[Official] State of Modern Thread (B&R 01/13/2020)

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Post by True-Name Nemesis » 2 months ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
2 months ago
That's not a bad idea. I struggle to think of decks that are linear and interactive, and I imagine those measures (if separate) would be highly correlated. I'll probably collapse them or just keep them focused on measuring interaction.
Sultai Whirza and 5C Humans. Amulet Titan and various Death Shadow builds can also fall under this classification. And if we're going down the tiers, Eldrazi & Taxes, Spirits.

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Post by Aazadan » 2 months ago

The Fluff wrote:
2 months ago
Speaking of creatures in legacy... I remember an old reddit post I've seen months ago.. it wants Gurmag Angler banned in legacy. Though I'm not sure if it's a joke or serious post. Makes me wonder if zombie fish is too strong there that someone want it banned? Well, the zombie fish price did get upgraded from 15 cents to now 1 dollar each in scg.. so the card must be doing something good.
It's a very strong creature in that format, but the idea of banning it is completely ridiculous.

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Post by Yawgmoth » 2 months ago

True-Name Nemesis wrote:
2 months ago
ktkenshinx wrote:
2 months ago
That's not a bad idea. I struggle to think of decks that are linear and interactive, and I imagine those measures (if separate) would be highly correlated. I'll probably collapse them or just keep them focused on measuring interaction.
Sultai Whirza and 5C Humans. Amulet Titan and various Death Shadow builds can also fall under this classification. And if we're going down the tiers, Eldrazi & Taxes, Spirits.
So those decks would lie in the center of the dimension. Not totally linear but not completely interactive.

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Post by Aazadan » 2 months ago

Yawgmoth wrote:
2 months ago
ktkenshinx wrote:
2 months ago
You could consider changing the term "fairness" with efficiency. People have different views of fairness but mana efficiency is indisputable. Basically 0 would be on curve +1 would be most efficient possible (ie Tron lands) -1 would be least efficient/unfair.
I don't mind this idea, but I also really want to define terms that are frequently used. "Fair" vs. "Unfair" represents terminology we see ALL THE TIME online. It's rampant and often meaningless because we typically have different definitions. I'd like to try and build off this shared language, but just clear up the meanings. That said, I do think efficiency is a good way to explain the concept, although I think it's tough to call any deck "inefficient;" even something like Jund efficiently uses mana. They just don't cheat their resources with too many cost reducers and 0 costers.
Using current terminology makes sense, I just wanted to make sure I understood what was meant by "fairness." Sounds like we are on the same page. I think we could quantify Fairness/unfairness based on the actual price paid versus CMC of all the spells in a deck. I'm not entirely sure how to operationalize this but maybe this will get the ball rolling.

For example Tron is able to cast spells much cheaper/earlier than they should assuming they gained 1 mana per turn (let's assume that is the average or "fair" rate). So if Tron is able to cast a 6 CMC spell on turn 3 then it would have a (un)fairness index of +3. (Unfairness Index = (Price paid) - (fair price)). Thus a deck that is paying the fair price would have a UI of 0 and very inefficient decks would have a negative score. We would expect to see very few negative scores so you could just make it 0 to 1 but you get the idea.

If we had an AI model of each deck goldfishing it would be pretty easy to calculate their unfairness in an objective fashion.
There's two issues here. First is one of terminology. While it's true that using vocabulary players are already familiar with makes the term easy to grasp, it also creates confusion as the term has baggage attached to it already. Adding yet another definition to an already poorly defined fair/unfair concept is likely to lead to a lot of misunderstandings.

Also, what is fair/unfair in any given format is going to differ. Using your definitions for example, Tron is unfair but Amulet is somehow fair because it's paying full market price for the spells. Or perhaps at a slightly greater stretch depending on how you want to define Electromancer, Storm is also paying full price but makes more sense if the scoring leans towards it being on the unfair side of things.

Unfortunately, the concept of fairness becomes very format dependent. Pack Rat is rather fair in Modern but awful in RTR sealed. The metric I like for fair/unfair (and this gets into the whole subjective definition issue) is if the deck is doing things that are interacted with by multiple colors using main board cards. Unfortunately, this definition is no less arbitrary than anything else, so it's not all that useful.

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Post by drmarkb » 2 months ago

How would you classify storm with those metrics? It casts many spells a turn, but all are cheap bar PIF/Tendrils in Legacy, Pif in Modern...

