7/19/2012 TD: "Four Aggressive Dogs, New Tricks"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Top Decks, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
So there are four MORE aggressive dogs with new tricks because we were already shown four last week.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)

...and then, when you factor in Restoration Angel...

Boo-yah! What's better than a Snapcaster Mage? The same Snapcaster Mage a second time! You can save creatures or get an extra 3/3 Golem, reset a Phantasmal Image (presumably to another enters-the-battlefield); whatever




Does this work?  I don't think it does . 

...and then, when you factor in Restoration Angel...

Boo-yah! What's better than a Snapcaster Mage? The same Snapcaster Mage a second time! You can save creatures or get an extra 3/3 Golem, reset a Phantasmal Image (presumably to another enters-the-battlefield); whatever




Does this work?  I don't think it does . 



I'm pretty sure you're right.  As soon as the Image gets targeted, it's trigger goes on top of the Angel's, killing it.  



I hesitate to be happy about Thragtusk because I'm expecting it to become a super-annoying card.  Thragtusk seems like it pwns aggro decks in general (not just Delver), so unless they can kill quickly it's going to come down and end games.  With Rancor in print, aggro might do just fine.  Until we see what Ravnica has to offer I can't be too unhappy, but when a card immediately pops up in almost half the top 8, it makes me worried.  The card is obviously powerful, and lends itself to abuse.  I hope it doesn't replace Delver as the repetitively annoying victory condition of choice.

Hey guys, remember that card from a set ago, Wolfir Silverheart?  Remember when we thought that card was good?  Yeah, nobody's playing that jank anymore, we have Thrangtusk!



(Though I will applaud them on their colour wheel--they are at least giving green the best creatures). 

Cats land on their feet. Toast lands peanut butter side down. A cat with toast strapped to its back will hover above the ground in a state of quantum indecision.

I would say Thrag is gonna see major abuse, but it kind of already has. Has there ever been a format where serious lifegain was a thing that could actually happen?
I want to be Cultured.
Hmm. Primal Command got played in lifegain mode from time to time. Soul Sisters was an occasional deck, and Spike Feeder got played. Obviously there's Starlit Sanctum and Illusions of Grandeur, but those were more "win the game" than "serious lifegain". 
I'm still pretty new to understanding tournament level deck building.  Can someone help me out in understanding some of this high-level deck construction?  I keep hearing the general mantra of not including 1-ofs unless you really wouldn't want more than one.  So why, in Fritz's GW Aggro for example, would he have just one Ajani?  Or in Kettle's Naya Humans, why have just one Odric?  Or in Durward's Naya Pod having just one each of Bonfire and O-Ring?

It seems if these cards are key to the deck's function they should try to increase their presence?  These decks can't count on an Ajani or Odric or O-Ring each game because I don't think they have any tutoring.  Therefore, wouldn't it follow standard theory to cut something else to include two or more copies of another threat?

I guess I'm asking, "When is having one copy of something advisable?"

 
I'm still pretty new to understanding tournament level deck building.  Can someone help me out in understanding some of this high-level deck construction?  I keep hearing the general mantra of not including 1-ofs unless you really wouldn't want more than one.  So why, in Fritz's GW Aggro for example, would he have just one Ajani?  Or in Kettle's Naya Humans, why have just one Odric?  Or in Durward's Naya Pod having just one each of Bonfire and O-Ring?

It seems if these cards are key to the deck's function they should try to increase their presence?  These decks can't count on an Ajani or Odric or O-Ring each game because I don't think they have any tutoring.  Therefore, wouldn't it follow standard theory to cut something else to include two or more copies of another threat?

I guess I'm asking, "When is having one copy of something advisable?"

 



This article has some really great information on that subject (skip to the section titled "Crunching Numbers"):

www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.a...

Also, keep in mind the legend rule for Odric and the planeswalker uniqueness rule for Ajani.
The above link is really good, but I'll talk about the cards in specific.

Ajani and Odric allow the deck variance. They are both strong cards when you get them down, but if they were always there then your opponent could prepare. They allow you to draw one every so often, and suddenly change the face of the game. This is very potent for a deck to be able to do, because it makes you harder to predict without severely reducing the strength of the deck.

Bonfire and Oblivion Ring are in a Pod deck. Pod decks either run 1-ofs to be searched up with the Pod, or 3 or 4-ofs to be the basis for the Pod. There really wasn't much left to put in, except for a couple of excellent spells that could swing the game at the right time.

Two final things to consider are:
1. Price. People don't like spending money, and these cards (bar Oring) are expensive.
2. Uncertainty. SCG tourneys are not top of the line, and the decks that show up there are often pretty experimental. The builders could have just wanted to play a couple of M13 rares to see how they felt in a tournament setting.
"Always play four of your good cards" is one of those rules that is best followed while you're still learning the ropes but which in truth has more exceptions than you might think.

In Fritz's deck, Flores points out that getting new set mythics is hard, so in that case it may well be that he wanted to play two or three. But Kettle's deck is an excellent example of this sort of principle: Odric is good enough that you don't want to not run him, but he's still worse than Huntmaster of the Fells or Restoration Angel or Hero of Bladehold, and there's only room for so many four-drops in a deck. In this case Kettle likely felt that the marginal advantage from having the potential to draw Odric at any point outweighed the consistency gained from having a fourth copy of one of those other four-drops. This sort of thinking is quite common in higher-level play, but it's something that takes a lot of practice to get right which is why people new at deckbuilding are advised to avoid one-ofs.

What it comes down to is that you can't really go wrong with filling your deck with four-ofs for maximum consistency (unless it's something like a Birthing Pod deck where you want a toolbox), but sometimes sacrificing a little consistency for a more varied approach can pay off.
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On top of the above reasons, the first decks of a newly-changed format tend to be "loose" because there just haven't been that many matches yet.  With perfect knowledge, it probably is better to 4/0 Hero of Bladehold and Odric, Master Tactician or vice versa.  But without hundreds of games played (and without knowing what other decks to expect), that's a tough call to make.  So 3/1 or 2/2 is how you hedge your bets and give both a tryout until you know better.

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Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

Great - these are much better explanations for those specific decks.  Thanks.