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»ACP    33376

It's pretty well known that MTG is much stronger in this department than YGO is. If you read an awesome article, share it with everyone else. This can either be done by linking to the URL of the article, copy/pasting its text, or both.

 

Regarding the posting of paid copyrighted content, I'm implementing an official "don't ask, don't tell" policy. If you ask for someone to copy/paste a copyrighted article, I will ban you. If you copy/paste an article and mention in that very same post that you are breaking the law by doing so, I will ban you. However, if you copy/paste an article and don't link back to its source, I will not run a basic google search and make sure that you did not break any laws. I am simply too lazy to do that. You are liable for what you post, not DGz. If you don't understand what any of this means then you're probably better off not posting anything.

 

I have heard rumors that users such as Allenpennington, Vyse the Legend, and 2 Strainz are able and willing to send premium articles to users who request them via PM. Let me assure you that those rumors are definitely false and they would never do something that amoral.

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»ACP    33376

I'll start off with a classic that doesn't get as much press as some of the earlier work of Mike Flores for example. "Everything is a Time Walk" http://www.angelfire.com/games3/mtgpages/magic/theories/timewalk.html

 

Here's a more recent one that I really loved. Virtually any article by PV is the nuts. http://www.channelfireball.com/articles/pvs-playhouse-being-results-oriented/

 

Keep in mind that you can use this thread to discuss articles that others have posted.

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»ACP    33376

Eric Froelich's PT t4 tournament report was pretty big for me. I find his writing to be in the most competitive mind set of any other writer, which I respond to a lot better as a reader.

 

http://www.channelfireball.com/home/tournament-report-pro-tour-gatecrash-top-4-part-1/

I really liked that article, particularly the part about playtesting. That guy is a master.

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+rei+    34403

 
I have heard rumors that users such as Allenpennington

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»ACP    33376

Yeah I don't really know who he is; I'm just doing my job to dispel these horribly inaccurate rumors.

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POLLUTEDxDELTA    1889

Dug up this article by Conley Woods. There is an itch in the back of my mind that someone else wrote a similar one recently, but I can't remember.

 

Anyways, article is about balancing netdecking vs brewing decks. I still think about it a lot, because I have a complex that "I can solve every format if I build this one deck a certain way blah blah blah Mana Leak blah blah blah". I learned I wasted a lot of my Yugioh career trying to be creative, instead of just sucking it up and playing to win, not for extra creativity points.

 

http://www.channelfireball.com/articles/breaking-through-brew-adapt-evolve/

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IamPro    13
Hope this helps some ppl

[spoiler]
Autumn Leaves Revisited
by Todd Anderson


The leaves will fall, and so will you.
When you do, bury me under them too.

This past weekend, I was a knot on a log. I just stayed home and scarfed down pizza while I watched the coverage of Pro Tour Dragon's Maze. I watched many of my friends prosper and others falter. Although I did the same thing for Pro Tour Gatecrash, I realized that something was different this time. All of my friends had qualified for the Pro Tour, but I was stuck at home doing nothing.

And that realization began to sting.

Every mistake I saw on camera became a twist of the knife. Every bit of the commentary began to curdle in my stomach. My shouts of corrections turned to ashes in my mouth, so I decided to take Kali out to dinner.

The next morning, Kali left home to go on a work-related trip to Texas. I sat at home and watched the Top 8 of the Pro Tour, but at that point I just felt hollow. I know that I've been slacking lately, and that's what hurts the most. I haven't really put in the work, and I haven't done well as a result. You can't expect to get anything for free in this life, and I'm starting to learn that the hard way.

There is a PTQ this weekend right here in Roanoke. I'm going to start here and hopefully use this momentum to carry myself forward in my Magic career. I haven't been qualified for a Pro Tour since Barcelona last year, and I aim to change that quickly. I've missed out on a lot of opportunities due to laziness, apathy, whatever you want to call it. I just haven't felt it.

It may be that I've grown tired of the grind. It may be that I've "lost the fire," but I don't really think that's the case. I want to win just as badly as I ever have, but I haven't had the motivation to do anything about it. Last weekend really lit a fire under my ass, and I've been putting in some work on a few different decks that I think show some promise.

The Reinvention of Mythic

Seconds pass, we'll make it through.
Eventually we all go home.

For most of you, the term "mythic" means rare. Very rare. Like more rare than most rares. You think of Jace, the Mind Sculptor. You think of Geist of Saint Traft. You may even think of Chandra Ablaze and chuckle to yourself. But for me, mythic means mythic. It means big. It means fast. It means...expensive.

If you've been around the game for the last four years or so, you may have run into this little number by Zvi Mowshowitz:

Mythic
Featured by Zvi Mowshowitz on 2010-02-28 (std)
As written about in http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/standard/18852_Feature_Article_Mythic_Origins.html
Print this deck!
Maindeck:

Creatures
4 Baneslayer Angel
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Lotus Cobra
4 Noble Hierarch
2 Rampaging Baloths
4 Rhox War Monk
1 Thornling

Enchantments
3 Finest Hour

Legendary Creatures
3 Rafiq of the Many


Basic Lands
6 Forest
2 Island
1 Plains

Lands
4 Celestial Colonnade
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Sejiri Steppe
3 Stirring Wildwood
2 Sunpetal Grove
4 Verdant Catacombs
Sideboard:

2 Admonition Angel
4 Mind Control
3 Bant Charm
3 Negate
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Day of Judgment
Stats:
Average mana: 1.73
Average creature mana cost: 2.97
Average creature power: 2.43
Average creature toughness: 2.70

Deck Composition:
Basic Lands: 15.00%
Creatures: 45.00%
Enchantments: 5.00%
Lands: 30.00%
Legendary Creatures: 5.00%


This is a deck that some people took to Pro Tour San Diego and did pretty well with, but it ultimately evolved into a complete monster. The original list was created before the release of Rise of Eldrazi, and that set added a few goodies to the mix and gave this guy a bit of a boost:


Now, I know what you're thinking. How could a deck featuring those two cards function, let alone be fast enough to compete? Well, it occasionally got run over by the aggressive decks, but it dominated a room full of control and midrange. It was a little slow at times, but powerful mana accelerants added a lot to the deck's overwhelming success. The finished product:

Mythic Conscription
A deck, by Tom Raney
7th place at a tournament in Santa Clara, California, United States on 2010-05-09
Print this deck!
Maindeck:

Creatures
4 Baneslayer Angel
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Dauntless Escort
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Lotus Cobra
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Sovereigns of Lost Alara

