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

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cfusionpm
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

Mystic Sanctuary also notably does not exile the card like Snapcaster does. And in conjunction with Astrolabe or T3feri, you can frequently top a card and draw it right away. #value

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Post by Spsiegel1987 » 1 year ago

Mystic Sanctuarary would have been a fantastically designed card if it weren't fetchable. I have no idea what WOTC was thinking to make it an island.

If I could, I'd straight up ban: Veil of Summer, Astrolabe, Breach (what a time-bomb that card will be down the road), T3feri, Mystic, MAYBE Field (maybe Ouat was enough).

I'm not sure what I'd unban as of now.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

I mean to be fair, the exponential rise/return of Choke also hurts that distinction. Though, Choke alone has only actually lost me one match so far (being able to bounce/counter is nice. Borrower, Aether Gust, FoN and all).

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Post by Spsiegel1987 » 1 year ago

God, sometimes I wonder if I should cash out and just be into pioneer. Modern's identity is becoming that of bannings. 2019 was rough for every format, but it always feels as though modern needs to be rescued. The format is very sick. Maybe fetchlands really are the problem (Not that I'm hinting to ban that to save modern).

Once Astrolabe see's it's ban (And it will, I just don't know how COVID-19 plays into it), I'm sure something along the lines of Titan will be an issue. And so on.

I do think a map ban would kill the entire archetype, and I can't really get behind that. The deck remains good because Chalice is a damn good card, but meta's demand different interaction sometimes. I also don't think fair decks deserve to be true 50/50s. If you ban Tron, midrange's only predator would be Titan and various fringe stuff.

I do have to say, in Pioneer, it's really refreshing not shuffling from fetch effects. I even bit the bullet and bought Sultai Delirium (Cause, you know, it Junds), along with Mono Black (Cause, you know, thoughtseize and fatal push).

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

Spsiegel1987 wrote:
1 year ago
God, sometimes I wonder if I should cash out and just be into pioneer. Modern's identity is becoming that of bannings. 2019 was rough for every format, but it always feels as though modern needs to be rescued. The format is very sick. Maybe fetchlands really are the problem (Not that I'm hinting to ban that to save modern).

Once Astrolabe see's it's ban (And it will, I just don't know how COVID-19 plays into it), I'm sure something along the lines of Titan will be an issue. And so on.

I do think a map ban would kill the entire archetype, and I can't really get behind that. The deck remains good because Chalice is a damn good card, but meta's demand different interaction sometimes. I also don't think fair decks deserve to be true 50/50s. If you ban Tron, midrange's only predator would be Titan and various fringe stuff.

I do have to say, in Pioneer, it's really refreshing not shuffling from fetch effects. I even bit the bullet and bought Sultai Delirium (Cause, you know, it Junds), along with Mono Black (Cause, you know, thoughtseize and fatal push).
You guys know me. I really don't enjoy playing Midrange. But on a friend's recommendation during Lotus Breach and Inverter Winter at a Grand Prix, I put together Sultai Delirium without any play testing to play at the GP. Guess what? The deck was actually pretty fun to play, if a bit underpowered at the time. I ended up losing my win-and-in to Day 2 in Game 3 vs. Lotus Breach when I drew 5 straight lands before doing a Satyr Wayfinder, milling 2 Thoughtseize, a Leyline of the Void, and some other card, lol. He comboed me after I Duress the Breach that I saw him Fae of Wishes for just to see DOUBLE Breach in his hand and no way to pick that apart.

I got to see how many Midrange players in various formats feel nowadays, running a slightly underpowered deck and trying to make all the lines add up to a win. I don't know why I enjoyed Sultai a bit in Pioneer, but hate playing Jund in Modern, but it was pretty cool. It was much rougher the next day in a PTQ when I had 4 of 6 matches go to time, facing all the UW and Sultai Midrange mirrors, lol.

I don't know if I'm biased with Expedition Map, but I don't think it needs to be banned. I always seem to run decks that stomp E Tron and usually decks that can handle Big Tron as well. I don't really see those decks as a problem. I actually wish people played more E Tron so I could have some Byes (FWIW, I have been running Amulet, Titanshift, Elementals, Devoted Druid, and Yawgmoth Chord). I just don't see Map as a problem and I also pray that Ancient Stirrings doesn't get banned either. I still think that unbans would possibly help out, if not by power level, but to take people's minds off some of the broken stuff going on right now.
Standard - Will pick up what's good when paper starts
Pre Modern - Do not own anymore
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Modern - Amulet Titan, Elementals, Yawmoth Chord, Uroza
Legacy - No more cards, will rebuy Sneak Show when I can
Limited - Will start when paper starts
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Post by Spsiegel1987 » 1 year ago

...I still think DTT is on borrowed time.

But! I think the absence of fetchlands does fix quite a bit.

I agree with you, I'm not sure what modern needs to be saved, Something by Titan will be the next target after Astrolabe is banned.

