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

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

Tomatotime wrote:
1 year ago
This statement to some extent implies that Modern's problems with degenerate gameplay started in and are exclusive to 2019, they are not.
Before I respond to this in detail, what other elements/decks/cards do you believe are problematic?
They already did this back in Kaladesh when they gave us Fatal Push, they had long form articles going over how they strayed from the correct path and answers were too weak compared to threats and they promised to learn from it, they did not. What makes you think that them admitting fault once more will change anything?
Admitting fault alone won't change anything. Admitting fault as a signal of a broader internal change, however, will. The problem goes beyond just a lack of generic answers. It's also, as you noted below, external pressure on designers to push cards to sell packs.
I don't know how relevant Play Design actually is to the current state of affairs, in a recent livestream with Melissa and Paul Cheon they, in no uncertain terms explained that they were instructed to push Oko, for whatever reason people want to believe. At this point if Play Design is nothing more than a for show team of people who "double check" R&D's work, then it serves no purpose than to reassure and placate the masses.
Play Design is clearly still one of the relevant bodies. They did not do their job with Field, Oko, or any of the other broken Standard cards that might be banned. Or Hogaak for that matter. Or probably many of the WAR walkers. They might be getting external pressure to push cards like Oko, but that doesn't mean they are absolved from bad testing. There was a way to make Oko a chase planeswalker without making him a multi-format staple that is soon to be banned in multiple formats.
Curious, which survey results are you speaking of? Did they talk about it on any of their platforms?
Tried to find it on blogatog/Maro design columns, but couldn't remember or identify good search terms. On a few of those sources, he's mentioned how players don't like their high investment spells getting answered so easily. They also talked about how Wizards has diversified removal/countermagic so players must weigh pros/cons of using different spells, e.g. Negate vs. Essence Scatter. This has eliminated generic catch-alls like true Counterspell because that card would just be the go-to over all the other countermagic flavors. They've also discussed this regarding removal. Of course, this makes it very difficult to reliably interact with varied threats, which is one of the reasons both Standard and other formats are in the current mess. Not the only reason, mind you; the threats are probably too pushed regardless. But it's a big issue.
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Tron seems to be an underlying issue of modern that does not get banned, because every year modern is broken and the broken decks have a bye against tron.
Tron would be more acceptable if there was better interaction against its most broken elements. Imagine if we had a relevant Wasteland alternative, or even a proper FoW to allow decks to answer T3 haymakers and get on board. Tron would also be more acceptable if Wizards stopped indirectly upgrading Tron every few sets with pushed cards: Ballista, Ulamog, Blast Zone, Karn the Great Creator, etc.

It's also way too subjective to make a case that Tron is secretly keeping back the entire Modern format. What's the evidence for that? Its MWP spectrum has never been problematic, its win-rate has never been problematic, and with only one semi-exception (a bad 2018 GP), its metagame share has never been problematic. I know a vocal contingent of Moderners like to support this view, but it's just hard to support in any actual data. I'm open to it being an issue, but show us the numbers or at least something beyond just a gut feel.

As for ramp generally, Pioneer is going to have these types of Tron decks. Nykthos strategies will likely remain even after more bans, as will Field strategies (barring a Field ban itself). As for Modern, we'll still have both Titanshift and Amulet Titan as ramp alternatives even if Tron went away. Those decks would remain strongly positioned in a post-Tron metagame, especially Amulet. You can't ban your way out of these problems without truly sweeping bans which are simply too costly for the Modern playerbase. These bans would also only be temporary solutions until Wizards printed its way into still further problems. The only lasting solution is to help Wizards understand, and for them to act on that understanding, that the current development/design philosophy is fundamentally broken. Whether its failed Play Design testing, caving to marketing pressures, misguided philosophy, etc., the end result will be persistent, broken metagames with continued multi-format bans. This will erode player confidence to new lows and we'll see a playerbase even more exhausted than what we're currently experiencing.
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Post by drmarkb » 1 year ago

What I said on the pioneer thread I will partially repeat here. Apologies if you have read it there.
The issue is Johhny big monster. He (nearly always a he) is a sulk puss. He wants to cast his stuff. He is the guy who hates it when you concede, and thinks you a bad sport if you concede when you have lost. He hates Counterspells, hates his stuff dying one for one without even an attack, and he hates a planeswalker he can't activate. Pandering to him is a cancer on the game, and it is what they have been doing for years. He was the reason why you kept getting smashed by a T4 Emrakul. He is the reason Reflector mage got a ban preemptively. Trying to please him and his ilk does not actually work, sooner or later he will rage quit and move on, before peiodically returning . I would wager his favourite colour is green and then black, his least favourite blue and white.