Planeswalkers
2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Tribal Enchantments
2 Eldrazi Conscription


Basic Lands
5 Forest
2 Island
1 Mountain
2 Plains

Lands
2 Arid Mesa
4 Celestial Colonnade
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Sejiri Steppe
1 Stirring Wildwood
3 Verdant Catacombs
Sideboard:

2 Basilisk Collar
4 Cunning Sparkmage
2 Stoneforge Mystic
2 Oblivion Ring
1 Deprive
4 Negate
Stats:
Average mana: 2.00
Average creature mana cost: 3.00
Average creature power: 2.29
Average creature toughness: 2.57

Deck Composition:
Basic Lands: 16.67%
Creatures: 46.67%
Lands: 25.00%
Planeswalkers: 8.33%
Tribal Enchantments: 3.33%


I'm telling you about these two decks to set up to reveal the deck I've been working on in Standard. I must say that it is quite the doozy, but I hope you like it. Before we get down to brass tacks, I want to explain exactly what led me to this point.

For starters, I don't like G/B/W Reanimator. I'll be honestany deck that relies on the graveyard too much usually ends with me biting the dust. Rest in Peace and Ground Seal are quite problematic, and this often leads to a multitude of dead cards in your hand.

Don't get me wrongI think G/B/W Reanimator is quite good. The numbers don't lie. It is probably the most consistent and powerful deck in Standard, and you rarely see a Top 8 without at least one copy. You can also see how good it is at closing out a tournament. While Jund and the aggressive decks have the tools to keep this monstrosity in check on occasion, there are a lot of times when traditional disruption just doesn't do it. They start a chain of Acidic Slimes or ramp out their Thragtusks into Angel of Serenity and just stop you in your tracks.

G/B/W Reanimator is very consistent.

I should probably like the deck, but I just don't. It might be because my history with decks like Dredge and Reanimator, as losing to a single hate card just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. There are usually ways around the hate cards in question, but the hoops you have to jump through aren't always worth it.

But I want to do powerful things.

So that was my mission. I wanted to build a deck that takes advantage of midrange decks by exploiting their severe lack of spot removal and punishing them for it as much as possible. There are many ways to do it, but the trick is finding the right combination of creatures to push things over the edge in your favor. I'm not positive I've done that quite yet, but I'm working on it! Hopefully by Saturday I'll have all the kinks worked out.

Mythic Revisited

Prime Speaker Bant
Featured by Todd Anderson on 2013-05-19 ()
As written about in http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/26198.html
Print this deck!
Maindeck:

Creatures
3 Angel of Serenity
4 Arbor Elf
4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
4 Centaur Healer
1 Progenitor Mimic
4 Restoration Angel
4 Somberwald Sage
4 Thragtusk
4 Voice of Resurgence

Legendary Creatures
3 Prime Speaker Zegana


Basic Lands
4 Forest

Lands
4 Breeding Pool
2 Cavern of Souls
1 Glacial Fortress
4 Hallowed Fountain
3 Hinterland Harbor
3 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
Sideboard:

4 Acidic Slime
3 Aetherling
3 Clone
1 Progenitor Mimic
3 Ground Seal
1 Cavern of Souls
Stats:
Average mana: 2.02
Average creature mana cost: 3.46
Average creature power: 2.23
Average creature toughness: 2.31

Deck Composition:
Basic Lands: 6.67%
Creatures: 53.33%
Lands: 35.00%
Legendary Creatures: 5.00%


Meat and Potatoes

Throughout the rise and fall, everything, everything changes.

My favorite part of this deck is the fact that you actually have an early-game plan against the aggressive decks.


Not too many of them outside of Mono-Red Aggro have begun to play Pillar of Flame, which makes a lot of your creatures much better. For example, it is much worse for you when your opponent can cast Pillar of Flame on your Somberwald Sage and play an additional creature during that turn. That scenario is much less likely when everyone is playing Searing Spear instead. And you can add to this the fact that a lot of the aggressive decks (like Naya Blitz) play close to no removal at all.

With such a low number of Pillar of Flames running around, Voice of Resurgence is especially potent. It is amazing against both aggressive and control decks and gives you something to do with you early mana if you don't have a three-drop to cast. It protects a lot of your creatures from counterspells, protects your board from Supreme Verdict, and just punishes the opponent for being tricky with things like Azorius Charm.

Traditional removal is pretty mediocre against Voice of Resurgence, which is why I like it so much in the deck. The rest of your early drops are quite vulnerable, so it is nice to have protection that makes their Searing Spears a lot worse. The fact that Voice isn't a Human is just a sweet bonus, as that means you can block Stromkirk Noble.

Centaur Healer might be worse than Loxodon Smiter due to all the Searing Spears running around, but I quite like the three-point life swing. If they do end up having a removal spell for it, you aren't left high and dry. Three life points can mean all the difference when facing off against an aggressive deck, and both look pretty miserable against Ghor-Clan Rampager.


vs.



Somberwald Sage is an enabler. It might not be the kind of enabler you're used to seeing. It doesn't wave chocolate cake in your face when you're on a diet or try to get you to go to the bar at midnight when you're attempting to quit drinking. What it does allow you to do is win games.

Pretty easily.

Somberwald Sage is an amazing card in a format where there is very little spot removal. Of course, Jund and a few other decks will be able to kill it easily. Somberwald Sage isn't for those decks. Just like Lotus Cobra in the older versions of Mythic, we need a powerful mana accelerator against the decks that are trying to get to the long game. We need a way to outpace the other green decks and to put the game away before they can get their feet off the ground.

Somberwald Sage is the key to that. In a lot of scenarios, Somberwald Sage acts as a Dark Ritual or better every turn. When you're chaining Prime Speaker Zegana alongside Restoration Angel and Clone, all you want is access to more mana so you can continue to deploy a multitude of pain on your opponent. Without Somberwald Sage, I wouldn't even bother with this deck.

If you have kept up with Brad Nelson over the last six months, you might have seen his "Hoof, There It Is!" deck. This was a predecessor to G/B/W Reanimator in both pre- and post-Dragon's Maze Standard. It focused on using Somberwald Sage to power out fatties like Craterhoof Behemoth and Angel of Serenity, giving the green deck a way to capitalize on the severe lack of spot removal in the format. It wasn't a great card against U/W/R Controlor any deck with sweepersbut it gave you a way to interact with the aggressive decks in a big way before they were able to overwhelm you.

This is important because the increase in ways to "deal" with Thragtusk is pretty bad for midrange green decks. At some point you have to find a new way to attack these decks, and I think Somberwald Sage is in a sweet spot to do it.


