03/14/2012 BoaB: "Eminent Domain for Modern"

65 posts / 0 new
Last post
This thread is for discussion of this week's Building on a Budget, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Ponder?

Really?
...isn't ponder banned in modern?
Even the writers can't keep track of all the banned cards...

How about we get some back on the 20th? 
The writers should be professional enough to make sure whatever deck they are writing about is legal in the given format.  this is just the usual sloppy writing Ive come to expect from JVL
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.
I would love to see a "How to Sideboard" article.
I got wind of the sideboard tech coming in the next article:

4x Preordain
4x Rite of Flame
4x Mental Misstep
3x Ancestral Visions
"(Modern) versions of Eminent Domain didn't have access to Ponder, but I'm sure they would have played it if they did." Really? Please check out next weeks article Why storm is not winning all the time. But hey, other than not being able to reliably find all of you pieces, this deck is passible. It's kinda like tron, except no one is expecting it.
Unacceptable.

Who was he playtesting against? A literal goldfish?

Can we have Ben Bleweiss back please?
I really hate Jacob Van Lunen and his very obvious lack of effort when it comes to every single aspect of writing this column.

It's incredibly insulting.

Edit:

Unacceptable.

Who was he playtesting against? A literal goldfish?



No, he doesn't playtest at all.  He just makes up game scenarios.. referencing cards in the sideboard during game 1, referencing cards not even in the list, etc.

Can we have Ben Bleweiss back please?



Seconded.
This is outrageous.

I thought you really tested your decks on MOL, but since ponder is banned, seems pretty clear now you dont.

Iam feeling cheated, you articles are a fraud, your decks are bad, and you are a terrible professional.

I remember you put a firespout on a alara-zendikar standard deck once, so this is not the first time you do this kind of terrible mistake.

I wish we could have Ben Bleweiss back too...  



 
This article erroneously lists Ponder as a legal card in the Modern format. I cannot excuse this oversight during editing and due to its core nature for the deck discussed below it cannot be easily corrected. This sort of error should not happen and will not happpen again.

-- Trick Jarrett, Editor-in-Chief of DailyMTG.com

And now Trick has get out of bed to fix it!
due to its core nature for the deck

Yeah, Modern's banlist totally isn't formatsmithing, guys.
I used to really like this column (including JVL's earlier decks) but it's pretty upsetting to see errors this ridiculous.  7-card mulligans, sideboard references and other errors are easy to forgive if the deck is decent, but illegal decks are just absurd.  Very unprofessional.  :/

Edit - Kind of funny that this is on the frontpage with the "Get a Job at Wizards" article. 
7 card mulligans could be excused by him and his opponent agreeing to "friendly" mulligans in a relaxed testing session. Sideboard references and other things not so much. Utilizing banned cards is a huge mistake though, and I feel the overall quality of the articles is on a decline. 
I'm going to second everyone's words in here. Ponder? Telling us he playtested? I always thought his playtestings where a little absurd, maybe a tad exaggerating when he playtested but come on. That was ridiculous. Now we know why his opponents never really seem experienced, skilled or real.

But I want to mention the othe side of the coin. I'm not a Modern expert or anything, I'm neutral about this format, but the deck seemed to have potential. I really want to build my own version of this, playtest it, also take care of the sideboard and go to a tournament with it. Just for fun of course. No Ponders.
The editor's note is all wrong.  I don't care that Ponder is actually banned.  Replace it with Serum Visions, it's not *that* big a deal.  And regardless, surprise deck evolutions are interesting, as are decks just for the sake of being decks that aren't particularly made for a format.

The real problem is that this suggests that the author might have been up against deadline pressure, and BS'd a decklist + fake games, since most of the previous testing has been on Magic Online (which this clearly coudln't have been on).  Which is worrying, because plenty of decks which seem in theory to beat other decks don't actually in real games, and cool plays are only cool when they really happened.  The editor of MTG Daily should make it very clear to their writers that it's okay to say in articles "Sorry, I was busy this week, I'm going to playtest it next week and get back to you with the results and perhaps some modifications I made as a result."  A half-complete article is far preferred to an unreliable article.  (JMS would often spend 2-3 weeks with the same deck, so it's not like the audience is totally impatient; JMS was an admired author of the column.)

