What a ride. That's all there is to say after Day Two of truly historic Magic.
A format only debuts once, but it's hard to ask for much more than we got from the MTG Arena's Historic format at the 2020 Mythic Invitational. From explosive
Concluding the second day of competition, after 14 rounds of battle, eight competitors remained. A format that was deemed wide open at the start of the event proved just that, with five different decks making the Top 8. At one point late in Day Two, eight of the top 10 players in the tournament were playing different archetypes.
The Historic Top 8 remains ahead, and it will be played by the best in the business. The absolutely stacked final players—with 39 previous Top Finishes between them—demonstrated their mastery of Magic's newest format and will now battle over two more days to become the champion of the 2020 Mythic Invitational. The first set of matches will be played on Saturday, with elimination matches, culminating in a champion, playing out on Sunday.
The Top 8 is Locked
Former Player of the Year Luis Salvatto lead the way through Day Two. He got off to a blistering start on Day One and then turned in a perfect record on Friday to draw in as the top seed at 12-1-1.
The Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan winner is no stranger to the pressure of Top 8 stage, but neither are his opponents. Joining him in the Top 8 were:
- Gabriel Nassif
- David Steinberg
- Grzegorz Kowalski
- Ken Yukuhiro
- Matt Nass
- Luis Scott-Vargas
- Seth Manfield
That's multiple members of the Magic Hall of the Fame, the top deck builders of today, and one true underdog in David Steinberg.
Steinberg has played Magic for 14 years but made his first Top Finish, after qualifying for the Mythic Invitational through the January 2020 Qualifier Weekend. He'll face an uphill battle against Magic elite, but that was no hurdle as he took a well-positioned Sacrifice deck to the Top 8 by defeating similarly elite players such as Marcio Carvalho, William "Huey" Jensen, and fellow Saturday competitor Luis Scott-Vargas along the way.
On the other side of the coin, Ken Yukuhiro is making his third Top Finish in just less than a year, an incredible accomplishment for the Japanese deckbuilding master. He didn't go completely off the beaten path this time around, but he did add
And that's just scratching the surface of a Top 8 packed with over three dozen career Top Finishes combined. You can learn more about each of the Top 8 competitors and their decks with their Top 8 profiles.
The Historic Metagame
Here's how the Top 8 decks broke down:
- 3 Jund Sacrifice (Nassif, Steinberg, Scott-Vargas)
- 1 Jund Citadel (Kowalski)
- 1 Rakdos Arcanist (Salvatto)
- 1 Mono-Red Goblins (Yukuhiro)
- 1 Mono-Black God-Pharaoh's Gift (Nass)
- 1 Sultai Midrange (Manfield)
Goblins was unquestionably the premier deck entering the tournament, with nearly a third of all competitors casting
It was a blast from the past, as
While Salvatto secured his Top 8 berth early, Scott-Vargas and Manfield both made it through tiebreakers in the final round. And they had to earn it as each faced challenging matches in Round 14. Manfield's match against fellow Magic Pro League player Chris Kvartek was undoubtedly the highlight, as we learned that Muxus can, in fact, whiff.
Kvartek would actually go on to win that game thanks to another copy of Muxus, and that sent things into a thrilling final game against Manfield. In the decider, it was the Hall of Famer who had the upper hand, quickly turning the corner after resolving Nissa to end the game with a clutch
For players who didn't want to bring Goblins, everything was truly on the table. That included Azorius Auras, a favorite for Magic broadcaster Maria Bartholdi (and everyone else too) that put Shinsuke Hayashi into Day Two.
It was a throwback reprint that helped Matt Nass to the Top 8. Piloting Mono-Black God-Pharaoh's Gift, Nass credited
Combo fan @MatthewLNass brought Mono-Black Gift to the #MythicInvitational— Magic Esports (@MagicEsports) September 10, 2020
"I think the best thing about it is that Phyrexian Tower is the best card in the format and this is the best Phyrexian Tower deck. It's also really nice playing a graveyard deck that doesn't lose to Cage" pic.twitter.com/1cPVFaS0GX
He may have a point.
But the day truly belonged to Luis Salvatto, and to the Rakdos Arcanist deck he dominated the field with. He gave us some memorable moments on Day One, and he continued to cut through the field on Day Two thanks to his innovative Rakdos Arcanist list. Combining powerful one-drop spells and cheap creatures like
All in all, it was a dominating shell in the hands of Salvatto.
"I think it's the best Game 1 deck, and since the last metagame shift positioned Goblins so highly people started to underestimate graveyard hate," Salvatto explained. "Maybe two weeks ago this would have been a bad deck, but today I faced a lot of opponents with good ways to deal with the absurd amount of value the deck has, and I didn't face a single
There is one person familiar foe that Salvatto should be on the lookout for, though, when play begins.
Well @LuisSalvatto may have beat me out for Player of the Year, but I'm about to get some revenge! See you all tomorrow.— Seth Manfield(Envy) (@SethManfield) September 12, 2020
The 2020 Season Grand Finals is Set
Finally, there was one other thing to play for this weekend: a spot in the 2020 Season Grand Finals.
The Top 16 finishers at this event earned invitations, with one invitation passing down as Seth Manfield found success at both the 2020 Mythic Invitational and Players Tour Finals. Here are the other nine players who will join the Mythic Invitational Top 8 and the Top 16 Players Tour Finals competitors who previously qualified for the 2020 Season Grand Finals:
- Emma Handy
- Toni Ramis Pascual
- Christopher Leonard
- Luca Magni
- Chris Palmiotti
- Brad Nelson
- Montserrat Ayensa
- Aaron Gertler
- Jun'ya Iyanaga
The Top 8 wasn't the only thing on the line today.— Magic Esports (@MagicEsports) September 12, 2020
Congratulations to the Top 16 from the #MythicInvitational who qualified for the #2020GrandFinals! They'll play alongside the Top 16 finishers from the Players Tours Finals in just a matter of weeks. pic.twitter.com/3ZIythCNKS
That's it for us today. Coverage of the Top 8 begins Saturday morning at 9 AM PDT on twitch.tv/magic!