Initial Technology – From Nationals to Modern

After a few years of not doing well at Nationals, I decided to upgrade the preparation I did. Like I’ve said for a few months now, a big hole in my game last year was how haphazardly I prepared for Grands Prix, and Nationals kind of fit into that category. I mean, last year I played [card]Pyromancer Ascension[/card], a deck that has never in the history won a match (disregard the one copy that made Top 8 this year; it got to play Matt Nass for Top 8). This year, things would be different. This year I would test. This year, I would go to Las Vegas first.

Uh, yeah. Five days of durdling, triple Invasion drafts, teaching Gabe Walls how to cook, tilting Efro by our refusal to play Constructed, and practicing for the Ascension Godslayer tournament later, we had a Caw-blade deck. We actually did put in a fair amount of practice, and the entire Caw-blade shell already has enough testing anyway, so it was more a question of figuring out what we wanted to do with the last 10ish slots, once we figured out the fundamental plan.

In this case, I knew that I didn’t want to play the creature-heavy version, since it was horrible, and I did want a ton of versatile answers, as well as hopefully the best lategame. After much fiddling with the numbers and trying different cards, we concluded a few things:

1) [card]Into the Roil[/card] is awesome. It is one of the best answers to just about anything, and fits perfectly into what the deck is trying to do. When you are doing something good, Roil is just [card]Vindicate[/card] plus draw a card, and even when you aren’t doing anything, it still just buys you a turn (and digs you just a little bit deeper). We decided on three after wanting more against everything but Valakut.

2) [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card] (the Confather, not to be confused with Conley) was the best six-drop, at least for that tournament. Things have changed a little now, but at least then, it was the biggest game in town. It stopped any Sword assault cold, won you the game in a matter of turns, and did more than [card]Sun Titan[/card] against the decks we expected to face.

3) [card]Emeria Angel[/card] seemed like the best midrange threat, since it traded favorably with Dismember and Into the Roil, and could produce blockers/sword carriers at will. Whatever card we had in this slot, it couldn’t just die to Dismember, since we had no other good targets for it. That’s the main reason I don’t like Hero, and one of the strengths of this deck.

4) This deck sideboarded extremely well, and could be constructed to basically beat anything. If you look at the board we ended with, we can sideboard up to 4 [card]Timely Reinforcements[/card] against red, 4 [card]Flashfreeze[/card] vs Valakut, etc. Blue and white just have access to all the best possible sideboard cards, a huge point in this deck’s favor.

We tried out a bunch of different stuff, some of which we might use in the future, but settled on this as a final list:

[deck]4 Squadron Hawk
2 Emeria Angel
2 Consecrated Sphinx
2 Timely Reinforcements
4 Preordain
3 Mana Leak
3 Gideon Jura
3 Dismember
3 Into the Roil
2 Spell Pierce
2 Day of Judgment
2 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Jace Beleren
4 Celestial Colonnade
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Tectonic Edge
3 Glacial Fortress
2 Inkmoth Nexus
2 Scalding Tarn
1 Arid Mesa
4 Island
3 Plains
4 Flashfreeze
3 Mental Misstep
2 Ratchet Bomb
2 Azure Mage
2 Timely Reinforcements
1 Day of Judgment
1 Jace Beleren[/deck]

I liked everything about the list, though as the metagame changes, you can (and should) mess around with the numbers. For example, Timely Reinforcements maindeck might not be right anymore, though I’d want access to at least three.

[card]Azure Mage[/card] is one of the more remarked-on cards, and it was pretty sweet. Josh Silvestri came up with it, as far as I know, and after Zaiem alerted me to his idea, we immediately loved it. It was perfect for the Twin matchup, and in the mirror it completely trumped Jace in a heads up fight. It was just a cheap threat that let you keep all your lands untapped, and I would definitely recommend it.

A few cards I would probably look to add:

[draft]oblivion ring[/draft]

I never liked O-Ring in testing, which is why we didn’t play them, but after seeing it in action, I suppose I wouldn’t mind having access to one. I like having varied answers, and O-Ring seems like a reasonable card to have against Pod decks, while not being horrible in the mirror. If you Ring their Gideon they play a second, they run the risk of Into the Roil being a huge blowout, which definitely comes up. My main complaint with Ring was its weakness to Into the Roil, but if most people play just two (and UB gets bigger), I’d like to have an O-Ring.

[draft]sun titan[/draft]

Now that Doom Blade is again a Magic card, Sphinx might not be the undisputed champ. I think I’d like one Sphinx and one Titan, just in case. Titan is also a little more resilient to Into the Roil, and combines well with Jace Beleren against UB.

