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

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Albegas
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Post by Albegas » 1 year ago

TheAnswer wrote:
1 year ago
And I quote, directly from the first chunk of the article:
I don’t have a ton of micro-level data for eight-year-old metagames at my disposal, so I’ll be going largely on memory and my impression of the metagames of yore that led up to a ban. Which brings me to my second point…
His rationale wasn't backed by numbers at all, and he admitted it.
And that unto itself is problematic. It's one thing to not have the time to find the exact numbers to substantiate a claim, which is already sketchy from a journalistic standpoint but at least you can find the evidence if someone asks for it. It's another thing to imply a claim that's simply incorrect with the logic of "well it's just my opinion so it doesn't matter if what I say is incorrect". Pros being asked (and I assume paid) to write articles should be held to a higher standard than that.

Course I already added to the view count to write up an opinion on a different site so I'm not exactly solving the issue

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Post by TheAnswer » 1 year ago

Yeah this is exactly what I was saying about certain pros being less trustworthy in terms of content. If that content is intended to make money, you probably should have a guarded view. I mean, I understand each of his points, and I kind of agree with the general order he had, but he absolutely has the data to back up his claims. He just didn't think it would be worth it to add hard evidence to his article. And if people will still read it, then I guess good for him, min-maxing his effort-to-article ratio.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

TheAnswer wrote:
1 year ago
min-maxing his effort-to-article ratio.
That seems to exemplify everything wrong with the social media-driven age of "journalism." Why bother writing a well-sourced, detailed analysis when you can spout some personal feelings on hot button items and reel in the clicks? It's definitely not something just limited to Magic...

And needless to say, I disagree with more than a few of his assessments.

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Post by TheAnswer » 1 year ago

Yeah I wouldn't doubt it if, in a few decades or centuries, this time period is touted as the Age of Sensationalism. But that's getting a little too dystopian, and not enough Magic based.

Apart from our very own ktk, does anyone follow any Magic public figures that avoid sensationalism and use cold hard facts instead?

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

Albegas wrote:
1 year ago
TheAnswer wrote:
1 year ago
And I quote, directly from the first chunk of the article:
I don’t have a ton of micro-level data for eight-year-old metagames at my disposal, so I’ll be going largely on memory and my impression of the metagames of yore that led up to a ban. Which brings me to my second point…
His rationale wasn't backed by numbers at all, and he admitted it.
And that unto itself is problematic. It's one thing to not have the time to find the exact numbers to substantiate a claim, which is already sketchy from a journalistic standpoint but at least you can find the evidence if someone asks for it. It's another thing to imply a claim that's simply incorrect with the logic of "well it's just my opinion so it doesn't matter if what I say is incorrect". Pros being asked (and I assume paid) to write articles should be held to a higher standard than that.

Course I already added to the view count to write up an opinion on a different site so I'm not exactly solving the issue
TheAnswer wrote:
1 year ago
Yeah this is exactly what I was saying about certain pros being less trustworthy in terms of content. If that content is intended to make money, you probably should have a guarded view. I mean, I understand each of his points, and I kind of agree with the general order he had, but he absolutely has the data to back up his claims. He just didn't think it would be worth it to add hard evidence to his article. And if people will still read it, then I guess good for him, min-maxing his effort-to-article ratio.
I have to agree with these assessments. I have read more than a few BDM (DeMars, not David-Marshall) articles where he makes wild claims without the evidence to back them. In some of those articles, as with this one, he tries to dodge the burden of evidence by stating "It's just an opinion" and acknowledging he doesn't have all the data. As I've said before, this is the same strategy we sometimes see in lazy op-ed pieces where an author wants to talk off the cuff about a hefty issue but doesn't have the time/knowledge/interest to build a case with proper research. That might be fine with narrower, humbler claims, but it's definitely not fine with significant ones. Ranking and assessing not just a few but EIGHT Modern bans over the entire course of Modern's 8-year history demands data just as much as an op-ed on climate change or firearms would.

