Magic Market Index for April 19, 2019
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Magic Market Index for April 5, 2019
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    I've never used Pack rat. It seems too slow I think. We already have a good late game plan. Control can be tough if you don't have a fast start but pack rat is not great against control decks. I'm not sure what combo deck you are talking about specifically but I feel that we have a good match up against most combo decks already. We aren't like 8rack where we need a plan B.

    Spoiler season isn't over just yet but there's already been a lot of sweet cards spoiled that I wanted to bring up.

    Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage: This card will probably be good in 8rack and I think we could leverage it too. We tend to get our opponent's empty handed. 2 damage a turn isn't the most relevant thing though. But 3 mana discard 3 could be useful. Not sure about this guy but he's worth some testing.

    Liliana's Triumph: This is probably the card I'm most excited for. It's sometimes a 2-for-1 and always a diabolic edict. I could see this replacing collective brutality in non-burn metas and potentially cast down. It makes us weaker to go-wide decks though. Going all-in on edicts may be a mistake. Not sure.

    Gideon Blackblade: May just be worse than Gideon of the Trials but giving out life link is relevant. Being weak to our own smallpox is a problem.

    Spark Harvest: Bonesplinters isn't great but hitting planeswalkers and having an alternate cost to saccing a creature seems good. Probably too weak.

    Ashiok Dream Render: Lot's of hate in one card. Doesn't 1-for-1 but maybe that's OK. This may be a sideboard card. It also might be too slow.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Tokens
    With 6 targeted discard spells it's important to get that turn 1 black source. It's suggested to run about 14 untapped black sources for turn 1 discard. You also have no double black so your most black-intensive play is turn 1 discard. Because of this all your black sources should function turn 1 and the rest of your lands can be white and colorless. For this reason I suggest cutting all Isolated Chapel and Fetid Heath if you can hit 14 black sources without them. Hope that made sense, not sure if I worded it very well.

    So to work off of this suggested mana base, 4x Courtyard, Caves, and Godless Shrine are all good. 2 vents are good even if they are tapped, they have other utility. That right there puts us at 14 blacks sources (though two are tapped). I would cut both Isolated Chapel. The 1 Swamp is probably worth keeping which puts us at 15 black sources (13 untapped) which is probably enough. You'll have a 89% turn 1 and 96% turn 2 for a discard spell.

    Basically my point is: you want about 14 black sources, you want as many as possible to function on turn 1, so Isolated Chapel and Fetid Heath probably aren't for you.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    I agree on not wanting creatures in the deck but certain creatures are OK. As long as it's good against most removal it's OK to run. Lingering Souls is good against removal because one removal spell only hits 1/4 of it's power. Along the same line Pouncer is good against (non-path) removal because it can come back in the late game. That said, I wasn't impressed with Pouncer overall. It just ended up being a weak creature most of the time. 5 mana is probably too expensive also.

    I've been disappointed in just about everything asking for 5 mana including vault of the archangel and ifnir deadlands. I don't think it's a matter of adding more land to the deck either, the deck feels like it's meant to sit around 3 lands in play for a while until it finds the fourth off the top of the deck. Saccing and discard lands is important to keep the pressure on with pox / liliana / brutality. Vault was very powerful but wasn't necessary most of the time. That could just be my meta though. I also don't like colorless lands in the deck as I said in my last comment. The deck is very color hungry so I'm OK not playing mutavaults / Vault of the Archangels / Ghost Quarters. These lands can also mess up curving out.

    As for tap lands, I agree we don't want a lot of these. They are tough on the curve in the first 3 turns. I'm not worried about them slowing down 4 drops though since usually we end up drawing into these late game. Usually we don't curve into them. As a counter to your anecdote, Shambing Vent has won me a ton of games. They lose a lot of value behind a bridge so I understand you valuing them less. Late game they are a good blocker or even a decent attacker. One of my favorite things about them is that they make sorin a viable win con. You can play sorin, make a vampire token, and next turn start attacking for 6 with lifelink. Not as fast as Gideon but if our opponent has 2 fetches or a shock it's still a 3 turn kill. Vents is also what I think really seals the burn match up. We already have a good match up and Vents makes it great.

