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  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    >>>>>>> GREATEST HITS POST >>>>>>>
    We've got a lot of new mountainfolk roaming in after hearing about Russell Colosi's Top 8. You can't expect them to read 861 posts. So, I thought I'd repost one of my favorites from back in the day: this is a Fan Fiction Tournament Report based on Star Trek which I did back on April 8th of this year. Interesting to see where the decklist was back then....


    STAR TREK II
    The Wrath of Koth

    Saavik: On the Kobayashi Maru scenario, sir... will you tell me what you did? I would really like to know.
    McCoy: Lieutenant, you are looking at the only Starfleet cadet who ever beat the no-win scenario.
    Saavik: How?
    Kirk: I reprogrammed the simulation so it was possible to rescue the ship.
    Saavik: What?
    David Marcus: He cheated.
    Kirk: I changed the conditions of the test; got a commendation for original thinking. I don't like to lose.
    Saavik: Then you never faced that situation... faced death.
    Kirk: I don't believe in the no-win scenario.


    More on that dialogue later, Mountainfolk -- I'm just setting the tone.

    FNM - 20 People - 4 Rounds. It was another undefeated performance for my RED Prison / Hammer's Slammer: Between the Hammer and the Anvil. In 2017 paper tournaments, that tallies up to 28 wins and 6 losses: 82% win percentage. On to the report......

    Round 1: G/x Tron - In game 1, we both flood for a while until his inevitable top deck threats annihilate. Game 2 has me casting (4) Blood Moons and his constant Karn Liberated assault wasn't enough. Game 3 was more of the same with Pia and Kiran Nalaar and Rabble/Rabble doing their work as they did in the previous game.
    SIDEBOARDING
    IN: 2 Shattering Spree / 4 Goblin Rabblemaster / Magus of the Moon
    OUT: Walking Ballista / Crystal Ball / 3 Ensnaring Bridge / 2 Slagstorm

    Round 2: Grixis Death Shadow - The Triple Power Lock Suite were key for the wins. For sideboarding, I trim down on the acceleration in lieu of creatures threats, and he just doesn't have enough answers. But, truthfully, he was land light & unable to fetch out from under a blood moon - not the best contest. I would say I won, but not that he lost; if that makes any sense.

    Round 4: We'll come back to Round 3 in a minute. Jund Death Shadow - I feel like I could play this matchup all night - so fun. This deck is much easier to beat than Jund. Reason? Chalice of the Void. It just houses that whole deck (except tarmogoofy, but the graveyards are hardly as full when he can't cast his hand out Tongue ).
    SIDEBOARDING: He did nothing and I did (8)
    IN: 4 Goblin Rabblemaster / Roast / Pithing Needle / Magus of the Moon / Ratchet Bomb
    OUT: Walking Ballista / Koth of the Hammer / Chandra, Torch of Defiance / Crystal Ball / 2 Magma Jet / 2 Slagstorm

    Aaaaaaand, Round 3 - Ding Ding Ding

    Round 3: Melira-Viscera-Coco

    Spock: The Kobayashi Maru scenario frequently wreaks havoc on students and equipment. As I recall you took the test three times yourself. Your final solution was, shall we say, unique?
    Kirk: It had the virtue of never having been tried.


    We seat ourselves, and Sam says, "You know, of all my friends who heard about or saw our match, I was the least bothered by how you beat me last time. You pulled off two Turn-1 Blood Moons." I cordially reply, "Oh, yeah - I remember. Abzan is my worst matchup. I got lucky." We chat about how both of our decks are of the Prison/Combo variety for the win: kinda happens or it doesn't.

    Game 1: I rip a turn 1 Koth of the Hammer. He starts out a little slowly. I rip a turn 2 Blood Moon. Later, I've ultimated into Emblem and hold one card in my hand: Slagstorm. He fires off a Chord of Calling and plops a Viscera Seer beside a Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Kitchen Finks. Sam goes to infinite life. AND: He can scry his deck into a perfect draw each turn, and he can eventually bolster his creatures into unimaginably powerful titans. It didn't 'kinda happen'. It absolutely, motherhumpin' happened - His deck just won magic.

    He looked at me. I knew he wanted me to offer my sword. It's the chivalrous and expected action in gentleman's warfare. I looked at my board: 3 mountains, a chalice on 1, a blood moon, and a Koth emblem. He had those three creatures and 3 land. I only had one card, a slagstorm, in hand. I paused. I thought of Captain James Tiberius Kirk.

