A Journey towards qualifying for all the format playoffs

When I got this year’s competitive play in the books, I ended at 45 Pro Points and qualifications for the next couple of Pro Tours (now Mythic Championships). That is extremely satisfying, but also a reason to be even more engaged in the year to come.
With the announcement that Pro Points and Grand Prix’s are discontinued, I see a future for Pro Magic that is interesting. But it’s also very different from how it used to be ever since I started the grind. Combine this with with my lust to play even more competitive Magic and I have to take a look at MTGO and the upcoming Challenge playoffs there.

What’s new?

A summary of the format Challenges

Boros Challenger by Lucas Graciano

Boros Challenger by Lucas Graciano

For those of you who haven’t seen what the upcoming changes are, here is a short summary:

Like the MOCS playoff, each format (Legacy, Vintage, Pauper and Modern) will now have their own championship. The championship will be invite only. You win invitations through format playoffs. The top 8 of each challenge playoff get an invite to the championship in the given format. There will be 4 playoffs in a year in each format. To participate in the playoff you will need to accumulate 35 format points. You get format points from challenges and constructed leagues. The winner of a format championship will get an invite for the MOCS and the next PT (now Mythic Championship).

A lot of work ahead

Getting into a different kind of holiday spirit

I have already written about my excitement about the road to the Pro Tour through playing Pauper. But as a competitive online player, this seems like a road to the Mythic Championships in the future. It’s also a road to the MOCS, which is something I’ve always dreamt of. So my plan for the upcoming holiday season and the upcoming year will be to qualify for all four format playoffs – playing leagues in the different formats, and try to play every challenge that I can get my hands off.

My current progress:

Modern: 2/35
Legacy: 0/35
Vintage: 0/35
Pauper: 0/35

I have a single result that is counting towards the championship – which, hopefully, will be a lot more after this weekend’s challenges. (Editor’s note: It is!)

Ready for a little challenge?

Beat Lampalot and win a Horizon Canopy!

Horizon Canopy

So are any of you good people up for a little challenge? Because I challenge you to @ me when you get the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th qualification. The first one to beat me to an account that has a minimum of 35 points for each of the formats will receive a Future Sight Horizon CanopyHorizon Canopy. To play this much great Magic and get to play top level events against grinders will be a joy. And this giveaway will only be a small token of appreciation from myself, to acknowledge you as what I consider a perfect grinder!

As of right now, I can’t showcase any nice screen shots or tricky situations, but over the next week, I will have accumulated more screen shots and results, so that you can follow the record. Right now I want to show the four decks I will start playing.


Playing the “enemy of the state”

Ancient Stirrings by Vincent Proce

Modern KCI: Ancient Stirrings by Vincent Proce

KCI by Michael Bonde

Lands (21)
Grove of the Burnwillows
Engineered Explosives
Buried Ruin
Darksteel Citadel
Inventors’ Fair
Yavimaya Coast

Creatures (6)
Myr Retriever
Scrap Trawler
Sai, Master Thopterist

Spells (33)
Ancient Stirrings
Mox Opal
Spine of Ish Sah
Ichor Wellspring
Chromatic Star
Chromatic Sphere
Pyrite Spellbomb
Mind Stone
Krark-Clan Ironworks
Sideboard (15)
Tormod’s Crypt
Galvanic Blast
Swan Song
Nature’s Claim
Sai, Master Thopterist

I played this for the past 14 days prior to GP Liverpool and fell in love with the deck. I honestly think that this deck is the best deck in Modern. It scares of a lot of people due to its click-heavy nature on MTGO. This way, many players have little to no playtesting and experience with the deck. And since a lot of people talk about difficulties in understanding the deck I will try and talk about my approach in an upcoming article. It will be along the lines of “A Mortal Approach to learning KCI” and my focus will be more about my own journey into “mastering” it with a smaller focus on gameplay and sideboarding. Check it out to learn in which two matchups I disagree with Platinum Pro Kanister.


Chromatic Tron for the win

Pauper Tron: Prophetic Prism by Noah Bradley

5 Color Tron by Michael Bonde

Lands (23)
Urza’s Mine
Urza’s Power Plant
Urza’s Tower
Shimmering Grotto
Remote Isle
Izzet Guildgate
Swiftwater Cliffs
Thornwood Falls
Unknown Shores

Creatures (9)
Mnemonic Wall
Sea Gate Oracle

Spells (28)
Essence Scatter
Expedition Map
Flame Slash
Forbidden Alchemy
Lightning Bolt
Mystical Teachings
Prismatic Lens
Prophetic Prism
Pulse of Murasa
Ghostly Flicker
Rolling Thunder
Sideboard (15)
Ancient Grudge
Crypt Incursion
Echoing Truth
Gorilla Shaman
Moment’s Peace
Coalition Honor Guard
Serene Heart

I wrote a very detailed article about this deck already. I think this is extremely fun to play, and I will try to make it even better against the current meta. For more insight into the Pauper format in general, stay tuned for my follow up to that article which you can expect soon after the one you’re reading right now!