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Post by drmarkb » 2 months ago

Aazadan wrote:
2 months ago
drmarkb wrote:
2 months ago
If Wotc want to populate Pioneer or Modern with a bunch of them I would be happy. I am not complaining about such decks. I pointed out how I don't want to play critter decks as defined by me, not you, and whilst I am happy to clarify what I mean I am not going to discuss whether my definition is what you define as a creatute deck or vice versa. You are welcome to view Legacy d n t as a critter deck, or as an aggro deck, I will view it as a prison deck and neither of us is wrong. I just want to be clear, that is all.
Creature decks are not necessarily aggro decks though. You're advocating for creature decks in your post, but calling them by something else. I understand what you're getting at, but the definitions you use most likely cause confusion from time to time when you discuss this with people.
That is the peril of a threads vs one to one chat,but as long as we are clear now about what I mean it is all good....

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Post by gkourou » 2 months ago

The fact that people think Griselbrand reanimator is a creature deck in Legacy does not give me hope for any discussion moving on at this thread at all.

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Post by True-Name Nemesis » 2 months ago

gkourou wrote:
2 months ago
The fact that people think Griselbrand reanimator is a creature deck in Legacy does not give me hope for any discussion moving on at this thread at all.
You have some serious comprehension issues if that's what you believe that's what people are thinking.

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Post by iTaLenTZ » 2 months ago

What Modern desperately lacks is vision. Like, what was the vision behind Modern Horizons? What were the goals? Did it achieved said goals? What is the direction of the format? What does Wizard wants this format to be? What do we want this format to be? So many questions and zero explicit answers because we never get an article from any R&D member going into detail about Modern about where it is and where we are heading. The only explicit answer we ever got was that Standard cards are not tested for Modern yet some cards like Emry are clearly designed for Modern but not for Standard so something doesn't line up there.

The problem is we can't discuss the state of Modern while not knowing what Wizards stand is. I want an extensive article about Modern written by people like Forsyth and Maro, going into detail about the design problems Modern is having to create a framework in which we can discuss new design directions, ban/unbans, etc. Right now its all empty space. Nobody knows what plans they have for Modern thus we are just wasting our times discussing the state of Modern.

All they ever do is patronize us by reassuring 'they care about Modern and won't drop all support' like we are some gullible 6 years olds while at the same time we see over and over again through ACTIONS that they don't give a crap about Modern otherwise it wouldn't be in this despicable pathetic state.

Ultimately I firmly believe they don't even really know how to fix this mess and Pioneer is the joker card they pulled on us. The incentives to fix Modern are way lower now.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 2 months ago

Aazadan wrote:
2 months ago
There's two issues here. First is one of terminology. While it's true that using vocabulary players are already familiar with makes the term easy to grasp, it also creates confusion as the term has baggage attached to it already. Adding yet another definition to an already poorly defined fair/unfair concept is likely to lead to a lot of misunderstandings.
I disagree with this. I think players who are interested in these concepts have an obligation to define terms and steer the conversation. Just because a loaded term has a lot of baggage, doesn't mean we shouldn't try to help understand it more.
Also, what is fair/unfair in any given format is going to differ. Using your definitions for example, Tron is unfair but Amulet is somehow fair because it's paying full market price for the spells. Or perhaps at a slightly greater stretch depending on how you want to define Electromancer, Storm is also paying full price but makes more sense if the scoring leans towards it being on the unfair side of things.
Both of these would be unfair because they are cheating the limitations of N mana worth of spells by turn N. Decks with 0 acceleration will often meet this speed limit, unless they also have free spells. But something like Jund is always using its mana to pay market price for all its spells. Something like Amulet Titan is accessing 6+ mana on turn 3, not 3 mana on turn 3. Tron is 7+ mana. Storm is generating far more mana than even that on a combo turn, and playing far more spells than would ordinarily be allowed by the +1 mana per turn speed limit. Things like Llanowar Elves, BoP, and Goose would all register as unfair on this spectrum, but only slightly (e.g. 4 mana on T3 instead of 6+). I'm fine with that because we're doing a spectrum, not an absolute black/white definition.
drmarkb wrote:
2 months ago
How would you classify storm with those metrics? It casts many spells a turn, but all are cheap bar PIF/Tendrils in Legacy, Pif in Modern...
It would probably be very unfair (exceeding the N mana worth of spells by turn N metric), linear (an established Plan A and Plan B with a few set Gifts piles that branch out depending on what opponents are doing), and very non-interactive (outside of Remand, Grapeshot as removal, and/or Repeal, it largely ignores the opponent's cards).
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Post by ktkenshinx » 2 months ago

iTaLenTZ wrote:
2 months ago
What Modern desperately lacks is vision. Like, what was the vision behind Modern Horizons? What were the goals? Did it achieved said goals? What is the direction of the format? What does Wizard wants this format to be? What do we want this format to be? So many questions and zero explicit answers because we never get an article from any R&D member going into detail about Modern about where it is and where we are heading. The only explicit answer we ever got was that Standard cards are not tested for Modern yet some cards like Emry are clearly designed for Modern but not for Standard so something doesn't line up there.
It's virtually guaranteed Wizards had a vision statement for MH1. They basically gave its high level goals in its introductory article: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/a ... 2019-02-28

