My final exams are wrapping up, and I will have a brief window to return to Magic before going to Europe next year for my doctorate, so I am delighted to be dropping into a metagame already modified by Kamigawa: Neon Genesis and now being shaken a little more by the banning of Lurrus of the Dream-Den and the printing of Streets of New Capenna.
To recap, then, I believe that the most significant "new" card AGAINST our archetype appears to be Boseiju, who Endures to provide a card-disadvantage answer to Emeria which can create a potentially dangerous soft-lock against us in combination with Wrenn and Six, while the most relevant item FOR us has become March of Otherworldly light as a strong and versatile piece of instant-speed exile-based removal, surely a popular choice due to the critical tempo possibilities when used as a desperation pitch-spell early (or at card parity on Artifact Lands and Urza's Saga) and scaling up very well to the lategame from there. I will have to test with it to see its full potential, but its primary competition would be the slot previously filled by Path to Exile and now covered by a combination of Solitude, Skyclave Apparition, and Prismatic Ending for most people.
The last of these is a MUCH more fragile Wall of Omens analogue which I would nevertheless still recommend highly as a replacement for it to anyone playing the aggressive game more fully, as the Wall obviously has difficulties in contributing to attacking (my own thoughts on the desirability of this angle notwithstanding). It also seems particularly relevant in providing super-set redundancy for the Wall's card velocity in the 2-drops when leading into Flickerwisp in those builds. Next, the Samurai is more or less a questionable-upside variant on Selfless Spirit, should the need for such arise, and the Planeswalker plus the six mana sweeper and the removal Saga are marginal exile effects that offer new options which may someday be relevant - the first having a far more likely eventuality as it likely comes with a permanent bonus, with the second having the advantage of mass-removal with interaction for odd effects tacked on, and the third having upsides with various synergies.
Two of the options in the middle of my list are highly interesting to me, however, based off of their ability to return Lands to the Battlefield for us; an attribute previously found on Sun Titan, and branching out to very few other cards in mono-white. Invoke Justice is the more powerful spell in a vacuum, of course, but at a hefty five mana investment with absolute (and thus to me nearly insurmountable) tempo liabilities against graveyard hate. The Restoration of Eiganjo, however, can convert other advantages even through the same graveyard hate, and even serves as legitimate card advantage should we desire it or have the time to punish an opponent unwise enough to bring in things like Rest In Peace or Leyline of the Void. This is quite attractive to me, and despite its falling in the critical 3-drop "butter zone" for the deck it may push me to include a copy on a trial basis for the next tournament I play, notably because of its Ramp potential in game 1, with extra value on returning sideboard hate for games 2 and 3 (specifically amplifying effects like Seal of Cleansing).
The Kamigawa crop thus having been dealt with rather (too) briskly, it is now time to begin looking at New Capenna, where my prediction of a complete Triome supercycle appears to have come true. This is of great interest where Prismatic Ending is concerned, as adding Spara's Headquarters to my current manabase would allow me to stretch the Sorcery to targeting 4-drops in the lategame, with the option of also adding Raffine's Tower being a possibility, but coming with diminishing returns. This will definitely affect my testing as of the very moment I have time to do so, since the chance of eventually answering such threats as Karn, Scion of Urza, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Omnath, Locus of Creation, or even ultimately Teferi, Hero of Dominaria while not limiting access to Blue mana is highly intriguing to me.
In the "Blink-style" Flickerwisp,Ephemerate, or Soulherder variants, there will also now be the new options of Rumor Gatherer and Raffine's Informant for card quality or selection, which I will leave to the discretion of those whose builds it may concern. Of broader application is the printing of Mage's Attendant, offering a rare (and highly welcome) look at permission in White, linked to its Cursecatcher-like token. If as of this writing Magic: The Gathering design dictates a Colour Pie bleed towards Mana Tithe becoming a more regular occurrence, I for one will consider it not a moment too soon. The monopoly on permission in Blue is an imbalance that has long been outstanding, and the "soft" permission angle seems tailor-made for adaptation to White's "taxing" identity. Beware of believing that day has come with no cost, however; note that the Attendant's Wizard token requires mana to activate. Do not do as I did and assume that it provided disruption on-curve: this would probably not have been possible at Uncommon at the moment.
Moving on to other types of control, a few notable possibilities are found within the new sideboard options so far, with a serious look required by the as-yet untranslated "Cunning Receiver" (which I suspect will soon have its translation upgraded to something more like "cunning receptionist" for flavour reasons). As an odd semi-permanent Detain effect on a 2/3 body, the Pithing Needle slot appears to have opened up a new design space which requires some interesting rethinking of former evaluations. A supplement to Lion Sash is also found in Unlicensed Hearse, which can begin activating and therefore controlling graveyards immediately as of turn 2.