Feels bad, man. Part of me wonders if I should cash out of modern, this is going to continue over and over again. Maybe I should play Pioneer and some draft on the side. Modern is very very sick, and unlike so many us (well, how I perceive us, as the community), we have such a love hate relationship with this format. The pro's dislike this format the most collectively, it seems. Legacy, on the other hand, is adored by so many of the players. I'm sure Legacies cracks would be exposed if it were properly supported...but the format is pretty fantastic.

Standard is expensive to chase after. On an FNM level, the play skill feels so much lower to me (My personal perception). It obviously isn't for the skilless, it just feels that way on a local level everywhere I have experienced.

This post has seriously made me contemplate cashing out of the format.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

I stopped even bothering with Pioneer after the decision to both keep Inverter/Heliod combos alive while simultaneously leaving Felidar Guardian banned. They have the same "throw crap at a wall and see what sticks" approach to managing that format as they do with Modern.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
I stopped even bothering with Pioneer after the decision to both keep Inverter/Heliod combos alive while simultaneously leaving Felidar Guardian banned. They have the same "throw crap at a wall and see what sticks" approach to managing that format as they do with Modern.
(This concerns Modern as well).
We must understand that the no.1 criterion Wizards uses at it's bannings now is one: Win Rate during an extended period of time (2 weeks or more), in leagues, and also win rate of the deck over that time frame amongst the ten most played decks. The second one leads over to the number of bad matchups among them.

Saheeli felidar scored a 55% win rate, while Inverter scored a 49%. Also, Inverter seems to have 4 bad matchups (<50% win rate) among the ten most played decks, while Saheeli felidar did not. Their decision is utterly right.
The more important stat is that Saheeli's win rate was from a time in which the main things it beat up on (as well as the lay of the meta as a whole) have all either been banned or have drastically shifted. This again is a representation of their inability to judge context when making decisions about bannings or unbannings. Pioneer looks nothing like it did when it was banned last November, and the win rate/matchup data that Saheeli was banned under is now wholly irrelevant. 8 other cards have been banned since Saheeli was a deck, including staples for decks that defined 'the meta' from which it was banned for being too good in.

But whatever. They do what they want, when they want, for whatever reason they want. And hold no obligation to be consistent with any past actions at any time. They continue to show this is the case, even in new formats. Can't imagine why I'd be jaded in their inability to revisit past mistakes. I don't even play the stupid deck, or even have any interest in Pioneer as a whole anyway. Just another frustrating example of their stubborn and arbitrary management methods.

Edit: Also, Birds is not Pioneer legal. And Goose requires additional resources to use more than once.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
That's what I was explaining to you. They are not doing whatever they want. They are doing win rates. Saheeli was 55%, while Inverter is on 49%.
I fully understand that. The qualm I have is not that Inverter wasn't banned, but that Felidar Guardian wasn't unbanned.

Because that 55% is irrelevant when all those decks that it was 55% against no longer exist (especially Mono G ramp/stompy, which it tore to pieces)
Those decks played Guilded Goose, or Elvish Mystic, that's not much of a problem.
Goose would require a blink, a token (which Saheeli can't do 2 turns in a row), or 2 mana to be used more than once. Elvish Mystic would require exactly a GR or UG land turn 1 and exactly the needed U/R land turn 2 in order to actually play turn 2. So neither of them effectively accelerate the combo.
Look, Saheeli being banned, while Inverter legal, is not an inconsistency.
Yes it is. WOTC is saying to the world that 2 card combos are OK as long as they have X-win rate (something that is literally impossible for us plebeians to track) and mention nothing about turn. So to then not unban Felidar, given that the win rates are all against decks that literally do not exist anymore, is another example of their stubborn inability to revisit past actions.

But at the end of the day, I don't give a sh*t about Pioneer. The two best decks are literally Inverter and Mono W Heliod aggro/combo. And if they're OK with that, it baffles me why they're not OK with Saheeli.

Here's the words from the Felidar ban:
The Felidar Guardian/Saheeli Rai combination threatens metagame diversity by requiring decks to present specific types of early interaction while developing their own strategy or else immediately lose the game. Rather than allow this combination to warp deck building and the metagame around it, we're choosing to ban a card. Of the two options, Felidar Guardian is the most likely to break again with existing or future cards.
Inverter is capable of ending the game on the spot, as is Heliod/Ballista. Sounds more like their seething hatred for Twin is bleeding together with the embarrassing failure of the design team missing a combo that players spotted within an hour of the spoiler going live. Nothing more, nothing less.

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

I personally see a lot of inconsistencies with how Pioneer is handled. There are many things WotC has done right this time around though. I play Pioneer occasionally when there is a tournament that is only Pioneer or I have to in a Team Event. As much as I normally do not enjoy Standard, I actually think Standard is okay right now. I have had fun playing Temur Clover in 3 small tournaments. I wouldn't mind trying it at a larger tournament, although probably not a GP (9-15 rounds).

