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

th33l3x
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Post by th33l3x » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Even if I am playing Amulet titan for many, many months, I was hoping for an addendum to the Banlist the day after. It never came and it seems like we won't have any bannings until end of March, post GP's.
Yea I think they'll wait and see if Veil of Summer is still as ubiquitous in decks as it is now (or even more), and if it is, they'll ban it. I mean, maybe I'm not seeing something, but i'd be surprised if every green deck doesn't continue to run 2-4 copies in the side, some decks are even friggin splashing green for Veil. If that trend keeps going, over 50% of decks will be on Veil by March, and it'll get banned.

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Post by th33l3x » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Truth be told. It will never reach above 40%, which was Oko's numbers, and with no Oko, Green will lose a bit of it's momentum. That why it was a genuinely good chance to ban it, and this is coming from a player that hasn't been playing Blue for ages. Make no mistakes, it will be difficult to ban Veil now, not super impossible, just very difficult.
I think they might have thought that maybe players aren't going to play Veil, because Veil's main purpose was to protect Oko. It is obvious the card is stupidly great though. Just came off from Caleb Sherer's stream, where many of the games were about him having Veil to win vs fair decks (splashing light green for 2 sb copies), or the opponents countering his Gifts with their veils. It's a sick card and has no place in a fair format. That's what's weird. If Wizards are banning mox opal and nerfing tron strategies, they still want some kind of fairness in Modern and that's what the last announcement did. Veil banned was the last piece of the puzzle.
um... maybe those stats weren't totally accurate, but on the day Oko was banned, MtgGoldfish's "Commonly Played Cards" page showed 47% of decks running Veil of Summer...

EDIT: all the Oko deckshave been thrown out of that stat and it has dropped to 18%, but it'll go up again, no worries.

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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

th33l3x wrote:
1 year ago
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Even if I am playing Amulet titan for many, many months, I was hoping for an addendum to the Banlist the day after. It never came and it seems like we won't have any bannings until end of March, post GP's.
Yea I think they'll wait and see if Veil of Summer is still as ubiquitous in decks as it is now (or even more), and if it is, they'll ban it. I mean, maybe I'm not seeing something, but i'd be surprised if every green deck doesn't continue to run 2-4 copies in the side, some decks are even friggin splashing green for Veil. If that trend keeps going, over 50% of decks will be on Veil by March, and it'll get banned.
it's the allure of one mana pseudo-cryptic command..
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Post by spawnofhastur » 1 year ago

Amulet Titan is honestly a pretty easy deck to metagame around. If you're playing a deck that's more consistently fast than it, you'll usually get under it - Infect and Storm, for example, are both bad matchups and the recent inclusions like Once Upon A Time and Field of the Dead are pushing the deck towards a more late-game orientation. Dilks' latest list is cutting the Ancient Stirrings, for example - you're more consistently hitting a turn 3 Titan, but you're having the two amulet nut-draws much less. Also Mill is Amulet's single worst matchup.

Ashiok is also a house against the deck. Yes, it can be attacked, but have you seen the creatures Amulet Titan plays that aren't Titan? They're all 1/1s or 1/2s. If your control deck can't handle me trying to kill your hate piece that literally turns off my deck with a bunch of incredibly subpar creatures, I think you might be building your deck wrong.

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Post by iTaLenTZ » 1 year ago

spawnofhastur wrote:
1 year ago
Amulet Titan is honestly a pretty easy deck to metagame around. If you're playing a deck that's more consistently fast than it, you'll usually get under it - Infect and Storm, for example
This is exactly what needs to get fixed in Modern: Metagaming against uninteractive goldfish decks with even faster degenerated uninteractive goldfish decks. As it stands 3 decks are continuing to be a problem to break this vicious circle: Devoted Druid, Infect and Titan. All three have 1 thing in common Veil of Summer. A card that prevents any kind of meaningful interaction and thus people have to resort to Mono Red Prowess, Dredge, Burn, Storm and stuff to try outrace them.

What more needs to be said about that card? The entire metagame revolves around green because of just that card. The mere existence of Veil is enough for anyone to NOT play any black/blue reactive cards which in turn gives every green ramp/combo deck free reign and the only thing to counter the current meta is by playing a turn 3 proactive goldfish deck.