[draft]torpor orb[/draft]

This isn’t a silver bullet against Birthing Pod or Valakut, but I imagine would help against both. It takes a lot of wind out of the sails of the Pod deck, which makes them fight a little more fairly, a fight you are almost always going to win. It’s also the best card against Splinter Twin, since it is an answer to their combo that costs no mana, letting you leave mana up for more answers or even tap out if needed. I normally hate this sort of half-answer card (imagine this against Primeval Titan, for example), but it does enough in enough matchups that I’d probably try it.

On to Gencon!

Gencon started Thursday, where I looked forward to playing in a Vintage Prelim just to game. I borrowed Dave Williams’ sweet Vintage deck, while he used Efro’s. Cut to three rounds later, and I was 1-2 and Dave had his (Efro’s) deck stolen by some scumbag. It was pretty horrible, and definitely took the wind out of all our sails. Combine that with Rich Shay’s backpack getting stolen and a dealer losing a set of Beta Power 9 out of their case, and I’m really discouraged from bringing my Vintage deck to events. I don’t know if it was the extra people from Gencon as a whole, the fact that Vintage Champs were there, or what, but that level of theft is pretty horrible. I love Vintage, and I like playing with sweet cards, but when bringing them constitutes a real risk, it takes the fun all out of it. Hopefully things work out for Dave and Rich, and I’m heartened by the Vintage community’s response: they are holding a charity tournament to help those guys rebuild what the lost, though Dave has requested that all money raised for him go to actual charities.


Nationals is a sweet tournament, and I always have had a good time there. It was the first tournament I did well in, along with Cheon, and it’s one of the tournaments I want to do well in more than most. Being on the team is really awesome, and one of the most fun parts of playing on the Pro Tour. I was excited to start playing, especially now that I had tokens at the ready:

I should have an inexhaustible supply of these, so at any point feel free to bug me for one (and you get one every time you order from this very website even). Thanks to Inkwell Looter for the awesome art!

The first few rounds went quite well.

In round one I battled against Hero-Blade, where we both kinda just traded spells, at the end of which I had a Gideon. Yeah….

Game two was similarly close, which is to say I killed his guys with [card]Dismember[/card] while playing a bunch of my own.


In round two, I again fought the mirror. I actually love the Caw-blade mirror now. Before, I wasn’t a big fan. With cards like [card jace, the mind sculptor]Jace[/card] (real Jace) and [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card] running around, anyone who landed one unopposed would just win. Now, there is no one card that just ends the game in either deck, so the match comes down more to incremental gains and grinding out card advantage. Knowing how to tap your mana against Tec Edge is huge, and actually somewhat complicated. You have to play around [card]Mana Leak[/card]/[card]Spell Pierce[/card], but only when you can afford to, and knowing when to tap out and go for it is hugely important. All of these small things add up, and they are a big part of why we did well with the deck as a team. Our build was good, sure, but that wasn’t the main reason, since most people had good decks. We were just all very experienced at playing the deck, and the matchups are complicated enough to make that matter a great deal, especially the mirror.

That was a pretty longwinded way of saying I beat the mirror, by the way.


After playing the mirror twice, I played mono-red twice, though the builds were a little different. First I battled Goblins piloted by Noah Schwartz, against whom I had a lot of Reinforcements, and in a Timely manner. I won game two at one life for multiple turns, up to and including the turn where I floated two mana and bounced [card]Manabarbs[/card] with [card]Into the Roil[/card].


Next, I played the more burn-heavy version of Mono-red, and despite being stuck on two lands for most of game two, again managed to pull it out. If Mono-red doesn’t adapt, the deck is going to remain unplayable, and a big part of that is beating Timely Reinforcements.

[draft]hero of oxid ridge[/draft]

Unless your idea of fun is to lose to Timely Reinforcements over and over again, your aggressive red deck needs to have a plan against it, and currently Hero seems like best. [card]Kuldotha Pheonix[/card] isn’t bad either, but the point remains; current red decks just roll over and die to Reinforcements, as did both the decks I beat in the first Standard portion at Nationals. If they tap out to Reinforce and you just plop down Hero and smash for seven, you not only negate their lifegain, but present a threat that the 1/1’s do nothing against. Hero is what red decks need to play, which should also make white decks consider combining Reinforcements with something like Celestial Purge.


Just like that, it was time to draft. Owen was 2-2, Web was 3-1, Josh was 2-2, and Matt Nass was 3-1 with Splinter Twin. We had done a ton of drafts, and I felt pretty ready. I wanted to draft either a focused aggressive deck or a powerful lategame deck…so naturally, I ended up with a midrange WR deck with bad mana and mediocre cards.

