Magic Market Index for March 15th, 2019
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  • posted a message on [Primer] Amulet Titan
    Link to the discord:

    I'd give fpawlusz a try. He's a very competent player and streams a lot of amulet. Edgar Magalhaes ([email protected]) is also on twitch but sadly he doesn't stream regularly (he's without any doubt one of the best amulet players, though). Puntthenwhine is awesome when it comes to the Scoutless version. But there are many very good players and streamers in the discord. Definitely check it out.

    What matchup is Leyline of Sanctity for? I don't feel like it boosts our week matchups.
    Posted in: Big Mana
  • posted a message on Death And Taxes
    Aven Mindcensor might be a consideration when Primeevil Titan is a concern. Amulet Titan almost cannot beat Leonin Arbiter into Mindcensor.

    I also like the mentioned Anguished Unmaking.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on [Primer] Amulet Titan
    I don't think there is a significant difference in the skill required. The scout version might have a few more lines available, though.
    Posted in: Big Mana
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer

    I have no idea what I'm doing but I did a thing.

    Blackcleave Cliffs is better than Dragonskull Summit. Summit costs you half a point of life every game.
    Cliffs give you a higher chance of optimal land drops turn 1 and turn 2.

    • On the play: 7/6/5 cards 4,4% / 2,1% / 3,4% higher chance of B on T1 + BR on T2
    • On the draw: 7/6/5 cards 7,1% / 3,2% / 3,5% higher chance of B on T1 + BRon T2

    Since I am really torn about investing in Blackcleave Cliffs at the moment I tried to do some "math" to figure out how important those fastlands really are. In the beginning I was just planning on fiddling around with a hypergeometric calculater during a five minute coffee break. Then it somehow got out of hand. I am not 100% sure how good the numbers are I crunched. But maybe they can be of some value to others. I am more than willing to share my exact proceedings (as far as I remember them Smile ). But it's probably not helping this posting much. Feel free to ask or write pms. Input is highly appreciated. After all I’m quite new to the deck and just assuming the hell out of everything.

    I think there are two points to think about when it comes to using Dragonskull Summit as a cheap Blackcleave Cliffs substitute:

    1. How much more dmg does a manabase with Dragonskull Summit instead of Blackcleave Cliffs do to the player?
    2. How much more unreliable does the manabase get?


    The Mana Base
    The budget manabase is the one I am using atm. The „stock“ version is the last 5:0 manabase from mtggoldfish. I am using one subotpimal fetch land (Wooded Foothills instead of Arid Mesa or Marsh Flats) and four Dragonskull Summit instead of four Blackcleave Cliffs. It might not be the best budget approach but just switching the fast land and check land is a common budget options and it might be the best/easiest baseline for a comparison.

    On Average the Budget Mana Base deals 2 dmg to you T1 and 1,4 dmg to you T2. That’s 3,4 dmg until T2. On average the Stock Mana Base deals 1,4 dmg to you T1 and 1,5 dmg T2. That’s 2,9 dmg until T2. It a bit more on T2 than the budget mana base because you have one less red source. Those numbers are a bit off when you fetch for a swamp T1. The real dmg could therefore be a few percent lower. I did not take into account that people might fetch differently depending on playing fastlands or not. But both my experience with the deck and my math skills prevent any evaluation here. I’d guess it makes no difference.
    There seems to only a difference of half a life point in the first two turns. I was expecting a difference of 1-2 life points. Maybe my numbers are off. But there might really just be almost no difference and it comes down to having a higher chance of lands entering tapped.

    The Untapped Lands

    The Budget Mana Base:
    • 16 B black sources. 12 of them untapped on T1 (2 swamps, 2 shock lands, 8 fetch lands).
    • 18 R red sources. 14 of them untapped on T1 and all of them untapped on T2 (2 mountains, 4 shock lands, 8 fetch lands + 4 Dragonskull Summit).
    • If you have an untapped B black source T1 and you fetch correctly there is only one possibility to not be able to have an untapped R red source T2 (keeping a hand with one swamp and drawing another swamp. Theoretically it is possible to fetch for a swamp and drawing another swamp. But that’s either a very bad decision on T1 [since you kept a hand with a single swamp] or you have enough to do with black mana only anyway).