This about sums up my estimation of the state of things as of this evening, and I do hope the links work (or will work) very soon now, since several of the cards mentioned are not yet in the database. Based on prior experience, I believe that card links will automatically update in the future, but just in case I have padded a few descriptions of the most relevant Streets of New Capenna cards to ease the search for a source to my ramblings.
I hope this writing finds everyone well, and please do feel free to tell me if you think I missed out on any important options!
For the record, though, I will begin my testing from the base of my previous build since I do not want to waste the experience I gained balancing my previous iterations. The following list is therefore out of date by the better part of a year, but will serve as the basis for my upcoming experiments:
The maindeck will stay similar for the immediate future, with the exceptions of A) finding space for at the very least for Raffine's Tower and possibly also Spara's Headquarters in the manabase owing to the previously mentioned Prismatic Ending synergies and B) Tailoring some number of sweepers (beginning first with Engineered Explosives and probably continuing with Wrath of God as well) to fit in March of Otherworldly Light at one or two copies then C) temporarily trimming my Crucible of Worlds to test a copy of The Restoration of Eiganjo without breaking the defensive curve. The immediate respective issues with each of these are A) which land to replace, B) overloading on dead removal rather than sweepers against either go-wide or Control, and C) being more susceptible to land destruction long-term and having less recursion for the crucial Ghost Quarter endgame. Perhaps it is finally time to "give up the ghost" there, if you will, and have that card make its way out of the deck to add the second Triome. I fear what this will do, however, and do not look forward to losing inevitability against many different decks. I do like the potential synergies offered by each new option, though, and hope that the pitch spells complement each other somewhat by providing fodder for the opposite card in the appropriate matchups. If this works out to any extent, I would even be interested in trying out a 3-3 split on March and Solitude.
Next up is overhauling the Sideboard, which most recently stood at something like the following:
All of this adds up to a whole series of moving parts to keep track of, unfortunately, and so I will probably be moving slowly on all of this.
I hope the logic of my movements seems clear to those who have followed Modern's shifting metagame of late, and encourage anyone to post their recent results so that I can try to hit the ground running as of next week or so.
Glad to hear from you and hope you're doing well!
I have been trying the past week to smoosh my Martyr Proc list into an Emeria list, and we're kind of having success.
My friend that i'm working on it with (Jlidsky) recently 5-0'd, and I'm getting there as well.
Mine is similar, but with a few changes in card choices. A list like this kind of takes the best of Martyr (Abiding grace loops) and the best of Emeria (incredible inevitability). Going forward I'll be working really hard to find the best iteration, as I am set up to come back to Calgary with some friends in the summer for the Facetoface circuit.
My changes to this list were mostly playing the Kami of false hope in the main, removing the Ephemerate, and adding Emrakul the promised end to the sideboard.
Very good to hear from you, and I am hopeful that we will have a chance to see each other this summer, then!
If you can share your impressions, I have two sections of rapid-fire questions for you before I get to the overall list itself:
-Which are the standout matchups and corner cases you enjoy for your "silver bullet" 1-drops (Martyr of Sands, Hex Parasite, and Alseid of Life's Bounty)? How do you play or sequence into them when they are part of the gameplan? Is Giant Killer primarily just there for consistent access to a slow removal option, or is it better than that?
-How have you found your non-tutorable singletons (Timeless Dragon, Charming Prince) to function in an 80-card construction? Does the variety they provide enable specific lines that you play for intentionally?
Next up, I am intrigued by how your manabase has been constructed. I assume all the extra fetchlands act as functionally "Comes into play tapped" lands for a larger percentage of your manabase, which is why you wouldn't be super interested in the Triome cycle so far as you have no Prismatic Ending; but might that now be open to change given that Raffine's Tower can also help activate Hex Parasite, or is the phyrexian activation cost just negligible in your build?
Lastly in the maindeck, how did you arrive at your 2/2/2 split of 3-drops in Skyclave Apparition, Abiding Grace, and The Restoration of Eiganjo? How have each of these been feeling, and how do they fluctuate in value across matchups? In what cases are you looking for each of them to provide a complement to Ranger-Captain of Eos, and how do they play out when doing so? Which of them have you found to behave best and worst in multiples?
The rest of the main seems very intuitive, and I am a big fan of the two swaps you mentioned (both on the card that comes to the main, and on which card it leaves over) so I will now move on to the sideboard by asking a) where and when does the countermagic come in, plus how effective have you found the 3-pack at winning matchups, b) how happy you have been with Dress Down in the use and number you find for it, c) what the function of Jace, the Mind Sculptor is in your matchup strategy, d) how useful you have found Meddling Mage, and e) where and why you have found it of utility to include Emrakul, the Promised End?
