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  • 2

    posted a message on Modern Humans
    Cards like Kessing Malcontents and Hanweir Militia Captain are win-more cards. If you have enough creatures on board to make them good, you should be winning the game already.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 1

    posted a message on Modern Humans
    Don't have enough time at the moment to do a full response regarding the sample hands, as there is a lot to go through there (and it really needs to be a lot more specific in order for a proper comparison/analysis to work), but I did want to hit on a couple of quick points

    Quote from purklefluff »

    My footprint argument is important btw. 3 cards difference is really significant. Vial has a footprint of only itself. Coco has a footprint of itself, plus the two extra dorks and an extra land.


    You're overlooking a lot of things here. Aether Vial is a huge footprint by itself. It's extremely situational in terms of timing, it's terrible in multiples, and terrible "late" in the game. Aether Vial requires you to play a lot of creatures at the same points of the mana curve. The Vial list runs extra Meddling Mages and 4 Thalia, Guardian of Thrabens (which can't even be played in multiples). These aren't exactly aggro cards. The whole curve of the Vial deck is crazy because of this, with 8 1-drops, 19 (yes, nineteen) 2-drops and 9 3-drops, with the 2 cmc slot extremely bloated in order to make Vial most effective. More on this momentarily.

    Quote from purklefluff »

    and... You said somewhere in your post that overloading on three-drops is totally fine. I mean, this is what I'm talking about; by doing this you're transitioning your deck into a deck of two halves, where in order to get there with too many three-drops you're relying on extra mana dorks and four mana spells to be able to cast more than one card a turn (or even just cast them at all). Vial has the multiple-spells-per-turn angle going for it, overwhelming spot removal and being the aggressor. If you're struggling through a quagmire of three-drops in your hand just trying to stick a third land or a mana dork to cast just a single threat a turn, you're going to get merk'd by midrange GBx style decks.


    1) If 9-10 3 drops is considered "overloading" then I think we have very different definitions of the term.
    2) I said nothing about "overloading" the deck with 3 drops. I said that we have access to a lot of amazing 3 drops, so why not maximize their effectiveness?
    3) I would also like to point you to the fact that the Vial list that won last weekend ran....9 3 drops. That's the same number I run in my Bant Black CoCo list. Some lists run 10, but that's usually the max. Is going from 9 to 10 the magic number where we're overloading? In contrast, would we consider 19 2 drops overloading?

    We also keep going around this circle where the argument ends up being along the lines of "well if the CoCo deck runs bad and we assume the Vial deck has T1 Vial all the time and never draws them late (or in multiples) and always has the correct number of counters for what's in hand, the Vial deck is better." These arguments only serve to muddy the waters. You can't just pound away at one deck's potential bad draws and ignore the other. There's a whole other can of worms to get into on that subject, but I'll tackle that later.

    The main takeaway I'm aiming for with my recent posts is that BOTH cards require a deckbuilding footprint, both cards can be situational in different ways, both cards enable similarly aggressive plays etc, so most of these pros and cons are more or less a wash at the end. The REAL discussion, in my opinion, are the different play patterns enabled by these cards (ie draw step disruption, main phase aggressive CoCos etc) and what other side effects do they have (ability to dig for silver bullets, ability to run smoother mana, ability to have 1 sided Thalias, ability to have on-strategy card advantage) etc. Lets discuss these things and actually move forward in figuring out how to maximize each version.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 2

    posted a message on Modern Humans
    Modern Humans

    Hey everyone! Are you looking for a tribe that's currently flying under the radar, yet can succeed against most of today's top decks? Do you like creatures that have all sorts of cool abilities and enable dozens of different builds and archetypes within the same tribe? If so, look no further than Humans. Humans have been a very common creature type in Magic, and because of that along with some recent printings, there is finally enough support in Modern to spawn full Human tribal decks. Even your sideboard gets to have Humans in it! So what makes the tribe tick? Lets take a look:

    The Core - cards you can't play a Humans deck without

    Champion of the Parish W
    +Has potential to grow very large very quickly with the right draw
    +In many opening hands, this provides the most aggressive start
    -Most effective when played early; not a good top deck

    Thalia's Lieutenant 1W
    +Pumps team on ETB
    +Lord effect remains even after he is removed
    +Has potential to grow very large
    -Feels bad to play on an empty board
    Play Note: In some situations, it may be correct to play this card before another Human card that is less likely to attack, like a Noble Hierarch or Mayor of Avabruck. Growing Lieutenant can be more important than growing a creature that is unlikely to be an attacker.

    These two cards are the common thread between all the different Human builds. It is all but mandatory to run 4 of each in any Humans deck.

    The Supporting Cast - These cards are the reasons to be running their respective colors/archetype


    Kytheon, Hero of Akros W
    +Aggressive 2/1 body with high reward ceiling as a potential 4/4
    +Front and back side indestructible abilities give him limited, situational sweeper resistance
    -Best suited to lists that can get him attacking with two other creatures ASAP, i.e. low-curves, haste etc.
    -Legendary status presents very occasional awkwardness

    Gather the Townsfolk 1W
    +2 bodies for 2 mana
    +Great for pumping Champion of the Parish and Thalia's Lieutenant
    +Great with lord/anthem effects
    +Great for flipping Kytheon, Hero of Akros
    -Does not work with Collected Company; suited for low-curve aggro builds
    -Potential awkwardness if also playing Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

    Mayor of Avabruck 1G
    +Buffs other humans played both before and after him
    +An unanswered, flipped Mayor can take over grindy games with 3/3 tokens
    -Best in decks that go wide but still have good card draw (Thraben Inspector, Dark Confidant, Duskwatch Recruiter)
    -As a 1/1 he is very fragile and does not help against damage or toughness-based sweepers
    -Can flip at inconvenient times
    Play Note: Sometimes it can be correct to simply not play anything on your turn, allowing Mayor to flip even if you have cards to play. Getting the token engine started can be very powerful in some situations

    Anafenza, The Foremost WBG
    +Her 4/4 body is above curve and she enters beyond the reach of Bolt / Anger of the Gods
    +Helps the rest of your team to slowly grow
    +Graveyard hate ability shuts down some graveyard-based strategies (Melira combo, Living End, Sun Titan etc), but may come in too late to stop Dredge or Grishoalbrand. Best if played on turn 2 in those matchups (and you will still need some sideboard slots for these matchups).
    -Lack of evasion can keep her damage from connecting
    -Color requirements conflict with Mantis Rider unless running 5 colors
    Play Note: If there are no attackers to swing with Anafenza, a mana dork which has been tapped/used pre-combat can be the recipient of the attack trigger

    Xathrid Necromancer 2B
    +Helps you grind against destruction-based point removal and sweepers
    +Technically passes the "Bolt Test" as he replaces himself when bolted
    -Not useful against exiling removal: Path, Anger of the Gods, Ugin/Karn
    -His 2/2 grounded body exerts poor pressure
    Play Note: This card means that Collected Company in response to a removal spell can be a very good play, especially if you hit two of these Smile

    Kitesail Freebooter 1B
    +Great against a wide swath of decks, being able to pick off sweepers, combo pieces and removal
    +Evasive
    -Can be a very slow clock when not backed up by a lord
    -Opponent gets card back when they kill it
    Play Note: Running a playset of this card in a list also makes Meddling Mage a worthy consideration for the main deck configuration when running in the necessary colors.

