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Mind-Boggling Technology – Get Real

It’s always a glorious time when a new set is released. We get to see new cards and get a chance to get the cranks moving on stale Constructed and Limited formats. I didn’t get a chance to play the prerelease and wasn’t really too concerned due to the faction packs, but the set looks great so far.

It’s not all fun and games, because this is the time where an abundance of bad decklists are released. I have already seen too many articles that discuss how poison is going to be the next big thing. The same articles also discuss artifact decks that are built around Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. This is going to be one of those articles where I will probably end up eating my words when one of these archetypes wins the Pro Tour, but I am saying it anyway.

We tend to get too wrapped up in trying to break the new format and forget about all of the archetypes that still exist. Keep in mind that we only got 155 new cards and many of them are just flat out worse than cards that are already legal. I always made a point to play a good deck at Friday Night Magic when a set is released because most of the players end up with janky brews.

Infect

You may be wondering why I am throwing so much hate on the poison deck since it did get a lot of great new creatures. Phyrexian Vatmother is extremely undercosted since it effectively has eight power for four mana. The five toughness makes it immune to Lightning Bolt and even a kicked Burst Lightning. Inkmoth Nexus reminds me of a card that used to be dominant in Standard and Extended, and is exactly what the poison deck needs to not be completely dominated by Day of Judgment. Phyrexian Crusader is an extremely efficient creature that’s better than Paladin en-Vec and he saw tons of play in Standard. Protection from white and red are very relevant since Boros is a popular deck and it can swing past Wall of Omens. While all of these things are true about the new poison creatures, the deck still fails the Jace test.

This list was in an article written by Frank Lepore. I think Frank did a good job of building a poison deck that is the closest to being playable. It has a Blue/Black Control shell with some inherently powerful cards.

A four mana 4/5 with infect is powerful in a vacuum, but it won’t beat a deck that can destroy it for two mana. The creatures are getting better, but the removal is also more powerful. Have you seen Go for the Throat? What if you tap out for Phyrexian Vatmother and your opponent calmly plays Jace, the Mind Sculptor and bounces it? If you’re not playing against a control deck with Go for the Throat, you will certainly face Day of Judgment, and that’s just as bad for you. There aren’t any good infect creatures that also have haste, so they are very vulnerable to removal. I know you can play a Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon for 3BBB, but that’s it.

The deck has counters to protect your creatures, but you have to tap out for the creatures so it doesn’t work out well in practice.

Ok, I realize I am high on Jace, but what about playing this deck against RG Valakut Ramp? They play Primeval Titan the turn you play an 8/5. This is hardly fair since you have nothing but a midrange deck. Goblins is also playable now, and I would not want to play against it since they can chump block when they’re almost poisoned and win faster to begin with.

Artifacts

I have thrown enough hate on infect, all of you who were on the fence are probably persuaded at this point. The artifact deck is also something I would like to discuss since it’s been getting a lot of press as well. There have been many lists since I have seen so many articles about it, but they all lack enough removal to stop the aggro decks.

This list was created by Adam Yurchick. As you can see, the removal involves a single Brittle Effigy that you can fetch with Trinket Mage. A deck like this does not have a prayer against any of the aggro decks, so I can’t see it being viable. There is also a lack of disruption so the control mage is free to do whatever they want as long as they can kill some of your creatures along the way.

Please note I am not attacking either player, but I am merely trying to point out that even the best minds cannot come up with lists I think are viable in Standard. It’s my opinion that these two archetypes don’t have the proper tools at this point. We get another set in this block, so both decks will probably be good enough at that time.

This article has been pretty negative so far since all I have done is criticize the creativity of others. There are plenty of options for Standard and I want to talk about the decks that I think have a chance.

Blue/Black Control

I think this is the premier control deck for sure because of what we gain from Mirrodin Besieged.

The most important addition for this deck is Go for the Throat. There was always the question of how many Doom Blades you can play since Vampires and the mirror exist. Now we get one of the best removal spells that have been printed in years. Unless the artifact deck gets popular for some reason, this card is a 4-of.

Black Sun’s Zenith also plays an important role in the deck. Black didn’t have a real Day of Judgment until now. This card is better than Consume the Meek, since you can kill Lotus Cobra and Steppe Lynx in a pinch. It also shuffles your deck which makes Jace better than it already is. One of the most problematic creatures for this deck was Avenger of Zendikar because the mass removal was lacking, but we now have an effective answer.

This deck has good matchups across the board because all of the answers are so general and efficient. The new removal spells give this deck an even better matchup than it already had against the aggro decks. The six discard effects and six Jaces give you a strong control matchup. The Spreading Seas, hand disruption, and Memoricide also make the Ramp matchup good.

It’s not all fun and games for Blue/Black because the tools it acquired can also be used against it. Grave Titan is not as powerful as it was in the past, because any black mage can simply destroy it for two mana. This is the reason that Precursor Golem made the cut. It’s difficult for the opponent to leave in removal for Grave Titan and Precursor Golem because they require different spells to be answered.

Clone is an interesting sideboard card that can answer Thrun, the Last Troll. It also copies Grave Titans and Precursor Golems in the mirror match. I would board it in against the mirror as well as any decks that are packing some sort of titans.

U/W Control

I was a champion of Blue/White Control for a long time, but it sadly didn’t get any new cards with the exception of White Sun’s Zenith. I did try out a new version of it that had a unique spin.

This was more of a concept deck since I really like Gravitational Shift in this format. It is good against Blue/Black Control since it stops Grave Titan and Creeping Tar Pit from being an issue and cannot be removed once resolved. There is a goblin deck that is on the rise that plans to swarm you with goblin tokens. Vampires don’t get bigger than two power in the red/black version.