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

The Fluff wrote:
1 year ago
it's the allure of one mana pseudo-cryptic command..
It's not Cryptic Command. It's powerful, and it's very efficient when you can use it, but it equals one of the 6 modes Cryptic offers, and that mode still only works against decks with specific colors. Notably, it's completely useless against white or red removal.

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Post by drmarkb » 1 year ago

th33l3x wrote:
1 year ago
don't think threats are too diverse, and as you say, removal is good enough, Drown in the Loch, Trophy, Path take care of most things.

The problem is veil of Summer, pure and simple. It's too good, to broad. End of story
Veil is not the problem at all.

Removal is not just good enough. You seem to be thinking in creature terms in terms of removal, which is what Standard and Pioneer players do and Legacy players don't. Planeswalkers are bloody hard to remove, removal for them is not good enough. 2/3 of those removal spells you list don't kill them, and we can add bolt onto the list to boot, and they certainly don't kill them before they can be used. Incidentally, Path is not a good Mtg card in these modern times- ramping your opponent if they are on these broken strategies is awful. Planeswalkers have dominated 2019- Narset, Tef, Oko, Karn etc., and if you have good tools to fight them that don't involve combat please let me know, because I can't see any.

I don't think Veil is a huge issue itself, if veil were protecting a 3/3 for 3 there would be no issue. The fact is it protected nuts stuff like Oko made veil egregious. Veil protects a bit too much, sure-it could be toned to be more situational, but I would much rather answers to answers be played and we have some stack based mtg.

Veil is a great card, but not a problem in Legacy, where the format is so blue even pyroblast effects have sometimes been boarded in the USA at least. An answer to Abrupt decay is a good thing. Astrolabe is an issue in legacy, making the card too easy to play, but even as a Pox player I don't have an issue with Veil.

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Post by LeoTzu » 1 year ago

th33l3x wrote:
1 year ago
In my opinion, this "threats vs answers: threats should be better/have to be better" is a gross over-simplification of the matter. Some removal spells are "better" than some creatures, i.e. they trade up with them in value/tempo (e.g. Push with revolt, Kommand with artifacts etc). The power relationship between creatures and removal is different in every single case. Stuff like Path or Trophy exchange some (though less useful) value in lands for efficiency/consistently having relevant targets. Bolt is narrower in its "removal" mode, but goes upstairs and to PWs which is a HUGE bonus.

Also, I think its fair to say most interactive spells are on average more mana-efficient than the threats they can potentially answer.
Another thing is that most interactive spells are instants, and most threats are not.

All in all, I think modern is full of really really good, sufficiently broad answers.
I wanted to touch on this. Fatal Push does not effectively trade very often, even if it "trades up" on mana. To illustrate this, I looked at every one of the top 50 played creatures in Modern based on MTGGoldfish's current list. I know, I know. MTGGoldfish's list may not be the best snapshot of the format, but it does capture a good portion of the heavily played creatures. I took every creature that can be removed by Fatal Push:

