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  • posted a message on [Primer] Lantern Control
    Hi crexalbo Smile I saw that strangemolars is playing the Bg version again in his videos. I think I personally like the Whir version. It feels really good to see two+ blue sources and a Whir in my opener :p
    Posted in: Tier 2 (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Lantern Control
    Looks pretty stock Smile

    As for siding out Baubles, I have started siding them out against 8rack and some decks that run Stony Silence to make room for more artifact/enchantment removal.
    Posted in: Tier 2 (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Lantern Control
    Al_Z_Heimer, I also like Torpor Orb for shutting off lots of cards in the Humans deck. In my most recent Humans video, I used it to turn all of their Vithian Renegades into dead draws. Other creatures it works great against are Spell Queller, Flickerwisp, Tidehollow Sculler, Champion of the Parish, Thalia's Lieutenant, Kitesail Freebooter, and so on.

    I would definitely bring it in against Titanshift decks, as it avoids Chalice on one, snd stops Reclamation Sage and Primeval Titan. I'd also bring it in against the control decks running Snapcaster Mage and Spell Queller. Against Taxes decks, it helps with the Flickerwisps, Scullers, and Thought-Knots, as you point out. It also does quite a bit of work against other various lower tier decks, like the Saheeli combo deck.

    I only run it as a one-of, but it's one of those cards that does great things as a singleton, but we don't want to draw multiples of.
    Posted in: Tier 2 (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Lantern Control
    So, I've been getting pretty deep into the core concept on which Lantern was built on, and I think I've figured out a thing or two.

    First, I've already made a video and tried describing it (the theory of relevant interaction). To my surprise, this concept is already known in the study of game theory. In game theory, this is known as minimax and maximin.

    To paraphrase it, it means that in a zero-sum game, the best option available is the one that will simultaneously minimize the opponent's number of available options and/or the relevance of potential options, and to maximize the number of our own available options and/or the relevance of our options.

    I'm sure that we can agree that blind self-mill does create the opportunity to have more options as the game goes on. Eventually, we might get a Shredder and five mana or an Academy Ruins online to make use of our graveyard after blindly milling ourselves after a bit.

    However, if we look at this minimax principle of game theory, we have to consider - Are we increasing the number of options that the opponent might have? Are we increasing the potential meaningfulness of the options that an opponent might have?

    We can take some examples. If the opponent is running Tarmogoyf in their deck, if we blind self-mill, are we increasing the potential power/toughness of that Tarmogoyf? This doesn't matter, of course, if we have a Bridge out. But what if we don't? That Tarmogoyf is about to get very relevant to the gamestate if it is cast. This isn't even counting if it's drawn. There is a chance that the opponent will draw a Tarmogoyf, and if we've made it potentially bigger by putting more cards of various card types into our graveyard, then we have made that option more relevant to the gamestate.

    Sure, we also potentially make our own options better, in that we might be able to recur cards with Ruins or Shredder. But the key principle here is that we want to prioritize minimizing the opponent's options over maximizing our own.

    To put it into simple math, let's say that we have increased our options to a value of 10, but we have simultaneously increased the opponent's option value to 5. Of those option values, one of them may be able to turn the game into the opponent's favor, swinging the values in the opposite direction, so that suddenly their value is higher and/or our value is suddenly much lower. This is explained in the L/R, T/M/B table in the wiki link I provided.

    Therefore, it would be much better for us if we create a gamestate in which our option value is 1, and the opponent's option value is as close to 0 as possible, or is 0. Of course, this is what the lock provides - ensuring that the opponent's option value is 0. But until we get to that point, we want to keep that option value as low as possible, even if it means our own option value is low. So long as ours is higher, we are still winning. But, again, we are trying to prioritize making sure that the opponent's option value is a minimal as possible, and then try to maximize our own.

