[Official] State of Modern Thread (B&R 07/13/2020)

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drmarkb
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Post by drmarkb » 8 months ago

Mkm stops people buying VIP and ripping as happens in the US. It keeps prices of EDH and Vintage-Legacy low. The effect is reduced for Standard where prices are similar or cheaper in the US due to mkm having hidden paypal costs or seller limits on minimum orders.

There is arbitrage between Europe and the US.

Paper will recover. Edh is built on paper. Community driven formats will continue in paper, but the question mark is Modern. No clear vision and no Arema means the death of the format. The latter won't change, the former can.
Once again it is not banlists that are the issue it is the format vision.

Who is it for? People too poor to play Legacy does not hold water, the cost if a competitive deck is similar, and there are more to chose from in that format for more styles. People who don't want a permanent based game? Again, modern is all about permanents nowadays. People who want a balance between control and aggro and combo? Well control is limited to UWx in Modern, and a few rogue prison builds from time to time, becoming rarer. It is a long time since Lantern or RW prison.
People who want competitive older format with pro events and wotc full support? Maybe,that works as a demographic, although it won't be on Arena, that must be Modern's future, if it has one.
Pioneer is much easier to define- it is standard plus, and combo decks have to be jank heavy with no A plus B = win combo. Permanent heavy, combat centric, stack of little importance.

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Post by Aazadan » 8 months ago

drmarkb wrote:
8 months ago
Paper will recover. Edh is built on paper. Community driven formats will continue in paper
I'm not really in agreement on this point. My main reason is that this relies on having places to play. When most of the game shifts to digital you lose a lot of the drive to organize community formats and play together. Especially if Wizards transitions as much of that as they can to online, and various platforms offer all the cards already.

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Post by drmarkb » 8 months ago

We have a very strong European culture of mtg in pubs, and with pubs there is always somewhere to play. Our legal age limit to drink is 14 in the uk with a meal in pubs, and 18 without. They are social hubs that are alternative to LGS, and they offer nice venues as they often have function rooms for a minimal cost.

LGS also exist, we have fewer than the US maybe one or two in a big city, and so they tend to do well. I understand about the game shifting to digital, but that will only be Pioneer onwards. If the format enthuses people it will survive, and that is why you might be right wrt Modern. The drive may not be there.

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Post by Simto » 8 months ago

I have a feeling there's going to be a massive boom in terms of players attending events in person as soon as some sense of "proper normality" is back. Not just magic, but in general too (I would kill to go to a concert again soon...)
For somebody as negative and bitter as me, I'm pretty positive events will be huge and draw crowds back in. People are itching to play. At least as far as I can see. I myself at least can't wait to be able to go out and play modern FNM's again even though I get my ass handed to me most of the time.

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Post by robertleva » 8 months ago

Simto wrote:
8 months ago
I have a feeling there's going to be a massive boom in terms of players attending events in person as soon as some sense of "proper normality" is back. Not just magic, but in general too (I would kill to go to a concert again soon...)
For somebody as negative and bitter as me, I'm pretty positive events will be huge and draw crowds back in. People are itching to play. At least as far as I can see. I myself at least can't wait to be able to go out and play modern FNM's again even though I get my ass handed to me most of the time.
When will this even be allowed though and what will the game even look like at that point. Facebook, Apple and Google have implemented work from home covid protocols for their entire companies for the next 10 years! Ten years is an eternity in MTG. Sets and formats will come and go in that time.
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Post by Simto » 8 months ago

robertleva wrote:
8 months ago
Simto wrote:
8 months ago
I have a feeling there's going to be a massive boom in terms of players attending events in person as soon as some sense of "proper normality" is back. Not just magic, but in general too (I would kill to go to a concert again soon...)
For somebody as negative and bitter as me, I'm pretty positive events will be huge and draw crowds back in. People are itching to play. At least as far as I can see. I myself at least can't wait to be able to go out and play modern FNM's again even though I get my ass handed to me most of the time.
When will this even be allowed though and what will the game even look like at that point. Facebook, Apple and Google have implemented work from home covid protocols for their entire companies for the next 10 years! Ten years is an eternity in MTG. Sets and formats will come and go in that time.
Who knows, but I sure as %$#% don't think we'll have to wait 10 years with playing in person again. And who knows what the format will look like by that time, but I don't really care, I just want to go play cards and have fun.