    I also don't believe in the no-win scenario. "Let's play it out." He sighed. Understandably, he's looking for the courtesy. After all, the two of us just had this very discussion. Any onlooker would think me delusional, even disrespectful, to fight on. But, I believed I could take his sword.

    I untap and slagstorm. Ensnaring Bridge soon followed alongside more precious mountains. "Judge!" I ask about determining a comparative library card count (read: concession)? He looks up the process as the game meanders through a few more turns. Resolution: we lay out our decks in stacks of 10 and it's verified that I have him by exactly 1 card on a draw out. At that point, Sam shares that if he can properly execute back-to-back collected company, he can capture the win. But, the odds were - in his word - 'infinitesimal'. Incredulously, then it happened. He conceded.

    Kobayashi Maru got hammered to the mat and counted out....for the 2nd time. Smileup

    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    I'd like to chat a little bit about Contradiction. It's the bedrock of Pyro Prison. It's also the engine that drives Attrition. No color better enacts the concepts of self-killing attrition than black - perhaps my favorite color. Black exploits the primal struggle of Magic: 20 down to 0. No shortcuts or combos or infinites. On the flipside there is green/white. You know those new Magic players that start in G/W and try to create some sort of simcity where they are gaining life and putting up circles of protection - a nice little farm situated on a rubber-based, fabric-topped playmat.

    You know it, but they don't. Bless their sweet hearts, these precious babes don't understand Magic, and will most likely never rise to its highest ranks. This is a game of war. A struggle to the death, and attrition based wins are the most bloody. First - for those whom English is a 2nd language: Attrition is defined by "the action or process of gradually reducing the strength or effectiveness of someone or something through sustained attack or pressure." As it is defined in Magic, it's the concept that BOTH players suffer, but if done correctly - you suffer less.

    Pyro Prison is The Sideboard Deck, because it changes the rules via attrition. When the opponent sits down he has a certain set of expectations about how the game will be played. We pour lava into their bowl of cheerios.
    1. You'd like to attack? Heh, the moat is down - no attacks.
    2. You'd like to tap your mana for colors other than mine - Nope.
    3. You'd like to cast cards from your hand? - that's not allowed here.
    The Power Lock Suite is our starting point. But, it doesn't equal a win. If we stopped there, we are little better than the kid who wants to cast Stream of Life and Fog and Worship and put up a Gideon Emblem and then call it a day. Our arsenal needs to have more than shields.

    The spear. When I see folks devising their own Pyro Prison sideboards which are devoid of win-cons, I identify them with that newbie who runs green/white and talks about his infinite life combos. You have got to get a little magma on ya, if you're gonna win. This ain't Pale Moon. So, in the interests of seizing the day, is there a lock that is also, albeit self-defeating, a knife?

    4. You'd like to cast cards without taking damage? Ooooh, Sorry. Eidolon of the Great Revel. And, what a revelation he was! A perfect complement to Goblin Rabblemaster. I've taken that count from where I once dipped a toe in on a singleton right up to a playset.

    Further, I added a new contradiction. Phyrexian Mana. My current test deck has 2 spells which feature this mechanic. Green/White dude asks 'why would you play a spell that costs you life: Eidolons - Phyrexian Metamorph - Tezzeret's Gambbit? They are hedged bets. Attrition, my young man!

    I'm going deeper with this latest machination - beyond phyrexian mana. Damping Matrix. It totally screws with my game plan, but does it hurt my opponent just a little bit more? It's like I wrote 2 years ago when I launched this deck, "Are you down with turbo-speed, chaotic boards that are orchestrated prisons? Then look to the Red Side of the Force". Again, to be fair, the Black Side of the Force is better at this, but my Beta playset of Dark Rituals aren't legal in Modern.

    I know I'm babbling. It's a Sunday morning, I've got the time, and my mind is racing around this new deck concept that has been plumbing the depths of the very underpinnings of this archetype: The Power Lock Suite and now even more cards which seemingly don't make sense. Seemingly....seemingly.

