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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
 
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    T1 Hype!

    I like this change on Nexus' part to group the two decks together for meta representation. If you're playing something else, you're gonna plan against it in pretty the same way so its better to have a more accurate representation of how much Valakut is running around.

    @Louie, you'll find that the cards that are good against you, you can't do much about (i.e Slaughter Games). The deck is pretty grindy in that you have some level of inevitability with Valakut, so you can be favored in games that grind out.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    I'll throw my two cents in. Manabase looks fine, could maybe use an extra white source so that you consistently hit it every game (+1 Plains, -1 Cinder Glade). This would require no other adjustments, i.e. fetches, since you have plenty of ways to fetch basics. 15 Mountains is plenty for a Valakut deck, you can probably safety play with 12-13, which can get a feel for once you start playing with it.

    One card that looks like it would be decent in this deck is Oath of Nissa, cutting your 4 Explore. Turn 3 is your sweet spot in this deck, where you want to cast your walkers a turn early, and you're pretty stocked on Turn 2 ramp spells. Pure RG Scapeshift decks have 18ish 2 mana ramp spells because we are wanting to play those on turn 3 as well. You don't necessarily have to here. Oath would set you up for some good plays where you could go T1 Oath, T2 Ramp, T3 Walker or T1 Ramp, T2 Ramp, T3 Oath->Walker. It would also do a good job of keeping your hand filled of payoffs. I only mention cutting Explore because it fits better in the Scapeshift plan and isn't that great in the RG Breach deck (I think it has to do with the number of Valakuts we play), and this deck reminds me of that.

    Other than that, learn your Scapeshift/Valakut math and you should have a decent deck.

    Don't know if you've worked out the SB yet but some cheap cards I'd suggest: Blessed Alliance (you may need 1 more Foundry, but you might be fine) for your Burn matchup. Obstinate Baloth is a SB staple for Valakut decks, which have picked up in price recently. I can't think of a good substitute here, but just add some more threats (e.g. Inferno Titan). Then you want some enchantment removal. Your deck looks pretty resilient to Leyline of Sanctity, so its really Blood Moon you worry about. Nature's Claim is the go-to, but if you aren't worried about Leyline then Natural State is an option (to negate the lifegain when you bring it in vs Affinity mainly). The rest is filler based on what you end up needed.

    Hope that was helpful.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    Tried out an interesting sideboard card out last night for Weekday modern. 2 Walking Ballista.

    Walking Ballista
    Cost - XX
    Walking Ballista enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it.
    4: Put a +1/+1 counter on Walking Ballista.
    Remove a +1/+1 counter from Walking Ballista: It deals 1 damage to target creature or player.


    Its seeing some loose play in EldraziTron lists and I thought it would fit well here for some of the same reasons. I threw it in as an additional threat to infect and affinity, but it fits well on our early curve and has value late game. I think you're winning these games when you can find ways to 2-for-1 while simultaneously keeping manlands in check. WB looks like it could probably do that.

    I didn't see it in my game vs infect, but it did win my game vs Dredge (guy has always played dredge) once my Valakuts and Titans were Surgically Extracted out of my deck. I should be able to get some meaningful testing in with it against Infect, so I'll keep the thread updated.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    Yeah, I was thinking the way you described it would be akin to "damage on the stack" where you could play KHE then Scapeshift with 5 lands and then activate the KHE while everything is on the stack to have all the triggers count. I would have won a lot more games if that were the case.

    I've gotten decent at explaining it, after doing it so many times. How Valakut works has to be the most mechanically non-intuitive thing in Modern, next to the full Ad Nauseam combo.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    I thought I'd respond to your post separately of the sort of mindset I take to the deck and has worked out for me. You have to remember, you're doing nothing before turn 4, no titan no lethal scapeshift. There are no combination of cards in the deck that let you do either of those earlier than turn 4.

    Your opening hand can be pretty easy to evaluate. IN GENERAL, you would need:

    Turn 4 Titan (6 lands): 2 Ramp Spells, 4 land drops, Pact/Titan -or- 3 Ramp Spells, 3 Land Drops, Pact/Titan (Turns 1-3)

    Turn 4 Scapeshift (7 lands): 3 Ramp Spells, 4 Land Drops, Scapeshift (Turns 1-4)

    It's straightfoward enough that its not hard to remember, but there are some caveats involving Search for Tomorrow & Khalni Heart Expedition (+2 Lands). Scapeshift hands can be more liberal on if you need to find an additional land or ramp spell, because you have the actual turn 4 to draw and cast it (since scapeshift is 4 mana and you need 7 lands) as opposed to a Titan turn which does not leave you with room to cast any extra on that turn.

