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  • posted a message on Theros Beyond Death- Modern Discussion
    Trying to break Underworld Breach.
    This is the Urza Ascendancy deck but with Breach and Grinding Station instead of Urza and Outcome.

    The two main combos are:
    1) Emry + Ascendancy + 0-drop that bins itself (Bauble, 2 of the same Mox, any 0 + Station). Sac the 0, tap Emry targeting it, recast it. This gives you infinite pump and loot. If it's a Mox, you get infinite mana too (you can loot into it). If it's 0 + Station, you point Station at your opponent and mill them out. If you've got Sai or Saheeli on the board, you get infinite tokens.
    2) Breach + Station + 0 + artifact/legend/2 open mana (to cast Thassa's Oracle, either directly, or by replacing the 0 with a Mox once you mill into it). Sac 0 to Station, mill yourself for 3, then exile 3 to bring the 0 back and untap Station. You need one other card in the graveyard as a "free cell" until you mill Thassa's Oracle, then on the next loop, you exile that card instead. Mill yourself to 0, then cast Oracle with Breach and win.

    Both of these combos can win on turn 2 if you draw good (e.g.: land, Mox Amber, Bauble, Emry, land, Ascendancy; or fetch, 0, 0, Mox Opal, Station, Breach).

    Outside of the instant kill combos, Emry + Bauble is a grindy combo that draws you a card for free every turn. Pair that with Sai/Saheeli and you also get a token. Breach can be used as a Regrowth with an additional delve 3 cost, or an expensive hand refill with Bauble and a large number of cards to delve away.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on [M20] Core Set Magic 2020 Previews: Modern Discussion
    Scheming Symmetry is the only card that really stands out to me and isn't a reprint. Veil of Summer has its uses but it's a SB card. Mystic Forge is kinda, sorta a reprint (Experimental Frenzy).

    I don't think Elvish Reclaimer is that good. The obvious comparison is to Knight of the Reliquary, but Knight 1) did not have a cap on its P/T gains and 2) activated for 0 mana. Both these factors unlock the combo kill with Retreat to Coralhelm, which remains the most notable thing Knight has ever done in Modern.

    Thunderkin Awakener is a nice build-around-me. It goes pretty well with Unearth since both Awakener and the obvious reanimation target (Ball Lightning and its variants) have haste. There's plenty of support cards, from Flamekin Harbinger to find both halves, to Spark Elemental which hits for less but requires less setup (you can cast it and let it die on T1 instead of having to Loot), to Hellspark Elemental as alternative discard fodder for Looting. Low toughness means you're weak to removal (even weak removal like Gut Shot) and first strike blockers, so that will probably hold it back.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on [M20] Core Set Magic 2020 Previews: Modern Discussion
    So, Lotus Field's ETB tapped drawback is negated by Amulet of Vigor. The obvious comparison would be bouncelands, which also ETB tapped and tap for multiple mana, but bouncelands have other advantages that make them worthy of inclusion in Amulet:
    • Pseudo card advantage. If I have two Forests and a bounceland, I can get up to 4 mana in play off those alone. Three Forests, or two Forests and a Lotus Field only gets to 3 mana.
    • Scales better with extra land drop effects. With Amulet out, Lotus Field gives you a one-shot boost of 3 mana. Playing a bounceland gives you a one-shot boost of 2 mana. That seems worse at first, but with extra land effects, Lotus Field gets overtaken. You can play bounceland, tap it for 2 mana, return it to hand, then play it again for another 2 mana. You can't do that with Lotus Field because it makes you sac, not bounce.
    • Bouncing Tolaria West. Self-explanatory, TW's ability must be activated from hand, not the graveyard (i.e. where Lotus Field would send it).
    In short I don't expect it to see long-term play in Amulet. In the short term people might try it out, like they did with Arboreal Grazer, then they'll realize it's not great and cut it.

    The other (much more exciting) possibility is Restore Balance, since it kills your own lands, and having one Lotus Field to your opponent's one Island or whatever post-Balance is much more advantageous for you. It is a little slow since it ETBs tapped though. Nevertheless, Tolaria West can grab it, so you can just play one copy and still have a total of 8 kill-my-lands effects (4 Greater Gargadon and 4 TW into Lotus Field).
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on [M20] Core Set Magic 2020 Previews: Modern Discussion
    Loaming Shaman has seen limited play as a Chord bullet against graveyards. That role has been taken over by Remorseful Cleric.

