Sam Rolph wins MTG Arena Championship 1, earns 2023 Magic World Championship invite

Winning requires sacrifice.

Alchemy and Dominaria United Limited had the opportunity to shine over the weekend with the first Arena Championship tournament that directly feeds into the 2023 Magic World Championship.

Sam Rolph won the Rakdos Midrange mirror match against Keisuke Sato to win the Arena Championship 1, earning $30,000 and an invitation to next years Magic World Championship. Sato also received a World Championship invite and $20,000 for his runner-up performance.

The marathon finals went down to the third game of the last set. Games were won on razor-thin margins as both players fought for incremental advantages using grindy cards like Oni-Cult Anvil and Ob-Nixilis, the Adversary. While some Magic games can be played on rails, the finals showcased the complex decision-making that makes high-level Magic intriguing. 

It was Rakdos Midrange that emerged as the top deck in Alchemy over the course of six Swiss rounds and a lengthy top-eight bracket.

The Alchemy variation of Rakdos Midrange shares many of the same cards as its Standard counterpart. However, the few differences between the decklists allowed the archetype to perform well throughout the Arena Championship.

Blood Artist was an all-star card in Rakdos Midrange, which applied consistent pressure if it was allowed to stick around on the battlefield. In Alchemy, Blood Artist can enter the battlefield by using Sanguine Brushstroke. The Enchantment was a four-of in both finals decklists.

The top-eight bracket was dominated by Black decks, following a similar trend to Standard. Only one decklist, Michael Bondes Domain Control build, made it into the top eight. The rest of the bracket included Esper Midrange, Rakdos Sacrifice, and Esper Control.

The next major online Magic Event will be the 2022 Magic Online Champions Showcase Season Two on Oct. 8. This event will showcase the best Magic Online players and will be a treat for fans of eternal Magic formats like Vintage Cube and Modern. 

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