Tag Archives: Burn

GP DC and a Foray into the Unknown!

Good Afternoon Readers!

This weekend I was able to do something I haven’t done in a very long time. I went and played some Magic. The GP was Team Sealed and was hosted in Washington DC. On Saturday we went and played in some side events, and It was fun jumping back into the scene. As always Matt and I tried to sleeve up close to the same 75. We both Played Jund. Here’s the List I played:

Jund:
Creatures (14):
4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Kalitas, Trator of Ghet

Planeswalkers (4):
4 Liliana of the Veil

Spells (18):
2 Abrupt Decay
3 Terminate
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Maelstrom Pulse
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Thoughtseize

Lands (24):
1 Forest
2 Swamp
3 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Blood Crypt
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Overgrown Tomb
3 Raging Ravine
1 Stomping Ground
3 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Woodland Cemetery

Sideboard (15):
2 Fulminator Mage
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Anger of the Gods
1 Shatterstorm
1 Thoughtseize
1 Duress
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Courser of Kruphix
1 Dismember
2 Grim Lavamancer
1 Spellskite

Round 1, I played against Naya Burn. Game 1, I was facing down 3 Goblin guides by turn 2, and the game was quickly over. There wasn’t much I could do. I brought in the extra Finks, Courser, Duress and Spellskite. I was able to tear up his hand early, land a Liliana to clear the board along side a Finks and stabilize. Shortly after I closed out the game with a Tarmogoyf. Game 3 was similar, Early Discard combined with his one land allowed me to stabilize early. Finks and Huntmaster were able to put it away. I was super rusty, but it felt good to win the first round with a little luck.

Round 2, I keep a slower hand, but it’s good. In hindsight, it didn’t really have any early interaction, and maybe should have been a mulligan against ANY opponent. Regardless it was a terrible keep against.. a second Naya Burn player. He beat me very quickly after I got stuck on two lands. I sided almost the same way, Kept a decent hand, but kept getting boned on my lands. I was forced to play shocks when I didn’t want to, compound that with a bad Tarmo block into a Nacatal + Atarka’s Command and I couldn’t defend myself. I was quickly run over in what felt like two non-games. Oh well, can’t win them all.

Round 3, was G/R Tron. Running Stone Cold at this point. Game 1 I do my best to get under his tron lands, but a one turn late Inquisition allows him to play the Map and get the land he needs. He plays Karn, and I kill it after one activation. He plays… another Karn, and I kill it after one activation. then when I’m starting to mount a comeback he plays the new Ulamog and I literally have nothing in my deck to deal with it. He wrecks my board and I’m quickly dead. Game two, I get a quick start combined with turn 3 and 4 Fulminators. I keep him off mana the whole game and close it out with a Goyf and a Ravine. At this point I know my only hope is to be quick and Thoughseize the Ulamog out of his hand. He mulligans to 5 on the play and Turn 1s a Chrome Star. I have an early discard spell, don’t see an Ulamog and I take his only way to get more lands. Turn 2 he cracks the Star, makes Green and draws into Ancient Stirrings and casts it hitting the land he needs. Then does it again the next turn. He then draws into Ulamog a turn or two later, and I have no way to deal with it. GG

Tron is brutal for us, but I felt like I played decently against him. I feel I got a bit unlucky, as after my first turn he had nothing of any merit in hand. He just happened to draw very well into what he needed.

Finally, Round 4, my opponent didn’t show. Well… Quite the hollow victory, I suppose, to end 2-2.  Matt did a bit better than me. Beating Lantern Control Round 1, Losing to U/R Eldrazi Round 2, beating Merfolk Round 3, and beating U/W Eldrazi Round 4. The last match of the day also lead to the single greatest line I have ever heard in a sanctioned match of magic, but maybe I’ll let Matt tell that story if he’ll do a write up from his side of the tournament.

We both really like’d our lists, I definitely need to add a Damnation. He was playing the single Seal of Fire, which is something I’d like to add moving forward. He played Olivia in the side and I did not. I didn’t miss her. I was glad I did not include Slaughter Pact, Matt is thinking about dropping his. Finks we’re great all weekend as well, and I am still a huge fan of Kolaghan’s Command. Kalitas over performed for both of us, as did Huntmaster, so we both like the 1-1 split.

Kalitas really gives us a way to get extra value out of all of our removal spells. Things like Pact and Seal of Fire give us the ability to get value off Kalitas right on Turn 4 when she comes into play. If you manage to untap with Kalitas, you’re going to start to steamroll your opponent with 2/2s while clearing their board. There’s also the bonus of Kalitas being able to eat it’s own Zombies and become monstrously huge. Tack on Lifelink, and we have one very formidable creature taking a very impactful role in Jund.

I know this was a short “tournament” report, but you gotta dip your toes back in somehow. Also the meta is going to shift again with inevitable nerfing of Eldrazi in April. I will be staying by the old faithful of G/B/x in one form or another, but right now I’m enjoying casting Bolt and Bobs. Jund is still very viable in modern, as it can always be tuned to have the advantage in almost any match up. I would absolutely give it a shot if you want to play “fair magic.”

