11/26/2012 Feature: "Price of Progress: Looking at Mechanics"

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This thread is for discussion of the feature article "Price of Progress: Looking at Mechanics", which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
So the first thing that's obvious when looking at this pool is that black is unplayable and red is also very shallow, and the pool has strong Selesnya and Azorius cards.

My initial idea was hyper-aggressive Azorius deck splashing red via Izzet Guildgate and Izzet Keyrune to enable Explosive Impact and Street Spasm, as there's a critical mass of detainers and a Roc. It would be the better deck if it was a draft, but since it's sealed and things aren't quite as fast, bombs like Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage (that Conley Woods calls a Mythic Rare) are insane. The presence of Transguild promenade made splashing the 3 blue cards easier, and not splashing them is a mistake as they can all take over the game by themselves easily.

This is a slow control deck that has inevitability with populate.

This Deck was built in 0:06:38

Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
5 Forest
2 Island
8 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Transguild Promenade


11 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Azorius Justiciar
1 Centaur's Herald
1 Keening Apparition
1 New Prahv Guildmage
2 Seller of Songbirds
1 Skymark Roc
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Volatile Rig
1 Wayfaring Temple


12 Other Spells
---------------
1 Arrest
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Common Bond
2 Coursers' Accord
1 Eyes in the Skies
1 Knightly Valor
1 Rootborn Defenses
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Supreme Verdict
2 Trostani's Judgment

IMAGE(http://i1.minus.com/jbcBXM4z66fMtK.jpg)

192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
I'd be strongly, strongly inclined to splash Mizzium Mortars into that final UW build, and happy even if I never got to kick it - the deck as built has a serious problem with a lack of true removal; Trostani's Judgement is fine but is likely to be overloaded, and it seems like it would have serious issues beating even a single Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage without a really agressive flying draw.  Treat Mortars as though it were _just_ a slightly more expensive Flame Slash, and consider being able to occasionally cast it overloaded as Magical Christmas Land.

This Deck was built in 0:06:33


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
3 Forest
5 Island
7 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Transguild Promenade



14 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Azorius Justiciar
1 Centaur's Herald
2 Hussar Patrol
1 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Lyev Skyknight
1 New Prahv Guildmage
2 Seller of Songbirds
1 Skymark Roc
1 Tower Drake
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Wayfaring Temple



9 Other Spells
---------------
1 Arrest
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Common Bond
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Eyes in the Skies
1 Knightly Valor
1 Swift Justice
2 Trostani's Judgment

there are no dual colour symbols. While populate isn't super strong, there is enough token generators to make trostani's judgment quite strong. The main colour is white and I was able to get in 7 plains + seleysnya guild gate, so hopefully you wouldnt hit into any issues with coloured mana.

Also.. im coming to love etheral armor, and even swift justice can be amazing 

You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!

This Deck was built in 0:07:17


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
6 Forest
10 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate



10 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Azorius Justiciar
1 Centaur's Herald
1 Golgari Decoy
1 Keening Apparition
1 Selesnya Sentry
2 Seller of Songbirds
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Wayfaring Temple



13 Other Spells
---------------
1 Arrest
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Chorus of Might
1 Common Bond
2 Coursers' Accord
1 Eyes in the Skies
1 Knightly Valor
1 Rootborn Defenses
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Swift Justice
2 Trostani's Judgment

I might be overrating the lack of synergy between this deck and supreme judgment, but that's the only card that would make me want to play blue and I just don't think it adds enough to dilute the mana base. You've got all three of the super green uncommons, a ton of populate cards a solid curve and good tricks. I think this deck is plenty competitive as constructed such that I wouldn't want to risk my mana base for those cards.  

You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!

So, this was my first attempt at building a deck off the pool.  A fair amount of the time spent was figuring out how to use the software, as it was my first time using it.