The meat of the deck starts pretty late in the game, as you don't want to cast Restoration Angel very early unless you're under a lot of pressure. The "blink" interactions you get with Restoration Angel are just absurd and allow you to do some filthy things. Thragtusk is a great fatty at just the right cost. After playing out Voice of Resurgence and Centaur Healer to slow them down, Thragtusk gives you a way to stabilize. The five-life buffer is such a pain to the aggressive decks, and the two bodies you get for such a low cost make most of their spot removal look embarrassing.

Prime Speaker Zegana and Progenitor Mimic are obviously fighting for the same slot. They're both good. In fact, they're both very good. I've ranged from zero to three on both of them, but I'm still not sure what the correct number is for each. I do know that after board I want access to a lot of Clone effects in some matchups, so having a singleton maindeck and another in the sideboard to go along with Actual Factual Clone is pretty sweet.

In all honesty, Prime Speaker Zegana is one of the best cards you can have against some of your worst matchups. It gives you a lot of extra cards to recover from Supreme Verdict and allows you to simply overpower any other midrange deck. Without Prime Speaker Zegana, I could easily see myself flooding out very regularly, but having access to three makes me feel more comfortable about playing so many raw mana sources.

The rest of the deck is pretty standard. There really isn't all that much to lookOH MY GOD. I can't believe I almost forgot to talk about Angel of Serenity.


But seriously, I'm gonna let you finish, but Angel of Serenity is the best fatty in Standard. Other fatties deserve an honorable mention, but have you actually cast an Angel of Serenity on turn 3 against an aggressive deck? The feeling is...unbelievable. The game basically ends on the spot since they have a tough time dealing with any creature, let alone a 5/6 flier that just destroyed their board.

The Sideboard


While there isn't an interaction with Angel of Serenity and Restoration Angel, there is a lot of room to play with Clone. With Clone, you can copy another creature (like Thragtusk) early in the game and use Restoration Angel to blink it later, copying your Angel of Serenity (or theirs). The Clones give you a lot of play when it comes to big creature matchups. You don't want them against something like Thundermaw Hellkite, but you would love to copy your opponent's Thragtusk.

Clone gives you a way to trump their Angel of Serenity in a way that makes it very hard for them to fight back. In addition to hitting their mana creatures, Clone only costs four mana, and you can still cast it very easily after they've used their Angel of Serenity to exile your mana creatures.

Clone is also a decent answer to Olivia Voldaren, which can wreak havoc on your creature base if you don't draw an Angel of Serenity. Hopefully this won't be an issue, but I could easily see playing a few Selesnya Charms between the maindeck and sideboard to help alleviate this problem. The fact that Selesnya Charm also hits Sire of Insanity is another good argument for its inclusion, and I'll probably try to work it in somewhere over the next few days.


A lot of other midrange decks are going to try to beat you with Acidic Slime. This is actually pretty hard to do considering how many lands and mana-producing creatures you are playing. It is actually much more likely that they'll beat you by killing your mana creatures rather than killing your lands, so I wouldn't really recommend bringing in Acidic Slimes against them since you don't have any spot removal to take care of their Avacyn's Pilgrims.

Acidic Slime is mostly to fight the control decks. While we don't have an Unburial Rites engine that punishes them for using Supreme Verdict, we do have a ton of Clones and Restoration Angels to keep their resources at bay. If you can't find an Acidic Slime early on, it isn't the end of the world. We always have:


While Aetherling hasn't seen a lot of play in Standard since its release, did you watch the Pro Tour coverage? Aetherling was unbeatable! I don't think that is any less true in Standard because there isn't really a great way to interact with it from the control side. Sure, you can use Azorius Charm and various other things to slow it down, you but also have to deal with this Thragtusk, and this Prime Speaker Zegana, and even this Voice of Resurgence.

If you try to be this deck with Azorius Charm, then you're gonna have a bad time. [Editor's Note: +1 for South Park references.]


This card won't necessarily seal the deal against G/B/W Reanimator, but you do get to slow them down tremendously without really hurting yourself too much. The draw effect helps keep the juices flowing, whereas something like Rest in Peace would actually cost you a card. I know that exiling the graveyard one good time is sometimes important, but I would be pretty happy if they spent an entire turn killing my Ground Seal, only to have me untap and use Angel of Serenity to wipe their board.

Ground Seal is a bit narrow, as are most anti-graveyard cards, but I think it is a necessary evil.


The last card I want to talk about is Cavern of Souls, though I know there are already a few of them in the maindeck. While this deck isn't necessarily afraid of counterspells due to Voice of Resurgence, you would still like your creatures to resolve. I know that Cavern of Souls and I have had our differences in the past, but I think I'm quite over them. If people want to try to Rewind all of my stuff, then **** 'em. We got Cavern of Souls.

With so many large, important creatures in the deck, having a way to blank half or more of the opponent's answers is huge. Just resolving a single Prime Speaker Zegana can spell game over in a lot of scenarios against the control decks. Their goal is to grind you out, so you have to make sure your spells have the greatest impact possible.

And don't forget that Cavern of Souls making Aetherling uncounterable is lights out for any sort of U/X deck.

After playing some matches with the deck, I know that this is where I want to be. I want big, powerful effects and a lot of mana acceleration. I don't think Sphinx's Revelation and counterspells are going to have a big enough impact on a format full of aggressive decks and Sire of Insanity alongside Cavern of Souls. I want to be proactive, and I think this is one of the best decks to accomplish those goals.

While the deck is far from perfect, this is the most comfortable I've felt with a new-ish brew in quite some time. Voice of Resurgence has given the Prime Speaker Bant deck new life, and I'm ready to push it even further. More than anything, I want to win the PTQ this weekend. I know that I'm "giving away my technology" or whatever, but I just write about what's on my mind. This week, it was the Pro Tour and Mythic Revisited. Next week? Who knows!

There must be somewhere that cigarettes burn through the night
And the leaves don't abandon their trees to the light
Where the skies always clear
And the summer never ends

Won't you take me there?

Thanks for reading.
[/spoiler]

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»ACP    33376

The Elephant Method on SCG is one of the best MTG articles I have read in awhile. A brief description of what the article is about, "The Elephant is one of Magic's most important and most underused concepts. Rather than thinking of a deck as 60 cards with a fifteen-card sideboard consisting of cards to bring in for various opponents, it's often a superior frame to think about the realistic 60-card deck you want to have against each opponent and then modify the lists as needed in order to get the number of unique cards in all of the lists down to 75. The maindeck is also very important, but it's far less important than people think relative to proper post-sideboard configurations."

