Tag Archives: Magic the Gathering

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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The Modern Meta Watch!

Good Afternoon, Everyone!

We’re back, and we’re still keeping our eyes on the shifting Modern meta game. Last week, as expected, Aggro was taking the crown left and right. We had one SCG Classic to work with, and it was no surprise, in this unknown field, that magicians would be aiming to “just get ’em dead.” Lucky for us, we have TWO tournaments to pull data from this week. We got another SCG Classic and an 80 person side event from the GP this past weekend. These first few weeks of tournaments without Twin and Bloom will probably look very different each week, so it’s important we keep a close eye on as much as we can. First things Fist, the SCG Classic:

1st – U/G Infect
2nd – G/R Scapeshift
3rd – Burn
4th – G/R Tron
5th – Jund
6th – G/R Tron
7th – Naya Zoo
8th – Affinity
9th – Kiki Chord
10th – Burn
11th – Affinity
12th – Burn
13th – G/R Tron
14th – Jeskai Control
15th – Burn
16th – Merfolk

Well, well. There are the trons decks! Two got Top 8 after zero showings the week before. People were ready for Aggro, so Merfolk, Affinity, and Zoo took a back seat. There’s A LOT more burn in the top 16 as well. A control list popped up, and a couple of combo decks (if you count Infect as a combo deck). So what does this mean? Well as stated, when people are ready for affinity, it becomes infinitely more difficult to win with it. The counter cards for Affniity are true counters that shut the deck down entirely. Tron IS going to be a factor, as is Burn. I still don’t think Tron is as prominent as we all thought it would be, but it may take some time before Tron knows what it needs to do to crush. Lets take a look at the lists.

R/G Tron by Louie Falcigno

Creatures (7)
2 Spellskite
3 Wurmcoil Engine
2 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Planeswalkers (5)
4 Karn Liberated
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Spells (28)
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Expedition Map
4 Oblivion Stone
1 Warping Wail
4 Ancient Stirrings
3 Pyroclasm
4 Sylvan Scrying

Lands (20)
2 Forest
2 Ghost Quarter
3 Karplusan Forest
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower
1 Eye of Ugin

Sideboard
2 Pithing Needle
3 Relic of Progenitus
1 Spellskite
2 Thragtusk
3 Nature’s Claim
1 Rending Volley
1 Warping Wail
1 Crumble to Dust
1 Firespout

So we’ve got a pretty standard core here. Sphere’s Stars and Maps (OH MY!) backed by Sylvan Scrying and Ancient Stirrings to get the lands they need for ramp. O-Stone to blow everything up if they get in danger. The standard Pyroclasm, as a mini-wrath, to get them to the point where they  can use the O-Stone. The new ones are Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, or “New-lamog”

UlamogTheCeaselessHunger

>:|

He’s kind of beast, as when he hits the table, hes exiling two permanents. He’s also indestructible… Ok… and when he attacks you, (not “hits you”) you lose the top twenty of your library. Grand. So this presents us with a problem, unless you have Path to Exile. Wurm Coil is difficult enough to deal with but Ulamog just wins the game almost on the spot.

The other new card is Warping Wail.

WarpingWail

It’s very flexible. Exile an early threat, counter a game changing spell, or give you a bit more ramp. Tron can always use more ramp, right?

R/G Tron by Hobie Hagen

Creatures (9)
1 Spellskite
3 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Thought-Knot Seer
2 World Breaker
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Planeswalkers (4)
4 Karn Liberated

Spells (27)
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Expedition Map
4 Oblivion Stone
3 Kozilek’s Return
4 Ancient Stirrings
4 Sylvan Scrying

Lands (20)
2 Forest
1 Ghost Quarter
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower
1 Eye of Ugin

Sideboard
3 Relic of Progenitus
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Matter Reshaper
1 World Breaker
4 Nature’s Claim
1 Warping Wail
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
2 Crumble to Dust
1 Ghost Quarter

Thought-Knot Seer gives you information and slows your opponents answers down. This is another great card for helping you reach your game ending threats. This list opted to use the old stand by, Emrakul, along side the new Ulamog. The big upgrade is the 3 main deck Kozilek’s Return. As I’ve mentioned before, this is an instant speeds Pyroclasm, for one more mana, that can be reused for even more damage. The best way to activate it? World Breaker.

Image

When you drop this guy, you get to recast K-Return for free by exiling it, and it will basically be the only thing to survive, due to its 7 toughness. Not much is going to survive against a 5 damage board wipe, and that will clear the way for this guy or the next threat to end the game. Not only does it play with with Return, it also has recursion, so it’s not easy to destroy, and it exiles an Enchantment, Artifact or Land when it enters play. This guy does a lot, and I expect him to continue to see play, especially along side Kozi’s Return.

So that’s the basic shell of the Tron decks, currently. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is the new face… or blank horror mannequin head… of… Tron? Lord, I don’t know. Outside of the new tron showing, I imagined Infect would have some place as it plays like an aggro deck, trying to deal “damage” quickly with creatures, and aggro will be good for a long while with twin gone. So lets see what happened over at GP Vancouver.

1st – U/W Control
2nd – Naya Zoo
3rd – Naya Zoo
4th – Jeskai Control
5th – Jund Burn
6th – Abzan Wish
7th – Bring to Light Scapeshift
8th – Jund

I highly advise you go click the link and take look at these lists. Control showed up a bit here, which is great because there hasn’t been a solid, dedicated Control list for a long while, in Modern. Zoo was still out in full force, We have a Scapeshift list using Bring to Light, a Burn list (called Jund because of Bump in the Night main, and Self-Inflicted Wound out of the sideboard), and a standard Jund list with the addition of Kalitas, which seems great along side our absurd amount of removal.

