2/26/2013 RC: "Something's Weird About Modern"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's ReConstructed, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Reliable 2 card combo going off before turn 4? Something is gonna get banned.
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That sounds awesome indeed. If Mental Misstep was still in the format it'd be easier to combat this deck, but right now this looks so fast. I'm gonna build this deck!!

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192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
I really like the deck!  Crimson Wisps might be the first thing I'd try to add, as you mentioned.

I have my playset of Serum Powder, maybe I will put this one together. 
This looks like the old Izzet Pinball deck.

I have made a Grapeshot deck similar to this. Any thoughts about adding a single Flame Jab? It doesn't draw a card, but it does let you use the dead land cards you draw when comboing off.
Great concept. I wonder if Gavin considered trying one or two snapcaster mage(s)? It works a bit against treasure, and you need to be on at least 3 mana, but that seems quite doable (you can also play a 2nd land for your 2nd), and seems like it would offer a lot of gas in exchange.
Gavin makes this deck sound a lot better than it actually is, and no, this deck won't lead to any bannings. If you're playing against a goldfish, sure, it's awesome. If you're playing against a real opponent, any removal spell in the format will instantly win the game for your opponent.

Just imagine you're playing against this deck. Instead of having to play an actual game of Magic, all you have to do to win is cast a single one mana removal spell. Path to Exile, Lightning Bolt, whatever. It's a really easy win for you, unless you get very unlucky and they have both the turn two kill and you drew nothing to stop it, which means you just lose instantly on turn two before you can do anything. This deck is not fun Magic, nor is it a good competitive deck.

It's a cool concept but it's not one I can recommend building.

Well, it's not quite THAT fragile.  If you kill the creature before they try to go off, they can always go again next turn.  If you kill it after they try to go off, there's a solid chance of you getting Grapeshotted to death instead.


Too bad Mage's Guile isn't Modern legal.  Would have made a nice 2-of.

After I sent this article in and before it was published I did some more thinking on defensive options, and I think a defensive card worth trying is Disrupting Shoal. Often you don't have mana available to protect your combo early on (otherwise I'd recommend Mizzium Skin) and the removal spells you're most worried about all cost 1. (And you have plenty of one mana blue spells to pitch.) If you're looking for ways to protect yourself from pinpoint removal, I would definitely give that a try.

Great concept. I wonder if Gavin considered trying one or two snapcaster mage(s)? It works a bit against treasure, and you need to be on at least 3 mana, but that seems quite doable (you can also play a 2nd land for your 2nd), and seems like it would offer a lot of gas in exchange.



I did consider it, but the high mana cost was just too much. I think I'd probably rather play Burning Inquiry over Snapcaster Mage. (Who ever thought that could possibly be a reasonable sentence?)
Disrupting Shoal is actually a good idea, and I'll have to give it a shot. It's pretty cool that you actually respond in the forums with further discussion of the deck.
This deck is not fun Magic, nor is it a good competitive deck.



Agreed. I love combos just as much as the next person, because the interaction of cards is what makes Magic the game it is. But I don't execute combos that win games in this manner. I play Niv-Mizzet, but I don't run Curiousity in my deck to throw on it for infinite draw/damage wins.

The same can be said of any Turn 1-4 (usually) combos. They are reliant on key strategies that essentially make the opponent feel like they are witnessing a goldfish. The only purpose, in fact, of the opponent being there is to take the loss. If this combo goes off as smoothly as hoped for, you've essentially played a golfish. You've played the cards in your deck until you've won the game. But I dare say that no game actually took place.

Combos like these (and similar things like reanimating Iona or pipering out Emrakul, etc.) are so game-breaking that, when things go wrong for the person doing the combo, they quit. When they go right, the opponent quits or grudgingly stays in the game just to be a good sport. When an opponent Entombs or uses Buried Alive to throw cards in their GY and the next turn you drop Grafdigger's Cage and they quit -- you know you're playing against a one-trick pony.

And it's hilarious to disrupt a game-ending combo -- just the other day I had an opponent drop a
Laboratory Maniac + Sensei's Divining Top + Leveler combo with a counters in hand. When I played Volcanic Fallout right before the Leveler entered, all he could say was, "Oh dear." Maniac died, leveler came in, he drew top just to end it. He could have countered his own Leveler, but my gut tells me that he had nothing else in his deck to win the game with. It's a one-trick pony.

Showing off these combos is fun. Encouraging people to play them in Modern, Vintage/Classic, Legacy, etc. ruins the formats. 12,000+ cards and people use only 2-3 of them together to win in a single swoop. Where's the experience, adventure, journey in that?
If you go the Crimson Wisp route, adding a Gemstone Caverns leads to the potential for a turn one win.
And it's hilarious to disrupt a game-ending combo -- just the other day I had an opponent drop a
Laboratory Maniac + Sensei's Divining Top + Leveler combo with a counters in hand. When I played Volcanic Fallout right before the Leveler entered, all he could say was, "Oh dear." Maniac died, leveler came in, he drew top just to end it. He could have countered his own Leveler, but my gut tells me that he had nothing else in his deck to win the game with. It's a one-trick pony.



Pointing this out may be ironic given the thrust of your post, but the best play here is to drop Volcanic Fallout after Leveler has resolved and its exile trigger is on the stack. Far less likely to be countered that way.
is there a suggestion on mana base without the fetch lands? i want to put the deck together but i dont have them yet and would like to build the deck and slowly work twords the fetches.

Thank you
is there a suggestion on mana base without the fetch lands? i want to put the deck together but i dont have them yet and would like to build the deck and slowly work twords the fetches.

Thank you



Do you only have basic lands to work with? If so, then I'd just play all Islands and deal with the fact that Faithless Looting can't be cast. If you have Steam Vents or Shivan Reefs, then I would consider playing those. You definitely don't want any lands that will enter tapped, like Terramorphic Expanse or Izzet Guildgate.
I've ran the deck some more, tuning a sideboard that includes Disrupting Shoal. I've only played in the tournament practice room, and have not faced top-notch competition, but this deck has actually been performing pretty well for me now. A variety of defensive sideboard options have really helped with the resilience factor. The deck is still somewhat fragile, but given that it will win about 20% of the time by turn 2 if the opponent has no disruption, and a much larger percentage of the time on turns 3 and 4, the fragility is acceptable. The consistency with which you can assemble the combo and the rarity of the combo fizzling have impressed me. By the way, Quicken is strictly better than Curuelean Wisps in the context of this deck - both of them have completely irrelevant effects, but Quicken doesn't require a target and so can be cycled when you're digging for the Weird.

With some more tuning, I would not mind taking this into DEs. If you don't have fetchlands, you can build the deck with Shivan Reefs + islands, including sideboard, for about 30 tix. The real manabase will cost you an extra 90 tix.
Cerulean Wisps has a completely relevant effect. With your Weird tapped, you cast it, triggering it's untap ability. You then tap the Weird for mana. Wisps resolves, untapping Weird again, allowing you to net 1 mana of any color off the casting. Rather useful to power you into Manamorphose or Ideas Unbound or Grapeshot if you only have 1 mana to work with. #TMYK
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