10/17/2013 PR: "In the Wake of the Gods"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Perilous Research, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.

Jacob, I just want to thank you for using all the color combination names, like Selesnya and Rakdos, and especially the ones which so few other people use, like Dega and Raka. It's really descriptive and, for some reason, just makes the color pairings feel more vibrant to me.

 

It's just an aesthetic thing but I wanted you to know that people out here notice and appreciate it.

(On the other hand, there are a number of us who dislike it when people say "Esper" to mean "white-blue-black". Esper is a shard of Alara focused on coloured artifacts. If a white-blue-black deck doesn't have a focus on artifacts or cards from the Alara block, it's not Esper. There's a perfectly good way to write "white-blue-black" succinctly: WUB.  Similarly, "Selesnya" does not just mean "green-white"; it means the green-white guild of Ravnica, focused on tokens. The Selesnya deck in this column is legitimately called Selesnya because it actually includes Selesnya cards and mechanics.)

Monored and monoblack may become more popular by simple virtue of not being chock-full of $40 to $50 mythics.

I'm not so sure. I remember what Dega and Raka are because I was around back then. I don't know if newer players know.

 

I think it's reasonable to expect people who may not have been around in Alara block to know the shard names because they're still used in current deck names in Standard, like "Esper" and "Jund." But the 'Volver names are not in heavy use in the same way.

 

Flavor is awesome, but confusing people is less awesome.

Isn't the Esper Control deck just Azorius, though?

I  really like the Monoblack devotion deck and in testing it did even better than I expected.   One of the reasons why I like the deck is because I think the least fragile (and best) way to trigger devotion is through non-creature permanents. Underworld Connections and Whip of Erebos are really good at doing that.  I also think Thoughtseize may become THE most important card in Post-Theros standard because it is one of the best ways to deal with opposing gods and win the god war.  But I'm leery as to a few card choices. First off, why no Liliana of the Dark Realms?  She's card advantage and removal that triggers devotion in a non-creature permanent.  I know there is a glut of 4's but it seems she would be much better than Devour Flesh, which doesn't trigger devotion, and is a much weaker card in general.  Also, the creature balance seems off.  The merchant is a great card, and necessary to negate the lifeloss inherent in the deck, but do you really need all 4, esp at the 5 slot?  I mean I can see playing Devour Flesh over Liliana if you want to go cheaper, but it then seems inconsistent to run the full 4 merchants.  It seems like a card you always want 1 of, but only want multiples in certain matchups, basically against red.  To me it seems like you'd want 2 main, 2 side. The same sort of things are true of Lifebane Zombie.  It is the nuts against GW, merely good against decks where white and green are splashes, and basically useless against Esper control.  I mean it's still a 3/1 for 1BB, but that's just not where this deck wants to go.  It also seems like you'd want 3x Erebos.  I agree with not going the full 4 because it's 4cmc, legendary, and hard to deal with but 3x seems more appropriate than 1x.  If you land one and achieve its devotion that's pretty much all you need to win the  game so the other creatures seems superfluous esp since if you run Desecration Demon and Erebos that's the only offense you will ever need.  Basically, this deck is very midrange when I think it would be cool to try it as more of a control build with fewer creatures and Liliana.

AlexaM wrote:

I'm not so sure. I remember what Dega and Raka are because I was around back then. I don't know if newer players know.

 

I think it's reasonable to expect people who may not have been around in Alara block to know the shard names because they're still used in current deck names in Standard, like "Esper" and "Jund." But the 'Volver names are not in heavy use in the same way.

 

Flavor is awesome, but confusing people is less awesome.

 

I for the longest time wanted a Necra-based deck, as BGW are my colors of choice (every deck I ever made used at least one of those colors). I had a hard time gelling a hold of Necravolver, as for me at the time it represented all I wanted to get out of a single creature when it came to extra abilities. No chump blocking, pads my life total, and does respectable damage. Sadly, once Ravnica came out, it became useful to use the names of the guilds for color pairs, and the use of "WU" (or rather, "UW") by pros and commentators for various decks began to recede in the face of the onslaught of players whose first Magic experience of color arrangements was the Guilds. Then came Alara, and players latched onto the shards as terms for the color arrangements ... and so on. Now the commentators and pro players follow suit.

 

They say "when in Rome...." -- but I do not want to. We need to create a more varied identity for color pairs than just GW = Selesnya, so whatever Selesnya is GW must be it rather than having Selesnya equate to something that GW does, but not all that it does: just a slice, with a specific flavor unique to itself. Such that GW elsewhere can be more unique.

"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)