I started by taking [card]Pacifism[/card] over nothing, then [card]Benalish Veteran[/card] over [card]Sorin’s Thirst[/card]. Eventually I had to take [card]Aven Fleetwing[/card] and [card]Divination[/card] out of blank packs, and ended up with a bunch of white cards plus those two after pack 1. I then opened [card]Flameblast Dragon[/card] and zero blue or white cards, so I took it. The uneven signals continued, and at the end of the draft I just had a pile. It wasn’t particularly fast or powerful, though I did have Volcanic and Flameblast Dragon.

[deck]1 Volcanic Dragon
1 Flameblast Dragon
1 Arbalest Elite
2 Armored Warhorse
1 Assault Griffin
1 Stormfront Pegasus
1 Auramancer
2 Thran Golem
1 Griffin Sentinel
1 Peregrine Griffin
2 Benalish Veteran
1 Crimson Mage
2 Divine Favor
1 Pacifism
1 Stave Off
1 Shock
1 Crown of Empires
1 Fling
1 Act of Treason
10 Plains
7 Mountain[/deck]

Yep, that’s the [card]Thran Golem[/card] package alright. This deck was just not good, and I would have been happy with a 2-1.

Sadly, it was not to be, as I was quickly dispatched by [card]Jace’s Archivist[/card] round one. Archivist is a certifiable bomb, and it plus a pair of [card]Unsummon[/card]s and an [card]Aether Adept[/card] quickly reduced my board to nothing, all while Windfalling me into garbage. I guess it didn’t help that my deck was mainly composed of garbage, but still…


Unfortunately for Brad, his deck was not only worse than mine, but probably about as bad as you could get without goofgrabbing. He ended up black-green with ALL bad cards and no synergy (I’m talking double [card]Gravedigger[/card] double [card]Reassembling Skeleton[/card]s action), and I quickly put him out of his misery. He 0-3ed the draft, and it tilted him so much he went out drinking and missed day two. Sometimes you hit a rough draft, and it just derails you completely (though I wouldn’t advise dropping while in Top 8 contention, personally).


After that round, I was once again mauled. I thought I was going to win game one against GW, especially given that he was on 11 and my hand was:

[draft]flameblast dragon
Volcanic dragon

with five lands in play. I drew my sixth land, slammed [card]Volcanic Dragon[/card], and bashed. It got Plummeted immediately, after which he played a [card]Stingerfling Spider[/card]. Whew, dodged that bullet. I played my Flameblast, and lo and behold, a second Stingerfling came out to eat my hopes and dreams. After that I was out of gas, and died to his army of dudes. Gruesome Encores aren’t always fun and games; that second Spider was tough.

I kind of stole game two; he cast what he thought was a lethal [card]Overrun[/card], and smashed with everyone. I told him that his [card]Roc Egg[/card] couldn’t attack, then took the rest to go to 1, killing him on my turn. I’m not entirely sure what would have happened if he wanted to attack with less guys after finding it wasn’t lethal, but he didn’t seem to consider it. To be fair, I did need a [card]Goblin War Paint[/card] plus a [card]Shock[/card] to kill him, so it isn’t like he put himself exactly dead on board, though he may have wanted to consider attacking with less, given that he knew I had Fling in my deck (which would have killed him outright).

In game three, my opponent had the following in play by turn two:

[draft]llanowar elves
Elite vanguard
Garruk’s companion[/draft]

That, along with an [card]Overrun[/card] on turn five or so, led me to go to dinner at 5-2, and not very happy. Web at least at 3-0ed, as did Matt Nass.


After a pretty sweet dinner at Harry and Izzy’s, a local steakhouse/diner sorta deal, which I paid for (run so bad etc), we got some sleep and returned to battle. I knew I would have to 3-0 my draft to be guaranteed a spot, since even if the X-3’s mostly made it, I figured I used up most of my breaker luck at GP KC.

Draft two went way more awesomely, and I ended up with quite the brew. After first picking [card]Pentavus[/card] and second picking [card]Doom Blade[/card], I third picked [card]Acidic Slime[/card], and ended up with [card]Aether Adept[/card] in my deck. Wait, what?

In fact, when I showed Josh U-L my deck, he thought it was a pile of garbage, partially because these are the first four cards he saw:

Carnage wurm
Llanowar elves[/draft]

Look, there was an explanation. All of pack one, I just took green cards, along with [card]Doom Blade[/card] and [card]Wring Flesh[/card]. Everything wheeled, and I ended up with [card]Birds of Paradise[/card], two [card]Rampant Growth[/card]s, [card]Llanowar Elves[/card], and [card]Acidic Slime[/card]. I was poised to take any bomb I saw, and in pack two that ended up being [card]Djinn of Wishes[/card] followed by [card]Jace’s Archivist[/card]. It was on!

I picked up some value guys like Aether Adept, a second Slime, and a Gravedigger, then peeled a second Doom Blade in pack three, along with a late Azure Mage. My deck ended up being a real piece of work.

