Silvestri Says – A Slice of Standard and M12 Draft

First I want to touch on some brief Standard thoughts before we move to M12 Draft.

While Caw has had plenty of success over these past few weeks I can’t help but think the SCG Open results are just off. Various Nationals around the world have certainly shown Caw to have legs and be a legitimate strategy, but their top eights and top Standard performers have been varied with reasonable decks. Last week I listed four decks that I thought all had reasonable or outright favorable Caw matches and yet I see most of the variety in the top sixteen instead of the top eight. Goblins made it to the finals before going down and I have to stress that just [card]Timely Reinforcements[/card] is not enough to beat a real red deck.

Honestly the more I talk with players I respect the more the consensus seems to be that people using the various UW Caw decks simply because they have the most ‘play’ to them. They are coasting off their skills and other people not rising up the occasion of beating this strategy, there’s nothing inherently broken about Caw as it stands. I mean look at all the people still playing [card]Jace Beleren[/card] in UW when [card]Divination[/card] would just be more effective most of the time. Oh boy you got to draw your two cards over two turns and soak up a [card]Squadron Hawk[/card] attack, congratulations. My favorite part is when people actually +2 Jace which feels like such a joke now when there’s usually no reason to do it anymore. At that point you need to draw 3-4 cards before I even remotely care that you’ve played Jace with any real deck.

Meanwhile cards like [card]Foresee[/card] are ignored because they force you to tap out… in a field which primarily taps out and plays weak counters. Joy. Yes someone might hit you with a [card]Spell Pierce[/card] every now and then, suck it up and then [card]Dismember[/card] their [card]Hero of Bladehold[/card] and ship a “Thanks for playing.” People aren’t worried about getting blown away by the most commonly played removal spell in the format, but you seriously worry about getting gut checked by a Leak or Pierce? You could always play [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card] or [card]Inquisition of Kozilek[/card] if you’re that worried.

Speaking of which I find it amusing now people are seriously talking about a deck like Grixis or Esper, like they were such absurd propositions before because one deck runs [card]Tectonic Edge[/card] and a few people think [card]Acidic Slime[/card] is a real card. Tom Raney split the finals of a 1k this weekend with strong-looking Esper Control list, the highlight being [card]Abyssal Persecutor[/card]. Having every creature survive [card]Dismember[/card] without engaging in combat is a pretty big boon in this format and trampling fliers doesn’t even seem like a real or fair thing to be doing to [card]Squadron Hawk[/card]. Yes, [card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/card] is a card; except people only run two and have lousy draw engines to find them. Oh and you have the rest of your deck to deal with it. Pack a few [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] or [card]Into the Roil[/card] and watch the problem disappear. I’ll leave it to him if he’d like to post a full list anytime soon, just know that the idea is there and it doesn’t involve [card]Gravitational Shift[/card].

On the other hand we have Grixis Control which has been a largely avoided conversation without Cruel Ultimatum to perk up anyone’s interests. My friend Alex McCormick over in the land of Aussies and sunshine made top four of his PTQ just this past weekend with a sweet Grixis list. He was kind enough to share his updated list with me and I’ll return the favor and pass it on to all of you.

[deck]4 Creeping Tar Pit
3 Darkslick Shores
3 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Drowned Catacomb
2 Dragonskull Summit
3 Tectonic Edge
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Island
1 Mountain
3 Consecrated Sphinx
2 Wurmcoil Engine
3 Jace Beleren
4 Preordain
1 Foresee
2 Divination
1 Ponder
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Mana Leak
2 Go For The Throat
3 Doom Blade
2 Consume the Meek
3 Pyroclasm
2 Despise
3 Torpor Orb
2 Duress
3 Peace Strider
3 Manic Vandal
2 Skinrender[/deck]

I’m a fan of many of these card choices, although I would personally want the 4th [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card] before any other six-drop. [card]Grim Lavamancer[/card] also deserves a shot at doing some work either over [card]Skinrender[/card] in the board or perhaps making a tad bit of room in the maindeck for him.

Here are a few quick points:

Yeah it is a pretty big joke that somehow discard has fallen out of favor when the Caw deck barely functions without its namesake card. Thanks for sharing.