    Let's review our Contradictions (read: cards which are self-limiting or self-defeating) thus far....
    • Chalice of the Void
    • Blood Moon
    • Magus of the Moon
    • Ensnaring Bridge
    • Slagstorm
    • Tormenting Voice
    • Eidolon of the Great Revel
    • Torpor Orb
    • Grafdigger's Cage
    • Gemstone Caverns

    I've taken it to the next ledge higher on the mountain face:

    Quick note: on Damping Matrix vs. Eldrazi Tron -- Good Koth Almighty! Bridge + Matrix = Total Shutdown. They are left with (1) Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and (2) Karn Liberated. Which can be harsh, but bear in mind that these motherbitchers do cost 7+ mana. I've shunned Matrix for a long time, but when it became clear that E-Tron presented a real problem for us, there were 2 answers: Self-immolation via Matrix Aaaaand accelerated beat-down:

    • Goblin Rabblemaster X 4
    • Eidolon of the Great Revel X 4
    • Phyrexian Metamorph X 1

    The metamorph has been gas. Once more I harken back to the card which was once in this slot = through the soft, Bambi eyes of a Green/White Newbie = a friggen 2nd Spellskite. Well, tiger, Spellskite never won no games of magic (well, unless Doran the Siege Tower was on the board). So, grab your spear, take 2 points of phyrexian mana damage, and chaaaaaaarge!!!!


    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    Another mention of Pyro Prison on the interwebs, my mountainfolk kin!

    Matt Sperling of 'ChannelFireball' mentioned us in yesterday's article. The 2nd paragraph under 'Choose your own Adventure': >>> "You can brew a deck. Pyro Prison, Hollow One, some of the new Saheeli takes—there are new decks popping up from time to time and they’re scary."

    https://www.channelfireball.com/articles/stop-complaining-about-modern-its-the-closest-we-have-to-a-perfect-format/

    @rtdeeley: Absolutely support your endeavor! Let's get learned good.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    @rtdeely: Ballay On? On Ballay! Kilimanjaro Awaits - let's climb!!! What you are proposing? We are talking about some David Lee Roth free climbing MTV video action here, dude. To do the full break down on every deck (swaps and narrative) as you propose? Indeed, 'this must be just like living in paradise'. I can dig it - just....where's the time? I mean, I only recently did a full card-for-card comprehensive sideboarding guide a few pages ago for the first time in the history of the thread. And, since? Criminally and as expected, I've already made multiple alterations to both main deck and sideboard.

    @GetupKid1234: Welcome - Welcome. For video watching, there are a few matches in the primer on my 1K deck: only a few cards different from this month's top 8 deck by Russell.

    DEFEATING TIER 1 DECKS
    So, I reviewed MTGsalvation's top 10 tier 1 decks and revisited sideboard strategies. Notably, there are (3) decks which can give us noise. And, here are the opponent's principal disruptive cards that are currently being targeted for shutdown by our singular answer Sorcerous Spyglass:

    1. EldraziTron: Walking Ballista Endbringer Oblivion Stone Expedition Map
    2. Collected Vizier Company: Walking Ballista Duskwatch Recruiter Qasali Pridemage Viscera Seer Rhonas the Indomitable Tireless Tracker
    3. Affinity: Cranial Plating Steel Overseer Arcbound Ravager
    That is a whole lot of heavy lifting for a single spyglass. We quickly adopted the spyglass after it proved to be a superior alternative to Pithing Needle (1-shot glasses of urza & it didn't conflict with chalice of the void on 1). But, I have always been a detractor of Needle. So, I welcome the opportunity to call it and its cousin telescope rubbish! Smileup

    Alrighty, so ever the fan of X-for-1, what do I see as the alternative? I'm not the first to mention it: Damping Matrix. Sure, it conflicts with our Pia and Kiran Nalaar as well as Walking Ballista, but consider the war of attrition. Who gets hurt more? Seems like this answer has been under our noses all along, no?

    THE HAMMER
    Hammer of Bogardan? It's little better now than when I yoinked one (alongside a frenetic efreet) in the Mirage pre-release back in '96, methinks. S'pose it can work, but that's a helluva slow clock with only sorcery-speed damage. That said, I do have to say that is was pretty badass to pull the 2 most mechanically engaging & gorgeous cards from the set. The store was a'buzz. In those days, there was no pre-release decklist.

    NEW DECK
    So, this is my new TEST DECK. It goes back to my earlier Pyro Prison version of running a single Walking Ballista, multiple Tormenting Voice and a single Tezzeret's Gambit. This leaves me vulnerable to 1/1 weenie attack, but I just don't see it as a prevalent deck type these days. The (1) Piran does somewhat serve as a swiss army knife bulwark. Abrade, however necessary, is simply too narrow for my taste & statistically it gets sideboarded out a little too often. So, (0) Abrade/Magma Jet on this go around. I know that's greedy, but I'm willing to test a 'Big Red' variant that has no spot removal [outside of ballista] to see how well it performs. As for the sideboard, I am going wide with the (2) Damping matrix. Also, the threat density got upped a tick by adding the 4th Eidolon of the Great Revel.






