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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
 
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    I have tried out Bob in a variety of Humans lists in the past and he consistently adheres to the "better on paper than in practice" idea. Without built in lifegain and/or a super low curve (lower than what most lists are running right now), he's too slow and will kill you more often than he kills the opponent. Humans decks almost always want to be proactive; sitting back on a painful card advantage engine goes against what the rest of the deck is trying to accomplish. He suffers from the same issue that Mayor of Avabruck does, in the fact that you hardly ever want to attack with him, but unlike Mayor, he offers no aggression potential. For those wanting card advantage, there's always Collected Company Wink
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    Headminerve summed it up pretty well. It really just takes some time to get used to how to play Lieutenant in each matchup. It really comes down to two questions/choices:

    1) Do we want to go wide or go big?
    2) Is there a specific threat that we want our opponent to either prioritize or de-prioritize?

    If you want to go wide, you play Lieutenant late. If you want to go big, you play Lieutenant early. If you want to de-prioritize another creature, you want to play Lieutenant early to get it big. And vice versa for prioritizing another threat.

    Also, awesome to see this thread make it into the Tier 1 forum. It's been a fun ride, fellas!
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    For anyone new to the thread, I would highly recommend looking through the primer as it goes over lots of specific card choices (sorted by cmc) with a list of pros and cons for each. If there is something not covered in the primer (or if corrections need to be made), feel free to post about it and I'll make sure it gets added.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    Cards like Kessing Malcontents and Hanweir Militia Captain are win-more cards. If you have enough creatures on board to make them good, you should be winning the game already.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    Sorry, I thought I had specified that the CoCo decks had an out to the latter 2 options. We would hopefully be able to snipe Orb with Freebooter.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    I think another thing being overlooked is the fact that the Vial list can quicky get "shut down" by the likes of Torpor Orb, Hushwing Gryff or, if someone wanted to be particularly ironic, Tocatli Honor Guard. If these lists continue to gain traction, I would definitely expect some of these cards to come in as sideboard tech. The CoCo lists at least have Path to Exile as an out to the latter 2, but the Vial list suddenly becomes a bunch of 1/1s and 2/2s.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    I think my biggest issue with little Thalia is that she's good against decks we're already good against and bad against the decks we're bad against. I'd be more interested if she improved creature matchups (Affinity/Elves/Fish type decks), but she doesn't. She can be solid against burn if they're stuck on mana, but she usually just serves as a small speed bump. This is why I run Thalia 2.0, which is a card that does help in our bad matchups (and is still useful in our good matchups as well). Also, running a full 4 is....risky.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    Don't have enough time at the moment to do a full response regarding the sample hands, as there is a lot to go through there (and it really needs to be a lot more specific in order for a proper comparison/analysis to work), but I did want to hit on a couple of quick points

    Quote from purklefluff »

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


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

    Quote from purklefluff »

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


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

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

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

    I'm not keen on upping the number of mana dorks above four. I believe noble hierarch to be providing a useful function beyond pure "birds of paradise" analogue because of the exalted keyword, which is very handy when twinned with a first strike thalia or a flying mantis rider. That's great, but as soon as "generic mana dork 5-6" enter the fray you've lost me.


    I can understand that, but I think the point here is that Avacyn's Pilgrim isn't *really* just a generic mana dork. It's still a human. It grows Champs and Lieutenants, gets pumped by lords and provides mana acceleration. There's still a good amount of value to be had. In the scenario I described on the previous page, the T1 Pilgrim was a 3/3 just from doing things the deck wants to naturally do. While opponents are busy scrambling against our fatties, having those sneaky damage points on the board can be clutch.

    Quote from purklefluff »

    I'm also not totally sold on the general structure of 21 lands and 6 mana dorks in what is essentially an aggro deck. It feels to me (and I freely admit that I make this statement without hard experience to back it up) that there's some sort of compromise happening here in order to accept coco in the maindeck which reduces the efficacy of the aggressiveness of the deck by some small percentage, like the total package in order to accommodate this one spell amounts to 7 cards. The 4 companies themselves, +1 land +2 dorks (maybe pseudo more if you count any lands which deal you damage?). By direct comparison, vial needs no such compromise, allowing a lower land count and needing no additional acceleration, so it has a smaller footprint in the deck.


