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

metalmusic_4
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Post by metalmusic_4 » 1 year ago

Thanks for making the polls. Good to see everyone moving over to the new site.

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Post by robertleva » 1 year ago

My Prediction:

Faithless Banned, SFM unbanned

I realize SFM is a longshot but I gotta feelin'.

Seriously though, Looting needs to go, it was degenerate before Hogaak. He is just the latest head on an endlessly growing hydra of problems with Faithless Looting.
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

That Stoneforge Mystic remains banned is an absolute embarrassment, a joke, and a meme by this point. She is so pitifully underpowered compared to the nonsense that takes place in every single top deck of the format. The fact that it's a "long shot" just goes to show how her placement on the banned list has literally nothing to do with her power level.

Watch her be unbanned and do absolutely nothing. (After the obligatory people-jamming-it-just-because phase, and it accidentally lucks it's way into some totally meaningless and non-representative 5-0 list of course).

My hope?
Bridge and/or Altar and/or Looting are banned.
Stoneforge and Twin are unbanned.

My realistic expectation?
Bridge or Altar or Hogaak are banned
Stoneforge or nothing unbanned.

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Post by TheAnswer » 1 year ago

While I definitely am in the same camp of thinking that SFM would be harmless in the current meta, (and have had my 4 beautiful promos waiting for over a year) I understand what Wizards is afraid of in unbanning her. In the history of unbans in Modern, there have not been any that provide the potential power of SFM before turn 4. Bitterblossom gives you a 1/1 a turn starting T3, Sword of the Meek is a combo-engine that potentially gets you a 1/1 flier for 1 mana after T2, but requires a second piece and being in the graveyard, Wild Nacatl is fine as a 3/3 on T2, and Ancestral Visions is just too slow most of the time, reloading hands on T4 or later. The other concern with SFM is that it would "homogenize" white decks, encouraging them to fit in 2-4 SFM and a suite of Batterskull and a couple Swords of X and Y. I know people love to argue this in an armchair-MtG-philosopher setting, but the reason for their fears is understandable. Only requiring 5-7 cards maindeck is a pretty low opportunity cost, and you don't need a heavy investment in white to play it out, just a single source T2 and onwards.

Many people would argue that, with how quick Modern is at the moment, it's laughable to even suggest people would seriously build a deck around SFM, let alone include her as a side plan when your opponent might mill you out T3, or just swing at you with an 8/8 Trampler, or have multiple Phoenixes/Awakened Horrors. Those are arguments as to why SFM might be tame right now, but the pendulum swings. Eventually, I believe, we'll see a slowing down of the format as a whole. I don't presume to know what will cause that, whether top strategies will be hit by bans, or more meaningful forms of graveyard hate become available, or some undiscovered brew winds up suppressing the fastest decks in the format. But I think one day we'll have a format where it would be much better, perhaps very, very good even, to cast a T2 SFM and threaten a recursive 4/4 Vigilance Lifelinker. In that world, if they had unbanned SFM, there could be an unhealthy amount of SFM plans in various archetypes, because as I stated, it doesn't take a whole lot of investment to run it.

An interesting consideration is her set-brother, Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Arguably the strongest Planeswalker ever printed, JtMS was unbanned when R&D admitted that he had originally been banned for simply being more powerful than the rest of the format, and they correctly recognized that Modern as a whole had advanced to the point where there simply were as powerful, or more powerful things you could do than JtMS. In addition, they simultaneously unbanned a reasonable "answer card" in Blood-Braid Elf, easily a more laughable inclusion on the banlist for her sacrifice for Deathrite Shaman's design mistake. In the event that things slowed down and JtMS threatened to become over-prevalent, there was a similarly costed hasty threat that came with added bonus, and conveniently took a Brainstormed Jace out in one hit. SFM does not have any similar "answer" on the banlist that could be added back in at the same time, though I imagine, if she was unbanned and became omnipresent, we'd see Kolaghan's Command rise as a common answer to her and the equipment she tutored up, but even then, that would still be using an often-2-for-1 card to meet par, trading one card for one creature and the artifact she tutored for. SFM is inherent card advantage in a raw sense, though without her the equipment is often more unwieldy. In essence, without a BBE-styled response to SFM, she threatens to potentially become a looming threat over the Modern landscape.

