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

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Post by The Fluff » 11 months ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
11 months ago
Week 2 metagame update is live. Here are the stats and relative Week 1 --> Week 2 changes for those who can't check out the full piece yet:
nice article. I reposted the link so that people in our mtgs Emeria thread can see it too.
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Post by cfusionpm » 11 months ago

More than 60% of decks running companions, with 50% of them running Lurrus. And this is somehow *not* a problem? Maybe I'm missing something here... Or maybe the phrase "in the interest of competitive diversity X is banned" is seared into my brain.

Among ALL THE OTHER chaos and turmoil of the past year, we are now at a dangerous crossroad for the future of Modern. We either accept our Companion overlords as a prerequisite for meaningful competitive success, we change the rules for Companion to make them less of an oppressive requirement, or we ban them out of the format.

How is this any different than what Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time did to Modern?

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Post by idSurge » 11 months ago

If only it was just Modern.

Vintage and Legacy are factually worse than Modern, because as @ktkenshinx says, at least we have archetype diversity.

I'll just keep tweeting at WOTC Staff, assuming they have not muted me by now. :p
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Post by Amalgam » 11 months ago

cfusionpm wrote:
11 months ago
FoodChainGoblins wrote:
11 months ago
The Fluff wrote:
11 months ago
Dropping by again here to say that so far as our testing goes at mtgs.. Yorion has been very good. Also nice that Lurrus is taking most of the heat, so our 4/5 flyer feels safe from the hammer.
It's a bit of an odd situation. MTGO has had companions for what feels like a month already (probably closer to 2 weeks). Companions come out in paper in 11 days. There probably won't be any Sanctioned paper tournaments even after those 11 days until possibly 1-3 months later. Bans could easily happen in paper before the set even comes out, lol. Kind of like a Lutri, the Spellchaser situation...
There realistically won't be any paper events for longer than that. Possibly the rest of the year. States that opened up are already seeing spikes in infections (and apparently that is coming as a shock to some).

Paper Magic is dead until COVID-19 is under control, and that's not likely happening until at least 2021.
It's a unique situation but also makes me worry as paper in general won't be selling for the foreseeable future as well as pre-releases being cancelled which are normally bait for a lot of the more casual players to come out of the woodwork.

What's the guess wizards continue's printing must open cards to try push sales for the next 18-24 months?
I'm sad I can't play paper for at least a year but maybe not having to play through mistakes like companions till Covid-19 is over is a blessing in disguise

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Post by drmarkb » 11 months ago

idSurge wrote:
11 months ago
I think that is a reality that I had not really internalized before, but it is true.

The format did not 'police itself' as we all fooled ourselves into thinking. It was managed, based on pretty arbitrary choices, by Wizards.

I made all my fiscal decisions based on what I expected them to go after. Often that was based on what chat I heard and the calendar- the up coming event and set list seemed very relevant. I was right more than wrong in terms of the decks hit, obviously hitting the bans was harder. I probably called affinity wrong ( I expected Opal to go early in the format), but sold out of infect, pod and twin(s) prior to the ban- not that those bans were justified per se any more than them not hitting tron was justified, but because you could feel something coming from the schedules, from the chat, from the movement of certain cards a week or two earlier than the normal ban list hype. I think a lot of their choices were predictable once you realise their aim was not just the health of Modern.....

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Post by drmarkb » 11 months ago

idSurge wrote:
11 months ago
If only it was just Modern.

Vintage and Legacy are factually worse than Modern, because as ktkenshinx says, at least we have archetype diversity.

I'll just keep tweeting at WOTC Staff, assuming they have not muted me by now. :p

Way, way, way worse. I don't mean Phantom Menace worse. I mean Howard the Duck levels of worse.

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Post by cfusionpm » 11 months ago

Being "broken up and down every format" is literally what happened to Treasure Cruise, right? Why is this any different?

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 11 months ago

drmarkb wrote:
11 months ago
It is all subjective. Jund second time round was not as bad, because it was not the only fair deck and had more variation. Jace unban was a decent era, hated losing to UW but it was a decent meta. I mean technically anything is better than the last 9 months, even Decay v Twin.v Tron. Modern has always been a manipulated format though....
This is what I was trying to say many pages back. The format was definitely manipulated. But ktkenshinx brought up good points that most bans were something that could be foreseen by observing MTGO stats. I can get behind that, but the timing of many bans was not always done based on those stats because obviously WotC has to give a certain amount of time to allow the meta to try to adjust. Sometimes too much time was given. Sometimes, not enough time was given. If 1 week into a Modern meta where Lurrus is legal, 4 of 8 decks from the first Modern Challenge are Lurrus decks, it is not sufficient time to do a banning based on "50%."

I am somewhere in between how you and idSurge felt about UR vs. GB. To state the obvious, it seems unfair to players who like White. I am not one of those, so that part didn't hurt me. It just felt stale after a while.