This Deck was built in 0:23:16

Total Deck Size: 41
17 Lands
---------------
5 Forest
4 Island
6 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Transguild Promenade


13 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Azorius Justiciar
1 Centaur's Herald
2 Hussar Patrol
1 Lyev Skyknight
1 New Prahv Guildmage
2 Rubbleback Rhino
1 Slitherhead
1 Tower Drake
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Wayfaring Temple


11 Other Spells
---------------
1 Arrest
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Chorus of Might
2 Coursers' Accord
1 Downsize
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Eyes in the Skies
1 Rootborn Defenses
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Sundering Growth


So, I first noticed the large number of white, green, and blue cards.  Large numbers don't mean large playability, but overall, I liked what I saw.  One of the biggest "traps" I noticed in those colors, was how many LARGE green greatures.  Look at the 5+ mana in green, that's almost half your mono-green cards right there!  Luckily there was a solid mixture of detain, token, and populate cards to make a deck work.  A variety of flying, ground pounders, and a bit of generic control for a wide variety of needs and purposes.  Creature kill outside of combat will be a problem, but Detain will help you race them.  Not the fastest deck, but not the slowest either.

This was an interesting thought experiment, and I wish I had participated in previous weeks, as Sealed is my favorite limited format.
Scavenge is not a completely modular mechanic because if you have some in your deck then you will want to play self-milling or discarding effects like Grisly Salvage which will then make you want to play more scavengers. (Also as you admitted it will make you want to play Daggerdrome Imp).
I'd be strongly, strongly inclined to splash Mizzium Mortars into that final UW build, and happy even if I never got to kick it - the deck as built has a serious problem with a lack of true removal; Trostani's Judgement is fine but is likely to be overloaded, and it seems like it would have serious issues beating even a single Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage without a really agressive flying draw.  Treat Mortars as though it were _just_ a slightly more expensive Flame Slash, and consider being able to occasionally cast it overloaded as Magical Christmas Land.



I was also considering splashing red for Mizzium Mortars mainly for it's non-overloaded effect in last times homework. Given that it's a rare not mentioning it alongside Mizzium Skin and Street Spasm doesn't lead me to draw any conclusions. So since you didn't mention this in your article I was wondering if you could comment on this idea? Thanks.
7 Forest
9 Plains
1 Izzet Guildgate
1 Transguild Promenade

1 Centaur's Herald
1 Slitherhead

1 Call of the Conclave
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Selesnya Charm

1 Common Bond
1 Wayfaring Temple
2 Seller of Songbirds
1 Arrest
1 Izzet Keyrune
1 Rootborn Defenses

1 Golgari Decoy
1 Eyes in the Skies
1 Chorus of Might

1 Street Spasm
1 Knightly Valor
1 New Prahv Guildmage

2 Coursers' Accord
2 Trostani's Judgement
1 Explosive Impact

41 cards on purposes for land/mana ratio.  New Prahv Guildmage treated as five-drop for mana curve purposes.  Street Spasm always cast without overload.

I believe that splashing is only done for late game cards with only 1 coloured mana, to give you time to draw into your splash mana sources.  Azorius is the trap this time.  Lyev Skynight and Skymark Roc are awesome early and middle game, weak late game.  Isperia's skywatch does not warrent a splash.  Sphinx of the Chimes is just asking for colour screw.

Izzet is a viable alternative.  Turn-2 creature and turn-3 Pursuit of Flight steals games out of nowhere.
I am Blue/Green
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Aww, finally do I get mentioned, is it only to get burned! (I kid, I kid, I understand and appreciate the constructive criticism there, and the only reason I'm saying this at all is because I'm fanboying and want everybody to pay attention to the fact that I got quoted in your article >.>)

I'd be strongly, strongly inclined to splash Mizzium Mortars into that final UW build, and happy even if I never got to kick it - the deck as built has a serious problem with a lack of true removal; Trostani's Judgement is fine but is likely to be overloaded, and it seems like it would have serious issues beating even a single Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage without a really agressive flying draw.  Treat Mortars as though it were _just_ a slightly more expensive Flame Slash, and consider being able to occasionally cast it overloaded as Magical Christmas Land.



