02/21/2011 SF: "Then We Will Fight in the Shade!"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Serious Fun, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.

So, last time Hoard magic was revealed, a bunch of our casual group got really excited. three different people put together hoard decks (two zombies, and a 5 color elemental deck too).  We tried them all out a few times each with a variety of different players and decks.

Not a single one of the 5 games was even close to close.  The worst example, ending life total of the 4 "survivors" - 250  We took a total of 13 damage, 7 of which was self-inflicted.

And all of this was with the following two changes - no three free turns for the survivors.  Survivors go first, hoard is after you from the start. And if the Hoard deck hits a non-token first, keep revealing until you hit a token (we were playing closer to 40 tokens per deck, not 60).

Again, even with those changes to increase the hoard power, the games weren't even close.  It felt similar to the problems we've had with archenemy - either the heroes get rolling and never have a problem, or the archenemy gets rolling and never feals any threat.  We don't play those formats often anymore because they aren't interesting.

Any suggestions out there from people who have tried tweeks and have more success?
Aww, no Noxious Ghouls?  Could be a pretty good wrath effect for the zombies.  Bring your spot removal...

Also, what's with Archdemon of Unx?  A 6/6 (non-Zombie, btw), that turns into a 2/2 next turn?  Why not run Grave Titan instead if you're dropping the strictly zombie theme?
So, last time Hoard magic was revealed, a bunch of our casual group got really excited. three different people put together hoard decks (two zombies, and a 5 color elemental deck too).  We tried them all out a few times each with a variety of different players and decks.

Not a single one of the 5 games was even close to close.  The worst example, ending life total of the 4 "survivors" - 250  We took a total of 13 damage, 7 of which was self-inflicted.

And all of this was with the following two changes - no three free turns for the survivors.  Survivors go first, hoard is after you from the start. And if the Hoard deck hits a non-token first, keep revealing until you hit a token (we were playing closer to 40 tokens per deck, not 60).

Again, even with those changes to increase the hoard power, the games weren't even close.  It felt similar to the problems we've had with archenemy - either the heroes get rolling and never have a problem, or the archenemy gets rolling and never feals any threat.  We don't play those formats often anymore because they aren't interesting.

Any suggestions out there from people who have tried tweeks and have more success?



The power of the Horde comes from the tokens. If you only play 67% of the suggested number of tokens, that drastically reduces the power of the Horde. An easy way to increase the Horde's power is to increase the number of tokens while keeping the non-token cards stable (this also has the nice effect of making the Horde's library bigger, which also makes it stronger). For the rest, I would look at the reasons why you are defeating the horde so easily. Are you overpowering it with creatures? Add a playset of Noxious Ghouls (that's a one-sided wrath every turn). Are you using enchantments and artifacts, like Adam did in the article? You can either choose to not use decks which use these enchantments, or you can "cheat" (only in spirit, but still) and add stuff like Calming Verse (I would suggest this one because the Zombie deck has some pretty nasty enchantments itself) and Creeping Corrosion to the deck.

The game Adam describes shows very nicely that the Horde needs to be able to be reactive, not only to creatures, but also to enchantments and artifacts. A Horde that loses the minute Moat enters the battlefield is a tad...lame.
76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
The game Adam describes shows very nicely that the Horde needs to be able to be reactive, not only to creatures, but also to enchantments and artifacts. A Horde that loses the minute Moat enters the battlefield is a tad...lame.


I agree that certain cards seem to be way too effective against the horde.  The possible solutions I see are:

a) Give the horde a way to deal with permanents.  This could be done either by putting in removal or by making a rule that all nonland permanents controlled by the survivors have vanishing N.  Flavorwise, the latter could represent the fading of Avacyn's power or whatever protective magic you have been relying upon.  Unfortunately, if you play with Commander decks, neither of these permanently deals with commanders such as Angus Mackenzie.
b) Ban the offending cards, or agree not to play anything too powerful.
c) Instead of playing with Constructed decks, construct a cube specifically for fighting against the horde, choose N cards randomly from it, and build sealed decks from them.  Ideally, the cube would contain lots of cards that are powerful against the horde, but nothing that comes close to winning the game by itself.
I read somewhere when Horde Magic was first revealed that cards that fundamentally alter how the Horde deck plays should be soft-banned from the player's decks - if you draw them, you can cycle them for free. Such cards include mill and cards that prevent the decks from attacking.

