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Author Topic: The Valley of the Ignorant  (Read 4023 times)
Vegeta2711
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« on: June 07, 2007, 06:13:31 pm »

"Ignorance is Bliss"
-Thomas Gray

This Blog is all about my MTG thoughts. A little much considering I post on here and write articles on SCG, but between my LJ, anime blog and art stuff I figure a little more free flowing writing couldn't hurt. It's nice to be able to say shit (literally and figuratively) and not need to be uptight about self-editing.

Anyway, first post is about B/R stuff.

1. Wow they restricted Gifts. That was about 6 months too late for any relevant effect on the metagame. As soon as Future Sight was spoiled and people got to try Ichorid with good cards* then basically everyone on the Reflection had a pretty good idea the meta was going to shift and Gifts was going to need a heavy adaptation if it wanted to just compete with that one deck.

Then the DCI got around to unerrating Flash and shit hit the fan in a big way. Suddenly you had a deck that could basically just play a far more immediate and compact kill engine that didn't need 6-8 mana to really get going. Not to mention you could make the same deck, but focus it entirely around just winning. With Gifts you still basically had the control and combo sections on more or less equal ground. With Flash you could largely eschew the control role and just go straight to the 'win the prize' part of the deck. So ultimately Gifts, which wasn't even the best deck Pre-FS, now was going to be relegated to the third best deck in the format at best and then Gush got unrestricted so 4th or 5th was the more realistic spot.

So obviously it had to die.  Sad The timing was just awful on this restriction. For a very short time I thought Gifts might've been worthy of restriction, but ultimately the data I had gone over had suggested it wasn't dominant enough to be bothered by.

*Let's face it, Ichorid couldn't beat a wet paper bag pre-FS. Those builds were just really really poor by comparison.

2. Three mostly irrelevant now, but could be really annoying down the road with future restrictions, cards came off the list. Key is worthless, Vise is far too slow for the current format and even the previous iteration of the format. Mind Twist is the one scary card; but that's only going to be a huge factor is Drains come back into style and the format slows down. The fact is I have to worry about getting killed in the first two turns far more than getting Twisted out of the game. In addition the sudden resurgence of Misdirection, despite the record high level of shittiness counters have, make Twist a terrible decision in nearly every deck.

3. Gush came back. What?

Seriously. GUSH? I'd of much rather seen Dreams Halls or FoF come off than Gush coming back to the format. When I first heard I figured one or two of three things would happen.

1. Gush Storm combo would be just as strong or stronger than Flash combo
2. GAT would come back as a 'fair' deck, because it was so close to a combo deck anyway
3. Flash would just become the best deck period with the Gush addition

It's far too soon to say which of these effects will happen or if there's a 4th option (the Gush decks are just worse? heh), despite some people already spouting garbage on SCG and here about the cards. It's been a week and people are already passing judgment. It always amazes me the rush to ignorance people have.

In conclusion. Hi.
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2007, 05:20:21 pm »

The main reason I don't like Vintage most of the time; and hence phase in and out of caring about the format, is how easy it is to just get wiped out by an opponent before you could do anything. Old reason I know, but if anything, what started as a myth has become closer to reality over the last year or so.

First let me state that I have a severe dislike for the current format, almost as much as when Trinisphere was legal. Why? Because every single deck is super-powered and the best deck that isn't just far too powerful to be legal (I.e. Flash, Gush and Ichorid) is Bomberman as a result.

Freaking. Bomberman,

I like the deck, but I can't imagine how the metagame became so skewed that a slow aggro-combo deck that attacks the graveyard became good. You know what else is kind of scary? The fact that Goblins is great in the current meta because is can beat all of these decks except B-man. Like I said though, even when playing interactive decks like this it's not like there's a whole lot of a game going on. The best example I can think of off the top of my head would only make sense to fighting game players, but I'll try anyway. Right now the meta reminds me of a 6 month period in Marvel vs Capcom 2 where it was basically a race to whoever landed the first infinite with Iron Man or Magneto. That was what you got to play against 4 out of 5 matches and it sucked.

