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  1. - Top - End - #571
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow of the Sun View Post
    Not really. A lock where one piece is 4 mana and both pieces are reasonably vulnerable to common hate isn't... great.

    Feel free to jam it in Commander, but it's not going to be super competitive.
    You also really need to cast the needle before the storm to actually lock people.
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  2. - Top - End - #572
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Went ahead and built a singleton dino deck, how's it look? Haven't spent the wildcards to make it in Arena yet, so I can adjust for feedback without losing anything.

    //Creatures (24):
    1 Atzocan Seer
    1 Forerunner of the Empire
    1 Frilled Deathspitter
    1 Knight of the Stampede
    1 Needletooth Raptor
    1 Polyraptor
    1 Raging Regisaur
    1 Silverclad Ferocidons
    1 Trapjaw Tyrant
    1 Zacama, Primal Calamity
    1 Zetalpa, Primal Dawn
    1 Snapping Sailback
    1 Thundering Spineback
    1 Kinjalli's Caller
    1 Otepec Huntmaster
    1 Raging Swordtooth
    1 Ranging Raptors
    1 Raptor Hatchling
    1 Regisaur Alpha
    1 Ripjaw Raptor
    1 Bellowing Aegisaur
    1 Carnage Tyrant
    1 Drover of the Mighty
    1 Gishath, Sun's Avatar

    //Planeswalkers (2):
    1 Huatli, Radiant Champion
    1 Huatli, Warrior Poet

    //Non-creature Spells (14):
    1 Song of Freyalise
    1 Path of Mettle
    1 Radiant Destiny
    1 Reckless Rage
    1 Shake the Foundations
    1 Thunderherd Migration
    1 Vanquisher's Banner
    1 Pillar of Origins
    1 Rile
    1 Savage Stomp
    1 Colossal Majesty
    1 Dragon's Hoard
    1 Deafening Clarion
    1 Chromatic Lantern

    //Lands (20):
    1 Clifftop Retreat
    1 Evolving Wilds
    1 Sunpetal Grove
    1 Unclaimed Territory
    1 Unknown Shores
    1 Rootbound Crag
    1 Stone Quarry
    1 Timber Gorge
    1 Tranquil Expanse
    1 Plains
    2 Mountain
    3 Forest
    1 Boros Guildgate
    1 Guildmages' Forum
    1 Sacred Foundry
    1 Selesnya Guildgate
    1 Temple Garden
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  3. - Top - End - #573
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    I think there is just one thing better than forcing a Lich's Mastery player to exile his whole deck in Arena. That would be to force a smug player IRL to do the same. :)
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  4. - Top - End - #574
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    I also run WRG dinos in Singleton! Etalli, Primal Storm is really fun in that. I also run the WR Huatli, but not the WG Huatli; I think Vivien might be better? Priest of the Wakening Sun is rad in general, and I run Treasure Map and Thaumatic Compass to help keep up the gas and because Spires of Orazca is really good at dealing with other peoples' scary bomb creatures.
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  5. - Top - End - #575
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Apparently, 100% full-bore Teferi Control - the kind with only 2 or 3 actual threats in the entire deck - is something people are playing in singleton. In both of my last 2 singleton entries, that's what gave me my second loss.
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  6. - Top - End - #576
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Is there something wrong with me when I say I enjoy Jeskai/Azorius Control? People kinda demonize Teferi but ironically I come from Hearthstone which is supposedly simpler in design, but that is also a game where control mirrors can take up to 30+ minutes, and that is with the client doing all the math.

    Comparatively a control mirror in MTG is quite enjoyable.
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  7. - Top - End - #577
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    An endless succession of counterspells, removal, and board sweepers negating everything I do is annoying but a normal part of the game. An occasional game that takes a very long time because of how evenly matched the players are is often quite fun.

    Intentionally designing a deck to routinely take five times as long as a typical game to finish because you have to draw literally half the deck to have even a reasonable chance of being able to try to actually finish the game is what I hate about how Jeskai Control is commonly done right now.