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MasterSimon    58

The Elephant Method on SCG is one of the best MTG articles I have read in awhile. A brief description of what the article is about, "The Elephant is one of Magic's most important and most underused concepts. Rather than thinking of a deck as 60 cards with a fifteen-card sideboard consisting of cards to bring in for various opponents, it's often a superior frame to think about the realistic 60-card deck you want to have against each opponent and then modify the lists as needed in order to get the number of unique cards in all of the lists down to 75. The maindeck is also very important, but it's far less important than people think relative to proper post-sideboard configurations."

 

That sounds like what I've been doing with Jund...is it a premium article?

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Lux    1558

[spoiler]

Modern Cheat Sheet
Lax.jpg
ARI LAX
6/25
premium.png
  •  
  •  

 

 

 

Here we go. This is a breakdown of every relevant deck in Modern. Why you should consider playing it, what it is bad against, any thoughts I have about how to build it, and how it matters in the big picture of the format.

Midrange Deathrite-Bob-Liliana-Goyf Decks (Jund, Junk, and In Between)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

Did you read the cards I just listed off? These decks get to play all the good ones. The worst card in your deck is actually better than the second best card in many other decks. If your opponent's deck is not deep in terms of card quality or capable of filtering a massive amount of cards, they will just lose to Thoughtseize. If their cards aren't Tarmogoyf quality, they will just fold to that card. And if you play Deathrite Shaman into Liliana, pretty much everyone folds to your cards.

Weaknesses

If your opponent is playing combo and is prepared for Thoughtseize and Liliana of the Veil, you are behind. Sometimes your cards just beat them, but percentage-wise they will come out ahead. You can sometimes have the right sideboard cards to beat them, but the field of hard to interact with decks is wide enough that you will miss something. Or at least it was before banning Second Sunrise. All I know is that finding room for enough Fulminator Mages, Stony Silences, and Rakdos Charms to cover the whole range of weird combo in this format is a rough task.

Deckbuilding Notes

This maindeck is pretty close to perfect here. Thundermaw Hellkite is a beast, and I would gladly play two. The only card I would question is Abrupt Decay over DismemberMaelstrom Pulse, orTerminate.

Only one Olivia in the sideboard seems incorrect given how powerful that card is, but I can't imagine playing more than two. I'm also not happy with Timely Reinforcements as the sole life gain card. I would be inclined to play a mix of Obstinate Baloths and that card. I would also want room for one more Rakdos Charm, especially if Affinity and Living End are relevant.

The Takeaway

This is your currently dominant midrange deck. Finding an angle to attack it is difficult but not impossible. Powerful engines and Thoughtseize resilient combo are the two that are currently known.

Noble Hierarch-Loxodon Smiter decks (Brian Kibler's Dimples)

 

NayaBrian Kibler 6th Place at Grand Prix on 3/17/2013
Modern
mtgo.png
 
 

 

Incentives to Play This Deck

Domri Rade is a very powerful Magic card. It's possible that in this context it is nearly as powerful asLiliana of the Veil as an early play. Even if it isn't, you have more turn two planeswalkers. You also get to play a lot of the really good Jund cards.

Weaknesses

So…what did we actually gain compared to Jund?

Domri Rade? Didn't we just say that was worse than Liliana of the Veil?

We are sacrificing Liliana of the VeilInquisition of KozilekThoughtseize, and Dark Confidant forKnight of the Reliquary and Domri Rade?

Is this a trade we actually want to make?

Deckbuilding Notes

This is a bit of a Kibler brew here. I don't expect that these numbers are close to precise. There is a lot of room to work with, so if this is your kind of deck, don't be afraid of taking the time to work on it. Notably, this is a pre Voice of Resurgence list. I can only assume that card belongs here and is amazing with Domri Rade.

The Takeaway

I don't expect this deck to be extremely prevalent. This is more of a "be aware this exists." People can and will try to do a bunch of completely fair things to you in this format, and this is just one of them. If you try to play control, their more Standard range of threats can easily take advantage of your tailored suite of answers.

U/W Midrange (DoNothing.dec)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

Snapcaster MageCryptic CommandRestoration AngelMana Leak, etc. Yet another "all my cards are very good" deck. It just so happens that instant speed creatures combo with counterspells,Restoration Angel combos with anything of the type "creature," and Snapcaster Mage combos with anything of the types "instant" and "sorcery."

Cool. I guess we also have synergy.

Weaknesses

That's a lot of conditional one-for-ones. Your opponent's deck is good vs. 3/4s and 3/3s? What about removal? Well, good thing we have these ten relevant cards they are probably prepared to play against anyway. Oh, they are Tron? Well, I guess you maybe have four cards that kind of matter?

Better have the right sideboard. Oh wait, how many decks are there again? The same issue that "Jund" has pops up again. Beating some of the things all of the time is easy, but beating all of the things most of the time is very hard. If you don't have Geist of Saint Traft in your list as a source of free wins, this issue is magnified.

Deckbuilding Notes

This can also be a Geist of Saint Traft deck. That card is A) good and B) combos with Restoration AngelCryptic Command, counterspells, cheap removal.

The Takeaway

If you plan on playing a dedicated combo deck, you need to have a plan here. This deck is known to run over things like Storm, Twin, and Infect. Note: accepting defeat is also a plan.

U/W/R Geist (Swasey Shuffle)

 


 

Incentives

This deck is significantly different from U/W Midrange. This one attacks; the other one does...things.

This deck is significantly better than U/W against Birthing Pod and other small creatures (Dark Confidant and Affinity come to mind).

Weaknesses

Your opponent kills your Geist of Saint Traft or Vendilion Clique. How are we counting to twenty?

You have Celestial Colonnade and Thundermaw Hellkite, but those are both quite expensive. You have Snapcaster Mage, but Coral Merfolk is only going to get so far.

This has been the weakness of the U/W/R aggro-control deck as long as it has been a top tier strategy in Modern. You are relatively threat light in a format that allows for the existence of removal heavy decks. Even something supporting Pyroclasm can make your job difficult.

Deckbuilding Notes

I know Larry experimented with Lingering Souls later in the season to fill in this threat gap. I'm sure there are ways to try to make up the difference, but the question is whether there is a way to do so that fits into your "normal" game plan.

Aven Mindcensor in the main is considerable right now. The last Grand Prix finals was a match between two decks that you want that card against.

