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Lineage 2 Revolution DB
Jaya Ballard Returns
The Magic Market Index for Nov 17, 2017
  • posted a message on UW Control
    Recently picked up the deck, and am loving it. This deck has brought me back to Modern, as it plays some of my favorite cards from the Modern era: Wall of Omens, Gideon Jura, Path to Exile, and Spreading Seas. I love how some new cards have come to the fold after the original Zendikar era and the deck still has that Alara-Zendikar vibe going!

    Looking for some advice here.

    Really struggling with the Eldrazi Tron match. With as much land disruption as the deck has, I find that multiple Thought-Knot Seer are crippling when they grab a removal spell or a key planeswalker. This seems to be my downfall in this match, dealing with Seers. I have thought about making some room for Ceremonious Rejection but it seems difficult to really justify it just for the Eldrazi Tron match. Cards I was looking at shaving in the board are 1 Vendilion Clique and 1 Grafdigger's Cage to make room for 2 Ceremonious Rejection.

    Overall, I am pretty happy with the list. I tend to lean towards more Planeswalkers because our local scene does not really pack much to deal with them and they do a ridiculous amount of work. The Narset Transcendent could probably go, she was a pet add. Surprisingly though, she is flexible in what I want to use her for and comes in for a fair amount of games because of it. Elspeth, Sun's Champion is another consideration for being cut. I understand why she is in the list, I just felt she might not be the card I want for my local scene. Hard to say.

    Any tips on how I should board with my current list, against Eldrazi Tron? How should I approach this match overall? I feel my strategy is slightly different than what I would do with more traditional Tron decks.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Post-rotation UB(x) control
    Something to keep in mind about World's is that the meta was very small and very concise. I have slammed 16 man tournaments where stakes essentially dictated what the decks were going to be and have done it with really rogue decks made to beat a small set of specifics.

    This statement is not really to undermine the lists from World's, but to lend a different perspective when evaluating these lists and how matches are currently evaluated on such information. I suspect these lists will undergo a number of changes as we shift to events with larger contestants and a wider array of decks and archetypes.
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on State of Standard Thread: bans, format health, metagame, rotation, etc!
    Quote from shardlessanna »
    What is to be done about energy? Copter aside, energy has proven the biggest single issue in standard (imo) over the past year. It is a resource you can't interact with which provides value throughout the game. It enabled the Copy Cat combo by smoothing the mana base and allowing the deck to play well and win even when it didn't get the combo kill (with access to the best removal in harnessed lightning, the best draw in glimmer, it also had great support for its efficient creatures). Marvel obviously relied on energy. You could destroy the artifact but the energy remained which meant any future Marvel's could flip and win the game on the spot. And now we have a lot of midrange energy decks, again enabled by the smoother mana base provided by aether hub/attune with aether, that play the same efficient creatures and are backed up by the same efficient spells, most of which provide energy. Seeing as energy won't rotate out for a little while yet, how do you stop it dominating the format? Solemnity is a thing but it is a three mana white enchantment. What to do?

    From an actual game designer perspective, adding additional resources to pay for things tends to lead to advantageous positions. Regardless of the game. You see this in a lot of board games that have factions and subsequent expansions either introduce new factions with new resources that are unique that that faction, or expansions that diversify unique resources spread out among existing factions.

    The primary reason we have seen Vehicles and Energy strategies dominate can be looked at through the lens of strictly powerful cards like Smuggler's Copter and Aetherworks Marvel, but the reality is that these cards allow the leverage of additional resources that various other decks do not have access to. Crew is a mechanic that allows you to convert creatures into a mobilizing mechanic which bypasses traditional activation costs requiring mana. Energy allows players to do various activation actions, also sidestepping traditional means of activating abilities. One can argue that the cost of having these resources is by having to build your deck around them. Problem here is that when you allow the game to have a reliable critical mass of synergistic cards on a higher power level than ones that do not utilize these resources - you put the rest of the cards in the card pool at a distinct disadvantage.

    What is interesting is that WOTC knows that allowing cards to circumvent traditional means of activating and casting cards, can be extremely dangerous. We see this in cards like Collected Company where a player can throw out multiple creatures that cost more to cast than the instant spell itself. We see this in more classical cards like Force of Will, Snuff Out and Phyrexian mana cards like Gitaxian Probe and Dismember.

    The reality is that WOTC has done a pretty good job lately, of giving players additional resources to play with and the result is a format where players have more interesting things to do... but at the cost of fun for everyone who is not specifically trying to utilize these resources. The game has suffered as a result. Formats where resources are evenly spread across all archetypes, are more balances, fair, and fun. Many games understand this and it is interesting that WOTC has decided to push this known understanding of game mechanics in the way that they have.

