Magic Market Index for Dec 28th, 2018
 
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Ultimate Masters: MMI Review
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 26/11/2018)
    GDS has tempo, midrange, and combo elements in it, but the primary gameplan resembles a tempo gameplan rather than a midrange one. This seems strange, since it uses discard effects, which are classically tempo negative plays, as a means to protect and enable the threats. The main reason the deck even uses discard is because Thoughtseize does double duty in enabling a faster Death’s Shadow and it’s an effective preemptive counterspell to clear out anything that would stop your threat from winning you the game. So, while the deck is “disrupting” first, like a good Midrange deck likes to do, it’s carried solely on the fact that Thoughtseize is that darn good with DS.

    Back when GDS was running a full set of Snaps, Kolaghan’s Command in the main and sometimes even Lilianas in the main, I would have classified it as a Midrange deck. But the deck has evolved into supporting the tempo gameplan more. Now, it’s running things like Mishra’s Bauble and Faithless Looting, partially just to enable more consistent Gurmag Anglers (Looting is more as a measure to smooth out mana flooding, but it also works as extra copies of Thought Scour). The reality is that in most matchups, it’s just more important to put a clock on the opponent than it is toss discard effects at your opponent until you can rely on the overall card quality of your topdecks.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on Grixis Death's Shadow
    I’m actually of the opinion that Anger of the Gods is really pretty medium against UR Phoenix. The only thing that it reliably hits is Arclight Phoenix… after it gets its hit in. It doesn’t kill TiTI, Crackling Drake, or Bedlam Reveler. It does hit Monastery Swiftspear, so there’s that.

    If multiple Phoenixes are hitting you, and your response is to clear them out an exile them on your next main phase, chances are pretty good that your life total is low enough where you need to just make the kill in the next turn.

    I like Surgical Extraction much better against that deck, since your main removal spells should be enough to clean up any other creatures they might have, and you can pop a Surgical on them when they try to off with Phoenixes in the bin. That way, they blow their cards and lose the payoff.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 26/11/2018)
    I’d like to see something like a trap card with conditions that make it cheaper to cast. Something like:

    4R – Wave of Flames
    Instant - Trap
    If an opponent had 2 or more creatures enter the battlefield this turn, you may pay (R) instead of paying its mana cost.
    Wave of Flames deals 4 damage to each creature. If a creature dealt damage by Wave of Flames would die this turn, exile it instead.


    That, or something with conditional upgrades to a spell.

    1RB - Destroy a Thing
    Instant
    Destroy target creature or artifact.
    If an opponent had a permanent enter the battlefield from the graveyard this turn, you may exile target creature or artifact instead. Then, exile each card on the battlefield and graveyard with the same name.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 26/11/2018)
    If anything, the last 12 months have shown that the format has the ability to adapt and self-correct. Certain decks archetypes have presented alarming results, followed by a reaction and rise of a new subset of decks.

    Humans, UW, KCI, Tron, Hardened Scales Affinity, Hollow One, BridgeVine, Arclight Phoenix, and Spirits are all decks that have ebbed and flowed over the last year, but nothing has really put up consistently oppressive level results. It's really made me re-evaluate my own opinions on the format. I feared the Jace unban, but the card has proven to be just kind of okay. I was on board for the idea of an Ancient Stirrings ban, only to see the colorless decks being seemingly managed.


    I do still yearn for some of the old “glory days”. That was when I could play Temur Delver and know that Affinity, Twin, Jund, and Tron were the main pillars to prepare for. But, I enjoy the format for what it is, even if it’s much different than what the format was when I started playing.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on UR Phoenix
    I would probably play Shivan Reef before Sulfur Falls in this deck. With only 18 lands, and 4 more being Spirebluff Canal, you’re going to have to mulligan more hands where your only lands are Sulfur Falls/Spirebluff Canal. Shivan Reef might eat some of your life, but it will never come into play tapped.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 26/11/2018)
    Yeah, opinions of the Pros always need to be taken with a grain of salt. While their accomplishments to warrant some amount of respect, that’s no reason to put high faith in their opinions. As idSurge already stated, plenty of Pros claimed that Jace would break the format in half and mostly he’s just been “kind of okay sometimes”.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 26/11/2018)
    Quote from thnkr »
    Can you provide hard evidence, in numbers, rather than conjecture, on what the effect will be if the card is unbanned?

    EDIT: I'm not saying it's not safe, I just want to see an argument that is based on more than conjecture from random people in forums and reddit :p Even conjecture from pros aren't reliable. So far, the best and honest argument that I've seen is that people want cards unbanned because they want to play with them. To state a card is okay to be unbanned, even if we agree, without lots of hard evidence or data, is just random internet conjecture.



    Although I do agree with your sentiment that people are too quick to conspiracy talk, it is rather convenient that AV, Bitterblossom, and Jace were reprinted right around the time of their unbanning. Of course, that’s not really sufficient evidence that they’re using the ban list as a tool for boosting sales on product.