    Please, for the sake of reasonable play time, design your deck to expect to draw at least one card that is theoretically capable of winning, rather than not losing, within the first 10 turns. Sure, load up with an abundance of counters, removal, and board sweepers, but if it's turn 15 and you still haven't shown even a single card that could win the game if I sat there and did nothing, I will be seriously annoyed with you.
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  8. - Top - End - #578
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
    An endless succession of counterspells, removal, and board sweepers negating everything I do is annoying but a normal part of the game. An occasional game that takes a very long time because of how evenly matched the players are is often quite fun.

    Intentionally designing a deck to routinely take five times as long as a typical game to finish because you have to draw literally half the deck to have even a reasonable chance of being able to try to actually finish the game is what I hate about how Jeskai Control is commonly done right now.

    Please, for the sake of reasonable play time, design your deck to expect to draw at least one card that is theoretically capable of winning, rather than not losing, within the first 10 turns. Sure, load up with an abundance of counters, removal, and board sweepers, but if it's turn 15 and you still haven't shown even a single card that could win the game if I sat there and did nothing, I will be seriously annoyed with you.
    Don't ever play Old School-93/94. The Deck is quite literally a pile of counterspells, ramp and card draw with only a couple kill spells (The Abyss is a broken card) and then a single Serra Angel. Or not, there are versions that just wait for both decks to get low on cards and then braingeyser their opponents. It is the best deck in the format and is Guaranteed to turn any game into a long, dull slog.

  9. - Top - End - #579
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Super slow control decks in MTGA are kinda annoying because there's no time limit. I mean, control is a necessary part of a healthy format, it just feels annoying to have to invest so much time in a single game compared to any other deck.

    You can concede early, but honestly, it's hard to tell if you're losing or not against that kind of deck until they resolve a win condition or a teferi ult. I've had games against control where I was notably behind in cards, but they just didn't have quite enough counters in hand and I managed to get a thread on the board for the two or three turns it took to finish them off. Or I've had games where I hammer them down to 4 life but then they stabilize and I never get another opening. So it's a big time investment even if you are willing to concede when they lock you down. Plus, in BO3 you want to see as much of their deck as possible so that you're better prepared for the rematch.

    ...Personally, I have more fun against control than I do against most aggro decks, but it sucks when I'm trying to grind. Definitely wouldn't have the patience to play it.
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  10. - Top - End - #580
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    I don't really get the attitude though. If you go into a card game with the intent of "being finished as quickly as possible", isn't that the kind of attitude that defines the last two decades - and somewhat ruins slower paced forms of entertainment?

    Speaking of paper, which I haven't played in ages, being a "bad winner" is surely a large part of it. I can revel in my powerful turns in the online client. However I would respect my opponent by doing my turns as efficiently and quickly as possible in paper.

    So if you want to spend your time on a quick game, maybe pick up other forms of entertainment, such as videogames, and don't expect a BO3 of Magic to be done in under 10 minutes? I know it can be hard, I struggle with it too at times, and I hate Hearthstone in its current state for its control mirrors taking up to 40 minutes. But that is a game designed around a client and some form of randomization, and not a game designed around being easily played in paper.
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  11. - Top - End - #581
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Quote Originally Posted by Sporeegg View Post
    I don't really get the attitude though. If you go into a card game with the intent of "being finished as quickly as possible", isn't that the kind of attitude that defines the last two decades - and somewhat ruins slower paced forms of entertainment?
    It's less a matter of being finished as quickly as possible and more a matter of knowing that there's actually something that's going to finish. If I lose to a red deck in 3 turns, that's because red plays quick. If I play against a blue deck that drops a Snapcaster turn 3 and then takes ten turns pecking me to death, that's a long game but I have something to interact with or to try and stop. If I'm playing against a blue deck that's running 1 creature, 39 counter spells, and 20 lands then it's just a test of my patience, especially if that creature doesn't come out until turn 20 or 30. Especially in a computer format where time has to be taken for the two systems to communicate and roll through each phase, compared to the simple, "Draw, go" of a table top game.

    Its the same problem people have with infinite turn decks in Commander. Combos are not bad. Infinite combos like Splinter Twin are not bad, because they can be short cutted. Infinite combos that still require you to play out an endless string of non-repeating actions are a reason for me to just scoop and find someone else to play with, because Solitaire is meant to be a one player game.
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  12. - Top - End - #582
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Okay, so it is not the color combo in question and not even control-ish decks, but decks that take entirely too long. Got it.

