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  • published the article Should we Reprint Counterspell? (Standard/Modern related)

    The following few quotes and responses have gotten me a little more interested than normal about how Blue stands as a color compared to the other colors. I mostly want to know if people think I'm off my rocker with my comments, I don't want to point fingers at anyone saying they're dumb or something, I'm only interested in my own thought process. In a Word.Doc it's under 3 pages without the coding for format.

     

    Context: Piledriver was spoiled recently, and some people were curious about a Counterspell reprint since other colors are getting some cool stuff. My thoughts began as Thoughtseize + Counterspell > Piledriver + Rabblemaster and it's not close. Other people seem to disagree, so my mostly complete thoughts are following.

     

    I hope you enjoy my thoughts, I am looking for any feedback if you think I'm crazy or right on the money or whatever.

     

    Quote from Empathogen »
    Read as: it's okay for Red to get good toys, but not Blue.

    Blue is, at best, a support color right now.
    Even if they *did* print CS here, Blue is otherwise very weak and conditional.
    UB would be strong until BfZ, but so would mono-R (as always)...

    Blue DOES get toys! Blue is awesome!! Support color? It's currently the main color of a tier one deck! How can you call it support? And even then, blue as support still does the heavy lifting; gets you card advantage, disrupts your opponent with counters and tempo, finds your threats and answers. Support? Fine, but I've seen supports carry games from dark forgotten rooms. Support often deserves the credit where the threat color takes credit. If you think "support" is an insulting description then I think you misunderstand what they do. Blue (support) makes it so you can win with a Grizzly Bears. No other color can do that in as many metas as Blue. None. Asking for them to get "more toys" is nuts to me, and I play Esper Dragons! We don't need it to be a big player in standard.
    Quote from Empathogen »
    Blue has traditionally been an oppressively good color with cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Snapcaster Mage (which should be red...), Gitaxian Probe, Delver of Secrets, Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise, Ætherling, Phantasmal Image, Spreading Seas, Consecrated Sphinx and Sphinx's Revelation.  On the other hand we have Thundermaw Hellkite & Young Pyromancer...  Wizards has [i]explicitly[/i] said they are trying to improve red so I think getting some goodies is just fine.
    Seriously?
    You're going to complain about Red's power level
    in a thread re-introducing Goblin Piledriver to MtG?
    *majorfacepalm*

    There are many times in magic where an ability is either just amazingly powerful if it works or is just not good enough to see play. Land Destruction is one of these. At 3mana destroy a land is really good, it's small enough to allow you to further your own game plan, happens early enough to be a strategy, and hinders the crap out of your opponent. There are other examples of this in magic as well, but they are often not as iconic as LD. Alhammarret's Archive is one, Jace's Sanctum is another; could you imagine if these cost just 3 and 1U respectively? They'd be awesome cards! What if Day's Undoing had cost 1U? You can't just ask for cheaper versions of things.

    Speaking of Day's Undoing, is that not a big deal toy for Blue? The card is going to save plenty of games. And it's a support card.

    Piledriver is a great card, but it won't just overrule decks the same way "UU: No" would. This is why it costing so little is okay. Counterspell needs to cost 3 or be conditional at 2 because there are so few things that beat it.

    I do concede that Thoughtseize does "beat" Counterspell, but that card also aids CS in huge ways. So I'm iffy about that argument because it also contributes to CS's power.

    Quote from Nath »
    But you have to make it while is in the pile, you have to choose if you counter something or not, you can't deal with a resolved creature, planeswalker, permanent with counterspell, also  cavern of souls, abrupt decay, inquisition... in the other hand abrupt decay can deal with major part of the modern permanents, and cant be countered... why abrupt decay yes but counterspell no?  

    I dont understant why everything can be pushed but not counterspells...
    Counterspell is better because it's more universal. Just like some things have protection from Green and Black or Hexproof and Shroud (for Decay's example), some things can't be countered. Both have things that get past them. Now lets go further. 3CMC or less? Counterspell hits everything and doesn't care, it's universal in that regard. What if your opponent plays Hordeling Outburst (probably not Modern playable, but bare with me)? Are you going to Decay 1 token? Not likely, but you can counter it. What if your opponent burns you for your last bit of life? You can't Decay that but you can counter it.

    Sometimes spells make more than one thing that you have to remove. Decay is really good and I think we all agree it's a pushed spell, but it doesn't totally save you from spells that make more than one target. Removal in general seems to be moving towards an Ultimate Price or [other conditional removal] sort of theme, counters are still generally universal the way removal once was. Scorn hits everything, Dissolve hits everything, Negate hits everything non-creature, etc. We have a few things that work similarly to current removal Neutralizing Blast (sees no play) and Disdainful Stroke (sideboard at best), but you can see how those are treated. Compare Flesh to Dust (standard's current common level removal) to Contradict (Standard's current common level counter); draw a card is way better, and I already explained why Contradict will be more universal.

    Counterspell's drawback is that you need it right then and there with the mana to cast it. So when UU is all you need it's much easier to hold that mana and cast other spells that aid Blue in it's card advantage quest.
    Quote from testthewest »
    Well, mono red is a thing is most format, mono blue is mostly not. Red is one of the srongest colors, and your perception is quite selective, if you don't mention Lightning Bolt, which is the single card with the biggest impact on modern. (You could even argue most of Snapys power comes from flashbacking a Bolt.
    Blue's strenght is more a myth from the old times, when it actually was the best color by far. But today it is not, especially if you see the banned cards for what they are: Meaningless (Jace, the Mind Sculptor, soon also Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise).

