On the eve of MKM Series Rome, it was once again time for us to take a step back and review what happened last time at the MKM Series. Ten weeks ago, players from all over Europe gathered in Frankfurt for the first stop of the MKM Series 2018, including 380 Legacy legionnaires.
Players to Watch
Legacy brought out all of the famous MKM regulars, including half of the MKMS Power 8. Dennis Zens had placed first in last season's ranking, but this time Zens was the first to fall, dropping from the tournament after just seven rounds. To be fair, his area of expertise had always been Modern rather than Legacy, which Zens had never tired of pointing out, even when he was crushing Legacy last year.
Three-time MKM Series champion Julian Knab was still in contention for the playoffs in Round 7. In fact, we watched live as his Elves picked up a second loss. Rodrigo Togores, the most succesful player at the MKM Series so far, remained in the running for an eighth Top 8 up until Round 8. We also caught one of his matches on camera, a quick 2-0 of Togores's Sneak & Show over Aggro Loam.
Finally, Tomas Mar became one of the headliners of the Legacy Top 8 and its eventual champion. The Czech wunderkind had concluded the previous season with a third place in the overall ranking, and his victory now, at the start of the new season, put him in a great position to make a run for the Power 8 once again. Although Mar had earned a trophy before, as the MKMS 2015 Vintage champion, this was his first win at a main event of the Series, and it was long overdue.
Meanwhile, this was the second Top 8 at the MKM Series for Amadeus Grün as well as for two-time GP quarterfinalist Tristan Pölzl, and the fourth for Marius Hausmann. Known as one of Europe's preeminent Legacy experts, Hausmann was the most accomplished player in the Top 8 next to Mar, and their semifinal match became one of the highlights of the tournament.
Decks to Watch
Midrange strategies had been on the rise in Legacy as of late. Some people already started complaining about seeing Deathrite Shaman on turn one every other game. But the Top 8 of the Legacy main event at MKM Series Frankfurt featured as even a mix as one could have wished for!
In a world without Sensei's Divining Top and thus without overpowered Miracles, true control remained absent of course. But there were three different combo decks: two which, in essence, were going for a two-card combo, either Show and Tell/Sneak Attack plus some monster or Thespian's Stage/Vampire Hexmage plus Dark Depths. Even engine-based combo was represented in the form of Elves.
Then there were three “fair” decks. The specifics ranged from True-Name Nemesis plus Umezawa's Jitte to Young Pyromancer plus Cabal Therapy. But they shared important features like the usual Brainstorm/Ponder package, two copies of Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and a focus on disruption: removal, discard spells, Force of Will.
Rounding out the Top 8 were two colorless decks. Timo Wolf brought Eldrazi Ramp powered by artifact mana and Sol lands including Cloudpost. Amadeus Grün was using smaller creatures like Arcbound Ravager and Walking Ballista. Both of them disrupted other people's plans with Chalice of the Void, and with Trinisphere and Thorn of Amethyst respectively.
However, all of their disruption was comically unhelpful when the two faced each other in the quarterfinals. Wolf's All Is Dust in particular was an embarassment against Grün's deck which contained a grand total of four Vault Skirge as the only colored permanents. So Wolf was left without his main line of defense and Grün drawing an unreasonable number of Wastelands took care of the rest.
The other big story in the deck department was Tomas Mar's most recent iteration of what's come to be known as “Czech Pile.” It may look like a random assortment of good cards, mixing various elements of disruptive aggro-control with no straightforward win condition. But it turned out to be a masterpiece time and again, especially of course when piloted by its widely recognized master.
Nowhere was the difference between an outsider's perspective on the deck and Mar's careful management of the resources at hand more evident than in his semifinal match against Marius Hausmann. First, we watched Mar lose a quick first game to True-Name Nemesis and marveled at his choice not to include any answer in his main deck. Then, we watched Mar come back to take the match by finding just the right path through an endless maze of small and big decisions. For instance, in one game, he left Hausmann's Jace, the Mind Sculptor in peace until he found the optimal moment, using Leovold, Emissary of Trest to minimize the planeswalker's impact until then. In contrast, when Hausmann wanted and fought hard to keep another Jace around for one more turn, Mar invested a Pyroblast to deny Hausmann. Yet another time, Mar chose not do destroy Umezawa's Jitte when Kolaghan's Command gave him an easy way to do so, because he saw an opportunity to get rid of every creature instead. Truly an amazing match and Legacy at its finest!
For more details regarding the Legacy main event at this year's MKM Series Frankfurt, for standings, decklists, metagame, and more, turn to our coverage archive!