08/18/2011 TD: "You Asked... Because I Asked"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Top Decks article, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Best article of the week hands down.
Mike, I legit wish this was the kind of article you put here every week.
Very very good article. While it wasn't as in depth as your others, it was very good at giving an overview of both standard and somewhat modern.. even post-rotation standard.

A very good article that was easy to grasp. 
How to Autocard
card: [c]cardname[/c]-> [c]Vampire Nighthawk[/c] -> Vampire Nighthawk
I'll give credit where it's due, I enjoyed this article.

One niggle: you still won't admit that Jace was horrendous, will you?

Q: Since the bannings, Standard has infinite decks you can play. Were the banning successful?

A: My opinion is that there were always lots of different decks you could play in Standard, even pre-bannings. The difference is that more people are actually embracing more different decks now than they previously were (which is different from whether or not you could reasonably play some of those decks... you could). For example Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle has picked up hugely in terms of popularity since the bannings....


If the goal was to increase player attendance—and I do think the overall popularity and health of the game has to be top of mind for decision makers—then they have definitely been successful!

Yeh, yeh. And yet you support the Modern bannings. Through gritted teeth, eh Mike?

Anyway, you get a free pass cos the rest of the article was thoughtful and interesting, even in parts where I disagree.
You would put Squadron Hawk in the top 20 creatures of all time? Standard warps peoples' minds, yo.
Could / Should WotC have done more to kill CawBlade (i.e. ban the birds)?

Really? You're asking Mike Flores whether or not more effort should have been made to kill Caw-Blade? I'm pretty sure if people stop playing Caw-Blade, Mike Flores starts gradually fading from reality.
What is Slash Panther.dec?  Google showed no results
Presumably this.

L1 Judge

ok my favorite was a little of shards think about it lots of good creatures a heathy meta good removal every color had its power cards and decks had a nice win condition and some truely smart decks come on swan plus sismic  the trbo fog deck  if that is not a good meta i dont know what is
Really, really enjoyable article, but Torleep is right; no way is Squadron Hawk in the top twenty creatures of all time.

Big, big fan of Gitaxian Probe though, and I'm glad to see you think it can help fill the pretty huge hole the rotation of Preordain will bring. RIP Scry-dard.
I'm not convinced that Modern will not be filled with nothing but Combo. If it is, I will play Splinter Twin just to spite everyone and be the Underdog.

One niggle: you still won't admit that Jace was horrendous, will you?

Well, he said that Jace Standard was his favourite format of all time, so do you expect him to?

By the way, he's right about that. Post-ban Standard and current Standard are not nearly as interesting. There was one thing and one thing only wrong with Jace, and that was his price tag. You could conceivably play all sorts of different decks, including RUG Control (which was my personal favourite), Twin Combo, Boros, Quest-Vine, or RDW. With the notable exception of RDW, you'd definitely have played either a Jace deck or a Stoneforge deck if you cared about winning at all. But so what? In current Standard, you'd be foolish not to play either Snapcaster Mage or Primeval Titan, although also with the exception of RDW. There are always format defining cards. Deal with it.

Jace is simply a very powerful, yet quite fair card. Sure, he let you do some things that border on absurd, like Brainstorm putting back two lands, follwed by playing them through Oracle of Mul Daya. But lots of cards have interactions like that. How is it any more unfair than having a Shrine of Burning Rage at 10 counters on turn four? Or the engine of Life from the Loam + Raven's Crime in Modern? Or Wasteland + Crucible of Worlds in Legacy? At least the Jace + Oracle engine is fun for the player using it, unlike my other examples.

Jace also took a lot of thought and skill to play properly. Any card that emphasizes technical play skill is a good card to have around in my books. I absolutely hate losing to a less-skilled opponent due to unlcuky draws or insane topdecks from them. If my opponent is more skilled, at least I can say that they deserved the win, and learn from my mistakes, helping me become a better player. Losing when you made good decisions throughout the game and your opponent just has better luck than you is simply depressing. A consistently powerful deck that rewards you for making good choices is the kind of deck we should want to have in our formats. Better players should win more often.

The mistake with Jace wasn't in the card design; it was printing him in the second set while also doing a large third set. The very small amount of Worldwake packs opened in drafts caused the high price, which drove away players who couldn't afford it. If they had printed Jace in Zendikar instead, he would have been worth much less, probably no more than $50, and no one would have complained.
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