You could play Squadron Hawk in the maindeck over Luminarch Ascension and be even better against aggro decks. It’s pretty much a hard lock if you get out Gideon Jura and Gravitational Shift and continue to use the +2 ability. The reason Ascension is in the deck is because the control matchup that don’t rely on Grave Titans seem very bad. There are many anti-creature cards so a matchup needs to suffer as a result.

Leyline of Sanctity plays an important role in protecting your life total against Valakut. I lost a match at worlds with Titan Ramp against U/W because they had Ascension and Leyline. It’s better game one because they cannot remove it from play. You also have four Day of Judgments to clear their Avengers and titans which is the only way they can win.

Valakut

The Leylines are also a way to keep Vampires from killing you. It prevents Lightning Bolt, Kalastira Highborn, and discard from targeting you. Once a Gravitational Shift enters play, they are locked out of the game.

If you think I only like Jace decks for this format, you are sadly mistaken.

We get some cool new cards to try in the Ramp decks. As if we didn’t already have the tools to build an insane deck, it got even better. Green Sun’s Zenith is a way to ramp in the early game and win the late game. For this reason, I have included a Lotus Cobra against control decks to fetch. Against aggro, I want a blocker was well as ramp so I also added an Overgrown Battlement. Being able to cast Zenith for one is a good option to have so there is also a Joraga Treespeaker. I don’t want too many Treespeakers because you can get blown out by a timely removal spell, but being able to get it after a Harrow is good value.

When we get Green Sun’s Zenith, we also lose spaces for Summoning Trap. I still like them against the mirror and control so they are still in the deck. Getting caught up in the hype of the new cards can sometimes make you lose focus on what the deck is trying to accomplish.

A new sideboard card I am excited about in the aggro matchups is Viridian Emissary. You will want to sideboard out the Joraga Treespeaker and Lotus Cobra when you want Pyroclasm. There are so many ways for him to die and still get value by trading with a creature or being a chump blocker.

Vampires

There are so many new ways to build this deck and time will tell what cards make the cut. It may happen that the Zenith is not what you want, but the creature acceleration package seems quite good to me.

Vampires is another good deck from the last Standard format that gets better. The biggest problem against U/B Control was that it didn’t have a good way to kill Grave Titan. Go for the Throat makes this the best aggro deck.

This deck is fast enough to race Valakut Ramp decks and has enough removal to have a solid aggro matchup. The only card from the new set we want is Go for the Throat because most of the new black cards are for poison.

I don’t have many games with this deck under my belt, but I know it’s not fun to play against with control decks. The other candidates for aggressive strategies at the moment are Boros, W Quest, and Goblins. Vampires offers the most resiliency against all three types of decks in the format.

Kuldotha Red

Poison and artifacts are not within the realm of playability due to the new set, but Goblins may be pushed over the edge.

Here is a list that was piloted to a top 4 finish by CamilleSalat in a Magic-League master. I mentioned this deck had what it takes before and it gained Goblin Wardriver and Signal Pest from Mirrodin Besieged. It plans to generate many creatures in the early game so your opponent needs mass removal spells to stabilize. If you are looking for a cool Standard deck to play that uses the new cards, please try this one.

I understand that we all get excited about new cards, but we must remember that there is a metagame to consider. If I had a nickel for every time I read an article about how Mono-Black Control is playable again after a new set is released, I would be a very rich man. I have read at least five articles about poison and artifacts, but much less about decks that are actually playable. I may seem like a scrooge, but I am merely keeping us on planet earth.

Thanks for reading!
Kyle
Lilbogg675ATaolDOTcom

63 thoughts on “Mind-Boggling Technology – Get Real”

  1. Why would the tezz deck be artifact aggro? The card is much more viable in a control deck with only a moderate artifact count.

  2. It is kind of funny, how wizards try to put control in the hole by not printing counterspells and then give it tools to dominate without countermagic anyway. New players get said when their spells get countered – they sure are. But all players get said when you don’t get to DO anything against control – and that’s when we get into good ol’ days.
    Now, to actually point my rant in some direction – cards seem to get boring. Those that seem fun to play just fail miserably against decks filled with powercreep cards and stay on the kitchen table. I would love for someone to dissuade me – but to me todays standard revolves mostly around Jace TMS, Primeval titan, Lotus cobra and Vengevine – of the four Jace is the most fun card, but himself and abilities heavily undercosted.
    So to sum it up – let’s get real – good decks got better, new decks will appear for a time and will fade, until those four cards stay dominant. To me it’s more like play UB or Ramp or die. Kinda miss those days when we had Circles of protection, Worships, good counters and Savannah lions was a good man. /end rant

  3. Your U/W list isn’t doing it right.

    Firs toff, you’re underestimating the goblins matchup. You will not see turn 5 to drop your Gravitational Shift. You won’t even see turn 4. The list you posted is too slow- there’s an even faster version that has 3 Chimeric Masses, 3 Mox Opals, and no Goblin Warchief. The sideboard has 4 Jinxed Idol, which is much better than Perilous Myr, and there’s some number of Devastating Summons between board and main. Battlecry is pushing the fast decks very much faster.

