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