Lastly, Matt has been getting into legacy, and I think I’m going to do the same. I literally know nothing about the format, but a local shop does Tuesday tournaments with a proxy limit. Matt also knows a guy who is gracious enough to hook us up with real duals and the like so we can partake. I am very excited to learn this format and mostly get to cast things like Deathrite Shaman, Brainstorm, and Hymn to Tourach. Matt intends on playing BUG Delver, while I think I’m going to take a stab at Shardless BUG. Again, I know literally nothing about the format so i’m going to start here:

Creatures (15)
3 Baleful Strix
4 Shardless Agent
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Tarmogoyf

Planeswalkers (4)
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Liliana of the Veil

Lands (22)
2 Bayou
2 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Misty Rainforest
3 Polluted Delta
2 Tropical Island
3 Underground Sea
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Wasteland

Spells (19)
1 Sylvan Library
4 Abrupt Decay
4 Brainstorm
3 Force of Will
3 Ancestral Vision
2 Hymn to Tourach
2 Thoughtseize

Sideboard
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Null Rod
1 Thoughtseize
1 Divert
2 Flusterstorm
1 Force of Will
1 Golgari Charm
1 Krosan Grip
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Toxic Deluge
1 Chill

List looks sweet, no idea what changes I’ll need to make for the board, and I’m sure things will change once I see the local Meta. I am excited to try this out and see how it goes.

Thanks for reading. and hopefully I’ll have some Legacy reporting to do in the next few weeks. I will be out of town, for 3 of the next 5 blog post days. I will try to have some posts ready to go up while I am gone.

You can email me comments and questions at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com. Click “Follow” over on the right side to follow the blog and never miss an update! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini for stream times and posts. Thanks again, and keep fighting the good fight against the Eldrazi Menace.

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A New Modern World

Good Afternoon, Folks!

Sorry for the missed post on Monday! Its was snowy, I worked from home, and didn’t want to. My brain was League of Legends soaked from nearly 72 hours of non stop play. But… We have our first results from our new Twinless-Bloomless-Meta in the Magic: The Gathering World!! And surprise, surprise… It’s as fast as greased lightning!

SCG Modern Classic – Atlanta:

1st – Temur Delver
2nd – Merfolk
3rd – Merfolk
4th – Jund
5th – Affinity
6th – Affinity
7th – Burn
8th – Zoo
9th – Burn
10th – Temur Delver
11th – Zoo
12th – Merfolk
13th – B/W Eldrazi
14th – Abzan Company
15th – Goryo’s Vengeance
16th – Infect

Oh baby, oh baby. Temur Delver! I love it, nothing quite like keeping the old Goyfs and Bolts and shifting to a Tempo Shell. Might be time for Matt to retake his throne as the King of Tempo with U/R Fae.

As predicted, Aggro is King. I mentioned Delver to Matt briefly and I’m so glad it put up some results. There much less combo then I expected. I was sure a Scapeshift or two might make it in. Even just more CoCo decks. The Merfolk decks worry me from a Jund players perspective, but if we know we are facing nothing but Robots, Zoo and Delvers we can tech against aggressive decks very easily.

but wait… what’s this? Not a single Tron deck?! Holy Moley, the boogeyman of the format may not mean anything. It’s too early to tell since  new format almost always defaults to, get em dead, but i am STUNNED there isn’t a single Tron deck.

The closest, and most odd looking deck, is the B/W Eldrazi deck. It does play big Colorless things, and it ramps into them by using colorless lands, but it is NOT Tron. It plays almost like Midrange Deck with early game discard and board control, with big creatures in the mid to late game to close out. It seems to to function on bringing cards out of exile, There aren’t too many Tasigurs running around, and giving your opponent more graveyard resources seems counter productive. Regardless, this deck has the ability to churn out huge threats quickly, and I think Reality Smasher may be as good as I thought, just a matter of finding the right shell.

So lets take a look at some lists.

Temur Delver by Todd Anderson:

Creatures (15)
4 Delver of Secrets
2 Hooting Mandrills
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Young Pyromancer

Spells (25)
1 Dismember
1 Izzet Charm
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Mutagenic Growth
4 Remand
3 Spell Pierce
1 Thought Scour
3 Vapor Snag
3 Gitaxian Probe
4 Serum Visions

Lands (20)
1 Forest
2 Island
1 Mountain
2 Breeding Pool
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
3 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard
2 Grim Lavamancer
3 Spreading Seas
2 Threads of Disloyalty
3 Ancient Grudge
1 Dispel
2 Gut Shot
2 Surgical Extraction

So this deck uses Delver of Secrets to get a fast threat with evasion, backed up by Tarmogoyf, and Lightning Bolt to close out games. It also uses lots of spells to protect your board, draw cards, and slow down the opponent. Having 25 spells ensures your Delver will flip regularly to start dishing out damage on turn 2. Hooting Mandrills is the new tech here, in that you can get another cheap threat after ripping through a bunch of one cost cards. A 4/4 with Trample is legit. Snapcaster needs no introduction. Young Pyromancer pumps out tokens with all of our cheap spells, and can put some hurt on the opponent.

The single Dismember main board is interesting to me. I guess it’s to kill just any creature that gets in the way. Opposing Goyfs can be a problem. Siege Rhino is still out there. I also like the single Mutagenic Growth. It can be a surprise damage boost to help you trade or give you reach. Looking to the board we see double Lava Man, so sign me up. I like the Idea of Spreading Seas. We don’t really want to be wasting time Ghost Quarter-ing our opponent’s lands. Seas actually makes it more difficult for our opponent to cast spells and draws us a card. Threads of Disloyalty is always awesome, stealing Goyfs or Bobs, or anything really. There are a ton of prime targets for it. Ancient Grudge is a must against Affinity. The value is just too good.

Finally, we have Surgical Extraction. This is a card I’ve always like as well, but it doesn’t see much play. This is again another card that I just kind of have to speculate on what Todd may have been thinking. It doesn’t seem very good against Zoo or Affinity. Unless you just pluck all of the Goyfs or Cranial Plating out of their decks. Maybe it’s just a way to make your Grudges and removal spells last longer. You grudge a ravager, or a plating, or manage to kill an Etched Champion, then spend 2 life to remove the other three from the game before they can play them.