There’s a new (old) Delver in town

Risk Factor by Chris Seaman

Legacy UR Delver: Risk Factor by Chris Seaman

UR Delver by Michael Bonde

Creatures (12)
True-Name Nemesis
Delver of Secrets
Monastery Swiftspear
Stormchaser Mage

Spells (32)
Force of Will
Chain Lightning
Lightning Bolt
Vapor Snag
Risk Factor
Lands (16)
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Volcanic Island

Sideboard (15)
Rough // Tumble
Grafdigger’s Cage
Vapor Snag
Smash to Smithereens
Price of Progress
Surgical Extraction

While I have seen Olle Råde play this deck for months and months, I haven’t given it any love earlier due to the existence of both Elves and Monowhite control (also known as Death and Taxes). But after one of our many skype sessions fellow Snapcardster player Andreas Petersen showcased how good this deck can be, and how it somewhat preys on the current meta.
On top of that, it is a fast aggro deck. Given that I play some more click-heavy control and combo decks in the other formats, it will be a relief to play something a bit easier on the mouse. I also think that this is a solid strategy to try and collect as many points as possible in a short period of time.


The Danish List

Paradoxical_Outcome_by Nils Hamm

Vintage: Paradoxical Outcome by Nils Hamm

Paradoxical Outcome by Michael Bonde

Creatures (2)
Blightsteel Colossus
Monastery Mentor

Spells (45)
Ancestral Recall
Black Lotus
Time Vault
Sol Ring
Gitaxian Probe
Hurkyl’s Recall
Sensei’s Divining Top
Merchant Scroll
Mox Emerald
Mox Jet
Mox Ruby
Mox Sapphire
Mystical Tutor
Night’s Whisper
Paradoxical Outcome
Mox Opal
Mana Vault
Mana Crypt
Force of Will
Time Walk
Treasure Cruise
Dig Through Time
Demonic Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Voltaic Key
Mox Pearl
Lands (13)
Tolarian Academy
Scalding Tarn
Polluted Delta
Misty Rainforest
Library of Alexandria
Flooded Strand
Underground Sea

Sideboard (15)
Grafdigger’s Cage
Hurkyl’s Recall
Kambal, Consul of Allocation
Tormod’s Crypt

My choice for Vintage is as fun as it is explosive. And while it isn’t a perfect fit for the current metagame, it is some of the most fun Magic you could think of.
In its controlling blue nature, it can be hard to navigate through the different decks and strategies and with its combo-oriented shell it calls for some calculations and plays that gives you the most outs. It is a deck that fights well against a lot of the good decks in Vintage, and if your opponent does not play Null RodNull Rod or Stony SilenceStony Silence, you will have a good shot at playing a great game of Magic.

And now for something totally different

A few thoughts about the MTGO economy

Revel in Riches by Eric Deschamps

Revel in Riches by Eric Deschamps

As a last point in this article I would like to address the MTGO economy and what I think about it. In the last couple of days, a lot of people have been selling collections and posting articles with a lot of logical arguments why different things are killing MTGO and MTG in general. What I want all of you to think about, is that all of these articles have pieces of truth in them, but they are also drawing a lot of conclusions of things that are not certain at all or as black and white as it may seem. When people get scared, which in this case is reasonable, they sell out of their stocks making way more supply than demand, which will lower the prices and start a bad spiral of diminishing value of cards in general.
I am not saying that over the last 10 years, collections haven’t gotten less and less valuable, because that is a fact. I am however happy that thanks to reprints I can play certain decks that I didn’t necessarily have the opportunity to try out in paper or online. I love Magic, and I am also pretty fond of money – so I want this to be balanced. Just like in paper Magic there is great joy in the ability to play what you want, but it also comes with a risk.
I think Wizards in general is making MTGO a great resource for those of us that doesn’t have a community to play Vintage or Legacy in, or the ability to get the cards. And on top of that, getting to play even more competitive events is, for me, a great way to practice and have fun while playing the game I love.

The digital future of Magic

Get into the challenges and play!

I am buying into the different formats rather than selling my cards, because I believe that Magic has a bright future in both paper and in online play. MTGArena is definitely something that will catapult magic into a new era, and while attracting new as old players, there will be an even bigger demand to play formats that aren’t Standard, and this is where MTGO fits in perfectly. I have been a dedicated player for more than 10 years, and the program has never been better than it is now – and while the interface isn’t the smoothest and some of the things aren’t worthy of 2018, it suits an old MTGO grinder like myself that sees the Magic the Gathering in it – instead of whatever coding issues there might be.

I think that the best way to qualify for the Mythic Championship is through MTGO, and I will put my money where my mouth is and grind! LET’S GO!

Michael Bonde // @Lampalot


This article was written by Michael Bonde in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com