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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 The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from Lord Seth »
    Well, the data point you want to "sink in" is meaningless. So how about a more meaningful data point: You're saying that the metagame needs more cards to deal with Tron, a deck that's never managed to sustain a particularly high metagame percentage and has, with only a few exceptions, generally put up a dearth of results on the top tournaments, only popping up every now and then. Was this a really big finish for it? Of course. But prior to this, there was only one Grand Prix in the history of Modern where Gx Tron managed to get two decks into a Top 8, which was GP Brisbane, back in 2013. Also note that this was in a metagame where Deathrite Shaman was legal, meaning the format was stuffed with BGx. Even if we extend the criteria to Star City Games Opens, we have to go back nearly 2 years (January of 2016, SCG Columbus) before we find another case of a double Gx Tron top 8.

    Setting aside the questionable assertion that the format needs those cards to deal with Tron to begin with, you were talking about how Tron threatens Blue decks. How is Green Sun's Zenith, a card that doesn't go into predominately Blue decks, supposed to help Blue decks against Tron?

    Perhaps my stance isn't clear, so I'll post it for the 100th time in about 4 years; Too many decks are abusing the basic resource of Magic (Mana) in the Modern format without any tools sufficient enough to combat them.

    It's not just Tron, It's Scapeshift, Ad Nauseam, Goryo's Vengeance, Through the Breach, Eldrazi Tron, Bant Eldrazi, and sometimes Affinity and Living End.

    Having a Tool box maindeckable card that can be answered sufficiently and add a level of consistency to some green decks is exactly why GSZ was banned initially.

    Here is the exact quote from the DCI;
    Quote from Green Sun"s Zenith »

    On turn one, this can give the acceleration of a Llanowar Elves by getting a Dryad Arbor. On later turns, it can get a large creature or a one-of "toolbox" creature such as Gaddock Teeg. While this is interesting, it is also too efficient. If one intends to build a deck that has turn-one accelerants, Green Sun's Zenith is a great choice. If one wants to more access to utility green creatures, Green Sun's Zenith is a great choice. If one wants to more reliably get a large green creature, such as a Primeval Titan, onto the battlefield, Green Sun's Zenith is a great choice. However, this ends up with fewer different decks being played in practice, as Green Sun's Zenith is such a good choice that there are fewer green decks that do anything else. The DCI hopes that banning Green Sun's Zenith increases diversity among Modern green decks.

    Since then, the number of Green decks have decreased, or in the extreme sense depending on your personal restrictions, been nearly the exact same. So in essence, the decks using GSZ just became invalid when they tried to replace the card, and nothing else spawned out of the format since it's banning. It was used as a police tool for Cloudpost and Storm, we could seriously use it now. It would force Tron Decks to once again run some type of cheap removal like Pyroclasm, instead of going balls deep on just assembling their pieces ignoring the opponent. Yet that's not the only benefactor, it would actually police all the combo decks in their construction. That means most all in combo decks, couldn't be as they are now. The format would slow down as a result, and force higher levels of interaction.

    I also understand there is a significant level of risk as well, a deck like Elves could appear to become Tier 1, but could that really be an unstoppable problem in a format with Fatal Push?

    It tutors creatures at a higher cost, has a one time use, and is restricted on creature color. And no, I wouldn't even ban Dryad Arbor.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from purklefluff »
    Quote from Shmanka »
    Look at how Tron is constructed, it has just AS MANY LANDS AS GRIXIS DEATHS SHADOW.

    That turn 3 Karn Liberated, comes from a 19 land deck.

    Let that sink in. This Metagame needs a Green Sun's Zenith into a Gaddock Teeg with some backup Wasteland.

    so let me understand - Tron... Good old-fashioned, metagame pendulum tron which cycles from being completely unplayable to decent almost as regularly as clockwork. that tron, which has been nigh-useless for maybe 8 months - has a decent showing at one tournament, and now suddenly it's a huge problem and we need wasteland and green sun's zenith all at once.

    i'm not sure I can take this seriously. Was that really your point?

    tron is like almost no other deck in modern in that is regularly, reliably swings between tier 1 and essentially-tier-3. it does nothing for ages, people stop packing hate for it and bam! it does well for a month or so. then it swings away for a few months, decks change, the format evolves and bam! another surprise hit. within a month it's gone again. there are always 'diehards' who play the deck no matter what, but even those invested tron players will back me up, that true success with this deck comes in slow, pendulous waves as the metagames shift around them and switches between hostile and accessible.

    'sky is falling' knee-jerk comments about tron are lacking in historical understanding of both the format and the deck. If anyone else is considering advocating any kind of action against this deck, get a little perspective first before posting something that will be meaningless in a month's time.

    It's not Knee Jerk, it's been something I've been praising forever. That decks who abuse mana in some form or another, are tiers above decks that are not. We have no tools in Modern that deal in any versatile way with threats, lands and spells that are cast way beyond their actual costs.

    Wizards won't even print a decent variant of Vindicate. They give us Anguished Unmaking, and in the same era Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. They even specifically said they changed Ugin's Cost from 7-8 in development because of Modern. So they pay enough attention to some decks in the format, but they have no clue whatsoever in order to print sufficient answers.