    If you're green and combo, you want Veil of Summer. It's basically the green Silence. Trades with a counterspell (even Dovin's Veto) or discard spell and draws you a card for your trouble.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on [MH1] Modern Horizons Discussion Thread
    Quote from Bearscape »
    I don't really see Collected Conjuring as high tier playable, but as long as we're brewing, Rampant Growth effects could be used in a similar way to manadorks for Collected Conjuring. We just got Regrowth, which I think can get the Conjuring back you cast it off. Your payoff would then be Suspend spells like AV and Footfalls, played together with As Foretold as a secondary suspend cheat engine. Living End off Conjuring is a little awkward if you plan to use Footfalls, but Anger of the Gods makes your Rhinos survive and gets hit by Conjuring

    Biggest constraints are that you play a lot of ramp but are restricted to cheap spells, demanding that you draw a boatload of cards to keep the big wheel turning (which to be fair Regrowth, AV and Conjuring already facilitate a bit) and that your payoff isn't an instant win but "just" a value engine, which often doesn't cut it in Modern. I guess the real question of the deck I'm describing here is "why are you not casting Scapeshift instead?"
    Rampant Growths take you from 2 mana to 4 next turn. This is very different from mana dorks taking you from 1 to 3, 3 being the highest CMC hittable off Company.

    You can't get the same Conjuring back with Regrowth as you need to choose targets when casting a spell, and Conjuring is not in the graveyard yet. This is different from Eternal Witness, as Witness's effect is an ETB.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on [MH1] Modern Horizons Discussion Thread
    Those decks only attack with one creature at a time.

    Let's talk about Collected Conjuring then. Collected Company decks, IMO, are brilliantly constructed. The basic line of logic goes like this:
    • You want to play a lot of 3-drops to maximize your EV from Company. However, that would leave your curve in a mess.
    • You get around this by playing mana dorks. T1 mana dork ramps you into T2 3-drop. Mana dorks don't discriminate against Company either, casting it on T3.
    • Those mana dorks are also a consolation prize when Company doesn't hit anything else of value. Company decks need a lot of hits; 28+ creatures is common.
    With that in mind, the important questions to ask when assessing Collected Conjuring decks are:
    • How many <=3 CMC sorceries are there in the deck? As with Company, I would put 28 as the safe minimum.
    • What is the distribution of 0, 1, 2 and 3 CMC sorceries? If it is heavier on 3CMC, how does the deck deal with drawing a hand full of 3 CMC spells? (It doesn't have to be mana dorks; some of those 3CMC cards could cycle for less than 3 mana, for example.) If it's closer to 1CMC, are you sure the average Conjuring is going to flip over more than 4 mana worth of sorceries? (Maybe some kind of combo?)
    This is also a good time to bring up the suspend spells, since they have a CMC of zero, but their effects are worth...well, what are they worth? Conjuring into Ancestral Vision is basically casting Concentrate, a 4 mana spell. Conjuring into Living End is just Wrath of God, another 4 mana spell, if you don't have any creatures to reanimate (see question #1 for a possible reason). Conjuring into Crashing Footfalls is worth maybe 5 mana, if you consider Verdurous Gearhulk giving you 8 power for 5 mana and Armada Wurm costing 6. While all this seems like a fairly costed deal, undercosted even (if you count the chance to flip over another instant/sorcery), remember that flipping over AV/LE/CF itself is a crapshoot.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on [MH1] Modern Horizons Discussion Thread
    Pretty sure I can delete posts if I want to park at 6666.

    On second thought, Urza is better than I initially imagined. He costs deceptively less than 4 mana since his Construct at least pays for U, kind of like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria or Wilderness Reclamation. His Unexpected Results is overcosted, but more of utility/flood prevention like Tasigur, the Golden Fang than something you want to gun for every game.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on [MH1] Modern Horizons Discussion Thread
    Quote from Lectrys »

    There are some controversial cards and/or some cards I think have promise in at least one deck that you didn't cover above; what do you think about them?