    The whole idea that bad removal was the problem, is accurate. However it was not the only issue. Once they address the quality of removal spells, they will inevitably have to address their allocation for new resources among multiple archetypes.
    Posted in: Standard (Type 2)
  • posted a message on At what point do decks go from variants to their own decktype?
    When the primary plan changes. BG Delirium focused on attrition and toolboxing where BG Constrictor decks focus on going over other decks while still trying to remain low to the ground.

    Mardu Vehicles went from aggroing out and using Vehicles for reach where Ballista decks focused on utilizing Walking Ballista for reach and playing more of an attrition vs Vehicles themselves.

    Usually these are mechanical shifts that change the apporach the deck takes into various matches and the name helps identify the strategy outside of the cards themselves.
    Posted in: Standard (Type 2)
  • posted a message on Esper/UB control
    I don't even think you read my response. So I am willing to step aside from this discussion on that note, since it is apparently only 1 sided.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on Esper/UB control
    I think you are missing the point here.

    If they only have 1 creature on turn 7, you are in a strong position to win regardless of whether it is Approach or Cruel. NOBODY here is denying that.

    What we are denying is the ability for Cruel Reality to stabilize you more efficiently than Approach of the Second Sun when the above board state is NOT the case. That is the context we are evaluating the card in because it is the only context that really matters for this comparison.

    The TLDR of this entire discussion is that when you are ahead, both cards are win-more. When you are behind, Approach of the Second Sun is far more efficient helping you stabilize where Cruel Reality is much less so.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on Esper/UB control
    Quote from Torrysan »
    Well everyone, it looks like the threads are being archived tomorrow. I'll try to start a new primer type thread for U(x) control lists. That way we are covered for UB and UW. I'll likely write the main win-cons as Scarab God and Approach, unless there's any objections!

    I think we should consider 4 color splashes as a very real possibility with the mana changes. I'd prefer if we make it UB(x), since some decks like pure UW and pure UR are fundamentally different. I agree with The Scarab God and Torrential Gearhulk as poster childs tho.

    I initially began with UBx cores, and tbh the black should really focus on white spells. White has way more efficient removal spells overall and really the only thing I found myself using black for was Fatal Push, Vraska's Contempt, and Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh. The black cards really are splash-able and while I feel they are necessary, the real value is in the white cards when paired with blue. The deck functions better slanting towards UWb over UBw imo.

    The post cards for the various Control decks I have tried have really been Torrential Gearhulk, Settle the Wreckage, and Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh. I run The Scarab God in various numbers between 1-2 main and 2-3 side... and really he has been more of a glorified blocker a fair amount of the time. He blocks and kills things while eating removal - far more than he ever reanimates something. Which is, surprisingly handy as funny as it is.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on Esper/UB control
    Quote from Morimacil »
    If for example your opponent has a creature, or a planeswalker in play, and you have nothing. That is being behind on board, right?
    Cruel reality pulls you way ahead in that situation, since it gets rid of their threat, and then sticks in play to deal with anything else they might play, while providing you with a win condition too.

    If you have 7+ mana and they only have a single non-Carnage Tyrant threat... I think you could muster up any other card to keep you safe in that situation and you are already stable and in a position to win.

    If you have 7 mana and 6 damage across 3 creatures staring you down and you cast Cruel Reality, you are not staving off more than the 7 damage you would stave off from Approach of the Second Sun.

    Saying "behind on board" and "behind in game state" are two different things entirely, especially given that Control decks often forgo the idea of board presence - meaning you are always behind on board but not necessarily behind in the game-state.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on Esper/UB control
    Quote from Morimacil »
    No, they have to sacrifice something, and only lose 5 if they cant.

    So if your opponent has 1 creature or 1 PW on the board, you can play cruel reality, and in their upkeep they have to sacrifice it.
    I'v had a couple opponents make the same mistake you did thinking it is a punisher card, and then the card does live up to its name when they realize anything they play will die without you needing to do anything, and if the board is kept clear it is a 4 turn clock (with haste). gg.

    Here is the thing though, if you are dead to Hazoret on turn 7 and you play this... you are still dead to Hazoret - unless they have 5 life already and no other creatures to sac... With Approach of the Second Sun in the same scenario, you are not dead to Hazoret.

    As stated above me, we are now in the discussion where Cruel Reality is defined as a win-more card. You need to already be ahead for it to secure a win. Approach of the Second Sun stabilizes you when you are behind, or helps you stabilize. Then it just wins. You can win from behind with it, you cannot win from behind with Cruel Reality, and I think that is an incredibly important distinction for a 7 mana sorcery speed spell.

