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  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 02/07/2018)
    Quote from ktkenshinx »
    Others will never be happy until their worst matchup, likely Tron, is hit with a ban.
    Would you please specify those decks whose worst matchup is Tron?
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 02/07/2018)
    I fail to see that. Tron is #1 on mtggoldfish while UW control is #10 (modern metagame breakdown). Not that it matters much, but if you mention mtggoldfish as a source to back up your argument, there shouldn't be such a glaring difference to what you claim.

    As a side note, I also don't think that Terminus is a particularly good card.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Does anyone else feel "lost" in Modern?
    I think that's the whole point. You want to play what you want to play because you get enjoyment from it. I believe what Ross Merriam is getting at is exactly THAT. Players make an excuse to not play the best deck.
    I don't really agree. Lets look again at what he wrote (as quoted by Earthbound21 above):

    "Among top players, the most common bias I see is one against linear strategies."

    Notice the terms "top players" here. I would argue that most posters in this thread, including myself, don't fall into the category of "top players", but lets pretend otherwise for a moment.

    "The rationalization is that linear decks are too straightforward and don't offer the pilot enough opportunity to outmaneuver their opponents, an aspect of the game that is valuable to top players."

    I wrote about enjoyment, Ross Merriam writes about leveraging player skill. So how can the content of my posting be EXACTLY what he meant? While I prefer interactive decks, there are some fairly linear decks that I actually enjoy playing. One of the more recent examples is Hollow One, a deck that seems to alternate between nuts draws and total disaster. Tron, on the other hand, feels as if it playing a puzzle game that could be interesting, if it weren't for the bazillion ways to tutor up the solution. It feels like the kind of puzzle designed for toddlers where they put objects in different shapes into the appropriate holes. As far as I can remember, I was pretty good at this kind of game, so the player skill is certainly there. I just don't want to play it anymore as an adult, while I can still enjoy the walk on the edge of insanity that is Hollow One.

    But lets go back to the Ross Merriam quote:

    "If two decks are relatively equal otherwise, then choosing the more decision-intensive one makes sense, but too often I see this line used to justify playing a weaker deck."

    Here he makes assumptions on the deck choices of other players based on some personal experience cannot be fact-checked. He makes it sound as if this the most common motivation for not playing decks like Tron. Yet, from my personal experience, the main reason why people don't want to play Tron is a disdain for the deck that has grown over several years and is not, as Ross Merriam makes it sound later in his posting, orchestrated by an angry Twitter mob.

    The last part of the quote reads:

    "The player will convince themselves that the two decks are relatively equal when they aren't so they can play the deck they'd rather play, because demonstrating their play skill is important to them, perhaps as or more important than winning matches of Magic."

    So again, he talks about showing off play skill, which is not my point and probably isn't the point of most players in the MtG community. To his credit, he explicitly talks about "top players", so maybe I should direct my critique more towards the people taking his words out of context and applying them to normal players like you (I assume) and me.

    Now, back to your posting:
    I do it. I know that I can be super successful with Humans, but it is not all that fun for me (although I did 3-1 last FNM, trying it in a tournament for the first time since I did CoCo Humans). I personally feel that Humans is a super easy deck to play and that is a "good" thing. Also I am not going to hold it against anyone who believes that it is hard to play. I know I don't play it perfectly, but I play it well enough, lol.
    IMHO, you don't do it. You are more about enjoyment, like me, and less about the lack of opportunity to show of your awesome play skills, like Ross Merriam claims to have seen very often, as if he could look into people's heads.
    BTW, people still don't know how to side against Tron. Probably around 90% of the time, it's pretty easy to figure it out, but how about this? With Grishoalbrand, do I side in Blood Moon?
    From what I gathered (mostly from other people's postings), Blood Moon is not a particular good card against Tron, especially after sideboarding when they have Nature's Claims in addition to their more expensive ways of getting rid of it. They also play 8 eggs which can get them green mana if they need it, so they don't really have to play around Blood Moon like other decks do.
    Enjoyment goes out the window (for me) if I am winning 80-90% of the time. During Eldrazi Winter, I won 84% of my matches. Sure, it may have not been the most enjoyable deck, but winning cards and money, while buying more cards with winnings kind of makes up for that (at least for me). If I was a millionaire, I don't know if I'd feel the same way.
    I lost all interest in Modern during Eldrazi Winter and came back when the mess was cleared up. I'm not interested in winning cards and money. It's just not what I seek in MtG or any other game.