I know many rave about the matchup with UR Twin vs. Jund. I play tested it to a certain point and I felt that I didn't have much to learn from it after that point. I felt that Jund was heavily favored. Why? The removal and discard can be devastating, but I took it deeper (or shallower depending on your point of view) than that. Jund could beat Twin after SB with 2-3 lands in play. Twin needed 5 lands at least because they needed Batterskull or Keranos, God of Storms in order to get a very solid lock on Jund (outside of Mooning them, which Jund has always been weak to, but the better players can play around this working occasionally). Obviously I'm not saying that there has never been a 4 land hand from Twin that won. There are nut hands vs. crap hands with any decks that can win. I'm saying the average Jund hand does not need to curve out to 4, even less so before Bloodbraid Elf, while Twin can't do much on 3 land.

The meta was fun for a while, but it got stale to me. I started to feel that those decks were "sacred cows." I've even said this on mtgsal at times that Twin, Jund, and Affinity were sacred cows that would never get banned. That's how I felt at the time. I know it's especially funny to say that about Jund since that deck has had 2 bans, but we can all see now that BBE should not have gotten banned at the time.
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Post by drmarkb » 11 months ago

I am a white player at heart.
White prison cards.
White hatebears. Not go wide rubbish, actual white as the colour was before it was castrated.
So you can imagine why I was not a fan. There was not a single decent maindeckable hatebear at 1cc against Twin. Not one, and once at 2cc you can be Remanded and just fall behind. Not one single hatebear survived all the Jund removal. Mirran Crusader was boltable and cost 3 mana, and people who tap out on t3 s Twin died as for some stupid reason blue creatures had Flash and the only thing with flash in White was resto Angel. Even Thalia could not trade with flash Exarch and Path to Exile was utter garbage against both decks. Had STP been around.....
You know when Twin players tell me about Path being fine I always point out they could Kiki, Twin still existed. Of course it is not as good, and the deck is much worse, which is what white decks packing Path are. STP would have been ideal to have white in the meta, but no, we had Path that read 'your Jund-Twin opponents win the game in five turns' if you actually cast it before T4. Assassin's Trophy has the same drawback and can kill anything for 2cc, and yet does not get much play for the same reason in Legacy, and that format has a lot of Land and Walkers that are difficult to deal with, and Path is not in Trophy's league.

Man, I hated that meta. Now if a 1cc white cantripping pithing needle existed, or a forge tender with pro red and black, or a Mirran Crusader with flash, or an uncountable Ghostly Prison I might be a bit more inclined to give it some leeway, but whilst twin players were having fun and newbies with money were buying into Jund and wrecking everyone, the format was actually a 4 colour format I never want to see again.

Still, it is subjective and I have had little to.no white after either.

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Post by BloodyRabbit » 11 months ago

The fact the meta is the most diverse since decades ago is not debatable.

Companions or not.

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Post by TheBoulderer » 11 months ago

BloodyRabbit wrote:
11 months ago
The fact the meta is the most diverse since decades ago is not debatable.

Companions or not.
It is debatable though, if you think about what "diversity" really means. It means a large number of decks doing well that are categorically different from each other.

Most "new" Lurrus decks, like Grixis Delver, aren't doing well because the deck itself is good, but because Lurrus is good. The rest of the Delver-core is contributing very little to its viability. If, for illustration's sake, there are 10 new, viable strategies with Lurrus that were unplayable before, they are still winning off Lurrus+Bauble gaining ridiculous, completely free card advantage. The strategy around it could practically be anything. If you're functionally up a resolved Ancestral Recall before the game has even started, a lot of things become competitive.

That is why companions are actually trashing diversity. AT first glance, yes, many different strategies are viable, but companions are shrinking the difference there is between decks. A significant part of the gameplan of every Lurrus-deck is casting Bauble-Lurrus-Bauble and be up 2 completely free cards compared to a deck without a companion. This will happen every single game the Lurrus deck plays.

It's as if 50% of modern decks were jamming the same combo because it was so easy to integrate. It actually is pretty much exactly that. The combo isn't completely archetype-defining, but it is a big part of every deck its in.

So, polemically speaking, the modern meta is 50% Lurrus Combo. That's not diverse.

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Post by Lear_the_cat » 11 months ago

I understand and share all the feeling about white color in magic and modern specifically.