I agree with this, though. I built the UW variant but found it to be lacking in power. I added red because I felt it was the only way to have enough power. While I agree with your assessment that it's annoying and difficult to play three-coloured decks, I think the decision on where to place yourself on the power-consistency scale is a very important one here. I wanted to build my deck as a relatively defensive deck with the potential to get in with early fliers and with some reach to finish the game off. And while I agree that your (Nate's) build is more consistent, I'm not sure if it's worth sacrificing that much power to get that consistency (but that's what's so much fun about Sealed Deck anyway)

As for this week's homework, I went for a dedicated populate build. This pool is Selesnya heaven and I think you basically have to go for it 100%. You've got centaur generators, bird generators and knight generators. And then you have a bunch of populate cards which are basically all really good. I understand that red and blue splashes are alluring, but I think both are traps and force you to dilute your populate cards to below critical mass. I would be especially fearful of splashing Supreme Verdict, since it destroys your own populate chain.

This Deck was built in 0:09:25

Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
6 Forest
10 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate


10 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Azorius Justiciar
1 Centaur's Herald
1 Gobbling Ooze
1 Golgari Decoy
1 Selesnya Sentry
2 Seller of Songbirds
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Wayfaring Temple


13 Other Spells
---------------
1 Arrest
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Chorus of Might
2 Coursers' Accord
1 Eyes in the Skies
1 Knightly Valor
1 Rootborn Defenses
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Sundering Growth
1 Swift Justice
2 Trostani's Judgment


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.

This Deck was built in 1:10:17


Total Deck Size: 40

17 Lands ---------------
7 Forest
9 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate


12 Creatures ---------------
1 Axebane Stag
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Azorius Justiciar
1 Centaur's Herald
1 Gobbling Ooze
1 Golgari Decoy
1 Keening Apparition
1 Selesnya Sentry
2 Seller of Songbirds
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Wayfaring Temple


11 Other Spells ---------------
1 Arrest
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Chorus of Might
1 Common Bond
1 Coursers' Accord
1 Eyes in the Skies
1 Knightly Valor
1 Rootborn Defenses
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Swift Justice
1 Trostani's Judgment


I see only two viable options with this card pool. Go Green/White or go Green/White/Blue. I tried looking at the blue first, but I felt like the blue wasn't quite strong enough to risk the third color splash (especially since there is like no color fixing for the blue). Also, the bomb, Supreme Verdict, seems counterintuitive to what the deck wants to do: build an army of creatures. So I then tried looking at just Selesnya alone. At first glance, the deck looks like it lacks creatures, but upon further speculation this is not the case. The deck has tons of ways to create tokens and to populate these tokens to create an army of creatures. I added one stag to the deck since the deck lacked a "bomb". I think the populate mechanic looks very solid for this pool.

Almost the same of all: Selesnya with Azorious creatures.


But I would never splash supreme veredict on it, doesn't fit in. Used every chance to populate and detain, trying to overwhelm by number of active creatures in battle.





This Deck was built in 0:20:04


Total Deck Size: 40
18 Lands
---------------
5 Forest
2 Island
9 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Transguild Promenade



11 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Azorius Justiciar
1 Centaur's Herald
1 Golgari Decoy
1 Lyev Skyknight
1 New Prahv Guildmage
2 Seller of Songbirds
1 Skymark Roc
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Wayfaring Temple



11 Other Spells
---------------
1 Aerial Predation
1 Arrest
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Chorus of Might
2 Coursers' Accord
1 Eyes in the Skies
1 Psychic Spiral
1 Rootborn Defenses
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Swift Justice


 

Not a whole lot of diversity in these decks, but not a whole lot of reason to go anything other than wug


This Deck was built in 0:27:36


Total Deck Size: 40
19 Lands
---------------
3 Forest
4 Island
10 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Transguild Promenade



13 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Azorius Justiciar
1 Golgari Decoy
1 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Lyev Skyknight
1 New Prahv Guildmage
2 Seller of Songbirds
1 Skymark Roc
1 Slitherhead
1 Tower Drake
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Wayfaring Temple



8 Other Spells
---------------
1 Arrest
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Coursers' Accord
1 Eyes in the Skies
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Supreme Verdict
2 Trostani's Judgment

The deck can function quite well on a single Green source so I felt  the 5 blue cards are powerful enough that casting at least 1 will seriously impact the game, were worth splashing. The main plan is to cast tokens and populate. I was iffy on the Common Bond and Swift Justice but reasoned a few combat tricks were worth it.

