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  • posted a message on UR Phoenix
    Quote from idSurge »
    I for sure agree with Kiln Fiend inclusion. It was in most of my early builds, and yesterday it would have helped me a ton and its going back in my lists side or even main.

    Essentially if you dont get anything out of the Evacuation mode on Thing, Fiend is going to be more helpful against the decks we need to race so depending on meta (humans, spirits, GW combo) it may be correct to play Fiend instead?

    I think that's the right scale to weigh Kiln Fiend on. The only thing is, I think once you're maindecking Fiend, you need to start considering things like Artful Dodge and Slip Through Space in the starting 60, because in my experience the floor of Kiln Fiend against decks with blockers is lower than the floor of Thing against decks without creatures.

    On top of that, I think the meta currently leans a bit more towards creatures so at least for now and SCG Worcester I'm going to keep Fiends in the sideboard. But, if things get even more linear and go-wide decks fall in popularity, a more Bloo-style shotgun build is absolutely on the table.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on UR Phoenix
    Howdy fellow UR Falconers, as soon as GRN came out I scooped up foil Phoenixes and have been playing UR builds in Standard and Modern non-stop. This past Saturday, I played in a fairly small 26-person qualifier for my LGS's Invitational and went 4-1 in the swiss rounds, then got knocked out in the semi-finals after the top4 cut. I figure a brief report and some afterthoughts might be useful for developing the deck.

    EDIT: Forgot the decklist like a dummy.

    R1: Mardu Pyromancer 2-1

    I get paired against my buddy Tom, who admittedly hasn't played Modern in months so he has very little clue what my deck contains or is doing. Game 1 is a bit of a slog, discard strips down my hand, I see a couple Crackling Drakes, cantrips, and removal, but no Things or Phoenixes. I eventually die to a bunch of Spirit tokens. For boarding I believe I did -1 Maximize Velocity -2 Thought Scout, +2 Anger +1 Ral. Scours out because I expect Leylines, Angers in to get rid of bird blockers. Post-board games my deck "does the thing" a lot better. I throw multiple TITIs under the Fatal Push bus in g2, and then recur multiple Phoenixes before Bolting him out. Game 3 goes similarly, I stick a TITI that he doesn't answer, but he plays a Kambal so we play draw-go as he looks for a Push and I try to find removal. Eventually I Lightning Axe Bruce Campbell, flip the TITI, and recur a phoenix in one turn and it's pretty easy from there. He brought in Leylines and we discussed that that may not have been right, but Kambal was solid.

    R2: Jund 2-0

    Another buddy named Tom, he rarely strays from Jund and is trying Fabiano's list with the maindeck nihil spellbombs. I get the nut on turn 2 of Manamorphose, Faithless Looting discard two phoenixes, Bolt you, and he dies the next turn unceremoniously. I just swap one Gut Shot out for Ral, leaving two in two deal with Confidants and a freshly minus'd LoTV. Game 2 is a bit slower, we both don't do much for the first few turns, I recur one Phoenix but he kills it and I don't have enough spells stocked up to recur, so I land a Drake, crack in for eight. On his turn it gets Lili edicted. A turn later I make a misplay and cast Looting with one card in hand in an attempt to find a 1 CMC spell and get multiple Phoenixes back. He Kommands me making me discard my second Crackling Drake. But, because lucky is better than good, on my next turn I rip the third Drake, use the cantripped card to Jump-Start a Maximize Velocity that I'd looted away earlier and win.

    R3: Vizier CoCo 1-2

    These were pretty uneventuful overall, but I think the deck has a great shot against Vizier decks. Game 1 I'm on the draw and I do a lot of cantripping and get one Phoenix into play, but he chains two CoCos between turns 3 and 4 and finds the combo. Sideboarding was -1 Maximize -1 Charm -2 Swiftspear -2 Thought Scour -3 Crackling Drake, +3 Abrade +2 Anger +3 Kiln Fiend +1 Dispel. I prefer removal over Dispels in these matchups because of the amount of Witness recursion, but when I reconfigure the md and sb I'm sure the second Dispel will find its way in. Also the Angers may not even be necessary. Game 2 he mulligans low and I get a Thing Out of the Ice and a Phoenix early, game ends quick. Game 3 I have a very hot Phoenix-Thing start, but his desperation CoCo hits double Finks, which buys him blocks and life to CoCo again into Eidolon of Rhetoric, and by the time I can Lightning Axe it he's Gavony Townshipped his team to plenty lethal and I don't have the mass to flip a new TITI. My opp is a VERY good local grinder, and I think he went on top win the qualifier. We chatted for a while about the Phoenix decks and modern's current climate. His Vizier CoCo list was essentially pre-boarded with Finks and Eidolon because of how scared he was of MonoR phoenix.