    For me, it's often about enjoyment of exploration. When I started playing on MTGO, I played Standard when Jund dominated the format (Alara block + Zendikar block + the appropriate core set). Back then, I played mono-black vampires, a deck not exactly known for having a good Jund matchup, but I could build it without putting a small fortune into virtual cards. I lost A LOT of games against Jund, yet that deck shattered my dreams in such an elegant way that I somehow found enjoyment in defeat and kept playing. I tuned my deck again and again, until I had found a configuration with multiple copies of Grim Discovery, which I used with fair success to generate some much-needed card advantage vs. Jund's cascade-into-Blightning engine. I also played two copies of Ob Nixilis, the Fallen, a card not commonly seen in vampires, to put my extra lands to good use and have some inevitability when the battlefield got clogged up by Sprouting Thrinax and friends. In the end, I was able to win about 50% of the games against Jund, which felt like a real accomplishment, compared to my initial win percentage of less than 25%.

    But the best part was still to come. With all this practice under my belt, I went to one of the bigger tournaments in my area, which turned out to be literally almost mono-Jund, at least for me. I'm not exaggerating, I played against Jund every single round except the first or the second one. And, miraculously, I won all those matches. Ob Nixilis, the Fallen, a card that several of my opponents had to read, did some serious work while the vampires often held the ground. I had turned an established aggro deck into a (probably bad) midrange deck, but I had the moment of surprise (and probably also luck) on my side and was facing the deck that I had heavily practiced against. The comments I got from several opponents let me to believe that they had never seen a vampires deck played this way. In the end I got at least a booster box and a bunch of foils, but that was just icing on the cake. The real accomplishment from my perspective was that I had beaten the odds and won with good preparation and an original deck. Experiences like this have drawn me back to playing MtG time and again: The enjoyment of having (moderate) success with an unusual deck. I will never get the same enjoyment out of playing "the best deck".
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on Does anyone else feel "lost" in Modern?
    Quote from Earthbound21 »
    It's a fallacy to think there are two categories of decks, those with many decisions trees and those without. Every deck has decisions that are impactful to the game you are playing, whether it's something as complex as proper land and cantrip sequencing or as simple as "Which card do I Thoughtseize?" (Hint: the one you can't answer).
    That's mostly true, but the complexity of these decision trees varies a lot. Some players at my LGS are, to put it diplomatically, either not the brightest bulbs in the box or perhaps not interested enough in the finer points of the game. This, of course, doesn't deter some of them from playing whatever the flavor of the month deck is at any given point in time. I have seen them put up very respectable results with linear decks like Tron, but when the flavor of the month deck requires a considerable amount of thinking ahead (e.g. Grixis Shadow) or more than a basic understanding of how the opponent's deck works and how to stop it (e.g. when piloting a control deck), those players usually fail miserably. They still have fun and I'm not the one to judge them, but it is very obvious that Modern decks vary in terms of complexity and that this has influence on the playability of those decks if you are not a pro player.

