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

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

pierreb wrote:
1 year ago
(First off, obv, Heliod being an indestructible enchantment is almost impervious to cards normally played.)

Ballista survives most removal played in moderm when... Just saying it's not all that clear that the combo is fragile.
Sure, Heliod is very durable. It's hard to counter (creature on the stack to avoid Negate), then an indestructible non creature when on the board. It's damn hard to get rid of. But, the Ballista half itself is quite fragile. If Ballista comes down first, it still has to come down for 2, making it a 4 mana 2/2 with no protection, where the opponent will then need to cast Heliod, and have 2 up to activate, and at least 1 up for protection, in order to go infinite. Or if Ballista comes down second, it costs 4, then 2 up to activate, then 1 up for protection. To get around all of that, Ballista needs to come down at 3.

It's far easier to interact with than say, Twin. You mention protection cards that can come down ahead of time but those cards are also vulnerable to removal. For example, Force of Vigor gets around Spellskite, and Giver of Runes can be dealt with. Path to Exile and Lightning Helix for example are both excellent ways to stop Giver from doing anything with Ballista. That's before you even get into cards like Karn and Ouphe which also stop the combo.

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
I mean the question really is, is it better than Knightfall? Its all within the same realm of competitiveness that is all the GW/Bant creature based combo decks.
This seems like a reasonable question. I think the answer to that is yes. But Knightfall isn't particularly good, so that's not a high bar to clear.

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

Yeah, and thats totally fair. I dont believe this combo is worth worry at all. People who look at it as the second coming of christ are missing the fact that its not instant speed, nor fits into a shell that could even try and protect itself.

Perhaps you put it in Bant Snowblade, and 'protect' it with T3feri, but thats still not the best thing you could do in Modern.

This wont be a Tier 1 combo deck, nor will it be particularly close I think.

EDIT: That said, it will be Pioneer playable.
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Post by pierreb » 1 year ago

I knew all this. I'm just saying people calling the deck fragile and fair is premature. Welding Jar costing zero always give artifact decks a slight edge and the other piece being hard to remove it not countered is also relevant to the evaluation of fragility. I don't think it is inherently more powerful than existing tier-1 deck, but it is not innocuous.

Edit: also, being a two-card combo and one of the piece (ballista) being already part of many combo decks, it's an easy addition to give another angle of attack. You can just put some heliods in your devoted druid decks if you want to.

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Post by Simto » 1 year ago

I really hate the term "fair decks" in general lol. It's just a silly way of saying "not really good" or below tier 2

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

Simto wrote:
1 year ago
I really hate the term "fair decks" in general lol. It's just a silly way of saying "not really good" or below tier 2
You know, you are probably not alone in that thinking. That is also why many view Modern as a degenerate joke.
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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

Nice back and forth ideas on Heliod Ballista combo. Read all of them since I plan to invest on it. While Heliod is harder to remove, the ballista is vulnerable to removal. Probably best in decks that already use ballista, to have the combo as another angle of attack.
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Post by Simto » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
Simto wrote:
1 year ago
I really hate the term "fair decks" in general lol. It's just a silly way of saying "not really good" or below tier 2
You know, you are probably not alone in that thinking. That is also why many view Modern as a degenerate joke.
Yeah hehe, I'm just really happy my local store's modern meta is very friendly and has a lot of people making brews they think are fun instead of going full competitive mode.
I mean there are a couple, but I find it kinda fun actually trying to play against some of those tier 1 decks once in a while just to see what they're about in person. I can see why it would annoy a lot of people if they have to sit through five rounds of annihilation hehe.

Sadly though, it generally sounds like I'm lucky having a meta like that and my local store's meta is out of the norm. That's probably why I have a little more rosy view on Modern than others, but I don't take it for granted hehe.

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Post by drmarkb » 1 year ago

One of the interesting things about Modern v legacy is the acceptance of stax, pox etc. in Legacy.
In legacy you are trying to win via a number of unfair methods often. Stax, pox etc are seen as natural predators of storm, that can win t1 5 pc of the time. They also can do well against the dominant blue cantrip engine.
A legacy player who has been locked out and will die in ten turns immediately scoops 99 pc of the time. In legacy at one point counter top was the backbone of miracles, and it produced analogous matches to land kill, turn after turn of spells you knew would not get through, unless you ran Decay. When top was banned it was because it was dominant and time issues, not because of fun.

I have played g tron modern players and beaten up on their land turn by turn, and even when they are stuck on two mana, have lost all 4 of a tron land and I have a full hand and am effectively drawing two a turn they don't always scoop.

Whether the wotc paradigm is correct is a matter for debate, just how much in the way of unfun controlling archetypes will people accept in a top end degenerate meta is open to debate, but I can say that by not printing the stax type cards you create an issue of balance, one that has plagued modern as the threats got better.
I think wotc have approached the game by asking what people like. Trouble is people like chips, crisps and chocolate, and that is not healthy. Those green vegetables need to be included as well, which is what Legacy does well. Fun archetypes become less fun when busted, and busted they will be if you don't accept unfun archetypes into the meta.