From the article, the set is designed to do the following:
-"skip Standard legality and aim straight for Modern."
-add "cards that build up favorite Modern strategies,"
-add cards that "create new ones"
-add cards that "bring plenty of flavor to matches where Modern cards are legal."

I'd say Wizards was largely successful with these goals, although it way overshot the power level on a few of them. Wizards also had goals to print cards for enfranchised, veteran players from other nonrotating formats, which they also succeeded at in the set (again, overshooting the power in some key cases). You can read more about MH1 vision and design in articles like Modern Sensibilities (https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/a ... 2019-05-20), Modern Life (https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/a ... 2019-05-27), and various articles in between.
The problem is we can't discuss the state of Modern while not knowing what Wizards stand is. I want an extensive article about Modern written by people like Forsyth and Maro, going into detail about the design problems Modern is having to create a framework in which we can discuss new design directions, ban/unbans, etc. Right now its all empty space. Nobody knows what plans they have for Modern thus we are just wasting our times discussing the state of Modern.
This bolded bit (emphasis added) is, quite frankly, nonsensical. If you feel like it's a waste of time to discuss the state of Modern, don't participate in that discussion. I have seen this position for literal years on various forums, and in most cases, it is totally misaligned with reality. The truth is, we can absolutely discuss the state of Modern even if we don't have access to internal documents (that may or may not exist) about Modern's purpose and future. Players on discussion boards, social media, and content creators have been influencing Modern direction for years without this insider access. And if you are so convinced it is important to have this statement from Wizards, then that's the thing you should be pushing for. I was one of a few players who published/posted about this problem back in 2016, and we did elicit a response from Forsythe on that exact topic. The notion that discussion is a "waste of time" is very irritating to me, especially when it's posted on a discussion forum in a thread about the allegedly wasteful topic. If you don't want to participate, don't. If you do want to participate, please don't claim the entire venture is wasteful based on some missing datapoints.
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Post by Tomatotime » 2 months ago

iTaLenTZ wrote:
2 months ago
What Modern desperately lacks is vision. Like, what was the vision behind Modern Horizons? What were the goals? Did it achieved said goals? What is the direction of the format? What does Wizard wants this format to be? What do we want this format to be? So many questions and zero explicit answers because we never get an article from any R&D member going into detail about Modern about where it is and where we are heading. The only explicit answer we ever got was that Standard cards are not tested for Modern yet some cards like Emry are clearly designed for Modern but not for Standard so something doesn't line up there.

The problem is we can't discuss the state of Modern while not knowing what Wizards stand is. I want an extensive article about Modern written by people like Forsyth and Maro, going into detail about the design problems Modern is having to create a framework in which we can discuss new design directions, ban/unbans, etc. Right now its all empty space. Nobody knows what plans they have for Modern thus we are just wasting our times discussing the state of Modern.

All they ever do is patronize us by reassuring 'they care about Modern and won't drop all support' like we are some gullible 6 years olds while at the same time we see over and over again through ACTIONS that they don't give a crap about Modern otherwise it wouldn't be in this despicable pathetic state.

Ultimately I firmly believe they don't even really know how to fix this mess and Pioneer is the joker card they pulled on us. The incentives to fix Modern are way lower now.
Well I don't have the article on hand, I do remember at one point maybe a couple of years ago reading an article on the mothership about them wanting Modern to be a format for standard decks to be able to live on in perpetuity. The issue I have with their goal for Modern is that it feels like they have simply shifted that over to Pioneer, it would indeed be VERY helpful if Wotc could actually just come out with an updated statement on what the intended purpose is for Modern from a gameplay perspective. Without having this, the inner cynic in me will simply assume that they want to maintain as many avenues as possible in the format for future monetization with no regard for gameplay quality/format enjoyment.