I'm not even saying he needs to write journal-level articles on these issues. I'd just want to see a) a little more data that is relatively easy to come by (CFP put together a GP breakdown on the last page presumably in less than 10 minutes), and/or b) a little less certainty in his conclusions. On (a), he could have posted some metagame or tournament standings from any of the literal hundreds of articles on that topic from different eras. I know because I've written some of those since 2014. On (b), he could have just dialed back the confidence. For example, quotes like this are unacceptable without data:
On the one hand, metrically speaking, Twin Exarch did everything to exemplify being a “broken, format-warping, dominant, best deck.” It was played at a huge rate by players and outperformed the majority of the field.
He's making multiple explicit, statistics-driven claims here ("huge rate by players", "outperformed the majority of the field," "best deck," etc. and then tries to retreat behind a disclaimer of memory and impressions. He even says he's "metrically speaking" and doesn't cite a single metric! BDM should either have found the data to support his certainty, or just toned down quotes like this. Here's my attempt at walking it back:
In my experience, and acknowledging the limitations of my own memory and impression, Twin Exarch felt as much like a “broken, format-warping, dominant, best deck” as many of the others. It was consistently one of the most-played decks at events and enjoyed consistent Top 8s for much of its history.
This is just one way of many BDM or his editors could have reined in the tone and returned the article to its op-ed roots. But, as CFP has said on this page and I have cautioned before, articles and authors have significant financial/reputation incentive to overstate claims and drive traffic to their content. Unfortunately, articles like BDM's thrive in that environment.

I encourage people who are dissatisfied with this style of writing to post to the comment section of that article. I will do the same.
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Post by TheAnswer » 1 year ago

Wait, CFB is linked to Facebook? That's annoying as heck. I'm trying to avoid using Facebook whenever possible. Wish I could comment otherwise, but I can see how that would be easily abusable. Ah well.

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

Someone said it right, and you all got taken.

Everything we have ACTUAL NUMBERS to support counters his assessment.

Literal waste of key presses. :D
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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

Well, my opinion is that Infect is and always has been the most broken deck because I hardly win against it. ;p

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Post by spawnofhastur » 1 year ago

Wrenn and Six rather helps the Tron matchup for Jund too, which is nice.

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Post by Simto » 1 year ago

Can someone explain to me what makes Wrenn and Six so good and why it's around €60?

Also.... I wish I had more money....
I need to figure out if I want to buy 4 Chalice so I can make my Green Tron deck into an Eldrazi Tron so I can switch it up once in a while, start buying more seriously into G/B(/sultai) midrange or ninja commander hehe. But I want it all.
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Post by spawnofhastur » 1 year ago

Simto wrote:
1 year ago
Can someone explain to me what makes Wrenn and Six so good and why it's around €60?
A deck that can run Wrenn and Six can usually cut a few lands and have more action (which is, usually, the Wrenn and Sixes). Two mana for a planeswalker with a decent effect is incredibly powerful.

She's very good with fetchlands, for example - and just getting extra cards in your hand is still powerful, even if they're lands, and the cycle lands are now legal in Modern, too.

That price tag is mostly for Legacy, which is a format where you can play Wrenn and Six alongside Wasteland for an incredible value grind - in Modern you can use her with Ghost Quarter if you want to disrupt Tron, or if you're in Jund, you just get to get back a land and discard it to Liliana.

All of the above is based only on her +1 ability, by the way. The -1 isn't as useful, but there are a lot of relevant X/1s in Modern that having her there to kill them is quite nice, and she can combine with a Bolt to kill troublesome X/4s like TKS or Thing in the Ice.

Her ultimate is bonkers, but it's not even really worth mentioning - if you get there, chances are you'll win, but it's her +1 and -1 abilities that make her so powerful.

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Post by Edinburgerboulder53 » 1 year ago

Wrenn and Six is so expensive for two reasons.

1. Put in an expensive supplementary product squeezed between two big standard sets. This hasn't been opened tonnes as a result and so far there doesn't seem to have been a second print run (there likely will be but maybe in the style of iconic masters holiday season reprint)
2. The card is seeing play in modern jund (a few fringe decks/brews) and in legacy wrenn and wasteland is so good plus it fixes colours by rebuying your fetches making 4 colour delver really good right now.

So we end up paying for Wrenn and Sixty as the meme goes.

To weigh in on the deMars article. What a load of clickbaity junk I do hope Wotc has a list of pros who they just take a big black marker to when they spout such inaccurate unsupported nonsense. Not commenting on it as that's rewarding them with interactions and at the end of the day that's all they want.

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Post by Necrofish » 1 year ago

The Fluff wrote:
1 year ago
Necrofish wrote:
1 year ago
The photoshop is terrible but it got a chuckle out of me.
Cannot find in the thread, where is it? thanks
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Wydwen is much too cool for you.

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Post by Hesperos » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Wizards made the right banning, destroying the deck's OTKs, but leaving a tier 2 deck behind as with every ban they are doing of late.
I agree. Bridge was the card that needed to. I do still wonder if it was enough though.
On the hand, it seems like modern is in a pretty good spot now: lots of different decks seem to do well, and we even have a resurgence of jund! I just have this nagging feeling that the current situation is a result of uncertainty (caused by War, MH1, the London mulligan, etc), and not actually a sign of a healthy meta.