Answers to any and all of these would be appreciated, and the more detailed the better!
Great, thought provoking questions. I tried to spend the weekend thinking about it, and I'll try to summarize my thoughts about my list as I move forward.
I'll start with some responses to your rapid fire questions.
The Stand Out matchups for the following:
- Martyr of Sands : Burn, Aggressive lists, decks with lightning bolt. Basically having 1 martyr in the maindeck allows you to tutor it with Ranger-Captain of Eos in a pinch to gain an average of 6-12 life. It of course plays really well with Abiding Grace, and Squadron Hawk. Usually I like to play martyr when I have mana to activate, but in a matchup where it isn't relevant I'll toss it down turn 1 to get a clock going.
- Hex Parasite : UW Control, 4C Blink, Hardened Scales, Anything with Chalice of the Void or Planeswalkers (that aren't Karn the Great Creator). I recently played a game where my opponent was threatening a Teferi, hero of Dominaria ultimate, and I managed to set up Emeria, the sky ruin to get my Parasite onto the battlefield through a Chalice, and remove all the counters from teferi. I usually play Hex Parasite on a turn where I can completely strip a planeswalker or two, as I know that it will be exiled shortly. I used to keep Parasite in the sideboard, but i think its good enough to play main in an 80 card deck.
- Alseid of Life's Bounty : Alseid performs best against decks with Solitude and Prismatic Ending. It was a toolbox tool that I popularized in the Martyr Proc community as it allows you to protect your Abiding Grace, which also was the key tool to defeat a deck like UW Control. It also found it plays well with Sun Titan to keep it swinging. When it is part of the gameplan, I like to land my Alseid before my Grace, and always hold up 1 mana. You have to play the matchups where it is relevant carefully and slowly.
Giant Killer is primarily in the list as a tutorable removal piece, and is one that I am consistently on the fence about. It has its uses in the Murktide Regent matchups, but also kills Omnath, Locus of Creation, Primeval Titan, and other large creatures. The tap ability has been relevant as well in scenarios where I need to stop an attack trigger, or to get through a creature to clock my opponent.
Going forward I will be playing 1 Raffine's Tower. I think that being able to painlessly activate Hex Parasite in some matchups can be very important. I think i'll only play the 1 as I'm not on Prismatic Ending, which kind of segways into how March of Otherworldly Light has performed.
In my opinion, March has been very good. Being able to hit Urza's Saga for 1 mana feels wonderful, and I've even been able to cast it a few times for x=7 to exile a Murktide Regent, as we're a late game deck. I think where it is at its worst is against spell based combo decks, not that there are too many of those floating around at the moment.
The way that I arrived at the 2/2/2 split in the maindeck was that I wanted to test the individual cards, and I wanted to do it quickly. Since posting this list I have also tested a build with 3 Restoration of Eiganjo and 3 Skyclave Apparition, and one with 3 Abiding Grace and 3 Skyclave apparition; instead of the 2/2/2.
I think I'm quickly finding that Restoration of Eiganjo, while strong, is a poor topdeck lategame, and I found that Abiding Grace wasn't as strong in this UW Yorion build. I think I will be cutting them both and testing going forward. This means that I will also probably be cutting the Alseid of Life's Bounty.
To answer your questions though, Skyclave performed the best out of the Three, and was also the best in multiples. Oftentimes you can sequence to Skyclave a permanent, chump block with the skyclave, then cast Supreme Verdict on your next turn. Skyclave is also an answer to Karn the Great Creator that I previously didn't have, and it being recurrable off Emeria, the sky ruin and Sun Titan was also wonderful. It can be a little slow for some matchups, but the fact that it has power and toughness is nice. The flip side of Restoration of Eiganjo is quite strong, but it was often very difficult to get going without being in a losing position by the time it came around.
Moving onto the sideboard.
I have found the countermagic a little underwhelming. It might be that because I have it in such few numbers I don't see it as often as I would want to. I usually bring in the Dovin's Vetos for control, as well as the Cascade and tron matchups. The meddling mage and Lavinia, Azorius Renegae also came in versus Cascade, or when there are namesake permanents to disrupt. Jace, the mind sculptor would come in versus grindy matchups such as 4c Blink, or UW Control, but I'm starting to think that this list grinds hard enough that its unnecessary. The Emrakul, the Promised End also comes in versus those matchups, and that is one that I've been quite happy with. We often get to the late game, and taking an opponent's turn can be devastating. The Dress Downs I have quite liked, and have gone up in numbers to 3. I think i need to focus on making my sideboard less narrow, and have more splash that can be relevant across multiple matchups.