    I think it's good to discuss the merits of each utility land but I think we have very different metas (seems like you have a lot of aggro where I have almost no aggro) so I think it's important to talk a bit more general.

    The whole reason to run utility lands is that Smallpox is only a 4 of. If we sacced our own lands consistently once per game it would be easier to come to a conclusion on a good number of lands to run but 4 smallpox is not consistent. You have a 40% chance to see it in your opening hand. You also have to figure in flagstones which is like not saccing a land at all. So some games we end up at 4 lands and some we end up at 3. Since the deck has a fail rate (roughly 25% chance you have a pox and no flagstones in your opening hand) we need to be sure our deck can do something when we flood or when we have very few lands. Most lists tend toward the "do something when we flood" side since we rely on 4 drops to win the game (similar to how UW control plays a bunch of utility lands). We also are color hungry with gideon of the trials, smallpox, and honestly flagstones makes our mana base a little weird.

    So it ends up being pick 2 of: untapped, colored, utility. Worded another way it's pick 1 of: colorless lands, tap lands (vents), or no utility lands (more basics maybe). We can't run colorless lands because the deck is color hungry. We can't run tap lands because we need to have a low curve. We can't cut all utility lands because then when we end up flooding we have nothing to do.

    Since there's very few options that cover all three of untapped, colored, utility you just have to decide what works best in your meta. In an aggro meta tap lands mean death so I would say cutting vents is right for you. In a slower meta where I want to play more color hungry planeswalkers (like gideon of the trials) I can't play colorless sources. Really it just depends on the meta.

    This thought process is the reason I wanted to try Ifnir Deadlands, Shizo Death's Storehouse, and Tomb of Urami. All three are untapped, colored, utility lands (specifically black which we want a lot of). The issue is that they are all much weaker than vault of the archangel or mutavault or shambling vent.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to SCG regionals due to bad weather. Instead I've been able to do a lot of testing at my lgs. Still trying to figure out the right cards to put in the flex slots of my deck.

    You have a good dredge match up? that's pretty surprising. I guess Kaya and Ensnaring Bridge must help a lot.

    We have had a lot of discussion about removal spells in the discord. Starting with 4 push / 4 smallpox / 4 liliana / X Brutality it's sometimes nice to have an instant speed way to deal with large creatures like Gurmag Angler or Primeval Titan. Cast Down and Dismember miss some key creatures so I would advise against them. Murderous Cut seems like a good choice if you aren't running RIP (which I do so). But you could figure that you don't want RIP against the decks you want Cut so that just depends on your SB plan. Other options include Condemn, Oust, Path to Exile all of which have their own issues.

    I've been testing Path and I actually really like it. I bring it in when I don't want to play the mana denial game or when it's important for the match up. I use it against Aggro / Graveyard based decks / Amulet Titan / etc. It's definitely not a main board card but it has been worth the sideboard slot so far.

    Lost Legacy is an interesting card. Unfortunately it can't hit Ensnaring Bridge (I would prefer a card that could hit all 3 of: Bloodmoon / Bridge / Liliana the Last Hope). But it seems very powerful against the right decks.

    Now I'll talk about the testing I've been doing. Here's my list with the flex slots removed:

    For spells I've been testing a lot of things but I've been focusing on alternate win cons. I tried Kaya for a little bit but she seemed pretty low impact. Gideon of the Trials has been amazing for me and I'm probably going to stick with at least 1 in the main from now on. I've been testing Smuggler's Copter which is fine but I feel like I need more creatures for it to be very effective. Currently I'm testing Adorned Pouncer which is fun but honestly a 1/1 double strike is way too weak. It should be "discard fodder" but I don't always have a need to discard it so it ends up being pretty weak until very late game. Not very impressed so far.

    As far as Lands I used to play a lot of Mutavault but it never felt like I needed the fifth man land. 2 power usually can't win us the game anyway. I also wanted the 14th turn one black source since too often I was forced to lead on Shambling Vent or Fetid Heath and missed the turn 1 discard. Colorless lands were a bit of an issue because I've had to mulligan a lot of hands with 1 Fetid Heath and 1 Colorless land which would have been a keep otherwise. Maybe I'm just getting unlucky but I think I want another black producing land. Shizo, Death's Storehouse is OK but not the most useful. I also wanted to test Ifnir Deadlands. Might be useful against go wide creature decks. Tomb of Urami has also been considered but that seems like more of a joke. There's also just adding another swamp which would help with Bloodmoon a little.

