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My Grind to Mythic (Standard, Magic Arena)


Hello Readers!

This is my first lengthy article on MTGGoldfish so thanks for being here for this. (Print this article out, it's a first issue! That means it's going to be worth something in the year 3029...maybe) 
 

The Grind

This article is going to talk about how I went from Bronze to Mythic. At the time I've written this article I climbed up to Top 100 Mythic and I must say it's been quite a grind as I made an oath on stream to not use any aggro decks for the grind, although aggro is probably the quickest and most efficient way to climb the ladder. My deck's fastest matches were twelve to fifteen minutes long, while an average match would sit around 20-25 minutes a game. It took me roughly 1.5 weeks of serious grinding to hit Mythic so you've definitely got to be ready to brave the storm.

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Laddering Mentality

It's important to know that you will win 5 matches in a row and then go on a silly losing streak often. Just don't be discouraged and keep pushing forward. It's all about grinding to be honest. At some point you'll just run hot and snap off a huge win streak. A big mistake I see people making while grinding on the ladder is after losing a small amount of games, they immediately go back to the drawing board and change the deck up drastically. I would only recommend doing this if you've played and lost a ridiculous amount in a row. 

Because we're grinding the ladder and playing a slow deck, I often knew when I was beat and would concede. Sometimes you'll see me loaded up with removal spells against a Di-mirror match and the opponent will Thought Erasure and Disinformation Campaign my hand to bits. Instead of playing it out, I will just concede. Its not salt raging or anything to just concede. It's just efficient grinding. I'm not saying everyone should concede because of one discard spell but sometimes the time you're about to spend to potentially win isn't worth it when you could be spending that time on the next match.

Why Grixis Control?


I chose to play my favorite shard in Magic The Gathering which is Grixis as Nicol Bolas is a friend and I believe Grixis has the best answers for best of one.

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When you take a look at all the aggro decks that are currently in best of one, cards like Golden Demise are needed by turn three and can deal with protection effects like Dauntless Bodyguard and little critters like Adanto Vanguard. This is especially true if you're on the draw. I also didn't like Jeskai control because I'm not a fan of playing a deck that doesn't have a clean answer to planeswalkers, and Vraska's Contempt is very important. On top of that, we get The Eldest Reborn which is really good for dealing with resilient threats like Carnage Tyrant. I mean yes, Jeskai is more proactive and has one of the most powerful cards in the format, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and clean board sweeps like Cleansing Nova, Settle the Wreckage, and Deafening Clarion. Everything I just mentioned to you makes Jeskai enticing, but when you're facing a ton of aggro decks I want removal spells like Moment of Craving which is life gain and an efficient way to deal with problematic threats like Adanto Vanguard. More importantly, for those who also like to be a durdle turtle and play control on the ladder, we're able to eat our opposing control opponent's hand and leave them with irrelevant spells because we've got cards like Thought Erasure and Disinformation Campaign

This hand displayed below is a gorgeous hand


 

Thought Erasure is easily one of the best things you can do on turn two in standard. This card not only allows us to disrupt and give us an idea of what to look for, which is super essential on the ladder as there is definitely a wrong half of your deck when you're playing control. 


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Why Add Red?

 

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The addition of red does trade off our mana's consistency with more raw power. I was playing Dimir for awhile but I hated how there weren't any powerful planeswalkers or threats. I tried the version that just used Dream Eater,Karn, Scion of Urza, and The Eldest Reborn package. The Dimir deck still felt super weak. I figured since we're playing Disinformation Campaign... Nicol Bolas plays into the 'attack your opponent's hand' plan and naturally slots right into the four drop mana curve. I absolutely love getting Bolas back from The Eldest Reborn as I can then just pay the mana cost to flip it. There was a Star of Extinction and Angrath, The Flame Chained at a point but I dropped both for a simple Ral and more answers! Ral actually does a lot of work as it's another way for us to cleanly deal with Niv-Mizzets and also provide us with a card advantage engine. Here's the list that got me to high mythic...
 



That's right! That's some hot tech I've been pushing in the maindeck, and I'm now starting to see people take this card seriously in best of one... Unmoored Ego ! Not only am I gonna tell you what I normally name but some tips to help with the matchup.


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Now, normally I hate this type of card disadvantage type of card...especially in the main deck, but I've talked about best of one before and as I've said, it's an entirely different format. It requires a different style of thinking as I'm used to having a 15 card sideboard and against some matchups your opponents will have threats that can kind of cheese you like Nexus of Fate or an unruly Carnage Tyrant, so below I'll give you decks you'll run into on the ladder and what I usually name . Yes, even against aggro decks this card has targets! It's not ideal to have this before you clear off the board but this card helps you shut the door on aggro after you've swept the board. A disclaimer is that this card doesn't auto win you a game unless it's against a Nexus deck. This card is more of a tool to allow us to level the playing field and remove our opponent's ace.

Bant, Esper, and Jeskai Nexus:

What Do I Name? These decks rely on their ability to just lock you out of ever playing the game again and this card helps because personally I've noticed it doesn't really matter what their win condition is, Nexus of Fate will allow them to kill you with a 1/1 vanilla creature. Their engine is Search for Azcanta, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Nexus of Fate. Well if we Ego their Nexus, we don't care what they're grabbing with Azcanta as we can counter and use our planeswalker removal against their remaining threats. So in short, just name their Nexus of Fate

Tips: Some of them play random things like Dawn of Hope or even Patient Rebuilding. In this matchup, I would dig aggressively for Unmoored ego. Also remember 
They'll sometimes try to bait you by firing off a nexus at the end of your turn but you don't really need to counter it. Sometimes just let them do it because they're digging and you're more so worried about what they're digging for.


