Qualifying for the Format Playoffs

by Michael Bonde on 19 December 2018, Wednesday

Michael Bonde

When I wrapped up 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 and a reason to be even more engaged in the year to come.

With the announcement that Pro Points and Grands Prix 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 Magic Online and the upcoming Challenge playoffs there.

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).

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 – and , hopefully, a lot more after this weekend’s challenges. (Editor’s note: It is!)

So are any of you good people up for a little challenge? Because I challenge you to contact me (@Lampalot on Twitter) 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 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 screenshots or tricky situations, but over the next week, I will have accumulated more screenshots and results, so that you can follow the record. Right now I want to show the four decks I will start playing.


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 Piotr "Kanister" Glogowski, the foremost expert on Ironworks.


I wrote an article (here) 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! 


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 Mono-White control (also known as Death and Taxes). But after one of our many Skype sessions, my team mate 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.


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 Rod or Stony Silence, you will have a good shot at playing a great game of Magic.

As a last point in this article I would like to address the Magic Online economy. 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 Magic Online and Magic in general. What I want all of you to consider is that while all of these articles have pieces of truth in them, they are also drawing a lot of conclusions of things that are not certain at all nor as black-and-white as it may seem. When people get scared, which in this case is reasonable, they sell out of their stock creating 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 Magic Online 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.

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. Magic Arena is definitely something that will catapult Magic into a new era, and while attracting both new and old players, there will be an even bigger demand to play formats that aren’t standard, and this is where Magic Online fits in perfectly. I have been a dedicated player for more than ten 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 rather than 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!

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


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