    You can't count the 4 CoCo towards the 7 card package and ignore the 4 Vial. Vial itself is a compromise because it's not a human and it doesn't get us more humans. CoCo is equivalent to 2 humans an absurdly high amount of the time (seriously, since running the 31 creature layout, over countless games I can count on 1, maybe 2 hands the number of times I've gotten less than 2. I think the actual mathematical percentage of hitting 2 or more is something like 92%). What you're describing is only a 3 card difference. The difference is 1 land and 2 mana dorks; I'm not counting Path here, as that is more of a luxury afforded by running CoCo as opposed to a compromise made for it (and it can easily be swapped out for creatures if the deck builder so chooses). The other thing to note is that it is only a 2 creature difference for a card that generates extra creatures, which is HUGE in a deck with lords and creatures that grow from other creatures entering the battlefield. Whatever tiny percentage is lost from the 2 extra dorks is more than made up for by the ability to just dig for and slam some big threats with a single spell.

    Quote from purklefluff »

    With a vial in play you never really need to hit more than a couple of lands on the field, which you can't really claim for a drawn coco. Vial is an enabler, coco requires an enabler, I hope you follow my train of thought haha.


    Not sure I'm on the same page here. Both cards have their requirements. Vial really needs to be down T1, maaaaaybe T2. I actually think that running Vial with mana dorks is quite awkward because they make for awkward T1 choices; the two almost seem to negate one another. CoCo requires 4 mana. One of those you can draw out of if things are going badly (which is rare), and once you do, it's game time. The other can't be recovered once the short 2 turn window has passed; from then on, you're stuck with 4 dead cards in your deck.

    Quote from purklefluff »

    It would be really interesting to have a direct side by side comparison between a rainbow vial list and a generally accepted 'stock' coco list over the course of a few hundred games and really get some solid analysis going on which version has the edge in specific matchups (like obviously coco will be better against certain decks there's no denying it, likewise with vial).


    Agreed.

    Quote from purklefluff »

    I have a fairly active but small playgroup & we test regularly. I could post some matchup analysis for you guys to see? It wouldn't be 'complete' because the sample size would be small, but we always take care to play games thoroughly and consider things properly when testing.


    Unfortunately I don't get to play in paper much and I haven't gotten to play MTGO in a few days, but hopefully I can hop back on soon and get back to testing.





    Quote from Edelweiss »

    CoCo in any deck, whether it be Humans, Vizier Company or Knightfall, suffers from the fact that it really need your deck to be built primarily from a suite of 3 drops.


    I'm not seeing the problem here. Humans have a fantastic suite of 3 drops to choose from: Mantis Rider, Reflector Mage, Thalia, Heretic Cathar, Anafenza, the Foremost, Sin Collector, Eternal Witness, Tireless Tracker, the list goes on. We WANT our deck to have a good density of these fantastic cards (10-11 for most lists), so Company is a natural fit.

    Quote from Edelweiss »

    If you can get the dork to stick turn 1 AND you make both land drops, then sure the turn 3 CoCo feels amazing.


    Much like how in a Vial deck, it feels great if you have it on turn 1, but you really don't want it any later than turn 2. Vial is extremely timing sensitive. You can at least draw out of a mana screw and come back with a CoCo.

    Quote from Edelweiss »

    Vial enables a much faster threat deployment rate, and can let you play with cards in your hand to instant-speed disrupt your opponent.


    Despite the fact that the Vial deck, even with a Vial on T1, isn't actually much (if any) faster than a CoCo deck. The instant speed disruption is cool (though in my experience, the instances in which I really want such an effect are very rare), but you're missing points of damage on the front end. If the argument is that Vial is more aggro, constantly playing Humans on the opponent's turn seems to go against that idea.

    Quote from Edelweiss »

    CoCo can do that too, but each cast is a gamble for the specific card you want. If you CoCo to look for a Kambal or Sin Collector and find 2 Thalia’s Lieutenants, that feels pretty awful.