    Makes me wonder though how you feel about mill: https://aetherhub.com/Deck/Public?id=37178
    These decks are pretty interesting to me, as at least with Golgari and Izzet Drakes, you have to be careful as you make the enemy's Izoni stronger. I've lost two games to a sudden 12/12 Golgari Raiders too.
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  13. - Top - End - #583
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Quote Originally Posted by Sporeegg View Post
    Okay, so it is not the color combo in question and not even control-ish decks, but decks that take entirely too long. Got it.

    Makes me wonder though how you feel about mill: https://aetherhub.com/Deck/Public?id=37178
    These decks are pretty interesting to me, as at least with Golgari and Izzet Drakes, you have to be careful as you make the enemy's Izoni stronger. I've lost two games to a sudden 12/12 Golgari Raiders too.
    Mill itself isn't bad, though this deck looks like a particularly grindy version. In this case, though, with all the Guild Gates, conditional draw, and the fact you only really have ten answers in the deck, it seems like the deck itself is too slow for what it wants to do, rather than the games it plays. I's also mill based, so if I can stick a threat of my own to the board then its still my clock against yours.
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    Default Anti-Dimir Tactics for a Boros deck (MtG)

    Hello everybody,

    I have been playing Magic: the Gathering on and off for five years or so, with most of my cards from Ravnica sets. A friend of mine just snatched up the new Dimir deck, and has crushed my red/white deck playing it straight from the box. I want to beat him.

    What tactics can I use to negate his better-card deck?

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    Default Re: Anti-Dimir Tactics for a Boros deck (MtG)

    First of all, here is the Magic thread: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...-Modern/page20

    Secondly, do you have any deck lists for us? Secondly, which styles do you both play? Dimir as Dimir Control? Midrange? Dimir with Surveil? Heavy Discard? Which Boros do YOU play? Boros Angels? Boros Aggro? Mono White with Red Splash? Boros Control (with Wreckage, Deafening Clarion and Angels?)
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    Default Re: Anti-Dimir Tactics for a Boros deck (MtG)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sporeegg View Post
    First of all, here is the Magic thread: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...-Modern/page20

    Secondly, do you have any deck lists for us? Secondly, which styles do you both play? Dimir as Dimir Control? Midrange? Dimir with Surveil? Heavy Discard? Which Boros do YOU play? Boros Angels? Boros Aggro? Mono White with Red Splash? Boros Control (with Wreckage, Deafening Clarion and Angels?)
    It's mostly aggro, fast, inexpensive creatures with some buff and burn spells. Not a premade deck by any standard. His deck is... I'm not actually sure what it's called. It's from the new Ravnica block, but it includes a bunch of powerful cards from previous sets, like Szadek, Lazav, and a few of the others. It focuses on tough to block creatures and some milling.

    Sorry I can't give more info. I'm mostly a casual player.

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    Default Re: Anti-Dimir Tactics for a Boros deck (MtG)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_brazenburn View Post
    It's mostly aggro, fast, inexpensive creatures with some buff and burn spells. Not a premade deck by any standard. His deck is... I'm not actually sure what it's called. It's from the new Ravnica block, but it includes a bunch of powerful cards from previous sets, like Szadek, Lazav, and a few of the others. It focuses on tough to block creatures and some milling.

    Sorry I can't give more info. I'm mostly a casual player.
    Sounds like the Dimir Guild Kit, found here: https://magic.wizards.com/en/article...its-2018-09-25

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    Default Re: Anti-Dimir Tactics for a Boros deck (MtG)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gauntlet View Post
    Sounds like the Dimir Guild Kit, found here: https://magic.wizards.com/en/article...its-2018-09-25
    I think that's the one.

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    Default Re: Anti-Dimir Tactics for a Boros deck (MtG)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_brazenburn View Post
    It's mostly aggro, fast, inexpensive creatures with some buff and burn spells. Not a premade deck by any standard. His deck is... I'm not actually sure what it's called. It's from the new Ravnica block, but it includes a bunch of powerful cards from previous sets, like Szadek, Lazav, and a few of the others. It focuses on tough to block creatures and some milling.