Enough pro writers have complained about threats v answers these past two years that we have had some action. Veil, Spyglass, Leyline of C, spring to mind. Ok Veil maybe too good, for some formats, but it was a start. Maybe the next two will have better answers. Then again, maybe not, but I would wager as long as Johnny big monster is a target demographic it won't matter what a few vociferous Spikes say online nor who they have on Play Design

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

drmarkb wrote:
1 year ago
What I said on the pioneer thread I will partially repeat here. Apologies if you have read it there.
The issue is Johhny big monster. He (nearly always a he) is a sulk puss. He wants to cast his stuff. He is the guy who hates it when you concede, and thinks you a bad sport if you concede when you have lost. He hates Counterspells, hates his stuff dying one for one without even an attack, and he hates a planeswalker he can't activate. Pandering to him is a cancer on the game, and it is what they have been doing for years. He was the reason why you kept getting smashed by a T4 Emrakul. He is the reason Reflector mage got a ban preemptively. Trying to please him and his ilk does not actually work, sooner or later he will rage quit and move on, before peiodically returning . I would wager his favourite colour is green and then black, his least favourite blue and white.
I agree this is a persistent problem. It will continue to be a problem, resulting in multi-format bans, until Wizards makes big changes at a few levels.
Enough pro writers have complained about threats v answers these past two years that we have had some action. Veil, Spyglass, Leyline of C, spring to mind. Ok Veil maybe too good, for some formats, but it was a start. Maybe the next two will have better answers. Then again, maybe not, but I would wager as long as Johnny big monster is a target demographic it won't matter what a few vociferous Spikes say online nor who they have on Play Design
To be clear, I think Veil is in a separate category. It's not really a generic answer so much as it is an answer to answers. But interestingly, there is significant reason to believe Wizards truly viewed it as an answer. In fact, we have a sample of the design file on Veil from the Core 202 M Files article to answer some of these questions:
https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/a ... 2019-07-19
We probably spent more time designing Veil of Summer than we did on all the other cards in the cycle combined. Our first version of this card was the obvious fight spell, like Hunt the Hunter from Theros. It dealt damage equal to your creature's power to target blue or black creature or planeswalker. That design had some problems. First, you needed a creature in play for the card to even do anything. Against a controlling color combination like blue-black, that's a hard thing to ask for. I felt that a bigger problem with the old design was that it killed creatures and planeswalkers, when blue and black were more focused in playing spells to interact with you. We wanted a hate card that was strong against what blue and black were doing, like using removal and discard spells, and felt that a creature and planeswalker hate spell wasn't going to cut it.
This is a fascinating series of insights into Veil, none of which inspire any confidence in Play Design. To start, they clarify this is part of the color hate cycle. Wizards clarifies the intent of that cycle when discussing Fry in the same article:
We made this cycle alongside our decision to bring back protection in M20. There were several reasons for bringing back protection, and you can read about why in last week's M-Files, but one of the reasons was to give players obvious sideboard cards to play when an environment calls for it.... We wanted to make sideboard cards that are clear and clean answers to powerful cards in the environment.
They really are looking for "clear and clean answers to powerful cards in the environment." They just did this very, very badly. Veil is particularly egregious because they spent the most time designing the card and still came up with a monster. They also got rid of a removal version of Veil that would have surely been bad (a sort of fight mechanic) in favor of this busted 1 CMC Cryptic Command. The testing rollercoaster this must have went through to get there is baffling, and gives me minimal confidence in Play Design's current direction. I really want this team to be effective but reading these kinds of notes are just painful. The fact that they thought Veil was the appropriate blue/black answer (super overpowered) and red got Fry that can't actually kill the follow-up set's marquee plansewalker is embarasing.
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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
Tomatotime wrote: ↑5 hours ago
This statement to some extent implies that Modern's problems with degenerate gameplay started in and are exclusive to 2019, they are not.
Before I respond to this in detail, what other elements/decks/cards do you believe are problematic?
This is certainly a big question, and the answer will change depending on the person which on some level makes it even less helpful. But to me the main problematic decks/cards are ones that end the game abruptly with no reasonable opportunity for counter play, in fact now that I think about it, even the abrupt aspect of that might not always fit. An example of a deck that ends the game abruptly with little chance for counter play would be Tron, an example I could give for a deck that does not end the game abruptly but also gives little room for counter play would be Lantern Control. I will spare you some grand list of cards I want banned on some dream ban list update, that isn't really all that important, for me the important issue is for Wotc to take an overriding philosophy towards the format such that the format isn't actively hostile to fair decks, the reason why I would use this as a barometer for success is the play experience of the average person. I don't want a format where people driver for hours, and perhaps even fly out to big events, just to get stomped by some complete cancer pile with no conceivable chance. I would add that perhaps even the FNM experience is more important than the larger tournament experience as that may be a more accurate indicator of format health.
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
Admitting fault alone won't change anything. Admitting fault as a signal of a broader internal change, however, will. The problem goes beyond just a lack of generic answers. It's also, as you noted below, external pressure on designers to push cards to sell packs.
Okay but how exactly do we identify a "signal of a broader internal change" that seems like wishful thinking, especially after all these years.
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
Tried to find it on blogatog/Maro design columns, but couldn't remember or identify good search terms. On a few of those sources, he's mentioned how players don't like their high investment spells getting answered so easily. They also talked about how Wizards has diversified removal/countermagic so players must weigh pros/cons of using different spells, e.g. Negate vs. Essence Scatter. This has eliminated generic catch-alls like true Counterspell because that card would just be the go-to over all the other countermagic flavors. They've also discussed this regarding removal. Of course, this makes it very difficult to reliably interact with varied threats, which is one of the reasons both Standard and other formats are in the current mess. Not the only reason, mind you; the threats are probably too pushed regardless. But it's a big issue.
Well if that was posted after Kaladesh block and they have actually been acting on this feedback than that is quite disturbing. Not sure what reliable methods we have to push back against it though, because again, Reddit is an echo chamber and Reddit is Wotc's discussion platform of choice after they shut down their internal forums.
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
It's also way too subjective to make a case that Tron is secretly keeping back the entire Modern format. What's the evidence for that? Its MWP spectrum has never been problematic, its win-rate has never been problematic, and with only one semi-exception (a bad 2018 GP), its metagame share has never been problematic. I know a vocal contingent of Moderners like to support this view, but it's just hard to support in any actual data. I'm open to it being an issue, but show us the numbers or at least something beyond just a gut feel.
This is ultimately the meat of the matter that you and me will forever see from opposing view points. You want a quantifiable reason to get rid of certain decks/cards, the reality is that this is a much bigger ask than people might think. If we were to look at Modern, and see ALL of the various gold-fish/linear/combo decks in the format, the combined metagame share would be insane, but the individual metagame share of the individual decks making up that whole would be small, so small that people operating from your data driven stand point would ignore. The reason for this is one of Moderns greatest strengths, it has always been a format where a large quantity of decks can exist, content creators like Saffron Olive became big names within the community because of this very quality of Modern. And since there are so many gold fish style decks, all that really matters is how fast that can win, and as long as its within an acceptable range in terms of Modern power levels, the rest simply comes down to player choice/prefference.

