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

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Bearscape
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Post by Bearscape » 1 year ago

TheBoulderer wrote:
1 year ago
How is RG midrange being a good meta call a sign of format health? that just means big mana is dominating and aggro is bad. If anything its a sign of imbalance.

2) A deck running a different sb card isn't a great sign of anything.

And "raising the ceiling" or to put it in other words, insane power creep, is the number one problem modern has had over the last years.

I don't mean to be rude, but I can't wrap my head around where your arguments are coming from.
RG midrange being good shows you are not dying on turn 2-3 as often. I was too vague by saying "raising the ceiling" and meant nothing about powerlevel, what I mean is that you can put 4 mana spells in your deck again that you expect to cast fairly without kidding yourself.

That's the push and pull of Modern I guess; On the "floor" you have the fast combo decks and at the "ceiling" you have big mana decks, and the meta goes up and down between those. I honestly think the spot it is in now is a good one.

Finally, I don't even think Aggro is bad right now unless burn and humans somehow don't count.

EDIT: The worst thing Astrolabe does is make everyone play the same boring basic land art. It gives fair decks the gas they need to keep up in Modern.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

Bearscape wrote:
1 year ago
EDIT: The worst thing Astrolabe does is make everyone play the same boring basic land art. It gives fair decks the gas they need to keep up in Modern.
As a connoisseur of special arts, promos, foils, and other unique expressions of individually that I have spent actual factual thousands of dollars on, this also bothers me much more than it should. I literally only have 3 options for art or design on snow lands and I hate all of them. It's petty, it's silly, but I don't care. Basics are literally one of the only truly unique expressions available to the game, and this takes that away for a needlessly parasitic mechanic.

But as you also say, it's literally the only way to play a Cryptic Command deck that isn't terrible.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Just ban astrolabe and veil and move on.
Let's temporarily table the question about whether or not we should ban Astrolabe. Here are two questions I want all the Astrolabe critics to answer:

1. What are you trying to accomplish by banning Astrolabe?
2. What is your response to the risk that banning Astrolabe could completely invalidate all competitive Ux options?

In the spirit of fairness, I'll respond to the inverse of those questions. I don't want Astrolabe banned because it supports two distinct top-tier Ux decks at a competitive level that no Ux decks have enjoyed for years. This doesn't even count the non-Temur Urza or Bant Snow Control AA decks at the fringes, which the artifact also supports and are generally all Ux. I also don't want Astrolabe banned because there are currently (and continue to be ) two top-tier, viable fair decks that don't use Astrolabe at all: Ponza and Jund. In fact, I think we'd see a bigger Jund share and more competitive DS dabbling between Grixis, Mardu, Traverse, Jund, and others if just Veil went away. Veil isn't supporting any top-tier strategy and is just keeping down a broad subset of interaction, unlike Astrolabe which is truly propping up an entire genre of decks that wouldn't otherwise exist. There are also plenty of non-Astrolabe decks coexisting with the artifact; indeed, aggro has outperformed snow strategies in both all SQ T32s as a whole, and by an even wider margin in T8s.

If you ban Astrolabe, we are back on a downhill race to the bottom of bans. The likeliest scenario following such a ban is the complete dropoff of competitive Ux decks and an explosion in big mana, aggro, and combo like we've seen before when no viable Ux decks are around. That means we'd either have to settle for that metagame or ban even more cards from these dominant strategies. I don't think Modern can withstand either of those pressures at this time and this would just hasten the format's decline. A ramp/aggro/combo metagame would just frustrate all the players who are tired of the two-ships-passing-in-night Modern meme. A ban-heavy response would likely invalidate too many more investments.
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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
A) The same reason DRS was banned. I know you previously said "DRS ramps, it's not the same", but you were dead wrong on this one. Well, if "DRS ramps",
B) "Astrolabe is destroying the color pie". For you the first one is worse? For me, the second one is.
Quick point of order, does the color pie actually matter at this point? We all know the importance of getting a large variety of answers into the format so that reactive decks can actually have a chance, and how many years have we been waiting? If the solution we have at our disposal right now is that reactive decks can play 5c more easily in order to pick from literally the strongest answers in the format to have a chance, after the last few years we have had in Modern, isn't it worth it if it means archetype diversity?

Also I'm not sure we can equate DRS ramping to another card allegedly destroying the color pie, I mean a T2 LoTV is an actual powerful play, "destroying the color pie" is a value judgement based on the tradition of the game's design.

Let it be known that I myself have played 5 color decks for a couple of years now, well before they were considered good, and even now I don't play with astrolabe or snow lands, so I feel like I have some legitimate grounds to stand on while not being overly invested in the outcome of the banning or not banning of astrolabe.

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

I do believe Astrolabe is a positive force in Modern.

Uro as well.
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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
I do believe Astrolabe is a positive force in Modern.

Uro as well.
Just like @Bearscape's opinion on RG Midrange (a deck that gets wrecked by ultra quick decks) being viable, I can respect this. Uro and Astrolabe slow down Modern and maybe that's what Modern needs. I just wish there were better tools than these, but beggars can't be choosers.

But what about Mystic Sanctuary? WotC always has hated on consistency tools like Ponder, Preordain, and Green Sun's Zenith. How about this? I Cryptic Command you for the rest of the game? Yes, the next 50 turns unless you concede before then. When I have Uro, Emry, JTMS, Big Teferi, and probably a bunch of other "draw a card" cards, I Cryptic Command you for the rest of the game. Mind you, this is even ignoring how easy it is to find Mystic Sanctuary. How's that for consistent? Personally I always wished my Ponders did that for me, but I usually only got 3-4 good draws after them. :\
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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

You are free to concede at any time. Sanctuary is fine.
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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Pioneer is way better in this department. Color pie has a reason that exists and I believe it's wrong for a player to be able to do this, even if it's a fair deck, or not.

I said "destroying the color pie" and as it seems, you answered more into the "being able to splash for whatever colours" department, which again, I may agree with you up to a point.
Alright I may have understood your overall point then, if you aren't referring to being able to freely splash for spells, what exactly is the color pie break in Modern that is being caused by astrolabe that did not already exist?