The interesting list that stands out, is a standard Junk list with 3 copies of Glittering Wish in the MAIN. This allowed the pilot to run mostly singles in his side and grab the silver bullets he needed game one, or whenever or any occasion. I am sure this threw his opponents a huge curve ball, and that alone can be tilting enough to get the edge. The catch is it has to be Multi-Colored, so seeing something like Heroes’ Reunion makes more sense (but it isn’t any LESS tilting for the Burn player). Being able to grab a Sorin, Solemn Visitor, or a Siege Rhino when you need it is pretty nasty. Imagine the look on the Affinity Players face when you just barely stabilize, then grab a Fracturing Gust to ruin them. Makes me laugh. It ALMOST makes me want to pick up Junk again… almost.

In short, this format is wide open, we still haven’t even discussed the CoCo decks, and, the growing slowly growing in popularity, Kiki Chord. There’s a lot to cover and I’m sure next Monday will give us even more results. Stay tuned to see how it will all shake out. I’m still keeping my options open, and I am planning on playing in FNM this Friday. If I go, I’ll be playing Jund, most likely, but I’m keeping my eye on Junk, Scapeshift, and some Delver Variants. I also believe I have everything to play Naya Zoo, so that’s also an option. Anything with Bolts and Helices (FYI, just learned the plural of Helix) is fine in my book. They also have access to Path which can deal with the pesky Ulamog. Whatever you play need to be able to deal with early aggro pressure, and giant scary Eldrazi Horrors. So keep those things in mind.

And that’s all the MTG I have for today. In other news, I’ve got the stream working for League of Legends, and streamed last night. It worked well, minus a crash at one point, but it was fun. The matches went very poorly and the only games I won were Solo Queue. I’ll chalk that up to the fact that Duo or Dynamic Queue seems to make the games more difficult, but who knows? I got placed Bronze 1, so i’m hoping to climb out quickly. Once I’m Silver we’ll aim for Gold. I was not disappointed AT ALL with my play (as ADC). Multiple games I got an early lead, crushed bot lane in CS, and ultimately won the lane. I tried to carry as hard as I could, but several of those games had teammates with zero kills and double digit deaths. I suppose that’s Bronze for you though.

Regardless, I’ll be streaming basically anytime I play League, which will include tonight, around 7pm, EST! I still think solo queue is my best shot, but if my buddies are on, I may duo with them. Follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini for stream times. I’ll be sure to post an hour or so before I stream.

Feel free to 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. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you guys Friday.

-Andy

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

Banned and Restricted – Modern 2016

Good Afternoon Readers,

I come to you today with the talk of the magic world: The Banned and Restricted announcement. This announcement was leaked Friday night and was linked to Wizards’ actual website, to prove (more or less) it wasn’t false. To the surprise of no one, Summer Bloom was banned, effectively making the Amulet Bloom deck unplayable. This was a degenerate deck that could win on turn 2 and quite often on turn 3. It broke some of the rules of Modern, one of which is being a turn 4 format. This mean there are no decks that can reliably win before turn 4. Not only did Bloom break this rule, it was almost impossible to stop the actual combo. It was extremely “un-interactive.”

Then to the surprised of LITERALLY EVERYONE, then also banned Splinter Twin. Twin has been a corner stone of the format since the very beginning. This was one of the deck that DEFINED Modern. Click the link below to see WotC reasoning behind these bans.

http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/january-18-2016-banned-and-restricted-announcement-2016-01-18

The argument is basically, that too large a portion of the field is playing this deck because it is very good, so to promote competitive diversity, they are banning the deck.

At first, I was furious, appalled even. How could they do this, Twin was a great deck. Yes, it was very powerful, yes, sometimes you had the “Oops, I win” moments, but it never felt unbeatable. There were so many answers to this two card combo. It was “creature based” so you could kill the creature and 2-for-1 the enchantment. Abrupt Decay did this VERY nice, as it was even uncounterable. There we’re endless options for killing Deceiver Exarchs, Pestermites, and the now banned Splinter Twin. More so, in a world where Tron is poised to be literally everywhere, Twin was a deck that helped keep it in check. Now that balance isn’t just upset, it’s gone.

Then it hit me. This sinking feeling I had was all too familiar. Basically a year ago, Pod was banned the same way. It was “too powerful” and “too large a portion of the meta.” Pod stifled diversity and with every new creature printed, could essential break Modern. I felt the pain for the poor souls who chose to build Splinter Twin as their first modern deck. People who have played Twin for years now felt the pain of the Pod players.

The internet was on fire.

This is my personal favorite:
https://twitter.com/ExarchUntapTwin/status/688390452425437185

So, all in all, I do understand why this banning has happened. I do believe a lot of crazy strategies are going to come out as a result, which is good for Modern on a whole. The problem I have with it is the Pod/Twin dilemma. Is anyone going to want to invest in Modern when WotC can just devalue your thousand dollar deck over night? I know I didn’t. In fact, even thought I did reinvest after Pod, I have not had the desire to play like I used to. Something changed after Pod was destroyed. I had a deck I loved and I still haven’t, to this day,  found the same level of success or enthusiasm I once had for the format, or MTG in general.  It sucks, a lot. There was even a time I had thought of just buying Twin outright, so I could keep playing the format with a deck that was very good. I think I may have quit MTG forever had I had two deck banned out from underneath of me, back to back. I am sure there are many more people who would quit for less.  and THAT’S what worries me. The format will struggle to grow and gain new followers if at any point in time WotC wrecks your investment in what is supposed to be a “non-rotating” format.