As for whether this deadline pressure fabrication happened...  if this was JVL testing in person with some friends who were scatterbrained, then he should just post and say that (and have said friends give the editor a call to confirm it).  Everybody makes mistakes like that, there's no shame in it.  If the games were fabricated, then JVL should say so now and apologize, and also verify which previous columns included fabricated game logs, if any.  I'm not demanding a resignation or anything over-the-top like that, just own up & move on.
Wow you guys really tore him a new one, huh? So he made a mistake. People make mistakes.
As I note in my post, pedrodyl, the Ponder mistake is harmless and fine.  The problem is that the game stories part of the article *might* have been fabricated.  It'd be nice if that would be cleared up in the near future.  I don't want to read stories about imaginary games, I want to read real stories.
It's more than a mistake.  It's evidence of complete fakery.  He built a half-arsed deck (which in and of itself would have been pathetic, but exusable) and then instead of actually playtesting it he just made up some games to make it sound halfway decent and called it a day.  It demonstrates a complete lack of respect for his readership or for his job.  It's proof positive that he isn't doing the job he's being paid to do, and trying to pass off a work of fiction as an informative article.  And it's not even well-done fiction!
This is outrageous.

I thought you really tested your decks on MOL, but since ponder is banned, seems pretty clear now you dont.

Iam feeling cheated, you articles are a fraud, your decks are bad, and you are a terrible professional.

I remember you put a firespout on a alara-zendikar standard deck once, so this is not the first time you do this kind of terrible mistake.

I wish we could have Ben Bleweiss back too...  



I'm going to second everyone's words in here. Ponder? Telling us he playtested? I always thought his playtestings where a little absurd, maybe a tad exaggerating when he playtested but come on. That was ridiculous. Now we know why his opponents never really seem experienced, skilled or real.

But I want to mention the othe side of the coin. I'm not a Modern expert or anything, I'm neutral about this format, but the deck seemed to have potential. I really want to build my own version of this, playtest it, also take care of the sideboard and go to a tournament with it. Just for fun of course. No Ponders.




It's more than a mistake.  It's evidence of complete fakery.  He built a half-arsed deck (which in and of itself would have been pathetic, but exusable) and then instead of actually playtesting it he just made up some games to make it sound halfway decent and called it a day.  It demonstrates a complete lack of respect for his readership or for his job.  It's proof positive that he isn't doing the job he's being paid to do, and trying to pass off a work of fiction as an informative article.  And it's not even well-done fiction!


Before making accusations, you guys might want to remember that BoaB is no longer an MTGO-specific column.  Pieces of cardboard don't check for format legality every time you try to shuffle them.
You people are extrapolating to a huge degree. Many people like to do their testing with physical cards. You really don't have to fire up magic online to test you know, some people have friends with which to play they game.

It's very strange that nobody noticed that he played an illegal card while testing, but to err is human.
You people are extrapolating to a huge degree. Many people like to do their testing with physical cards. You really don't have to fire up magic online to test you know, some people have friends with which to play they game.

It's very strange that nobody noticed that he played an illegal card while testing, but to err is human.



In fact, we have reason to believe that his testing for his deck was with cardboard Magic and not a case of fabricating mtgo results.
Behold:

"I untapped and showed my opponent Wildfire. My opponent conceded."



Showing an opponent a card in your hand is not possible on Magic Online outside of in-game actions like revealing to a Silvergill Adept or the after-game action of revealing your entire hand. Now, it's possible JVL's language is not literal, and that by "show" he meant "cast". But to me this creates enough doubt to assume that he was playing with real cards.