    Asking each person to provide such testing to post their opinions seems like an extremely high bar to set. The only extensive testing I’ve ever seen regarding potential unbannings comes from David Ernenwein on Modern Nexus. WotC hasn't really acknowledged any sort of internal testing to prove that a card is safe to re-enter the Modern format. When Wild Nacatl was removed from the list, they didn’t cite thousands of games played in testing to ensure that it was safe for the format, nor did they cite it for the other unbannings. They basically just said, "Hey, we think this is probably okay in the format now."

    I do, however, wish people would stop speaking with such certainty about banlist decisions. The reality is that all of us have opinions about the banlist, most of them based on intuition over any sort of conclusive evidence. I think that’s okay as long as we’re all willing to admit that our intuitions are subject to being wrong. My thoughts were certainly wrong about Jace, the Mind Sculptor when all the unbanning talk was happening.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on [POLL] What cards do you want banned or unbanned in the November 26, 2018 announcement?
    I can see why people would find Cavern of Souls to be the more problematic card. I don’t think either card comes close to being a problem in the format, but here’s the difference I see between the two cards.


    Aether Vial steals your first turn, takes a card slot in your deck and takes a few turns for it to grant you the advanced tempo. It’s also an atrocious top deck and is vulnerable to artifact hate, which is available in spades. Also, given the fact that it takes a turn or two to actually become relevant gives you a window of time to deal with it before it snowballs. It also forces you to choose a number to stop at for counters, which at least creates deck building implications and interesting in-game choices.

    Cavern of Souls takes a land slot rather than a spell slot, grants perfect mana without losing you any tempo and blanks counter spells in your opponent’s hand. It requires very specific land hate answers to deal with, but the problem is that most decks that run it are attempting to put pressure on the board early, so spending a turn/card to deal with Cavern often isn’t a great way to attack the deck. There just isn’t really a great answer to Cavern unless you’re playing a Blood Moon deck. It’s better to just let them have it and change your gameplan to interact with the board, instead of trying to interact on the stack.

    So, Aether Vial costs you the first turn of the game (losing tempo to snowball later in the game), is more vulnerable to interaction, provides a larger window to deal with, and is a bad top deck.

    Cavern takes a land slot that you would have had to play anyways, gives you perfect mana for a tribal deck, provides counters pell protection as soon as it hits the field, and is a topdeck that’s equally as good/bad as any other land in your deck that you would have had to play anyway.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on What's the purpose of not having perfect mana without any downside
    Having access to perfect mana can lead to reduced deck diversity and Wizards has always expressed that they desire deck diversity.An easy example of this is KTK-BFZ Standard, where a lot of the decks bled together and the format became all about jamming the best cards available on curve, with no regards to the colored symbols in the mana cost. This is the main reason we’ll probably never see perfect mana in Modern, even though Modern has less of a risk of that happening since the card diversity outside of the land base allows for a lot of competing strategies to function.

    Also, with varied mana, it creates a huge number of interesting choices that a deck builder must make. Fetchlands and Shocks set up mana very well, but it comes at the cost of life. That damage can hurt them against aggro/burn decks. You can opt for Fastlands, but then you run the risk of them coming into play tapped in the late game. Cavern forces you into a tribal them, as does Ancient Ziggurat and Unclaimed Territory.

    It really forces the player to think hard about the choices they make when it comes to a land base, which on a personal level, I appreciate.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 01/10/2018)
    Quote from ElectricEye »
    I really do not think anything graveyard-based will be considered for this next announcement.

    Ancient Stirrings will be the only card looked into, as evinced by our poll. The format will change enough from that banning, and will require time to develop to see if dredge remains problematic


    I would agree with this. We're not that far out from the release of Guilds of Ravnica. The heavy resurgence of Dredge has been a fairly recent happening. Ancient Stirrings, on the other hand, has had a consistent presence in the meta-game, especially in Top 8 results, for a while. If there is anything that is currently being watched, I'd put my money on Stirrings. My guess is that even if Dredge is being watched, they will give it some time to breathe in the format before making any sort of quickfire decisions about it. That being said, I'm skeptical on whether any action is needed at the moment.

    I've seen compelling arguments running in both directions. On a personal level, I'd like to see it gone from the format, but that is merely for biased reasons and I can fully admit that. I can't say for sure whether the format requires it to be removed via banning.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 01/10/2018)
    Quote from Pistallion »
    Quote from LeoTzu »
    For a long time, I’ve thought that Bloodghast was the problematic card within the Dredge deck, even when people were clamoring for a GGT ban. IF (and that’s a big IF) the deck does require a ban, I think Bloodghast has always been the card that needed to go.

    Bloodghast is the card that makes the recurring threat engine work, since it gives the deck an on demand way to bring back ALL of their threats back. It’s the primary card that makes standard, non-exiling removal a joke against the deck. Without it, it makes the entire Dredge mechanic a much less offensive modern, since a Narcomoeba hit the only thing that can put their grave back into play.

    Creeping Chill just gives the deck another form of inevitability that cannot be interacted with and I doubt it would be a huge problem if the deck didn’t also have a highly reliable method of keeping the board pressure on.