This Deck was built in 0:09:36


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
5 Forest
4 Island
6 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Transguild Promenade



12 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Azorius Justiciar
1 Centaur's Herald
1 Keening Apparition
1 Lyev Skyknight
1 New Prahv Guildmage
2 Seller of Songbirds
1 Skymark Roc
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Wayfaring Temple



11 Other Spells
---------------
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Common Bond
2 Coursers' Accord
1 Eyes in the Skies
1 Knightly Valor
1 Rootborn Defenses
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Swift Justice
1 Trostani's Judgment

Populate theme, a couple detain cards. Point is to hold off until big fattys can hit the board, combat tricks with instant populate will be useful!
This Deck was built in 0:38:04

Total Deck Size: 41
17 Lands
---------------
5 Forest
3 Island
7 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Transguild Promenade


12 Creatures
---------------
3 Axebane Stag
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Azorius Justiciar
1 Centaur's Herald
1 Lyev Skyknight
2 Seller of Songbirds
1 Slitherhead
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Wayfaring Temple


12 Other Spells
---------------
1 Arrest
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Common Bond
2 Coursers' Accord
1 Eyes in the Skies
1 Rootborn Defenses
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Swift Justice
2 Trostani's Judgment

This Deck was built in 0:07:52


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
8 Forest
8 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate



12 Creatures
---------------
1 Centaur's Herald
1 Golgari Decoy
1 Keening Apparition
1 Selesnya Sentry
2 Seller of Songbirds
3 Stonefare Crocodile
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Volatile Rig
1 Wayfaring Temple



11 Other Spells
---------------
2 Aerial Predation
1 Arrest
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Chorus of Might
1 Common Bond
1 Eyes in the Skies
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Swift Justice
2 Trostani's Judgment

I know that there were good Azorius cards, and good selesnya cards, but again, the mana fixing is definitely not there, for me to want to splash blue for the sphinx, and the skyknight.
Instead, I want to focus on getting a way to make wayfaring temple work,  distributing counters to make multiple unappetizing blocks or beefy fliers. Aerial predations to keep the skies clear of oppression. Personally a bit dissappoint the packs couldn't make me some 4/4 rhinos, which Selesnya really starts to need in the late game, if chorus of might isn't in hand. Considering rootborn defenses, but wasn't sure what to cut for it. I'm already light on creatures.

Since nobody else has, I'm gonna try something a little different:


This Deck was built in 0:07:14


Total Deck Size: 41
19 Lands
---------------
4 Island
5 Mountain
7 Swamp
1 Izzet Guildgate
1 Rakdos Guildgate
1 Transguild Promenade



10 Creatures
---------------
1 Catacomb Slug
1 Crosstown Courier
1 Drainpipe Vermin
1 Goblin Electromancer
1 Guttersnipe
1 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Lobber Crew
1 Ogre Jailbreaker
1 Slitherhead
1 Volatile Rig



12 Other Spells
---------------
1 Assassin's Strike
1 Auger Spree
1 Chemister's Trick
1 Chronic Flooding
1 Destroy the Evidence
1 Explosive Impact
1 Izzet Keyrune
1 Launch Party
1 Psychic Spiral
1 Pursuit of Flight
1 Street Spasm
1 Underworld Connections


 
This deck is an unusually (for b/r) defensive deck that is capable of some crazy (if inconsistent) interactions.  While it lacks the punch of the populate mechanic, it is capable of decking players and can with through Guttersnipe.  I also really like Underworld Connections in the long-game and wanted a way of including it.