[deck]2 Acidic Slime
Birds of Paradise
Llanowar Elves
Phantasmal Image
Djinn of Wishes
Vastwood Gorger
Carnage Wurm
Aven Fleetwing
Aether Adept
Jace’s Archivist
Brindle Boar
Azure Mage
2 Doom Blade
2 Rampant Growth
2 Swamp
9 Forest
6 Island[/deck]

This deck was sweet, and I managed to do some pretty awesome things with it. Highlights included:

Turn three [card]Acidic Slime[/card], turn four [card]Phantasmal Image[/card], on the play.

Against a board of [card]Scepter of Empires[/card], [card]Tormented Soul[/card] with [card]Goblin War Paint[/card], and [card]Goblin Fireslinger[/card]: Slime your War Paint, Slime your Scepter, [card]Wring Flesh[/card] (from the board) your Tormented Soul, [card]Doom Blade[/card] your Fireslinger. He then put [card]Brink of Disaster[/card] on my Slime, so I Phantasmal Imaged it and killed the Brink. That game went from looking bad to looking awesome in just two turns.

Turn two Archivist, turn three Aether Adept, also known as “if you don’t have [card]Shock[/card], you are dead”. Nice mana on that one, too.

I did all sorts of shenanigans involving [card]Pentavus[/card], [card]Gravedigger[/card], [card]Acidic Slime[/card], and of course, [card]Phantasmal Image[/card]. This was the best Image deck I’ve ever seen, and it delivered.

Sadly, I never got to do anything too silly with [card]Djinn of Wishes[/card], or even activate [card]Azure Mage[/card], but I lived just about every other dream, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.

I 3-0ed, beating a horrifically mana screwed Matt Sperling on the way, as well as the super aggressive black-red deck that topped out with two [card]Rune-Scarred Demon[/card]s. The combination of removal, card draw, acceleration, and an awesome high end worked out well, even if I had a few awkward cards in the deck.


This was it: three more, and I was in Top 8. It was even Constructed, which seems to be good to me lately. Between Nationals and Nagoya, I took the max amount of draft losses possible to stay in contention, while winning all my Constructed rounds, and the last four rounds of Standard here didn’t change that.

I battled against Jund Titans, RUG Pod, and UW splash red Cawblade, and was able to beat all of them, though a few funny things happened.

The Jund matchup was pretty straightforward: I lost game one to not having Day for his [card]Grave Titan[/card], and won the next two because I did. Gideon plus Day stopped his whole offense, since he was basically playing a Valakut deck that didn’t win when it resolved Titan. Awkward.


Against RUG Pod I got demolished game one, then was able to side in four [card]Flashfreeze[/card]. Some odd stuff was going on, and I have to admit he had quite the brew. I hit him with a Sworded guy game two, and he discarded [card]Sunblast Angel[/card], which I was not expecting. I guess it’s a good Pod target, though I couldn’t help myself, and I asked him if he first-picked it.

Game three was equally strange, as he tapped his Swamp, Forest, Island, and Mountain to cast [card]Memoricide[/card]. Uh, ok. He named [card]Dismember[/card], which I didn’t have in hand, and I proceeded to land a Sword. He then performed a pretty accurate Conley Woods impression:

[card]Birthing Pod[/card], pay 2 life. [card]Flashfreeze[/card] it.

[card]Birthing Pod[/card], pay 2 life. Fetchland, crack, Pod, pay 2 life, Slime your Sword.

Activate Colonnade?


I thought this was win and in, but I guess it was not only that, but also probably lose, then win, and still in. Either way, I wanted to just win this round and lock it up. I battled Nick Edgerle, playing UWr, and it started in a kind of funny way. I didn’t know what he was playing, and kept a hand of [card]Mana Leak[/card], 2 [card]Timely Reinforcements[/card], four land, on the play. He played a turn one [card]Grim Lavamancer[/card] off a sacland, and I became very happy. This was the nut hand against mono-red!

He then went [card]Seachrome Coast[/card], [card]Squadron Hawk[/card]. Oh. Is that so?

My free win went out the window, and instead I had to fight a grinding matchup where he had Lavamancers and I didn’t. I lost game one, mostly due to him shooting himself with Lavamancer in response to the second Timely, and went to board.

After boarding in Misstep and Wrath for the Timelys and Spell Pierces, I managed to win a tight game two and three, mostly thanks to Gideon. The Gidfather just took him to the woodshed, since he had none of his own, and just one or two O-Rings to try and stop him. Gideon plus Wrath plus Swords did what they do, and all of a sudden I was in Top 8!


After drawing with Ali, who at first was going to dreamcrush to help Shaheen, I was locked (thanks Shaheen!).


Web and Owen also Top 8ed, and not only that, we were all in different brackets. The team could be the three of us!