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Post by TheBoulderer » 1 year ago

Tomatotime wrote:
1 year ago
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
A) The same reason DRS was banned. I know you previously said "DRS ramps, it's not the same", but you were dead wrong on this one. Well, if "DRS ramps",
B) "Astrolabe is destroying the color pie". For you the first one is worse? For me, the second one is.
Quick point of order, does the color pie actually matter at this point? We all know the importance of getting a large variety of answers into the format so that reactive decks can actually have a chance, and how many years have we been waiting? If the solution we have at our disposal right now is that reactive decks can play 5c more easily in order to pick from literally the strongest answers in the format to have a chance, after the last few years we have had in Modern, isn't it worth it if it means archetype diversity?
Hard disagree on this one. You are basically saying if Jeskai/Grixis/Esper Control for example are too bad as reactive strategies, they should become snow lists and start running Path and GB permanent removal.

If we abandon the color pie in modern, I guarantee people will lose interest in it in the long run. Running 4 Astrolabe to service a pile of randomly colored cards is not what people are looking for in modern, or MTG in general. This is not a provable fact, but I know this to be true about almost anybody I know playing MTG.

Also have to echo gkourou that Astrolabe is not the only reason UGx decks are so good right now. UG has gotten a metric ton of support, it has now got some of the best cards in the format by far. There is no equal to Uro, Coatl, or T3feri for UGw variants. I don't see UGx falling off a cliff if Astrolabe would be banned. They'd probably just run a bit of a greedier mana base, and run Opt for Astrolabe. I haven't tested, but I see no reason this shouldn't still be a top tier deck.

Let's think about the effect of Opt replacing Astrolabe:

1) Bant would have to start playing a normal mana base. As a Grixis Control player, this is a non-issue to me, I'm already doing that.

2) Coatl would be harder to turn on, though it is noteworthy that in a lot of matchups, the card draw is more important than deathtouch.

3) Uro would be harder to cast alongside Cryptic and Archmage's Charm, as it should be. The card needs UUGG to escape for a very good reason: its one of the best abilities in the whole format.

4) Uro's gy requirements would be more easily met becaus Opt goes to the gy, Astrolabe doesnt.

Some Bant player should make a Bant list without Astrolabe and test it. I'm willing to bet it would still be a tier deck. But as I have said before, Bant Snow is a pretty braindead deck to pilot compared to other control decks. Having 100% perfect mana, an instant speed 2drop that is good vs aggro, a 3drop (Uro) that basically cant lose value if you just jam it... of course there's a lot of decisions still, but also a ton of obvious plays. That wouldn't be the case to that ridiculous extent anymore.

The more obvious and widely supported ban is Veil of Summer, it hits both UGx decks and big mana (GTron and Amulet) to some extent, though not having Veil would probably hurt all those decks less than we'd like to think. Their G1 A-plan is still incredibly strong.

I have no idea why Titan decks got Dryad AND Field of the Dead btw. Well, actually I do know, because WotC doesn't factor in modern in their card design.

As I've said before, the obvious Ban to nerf GTron and ETron would be Expedition Map. Disclaimer though: I haven't seriously piloted either deck before, so I can't tell wether that would just kill the decks dead. From what I can tell, it would hurt GTron much more than ETron because GTron is more dependant on assembling tron. At the same time, GTron has such massive redundancy that they'd probably just replace map with something and, I dunno, t3-tron 5-10% less often.

ETron would be pretty fine I think. It would just reduce the ammount of t3 smasher by a lot.

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

I don't know why G Tron would even have to get something banned. That deck should not even be a topic right now. An Expedition Map ban would definitely put G Tron clearly in Tier 3 or below. It's a devastating blow. My own anecdotal evidence before the Quarantine was I saw Map on turn 1 at least five times as often as Sylvan Scrying on turn 2. I don't think Map itself has ever done anything to be considered an offender.

Seeing some of the recent lists of G Tron adapt Sundering Titan and even Kozilek, the Great Distortion shows that they are having to do extreme measures to remain (somewhat) competitive in the current meta.
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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

I'll preface this saying I'm not responding to every individual quote because I think responses to your main points will address other ones. Also, we fully agree on Veil: %$#% that card. It's horrendous for the format and should be banned yesterday.
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
A) The same reason DRS was banned. I know you previously said "DRS ramps, it's not the same", but you were dead wrong on this one. Well, if "DRS ramps",
B) "Astrolabe is destroying the color pie". For you the first one is worse? For me, the second one is.
A deck being able to play 4 FoR + pay for UU, UUU, UUGG, and also not care about blood moon (or run it), or just play all the strong cards of all the bant shard, or sultai shard, or whatever shard, is something the game should not have that easily, on 1 mana, while re-drawing a card.
Have you ever been cryptic commanded and veil of summer from 3 FoR+2 islands from your opponent? I have. Feels nice, right?
Ramping is significantly more broken than color fixing and color pie brokenness. There are many more cards banned in Modern, and in the history of formats generally, for creating fast mana than for breaking the color pie. Free spells, ramping, fast mana, rituals, etc. are historically the most broken cards in many stages of the game's history and Modern specifically as a format (see Moxen, KCI, Rite, Song, DRS itself, Eye of Ugin, etc.). I'm fine exploring a DRS and AA comparison, but you just claiming I'm "dead wrong on this" does not come close to adequately arguing that comparison.