The Takeaway

This deck was the reason Pod started going away towards the end of the season. If you play that deck or any other deck reliant on small creatures, be aware that you will have to win games where your opponent kills all of them.

Melira Pod (Pardee Time)

 

Melira PodSam Pardee 1st Place at Grand Prix on 5/12/2013
Modern
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Incentives to Play This Deck

This deck does everything. Combo? Check, we have Melira-Kitchen Finks-Viscera Seer. Weird Stax-esque lock ability against combo decks? Check, as you can Pod up a wide variety of hate bears. Grindy midrange? Check between Birthing Pod and all of the assorted value guys like Ranger of Eosand Reveillark. Beatdown? Now that you have the combo of Voice of Resurgence with your various sacrifice outlets, that can be done.

Weaknesses

It can do anything, but it isn't especially good at doing everything. Melira is a three-card combo. Your hate bears are fine but narrow as opposed to something like Glen Elendra Archmage. You can try to grind with the midrange decks, but your creatures are all still smaller than Tarmogoyf. And as for aggro, if you don't draw a Voice, the beatdowns you deliver are really mediocre.

Deckbuilding Notes

I would try to find space for some mirror hate. Aven Mindcensor is the more versatile option, whileLinvala, Keeper of Silence is the more powerful one.

Ethersworn Canonist may deserve a slot in the sideboard. Storm is not as dead as was previously thought, and a little more Living End hate doesn't hurt even though you should crush that deck.

The Takeaway

People will be playing this deck. It won the last Grand Prix. Be prepared for what it is doing.

Kiki Pod (You Play Magic, I Play VS System)

 

Kiki PodAri Lax 0th Place at Test deck on 6/2/2013
Modern
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Incentives to Play This Deck

All of the raw power that Melira Pod lacks is found here. Your combo not only is a two-card combo but often acts as a virtual one-card combo with Birthing Pod and all the various chains you can assemble. Your Stax lock is much more of a hard lock thanks to Glen Elendra Archmage and the ability to "skip" into it by Podding through a Deceiver Exarch. You have fliers to go over the top of the random midrange bodies as well as the ability to just Kiki-Jiki the "fair" way. Your beatdown plan isn't as good, but you make up for it with the aforementioned faster combo and soft locks.

Weaknesses

Your deck can easily end up with a lot of clunky draws. Not only are you pushing further up the curve than Melira Pod, but you are stretching your mana further. You are especially vulnerable to decks that have lots of cheap burn and threats as they can apply pressure to cut off the Phyrexian mana on Birthing Pod while also Stone Raining your mana creatures. There might be a combination of two- and three-drops that successfully circumvents this issue, but finding the room for all of those cards while still maintaining the rest of your powerful interactions is quite difficult.

Deckbuilding Notes

Considering I built this deck specifically for an article under a month ago and haven't played a game with it since, there isn't much I would change. If you want to advance it, work a lot on the two- and three-drop slots.

The Takeaway

This is a more powerful Pod deck, but you lose some of the fair game Melira has. I know what side of the tradeoff I like, but each person's decision will vary.

Grixis Delver (I Made These Cards So I Could Beat You With Them)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

See Jund and the various U/W decks. Your cards are just all good. You have the awesome Lightning Bolt plus Snapcaster Mage duo, the Jund trio of Deathrite Shaman + Dark Confidant + discard spells, and all of the cool blue cards.

Weaknesses

See U/W/R Geist. You are quite threat light, and you are sacrificing even more staying power than U/W/R by cutting Celestial Colonnade and Restoration Angel for more threats that die to Lightning Bolt. You are also very bad against Lingering Souls, which is why this deck fell off the map almost as soon as it popped up. When the format is soft to Dark Confidant and Deathrite Shaman this deck is good, but at the same time the other deck featuring those cards (Jund/Junk) has the same advantages and the massive edge in the mirror.

Deckbuilding Notes

I feel like zero Liliana of the Veil is probably wrong. You also want at two Pillar of Flames in the main and three in the entire 75 due to Voice of Resurgence.

The Takeaway

See the Naya deck. This is more of a fringe player that you should just be aware of. Unlike Naya, I expect this deck's stock is falling as opposed to rising, but the lack of Jund in the Top 8 of Grand Prix Portland is a sign that might not be the case.

Tokens (aka the Real Deck Version of Martyr)

 


 

Strengths

Tokens is a very powerful strategy against a lot of the one-for-one removal that pops up in the format. Lightning Bolt is the most generically powerful card in the format, and this deck almost completely blanks it.

You also have access to all of the awesome hate cards in the format. Look at this sideboard: we have the best Storm, Affinity, and Tron hate cards. You also can play Aven Mindcensor, one of the best Pod and Scapeshift hate cards, and back all of this with discard.

Weaknesses

Pyroclasm is one of the common answers out of combo to creatures, and Echoing Truth is one of the generic answers to permanents. The Pod decks are leaning on Izzet Staticaster and Orzhov Pontiff for mirrors. Jund commonly features Thundermaw Hellkite and Maelstrom Pulse. Your cards still get tapped by Cryptic Command.

A lot of decks have incidental answers to what you are doing. You can blank all of their Path to Exiles game 1, but post-board they'll have a bunch of playables.

Deckbuilding Notes

A point I keep harping on with respect to this deck is that it is one of the few decks that can play maindeck Relic of Progenitus.

Tidehollow Sculler is a bit awkward if you don't expect a lot of combo but do expect a lot of Lightning Bolts. I think things are still on the side of wanting to boost the matchup against combo more than the matchup against Jund, but that may not remain the same forever.

Don't play the Martyr cards in this deck. They are not actually good. Notice that Serra's Ascendant and Ajani's Pridemate die to Lightning Bolt, the exact card you are trying to blank with this deck.

The Takeaway

There are more Lingering Souls decks than just Jund. Losing to that card is a big issue, and if your deck has problems with it, you need a plan to change that.

Control Gifts Rites (Good for 8th...9th Place)

 

Gifts RitesDave Shiels 9th Place at Grand Prix on 5/12/2013
Modern
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Incentives to Play this Deck

Gifts Ungiven is an extremely powerful card that opens up a number of "one-card" combos. You have the standard of Unburial Rites plus fatty. You also have Life from the Loam, Raven's Crime, and two good lands if you plan on grinding through counterspells.

If you don't want to do that, it's also a tutor. Find four removal spells. Find a Lingering Souls plus some other things. Often you can just find three good things and another Gifts Ungiven, forcing them to either lose to what they know you can get or lose to the incremental card advantage.