    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    Feels like we should get a publicist at this point, eh? Artist Between the Todd Stevens' twitch stream https://m.twitch.tv/videos/207016348# and the article on ChannelFireball https://www.channelfireball.com/articles/deck-of-the-day-red-prison-modern/ The country mouse has hit the big city thanks to Russ' earthshaking finish!

    Thanks to the folks who chirped up (lindonmichael & fluffywolf) on the message boards of channelfireball.

    https://www.channelfireball.com/articles/deck-of-the-day-red-prison-modern/

    EFro's article essentially echoed my official primer, and for both SCG and ChannelFireball to make no mention of the proper name of Russ' deck is....well, what are you gonna do? But, to be clear: about a year ago, as the strength and popularity of this archetype grew, I fostered an open discussion about the branding. What should we be called? It was put to a vote on the thread. Originally, I nebulously called the deck RED Prison. Now, that worked in print, but in speech it was too vague. I think it was Caligula who came up with 'Pyro Prison'.

    Mountain hugs for the new contributor Moush who mentioned Batterskull. If there was a bigger pound-for-pound house with a huge back porch, but its power waxes and wanes in the shifting tides of the meta. If we were to dip our toes into the pool of 5-CMC and lifegain wasn't paramount, I'd go back to Siege-Gang Commander. It fits in thematically, doesn't conflict with Bridge, and provides a faster clock.

    I had some time to go back to Stickballruss' tourney report on post #771. It might be one of the best tournament reports out there. Take a second gander, folks.

    Some old souls have returned to the campfire: Skia_Aop and MVilla! Skia spoke to his dissatisfaction with Tormenting Voice. I get it. It's always been a filler card. We similarly toyed with Mishra's Bauble in an attempt to streamline/dig. As I said in the Primer, "an underwhelming starting 7 can be saved by a single Tormenting Voice. Of course, it's not without its faults. So, if the meta shifts from large creature attack (Eldrazi/Death's Shadow/Tarmo) to more of a lingering souls/affinity theme, then consider a pivot." It's a roll of the dice. My June 1K winning deck had (3) Tormenting Voice. Not once did they create an Ensnaring Bridge fiasco, but they did foster wins that may have otherwise not happened.

    My current build has exactly (1) Tormenting Voice and it sticks out like a sore thumb. Like a moth to the flame, I know I'm playing with fire: a hellbent draw into this card while facing a 1/1 horde turtled behind a bridge is suicide XD But, if it's mid-game and you're holding a useless extra land or ritual. And, you ponder, "what is the best top deck draw?" the answer is simple: [i]2 top deck draws[/i]. Tormenting Voice = 2 cards. We have no filter/search/dig, so for now it's still pulling weight in the 60th slot. That said, I totally get where [i]Skia_Aop and Vegitas[/i] are coming from when they say that it has smoked out a loss for them.

    Similarly, I am drawn to the potentially self-lethal play of Tezzeret's Gambit, and the knowledge that it will provide losing scenarios. But, will it provide even more winning scenarios? Safe play is not winning play. Decks full of Stream of Life and Fog don't take down tournaments.

    Speaking of Phyrexian Mana, Russ - in the search to replace Pia and Kiran Nalaar - mentioned the though of asking Wizards to allow for a 5th Goblin Rabblemaster. Well, there is always Phyrexian Metamorph Wink

    Another poster, can't recall who, did bring up Damping Matrix in the past. I've tried it sporadically. If indeed Eldrazi Tron is our worst matchup, and Matrix slaps it silly, then it's back on the table. And, I do think it's got better impact potential than Boil. When you re-introduced it into your sideboard, I asked if a 4th Eidolon of the Great Revel might be better? It can go either way, but how badass is the 2nd game when you flay open an opening hand of Eidolon and Rabbles against Combo/Control --- Especially if they never put you on creature aggro. It is essentially.....channel fireball.