    R4: BR Hollow One 2-1

    I haven't played this guy before but he was VERY jittery and fast with his motions/mannerisms and VERY boisterously talkative and confident. I didn't need to know how everyone copied your maindeck Molten Rains in burn after you won a PTQ dude. I felt like I had to play extra calm and deliberately to balance him out. Game 1 goes his way after a turn 2 Goblin Lore dings two Hollow Ones. I play the chump block game for a couple turns then suggest we go to game 2. Boarding was +2 Surgical +3 Abrade, -3 Gut Shot -2 Thought Scour. We play it out, I have multiple TITIs in hand so I throw one into a Fatal Push, and then on his draw step I Surgical the Fatal Push knowing it's his only answer to TITI and that the flip-sweep is my best out to Gurmags and Hollow Ones. It takes one out of his hand, I see it's a Gurmag, a Hollow One, a Leyline, and lands. He dies shortly after the flip. Game 3 goes pretty similarly, I bait with a TITI and get to exile his Pushes again. I don't have any follow-up TITIs, but I do have multiple Phoenixes and get those into play. He puts down a Gurmag to race back, which I have covered with a Lightning Axe. We're both low and a second-main Flamewake buys him a turn so I surgical the one in his gy and sure enough, it gets one out of his hand, and I see I'm clear for lethal on my turn.

    R5: UG Infect 2-1

    A regular at the shop who is always working on UR Phoenix, but went with a deck he's more comfortable with for the IQ. I lose game1 to a stream of infect threats. I Gut Shot a Glistener, Bolt a Blighted Agent, and get a Phoenix for pressure, but we reach a point where any pump spell off the top plus his in-play Inkmoth is game and that's hard to miss on. Boarding was -1 Maximize Velocity -2 Monastery Swiftspear -2 Thought Scour, +3 Abrade +2 Dispel. The deck is much more dense with removal for the post-board games which makes things significantly easier. TITI shows up in game 2 and gets to flip in combat which is such a big factor in winning vs. losing this matchup. And game 3 gets decided by a turn where he goes to Pendelhaven an Inkmoth, I Gut Shot it, he Groundswells, I Bolt it, he Vines of Vastwoods it, I Dispel Vines. I don't hate having it all.

    Semis: BG Tron 1-2

    Brief aside for a crazy coincidence. My gf and I went out to dinner last Thursday, and our waiter overheard me talking about the invi at the LGS, and he told me he was gonna be going too, we talked about modern for a hot sec, I wished him luck and tipped well. Turns out I played him in the semifinals, small world.

    I'm second seed going into t4, so I choose the play against Tron. I get to turn3 him with the nut of Bolt-Phoenix-Phoenix on turn 2, backed up by Swiftspear and free spells turn 3. Boarding was -3 Gut Shot -2 Lightning Axe -3 Crackling Drake, +3 Abrade +2 Ceremonious Rejection +3 Kiln Fiend. Game 2 I spin my wheels and he has turn 3 Karn, exile your Steam Vents. Quick and easy, lets go next. Game 3 is much more of a slog. I get a Swiftspear out and some Phoenixes, he Dismembers the Swiftspear. We trade draw steps, he lands a Thragtusk and a Ballista for 1. I'm able to Abrade the Tusk, Bolt the token, get back a bird, and swing in with my second Swiftspear and two Phoenixes, and he blocks with Ballista to prevent lethal. He's dead next turn, but he (revealed after the game) rips Ugin off the top, casts him, sweeps the board. I untap and Bolt the Ugin hoping I can re-assemble and squeeze out the last 5 life since the rest of his hand seems bad, but he untaps and casts Ugin #2 off the top. Bad beats. I might have misplayed choosing to bring back both phoenixes the turn before he Ugin'd everything away, but that feels like playing to not lose in a match where racing is the game plan.

    Closing Thoughts:
    In my games prior to this tournament I've genuinely liked the Drake->Kiln Fiend sideboard swap for matchups where racing matters, and it's been successful against KCI, AdNaus, Storm, Amulet, and other mostly creatureless "minimal interaction and get 'em dead" type matchups. They're replacing a Spell Pierce and two Alpine Moons from Ross Merriam's original sideboard from Baltimore which I did not like at all. Granted I didn't see Ceremonious Rejection or Kiln Fiend against Tron, but perhaps the matchup is bad enough that I do want to find room for a couple Alpine Moon. Requires more testing. Otherwise the sideboarding felt super smooth. Abrade is an absolute all-star.

