Wizards of the Coast
The PAX East at Boston, Massachusetts was a major event for Magic: The Gathering. Not only did it feature a panel for the set War of the Spark, but it also featured the first-ever $1 million Mythic Invitational that highlights the trading card game's rise in the esports scene and the first major event using Magic: The Gathering Arena instead of the traditional cards. The events surely had some unforgettable moments, and I'm counting them down in this list.
Luis-Scott Vargas vs. Cedric Philipps
One of the most memorable matches at the first-ever Mythic Invitational was the match between Hall of Famer Luis-Scott Vargas and Star City Games commentator Cedric Phillips. It's Channelfireball vs. Star City Games so seeing the two play against each other is like WWE vs. WCW back in the day. Most people were expecting LSV to win the match but Cedric somehow managed to beat one of the best Magic players with his Mono-White Aggro deck. What even made the match more interesting was the fun Twitter feud between the two players.
You can watch the match and check out the tweets below:
The First Look at War of The Spark Cards
The War of the Spark panel didn't just reveal an epic trailer for the upcoming Magic: The Gathering set, it also revealed the first batch of card previews for it. 16 cards were initially shown during the panel but a few more were revealed during the Top 4 of the Mythic Invitational. The official preview gave fans their first look at the Planeswalker-heavy set's uncommon Planeswalkers and a new mechanic called Amass (put a +1+1 counter on an Army you control. If you don't control one, create a black 0/0 Army creature token first) and the return of the Proliferate mechanic. It was also revealed that all the Planeswalker cards in the set have a static or triggered ability. Later, Mark Rosewater confirmed that all 20 uncommon Planeswalker cards in the set only have one minus ability as well as a triggered or static ability.
Women Played Great at The Mythic Invitational
The diversity of players at the first-ever Mythic Invitational was incredible. It wasn't just a group of well-established Magic professional players that we're used to seeing at Pro Tours or Mythic Championships, it was a mix of pros, streamers, and unlike most major Magic events, there are more women who participated at the $1-million event. What's more impressive is that three of the female players made the Top 16 on Saturday. Skybilz (Allison Maino) even managed to defeat two-time World Champion Shahar Shenhar.
You can watch that match here:
MTGNerdgirl (Brittany Hamilton) even played a unique disruptive green deck (with a splash of blue) and we tried the deck in our video:
It's great to see more female players in the competitive world of Magic. Hopefully, we'll see more of them will be encouraged to join future Mythic Championships and Mythic Invitationals.
Gerry Thompson's Awkward Loss at The Mythic Invitational
Many Magic: The Gathering fans were rooting for Gerry Thompson to win the Mythic Invitational but the Pro Tour champion lost to another Pro Tour champion in the first Round 1 of the double-elimination event, and the way he lost it made a lot of Twitch viewers wondering what the hell just happened.
You can watch the clip below:
Thompson lost because he had less life than his opponent when the time ran out. Usually, in big Magic: The Gathering tournaments, when time runs out, five additional turns are added and if no one has won after those turns, then it's considered a Draw no matter who has more life. However, the rules and format for this Magic Arena Mythic Invitational are clearly different and some fans are not happy with it. Certain MTG strategies use life as a resource, sacrificing it to get a better position on the board but the Mythic Invitational's change from the traditional rules made it harder for them to win.
A YouTuber even made a Yu-Gi-Oh parody of Thompson's awkward Mythic Invitational loss. You can watch it here:
Mythic Invitational Hits Over 100,000 Viewers on Twitch
The first-ever Magic: The Gathering Mythic Invitational made history when the PAX East event had a concurrent viewership total on Twitch with an astonishing count that extended over 100,000 viewers. Previously, the trading card game was typically known for between 30,000- 50,000 viewers on major tournament weekends, and the impressive viewership has a lot to do with the tournament's digital platform, Magic: The Gathering Arena. This proves that Wizards of the Coast's desire to establish Magic as a viable esport is working.
This is just the beginning for Magic: The Gathering's rise as an esport, and I can't wait to see how Magic Arena will evolve in the near future.
Matt Nass Somehow Defeats Seth Manfield With A Teferi Emblem
One of the most memorable moments over the PAX weekend was also featured one of the greatest Magic: The Gathering comebacks caught on video coverage.
At the Mythic Invitational, pro player Matt Nass played against Hall of Famer Seth Manfield in a Standard Esper Control mirror match that will be remembered, and Nass proved that he's not just a master of the Modern Krark-Clan Ironworks deck that he's famous for; he's clearly a master of the game.
Watch the clip below:
Since Manfield has a copy of Teferi on his hand, he was forced to draw but since Unmoored Ego also took out the copy from his deck, he ends up losing the game because of his inability to draw a card from his library.
Nass' comeback was incredible to watch, but it's not just the game-winning move that's worth watching. The way Nass holds his lands that produce blue mana to protect it from Teferi's Emblem and play them when needed shows his true mastery of the game, so if you have a chance to watch the entire match, do it.
