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

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Albegas
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Post by Albegas » 1 year ago

cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
Using incidentally, or accidentally interactive elements in order to advance your own game plan, without needing to take further consideration of what your opponent is doing is not something I consider highly interactive. I guess if we nit pick things, anything can be interactive. But most of this "interaction" serves to either further a relatively linear game plan, prevent opponents from interacting with that relatively linear game plan, remove obstacles of that relatively linear game plan, or prison-lock opponents through static effects.

I feel that calling Modern "highly interactive" is incredibly disingenuous and greatly misrepresents what is happening in the format. Though, fully distorting what "interactive" means to the point where you could conceivably defend things like 4x Chalice, Karn+Lattice (plus Bridge/Cage/etc) as interactive, you could definitely say Modern is "interactive." I just do not agree with that definition whatsoever.

The original assertion was "decks like Jund" and that absolutely is not the case in Modern.
If you only define midrange decks and nearly entirely instant speed decks as interactive, then of course Modern won't seem interactive to you. You brush off other forms of interaction as "incidental" or "accidental", but I don't see why there should be some form of "correct" interaction. The entire point of interaction is to clear the way for you to win regardless of what that win condition is, be it early game small bodies, mid game bigger bodies, or late game closers. No deck interacts for the sake of interacting, so to imply that reactive control or Jund is real interaction and yet other decks' interaction is somehow not also comes off as disingenuous. Honestly, by your definition of what's interactive and what's not, even Jund can be defined as non-interactive; it's a deck with a linear game plan (drop big, efficient creatures and swing) using interaction to prevent opponents from interacting with those creatures (strip them of their best ways of stopping you with discard effects, clean up with kill spells and let your creatures do the rest).

I also wouldn't say that Modern is "highly interactive", but I can't agree with your view of what makes a deck interactive when you've created a dichotomy of "real" interaction and "fake" interaction

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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

Albegas wrote:
1 year ago
cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
Using incidentally, or accidentally interactive elements in order to advance your own game plan, without needing to take further consideration of what your opponent is doing is not something I consider highly interactive. I guess if we nit pick things, anything can be interactive. But most of this "interaction" serves to either further a relatively linear game plan, prevent opponents from interacting with that relatively linear game plan, remove obstacles of that relatively linear game plan, or prison-lock opponents through static effects.

I feel that calling Modern "highly interactive" is incredibly disingenuous and greatly misrepresents what is happening in the format. Though, fully distorting what "interactive" means to the point where you could conceivably defend things like 4x Chalice, Karn+Lattice (plus Bridge/Cage/etc) as interactive, you could definitely say Modern is "interactive." I just do not agree with that definition whatsoever.

The original assertion was "decks like Jund" and that absolutely is not the case in Modern.
If you only define midrange decks and nearly entirely instant speed decks as interactive, then of course Modern won't seem interactive to you.
Was responding specifically to this line on the previous page: " E-tron, while only running 2 MB removal spells and 2 more SB, has been surprisingly interactive." E-Tron. Which runs 4x main deck Chalice, and Karn + various prison and lock pieces.
You brush off other forms of interaction as "incidental" or "accidental", but I don't see why there should be some form of "correct" interaction. The entire point of interaction is to clear the way for you to win regardless of what that win condition is, be it early game small bodies, mid game bigger bodies, or late game closers. No deck interacts for the sake of interacting, so to imply that reactive control or Jund is real interaction and yet other decks' interaction is somehow not also comes off as disingenuous. Honestly, by your definition of what's interactive and what's not, even Jund can be defined as non-interactive; it's a deck with a linear game plan (drop big, efficient creatures and swing) using interaction to prevent opponents from interacting with those creatures (strip them of their best ways of stopping you with discard effects, clean up with kill spells and let your creatures do the rest).

I also wouldn't say that Modern is "highly interactive", but I can't agree with your view of what makes a deck interactive when you've created a dichotomy of "real" interaction and "fake" interaction
This is not wholly wrong. But yes, I do hold the subjective opinion that linear decks by nature aren't interactive, because they have a set game plan and set play lines regardless of the opponent they are against. Whereas "true" interactive decks seek to... actively and purposefully interact with the opponent, such as Jund and pre-planeswalker UW. Decks which do not have a pre-determined outcome or repeatable play lines, and whose actions and choices are heavily influenced by what their opponent is on and what they're doing. Rather than going through the motions, playing at the opponent, through the opponent, or ignoring the opponent for the most part. I do not find those kinds of things particularly interesting, fun, or good. But I accept that other people do, which is why I have spent literally the entirety of my time in Modern being frustrated by playing bad interactive decks, when they are objectively not what you should be doing.

