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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 Dralnu, Two Parts Control, One Part Reanimator
    Ch-ch-ch-changes!

    Finally, the list gets updated. Thanks to a combination of the list being in a really good spot and me not getting to play as much magic, the list has been pretty static for a while (7 months since the last change!). But finally, Ixalan brings us Search for Azcanta. This card is a serious card advantage powerhouse. On the enchantment side, it provides card filtering and virtual card advantage by filling our graveyard. Then it flips, gives us an extra land, and provides real life card advantage with its activated ability. It didn't take too many tests to see how powerful this card was. I ended up cutting Recurring Insight. I have a soft spot for this card and when it's good, it's really, really good. However, 6 mana at sorcery speed is steep and in the interest of bringing down the deck's curve, this card had to go. So:

    IN
    + Search for Azcanta

    OUT
    - Recurring Insight
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    Quote from Timota »
    Ohh don't get me wrong I love the card but still can't seem to beat burn. In my most recent game against them he went T1 Guide into turn two Guide Guide into Turn 3 Guide Eidolon on the play. Then game 2 has Guide into four Destructive Revelrys. ;(

    Even with main board Leylines, I still think burn is a terrible matchup, haha.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    I'll also put a vote in for "Jeskai Green" being the best colors for the deck. Blue is really important, in my opinion, and I really don't like Demonic Dread and Kari Zev's Expertise purely because they require a creature to target.

    Timota, I get the appeal of cutting back on green for the sake of the mana base, but do you really find Beast Within to be better than Detention Sphere. I ran Sphere in my first build, but between not being instant speed and not permanently getting rid of permanents if your opponent can remove the sphere, I personally think Beast Within is much better.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    Quote from epoa »
    Quote from jenncertainty »
    Quote from epoa »
    That’s an interesting inclusion. I’ll have to test it out. I think I may have one sitting in a box somewhere.

    I’ve tested Bow more than any other card (that I’ve focused on testing) and I still am unsure about it. It feels awkward to cast, but it always feels good to have one on the field. It’s never irrelevant.

    This might be a terrible idea, but I'm considering cutting Mistveil Plains to test the Bow. Obviously, going down to 15 lands is risky, but I'm currently at 10 BPs. Also, the Bow fills a similar niche to Mistveil and though I was once I big supporter of it, I'm finding it's becoming more and more awkward: it comes in tapped, isn't a basic for the BPs, and I sometimes hesitate to cast Blood Moon because I want Mistveil value.


    I already cut my Mistveil. It’s lost a lot of power since the deck’s inception. I vote yes. The bow is easier to cast and activate and let’s you loop RB infinitely by putting RB and cascaders on the bottom of your library. I’ve locked people out of games this way. It also lets you shoot pesky fliers, gain life when you aren’t doing anything, and turns casted Simian Spirit Guides into threats by pumping them up and making them deathtouch attackers.

    Yeah, I certainly see the cards appeal. The only things the "test" will need to answer are 1) is 15 lands to few, and 2) is it worth having just one Bow (though you seem to have success with one Bow, so that's a plus)
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    Quote from epoa »
    That’s an interesting inclusion. I’ll have to test it out. I think I may have one sitting in a box somewhere.

    I’ve tested Bow more than any other card (that I’ve focused on testing) and I still am unsure about it. It feels awkward to cast, but it always feels good to have one on the field. It’s never irrelevant.

    This might be a terrible idea, but I'm considering cutting Mistveil Plains to test the Bow. Obviously, going down to 15 lands is risky, but I'm currently at 10 BPs. Also, the Bow fills a similar niche to Mistveil and though I was once I big supporter of it, I'm finding it's becoming more and more awkward: it comes in tapped, isn't a basic for the BPs, and I sometimes hesitate to cast Blood Moon because I want Mistveil value.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    Quote from Timota »
    Also I forgot to mention with finishers and packages that Eopa was talking about one package that ive heard worked well was Sahelli Cat combo in the artifacts build. Secondly with Kataki and storm running around I like having the 2 Dismember out of side. Thirdly I want some thoughts about playing Drift of Phantasms vs Idyllic Tutor with my list, I with trying to make the change took out my March of the Machines, for that and Leylines are my only enchantments over 3 cmc. Where the Drift is more mana intensive with blue it allows me to fetch side board answers like Wear//Tear or Oketra's Last Mercy. Finally not to drag on this post but I played yesterday in a championship at an LGS that is a compition of the best of the best across formats I placed 5th overall. I went 3-1 with Restore Balance beating Mill, UW control, and Grixis Death Shadow and losing to burn. The highlight of my night was the control matchup which was my opponent tried to Cryptic bouncy my As Fortold and counter my Restore I used Odds//Ends and copied his Cryptic and bounced his Gideon and countering his Cryptic.

