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Mythic Championship IV: Day Two Wrap Up


Yesterday, from day one at Mythic Championship IV, we got our first looks at the pro-level Modern metagame from Barcelona, Spain. Our biggest takeaway was that the field was lacking in diversity compared to past Modern Pro Tours, with Hogaak dominating the field and a handful of decks making up a huge portion of the metagame. The good news is that metagame percentages only tell part of the storyit's very possible for a deck to be heavily-played, but thanks to the rest of the field targeting the deck, put up a lacking performance. While we won't know who actually wins Mythic Championship IV until tomorrow, today on day two of Mythic Championship IV, we get our first look at which decks are flying and which are flopping in the form of conversion rates. 

As such, our main focus today will be discussing what decks performed well on day one of Mythic Championship IV, which sets the stage not only for the top eight tomorrow, but the future of the Modern metagame as well. Like yesterday, this will probably be a somewhat short article, but don't worry, we'll be back to discuss the spiciest decks from the tournament tomorrow in our final wrap up!

Conversion Rates: Heavily Played Decks

Before laying out the data, a quick word on conversion rates. First and most importantly, Mythic Championships are split format tournaments (meaning some rounds are limited and some are constructed). As a result, one of the weaknesses of conversion rates is that they only consider what players performed well enough in both limited and constructed to make day two of the event (making day two requires a 4-4 record). While conversion rates are still very meaningful, it's worth mentioning that, at least in theory, it's possible for someone to post a slightly winning record in constructed but bomb in limited and miss the cut for day two. Likewise, players who 3-0 their draft gets a huge head start on making day two, to the point where they could perform below par in constructed and still get in. While there will probably be constructed-only data in the future, for now, conversion rates at the best we have, and while conversion rates are a good judge of how well a deck performs on day one, it's certainly not perfect.

Second, 63.2% of the entire Mythic Championship IV field made day two, which means 63.2% is a good baseline number by which we can judge the performance of various decks. This means that decks that have conversion rates over 63.2% performed well on day one, while decks with conversion rates below 63.2% had bad day ones. Now to the numbers!

Let's start with the elephant in the room: Hogaak. The short version is something is going to be getting banned at the next possible B&R announcement. While the 21.4% metagame share on day one was concerning since the most-played deck at Modern Pro Tours is usually closer to 10%, there was some hope that Hogaak would be heavily-played but wouldn't actually be that good since it clearly had a target on its back (as evidenced by Leyline of the Void being the most-played card at the tournament, to the point where it is showing up in some main decks). Well, now we know: not only was Hogaak the most-played deck on day one of Mythic Championship IV, but it was also the best deck, posting the best conversion rate of any deck with five or more players at 71.4%.

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Even scarier, this number might actually undersell just how good Hogaak really is. If you eliminate limited from the equation, the deck is even better. Master of Numbers Frank Karsten mentioned on coverage that if you look at decks that went 5-0 in Modern on day one, half of them were Hogaak, which is more than double what you'd expect based on Hogaak's 21.4% metagame share. Toss in the fact that the metagame was clearly prepared for the deck, considering that Leyline of the Void was the single most played card at Mythic Championship IV, it's hard to even see how the metagame can adjust to the power and consistency of Hogaak decks. How much more can you do than play Leyline of the Void in your main deck? If that's not enough to beat Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis, I'm not sure any (reasonable) thing is. Top eights are fickle so almost regardless of what happens over the next 24 hours, the biggest takeaway from Mythic Championship IV is that, even after the Bridge from Below ban, Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis is too good for Modern.

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While this might sound all doom and gloom, there is some good news from day one at Mythic Championship IV. While overshadowed by Hogaak, four of the five most played decks at the tournament (with the exception being Humans) performed somewhat above average (just not as good as Hogaak). Izzet Phoenix, Eldrazi Tron, and UW Control all posted conversion rates slightly above the expected 63.2%, so while Hogaak is the best game in the Modern town, there are other, slightly less good (but still legitimate) games floating around as well.

