Sunday, August 31, 2014

[Modern] What new decks will be viable thanks to the allied colored Fetchlands from Onslaught?

First, our glossary of terms:

Onslaught fetch lands

Flooded Strand (White/Blue)
Polluted Delta (Blue/Black)
Bloodstained Mire (Black/Red)
Wooded Foothills (Red/Green)
Windswept Heath (Green/White)

Shards from these fetch lands

Bant (White/Green/Blue)
Esper (Blue/White/Black)
Grixis (Black/Blue/Red)
Jund (Red/Black/Green)
Naya (Green/Red/White)

If we start with the decks in Legacy that currently use the allied Fetchlands, using (awesome site, go check it out, free plug, I use it ALL the time):

Flooded Strand (White/Blue)

Polluted Delta (Blue/Black)

Bloodstained Mire (Black/Red)

Wooded Foothills (Red/Green)

Windswept Heath (Green/White)

And here are the Modern builds that I think are worth considering:

1. UWR Miracles (Flooded Strand) {this is why I love Avacyn Restored}
2. BUG and Shardless BUG (Polluted Delta)
3. ANT <Ad Nauseam Tendrils> (Bloodstained Mire and Wooded Foothills)
4. [Naya-like] Elves (Wooded Foothills and Windswept Heath)

But UWR is already a deck in Modern, and so is BUG. ANT has cards banned in Modern. We are left with Naya Elves.

How are we covering the shards other than Naya so far?

Esper: is in Esper Stoneblade, but the key cards are banned in Modern.
Bant, Grixis and Jund are MIA (missing in action) as leading decks in legacy. Affinity could be considered Grixis, but not really. Jund is already a thing in Modern, and can only be helped by the allied Fetchlands

Bottom line: build Modern decks for each of the Shards of Alara awaiting the allied fetchlands, with the exception of Jund, which is already "a thing" and I don't have a playset of Liliana of the Veil laying around.

Time to consider what was spoiled so far this weekend for Khans of Tarkir block

At about the same time last year I was opining on the scry lands.

[Here is a link to that post]

I was disappointed then that all we got were the scry lands. Now that I have played the five enemy color scry lands a ton (the ones in Theros) I can say that my attitude has changed from slightly negative to surprisingly positive (not that anyone should care, its my opinion, though). Scrying can be very useful and sometimes offsets that the land enters tapped.

There is a lot more variability in Khans of Tarkir than there has been in Theros. I remember when Theros was announced that I immediately thought Devotion was a lot of fun, and I went ahead and built decks in green and black to test it out. This time, we have a block that has at least one twist and perhaps more than one twist, yet I am not running off to build test decks.

From what we have learned to date, Khans of Tarkir is a wedge set, the second set, Fate Reforged, is a small set that goes back in time when dragons existed, and then the name of the third set is speculated to be a dragon-themed large set. So far, I am not as interested for Khans of Tarkir as I was for Theros. Devotion was love at first sight. The abilities in Khans of Tarkir, especially Morph, don't seem nearly as appealing. I have played against Morph in Modern and I was not enthused. Maybe the new Morph cards will be better.... but three color sets are full of cards that are difficult to cast without a ton of mana fixing.

[here is a link to more about mana fixing and how Standard is being set up to be]

Its awesome that we are getting the allied colored Fetchlands from Onslaught in Standard AND Modern for the first time. That is bigger news for Modern than it is for Standard. Anyways.... those packs are going to sell like pancakes. What's more, the Devotion announcement made me want to prepare to play Standard, and the announcement of these Fetchlands makes me want to go play Modern. The question is 'what new decks will be viable in Modern thanks to the allied colored Fetchlands from Onslaught?'

What I am much more interested in speculating about is the third large set. It reads like an Avacyn Restored and that is one of my favorite sets. I am hoping that either the Eldrazi from Rise of the Eldrazi get reprinted, or that we get a new batch of Eldrazi. That would be awesome! Of course, we could get a ton of EDH 'unplayable in all other formats'  dragons, and that's great for EDH. If we get the old Eldrazi or a new batch of Eldrazi I will be excited.

If M16 is really called Origins, I so want it to have a reprint of Jace, the Mind Sculptor!

[Legacy] Blue Artifacts JTMS Fun Deck

That's the thing about Jace, the Mind Sculptor (JTMS, a.k.a. Jace, the Wallet Sculptor): once you play him, you want to insert him into every single deck you will ever build, its that good of a card. Here is the new multi-combo deck made viable by M15 adapted to Legacy with a little 'every one draws a bunch of cards' thrown in.

Here are my bots buys ($2 or so), and some of the cards have already been cycled out of the deck. Poor Kamigawa.... those cards suck so often!

Here is the deck after a few games.

I am still trying to figure out the best creature count, and that is why I still have some of them in the sideboard.

The Underpowered Era, or how I miss Scars of Mirrodin/Innistrad Standard, or Welcome, Molasses Standard

I was wrong when I stated logic about how the Fetchlands could not be in Standard.

[here is a link to that flawed logic]

The announcement of the Onslaught Fetchlands now in Modern and Standard is bigger news for Modern than it is for Standard. This means that the sets in Khans of Tarkir block containing Fetchlands might as well have blank cards in the booster packs other than the Fetchlands and they will still be a huge sales success.

I am not as interested in Fetchlands because I want to play in Vintage, Legacy, Modern, and Standard and don't have the budget I would need to be competitive in at least one of these formats. Remaining a casual player allows me to play for fun in all four formats. To do so, I need to avoid as many of the expensive cards as possible, and the Fetchlands are currently in that category.