On top of being a solid control deck, this list also has a ton of the just normally good cards in the format. Deathrite ShamanLingering SoulsPath to ExileLiliana of the Veil, and Thoughtseize are all cards you can just overpower people with.

Weaknesses

This deck is not known for closing fast. Previous lists have had more win conditions, but this list is quite light on them. Watching the clock is one issue, but another is that you don't have a lot of free wins. If they are cold to an Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, you have them, but beyond that you are all fair cards.

Deckbuilding Notes

There are a lot of other options for fatties you can play alongside Elesh Norn. Iona, Shield of Emeria;GriselbrandSphinx of the Steel WindEmpyrial Archangel; and Sundering Titan are some of the ones I've considered in past versions of this deck. If you want a little more power, take a look at these cards.

You don't have to be a control deck to play Gifts Ungiven-Unburial Rites. Any deck with blue and white mana can support it. To give you an idea of the range of this combo, the U/W/R Delver decks before Pro Tour Return to Ravnica were using it as a transformational sideboard, and the original list featuring it was a Knight of the Reliquary deck.

The Takeaway

Gifts Ungiven is a powerful card that is very underutilized in the current format.

U/W/R Control (DoEvenMoreNothing.dec)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

A deck only a Wafo-Tapa could love.

It's hard to say anything compelling about playing this deck in my mind, but it's just not the kind of thing I would play. It has a lot of answers and those answers are pretty good cards, but that's honestly all I have in the tank here.

Weaknesses

You are a lot of "narrow" answers in a broad format. Narrow is in quotes as the issue is that you are creature removal. Even if all your removal kills everything, some people just don't play those cards. If they are playing Tron, Scapeshift, or something just straight up bizarre, you are a pile of blanks andThink Twices.

Deckbuilding Notes

Don't ask me here. I would immediately add Geist of Saint Traft, but that's an entirely different universe.

The Takeaway

This deck is probably much better than I give it credit for, but the route I would take to playing it is a long one. If nothing ends up beating this deck, then I would play it. The list of things to cover before I hit this point is way too long in this format for me to assume I would end up here.

Blue Tron (2007 Called, They Want Their Deck Back)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

Shoktroopa has been grinding this archetype for months now, and this is the latest list. People other than him are starting to also have success with the deck to the point where I've seen several blue Tron decks through the Daily Event lists I've been scouring.

As for why you would play this, you are a controlling deck with a huge edge in mirror matches. Tron is also a way to convincingly overpower midrange, something the U/W/R deck lacks.

Weaknesses

You have to cut a lot of the removal and other cheap interaction to support Tron. Not only do you need to play the cards that make Tron good like Expedition Map, but you lose the ability to stretch your mana to play things like Lightning Helix that you need to not die to early combo or aggro threats.

Deckbuilding Notes

Gerry Thompson had a list of Tron splashing white for Gifts Ungiven that he played at Grand Prix San Diego. Jarvis Yu won a PTQ with a red list splashing for Through the Breach. There are a lot of directions to take the same Tron plus Condescend and Thirst for Knowledge shell. It's hard to really talk about all of them here, but they are definitely worth exploring.

The Takeaway

A lot of decks that were once awesome have fallen off the map as really broken things like Eggs were discovered. We are multiple bans past that, and the power level of the format has a lower cap. It might be time for previously awesome things to come back.

Combo Splinter Twin (Stop Making This Difficult)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

This deck makes Magic look really simple. Spell one, spell two, did it. Spell one, draw a card, spell two, draw a card, spell three, spell four. Did it.

Weaknesses

There are a lot of angles that you can interact with this deck on because it is creature based. All of the following cards make comboing difficult: Path to ExileLiliana of the VeilThoughtseizeMana LeakLinvala, Keeper of Silence; and Spellskite. Notice not only how broad the list of effects is but how broad those effects are. The cards that are good against Twin are almost all good against many other decks.

Deckbuilding Notes

I've already voiced my opinion many times on this, but you can build this deck the all-in degenerate way with a bunch of each combo piece or you can try to play the Snapcaster Mage-Grim Lavamancer package and win games the normal way. Personally, I think the latter just makes the deck bad at doing two things, but the online numbers disagree.

You can also splash black for discard and Dark Confidant. This hasn't been as popular lately, but I vaguely remember Samuele Estratti being on this list for the last Modern Grand Prix he played in. Considering he has the Pro Tour trophy with the deck, his opinion matters a lot.

There is also the U/W/R list that Caleb Durward and Joe Bernal played towards the end of the last PTQ season. If you want to play a fair-unfair mixed deck, that seems much better than the pure U/R lists trying to do the same thing.

The Takeaway

Not much to say here. This is a deck people will play, but it's not popular enough to make sweeping generalizations about playing other decks. It definitely runs over a lot of other decks, but if your deck is fundamentally bad against Twin, it takes a lot to fix that.

Storm (Four Bans Later...)

 


 

Incentive to Play This Deck

Storm is a powerful mechanic. Not only does this deck have random turn 3 kills, but you ignore a lot of things that people consider interaction in this format. Creature kill can matter but rarely does,Past in Flames ignores discard, and often you can go long enough to go over the top of countermagic or just sneak in a Pyromancer Ascension early enough to ignore it.

Weaknesses

You have no interaction yourself, so faster combo typically beats you. You also have issues with permanent-based hate. If they just have one thing it's not terrible, but if they back that with a second piece of hate or disruption, you usually can't do much.

Deckbuilding Notes

Play Finkel's list.

The Takeaway

There are still reasons to play Ethersworn CanonistRule of Law, and/or Rest in Peace in this format.

Scapeshift (There's an Extra Letter in This Name and I'll Let You Figure Out the Rest)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

For a combo deck, the combo is relatively generic to assemble (any seven lands plus Scapeshift) and you have a ton of interaction. You also have a solid plan B in Primeval Titan.

Weaknesses

You need eight cards to combo out: seven lands and a Scapeshift. If your opponent is using attrition as interaction, this can be hard to assemble.

Seven lands and a Scapeshift is eighteen damage. If your opponent is at 20, it often takes at least an extra turn to get there. If they are at twenty because they are bashing your brains in and don't need to pay life for dual lands, it gets really awkward.

Deckbuilding Notes

There are non-Titan lists, but I can't support playing them. The difference between six and seven mana is actually shockingly big, as is the difference between eight- and four-game winners. LosingCryptic Command is a small price to pay.

You can also try hybrid midrange-combo lists like Jund Shift or aggro-combo lists like Zoo Shift (both from Extended seasons long passed), but I found myself winning more with the non-combo aspects if I cut the combo cards.

