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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
 
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
 
Word of Command: Un-believable
  • posted a message on Temur-based Energy Midrange
    Have started jamming this deck both in paper and mtgo. The more experience I get with it, the more I see why it's considered the "best deck" in the format. The options are crazy good in this deck. Went 2-1 last night in a paper tournament and tested this week on mtgo with strong results. I'll jump into a competitive league and start getting my teeth kicked soon. The decisions trees are complex and you get rewarded for tight play.

    I lost to 4c energy last night. G1 I outplayed him and won with a single thopter :p. G2 and G3 he resolved Scarab God and I didn't have the answers (plus I flooded supa hard in G2-3). I don't like the black splash, a lot of players in my area on still on ramunap red and you get punished hard when lose 4x glorybringers and mana consistency. The same 4c energy player got rolled by red 2-0 and afterwards we laughed about it but it wasn't pretty.

    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on U/W Control - aka. - Approach of the Second Sun 2.0
    That's a good question. It has to do my views on UW approach and how it handles the board state in my version. I view my deck as prison oriented variant, these cards act as "lock down" pieces rather than full on removal spells:
    Desert's Hold
    Aether Meltdown
    Cast Out This one is an actual O ring effect

    By keeping the threat on board it makes my sweepers better. Example:
    R1) against Ram red, my opponent goes: T1) Bomat, T2) Kherna. I respond by casting Meltdown on Kherna and forever blanking that card until the moment that I play a sweeper. Most opponents will jam their "melted down" threat in my Settle the Wreckage's. That also means these threats get exiled and never comeback.

    Against all energy opponents in that league, I targeted cubs and whiler's. This card has an interesting effect in that match up. They either
    A) Use their energy Thopters
    B) Put energy towards another pay off card thus over extending into 1 of my 5 sweepers (up to 7 is we include how often gearhulk recasts my settles).

    You can expect energy players to dump energy into another threats to get their pay off. In other words they have too, and that is a form of interacting with their energy. By forcing them to use it, you are actually finding a way to mess with this resource. Every % point counts against engery, if I can outplay them by forcing them into using energy in way that they don't want, then I have successfully found a method of interacting with a resource that can't be interacted with (it's a pseudo effect btw). I wish I coud upload the vids of me playing against all 3 energy decks. You'd see that this is exactly how Meltdown interacts with them.

    Essence Scatter is fine, but it can't deal with a resolved threat, and is worse on the draw. I'd rather use a lock down spell that hits creatures and vehicles (Hey! making a heart of kiran into an 0/4 threats or shutting down a scrounger for good is purdy good).

    Hope this answers your question Kpal.
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on U/W Control - aka. - Approach of the Second Sun 2.0
    Esper Approach seems to be the way to go. Jeskai approach is not great against the field, but great against Temur (As in they can't beat that version). I'm going to sleeve up Esper (I have all the cards), and see how it feels. It seems clunky, but maybe the trade off is that. You have great early interaction at the expense of your mana not being fully untapped all the time.
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on U/W Control - aka. - Approach of the Second Sun 2.0
    4-1 tonight with Straight UW approach on mtgo. League went as follows:

    Ram Red 2-0
    UG Pummeler 2-1
    Temur Energy 2-1
    Temur Energy 2-0
    UW Gift 0-2 ( didn't draw a single counterspell and fell behind on mana)

    List:


    my win rate with approach decks has been very high recently. I'm looking forward to more PPTQ before the season's done.

    Aggro SB: OUT (11)
    -2 Search for Azcanta
    -1 Disallow
    -1 Cast Out
    -2 Glimmer of Genius
    -1 Pull from Tomorrow
    -2 Censor
    -2 Approach of the Second Sun (yeah on the draw don't try winning with this, just rely on gearuhulks and cats).


    IN: (11)
    +4 Regal Caracal
    +2 Ixalan's Binding
    +2 Negate
    +3 Authority of the Consuls
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on Bant Eldrazi
    Started team testing this week, on the docket were matches against Grixis Deathshadow and UW Control (w/ Azcanta).

    Results:
    Grixis DS, Favorbale, VERY favorable. We knew this, only I didn't realize how good the match up actually was until I played it about a dozen times pre SB and then 20 SB.

    UW Control, aye ya yai, this is rough. If we were to try and improve against this deck after SB I assume it would need to be something with Cast Triggers. Cards like World Breaker and even the big daddy himself Utamog came to mind but that deviates from what our deck wants to do. Maybe a card like Eternal Scourge is worth testing, but I just feel like we need to curve out and disrupt via TKS.

    More to follow.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Bant Eldrazi
    this is one of the reasons I was leaning towards 4x Cavern of Souls in my main. This is the card that hoses them in the match up. Do you think going to 4 is correct for the GP?
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Bant Eldrazi
    i didnt have the cages in play yet, i found them a few turns later.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Bant Eldrazi
    Well, Prep for GP Oklahoma, I took a stock list to battle at my LGS:




    Yeah, I played tight, and deck felt great. I know our deck isn't played as much anymore but players know me as the lone remaining Bant Eldrazi pilot. They also don't ever like actually playing against the deck.