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Post by drmarkb » 1 year ago

My money is on Heliod Pioneer ban, btw. Because the combo is not instant speed I think it will survive modern. If both pieces had flash it would be different...

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

drmarkb wrote:
1 year ago
My money is on Heliod Pioneer ban, btw. Because the combo is not instant speed I think it will survive modern. If both pieces had flash it would be different...
Why does instant speed matter? Ad Nauseum is an instant speed 2 card combo. Storm has several elements that can go off at instant speed to secure a win. How is the that a relevant factor?

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
drmarkb wrote:
1 year ago
My money is on Heliod Pioneer ban, btw. Because the combo is not instant speed I think it will survive modern. If both pieces had flash it would be different...
Why does instant speed matter? Ad Nauseum is an instant speed 2 card combo. Storm has several elements that can go off at instant speed to secure a win. How is the that a relevant factor?
Because if it can be done at instant speed, the threat of 'tap out and lose' is too high in many peoples eyes.
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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
drmarkb wrote:
1 year ago
My money is on Heliod Pioneer ban, btw. Because the combo is not instant speed I think it will survive modern. If both pieces had flash it would be different...
Why does instant speed matter? Ad Nauseum is an instant speed 2 card combo. Storm has several elements that can go off at instant speed to secure a win. How is the that a relevant factor?
I think it's mostly that it feels like the win can come out of nowhere and the opponent's untapped mana is always very scary and tense. But it also may not matter as much as people think, seeing as how Felidar Guardian and Saheeli Rai combo was banned immediately (they probably even considered a pre ban, lol).

To go on further, most decks can win "out of nowhere." Every time I've lost to Infect, they've had a 1/1 on the field and 2-4 cards in hand. So when my Infect opponent has a 1/1, I expect to die. When my opponent has a Devoted Druid and at least 2 cards in hand (or 1 card, then a draw step obviously). When my opponent has 6 mana available on Ad Nauseam and 2 cards. When my opponent has some creatures and can play Lords/direct damage creatures. When my opponent has 2 Tron lands and at least 2 cards in ahnd. There's so many ways to lose this game, damn!
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Post by iTaLenTZ » 1 year ago

drmarkb wrote:
1 year ago
My money is on Heliod Pioneer ban, btw. Because the combo is not instant speed I think it will survive modern. If both pieces had flash it would be different...
I agree. I wouldn't buy the cards right now. 2 card combo that is hard to disrupt because A) one piece is indestructible and B) It can win in response to removal. Both cards also have value on their own and have good synergy with other cards so they are easy to slam in many decks that are already playing Walking Ballista. Also combined with manadorks you have a potential turn 3 kill and white is the colour of T3feri. A bant-build is mostly likely the strongest.

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

Ballista is very vulnerable to removal though. Not saying that there aren't ways it could be protected, but going all in on that type of strategy is generally weaker than just having it was one plan among many.
iTaLenTZ wrote:
1 year ago
I agree. I wouldn't buy the cards right now. 2 card combo that is hard to disrupt because A) one piece is indestructible and B) It can win in response to removal. Both cards also have value on their own and have good synergy with other cards so they are easy to slam in many decks that are already playing Walking Ballista. Also combined with manadorks you have a potential turn 3 kill and white is the colour of T3feri. A bant-build is mostly likely the strongest.


I think this really comes down to what other cards you want in the strategy. It feels to me like Spell Queller and Thalia make a lot of sense. Maybe Stoneforge Mystic plus non white swords. Teferi is good, but how many 3's can you really run and I've already mentioned Teferi, Spell Queller, Swords, and Heliod... plus there's cards like Ranger Captain of Eos.

I'm not really convinced 3 colors is the way to go. To draw a Twin analogy, UR was the best build of Twin generally. Most decks for that matter are generally stronger at 2 colors rather than 3. This one especially seems to have plenty of options available in just two.

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Post by pierreb » 1 year ago

FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
To go on further, most decks can win "out of nowhere." Every time I've lost to Infect, they've had a 1/1 on the field and 2-4 cards in hand. So when my Infect opponent has a 1/1, I expect to die. When my opponent has a Devoted Druid and at least 2 cards in hand (or 1 card, then a draw step obviously). When my opponent has 6 mana available on Ad Nauseam and 2 cards. When my opponent has some creatures and can play Lords/direct damage creatures. When my opponent has 2 Tron lands and at least 2 cards in ahnd. There's so many ways to lose this game, damn!
Almost every single one of those examples are not winning out of nowhere. The meaning of the phrase is that the opponent has nothing in play and then just wins. So, for example, infect having an infect 1/1 in play is clearly on the prowl. On the contrary, an infect player with nothing on the board signals that you are safe to play on your turn. And then for a 1/1 to be scary, the player has to have a somewhat large number of cards in hand to deal 10 points.