    Sorry I can't give more info. I'm mostly a casual player.
    You should have the advantage, as his deck is durdly and yours is fast. I would make sure you have sufficient burn and small creatures, the former to clear blockers and act as finishers and the latter to play out quickly. Just focus on killing them quickly and clear put any blockers they throw down with burn.

    Basically turn 1-3 play creatures, focus on keeping the lanes clear after that and keep swinging in.

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    Default Re: Anti-Dimir Tactics for a Boros deck (MtG)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_brazenburn View Post
    I think that's the one.
    If nothing else, my understanding is that all the guild decks are supposed to be balanced to play against each other, you could pick up the Boros one.

  21. - Top - End - #591
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Got surprised by the Kibler's Giant Monsters event showing up today unannounced, and decided to try it out with my dino deck (the non-singleton version). Turns out it works pretty well with the event's special rule of 4+ cost creatures giving card draw - I went 5-1. I got to play the Forerunner of the Empire + Polyraptor combo 3 times, I think.
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    I've been out of the hobby for a while, and never actually played competitively. I'm meeting my brother around Christmas and he invited me to play a sealed limited game(?), since he apparently found a store which sells MTG cards where he is.

    I've been playing a bit of the MTG Arena Beta, and I realized that if you mulligan you also get a scry at the start of the game. Is that a new rule? Arena-only? Or maybe an existing one I never knew of.
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Quote Originally Posted by Haruspex_Pariah View Post
    I've been out of the hobby for a while, and never actually played competitively. I'm meeting my brother around Christmas and he invited me to play a sealed limited game(?), since he apparently found a store which sells MTG cards where he is.

    I've been playing a bit of the MTG Arena Beta, and I realized that if you mulligan you also get a scry at the start of the game. Is that a new rule? Arena-only? Or maybe an existing one I never knew of.
    It got introduced in april 2015. It was basically implemented due to the reduction of cantrips and card draw in the game, which has made the game swingy..
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    I suppose there aren't really any tips one can give for sealed limited? Because it depends on what cards you get on the day.
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Quote Originally Posted by Haruspex_Pariah View Post
    I suppose there aren't really any tips one can give for sealed limited? Because it depends on what cards you get on the day.
    In Sealed people are generally somewhat short of on-colour cards to make a consistent deck from, and might be in more than 2 colours to compensate. However, they also get more opportunities to open a powerful rare than in Draft. This means that games are slow, and more likely to be decided by big bombs than draft.

    This means that cards that universally deal with a big bomb (counter spells, unconditional removal, thoughtseize effects) are high in value, and cards that deal with small aggressive cards (conditional removal like Smother) are less valuable. Flyers are very good, as are any cards that generate a 2 for 1, like Mind Rot or Divination since you'll usually have time to cast them. People will generally have fewer good removal spells than in Draft, which means that winning creature combat is generally important, whether through evasion, big guys, or combat tricks.

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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Some basic guidelines:

    - Aim to build a deck consisting of 40 cards. Including a 41th best card only reduces your odds of drawing your first best.

    - Aim for a good ratio of spells and lands. The baseline is 17 lands and 23 nonland cards.

    (More precisely, you want to play 17 mana sources - some cards that are not lands can "count as lands", within reason. An example would be Renegade Map. Since it only costs 1 mana and replaces itself with a land out of your deck, you can play 16 lands and a Renegade Map and barely feel the difference. It doesn't count as a full land - you probably couldn't play 8 lands and 9 Renegade Maps.)

    - The majority of your nonland cards should be creatures. 14-17 is the recommended amount.

    - Pay attention to your creature mana cost distribution (creature curve). If you only have creatures that cost four mana or more, you will tend to get roflstomped by cheaper creatures that get on board faster. Likewise, if you only have two-drops, you usually run into a brick wall of bigger, harder-hitting creatures eventually. Aim to have like 3-4 two-drops, 3-4 three-drops and about as many four drops, and only include a handful of creatures bigger than that. Creatures that cost 7 mana can only be cast quite late in the game, and you shouldn't have more than one or two.