As for your Cryptic example, this doesn't make sense in practice. Almost all of the Astrolabe decks are legitimately blue. It's not like a red aggro deck with Astrolabe is casting Cryptic Command. These are Bant Snow Control decks that are basically just really good Azorius Control lists with a green upgrade facilitated by Astrolabe. That's no more a color break than we were seeing in fetchland/shockland heavy manabases before Astrolabe. If anything, Astrolabe has allowed control to branch away from 2C strategies (the Azorius Control monopoly of 2018-2019) because you can run Astrolabe 3C+ strategies alongside Field of Ruin. 3C+ decks without Astrolabe can't effectively run Fields. This gives Astrolabe variants a unique ability to both splash and run a generic hate card against big mana. Incidentally, I'm stunned you don't enjoy this edge, as it's the kind of longterm Modern development that hurts big mana and improves interactive decks (and I know how negatively you feel towards ramp).
C) The gap between Tier 1 and Tier 2 will grow smaller, and that's what this banning(together with veil) wants to aim for. Lower tiered decks, like Grixis Control or Merfolk or whatever, to have a chance competing with the top dogs, that are basically Tier 0 at this point. A chain of well targeted nerfs should happen to make this happen. Veil, astrolabe and field of the dead/stirrings, if need be, are those cards.
The gap between Tier 1 and Tier 2 is a definite issue. Banning Astrolabe, however, does not solve that issue. Banning Astrolabe will leave Ux control with an anemic Azorius Control option that will be unable to compete alongside the ramp and aggro big dogs. Pure Simic options with Uro will also be unable to compete because they lack Wx control titans like T3feri, T5feri, Path to Exile, SFM, and Supreme Verdict, not to mention the white SB bullets like Reinforcements and RiP. A lack of viable top-tier control options will in turn lead to more calls for bans on more powerful (typically 2019 and 2020) cards. More bans will ensue, the race to the bottom will continue, and more players will lose format confidence and financial investments. Modern cannot take this kind of pressure with so many competing formats in Brawl, Commander, Pauper, Cube, Standard, Historic, and worst of all, Pioneer. A 2020 full of more bans on core decks will kill the format even faster than Pioneer's rise will gradually chip away at our playerbase.

If you want to ban Astrolabe, be intellectually honest with yourself and others and admit that it will lead to a cascade of bans. I am okay with people making that argument. I disagree with that approach, but it's at least a gameplan one can argue for. I am not okay, however, with anti-Astrolabe people pretending or genuinely believing that an Astrolabe ban is going to magically fix Modern. If you neuter this pillar and are left with a top-tier saturated by ramp and aggro, you're committing to a profoundly linear/proactive metagame, or you're conceding to a bunch more bans of Field and/or Map and/or Dryad and/or Ox and/or insert-busted-2019/2020-card-here to bring the power level down to some subjective and uncertain level. This will continue throughout 2020 as it continued for all of 2019 until Modern players lose enough money and stability to just bail out of the format. This might create a format with a positive play experience for you personally, but you will be playing that format mostly alone.

If you don't want to commit to a mass ban purge to try and rein in some perceived negative play patterns, then you keep Astrolabe and embrace the current top-tier balance as the new normal. I truly don't see why this is such a negative thing for so many people, especially critics on this forum that have historically pined after interactive decks. The only change that Wizards should make tomorrow, or an hour ago, is banning Veil of Summer to loosen green's stranglehold on the format and allow decks like Jund and Death's Shadow a little more room to breathe. Incidentally, this will also hit many Astrolabe decks, a lot of which use Veil too.
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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
If you don't want to commit to a mass ban purge to try and rein in some perceived negative play patterns, then you keep Astrolabe and embrace the current top-tier balance as the new normal. I truly don't see why this is such a negative thing for so many people, especially critics on this forum that have historically pined after interactive decks. The only change that Wizards should make tomorrow, or an hour ago, is banning Veil of Summer to loosen green's stranglehold on the format and allow decks like Jund and Death's Shadow a little more room to breathe. Incidentally, this will also hit many Astrolabe decks, a lot of which use Veil too.
Yep, this needs to be the new normal, because you take out Astrolabe, you cut the legs out from any fair deck that can stand up with the ramp decks.

Are Astrolabe and Uro absolutely busted? Of course they are. Thats what it takes to see play in Modern in 2020.

Remove Veil, (and T3feri) and you would see a better Modern. Remove Astrolabe, or Uro? You probably consign the format to Tron/Aggro hell.
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Post by TheBoulderer » 1 year ago

I'm not saying its wrong, but can somebody specifically explain why all control decks will auto-fold to big mana if Astrolabe is banned? On the last few pages, this has become a knee-jerk argument for people against an Astrolabe ban.

"If Astrolabe is banned, modern will be taken over by big mana".

Why is Astrolabe important against big mana at all? Icefang is irrelevant (vs Titan and GTron, not so much against ETron). Having to fetch more greedily thus damaging yourself more is irrelevant. Big Mana doesn't care about +- 5 points of life.

What is it? 3-Color decks splashing red for Blood Moon? If that's the argument, good night.

After thinking long and hard about it, I don't think this argument holds up to close scrutiny.

Edit: to really flesh out that argument, it would be paramount to have win% of Astrolabe decks vs big mana, and in wonder land, a control-% without it.

Also, I'm 100% sure Uro would still be played in several Tier One decks, thus keeping aggro in check. There is no reason Astrolabe is a precondition for Uro. Astrolabe doesn't stop aggro. Uro is the card doing that and will continue to do so.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

TheBoulderer wrote:
1 year ago
I'm not saying its wrong, but can somebody specifically explain why all control decks will auto-fold to big mana if Astrolabe is banned? On the last few pages, this has become a knee-jerk argument for people against an Astrolabe ban.

"If Astrolabe is banned, modern will be taken over by big mana".

Why is Astrolabe important against big mana at all? Icefang is irrelevant (vs Titan and GTron, not so much against ETron). Having to fetch more greedily thus damaging yourself more is irrelevant. Big Mana doesn't care about +- 5 points of life.

What is it? 3-Color decks splashing red for Blood Moon? If that's the argument, good night.

After thinking long and hard sbout it, I don't think this argument holds up to close scrutiny.
If the format loses Astrolabe, Bant Snow will no longer exist. I think we can all agree on this, as non-AA manabases can't support Uro/Coatl alongside Verdict/Teferi, Cryptic/Charm, and Field. Fetch/shock manabases can't handle that. So you'll see Bant Snow disappear and Azorius Control would return in its place. Azorius Control is actually okay against ramp because it's a strong Field of Ruin deck with a lot of hard counters; it can actually answer early threats and outgrind ramp decks long enough. Bant Snow is currently doing the same thing, albeit with a way better manabase. 2019 MWPs attest to traditional UW's success here, with Azorius Control able to hold 51%+ MWP against ramp decks for months.

