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

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idSurge
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Post by idSurge » 2 years ago

I think the potency of Phoenix is being downplayed here, but anyway.

SCG Classic Top 8.

Eldrazi Tron 1st
Humans 2nd
Humans 3rd
Burn 4th
Izzet Phoenix
Colorless Eldrazi
Izzet Phoenix
Azorius Control

2 more phoenix in the top 16.

http://www.starcitygames.com/decks/Star ... r_MA_US/1/
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Post by cfusionpm » 2 years ago

BloodyRabbit wrote:
2 years ago
I fail to understand how people can be so scared of Izzet Phoenix.
What happens if it continues to put up Birthing Pod levels of competitive dominance? Like it did for 8 months prior to Hogaak taking over?

Aria of Flame doesn't mean anything in terms of speed, it's about resilience, difficulty to interact with, irrelevance of graveyard, and irrelevance of spells needing to resolve (Chalice). It's an excellent tool added to what was the best deck that enjoyed unparalleled competitive dominance like we have not seen since Pod was legal.

As noted earlier, we had similarly interesting results from an SCG IQ:

1) Izzet Phoenix
2) Harden Scales Affinity
3) Izzet Phoenix
4) Mono Red Prison
5) Izzet Phoenix
6) Grixis Urza
7) Grixis Urza
8) Boros Burn
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Post by Misguided1 » 2 years ago

Man I'm so ready to jam some E Tron at my LGS. I've been playing it online and it's so much fun. I've even had 2 4-1 leagues with it, which I'm very happy with.

I'm curious as to what the meta will look like in a month. I love the look of the new Jund superfriends using W6 and m20 chandra and I hope it helps bring in a fair metagame cycle, even if it's short lived.

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

Nobody says that it’s a bad deck. It’s a powerful one, but it has so,e major weaknesses.

UW (aka let’s jam as many Narset as possible) has the edge vs it,
Burn/RedPhoenix is slightly favored.
Green Tron isn’t easy.
GBx and BRx can be a nightmare if they see the right half of the deck.
Humans is favored preboard.

We’re talking about Tiers.

I, myself, play Phoenix (along with several other decks). It stomps most random strategies, but against ‘tiers’ is very balanced (often the opponent has the edge in g1).

The good points are always the same: it’s resilient, very consistent, it rarely loses by itself, can’t really draw the ‘wrong half’ of the deck, postboard it often becomes better due to its nature (and its ability to dig for answers).

Strong. But nowhere near broken.

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Post by idSurge » 2 years ago

No its not broken, but look at its Top 8's over the last what, 10 months? It's unquestionably one of, if not the, best decks in the format.
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Post by TheAnswer » 2 years ago

There is always going to be at least 1 top deck in Modern. I'll take Phoenix over HogaakBridge 100% of the time.

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Post by cfusionpm » 2 years ago

BloodyRabbit wrote:
2 years ago
[Phoenix is] Strong. But nowhere near broken.
Sure. I agree. Do you think decks that are just strong, but not broken should be banned? At what point does previous criteria of competitive diversity at the GP level come into play?

For reference:

Since Printing Phoenix until GP Yokohama (7 months)
Total GPs: 9
Total copies of Phoenix in T8: 14
Avg copies per GP: 1.55 (2, 2, 2, 1w, 2, 0, 2w, 2, 1)
Wins: 2

Twin in 2015 (Banned)
Total GPs: 8
Total copies of Twin in T8: 10
Avg copies per GP: 1.25 (3w, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1w, 0)
Wins: 2

Pod in 2014 (Banned)
Total GPs: 8
Total Copies of Pod in T8: 15
Avg copies per GP: 1.875 (1, 6w, 2, 0, 0, 3, 2w, 1w)
Wins: 3

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

idSurge wrote:
2 years ago
No its not broken, but look at its Top 8's over the last what, 10 months? It's unquestionably one of, if not the, best decks in the format.
Sure, I was pointing out something else. Nobody is denying that it’s a top Tier (although not the best),


cfusionpm wrote:
2 years ago
BloodyRabbit wrote:
2 years ago
[Phoenix is] Strong. But nowhere near broken.
Sure. I agree. Do you think decks that are just strong, but not broken should be banned? At what point does previous criteria of competitive diversity at the GP level come into play?
Twin wasn’t banned due to its results, but - according to Wotc - because it decreased diversity in the Ux shells (which means, if you’re playing U, then you should just play Twin). I believe this statement was wrong, but the explanation is the one I just reported, Pod was banned because of ‘the constraint it puts on the printing of new powerful creatures’. Again, it’s unrelated to the results of the deck.