Will add my coin about companions:
1) I don't think it's true that metagame is diverse. Yes, it can be diverse inside of few archetypes but it lacks real control decks.
No old Ux control decks with noncreature treats or Wx prison decks. But instead we have all sorts of aggro\tempo decks with few combo, midranges and big mana decks that plays bcs their degenarate stuff is strong enough to compete with Lurrus or play with her too. It' snot healthy thing at all even if some people want to deceive themselves that everything is okay.
2) Companion mechanic should be banned everywhere.
I agree that adding new thing is good but it should happen with caution and proper tests. (not like Maro team tests)
In current state with overpushed new unbalanced cards - it's just not safe to keep this in game. While companions without their mechanic as usual cards are pretty safe.
Last edited by Lear_the_cat 11 months ago, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by CylonSupreme » 11 months ago

Companions should be banned because they are quickly turning out to be auto includes. Which is the exact reasoning they gave for banning Lutri in Commander. WotC can either keep coherency in their bans or show that they don't care about eternal formats and are just out to replace all the old cards with booster pack rares.

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Post by idSurge » 11 months ago

It is impossible to accept after the London Mulligan and Companion, both of which had known commentary regarding the negative impacts they would have if implemented, that Wizards really cares as we do, about Modern or Legacy.
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Post by ktkenshinx » 11 months ago

TheBoulderer wrote:
11 months ago
It is debatable though, if you think about what "diversity" really means. It means a large number of decks doing well that are categorically different from each other.

Most "new" Lurrus decks, like Grixis Delver, aren't doing well because the deck itself is good, but because Lurrus is good. The rest of the Delver-core is contributing very little to its viability. If, for illustration's sake, there are 10 new, viable strategies with Lurrus that were unplayable before, they are still winning off Lurrus+Bauble gaining ridiculous, completely free card advantage. The strategy around it could practically be anything. If you're functionally up a resolved Ancestral Recall before the game has even started, a lot of things become competitive.

That is why companions are actually trashing diversity. AT first glance, yes, many different strategies are viable, but companions are shrinking the difference there is between decks. A significant part of the gameplan of every Lurrus-deck is casting Bauble-Lurrus-Bauble and be up 2 completely free cards compared to a deck without a companion. This will happen every single game the Lurrus deck plays.
I think this makes sense if you're just looking at decks in a vacuum, but doesn't make any sense at all when you look at the actual top-tier Lurrus decks. Thankfully, we have that data in an ever-increasing N=474 MTGO dataset. Here are the top-tier Lurrus decks:

Burn
Jund
Prowess
Devoted Devastation
Hardened Scales
Grixis Delver
The Rock

Of those decks, we can definitely group a few of them. Burn and Prowess are technically different but in many regards have enough similarities to combine them. They are Rx aggro decks with burn spells and low-to-the-ground creatures. Similarly, we can probably group The Rock and Jund together as BGx midrange decks that recur 2 CMC permanents and Bauble alongside a bunch of spot removal. But outside of that, it's actually hard to collapse the rest. Grixis Delver has an entirely different blue addition than BGx Midrange which totally impacts play patterns. Hardened Scales is an artifact aggro deck and the only successor of Affinity in this metagame. Devoted Devastation is a GWx creature combo deck that isn't even consistently using a Bauble playset at all. This means Lurrus as a card is actually supporting five top-tier archetypes right now: Rx Burn/Prowess, BGx Jund/Rock, Devoted Devastation, Grixis Delver (you can group all the UBx decks Lurrus decks here, probably), and Hardened Scales. That's significantly more diverse, and represents a significantly different batch of play patterns and experiences, than just the idea of "Lurrus/Bauble combo."

Now, Lurrus as a card is probably problematic for other reasons. The only way Lurrus doesn't get banned is if Wizards and the community accepts it as some kind of Modern Brainstorm exception, which doesn't seem likely at this point; its prevalence and the ensuing social media outcry is just too damn high. But Lurrus does not appear to problematic from a deck diversity perspective. There are plenty of viable decks representing many strategic leanings. They are not all just flavors of Lurrus combo.
Lear_the_cat wrote:
11 months ago
I understand and share all the feeling about white color in magic and modern specifically.

Will add my coin about companions:
1) I don't think it's true that metagame is diverse. Yes, it can be diverse inside of few archetypes but it lacks real control decks.
No old Ux control decks with noncreature treats or Wx prison decks. But instead we have all sorts of aggro\tempo decks with few combo, midranges and big mana decks that plays bcs their degenarate stuff is strong enough to compete with Lurrus or play with her too. It' snot healthy thing at all even if some people want to deceive themselves that everything is okay.
There is no way that Wx prison is a prerequisite for a diverse, healthy metagame. Even the healthiest periods of Modern we've seen (2015 is an oft-cited example) didn't have this. It's just way too niche to be considered a prerequisite for healthy fields.

As for Ux control, this is also a very niche demand. We have plenty of Ux decks that are packed with countermagic and interactive spells. We will never, ever return to a Magic format, let alone a Modern format, where Ux players are winning with Millstones (to use an old example) or JTMS/Snapcaster/Colonnade (to use a 2018 one). This is simply not a reality that is supported by dozens of Wizards design decisions. Barring sweeping bans which only a niche group of critics want, this is not going to happen. Wizards only has an obligation for Ux control to be viable in Modern because Ux as a pillar is important. Not Ux creatureless control. Not Ux control with a combo finish and a tempo/control Plan A. Just Ux control. In that regard, the current Modern is delivering in multiple areas.