We had another awesome dinner, this time at St. Elmo’s Steakhouse, and I went back to discuss sideboarding.

There was only one small problem. The head judge hadn’t given us decklists, which was odd, but whatever. I could just check the coverage. Unfortunately, the only decklist not published was my opponent’s, Brandon Nelson, since Haibing Hu’s list got posted twice. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, since Brandon was Caw-blade, and I wasn’t actually going to play any games, but it could have been really terrible. Luckily, BDM heard me through the Twitterverse, and he emailed me the decklist as soon as he heard. Sideboarding against Brandon was pretty simple:

I took out 2 Timely Reinforcements and 3 Dismembers, since he had no threat in between Hawks and Sun Titan, and put in 3 Azure Mage/Jace and 2 Mental Misstep. I left 2 Wraths in, since they are ok if you don’t draw Hawk, and got ready to battle.

We went to five games, but I sadly didn’t win. Games one and five were decided solely on land counts; I never hit four and lost horribly as a result. Game two was a close game, and he had just enough Into the Roils and counters to stop me from Sphinxing him out, but stop me he did. I won the other two games, one of which was on the back of him missing land drops. It almost makes me want a 28th land in the sideboard for the mirror, since the first person to miss a land drop usually loses.

I was pretty crushingly disappointed to not make the team, and Owen and I commiserated with each other about it, sure that we were both the unluckiest person in the world. Congrats to the Ocho for making the team, and Ali and Hu for finishing 1st and 3rd respectively. Making Top 8 and missing the team really sucks, but I was happy with the deck I played and how I played, so I can’t really complain. Much (that’s also a lie).

That wraps up my report, but there is more to talk about today: Modern!


The change to the Pro Tour, along with the banned list, is awesome, and I couldn’t be happier about it. We went from Caw.format that nobody cared about to a new and interesting format, filled with mostly new and interesting decks. The banned list is extensive, but all that means is that there is no low-hanging fruit (besides Zoo; there always is Zoo). I’m very happy to be testing Modern, and figure I might as well mention a few things about the format:

[draft]aether vial[/draft]

Aether Vial is a card, but it isn’t absurd. Vial is definitely one of the best cards untouched by the purge, and I expect it to make its presence known. That being said, the hits to blue control (no Misstep, Jace, or Ancestral Visions) make Vial less of a beating than it has been in the past, and there is no Goblin Ringleader to really make it cheat on mana. It’s just a good card for something like Merfolk, and will probably feature in some midrange Green creature decks.

[draft]dark confidant[/draft]

Best card in the format? Yeah, probably. With many of the heavy hitters banned, don’t be surprised when many of the remaining decks turn to Bob for inspiration. He is still the best creature ever printed, after all.

[draft]punishing fire[/draft]

If you are playing a deck full of 2-toughness guys, you better have a plan for this. Some decks, like Zoo, are just too fast, especially since [card]Wild Nacatl[/card] and [card]Tarmogoyf[/card] don’t care at all. Other decks, like Merfolk, can’t just shrug it off; with the reduced options available, there will be [card]Punishing Fire[/card] decks at the Pro Tour. I know I have some gifts that have not been distributed, just for this occasion.

[draft]hive mind
Ad nauseam
Angel’s grace
Seething song
Rite of flame[/draft]

Combo is alive and well. The most egregious offenders may be gone, but don’t be fooled into thinking that there is no combo. I don’t know which are best yet, though I suspect Hive Mind is among them, and you would do well to be prepared. In fact, looking at decks from last Pro Tour Amsterdam is a good place to start, since many of the same shells will be used.

Hopefully this gives you a good start to looking at Modern, since that’s about where I’m at. I haven’t done enough testing to even be hiding anything, though I don’t anticipate chronicling everything that I do before the Pro Tour (for obvious reasons). I’m still really happy that it’s Modern, and think that anyone who puts in the work will be heavily rewarded.


Can’t forget about sample hands, can we (this is from every deck Dave Williams has ever drafted in M12):

[draft]2 sorin’s vengeance
Diabolic tutor
4 Swamp

64 thoughts on “Initial Technology – From Nationals to Modern”

  1. Modern looks great. Really hoping for some innovation, rather than just Dragonstorm port, Combo-elves port, Hive Mind port, etc.

    But boy did Wizards leave Zoo looking spicy…. GG, Nacatl, Lynx, Goyf, KotR, Lavamancer, Punishing Fire+Grove, Bolt, Path, Lightning Helix, Yowza.

    But I’ll leave the metagaming to the masters… now off to brew that elusive Helixpinnacle.dec

  2. What are your thoughts on the banning of Bitterblossom? It just sounds like WotC dont like faeries? It doesnt violate their 3 turn kill rule. It isn’t as brutal as Stoneforge and JTMS. It does however ruin a great deck which is competitive at best but not overpowered. WotC hating?