    Thus, the only time that it seems that blind self-mill is correct is when we have absolute certainty that the opponent has zero possible interaction with us doing so. If it gives them more options, or increases the relevance of their options, then we do not want to do it. And it turns out that the solution to this debate existed all along, documented in the concepts of game theory that the deck was built on in the first place :p
    Posted in: Tier 2 (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Lantern Control
    It's been a little bit since I had a decent E&T matchup, but I think I have a replay somewhere. I agree with putting Needle on Displacer being key.

    As for Utron, they do have a lot of business cards, but are threat-light. This matchup kind of feels like the UW Control matchup to me, in that it's a fight for control, except that they rarely have a decent clock. Much of their most important control comes in the form of Repeal and other bounce spells. Needles are super important here. My most recent replay is actually a Utron matchup, but I have plenty more you can check out. I think I only have one that's with the Whir build, though. I do think that the Whir build might be best against it, although Ghost Quarters in the BGx builds are excellent.
    Posted in: Tier 2 (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Lantern Control
    I understand your sentiments about the card, and I had my doubts as well, but I found that my issues with Bauble was in my incorrect use of the card. We can easily see the function of the Bauble as a Mox Opal enabler for acceleration, and as a scry machine when we start with it and a Shredder, Bell, or Pyxis in our opening hand.

    When we draw Bauble later in the game, there are a few utility options it provides. If we have a mill rock, then while it might "set us back" a card (because we've used a draw state to draw it), it allows us to get two draw states, thanks to the pseudo-scry effect. This is relevant even if it's not in our opening hand. Thus, it allows us to dig to cards that we need, much faster.

    When we have Whir, it acts as another Opal.

    If we don't have Whir, a mill rock, or an Opal, then it allows us to dig deeper into our deck for one of those three things. Due to the nature of how Magic works, if we don't have some set of cards, then we must have drawn another set. Thus, if we do not have Whir, a mill rock, or an Opal, then it means we probably have some combination of the rest of the cards in the deck, like the lands we need, Lantern, Bridge, Stirrings, a discard spell, etc.

    On top of all of this, it allows us to play around hand disruption. We can play it and then sacrifice it on the opponent's turn to dig a card deeper for cards we need, without having to worry about the opponent getting an opportunity to discard those extra cards. You can see this in effect in my most recent video against Humans, where I used two Baubles to dig to a Bridge after having a Bridge and a Whir stripped from my hand. It was perfect timing, as it was on my 3rd turn, when I had the three mana to cast it.

    For additional analysis on this card and it's effectiveness, you can take a look at the spreadsheet and see the win rates of "explosive" hands (Bauble + Opal) and "scry hands" (Bauble and mill rock). Both of these have positive numbers, and therefore we want to increase the possibility of having those sorts of hands if possible. Therefore, it seems to warrant running a full playset when we can, to increase the chances of these sorts of hands occurring.
    Posted in: Tier 2 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Temporary State of the Meta Thread (Rules Update 7/17/17)
    @cfusionpm, I understand why you would not want to use sites like MTGTop8 or MTGGoldfish, then, although I still find it at least somewhat reliable. We can filter the decks ourselves using the search option, and reclassify them as we see fit. We can also ignore all MTGO data, to avoid skewing our observations with that data. I do think that if we try to have a conversation with zero data, however, then we may end up just talking past eachother, which doesn't seem productive at all.

    @Shockwave07, I wasn't leaving any level event off the search. The majority of Magic players will be experiencing local tournaments, so I wanted to mainly include that data. I didn't want to leave out any other data, though, so I kept it as well. I figured that more data is just better. I personally have played in 2 GP's, 2 States events, and 1 Open, but due to work, etc., I typically play in my local metagame primarily.

    Thanks for the answers on the Twin vs. Grixis Control choice. It wasn't too long ago that Grixis Control was actually doing quite well, up until Grixis Shadow took over and just became what seems like a strictly better version.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Temporary State of the Meta Thread (Rules Update 7/17/17)
    Do you have an alternate source for data that you feel is more reliable that you would like to share? I mean, if we refuse to use data at all, then are we not just arguing talking points and hoping that others just agree with us? I went through and searched and filtered a good deal. Feel free to ignore Abzan, Jund, etc., but their classification was the same when Twin was legal as it is now. In both time frames, it was classified as aggro. Just remove it :p Feel free to present some numbers for us to see to back up your opinion.