[card]Grim Lavamancer[/card] is a real card and can be played in decks that aren’t mono-red. It also happens to be quite good against decks that are trying to use equipment, small creatures and take out planeswalkers while avoiding combat. So everything but Twin and Valakut. That’s why I’d like to see him in Grixis Control and perhaps other types of decks as well.

[card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/card] isn’t a real strategy in most games, people seem to respect it as if it was the old Caw with tutoring power and Big Jace. Most Caw builds only run two Swords and four [card]Preordain[/card] as notable draw with maybe a single [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card]. Otherwise there’s some singleton draw from [card]Jace Beleren[/card] and that sums up Caw’s draw specifications. Not exactly a plan you have to worry about every single game.

I understand the dislike of Valakut and Tempered Steel from some players perspective but I honestly can’t see why they aren’t the two most played decks at every tournament. They are very powerful and if the opponent isn’t prepared for the match then you are massively favored. Even if they are even minor tweaks to the deck can surprise opponents and put the game back in your favor. Things like a [card]Koth of the Hammer[/card] from Valakut, a [card]Hero of Bladehold[/card] from Steel and so on can make a big difference. Even simple non-techy things like having four [card]Oracle of Mul Daya[/card] in a format which isn’t always going to punish you for playing a four-drop creature.

Stop being so obsessed with getting value out of everything. That’s the biggest problem with most decks trying to think out of the box and [card]Birthing Pod[/card] decks in general. All of them just want to get the sickest value while playing a bunch of cards that don’t do very much on their own when you could just be trying to overpower the opponent.

M12 Limited Thoughts

With Evolution coming to a close this weekend, I’m left impressed at the way every year seems to top the last in terms of amazing matches. Many of the matches were down to the wire and showcased what the very top-level of Street Fighter 4 play had to offer. In a way it also signified a changing of the guard so to speak and a wake-up notice that a small group of Americans don’t have to carry the torch every single year.

The top eight featured no Justin Wong and instead it was a Arizona player going by Latif who defeated The Beast (Daigo Umehara) and the top Korean player Poongko before doing down in the finals to Fuudo. I can’t remember the last time an American player defeated so many top foreign players in a single tournament, let alone top eight of the largest fighting game tournament of the world. Sometimes things change in ways we don’t expect… Which brings me to M12 draft and a massive shift in what the format usually consists of. A changing of the guard for many old cards (Except [card]Giant Spider[/card]) and strategies from older core sets.

Many players have compared this set’s draft to Zendikar, minus the ridiculous Landfall mechanic, which always favored the attacker. While Bloodthrist makes it so aggressive strategies still enjoy benefits, you can still defend yourself effectively and curve-out draws aren’t the one-sided curbstomps as they were in that format. No longer does the format revolve netting the most 2 for 1’s or having the biggest guys on the block. You can still pursue those strategies and have success with them, but for the most part being proactive and setting up a good offense will win you a lot more games than trying to grind the opponent into the dirt.

If you takeaway anything from this article I want it to be that you can’t rest on your laurels and hope you can block and stall until your fives and sixes get online. You usually can’t and even if they get up to speed that’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to swing the game with them. What it also means is that the usual late-game bombs aren’t unbeatable and you really have to think about how your deck plays out instead of drafting one or two bombs and then making the whole deck around them. Ok, Jace excluded since it’s a three turn clock that’s very difficult to kill without [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] or [card]Fireball[/card] being involved.

Oh and since I know it’s going to come up a lot, you largely want to play in this format. Tempo and board development is a lot more important than the extra card is for many decks, so unless you’re absolutely sure you want to play an attrition match (And have the cards to do so) just stay on the play. Part of this emphasis is caused by two-drops being king and one-drops providing key roles in enabling bloodthirst. Just look at the number of strong two-drops in colors that aren’t green and you won’t be surprised that the format reflects Zendikar moreso than M11.

Cards You Shouldn’t Be Playing:

Briefly I want to mention some cards I see played at the FNM level that really should never be in your deck. Feel free to skip this if you’ve drafted a fair amount and know better.

