The Standard metagame in MTG Arena is only three weeks old following the release of the Throne of Eldraine set and fall rotation, and the Magic Pro League players are ready for the challenge at Mythic Championship V.
The Mythic Championship V, kicking off on Oct. 18, will feature 36 Challengers and 32 MPL players who all want a piece of the $750,000 prize pool and an automatic invite to the Magic World Championship later this year. With only three weeks to prepare, the list of competitors at MCV contains the best players from around the world who are ready to battle it out in MTG Arena.
Here are the top Magic Pro League players everyone should watch at Mythic Championship V.
MPL division leaders
Over the course of the Core Set 2020 split, four MPL players finished first in their divisions. Not only did these players receive Mythic Points (helping secure their seats in the MPL) but they also earned a day-one bye to Mythic Championship V.
With over half the field being eliminated before they play a single match, these pros have an overwhelming advantage.
With a record of 6-1 in the Emerald Division M20 split, Ben Stark is currently ranked at 29 in the MPL. A win at MCV, however, could bump him into the top 10. Rather than going with Bant Golos like so many others, Stark’s game plan is to go under the dominant zombie apocalypse with a Mardu Knights Aggro deck.
Containing 16 one-drops, Stark’s deck also includes Embercleave for additional late-game power and Tectonic Rift to kill Field of the Dead while immobilizing the zombie army.
Lee Shi Tian
Lee Shi Tian faced some tough opposition from Matthew Nass in the Sapphire Division but managed to win in the finals with a record of 5-2 in the M20 split. Also bucking the popular trend like Ben Stark, Tian is the only one at MCV playing Mono-Red Cavalcade.
Seeking to also go under the Field of Dead decks, Mono-Red Aggro is dependant upon 1/1 creatures in combination with Cavalcade of Calamity and Tobran, Thane of Redfell. It’s a bad match against Gruul and Simic but should hold up against other aggro archetypes and the Golos/Field of the Dead decks.
Finishing with a record of 5-2 in the Emerald Division, Seth Manfield is playing Bant Golos at MCV. With over 30 percent of the other competitors playing the same deck, Manfield knew mirror matches would likely be an issue. To stay ahead, Manfield has two copies of Deputy of Detention in his sideboard and two Mystical Dispute.
Finishing with a record of 5-2 in the Pearl Division, Carlos Romão is also playing Bant Golos. Hoping to ramp faster than his opponents, Romão has three copies of Beanstalk Giant in his main deck. The strategy could prove useful when facing off against aggro and Gruul decks and could even propel him into the finals on day three.
Top MPL pros
Having a day-one bye in MCV provides an advantage for the division leaders but the other MPL pros sitting at the top of the rankings are ready for the challenge.
Brian Braun-Duin (BBD) is having a strong year and he plans on continuing that trend at MCV with his Bant Golos deck. Ranked second in the MPL, BBD isn’t in any danger of losing his seat. The natural competitor in Braun-Duin, however, should have the rest of the field concerned.
The recent Magic Hall of Fame inductee, Reid Duke, is currently the top-ranked pro in the MPL. And he plans on maintaining that rank by playing Simic Food at MCV.
With four copies of Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Oko, Thief of Crowns—Duke’s strategy is to ramp fast and drop Nissa for power while Oko to control the board state. Simic Food might not be the strongest archetype at MCV, but it’s the most reliable. And Duke knows that.
Having the advantage of successfully winning the Sapphire Division in week one of the ELD split, Piotr Głogowski is sticking with Golgari Adventures. The deck is versatile against Simic Food and Bant Golos, along with Fires and Gruul.
While on paper it doesn’t look like it’ll dominate the meta, Głogowski is very comfortable playing it and should be feared by the others.
Looking for a rematch against Głogowski after losing to him in the finals of the week one Sapphire Division ELD split, Jessica Estephan is also confident in her Bant Food deck. She has already proved it can compete against Bant Golos and is hungry to climb the MPL rankings.
Having been invited to the MPL after the season already began, Estephan is ready to show the world why she was given a seat among the best players in the world. Like Głogowski, she knows her Bant Food deck inside and out and is ready for the challenges that lie ahead at Mythic Championship V.
Magic’s Mythic Championship V is being played on MTG Arena and will be streamed live via Twitch on Oct. 18 to Oct. 20.