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Mythic Championship 1 Cleveland: By the Numbers


Our first Mythic Championship is in the books, and while the tournament didn't have a ton of spicy new decks, all in all, it was a really interesting weekend of Magic with some tight play by really great players. In the end, Autumn Burchett took down the tournament with Mono-Blue Tempo. You can find all the 6+ win decklists from the Mythic Championship here. Today, our plan is simple: we're going to delve into the numbers of Mythic Championship Cleveland and try to figure out which decks performed best over the course of the weekend. We'll start off with the "big five"—a group of decks that made up a huge majority of the Day 1 field. Then, we'll have some notes on other lesser played decks before wrapping up by highlighting some of the sweetest under-the-radar decks from the Mythic Championship and the most played cards at the tournament.

Baseline Numbers

One of the biggest traps of analyzing Magic tournaments is to focus on which decks made the Top 8 or Top 32 because these numbers don't take into account how heavily played a deck was at the tournament. For a deck like Sultai Midrange, which started with more than 20% of the field, having several players post good results is the expectation. On the other hand, for a deck with only a handful of Day 1 players, it's pretty impressive if several of those players end up with strong finishes. As such, today, we'll be focusing on how good (or bad) a deck performed compared to the baseline, which is basically the Mythic Championship field as a whole. Decks that performed better than the baseline numbers likely had a good weekend, while decks with numbers worse than the baseline likely performed poorly.

Before getting to the numbers themselves, we have one big warning: Mythic Championships are split-format events. While the numbers for various finishes (18+ points, 21+ points, etc.) are based only on constructed records, there are probably some number of players who missed Day 2 (and a chance to show up in our sample of best-performing decks) thanks to a lacking limited performance on Day 1. It's also worth mentioning that the 24+ category also includes all of the decks that made the Top 8, regardless of their constructed record. For players at the very top of the standing, intentional draws in the last couple of rounds of the Swiss portion of the tournament often complicate their records, so it's easiest just to toss them in with the top tier of decks.

Baseline
Deck Day 1 Players Day 2 Players Conversion Rate 18+ Players % 18+ 21+ Players % 21+ 24+ / Top 8 Players % 24+
Baseline 499 315 63.1% 64 28.2% 46 15.4% 31 6.2%

The Big Five

 
Deck Day 1 Players Day 1 Meta % Day 2 Players Conversion Rate 18+ Players % 18+ 21+ Players % 21+ 24+ Players % 24+
Sultai Midrange 107 21.5% 69 63.6% 27 25.2% 19 14.1% 8 4.6%

Sultai Midrange was basically the epitome of average at Mythic Championship Cleveland. It was ever so slightly above average on Day 1 and slightly below average at all points on Day 2. Combine this with missing out on the Top 8 altogether, and it's arguable that Sultai Midrange should be considered one of the losers of the weekend. On the other hand, it's normal for the most heavily played decks at a Pro Tour to post somewhat average numbers thanks to the number of mirror matches and variance in the skill level of its players. Moving forward, Sultai Midrange will still likely see heavy play in Ravnica Allegiance Standard—the numbers aren't bad enough to actually scare people away from playing it, especially considering it's one of the most expensive decks in the format, both in paper and online. 

 
Deck Day 1 Players Day 1 Meta % Day 2 Players Conversion Rate 18+ Players % 18+ 21+ Players % 21+ 24+ Players % 24+
Nexus of Fate 71 14.3% 51 71.8% 21 29.6% 13 18.3% 3 4.2%

Nexus of Fate—a heading that most commonly includes Simic Nexus but also lesser played builds of the archetype, including Bant Nexus and Nexus of Gates—started off Mythic Championship Cleveland well, posing the highest conversion rate of any of the big five decks. However, it followed up this performance by posting average to below-average numbers at all of our Day 2 data points, suggesting the deck did worse as the tournament went along. 

However, all of this is complicated by the fact that we have several different decks lumped together in the same heading. We know that Nexus of Gates performed especially poorly, with just three of its 14 players posting a winning record in constructed (21.4%), so it's possible that some of the lesser builds of Nexus are dragging down the numbers on Simic Nexus itself. All in all, the numbers suggest a good Day 1 and a medium to poor Day 2 for Nexus of Fate decks, although I expect that if we had a fuller breakdown of the archetype and could look at the performance of specific builds, we'd find that Simic Nexus actually had solid (although not absurd) numbers across the board.

