The whole point is to balance the game in a risk vs reward fashion. So take the most extreme scenario, that all your lands tap for any colour (or colourless) and come into play untapped with no drawback. That is, each land can be used to cast any card in your deck. What deck becomes the best deck in the format? Probably some 5 colour monstrosity that just plays the best parts of every colour. Maybe it's something like those 5c Tribal Flames decks we saw a few years ago at the World Championships. Maybe it turns out some deck shores up all their weaknesses by having access to answers in a colour they're not playing. Almost for sure though, you end up playing 5 colour decks because why not.
With imperfect mana, you have to make tradeoffs for your cards. If you want to splash a colour, it hurts you consistency or your life. There are meaningful consequences, and there's meant to be meaningful consequences. Take, for example, GB decks before we got Fatal Push. Often, they would play red or white because they just couldn't deal with the fact they had bad removal. They'd play cards like Victim of Night because they had to, not because they thought it was good. You'd splash white because white just happened to have Path, or a card like Lingering Souls.
What happens when decks just start splashing answers to problematic situations? Let me just splash some life gain. Blue deck having trouble with creatures? Let me just play Path because it's free.
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Nov 15, 2018darksteel88 posted a message on What's the purpose of not having perfect mana without any downsidePosted in: Modern
Nov 15, 2018What reason do you have for him to not play Tron? It's still a good deck and putting up some results. Modern is a format where familiarity is rewarded. I don't doubt your friend can play other decks, it's quite common for entrenched players to play several decks fairly well, or be able to pick up similar decks easily. That being said, there just doesn't appear to be a significant benefit to swapping decks. Assuming your friend isn't breaking the meta, he's only gaining a couple percentage picking the optimal deck and then losing it to familiarity anyway. Especially if he's doing well with Tron, I say just let him play it.Posted in: Modern
Nov 9, 2018This kind of makes it sound like 24 isn't the worst, but that 25 is probably ideal. Like unless you're predicting the meta and knowing whether your games are going to be short, the difference isn't much. With an extra 3% to flood, you're only looking at a 1.5% net difference, which is pretty minimal. I don't think most of us are trying that hard to predict the meta, I'm mostly playing at small local events that vary a lot in terms of the meta.Posted in: Midrange
DRS is kind of an interesting mana dork because it's only sometimes a mana dork. You need fetches you don't always have, but also you used the other modes as well in ways that made it not strictly a Birds or something. That was the format where we had tons of speedy decks like Affinity and Storm (before the ban of Seething Song), but also slow decks like Birthing Pod (where they would cut combo vs BGx).
It's worth noting the 25th land being a manland makes it not as bad for flooding, because it's basically a creature and not useless.
Nov 9, 2018You can't consider those numbers in isolation though. Sure, there's a 4.5% or so difference in the probability of hitting the 5th land (I'm going to assume you mean 5th land on turn 5), but that doesn't paint the entire picture. You also now have a higher chance of flooding out, the mulligan rate might change, etc. Considering it in isolation sort of suggests that it's extremely important, which I'm not convinced it is.Posted in: Midrange
It's also worth pointing out some people definitely played 24 in Jund lists back when we had BBE and DRS. Yuuya top 8'd PT RTR with 4 4-drops and 7 3-drops playing 24 lands. Ochoa had the same configuration with 24, Willy Edel had 25 but had a slightly higher curve which included a 5th 4-drop in the main. I don't have any stats to properly back it up, I just went to some coverage data where I knew I could find some BBEs in Jund.
Nov 8, 2018Curious if you have the statistics to support this (akin to what Frank Karsten has). I played a list last night with 4 BBE and 7 3-drops and found 24 lands was fine. Sure, small sample size, but I've pretty much always played 24 in Jund since BBE got unbanned and not really had any trouble. I'm pretty curious if the math supports it.Posted in: Midrange
Oct 31, 2018It's been a bit since I've chimed in here, haven't taken the deck out in a while. I've got like half the format built now, maybe more, and I've been playing less Magic lately. But I'll put a few commentsPosted in: Control
GRN unsurprisingly had nothing for us. Without gold cards in UW there wasn't really going to be anything. Maybe in the next set, but I never have high hopes for sets.