Specifically building a deck to go against the Horde deck seems like a really awful idea and should be avoided at all cost. I stopped reading the article after I read that you played An-Zerrin Ruins and chose zombies. Seriously, how is the format supposed to be anything like Left 4 Dead when you have easy anti-zombie tech?

Some effects that should be soft-banned from decks while playing Horde Magic (because seriously, if you don't do this it loses half the fun):


Any mill card


Any card that prevents attacking


Any card that prevents losing


Extra turn effects


Cards which target all cards with the same name as a card


Cards which exile cards from libraries with the same name as a card (like the one before it, these are way more powerful in a format where tokens with the same name exist in a deck)


Also, I have read that you decrease the size of the Horde deck based on the number of players playing. I wouldn't do that. Always keep it at 100 cards, just adjust lifetotals to match. The more players you have, the smaller everyone's lifetotal should be because there are more of you drawing cards and casting spells.

Unfortunatly, I had given both polls the same reference information, so it had been impossible to vote on both of them. This error has been fixed, so if you had already voted, please return to the article and vote again.

Thanks!
Garret
I read somewhere when Horde Magic was first revealed that cards that fundamentally alter how the Horde deck plays should be soft-banned from the player's decks - if you draw them, you can cycle them for free. Such cards include mill and cards that prevent the decks from attacking.

Specifically building a deck to go against the Horde deck seems like a really awful idea and should be avoided at all cost. I stopped reading the article after I read that you played An-Zerrin Ruins and chose zombies. Seriously, how is the format supposed to be anything like Left 4 Dead when you have easy anti-zombie tech?

Some effects that should be soft-banned from decks while playing Horde Magic (because seriously, if you don't do this it loses half the fun):


Any mill card


Any card that prevents attacking


Any card that prevents losing


Extra turn effects


Cards which target all cards with the same name as a card


Cards which exile cards from libraries with the same name as a card (like the one before it, these are way more powerful in a format where tokens with the same name exist in a deck)


Also, I have read that you decrease the size of the Horde deck based on the number of players playing. I wouldn't do that. Always keep it at 100 cards, just adjust lifetotals to match. The more players you have, the smaller everyone's lifetotal should be because there are more of you drawing cards and casting spells.



If you stopped reading there, then you definitely missed the part where the Horde resolved and flashbacked an Army of the Damned followed closely by an Endless Ranks of the Dead.  The "survivors" only won that game with 8 life remaining.  If something is giving your deck problems, you pack answer cards, the same applies to the zombie Horde.

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From Mark Rosewater's Tumblr: the0uroboros asked: How in the same set can we have a hexproof, unsacrificable(not a word) creature AND a land that makes it uncounterable. How does this lead to interactive play? I believe I’m able to play my creature and you have to deal with it is much more interactive than you counter my creature.

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Post #777

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MaRo: One of the classic R&D stories happened during a Scars of Mirrodin draft. Erik Lauer was sitting to my right (meaning that he passed to me in the first and third packs). At the end of the draft, Erik was upset because I was in his colors (black-green). He said, "Didn't you see the signals? I went into black-green in pack one." I replied, "Didn't you see my signals? I started drafting infect six drafts ago."

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MaRo: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack.

So I'm really interested in trying out this format for my casual group of friends who don't play magic to often. I do have a few questions though.

So when you determine stuff for the horde randomly, does that also mean allocation of attacking creatures? Like you determine random who each creature is going to attack? If the horde really builds up a huge horde, that seems like it'd be a really long time figuring all that out, or you'd end up cheating and making it semi-random.

Are there tricks or tips someone has for handling that? Or is it a situation that just doesn't come up often? 
So I'm really interested in trying out this format for my casual group of friends who don't play magic to often. I do have a few questions though.

So when you determine stuff for the horde randomly, does that also mean allocation of attacking creatures? Like you determine random who each creature is going to attack? If the horde really builds up a huge horde, that seems like it'd be a really long time figuring all that out, or you'd end up cheating and making it semi-random.

