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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
 
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
  • posted a message on [Deck] Mono Blue Control, Revisited
    Spellsyphon, did you ever thought about running Force Spike?

    At the moment, I am playing a similiar list. Just that I replaced one of each; Impulse, Powder Keg, Propaganda and Back to basics in order to be able to add a set of Force Spikes. Well, I did cut a Spell Snare for an additional island.

    I have found that three is a safe number for Impulse, Keg, Propaganda and Back to Basics. Also, as far as my testing goes, it looks like a necessary evil to run those weak, if that´s the word, counterspells (talking about the Spikes). I believe there is already board control in the form of Shackles and such and not enough early game stack control. In the long term game, that common can still be pitched to a FoW...

    But what do you think?
    What does everyone here think?
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on Dark Druid
    We are holding a small vintage tourney here and I´m willing to change a bit from what I´ve been playing in the last months (leyline + helm of obedience combo) to something weird and unexpected. Now the tourney will be unpowered, so I guess it is the time for underrated cards to prove their brokeness.

    I thought on building something around Hermit Druid, a creature that is now considered more than slow on the current worldwide metagame but that I believe deserves a try at least.

    The list is something like:



    The combo consist in mill your entire library whith Hermit Druid, get some Narcomoebas in play, sacrifice them to Dread Return and reanimate the Sutured Ghould for a deadly attack on that turn due to Dragon Breath.
    The B plan is, of course, the attack of the Tarmogoyfs.

    What do you think about this?

    Thanks.
    Posted in: Miscellaneous Decks
  • posted a message on [Deck] Mono Blue Control, Revisited
    I would like to add, in the defense of MainDeck use of Needle, that Qasali Priedmage is now played heavily, just like Aether Vial.

    What does this exalted guy means to us? That he can shut down Propaganda, destroy Vedalken Shackles, crush Back to Basics AND force us to blow-up our Powder Keg.

    We need protection against him other than countermagic. In other way, if this common cat resolves it can harm severely our board-control gameplan.

    Maffe, you are aware that Qasali is not only present in Zoo but also in some survival variants and bant countertop. Where a maindeck pithing needle will also be usefull against the green enchantment and SDT. I don´t get the point. How can you be so confident on our artifacts and enchantments with this creature in front of you?

    And on the thresh issue. Sure, it is a heavily played deck that does not use SDT, Qasali, Survival, etc. But what about their fetchlands? Be aware, most of the time 9 of their 18 lands are fetchlands. It will disrupt their fragile three color manabase if you name a land as the needle comes into play...

    And "everycombodeck" that does not use a needle target? What about belcher or epic, imperial, whatever painter variant? Ok, It would be dead against Ad Nauseam (just like propaganda and vedalken). Even Dragon stompy can be harmed if you name that namesake hellebnt dragon and against Stax it would be usefull to name Mishra Factory...
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Deck] Mono Blue Control, Revisited
    I know this discussion is not new. But, however it may look anti-synergic (maybe?) I believe in the maindeck use of both: Powder Keg and Pithing Needle.

    Needle because of Aether Vial, SDT, fetchlands (we don´t even use them), Grindstone (wich is present here in the form of Imperial Painter), Qasali Priedmage, etc.

    This is my first attempt to a competitive MUC (since testing showed that scepter control did not really count :-( ):

    Board Control:

    3 Powder Keg
    2 Vedalken Shackles
    3 Back to Basics
    3 Pithing Needle
    3 Propaganda

    C. Advantage:

    3 Impulse
    4 Fact or Fiction

    Stack Control:

    3 Spell Snare
    4 Force of Will
    4 Force Spike
    4 Counterspell

    Beater:
    2 Morphling

    22 Island
    1 Academy Ruins

    However, I can always take out those three needles for +1 Propaganda, +1 Powder Keg, +1 Vedalken Shackles
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on Thoughtseizing the Opportunity: GPT Win!
    Quote from burek


    I hoped people would understand the Force of Will comment, but maybe it needs a short explanation: FoW is possibly the best card in Legacy, but when deciding on whether to take Spell Snare or FoW with your Duress, the difference is that taking the Snare will 2-for-1 him no matter what. Smile


    I agree with you Burek. I believe that players outside Legacy can´t really figure out your comment. Force of Will is not a good counter, instead it is a necessary evil, helpfull to stop harmfull spells while being tapped. Thats why we still use it and probably never replace...