    In the end I want no color to be the best, but instead each have their flavor. Right now Blue's flavor is flashbacking a red card. Compare that to Red (burning and charging the enemy down), Black (discarding and attritioning the enemy down), green (2 mana 5/6 beats) or white (uh...well the "sideboard color"). Blue's flavor should be being the control side, being able to say "no". If they print Counterspell, they can ban Snapcaster, if they print Force of Will, they can ban Delver. And blue would be more what is supposed to be.

    Yes, RDW is usually a thing, it's not absolutely oppressive because it's not a challenge for any deck to make them stumble enough to lose. I'm not saying RDW is easy to beat, it just has plenty of poor matches like any other deck.

    You make a case for Lightning Bolt, but do you remember the cycle that card was printed as a part of? Dark Ritual, Ancestral Recall, Giant Growth, and Healing Salve. Two of those are so powerful they couldn't keep printing them. Sure, reference to old cards, but so is Lightning Bolt. Bolt was lucky enough to hit that middle road for power level.

    Cruise, Dig and Jace getting banned is not a measure of them being meaningless, it's a measure of how easy it is to print cards that are way to powerful because of those effects. They slowed Recall to needing a bunch of spells in your yard and it was still better than Bolt. So much so they had to ban it. I don't know how people think Red is so strong compared to Blue, it looks like any competitive cards printed in Blue beat Red then get banned because they were so good.

    This again goes towards "supporting colors are incredibly powerful". Green has gotten a ton of love recently, but it's not in the form of 10/10s with resilience. It's because they can create card advantage with Den Protector and Raptor, they can remove your key artifact or enchantment, they can fight with Deathtouch to remove a key creature. They are so good because they have support stapled onto things with ~3 power. Support wins games, and blue does that best. Many of those cards are banned, Ponder, Preordain, etc. Serum Visions is like $10 and is a common. These cards aren't just random bannings, they are support cards that get banned because they make decks run like a finely tuned watch.

    Blue's "flavor" is flashing back Red cards because everything else they do is so good it's banned!

    That's all just testament to how strong support is and how easy it is to make support too strong, so when cards are printed at low power or high cost I just remember that "Ponder is too powerful for Modern".

    Now consider that when Blue does get aggro cards (Phantasmal Bear, Delver of Secrets) people freak out and say "that's not in Blue's color pie! They're not Red!". Well... Support cards are too strong for Modern so they need something that can win a game.

    Posted in: Should we Reprint Counterspell? (Standard/Modern related)
  • published the article Standard List (Zombie Tempo)
    New deck! Yay, always a fun time to be playing Magic when you have new cards in a new meta.

    Zombies BU tempo; I had one loss in a five round swiss and won with two percent in tie breaks.



    I basically just took down the main board from Trey in the Zombie thread and did some things with the sideboard to fit my meta (and what I had).

    Four Unsummons is not a joke. This card tore up decks that were looking to abuse Undying aggro. Obviously I already have Vapor Snags, but I remember reading somewhere (about Pyromancer Ascension decks) that the redundancy of Ponder and Preordain made the deck function very well; I thought I'd try it here, and I think it worked beautifully in the right match ups. In fact, I might have lost my last round because I didn't board them in.

    The large choices in removal were important from time to time because I faced one deck that used some artifact dudes. Still deciding on the Gophers or the Doom Blades MB.

    Reapers in the board! I like lords... also they beat the crap out of Undying guys. Five mana gets you a Doom Blade and a 2/2 Zombie! If they have Undying, then they paid to much for a bad creature!

    Metamorph was to fight Swords... somehow? I copied a Feast and Famine one game with little success... still considering those.

    Right off the bat I'm going to take out the Ratchet Bombs, no one plays WB tokens in my area. I'll probably fill that roll with some more dudes since I found myself wanting them in a few matches.

    Very fun deck. I'll be playing it for quite awhile I hope.
    Posted in: Standard List (Zombie Tempo)
  • published the article Standard List (Jund Wolf Run)


    The deck is pretty straight forward, you just play more stuff than they have answers for.

    Certain threats are better against certain decks so you often need to lead appropriately. Against control I drop Primeval
    Adding the 4 Blackcleave Cliffs to the board really changes the way the deck functions vs aggro. They speed up the deck and give my removal and Crusaders more consistency. I pull out 4 Forests which is obviously a problem for the Green focus, fortunately I'm also removing 8 mid-late game Green plays for 4 early game Black and 4 mid-late game Artifact plays. It smooths out the mana in either instance.

    The reason I do not have Artifacts MB is because I feel I do really well without them in game one; when game two rolls around and I board them in, they will not have Artifact hate. This way I can keep them boarding every game and not be sure what my angle is.

    I don't run Inkmoth Nexus, the deck's mana base cannot handle it. Naya can because they have an extra Dual Land (Razorverge Thicket).

    Played a Standard last night with the list, went 6-0 against the 3 control decks I played and 0-2 against the one Elf Ball deck I wasn't prepared for (still a legit loss though).
    Posted in: Standard List (Jund Wolf Run)