Modern has issues, but the game play at the local scene is fine to me. At a larger tournament, in theory of course, I feel like I could hedge against Snow decks and have not much of a problem. Amulet with Karn, the Great Creator seems fine to me in this meta.
Standard - Will pick up what's good when paper starts
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Modern - Amulet Titan, Elementals, Yawmoth Chord, Uroza
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Post by Tzoulis » 1 year ago

cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
The more important stat is that Saheeli's win rate was from a time in which the main things it beat up on (as well as the lay of the meta as a whole) have all either been banned or have drastically shifted. This again is a representation of their inability to judge context when making decisions about bannings or unbannings. Pioneer looks nothing like it did when it was banned last November, and the win rate/matchup data that Saheeli was banned under is now wholly irrelevant. 8 other cards have been banned since Saheeli was a deck, including staples for decks that defined 'the meta' from which it was banned for being too good in.
Inverter in Pioneer has 2 winning lines: The combo and beating face with inverter. Sure, it's consistent, but is nowhere close to the defenses, consistency and backup plans Saheeli-Cat had. That's why it stayed banned, not for some conspiracy theory or incompetence...

@gkourou You want to ban Veil because:
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
[it's] being played too much, hoses blue, black as colours
but not T3feri, who LITERALLY eliminates instant speed interaction -from any color not just 2- and is being played in both main boards and side boards. That somehow constitutes "bad" in your eyes? In what world is T3feri worse than Veil, when it can provide card advantage, temporarily deal with a problematic artifact/enchantment/creature while drawing you a card and let you use your sorceries at instant speed?

Lastly, if we should ban Astrolabe because of the amount it sees play (ignoring that it helps all kinds of fair decks, and so far doesn't seem to force decks to play one color combo over another), then we should ban the cards that are played MORE than it (see Bolt, Path etc.) Where was the complaining about Thoughtseize or Goyf or whatever was the top played card in the format before?

Why are they deemed safe? We should ban them as well, they're suppressing other colors/removals with their efficiency (/s).

Killing Astrolabe kills a large swath of the fair decks it enables and supports (and it's probably the last straw for artifact decks). This forum (and others) cried to high heavens that interaction was dead in Modern, that Midrange was dead and that Modern was too fast, but when a card helps with all of most of those issues, it is immediately labeled as bannable?

Yes, Astrolabe is a very powerful card and is not without issues, but its benefits far outweigh the problems it produces -for now.

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

Tzoulis wrote:
1 year ago
cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
The more important stat is that Saheeli's win rate was from a time in which the main things it beat up on (as well as the lay of the meta as a whole) have all either been banned or have drastically shifted. This again is a representation of their inability to judge context when making decisions about bannings or unbannings. Pioneer looks nothing like it did when it was banned last November, and the win rate/matchup data that Saheeli was banned under is now wholly irrelevant. 8 other cards have been banned since Saheeli was a deck, including staples for decks that defined 'the meta' from which it was banned for being too good in.
Inverter in Pioneer has 2 winning lines: The combo and beating face with inverter. Sure, it's consistent, but is nowhere close to the defenses, consistency and backup plans Saheeli-Cat had. That's why it stayed banned, not for some conspiracy theory or incompetence...

gkourou You want to ban Veil because:
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
[it's] being played too much, hoses blue, black as colours
but not T3feri, who LITERALLY eliminates instant speed interaction -from any color not just 2- and is being played in both main boards and side boards. That somehow constitutes "bad" in your eyes? In what world is T3feri worse than Veil, when it can provide card advantage, temporarily deal with a problematic artifact/enchantment/creature while drawing you a card and let you use your sorceries at instant speed?

Lastly, if we should ban Astrolabe because of the amount it sees play (ignoring that it helps all kinds of fair decks, and so far doesn't seem to force decks to play one color combo over another), then we should ban the cards that are played MORE than it (see Bolt, Path etc.) Where was the complaining about Thoughtseize or Goyf or whatever was the top played card in the format before?

Why are they deemed safe? We should ban them as well, they're suppressing other colors/removals with their efficiency (/s).

Killing Astrolabe kills a large swath of the fair decks it enables and supports (and it's probably the last straw for artifact decks). This forum (and others) cried to high heavens that interaction was dead in Modern, that Midrange was dead and that Modern was too fast, but when a card helps with all of most of those issues, it is immediately labeled as bannable?

Yes, Astrolabe is a very powerful card and is not without issues, but its benefits far outweigh the problems it produces -for now.
Inverter has the best Pioneer card in Thoughtseize, or is it Dig Through Time? I know it's one of those. The fact is that none of us knows how powerful Copy Cat would be because it was banned after 2 weeks. Why did WotC do that after 2 weeks in a new format that people were unsure of even playing at the time? But Inverter is around because it has a 49% win percentage and there's decks that beat it.

