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Mythic Championship London: Day One Wrap Up


Mythic Championship events are always exciting, but Mythic Championship London comes with an extra bit of intrigue; along with featuring Modern constructed for the first time in more than a year, Mythic Championship London is also the first big tournament using the London mulligan rule as a way to reduce non-games. Considering that War of the Spark isn't legal in Modern for the event, the London mulligan rule is arguably the most interesting and important part of the entire tournament. As a result, along with keeping track of the winners, losers, and decks, tracking how the rule impacts the metagame and gameplay itself will be important. 

The other big innovation from Mythic Championship London is the use of the Cardboard Live extension for constructed. This means that rather than guessing at decklists, we have the full lists of players who get feature matches, which is a major improvement and will make keeping track of all of the list much easier. Because of this, we'll no longer need to do "guestimates" where we try to piece together the full decklists from the cards that show up on camera. The one caveat is the exact sideboard configuration aren't released, only the cards present. The complete sideboards will be available on Sunday.

The plan of today is simple: we're going to keep you up to date on all of the cards and decks from Mythic Championship London, along with any other happenings from the event. While our analysis today will be somewhat incomplete since it's only day one off of the event, we will learn what Modern decks the pros brought to battle along with getting our first glimpse of how the London mulligan rule plays on Magic's biggest stage. Then make sure to tune back in tomorrow for a day two wrap up, and Sunday when we'll get to break down the entire tournament by the numbers.

Metagame Breakdown

You can find the full day one metagame breakdown here.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the day one metagame from Mythic Championship London is that it looks surprisingly normal. While there are some small shakeups here and there, the five most-played decks at the tournament are the same five that top the current Modern Metagame Page. While the London mulligan rule might bear some responsibility for deck choices (like Tron making up 14% of the meta or Eldrazi jumping into the top 10 for example), it seems that the rule change didn't lead to a full-on upheaval of the format, at least in terms of deck selection.

Despite the new mulligan rule, Modern is still Modern  an incredibly diverse format. Even outside of the heavily-played decks, nearly 10% of the format falls into the "other" category, which would make "other" the fourth most-played deck in the field if it was a single deck. This means that even though the top of the field looks fairly normal, there's still a chance that some spicy, London mulligan rule breaking decks are floating below the surface and could show up on coverage. The highlights of the "other category? Two Sram O's players, two Prime Speaker Vannifar decks, Electro-Balance, Mono-Red Prison, and a lonely UB Mill player. 

Most Played Cards

Not too surprising: Modern is all about one-mana spells. However, this list does help explain why Surgical Extraction is so expensive (we're even seeing it in main decks this weekend) and why Chalice of the Void is especially effective in the Modern format.

London Mulligan Rule

Unfortunately, because the feature matches from Mythic Championship London didn't actually show players sideboarding, it's not possible to statistically analyze the new rule (which would be somewhat foolish anyway thanks to the small sample size). Are people mulliganing more often with the London mulligan rule than they do with the current rule? We actually have no idea. On the other hand, we do see the impact of the rule strewn throughout the tournament, with cards like Rest in Peace showing up in main decks since you can find it when it is good (and also know when it is good thanks to the open decklist policy at Mythic Championship London) and put it to the bottom of your deck in matchups when it is bad. We also have seen a shift in the metagame numbers towards decks that seem to benefit from the rule. While Tron has been a tier one deck for a long time, a metagame percentage of nearly 15% is higher than we'd expect for a Modern tournament. Hopefully we'll get some additional information on how the rule played out eventually, but for now, the London mulligan rule gets an incomplete grade since mulliganing has been almost completely absent from coverage.

Top Decks

Note: While maindecks are public for Mythic Championship London, sideboards only contain the card names rather than the specific number of each card. As such, all sideboard cards as listed as one-ofs, even though this isn't technically correct. Lists will be fully public on Sunday after the swiss rounds are over.

The story of Tron at Mythic Championship London isn't so much innovations  the deck looks exactly like Tron has looked for a long time  but the London mulligan rule. While not as new and exciting as some of the crazy turn two combo decks that people have been trying, London mulligans greatly increase Tron's consistency. Those turn three Tron plus Karn Liberated hands that are so devastating happen more often, and a turn three Karn Liberated is just as powerful today as it was a month (or a year) ago. As such, rather than changing up the cards in the deck, Tron is one of the bigger winners of the London mulligan without doing anything different at all.

