Going to Mythic Championship Cleveland, I knew that I was going to play Sultai. I love to play midrange decks and tier 1 decks, and the deck decision felt like an easy one for me. So I focused on Draft, with my usual preparation of selecting the guilds I like most and avoiding the ones I dislike.

Initially, I was in love with Azorius and I hated green, but by the time the MC came, I was embracing green and trying my hardest to avoid Azorius. In the meantime, I also loved Orzhov and hated Rakdos.

At the Mythic Championship, I drafted two great Simic decks. The first was wide open and earned me a very easy 3-0 (6-0 in games).

The second was much harder to navigate. My first four picks were Mardu, then I decided to pick up a 5th-pick Sauroform Hybrid and a 6th-pick Combine Guildmage, therefore moving to Simic. I got lucky opening some great rares (and a mythic) and getting passed others—I ended up 2-1.

As I’ve said multiple times in past Pro Tour reports, in order to do very well at the Pro Tour, the most important part is to do well at Limited, since in Constructed I always manage to pull out a 6-4 score or better, given my safe deck choices.

This time I did slightly better with my beloved Sultai, finishing 7-3 with a list that Javier Dominguez, Christian Calcano, Kelvin Chew, Petr Sochurek, Luis Salvatto, Sebastian Pozzo, and I designed together.

Sultai Midrange

Andrea Mengucci, 11th place at MC Cleveland

4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Breeding Pool
4 Watery Grave
4 Woodland Cemetery
2 Drowned Catacomb
1 Hinterland Harbor
1 Memorial to Folly
4 Forest
4 Llanowar Elves
1 Incubation Druid
4 Wildgrowth Walker
4 Merfolk Branchwalker
4 Jadelight Ranger
1 Carnage Tyrant
3 Vivien Reid
3 Cast Down
2 Vraska's Contempt
3 Hostage Taker
4 Hydroid Krasis
3 Find/Finality

Sideboard
4 Duress
3 Kraul Harpooner
2 Assassin's Trophy
1 Cast Down
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Carnage Tyrant
1 Vraska's Contempt
1 Ritual of Soot

These were my results at the event:

  • Sultai Midrange: 4-0
  • White Weenie: 2-0
  • Simic Nexus: 1-1
  • Mono-Red : 0-1
  • Mono-Blue: 0-1

Deck Decisions

4 Wildgrowth Walkers

Wildgrowth Walker

Some “big brain players” like MPL player Martin Juza and Piotr Glogowski were vocal about playing zero copies of this card. Javier and I tried the version without Walkers and while it was better in the mirror match, it was worse enough against white and red aggro decks that we felt it wasn’t worth it.

Red and white aggro decks with this configuration are close to 80-20, but you only need to cut some 2-drops for weaker creatures or discard spells, and you’ll find yourself with a 50-50 matchup.

The mirror match will of course get worse since Wildgrowth Walker is a bad card in the matchup, but by a smaller margin. The rest of the main deck list is straightforward as this deck has been out for a very long time.

Sideboarding

Mono-Blue

Out

Vivien ReidVivien ReidVivien ReidWildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth WalkerIncubation DruidVraska's ContemptVraska's ContemptFind // FinalityFind // Finality

In

Kraul HarpoonerKraul HarpoonerKraul HarpoonerRitual of SootCast DownAssassin's TrophyAssassin's TrophyCarnage TyrantDuressDuressDuressDuress

My team and I thoroughly playtested against Mono-Blue Tempo, which was piloted by Christian Calcano and Luis Salvatto. They both played the deck the week before at GP Memphis. Our final sideboard plan worked in testing and we were very satisfied with it.

I unfortunately lost against Reid Duke in round 5 to his turn-1 Mist-Cloaked Herald and turn-2 Curious Obsession. The matchup is negative game 1 and positive game 2, but we found it to be positive enough post-sideboard to consider the matchup positive overall. At the beginning we were keeping in Wildgrowth Walker, but we soon discovered it was more of a liability than a threat.

Sure, some games you curve Walker into Jadelight and they don’t have Essence Capture, but if your opponent manages to counter your explore creature or play a Merfolk Trickster in response to it, you might find yourself with a 1/3 with no ability in a matchup where you’re already boarding out Vivien Reid and Find // Finality. It might be hard to gain card advantage.

That’s why we loved Carnage Tyrant. It’s an uncounterable threat that’s very hard to kill, unless they have a Tempest Djinn with seven Islands in play.