    Mantis Rider URW
    +Flying, Haste, Vigilance 3/3 is both a good beater and a good blocker against aggro
    +Efficient stats make for an ideal topdeck that helps even when you're behind
    +Great when cast on turn 2 off of a Noble Hierarch thanks to exalted
    -Color intensive, likely need to shock yourself or have a Cavern of Souls to play on curve
    -Typical 3-drop potential for tempo blowouts against Bolt/Push/Path, but is at least able to attack on the turn it is played

    Reflector Mage 1WU
    +Generally good tempo vs creature-heavy decks
    +Bounce effect is especially useful against large Delve or Eldrazi creatures, and bypasses "on death" triggers
    +Allows for great sideboarding flexibility where there are some problematic creatures to deal with, but not enough to make dedicated Path to Exile slots worthwhile
    -Gives the opponent another ETB or on-cast trigger
    -Not always helpful against creature-light control decks
    -3 mana bounce effect can sometimes be too slow against hyper aggressive strategies
    -A grounded 2/3 may be mediocre for more aggressive builds

    Burning-Tree Emissary (R/G)(R/G)
    +"Free" spell that gives you RG back
    +Allows for very explosive opening hands
    +Useful for dumping your hand quickly, letting you cast one more card off of Collected Company, or getting G mana through Blood Moon
    -RG mana that's produced requires some building-around to be useful
    -Grounded 2/2 body not a great attacker on its own

    Other Notable Maindeck Cards - These cards flesh out the rest of the creature package and allow for tuning a list to do what you want it to do


    Noble Hierarch G
    +Accelerates you into your higher curve cards
    +Exalted lets her still contribute to combat while tapping for mana
    +Eases mana pain by providing G/W/U
    +The best way to attack through an Ensnaring Bridge
    -Not suited for low-curve, wide aggro strategies

    Avacyn's Pilgrim G
    +Accelerates you into your higher curve cards
    +1 point of power occasionally relevant over Hierarch
    -No exalted and only producing white means this is only copies 5-6 of Hierach if you really want the acceleration

    Warden of the First Tree G
    +Mana sink for low curve builds / good top deck
    +Can grow to an 8/8 trample lifelink (13 mana total)
    +Level up ability is useful for applying more board pressure without overcommitting into sweepers
    -Starts as a 1/1, may not be your most aggressive start
    -Poorly timed level ups can result in severe tempo loss, but level ups can be done at instant speed to mitigate risk

    Student of Warfare W
    +Mana sink for low curve builds / good top deck
    +Can grow to a 4/4 double-strike (8 mana total)
    +Level up ability is useful for applying more board pressure without overcommitting into sweepers
    -Starts as a 1/1, may not be your most aggressive start
    -Level ups can only be done at sorcery speed, making this card more vulnerable to severe tempo loss/blowout.
    -Requires large amounts of W, only fits in Mono-White, or very slight splashes

    Soldier of the Pantheon W
    +Aggressive 2/1 body with upside is above curve
    +Protection is ocassionaly relevant
    +Lifegain ability can be slightly helpful against burn
    -Poor topdeck

    Thraben Inspector W
    +Defensive 1/2 body is above curve
    +Provides card advantage, making this a good draw at nearly any point of the game
    -Starts at 1 power, may not be your most aggressive start

    Boros Elite W
    +Can potentially attack as a 3/3
    -"Win-more": needs two other creatures on the board attacking with it to have good stats (ok vs linear, bad vs interactive)
    -Starts as a 1/1, may not be your most aggressive start

    Experiment One G
    +Can grow to 3/3+ without further mana investment
    +Can survive sweepers and destruction-based point removal by removing 2 counters
    -Requires other creatures that enter with high stats / bad with creatures that enter as 1/1
    -Poor topdeck

    Bloodsoaked Champion B
    +Aggressive 2/1 body is above curve
    +Can grind against destruction-based removal
    -Cannot block
    -Raid ability timing (second main phase) slightly awkward with playing humans first main phase for Champ/Lt

    Grim Lavamancer R
    +Repeatable removal good against small creatures like Burn, Infect, Dorks, Bob, Snappy etc.
    +Direct damage can help close out some locked games
    -Requires graveyard fodder and open R mana, both of which can be somewhat limited in Human builds
    -Non-aggressive body

    Icatian Javelineers W
    +One-time ping effect is good against decks with important X/1s, can also give direct damage
    -1/1 body needs support to do much

    Monastery Swiftspear R
    +Haste and 1/2 body is already above curve
    +Potentially a 2/3 if you cast a spell per turn
    -May not have enough non-creature spells to support Prowess well / must build around
    -Clashes with Champ/Lt/Thalia design direction


    Thalia, Guardian of Thraben 1W
    +Forces many non-aggro decks to play 1-2 turns behind as they try to set up or stabilize
    +Usually draws removal away from your other threats
    -Easily answered by any removal spell
    -Because tax is symmetric, can create problems casting our own spells, especially Collected Company, Path to Exile and Gather the Townsfolk
    -Her 2/1 First Strike body and ability can become irrelevant / outclassed against creature-heavy matchups
    -Occasional legendary awkwardness

    Dark Confidant 1B
    +Card advantage, especially useful for grindier match-ups
    -Painful, softens you to burn, requires Black and a lean curve
    -2/1 body can be irrelevant and easily removed
    Play Note: After much testing, it is widely accepted to be a trap card; you'll often lose to your own Dark Confidant and it greatly hurts in damage races. Builds with lifegain would probably be the most suited for this card, but as of this writing, no such build has surfaced.

    Metallic Mimic 2
    +Gives all creatures that enter after it a counter that persists even if Mimic is removed
    +Colorless casting cost makes it easy to cast in any list
    -Must be in your starting hand & cast Turn 2 for full value, does not give the other entering creature a counter as a CoCo hit
    -2/1 body is more aggressive than Mayor but still squishy
    -Softens you to artifact removal and grows Tarmogoyf

    Hamlet Captain 1G
    +Gives all attackers or defenders +1/+1 regardless of when they entered
    +Starting stats of 2/2 is as good as it gets for human lords
    -Buff can be slow; must wait until he can attack the turn after playing
    -Buff only applies to combat / doesn't help against damage-based removal or sweepers

    Accorder Paladin 1W
    +Battlecry can give you lots of power on a wide field
    -Squishy, you will probably only attack once without some kind of support
    -Buff only applies to combat / doesn't help against damage-based removal or sweepers

    Jace, Vryn's Prodigy 1U
    +Looting effect aids deck consistency -- humans don't have many other options for filtering
    +Flipped Jace can help grind against interactive matches by re-casting CoCo or other spells
    -Your deck needs a minimum of 8 spells as flashback targets
    -His 0/2 body is bad in matchups where you need to apply pressure rather than grind

    Skyship Plunderer 1U
    +Evasive 2/1 flyer can be a good beater & decent topdeck
    +Counter ability can buff Champ/Lt for faster clock, refresh your energy for Brawler, or otherwise help with counters
    -Softens you to ping effects

    Duskwatch Recruiter 1G
    +Mana sink for card draw on a human body -- not many mana sinks in human tribe
    +Syngerizes with Mayor to still get a buff on both flip sides
    +Works great when trying to find "toolbox" creatures like Reflector Mage and Izzet Staticaster
    -Can flip at inopportune times
    -2/2 grounded body is mediocre beater

    Voltaic Brawler RG
    +Highly efficient and evasive beater, 4/3 trample for 2 mana
    -Limited energy for pumps
    -May be somewhat color intensive

    Lightning Mauler 1R
    +Can give self and/or another human haste
    +Alongside Burning-Tree Emissary, enables very explosive starts
    -2/1 grounded body is somewhat fragile for attack

    Abbot of Keral Keep 1R
    +Can sometimes give you a free extra card
    +Can be a 3/2 if you play a spell each turn
    -Must build deck with lots of non-creature spells, conflicting with Champ/Lt
    -Bad play on turn 2, wait until Turn X to play, where X = your top CMC + 2
    -Flipped card, even if castable, may not be useful on the turn it's flipped

    Kari Zev, Skyship Raider 1R
    +Difficult to block
    +Adds to the board when attacking
    +The created token is a good revolt enabler, which may be relevant in some builds
    -Only 1 base power
    -Can't play too many due to legendary rule

    Grand Abolisher WW
    +Slows down instant speed decks, effectively turns off counterspells
    -Color intensive casting cost
    -2/2 grounded body is mediocre beater