It's great that 'fairer' decks are still playable to some extent, but it sucks that the games have become so base in the meantime.
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2007, 09:28:36 am »

My experiences suggested that Crypt isn't necessarily the best card in the deck.  In fact most of the time Tormod's Crypt was pretty irrelevant; my opponents had to play around it no matter what I did.  The real threat is the countermagic and to a lesser extent, Needle.  Bomberman runs 10 counters, 6 of which (in my build) are free, and it has plenty of relevant things to do with that Mana Drain mana.  I'm told in my T8 match against Paul Mastriano that he had win in hand, and I had essentially a blank hand (Misdirection and 3 lands).  But he couldn't afford to get devastated by my potential Force of Will, especially because breaking the storm chain is so potent.
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2007, 04:30:12 pm »

Testing and the complete lack of tech in Vintage

I am constantly amused at the 'updates' and 'tech' people are coming up with for Vintage. Most of it can be summed up as changing a couple of cards and then overestimating the impact it actually has on the game. Other times people basically take old innovations, which they don't realize are old, and then are so enamored with the early positive results that they don't actually see the major drawbacks or will come up with excuses as to why they lost so and so games. The simple fact is tech in Vintage is incredibly difficult and arguably nothing in the past 6 months or so has been truly innovative in any real way.

This isn't a bad thing mind you, it just means the standard has been set very high. I just kind of wish people would stop talking about it.

Fun stuff in testing means I hear GAT beats everything without Shops and Bazaars. Then of course when you actually test other matches you get to see the truth of the matter. How does the deck beat Bomberman players that aren't terrible / running more than one EE and Aether Spellbomb for creature removal?

Answer: It has something to do with turn 2 Fastbond or luck.

You might ask yourself, 'how is it not a bye? it runs creatures. it's slow. it runs a few less counters.' And on each count you'd be completely correct. The problem stems from the fact that GAT really isn't that fast, it takes until turn 4-6 usually to actually WIN the game. This means that EE and Trinket Mage actually has a chance to come online. In addition, Dryads don't actually like STP or Aether Spellbomb. This is the downside about using incremental kills, if you can reset them once, it takes a while for them to come back online. Even unimpeded, it takes a Fastbond into multiple Gush -> Berserk or Time Walk to end the game in any short time frame.

So what happens is GAT will probably get dragged into a game it doesn't want to play against a deck that can beat it on it's own level of combat. Instead of dictating terms like GAT does to most decks, Bomberman ignores most of it's crap and forces GAT to play against B-man however that pilot wants.

Oh well, just remember that GAT beats everything, just like Storm and every other deck before it. Fun side-note: URphid smashes GAT and Bomberman into the dirt. That's your svg techiness for the day.
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2007, 12:17:13 pm »

Quote
URphid smashes GAT and Bomberman into the dirt. That's your svg techiness for the day

Actually, that's how we used to beat GAT back in the day while the first round of "OMG DRYADS!" were scurrying about.  I remember losing a mox because I didn't see 1st turn interdict coming, now that's tech (at least for the times)!

Btw, I'm glad you're writing more.  There's a shortage of T1 writing in general, and I've always found your analysis more 'reality based' than can be found elsewhere.
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Vegeta2711
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2007, 10:07:05 pm »

Firstly, thanks GI. <3

Secondly my topic for the day.
So is Vintage faster or slower than before?

Well it depends...

As you can see from the second entry in this thread, I really disliked the format because I believed it was too fast. However after a lot more testing with my team and actually thinking things through about GAT, B-Man and Flash well Iíve decided that both sides are right in a way. Cop-out, amirite? It is in a way, but really itís the only way I can explain a metagame that currently features Bomberman and URphid on one side of the spectrum with Flash and Ichorid on the other. Instead of being the fastest and strongest deck in the field, GAT is actually smack in the middle, encouraging players to pursue builds that fit their own play-styles and to follow how they feel the metagame is breaking. This is my guess anyway, who knows how close it is to reality.

With the restriction of Gifts the main option, and reason ironically, decks could and needed to win early even when using a control shell. Instead thereís no need to worry about getting easily outdrawn and destroyed in card quality at the same time by losing to the Merchant Scroll -> Gifts Ungiven engine. Instead the decks that win fast, as long as you can withstand the initial onslaught from them, have no backup plan or resilience to keep chugging along. Ophidian doesnít have to kill you in one shot, because as long as it can keep holding a couple of cards in hand itíll never lose the game.

Yet the format has gotten faster and itís pretty clear to anyone who has played the format for the past couple of years. Flash and Ichorid really push the line of metagame distortion and what an acceptable turn 1 and 2 win clip is even in Vintage. Sure weíve had decks like Long and Belcher push the limits before, but never to this extent or consistency. Trinisphere was truly the closest we had to a turn one power play with one crucial difference, Flash and co. actually end the game instead of pretending the game is over.