Vraska’s Contempt is also a bad because of how poorly it trades with Dive Down and, if they still keep it in, Spell Pierce.

Sultai

Out

Wildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth Walker

In

Vraska's ContemptCarnage TyrantCast DownDisdainful Stroke

Cast Down and Ritual of Soot are concessions to Thief of Sanity and Incubation Druid.

If you know you are playing the 75-card mirror, then you can board in the second Disdainful Stroke over the fourth Cast Down.

In round 16 I defeated Ben Friedman thanks to Ritual of Soot, a card I boarded in against Ben because I knew he was on the four Incubation Druid plan, and because it’s an unknown card that people never play around and that may have helped me take Ben by surprise.

It can also kill Hydroid Krasis, and similar to Limited, you can play around it by not overextending and let your opponent fill their board first.

Vraska’s Contempt and Carnage Tyrant are so good that we wanted an additional copy in the sideboard.

Vivien Reid needs to be killed, and the Carnage Tyrant + Find // Finality plan is still good enough and never gets old. I beat Peter Ingram in round 14 despite his many resolved Hydroid Krasis with just one card in hand and a 9/8 trample, hexproof in play.

White Weenie

Out

Vivien ReidVivien ReidVivien ReidCarnage TyrantMerfolk Branchwalker

In

Ritual of SootVraska's ContemptCast DownAssassin's TrophyAssassin's Trophy

Tocatli Honor Guard needs to die, and so does Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants. The matchup is very favorable, but if you don’t draw Find // Finality and they quickly put up pressure, you might just not be able to deal with all of their creatures in time.

While Vivien Reid is good for killing History of Benalia and Conclave Tribunal (which they usually board out), you want a cheap curve in order to keep up with their pressure so you can reach turn 6 safely.

Mono-Red Aggro

Out

Hostage TakerFind // FinalityIncubation DruidLlanowar ElvesLlanowar ElvesLlanowar ElvesLlanowar Elves

In

Assassin's TrophyAssassin's TrophyCast DownVraska's ContemptCarnage TyrantDuressDuress

If you answer Runaway Steam-Kin and Experimental Frenzy, then you can easily beat the rest of their threats and eventually win with a Wildgrowth Walker or a Hydroid Krasis.

Carnage Tyrant is good in a one-for-one game where your opponent kills your creatures, you kill theirs, and you need a powerful and untouchable threat, much like against mono-blue.

Try to wait until turn 4 or 5 to cast Wildgrowth Walker plus Explorer in the same turn, and try to wait until turn 3-4 to cast Duress and get their Experimental Frenzy.

Simic Nexus

Out

Carnage TyrantIncubation DruidFind // FinalityFind // FinalityFind // FinalityHostage TakerHostage TakerHostage TakerVraska's ContemptVraska's ContemptHydroid KrasisHydroid Krasis

In

Kraul HarpoonerKraul HarpoonerKraul HarpoonerAssassin's TrophyAssassin's TrophyCast DownDuressDuressDuressDuressDisdainful StrokeDisdainful Stroke

This is a 0-100 matchup game 1 and a 50-50 matchup game 2. Those numbers make this a hideous matchup.

Post-sideboard, like I said in my last article, you only beat them by attacking them fast and by having some cheap interaction like Cast Down or Disdainful Stroke.

We liked Disdainful Stroke over Negate for two reasons:

It’s very important to have a clock and pressure, or they might just get too much time to recover and get you in the late game. They board out Root Snare, so the plan of going Mono-Green Stompy could be very effective.

Esper Control

Out

Hostage TakerHostage TakerHostage TakerIncubation DruidWildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth WalkerLlanowar ElvesLlanowar ElvesLlanowar ElvesLlanowar Elves

In

Kraul HarpoonerKraul HarpoonerKraul HarpoonerCarnage TyrantAssassin's TrophyAssassin's TrophyDuressDuressDuressDuressDisdainful StrokeDisdainful Stroke

Esper Control is another tough matchup. It’s impossible to win game 1, but you are favored post-sideboard. You want to cut all your small creatures that are weak to Kaya’s Wrath and you want to leave in all of the answers to Thief of Sanity and Hostage Taker.

Search for Azcanta and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria are the two ways you can lose, so make sure to use your Assassin’s Trophy wisely. The later you cast it the better.

That’s it from Cleveland. It was a fantastic event where I fell just short—one win away from the Top 8—but still achieved a wonderful Top 16!

Now, a long journey back home is waiting for me, and once there I’ll start Standard best-of-1 testing for Mythic Invitational Boston at PAX East!