Are there tricks or tips someone has for handling that? Or is it a situation that just doesn't come up often? 

the hoard attacks the team, the team blocks as a team.  attacking Planeswalkers was discussed in this article.
If you stopped reading there, then you definitely missed the part where the Horde resolved and flashbacked an Army of the Damned followed closely by an Endless Ranks of the Dead.  The "survivors" only won that game with 8 life remaining.  If something is giving your deck problems, you pack answer cards, the same applies to the zombie Horde.



That wasn't an answer. That was such an overwhelming threat that the survivors couldn't have done anything about it without an answer like An-Zerrin Ruins.

Also, to add a real challenge, the Horde should include Bone Harvest, Footbottom Feast and the functional reprint in Dark Ascension. That would be pretty nuts.
76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
One thing I thought of to increase the power of the horde deck as stated in the article is to allow the horde to play x/2 non-token cards per turn (where x is the number of players) except when there is only one person, but we shall ignore that for now because this is a multiplayer format.  So, if you have 2 people, the horde plays based on those same rules, if you have 3, the horde plays the first non-token card then all the tokens up to the next non-token card, and for 4 players, the horde plays every card up to 2 non-token cards per turn.  This way the horde deck has a way to deal with the increased size of the survivor battlefield even if it has more cards in its deck, because if it doesn't play cards at the same rate, it doesn't really matter how many cards are in the deck because it just can't keep up.
Please. An-Zerrin Ruins is BS against a deck that has all the same creature type! I wouldn't have thought that the potential to end in a complete blowout or lockout was a hallmark of casual, but I guess this really isn't much of a casual column after all.
One thing I thought of to increase the power of the horde deck as stated in the article is to allow the horde to play x/2 non-token cards per turn (where x is the number of players) except when there is only one person, but we shall ignore that for now because this is a multiplayer format.  So, if you have 2 people, the horde plays based on those same rules, if you have 3, the horde plays the first non-token card then all the tokens up to the next non-token card, and for 4 players, the horde plays every card up to 2 non-token cards per turn.  This way the horde deck has a way to deal with the increased size of the survivor battlefield even if it has more cards in its deck, because if it doesn't play cards at the same rate, it doesn't really matter how many cards are in the deck because it just can't keep up.



I actually rather like this idea, but you really need to increase the size of the horde deck if you do this: the deck is its life total, so twice the amount of cards played means half the life total.
76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
I would like to add a tweak or two if your horde just seems too weak:

1: Don't use JUST Zombie tokens...There's Flying Vampires, Flying Demons and Dragons, and even a Hasty Giant Warrior token that can be added.  Flying biggies def. make a threat.

2: Give all Zombie Tokens UNDYING. It's very flavorful, and ramps up their potential. A lot.

3: Only use Human, or Human-ish defenders, + their equiptment and spells. Try holding off a Demon when you only have COBBLED WINGS on a GLORY SEEKER.  But Human enhancing spells are fine. The point is, make it challenging to the defenders.

4: There is an EMBLEM token that can give the horde +1/+0. Mix one or two of those in the horde deck to randomly increase the danger.

5: HEX is a fine spell for the horde.  On occasion, he must target his own guys, something a mindless horde would do.
Hi there.

I've got some questions about playing the Horde Format:


  • How many spells can cast the Horde player per turn if he has no card in hands ? 




  • He can only cast the non-token revealed card ?

  • He can cast as many as he wants (cards with Unearth X, Gravecrawler effects, Flashback ones, etc.)


This means Army of the Damned is 26 tokens if it is revealed or 13 this turn and 13 the next turn ? I think it's ok to play as many spells the Horde can, as you will see the Army of the Damned tokens every Game (in 13 or 26 depending if it is revealed or just "milled" when taking damages).

  • I'm going to put a Ghoultree (or a Traximundar) in the list and a Geralf's Mindcrusher. I'm not really confidant for the Ghoultree. Do you think it is too powerful and hard to play around ?

  • If I add a Sheperd of Rot, does the Horde deck mill himself for the amount of "life loss" or as it is life loss not caused by the survivors, the Horde doesn't mill its deck ?


Thanks for sharing your ideas.

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