    Alright, since you asked nicely:
    - Hexdrinker: this sort of mana sink card never does well. Figure of Destiny, Student of Warfare, Warden of the First Tree, Kessig Prowler...the irony is that it gains protection from instants, but its ability must be activated at sorcery speed.
    - Splicer's Skill: hardcasting it is nothing special. Splicing it is quite expensive. Even if your deck is nothing but 1-mana instants or sorceries, you can't splice this until turn 5.
    - Winds of Abandon: about as good as Declaration in Stone. 2 mana, sorcery, with drawback.
    - Wing Shards: good players play spells during their second main phase (corollary: good players don't play prowess decks trollface ) so you can expect to kill one attacker with this.
    - Mirrodin Besieged: harder-to-kill alternative to Sai (Saheeli is primarily used in Phoenix so she doesn't count). Playable for this reason, but not spectacular - Sai is a SB card.
    - Winter's Rest: Narcolepsy.
    - Crypt Rats: what are you hoping to accomplish with this card? If you want to Wrath, play wraths.
    - Dead of Winter: unlike On Thin Ice it needs more than one snow land to be good. I think the possibility of maybe having it be a Damnation/Languish for one mana cheaper isn't worth the deckbuilding constraint.
    - First-Sphere Gargantua: this is a payoff for looting that doesn't require you to jump through hoops like reanimating another creature or playing two creatures in one turn - you just pay mana for it (gasp!) instead. Unfortunately I think that makes it a bit too fair.
    - Nether Spirit: not worth the deckbuilding constraint. You almost certainly have other creatures in your deck, yes, even the fair decks (Snapcaster Mage).
    - Ransack the Lab: too expensive at 2 mana.
    - Sling-Gang Lieutenant: seems pretty expensive, and we don't have Goblin Lackey to make that a non-issue. The good Goblin deck in Modern has a curve that stops at 2.
    - Shatter Assumptions: doesn't seem great against Tron. It's not cheap enough to rip out their land search cards, so they will have Tron, and once they do they are but a topdeck away from getting back into the game after you shatter their assumptions.
    - Yawgmoth, Thran Physician: Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet seems better at 4. Helps you when you're behind, etc.
    - Aria of Flame: Guttersnipe.
    - Geomancer's Gambit: this is like Field of Ruin in spell form, except it is not an instant. Pass.
    - Goblin Engineer: PV had a rather amusing Modern Horizons review article which could just have been titled "First Impressions of Goblin Engineer". He does make very convincing arguments for the card. It's a tough call, but I think it's more trouble than it's worth. For the sake of a balanced view I'll list out what I don't like about Engineer:
    1) The reanimation ability requires sacrificing an artifact, marring the Stoneforge Mystic comparison. Sometimes the artifact you sacrifice is going to be the weak link that lets your opponent dismantle your lock.
    2) It introduces vulnerability to the deck. Yes, you can get back your Bridge through other ways if they kill your Engineer, but that takes time and your opponent can mount an attack while you're defenseless.
    3) Abrade answers Engineer if you draw it and your other lock pieces if you don't.
    - Igneous Elemental: this is not playable even if it always cost 2RR and didn't have the land check.
    - Magmatic Sinkhole: Harvest Pyre, but better. It kills both Crackling Drake and Gurmag Angler while Flame Slash or Roast would miss one of the two, and PWs are no longer safe if they go for the + (well, other than every Karn). Playable in fair UR decks as complementary removal to Bolt.
    - Ore-Scale Guardian: Q: How much does this need to be reduced by for it to be a good deal? A: Maybe four. Q: Can you get that many lands into your graveyard quick enough? A: Probably not. Even if you crack fetches from turn 1-3 you still need one more land through some other means.
    - Tectonic Reformation: Doesn't seem much better than Molten Vortex, which makes lands in your hand have R: Shock instead of R: draw 1.