Now what effect this ultimately has on data, is that barring a Hogaak/Eye of Ugin level catastrophe occurring, none of these problematic decks will realistically ever have a high enough metagame share to actually be bannable in your eyes. What this means to the average player however, is that the format is simply riddled with problematic decks from top to bottom, and if this creates a miserable metagame, they have no recourse, because the data says nothing is wrong.

But just because the data does not say anything is wrong, doesn't mean that that is the case, again, you can't calculate fun on a spreadsheet and fun is required for the long term health of any format. And the consequence of, for all these years, not even allowing fun to have a seat at the table in terms of ban list discussions, is a large section of the Modern playerbase has not formed a loyalty to this format, why would they if they have a miserable time playing in it? And with the advent of Pioneer, they have a way out, and they are taking it.

Now let me close by saying this, I recognize with above statements that I largely have the opinon that is Modern were to be "saved" it would require the mass banning of a LOT of cards to bring it back down to Earth, I recognize this will not happen, HOWEVER, this level of extreme action does not need to be taken to make Pioneer into a workable and enjoyable format, it is a much lower bar for success in my opinion. And if fun is made a central focus of Pioneer than it will, in my opinion create a much healthier format with a lot more good will.

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Post by drmarkb » 1 year ago

[mention]ktkenshinx[/mention]
Totally odd on the set of colour/color hosers, I am totally in agreement, but then again how many cycles have been awesome in one colour-think Cryptic vs. Incendiary command. They have always had basic compression issues- like the fact that CIP tapped hurts RG more than UW.

The problem is Veil of Autumn did nothing, maybe a Veil of late Summer with Scry would have done the job, maybe not. Scry 3 maybe. If the card just gives hexproof it won't get play- reactive cards need to do something else to be worth a board slot in a colour that taps out for critters. Maybe a copy ability- you Thoughtseize me, I Thoughtseize you- that could still act as a counter to a counter if worded correctly. There must be middle ground?


Modern still has a stupid one cc imbalance- black gets to Thoughtseize, white gets what now? A Savannah Lion with an upside. Now if white had Enlightened Tutor I could dig it. One reason why I disliked Jund jamming hate bears- why should black shards get a super t1 and whites' best weenie at one cc be near unplayable? If you play a removal heavy deck with discard there needs to be stuff that slips under it you cannot easily deal with, exactly as there should be for countespells. Someone decided that they wanted great critters to start at 2cc, so we get the best part of a decade of Aether Vial being the only white play, bar Judge's Familiar or Dryad Militant, whilst the Jund/k players got bolt and discard. The Giver of Runes was five years too late, by the time it arrived it came with Hoogy and Urza.
Sadly that is modern all over- lopsidedness between strategies and cycles. Legacy has less of an issue because of, yes, Force, Wasteland, Chalice, 3 sphere, Crop Rotation, Delvers, Moons, Back to Basics and Moxen. Everyone gets fast mana or free stuff, everyone can hate on spells, lands, hands, bins, even True Name has Council's Judgement waiting for it. Even then Planeswalkers are doing their best to ruin the format.

