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Author Topic: Threats vs. Answers  (Read 1343 times)
Tonmehr
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« on: September 22, 2010, 01:59:54 pm »

So based on the current environment,
MUD
Fish
Tezzeret
TPS
Oath
Drain Tendrils

Are there more threats or answers in Vintage?
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Killane
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 02:38:54 pm »

would you like to maybe elabourate on that a bit more? what do you consider a threat? what do you consider an answer? why is this question even relevant?

Eg MUD plays a Sphere on turn 1. Is it a Threat? Is it an answer? Is it both?
Oath of Druids vs your Bob?
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 02:42:13 pm »

The environment you describe is only going to exist for another week until Gush, Frantic Search, and all of Scars of Mirrodin become legal for tournament play.  With that being said, if we look at the type I metagame as it is right now, without the changes that are going to happen very soon it is possible to make some useful generalizations.

The first thing I notice when I look at the decks in the previous post is that there are 6, and that of the six at least five have a very different way of attacking the opponent.  My first inclination would be to say that because the types of game plans these decks are going to use to win are so varied, and that these types of decks can execute so quickly--that Vintage is becoming a format where threats are more important than answers.  The very fact that the types of answers that are going to be good against one deck are going to be blanks against other strategies--Nature's Claim is awesome against MUD and Oath, but can cost you games when you draw it in multiples against AD NUAS or Jace, suggests to me that in a game one situation producing threats and trying to win is the superior strategy in game one to answering threats.  The types of Answers that people play: Spell Pierce, Thought Seize, Force of Will, and sometimes Mana Drain are good because they are pretty much universally good to almost all of these decks all the time; thus, they are not really strategic "answers," but should really be called "disruption."  These kinds of cards are not really in decks to beat an opponent into submission with, but rather they get played because they allow players to gain tempo and stop the opponent just long enough for their caster to do what they need to in order to win.

Most people play their "Answers" in the sideboard.  The reason for this is that they can bring out cards in return for playing a trump strategy out of the sideboard.  For instance, let's examine a card like "Energy Flux" from a Lotus Cobra/Jace deck; clearly, this card is too narrow to play in the maindeck--it will not be useful enough in a mirror match, against Fish it is going to hurt us more than them, it does nothing against Ichorid, but it is obviously a match warping tactic against Mud and Stax.  When two copies of this card enter the deck for the second two games the entire dynamic shifts drastically.  Now, the match up is still going to be fought along the lines of the Tezz deck hoping it will be able to cast its spells through the early barrage of artifacts, the difference now is that if Jace makes it that far he has has a new and more sinister way to attack Workshops.  Instead of clearing the way and hoping that Key Vault is going to be ready to go online when the opening arises, Jace can just cast Energy Flux which is probably going to be enough to defeat Workshop all by itself should it make it onto the battlefield.  Whereas a turn one Dark Confidant is an acceptable threat against most decks, it is a laughable threat against Dredge.

The way that I look at balancing threats and answers is to look specifically at match ups.  I want enough threats to actually beat things, I want my opponent to have to care about what I'm doing.  I also want enough answers to be competitive against linear strategies if they are going to account for a very large portion of the metagame.  For instance, Stax.  I played 3 Nature's Claim and a Hurkyls in my Snake City Vault deck at Waterbury because although it is an answer, I felt that it Answered a big enough problem in a reasonable way--3 Claim made my Oath and Stax match ups favorable and being that those two decks together accounted for something crazy like 40% of the metagame that was an appropriate place to use Answers to buffer my percentages against the field.  Essentially, I was presideboarding for Oath and Stax because that was what game me the most percentage against the field.  Would you Presideboard against 40% of the field if you wre still competitive against the other 40?  probably.

Answers are good, but the best answers are going to be reserved for attacking the narrowest strategies, because that is where they will do the most damage.  For instance, against Dredge it is pretty clear that "Answers" are a million times better than the "Threats" the majority of decks can produce.  

PS

Sphere of Resistance is disruption, but also a threat, because MUD is trying to disrupt an opponent by locking them out of casting spells.
Oath of Druids and Bob is a threats.  One trumps the other. 
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Killane
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2010, 02:47:05 pm »

PS

Sphere of Resistance is disruption, but also a threat, because MUD is trying to disrupt an opponent by locking them out of casting spells.
Oath of Druids and Bob is a threats.  One trumps the other. 

thanks FFY. I was actually trying to provoke soem thought on the part of the OP, by asking a question with one subtle answer and one blatant answer that, placed after the first, looks less obvious.

I agree with your analysis 100%. Deploying threats trumps answering them right now- it's more a matter of picking the correct threats for your expected metgame.
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2010, 07:40:48 pm »

If FFY had not posted a very impressive answer to the question posted in this thread, it would have been locked for falling below TMD's standards.  Seriously, I cannot even begin to make sense of the question that was asked.
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