    The Stock Mana Base:
    • 16 B black sources. All of them untapped on T1 (2 swamps, 4 fast lands, 2 shock lands, 8 fetch lands).
    • 17 R red sources. All of them untapped on T1 and all of them untapped on T2 (1 mountain, 4 fast lands, 4 shock lands, 8 fetch lands).
    • If you have an untapped B black source T1 and you fetch correctly there is only one possibility to not be able to have an untapped R red source T2 (keeping a hand with one swamp and drawing another swamp. Theoretically it is possible to fetch for a swamp and drawing another swamp. But that’s either a very bad decision on T1 [since you kept a hand with one fetch land and then fetched for a swamp] or you have enough to do with black mana only anyway).

    Now comes the interesting part. How are your chances of getting untapped B black mana T1 and BR black + red mana untapped T2 with either mana base? And how do those number change when taking a mulligan? I did this by using a hypergeometrical calculator and excel. Using some kind of simulation would probably have been faster and much more flexible. But that’s something I have to learn another day. For now the very basics have to be enough. I’m not Frank Karsten after all.

    Those are the results:

    In "yellowish" you can see the numbers for the budget mana base. The stock mana base numbers are "greenish". The chances of having untapped B on T1 and untapped BR on T2 are for example 70,4% if you are on the draw, took a mulligan to six and use the budget mana base. I cheated a bit to include the scry but it should be a good enough approximation (I assumed you would not draw one but two cards on your first draw step. Since both versions look two deep into your library it should be accurate enough if you're just looking for lands).
    It's not a mistake that the chances do not change if you're on the draw and mulligan to six when using Dragonskull Summit. When you're on the draw it does not matter if you scry to your Dragonskull Summit and have any other land in hand or if you have it as your only land in hand and scry to a different land. In both cases Summit is going to enter untapped. This way drawing six and scying once is the same as drawing seven when it comes to land drops. On the play this does not work. You can make a case that keeping a six card hand with a single tap land would be a bad idea. But taking those corner cases into account would be a pain. And since at this point a simulation would be better anyway it probably makes no sense.

    If someone is interested in more fancy numbers:

    Chances for untapped B or R mana on T1:

    Normal starting hand:

    6 card hand:

    5 card hand:

    Results aka "WTF did I do?"
    At this point I should probably try and discuss my findings a bit. Problem is I don't feel like I can. Dragonskull Summit seems to do more than half a point of dmg to the player over the course of a game. I'm sure people would pay hard cash for half a lifepoint in every game in bigger tournaments. But is it a lot? I have no idea. In the greater context it might be.
    More significant seems to be the matter of tapped lands. And this time there really is quite a difference. An absolute higher chance for the optimal land drops without taking a mulligan T1 and T2 of 3-5% (or 4,4%- 7,1% relatively) is something that can make a difference. If you're playing 20 games at a GP and trying to reach day two it probably comes up at least once. Maybe it wins you the match.

    I expected a much bigger difference and ultimately started this to convince myself and throw some money at those Cliffs. It didn't quite work out as planned :gaping:. I might just hold onto those check lands for a little while longer.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    Quote from Algernone25 »

    Blackcleave Cliffs is a REALLY important card for the deck, because it's a pain-free way to be able to play a discard spell AND a faithless looting, but at the same time I can understand not wanting to dump money into it - that said I do not anticipate a reprint anytime soon, and one that does happen will at best knock 20-30% off the price if the fetches are any indication. Dragonskull summit works okay as a sub on the cheap but it does clg up hands, especially if you're playing four of them (two I've found is usually safe). The way I managed it was effectively just picking up one every couple weeks until I had my four, made easier by just not needing any other MTG stuff during that span.

    Thanks for the detailed answer. Picking up Blackcleave Cliffs one by one might be a viable solution. Since you often stabilize at low life totals it makes a lot of sense that having no fastland can really hinder the deck. This is what I'm working with at the moment:

    I wasn't sure if I should get a 4th Marsh Flats or a one of Arid Mesa. My solution was to buy neither since I already have a playset of Wooded Foothills anyway :). Now at least 7 of my 8 fetches let me get a basic swamp and all of them give me access to all shocklands. Maybe I could do some math and try to figure out how reliably my manabase gives me access to B/R in the first 1-2 turns. Not playing any Dragonskull Summit didn't even cross my mind. Maybe it's a good idea. I'll definitely try that.