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

Is there a scale of interaction? Yes.
Is there interaction elements in near every deck? Yes.

Are there DECKS which are designed, built, and intended to be interactive? Yes.
Are there DECKS which are designed to only implement their own plan, and any interactive elements are incidental? Yes.

Blue Moon is an Interactive Deck.
Burn, can Interact.

To call them both interactive is a failing of the English language.
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Post by kddncn » 1 year ago

For me what makes modern largely 'uninteractive' is that a lot of the cards feel like they're just extreme blowouts. Hogaak, TitI, Phoenix, (E/G) tron's top end, yes in many cases decks around them can be built to be interactive (counter, discard, etc etc), but if a main threat resolves and doesn't get answered almost immediately they provide extreme amounts of on-board advantage. The decks people tend to define as interactive have cards that provide more incremental advantage, such that it feels like either player can regain tempo with tighter play, good deck construction, or lucky draws.

For example, in legacy DRS/git probe grixis delver was highly "interactive," but from what I understand had an overwhelming win % when on the play. Playing against it and seeing turn 1 DRS with a daze backup often felt like you were 4 turns behind and nothing mattered, particularly if they followed up with wasteland. Even though the deck was full of interactive cards, the net effect was a very uninteractive deck if you were on the play and never got to deploy a threat/answer.
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Post by LeoTzu » 1 year ago

The biggest problem with the term "interactive" is that it's really a sliding scale. Everyone seems to draw their own line to determine what makes a deck an interactive deck vs non-interactive.

Some decks are easy to categorize. Jund is obviously interactive, since a majority of the deck is devoted to actively target their opponent's cards. NeoBrand is obviously non-interactive, because it basically just does its thing and hopes you can't do anything about it and really doesn't devote any deck slots to target their opponent's cards. It's when we get into that middle ground that things get hazy.

Take Burn. Its primary gameplan is to just shoot you in the face for 20 damage ASAP. Now put Burn against Infect. Burn is now a weird interactive control deck. It's clear that the deck probably falls closer to the "non-interactive" scale, but ignoring it's capability of playing interactive games seems a little biased.

I've heard people refer to Humans as a non-interactive deck before, which seems rather ludicrous to me. They literally play Duress, Unsummon, and a preemptive "counter" that's can be quite skill-testing… they're just stapled onto creatures that advance their tempo gameplan.

I really don't think there's a clean way to get everyone one the same page about interactive vs non-interactive, aside from extreme cases. More importantly, I think the only time this language gets brought up is when someone is trying to push their own narrative of the format.

"Look at all these Phoenix decks in the top 8! This is great to see such interactive decks in the format!"
"Look at all these Phoenix decks in the top 8! The format is so un-interactive and it's completely awful!"

I've read both of these sorts of sentiments about Modern recently (before Hogaak barged into the format). What these statements really seem to mean: "I have an opinion about the format, so these results need to confirm my opinion."

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
Was responding specifically to this line on the previous page: " E-tron, while only running 2 MB removal spells and 2 more SB, has been surprisingly interactive." E-Tron. Which runs 4x main deck Chalice, and Karn + various prison and lock pieces.
This ignores the context of that quote and the numerous follow-ups I've made since then. I'm not saying the deck is or is not interactive. I'm saying there are interactive states E-Tron produces with other decks, such as a Humans vs. E-Tron or Jund vs. E-Tron matchup. As we literally saw on camera at MC4, these can be very back-and-forth games with lots of permanent and spell-based interaction. A system trying to define interactivity needs to capture these nuances.
This is not wholly wrong. But yes, I do hold the subjective opinion that linear decks by nature aren't interactive, because they have a set game plan and set play lines regardless of the opponent they are against. Whereas "true" interactive decks seek to... actively and purposefully interact with the opponent, such as Jund and pre-planeswalker UW. Decks which do not have a pre-determined outcome or repeatable play lines, and whose actions and choices are heavily influenced by what their opponent is on and what they're doing.
This is simply not how decks are built and games play out. In a goldfish scenario, Jund wins every game with creature beatdown and Bolts to the face. UW Control just Ambush Vipers in Snapcasters and swings with Colonnade. Every deck wants to execute its gameplan to the fullest extent and win while the opponent just discards to hand size and does nothing every game. Every deck has some win condition it tries to protect or force to accomplish that end. This is just a very blue-biased definition that simply does not capture how non-blue games play out. All decks change their gameplans to some extent in a matchup. Burn will role-switch freely in an aggro matchup. As will Izzet Phoenix. We are trying to determine what makes a deck "interactive" vs. the opposite, and how we grade decks on that spectrum.

