Merkel, Jeskai Hinata, Wins Streets Of New Capenna Championship

World Championship field set amid tournament full of MTG Arena issues.

Hinata, Dawn-Crowned illustrated by Ryota Murayama

Jan Merkel won the Streets of New Capenna Championship with Jeskai Hinata in Standard and Rakdos Arcanist in Historic on Sunday.

Merkel squeaked into the Top 8 bracket as the No. 8 seed after 15 rounds of Swiss, edging out five other players that finished with 11 wins and missed the cut. Once in the double-elimination bracket featuring Standard, Merkel made the most of his opportunity. Merkel tallied wins over David Inglis, Mike Sigrist, and Simon Nielsen in the upper bracket to secure his spot in the title match. Nielsen made it back to the title match with a win in the lower bracket finals against Hisamichi Yoshigoe, who had to win two matches in the lower bracket to get a shot at Nielsen.

With the title match set, one player needed to win two best-of-three matches to claim the title. Merkel and Nielsen split the first two matches, setting up one match for the trophy, first-place prize of $20,000. Merkel’s controlling build of Jeskai, powered up by the combo of Hinata, Dawn-Crowned and Magma Opus, was able to outlast Nielsen’s Esper Midrange deck to give the German the title and spoils.

Merkel was one of three players in the field on Jeskai Hinata in Standard and the only one to make the Top 16. The most-played deck, Esper Midrange, put three players in the Top 16, including runner-up Nielsen. The breakout deck of the tournament was Jeskai Storm, which 30 players virtually sleeved up and six players cracked the Top 16.

The Jeskai Storm deck could do wild things by combining Show of Confidence with Goldspan Dragon, creating a massive amount of Treasure tokens while buffing up the Dragon to ridiculous sizes. With tons of mana, the pilot can play more spells and draw more cards until they land a Lier, Disciple of the Drowned, allowing them to do it all over again. From there, with a stocked graveyard at the ready and giant dragons, winning was trivial.

In Historic, Izzet Phoenix and Golgari Food paced the field as the most played decks. But in the end, Rakdos Arcanist took home the title (despite Historic not being played in the Top 8) and Selesnya Humans finished in second with much lower play rates.

Merkel, Nielsen, Yoshigoe, Mike Sigrist, Karl Sarap, and David Inglis all punched their ticket to the World Championship by finishing in the Top 6. This past weekend’s event finalized the field for World Championship XXVIII.

The 32 players qualified for World Championship XXVIII are:

  • Yuta Takahashi
  • Yuuki Ichikawa
  • Riku Kumagai
  • Yo Akaike
  • Simon Gortzen
  • Toru Saito
  • Zachary Kiihne
  • Eli Kassis
  • Yudai Miyano
  • Zach Dunn
  • Zhi Yimin
  • Jonny Guttman
  • Jean-Emmanuel Depraz
  • Greg Orange
  • Yuma Koizumi
  • Drew Baker
  • Tristan Wylde-Larue
  • Nathan Steuer
  • Julian Wellman
  • Jim Davis
  • Lukas Honnay
  • Shota Yasooka
  • Jakub Toth
  • Reid Duke
  • Logan Nettles
  • Matti Kuisma
  • Mike Sigrist
  • Hisamichi Yoshigoe
  • Jan Merkel
  • Simon Nielsen
  • David Inglis
  • Karl Sarap

The Streets of New Capenna Championship had its share of technical woes, many of which impacted competitors playing in Top 8 matches on Sunday. While the first two days of competition featured players disconnecting from matches on MTG Arena en masse, certain cards were also prompting the client to crash frequently.

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker appeared to cause the client to crash for multiple players when it’s chapters triggered. Both Inglis and Sigrist had their games crash in the Top 8, losing precious rope time and clock time when restarting.

This wasn’t the only time a major tournament was negatively affected by MTG Arena client issues, but it was the first time multiple players on the Sunday stage were victim to crashes.

View the Top 16 decklists from Standard and Historic.