04/04/2012 BoaB: "Back From the Grave"

46 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.
First!!! Do I get a cookie now?
Looting + Unearth/Flashback seems like the kind of "not turning creatures sideways" that gets innocent cards banned in Modern.
JVL I love you.
I'm not into Modern enough to comment on the affordability of any of these cards, but other than that, this is one of your best articles.  It has just the right balance of explaining how and why you made the changes to made since last week compared to discussion of the matches. Also, I very much appreciate that you talk about how to approach the matchups one is likely to face instead match descriptions or recaps.  I think that the former is much more clear and helpful to players of a variety of skill levels.

It's clear that you put a lot of effort into this article, and for that, I appaud you.
~ Current Decks I'm Playing or Building ~ (Click a deck's name to see list) [] CorpseJunk Menace/Township Counters (Standard) [] Reanimation/Clerics Theme Deck - Commander: Ghost Dad [] Devouring Tokens (Planechase, Multiplayer) [] Krark-Clan Ironworks: 2012 Edition (Modern) [] Azorious Turbo Fog (Modern)
I prefer the more in-depth columns. It's one thing to rattle off a list. It's a completely different thing to explain choices and why certain cards are in and others are out. At the very least it leaves more room for discussion due to understanding the thought process and getting explanations why some cards are there and against who. I'm not trying to say the column was ever bad, but the quick list plus two match column format seems too close to that new guy who showed up to play at the local store and is super excited about a deck they built so they start rattling it off to you regardless of your interest or understanding of what they're trying to accomplish.
Did...did...did he just listen to us? Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

I'm sorry, that's a bit unfair. I like this deck and I like this column very very much. It had everything I ever hoped this kind of column could have. Kudos, Jacob, and thank you for writing this.
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 enjoyed your article this week, glad that you're listening to us readers.

Have you considered Surgical Extracation?  It's decent against potentially ascension, tron (makes smallpox WAY better), aggro loam, splinter twin, melira (and other) pod, and basically any other archetype that leans too heavily on any particular card that you may be able to destroy/make them discard, as well as any non-diverse threat-light control deck.

Also, in regards to the rat creature:  6 damage for 2BB is less impressive next to the 7 for 1BB and the 3 for 1 Rack.  I'm really not sure what to suggest though, I still think it's better than Nihilith.  Probably needs to be either a finisher of some sort or something that generates massive card advantage. 
Great job!! Love it like this. (2 weeks for one deck)



I enjoyed your article this week, glad that you're listening to us readers.

Have you considered Surgical Extracation?  It's decent against potentially ascension, tron (makes smallpox WAY better), aggro loam, splinter twin, melira (and other) pod, and basically any other archetype that leans too heavily on any particular card that you may be able to destroy/make them discard, as well as any non-diverse threat-light control deck.

Also, in regards to the rat creature:  6 damage for 2BB is less impressive next to the 7 for 1BB and the 3 for 1 Rack.  I'm really not sure what to suggest though, I still think it's better than Nihilith.  Probably needs to be either a finisher of some sort or something that generates massive card advantage. 



The rat does not seem impressive, but think about what you want for replacement: "Probably needs to be either a finisher of some sort or something that generates massive card advantage." The rat does both, since it makes your opponent discard and then acts as a finisher.
Great article, nice deck!

I can see this week that the looting does not get sided out as before, which really means it shines. I will have to try the deck in some form form casual play...

In addition with the new deck doctoring column I think that the kind of metagame analysis you are performing in this article is a perfect recipe for the column. A two-week format, one for deckbuilding and one for the metagame would be great!


Keep up the good work!

I loved the way you took the time to work on the deck and make changes. It was awesome to see your reasoning for taking out some cards and adding others in. As a new player, this is one of the hardest things for me to do, so I greatly appreciate reading your explanations.
I really enjoyed that article. I've refrained from Ben Bleiweiss comparisons in the posts, but the most interesting parts of Ben's articles were the steps he took in evolving the deck. It was great to see Jake do this, and condense it sufficiently to include a very good metagame / match-up analysis.

Thank you for this article, more like it please!

