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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
 
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from Spsiegel1987 »
    Dredge didn't have massive shares because people literally began packing 6 graveyard hate cards for it. In that process, it pushed out all graveyard decks in modern. I remember looking at the tier 2 status of modern, and tier looked slim with a lot of it being regulated to tier 3. The splash damage was too great. Affinity was too slow to deal with dredge and infect so it really retreated in shares as well. Meanwhile, Jund over prepared for it without having to worry about Affinity and had an ok game postboard because of the absurd amount of hate. Even Junk started to main Anafenza.

    Dredge was a massive problem and so unhealthy for the format.


    I think most Modern players would agree that Dredge needed to go. Strictly anecdotal, but even the people that were playing Dredge around my area were pretty quick to admit that the deck needed a ban.

    I still dislike their reasoning for banning it. As Ktkenshin said, it’s an explanation that's wide open to interpretation.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    The only thing iffy about the Golgari Grave-Troll ban that seems odd to me is their reasoning. I played Dredge in paper for a while, right about the time that it started taking its stride in MTGO. The deck was one of the few decks that I’ve had my hands on that truly “felt” ban-worthy. The only other deck that I’ve played that felt as broken as that was Treasure Cruise Delver.

    WotC stated that it created a battle of the sideboards style of gameplay, which they didn’t like. It’s true. Maindeck removal outside of Path was largely pointless against the deck and it had a level of speed which made it hard to keep pace, but they failed to provide any real data on Dredge beyond that. It didn’t eat a large metashare of the game and although I’d suspect it had a higher than acceptable win-rate, especially game 1’s, WotC never released a statement suggesting that.

    Although I agree on some instinctual level the ban was correct, I wish they had released some sort of data to back up their reasoning, because it relies a bit on subjective reasoning.

    Sideboards are meant to help with bad matchups or problem decks, but at what point is it too much? If you have 6 cards in the board the come in against Affinity, does it mean that Affinity is a problem, or is it just shoring up a bad matchup?

    WotC other ban choices have generally contributed to creating a better format though. The format is pretty great right now. There’s a solid competitive option for basically every archetype right now. I still think there are a handful of cards and decks that need to be watched—a few decks are really just one card away from being broken as heck. Storm is the obvious one right now, as many posters here have been discussing turn 3 win-rates.

    I still think E-Tron is one to watch too. It’s been perfectly fine in the format, but the Sol Lands, which provide accelerated tempo and are difficult to interact with in a meaningful way, make it a potential risk in the future.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from ktkenshinx »
    Quote from xxhellfirexx3 »
    Quote from Spsiegel1987 »
    I'm having a very different experience from you, I'm having a good mix of interaction and linearity against my opponents. That's both in psper and mtgo.

    Asking for 3 bans all at once is absurd and this doesn't sound healthy st all.

    If you're so unhappy about modern why are you devoting time to complain about it on here?



    because people like you dont seem to see the big picture. your fnm experience isnt all of modern.

    The present Modern picture of Modern is indisputably healthy. Anyone who thinks otherwise is somewhere on the spectrum of misinformed (understandable but fixable) to deliberately spreading misinformation (unreasonable and unfounded). I haven't seen a single metagame breakdown, or even article/opinion piece, from a reputable source to suggest otherwise.

    Now, it's a much more open question about how Modern will look at the PT. That's a real question and I'm a little nervous for reasons already mentioned. But the CURRENT state/picture of Modern is extremely healthy.


    I agree with this. Each time the metagame begins to look like it might leaning into unhealthy territory, the metagame has been adapting. GDS looked like trouble until E-Tron decks became "the menace". Then, Storm rose up to beat that. Now, Humans is stepping up to combat Storm. From a percentage share perspective, nothing is has been too dominating at any point. Of course, whether or not Storm is breaking the turn 4 rule is another question... but that's really only something that more data will answer (which some have done work looking at).
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from thnkr »
    @hansolo, I would highly disagree that Burn is a linear deck. The same with Valakut and Etron. They may seem linear, but I can show that they are not.

    The way that we can easily classify linear decks is that it only attacks from one angle. What led me to see it this way is that I've been piloting Lantern for going on 5 years now, and Lantern is one deck that is fantastic at shutting down linear decks. If one single card can shut them down, then that single card has shut down their linear gameplan. We can take Burn as an example.

