The Keys to Success – Important Lessons from MCQ V

Sebastian Pozzo

Introduction: Winning MCQ V on MTG Arena!

Hello Everyone! I just qualified for Mythic Championship V and I couldn’t be more thankful and happy about it. Today, I will do my best to explain what are the keys for this result, without putting a lot of emphasis in the technical aspects of the game, and more in the motivation and philosophy that helps us to do better.

In case anyone doesn’t know the way to qualify for these “new and exclusive Mythic Championship (Pro Tours)” played by 68 players in Arena, just like Mythic Championship III won by Matias Leveratto.

It’s a long path but I love the fact that it gives equal chances no matter where you live, as long as you have a computer and internet, you have the same possibilities as everyone else. First you have to hit the Top 1000 Mythic Ranks in Constructed or Limited, that would qualify you for the MTG Arena Qualifier Weekend. When that weekend comes, you have to play Standard in an event until you reach 10 wins (the last MCQ for MC III was 8 wins maximum so it is getting bigger and bigger) or 2 losses. And then the top 128 players in that part, get to compete for 16 invites in 7 rounds with a system that gives invites for 5-0 and 5-1, and a few for 5-2s.

Again, it’s a long way, but it’s worth trying! Also, it’s a great way to test yourself against very good players from all around the world.

My Deck Choice and MCQ

I only had one week to test for this tournament, because after Mythic Championship IV (Barcelona) I went on vacations.

Vicious ConquistadorLegion LieutenantSorin, Imperious Bloodlord

The first deck that I tried was Vampires and it was very good, but at the same time I wanted something more solid, sometimes too many mulligans, missed landrops or mana flood would leave you with little to do. And this tournament doesn’t allow you many missteps.

ScapeshiftField of the DeadHydroid Krasis

So then I tried Bant Scapeshift and I really liked it, it was way more consistent. It was also great news to see the Standard metagame master Brad Nelson playing Bant Scapeshift two days before the tournament. I really liked his list and decided to fully copy him.

Bant Scapeshift

Things went perfectly on Saturday:

It was one of those days that everything was working perfect, in the last round, where I knew I was already rocked to advance day 2 even if I lost, I topdecked a 《Deputy of Detention》 in the very last turn for the win in a mirror match. However, in this event, your day 1 record is not important for day 2, and I knew it was going to be a rough field. Some players that I could recognized were Oliver Tiu, Ondrej Strasky, Stanislav Cifka (all 3 won an invitation) and also Martin Muller, Simon Gortzen, Kenji Tsumura and Patrick Fernandes (He won the MCQ III on MTG Arena from Brazil) who sadly lost in day two (I’m sorry if I forgot someone, those are the ones I could remember).

Against the odds, on Saturday I didn’t play versus a single Vampire deck (a feared matchup but totally winnable) but then on Sunday they were all waiting for me. The first 4 rounds were against Vampire decks and I only lost the 3rd one of them.

Teferi, Hero of DominariaAgent of Treachery

Then in the 5th round I played against a Jeskai Walkers deck, a very good matchup with 2 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 and 2 《Agent of Treachery》 in the sideboard.

Diligent ExcavatorKethis, the Hidden HandMox Amber

So next round was a win and in, but I faced Ondrej Strasky playing the Stan Cifka’s creation (Kethis Legendary Combo) and he completely crushed me. I knew my opponent points were very good, so I had another shot next round.

Tenth District LegionnaireFeather, the RedeemedDefiant Strike

I played against Boros Feather, which is a very good matchup, but I never suffered more in the match. I lost first game and the second went down to me topdecking an untapped land, otherwise I would have lost. Game 3 I felt I pretty much always was in control of the game, the 5-2 was realized and the breakers held so I finished 15th in the qualifiers and earned one of those 16 invites.

Qualifying for this event is super important for me now, not only to have the chance to play in such a cool event, but also because with the new system I don’t have more invites for the tabletop tournaments in 2020.

Three Keys to Success

After winning this invite, I realized there have been some keys that in my opinion helped a lot to get this result.

1 – Vacations

Recumbent Bliss

I don’t know when was the last time that I wasn’t in touch with Magic for more than 2 weeks. It made me eager to play a lot, and the more you enjoy something the better you do it! Sometimes we are stuck in repeating the same pattern that doesn’t allow us to improve something, and a reset like this can help a lot. Also, I had a great time and being happy makes you stay positive and optimistic about the future, which I also believe that helps a lot.

2 – New Motivation

Iroas, God of Victory

As I said, with the changes in Organized Play, a new world of professional Magic is arising. There are many strictly better things (Magic Pro League and Rivals League, more prizes, opportunities from Arena, etc.) but there are also changes that can hurt some players (like removing the Pro Club which helped to chain invites to tabletop Mythic Championships). I am in a spot where I really need some good results by the end of the year to keep competing at the highest level, so this gives me another chance.

3 – New Mindset

Mind ControlTraining Grounds

I’ve been playing in Pro Tours/Mythic Championships for the last 3 years, back then I had my focus on learning and trying to improve. It was not very much about the results; I knew that if I kept playing better they would come sooner or later. That year I achieved my greatest accomplishment which is the Standard Master Title (most wins in Standard across 4 PTs).

Lately, I was not paying much attention on whether I was improving my skills or not, I was mostly focused in the results, dreaming about my first Mythic Championship Top 8. And it was in the plane, flying back from my vacations where I realized that I was doing it wrong. I decided to watch a documentary film about Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer in the finals of Wimbledon (it’s called Strokes of Genius and I super recommend it). I was very impressed by listening Rafael Nadal says that he is going to train every morning, with the objective of improving something, how to move faster, how to hit the ball better, etc. How is it possible that the 2nd best player in the world (in a much more competitive scene like tennis) is constantly trying to improve and I was just waiting for a top finish?!

This helped me a lot to be more detached from the result and put less pressure on me. It’s good to have dreams and objectives result wise but it’s also important to not get blinded by them and accept any outcome. Also being detached from the result helps a lot to eliminate the fear to failure.

All these things together helped me a lot to give my best during the weekend and now my objective is to replicate it in the upcoming events.

Tips for Gringind on MTG Arena and Conclusion

For those who are not very familiar with MTG Arena or didn’t like the system, I have some tips to make it to the top without spending too much money:

That’s all for today, thanks for reading!

Sebastian Pozzo (Twitter)

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Sebastian Pozzo Picking up the title of Standard Master this season, he has reached the Gold Level Pro. He also is being the first player from Argentina to qualify for the 2017 World Championship Holding the title Standard Master, his strength is in the constructed format, and is outstanding when picking decks for the format. At Pro Tour Hour of Devastation, he has chosen the most favored deck, Ramunap Red, leading him into the title Standard Master. He is joining Hareruya Hopes with his teammate from the same country of Argentina, Luis Salvatto. Read more articles by Sebastian Pozzo