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Post by Amalgam » 8 months ago

Simto wrote:
8 months ago
robertleva wrote:
8 months ago
Simto wrote:
8 months ago
I have a feeling there's going to be a massive boom in terms of players attending events in person as soon as some sense of "proper normality" is back. Not just magic, but in general too (I would kill to go to a concert again soon...)
For somebody as negative and bitter as me, I'm pretty positive events will be huge and draw crowds back in. People are itching to play. At least as far as I can see. I myself at least can't wait to be able to go out and play modern FNM's again even though I get my ass handed to me most of the time.
When will this even be allowed though and what will the game even look like at that point. Facebook, Apple and Google have implemented work from home covid protocols for their entire companies for the next 10 years! Ten years is an eternity in MTG. Sets and formats will come and go in that time.
Who knows, but I sure as %$#% don't think we'll have to wait 10 years with playing in person again. And who knows what the format will look like by that time, but I don't really care, I just want to go play cards and have fun.
With how the USA looks right now I wouldn't doubt it actually. This pandemic isn't going away anytime soon outside a viable vaccine which everyone is trying to rush for at the moment. Only thing is vaccines normally take 10+ years to develop so any that might be rushed out could be utter rubbish.

Further on this point even if commander returns at some point in store I can't see any competitive format (standard/modern/pioneer) really doing anything on paper for much longer as any large scale events are just not viable worldwide

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Post by th33l3x » 8 months ago

I'm fully aware that data on competitive modern is extremely scarce right now, but does anybody else feel like Rx Prowess is getting annoyingly omnipresent? It's everywhere in leagues. Between Mono R, UR Stormwing and BR, Prowess very roughly makes up 15% of decks.

And the main driving force behind these decks seems to be Lava Dart, because in addition to frequently representing 6+ damage for just one red (sacing a Mountain is a very low cost for these decks), Dart also 1) easily enables Light up the Stage and Stormwing Entity and 2) is actively great against any deck with x/1 creatures, giving Prowess decks the ability to extremely efficiently interact with a lot of strategies (dorks, thalia, bob, icefang, tokens, snappy, even Narcomoeba) and remove chump blockers if needed.

I have to say I'm getting sick of trying to combat yet another strategy bolstered by a pushed card out of Modern Horizons.

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Post by Aazadan » 8 months ago

robertleva wrote:
8 months ago
When will this even be allowed though and what will the game even look like at that point. Facebook, Apple and Google have implemented work from home covid protocols for their entire companies for the next 10 years! Ten years is an eternity in MTG. Sets and formats will come and go in that time.

Purely working from home is different from just a quarantine. It makes a lot of financial sense to work from home regardless. At the moment most major companies are expecting a year still to really get back to some sense of normal in the US, it certainly won't take a decade.

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Post by drmarkb » 8 months ago

Yes, don't be too down cast.
The large companies have enjoyed up shifts in productivity.
Nobody really knows how long it will last, but given the unprecedented resources thrown into it, and the vaccine programme originators, and the comments and data to date, I am.optimistic for a vaccine next year. If we get one that nears 40 to 50 pc effectiveness it would mean a return to normality. T cell responses are key, and the data is promising thus far. There is a lot of bull out there- true statements lacking context- there has never been a corona vaccine, we could not vaccinate against SARS etc. I have a pretty wide science background in biochem, chemistry and environmental health, so I can dig a bit deeper and already know where to look, but even then I am overwhelmed by the amount of material.
You can forget early untested Mickey Mouse vaccines from Russia and China, sure, but not too far behind are serious players who won't rush out a vaccine that does not confer a level of protection. The normal timescales don't apply.

From mtg paper pov, full time big events I think will be back at some point, providing wotc want them to be. Home working will be here long term, of course. Bad news for some, good for others.

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Post by drmarkb » 8 months ago

th33l3x wrote:
8 months ago


I have to say I'm getting sick of trying to combat yet another strategy bolstered by a pushed card out of Modern Horizons.

Wotc were on a no win scenario on mh1, because they needed cards to impact, but their design philosophy dictates that none of them can be hard and nasty answers that stop stuff happening. Trinisphere, Chalice, Moon, Suppression Field, Nevermore are the sorts of cards they need to combat aggressively pushed cards, they won't print any more of them outside of what, Force of Negation, Damping Sphere, Amulet of Safeleeping and Blood Sun and Alpine Moon maybe, in 5 years, and then wonder why Hogaak, Oko, Uro et al take over the format every 6 months....

