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  • posted a message on Rumored Format Discussion
    Goyf is a card that would probably get banned. Same goes for dogs like Entomb, Mind's Desire, Skullclamp, Disciple of the Vault, Sensei's Divining Top, etc. (Aether Vial does not belong on this list, and that is a point I will happily discuss).

    As to Dredge's supposed dominance in the format, this is an unfounded fear. Every major graveyard hate card would remain legal in the new format: Tormod's Crypt, Ravenous Trap, Relic of Progenitus, Faerie Macabre, and the original Dredge-buster, Leyline of the Void. Dredge is a good deck in Legacy, but it is not dominant by any means. The same graveyard hate that checks it there will also check it here.

    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on Rumored Format Discussion
    Quote from Pein
    I hope they annouce the new format soon. I think it will be from odissey block onwards to get rid of brainstorm, dark ritual and rishadan port... it could be a complete success with an appropriate ban list.

    If Wizards were to listen to this advice, they would have a criminally underpowered format on their hands. Mercadian Masques/Invasion block are both needed for the format to survive. The presence of Dark Ritual, Brainstorm, Daze, Rishadan Port, Dust Bowl, Misdirection, etc. is one of the main factors that can draw ex-Legacy/Vintage players to the new, supported format. Besides, none of these cards are hideously broken, and all of them are reprintable in Master's Editions if prices become too high (or even in Core Sets unless they warped the current Standard metagame).

    Also, the Reserve List officially ended with MM block. It would be symbolic if Wizards started their format there, instead of at some arbitrary later point.

    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on why do you guys believe that theres a new format coming

    None of these are critical staples. Eureka shows up in two decks that were totally rogue. It's a wacky Legends card. Moat is used as a one of in some Enchantress decks for marginal benefit (Elephant Grass usually does a better job at stifling aggro early on) and as a 4 of in Rich Man Stax, which is, as the name suggests, more a novelty build for the sake of showing off how rich one is, rather than a hyper-competitive build. And Tabernacle is an anomaly that could probably be banned from Legacy and hurt no-one.

    My implication was not that Eureka/Tabernacle/Moat were cards that are integral to Legacy as a format. They are just integral to certain decks that use them. Because of this, only extremely wealthy players can run these decks. We are in agreement, however, on both LED and City.
    No. They aren't. In fact many Legacy decks try to have as few non-basics as possible to avoid getting hit by Wasteland. And a lot of decks don't want lots of colors, so they have no need of duals. Here's a list of decks that usually use no duals.

    -Merfolk Fish
    -Aggro Elves
    -White Stax
    -Dragon Stompy
    -Imperial Painter
    -Sea Stompy
    -Mono-Black Aggro
    -Ravager Affinity
    -Mighty Quinn
    -Death and Taxes

    I agree that some decks do not use duals. Unfortunately, many of these decks are just bad and see little to no play (Fish, Dredge, and Goblins being the notable exceptions). The majority of good, prevalent decks use duals. Not an insane number, but a prohibitive number.

    -NO Bant
    -Aggro Loam (I firmly disagree with you on this. Most run at least 5, which is roughly the same as all the others on this list)
    -Canadian Threshold
    -43/38 Lands
    -Team America

    These are the big dogs in Legacy, not Elves, White Weenie, Burn, Pox, etc. While those decks exist in the format to varying extents, they do not show up at the top of events. For those who doubt this, I point you to the following information gathered on The Source:

    To summarize, the biggest Legacy decks are...

    -Tempo Thresh

    On that list, only Merfolk does not use duals. The others are notorious for their reliance on dual lands in their manabase (ANT to a lesser extent than the rest). The bottom line is clear: Legacy decks are dependent on Duals and they define the format. Some decks do not need them, but many of these decks are just of a lesser quality than the best, dual-intensive beasts.
    You're assuming that Legacy player growth stays constant. What if something stifles that growth...like um....oh...I don't know...high prices? Standard not sucking for a season or two? Standard becoming fun and affordable? Extended actually being properly supported? Magic's boom hitting a bust?

    Wizards wants a functional Eternal format. The point of the new format would be to create an Eternal environment that was not stifled by all of these possible factors.
    Wizards has never done anything like this in the past. Why do you make the enormous assumption that they would here? Where's the promo Goyfs that would solve so many price issues in Extended and Legacy? Why hasn't Force been reprinted in almost 15 years of steady use? Why do they ship us textless goddamn Cancel instead of those nice Chrome Mox and Jitte promos you have to fly across the globe to get?

    Because it would be a huge marketing move. Imagine if they announced a new format simultaneously with a huge, M11 "New Format Staples" print run? Sales would be outrageously high, Wizards would make a lot of money, and players would be happy. Let's not get into the economic nuances of supply and demand here, because as far as I know, none of us are intimately and academically familiar with the Wizards marketing model. What we do know is that they want popular formats and they want high sales. Reprinting staples to facilitate their new format could easily boost its popularity and have a minimal Standard impact (Depending on the reprinted cards).

    As to Wizards past reprinting decisions, they clearly acknowledge that they were unwise. Their big fuss about the Reserve List is a testament to this, and while they had to back down on it for unclear reasons, they made a real effort to learn about what the players wanted. If they continue this practice, they will work towards player demand and enjoyment. A new format would be a step in the right direction.

    This assumption could go far to crack down on Legacy prices too. Drop a ton of new Goyfs, Wastelands, and Forces into the player's hands and Legacy becomes much cheaper.

    That would solve the Goyf/Wasteland/FoW problem, but not the dual problem. Why would Wizards want to support an inherently damage format (courtesy of the Reserve List)? It seems like it would be much smarter to gradually pull back format support and shift it to something new and more popular.
    Nope. It's rampant speculation and high demand, the same things that make Magic unnecessarily expensive across all constructed formats. I guarantee if Overextended becomes a reality, and a heavily in-demand format a la Legacy (rumore PTQ support would do that), it will be just almost as expensive as Legacy within a season, barring a mile long ban list or Wizards bending over backwards to flood the market with every staple (again...not gonna happen).

    Prices will certainly go up for key staples, that much is clear. But an intelligent Wizards reprinting run with some of those staples (Onsalught Fetchlands and Ravnica duals) would make this bearable. Unlike Reserve List staples, they CAN reprint these cards. Unlike with the damaged Legacy format, they have every incentive to do so in an effort to support their new creation.

    I would just love to hear an argument against the following Wizards model:

    1. Announce a new format
    2. Release M11 as the new format pilot, full of reprinted staples
    2B. Alternately, release a few Masters/Planeswalkers/From the Vaults sets with these staples reprinted in them. (a worse option)
    3. Announce a Pro season for the format, set to launch in Autumn.

    The internet and real-life hype would be huge, and if Wizards could deliver the cards alongside the format, the payoff would be massive. This is true for both Wizards/Hasbro as a company, and players as a gaming population.

    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on why do you guys believe that theres a new format coming
    The only reason that this format is even being discussed is the Reserve List. Similarly, the only reason that Legacy as a format is in trouble, or will soon be in trouble, is the Reserve List. Say what you will about the costs of fetchlands, mythics, Standard staples, etc. They don't even come close to the Reserve List nonsense (with the notable exceptions of Force of Will and Tarmogoyf).

    For reference, here is a list of critical Legacy staples and their price tags.

    Badlands: 41.38
    Bayou: 52.54
    Plateau: 38.46
    Savannah: 44.03
    Scrubland: 41.96
    Taiga: 55.40
    Tropical Island: 78.80
    Tundra: 70.77
    Underground Sea: 95.90
    Eureka: 100 (price taken from SCG.com because magicinfo price seemed too high at 150)
    Moat: 249.97
    The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale: 374.49
    Lion's Eye Diamond: 42.91
    City of Traitors: 30.22

    I have left a few cards off the list (Dreadnought, Dream Halls, Serra's Sanctum, Replenish) either because they are not as expensive as the above cards, are used only in certain decks, or are not wildly popular.

    These cards are pretty darn expensive. The closest Standard competitors are Jace (a whopping 70 dollars), Gideon (50), Elspeth (50), and Baneslayer (50). Extended has Tarmogoyf (75) and Dark Depths (35). Legacy, on the other hand, has all of the above listed Reserve cards, in addition to the expensive, non-reserve staples (Wasteland, FoW, fetchlands, Tarmogoyf, Jitte, Entomb, Thoughtseize, Natural Order, etc.) These cards alone would make Legacy an impressively expensive format. Adding in the Reserved cards, however, makes it a true bank-buster.

    Wizards has effectively put their foot down on the issue; the Reserve List is not getting changed, and none of the cards on it are coming off. This is bad news for Legacy. These Reserve List cards mentioned above are integral parts of many Legacy decks. In the case of the dual lands, they are relevant for ALL Legacy decks. As the format continues to age, the decks that use these cards will continue to gain popularity. With supply fixed and no new cards coming, prices will continue to rise as demand goes up.

    All of this might sound a little alarmist. Financial trends, however, affirm this fear. Consider the following graphs of card prices. All data is taken from blacklotusproject, a site that compiles ebay prices. While the individual prices differ from the magic info ones, the trends are invaluable. It is extremely reasonable to assume that blacklotusproject, ebay-based trends translate to an internet-wide, dealer trend. Given this, our graphs below reveal some disturbing truths. Below each card, I have given the change in price between October 2008 and May 2010.

    Badlands: http://blacklotusproject.com/cards/Revised+Edition/Badlands/
    18.9 -> 28.88

    Bayou: http://blacklotusproject.com/cards/Unlimited+Edition/Bayou/
    21.4 -> 53.75

    Plateau: http://blacklotusproject.com/cards/Revised+Edition/Plateau/
    17.5 -> 29.96

    Savannah: http://blacklotusproject.com/cards/Unlimited+Edition/Savannah/
    23.92 -> 36.97

    Scrubland: http://blacklotusproject.com/cards/Revised+Edition/Scrubland/
    19.1 -> 29.41

    Taiga: http://blacklotusproject.com/cards/Revised+Edition/Taiga/
    21.83 -> 39.84

    Tropical Island: http://blacklotusproject.com/cards/Revised+Edition/Tropical+Island/
    25.9 -> 53.25

    Tundra: http://blacklotusproject.com/cards/Unlimited+Edition/Tundra/
    37.93 -> 59.52

    Underground Sea: http://blacklotusproject.com/cards/Revised+Edition/Underground+Sea/
    34.38 -> 70.10

    Eureka: http://blacklotusproject.com/cards/Legends/Eureka/
    18.9 -> 49.28

    Moat: http://blacklotusproject.com/cards/Legends/Moat/
    56.97 -> 134.91

    The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale: http://blacklotusproject.com/cards/Legends/The+Tabernacle+at+Pendrell+Vale/
    93.47 -> 239.09

    Again, the BLP prices are on the low side because they use eBay data, and as we all know, there are lots of excellent bargains and total suckers on eBay to skew that data. The things to notice are not prices. We should instead focus on trends. All of the prices of the most played dual lands (Tropical Island, Tundra, Underground Sea) basically doubled in the sub-2 year period. They will continue to rise as more players enter Legacy and card supplies dwindle. If trends continue as is for another two years, dual lands will all be at least 70 dollars, with the most expensive hitting at least 120 dollars. Eureka, Moat, and Tabernacle will hit even more absurd levels as well.

