Yuya Hosokawa (Simic Nexus), Michael Hamilton (Esper Control), and No Ah Ma (Sultai Midrange). None of these players reached Sunday play, however.