    The chances of hitting those cards in that situation are still much greater than in a deck with no way to dig, so you're kind of making an argument for CoCo without realizing it. CoCo is especially fantastic post-sideboard when you're wanting specific cards like that. Also, double Lieutenant off of CoCo rarely feels bad and often feels amazing Smile .

    Quote from Edelweiss »

    Sorcery speed “pump the team for alpha strike” CoCos also leave you wide open for a blowout if your opponent mains (or aided in) board wipes.


    I don't think any good CoCo player would play into a sweeper like that unless it was absolutely necessary for some reason. Not to mention that, especially post-sideboard, the chances of sniping the sweeper are quite good. In my previous post, I very specifically mentioned that sweeper matchups are one of the rare cases where we will actually hold onto our Companies. I have won plenty of games by forcing my opponent to tap out for a sweeper on turn 4, only to float some mana and cast Company EOT and continue smashing face. I would much rather have CoCo over Vial in these matchups.

    Quote from Edelweiss »

    Once again, CoCo is the endgame option, but for now Vial is the practical solution to being able to 1) race our opponents down, 2) pump our team out of chump trade range, and 3)disrupt our opponents enough to both hinder their plans and prevent them hindering ours.


    I keep seeing this argument, yet I have not seen any numbers or actual scenarios to prove it. How exactly does Vial do any better at aggro, pumping the team or disruption? When discussing comparable draws between both versions like I did on the previous page, I'm not seeing it. Almost all the arguments I'm seeing against CoCo have required situations with bad draws or bad play. When using comparable draws and comparable play, it falls apart.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    I'm guessing you missed my last response to you, which addressed a lot of the stuff you just reiterated, but here goes.

    I want to start off by saying that there cannot be a comparison to other CoCo decks as far as general strategy/play patterns. Humans CoCo does not play the same way that other CoCo decks do. One of the big differences being that we play CoCo as an aggro card, meaning it's usually cast before attacks to ensure maximum damage. But more on that later...

    - You mention that CoCo lives in "decks who's only accelerant is noble hierarch and probably only runs 20-21 lands" - every single CoCo list in this thread (or at least the vast majority) runs 21 lands and at least 6 or more dorks.
    - In response to your previous post, I clearly laid out the fact (with exact numbers and everything) that the Vial version with a T1 Vial isn't even more aggressive by default than the CoCo version with a T1 dork.
    - I have gone over the idea that the Coco variant is a grindy midrange deck and how/why it's not that. It's an aggressive, disruptive deck with on-strategy card advantage that also furthers its aggression.
    - You talk about how the CoCo decks have to draw and stick an early dork while overlooking the fact that the Vial list needs Vial on T1 or at least T2 in order for it to be effective. Without that, it's basically just a CoCo deck without CoCo and with some dead cards thrown in.

    Quote from purklefluff »

    Genuine question to those players on coco, how many games are lost because you can't close out the game quickly in the early turns and get stuck not being able to cast coco on-curve or (perhaps worse) having to pass into your opponent's potentially 5th turn holding up coco when you could have instead been jamming those disruptive/hasty threats earlier and shutting an opponent off their game-plan or removal.


    The CoCo decks have zero problems closing games out; I'd argue they're better at it than the Vial list due to the fact that just a couple of removal spells on the other side + lack of card advantage means that the Vial deck doesn't have a way to close out if the opponent stabilizes. It's heavily leaning on Mantis Rider in such a scenario, which is a card CoCo decks can also run. Lord help the Vial deck if it actually gets hit with a sweeper. I have also gone over the fact that all of the CoCo variants I have played, even the slower ones, have no issues killing on T4 with a solid draw, even through blockers/removal. What is the Vial list doing that significantly increases that clock?

    CoCo is almost always cast on main phase before attacks, so the idea of "having to pass into your opponent's turn holding up coco" really isn't a thing in most matchups. If I can cast it, I cast it. If I'm holding up CoCo, it's because I'm at the point where I have enough pressure on board to force my opponent to have an answer without needing to commit more to the board (this is almost purely a control matchup thing). Its actually these exact instances/matchups where I would MUCH rather have CoCo than Vial.

    Quote from purklefluff »

    If your answer is to run more lands/mana dorks and less genuine threats, I'm not keen on that either.