    You’re going to need Ratchet Bombs, and a prayer, and probably a 1 or 2 mana blocker like Wall of Omens or Squadron hawk, which should probably be in the list with JTMS anyways. I would put two Grav Shifts in the board, but I don’t see it main-deck unless you actually have flyers besides Colonnade. I don’t mess around- my control list has 4 Lone Missionaries in the board for the Battlecry archetype, red or white. (or Boros)

    The Artifact U/B list you linked is a bad list. The real artifact U/B list, or the U/B Tezz Infect decks, are very real and very competitive in the meta- Expect one to top at a recent tournament but not further down the road. They work well. The problem is, the second they become any part of the meta is the second Creeping Corrosion and Revoke Existence get sideboarded, and it’s all over. Which is kind of a shame.

  4. I appreciate the execution of this article. It maintains a tone throughout that nicely balances new set excitement and a realistic assessment of the power level of the new cards. It gets me excited to play with the new cards, but offers me a way to do so without sacrificing win percentage points for style points at a 1:1 ratio. Plus, that Gravitational Shift is sick tech. Overall, a well-composed piece. I do however have a few points of contention:

    – Precursor Golem and Grave Titan can be answered by the same spell(s) somewhat effectively (GTFO, Zenith)

    – Tezzeret’s ability set seems better suited to an anti-aggro control deck. I’ve run into a few lists on MWS that were surprisingly effective against a multitude of archetypes. That said, that artifact aggro deck is probably a soild one-drop, a two-drop blue creature, and a few Duress efffects away from being playable at some level. I ceratinly wouldn’t bring it to a 5k, but it could surprise some people. It’s right there on the fringe of playability.

    – Both the example lists give me the impression they were thrown together in one sitting. The fact that they could effectivrly create the illusion of playability in theory leave me hopeful (albeit doubtful) that some fine tuning could lead to the inception of an archetype that is both competitive AND fun. I haven’t used both those terms to describe a deck in standard since Jace was printed.

    – Tell me again how Clone directly answers Thrun?

  5. @chaos

    Golem and Titan can’t be answered by the same removal spells in a blue/black mirror. Doom Blade misses one and Go for the Throat misses one.

    The biggest reason a blue/black Tezzeret deck is being held back is because the current blue/black Jace deck is just going to be better. I’m sure the Tezz deck is very good but that doesn’t mean anything if normal blue/black is still superior.

    Clone directly answers Thrun because Thrun is legendary, and Clone doesn’t target the troll.

  6. @Brady

    Yeah, missed that. My bad. Interesting wording on Clone. Perhaps I should respond to these things with more sleep. CF addiction is a double-edged sword. =)

  7. Word to the Clone. Used to run him as a one of in BUG Shaman when Frost Titan was popular for awhile and had people reading him pretty often. I like Red Black Vamps with GftT in the side a bit better than your list. I really dislike Bloodthrone Vampire as more than a 2 of and without a Mark of Mutiny or two. Just personal preference. I love that Kuldotha Red appears to be a semi-real deck. I’ve been testing some of the new lists and especially early on in the new Standard expect it to steal some FNMs until lists adjust (hint: Slagstorm, Consume the Meek and Day of Judgment are too slow.) Contested Warzone is the real deal and womps hard. And I like your Valakut list for the simple reason that REAL MEN STILL RUN 4 HARROW!

  8. @Chaos
    Yeah,Clone has only been around since Alpha, so I’m not surprised you haven’t found the time to read it yet. Bad troll is bad

  9. Vampires is not good without the burn, and with it it has the worst mana base possible. Kuldotha Red is a very unstable deck, I hardly doubt the new cards change that, the RR battle cry dude isn’t even that good. A deck that needs to have a lot of creatures in play doesn’t seem very good against Black Sun’s Zenith for example.

    I really want the infect deck to work. I don’t think UB control infect is the way to go, you need a more aggressive strategy. That’s the way the deck works in limited.

  10. LOL I love then when agro players always say “Yer dead before you cast it!” I had thought of light-mine field as a powerful yet narrow board card for sum time, but it is just that, narrow. I imagine it would make it pretty hard to win with that out, like a persistent wrath.

  11. I get a the impression that you really do only like jace decks. Most of the non jace decks you posted seemed unrefined and more like a mock based on the decks core template, while the jace decks had a more nuanced build that comes from experienced play. I do agree with the essential conclusion though, valakut and ub control just got even better, and goblins is positioned to be a new real deck.

  12. I kinda like the UB infect deck, but I also kinda think it’s poorly designed. Why doesn’t that list have the tools that the non infect UB deck have to combat aggro and crontrol like the Inquisitions, hard counters and spreading seas for the valakut matches? Or how about some duress and spell pierce so you can play Phyrexian Crusader and protect it?

    Another Option would include running Chalices in order to play your Vatmothers and Skittles Dragon quicker than usual.

    I feel that the Infect list hasn’t been given enough time to sort out.

  13. Kyle,

    Of all the CFB writers, I’ve found that your articles are by far the most arrogant and the least insightful. Whether it’s a) the condescending tone of the title “Get Real,” b) your shrouded attempts at humility in your opening and closing paragraphs, c) blatantly stating the futility of rogue deckbuilding while unknowingly crushing people’s dreams to try and “break a new set” which is often one of the most fun and exciting times for deckbuilders, competitive and casual players alike, d) how clearly skewed you are towards Jace TMS regardless of your protestations (Methinks thou doth protest too much), e) how weaksauce the U/B Artifact, Kuldotha Red, Vampires and UW lists you’ve posted are or f) your general arrogance.

    We all know that you’re a competitive player and appreciate the role you play in being part of the CFB which deliver us such awesome free content every week but seriously, get over yourself. The sarcasm, the arrogance and the dismissal comments you always make when not discussing Jace TMS need to stop. For the time being, you have lost a reader. Hopefully you can take these comments to heart and rework your writing style approach to become more friendly, humble and approachable.

