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

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

I'm wondering if most of the issues Magic has had in the previous 1.5 years or so are due to upper management directives. The current President of WotC took his role in April 2016.

Many of the bad decisions would require roughly the amount of lead time that match up with him taking over, making me think that Magic's current issues are less of a process failure (especially given that Wizards has specifically addressed years ago that they were correcting these problems) and more a deliberate push to print overpowered cards to drive more sales, then ban those cards, to drive more sales for the next big thing.

I'm not sure how common this is among other players, but just a couple months now after Modern Horizons, we've seen Legacy tournaments next year almost entirely discontinued, and the announcement of Pioneer to essentially be new Modern. Shifting Modern to the old Legacy designation (which if you ever watched how it got treated, you should be concerned).

I can say that my confidence in Wizards is the lowest it has ever been.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

iTaLenTZ wrote:
1 year ago
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
But, got to ask this, what would be the ideal management of the B&R list for ya
Firstly they need to (re)define the rules of Modern and secondly apply does rules actively, timely and consistently. If Modern is a turn 4 format they should actively apply that rule or change it.

Take Neoform for example. Will that deck ever add a positive net outcome to the format? Its straight up degenerated and therefore should ban Allosaurus Rider because it would cause the least damage to other decks. Secondly Eye of Ugin should have been banned right upon the release of all the Eldrazi's. Did you really needed a PT to confirm it was busted? Faithless Loothing should have banned sooner. It dominated and warped the format for wayyyy to long. If there was ever a case to emergency ban a card it has been Hogaak. First they failed with the wrong ban and then the format was kept hostage until the next announcement. Meanwhile several big tourneys got ruined. This story has repeated itself so many times the past 3 years.

Then we have the unjustified conservatism towards unbans. What was doing SFM all this time on the banlist? A 4/4 lifeling on turn 3, which costs 4 mana spread over 2 turns and has several ways of being interrupted, meanwhile the other decks were winning by turn 3. Preordain while printing OUaT. Birthing Pod?? Relic of the past. JTMS made almost no impact. All I know is that everything they think to know about Modern has been proven wrong over and over and over again and that is why we need new people in charge who are better in touch with Modern.
This has never been what a T4 format meant. It just means decks can't be top tier AND consistently winning pre-T4. Wizards should never ever ban random decks that can theoretically win too fast in any format. This leads to a dozen cards on the banlist because they have corner case T2 wins. If you don't want these kinds of super fast decks, there are other, lower power formats out there.
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Amalgam
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Post by Amalgam » 1 year ago

iTaLenTZ wrote:
1 year ago
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
But, got to ask this, what would be the ideal management of the B&R list for ya
Firstly they need to (re)define the rules of Modern and secondly apply does rules actively, timely and consistently. If Modern is a turn 4 format they should actively apply that rule or change it.

Take Neoform for example. Will that deck ever add a positive net outcome to the format? Its straight up degenerated and therefore should ban Allosaurus Rider because it would cause the least damage to other decks. Secondly Eye of Ugin should have been banned right upon the release of all the Eldrazi's. Did you really needed a PT to confirm it was busted? Faithless Loothing should have banned sooner. It dominated and warped the format for wayyyy to long. If there was ever a case to emergency ban a card it has been Hogaak. First they failed with the wrong ban and then the format was kept hostage until the next announcement. Meanwhile several big tourneys got ruined. This story has repeated itself so many times the past 3 years.

Then we have the unjustified conservatism towards unbans. What was doing SFM all this time on the banlist? A 4/4 lifeling on turn 3, which costs 4 mana spread over 2 turns and has several ways of being interrupted, meanwhile the other decks were winning by turn 3. Preordain while printing OUaT. Birthing Pod?? Relic of the past. JTMS made almost no impact. All I know is that everything they think to know about Modern has been proven wrong over and over and over again and that is why we need new people in charge who are better in touch with Modern.
Because combo decks are allowed to exist in non-rotating formats. Allosaurus rider combo in modern is a terrible deck that gets zero results, you don't just ban the deck because you don't like it. Some people actually enjoy that kind of magic you realize and banning for stupid reasons like this would kill formats overnight. Not to mention ban mania would skyrocket
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Post by Amalgam » 1 year ago

I must say anyone I have spoken to that is hyped and liking pioneer is brewing or playing in their own inbred meta since it's the new hype. The competitve level of the format is awful and makes modern look like the king of interaction and answers by comparison. The hype will fade for this format and it will only get worse with time as it is a format with no answers and ever increasing power creep every set

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Post by True-Name Nemesis » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
Answers suck, threats are too good, planeswalkers are too good, there are too many strong permanents, and stack-based Magic can't keep up.
Disagree on this portion. Answers are good enough. The answer cards in Modern can keep up with all but the most egregious creatures and planeswalkers.