It’s a very slippery slope.

Regardless, this is the price we pay for having regular Modern Pro Tours. Again, I understand completely and think a lot of good will come out of the ban, but I feel for these poor Twin players.

So where does this leave us?

I think Affinity, Aggro, Burn, and Infect all get better. They don’t have to waste card slots and their third turns by leaving open mana to stop the combo, and can continue just attacking their opponent. Delver may be a bit more viable as the Tempo deck of choice. I think this is yet another blow to G/B/x strategies on one hand and a boost on the other. We already know that the combination of new cards, and the lack of Twin makes Tron look unstoppable right now. This is the blow to the G/B/x. The boost will come in the form of G/B/x potentially being able to prey on the decks that CAN beat Tron. If Modern becomes Tron versus Beat Tron, then G/B/x may find a way to take advantage. Combo will find a way. Scapeshift is looking real good all of a sudden and things like Goryo’s Vengeance and Living End may become more popular as well. CoCo has been, and will continue to be very popular as well.

As far where I stand, I’m sticking to Jund. I think If we’re going to fight this fight, I want to get lower to the ground, and try to kill tron before it start landing hay-makers. I don’t really want to trade my Lightning Bolts or Kolaghan’s Commands when Affinity/Aggro is going to rise up, for Paths and Lingering Souls. So, sorry Rhino’s, but you’re staying in the binder for now. So lets see where we are, how low to the ground can we get?

Jund by Brian Huffman:
Creatures (13)
4 Dark Confidant
1 Kitchen Finks
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Olivia Voldaren
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar

Planeswalkers (3)
3 Liliana of the Veil

Spells (20)
3 Abrupt Decay
2 Kolaghan’s Command
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Terminate
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Thoughtseize

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

Sideboard
4 Fulminator Mage
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Unravel the Aether
1 Night of Souls’ Betrayal
1 Painful Truths
1 Pyroclasm
1 Shatterstorm
1 Thoughtseize

Matt wanted to start here, and I think that’s a great idea. We’ve noticed a trend for a while now about only playing 3 Lili. I felt this was entirely wrong until the Twin ban. It’s likely now that Lili is just not that great against the types of decks we will be facing. She won’t really do anything against Tron and their walkers, she doesn’t act as removal and isn’t fast enough to empty their hand. Against aggro, we will have more efficient removal and the discard is too slow.  We can always go back to 4 if control becomes very popular. I love the idea of dropping Tasigur. I have never really been a fan of him, and if we want to get aggressive, there are much better options. My goal is to lower the curve, giving us a more aggressive start, and getting the most benefit out of our Dark Confidants. Cards like Kitchen Finks are great as they allow us to gain life, and trade against the aggro decks, while still packing a punch with a hard to remove threat against controlling strategies. Chandra can go as well. She’s better in grindy matches and I’m expecting less of these. Ooze may get a bit better if we’re killing lots of creatures. A mid game ooze can be unstoppable. I think we switch the split we are doing on Decay and Terminate. Terminate will have a wider application when we don’t need to dodge counter spells lest we automatically lose the game.

Main deck discard might be less necessary as well. I could almost see going to a 2-2 split of Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek for Game 1, and bring out the 3rd and 4th copy of IoK for Games 2 and 3, if needed. Our side board will be drastically different, and probably take a huge weeks to figure out. So lets see what that gives us:

Jund:
Creatures (15):
4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Scavenging Ooze
3 Kitchen Finks
1 Olivia Voldaren
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar

Planeswalkers (3):
3 Liliana of the Veil

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

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

Sideboard (15):
4 Fulminator Mage
2 Kozilek’s Return
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Shatterstorm
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Unravel the Aether
1 Painful Truths

I basically move the Finks all main, swap the Decay and remove Discard for more Terminates. I fit in Hissing Quagmire (albeit most likely incorrectly) and added Kozilek’s Return in the side. Pointed out by my teammate, Matt, Return is going to be great. For one extra mana, it’s an instant speed pyroclasm, this will allow us to decimate those pesky lands Affinty likes to animate on their turn as well as torch the Etched Champions. I’m not sold on Pia and Kiran but they seem to have a lot to utility. I also really want to try Goblin Dark-Dwellers, but that is the opposite of lowering the curve.

Land base will be tough as well, I love the idea of main deck Ghost Quarter, but I want more than one. Like, a lot more than one. Plus this will help us cast a card i REALLY want to try, Matter Reshaper.

As previously stated, This card is a value house. Against Aggro we can block and potentially replace it with a creature like Finks or Goyf. We could hit a Lili off of it, or a land. If it ends up not being a permanent, we just draw it. So can we adjust our deck to run enough permanents to make this worth while? Is the draw clause weak when we’re already running four Dark Confidant? Are 3-4 Ghost Quarter and a Filter land enough colorless sources to actually cast this thing? Probably not in a 3 color deck, so what about just straight G/B?

G/B:
Creatures (16):
4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Scavenging Ooze
3 Kitchen Finks
3 Reality Smasher

Planeswalkers (4):
3 Liliana of the Veil
1 Garruk Relentless?????

Spells (5-6):
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Grasp of Darkness
2 Maelstrom Pulse
2-3 ????????