    As an aside, if you had the choice to play Twin or Grixis Control, which would you choose and why?
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Temporary State of the Meta Thread (Rules Update 7/17/17)
    @Albegas, What do the numbers show? *Why* were those decks bad?
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Temporary State of the Meta Thread (Rules Update 7/17/17)
    @cfusionpm, I edited my post to pick apart the various versions. You could choose to combine them, in which case when we compare it to the Twin metagame, our current metagame has a more balanced share among the top URx decks, or you could separate them, in which case we currently have a strictly more diverse URx metagame.

    @Shockwave07, You may notice those decks are listed with their respective place in the top 8, etc. I actually went and edited my post comparing the current metagame to not include lists that didn't make top 8 (you may see the edit, I pointed it out in bold).

    I also already filtered the Death's Shadow decks. I filtered the search to include lists that ran Steam Vents, which helps with that. No need to go through 26 pages of individual lists with the search function.

    EDIT:
    Nobody had a problem with Twin when it was around, and it was regularly praised as the posterchild of Modern, a staple pillar of the format, and essential for good format health. Kind of like keeping it from being mindlessly overrun by fast linear decks... which is exactly what happened in 2016... and keeping big-mana decks from being overpowering it.... which is exactly what was happening in 2017. But hey, at least you can play 50 different kinds of fast aggro, big mana, and glass canon decks nowadays!


    I would disagree that "nobody" had a problem. I was a bit put off by it, expecting to face it about 50 percent of the time in my matches, but that's just my anecdotal evidence and my metagame. As for the "50 different kinds of fast aggro, big mana, and class cannon decks", that seems to be a bit off. You can go and look at the metagame statistics on the left side of the page at MTGTop8. There are currently ~20 "aggro" decks (decks like Jund being included in that), which made up 48% of the metagame, 17 "control" decks, which make up 25% of the metagame - 4% Tron overall, and 26% combo decks. We can compare that to the 2015 metagame, which had the numbers at 50% aggro (so it was actually more aggro then - but you complain about "everything is aggro now"?), 19% control (with Tron at 6%, 33% more than it is now!), and combo at 32%.

    I understand that you have your opinions on this issue, but I'm curious at which point you are willing to consider looking at numbers and evidence to ensure those opinions are informed.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Temporary State of the Meta Thread (Rules Update 7/17/17)
    It wasn't just the "highest meta share". It was that you would have to combine nearly all of the other URx decks during each time period together to get over half the metashare that Twin had. That's not just high, that's absurdly high. If we compare that to the current metagame:

    25SEP2017-25OCT2017:
    45 Storm
    27 Grixis Shadow
    16 Jeskai Control
    11 Jeskai (UWr) Midrange
    6 Jeskai Tempo
    6 Blue Moon
    3 Scapeshift (RUGx)
    3 Twinless Exarch
    3 Grixis Control
    3 4/5 Color Goodstuff
    2 Jeskai Nahiri
    2 Patriot Geist
    2 Jeskai Cats
    1 RUG Aggro
    1 Jeskai Aggro
    1 UR Control

    We have two archetypes that are above 50% of the highest URx deck metashare, whereas this did not happen in the four 2-month intervals that I shared in my previous post. EDIT: For clarity of data, I went through everything that was grouped into "UWx Midrange" and divided it up accordingly, to try to keep the data cleaner. This drops it so that we have one archetype that is above 50% of the highest URx deck metashare, rather than two. Additionally, there are more unique URx decks in the meta (16, as opposed to 8 at the peak in the data I shared above). Thus, banning Twin does seem to have increased the diversity of the format. EDIT: After dividing up the "UWx Midrange" lists, this increases the number from 13 to 16. So either we have better metashare numbers with a more diverse URx metagame, or slightly better metashare numbers with twice the URx metagame. Either way, we have a more diverse metashare and a more diverse URx metagame.