We have very efficient removal in Push, path, bolt, decay, trophy etc. Counterspells on the other hand are on the weaker side but Force of Negation and Cryptic Command are still very good cards. It's only the most busted of threats that invalidate the answers that we have.
Amalgam wrote:
1 year ago
I must say anyone I have spoken to that is hyped and liking pioneer is brewing or playing in their own inbred meta since it's the new hype. The competitve level of the format is awful and makes modern look like the king of interaction and answers by comparison. The hype will fade for this format and it will only get worse with time as it is a format with no answers and ever increasing power creep every set
Nobody actually thinks Pioneer is going to straight up take over and be a better format than Modern from the get-go.

You're seriously judging the competitiveness of a 1 month old format vs Modern that has 6 years+ to develop?

Part of the hype is because of the way the format opened up. WoTC gave themselves a lot of wiggling room with how they're handling the Pioneer ban list.

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Post by Amalgam » 1 year ago

True-Name Nemesis wrote:
1 year ago
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
Answers suck, threats are too good, planeswalkers are too good, there are too many strong permanents, and stack-based Magic can't keep up.
Disagree on this portion. Answers are good enough. The answer cards in Modern can keep up with all but the most egregious creatures and planeswalkers.

We have very efficient removal in Push, path, bolt, decay, trophy etc. Counterspells on the other hand are on the weaker side but Force of Negation and Cryptic Command are still very good cards. It's only the most busted of threats that invalidate the answers that we have.
Amalgam wrote:
1 year ago
I must say anyone I have spoken to that is hyped and liking pioneer is brewing or playing in their own inbred meta since it's the new hype. The competitve level of the format is awful and makes modern look like the king of interaction and answers by comparison. The hype will fade for this format and it will only get worse with time as it is a format with no answers and ever increasing power creep every set
Nobody actually thinks Pioneer is going to straight up take over and be a better format than Modern from the get-go.

You're seriously judging the competitiveness of a 1 month old format vs Modern that has 6 years+ to develop?

Part of the hype is because of the way the format opened up. WoTC gave themselves a lot of wiggling room with how they're handling the Pioneer ban list.
Your entire format right now is hyper aggro decks and ramp. The main cause of this is terrible answers vs threats in the pioneer meta game. Current design philsophy of wizards is also pushing threats while answers take a backseat unfortuantly which will only make this problem worse as the pioneer card pool grows. This is not an issue bans can fix as it is a problem with card design that is affecting every format in the game right now. Thing is standard and pioneer get hit the hardest because their answer for threats is playing your own threat and playing solitaire with your opponent

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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
Re: Tron vs. more significant Magic problems
This anti-Tron campaign needs to stop. It's neither supported by any data I have seen AND, even worse, it distracts from a much realer problem in Magic and Modern. For reference, look at these win rates from recent paper events since August: https://mtgmeta.io/metagame?f=modern. Tron has a considerable N=480 matches in the paper event sample and it averages a sub 50% MWP. Stop complaining about this deck. Stop letting Wizards get away with murdering the entire game with Timmy-centric proactive cards while we meme away on social media about "WOW" and other petty complaints. I think all of us agree as Spikier players that Magic is best when we have lots of meaningful interaction points, instants, surprises, and overall decisions in games. We don't want to play Hearthstone. Every time we squabble about these trivial issues like Tron or Urza or Oko or Veil we are just obscuring a far graver problem about design/dev/testing moving away from that kind of historical Magic we all fell in love with.
I'm sorry but this is very disingenuous, no one is saying Tron is OP/Balanced due to it's overall winrate, they say it is OP due to it's winrate specifically against fair decks, not against the entirety of Modern. No one cares that Tron gets killed by Infect/Burn/Some faster goldfish deck, it is the fact that Tron creates are bar that the overwhelming majority of fair decks in the format cannot meet, even if those fair decks have decent matchups against other degenerate decks. Also you can say you don't want to play hearthstone, and yet Tron is basically a Hearthstone deck, everything it is going to do to you will be on it's main phase, trying to counter it's spells is usually wasted effort especially if they get an Ulamog and get it's cast trigger. Just because Wotc is (and has been) making terrible design decisions on a high level for a long time now does not mean that Tron is all of a sudden absolved.

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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

Amalgam wrote:
1 year ago
I must say anyone I have spoken to that is hyped and liking pioneer is brewing or playing in their own inbred meta since it's the new hype. The competitve level of the format is awful and makes modern look like the king of interaction and answers by comparison. The hype will fade for this format and it will only get worse with time as it is a format with no answers and ever increasing power creep every set
This is a fair opinion to have, however I think we need to think about the larger impact here. Even if Pioneer somehow fails, it won't change the fact that Wotc tried to effectively replace Modern and rotate entire formats rather than trying to fix them. Regardless of what level of success Pioneer reaches, this fact will always remain in the back of player's minds.