You know what other deck has a low win percentage when the average person plays it? Amulet of Vigor decks. That doesn't mean that they are not good. The fact is that WotC set a precedent for how the format would play out after the first banning within 2 weeks. Now they've slowed all of that down. There is no consistency, despite how many people wanna say that they had to be heavy handed in the beginning and more lenient later on.

What is more odd to me than Felidar Guardian (which I expected at some time anyway) was Oath of Nissa and Leyline of Abundance (instead of Nykthos).

Regarding @gkourou, I think Teferi is a bit more fine because it is not automatically in every single deck and it costs a lot more. Veil is in any deck and whenever there is a land (Field of Ruin or whatever) and an Astrolabe on board, it is "representing" Veil very hard. Teferi is a known quantity and can be attacked. For Veil, there is almost no playing around that card. Don't get me wrong - there is nothing "okay" about T3feri either. I think it's just that Veil is a lot worse for Modern because of the mana cost.

Astrolabe just gives too much for too little. Any deck plays the card because it is essentially: 1 generic mana, draw a card, fix your mana for the rest of the game, have a permanent to blink or use as a Mox Sapphire later on at worst. I heard a comparison early on with Astrolabe that it is the new Deathrite Shaman of Modern and I felt it to be similar to that. Previous to MH, I told people here that if they want fair decks to get help, they need to do something serious like unban Deathrite Shaman, but people are too afraid. Now over a half year later, I actually feel that Astrolabe is better than Deathrite Shaman in many ways. Deathrite Shaman dies to a freaking Bolt/Push, while Astrolabe lives through everything, lol.
Standard - Will pick up what's good when paper starts
Pre Modern - Do not own anymore
Pioneer - MBA, UB Inverter
Modern - Amulet Titan, Elementals, Yawmoth Chord, Uroza
Legacy - No more cards, will rebuy Sneak Show when I can
Limited - Will start when paper starts
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Post by TheBoulderer » 1 year ago

Tzoulis the fact that you are arguing "if Astrolabe needs a ban, so do Bolt and Path" tells me very clearly that you dont have the foggiest idea about MTG and are just spouting polemic ignorant garbage.

I think I'll leave this thread for a bit. The ignorance on here is staggering.
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Post by Tzoulis » 1 year ago

TheBoulderer wrote:
1 year ago
Tzoulis the fact that you are arguing "if Astrolabe needs a ban, so do Bolt and Path" tells me very clearly that you dont have the foggiest idea about MTG and are just spouting polemic ignorant garbage.

I think I'll leave this thread for a bit. The ignorance on here is staggering.
I mean you couldn't be more wrong and heavily missed my point, but you do you.
FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
Inverter has the best Pioneer card in Thoughtseize, or is it Dig Through Time? I know it's one of those. The fact is that none of us knows how powerful Copy Cat would be because it was banned after 2 weeks. Why did WotC do that after 2 weeks in a new format that people were unsure of even playing at the time? But Inverter is around because it has a 49% win percentage and there's decks that beat it.
I'd go with Dig for best card personally.

My point is, Inverter has a 49% win ratio because it has no back up plan. It has plenty of disruption, but that's not enough to overcome that disadvantage. Saheeli-Cat on the other hand had a huge array of other threats, plus Oko, Veil and Oath. So it didn't really matter if you Unmoored Ego'd the Cat or Saheeli or Needled Saheeli, the deck was still a very good midrange deck, kind of like Pod. Other than Oko and Oath not being legal, the deck is still extremely good and can still play 3 or 4 colors without much of a problem. That's the most important reason it's not legal.
FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
I think Teferi is a bit more fine because it is not automatically in every single deck and it costs a lot more. Veil is in any deck and whenever there is a land (Field of Ruin or whatever) and an Astrolabe on board, it is "representing" Veil very hard. Teferi is a known quantity and can be attacked. For Veil, there is almost no playing around that card. Don't get me wrong - there is nothing "okay" about T3feri either. I think it's just that Veil is a lot worse for Modern because of the mana cost.
My contention was that you can't say that Veil is bannable because it hoses 2 colors, while in the next sentence say that T3feri isn't when it hoses a large part of the game, hosing a significant part of a colors identity/tools and when it can deal with problematic permanents while replacing himself. Personally, I think T3feri is worse than Veil.
FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
Astrolabe just gives too much for too little. Any deck plays the card because it is essentially: 1 generic mana, draw a card, fix your mana for the rest of the game, have a permanent to blink or use as a Mox Sapphire later on at worst. I heard a comparison early on with Astrolabe that it is the new Deathrite Shaman of Modern and I felt it to be similar to that. Previous to MH, I told people here that if they want fair decks to get help, they need to do something serious like unban Deathrite Shaman, but people are too afraid. Now over a half year later, I actually feel that Astrolabe is better than Deathrite Shaman in many ways. Deathrite Shaman dies to a freaking Bolt/Push, while Astrolabe lives through everything, lol.
I acknowledge the problems with Astrolabe, but let's not get carried away. I get your point, but one is a manafixer-cantrip, the other is a 1 mana planeswalker, that's a threat, anti gy, aggro hate and mana ramp in one card costs one mana (hybrid).