You could make the argument that they have unbanned potentially powerful cards before, in GGT, and just rebanned them once they became too strong. The big difference between GGT and SFM, though, is that GGT doesn't exactly fit into a whole heap of archetypes. It's pretty much just Dredge and maybe some version of DredgeVine (I wasn't paying much attention to that archetype around Dredge's dominance). So, by unbanning GGT, Wizards took a chance on a narrow card that was used in very few strategies, which happened to get other support in the next few years that proved to be over the top. SFM, however, isn't just a single-strategy kind of gal. She isn't an enabler, she isn't a payoff card, she's a fully wrapped package of efficient threat, from tutoring to deploying equipment early and at instant speed. There are parallels to each of the unbanned cards in SFM, but she is still slightly different from every one of them, and while I think she'd be fine now, there is absolutely the possibility that she would become dangerous, both in power level and in deck diversity suppression, down the road.

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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

TheAnswer wrote:
1 year ago
There are parallels to each of the unbanned cards in SFM, but she is still slightly different from every one of them, and while I think she'd be fine now, there is absolutely the possibility that she would become dangerous, both in power level and in deck diversity suppression, down the road.
with Hogaak Vine and to a certain extent Phoenix also running amok in the format, SFM is just a minor threat, and would be fine unban.

well, the argument that someday SFM might become a serious threat in Modern? That's also true, but modern has to be powered down a lot for that to happen. Would those days return when turn two tarmogoyf is considered a strong play, and Zoo decks are actually viable? Modern has just been scaling up in power and not showing signs of slowing down.
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

TheAnswer wrote:
1 year ago
SFM is inherent card advantage in a raw sense,
No it's not? Not in the least bit?
TheAnswer wrote:
1 year ago
without her the equipment is often more unwieldy
Without her, equipment is absolutely unplayable.
TheAnswer wrote:
1 year ago
In essence, without a BBE-styled response to SFM, she threatens to potentially become a looming threat over the Modern landscape.
This is absurd and laughable. More than a dozen specific answers already exist to deal with small creatures and artifacts. Many of them (like Abrade and Kolagan's Command) are easily main-decked without warping (Hi Surgical Extraction). She is considerably less powerful than just about everything in Modern. She would fall into random Tier 2+ strategies and add another layer to those decks, just like Bitterblossom did. It will in no way change the format whatsoever.

I feel like anyone arguing that SFM is too powerful or too good in Modern for whatever reason has some very skewed opinions about what Modern is and what its top decks are capable of.

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Post by TheAnswer » 1 year ago

A card that replaces itself is not raw card advantage? How would you define card advantage? The card it replaces itself is an equipment that probably costs more than itself, but at least by how I think of card advantage, if your opponent Doom Blades your SFM, your opponent is down a card and you have the same number of resources as you did before.

As I stated numerous times, I think that Modern as it sits right now would not be affected by SFM at all. My whole point was that, if the meta ever slows down, the issues SFM might present could become a big deal, and that helps to explain why Wizards has been hesitant to pull the trigger.

Judging by how you comported yourself in MtGS, I understand that you don't have any respect for Wizards' ability to make decisions for the health of the format, but if you go into every argument unwilling to listen to the other side, this thread will devolve just as the MtGS thread devolved, over and over and over again. I'd hope this site stays a little more composed.

To restate and hopefully clarify my previous post: My opinion is that SFM would not break Modern as it is right now. In addition, I can entertain the idea that, eventually, be it in six months, six years, whenever, the format might slow down, and in that slowed down meta, SFM might not be healthy for that slower format. I can understand this line of thinking holding back the B&R Committee from freeing our Kor girl.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

TheAnswer wrote:
1 year ago
My whole point was that, if the meta ever slows down
That will never happen without numerous additional bans.

Again, the entire point of my stance on SFM is that it is banned for a format that simply doesn't exist. And treating it as if this fantasy Modern exists, or will ever exist again, is patently naive.

For Stoneforge to ever be a realistic "problem" you would likely need to remove a dozen or more cards from the format. And simply hope that future sets don't speed up or break degeneracy, like they have consistently done for years.

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Post by hellgrammite » 1 year ago

What are peoples thoughts on restrictions, not bans for some modern cards?

With the london mulligan coming out, this might a lot of these decks still very good still, just slightly weaker in my view with card restrictions.

For example, Hogaak and faithless looting are limited to 2-ofs in any modern deck. (make modern restricted list 2-ofs vs 1-ofs that are found in vintage.)

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Post by TheAnswer » 1 year ago

hellgrammite wrote:
1 year ago
What are peoples thoughts on restrictions, not bans for some modern cards?