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Post by True-Name Nemesis » 1 year ago

Amalgam wrote:
1 year ago
True-Name Nemesis wrote:
1 year ago
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
Answers suck, threats are too good, planeswalkers are too good, there are too many strong permanents, and stack-based Magic can't keep up.
Disagree on this portion. Answers are good enough. The answer cards in Modern can keep up with all but the most egregious creatures and planeswalkers.

We have very efficient removal in Push, path, bolt, decay, trophy etc. Counterspells on the other hand are on the weaker side but Force of Negation and Cryptic Command are still very good cards. It's only the most busted of threats that invalidate the answers that we have.
Amalgam wrote:
1 year ago
I must say anyone I have spoken to that is hyped and liking pioneer is brewing or playing in their own inbred meta since it's the new hype. The competitve level of the format is awful and makes modern look like the king of interaction and answers by comparison. The hype will fade for this format and it will only get worse with time as it is a format with no answers and ever increasing power creep every set
Nobody actually thinks Pioneer is going to straight up take over and be a better format than Modern from the get-go.

You're seriously judging the competitiveness of a 1 month old format vs Modern that has 6 years+ to develop?

Part of the hype is because of the way the format opened up. WoTC gave themselves a lot of wiggling room with how they're handling the Pioneer ban list.
Your entire format right now is hyper aggro decks and ramp. The main cause of this is terrible answers vs threats in the pioneer meta game. Current design philsophy of wizards is also pushing threats while answers take a backseat unfortuantly which will only make this problem worse as the pioneer card pool grows. This is not an issue bans can fix as it is a problem with card design that is affecting every format in the game right now. Thing is standard and pioneer get hit the hardest because their answer for threats is playing your own threat and playing solitaire with your opponent
So.. exactly the same as Modern? Play your over/under linear strategy and pack whatever minimal interaction you need to get the job done..

Mono black aggro for example plays upwards of 15 pieces of interaction in the 75. The format is plenty interactive, except just like in Modern, the interaction is much better in proactive than reactive shells.

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Post by metalmusic_4 » 1 year ago

Tomatotime wrote:
1 year ago
Amalgam wrote:
1 year ago
I must say anyone I have spoken to that is hyped and liking pioneer is brewing or playing in their own inbred meta since it's the new hype. The competitve level of the format is awful and makes modern look like the king of interaction and answers by comparison. The hype will fade for this format and it will only get worse with time as it is a format with no answers and ever increasing power creep every set
This is a fair opinion to have, however I think we need to think about the larger impact here. Even if Pioneer somehow fails, it won't change the fact that Wotc tried to effectively replace Modern and rotate entire formats rather than trying to fix them. Regardless of what level of success Pioneer reaches, this fact will always remain in the back of player's minds.
1) pioneer has interactive decks and non interactive decks, levels of success vary.
2) modern will never really die IMO. People play what they want to play. Commander was a non sanctioned format called highlander for many years before WOTC decided to start print cards directly for it. If people want to play modern it will continue to live, how much attention WOTC decides to focus on it could change and that is ok.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

True-Name Nemesis wrote:
1 year ago
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
Answers suck, threats are too good, planeswalkers are too good, there are too many strong permanents, and stack-based Magic can't keep up.
Disagree on this portion. Answers are good enough. The answer cards in Modern can keep up with all but the most egregious creatures and planeswalkers.

We have very efficient removal in Push, path, bolt, decay, trophy etc. Counterspells on the other hand are on the weaker side but Force of Negation and Cryptic Command are still very good cards. It's only the most busted of threats that invalidate the answers that we have.
I think we have been conditioned to believe our removal is efficient, but when tested in actual matches and formats, it's surprisingly narrow across the board. Bolt, Decay, and Push don't reliably interact with a bunch of format threats including big mana creatures, planeswalkers, and big-butted creatures. These are good cards, especially Bolt and Push, but the threats have outpaced the ability of these answers to be reliable. It is common for decks running these answers to have mismatched answers vs. an opponent's threats, ESPECIALLY once we add in planeswalkers. On the other hand, you will almost never find a streamlined, proactive deck having mismatched threats that are weak to an opponent's answers. Trophy is a great catch all but 2-for-1ing oneself is worse in practice than many thought it would be when evaluating the card. FoN and Cryptic are obviously great in their own rights, but both present interactive decks with holes to fill against either creatures (FoN) or in early turns (Cryptic). Path, however, is sweet. More Path please.