This is definitely going to be one of my two prime test targets in the upcoming week as we watch the meta change.

Jund by Dustin Green:

Creatures (12)
4 Dark Confidant
1 Kitchen Finks
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar

Planeswalkers (5)
1 Chandra, Pyromaster
4 Liliana of the Veil

Spells (19)
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Kolaghan’s Command
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Terminate
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Maelstrom Pulse
3 Thoughtseize

Lands (24)
1 Forest
2 Swamp
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
1 Blood Crypt
3 Bloodstained Mire
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Overgrown Tomb
4 Raging Ravine
1 Stomping Ground
1 Twilight Mire
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard
2 Engineered Explosives
2 Faerie Macabre
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Night of Souls’ Betrayal
4 Crumble to Dust
2 Painful Truths

Here’s deck number 2 I’m going to be testing. This deck drops Tasigur the Golden Fang entirely, and lowers the curve a bit. Pia and Kiran seems to be the new flavor of the week, and rightfully so. It does a lot of things, especially against Aggro decks. We talked a bit about the Terminate Decay Split with Tron looming, but it looks like Aggro is what we’re gunning for. In which case, Terminate is still great, so I agree with this split. The same goes for discard, I was originally wanting to cut down on it, but these cards, especially Inquisition, hits so many things in aggro that it can save you a ton of health. Liliana was being trimmed regularly down to three copies, but again this card does some serious damage against aggro decks. If you’re forcing them to discard creatures, or burn, you’re in great shape, and then she controls the board by forcing them to sacrifice.  It’s interesting to see Chandra back in, but she also does a lot against creature based decks. She also just kills a lot of things out of Affinity.

This list is fairly stock for the most part. The biggest change is 4 Crumble to Dust in the Side. This card will exile all copies of a non basic land, from anywhere, from the game. He was running 4. I have to imagine this was an attempt to be prepared for Tron and I’d love to know how many, if any, he faced and/or beat. I imagine this card does just beat them outright, but it’s hard to say just looking at a list.

It’s also worth mentioning that he did not have a single Hissing Quagmire in his list. It’s possible with Raging Ravine, Jund just doesn’t want that card. It may be relegated to Junk where the manlands are just worse in general. The list also doesn’t have any Anger of the Gods, Pyroclasm or Kozliek’s Return, which I find interesting. I’d want some number against all the Aggro deck in this Top 16.

I love that list is low to the ground, and has lots of Finks for the matches you’ll need them. In an all aggro meta, I could even see moving them to the main board and keeping Chandra in the side. The Baloth is a nice touch as well. I am excited to change my deck to something more similar.

So with our “weapons of choice” picked, what are we looking to beat?

Merfolk by Jacob Betts:

Creatures (29)
4 Cursecatcher
4 Harbinger of the Tides
4 Lord of Atlantis
4 Master of the Pearl Trident
4 Master of Waves
3 Merrow Reejerey
4 Silvergill Adept
2 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner

Spells (12)
4 Aether Vial
1 Sea’s Claim
4 Spreading Seas
1 Dismember
2 Spell Pierce

Lands (19)
7 Island
4 Cavern of Souls
2 Darkslick Shores
4 Mutavault
1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds

Sideboard
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Spellskite
1 Threads of Disloyalty
2 Dismember
2 Dispel
2 Hibernation
3 Hurkyl’s Recall
1 Spell Pierce

This is pretty standard and nothing new to see here. The idea is to control the board early and not let their lords stick. Bolt is great early game, and save the Decay’s or counter spells for their Kira’s if you can. This game instantly becomes a race when they land a Spreading Seas, so either keep them from having creatures or be ready to burst them down. This match has always been difficult for Jund, but apparently Todd did ok against them. Jund FEELS like it has a better match up because we have tne million kill spelss to their ten million creatures, but it hasn’t alwasy played out that way due to the Islandwalk insta-kill. I’m interested in testing the Delver Deck against the Fish.

Affinity by Chirayu Patel:

Creatures (25)
4 Arcbound Ravager
1 Etched Champion
3 Master of Etherium
2 Memnite
3 Ornithopter
4 Signal Pest
4 Steel Overseer
4 Vault Skirge

Spells (19)
4 Cranial Plating
4 Springleaf Drum
2 Welding Jar
2 Galvanic Blast
4 Mox Opal
3 Thoughtcast

Lands (16)
4 Darksteel Citadel
1 Island
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
3 Glimmervoid
4 Inkmoth Nexus

Sideboard
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Etched Champion
1 Hangarback Walker
1 Illness in the Ranks
3 Ancient Grudge
1 Dismember
2 Spell Pierce
1 Wear
2 Thoughtseize
1 Whipflare

Affinity by Cody Beamish:

Creatures (26)
4 Arcbound Ravager
3 Etched Champion
2 Master of Etherium
2 Memnite
4 Ornithopter
4 Signal Pest
1 Spellskite
2 Steel Overseer
4 Vault Skirge

Spells (18)
4 Cranial Plating
3 Springleaf Drum
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Mox Opal
3 Thoughtcast

Lands (16)
4 Darksteel Citadel
1 Mountain
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
3 Glimmervoid
4 Inkmoth Nexus

Sideboard
1 Master of Etherium
1 Spellskite
2 Blood Moon
1 Illness in the Ranks
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Spell Pierce
2 Wear
2 Thoughtseize
2 Whipflare

So these lists are pretty stock as well. Some run Master of Ethrium, some don’t. The numbers differ between lists, but the cores are the same. There are no new cards, and no new strategies. Just lethal, lethal artifacts. The goal is the same. Kill them and their dangerous creatures. Watch out for their multiple angles of attack. Affinity cycles through popularity based on how prepared everyone is. IF every has had for it, as it is REALLY easy to hate out, this deck will wane. IF you aren’t ready, they all show up to wreck everyone. Give them the respect they deserve and it shouldn’t be a huge problem.

