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

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

I guess the question UW has to ask and answer is who is wearing that sword? And is that payoff frequent enough and powerful enough to justify the slots, mana, and turns needed to deploy and equip? Is a 4/4 worth those same prices? Maybe, maybe not. I guess it seems good when your opponent can't interact on your turn, but that's true of a lot of things.

Edit: Geist wearing a sword is HOT. so is jumping him with an Elspeth.

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Post by Wraithpk » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
My experience says otherwise. I play 4 snapcaster mage, 4 stoneforge mystic, 2 vendilion clique main board and 2 monastery mentor + 1 Lyra in the sideboard. I am thinking to add 1 restoration angel in the maindeck, but thats it. Rarely I was with no creature to equip to. Then there is the germ token of tha batterskull.
It definitely makes uw more proactive, which ups the power level of the deck and helps me having less draws also. This is quite important as well, since one of the few weaknesses of uw control was that you did draw some games.
That's already more creatures than some lists I've seen. I've seen a lot of people playing just 4 SFM and 4 Snaps, or 3 Snaps and a Clique. And those are always the people who sit there with their swords on the battlefield and no creature to carry them. 8 creatures isn't enough. Even 10 feels like too few to me. I'm thinking more like 12 or 13, which is what the Legacy version does.

I also think everyone just running 2 pieces of equipment is wrong too. You're not taking advantage of the power of SFM's tutor effect to find a Sword for different situations. Legacy Stoneblade just runs two because their two are Jitte and Batterskull, and they don't ever want anything else. We don't have Jitte, so we have to pick lesser options that aren't as universally good. I see a lot of people picking FaF, and it's very good at times, but it's not always good. There are a lot of situations where FaI is a lot better. SFM lets you choose which Sword you want, but only if you include them in your deck! Another problem with only having 2 equipment is how often you'll make SFMs dead draws. All it takes is naturally drawing one piece of equipment, and now all your SFMs after the first one are dead draws. You can't make value plays like bouncing a SFM with T3feri, or blinking it with Resto, etc.

So my point is this: I don't think it's wrong to say that UW Control doesn't want SFM, because I think the people cutting 6 cards from UW to jam a minimalist SFM package into the deck are making a mistake. SFM wants you to build a very different deck from what pre-unban UW Control was, and you're diluting your control power without really exploiting the power of SFM by just putting a 6 card package into UW Control without changing the rest of the deck to better fit her.
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Respectfully disagree. We already saw two people top-8-ing scg (not in due to tierbreakers).
Please stop this massive misrepresentation, of a single event, in which Stoneforge decks were thoroughly crushed as a whole, by citing a single deck, that did not actually top 8. Never mind that they were the only 2 Stoneforge deck in the top 32, and you need to look down to 45th place before you find another. That does not indicate "strength" whatsoever. Not that this one event, immediately after a huge B&R means anything anyway. Stop using this as an example.

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
JDS was broken online, and picked up by pros.

KCI was not broken by a pro either.

Eldrazi had one week I believe online, and is the only one that pros displayed first, but that's only because they had the opportunity before any MTGO events.

These people are not savants. They just play a lot. If you want innovation, you find it on mtgo.
Lol, idSurge with the real talk.

Yes, JDS was not broken by Pros. They were just the first to have results on a National Stage. Why? They are amazing players. Yes, players.

KCI seems like it was created by Matt Nass. After all, he had like what, 4 top 4s at GPs with 2-3 wins. :o He did innovate the deck a bit, but the shell was already there by the time that Scrap Trawler was introduced.

Yes, Eldrazi was innovated by Pros because they had access to the cards during the Pro Tour and before others.

I mean, there's not much else to say. I agree, even if I don't personally play there. Innovation can probably be found on MTGO.
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Post by tronix » 1 year ago

tbh im confused by the ongoing focus on whether SFM is good, bad, or anywhere in between. or the rather asinine distinctions to be made if UW happens to be represented with one deck using SFM or if branches happen towards either more creature commitment or no-SFM going big on control.

seems inconsequential to me. the SFM unban isnt a hypothetical, its playing out right now. how well the card performs will be found out with time and evidence proving who made the right prediction just requires waiting. there is no way to be certain about sfm, the decks that play it to better/great effect, or even how the format will find itself arranged at the end of the day. anyone claiming knowledge or insight otherwise is blowing smoke. even the results are highly suspect given the chaos and uncertainty. such as burn at the SCG event. its not as if burn was secretly more powerful and only needed lootings out of the way to be the top deck.