    R1) Vs Counter Company 2-1 Win
    Yeah, see this is why I like our version over Eldrazi Tron. I had triple Noble out and a TKS and smasher. My 8/8 Smasher forced him to trade off his board and EE punished him for playing multiple 2cmc dorks. G2 he got it via combo kill before I could set up. G3, I applied pressure and landed double Grafdigger's Cage. Stubborn Denial countered his company on curve and he fell way behind. I had the right amount of pressure and hate. Sure they have it sometimes but so do we.

    R2) Vs Dredge 2-0 Win
    I played smart game 1, got a T3 smasher with Skypawner Beats on line before he could a mass a massive board state. Path's took care of blockers and my drowners came down to seal up combat. G2, he mulls to 5 and I do what our deck is designed to do, T2 TKS into Displacer holding up path and stubborn.

    R3) Vs Elves 1-2 Loss
    Look the fact that I took 1 match off this pilot means a lot. This match up is terrible and trying to shore this up makes us lose points elsehwere. I'm fine with the deck having rough match ups. EE shined and G2 came down to me blowing up his 1cmc dudes and smashing in hard. Rawr Grin

    R4) Vs Tron 2-0 Win
    Yeah, I double TKS him G1. K, G2 was a bit closer but had the countermagic up and beat Karn and Ugin on board (yes I beat both on board at the same time). Don't get flustered against them, they will resolve something, and you will just path it. My opponent landed Ulamog, went to exile my 2 displacers and I blinked them Smile

    Decks still great, the tools are there for it to be successful. Sure it has bad match ups but it's modern, the Sb is stupidly good. I'm sold on playing this at the GP.

    With the meta shifting towards Jeskai Control I think Bant Eldrazi is in a great place! This is the kind of control we are 100% favored against. DS is still a good match up, Dredge is fine (out Sb hits them due to how anti Storm we can be), Counter's Company can be rough but we have tools here. Affinity is favorable and I think the Humans Match is not bad, EE seems great here. I'm in the camp that burn is favorable as long as you MD Matter Reshaper. I think we can get under Eldrazi Tron and are the better of the Eldrazi Variants in the Mirror. With Scapeshift being pushed down and decks like Jund and Abzan coming back, that means combat/ board presence is relevant again. That's where our deck is the strongest.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on U/W Control - aka. - Approach of the Second Sun 2.0
    sure man, here are my SB plans for those 2 match ups, and yes I registered the same 75. I wanted to give this 75 1 more shot before making changes.

    Vs Temur/4c Energy

    Out: (7)
    -2 Censor
    -1 Search for Azcanta
    -1 Pull From Tomorrow
    -2 Approach of the Second Sun
    -1 Commit // Memory

    In: (7)
    +3 Negate
    +2 Abrade
    +1 Torrential Gearhulk
    +1 The Locust God Temur in particular does not have an answer to this after SB

    Vs Ramnunap Red

    Out: (8)
    -2 Search for Azcanta
    -1 Disallow
    -1 Pull from Tomorrow
    -1 Glimmer of Genius
    -2 Censor
    -1 Commit // Memory

    In: (8)
    +3 Fiery Cannonade
    +3 Negate
    +2 Abrade


    Moving forward: The lack of Control (aside from Approach decks) means that Baral is replaceable. That said, I bring him in against Temur in G3 if I lose on the draw (it hasn't happened yet). Cards I want to cut from the SB:

    Pull from Tomorrow, the control mirror is not something I think we should hedge against for now. While there were 2 approach decks in the top 8 yesterday; there were only 4 control decks in the entire room.

    Jace's Defeat, I had this card in the 75 specifically as a mana efficient answer to UB based decks. My meta doesn't have a high enough share of UB Gift, or UB Control, OR UB midrange to merit a slot right now. It is hell of effective against them.

    Baral, Chief of Compliance is our answer to UB original Sb plan of Glint sleeves and Aetherborn. Well, UB has fallen off the map and control mirrors aren't exactly that common atm. I do like Baral G3 in every energy match up. It just so happens that this version of approach is very favored against them that G3 doesn't happen that often. It may not be the time to cut this card yet but it's something I've been considering.

    @pumpmonkey, Hour of Revelation might be a silver bullet in that match up. The plan against GPG was to cut Fumigate (You really don't want to tap out against this deck and put things into their yard) and rely on Settle the Wreckage and permission. It would've worked G1 but my friend drew the 2nd Siren Stormtamer after I casted Memory off a flashed in gearhulk. I had settle ready to go and he just had it...ugh lol. I gave my friend the hardest match up in the top 8. He rolled everyone, I mean we built jeskai gpg to crush energy and it did.
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on U/W Control - aka. - Approach of the Second Sun 2.0
    top 8’d 30 person pptq. undefeated in the swiss, lost in top 8 to my buddy on jeskai gift ( he took the tournanent down).