    Quote from Algernone25 »

    For your sideboard, this is what I'd put together:
    2 Nihil Spellbomb, 1 Surgical Extraction - Without splurging for leyline of the void, this is still a fine graveyard hate suite that ought to thwart off most decks that rely on the yard. Extirpate can work if you'd rather two extract effects and can't get another surgical at your price point, but generally 3 pieces of GY hate will be enough.
    3 Molten Rain - It's not exactly a game-winner against tron but can slow them down a bit, especially when you pair it with surgical extraction. But more than that, it gives you extra game against decks with utility lands that can get around blood moon - jund and abzan come to mind. It also can let you try to choke them off by playing blood moon and then killing basics.
    2 Kambal, Consul of Allocation - This guy is a house right now. Side him in against burn, side him in against storm, side him in against control, side him in against the mirror. He does for us what Eidolon of the great revel does for burn - buys us time to reload because our opponent has to play around it until they can kill it.
    2 Wear // Tear - There aren't too many enchantments we care about, but having the option for things like rest in peace, leylines (black and white), and search for azcanta is good to have. Plus, extra artifact destruction on the same card never hurts.
    2 Anger of the Gods - without EE this is the next best thing we have. It normally blows up humans, it blows up affinity, it exiles a lot of the troublesome cards in bridgevine/hollow one, and the really important creature (Bedlam reveler) survives it. Just be very careful about trying it againt humans/spirits/CoCo decks if they have any way to flash in a 2-drop.
    1 Liliana, the Last Hope - with the caveat that you should really be playing 1 copy in your mainboard and if you aren't it should be there and not here. She's amazing in the current meta, she shines against abzan, the mirror, humans, and generally those decks have a higher metagame share than the decks LotV is good against (Jund, storm, control, tron to a lesser extent) Having a second copy in your board isn't a terrible addition but you REALLY want one in your 60.

    2 Removal Flex - Any of the kill spells you listed are justifiable to round out your board. Fatal push very cheaply kills a lot of important creatures even without revolt, and with revolt there's only a handful of dudes it won't kill. Terminate and Dreadbore are very no-frills efficient kill spells that are never bad options if you have worrisome targets. Anguished Unmaking can be a very cute countercall to anything annoying, but what comes to mind immediately is opposing Hazoret, the Fervent which has become accepted as a really good mirror breaker. Darkblast is a cute recurrable removal spell that fills our yard. Hell, even Goblin Rabblemaster is a fine choice to try and increase our clock against decks that want to go long like tron and control. Pretty hard to go wrong here.

    Hope this helps!

    Seems like I can build a decent sideboard with what I already own. The one I came up with is almost identical to what you posted (maybe I should have just posted it. No clue why I didn't. Probably didn't want the posting to be too long). [I have: -1 Anger of the Gods, -1 Molten Rain, +2 Goblin Rabblemaster, 1 Fatal Push, 1 Dreadbore as removal].

    Instead of Liliana, the Last Hope I'm playing Nahiri, the Harbinger in my mainboard. I cannot really elaborate why, though. Just a gut decision. After reading your post I immediately switched them :).

    This is the deck atm (The 2nd Manamorphose is a tribute to the manabase and I don't have a 2nd Collective Brutality anyway. I'm thinking about cutting it, putting another Dreadbore in the main and adding the 3rd Molten Rain to the Sideboard):
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    I also play with Dragonskull Summits as cheap replacements for Blackcleave Cliffs (replacing the whole playset and also playing 1 Wooded Foothills instead of 1 Marsh Flats). But the Graven Cairns got me thinking if I should swap 1 Dragonskull Summit with 1 Graven Cairns. Got no clue if it's a good idea, though.

    A 1-lander with Graven Cairns seems absolutely unkeepable from my perspective (you could theoretically get down a Nihil Spellbomb T1 but then have a high risk of having no follow up). A 1-lander with Dragonskull Summit is very bad too. But it does not lock you out of the game quite as easily. If you have an untapped land for T1 both seem very similar too me. While Graven Cairns forces you to use your mana at the same time it also gives you all possible mana combinations.

    Another thing I'm unsure about is how high I should prioritize buying those Blackcleave Cliffs over investing in the sideboard (Got no Bridges, only 1 CB, no LotV, no EE, no Leylines). Any other land in the deck (except Graven Cairns) let it enter untapped. The difference are 1-lander (20% of the 1-lander almost "timewalk" you or force another mulligan). Opening hands with a basic + Summit can reduce your options or force a suboptimal T1 play. I'm really torn since a reprint in the near future might be possible for at least EE and Cliffs. Bridge and Blood Moon look like the safest bet since they just saw a reprint but might be the weakest options.