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Post by Ym1r » 2 months ago

Well, Aaron Forsythe tweeted that there will be Modern PTs and GPs, so we at least have this as a securing statement that Modern isn't going anywhere for the time being.
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Post by Tomatotime » 2 months ago

Ym1r wrote:
2 months ago
Well, Aaron Forsythe tweeted that there will be Modern PTs and GPs, so we at least have this as a securing statement that Modern isn't going anywhere for the time being.
The issue isn't really about how much tournament support Modern has now, its about what it will be in the following year, and the year after that, and whether it will be trending upwards or downwards.

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Post by cfusionpm » 2 months ago

Tomatotime wrote:
2 months ago
Ym1r wrote:
2 months ago
Well, Aaron Forsythe tweeted that there will be Modern PTs and GPs, so we at least have this as a securing statement that Modern isn't going anywhere for the time being.
The issue isn't really about how much tournament support Modern has now, its about what it will be in the following year, and the year after that, and whether it will be trending upwards or downwards.
It is definitely worrisome about the future of Modern. I went and gathered information about GP format distribution over the past decade and not sure what to make of it. While the trends show a strong shift towards Modern, this could also pivot harshly to Pioneer in the coming years. I was expecting to see a strong Legacy presence, and drop off when Modern arrived, but Legacy was just always small beans. So I don't know how I feel moving forward. Needless to say, WOTC's erratic and unpredictable behavior, as well as inconsistencies with past actions do not inspire confidence whatsoever, but this look at least gives some hope for support. But how long will they be able to support TWO eternal formats? Especially one so heavily criticized as Modern? What will happen to Pioneer once the dust settles, and the same problems from Modern are actually amplified further (powerful threats, lack of good answers)? Dunno either. Just an uneasy time to be heavily invested in any format, to be honest. Especially one whose value could disintegrate at any moment.
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Post by Aazadan » 2 months ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
2 months ago
Both of these would be unfair because they are cheating the limitations of N mana worth of spells by turn N. Decks with 0 acceleration will often meet this speed limit, unless they also have free spells. But something like Jund is always using its mana to pay market price for all its spells. Something like Amulet Titan is accessing 6+ mana on turn 3, not 3 mana on turn 3. Tron is 7+ mana. Storm is generating far more mana than even that on a combo turn, and playing far more spells than would ordinarily be allowed by the +1 mana per turn speed limit. Things like Llanowar Elves, BoP, and Goose would all register as unfair on this spectrum, but only slightly (e.g. 4 mana on T3 instead of 6+). I'm fine with that because we're doing a spectrum, not an absolute black/white definition.
I'm assuming you're familiar with the concept of mana sum theory? If not, here's a small refresher (ignore that this is written by AJ Sacher in his much more egotistical days) http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/article.asp?ID=8738.

What I like about this description is it's rating the payoff of doing something to the amount of value generated when converted to a baseline for the format. It's still not perfect since that baseline varies from format to format but it's close. To get that 7 mana generation plus threat from Tron they're probably investing 2 turns and 2 cards in addition to the land drops and the threat. So, they generate 1, 2, then 7 mana for 10 mana total in the game up to that point to get a 7 drop. But since they've invested either one or two additional cards to do that, you can consider that as their payoff value being worth between 6 and 8 mana (10 - 2 or 10 - 4 for 1 vs 2 cards). This would imply that they value they're getting is close to a fair rate, at least for the first threat.

Where things get tricky with Tron, is that the mana generation stays on the board, so the second threat is now a full 8 manas worth of value. So turn 3 is fair, but that turn 4 threat now puts them at well above a fair rate having now gotten 18 mana (assuming land 4 is a non Tron) in total and 14 mana in payoffs.

I'm not quite sure how to measure this. A scale seems the right way to go about it, but I think the original suggested metric is incorrect for this reason. (Value - investment)/turns seems to be somewhere in the ballpark, and it can account for both mana acceleration and additional cards drawn without requiring them to be different categories. But, I'm not sure if this is inherently fair or unfair.

To explain further, here's a sequence from a Legacy deck I was once playing (sequence might be slightly off, it's been awhile):
T1 - Fetch, Bayou, Green Sun's Zenith for Dryad Arbor.
T2 - Tap Bayou, tab Arbor, Scryb Ranger, activate, bounce Bayou, play Phyrexian Tower, cast Veteran Explorer, activate Tower, get 2 lands, play Tireless Tracker, play Veteran Explorer, cast/flashback Therapy, get 2 more lands/2 clues.
End turn 2 with 1 or 2 cards in hand, 2 clues on battlefield, mana to crack one, and 3 creatures with access to 8 mana. Yet, this deck was doing very, very fair things, and not even things at a particularly high power level for the format. By measuring resources over time though, it pretty much spikes all of them, getting 3 maybe 4 extra cards drawn on turn 3, and being very far above the curve in mana generation too.