    But that is not the point.

    Nice report. I still believe that the classical Eva Green is superior but, for sure, I will try out your well tought suggestions. I have tested with the Confidants/SDT and I did appreciate the huge card advantage. Despite that this draw mechanism is awesome, I enjoy the "tempo" orientation of Shades, Tarmogoyfs and Stalkers. After all, I still believe in the power of Sinkhole :p . Maybe just a matter of taste.

    Good Luck,
    black and Green for the win!
    Posted in: Articles
  • posted a message on Current Tez Build
    I understand that in a non-proxy enviroment it is difficult to stay competitive without spending on acquire power and other expensive stuff but, as you already own a Time Vault, you should probably try to upgrade those three counterspells to Mana Drain. Mana Drain is, not only strictly better than Counterspell, but necessary in order to cast Tezzeret faster.

    I don´t think that Darksteel Collosus is usefull here. Just one big robot is needed as alternative win condition: Inkwell Leviathan. I believe that shroud is better than indestructibility. Sure that the clock is faster with the collosus but it still dies to bouncers like Echoing Truth. Maybe a matter of taste...

    Since this deck does not relies on Tolarian Academy I strongly suggest to drop Crop Rotation. Instead of fetching for that land you should worry for protect your game plan. I think that Duress / Thoughtseize is a better option.

    Versatility while playing is always good. With this in mind Regrowth, Reconstuction, Ponder and Echoing Truth could easily replace at least one Grim Monolith (a single Dark Ritual may be better) and, overall, the set of Cunning Wish. Those are not needed.

    We definately need a place for Trinket Mage. For this, I would cut a Glimmervoid or Gemstone Mine (since your non fetch-land count is high enough to support this).

    So, in main deck:

    -4 Cunning Wish
    -3 Crop Rotation
    -2 Grim Monolith
    -1 Darksteel Collosus
    -1 Glimmervoid

    +4 Duress/Thoughtseize
    +1 Ponder
    +1 Reconstruction
    +1 Echoing Truth
    +1 Dark Ritual
    +1 Lotus Petal
    +2 Trinket Mage

    And for the Sideboard I suggest:

    3 Yixlid Jailer
    3 Pithing Needle
    3 Ancient Grudge
    2 Relic of Progenitus
    4 Tarmogoyf (against fish strategies)

    Unpowered vintage lists are always appreciated. I think of them as a way to refresh the format. For the feedback, It would be nice if you post some of your results.

    Good Luck.
    Posted in: Budget (Vintage)
  • posted a message on Helm of Obedience 2.0
    Thanks, I absolutely forgot about that powerfull black spell. Sadistic Sacrament is awesome in vintage, I agree. I could replace one Cabal Ritual for it in the Main Deck. Then, would be running one in MD and three in the side board, which leads to this:

    SB:
    1 Engineered Explosives
    2 Pithing Needle
    2 Thoughtseize
    3 Diabolic Edict
    1 Hurkyl´s Recall
    2 Mindbreak Trap
    1 Echoing Truth
    3 Sadistic Sacrament

    LastManStanding, thanks for your comments and sugestions. As an Oath player, I would fear that my opponent brought in removals and extractive effects. Playing with Layline against Oath, I would do exactly this. However I wouldn´t take out the Helms, maybe just one, rather than that I would replace the hand disruption for edicts and sacraments. But this is a matter of playtest...

    Conboy31, I see you play a BR Helm deck? Since we are discussing this combo, could you please post it? That would be an usefull feedback.

    Thanks.
    Posted in: Ritual-Based Combo Decks
  • posted a message on Helm of Obedience 2.0
    Thanks for your response Beralt. Your critiques, and the critiques of other vintage players, helped me out to figure the Null Rod trouble and the way to deal with it under the same Helm/Layline archetype.