So far, while Astrolabe is very much prevalent -like other cards in Modern's past - it has rejuvenated or created archetypes with a variety of colors and strategies. From combo/prison to midrange to control. You can't tell me this isn't a win for the overall health of the format.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

drmarkb wrote:
1 year ago
Opinions about what is and is not good for Modern come with the unspoken caveat that they are subjective opinions, that cannot be proven/unproven any more than you can disprove sombody's favourite colour is the wrong or right choice. Numbers about a card being played are meaningless by themselves until a context is applied, one that will also often be subjective. You can say that a card was banned when it hit X percentage, and thus a card is in danger because it hits a similar percentage, that is a fair enough use of data, but all of the assumptions fall apart when we look at the numbers for Brainstorm in Legacy. Ultimately WOTC ban cards not just on numbers, but by a sort of opaque mish mash, much of which will be down to a group of people's ideas and opinions on what constitutes a healthy pillar of whatever the format is. Hence Brainstorm in Legacy. How honest are WOTC when banning cards is another key point- how often do they mean what they say? We certainly need to be careful when assuming past behaviour by WOTC will be replicated, we all know about the inductivist turkey.
I don't mind opinions. But pure format opinions become problematic when they aren't grounded at all in metagame realities. Hence why my post said "JUST opinions." Numbers are a clear and consistent part of all Wizards ban decisions in this format, so our ban arguments really need to have some numeric basis. Context definitely matters for numbers but, by the same token, data contexts matter for opinions. Remember that I and others have used these exact same numbers to correctly predict the last set of bans. These numbers matter and both can and should inform our subjective (but still valuable) takes on certain cards.
Spsiegel1987 wrote:
1 year ago
I wonder how much of Sheridan's data may slightly skew the fact the deck is very expensive in paper and mtgo? I think we are talking easily over 2 grand, right? That's a lot of money to drop to chase the top tier deck.
We've often seen expensive decks at the top of a metagame across formats, so I doubt this is too much at play. Besides, there are so many viable rental plans for people to pick up super expensive staples during events. Between these factors and Modern being a veteran/enfranchised (i.e. wealthier) format to begin with, I don't think this is too much at play. The best decks will rise to the top regardless of cost.
I really think if you want to be competitive you should be playing:

Bant, E-Tron, Titan. Urza or Prowess. The rest of the archetypes are just flavor distinctions in my mind.
I've seen you and others reduce the format to this kind of characterization: "Play A, B, C, D, or E or play something worse." I don't understand why this is a bad thing, as I feel it's suggested, or even a new thing. Modern has been like that since 2013! Modern was like that during the so-called Twin golden era in late 2015. Legacy, a format widely regarded by us spikey players as a platinum standard of interactivity and nonrotating Magic, has been like that for even longer. It's totally fine for a format like Modern to have 4-5 top decks that are generally above the rest. It's only a problem if those decks are basically the same or completely reduce diversity elsewhere. This does not seem to be the case at this time.
Tzoulis wrote:
1 year ago
So far, while Astrolabe is very much prevalent -like other cards in Modern's past - it has rejuvenated or created archetypes with a variety of colors and strategies. From combo/prison to midrange to control. You can't tell me this isn't a win for the overall health of the format.
I too think Astrolabe overall improves the format, but it's important to restate the risks and paths that will lead Astrolabe to ban territory. Specifically:

1. If Astrolabe decks homogenize around 1-2 strategies with all other Astrolabe strategies declining. Astrolabe decks narrowing to just Bant Snow Control and Temur Urza would be a warning sign in this regard.
2. If fair Astrolabe decks completely push out non-Astrolabe fair decks. Jund disappearing would be a warning sign in this regard.
3. If Astrolabe decks become the most popular/most winning decks by a significant margin. Astrolabe decks making up about 45% of MTGO T8s (OUaT #s) would be a warning sign in this regard.

If any one of those things happens, Astrolabe will move into yellow flag territory. Two of those things would be orange. Three would be red. There are good reasons to believe at least two of them will happen, because the Astrolabe framework is so powerful it naturally leads to #2 and #3. Spikey grinders and pros also enjoy this kind of high interaction, customizable, high-decision deck, which further increases its win-rate in premier events. All of this could pose significant risk to Astrolabe.

I will also note that after 2019, ban mania has never been more rampant and I doubt it will ever decrease. Any gains we made against ban mania in 2018 were COMPLETELY erased in a year that saw over a dozen multi-format bans, and doubly stamped out with a 2020 that has started with more bans/changes than in most previous years combined. Bans are going to continue to define all formats, not just Modern, so long as Play Design continues to make significant design errors and mistakes (i.e. not preventing the problems they literally exist to prevent). This will create an environment where no one will feel comfortable in their deck's safety at any given moment, which is a dark moment for nonrotating formats.
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Post by Yawgmoth » 1 year ago

Astrolabe enables a lot of things but I do not think it warrants a ban at this point. Right now, the requirement that you must run Snow lands is not a drawback.