  3. @Ja1n

    If you read the article by Tom LaPille, he basically admits that the reason Bitterblossom was banned was because WotC didn’t want the possibility of Fae dominitating, even though they didn’t think it was an overpowered deck, just because a lot of players dont like the deck.

    So yea, they were just hating.

    Id like to mention that they were kind of hating on Glimpse of Nature too…..made me sad :/

  4. @Ja1n:

    I think Tom LaPille said that the reason they did it was because a lot of people dislike faeries, and they did not want to risk a PT dominated by Faeries.

  5. @Dustin

    Glimpse of Nature is way OP, I still think Elves will be viable, maybe in G/R or Jund form with all the lords + bloodbraid… seems good. (but I havent tested this)

    Also, I’m glad to not have to play against fae, thanks wizards!

  6. Banning Bitterblossom makes a deck like BW tokens not as good, though! Not that I think the deck is faster than Zoo, but there it is.

  7. Great article, as always.

    I also love seeing Modern content this early, as you’ve stated in the article (albeit in other words) it’s the bee’s knees! As with all new formats I encounter, I’ll probably try to brew up some goblin deck and die horribly, but having a lot of fun doing it =)

  8. I’m not personally sold on modern just yet. The bannings have neutered too many viable decks, and dine nothing but strengthen zoo/BBEzoo it’s kinda sad. But alas here’s hoping they grow a pair and realize they over reacted on everything but stineforge from the new set of banned cards. Abd lsv please, PLEASE dint waste your time on hivemind..forceless/dazeless/proper rampless/show and tell less/intuitionless hivemind. Unless you are honestly joking, because that’s what that deck is.

  9. What Smiggle said about the bannings have neutered too many viable decks. The format is strong enough to support cards like Bitterblossom and JTMS.

  10. Banning Mental Misstep seemed the oddest to me. Anyone have any more insight as to why they would have to ban that card?

  11. I remain confident that for every deck cut down by the bannings, two more (less broken ones) will rise to take its place.

    If you’re really afraid of Zoo/Jund, just throw 4*Kitchen Finks, 4*Obstinate Baloth into your deck. I predict that you’ll stomp on them (with lots of slots left over for your own plan).

  12. psyllogism: probably because they figured it would be an auto 4-of in anything resembling control or aggrocontrol, and likely other decks too. It isn’t overpowered, but it takes up space, so too many decks would end up as 56 cards and 4 MM. Banning it will presumably lead to more variety.

  13. currently im testing RUG twin/through the breach with either emrakul or blightsteel. havent gottan a solid list tho. works decent tho

  14. Control still has one chance of being good. Gifts Ungiven is not banned, so it can still do some damage in the meta.

  15. Mental Misstep was banned because they didn’t want blue control to dominate the meta. Its the same reasoning they used for Jace, and Ancestral Visions being banned.

    Glimpse of Nature should not be banned. The deck was rarely a turn 3 combo deck, usually going off on turn 4.

    Sure, it could go off on turn 3, but I can craft a deck that can combo out on turn 1 in modern to this day, so its silly to ban Glimpse because it can technically lead to turn 3 kills even though it rarely, if ever, does so.

    Elves decks aren’t even that hard to hate out once you know they are a threat, too, which is an even worse reason for this deck to be hated out. It wouldn’t have been the best, most ridiculous deck, but it would have been a known commodity, and it seems WotC wanted to ban all known commodities not named Zoo or Jund (hey, the more thoughtless the deck, the better! /sarcasm)

  16. I’m not totally sure I understand the ‘turn 3’ rule. All-In-Red is completely unhindered, and it has been known to drop a Deus of Calamity turn 1 more than once in the bast, which some decks are physically incapable of beating.

  17. Now that LSV has said he loves the format, can all you petulant kids stop whinging about having your toys taken away?

    Also the Vintage thefts really suck. Having £2000+ worth of deck stolen would just be absolutely shit. Sorry to hear about that. Guess even Magic isn’t free of the world’s absolute cunts. ¬_¬

    ~ Acarna

  18. @Hork: I think what Wizards were trying to stop were consistent turn-3 combo decks, not just decks that can win on turn 3 with a god-hand. For example, I built a mono-red Elementals deck (on MWS) which was capable of a turn-2 win, but was so inconsistent and weak against so many different answers that it’s not really viable. Whereas some of the decks that the banlist has neutered were capable of consistently winning on turn 3 as much as 20% or so of the time even in the face of specific sideboard hate and that is not healthy for a format that is just starting out.