Also, I think that falling below X mana on Y turns can also imply unfairness. If this is a spectrum that going above that metric is unfair, then what about combo decks that are designed to run on fewer land drops? A go to example is reanimator style decks. They're not really interested in generating free mana. A curve of Insolent Neonate into Goryo's Vengeance to bring back something scary is casting a 1 and then 2 drop on curve. But, it's clearly not a fair strategy.

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Post by Yawgmoth » 2 months ago

Aazadan wrote:
2 months ago
I'm not quite sure how to measure this. A scale seems the right way to go about it, but I think the original suggested metric is incorrect for this reason. (Value - investment)/turns seems to be somewhere in the ballpark, and it can account for both mana acceleration and additional cards drawn without requiring them to be different categories. But, I'm not sure if this is inherently fair or unfair.
The equation I suggested is definitely overly simplistic. I tried to work in a denominator that would normalize the index based on some 3rd variable but idk what that should be. I think if we could define which 3 variables are most important for defining "unfairness" then we could determine how to calculate it.

I like your suggestion about investment because that allows for things to effect cost across time (multiple turns). A prototypical example of this would be cards with Suspend like lotus bloom . I think time (investment) probably captures the other most important feature of game state. Value/cost can change as a function of time in MtG and this defines the game so we should include this in the model. I'll have to think about how we calculate this in practice but in theory I like where this is headed.

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Post by Bearscape » 2 months ago

BnR is coming up again, place your bets

Expected: No changes

Realistic: Urza and/or Mox Opal banned

Unlikely hope: Oko also gets banned

Impossible dream: 2019 is now banned from all formats

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Post by idSurge » 2 months ago

Second on the 2019 ban. What an absolute joke of a year.

I think nothing but a hit to the Ursa/Whir decks would be justified, but would not miss Veil and T3feri.
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Post by iTaLenTZ » 2 months ago

If they are honourable and truly want to try fix the format they ban:

Urza, Emry, Veil of Summer

I wouldn't mind if Oko and Wrenn got banned as well.

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Post by gkourou » 2 months ago

Unban: Twin and Birthing pod, although with them stating modern will be still a PT format during 2020, they will unban those two right post-PT.

Pre-PT(now or post january's GP): Mox opal or urza banned. I know its a difficult task to ask, but veil of summer is a card that would be better off banned, even if I am running two copies in my amulet sideboard.

I can see no world during which the next modern PT will have all the urza/mox opal decks being legal. 0% chance for me. The pros will just break the colourless decks wide open and will be a carastrophe, then they will need to ban cards. Modern needs no other catastrophic PT.

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Post by Mtgthewary » 2 months ago

I hope they don't wait for another urza Pro tour. No need for it anymore

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Post by Tzoulis » 2 months ago

Get off of the ban Opal train, seriously it's as ridiculous as saying ban Death's Shadow...

[mention]Mtgthewary[/mention] Did I miss a Modern pro tour where Urza dominated or something?

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Post by Amalgam » 2 months ago

iTaLenTZ wrote:
2 months ago
If they are honourable and truly want to try fix the format they ban:

Urza, Emry, Veil of Summer

I wouldn't mind if Oko and Wrenn got banned as well.
Why do you even want Wrenn banned in Modern? It is played in 1-2 decks and hardly has the impact it had in legacy. If we had wasteland it might be another story but as we stand Wrenn is doing nothing even note worthy in modern at the moment.

Also let's be honest there will be no changes this upcoming ban/unban. Modern is already cooling off and we have seen the emergence of Bant Control decks in the last few weeks and there has been a spread of decks over various tournaments. Your best decks are probably still E Tron/GDS/Sultai Urza, however none of them are pushing new boundaries and the Urza decks have started playing a lot more fair and even dropping the sword combo completely in place of Oko and karn/lattice lock.

Also even if hypothetically there was a ban targeted at Sultai Urza decks it wouldn't be Opal, it would be Urza. Opal ban hurts too many other decks and with how much the Urza deck has changed the deck could probably quite easily adjust

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Post by gkourou » 2 months ago

Amalgam wrote:
2 months ago

Also even if hypothetically there was a ban targeted at Sultai Urza decks it wouldn't be Opal, it would be Urza. Opal ban hurts too many other decks and with how much the Urza deck has changed the deck could probably quite easily adjust
Also even if hypothetically there was a ban targeted at Hogaak decks it wouldn't be Looting, it would be Hogaak. Looting ban hurts too many other decks and with how much the Hogaak deck has changed the deck could probably quite easily adjust.

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