Again, the problem is that threats are almost always bigger, faster, stronger, and more varied than the answers trying to rein them in. T3 Karn is rarely mismatched against your answers, but your answers are frequently mismatched against T3 Karn. This is also true for any of the other haymaker Modern players in the first few turns. You are much more likely to pose questions in Modern and bet on the opponent not having the right answer than you are to try and line up your answers to all the diverse attack lines.
Tomatotime wrote:
1 year ago
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
Re: Tron vs. more significant Magic problems
This anti-Tron campaign needs to stop. It's neither supported by any data I have seen AND, even worse, it distracts from a much realer problem in Magic and Modern. For reference, look at these win rates from recent paper events since August: https://mtgmeta.io/metagame?f=modern. Tron has a considerable N=480 matches in the paper event sample and it averages a sub 50% MWP. Stop complaining about this deck. Stop letting Wizards get away with murdering the entire game with Timmy-centric proactive cards while we meme away on social media about "WOW" and other petty complaints. I think all of us agree as Spikier players that Magic is best when we have lots of meaningful interaction points, instants, surprises, and overall decisions in games. We don't want to play Hearthstone. Every time we squabble about these trivial issues like Tron or Urza or Oko or Veil we are just obscuring a far graver problem about design/dev/testing moving away from that kind of historical Magic we all fell in love with.
I'm sorry but this is very disingenuous, no one is saying Tron is OP/Balanced due to it's overall winrate, they say it is OP due to it's winrate specifically against fair decks, not against the entirety of Modern. No one cares that Tron gets killed by Infect/Burn/Some faster goldfish deck, it is the fact that Tron creates are bar that the overwhelming majority of fair decks in the format cannot meet, even if those fair decks have decent matchups against other degenerate decks.
These may be reasons to dislike a deck, but they are not reasons to ban a deck. For one, I don't remember a single situation where Wizards banned cards from a deck because that strategy had a high win-rate against a specific subset of decks. Am I missing one? Basically every ban I can think of had a huge metagame share and/or a disproportionate win-rate across all matchups. That or they were banned for more specific reasons like logistics, battle of sideboards, T4 rule, etc. Wizards has never banned the equivalent of Modern Tron because that deck had strong matchups against the equivalent of Modern Jund in whatever format the ban occurred.

Second, what are the decks Tron actually has an oppressive win rate against? UW Control is about 50/50 by all data sources I have seen. It beats up on Jund but that's okay; fair midrange decks are allowed to have bad matchups. I suppose it also beats up on Jeskai too. But realistically, what else is being so suppressed that Tron needs a ban to free those decks/cards? Humans has a horrible Tron matchup and remains a premier top-tier Modern deck. GDS is also negative against Tron and that deck is still extremely competitive and well-represented. Tron itself has plenty of bad matchups, an overall 50/50 win rate, and is obviously doing just fine. Every time I see this argument, it mostly boils down to a BGx or URx player wanting to eliminate their worst matchups in the format. But as we've seen time and time again, banning good decks doesn't suddenly make bad decks better. Wizards is under zero obligation to ban Tron because BGx and URx strategies are struggling in Modern. Those specific strategies will continue to struggle barring swaths of bans on all the proactive stuff that is outpacing the reactive stuff.
Also you can say you don't want to play hearthstone, and yet Tron is basically a Hearthstone deck, everything it is going to do to you will be on it's main phase, trying to counter it's spells is usually wasted effort especially if they get an Ulamog and get it's cast trigger. Just because Wotc is (and has been) making terrible design decisions on a high level for a long time now does not mean that Tron is all of a sudden absolved.
These types of decks should be allowed in non-rotating, powerful formats. If someone wants to play this kind of deck, large formats like Modern or Legacy should give them that opportunity. The problem is that players who want to play around the stack also need a home in these formats. Right now, there are dozens of opportunities to play haymaker MTG in contemporary formats, but very few opportunities to play reactive MTG. At least, not very competitively. There is no evidence to suggest getting rid of Tron suddenly changes that picture. It is simply unlikely that a deck with ~10% metagame share and 50/50 win rates across the format is solely responsible for holding back an entire family of interactive decks.
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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
These types of decks should be allowed in non-rotating, powerful formats. If someone wants to play this kind of deck, large formats like Modern or Legacy should give them that opportunity. The problem is that players who want to play around the stack also need a home in these formats. Right now, there are dozens of opportunities to play haymaker MTG in contemporary formats, but very few opportunities to play reactive MTG. At least, not very competitively. There is no evidence to suggest getting rid of Tron suddenly changes that picture. It is simply unlikely that a deck with ~10% metagame share and 50/50 win rates across the format is solely responsible for holding back an entire family of interactive decks.
Especially when you can have decks like UW or BG which can run the full FoR playset, its difficult for me (a fully open hater of Tron) to say that Tron keeps fair magic down.

I dont believe that to be the issue. The issue is one of INCENTIVE. Play Design choices, London Mulligan, and basic principles of Magic have all combined to remove any INCENTIVE to play interactive Magic.

We have the tools, and we have the decks, and we see them come out sometimes. UWR vs Humans in 2018. Jace/BBE drove the MTGO environment to play fair for a few weeks. SFM drove the MTGO environment to play fair for a few weeks.

The problem is, these decks are simply losing % points against the field, and you are provided multiple reasons to NOT play this kind of Magic.

Its not about what types of decks can be played. It really isn't. Its not about what Answers we have in the game.