    For the sideboard I've mostly just been running Path to Exile. I tried Kalitas but really 4 drops aren't what this deck wants they are sometimes just too hard to cast. Like you said, we want the deck to stay very low to the ground. Asylum Visitor was fun but useful mostly against decks where we are already favored. Didn't get to play with it much but I figured I should focus on other match ups.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    Great write up! thanks for the update.

    I'm getting ready for SCG regionals next weekend and it's good to see what the meta is looking like. I feel like both versions of affinity are pretty tough. Both versions are very fast and edicts are pretty weak against them unless you have a lot of Push / Brutality. I will be sure to bring Stony Silence even though I've been debating cutting it in my local meta.

    Eldrazi Tron is a tough one ya. Not a very common deck these days either. Edicts are good but we need a lot of them.

    I have also felt like Pheonix is a good match up. We are good at emptying their hand and then we just need to kill a few creatures and they have a clear board.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    Ya, the idea is that both gideons are legendary creatures and so is kalitas. I'm also very happy to have the 14th turn 1 black source and 20th turn 2 black source. Those numbers make it "ideal" based on that Frank Karsten article. I may have more black sources than needed since I'm playing Urborgs but turn 1 has been rough recently so I'd like to improve that a little bit.

    Kalitas is intentionally in the sideboard to get around removal after it's been boarded out. He's only there for aggro and graveyard decks - decks that are light on removal. Against dredge I board out my Smallpox anyway. It's OK to play a few creatures in a smallpox deck especially since we have so many tokens to sacrifice too. And even if I'm forced to sacrifice Kalitas to Smallpox I still get a token from the creature my opponent sacrificed. I'm not sold on him yet but I want to test him out.

    I would gladly play the fourth thoughtseize (or perhaps a duress) in the sideboard but I feel like we have more important things to sideboard for. I'm not completely opposed to play 4 TS main but I feel like I board them out a lot so I'll try the surgicals for now. Mana Tithe as a 1 of was always great for me so that will be what I fall back on if Surgical doesn't feel right.

    I know that RIP / Surgical isn't the best combo. Hopefully that doesn't hurt me too much. Luckily the only match ups I want both are against something like Dredge - decks that abuse their graveyard to the max. Otherwise I only use one or the other for most match ups.

    Good luck at the GP! A report would be great!
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Idea for a U/B Control deck
    It's tough to say what you want to do game 1 against an unknown opponent. The main thing is you usually want 3 lands and something to do the first few turns. So Serum Visions / Thoughtseize / Fatal Push / Counterspells are things you want to look for. You can't keep a hand of 4 lands / Jace / Cryptic / Damnation. You'll never do anything with that. You need hands that do something even if it's just a serum that can dig for more stuff.

    Against Jund your opening hand it's too important since it's going to be discarded quickly. Serum Visions is great becuase you can set up your top decks and they can't get Thoughtseized off the top of your deck haha. You'll also want some removal for their creatures if you can.

    Same with 8rack. Your opener isn't too important. Just try to set up your plays with Serum Visions. Planeswalkers are great in the match up so try to defend them from discard spells with counterspells of your own.

    For Dredge you want graveyard hate in your opener (pretty straight forward, I know). If you can discard their first faithless looting effect and counter their second you should be OK to start setting things up. If you can't stop their lootings you need graveyard hate.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    Getting ready for SCG regionals. Here's my current list:

    The cards I'm debating are all of the 1-ofs spells.

    Not sure if I should play Surgical main or maybe a Mana Tithe. I like playing 8 one mana "discard spells" (I would include Surgical and Tithe here) but the 4th Thoughtseize sounds too painful.

    Gideon of the Trials has been good but I've played very few games with him so far. I like him over Tombstalker right now because of RIP.

    Disenchant and Kalitas are sideboard slots I was unsure about. Disenchant has been great locally but the meta may be pretty different at regionals. Kalitas seems good against a lot of the top decks.