    Lastly, it really is an Xmas homecoming to see Michael Villa back on the thread! I won't be joining you in Columbus for the StarCityGames IQ on January 6th, but am anxious to hear about your upcoming success. Quick reminder of your prowess, Tex: you said, "[I] like the addition of Walking Ballista to the deck". My man, you done already played Walking Ballista in your 1st/2nd place split winning Pyro Prison deck at an earlier Columbus StarCityGames IQ back in March. :p

    http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=112406

    FLASHBACK to May 24th - As for a recounting of a previous conversation - IM - here is my initial win-over on the inclusion of Tormenting Voice. It's with longtime playtest partner and fellow MTGsalvation poster dcovino.......


    dcovino:
    You could take pyro prison to an open and probably do very well. three tormenting voice huh??
    seems like it would be at odds w needing to turtle up, but given you're bridging more against huge things these days, rather than weenie 1/1 assaults, i can see you being able to sandbag a card in hand and not be totally hellbent.

    Raystack:
    Regarding Tormenting Voice, there's too much to write to get to how it operates. I do just keep learning about this deck - it's fascinating. Like Scapeshift or Ad Nauseam or Titan Breach or Gifts/Storm, these guys spend a long haul - the life of their game - attempting to reach a single goal. So, it's all-in. Mana acceleration. Dig. Dorks. Artifacts: they win or lose. No walls or counterspells or lifegain.

    Raystack:
    Similarly, Pyro Prison attempts to reach 2 of about 3 very specific, singular goals as fast as possible. And, I don't need an extra Pia and Kiran Nalaar or a Kargan Dragonlord mucking up the works. So, I'm obviously blasting ahead with acceleration. The trick is to find the right Lock and recover after an acceleration. At 2-cmc, T. Voice can dig and ditch the duplicate lock-piece in hand.

    Raystack:
    But, the 'next level' reveals that Tormenting Voice and gemstone caverns achieve the same thing at a similar cost.
    Like those other decks, I am so focused on my own channel/fireball play that I don't care if I'm losing a resource on having a Tormenting Voice countered [I run 6 Blood Moons for Koth's Sake!]. Obviously, the tossed card is the least needed, and I've at least drawn out a counterspell from the opponent. Nearing hellbent, I might hold an unneeded land and hope for a Tormenting Voice. Truthfully, there aren't that many decks where 1-powered weenies will get me. So, it's all about card consolidation and mini-channel/fireballs for the win.

    dcovino:
    "I am so focused on my own channel/fireball that I don't care if I'm losing a resource on having a Tormenting Voice countered." This is the absolute key to modern.
    You can't afford the mid-rangey flexibility cards in a Pyro Prison - Just like those decks you mentioned, they don't use them either. You need to be focused and execute bc if you don't, the actual midrange decks will tear you apart.

    Raystack:
    Correct. The other decks need lightning storm or scapeshift and little else.

    dcovino:
    Say you're ditching a ritual to Tormenting Voice when you have 3 land on board - who cares - and depending on what you face, any one of those lock pieces is nearly game over already.

    Raystack:
    I need Moon, chalice, bridge. and that's it. Flamewalkers follow. Or, maybe the opponent's deck is creatureless. O.K., let's go Turn 1 goblin rabblemaster and plow Tron right off the f***ing board. It's all about getting over the fear of Tormenting Voice getting either A) countered or B) Hellbent stuck-in-hand.

    dcovino:
    three T. Voice seems appropriate. as a 1-of you could sandbag some card for 30 turns to use it, and still not draw it! You want to be able to use asap

    Raystack:
    Either of those cases [ A. or B. ] are O.K. as long as you've put your sights on the right goal that occurred before or after the oh-so-feared event [ A. or B. ]. Neither is all that bad. Card Economy works in very funny ways when you play all-in tactics like Ad Nauseam or Scapshift. You think they give a f*** how many cards are in their hands or were countered before they won??

    dcovino:
    yep

    Raystack:
    Yeah, If I Turn 1 chalice and Turn 2 tormenting voice, I'm golden.
    If I turn 2-3 a Chandra and then +1 for 2 red mana and then tormenting voice, again, golden.
    So much of the deck is duplicate/redundant and the rest is acceleration. You will draw the 'wrong half', so you have to lose ground to gain ground.
    I wonder if this is revelatory or just known but not spoken.

    dcovino:
    nope, the sheer amount of rituals and air to make it work in your early iterations were my primary complaint, so this all makes sense to mitigate it.

    Raystack:
    Cool! You were very against T. Voice otherwise. Similarly, I was very relieved when one of the posters agreed that he also wanted to go up to 3 Tormenting Voice when I said that 'once you go 1, you almost can't help but see the logic in going 3.' When he agreed, I knew he knew what the s*** was going on. {{that poster was Amok}}

    dcovino:
    if you dont ritual out some prison piece by t2 then you're way behind - but if you have 12 ritual effects then half your spells do nothing.