    - Throes of Chaos: 4 mana for a random spell that costs less than 4 mana sounds like a bad deal.
    - Ayula's Influence: hampered by its mana cost. In Life from the Loam decks you want red on turn 1 for Looting to dump lands and Loam in your graveyard. R on turn 1 into RG on turn 2 (for Wrenn/Loam) into RRR on turn 3 for Seismic Assault is easily achievable. If turn 3 is Ayula's Influence, it's technically still doable, but your mana base will be heavier on basic Forests so you might miss those T1 Lootings more often.
    - Genesis: too expensive.
    - Llanowar Tribe: trite, but dies to Bolt. If you are playing some kind of devotion deck with Leyline of Vitality then it just flips the bird to Bolt, but that seems a little inconsistent, even with the London mulligan.
    - Regrowth: probably not good enough. The cards that dump themselves in the graveyard after use are instants and sorceries, and we have Snapcaster Mage to get those back.
    - Wall of Blossoms: the OG Wall of Omens, and about as good in the current meta (which is to say, not very). There are decks that want it - Astral Drift is one of them - but I'm not a believer in those decks.
    - Weather the Storm: this is not a counter to Storm, they will have enough resources to Grapeshot a second and then third time on the same turn. It is a counter to Burn about as much as Nourish is, i.e. if you're willing to play a card that only counters Burn and is dead in all other matchups, it's there.
    - Winding Way: not good, I posted about this already.
    - Collected Conjuring: sorcery only kills it. The fun things like Bolts and rituals are instants.
    - Ruination Rioter: Like Ore-Scale Guardian, I ask "how much damage does this need to do?" My answer is probably 3; Viashino Pyromancer is unplayable at 2 and player/PW only. That's one less than Guardian, but still a lot of fetches that need to be cracked. Don't play this in a Loam deck of any kind; the whole point of Loam is to get lands out of your graveyard.
    - Altar of Dementia: As a Johnny I really like this card since it not only sacs for free but also kills them directly, unlike Viscera Seer/Carrion Feeder/Greater Gargadon. Before this, there was Blasting Station, which was 1 mana too expensive. The Spike in me says that they're never going to print a creature that can be sacced infinitely by itself, so your combo is going to involve at least three pieces (Altar, recurring dude, enabler for recurring dude), one of which can't be grabbed with Collected Company.
    - Fountain of Ichor: just play a manland instead.
    - Cave of Temptation: see Fountain of Ichor.
    - Frostwalk Bastion: oh hey, a manland. Unfortunately, it doesn't tap for colored mana, and Field of Ruin isn't worth cutting for it.
    - Prismatic Vista: not playable. In mono-color you shouldn't be playing fetches. In 2-color, use the on-color fetches. If you need more, the question is whether you would rather be able to fetch main color basic + shockland (with an off-color fetch) or main color basic + secondary color basic (with Vista), and I think you'll find the answer to be the former. In 3-color, use fetches in every combination of your colors instead.
    - Cloudshredder Sliver: pseudo Heritage Druid + Nettle Sentinel combo when paired with Gemhide Sliver or Manaweft Sliver. The main difference is that each piece is more expensive than the Elves, and multiple Cloudshredders don't stack like multiple Sentinels.
    - Dregscape Sliver: feels too defensive. You either have to wait for your Slivers to die, or go through the trouble of discarding them yourself. If you're playing the 16 rainbow land mana base, you can't play Looting, and Ancient Ziggurat won't pay for unearth.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on [MH1] Modern Horizons Discussion Thread
    I only do these for Standard sets. It's only been one month after War of the Spark and while some winners and losers are emerging (Blast Zone, Karn, blue PWs good, Neoform not good) let's not get too hasty on those, shall we?