At the moment I think my list is quite weak against Burn, Yawgmoth, and Tron (and probably a lot more), and I think that I need help focusing/coming up with the proper spread.
Anyways, as I have more thoughts I'll post them here, and I really appreciate the Inquiries as they force me to think things through more than I already have. Sometimes I just go autopilot and overlook way too much when it comes to building lists.
PS. Any chance I'll be seeing you in Calgary again this year?
Thank you for the information. While I am very happy with its suitability in Emeria's wheelhouse, and see it as a situationally strong role-player, I am in agreement with your assessment of The Restoration of Eiganjo and I have removed it from my current testing pool due to its inability to generate board presence immediately. I wonder, however, if you have any reasoning you would care to share on why Abiding Grace has been put on the chopping block. Where is it good, and where it it bad? I also appreciate the breakdown of the 1-drops, and was particularly intrigued by the idea of using Alseid of Life's Bounty to protect from exile effects in the Control matchup. Without Ranger-Captain of Eos, though, I won't be able to justify it. Speaking of which, how has the Ranger-Captain been for you? You also made a lot of other useful comments, but in the interests of keeping this short I will leave them to speak for themselves at the moment.
I am mostly posting today, then, to update my current test list, which is definitely an improvement in many ways over my prior build. Before I do that, however, I had managed to make a fairly glaring oversight in the New Capenna candidates by misreading Elspeth Resplendent Her -3 ability is an immediate item of interest given that it is worded similar to Sun Titan in that it looks at the top seven cards of the Library for "a permanent card with mana value 3 or less" to put directly onto the battlefield, and therefore can find LANDS. This alone pushes it into consideration, and immediately jumps the queue as one of the best "ramp" options in White after Kor Cartographer. Looking seven cards deep is also quite a chunk of cardboard, and represents significant digging power, but as an initial demonstration the card also unlocks lines such as the following:
Turn 7: Emeria is online two full turns ahead of schedule and is ready to return the Titan if it was killed in any fashion, plus if Elspeth is still around she is ready to dig for Ghost Quarter, Court Hussar, or Mortarpod to start the matchup-appropriate endgame.
This sequence is probably getting into the upper range of what she can offer for us, but I took the liberty of assuming two taplands in the line, meaning that this is on the conservative end of what she could enable. It won't get much better, but this particular line doesn't seem all that unlikely because of the extra leeway. As a downside, her ultimate -7 ability is mediocre, but will de facto win some games if she is included. Another mark in the "cons" column is that her "board presence" is limited to whatever you have access to already, but this is potentially a more interesting effect in builds like Plichow's that want to find Skyclave Apparition or Flickerwisp as board control on legs which she can enhance with her +1, not to mention extra access to post-sideboard permanents. While a little overcosted, then, as a 5-mana Planeswalker, she is resilient to a large amount of the common removal in Modern at the moment, and I will note that her +1 gains a lot more traction in the more Midrange rather than my preferred Control versions of Emeria.
Speaking of these versions, then, I have begun to converge on a Yorion, Sky Nomad list, and am looking likely to try out the following:
Consistency issues have been mitigated by the re-introduction of an extremely welcome old friend in Court Hussar, this supplemented on-curve by a new Professor of Symbology target in Introduction to Prophecy. The new target is a reflection of the types of lategames Yorion enables when brought back with Emeria, which turbocharges tutor effects by triggering multiple at once and/or over multiple turns with Mortarpod. Speaking of which, its powerful machine-gun impression with Yorion was something I retained a very strong memory of in my testing of the early 80-card builds, which combined with its proportional reduction and the lack of tutor targets problem to encourage maximising the Equipment and playing small-ball numbers of Stoneforge Mystic for minor value. The fact of being able to tutor for equipment at all nevertheless led me to include Lion Sash and Shadowspear in the main, freeing up a sideboard slot and interacting with certain specific game one problems (Wrenn and Six, Eternal Witness, or Undying loops for the former, Cascading Cataracts, Lotus Field, and Darksteel Citadel abuse in the second). It remains to be seen whether the marginal nature of their other benefits is ultimately worth their card-disadvantage inclusion when drawn naturally, but since the Sash does play to the table, I have hopes that the Spear will frequently "hide" in the larger 80-card environment to join Crucible of Worlds as the only two spells which cannot help stabilize against a lethal attacker.