    - Expect to play two colors. Your manabase will consist of basic lands, which can only provide one color. If you split your 17-card manabase between two colors, you will still generally be able to reliably cast spells of those two colors. You're generally still okay if you only "splash" a third color - that means you only include two or three spells of that color (as well as two or three lands of that color), and that those spells only need one mana of that color and are generally fairly expensive, which means you will be okay if you have to wait to draw the right land to cast them.

    For instance, you could be playing a red/green deck (because you have a good amount of good cards in those two colors), but decide to also play two copies of the black sorcery Eviscerate, which costs 3 mana of any color and 1 black mana and reads "Destroy target creature". A flexible spell that can answer your opponent's most dangerous threats is so useful in Limited that including a couple of swamps in your manabase (and even going up to 18 lands) is worth it, even though you will have to cut a forest or mountain to make room for them.

    - Different rules for different sets. If you play Sealed Khans of Tarkir, you will get a lot of dual lands, sime triple lands and golden cards that use three colors of mana, and you can expect to play at least three colors, if not more than that.

    - Avoid cards that can't trade for other cards. For instance, a spell like Lava Spike, while an integral component to tournament-winning Burn decks, will very rarely work in Limited because the game plan employed by Burn decks (play Burn spells at your opponent until they run out of life) requires a lot of Burn spells to work, and no set will include more than one or two of this type of spell. On the other hand, Shock is a great spell to include in any Limited deck that plays red mana, because it can trade for creatures that have two toughness or less, and that can include cheeky flying creatures that cost three mana or more and would otherwise slowly kill you as the game goes on. (Lava Spike *can* hit planeswalkers, but planeswalkers are extremely rare to see in Limited.)

    This is also one of the reasons Limited decks consist mostly of creatures. Creatures can attack and block, and in so doing usually interact (and trade) with other creatures.

    - Avoid 1-mana creatures unless they have 2 power (2/1 usually) or they have some ability that really makes them worth it. While a 2/2 for 2 mana is useful, a 3/3 for 3 mana is very good and a 4/4 for 4 mana is positively excellent, a 1/1 for 1 makes so little impact on the game that it's rarely worth putting in your deck instead of another land or a bigger spell. There are exceptions; Healer's Hawk can fly, and while it only deals 1 damage normally, it also gains 1 life at the same time, which is almost as good as dealing 2 damage. It synergizes very well with equipment or abilities like Mentor, too.
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  27. - Top - End - #597
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Quote Originally Posted by Haruspex_Pariah View Post
    I suppose there aren't really any tips one can give for sealed limited? Because it depends on what cards you get on the day.
    I like to think of Sealed as a puzzle: what's the best deck I can build out of this pile of cards? As the others said, two-color is the norm - even more so than draft. The key thing is to work out which two colors offer you the strongest pool. You'll be more likely to have to reach into the dregs to fill out a two-color deck, so you'll often have to judge whether it's better to stay in two colors for better mana consistency, splash into a third color, or sometimes make the hard call to ditch a color with a few strong cards in order to play a different one with more overall depth to it. How exactly this pans out will depend on the set though: multicolor sets like Ravnica make 3-color play much more normal, while an artifact-heavy set or an environment like Shadowmoor/Eventide can make monocolor a viable option.

    The old stand-by for assessing cards in Limited is the BREAD acronym. I was quite confident in what that stands for, but some googling brought up a few variants. This is how I was taught it:
    Bombs: Cards that can basically win you the game by themselves. They'll often be rare and will often be your starting point in working out what to play. Don't be afraid to ditch a bomb if the rest of the cards in its color are chaff though.

    Removal: Having answers to your opponent's threats is important. Removal that can score you a 2-for-1 or better is particularly valuable, because card advantage is very tasty. Combat tricks are also very handy. As an aside, countermagic is the weakest form of removal in limited. You're unlikely to have the volume of it to build a proper control deck and you'll be constantly juggling whether to play a threat or to hold mana back for a counter. It can be used in a pinch, but I'd favour any other form of removal over it if given the choice.

    Evasion: creature stalemates are fairly common in Limited, so creatures that can break through that in some way (flying, unblockable etc) are at a premium.