Zoo by Zan Syed:

Creatures (30)
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Experiment One
2 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Goblin Guide
2 Grim Lavamancer
4 Kird Ape
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Wild Nacatl
2 Dryad Arbor

Spells (12)
4 Atarka’s Command
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Path to Exile

Lands (18)
1 Forest
1 Mountain
3 Misty Rainforest
1 Sacred Foundry
3 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard
2 Kitchen Finks
2 Scavenging Ooze
1 Blood Moon
1 Worship
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Destructive Revelry
3 Molten Rain
2 Pyroclasm

This is where the Finks come in handy, we can block and trade early as well as gain much needed life. Goyf Matches will against their non Goyf Threats. Bolt hits and kills a lot of their things. These Aggro decks are all straight forward. I am a bit surprised there aren’t any Become Immense, but I suppose Ghor-Clan Rampager does the job better, and can be used as a body. BTE can give you monster starts and be used to cast Atarka’s Command which is sweet. Control the board early seems to be the theme here. Whether you use your removal spells or try to tempo them out, this deck is the one that scares me. It isn’t as popular as the other have been in the past, but every creature they run is huge. Combine that with plenty of reach and Lava Man, and we are looking at a quick game, one way or another.

I also love the Worship Tech in the side. Clearly Decay doesn’t care about it, but it’s actually a sweet trump card when you only need one or two more turns to live.

All in all, a lot can still change as we move forward, but when choosing a Modern Deck, make sure you take tools that can kill Fish, Metal Abominations, and all the animals at the Zoo.  I’m going to start keeping track of the meta the best I can using SCG and MTGO results as I usually do. In a month or so, I’ll post some number as see where we stand.

You can email me questions at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com. Be sure to click follow over on the right to make sure you never miss an update. Follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini for streaming times and posts. Stream Here: twitch.tv/thegreat_andini. Thanks for reading, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the meta shakes out!

-Andy

Hearthstone: Hybrids and Data!

Welcome back everyone!

Today I need to talk a bit about Hearthstone. I’m deep on the ladder with lot of time left in the season. This is the first time in a while that I’ve played a deck that feels like It has game against everything. I spoke a bit about the Mage decks, and I do believe Tempo is still very good. Face Hunter was the other deck that I’ve had a lot of success with. The biggest problem with Face (and aggro decks in general) is you can just stall out if you don’t kill them fast enough. The decks aren’t designed with staying power in mind. So the next logical choice is Hybrid Hunter:

Hybrid Hunter:

2 Web Spinner
2 Haunter Creeper
2 Mad Scientist
2 Ironbeak Owl
2 Knife Juggler
1 Piloted Shredded
2 Houndmaster
1 Sludge Blecher
2 Savanna Highmane
1 Dr. Boom
2 Animal Companion
2 Unleash the Hounds
1 Hunters Mark
1 Quick Shot
2 Kill Command
2 Eaglehorn Bow
1 Explosive Trap
2 Freeze Trap

The idea behind this deck is to utilize many of the same aggressive cards and burn spells for reach, but go a little bit bigger in your top end. This gives us the ability to make plays around turn 7 and 8 that aren’t “Leper Gnome, go.” This deck is still capable of aggressive starts, which is key to beating a lot of the top tier deck right now. A lot of the same theories apply for this deck that also apply for Face. You want to be aggressive, and kill your opponents as fast as possible, but now we get some larger threats that are far more resilient.

You can find the Face Primer [Here]

When mulliganing, you always want to look for Web Spinners, Haunter Creepers, Mad Scientists, and Knife Jugglers, I try not to keep Owls because you usually want them later in the game to deal with a Belcher or another problematic guy. I ONLY keep Animal Companion if I have the coin and can play it on turn 2, and I only keep Houndmaster if I have a Creeper, and then can Coin into turn 3 Houndmaster. In all other cases I am shipping cards away for my 1 and 2 drops.

Web spinner is insane as it is early beats, can be buffed by Houndmaster, and gives you a free “card” when it dies. This helps you keep pumping out the threats that can ALSO be pumped by Houndmaster, need be.

I was originally playing with 2 Shredders, but after realizing how many beasts I had, the Taunt from the second Houndmaster is invaluable. I have not had many instances where I could not buff a minion. Houndmaster does not tend to ever get stuck in your hand.

You will quite often want to save your Jugglers to play on turn 5 with Unleash the Hounds. Sometimes it’s worth trying to Coin out a Juggler on Turn 1, but it’s a pretty risky play. You’re generally better off waiting until you are sure you can get value.

I originally felt that the deck didn’t have enough reach and removal with JUST two Kill Commands, so I added a single Quick Shot. It’s a great early game removal spell, and and even better late game top deck since it can-trips.

Between Explosive Trap and Snake trap, there are many arguments for both. I’ve really like have Explosive Trap with all of the aggro deck running around, as well as the extra reach. Snake Trap plays better with Juggler and Houndmaster though. I would like to give Snake Trap a try at some point.  Freeze Traps take some time getting used to. You don’t want to keep bouncing their Defender of Argus or Heal Bots, so you need to make sure you eliminate recursive threats. Otherwise, the tempo Freeze provides is crazy.

Boom and Highmanes top out our curve. And allow us to drop late game bombs. The great part of these cards is they always leave behind more threats. Boom has his Bots and Highmane leaves 2, 2/2 Hyenas. So even if they bite the dust, you can still keep applying pressure without losing all of your tempo.