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Jeskai Control: 

What Do I Name?

In this match up I normally name Niv-Mizzet, Parun as it's the only thing I can't counter. Sometimes if my hand is stocked up on removal that deals with Niv-Mizzet, I'll name Teferi.

Tips: This match up is usually back and forth, but if we draw our discard heavy half of the deck, it's very hard to lose this match up. I also don't attack with my Nicol Bolas so I can play around Seal Away as I more so care about flipping my bolas. This matchup is usually over if you untap with any of their threats or your own Nicol Bolas planeswalker. Jeskai has a problem with Planeswalkers outside of explosion or a Teferi tuck. Some of these decks are also playing a handful of Dive Down so be ready for that.


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Grixis Control//Dimir Control: 

What do I Name?
 Depending on how light your hand is on answers, I may take Bolas as this is usually their main win condition with a sprinkling of a Ral, Izzet Viceroy or maybe a Karn, Scion of Urza if we're up against Grixis. But if you know you're against Dimir Control, those decks usually are heavier on The Eldest Reborn plan with a splash of Dream Eater and a few Doom Whisperer, but we'll have so many removal spells backed up so those threats won't be as bad. There's also a discussion against Dimir to name Disinformation Campaign and very rarely do I ever name that unless I'm caught in a nasty loop.

Tips: Make sure when you play this matchup to be weary of their hand disruption. Make sure if you've got a surplus of lands, hold onto them so you can play around Bolas and Disinformation Campaign's discard. Also try to exile their Bolas or threats; this way they don't have anything too great to bring back with The Eldest Reborn.


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Golgari Midrange

What do I name?
This is their ace. The cream of the crop. This card will destroy you unless we draw our Detection Tower. Everything else they play is targetable and counterable.

Tips:
I normally try to keep the board clear and hold eldest reborn if I don't have a Detection Tower. This match up will be grindy so try to squeeze out as many 2 for 1s as you can and be ready to leave up mana for countering Vivien Reid. Don't be afraid to get hit against them either; they don't have reach.


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Red Deck Wins

What Do I Name?
As a Grixis deck you can't deal with enchantments outside of Discovery//Dispersal but if you're loaded up on counter spells and have mana to also interact with their creatures, I would name Banefire. Risk Factor is something I rarely ever name but it's worth considering. 

Tips:
How do I play against this? Simple. Try not to die...I know. Kinda ridiculous but it's true. Keep your health up and absolutely make sure you play around or have a plan for Experimental Frenzy. Often times, I just win by holding up all my cards and beating down with Bolas or a Nezahal.

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Boros Weenies:

What do I Name?

If you see a red land, I'm always naming Heroic Reinforcements. If it's Mono White I'll probably name Adanto Vanguard or Benalish Marshal. If they don't have a flipped Legion's Landing, then I'd name that.

Tips: When playing this matchup try finding your Golden Demise but be mindful of Pride of Conquerors and if you haven't used Ego on Reinforcements, always make sure to keep that in mind. 


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Wincons?


Now because the deck has so many different types of answers, I chose to have slightly fewer win conditions which is why I included Nezahal, The Primal Tide as it can be win conditions eight through ten. It helps with all the dead cards we're gonna have in the control matchups and can draw us a ton of cards. Also the fact that it's a 7/7 means it can trade with a Carnage Tyrant and be a very fast clock.

Nicol Bolas being brought back by The Eldest Reborn is one of my favorite things. As you can flip it right away which means we get Nicol Bolas, The Arisen which is an extremely powerful magic card. Your opponent cannot allow you to untap with it. Also, you can loop Nicol Bolas as you can have the both Nicol Bolas, The Ravager and Nicol Bolas, The Arisen on board at the same time. 

The Eldest Reborn allows us to bring back our opponent's best threat or our own Bolas so this is pretty self explanatory.


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What are the bad matchups? It's simple really...


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Anything that is playing Nullhide Ferox or a million enchantments. Mono Green stompy oddly throws a ton of hard to deal with minions, and when we've got Moment of Craving which doesn't really answer much, we could be stretched thin of answers. Especially when you consider they've also got powerhouses like Vine Mare. Otherwise, it feels like a 50/50 deck in the field.
 

Conclusion

The first laddering season has been a slog fest and definitely a huge shake up to the seasoned Magic player, but I can see the appeal of best of one as there are faster games and it's way more welcoming to newer players from other games. The biggest question I usually get is, "How do I sideboard?" Well, this kind of helps us get around that until the newer player becomes more familar. I still think there should be a best of three ladder, but in the mean time, I'll be grinding the best of one ladder and hopefully break into the upper tiers of Mythic. The rewards however aren't really worth it so if you're looking for rewards you're better off grinding a Traditional Event as that is better value. I don't really know what all of this feeds into yet, but hopefully Wizards of The Coast will reveal more as the year goes on!

Thanks for reading!

-TheAsianAvenger


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