    Search for azcanta, if it flips on like turn 6 or 7 you need to pay 3 extra mana to find a card, and then cast that card before it has an impact on the board. It costs 2 and can get under things, so its amazing in the control mirror, like insanely good. But vs something fast, I often dont have the time to cast it especially on the draw, it does nothing the turn I play it, and needs more mana put into it, Id rather have something like gearhulk/scarab god/fumigate/planeswalkers/cruel reality/etc as slots in the deck to get card advantage, but also directly impact the board. For decks running approach it would be slightly better.
    Id say the deck wants 0-1 search vs aggro, 2 vs midrange, and 3 vs control. But maybe field of ruin will be a thing and then maybe it wont be as good.

    Most of the time I have had it flip in testing, it is already at the point where I am looking to snowball into a timely win. The idea of using it to dig each turn is a bit sloppy because after it flips, the pseudo-scrying has already done most of the damage. Incremental opportunities to find game swinging cards is where the real value is, the flip is just gravy in the majority of situations.

    Statistically, 2 copies is not going to make or break your opening hands and statistically if it is only a concern vs less that ~20% of any field... then you are favored running it for the 80% advantage against the field. Until my testing or the meta solidifies those percentages to one that is unfavorable, I think the argument against Search for Azcanta is rather weak.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on Dealing with Carnage Tyrant
    People in the Esper thread don't seem too terribly concerned about it. Plenty of options available to deal with the card.
    Posted in: Standard (Type 2)
  • posted a message on Esper/UB control
    Quote from Morimacil »
    Cruel Reality is a card I am liking more and more the more I play with it.
    It works a little like approach of the second sun, in that it is a 7 mana win condition that is hard for most decks to deal with, and it immediately relieves some pressure.
    Unlike approach, you can run just 1 or 2 in the deck, and a single copy can win the game by itself.
    It can take care of anything, hazoret, carnage tyrant, planeswalkers, etc, and its quite a fast clock too. Since most decks are not trying to go wide, the abyss effect works quite well.

    Search for azcanta:
    It is good, but it is slow. So slow. It isn't just vs the hyper aggro decks that it is bad. It really needs to stick in play, and constant mana to be poured into it.
    Not saying it isn't good, just that the decks needs to be built around it.

    You play it, get a bit of card selection, it flips, you activate it, get a spell. At that point, you spent 6 mana into it, and got 1 card, and a bit of selection. Like a supreme will maybe, not incredible.
    Activate it a second time, and now you spent 8/10 mana (depending on if you want to count the land itself or not), over 3 turns, and you are +1 on cards. At that point, glimmer is still more efficient, and even something like hieroglyphic isn't that far off.

    When you activate it for the third time, 4 turns after initially playing it, that is when it really starts to pull you ahead compared to other options. But thats also a lot of time and mana spent into it.

    If you are under pressure, and need to affect the board NOW, then search does very little.
    For now its a 2 of main deck and I like it. But Its not hard for me to imagine a place where you want to max out on glimmers, supreme wills and gear hulks first, to spend less mana (time) durdling, and more on impacting the board.
    Scarab god also gets you card advantage for every 4 mana you spend, but that comes with a direct board impact.

    I don't think Approach of the Second Sun are that comparable when we are talking about relieving pressure. The difference between them sacrificing something of their choice and just straight gaining 7 life, can be pretty substantial. With Cruel Reality you are also giving them options to delay the win potentially even longer than Approach of the Second Sun can be delayed. Saying it can take care of anything is a bit of a fallacy in that it does not really do that until they are at 5 life and completely out of gas. Otherwise they can just trade 5 life to kill you with Hazoret, assuming you lived that long anyways.

    Search for Azcanta is slow? It is 2 copies and you are arguing for a 7 mana enchantment. I am confused. I think people grotesquely underestimate the ability to virtually double the odds of drawing an out each turn. If you play poker, you probably know why those small percentages add up and why they are valuable. I believe Patrick Chapin noted that these kind of upkeep scrying capabilities have always been on the verge of being more playable than trash, but there was little to incentivize playing a card that was merely alright. He also noted that all those cards cost 3 or had no major upside, which Search for Azcanta does.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on Best Cards in Ixalan?

    Posted in: Standard New Card Discussion
  • posted a message on Esper/UB control
    Quote from Torrysan »
    I'd like to experiment with a single copy of Vraska, Relic Seeker as well, but that might be getting a bit too greedy and cute.