Heck, I'd even like to see you do match reports of an MTGO 8-man or other tournament. As you've now done an article which expands the deck selection section of your 'basic' article, could we also have an expanded version of the specimen games section. I'd like to see the deck being played in a competitive environment.
I much prefer this style, where you propose a deck and initially test it one week, then evolve and justify the changes the second week. It gave me a far better insight into your thoughts about card evaluation, and I really found this week's article very informative. 
Rules Advisor. Used to play a lot of old Extended tournaments, now I just play prereleases and casual kitchen-table games with friends. My regular decks, many of which have been evolving for years: Contested Cliffs Beasts Coastal Piracy Hana Kami Spirit recycling Rout Multiplayer control Seizan, Perverter of Truth Commander
I was looking to get into modern and I appreciate your deck here. The best part of the article for me was the clearly iterated sideboard tech. For a modern noob that was an essential piece of the article for me. Thanks again for a great article.
It's great that you explained everything and listened to the audience, but you pulled a writing gaffe.

Don't tell us what you will write about, just write about it.

I see this mistake more and more and it baffles me. I was given the proverbial hand slap on essays and the like many many times for this, yet it seems that I am seeing it more and more.
Great article and great deck.  Finally budget.  I appreciate your attempt to listen to us.  

I think there is still a part of me that wants to see cheap, effective, home-brews built for the casual player.  I don't really blame Jacob for the article he is writing, because I think it just has a different feel than what I am looking for.  I have enjoyed "From the Lab" more so recently because I get to see decks built with various odd cards from the sets, and even though that writer does not shoot for budget, I still get to see his reasoning and process behind the deck. With that, I can make replacements that are more budget friendly for me while still maintaining the soul of the deck.

I would love to see an article titled "Building on a Tighter Budget."  Use those crap rares you guys churn out every set that we can buy for 10 cents a piece! 
Nice follow up. 

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." ************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************MaRo: During a playtest, I played a Reaper from the Abyss. I attacked each turn, while my opponent would chump block (he had a lot of fliers), and then I killed a second creature. This happened until he had only one creature left. I attack, he blocked, and then the following dialogue occurred:

Him: Kill your demon. Me: What? Him: My guy died so you have to kill a creature.

Me: Yeah, but why would a demon kill himself?

Him: I don't know. He's depressed there's no one left to kill.

Me: That doesn't make any sense. Him: I don't care. It's what the card says. I then take out my pen, and wrote "non-Demon" on it.

Him: You can't do that.

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

Great column.  Thank you for your hard work.

 

Goblin Artisans
a Magic: the Gathering design blog
Not only was the article great, but I think the deck might get me into Mordern. Also just to note that I also enjoy your normal columns but I really liked the 1-2 on a deck that really intersts me.
Grow old or die trying.
great column this week...loved the evolution and great deckbuilding tips

i would rather have 2 more inquisition of kozilek rather than some other cards in the deck...
provides much more consistent turn 1 play...makes the easy matchups even easier with targeted discard, and buys time for harder matchups

as someone mentioned...in a discard deck, surgical extraction sounds like an awesome sideboard card
turns all the useless discard into 0 mana cranial extraction...can kill tron and able to shut down the loam engine

in old similar decks...they used to use tombstalker as a fatty...but this deck doesn't quite fit with it
ofcourse tarmogoyf is good >.> but wayyyyyyyyyyyyy out of budget

maelstrom pulse is an alternative to oblivion ring...

oh...add a terminate or doom blade...then looks perfect...some bad creatures in the deck can have a second chance with some spot removal