But here's the problem: good old Azorius Control is not able to tune against both ramp and aggro. In fact, Azorius Control is historically weak against aggro, with sub-45% MWPs against Burn, Dredge, and Humans. By contrast, Bant Snow is able to hold its own in aggro matchups because AA allows them to support Coatl, Verdict, and Uro together. Most importantly, it does so while not punting matchup points to ramp because AA also lets it run Field/hard counters. This puts non-AA control in a very bad position relative to AA control and opens up the metagame to a linear flood. We've seen what the format looks like when Azorius Control is fine against ramp and fair decks but struggles against everything else; Modern slides into aggro and ramp hell, because it's better to present proactive threats and force the opponent to line up awkward answers (i.e. jam big mana or aggro) than try to answer everything (i.e. play Azorius Control). This is what will happen if you ban AA but allow ramp and aggro decks to run around with all their best tools they got in 2019/2020.

Again, I have no problem with people arguing for a sweeping ban platform that includes a ton of 2019/2020 nonsense, or even older cards made unacceptable by new additions. I disagree with that approach and think it would destroy Modern, but at least it would be a genuine argument. I have a huge problem with this anti-AA camp that vilifies this artifact over all the other Modern demons just beyond the doorstep. Right now we have a very powerful top-tier that is strategically balanced, albeit exclusive of Tier 2 or lower decks. You can blow that Tier 1 up and try to open it up to Tier 2 again, but if you just snipe out one of the pillars, the whole structure is going to collapse.
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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

TheBoulderer wrote:
1 year ago
I'm not saying its wrong, but can somebody specifically explain why all control decks will auto-fold to big mana if Astrolabe is banned? On the last few pages, this has become a knee-jerk argument for people against an Astrolabe ban.

"If Astrolabe is banned, modern will be taken over by big mana".

Why is Astrolabe important against big mana at all? Icefang is irrelevant (vs Titan and GTron, not so much against ETron). Having to fetch more greedily thus damaging yourself more is irrelevant. Big Mana doesn't care about +- 5 points of life.
I think (note, think, not know, I dont play it) that Astrolabe is what enables the deck to function against the field, and use Uro to its fullest, and not kill itself with bad mana.

You would lose a lot of percentage without Astrolabe I think. Thats why I said Big Mana and Aggro.
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Post by TheBoulderer » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx again, for some reason, you are completely ignoring thie indisputable fact that Uro, which is the main reason Bant Snow is good vs aggro, will stay a modern staple with or without Astrolabe. And yes, maybe it would then bee too greedy to want to curve Uro into Verdict into escape Uro. But that's what colored mana costs are for.

Maybe Bant would seperate into a UG Uro-Coatl shell splashing white for path/Teferi but skipping Verdict because its too greedy and a UW Control shell.

I'd also be curious where those numbers concerning UW Control come from, because with Path+Verdict and maybe 1 Timely Reinforcements in the main, plus RIP out of the board, as well as being a 4x Field of Ruin, UW Control has been historically good vs ETron, GTron as well as aggro. Not Amulet Titan, to be sure.

To follow up on the mana issue: the only card I can see that would actually be problematic to cast w/o Astrolabe is Supreme Verdict. And that's the point. It's not like Bant pilots would run back their lists 1to1 without Astrolabe, have bad mana and die squealing. They'd tweak the curve, maybe go Simic with a light white splash.

I'm not one of the people wishing some golden era of modern back, but there was a time when it was like this: Big Mana had a good matchup vs control, and if you wanted to have a chance as control you needed to attack their mana. Field of Ruin, Blood Moon, Fulminator Mage, Molten Rain/Pillage, Spreading Seas (remember THOSE UW Control decks?).

I'm not a fan of big mana, especially Amulet and ETron, but the whole point of big mana is to ramp into a gameplan that goes over the top of control. The trade off is a fragile mana base/ramp engine that can be disrupted and kneecap big mana's curve.

Now ETron has been at (or near) the top of the format since it came into existence, Astrolabe hasen't changed that.

Titan decks got Dryad, Field of the Dead and Veil of summer to catapult the deck's power level to tier 0, and our strategy should be to hope that Astrolabe makes that somehow ok? Not likely, in my opinion.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

TheBoulderer wrote:
1 year ago
ktkenshinx again, for some reason, you are completely ignoring thie indisputable fact that Uro, which is the main reason Bant Snow is good vs aggro, will stay a modern staple with or without Astrolabe. And yes, maybe it would then bee too greedy to want to curve Uro into Verdict into escape Uro. But that's what colored mana costs are for.
You can't run Uro alongside white cards and Field. That's not a workable manabase. You'll still see a worse Simic Urza list that plays Uro, but it won't be good against ramp and Azorius Control lists won't be able to just splash for Uro with their existing UWx staples plus Field. Once you sacrifice the 3-4 Fields, the ramp matchup becomes a lot worse and then we're back in the same old problem of control decks awkwardly lining up answers against too many proactive threats.
Titan decks got Dryad, Field of the Dead and Veil of summer to catapult the deck's power level to tier 0, and our strategy should be to hope that Astrolabe makes that somehow ok? Not likely, in my opinion.
Titan decks are not Tier 0. This is the kind of hyperbolic overstatement that makes it difficult to have informed debates about Modern these days. Combining all three Titan decks from the SQ metagame, we see a macro Titan share of 9.4%, which is equal to Burn and Dredge, but still less than Bant Snow. There are more players playing midrange decks (Jund + Ponza at 4.4% and 6.9% respectively) than there are Titan decks.

As for Astrolabe's relationship with this, if multiple decks have increased power levels, more powerful decks are acceptable. This should be patently obvious just looking at nonrotating formats that are full of contextually balanced decks which would be wildly overpowered in other formats. Modern currently has a balanced top tier that is definitely exclusive of lower options, but still strategically balanced. If you remove Astrolabe and hope the split Azorius Control/Simic Urza presence can hold back aggro and ramp, you are setting yourself up for a repeat of the 2018-->2019 slide that saw fair Azorius Control unable to hold back a linear tide.
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
I am totally honest. What's not honest is you implying I have not admitted I want multiple well targeted nerfs to happen. If you didn't read/saw my posts, I will take it back of course. If you are also making this point for somebody else, that's also fine. I am open to veil alone leading to a lot of Tier 1 nerfs and astrolabe also. What I am not open is banning cards like Primeval Titan, Tronlands, meaning Splinter Twin kind of bans. As I already wrote (a point you ignored) a series of well targeted nerfs need and must happen to close this huge gap in Modern, which draws people away. So, you are welcome to say I was not dishonest and instead I stated multiple times I want multiple well targeted nerfs to Tier 0 strategies to happen(or Tier 1 if you like, we can argue about that).