My feeling is the Play Design team have someone on their shoulder telling them "what the data says players want" and that is a damn awful way to design a game- give the monkey a choice and it fills the world with bananas, not infinite typewriters. Someone needs to lose their job, and since he is a noted data man with some clout, I suspect it should be Maro. Data is as good as those who understand the bigger picture, I don't think he does, unless I am doing him a disservice and someone higher is in the game who values short term sales over long term health, or who wishes to nefariously move the game to primarily digital.
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Post by iTaLenTZ » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
They really are looking for "clear and clean answers to powerful cards in the environment." They just did this very, very badly. Veil is particularly egregious because they spent the most time designing the card and still came up with a monster. They also got rid of a removal version of Veil that would have surely been bad (a sort of fight mechanic) in favor of this busted 1 CMC Cryptic Command. The testing rollercoaster this must have went through to get there is baffling, and gives me minimal confidence in Play Design's current direction. I really want this team to be effective but reading these kinds of notes are just painful. The fact that they thought Veil was the appropriate blue/black answer (super overpowered) and red got Fry that can't actually kill the follow-up set's marquee plansewalker is embarasing.
I will keep saying this. Dead wood has driven into Wizards. Forsyth and Maro are dinosaurs who are becoming a meme. Its time to clean the house. Apparently nobody at Wizards has enough self reflection, self criticism and there is nobody who evaluates them either. Players vote with their wallet. Standard collapsed and many won't return. With or without bans people will quit. Modern has been a sinking ship since MH and people are massively leaving to Pioneer hence all the Modern staples are crashing on the secondary market which is the clearest sign of it.

I expect Legacy to become even bigger than Modern within 2 years because its a more stable, less degenerated format. The sad part is I love my modern deck. Its one of the most fun decks I have ever played but its a midrange value creature based deck which has NO place in current Modern.

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Post by True-Name Nemesis » 1 year ago

Nah. Legacy is a great format but the cost of multi-coloured mana-bases in paper is just too prohibitive for it to ever be bigger than Modern unless the reserved list goes. An 'affordable' non-blue competitive Legacy deck still runs about 1-1.5k USD. UW decks get away with running just 1 dual but those are still just shy of 2k. Most other blue decks run upwards of 2.5k.

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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

legacy become bigger than modern? I got out of that format.. no... our entire playgroup got out of that format because legacy is literally on life support with the reserved list. Sold all my original duals, and up to this day I have no regrets. And it took so looooooong.. as long as long cat.. before anyone bought them on facebook. Celebrated the day they got bought.
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Post by metalmusic_4 » 1 year ago

So..... what are the predictions for tomorrow?

I expect:
-oko banned in standard.
-something banned from the urza deck in modern. (Most likely urza himself, maybe astrolabe or mox opal but either of those by themselves won't weaken the deck enough).
-who knows what they will ban in pioneer! (Maybe field of the dead, nykthos or copter?)

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Post by iTaLenTZ » 1 year ago

I think I already said it some pages before.

What should happen:
Standard: OUaT, Oko, Veil of Summer
Pioneer: Field of the Dead, Nissa, Oko, OUaT, TC, DTT, Copter
Modern: Oko, OUaT, Urza, W6, Veil of Summer, Emry
Legacy: W6, Chancellor of the Annex
Vintage: I don't follow the format any more so I have no idea.

What will happen:
Standard: OUaT, Nissa and Veil of Summer (This would greatly reduce the consistency of turn 2 Oko, no longer give an overwhelming endgame and no 1CC protection for Oko making Oko and green in general somewhat bearable)
Pioneer: Field of the Dead, OUaT, Copter
Modern: Nothing, they don' care and need to sell MH packs and banned Standard/Pioneer cards.
Legacy: Nothing, they don' care and need to sell MH packs and banned Standard/Pioneer cards.

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

Wow, those are some bold choices!