    Tron was never "unplayable" or "Tier 3" these Mono Green and BG Variants just evolved.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from gkourou »
    Quote from ktkenshinx »
    Quote from Pistallion »

    "Tron, Eldrazi Tron, and Titan Shift are only ~12% of the meta combined."

    Stop thinking the sky is falling

    I used to subscribe to this more, but we now know that Wizards places disproportionate weight on both major event T8s (primarily GP), and that they often weigh the Pro Tour heaviest of all. They also care about MTGO and we have no clue what that looks like. So it might not matter if a deck appears to be at a safe percentage of the overall paper metagame if it disproportionately shows up in areas Wizards cares more about. Not saying anything is currently a problem. I just don't want people to think paper-wide meta share will matter more than the T8s of the PT and GPOKC plus MTGO. It won't when Wizards makes their final decisions.

    I guarantee if the PT has a T8 like this one we'll see changes no matter how the overall paper metagame looks. I don't like that anymore than most people, but it's generally how Wizards acts.

    Let's take a second and assume PT T8 is going to be something like this
    Tron x 3
    Storm x 2
    random non interactive/linear deck

    Which seems about the worst(For the record, this is just a hypothesis).
    If WOTC makes something stupid, what would the announcement look like? I mean, what would the reasoning be behind the ban, what kind of metric or criterion would it violate? Also, would this trim our chances of seeing an unban and delay them for another 3 months?

    This is exactly the thinking we need.

    Look at how Wizards has skewed the Standard Metagame results in the matter of a single week. It used to border 46%, now it's less than 25%. That doesn't happen overnight. Also, Mono Red metagame percentage dropped in Standard, by almost 7%. Where did these percentages go?

    Jeskai overall is not a good deck, It had inflated ratings and most likely prayed on playing against affinity and humans. Not a single Island based deck, won on Camera vs any single fast mana strategy. There is no 50/50 matchup here. It's just a complete slaughter.

    I know there are tons of arguments out there like "They don't always have their combo on turn 2-3" and that may be true, but what you are all not completely understanding, is that these decks are fundamentally built on having their god draw on turns 2-3-4. Look at how Tron is constructed, it has just AS MANY LANDS AS GRIXIS DEATHS SHADOW.

    That turn 3 Karn Liberated, comes from a 19 land deck.

    Let that sink in. This Metagame needs a Green Sun's Zenith into a Gaddock Teeg with some backup Wasteland. Those SCG videos prove that BBE banning has been a joke since 2013.

    I want to propose an argument, I believe Erik Lauer only uses numbers to supplant a curated format. Summer Bloom and Splinter Twin were banned in January 2016. The evidence for my argument comes from a specific podcast, on the Masters of Modern;

    If you start listening at 49:50 it's there. Tom LaPille predicted the banning, before it even happened, or before "the numbers" were present.

    This is all Tinfoil Hat Theory, but it makes no sense looking at the format where a card like Bloodbraid Elf is banned, but Snapcaster Mage, Collected Company, and Siege Rhino are all legal.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from stokpile »

    It's super good for sure, but as soon as you see a fulminator mage or literally any "4x field of ruin" deck you really struggle to stay ahead. It's why things like AV, revelation, or even cruel ultimatum are powerful card draw pseudo-finishers because it's rare that your opponent can stop them. Azcanta is dreadfully slow and can be blown up and even revoker/needled. The card is powerful but VERY far from unanswerable.

    Ok here it comes; You have no idea what you're talking about.

    Search for Azcanta cannot be pithing needled. The land part can, but let's just say you named the land. I don't even have to flip the Azcanta. Enchantments are some of the most dubious permanents to answer. We have very little tools aside from cards like Abrupt Decay, Wear//Tear, and Karn Liberated.

    Search for Azcanta essentially lets you Scry 1, and fuel strategies every upkeep. The card is severely underrated, and lack of experience playing against it results in posts like the one I quoted.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    I heard an amazing analogy the other day (I swear I need to start this podcast, I've been brewing for years), Wizards saying the Modern format has a balanced metagame is like Kellogg's selling you a cereal saying it's a balanced breakfast. There are a ton of different objects shown on the table, but they all full of sugar.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    This format needs Wasteland. It's just that simple. As long as we never get Stifle or Brainstorm to complement it, Wasteland should be sufficient.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Nice, 5 Turn 3 Tron Scoops on Camera. The Pro Tour is going to be amazing.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from gkourou »
    Gregory Orange scooped twice in the same match(g1, then g2) to back-to-back turn 3 Karn Liberated(both games).
    No spreading seas, no Ghost Quarter, no Mana Leak, no Logic Knot. One game he lost his third land drop(I think first one).

    I play UW Control and that seemed awful and @Shmanka you are totally not fair to judge that. I think it's suspicious even he is a good Modern player(he won the Duke-Huey-Turtenwald in the Team Unified Modern even some months ago). When I know what the opponens is up to, I never keep a hand with no Seas-no Quarter(assuming on 4+(2-4)) post sideboard.