    Saffi Eriksdotter GW
    +Can act as a psuedo-spellskite to protect key cards
    +Cards returned to the battlefield trigger ETB abilities again
    -Cards returned to the battlefield lose any counters they had
    -Only protects against non-exile death
    -Legendary status can occasionally present awkwardness

    Grim Flayer BG
    +Could be a 4/4 trample
    +Potential to "super-scry" when he connects
    -Awkward in human archetype, you cannot support Champ/Lt with enough humans and also trigger delirium in a manner that's fast or reliable

    Hanweir Militia Captain 1W
    +Can potentially be a large creature that poops out more tokens
    -"Win-more" only flips if you already control four creatures
    -Slow, checks for flip only on upkeep
    -2/2 grounded body is mediocre beater

    Knight of the Holy Nimbus WW
    +Hard to remove
    +Difficult for the opponent to block
    -In some cases/matchups, is simply a 2/2 Grizzly Bear

    Glint-Sleeve Siphoner 1B
    +Quasi-evasive 2/1 Menace can be an ok beater
    +Optional card draw at 1 life might be less painful than Dark Confidant
    -Unless you have more Energy support, you won't draw a card until two turns after you've played her

    Skinshifter 1G
    +Able to be aggressive, evasive or defensive depending on situation
    +Growing to 4 or 8 toughness for 1 mana helps against burn spells
    -Requires mana to activate each time
    -Can only be activated once per turn
    -1/1 base body is very small


    Lyev Skyknight 1WU
    +A decent beater, 3 power with flying
    +"Pithing needle" ETB ability lets you temporarily interact with non-creature permanents
    -1 toughness can be problematic against X/1 flyers or ping effects

    Fiend Hunter | Banisher Priest 1WW
    +Indefinitely exiles creature rather than bouncing, *might* keep something off the board longer than Reflector mage
    -Can be instantly removed to neutralize exile effect, unreliable against decks with more than 4 removal spells
    -Not always helpful against creature-light control decks
    -3 mana exile effect can sometimes be too slow against hyper aggressive strategies
    -Usually won't attack at all in order to stay alive and maintain exile

    Knight of the Reliquary 1GW
    +Can enter as a 4/4+ and grow from there
    +Can alternatively be used as a dork
    +Allows you to tutor specific lands (Gavony Township, Ghost Quarter, etc) if there's room in your manabase
    -Requires building your list with lots of fetches, Forests, and Plains
    -Lack of evasion can keep her damage from connecting
    -Sometimes enters as a 2/2 for 3 mana

    Tireless Tracker 2G
    +Can grow to 5/4+ while also generating Clue Tokens for card advantage
    +Works very will in conjunction with Knight of the Reliquary
    -Requires building your list with lots of fetches
    -Lack of evasion can keep her damage from connecting

    Eternal Witness 1GG
    +Re-buying Collected Company can be back-breaking in grindy matchups
    +Can target any card in your graveyard
    -2/1 body is not very aggressive
    Play Note: Don't be afraid to grab a fetchland back if you're in need of mana

    Renegade Rallier 1GW
    +Returning a 2-drop permanent directly to the battlefield can give great tempo
    +Can also ramp by returning a fetch
    +3/2 body is still fairly aggressive for a grinding tool
    -Requires building your list with lots of revolt enablers and high impact 2-drops
    -Cannot re-buy CoCo
    -Worse at grinding vs. Exile-based removal compared to Witness in CoCo builds
    Play Note: Don't be afraid to grab a fetchland back if you're in need of mana

    Thalia, Heretic Cathar 2W
    +Heavily taxes greedy manabases, neutralizes haste and taps down new blockers for a turn
    +3/2 First Strike body is ok in aggressive builds
    -Most effective when played as early as possible, best paired with acceleration for play on Turn 2

    Hanweir Garrison 2R
    +Produces two 1/1 human tokens each time it attacks, rapidly buffing Champ/Lt and developing your board
    +Helps turn the corner when coming from behind
    -Without support, the 1/1 tokens are easily chumpable
    -Due to lack of evasion, may not get a chance to attack and generate tokens if outclassed by opposing midrange beaters
    -Somewhat slow, no ETB / immedaite ability, haste, or on-death value for a 3-drop. Can easily be killed after providing no value.

    Liliana, Heretical Healer 1BB
    +Lifelink helps against burn somewhat
    +Slowly grinds out value against non-exile removal once she flips
    -Requires double black to cast

    Rogue Refiner 1GU
    +Draws a card on ETB
    +Decently aggressive body
    -Only 2 toughness
    -Need cards that use energy in order to get the best value

    Sideboard - One of my favorite parts about playing Humans is that it is possible to sideboard for a wide array of decks without having to stray from the core gameplan. Over-boarding can be an issue for many decks, but that's much less of a risk for us thanks to these cards:


    Izzet Staticaster 1UR
    +Ping effect is devastating against tokens, X/1s, Affinity, Infect, etc.
    +Even good against Dredge
    +Haste and flash make her slightly less clunky than Reflector mage in some matchups
    -0/3 body keeps this card relegated to sideboards in most cases

    Kambal, Consul of Allocation 1WB
    +Great against burn and control decks
    -Can sometimes be too slow if not accelerated into
    -Irrelevancy in creature matchups keeps this card relegated to the sideboard in most cases

    Orzhov Pontiff 1WB
    +Great against decks that rely heavily on X/1s
    +Extra utility with anthem effect
    -Can sometimes be too slow if not accelerated into
    -Tiny 1/1 body for 3cmc means that this card is best as a toolbox creature

    Sin Collector 1WB
    +Great against control decks, potentially good against burn
    -Irrelevancy in creature matchups keeps this card relegated to the sideboard in most cases

    War Priest of Thune 1W
    +Great for dealing with pesky enchantments like Blood Moon and Worship
    -Narrow ability keeps this card relegated to the sideboard in most cases

    Manic Vandal 2R | Vithian Renegades 1RG
    +On-strategy artifact removal
    -Slower and not as devastating as other artifact hate

    Meddling Mage WU
    +Great for shutting down specific cards, especially combo pieces like Ad Nauseam
    +Works great in conjunction with Reflector Mage
    -Requires knowledge of opposing deck for best value and isn't good against decks with redundancy, making this card best as a sideboard piece

    Magus of the Moon 2R
    +Can turn off Urza lands, and generally mana-screw opponents
    -Easily neutralized compared to Blood Moon, especially by decks running Bolt
    -Most practical in WR lists to keep mana denial asymmetric
    -Not great against lists that don't run many non basics or are base red

    Arashin Cleric 1W
    +Instant ETB lifegain is very good against burn and aggro
    +1/3 body makes for one of the better 2cmc blockers against aggro decks
    -1 time lifegain effect can be shut down by Atarka's Command or Skullcrack
    -Irrelevant effect in many matchups keeps this card relegated to the sideboard in most cases

    Auriok Champion WW
    +Lifegain over time significantly helps stabilize against Burn
    +Protection from Black and Red renders her immune all common removal except Path
    -Incremental lifegain can sometimes be too slow
    -Double white casting cost restricts manabase choices somewhat
    -Small 1/1 body and narrow effect make this card best as a sideboard piece

    Lantern Scout 2W
    +Giving team lifelink for a turn can put burn or damage races out of reach
    -1 time lifegain effect can be shut down by Atarka's Command or Skullcrack
    -Difficult to trigger more than once without other specific cards

    True Believer WW
    +Great against decks that target the player (discard, burn)
    -Can easily be removed
    -Narrow effect keeps this card relegated to the sideboard in most cases

    Repel the Abominable 1W
    +Great combat trick, damage race tool or damage-based sweeper protection
    -Narrow effect keeps this card relegated to the sideboard in most cases

    Along with these, you get the usual Modern sideboard fodder like Rest in Peace, Blood Moon, Kataki, War's Wage, Stony Silence, Ancient Grudge, Negate, Mana Leak, Thoughtseize, Selfless Spirit, Heroic Intervention etc.