    Izzet Charm continues to pull the bare minimum weight for me to keep it in the deck, I used the shock mode once against Infect, and the looting mode once against Vizier CoCo to recur Phoenixes. Maximize Velocity is cute as a split-card discard outlet, cheap spell to trigger Phoenix, and mini-pump, but it's probably better served as the third Thought Scour or a Mutagenic Growth or something.

    The deck feels surprisingly great against black midrange despite Push, and creature-based fair decks are a breeze. It has solid game against UWx control and semi-fast combo. It only feels weak to the fastest and most consistent unfair stuff, which probably just requires more sideboard tuning and judicious mulligans.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on [Primer] Affinity
    I'll lead by saying that I'm not the most experienced pilot here, but I think mulligan discussions are very important to have! I mulligan aggressively in general, and especially with Affinity. I think it's largely reasonable to do so given the extreme power level of your payoffs.
    Quote from FitzRolf »
    Could an experienced pilot let me know about keeping these hands? As I delve more and more into the deck I'd like to heighten my skill and test every possible scenario. Robots is intricate enough to keep me interested and I doubt my fickle self will switch decks any time soon.

    A. T1 Overseer and not much else, no castable creatures, 1 man land if any.

    B. Mana heavy hand with accelerators, at least 1 man land, and a cranial plating, no castable creatures.

    C. Mana heavy, 2-3 small creatures, no payoff card.

    -I could make my guesses about mulligans (depends on if I'm on draw or play) but a discussion on these would be nice.
    A. T1 Overseer and not much else, no castable creatures, 1 man land if any.
    - If this is a 7 on play or draw, I'm always shipping it back. The number of Modern decks with t1 removal is much greater than those without right now, and Steel Overseer without backup technically isn't a clock at all. Yes, you could stand up a creatureland to hold a counter, but that's really taxing your development t2. The deck can produce way stronger 6-card hands than that. If there was a 0-creature, or a couple 1-mana dudes for the followup turn, the hand is far better.

    B. Mana heavy hand with accelerators, at least 1 man land, and a cranial plating, no castable creatures.
    - Again, I probably ship this one back, but it depends. I think for a hand with more than 2 lands, you have to have a pretty hot 3-4 other cards to make it work. Plating plus one or two dudes to wear it works, so does something like a Master, a zero, and a mana accelerant. But if it's lands, Drums, an Opal and a Plating, it's tough for me to not throw it back. Two creaturelands plus the plating and artifact-based acceleration is a begrudging keep however.

    C. Mana heavy, 2-3 small creatures, no payoff card.
    - This one can be borderline depending on which small creatures you have and what the matchup is. If among those 2-3 small creatures you have one or even two Signal pest, the hand rapidly approaches keepable. At two Pests, any creature you add starts to make them into actual payoff cards, so something like Pest, Pest, Skirge, Blinkmoth and then mana approaches a reasonable keep. A single-pest hand is much less keepable if the clock falls apart significantly to a removal spell. These are the kinds of hands I'm iffy about at 7, but am very happy to see at 6.

    Here's a link to a very good 2016 article from Frank Karsten. I didn't see it in the primer, but I expect it's been posted here multiple times. Take it all with a grain of salt for the then meta context and his list, but he articulates a lot of helpful points. He mentions some baseline criteria for keeps and mulls in it, loosely summarized as:

      1. One payoff card (Plating, Ravager, Master, Champ, Overseer, 2xPest+Fliers counts)
      2. Two reliable mana sources.
      3. Then EITHER: Interaction/reach (GalvBlast), another Payoff, or Explosiveness (Mox Opal, Drum+Ornithopter)
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on [Primer] Affinity
    Hey guys, been playing Affinity as my go-to Modern deck for about a year now. I've been following the innovations in this thread and will probably start contributing myself since I have a fair amount of modern events upcoming! I'm on Bomats main (continue to reasonably relevant as opposed to blasts), 3/1 Skirge/HoG split, and an enchantment-haymaker-heavy sideboard pretty similar to Zyrnak's latest. Anyway, brief MNM summary:

    R1: 1-2 MonoBlack Devotion (Draw)

    This is my co-worker that I'm teaming with for Baltimore (He's Standard, I'm Legacy), and we practice this matchup a lot. I have a tendency to keep speculative hands to push my knowledge of what's keepable in the Push/Inq/LOTV matchup, and that's what happened here. Could have probably mulled to 5 to try and steal a game but it's MNM, I'd rather experiment. G1 went wide and ran him over, G2 kept a hand of Bitterblossom, Ravagers, and Overseer with 1 mana source and a scry on the draw, G3 kept a slow 6, could have mulled to a faster 5 or something less vulnerable to removal with a Champ.
    SB: -4 Signal Pest, -1 Mountain, +1 Etched Champion, +2 Bitterblossom, +2 Thoughtseize