So, I’ve taken this deck from Rank 15 to 5 in about a week and roughly 170 games. Here’s the breakdown:

Overall Win percentage: 56%

Meta Break down: (% of matches played again this class / win rate)

Druid: 11% / 55%
Ramp – 11% / 55%

Hunter:  15% / 56%
Face – 8.3% / 50%
Hybrid – 6.4% / 63.6%

Mage: 16% / 66.6%
Freeze – 10.2% / 76.5%
Tempo – 3.4% / 66%
Mech – 2.3%/ 25%

Paladin: 12% / 40%
Aggro – 8.9% / 33.3%
Midrange – 2.9% / 60%

Priest: 3% / 40%
Midrange – 3% / 40%

Rogue: 5% / 50%
Oil – 5% / 50%

Shaman: 5% / 63%
Mech – 2.5% / 100%
Midrange – 2.5% / 25%

Warlock: 21% / 54.2%
Zoo – 11.3% / 73.6%
Hand – 7.7% / 30.7%
Demon – 1.8% / 33.3%

Warrior: 13% / 62%
Control – 5.4% / 77%
Combo -7.2% / 50%

So these stats are JUST from the games I’ve recorded. I was not always near my computer when I played, but my thinking is the games I missed probably followed these trends. We can see what our good and bad match ups are when we record out games like this. Then as we see trends in what people are playing we can adjust our deck lists accordingly. It’s a lot of work, and I hear there are programs out there available to make it easier (I’m an excel spread sheet kind of guy). So I highly suggest recording matches.

It’s very interesting how starkly different some match ups are. If you look at Shaman, we’ve crushed Mech every time, but we struggle against Midrange. Against Zoo-Lock, we have an incredible win rate, but against Hand-Lock we get slaughtered. This is exactly the information we need to know how we should be playing out our matches.

Now I only have anywhere between 10-30 matches per class, so much more data will be needed. As of this writing I am still recording games, so I will have to do an update if I hit legend. Plus I fully intend to keep playing this deck next season, so there will updates to come regardless.  My Teammate Matt was telling me about a video he watched by a pro player, where it was stated that you need a 58% win rate overall in order to hit legend. As long as you play enough, if you’re winning 58% of your matches, you CAN hit legend. When I got to 150 games recorded, I was at 58%. As you can see I’ve fallen a bit. It’s very difficult to maintain. The reason 58% is so important is because you no longer get Bonus Starts at Rank 5 and lower. These bonus stars can seriously pad your win rate and help you get to 5. Rank 5 is where the real grind starts.

So I’m going to keep it up and push to legend. I am sometimes tempted to just go back to Facing people when I get discouraged, but I honestly believe Hybrid is better. It’s more flexible and has the tools to beat most decks.  I’m sure I will continue to make slight changes here and there based on the meta. That is just what’s required to be amongst the top players. I have a feeling it’s going to be close this season what with Otakon around the corner, but I’ll grind on anyway.

Speaking of Otakon, just a few updates; I will be presenting my panel on Saturday Morning at 9:00 am EST in Panel Room 3. If you are a fan of “Over the Garden Wall” or a fan of the blog here, PLEASE come watch! It’s going to be a blast and I would be honored to meet readers. I’m also helping with another panel on Friday at 8:45 pm EST. It’s dealing with morality and villains in “Avatar: The Legend of Kora.” Both should be a blast.

I might not have a huge update next Friday because I’ll be busy with the con, but I will try to get something up. Thanks again for reading. I hope you had as much fun scoping out this data as I had collecting it.

As always, feel free to email me with comments, questions and concerns. You can reach me at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com.  Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini. Click “Follow” over on the right to follow the blog and never miss an update! Good luck everyone, and keep on grinding!

-Andy

Hearthstone: Let the Hunt Begin!

Happy Monday Everyone! Welcome back to Modern Gentlemen Gaming! This past weekend was the Grand Prix in Charlotte, NC. There is a ton to talk about so we’ll be doing an article on Friday about it. In the meantime, while watching the GP, I was able to get a good amount of Hearthstone in.

Last season, Team MGG was very stubborn about making Dragons work. Brian Kibler actually wrote a very extensive article on Dragons in Hearthstone and posted something like 30+ different lists that he tried. In short, it isn’t worth your time. We were so reluctant to give it up, it took me half the season before I finally said “SCREW IT!” and just went back to playing Face Hunter. I ended up just not having enough time and ended the season at Rank 5. I have a feeling had I not messed around for 2 weeks I’d have be able to hit Legend. The fact of the matter is that if you’re trying to win, there is enough variance in HS as it is, so you’re better off picking one solid game plan and sticking to it. The more linear your game plan, the more consistent and less variable your deck will be. Let’s take a look at a list.

Face Hunter:
1 Hunter’s Mark
1 Abusive Sergeant
2 Leper Gnome
1 Worgen Infiltrator
1 Glaivezooka
2 Explosive Trap
2 Quick Shot
2 Haunted Creeper
2 Ironbeak Owl
2 Knife Juggler
2 Mad Scientist
2 Eaglehorn Bow
2 Animal Companion
2 Kill Command
2 Unleash the Hounds
2 Arcane Golem
2 Wolf Rider

The things that make this deck so powerful are Charge, and the Direct Damage spells. These obvious equate to Haste and Burn in Magic: The Gathering. Since there is no way to block in HS, Charge becomes very powerful. Unless you have a Taunt in play, you are taking the damage from whatever Charge minion they play. There is nothing you can do to stop it. If your opponent does play Taunt minions, like Sludge Belcher, you can very easily use Burn to circumvent the blocker and finish them off.

I have tried different variations of this list throughout my time climbing. Let’s take a look at the card choices.