 
Deck Day 1 Players Day 1 Meta % Day 2 Players Conversion Rate 18+ Players % 18+ 21+ Players % 21+ 24+ Players % 24+
White Aggro 62 12.4% 42 67.7% 19 30.6% 9 14.5% 2 3.2%

White Aggro, including both Mono-White decks and builds splashing blue for some sideboard cards like Negate, started Mythic Championship Cleveland as the third most played deck in the field and followed it up with a solid Day 1, coming in roughly 4% over the norm. The deck also did a good job of giving players a winning record, coming in slightly above average for 18+ point finishes. However, the deck struggled to put players over the top and into high-end (seven-, eight-, or nine-win) finishes, posting poor numbers at both 21+ points and 24+ points. It might be that the Day 2 metagame was harder for the archetype to navigate than the Day 1 metagame. Sadly, we don't have enough information to figure out whether Mono-White or Azorius Aggro performed better at Mythic Championship Cleveland since Wizards didn't separate the decks on the metagame page, but it's worth noting that Azorius Aggro had roughly three times as many players post winning records than Mono-White Aggro. Especially with Simic Nexus and Esper Control looking good moving forward, having access to Negate in the sideboard seems important. Personally, I'd lean toward Azorius Aggro if you're trying to pick a build of White Aggro. If you take the numbers as a whole, White Aggro had a fine (if unexciting) weekend, although the lack of high-end finishes is a bit troubling.

 
Deck Day 1 Players Day 1 Meta % Day 2 Players Conversion Rate 18+ Players % 18+ 21+ Players % 21+ 24+ Players % 24+
Mono-Blue Tempo 60 12% 36 60% 22 36.6% 11 18.3% 8 8.3%

Before getting to the numbers, it's worth mentioning that no matter how the math shakes out, Mono-Blue Tempo was the biggest winner of the weekend, thanks to the deck putting three players in the Top 8 and dominating the coverage and narrative on Sunday. That said, our focus today is on the numbers, not on people's perceptions of Mythic Championship Cleveland. The good news is that after a so-so Day 1 where it posted a conversion rate about 3% below average, the numbers on Mono-Blue Tempo are great, posting above-average marks at every data point and coming in second place out of the big five decks on all of our final metrics. 

This being said, the deck also benefited from being played by some of the best players in the room at Mythic Championship Cleveland. While we don't really have an easy way to control for players' skill level, one way to interpret the numbers is that players who are either really good at Magic in general or really good with Mono-Blue Tempo specifically performed well with the deck, while your average Mythic Championship player might have had a rougher go with Mono-Blue Tempo, potentially even failing to make Day 2. On some level, this makes sense: while the free-win games where the Mono-Blue player sticks an early Curious Obsession got all of the coverage, the deck actually runs on very small margins. As such, if you are a random player looking to pick up the deck in paper or on Magic Arena, I'd make sure to get in a lot of practice and really learn the deck—it will reward you if you do. But based on the Mythic Championship Cleveland numbers, the intermediate or new player might not have a ton of success the first time they pick up the deck.

 
Deck Day 1 Players Day 1 Meta % Day 2 Players Conversion Rate 18+ Players % 18+ 21+ Players % 21+ 24+ Players % 24+
Esper Control 45 9% 29 64.4% 17 37.7% 19 26.7% 4 8.9%

While it didn't get a ton of coverage over the weekend and only put one player into the Top 8, by far the best of the big five decks at Mythic Championship Cleveland was Esper Control, which didn't just beat but crushed the other popular decks, by all of our Day 2 metrics. After posting a just-above-average conversion rate from Day 1 to Day 2, Esper Control crushed the competition on Saturday, posting the best percentage of any of the popular decks at giving players winning records and high-end (seven- to nine-win) finishes. While the fact that the deck sort of flew under the radar in terms of coverage over the weekend might keep the deck from taking off immediately, once savvy players dig behind the numbers and see just how good Esper Control performed at Mythic Championship Cleveland, it's likely to be a deck on the rise.