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Post by robertleva » 8 months ago

Aazadan wrote:
8 months ago
robertleva wrote:
8 months ago
When will this even be allowed though and what will the game even look like at that point. Facebook, Apple and Google have implemented work from home covid protocols for their entire companies for the next 10 years! Ten years is an eternity in MTG. Sets and formats will come and go in that time.

Purely working from home is different from just a quarantine. It makes a lot of financial sense to work from home regardless. At the moment most major companies are expecting a year still to really get back to some sense of normal in the US, it certainly won't take a decade.
If it makes financial sense for those companies to keep work from home for the next 10 years how will a small LGS operate in the same world? Before covid LGS were struggling, there is no post covid world for small LGS in the US, unless we see major policy changes that protect private businesses from being shutdown in the future.

This isn't just MTG either. ALL trivial social culture has been deleted until further notice. Bowling alleys, movie theaters, music concerts, sports - none of these things are considered valuable in the face of covid. None of the people who made their lives around those industries matter either.
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Post by drmarkb » 8 months ago

Lgs in the US are in trouble. Wotc pushed the LGS model way too hard, and is now heading to secondary sales. LGS are huge single sellers in the US, here it is a sideline, an incidental.part to one product line amongst many.
Before they did that we had lots of independent TOs in the UK and Europe. Wotc pushed them out. Most joined up with LGS or quit. There was so much emphasis on LGS.
LGS numbers here did not change much, but in the US the LGS really seemed to boom from what I gather. Thus when the world is changing and wotc push digital and direct sales, and when there are many in a single city, many will have big issues.
Our LGS here has mtg as one of a range, warhammer, other cogs, board games all form part of the business. They are getting stung by secret lair (because everyone who has fetches won't pay for more at the current price point, those who don't could have bought them already a year ago for similar prices on mkm), but by and large their single sales are a minor part of the business for them.

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Post by Aazadan » 8 months ago

robertleva wrote:
8 months ago
If it makes financial sense for those companies to keep work from home for the next 10 years how will a small LGS operate in the same world?
Different business models. Office work that doesn't deal with walk in customers can be done remotely. Tech companies are well suited for significant amounts of working from home. LGS are not, so they won't be able to do it as long, for the same reason restaurants aren't work from home.

Additionally, to a tech company, the office is just overhead that you pay for, for employees to have somewhere to go. It provides no intrinsic value to their product. Restaurants, LGS's, and so on not only deal with on site customers but the location does provide value to the product. You can't play Warhammer as easily without some tables set up. Stores have been diversifying because Magic alone no longer pays the bills but that doesn't mean stores can be fully remote.

There are some digital only stores, but those stores push paper product that requires there being venues to play, in order for those stores to be viable. And, I don't see the US moving to the UK model (usually because store space is so expensive) of selling only product and then having people play at other nearby venues. And, even if that did happen it doesn't really address the issue that that can't be done until a quarantine is over.

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Post by Aazadan » 8 months ago

drmarkb wrote:
8 months ago
Yes, don't be too down cast.
The large companies have enjoyed up shifts in productivity.
Nobody really knows how long it will last, but given the unprecedented resources thrown into it, and the vaccine programme originators, and the comments and data to date, I am.optimistic for a vaccine next year. If we get one that nears 40 to 50 pc effectiveness it would mean a return to normality. T cell responses are key, and the data is promising thus far. There is a lot of bull out there- true statements lacking context- there has never been a corona vaccine, we could not vaccinate against SARS etc. I have a pretty wide science background in biochem, chemistry and environmental health, so I can dig a bit deeper and already know where to look, but even then I am overwhelmed by the amount of material.
You can forget early untested Mickey Mouse vaccines from Russia and China, sure, but not too far behind are serious players who won't rush out a vaccine that does not confer a level of protection. The normal timescales don't apply.

From mtg paper pov, full time big events I think will be back at some point, providing wotc want them to be. Home working will be here long term, of course. Bad news for some, good for others.
There's several in development now. Part of what I do for work involves writing software to help train people to work on machines, including the machines making these vaccines. I've physically gone on site where they're being tested and gotten to see and even hold test vaccines. A lot has been produced in advance so that if something can clear testing the ramp up time for distribution is reduced. There isn't a vaccine right now, but there are several that are promising and it's probable that at least one of those is viable and safe, possibly multiples of them.