What people don't like is the capability of winning from an empty board in a single turn, how many cards are required to pull it off and how much it costs to do it. The ad nauseam example is acceptable because 6 mana is considered pretty late game in modern. One could say the ad nauseam player has earned his right to combo out by then by surviving this long. What people don't like about the heliod combo is not that it wins out of nowhere, but that once heliod is in play, a hard to remove permanent, then it can win in one turn and it has only one permanent to protect, the ballista. (yeah, yeah, you could bounce heliod via a boomerang in response, who plays boomerang?)

No question the combo is turned off by removal, bounce, stony silence, white leylines, etc.

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

pierreb wrote:
1 year ago
(yeah, yeah, you could bounce heliod via a boomerang in response, who plays boomerang?)
brazen borrower

The issue for real though is, what good is your Petty Theft, when they have T3feri on the board.
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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
??

Temple Garden → Dork
Plains → Heliod, Sun-Crowned
Tap Garden + Dork → Walking Ballista as a 1/1 → Radiant Fountain Gain Life Counter on Ballista → Tap Plains + Fountain - Go Off King.

There are decks that already function off of these cards.

I mean the question really is, is it better than Knightfall? Its all within the same realm of competitiveness that is all the GW/Bant creature based combo decks.
Have been only playing knightfall for a few days, but I can say is knightfall is a weaker combo to the heliod ballista. The knight still needs an attack phase, and is also very vulnerable to gy hate. And one thing is, the knight encouraged my opponents to side in gy hate, they did not bring it in when it's just the tarmo in the deck. :fuming:

Still satisfying in the few times I was able to do the combo, with a sejiri steppe in the end to make a 12/12 knight unblockable. :)

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On the helliod ballista combo. Based on what some posts here are saying.. it seems best to wait it out a bit, see if it get's a ban or not. I'll wait some weeks, or even a month or two. Money is hard to come by these days, cannot throw money away on cards that would just get banned.
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Post by Tzoulis » 1 year ago

Heliod/Balista can be answered by Pithing Needle/Sorcerous Spyglass/Revoker that can also answer other problematic combos/cards as well, plus every deck can play them. I've been saying for months that these cards are underplayed, doubly so in Pioneer.

I don't think Heliod/Balista will be remotely close to oppressive in Modern or even Pioneer. You don't even need a revolted Push to kill Balista in comparison to CopyCat.

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

Tzoulis wrote:
1 year ago
Heliod/Balista can be answered by Pithing Needle/Sorcerous Spyglass/Revoker that can also answer other problematic combos/cards as well, plus every deck can play them. I've been saying for months that these cards are underplayed, doubly so in Pioneer.
So can Copy Cat, or Twin though no?
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Post by Tzoulis » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
Tzoulis wrote:
1 year ago
Heliod/Balista can be answered by Pithing Needle/Sorcerous Spyglass/Revoker that can also answer other problematic combos/cards as well, plus every deck can play them. I've been saying for months that these cards are underplayed, doubly so in Pioneer.
So can Copy Cat, or Twin though no?
I mean, yeah, it's implied in what I said and I even referenced CopyCat in the 2nd paragraph of my post.

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Post by Mapccu » 1 year ago

IMHO the most direct comparison for heliod/ballista is twin because it has a specific reaction type/window. Twin could tax mana on t3 and you couldn't bolt the exarch. Heliod and multiple ballista activations can cause similar struggles if available.

I think copy cat was far easier to respond to of the three, and the fact that they took action already (quoting the meta and percentages at the time I think) means part of the combo is going to be critically looked at. I'd wager it being ballista so they can retain sales. Turning everything into a pridemate is a decent static ability for heliod.

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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

I'd wager it being ballista so they can retain sales.
agreed on this. It has always been the tradition get rid of the older card. Heliod is laughing, he's safe because he is new.
I'm thinking what modern decks would be weakened if ever ballista does get entered into the banlist?
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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

Mapccu wrote:
1 year ago
IMHO the most direct comparison for heliod/ballista is twin because it has a specific reaction type/window. Twin could tax mana on t3 and you couldn't bolt the exarch. Heliod and multiple ballista activations can cause similar struggles if available.
Twin was much more egregious. The strongest scenario, when Twin was on the play and had it naturally on T4 (yes, they didn't always have this or want to go for it) was Twin spending 10 mana in 4 turns. The opponent would only have a maximum of 6 mana at that point, and 5 if Exarch locked them out. And with the need to represent removal, any non white removal at the time cost 2. Meaning the opponent could only spend a maximum of 4 mana over 4 turns to develop their plan, and more likely 3 mana over 4 turns, while Twin spent 10.

The mana costs, and non flash nature of both halves of the Heliod/Ballista combo, create far easier to identify windows for interaction, and short of the opponent having 4 mana open when Ballista comes down (and Ballista having at least 3 counters), there's going to be an easy to disrupt window, unless there's also other cards to protect.

It's a much more mana intensive combo than Twin, and it has worse timing, and it doesn't disrupt the opponents mana development. It's probably a playable combo but I don't see how it's possibly going to be too good.

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Post by iTaLenTZ » 1 year ago

The Heliod/Ballista combo is too strong for Pioneer but its okay in Modern but the money right now is in Pioneer so if it gets banned it will tank a lot in value.

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