In a tournament dominated by Bant Golos, it was Javier Dominguez and his metagame deck choice of Gruul Aggro that won Mythic Championship V. He defeated Jean-Emmanuel Depraz, who was on Bant Golos, 2-1 in the second match of the Grand Finals.

Don’t miss our recaps of Day 1 and Day 2 of Mythic Championship V.

Golos variants were the consensus best archetype coming into the event and made up 41% of the overall field at Mythic Championship V. They are relatively slow ramp decks that try to combine Golos, Tireless Pilgrim and Field of the Dead to create hordes of Zombies.

Standard Bant Golos by Jean-Emmanuel Depraz

Creatures (14)
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
Realm-Cloaked Giant
Arboreal Grazer
Agent of Treachery
Hydroid Krasis
Beanstalk Giant

Spells (14)
Circuitous Route
Time Wipe
Growth Spiral
Once Upon a Time

Planeswalkers (3)
Teferi, Time Raveler
Lands (29)
Hallowed Fountain
Temple of Mystery
Orzhov Guildgate
Selesnya Guildgate
Tranquil Cove
Field of the Dead
Fabled Passage
Simic Guildgate
Breeding Pool
Blossoming Sands
Plaza of Harmony
Temple Garden
Temple of Malady
Castle Vantress
Thornwood Falls
Boros Guildgate
Azorius Guildgate

Sideboard (15)
Realm-Cloaked Giant
Agent of Treachery
Hydroid Krasis
Veil of Summer
Mystical Dispute
Disdainful Stroke
Devout Decree
Glass Casket
Aether Gust

Such an obvious best deck can lead to such a large percentage of the field playing that deck, so players faced a choice when registering their deck lists for Mythic Championship V: play Golos or go all-in to try and beat it.

Dominguez was one of four players that decided to try and beat Golos by registering the deck with the best Golos matchup, Gruul Aggro. Gruul’s game plan is to play fast, aggressive creatures and get its Golos opponents dead before they can start building a horde of Zombies.

Standard Gruul Aggro by Javier Dominguez

Creatures (28)
Pelt Collector
Zhur-Taa Goblin
Gruul Spellbreaker
Bonecrusher Giant
Skarrgan Hellkite
Questing Beast
Paradise Druid
Kraul Harpooner

Spells (7)
Once Upon a Time
Collision // Colossus

Artifacts (2)
Lands (23)
10 Forest
Stomping Ground

Sideboard (15)
Veil of Summer
Shifting Ceratops
Thrashing Brontodon
Redcap Melee
Domri’s Ambush
Lovestruck Beast

Dominguez’s metagame call was just effective enough to get him into Day 2 on tiebreakers (23rd place with 24 players advancing) and then into the Top 8 on tiebreakers in eighth place. But when the dust settled, there was only one Bant Golos deck in the Top 8.

In the Top 8, he defeated Stanislav Cifka (Bant Ramp) and Gabriel Nassif (Simic Food) on his way to the Upper Bracket finals, where he finally got his preferred matchup: Jean-Emmanuel Depraz on Bant Golos.

The Mythic Championship V Top 8 bracket

Dominguez defeated Depraz two games to one, advancing to the Grand Finals where he would play the winner of Andrea Mengucci (Bant Food) and Depraz. Depraz came out victorious, setting up a rematch with Dominguez in the Grand Finals.

Bant Golos was the reason that Dominguez chose to play Gruul Aggro because of the favorable matchup. But Depraz won the first match, forcing a second—and deciding—match since he had advanced from the Lower Bracket of the Top 8 double-elimination bracket.

Dominguez took Game 1 of the second match thanks to a Kraul Harpooner equipped with Embercleave. Depraz battled back to take Game 2, stabilizing at 13 life with an active Field of the Dead into a 7/7 Hydroid Krasis.

It all came down to the the deciding Game 3 in the deciding Match 2 of the Grand Finals. Dominguez’s Gruul Aggro deck gave him the aggressive draw that led him to choose the deck in the first place—Zhur-Taa Goblin into Gruul Spellbreaker into Embercleave, running Depraz over and winning Mythic Championship V.

Javier Dominguez is the reigning World Champion, having won the 2018 World Championship a year after losing in the finals of the 2017 World Championship to William Huey Jensen. Mythic Championship V is his first win and his second Pro Tour/Mythic Championship Top 8 after hist first Top 8 at Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan in 2018. He also has two ninth-place Pro Tour finishes at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar (2015) and at Pro Tour Hour of Devastation (2017), as well as 10 Grand Prix Top 8s.

Bans Incoming?

40% of the Mythic Championship metagame being made up of Golos decks is an impressive feat given that Bant Golos was the consensus deck to beat heading into the tournament. That means that it had a huge target on its back and still managed to make up nearly half of the decks that made Day 2.

Ideally, a metagame with a known best deck would result in players gravitating towards strategies that counter the best deck. However, the fact that over 40% of players at Mythic Championship V decided to play Golos, despite the fact that the deck is the obvious number one deck, speaks volumes about the lack of answers in the current Standard format. And after moving the next Banned and Restricted update up a full month to Monday, October 21, it’s clear Wizards is aware that Field of the Dead (and maybe Golos, Tireless Pilgrim) are actively harming the health of the Standard format.

The fact that only one Golos deck made the Top 8 shouldn’t be seen as an argument that Golos wasn’t as dominant as the metagame share would indicate. In fact, every player in ninth through 16th place was on Golos (five Bant, two Fires, and one Four-Color), meaning that nine of the Top 16 decks, or 56%, contained Golos, Tireless Pilgrim and Field of the Dead. The Top 8 of Mythic Championship V could have been dominated by Golos decks if a few matches had gone the other way.

But the prevelance of Golos is masking deeper issues with the Mythic Championship V metagame. Over 80% of the Day 2 metagame was made up of Simic-based ramp decks, Oko, Thief of Crowns might be just as oppressive as Golos plus Field of the Dead, and only three players made Day 2 with decks that didn’t contain Green. On top of all that, zero copies of Gologari Adventure, most popular non-ramp deck, advanced to Day 2.

The talk of the Magic community is that Wizards will likely use tomorrow’s Banned and Restricted announcement to ban at least one card from Golos, most likely Field of the Dead, and then see how the Standard metagame settles. Nissa, Who Shakes the World could also be a target as she is one of the most powerful ramp payoffs in Standard.

However, it is also possible that Wizards recognizes that Oko, Thief of Crowns in the Ramp and Food archetypes will be just as oppressive as the combination of Golos, Tireless Pilgrim plus Field of the Dead, though banning a mythic rare from it’s latest expansion set would be a drastic move.

Featured image credit: Andrea Mengucci

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