So in the literal sense (i.e. at tournaments), the format has slowed down, but in the Ďidealí metagame or simply looking at extremes in the metagame, the format has actually gotten much faster. Which means in reality the answer will probably learn more towards one way or the other eventually, but at the moment itís all a crapshoot until the metagame stabilizes.
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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2007, 05:49:16 pm »

In case you missed it, I wrote a piece about Flash earlier this week. This is basically the section I posted up, but with a bit more information added, because I was writing that section around 1-2am.

Bonus Section: The Rest of the Vintage Article
In all seriousness, the main point of my article was that Flash is amazing, so Iíll cut to the chase here. Iíd play Flash if I had a Vintage tournament tomorrow, and wouldnít think twice about the decision. I mean, I might care if the deck didnít destroy everything that ever existed, but since it does Iíll take my chances. Yes, youíll lose to yourself sometimes. Guess what? If you play GAT, youíll lose to yourself as well at more or less the same clip. Itís called inherent risk when you play a deck with twenty mana sources or less.

On that note, may I never hear a GAT player complaining about draws again. Seriously, run a real manabase if you donít want to lose because "wah wah, I couldnít hit one of thirteen remaining lands off Brainstorm, cry cry."

Flash Combo
Artifacts
1 Black Lotus
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire

Creatures
1 Elvish Spirit Guide
1 Heart Sliver
4 Protean Hulk
4 Virulent Sliver

Instants
1 Ancestral Recall
4 Brainstorm
1 Chain Of Vapor
4 Flash
4 Force Of Will
2 Misdirection
3 Pact Of Negation
4 Summoner's Pact
1 Vampiric Tutor

Sorceries
1 Demonic Tutor
2 Duress
4 Merchant Scroll

Lands
3 Flooded Strand
3 Polluted Delta
2 Island
2 Tropical Island
2 Underground Sea
1 Volcanic Island
   
Sideboard:
4 Oxidize
3 Red Elemental Blast
2 Duress
3 Massacre
3 Reverent Silence

This is like pretty much every Flash list ever, except I got sick of Daze being awful and I added two Duress maindeck for those rare games that I donít win turn 1. Shockingly, that happens often enough that theyíre fine to run. The REB and extra Duress in the board are there for pretty much the same reason, so you can board out terrible Pact of Negation and run counters thatíll do something to prepared opponents when you arenít trying to just sack them out.

The reason why I still run Misdirection is people can't play around it when I'm going off. They absolutely have to play their counters into it even if I showed them I have it, because they lose the game if they don't, so they have to hope I don't have an extra blue card. The reason I don't like Daze as much is it's all too easy for the opponent to lay a off-color Mox that wasn't doing anything for them and now suddenly it countered Daze on the turn I -needed- a card to do something. Nice mana source. Nice counterspell. Nice face.

Another card I removed was Mystical Tutor because it kicks puppies and although I personally enjoy that activity, I don't like it doing that when it should be winning me the game. The reason for Vamp over MT is simple, Vamp finds Lotus and MT doesn't. I've got 23 blue cards in the deck and that's the lowest, sometimes I have 24-25, so "it pitches to FOW" is low on my concern list. Right now it's about where I value art quality on the list. Realistically I'm on the fence about including Imperial or Mystical back into the deck just because the deck really doesn't like card-disadvantage tutors all that much.

I wouldn't mind going up to 2 ESG or 14 land if I found a card wasn't pulling it's weight. The fact is the deck LIKES having mana, it's just that it runs such an efficient win you won't need it all that often, but when you do it's amazing. You'll notice I cut back on the moxen as well, the fact is you just want the ability to scroll and win on turn 1 when it comes up. Running 8-10 sources is almost complete overkill considering how little you need them once you hit 2-3 mana sources. Post-board you can make a stronger case for them because then you do want to be able to cast Duress/REB and Flash on the same turn, but game one mana sources after the first two are terrible.

Oxidize is there, because odds are you wonít be able to resolve anything more expensive against a Stax deck, and a turn 1 Sphere of Resistance is just painful to think about. It costs the same as Repeal to take care of Chalice at zero, and just does more (usually).

The matches are basically like this:

GAT: If they donít have Duress, youíll win by turn 2 with any sort of decent hand. If they play a turn 1 Duress then we have a real game, tutoring for extra Flash with Merchant Scroll is a great bait spell that they canít just Misdirection. If you get stuck playing a long game, there really isnít much you can do except try to leverage your Pacts against them.