    R2: 2-0 MonoRed Prison (Draw)

    Talkative kid borrowing a deck from someone at the shop. I see a chalice through the translucent deckbox and feel pretty good already. He starts with t1 Magus of the Moon, I shrug and vomit my hand out. I draw straight manlands but give him the business anyway with a wide Pest board. G2 he starts mountain pass, and my hand can start with Pest+Bomat+Bomat turn 1, but instead I Thoughtseize him and take the Sweltering Suns, leaving him with a Moon and a Haz. Hazoret stonewalls my ground dudes, but a pair of Signal Pests get the job done as he draws stone nothing. I did get a Ravager down so Suns wasn't really an out once we hit the last couple turns.
    SB: -2 Master of Etherium, -1 Hope of Ghirapur, -1 Mountain, +2 Ancient Grudge, +2 Thoughtseize (Of note, I took the Master of Etheriums out because I guessed he had Ensnaring Bridge since that's somewhat typical of these red prison decks)

    R3: 2-1 Affinity (Draw)

    Man, I lost so many die rolls last night. Anyway, we both have a chuckle because we're literally the only robot players at the shop and yet we get paired amidst 30-ish people. He keeps a self-described "manly" 6 and scries, visibly content with it on top. I keep a very solid 6 that's a mox/drum away from t1 Overseer, and scry to the bottom. He plays Darksteel->Pest pass. I rip drum off the top and go Darksteel->Drum->Opal->Ornithopter->Overseer. He draws for turn, knows he has no way to contest the Overseer and scoops. G2 I keep a 6 with a turn1 Bitterblossom and an Aether Grid but no third mana source. He has a turn 2 Overseer plus dudes and I don't see this third source or a Grudge, so things get out of hand fast. G3 I keep a killer 7 of Grid, Grudge, Darksteel, Blinkmoth, Overseer, Welding Jar, Skirge. I get the turn2 Overseer, and so does he, but I draw Spire of Industry, and turn 3 I Grid his Overseer, activate mine, and start chunking in with Skirge. He plays Master of Etherium, which if I hadn't had Grid would have been nuts. Next turn I Grudge it, we shrug. Affinity mirrors.
    SB: -3 Etched Champion, -3 Signal Pest, -1 Mountain, +2 Ancient Grudge, +2 Ghirapur Aether Grid, +2 Bitterblossom +1 Spell Pierce (I realized with all these Champs main my mirror sideboard plan is kinda weak compared to what it used to be. Maybe I'm supposed to take the last Pest for a Thoughtseize, I dunno. I kept a second Pest in and didn't bring Pierce in on the play compared to draw, but that still may be incorrect)

    R4: 2-0 BW 8-Rack (Play, but lost dieroll)

    As soon as he chooses Draw, I have an idea what I'm against and mull to an appropriate 6 that doesn't get blown out by Smallpox or edicts. I get a Steel Overseer and a Signal pest out while he rips apart my hand, and stick a Plating. I put the hat on the Pest and get in a big attack, and he follows up with LotV minus. I have to sac the Overseer to it, so that I don't have to re-equip plating. That gives me the out of drawing any 1 or 0 mana artifact off the top, and having exact lethal by animating a Blinkmoth to attack with the hat-wearing pest. Sure enough I see a drum and it's over. G2 goes pretty similarly, I stick a plating ASAP and try and build a wide board but he keeps Pushing and edicting. I play out an Inkmoth and he plays out an Ensnaring bridge with a couple cards in hand. At this point, plating is +4/+0, but I have the mana to animate Inkmoth, attack, and equip in combat, so I infect him out in two attack steps as he fails to find removal or empty his hand.
    SB: -2 master of Etherium, -2 Etched Champion, -4 Signal Pest, +2 Ancient Grudge, +2 Ghirapur Aether Grid, +2 Bitterblossom +2 Thoughtseize (Once again, took Masters out because I'd seen de-siding Bridges after an earlier round. Seeing a Concealed Courtyard in g1 made me wary of Souls and RIP which informed this boarding strat, but the BBs and TSeize were probably unnecessary. Just tried to go down on weak topdecks and expensive creatures.)

