What I’m playing at the Mythic Championship

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It’s crunch time, baby.

Decklists for this weekend’s Mythic Championship are due in less than three hours, and I feel as confident as possible that I’ve picked something… reasonable. You see, this Standard is a dumpster fire. Jamming Okos and Nissas ahead of schedule is just way more powerful than any alternative, and the gameplay pattern that this dominant strategy provides is nothing short of miserable. Alas, the show must go on, and it’s not like I’m skipping a PT just because I find the format to be a heinous failure on WotC’s part. I will simply reserve the right to be salty and blame variance when I don’t make Day 2 — truly the core of any quality Magic: the Gathering experience.

I had my first major breakthrough in theory-crafting upon reading Dom’s manifesto, which is easily one of my favourite manifestos of the modern era. Not to belabour the point, but I agree with pretty much everything in there, minus some of the minutia about Wicked Wolf’s value in the mirror.

Some big moves have happened since this breakthrough piece of writing, namely the rise in popularity of two other Food variants to contest the Sultai menace: a Bant version with Mass Manipulation to bury mirrors in game ones and Teferis in the board to try and resolve the X spell post-board, and a more tempo-focused Simic version with Brazen Borrower, which eschews the powerful black cards in favour of having access to Mobilized District and therefore not really having better mana.

In theory, I’m a fan of the Mass Manipulation strategy, though I’m not confident about finding the balance between turn-one green and quadruple blue in a format with weak two-colour mana. In addition, the popularity of Veil of Summer has me feeling kind of green at the prospect of trying to resolve this powerful spell in post-board games, regardless of the Teferi plan. There’s also something fundamentally weak to me about splashing a colour for a single sideboard card, despite it being as high-impact as it is.

Ultimately, I was left looking for trumps in the Oko/Nissa mirrors that didn’t immediately fall over dead to common sideboard cards, and decided in the end that the noble, long-underused Liliana, Dreadhorde General was my best bet. She shares the unbelievably high loyalty numbers of the deck’s other powerful planeswalkers, and while Liliana must often be dealt with in combat thanks to her resilience to Noxious Grasp and Aether Gust, her passive ability ensures that you’re going to be left way ahead, even if you have to make a couple unfavourable trades. She doesn’t fall foul to Veil of Summer with any of her abilities, and, well, there you have it: a card that can only really be beaten with counter-magic or Mass Manipulation, both of which are in turn trumped by our own Veil of Summers. Sultai it is:


“Wow, Daniel, that’s a lot of Lilianas!” I hear you say, correctly. It is! I’m using all my flex slots on my most powerful card in the mirror as well as a 25th land in order to make sure that I’m able to cast her, as well as the rest of the deck’s unbeatable planeswalkers, on curve. Otherwise, the rest of the maindeck is as boring as possible, as I try to stay on theme for this Mythic Championship. I’m bringing Modern Izzet Delver with me, and let me tell you what — I can’t wait for the PTQ side events.

Time for an unnecessarily extensive sideboard guide, featuring all the decks that people won’t play at this tournament. Wish me luck!

Sideboard Guide

vs Sultai Food
IN
2 Veil of Summer
2 Negate (OTP)
2 Duress (OTD)
OUT
4 Wicked Wolf

vs Simic Tempo (Brazen Borrower)
IN
2 Veil of Summer
OUT
1 Wicked Wolf
1 Once Upon a Time

vs Bant Ramp (Mass Manipulation)
IN
2 Veil of Summer
3 Duress
1 Negate
OUT
4 Wicked Wolf
2 Once Upon a Time

vs Esper Dance
IN
3 Duress
2 Veil of Summer
2 Negate
2 Disdainful Stroke
3 Thrashing Brontodon
OUT
4 Wicked Wolf
4 Noxious Grasp
4 Once Upon a Time

vs BR Sacrifice
IN
3 Thrashing Brontodon
1 Legion’s End
2 Massacre Girl
OUT
4 Noxious Grasp
2 Liliana, Dreadhorde General

vs BG Adventure
IN
2 Veil of Summer
2 Massacre Girl
1 Legion’s End
OUT
3 Liliana, Dreadhorde General
1 Hydroid Krasis
1 Once Upon a Time

vs Temur Reclamation
IN
3 Duress
2 Veil of Summer
2 Negate
2 Disdainful Stroke
3 Thrashing Brontodon
OUT
4 Wicked Wolf
4 Noxious Grasp
4 Once Upon a Time

vs Gruul
IN
2 Disdainful Stroke
3 Thrashing Brontodon
OUT
3 Liliana, Dreadhorde General
1 Hydroid Krasis
1 Once Upon a Time

vs Jeskai Fires
IN
3 Duress
2 Negate
2 Disdainful Stroke
3 Thrashing Brontodon
OUT
4 Wicked Wolf
4 Noxious Grasp
2 Once Upon a Time

vs UW Control
IN
3 Duress
2 Veil of Summer
2 Negate
2 Disdainful Stroke
OUT
4 Noxious Grasp
4 Once Upon a Time
1 Wicked Wolf

vs GW Adventure
IN
2 Massacre Girl
1 Legion’s End
OUT
3 Liliana, Dreadhorde General

vs Mono-Red Cavalcade
IN
2 Massacre Girl
3 Thrashing Brontodon
1 Legion’s End
OUT
2 Liliana, Dreadhorde General
4 Noxious Grasp

vs Mardu Knights
IN
2 Veil of Summer
2 Massacre Girl
3 Thrashing Brontodon
1 Legion’s End
OUT
3 Liliana, Dreadhorde General
4 Noxious Grasp
1 Once Upon a Time

vs Simic Flash
IN
3 Duress
2 Veil of Summer
2 Massacre Girl
OUT
3 Liliana, Dreadhorde General
4 Noxious Grasp