    Yeah, I noticed Drift in your deck and think it's an interesting addition. I like that, as well as being a tutor, it can come down as a decent blocker, if necessary. Glad it's working out for you!

    And congrats on getting 5th! I love hearing about other people's RB success stories! Smile
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    Quote from epoa »
    Back on my phone. Haven’t had the chance to resume the analysis on my laptop.

    Against lists that board in stony and Kataki, the trick is to play around them. Board out borderposts for your sideboard tech and try to play around them.

    I, too, suggest cutting black, which is a big call for me considering black is my favorite color and this is the only deck I play without it. Budget builds with RB are fairly difficult, considering it tends to be a fairly budget deck as it is. I run the Nahiri + Emrakul package myself, which is probably the most expensive package, but there are other viable wincons, like the aforementioned collosus.

    I highly recommend beast within. I run two copies main and one in the board. The ability to hit planeswalkers, artifacts, enchantments, and other problematic permanents is incredibly powerful. I also recommend bow of nylea and supreme will as utility flex slots. They are both budget and see play in non-budget builds.

    I'm curious about trying out Bow of Nylea, but I don't think I have room for it in my main board. If I cut the 2 Culling Scales and add a third W/T to my sideboard, I have one flex spot. Do you think it would be worth running just 1 Bow in the side?
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    Wanted to share an incredibly satisfying play I just had on MTGO. I was playing against some weird mono-red prison brew with Ensnaring Bridge, Blood Moon, and Hazoret. I had 3 BPs and 3 lands and a suspended Gargadon with 7 counters. They had Ensnaring Bridge on the field and overloaded Vandalblast. I responded by tapping all of my mana sources, sacc'ing them all to Gargadon, then cast Beast Within to destroy to Bridge and then cascaded into RB, getting rid of all the opponent's lands. Next turn, I got GG out and swung for the win.

    This is why I play this deck lol
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    Just adding to Timota's advice, I also recommend cutting black. I switched to the 4 color, no black version, and haven't looked back. I really think you only need 8 cascade cards, so you could cut Demonic Dread. Then, if you do cut all black, you also lose Nihilith and Veinfire BP (personally I think 17 BPs is too many). That gives you 8 free slots. I'm a huge fan of Blood Moon, so I'd add at least 2 of those. And echoing more of what Timota said, I'd give As Foretold and Colossus a try. The former is a way to get Restore Balance out of your hand and is just great value. I run 2. The latter is a solid budget wincon, though I don't run it, so I don't know how many people usually run.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    Wow. Thanks for taking the time to be so thorough! I'll try to address everything:

    Re: Sideboard. I agree that it needs work and it's where most of my testing has been recently. I'm with you on Culling Scales feeling weak. It has felt really weak for me. Recently, I've been testing 2 Monastery Siege in its place. The reason I didn't include those in my two test lists is I'm still not sure about the card (haven't actually got a chance to use it since I started testing) and I felt Culling Scales was a more "neutral" card for the Leyline test, since more people run it. You may have a point about Wear and Tear. I could probably go up to 3. I highly disagree about Ghostly Prison. It feels very strong against a lot of match ups and I find myself bringing it in a lot.

    As for boggles and incorrect color: that was a formatting screw up when I copied the data into a new sheet, oops! You're totally right about why I lost to boggles. The game actually happened just the other night. That match up feels really good, I just got some bad draws.

    I agree on Dredge and I actually haven't tested Bow of Nylea before. I may have to finally give in and try it, though I'm not sure where I would fit it in my list.

    I'm surprised you have a good Burn match up. I think it's just awful. Even if I drop a Leyline, they can find Destructive Revelry. Last Mercy is in the SB purely for Burn, and I've never really worried about casting it, since jumping to 20 life usually wrecks burn, even if I have to sacrifice a turn.