    There are a lot of cards to choose from...where do I start?
    As you can see, you can build anything from blitz aggro Humans to midrange Collected Company Humans, each with plenty of color options to boot - they all have their pros and cons, and having so many different styles means that this is a tribe that can be cheap to get into while also providing varied and powerful upgrade paths down the road. So with that said, how does someone get into playing Humans? Lets look at some example lists - these should all be great starting points, so choose whichever one best suits your playstyle and budget and start experimenting. Also keep in mind that there are builds not covered in this post, so keep looking if you can't quite find the right build!

    Note: If you have information on other versions of Humans that you think should be in the primer, let me know! Give me a full rundown of the deck (pros, cons, card choices etc) and I'll be glad to add it.

    Aggro Humans - These decks are all about going wide, going fast and getting the opponent dead.

    Budget Mono White Humans



    This is the place to start for anyone wanting to dip their toes into this archetype. The deck is lean, fast, and goes wide quick. It's cheap to build and has some very good upgrade paths, as we'll see in the following lists. The sideboard is also pretty good at covering the bad matchups, which can be tough with a lower powered budget list.

    Pros:
    - It's solid, consistent and fast.
    - The mana base is as good as it gets
    - Good sideboard options
    - Decent card draw with Thraben Inspector

    Cons:
    - Weak to counter spells
    - Weak to sweepers
    - Weak to heavy removal decks
    - Sometimes draws too many spells and not enough creatures

    **Please note that this is a budget version. If budget allows, upgrading the mana base with cards like Cavern of Souls and Horizon Canopy is highly recommended and will help alleviate some of the cons.

    The next step up is to start splashing color:

    Green/White Aggro Humans



    This is where things start getting more legitimately competitive, in my opinion. We're now running Cavern of Souls, which is an absolute house against counter spell decks. The creature power level increases with additions like Warden of the First Tree and Mayor of Avabruck, both of which can both take over a game by themselves when left unchecked. Accorder Paladin has been upgraded to Hamlet Captain as well. To go along with those changes, Brave the Elements has been swapped out for Blossoming Defense in order to be able to protect our new green creatures. This can be either an upgrade or a downgrade depending on the situation, but overall the change is a wash; I consider this a flex spot that can change based on personal preference. I personally prefer Blossoming Defense in this list, but arguments can be made for Brave the Elements as well. Also, this list is quite easy to budget-ize and slowly morph into a fully fleshed out list.

    Pros:
    - Better creatures
    - Very easy to upgrade into from the original mono white list
    - Mana base is still smooth and consistent, but also more powerful with cards like Cavern of Souls and Horizon Canopy
    - Not as weak to counter spells
    - Slightly improved sideboard

    Cons:
    - More expensive
    - Mostly the same matchup weaknesses as mono white

    If you've gotten to the G/W list and think you need just a little more oomph while keeping the pure aggro plan, there are still options:

    Abzan Aggro Humans



    Splashing black opens the door for two cards that help this strategy a lot: Dark Confidant and Thoughtseize. Dark Confidant is great here because he barely slows down the beats while providing much needed fuel. Not only that, but his drawback is pretty much as low as it ever can be in a deck, considering it will never cost more than 2 life in the maindeck configuration. Thoughtseize out of the sideboard is also very key, because it helps snipe very important cards that are otherwise hard to answer - stuff like sweepers, combo pieces and big planeswalkers. These two changes improve several matchups while leaving the beatdown plan intact. Sure, it will usually be just a smidge slower than the GW build, but I find the added power level and better matchups more than worth it.

    Pros:
    - Improved matchups against control/Tron/combo when compared to Mono White and Green/White
    - Card draw in an aggro deck - yummy
    - Mana is still solid. Despite being 3 colors, it's still not pressing on any one color.

    Cons:
    - More expensive than Green/White
    - Worse against burn
    - Very slightly slower than previous builds


    If you want a faster aggro deck, then Boros/Naya is a great choice. This deck utilizes Burning-Tree Emissary to enable very explosive starts and put the opponent on the back foot ASAP.

    Link to original post by D90Dennis14: http://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the-game/modern/deck-creation-modern/491022-modern-humans?comment=391



    Pros:
    - Very fast starts
    - Plenty of burn options for closing games out without creature combat

    Cons:
    - Colored mana can be awkward, mostly around Burning-Tree Emissary
    - No card draw, unlike other versions


    If you don't like any of those options (or, conversely, you like ALL of those options) and want to just jam all the things, then grab some rainbow lands and go 5 color! This list 5-0'd a Competitive Modern MTGO league and plans to go all in with the best aggressive creatures that the Human tribe has to offer.

    Link to feature article: http://www.channelfireball.com/articles/deck-of-the-day-modern-5-color-humans/



    Pros:
    - Absurdly fast & redundant
    - Evasive attackers with Mantis Rider
    - Consistent colored mana
    - Wide open sideboard options

    Cons:
    - Manabase can be very painful
    - Only 1 Path to Exile for large creatures in game 1

    These aggro lists are great and all, but lets say you want some more mid and late game sustainability. What now? Well...we do what any other creature heavy deck does - we move to Collected Company. This is where things get even more fun because the build avenues broaden greatly, but if you're really wanting to build a proper CoCo list, you can't worry too much about budget; that's what the aggro lists are for. Luckily, if you've done the W -> GW -> Abzan upgrade path described above, there is a CoCo option for that that does not require a lot of new stuff. If you want something totally different from those lists, there are also options there as well.

    Collected Company Humans - These decks look to provide more mid and lategame sustainability. Don't fret, however; these decks still get the beatdowns goin' quick!

    Abzan Company Humans



    As you can see, a lot of the characters (and most importantly, lands) from the Abzan Aggro list make a return, which makes this a very natural upgrade path. Out of all the Collected Company lists I have built, this one has by far the smoothest mana base thanks to being 3 colors. In fact, I think Abzan is the only 3 color combination that can really stand on its own without a 4th color (maybe Bant, but it's hard to justify not running Mantis Rider at that point). Aside from Collected Company being a huge upgrade in terms of power level over the aggro lists, we get some really cool 3 drops both in the main and in the side.

    Pros:
    - Robust, hard to deal with 3 drops
    - Lots of built in card advantage
    - Negates a lot of spot removal and sweepers
    - Surprisingly smooth, low-pain mana. This list can usually run off of fetched basics without worry.
    - Great sideboard creatures

    Cons:
    - Not quite as interactive or evasive as the other Company lists
    - Dark Confidant hurts sometimes

    If you're either burnt out or not interested in these G/W/x lists, there are STILL some options! Some of the best Humans in modern are in Blue and Red, so lets take a look!

    Bant Red Company Humans



    This was my favorite list for a long time until the printing of Kitesail Freebooter, due to the sheer number of angles it attacks from. It's aggressive, but can back it up with card advantage. There's evasion and tempo. It has a sideboard that can be easily tuned for any meta. It doesn't have issues with clogged boards like the Abzan list does, and is able to better fight against the top of the opponent's deck with Negate as opposed to Thoughtseize out of the sideboard. Reflector Mage allows you to shave Path to Exile post board and still be able to deal with creatures. The 2 and 3 drops are very evasive and difficult to block, which is exacerbated when Thalia, Heretic Cathar is on the battlefield. There is a lot to like here. This list is an evolution of a similar list demonstrated by Frank Lepore and Craig Wescoe on YouTube, so feel free to check those videos out if you'd like to see it in action.