WotC could easily print Snow hate in MH2. For example, a 1 or 2 cmc instant spell which destroys target snow permanent would be perfect. This would be a great sideboard card which punishes greedy snow decks.
They could even make it a white spell to show some love to the color.
Alternatively they could make a lock artifact/enchantment which prevents all snow permanents from untapping.

Either way, creating snow interaction would balance the format without having to ban a bunch of decks.

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Post by Bearscape » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago

% of all MTGO decks playing OUaT: 37% (380/1020)
OUaT confidence interval for all MTGO: 34.3% < x < 40.2%
Avg copies of OUaT in decks running it: 3.5
% of MTGO Challenge/Premier decks playing OUaT: 41.7% (120/288)
% of MTGO Preliminary decks playing OUaT: 35.5% (260/732)

It still remains to be seen if Astrolabe commits other violations beyond prevalence. But at least now we have a baseline to compare it to. If Astrolabe is consistently showing up in 34%+ of MTGO Prelim/Premier/Challenge decks, that's an orange flag. We can elevate that risk if Astrolabe gets closer to 37% or exceeds 40%. I will need to repeat this analysis for some other Modern staples, like Astrolabe, Lightning Bolt as a control, and others, to get more benchmarks. But hopefully, this will give this discussion a little more grounding in the current evidence and not just opinions about what is/is not good for Modern.
I am not sure if pure usage would be a good metric to decide whether Astrolabe needs a ban. The comparison to Lightning Bolt or Path to Exile is a bit odd, but I think a comparison to fetchlands is valid; fetchlands are an admitted design mistake by WotC, they are incredibly powerful manafixing with little downside, and although I did look up the numbers I'm fairly certain they are used in more than 40% of Modern decks. Is it fair to treat Astrolabe like fetchlands, i.e. a manabase development tool?
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
1. If Astrolabe decks homogenize around 1-2 strategies with all other Astrolabe strategies declining. Astrolabe decks narrowing to just Bant Snow Control and Temur Urza would be a warning sign in this regard.
2. If fair Astrolabe decks completely push out non-Astrolabe fair decks. Jund disappearing would be a warning sign in this regard.
3. If Astrolabe decks become the most popular/most winning decks by a significant margin. Astrolabe decks making up about 45% of MTGO T8s (OUaT #s) would be a warning sign in this regard.
I think these are more valid ban criteria for a card like Astrolabe. Specifically, if Astrolabe does what Deathrite Shaman did to Legacy, where 4c goodstuff decks become dominant. It has become the norm in most of Magic that you should at most be allowed to play 3 colors unless it comes with major deck design restrictions. We have seen some amount of 4c decks popping up thanks to Astrolabe, mostly Bant splashing for Blood Moon. If we can treat Astrolabe as a manafixing engine, how prevalent it makes 4c decks is I believe a better measurement of it being too strong than sheer usage percentage.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

Bearscape wrote:
1 year ago
I am not sure if pure usage would be a good metric to decide whether Astrolabe needs a ban. The comparison to Lightning Bolt or Path to Exile is a bit odd, but I think a comparison to fetchlands is valid; fetchlands are an admitted design mistake by WotC, they are incredibly powerful manafixing with little downside, and although I did look up the numbers I'm fairly certain they are used in more than 40% of Modern decks. Is it fair to treat Astrolabe like fetchlands, i.e. a manabase development tool?
Usage is a critical metric, but it is not sufficient. I made this very clear in the intro paragraph before giving the numbers. Wizards banned OUaT as part of a three part test. First, it was too popular and winning too much. Second, this led to less divergent gameplay. Third, it imposed land/creature design constraints. MTGO usage speaks directly to the first test. If we don't know what OUaT looked like when it got banned for being too popular and winning too much, it's very hard to discuss the exact same criterion as applied to Astrolabe. If AA hits ~37% of the MTGO metagame, that would not on its own be enough to warrant a ban. But it would definitely raise alarm bells because that could put Astrolabe in the same territory as OUaT on prevalence and performance alone.