for sfm now its a time for experimenting, sharing collected observations, and discussing plausible hypothetical outcomes. UW control incorporating sfm but not much else is a sound concept to start with and build upon since the potential benefits added to a shell of cards already performing well just 'makes sense'. however 'UW stoneblade' seems to have taken a life of its own where i see many people speaking of it as if its achieved top tier competitive status already. not like decks exist in a vacuum, and adaptations or responses as other strategies figure stuff out will dictate terms.

for example a glaring weakness apparent in UW control/stoneblade is the poor spot removal and reliance on path. using path early and often is bad news, and opposing SFMs are suited to force the issue.

wraithpk presented the hypothetical of SFM potentially not being sufficiently powerful enough relative to other options without more commitment to supporting creatures/cards that synergize with SFM. maybe that ends up the reality, maybe not. regardless different creature or equipment loadouts will offer unique benefits. queller for instance could easily be a card rotated in and out of main decks frequently.

something else to keep an eye on are the bant stoneblade/midrange decks. if one or other shell proves good enough then ice fang coatl will demand a response. i could see certain decks just auto folding to that combo; UW stoneblade for instance.
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

SFM's strength is not difficult to calculate though. As I mentioned earlier, she is exactly as powerful as a 4/4 lifelinker for 4 mana over 2 turns, and a sword of X and Y, for 6 mana over 2 turns. If your deck cares enough about either of these things to register Squire, then there's your answer. I think people will find that it's just another card choice that is middle of the road and falls to personal preference. But for quite a while, there is enough variance in our game and enough people jamming these decks, that inevitably someone will do well with one. Whether they see consistent success, and whether that success is due to our Kor friend will unfortunately remain clouded for months, thanks to unrepresentative MTGO data and lack of any meaningful big tournaments. I guess we have the SCG circuit?

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Post by motleyslayer » 1 year ago

I think that due to the timing of the unban, it might take a bit for us to actually see how good SFM is in the format. Modern season is towards its end this year, so there won't be as many events outside SCGs I guess. I know myself I think I have one more MCQ I'll be attending in my area next weekend but I think that's it.

I still don't think it'll break the format at all but I'll see if I'm wrong

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
I mean, there's not much else to say. I agree, even if I don't personally play there. Innovation can probably be found on MTGO.
Nobody else iterates like MTGO grinders. There are some format specialists who do great things in Modern, but even most of them are not pro's, but SCG or MTGO grinders.

The actual Magic Pro's, the MPL types? Nah. They are not trend setters.
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Post by Amalek0 » 1 year ago

Wraithpk wrote:
1 year ago
People are certainly jamming a 6 card SFM package into UW Control, but that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. Every time I watch a stream or vid of someone playing a list like that, you watch them with dead equipment on the board and no creatures to equip it to, or they draw one of the equipment so their SFMs are all dead draws after the first one. It doesn't make UW Control better to cut your Narsets and 3 other pieces of interaction to play SFM when you don't have enough bodies to utilize the equipment. Legacy Stoneblade plays 11 to 13 creatures, with 3 of those being a sticky threat in True-Name Nemesis, and they have better cantrips to find bodies to carry a Jitte. All these people trying to play with just 8 creatures and relying on the germ token to be enough are making a mistake. Either play a stronger control game and stick to the planeswalker package, or if you want to play with SFM you should build your deck to take advantage of SFM's strengths.
People need to look towards the esper blade, esper stoneblade, and esper deathblade lists from legacy when tooling up for modern. Lingering souls is an incredibly powerful way to put a lot of potential sword-holding bodies on the table for not very many cards, and once you're splashing black for flashbacks, it becomes more attractive to look towards taking position as an actual BWx midrange deck, not a UWx control shell.

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Post by Wraithpk » 1 year ago

BBD just wrote an article on TCGPlayer, and he said basically what I've been trying to say:
Stoneforge Mystic is meant to be played in a proactive shell with other creatures that you can actually equip a sword to. People are just chucking Stoneforge Mystic into their Azorius Control decks and thinking that it's somehow going to be good. That's not how Magic or deck building works. You can't just throw together a pile of cards, your deck has to be designed for a strategy and the cards have to work together to execute that strategy.
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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

Depressing that even needs to be said anymore. :p
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Post by Bearscape » 1 year ago

Wraithpk wrote:
1 year ago
BBD just wrote an article on TCGPlayer, and he said basically what I've been trying to say:
Stoneforge Mystic is meant to be played in a proactive shell with other creatures that you can actually equip a sword to. People are just chucking Stoneforge Mystic into their Azorius Control decks and thinking that it's somehow going to be good. That's not how Magic or deck building works. You can't just throw together a pile of cards, your deck has to be designed for a strategy and the cards have to work together to execute that strategy.
I disagree with that. I say there are two strategies you can apply with SFM: either overload removal, or force your opponent to remove creatures that result in bad trades for them. People mention Legacy Stoneblade, but have they even looked at current lists? Most of them are straight UW, with generally the only creatures being SFM, Snap and True Name Nemesis.