I do want to add that despite not suspecting JVL of fraud, I think the recurring criticism of BoaB is legitimate. I don't even care about the issue myself, I just see people complaining all the time. It seems like the most commonly voiced greivances are 1) The series has lost its sense of budget and 2) the testing sessions are a joke. JVL is a pretty cool guy and I don't think he needs to get booted to fix the column. How about sticking to an explicit budget and theorizing matchups with sideboard strategy instead of doing whatever he wants and showcasing 2-3 meaningless games?
It's very hard to believe that neither of the people he played against remembered that ponder was banned. And another gripe, why only one game against Tron? Was the opponent too embarassed to continue?
I'm going to avoid jumping on the bandwagon here, mistakes happen, to err is human and all that.

What I am curious about though is why this isn't checked automatically? When putting a deck into your fancy deckshowing thingy, why doesn't it ask about the format and say "these cards are illegal in this format"? Pretty much all sites I've been to where I've entered a deck does it, write the name of the card, the script finds the real card for you, adds a link, just like yours does, and then tells me which formats the deck is legal in, and why, or, if I've put in the format already it'll shout at me for doing wrong.

Doesn't seem like it'd be that hard to do, and it would avoid these kinds of mistakes in the future, because it isn't the first time, and it isn't a one-time thing.
Good grief this comment thread is sad.

There's no way Jacob has falsified testing for this or any other article. Indeed, I can't help suspecting that it's the need to carry out tests every week that means he sometimes ends up playing paper games against non-expert opponents instead of building the deck on MtGO and giving it a ten match workout.

Missing Ponder's illegality is an easy mistake to make for any player who doesn't play Modern much since it's legal in Standard. Is that really worth an entire thread full of badly articulated hate?
There's no way Jacob has falsified testing for this or any other article. Indeed, I can't help suspecting that it's the need to carry out tests every week that means he sometimes ends up playing paper games against non-expert opponents instead of building the deck on MtGO and giving it a ten match workout.



Err, no way? How is there, exactly, no way? It's not that difficult to think up random games, especially against predictable decks like Tron and Affinity. It's not that I think this is necessarily true. I don't think Jacob is pulling our collective leg. However, the format of the column continues to represent a problem. There is no way that Jacob can put out a new deck every week while still remaining competitive and within a budget. He has proven that throughout the course of his career here. So, and I've been saying this for ages now, reduce quantity and increase quality. There is no need to produce a new deck every week. Build a deck one week, then just play it for a week. Talk about strategy, talk about sideboarding, talk about how to play the deck, talk about budget alternatives.

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.
Can we now please wish Jacob well in his future endeavors and brink back the magic online focused, multiple weeks per deck column? His effort to build bad tournament decks are just embarrassing by now.

There are times that is possible to build budget decks that can beat your local sanctioned metagame. But they are the exception, no the rule. This guy has to come week after week with new tournament "worthy" decks, with no real time to test(testing online is just faster).

If ate least posted the FNM that he goes with this decks, it would be more believable. But it's just sad.
Is it the purpose of this column that the deck HAS to be able to stand up to the best decks in the format?  What happened to just building fun, cheap decks that win a decent percentage of non-sideboarded games?  I find it hard to believe that this column caters to the hardcore tournament crowd because they're already playing one of the best decks in the format.  Budget players <> Tournament players (there are exceptions but I think this is the general rule) so why the pressure to make tournament-viable decks week in and out (which apparently leads to crummy articles).   I think this article could support a new deck each week if it didn't have to crush the tournament opposition.
I like JVl.  But recently, I find his articles a bit lacking.  In fact, perhaps as recent as the start of the year.  Writing for the mothership is supposed to be the pinnacle of a Magic-related field.  It should not be lacking in professionalism as such.  So how could such a problem arise?

This raises a few questions.

Is JVL doing any legitimate research?

If so, did he use Gatherer to conduct his research?

Are there any checks on the writer to maintain professionalism?

Are the articles ever vetted seriously?

I do feel that physical games are more engaging than online, but surely someone could call out on ponder being a banned card in modern.  If no one does, he/she has been clearly out of the magic scene/hasn't been reading/JVL could have cooked up some games of his own.