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Post by Mapccu » 2 years ago

I'm curious if we have more GPs now than when pod was legal? Twin? I feel like the competitive scene is quite a bit more robust now, so that could be some noise? Asking here, I don't know the answer.

While I'd much rather play against Phoenix than t2 graveyard strats, Phoenix is quite dominant. I really think had MH1, WAR, Core 2020, and a new mulligan rule not all happened within a short timespan we absolutely could have seen action. I feel like the stance was wait and see, but the decks that would be good against Phoenix are getting chewed up elsewhere in the tournament hierarchy and can't slog through 14+ rounds. Decks that main yard and spell hate for example.

I actually think now is a pretty poor time to be playing creature decks that don't have strong recursion in them. Tribal decks just feel somewhat weak ATM because the answers to the threats have to be just as potent as the threats if not more to pull ahead. Phoenix requires an opponent to interact with the board, the yard, the stack and now enchantments all while having a serious recursive threat that the deck gets from just doing the other 3 gameplans. I can't really point you to another deck that can shift gears so easily except maybe affinity (damage, infect, aether grid are all solid game plans in the 75).

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Post by cfusionpm » 2 years ago

BloodyRabbit wrote:
2 years ago
Again, it’s unrelated to the results of the deck.
Huh? :thinking:
January 2016 B&R wrote:We also look for decks that hold a large enough percentage of the competitive field to reduce the diversity of the format.
Antonio Del Moral León won Pro Tour Fate Reforged playing Splinter Twin, and Jelger Wiegersma finished third; Splinter Twin has won two of the four Modern Pro Tours. Splinter Twin reached the Top 8 of the last six Modern Grand Prix. The last Modern Grand Prix in Pittsburgh had three Splinter Twin decks in the Top 8, including Alex Bianchi's winning deck.
January 2015 B&R wrote:Over the past year, Birthing Pod decks have won significantly more Grand Prix than any other Modern decks and compose the largest percentage of the field.
Pod won five of the twelve Grand Prix over the past year, including winning the last two. The high percentage of the field playing Pod suppresses decks, especially other creature decks, that have an unfavorable matchup.

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Post by TheAnswer » 2 years ago

Luckily, it doesn't matter what we think in terms of those old bans. They just are banned. Trying to say they never should have been banned is like arguing with a stone, nothing is going to change. As to the comparison between Phoenix and Pod/Twin, reading off stats doesn't give a full picture, but if you're trying to cherry pick complementing argument points, I guess that's fine.

Pod had won five of the twelve GPs, including the last two before it was banned, and WotC cited it was suppressing format diversity, "especially other creature decks, that have an unfavorable matchup." We see a ton of archetypes appearing over the last year, so I don't think Phoenix matches the criteria for Pod's ban. Let's move to Twin.

The final line of the Twin ban announcement is "In the interest of competitive diversity, Splinter Twin is banned from Modern." Twin had been in the T8 of the six GPs before it was banned, and had 3 copies in the final GP, which it won (not sure what that final 0 means in your list). WotC said that Twin had been pushing out the decks that it beat (you didn't want to play anything that couldn't instant-speed kill an Exarch on T3) while also supplanting similar archetypes (the article says that Temur Tempo had been an archetype that was swallowed up by the Twin combo). Let's compare to Phoenix. The hard numbers are worse; fewer number of GPs T8'd, same wins over a comparable period, and a lower maximum number of T8 slots in a single tournament. So Twin beats out Phoenix there. The other criteria; we don't see other graveyard strategies being pushed out by Phoenix; quite the contrary, we see that Dredge is the other top deck in Modern right now, and that is a completely disparate graveyard-based deck. Pushing out the decks it is favored against? This is a more close comparison; we saw Tron dropping in numbers before Hogaak put the final nail in the coffin, but I suspect we'll see Tron resurface with the London Mulligan's help. I can't really think of other archetypes that were pushed out specifically by Phoenix, but if you can think of any I'd be interested to hear them.

So I don't really think it's without ulterior motives that you bring up solely the GP results regarding two banned cards and Phoenix; it was never just for tournament results that either got banned, and asking if "decks that are just strong, but not broken, should be banned" is asking a question totally different from what the B&R Committee answered in 2015 and 2016.

The format has matured and evolved a heck of a lot in the last 3-4 years, and if you want to make an argument for Twin or Pod to be unbanned, please do, but if you want to make the comparison between vastly different eras of Modern, you can't just take a segmented viewpoint of individual data.

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

to reduce the diversity of the format
Yes, this part was evaluated several times by all the Pros in the period immediately after the bans, and they all (or most of them, as far as I remember) elaborated on it, agreeing about the decreasing in diversity due to the existence of the card itself.

It may be different for Pod, since I don’t specifically remember how they explained it, but i’m 100% sure about the Twin issue.