While Izzet Phoenix looks fairly standard at Mythic Championship London, we do have a bit of spice in Matthew Costa's build with a main deck copy of Boomerang, which offers a catch-all answer to hate cards like Rest in Peace that have been showing up in main decks thanks to the open lists and mulligan rule. In the worst case Boomerang offers a way to slow down Tron by bouncing a land for a turn, which might be just enough time to pick up the win with a huge Thing in the Ice or a board full of hasty Arclight Phoenixs.

Jean-Emmanuel Depraz's build of UW Control is very emblematic of two of the unique aspects of Mythic Championship London: open decklists and the London mulligan rule. Three copies of Rest in Peace in the main deck is noteworthy, but the combination of London mulligans and knowing what the opponent is playing before the match allows you to mulligan into your Rest in Peace if you know you are playing against something like Dredge or Izzet Phoenix, while putting your situational cards like Rest in Peace to the bottom of your deck in matchups where they are bad. We saw something similar in a later match where Shaheen Soorani managed to Field of Ruin and Surgical Extraction his Tron opponent in the first game of their match. 

Dredge is another deck that seems to benefit from the London mulligan rule, although as we moved through day one of Mythic Championship London, it seems that the format is incredibly ready for graveyard decks. In fact, if I was to sum up the first day of the tournament in one sentence it would be "main deck graveyard hate." It seems like nearly all of the control decks are playing Surgical Extraction, Rest in Peace or Nihil Spellbomb in the main deck, RB Prison has main deck Leyline of the Void, and other decks rely on Relic of Progenitus. This matches Magic Online results, but perhaps takes it to the extreme. While Dredge is certainly powerful and even more consistent with the London mulligan rule, I'd be worried about playing graveyard-centric decks in the immediate future just because of the absurd amount of main deck hate we're seeing at the moment.

Spicy Decks

Vannifar Pod is a deck that has been floating around under the surface of Modern ever since Prime Speaker Vannifar was release in Ravnica Allegiance, but the list keeps evolving and chainging. The earliest builds of Vannifar Pod were almost all-in combo builds looking to go infinite with Deceiver Exarch, but today we have a value-heavy build of Prime Speaker Vannifar that can grind out fair value with Reflector Mage, and Knight of Autumn and friends, while still assembling Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker with Restoration Angel or Village Bell-Ringer when it comes time to close out the game. We also have one Rhythm of the Wild to give Prime Speaker Vannifar haste to win out of nowhere, along with plenty of additional tutors in Chord of Calling and Eldritch Evolution. If you're looking to combo off with Prime Speaker Vannifar in Modern, this seems like a good place to start.

Orzhov Eldrazi is a fairly unique take on Eldrazi. The most common builds at the moment involve Serum Powder and mulliganing aggressively into Eldrazi Temple to try to win the game quickly. Meanwhile, Orzhov Eldrazi is sort of a weird, hate-bear style deck that's looking to eke out value with synergies like Wasteland Strangler processing away a card exiled by Tidehollow Sculler. Plus, once again we see the trend of main deck graveyard hate with the full four copies of Relic of Progenitus, which are even better in Orzhov Eldrazi since the deck actively wants to exile it's own Eternal Scourge to create an infinite 3/3 for three.

One of the more interesting one-ofs we saw on day one of Mythic Championship London was RB Prison, which builds on the typical Mono-Red Prison shell by splashing into black for Liliana of the Veil, Collective Brutality, and (in what is becoming a trend) main deck graveyard hate in three copies of Leyline of the Void. Even with the black splash, the main plan of the deck is very similar to Mono-Red Prison: lock the opponent out of the game with some combo of Blood Moon, Chalice of the Void, and Ensnaring Bridge, and then close out the game with planeswalkers like Chandra, Torch of Defiance or Liliana of the Veil or Goblin Rabblemaster. If you love making your opponents wish they were doing anything but playing Magic, this is probably the best option from the decks we've seen so far at the Mythic Championship.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Did you watch day one of Mythic Championship London? What stuck out to you? Were there any surprises from your perspective? What did you make of the London mulligan rule? What are you rooting for tomorrow to make the top eight? Let me know in the comments! We'll be back tomorrow to recap the happenings on day two of Mythic Championship London until then leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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