If you want 'fair' magic, then the 'best deck' in the format needs to be soft to fair magic (counters/discard/removal) and thats honestly it.

We need more decks like UG Urza, but they need to be less robust.
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Post by True-Name Nemesis » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
I think we have been conditioned to believe our removal is efficient, but when tested in actual matches and formats, it's surprisingly narrow across the board. Bolt, Decay, and Push don't reliably interact with a bunch of format threats including big mana creatures, planeswalkers, and big-butted creatures. These are good cards, especially Bolt and Push, but the threats have outpaced the ability of these answers to be reliable. It is common for decks running these answers to have mismatched answers vs. an opponent's threats, ESPECIALLY once we add in planeswalkers. On the other hand, you will almost never find a streamlined, proactive deck having mismatched threats that are weak to an opponent's answers. Trophy is a great catch all but 2-for-1ing oneself is worse in practice than many thought it would be when evaluating the card. FoN and Cryptic are obviously great in their own rights, but both present interactive decks with holes to fill against either creatures (FoN) or in early turns (Cryptic). Path, however, is sweet. More Path please.

Again, the problem is that threats are almost always bigger, faster, stronger, and more varied than the answers trying to rein them in. T3 Karn is rarely mismatched against your answers, but your answers are frequently mismatched against T3 Karn. This is also true for any of the other haymaker Modern players in the first few turns. You are much more likely to pose questions in Modern and bet on the opponent not having the right answer than you are to try and line up your answers to all the diverse attack lines.
That is exactly how good answers should be. Low-cost, relevant against a lot of things but not everything. Bolt, Decay, path and Push answer a very wide range of threats while trading even or up. Expecting your cheap, efficient answers to be relevant against everything the field can throw at you is ridiculous. Why even play any threats deck when there's a cheap, catch-all answer with no drawback that's relevant at every point in the game?

Threats (in general) are not the issue here. Only the most busted ones are. Printing busted answers to deal with busted threats and strategies only raises the bar for cards to be playable and relevant.

Like you keep saying, the huge influx of busted cards is a design issue. designing busted answers to deal with those busted cards won't fix anything, it just keeps the power creep going when the new cards they print afterwards need to able to meet this power level to be playable.

Bans are needed to bring the tier 1 down closer to the rest.

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

True-Name Nemesis wrote:
1 year ago
Bans are needed to bring the tier 1 down closer to the rest.
What would you ban then? My list is long at this point, for a format like Modern.

GDS/BUG Shadow - Nothing/Once Upon a Time
Tron/ETron - Karn, the Great Creator
Urza - Emry, Oko, Astrolabe
Burn - Nothing
Amulet - Once upon a time
Humans - Nothing
Crab Vine? lol - Nothing
Jund - Nothing
Infect - Once Upon a time
Dredge - Nothing

Lists here - https://www.mtggoldfish.com/metagame/modern#paper

So maybe its not that long? I would also ban however.

T3feri,

And maybe thats it?

7 or so cards, that just dont need to be in the format. Oh and Veil is still Modern legal? Veil has to go.
Last edited by idSurge 1 year ago, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
I dont believe that to be the issue. The issue is one of INCENTIVE. Play Design choices, London Mulligan, and basic principles of Magic have all combined to remove any INCENTIVE to play interactive Magic.

We have the tools, and we have the decks, and we see them come out sometimes. UWR vs Humans in 2018. Jace/BBE drove the MTGO environment to play fair for a few weeks. SFM drove the MTGO environment to play fair for a few weeks.

The problem is, these decks are simply losing % points against the field, and you are provided multiple reasons to NOT play this kind of Magic.
This is also reflected in the data. It's better to play a deck with polarized matchups than it is to play one that is closer to 50/50 across the board. Or just better to play a deck that is 50/50+ against everything, which recently has gone to decks that can play both the unfair proactive angle and the fair grindy angle; see Urza decks. If your deck is streamlined to execute one or two proactive gameplans, you are much more likely to fire on all cylinders than the reactive deck is likely to find its answers to you. This is especially true in Swiss rounds, where you don't know what you are playing against in G1. The proactive deck has, in effect, zero dead cards in G1; it's just racing to the finish line. It knows exactly what to mull to as well. The reactive deck, however, has plenty of dead and mismatched answers, and has no idea what to mull to. This advantage is diminished in G2-G3 and in T8s, but it still favors proactive strategies.
Its not about what types of decks can be played. It really isn't. Its not about what Answers we have in the game.