I can't emphasize this enough: we know Jund and UW Control are interactive. No one thinks Bogles is interactive no matter how many hypothetical lines we can come up with where Bogles is interacting. Same with Burn for the most part. We are trying to determine definitions and systems that capture those nuances.

Also, I believe you are conflating interactivity with linearity. Linearity is a measure of branching decisions. Interactivity is a measure of affecting an opponent's board state. They are probably correlated but are definitely not the same.
idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
Is there a scale of interaction? Yes.
Is there interaction elements in near every deck? Yes.

Are there DECKS which are designed, built, and intended to be interactive? Yes.
Are there DECKS which are designed to only implement their own plan, and any interactive elements are incidental? Yes.

Blue Moon is an Interactive Deck.
Burn, can Interact.

To call them both interactive is a failing of the English language.
I'm going to echo what I wrote above. I don't think anyone is saying Burn is interactive. I think I and others are trying to puzzle through a definition and operable system that would show Blue Moon to be interactive and would show Burn to be less interactive, despite both decks having high numbers of targeted spells and interaction options. We know what is and isn't interactive for the most part (keyterm being "most part"). In many cases, we just know it when we see it. But a) we need a system to capture that, b) we need common definitions about what that gut instinct means, and c) we need to acknowledge different kinds of interaction that aren't just Ux or Bx games. Just repeating "Jund/UW Control/Blue Moon/etc. is interactive" and "Burn/Tron/etc. is not" does not help us reach any of those common understandings. It's just echoing Modern platitudes without unpacking the mechanics that put a deck somewhere on the spectrum of interactivity.

Interactivity is a scale and spectrum. We are trying to see how we place decks on that spectrum and how we can replicate that measurement/definition for any deck in any period of metagame evolution.
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Post by Arkmer » 1 year ago

I think much of this is starting to delve into the more granular aspects of cards in a deck opposed to the deck as a whole. I think most people agree on more of the broader archetypes: Control is very interactive, Midrange is moderately interactive, Aggro is lightly interactive. Everything is on that scale- Let's reverse it though, just so we can talk about the same thing differently: Aggro is very linear, Mirange is moderatly linear, Control isn't very linear. They're all still there, just in varying degrees. So while it's outrageous to say Aggro is purely uninteractive, we can also just start referring to control decks as linear because they do eventually get from A to B just like Aggro.

Now for the part people don't like. Just because aggro interacts does not make it an "interactive deck". By that standard, Hogaak is an interactive deck. Flip it: Just because Control eventually wins does not make it a "linear deck".
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Post by TheAnnihilator » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
I also agree this is a spectrum/scale, not just a black/white definition. That said, I don't think decision-making is necessarily part of interaction. I've discussed this in the past, but I view three separate axes of decks (all of which are spectrums) which we use interchangeably but are not actually equivalent:
  • Fair vs. Unfair: I view this as cheating the natural rate of resource gain in Magic, e.g. casting more spells, having more mana, drawing more cards, etc.
  • Linear vs. Nonlinear: I view this as decision points in a game and how many decision points your cards represent. Something like Cryptic Command/Snapcaster has a ton of modes and decisions at any given time you can cast it. Something like Dismember/Push still has lots of decisions (when to use it, hold it vs. cast it, combat trick vs. proactive removal, etc.) but maybe less than the multi-target Command. Slippery Bogle does not represent too many decisions.
  • Interactive vs. Noninteractive: I view this as cards affecting an opponent's cards. Something like old-school Dauthi Slayer is highly noninteractive. KCommand or CCommand are the opposite.
In theory, we could design a 3D plot of those metrics and put all Modern decks on there to see how metagames look. But to do that, we need slightly more concrete definitions of each term.
I think there's another axis that you could add, actually. It would be Proactive vs. Reactive. A card like Thought-Knot Seer, while interactive, is also extremely proactive, whereas a card like Logic Knot is purely reactive. This can also be reflected onto decks: Bogles is a good example of being entirely proactive (even in their use of Leyline to prevent sac effects and discard, which is preemptive rather than reactive) while a deck like UW is almost always reactive (not including Geist or Mentor sideboard plans).