    You're overlooking the fact that these are tiny concessions (as little as 3 cards - 2 mana dorks, 1 land) to make way for a MAJOR increase in effective threat density with the way CoCo digs through the deck. It also allows you to play something like Path to Exile, which is still one of the best (if not the best) removal spell in the format and greatly punishes opponents for trying to lean on a single blocker, furthering our gameplan. If you REALLY want more creatures, you can easily crank the creature count to 35 just by cutting the paths for something, which puts it right up there with the Vial list.

    Also, I think one of the huge advantages of Human CoCo over others is that the mana dorks are still on-strategy. They get pumped by lords and they can grow existing Champs/Lieutenants. This is something demonstrated in my previous response to you on the last page.


    I think my biggest thing is this: Collected Company is a great card when we're ahead AND when we're behind. Aether Vial is great when things are going well but awful/nearly useless when things are going bad. Both versions present very similar clocks/strategies, so I will always take the card that is better in a wider array of scenarios, especially in a wide format like Modern.

    As a final note, I want to clarify that I don't actually think the discussion should be Aether Vial vs Collected Company; if the deck can run CoCo and maintain a similar clock (which it does), it should. CoCo is the better card for this archetype, at least in my opinion, but it's not just a card vs card comparison. Running Aether Vial has side effects that I think are far more interesting and debatable than how the card itself stacks up against Company. I think the discussion needs to be about:

    - Whether or not the CoCo decks can support a decent 5C mana base, because Mantis Rider is a beast.
    - Whether or not the ability to use Thalia 1.0 as a 1 sided effect and the ability to reliably have draw step disruption (along with other similar Vial trickery) is worth not running CoCo/Path
    - The importance of critical creature mass in a deck reliant on creature-based synergies, and how resilient the deck should be in the face of mass removal/sweepers

    Quote from tbone2177 »
    ok so I know that non-human creature spells are sort of a no-no given the mana base...but there are two cards I'd be interested in seeing what people thinking:

    Repel the Abominable which can stop storm, titanshift, etc. and

    brave the elements which can not only protect from some wipes, but also can give you an unblockable swing, as most of our creatures are white.


    These are cards usually run in the 1 drop Kytheon, Hero of Akros style Humans decks (there are a few lists in the Primer). The CoCo/Vial variants run creatures that already address the issues that these cards tackle (ex Reflector Mage clears blockers, meaning Brave isn't needed as much), so they're not seen as necessary.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    I've always wished that Deputy of Acquittals was worded a little differently. Could be so much fun in a Humans list.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    Quote from tbone2177 »
    Hello all...fish player here but I'm considering giving humans a go...question...anyone ever consider giving frontline medic a go? the indestructible function seems really good...it becomes a removal magnet, and the counter X effect is good for chord of calling, sphinx's revelation and walking ballista. Anyways, just curious.


    Welcome to the party! Man, Frontline Medic brings back some memories. I used to run him in RTR/Theros standard in a UW aggro shell that also ran Supreme Verdict that I would use to surprise opponents after triggering Medic's battalion ability. Anyways, that aside, the problem with him in the Humans lists is the amount of competition at 3cmc. When we have access to stuff like Mantis Rider, Reflector Mage, Anafenza, the Foremost, Thalia, Heretic Cathar etc, there just isn't room for a situational card.

    Quote from dcovino »
    Write up from Collins on the deck and his experience this weekend located here


    Awesome writeup. I was wondering if he sided out Vials in grindier matchups.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    Quote from Edelweiss »
    @kingcars You make several solid arguments for the merits of Bant Black Company - it’s a deck archetype I enjoyed playing ever since the results from GP Birmingham. However, the problem with CoCo in Humans is that a lot of the threats you can pull from CoCo aren’t really impactful. Usually, I was getting something like a mana dork and maybe a Thalia or Lieutenant, but even with nut hits considered the overall expected value of each CoCo felt a little low to justify saving mana or tapping out for the card.