I am quoting those past posts and presenting a link to them, in case you think I am making this up.
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
A chain of well targeted nerfs should happen to make this happen. Veil, astrolabe and field of the dead/stirrings, if need be, are those cards.
If not, you keep having this modern with this crazy amount of gap amongst tiers and keep believing "Modern is in a great place".
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago

Top decks:
Snow decks(Bant Snow, Temur Uroza the main ones)
E-Tron
Mono Green Tron
Amulet Titan

Then there is chaos, then there seems to be everything else.

Based on stuff like that:
Arcum's Astrolabe, Expedition Map will inevitably banned during 2020. That's my prediction and I stand firmly on it.

Modern is that format now. When all of those are gone, Field of the dead & Veil of summer could be the new suspects.
I had not read or do not remember those posts. As long as you agree that banning Astrolabe will require a series of other bans, that's fine. This leads to the separate debate about whether or not this is actually healthy for Modern, but we can table that for now while discussing other points.
On whether UWx strategies will remain viable:
They absolutely will. Quoting TheBoulderer
Uro is the main reason Bant Snow is good vs aggro, will stay a modern staple with or without Astrolabe. And yes, maybe it would then bee too greedy to want to curve Uro into Verdict into escape Uro. But that's what colored mana costs are for.

Maybe Bant would seperate into a UG Uro-Coatl shell splashing white for path/Teferi but skipping Verdict because its too greedy and a UW Control shell.
As I responded to Boulderer, you can't play a legitimate Bant deck running Cryptic and/or Uro and white cards while also playing Field. This means you are sacrificing points in either the ramp or the aggro matchup, or hoping a split between Azorius Control and Simic Urza can hold back the linear decks. We already know they can't because we have years of Modern data that shows what kinds of interactive decks prevent linear decks and which don't. We know that if the format lacks a police deck, the best strategy is just to jam big mana, aggro, and combo while hoping your opponent's answers misalign with your threats. Forcing the Bant staples to split between two decks is an excellent way to reenable that game of roulette.
On Astrolabe vs DRS:
DRS is boltable!!! It's not ramp,like Arboreal Grazer is or even tronlands are. It's also a great tool vs graveyards. I am not saying "unban him", but I highly think moving forward, and this time, as we speak, Modern is about to become ""who has the better optimized 5c goodstuff pile?" game. And that's not healthy, even if you like to present this as one.
The Boltability of DRS is irrelevant. We already know the "dies to removal" test is one of the worst possible ways to evaluate the brokenness and power of creatures, especially 1 CMC creatures. As for Modern becoming optimized 5c goodstuff piles, that would definitely be bad, but I have no clue where you see that happening. Looking at fair, interactive decks, we have a Bant Snow deck, a Temur Snow deck, a Jund non-snow deck, and a Gruul non-snow deck. These coexist with three ramp decks and three aggro decks. How on earth does that represent a devolution to 5c goodstuff piles?
You like Modern. a format where lightning bolt is unplayable at the moment at a fair shell, and it's served only as a lava spike. Also a format with Tier 1.5 soft Ponza, a metacall deck to fight big mana. A format where color pie does not exist anymore. Sure, you can.
Lightning Bolt sees play in both Jund and Gruul Ponza, which collectively have more play than Titan decks. It makes absolutely no sense that you are claiming Bolt is unplayable right now in a fair shell. You have legitimate anti-AA arguments without clouding them with these kinds of under-researched lines.
I am proposing changes for this silly gap between Tier 0/1 and Tier 2 to close. Modern is losing people every day, since the metagame is fully solved again. If you want to keep Modern having a bad name, that's fine. But trying to convince us that "modern is healthy, because it has strategic diversity" when in reality if you want to win in Modern there are only 5-6 decks you should be playing and everything else falls off to "I can't win all of tier 0 territory" is something I highly dislike. Modern is bad only when you are on a Tron variant, a Snow variant, a Titan variant, a Burn/Prowess variant and maaaybe Dredge because of metagame reasons. That's it. Everything else, and it's like you are trying to lose.
This has been the case in Modern for over 2 years now. Let's not pretend you could "play anything" throughout that time; as CFP has rightly observed, there are often a few best decks that are strictly better than basically anything else underneath. If you want to roll that back, get ready for a massive banhammer sweep to flatten a variety of top-tier decks. Modern is way better having 5-6 strategically diverse top-tier decks that push out upstart strategies than it is having 5-6 linear top-tier decks that are doing the same thing. AA is the linchpin holding top-tier diversity together.

Modern is dying because of bad design decisions, RAMPANT ban mania that Wizards forced upon its community, a lack of event support (the pandemic didn't help here), competing formats, and deafening silence from Wizards on Modern's direction and vision. The AA discussion highlights virtually all of those issues, and is made worse by a lack of major event data and continued bad communication on Wizards' part. At this point, I think it is best for my personal mental health to not participate in these kinds of conversations until Wizards releases its updated vision of Modern. We all clearly have slightly different goals and visions for the format and we need an arbitrating document to anchor our discussion.
Over-Extended/Modern Since 2010

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

You should ask Aaron for an update on that KTK. Granted, Covid and all that delayed response, but you are right.

If this is the new normal, we need to know.
UR Control UR

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

Meanwhile.....

"A little more than $165."


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Post by Tzoulis » 1 year ago

TheBoulderer wrote:
1 year ago
I'd also be curious where those numbers concerning UW Control come from, because with Path+Verdict and maybe 1 Timely Reinforcements in the main, plus RIP out of the board, as well as being a 4x Field of Ruin, UW Control has been historically good vs ETron, GTron as well as aggro. Not Amulet Titan, to be sure.
As someone who played UW control very much the past few years, 1 timely isn't enough against aggro. You have to have 2 or maybe 3, and we've seen this when aggro took up most of the field. Also, a meta full of aggro means changing your counter suite, since those are extremely bad against them. Which in turn makes the mathup with big mana worse.

