Mythic Championship London Player Profile: Andrea Mengucci

Andrea Mengucci

Twitter: @mengu09
Age: 25
Residence: Ancona, Italy
Qualified via Magic Pro League
Pro Points: 268 (#82 World, #2 in Italy)
Pro Tour Debut: Pro Tour Dark Ascension 2012 (Innistrad Block Constructed/Draft)
Pro Tours Played: 23
Career Median: 91
Best Pro Tour Finish: 2nd (PT Shadows over Innistrad 2016)
Top 8: 3 Pro Tours, 4 World Magic Cup (1 win)
Other Achievements: Winner of the Mythic Invitational

An image of Andrea Mengucci with his head cocked to the left.Q: Congrats on winning the Mythic Invitational! Judging by the vibe on social media, pros were ecstatic about the tournament, which seems a bit different from how viewers at home experienced it. The format was a bit awkward, which even Wizards admitted afterward. How was your experience of the tournament? What made it different from other high-level tournaments such as a Mythic Championship or the World Championship?

I liked the tournament a lot. It was held in an environment I’ve never taken part of before (PAX East), and I loved playing in a literal arena with lots of people watching live!

The format wasn’t the greatest because there was a lot of variance involved, but Magic is still a skill game, and playing it was great anyway.

I believe it was very similar to the World Championship, and I behaved in a very similar way: One game at the time, knowing that I had to face world-class players at every turn.

Q: The Mythic Invitational was the first time a tournament had serious money on the line, in the sense that winning could be life-changing, not just as an experience but in that the earnings alone could buy you a place to live. How do you value the win at the Invitational compared to one of the more prestigious but financially less lucrative tournaments like a Mythic Championship or World Championship?

An image of Andrea playing a game of Magic: The Gathering.I didn’t choose to play Magic to be rich, and I didn’t choose Magic because I was attracted to its prize winnings. I chose Magic because it is the best card game ever made and the game I fell in love with as a kid.

Now I’m happy and blessed to be a part of professional Magic and having won the biggest prize ever for a Magic tournament was amazing, but I won’t stop now. I’ll try my best to keep on winning every event I take part in, regardless of the prize money involved.

A picture of Andrea Mengucci with a purple background.Q: You pretty much live and breath Magic. You write articles, you make videos, you stream, you go to MagicFests and Mythic Championships, and now you are a part of the Magic Pro League, too. Even if you love Magic, which you clearly do, don’t you ever feel like you need to take a break from the game? And as we all know, Magic has a lot of variance. Are you ever frustrated with a format that you need to prepare for?

No, I’m never tired of Magic—quite the opposite, actually. Whenever I’m on vacation with my girlfriend for a couple of days, I can’t wait to come back home to play more Magic! I often look at streams during breaks because of how much I love it. I hear the word “burnout” a lot among my teammates, but that’s a concept that doesn’t exist for me.

During Mythic Championship preparation I played Magic for 16 hours a day and went to bed with a big smile. I woke up with an even bigger one, because I knew that I would get to play more Magic!

As to the variance, it is the reason why Magic is the greatest game of all time. Without variance people would get tired of the game and the game would be solved too quickly. The formats I love most are Vintage, Legacy, and my Vintage Cube, which is a very unfair and unbalanced Cube with the most degenerate cards and combos.

Embrace the swings and enjoy the luck factor of Magic—that’s the secret that will help Magic live forever!

Q: Despite your excellent performance on the biggest stages you don’t seem to do too well at Grand Prix. Where does the contrast come from? Are you maybe under-prepared for the Grand Prix because of all the other things you do in the game?

An image of Andrea playing with headphones at the Mythic Invitational.Yes, I think I approach GPs in a more friendly way. I want to enjoy Magic and the experience the MagicFest offers. Also, until last summer I was a student and I didn’t have time to practice for GPs, whereas I was making sacrifices for doing so for Pro Tours.

You succeed in Magic only if you practice, and I was succeeding only at Pro Tours because I was putting effort only into those.

Since last summer, my results at GPs have been the best ever, with multiple X-3 and two win-and-in losses. I’m confident I will get there eventually. And I’ll keep trying!

Q: For more than two decades, Pro Tours have been basically the only thing that mattered as a competitive benchmark in Magic. You are a member of the Magic Pro League (that we still don’t know anything about). What are your hopes and/or expectations for how the Pro League will impact the landscape of competitive Magic?

The Magic Pro League is a group of professional Magic players. Being part of it means that we can call ourselves that, and that’s a beautiful thing. It’s a dream I’ve always had.

Looking forward, I hope to stay in the MPL, and to continue to succeed in the upcoming Mythic Championships of both tabletop and Magic Arena. I’m determined to keep doing so. Being an MPL player is the most prestigious achievement, so my goal year after year will be to keep doing well to stay on the train!

An image of Team Italy with the trophy in 2015.Q: You are one of a handful of players who became professional Magic players basically before you ever had to find a regular job. How does that affect your outlook on life in the long run? Do you ever consider what would happen if Magic pro play stopped being a thing, or maybe even just a thing that you couldn’t do any more for any reason? Do you have an alternate plan?

As you stated correctly, I’ve never worked in my entire life at the age of 25. I was a student and graduated with a degree in law last summer. I have been working for ChannelFireball for four years—which I consider a job—and I have been a professional Magic player (Platinum+) for three years. I have earned enough to not have to think about money and I can focus exclusively on the game I love the most, which happens to be my job.

I don’t have a plan B. I’m determined and working hard on my A plan, which I believe to be solid for the foreseeable future!

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