    Raystack:
    The other thing not mentioned is that Tormenting Voice will purposely fail against decks which actually serves to help me. Take blue counterspell decks. Sometimes they see me as 'threat light' - they can pick/choose their counter targets. But, you think they can resist countering a tormenting voice? Nope, and it don't matter to Jesus. When I draw out their counterspell and then drop a Rabble or Moon or Planeswalker after they've exhausted their counterspells, it's on.

    >>> End Conversation <<<

    Critical Deck Perspective Note regarding Mana Ramp: My deck runs (18) 3-CMC spells and (9) Rituals and (3) Gemstone Caverns. This creates a seeming spare-tire, middle bulge in the mana scheme. You can only cast so many 3-CMC spells, right? Nonetheless, our lack of any 1-cmc spells and lowered counts of 2-cmc is enviable. 3-cmc spells are simply better, pound-for-pound.

    That's one more reason why Tormenting Voice works. I can clear out that extra clutter for 2 mana. This frees up more lines of play once I engage the 3-CMC spectrum of spells. Magma Jet helps forecast and manipulate future draws, but it doesn't streamline problematic assemblages of cards in your hand.

    Nevertheless, (18) 3-CMC spells...hmmm...is my Jenga tower getting shaky? Alright, take it for what it's worth, Mountainfolk. Some of the talk is loose and not set in stone. Just think how often you'll comment on a line of strategy or card value, and then change your mind the next day. Sufficed to say, I'm in on (3) Tormenting Voice.

    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    I copy/pasted Russ' strategy&swap in/out guide from a few pages back, and included it as part of the "Sideboarding Guide" of the Official Primer on Page 1. It's well-written, conversational, and most notably speaks to the concept of transitioning from Aggressor to Defender or Vice Versa depending upon the opponent.

    It's FNM tonight, Clan! Let's start a fire.

    Welcome Debei! Quicksmith Rebel is used in legacy and might be an option here. But, it's vulnerable. Similar to our other novelty drops: Jaya Ballard, Task Mage and Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh. All will have their moments, but are they consistent?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    You earned it, Hoss. As Todd Stevens said of you in his Twitch feed, "He's just an awesome dude."

    https://m.twitch.tv/videos/207016348#

    So far, I have only watched the first match [starting at 47 minutes] against Grixis Control. Notes on 1st Round only:
    -- First Match: Perfectly fine. Tasigur crashed in on Turn 2, and he was without an answer.

    -- Second Match: I was impressed by his perfect sideboard swaps. I would have kept that original hand which had a Turn 1 Goblin Rabblemaster followed by a Turn 2 Spellskite. If the opponent can't kill Rabbles, that's dangerously close to a win. I'd accept the all-in risk against even a deck rich in removal, because he most likely sided out some of his Turn 1 kill: bolts/push - and fatal push needs to activated off of a fetch to work (terminate will be too late). Tip: Be bold. Players, no matter who, have a hard time with T1 Rabble, and the whole point of our deck is to push out threats at x-for-1 costs. Can't be timid. Consider a worst case scenario. He kills the rabble. Then, we lay the Skite freely. Then whatever threat comes up next is protected which is particularly cool if its an ensaring bridge.
    == 2nd hand, I would have scryed that Magus of the Moon to the bottom, since Moon was in hand. A turn 3 Magus against Grixis is weaksauce. Once the moon did hit the table, he definitely should have played out Eidolon instead of Magus. Magus is pure redundancy since Grixis can not kill enchantments.

    Looking forward to seeing more, with the full expectation that mistakes will be made. I've watched Pros stream test games with decks they've never played a number of times before. It's not easy for anyone.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    Tip on Goldfish testing (which I'm sure you know, Russ): Shuffle your deck and draw 6 cards. The 7th card is your test card. Go through a few turns and see how the Gambit meshes. Our deck is pretty difficult to run as a solo test, as we are so reactive, but it'll provide some info.

    I've been googling your performance, and unfortunately your deck is not being reported correctly. One of the more reputable sites - MTGTOP8.com is showing you with

    • 63 cards in the main deck [they have you down with 4 pyretic ritual]
    • The tournament as only a single, small yellow star [hardly - 306 people!]
    • An incorrect deck name [they changed mine from mono-red control to pyro prison]

    They made similar mistakes when they reported my 1K winning deck, however when I contacted them all was fixed. Good crew over there.