    Magic is an expensive game. This is true of all formats. The planeswalkers of Standard (plus Baneslayer) add up rather quickly, and a lot of Standard decks carry price tags comparable to some Legacy ones. But overall, the Legacy deck prices are far, far higher. ANT, Zoo, and Reanimator both cost just over 1000 each. CounterTop can cost as much as 1400. (Prices compiled from MagicInfo and SCG open decklists. If anyone doubts the work, I will happily show the compilation). Sure, Standard decks hit 700 (UW Control, UWR Walkers), but that pricetag won't get much higher. In another year, in fact, the whole deck will have rotated out of the format.

    Legacy is an ETERNAL format, and its decks do not change much. Its staples also do not change much. Legacy Reserve List cards will continue their upward price trend, and will soon become flatly unavailable to new players. This creates economic discrepancies in decks that impact tournaments and format health as a whole.

    How does the New Format fix things?
    A new format would change this. Like Legacy, it would have established archetypes and established staples. Unlike Legacy, however, all cards could, and would, be reprinted. If prices got too high, Wizards could print new runs to encourage format health. Heck, if they didn't want to pollute Standard with power-creep cards, they could even do so in Master's and From the Vaults sets. Ravnica duals could easily be reprinted if the current stock could not satisfy demand. Indeed, Wizards might kick off the new format with a new set (maybe even M2011) with old staples reprinted.

    The Reserve List is the biggest detriment to Legacy format health. With it now set in stone, Wizards must take action to preserve the Eternal formats. Vintage has failed. Legacy is failing. Only a new format will suffice to satiate players' appetites for the Eternal gameplay. Even those who do not yet see the pricing problem will change their mind in a year or two from now. Wizards would be wise to pre-empt that disaster.

    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on Rumored Format Discussion
    I posted this on the SCG boards, but it has bearing on our current discussion. Here are some cards that I feel need banning in the new format. My reasons are given below:

    Proposed Banlist

    1. Skullclamp: This requires no explanation.

    2. Sensei's Divining Top: Top has two problems. First, CounterTop is too powerful as a strategy, and Wizards wants to encourage diversity. With CounterTop representing the second-most played strategy in Legacy (after Merfolk, according to a survey of the SCG Open), this could easily happen in the new format. Second, Top takes too long. Kirblar's comment is a good one. So long as this is a PT format, the time problems of Top are too much. This will have to get cut.

    3. Disciple of the Vault: Affinity has gained some nasty tricks following Mirrodin. The new Extended format does not see a dominant Affinity because two cards are out: Vial and Disciple. Vial is a serious candidate for UNbanning in the new format, because it keeps aggro competitive and generally keeps the format's power high. Therefore, Affinity would probably get this monster back. If it also gets back Disciple, dark days lie ahead.

    4. Mind's Desire: Storm combo is ok. Mind's Desire-based storm combo is not. Too much acceleration remains in the format for Desire to be allowed to live; both Rituals, Moxen, Eggs, Spheres, Stars, etc. LED is gone, as is the broken synergy with Infernal Tutor, but Magic players are creative, and Mind's Desire does not require too much creativity to dominate.

    5. Ad Nauseum: Perhaps a strange entry on the list, but a necessary one. A double Ritual into an Ad Nauseum backed by Pact of Negation is a terrifying possibility in this new format. ANT doesn't lose enough cards to be worried, but the format as a whole loses FoW and Wasteland, the two cards that kept ANT in check. As much as I love combo, this needs to go.

    6. Tarmogoyf: Controversial inclusion alert! Why ban the beloved Goyf? He isn't banned in Legacy, so why ban him in the new format? Well, the new format has Shocklands, not duals. Aggro is already at an edge because of free Lightning Bolts throughout the game, and Goyf abuses that too much. Moreover, Goyf discourages deck diversity. Just as Wizards banned Clamp because it was everywhere, so too will they have to with Goyf. Every control and aggro deck will run this card, either as a stall, an alternate win, or a primary win. Even combo might find a use for it. A nasty card that needs to go.

    7. Entomb: This was a card that FoW kept in check. Despite what Mr. Jahn says in his article about Reanimator's demise, the deck still has a darn good fighting chance. Turn 1 Ritual/Entomb/Death is a disgusting play, and a bit too much for the new format. It forces an over-reliance on graveyard hate, something that already is going to be around in spades in sideboards everywhere owing to Dredge. Unlike Dredge, however, Reanimator gets its explosive, game-winning play in one turn. Dredge takes 3 or 4, during which graveyard hate can quickly and easily disrupt the entire game.

    Vial, Gush, and Worldgorger Dragon are not on this list. In Vial's case, the artifact helps out aggro and keeps lots of archetypes alive (all of the tribals plus a lot of the fringe aggros). In Gush's case, without Desire as a card and Solidarity as a deck, the card just isn't that broken. It's darn good and decks will use it, but not broken. As to Dragon, its chief combo pieces are dead and gone.

    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on Rumored Format Discussion

    As for reprinting it for Overextended (love this name), again, if they're going to put that much effort into this format at the cost of other formats, they might as well just work towards making Legacy more accessible, which they can easily do as I posted earlier in the thread. Or make Extended actually worth playing.

    There are two reasons why Wizards would have no incentive to reprint FoW. While they could reprint it, they simply have no reason to do so. Here is why:

    1. Standard cannot have FoW. Blue decks would be utterly out of control, and T2 players would be furious. Wizards admittedly could reprint FoW, immediately ban it in Extended and Standard, and leave it for just the new format, but this goes against their card printing policy. Wizards would not reprint a card that was only useful to certain formats. They need the card accessible to all players, not just a select few.

    2. A post MM format does not need FoW. Bannings alone would keep the format in check (Mind's Desire, Ad Nauseum, Entomb, Disciple of the Vault, etc.) With these cards gone, FoW would not need to be around.

    This debate should not hinge around FoW's presence or absence. One card defines Legacy, but it need not define this new format. Intelligent planning on Wizards part will guarantee this.

    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on Rumored Format Discussion
    Quote from nikelrah
    First of all, what is the source on that data.

    Also, taking data out of context ftw. FOW is the most played answer, but i am sure it's only played as much as the threats it keeps in check. It just that different archetypes use different engines/threats, hence why those don't show up in the same numbers. Also, by taking this data out of context one could also say the following:
    "Ohnoes, Brainstorm is warping the format too! Either play brainstorm or prepare to get crushed by mighty card selection!"

    I think you really need to borrow a legacy deck from someone and play some games or even tournaments and you will see how far from "broken" FOW actually is.

    I am fairly certain that this data comes from deckcheck.net, a highly reputable source for Legacy decklists. Your interpretation of FoW's prevalence is flatly wrong. Any card is considered a "threat" by FoW players, and those who wield the card get a quick and easy answer to the format's scariest tools. As a Legacy player, I will attest that FoW is not broken, nor does it warp the format. In the new format, however, it would probably be more warping (and it would assuredly be horrible for Standard).

    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on RoE Fourm Draft: p1p8
    Battlement is the superior choice.

    1. Brood Birthing: Not a bad card by any means, but simply does not compete with Battlement. Both of them are 2 drops. One of them accelerates you by 1 mana, the other by 3. One of them is a durable blocker that will stall out the early game, the others are expendable blockers. Battlement synergizes with the droves of other defenders in the set, whereas Birthing is a mid tier spawn card (behind Spasm, Predator, and Hatcher, not to mention Awakening Zone and Corpsehatch).

    2. Lagac Lizard: My friends and I are making a card-box out of these.

    3. Living Destiny: And these too.

    4. Guard Duty: This pick boils down to one question: is Guard Duty removal? I say no, and here's why. First, it does absolutely nothing to stop the utility creatures. This is a serious problem in a format full of problematic utility dudes at common and uncommon. From Dawnglare Invoker to Brimstone Mage and Enclave Cryptologist, sometimes you need to kill a creature but don't really want to blow the Corpsehatch on it. Same goes for the endlessly frustrating Guard Gomozoa. Guard Duty does not solve these problems at all.
    Guard Duty also doesn't get rid of the creature. A fully leveled Null Champion is definitely less scary on the defensive than on the offensive, but he is still a serious problem. This gets particularly problematic with the rare bombs. You don't want to topdeck a Guard Duty against Drana or Deathless Angel. Including Guard Duty ultimately lowers your overall removal count and leaves you vulnerable to bombs and utility creatures. This is unacceptable.

    5. Lavafume Invoker: Worst invoker in the set.

    6. Angelheart Vial: Only good if your life is getting chipped away, otherwise it is too little too late. Also only good if you get it out before your life gets too low. At 5 mana, it is extremely unlikely that you will have this in play when you really need it. In the early game, you don't want to draw it. In the late game, you don't want to topdeck it. The window of use is such a fringe-situation that it is really not worth considering.

    As I see it, the real compelling reason to get Battlements involves looking to the future. If we get passed a second Battlement (or open one) over the next two packs, then we are seriously going to regret passing up this first one. Even if we just get a few more playable defenders, Battlement gets progressively more useful. Of course, he's no slouch on his own. Birthing and Duty, however, have no potential to get much better, and are only decent on their own.

    Vote: Overgrown Battlement.

    Posted in: Limited Archives
  • posted a message on Number of players in a draft?
    This week, my friends and I intend on drafting a box of RoE. In the past, we have stuck with the suggested 8 player draft format. This time, however, we have two additional players that want to participate.

    Are there any mathematical/statistical/objective reasons for having an 8 player draft as opposed to a 10 player one? Specifically, will this cause problems in card choices, deck construction, picks, draft strategy, etc? If so, what are these problems as you identify them?

    Alternately, is "8 players" just an arbitrary limit suggested by the DCI and preferred by players?

    Posted in: Limited Archives
  • posted a message on Rumored Format Discussion
    A banlist would easily keep the format in check. The following cards would assuredly be banned, or at least be strongly considered for banning.

    Skullclamp (banned in every format it ever existed in except Vintage)
    Sensei's Divining Top (pushes CounterTop over the edge. Also has serious time-limit implications in tournaments. These two combined make the card a definite ban candidate)
    Entomb (without FoW to keep first turn reanimator in check, this would likely get banned. Also problematic with various graveyard-based combos)

    Aether Vial and Disciple of the Vault are questionable; Disciple is banned in Extended and might be keeping Affinity in check. Affinity would probably be out of control in the new format if Disciple and Vial were not both banned. This, however, is up for debate, especially Aether Vial.

    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on 8Rack - Control the hand, control the game (6/2013 - 9/2014) (1)
    New 8Rack deck thread!.

    Quote from MemoryLapse »
    8Rack Control the Hand, Control the Game.

    Video Primer:http://youtu.be/-TAIG6-jMBo

    I. Introduction - Click the Spoiler below to get started with 8Rack

    A. What is 8Rack?
    8Rack is a black based hand control deck. Hand control differs from board control decks in that it does not seek any kind of lasting control over the board. Instead, the aim of hand control decks is to proactively remove threats directly from the opponents hand. With the opponent's hand empty, your Shrieking Affliction and The Rack trigger and win the game for you. 8Rack is creatureless or nearly creatureless. Modern is a removal heavy format. By having no creatures in your deck you give the opponent a bunch of dead cards in his hand. These dead removal cards can be ignored at first allowing you to focus your discard on actual threats.

    Hand control strategies have been around for a long time, but they have been mysteriously absent from Modern. People seem to have forgotten the difference between hand control and board control+discard suite. The amazing part is, hand control is more powerful now than it ever has been in the past. We have an amazing array of discard spells to choose from, as well as Modern's best Planeswalker to lead the charge to victory. So in short, while hand control is an old school strategy, this primer will give you a modernized version of it. There is a lot of power and tech in this primer. I hope you all enjoy it.