Eidolon of the Great Revel – Gives the opponent a free shock when you cast Fatal Push.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben – Forces Fatal Push to cost 2, making it an equal trade with Thalia.
Snapcaster Mage – Has ETB effect that nets the opponent a spell from the grave.
Collector Ouphe – Effectively trades up.
Plague Engineer – Has a sweeper effect attached to the body.
Tarmogoyf – Effectively trades up.
Bloodbraid Elf – Gives the opponent a free spell of the top of their library upon cast.
Narcomoeba - This card's primary purpose is to drag free Prized Amalgams from the grave, so it effectively gives the opponent more bodies for free.
Prized Amalgam – Has recursion, so a Fatal Push this turn won't keep it off of the battle during the next turn.
Fulminator Mage – Can be sacrificed in response to destroy an opponent's land.
Meddling Mage – Has an effect on cast that lets you create dead cards in your opponent's hand.
Reflector Mage – Has an ETB bounce effect that prevents opponent from casting it the next turn.
Scavenging Ooze – Effectively trades up if you ignore the activated the ability. With ability included, you can get 2 grave exiles fo 4 mana.
Stoneforge Mystic – Puts a card from your library into your hand on ETB.
Sakura-Tribe Elder – Turns into a Rampant Growth if targeted.
Bonecrusher Giant – Can be used as a removal spell before it is even cast. Then, if targeted, opponent gets a free shock.
Phantasmal Image – It all depends on what it copies.
Mantis Rider – Has haste, so it often gets a free attack in before you can remove it. Effectively trades up if it doesn't get an attack in.
Thalia's Lieutenant – Gives an anthem on ETB to human creatures.
Stinkweed Imp – Let's be honest, this card WANTS to be the grave, but yes, Push effectively trades up.
Bloodghast – Has recursion. It's coming back with the next land drop.
Simian Spirit Guide – Push trades up… but if your opponent is casting this, they're already in trouble.
Runaway Steam-Kin – Effectively trades up.
Kor Firewalker – Effectively trades up, but this is a mirror-breaker card anyways.
Tireless Tracker – Trades up if played on curve. If played as a pseudo 4 drop, gives you a Clue Token (maybe 2).
Goblin Electromancer – Trades up if played on curve. If played with mana open, watch out!
Baral, Chief of Compliance – See Goblin Electromancer.
Phyrexian Revoker - Has cast effect that creates dead cards in opponents hand.
Spell Queller – Counters spell on ETB.
Obstinate Baloth – Gains life on ETB. Also acts as discard protection against certain decks.
Flickerwisp - Has flicker effect on ETB.
Kitesail Freebooter - Has Duress on ETB.
Dark Confidant – Trades up if killed immediately. If it lives for a turn, replaces itself with a card.
Merchant of the Vale – Has a spell stapled to it. The creature part is really just icing on the cake.
Azusa, Lost But Seeking – Opponent has the chance to play an additional land before you have priority to remove it.
Gaddock Teeg – Effectively trades up… but will rarely be sided in versus a deck with Fatal Push.

And he wasn't in the list, but thought it good to include him:
Urza, Lord High Artificer - Gives an additional body on ETB. Also has a mana ability that can be used before Urza dies to Fatal Push.



It's tough for any creature to get played. It must have some sort of spell or card advantage stapled to the body. So, you might trade up on mana in some cases, but they often effectively get a free spell out of the trade. The only thing that compares in the form of answers is... sweepers? They allow you to trade one spell for multiple creatures (which often had an ETB effect).

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

drmarkb wrote:
1 year ago
th33l3x wrote:
1 year ago
don't think threats are too diverse, and as you say, removal is good enough, Drown in the Loch, Trophy, Path take care of most things.

The problem is veil of Summer, pure and simple. It's too good, to broad. End of story
Veil is not the problem at all.

Removal is not just good enough. You seem to be thinking in creature terms in terms of removal, which is what Standard and Pioneer players do and Legacy players don't. Planeswalkers are bloody hard to remove, removal for them is not good enough. 2/3 of those removal spells you list don't kill them, and we can add bolt onto the list to boot, and they certainly don't kill them before they can be used. Incidentally, Path is not a good Mtg card in these modern times- ramping your opponent if they are on these broken strategies is awful. Planeswalkers have dominated 2019- Narset, Tef, Oko, Karn etc., and if you have good tools to fight them that don't involve combat please let me know, because I can't see any.

I don't think Veil is a huge issue itself, if veil were protecting a 3/3 for 3 there would be no issue. The fact is it protected nuts stuff like Oko made veil egregious. Veil protects a bit too much, sure-it could be toned to be more situational, but I would much rather answers to answers be played and we have some stack based mtg.

Veil is a great card, but not a problem in Legacy, where the format is so blue even pyroblast effects have sometimes been boarded in the USA at least. An answer to Abrupt decay is a good thing. Astrolabe is an issue in legacy, making the card too easy to play, but even as a Pox player I don't have an issue with Veil.
Creatures are intended to be the primary the removal spell for Planeswalkers. That's intentional, because they want the combat step to be the focus of the game. Any other sort of interaction, such as stack based is something they're trying to make facilitate making your combat step more or less effective.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

Aazadan wrote:
1 year ago
The Fluff wrote:
1 year ago
it's the allure of one mana pseudo-cryptic command..
It's not Cryptic Command. It's powerful, and it's very efficient when you can use it, but it equals one of the 6 modes Cryptic offers, and that mode still only works against decks with specific colors. Notably, it's completely useless against white or red removal.
Although this is true in a vacuum, Veil starts to become significantly more powerful than Cryptic in the context of the current Modern card pool. Notably, it was the second most-played card at GP Austin after only Oko and ahead of every other land including Misty Rainforest, Mountain, and Snow Covered Island. It's true that GP Austin was heavily shifted to green-based strategies because of Oko himself, but this just underscores how much context matters in card assessment. Veil was just far too powerful in a heavily green metagame. It both benefits from a metagame where green decks rule, and it pushes decks even deeper into green.