    Honestly, I have had good results with an Esper mana core and getting in a 4th color for Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh. G may be a littler harder to make work because the buddy lands are only allied colors. But I do think it is worth testing 4 color splashes right now. Mana feels surprisingly good.

    Quote from Unhlyjspr360 »

    Gifted Aetherborn has deathtouch as well as lifelink, I want to be able to trade with the creatures it blocks and Scarab God can bring him back later as a 4/4. Also, Aetherborn coming down on turn 2 is very relevant against aggro decks. If they want to spend their turn 2 getting in for less because they want to strike my guy deal. Means its one less guy I have to deal with quickly.

    I think that is a fair argument for Gifted Aetherborn. I feel like removal right now is actually pretty decent, so I didn't value the Deathtouch as much. I also play Treasure Map though which means I am developing that on turn 2 instead.

    As for the Search for Azcanta card being bad vs hyper aggro decks, I agree. I am sitting at roughly 15% for total games played vs hyper aggro and I think that translates well to why it is a poor argument to have against the card. If you relate that to the % of field, I would rather poise my main with a couple copies of a card that is very strong against 85% of the field in game 1, than hedge vs 15% in the opening week.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on Esper/UB control
    Is Sunscourge Champion better than Gifted Aetherborn? It cost 1 more mana, but the reality is that Lightning Strike is back and if either creature was to eat it, at least you get some life from Champion where you would not get it from Aetherborn. Additionally you can also just follow up for 4 more life and a 4/4 on turn 4 which is out of Lightning Strike range. 7 life and 2 bodies for 2 mana spread out over 2 turns seems like far more value than what Aetherborn offers.

    The issue I see is that he just stacks up the 3 spot even more, but I feel like you may be able to adjust that by adjusting what your turn 2 focuses on.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on URx Control
    "Haven't been"
    "Before RDW"

    We are not looking backwards, we are looking forward. There is a pretty big laundry list of potential players that almost all of your red removal will not be able to deal with outside of corner-case scenarios

    and in some ways Torrential Gearhulk

    While RDW is fast, the vast majority of power cards in the format are slower but still have the ability to steadily apply pressure with larger payouts that red removal just isn't going to really touch all that often. I am not sure what bigger threats you are talking about Abrade hitting, because I see a lot of threats it does not even touch.

    So I guess the question is "Do you want to curb heavily towards 2-4 rounds of a GP? Or try to blanket 9 rounds?" The latter means you are probably playing towards things like Fumigate and Hour of Devastation, where paying 1U for a permanent scry effect is going to average out your draws to get you to those cards - rather than 1 for 1 trading or even 2 for 1 trading into a mid-late game Sweltering Suns offering up little impact against any of the above mentioned threats.

    We Digress

    This is turning into a discussion of whether or not Search for Azcanta is better than spot removal with a ceiling, and less about the merits of running cards to optimize resources over the course of a series of games in a series of rounds.

    Vehicles is significantly more favorable without Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and new cards like Fatal Push, and Abrade being available to us. Assuming the deck even sticks around without its shining star. Energy decks are still manageable, and they always have been. RDW is susceptible to silver bullets and lists can vary in how they want to reach those silver bullets, and the differences are unlikely to come down to 2 or 0 copies of Search for Azcanta.

    It becomes apparent that W or B are inevitable secondary or tertiary colors to blue control decks. White does not offer a whole lot of early removal and black has lost the ability to play the reaction game as efficiently as it has in the past. Yet almost all 4 colors have less demanding casting costs than what multicolor control decks have demanded in the past. To boot, shard land interactions are smoother than they have been on some time, meaning that the combinations of UBR and WUB cores are flexible enough to fit in a 4th color with a degree of ease we have not seen for some time.

    Is 4 color the way to go? Time will tell.

    Is 3 color the way to go? If you want reliable removal spells, more than likely.

    Is there a correct set of 3 colors to run? I don't think the disparity in efficiency is going to be all that great.

    The discussion on the viability of Search for Azcanta really is not about what removal spells your deck is running, but how Control players are going to leverage resources in exchange for value and what cards are ultimately going to give that value. Thinking about it as it's own payout card is probably not a good way to think about it when an effect that has been desirable for Control for quite some time, has never been as cheap as 1U. Assuming you land that on curve over a removal spell, you are giving what? 2 more life when you are at 19 or 20? Even assuming you do not play it on turns 2-5, are you really losing anything other than 2 card slots that were otherwise mere 1 for 1's that don't translate that well from matchup to matchup?

    The card literally pays off the moment you bin even 1 card that you did not want to draw.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
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