Time will tell though, for now I'm happy to play the game, and see where we end up when the meta stabilizes in a couple of months.

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Post by TheAnswer » 1 year ago

I mean, the uncertainty after a big ban is a good sign. When MH1 came out, the meta crystalized instantly around Hogaak, and we all know that wasn't healthy. When it takes time for the best decision to rise to the top, there's a greater chance things are more balanced, or the decks that will end up doing the best aren't just better by miles than everything else, they are better against the field that slowly emerges, which means over time their position can be challenged. Uncertainty after change is healthy; it means people are trying things, which means there isn't an obvious, Tier 0 answer.

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Post by Depian » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
After having watched kanister play and experiment a lot with various Hogaak variants, I feel fairly confident to say that the deck is here to stay, albeit as a simple, not overpowered Tier 2 choice. He is also going to play with the deck probably!
Wizards made the right banning, destroying the deck's OTKs, but leaving a tier 2 deck behind as with every ban they are doing of late.
I actually played my version of the deck last weekend and it is still pretty powerful (I went 5-0-2 in the swiss and lost in the QF), it just doesn't have the mill combo win anymore but the turn 2 Hogaak openers are still there and they are difficult to stop without dedicated hate so it usually wins game 1 unless your opponent plays Ensnaring Bridge

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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

Necrofish wrote:
1 year ago
The Fluff wrote:
1 year ago
Necrofish wrote:
1 year ago
The photoshop is terrible but it got a chuckle out of me.
Cannot find in the thread, where is it? thanks
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hahaha. :dizzy:

the one who made that should be given a cookie.

WoTC would unban her someday. When modern becomes stale months or years from now, she will be one of their trump cards to help revitalize the format. So they are keeping her in "reserve" just personal opinion.
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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

My Bridge ban deep dive is up on MTGN: articles/1018-unpacking-the-bridge-from-below-ban/

I encourage everyone to read the article, but here are the big takeaways if you need a TLDR (pasted from the abridged Reddit post):

1. MTGO data drives ban decisions: Wizards exclusively cites MTGO data in the announcement. We must pay attention to this data source as much, if not more than, others.
2. Bans are data-driven: Recent bans show a concerted Wizards effort to use real-world data. Our ban predictions must also be data-driven.
3. Win rates and matchups matter: Recent bans focus heavily on win rates and matchups. Older ones focused more on prevalence. We shouldn't make ban predictions without these metrics.
4. Bans should surgically weaken a broken deck: Wizards prefers to "weaken" even the most broken decks, not cripple or destroy them. Even Hogaak Bridgevine and Eldrazi! We should prioritize ban suggestions which match this precedent.
5. Mana-cheating cards get banned: Once Wizards identifies a broken/bannable deck, they go after cards that accelerate or otherwise break mana curves. Future ban predictions should also focus on these cards if their deck is an offender.
6. Wizards trusts metagames to adapt: Don't panic when decks break out, unless they break out at Hogaak levels.
7. Graveyard strategies are part of Modern: This announcement speaks favorably about overall Modern graveyard strategies, highlights Dredge as an acceptable deck, and doesn't mention Looting once. This suggests Wizards is comfortable with that status quo.

Curious to see if others drew the same conclusions, disagree with the takeaways, and/or have other ideas about using the ban to predict and inform future ban decisions.
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Post by TheAnswer » 1 year ago

Well said, I agree with pretty much everything you've said. One slight disagreement: you say that Hogaak's immediate spotlight by the community is an argument against the shadowy way WotC handles data (even with them masking the data, people still figured out Hogaak was bah-roken almost immediately), and thus there isn't as much reason for them to hide data from us, but I think it's not entirely honest to conflate the last month with a general metagame. We can't look back on the last month and say "hey, we figured out Hogaak was broken without full MTGO data. Why not just give it to us now?" In a non-broken meta, things are much more difficult to suss out, and I can sympathize with their desire to slow down how quickly a format gets solved. I don't think you would argue that access to MTGO data does not speed up the iteration of a metagame, allowing people to settle on a stable (read:stale) list of decks in shorter times. As people interested in the statistics of Modern, and predicting banlist changes for whatever reasons we may have, full MTGO data would be great, but I can see the potential dangers in giving every PT grinder access to exactly what the entirety of MTGO is playing and to what degree of success.