Notes on Other Decks

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  • Izzet Drakes was miserable at Mythic Championship Cleveland. After starting Day 1 with 30 players, only four ended up with a winning record (an awful 13.3%). On the other hand, three of the seven Izzet Phoenix players managed to post a winning record in constructed. Moving forward, if you want to play Izzet in Standard, you should probably have Arclight Phoenix in your deck.
  • Speaking of horrible, Mono-Red Aggro was very likely the worst deck at Mythic Championship Cleveland. Of the 28 Day 1 players, only two ended the tournament with a winning record—a laughable 7.1% rate, which is nearly four times worse than the average of the field.
  • Gruul Midrange might be the toughest deck to figure out. It looked like a winner after Day 1, converting 80% of its 10 players to Day 2, but finished with just one player with a winning record in Standard. It might be that Gruul Midrange was significantly worse on Day 2 than Day 1, or it might be a quirk of a small sample size with limited records, potentially complicating matters further.
  • Of the 141 decks that posted a winning record at Mythic Championship Cleveland, 108 were from our "big five" decks, leaving 33 for the rest of the field. This shows that the tier decks bested the brews. After starting off with 69% of the Day 1 metagame, the big five decks increased their metagame share to around 72% on Day 2 before claiming 76.6% of the "winning record" slots.
  • If you're looking for a sleeper deck from the event, Selesnya Tokens and Temur Reclamation both posted solid finishes with small numbers of players.

Spicy Under-the-Radar Decks

  • While Dimir Midrange isn't an unknown deck, the build itself is pretty spicy. Mesmerizing Benthid and Nightveil Predator weren't near the top of the list of cards I expected to show up at Mythic Championship Cleveland.

25 Most Played Cards

Overall

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Card Total Copies Total Decks
Negate 266 105
Opt 207 53
Hydroid Krasis 179 49
Duress 173 53
Cast Down 165 52
Hostage Taker 139 46
Chemister's Insight 136 38
Kraul Harpooner 115 43
Thief of Sanity 115 32
Vraska's Contempt 111 46
Search for Azcanta 109 44
Disdainful Stroke 105 64
Llanowar Elves 104 26
Jadelight Ranger 102 27
Pteramander 101 26
Growth Spiral 100 25
Entrancing Melody 99 35
Spell Pierce 98 45
Wilderness Reclamation 97 25
Merfolk Branchwalker 96 24
Thought Erasure 93 26
Legion's Landing 92 24
Lava Coil 91 27
Venerated Loxodon 91 24
Merfolk Trickster 91 23

Not too many surprises here. The most played non-land cards from Mythic Championship Cleveland were pretty much what you'd expect: the foundational cards from the most played decks in the format. This being said, the list does a good job of illuminating the differences between the best-of-three and best-of-one formats, with cards that are essentially unplayable in best-of-one like Duress and Negate near the top of the most played list. It also highlights the rise of Entrancing Melody from unplayable to Standard staple. With Hydroid Krasis being one of the most played cards in the format, having a four-mana way to steal the huge flier is a pretty good deal, especially for removal-light decks like Mono-Blue Tempo.

Ravnica Allegiance

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Card Total Copies Total Decks
Hydroid Krasis 179 49
Pteramander 101 26
Growth Spiral 100 25
Wilderness Reclamation 97 25
Tithe Taker 73 21
Root Snare 71 18
Absorb 67 18
Mortify 62 21
Essence Capture 62 22
Incubation Druid 60 26
Kaya's Wrath 56 18
Cry of the Carnarium 46 25
Unbreakable Formation 43 21
Biogenic Ooze 39 18
Rix Maadi Reveler 23 6
Growth-Chamber Guardian 22 6
Cindervines 22 6
Deputy of Detention 20 9
Light Up the Stage 20 5
Collision // Colossus 16 6
Frilled Mystic 14 9
Precognitive Perception 14 12
Faerie Duelist 14 10
Basilica Bell-Haunt 13 5
Gates Ablaze 12 3

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today! What did you think of our first Mythic Championship? Which of the decks from the event are you most excited to play? What do you make of all of these numbers? Let me know in the comments! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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