This past week, I was able to have a chat with the Mythic Invitational winner, Andrea Mengucci. For those who may be a little out of the loop, Mengucci is a member of the Magic Pro League. He writes articles for ChannelFireball.com and makes YouTube videos for their channel. While he primarily focuses these videos on Legacy, you can find Mengucci playing multiple Magic: The Gathering formats on the channel.
In addition to the above, Mengucci streams on Twitch. He begins streaming in the mornings at 9 a.m. (CET) where you can catch him playing Standard on Magic: The Gathering Arena.
Daily Esports: You recently won the first-ever Mythic Invitational. Having had that experience, what advice would you give to Wizards of the Coast for future events of the same caliber?
Andrea Mengucci: My experience at PAX East during the Mythic Invitational was superb, and I don’t only say that because I won. Lots of my teammates also told me how that event was one of the best experiences of their life Magic-wise. The location was great and Wizards invited players to represent their game as well as give players the chance of qualifying towards Arena ladder.
I don’t think anything went wrong there, but they quickly identified the format as not ideal and moved away from it; the next Mythic Championship Arena in Las Vegas will be Standard best-of-3.
MTG Arena has brought with it an influx of new players. If you had to give all these new players a piece of advice as they get into Magic: The Gathering, what would it be?
Magic is the best game you can find. It has infinite varieties with many different formats. It’s challenging with sets being released every three months. There is some luck involved so that you’re able to win even against the best players in the world, but it also has a lot of skill involved so you can always find a game of Magic challenging.
Modern Horizons preview cards have been circulating online for a few days now. Have you seen anything from this new set that you’d personally like to take for a spin in Modern or Legacy?
The preview card that I spoiled, Echo of Eons, is the one I like the most! I can’t wait to try it with Narset, Parter of Veils to make you draw seven new cards; meanwhile, your opponent will only draw one! This reminds a lot my favorite combination of cards in Cube Draft: Leovold, Emissary of Trest + Wheel of Fortune / Timetwister.
When things go wrong in a game and you feel upset or angry, how do you keep your cool?
As a professional Magic player, I try to never put emotions in any game. Always stay calm and focus until the match is over. If you get unlucky or lucky it doesn’t matter. It’s a card game and you need to embrace the variance and never let it mess … with your mindset.
When you’re not playing Magic: The Gathering or making content for ChannelFireball, what do you enjoy doing?
Funnily enough, the thing I like the most is playing Magic. I play a lot of Magic for fun: Vintage Cube, Legacy, Vintage, Pauper. I just love to play Magic; there are so many formats and they are all super fun. I have a big group of friends who play these formats and I spend a lot of time with them playing for fun.
I also love to spend time with my beautiful girlfriend, walking around in my beautiful town: Senigallia, Italy, watching Netflix and enjoying the great food that my town has to offer.
What are your thoughts on the recent Pauper bans and what deck or decks are you enjoying post-ban?
As I mention in my upcoming article for ChannelFireball, I didn’t like the bans at all. Not because they banned cards that I liked, but because they banned cards that I think are very weak.
Daze, for example, I thought that card was unplayable in a format that is super slow and the games last very long. [It makes] Daze almost always a dead draw; seeing it banned just makes me laugh.
Gitaxian Probe and Gush are overpowered in other formats, but definitely not in Pauper, where you can exploit them very little. I think a ban of Gush would have been fine, just to make non-blue Pauper players happy, but I honestly don’t think much will change in the Pauper Panorama.
I still love to play blue cards whenever I can with Ponder, Brainstorm, and Preordain, and this ban won’t stop me!
What fun, interesting decks have you seen around in War of the Spark Standard? The meta seems to be in a massive state of fluctuation. I think I’ve seen a new deck or two pop up every few days.
Dreadhorde has been the deck I submitted for MPL Weekly Matches two weeks in a row. It has a weak spot in MonoRed, but it’s very good versus midrange and control decks.
Another deck that I think is very solid is Esper Hero with Narset, Parter Veil replacing Thief of Sanity. I think Thief of Sanity isn’t good at the moment, because of Shocks and Teferi, Time Reveler popping around, so I’m happy to replace it with Narset, Parter Veils. [Narset] on the other hand has proven to be super efficient in many different scenarios.
You’re a successful streamer, a quality content creator for ChannelFireball, a respected MTG community member, and Mythic Invitational winner. Ten years ago, would you have believed it if someone told you that you would accomplish all of that?
Obviously not. I love what I’ve become, and I have to thank ChannelFireball for taking me into their home four years ago; I’m sure I wouldn’t be here without them.
Magic is just a game, but for me right now it’s my job and my career. I love that I can do what I love for a living, and I love that Wizards of the Coast has made this possible thanks to the Magic Pro League.
Is there anything else about yourself, your MTG experience, or this year that you would like to share?
Magic has brought me to many parts of the world, has allowed me to meet wonderful people, and has helped me learn two different languages (English way better than Spanish though).
Magic is “The Gathering” — you have to enjoy the full experience with your friends, playing together for fun, but also traveling together to GPs, MCs. I don’t know what my life would be without Magic, but I’m sure it would have been much worse!
If one thing is evident after this interview, it’s that Andrea Mengucci loves Magic: The Gathering. He’s a talented player who has earned lots of success, but he hasn’t forgotten where he came from. Thank you, Andrea, for answering these few questions we had for you, and good luck at the next Mythic Invitational!
[This interview was edited for clarity.]