Post-board you can shut them down with REB and Duress, just shoot for turn 3 since you can easily overload and control them with disruption. Youíre running more one mana "counters" in Duress and REB, so you can basically control what they want to Scroll for, and even when they Gush (to some degree). On that note, any game you can control when GAT plays Gush means youíve got the dominant position. Itís a nice barometer.

Fair decks like Fish, Bomberman and Stax: Win on turn 1. If that doesnít work, win on turn 2. Thereís no strategy to follow except leveraging all your free cards into a win. Pick the turns you feel is best and go for it.

Stax is the only deck that requires special attention here, because I WILL consistently dump turn 1 win hands if they only have one land. This is because it's nearly impossible to win if you keep a one land hand and they lay one of the 5 spheres, ITEOC or Wasteland it (and you don't have Flash). Oxidize helps a lot with beating up Chalice, so don't worry about that much. Just worry about Sphere and co. and you should do alright in the match.

Control decks like CS and Drains: Game 1 comes down to opening hands, the longer you wait the less chance you have of beating a competent Drain player unless theyíve been bluffing you with a subpar hand. Games 2 and 3 are actually kind of interesting. Play around Blood Moon and keep them scared at all times that youíll Flash at end of turn, since they have no answer to it unless they have multiple Fire/Ice. Your goal is to hit three mana so you can go REB / Duress and Flash on the same turn backed by Pact / Mis-D. Ideally, this would also be after a test Flash or Ancestral at their end of turn, but thatís an ideal scenario. Optimally you want to "go for it" when itíll take them three counters to stop you, but you can also weigh the turn 1 win against double Force of Will since you typically win that fight.

And this was my wacky CB flash deck, if someone could make the CB engine work consistently while keeping the turn 1 rate, they'd have the best deck in the format.

Artifacts
1 Black Lotus
1 Chrome Mox
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
4 Sensei's Divining Top

Creatures
1 Heart Sliver
4 Protean Hulk
4 Virulent Sliver

Enchantments
4 Counterbalance

Instants
1 Ancestral Recall
4 Brainstorm
3 Daze
4 Flash
4 Force Of Will
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor

Sorceries
1 Demonic Tutor
3 Duress
1 Time Walk

Basic Lands
3 Island

Lands
3 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta
1 Tropical Island
2 Underground Sea
1 Volcanic Island
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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2007, 01:18:20 am »

Jeff: what are your thoughts on vintage lately?
Silky172: I absolutely hate Flash
Silky172: I'm in your boat as far as that goes
Silky172: I think GAT is broken and very good, but if you could take one or the other out of the metagame, it would be a much more coherent and stable type of format.
Silky172: Since then you can actually take aim at the top tier of decks and not have to worry about getting blown out completely by using a disruption plan the doesn't involve massive mana screw components.
Jeff: like, I am honestly debating what to play for this Sunday's type 1.  and I just think I might just end up playing GAT.
Jeff: I am just so torn on what to play right now
Silky172: Heh
Silky172: Welllll
Silky172: my other thought on Vintage is that Metalworker Stax is insaneeeeeeeeeee

In other news, I wanted to update this blog with just one list.

// Creatures
        4 Ophidian
        4 Magus of the Moon
        3 Aven Mindcensor
        3 Tarmogoyf
// Counters
        4 Stifle
        4 Red Elemental Blast
        4 Force of Will
        3 Mana Drain
// Draw
        1 Time Walk
        1 Ancestral Recall
        4 Impulse
// Other
        1 Mox Sapphire
        1 Mox Pearl
        1 Mox Ruby
        1 Mox Jet
        1 Mox Emerald
        1 Mana Crypt
        1 Sol Ring
        1 Black Lotus
// Land
        4 Island
        3 Flooded Strand
        3 Polluted Delta
        3 Volcanic Island
        1 Tundra
        1 Tropical Island
        1 Library of Alexandria
        1 Strip Mine

SB:
4 leyline
11 irrelevant cards

This is zoo. Well ok, it's aggro phid with Tarmogoyf, because it's the best two drop in years and probably the history of magic. The rest is sheer hate against the current field. Why do I post this? Because this is what I'm kind of referring too when I talk about non-GAT aggro at the moment. You need enough answers to survive to the point you can actually do stuff and beat people up.
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