[card]Angel’s Feather[/card], [card]Demon’s Horn[/card], [card]Dragon’s Claw[/card], [card]Kraken’s Eye[/card] and [card]Wurm’s Tooth[/card]: Why? Gaining life is only relevant when it’s attached to a relevant card like a creature or as a secondary effect on a spell ala [card]Absorb[/card] or [card]Lightning Helix[/card]. Straight life-gain needs to be incredibly efficient to be considered at all and these simply aren’t.

[card]Jace’s Erasure[/card]: I’ve tried building straight mill decks and they simply aren’t workable which means this card is bad. [card]Merfolk Mesmerist[/card] is an OK back-up kill in WU and BU controlling decks and can always trade-off in a pinch. The one card I found that might make an exception is [card]Jace’s Archivist[/card], which can turn [card]Jace’s Erasure[/card] into a real kill. Unfortunately it dies to everything, which makes relying on this sweet combo too unreliable… That and one of these cards is a rare. Otherwise [card]Jace, Memory Adept[/card] doesn’t need help to be absurd and even with four of these and [card]Rites of Flourishing[/card] and multiple draw effects they simply don’t do enough.

[card]Smallpox[/card]: Not strictly unplayable, but just about every single deck I’ve seen it in was hurt just as much by casting it as the opponent. The only way to make it playable is to understand that to take advantage of it you need to cast it early and negate its drawbacks in some fashion. Whether that’s discarding a [card]Vengeful Pharoah[/card] or [card]Reassembling Skeleton[/card] or some other fashion you need some way to excuse the loss of an extra cards in the exchange. Eating a two-drop on the other side of the field is not enough to excuse this simply because you can draw the [card]Smallpox[/card] later in the game and then it becomes a sick joke unless the opponent is at one.

Color Breakdown:

Blue: In a shocking twist, Blue is still a strong color in Core Set draft! It threw me for a loop too. In all seriousness, [card]Aether Adept[/card] is one of the best commons and [card]Frost Breath[/card] is one of the best ways of winning a race in a format filled with them. It also has the best uncommon in the set in [card]Mind Control[/card] and [card]Belltower Sphinx[/card], [card]Azure Mage[/card] and [card]Phantasmal Dragon[/card] are no pushovers either It isn’t exactly a strong creature color, but it has fairly efficient fliers and the only real casualty is the loss of [card]Horned Turtle[/card] which would be a godsend for the slower WU and BU decks floating around.

The only surprising thing about blue in M12 is that it received a slight downgrade in relation to other colors. You rarely have blue as your primary color simply because it can’t hold a fight on its own and it lacks the defensive power to stop aggressive strategies on its own. Cards like [card]Mana Leak[/card], [card]Divination[/card] and [card]Cancel[/card] also get hurt by this format shift, but all of them are still worthwhile to play in their respective strategies. You just shouldn’t start dropping elbows when picking up card draw or fliers like you could in any other core set in recent memory.

Blue is still a reasonable color, but I think it falls on the weaker side of the color spectrum and lacks true depth.

Black: Arguably the deepest color in M12, it has 15 playable commons and a few 23rd card type cards in [card]Brink of Disaster[/card] and [card]Zombie Goliath[/card]. Honestly this would be the only color I would even consider rolling out as a mono-color deck; barring an extremely fortunate draft. This can be traced in large part to a few cards that get better with the more Swamps in your deck, [card]Consume Spirit[/card] and [card]Drifting Shade[/card], though there are plenty more that benefit from having black mana on-call. Many of the best black Rares / Mythics have BB or BBB casting costs which can stop people from jumping in or trying to run a splash in later packs.

Black features one of the best Bloodthirst enablers in the format in [card]Tormented Soul[/card], excellent removal in [card]Doom Blade[/card] and a host of solid creatures which includes fliers. There are not a lot of reasons to dislike black in M12 and often it will become one of the more sought after colors in drafts. As I mentioned above black is deep enough to go mono-color in if not too many people are fighting over it and it’s one of the best secondary colors in the format. As for specific cards that are underrated, all I can say is I feel [card]Wring Flesh[/card] is vastly underrated for the amount of work that it does and that [card]Mind Rot[/card] is still quite potent against the field.