Again, this doesn't mean companions aren't busted. They are REALLY busted and at Lurrus is probably on its way to a ban unless we find ourselves in that weird exception situation I mentioned above. But just because we don't like Lurrus, we can't look at the list of decks represented in the current metagame and call it unhealthy or not diverse. You may not personally like it, but by all historic measures of diversity, we have wide strategic archetype representation and different decks within those archetypes.
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Post by TheBoulderer » 11 months ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
11 months ago
I think this makes sense if you're just looking at decks in a vacuum, but doesn't make any sense at all when you look at the actual top-tier Lurrus decks. Thankfully, we have that data in an ever-increasing N=474 MTGO dataset. Here are the top-tier Lurrus decks:

Burn
Jund
Prowess
Devoted Devastation
Hardened Scales
Grixis Delver
The Rock

Of those decks, we can definitely group a few of them. Burn and Prowess are technically different but in many regards have enough similarities to combine them. They are Rx aggro decks with burn spells and low-to-the-ground creatures. Similarly, we can probably group The Rock and Jund together as BGx midrange decks that recur 2 CMC permanents and Bauble alongside a bunch of spot removal. But outside of that, it's actually hard to collapse the rest. Grixis Delver has an entirely different blue addition than BGx Midrange which totally impacts play patterns. Hardened Scales is an artifact aggro deck and the only successor of Affinity in this metagame. Devoted Devastation is a GWx creature combo deck that isn't even consistently using a Bauble playset at all. This means Lurrus as a card is actually supporting five top-tier archetypes right now: Rx Burn/Prowess, BGx Jund/Rock, Devoted Devastation, Grixis Delver (you can group all the UBx decks Lurrus decks here, probably), and Hardened Scales. That's significantly more diverse, and represents a significantly different batch of play patterns and experiences, than just the idea of "Lurrus/Bauble combo."
I understand the argument, but I just see it differently.
Say I face Grixis Lurrus Delver. And they curve Delver into Sprite Dragon. I manage to kill both of them through a discard spell and a Force of Negation. I interacted on, say, t3, so on t4 they are able to go Lurrus into Bauble. Thats their free 2for0 right there, same value as resolving Ancestral Vision/Recall, (only even better because a 3/2 lifelink that will recur stuff every turn is better than a random card).

So the deck Grixis Delver tried to do its thing, and then the completely seperate gameplan Lurrus-Bauble springs into action. It's literally not a part of their deck.

And as a non-Lurrus opponent, we have to fight through that stand-alone Plan B no matter what the deck.

Burn: Kill Swiftspear-Goblin Guide → run into Ancestral Recall. Delver: kill Delver/Dragon, run into ancestral recall. Jund: kill Hexdrinker/Goyf/Bob → Run into Ancestral Recall. Devoted devastation: Kill mana dork/first combo piece → run into Ancestral Recall. Hardened Scales: Kill Worker+Ravager/Walker → run into Ancestral Recall.

Every Lurrus deck drops 2 cheap threats, and if these are dealt with, curves into Lurrus.

And obviously Bauble only enables T3 Lurrus+Value, the same works T4 with every 1drop.

Easy splashability doesnt make a card less busted. And that's really the only argument pro Lurrus that exists. Every asshole and their cousin can accommodate it.

Edit: Reid Duke currently starts every game on stream by saying "Let's go through the prerequisite motion for modern of both revealing our Lurrus". I don't think there's much to add or discuss beyond that tbh.

The community, for some reason, seems to be softening to dumb, broken cards. I guess a year of prints like this will do that trick too.
Last edited by TheBoulderer 11 months ago, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by The Fluff » 11 months ago

Aazadan wrote:
11 months ago
cfusionpm wrote:
11 months ago
I've personally gone from "Which super special, limited, alternate, promo, foil version of these cards do I want to represent myself in this deck?" to "Do I even want to bother buying these in paper at all?"
My issue has been less of that and more, with the economy being what it is, are paper magic cards which I'm unlikely to be able to use much if at all in the next several months worth buying? Buying further into Modern (or Magic at all) at the moment, feels a bit like buying into Vintage. Sure, it will be cool when I get to play the cards, but when will I get to play the cards?
agreed on almost everything you said.

There's no one to play with. The virus makes it hard to play with people. Because of the quarantine.. can't go to the post office to get cards that I ordered from scg, they've been there since last month. For now, I plan to simply wait for the day things are alright again. Also temporarily stopping to order cards from online stores, because I could not get them anyway.
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Post by drmarkb » 11 months ago

BloodyRabbit wrote:
11 months ago
The fact the meta is the most diverse since decades ago is not debatable.