I think this kind of article really plays to the writer's strengths.  His specialties seem to be metagame analysis and trial-and-error adjustments.  I think something like this would read much better on a regular basis than prior deck-a-week efforts.  Those tend to be hit and miss, and don't take the time to really show the work which, as I said, is the author's greatest strength.
Susan Summerson from the Hell breaks loose Flavorful Voting Game http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29076567/Hell_breaking_loose:_an_Avacyn_Restored_voting_game?pg=1 Click here for more Forum Games:
Show
Susan Summerson also appeared in the Innistrad Mafia Game http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28609371/Innistrad_Mafia?pg=1 Writer of Nally Bear from The Gathering Flavorful Voting Game: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28846821/The_Gathering:_M12_flavorful_voting_game?pg=1 Writer of Phyrex the Myr from Phyrexia Reborn: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/27993097/Phyrexia_Reborn:_A_Flavorful_Voting_Game?pg=1 Writer of Tinker the Myr from Legacy of Karn: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/26647005/Karns_Legacy_(A_flavorful_voting_game) Writer of Crusader Tolkana, who has appeared in: Eldrazi Awaken: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/24071149/Eldrazi_Awaken:_A_flavorful_voting_game?pg=1 Colors of Magic: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/25352501/Colors_of_Magic:_a_flavor_game?pg=1 Guildwars III: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/26082093/Guildwars_III:_Shattered_Pact_(A_flavorful_voting_game)?pg=1 Writer of Isaic from Treasures of Zendikar http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/22819881/Treasures_of_Zendikar?post_id=402182877#402182877

The rat does not seem impressive, but think about what you want for replacement: "Probably needs to be either a finisher of some sort or something that generates massive card advantage." The rat does both, since it makes your opponent discard and then acts as a finisher.



Unfortunately, the rat doesn't live up to the standards of any of what it does.  Wrench Mind costs BB, the rat costs 1B for each card (plus 2BB down).   The rack costs 1, this rat costs 2BB and doesn't come online until the opponent has no cards.  And on top of that, the two sides are mutually exclusive.  He's just not efficient enough in either regard when considered by themselves, and I would also argue that he's probably not good enough when considering both abilities as well.  Tempo is extremely important in Modern, and if you're waiting for turn 5 you should probably have stripped your opponent's hand by then, making the front useless and the back overcosted.

Painful Quandry may be able to make it as 2 of in this deck, if you land one after voiding an opponent's hand then they are pretty much locked out of playing spells unless they main disenchanters, and it makes your discard better late game by being able to strip the cards they would discard so they're forced into a lose-lose situation.  Maybe just like Gatekeeper of Malakir or something good against aggro decks?  If this wasn't a budget deck the clear winner is Tarmgoyf, playing little brother to Nyxathid of all things. (or maybe lilliana of the veil coming in against aggro)

Also, sideboarding Unburial Rites seems legit as hell when you've forced your opponent to discard a Titan/WC Engine.

One more thing, you should probably be able to cut 1-3 vivids, you've got 8 spells that you can cast from hand for not black and from yard for black, so only 8 mains that are nonblack and 4 FB that are nonblack.  Since you have 4 looting, you will probably find the vivids in time to play the FB, and you will probably be able to swing a better draw from swamps which don't CIPT (and if that works really well you may want to move to 4 inquisition so you have a gaurenteed turn 1 play).  I dunno tho, Specter may just be such a beating out of your hand that it may be better to keep the higher number of vivids.  I mean, you can always dump him to smallpox and looting though.
Interesting that you say Slaughter Pacts aren't budget, but include Damnation.

So what would people suggest for building this kind of deck in non-budget terms? Shocks/Fetches can replace the Vivid lands, I'm assuming, and Thoughtseize > Inquisition of Kozilek, but what else would work with a strategy like this?
This 2-week format works very well. Keep up the good work.
It's great that you explained everything and listened to the audience, but you pulled a writing gaffe.

Don't tell us what you will write about, just write about it.

I see this mistake more and more and it baffles me. I was given the proverbial hand slap on essays and the like many many times for this, yet it seems that I am seeing it more and more.



Well, I think it's kind of a choice. In scientific circles, most papers introduce their subject and even their results before they start. Then again, I've also had professors who were vociferously against this.


The rat does not seem impressive, but think about what you want for replacement: "Probably needs to be either a finisher of some sort or something that generates massive card advantage." The rat does both, since it makes your opponent discard and then acts as a finisher.



Unfortunately, the rat doesn't live up to the standards of any of what it does.  Wrench Mind costs BB, the rat costs 1B for each card (plus 2BB down).   The rack costs 1, this rat costs 2BB and doesn't come online until the opponent has no cards.  And on top of that, the two sides are mutually exclusive.  He's just not efficient enough in either regard when considered by themselves, and I would also argue that he's probably not good enough when considering both abilities as well.  Tempo is extremely important in Modern, and if you're waiting for turn 5 you should probably have stripped your opponent's hand by then, making the front useless and the back overcosted.