Savjz vs. Pterodactylsftw Epic Mythic Invitational Match
Day 2 of the Magic: The Gathering Mythic Invitational featured one of the most intense matches ever recorded on video, and arguably the second best match at the first-ever Mythic Invitational. It was the Savjz (Janne Mikkonen) vs. Pterodactylsftw (Sheila Weidman) match during Round 1 of the event.
Andrea Mengucci may have won the Mythic Invitational but Savjz, a well-known Hearthstone streamer from Finland, is the breakout player of the tournament. The way he managed to Top 4 after defeating Hall of Famers and well-established Magic pros from the insanely-stacked Bracket C was incredible, and his facial reactions during the match were entertaining to watch. His reaction when Pterodactylsftw landed a Carnage Tyrant with multiple Rhythm of the Wilds on the field was priceless. Pterodactylsftw could have won the match if she played her third Growth-Chamber Guardian and swing with haste thanks to Rhythm of the Wilds.
Watch the match here:
Their final game with Savjz's Esper Control and Pterodactylsftw's Gruul Midrange will surely be remembered as one of the best MTG matches in 2019 because of the epic comeback by Savjz.
Mengucci Wins The First-Ever Mythic Invitational
Wizards of the Coast
Surprise! Of course, the $250,000 winner of the Mythic Invitational made it to this memorable moments list. Andrea Mengucci, the Italian MTG pro and one of the thirty-two members of the Magic Pro League, won the first-every Mythic Invitational, dominating the Top 4 double-elimination tournament without a loss with his Esper Control and Mono-White Aggro decks. He beat Polish MTG pro Piotr "Kanister" Glogowski in the finals and it wasn't even close.
Watch the winning moment here:
Mengucci won the 2015 Magic World Cup as a member of Team Italy before but the Mythic Invitational marks his biggest MTG accomplishment, and his focus and dedication to the game clearly paid off. When Becca Scott asked Mengucci what advice would he give to Magic players, he said, "You have to dedicate to the game, and the game will give you back."
Congrats to Mengucci but we have two more memorable moments from the Mythic Invitational and War of the Spark panel at PAX East 2019.
Savjz vs. Kanister Semi-Finals Mythic Invitational Match
Mengucci may have won the whole Mythic Invitational but the best match goes to the semi-finals match between Savjz (Janne Mikkonen) and Kanister (Piotr Glogowski).
Savjz is playing Mono-White Aggro and Esper Control while Kanister is playing Mono-Blue Tempo and Mono-Red Aggro and the final game between Esper Control and Mono-Red Aggro was the deciding factor and watching the two make their plays (or not make their plays) was thrilling to watch.
Watch it here:
The whole match is worth watching but the most intense part starts on Game 3 when Savjz is down to 4 life and Kanister has a Fanatical Firebrand (who doesn't attack at one point). We've seen Savjz stabilize and make a comeback with Esper Control before in previous matches (such as his match vs. Pterodtactylsftw) even with low life so even though I was rooting for Kanister to win the whole tournament, Savjz was the clear underdog in this match and the whole tournament for being the only player from Magic Arena (non-established MTG pro) who made it to the Top 4 of the Mythic Invitational.
The thrilling question was: Would Savjz survive Kanister's burn spells and aggressive creatures and ultimately win? And the journey to get to that answer shows the amazing mind-game spectacle that proves that Magic: The Gathering - and its digital platform, Magic Arena - can be a viable esport that fans can enjoy watching. It was down to Savjz's final Azcanta activation that gave him two choices: Kaya, Orzhov Ursuper or Abrorb? Both are viable choices as both can give him some life that he needs to survive Kanister's spells. Players can debate that decision in essays but sadly, Savjz's choice wasn't the right one in this match, and Kanister's final two spells were able to burn his life to 0.
Nonetheless, this is the best match of the first-ever Mythic Invitational but only the second-most memorable moment from the big MTG PAX East weekend.
And the first goes to... (click the NEXT button to find out).
The Epic War of The Spark Trailer Debut
Wizards of the Coast
The most memorable Magic: The Gathering moment from PAX East 2019 happened during the War of the Spark panel on Sunday when they revealed the official trailer for the War of the Spark set. The trailer featured Liliana witnessing Nicol Bolas's devastation in Ravnica, and it teases the epic war between the Elder-Dragon (and his army of Eternals) and the Gatewatch.
Here's the debut of the trailer:
The trailer's amazing animation of seeing Liliana's emotions and reverse time magic combined with a fitting In the End music from Linkin Park (the version in the trailer is a remix performed by Jung Youth & Fleurie) gave Magic: The Gathering an epic and cinematic trailer that the game deserves. It made fans like me crave for a live-action or even animated feature-length MTG film.
Even cosplayer Christine Sprankle was inspired by the trailer:
This amazing trailer, along with Magic: The Gathering's rise to esports, shows that the best game in the world is taking it to the next level, and it's making fans excited not just for an upcoming set but also for the future of Magic, not just as a trading card game but as an epic fantasy franchise.
What do you think is the most memorable moment from the Mythic Championship and War of the Spark panel? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, and check out our YouTube channel.