Hey UW Control people. I recently started helping people track their UW Control performance data, and figured that some of you might be interested in seeing some of it. You can see it here. There's a UW Control player who has started entering his gameplay data for automatic analysis. It tracks quite a bit, but one thing that I find most useful in doing this (I've been doing this with Lantern for quite some time) is how individual cards correlate to increased or decreased win percentages when they're in the opening hand. You'll see that there are currently only 41 games entered, though I should point out that individual card performance is weighted for sample size. And, of course, the more data that is entered, the more accurate it'll continue to become.
If you feel that you'd like to start tracking your own data, you could probably ask Jonathan Reed for access, or just make a copy of what he has so far and start entering your data.
As for what it seems to show so far, Path to Exile seems to be the top performer in the deck, by far. The next best nonland cards to have in the opener, apparently, are either sideboard cards or Detention Sphere. The worst cards seem to be Gideon of the Trials or Cryptic. I suppose it does make sense that there's no point in having Cryptic in the opener, since you will not be playing it until at least turn four. As for Gideon, it seems that playing it early presumably opens it up to removal. It seems that both of those cards would perform much better in the mid-to-late game.
Admittedly, I'm not a UW Control player, so I don't know how much of this is already known to all of you. But, figured that some of you might find this interesting, and would possibly be interested in working together to gather the data quicker for group analysis.
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Jan 12, 2018As for the Thopter/Sword inclusion, I'm personally not a fan of it because it loses to the two most common sideboard hate angles: Artifacts and graveyard hate.Posted in: Tier 2 (Modern)
I do have some interesting stuff to share. I got to play a paper event again. Last one was States, early 2017 It was only a small local event, 11 players total. There were two Burn decks, one Jund, one Eldrazitron, one Esper Mill, one Merfolk, one 8rack, one MonoB Devotion, one rogue Footsteps of the Goryo deck, and 5c Shadow. I wanted to swap out my Nature's Claim for Ray of Reclamation, but couldn't find the one I'd set aside a few weeks ago, so just kept with the Claim.
Round 1: Bye. Well then...
Round 2: MonoB Devotion [2-0]
I could have lost game one to a punt, playing my second Needle and naming a fetch instead of Leechridden Swamp, but Inventors' Fair saved me when I was at two life, so opp would put me to one life, I'd gain it back, etc. Whir'd for Witchbane and that shut down the rest of his deck along with Bridge. Game two I'm able to get a quick lock and Bridge, easy day.
Round 3: Footsteps of the Goryo deck [2-0]
Game one was actually very close. I Whir'd in a Grafdigger's Cage in response to his Unburial Rites. I didn't know his hand because I drew no discard, but it seemed like I had the lock and it was all said and done, until he got his eighth land and hardcast Ashen Rider, exiling my only maindeck Cage. This meant that he was going to be able to cast all the Unburial Rites he wanted to get more Riders and Woodfall Primus triggers. It took a lot of very tricky milling/exiling with Pyxis to prevent that, and playing multiple Bridges. I eventually just had too many outs to his lines. He could try to destroy my Bridges with Primus, but he didn't have enough lethal on board before I just got them back with Ruins, or he could destroy my Ruins but then not have enough triggers to destroy all of my Bridges, and still didn't have enough lethal, etc. Eventually I just milled him out before he could get there.
Game two I sided out a lot of my discard (he ran maindeck Leylines) and Witchbane Orb, bringing in Welding Jars, Jester's Cap, Seal of Primordium, another Cage, and Torpor Orb. He was playing white, so I expected Stony Silence. This was a match where I really wished I'd had that Ray of Reclamation, as it would have been much better than Abrupt Decay. I Whir in a Cage in response to a Footsteps, which slows his deck down to a crawl. I then Whir in Bridge and Torpor Orb. I let him draw a Needle he'd sided in because I had a Seal of Primordium. If he named Seal, I'm okay, and if he names something else, I just use Seal to remove it, so it was fine. He realizes that Torpor Orb and Bridge lock out the rest of his deck, as his only removal is in the form of ETB effects.
Round 4: ID with EldraziTron into top 4. I felt comfortable that I would win the match, since it's a relatively good matchup, but figured I'd just enjoy my free way into top 4.
Top four consisted of Jund, EldraziTron, Merfolk, and me. I figured that I had a 66% chance of not playing against Jund. Nope, I play against Jund :/
Semifinals: Jund [1-2]
Game one I end up losing to two off-the-top blind Abrupt Decays taking Bridges. Rough going. I side out a lot of discard, siding in Jars, Leylines, Needle.
Game two I win with a quick lock. He kept a hand full of threats, and I ran out a Needle on turn one, naming Liliana of the Veil. He'd kept a hand with one, so Bridge and that Needle bought me the time to assemble the lock. I then carefully milled my opponent and myself, setting up a solid boardstate with both Jars and all three Bridges.
