Magic Market Index for October 12th, 2018
 
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  • posted a message on Jeskai Control
    I've found Lightning Helix to be the real culprit in terms mana stability, Lightning Bolt is much less demanding. If you want to sequence Lightning Helix into Cryptic Command (or Supreme Verdict) you essentially need 3 duallands (colonnade or fetch-shock) in the first four turns; if it's a Bolt, you only need two duallands.

    Access to an array of burn spells gives the deck two distinct advantages over straight UW control, which cannot be underestimated: they shift the humans matchup into positive territory (U/W only has 50% against humans), but most importantly: burn (especially Bolt-Snap-Bolt) is a savior against a resolved Planeswalker, especially against Jace TMS. The burn player should win pretty much every Planeswalker battle.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on UW Control
    Many have said this before, but I think it's worth reiterating: Vendilion Clique is not just a very good card right now... I think it puts the archetype onto a whole new level. I'm up to 3 main deck copies (or 2 which is enough actually). The card gives the deck the much needed clock and disruption to reach a reasonable game 1 match against Storm and Tron, and against Humans it smooths out our draws (cycling away dead counterspells or expensive spells has become default mode for me against Humans) while putting a very effective anti-humans blocker onto the battlefield that is unaffected by Thalia and can take out Meddling Mage, Kitesail Freebooter, and Mantis Rider.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on UW Control
    SfA and Detention Sphere have nothing to do with each other.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on UW Control
    I actually meant the EOT Snapcaster Mage flashbacking Opt line (not the EOT Opt into Terminus play). In the mirror the Opt player (+ 4 Snapcaster Mage) essentially always wins against the Serum Visions player (with fewer Snapcaster Mages) except a control breaker like Crucible of Worlds or an uncontested Search for Azcanta can bail him out.

    I actually agree that Serum Visions is better than Opt against a huge chunk of the metagame including Humans and Vengevine, but the advantage of having Opt in the mirror is enormous.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on UW Control
    I love the Snapcaster Mage + Opt synergy, so I feel I have to defend it. Granted, if it weren't for Snapcaster Mage, Opt would be 100% worse than Serum Visions, but we're only talking about a 1-card filter depth difference between Opt and Serum Visions, that's noticeable, but not overly significant (the difference between Peek or Hieroglyphic Illumination and Serum Visions is much more noticeable). On the other hand, by giving up Opt (+ SCM) you're giving up on what is probably the single most powerful EOT interaction the deck has access to. In some (or most) matchups EOT interaction may not matter that much, but it if matters, it's invaluable. Also, the value of Snapcaster Mage goes up if there is less Jeskai, more UW control, hence less Bolts to remove a 2/1. In fact, in U/W control mirrors PtE always has to immediately path Snapcaster Mages away, because this is the only effective and mana efficient way to get rid of creatures aside from a few less played cards like Spell Snare, or Wall of Omens.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on UW Control
    Purely for the mirror Secure the Wastes is actually stronger than Clique. Has anyone considered that card for the flash slot? It's one of the few cards that can force the opponent to tap out end of their turn (or they have to tap out via Wrath), so the path is free for a PW. Any other EOT action is just bait they may or probably may not fall for. The only thing that holds me back running Secure the Wastes is the fact that Clique is disruption, and Secure is not, and maximizing disruption is always a strong argument.
    Clique is definitely stronger vs UW than it is vs Jeskai, since you can actually overload their PtE, something that works really well if you have as many as 3 Clique. But 3 Cliques is a lot.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on UW Control
    I feel there is some controversy about Search for Azcanta - at least regarding the numbers. BloodyRabbit is down to only 1 (last list he posted) and Nassif seems to have arrived at 1, too. (He played 2 in the PT and suggested in one of his recent articles going down to 1). Joel Larsson runs 0!!!
    Most lists play 2 including Burkhart's Grixis and Nikolich's Jeskai control. Burkhart even said that Search for Azcanta had been the best blue spell printed since Snapcaster Mage.
    Anyway, I've been wondering what is driving the numbers of SfA.
    • Is the power of SfA somehow correlated with the amount of Fetchlands we run, or is this mostly irrelevant?
    • Why has the third copy largely been dismissed so far?
    • Is the second copy somehow competing for slots with our Planeswalkers? The power of SfA is held in check by Field of Ruin after all.
    • Does an uptick of Think Twice and a downtick of SfA make any sense in Miracles build?
    • Does the presence of Field of Ruin erode too much of its power?