    The reason why Burn was once such a difficult matchup for Lantern is that a single Bridge doesn't shut Burn down. They can then go straight to the face with the burn spells. A single Leyline, likewise, doesn't shut down Burn for Lantern, because the creatures can still get through. Burn was able to attack from multiple lanes. Yes, it's still life total, but there are very few decks that do not attack life total. If we classify all decks that attack life total as linear, then we're probably oversimplifying things.

    Thus, if we look at Affinity, we can see that even it has some alternate gameplan. It's one of Lantern's easier matchups, as it is much easier to slow them down to a crawl with Pithing Needles or Ensnaring Bridge. They do still often have Galvanic Blast, however, so it's still not pure linear.

    Valakut isn't all-in on Valakut. They can win via Valakut triggers, which can be stopped by Leylines and the like, but then they still have Primeval Titan. They operate very much like Burn, in that they can go creatures or burn to the face, but they just use different cards to accomplish those plans.

    Etron is much like Affinity, in that they can still use cards like Walking Ballista and Endbringer to bypass Bridge, but again, Needles are king at shutting that out. They don't have access to the Galvanic Blasts like Affinity does, but they do have access to Karn Liberated and, sometimes, Ugin.

    Dredge is pretty linear, going mostly for all-in creatures, but they have access to Conflagrate once a Bridge hits. Thus, they are slighly more linear than Affinity, as when a Bridge hits game one, they have fewer outs to it.

    Humans is linear in the way they attack, but they are very good at disruption while attacking. Once a Bridge hits (assuming it can hit), they are stuck resorting to the awfully slow clock of Noble Hierarch. Thus, they're more like a Hatebears Affinity variant.

    Storm, again, can attack both face and with creatures. It is, again, much like Burn or Valakut in this example.


    Having “options” doesn’t magically turn a deck into a “non-linear” deck.

    Burn is linear. Its optimal game-plan is to aim all burn spells at your face until it hits 20. Just because a Burn pilot is able to block with a Goblin Guide, or has the ability to transform into a crummy control deck by aiming all burn at their opponents’ creatures doesn’t suddenly make it a non-linear deck. It "interacts" because an opponent has forced them to.

    Storm is linear. Just because once in a blue moon it can turn a Goblin Electromancer sideways for the kill, doesn’t negate the fact that its primary game plan is to cast Grapeshot at your face. It WANTS to execute a linear game plan as well. Again, Storm only interacts when an opponent forces them to play an interactive game.

    The problem with the word “linear” is that there is a bit of gray area when it comes to defining that term. Every deck has to interact sometimes… does that make every deck a non-linear deck? I'd say no. Decks that have a primary game plan that involves ignoring what your opponent is trying to do while racing to a win would be considered a linear deck.

    Cards that have discard, removal and counterspells are looking to interact from the start. Those are the non-linear decks.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from Ym1r »


    In addition, GDS's biggest problem is that sometimes it just can't find a DS to win the game. A card that would let it dig 7 cards deep would give it an insane consistency.


    DS variants can't feasibly support DTT and Delve threats. That puts a lot of strain on Death's Shadow to close out the game, which is weak to push. The delve threats add a much-needed threat diversity to the deck. I highly doubt DS would play DTT, at least not in any of its current iterations.

    DTT is still probably way too busted for Modern though.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from Colt47 »
    People are worried about storm when I'm more concerned with the implications of the 5 color humans deck.


    I could use a little elaboration on this one as well.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on Cards that should be reprinted to enter the Modern card pool
    Mother of Runes seems like a dangerous reprint now that Humans are doing well.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from ktkenshinx »
    I actually play the game. You should try it.

    It's unfortunate that discussion quality has shifted to anecdotal, unverified claims (and sarcastic jabs) instead of citing actual data. I'm particularly surprised and disappointed given your past participation in a metagame analysis project. You of all people should know the importance of objective data analysis when making sweeping statements.


    Some things are just obvious. I'm still doing my meta analysis, just doing it for myself and not sharing/discussing it. I will say though, Storm is doing well both objectively and anecdotally.


    There's no way for us to believe the "objectively" statement without seeing data.