Finally someone feels the same as myself about OUaT. I am still kind of on the fence about whether it is a powerful, Modern-appropriate card or not, but yeah, it's probably safer to ban there as well. Did I miss something with Field of the Dead? Has it reared its ugly head in Pioneer as well?
Standard - Will pick up what's good when paper starts
Pre Modern - Do not own anymore
Pioneer - DEAD
Modern - Amulet Titan, Elementals, Trollementals, BR Asmo/Goryo's, Yawmoth Chord
Legacy - No more cards, will rebuy Sneak Show when I can
Limited - Will start when paper starts
Commander - Nope

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
That said, if you are looking for interactive magic, I won't suggest you to stay in modern currently. Its literally a format where a major tournament just showed no control and traditional jund deck was present at day 2, which by all data point, in whatever way you cut it, sucks.
We know we can't extrapolate format-wide conclusions from insular events like the Invitational. These are events where many players will audible to a widely known "best deck," which naturally leads to warped metagames. Add in the pressure of Pioneer with people prioritizing their Pioneer testing (it's also a shiny new thing which players want to test), and we have a Modern that may not be representative of anything. We'll need the Modern GP results to really know what the format looks like. Besides, even if we do isolate this non-representative event, Death's Shadow strategies had the most representatives in the top player bracket. I think we can all agree this is an interactive, skill-intensive deck. I know some will actually disagree with this characterization because they have this narrow view that interaction = a specific type of UWx Control and BGx Midrange, but that personal preference doesn't change the fact that Death's Shadow decks are running 16+ interactive spells.
As a player who wants to play an attrition deck, I have decided that modern is not the place to do that. I have my deck that I love (amulet), but I never try to get cute with cryptic commands again. Instead I will play such a deck in pioneer, especially post once/field (and maybe nykthos) bans.
There is currently no supported, contemporary format where you can "get cute" with Cryptic-like effects. Standard, Pioneer, and Modern are unkind to these strategies for the significant design-level decisions we have been discussing for the past few pages. Switching formats is not going to change that because Wizards is going to continue to break these formats barring a major change in their approach to design and where they hear input from.
drmarkb wrote:
1 year ago
My feeling is the Play Design team have someone on their shoulder telling them "what the data says players want" and that is a damn awful way to design a game- give the monkey a choice and it fills the world with bananas, not infinite typewriters. Someone needs to lose their job, and since he is a noted data man with some clout, I suspect it should be Maro. Data is as good as those who understand the bigger picture, I don't think he does, unless I am doing him a disservice and someone higher is in the game who values short term sales over long term health, or who wishes to nefariously move the game to primarily digital.
I agree Play Design and Wizards broadly is both using data and using it badly. Or, at least, using it inconsistently. On the one hand, they have done a decent job of using data to inform some bans. They've also acknowledged, whether from data or other sources, that Standard environments do need some level of generic answers. The Veil discussion makes this explicit, and we've seen it with Push, Trophy, and other answers in the past. Of course, these answers are still wildly underpowered compared to the threats they are also printing, but that's not necessarily an issue with data usage. Or rather, it's an issue with data informing both the answer quality and the proactive threat quality without considering the intersection of those designs. If you are letting sales data drive powerful, proactive, mythic rare design and letting survey data drive an increase in generic answers, you're going to see one of those outpace the other. You can fix this by returning to card design principles that existed for decades before Wizards got flooded with data, improving those principles with data but not letting it totally guide your set design show.
iTaLenTZ wrote:
1 year ago
I will keep saying this. Dead wood has driven into Wizards. Forsyth and Maro are dinosaurs who are becoming a meme. Its time to clean the house. Apparently nobody at Wizards has enough self reflection, self criticism and there is nobody who evaluates them either. Players vote with their wallet. Standard collapsed and many won't return. With or without bans people will quit. Modern has been a sinking ship since MH and people are massively leaving to Pioneer hence all the Modern staples are crashing on the secondary market which is the clearest sign of it.
I like Maro and Forsythe, but also agree that, at least publicly, they sometimes struggle with self reflection and self criticism. They always speak with extreme confidence about Magic-wide principles, and let's face it, some of those principles have been very wrong both this year and in the past. The prime example of this is Forsythe's continued insistence that a certain card is unsafe on the banlist (see Sword and SFM for glaring Twitter examples of this).
I expect Legacy to become even bigger than Modern within 2 years because its a more stable, less degenerated format. The sad part is I love my modern deck. Its one of the most fun decks I have ever played but its a midrange value creature based deck which has NO place in current Modern.
True-Name Nemesis wrote:
1 year ago
Nah. Legacy is a great format but the cost of multi-coloured mana-bases in paper is just too prohibitive for it to ever be bigger than Modern unless the reserved list goes. An 'affordable' non-blue competitive Legacy deck still runs about 1-1.5k USD. UW decks get away with running just 1 dual but those are still just shy of 2k. Most other blue decks run upwards of 2.5k.
The Fluff wrote:
1 year ago
legacy become bigger than modern? I got out of that format.. no... our entire playgroup got out of that format because legacy is literally on life support with the reserved list. Sold all my original duals, and up to this day I have no regrets. And it took so looooooong.. as long as long cat.. before anyone bought them on facebook. Celebrated the day they got bought.
As TNN and Fluff said, there is just no way Legacy becomes bigger than Modern barring an utter collapse of tournament support. You simply can't play Legacy on a long-term large scale with the Reserved List holding it back. You also can't play Legacy if major tournament providers completely drop support; see SCG and, likely, Wizards at the GP level. Legacy will still survive as a Magic niche, especially overseas from North America, but it will gradually die out. Modern will stick around for as long as Wizards, SCG, and other major event providers offers Modern event support. Of course, I think Pioneer is going to take off in a huge way once the banlist settles, and you'll just see Modern players, and Standard alumni, migrate to whatever nonrotating format gets the most event and product support.