As for assigning values, I think that's an easy one. Take a poll, asking people to assign percentages in each category per deck (or even on a scale of 0/10), and use the averages.
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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

kddncn wrote:
1 year ago
For me what makes modern largely 'uninteractive' is that a lot of the cards feel like they're just extreme blowouts. Hogaak, TitI, Phoenix, (E/G) tron's top end, yes in many cases decks around them can be built to be interactive (counter, discard, etc etc), but if a main threat resolves and doesn't get answered almost immediately they provide extreme amounts of on-board advantage. The decks people tend to define as interactive have cards that provide more incremental advantage, such that it feels like either player can regain tempo with tighter play, good deck construction, or lucky draws.

For example, in legacy DRS/git probe grixis delver was highly "interactive," but from what I understand had an overwhelming win % when on the play. Playing against it and seeing turn 1 DRS with a daze backup often felt like you were 4 turns behind and nothing mattered, particularly if they followed up with wasteland. Even though the deck was full of interactive cards, the net effect was a very uninteractive deck if you were on the play and never got to deploy a threat/answer.
I can't emphasize this enough, and it relates to a point I made earlier about Modern control just trying to do everything it can to win under the illusion of interactivity. I think we can all agree that T1 Map into T2 Scrying into T3 Karn on the play leads to an overwhelming Tron advantage. Let's just say, hypothetically, that line makes Tron the 80% favorite in that matchup as long as you're not playing against aggro. We can also probably agree this isn't really interactive. But this is not materially difficult than a similar commanding midrange start of T1 TS into T2 Goyf into T3 Lily. Let's say this made Jund an 80% favorite in that matchup as long as you're not playing against aggro. Now we have two 80% starts, one of which most people would say is interactive, but neither of which actually give the opponent any room to win. It's just an illusion of interactivity.

This gets back to a point I made earlier about control/blue players. I think players who play these decks want to win close 51/49 games where they leverage perceived narrow advantages to demonstrate mastery of their archetype. But they don't want to lose. And they just want the perception of a narrow match based on a neverending stream of card advantage into answers. There's no material difference between losing to T3 Karn on the play and losing to T20 Colonnade beats after UW Control has countered/exiled/swept every single threat in your deck in an endless series of efficient answers and draw. Those games were both deterministically over at around the same time, but the control mage can tell themselves they eked out a win. This is exactly the point you make above with DRS/Daze in Legacy.
LeoTzu wrote:
1 year ago
I really don't think there's a clean way to get everyone one the same page about interactive vs non-interactive, aside from extreme cases. More importantly, I think the only time this language gets brought up is when someone is trying to push their own narrative of the format.

"Look at all these Phoenix decks in the top 8! This is great to see such interactive decks in the format!"
"Look at all these Phoenix decks in the top 8! The format is so un-interactive and it's completely awful!"

I've read both of these sorts of sentiments about Modern recently (before Hogaak barged into the format). What these statements really seem to mean: "I have an opinion about the format, so these results need to confirm my opinion."
I agree it's unlikely to happen for everyone for the very reasons you state. But for me personally, I want a transparent, auditable system I can point to with clearly defined terms that I can just draw on for my own posts. Then we can just let people see all the numbers and definitions behind the curtain and come to their own conclusions. That's much better than me pretending I have a transparent definition but just using "interactive" as a proxy for things I like.
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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

TheAnnihilator wrote:
1 year ago
I think there's another axis that you could add, actually. It would be Proactive vs. Reactive. A card like Thought-Knot Seer, while interactive, is also extremely proactive, whereas a card like Logic Knot is purely reactive. This can also be reflected onto decks: Bogles is a good example of being entirely proactive (even in their use of Leyline to prevent sac effects and discard, which is preemptive rather than reactive) while a deck like UW is almost always reactive (not including Geist or Mentor sideboard plans).

As for assigning values, I think that's an easy one. Take a poll, asking people to assign percentages in each category per deck (or even on a scale of 0/10), and use the averages.
I love the addition of proactive/reactive. That's a very important dimension we can clearly measure. I don't love polls like that. They are super limited by our population and can become dangerous echo chambers, especially if our polling sample is on Reddit or our forum. If I could poll every player at like, three GP over a month, that would be great and a poll would be effective. But as it is, it's really inconsistent.
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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
In many cases, we just know it when we see it.
I agree with you on all you are saying, but it really does come down to this. It would be a cool article however to graph on the various axis (Fair, Unfair, Linear, Nonlinear, Interactive, Noninteractive, Proactive, Reactive). It could be neat, but as you say, I know it when I see it. :)
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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

Manamorphose X 3, Faithless Looting, flip Thing in the Ice to Awoken Horror, bounce creatures, attack for 7 is just not going to fit the bill of being interactive for most Modern players.