    B. Why should I play 8Rack?
    Do you love control decks? Do you love making your opponent angry? Do you like proactive strategies? Do you love using Liliana - the most powerful Planeswalker in Modern? If you answered yes to any of those questions then I highly recommend that you explore this primer. Please start by taking a look at the Primer video, it goes into much more depth than the written guide does, in a way that I hope you guys find entertaining. This is a very fun deck to pilot, but I will state from the beginning that this is not an easy deck to play. It requires a solid knowledge of the Modern playing field to be successful. If that doesn't scare you off, then by all means keep reading and enjoy this control addicts dream.

    C. Whats the Difference between 8Rack and Mono Black Control?
    Ok here's the deal. Mono Black Control (of which Mono Black Infect is the currently most popular subset) is not the same thing as a pure discard strategy. To be sure, both deck classes are control oriented, and they may share many of the same cards, but they have a fundamentally different approach to deck creation.

    MBC first aims to nullify threats - not only through discard, but also through spot removal spells such Geth's Verdict, Go for the Throat and such. The next step for MBC is to gain card advantage through Dark Confidant Phyrexian Arena and Night's Whisper. Black has a lot of board sweepers to choose from as well, though you probably won't need more than Damnation. For finishers you have a lot to choose from in MBC. Phyrexian Crusader is one of the best choices, and he is one of the main reasons that the infect creatures are used in MBC. You dont HAVE to use the infect package, though it certainly is efficient and effective. There is a lot of room for personal preference here. But here is one very important point - MBC does not use The Rack.

    The reason behind why MBC does not use The Rack is the core difference between MBC decks and Discard. MBC is a board control strategy. Discard makes no attempt to directly control the board. Discard seeks to do one thing and one thing only: control the hand. Discard must be proactive where as MBC can be reactive. For the most part, Discard decks must be able to ignore the cards that make it to the board. In the lists I posted, Ensnaring Bridge gives me a lot of breathing room to do exactly that. Bridge may or may not be needed depending on what deck you are facing, but the end result is that your Discard list must be able to keep your opponent's hand empty of threats / completely empty. The Rack, and the new Shrieking Affliction are 1cc, hard to remove finishers for this strategy.

    But wait! I didn't exactly explain why you shouldn't use creatures. In Modern, every single deck you face will have main deck creature removal. That is a weakness that Discard can exploit. By employing a strategy that does not use creatures as finisher, you opponent is left with dead cards that can be ignored. By creating a deck without creatures you are neutralizing threats proactively - without casting a single spell.

    D. IMPORTANT information about Leyline of Sanctity and 8Rack
    Quote from ktkenshinx
    I looked through both the paper and MTGO top decks to find exactly how prevalent Leyline is. If the card is barely played, then we don't need to worry about it, and can stick with the Mono B or RB composition. But if the card is all over the place, then we won't have much of a choice in running White or Green.

    Using decklists.net to look through the MTGO metagame, I found that there were only 38 decks since March 2013 that ran Leyline of Sanctity in the sideboard. Of those 38 decks, 26% of them were Bogles, and another 16% of them were Reanimator. The rest were some combination of Tron, Storm, Twin, Eggs, and other random decks.

    By comparison, there were 366 total decks that were logged in the decklists.net database from MTGO events in the March-June 2013 time period. With 38 of those decks running Leyline of Sanctity, that brings the Leyline representation to only about 10% of total decks in the online metagame.

    Using TCDecks.net as a source for the paper metagame, I conducted a similar analysis looking at all decks that ran Leyline of Sanctity in the board. During the same March through June 2013 time period, 51 decks that made Top 8 at any event had some number of LoS in their board. 20% of those decks were Eggs, 12% were Hatebears, 12% were WUR Midrange, and 10% were Zoo. The remaining 46% of Leyline decks were some combination of Storm, Twin, Pod, and a few others, but none in any serious capacity.

    What percentage of the total paper metagame did those Leyline decks make up? Using stats from TCDecks and MtG Decks Database, I found that there were at least 729 decks that made Top 8 during that period (it might be more and my query was incorrectly entered). Based on that low-end number, those 51 Leyline decks only constituted 7% of the paper metagame, a number that actually overestimates the actual representation.

    I also wanted to see how Leyline was represented at big events with more than 100 players. Just looking at events from March through June, 15 Top 8 decks played Leyline of Sanctity in the sideboard. With 161 total decks in the top 8 of large events, the Leyline decks only made up 9% of that metagame.

    Unless Leyline starts to really take off, we can probably hedge our bets and not worry about the card. It just doesn't show up enough to worry too much. This suggests that RB is a much more viable color combination than I and other had initially thought. The main reason to run Green or White, Leyline, just isn't played enough in the current metagame.

    Thanks a TON for doing that research for us Ktk!

    II. Current Deck
    8-10-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    Video Replays
    8-10-14 Daily Round 1
    8-10-14 Daily Round 2
    8-10-14 Daily Round 3
    8-10-14 Daily Round 4

    Proactive vs Reactive 8Rack]After nearly a year of development, I have seen 8Rack grow from a fledgling home brew to a deck capable of strong showings at tournaments both large and small. As development progressed one thing started to become clear: there are two distinctly different approaches to winning with 8Rack, I call them Proactive and Reactive. This section of the primer will explain the difference between the two approaches so newcomers can select the style they feel most comfortable with.

    A. Proactive 8Rack
    "Proactive" 8Rack is the style of deck I originally envisioned and submitted to the community. Not surprisingly this deck attempts to nullify threats proactively before they resolve. Discard is obviously a large part of this plan, but it is not the only way to proactively eliminate threats.

    Ensnaring Bridge will proactively make your opponent's creatures useless. If you hand is empty enough, it can also neutralize any existing threats on the board. Proactive decks are going to use Bridge a key part of their overall game plan. Proactive decks with Ensnaring Bridge would have to be considered strictly superior to decks if it weren't for one thing: the Bridge becomes the deck's Achillies heel.

    While the Bridge is in play it is perfect, but you can lose a game in one turn if it gets removed or bounced. The same thing applies to matches where you do not draw the Bridge. To use Bridge effectively means to develop a list that does not depend upon Bridge for everything, and to attack your opponent from multiple angles. It's a fine line to walk, but if you are able to, you get the best of both worlds. The following deck is an example of a proactive list.

    See more decks like this in the Section III Spoiler!

    B. Reactive 8Rack

    Reactive 8Rack attempts to splice in a healthy amount of board control into the 8Rack hand control shell. Cards like Smallpox, Victim of Night and Dismember can deal with creatures that slip through your grasp and make it to the table. These decks do not run Ensnaring Bridge. The advantage to this is that they do not have to worry about Ensnaring Bridge getting removed while it was keeping an army at bay then getting overrun by said army. The downside is that you will have to prioritize removing creatures with your discard attacks since you will not have a catch all defense to protect you from them.

    In theory, Dark Confidant gives gas to this strategy. With no other creatures for your opponent to aim his removal spells at, I have personally found it difficult for Bob to stick around long enough to generate card advantage consistently. Do not let that stop you from running him, or from playing Reactive 8Rack though. There are a number of Tournament results that prove that Reactive is just as viable as Proactive.

    It really comes down to a matter of taste and style. Are you the type of person who likes to take care of problems ahead of time? Play Proactive. Are you the type of person who likes to destroy threats as they appear? Play Reactive. It's not clear at this time which one is superior. I am personally a Proactive player, and until Reactive is demonstrated to my satisfaction to be clearly better than Proactive, I will be staying in this camp. When Waste Not goes live with M15, everything could change. FOr now though, take a look at Jan Miller's reactive 8Rack list:

    III. Updated 8-10-14 Headlines & News

    Waste Not, Pack Rat make a splash in 8Rack!

    8-10-14 M15 is out in paper and online and Waste Not is now live. Lots of 8Rack players are reporting great things from Waste Not. I however have decided to go a different route with the 4 deck slots I devote to "Plan B". I am currently advocating Pack Rat. Join the discussion and let us know which you prefer!

    4-16-14 While I have been trolling around my LGS's with a paper copy of 8Rack for the last couple weeks, thread contributor Destroymaker has been cleaning house on MTGO. Destroyer is an expert 8Rack pilot who runs a very clean list. Check out his list in the spoiler below. Long live 8Rack!

    3-26-14 Just finished my 7th daily win for the month. Despite some imperfect play on my part, 8Rack gets the job done again. Deck list is identical from last time. This list is tuned to perfection!

    3-23-14 Log: Just finished my 6th Daily win with 8Rack this month. Huzzah! This beats my previous record of 5, and there's still some time left in the Season. I think it's entirely possible for someone motivated enough to grind out 15 QP's in a month. Then you would get your free promo LIon's Eye Diamond or whatever the prize is for that month. I really wanted that Lion's Eye Diamond this month though. Guys make sure you are stayign up to date on current 8Rack lists by checking out the spoiler in this section! All of the Tournament winning results are in there.

    Tourney Decks and Replays - Click Here!

    4-15-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    prize screenshot

    4-15-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    prize screenshot
    3-26-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    Video Replays
    3-26-14 Daily Round 1
    3-26-14 Daily Round 2
    3-26-14 Daily Round 3
    3-26-14 Daily Round 4

    3-23-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    Video Replays
    3-23-13 Daily Round 1 vs Ad Nauseum
    3-23-13 Daily Round 2 vs UW Control
    3-23-13 Daily Round 3 vs Red Burn
    3-23-13 Daily Round 4 vs UWR Twin

    3-19-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    Video Replays
    3-19-14 Daily Round 1 vs Splinter Twin Classic
    3-19-14 Daily Round 2 vs Melira Pod
    3-19-14 Daily Round 3 vs RUG Twin
    3-19-14 Daily Round 4 vs Red Burn

    3-18-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    Video Replays
    3-18-14 Daily Round 1 vs Scapeshift
    3-18-14 Daily Round 2 vs Red Burn
    3-18-14 Daily Round 3 vs UW Gifts Tron
    3-18-14 Daily Round 4 vs UW Control

    3-7-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    Video Replays:
    3-7-14 Daily Round 1 vs. Ad Nauseum
    3-7-14 Daily Round 2 vs. Storm
    3-7-14 Daily Round 3 vs. Ad Nauseum
    3-7-14 Daily Round 4 vs. Ad Nauseum

    3-3-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    Video Replays:
    3-3-14 Daily Round 1 vs RG Tron...Really dude?
    3-3-14 Daily Round 2 vs. UWR
    3-3-14 Daily Round 3 vs. Storm
    3-3-14 Daily Round 4 vs. Assault Loam

    3-1-14 MTGO Premier Event Winner

    2-27-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    Video Replays:
    2-27-14 Daily Round 1 vs UWR Control
    2-27-14 Daily Round 2 vs Storm
    2-27-14 Daily Round 3 vs Bogle Blouses
    2-27-14 Daily Round 4 vs UWR Control

    2-24-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    Video Replays:
    2-24-14 Daily Rounds 1-2
    2-24-14 Daily Round 3
    2-24-14 Daily Round 4

    2-23-14 Daily Tournament Winner - Budget List Wins a Daily!