Re: bans
Prediction #1: Many Standard bans to repair a fundamentally %$#% format. No Modern bans because R&D is focusing solely on fixing their marquee, money-making format. They simply don't have time to look at Modern data in any rigorous way, and there's a GP right on the horizon.

Prediction #2: Also many Standard bans, and then an Urza-targeted ban in Modern. This ban would probably not be Oko because they need Oko to retain value after he dies in Standard. Urza himself would be the likeliest candidate, because his overall shell still exists as a Whir prison deck or Sword/Foundry combo deck without Urza. I don't have access to any data that demands this deck get banned, but from what I have seen anecdotally, it fits the definition of a best deck with an overall positive MWP spectrum. This was true as early as Hogaak summer, which I observed in a Hogaak summer article, and I and others have said Urza was the secret/not-so-secret best deck in Modern for months. So if anything gets banned, it would be from this deck.
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
They simply don't have time to look at Modern data in any rigorous way, and there's a GP right on the horizon.
This implies that they ever actually look at things in a rigorous way. Or at least in a way that that is influenced by a strong understanding of the format, deck construction, or the ways decks interact with each other.

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Post by Bearscape » 1 year ago

I'm gonna make an incredibly unlikely prediction. Tomorrow we will see an unprecedented change: functional errata, turning Oko's +1 into a -1.

Why:
1. They REALLY don't want to ban Oko, he sells packs and is the face of the set, but not doing anything clearly is not an option. Errataing him means not having to ban him
2. Oko's +1 not being a -1 is often quoted as the major issue with the card, and an admitted design mistake by RnD
3. Although Oko is only really busted in Standard, the hate for the card seems to be universal across formats
4. This errata would be incredibly minor, literally changing one symbol on a card
5. Magic Arena being pushed makes functional errata less troublesome than it was before; we've already seen "quality of life" errata for Ajani's Pridemage
6. This is a post on the internet and there will be no consequence of me being wrong whilst receiving infinite smug points if I turn out correct.

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Post by iTaLenTZ » 1 year ago

They will keep Oko legal and change the PW rule. From now on putting loyalty counters is no longer a cost but goes on the stack as part of the ability. This change would hit all 2-3 mana overpowered PW's rather than just Oko.

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Post by Yawgmoth » 1 year ago

Bearscape wrote:
1 year ago
I'm gonna make an incredibly unlikely prediction. Tomorrow we will see an unprecedented change: functional errata, turning Oko's +1 into a -1.
This is the conflict that WotC currently faces in a world where they are directly competing with Hearthstone.

Will they start issuing functional errata in Arena? If so, how will this effect paper? It's possible that Pioneer is the limit to the functional errata, or maybe current standard moving forward.

It would change the economy of paper cards moving forward. It would make the market very unstable because the cards could change at any time. WotC would also have to figure out how to deal with extant copies of non-errated cards; a buyback/trade in program?

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Post by MashedPotato » 1 year ago

iTaLenTZ wrote:
1 year ago
They will keep Oko legal and change the PW rule. From now on putting loyalty counters is no longer a cost but goes on the stack as part of the ability. This change would hit all 2-3 mana overpowered PW's rather than just Oko.
I quite I like that idea, there is already "counterspells" that target activated abilities so would make a good impact.

I haven't been to an FNM for a few weeks now, with Pioneer out I feel a little "unwelcome" to go to my LGS and play, unwelcome in the sense that everything is so disorganised. I think Modern itself is still in a good spot gameplay wise, outside of what points have been raised above and prior, it can be fixed but will require a big input some all vested parties to get it back to where it needs to be.

I have been feeling the need to sell out of a couple of decks (keep my Esper Control, GDS, R Prowess) and liquidate the rest and move my Izzet Phoenix shell to Pioneer legal making that my primary deck in that format.

The modern prices are hurting also, I want to buy into some other cards, but bit mindful of the fluctuating prices and not wanting to buy cards in a slowing format.