The Rat comes online on Turn 3 (it costs 1B, not 2BB, though it is 2BB for the first card), and if it works, then it can be an absolute powerhouse.

Painful Quandry may be able to make it as 2 of in this deck, if you land one after voiding an opponent's hand then they are pretty much locked out of playing spells unless they main disenchanters, and it makes your discard better late game by being able to strip the cards they would discard so they're forced into a lose-lose situation.  Maybe just like Gatekeeper of Malakir or something good against aggro decks?  If this wasn't a budget deck the clear winner is Tarmgoyf, playing little brother to Nyxathid of all things. (or maybe lilliana of the veil coming in against aggro)

Also, sideboarding Unburial Rites seems legit as hell when you've forced your opponent to discard a Titan/WC Engine.



I like Painful Quandary, but Unburial Rites only works on your own creatures. You'd have to play Rise from the Grave.

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.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />The Rat comes online on Turn 3 (it costs 1B, not 2BB, though it is 2BB for the first card), and if it works, then it can be an absolute powerhouse.



Ok, so on turn 2 you get a 1/1 with this guy.  Turn 3 you can activate it sure, but you've only gotten one card, two if you landed turn 1 swamp, inquision.  That means it's still just a 1/1 while you stare at wrench mind/smallpox in your hand.  Bottom line it's the rack on a 3/3 for 2BB minimum since the transformation is attached to the activation of the ability.  Sure, it's good.  6 dmg/turn for 2BB is not bad, it's just not on Nyxathid, the Rack or Tarmgoyf's level in terms of consistant damage output/CMC.

Honestly, this deck is going to have a rough time against tempo-control the likes of Delver.  Nyxathid/Rack isn't very good if they counter all your discard, is it?  I think the regular control matchup would be a little better since they go for more of a 1 for 1 you until grave titan/consecrated sphinx/Black sun zenith and this deck is a little more resiliant to that with the unearth and the fewer but cheap and heavy hitting creatures, plus the rack that you can sneak under their counters early.
Ok, so on turn 2 you get a 1/1 with this guy.  Turn 3 you can activate it sure, but you've only gotten one card, two if you landed turn 1 swamp, inquision.  That means it's still just a 1/1 while you stare at wrench mind/smallpox in your hand.  Bottom line it's the rack on a 3/3 for 2BB minimum since the transformation is attached to the activation of the ability.  Sure, it's good.  6 dmg/turn for 2BB is not bad, it's just not on Nyxathid, the Rack or Tarmgoyf's level in terms of consistant damage output/CMC.



Sure, but Tarmogoyf is not budget and an unfair comparison for any creature, and the others need you to play discard first. Nezumi Shortfang rolls the entire package into one, which is pretty good. Also note that it is one of the very few pieces of instant speed discard that are available, which adds another layer of nastiness.

Honestly, this deck is going to have a rough time against tempo-control the likes of Delver.  Nyxathid/Rack isn't very good if they counter all your discard, is it?  I think the regular control matchup would be a little better since they go for more of a 1 for 1 you until grave titan/consecrated sphinx/Black sun zenith and this deck is a little more resiliant to that with the unearth and the fewer but cheap and heavy hitting creatures, plus the rack that you can sneak under their counters early.



If they counter all your discard, they're still emptying their hand. I would think Lingering Souls is also pretty good in that matchup. I'm not really sure though why Jacob thinks the matchups would be great, as I am no tournament player.
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.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Sure, but Tarmogoyf is not budget and an unfair comparison for any creature, and the others need you to play discard first. Nezumi Shortfang rolls the entire package into one, which is pretty good. Also note that it is one of the very few pieces of instant speed discard that are available, which adds another layer of nastiness.

If they counter all your discard, they're still emptying their hand. I would think Lingering Souls is also pretty good in that matchup. I'm not really sure though why Jacob thinks the matchups would be great, as I am no tournament player.



True, Tarmogoyf is certainly better than most creatures for the cost, but it's a perfectly legitimate comparison for any deck in Modern format specifically becauser Tarm is one of the best critters in the format.  If you can't race Tarm, they you'll have a hard matchup against whoever is running it.  Just because you're building a budget deck doesn't mean that everyone you play won't have the Tarm.  Realistically, a deck needs to have plans for all of the main players in a format or you risk losing too many matches to even get to the finals.