Lands (24):
3 Forest
2 Swamp
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Hissing Quagmire
3 Treetop Village
2 Llanowar wastes
1 Urborg
4 Ghost Quarter (or Tectonic Edge)

Ugh, this sounded better in my head. After typing it out, Matter Reshaper feels bad. It’s not a big enough threat on it’s own, the creatures it could hit are fine, but then we don’t have room for hay-makers, and our spell suite feels terrible without Red or White, so drawing a card of a non permanent feels weak. We lose all the good removal of Path, Bolt, Terminate. The side board would probably look even worse. I opted for Reality Smasher so we actually have a way to win games, but then that hurts us with Dark Confidant. The idea is to have to not worry about color requirements in our mana base so we can play a butt load of Tectonic edges and/or Ghost Quarts to finally put Tron in it’s place. Then this also gives us enough colorless sources to reliably cast Reality Smasher. We could go even smaller and faster by looking to use things like Strangleroot Geist and Dreg Mangler (ugh did I really just type that??), but they we’re playing like an Aggro deck, and Naya probably just does it better. So I’m leaving this one up to you Matt. Feel free to call me a conehead, and make something better.

As is quickly becoming my tag line, I am not a brewer. All I know is that Gerry Thompson has been a big fan of straight G/B for a long time, so maybe he could give us a list. Mostly I’m just excited to see what happens to the Pro Tour, and PRAYING Tron doesn’t win. Lots of people are suddenly in need of a new deck, due to these bannings, and people tend to flock towards “flavor of the week” winners. If that winner is Tron… then god help us all…

As always, feel free to email me at ModernGentlmenGaming@gmail.com. Your deck list could be featured!! YES, YOU!! Follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini, and be sure to click “Follow!” over on the right so you never miss an update! Thanks for tuning in. Until next time.

-Andy

 

MTG: OGW Modern Potential

Good Afternoon Readers,

Welcome back to Modern Gentlemen Gaming! Last week, we discussed what was going on in Magic: The Gathering’s Standard format. We took a quick, high level overview of what the meta appeared to be. This weekend, the talk of the town is, of course, the Oath of the Gatewatch pre-release. With that in mind, and potential changes in the Banned and Restricted list right around the corner, we’re going to take a look at all the OGW cards that might have some impact on Modern. The word of the day is “potential,” because OGW sure has a lot. As always, it’ll be fun to come back and see how wrong I was, but I like to try and think out of the box. These are generally fun thought experiments. Let’s dive right in!

Ayli, Eternal PIlgrim

This creature is a tool box card. It does a lot. It can block and attack into thing bigger than it due to death touch. The first ability allows you to gain life against burn, or when in a pinch. The second ability is very powerful. Obviously the conditions on having ten more like than someone aren’t easy, unless you are playing the right support cards. Most importantly, this can be hit by Collected Company.  It’s in Junk’s colors, and right seems to fit very well with value creatures like Kitchen Finks. In Modern, Infinite life alone rarely wins you games. This is where her second ability really shines, it allows you to remove problem permanents that may be blocking your path to victory after comb-ing off. She’s the final nail in the coffin. There is definitely some CoCo potential here.

Displacer

Flicker affects are always interesting. This card just screams Hate Bears. I don’t have much experience with the deck, but any kind of repeatable flicker effect should garner some attention. Again, this card can be cast off CoCo, it can also can be used to reset a finks to combo off, or used on an opponent’s creature to tap it down turn after turn. There’s a lot of utility here.

End Bringer

And we we start what appears to be the rise of tron. There are a bunch of high cost colorless cards that do really powerful things, and this is one of them. This card in it’s most base form, lets you deal on damage on every players turn. If you have the mana, you can lock down a capture on every players turn. Lastly, if you have the mana, you can just lets you draw a card on every play-… you get the idea.  But let’s be real, “If you have the mana”?? it’s Tron for christ’s sake. They always have mana (as well as turn three natty tron). I think this card is good, I think it allows Tron players to End the game by providing an opening for the big guys, and most importantly, it keep the threats coming with insane Card Advantage.

Goblins

This is one of the cards Matt and I have debated a lot about. A 4/4 is solid, it’s a little expensive but the abilities it have SEEM worth it. I say seem worth it because it is extremely difficult to break into Modern Decks, especially the G/B/x archetypes. In Jund, this will act like a bigger more threatening Snapcaster Mage. It’s targets are restricted due to the “3 or less” clause, but think about the spells were running, K-Command, Bolt, Decay, Maelstrom Pulse, Dismember. Everything. He is GOING to get value when he lands on the board and due to the psuedo-evasion in Menace, our other creatures become that much harder to block. I would be tempted to run more copies of K-Command just because of this guy. If we don’t get our Bloodbraid Elf back on Monday, This will have to do some sort of value impression.

Grasp

The test here is “Is this better than Dismember?” In the right deck, sometimes. You don’t HAVE to spend the life if you have the mana to support it, it still kills Exarch from Twin, but now it doesn’t kill some Goyfs, Rhinos, or Tasigur. These are down sides that you absolutely must consider. This would be a meta call. If G/B/x is non-existent where you are playing (and with the possible tron explosion, it may soon be) then you can save your self the life against burn, and use this to beat Twin. I have a feeling Dismember will still be the go to, but it’s always nice to have options.

Hissing Quagmire

Of course. FINALLY, the appearance of the G/B Manland. Is it underwhelming? Ehh, a bit. I didn’t jump up or anything. Is it bad? Not by any means. It has the ability to attack and block very profitably. 2 extra damage a turn is nothing to scoff at. It will help you get the bigger threats in by clearing the way, or just go to the Red Zone by himself over and over. I think the biggest piece to this card is the just “on” colors it provides. We’re not having to make our mana bases awkward with ONLY Manlands that DON’T produce Black. With some number of these absolutely seeing play, our mana bases will get a bit better.