As for the Path/Bolt/Fetch comparison, I'm not saying you should compare AA to any one of those cards. I'm saying you want to establish a few other baselines of top Modern staples and see if AA is a reasonable comparison to those cards. But we can't do that without knowing the prevalence and success rates of those top Modern staples, which is why we need to measure a few different cards.
I think these are more valid ban criteria for a card like Astrolabe. Specifically, if Astrolabe does what Deathrite Shaman did to Legacy, where 4c goodstuff decks become dominant. It has become the norm in most of Magic that you should at most be allowed to play 3 colors unless it comes with major deck design restrictions. We have seen some amount of 4c decks popping up thanks to Astrolabe, mostly Bant splashing for Blood Moon. If we can treat Astrolabe as a manafixing engine, how prevalent it makes 4c decks is I believe a better measurement of it being too strong than sheer usage percentage.
These are important ban criteria, but again, the baseline AA usage is what even gets us talking about these three criteria. In particular, if AA is being used in 37% of MTGO decks, that's a big orange flag that #3 (AA decks are the most popular/winningest decks by a significant margin) is happening. We can obviously use similar measurements to look at #1 and #2. For #1, we could just look at distinct AA decks over time and see if those converge to a few "best" options. For #2, we could just look at the non-AA decks and see how their popularity/performance changed over time.

Both here and on Reddit, I always see a natural distrust of and aversion to data. That's reasonable in a time when, as drmark said earlier, many people use twisted, opaque analysis to support whatever claims they want. As the old saying goes, if you torture the numbers enough, they'll tell you exactly what you want them to tell you. Similarly, there are players in this thread who keep suggesting or outright claiming that these kinds of measured analyses don't matter and Wizards will just do whatever the %$#% it wants and we can't predict that based on anything. These bad experiences with numbers cannot and must not scare us away from using them at all. These are critical pieces of evidence for supporting bans and we have successfully used these data-driven methods to predict most bans, including all recent bans. When we have a method that is both methodologically sound AND is producing the correct results from month to month (notably, predicting basically every "No changes" announcement since 2017 in addition to most bans), it would be incredibly stupid to abandon that method. Keep drawing on numbers to inform opinions and arguments. This will generally, in the vast majority of cases, lead to a much sharper and more accurate argument.
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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
ktkenshinx, just to clear the clouds here. I think a T3feri ban is absurd and laughable. It is also not being played that much to warrant a ban. Opinions on that?
T3feri is a badly designed card that both invalidates one of Magic's fundamentals that makes the game great, instant-speed interaction, and also makes the otherwise skill-testing control mirror all about resolving a single 3 mana spell. At the same time, it does not seem too prevalent or winning by any known metric. Under that benchmark alone, it's not bannable. But it's DEFINITELY bannable under the Lattice precedent, as the card creates negative, unfun play patterns and I would love to see it go. T3feri also has the added effect of strongly disincentivizing non-UWx control options, reducing overall diversity.
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

T3feri is an absolutely terribly designed card. Like pretty much every WAR Planeswalker, the fact that all static effects are NOT symmetrical and ONLY affect opponents seems like needlessly cruel design. It's a choice that promotes prison style play (no, you can't do that, ever) and discourages meaningful interaction.

But it's not just T3feri, things like Stony Silence are supposed to have drawbacks and build-around requirements. What drawbacks or deckbuilding requirements are there for Karn, TCG? Lose a few SB slots so you can tutor silver bullets game 1? Yeah, awesome stuff there. Ashiok? Who cares! Doesn't shut off MY stuff! Narset? LOL u cant draw and I get DTT!

Individually broken or not, the mindset that built these cards is what's ruining our game.

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Post by Tzoulis » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
If any one of those things happens, Astrolabe will move into yellow flag territory. Two of those things would be orange. Three would be red. There are good reasons to believe at least two of them will happen, because the Astrolabe framework is so powerful it naturally leads to #2 and #3. Spikey grinders and pros also enjoy this kind of high interaction, customizable, high-decision deck, which further increases its win-rate in premier events. All of this could pose significant risk to Astrolabe.
I reckon that this consolidation of snow decks around Bant would be because of Uro, Veil and Teferi rather than Astrolabe though. Now, if Jund or BR or UW stop existing altogether, yeah, but to blame Astrolabe for the consolidation behind a certain color combination on a colorless card is silly.

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Post by TheBoulderer » 1 year ago

Tzoulis wrote:
1 year ago

I reckon that this consolidation of snow decks around Bant would be because of Uro, Veil and Teferi rather than Astrolabe though. Now, if Jund or BR or UW stop existing altogether, yeah, but to blame Astrolabe for the consolidation behind a certain color combination on a colorless card is silly.
It's not that silly though because UG is the only color combination with a worthwhile payoff in Icefang Coatl. And Coatl isn't just decent, it's an upgrade to a legacy staple.

And Jund disappearing has become a questionable benchmark since Jund has arguably recieved more powerful new maindeck cards than anyother older archetype in the past year. A contemporary jund list would probably win ballpark 80% of matches against Jund a year ago (pre Wrenn) and close to 100% vs jund pre bbe-unban.

Writing this down makes the insane power creep in the whole of modern painfully obvious. I mean Jesus. Don't think I've seen any card game go through the roof like that in one year.

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
You are forgetting that lattice was not banned for being unfun only, but because the e- tron deck was winning too much.
Also, dont forget that t3f, makes uw control better, and a t3f ban would nerf it.If you nerf uw, that garbage grixis deck wont be better all of a sudden, just like twin banned did not make all other control decks better.