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Post by cfusionpm » 2 years ago

TheAnswer wrote:
2 years ago
The format has matured and evolved a heck of a lot in the last 3-4 years, and if you want to make an argument for Twin or Pod to be unbanned, please do, but if you want to make the comparison between vastly different eras of Modern, you can't just take a segmented viewpoint of individual data.
That's not at all the point I am making. I spent nearly a decade in service management and am now a teacher. Rules and consistency have been burned into my core for essentially all of my adult life. The main point is "If XYZ is not OK, then why is it allowed today?"
It's not about any particular deck, it's about consistency in application of rules. If we want to admit to ourselves that WOTC's ban criteria is essentially Who's Line Is It Anyway, where the reasons are made up and the points don't matter, I'd be inclined to agree. But let's not pretend that what Phoenix has done (and will continue to do) is OK after many of these same people have cheered and supported nearly every ban of the past, including decks that did exactly what Phoenix is doing: dominating, suppressing, and supplanting.

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

How is Phoenix suppressing anything, exactly?

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Post by TheAnswer » 2 years ago

cfusionpm wrote:
2 years ago
But let's not pretend that what Phoenix has done (and will continue to do) is OK after many of these same people have cheered and supported nearly every ban of the past, including decks that did exactly what Phoenix is doing: dominating, suppressing, and supplanting.
Did you not read my post? My whole argument was that Phoenix is not doing those things, at least not as much as Twin or Pod were. Consistency is important, but only insomuch as all other relevant variables remain the same. The environment, the surrounding archetypes, the availability of answers are all different from 3-4 years ago. Consistency is important when there isn't a reason to be inconsistent; if circumstances dictate that a different approach would be better than the tried and true, clinging to outdated tradition becomes a handicap.

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Post by cfusionpm » 2 years ago

BloodyRabbit wrote:
2 years ago
How is Phoenix suppressing anything, exactly?
Why would you play Storm? Blue Moon? Delver? Bloo? Or any number of objectively worse UR decks? It also thrashes on T2/3 piles and is resilient to targeted hate. What exactly is Phoenix doing that is different from what Twin was doing? What defense is there to keep Phoenix legal?
TheAnswer wrote:
2 years ago
Did you not read my post? My whole argument was that Phoenix is not doing those things, at least not as much as Twin or Pod were.
I did. I just didn't feel everyone wanted another repetative text wall showing all the parallels. I have a brief snip above this. I am also trying to avoid outright stating "Well if things have changed, we should re-evaluate the banned list" because that seems a given at this point from me. :nerd:

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Post by TheAnswer » 2 years ago

Storm is still a deck, it's less played than it was two years ago, but that's how Modern goes; decks can fluctuate between tiers over sufficiently long periods of time. Blue Moon was barely ever a tiered deck in my opinion, it was a way to capitalize on the format's weakness to Blood Moon. If there's a span where the format is weak to Blood Moon, the deck can convert, but other than that I wouldn't say not seeing it means anything is being suppressed. It barely had a presence except for when the stars align. For another example of this, look at Skred Red, a mono-red prison deck that spiked a GP (I think it was a GP) because it was tooled for the exact meta that showed up. Are people complaining Skred is being suppressed?

Delver is being suppressed by Gitaxian Probe's ban, nothing more. The deck was fun and used the card more fairly than anyone else in the format, but it paid the price for Infect/DS's hyper efficiency. Without Git Probe, I don't think we've seen Delver at all to any significant degree.

Bloo is the closest I'll come to agreeing that Phoenix is sharing someone else's real estate, but even then there are marked differences between the two decks. Bloo is a glass cannon deck that wins much much faster than Phoenix on its best draws, and if uninterrupted, but Phoenix has the resiliency and wider range of axes on which to fight. Bloo is a deck, but I don't think, were it not for Phoenix, we'd be seeing a lot more of Bloo. They're spell-based decks that win in combat more often than not, but one is recursively graveyard-focused, and the other is more straight-combo. I don't think Phoenix edges Bloo's position out too heavily, but there's definitely some overlap.

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Post by cfusionpm » 2 years ago

I am playing devil's advocate mostly. I don't actually think that these are actually being suppressed, I think they are just worse decks (just like how all the decks being "suppressed" by Twin were "suppressed" because they were just bad decks, and banning Twin didn't ever make them better).

I'm just trying to understand why players view Phoenix differently than Twin, when it is nearly the exact same scenario. And I don't just mean WOTC, but players who have parroted celebrations of the Twin ban for the past 3 and a half years. Why exactly is Phoenix OK? And if it is OK, should anything else on the banned list be re-evaluated? And if not, what is the justification for not?