    Daily report]

    Round 1 vs UWR Twin

    Game 1 I don't remember much except it went smoothly for me. Game 2 he sided in Luminarch Ascension (which I got rid of) and Celestial Purge. He ended up beating me with Celestial Colonnade after I used up my removal on his combo pieces. Game 3 I was dropping Torpor Orb, Shrieking Affliction, and The Rack everywhere and grinding him with Raven's Crime, Wrench Mind, etc. He cast Wear // Tear on my Rack and Affliction but Crime and Affliction was enough to seal the deal. Topdecked Bridge which served as insurance against Restoration Angel.


    Round 2 vs Domain Zoo

    Game 1 he mulls to 6 on the play. I empty his hand with Raven's Crime and grind him out with Necrogen Mists while draining him with The Rack and Shrieking Affliction. He gets 2x Kird Ape out but I kill one and lock the other down with Bridge.

    Game 2 I don't sideboard anything. I discard his Geist of St. Traft; he gets in with Lightning Helix, Kird Ape, Loam Lion. I kill the Ape with Victim; he plays Tarmogoyf for lethal next turn. I have a bunch of Racks and Afflictions in play and an Inquisition in hand; if I grab something with it, it's lethal for me, but he just has a Ghor-Clan Rampager.

    Game 3 I discard his Geist and Tribal Flames, leaving him with just a Kird Ape and Loam Lion on board and a hand full of land. I discard more, drop three Bridges, Necrogen Mists, and continue discarding. Eventually I drop 2x Affliction and win.


    Round 3 vs UWR Twin

    He starts with Deceiver Exarch and Splinter Twin in hand, which I discard. I drop The Rack and turn it on with more discard. Eventually he gets another Exarch out and topdecks Twin for the win.

    Game 2 he has a handful of combo pieces and hate for Affliction and The Rack. It's a grindy game but I get rid of everything I need to and land my win cons. Pretty straightforward game.

    Game 3 I Wrench Mind his Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Lightning Bolt, drop win cons. He plays Wall of Omens, plays it on Twin out of desperation; next turn I Victim the first Omen. I drop Bridge and more win cons and wait it out until he's dead.

    Round 4 vs BG Rock

    I believe this was Reid Duke's PTBNG list with Phyrexian Obliterator. There's not much to say about it: I lose to an endless slew of Abrupt Decay and Maelstrom Pulse (you can see it here). Buried Ruin would really help here; pretty sure the budget versions suffers for the lack of it and Bitterblossom much more than Liliana.

    2-23-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    Video Replays:[/u
    2-23-14 Daily Round 1 vs. Storm
    2-23-14 Daily Round 2 vs. Affinity
    2-23-14 Daily Round 3 vs. Shamanism
    2-23-14 Daily Round 4 vs. Blue Moon

    Results Spoiler]
    Round 1 vs Storm
    Game 1 he opens with 2 Gitaxian Probes, giving away his deck. I take apart his hand turn after turn and he just scoops after a while.
    Game 2 He gets a MIRACLE hand and dumps 10 golbin tokens on the board on Turn 2, putting me on a 2 turn clock. I use everything I have to completely empty my own hand except for 1 card: Ensnaring Bridge. To accomplish this, I had to discard all of my lands. My only out is to top deck a land. I missed it by 1 card. Still I was kind of proud of myself that I was able to even create a situation where I had an out.
    Game 3 I get a Leyline in play and use Liliana to edict his 2 Electromancers. He scoops.

    Round 2 vs. Affinity
    Game 1 he had a slow start and I crushed him.
    Games 2-3 he had a fast start and I lost. Not much to say here other than I wished for Infests / Drown in Sorrow to have been in the side.

    Round 3 vs. Shamanism
    Game 1 I mulligan to 5 cards and still only get 1 land. He executes his game plan with minimal disruption from me.
    Game 2 he has to mulligan and I have a decent hand. He cannot answer Ensnaring Bridge and he dies to racks and Fae tokens.
    Game 3 I get a decent hand and his hand is rather clogged with lands. I discard his burning Tree Shaman, and he top decks another one. The shaman takes Liliana with him when she edicts it away. Still, his hand is thin and I take over the game fairly easily.

    Round 4 vs. Blue Moon
    Game 1 - So this is the first time I have faced, or even seen the Blue Moon deck list. A turn 1 Thoughtseize makes me jump for joy - it's basically a mono blue control deck with Blood Moon. 8Rack is completely immune to Blood Moon. I discard some of his counterspells and land a bridge. Its basically game over with a resolved bridge. I drag the game out for a long time before finally establishing a Liliana lock.
    Game 2 starts out much like Game 1. He has minimal threats and I take out his coutnerspells. The game looks to be an easy win, then he gets a miracle rip at the very end, watch the video to see what happened.
    Game 3 - His deck cannot deal with discard and fae tokens. He has no removal for my permanents. This is an easy match for 8Rack. In real life he would have flipped the table.

    Pro Tour: Valencia Deck by Arjan Van Leeuwen

    Livestream replay of featured match: http://www.twitch.tv/magic/b/505407037?t=477m14s
    Deck Tech Spotlight replay: http://twitch.tv/magic/b/505407037?t=536m46s

    2-1-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    Video Replays:

    2-1-14 Daily Round 1 8Rack vs Splinter Twin: http://youtu.be/mirOCZkNqiI
    2-1-14 Daily Round 2 8Rack vs Wafo Tapa Himself!: http://youtu.be/IqMxY2o3JbA
    2-1-14 Daily Round 3 8Rack vs Scapeshift: http://youtu.be/dtRnur1A1Tc
    2-1-14 Daily Round 4 8Rack vs Allies...Really? Allies?: http://youtu.be/3IVtSdoesE4

    1-25-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    Video Replays:
    1-25-14 Daily Round 1 8Rack vs Tempo Twin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JQarcDtJHU
    1-25-14 Daily Round 2 8Rack vs Affinity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UagkyjwaoHw
    1-25-14 Daily Round 3 8Rack vs Tempo Twin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVG1cqkZbHo
    1-25-14 Daily Round 4 8Rack vs Scapeshift: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEk3o94SGPY

    1-19-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    This is a very reactive list. It takes full advantage of Pox by using cards like Lingering Souls. Fulminator mage in the side looks like his answer to Tron.

    1-17-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    The List:

    Round 1 vs White Death and Taxes
    1-17-14 8Rack Daily Round 1 vs White Death and Taxes: http://youtu.be/ltNZLgTcjwAResults]I win this round 2-1. In Game 1 I crush him with massive discard, and 3 racks by the end. I am thinking this will be an easy round, but I make a large sideboarding error. I put in 4x Torpor Orbs and the 2 Bridges. He plays T1 Dryad Militant Followed up by a T2 Thalia. I am land screwed and the Orbs sit like dead weights in my hand. Thalia is a huge threat to this deck. It throws my ENTIRE curve off track and my top end spells cannot even be cast in most cases. I lose hardcore. Game 3 I open with an IoK and catch his Thalia thank God. It goes back and forth a bit but he starts accumulating creatures. I have a single Shrieking ticking away at him. He gets even more creatures. He is down to 6 with an empty hand and a huge army. I have nothing on the table except for 3 lands and no cards in hand. I will die next turn. Just when all hope is lost...Ensnaring Bridge! I ripped that sucker like a champ! It hits the deck with a thud, since he has no cards in his hand he only has 1 turn to rip an answer to it before Shrieking kills him. He cannot respond to Bridge and I win. Amazing game, felt really good. Watch the video.Round 2 vs Jund
    1-17-14 8Rack Daily Round 2 vs Jund: http://youtu.be/kxL4rPeqD0wResults]I lose 0-2. I get two terrible hands, and this guy just crushed me. It was like a training video for how to win any match with Jund. Deathrites, Thoughtseizes, Bobs, Gofys - the whole gang came out at one time or another to take turns kicking me in the balls. Not good, moving on.Round 3 vs ??? Burn?1-17-14 8Rack Daily Round 3 vs ???: http://youtu.be/348cR-Se5DsResults Spoiler]I win this round 2-0. This guy is playing some kind of Frankenstein's monster deck that consists of a lot of Red burn, Deathrite Shaman, Grim Lavamancer and who knows what else. I crush him both games. 8Rack has a great match against any kind of Res burn and this one was a pathetically slow burn. No contest at all.
    Round 4 vs UWR Midrange GP Prague Style
    1-17-14 8Rack Daily Round 4 vs UWR Midrange: http://youtu.be/G8qgFsW9kr8Results Spoiler]I win the final round 2-1 and take home my 4th 8Rack daily win in a month. My opponent was playing a UWR midrange list that included Blade Splicer, Vendillion Clique and Restoration Angel. I found this round quite easy, but again I had to side in all 4 Bridges. Basically I just discarded his counterspells then once Ensnaring Bridge resolved it was basically over for him. This deck is the bane of those UWR decks.

    1-13-14 Daily Winner - Jan Miller's GP Prague List

    Round 1]
    8Rack GP Prague Daily Round 1 vs BW Tokens: http://youtu.be/pAY1bZ4BHPg
    Results Spoiler]I crushed him. Game 1 I draw a mint hand filled with targeted discard, he tries to disrupt me with an IoK of his own and a Tidehollowsculler. Liliana hits the deck and wrecks his game. Game 2 I side in some stuff that never gets played. He keeps a hand with only land, 1 thoughtseize, 1 tidehollowsculler. He catches my Lili with the Thoughtsieze on Turn 1, I take his Tidehollow with an IoK. He only casts 1 more spell the whole game, a useless Honor of the Pure. Easy win. I want to stress one thing. I never drew Bob or Pox. I crushed him with the core of the deck - targeted discard, Raven's Crime and Liliana.
    Round 2]
    8Rack GP Prague Daily Round 2 vs RG Tron: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrM9tTb7Rvg
    Results Spoiler]I lose 1-2. First game I was doing well until he ripped 2 Karns and Wurmcoil off the topdeck. Without Ensnaring Bridge, a resolved Wurm is GG. Game 2 I chose to play 2nd and it works well. He mulligans to 6 and I Pox on turn 2 and keep his hand empty while Lili builds to her Ult. After she ults its over, Bob does a TON of work in this game, the first time he has been useful so far. Game 3 I was doing well but again he rips a Wurmcoil after I discard one and without Bridge I am helpless. I make a huge misplay with Liliana but after doing the math I would have lost anyways because he rips 2 Nature's Claim and tutors in a 3rd wurmcoil. This is an awful match for this deck. It's not a whole lot better with my own list but at least I run Bridge and Pithing needle to try and fight off Tron. Jan's list basically gives up against Tron.Round 3]
    8Rack GP Prague Daily Round 3 vs Red Deck Wins (Red Burn): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rznb20mxBM
    Results Spoiler]I win a nail biter 2-1. He wins the toss and goes first after mulliganing to 6. Plays a mountain and exiles Rift bolt. I cast IoK and remove Lighning Bolt. Next Turn he plays Keldon Marauders, and I respond with Smallpox. I play a rack and start his clock. He dies before I do. GG. Game 2 he blows me out of the water with a made hand. Game I choose to go 2nd and draw a hand full of lands, IoK, rack and Raven's Crime. When I look at his hand with an ioK he only has Smash to Smithereens, Lightning Bolt and Flames of the Bloodhand. I choose Smash to protect my rack. Next turn he plays Keldon and passes. I cast Raven's Crime and Retrace it. I have enough lands to retrace all day long. The game continues and is extremely close. I recommend watching the video. I pull off a win at the end by a tiny margin. Final Round. FIGHT!]
    8Rack GP Prague Daily Round 4 vs Splinter Twin: http://youtu.be/GbJvRvkuCmM
    Results Spoiler]
    Seriously you should watch the replay. It's a very close match.I hate your stupid videos just tell me what happened]
    I win 2-1, taking home another prize and another victory for 8rack. The games were extremely close. I'm too drained right now to post the details. Watch the replay.

    http://i39.tinypic.com/2ebetmf.jpg***Disclaimer*** I want it noted that even though Jan Miller piloted this deck at GP Prague, I do not feel as though this is an optimal list. If you agree or disagree post about it on the thread here.
    ***UPDATE*** In the interests of testing Jan Miller's list, I took the list verbatim into an MTGO daily event. Check out the Video Index tab for the replays and results.