    The list in the YouTube videos also went 5-0 in an MTGO Competitive Modern league, as noted in this article

    Pros:
    - 2 drops are aggressive and very difficult to block
    - 3 drops are aggressive, evasive and provide tempo
    - Access to Reflector Mage greatly improves flexibility when sideboarding
    - Sideboard options galore

    Cons:
    - Mana can be clunky at times, but smart and calculated fetching is usually able to overcome it. Bad fetching can ruin a game, however.
    - Not as good against removal and sweepers as the Abzan list
    - No good disruption against sweepers


    This is the current generally preferred shell for Humans, thanks to the printing of Kitesail Freebooter. The ability to maintain the typical aggressive Human beatdowns while proactively disrupting the opponent with cards like Kitesail Freebooter and Meddling Mage make this build very strong and well rounded against such a wide format like Modern. Sideboard options like Sin Collector further improve the strategy post-board.

    Bant Black Company Humans



    Pros:
    - Lots of built-in widely relevant disruption
    - "Accidental" creature graveyard hate with Anafenza
    - Further disruption available in the sideboard

    Cons:
    - Some of the good red sideboard cards are a little more difficult to work with
    - Not as fast or evasive as Bant Red, which can lead to some struggles in creature matchups that get clogged on the ground
    - Takes a lot of time and practice to get the most out of Meddling Mage

    Why not play some other Collected Company Deck?
    While there are other Collected Company options in modern, some even with built in combos, Humans provide some advantages. Compared to an Abzan combo list, for example, Humans get much larger and can much more easily push through damage without relying on a combo. It's not uncommon for a Human CoCo deck to simply overrun opposing CoCo decks. Depending on the particular color choice and build, some Humans lists can not only push through damage easier, but have better creature interaction thanks to cards like Reflector Mage. Reflector Mage is particularly great since his effect isn't completely undone by a removal spell, like with other cards like Fiend Hunter. Compared with a Naya Company list, Humans decks can often provide more card advantage via cards like Dark Confidant, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Duskwatch Recruiter while stil being able to go toe to toe on the ground with lords, Champion and Reflector Mage or taking to the air with Mantis Rider. Cavern of Souls is also something that shouldn't be overlooked. Being able to play creatures into open blue mana is a huge boon over most other CoCo lists, especially when many of our creatures have great ETB effects attached. And unlike CoCo Elves, Humans don't rely so heavily on a single card like Elves does on Ezuri, Renegade Leader.

    Do we have any tournament results to look at?
    We sure do! 3-5 color Collected Company variations have been creeping into the modern metagame through several 5-0'd Competitive MTGO leagues, a 19th place finish at GP Vegas, and a 30th place finish at the SCG Charlotte Open

    Most recently, a 5 color Aether Vial build dominated the SCG Open in Cincinatti. Deck Tech here

    Where can I find more coverage/videos on Humans decks?
    Craig Wescoe playing 5 color Humans
    Pascal Maynard playing 4 color Humans
    Caleb Durward playing GW Humans


    Previous thread: http://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the-game/modern/deck-creation-modern/491022-modern-humans
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 2

    posted a message on Modern Humans
    Hey guys, just wanted to throw a quick "tournament" report in here while it's fresh on my mind. I just got back from a local FNM, which was my first time playing paper magic in about a year. It was a small turnout, but all of my opponents ended up being familiar local grinders who always run tiered decks, so there definitely wasn't a shortage of competition. The list I ran is the same list I've been championing in MTGO:



    Without further ado, here's the rundown:

    Match 1 - Grixis Control - WIN 2-0
    -----------------------------------------------
    Game 1 started off with a bang with me on the play. T1 Champion of the Parish into T2 Champion of the Parish / Noble Hierarch into T3 Anafenza, the Foremost. So yeah, the opponent got run over. The downside is that I didn't get any real info about what version of Grixis he was running, so I played it safe with -2 Path to Exile +2 Sin Collector as the sideboard plan (I assumed it was the control variant, but wasn't 100% certain). Game 2 was a bit slower, me on the draw. No T1 play. My opponent clearly represents Terminate on T2 so I play Meddling Mage naming it. I start building a board presence with Thalia's Lieutenant and Thalia, Heretic Cathar (he plays a Tasigur), so by the time he was able to draw out from under the Meddling Mage, I had done enough damage and had enough on-board that I was able to squeak through the last bit of damage before he could pull ahead with his Tasigur, the Golden Fang and card advantage. A timely Sin Collector in the midgame was able to nab a Cryptic Command as well, which was one of his few outs later in the game. G2 was a good example of what a good read with Meddling Mage can do.

    Match 2 - Sultai Death's Shadow - WIN 2-0
    -----------------------------------------------
    I was on the draw in Game 1. Kept a hand with some nice stuff like Noble, Lieutenant and Freebooter. My opponent snipes Freebooter with an early Inquisition of Kozilek. My next couple of turns consist of playing Meddling Mage on Fatal Push (which once again ended up being a good read) and Thalia's Lieutenant. My opponent plays a Tarmogoyf and suits it up with a fun-of Rancor while he's stuck on 2-3 lands. After a few turns of waiting on a Path to Exile or Reflector Mage, I cast a Thalia, Heretic Cathar that I drew, which made my Lieutenant big enough to at least trade with the monstrous 6/5 Goyf. I attack and he accepts the trade. Naturally, I draw Reflector Mage the following turn. Either way, that same turn Thalia, Heretic Cathar knocked him down to 2 life in a very interesting sequence where my opponent was unable to kill it with Snapcaster Mage/Fatal Push due to the fact that Snap had to enter tapped and couldn't trigger revolt. I play Reflector Mage post combat, awkwardly bouncing his Snapcaster, but he was still stuck on 3 mana and couldn't actually utilize it. We then went onto game 2, where I once again named Fatal Push with Meddling Mage, which helped open the door for me to produce more threats than he had answers (thanks to Freebooter later on as well) and cruise to victory. He did have a Death's Shadow towards the end, but Freebooter was pinging him in the air for 3 damage a turn. and his hand was just useless disruption spells.

    At this point, I was feeling great! Undefeated in both matches and all 4 games. Onto the finale...

    Match 3 - Affinity - WIN 2-1
    ------------------------------------------------
    I was on the draw once again for Game 1. I knew my opponent was on Affinity from hearing about the deck earlier. My opening hand was along the lines of Noble/Freebooter/Lieutenant/Path, which seemed quite reasonable. Unfortunately, he was able to pretty much dump his hand before Freebooter came out on T2, but that's to be expected sometimes. I was holding onto the path like it was pure gold, especially when my opponent was able to put out a pair of Arcbound Ravagers. We played a bit of a game of chicken, trying to see who would flinch first as we traded some damage back and forth. It all changed when I drew a Collected Company and was able to force his hand with double Reflector Mage targeting both Ravagers along with the Path to Exile sitting in my hand. He responds by putting a bunch of counters on a Vault Skirge, which I Path EOT. He was unable to recover as I was swinging for immense amounts of damage by that point. Game 2, I kept a slow hand on the draw and died to a suited up Inkmoth Nexus. I knew better than to keep that hand, so that was definitely on me. In game 3, we both mulled to 6 and I was on the play. I kept a hand with 2 lands, Champion of the Parish, Thalia's Lieutenant, Reflector Mage and Path to Exile. I see a 3rd land with my scry and happily keep it on top. This time it was my turn to be the aggro deck, so I started the beatdowns and had to do a little bit of early racing against a Vault Skirge before the pressure + Reflector Mage + Path to Exile + 2nd Path to Exile that I later drew proved to be too much. I main phased my final Path to Exile on his large Vault Skirge because I felt at that point, the main way I could lose was by getting too fancy and letting my Path get hit with a Stubborn Denial. After the game, my opponent confirmed that he did indeed have a Denial in hand. We played a fun match afterwards with him playing a Jeskai Control deck and the ol' Humans punched right through that as well.