    If the creatures aren't impactful off of a Collected Company, are they any more impactful off of an Aether Vial? Collected Company does have an element of luck to it, but I've had zero issue with getting consistently powerful hits. I think some of the early tournament finishing lists from a few months ago that were running no real beef at 3cmc had weaknesses there, but I always make sure to have big 3cmc hits in my lists (Anafenza, the Foremost being the best one in black).

    Quote from Edelweiss »

    The more I play with the Aether Vial variation both in paper and on modo (been consistently going 4-1 with a 5-0 and never going below 3-2), the more I’ve appreciated the intangible benefit of being able to hold cards in your hand to play at instant speed while also applying pressure by tapping out to cast aggressive threats like Mantis Rider and Lieutenants. I can’t stress how amazing the benefits are of being able to tap out for Mantis Rider for 3 (potentially 4+ with exalted) immediately, and follow it with a Freebooter or Little Thalia at instant speed on their draw step to disrupt any plans to remove or gain tempo. Collins even emphasized in his interview (and demonstrated in his play) how powerful Mantis Rider is in the deck in combination with disruption + lords.


    Yes, I have agreed that draw step Freebooters along with Mantis Rider are two of the biggest reasons to play the Vial deck (the latter being something within reach for the CoCo deck). Necromancer is another great card with Vial. However, generally speaking, we want to be doing most of our creature casting pre-attack phase in order to get extra damage off of Champion of the Parish and Thalia's Lieutenant, which makes draw step creatures usually sub-optimal.

    And as a counter point, casting Company and landing a pair of Mantis Riders or a Mantis Rider + lord or Mantis Rider + Freebooter is insanely good. The common theme here being that Mantis Rider is a really good card, which is definitely not news in this thread Smile .

    Quote from Edelweiss »

    Topdecks with the vial build aren’t nearly as bad as you’re making it out to be. Sure, drawing a vial is pretty annoying in the lategame, but by the same axis drawing an Avacyn’s Pilgrim, Path or land with Bant Black against both Humans styles’ weaker matchup in UW and Jeskai control also feels pretty bad.


    Land top decks don't really count here, as that's a bit of a double edged sword. That 1 extra land will be the difference between mana screw and a decent curve just as often as it's a bad top deck. Like Vial, Pilgrim is a great T1 play, but unlike Vial, it's not completely dead later on as it can grow other creatures, block, and be the recipient of later lord affects. Path is rarely a dead card, and when it is, it gets sided out for stuff like Sin Collector. A late Vial does nothing (well, unless the game goes on for a bunch of turns and you draw into stuff, but that's quite a corner case). I think my other big issue with Vial is that it's super crucial to have it on T1 (T2 can be ok sometimes, but meh); anything later and it's just too slow to matter as you've already dumped your hand by the time it's ready to go. It's just very timing sensitive. Collected Company just requires mana to cast and it's always a great card to draw and have in hand.

    Quote from Edelweiss »

    I don’t want to discredit Bant Black, as it’s still a very powerful and resilient threat package. Still, the merits of potentially giving all your creatures flash and incredible pressure/defense from backswing with Mantis Rider is my reasoning for why the vial build is, from my experience, equally powerful. Both styles have their merits, and modern is a rewarding enough format that as long as you learn your deck strategies inside and out, you can succeed on any axis, be it vial or CoCo!


    Agreed. I most certainly understand the merits of a Vial build and it can obviously be successful. We've been working a bit on making Mantis Rider work in a 5C Collected Company shell, and I think that has the potential to eventually be the best build. The mana is just tougher without being able to utilize Ancient Ziggurat.


    While we're on the subject, I think Duskwatch Recruiter could be an awesome draw engine for the Vial build. You could spend the 3 to grab a creature, then Vial it in. I guess the main issue is the need for green non-creature mana and having Ancient Ziggurat in the deck. Hmm.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    Quote from purklefluff »
    I've been thinking about these bad matchups and had a thought;

    - Collins dude running the vial deck said that the jeskai/UW control lists were basically the worst matchup, and decks like affinity and Elves were tricky.


    Yep, and these are all matchups that are better with CoCo.

    Quote from purklefluff »

    He beat elves and affinity at the tournament and I can see easy inroads to beating those matchups without any serious changes to the deck.


