Inside the Mythic Invitational:
An Interview with Brad Nelson

This past weekend, Wizards of the Coast held the biggest Magic tournament of all time- the $1 million dollar Mythic Invitational.  The field of 64 was comprised of 32 professional players in the Magic Pro League and 32 “challengers”, consisting of 24 popular streamers and other Magic personalities and the top 8 ranked players on Magic: Arena through the month of February.

As the tournament was played on Magic: Arena, a new tournament format was introduced. Duo Standard tasked competitors with choosing two decks and playing best of one games with them. Game one would be played with a randomly chosen deck, game two would be played with the other deck the player brought, and game 3, when necessary, would be played with the player’s deck of choice.

After the tournament, I was able to get some feedback from Brad Nelson. A three-time Grand Prix champion, Nelson is the 2010 Player of the Year and widely considered to be one of the best Standard players in the game. Competing in such a unique and groundbreaking tournament, he was able to provide some insight into the Mythic Invitational from a competitor’s point of view.


Q: Thanks for agreeing to answer some questions for me!  You just competed in the Mythic Invitational.  This event was hyped to be the biggest MTG tourney ever, with a $1 million prize pool and a previously unexplored format.  How did it feel actually being there and being a part of it?

Brad: Surreal. All weekend long I had to keep reminding myself that I was actually a part of the action as every time I tuned in I just felt like an enthusiastic fan! Both sides felt great!


Q: What decks did you bring to the table, and why?

I played Esper Control, and Mono-White Aggro. Duo Standard is a unique format, and bringing these two decks made it unlikely to get exploited by any one strategy. I knew it would be one of the most popular pairings as well so I tuned my decks for the mirrors.


Q: Was this format one that you’d like to play again in a tournament like this?

No. I’m a man who loves sideboarding, and believe it to be the best way to play Magic. Duo, best of one, Standard was a great place for our venture into eSports to start, but I would be unhappy to see the Arena Mythic Championships continue to use this format.


Q: Many are calling this standard format one of the best in recent memory.  Do you agree? Why?

I can’t really say. I haven’t played much traditional Standard since the last Mythic Championship as I’ve been practicing for the Invitational. I do think it’s a great one, but that’s just an educated guess.


Q: Is MTG Arena the future of the game?  Do you think it will ever lead to the phasing out of paper Magic?

Yes. MTG Arena is the future for sure. No, in fact I believe Arena will introduce new players into Traditional play. We’ve already seen record-breaking Pre-Releases, and players going into local game stores to buy Mythic Invitational decks. Tabletop is not going anywhere!


Q: What is your favorite Magic moment of all time, and what’s one Magic moment you’d like to do or see in the near future ?

Winning Grand Prix Denver alongside Brian Braun-Duin and my brother Corey Baumeister. I don’t think it will ever get topped. I don’t really know, but I’m guessing winning a Mythic Championship would be a nice way to spend time in my near future. 🙂


I’d like to thank Brad for taking the time to give this interview.  You can follow him on Twitter at @fffreakMTG, and catch his podcast @BashBrosPodcast with his brother Corey Baumeister and their very special guest Brian Braun-Duin every Friday.

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