Whether it's an amazing play or not is more debatable...
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

The entire premise for my original statement (from which all of this back and forth has sprung) is that someone claimed that Modern is interactive. At the end of the day, that is only true if you warp the definition of interactive to include things like Hogaak, because it runs Trophy out of the side. You are welcome to hold positions like that, just as I am welcome to wholeheartedly disagree. The point remains that the majority of decks are intending to play at the opponent, through the opponent, and ignore the opponent as much as possible. And decks which are designed with the intention of interacting are objectively weaker the majority of the time.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
The entire premise for my original statement (from which all of this back and forth has sprung) is that someone claimed that Modern is interactive. At the end of the day, that is only true if you warp the definition of interactive to include things like Hogaak, because it runs Trophy out of the side. You are welcome to hold positions like that, just as I am welcome to wholeheartedly disagree. The point remains that the majority of decks are intending to play at the opponent, through the opponent, and ignore the opponent as much as possible. And decks which are designed with the intention of interacting are objectively weaker the majority of the time.
I fully understand all of that. I just want us to unpack that level 1 statement of "Modern is/isn't interactive" to the level 0 definition of interactivity itself. Then I want to take that to the level 2 statement of "this period of Modern is more/less interactive than this other period of Modern," and even to the level 3 conclusion of "Period X of Modern is more/less interactive than Period Y of OtherFormat." I think those levels are significantly more interesting or useful than us just claiming without any shared language that any given period of Modern is or is not a certain way. There's no frame of reference or context for that assertion to matter otherwise.

Imagine if we determined this current period of Modern had an "interactivity score" (assuming we can create such a thing) of N, and then we determined that this was the lowest Modern interactivity score since 2015. That would be SIGNIFICANTLY more interesting than just saying "Modern right now isn't interactive." Same thing if we found all Magic formats were getting less interactive, as that might point to underlying problems beyond one format. All of these far more interesting directions are completely closed to us if we stay at the level 1 back and forth of "this is interactive" and "no, this is actually uninteractive."
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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
Manamorphose X 3, Faithless Looting, flip Thing in the Ice to Awoken Horror, bounce creatures, attack for 7 is just not going to fit the bill of being interactive for most Modern players.

Whether it's an amazing play or not is more debatable...
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Point remains this.
cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
The point remains that the majority of decks are intending to play at the opponent, through the opponent, and ignore the opponent as much as possible. And decks which are designed with the intention of interacting are objectively weaker the majority of the time.
This is true. If your DECK, the whole basis of it, is designed around Interaction, you are intentionally on the back foot. It is objectively the 'worse' way to play the format. You can do it, but you are intentionally at a disadvantage.

If your deck has no plan on the opening 7, and you are looking at 3 lands, Serum, Remand, Bolt, and a Cryptic, you are PROBABLY an interactive deck.

If you deck loves the London Mull, you aggressively mull to 4 with regularity, and your 'interaction' is in the sideboard, you are PROBABLY NOT an interactive deck.

We can make up rules to attempt to quantify whom is more interactive but again, you know it when you see it.
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Post by kddncn » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
kddncn wrote:
1 year ago
For me what makes modern largely 'uninteractive' is that a lot of the cards feel like they're just extreme blowouts. Hogaak, TitI, Phoenix, (E/G) tron's top end, yes in many cases decks around them can be built to be interactive (counter, discard, etc etc), but if a main threat resolves and doesn't get answered almost immediately they provide extreme amounts of on-board advantage. The decks people tend to define as interactive have cards that provide more incremental advantage, such that it feels like either player can regain tempo with tighter play, good deck construction, or lucky draws.

For example, in legacy DRS/git probe grixis delver was highly "interactive," but from what I understand had an overwhelming win % when on the play. Playing against it and seeing turn 1 DRS with a daze backup often felt like you were 4 turns behind and nothing mattered, particularly if they followed up with wasteland. Even though the deck was full of interactive cards, the net effect was a very uninteractive deck if you were on the play and never got to deploy a threat/answer.
I can't emphasize this enough, and it relates to a point I made earlier about Modern control just trying to do everything it can to win under the illusion of interactivity. I think we can all agree that T1 Map into T2 Scrying into T3 Karn on the play leads to an overwhelming Tron advantage. Let's just say, hypothetically, that line makes Tron the 80% favorite in that matchup as long as you're not playing against aggro. We can also probably agree this isn't really interactive. But this is not materially difficult than a similar commanding midrange start of T1 TS into T2 Goyf into T3 Lily. Let's say this made Jund an 80% favorite in that matchup as long as you're not playing against aggro. Now we have two 80% starts, one of which most people would say is interactive, but neither of which actually give the opponent any room to win. It's just an illusion of interactivity.