    This is the current link: http://mtgtop8.com/event?e=17720&d=309775&f=MO

    And, this is the contact us link: http://mtgtop8.com/contact_us
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    On December 2nd, in Roanoke Virginia in the Starcitygames Modern Open Event at this season's Invitational Russell Colosi dropped the hammer with a 4th place finish among a total field of 306 competitors. Spectacular performance in piloting Pyro Prison to the winners circle. Mono-Red Control scoffs at the need for white or blue. Tongue

    That's our 6th Top 8 finish in a premier event. I will petition MtgSalvation to have us elevated from 'Deck Creation' to 'Developing Competitive', and I look forward to hearing some new voices around the fire as I'm sure Russell's success will bring more exposure to Pyro Prison

    http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=117704

    I'll soon update the Official Primer to showcase Russell's decklist as the signature design of Pyro Prison. Sure, I started the party, but other mountainfolk have forged impressions into this winning design. Stickballruss divined a couple Walking Ballista, Caligula championed Eidolon of the Great Revel and Amok solicited Abrade. Of course, I'm missing loads of contributions by others in the clan - jus' a couple quick notes. Oh, and I think that Russ's sideboard development has been inspired. Ass pats for all of us, ya hear!

    Now, what's next?!?! Commune with Lava, eh? Although it sounds counterintuitive, I'm still making the case for Tezzeret's Gambit. (11) of our cards have counters on them. ELEVEN. Is it a non-bo with Ensnaring Bridge? Absolutely, but it might just help you find one while ticking up a planeswalker, ballista, or transforming that turn one Chalice on 1 to a turn 3 chalice on 2 against Gifts Storm. The card comes with risk, but there is even the chance that we have blue mana off of a Gemstone Caverns. Rolleyes

    Oh, and I wanted to speak to Fluffywolf's prototype at the top of page 31, but that'll have to wait until I can find some more time....

    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    Live Broadcast? Twitch? On24? EventBright? My buddy already tried to look it up. Apparently, they are not broadcasting. GDI!!!!!

    We need to see this!!!!!
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    Mountain-Fisted Uppercuts || 7-2 Record in Virginia's SCG Modern Invitational Open: Day 2 QUALIFIED!!! || Earthquakes of Fire

    Ground Shaking News out of Virginia, Mountainfolk! Other Top 8 Finishes of Premier event aside, Russ is currently in 15th place of what has to be hundreds of competitors. And, his 2 losses are inexplicably to a deck that should not present problems. This bodes well for our hero in the meta.

    I'm so thrilled for you and how you're victoriously carrying our banner high. The highlights report was cheer-worthy. Stay strong - focused for tomorrow. Don't lose sight of how much this game is mental. While competing in big tournaments over the years, I like to recall a mantra of the 2nd Magic World Champion from back in the day. He said, "Always believe in your deck. Trust in its ability to win. Know that each card within the 60 offers a competitive top deck draw".

    So, what will happen tomorrow?

    Will Rock Blast Through the Paper that Covers It?



    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    An uncharacteristicly somber finish for Fluffywolf - happens. In facing Tron, you saw The Stone and didn't have the shard (The Dark Crystal reference...it's a reach I know). But, one of the reasons why I love (2) Abrade and (2) Sorcerous Spyglass in the [75] - for just these occasions. As for GDS and Jund...you just never know. These are smart 'fair' decks that can adjust and pivot out from underneath linear lines of win.

    Stickballruss!!!! Damn it, dude! In a word, 'Variance'. What's a mountainman gonna do? Occasions like this start to shift the spotlight back on our filters: Tormenting Voice, Crystal Ball, Treasure Map, Faithless Looting, and......Tezzeret's Gambit?? Anybody else up for throwing dice on this maverick? Still - keep the faith - a well balanced draw should steady the ship without such needs for crutches.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    Here's Russ' deck formatted out. As for Virginia, that's a nope - I'm outside Boston, MA. Let's save that handshake for an upcoming Pro Tour Wink

    O.K. on spellskite - Agree. It's been in and out so many times, for me. As for Eidolon, it will be hard to maintain the (1) mutavault, if we go to four Eidolon, so I don't like that prospect. And, yes, testing with Boil has been surprisingly effective. Boil is like Shattering Spree where it comes over the top with such motherhumpin' power to outright capture a win: it's hard to say no to its inclusion.