    PS. How is Lodestone Golem not count as “heavy disruption” in the UB Artifact list? This guy is a boss.

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  15. Kyle- you’re so immature and extremly unprofessional in your articles. You act like you’re the only magic player who create a good deck.

  16. I agree with Vegeta bout aggro poison being the way

    New Infect needs green for ramp and 3 Gigantiform… very brutal so far in testing. No GSZ so far coz creatures are black/artifact. 3 gft, 1 doomblade main. Vines of vastwood for shroud and/or pump, good with nexus.

  17. Man don’t tell anyone about the gravitational shift tech! I love that card so much I’m trying to stuff it in faeries.

  18. Jacob (Violent World on MTGO)

    If I am reading Mortarpod correctly, I believe if you equip it to a poison creature, then sacrifice it, shooting the opponent, they will get a poison counter because Mortarpod says this creature does 1 damage to target player or creature. The same with Heavy Arbalest. Does that work? So it would then work with deathtouch? Mortarpod will be key if poison is a deck, 2 colorless, equip gives +0/+1 and sac this creature: this creature does 1 damage to target player or creature, so it makes all your useless early guys worth a point of poison each, setting up the potential for an alpha strike. Infinite recursion with 2 Corpse Curs, 2 points from Ichor Rats or Core Prowler. Throw your Nexus! That is if my theory about infect is right of course. Virulent Wound will also have to be included and seems decent against goblins, elves, lotus cobra, etc. Phyrexian Crusader seems like it really hurts goblins especially if you are using Adventuring Gear, because with a fetch it only takes 2 turns to kill them. 6 and 4 poison unblockable turns 4 and 5. Who knows but I hope it works. Canopy Cover, all I am saying is Canopy Cover, Adventuring Gear, Mortarpod, Vines of Vastwood, and poison guys. Good luck everyone.

  19. This article could have been good… if you focused more on what the existing ‘top decks’ are going to utilize from the new set, instead of trying to preach some message about how innovation is worthless.

  20. A very weak article. It felt like the author just shot down ideas from others without testing them. Then proceeded to list existing archetypes, and put Go for the Throat over Doom Blade. Ah, the innovation! It was so unclear at first, but now…

  21. Anybody who’s decided to criticize Kyle and his writing style/tone should post a link to the professional website that they’re writing for.

    Oh, wait. None of you are writing for websites. You’re all struggling week-to-week trying to figure out why your infect deck won’t win at FNMs when it’s doing awesome at the lunch table every day. Seriously, get real. Kyle is smarter than any of you egotistical scrubs who think you’re some deck-building prodigy because you figured out that playing kuldotha rebirth on t1 is awesome.

    Go pro before you try and criticize somebody who’s already there. Excellent article, Kyle. Be as biased on subjects that involve JTMS as much as you please; anyone responding negatively to subjects involving Jace is either too broke to buy them or too stupid to play with them correctly.

    And the empty threats of not reading his future articles, I’m sure, shakes him to the core. I’m sure he really gives a flying [email protected] if you don’t read his articles anymore when you’re sitting in study hall.

    Place nice kids, and keep showing up to FNM with these amazing decks you come up with. I love the extra prize pool you give me.

  22. @addie:

    Clearly you missed the message that I was trying to convey. If you note the second paragraph of my response, I not only stated that I appreciate what CFB provides us, the “FNM scrubs” as you so eloquently put it, but to offer Mr. Boggemes some ways in which I feel he can improve his writing style to be more equality and substance based than the hollow shell that this article is. I’m sorry that you feel the need to troll the rest of us to make yourself feel better, addie and I wish you the best of luck with that. Meantime, I will continue to brew my own decks and enjoy playing MTG, the whole purpose of why we actually check this site in the first place.

  23. @addie: Being a good player does not make you a good writer, and visa-versa. Kyle and Mike Flores are prime examples of this fact. Flores is named “Bad Player Flores” for a reason, but his articles are top-notch (Otherwise, he wouldn’t be writing for Pojo, mtg.com, SCG, tcgplayer.com, Top 8 Magic, etc.). Kyle, on the other hand, is a great player and he’s on the Pro Tour, but mdg gave him a good number of points that he can use to improve his writing style.

    Kyle would do better by putting more effort and research into his articles, and trying harder to scratch beneath the surface. He did a good amount of that when describing the U/W and U/B Control lists. However, he doesn’t even care to test the first two lists in the article, his explanation of Valakut (particularly the future of Valakut) is rather subpar, his summary of Vamps is barely a paragraph, and the last list is from magic-league (Again, barely a paragraph of text).

    addie, I’m not criticizing Kyle on his playskill (he’s pro), I’m criticizing his lack of effort when writing. I don’t have to be on the Pro Tour and writing for a major site to spot a weak article. Analysis of term papers/college-level English classes allow me to do that.

    BTW, I wrote for magicdeckvortex.com back in high school. But it doesn’t matter, because it’s not that hard to write for a site, especially when you have friends in the organization.

  24. Some kind of admin type should probably clean up the comments here. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

    Also, i don’t think this was well written. You took two decklists that were obviously just idea decks, not intended to be tier one and used them as the basis for your arguement against new archetypes.

    “I have thrown enough hate on infect, all of you who were on the fence are probably persuaded at this point.”

    You seem seriously arrogant when you say stuff like this. Try at least feigning humility and people might take you seriously. You seem to be great at tuning decks, but not at seeing how new ideas can be made to work (though with the two decklists you found i’m not sure it’s possible either)

  25. I’m not awesomely excited about poison or artifact decks in standard either. I’ve always thought you could use skittles as a wincondition in a black based control deck, but his clock is a tiny bit slower than grave titan + tarpit, so we don’t bother with it, and, even though phyrexian crusader is a fine soldier, the fact that so many more creatures deal damage than poison makes the archetype unexciting. After the third set, it might get there, but I don’t think it’s there yet.