    Voltaic Key and Time Vault are powerfull while being intertwined. I doubt, and this goes against all the orthodox school, that by themselves this artifact spells could make a remarkable difference in the current context. I believe something different occurs when a WGD or Ichorid player fights a maindecked Leyline of the Void.

    As far as I understand, this omnipresent combo (Key and Vault) is robust in today´s metagame because of the prescense of Tezzeret, the Seeker. This planeswalker is the necessary card that (combined with new Time Vault errata) made this "Tezz deck" self-sufficent.

    Voltaic Key/Time Vault and Painter´s Servant/Grindstone are combos that require different amount of mana. I´m aware that the first one is by far superior because it only requires four mana while the second one requires at least six. Also, you could search and untap the Vault with Tezzeret, something that makes it even more atractive than the grindstone one.

    In what mana requirements concerns this underrated combo is just between Painter´s and Vault´s. Leyline/Helm is superior to Grindstone/Painter not only because it requieres one less mana but because it hoses many strategies.

    However, Painter/Grindstone has seen some play in Vintage while Leyline has not. Why is Helm not competitively played? I believe that this is, in part because there has not been found a correct shell for it, in part because a positive appraoach has been denied by many who consider this is an un-orthodox approach.

    I´ve seen a lot of experiments over the web to find a correct shell for this deck. I´ve tried many of them. From a mono-brown Stax deck builded over the powerfull Mishra Workshop to a weird blue Mana Drain deck that runs it as finisher. From a strange monoblack deck that thins itself with Street Wraith to a blue/black list supported by Dark Confidants protected by Force of Will.

    I´m afraid limited resources and a petit local metagame constrain all test results that I could possibly achieve. I am truly interested on what you, as vintage competitive players, think about this concept in general and this build in particular.

    Thanks a lot.
    Good Luck.
    Posted in: Ritual-Based Combo Decks
  • posted a message on MTGCast #189 - Creature Creep Conflict
    I am for stability. I have played this game since 1996. In more than ten years I learned that Magic was about spells, about complex interactions that, when well managed, lead your build to victory.

    Over a whole decade creatures were a support tool to achive this victory, they were what we use to call finishers. Today creatures are almost everything. Qasali Priedmage is a living 2/2 disenchant for 2 mana that can get 3/3 when attacking. This is ridiculous, there is no point of comparisson between this and maybe Grizzly Bears.

    What concerns me is that creatures have never been really dominant outside of a tribal enviroment. Elves and, overall, goblins have been there mixing their synergic abilities. Now synergy among a tribe is not the rule for aggro playability. Qasali Priedmage and Baneslayer Angel are good no matter in what particular scene.

    The history of Magic can be described with some degree of objectivity in terms of the relative power of aggro, control and combo. However, whatever that balance of power may have been, the claim that it is/was "healthy" is subject to the speaker's (in this case, your) preferences.


    I respect your statement, I agree with you. However, I would like to add that Magic has been in balance for many, many years. Balance has been there to ensure that whatever you build, name it combo, control or tribal aggro could be competitive enough to give them a try.

    Of course there were exceptions, like the black summer, mirrodin block or such, but this were momentary evils. Now this new policy does not look like momentary. This is sistematical. They are raising the power level of creatures in a way that creates obstacles for further development and menaces the health of the game. I am talking again of a healthy enviroment, but this is not subjective. By health I mean stability, balance between different strategies.

    Now WoTC, by printing absurd things, is giving excesive instruments to aggro players and denying resources to control. In a format where quick vampires, goblins and weird 5/4 beasts for three mana are menacing your life, what can you do with a Cancel in hand? I´m afraid even a Counterspell reprint couldn´t be enough.

    Don´t get me wrong. I don´t have particular preferences for any strategy. I´m only typing here to express my concern for the future of our game in a context where aggro archetype is dominant not only on Standard but also in eternal formats.

    In eternal formats is where you can fully apreciate what is happening. In legacy Zoo and Merfolks are recognized as trully competitive due to what has been printed in less than two years. Even in Vinatage GW Beats or RG Beats are creature based decks that are disruptive and fast enough to face Mana Drain control builds, Tezzeret/Time Vault or ANT combo. Just look at the new Juggernout, that Worldwake golem is insane for Stax/ Mishra Workshop builds

    Quote from flaming infinity
    I'm not really sure there's really so much creature creep as there is synergy creep, making creatures with greater synergy/relevance to the eternal metagame.