Game three I keep a decent opener with Leyline, Whir, and a Pyxis. I end up Whirring for Lantern first, to try to not allow my opponent to draw any serious answers (like Grudge, which he ran two of). When I did, I saw a Decay on top, exiled it. Pyxis was great because it allowed me to control while keeping two Tarmogoyfs small. However, he happened to already have another Decay in hand and was able to kill me with Goblin Rabblemaster that same turn, before I could Whir for another Bridge (another Whir was on top). I had considered using my first Whir for a Welding Jar, but in hindsight he would have won anyways because then he would have also drawn the second Decay that I'd exiled, so I was dead no matter what I did there.
All fun, altogether. I made my money back.
As for Torpor Orb, I'm very happy with that card. In every game I've Whir'd it in, it's flat out won the game for me. It completely shut down UW Control (focused on Snapcaster Mage, Restoration Angel, Vendilion Clique, and Wall of Omens), that Footsteps deck I talk about above, and the Kiki-Evolution deck I recently faced online. All it takes is one to shut down quite a few cards, so it fills in much like Bridge, Needle, Cage, Orb, etc. Single cards, like Torpor Orb, that can shut out a swathe of the opponents cards has a record of proving very good for the deck. I would highly suggest giving it a shot. I only wish there were some low-cmc artifact with ETB that destroyed artifacts or enchantments, and we'd be set!
Jan 7, 2018Hey MTGSalvation! I wanted to share a spreadsheet template that I made recently for anyone interested. I've been using my copy for quite some time, gathering data for Lantern. Most of the work for tracking your data is automated in the spreadsheet, but I'm including some screenshots and instructions below to help get it started for your preferred deck. If anyone needs help setting it up, linking cells, etc., or have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact me. I can usually be found in the MTGSalvation IRC channel. I hope you find this helpful!Posted in: Modern
First, Here is the link to the template.
Dec 27, 2017Pretty sure that's xxhellfirexx3 again. I just started setting their new puppet accounts to ignore immediately.Posted in: Modern Archives
Dec 26, 2017thnkr posted a message on Need help with non-artifact devotion to blue modern deckYa, I tried Imprisoned in the Moon, but it didn't work as well as I'd wanted.Posted in: Budget (Modern)
The reason for the Sorcerous Spyglass' is that people who play fetchlands can simply wait to fetch at the end of our turn so we can't "Island" them. With Spyglass, we can cut off fetches as well, while turning the other lands into Islands. It's also great for other cards that are often used, like Liliana of the Veil, Oblivion Stone, etc.
The purpose behind Wind Zendikon is primarily to "rebuy" the Ghost Quarters and Tectonic Edges. They're also useful for the devotion once Thassa hits, and swings for 2 (sometimes 3 if Master of Waves is in play) with evasion.
The reason Ice Cage is better than the other options is that it also shuts down activated abilities, which would get around most of those other options. It's very rare that anyone runs cards that target a creature that doesn't also destroy it in a competitive environment, so the drawback to Ice Cage is rarely, if ever, relevant.
I was running Siege in the sideboard, but didn't get to play many sideboard games The reason for 4x Thassa is that the deck is relatively threat-light. There are really only eight cards in the deck that close out games, if we include 4 Thassa. Thus, Path to Exile (or other such exile effects) would neutralize quite a higher percentage of our threats if we run fewer.
Dec 25, 2017It's almost as if they've maybe started reading the thread talking about the nature of their articlesPosted in: Modern Archives
Kind of sounds like minimax.
Dec 23, 2017@LEH, that's a fair question, and I probably should have linked my evidence to begin with. But, we can see the trend of Jund from the inception of the Modern format, and it's presence.Posted in: Modern Archives
Jund in the beginning was missing Abrupt Decay, as you mention, but was immediately one of the top contenders in Modern. The metagame consisted of Zoo, Tron, Twin, Affinity tied with Pod, and Storm tied with Jund for the top spots, in that order. There are articles about the deck, but since none of them offer any actual evidence, I'll forego those.
Being a Jund player since the start of Modern, I'd argue that Jund was a strong Tier 2 choice until DRS and Decay were printed then it blew up to Tier 0.5 until DRS finally got banned then it leveled out at Tier 1.
That timeframe between the beginning of Modern and the printing of DRS and Decay was all of about a year. That first year we had what we could call a "wild west" of broken decks, where in the matter of two months (September 2011 to December 2011) we saw eight cards banned to try to reign in the format.
Jund in the following year was gifted with both Abrupt Decay and Deathrite Shaman, as you mention. It could be argued that Deathrite Shaman was more important than Decay, as it was immediately played as a 3-4 of, rather than the 2-3 Decay that was adopted. It could also be said that maybe the Shaman was to blame for Jund's dominance at the time, rather than Bloodbraid Elf. Either way, Jund was a force to be reckoned with. Deathrite Shaman was banned the following February.