The Takeaway

Playing against this deck is often quite tricky. You have to make decisions about your life total. You have to decide how to best play around their answers. You have to figure out their clock and decide how long you think you have before you die. Try to put them on Primeval Titan or Cryptic Commandand play accordingly.

Goryo's Vengeance (Why Is This Legal?)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

Have you seen these cards? Why are they legal?

You kill on turn 3 a little too often for comfort. You kill on turn 2 way more than anyone should in this format.

Weaknesses

Your life total is a resource, and if your opponent doesn't die to a single Emrakul, the Aeons Torn hit and is attacking you, that can be awkward. See: Burn and R/G Aggro.

You can fold to a critical mass of interaction or interaction plus a good enough clock. See: Delver decks, Splinter Twin.

Deckbuilding Notes

There are "fair" lists that don't play Fury of the Horde. I wouldn't play them.

The Takeaway

This is a thing. People can do this. Not many will, but again we have another reason to run graveyard hate.

Green Tron (Karn Is Not Impressed)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

Calling this deck combo is a bit of a misnomer. It has a really powerful long game against midrange while also sporting the old turn 3 Karn Liberated. The deck just does a lot of powerful things people are not typically ready to play against.

Weaknesses

You are very soft to combo. People are also very aware that Tron is a thing and come stacked with hate cards. You can beat them, but it takes work if they show up with Stony Silence and Fulminator Mage.

Deckbuilding Notes

Play Cedric's list.

The Takeaway

If you are playing any of the midrange decks, you need a plan for this matchup. If you are playing an aggro deck, you want to have a plan for Pyroclasm.

Infect (How to Play Giant Growth in an Eternal Format)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

This deck is incredibly fast and incredibly redundant. You have sixteen guys, eight protection spells, and a million pump spells.

Weaknesses

You are soft to large amounts of cheap removal, especially if your opponent just casts it and doesn't let you pump spell over a Lightning Bolt.

You are also soft to Melira, Sylvok Outcast.

You are soft to Lingering Souls.

Deckbuilding Notes

You probably can't play more than three of either, but Thoughtseize and Abrupt Decay are both reasonable choices to maindeck. Apostle's Blessing is also somewhere between a two- and four-of. AJ's list is quite low on pump spells, and you likely want a couple more copies of Rancor or Giant Growth.

Eli Kassis won a PTQ with a basically mono-green version of the deck. I have no clue if that is actually better or even viable.

The Takeaway

This deck is poorly positioned now. Lingering Souls, cheap removal, and Melira are all commonly played. If you do play against this deck, understand that you can't afford to let them use Giant Growth to beat Lightning Bolt at a point where it does damage to you. Kill things on your turn if you can.

Living End (Played By Shirtless Streamers Across the Nation)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

This deck is also very redundant. Eight cascade effects and a bunch of cyclers—doesn't get much simpler than that.

You have a weak non-combo of just playing bad creatures. Shockingly, this is often enough if they are too focused on not getting cascaded.

You have a very strong pre-combo plan of just Stone Raining them a ton. Often decks like U/W Midrange will be able to answer both your guys and combo but can't do so when constrained on mana.

Weaknesses

You aren't a for sure kill combo. Affinity and Melira Pod can sacrifice their team in response to aLiving End and get everything back, and Burn or combo decks can just win after the fact.

If your opponent has enough interaction, you are often committed to the creature plan once you start down that road. Often both graveyards start filling in fair games, turning Living End into a less one-sided affair.

Deckbuilding Notes

Play Travis Woo's list.

The Takeaway

Even more reasons to pack some form of graveyard hate. Also, Ethersworn Canonist is the worst Storm hate because of Lightning Bolt out of Storm and Ingot Chewer out of this deck.

Aggro Burn (You Know This Guy)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

This deck just doesn't interact with people. Many decks are trying to do something powerful that this deck kind of shrugs and ignores.

This deck also takes advantage of the common shock-fetch mana base of the format. Every time they fetch, that's a free fraction of a card. Every shockland is almost a full card. Free cards each game is a good thing.

Weaknesses

It is very possible to just attrition Burn out. Gaining life is just them forcing you to play more cards to win, and often you are stuck dying without having the ability to draw enough cards to win.

This deck also mulligans poorly and is subject to flood/screw variance. If you are just counting cards until victory, drawing too many blanks or just being down cards is a real issue.

Deckbuilding Notes

Spike Jester was not a card when this list was built and is worth considering. It's more vulnerable than Ash Zealot but has more raw power.

The Takeaway

This deck is very popular because of how cheap it is. You need a plan if you play against it.

R/G Aggro (This Frogmite Is Good!)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

This deck is as fast as most of the combo decks in the format. As a deck that interacts along a more normal axis, it tends to be more resilient than they are.

This deck is also shockingly good against Pyroclasm. About half of your creatures have three toughness, and the ones that do die are free or have haste.

Weaknesses

Tarmogoyf plus removal is a big issue for this deck, especially if your opponent plays around Ghor-Clan RampagerLightning Helix is another big problem.

Deckbuilding Notes

Most of the current lists have Mutagenic Growth and a couple Colossal Mights. I think Dismember is better than the second one, and I'm not experienced enough with the deck to determine if +2/+2 matters.

You can also Blood Moon people. If your opponents aren't thinking about being Mooned, they can easily lose to it.

The Takeaway

There is a reason you can't just build a super inbred deck that beats up on midrange and combo. Well, aside from the fact that is borderline impossible to begin with.

Boggles (Fun and Interactive Magic!)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

Similar to Burn, this deck just doesn't interact with people. Path to Exile? Nice card. Lightning Bolt? Great job!

Weaknesses

You are slower than most of the combo decks.

Spellskite is a card. You often die to it if they play it on turn 2.

There is a decent amount of incidental interaction for your deck out of Jund. Liliana of the Veil,Abrupt DecayThoughtseize, and Maelstrom Pulse all do enough to let them sometimes win regardless of your creature's text.

Deckbuilding Notes

I've seen lists playing Silhana Ledgewalker over a couple Kor Spiritdancers, which is something I actually like. Eight just doesn't feel like enough hexproof guys.

The Takeaway

Not a lot of people will be playing this deck. It is a thing that exists, but it's more of a "be aware of this" than anything else.

Tribal Zoo (Patrick Sullivan Sometimes Plays Island and Plains Too!)

 


 

Incentives to Play this Deck

This is the good card aggro deck. If you want to attack people but also have individual card power, this is the place to be.

Weaknesses

You are fairly threat light. Notice this trend with every single Geist of Saint Traft deck.