    Acceleration: getting ahead on the mana curve is useful. Mana fixers are also very helpful particularly if you're running more than two colors, as are land tutors to thin your deck.

    Draw: Card advantage is good. Running out of gas is bad. Having ways to re-fill your hand in some form is very good. Card selection stuff (looters, scry etc) can fall under this too.

    I'd be tempted to add "Utility" as another category to that list. Stuff like creatures with repeatable activated abilities can be very useful, although I suppose you could argue the kinds of abilities you'd want would fall under one of the five BREAD categories.

    Lastly, not necessarily aimed at you but just a general point: try to avoid thinking in terms of "I love playing Red", "I hate Green" etc. It's not a helpful mindset in general, but is particularly bad in Sealed. Run whatever's strongest from the selection of cards you have.
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  28. - Top - End - #598
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Quote Originally Posted by Ebon_Drake View Post
    I like to think of Sealed as a puzzle: what's the best deck I can build out of this pile of cards? As the others said, two-color is the norm - even more so than draft. The key thing is to work out which two colors offer you the strongest pool. You'll be more likely to have to reach into the dregs to fill out a two-color deck, so you'll often have to judge whether it's better to stay in two colors for better mana consistency, splash into a third color, or sometimes make the hard call to ditch a color with a few strong cards in order to play a different one with more overall depth to it. How exactly this pans out will depend on the set though: multicolor sets like Ravnica make 3-color play much more normal, while an artifact-heavy set or an environment like Shadowmoor/Eventide can make monocolor a viable option.

    The old stand-by for assessing cards in Limited is the BREAD acronym. I was quite confident in what that stands for, but some googling brought up a few variants. This is how I was taught it:
    Bombs: Cards that can basically win you the game by themselves. They'll often be rare and will often be your starting point in working out what to play. Don't be afraid to ditch a bomb if the rest of the cards in its color are chaff though.

    Removal: Having answers to your opponent's threats is important. Removal that can score you a 2-for-1 or better is particularly valuable, because card advantage is very tasty. Combat tricks are also very handy. As an aside, countermagic is the weakest form of removal in limited. You're unlikely to have the volume of it to build a proper control deck and you'll be constantly juggling whether to play a threat or to hold mana back for a counter. It can be used in a pinch, but I'd favour any other form of removal over it if given the choice.

    Evasion: creature stalemates are fairly common in Limited, so creatures that can break through that in some way (flying, unblockable etc) are at a premium.

    Acceleration: getting ahead on the mana curve is useful. Mana fixers are also very helpful particularly if you're running more than two colors, as are land tutors to thin your deck.

    Draw: Card advantage is good. Running out of gas is bad. Having ways to re-fill your hand in some form is very good. Card selection stuff (looters, scry etc) can fall under this too.

    I'd be tempted to add "Utility" as another category to that list. Stuff like creatures with repeatable activated abilities can be very useful, although I suppose you could argue the kinds of abilities you'd want would fall under one of the five BREAD categories.

    Lastly, not necessarily aimed at you but just a general point: try to avoid thinking in terms of "I love playing Red", "I hate Green" etc. It's not a helpful mindset in general, but is particularly bad in Sealed. Run whatever's strongest from the selection of cards you have.
    That's not the BREAD acronym I remember, which is intended to help you with booster drafting. You draft Bombs over Removal over Evasion, and if none of these are forthcoming, you draft Aggro (reasonably efficient creatures/other cards to fill out your curve) and only at the end you draft Duds or Dregs (generally any cards that just don't do anything to justify their cost, both in terms of mana cost and the opportunity cost of the card itself).



    Recognizing the Dregs for what they are is key. If you want to be rigorous about it, try the Quadrant Theory. A card can be useful in one or several of four stages in the game:

    1. Opening: Are you happy to play this card early?

    2. Parity: Are you happy to draw this card on a stalled board - when neither player can really make headway by attacking?

    3. Winning: If you're already winning, how much does this card help?

    4. Losing: If you're losing, can this card save you?



    Bombs happen to be great according to the Quadrant Theory because they're great in Parity situations, and sometimes also great in Losing situations. (While obviously also excellent if you're Winning. The only cards that aren't good if you're winning, but still excellent cards, tend to be symmetrical mass removal like Wrath of God - a veritable bomb, but only because it's stupidly good if you're losing, and still great to have if you're at Parity, because you're in control of the boom button and can play around it by keeping creatures in your hand in preparation.)