Companions or not.
Decades? Modern is only a decade old.
Do you want to compare over the history of MTG? Or just with itself over the years?

If it is the latter then fair enough, but in the former case Modern has never been (and is not) diverse, because it lacks almost totally prison decks like Vintage and Legacy, and there really are only six macro archetypes- Control(Permission-stack based- your stuff doesn't happen), Prison (you can't cast spells because you don't have resources) , Aggro (you are dead before your plan works), Combo (I win/you lose), Ramp (I cast bigger stuff ahead of schedule), Midrange and then the decks fit into hybrids between them (aggro control etc.) , with subdivisions like Tribal, etc.
Modern has rarely had straight control or prison decks- maybe less 10 of the latter from hundreds of decks,and never will have a prison deck again, so it will always be less diverse than older formats. I mean it is diverse compared to any Standard, and Pioneer, can be diverse by its own standards, but you can't claim that it is diverse by Mtg standards over its history.

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Post by drmarkb » 11 months ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
11 months ago

There is no way that Wx prison is a prerequisite for a diverse, healthy metagame. Even the healthiest periods of Modern we've seen (2015 is an oft-cited example) didn't have this. It's just way too niche to be considered a prerequisite for healthy fields.
Wx Prison is not requirement for a healthy meta. Prison is a requirement.
2015 was very poor because of the lack of prison, you can talk diversity all you like, but if there is no prison of any sort, there is not diversity. 5 small mpox decks on MTG top 8 was about the sum of 2015. People here like 2015 because they like playing twin or jund. The presence of prison acts as a break on combo and unfair decks, especially ramp decks that everyone moans about. This is why Modern has become what it is- a format of perma bans unable to handle the latest pushed walkers and cards, because designers do not design answers or allow resources to be attacked. So people do what they want.
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Post by ktkenshinx » 11 months ago

TheBoulderer wrote:
11 months ago
I understand the argument, but I just see it differently.
Say I face Grixis Lurrus Delver. And they curve Delver into Sprite Dragon. I manage to kill both of them through a discard spell and a Force of Negation. I interacted on, say, t3, so on t4 they are able to go Lurrus into Bauble. Thats their free 2for0 right there, same value as resolving Ancestral Vision/Recall, (only even better because a 3/2 lifelink that will recur stuff every turn is better than a random card).

So the deck Grixis Delver tried to do its thing, and then the completely seperate gameplan Lurrus-Bauble springs into action. It's literally not a part of their deck.

And as a non-Lurrus opponent, we have to fight through that stand-alone Plan B no matter what the deck.

Burn: Kill Swiftspear-Goblin Guide → run into Ancestral Recall. Delver: kill Delver/Dragon, run into ancestral recall. Jund: kill Hexdrinker/Goyf/Bob → Run into Ancestral Recall. Devoted devastation: Kill mana dork/first combo piece → run into Ancestral Recall. Hardened Scales: Kill Worker+Ravager/Walker → run into Ancestral Recall.

Every Lurrus deck drops 2 cheap threats, and if these are dealt with, curves into Lurrus.

And obviously Bauble only enables T3 Lurrus+Value, the same works T4 with every 1drop.
To be super clear and explicit, I'll say it again. Lurrus is ridiculously broken and is probably bannable on its own terms for ubiquity and gameplay patterns alone. I am not defending the card. The card itself is a nightmare. I'm defending the metagame breakdown because although the card is seriously problematic, the metagame is not. This is a diverse metagame where diverse decks are using a broken card. It's important we not rewrite our definitions of healthy metagames to fit a narrative where we want Lurrus banned. The metagame can both be healthy AND Lurrus could be so problematic it needs a ban.

I fully support the notion that Lurrus is a virtual Ancestral Recall. I literally wrote out the same numbers you did in my Ikoria review article where I described Lurrus's headscratching power. I'm even happy to consider the Lurrus/Bauble package as every deck having a virtual Recall or some Recall-lite in their deck. Let's just say for the sake of argument that all Lurrus decks, i.e. 50% of the metagame, are secretly just 56 cards plus 4 copies of Lurrus Recall. This could still be a diverse metagame, but only if those effective 4 cards are supporting widespread deck diversity. In this case, they are for reasons we've already discussed. The decks are all leveraging a broken card to achieve different gameplans and fulfill different archetypes. It's utterly disingenuous to call Burn, Grixis Delver, Hardened Scales, and Jund the same deck. They may all be using the same super busted card, but those decks are themselves distinct.
Easy splashability doesnt make a card less busted. And that's really the only argument pro Lurrus that exists. Every asshole and their cousin can accommodate it.