    I didn't see the elves matchup, but I did see the affinity one. He had a bit of luck on his side to get by that one.

    Quote from purklefluff »

    Death's shadow runs maybe 6 pieces of removal total, so while the deck is grindy it's also full of a lot of air, cantrips and such.


    Agreed. Death's Shadow is quite a favorable matchup for just about any Humans list, due to the proactive interaction (Reflector Mage, Freebooter etc) and threat density.

    Quote from purklefluff »

    Jeskai seems like the poor matchup he said it was, with a higher density of removal and also legit sweepers.


    These decks are very difficult for his list to beat. In contrast, in my experience with the Bant Black CoCo list against Jeskai Control, the matchup felt very favorable.

    Quote from purklefluff »
    well yes, kind of. Is that a problem though? are we in the game of grinding people out with meagre synergistic 1/2s and stuff, or are we an aggressive-as-possible deck that hopes to utilise soft disruption to off-balance an opponent just enough to close out a game by quickly overwhelming their mana-squeezed first three or so turns?

    it's a fair question, right? I never thought this was a partularly grindy deck if i'm honest. not compared to what else is out there in modern, surely.


    CoCo does not make the deck grindy, it makes the deck resilient. There's a big difference. I watched most of Collin's games this weekend and it did not have much (if any) extra aggression that the CoCo decks don't have, but it did lack the resilience. A T1 Aether Vial is not significantly faster than a T1 mana dork (of which CoCo decks have extras of). Here are some things to consider:

    - Vial is only close to CoCo's power level when played on T1. A T2 Vial is mediocre and anything after that is basically a skipped draw step. Vial loses value very quickly, whereas CoCo does not.
    - A T1 Vial curve is actually not much different from a T1 mana dork curve. In my experience with various CoCo humans decks, none of them have struggled to kill opponents on T4. I didn't see the Vial list doing much more than that.
    - By the time a T1 Vial is at 3, which is when it most helps the curve, you could just be playing CoCo instead and hitting 2 creatures.

    Quote from purklefluff »

    it's like - do you want to be doing mostly setup for the first couple of turns and then 'level up' through a coco on turn 3 or 4 when most of what your opponent wants to do is fully online, or do you want to blast out the gates with disruptive creatures as quickly as possible to shut down spells and pressure their life total from turn 2. I know which i'd rather be doing in Modern for sure. currently i'm on the Aether Vial side of the fence.


    Yeah...CoCo decks don't "set up" for anything. They curve out aggressively just like the Vial list does, then when the opponent tries to claw back in, you shut the door with a CoCo (assuming they're not just dead already). Every CoCo list I've played, even the slower ones, don't have issues killing on T4. In some cases, the CoCo deck is actually faster. While we're here, I want to loop back real quick on the point I made above about the curves not being much different. Lets have a little exercise to elaborate. In this exercise, one deck will have Vial, the other deck will have Avacyn's Pilgrim and CoCo and both decks will have similar creature curves:

    Turn 1
    -----------
    CoCo deck - Land, Avacyn's Pilgrim 1/1
    Vial Deck - Land, Vial

    Turn 2
    ----------
    CoCo deck - Land, Champion of the Parish, Thalia's Lieutenant - 6 damage on board, 3 creatures 2/2, 3/3, 1/1
    Vial deck - Land, Champion of the Parish, Thalia's Lieutanant - 4 damage on board, 2 creatures 3/3, 1/1

    Turn 3
    ---------
    CoCo deck - Land, CoCo into Mantis Rider + Mayor of Avabruck - 18 damage on board, 2 cards in hand, 5 creatures 3/3, 6/6, 4/4, 4/4, 1/1
    Vial deck - Land, Mantis Rider + Mayor of Avabruck - 15 damage on board, 1 card in hand, 4 creatures 6/6, 4/4, 4/4, 1/1

    Yes, I know these are both great draws and we're not accounting for opponent interaction, but they're equally great draws from both decks. The idea here is that, even in the best scenarios, Vial is not much, if any more aggressive. Sometimes less. With all factors considered, I'd venture to say that they're very close in terms of aggressiveness. Then when things are bad, they're not even in the same galaxy.