Also, Shortfang is only instant speed if it survives until you can tap it.  It leaves you open to their removal.  Also, my point still stands that at 2BB you're only getting a 1/1 and a card from the opponent's hand.  So much of Modern comes down to tempo that I just simply think the rat is too slow.    Ultimately I also think that the instant speed is negligable since you're already running so many good discard spells.  Why wait until the opponent's turn for 1 card when you can tap out and get much more card and tempo advantage by hitting them with Mind Wrench?

Also, if delver counters all your discard you can be pretty sure that they're going to keep as many cards in hand as is necessary to beat you in a race.  They're not gonna throw down another critter so that your rack can get more damage in if their delver with Sword of **** is already beating you in a race:  they're gonna hold onto those cards until you drop a blocker, at which point they'll vapor snag it and just kill you.  And also, if your deck has no way to deal with Delver, then they're not gonna care about discarding, because they're still gonna crush you in a race by just vapor snagging Nyxathid.

One last thing:  My analysis only applies to competitive Modern.  If you're playing with other people who are BOAB, then I really do think the Shortfang is a great choice.  I just don't think it'll stand up to anything in the current format, especially since it's so drenched in X/1s that people are starting to take note and fill up their main/side boards with things like Gut Shot, Geistflame and Flame Jab (however, these are all budget cards, so Nezumi may still be a little weak.  I don't know the density of X/1s in BOAB format because I don't usually BOAB, so the density of 1 damage dealing spells may be very low, and make the Nezumi a great choice).
Nice piece of work. I would like to see one that goes analysis first, final list last. I think it would be a more interesting read, bu either way is good. I agree with the reader that said it played with his strengths.

The biggest problem for JBL now, is how much similar his column will be with Gavin 
The biggest problem for JBL now, is how much similar his column will be with Gavin 

If JVL sticks to Standard & Modern, and Gavin does not, there will be substantial enough difference.

Love the detail of this article very easy to read and follow.
But seriously Damnation? How the heck is that BoaB?

I don't care if it's only a sideboard option, that is a pretty monumental oversight to a budget deck. I read these articles because I am a budget builder myself. I very rarely will build a deck if it costs me more than $40 when I am keeping a budget in mind. Damnation is a $25 card or more.

Maybe as a suggestion there needs to be a loose guideline to what constitutes a budget and what does not. Maybe capping at like $40-$50? Or how about this:

No cards over $20. I don't think that is unreasonable.

The worst part is he calls for not one but TWO damnations in the sideboard.
As a builder, I realize sometimes my SB is way too expensive. I cut back, of course, but some players give in and let the SB be costless (honestly not a bad idea considering no SB is right for everyone anyway, it's a fluff feature of a deck-building article).

While you're right about Damnation, I do want to mention this is Modern, an eternal format. You're guaranteed to be allowed your deck for much time to come, so whether that is deceptive or not, it's affecting the market. It can obviously be budgeted, but by percent, not by an absolute budget taken directly from whatever your standard budget is. If it's too much, you can't play.
it's (sideboarding) a fluff feature of a deck-building article.



I heartily disagree.  Sideboarding is extremely important, and is definitely part of the deck-building process.
I didn't say it wasn't.
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you meant?  Seems like you were saying that sideboarding is extraneous to a deck-building article (and therefore the process itself), which I still disagree with.
As a builder, I realize sometimes my SB is way too expensive. I cut back, of course, but some players give in and let the SB be costless (honestly not a bad idea considering no SB is right for everyone anyway, it's a fluff feature of a deck-building article).

While you're right about Damnation, I do want to mention this is Modern, an eternal format. You're guaranteed to be allowed your deck for much time to come, so whether that is deceptive or not, it's affecting the market. It can obviously be budgeted, but by percent, not by an absolute budget taken directly from whatever your standard budget is. If it's too much, you can't play.



I don't think it's ridiculous to expect that an entire column based on building within a budget is going too far when it includes overpriced cards, be them in the sideboard or main deck.

