4/22/2010 TD: "Two Techniques"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Top Decks, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
[insert snide remark about promoting curve in the wake of 15-mana monsters here]
I've talked about this before, and I'm sure I'll talk about it again. Where's the editing? Fieldmist Borderpost is not played alternately, it's played alternatively.
I think half of his point was that, even if the meta switches over to BOMBS AND REMOVAL, making proactive plays turns 1-4 are important.

I feel like it's stupid to compare sphinx of jwar isle and sphinx of magosi. I guess they share the role of finisher, but within that space, their abilities make them fill very different roles. While sphinx of magosi can replace itself, the shroud on sphinx of jwar isle means you can count on it in many matchups to be literally unstoppable. I suppose when flores says magosi is better on nine mana, he means counterspell backup. Okay, what if your opponent plays two removal spells? Sure, you still get card advantage, but magosi has nothing like the near-immortality jwar isle does, and it certainly won't let you get away with cutting down to two creatures. You wouldn't run a deck whose only creatures were two sphinx of magosi, would you?
when flores says sphinx of magosi is better, i heartily disagree. 

Great article, Flores. I think the best this year. Good mix of analysis on deck constructing in general and on specific cards in particular. I especially like the idea of going through and systematically analyzing new cards based on the competition they will see with other cards in the same color and CMC. Great job.


I feel like it's stupid to compare sphinx of jwar isle and sphinx of magosi. I guess they share the role of finisher, but within that space, their abilities make them fill very different roles. While sphinx of magosi can replace itself, the shroud on sphinx of jwar isle means you can count on it in many matchups to be literally unstoppable. I suppose when flores says magosi is better on nine mana, he means counterspell backup. Okay, what if your opponent plays two removal spells? Sure, you still get card advantage, but magosi has nothing like the near-immortality jwar isle does, and it certainly won't let you get away with cutting down to two creatures. You wouldn't run a deck whose only creatures were two sphinx of magosi, would you?
when flores says sphinx of magosi is better, i heartily disagree. 




I think what Flores meant by being better at 9 mana is that playing Sphinx of Jwar Isle with 9 mana means you might waste 3 mana for that turn, while you're guaranteed to be able to spend that extra 3 mana with Sphinx of Magosi.

I think that comparing the sphinxes is also a very fair comparison, considering that they both play the roles of finishers because they're big blue fliers. Their other abilities are just gravy. I agree with Flores that Sphinx of Magosi is better. It's easier to kill, but it also tends to replace itself (and then some), and the bigger body can't hurt. I'd probably run 3 or 4 because of the increased vulnerability to removal, but I think that's worth it. 
Great article, Flores. I think the best this year. Good mix of analysis on deck constructing in general and on specific cards in particular. I especially like the idea of going through and systematically analyzing new cards based on the competition they will see with other cards in the same color and CMC. Great job.


That's all well and good (seriously) but leaves a gaping hole where synergies between cards are concerned.


I think what Flores meant by being better at 9 mana is that playing Sphinx of Jwar Isle with 9 mana means you might waste 3 mana for that turn, while you're guaranteed to be able to spend that extra 3 mana with Sphinx of Magosi.
 


I feel like sligh decks really care about this whole mana optimization thing and control decks really don't. Especially when they have 9. how many turns will a control player's untap step come around to find nothing to untap? at least a couple per game.

Their other abilities are just gravy.


Shroud is NOT "just gravy." Shroud makes sphinx of jwar isle what it is, and in my opinion, it is a very different card from sphinx of magosi.