If you want 'fair' magic, then the 'best deck' in the format needs to be soft to fair magic (counters/discard/removal) and thats honestly it.
I disagree with the assessment about answers. There are simply too many diverse threats in larger formats. Top-tier proactive decks run low to the ground threats, haymaker creatures, haymaker planeswalkers, efficient planeswalkers, artifact-based combo, graveyard synergies, etc. It's so difficult for reactive decks to line up with that. The solution is to print more modal answers, which is one positive of the MTG Arena BO1 push. Unfortunately, Wizards is currently too busy experimenting with even higher levels of busted, proactive cards instead of modal answers. Or worse, answers TO answers like the garbage-tastic Veil of Summer that they pretend helps decks respond to other strategies but in reality just homogenizes formats and pushes out entire interaction types.
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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
These may be reasons to dislike a deck, but they are not reasons to ban a deck. For one, I don't remember a single situation where Wizards banned cards from a deck because that strategy had a high win-rate against a specific subset of decks. Am I missing one? Basically every ban I can think of had a huge metagame share and/or a disproportionate win-rate across all matchups. That or they were banned for more specific reasons like logistics, battle of sideboards, T4 rule, etc. Wizards has never banned the equivalent of Modern Tron because that deck had strong matchups against the equivalent of Modern Jund in whatever format the ban occurred.
I think you are missing the main crux, you won't find the data of the majority of the decks that Tron shuts out of the format if Tron is shutting them out of the format. Mind you, Tron is not alone, there are a blockade of solitaire decks that essentially act as a unified force that keeps a lot of decks out of Modern. If you need specifics, try looking at Saffron Olive's "Against the Odds" playlist and see which of the decks hes playing looks like a lot of fun, and gets stomped by Tron and friends.

In terms of using prior banning precedents to justify current policy, not sure why we would want this to occur since these prior banning judgments have resulted in the current Modern hellscape that we have to contend with (I am not saying this is the ONLY reason for Modern's current predicament). However, if you really need a prior banning precedent for Tron in particular I would point to Birthing Pod, when Birthing Pod was banned, one of the main justifications for it's ban was Wotc stating it would limit their future design space for low cmc creatures with ETB triggers, in terms of Tron, the problem is a mirror image except instead of low cmc creatures, it limits their future design space for any high cmc colorless card. For practical examples of this, you can wind back the clock 4 years to a time when Tron used Emrakul as it's win condition, and compare it with the current lists to put into perspective just how much Tron has been given over the years, even if only by accident.
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
These types of decks should be allowed in non-rotating, powerful formats. If someone wants to play this kind of deck, large formats like Modern or Legacy should give them that opportunity.
Okay and how much of a total metagame share should be allotted for decks that use solitaire game plans and effectively play past their opponents? We should be batching these types of decks together as one unified whole, it is unfair to treat them as individual decks that basically protect each other from criticism as a side effect of their diversity, even if these decks as a whole promote unhealthy gameplay.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

Tomatotime wrote:
1 year ago
I think you are missing the main crux, you won't find the data of the majority of the decks that Tron shuts out of the format if Tron is shutting them out of the format. Mind you, Tron is not alone, there are a blockade of solitaire decks that essentially act as a unified force that keeps a lot of decks out of Modern. If you need specifics, try looking at Saffron Olive's "Against the Odds" playlist and see which of the decks hes playing looks like a lot of fun, and gets stomped by Tron and friends.
I agree there are powerful Modern decks, particularly ones like Tron, that push out some of the Saffron Olive-style brews. But I also don't think this is particularly relevant from a banning perspective. We should not pursue banning policy based on the viability of sub-Tier 2 strategies. All formats are going to see brews/jank pushed out by stronger strategies, especially in stronger formats with streamlined top-tier decks. As long as the top-tier decks remain diverse, and as long as we can see various decks of all types win tournaments, the state of sub-Tier 2 Modern should not be a consideration.
In terms of using prior banning precedents to justify current policy, not sure why we would want this to occur since these prior banning judgments have resulted in the current Modern hellscape that we have to contend with (I am not saying this is the ONLY reason for Modern's current predicament). However, if you really need a prior banning precedent for Tron in particular I would point to Birthing Pod, when Birthing Pod was banned, one of the main justifications for it's ban was Wotc stating it would limit their future design space for low cmc creatures with ETB triggers, in terms of Tron, the problem is a mirror image except instead of low cmc creatures, it limits their future design space for any high cmc colorless card. For practical examples of this, you can wind back the clock 4 years to a time when Tron used Emrakul as it's win condition, and compare it with the current lists to put into perspective just how much Tron has been given over the years, even if only by accident.
I'm comfortable with people promoting a Tron ban case as a precedent-setting ban. Not all bans need precedents before they happen; it just helps a lot when making that argument. But if we're going to use a precedent, the Pod precedent is really a stretch. The overwhelming reason Pod got banned was because of its competitive share, winning record, and high percentage of the field on that deck. The printing of new low-cost creatures just aggravated those much more significant factors. Every deck in Modern is likely to get upgrades over the next few years. The problem with Pod was it was winning too much and taking up a huge metagame share even before those upgrades came around. Tron does not have this kind of performance record.
Okay and how much of a total metagame share should be allotted for decks that use solitaire game plans and effectively play past their opponents? We should be batching these types of decks together as one unified whole, it is unfair to treat them as individual decks that basically protect each other from criticism as a side effect of their diversity, even if these decks as a whole promote unhealthy gameplay.
If we do a super basic breakdown of interactive vs. non-interactive decks, I'm fine with anywhere from a 30/70 to a 70/30 split among the Tier 1 and Tier 2 decks. Perhaps surprisingly, most of 2015 Modern had this split, and it was around 35/65 or 40/60 in favor of non-interactive decks, with almost all of the interactive decks being Jund/Abzan or URx Twin plus the occasional Grixis. People sometimes want an even 50/50 but this is neither realistic nor does it describe real formats. I can't think of a single period of Modern that had a 50/50 split, even during times widely considered to be enjoyable and healthy.

