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The Role of Ecosystems in Fantasy Worldbuilding
 
Life's Legacy: Delving into Delver
 
All Sets Are Good: Prophecy
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Quote from RMelanson »
    Re: "Isn't it contradictory to say that you can't find the mana to suspend Ancestral when Search costs two?"

    The answer is yes and no. It's more a question of using the mana efficiently and optimally. Breaking down the curve of the deck as it currently stands, there are a lot of 1 drops, few two drops (Terminate, Logic Knot, and Azcanta), and then lots of three and four drops (including Snap-one drop; Snap-two drop). (There is also the consideration of dropping T2 Tasigur, which suspend AV makes more difficult, but not impossible.) The tl;dr is that the deck has a lot of options for Turn 1 play, that gets pushed to Turn 2 if you suspend Visions.

    For example, lets say you're on the play, drop land, AV. Then on turn 2, you usually are using only 1 of your two mana, maybe casting Terminate, or just holding up mana for a 2 mana Counterspell. In this scenario, there is a substantial risk of efficiency loss. In contrast, if you react on turn 1 with either a thoughtscour or removal spell, and then hit azcanta on turn 2, then you are using all your mana efficiently. Over the next three turns, you have Azcanta action 3 times, increasing your chance of drawing relevant action. You also have the ability to ramp up mana once you hit 7 in the GY, which can help you use more spells to protect Jace. With AV, you draw additional 3 cards on turn 5, that can vary from very good to lands/fluff. On the draw, both AV and Azcanta can be clunky, but Azcanta at least offers value sooner when you eventually cast it. If you are facing off against an aggro deck for example on the draw, you can T1 hold up Spell Snare or use removal and then drop Azcanta when you have time rather than feeling pot-committed to dropping AV.

    This analysis obviously changes based on the meta and how your construct your deck. Imagine a world where BBE is king and the field is just Jund. In that world, at least you can drop AV on the play under your opponents discard. With Azcanta, you just need to pray that your opponent finds Snapcaster or Jace more appealing to take. Or imagine we are in a world of blue decks, AV is nice because on turn 5, you get to ask your opponent, "hey, are you going to counter my Draw 3, or this Jace I will likely play otherwise?" You can also avoid a lot of the choices I mention above by just building different. You could take out Spell Snare to avoid the conflict with AV. You can put in more sweepers to compensate for a slower response and the likely uptick in Lingering Souls. If there is a clear answer (which there probably isn't), its not between choosing bad or good, but more like great or marginally greater (black v. slightly darker black).


    The mana efficiency issue you pointed out isn't nearly so simple. In your specific examples sure it works better along the curve but for every one of those there are tons of others supporting ancestral over search. One mana will always cost less than 2, it allows you to start casting multiple spells in a turn earlier and especially late game with a flipped search. This comes up a lot in control mirrors where you or your opponent tap 4 to search and the opponent responds by trying to resolve a high impact spell (I've run into several from secure the wastes/rev to breach in ur combo/control or against jeskai they try to burn you out in that window). Having to bottom snapcasters with search also feels really bad.

    Don't get me wrong search is a great card I'm a big fan of it but it's certainly better in matchups where you value the immediate impact of the "scry" over long term games against other midrange/control decks that have more discard, counters or land and enchantment hate. I think it's a meta dependent call and if the meta does slow down I see ancestral being better.

    Also Tiemuuu crazy how quickly things change. A very short while ago I would have been very strongly against cutting any number of scours cause it just synergizes so well with the deck. With less delve creatures and a high impact card like Jace you don't wanna mill over I think it does lose value though. Still a good card but not sure if it's necessary if we're building in that direction.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Quote from Tiemuuu »
    My first impression of Jace is that you would need to rework the strategy entirely to make Jace work. I'm pretty sure you would need 4-8 discards spells and Cliques on top of it to be able to land Jace on t4 safely even half of the time.