    When all was said and done, I was incredibly happy with how the deck ran. It constantly attacked my opponents from multiple angles and taxed their draw steps, their mana, their blocks, you name it. I skipped over a few smaller details, like how Mayor of Avabruck was putting in some great work in multiple games tonight (had quite a few "hey can I read what his backside does? Oh...I should probably kill that) and how Anafenza, the Foremost was doing a great job of punching through damage and ending games, but I just wanted to hit the main points. I was also pleased with my own performance; I don't recall any noticeable punts, even with Meddling Mage and I was able to stay on top of all the various triggers/abilities like Mayor, Anafenza (both the counter and the exile effect) and the fact that Reflector Mage delays the re-casting of the card for a turn. The deck ran great, I played great and I was able to head home with a nice $40 in my wallet. Not a bad way to shake off the rust!
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 1

    posted a message on Modern Humans
    Quote from polymorpher »
    You should try tireless tracker.


    I've tried Tireless Tracker in the past and found him to be too slow and too situational (need to play early + draw lands + have mana that isn't already being utilized); I landed on Thalia, Heretic Cathar in that slot instead thanks to her ability to choke opponents on mana and blockers, which the deck is more in the market for. Thalia is much better against Tron decks, decks that clog the ground/produce chump blockers, hasty creature combos etc, all of which we need help fighting. Her first strike also makes her hard to block on her own. Tracker is great in grindy midrange / control matchups which we already have plenty of game against. We're looking to get under most decks, not grind them out, so Thalia is my preference there.

    Quote from polymorpher »

    What are your thoughts on 5c with freebooter and mantis rider?


    I honestly haven't tested it a bunch, but my current impression is that the marginal improvement isn't worth the extra mana restriction. Testing it helped me find ways to improve the Bant Black list, which to me feels like the more solid deck now that those improvements have been made. I plan to test more when I have some time, but currently I find myself really enjoying the Bant Black list. The 5C list is definitely more powerful, but I'm just on the fence about adding even more complexity to the mana. It works, it's just tough.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 1

    posted a message on Modern Humans
    Quote from Dr. Sanchez »

    Hmm these cards are good but not amazing. As has been mentioned before in this thread it's probably better to stick low to the ground without Coco and go more aggro.
    Ok I convinced myself while writing this that a non fetch-shock manabase is probably not the way. Coco is one of the most powerful cards in the format so not playing it is most likely a misstake anyway.
    Still posting this to show you my thought process. If in the future an overpowered 4cmc human gets printed, it might be worth exploring this manabase.


    It's still an informative post, and definitely something I've mulled around for a while. Collected Company is just too good, at the moment. However, something I haven't really discussed since the initial spoiler for Unclaimed Territory is that it's finally much easier and painless to run some 3+ color aggro. I'm finally able to run Bloodsoaked Champion, Boros Elite, Warden of the First Tree etc in the same deck! It's fun to play when I'm not feeling like thinking much. My current "for fun" list:



    Quote from Dr. Sanchez »

    Anyway, I hope we can find a way to play mantis rider alongside black hand disruption humans because I agree that would be the best of both worlds.


    Agreed. I think it comes down to fully optimizing the mana, from both a creature color requirement standpoint and the manabase itself. If we can make it solid, we're golden.

    Quote from polymorpher »

    I just don't know how bad the Bant 5color list is against Valakut, Storm and other Combo decks. I feel that the disruptive version is better, slightly slower but could still almost race the other creature aggro decks (or we have to improve the SB a bit for those).


    Yeah, I dedicated plenty of sideboard slots for those matchups, basically being able to make the deck into the Bant Black disruption deck when we need it.

    Quote from polymorpher »

    I really like your 5C list with 4 Freebooter @kingcars. I am just still not sure if we want MM over Sin Collector but I guess yes since otherwise we would have too many 3 drops.


    Yeah, I think it's a mana curve thing, and with 4 Freebooters main, we should be able to set up MM pretty well.

    Quote from MenderBUGRW »
    How do you guys feel against Bant Eldrazi and RG Ponza with the disruptive list?
    Bant Eldrazi is almost full creatures and go big very fast.
    RG Ponza with Blood Moon and LD can be so annoying, they can ramp big creatures very fast and tons of mass removals (damn Bonfire), also Stormbreath is a monster against humans.


    Bant Eldrazi is definitely a matchup that is weaker for the Bant Black deck as opposed to the Bant Red deck. Bant Red crushes Eldrazi, while the Bant Black deck would struggle at least in mainboard configuration. Abzan Falconer out of the side would be very annoying for them. However, 4x Reflector Mage is always a huge against them, so it's never going to be *that* bad of a matchup.

    As for Ponza, the Bant Black deck has more answers for Blood Moon thanks to Kitesail Freebooter, which conveniently also gives us our first legit way to block a Stormbreath Dragon. I didn't even realize that till right now...

    Either way, without having played the matchup, I'd say that you'd want some disruption and way to kill them before they get out from under it. (this is where Mantis Rider or Anafenza, the Foremost come in.

    Quote from MenderBUGRW »

    I think that Mantis Rider is weird here, he turns the mana base in a pain house. It's a great card, but is that enough power to risk?


    Mantis Rider is most certainly worth testing. After playing with the Bant Black list for a few days, dropping a Mantis Rider on T2 felt incredibly powerful and reminded me just how good of a card it is. There are plenty of games where haste and flying basically mean that you have a Lighting Bolt to surprise kill your opponent with after they think they've pulled back ahead with a sweeper. It pressures planeswalkers very effectively, which is something the Bant Black deck struggles with. It's very big game. The question right now is whether or not we can make the mana work. My current gameplan is to make Mantis Rider the only red card in the main, which should help alleviate tension. We'll see how it goes. I'm liking the results so far.

    Quote from MenderBUGRW »

    Also, Mini Thalia is bad for Company/Path, but she puts a lot of pressure in the battlefield, almost always eat a removal saving your creatures and slowing your opponent.


    The biggest problem with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is that there are other cards we can run that do the same things she does, but better, and without slowing us down. Voltaic Brawler and Kari Zev, Skyship Raider put much more pressure on the battlefield, are much more difficult to block, and similarly act as lighting rods for removal. Kitesail Freebooter, Sin Collector and Kambal, Consul of Allocation actually steal spells and punish the opponent for casting spells. Thalia isn't even that great against Storm, which has plenty of ways to nullify or even "pull ahead" of her effect with how many cost reducers they run. When I ran her, even when she was slowing my opponent down, she was slowing me down just as much. I'd rather play creatures that hate out the same stuff and don't slow me down.

    Quote from MenderBUGRW »

    Big Thalia otherside is strong too, I'm using 2 copies in my Bant Company and GW Hatebears, she won me lots of matches, even against RG Ponza with their fetchs and haste dragons, also a nightmare against Eldrazis.


    I definitely like Big Thalia as an "auxiliary" 3 drop. She slows down/nullifies a lot of things - Nahiri/Emmy combo, Ghost Quarter recursion, opposing Collected Companies/Aether Vials, token generators, haste creatures, you name it.


    EDIT:
    Just wanted to update after a few games of testing a 5C build. First, here's the list:



    The first big question was the mana. Fortunately, it appears that the mana base is stable. I played a total of 8 games (small sample size, I know, but 8 games is enough to at least have a general yay or nay sense of things) and did not encounter any major self-inflicted colored mana issues. However, the deck is weak to well-timed mana disruption like a Ghost Quarter or Spreading Seas, but if you're going to play a 4 or 5 color deck, that's always going to be a thing. All in all, I'd say we're doing as well as can be expected on the mana side of things. Mantis Rider was consistently castable, even when following up Freebooter.

    I could go on and on about Mantis Rider, Freebooter, Meddling Mage etc. But we all know what these creatures do and they do it very well. The big win here is the fact that sideboard contains the narrower side our disruption package, meaning that we can fully sideboard into being the Bant Black list when it's needed without having to worry about dead Sin Collectors in Game 1. I would certainly recommend testing this list and seeing how it works; it's right up there with the others.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 1

    posted a message on Modern Humans
    Quote from headminerve »
    We'll agree to disagree on Pilgrim then. It's no big deal really. Wink
    The idea that you think Initiate is worse than Pilgrim makes little sense, because the only common point between those 2 that really matters to me is to be ready for a Coco on T3, or a sure Mantis on T3. I don't really care what the quality of my play is on T2.