    Let me know what you all think.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Tokens
    Stony Silence is our best card against them if you can get it down turn 2.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on BW Tokens
    My deck struggles a lot with Planeswalkers (espeically Liliana, the Last Hope) / Blood Moon / Ensnaring Bridge. So having an out to all three is really nice. I would prefer some split of Disenchant and Celestial Purge though since both are much better cards being 2 cmc and they don't cost life.

    The trade off is that I want at least two ways to beat each of my "problem cards" and I only need 3 sideboard slots if I run 1 of each of my hate cards. I would prefer 2 Disenchant / 2 Purge but then I have to cut something else... Unmaking is fine against Tron too which is a pretty close match up.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    The most popular board wipe is Terminus which unfortunately hits Ormendahl.

    I played Kaya for one night Friday and boarded her out in 3/4 matches so that wasn't fun. I'll try her again this week but I'm starting to get pretty skeptical. She will probably just end up in my "if the meta goes crazy" box haha. I could see her working in a very specific meta but right now my local meta is more midrange.

    Someone mentioned that she could be a sideboard card but I'm not a fan of her there. What is she realistically replacing? She doesn't outright win any match ups (Think RIP / Stony / Surgical type cards) so I don't think she fits in the sideboard. She reminds me a lot of Liliana, the Last Hope. She could fit in the right meta but probably won't be a staple.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    I totally agree, based on your threat base you can skew your deck to beat any match up. My meta must look much different from yours since there is almost no aggro around here right now.

    Bitterblossom is amazing against control and it's much harder to be blown out where Ormendahl, Profane Prince can be pathed. I could also see Gideons in the sideboard to replace your bridges with in slow games. even against Path decks where he is a little worse than average you can still make gideon a token producer or an anthem.

    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    I think a bridge build can work but there should be a way to turn the corner quickly. I'm not suggesting we need to goldfish a win on turn X, that's not the point of the deck. But once you've discarded your opponent's hand and dealt with their board you want to win quickly before they top deck well. I would argue we sit between Midrange and Control. Blue based control decks can wait forever to win but we need to win quickly since we can't interact with the top of the deck.

    Myth Realized + Liliana of the veil is great because you can force them to discard their fatal push, etc. Raven's Crime is an interesting card. I'll have to add it to the primer and try it out.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    Bridge is a powerful card but it actively hurts you in a lot of match ups. In my opinion Gideon is the most powerful card in the deck and you can't play him because of the bridges. Sorin is also on the top of the list of powerful cards. I haven't been able to test Kaya yet (they just arrived yesterday) but I'm not convinced she can replace Sorin / Gideon. Her ultimate provides a bit of reach but on an empty board Gideon can win in three turns which just can't be matched by Kaya unless you heavily build around her.

    I just want to add - I think building around Kaya is a trap. You need 20 cards in exile to win the game and that's completely on your opponent to get that many cards unless you start milling. But at that point it's a different deck. Some decks (like BW Smallpox for example!) only draw one card a turn and have no (or very little) card advantage. You'll never get to 20 cards against those decks before turn 20 (accounting for lands) and very few modern games last that long.

    I think Bridge is more of a sideboard card for when you know it locks up the game. There are too many match ups where Bridge is just meaningless (Storm / Burn / Tron / UWx) and a few where it's easily dealt with (BGx). That way you can still play Gideon and Sorin and you can always board them out. I think token strategies have to have anthems to be viable in an open meta. Otherwise they are just too slow.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    Without Gideon or Sorin the tokens strategy isn't very powerful. the real draw to Bitterblossom is that you can give your tokens a boost with Gideon emblem / Sorin +1. Otherwise I think Bitterblossom on its own is too weak. I often end up losing if BB is my only threat.

    I think it's correct to use only 3 drops when playing bridge like you're doing. Maybe Kaya is enough to regain health from BB.

    Why do you want to use wrench mind? It feels like our deck is already really well positioned against control - or any deck that wants to keep a full hand. So Wrench mind doesn't seem too necessary.

    Thanks for posting your list! It's definitely different.
    Posted in: Control
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