I understand that coming up with competitive decks every week is a huge task.  But one thing that the higher powers above never realized is that budget decks does not mean competitive decks, vice versa.  It will never be, because Modern and Standard Magic is based on a hierarchy.  It's high society.  The most expensive decks wins the most games, and is clearly the most successful.

Building on a Budget, as a weekly theme, is a dead man walking.  Chucking JVL away isn't the end all, be all.  But it is clear that he is at wits' end. you can't be budget and win the majority of the games.  Having fun is one thing, and winning games play a majority part of having fun.

And Trick is right.  This cannot happen again.  There are many extremely good writers out there dying to write for the mothership.  Give Gavin Verhay a chance.  Keep people like Noel, Adam, Maro, and Zac.  These people are dynamic, they keep reinventing themselves so they don't stay stale.  The rest have to be re-evaluated.
Before making accusations, you guys might want to remember that BoaB is no longer an MTGO-specific column.  Pieces of cardboard don't check for format legality every time you try to shuffle them.



^This. I don't even bother checking the Ban lists. I ONLY use hardcopy cards; I would NEVER pay for a commodity that can be lost with a couple of corrupted files. Does it make it harder to playtest? Duh, yes. Do I feel more secure? Duh, yes!
Can we now please wish Jacob well in his future endeavors and brink back the magic online focused, multiple weeks per deck column? His effort to build bad tournament decks are just embarrassing by now.

There are times that is possible to build budget decks that can beat your local sanctioned metagame. But they are the exception, no the rule. This guy has to come week after week with new tournament "worthy" decks, with no real time to test(testing online is just faster).

If ate least posted the FNM that he goes with this decks, it would be more believable. But it's just sad.



Really? Because I've taken ideas of his and run with them, placing 5th of 20 at my local FNM with deck ideas of his multiple times.
Maybe they could just get a few folks to share the BoaB column on some kind of rotation? Trying to get everything in each week seems like it is making the articles suffer. But if there were 3 people, each writing an article every 3 weeks, their articles could be fully fleshed out.
I've said this before about BoaB and I will say it again.  Why does this article feel the need to be competitive? I think the mass majority of your players are not competitive Magic players.  I would be surprised if more than half had ever been to a FNM, much less competed or WON. 

My closest gamestore is over an hour away so I have no intention of attempting FNM.  My playgroup is 5 guys max on any given night.  I read BoaB because I want to beat my 5 buddies who are playing, literally, at my kitchen table. $80 is not budget.  For me, $50 is not really budget.  If a deck has a 4 count of any card over 5 dollars it's immediately out of my budget.  

The need for this article to be competitive is going to be it's downfall.  Put together fun, interesting decks that fulfill my desire to build something new without breaking the bank.  Screw formats and ban lists.  You have the entire history of Magic cards at your disposal.  Use them.
Shuffling writers seems like a bad idea, JVL or whoever writes BoaB should just use decks for like 2 or 3 weeks and evolve them over time, discuss sideboards, try out different things. Or even do the "evolve a precon" thing, just startig with an event deck to start with better, more playable cards.
How much mana do you need to wildfire one turn and then cast Frost Giant the next?  The implication from that bit of the article is wildfire only hits opponents land so either you've protected your land or you have a ton of mana available, or it's badly written.


To be honest I sort of suspect I don't know how the deck works. 
I've said this before about BoaB and I will say it again.  Why does this article feel the need to be competitive? I think the mass majority of your players are not competitive Magic players.  I would be surprised if more than half had ever been to a FNM, much less competed or WON. 

My closest gamestore is over an hour away so I have no intention of attempting FNM.  My playgroup is 5 guys max on any given night.  I read BoaB because I want to beat my 5 buddies who are playing, literally, at my kitchen table. $80 is not budget.  For me, $50 is not really budget.  If a deck has a 4 count of any card over 5 dollars it's immediately out of my budget.  

The need for this article to be competitive is going to be it's downfall.  Put together fun, interesting decks that fulfill my desire to build something new without breaking the bank.  Screw formats and ban lists.  You have the entire history of Magic cards at your disposal.  Use them.