    I don't think Initiate is strictly worse in a general sense, but I do think it is worse in an aggro deck like Humans. It's more of a consistent deck velocity thing than anything else. T1 vs T2 dork is a massive difference in terms of velocity, and having 2 extra chances of hitting that is very important (I've found this number difference to be especially important when I have to mulligan). You should very much care about the play quality on T2; it's a big part of how you win games in Modern. I have spent a lot of time tweaking and tuning my lists to have the most impactful T2 plays in the widest array of scenarios, hence why I've spent a lot of time talking about cards like Kari Zev, Skyship Raider, Voltaic Brawler, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Duskwatch Recruiter and Kitesail Freebooter. It's why I went from only playing 4 Hierarchs to playing the 2 Pilgrims as well. My plan A is to have 3 mana available on T2, my plan B is to have a powerful standalone threat. I want my deck to do one of those 2 things as much as possible.

    The scenarios that you mention of uncastable CoCos and Riders are rare, corner case scenarios in my experience. The games where you gain large advantages by playing a T1 dork are a dime a dozen.

    Quote from headminerve »

    What exactly is Brawler losing to on the ground? With ANY single lord or exalted effect...

    I'll stop you there. Most of the time, Brawler is a 3/2 on defense and a 4/3 on offense. The times it's pumped by a Lord is nearly equal to the times he'll attack with no energy.


    Running out of energy is something I paid close attention to when I started playing the card. In fact, I originally ran it with Rogue Refiner at the 3cmc slot to keep the energy tank full. Since then, this is what I've found:

    I think I have had maybe one single game where my Brawler attacked with no energy. At that point, it had already done 8-10 damage with energy-enabled attacks and the opponent was dead. If your brawler lives long enough to run out of energy, then congrats, you've done 8+ damage for 2 mana and still have a 3/2 body on board. That's quite a deal. If you find yourself attacking with it often with no energy available, then something isn't right. Most of the time, the opponent either kills brawler immediately or they die to it - that is exactly what we want out of a 2 drop in an aggressive build like Bant Red, and no other 2 drop I know of does that (Kari Zev being the closest). I have found it incredibly rare to run out of energy; it is a 5/4 trample on attacks far more often than a vanilla 3/2, not to mention that multiples stack very well. We also have a deck that is literally built around a core of ways to make creatures bigger (10+ different cards in most builds), so if we're not able to do that, then our deck is failing at its own gameplan. I don't care what Brawler is on defense because the deck (especially the Bant Red build) is all about getting the opponent dead. We are the aggressor in 90%+ of matchups. It gets sided out for something like Arashin Cleric for the few matchups where we care about blocking and life totals.

    Quote from headminerve »

    It's a nice combo to have both, but it's a fragile argument to bring here (like everything that implies "when everything goes as planned").


    Having the deck perform its most basic, built-around gameplan is not "everything goes as planned." It's what the deck is built to do. If it's not doing what it's built to do, we are losing. You're coming at it from extreme worst case scenarios that are unwinnable regardless of what 2 drop is being played. I am coming at it from a perspective of how the average game plays out, which is generally where we want to focus our attention. We don't currently have access to a 2 drop that can dig us out of such worst case scenarios (unless you're banking on a flipped Jace or sinking mana into a Recruiter), so it's best to play a 2 drop that maximizes our number of outs in average scenarios. More on this below...

    Quote from headminerve »

    So as a 4/3, it's blocked or raced by Tas, Angler, Smasher, Tarmo, Etched Champ, Elves, pumped Merfolk, etc... the list goes on.


    If we have no ways to kill/clear those creatures AND no ways to pump Brawler, we are dead because our deck is doing nothing and we have probably drawn a bunch of lands or the opponent has successfully grinded us out of resources and we're bricking on draws. My above argument applies here as well. In an average version of the scenarios you listed (Tasigur, Angler, Goyf, Smasher), all we need is a single Noble Hierarch, Thalia's Lieutenant, Mayor of Avabruck, Reflector Mage or Path to Exile and we're golden. These cards take up ~18 slots in most main deck configurations, not counting Collected Company. With almost all of our other available 2 drops, we would NEED a Mage or Path to clear it, but with Brawler, we more than double our chances of punching through because all we need is one of at least 10 ways to pump it. If they want to trade their 5 and 6 drops with our 2 drop, be my guest. If you're not drawing into any one of those by the time this scenario pops up, then that just sucks. We simply cannot make card choices with such a scenario in mind. Etched Champion is a problem card regardless of what we do, and falls into the same boat. Against Elves and Merfolk, Brawler increases our ability to race because they can't chump it. So as you can see, with Brawler, we greatly increase the chance that these scenarios are not back breaking.

    Also, with this same argument, lets go ahead and list out why Champion of the Parish is terrible since it's just a 1/1 for 1 :p .

    Quote from headminerve »

    Is it easy enough on the mana though ? It's in completely different colors than Med Mage, Ref Mage, Mantis, Ana, Freebooter, etc...


    As I mentioned earlier, I am rather aggressive with my fetches and shocks and have not had issues casting Brawler, and the vast majority of my reps were before Unclaimed Territory. In a 4 color build, I wouldn't be concerned with mana constraints. A 5 color build is trickier, however.

    Quote from headminerve »

    That said, the power is there, I'm on your side. But let's not spread the idea it's so pushed that nothing can stop/race it. Imho, it's a playable, not a staple, whereas Freebooter leans towards the 2nd category (although not as a 4x necessarily). What do you think ?


    I think that in the context of the Bant Red build, Brawler is most certainly one of the staple top choices; I would not run a Bant Red list without it. When we start talking 5 color or Bant Black, Freebooter is proving to be fantastic. It just depends on what you want your gameplan to be. Also, to be fair, all I originally said is that it has consistently overperformed for me. Whether I play it T2 on an empty board, push through some final damage by trampling over chump blockers, push through large creatures like discussed above, etc, it's played a major role in a lot of game wins in a wide variety of scenarios. Moreso than any other non-lord 2 drop I have tried in Bant Red.

    Quote from polymorpher »
    @kingcars: you gave a lot of arguments for my opinion that we need 7 mana dorks instead of 6.


    Haha that's fair. There are a lot of things to like about a T1 dork, so I can see an argument for running a 7th. I just don't like to draw too many or hit too many off of Collected Company, so 6 has been the sweet spot for me.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 2

    posted a message on Modern Humans
    Quote from SmauG »
    Dropping blue has made my deck far more reliable in the Blood Moon matches. I have made a few tweaks top the manabase to make this happen, Verdant Catacombs instead of Windswept Heath.

    Fetching my three basics and trying to get rid of Blood Moon as early as possible with hand disruption is the best way. If it does resolve, it's only a minor annoiance, and usually a loss of turn three for the opponent.


    The issue I have with dropping blue is that creature matchups get considerably worse and sideboarding gets tougher since you can't lean on Reflector Mage and cut Path to Exile. Reflector Mage is what I consider to be the most important non-core creature (Champ/Lieutenant/Noble) in any CoCo Humans list. I'm ok taking a slightly higher risk against Blood Moon in order to have far better matchups and sideboarding across pretty much everything else.


    Also, just as a heads up, I streamed some Modern Friendly League matches on twitch last night with the new Bant Black deck (twitch.tv/kingcars - should be available in the Videos section). I made a couple of egregious punts, one of which cost me a round, but both were due to interactions I wasn't thinking about or fully aware of, so it was a great learning experience for me and hopefully a good lesson for those watching as well. I also probably shouldn't have been playing so late at night, but oh well haha. But after 3 matches, the deck is 2-1 and I'm hoping to finish off strong tonight. I apologize for the low volume audio and the subpar video quality - both should be fixed for tonight's stream. Once the league is over, I'll be sure to clip out each round and post them to my Youtube channel, which is under the same name. I also may be streaming the Bant Red list as well so we can get some good side by side comparisons.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 1

    posted a message on Modern Humans
    Quote from kingcars »
    [quote from="polymorpher »" url="http://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the-game/modern/developing-competitive-modern/769652-modern-humans?comment=565"]What do you think about playing Mantis Rider instead of Anafenza or a one of Abzan Falconer?