Unfortunately, the current Modern does not have this split. The only viable interactive decks are Azorius Control, Death's Shadow variants, and Jund. Of those three strategies, only DS variants appear to have a win-rate over 50% across many matchups, and Jund is notorious for having bad conversions beyond Day 2. Urza decks are capable of playing a grindy, midrange game, but let's not mistake this for interaction. Decks like Dredge, Burn, Tron, ETron, Titanshift, Amulet, Infect, Mono R Prowess, and others may have interactive cards or elements, but they are by no means interactive. This is a huge imbalance which is dissatisfying to a lot of players. Notably for this conversation, it has very little to do with just Tron on its own and everything to do with proactive threats wildly outpacing reactive answers. The solution lies in better modal answers and toning down two-for-one, hyper efficient threats.
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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
If we do a super basic breakdown of interactive vs. non-interactive decks, I'm fine with anywhere from a 30/70 to a 70/30 split among the Tier 1 and Tier 2 decks. Perhaps surprisingly, most of 2015 Modern had this split, and it was around 35/65 or 40/60 in favor of non-interactive decks, with almost all of the interactive decks being Jund/Abzan or URx Twin plus the occasional Grixis. People sometimes want an even 50/50 but this is neither realistic nor does it describe real formats. I can't think of a single period of Modern that had a 50/50 split, even during times widely considered to be enjoyable and healthy.
There is literally nothing surprising about 2015 having a more balanced split. I dont know how more plainly it needs to be stated.

I'm curious how people would rate today's meta in terms of those more fair/interactive decks. Even UW has fallen on hard times, and it uses T3feri to limit interaction.
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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
If we do a super basic breakdown of interactive vs. non-interactive decks, I'm fine with anywhere from a 30/70 to a 70/30 split among the Tier 1 and Tier 2 decks. Perhaps surprisingly, most of 2015 Modern had this split, and it was around 35/65 or 40/60 in favor of non-interactive decks, with almost all of the interactive decks being Jund/Abzan or URx Twin plus the occasional Grixis. People sometimes want an even 50/50 but this is neither realistic nor does it describe real formats. I can't think of a single period of Modern that had a 50/50 split, even during times widely considered to be enjoyable and healthy.
There is literally nothing surprising about 2015 having a more balanced split. I dont know how more plainly it needs to be stated.
I just want to emphasize that 2015 did not have a 50/50 split, that's all. Its "balanced" split was still about 35/65 or 40/60 at best.
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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

Yeah, I understand you. 50% would never happen, because there are too many decks that go under/over 'fair' decks. That its much better than today is not a shock though, because as most of us understand Twin was able to be targeted by fair decks, it increased relative interactivity in the format simply by existing.
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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
I agree there are powerful Modern decks, particularly ones like Tron, that push out some of the Saffron Olive-style brews. But I also don't think this is particularly relevant from a banning perspective. We should not pursue banning policy based on the viability of sub-Tier 2 strategies. All formats are going to see brews/jank pushed out by stronger strategies, especially in stronger formats with streamlined top-tier decks. As long as the top-tier decks remain diverse, and as long as we can see various decks of all types win tournaments, the state of sub-Tier 2 Modern should not be a consideration.
I actually agree with most of your overall post, the biggest gripe I have with this section in particular is looking at this situation through a historical lens. If we were to look back to say 2015, that format still had interactive/non-interactive decks, but the power level difference between them was much closer than it is today.

For example, back then if I was playing control vs Tron, the biggest threat they could use against me was T3 Karn on the low end which could be mana leaked, or an Emrakul on the high end which you Cryptic Command on their free turn to tap it before combat and then supreme verdict on your next turn to clear the problem (if only temporarily). Nowadays solitaire decks have been getting juiced up A LOT, these lines of play which back then would have been considered walking a tight-rope in regards to a dangerous situation are nowadays just you getting steam rolled by the solitaire deck with not much room for counter play.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
Decks like Dredge, Burn, Tron, ETron, Titanshift, Amulet, Infect, Mono R Prowess, and others may have interactive cards or elements, but they are by no means interactive. This is a huge imbalance which is dissatisfying to a lot of players. Notably for this conversation, it has very little to do with just Tron on its own and everything to do with proactive threats wildly outpacing reactive answers.
I think Tron keeps being the posterchild for dissatisfaction because it is literally a deck designed to mulligan into oblivion, do nothing for at least the first 2 turns, and then still so massively overwhelm opponents that it's incredibly difficult or outright impossible to recover and win. Those games are so deeply swingy and unsatisfying that the exemplify the primary concern many people have about Modern: the seeming increase of non-games and the decrease of in-game decision significance. Tron is not the only one, but it is the most exaggerated and long-standing example, marked by its strange avoidance of ever seeing a ban (no Eye of Ugin doesn't count!).