Aside from these additions, I have found space for a full set of both x-spell removal options, and though they play quite differently they appear to overlap fairly well in terms of coverage. For the record, the fourth March of Otherworldly Light is currently the least secure item. On the other hand, the return of two Ghost Quarter to the expanded manabase also puts me squarely back where I wish to be on the inevitability front, which I am very happy about. The sideboard does still need a little tinkering, since I have now gone up on maindeck removal and need another creature to upgrade my fifth sweeper against Control, Prison, or Combo, and so as minor changes are embraced I will try to solidify what the new overlaps are looking like. If all else stays equal my game one percentages should be rising, which is the natural consequence of having an extra 4/5 flyer with upside on-demand, however I have always found this cause for concern, as it comes at the cost of post-board improvement. We shall have to see how things go.
Hopefully this helps understand where I am at, and I believe strongly enough in my modifications that I think I will very soon ask you to put a new sample list on the primer, Fluff. I will wait until I get some real-world results under my belt, but the final product will probably take the shape of something like what I have listed above. I do think that the curve numbers bothers me in some mysterious way at the moment however, particularly where the Equipment package of 2-drops are concerned, which I will be working on this week.
Hoping you are all doing well,
(P.S.: I am sorry I was not aware there was a tournament in Calgary, Brad, I have had my head buried in books for a good long while now. Hopefully you are making me aware of a Modern tournament - thank you for mentioning it! What is the event, and when is it?)
On the topic of Calgary, June 25th there is a facetoface modern open event. This time its only 1 day long, but I shall be headed out that direction anyways because I'm craving the competitive scene again. There is a similar facetoface the week before in Vancouver as well that I will of course be playing in
To talk a little about Ranger-Captain of Eos, I have to say that it is one of my favourite cards. It also enables me to play a playset of my other favourite card, Thraben Inspector, as well as a myriad of toolbox 1-drops that can come in handy in many scenarios. Its best use, though, is sacrificing it in my opponent's upkeep to stop them from casting noncreature spells on their turn. In conjunction with Teferi, time raveler and Emeria, the sky ruin, you can permanently turn your opponent off of noncreature spells. I also like to use it on my turn before casting powerful spells. If you sacrifice it, your opponent cannot counter anything you play, and in the lategame I will usually spend a few turns returning ranger-captain with Emeria, putting its ETB on the stack, and sacrificing it, fetching a thraben inspector or anything to progress my field a bit until I am dominating and I can switch to proactively using it on their turn.
If you have 2 ways of recurring Ranger-Captain, for example 2 emeria, 2 sun titan (both which require 2 ranger-captain) or emeria + sun titan, you can sacrifice it on your turn and the opponents, which stops them from casting anything except in upkeeps.
Usually I use it as a defensive tool to grind until I can accumulate enough resources to flip the game, and find it effectively does so while having a body that is very relevant for combat.
Elspeth Resplendant is something I have had my eye on, and I'm not sure where she would fit best. I was actually thinking she would be excellent in my 60 card Martyr Proc lists , but she really does have a good way of "imitating" Sun Titan. I have three on order in any case, so I'll be getting my testing in soon.
Thank you for the information. I will see if I can make it to Calgary in June, then!
As for your breakdown on Ranger-Captain of Eos, I appreciate your preferred uses, though I notice that your most recently posted list has zero Thraben Inspector. I was surprised to see the 3-drop without the 1-drop, as I am a huge fan of cards which can contribute to velocity, would you care to quantify how much that ability contributes to your evaluation of the card? Put another way: how much does your evaluation of Ranger-Captain out of 10 change from when you have an Inspector in your deck to when you do not?
In a different arena, I am indeed a huge fan of Solemn Simulacrum (for both ease of fixing when being cast off-colour and for the cantrip reasons alluded to above), but as pure land utility, I put Kor Cartographer ahead of him in the splash-happy base-white decks I was describing because its trigger can snag tutor targets such as the Triomes or Mistveil Plains if desired. Of the land-search effects available to white, this versatility is only situationally replicated in Gift of Estates or Weathered Wayfarer in Modern, I believe, and is more consistent and actually ramps when compared to either of these latter cards. Wizards' stubborn habit of putting the word "Basic" before "Plains" continues to frustrate me in many other cases.
In any event, I have another list update to post in my Yorion build, which is now the following:
Here, one Plains and one March of Otherworldly Light have been trimmed to reduce the clumping/flooding issues (which seem to occur more frequently in the midgame in the 80-card builds) by adding a third Stoneforge Mystic and an Engineered Explosives. My sideboard has also been slightly modified to include both Lavinia, Azorius Renegade and some old tech in Specter's Shroud; both are massive upgrades in the matchups where removal is dead, and the latter also supplies an actual threatening sequence on turn 3 against Combo decks. These changes came over the Blossoming Calm and the Chalice of the Void which I could not find frequently enough to be worth their non-permanent and non-creature drawbacks, especially since my Burn matchup has improved with the addition of the maindeck Shadowspear.