Jori

Modern Storm is a thing, albeit a rare thing. This is definitely combo potential and a target for people looking to break things. In the right shell you can draw a lot of cards, the only problem is keeping it alive. Hell, even the rare Merfolk Deck running Red for Bolt could use this. This is definitely fringe but, let’s see what some clever Johnny might do.

Kozilek, the Great Distortion

This card disgusts me. As a respectable Jund/Junk player trying to EARN my wins, I’m busy fighting the good fight, doing God’s work, and people who play cards like this are ruining it. All joking aside, Tron players have to be happy about this card. It is not unreasonable to cast this turn four (i just threw up). It lets you draw cards if you hand is low. It’s rare you won’t draw at least a card off him. It’s got Menace so it’s hard to block. Finally, if you want to remove it, nay, do ANYTHING you better hope the Tron player has no cards in hand. It protects itself, and gives tron players something to do with the Maps, and Sylvan Scryings they no longer need in the late game. This card could be the biggest Modern game changer out of all the ones we talk about today….. and I just threw up again.

Kozilek's Return

So on those rare occasions that Tron doesn’t assemble on 3, this will help stall. Then when you need extra stabilization later, it’s reusable from the ‘yard after casting an Eldrazi with cost 7 or greater. It may only be a side board card, but this gives Tron more game against the smaller aggressive decks like Robots and Zoo. I’m very concern with how strong Tron may be very soon. Only time will tell.

Matter Reshape

This is probably the card that excited me the most. It really made me wish Birthing Pod was still a thing. It’s just SUCH a great value creature that will probably find a home in CoCo (every one’s getting the love but us). Even if you don’t hit another CoCo target, You still get to just draw a card. A 3/2 is a decent threat, and the ability just pushes it over the top. We threw around some idea of going straight G/B using these to get lots of value off of Finks and Coursers, but I am not sure how viable it is. I don’t know how much play this card will see, but it’s hand down my favorite.

Mirrorpool

Utility lands like this are great.Control style decks or Twin may want this. I don’t even really know the full potential of a card like this, but being able to copy creatures at will seems powerful. The possibilities are endless. It’s a late game mana sink, and a value land, so I have a strong feeling this could be very powerful. It’s also not legendary, for what it’s worth.

NaturalState

Counter point to Nature’s Claim that hits many relevant things in Modern, Blood Moon, certain Leylines. The catch is, Infect doesn’t care about life, so Nature’s Claim is better, Burn wants the extra damage so Destructive Revelry is better for Burn. Maybe Aggro and Midrange decks can use this more efficiently since they DO care about the opponents life total.  Again, just more options for sideboard.

RealitySmasher

This is the OTHER card Matt and I have debated over. It’s big, it’s fast, it beat’s Rhinos, Tasigurs, and most Goyfs. It’s also hard to kill. Forcing the opponent to discard to kill this thing is an automatic 2-1. In the G/B/x decks, we are racing to run our opponent out of resources, and this guy would help us do it. The downside is the cost. In the right shell I think this card can shine. It may be without Dark Confidant, and with more Noble Hierarchs. As I’ve stated before, I am no brewer, but I do really like this card just for how threatening it is.

Thought-Knot Seer

Poeple on Twitter seem to think this had much more potential to be a long term Modern playable than the Reality Smasher. I am not so quick to agree. We have a 4/4 for 4 that does a strange “Vendilion Clique”-esque move. The idea is if you take a big enough threat from there hand, it’s more likely then not, the card that will eventually replace it will be worse than what you took. The issue is unlike the Clique, this is NOT a may ability. You have to take something if there is a legal target. So if you are forced to take an extremely underwhelming card, you could potentially be giving them a better card down the road.

WanderingFum

This card is sweet. Matt weighed in and told me my idea of using this along side Delver was wrong because the “Comes into Play Tapped” clause is too detrimental. I agree, the tempo loss is brutal. Twin/Tarmo-Twin could use this as another threat to end the game without the combo. Some control style decks, like Grixis, could also use this. I don’t think it’s better than Celestial Colonnade, but if you’re not running White, I think this will get some serious damage in.

And that about wraps it up. I am really concerned Tron is getting a few new toys that seem to be auto includes. If this is the case we will need to rethink our Jund/Junk strategy. I am also praying to the banned and restricted gods that something crazy happens on Monday.  Like real crazy.

As a quick side note, there was a big hullabaloo this week over WotC “cracking down” on the use of proxies. Basically they came out and said sanctioned events are not to use proxies (as always) but also stressed that these cards are there intellectual property and there for you should not use proxies, ever, including unsanctioned tournaments. While the above statement is, again, technically true, people freaked out over it, feeling like LGSs were being threatened and could lose FNM status and backing if found to be running these proxy tournaments. While again, I’m sure this is absolutely true and possible, I feel there is no way WotC would even attempt to police this. I get the vibe they are saying “Hey don’t do this, but *wink wink* you know we can’t stop you, and we aren’t going to try, so lets all agree to just not talk about it.” My words, not theirs. If your LGS wants to host proxy tournaments, do it, just don’t advertise it. People are going to play test with proxies and if LGSs want to charge their customers to use their play space, then so be it. There are loopholes everywhere.