Some times I think Flores just shoots in the dark about tournament predictions. If you predict enough mediocre cards will see tournament play your bound to eventually be right.
Is it just me or was this one of the sloppiest articles that I have read in a long time?
I think the two biggest problems with this article for me were 1) editing 2) oversimplification.  The editing was terrible.  As to oversimplification, I think that a lot of the points that he brought up were correct, but not novel.  Not anything I have not read before.  The main point of his article was that even control decks need to have early plays and even proactive early plays.  A lot of control players run cheap spells but not proactive spells.  I think this point is well made and I will certainly pay more attention to it in the future.  However, I don't think that it is very helpful to go color-by-color over their most powerful cards at each slot.  It completely disregards synergy, deck type, etc.  While it should be the goal of every deck, including control decks, to have a good curve, they don't need to spend every single mana every turn.  Some bigger spells are so powerful that they completely destroy the opponent.  If they do so, then it really didn't matter if the control player utilized every available mana, every turn.  Now, the control player will certainly do better if he optimizes his curve, but it isn't the focus of his deck.  Not to mention that I simply didn't agree with many of his assessments as to what the most powerful card at each cost was, namely because it is so situational dependent.  For example, Knight of the White Orchid may not be white's most powerful two-drop, but in certain builds it is insane.  2-for-1, mana accel, a reasonable body.  Yet he didn't list it as one of white's most powerful two drops and rightfully so-it doesn't fit well into white weenie.  It's all situationally dependent.
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I feel like sligh decks really care about this whole mana optimization thing and control decks really don't. Especially when they have 9. how many turns will a control player's untap step come around to find nothing to untap? at least a couple per game.




I'm surprised he didn't bring it up here, I've seen him mention that situation elsewhere. Control likes to not need to untap because that means it's winning or already won. The turns where control doesn't need to react are because it had control of the game.

Tempo matters in control in the turns when it needs to do something, once they're topdecking and you have control, and you've won, playing has become a formality, or the player on beatdown is looking for something with a little inevitability.
Counting the Borderposts (which are just taplands in disguise on turn one) as a legitimate one-drop is kinda stupid, especially after making a point about Jund's early turns of inaction.
Counting the Borderposts (which are just taplands in disguise on turn one) as a legitimate one-drop is kinda stupid, especially after making a point about Jund's early turns of inaction.


But sometimes Borderposts do more than just fix mana. For example, they let you abuse Knight of the White Orchid, and they power up Esper Stormblade.

~ Tim
I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
Just when I thought Flores was losing it/slacking or whatever he comes back with an excellent article.

It still doesn't change the fact that he's got a face for radio, and a voice for writing...  No matter.

Good article Flores. 
I thought it was a good article. I disagree on some of the points where he says "this card is an upgrade over this other card" or if he said "this card has the potential to spawn a new archetype" but I respect his opinion and like he said he's just throwing out some possibilities in the new set we'll just see how it plays out.
Don't be too smart to have fun

This was definitely one of the more enjoyable articles and I liked the way it actually broke things down.  But he seemed to gloss right over why the Dragonlord "will" see play, when monored has much better options (which he actually listed). I realize he got stuck with it as one of his preview cards, but I am still not seeing RDW dropping any of its better two-drops until it actually has to do so. Even then, there's no guarantee it will find a home. There are other cases where it looks like sheer guesswork on his part.

I like this way of looking at the cards.. to compare the new cards vs. what we already have available.
But it does seem that a lot of the power of this set won't be in upgrading existing decks, but in enabling new ones.
I've talked about this before, and I'm sure I'll talk about it again. Where's the editing? Fieldmist Borderpost is not played alternately, it's played alternatively.



Who gives a crap, christ... go play more magic.

Well the idea of the article (comparing RoE cards to existing cards in same mana cost) is good but IMO Flores really overrating the new stuff. Dunno if Wizards pay him for promoting their new set or he really means it but I have to disagree with some choices


 


- Inquistion of Kozilek is good, but not for Standard. It will most probably shine inLegacy and Extended but in Standard it's useless against most popular decks (Jund and UW control)


- Ancient Stirrings is really narrow and limited only to potential Eldrazi ramp deck (which is still unknown if it will be any good)


- Flame Slash and Forked Bolt are bad. Both are sorcery, having instant speed burn is very important. Slash cant hit players, and Forked only deals 2. With Lightning Bolt, Searing Blaze and Burst Lightning in the format these 2 will never see play


- Unified will is a card designed for a blue aggro deck, which currently doesnt exist in Standard


- I cant see how Seagate Oracle can ever be a staple in any format. 1/3 and draw a card for 3 mana is just horrible. Only deck that would ever want to play this is UW control which has both Calcite Snapper and Wall of Omens for that role


- Tuktuk is just too situational. An opponent can just fly over or let it hit for 1


- With Mind Control being only 1 mana more, Domestication's drawback is too big to see any play


- Kozilek's Predator is decent but there just arent any decks that want to accelerate into something on turn 4. Again only playable in possible Eldrazi ramp deck (maybe not even there). Same goes for Ondu Giant


- Right now Standard is so full of efficient removal, that shroud on Sphinx of Jwar Isle makes a huge difference. Magosi Sphinx just dies to everything. It's not like you'll wait for 9 mana to cast it

@ZursApprentice - I agree with you.