White and red removal are easy to ignore given the current card pool. There is only one widely playable white removal spell, Path, but white is so weak as a color that you rarely see Path in top decks. Just take a look at the top played Modern decks and look for white; it's a really sad showing. Red has the format-defining Bolt, which is a great card but still doesn't hit the biggest threats that blue and black do reliably hit. Modern already struggles to line up answers with threats, so if the proactive decks gain access to a 1 CMC cantrip that invalidates two of the primary answer colors, this puts even more burden on reactive players to try and line up their answers. The end result is even more proactive strategies with the few reactive strategies remaining (Jund, Azorius Control) both losing access to a huge chunk of their interaction.

Veil absolutely should go. It does not define any deck in Modern and creates significant negative side effects for players trying to engage in reactive, answer-based Magic.
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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
Although this is true in a vacuum, Veil starts to become significantly more powerful than Cryptic in the context of the current Modern card pool. Notably, it was the second most-played card at GP Austin after only Oko and ahead of every other land including Misty Rainforest, Mountain, and Snow Covered Island. It's true that GP Austin was heavily shifted to green-based strategies because of Oko himself, but this just underscores how much context matters in card assessment. Veil was just far too powerful in a heavily green metagame. It both benefits from a metagame where green decks rule, and it pushes decks even deeper into green.
Any deck with green can run Veil. Not every deck with blue can run Cryptic. Veil is narrower by functioning as an answer to the interaction the opponent will bring in against you, if the opponent has interaction in the colors it hits (which many decks have). Cryptic is something you're going to include not to answer a specific strategy, but as a catch all if you're playing a draw/go plan.

I don't know if Veil should go. It's been ok in Legacy and we haven't really had a non warped metagame to determine anything yet. It's certainly something to keep an eye on though.

Edit: At the same time though, there's many things Veil doesn't prevent. It doesn't for example stop you from playing your own creatures/planeswalkers in those colors. EOT Snapcaster, cast something like Opt, untap, swing, is something Veil doesn't prevent (it only leaves them with the option to cantrip with no extra value). That by no means means the card is weak, but even against blue and black it doesn't completely stop a players gameplan.

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Post by pierreb » 1 year ago

The goal of veil is not to stop game plans, it's to protect yours. People bring up cryptic command not because veil is cryptic command in green, but because its effect can be mapped to it and is a nice meme. It underlines how over-powered it is at 1 mana when it relevant.

This is something that comes up often in this thread: people bring up that card X is dead against strategy Y. That's not the point. The point is that card X does gets played, and it gets played because it is relevant and when it is relevant, it is over-powered. IOW, the only time the card gets played at all, those times it is over-powered. So the card might as well not exist: if it is not good in the meta-game it will not get played, so its existence is irrelevant. If it gets played, it is because it is relevant, and in that case it is over-powered, so it should get banned. So banning it is either irrelevant and thus harmless, or relevant thus correct.

This kind of reasoning applies to many cards. People often claim that card X should not be banned because it sees no play. In my view, for some categories of cards, this is incorrect. For some cards, they only see play when they're broken. Thus they should just be banned because they can't ever bring anything good.

PS: for example, in my view, that is why all moxen should be banned. Zero-mana mana-producer are either unplayable or bad for the game. And, no, I do not care about your narrow, kitchen-table uses.

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

[mention]pierreb[/mention]
Like you said, that applies to a lot of cards. When Blood Moon is good, the format is bad. When Emrakul is good, the format is bad. I think most can agree that those cards probably shouldn't see a ban though.

There's some reasonable arguments that Veil should go, and in a post Oko world, maybe those arguments are still valid. Or maybe it can act as a good safety valve in the future if blue or black gets something that's pushed too much, and until that day it's just going to be a decent role player. We should give it a couple weeks to see how the format evolves first.