I've been brewing and tweaking with UWx SFM decks since SFM's unbanning and have followed a bunch of people jamming awful cards like Kitchen Finks and Geist of Saint Traft into UWx shells to validate having enough targets to equip swords to. I was on a trail with Monastery Mentor as the producer of sword carriers for a bit, but honestly my conclusion has been to not even bother; if you play 4 SFM, 4 Snap and maybe 2 Clique, you just get to play straight UW control. You force your opponent to interact with your creatures that already provided value, and then once board control is established you plop a sword down and apply pressure. Honestly, this was already very close to UW's gameplan; your early 2 for 1 just changed from Narset to SFM.

The Orzhov Deadguy Ale lists I've seen look great, and bant-based versions also seem very potent; there I agree with BBD you should build towards SFM. But what he dismisses as "just jamming SFM into UW Control" I think can be a very powerful strategy.

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Post by robertleva » 1 year ago

I dont know who "BBD" is (didnt click link) but his analysis of SFM is... cursory(?).

SFM is a self contained white finisher package with a small deck footprint. If you have a deck that it is the market for that, SFM is currently the most efficient package (in white) Modern has to offer. It's that simple.
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

robertleva wrote:
1 year ago
I dont know who "BBD" is (didnt click link) but his analysis of SFM is... cursory(?).
Dunno if this is sarcastic or not but of most of the pro players, he's pretty trustworthy and supports his opinions well.
Also:
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https://mtg.gamepedia.com/Brian_Braun-Duin

He may know a thing or two about deck construction?

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Post by Wraithpk » 1 year ago

The Legacy version plays 10 to 12 creatures, which is already more than these 8 creature lists I've seen people trying in Modern. 4 Snaps and 4 SFM aren't enough. The other thing here is that 3 of those creatures are sticky threats in TNN. So while they play 10-12 creatures, they're more likely to have one to carry a Jitte since a resolved TNN is so hard to deal with. So the Modern lists can't really get away with the same number of creatures as the Legacy version. The exception might be if you're playing Geist, which is the closest thing we have to TNN. To make him work, though, you need to run more Swords to give him relevant color protections and kinda build-your-own TNN. That's another thing I'm not seeing people do. Geist can be clunky, but I think he's the only way you can get away with Legacy creature numbers in the deck.
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

Invisible Stalker with Lingering Souls in Esper, or Spellstutter Sprite, Faerie Seer, and Unsettled Mariner in UW have both felt good with main deck 2-3 Swords + BS. It feels much better than shoving a clunky package of 1 Sword 1 BS and not enough bodies in a control deck that doesn't need it or want it. IMO.

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Post by Wraithpk » 1 year ago

robertleva wrote:
1 year ago

SFM is a self contained white finisher package with a small deck footprint. If you have a deck that it is the market for that, SFM is currently the most efficient package (in white) Modern has to offer. It's that simple.
That's exactly what he's saying is wrong. SFM isn't like Goyf, where you can just plop 4 in your deck and it'll be pretty good. He's saying the best SFM decks are going to be ones that have creatures to carry the equipment she gets. Just jamming a 6 card minimalist SFM package into your creatureless control deck isn't taking advantage of the power that she offers, so it's not necessarily even making the deck better.
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Post by iTaLenTZ » 1 year ago

Today I played a MCQ with 225 players and 4 Whirza made top8. I played against the deck twice and it looks very broken. I played a ton of removal etc but the deck attacks on so many different angles it impossible to stop. The second game he cast turn 2 Urza to practically win the game on the spot. This might finally be the deck that gets Mox Opal banned.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

iTaLenTZ wrote:
1 year ago
Today I played a MCQ with 225 players and 4 Whirza made top8. I played against the deck twice and it looks very broken. I played a ton of removal etc but the deck attacks on so many different angles it impossible to stop. The second game he cast turn 2 Urza to practically win the game on the spot. This might finally be the deck that gets Mox Opal banned.
I'd bet my bottom dollar that if Eldrazi Winter didn't happen and there wasn't such huge backlash from Twin, Opal would have been banned some time in 2016 on the strength of traditional Affinity.

But with the current strength of Whirza and its resilience in the face of hate cards....