    I'm also with you on Grixis Shadow. The match up feels like it should be good, and yet I tend to lose haha.

    Eldrazi Tron is another tough match, imo. They tend to main Chalice, which is rough. They have Mind Stone and Matter Reshaper to help get around Balances. Thought Knot Seer for hand disruption. Just tough all around.

    The problem with Knightfall is twofold: Voice of Resurgence helps them keep creatures after a Balance, and they tend to run counterspells in the 75. But even after 4 matches against the deck, I still don't think I have a good feel on it.

    Re Bant Charm and Beast Within: I really thought I liked Bant Charm. However I went down from 2 to 1 to make room for Supreme Will (which I really like btw) and I'm finding I don't miss them at all. I think the 1/1 Charm/BW split should just be 2 BW.

    Edit: Yeah, I think that Bant Charm can go in lieu of another BW.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    Here is the spreadsheet. Maybe when I have some more time, I will write more of an analysis of the data. But for now, here it is without comment.

    Side note: I've been thinking about the conversation with epoa about having comparative data sets. I agree that that could be interesting to see, so I think I'm going to give it a try. Here is the mainboard Leyline list that I will use:



    And here is the sideboard Leyline version I will run:



    For the latter, I'm running Sweltering Suns in the mainboard instead of Anger of the Gods (which is in the SB of the first deck) because I've found it's just a much better mainboard card than Anger. My goal is to get 50 matches with each deck, which isn't a huge data set, but it should be a start. I'll also be running these in friendly leagues on MTGO, just because I think they will be a little bit more efficient financially and I'm not made of money, haha. Also, no promises on how long this will take.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    The data show matchup and game out come, yes but that's about it. And no, I haven't made any distinction in the data when my 75 changed, so the data cover many versions of my list. I think if I were to do comparative data sets, I'd compare the list as it is now (3 Leylines MB) vs moving the Leylines to the side, and bringing the 3 Moon and probably the 2 Anger of the Gods back into the main.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    Quote from epoa »
    Quote from jenncertainty »
    Question for the thread regulars:

    I'm a bit of a data nerd and so have been recording all of my games since I picked up the deck. I'm currently sitting at a 46% win rate after 113 games (52-60-1) which I'm somewhat happy with considering it's a fringe deck and I'm a mediocre player. It's not the best data, since it's a collection of MTGO friendly and competitive leagues, FNMs at my LGS, and a few SCG events. Would people be interested in seeing my data with a bit of analysis?

    I tend to be a bit busy, so i don’t know if I’ll get the time to, but I’d love to try! How much detail is in your data? One thing I really want to see is how your mainboard Leylines and Blood Moons affect your results.

    Unfortunately not a ton of detail, at least not as far as when changes in my list go. I just haven't found a good way to track it. The big issue is that I'm often making a lot of small changes to the list, so it's hard to know what changes are actually affecting the numbers. Also, Blood Moon has been a staple in my mainboard since day 1 (though I did move 1 to the SB at some point).

    If I had all the time in the world, I could try to be more scientific and run a set number of games with and without a certain change. Unfortunately, I don't think I have that kind of time on my hands haha. If I do manage to try something like that, would mainboard vs sideboard Leylines be the test you're most interested in seeing?
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    Question for the thread regulars:

    I'm a bit of a data nerd and so have been recording all of my games since I picked up the deck. I'm currently sitting at a 46% win rate after 113 games (52-60-1) which I'm somewhat happy with considering it's a fringe deck and I'm a mediocre player. It's not the best data, since it's a collection of MTGO friendly and competitive leagues, FNMs at my LGS, and a few SCG events. Would people be interested in seeing my data with a bit of analysis?
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Restore Balance
    I actually used the "counter target instant" mode for the first time this past weekend. I was playing against affinity and threatening an ult with Nahiri. The opponent top deck'd Galvanic Blast, aimed it at Nahiri, and I countered with Bant Charm. The tuck a creature mode I use quite a bit, though.

    I can think of maybe once where the color intensity prevented me from using the Charm when I needed it, but it's probably happened a few times. That's the card's biggest down side.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
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