The year after that, WotC appeared to recognize how format warping Jund seemed to be:
Banned: Bloodbraid Elf and Seething Song
Speaking of dominant, this was the time of Jund. A time when the midrangiest of midrange decks was considered by many to be the best deck in the format, and not easily addressed with other cards already in the format. Again, Erik Lauer summed it up nicely in the announcement.
"Since then, we have had four Modern Grands Prix. Jérémy Dezani won Grand Prix Lyon playing Jund. Jacob Wilson defeated Josh Utter-Leyton in a Jund-on-Jund finals to win Grand Prix Chicago. Willy Edel won Grand Prix Toronto, also playing Jund. And, finally, Lukas Jaklovsky came in 2nd, playing Jund, at Grand Prix Bilbao. Beyond that, Jund took six of the Top 16 decks at Bilbao."
Jund, Jund, Jundy, Jund, Jund. Bloodbraid Elf was the first card from Jund to get the axe, but not the last.
Thus, they banned Bloodbraid Elf early that year. We can speculate why they chose Bloodbraid over Deathrite Shaman, but I don't know that we can say for sure why they chose the one over the other that January.
In 2014 we see Jund start to normalize in numbers. It was still a top contender, even without Bloodbraid and DRS. Seeing as how dominant Jund had been the past two years, I could definitely see why they'd be apprehensive about re-releasing BBE into the mix.
2015 and 2016 both have Jund continuing to be one of the top tier decks of the format, again suggesting that maybe then was not the time to give Jund BBE.
Finally, in 2017, we see Jund's numbers start to drop. Thus, maybe now is a safe time to unban Bloodbraid. The best numbers I have to offer to support that argument is from the metagame numbers from MTGTop8. I don't know if there is any other data or evidence publicly available for us to make that call with confidence.
So I'm not saying that you're wrong. On the contrary, I think you're absolutely accurate in your statement about how dominant Jund was during the course of Modern history. However, with Jund as dominant as it was without Bloodbraid Elf, I think we can give WotC credit for not offering an already-dominant deck another demonstrably proven powerful card before other decks found a way to combat it.
Dec 23, 2017Posted in: Modern ArchivesQuote from Shmanka »
@Thnkr - The problem is we live in a world with instant satisfaction, but truthfully it's laughable that BBE has been banned for 4 years. This isn't a case of Wizards being cautious, it's a case of Wizards not managing properly at that point. That's how it simply boils down. Everything else you posted I can agree with. I was once advised, that the worst action is to do nothing. They have done nothing for far too long.
I wouldn't necessarily agree that it's laughable that BBE's been banned for 4 years. Many of the core cards that are used in current decks were only printed in the last four years, and during that time we could just as easily say that BBE would have been overpowered, since we have no actual evidence to base each argument on. I'm not saying BBE would have been too good, but likewise, to say that it's rediculous that it hasn't been removed from the banlist in the past four years seems to imply that it wouldn't have been too good. The truth is that we don't have the data to show for either one, if we ignore that Jund with BBE was one of the best decks at the origin of the Modern format.
I would disagree with the statement that "the worst action is to do nothing". While it sounds very wise, it's not accurate. I can provide some examples in which the best action is to do nothing if at all possible, if you would like. Besides, this would imply that WotC truly has done nothing, which is very far from the truth. They've put out how many staple cards that were adopted into the Modern format? And banned and unbanned how many cards? Simply because they've appeared to do nothing with the state of whether BBE was banned or not does not mean that they've truly done nothing at all.
Dec 23, 2017Posted in: Modern ArchivesQuote from Shmanka »Quote from thnkr »We are, at best, armchair developers. For them, it's their livelihood. I'm inclined to think that they are somewhat more competent than we think we are.
So that "logical inconsistency" may simply be a temporary state, for the sake of caution. It's not killing us to not be able to play Bloodbraid - it's simply a talking point for whiners like Hoogland to write articles about with zero data or testing.
So I've had a personal experience with Aaron Forscythe long ago at PTM15, and I would like to give credit to all of Wizards staff when it comes to managing the banned list in most situations, but they do not have enough ears to the ground.
Based on my memory, I began opening statements citing exactly some questions this very forum had (the PT event had computers people could publicly use, which was awesome), I then started mentally noting what I could, then I began deciphering the logic behind the bannings of specific cards.
In summary, here is the thread I posted long ago http://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the-game/modern/567422-i-just-personally-spoke-with-aaron-forsythe-at-pro
What I didn't mention when the quote came to the discussion of Sword of the Meek, was that the conversation didn't start that way. (Just for reference Twin was Legal and Sword was not). It seemed that multiple people working for Wizards was under the impression that Twin was absolutely fine, but Sword of the Meek would destroy the Modern format in half if legal. I had a hard time explaining to them, the difference between a soft lock and a hard lock. Especially when the Soft lock is vulnerable to dozens more hate printed in the recent years.