On the other hand, not all decks (or even all heavily played decks) had good day ones at Mythic Championship IV. While Eldrazi Tron was arguably the best non-Hogaak deck, traditional Tron had a tough day, with only 52.6% of its players making it into day two. If you're addicted to the big mana strategy, for the immediate future, Eldrazi Tron seems like a better choice than trying to play Karn Liberated on turn three.

Sadly, one of the decks I was rooting for the hardestUrza Thopter Sword, built around Urza, Lord High Artificerwas exactly as bad as Tron, making them co-losers from among the heavily played decks at the event. Unfortunately, at this point it's hard to say what exactly went wrong for Tron and Urza, the data is just to muddy. However, thanks to all of the decklists being public, we should be able to get matchup data at some point in the future, which would help us figure out why these decks were bad, rather than just that they were bad.

Conversion Rates: Lesser Played Decks

If you're looking for a glimmer of hope among the Hogaaks, they are few and far between. The "other" category (which features decks with two or less players and is arguably one of the most important categories in Modern, since a big part of the format's appeal is the idea that you can win with your personal deck, even if it isn't all that popular) seems to have an error in the data put out by Wizards. According to the metagame breakdown, 18 of 34 "other" players made it into day two, which would be 52.9%, making "others" one of the worst decks at the tournament. For some reason, Wizards listed "others" at a Hogaakian 71.4% conversion rate, which is probably a typographical error. This said we did have three lesser-played decks that managed to convert all three of their players. Of course, a sample size of three isn't all that meaningful, but it's still impressive. If you're looking for a way to beat the Hogaak menace, these decks might offer a starting point (although we'll know a lot more in a few days as more data comes out, so consider these the early underplayed winners from Mythic Championship IV).

How do you beat a 8/8 trample on turn two? Apparently, one option is building your own 8/8 trample, with lifelink, first strike, and hexproof with Bogles. In a world where everyone is focused on fighting the graveyards (theoretically leaving decks with less room for hexproof/creature hate), loading up a hexproof creature up with auras is apparently a fairly effective plan. On paper, it makes some amount of sense, if you can get enough auras on a Slippery Bogle or Gladecover Scout, it can simply be bigger (and have more abilities) than Hogaak, and Hogaak decks are pretty light on interaction.

While most players are focused on the new huge, free creature that generates an insane amount of value in a graveyard-centric deck, a handful of players went old school, and played last year's huge, free creature that generates an insane amount of value in a graveyard-centric deck in Hollow One. While it might seem counter-intuitive to play a Hollow One in a field where Leyline of the Void is the most played cards, in some ways Hollow One is less reliant on the graveyard than Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis since you can always just cast a bunch of free 4/4 Hollow Ones. The deck also gets a touch of Modern Horizons spice, with Lightning Skelemental and Unearth joining the fray. 

Finally, if you want to play some good, clean, fair Magic, Mardu Pyromancersan updated version of Mardu Pyromancer that features both Young Pyromancer and Seasoned Pyromancermight be your best option. While it is always scary to play an exceeding fair deck in a format where people are playing free 8/8's on turn two, at least for three players at Mythic Championship IV, the plan seems to be working. The biggest upside of Mardu Pyromancers is consistency; thanks to Faithless Looting and Seasoned Pyromancer (and to a lesser extent Unearth to reanimate Seasoned Pyromancer) the deck is really good at finding what it needs in a given situation, which helps make up for the fact that it's clock is slow compared to most of the decks in Modern as it looks to slowly build up a board of 1/1 tokens with its Pyromancers. Toss in some main deck graveyard hate in Surgical Extraction and you arguably have the best "fair" deck at Mythic Championship IV.

Top Eight Decks

We just posted an article with the top eight decks from Mythic Championship IV, and while I'm not going to repost them all, you should definitely head here to check them out! Interestingly, after a weekend of Hogaak dominating, it only put one player into a rather diverse looking top eight. It will be interesting to take a look at the constructed-only data when it comes out tomorrow. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today! Now that we've made it through two days of Mythic Championship IV, what do you think of the Modern format? Are more bannings imminent based on the performance of Hogaak, or can the format find a way to adjust? Who are you rooting for tomorrow in the top eight? Let us 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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