I'm going to guess no large major events until 2022 as the best case scenario is a 2021 vaccine and then booking venues, setting up logistics, ensuring people can plan schedules, event lead time etc will mean 2022. Depending on when a vaccine comes out it could be 2023 or maybe even 2024 for large events. But, smaller events are more agile and those should pop up well before large events do as LGS can respond quickly, and with people being cooped up for so long, they would be eager to go out and play when they can. And lets not forget that there's not even a tournament organizer lined up to handle things like GP's now.

I have no doubt that paper can return. What I doubt is if WotC will even want paper to return in that form.
Before they did that we had lots of independent TOs in the UK and Europe. Wotc pushed them out. Most joined up with LGS or quit. There was so much emphasis on LGS.
My understanding of this was that it had to do with rents. In the US we have large stores and can devote table space to hosting events. In the UK, the same rent is going to get you a store that's 1/3 to 1/4 the size, and people in a store playing take up a lot of space without a proportional increase in revenue. If 80% of your revenue comes from sales and 20% from in store events, then in the UK paying 3 to 4 times the rent for what would amount to a 25% increase in revenue doesn't make financial sense.

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Post by robertleva » 8 months ago

Aazadan wrote:
8 months ago
robertleva wrote:
8 months ago
If it makes financial sense for those companies to keep work from home for the next 10 years how will a small LGS operate in the same world?
Different business models. Office work that doesn't deal with walk in customers can be done remotely. Tech companies are well suited for significant amounts of working from home. LGS are not, so they won't be able to do it as long, for the same reason restaurants aren't work from home.

Additionally, to a tech company, the office is just overhead that you pay for, for employees to have somewhere to go. It provides no intrinsic value to their product. Restaurants, LGS's, and so on not only deal with on site customers but the location does provide value to the product. You can't play Warhammer as easily without some tables set up. Stores have been diversifying because Magic alone no longer pays the bills but that doesn't mean stores can be fully remote.

There are some digital only stores, but those stores push paper product that requires there being venues to play, in order for those stores to be viable. And, I don't see the US moving to the UK model (usually because store space is so expensive) of selling only product and then having people play at other nearby venues. And, even if that did happen it doesn't really address the issue that that can't be done until a quarantine is over.
Obviously they are very different business models. If you read in between the lines though the picture becomes a lot more clear. The tech giants are spending billions under the assumptions covid protocols in place for 10 years. Now I am not implying that there will be official laws forcing them to enforce covid protocols, but them prebaking it into the next decade sets a precedent that smaller companies will feel pressured to follow.

After all, if you don't copy cat the big boys, SJW will come after your company as being a backward thinking hillbilly crap farm the first time anything bad happens.
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Post by Aazadan » 8 months ago

robertleva wrote:
8 months ago
The tech giants are spending billions under the assumptions covid protocols in place for 10 years
That's not why they're doing what they're doing. They're doing it because they realized employees preferred it, it's cheaper for them, they aren't suffering meaningful productivity hits because they already know how to manage remote work (unlike many other sectors that are having a tough time transitioning), and it greatly increases their ability to source talent as it no longer requires relocation.

In short, it makes them a lot more competitive. Less physical overhead, reduced salary without impacting employees real wages, and better talent acquisition. That entire industry has been transitioning to more and more remote work for the last several years. It just got accelerated due to COVID is all.

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Post by th33l3x » 8 months ago

drmarkb wrote:
8 months ago
th33l3x wrote:
8 months ago


I have to say I'm getting sick of trying to combat yet another strategy bolstered by a pushed card out of Modern Horizons.

Wotc were on a no win scenario on mh1, because they needed cards to impact, but their design philosophy dictates that none of them can be hard and nasty answers that stop stuff happening. Trinisphere, Chalice, Moon, Suppression Field, Nevermore are the sorts of cards they need to combat aggressively pushed cards, they won't print any more of them outside of what, Force of Negation, Damping Sphere, Amulet of Safeleeping and Blood Sun and Alpine Moon maybe, in 5 years, and then wonder why Hogaak, Oko, Uro et al take over the format every 6 months....
Well, one way to make mh1 a true success, as obvious as it is, would have been to get the power level of the cards right. Imo that's just the bitter truth. They had the difficult task of really digging in and finetuning the set. They had every opportunity to do that. No pesky standard in the way. Just test in the modern card pool.