Teferi is actually quite good, been playing him in Jeskai Control. Being able to untap lands is much better than it sounds, especially when we might be able to untap 4 mana to EOT Gifts. I think Teferi is probably better in Jeskai because more interaction means more chances to keep him alive. Still, I think he does have some potential and I'd certainly play one copy until I was certain he wasn't good.
Mindslaver seems particularly bad right now because graveyard strategies are back. Storm is good again and Dredge has been putting up some impressive results since Creeping Chill got printed. So I'd be weary of dipping too far into the graveyard strategy. With people playing cards like Surgical, Cage, Relic, Leyline of the Void, Spellbomb, all of it's bad for that. Cut the combo, free up slots.
Jun 27, 2018New set, new set discussion:Posted in: Control
I think this is a pretty niche card, but I think it has some small amount of potential in the sideboard. Modern has a surprising number of 1 CMC cards, especially things you normally can't interact with like Aether Vial and Map. I would need to do a full breakdown of the format to see if this is worth playing, but my inclination is that it's worth considering.
The first ability isn't fantastic, it just sort of slows down your opponent a little bit. Good against Burn or BGx types of decks with Thoughtseize and Liliana. But what I'm more concerned about is the secondary effect. Neutering tokens can be good, and I've played cards in other decks that do it. I'm not saying this is a slam dunk of a card, but in the right environment, this card might appear in a sideboard.
Particularly good against Collected Company decks. The fact it costs 1 means you can fit it on the board at any time, and since those decks are typically very light on removal, you don't care that much. Merfolk would probably like this card for sideboards, us probably not as much. Even still, I could see CoCo going on a rise and wanting to play this. There's a similar creature that I'm not remembering, a white flier from a couple years back. I haven't ever wanted to play that, but I'm not sure if 1cmc changes my opinion.
This is definitely the highlight card of the set. Basically paying 1 more for a modal wrath that offers the ability to kill artifacts/enchantments on the second mode. My gut reaction is to not want to play this in the main, but sideboard one copy.
With this card, you're effectively asking whether slowing wrath by a turn is made up for the fact that in some cases, it does what wrath cannot. Instinctively, Wrath often needs to be cast as soon as you can. I have lost games where if I had cast wrath a turn earlier, I would have been fine. Turn 5 on the draw seems really slow, and I feel like I want to have the 4cmc wrath effects main. I do like the idea of this in the sideboard. I like more expensive wraths there, especially since you can optionally board it in when you see an opponent with a deck where the second mode is good.
I think there just aren't enough decks where this is good enough. It's fine against Lantern, KCI, Bogles, Affinity (though regular wrath is fine). These decks just aren't popular enough to support this card the way some people might think. Sometimes it will be good, but on average, it will probably just be a slightly worse wrath.
Jun 18, 2018Sometimes creatures are better than draw spells. The 2/1 body isn't appealing though. Like Wall of Omens is good sometimes because it blocks a lot of things, but Champion is only sometimes trading. It can probably trade a good amount, but like I said, it's also giving your opponent an outlet to use otherwise dead removal spells.Posted in: Control
I also don't think Haven is that important. It's not the worst card I've ever seen or tested, but it's fine. I don't tend to need a second Ugin though, I can't tell you the last time I had to trade it. Now, I also don't know if I've gotten into situations where I've taken alternative lines because it would die. I would guess probably never. It's just almost always wrathing the board and then it's hard for opponents to come back. Even if it dies, killing everything is typically good enough to stabilize.
I may play the deck again sometime soon, but not enough to test Champion and make a decision about it. I took UWR for a spin last time.