The ability to curve Coatl into Uro into Verdict/Escape Uro, absolutely helps the deck fight both match ups. You get to keep your counter suite for random decks and big mana, while also having a suitable defense against aggro. That's what AA enables in Bant Control. Losing that will force you to choose which decks to target, which in turn will hurt the overall diversity and renaissance or interactive Magic we're seeing for the first time in years in Modern.

How do we know it? We've had that for years.
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Thank you for not going line by line, a practise which I think it's only helping people to forego many other points and even hide the ones they totally are wrong about, a thing I have seen countless times happening during mtgs and here. I absolutely hate this, but whatever.
The sad thing about this answer of yours, is that you missed my basic point. Which is that those snow decks are not buffed UWx strategies, but are
a) a core problem to the huge gap that is being created in Modern and
b) leading to super repetitive patterns. I watch a lot of streams. It's astrolabe, astrolabe, astrolabe, astrolabe. Astrolabe wars everywhere. I know, that's anecdote. That's fine. The latest Super PTQ's had 11/32 astrolabe decks and same amount of veil decks.
If they were a HUGE problem, then it wouldn't have pushed other interactive decks up, like Jund, RG Midrange and 5C Niv. You've consistently claimed that big mana is an issue, where numbers don't back it up. Your solution of banning AA would lead to that being an actual problem, like it was with OUaT. Veil also disproportionately helps Big Mana and Combo decks. We know the results of banning Veil, they're easy to predict, since the only thing Veil does is hose interaction.

AA also isn't being played only in Bant Control. So killing it off will hurt multiple interactive strategies. Going after AA for being popular, is like going after Bolt or Path for being popular and the most played cards in the format. They both invalidate creatures that aren't overly pushed or affect the board immediately.

While the gap between T1 and T2 is certainly a problem, going after all of T1 is a recipe for destruction. It will make people lose faith in the format at a moment where MANY are finally enjoying interaction and will, and will also create another wave of "bad publicity" when there are many other formats to attract new and old players.
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
On whether UWx strategies will remain viable:
They absolutely will. Quoting @TheBoulderer
No one said they won't remain viable, only that they will get a huge nerf (along with possibly killing off some other decks), that will directly lead to a much worse Modern format. We were there, we didn't like it, there was a huge outcry everywhere of "two ships passing in the night".
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
On Astrolabe vs DRS:
DRS is boltable!!! It's not ramp,like Arboreal Grazer is or even tronlands are. It's also a great tool vs graveyards. I am not saying "unban him", but I highly think moving forward, and this time, as we speak, Modern is about to become ""who has the better optimized 5c goodstuff pile?" game. And that's not healthy, even if you like to present this as one.

Colors exist so we can have a harder time playing 4c and the UR decks for example, should have an advantage in this department, You are taking this away, and that's very bad.
DRS isn't even comparable to AA. Nor is the fact that he's boltable relevant. It's a one mana dork/hatepiece/clock that can slot in Bx non-green decks. That's a color pie issue. Astrolabe enables decks to play heavily (greedy) colored spells. Also it cantrips. It doesn't shoot the Color Pie in the face.

The ONLY 5C pile I've seen is Niv, and it's not abusing any color pie breaks. (and let me tell you, boy would it abuse DRS). That's just a blatant hyperbole and isn't even rooted in data. Most of the AA decks are either 3C or 2C. Colors actually exist so there is a balance in the distribution of power (also flavor) not to make 4C or 2C harder.
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Also, veil of summer won't nerf Bant snow or temuro as you think. There is a strong chance it will buff them, as Snow decks are really Tier 0 at this point. Boil, Choke, Veil of summer are the stupid cards that keep the deck in check, color hate that creates non games with not much skill running around. Oh, and Dredge is rising up to fight it, another non interactable deck creating lopsided game 2's games.

I will end up by saying Bant Control will be absolutely fine with no astrolabe, because it received Uro and other tools, Temuro has Urza and other tools also, and Niv won't have a problem, because W6 just gets there.

You like Modern. a format where lightning bolt is unplayable at the moment at a fair shell, and it's served only as a lava spike. Also a format with Tier 1.5 soft Ponza, a metacall deck to fight big mana. A format where color pie does not exist anymore. Sure, you can.
Veil protects linear decks more than it helps reactive strategies. If Veil (and T3feri, let's be honest) wasn't in the format, Jund and other Bx midrange decks would be able to clamp down on Combo and Control. Without AA you're only cutting (mostly) interactive decks, therefore allowing aggro/combo/big mana to run amok, as they've always done whenever a control deck isn't there to hit at least 2 of them. While 5C Niv will survive fine, the rest of the AA will lose a significant amount of versatility that AA gives them, not in breaking the Color Pie, but by having to choose between aggro or big mana.

Ponza (really a RG Midrange deck, not a land destruction deck) is not a meta call against Big Mana. It has a good match up against (Snow) Control, that's why it's being played. A fast Pillage/Clock when the control deck is still setting up is a control deck's worst nightmare. Also, Blood Moon/Choke/Boil are very effective against (most) Snow decks. You may not like them (I don't), but those cards are in the card pool and are used to fight (very effectively) the T1 at the moment.

EDIT:
cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
Meanwhile.....

"A little more than $165."
To be fair, that's not WotC problem, this happened even with MSRP. Now, their reluctance for proper printings, yeah that's a problem, but that doubling of the price isn't.
Last edited by Tzoulis 1 year ago, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

I've been playing a LOT of Bant Snow over the past several weeks. The deck falls to pieces without Astrolabe. I'd love to go into more depth on that but A) I'm stuck on mobile while watching the little one all day, B) I've covered it all previously, and C) other people directly above this post addressed why.