    Deck's great, still feels pleasantly comfortable to put hats on robots. Last three MNMs at this shop have been 3-1, 4-0, and 3-1 for me with the same exact list. I'm planning to at least play Affinity in the Sunday PTQ at GP Hartford, maybe in the main event if I can stomach the price.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Dredge
    Quote from vollick1979 »

    The real trigger you want to remember is the Prized Amalgam trigger. I announce it when a creature enters the battlefield from the graveyard but if it's a particularly busy turn and you dredged during your upkeep which created the amalgam triggers you can easily miss returning the amalgams during the end step, which is not a may ability so it definitely gets upgraded into potentially game losses.

    The part that makes Dredge difficult for me to play is that there are several times you have to think hard about the correct line of play and then after all that remember the triggers. Sometimes I use a dice that I place on my library whenever I have something I want to remember to do like place the dice on 6 when I wanted to dredge GGT or 3 for Life from the Loam, and you can do the same thing with a coloured bead that you put on your library when you have an Amalgam coming back and you just have to get into the habit of not passing the turn with a bead on your library.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the first tip is also addressed in the primer by Lantern which is convenient.
    Quote from Primer: Mis. Tips »
    Prized Amalgam is a delayed trigger. This can get you into trouble if someone rule sharks you at higher events. When something enter the battlefield, it triggers prized amalgam's effect. YOU MUST ANNOUNCE IT (keep it on the side of the grave, or put a dice on it.) as long as you announce this, should it slip your mind, the entering of amalgam is mandatory and a judge will rule in your favor and he will still enter play. His entering is still a separate trigger, so yes, amalgam has 2 triggers you need to keep track of, not one.

    So for the past year or so that I've played Dredge, I've committed it to muscle memory to ALWAYS announce when the Alamgams in the yard get triggered off a Narc/Ghast/Amalgam, and then turn them diagonally, or set them aside from the gy pile, or indicate it physically in some way. This is the most important half since it enables the inability of the second trigger to "not happen." Then, once that habit is established it becomes a bit easier to remember to bring them back at the next end step.

    And as a second tip I've found organizing your graveyard and cards in play is useful, but it mostly goes without saying for Dredge. I keep my 'yard widely splayed out in rows so all the top-left corners of cards are visible, which helps me keep any eye on any Amalgams and Bloodghasts waiting there. Additionally, intentionally dredging each individual card can help with remembering i.e, you dredge a Stinkweed Imp, and individually reveal the top 5 into your palm, taking a mental note for every Narc that is shown, then putting them in the yard. All in all just adapting best practices to what suits you best!

    Modern Dredge certainly has a lot of complex lines and play to it given how much of the deck can trigger and operate at instant speed, so just try and be mindful of it and practice, practice, practice, goldfish it if you have the time. Important things to practice are the many uses of Insolent Neonate, and remembering that you can use things like Haunted Dead and Bloodghast with a fetch in play to add removal/sweeper resilience to your board which can make it a nightmare for your opponent!

    Edit: In summary, welcome Dredge as a vehicle to establish good mtg habits, and Lantern's primer has an embarrassment of riches for playing the deck, I refer back to it periodically!
    Posted in: Combo
  • posted a message on Grixis Delver
    Quote from Sonnenrad »
    Quote from SenYong »

    Sound nice, mind to share us your shadow delver hybrid build?

    For sure, it's on the last page, and here's the one with my updates:

    I wasn't able to get in any games last night due to me running a Shadowrun campaign but should be able to tonight. I'm really excited to try out the Ranger and Lingering Souls and see if they are as good as I'm intuiting them to be.

    Hello friends! I'm a long-time lurker on this thread and usually more prone to posting on The Source for my Legacy brews, but I'm a long time Grixis Delver player in Modern, and the new Death's Shadow variants have re-invigorated my enthusiasm in brewing and tweaking the deck!

    I started off with the stock Ryan Overturf list, but quickly started tweaking it over last week. The deck really wants to go down to 18 lands, and I've also incorporated some Stubborn Denials. This version of the deck really does feel closer to the tempo end of the spectrum than the stock lists.

    Similarly, I've just recently started experimenting with a fourth color splash off a single shock, much like what the Jund Shadow lists have been doing for a while. I opted to start by testing green, because I felt the addition of Abrupt Decay was a valuable catch-all answer that covers many bases that Grixis can have trouble dealing with (I may just be biased towards Abrupt Decay however). Additionally, it gives access to Golgari Charm, which is a nice answer to opposing Lingering Souls, while also having a floor of blowing up problem enchantments or regenerating through a Wrath. So far I've tested against Jund, BW Tokens, UR Storm, Abzan, and stock Grixis Delver with encouraging results. I don't have enough data yet to synthesize a real conclusion on the green splash, but I'm working on it. Below is my list, I can't wait to keep tweaking and brewing this iteration of Delver in Modern, easily the most fun I've had in a long time.

    Posted in: Modern Archives - Established
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