Edit: Reid Duke currently starts every game on stream by saying "Let's go through the prerequisite motion for modern of both revealing our Lurrus". I don't think there's much to add or discuss beyond that tbh.

The community, for some reason, seems to be softening to dumb, broken cards. I guess a year of prints like this will do that trick too.
Again, I don't think a lot of players are softening on this card. I do, however, think the online Magic/Modern community has gotten significantly less tolerant of nuanced arguments. It's either "Lurrus is the devil, any arguments defending a Lurrus metagame are wrong" or "Lurrus is amazing, people who want vilify Lurrus are idiots." I'm not seeing a whole lot of middle ground in online debates, which is a disturbing trend across all Magic topics but is particularly disappointing here. Lurrus just presents an odd case where a broken card that sees play in way too many decks is somehow supporting a variety of diverse strategies.
Greeksis wrote:
11 months ago
Just jumping in to drop this Saffron Olive post here:

I agree with most posters saying this is virtual diversity. You can't deny that this is not diverse. The proof is very easy here:
Would all of those Lurrus decks be Tier 1, when Lurrus or Mishra's Bauble goes? Are those decks good by themselves or is it the Lurrus-Bauble combo making them good?
I wonder what the results of that poll would be if we replaced 1 Burn with 1 Jund. Or added in a 5th matchup of Temur Urza or Bant Snow Control. When you cherrypick four results to prove a point and then post it in a highly suggestive Tweet to a selective audience, it's pretty easy to get the results you want.

You are also conflating two arguments here that are not the same. Specifically, you group together the argument that this "metagame" (i.e. 4 decks in a SaffronOlive Tweet, which is NOT a metagame) is not diverse, and the idea that Lurrus decks wouldn't be Tier 1 without Lurrus. That second argument has nothing to do with diversity. It's just card power level. For what feels like the twentieth time, we all agree Lurrus is horrificially broken and outrageously overplayed. But we don't need to rewrite our definitions of a diverse metagame to make that argument. Lurrus can be both broken/bannable and the format as a whole could be overall diverse.
Another thing is that the Lurrus-Bauble combo thrown in every deck, makes every deck an aggro deck with the same combo in it. Even Jund with this combo, drops BBE/LOTV to become an aggro deck. GDS, the same. It already was an aggro deck in heart, it's more now.Since you are playing <=2 cmc cards, you basically are an aggro deck to the heart every time. This makes the aggro department super warping in Modern and even if you may think it's "diverse", it's not macro-archetype diversity.
So now Jund is an aggro deck because we need to justify a Lurrus ban? This kind of argument is thin, extremely disingenuous, and alarmingly warped to fit a certain perspective. It's patently untrue just by looking at an average Jund deck. Most of these decks have barely changed since before Lurrus: they are playing 2-3 Bolt and swapped Bolts 3-4 for 2 Seal of Fire, zero haste creatures, 4 Tarmogoyf (the same 4 Goyfs this deck has ALWAYS played), 2-3 Confidants (the same 2-3 Confidants the deck ALWAYS played before 2020 changed Bob's positioning), and the same 2-4 other flex creatures of Ooze/Flayer/Hexdrinker/etc the deck played in the past. You've just traded the grind power of Lily and BBE for the grind power of Lurrus and Bauble. This doesn't make Jund an aggro deck. Low deck CMCs do not make a deck aggro.

It's alarming and deeply disturbing to me that normally rational arguments are totally out the window with Lurrus. Why can't we just discuss some genuine reasons that Lurrus is probably bannable, like 50% of MTGO Top 8 decks using the card? We don't need to invent new definitions of "Diversity" to build additional, spurious cases against Lurrus. Lurrus is bannable for so many real reasons, the biggest two of which are extreme prevalence and repetitive gameplay patterns. Don't redefine "diversity" just to add a third argument to the mix.
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Post by ktkenshinx » 11 months ago

drmarkb wrote:
11 months ago
ktkenshinx wrote:
11 months ago

There is no way that Wx prison is a prerequisite for a diverse, healthy metagame. Even the healthiest periods of Modern we've seen (2015 is an oft-cited example) didn't have this. It's just way too niche to be considered a prerequisite for healthy fields.
Wx Prison is not requirement for a healthy meta. Prison is a requirement.
2015 was very poor because of the lack of prison, you can talk diversity all you like, but if there is no prison of any sort, there is not diversity. 5 small mpox decks on MTG top 8 was about the sum of 2015. People here like 2015 because they like playing twin or jund. The presence of prison acts as a break on combo and unfair decks, especially ramp decks that everyone moans about. This is why Modern has become what it is- a format of perma bans unable to handle the latest pushed walkers and cards, because designers do not design answers or allow resources to be attacked. So people do what they want.
2015 Modern did have a prison deck. Lantern Control won GP OKC in fall 2015 and remained a strong presence for the rest of the year. In fact, this is one of the only Modern eras that did have a viable, top-tier prison deck, and yet you cite 2015 as an example of an era with no prison decks. Am I missing some other viable prison deck from 2011-2015? 2015 itself? Or 2016-present? Maybe the Grixis Whir decks of 2019, but that was a pretty serious corner case. Unless you're arguing that all periods of Modern are unhealthy because they lack prison decks, I don't think you can defend a stance where prison is a requirement for a healthy format.
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Post by TheBoulderer » 11 months ago