    ~ Acarna

  19. KFG_EaterOfWorlds

    @ Dustin

    after playing several weeks of Overextended, which had more cards available to it than modern, it was very clear that combo elves with glimpse of nature was the best deck. anyone that would play the deck would go 4-0 or rarely 3-1. and if they are going to take out mental misstep which is one of the best answers to glimpse, then it becomes even more of a problem and definitely needs to be banned or combo elves would just rock the format

  20. After reading the German nationals I’m confused, what was happening differently over there that Caw wasn’t getting things done?

  21. Modern actually looks pretty cool from the amount I’ve played. Unfortunately the online meta is swamped with 12post (which is a good deck but not even 1/10 as good as people seem to think it is). Aether Vial is pretty silly; 18-lord Merfolk actually seems like a deck. I’d like to see Misstep in the format, though; saying “every blue deck in Modern will be 56 cards + 4 Misstep” isn’t much different from the truth of Legacy, which is “every blue deck is 56 cards + 4 Force of Will”, yet they haven’t banned Force in Legacy (nor should they, of course).

    Regarding that sample hand, mulligan unless you know your opponent is a slow, grindey control deck. That hand doesn’t beat Goblin Piker.

  22. @Jonathan W. – Not everyone wants to play green just to beat Zoo/Jund. A format lacks health anytime it becomes: “Play X or play to beat X.” That said, there’s still way too little information about the practical way the format will play out to assert any top dog.

  23. Misstep was a joke banning IMO its one of the only consistent ways to reliably have an answer to decks like zoo and still have a varied field of decks. Ancestral was a joke, in that getting FOUR turns to kill before you cash in in investment is exactly what control vs agro/combo matches should be like. Control decks should be able to hit hard late like that and have to sweat out the clock a bit. Jace was an over reaction; albeit an understanded one, but not really necessary, considering the plethora of answers and style of decks that can easily negate it’s superiority. And finally the biggest joke of….ever in the history of banning magic cards: Valakut, seriously? Wtf? At first I went to see if I had slept 8 months straight and it was possibly April 1st but nay it was not. I mean it’s literally at it’s absolute fastest a turn 4 win and that’s ridiculously easy to distrupt, nit to mention zoo can win that quick with slightly better than average hands. It just seems like Wizzards wants nothing to do with non creature interactions in the game right now, and it’s dangerously on the brink of “fixing what’s not broke”

  24. @Lyle: You shouldn’t be sad that the online meta is full of Xpost decks (and it is, I will vouch for that). It means people with actual good decks can curbstomp them. ^^

    @Smiggle: It’s not a joke banning Misstep. It was a joke printing it. It’s a disgusting card, oppressive like other free counters in the past have been (I mean look at Force of Will? It defines Legacy, not that I’m saying Misstep is in the same league), and with it in a format, any deck with 1-drops has to play it to defend their own 1-drops against it. It makes some decks outright unplayable and no single card should ever do that. It’s the card on the banlist I’m glad they banned the most (as well as SfM) and it doesn’t even affect any of my decks that much. Check out Legacy articles on ChannelFireball since it’s printing: both Caleb Durward and Adam Barnello say it’s the worst thing that’s happened to Legacy for ages. A card like that is not healthy.

    ~ Acarna

  25. I assume the bit about Ascension is a dig on Matt Nass and not me?

    Also, you reminded me to pick up Gifts Ungiven for Modern. Good article, and thanks!

  26. @Acarna

    Why would I stop complaining about having my favorite toys taken away just because LSV says he likes the format? How does that make any logical sense? They were my favorite toys. They were taken away. I’m unhappy about it. The end. Tada!

    Also, I heard that the deck DWilliams had stolen was pretty pimped out. The £2000+ estimate would be low by many factors if that were the case. It would likely be closer to $15,000-$20,000.

  27. Dustin, the deck CONSISTENLY comboes on turn 3, and could go off on 2. just watch the match between saito and lsv mirror, it is absurd

  28. I love Elves, but I agree with banning Glimpse. It’s not hard AT ALL to combo out on turn 3 and just win. T2 wins are certainly possible, but much rarer. Sure, other combo decks are possible, but (IMO) much less consistent.

    Also, FIRST! (god I’m so sick of seeing that every article)

  29. Luis Scott-Vargas

    @ Gardevi

    Correct, you can always assume that I’m making fun of Matt Nass if it seems possible.

  30. Gifts ungiven does seem like the place to be, though time will tell which deck(s) come out on top. Banlist is solid, but they may have given aggro too much room to dominate.

    12post is simply an easy deck to assemble and to pilot – thus its popularity online… also seems pretty easy deck to hate on, and several builds all-but-scoop to memoricide.

  31. I used to play Elves all the time, I know the potential explosiveness of the deck, however it rarely did go off on turn 2 or 3 (the Modern version, at least.)