Isn't serious fun more what you are looking for?
It's not joining the badwagon at this point, it's refusing to get on a sinking ship.


JVL has weekly issues, and none of his articles have enough testing, or even a single match involving three games.

I guess some of you guys know the guy, or watch him on SCG, or something that biases your opinion. I mean, he is a cool guy, but it doesn't matter if you're Fonzie, if you constantly drop the milk as a grocery bagger you're let go.


 I realize this is a tough column, but I also realize when that excuse has been abused to much, and when no advice reaches the guy.


Pick a format, look for a cheap deck. Play with it while taking notes on the games (or a video). Modify it. Write an article. Play with it. Finetune it. Get into some real games. Write an article. Work a sideboard. Test it in games.  Write an article on the results.

Deck become too expensive? Ignore the restriction? Make excuses? How about change decks or adapt? Articles are hard? It's hard to keep track of games? To keep up with the banlist of your format? To talk about how your deck works? Then it's time to give up.


I truly build on a budget, both to save money on one of my many hobbies, but also to challenge myself to adapt and grow into a better builder. $50. I take an Event Deck, I upgrade it. I adapt it to my metagame. It wins, and it fights tough match-ups where my opponent's have me outbid by $300. The next set comes out and off to a new deck project I go. For a few months, fun is had, and a test of meddle is had. What more can I ask out of $50?

It fights tough match-ups. 35-65 match-ups. It perseveres, and sometimes playing perfectly isn't enough, but it is admirable in its own right.

It also has to make tough decisions. 4 Birthing Pod is a necessity, for example, but sometimes 4 Birds of Paradise is not (Llanowar Elf is not much worse at all). You have to decide what can and cannot be cut, and figure out alterations or directions you have to take to stay in budget and still stay successful.

Talking about a budget is easy, actually implementing it is not. But you have to have principles, don't just give in because the deck would just be so much better with 4 Sword of War and Peace. When you give in and make exceptions, you no longer think like a budget player. Many budget players can't make exceptions like JVL can, some of us actually can't because we can't afford to, literally.

As for JVL, he can't afford to and he doesn't realize it. When you tell yourself you have a cheap deck idea, you want to play it, and then you find out it's not cheap: you can forgive yourself and go ahead with it anyway, nobody cares. But when you go around telling people you have a cheap deck idea you would like to share with them, and then notice it isn't cheap, you don't start arguing to them that it's cheap and make excuses and persuade them to do it anyway.

This is just some advice from a fellow budget player.
2 Weeks in a row where he messed up with card legality (last week he at least caught the Sword before he submitted the article, but didn't bother to correct it).

Perhaps he's got other things in his life that are detracting from his performance. I ask you JVL to take a moment to re-evaluate your priorities. There's nothing wrong with stepping down from writing if you can't bring your best any more. Everyone has to do it eventually. 
This is my favorite part:

"This sort of error should not happen and will not happpen again."

-- Trick Jarrett, Editor-in-Chief of DailyMTG.com
That wasn't there before, he totally got hax0red
For all the people talking about how the column should go back to the way it used to be...JVL's version is actually quite similar to the original, Nate Heiss version of the column.

I preferred the JMS / Ben Bleiweiss versions too but they weren't really "Building on a Budget" -- that name really does bring to mind more "suggestions on how to win FNMs without breaking the bank" than "watch me build casual decks". What I'd really prefer would be if they'd bring back something along the lines of those incarnations of BoaB as a different column. We've got several columns that present decks (BoaB and From The Lab every week, and Serious Fun fairly often) and while they all go into some detail of why they made the choices that they did, we don't really have a column about "deckbuilding" anymore. That's what JMS's  and Ben's versions of BoaB really were.

As for the current article, Sleight of Hand can replace Ponder fine. I keep meaning to try and put together a Wildfire deck for Modern, but I'm not really sure the Eminent Domain approach is really the best one, even if it is a deck I have a soft spot for too.
blah blah metal lyrics