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2020 Mythic Invitational Metagame Breakdown

September 09, 2020
Frank Karsten

It's almost here: the 2020 Mythic Invitational, featuring the debut of MTG Arena's Historic format at the Magic Esports stage, begins Thursday, September 10 at 9 a.m. PDT. Across 14 Swiss rounds and a Top 8 playoff, MPL players, Rivals league members, and other competitors will battle for $250,000 in prizes, 16 invitations to the 2020 Season Grand Finals, and the chance to shape the legacy of the Historic format for years to come.

Metagame Breakdown

In total, 160 decklists were submitted for the Mythic Invitational. Every decklist will be published at the beginning of the first round event Thursday, September 10 on the 2020 Mythic Invitational event page. The metagame breaks downs as follows.



Deck Archetype Number of Players Percentage of Field
Mono-Red Goblins 32 20.0%
Sultai Midrange 27 16.9%
Jund Sacrifice 22 13.8%
Rakdos Goblins 22 13.8%
Bant Control 9 5.6%
Mono-Black Gift 6 3.8%
Rakdos Arcanist 5 3.1%
Azorius Control 4 2.5%
Kethis Combo 3 1.9%
Gruul Aggro 3 1.9%
Azorius Auras 3 1.9%
Jund Citadel 3 1.9%
Mono-Red Aggro 3 1.9%
Rakdos Sacrifice 2 1.3%
Temur Flash 2 1.3%
Mono-Green Planeswalkers 2 1.3%
Temur Control 2 1.3%
Golgari Citadel 1 0.6%
Simic Ramp 1 0.6%
Abzan Gift 1 0.6%
Bant Turbo-Fog 1 0.6%
Sultai Flash 1 0.6%
Mono-Green Aggro 1 0.6%
Mono-Black Aggro 1 0.6%
Jund Aggro 1 0.6%
Temur Midrange 1 0.6%
Bant Spirits 1 0.6%

Without a doubt, the tournament-defining deck is Goblins. Combining Mono-Red and Rakdos variants, which are essentially the same except for a Thoughtseize splash, roughly one-third of the field is trying to leverage the power of Muxus, Goblin Grandee. With Skirk Prospector, it's possible to cast Muxus as early as turn three, and if you're lucky enough to hit both Goblin Chieftain and Krenko, Mob Boss, then you may be able to attack for lethal right away.



The core of the deck is well-established, but there are some differences across the final slots. Some players are rounding out their deck with Gempalm Incinerator, Goblin Instigator, and/or Goblin Ringleader, whereas others included Irencrag Feat for even more explosiveness.

Most-Played Cards

The 25 most-played cards among all main decks and sideboards break down as follows.

Card Name Total Main Deck Sideboard
Mountain 938 938 0
Thoughtseize 327 193 134
Swamp 243 243 0
Overgrown Tomb 223 223 0
Goblin Chieftain 216 216 0
Conspicuous Snoop 216 216 0
Wily Goblin 216 216 0
Muxus, Goblin Grandee 216 216 0
Skirk Prospector 213 213 0
Krenko, Mob Boss 213 213 0
Blood Crypt 212 212 0
Forest 210 210 0
Goblin Warchief 210 210 0
Dragonskull Summit 194 194 0
Abrade 191 10 181
Breeding Pool 186 186 0
Goblin Matron 178 178 0
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath 177 175 2
Growth Spiral 172 172 0
Fabled Passage 168 168 0
Phyrexian Tower 159 159 0
Leyline of the Void 153 0 153
Castle Embereth 143 143 0
Goblin Ringleader 141 31 110
Woe Strider 134 134 0

Although Thoughtseize is the most-played non-land card overall, and Abrade is the most-played sideboard card, this list mostly reads like a collection of the most synergistic Goblins in the format. And 938 Mountains.

Of note is that Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath and Growth Spiral are the most-played gold cards; Phyrexian Tower is seeing a lot of play as a legendary land because it is extremely powerful; and there is not a single white card to be seen. I'd have to make this table more than twice as large to reach the first white card: Wrath of God at 56 copies.

Quick Deck Overviews

All decklists will be published at the 2020 Mythic Invitational event page at the beginning of Round 1 on Thursday, September 10.