I can get behind most of your arguments, but I honestly don't think there is a middle ground to be found when discussing Lurrus. There is no middle ground. Lurrus warps the format in an unprecedented, extreme way. Either you're ok with that, in which case you're ok with an extremely warped metagame. Or you're not, in which case you either want Lurrus banned, which is the extreme on the other end of the spectrum.

Or, which is the only "middle ground" I can see that makes sense, you want the companion mechanic to be adapted (either by "disabling" it completely or nerfing it by replacing a card in the starting 7).

I will be frank here: I've read your articles and they're extremely valuable, but I do think the whole "Lurrus is broken but makes for a healthy meta" is just bollocks. Lurrus makes some old and some new strategies viable, but it 100% also makes at least as many strategies that just cant run it completely unplayable. We only see the decks that work in metagame breakdowns, but the decks that become unplayable are invisible because, well, there by definition isnt any data.

I'm not just writing this without having thought about it. Right now, viable decks are Lurrus decks on the one hand, and Tier 1 decks that are busted enough to keep up with Lurrus because they were already beating fair decks by such a huge margin that they can absorb Lurrus-value too. And then there is a huge swath of decks that have just fallen off a cliff into unplayability.

Everybody dances around the Lurrus decks that are playable as diverse. The argument is deeply, fundamentally flawed in my opinion.

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Post by cfusionpm » 11 months ago

@ktkenshinx

How does today's Lurrus meta "diversity" compare to 2014's Treasure Cruise meta?

IE: "Different" decks playing Lurrus vs "different" decks playing Cruise?

I mentioned this a few times with no bites the last day or so. Curious if we have hard numbers to compare.

I'm really trying to understand if they are different, and if so, why.

For context, after rotating out of Standard and before Pioneer existed, Cruise was banned or restricted in literally every Constructed competitive format Magic has, due to its strength and ubiquity.

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Post by Lear_the_cat » 11 months ago

@ktkenshinx
Was thinking about what you posted. I think I have analogue with Lurrus - it's like the diversirty inside of Eldrazi archetype during Eldrazi winter with few decks that were able to beat them.

About prison decks: Sun and Moon (Boros Prison), Martyr Proc, Wx Enduring Ideal, Skred Red and etc. Some of them sometime randomly did top8 of huge tournaments. But now thanks to powercreep like 2-3 mana planeswalkers, Uro, Arcum's Astrolabe and etc. They just don't have any tools to compete with "new" modern.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 11 months ago

TheBoulderer wrote:
11 months ago
I can get behind most of your arguments, but I honestly don't think there is a middle ground to be found when discussing Lurrus. There is no middle ground. Lurrus warps the format in an unprecedented, extreme way. Either you're ok with that, in which case you're ok with an extremely warped metagame. Or you're not, in which case you either want Lurrus banned, which is the extreme on the other end of the spectrum.
There are comparatively few arguments in Modern, Magic, and life generally that are completely either/or cases with no middle ground. I fully acknowledge the general trend of arguments, especially online and especially in Magic/Modern, is towards extreme hot takes with little room for nuance. Lurrus is not an exception to this. A Lurrus metagame can be both diverse in archetypes and have way too many decks using Lurrus.
I will be frank here: I've read your articles and they're extremely valuable, but I do think the whole "Lurrus is broken but makes for a healthy meta" is just bollocks. Lurrus makes some old and some new strategies viable, but it 100% also makes at least as many strategies that just cant run it completely unplayable. We only see the decks that work in metagame breakdowns, but the decks that become unplayable are invisible because, well, there by definition isnt any data.
I don't really say that Lurrus's companion influence alone makes for a healthy metagame. In fact, I'm pretty careful and precise in my articles to not say that at all. I emphasize the metagame and archetype breakdown is diverse, but Lurrus is itself an issue that confounds the picture. Here are a few quotes where I make this distinction very clear:
  • "Incidentally, Tier 1 also represents a healthy mix of archetypes (more on archetype balance shortly). This suggests the overall format is healthy, at least from a strategic diversity perspective. "
  • "We might be comfortable with this companion dominance if it means a healthy archetype breakdown like we're seeing above..."
These are clear distinctions between companions/Lurrus being a problem and the archetype breakdown showing strategic diversity. They are separate and overlapping issues, like a venn diagram that we need to assess.