 This is the type of oversimplified rambling dribble we've to come to expect from Flores' mouth except, on paper, the nonsense is a lot more organized.  Usually his pro-player (ghost writer) friends help straighten these articles out for him I believe. Not so much today. This sloppy article is simply not very helpful to anyone and lacks any real insight despite the lengthy half-baked philosophies and comparisons of Flores. This article is definitely not worthy of the mothership and Flores should be cut from the writing staff because, quite simply, he is an idiot.

- Inquistion of Kozilek is good, but not for Standard. It will most probably shine inLegacy and Extended but in Standard it's useless against most popular decks (Jund and UW control)




You are very much entitled to your own opinions but, why would you think this card is useless in Standard? Especially against a deck like Jund? Let's see just a few from the top of my mind are: Sprouting Thrinax/ Putrid Leech/ Lightning Bolt!/ Terminate/ BLIGHTNING!/ Burst Lightning..... not to mention it gets rid of Lotus Cobra/ BOP/ Most of the Elves/ Vampire Nighthawk..... The list goes on and on and on of spells that can be made to be discarded that are serious threats in Standard right now.



- Ancient Stirrings is really narrow and limited only to potential Eldrazi ramp deck (which is still unknown if it will be any good)




You can also use it to put Artifact Spells/ Creatures into your hand because they are colorless as well.



- Flame Slash and Forked Bolt are bad. Both are sorcery, having instant speed burn is very important. Slash cant hit players, and Forked only deals 2. With Lightning Bolt, Searing Blaze and Burst Lightning in the format these 2 will never see play




While I agree that the best removal is Instant speed, I still wouldn't mind having a spell that costs 1 Mana and deals 4 damage to a creature. Also, Forked Bolt can still take out a 2/2 or 2 */1's (including, but not limited to, a few of the ones I mentioned above). Just because they are Sorcery does not mean they do not have a use.



  - Tuktuk is just too situational. An opponent can just fly over or let it hit for 1



At the Pre-Release a buddy of mine Sacrificed him to Sarkhan the Mad and recieved 2 5/5's at the same time.



  - Right now Standard is so full of efficient removal, that shroud on Sphinx of Jwar Isle makes a huge difference.



I do agree here.


 


About the article, did anyone else notice the tacky comments he was making?


"Transcendent Master spits in the face of all that is good and true; Survival Cache seems like a jerk thing to do ... I can see it being mad annoying (and can also see it being played not at all). White threes are not exactly white twos in Rise."


What's up with the hate against Transcendent Master? Why is palying a life gain spell a "jerk thing to do"?


And the best one of all...


"Is Sphinx of Magosi better than Sphinx of Jwar Isle? I think so (especially on nine mana); a lot of other players probably won't (they are wrong)."


Well! I guess he told us didn't he?!
And the best one of all...

"Is Sphinx of Magosi better than Sphinx of Jwar Isle? I think so (especially on nine mana); a lot of other players probably won't (they are wrong)."


Well! I guess he told us didn't he?!


rofl
- Tuktuk is just too situational. An opponent can just fly over or let it hit for 1.

That's why it's not a maindeck card. Flores only mentionned it as a possible sideboard option for red against green midrange decks of the Eldrazi Green model. You don't attack with him, you use it as a chump blocker in order to end up with a body bigger than what they typically have.  I think it's a legitimate strategy as straight red decks often have a hard time dealing with early fatties such as Leatherback Baloth; it takes two spells to kill it and it can easily race you if it comes doen on turn 2 or 3.

- Flame Slash and Forked Bolt are bad. Both are sorcery, having instant speed burn is very important. Slash cant hit players, and Forked only deals 2. With Lightning Bolt, Searing Blaze and Burst Lightning in the format these 2 will never see play.