For detailed descriptions and sample lists of the top six archetypes, I refer you to Mani Davoudi's excellent article highlighting the key decks of the format. The details provided by your Desk Expert for the Mythic Invitational closely match the actual metagame, even if Jund Citadel (which relies on the synergy between Bolas's Citadel and Blood Artist) largely morphed into Jund Sacrifice (which exploits Witch's Oven and Cauldron Familiar instead).

For reference, I provide a summary description of every archetype in one or two sentences below.

Mono-Red Goblins (32 players): Mono-Red Goblins, which encompasses one build that is all red main deck but that has a few blue counterspells in the sideboard, is the most-played deck in the field. Get ready to see the power of Muxus, Goblin Grandee!

Skirk Prospector Krenko, Mob Boss Muxus, Goblin Grandee

Sultai Midrange (27 players): In Standard, Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath are two of the strongest cards available. This strategy ports over to Historic quite nicely, especially when you can add Thoughtseize and Growth Spiral.

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath Nissa, Who Shakes the World Thoughtseize

Jund Sacrifice (22 players): The synergy between Mayhem Devil, Cauldron Familiar, and Witch's Oven will be familiar to anyone who has played Standard over the past year. Mid-game staying power is provided by either Trail of Crumbs or Collected Company; if there are any Bolas's Citadel at all, then there are no more than two copies.

Mayhem Devil Witch's Oven Collected Company

Rakdos Goblins (22 players): It's basically Mono-Red Goblins with Thoughtseize, either main deck or sideboard. The splash is relatively pain-free, as Blood Crypt, Dragonskull Summit, and Wily Goblin produce black mana without slowing you down.

Skirk Prospector Thoughtseize Muxus, Goblin Grandee

Bant Control (9 players): Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, Wrath of God, and countermagic form the core of a traditional control strategy, with a green splash for Growth Spiral and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath.

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria Wrath of God Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

Mono-Black Gift (6 players): Exploiting Stitcher's Supplier and Phyrexian Tower, this deck can activate Gate to the Afterlife as early as turn three, grab God-Pharaoh's Gift, and take over the game in a way that can't even be stopped by Grafdigger's Cage.

Gate to the Afterlife God-Pharaoh's Gift Stitcher's Supplier

Rakdos Arcanist (5 players): This is arguably the best Thoughtseize deck in the format because of the synergy with both Young Pyromancer and Dreadhorde Arcanist. This deck ups the discard angle with Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, which can be milled by Stitcher's Supplier or returned via Claim // Fame or Lurrus of the Dream-Den.

Dreadhorde Arcanist Lurrus of the Dream-Den Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger

Azorius Control (4 players): Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, Wrath of God, and Censor form the core of a traditional control strategy, with Shark Typhoon as a typical win condition.

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria Wrath of God Mind Stone

Kethis Combo (3 players): This intricate combo deck fills the graveyard with Diligent Excavator, activates Kethis, the Hidden Hand, recasts a bunch of Mox Ambers, does it all over again, puts most of their deck into their graveyard, recasts all legendary cards, and then wins somehow.

Diligent Excavator Kethis, the Hidden Hand Mox Amber

Gruul Aggro (3 players): Gruul players are still smashing with Gruul Spellbreaker, Lovestruck Beast, and other big monsters. The strategy is supported by Collected Company, which can put a lot of power onto the battlefield out of nowhere.

Llanowar Elves Gruul Spellbreaker Collected Company

Azorius Auras (3 players): Suiting up Kor Spiritdancer with Curious Obsession and All That Glitters allows you to attack with a 7/9 creature that keeps drawing cards. That's pretty sweet and, given all the protective spells in the deck, hard to beat.

Kor Spiritdancer All That Glitters Curious Obsession

Jund Citadel (3 players): Instead of a pure sacrifice angle with Witch's Oven and Cauldron Familiar, this deck aims to get Bolas's Citadel onto the battlefield and potentially win on the same turn. Woe Strider can scry toward more spells to cast, while Blood Artist keeps your life total high enough to keep casting spells.