    As you can see, without some very specific scenarios playing out, the CoCo lists do not suffer from a lack of aggression. In fact, they often do a just as well if not better job at it while enjoying all of the other upsides of CoCo over Vial. I stick by my opinion that the biggest draw to the Vial list right now is that it can reliably run 5 colors with Mantis Rider. But even if we swap out Mantis Rider in the above scenario with something like an Anafenza, the Foremost, the difference is not terribly large.

    Quote from purklefluff »

    take another deck as a close analogue - vizier CoCo. that's a deck which uses CoCo to its fullest. it plays up to 4x eternal witness to chain CoCo over and over, it plays up to 12 maindeck mana dorks (including devoted druid) and if their turn 3 infinite mana combo doesn't pay off, they have a strong grindy gameplan with 3+ maindeck gavony townships and plenty of ways to beef up their board-state while chording into powerful silver bullets.
    in this deck you sort of wear your disruption on your sleeve because it's front-loaded. you proactively play stuff out as strategy-denial rather than "here hold on let me fetch my answer to this thing you've put on the battlefield with chord of calling". With that in mind, you benefit greatly from the ability to rush out these front-loaded hatebear style disruption cards as quickly and aggressively as possible to take every last bit of advantage from the delay or disruption they cause.


    Humans is not comparable to a combo Chord of Calling deck. The reason Humans are so good with Collected Company is the fact that they snowball quickly and overpower just about any other deck. You want the most ways to have a critical mass of humans on board. Without the card advantage of CoCo, it is not very difficult for the opponent to remove the first 2-3 creatures and cruise to victory. Without a critical mass, the creatures have a very difficult time doing what they need to do.


    TL;DR - CoCo decks have 95% (or more) of the aggressiveness while also having vastly more resilience, better top decks, etc.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Humans
    Quote from purklefluff »
    Haven't seen anyone mention why the vial list may have an advantage over the coco list (although I may have missed something. Apologies if I did)

    - Allows you to run a lower land count
    - Allows you to run a less painful manabase
    - Allows you to run more rainbow lands (which can't cast coco)
    - More threat-dense deck overall (so better quality of topdeck)
    - Lower curve in general because you aren't over-focusing on three-drops for max value.
    - Vial allows 'casting' multiple creatures a turn even when stuck on two lands.
    - Less reliant on noble hierarch/mana dorks in general to make plays
    - More ability to force threats through counters
    - More ability to make tricky combat plays (although coco definitely allows this, you are required to hit 4 mana first which can sometimes be too late or too tricky)

    Obviously coco is a powerhouse and a proven card in modern. It doesn't really need anyone backing its corner because it's an amazing tool, but I have to say. Taking a leaf out of merfolk's book could really stand up for this deck. After all, this is a fish deck.


    I went over several reasons why the Vial list has some upside. However, I don't think topdecking is one of them, because Collected Company is far and away a better top deck than anything the Vial list could have (especially Vial itself, which is basically a brick after the first couple of turns). I think the biggest upsides are:

    1) Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is almost purely a 1-sided effect
    2) Xathrid Necromancer is a much better surprise trick, like in the face of a sweeper
    3) Kitesail Freebooter on opponent's draw step
    4) Ability to run 5 colors (Mantis Rider!!) without much pain

    However, there are downsides:

    1) Inability to run colored non-creature spells (Path, CoCo, RIP, etc)
    2) Has difficulty coming back when behind
    3) Minimal on-board interaction/heavily reliant on occasionally irrelevant disruption (see: Merfolk matchup in top 8)
    4) Awful top decking with Vial
    5) Inability to dig through the deck for silver bullets / sideboard cards

    So while there are some upsides to Vial, I think the general consensus is that the CoCo builds are more resilient and better able to interact with opposing strategies while keeping nearly all of the aggressiveness intact. We didn't see any games from the Vial list (at least that I'm aware of) where it was getting knocked around with a flurry of removal spells or anything like that; he constantly avoided bad matchups. That deck is going to struggle greatly with getting grinded out. I don't even think we saw the deck face a sweeper. I personally think that once the Bant Black CoCo decks can reliably run Mantis Rider, the Vial list won't be nearly as enticing.
    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
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