    I imagine there's going to be two ways to get Jace to work. There's this method you mentioned where landing him asap is crucial to just running away with the game on the spot. In that kind of list I could definitely see 4 Jace working actually as it's the payoff spell for all your hand disruption.

    The other option is slotting him into "regular" control lists that aren't looking to play him on turn 4 (unless the opportunity is there) but rather as a win con that you play turn 7, 8 or later. In that kind of list running less Jaces and more removal/counters makes more sense. Time will tell which list is correct but both have merit. I think if you're already including discard that having threats to capitalize on that as well such as young pyro also makes sense.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    After looking at Corey's list and my discussions here and elsewhere I've made some changes to my list. Really excited to test it next week.

    Also I agree with others that 4 Jace seems very excessive and I highly doubt that will be the final number Corey settles on. The other thing I disagree with is serum visions but that may just be an attachment to the card on my part as I've had it pull it's weight in avoiding mana flood or screw. Going down to basically no library manipulation at all is a bit too high variance for me. Not to mention I'm also on ancestral whereas he is on search still so that may contribute to his decision
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Fair points all around, agree to disagree for now until I get some further testing in to confirm one way or another.

    On a related note, Corey put out his article post pro tour and included a rough draft of his version of grixis with Jace:

    https://www.channelfireball.com/articles/grixis-control-at-pro-tour-rivals-13th-updated-with-jace/

    Notably, his list is also dropping tasigur's and moving up the curve but he's going all out with the full playset of Jace as well as the playset of cryptics. Having all 4 jace's feels like overkill to me but he's an infinitely better player than I am so maybe it's correct.

    Edit: important to mention he's also playing 3 copies now of search and down to 2 scours.

    Also of note he mentions at the very end how he wants to fit shoal into the deck but hasn't found a way just yet. It'll be interesting to see how his list develops.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Quote from Tiemuuu »
    I agree with your points on Ancestral, but not on cutting Thought Scours and Tasigurs. How is cutting those two cards making the deck any grindier than it was before? Tasigur certainly lets you grind, and Scour gives you more card selection. You're only making the deck more focused on beating fair creature decks and giving up %-points against combo, ramp/big mana, control and burn.

    with 3 Cryptics, 2 Jaces and 2 Damnations your curve is looking atrocious. Some of those cards need to be moved to the SB or cut entirely. Of course we're all looking to experiment with Jace, but basic deck building rules suggest this one isn't going to fly.


    Tasigur has been very underwhelming as of late due to being consistently outsized by other creatures or getting easily answered by opposing control or midrange decks. Maybe it's just my experience but he only helps out against big mana and combo decks where I need to get a clock going. I suppose he's non negligible against burn but that matchup is horrendous either way. The clique is a pseudo replacement for him with the advantage of being evasive, having flash and either disrupting their hand or improving my own but the downside of being one power less.

    Scour has always seemed like a necessary evil for me and I'd love to be able to play the deck without it. It's certainly not card selection as the mill is completely random, you may or may not mill anything useful (lands, Jace, ancestral). It does provide extra fuel for snaps, kommands and delve which is why it's good but on the other hand it does absolutely nothing to prevent yourself from mana flood or screw for example. With this decklist the choice for me was between scour and serum and I think serum is better for the direction of the deck towards being grindier as serum sets up your draws but scour allows you to accelerate on mana. That's what I meant by grinding, less focus on trying to cheat out a delve creature or flip a search early and more on setting up future draw steps.

    I can see how cutting that package does make me slightly worse against big mana and combo (hence the sideboard skewed towards those) but I fail to see how it makes me worse against control. Tasigur was always the worst card in my deck against control, I usually win those games with either bolt snap bolt or out attritioning them with snap and kommand.