    EDIT: @Shockwave07, all of the data I listed was from winning decklists. So it was those decks in the data I presented that were winning. For all of 2015, we have 13 winning Delver lists that were URx, vs. 305 winning (top 8) Twin lists. MTGTop8 does have a small sample of 9-32 lists in the mix, but it seems that sample size is relatively insignificant. I went through and subtracted the 16 Twin lists this applies to (original number that came up was 321).

    If you only want to count decks that placed 1st, we have 2 URx Delver lists vs. 72 Twin lists. Where did you get your numbers for your claim about it having half as many wins with fewer decks?
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Temporary State of the Meta Thread (Rules Update 7/17/17)
    @ThirdDegree and metalmusic_4, where did you pull your metagame data from?

    I normally get mine from MTGTop8, as it includes more data overall it seems. Here is what I've got (from most recent and going backwards):

    18NOV2015-18JAN2016:
    63 Twin
    13 Grixis Control
    6 RUG Scapeshift
    4 Storm
    1 BtL Scapeshift
    1 Jeskai Control
    1 Grixis Delver
    1 Blue Moon

    18SEP2015-18NOV2015:
    25 Twin
    10 Scapeshift
    7 Grixis Control
    3 Storm
    2 Delver (1 Grixis, 1 RUG)
    1 Jeskai Control

    18JUL2015-18SEP2015:
    59 Twin
    21 Grixis Control
    14 Scapeshift
    3 Storm
    2 Delver (1 Grixis, 1 UR)

    18MAY2015-18JUL2015:
    70 Twin
    18 Grixis Control
    7 Storm
    4 Delver (2 Grixis, 2 RUG)
    3 Scapeshift
    2 Blue Moon

    Do either of you have another source that you think has more data? It seems that what BlueTronFTW said seems to be actually true.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Temporary State of the Meta Thread (Rules Update 7/17/17)
    @ccc1522, I am familiar with chess strategy. I'm an instructor for the local club. There are plenty of possible openings, but not 10,000 viable openings. The core strategies all revolve around a few core main principles (developing pieces in the opening, gaining control of the center of the board, being aware of piece value in trades, tempo, adequate protection of the king, tactics - which include pins, skewers, forks, etc., and so on). There is even a very key difference between white and black, as the pieces are not located on the board the same way. I am a bit into chess already - I teach chess, and that is part of why I have the opinion I do.

    @Ym1r, That one sentence was key, as there were only a few, and most of them I agreed with. That one seemed to be coming from hyperbole, so I asked to clarify. Also, in Magic, we are, to some degree, equipped with the same tools. There is the question of how well each player can afford cards, but I'm guessing that's not the scope of the conversation here. As I pointed out in my response to ccc1522, chess does actually have variance in it's starting position, in that the black pieces are set up differently than the white pieces. As far as when we talk about the tools that each player has in Magic, time is a tool, too. Cards in each players decks are tools. If a deck denies an opponent the use of time, by simply working to complete a winning gamestate before the opponent can make use of their turns to cast cards or play additional lands, then they are directly denying a tool that a deck might need to accomplish its goal. They aren't ignoring it, they are denying it, even if the pilot is not aware of this concept. With cards like Chalice, Moon, Bridge, etc., they are doing the same. They are looking to pre-emptively deny the opponent necessary tools.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Temporary State of the Meta Thread (Rules Update 7/17/17)
    @mnesci, I would agree that the bishop play negating the effectiveness of my knight would count as interactive, it's just pre-emptive interaction. I'm using that analogy to show how cards like Ensnaring Bridge, Blood Moon, Chalice of the Void, Pithing Needle, and Meddling Mage can also be pre-emptive interaction. They are effectively negating the opponent's ability to use their material to interact, just as the bishop is. If my gameplan involves moving my knight to f8, and my opponent takes advantage of this and moves their bishop to e8 or h5, then they have used material to entirely shut off my material. If my entire gameplan revolved around that knight, then my gameplan is now shut off, and I should have considered the opponent's ability to do just that. My pet deck is Lantern, and I don't think it would be the best use of my time to complain about Chalice of the Void. Instead, I design my deck to not auto-lose to it.