Ahhh I see its my turn for a reading comprehension lesson! I thought Kor Cartographer was only Basics (because i'm used to everything being always basics).
Also I double checked my list, and there are 4 Thraben Inspector in there, shes just buried in the middle
I have a small FNM tonight, so i'll be doing a little testing and will provide an update afterwards. I decided to cut my Restorations and Graces for Court Hussars and the 4th Sun Titan, and then cut the Charming Prince for the 4th wall of omens. Also majorly tweaked the Sideboard (but it probably needs more tweaking still).
I love the niche cards you choose for your sideboard. It encourages me to re-evaluate everything I know and try to put myself in your headspace, a different viewpoint, and i think thats a great exercise.
I still don't like to play Stoneforge, but i'll look into a small ball package. Having a shadowspear in the main might really start to shore up the burn matchup which can be quite difficult as I'm basically relying on Solitudes lifelink.
Anyways i'll update a bit later after tonight!
*Edited* to include small FNM results:
Also I didn't have the proper fetchlands with me so i did my best.
G1: I was on the play, and had turn 2 Winds of Abandon for their Swiftspear. I then had the skyclave apparition for a goblin guide on turn 3, and was able to t4 put yorion in hand + play thraben inspector as a blocker, then t5 yorion to bounce skyclave and remove a roiling vortex. At this point I could Ranger-Captain for Martyr and gain 15. My opponent definitely flooded in this game or I would have lost.
G2: I had turn 2 auriok champion into turn 3 skyclave on a roiling vortex, then a bunch of squadron hawks and just ran away with it.
Round 2: Grixis Deaths Shadow, 2-1
G1: My opponent played turn 1 Ragavan on the play, then turn 2 stole my Alseid, and cast 2 Dragon's Rage Channelers and got delirium with a Mishra's Bauble.
I decided to play Squadron Hawk on my turn 2, go up to 9 cards in hand, then evoke 2 solitude on the 2 DRCs. The squadron hawk then held on to be able to block the ragavan, and i cast a skyclave to force a sac on the Alseid. My opponent then followed up with Murktide, so I untapped and Winds of Abandoned it. They then untapped and played Murktide + 2 Deaths Shadow, so I untapped and Overloaded another Winds of Abandon but they had Stubborn Denial and got to put me to attack and put me to 5 (after double Heat on my skyclave and hawk). I had to verdict, then they had another Murktide i couldn't answer.
G2: I started with turn 1 burrenton forge-tender, and then controlled the match as they couldn't get through. I Ranger-Captain'd for Kami of False hope, then sacrificed the ranger captain on my turn to play teferi to control the air while swinging with hawks. Eventually they forced a sacrifice on forge-tender but I untapped and Sun-Titan'd it back. and they conceded.
G3: I played turn 2 auriok champion and my opponent mulligan'd to 5. Hawks basically won this matchup on their own, and Teferi being able to bounce murktides and DRCs really hurt my opponent.
Round 3: Living End 1-2
G1: I kept a loose hand of Solitude, 2x Winds of Abandon, and lands on the play. I drew the one of Timeless Dragon I hadn't cut yet on my turn 3, so when they cascaded into Living End with Shardless I pitched a Solitude and cycled my timeless dragon and just ended up with a better board than theirs.
I exiled their flyer, then clocked in with the Dragon for 3 turns and put them to 3, at which point the had found another Shardless Agent (while I only drew lands). They Living Ended again, and left me with no creatures to their 7. I untapped and Overloaded winds but they had the Force of Negation.
G2: My opponent exiled a living end t1 to evoke a Grief and take my Meddling Mage, and I untapped and topdecked a dovin's veto. I left two mana up until my opponent played a shardless on their turn 3, and i countered the living end. I played a Wall on my turn to try to find something to stop another living end, but my opponent Played another shardless, cascaded through their whole deck and laughed cause they had drawn the last living end for turn, so all i had to do was beat up shardless Agents and Endurances.
G3: I kept a bad hand with a veto, then drew another one, but didn't draw any more lands. I countered two living ends with vetos, then drew a tap land on a turn where i wanted to verdict, and since I couldn't until the next turn i had to take an attack down to 6. At that point though my opponent flashed in an endurance, put my gy on the bottom and swung to put me to 3. I played a naked sun titan, and they had ottawara to bounce it and get the last damage in. The rest of their hand was lands
Anyways I mostly wanted to test different sideboard options as well as Court Hussars (Which to be honest were quite awesome, finding lands or action). I tried to remember a lot of key turns but i'm sure I didn't get everything
hmm, winning against 2 out of 3 opponents in fnm is not bad. I see some new cards in the main, Giant Killer, Hex Parasite, Martyr, and Alseid. Most curious about the maindeck parasite and matyr, have these cards been helpful?