Long story short, this is essentially another huge blow to Vintage and, more importantly to my point, Legacy. With Legacy appearing to get less and less backing from Wizards, Modern appears to be the eternal format of choice moving forward. Which is no surprise, since the Restricted List has put WotC in a position that will eventually kill Legacy no matter how much support they give it. So, why does all of this matter? Well if Modern DOES become the main eternal format, then it could mean WotC is setting up a huge ban list changes. If they want to establish it as a Pro-Tour format, which we have seen evidence they do, then they will need to shape it accordingly. By losing the two most powerful formats, they will need to entice people to Modern, so it may get some power boosts. Here’s to hoping!

In regards to Oath of the Gatewatch, there were a few other cards I thought about mentioning, but after weighing them, I felt they weren’t good enough. This includes the Oaths, the new Nissa, Mina and Denn, etc. If you feel these cards deserved some attention, let me know in the comments, and we can chat.

Or, as always, feel free to email me at ModernGentlmenGaming@gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini, and be sure to click “Follow” over on the right so you never miss an update! Good Luck at FNM and the pre-releases this weekend, everyone!

-Andy

MTG and the “Gold” Standard

Good Afternoon, Readers!

It’s been a long, long time since we’ve taken a look at the Magic scene. Over the weekend, the gang and I played a TON of D&D, and come Sunday, I felt like I needed to be bit more productive then sitting around a table like the previous 24 hours. While cleaning the house, I decided to take stock of all the magic cards I had boxed up after moving. I knew many of them we’re virtually worthless, it was just a matter of getting rid of the ones I didn’t need. I ended up removing 95+% of my collection, and really condensed down to only the stuff I absolutely thought I could use across all formats. I was paying attention to the Standard GP and the Modern SCG Open, so I listened along while I organized the collection. Brian Kibler was doing well with a 4 Color Dragon’s Deck. With it mostly being Temur, I was reminded of the good old days of standard, so it sparked my interest. I sold almost all of my standard playables about a year ago, but l listening to the Twitch streams gave me the itch to see what standard was like. I don’t have the ability to play Modern easily and regularly, but a new game shop opened very close to my house, so why not see if I could cobble together something for standard? There was also the “Curious Case of the Foil Hangarback Walker” sitting in my binder. Did this card even still see play? How was I going to get rid of it? Surely, I could use it to my advantage…

So I went on Star City Games and looked up the Top 100 decks or so. These were all off the 1st and 2nd place decks from 12/11 to 1/2 or so. A solid pool of decks to look at. What did I find? well…

Abzan Aggro – 19
Atarka Red – 19
Jeskai Black – 17
Esper Dragons – 8
Four-Color Rally – 8
Temur Decks – 5
Mardu Deck – 5
Abzan Red, Blue, Warriors – 4

Jeskai Black? Abzan Blue? Esper Dragons? What the hell is going on? They weren’t kidding when they said everything was just 4 color “good stuff.” So it appears both Abzan Aggro and Atarka Red (Burn) are the prevailing decks with Jeskai Black close behind, Let’s take a look.

Abzan Aggro|
Creatures (20)
3 Den Protector
3 Heir of the Wilds
4 Siege Rhino
4 Warden of the First Tree
2 Wingmate Roc
4 Anafenza, the Foremost

Planeswalkers (3)
3 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Spells (11)
3 Silkwrap
4 Abzan Charm
2 Murderous Cut
2 Duress

Lands (26)
2 Forest
2 Plains
2 Canopy Vista
4 Flooded Strand
2 Llanowar Wastes
4 Shambling Vent
1 Smoldering Marsh
1 Sunken Hollow
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)
2 Arashin Cleric
2 Surge of Righteousness
2 Ultimate Price
2 Ob Nixilis Reignited
1 Duress
1 Painful Truths
3 Self-Inflicted Wound
2 Transgress the Mind

Hey! I have some of these cards! And the ones I don’t aren’t expensive at all! I might actually be able to–

gideon

……oh….. Well, $23 isn’t TERRIBLE, 70 for the three I’d need. I might be able to get a decent deal on eBay or get them slightly played. Whatever. This deck looks sweet. The core revolves around Den Protector, Rhinos, Gideon, Warden, Anafenza, and Wingmate. It uses great removal, and some draw spells to clear the way. It’s labeled an “aggro” deck, but the creatures have the ability to grow and scale to the mid game. This deck is right up my ally. I was sad so see only ONE of the lists was still running Hangarback. Looks like that technology could already be old. Rising Miasma could be the cause of no more Hangarback. Hard to say, as I don’t have a full picture of the meta. Right now this deck runs the full 4 Shambling vent, That will probably change when the B/G manland becomes available in two weeks.

Jeskai Black

Creatures (12)
2 Monastery Mentor
4 Soulfire Grand Master
4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Spells (23)
4 Crackling Doom
1 Dispel
4 Fiery Impulse
3 Kolaghan’s Command
2 Ojutai’s Command
2 Utter End
3 Painful Truths
2 Roast
2 Treasure Cruise

Lands (25)
1 Island
1 Mountain
1 Plains
1 Swamp
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Flooded Strand
3 Mystic Monastery
4 Polluted Delta
2 Prairie Stream
2 Shambling Vent
2 Smoldering Marsh
1 Sunken Hollow

Sideboard(15)
3 Arashin Cleric
1 Dispel
3 Negate
1 Ob Nixilis, Reignited
2 Duress
1 Exert Influence
2 Radiant Flames
2 Roast