    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Esper Draw-Go
    I would only take out Cryptics against Burn.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on UW Control
    I agree that the styles category is pretty meaningless.

    Technically “applicable against combo” is not the same as flash, it just so happens that flash creatures are the only ones that sufficiently do the work, and some semi cheap threats like Gideon OTT or kitchen Finks that may or may not get there. This is also a huge draw to cards like Tasigur in control decks (obviously the wrong color).

    Glittering Wish is of course not in the right colors, but I’ve listed it here, because it’s kind of surprising how much potential this card actually has. The wishlist would certainly contain 1 Sigarda Host of Herons, 1 Kitchen Finks and possibly even a Dragonlord Dromoka. That being said Glittering Wish for Sigarda looks like an actual win-con to me.

    Btw, I'm picturing the following wishlist:
    1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
    1 Kitchen Finks
    1 Dragonlord Dromoka/second Kitchen Finks
    1 Fracturing Gust
    1 Supreme Verdict
    1 Meddling Mage
    1 Wheel of Sun and Moon

    The characteristics kind of fit to certain matchups, more or less. I generalized, because the metagame is too wide.

    For example “turning the corner against hyper aggressive decks” could also be named “win-con against Burn and Merfolk and such as”. I think this makes sense, because Burn, Merfolk,… actually require a dedicated win-con whereas a deck like Infect and Affinity don’t (Colonnades do the work). The problem with Burn, Merfolk,… is that they have the means to push the last points of damage through, they are very hard to get full control of thanks to cards like Burn, Manlands, Aether Vial, Haste, Trample, Cavern…

    “Applicable against combo” is essentially directed against Storm, every matchup where tapping out is a risk. Again, another group of matchups where the win-con is key.

    “Resistance to removal” is essentially the trait to win against Jund, Grixis Control and such as, which is why I gave Batterskull a semi fail, and kitchen Finks is a dog to Tarmogoyf and Tasigur.

    So yeah, referencing the actual matchups should lighten up some of my reasoning.

    With the last category (ability to overpower other decks) I tried to measure/visualize a card’s potential for inevitability. Essentially inevitability is constituted by both power-level and resistance to removal/disruption.

    I’m not convinced of most Planeswalker’s powerlevel in Modern (Gideon of all kinds, Teferi, etc.), simply because they need the help of your deck to get there. Whereas, if I drop a Wurmcoil Engine, some decks just fold to it and Wurmcoil does this to numerous decks whereas Gideon Jura pretty much always needs help from your removal.

    I totally agree that a lot of matchups aren’t about the win-cons, but others are, namely:
    Burn, Merfolk, Eldrazi Tron (where turning the corner is key)
    Grixis Control, any control matchup (inevitability)
    Storm, combo in general
    Jund, Hollow One midrange in general – the win con can make a difference, even though it’s not essential.