This gets back to a point I made earlier about control/blue players. I think players who play these decks want to win close 51/49 games where they leverage perceived narrow advantages to demonstrate mastery of their archetype. But they don't want to lose. And they just want the perception of a narrow match based on a neverending stream of card advantage into answers. There's no material difference between losing to T3 Karn on the play and losing to T20 Colonnade beats after UW Control has countered/exiled/swept every single threat in your deck in an endless series of efficient answers and draw. Those games were both deterministically over at around the same time, but the control mage can tell themselves they eked out a win. This is exactly the point you make above with DRS/Daze in Legacy.
I broadly agree on all points, I think most peoples view of interactivity is really narrow, and most 'good' decks often have ways of creating or forcing uninteractive board states.
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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
The point remains that the majority of decks are intending to play at the opponent, through the opponent, and ignore the opponent as much as possible. And decks which are designed with the intention of interacting are objectively weaker the majority of the time.
This is true. If your DECK, the whole basis of it, is designed around Interaction, you are intentionally on the back foot. It is objectively the 'worse' way to play the format. You can do it, but you are intentionally at a disadvantage.
Out of curiosity, what good, interactive deck in a contemporary format match this definition?
If your deck has no plan on the opening 7, and you are looking at 3 lands, Serum, Remand, Bolt, and a Cryptic, you are PROBABLY an interactive deck.
I agree this opener is probably that of an interactive deck, but this produces tons of false negatives when we look at Jund and Shadow midranges. Those decks absolutely depend on proactive threats like Goyf, W6, Shadow, Pyro, etc. These kinds of obvious examples of an interactive deck just don't get us anywhere in defining the terms.
We can make up rules to attempt to quantify whom is more interactive but again, you know it when you see it.
I want to push us away from this slightly pejorative phrase of "make up rules", especially when the alternative you seem to want us to concede to is "you know it when you see it." Has this extremely unscientific and subjective approach ever been a good one in any kind of serious analysis? This is the kind of anti-data, anti-analysis perspective that gets us in real-world trouble on real-world issues, let alone Magic cards which is effectively a 100% quantifiable game. There's no way this is the correct approach, even if it's easier and doesn't push us outside of the comfort zone. It's a great way to just confirm beliefs but does nothing to figure out underlying mechanics or make accurate predictions.

We shouldn't "make up" anything. We should definitely look for common themes and threads, test if those are supported by existing data, and try to generate definitions from real-world results. If that qualifies as "making up" something, I'll just say that's a very cynical and routinely disproven position that doesn't hold water in almost all fields I'm familiar with.
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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
Out of curiosity, what good, interactive deck in a contemporary format match this definition?
Good today? Various versions of UW, or Esper in Modern, but T3feri in my eyes is not 'interactive' its a lock piece so in your system of points we have discussed in the past, I would see it as a negative inclusion.

I would consider probably the last great ones to be UWR after Big Teferi, a few examples of Esper, but there is a reason these decks do not retain top level competitiveness for long.

In Standard, Esper Control prior to War of the Spark, or UWR Control prior to Ravnica Allegiancewas easily this.

In Legacy, Miracles, Grixis Control.

The problem with our non-rotation formats is that it is simply BETTER for Control to morph into Prison, because its simply better/smarter/faster to implement a plan, vs trying to NOT implement a plan.
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
I want to push us away from this slightly pejorative phrase of "make up rules", especially when the alternative you seem to want us to concede to is "you know it when you see it." Has this extremely unscientific and subjective approach ever been a good one in any kind of serious analysis?
Apologies, replace it with 'we can define rules' or something. I know what you are getting at.

EDIT: And yes, for anyone looking to jump in, I'm aware my definition of Interactive Deck is narrow. It means something to have definitions. I'm not going to call Mono R Prison, Interactive.
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Post by LeoTzu » 1 year ago

FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
Manamorphose X 3, Faithless Looting, flip Thing in the Ice to Awoken Horror, bounce creatures, attack for 7 is just not going to fit the bill of being interactive for most Modern players.

Whether it's an amazing play or not is more debatable...
This is interesting. Using 4 cards to sweep a board and attack with a big beefy creature is non-interactive, but if you say, cast Bolt, Fatal Push, Bolt to clear the board and attack with Tarmogoyf, that's interactive Magic.