Besides, if the sideboard is a fluff feature as you put it, then why the heck did JVL essentially re-do a previous column with 4-5 revisions based on the metagame that focused solely on sideboarding? If he's just jerking us off by doing this and not paying any attention to people's budgets by including expensive cards because it's a "Fluff feature" then I'd rather he just gave us a new deck instead of pointlessly repeating himself.

As for your point about this being modern, I am not sure if you are suggesting that means that prices will go up or down or what? In any case, I'm not expecting him to predict market trends, just to honour the time and current market value when he's making decklists. (On a sidenote- I don't think anyone will argue that damnation will stay high for quite sometime, unless it sees 3+ reprintings.)

Look, at the end of the day this column is about building on a budget. Not "building on a budget except for the sideboard or whenever the hell I feel like making an exception". Some people are willing or have the means to spend more. Some don't. For those in the first category, there are Many resources on this site that explore those options. This is one of the sole places on this site, and on the internet, where there is a database of budget friendly decks. Losing sight or respect for that just sucks to be quite honest. I can tinker on my own all I want, but I like reading other people's ideas and how they get around budget restrictions - it's how I've grown as a budget builder.

But "Durr durr having creature problems? Use damnation lol" is just plain awful.



About the Damnation: I really think that for BOAB there are good alternatives.  Some people can't throw down for $40  of sideboard for one deck.  The problem with this deck is that it folds to creature matchups.  So why not put in stuff that's really good against creatures? 
These are all very reasonable options that are super cheap:
Darkblast, Flame Jab, Funeral Charm,  Infest, Consuming Vapors, Consume the Meek

Also these are good and may find a home, but could easily be a build of their own:
Raven's Crime, Grim Harvest,
About the Damnation: I really think that for BOAB there are good alternatives.  Some people can't throw down for $40  of sideboard for one deck.  The problem with this deck is that it folds to creature matchups.  So why not put in stuff that's really good against creatures? 
These are all very reasonable options that are super cheap:
Darkblast, Flame Jab, Funeral Charm,  Infest, Consuming Vapors, Consume the Meek

Also these are good and may find a home, but could easily be a build of their own:
Raven's Crime, Grim Harvest,



I completely agree with you, and thanks for the suggestions. But I do know there are a ton of alternatives, I do my research too. Isn't his job to *playtest* these alternatives, not just cave in and use a $25 rare because it's easier?

As for your point that some people can't afford to throw down $40 for a sideboard, I agree completely.
By what you just said, is that not the point of this entire column? It is meant for budget players, not "I'm on a budget but lol I'll spend $40 on a sideboard cause thats okay herp derp".

I really don't see how there can be any justification for JVL including this in his column unless for some reason he and his editor had no idea Damnation is worth anything, which is almost worse in my mind (remember the ponder incident from a couple of columns back).

What's so complicated about this concept:

1) Column is called Building on a budget
2) Build on a freaking budget man

I don't see what is getting lost here in his mind.
About the ponder thing:

I think yall are being a little too hard on him.  Unless he's bull**** (which he could be, but I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt), he probably just playtests with proxies IRL w/ friends so he doesn't have to dedicate a million dollars to the column.  I don't expect him to be perfect, much less know everything about every format.  Now, if he sticks to Modern then I think it's a little more important to be sure to remember the ban list - it isn't that long.  Honestly I'm most surprised his editor didn't catch it!  Was that guy sleeping or what?

About Damnation:

I'm perfectly okay with having JVL tell us what a non-budget decklist would look and perform like, but as you said, this is BOAB, so that should be what's the afterthought in this column.  He should be building and playtesting BOAB style and then just dedicate a paragraph or two to the non-BOAB version.  Pretty sure Blewiess was doing this duruing his stint too.  That will make everyone happy.  But I really think that 2 funeral charm + 3 Consume the Meek out of SB would be fine against aggro - Smallpox & funeral charm will hold the fort while you build up to 5 mana for CTM, then wreck them w/ Nyxathid & Rack.  Of course a little spot removal is kinda necessary for those Hero of Bladeholds which don't die to CTM, but that may be decent enough to go main since there's no other removal besides smallpox.