Jun 12, 2018I agree the deck seems a little top heavy. It just has so many late game cards and I think it might have one or two too many. He shaved on Signets and Maps, plus went to the 10 Tron count to afford the manabase. Honestly, not sure how clunky it is, because Maps and Signets themselves are often as clunky.Posted in: Control
Champion of Wits is really the only interesting card. I'm still not sure what I think about it, but it doesn't seem like the worst idea I've ever seen. The merit of it blocking has potential to offset the extra card. It is a bit awkward that you're trading card advantage for a small creature on board. On one hand, it does block, but it also does give your opponent opportunities to use otherwise dead removal spells. Eternalize is a nice mechanic though. I'm not convinced it is better, but it could end up like Wall of Omens, where it's better than Remand in some metas because it blocks. My gut tells me that the small size on this doesn't make it enough better than Thirst, but I've been wrong before.
I have warmed up a lot to Teferi having played with it/against it in various formats. The card untapping lands makes it so easy to play on 5 and leave up Remand / Path.
May 2, 2018Grishoalbrand:Posted in: Modern
- Surprisingly resilient since you can play out of your hand as well. Also good at dodging counters thanks to Splice.
- Speed seems fine, depending on the build you can win before turn 4. I think you're generally trying to win around turn 4 and hoping to do better.
- Deck's real easy for a combo deck. You just get your dude into play and then the rest is pretty much always the same.
- Positioning seems mediocre. I think grave hate is around as much as ever, and Thoughtseize is much harder to deal with than Mana Leak is.
- Storm isn't super resilient, it can fold to a lot of things really easily. I've seen sideboard Pyromancer's Ascension that can help fight Thoughtseize / Grafdigger's Cage, but Leyline of the Void or RIP are pretty hard to answer.
- Usually a turn 4 deck, sometimes turn 3 if your turn 2 lord lives. Sometimes the games do go longer but that typically favours you since you can sculpt your hand with all the cantrips and reuse your graveyard.
- It's pretty difficult to play well, but I don't think it takes as many reps as people think. You just need to be really good at doing quick math on how your mana works. It's just always a matter of calculating how much mana you can produce and how much you actually need. The math tends to be pretty easy against non-blue decks.
- Storm seems meh. It's bad against Jund and that's the new hotness still.
- Quite resilient actually, since your threats find more threats or answers to removal. Playing Titan and being able to grab another Pact is good, and because you get ahead on lands/cards you still maintain enough value when it dies.
- Speed varies but it's usually not that fast. I don't have as much experience with recent builds since I played it before the Bloom ban a ton. It's on the slower side of this list for sure though, especially since you don't win immediately most of the time.
- Complexity is high but it's mostly about learning a few set lines and being able to derive things. For example, you learn how to double up on Amulet triggers and dome them for 20 with a Titan, or to fetch Simic Growth Chamber + Tolaria West and Transmute it. Once you learn the few lines you need, you can reason through a lot of things without too much difficulty. I find it's the kind of deck you play awful at the beginning, can learn to play quite well pretty fast, but the last few points are hard to get.
- Well positioned depending on how Damping Sphere turns out. That card will suck for Amulet players for sure.
- Resiliency I'm not too sure about. The deck needs a lot of stuff in order to go off, but it also has a hard time with graveyard interaction due to its reliance on Scrap Trawler.
- Speed seems reasonably fast depending on the amount of interaction. A lot of decks aren't equipped to interact with it so you get to just do whatever you want a lot of the time.
- Probably the hardest deck on the list to play. The cycles are non-obvious as are the rule interactions. You have to keep doing a lot of math to make sure you're going off properly. In most cases that's irrelevant, but sometimes you have to know if you can wait or not, and that's difficult to tell.
- Positioning seems really good. There just isn't enough hate for this type of deck.
Apr 27, 2018Dominaria Card Review:Posted in: Control
This card can somewhat act like a Leyline of Sanctity. It does everything Leyline does but slightly more. It's a flying creature, so it has an added benefit of attacking with a drawback of dying. Probably not better than Leyline because you don't get it for free sometimes, but it's interesting because as a creature you can Gifts combo it. If I had to make a judgement call, I wouldn't play it.