My early personal pick for best color in M12 is black.

Green: I’m reasonably sure green is the worst color in M12, even with [card]Overrun[/card] at uncommon and the addition of Plummet Spider ([card]Stingerfling Spider[/card]). Big dumb late-drops have been de-emphasized and the acceleration in green is truly lacking, [card]Rampant Growth[/card] is a fine card but [card]Llanowar Elves[/card] tends to die or is forced to block early. In fact other than [card]Rampant Growth[/card], green’s twos tend to suck and the best spell it has is actually [card]Plummet[/card]. When your second best spell at two or below is a sideboard card, things aren’t looking good for you.

So what do you get in green? Well Jon Becker must be thrilled since [card]Giant Spider[/card] is still as strong as ever and this time it brought friends along. Plummet Spider is probably the fourth or fifth best uncommon in the set, just behind [card]Fireball[/card], [card]Overrun[/card] and [card]Mind Control[/card] in terms of sheer annoyance and power. A solid body that blows up a flier is a quick way to make the usual U/X or W/X fliers decks cry and a fair number of bombs happen to have flying attached to them. It is nice to also have a common green enchantment to shut off a mage or other obnoxious utility creature and since green should be able to handle guys based on size alone, the drawback isn’t all that difficult to work with. Let’s not waste words on [card]Overrun[/card], though be warned you might not like all the hoops you need to jump through to get value from it.

Green has plenty of power in its uncommon slot and a few reasonably strong cards at common, but the color in general is shallow and has the worst two’s of the five colors. It really needs early game help from another color if you want to be able to race the R/B or R/W aggressive strategies in the format. Additionally if the uncommon support isn’t there, I can’t really come up with a good reason to go into green in the first place. If you do want to splash and want to take advantage of the secretly best three green has, go G/R aggro bloodthirst and pick up all the [card]Lurking Crocodile[/card]s you can. There aren’t that many ways to beat a 3/3 unblockable in this format and especially if the opponent is heavy blue. They can bounce it and stall sure, but they have little in the way of permanent solutions.

White: White has one of the sweetest aggressive curves in the format while also packing some of the best early defensive options. At first white didn’t strike me as particularly impressive outside of the sheer number of flying durdles at its disposal and having the best (tempted to say only) combat trick in the format. However it has one of the best bases to build on if you plan on going aggressive and you don’t have a treasure trove of [card]Goblin Fireslinger[/card] or [card]Tortured Soul[/card] to power up bloodthirst with. I know Gavin Verhey has written about his love of [card]Stormfront Pegasus[/card] and his disgust of anything costing more than four mana except certain fliers and [card]Mind Control[/card].

What isn’t talked about as much are all the solid white creatures that can play defense. Past the obvious tapper, [card]Roc Egg[/card], [card]Griffin Sentinel[/card], etc. you also have the [card]Armored Warhorse[/card], [card]Stonehorn Dignitary[/card], [card]Siege Mastodon[/card] and [card]Pride Guardian[/card]. Yes I’m a fan of the prideful one as a fire and forget wall / life gain spell against the aggressive strategies in the format. There are plenty of guys that can’t get by an early X/3 and not interfering with your other two and three-drops is a huge boon when board development is the name of the game.

White is the hardest working color in showbiz and will end up as the secondary color for a huge number of decks in the format. The best thing going for white is that many of the aggressive and controlling cards don’t overlap outside of the very best ones such as [card]Pacifism[/card] and [card]Gideon’s Lawkeeper[/card]. As a result you won’t be cut too often as long as you stay in your lane when making a deck.

Red: This is the easiest write-up to make out of all five colors. Red features the best bloodthirst enablers (specifically [card]Goblin Fireslinger[/card]) and arguably the two best common creatures in [card]Blood Ogre[/card] and [card]Gorehorn Minotaur[/card]s. Now throw in [card]Shock[/card] and [card]Incinerate[/card] and you have the best line-up of early drops and are the overall winners of the early drops that dominate the format. By all rights they should be the best color…. Except that it’s traditionally been overdrafted and even moreso now.