I can see more and more why Commander as a format is picking up, as the players make more input into the format and keep it fair unlike other WOTC driven formats.
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Post by Tzoulis » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
Besides, even if we do isolate this non-representative event, Death's Shadow strategies had the most representatives in the top player bracket. I think we can all agree this is an interactive, skill-intensive deck. I know some will actually disagree with this characterization because they have this narrow view that interaction = a specific type of UWx Control and BGx Midrange, but that personal preference doesn't change the fact that Death's Shadow decks are running 16+ interactive spells.
GDS is like Splinter Twin. It is being played so heavily, because it beats the deck to beat(Urza variants). Twin was being played so much in the end, as it was beating Amulet Bloom. Also, it's a Jund deck that is ultra efficient and has received many, powerful new tools. It's really a Legacy-light deck.
There is currently no supported, contemporary format where you can "get cute" with Cryptic-like effects. Standard, Pioneer, and Modern are unkind to these strategies for the significant design-level decisions we have been discussing for the past few pages. Switching formats is not going to change that because Wizards is going to continue to break these formats barring a major change in their approach to design and where they hear input from.
Pioneer is a format, where you can play interactive decks, easier than Modern. Veil of summer was something that didn't let you do it that much, but it got banned. After some testing, I am positive Control deck is something you can make happen in Pioneer, especially after the final bans. Modern is a format, where control is starting to look like some strange, clunky deck that sometimes loses to itself. There is also GDS, a better attrition deck to play at all times. It's also like Twin. It's keeping players from playing Bgx or URx as well.
In Pioneer you can also play Sultai Midrange. It's the Jund of Pioneer, and it's close to Tier 1, if not Tier 1.
Seriously, GDS was and is a great deck because it has the tools to fight almost every strategy and rewards mastering, it's not played only because it has a positive matchup against Urza variants.

On your second point, where do you even get the idea that Pioneer is better for interactive decks, especially when even after the Veil ban G-devotion is probably the top deck (your dreaded Tron variant), along with Scales . Also, if you're citing -just- Sultai Midrange as an interactive option, then Modern has you beat with GDS, UWx and (to an extend) Simic Urza.

Pioneer has the potential to become an interactive/midrange "utopia", but it hasn't yet and it'll only become one if everything slightly degenerate is banned.

Seriously, are we seeing the same decks or is the community so jaded in Modern?

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

Bearscape wrote:
1 year ago
I'm gonna make an incredibly unlikely prediction. Tomorrow we will see an unprecedented change: functional errata, turning Oko's +1 into a -1.

Why:
1. They REALLY don't want to ban Oko, he sells packs and is the face of the set, but not doing anything clearly is not an option. Errataing him means not having to ban him
2. Oko's +1 not being a -1 is often quoted as the major issue with the card, and an admitted design mistake by RnD
3. Although Oko is only really busted in Standard, the hate for the card seems to be universal across formats
4. This errata would be incredibly minor, literally changing one symbol on a card
5. Magic Arena being pushed makes functional errata less troublesome than it was before; we've already seen "quality of life" errata for Ajani's Pridemage
6. This is a post on the internet and there will be no consequence of me being wrong whilst receiving infinite smug points if I turn out correct.
I've talked about errata to cards before and discussed how Wizards needs to move towards a "patching" model of balance. I think it's a great long-term solution to many Magic problems, but it's heavily dependent on digital products. I don't know if Oko is the card to push this shift solely based on pack/card value. Oko remains relevant in three other major Constructed formats, which will help him retain value. But I hope one day Wizards does move towards a patching model of card management. This will effectively eliminate bans from their toolbox and ensure all decks/cards can continue to exist in admittedly nerfed, or at least modified, forms.

Overall, patching would be sweet and would totally change how we think about format management and card design. I still believe this is the long-term direction of Magic as we push deeper into the 21st Century, but I doubt this isolated Oko incident is the driver that will get patching off the ground. It seems like a much more in-depth and fundamental change.
iTaLenTZ wrote:
1 year ago
They will keep Oko legal and change the PW rule. From now on putting loyalty counters is no longer a cost but goes on the stack as part of the ability. This change would hit all 2-3 mana overpowered PW's rather than just Oko.
This is also an interesting idea, although it does require some kind of card errata with all the Walkers having colons next to their loyalty abilities. I also like this idea just as much as the patching idea, except it seems more realistic at this point in time. I've also heard about making planeswalkers "summoning sick" like creatures. These kinds of ideas are great because they address a broader issues with PWs as value generating monsters, without a premature rollout of something as radical (albeit currently not very feasible) as patching.
MashedPotato wrote:
1 year ago
I can see more and more why Commander as a format is picking up, as the players make more input into the format and keep it fair unlike other WOTC driven formats.
I strongly suspect Commander is secretly just as broken as other formats, but without significant tournament support like other Constructed formats, there is more incentive to play pet/cool decks than find the best/broken deck and play that. This is why isolated Modern scenes can appear quite healthy but the overall MTGO and top tournament metagame is a mess. Commander would probably be less screwed up then the major contemporary formats (Modern, Pioneer, Standard), if for no other reason than it has a bigger card pool to insulate issues. But it would still shift towards broken decks if it got too much focus and if Wizards provided too much incentive for people to solve it.