It's not that I disagree with you. You're totally right. The "flip thing ASAP and beat" plan in Phoenix definitely isn't interactive. Jund clearing the board with a ton of removal and swinging in with a big Tarmo is, but we sort of have this idea that the "interactive" way is the good way and the "non-interactive" way is bad and they both produce some pretty similar results.

edited last sentence

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

LeoTzu wrote:
1 year ago
This is interesting. Using 4 cards to sweep a board and attack with a big beefy creature is non-interactive, but if you say, cast Bolt, Fatal Push, Bolt to clear the board and attack with Tarmogoyf, that's interactive Magic.

It's not that I disagree with you. You're totally right. The "flip thing ASAP and beat" plan in Phoenix definitely isn't interactive. Jund clearing the board with a ton of removal and swinging in with a big Tarmo is, but we sort of have this idea that the "interactive" way is the good way and the "non-interactive" way is bad and they both produce some pretty similar results.

edited last sentence
To be fair, Jund being good in the meta promotes a more interactive meta. I am a Jund hater. I have been ever since I kept jamming Control during Shards of Alara, losing many times to terrible players on Jund w/ Bloodbraid Elf. I have even not enjoyed playing Jund and would probably only do so if it was Tier 0 (perhaps during Deathrite Shaman). But I have learned to appreciate things like this. Decks like Jund, Tron, and Burn all keep the metagame "honest" in their own ways and having them as Tier 1 or close is a good thing for people who like playing semi interactive to very interactive matches.

(And I am one of the first to hate on Jund, Tron, and Burn. Those are some of the decks I hate the most, but I appreciate them at the same time. I hope that makes sense.) I saw it at my LGS when 4 Tron decks disappeared one week. Six to seven people were on Jeskai Nahiri. It was pretty annoying.

*Having UR Phoenix at the top of the meta promotes having something that isn't affected by Thing in the Ice. Oh, you played creatures? You're dumb unless you were trying to combo off immediately before it flips, ie. before mana is untapped when a Thing resolves. Bolt is terrible vs. Phoenix, Hogaak, Tron and E Tron, and many more. There's no reason to play it anymore, outside of Phoenix, which gets the added benefit of doing 3 to your face to flip Thing or get 1-2 Phoenixes back.
Last edited by FoodChainGoblins 1 year ago, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

One is more interaction simply on the basis of doing some with the opponent in mind.

Bolt, Push, Abrupt Decay, Swing had 3 Targets 2 of which at least needed to be removed in your hypothetical.

Manamorphose x 2, Serum, Looting, Flip, Caw, Caw, is just solo play.
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Post by Albegas » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
I fully understand all of that. I just want us to unpack that level 1 statement of "Modern is/isn't interactive" to the level 0 definition of interactivity itself. Then I want to take that to the level 2 statement of "this period of Modern is more/less interactive than this other period of Modern," and even to the level 3 conclusion of "Period X of Modern is more/less interactive than Period Y of OtherFormat." I think those levels are significantly more interesting or useful than us just claiming without any shared language that any given period of Modern is or is not a certain way. There's no frame of reference or context for that assertion to matter otherwise.

Imagine if we determined this current period of Modern had an "interactivity score" (assuming we can create such a thing) of N, and then we determined that this was the lowest Modern interactivity score since 2015. That would be SIGNIFICANTLY more interesting than just saying "Modern right now isn't interactive." Same thing if we found all Magic formats were getting less interactive, as that might point to underlying problems beyond one format. All of these far more interesting directions are completely closed to us if we stay at the level 1 back and forth of "this is interactive" and "no, this is actually uninteractive."
I would really love this. Unfortunately, the biggest obstacle to this is defining what exactly constitutes interaction and non-interaction. Some stuff is easy: Pathing a creature is interactive, Neobrand into Lab Maniac isn't. However, there are some important scenarios that I don't think you could ever get people to agree on when it comes to interaction. One example is whether playing a creature with an interactive effect is still an interactive play. Some like myself do, but others only see it as incidentally to the more important goal of getting a body out on the field and thus don't see it as interaction. Battlefield presence seems to be another example. There are those who believe that doing combat math and figuring out what's safe to swing with, what the best blocks are, and what should be held back is interaction and those that seem to contest that. It also raises another question: if my opponent is playing humans and I'm on control, is my opponent's deck truly non-interactive when I've chosen to forgo my ability to interactive via combat? Prison elements can also be contended. Prison decks and reactive control decks have the same goal: cut off all my opponent's routes and close out the game when they can't meaningfully play any more. And yet, many view counter magic and removal as interaction, but prison elements doing the same thing aren't. Ultimately, I just don't see how a scale can be made when situations like these don't have a clear answer as to whether or not they're interaction
idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
The point remains that the majority of decks are intending to play at the opponent, through the opponent, and ignore the opponent as much as possible. And decks which are designed with the intention of interacting are objectively weaker the majority of the time.
This is true. If your DECK, the whole basis of it, is designed around Interaction, you are intentionally on the back foot. It is objectively the 'worse' way to play the format. You can do it, but you are intentionally at a disadvantage.