    Today´s decks are not truly designed by players. They were previoulsy defined in the "creative team" that designed the cards to inlcude in them. Almost everything in Zendikar was prepared in order to abuse landfall mechanic. Elves got a dumb creature (Nissa´s Chosen) just to interact with the named planeswalker. Vampires were created to be played estrictly as an aggro tribe something that, if you remember Mercadia, was not true for other "design decks" like Rebels or Mercenaries which could also be used in a control shell.

    This is other thing to complain about current administration. They are not only attempting to destroy creature´s power stability, give aggro excesive power and create an unbalanced metagame, they are also constraining player´s creativity and making this game a grotesque parody of what MTG has been.

    Maybe I´m getting old. But you all shoud remember WoTC oficially announced that blue will barely get playable spells because of the "casual players" complaints about countermagic. Doesn´t this encourages the stated point?
    Posted in: News
  • posted a message on Eva Green
    Hello, this is my legacy deck. I guess this is what I will play on GP Madrid. It´s a classical Eva Green with a minor change: there is a little of white on it. I added only three vindicates in the "slots of choice" of the first post because of their versatility and superiority when compared to the new green pulses. Vindicate is a spot removal for creatures while land destruction effect nine to eleven (one to eight are, of course, sinkhole and wasteland).

    I am not sure about the mana base. Adding a color makes it weaker against non basic hate strategies. Merflok and Loam could give us a real punish for our fancy dual lands.

    My spells against creatures are still the now underrated Snuff Out. Some people have suggested to change them in this current aggro-ish worldwide metagame context but I am still not sure. Snuff Out is great in a tempo orientated build like Eva Green but it seems hard to survive Zoo and Goblins with them (I do apreciate this black spell when you remove a pesky goblin lackey!).

    Should I replace Snuff Out with swords since I am playing white? I mean, I don´t wan´t to give them any life gain because our gameplan is, so far I understand, to end quickly the game with the help of heavy threats.
    Also, four additional white spells would imply to raise the number of Scrublands, something that, as I have said, will just weak the deck´s mana base.




    Thanks to all.

    PD1: Since burn and aggro are painfull for this suicide archetype, is there any good white spell that could help us against them? I mean, something like Warmth maybe...

    PD2: What are your sincere thoughts about Eva Green in the actual context? I play with this deck because I have allways love black disruption intertwined with aggresive menaces but I would like to ask: as Eva Green players, how would you rate this deck´s real posibilities to compete and win today?
    Posted in: Legacy Archives
  • posted a message on Helm of Obedience 2.0
    Hello, this is my current Vintage build. It is based upon the underrated but extremely powerfull combo between Helm of Obedience and Layline of the Void. This is an upgraded version of an older list that you can find in here: http://forums.mtgsalvation.com/showthread.php?t=178382.

    The point is to mill out your opponent´s entire library due to a replacement effect. This goal is relativeley easy to achieve during the first three turns since you just need to start the game with a black enchantment in play and then pay 5 (cast Helm of Obedience plus an aditional mana to activate it). This mill archetype is, in my opinion, superior to the Grindstone combo because half of the combo is uncounterable (consistency is supported by Serum Powder) and its sole presence harms the gameplan of almost every deck on the format.

    Layline of the Void, while being maindecked as a win condition, is also there to neutralize other combo decks like Ichorid and slow down storm based engines like TPS and ANT (because graveyards wouldn´t be there to find aditional spells via Yawgmoth´s Will and such). Ill-Gotten Gains is like a superb Mind Twist when a Layline is already on and a mini Yawgmoths Will effect for me. This hand disruption, plus Duress and Thoughtsieze, should help against hard control based strategies.

    Since Null Rod is a real problem, I try to defend the combo with bouncers (Echoing Truth and Repeal). I am aware this is not allways possible without countermagic spells like Force of Will (which can´t be supported here), so two backup plans are considered: Inkwell Leviathan and Tendrils of Agony. Spot removal for Oath´s creatures is, for now, reserved to the SB. However, and despite combo should be faster in theory, I would like to add some creature hate as a main deck answer for pesky threats.