Hunter’s Mark Versus Tracking:

I originally used a copy of Tracking as I thought it would be great to have a way to draw a card after you’ve used your hand up. The truth of the matter was if I used it early, there was often more than one key card I wanted, or cards that did not help my current situation. It was often not nearly as good as just plain old Quick Shot.  It wasn’t a way for me to progress the board, or get through a Taunt guy. It didn’t really make sense to me, but I just got the feeling there were better things I could be doing over Tracking. Hunter’s Mark on the other hand, is a really great fail safe to large Taunts like Belcher and Deathlord. Instead of spending 3-4 minions to get through them, you use 2 cards instead. Even if it’s not a taunt guy and just a must-remove minion, you can Mark it, and then sacrifice a 1/1 to kill say Dr.Boom.

Ironbeak Owl:

The more I played Hunter the more Owls I kept adding. It’s a 2/1 body so it can put in work on the offensive, but its Battlecry is what puts it over the top. Between silencing Belchers, opposing Mad Scientists and Knife Jugglers, he just does so much it’s hard to imagine running less than 2. He’s great against Handlock, and he’s also a Beast to enable your Kill Commands. Plus, protip, if you have lethal on board but some pesky Freeze Mage froze your lethal Minion, you can owl him to remove the Freeze and win.

Only 1 Abusive Sergeant:

I was originally running two, and it enabled some seriously huge damage plays by playing two out in a turn on an Arcane Golem or Wolf Rider. The issue is that he requires another minion on the board to get an value out of him. Plus, with all the Tempo Mage running around right now, if you try to play him out turn 1, he will most likely just die to their hero power.

Haunter Creeper:

This is a minion that gets better the more “Deal 1 Damage” spells are flying around. The issue is he is usually a very underwhelming top deck. It might be best if I shave a copy and go up an Abusive Sergeant. I will be trying to find a replacement for 1 copy in the future and see if that works better. It may not be the best call, as he is insurance against opposing Explosive Traps, Hell Fires, and Blizzards. So it could completely depend on what you find yourself playing against as you climb the ladder.

Weapons:

Eaglehorn Bow is absolutely essential. Combined with your secrets you can clear problem minions or just deal insane amount of damage over the course of a game with a single bow. The Glaive is also very good. Going Turn 1 Gnome into Turn 2 Glaive is pretty sick. Don’t be afraid to use your weapons to clean out a minion if you absolutely have to, but generally they act as just more burn.

Charge Minions:

The wolf riders are self explanatory. They are just very good. The Arcane Golem can be a bit tricky. You don’t want to help them get to their board clear faster. Its turn 4 for Paladins and Priests, Turn 7 for Mages. etc. So just keep in mind the amount of mana your opponent has and try to avoid ramping them into big threats.

Everything else in my list is pretty stock. So how do we play this lovely deck?

The goal is to send everything you have at the face of your opponent. As you play against the different classes you will start to understand which cards you HAVE to trade with, and which card you can completely IGNORE. There are very few decks that can keep up with your damage output, so the sooner you get out ahead, the sooner you put your opponent on the defensive and force them to try to stabilize.

The rule of thumb is when in doubt, go for the face. Obviously there are things like opposing Knife Jugglers that must be removed. An active Juggler can wreck your board of X/1’s and put you in an unrecoverable position. Flamewaker is very similar. Don’t let him sit on the board because he will wipe your team. Warrior’s Armor Smiths can be a huge pain. Try to remove it in only 1 or 2 hits before the opponent’s other minions start racking up the armor count.

Against any deck that may run Belcher, save your Owl’s. Don’t waste them on a random minion just to add to your board. Owls are your silver bullets and can help you push though that lethal damage.

You also want to avoid over extending. What this means, is if you are playing against an archetype that generally plays board wipes, you do not want to dump your entire hand onto the field. If you do, and they kill every single one of you guys, you’ll have nothing left in your hand or on the field. In situations like this, you want you deploy your minions in twos or threes. This way you still have back up minions to keep applying pressure. Forcing them to use a board wipe on two or three minions prevents you form running out of steam, and makes them use their spells inefficiently.

When mulliganing, try to get your low cost guys. One drops are very important. You almost never want to keep secrets in your opener, as Mad Scientists will fetch them up for you. I tend to send Unleash the Hounds back into the deck as you will almost never cast it on turn three. This depends on the match up. but your opponent wont quite have the boar to make it work. Again, none of these are hard and fast rules. If you think that your Paladin opponent might Muster to Battle on Turn 3, they keeping Unleash may be correct. Playing Knife Juggler into Unleash on turn 5 is also a sweet wombo combo.

Just use your Hero Power as often as you can. It helps put a quick clock on your opponent. Anytime I have a beast in hand I tend to fire off my Kill Commands. Nothing is worse than holding a Kill Command and having to fire it off for only three when you had a chance to use it for 5 earlier. The extra points of damage are generally worth it. I will only hold it if I know my opponent is going to play something that I MUST remove. Some giant threats are even just race-able.  My opponent is almost always close enough to death that I don’t care about things like Emperor Thaurissan. If they make the things in their hand a little cheap, who cares if they are dead next turn? In that example I’d rather to throw the Kill Command to the face and end the game. Keep that in mind. There will be times where you literally just don’t care about your opponents’ threats provided they aren’t directly stopping you from winning (taunt).

This deck is a ton of fun to play. I know most people hate playing against it because it so prevalent, but in my opinion, I don’t want to mess around and I just want my opponents dead. This is a great deck to pick up if you are just starting. It is cheap to build, and its very strong. It will also help newer players understand the basics of Hearthstone. If you don’t have a background in card games, Hearthstone is a great place to start. Again, this deck is another great place to start.