Previously everyone sniped the red removal leaving only barebones creatures to pick up the slack, but now that’s its a fully fledged color you’ll still have people sniping removal and then going in on red. All the “bad” red creatures rise in pick orders and the bloodthirst guys are going to be taken far higher than they should at first. Red simply isn’t as deep in terms of quality creatures and spells as black is in M12 and they’ll draw a lot of people in until they learn better.

Red is arguably the best color in the format with the only drawback being a weak set of uncommons outside of [card]Fireball[/card] and [card]Stormblood Berserker[/card] ([card]Volcanic Dragon[/card] being fine, but slow). It’ll be the primary color of a lot of decks and definitely has the best aggressive base in the format. I just can’t imagine people not looking at bloodthirst and plentiful removal and not overdrafting it though.

Once I get some more drafts in I hope to go over an archetype breakdown and some overrated / underrated. While I largely only cover Constructed events, I always seem to get a fair amount of feedback when I take a break and do Limited so please indulge my little side-quest.

Josh Silvestri

55 thoughts on “Silvestri Says – A Slice of Standard and M12 Draft”

  1. Just wanted to say, I like this article, particularly the comments on Jace Beleren. He’s good in grindy control mirrors, but so are a lot of cards, and that makes him SB material at best.

    I never want to give Valakut, Mono Red, Vampires or Tempered Steel an extra card, and I don’t really want Beleren against any of them. He’s bad against hawks which makes him sketchy vs Caw-X, and while he has synergy with Sun Titan – so what? I’m getting value off of Sun Titan regardless, most of the time I would rather get back a hawk or a land. He’s only good on curve vs Splinter Twin on the play.

    The Esper deck is a good example of the grindy control deck that actually wants to play a Beleren. That list needs ratchet bomb though – I don’t love the card but between Tempered Steel, O-ring, you need an answer.

  2. He’s been living here, studying here and more importantly become part of a community here. As far as many of us are concerned that counts. It’s not like he flies into the U.S. just to play tournaments like the Japanese do. Feel free to argue about semantics if you like though.

  3. Oh and was he not representing the U.S. when he was playing Guilty Gear at SBO? Last I checked he was.

    Also lol @ the usual SRK stream monsters shitting on Daigo for getting 4th as well. It’s actually unreal how badly the site has deteriorated over the past 5 years.

  4. Adopting players happens all over the world, but it should be noted that he’s actually a foreign national (Does he lose American status if he doesn’t win?). I don’t want to take anything away from his achievements.

    Completely agree with the SRK trash comment. Considering the competition 4th is epic, just not up to his global domination (in the US’s eyes) that he’s had for years.

    Sorry to detract from your article, it was very good BTW.

  5. Well I mean he didn’t win, but yeah we only accept you if you come in 2nd or better. 🙂

    I apologize if I came off a bit brash in my comment, the last day of comments over on SRK just kind of soured my attitude on a lot of people. Didn’t mean to sound like, “That guy” and I agree I should have noted where he was originally from.

  6. Melbourne_junkie

    P.S. About my Grixis deck … Beleren + Sphinx = GG, don’t care who you are. 4 copies was what I had but was def. too many, either 2 or 3 is correct. Foresee was the nut-high and psychologically blew out people when all 4 stayed on stop (kinda like +2’ing with Jace and leaving it all day).

    It’s meta’d for aggro decks, Caw and Twin first, addressing Valakut from the SB and bringing in extra incidentally kick-a$$ cards against Caw (Vandal, and Skinrender … apparently there are ppl who still don’t realise Skinrender topples a Hero).

    Torpor Orb is fantastic against Twin and Valakut, I had the 4th on the day and wouldn’t fault someone for wanting to put it back in. Being able to play it before reasonable counter-defense can set up and in a deck with such powerful intrinsic cards against Twin means you struggle to lose to the deck, especially the RUG variants (even more so if said RUG pilot is misdirected enough to think Cobra is viable in a 24 land deck … welcome to ‘clasm).

  7. You do realise hero has 4 toughness right, and if it’s going to win the game off the tokens, losing the hero is pretty irrelevant?