Plichow fnm report added to primer. Thanks for your contribution.
Lovely to hear from you, and a huge congratulations on your finals appearance! There is a lot to get into here, but rather than get into too many details, perhaps you could just share what the breakdown was, percentage-wise, on your 10 undefeated rounds - (!) - for what caused your wins from among these 5 areas: [EDIT: Ah, I see you lost against Elementals, on closer inspection. So your record for the tournament was 8-2-1, including the finals? Still very good.]
1) tight play
2) breakout card choices
3) favourable/competitive pairings
4) familiarity/opposing unfamiliarity within matchups
5) strong luck of the draw on the day
My general feeling is that these all have some role to play in a positive result, but the specific texture changes quite a lot between individual successes. I am usually running only 10% each on the first two, and can't rely on the fifth, so a good day for me has #3 and #4 overlapping for a good 50% or more of the reason for wins. What about you? I notice you dodged both Tron and Amulet, for example, which goes to #3, but you also dropped only four games total before the finals, so there is evidence must have played very well indeed. [EDIT: Six, in view of the match I had missed above.] Did you feel dialed in? As for #2, I am keen to discuss your massively redundant manabase and how you arrived at your removal suite, as well as the more obvious recent adoptions, not to mention the sideboard numbers, but again these can wait on your more general impressions.
After that, though, I would love to get into your decklist (and hope to do so soon), but I will first unfortunately have to root for this weekend's results remotely to see how you do. I initially signed in today specifically to send you the message that I am behind on work and will unfortunately not be able to come to Calgary as I had predicted after all, but having a result to discuss softens the sting of that blow quite a bit! If there is anything you want to mull over, I will be toiling away near the computer tomorrow and through most of next week, so please do not hesitate to ask if there is anything you were wanting a second opinion on.
Once again, well done, and here's hoping you can build on your recent momentum over the next few days!
Hey Stephane! Wonderful to hear from you again. I managed to log in the Friday before Calgary to see if you could make it, so at least I wasn't surprised not to see you! I appreciated the encouragement for the weekend, and I'll have to catch up with you some other time, as I know you'd be proud to see me playing Emeria.
So lets get into Vancouver first. It was 8 rounds of Swiss and 3 rounds of top 8 for an 8-2-1 finish (17-8-1)
R1: Esper Reanimator 1-1-1
R2: Jund 2-0
R3: 4c Elementals 0-2
R4: UB Mill 2-1
R5: GB Rock 2-0
R6: Yawgmoth 2-0
R7: UW Control 2-1
R8: Hammer 2-0
Quarters: UR Murk 2-1
Semis: UR Murk 2-0
Finals: Mono Blue Tempo 0-2
My prep for this tournament was extremely minimal. I 1-4'd an online league and then 2-1'd an FNM, then made changes based on what felt good and what felt bad. I wanted to go in with a good UR Murktide matchup, as I expected that and 4c to be the top dogs.
as for your breakdown, I couldn't tell you what % of each I had, I cannot think that way, but I do have some elaborations:
1) I am on the literal top of my game ever. I didn't miss a single thing these past two weeks. A few of my friends have already told me that this is the best magic that they've ever seen me play, and I feel the same way. I do my best to play tight without playing cocky as well, which can be the downfall of some players.
2) Breakout card choices? I'm not sure, but i think that there is room for an incidental small creature graveyard value strategy. I really felt like supreme verdict was insanely well positioned, and that was kind of my reason for going to UW at the start. Sun titan was also incredibly strong all weekend, and nobody expected it.
3) I definitely managed to find favourable pairings. There were two amulet titan players in the top 10, and only one made top 8 and got knocked out thankfully, but I think I would have easily taken a loss there if I came across it. A few friends of mine also played against Tron multiple times (and I think tron / valakut strategies were a good choice if people were expecting 4c).
4) I pride myself on being very familiar with opposing matchups, at least for the top meta decks. As an exercise I put together a spreadsheet of the top 10 decks and normal lists and sideboards and had my friends look at how they would play out / sideboard against you. I really think it helped us a little.
5) Oh, I had extremely strong luck. I think I only flooded/was stuck on mana 3 times, and that was in R1 and in the finals. Of course, if you build your deck right and play the hands you have properly, you kind of make your own luck, and put yourself into better footed scenarios to draw out of the hole you may be in.