I really don't think anything in this set is that good for us. Karn isn't good enough when it's competing with Gifts/Jace for a draw source, and the ultimate isn't powerful enough. It also has a drawback of potentially losing us an important card. I could be wrong about it, but I would far rather slot in Jace. I think I'd rather play TKS as well. Damping Sphere is a great card, but it's also good against us.
The biggest thing with this set is that it's focused around historic cards. We do play artifacts, but our historic count isn't high enough because our only legendary creatures also win the game (and are few in number). They're also typically not the kind of gameplan we're trying to play, and do things like tap creatures or whatever. They're just not at a high enough level for Modern.
Apr 21, 2018Some points I see:Posted in: Control
- Celestial Colonnade is good, play some of them instead of some things, probably Flooded Strands.
- Snow-Covered basics are better in the second ones because of Gifts.
- Emrakul, the Promised End isn't that great, in my opinion. I don't find there's enough value in it, and usually some other card is good enough to bridge the gap if you need to go from 8-10 to 15. But I'm also interested in hearing your thoughts because I don't have a ton of testing data for it.
Apr 5, 2018If you're playing a white deck to make Brave the Elements work, then you have 5c Humans (24/37 are white, not counting Phantasmal Image), various Death & Taxes builds, and then I guess Soul Sisters. Soul Sisters tends not to need a card like that because it has fliers for evasion already. D&T tends not to need a card like that because your opponent can't really stop you even if they have things (because they can't cast spells from mana taxes and land destruction). 5c Humans tends to be interactive enough between Meddling Mage, Reflector Mage, and Kitesail Freebooter, plus they have some various forms of evasion, so I'm not sure they really need it either. They also really don't want to play spells because of Ancient Ziggurat.Posted in: Modern
Brave the Elements as a card is pretty narrow. It's obviously good when it's good, but how often is that? Opponents can kill things in response. They might also have blockers in different colours. They might also be playing no colours. Or they might not even care about that card because they win around it.
tl;dr - 5c Humans, D&T, and Soul Sisters are good white decks. They probably don't need it. Brave the Elements can be good but it feels a little too niche.
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Jan 28, 2014Kiki Pod has never really been as strong as Melira Pod. It was flavour of the month for a while but that's about it.Posted in: darksteel88 Blog
The biggest thing was UWR rising to dominance. You see, Kiki Pod, at least the second iteration of it that I played, banked really hard on the combo happening. It didn't play generally good creatures, it was just reliant on the combo. The original one had Kitchen Finks, but then CFB came along and said "Finks really doesn't do anything", and they were right. You never won from Finks, it was just a good card for Pod. So they removed it and added in cards like Deceiver Exarch and Phantasmal Image. And then you had this glass-cannon combo deck that required two pieces. It was considerably hard to pull off against a deck like UWR with tons of removal for you.
Eventually Kiki Pod just started fading back into obscurity. It's still a fine deck and has some success here and there but it's not at the level Melira Pod is. It doesn't have all the same options and isn't as flexible. Yeah, more recent versions play cards like Finks and Redcap to trend away from the combo version, but it's still heavily reliant on the combo happening.
Right now I think it's like tier 1.5. I think Affinity, Melira Pod, Jund, BG Rock, Twin, and UWR are all better than it. Now you're deciding to play a deck that you accept is worse than others and realize you should just play a better deck. If you really enjoy the deck and don't want to play at the PT it's fine, but otherwise I'd recommend to play something else.
Nov 24, 2013So after they reset the Scrolls ranking I have steadily been going up. I've only lost a couple of games, and honestly, the majority of the games you lose are to poor draws on your part.Posted in: darksteel88 Blog
I remember one game in particular that I lost, I had almost no Growth and it was stupid. When I scooped I'd played probably one Growth card the entire game. Yeah. Those are the games you lose, when the RNG just screws you over and you draw the wrong cards. His deck was also well suited to beat me, being really fast aggro and having haste creatures. Funny enough though, we played each other again next game and I crushed him.