  8. If only there was a black spell that could kill creatures and cost half of what Skinrender cost…oh well.

  9. Oh come on! You have to give green more love! Dropping a Sacred wolf on turn 2 via a Lanowar Elf and following it up with any enchantment, especially the one with regeneration, is very good. Usually thats a 4-turn-clock and they have to do a bunch of chump blocking while you keep playing your bigger guys like Giant Spiders and stuff. And Overrun is still a card that gives you free wins occationally and rarely is a bad draw (unless they have wiped your board of course).

  10. A good article, but you are far too black-and-white about it, simply saying ‘this card is bad’ or ‘this is not a real card’ is very annoying since it depends entirely on your deck and drafting situation.

    ~ Acarna

  11. @Josh. So far, I got about ten drafts with M12, and I really must say that white is also very strong as primary color. I do respect your insight and agree with most of your analysis, but I still think white based deck is very good, as its creatures curve out pretty well. I certainly got beat up many games by hordes of Fliers with Gideon’s Lawkeeper and Pacifism holding the fort.

  12. 1. Your narcissistic style of “writing” is pathetic. You’re clearly no authority on the game, perhaps we could beg you to write objectively, master? That is, not spewing endless, ridiculous, unfounded conclusions.
    2. I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of magic players care about as much about SF as I do, which is not at all. What a bore.

  13. jace is more than just drawing cards. yes he is that if you just look at his abilities, but once he hits the stack, he is going to require answers or you will lose to him eventually.

  14. You spend almost a paragraph bashing Jace Beleren and talking about why people dismiss Foresee (wrongly), and then you showcase a Grixis list that has done well with 3 Belerens and 1 Foresee… nice.

  15. A glorified PTQ player ripping on other players who are actually winning things, really? Just because you get to play with LSV don’t start thinking you’re actually on his level.

  16. You actually manage to sound like more of a narcissistic entitled prick than Kyle Boggemes. Congratulations are in order.

  17. Regarding your comments on the lack of people playing Valakut and Tempered Steel:

    “Just pick a top-tier”
    –Sanford Kelly

  18. So, to summarize the standard portion of this article:

    “Jace sucks! You should play a deck with 3 of him!”

  19. I really don’t get why people love SF4 so much. A lot of the matches are unbearable to watch. The finals of Evo was just a showcase of C.Vipers best 3 moves over and over again. The worst part was Latif not switching it up when he was being punished over and over again. Maybe I just don’t understand Streetfighter.

  20. “I really don’t get why people love SF4 so much. A lot of the matches are unbearable to watch. The finals of Evo was just a showcase of C.Vipers best 3 moves over and over again. The worst part was Latif not switching it up when he was being punished over and over again. Maybe I just don’t understand Streetfighter.”

    Replace SF with Magic and C. Viper with a certain Magic deck…. tada!

    See what I did there?

  21. This article is poorly written. A series of unsupported statements fire-and-brimstone style does not make for an interesting, informative, or otherwise valuable article.

    In the future I would recommend slowing down and thinking through each thought completely before writting them down.

  22. Few things. I’ve been writing like this since forever, so just like when people got mad at PV for his T8 analysis article, where have you been?

    Second: The grixis list isn’t my deck. I can like the deck without agreeing with every single slot. You guys sure showed me a thing or two.

    Third: You should take the extra 10 seconds and not use the same e-mail when making comments under different names. It ends up hilarious if someone has permissions to see information other than the SN.

  23. the Grixis Deck is genius. I would never have thought of screwing up my manabase to splash 3 pyroclasm.

  24. Well, I got something ouf of this article and I enjoyed reading it. So there 😛

    Figure I would say something nice in a sea of negativity. The only thing I want to add is that in m12 draft, I agree you aren’t giving green enough credit, especially when everyone is killing themselves to draft u/w fliers and b/r bloodthirst. You can often get a pretty sick curve when there is one other person in green and I’ve seen 3-0 decks pair green with red/white and blue.

  25. @ everyone-This is no different from how he normally writes here, which is fine because he gets away with it. Now you know what to expect. Either read it or don’t, but don’t sit here and bitch about it. Especially because your bitching is in the same snarky tone. Don’t you find that fact to be somewhat ironic?