    Quite frankly, I don't know what point you intend to prove by stating that you have the data to prove that Storm is doing amazing right now and you've decided to not present the data you used to come to that conclusion.

    Like, "Hey guys, the Earth is flat. It looks flat and I've seen the data. Trust me."

    Just because something seems like it could be true through anecdotes, that doesn't mean that we should just believe it without seeing compelling evidence.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on U/G Budget Help!
    Hey Maeve, just a few things.

    First off, typically when you use the abbreviation "B" in Magic, you're referring to the color "Black". "U" is the proper abbreviation when talking about blue cards, so people may get confused when you refer to your deck as "B/G" and it's Black-Green. Going forward, you should abbreviate blue as "U".

    Hate to break it to you, but you have multiple cards in your list that are not Modern legal: Accumulated Knowledge, Counterspell and Temple of the False God are both not legal in Modern.

    Beyond that, if you wish to play competitively, this list is too slow. The list is a little all over the place and if you wish to have success at a competitive level, you typically want a structured curve so you can predict how your turns will generally map out. Your list has a lot of 1 ofs, and splintered strategies in it. Try focusing on one objective when building a deck to help streamline it. Like, if you're goal is to toss out big hard-to-remove creatures like Inkwell Leviathan and Simic Sky-Swallower, then try to focus cards that push that strategy as quickly as possible.

    Beyond that, UG is a color combination that isn't well suited to Modern. Outside of Infect, it's difficult to build a strategy that's effective in the format as things currently stand.

    It might be alright for casual Modern at the kitchen table, but that all depends on your playgroup's level of competitiveness.
    Posted in: Budget (Modern)
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    I actually play the game. You should try it.


    You should know by now that Sheridan respects data over bold claims. Wink

    Based on personal anecdotes, I tend to agree with you though (on Storm being consistent), but obviously, my experience might not be representative of the greater picture when it comes to Storm, since it's a very small sample size.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from Draken »
    Quote from Spsiegel1987 »
    I kinda think E-Tron is on its way to sliding down the 1.5-2.0 tier, to be honest. It's had decent results in the past two classic side events though.

    There is definitely a meta shift occurring, one where go wide strategies are taking place.

    The more I watch and hear about Storm, the more it's just busted, man

    If Storm gets 1 single top 8 in the pro-tour, I think it's getting banned.

    I don't understand how other UR decks in the past are banned because it can win turn 4 but this deck can be allowed to continue to exist. Storm easily does that, ritual end of turn 3, gifts. Win on turn 4. It's doing similar things in that if you aren't playing the GY hate then you need to be a black deck with creature removal and discard.

    Winning on the draw against Storm is nightmarish, especially as a linear deck. I actually haven't felt very confidant against Storm as a GBx/Shadow deck on the draw, since I also have to fade Blood Moon while keeping a reasonable hand to handle a quick combo.

    It really is head and shoulders above the rest of the combo decks, I believe. The goblins backup plan is also a really resilient plan.

    I truly think if trends continue:

    Storm is banned
    BBE is unbanned (as a litmus test).

    Sheridan's thoughts on the risk of the old UR deck in the private threads kinda convinced me it's incredibly unlikely currently, it's too much of an unknown factor, they wouldn't do it unless the meta was stale and in risk of losing too many players.

    I think white's results may not make a compelling case for SFM

    A lot of pros and the articles written on BBE seem to agree it's a joke that the card is on the ban list, I think they're going to start there. It's unlikely Jund ravages this format. The deck is tier 3 and they'll unban something with the lowest risk factor first.

    Still not very convinced Jace is coming off in the next three years.

    So, right now I think it's like

    75% of BBE
    25% of SFM

    0% of any other major unban for Feb



    While I would love BBE to come off, I don't know how people can believe it actually with with the presence of death's shadow. Cascading into literally every spell in the deck (with only whiff being stubborn denial) would probably launch the deck into unsafe territory. I would think something would have to be banned from DS (not saying anything should) before BBE comes back. I don't think regular Jund is the problem; it's Death Shadow Variants


    Jund DS hasn't really held a heavy presence in the meta for a while and it's doubtful that any variant of DS would want BBE. DS's top end is generally 3 mana and it already has plenty of options of outvaluing their opponent at a cheaper cost (Snapcaster, Tasigur, K-Command, both Lilianas, etc).