    As for Tezzeret, it’s clear that he does *something*, and when we’ve tested more with him we’ll be able to figure out what exactly that is. His selection doesn’t provide as many options as Jace or Tezzeret 1.0. Sure, you look at 5 with Tezz and 3 with Jace, but Jace lets you keep *all* of the good ones whereas Tezz forces you to decide on one (and only if it’s an artifact) He protects himself, but the creatures he makes die to removal, and we must remember that turning an Inkmoth nexus into a 5/5 invites them to blow up your land with a Journey or waste your loyalty counters (and your turns) by bouncing the guys with Jace. Tezzy is good, that much is clear, but I don’t see what he’s going to do in the long term.

  26. Journey and nexus don’t interact.

    Also, Tezz 2.0 is far stronger than Tezz 1.0 in every format but Vintage.

  27. @ Cseraph If nexus is transformed by Tezz in a 5/5 they interact:

    Inkmoth stops being a 1/1 flier at the end of your turn but it’s still a 5/5 artifact creature/land(if you activate him it transforms into a 1/1 flier but that seems even worse against zenith)

  28. I was going to write something about how your arrogant tone bothers me, but mdg had already elegantly stated what i wanted to.

    I have no problem with kyle saying that Jace or whatever other card is amazing, or that poison sucks. However the tone he uses needs a serious overhaul.

    I will continue to read the article by many of the other great writers on the site, but will be taking a pass on Kyle’s articles from now on.

  29. again… why is kyle on channelfireball again??? he’s not a good magic player, he’s got one lucky final under his belt and his articles are horrible. if any of you pros out there want some real comp. come to kidforce collectibles in cleveland ohio. we’ll be waiting for you.

  30. I see that people here are really allergic to the tone the author takes to some of the possible new deck ideas with the release of Besieged. While I can clearly understand the frustration against such tone, one needs to understand – and understand thoroughly – the following concept :

    Innovation for the sake of innovation is worthless.

    Innovation, in terms of breaking the metagame, only works if there’s a niche to be exploited or there is a major oversight in the current deck designing process.

    Kuldotha red / BR vamps are great examples it took advantage of the apparent void of real aggro decks (boros and quest white just weren’t good enough), and bypassed the entire UB / Valakut hype. These decks consequently posted great results.

    With Tezzeret / Infect decks – the amount of cardpool available to make these cards good is clearly limited. And with millions of people trying to take a crack at breaking artifact combo / synergy, it is highly unlikely that there’s some unknown interaction or mix of cards that’s going to break the meta wide open. As such, it suffers from huge identity crisis – it can’t really be control without good range of spells (due to Tezz needing certain # of artifacts in a deck) and it can’t really be a threat-heavy ramp decks like RUG / Gx decks.

    Infect is just bad – it doesn’t have any possibility of bending the curve like Vamps / K. Red – nor does it have any real answers to the dominating decks of the format.

    Whether you like it or not, this is the reality of having online spoilers and archives of thousands of thousands of previous decks that worked in their respective meta. In most cases, the innovation – the one that everybody happens to miss out on – that you’re searching for simply won’t come no matter how much you wish for it.

    And let’s be honest, it’s not like YOU are doing the work anyways. If you want to berate the author’s stance on what works and what doesn’t, design your own decks and prove him wrong. You can’t fault him for having sound logic based on what’s available in the format.

  31. @Greatbox:

    You almost sound like you lifted that comment straight from Mark Rosewater’s Twitter “war” with Patrick Chapin over the merits of Blightsteel Colossus’ design and flavor. Perhaps I’m wrong but shouldn’t credit be given where it is due?

    In regards to your comments regarding innovation as a tool toward breaking the metagame, I agree that it often works best (and in the largest, splashiest way) when it exploits a niche in the metagame (i.e. Tom “the Boss” Ross’ introduction of the Cunning Sparkmage + Basilisk Collar combo for PT San Diego) but by no means is innovation a worthless investment of time and effort at any point in a deckbuilder or casual player’s career. This approach seeks to undermine an important principle that lies at the heart of every Magic player who is looking to leave their mark on the game: design something new and fun.

    Granted, 90% of the time this will result in an utterly jank deck. But look at people like Patrick Chapin and Conley Woods – these guys don’t give up and neither should we. We all have crazy ideas like Combusting our own Swans of Bryn Argoll with the dreams of drawing cards, only to realize we just 2-for-1’d ourselves (loved it, Conley). It’s the tenacity that speaks to the caliber of people that we are as players, deckbuilders and individuals when we keep going after letdowns. This is my ultimate issue with Mr. Boggemes’ tone and general article content: he callously attempts to shut down people working to build new, exciting and fun decks by degrading them as “wasting their time” and trying to make the unviable somehow work.

    So what if I think poison is no good? Just because I don’t like a deck idea doesn’t mean that I should actively participate in discouraging others from trying. I respect your opinion, Greatbox but wholeheartedly disagree with your dismissive tone and condescending airs. How do you know that we aren’t doing the work to try and build these decks or decks that we otherwise care about? What gives you that right to crush another person’s dreams? Think about that for a bit before posting next time and perhaps we could have a more respectful and equal tone from the CFB community.

  32. im pretty sure gravitational shift wasnt played before for the same reason it isnt played now. it just isnt good
    vampires/boros/monored have been decks for over a year and yet no one considered it good enough. its been tested, and discarded. why would it be good enough now?