Side Note: my hatred for Tron continues. Played two different 3-game matches and the deck was 5-for-6 games having T3 Tron, and the last one was T4 Tron through a T3 Field. I also kept hands with FoR, and it was just too slow. I lost every game I was on the draw and won every game on the play. Most tilting experience was with a hand of Cryptic, FoN, Veto, and Charm, with enough mana to cast any 2 of them. I'm hit with a pre-emptive Veil and a windmill slam Ugin, clearing out my T5feri, and Uro. Next was a top decked Ulamog and I just conceded. This deck is ABSURDLY consistent, and I'm reminded how much I hate it. 🙃

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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

Are people unironically calling for Uro to be banned now? Lol this thread is jumping the shark. The people calling for this kind of stuff must have zero awareness, please take a step back and look at magic as whole, understand that UG in particular has classically been one of the most underpowered color combinations in the history of the game, and now for about 1.5 years they have finally been getting pushed cards and people freak out? What is Uro doing that is even bannable? Pushing back against aggro? Who cares?
cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
I've been playing a LOT of Bant Snow over the past several weeks. The deck falls to pieces without Astrolabe. I'd love to go into more depth on that but A) I'm stuck on mobile while watching the little one all day, B) I've covered it all previously, and C) other people directly above this post addressed why.
Agreed, I also don't think snow is even a viable concept without Astrolabe which is another thing to consider, though I admit a lot of people might not care so be it.
cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
Side Note: my hatred for Tron continues. Played two different 3-game matches and the deck was 5-for-6 games having T3 Tron, and the last one was T4 Tron through a T3 Field. I also kept hands with FoR, and it was just too slow. I lost every game I was on the draw and won every game on the play. Most tilting experience was with a hand of Cryptic, FoN, Veto, and Charm, with enough mana to cast any 2 of them. I'm hit with a pre-emptive Veil and a windmill slam Ugin, clearing out my T5feri, and Uro. Next was a top decked Ulamog and I just conceded. This deck is ABSURDLY consistent, and I'm reminded how much I hate it.
Heheh imagine playing a fair deck against Tron in the year 2020. Believe me I know your pain.

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Post by Tzoulis » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
DRS is dying to bolt, while astrolabe does not and redraws a card. Listen, i would be perfectly fine if they banned Astrolabe and then reprinting it in MH, without it drawing a card off of it.
"Dies to removal" is not in any way a reasonable counter argument to the viability of a creature. We've said multiple times that DRS is way more powerful than AA and is actually a color pie break, since it can slot in non-Green decks. Its nickname of "1 mana Planeswalker" is a testament to how absurdly powerful it is.

Astrolabe enables fair decks, by letting them answer a broader metagame spectrum. It also makes Blood Moon weaker. That's it. Astrolabe is almost 1 year old and the only non-fair decks that played it were Whirza, Breach and Paradoxical lists.

There's no reasonable comparison to be done between them, other than maybe popularity.
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
That's why Modern is so bad for 2 years now. And that wasn't the case during 2015, for example. I was on jeskai Control for several years and I wasn't complaining at all. I wasn't complaining either with Amulet titan, when it was so bad of a choice. You possibly remember me defending Modern from 20-30 people that went in mtgs and said "format is garbage".

It's the first, literally the first time(second one, sorry, the first one was during Eldrazi Winter) I think Modern just won't allow you to play decks like Grixis Control, or Jeskai control, or UR Control, because that's my kind of poison. Those decks are literally unplayable right now. All of them have been outshadowed by Bant Snow and temur Urza.

Personally, that's drew me away from the format and it's a reason why I am into Pioneer. I can play my Jeskai control, or bant control or whatever there and have a chance vs Mono Black, Spirits, Inverter, breach, Mono white, Sultai midrange delirium and other decks.
Your argument would have merit if Jeskai was viable during the times were Humans/Zoo/Company/Spirits decks were plentiful, namely 2018. Yet it never happened, and it wasn't because Bolt was bad. It happened because Miracles and/or Field of Ruin were better overall, while still keeping a reasonable match up against aggro. Hell, it wasn't viable even in 2015, the only control deck viable then was Twin and Grixis for 2 months. Nothing's changed on their viability, they were always T2 or less and that's mostly to do with how stable the manabase is and how easily you can cast Verdict.

Zoo hasn't really been viable for years. There's a new Naya Midrange that's making the rounds, but there's still room for improvement there.

No-one's stopping you from playing Jeskai, just don't expect to be 100% competitive and that's from someone that (almost) Top 8'd nationals and the PTQ the day before with Jeskai Midrange in 2016.
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Really? Then why is Jeskai control nowhere and Jund is on a free fall at serious events? Why isn't some amount of UW players splashing for Red and everybody is choosing Green? I know the obvious answer. But what's the real one?
Well, the real one, is creatures are extinct. What are Bolt's targets now? During the past years, Bolt had so many of them. And now what?
Thought knot seer, reality smasher, primeval titan, dryad of the illysian grove, Uro, Tron, dredge recurring creatures, walkers. That's the main creatures people play. Sure, there is a monastery swiftspear every now and then, and that's it.
Humans is Tier 2, that's why Jeskai control is nowhere to be seen and Jund is on a free fall. Creatures are going extinct. Affinity(that's the opal ban effect allright), Merfolk, Spirits, Zoo decks, where are those kind of decks?
So, this is not under-researched at all. As a Jeskai control player through and through, I know Bolt is not being played at fair decks, like Jeskai control, because Jeskai control (and Jund) used to prey on fair creatures decks. A format with no fair creature based aggro deck, is not a strategically diverse format. Simple as that.
And modern at the moment is not diverse at all, as some people are making it to be. You can choose one of 6-7 decks, and no creature based, Zoo-style deck is available. Everything else, is on you.
Some people like playing a busted fair deck that only folds to Green Tron and Dredge and pretty much wins vs everything else.
I don't like that kind of pseudo diversity, I don't like the fact that if I want to play Jeskai control I have to face boils, chokes, veil of summers. I don't like the fact that Tier 1 decks are overpowered and well tuned, and neither the fact that all decks are creating unfun games, in my opinion.
Again, Jeskai Control was never T1. First it was overshadowed by Twin and Grixis, then UW control and now Bant. It has nothing to do with how relevant Bolt is. Even now, looking at the past week of Challenges/Prelims/Qualifiers Bolt is consistently in the Top 5 most played spells and often times the most played spell. It has to do with the shell and the manabases. Burn is useless against Big Mana, it's nearly a dead card against the mirror. You lose counters and/or planeswalkers to play 5-7 burn spells. However, a large number of decks that play Bolt play it because it's an extremely versatile spell, in that can control the battlefield, pressure planeswalkers and also go to the face. Those decks being: Jund, RG Midrange, UR Breach/Polymorph, Mardu/RB Pyromancers and Temur Snow. Some of them are T2, some of them are between T1 and T2 and Bolt is an integral part of them, because they use it much more effectively than Jeskai Control ever would.