But what I think this deck really needs is a little less splash.  Seriously, you're losing out by playing so many vivid lands.  If anything, the money cards here should've been really cheap modern dual color lands which the players who bought them could use over and over in their decks.  That's the thign about money lands in Modern - it's an eternal format!  BOAB people can use those lands over and over again for as long as they play modern, and having a non-CIPT land would help you shore up a really good turn 1 play, which you're lacking a lot right now.  I think that's easily the best way to make this deck stronger - get a better curve, or less splashing/better lands (because SMPX w/ your vivid lands is kinda scary) Sulfurous Springs is 1.49 ast CoolStuffGames right now, a four of would drop your vivid count to 6 and would only cost $6, leaving you with at least $14 to go, and most of the other stuff in your deck can be found in even a somewhat newer player's collections, or easily traded for.  Sulfurous Springs is a great investment for a newer player, as that will go probably go in every red black deck they play from then on. 

And one last thing about including an "upgrade" option for the cards in BOAB - I think it's a really good idea ultimately, because if there's someone who already has something/ a good portion of the deck, then if they still want to spend the $20 limit or whatever then they'll be able to power up their deck by including the slightly stronger choices.  Mostly though I think it makes for a better read.

Hire me Wizards!!!  I've consistantly contributed to the deck discussion, and I promise I'll keep up with the forum conversations and whatnot on choices and strategies - it's like a second article!
It's great that you explained everything and listened to the audience, but you pulled a writing gaffe.

Don't tell us what you will write about, just write about it.

I see this mistake more and more and it baffles me. I was given the proverbial hand slap on essays and the like many many times for this, yet it seems that I am seeing it more and more.



Well, I think it's kind of a choice. In scientific circles, most papers introduce their subject and even their results before they start. Then again, I've also had professors who were vociferously against this.



To be honest, the only writing classes I ever took were in high school, but high school English teachers are some of the worst writers I've ever met. After I graduated high school, I threw away everything my English teachers taught, and my writing suddenly improved by leaps and bounds.

I don't mind writers telling me what they'll write about before they start writing about it. It gives me an idea of what to expect and some structure to follow. What tends to bother me is the extreme opposite, when the writer starts writing, and I have to read half the article before I can tell what they're trying to say.
snip
Hire me Wizards!!!  I've consistantly contributed to the deck discussion, and I promise I'll keep up with the forum conversations and whatnot on choices and strategies - it's like a second article!



Lol, who knows maybe they will??

You bring up some good points, but he failed to do what you said in this article. I would have no problem if in his decklist he said "I am running 4 Funeral Charm but if you can afford it - go with damnation."
But just simply running them and then not using the budget choices as a STARTING point is really weaksauce. I'm gonna keep saying this, but it's BoaB. He has to honour that.

The manabase thing is frustrating. I get what you are saying about spending money on lands in an eternal format. Pain lands are all fine and dandy - there are a few budget choices that don't enter the battlefield tapped. but in general, I'm gonna be honest, myself and most budget players will just absolutely not be able to afford manabases that are $4+ each. A playset is now $12, and if you combine that with the fact that there are 5 colours in magic that you need mana fixing for, well, it can get annoyingly expensive. I find myself running more Terramorphic Expanses and Ravnica duals, etc nowadays, and pain lands where I can afford them.

On a personal level, I think it's ludicrous that wizards makes such a big deal out of giving players lands that don't have CIPT drawbacks or some other stupid drawback (Tarnished Citadel anyone?). There is no worse feeling in magic than being mana screwed. The entire game DEPENDS on mana to work. Then in order to make a deck work they continually offer us crappy mana fixers instead of just giving us decent lands and reprinting them. I'm not asking for dual lands. But would it kill them to reprint the Shock Lands? Or hell, how about continually reprinting the Dragonskull Summit type cards so they drop to the price of pain lands?

I just feel like players should have access to mana without blowing a hole in their wallet everytime they want to build a deck. And I'd rather see the usable duals get reprinted more than see them make dumb decisions like the CIPT Pain lands from Tempest.

That's a personal rant though. Nothing to do with JVL really.


Although, I have emailed him asking to do a column on Budget Mana Base solving. I think a lot of people would appreciate that. Maybe if you agree email him about it!