    On Horizons itself, it's a nostalgia set so a lot of cards are going to be subject to rose tinted glasses. Cards that were once good in Standard, Extended, or the early days of Legacy might not cut it in current Modern.
    - Giver of Runes
    - On Thin Ice. Path is still the boss, but this is an acceptable 5th removal spell in UW.
    - Serra the Benevolent
    - Force of Negation
    - Carrion Feeder
    - Mind Rake. Making yourself discard turns on Ensnaring Bridge faster.
    - Plague Engineer
    - Unearth
    - Firebolt. Its usefulness is tempered somewhat by the fact that Snapcaster Mage exists.
    - Lava Dart, but only for prowess decks.
    - Pillage. This card can be hard to cast in Ponza as it plays upwards of six basic Forests, so it's not the automatic upgrade that everyone seems to think it is (Q: why is Ponza playing Stone Rain when Molten Rain exists?) It is, however, a good SB card that hits two types of decks, in the same vein as Abrade or Damping Sphere.
    - Shenanigans, aka "can't Cage this" and "how does it feel to draw 2 mana Vindicates for the rest of the game"
    - Collector Ouphe
    - Crashing Footfalls. I'm probably too hopeful on this one.
    - Force of Vigor
    - Scale Up
    - Eladamri's Call
    - Kaya's Guile. Shame about the color combination though.
    - Wrenn and Six. Loam has some problems (bad vs combo and persistent grave hate) but I believe they are solvable. I don't think this card is great in non-Loam midrange decks though.
    - Scrapyard Recombiner
    - Cycling lands
    - Horizon Canopy-type lands
    - Hall of Heliod's Generosity
    - Astral Drift. If you're looking to abuse ETBs, Restoration Angel takes up fewer deck slots (you don't need to play cyclers with it) and provides immediate board presence. Snapcaster Mage + Restoration Angel was once a legitimate strategy in 2012 Modern, and even that seems better than Eternal Witness + Astral Drift + a bunch of other cyclers. Also relevant: damage on the stack doesn't exist any more.
    - Ranger-Captain of Eos. Controversial opinion! Yes, Ranger of Eos was a playable card. What kind of stuff has Ranger traditionally been used to get?
    Death's Shadows
    Serra Ascendant + Martyr of Sands
    Heritage Druid + Nettle Sentinel
    Champion of the Parish + Norin the Wary (I know, I play weird decks)
    Two things stand out here:
    1) Most 1-drops suck on turn 5 (4 with acceleration) so Ranger usually ends up getting a 2-card combo. Ranger-Captain only gets one guy at a time.
    2) Ranger is easily splashable with only one white in its cost. Ranger-Captain has two white. I don't want to try fitting this into a DS deck.
    - Vesperlark
    - Archmage's Charm. What makes Cryptic Command so good is that it covers all your bases. If your opponent is going to attack, you tap his creatures before combat and draw a card. If your opponent casts a spell, you counter it and draw a card. Rarely will your opponent not do either of the above unless the game is already out of his reach, but you're OK with that anyway; your deck is set up to win a long game, so both players draw-going benefits you. Archmage's Charm doesn't cover you when your opponent attacks.
    - Echo of Eons
    - Fact or Fiction
    - Marit Lage's Slumber
    - Prohibit. This card never trades up on mana, and is quite bad on the draw when they start casting 3s and you're on 2 lands (Spell Snare is good because it lets you fight back from behind). It's a bit like Spellstutter Sprite in that sense, but Spellstutter has Bitterblossom (and isn't great even with it). Prohibit has...Baral? Anyway, it's probably not a good idea to go deep on counterspells when one of the tier 1 decks plays Cavern of Souls.
    - Tribute Mage
    - Urza, Lord High Artificer. He's not good when you're behind, and the Unexpected Results ability is at odds with your deck probably consisting of a lot of 0-mana artifacts.
    - Cabal Therapist
    - Force of Despair. There's multiple ways to look at this card; if you see it as a Wrath, you need to draw it before they start dumping their hand. If you see it as Cradle to Grave, whatever you're killing had better be worth 2-for-1ing yourself. It's quite a headache for Storm since it answers both Baral, Chief of Compliance and Empty the Warrens.
    - Goblin Matron. No Goblin Ringleader Frown
    - Seasoned Pyromancer. As a discard outlet it's nothing spectacular, you could have discarded one or two turns ago with Looting/Reunion. In theory fair black decks that play discard should want it, since discard gets worse as the game drags on so you'll have useless spells to pitch, and if you trade your discard spells for cards in the opponent's hand and end up hellbent then there's no drawback. The problematic scenario is when you're holding removal in your hand and want to advance your board with Pyromancer - if you cast it and discard your removal, you could be left without an answer in the two draws it grants you.
    - Nimble Mongoose. The LD tools that Legacy has (Wasteland, Stifle) aren't in Modern, and without them it's hard to make Mongoose a 3/3 and keep your opponent from doing stuff at the same time.
    - Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis. This is another one of those cards that does nothing when you're behind, "behind" being defined as "not having at least two creatures on the field".
    - Ice-Fang Coatl
    - Kess, Dissident Mage. This was the card that demonstrated the problem with foil-only printings in paper before Nexus of Fate. Once upon a time it was played in Legacy, then Deathrite Shaman got banned and that was the end of it.
    - Unsettled Mariner. Humans and Spirits already have plenty of ways to protect their creatures, a lot of which are on the "hard" side (Kitesail Freebooter, Meddling Mage, Drogskol Captain, Kira, Great Glass-Spinner, Spell Queller) than the "soft" side (Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Mausoleum Wanderer). Kira is better than Kopala, Warden of Waves in Merfolk, and Monastery Siege is unplayable if these are any indication. More importantly, the soft counters stop combo decks from going off and not just their wincons - if you don't stop them from going off, they're just going to draw their Echoing Truth, bounce your hatebear, then kill you.
    - Flusterstorm. This is only great in counter wars or against Storm. Dispel is a harder counter and Spell Pierce hits more things.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on [MH1] Modern Horizons Discussion Thread
    I take that back, Recruit the Worthy is unworthy of further consideration.