Ok, so this appears to be one of the control decks of the format. U/W/R splashing black for Crackling Doom, Utter End and Kolaghan’s Command… Or is it Grixis splashing white for Mentor, Soulfire Grand Master, and Ojutai’s Command… whatever. These are some creatures and spells I’m a bit familiar with. I was playing Jeskai Tokens with Jeskai Ascendancy, so the m=Mentor and the SFGM are familiar. Seems like this deck might be within reason to build. Oh, It also looks like this deck is making use of the omnipresent new Jace. Let’s see…

jace

oh well — wait, wut….. what…. wtf is this? $75.00, are you joking me? And here I thought all these whiny Reddit posts were unwarranted… well, damn. I hate to go all “Old Timer” on everyone but, I remember back in the day, a 10-15 dollar standard card was insane. Well times certainly have changed… This deck is centered around another of the Blue, money-stealing bastards so you’ll need 4 of them. It’s acting as Standard Snap Caster Mage, so the price isn’t too unbelievable. This Jace allows you to get insane value off of your spells, control the board and pump out tokens to win with Mentor. Jace himself even acts as a win condition by very easily milling out your opponent once you have the lock on the board. Control is fun, especially with Snapcaster reincarnate running around, but there almost no way I drop 300 on Jace alone. There is talk of the card breaking into Modern, but I doubt at 4 copies. So it’s probably not worth it.  Let’s check back in 6-9 months and see just how wrong I am!

Atarka Red

Creatures (13)
4 Abbot of Keral Keep
2 Lightning Berserker
4 Monastery Swiftspear
3 Zurgo Bellstriker

Spells (26)
4 Atarka’s Command
3 Become Immense
2 Fiery Impulse
3 Temur Battle Rage
4 Titan’s Strength
3 Wild Slash
4 Dragon Fodder
3 Hordeling Outburst

Lands (21)
1 Forest
8 Mountain
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Cinder Glade
2 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)
3 Flamewake Phoenix
1 Goblin Heelcutter
2 Hooting Mandrills
2 Scab-Clan Berserker
1 Outpost Siege
1 Commune with Lava
1 Act of Treason
2 Boiling Earth
1 Exquisite Firecraft
1 Hordeling Outburst

There it is! The obligatory “budget” burn. Not bad! I must say I like burn, and this deck is packing heat. With very few creatures, (but most notably the Abbot) you can fire off tons of spells, use prowess to your advantage, then finish someone off with buffs and double strikes. You only need to land one big attack to win and this deck gives you many ways to do it. It’s lightning quick, redundant, and low to the ground. It also appears to be the cheapest of all the deck available (which shouldn’t be a consideration if you are playing to compete with the best). This deck also occasionally uses Den Protector to get value from used spells against decks that may very easily control the board. You get Roast against the Siege Rhino decks, and Hooting Mandrills if you need to go a bit bigger.

Esper Dragons:

Creatures (10)
4 Dragonlord Ojutai
2 Dragonlord Silumgar
4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy

Planeswalkers (1)
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited

Lands (26)
5 Island
1 Plains
1 Swamp
1 Bloodstained Mire
4 Flooded Strand
1 Haven of the Spirit Dragon
4 Polluted Delta
3 Prairie Stream
3 Shambling Vent
3 Sunken Hollow

Spells (23)
3 Silkwrap
4 Dig Through Time
3 Foul-Tongue Invocation
1 Scatter to the Winds
4 Silumgar’s Scorn
2 Utter End
2 Crux of Fate
1 Painful Truths
2 Duress
1 Ruinous Path

Sideboard (15)
2 Arashin Cleric
2 Monastery Mentor
1 Silkwrap
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Dragonlord’s Prerogative
1 Surge of Righteousness
1 Ultimate Price
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
1 Duress
1 Languish
1 Self-Inflicted Wound

Another control deck. This one has a more stable mana base, and uses the large dragons as great finishers. You trade a small amount of power, and flexibility from Jeskai Black to have a more consistent game. Again, you still need 4 Jace the Wallet Destroyer, but again, he’s just absurdly powerful. I like the Idea of using the Dragons, but Jeskai Black may just be better if it can handle a wider range of deck types. Standard is FULL of varying archetypes, and if you want to be prepared for anything, having all those powerful, flexible options might be best.

This is all speculation based off the lists I’ve studied for a few hours over the weekend, and with a new set (Oath of the Gatewatch) coming out, things will get shaken up again. I haven’t been impressed with much since Khans of Tarkir, but something about the matches I watched this weekend got the spark lit again. Oath Standard may actually be fun to play. One thing is for sure, the power of Siege Rhino, Jace and, Gideon have set the pace for this standard season, and they won’t be going away anytime soon. There probably won’t be anything as powerful and “breakout” as the two walkers, but you never know. So with this information in mind, we look to the next set, with the pre-release a week away, to see what will happen in the new standard.

I am definitely leaning towards playing Abzan Aggro since it will cost me almost nothing to build. I have roughly 70% of the deck since there are is some Modern overlap, and I’d really like to check out the new game shop in my town. They are also supposed to be starting Modern soon as well, so I may get to start playing magic more regularly again.

Speaking of Modern, we also get a Banned and Restricted list update shortly. As previously mentioned there is a lot of talk of Stoneforge Mystic being unbanned. I really hope SOMETHING big happen with the B&R List to finally shake up Modern a bit. My vote as you all know if still Bloodbraid Elf. Anything could happen, but most likely nothing will. Tune in Friday for a follow up on this post. We’ll take a look at the new card entering Standard, see what we can build off of these decks and if anything will influence Modern.