    1-3-14 Daily Tournament Winner

    12-19-13 Daily Tournament Winner

    12-16-13 Daily Tournament Winner

    9-23-13 Daily Tournament Winner

    IV. 8Rack Card Analysis

    A. Core Cards

    The Rack
    The deck's namesake. The rack has been a staple in discard based strategies since the beginning of Magic. The concept is simple: you empty your opponent's hand, it deals damage. One thing to note is that The Rack actually does deal damage as opposed to life loss, so you can redirect it to Planeswalkers if appropriate. Proactive: 4 Copies. Reactive: 4 copies.

    Shrieking Affliction
    A relatively new card in MTG, Affliction is essentially copies 5-8 of the Rack (thus the title 8Rack). Affliction has some advantages over Rack and some drawbacks as well. It activates it's full power at 1 card or less, but does nothing at 2+ cards. It is an enchantment, so red cannot remove it. It is also life loss as opposed to damage so while it cannot hurt Planeswalkers, it can get around cards like Worship. All in all, this card was a huge addition to the hand control strategy. Proactive: 4 Copies. Reactive: 3-4 copies.

    Liliana of the Veil
    Hands down, the most powerful Planeswalker in all of Modern. Liliana shines brighter in this strategy than anywhere else. Her +1 is completely one sided, in fact it may actually be quite beneficial for you to discard extra cards in order for you to remain safely under the bridge. With Lili on the table your opponent cannot amass cards and will die very fast with even just 1 or 2 racks on the table. Lili's -2 leaves her vulnerable but almost always results in a 2 for 1 scenario. Lili's ultimate can win the game for you as well if you haven't already won by that point. Note that budget decks can use Necrogen Mists as a temporary replacement. Liliana, will you marry me? Proactive: 4 Copies. Reactive: 4 copies.

    Ensnaring Bridge
    Another underrated bomb in modern. Almost all Tier 1 and Tier 2 decks are using creature based win conditions. Ensnaring Bridge stops them from winning until they deal with it. Good luck dealing with it while we are tearing apart their hand from the first turn. We aren't using creatures to attack with so there is no drawback for us. It's a 1 card soft lock in a Proactive deck. reactive decks do not run Bridge and instead pack heavy amounts of board removal to deal with critters. Proactive: 4 Copies. Reactive: 0 copies.

    The recent unbanning of Bitterblossom in conjunction with the DRS ban was like a shock wave that hit Modern full force. Overnight the price of this card quadrupled, with the expectation of UB Faeries becoming an overnight Tier 1 strategy. Well, the jury is still out on UB Fae, but no matter. 8Rack can make good use of Bitterblossom. Correctly using BB means not dropping it haphazardly on turn 2 without disarming threats from your opponents hand first. What you are trying to do is create a stable board THEN you drop BB and let it snowball. BB is yet another non creature threat. If played on time, it must be answered. The tokens can attack under a bridge easily. BB is an amazing way to finish the long grindy matches that this deck creates so often. That said, it's not all butterflies and rainbows. Wild Nacatl was also unbanned, and BB typically under performs in that match up. Side it out and side in Leyline of Sanctity against zoo. Here is the clock for using BB to kill an opponent at 20 life:
    Bitterblossom Clock]
    The kill will take 7 turns, losing you a total of 7 life.
    The tokens will deal a total of 21 damage.
    It will take 4 turns to have dealt more damage to your opponent than you have lost to bitterblossom.
    On the last turn there will be a total of 7 faerie tokens in play, 6 that can attack and 1 with summoning sickness.

    Raven's Crime
    A one card soft lock that turns every useless land top deck into a game winning discard. Use this in combination with Dakmor Salvage to create an unbreakable discard engine. Raven's Crime is a huge workhorse in this deck. It's a high value card. Proactive: 4 Copies. Reactive: 4 copies.

    Probably the best 1cc targeted discard in Modern, it's not without it's drawbacks. It can be painful against Red Burn and other fast decks, but even in these matches you can usually come out a bit ahead by casting it. Highly recommend using this but budget decks can use alternatives. Proactive: 4 Copies. Reactive: 4 copies.

    Inquisition of Kozilek
    Nearly as good as Thoughtseize, without the pain. Much better vs Red than Thoughtseize, but a lot worse against some combo and ramp decks. Do not be confused though, this is an amazing spell that is a no brainer auto include to any list. Proactive: 4 Copies. Reactive: 4 copies.

    Wrench Mind
    The closest thing this format has to Hymn to Tourach. Wrench Mind is an absolute back breaker against most decks. When cast, this card generates instant card advantage for you while simultaneously advancing your plan to empty your opponent's hand. Wrench Mind is what Proactive decks use instead of Bob. That said, Reactive decks can try and find room for this bomb as well. Side it out vs Affinity and Tron. Proactive: 4 Copies. Reactive: 0-2 copies.

    Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    A very important land if you are using Manlands or utility lands, which you definitely should be unless you are on a budget build. Having access to :symb::symb: on Turn 2 is critical in many cases because we want to cast Wrench Mind, Smallpox, cast and retrace Raven's Crime, or cast IoK and Thoughtsieze. Urborg turns your colorless lands into black mana sources. If you are running fetchlands for a splash, you can also tap the fetchlands themselves for mana without paying the life. Urborg is indispensable, with the new Legendary rule there's very little drawback to it. Then when you consider the fact we run Raven's Crime, Smallpox and Liliana - I personally recommend running a full play set of these. As a rule of thumb, 1-2 colorless lands, 1 Urborg. 3-4 Colorless lands, use the same number of Urborgs. Proactive: 4 Copies. Reactive: 2-4 copies.

    The first of two possible manlands that 8Rack can make use of. Mutavault is the most straightforward of the two. It activates for only 1 mana and swings for 2. It can block in a pinch to save your Lili or yourself. Using manlands are important because we need more avenues to deal damage. Your other manland option would be to use Blinkmoth Nexus. Mutavaults and Blinkmoths are great alternate win conditions. Proactive: 3-4 Copies. Reactive: 2-4 copies.

    Buried Ruin
    A relatively new addition to my lists, Buried Ruin feels completely natural here. Ruin provides resurrection for your fallen Ensnaring Bridge, Rack, Spellskite or other sideboard artifacts. This is a great utility land, but there certainly are others to choose from. Desert and Tectonic Edge are the first ones that come to mind. The choice of whether or not to use a set of utility lands or a set of manlands highly depends on whether or not you are running Bitterblossom. BB provides damage that is not tethered to the opponent's hand size. Having this effect in yoru deck is absolutely critical. So if you chose not to run Bitterblossom, run a manland of your choice (Muravault or Blinkmoth Nexus). Proactive: 3-4 Copies. Reactive: ?? copies.

    Blinkmoth Nexus
    Blinkmoth is another manland option. It has the same activation cost as Mutavault, but this one flies. At first glance it appears to be a simple 1/1, but it has some tricks up it's sleeve. You can block with it, then pay an extra mana and tap it to buff it up to a 2/2. So for blocking purposes, it can trade with all the same things as Mutavault plus it flies. That said, Mutavault has a distinct advantage over Blinkmoth in an open board. With a Bridgle-lock in play, Blinkmoth has the advantage. It's unclear which of these manlands is the "best". I've found both to be viable. Blinkmoth tends to lend itself a bit more to Proactive builds and Mutavault favors Reactive, but these conclusions are not set in stone. If you do choose to run Blinkmoths you should probably run a full playset of them because they get better in multiples. Proactive: 4 Copies. Reactive: 2-4 copies.

    Dakmor Salvage
    Most folks have never seen this card before. As far as I know it is not played anywhere else in Modern. It comes into play tapped and has Dredge 2 on it. Sound boring right? Well when you couple this with Raven's Crime you have yourself a repeatable discard engine. This soft lock works excellently with all of our other weapons. The fact that this utility land comes into play tapped is a rather large drawback however because our deck runs such a slim land count. After exhaustive testing 2 seems to be the perfect number. Proactive: 2 Copies. Reactive: 2 copies.
    Dark Confidant
    At first glance you might think this an auto-include into any version of 8Rack. This is not true however. Bob is hands down the best black creature in Modern, so why wouldn't all 8Rack decks want him? Reactive decks do want him. They depend upon him generating some card advantage to stay ahead of the opponents board. This means that Reactive decks need to potentially discard Bolts and other removal spells to protect Bob when he hits the table. Proactive decks need never worry about discarding such spells as they are already dead cards. Proactive decks can instead focus on other threats. Bob is a great card, and for for almost every deck that can play him, he is a superstar. But he has limitations. He needs a shell around him that can allow him to stick around to net some advantage. The Proactive game plan is not likely to create a such a scenario with any consistency. Reactive decks have a better chance at exploiting him. Proactive: 0 Copies. Reactive: 4 copies.
    Necrogen Mists
    This is a card you may have never seen played or even heard of before. Don't let that fool you. This card is a work horse in a strategy like this. This is your Liliana 5+ and it stacks with Lili and itself. We want the opponent's hand empty, this makes it happen. I can easily recommend a couple copies even with 4 Lili's in the deck. We do want to becareful about clogging our mana curve with too many 3cc spells however. This deck needs to be light and fast. Our 3cc spells are the top of the curve. Necrogen Mists can also be used as a budget replacement for Lili. Proactive: 0-2 Copies. Reactive: 0-2 copies.
    A powerful card, it can be extremely one sided in a deck like this. Whether or not to include Pox is really a choice between Proactive and Reactive. Pox seems to lend itself much better to Reactive lists. Whichever style you decide, you don't want too many in your hand at once. The choice to use pox can make or break your list. I highly recommend posting your potential pox list in this thread for discussion. Proactive: 0-2 Copies. Reactive: 2-4 copies.
    This is the best black removal spell in Modern. It can be painful to cast, but it is a 1cc spell when we need it to be. Thankfully we aren't taking damage from our manabase like so many other decks do (Jund, UWR) so we can afford to spend some of our life total to run this amazing spell. Side it out versus Red Burn. The second best option for removal is Victim of Night. You can mix and match your removal slot with these and other spells if you want a diverse removal package. Proactive: 2-3 Copies. Reactive: 3-4 copies.