I will try to keep these primers updated as new card are released or we see shifts in the meta game. This was a very introductory start to Hunter, and on of the two popular way to build it. In the future, I want to write about Hybrid Hunter, Tempo Mage, and good, old Matty Ice has been playing a ton of Shaman, and Warlock. So we’ve got a lot of really great content coming up. This Friday we’ll discuss the GP and what it means for the Modern Meta Game, and I hope to post some MTG Deck Primers. There is a ton to talk about, so keep tuning in!

If you have any questions or comments feel free to email us at ModernGentlemenGaming@gamil.com. We also love suggestions for what YOU GUYS want to read! Follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini. Click the “follow” button on the right and you’ll never miss an update! Thanks again for reading and keep pushing to legend!

-Andy

SCG Invitational and Looking Forward in Modern

Welcome back to Modern Gentlemen Gaming!

This is the first official article, and boy, does it feel good to be back! Welcome, welcome, welcome! If you’re a new-comer, I cannot stress it enough. If you’ve made your way over here from East Timber Basement MTG, then welcome back! I’m glad you found you’re way here. Something important to note is if you liked receiving notifications on new articles, then you’ll need to re-follow this blog. Just click “Follow” over on the right and/or submit your email address. This way, you’ll never miss an update!

Thank you, and let’s get to the article.

Matt and I have formed Team MGG to better serve you guys, the readers. Obviously we’re still going to be focused on MTG, but we’re adding a whole bunch of new stuff to our repertoire. We left off in The Basement deep into modern testing. I’m going to be updating and reposting a lot of that content over here, so we have a compendium. The other good news that I mentioned in our introductory post was the insane amount of Modern tournaments going on. Today marks the beginning of Grand Prix Charlotte. I have no idea where the meta is going to go after this weekend, but I can tell you that Star City Games’ Invitational LAST weekend really shook things up.

If you don’t know, the Invitationals are usually Standard and Legacy. SCG mixed it up and made it Standard and Modern, with the top 8 being Modern. So, let’s take a look at that top 8.

1st– G/R Tron
2nd– Amulet Bloom
3rd– Jund
4th– Merfolk
5th– G/R Tron
6th– Abzan Company
7th– Amulet Bloom
8th– Grixis Twin

Mother of God… What is happening?! This is a FAR cry from the meta we saw at the Pro Tour. Those days are far behind us. The top decks used to be Junk Midrange, U/R Twin, Burn and Infect. Now, lots of Junk players are switching to Jund, Twin is shifting to Grixis, Burn and Infect are slowly fading away, Bloom appears to be getting more and more popular, and finally… where the HELL did Tron come from?

As a Junk Midrange player, all of this scares the hell out of me. Tron is (supposedly) a horrific match up for us. These results will definitely cause an uptick in the number of Tron players for the next month or so. Against Bloom, discard is our primary weapon and, admittedly, not the best angle of attack. In addition, we basically have to have a Path to Exile in our opening hand or we’re in serious trouble. Merfolk is a very weird thing to see in this Top 8. I actually, very recently, had the opportunity to play a bunch of games against Merfolk. The Collected Company decks have been growing in popularity steadily in the flavor of Elves and Junk Company. Junk Company looks to out value you with Eternal Witness and Finks, and does a very interesting Pod impression with Merlia and Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit infinite combos.  Jund has gotten much more popular due to Kolaghan’s Command.

So a lot of these shifts in the meta make sense. Everyone was on Junk Midrange, as that is the “best deck” Day Zero, when you don’t know what you’re playing against. G/B/x decks are decks that can be tuned to beat almost anything, and have good game against most of the field. It’s a safe choice that rewards knowing what you want to beat and knowing your deck inside and out. Once new cards are introduced to the format (Kolaghan’s Command and Collected Company) old archetypes get a revival, new archetypes are made, and everyone must adjust to beat those decks. So, how do we beat them?

Amulet Bloom

Blood Moon is good. That is a given. If they aren’t getting value from the double lands and Amulet of Vigor, they cannot power out huge threats. If they cannot get their appropriate colors, they cannot kill you with Hive Mind. Land destruction will only slow them down. You cannot rely on Fulminator Mage alone; you have to combine it with a clock. This goes doubly with discard and disruption. These act as faux “tempo” plays, as Bloom will kill you eventually, if you let it. The actual Amulet doesn’t necessarily kill you either; it just helps them kill you faster. So again, Decaying the Amulet slows them down and gives you time to get a clock on them. The issue with Decay is there are very few targets for it and it doesn’t kill their win conditions. Spellskite does a decent job slowing them down, as they cannot power up their Primeval Titan to OHKO you. Granted, this also means you need a rather large Goyf (or some decent sized blockers) on the field as well, but it’s definitely possible.

Tron

So it’s funny because you’d think Blood Moon might be good here as well.  The reality is it’s kind of the inverse of Bloom. Whereas Blood Moon stops Bloom in its tracks, Tron can still cast its threats with Mountains. It will get to 6, 7, and 8 mana to just cast Wurmcoils, Karns and Ugins. Then against Bloom, where Land Destruction only slows them, it does handicap Tron. Fulminator, Tectonic Edge, Ghost Quarter (being played by Gerry Thompson), all do a great job keeping their lands to a minimum. Combined with threats creating a clock (sensing a theme?) you will be able to stop them from going over the top. This is also another deck where Decay can look embarrassing. Decaying an Expedition Map can help slow them down, but you have to catch them tapped out, and outside of that you don’t have a ton of targets.  Gerry also mention Boom//Bust as a great option here and I agree. This is a deck that doesn’t run a ton of fetches, as they cannot fetch Tron pieces. So by casting Boom, you target a Tron piece and one of your fetches; you can then sac your fetch in response and force just them to sacrifice their land. It’s a gross play.