With the announcement that the namesake set of the next block, Khans of Tarkir, will be a wedge set, I will be able to spend less on Standard and more studying Legacy. You see, cards with multiple colors in their casting cost are more likely to be stuck in you hand, even after you run a bunch of mana fixing, and you have to run mana fixing-it is not optional! Well, add to that a third color and you are in EDH-Commander-Unplayable-otherwise land. Look at Shards of Alara: the staples from that block are mostly mono-colored or in two colors. Not a single three-color card from an entire three-color block is a hot competitive staple. The same fate is guaranteed for the three-color cards in Khans of Tarkir.

Scars of Mirrodin block was mostly colorless because of all those artifacts, and Innistrad block had a mostly-mono-colored focus. Add that both blocks had many powerful cards that have defined decks in Modern, and even Legacy, and this is why I miss blocks with powerful cards in Standard.

Theros has been fun, especially with the Strive cards in Journey into Nyx, but is under-powered. Heroic is mostly a fail and the block has a mountain of Heroic cards. Bestow sucks even more than Heroic except for a few cards that have low Bestow costs. Add to that a three-color block and you have a Standard that is as slow as molasses, and that contributes a small number of new staples to the eternal formats, AND has a low chance of generating new archetypes for the eternal formats.

I hope I am wrong, and I will be on the lookout for the next Wurmcoil Engine, Birthing Pod, Delver of Secrets, Liliana of the Veil, Griselbrand, Snapcaster Mage, but it looks like Theros/Khans will be the molasses Standard. I will have a lot of fun with the format because I like longer games, but I will be a little disappointed that none of the cards will be Scars of Mirrodin/Innistrad good. .....I hope I am wrong.

[here is a link to my next post pondering the Khans of Tarkir block announcements]

Saturday, August 30, 2014

[Legacy] Blue Black JTMS Fun Deck vs Casual 12-Post

I don't stand a chance against the money a.k.a. tournament version of this deck. Casual and tournament versions use Glimmerpost and Cloudpost as lands of type Locus, hence the name. In the casual version the other four posts to make twelve come from Thespian's Stage becoming a post.

The tournament version has Primeval Titan, Emrakul the Aeons Torn, Ulamog the Infinite Gyre, Kozilek Butcher of Truth. The version in this game transcript uses Colossus of Akros from Theros, a much more budget-friendly (read, cheaper) option.

The tournament version has a bunch of other cards that would break my budget: Sensei's Divining Top, Candelabra of Tawnos, Show and Tell  Misty Rainforest, Tropical Island, Vesuva, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Force of Will (in the sideboard as a playset, which is like having your other car be a Rolls Royce), Leyline of Sanctity.

Starting off my opponent is not limited by hand size with Reliquary Tower.

Here I Boomerang one of his artifact lands.

Here Day of Judgement (casual version of Wrath of God) wipes out my creatures.

I get to play my first Grave Titan (I love this card!).

First Colossus comes in.

I Boomerang it.

I get to attack for one hit with Grave Titan.

I get hit with another Day of Judgement.

Here comes another Colossus.

I ultimate my baby Jace (Jace Beleren) to mill for 20 cards.

I drop Jace the Mind Sculptor (JTMS) for his -1 to Boomerang the Colossus. JTMS is AWESOME!!! Such a broken card!

I drop my second Grave Titan after a Day of Judgement cleans out my first one.

One hit from my second Grave Titan.

Here comes yet another Day of Judgement followed by the heavy tutor from Dark Ascension (Infinite Ambition). Tutors are very expensive and this is definitely a budget version as a 5 drop (love the art, by-the-way).

And here I drop a Consume Spirit for-the-win (FTW).

[Legacy] Blue Black JTMS Fun Deck

It still has Boomerang, but Counterspell will be better.

This deck can have some really fun states, but is a near permanent loser at this point. Legacy is not a forgiving format to a beautiful card like Underworld Dreams.... I love the card, but a 3-drop in Legacy needs to be a lot better.

Friday, August 29, 2014

[Legacy] Baby Steps with Pros Bloom

A lot has changed since this deck was a dominant Standard deck.... there are so many ways to lose with it in the current adaptation, and I just don't know how to pull the combo off correctly. In the first step to master the deck I was at least able to boost Drain Life by exiling my hand except for it to Cadaverous Bloom.

My opponent has three Armadillo Cloak on a Crypt Rat.

I was able to exile enough cards for an X=7 activation of Drain Life.

Now I need to figure out how to maximize Prosperity and I still don't know what I am supposed to do with Squandered Resources... time to do some more research.

August 30 update: I annoyed the living daylights out of players in Just for Fun trying to learn to how to use this deck, and I got stuck with Natural Balance.... I simply do not understand what I am supposed to do. I will pause on this experiment until I find enough people willing to play against me with this deck. Upside: I finally know how to insert comments online.

[Legacy] Pros Bloom adapted to 2014 casual

I came across this deck while researching Mirage block in the MTG Salvation Wiki. Here is the information from a page kept by Wizards on it, the cards laid out, and the planned substitutions. Vampiric Tutor is the major miss because it is banned in Legacy. Also, I had to use a cheap tutor because I only wanted to spend $5 in additional cards (and I did!).

Here are my bot buys.

And here is my very first take on this deck. This is originally a creature-less deck in the Standard format of its day. I felt I needed a few walls. Wish me luck!!!