If your deck has no plan on the opening 7, and you are looking at 3 lands, Serum, Remand, Bolt, and a Cryptic, you are PROBABLY an interactive deck.

If you deck loves the London Mull, you aggressively mull to 4 with regularity, and your 'interaction' is in the sideboard, you are PROBABLY NOT an interactive deck.

We can make up rules to attempt to quantify whom is more interactive but again, you know it when you see it.
Maybe I'm misinterpreting your statement about building decks solely to interact. However, all successful decks have a clear idea of what it needs on board to win and how to make sure the game state is set for them to win. UW Control isn't just a pile of interaction; it knows that it needs either Colonnade or JtMS+T5feri to win, it knows that the board needs to be creature free with no risk of countering (in the case of PW win), and it loads up on the tools to do so. The inclusion of T3feri didn't change this plan, it just made it easier to execute.

So when you say that decks only looking to interact without a game plan are worse than ones with a game plan, I certainly agree, but I'm wondering if my confusion comes from misinterpreting what constitutes not having a game plan in your eyes because all decks need to be built around some sort of plan, even control and midrange decks

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Post by kddncn » 1 year ago

LeoTzu wrote:
1 year ago
FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
Manamorphose X 3, Faithless Looting, flip Thing in the Ice to Awoken Horror, bounce creatures, attack for 7 is just not going to fit the bill of being interactive for most Modern players.

Whether it's an amazing play or not is more debatable...
This is interesting. Using 4 cards to sweep a board and attack with a big beefy creature is non-interactive, but if you say, cast Bolt, Fatal Push, Bolt to clear the board and attack with Tarmogoyf, that's interactive Magic.

It's not that I disagree with you. You're totally right. The "flip thing ASAP and beat" plan in Phoenix definitely isn't interactive. Jund clearing the board with a ton of removal and swinging in with a big Tarmo is, but we sort of have this idea that the "interactive" way is the good way and the "non-interactive" way is bad and they both produce some pretty similar results.

edited last sentence
Just pointing out, the line from phoenix costs net R and leaves you down a card and provides 5 cards worth of selection, a one sided tempo board reset, and a 7/8. Jund's plan requires RRB and is -3 cards w/ no card selection to connect with (usually) a 4/5. The material differences in these lines even if the outcome ("connect with a beefy boi") is pretty different. Sure, in comparison, the person playing vs Phoenix gets to redeploy their threats, but the phoenix player has a huge tempo advantage and sees a ton of extra cards.
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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

Yes, they have a plan, but like the purest expression of it that I can think of is that Blue Moon hand. You have no plan based on that hand that is immediately actionable. You need to see what the opponent is doing.

Blue Moon hand vs that UR Phoenix sequence is about as simple as I can think to make it.

One says 'what I do with this depends on what my opponent is doing.'
One says 'I couldnt care less what my opponent is doing, I'm going to chain these spells on Turn 3'

We all have plans, but some decks are built to purposefully care about their opponents plan? If that makes sense.

EDIT: And again, just for clarity this is not judgmental. I'm not saying the Blue Moon hand is 'better magic' and the Phoenix hand is low brow. They are fundamentally at odds however, and one is interactive, while the other is goldfish.
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Post by Albegas » 1 year ago

I think I get what you're getting at, but what you seem to be describing is more a question of being proactive vs. reactive rather than a question of interactivity. You're correct, a deck like Blue Moon or UW Control likely won't know exactly what they're doing with their hand until the opponent makes the first move, but that has less to do with being interactive and more to do with choosing a reactive form of interactivity. as a counter example, Jund also has many lines where you know exactly what you're doing regardless of what your opponent is on (T1 discard → T2 threat → T3 Lili hand fits this I believe), but it's not because it doesn't interact. It's because it's using a proactive form of interactivity.

So if I'm understanding your initial point, I believe the message you were trying to get across was that playing a deck using reactive interaction (as opposed to proactive decks that can set the pace early on) is the weakest way to play. Am I close to the mark?

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