Semi-related side note: saw this pop up on my facebook feed from some locals after Phoenix had a triple top 8 and won the local SCG IQ. The guy who posted it generally plays grindy interactive decks and this gave me a chuckle.
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Post by Necrofish » 2 years ago

The photoshop is terrible but it got a chuckle out of me.
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Post by TheAnswer » 2 years ago

I agree with the sentiment, but I'm not sure why it mentions MaRo; he has literally nothing to do with Modern, or the banlist. I guess, as a public figure, people just like to equate him to whatever they feel like griping over?

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 2 years ago

You know. I share the ideal that cards such as Splinter Twin and Stoneforge Mystic shouldn’t really be banned, as the format is right now.

But I don’t see your argument about Izzet Phoenix being a ‘better version’ of other decks, Bloo is an archetype which with I had the best winrate in Hogaak domination, as it is able to consistently turn three kill the opponent. Phoenix is, on the other hand, a turn five kill which is much, much more resilient, I don’t see the comparison. Some with Storm (Delver, well, has been long dead since years).

What Twin did was having a better or equal matchup against anything, compared to things such as Blue Moon or Storm. It was equally good at playing the Combo and the Control game, so regardless of facing Tron or Affinity it didn’t really have ‘worst part of the deck’ (except for when facing BGx),

Again, I do think that Twin (atm) wouldn’t even be a Tier due to several reasons. But that’s it.

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Post by LeoTzu » 2 years ago

Honestly, I don't think a lot of people view Phoenix differently than Twin.

I was taken aback by the Twin ban. It felt undeserved at the time and it still does seem strange with how the current Modern landscape is. I just think that most people don't feel as outraged about it and they've moved on. Twin is banned. For better or worse, that's the truth. Does it belong on the Banlist? There's a pretty good case that it doesn't. It's true that there are some inconsistencies with how they approach the banlist, but if it is true that Phoenix and Twin are such similar scenarios, wouldn't banning something from Phoenix on the same grounds as Twin be doubly as bad? If Twin set a bad precedent, then does condemning another deck for the same "crime" make it justice, or repeating the same mistake?

Twin (along with a handful of other cards on the banlist) would all probably be fine in the format. It likely won't happen because WotC has a risk-averse strategy when it comes to unbannings.

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Post by idSurge » 2 years ago

The suppression angle is documented, and proven false. I dont particularly (aka at all) care about what 'pros' said, because outside an absolute fraction of the pro player base, none of them have an actual clue as to a nuanced understanding of the format.

That said, Twin talk should take a page out of Nevermore flavour. It is literally pointless to discuss, but ktk (and myself, and tronix) have already proven that at any level you care to pull data (if you can find it) there was no 'suppression'.

There was a good deck, and bad tier 2/3 decks. Just like post ban, just like last year, and just like today.
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Post by TheAnswer » 2 years ago

Bless my stars, monoU Tron. What an interesting T8. Grain of salt, as always for Modern Challenges, but this is a pretty promising look at the meta. Doubles of Humans, Burn, and U Tron, of all things. Quite an interesting peek of potential things to come. And no UR Phoenix in the top 32 at all?? Curiouser and curiouser.

I wonder if Hogaak really is more than a Tier 0 flash in the pan, and might stick around as an archetype. Part of me thinks people just didn't plan for it to be around, but from a cursory glance it appears there are a good amount of graveyard hate in the sides.

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Post by cfusionpm » 2 years ago

LeoTzu wrote:
2 years ago
Honestly, I don't think a lot of people view Phoenix differently than Twin.

I was taken aback by the Twin ban. It felt undeserved at the time and it still does seem strange with how the current Modern landscape is. I just think that most people don't feel as outraged about it and they've moved on. Twin is banned. For better or worse, that's the truth. Does it belong on the Banlist? There's a pretty good case that it doesn't. It's true that there are some inconsistencies with how they approach the banlist, but if it is true that Phoenix and Twin are such similar scenarios, wouldn't banning something from Phoenix on the same grounds as Twin be doubly as bad? If Twin set a bad precedent, then does condemning another deck for the same "crime" make it justice, or repeating the same mistake?

Twin (along with a handful of other cards on the banlist) would all probably be fine in the format. It likely won't happen because WotC has a risk-averse strategy when it comes to unbannings.
I actually agree with all of this. It just gets under my skin watching another deck doing the exact same thing, and people defending it as being totally fine. The same people defending Phoenix have also, over the last several years, berated, insulted, and demoralized anyone who had the audacity to say Twin was fine or its ban was a mistake. So needless to say, it's just a wee bit infuriating to see the double standard of players saying Phoenix is fine while spending the last several years saying a deck which was functionally identical to the meta, was not.

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