  33. I apologize if you are offended by the tone of my articles, but I write about things that I care about. My overall feelings about the topics are often reflected in my writing. Poison and artifacts are not viable at this time. You also may notice that starcity open took place this weekend and we saw the same decks that were discussed here. The lists were different, but my point for including them were to talk about the real contenders of standard. We see Boros, Vampires, UW control, UB control, and titan ramp. The point of my article was to not discourage innovation, but merely stop trying the decks that don’t work. Are you really original for trying poison or artifacts? NO. Are you original for trying the most obvious decks when a new set comes out? My point was to look other directions when the new sets are released because most of the articles i see at this time actually hinder a player from getting good results.

  34. @ Kyle

    Your response does nothing but put extra emphasis on your overly dramatic writing as well as your over dramatization of the current meta.

    Also, how is a person that decides to try poison and or artifacts in some new and exciting way NOT original? I just have a hard time following your logic, or as the others on here have pointed out so well…lack of logic.

  35. I have to agree with greatbox; if something were the new DD/Hex, we would have figured it out already (DD/Hex was up on various websites before release weekend). I don’t fault people for trying things out…I was one of those who rode the polymorph wave when awakening zone first came out (and, although I enjoyed playing it, I never got it above 50/50 in testing). I’m always wary of hype…the number of times that people say “This is going to be HUGE” and the number of times things actually get huge is quite a bit farther apart than any of us would like to admit. We’ve all tried some bad ideas and we’ve all failed to recognize a game-breaker for what it is (Goyf anyone?). So what if the author’s wrong on both counts? A lot of people paid $50 each for a playset of Gideons, and a lot of people paid $3 for Tarmogoyfs.

  36. i think that phyrexian crusader makes decent tech in black decks in general versus white and or red archetypes , in u/b vs boros for example, he cant be killed, you dont even need to be going for an infect kill hes simply effecient enough to be a problem all by himself

  37. “Healthy dose of reality” translated into English apparently means “4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor”

  38. @Kyle:

    I appreciate you taking the time to respond to our feedback, thank you for doing so. I have tried to maintain an attitude of respect and quality in my responses, as have many others. Some people are simply going to offer empty-minded “You suck” responses and shouldn’t be given a second thought but I am still perplexed by the nature of your answer.

    The issue isn’t about “being original” when it comes to trying out new decks when a new set comes out or a format rotates – it’s about having fun and building what interests you. Therefore, it is pointless to dismiss someone for trying to build a new archetype or deck list instead of simply responding to the Hive Mind impulse to “netdeck, netdeck, netdeck.” So what if someone wants to try to build what you say are the “most obvious” decks when new cards are spoiled?

    People are going to attempt to innovate no matter what and fighting that impulse is counterproductive, makes you sound arrogant (particularly in reference to titles like “Get Real”) and truly degrades the quality of your character and writing. What “new directions” are you looking in? What new lists have you compiled that don’t have a playset of Jace, TMS? I’m not debating his incredible power, I’m simply stating that your responses are hollow and meaningless when you offer nothing to back them up.

    I can’t wait for Paris to offer us some sweet new ideas and decklists (which will more likely than not include many copies of Jace, TMS) from some of the most talented and passionate players of the game today. Tezz 2.0 Artifacts and Poison will surely be among them and will hopefully give heart to the deckbuilders out there who so desperately are looking for input into their own lists.

    Until then, happy brewing (thanks Conley).

  39. @mdg You missed out completely on the point of my post. The concept of “innovation for the sake of innovation is worthless” is something that doesn’t really need much explanation.

    The concept is so obvious and inherent to any critical thinking process. It also predates MTG by a long shot. If you think this simple concept can only come from some twitter war between magic developer / player, then you are in serious need of reality check – or maybe you can expand the horizons of your knowledge pool a bit.

    I will let you interpret the tone and the assumptions I carry about responding to you based on the statements above.

    Innovation, by definition, is something that produces results. Just because one explores a novel idea, doesn’t mean that the effort is worth it. True innovation first comes from understanding your own limitations and what you have to work with.

    Metaphorically speaking, if your goal is to split apart a boulder that’s preventing you from reaching your goal, blindly throwing eggs against stone without a concrete plan is not the way to achieve this. When someone tells you that you’re wasting your time, they’re not crushing your dreams and ambitions.

    They’re simply telling you that you should seek alternatives if you want to achieve the goal or dreams that you have.

    You’re confusing your apparent lack of humbleness and critical thinking process with the passion for innovating. OF COURSE it’ is pretty original of you to throw eggs against the stone. Nobody else tried it BECAUSE it is useless.

    If you didn’t produce results, then you didn’t innovate. Trying to muddle the moral ground with comments like “it’s all about having fun” when the author’s obviously addressing the competitive field / metagame is a poor attempt at validating your already weak opinion.

    Like I said before, it’s not like YOU are willing to do the work and actually produce results. Your response to the author – which I quote :

    “I can’t wait for Paris to offer us some sweet new ideas and decklists (which will more likely than not include many copies of Jace, TMS) from some of the most talented and passionate players of the game today. Tezz 2.0 Artifacts and Poison will surely be among them and will hopefully give heart to the deckbuilders out there who so desperately are looking for input into their own lists.”

    proves this further. You did not post a single evidence of your own effort or factually back up why Tezz 2.0 artifact deck / poison deck might be successful.

    You didn’t even leave any room for taking ownership of your statement by not posting a list of your own or pointing out any possible interaction combo potential of the two archetypes.