As always, feel free to email me ModernGentlmenGaming@gmail.com with all of your comments and questions. Follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini, and be sure to click “Follow” over on the right so you never miss an update! Just keep repeating “It’s almost Friday. It’s almost Friday.”

-Andy

A New Year

Good Afternoon Everyone!

Welcome back! The holidays are over, things are suddenly going back to normal with work and life. It’s been a very long time since I’ve written anything here and I’m hoping to change that. Fall was crazy with the new job and the holidays are always crazy. One of my resolutions is going to be keeping this blog up and running and I have several ideas on how to do this.

Lately, I haven’t been playing much Hearthstone. The last three months or so I missed hitting Rank 5 or better. September, October and November were due to my job and being busy. I spent the majority of those times just clearing daily quests. I had saved up enough gold to out right buy the League of Explorers expansion, so I figured I’d try it and see what this “Reno Jackson” was all about. In December, I started playing Aggro Shaman and LOVED it. I had some insane win streak of close to 20 games in a row. I zoomed from rank 15 to 6. It was INSANE. The I started mixing it up a bit, playing what I believe to be the best deck in the game, Combo Druid or Force Roar, as I like to call it. I seemed to get stuck around rank 6, but i wasn’t worried because I had time and the Aggro deck was so unstoppable.

Then it happened. I managed to follow the single greatest win streak of all time, with the single WORST losing streak of all time. I dropped from rank 6 all the way to 11… I stopped keeping track when I was like 5 and 35 or something absurd. I straight lost the will to keep playing. I’m sure the meta shifted, and I was unable to adapt. Perhaps it was the increase of Control decks since all the aggro decks already hit legends? Who knows? All I know is I lost, and I lost HARD. I’ve since gone back to just clearing dailies. My birthday was the 1st, so I didn’t have much time to play this past weekend, and My time has been spent on other games.

I have really been getting back into League of Legends. I used to play years ago, way back in Beta, Season 1 and Season 2. I did not have the equipment to play regularly for the following 3 years or so. Now that I built my new computer in October, I’ve spent the last few months relearning the game. With a group of friends, I’ve been relegated to ADC in the Bottom Lane, and have been doing well. It’s a role I’ve always enjoyed, and am really having fun mastering. I play a lot of Miss Fortune, Tristana, and  Vayne. I love Jinx, but sadly she was nerfed. I’m learning Lucian, need to relearn Graves and Ashe, and would like to pick up Draven. With it being preseason, I took the opportunity to complete my placement Matches for Ranked and am starting Silver III. I felt really good those first ten and ended going 5-5. When Season 6 starts, and the ranked system will change, I need to start learning a second role. I’ve always liked Mid but I think I’m leaning towards Top. I used to main Riven, who is just still busted. I’d like to pick up Darius, Rengar, Garen, Volibear, etc. Some Tanky, Strong, top lane bruisers. Maybe Zed so I could also flex mid. I’d like to stream LoL, but I’m having trouble with the software, just a few kinks to iron out. Regardless, my goal is to climb to gold, see how decent am I am, and maybe climb to platinum.

Magic: The Gathering has been pretty stagnant. The new sets are all very unexciting. Tron got a new toy that may push it over the edge for Modern (which would be bad for us G/B/x players). There was a large Modern Star City Games Tournament this weekend where Bloom basically cleaned up. It landed multiple copies in the Top 8 and won the whole thing. People are speculating this deck will not last long, as it is over the top powerful. There is major speculation on a return of Stoneforge Mystic, either by unbanning or reprint into standard. The cards power level is easily controllable in Standard based on what equipment is printed around it, and I do not personally believe it’s too powerful for Modern. Everyone who knows me knows I want power cards. While this may seem at odds with the Bloom deck statement above, Bloom is extremely hard to interact with, while SFM is not. Cards should be powerful, they shouldn’t be complete immune to interaction. There is a Modern Invitational Qualifier I may try to go to next weekend as well.

In other news, Fallout 4 is great; I’m about 8 hours into it. It’s a fantastic game. The new Star Wars movie is great. I really enjoyed watching it with my brother and my girlfriend. Lastly, and the thing I hope will give me plenty of new content to write, I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons with the same crew that plays League of Legends. We’ve got two sessions (about 10 hours) under our belts and I’ve been writing down EVERY single thing that happens along the way. I am hoping to turn it into a novelization of sorts, chapters more or less, and publish them here as an on going story. So far it’s been a blast to play, a blast to write and I hope it’s a lot of fun to read. Our DM is truly amazing. He has no interest in playing (so he doesn’t feel obligated to DM) and has devoted hours and hours to world building, character development and perfecting his story telling. Each time we meet the group gets better, the story gets fleshed out and I’m really excited to see where it all goes. With his help, I will be turning each sessions notes into a series, and I think it’s going to be awesome.

The first installment will be a week from now. I’ll be back Friday with a new post, regarding LoL, MTG, or Hearthstone. We’re still in preseason for LoL, so patches ares till being implemented. The full spoiler for MTG is not out yet and we’re close to another Banned and Restricted List update. Hearthstone is Hearthstone. It’s a crazy game with a frustrating amount of variance, and I HATE IT. *Clears Throat* Excuse me.

Feel free to email me comments, questions or concerns to ModernGentlmenGaming@gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini, and be sure to click “Follow” over on the right so you never miss an update! That’s the agenda, Lots to talk about, lots to analyze. Thanks for tuning in. May this be the year of the consistent content! Happy New Year, Readers!

-Andy