    Deck:



    I would appreciate your comments, critiques and suggestions.
    Thanks.
    Posted in: Ritual-Based Combo Decks
  • posted a message on MTGCast #189 - Creature Creep Conflict
    The new power creep of creatures is an important theme that must be debated in order to retain the prestige of our game.

    This new print policy methodically implies to diminish the playability of control spells (such as blue counters, disruption, card draw engines etc.) while giving excesive power to undercosted creatures.

    From the legacy format standpoint, and I believe from the standpoint of every respectable player that enjoys versatility, it is risky to give so many resources to aggro archetypes while constraining the pool options of combo and control.

    Legacy looks a lot like Extended, a creature-based format that isn´t far from being aggro infected, just like the current standard is.

    Hope to be mistaken, but I believe that we are going on this shamefull road due to the irresponsable print of creatures whose power level is far from superior to the historical avarage. Almost twenty years of a stable and healthy order related to creature´s power level are now menaced by monstruosity.

    I mean, during many, many years powerfull creatures were things like Juggernaut, Juzam Djin, Serendib Efreet, then Morphling, Masticore, Phyrexian Negator etc. For today´s parameters this rare cards, while still playable (some of them, maybie...), are far behind common cards like Qasali Pridemage and uncommons like Rhox War Monk, Vampire Nighthawk and Woolly Thoctar. Even the reprint of an "overpowered" card like Lightning Bolt or the "re-print" of Savanah Lions as an uncommon card on the last core set are symptoms of the new conceptions. And for the Zoo stuff... well a 3/3 for G without a drawback...

    Even Tarmogoyf, a creature whose "brokeness" is still moving some disoriented voices to claim the ban, has decreased in power because the playability of all the new stuff. Knight of the Reliquary, Progenitus, Noble Hierarch. Damn, even one of the most competitive decks in our format is a blue aggro deck that was (in a 70% or so) T2 legal (those bloody fishes...)

    Ultra-aggro is gaining terrain. It must be stopped for the health of the format and for the health of Magic. We are in balance now, but never like now legacy has changed so quickly and, never before, in such a pronounced aggro route, following standard and extended fate.

    Magic is not as simple as "attack and block".
    Magic the Gathering is not Pokemon, Yu-Ghi-Oh or any other silly and poor imitation based on a brainless strategy that is supposed to increase the interaction between players. Supported on this offensive simplicity the current administration is stealing what Magic has been for more than a decade...
    Posted in: News
  • posted a message on [Deck] Mono Blue Control, Revisited
    What do you think of this list?



    This build is focused in the control of the stack rather than the control of the board. Whith this in mind our draw mechanism is mainly supported by instants like Meditate/Impluse and "control magic" (Sower, Threads of Disloyality, Vedalken Shakles), mass removal (Powder Keg, EE) and "specific" disruption (Propaganda, B2B) are replaced by more counters.

    The idea is to ensure the game whith a solid counterwall. Thats why I am running the Isochron Scepter. Obviously, the best imprints are Memory Lapse (1st) and Echoing Truth (2nd).
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on "good" blue cards coming back...?
    I agree whith the last member.

    There is no need for something new, something like a "fair" (?) counterspell. Indeed, that card isn´t an inherent menace to the aggro route of standard or extended.

    Just reprint counterspell, mana leak, force spike or even memory lapse to make control playable.

    But nowadays it would be easier, acording to the WOtC "give creatures a dumb powerlevel" policy, and print a 3/3 Isamaru for W rather than reprint counterspell...
    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on What's Next for Legacy? Where the Wild Things Are
    A big tournament has just ended in Europe. More or less 270 players. Ten of them were piloting zoo. There were three zoo decks in the Top 8...

    I believe that this reinforces a common belief: pure aggro is getting stronger and stronger. And there is an obvious connection between this and the new power creep policy for creatures.

    By the way, the 1st place was a Dream Halls.deck. Interesting list though this win is expectable on an aggro T8.
    Posted in: Articles
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