    Basically, what will end up happening is :

    1) Tezz 2.0 / poison deck doesn’t get broken in Paris : you’ll say “it’s just matter of time” or you claim victory in the future when the third set of the block gets released

    2) Tezz 2.0 sees some fringe application in jace decks, and you’ll claim your victory based on the simple usage of it

    3) Poison sees some fringe action in forms of shape anew / blinkmoth nexi / sideboard option, and you’ll claim victory.

    If you want your opinion to be taken with a shred of respect, at least own up to your ideas and set them in stone like the author did.

    And please don’t confuse what I’m saying here with me agreeing wholeheartedly with the content of this entire article (which you did on your first reply) I simply had to reply to the general ignorance of the replies that I see based on my own principle

  40. I have to commend mdg for maintaining an even tone while many people have just been posting hate mail. That can’t have been easy to do. That being said, I understand the hate mail, and within it there are certain core truths that are sadly tough to refute:

    1. Kyle seemingly advocates not even trying to play with the new toys, and pre-emptively mocking anyone who does.

    2. Kyle sees any card that is not JTMS as not worth playing, really.

    3. Kyle comes across as arrogant and superior-sounding, a tone which, no matter what the quality of the actual player, is bound to cause offense. The simultaneous funny and tragic truth is that a lot of Magic writers (more than one on this same site, but there are certainly other sites just as guilty) seem to have decided that this supercilious, arrogant tone is not only helpful but is their due. It MAY BE their due, if they are in fact as good as all that.

    But it is absolutely not helpful.

    When a writer’s entire ARTICLE premise , upon a SET RELEASE, is “There’s a lot of new cards and you people are going to make some stupid mistakes; here are the worst screw-ups you incompetents are going to make”, then that is not only unhelpful and insulting, but it is destructive to the enjoyment of the game. On this very site I’ve read comments like “Play a real deck” with no further elaboration. If people want us to stop muddying the waters with or dumb ideas on the very first week we get our hands on the cards, well, I’m sorry we’re not all playing at your level. Some of us still want to have fun playing this game. Some of us, yes, want to play EVEN THE OBVIOUS archetypes. (“Don’t play poison and don’t play artifacts”. Damn it, you fool, that’s the whole set.)

    I can’t say Kyle alone is the problem; as I’ve said, there seems to be a general movement of writers who feel that this contemptuous tone is the very definition of a capable Magic writer.

    But it isn’t. Look at PV. Look at LSV, with his awful yet enthusiastic puns. Look at Conley, who goes out on a limb and entertains us even when he fails. These guys write wonderful articles which (and you must have noticed this) DON’T generate forty comments of hate mail. This whole “I’m right, you’re wrong and here’s how you’re going to screw up” feel is very reminiscent of high school posturing.

    Speaking of arrogant writers who seemed to enjoy knocking others’ ideas before they even quite grasped them, how is that Alaskan guy Birklid doing?

  41. Kyle,

    While I think you totally have a right to push for Jace-centric lists all you want, and are certainly entitled to your own view of the current metagame, I think that what is primarily rubbing people the wrong way here is that your assessment of the game seems so joyless.

    Most people who are looking to build decks aren’t trying to be original; it’s just that deckbuilding is a HUGE part of the enjoyment of the game for a large portion of the magic community. The process is its own reward, and most of us aren’t brewing to get famous.

    Even if you think that it is better to defer to the collective data of netdecks and prefer to write about small nuances to tech out competitive lists, telling people that to do anything else is hopeless or not a good use of ones time totally misses the point of why a lot of people even bother to read strategy articles.

    So, by all means, maintain your narrow focus on Jace centric lists, if that’s your thing, but take a page from your fellow CFB writer Matt Nass and stick to what works about your decks, not what is wrong with everyone else’s, unless you’re making a really critical point.

    If you do that, some people may not care to read your articles because they don’t give a shit about buying/playing with Jace (hey, it may be crazy to you, but to each his own), but at least you won’t be offending a broader swath of the community of deckbuilders I know you aren’t intending to offend.

  42. I am not sure why there are so many people saying that all I am doing is pushing Jace decks. This article offered Vampires, kuldotha red, and ramp as all viable options for the current metagame. I endorse all three of those decks and they all top 8ed the SCG open this last weekend. I only seriously recommended UB control as a serious Jace deck in this article. Also for all of those people who think that I only play Jace: I have never played Jace, the Mind Sculptor at a Pro Tour in my life. I know when to not play it and have had success in doing so. I am not discouraging creativity you can build whatever you want, I am just giving my opinions because that’s what I am paid to do. If i start to sell out and only say what you want to hear, then I will stop writing because that’s not what I’m about. I am unsure as to what I will play at Paris, but it may not even have Jace in it either. The point of this article was just to stay on track with the decks that are real, and my articles are geared towards competitive players who want to qualify for the Pro Tour and stay there.

  43. If memory serves, Maro was the guy who wrote the term ‘innovation for the sake of innovation is worthless’. I believe he was speaking then in defense of the creation of the card ‘blightsteel colossus’ and the set Mirrodin beseiged in general.

    This statement has to be one of the most inane things i have read both in a MTG context and in general. As humans, like all living organisms, we strive on innovation as something that is part of us and defines us and shapes us. (read evolution) It is the defining characteristic that has brought us out of the primordial soup to where we are today.
    If we were content as a race with what we already have we would still be in the stone ages gazing up at the stars instead of where we are today or where we may be in the future.
    This innate curiosity and adaptability is a defining characteristic on what what makes us human and should never be considered ‘worthless’.