    The fourth category is the most important to me. Any card that is good if you're losing is probably just good in general. I'm extremely wary of cards that don't do anything if you're significantly behind.

    Keep in mind that, counterintuitively perhaps, a card that gains you life and nothing else is still very bad if you're losing (because it doesn't stop you from losing to creatures, it just prolongs the suffering), and usually just terrible in general.

    The quadrant theory explains why creatures are the backbone of most Limited decks - they're always okay (and occasionally great) if you're losing simply because they can block other creatures, and evasive creatures are great if you're at parity. Creatures that can't block as a result of their text box (like Ashenmoor Gorger) belong only in Limited decks that will actually attack with them.



    Another important tool for evaluating cards can be the vanilla test. When you look at a creature card, train yourself to look at the mana cost and the power/toughness first. It primes you for what you expect to see when you actually read the text box. If a creature is smaller than you'd like just looking at power and toughness, you want to see something beneficial in the text box to make you want to play it. If a creature is already playable based on its stats alone, you're fine playing it even if the text box only has flavor text in it (which is also called a "vanilla creature").

    Here are good values for the various CMCs (converted mana costs) -:

    1 CMC: 2/1. Any 1/1 or 1/2 needs serious help from the text box to warrant inclusion; they just don't fight well enough otherwise.
    2 CMC: 3/2 or 2/3 (2/2 or 3/1 are actually a smidge weak these days). 1/4 can be good if you're gearing up for the long game.
    3 CMC: 3/3, maybe 2/4. You'll often see 3/2 or 2/3, and you generally want a bonus to make that good.
    4 CMC: 3/4. 4/4 is even better, but 3/4 is often so well positioned in Limited that it makes me want to play it regardless.
    5 CMC: 5/5.
    6 CMC: 6/6, but when creatures get this expensive being a big chunk of stats starts to be less of a perk unless they also have something in the text box that help them make an impact on a stalled board - because any game that gets to six mana tends to be at parity by that point.

    Sometimes a creature is bigger than it's supposed to be - in that case expect it to have a drawback.

    "CMC" is a simplification here; for the purpose of the vanilla test, you also need to evaluate how difficult a card is to cast in terms of color. For instance, 4/4 stats are generally only available for 2GG, which is more difficult to cast than 3G.
    Last edited by Silfir; 2018-12-18 at 08:56 PM.
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  29. - Top - End - #599
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    Quote Originally Posted by Silfir View Post
    That's not the BREAD acronym I remember, which is intended to help you with booster drafting. You draft Bombs over Removal over Evasion, and if none of these are forthcoming, you draft Aggro (reasonably efficient creatures/other cards to fill out your curve) and only at the end you draft Duds or Dregs (generally any cards that just don't do anything to justify their cost, both in terms of mana cost and the opportunity cost of the card itself).
    BREAD is for Draft, while Sealed is a slightly different beast. With Sealed, you have your entire pool before you at the start. Your bombs are what they are; and you can easily have to make color trade-offs where one color has two high-color requirement bomb but almost nothing else, while another has a decent amount of removal and evasion but zero bombs.

    With a larger (and unknown) pool, you need heuristics like BREAD, but when you have perfect information, synergy is a lot more important.
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  30. - Top - End - #600
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    Default Re: Magic The Gathering Thread XXIII: Modern is Dead, Long Live Modern

    I wanted some thoughts on a modern deck based around Training Grounds. Pack Rat + Training Grounds is a game winning combo, letting you make a heap of 5/5s very cheaply without casting spells, and Tasigur with Training Grounds can draw a card for 2 mana on top of being a 1 mana 4/5.

    There aren't very many creatures that I have found that are independently good that work with training grounds though. The various guildmages are bad outside of the combo and just okay with it (dimir guildmage is a 2/2 for more mana then tasigur will cost and does the same thing.)

    Hoping for some input, currently leaning towards just UB with Delver, Pack Rat, Tasigur, and the full discard package but hoping for some other creatures that are good with TG.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
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