With the london mulligan coming out, this might a lot of these decks still very good still, just slightly weaker in my view with card restrictions.
MaRo has stated in the past that the Restricted part of the Restricted list exists only because Vintage is a format, where the whole point is that you can play with any card in Magic's history (minus banned card groups like Ante and Conspiracies). The Restricted list allows the format to be at least somewhat policed without going against the spirit of the format.

In other formats, restricting cards only creates more swingy games. Someone wins because they drew their copy of XYZ before the other person did. According to MaRo, a constant pressure of the game's upkeep is keeping games from being too consistent and too swingy. Somewhere in the middle is where the best Magic is played, and the Restricted list would just make things too swingy.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

TheAnswer wrote:
1 year ago
In other formats, restricting cards only creates more swingy games. Someone wins because they drew their copy of XYZ before the other person did. According to MaRo, a constant pressure of the game's upkeep is keeping games from being too consistent and too swingy.
This seems like a perfect justification to heavily dial back the graveyard abuse that is currently running rampant. While Hogaak is the maximum offending posterchild, there are numerous offenders that lead to games revolving around whether or not you draw GY hate. This used to be a ban criteria (GGT) and would be nice to see some semblance of consistency with their ban decisions.

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Post by TheAnswer » 1 year ago

Yep, I expect if we see a ban of a Hogaak piece the "battle of the sideboards" argument will be referenced, and hopefully at some point they'll realize both times they needed to reference it, it was in response to a graveyard strategy.

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Post by hellgrammite » 1 year ago

Yeah, I think you guys have sold me on some bannings. I would hate to see Faithless looting go though, since it leads to a lot of cool graveyard strategies (but can make a couple of cards too good as well.)

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Post by TheAnswer » 1 year ago

In the past, we've seen Wizards try to be a bit more surgical with bans. The last time there was a format-wide issue was the banning of Gitaxian Probe. A similar situation earlier this year was the banning of Krark-Clan Ironworks; they could have banned a generic tool that was seeing widespread play (Ancient Stirrings) but decided instead to go after the biggest issue at the moment, KCI, neutering the top deck in the format while leaving other colorless-matters decks unscathed. I expect we'll see a similar ban, if any, on Monday. Faithless Looting has wider applications than the most busted decks in the format, and hitting all of them for the sake of depowering Hogaak/Phoenix goes against what they've done most recently.

Add to this the fact that they've seemed alright with Phoenix's position in the meta so far, and I think we can expect a Hogaak/Bridge from Below/Altar of Dementia ban. I believe we would see Bridge banned before the other two, as Wizards has in the past done away with the older (read: not currently being sold in packs) piece of a troublesome deck (banning BBE instead of the Standard-legal Deathrite Shaman), and it would look very badly if the first straight-to-Modern set had one of its cards banned from the format it was intended for. It would reveal that the design/development was not as thorough as it needed to be, and if Wizards wants to get the greenlight to start MH2, that would be a black mark.

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Post by Simto » 1 year ago

How bad of a hit do you think a fun midrange deck like Mardu Pyromancer will take if Looting gets banned?
It's seeing a rise again lately and one of my friends is getting into the deck now after a long time of considering which deck to get into modern with.

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Post by metalmusic_4 » 1 year ago

I wait until Monday to make a recommendation on anything with looting on it. GW devoted druid looks good, or play anything else he wants. The whole format is in wild flux at the moment and Monday's announcement could really say anything. I wouldn't spend alot of money until after the announcement.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

No matter what happens in the announcement, what I want more than anything else is a long and detailed explanation of their choices for action, inaction, and their goals for the format going forward. They really need to be clear about whether they will continue to allow Turn 4 and "battle of sideboard" rules to be broken. Because if Modern becomes a "Turn 3" format, where it's nearly a requirement to main deck Surgical Extraction, the least they can do is put our minds at ease. Tell us that this is what they expect out of Modern, and that it's not changing any time soon.

If they give the usual "no changes, no explanation" then I will begin to start selling my paper cards.

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Post by Lord Seth » 1 year ago

Figure I might as well throw these statistics out:

According to MTG Top 8, the 5th played nonland maindeck card in the last 2 weeks is Surgical Extraction (top 4 are Faithless Looting, Lightning Bolt, Opt, and Path to Exile).

MTG Goldfish puts Surgical Extraction in 10th place, but they count both sideboard and maindeck play towards their play frequency, whereas MTG Top 8 only counts maindeck play. But it is notable that they have Leyline of the Void as the second most played Modern card.