Collected Company

There are two flavors of Collected Company. The Junk version seems to be the more popular of the two. This deck uses Company at instant speed to gain value. It can be through Kitchen Finks for life gain, a sizeable threat, and a resilient creature, Eternal Witness, to rebuy Company, or other value cards, or to just win on the spot with infinite life combos. The first thing I would say is all of those mentioned lines use the graveyard in some way. I first thought about adding a couple of Gralfdigger’s Cage to my side board. Gerry Thompson has been championing Leyline of the Void. Basically if you can cut off access to the graveyard, their deck becomes a bunch of mediocre creatures. Cage stops creatures from coming into play straight from the library, but doesn’t really stop the graveyard (Cage is better suited for fighting Snapcaster Mage). Leyline doesn’t stop the actual card Collected Company, but it does entirely remove any graveyard interaction. If you already have a way to stop Snapcaster Mage (like Scavenging Ooze), then I would totally go with Leyline of the Void. The issue is it is a Black card as opposed to an Artifact. Other options would be Rest in Peace, or Relic or Progenitus, but Leyline may be the cleanest answer. A well timed Anger of the Gods can really put a pinch in their plans due to the exile clause.

Elves is another story. This is something I’ve personally seen start to become more popular, so I am unsure if it is more so than Junk Company. This deck simply uses Company to put more and more elves into play. They want to hit a critical mass of creatures, generate a ton of mana and Overrun you with Ezuri, Renegade Leader. Obviously, graveyard is much less of a factor and controlling their board is key. Anger of the Gods is very good as even with one or two lords, you still wipe their board. Damnation is great as it gets around the Regenerate on Ezuri. Wrath of God is the same but White. Cheap removal is important for helping you get to turn 4 or 5 and actually cast the big sweepers. Lightning Bolt does a fantastic job of slowing them down. Zealous Persecution or Golgari Charm can get them before they play a lord. I have also always been a fan of Engineered Explosives, but it appears to be less popular than it used to be.

Choosing a Deck

Burn can probably handle Tron and Bloom pretty well, but has a pretty difficult time beating the life gain out of Junk Company. With Company keeping Burn in check, it could be contributing to the swell in the other two archetypes.

Infect is probably in a similar vein. It is definitely fast enough to beat Tron and Bloom, but Melira is actually seeing play again. That small fact could be enough to warrant NOT playing Infect, which would give room for Tron and Bloom to flourish.

Twin seems like a pretty good answer to all three of the archetypes. I’ve mentioned in many of my Modern musings previously that you need a way to just win out of nowhere. No deck does it like Twin does. It’s a great deck that does not rely solely on the combo, which forces your opponent to defend on multiple angles. Twin can be faster than Tron, can slow down Bloom with counter magic long enough to combo, and just combo BETTER than Junk CoCo. This is a deck I’d fully expect to rip thought a meta full of Tron, Bloom, and Company.

With all of the hate cards in mind, it’s no wonder that Gerry Thompson has been all about Jund. It has access to many of tools to beat these archetypes. This is another deck that has also been gaining popularity due to Kolaghan’s Command. It does everything a Jund deck wants to be doing. It can disrupt, buyback a threat, help you get to those long, grindy stages of a game, and even kill things.

So if I had to guess what the meta will look like at the GP it would be something like the following:

Tron will get a boost in popularity due to its highly successful finish at the Invitational; same goes for Bloom. Both of these archetypes will contain players who were on the fence about playing a “mediocre” deck, and the Invitational results will force them off the fence, back into the Tron or Bloom camp.  Junk Company will continue to rise in popularity, and this may include Elves. I think the Junk version is probably better than Elves, so I don’t expect to see any Elves in the top 8 (but if Merfolk did it, why not Elves?).  Twin will continue to be popular due to its “free win” angle. It is always a solid deck choice. Jund will continue to pick up steam, what with many high profile players battling with it, and it’s access to many tools needed to win against the meta. I think Affinity is posed to make a comeback. It’s been pretty quiet for a while, and that usually means people will begin dropping their Artifact hate. As soon as that happens, BOOM! Robots Attack! It may not be this weekend, but I think it’s on the horizon. Lastly, I predict Junk, Infect, Burn, and the like will all be in the lower percentages of representation.

If I could play any deck this weekend at the GP, I would choose U/R Twin, Jund, or Junk. Twin has Red which gives you Blood Moon, Anger, Pyroclasm, Bolt, etc. Jund has access to the same, but with Black added for Leyline and “better” options for removal. The only reason I would consider playing Junk is, if enough people are on Jund to beat the meta, Junk might be a good choice to win those G/B/x mirror matches. This honestly feels like a stretch to me, because in all reality Jund and Twin are probably best. I just can’t help but at least mention Mr. Rhinoceros.

Regardless, I’m excited to watch some magic this weekend since I am unable to actually attend the GP. It’s going to be a great weekend. I have a few primers planned. I’d like to do one for each of the major archetypes. This way, they will always be available for reference, and I can update them as time goes on. I have a few on the old blog that I would like to move over and update, and then I’ll be creating the others. In between these posts, I’ll be writing about major tournaments, and finally start talking about Hearthstone as this season progresses. Thanks for tuning in this week. If any of you guys are going to GP Charlotte, send me your stories about how you did or the decks you played with. We’d love to hear from you.

As always, feel free to comment below. You can email me with comments questions, or concerns at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com. We’d love to hear your ideas for a future post! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini. You can click “Follow” on the right side to follow the blog and make sure you never miss an update from Team MGG! Thanks again for your support during this rebuilding phase and good luck at the GP!

-Andy