    And that's one of several issues I see with Ross Merriam's article. He makes various assumptions on the motivations of other players without any proof. What if those players that he accuses of finding excuses for playing a weaker deck rather than a good linear deck just want to play a deck that they actually enjoy playing? If I attend a MtG event with hundreds of other players, including some pro players who have way more practice against better opponents than me, I don't go there assuming that I will make the top 8. It may happen and it has actually happened before, but the odds are very much not in my favor. Even if I was convinced that Tron (or a similar deck) was the actual best deck in the given metagame, I would still feel miserable playing so many rounds with it. And I don't drive hundreds of miles and book a hotel room for 10+ hours of self-inflicted misery, even if it increases my odds of making the top 8 from 0.5% to 1.5%. Thus, I would consciously choose a different deck or play one of my own brews, with the added bonus that every victory feels more earned than when I play what dozens of other people are playing. I enjoy overhearing the confused discussions of my would-be opponents between the rounds when I do well with a deck that they haven't figured out yet. I love it when my opponents make poor decisions when sideboarding against my deck because they haven't seen all of the spicy stuff in it. I don't need to come up with excuses for not playing Tron.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 02/07/2018)
    Quote from tronix »
    im not sure how thoroughly you read the article, but his thoughts on twitter was more of a piece of social commentary.[..]
    I got all of that. But Twitter has been around forever and has seen its biggest jumps in new user growth around the year 2011. Yet, somehow - according to Ross Merriam - "the hate [Tron] gets now is beyond anything it got years ago". That doesn't really make sense to me. I have read negative comments on Tron since the beginning of Modern. They increased when Tron gained more inevitability and became even more streamlined. In fact, the deck is so linear that playing against it feels like a shared experience at times.

    I don't a see singular event like a "Twitter Storm" driving all this. Yet, Ross Merriam closes his posting with the following statement:

    "That is, until they ban Ancient Stirrings so everyone can be happy for the week and a half before Twitter directs its unrelenting anger elsewhere. Those ten days will be great."

    This is not "social commentary" anymore, it sounds more like a conspiracy theory. Ross Merriam wants to make it look as if an angry mob coming from Twitter is going after Tron and will move on to the next target once it gets what it wants, so it shouldn't get what it wants. It's an attempt to demonize people who have a different opinion than Ross Merriam, an attempt to invalidate whatever they might achieve by voicing their opinions different from his. The aim of his article is not to discuss the topic openly. He's firmly on one side of the argument and wants Wizards to ignore the other side.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 02/07/2018)
    So, I read Ross Merriam's article. I had my hopes up that it would be interesting, but apparently he blames Twitter for the increasing disdain of Tron. At first I thought it was another joke (the Nickleback comparison was kinda funny), but he seems to be serious about it. Twitter, really? The discussion about Tron and Ancient Stirrings, specifically, has been all over the place. I read opinions about it in every MtG forum I frequent, I have seen the topic brought up in various streams that I watched. I have heard it discussed in voice chats and in real life. But now I have to rethink if all of this actually happened, because it might have been a giant Twitter conspiracy that I just happened to miss out on because I, like most people I know, don't give a flying chirp about Twitter.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Grixis Death's Shadow
    I don't think this list is bad, but I see a couple of issues:

    1) Friedman's version of the deck is very aggressive and, hence, worse at playing the long game than other versions of the deck. Young Pyromancer, on the other hand, is a card that actually wants to play a longer game. It seems to be more suited for versions of the deck that morph into a control-ish deck after sideboarding. Snapcaster Mage and Kommand (which is completely absent from your list) are key cards in this secondary strategy.

    2) Playing only 17 lands is already greedy and Manamorphose, unlike just about all of the alternatives (Mishra's Bauble, Serum Visions, Opt, etc.), will not help fix a one-lander.

    3) Your list is a true three-color deck, compared to more traditional versions that are basically splashing red. While this might slightly improve your matchup vs. Blood Moon decks (which are usually not that scary with this much disruption), it comes at the cost of increased self-hurt in practice, which will almost inevitably translate into more game losses against hyper-aggressive decks like burn. It can also make your control matchup worse, since you will end up with a lot of dead draws in the not-so-unlikely event that your opponent locks you out of red via Field of Ruin and/or Spreading Seas.

    4) With just the 4 Stubbs and no other counterspells in the 75, your disruption plan is extremely reliant on discard spells. Leyline of Sanctity and Wurmcoil Engine can and will eventually easily ruin your day.