Burn in a Control deck goes contrary to its intended gameplan: to go long. Burn is inherently an aggro and or tempo spell/plan. That's why Jeskai Control will never be above Esper/Bant/UW.
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
it's making lightning bolt a lava spike. You know that bolt has so few targets for some months now, you know that this ponza deck is using bolt to try to race in combination with klothys, you know that if bolt was relevant, people would play jeskai to try to win vs humans/spirits and that would be healthier. You know it's not healthy for one to have to play Green at all costs. You probably understand my frustration when I want to play Jeskai control and run into boils/chokes/blood moons/veil of summers/trons/dredges/infinite uro value decks I can't win/T3 smashers and no good matchup to prey upon. So, you understand all of those non games this creates. You probably understand me saying "screw it, i am going to build bant snow, because I want to win". You know it's unnatural for me to get veil of summered off of Field of ruin.
I also don't like that new cards make such a low impact. MH made half of the card pool irrelevant.
Again, Bolt is played in plenty of decks that need it more for battlefield control than just straight up racing. Namely Jund, Temur Snow and RG Midrange. You reducing it to a "glorified lava spike" is dishonest.

If you wanna force decks off of Green, 2 things must happen first:

1. Ban Veil, which is the major reason to play Green (Combo decks are splashing Green to hose their worse match ups).
2. UG spells have to stop being so heavily pushed.

Now, these 2 run contrary to 2 of your main arguments in the above quote.

1. that new cards don't have any or very little impact. I mean, the last 2 standard sets have had a tremendous impact not only in Modern, but also Legacy. (Breach, Oko, Uro, OUaT, Emry, Klothys, Murderous Rider etc.)

2. It has nothing to do with Astrolabe. Green is prominent (dominant really) because of Green cards like Veil, Uro and Coatl. Not because of Astrolabe.

We've said the main problems of Astrolabe, but you're acknowledge that banning it won't save Modern. That it will lead to many more bans. How is that helping Modern, when Pioneer and Arena are siphoning players away from it? Especially when prices are creeping up so much that it's even more difficult to enter Modern. Such a move will just blow up Modern and effectively discourage players from even considering playing it.

Once more for the end, Jeskai Control is an inherently flawed concept. It has nothing to do with what has been printed lately or what the meta was in every period. It was always "bad". In some metagames it was "less bad", but still bad. The nature of the colors push the deck to more Tempo/Aggro/Midrange combinations than control.
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Look, Modern is not healthy. It needs a lot of change. It has so much potential and a vast cardpool and right now, if all of us wanted to win a GP, what deck would we choose? It's one out of 6 decks. In a 20,000 card pool. That's sad. And I could overlook this if games were fun!

Anyways, it seems that Modern is not the format for me anymore. It looks busted and creates too many non games and if you aren't on Snow, every other option in the fair department is a bad choice overall. Oh, and Dredge and Boils/Chokes/Veils are Tier 1 things now. Great time to play Jeskai or Esper!!!!
Look, we agree that Modern can change for the better, but you could only every feasibly choose between 6-7 decks. Even in the glorified period of Twin you only had 6-7 options if you wanted to have the best chances to win any big open event.

It's ok if it's not fun for you. It wasn't for me when Twin was legal, but I played my %$#% Delver/Jeskai Midrange-Control decks and I had fun. The vast majority of everyone's local metagame is very different than the "winners meta" of GP's or other prolific events.

Lastly, Astrolabe isn't the one thing that forces you to play Green. I've seen most Esper control lists run 4 Astrolabes so they can run their color hungry spells and 4 Field of Ruins. It's definitely not T1 but it certainly pressures opposing control decks with a combination of main deck hand disruption and GY hate, along with the usual counter suite. Also, there's plenty of fair non snow decks. It's that they're not Blue or are more aggressive Midrange strategies. That's Veil's doing, though not Astrolabe's. If they lose Veil, hand disruption becomes relevant again, ergo Shadow and UBx decks also increase in value.

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Post by TheBoulderer » 1 year ago

I agree with a quite a bit of this. Veil of Summer is without a doubt the biggest problem in modern.

And its true that fair decks need to be able to run 3-4 FoR and always have perfect, painless mana to be able to compete with Big Mana. Astrolabe enables them to do that. I would argue though that this is not a healthy way to give fair decks a chance vs Big Mana. Maybe Big mana is just too good. And making Blood Moon worse is also a strike against Adtrolabe for keeping Big Mana in check. If 1/3 of decks are on Astrolabe, everybody COULD splash Blood Moon, but nobody will because it's not worth it if every 3rd deck has 4 mainboard outs to it. Thus, Astrolabe eliminates what would be a check on Big Mana in modern.

Btw, Blood Moon also used to be a check on greedy 3c mana bases. That check is also lost. Blue Moon is gone because of Astrolabe.

Maybe baby steps are the way to go. I'm hoping Veil of Summer is axed very soon, then we can see what that does, and how Ikoria influences the format. I still think Astrolabe is too good. While the comparison with DRS doesn't really work, Astrolabe draws a card, and the importance of that simply cannot be overstated. It does such a massive amount for consistency. Smoothing out draws as well as fixing mana AND being a permanent of a relevant type is a lot of utility.

To be honest, I'd like to se Veil go, Astrolabe go AND big mana to be nerfed in some way, but I realize my perspective is heavily influenced by what I play (Grixis Control, there you go). As I guess are most people's opinions, understandably.

Btw, I (and some others) complained a few pages back that the discussion was veering off track here, but the last couple pages since then have been very valuable imo :)

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Post by TheBoulderer » 1 year ago

I do remember when Jeskai was that good. There was even a brief 2-3 months when Nahiri, the Harbinger came out and Jeskai Nahiri with Emmy tore up a few large events in a row. Those were some glorious matches to watch, I remember some final, UW Control vs Jeskai control, with about 5 Phinx's Rev cast, multiple pws on the battlefield, etc etc.

And yes, Jeskai control does completely obliterate aggro decks (or did back then, at least). Lightning Helix is a helluva card vs Humans/Burn/Zoo etc. Those decks ran 4Path, 6-8 Bolt/Helix AND 1-3 Verdicts, for god's sake :D

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