The quest for Magic World Championship XXVI, the race to the Mythic Championship VII Top 8, and coveted spots in both the Magic Pro League and Magic Rivals League in 2020: It was a busy day of high-level Magic in Long Beach.
These are the key stories from a fast-paced Saturday.
The Top 8 is Set
After two grueling days and fifteen rounds of competition, we have a stacked Top 8 returning Sunday for their shot at the trophy and title of Mythic Champion. From Piotr Głogowski locking up the first spot to Seth Manfield sneaking in on tiebreakers, it was a dramatic final stretch leading up to Top 8 announcement.
Here are the players who will battle it out for the trophy and the $100,000 first-place prize:
- Piotr Głogowski (Jund Sacrifice)
- Andrea Mengucci (Simic Ramp)
- Brad Nelson (Simic Flash)
- Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (Jeskai Fires)
- Chris Kvartek (Golgari Adventure)
- Miguel da Cruz Simões (Jund Sacrifice)
- Javier Dominguez (Simic Flash)
- Seth Manfield (Simic Flash)
Głogowski was the first to lock in his Top 8, facing down Andrea Mengucci's Ramp deck. It was a rematch of the finals of the Mythic invitational, where Mengucci took down Kanister to win. In the Long Beach rematch, it was Głogowski who got the best of him.
You better believe Głogowski was excited to take down his "archnemesis."
But Mengucci wouldn't have to wait long to join Głogowski, as he locked up his own Top 8 berth in the following round.
It also seems that no Top 8 this year is complete without the reigning Magic World Champion Javier Dominguez, who locked yet another in with his stellar skill.
It wasn't all MPL stars taking Top 8 slots on Saturday. Two Challengers made it as well, and both took perhaps the most impressive road there. Miguel Da Cruz Simões and Chris Kvartek both qualified for Mythic Championship VII by winning online MTG Arena qualifiers, and even more impressive is that it was the second time in a row they had done so to return after unsuccessful runs at Mythic Championship V.
But the rigor of qualifying online was the crucible that forged plays like this.
The Race for Magic World Championship XXVI
One of the major storylines of Mythic Championship VII was how much more than this tournament players were working toward. Magic World Championship XXVI is on the horizon in February next year, and for many players their destiny was in their own hands to earn qualification with a great finish.
Here's where things stand after Saturday. The race for Magic World Championship XXVI significantly cleared up. Four players battling on Sunday—Seth Manfield, Marcio Carvalho, Andrea Mengucci, and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa—are all locked for the World Championship as at least the Top 4 MPL players by Mythic Points.
But if any win the tournament, or lose to Dominguez to finals, then the invitation passes down to either Brad Nelson or Piotr Głogowski—and that's determined by whoever finishes higher on Sunday. (Nelson has the edge in tiebreakers if both are eliminated similarly).
How much more drama can a Top 8 with a $100,000 first-place prize need?
The Challenger look delivers. Raphaël Lévy, Chris Kvartek, Gabriel Nassif, and Sebastian Pozzo are locked. But if Kvartek were to win Mythic Championship VII, and thereby taking the slot reserved for that winner, then Luis Scott-Vargas would slide into the fourth spot.
Getting to the Sunday Top 8 solved some of the problems while creating so many more.
The Standard Metagame Isn't Solved
The Top 8 decks in Long Beach included three Simic Flash decks and a Simic Ramp variant, taking advantage of the flexibility the color combination offered to trade off between tempo and control elements. Joining those four were two Jund Sacrifice decks putting the power of Cauldron Familiar and Witch's Oven to work alongside Korvold, Fae-Cursed King. A Golgari Adventure variant with Rotting Regisaur and The Great Henge rounded out the decks playing Forests.
Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, fresh off a runner-up finish at Mythic Championship VI, was the lone non-green player, making the Top 8 with the popular Jeskai Fires of Invention deck.
The Simic Flash deck that qualified three players for the Top 8 was Manfield's brainchild, even though Manfield was the one player who had to sweat out their Top 8 spot.
Casualties of Warfield
One of the most-followed runs of the weekend belonged to Ally Warfield, who was playing in her first MTG Arena Mythic Championship. She won a nailbiter of a win-and-in for Day Two against one of her Magic heroes—Chris Pikula—and started off Saturday with a strong 3-0, taking down MPL players left and right on her way there.
That's when the wheels came off the cart. A disappointing finish to the day left her just outside of the Long Beach Top 8, but it was one of the best runs of the weekend for a player who notched her first Grand Prix Top 8 earlier this as she ascends the competitive ladder.
And don't feel too badly for Pikula missing out on Day Two, either. He was in good spirits after receiving support from his teenage son at home.
Next up is the Top 8, with plenty of implications for 2020 on the line.
Every Magic World Championship XXVI story, every Magic Pro League story, every Magic Rivals League story, and the trophy winner for Mythic Championship VII comes down to the eight players standing for the Sunday showdown. Don't miss a minute as heartbreak and triumph unfolds in Long Beach.