I've gotten up to a 1600 rating now and I'm in the top 50. Here's a pic for proof: http://i.imgur.com/xPzizJT.jpg
I have a feeling that if I'm playing against actual Scrolls pros, the deck will flop on itself. But as the ratings fluctuate over the next few days/weeks and correct themselves, the deck still seems good.
Mojan has talked about indirectly nerfing this deck, by limiting the number of cards you can draw in a turn. I really hope they don't, I like playing with myself (pun intended). It makes people mad that I don't interact with them, and that's, well, delicious. Let me feast on your delicious tears as you cry to mom about how I beat you fair and square.
I think some number of Pothers is potentially good. Someone cast Binding Root on my Golem, making it so it can't move. That was annoying as hell. But I suppose it's not back breaking. Pothers let me win faster but in reality, every non-Growth deck should have adequate answers to kill it on any given turn, meaning it won't live anyways. I do still think that I want to try some other cards out though.
Rigged seems good. I can rig any structure and trade their unit for it, stemming the early game. I'm not sure how good it makes things or whatnot but it doesn't seem awful. It costs only 1 and it does everything I need early game.
I'm also not convinced with Decimation. I rarely cast it for the -1 ability, only to kill an idol. Sometimes I get value in that it kills the row so my Golem can move, but that's a minor consequence when I have Burns and Kabonks to kill the memorials anyways. It seems largely useless outside the fact that it turns a 6-turn clock into a 3-turn clock. It's possible that we lose too fast and I have to just cut it.
Still, it's cool the deck is working. I'm also glad I can post here without fear of people seeing anything. I don't want them to know until I'm like number 1 on the ladder and go "well gee, look at what I have". I think when I get to rank 1, I'm taking a screenshot and putting it, along with the deck, up on a site.
Nov 22, 2013Okay they reset the rankings on Scrolls and I got up to an 800 Rating in like 9 games or something. This deck is pretty good.Posted in: darksteel88 Blog
The deck does have some flaws:
1. Consistency. If you draw poorly early, you can lose. Literally drawing 0 memorial openers without any Summons will lose you the game. You can lose off the opening hand or drawing poorly, so it's somewhat of a gamble there.
2. Fast aggro. If they can kill you before you get to critical mass, it's hard. You rely really heavily on the first End of Reason you cast to wipe the board, and if it's lacklustre you're screwed.
3. One-shotting idols. Even though we basically do the same, they can do it against us. Someone once went Frost Gale into Loyal Darkling into Rat King into Necrogeddon. Two damage to my idol, then 9 power hitting it. I won the game but it was insanely close. Necrogeddon is a really scary card.
This deck makes people mad. I enjoy that. I enjoy watching someone say "damn wtf is this it's stupid". I get a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside. I know, I'm a jerk. But hey, deal with it.
I decided to post the list simply because I want to have evidence I was playing it first. When people start playing it too or people claim who the inventor was, well, you saw it here first.
Without further ado, here is the list:
3 Desert Memorial
3 Woodland Memorial
3 Law Memorial
3 Tribal Memorial
3 Sand Pact Memorial
3 Stone Pact Memorial
3 Eye of Eagle
3 Imperial Resources
3 Sister of the Fox
3 Fertile Soil
1 Faith BLessing
1 Solemn Giant
3 End of Reason
Basically the deck is a combo deck. You cast Memorials to get stupid amounts of resources and then draw 30 cards in a turn and cast just as many spells. End of Reason being able to sac Memorials means you can effectively Wrath with them. The rest is a ton of draw spells in various combinations.
Your win condition is Solemn Giant + Decimation. You can, for the measly cost of 10, cast and cd the Solemn Giant to 0, dealing a straight eight to an idol. Then you Decimation and it's done. If you end of Reason with Giant in play, doesn't die. The Decimation isn't necessary but attacking 6 times with Giant is inefficient. Decimation proved to be the best card choice for a second win condition since it can kill dudes as well.
Going forward I want to try cutting Pother. Maybe I can add something like Pushback and Tickbomb? I almost never cast Pother and I'd like to have more utility.
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