    Now in a MTG context this statement also sounds patently silly. Innovation in MTG, whether revolutionary or evolutionary is what creates a ‘buzz’ factor that keeps things interesting and people coming back. A lack of innovation, ‘stagnation’, occurs when nothing new or exciting is being presented (read boring), and this can never be a good thing for the game.

    Seeing things from various perspectives, I can’t really fault Maro however. As a magic designer he and his team have a heck of a tough gig when designing a new set.
    We magic players are a fickle lot who complain about most everything. ( i too am guilty of this). We complain because we love the game so much and care about what direction it takes. Set designers understand this and have to cater to many different tastes (what different people want from Magic) whilst maintaining the integrity of the game; a fine tightrope to walk and one i would not begrudge him and his team for.

    For me personally, i love the set magic 2011. This set perfectly encapsulates the feel of the different colors of magic and creates a draft environment that is both balanced and fun.
    The fact that it has awesome chase rares like the titan cycle and Baneslayer Angel are part reason i have been drafting m11 instead of Mirrodin. Magic designers, please keep printing interesting and desirable cards like Primeval titan and Baney and i and many others will forever be happy magic player 🙂

  44. I wonder how many of the people dumping on this article also dump on the use of the use of scientific methods to prove why homeopathy doesn’t work.

  45. @Kyle:

    With all due respect, I can appreciate your track record of not playing Jace, TMS at the Pro Tour level but when when considering decks that you have played at the Pro Tour level *cough JUND cough* I find it hard to believe that your competitive bent isn’t strictly geared towards playing the quote “best deck” at any given time during a season.

    You did offer Vamps, Kuldotha Red and Titan Ramp as viable deck choices but the point that I think you may be missing that many of us readers have taken offense to is that while the quality of your writing may not be what I at least was looking for, it is your tone that is the most disruptive. You come off as incredibly arrogant and until this changes, I will pass on reading your articles in favor of writers like PV, Conley, LSV and Matt Nass who are not only cordial to their readership but are humorous, passionate and enlightening.

    @Greatbox:

    As a commentator, it is not my responsibility to offer my own lists as proof of these decks being viable. Whether I think that they are or not is not the point – the point is that people are going to try to build these decks and squashing their dreams is cruel, unnecessary and unprofessional. I prefer to spend time working on my own deck designs (currently brewing a man-land centric deck which seeks to abuse Terra Eternal, man-lands, Amulet of Vigor and Oracle of Mul Daya) but I will keep that one to myself until I can actually produce some definitive results. Until then, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors and hope that your responses can be more respectful than outright dismissive.

    @Astounded:

    Word up, brother. Say it like ti is.

  46. I give up. Obviously it was wrong for me to expect that some of the crowds here do a simple google search on “innovation for the sake of innovation” on google before claiming that MaRo was the first one to say this.

    People, there exists an entire body of mankind’s history and philosophy before MTG ever existed.

    Please try to get out and expose yourself to the world beyond the game.

  47. klye here is a poster “pro player”, he always play the best deck around. and because he is a pro player he didn’t have to buy any of the cards. he did enjoy mocking people who didn’t have the money or smart enough not to spend their entire wallet content on a playset of jace tms. wanting it is not enough.

    now he strikes back by telling potential deck builder to focus on “real deck” and tell them their efforts to make an original deck is futile and worthless.

    let me tell you one thing mr boggemes, your general audience here is not all-competitive-all-tier-one-guys. maybe a lot of people enjoy looking at their friends frowning face as he struggle to find a way to kill the blue hood. some people enjoy goldfishing with a berserker chick in a tasteless deck. but some guys enjoys playing a fun and wacky deck more than play the “real decks”. other enjoy going to local FNM slinging their own home-brewed decks. you dont have the right to tell them to stop. there will be no mythic conscription deck if somebody didn’t bother to read sovereign of lost alara.

    you should think how your general public will react when reading your article.

  48. Maybe you shoudnt be reading Kyles article if you are not a all-competitive-tier-one-guy. He is not writing for you, he is writing for people who want to win and are trying to reach the next level. If you dont like what he has to say, press the back button and read something else.

  49. I think the people responding negatively to Kyle and his writing style and tone are so off-base. He is writing to the average PTQ player trying to do what he did…take the next step. Where does it say that he is the next Olivier Ruel? He is just a kid who is good at magic and put up much, much more than “one lucky 2nd place pro tour finish.”

    If you are offended by an article like this, then fine, dont take his advice, and keep on getting crushed. Going 6-2 with an innovative deck and playing tight is the same as going 0-2 because youre a bad player.

    Let me sum it up, if you want to win at magic…play good decks and play smart. The cute, fun and exciting deck is the exception to the rule when it comes to winning, and if youre not a pro yet, how can you afford to keep entering ptqs, gps, starcities, etc. and play decks that you cant win with? That to me, is what is illogical. When I drive hours, take time off work, spend money on room and board, I am not about to play some theoretically good deck. You can, and I’ll probably beat you for it.

    You guys are the ones who play the slots at Vegas. Flashy lights, fun sounds, thats more important than the odds of getting a return on your investment. So keep on putting that coin in the slot and argue at how lame and boring craps, black jack, and poker are. Magic and a casino have something for everyone, and right now, Boggemes is a high-roller compared to the lot of you, and hes telling you how how he did it.

  50. Kyle even acknowledges that he may have to eat his words when somebody Top 8’s with poison or big bowl o’ artifacts. He’ll admit when he’s wrong, but initial results from Paris aren’t giving any indication that he’ll have to.

    Don’t let your disdain for his tone cloud you to the wisdom he’s dishing out. How many times have you seen a card and thought it would break the game? How many times has said card actually done so?

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