The redundant manabase was perfect. It was so clean and easy and relatively painless. I liked having 4 hallowed fountain as just ways to have more blue sources, and I think 3 emeria is the correct number. The 1 mistveil plains is left over from when I had squadron hawks in the deck, and I've kept it in as a way to fuel a ballista loop. The field of ruins were solid, and the basic island was also excellent, but I felt the ghost quarter was unnecessary.
My removal suite was moreso trying different things. I wanted to be able to kill big murktides, but felt that Path to Exile was bad (so I played Winds of Abandon and Verdicts). Winds being an exile effect was relevant to hit Kroxa or exile things from living end.
The 4 March of Otherworldly light came into my build at the peak of Hammertime success, as a way to snipe an Urza's saga before it can tap for mana. I still love this card, hitting Creatures, Enchantments and Artifacts is so relevant. I used it x=8 hardcast to even exile an Archon of Cruelty, as our games with this list will tend to go long anyways. Not being able to path myself to get to emeria mana has not come up yet, so I haven't missed it. The Wandering Emperors are kind of my flex slot, and I think I'll be cutting them going forward? They were fairly good in Vancouver, where I had a play where i had a t3feri, and an opponent attacked it with ragavan and a ledger shredder, so i flashed in the Emperor, made a samurai to trade with ragavan, then untapped and made another samurai and then played yorion, using the Emperor again at end of turn to exile the shredder. The card is quite strong in a number of scenarios, but can also be a little fragile. I did also like it as a flash threat to pressure counterspells end of turn before untapping and slamming a sun titan. I really liked my skyclaves in the sideboard, I had them in this configuration as I felt like they were quite bad vs 4c (aside from snagging a W6 or T3feri) so I just brought them in where they were good.
Having the 4th verdict in the side was nice, but I think i'll be testing a build shortly where i move it to the main. I was talking with Bob49 from MTGO and he built it a little different, with 4 ephemerate 4 skyclave 4 verdict main.
Now onto Calgary. I was sorry to have missed you there, but we had a great time nonetheless. I had a friend from online come up from Michigan, and multiple friends from Vancouver and Edmonton came out, so we had a big team of people, and almost everyone had a positive record. I ended the day at 5-2-1 for 29th place, and secured another invite to regionals.
I made a few slight changes in the decklist, changing the ghost quarter to an idyllic grange, and changing the 2 dress down in the side to runed halos, and the Emrakul to a lavinia. (I had information that 4c was big in Calgary, so I figured that Valakut would pop up, as the MOCS finals online were won by a Wish Shift deck).
R1: RB Undying 1-1-1 (one of the other top8 from vancouver)
R2: UR Murktide 0-2 (a friend that i traveled with)
R3: 8Rack 2-1
R4: UW Control 2-1
R5: Jund 2-0
R6: UW Stoneblade 2-0 (friend from michigan)
R7: Jund 2-0 (friend I traveled with)
R8: UR Murktide 2-0
All in all I think i performed well here, although I kind of felt like everything I thought I knew about my matchup with murktide went up in smoke. I was sitting on verdicts for a lot of the games, and then my opponents just cleared the board and landed a jace with counter backup that I couldn't answer. The games were close, but I couldn't even win one.
In R1 I got my draw by winning game 1, then being stuck on 3 land for approximately 12 turns (while ephemerating wall of omens multiple times). Eventually they cast tourachs and I countered with verdicts (3x) until I flooded out and eventually lost to a lone Dauthi Voidwalker. We then didn't have time to finish game 3, although it was clear I was winning it.
I definitely put my friends through the gauntlet in this tournament. Against UW Stoneblade I beat a jace ult in G1, with yorion in my deck and a sun titan + solitude in play. I had to fight through a t3feri and lion sash and then had mistveil to put another card on the bottom of my library. In G2 I stabilized on an oppressive board, then cleared his Kaldra and Batterskull with March of Otherworldly Light to gain superiority on the battlefield.
Against my friend on Jund in R7, game 1 he got me to 9 with both of us having empty hands and boards except for his kroxa in play. I then immediately topdeck a solitude to steal the game back from him. In game 2 i just dominated, and had a walking ballista to embarrass his grist when he tried to -2 it.
I think both tournaments were really solid, and I'm looking forward to regionals. Depending on my schedule I may also go to Edmonton for the F2F there in september.
Also I think i have a modern tournament every weekend for the next month here in Vancouver, so i'll keep tweaking as I go and try to figure out my best list.
Thanks for listening and let me know if you have any questions. I'll try my best to clarify, but I do sometimes feel like I don't even know what I know