Commander will remain a format Wizards supports through products because it makes them money. They won't support it too much, however, because they need players to invest in Standard, Brawl, Arena, Limited, and shiny newer things that really fill the budget line. This will soon include Pioneer but will decreasingly include Modern as Wizards continues its shift towards Pioneer as the premier nonrotating format.
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Post by Tzoulis » 1 year ago

[mention]gkourou[/mention] I'm taking what you said exactly at face-value. I know that English is not your first language, but the phrase:
Tzoulis wrote:
1 year ago
GDS is like Splinter Twin. It is being played so heavily, because it beats the deck to beat(Urza variants).
Heavily suggests, if not outright stating, that GDS is only being played, because it has a positive matchup against Urza decks (and the qualifier/comparison with that you follow up with reinforces that assertion, which is also a massive understatement of why Twin was being played as well)

So, yeah, I literally re-read your post, even before I quoted you and now again so I was sure I didn't get anything wrong, and what I pointed out still holds true.

Now, if you meant something different say so, but what you (apparently) meant is in no way reflected in what you wrote originally.

Ignore me and my posts all you want, that's your prerogative, but before criticizing others on misinterpreting your writings, consider that you didn't adequately explain yourself or forgot to add the intended meaning in your posts.
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
I strongly suspect Commander is secretly just as broken as other formats, but without significant tournament support like other Constructed formats, there is more incentive to play pet/cool decks than find the best/broken deck and play that. This is why isolated Modern scenes can appear quite healthy but the overall MTGO and top tournament metagame is a mess. Commander would probably be less screwed up then the major contemporary formats (Modern, Pioneer, Standard), if for no other reason than it has a bigger card pool to insulate issues. But it would still shift towards broken decks if it got too much focus and if Wizards provided too much incentive for people to solve it.

Commander will remain a format Wizards supports through products because it makes them money. They won't support it too much, however, because they need players to invest in Standard, Brawl, Arena, Limited, and shiny newer things that really fill the budget line. This will soon include Pioneer but will decreasingly include Modern as Wizards continues its shift towards Pioneer as the premier nonrotating format.
From personal experience, Commander is only less broken than Vintage (at least cEDH). The bigger cardpool probably adds to the brokenness (1 FoW and 1 Pact of Negation in 99 cards are worse than 4 FoW, 4 Brainstorms in 60 cards, plus targeted discard is useless). It doesn't show as much probably because (and I'm hazarding an educated guess here) playgroups decide on accepted power level, plus cEDH decks can go for 2k easily.
Last edited by Tzoulis 1 year ago, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Simto » 1 year ago

Everybody on this forum needs to lighten the %$#% up and not be so combative about everything. We're just talking about pieces of cardboard with dragons and faeries on them, relax.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

Simto wrote:
1 year ago
Everybody on this forum needs to lighten the %$#% up and not be so combative about everything. We're just talking about pieces of cardboard with dragons and faeries on them, relax.
I could buy a new car with the money I have tied up in this game (or at least a fairly large down payment). The instability and lack of the confidence moving forward is motivating me to get out of the paper game and cash in. Besides just desire for the game to be good and balanced and a quality, fun experience, there is a lot riding on what is an extremely expensive hobby.

I can even thank Pioneer for inflating a bunch of relatively weak cards I own (since I returned to the game during KTK and have TONS of stuff from that era that were worthless a month ago).

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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

Simto wrote:
1 year ago
Everybody on this forum needs to lighten the %$#% up and not be so combative about everything. We're just talking about pieces of cardboard with dragons and faeries on them, relax.
It's pieces of cardboard some of which are actually "money" printed to look like pieces of cardboard.
My collection is probably not as huge as what cfusion has.. but I think I have enough value cards stocked equivalent to 5 or 6 months salary of a minimum wage worker here in my country.

edit: This is not intended as a brag post. I only wanted to say one of the reasons why I care about what happens to this format. Enjoying to play with friends is of course another reason why I care about modern.
Last edited by The Fluff 1 year ago, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by motleyslayer » 1 year ago

I came to say that the Face to Face Open+ had a lot of GDS yesterday (including myself) but it looks like a few people are ahead of me in discussing the deck right now.

I actually didn't get paired against any Urza decks yesterday (lifetime matches vs the deck is still at 0) so I don't have an opinion on the GDS vs Urza match.

One thing I find that GDS is good for though is that it's kind of a fun police deck and I like my match vs random nonsense like ad naus and other random combo decks (just avoid dredge). I don't even mind my tron matchup

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Post by Yawgmoth » 1 year ago

Counterspell should be unbanned in Modern.

Does anyone have a good reason why this should not be the case? I think this would go a long way in giving Control a place in Modern.

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