    As for the curve, I agree that the 2 damnation may be overkill you're right. The idea was being able to sweep the board entirely and then next turn drop a Jace but perhaps that's unnecessary. The overall curve is slightly higher but there's an increased land count to accomodate that. UW and jeskai control often run a very similar if not identical split along their curve (if not going even heavier on sweepers) and that's what I was going off of. The curve being lower makes sense when the gameplan is casting multiple spells early to get ahead but less so when the gameplan is to strap in for the long game and out value your opponents.

    If I remove the damnations I will likely replace them with some combination of additional removal, the 2nd clique from the board, or another land and go up a sweeper in the board (either anger or damnation).
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Quote from Draw_Gone »
    I'm only running 2 Jace as I think you definitely don't want to go overboard on him and auto lose versus aggro or combo decks. 2 should be sufficient and I'll bump it up to 3 if it becomes necessary.


    I think that a Mainboard-Sideboard Jace split will be the norm. Maybe 2-1 or 3-1 (though 2-1 i find more likely). When he is good, he is fantastic, and you'll definitely want 3-4, but when he is bad, he is atrocious. Hedging your bets by giving you the potential of 3-4 Jaces post board, without going all-in on it game 1 might be a plan.


    Yeah I could realistically see this as being the case. Gonna test 2 for now and see how that works out. Can't wait til Monday to start jamming games at my store.

    My buddy is also going jund now (was playing abzan/rock for a while) so we're gonna playtest a bunch. Should be great
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Here's the deck I've been working on with Jace:

    http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/09-02-18-grixis-control/

    Couple notable things:

    Moved away from the scour and tasigur gameplan in favour of more of a grindy approach.

    Also as others have mentioned above, I'm back on ancestral myself over search. Ancestral seems much better situated in the current format as it's harder to interact with especially against the 2 biggest decks that will be experimented with after the banning, control and midrange (jund):

    Control can always snare it on the way down even on the draw so it's harder to get it to stick. Especially against UW control they play 8+ land destruction effects in the main so flipping search is usually more of a liability than anything else.

    Jund can discard either search or ancestral but at least on the play you can suspend it before they start ripping apart your hand. Jund also has decay and pulse to hit the enchantment and post board are bringing in fulminators for sure to blow up the land half.

    There's also mass grave hate to worry about post board and ancestral is easier on the mana too. Search certainly has its upsides but I think those upsides aren't as good in the coming meta. I think ancestral is going to be the stronger card going forward and with Jace to shuffle away extra copies in the late game it seems even better.

    I'm only running 2 Jace as I think you definitely don't want to go overboard on him and auto lose versus aggro or combo decks. 2 should be sufficient and I'll bump it up to 3 if it becomes necessary.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    I think it's a combination of a poor humans matchup (the queller list) and an abysmal lantern and Tron (both traditional and E Tron) matchups that caused jeskai to perform poorly. Grixis actually does very well against most of the above aside from Tron but even then Corey was on 4 field of ruins for maindeck hate. For those same reasons/matchups straight UW actually performed very well but the draft records held them down from placing better. Overall a solid pro tour and meta even though the vast majority of top 8 is aggro but that's not nearly as degenerate as all big mana or combo/dredge.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Quote from Ym1r »
    You can hear his thoughts in the tournament! Link for the deck tech here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/225319761

    Btw, 3 grixis control decks with 21+ points in the PT!


    I'm aware of the deck fetch during the PT I was more referring to how he thinks it went afterwards. Wanna know if he stands by his changes or if there is some other change he would make going forward.

    That's awesome news though and not surprising considering how humans was the most played deck (a great matchup for control)
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Update: looks like he's out now Frown

    Still a very good showing overall for the deck. Curious to hear his thoughts afterwards
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Corey Burkhart just did a deck tech for grixis control at the PT. Interesting to note from his main:

    0 copies of serum visions

    4 copies of field of ruin which he says has been amazing for him

    2 inquisitions (said he was expecting lots of combo which makes sense)

    1 pia and Kiran nalaar (said it was to hedge against affinity as well as give him an out under blood moon)

    Other than that it was his standard list. He's looking good to make top 8, let's hope!
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    As a budget option absolutely, I think it's a perfectly fine choice and if anything it would actually be preferred in aggressive shells like delver.