Bolas's Citadel Woe Strider Blood Artist

Mono-Red Aggro (3 players): Whether it's with a Wizard build featuring Ghitu Lavarunner and Wizard's Lightning or with a non-Wizard build featuring Robber of the Rich and Hazoret the Fervent, haste creatures and burn spells will always make for viable deck. Especially when Ramunap Ruins is legal.

Soul-Scar Mage Viashino Pyromancer Wizard's Lightning

Rakdos Sacrifice (2 players): This deck relies on the synergy of Mayhem Devil, Cauldron Familiar, and Witch's Oven, supported by a consistent two-color mana base.

Witch's Oven Cauldron Familiar Mayhem Devil

Temur Flash (2 players): This is a Nightpack Ambusher deck, supported by instants like Abrade and Neutralize. Magmaquake will help keep Goblins under control.

Growth Spiral Magmaquake Nightpack Ambusher

Mono-Green Planeswalkers (2 players): A large number of ramp spells allow Karn, the Great Creator, Nissa, Who Shakes the World, or Vivien, Arkbow Ranger to wreak havoc on the battlefield as early as turn three. The fun part is the sideboard, which is filled with one-ofs.

Karn, the Great Creator Nissa, Who Shakes the World Vivien, Arkbow Ranger

Temur Control (2 players): The plan is to control the game with Censor and Sweltering Suns and eventually win with Niv-Mizzet, Parun.

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath Sweltering Suns Niv-Mizzet, Parun

Golgari Citadel (1 player): It's Jund Citadel but with Wall of Blossoms instead of Mayhem Devil to get a more consistent two-color mana-base.

Bolas's Citadel Woe Strider Blood Artist

Simic Ramp (1 player): This deck exploits Growth Spiral, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, and Nissa, Who Shakes the World to ramp into a number of powerful colorless cards whose names all start with "U".

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath Nissa, Who Shakes the World Growth Spiral

Abzan Gift (1 player): This deck is similar to Mono-Black Gift, but instead of filling the final slots with the likes of Cryptbreaker and Lazotep Reaver, the deck is rounded out with Llanowar Elves, Collected Company, and white utility creatures.

God-Pharaoh's Gift Collected Company Fiend Artisan

Bant Turbo-Fog (1 player): It looks like Bant Control, but it can stall the game even longer with Haze of Pollen and Root Snare. No matter how many tokens Krenko, Mob Boss has produced, they won't deal combat damage.

Haze of Pollen Root Snare Commit // Memory

Sultai Flash (1 player): Frilled Mystic and Nightpack Ambusher are joined by Thoughtseize.

Frilled Mystic Nightpack Ambusher Thoughtseize

Mono-Green Aggro (1 player): This deck stomps straightforwardly, potentially curving Pelt Collector into Barkhide Troll into Steel Leaf Champion.

Llanowar Elves Steel Leaf Champion Primal Might

Mono-Black Aggro (1 player): The aim is to curve Gutterbones into Gifted Aetherborn, Spawn of Mayhem, and Phyrexian Obliterator and to turn these creatures sideways.

Gutterbones Spawn of Mayhem Phyrexian Obliterator

Jund Aggro (1 player): It's basically Gruul Aggro with a black splash for Rotting Regisaur, who is of course happy to wield an Embercleave.

Rotting Regisaur Embercleave Collected Company

Temur Midrange (1 player): This deck, featuring the best mid-sized creatures across three colors, can curve Llanowar Elves and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath into a turn-three Glorybringer.

Llanowar Elves Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath Glorybringer

Bant Spirits (1 player): The plan is to curve out with Spirits, attack in the air, and cast Collected Company for Empyrean Eagle and Supreme Phantom to boost your entire team.

Supreme Phantom Empyrean Eagle Collected Company

Conclusion

Goblins is roughly one-third of the field, but there is a large diversity of archetypes ready to take on Muxus, Goblin Grandee. The four-day 2020 Mythic Invitational live broadcast runs from Thursday, September 10 to Sunday, September 13, starting every day starting at 9 a.m. PDT on twitch.tv/magic.



Catch it live to see the Magic Esports debut of MTG Arena's Historic format as the next champion is crowned!

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