It's not my ideal out of this pool, but I do think it's an option. 
Since nobody else has, I'm gonna try something a little different:


This Deck was built in 0:07:14


Total Deck Size: 41
19 Lands
---------------
4 Island
5 Mountain
7 Swamp
1 Izzet Guildgate
1 Rakdos Guildgate
1 Transguild Promenade



10 Creatures
---------------
1 Catacomb Slug
1 Crosstown Courier
1 Drainpipe Vermin
1 Goblin Electromancer
1 Guttersnipe
1 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Lobber Crew
1 Ogre Jailbreaker
1 Slitherhead
1 Volatile Rig



12 Other Spells
---------------
1 Assassin's Strike
1 Auger Spree
1 Chemister's Trick
1 Chronic Flooding
1 Destroy the Evidence
1 Explosive Impact
1 Izzet Keyrune
1 Launch Party
1 Psychic Spiral
1 Pursuit of Flight
1 Street Spasm
1 Underworld Connections


 
This deck is an unusually (for b/r) defensive deck that is capable of some crazy (if inconsistent) interactions.  While it lacks the punch of the populate mechanic, it is capable of decking players and can with through Guttersnipe.  I also really like Underworld Connections in the long-game and wanted a way of including it.

It's not my ideal out of this pool, but I do think it's an option.

This Deck was built in 0:16:06


Total Deck Size: 40

18 Lands
---------------
3 Forest
4 Island
10 Plains
1 Transguild Promenade


10 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Azorius Justiciar
1 Centaur's Herald
1 Crosstown Courier
1 Lyev Skyknight
1 New Prahv Guildmage
1 Seller of Songbirds
1 Tower Drake
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Wayfaring Temple


12 Other Spells
---------------
1 Arrest
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Chronic Flooding
1 Common Bond
1 Coursers' Accord
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Knightly Valor
1 Psychic Spiral
1 Rootborn Defenses
1 Search Warrant
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Swift Justice

I've been feeling like branching out for a little bit anyways so I decided to try to make a wug deck. 

I am Blue/Black
I am Blue/Black
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/12.jpg)

What do I see you ask? I see dead people, all of them burned to a crisp... I was bored.
While I love the articles, I never do the homework, since this is just too different from the sealed I usually play: four-boosters pools, 30-cards decks. So keep up the excellent writing, and if you find the time, please make up some four-booster sealed pools.

Go draft, young man, go draft!

This Deck was built in 0:14:25


Total Deck Size: 40
18 Lands
---------------
2 Forest
7 Island
Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Transguild Promenade



14 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Azorius Justiciar
1 Crosstown Courier
1 Golgari Decoy
2 Hussar Patrol
1 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Keening Apparition
1 Lyev Skyknight
1 New Prahv Guildmage
1 Skymark Roc
1 Slitherhead
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
1 Tower Drake



8 Other Spells
---------------
1 Aerial Predation
1 Arrest
1 Common Bond
1 Downsize
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Sundering Growth
1 Supreme Verdict

White-Blue to take advantage of detain, with a splash of green that allows for some of the mono-color Golgari cards (like the decoy and the slitherhead) as well as taking advantage of some of the removal available to Selesnya. I find charms are incredibly valuable for their sheer utility, and never regret including them when possible. Didn't bother dipping into anything with populate, because, as mentioned in the article, there's not really enough tokens to make it worth while.

As a bomb, Sphinx of the Chimes will never see its special ability used, but it's a 5/6 flyer. Good enough, if you can exile or detain the opposition.

I usually hesitate to add a third color, but there's  four cards that can produce green in the deck, along with all the green cards requiring only one green mana to cast. Shouldn't be a problem when it comes to getting the colors I need.

You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what I create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

Seems to have enough token generators, and enough removal to help itself. Probably weak to aggro, but whatever.

This Deck was built in 0:07:15


Total Deck Size: 40
18 Lands
---------------
5 Forest
3 Island
9 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate



12 Creatures
---------------
1 Centaur's Herald
1 Gobbling Ooze
1 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Lyev Skyknight
1 New Prahv Guildmage
2 Rubbleback Rhino
1 Skymark Roc
1 Slitherhead
1 Tower Drake
1 Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Wayfaring Temple



10 Other Spells
---------------
1 Aerial Predation
1 Arrest
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Eyes in the Skies
1 Knightly Valor
1 Rootborn Defenses
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Supreme Verdict
2 Trostani's Judgment

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