    I agree that Magic *can* be inherently interactive in it's combat, but so is chess. Just as each player chooses the gameplan that their deck will use in Magic, both plays in chess choose their opening lines according to how well it interacts with the gamestate to increase options while simultaneously reducing the opponent's ability to interact meaningfully. Every multiplayer zero-sum game does this, including chess and Magic. When we design decks, or choose decks, we need to be aware of why the decks function as they do. How do they plan on preventing the opponent from interacting in a meaningful way?

    What bothers me is when people don't fully understand this concept, but instead complain about the "lack of interaction". We see from results that there are decks that are fully capable of not just losing to some tier-0 deck, because there currently is no tier-0 deck. This means that it's up to each person to choose a deck, or design one, that optimizes their ability to prevent the opponent from interacting in a meaningful way. In my chess analogy (1.a4, 2.a5), I would not be preventing my opponent from interacting in a meaningful way. This sort of opening screams of a player being a novice, which is fine, I can understand that. I've seen that opening from many, many beginners, thinking they're going to "flank with their rooks" or some such nonsense. But for those same people to then complain that the opponent is not allowing them to interact in a meaningful way when they haven't even considered that that is the very core concept on which zero-sum games are built upon, and then expect others to respect what they see as some self-appointed authority in their opinions...at what point do we call it for what it is?
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Temporary State of the Meta Thread (Rules Update 7/17/17)
    Quote from Ym1r »
    Quote from thnkr »
    @Hiisio, FoodChainGoblins, etc. :

    That's actually the exact misunderstanding that I'm talking about. Yes, Grishoalbrand is very interactive. The problem is that humans are, in many cases, self-centered when they come to define things. You, and those who think like you do, assume that since Grishoalbrand doesn't interact in ways that you prefer for it to interact, it therefore must not be an interactive deck.

    Strictly speaking, there is next to zero actual player-to-player interaction. In every case, each player is simply interacting with the gamestate, not the opponent. Grishoalbrand is very interactive in the sense that it is attempting to interact with the gamestate to a much greater degree than the opponent can, before the opponent can.

    The reason that you may not realize how interactive Grishoalbrand is is because you only define interaction as making gamestate changes that you can equally change. Some decks can interact to the same degree that Grishoalbrand can, as fast as Grishoalbrand can.

    Have you considered looking at how decks interact with the gamestate, rather than only defining interaction based on a definition that centers on you and your feelings?
    By your logic everything is interactive.
    Play a creature? You interact with the board state
    Play a land? You interact with the board state
    Do nothing? You interact with the board state
    Do you play the game? You interact with the board state

    Interaction is not defined by just playing the game though.


    When you say "do nothing", are meaning that we are making no changing actions to the gamestate? If so, then no, that is not interaction, because no change has happened to the gamestate.

    An example I like to use is chess. If it's near the end of the game, and I (for some reason) have a knight on h8, and my opponent positions their bishop on e8 or h5, have they interacted with me? Their move directly prevents me from being able to use my knight effectively, and they've definitely changed the boardstate. Is it fair for me to then complain that they're "not interacting with me"? How seriously would you take my complaint?

    Or, if I choose to use an opening of 1.a4, 2.a5, while my opponent advances and takes control of the center very quickly, developing their pieces, and castles their king on the kingside, should I then be right to complain that my opponent isn't interacting with my preferred opening in a fair way? Would the word "self-entitled" be adequate to describe my behavior? Would you consider me an advanced chess player?
    Posted in: Modern Archives
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