    This is the sideboard + maybeboard I own atm:

    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    I don't think Guul Draz Assassin is playable in the deck. You need to wait 1 turn and invest 4 mana to remove a creature with 2 toughness. That seems highly inefficient to me. On top of that it does not help with the game plan (no Young Pyromancer trigger, no Bedlam Reveler prowess trigger, no additional instant/sorcery in the graveyard).

    If you want to have some kind of recurring removal against small creatures Darkblast might be worth a shot. The downside of only being able to kill 1 toughness creatures is quite big but it's easily accessible when in the graveyard. The dredge might even help in some cases and act as some kind of virtual card/mana advantage. It's probably not a mainboard candidate since it's dead in a lots of matchups, though.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death And Taxes
    Just keep absorbing the salt. I picked up a pretty standard BW Edrazi & Taxes list about two weeks ago in MTGO and the amount of salt is crazy at times.

    I guess what makes people salty is what makes the deck so much fun when playing it. It has some spicy lines which people tend to overlook. Sometimes evaluating the board state from an opponents perspective is quite hard. People tend to get busted because of this. What looks like a winning turn can spiral into a disaster for them with some nice flicker action. In addition to this you can sometimes stall out games for a few turns until they're finally out of gas.

    So far I probably punt a few times every game but I cannot remember having such a blast with a deck. The deck is probably not tier 1 right now but it's so much more fun to me than casting burn spells or spinning the wheel with Hollow One (Burn and Hollow One are my other MTGO modern decks atm. Both decks are fun but it feels like you can play them on auto pilot without loosing a lot of power).

    The only thing that keeps bothering me (besides punting of course) is the mana base. It's horrible and it feels like you're loosing a serious amount of games because of it.

    Do you guys think it's a good time to pick up some paper staples for the deck right now? I was thinking about buying the expensive pieces that don't get a reprint during A25 right now.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Collected Company Elves
    tl;dr: New to elves but like them very much. Please help me with choosing/prioritizing upgrades on a budget.

    Greetings to all the elvish pilots in here :D.

    I just left the kitchen table a few month ago and started playing a decent meta deck in standard at FNMs and showdowns. I always wanted to build a (semi/budget)competitive elves deck but since even my extremely tuned down version was destroying everything at the kitchen table level there wasn't really any fun to it. I bought a few elves here and there and probably have a decent (budget) shell already but it just wasn't fun at a casual level. People didn't want to play it, I had no fun destroying everything and taking the good cards out just felt wrong. Since I am having a blast playing standard I was thinking about building some modern elves deck and attend modern events at my lgs. I'm not expecting to be competitive from the start but it would be nice to at least have a deck that can pull something of every now and then.

    I read the primer and the last 20 pages and tried to learn from it. So far I build a Mono G Budget version inspired by the Elvish Champion/Nylea's Presence combo from SaffronOlive (Modern Beatdown Elves).

    I don't know much about my local meta besides that there are no elf players so far. This is my deck list so far:
    4 Elvish Mystic
    4 Heritage Druid
    4 Llanowar Elves
    4 Nettle Sentinel
    4 Dwynen's Elite
    1 Elvish Visionary
    4 Elvish Archdruid
    4 Elvish Champion
    1 Eternal Witness
    2 Ezuri, Renegade Leader

    2 Lead the Stampede
    4 Collected Company
    3 Nylea's Presence

    1 Throne of the God-Pharaoh

    16 Forest
    2 Westvale Abbey

    1 Chameleon Colossus
    2 Choke
    2 Dismember
    1 Eternal Witness
    1 Garruk Wildspeaker
    2 Lead the Stampede
    1 Phyrexian Revoker
    2 Reclamation Sage
    1 Scavenging Ooze
    2 Wrap in Vigor

    It would be awesome to get some input about the deck list from experienced elves pilots.

    A few additional questions I have:
    • Does Elvish Champion + Nylea's Presence make sense or should I cut it? Since there probably aren't any mirror matchups I thought the downside of elvish champion probably won't matter and the combo might catch people off guard when they might concentrating on the other lords.
    • What do you guys think about going GB or GW in combination with a budget mana base? I'm talking about something like 4x Llanowar Wastes + 4x Unclaimed Territory + 2x Gilt-Leaf Palace.
    • Is Eldritch Evolution a budget option to consider? Or does the sorcery speed and the missing Caverns just make it too inefficient? I thought it might be helpful to function as a toolbox or combo enabler when Chord of Calling is out of reach for the moment. But I guess people might just counter it and laugh about you sacking a creature and wasting mana in your main phase.
    • What would be the most cost efficient way to improve the deck when you're taking small steps?
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
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