    B. Flex Cards and Sideboard Options

    Leyline of Sanctity
    Wait. How dare I run a white card in a deck with an all black manabase? Well Leyline of Sanctity on Turn 0 is well worth the risk. Leyline turns off a lot of decks' game plan. Red burn becomes a bye. UR TempoMancer becomes a bye. Jund loses it's burn and discard package. Enemy Liliana's can only +1 against you which is actually a great advantage for you. Feel free to check out some of my tournament videos if you doubt the power of this card in 8Rack.
    Black's version of Pyroclasm is an amazing sweeper for 8Rack. This is a high value spell against nearly every deck running fast aggro. It is quite effective against most of the UWR Midrange creatures as well because they all have low toughness. Some of the relevant targets Infest hits: Deathrite Shaman, Geist, Vendilion Clique, Snapcaster Mage, Grim Lavamancer, Manadorks, White Weenies, Etched Champion, Steel overseer, Memnite, Signal Pest, Arcbound Ravager, Orinithopter...you get the idea. As All-In-Twin decks have transformed into Tempo-Twin, this card has become a bit better against them as well.
    Pithing Needle
    Pithing Needle is our best chance to deal with Tron. The first one that hits the board names Oblivion Stone. Hopefully you can discard the Karn in their hand. That will buy you enough time to get another Needle naming Karn. This will prevent them from winning IF you have an Ensnaring Bridge in play to turn off Wurmcoils and Emrakul. It's not easy to accomplish all of this, but it is a viable game plan against one of our most difficult match ups. Needle has splash hate against a lot of other decks as well. You can name Aether Vial against Merfolk. You can name Birthing Pod or Qasali Pridemage or Viscera Seer vs Pod. There are a lot of chances to play this card if you know the Modern field.
    Torpor Orb
    This is our best answer to Twin currently. It shuts off their infinite combo, and it turns all of their creatures into vanilla beaters, which can then be managed with Ensnaring Bridge and or Infest. In the past I have had difficulties with Twin in tournaments, but there has been a shift from All-In-Twin to Tempo-Twin. Combine this with the liberal use of Torpor Orb I am happy to report we now have a favorable match up against Twin. Not bad considering it's arguable the best deck in the format.
    Duress Personally I like this card quite a bit. Against creatureless decks like Storm this spell is a game winner. It's also amazing against anything Blue based. It's much better against Red burn than Thoughtseize. Obviously it's somewhat weak against fast aggro. Include this as a meta choice if you are facing a lot of control or combo.
    Surgical Extraction / Extirpate
    This deck has a better than average chance to abuse either of these cards. They can be especially nice against Tron. If you discard Tron's finisher, or Pox a Tron piece then Extirpate it, the deck slows to a crawl. Both cards are also particularly nasty against control decks that run limited amount of win conditions. Either card is a strong candidate for sideboard, and in certain metas, they can be a main deck option as well.
    Before you dismiss Blackmail, let me tell you: try this card. On the surface is seems totally worse than all of the other 1cc discards, and taken on its own I would agree. The beauty of this card is when you play it AFTER softening up their hand a little with other discards. Very important to note that this is a targeted effect that can hit LAND cards. Try it out as a 2/2 split with Duress and watch the card grow on you. When Waste Not goes live with M15 this card get significantly better. If they show you 3 land cards they risk giving you accelerated mana to discard even more things. Expect to see a lot more of this card in conjunction with Waste Not.
    If Blackmail doesn't suit your tastes try this card. It's creature removal in a discard shell. Useless against topdecks, this cannot be your ONLY creature removal, but it allows you to run fewer copies of dedicated board removal. This helps you to avoid diluting your deck with non discard spells. Consider Despise as a "bridging" spell between discard and removal.
    Victim of Night
    This card is currently the best of Black's 2cc spells. It kills basically everything that will see play in modern for 2. Double Black prevents more deck's from using this, but that is no obstacle here. The choice between using this over Dismember is really a matter of person taste. Reactive builds will likely use both of these as their primary removal spells.
    Darkblast is a high value card against certain decks. It is very good against Affinity and Twin. In fact, Darkblast can kill everything in Tempo Twin which is currently not typically running any Deciever Exarchs. Against Affinity you can take down those pesky Signal Pests, Memites, Inkys and Blinkys, and Vault Skirges. If you use the Cast > Dredge > Cast technique you can take out any of their 2/2s as well. I normally consider this a sideboard option, but if you are in a meta heavy with Robots this can be considered main deck material.
    Waste Not
    This card will be released in June with M15. It's going to be a very important card for 8Rack and will likely give us a huge boost in overall power.

    V. Matchups and Tips

    vs. Jund Jund is the boogeyman of Modern currently. Our match against Jund is fair in Game 1 and gets better post sideboarding. The problem with Jund is they pack a lot of spot removal for our threats in the form of Abrupt Decay and Maelstrom Pulse. Reactive builds have a better time with Jund because they do not rely on Bridge and also pack a lot of creature hate. Either deck style you choose, we need to focus on killing Bob at all costs. Leyline of Sanctity turns off their Discard, Burn and Liliana, leaving you with only creatures to deal with. The good news is Jund will voluntarily empty its hand fairly early on in the game. They will also drain their own life pool to fetch shock lands. If you can keep Bob off the table and either remove or nullify their beaters, they die after only a few turns of rack damage. That said, I do not want to mislead anyone here into thinking this match is a breeze. Jund is a difficult match and the outcome is largely dependent on the draws. Again, Reactive builds are better positioned here.vs. Splinter Twin]Splinter Twin is starting to rival Jund in terms of popularity. It's everywhere, and why shouldn't it be? It's an amazingly powerful that is simple to play. Recently, there has been a move from "All-In-Twin" to "Tempo-Twin" and 8Rack couldn't be happier. Our Game 1 is quite strong. Aim your discard for their combo pieces and or counterspells. Tempo Twin relies heavily upon their beat down plan with V. Clique, Snapcaster, Pestermite and Lavamancer. Bridge is an all-star here. Post board we have Torpor Orb which turns their entire deck into vanilla beaters. With some smart play and devoted sideboard space, this match is very good for us.vs. UWR Control]One of our absolute best match ups. We destroy UWR control. Half of their deck is dead right out of the box. Our discard gets rid of the few threats that remain. In general you want to aim your discard at their counterspells. Snapcaster Mage is also a high priority target. You can ignore most of their board removal unless that's all the have. With the counterspells nullified, a resolved Liliana is game breaking. Ensnaring Bridge shuts down their Colonade, but it usually doesn't get to that point. With all the discarding their land count will probably be a lot lower than they are used to , but Sphinx's Revelation can still be a legitimate threat. The good news is decks that run it only run 2 copies at most, and you can sometimes catch those early on in the game without even trying. No sideboard is required here really, but Leyline of Sanctity can protect you from lists with heavy burn. Another route to go would be to use Leyline of the Void to shut down their graveyard flashbacks like Think Twice and Snapcaster.vs. UWR Midrange]Another strong match for 8Rack. UWR Midrange is basically the same as UWR control, with more creatures. The creatures are high value to be sure, but they typically do not have an answer for Ensnaring Bridge. Proactive decks can basically consider this a Bye. Reactive builds might have their hands full dealing with Splicers, Geists and Restoration Angels without a bridge. Proactive decks should again aim their discard at counterspells first, creatures second. This will allow us to resolve a Bridge and or a Liliana and start snowballing. Torpor Orb might be a good choice to side in here. Infest is another top choice. vs.UR Delver]TempoMancer is what I call the old UR Delver. This is another quite popular deck that we have a good match against. In case you haven't noticed the trend so far, 8Rack is very good against decks running Blue. In fact, that was the original meta I designed 8Rack to beat. In any case, this is a UR deck that uses Young Pyromancer, Grim Lavamancer and a metric ton of high value instant spells. The bad news here is that they can use the instants to burn your face while creating an army of tokens if you do not stop them. Ignore the burn at first, aim your discard at Young Pyromancer and Mr. Grim. Those two cards add a lot of gas into their tank and they are significantly slowed down without them. A lot of their game involves aiming burn spells at your face so keeping their hand empty isn't that hard. Put them in top deck mode and let your Liliana + Racks do their work. Ensnaring Bridge shuts off their beat down plan because they have very little in main or side to deal with it. Bob is completely useless in this match, and DRS is just an even trade. Infest and Leyline of Sanctity do a lot of work here. A lot of their deck is Flashback so graveyard hate is appropriate too. vs. Affinity]Affinity

    Calling this deck Affinity is kind of pointless these days. There aren't any more affinity cards in it. Anyways, Robots will be a completely one sided match. Whether or not it's one sided in your favor all depends on the draws. Ensnaring Bridge can hurt their plans quite a bit, but it is not infallible here the way it is in most matches. Signal pest + Ornithopters sneak under the bridge. Then they can equip Cranial Plating as an instant. The good news is they empty their hand voluntarily for free. Having a couple racks in your draw is usually an easy win. We get a lot of help from our sideboard. Pithing Needle and Infest lead the charge. Name Cranial Plating with needle, or Ravager or a pesky Inkmoth. Infest wipes most of their board. Liliana is less relevant here than normal but shes still good. I'd say this match is 50/50 or slightly in our favor. Regardless, it is mostly based on drawing the right cards. Affinity is an aggro/combo deck. The key for the deck is low costing threats that synergise to deal lots of damage quickly. This is the kind of deck that will consistently win races against Zoo, and has a bunch of combat tricks that can really play with your combat math - so be aware.

    Affinity generally runs Thoughtcast to try refuel after the initial burst damage and has Galvanic Blast for reach.

    Key cards:
    Cranial Plating, Arcbound Ravager, Steel Overseer. These are the affinity bombs, it is these cards that take affinity over the edge. Your targeted discard should focus on these. If you have instant speed removal - you can keep the Ravager, Ensnaring Bridge and Pithing Needle - keep the Overseer.

    Ensnaring Bridge - this can shut down Affinity as it has no answer to artifacts itself. Be wary of instant speed equipped Ornithoper's - especially if you've played an Urborg giving them access to double black mana. Also Arcbound Ravager can be sacked to provide one massive alpha-strike. Holding up removal for this will win you the game.

    Pithing Needle - Naming their bombs. Ravager and Plating need to be named proactively while Steel Overseer can be named after casting. Remember this when considering which bombs to discard.

    Instant speed removal - in response to Arcbound Ravager sacrifices. Alternatively focus on Ornithopter and Signal Pest as they can fly under you bridge.

    Turn 1 you want to be seeing their hand, and working out their plays. Affinity has to keep very aggressive hands and so can often be easily disrupted with the removal of 1 card - often removing a Springleaf Drum or Mox Opal can prevent them getting to a second mana source. You need to try play out their hand in your mind and then disrupt that - if they're good for mana take out a bomb. Your goal is to buy time until you can land an Ensnaring Bridge.