    But no one cared about Dredge pre Creeping Chill. Creeping Chill put the deck into tier 1. Don't kill the entire deck. Don't hit other decks like Bridgevine and Hallow one because of Dredge. I understand Blooghast is the best card in the deck, but it should be Creeping Chill to be banned if anything


    I don’t think that this is a good way to evaluate whether a card is problematic or not.

    Heck, no one cared about Dredge before Prized Amalgam came out. That was when it was decided that GGT was a broken Magic card. Become Immense seemed like it was a problem… but Gitaxian Probe was identified as the real problem that enabled the card. Birthing Pod was “okay” until Siege Rhino came out. No one cared about Eye of Ugin or “eldrazi” strategies until cards like Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher were printed.

    The reality is, sometimes new cards aren’t the problem, but they highlight why cards that have existed in the format are problematic. I’m not exactly sure if this is the case that is happening with Creeping Chill and Dredge, but I wouldn’t be so quick to point the finger at Creeping Chill just because it’s the new card in the deck.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 01/10/2018)
    For a long time, I’ve thought that Bloodghast was the problematic card within the Dredge deck, even when people were clamoring for a GGT ban. IF (and that’s a big IF) the deck does require a ban, I think Bloodghast has always been the card that needed to go.

    Bloodghast is the card that makes the recurring threat engine work, since it gives the deck an on demand way to bring back ALL of their threats back. It’s the primary card that makes standard, non-exiling removal a joke against the deck. Without it, it makes the entire Dredge mechanic a much less offensive modern, since a Narcomoeba hit the only thing that can put their grave back into play.

    Creeping Chill just gives the deck another form of inevitability that cannot be interacted with and I doubt it would be a huge problem if the deck didn’t also have a highly reliable method of keeping the board pressure on.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 01/10/2018)
    Quote from Pistallion »
    Quote from BlueTronFTW »
    Which does more: unbanning twin or banning ancient stirrings?

    Twin unban.

    Like multiple people said before, the Stirrings decks dont warp the format


    “Warp” is a term I’ve seen used many times. What does this exactly mean?

    What conditions must be met for a deck, or group of decks, to be “warping” the format. If “Ancient Stirrings” have actively been taking up a 30% share of GP top 8’s, then why are they “warping” the format.

    If Dredge IS “warping” the format, why isn’t there a larger top 8 turnout for the deck? What qualifies Dredge as a warping deck?
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on The State of Modern Thread (B&R 01/10/2018)
    “Better” and “Fun” are too subjective for my liking.

    I hate playing against Tron. I don’t find it “fun” to play against. I think the format would be “better” if it was gone from the format, because it mostly just punishes opponents for not choosing a fast, linear deck.

    My opinion is biased and unfair. Plenty of people like playing Tron. Plenty of people enjoy playing against Tron (I know a few Infect players who LOVE staring down an Urza’s Mine on turn 1). So, it seems rather unfair for me to impose my view of what Modern is supposed to be by moving a list of cards to the banlist for encouraging "unfun" gameplay.

    Now, if the format was younger and WotC had presented a more detailed vision of what they wanted to the format to be, then I could see implementing more radical bans without date-based justifications… but as is, Modern has been a living, breathing format for too long to just go at it with a hacksaw.
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Grixis Death's Shadow
    Quote from Olorin85 »
    Yeah it looks like the deck lacks a second 'natural' threat (vs. Delve threats that need to be 'activated' through GY). Could Thing in the Ice do the job? Or Kiln fiend? To me it looks like the recent lists are slightly too control oriented (6x discard, 3x countermagic), I would replace 2x-3x of those with a fast-clock T2 threat. Lightning bolt+Fatal push+Dismember should take care of the possible blockers T3.


    On threats:
    Death’s Shadow and the delve threats are must-haves because they require little babysitting once deployed. They win combat against most creatures. They naturally dodge some forms of removal. You can slam them and attack without doing much else. Cast Stubborn Denial to foil removal and let them do the dirty work.

    TiTi and Kiln Fiend require more setup once they’ve hit the field. Kiln Fiend needs a TBR in hand to win combat, since it’s a 1/2 that basically dies to anything unless you give him Double Strike. TiTi is going to require 4 spells to become a threat, which forces you to dump your hand to effectively use him. You might be able to slot either of those into GDS with some success, but then I think the deck begins to lean more toward something like H0lydiva’s Bloo/UR Kiln Fiend deck, which is a good deck, but it focuses very heavily on scoring the TBR combo win.

    On control elements:
    GDS is an odd deck. You need to shift from control to aggro, or from aggro to control, in an instant. You need to disrupt your opponent just enough to eek out the win. You often have a short window of opportunity to win and success with this deck is largely tied to understanding when that window is open. The “control” elements that you refer to are necessary for this.

    Like discard. Thoughtseize clears out problem cards from your opponent’s hand and gives you perfect information as early as turn 1. It “protects” the threats you want to deploy in 2 ways. Thoughtseize also turns on Death Shadow earlier and in many games, you just want to run out a DS as quick as possible. Stubborn Denial just says “no” to so many cards that it’s hard not run it. It’s true that Denial is laughably bad in a couple of matchups… but it’s just THAT good in the matchups that it’s good in that you probably want 2-3 of them.
    Posted in: Midrange
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