Tbh, i don't even think t3f is that unfun, but either way, the data are not there to ban It.
I think it fits the Mycosynth Lattice ban nearly perfectly, except that Lattice saw a LOT more play. Karn, TGC with Lattice was played in almost any deck that could fit that in. It gave help to decks that were previously trash, like Ponza and Skred, but more importantly, it pushed E Tron a bit too much.

That being said, does anyone have any stats on E Tron's winning percentages? I just can't believe it myself. I may have not played against it much, but I literally only remember personally losing to E Tron twice (when I was Paradoxical Outcome) in the past year. I'm assuming it's just the decks I play, so I reserve judgment that perhaps E Tron is actually winning a lot. :hmm:

But I agree with you on T3feri. It is incredibly unfun. I don't care if it nerfs UW. But it is not bannable by most metrics right now. (any metric in my opinion)
Standard - Will pick up what's good when paper starts
Pre Modern - Do not own anymore
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Modern - Amulet Titan, Elementals, Yawmoth Chord, Uroza
Legacy - No more cards, will rebuy Sneak Show when I can
Limited - Will start when paper starts
Commander - Nope

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
I think it fits the Mycosynth Lattice ban nearly perfectly, except that Lattice saw a LOT more play. Karn, TGC with Lattice was played in almost any deck that could fit that in. It gave help to decks that were previously trash, like Ponza and Skred, but more importantly, it pushed E Tron a bit too much.

That being said, does anyone have any stats on E Tron's winning percentages? I just can't believe it myself. I may have not played against it much, but I literally only remember personally losing to E Tron twice (when I was Paradoxical Outcome) in the past year. I'm assuming it's just the decks I play, so I reserve judgment that perhaps E Tron is actually winning a lot. :hmm:

But I agree with you on T3feri. It is incredibly unfun. I don't care if it nerfs UW. But it is not bannable by most metrics right now. (any metric in my opinion)
I also think it fits the second part of the Lattice ban(the unfun criterion). Note that it does not fit the first one(E-tron winning too much, as they stated). For example, Neoform is also as unfun as this is, but it just does not win that much. If/When neoform takes over Modern, it will see a banning.

The Lattice ban happened this way:
-Wizards: We also have to do something about E-tron. It's numbers are worrisome.
-Ian Duke: Oh, I have written some months ago about the problematic Karn+Lattice combo. Let's get Lattice out of the way, because many people are also asking for it to be banned, because they don't like it.
Note that if E-Tron was on Tier 2, the unfun criterion would not have been triggered at all.
Do you have a source for this? The article makes it super clear that the unfun play pattern was the primary reason for the ban. The justification literally says the popularity and strengths of those decks is secondary to the unfun factor.
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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Exhibit no. 2:

Link: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/a ... nouncement
We're aware of some concern about combos in Modern based around War of the Spark cards, such as Neoform plus Allosaurus Rider; Ugin's Conjurant plus Celestial Kirin; and Karn, the Great Creator plus Mycosynth Lattice. We've been monitoring the play rates and win rates of these decks and, so far, don't see cause for alarm. With the release of Modern Horizons and Mythic Championship IV right around the corner, we'll continue to observe the evolution of the Modern metagame.
Based on the above quotes, Wizards have been monitoring those combos for a long time. When "Eldrazi and other Tron decks became so popular and strong in the metagame", they decided to act.

Rephrasing my past post:

Basically, you are right in stating this is a secondary reason based on exhibit no 1. But, even if the unfun criterion was the no. 1 reason, both the unfun criterion must happen and the aforementioned unfun deck must be so strong and popular to warrant a ban.
This means, one criterion alone won't cut it. For example, Neoform being a problematic combination alone won't do it, for the banning. But, if neoform became "strong and popular enough", this would trigger the unfun criterion and the ban would have happened.

So, to sum up, Wizards know there are some unfun and/or problematic combinations that they are monitoring out there. Out of all of them, karn+lattice was banned, and neoform is on that list. Many other, unknown ones also(for example, it could be breach, or veil, or sth else). But when any of them becomes "popular and strong in the metagame", it is safe to assume that the DCI will act.
It's funny. I remember seeing the Kirin and Ugin's Conjurant mentioned, but I forgot that Neoform was also mentioned. I guess it's player's bias, lol. ;) :grin:

So as long as the win rates are acceptable, these "unfun play patterns" are okay to have in Modern.
1. Kirin Conjurant - no data
2. Neoform - not enough data, outside of finalnub, it's sparingly played
3. Karn TGC and Lettuce - was played at 6-10%, right? Soemwhere around that...
Standard - Will pick up what's good when paper starts
Pre Modern - Do not own anymore
Pioneer - MBA, UB Inverter
Modern - Amulet Titan, Elementals, Yawmoth Chord, Uroza
Legacy - No more cards, will rebuy Sneak Show when I can
Limited - Will start when paper starts
Commander - Nope

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