Apart from that, excellent article, nice to see it all tied together and get to mourn over KCI's death again (I still feel a Wellspring ban would have brought the deck more inline with other decks of the time). Thanks for typing it up!

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
7. Graveyard strategies are part of Modern: This announcement speaks favorably about overall Modern graveyard strategies, highlights Dredge as an acceptable deck, and doesn't mention Looting once. This suggests Wizards is comfortable with that status quo.

Curious to see if others drew the same conclusions, disagree with the takeaways, and/or have other ideas about using the ban to predict and inform future ban decisions.
I agree with pretty much everything but this. Not because I don't think it's true (it very well could be), but that a lack of mention, in of itself, does not necessarily mean anything. For all we know, they are keeping their feelings on Looting purposely-vague so as to not incur a panic among players. While they do mention Dredge, it seems highly suspicious not to mention Phoenix (the other premiere Looting deck), which put up competitive dominance numbers greater than 2015 Twin across the board, and in half the time.

Considering their willingness to selectively act or ignore... pretty much anything, I don't know how much I would read into their lack of mentioning Looting. For all we know, it's on the "Wait till the next MC, then act" train. We have a Modern MC coming up in two weeks, and another B&R shortly after. It's anybody's guess at this point, but I imagine something will happen if the MC ends up with 5+ Looting decks in the Top 8, and God forbid one of them wins. The last 8 GPs before Hogaak had an average of 3.625 decks with Looting per Top 8. Five of the events had 4 or more (4, 2, 5, 5, 5, 4, 1, 3). Is this what Wizards wants Modern to be?

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
1. MTGO data drives ban decisions: Wizards exclusively cites MTGO data in the announcement. We must pay attention to this data source as much, if not more than, others.
2. Bans are data-driven: Recent bans show a concerted Wizards effort to use real-world data. Our ban predictions must also be data-driven.
3. Win rates and matchups matter: Recent bans focus heavily on win rates and matchups. Older ones focused more on prevalence. We shouldn't make ban predictions without these metrics.
4. Bans should surgically weaken a broken deck: Wizards prefers to "weaken" even the most broken decks, not cripple or destroy them. Even Hogaak Bridgevine and Eldrazi! We should prioritize ban suggestions which match this precedent.
5. Mana-cheating cards get banned: Once Wizards identifies a broken/bannable deck, they go after cards that accelerate or otherwise break mana curves. Future ban predictions should also focus on these cards if their deck is an offender.
6. Wizards trusts metagames to adapt: Don't panic when decks break out, unless they break out at Hogaak levels.
7. Graveyard strategies are part of Modern: This announcement speaks favorably about overall Modern graveyard strategies, highlights Dredge as an acceptable deck, and doesn't mention Looting once. This suggests Wizards is comfortable with that status quo.

Curious to see if others drew the same conclusions, disagree with the takeaways, and/or have other ideas about using the ban to predict and inform future ban decisions.
Good article ktk.

1. I think MTGO success is the current top metric.
2. True.
3. True.
4. True, since Eldrazi. I particularly mentioned that Hogaak DID have interesting looking lines of play, contrary to other decks that were allowed to live.
5. True. Anything free is always on borrowed time. I think Surgical will be the only card (Pre-Force of Negation style) that avoids this fate.
6. True.
7. 100%, and it alludes to my point about Surgical and my observations about Modern Horizon's. They WANT the GY to be a central theme to Modern.

My only concern is that sometimes, Wizard's lifts the communities comments/thoughts, nearly verbatim from Twitter/Reddit/Forums. I do believe that player perception is more meaningful than a pure data approach would make us think.
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Very much agree that Wizards clearly said Looting is a fine card to have around
Where did they clearly say this? (See my post above).

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

The only thing clearly said, is that GY decks are fine and a desired part of the format.

Would those decks be remotely competitive without Looting? No. So I'll just draw a line from A (GY decks = YES) to B (GY decks without Looting = NO) and...

/shrug
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
The only thing clearly said, is that GY decks are fine and a desired part of the format.

Would those decks be remotely competitive without Looting? No. So I'll just draw a line from A (GY decks = YES) to B (GY decks without Looting = NO) and...

/shrug
People said losing Probe would kill Infect, Death's Shadow, and Storm. Those decks each evolved and thrived for quite a while; with one of them still near the top today. Looting decks would have to do the same.

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

I think the difference between what Probe meant for Storm, and DS, and Infect, is VASTLY different, from what Looting means to Mardu, Phoenix, Dredge, Hogaak.

Its not comparable. Phoenix would literally not function.
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