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Post by Albegas » 1 year ago

Really bad I'd imagine. The only substitutes for Looting are Neonate, which is way less effective, and two cost outlets like Tormenting Voice or Chart a Course, which are slower. Not to mention that none of these options have flashback for reuse. If Looting does eat a ban, I would pray that we at least get Careful Study within the next year so that grave decks can still have a strong opening without having flash back. Or a red version with a goblin scholar art called Wasteful Study

EDIT:on mobile, responding to whoever asked about the effect of losing Looting on Pyromancer decks

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

Lord Seth wrote:
1 year ago
MTG Goldfish puts Surgical Extraction in 10th place, but they count both sideboard and maindeck play towards their play frequency, whereas MTG Top 8 only counts maindeck play. But it is notable that they have Leyline of the Void as the second most played Modern card.
Goldfish data is also weighted and skewed differently. They pull primarily from MTGO Leagues, and give more weight to cards with more copies per decklist. Naturally, Leyline is going to have more copies per list than Surgical. But again, Goldfish's data doesn't mean anything anyway, because it's pulled from League data, which is purposely not representative of the meta.

Numbers haven't meant anything for a long while. And I feel it's the single largest contributing factor to people thinking this mess Modern is in is "healthy." Because we simply don't have numbers that say otherwise. And the actively-misleading, false-diversity League reporting says 'all is well.'

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Post by Lord Seth » 1 year ago

Albegas wrote:
1 year ago
Really bad I'd imagine. The only substitutes for Looting are Neonate, which is way less effective, and two cost outlets like Tormenting Voice or Chart a Course, which are slower. Not to mention that none of these options have flashback for reuse. If Looting does eat a ban, I would pray that we at least get Careful Study within the next year so that grave decks can still have a strong opening without having flash back. Or a red version with a goblin scholar art called Wasteful Study

EDIT:on mobile, responding to whoever asked about the effect of losing Looting on Pyromancer decks
Honestly, I am a bit surprised as to why they put flashback on Faithless Looting. Careful Study was already good enough to see play in Standard as well as the larger formats (Extended and Legacy).

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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

Simto wrote:
1 year ago
How bad of a hit do you think a fun midrange deck like Mardu Pyromancer will take if Looting gets banned?
It's seeing a rise again lately and one of my friends is getting into the deck now after a long time of considering which deck to get into modern with.
really bad, Looting fills the yard fast for easy casting of Bedlam Reveler as well putting other goods into the yard. Someone already said it, but the 2 cmc spells are slow, have no flashback. And another thing is... looting draws first before discarding making it better than the other red dig spells.

I enjoy playing the deck, and own it on paper.. but won't be upset if looting get's a ban.. for the sake of weakening decks like phoenix and hogaak.
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Post by BlazingRagnarok » 1 year ago

Lord Seth wrote:
1 year ago
Honestly, I am a bit surprised as to why they put flashback on Faithless Looting. Careful Study was already good enough to see play in Standard as well as the larger formats (Extended and Legacy).
It's easy to say that in hindsight, but there's no way that they could have predicted that the card would take over a format. Dark Ascension released a little more than half a year after Modern's debut, meaning its cards were all designed before or at the same time as Modern, and Faithless Looting enjoyed many years in the format in which it was not in most top-tier decks.

It's one thing to discuss the present strength of Looting, but it would be absolutely absurd to imply that it was obvious, or even predictable at all, that some random draft common designed to support Innistrad/Dark Ascension limited's red/blue flashback archetype would take over a then-new format several years in the future.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

Faithless looting itself isn't necessarily the problem, the problem is that Wizards continues to print things which abused the graveyard. Those things that abuse the graveyard get better and better and better and better and better, so the cards that enable those graveyard abuses also get better.

What's the answer? I don't know. That's why I'm genuinely curious, and concerned, about the comments that they attach with their announcement tomorrow. They need to address their goals for the format, because it is not meeting those goals as originally stated, or aligning with previous bans.

There are a couple of options from here, some of which much easier to do than others. They could either ban a ton of cards, and completely reshaped the format into something that matches their stated goals. Or they simply change the goals of the format. I don't believe any other single action, including banning Hogaak alone, is going to address the larger problems facing a format that is trending towards speed and narrow hate cards. So either Wizards openly accepts what's going to happen with Modern, and they are honest with us with their goals moving forward, or they continue to let this spiral continue and hide behind their wall of falsely representative data.

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Post by Simto » 1 year ago

In case of a "%$#% graveyard decks" banning tomorrow, which decks do you think will take the place at the top if there's no dominating Phoenix or Hogak decks around?

Humans? Control? Tron? Urza?

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