The top four has been determined in the MPL Emerald Division M20 split and the stakes are high with players battling it out for a day-one bye at the MTG Arena Mythic Championship V.
Week two of the M20 split started off with seven of the eight MPL pros playing some form of Esper or Mono-Red Aggro. As the round-robin matches commenced earlier in the week, four MTG hall of fame players made it to the top four in the Emerald Division.
- Seth Manfield: Esper Control (round-robin)
- Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa: Mono-Red Aggro (round-robin)
- Martin Jůza: Mono-Red Aggro (round-robin)
- Shoota Yasooka: Esper Control (round-robin)
Heading into this weekend’s double-elimination matches, the top-four MPL players have shifted the meta to a combination of War of the Spark and M20.
- Seth Manfield: Orzhov Vampires (top four)
- Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa: Simic Nexus (top four)
- Martin Jůza: Simic Nexus (top four)
- Shoota Yasooka: Esper Control (top four)
Manfield and his Orzhov Vampire deck might be in trouble if he can’t get it to pop-off quickly. Running four Champion of the Dusk in the main deck, the vampire works great when paired with Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord on turn three. Manfield will run into trouble later in a match, however, if paired against a Narset, Parter of Veils—both Simic Nexus decks and Yasooka’s Esper Control have it in the main deck.
Jůza and Damo da Rosa are both playing Simic Nexus, which typically dominates Esper Control. If Yasooka can counter Search for Azcanta and Wilderness Reclamation while removing win-cons via Thought Erasure and Duress, perhaps Esper might have a chance. Without Mono-Red Aggro to thwart Simic Nexus, both Jůza and Dama da Rosa have a good chance of making it to the final match.
Sideboards, however, play a major role in best-of-three matches. Manfield is running three Noxious Grasp, two Devout Decree, and four Duress. Both Simic Nexus decks have Veil of Summer and Shifting Ceratops, along with Narset and Root Snare. Esper Control also has a Narset, Noxious Grasp, and an additional copy of Duress and The Elderspell.
Some cards that players aren’t likely to play out of their sideboards include Aether Gust, Cerulean Drake, and Legion’s End.
The top-four Emerald Division M20 split matches air this weekend via MPL Weekly on the Magic Twitch channel on Aug. 17 at 2pm CT. Whoever wins the division earns a day-one bye to the MTG Arena Mythic Championship V.