Saturday, January 26, 2013

Brewing in Modern: Nega-Storm, Lost Omniscience, and Freakin' Mill!

*Big Inhale*

You guys know I love weird decks. I'd really like to be a competitive player, I really would. I'm always striving to improve my play, and I'm really hard on myself when I lose. My friends know not to ask me how I did in a match; if I won, they would know it, if I lost I don't even want to talk to people. The thing is, I act that way despite never playing optimal decks. A lot of it is budget, but sometimes it's purely for being weird.

Now, that's probably for the best, because nobody would read this thing if I tried to tell you how to play Jund. I'm not all that good at this game, why should I tell you how to play? Instead, I try to propose deck ideas that are interesting without being too horrible.

Okay, Standard Storm was horrible, but it was way too fun. And I'll remind you once again that it was a matter of days before the 4-Color one showed up on MODO Dailies. Just saying.

The problem is, now I like Modern. The only reason I've been playing Magic nonstop for as long as I have is because I float around between formats to stay interested. Right now, I can't get enough of Modern. But the thing is, you can't durdle in Modern. You actually have to win fast or try really hard to stop them from winning fast. Which is not easy. So for now, let's call these "sketches". They're not tuned (some more than others), but they all have central ideas to work upon.

When I brew something new, I start with a card or idea I really like. I have entire page in my binder of Sphinx of the Chimes because I just think it's sweet. Unique ability, cool art, one of my favorite creature types. Storm decks are awesome, so I wanted to see if I could make a good deck that did that in Standard.

Well, in EDH, being the sociopath I am, my favorite thing is taking extra turns.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tribal Upbringings and Goblins in Modern

I've always liked the Tribal aspect of Magic.

When I was a kid, I first picked up the game during the Odyssey block. I had no concept of good deck building or card evaluation, nor any kind of competitive mindset. These days, I simply cannot comprehend playing a Magic deck that actively tries not to win as fast possible. I'm always trying to get my more casual friends to build competitive decks, and can't understand why they would keep playing their mono-red Dragons deck. The casual Magic psyche has escaped me.

But about a decade ago, my favorite tribe was Cephalids.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

An Update on Merfolk in Modern OR: Fishing for Compliments

I've been getting a fair bit of testing in with Modern Merfolk. Not nearly as much as I'd like, and almost none in paper, but I'd like to think I'm getting somewhere. I'm still trying to figure out a specific matchup analysis, but I'm going to need to play a lot more games to do that.

For now, let's talk basics. I've realized that it's been quite a while since I really worked on an aggressive deck, and that I've improved a lot as a Magic player since that time.

This is an aggro deck. Straight up, no nonsense. It's purely beatdown, and we want to run a LOT of creatures. Removal exists, and we need to keep the beats coming, instead of worrying much about stopping our opponents' plans.

Now, the countermagic in Modern is far more diverse [read: situational] than any other constructed format. In Standard, your options are limited, and you really only want Dissipate, a Counterflux here and there, and the occasional Dispel in the board. In Legacy, Force of Will exists. Daze is better in some situations, and sometimes you need Counterspell, but that's it.

In Modern, we have four widely-played counters: Remand, Spell Snare, Spell Pierce, and Mana Leak. Izzet Charm and Dispel also see play. My first instinct, as somebody who generally plays Tempo, Aggro, or Aggro-control, was to get a little of everything in there. After all, there are a lot of different threats in a such a diverse metagame, we'd need a lot of different ways to deal with various threats!

Except, no.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Modern Merfolk: Spread Your Seas and Swim Away!

So I'm diving headfirst into Modern.

Taking the initial plunge.

Uh... something something something.... splash.


Modern is an awesome format. The power level is high, but not silly. The skill and knowledgebase required is daunting, but not prohibitive. I basically love every single deck. The aggro decks are strong and synergistic, the midrange decks have tight control and strong finishers, and the control decks deck is pretty cool.

I could definitely see myself playing a top-tier deck in the future. They don't feel like the top Standard decks, which are more methodical and boring. When you look at the top 16 decks in terms of large tournament performance, it's all just cool. Affinity is a blast to play (until somebody casts Creeping Corrosion), turn 3 Karn is badass, etc. etc. The reason I play the decks I do in Standard is because nothing that's actually good satisfies that desire to do something crazy. The closest thing we have is Omnidoor Thragfire...

So I've picked something cheap and easy to get into the format and learn (and so I don't have to buy two playsets of Fetchlands before I can play the deck). Merfolk probably isn't the best choice for that, but you'll find it chilling comfortably on the aforementioned list at number 15. Modern is a big format, 15 isn't so bad.