You start every game at fifteen life. If your opponent is aggressive as well, this can make things complicated.

Deckbuilding Notes

There are a lot of good cards across all five colors. You can play all of them. That said, this list made Top 8 of Grand Prix San Diego and was first built by Ken Yukuhiro. That's a good enough reason to start here for me.

The Takeaway

You can play good cards and attack. This makes me think that the U/W/R Geist deck is just a worse version of multiple other decks (U/W Geist and this deck) because it does what they are both doing but is worse at each half than either of them.

Affinity (Now With Significantly Less Blanks!)

 


 

Incentives to Play This Deck

Cranial Plating is a very overpowered Magic card. Etched Champion is impossible for many decks to beat. You also get to play eight manlands and out-card a lot of decks with only four draw twos for real card draw.

You get to Blood Moon people too.

Weaknesses

Ancient GrudgeShatterstormStony Silence.

Lingering Souls can also be obnoxious, but Steel Overseer and Etched Champion help solve that issue in their own ways.

Pyroclasm is an issue as well, but it can be played around or through.

Deckbuilding Notes

I want to bring Shrapnel Blast back, but I always say that.

The Takeaway

There's a decent amount of splash hate for this deck from Tron, but it still will be popular and still will do well.

Fringe Players Merfolk

People have been trying to make this a thing since M13 introduced Master of the Pearl Trident. It isn't good, but you might play it on day 1 of a Grand Prix. I've beat it in enough two-man queues to know not to ignore it.

Dredge

This deck is really about 80 cards, and it's a matter of finding the right 60. It's about one card off of being good, and I'm not sure if that card already exists or not.

Elves

Beck // Call was legal at Grand Prix Portland, but whether the deck is bad or just underdeveloped is hard to tell. It likely is a Cloudstone Curio deck and the loss of Wirewood Symbiote hurts it a lot, but almost this exact deck won a Grand Prix against Dark Depths once.

Death's Shadow-Varolz, the Scar-Striped:

This is another new interaction that has shown up in Legacy but has seen little airtime in Modern. I'm unsure exactly what the rest of the deck looks like, but black and green aren't colors lacking in playables in this format.

This review is fairly exhaustive, but I still probably missed something important.

The Minor Takeaway: If you are going to test against a small number of decks in this format, play against Jund, U/W/R Geist, Melira Pod, U/W/R Control, Scapeshift, Affinity, and R/G Aggro.

The Big Takeaway: Modern is a huge, diverse format. Come prepared to win against anything and everything.

[/spoiler]

 

Is this it?

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+Urthor    10167

bored, want something to read

 

Can people link me to like the best 3 MTG articles/best feature matches ever written?

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+mmf    23362
+mmf    23362

just found this gem from a while ago

don't know how i didnt read this when it was written, it's incredible literature about metagames

yugioh players can learn alot from this too. hopefully they check this thread

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POLLUTEDxDELTA    1889
I remember that Sam Black article, just forgot who wrote it. It was one of the best articles I have read in the past year.

I remember I tried explaining to Hoban what Sam Black was talking about (when the right play loses and the wrong play wins). Hoban didn't like it much lol.
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»ACP    33376

I think we can all agree that a best play exists in the abstract. Problem is that knowing that a best play exists in the abstract doesn't help us in the real world where I may not have the tools to determine what that play may be.

 

Especially when it comes to decks, it may be correct for me to play deck A and for you to play deck B for some particular event. Ideally, we'd like to all have the knowledge to pilot each deck at 100% effectiveness, but that's never actually the case.

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POLLUTEDxDELTA    1889

But why can't we have those tools available? Why can't we pilot decks at 100%? Just because reality says so? 

 

I may be running into a dead end and banging my head against a wall, but I've seen too many Pro Tour / Hall of Fame players able to find the best plays in the abstract. I feel closing the door on any possibility denies myself a chance to win more matches.

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»Turkey    1515

But why can't we have those tools available? Why can't we pilot decks at 100%? Just because reality says so? 

 

I may be running into a dead end and banging my head against a wall, but I've seen too many Pro Tour / Hall of Fame players able to find the best plays in the abstract. I feel closing the door on any possibility denies myself a chance to win more matches.

I don't think Allen is saying that we shouldn't always be striving to pilot decks at 100%, but that it's [for all intents and purposes] impossible to do so. Magic is an extremely complex game, and players, including pros, often can't make it through an entire game without making a mistake, however subtle it may be, much less an entire tournament.

 

The mindset that you can't achieve perfection may be detrimental to success, but so is refusing to accept the reality of the situation.

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Lux    1558
The ability to make the "best play" at every juncture is entirely impossible unless you have absolutely perfect information at all times. Even knowing your opponent's deck and the contents of their hand, you hypothetically could make the best play and they could potentially have X outs to draw to, so you're just playing percentages. I don't think you should be looking to play statistically perfect, but rather strive to not make detrimental mistakes. In addition to just overall sound play, once you have enough repetitions with a given deck, "playing to your outs" will allow you to steal so many games you would otherwise have not won. I find the best players are doing all these things at all times.

The idea of the "best play" is so subjective to so many variables, that the correct play may not even involve your cards. Your best play may be to separate your lands into certain piles in order to bluff certain cards more believably or to exude visible confidence/weakness to alter your opponent's play accordingly. Sometimes I'll play Pack Rat turn 2 on the draw and simultaneously say "activate your Devour Flesh?" to try and deter them from playing Ultimate Price instead so they'll save the Ult Price and my Nightveil becomes better next turn. The smallest details can contribute to "the best play", and ultimately it is like poker in a sense where if you "put your money in good" consistently, you will win more in the long run.
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»ACP    33376

But why can't we have those tools available? Why can't we pilot decks at 100%? Just because reality says so? 

 

I may be running into a dead end and banging my head against a wall, but I've seen too many Pro Tour / Hall of Fame players able to find the best plays in the abstract. I feel closing the door on any possibility denies myself a chance to win more matches.

I don't think Allen is saying that we shouldn't always be striving to pilot decks at 100%, but that it's [for all intents and purposes] impossible to do so. Magic is an extremely complex game, and players, including pros, often can't make it through an entire game without making a mistake, however subtle it may be, much less an entire tournament.

 

The mindset that you can't achieve perfection may be detrimental to success, but so is refusing to accept the reality of the situation.

Yeah, that's basically what I'm saying. Patrick Chapin emphasized the same thing in NLM, the idea that perfect is impossible to achieve, and yet we should still strive to achieve it.

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