    @ Moo Cow the Great- Your general tone in your CFB articles is hard to swallow for new readers. So, continue writing this way if you want to stunt your own readership growth. I don’t really care. It is your prerogative. However, I do notice that your tone is immensely different on mananation or gatheringmagic or whatever the fuck they are calling it now…
    and MOST magic players couldn’t give two shits about Street Fighter. I just scrolled until I saw it was over. Guess what? I still got the gist of the article without it. It is a bad and almost untranslatable analogy that you should just omit in the future. Find other analogies. They exist.

    I am not asking you to defend your writing style here, just offering some constructive criticism. Take it how you will.

  26. Appreciate the useful criticism.

    It’s 200 words in a 3600 word article. I wasn’t exactly worried if people just scrolled through or skimmed that part or not. Noted that for all the people who do give me feedback as FG players there are a fair number that don’t care.

    As you pointed out (correctly so) my tone is my tone and that won’t change. I’m not worried about pandering to everyone who reads my articles and if I really worried about hits I’d switch over to videos like all the cool kids.

  27. How is this guy a writer for Channel Fireball? He is absolutely horrendous at the game and his articles give zero insight on Magic. Instead he gives us the most obvious statements about draft, then spews out terrible advice on Standard. On top of that he publishes a deck that is somebody else’s who top 4’d a PTQ.

    Like Cynic said above–this guy is in no position whatsoever to use a condescending tone. I am pretty sure if Gerry T, Edgar Flores, and Nick Spagnolo are playing CawBlade it is because they do believe it is a real deck. And if they are playing Jace Beleren, I am pretty sure it is better than Divination, because they are actually good at this game, unlike the author of this pathetic piece of joke journalism.

  28. Also…the Grixis deck seems pretty terrible. Pyroclasm isn’t even the nuts right now because a single Tempered Steel pretty much nullifies it. The awful mana base for 3 cards in the main deck seems about as useful as this article. lol.

  29. Good article. I disagree with the comment that black is the only color in M12 that can support a monocolor deck. I have played 5 drafts so far online at the prerelease and have completely different results.
    I am not sure if the prerelease drafts on MODO hold some significance, since they cost 20 tix and usually newcommers play them more often than skilled players, but either way my record was 12-3 and I won 3 drafts, so the results were pretty solid.
    From this 5 drafts I have basically finished in monocolor decks 4 times which is just insane (3 times completely, once monogreen with splashed fireball and flameblast dragon), and let me tell you, I never want to play a monocolor deck in limited. Either way all 4 monocolor decks were different colors. I ended up 1-2 with monoblack, 3:0 with Monored, 3:0 w monogreen w splash, and 2:1 with monowhite.

    Basically, the format is just so fast that it pushes you to play a monocolored deck, and pretty much any color is deep enough with playables to support a monocolor deck if open. for example my monowhite draft I have picked a shock 4th pick, but since red was cut so hrad I ended up with 7 white playables and shock first booster, second booster i got rewarded for cutting white completely and all white cards were better than red, after booster 2 I had 15 playables in white and a shock, and at that point, unless you open fireball, in this format you just cannot justify playing 22 white cards and a shock, that is just not possible especially if you have cards like warhorse that need double white and play 16 land agro.
    For example, you are saying that green does not have 2 drops, still garruk companion or bear are ok for monogreen, if you open overrun and green is open, there is no reason not trying to go for it, there is just plenty of random sacred wolves, trollhides, lurking crocs and other average cards that can fill the monocolor deck.

  30. Thank you for continuing to read my horrible articles and posting MBSegal. I appreciate the commitment and hits.

    @Jan: Hm. That’s an interesting perspective to take and maybe it’ll be a true of this format. Most of the colors are strong enough that you can just fill them with average cards and come out on top, though I’m surprised mono green is a real thing. I notice certain color combos (UB for example) have a lot of mana issues at time due to double cost cards and erasing those certainly gives you a edge.

  31. For what it’s worth, the writing style of this article only reflects the talking and writing style of most players in my LGS, only with less expletives. People need to stop being so sensitive.

  32. thanks for taking my comments in stride. You certainly handle it better than I do :).

    I still read your articles too. Your tone is similar to mine.