    I don't really see the advantages of this list over Traverse Shadow. The main incentives to go Grixis instead are, IMHO, the up to four Snapcaster Mages and the more diverse disruption package. Without this, I would rather have Goyfs.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 02/07/2018)
    Very disappointed, too. The statement basically reads: Several other formats are more messed up than Modern, so we'll focus on those and do nothing about Modern.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    IMHO, the notion of a Preordain unban is not completely unreasonable anymore. It's not highly likely by any means, but if Wizards finally goes after Ancient Stirrings, Preordain would actually be a decent card to unlock for decks like Lantern that can't just replace Stirrings with Oath of Nissa.

    The only relevant blue-based combo deck that remains is Storm, which wouldn't actually benefit as much from Preordain than some of the blue-based combo decks of the past. Storm is more about building up a critical mass than it is about finding a particular card. Contrast that with the As Foretold decks that were popular for a while before vanishing into nothingness. With the build-around card of the deck being a Mythic from a recent set, the success of this deck would have actually helped Wizards sell more packs.

    The overall power level in Modern has increased dramatically compared to even two years ago. I recently ran a deck list I used to play all through 2016 and got royally crushed by decks like Humans and Hollow One that happen to be so much more explosive and efficient than anything I used to face with that deck. It's an arms race and Preordain should just be fine at this point. The main reason it remains on the ban list seems to be that Wizards have PTSD from previous blue-based combo decks while they somehow seem to love brown-based combo decks.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Print this Wizards (so I can play it in modern)
    Rite of Singularity
    Target player reveals their hand, then you choose a colorless card other than a basic land card from it. Search that player's graveyard, hand, and library for all cards with the same name as the chosen card and exile them. Then that player chooses one of the cards that was exiled this way and shuffles it into their library.

    This is an effective sideboard card against decks that rely heavily on a particular combination of colorless cards, such as Tron lands Lantern Control combo pieces. While it throws sand into their gears, it does not remove their ability to tutor for the last missing piece. Yet, the danger of somehow losing it is real, thereby increasing the viability of various sideboard cards that are currently often to slow to effectively answer one of these strategies (e.g. Fulminator Mage vs. Tron).

    Edit: Adjusted the mana cost.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    I think it's comparable. Lantern is not the strongest Ancient Stirrings deck, just like Shadow Zoo was not the strongest Gitaxian Probe deck. I know a thing or two about decks built around Death's Shadow, as I have played those decks for several years by now. I'm confident to state that the probe ban was a decisive factor in pushing Shadow-based decks from aggro into midrange. One thing of note is that the Probe ban also made Stubborn Denial a better card than before.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    Quote from Teixeira3 »
    The biggest problem when talking about Stirrings ban is that, imo, people are underestimating the damage it will do to the decks that play it.
    That's not a good argument, IMHO. A ban can open up the possibility for decks to evolve into a different direction. For instance, the Gitaxian Probe ban caused Shadow Zoo to evolve into Jund Shadow and Grixis Shadow. So, we simply don't know what Lantern would evolve into if one of it's biggest incentive to run green was gone. The Modern card pool is vast and there are plenty of cards that could twist existing decks in new and interesting ways because they are not a 1 for 1 replacement.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    Quote from NRWGN »
    Posters can be wrong, the length of time they make their argument doesn't give it merit.
    The fact that Ancient Stirrings has been in the discussion over and over again, justified or not, still contradicts your previous statement on people "crying" because a deck finished top 8.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    When I encounter several non-interactive decks in a row at a tournament, there is a good chance that I will lose interest in attending tournaments at the respective place for the foreseeable future. MtG doesn't exist in a vacuum - there are plenty of hobbies that one can spend time and money on. And I don't think that I'm the only one who thinks that way. An unattractive tournament metagame directly translates into lower player attendance, lower revenue for store owners and, ultimately, a diminishing player base for the game.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 16/04/2018)
    Quote from NRWGN »
    Every time a deck top 8s, you guys cry for a ban.
    That's a creative narrative, considering that various posters have discussed an Ancient Stirrings ban well before GP Vegas.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
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