    For me, hands with just ramp spells and non-valakut lands typically go back. Depending on the opponent's deck, ramp spells, valakut, and lands is keepable. Using the above guidance, if your hand has a Titan/Scapeshift/Pact you can judge how keepable it is. I personally like to have payoff cards in my opening hand, since most of the deck is ramp spells and lands I'm more likely to just draw those. Hands with payoff cards and no ramp are mulligan'd depending on the opponents deck (anything fast, def mulligan'd. Anything slow, probably mulligan but think about it).

    Hope that helps. SB looks fine. Hate the burn MU, its just naturally bad. If you're really worried about it, I would just throw in some Feed the Clans and call it a day. People were experimenting with Jadi Offshoot in the past in place of Baloth (4-of) with some success. Its good in no-other matchup, but if you play burn a lot could be worth it.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    Putriss is correct here. Valakut has the "intervening if clause" which could be helpful to refresh.

    So just to explain for anyone in the future who comes across these posts...

    Valakut's trigger is an intervening if, which means that the trigger has to meet an additional clause in order to trigger and is written in the form "When/Whenever/At [trigger event], if [condition], [effect]". In our case, "Whenever a Mountain enters the battlefield under your control, if you control at least five other Mountains, you may have Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle deal 3 damage to target creature or player". If the additional if clause is not met, then the ability does not trigger. So lets say your turn 1 play is Valakut and your turn 2 play is Stomping Ground. When Stomping Ground enters the battlefield, is there a Valakut trigger that goes on the stack? No. If you were playing MTGO, the land would just come in normally with no effects. If that was your 7th land drop, with Valakut and 5 other mountains, then yes, a trigger goes on the stack because you've met both conditions.

    The second half of the intervening if is that the conditions are checked again on resolution of the trigger. This is the part most of us are familiar with, knowing how land destruction can fizzle a lethal Scapeshift. Lets say I cast a 7 land Scapeshift and put 6 triggers on the stack (lets say grabbing 5 basic mountains and a stomping grounds), but my opponent has an active Tectonic Edge and destroys the Stomping Grounds that just came in. So each trigger goes to resolve. Basic Mountain 1 checks for 5 other mountains and only sees Basics Mountains 2-5, therefore the second clause of the intervening if is not met and the trigger does not resolve. Basic Mountains 2-5 go through a similar process. Then we get to the trigger caused by the Stomping Ground. This trigger goes to resolve and does see 5 other mountains (Basic Mountains 1-5), therefore the second condition is met and the trigger will resolve.

    With this deck in particular, its important to remember that cards like Khalni Heart Expedition, Primeval Titan, Scapeshift, and Harrow put lands onto the battlefield at the same time. This is more evident with Scapeshift, but when the land enters and checks for the second clause of the intervening if, it will count its buddy/buddies that were brought in with it (since these are brought in at the same time due to resolution of the previous trigger/spell). So if you have Valakut + 4 Mountains with a Khalni Heart Expedition, grabbing two mountains from that KHE will net 6 damage since those mountains will be #5 and #6 and "see" each other.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    Quote from Brando52 »
    I've taken 3 Khalni Heart Expeditions out for 2 omens and 1 chandra, torch of defiance. Taking the list to regionals this weekend. I think they're just a trash ramp spell and sucks if it gets destroyed or what not.


    DEMS FIGHTIN WORDS

    You can replace KHE with another ramp spell and the deck be just fine. KHE does a few things that a regular ramp spell (lets say farseek) can't, and lets you open up a few more plays:

    - KHE+Titan: playing a KHE as your last play of turn 3 with the ability to cast a titan the following turn can let you get immediate value off your Titan trigger (with some set up, you can KHE for 12 or even 18 damage). You can make this exact same play with Omen.

    - KHE+Omen+Scapeshift: Good 4 land kill that requires no ramp and can let you play with a tight hand. T2 KHE, T3 Omen, Turn 4 Scapeshift Grabbing 4 Valakuts. KHE will find mountains 5-6, enter the battlefield, and do 24 damage.

    - KHE+Scapeshift: What the card actually does. Lets you get to 7 lands on turn 4 with only 2 ramp spells. Not relevant a lot of times, but can be your card advantage against controlling or 1 for 1 decks.