    2-0 vs uw tokens
    2-0 vs temur
    2-1 vs temur ( i got a game loss here becuase i forgot to register 2 cast outs. didnt matter i slam dunked this match in regardless)
    r4 id
    r5 id

    quarters vs jeskai gift. this is a team deck we have been working on. it has consisteny been in the finals and g1 was super tight and technical. g2 i mull to 5 whomp whomp.

    yeah my swiss record was 100 percent % win rate. the game loss didnt matter, the deck crushed. my team put 3 into top 8 and 2 into finals along with the eventual winner.

    jeskai approach has issues vs gpg. uw may be the better option if gpg is in your meta but my win rate vs temur is 100% in the last week. it is a slam dunk. mono red match up is dicey but winnable. deck felt great.
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on U/W Control - aka. - Approach of the Second Sun 2.0
    played Jeskai at a very small PPTQ today, went 2-2 but the good news is that I 2-0 both my Temur Match ups. I lost to Mardu Vehicles and to a teammate on ramunap red (1-2).

    I think (no I'm sure), the Jeskai SB needs to have Authority of the Consuls, it's the one card I missed and I think a few Regal C's to shore up the aggro match ups. Other than that, I would play Jeskai in a field of energy. The Sb is something I didn't really have down until after today's PPTQ. Will post the update list in a few hours.

    Harnessed Lightning was pretty much Doom blade all day. Card was an ace all day. I thought about how push would've performed and I know for sure that lightning is more versatile it's on line. I will be running Jeskai again tomorrow.
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on Temur-based Energy Midrange
    So, I've only run this deck a few times locally. I'm not a midrange player, but I found myself ... liking this deck more than I thought I would. As a Glorybringer fanboy, I am happy to deploy my 4/4 hasty dragon/removal spell and beat face. That said, I'm more of a "draw-go" control player, but have had winning records with Temur Energy every time I've played it. So much so that I'm considering changing my deck choice for my next PPTQ on Sat.

    My current list:


    I have a very heavy anti control SB since I usually aim my deck to beat up the multitude of control decks in my meta (I'm one of them, and have top 8'd 2 PPTQ's with UW Approach). That said, I've come to really like this deck as it reminds me of a swiss army knife. My teammates run the entire standard gauntlet so I'm comfy with piloting the deck. The mirror seems to be crucial, I think/I know my Sb needs some more mirror tech. Maybe cutting Bestiary is fine for the 2nd Vizier?
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on U/W Control - aka. - Approach of the Second Sun 2.0
    I've been a fan of using desert's in the UW versions for a while. Gideon is very useful and can win a game on his own. One point of concern I have for your list is your mana base. 12 W sources seems pretty greedy. 15 U is okay...but in a 2 color deck I would think you want to have at least 16+ W to cast your Gideons, Settle's and Fumigate's in time. Your Sb also includes 4 Regal Caracal, yet another double WW card. I think you need at least 4 more W sources in your mana base.
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on U/W Control - aka. - Approach of the Second Sun 2.0
    went 3-0 tonight at my lgs with Jeskai approach, quick highlights:

    Beat Temur Energy 2-0
    Beat UB Gift 2-1.

    Deck played well, and will be taking this list to this weekend's PPTQ:



    Wow, this deck really impressed me. It felt like true "draw-go", IE playing at Instant speed and always leaving up mana to represent permission. The amount of cards the deck sees was something all my opponents commented on "that's pretty good, you just saw 4 cards at my end step". Baral out of the Sb was huge, he dealt 11 damage to my Temur opponent and allowed me to sculpt my hand in the process. Harnessed Lightining is such a welcome addition (especially in my meta, where Temur and Ramunap Red run rampant) to this shell. G2 against Temur, I'm on the draw but manage to remove a Cub and save myself tons of damage.

    I will be taking this deck there and hoping for another top 8, with a run to the finals.

    Mana was pretty stable, I loved having untapped mana Turns 1-4.

    Also, congrats to everyone who played at GP Atlanta! We have a GP win in the books. My attention will shift to modern for GP Oklahoma, but I'm really liking this seasons PPTQ grind.
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
  • posted a message on U/W Control - aka. - Approach of the Second Sun 2.0
    Tried a league last night went 3-2, beating Temur 2-0, Sultai Energy 2-1, and Ramunap Red 2-0, I lost to Temur Enigma Drake and Temur 1-2 (drew pretty poorly in G3).

    I want to test out the Jeskai version, and start dropping the deserts since UB is on the decline, I still like Desert's Hold but maybe the ETB tapped lands aren't where I'd want to be with the updated versions of this deck. The only loss in the league that I felt really unfavored in was against Enignma drake (was the PT version, a la miracle grow). 11/4 flyers were decent follow up to my wraths, and meltdown looked hilariously bad here.

    Vs Ram Red I mulled to 5 and still got there, I do htink my version is very good against aggro. The last time I played this deck was my Top 8 PPTQ finish 2 weeks ago, Since then I've been on a bunch of different decks with my team.

    Maybe the non desert version is fine now, but I like the holding pattern effect this has on the board state. Shutting down Glint Sleeves, forcing opponents to over extended into my wraths is how I like playing approach. It's not the only way, and I will modify the PT list to include Fumigate, like seriously, the deck needs this sweeper in main.
    Posted in: Proven (Standard)
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