    DS's main problem right now is that it sometimes struggles to establish a threat since it typically runs 8 in the deck—a problem that BBE does not fix.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    KCI Eggs in its current iteration is a deck that I think is a lot better than most people realize. Its main problem is that a ton of artifact and grave hate are rampant in the format.

    Anyone who's sat across from an Eggs players knows why Second Sunrise is a really bad idea in Modern.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on Grixis Death's Shadow
    Quote from Revhrain »
    Quote from whocansay »
    Tendrils just seems bad. I'd run KReturn right now.


    Could you explain why tendrils is bad right now? I'm confused about running Kozilek's return or anger of the gods...


    Kozilek's Return is a slam dunk against Affinity, since it kills Champion and can clean up Blink/Inkmoths. It's also pretty decent against most go-wide aggro decks.

    Tendrils shines when you still want to keep some game against Etched Champion, but still want to hedge your bets against Dredge. Gravehate is everywhere right now because of Storm, so Dredge is probably also having a rough time now, making Tendrils lose some usefulness. You might as well go with K-Return right now.

    I've never liked Anger of the Gods to be honest. The double Red is often a bit too rough, forcing too many fetch-shocks in a matchup that you probably want to be a little more conservative on life total. The only real payoff is that it hits Amalgam, so it's a I-win button against Dredge. Tendrils hits everything but Amalgam, which can give you a strong position against Dredge, even if you need to work a little harder for the "W". It also has a much more manageable mana cost to deal with.

    Posted in: Tier 1 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Temporary State of the Meta Thread (Rules Update 7/17/17)
    I'm not sure why anyone would want cards restricted in any format aside from vintage (which is designed so you can play ANY non-anti card ever made). If a card is powerful enough that it can't be included as a 4 of, then games will often devolve into "did I draw my 1 (or 2) of busted card"? Then I win. It also causes for additional confusion in deck construction to have this new deckbuilding rule.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Temporary State of the Meta Thread (Rules Update 7/17/17)
    Quote from ccc1522 »
    But if all decks can run it.. why would it be so broken.. i mean isnt that better than some of these cards that only some decks can run?

    If it answers itself then that would be more fair than say a thoughseize where you cant do anything at all..

    I still dont understand it. It would make for more interesting gameplay and would make you think twice before you just blatantly path a creature no questions asked.

    Also wouldnt mental misstep be better then say chalice of the void. Where chalice stops you indeffinitely, mm can only stop 4 spells at best.

    Hmm perhaps i have to see gameplay. But i read a tcg article where the author discusses the possibility of it being unbanned as well as how its not as terrible a choice as people think.

    It would also help slow down some decks like affinity so midrange decks could have more of a chance.

    I dont know..it just seems like it would pretty interesting unban though i see your guys points i think that if all decks have it then that kind of evens the field..


    First of all, Affinity isn’t really a problem in the format and MM does little to them anyways. MM isn’t the answer that suddenly makes midrange more relevant again, since E-Tron is the main reason that Midrange (outside of GDS) struggles at the moment. E-Tron does midrange better by casting creatures the resist interaction and has a classic Tron end game if the game drags on too long.

    Second of all, you’re comparing a lock piece (Chalice of the Void) that costs 2 mana to counter spells at CMC=1, to a spell that essentially costs zero, that can be played on turn zero with no further deckbuilding constraints. To play Chalice, one has to make deckbuilding restrictions to either get it out early by devoting slots to Simian Spirit Guide, or wait until turn 2 to cast on normal curve. Then, it further has to be built to be able to operate under it, which means no 1 CMC spells.

    Mental Misstep just requires that you place 4 of them in the deck. That’s it.
    I’m not saying that Chalice is any more healthy for the format or anything, but just that it requires deckbuilding restrictions to play with it. On a personal level, I certainly don’t want to see Mental Mistep running rampant in the format, since the format already focuses so hard turn 1 and 2 plays, making MM that much more devastating to the format.

    Of course, E-Tron could give a flying fig about MM. It just hits Map and Basilisk Collar. No need to make that deck even better by forcing everyone to sling MM at each other.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
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