    Anafenza, the Foremost is a fantastic magic card, just try it out!


    This! I ran Bant Black Humans at GP Birmingham, and everytime I played my singleton Anafenza, she got a reaction from my opponents, usually something like "Yeah, sure... wait, what does she do again? Oh, cool... and she's a 4/4?!". I was never unhappy to see her.


    Yeah, I have been a big Anafenza fan since I first started playing with Abzan based Humans lists. She is everything the humans deck wants: above-the-curve body, grows other creatures when attacking and even has some relevant graveyard hate tacked on. It's never a bad card in any matchup and at its best is a game ender. My personal opinion is that it's a mistake to not run at least 2 in a list that easily supports her colors. The Legendary downside is the only part I dislike.


    Your deck looks interesting, I like the idea of a proactive disruption deck, speaking as someone who gets punished for risky keeps myself this seems like a great way to disrupt an opponent, whilst building a Humans beat down. I also like that it cleans up your sideboard into very clear options that support your gameplan or address specific matchups. Plus I just miss Kambal and Sin Collector in my current Bant Red Human Knightfall list!


    The thing I have been finding is that, in a lot of our tougher matchups, they will often keep a hand that is almost zero action aside from the 1 card that kills us (ie Supreme Verdict). A well timed Freebooter or Sin Collector can destroy that hope quickly.

    Also, even though I have not yet had a situation where I couldn't hit anything with Freebooter or Collector, I find the hand information to be very relevant. Again I'll use UW control as an example, but knowing when I do and don't have to play around sweepers and removal is huge. That same information makes Meddling Mage very good.

    Quote from polymorpher »

    I will give your configuration a try. However, I think we don't need the red in the sideboard (including the land). Since your maindeck is very disruptive already I think the focus of your sideboard should go a little bit more towards the very small aggressive creature decks. Therefore, I think you should play 2 Orzhov Pontiff and cutting the Izzet staticaster and the land. Even though no human, I would prefer Reclamation Sage over Vithian Renegades but if you want them I think you can still keep them without adding the additional stomping ground in the side. I personally also prefer Stony Silence instead of Kathaki because it is acceptable to good in the Eldrazi tron matchup.


    It's possible that the red isn't needed, but I felt that the small splash was mostly a drop in the bucket with the addition of Unclaimed Territory in the mana base, and those two creatures in particular were proving to be very good in my Bant Red build. A few other things to note:

    Small creature decks have not been a problem for me with any version of CoCo Humans. Our creatures quickly get too big for them to bust through, and Path to Exile and Reflector Mage keep the board in check. Post board, we have Arashin Cleric as a solid early blocker and lifegain if needed. The only "small creature deck" that is a problem is burn, but this version of the deck has way more tools to fight it and it seems much more winnable. Izzet Staticaster is great since it has flash and its ability is reusable for as long as it's alive, which is why I prefer it over Pontiff.

    As for Vithian Renegades vs Reclamation Sage, there are a few things to talk about. Sage is harder to cast in a 4x Cavern of Souls, 4x Unclaimed Territory deck. It's a 2/1 body that doesn't grow vs a 3/2 body that does grow (not counting Anafenza triggers). It also doesn't grow any existing Champs of Lieutenants. There really aren't many enchantments we need to hit; those that we can hit can also be taken care of with Kitesail Freebooter, which I added a 4th of in the sideboard since yesterday, or Meddling Mage. Vithian Renegades is mostly used for sniping Aether Vial, since that usually comes down before we can grab it with a Freebooter or Mage. It's also used for Affinity, which is a matchup where enchantment removal is not necessary. So at this moment, enchantments aren't a concern, so I'll take the bigger body and all the synergies.

    Stony Silence vs Kataki, War's Wage is always an interesting discussion. In the case of this deck, the only matchup I need Kataki for is Affinity. If Kataki sticks, it's nearly impossible to lose. Meanwhile, I have seen plenty of games where Affinity wins through Stony Silence without much issue. Yes, Kataki can be killed, but we can at least find a 2nd one with CoCo and we have other artifact removal to hit, so it's not the end of the world. As for Eldrazi Tron, there isn't much in that deck I'm afraid of. The main things I want to stop are Oblivion Stone and All is Dust, which the built in disruption package easily takes care of. I don't have much interest in vastly slowing down my on-board pressure by playing an enchantment on T2.

    In summary, to WanganMidnight's point, the disrution package of this deck allows us to be very specific with our sideboard cards, so we can focus on silver bullets for specific matchups and play less flexible cards with more synergy. These are obviously just my opinions and some food for thought on a few subjects. The best way to find out is to test it all out for yourself and see what you like!
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 1

    posted a message on Modern Humans
    Quote from ketoglutarate »
    congrats! i really like your list, I hoped something like that could work!


    Thanks! When Freebooter was spoiled, I figured this build would just be a for-the-lulz thing, but it's proving to be a legitimate contender. While people are debating between Freebooter and Collector, I'm over here like



    Quote from ketoglutarate »

    The list looks great, and i agree on the Unclaimed territory. The drawback is less consistency for casting noncreature spells, but with the right configuration we can cast CoCo by turn 3 pretty consistently.


    Yeah I was worried about the non-creature spells, but so far it has not been a problem. It's very nice to have more painless color fixing, though, especially against burn. I'll keep testing it. I've also updated the mana base of my blackless Mantis Rider build and so far, it's been great.

    Quote from ketoglutarate »

    Regarding manabase, your configuration seems the most stable, maybe we can take some shocklands away? like Hallowed Fountain, as we often need U and W sources to be in different lands (for meddling mage and Reflector mage).


    Yeah, hard to say. It'll take some testing and tweaking to find the optimal mana base. I've also considered 1 or 2 Reflecting Pool, which work great with Cavern and Territory.

    Quote from ketoglutarate »

    The only card with a tough casting cost is Anafenza, the foremost, but i guess you might also opt to put it in the sideboard (even though maindeck graveyard hate is pretty nice in the current meta). In that case you could go up to full playsets of meddling mages and freebooters (and make the manabase more focused).


    Anafenza isn't actually hard to cast in this build, considering that there is literally only 1 mana source (the basic Island) that doesn't help cast her. I also don't want to fall into a trap where the deck is all disruption and no finishers. You can disrupt the opponent all you want, but you still gotta kill them before they draw out of it.

    Quote from ketoglutarate »

    By the way, what is the general opinion of the thread on gavony township? C mana is though, but the card can be really useful... is it worth it?


    Gavony is great if you're on 2 or 3 colors. Past that, you're treading on thin ice. Colorless sources get super risky.

    Quote from polymorpher »
    @ kingcars
    I am missing old Thalia in your deck.is it not worth it? How is your storm matchup without her. Do you think she could be played instead of anafenza or does that result in too many 2 drops?


    This deck crushes storm. Freebooter, Sin Collector and Meddling Mage pretty easily shut down their gameplan, and there's even Kambal in the sideboard for extra hate. I removed old Thalia from my CoCo Humans builds a while ago, as she often hurt me just as much, if not more, than my opponent. She regularly blocked my own CoCos and Paths. Especially in a deck like this one with so much hate for non creature spells, there isn't a reason to run her. Anafenza, the Foremost is an important finisher and helps grow the smaller bodies in the deck. Don't underestimate the clock this card puts out. I rarely lose games when I'm swinging and placing counters with her. Also, playing her on T2 against Living End and Dredge is quite fun!
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
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