They went for sensationalist cards that were obviously pushed, for what? To sell their product. Imo that's greedily going for short term profits and %$#% on long-term quality of the game, which I imagine has economic upsides too.

It wasn't a lose-lose imo. It was a "do it well or lose", and they did it poorly.

(did mh1 sell well? I don't even know)

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Post by robertleva » 8 months ago

Aazadan wrote:
8 months ago
robertleva wrote:
8 months ago
The tech giants are spending billions under the assumptions covid protocols in place for 10 years
That's not why they're doing what they're doing. They're doing it because they realized employees preferred it, it's cheaper for them, they aren't suffering meaningful productivity hits because they already know how to manage remote work (unlike many other sectors that are having a tough time transitioning), and it greatly increases their ability to source talent as it no longer requires relocation.

In short, it makes them a lot more competitive. Less physical overhead, reduced salary without impacting employees real wages, and better talent acquisition. That entire industry has been transitioning to more and more remote work for the last several years. It just got accelerated due to COVID is all.
I'm not just talking about work from home. I am talking about social distancing protocols and what that means for the future of retail and brick and mortar business for the next ten years. The big companies are all planning on the physical culture dying. I read one report that said by the end of next year 85% of all privately owned restaurants/bars will be gone. MTG has got to be so far down the line on the list of important things that this will delete that it's really not even worth mentioning other than it's relevance to this discussion here.
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Post by Simto » 8 months ago

th33l3x wrote:
8 months ago
(did mh1 sell well? I don't even know)
It's just out of my own experience, but it was sold out a lot here in Copenhagen (as far as I noticed) and I can imagine it sold quite well everywhere, but I have no proof hehe.

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Post by Ulka » 8 months ago

A reminder:
While Covid is a big topic in the world today talks directly about Covid without direct relations to modern are not allowed in the thread. This is considered Spamming.

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Post by drmarkb » 8 months ago

Ulka wrote:
8 months ago
A reminder:
While Covid is a big topic in the world today talks directly about Covid without direct relations to modern are not allowed in the thread. This is considered Spamming.

Ulka
I think the general gist I wanted to make is that by the time covid is no longer an issue, paper will be absolutely fine, but Modern won't be, and I expect big paper to be up and running big time sometime next year, maybe 2022. Without a specific vision, Modern will go to an MTGO format by 2022, with a more aggressive ban list. At which point it is no longer Modern, just like Vintage is no longer Vintage, because online formats have a much higher volatility and lower buy in.

You could almost say that The State of Modern has been split for ages, between those playing online, and those with paper decks who cannot possibly change their deck and have all the cards they need that quickly. Online metas for Modern have little relationship to Modern paper that is being played out there now. When cards like say, Uro dominate after a week, say, people cannot get 3 of them in that space of time, maybe for one paper event before a ban, and many just won't pay 150 dollars to do so knowing that a month later a ban could be incoming in Modern, thus they stick with their trusty Tron deck or burn deck etc. So paper events now and are full of ' very good but not the best deck' decks in Modern. This has been true for a while pre covid, outside of large US circuits.

The LGS discussion that sprung up just shows that there are big differences between the US and ROW, due to such things as rents etc.

Going forward I expect Pioneer to be the paper constructed format in addition to Std., with Modern being the premier Mtgo format, but generally an FNM format only outside of that with maybe a GP a year, and Legacy existing in it's own hybrid niche of some Mtgo play but lots of smaller community led events (also with different metas), and Mkm plus Japanese larger events at a couple if hundred players with no GPs etc.

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Post by drmarkb » 8 months ago

th33l3x wrote:
8 months ago
drmarkb wrote:
8 months ago
th33l3x wrote:
8 months ago


I have to say I'm getting sick of trying to combat yet another strategy bolstered by a pushed card out of Modern Horizons.