    That being said the 2/2 body is very relevant, both on offense and defense and the flexibility of the card is what makes it so good. Both cards are functionally the same against Tron as you mention but it's the other matchups like against colonnade decks for instance where fulminator really gets a leg up over molten rain. Fulminator is also more flexible mana wise and the instant speed activation can be very relevant as well. I think there's too many situations where the card is far more versatile to run molten rain over it outside of budget or specific deckbuilding choices.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Ok good to know it's more of a general list, I'll adjust my critique accordingly.

    So the following cards I'm just confused by in general:

    Dark blast strikes me as a card that I don't entirely understand the purpose of or when it would be good in our deck.

    Deathmark also seems far too niche and was probably better when it was hard to kill goyfs but we have push now so I don't know what this hits.

    Bribery is very strange but maybe against a deck running OG emrakul? Not sure what it's there for as 5 mana is a lot.

    Magma spray also seems like a very odd choice to me.

    Aside from that there are several cards that seem like strictly worse options than we we currently have available:

    Tec edge is too hard to run with our mana base. Field of ruin seems strictly better but I'd prefer it in the main instead of putting a land into your board.

    Speaking of land destruction, rain of tears is a strictly worse version of both molten rain and fulminator mage so I wouldn't bother putting it on the list. Spreading seas is also way too low impact unless it's in conjunction with other land destruction but at that point you're talking about half your sideboard slots for just land destruction.

    Steel sabotage seems like a strictly inferior rejection as bouncing an artifact seems way less useful in any matchup (especially given how much straight artifact removal our colours have) than having the ability to counter eldrazi as well as artifacts.

    Siphon life is a strictly worse version of collective brutality in every way,

    All the other cards I really like or I could at least see an argument for. Thanks for putting in the effort to get this together though it's still a very good start even though I disagree with some of the inclusions. Hopefully others can chime in and we can get a solid list going for non-shadow grixis variants.

    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control
    Just finished up at a modern 1k invitational event with control. Ended up getting 8th (we all split in top 8 to split the store credit) so i not only got the invite but got extra credit as well so I'm very happy with the result. Way too tired to do a write up but here are the matches:

    Breach shift 0-2
    Storm 2-0
    Abzan 2-0
    BW Eldrazi 2-1
    Burn 0-2

    Snuck into 8 on breakers cause I lost to the top 2 guys. Overall very happy with the deck but the pyros underperformed. I'm gonna take them out and put brutality back in as much as I don't like the card in control. Seems like a necessary evil against burn since I have no way of otherwise winning the matchup without getting very lucky

    Also of note I took out the crumbles and put 3 fulminators back in which I was very happy with
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
  • posted a message on Grixis Control

    Quote from SkyLagger »
    I watched his video about Death's Shadow, and I think he is playing it mostly because people asked him to. When I watch him play Grixis Control, I always whisper: "ooh, bold move", but it almost always end up well. Sometimes I just feel like we're not playing the same cards ! XD
    Hopefully, he'll top 8 with a great new list so hype for Grixis Contol can rise again...


    Thankfully it seems you're right lol, haven't had a chance to look through the video myself and only saw it was posted with the description of practicing for the next event. After watching the video it seems he comes to the conclusion that it's a good deck but not insanely overpowered like some claimed it was. Hopefully he puts up a good showing with control!
    I noticed this was mentioned a few pages back, so I tried putting all of grixis' sideboard options together for reference purposes. Here is what I came up with so far. Anything I'm missing? Are there cards that shouldn't even be on this list?



    Is this just a general list of cards that the grixis colours can potentially use? If so there's quite a few cards you could still include I guess. If it's meant to be a list of competitive options I think it's the opposite and there's too many cards on there that I don't think have ever been registered in a modern grixis deck or at least not one that's done very well.
    Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
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