    Keep it up. And don’t “fuck the haters” because I think most of them are male and you are straight. The general hygiene practices probably leave little to be desired anyway…

  33. Just disable comments alread…So many fucking complainers and morons on every article now.

    If it wasted your time to read a few lines about SF then it DEFINITELY wasted your time making a comment about it you dumb shit.

  34. Did ChannelFireball get linked on some internet cesspool forum? Over the past few weeks, the number of obvious trolls in these comments has skyrocketed. Silvestri, PV, Ochoa, Owen, so many of the ChannelFireball mainstays are being heckled by what is either one small, bitter forum or one small, bitter person with a lot of time on their hands. Judging by the consistent tone of the trolls, could maybe one single IP posting ban clear out the trash?

    Great article, by the way. Honest opinions and the personalities behind them are what I’m here for.

  35. good article. Basically found myself either nodding my head in agreement or thinking “why didn’t I think of that!”

    Love the Grixis list, Pyroclasm is awesome right now, but what do you propose as a replacement for Jace? I’ve been unimpressed with him in UB, but you’re only expecting him to be a role-player anyway.

  36. @Bobduh Have you seen the comments on Paulo’s last article? I’m pretty sure the people are spot on when to praise and when to berate. In this case, Silvestri wrote an article the people didn’t like. Okay. He should’ve just accepted that and improved. Instead he chose to defend himself and look like even more of a prick in the comments.

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  38. I appreciate brutally honest outspoken articles. I read this stuff to hear what the pros think, not for politically correct “but-but-but it depends on the meta” statements (if such can even be called statements) or the blatant “you want four of this mythic so go out and buy more boosters NAO!” hype showcased on the mothership.

  39. Personally, I enjoy your articles, regardless of tone. Speaking as one who enjoys Magic AND used to play SF heavily – I actually found the videos of the games on youtube and thought they were very interesting – even if Laatif didn’t mix up his moves enough to come out on top.

    BTW, a few articles ago you made a metagame analysis that was right on – even LSV pointed everyone towards it, so how your articles are “worthless” i don’t understand.

    Thanks again for your work.

  40. Actually, I don’t mind the SF4 references, although I’m more of a Mortal Kombat fan. It’s lnot like Josh wrote an aentire aritcle about it, just a paragraph, if you got offended by that then you really should get a life.


  41. Right now I’ve swapped out my Jaces for a mix of Divination and Foresee (2/1) and been happy with it. If you have Everflowing Chalice I think Tez Gambit is also a worthwhile card to look at.

    It’s basically taking a slight hit in upside for a much most consistent and immediate baseline. I cast Divination, I get 2 cards unless it gets countered. Jace it tends to depend on board position, if I T3 it, then I can probably draw 2 cards and possibly a 3rd. More often than not in that situation, I’d draw 2 cards over 2 turns and it would die to a Squadron Hawk or Inkmoth hit. And if you play Foresee, that’s pretty huge since it’s the closest thing to a real Tidings there is in the format. You clear the top off of any garbage and still net 2 cards. As I mentioned, sucks against Spell Pierce, but otherwise I’m willing to tap that extra mana for that sort of immediate impact.

  42. Also Jace B. isn’t actually awful, I just feel right now all the control mirrors he’d normally be good in have so many good ways to deal with him it’s very difficult to get proper value out of him. I had 4 in Caw and UB for a while and over time the upside situations just kept dropping.

  43. Oh I hope everyone believes and drafts according to JS here so I can continue drafting my G/x decks and taking down 8-4 drafts on MODO…

    My current record is 2-0 on 4/3/2/2s and 5-0 in 8-4s because everyone has discounted Green…T1 elf into 3 drop and all the hex proff critters have won me soooo many games I have lost count…I’ve gotten 5th pick Over Runs…8th pick and later Wolves, and tabled Lurking Crocs, Plumets, Troll Skins and the +4/+4 pumper…So keep it up MTG peeps…I can always use the x-tra packs…

  44. Ok. so i’m doing a draft of m12 tomorrow there is going to be a bunch of noobs and my potential prize is fact a fat pack and rare picks…. is red black safe to try at? just trying to gather multiple opinions

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