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2020 Mythic Invitational Day One Highlights

September 10, 2020
 Corbin Hosler

The 2020 Mythic Invitational began with 160 competitors, four days of competition ahead, $250,000 on the line, as well as a spot in the 2020 Season Grand Finals.

Oh, and the debut of a brand-new format.

This was the first time the world saw the MTG Arena's Historic format in action. Utilizing a mix of recent sets, along with supplemental additions, Historic is truly unique and stands apart from any other Magic format.

After seven rounds of play on Day One, one player stood out above the rest—and it's a name familiar to longtime Magic fans.

Ivan Floch

Ivan Floch was a bonafide superstar of Magic, but his name may not be familiar to many newcomers. After winning Pro Tour Magic 2015 and then finishing second and fifth at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch and Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir, respectively, he took a break from the game. But he has resurfaced over the past two years as a member of the famed Czech House, the group of roommates who have routinely innovated the best deck in Standard over that time. After his incredible 7-0 run today to become the tournament's only undefeated player, it's clear that Floch is back.

One deck stood out above the rest, too. Like Floch, it too was a staple of Magic history—Goblin decks that were either Mono-Red or splashed black represented nearly a third of the field heading into the Mythic Invitational, and everyone knew that Muxus, Goblin Grandee reigned supreme. As the headliner of the format's pro debut, we knew Muxus was going to create some grand moments over the course of the weekend, and Day 1 did not disappoint.

Here's to the best Muxus triggers of the day—and the rest of the highlights that stood out as well.

The Debut of Historic

A format only gets one debut. For Historic, that came today. The metagame had plenty of changes over the past year as some cards have been banned and a host of new additions entered from Jumpstart and Amonkhet Remastered. The result was a wild format that had every corner of Magic represented, from Embercleave aggro to Teferi Control to Cat Ovens to Kethis, the Hidden Hand combo. All with a healthy dose of Goblins on top.

Embercleave Teferi, Hero of Dominaria Cauldron Familiar Witch's Oven Kethis, the Hidden Hand

Here's how the metagame looked at the beginning of the tournament:

Here's how things stood after seven rounds of play.

There's plenty to dig into with those numbers, and the broadcast team will have plenty to say when play resumes on Friday.

Let's start with the most popular deck: Mono-Red Goblins. While it was Floch's Jund Sacrifice deck that ran the tables, the story of the day was undoubtedly Goblins, which lived up to the hype as the best deck around, at least for this tournament.

This combination of Goblins is also a uniquely Historic deck. With cards in the deck entering the format in an assortment of ways, it contains classics such as Goblin Matron (first printed in 1998 in Urza's Saga), up to new staples like Conspicuous Snoop, which just premiered in Core Set 2021. It functions both as an aggressive deck that can win via Castle Embereth-fueled Goblin swarms, or as a combo deck that can use Skirk Prospector to generate mana to fuel massive Muxus, Goblin Grandee turns.

Goblin Matron Castle Embereth Muxus, Goblin Grandee

Goblin Chieftain and Goblin Warchief adding haste to the team makes cards like Krenko, Mob Boss into a nightmare. While most were mono-red, about a third of the Goblins players opted to add black for access to Thoughtseize.

The deck took Rivals League member Emma Handy to a 6-1 finish on Day One. She worked with Autumn Burchett on perfecting the deck, and they both will be back to compete on Friday.

Emma Handy

Autumn Burchett

"Autumn and I ended up on the Goblins deck because we realized pretty quickly that it could outgrind a lot of what the go-long Teferi decks were bringing to the table, and was explosive enough to crush the ramp decks," Handy explained. "These were the decks we cared about beating because they were how people were responding to the Bolas's Citadel decks a couple of weeks ago, and Autumn and I figured we'd rather have a very-tuned Goblins deck than a mostly-tuned-but-not-quite deck that was a level above Goblins."

"The deck itself is basically three decks in one, despite looking like a singular Tribal deck," she continued. "This is rooted in the fact that it can be a Goblin Chieftain deck when it needs to be redundant, a Krenko deck when playing to the battlefield is all that matters, and a Muxus whenever explosiveness or hardcore grinding get involved. Choosing which of these to lean in or out of gives more flexbility than one would assume during sideboarding, and makes it feel like a combo deck that actually gets to adapt its strategy to match the opponent. At this point I feel like Autumn and I's list is pretty good, given the field, and it's hard to feel bad about picking the archetype that measures at 20-35% of the field. Our list was reasonably tuned for the mirror, and I'm optimistic about our chances as long as we can dodge Mayhem Devil and friends."

It's Muxus' world, the rest of us are just hoping there's no Goblins in the top six cards.

Floch Takes Jund To the Top

But despite the numbers, it wasn't Goblins that ended up on top. Floch's Jund Sacrifice deck looks like a blast from Standards past, but Floch proved it had what it takes for Historic. Leaning on the Witch's Oven-Cauldron Familiar engine, it has all the tools to manage both its threats and answers effectively in a format as varied as Historic.

"Jund [Sacrifice] was on our radar for a long time and we considered it one of the best decks along with Goblins," Floch explained. "What really pushed it was when we saw a new version without Llanowar Elves or Gilded Goose, with Collected Company as the only green card. It made the deck smooth and powerful and with [a] good mana base and curve."

"I was really trying to make some kind control work instead, but I was failing to deal with all the angles Jund bringes—pressure, card advantage of Midnight Reaper and instead power of Collected Company," Floch elaborated. "That combined with the fact that we believe Jund has a slightly positive matchup with Goblins, made it the clear choice for this tournament. I am mostly happy with our current build; I would probably play the second copy of Korvold in the sideboard."

Midnight Reaper Collected Company Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

It's an overdue return to the spotlight for Floch, who was recognized as one of the best professional players at the peak of his career. He's a clear favorite now heading into Friday, and is ready to announce his return to the elite of Magic with a Top 8 run.

"I am feeling good, the deck is solid, I have been lucky with Company lottery so far," he said. "I hope it will stay that way for tomorrow as well."

Of course, plenty of dangerous players lurk just behind Floch. Former Player of the Year Luis Salvatto is among the 6-1 finishers, and joining him are Handy, Noah Walker, Magic Pro League member Chris Kvartek and Rivals League competitor Grzegorz Kowalski.

Sights and Sounds of the Tournament

Playing professional tournaments out of your home is a wholly different experience for everyone involved with the Mythic Championship, and it delivered its share of moments.

That included some truly wild wins.

Plus some fan (and caster) favorites.

One of the best moments from Day One at the Mythic Invitational came in the final round, as Salvatto was battling with Floch to go 7-0. After two great games, including an instant classic back-and-forth in Game 2 that saw the Argentinian stage a shocking comeback, Salvatto surprised viewers once more.

And finally, we'll leave you with Hall of Famer Luis Scott-Vargas doing what can only be described as "LSV being LSV."

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