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

I did a quick analysis of all the MTGO Challenges and PTQs from 10/04/2019 - present (post-ELD Modern) to see what the online metagame looks like. I excluded Leagues because they are curated results. Here's the top 75% of decks which, historically, represents all the Tier 1 and Tier 2 players in the format.
  1. Eldrazi Tron: 13.2% (n=38)
  2. Grixis Death's Shadow: 7.6% (n=22)
  3. Burn: 6.9% (n=20)
  4. Amulet Titan: 6.6% (n=19)
  5. Sultai Urza: 5.2% (n=15)
  6. Dredge: 4.9% (n=14)
  7. Sultai Death's Shadow: 4.5% (n=13)
  8. Paradoxical Urza: 4.2% (n=12)
  9. Jund: 3.8% (n=11)
  10. Humans: 3.1% (n=9)
  11. Azorius Control: 2.8% (n=8)
  12. Infect: 2.4% (n=7)
  13. Gifts Storm: 2.4% (n=7)
  14. 4C Whirza: 2.4% (n=7)
  15. Mono G Tron: 2.1% (n=6)
  16. Mono R Prowess: 2.1% (n=6)
  17. Devoted Devastation: 1.7% (n=5)
One takeaway from this is that MTG Goldfish has some bizarre classification issues due to its URL-scraping scripts; another reason to not trust those metagame percentages on their site! Beyond that, we can group decks within this top 75% to get some insights about MTGO (obviously, all small sample and MTGO data disclaimers apply):

Traditionally non-linear decks: 18.75% (GDS, Azorius Control, Jund)
Urza decks: 11.7% (Sultai Urza, Paradoxical Urza, 4C Whirza)
Traditionally linear decks: 45.5% (E Tron, Burn, Amulet Titan, Dredge, Infect, Gifts Storm, Humans)

I'm switching from my previous post's terminology (interactive/non-interactive) to linear/non-linear because decks like Humans and Burn have a surprising amount of interactive spells. Their gameplan, however, is pretty linear in practice. I'm also separating out Urza decks because they occupy a weird space of linear/non-linear depending on what stage of the game you are playing, and I think we can all debate where they should fall in the spectrum. Paradoxical Urza is probably more on the linear side of the spectrum, but Sultai is probably less linear. Rather than muddle through that, I'm just grouping them as a whole.

This really underscores some of the problems in top-tier Modern. The traditional non-linear decks make up only about 15% of that Tier 1 and Tier 2 metagame. Urza makes up about 25% and linear decks make up an alarming 60%. That's a horrible breakdown.
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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
These may be reasons to dislike a deck, but they are not reasons to ban a deck. For one, I don't remember a single situation where Wizards banned cards from a deck because that strategy had a high win-rate against a specific subset of decks. Am I missing one? Basically every ban I can think of had a huge metagame share and/or a disproportionate win-rate across all matchups. That or they were banned for more specific reasons like logistics, battle of sideboards, T4 rule, etc. Wizards has never banned the equivalent of Modern Tron because that deck had strong matchups against the equivalent of Modern Jund in whatever format the ban occurred.


[mention]ktkenshinx[/mention] I think you're incorrect here. The reason is because we have seen cards banned before because of meta game diversity reasons. For example, Green Sun's Zenith is largely thought to be ok in the format on the basis of power level. It is banned however because just about every deck in the format with green in it would have to start with 4 GSZ's and a couple other cards for that package. As such, it's banned in order to increase diversity. At other times we saw Wild Nacatl banned under the same initial concern, and then later unbanned. Another one (and I hate to mention this card) is that part of the ban justification for Splinter Twin used the same language, that a ban would increase diversity in UR decks in the format.

I think that it's reasonable to argue that Tron has this effect on big mana decks in the format. Almost all of them have adopted Tron, and rather than 5 distinct decks we have 4 Tron variants and 1 other deck. This doesn't mean that I think the deck needs a ban right now, but only that meta game consolidation has been used as a ban criteria before, outside of meta game percentage.

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
This really underscores some of the problems in top-tier Modern. The traditional non-linear decks make up only about 15% of that Tier 1 and Tier 2 metagame. Urza makes up about 25% and linear decks make up an alarming 60%. That's a horrible breakdown.
This also, is not a surprise.
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