    Jace has been disappointing to me actually, so maybe I'm a little bit biased. In fact running Jace has showcased to me again how valuable flash/instant speed is. I've recently played against a Grixis control player (who of course crushed me with his own Jace). I had Jace in my hand, but never dared to play it out, because I knew he had a Lightning Bolt, and tapping out would have opened up the window for him to resolve his own Jace. So the whole thing resulted in a long draw go game, that he won, because of Thought Scour and Kolaghan's Command and Serum Visions being a sorcery has also been a huge hindrance on my side, because I couldn't EOT flash it back with SCM.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on UW Control
    I've compiled a list where I tried to compare the various win-cons that we have at our disposal according to four characteristics. I have a personal preference for Aetherling (awesome finisher, that I recently discovered for Modern), Batterskull, Torrential Gearhulk and Elspeth, Sun's Champion, so they come first on the list. Tell me your thoughts on the characteristics (are they appropriate for evaluation?) and whether my evaluation is spot on or garbage. This is essentially how I came to the conclusion that a card like Teferi is only mediocre, yet so many players have started to put him into their decks, which baffles me.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on UW Control
    or you just play Elspeth, Sun's Champion.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on UW Control
    Concerning removal spells instant speed is invaluable. If it's sorcery speed there has to be a massive upside like being permanent removal or a Wrath effect. Condemn >>>>> Oust by a mile.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Jeskai Control
    You don't even have make sacrifices to hyperaggressive strategies if you are willed to play cards like condemn (see soorani's latest list). Condemn is great and underplayed. But you're losing the ability to burn down Jace and Lilly and turning the corner quickly.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on UW Control
    I definitely go down on the Knots, maybe 3, because the alternatives are weak (Leak and Negate). I hate Mana Leak, too, but I'm pretty confident that it's better than Negate.

    Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is another 4cc spell, I hope that is not the solution to combat Jace; and Gideon of the Trial is just a dog to PtE. The best way to fight Jace in U/W colors are 2cc counterspells (Logic Knot, Mana Leak, Negate), Vendilion Clique, Detention Sphere, Snap beats, and Cryptics. That's it. Sad, but true. But I don't think Jeskai is better, either. They have a fragile manabase, less Field of Ruins, less countermagic to preemptively stop Jace (they have to cut something to play these Bolts). Pick your poison, I guess. But this is essentially the mirror, it's not that this problem is one-sided.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on UW Control
    Jace is two turns faster than Search when in top deck mode. The same logic applies to Cryptic Command. You get immediate value out of the card, and that's huge when being under pressure. Also, I have the feeling that people use Jace's Brainstorm ability not enough. The play "Jace, BS, he dies" is actually pretty good, not amazing, but still above average (I reiterate: above average!!); but if you Jace, fate seal and it dies anyway, yeah, that's just a wasted Jace TMS, and it happens quite frequently in a Lightning Bolt, Bloodbraid Elf, Reality Smasher metagame. Fatesealing in the dark in account of Lightning Bolt (and nothing else) is an overly risky play.

    This is where I'm right now:



    Looks unconventional, but I'm just throwing this out here, because I want to hear what you think about it, feel free to tear it apart, haha.

    A few comments on card choices:
    I think weak cantrips like Wall of Omens, Spreading Seas, Remand, and Shadow of Doubt are complete garbage compared to "real" cantrips like Anticipate, Serum Visions and Opt. These cards are actually getting there, there is no durdling around.

    8 Fetchlands is the norm for every 3 color deck, yet people refuse to play more than 4 Fetchlands in U/W control. With Jace TMS AND Logic Knot involved (maybe I should only run 3 Logic Knots, 4 is really pushing it), I see absolutely no reason to run less than 8. You can get Burn to above 50% very easily actually. Maybe the matchup is close, but you are in no way an underdog.

    Two of the best cards I decided to omit for the time being are probably Spell Snare and Detention Sphere. The price for running Detention Sphere is - of course - that we would have to make cuts in the permission/disruption department. I think this is not necessarily where we want to be. If there is a problematic permanent that we need to get rid of (like Jace, Blood Moon, Chalice, Lilliana) there is still the gamble that get there with the means that we have available in the main like Vendilion Clique, Cryptics, and generic counterspells. I think it's wiser to shore this weakness up with an appropriate SB.

    Spell Snare, I think, is highly dependent on the metagame. If Storm and Burn rises to the top again, then I'm definitely making the switch, but as long as Bloodbraid Elf and Jace decks are the top tier decks, I stick to two mana counterspells and a high cantrip count (six instead of just four)

    Posted in: Control
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