    Wrench Mind is bad, Pithing Needle is good.
    Bitterblossom is too risky with the amount of damage they're able to push through. Additional removal/sweepers can come in.
    - 4 Wrench Mind, - 3 Bitterblossom
    + 4 Pithing Needle, +3 Bile Blight / Drown in Sorrow. RG Tron]Our worst match. Neither Reactive nor Proactive has a good game here. Reactive runs Smallpox which can help a bit, but Proactive runs Ensnaring Bridge which can block their Wurms and Emrakul for attacking. If you are going to try and win this, Pithing Needle is going to be the key. You need to drop a needle and name Oblivion Stone. Hopefully you can discard the Karn they have in their hand and buy yourself some time. If you can get another Pithing Needle out and name Karn, the only way they can kill you is with Wurmcoils and Emrakul, both of which will be stopped by Ensnaring Bridge. Its a tall order, but that is a viable game plan against our nemesis. Good luck.vs. Merfolk]Merfolk or "Fish" decks are getting extremely popular. In GP Prague a ton of Merfolk decks made it to the top 100, though none of them made it into the top 8. This is a very good match for the Proactive build, and a challenging match for the Reactive. Merfolk has nothing to deal with a Resolved Ensnaring Bridge and that card will completely shut them down. They also run very few counterspells so our discard can mostly be aimed at their lords in order to slow them down long enough for us to get a Bridge lock in play. You can expect them to try and mess with your lands via Spreading Seas, but overall they are very weak to a discard strategy combined with Bridge. Reactive builds might be running Damnation in the sideboard, and that card will do a lot of work in this match. Smallpox hurts them quite a bit as well. Board in your sweepers obviously.vs. Death and Taxes]Death and Taxes has a couple variants, but the one I see most often is pure white. They run minimal lands, Aether Vial and the good ones run full sets of Tectonic Edge and Ghost Quarter. Ghost Quarter acts like a Strip Mine with Leonin Arbiter or Aven Mindcensor in play. This Land destruction angle extends the early game long enough for their critters to overwhelm you. The good news is that this match up is heavily in our favor, especially for decks running Ensnaring Bridge. That said, they do have a few threats that we must take care of. Thalia is the biggest offender here. That little ***** completely screws up our mana curve and makes the deck unplayable. You must discard or kill her at all costs. Dryad Militant can screw up our Raven's Crime lock so get rid of that one too if it's convenient to do so. Infest works wonders in this match.vs. Scapeshift]This is another deck where we have a strong game. Scapeshift is a combo deck that relies upon blue counterspells to allow it to go off in peace. This is basically exactly the type of deck that 8Rack tears apart. That said, there are a few pitfalls we need to watch out for. You should expect them to side in Ravenous Baloth, so do not side out all of your critter protection. Leyline of Sanctity shuts off their combo, but they can still use Primeval Titan to beat you down. Cryptic Command can bounce Leyline or Bridge as well. Snapcaster can resurrect a fallen Scapeshift or Cryptic. All of that might sound a bit scary, but really that's about all they can do against us. I have never lost a tournament match against Scapeshift with 8Rack.vs. Red Burn / RDW]You might not think so but Red Burn is one of our easiest matches, particularly if you use Leyline of Sanctity in your sideboard (which I highly recommend you do). We take no pain at all from our manabase - this alone gives us a huge edge against Burn. Burn is always on the brink of running out of gas, and when you discard their spells the deck falls apart fast. Thoughtseize is a poor performer here, but even that card can almost always trade favorably. It hits you for 2 but if you discard a Goblin Guide or a Flames of the Blood Hand you come out on top. IoK is an allstar here and so is Wrench Mind. The biggest danger we face is not finding a Rack in time. Games 2-3 you can ride Leyline of Sanctity for a free win.vs. Living End]
    Living End

    Living End's plan A involves cycling Monstrous Carabid turn one, two more similar guys on turn two, and on turn three casting Violent Outburst, cascading into Living End and suddenly having around 12 power on the board out of nowhere. The deck is incredibly consistent if the opponent has no way to disrupt them, but it is also a very greedy deck that is entirely possible to disrupt if you know how to evaluate the cards.


    Almost every card in the Living End deck serves multiple purposes. The key is going to be to recognize what stage of the game the Living End player is in, what card effect the Living End player needs, and to discard whatever card is capable of serving that purpose.

    Going first or second doesn't matter in most games. If they keep a very very greedy hand, it's better to go first in order to more likely punish them. If you know your opponent is Living End in game one, always go first in case they don't know what you are playing. In game two or three only a bad player is going to keep a super greedy hand against a discard deck, so it likely doesn't matter. Still go first just in case you're playing someone that is willing to give you a free win. It never is a notable advantage to go second.

    Stage One - One Land

    Living End is a deck that can sometimes keep a one land hand under the right conditions. 8Rack is one of the few decks that can punish them for doing so. If they have only one land, they're banking off of cycling into a second land. Look for any of their cards that allow them to cycle for free (Street Wraith), or for only one mana (Deadshot Minotaur, Architects of Will, Monstrous Carabid). If they run out of castable cyclers and are still stuck on one land, you have essentially just stolen the game.

    Stage Two - Two Lands

    At two lands, a lot more opens up. They can just cycle one-mana cyclers twice, but what a competent player is going to be doing is to find their third land. At two mana, they can landcycle with things like Twisted Abomination or Pale Recluse. It's better to let them cycle more often and fill up their board than it is to let them easily find a third land. It's around here that I'd start taking things like Violent Outburst or Demonic Dread. Living End doesn't really have a good way to make two land drops, so for most lists this is where you have to start worrying about them getting in range.

    Stage Three - Three+ Lands

    They are within range to cast their win condition. Our priorities have switched again. Now all they want to do is fill their board and draw more cards to find their win condition. Remove the cheap cyclers. It fills up their yard, but denies them drawing cards.

    Game-Swinging Cards

    Extirpate/Surgical Extraction - If you exile all of their copies of Living End they have to switch to Plan B (hard casting their creatures). That plan is significantly easier for 8Rack to beat as it's slow and most of Living End's lands start coming into play tapped.

    Ingot Chewer - Most Living End players play at least one copy maindeck, and have all four in the 75 thanks to affinity, which is a matchup they fear greatly. Your bridges aren't necessarily safe even game one.

    Maelstrom Pulse - Many Living End players have a copy or two in the sideboard. This makes it a harder decision to run out multiple bridges, though it's still probably the right play since Ingot Chewer is far more likely to see than Pulse.

    Beast Within - An answer to any permanent and it gives them a creature to target with Demonic Dread.

    Simian Spirit Guide - This card is a contentious issue among Living End players. It allows them to go off a turn early against an unsuspecting opponent, but has no synergy with Living End itself. Keep your eye out for this card and always keep in mind that they can burst up one more mana if they feel like it. I've never played 8Rack against a SSG or played Living End with SSG in the deck. Not sure how aggressively to discard them.

    VI. Budget Lists, Other 8Rack Lists

    One really nice aspect of 8Rack is how friendly it is on the wallet. In fact, other than Liliana of the Veil there are no big money cards in the deck at all. Thoughtseize got reprinted in Theros, so the price on that is currently very reasonable. Ensnaring Bridge may cost a few bucks a copy, but other than that, most of the cards can be purchased for pocket change. Now I will be the first person to tell you that Liliana of the Veil really adds a lot to the deck. It can still be competitive without it though. If budget is a concern, Necrogen Mists does a pretty good impression of Lili, and Mists only costs a few pennies. Necrogen Mists has one minor advantage over Lili in that it can stack with itself. It stacks with Lili too for that matter. Thougthseize can be replaced by quite a few other options like Blackmail, Despise and Duress, or you can mix and match.

    Here are a couple very playable budget decks designed by Destroyermaker. You can purchase these lists for well under $80. That is probably one of the lowest price point you can find for a competitive Modern deck.

    **Update** For Budget lists and information please go to this thread.

    VII. Splashing with 8Rack

    When should I splash? What color should I splash

    When deciding whether or not to splash you must ask yourself. "How predictable is my meta?". For example, if you are planning on playing at your favorite FNM with a lot of buddies that you are familiar with, then you have fairly predictable meta. If you are planning on going to a GP or other PTQ type of event, online or paper, then you have a fairly unpredictable meta. If you think you have a fairly good grasp of your meta, and you want to give yourself an extra edge, this is the time to splash. Keep in mind, there is a risk to splashing. If you splash one way and you face a different meta than you were expecting, the results could end in disaster. The mono black approach will give you a very solid game against the entire modern field as of this writing. So feel free to splash if you want, but I counsel that you splash carefully, knowing full well the risks.

    The White Splash]If you are intent upon splashing, a White splash is the one I most often recommend. It only takes a very modest splash here to give us access to some cards that have extremely high value to 8Rack. Path to Exile basically has no downside when we cast it because we discard their threats big and small. We do not care if they accelerate. It is very worthwhile to use such an efficient and effective removal spell. Proactive and Reactive decks both love Path to Exile.

    Lingering Souls is another bomb for both Proactive and Reactive strategies. We don't worry about its steep casting cost too much. You can easily pitch this to a Liliana +1 and still get value out of it. The tokens glide easily past bridge, and they also provide some much needed chump blocking while we search for answers or bleed them to death with Racks. I wouldn't add too much more to the main deck other than those two cards, but even such a modest white splash can give your game a powerful edge. The draw back of having to run a painful mana base is mitigated somewhat by running Urborg, as well as the fact we only ever having to fetch 1 Godless Shrine..

    In the side board White gives us access to Enchantment / Artifact removal, so we need not fear Leyline of Sanctity. We can also hard cast our own Leylines if necessary. White really opens up our sideboard options. Cards like Ghostly Prison can make or break your game against fast aggro like affinity. Really, the White splash adds a lot to our plan without diluting our hand control significantly. If you are going to splash into an unknown meta, White is definitely the way to go.

    The Red Splash]

    The best reason to use a red splash is to combat an aggro heavy meta. Robots, Elves!, Goblins, Gruul, Tokens and most RDW lists employ tons of creatures and they hurl them at you fast. Red give us access to the immensely powerful Pyroclasm and of course good old fashioned Lightning Bolt. Pyroclasm acts like a 2cc Wrath of God for us in most games.

    Red also gives us access to several match up specific hate cards such as Blood Moon and Sowing Salt. A large advantage of splashing Red is that because it is an ally color. Our mana base is nearly painless, thanks to the amazing Scars land Blackcleave Cliffs, which performs like a true duel land here. A couple filter lands can be considered as well. While we are on the subject of lands, Lavaclaw Reach is a fantastic back up win condition here. By itself, it is a really good reason to choose red for your splash.

    The Green Splash]I think that splashing Green is probably everyone's first instinct when they start playing this deck. Recently the green splash has fallen out of popularity in favor of White, but hte green splash is still good. After all there are so many amazing cards that a green splash gives us access to like Abrupt Decay and Deathrite Shaman. Green also gives us artifact and enchantment removal options like Nature's Claim and Naturalize to fight problem cards like Leyline of Sanctity and Chalice of the Void set to 1. So if you expect to face a meta that is heavy with silver bullets such as those, then a Green splash may be the way for you to go.

    A large drawback of the green splash is that Green Black is a painful mana base in Modern. Painful mana bases are a VERY risky proposition for our control strategy because many times we lock the game up at very low life levels. Paying a hefty amount of life just to add a splash could work against you and cause more harm than good. Fetching an Overgrown Tomb and playing Thoughtseize on turn 1 only to reveal your opponent's hand full of Lightning Bolts and other burn spells is not exactly a productive play. So while a green splash is certainly viable in some cases, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.

    VIII. Video Index - Extensive Replays
    These videos feature detailed commentary and in depth strategy that will show you how to play this deck properly.