You raise a separate issue about Lurrus decks supplanting non-Lurrus decks. This is a much more valid diversity concern, as we have seen this happen in the past with other dominant decks. Can you specifically cite any non-Lurrus decks that Lurrus decks have pushed out? For reference, here's the top-tier metagame both before IKO and after, even including Tier 3 representatives up to 86% of the format:
image.png
Pre-IKO Modern has lost Simic Reclamation, Naya Zoo, Rakdos Midrange, and Jeskai Whirza. Post-IKO Modern has gained Devoted Devastation, Hardened Scales, Grixis Delver, The Rock, Grixis Shadow, 4C Snow Control, Storm, Yorion Chord, Goblins, and Bogles. This is a visibly more diverse metagame both in number of distinct decks and in the different strategies those decks represent. The two decks Lurrus certainly pushed out (Naya Zoo and Rakdos Midrange) have been replaced by 5+ decks that saw virtually (or literally) zero play before Lurrus. Again, this is not to say that Lurrus is acceptable in Modern. The card is almost certainly bannable on prevalence, variance reduction, and repetitive play patterns. But it does not appear to be pushing decks out of the metagame. The metagame as a whole is strategically diverse.
Lear_the_cat wrote:
11 months ago
ktkenshinx
Was thinking about what you posted. I think I have analogue with Lurrus - it's like the diversirty inside of Eldrazi archetype during Eldrazi winter with few decks that were able to beat them.
See above. The diversity within Eldrazi decks was purely semantical. The diversity between Jund, Hardened Scales, Grixis Delver, Burn/Prowess, and Devoted Devastation is real. I don't even think this warrants an argument. If people are really going to argue this point, we can easily compare the overlap between Eldrazi decks (which was probably at least 50%-75% of cards) to the overlaps between Lurrus decks (maybe 25% at absolute worst, way lower for most decks). Again, it is okay to admit the metagame is currently diverse. You can both acknowledge this diversity and identify glaring problems with Lurrus. Lurrus doesn't have to be committing every bannable offense in Modern to be a problem. Just focus on the problems Lurrus is presenting (insane prevalence, repetitive play patterns, variance reduction) and don't invent problems or redefine terms to add additional charges.
About prison decks: Sun and Moon (Boros Prison), Martyr Proc, Wx Enduring Ideal, Skred Red and etc. Some of them sometime randomly did top8 of huge tournaments. But now thanks to powercreep like 2-3 mana planeswalkers, Uro, Arcum's Astrolabe and etc. They just don't have any tools to compete with "new" modern.
None of these decks were viable in any way that made them metagame forces that regulated anything. I'm not denying prison decks are bad. They are really bad right now and that's unfortunate for prison players. I'm simply saying prison decks are not a prerequisite for a healthy format. There were many healthy Moderns and other formats where prison decks were nonexistent or just plain bad. Late 2015 Modern was quite healthy and did have a viable prison deck that won a GP (Lantern Control), and yet drmark said this was an example of a Modern with no prison decks that was unhealthy because it didn't have prison. That's inaccurate.
cfusionpm wrote:
11 months ago
ktkenshinx

How does today's Lurrus meta "diversity" compare to 2014's Treasure Cruise meta?

IE: "Different" decks playing Lurrus vs "different" decks playing Cruise?

I mentioned this a few times with no bites the last day or so. Curious if we have hard numbers to compare.

I'm really trying to understand if they are different, and if so, why.

For context, after rotating out of Standard and before Pioneer existed, Cruise was banned or restricted in literally every Constructed competitive format Magic has, due to its strength and ubiquity.
This is an excellent question; sorry I missed it earlier. Thankfully, I have all my old MTGS data from late 2014! I need to go through it and figure out the best way to present it, but the data exists. Here's a snapshot for folks to play around with, representing the rough Tier 1-Tier 2 picture for an insane N=2,226 decks (man I miss the days where we had all this data) from 10/02/2014 - 01/11/2015.

1. UR Delver: (14.2%)
2. Melira Pod: (9.8%)
3. Burn: (8.8%)
4. Scapeshift: (7.5%)
5. Affinity: (6.4%)
6. Junk: (3.5%)
7. Merfolk: (3.4%)
8. Bogles: (3.3%)
9. Amulet of Vigor: (3.1%)
10. UR Twin: (2.5%)
11. RUG Delver: (2.4%)
12. UWR Control: (2.3%)
13. Martyr Proc: (1.8%)
14. UWR Ascendancy: (1.6%)
15. Junk Pod: (1.6%)
16. UWR Midrange: (1.4%)
17. Mono W Death and Taxes: (1.4%)
18. RG Tron: (1.3%)
19. UWR Delver: (1.3%)

Need to figure out where I put all the GP data in this spreadsheet and how to present it.
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