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Post by Wraithpk » 1 year ago

Ughh... Yeah, Whirza looks like such a sweet deck, but I've been suspicious that it's broken too, which is the only reason I haven't bought in yet. On the plus side, the format has not been very hostile to artifacts recently, so there's room for it to adjust. Powering down the graveyard decks gives people the sideboard slots to do that, as well.
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Post by iTaLenTZ » 1 year ago

BTW I played against 2 SFM decks and crushed them wit ease. I always used to struggle vs UW control but this was an embarrassment for him. Turn 2 SFM, Turn 3 he couldn't active SFM because he had to counter my spell, turn 4 he finally activates SFM to bring in Batterskul and I Fatal Push the token and SFM leaving him with a Batterskul on the battlefield looking stupid. Another game I simply destroyed SFM the moment he played it and another time I removed Batterskul from his hand. Spending 2-4 turns on absolutely nothing at sorcery speed is not where you want to be with UW control. SFM isn't CA if the equipment is stuck in your hand/battlefield doing nothing.

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Post by iTaLenTZ » 1 year ago

Wraithpk wrote:
1 year ago
Ughh... Yeah, Whirza looks like such a sweet deck, but I've been suspicious that it's broken too, which is the only reason I haven't bought in yet. On the plus side, the format has not been very hostile to artifacts recently, so there's room for it to adjust. Powering down the graveyard decks gives people the sideboard slots to do that, as well.
I had Collector Ouphe in play, removed all Thopter tokens with Deputy of Detention and destroyed the Urza token and a Thopter Foundry with 2 Knight of Autumn, removed Sword of the Meek with Ooze just to get killed by Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas and Ensnaring Bridge. Not to mention the problems I had another game when 2 Welding Jars were in play. This deck is way above Affinity/Hardened Scales.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

iTaLenTZ wrote:
1 year ago
Wraithpk wrote:
1 year ago
Ughh... Yeah, Whirza looks like such a sweet deck, but I've been suspicious that it's broken too, which is the only reason I haven't bought in yet. On the plus side, the format has not been very hostile to artifacts recently, so there's room for it to adjust. Powering down the graveyard decks gives people the sideboard slots to do that, as well.
I had Collector Ouphe in play, removed all Thopter tokens with Deputy of Detention and destroyed the Urza token and a Thopter Foundry with 2 Knight of Autumn, removed Sword of the Meek with Ooze just to get killed by Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas and Ensnaring Bridge. Not to mention the problems I had another game when 2 Welding Jars were in play. This deck is way above Affinity/Hardened Scales.
As described by several prominent players, the deck is just better Twin. It can combo kill a turn earlier, thanks to Opal, and is not really phased by targeted hate because it has a multiple, much better backup plans. If it didn't cost $600 for just 4 Urzas and 4 Opals (with or without the threat of ban), I'd absolutely be playing it myself.

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
iTaLenTZ wrote:
1 year ago
Wraithpk wrote:
1 year ago
Ughh... Yeah, Whirza looks like such a sweet deck, but I've been suspicious that it's broken too, which is the only reason I haven't bought in yet. On the plus side, the format has not been very hostile to artifacts recently, so there's room for it to adjust. Powering down the graveyard decks gives people the sideboard slots to do that, as well.
I had Collector Ouphe in play, removed all Thopter tokens with Deputy of Detention and destroyed the Urza token and a Thopter Foundry with 2 Knight of Autumn, removed Sword of the Meek with Ooze just to get killed by Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas and Ensnaring Bridge. Not to mention the problems I had another game when 2 Welding Jars were in play. This deck is way above Affinity/Hardened Scales.
As described by several prominent players, the deck is just better Twin. It can combo kill a turn earlier, thanks to Opal, and is not really phased by targeted hate because it has a multiple, much better backup plans. If it didn't cost $600 for just 4 Urzas and 4 Opals (with or without the threat of ban), I'd absolutely be playing it myself.
I have to agree with you. I played the deck last night, starting with Tron twice. 2-0 and 2-1 and Tron is supposed to be a bad matchup. The game where I lost, I had 4 turns to draw Urza and win (had Sword and Foundry in hand). Lost to a draw by Esper Blade that I feel like beats any deck in the format except maybe a good draw by Tron.

I should clarify that I've been testing the deck for over a month. This was just the first time I've played it at FNM. But I've been jamming it against everything in testing.
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Post by Tzoulis » 1 year ago

Whirza decks are so strong because of Urza, not Opal. The deck existed way before Modern Horizons -I've been playing them since I started playing modern in 2013-2014- and at best was a Tier 2 contender. Urza just gave the deck it's combo finish and it's epic grinding ability (along with Astrolabe and Engineer).

The deck still loses to the same decks it did: Burn, Hyper Aggressive strategies (Mono-R prowess), Tron/Eldrazi (less so) with Karn TGC and Devoted Druid/Chord decks.

Banning opal will not even nerf the deck appreciably, because Urza still exists.

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