    That said, the replacement you've suggested looks reasonable. I've played with 2 Omens for about a year. I've seen both of them in a game maybe twice ever, but either one of them often enough to be helpful.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    Quote from AtticusBlaqk »
    Quote from r497 »
    The problem I have with Inferno Titan is that we have no way to search it, so playing just 1 is not really enough and we don't have sideboard space to play more than that.
    I don't know if I agree with your logic. Inferno Titan is just intended to increase your threat density not be a solo 'let's win the game with this' card.


    I would agree with you. Whenever I have it in the SB, it often comes with Baloth. Inferno Titan just has some added flexibility that you can reliably increase your threat density against Blood Moon decks.

    I tried out a slightly different configuration for Modern last night:



    Overall Record was 3-1
    Burn 1-2
    Dredge 2-0
    Dredge 2-1
    GW Eldrazi Tron 2-0

    I had been wanting to just try and play with 2 Basic Forest to avoid some awkwardness in the Primeval Titan plays, taking a note from the Through the Breach deck. Acid-Moss was more of a mid-week "eh, lets just try it", but did come in handy a few times. I did cut Bolts for it, while the card is good, it really only felt helpful on the play (though I did blow up Dredge's only land and bought like 5 turns).

    The burn matchup is just miserable, I've never had any amount of success in it. Even with MB Bolts and Angers. Does anyone have a lot of experience in the MU?
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    Chalice on 0 is the obvious answer, but AtticusBlaqk specifically mentioned he did not have Chalices.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    Restore Balance


    Holy hell, this deck. So I can offer some advice here. I play against this deck often, and the player is pretty good (he hit top 8 of an SCG Classic one time with it).

    So in Red, there are like no answers. In green, there is Tajuru Preserver. Their deck has ways of dealing with creatures, but if you want to stay in RG then that's your option. I never tested Splended Rec against it, but it doesn't feels clunky in the MU and could require you to get back up to 4 lands after an Armageddon.

    If you want to splash colors, white is the best option. Black for Slaughter Games is non-viable because they are bringing in 4 Leylines, so you would need to have 2 SB cards to start the game (Claim and Slaughter Games). White gets you stuff like Sacred Ground and Nahiri.

    Tips for the matchup: Your enchantments carry a lot of weight in these games (KHE and Omen) as they don't get wiped. You can "store" lands in KHE and pop it after, but be careful to only crack fetchlands if you absolutely need the mana as you'll likely churn through every land in your deck.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    With the B&R announcement today Infect, Dredge, and Death's Shadow took a hit. Good news for this deck. Modern may just be enjoyable to play again.

    Though Dredge was pushing Bant Eldrazi out, and I don't look foward to getting TKS'd on turns 2 and 3 all the time.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    From the spreadsheet I'v been keeping up with all year, I have 10-2 against Grixis Control variants, though one of those losses is at GP Indy to some jerk playing Tombstalker.

    If it becomes a big player in the meta, I'll need to test against it more as I don't know how the deck changes around to accommodate Fatal Push.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    Surprised nobody posted this yet:

    Heroic Intervention 1G
    Instant - Rare
    Permanents you control gain hexproof and indestructible until end of turn.
    "Wherever the strong oppress the weak, I will be there."
    -Ajani Goldmane
    Source: https://www.facebook.com/leganerd/photos/a.431202513710.206001.165086498710/10154916527653711/?type=3&theater


    This looks like a great sideboard card if the meta starts to change. It's a niche card, but the RG deck I think can take advantage of both sides of the card. Titanshift has a few non-lands to protect with ind/hex (KHE and Omen to save from EE, Back to Nature, or Decay), but Crumble and Ulamog are exile effects and GhostQuarter/Stone Rain/FMage are destroy effects.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    Fatal Push gives GBx and, more importantly, UBx decks some new gas to deal with this ridiculous meta. The card IMO is not worth splashing, but depending on the rest of the spoilers, it could be enough that we'd want to change our MDs back to some 4 Relic setup (to put some percentage points in the Bxx matchups)and leave the bolts at home.

    You'd have to think its a good thing for our deck, in terms of quelling the meta a bit.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on RG Titan Scapeshift
    Quote from r497 »
    Hey guys, what is the oppinion on Chalice of the Void in our sideboard?
    Since we don't play SSG, it can only come down on turn 2.


    I've never been a fan of it for that reason. Chalice is a weird card that you need to have come down early to be effective. In our deck, It's only useful (IMO) on turn 2 when you're on the play. It's too slow on the draw w/o SSG, so you really only have it for 1 of your sideboard games.
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
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