    It's absolutely fair to judge that, most players simply concede in that exact situation whether they are UW control or not. Suppressing gameplay in Modern is a result of Fast Mana, or the lack of tools to combat it. The cards you mentioned simply delay the issue. They do not bode well past turn 5 for example.

    It's not just Tron, it's Scapeshift, Goryo's Vengeance, Storm, Eldrazi, Breech, Ad Nauseam, Open The Vaults, and to the lesser extent Elves.

    I'm not advocating a ban, but I want answers to this printed, like last year.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Well people conceding to turn 3 Tron on Camera is exactly what people need to see in this format.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from gkourou »

    Because people like playing with those cards and like playing those decks that aren't dominating the format at all. Affinity is not a problem, Ad Nauseam is not a problem, Grishoalbrand is not a problem, RW Prison is not a problem, Living End is not a problem Lantern Prison is not a problem although it's a unwanted deck amongst Modern players is not a problem.

    If you kill those cards, you kill certain strategies, you kill certain decks, heavily nerf others for no apparent reason, destroy player base confidence since those decks are not breaking any rule now.

    What you don't understand, is that they will be problems. Look at Golgari Grave-Troll, it was legal for over a year. Then in one block we got Cathartic Reunion, Insolent Neonate, and Prized Amalgam, then poof, GGT is now overpowered. By the way, just randomly losing turn 2 to Grishoalbrand is still just as stupid as turn 3 storm. They may not happen often, but these high variance decks can make 8-12 round tournaments completely frustrating, by simple luck of the draw. In Legacy, we have aggressive methods to find reactive tools. in Modern you simply just pray. It's not fun specifically against some decks.

    It's not the majority of cases, but the fact remains that some people are still out there saying they will play decks exactly like Grishoalbrand until Wizards just bans them.

    Thank god for the return of the Modern PT, where lots of complaints which cannot be quantified with selective MTGO Data, will actually be put on the spotlight and be abused for everyone to see. I want another episode where Brian Kibler just simply walks away from his match and gets food while his combo player just plays a whole round. Modern is still in that exact bullcrap state, it's just that we have a balanced metagame of it.

    I want to see pro's tilt on turn 3 tron, turn 3 storm, turn 5 Scapeshift, and turn 4 burn. We need way better cards than Fatal Push to make this format somewhat navigable for competitive play.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    The problem with Modern as it currently stands is the lack of non-creature interaction during turns 1-3 outside of Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek.

    Now we have seen this pattern in Legacy, where it's just simply dominated by Force of Will and Brainstorm. We are at this same point in transition with Modern for our discard suite. I would prefer that we have more police cards enter the format. So that a variety of issues could be prevented. In that same vein those types of cards barring they see print, would probably break standard in half. This coincides with my line of logic that banning Fast Mana, such as Mox Opal and Simian Spirit Guide is only a case of when, and not if. So why don't we just get those cards over with?

    Just for clarification, I believe the metagame is healthy, but that some decks just as individuals are not.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    I have to admit, I just 4-1'd three more leagues this morning. I have never seen a single Jeskai Deck in those leagues. So I tried to do a league with Jeskai, and I saw the mirror twice. I think the deck is just beyond horrible. I have no clue how people are thinking Bolt and Geist are good in a metagame with Thought-Knot Seer. What is this Jeskai deck actually preying on? Cause it's not JDS, GDS, Burn, and Scapeshift. Is the Affinity Matchup amazing?
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    Quote from Spsiegel1987 »
    If you're so unhappy about modern why are you devoting time to complain about it on here?

    Ok, MTGSalvation Modern forums, we need to stop posting complete messages to each other like this.

    There could be a thousand reasons as to why Modern players are complaining, but let's just go through the obvious ones;
    - Financially invested
    - Dissatisfaction, and the satisfaction would not be found by entering other formats
    - Financially invested in the format, then lost deck due to bans/other external factors
    - Locals attendance are better for Modern than other formats
    - Most enjoyable of the formats
    - Are able to borrow decks from friends who only play Modern

    etc, etc, etc....

    The point is, the quoted text is complete garbage. I propose we start infractions on posts like these. They are either direct personal attacks, or will undoubtedly lead to personal attacks. They do not add anything constructive, or promote solutions to debates on this very thread. Some people, should, and could go to other formats. The problem is, that Magic in general has attendance problems, why are we trying to collectively bash others on forums for why they choose to invest their time in the same game we all play?

    Stop posting trash like this.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (Rules Update 27/10/17)
    So how about that Bloodbraid Elf unban we should all agree on? Grin

    In all seriousness, Wizards may be more conservative than ever. Worlds was amazing to watch, but every single relevant team had a Temur/Sultai/4Color Energy Variant in full form forcing the sacrifices to be made on the other two decks. I forsee a Standard banning. I'm not sure if Wizards would compensate by giving Modern a few bones.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on Rank and Debate the Best Counterspells in Modern
    Spell Pierce and Dispel are the top 2. No question. They may not be the most common, but they are by and large the most mana efficient and see play in most sideboards. Most of their variations are high in play as well. Cryptic Command definitely ranks among the most powerful, which I think is a very different definition than the term "Best"
    Posted in: Modern
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