    Alrighty, so I'm studying your list and get hit with a lightning bulb above the head - boomshanka. I'm seeing (11) spells in the main that carry [counters] on them [chalice/chandra/ballista/koth]. What about Tezzeret's Gambit? Smileup I have played this card to winning success more than once in my Hammer's Slammer variant. It can even work against your opponent when it comes to persist counters - Kitchen Finks If I had to choose a card to drop, it would be the 2nd abrade or Walking Ballista. Now - overall - it's probably not a wise choice at this exact moment due to Storm / Affinity. But, hold onto this idea for the future.....


    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    Chiming in from my iPad, so brief post:

    Sharp commentary, Russ. Your deck list didn't come through on those pics - heads up. Eager to check it out.

    The newest 'pivot' card has been Eidolon of the great Revel. For example, Where once we had to lean back on a bridge in UW control matchup (for lack of an effective clock), now we can more efficiently toggle between control and aggro. It felt lousy to go late game vs. UW Control whilst relying on a Bridge - sure - but, it did stop their only way of winning (attack).

    Other evolution is Walking Ballista. It's scaling ability is the only card I've seen that could replace tormenting voice. I don't want to prematurely accept a new card as gospel. As we've said, it's been tried here before. But, metas do change. What I like the most about Ballista is a pretty simple quality: it's a threat. You can't kill an opponent with a tormenting voice, now can ya?

    Are you attached to Spellskite in SB? Do you believe Boil X1 is superior to Eidolon X4? Lastly, I laughed riotously when you said that Pia and Kiran Nalaar may not be pulling their weight - no room for slackers on the mountain top. Love it! OMG But, hang tight on The Parents...

    Lastly, as for discussions on our Maximum Capacity for 4-CMC spells, my formula is (6) without any Tormenting Voice and (7) with [2] Tormenting Voice. Again, Ballista's scaling ability does offer an interesting curveball.

    Overall, I'm just pleased to see, as I often remark, 'more spears' and 'less shields' in the latest developments.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Pyro Prison || Goblin & Mono-Red Control :: 4th/306 People in SCG Open on 12/2/17
    Stickballruss!!! -- 5-0 LGS Finish -- Stickballruss!!!

    Also, we just learned that on August 22nd, Russ put up a Top 8 finish at a StarcityGames IQ (wrong deck name classification in the attached link, but that's purebred P.P.)
    http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=115157

    What a tidy deck and tournament report. For fear of throwing too much praise back and forth, it's heartening to see a brand new poster have mastery of meta-adjusted Pyro Prison. Sure there are some varying opinions on spell selection, (and Proxxy makes a good point about getting over-enthused on Walking Ballista), but I totally agree on the deck base (53) and your choice of swing slots (7) accurately targeted the tournament competitors on the day - making the win feel automatic.

    WALKING BALLISTA
    With Walking Ballista, I have written in the past: Tron / Elf / Infinite Mana need only apply. Proxxy said it best on 'already favored' matchups, but it's still a decent 2-drop on occasion [kill a dork / dark confidant] and a pretty good late drop, plus an assist on ducking under the bridge in emergencies as a 0-drop. I'm cool with a 1-of.

    WITCHBANE ORB
    You have left behind Witchbane Orb? Woah. That's my safety blanket against Burn and Scapeshift and Ad Nauseam, Hurkyl's Recall, plus it protects me and my planeswalkers from Eldrazi Tron creature damage, Snapcaster/Bolt decks, as well stopping Liliana of the Veil ultimates...I can't do it, Papabear. And, does gifts/storm really play around the Orb that easily?

    FAVORED DECKS
    Decks mentioned in your post that I think need to be clearly clarified as favored matchups are Humans, Infect, and Green/Red Ponza. You said Ponza was unwinnable, and I disagree. I chat with a player of the deck at my LGS often. Our mana acceleration and selective sweeps come through, plus that deck - like ours - can befall the 'wrong half' draw since it has no filter/scry/draw and its selection of spells need to be sequenced in a certain order.

    BOIL
    Lastly, Boil? How many islands are usually getting killed when it's cast? Blue decks tend to run a lot of land, scry/dig, and dual lands. So, I might lean towards that molten rain. Just to take a little edge off, I have been screwing around with a single dragon's claw in the sideboard for Burn. Claw wouldn't slow a Gifts/Storm grapeshot win at all, would it?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
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