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Post by Ed06288 » 1 year ago

Kinda sad I'll never play with or against an arcbound ravager again

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Post by pierreb » 1 year ago

I guess that's the main problem with it: people disagree with which cards are concerned.

From my point-of-view, only cards that are breaking the foundations of the game should be concerned. One should list what are considered fundamental elements that should not be messed with. My initial list, from the top of my head would be:
  • Mana development. Mana is the main game progression control mechanism. It should not be messed with lightly.
  • Color pie. Without it, colors have no identity.
  • Mana cost. This is of course fluid, but with its long history, Magic has a canon of how much each effect should cost. (drawing three cards should not cost 1, taking an extra turn should not cost 2, etc)
So I would not apply my suggestion to "annoying cards", like blood moon and emrakul. These shoudl still only be banned if they prove broken, not pre-emptively banned.

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Post by Ed06288 » 1 year ago

Now that I've had a week to think about it, the mox opal ban was bad. They could have at least seen how the meta would shape up after taking out Oko. Reminds me of the twin and pod bans. Twin was kinda lumped in with summer bloom and pod was banned with treasure cruise. I'm firmly convinced they just want to rotate out decks that are commonly owned.

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

pierreb wrote:
1 year ago
I guess that's the main problem with it: people disagree with which cards are concerned.

From my point-of-view, only cards that are breaking the foundations of the game should be concerned. One should list what are considered fundamental elements that should not be messed with. My initial list, from the top of my head would be:
  • Mana development. Mana is the main game progression control mechanism. It should not be messed with lightly.
  • Color pie. Without it, colors have no identity.
  • Mana cost. This is of course fluid, but with its long history, Magic has a canon of how much each effect should cost. (drawing three cards should not cost 1, taking an extra turn should not cost 2, etc)
So I would not apply my suggestion to "annoying cards", like blood moon and emrakul. These shoudl still only be banned if they prove broken, not pre-emptively banned.
I more or less agree with you on those three points. Mana development is one reason I'm willing to accept Mox Opal, it lead to too many degenerate decks even though I'm quite sad that Affinity is gone. It's also why I believe that Simian Spirit Guide should be banned, but I can also see how taking such an action preemptively would be taken poorly by the community. That said, I'm convinced it will one day be removed.

That said, Veil doesn't break any of those rules. Cantrips for draw a card are usually considered to need to have slightly extra on them at 1 mana. Conditional protection might be slightly too much, but as evidenced by cards like Autumn's Veil, that effect is also worth less than 1 mana. A cantrip is considered around .8 mana, conditional protection maybe around .5. So that puts it only slightly over curve, at least by that logic (which is nice for base costing but fails at times too, see Cryptic/Kolaghan's Command for examples of cards made by that logic).
Ed06288 wrote:
1 year ago
Now that I've had a week to think about it, the mox opal ban was bad. They could have at least seen how the meta would shape up after taking out Oko. Reminds me of the twin and pod bans. Twin was kinda lumped in with summer bloom and pod was banned with treasure cruise. I'm firmly convinced they just want to rotate out decks that are commonly owned.
I think Mox Opal was fine to ban, I was a huge fan of Affinity, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed that it's now gone, but I think it will eventually come back. Without Mox Opal the Artifact Lands can probably come off, and that would enable more fair artifact decks without bringing along the broken ones. Sadly, you can't decide to not ban cards because of fair uses when other decks are using them unfairly.

Oddly enough though, I think Mox Amber is borderline to be broken now too. Wizards are pushing legendary creatures hard now and it's just a matter of time before Mox Amber hits a critical mass of low CMC creatures. It might already be there now actually, but one more good creature to work alongside Emry will definitely do it.

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Post by ModernDefector » 1 year ago

ModernDefector wrote:
1 year ago
Ym1r wrote:
1 year ago
ModernDefector wrote:
1 year ago
What's everyone's predictions for future bannings in the shltshow that is Modren?

Mine: Within six months, Opal and Urza banned. Within a year, Ancient Stirrings and/or Once Upon a Time banned.
Yeeeeah that's completely unrealistic and completely unjustified. For one, they would never go for 4 bans within a year, and especially not without an unban. There needs to be time to prove that these cards are busted, none of which has proven it yet, and then time for the metagame to settle again so this would never happen.