I agree these two cards probably won't see a lot of constructed play, but IMO it has little to do with the fact they're sorceries, and I don't find them that bad in the abstract. Being a sorcery really isn't that big of a deal for a burn card if the upside is great enough. I think Forked Bolt would be worthwile if there were more 1-thoughness guys out there, but in the current meta, I fear it doesn't cut it. Similarly, in a different metagame, Flame Slash could find a home in a monored deck, one that doesn't want to splash black or white (if you splash, your secondary color provides better creature-only removal than Flame Slash). But nowadays with Kor Firewalker and Baneslayer Angel as big roadblocks for red decks, I think the splah is necessary anyway.
Magic The Gathering DCI Lvl 1 Judge Don't hesitate to post rules question in the Rules Q&A forum for me and other competent advisors to answer : http://community.wizards.com/go/forum/view/75842/134778/Rules_Q38A
sphinx of magosi looks like it should be good...but no self respecting opponent well let it live.  Especially not with Path, terminate, pulse, doomblade, whatever else is floating around.  I mean really flores shroud is IMO of the best abilities a creature could have next to evasion
I like fun, but competitive decks. So I might not play what is optimal but they have normally been tested to have a 2/3 winrate.
Goblin Bushwhacker, Dragonmaster Outcast, and Burst Lightning make R very competitive.



bushwhacker is as much a 1 drop as gatekeeper of malakir is a 2 drop (which you half admit isn't the case later in the article).

Flame Slash and Forked Bolt are bad. Both are sorcery, having instant speed burn is very important. Slash cant hit players, and Forked only deals 2. With Lightning Bolt, Searing Blaze and Burst Lightning in the format these 2 will never see play



quite a few people are testing out both flame slash and forked bolt in their cubes (alongside stuff like char and lightning helix and lightning bolt and burst lightning). searing blaze doesn't make most cubes, for reference. now, constructed isn't at all the same thing as cube but if a card can potentially compete in an environment with the power 9 i don't know if you can call it "bad." personally i'm not sold on flame slash but skred certainly did ok for itself and there are quite a few 1 toughness all star creatures in both standard and the cube to make forked bolt a two for one at one mana. time will tell, though.

Tuktuk is just too situational.


this has already been covered, but it's probably why he mentioned it being in the sideboard.


An opponent can just fly over or let it hit for 1


probably why he mentioned it being good against green. not a whole lot of flying over going on there, making blocking a pretty good option.

I liked this article... fairly informative - or a good reminder at least + some insight into new staples.


Personally, I find Flores to be a very interesting and relieving individual. His articles come off in a way that sounds much like what you'd expect to hear from random conversations at FNM or to your friends via "word-of-mouth" reasoning and ideas. Flores is just saying what he thinks about the new staples and is direct about it ("they are wrong" = provokes discussion).

I find Flores' articles to be the most helpful and insightful ones currently running. He is talking to you.. not down to you.


MUCH better than, for example, the ivory-tower, overbearing, and generally "highty-tighty" attitude that grossly radiates from every Rosewater article in existence. It is difficult to imagine that people can actually stomach his "insight" or grasp anything constructive from his philosophical ramblings that doesn't end up coming down to a simple "WTF?"


I really appreciate Flores' articles and I take the information in them as opinion and individual insight. Remember that Flores is more than well established in the Global Magic community and has helped in the construction of some of the best decks ever seen.


TL;DR? ---> bash Rosewater instead.


Arrogant Bloodlord is in kind of the same boat as Phantasmal Abomination; running scared of Eldrazi Spawn, but Phyrexian Negator the rest of the time.


... k fine, this made me a little... Srsly?

Personally, I find Flores to be a very interesting and relieving individual. His articles come off in a way that sounds much like what you'd expect to hear from random conversations at FNM or to your friends via "word-of-mouth" reasoning and ideas. Flores is just saying what he thinks about the new staples and is direct about it ("they are wrong" = provokes discussion).



see, i feel like he is trying to come across like he is just one of your buddies at the local shop, but most of the time it seems kind of fake and silly. when he lays on three or four newish slang terms in the same sentence it gets kind of ridiculous. it's entirely possible (probable, actually) that this is just how he talks, but i don't know anyone who actually talks like that and it just reads ridiculously sometimes. that doesn't mean i don't enjoy his articles most of the time, though. i just wince a lot while i'm reading them.