    The math on Winding Way doesn't look great. If you generously assume your deck has 30 creatures, you can expect 2 creatures off Winding Way. Assuming they're both 1-drops and you cast them both, you've just spent a total of 4 mana to get two 1-drops into play. Collected Company costs 4 mana too, but is instant, looks 2 cards deeper, and can hit 2- or 3-drops.
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on [MH1] Modern Horizons Discussion Thread
    Recruit the Worthy goes infinite with Intruder Alarm and enough creatures. It's cheaper than Sprout Swarm and in the same colors as the other combo piece (Steward of Solidarity).

    Putrid Goblin goes infinite with the usual suspects: Vizier of Remedies, Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit. Also, in a tribal Goblin deck (they just got Goblin Matron), it makes infinite red mana with Skirk Prospector and Metallic Mimic.

    Ransack the Lab is a black Strategic Planning. I know Grishoalbrand and Bridgevine were once desperate enough to play Discovery//Dispersal and Corpse Churn respectively, so it's an option for them. How about Bubble Hulk, then?
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on [Primer] Assault Loam
    My build. Some comments:
    • The curve tops out at 3, so Copperline Gorge makes the cut over Rootbound Crag. If you're going up to 4 (for BBE) then Crag is better.
    • 25 lands seems like a lot, but 4 of those are Forgotten Cave which should be counted as a spell instead. Having that many lands also keeps you on the safe side of not missing land drops after casting Magmatic Insight.
    • Soul-Scar Mage and Young Pyromancer are there because you're going to be casting a lot of Loams and Jabs, and Looting and Insight draw cards. T2 Wrenn will pump a T1 Mage and also starts throwing out Scars. Even if Wrenn can't kill their guy, the damage is permanent.
    • Rabblemaster ends the game quickly on a clear board (which is pretty easy to accomplish once you get Assault+Loam going). It's also your fastest clock against combo.
    • Straight RG is atrocious against combo. You can splash black for discard, but T1 discard into T2 Wrenn into T3 Assault is extremely impractical. The alternative is to slam Damping Sphere or Eidolon of the Great Revel in your SB and cut Jabs for those in combo matchups.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on [MH1] Modern Horizons Discussion Thread
    It's not like Humans is low on ways to stop opposing removal. They have Thalia, Freebooter and Meddling Mage, do they really need a fourth? Especially one that does nothing against combo decks, unlike their first three?
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on Tenshi's Grinding Station Combo
    Worth pointing out that you can also mill yourself with Grinding Station to win with Mirrodin Besieged's Phyrexia mode.

    I don't think Tribute Mage can replace Whir of Invention.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on [MH1] Modern Horizons Discussion Thread
    Thalia already taxes removal spells by 1 mana. I don't think Unsettled Mariner is going to see any play.
    Posted in: Modern
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