    Elves is SIGNIFICANTLY better in Overextended than it is in Modern. Im not downplaying the deck, its still strong, but it only takes a couple cards to hate it out if it is indeed the end all, be all, which it is not. Its also one of the hardest combo decks to play, which I would think would be a reason to keep it around if it isnt oppressive, since decks that reward tight play are great for the game in my estimation. Its not one of those silly combo decks thats just plopping out its two card combo (Kikki-Jiki, etc).

    Also, to the guy who said All in Red was left untouched……there is no Chrome Mox. That card was very important to the deck, but I tested it for the last few months without it, and its still playable, although it just dies to any respectable countermagic on the draw (without Chrome Mox). It can only be played as a Meta call against a field thats not going to be playing tons of counters.

  32. @Kai: By “online” I mean MWS and Cockatrice, not places where you actually have to pay real money for fake cards (I don’t play MODO for that reason). If you instantly had a playset of any card you wanted, what deck would you play?

    @Dustin: As a Legacy player, having to decide whether I want to play an 11-card sideboard with 4 pieces of Dredge hate, or to just lose to Dredge, is not a decision I enjoy making. Likewise with Elves in Modern.

  33. (Upon rereading my previous post, I noticed that I didn’t mention that by “online” I meant “MWS”. I thought I had. Apologies for the inclarity.)

  34. Gencon is a cesspool of scum and villany, like many large conventions. With so many people and an extremely commercialized environment, of course it’s going to be full of extremely dishonest people willing to steal from you.

    I’d argue that a convention starts to turn sour at 350: That’s when many small cons start having theft problems.

  35. @ arcana

    I can’t disagree more with your assessment on misstep. I personally find it to be a cop out from people that moan and complain about the card by saying you need to run it in your agro build. I mean if it really is that oppressive why don’t they all just run dazes and forces for that matter. It’s not like Valakut decks started playing blue for mana leaks because it wrecks there game (perhaps not the best example) but the bottom line is all you need to do is steam line your game better. I find it a much less oppressive card than let’s say wasteland, or brainstorm in legacy, and its less important in modern than legacy. It’s a great card to shore up overly explosive agressive cards and decks and keeps things more fair in an environment like modern. But to each their own, however it is a fairly narrow card and it seems that people that complain about misstep are those that want to play hyper aggressive decks or unopposed brainstorms and aether vials. The one concession I do make is that it has seemingly made people scared to play some certain decks, however it has opened the door for more decks to fill those spaces on a regular basis (see hiveminds rise to recent dominance)

  36. I’m not sure if this is true, but I remember hearing from somewhere that part of the reason they banned B.Blossom is because of a Esper Blossom-Blade deck that somebody in R&D came up with which absolutely dominated.

  37. I’m glad Wizards didn’t go after Dragonstorm — if only because of Lotus Bloom, which I use in Sunny Side Up. While not terribly consistent, Sunny Side Up benefits from both Ponder and Preordain, along with Zendikar fetchlands. The deck remains completely intact with the legality of Second Sunrise and Lotus Bloom. I’m going to let my inner Pierre Canali run wild!

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  39. it seems to me that what is happening is alot of control hate. The new format has taken a blow due to the fact that they have cut control and opened up the field to highly aggressive decks. I am unhappy with the bannings lists and have no desire to be playing modern. If the list is ever changed to support a more balanced field then i might consider playing.
    Jace is beyond doubt awesome but while jund was around he was not that good due to the aggressive nature of the field. Also zoo will now be a top contender without a control deck to match it. Agro must have control to keep it in check while at the same time control must evolve around the agro decks. this thus makes for a more balanced playing field that will be nonexistent in the new format

  40. Do you think they should reprint Tarmogoyf, now that the price tag will hit 100$ + because of the viability of this card in Modern and Legacy?

    + They didn’t ban the card, even with the price tag which may be a reason to ban a card in WOTC’s book. So it could be in Innistrad, or in the block at least, don’t you think?

  41. @mons
    It’s only so damn expensive because nobody really opened that set and diddnt really realize how insane it was until a little later on. Plus it’s only a boring vanilla creature.

  42. @Smiggle: You cannot argue that a card like that is good for a format. It doesn’t open any doors, all it does is restrict. And like I said, every good Legacy player that writes articles both on here and StarCity has said that it’s the worst thing to happen to Legacy for a very long time and the format would be much more likely to survive had it never been printed. Even Wizards employees like Mark Rosewater have said they hate the card. There’s just no argument; it should never have been printed and it is good that it is banned. Though maybe they also ought to have banned at least one component of Zoo (say Knight of the Reliquary or Wild Nacatl) in order to make it entirely worthwhile. Not every deck can run Force of Wills and Dazes because they don’t play blue cards or Islands (even though those cards are clearly better). Every deck can play Misstep for the low, low cost of 2 life.

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