I have no idea why modern is a %$#%. Modern is actually great right now, a ton of diversity, and I feel like we are looking for scapegoats to keep the banmania flowing. This time it's the Urza decks. Heck, they didn't even have 6 months of play time, and there haven't been any major tournaments won by them, relax. This is similar to the rise of Grixs Death's Shadow, people for whatever reason were losing their mind over it and not it's just an acceptable player. The same was true for Lantern control, people thought that it was by and far the best deck that people didn't play, until nobody plays it any more. Heck, even Tron at times has been considered a prime ban target, especially when the new Karn was spoiled, but the Karn-Lattice combo hasn't broken anything yet.

So why not just chill with the banmania for a bit and see how things play out? There is literally a TON of things you can profitably be doing now in modern. Even a new Grixis control deck has been on the rise with multiple 5-0s and some good tournament showings. Calling modern a %$#% is just miles away from reality.
Only 1/4 of the way through the year and we're already 3/4 of the way to the thing that will "never" happen lmao (and has happened multiple times before, btw)

Solid metagame analysis and foresight. It's amazing how much lack of wisdom is spewed.
And, immediately, we're well on our way to the fourth ban 😂

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Post by Ed06288 » 1 year ago

Mox opal isn't coming back. People have been saying twin and pod will come back. That was 5 years ago. It's clear that R&D made a bunch of mistakes this year and instead of banning the mistakes they went after some old cards instead. Like when they banned bridge from below and ignored hogaak.

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Post by pierreb » 1 year ago

Aazadan wrote:
1 year ago
That said, Veil doesn't break any of those rules.
I disagree.

In the case of veil, I think it falls under the case of being too mana efficient. As a color hoser, it's too cheap. It hoses two colors (UB), it hoses the parts of these colors that interact (counters, bounces, destruction, discard), while giving full-turn protection to everything (including the player), while cantripping.

I admit that veil's case is not as clear as say, ancestral recall would be. Since it got printed as it is, clearly Wizards didn't realize its power level. So we can't really talk about it being a good case for being a cards that clearly fit my criterion.

I guess I agree a little then. :)

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Post by Ed06288 » 1 year ago

I usually defend veil of summer but something isn't right when ad nauseam is splashing green to run 4 in the sideboard.

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Post by th33l3x » 1 year ago

the thing is, Veil is not just any protection spell. Conventional protection spells give hexproof OR protection from x OR are cheap counterspells, WITHOUT drawing a card. NONE of them also protect against discard spells, protect lands AND draw a card AND give every other permanent protection too.

Yes, Veil of Summer is limited to UB, but it hoses those two colors so completely and thoroughly, it's just obviously ridiculous. I'd say it's very close to doing the work of 3 cards in one, since Ancestral Recall has been mentioned. Obviously not as powerful, but it's still waaaay out there.

Don't call it a protection spell. That's nonsense.

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

Ed06288 wrote:
1 year ago
I usually defend veil of summer but something isn't right when ad nauseam is splashing green to run 4 in the sideboard.
I saw that, loved it. Its the exact kind of deck we need abusing cards like Veil, to get them banned.
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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

Aazadan wrote:
1 year ago
The Fluff wrote:
1 year ago
it's the allure of one mana pseudo-cryptic command..
It's not Cryptic Command. It's powerful, and it's very efficient when you can use it, but it equals one of the 6 modes Cryptic offers, and that mode still only works against decks with specific colors. Notably, it's completely useless against white or red removal.
and that's why I added the word "pseudo".
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Trazaeth
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Post by Trazaeth » 1 year ago

Cards like Veil are great designs for Stompy Green decks that are trying to fight control decks that are constantly killing and countering their stuff.

The problem is, in an environment where you have fetches and shocks you can easily get 1 green mana in order to simply tell your opponent no, This completely kills stack magic for one side of the table and in a deck like ad nauseum or storm, this might as well be a hard counter in those matchups and it's mana efficiency means that there is virtually no downside.

If you're saying that it's not exactly like cryptic since it's only affecting two colors of the color pie, and doesn't do the same exact things then sure you're technically correct it's not tapping all of your opponent's creatures or returning a permanent.

It's only providing the player and their permanents hexproof from black and blue, stopping spells their spells from being able to be countered in general and drawing a card for their opponent daring to play a black or blue spell.

That and cryptic costs four mana, so it definitely shouldn't do more or be more versatile right?

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