Wotc were on a no win scenario on mh1, because they needed cards to impact, but their design philosophy dictates that none of them can be hard and nasty answers that stop stuff happening. Trinisphere, Chalice, Moon, Suppression Field, Nevermore are the sorts of cards they need to combat aggressively pushed cards, they won't print any more of them outside of what, Force of Negation, Damping Sphere, Amulet of Safeleeping and Blood Sun and Alpine Moon maybe, in 5 years, and then wonder why Hogaak, Oko, Uro et al take over the format every 6 months....
Well, one way to make mh1 a true success, as obvious as it is, would have been to get the power level of the cards right. Imo that's just the bitter truth. They had the difficult task of really digging in and finetuning the set. They had every opportunity to do that. No pesky standard in the way. Just test in the modern card pool.

They went for sensationalist cards that were obviously pushed, for what? To sell their product. Imo that's greedily going for short term profits and %$#% on long-term quality of the game, which I imagine has economic upsides too.

It wasn't a lose-lose imo. It was a "do it well or lose", and they did it poorly.

(did mh1 sell well? I don't even know)
What I am saying is it is impossible to do it well for as long as they insist on not pushing answers. That is what makes it lose lose. As long as Johnny big monster hates his stuff being countered, his spells restricted or his land blown up there will be no balance in any MH set. No land kill makes lands too good etc. Weak counterspells makes spells too good etc. For as long as people think catds such as Chalice, Bridge or 3 sphere is dumb and wotc listen to them there will be no balance. We need a slew of Null Rods/Totem effects, Meekstones and Wastelands etc. so that the 'I do my stuff and win' decks get stopped when someone stops them playing. MH2 will be the same, because the only pushed cards are threats or combination threat/answers in the form of walkers.

Cards like field of the dead are not powerful enough to be banned in an environment with wasteland, but broken in one with no landkill. That is the issue with any MH2, they are catering for those who want threats, not those who want answers.

They can of course do MH2 well, but only if they tell the lock piece haters to go and do one. They won't because EDH casuals outnumber any other single group.

The finance chat is MH1 did well. I believe the last of it has gone from distributors

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Post by Aazadan » 8 months ago

I thought MH was great. It did have a few notable misses and some power issues but all in all it's the sort of set Modern needs. It even brought us several new answers.

They still have development problems though, that I think are going to linger for a long time. Bans are out of control because of poor development. WotC doesn't even have the fallback anymore of their Standard environments being balanced, with answers tuned for that.

A card like Field of the Dead should never be format warping. It can definitely be good, but printing formats with no answer to it is insane. I don't think WotC has the will to reign things in though, it's possible they might not even have the ability to create answers that the answer hating players find fun, engaging, and interesting.

As I'm honestly unaware, I wonder what those players think of Aether Gust, Fatal Push, and some of the other newer answers that are good.

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Post by drmarkb » 8 months ago

Answer hating players hate answers that stop them doing stuff. They don't like their dude being pushed, but they really hate it never hitting the battlefield.
It is odd.
You cast A, which is a critter with no etb or death triggers, and no haste.
I kill it on your turn. It does nothing.

For some reason this is more acceptable to that type of answer hater than
You cast A
I counter it.

They are identical in effect, but 'It did not even get to the battlefield' hurts a certain type of player more. The certain type of player is an arse, but their opinions matter.


What they hate the most is having a card they can't cast because of an opponent's action. Something innocuous like Gideon's intervention can get people onto apoplexy. Someone chipping at their land is worse, perhaps. They want to play big stuff, and they want you to play combat strategies so that you compare to see who has the biggest.

They hate combo.
They hate land kill
They hate hand kill
They hate preemptive answers

They don't mind mass destruction or targeted kill Fatal push is fine by them as it won't kill all their monsters.


These are often the same people who complain when field of the dead ruins a format. Ultimately they are selfish power players who want to do their thing, and win with it, and want you to fight on their terms only.

Modern suffers more than most because the pool is wide but missed out on a number of answer cards in older formats.
Pioneer has a smaller pool, so the threats are weaker- but only for now.

Modern has a massive pool that cannot be balanced because there are no answers a certain type of player will ever find fun, other than weaer ones than their threats. Whilst they rule, Modern suffers.
I did like MH2, but it desperately missed the balance of answers and threats.

For my money I hope MH2 is full of answers. Recent answers have been hit and miss. Damping Sphere was a good design, but Amulet of Safekeeping less so. They can do it, they just don't do it often enough and specifically they let walkers dominate.



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