To Wizards, it seemed like Sword of the Meek was a 15/10, and Twin was a 4/10. That's unacceptable, and that's too far out of touch. Now add in the timeline factor, it took them years to fix the situation.
People are complaining about each and every Magic format, and not the "good" kind of complaining either. There is no time to be "patient" they need to get in touch with the community, hard, not just say it, or post biased AMA's, or have some horrible and non-descriptive articles on a horrid looking website. They have needed some balancing action in the Modern format 3 months after Sword of the Meek got unbanned. They have had enough time. It took them years to figure out Wild Nacatl, Bitterblossom, Sword of the Meek, Ancestral Vision. Some of you may reference Golgari Grave-Troll, but I truly think that was also an out of touch issue with Wizards knowing they would print Cathartic Reunion, Insolent Neonate, and Prized Amalgam, by which GGT did jack-squat till they got a whole new dredge shell to work with.
Wizards shouldn't post messages such as "We are unlikely to do any changes!" But we allow it, we need to group together and put the sock in their mouth and tell them to unban the unjustified fair cards.
I could agree with you on some points here, but another view of the history since your post in 2014 and now is that they do question themselves and figure things out. Splinter Twin was banned just over a year later, and Sword of the Meek was unbanned shortly after that. Thus, it seems that they ended up looking at the evidence and agreeing with your assessment. I wouldn't blame them for worrying about Sword of the Meek and not worrying about Splinter Twin, especially considering that "pros" wrote articles about how "catastrophic" Sword being unbanned would be on decks like Jund.
I could be very wrong, but through hindsight, I'm starting to see a pattern in which it seems that WotC was originally using the same "metrics" of what was too good and what was okay (conjecture, appeal to authority, and the bandwagon fallacy) as the general Magic community, and that they changed that method some time just before the Twin ban to be more evidence-based. Again, this might just be an illusion.
Personally, when it comes to bans and unbans, I defer to WotC. I don't have the evidence or data to confidently state that my opinion is informed and correct. I doubt more than a single-digit amount in these entire forums and reddit do have the sort of evidence to make a valid claim. If they do, they're certainly not sharing it. Again, it's only conjecture from armchair developers. Even "pros" whose livelihood (assumedly) relies on the health of the game don't provide evidence for their claims. That amazes me. WotC, however, has evidence. Whether they use it or not is not something we have any way of knowing, but we do know they have it. So we can't even make a valid claim that WotC does or does not use that evidence, only conjecture on whether they do (as I point out above, my perception of how they've managed banlists might just be an illusion).
I can, however, say that they have been doing the right things recently with the banlists, or so the health of the metagame seems to show. Sure, there's plenty of complainers on the internet, but we will have those complainers no matter what happens. The best metric isn't the whining of a bunch of people who can't find the motivation to support their arguments with evidence, but with the evidence of viewership, participation, and variety of decks in the format.
So, sure, they didn't unban some cards that we think are fair when we wanted them to. But again, I prefer the company be cautious rather than be as impulsive and self-important as someone like Hoogland when it comes to a game this large. If it's truly fair, then I'd be inclined to think that it will be unbanned. We could point out where some of us might have publicly stated that some card is busted and needs banned, or some other card is fair and needs to be unbanned, and then few months to a year later that happens. Of course, we'd have to be careful that we're not falling to confirmation bias, because we could be forgetting the other claims that we made that were way off mark.
Dec 23, 2017@FoodChainGoblins, I'd agree that it's probably best not to dismiss a claim outright based solely on who made it (that would be an ad hominem fallacy). "Even a broken clock can be right twice a day." Personally, I dismiss the statements in Hoogland's article, and similar statements, based on the lack of objectivity and work done to test the validity of the statements, and consideration of various alternate explanations for what is instead deemed "contradictions". His tendency to write and speak in that manner make me more skeptical to anything he does write, though I do make efforts to not dismiss his ideas outright.Posted in: Modern Archives
Dec 23, 2017thnkr posted a message on [POLL] What cards do you want banned or unbanned in the January 15, 2018 announcement?I would like to see Bloodbraid Elf unbanned. Everything else seems about right to stay banned.Posted in: Modern Archives
As for new bans, I don't see that the format necessarily needs any further bans. I can see a world where Expedition Map becomes too powerful, as it's basically a colorless demonic tutor for lands. Ancient Stirrings requires that there is colored mana, can whiff (entirely or get stuck with a random land), and more of a deckbuilding restriction. Expedition Map requires no color restrictions, no random whiffs, and no deckbuilding restrictions.
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