    8Rack Primer and Video Tutorial: http://youtu.be/-TAIG6-jMBo

    2-23-14 8rack vs Nykthos Green - Very Close
    2-23-14 8Rack vs Sun Titan Control
    2-20-14 8Rack vs Merfolk
    2-22-14 8Rack vs UB Fae
    2-22-14 8Rack vs Death and Taxes
    2 20 14 8Rack vs UW Midrange
    2-20-14 8Rack vs Splinter Twin

    Daily 1-13-14 Results - Jan Miller's GP Prague List

    Warm Up Matches]Pre-Daily matches
    Results Spoiler]I'm pretty unimpressed with the preliminary matches. Scepter is a dud. Bob did little more than draw some removal, making him a 2cc discard 1 spell. Pox was hot and cold as predicted. Twin destroyed me. Tron destroyed me even harder, I felt helpless even with the sideboard. Please watch the videos and see if I misplayed anywhere. We shall see what happens in the Daily, but so far I am sticking to my initial assessment that this list is sub-optimal. It's not terrible, and it probably catches a lot of paper player off guard, but 8Rack is a known quantity online and sub optimal list are not advised.Round 1]
    8Rack GP Prague Daily Round 1 vs BW Tokens: http://youtu.be/pAY1bZ4BHPg
    Results Spoiler]I crushed him. Game 1 I draw a mint hand filled with targeted discard, he tries to disrupt me with an IoK of his own and a Tidehollowsculler. Liliana hits the deck and wrecks his game. Game 2 I side in some stuff that never gets played. He keeps a hand with only land, 1 thoughtseize, 1 tidehollowsculler. He catches my Lili with the Thoughtsieze on Turn 1, I take his Tidehollow with an IoK. He only casts 1 more spell the whole game, a useless Honor of the Pure. Easy win. I want to stress one thing. I never drew Bob or Pox. I crushed him with the core of the deck - targeted discard, Raven's Crime and Liliana.
    Round 2]
    8Rack GP Prague Daily Round 2 vs RG Tron: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrM9tTb7Rvg
    Results Spoiler]I lose 1-2. First game I was doing well until he ripped 2 Karns and Wurmcoil off the topdeck. Without Ensnaring Bridge, a resolved Wurm is GG. Game 2 I chose to play 2nd and it works well. He mulligans to 6 and I Pox on turn 2 and keep his hand empty while Lili builds to her Ult. After she ults its over, Bob does a TON of work in this game, the first time he has been useful so far. Game 3 I was doing well but again he rips a Wurmcoil after I discard one and without Bridge I am helpless. I make a huge misplay with Liliana but after doing the math I would have lost anyways because he rips 2 Nature's Claim and tutors in a 3rd wurmcoil. This is an awful match for this deck. It's not a whole lot better with my own list but at least I run Bridge and Pithing needle to try and fight off Tron. Jan's list basically gives up against Tron.Round 3]
    8Rack GP Prague Daily Round 3 vs Red Deck Wins (Red Burn): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rznb20mxBM
    Results Spoiler]I win a nail biter 2-1. He wins the toss and goes first after mulliganing to 6. Plays a mountain and exiles Rift bolt. I cast IoK and remove Lighning Bolt. Next Turn he plays Keldon Marauders, and I respond with Smallpox. I play a rack and start his clock. He dies before I do. GG. Game 2 he blows me out of the water with a made hand. Game I choose to go 2nd and draw a hand full of lands, IoK, rack and Raven's Crime. When I look at his hand with an ioK he only has Smash to Smithereens, Lightning Bolt and Flames of the Bloodhand. I choose Smash to protect my rack. Next turn he plays Keldon and passes. I cast Raven's Crime and Retrace it. I have enough lands to retrace all day long. The game continues and is extremely close. I recommend watching the video. I pull off a win at the end by a tiny margin. Final Round. FIGHT!]
    8Rack GP Prague Daily Round 4 vs Splinter Twin: http://youtu.be/GbJvRvkuCmM
    Results Spoiler]
    Seriously you should watch the replay. It's a very close match.I hate your stupid videos just tell me what happened]
    I win 2-1, taking home another prize and another victory for 8rack. The games were extremely close. I'm too drained right now to post the details. Watch the replay.


    Other 8Rack Replays

    *Requested* White Splash Videos
    11-7-13 8Rack White vs Jund: http://youtu.be/FhDp_vfRQfQ
    11-7-13 8Rack White vs Azorius Midrange: http://youtu.be/9cUE7QC3jxw
    11-7-13 8Rack White vs Jund Goodstuffs: http://youtu.be/-7t1TYblwoc
    11-7-13 8Rack White vs Jund Rager: http://youtu.be/h0sKNmZ8txY
    11-7-13 8Rack White vs Scapeshift: http://youtu.be/a9F9dgBYTt4

    Mono Black Videos:
    10-20-13 8Rack vs Splinter Twin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7ol-2_2J1w
    10-20-13 8Rack vs BUG Board Control: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=temunXlp7HQ
    10-20-13 8Rack vs Wildfire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzs7zhHUo9E
    10-20-13 8rack vs Storm - Do not make Misplays: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GAeDSBpvBg
    10-20-13 8Rack vs Gifts Tron: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk5BVWhO24k
    10-20-13 8Rack vs BW Tokens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNrN3PRVQKk
    9/20/13 8Rack vs Ad Nauseum Combo: http://youtu.be/_O9eM9wczhM
    9/20/13 8Rack vs 8Rack - Mirror Match! http://youtu.be/E0GB7i1Zxqo
    9/20/13 8Rack vs Hate Bears http://youtu.be/n6I4fSUMTYE
    8/28/13 8Rack vs Ad Nauseum Combo: http://youtu.be/KFRJVq8MlzE
    8/24/13 8Rack vs Young Pyromancer Tempo ***Key Match Up***
    6/17/13 8Rack vs Jund: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EszU56KjjeM
    6/15/13 8Rack vs Mono Black Control: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v00mlkYZUY8 ***Key Match Up***
    6/11/13 8Rack vs Random Combo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VTZnKjZQt0
    6/11/13 8Rack vs Living End http://youtu.be/jrFINwF7v5Y
    6/11/13 8Rack vs UW Midrangel: http://youtu.be/P0FPgL-e2Ts ***Key Match Up***
    6/10/13 8Rack vs Soul Sisters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqZm3xPtWg0
    6/9/13 8Rack vs UWR Tempo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVD6eKj_rKI ***Key Match Up***
    6/9/13 8Rack vs Tron: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P46hftQ9T2M

    Red Splash Videos:
    6/13/13 8Rack Red Splash vs RDW: http://youtu.be/9KEF-TW49Mk

    Lantern's Videos:
    Lantern vs D&T, RDW, Goblins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QndiGSgrwyc&feature=youtu.be
    Lantern's 8Rack Review and demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L27YqwcSwok
    BR 8Rack vs Storm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B52Ny9eecDE&feature=youtu.be

    Rage Quit Section
    9/20/13 8Rack vs 8Rack - Mirror Match! http://youtu.be/E0GB7i1Zxqo
    9/1/13 8Rack vs BlueTron Rage Quit: http://youtu.be/_OHbUAsctc4
    8/28/13 8Rack vs. Genesis Wave Rage Quit: http://youtu.be/FW5LDkYKNZc
    6/20/13 8Rack Rage Quit Video 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJMXJlzo8Ls

    IX. Misc.
    Original SCD Post here]Shrieking Affliction

    This little gem was quietly added to the card pool in RTR. Why is no one else abusing this? It's copies 5-8 of The Rack, and its arguably better.

    So that gives us 8 non-creature win cards in Black discard decks. In contrast to counterspells, discard strategies survived the transition to Modern completely unscathed.

    Traditional discard decks are basically non-existant in Modern. It's the perfect time to catch your meta by surprise! Here's a sample deck list that I have been rolling people with lately.

    Here is a link to a youtube video demonstrating the deck: http://youtu.be/vVD6eKj_rKI

    The video has a full voice over commentary for all 3 games of the match.

    Thoughts? Comments?

    Posted in: Modern Archives - Established
  • posted a message on Devestating Summons?
    Enables a turn 3 standard kill with decent regularity.

    Turn 1: Steppe Lynx
    Turn 2: Fethcland, Swing with Lynx, cast Nacatl/Lynx 2, swing with first Lynx (opponent at 16)
    Turn 3: Crack fetchland, float 3 mana. Cast Devastating Summons at x = 2. Cast Goblin Bushwacker with kicker. Swing for 17 (5 Lynx, 3 Token, 3 Token, 2 Bushwacker, 4 Nacatl)

    Obviously countermagic and removal cause problems with this plan, but the blazing speed alone merits consideration.

    Posted in: New Card Discussion
  • posted a message on Training Ground - SOMEBODY BREAK THIS NOW
    Soulbright Flamekin

    Turn 1: Training Ground
    Turn 2: Flamekin
    Turn 3: Get RRRRRRRR

    In Limited, you can use Hada Spy Patron with Training Ground to get a turn three 3/3 Shroud Unblockable, which is quite good given the format.

    Posted in: New Card Discussion
  • posted a message on [RRR] What would you first pick? (#1)
    Predator is absurdly good here. 4 mana gets you a 3/3 body and 2 chump blockers/mana accelerators. Given that overcosted Eldrazi are easily picked up at common, it is better to get their enablers early, not the big dudes themselves. Predator gives you access to 7 mana on turn 5, enough to get an Eldrazi out for smashing.

    For those who want Beastbreaker, reconsider your format. This is RoE limited. Not WWK or ZEN. A 6/6 trample is a puny girl compared to Cthulhu's brood.

    Posted in: New Card Discussion
  • posted a message on Fist of Eldrazi ?
    Quote from emkorial
    Why bother with the Fist?

    Run RU Sneak Attack/Control Eldrazi. That deck will be a serious Legacy contender, watch.

    I must disagree. While it might make Sneak Attack better than it currently is, it will not make it elevate the archetype to Tier 1 status. Sneak Attack costs 4 mana instead of 3 for Fist. The difference between a turn 1/2 drop and a turn 3/4 drop is substantial in a format with ample countermagic, disruption, and boardable hatred. This is a large strike against Sneak Attack, and a reason why there are basically no Legacy decks that use Sneak Attack.

    The second problem involves Emrakul himself. He can't kill the opponent in one turn. Yes, he can wreck a board and probably swing for 15, but then he is going to get shuffled back into the library. This means that Sneak Attack/Emrakul essentially becomes a 3 card combo to win. You need a second creature to finish the job that Emrakul started.

    Now, some might argue that this is not a problem. Some might say that Sneak Attack/Emrakul is the next big thing in Legacy. I point these people to this link:


    This is a Sneak Attack/Protean Hulk deck from April 2009. The deck's builder(s) tried to use the extremely abusive Hulk kill condition in a Sneak Attack shell. Now, this uses overall the same number of cards that Flash Hulk used in the previous year (maybe a few slots more). Yet, this deck only placed 8th at its event, and no one else tried to replicate the deck's 1 turn kill strategy. Legacy is a wired-community, so to speak. If this deck were amazing, someone would have picked it up and played it later. Yet, this never happened. The bottom line is that Sneak Attack is not the strongest card. It's extremely cool and pretty darn good, but it's not broken. It's not even very powerful. It's just a good effect.

    Finally, what does Sneak Attack do that Fist does not?
    1. Both give, or effectively give, Emrakul haste.
    2. Both Fist and Attack are vulnerable to the same countermagic/discard/removal (FoW, Daze, Thoughtseize, Duress, Grip, etc.)
    3. Both take advantage of Emrakul's protection clause.
    4. Both force you to have 8 cards in your deck (Playset of Fist/Attack and a playset of Emrakul)

    Overall, the cards are eerily similar. The key difference is the mana cost (3 vs 4) and the staying power (Fist lets Emrakul end the game in the following turn, whereas Sneak Attack forces you to have a second finisher). The mana cost is the real deal-breaker for me, because turn 2 is just so much safer than turn 3 in Legacy.

    Posted in: New Card Discussion
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