Why decks like Rock are bad. (Must Read)

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One of the best players of all time, Luis Scott Vargas, has an article in which he explains why mid-range decks (like The Rock), as an archetype, are just bad and should really not be played in competitive events.

He basically condemns the whole archetype and instead exhorts you to play either full-on Aggro, pure Control, or Combo.

I have to say I agree with him. I've always held decks like Rock in disdain, because they are bastardized control decks that try to fulfill too many roles and do nothing effectively. Finally a pro player articulates this nicely.

Everyone who plays Magic competitively should read the article:
http://strategy.channelfireball.com/featured-articles/initial-technology-the-meaning-of-midrange-and-why-its-terrible/
Lol I read that article when CFball first came out xD

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Interesting read.
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i think LSV unfairly downplays midrange's advantage over aggro in trying to make his argument.
You guys are such noobs and scrubs when it comes to designing cards. All of you. In fact I won't exaggerate If I say I'm the best designer in the forum. Hell, I'm probably a better designer than WotC themselves. I'm easily the best designer in the world and you're all n00bs for not seeing that. All of you are black-listed. -kroen [UCC #2] The Unanimous Card Contest [Signups] This is a very unique contest, that could, theoretically, last months before a winner is declared. Black List The following users are banned from the contest and may not participate: Everyone -kroen
Good points, but I have to say, I heartily disagree. Playing a deck that is bad is bad. It all comes down to specific card choices and what you expect to face. Cards that are dead in more than about 20% of your matchups don't belong in the maindeck, period. The trick is figuring out which cards are dead cards.

Awesome article tho with a lot of good info and things to think about.

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I do not think that he downplays Midranges advantage's over aggro.
He says multiple times that the deck is designed to beat aggro because the field is laden with aggro decks, yet when he found himself playing the deck he would lose on occasion to boros deck wins etc.

THAT is the main problem with rock, is that it's not always a rock when you get certain draws vs aggro. Without the perfect balance he talked about you can get very control heavy draws or very creature based draws and just lose matchs you are supposed to win.

I think its a good deckbuilder's excercise in that a deck is meant to focus and win on it's own, not just respond and attack.

I think I agree with him, even after seeing Chapin get beat in worlds by Uri Peleg. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3pqQTqv4mQ )

I'd definetly have to agree with LSV.
I do not think that he downplays Midranges advantage's over aggro.
He says multiple times that the deck is designed to beat aggro because the field is laden with aggro decks, yet when he found himself playing the deck he would lose on occasion to boros deck wins etc.

this is how he downplays it. i could write an article with the exact same information LSV used but make it a positive midrange POV. his arguments are way more abstract than you realize.

"midrange has a huge advantage over aggro, losing only on occasion due to bad draws"
"midrange decks are powerful because they are designed to shift into the gear that best counters your opponents strategy"
"the inherent flaw in control and aggro decks is that they are pigeonholed into only one possible line of attack, and when that line of attack is broken, that deck becomes hopeless"
You guys are such noobs and scrubs when it comes to designing cards. All of you. In fact I won't exaggerate If I say I'm the best designer in the forum. Hell, I'm probably a better designer than WotC themselves. I'm easily the best designer in the world and you're all n00bs for not seeing that. All of you are black-listed. -kroen [UCC #2] The Unanimous Card Contest [Signups] This is a very unique contest, that could, theoretically, last months before a winner is declared. Black List The following users are banned from the contest and may not participate: Everyone -kroen
Midrange plays big creatures early in order to beat aggro.

Control plays slow CA-spells in order to beat midrange.

Aggro plays fast small creatures in order to beat control.

It is always hard to balance an archetype's inherent weaknesses and its strengths. It is hard to make an aggro deck that beats both midrange and control. It is hard to make a control deck that has inevitability against midrange and still beats fast aggro. Why would it be easy to make a midrange deck that beats both control and aggro handily? That's just not the way the game is.

Other than that, I believe LSV makes a mistake when he writes that midrange "adapts to the opposite role of whatever the opposing deck is playing" and that this is a weakness. This is just not a valid argument.

In Suicide Black vs. Sligh, Sui Black would have to play the role of the control deck. This is because of the simple fact that if they both attacked all-out, Sligh would kill its opponent first. All decks function like that. Not just midrange.

I agree with LSV that just throwing together a midrangish deck and hoping to beat the common archetypes is plain dumb. Obviously, the midrange deck would have to be extremely tight and focused - I would never dream of playing Wrath in what is essentially a creature-based deck. It needs focus and a tight game plan. Standard Elves have no reach, but because they can take away resources early with Thoughtseize it's hard to deal big creatures like Putrid Leech, Chameleon Colossus and Vanquisher in the mid-game - you know, where midrange is strongest.

Just my 50 cent.
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Midrange plays big creatures early in order to beat aggro.

Control plays slow CA-spells in order to beat midrange.

Aggro plays fast small creatures in order to beat control.

It is always hard to balance an archetype's inherent weaknesses and its strengths. It is hard to make an aggro deck that beats both midrange and control. It is hard to make a control deck that has inevitability against midrange and still beats fast aggro. Why would it be easy to make a midrange deck that beats both control and aggro handily? That's just not the way the game is.

Other than that, I believe LSV makes a mistake when he writes that midrange "adapts to the opposite role of whatever the opposing deck is playing" and that this is a weakness. This is just not a valid argument.

In Suicide Black vs. Sligh, Sui Black would have to play the role of the control deck. This is because of the simple fact that if they both attacked all-out, Sligh would kill its opponent first. All decks function like that. Not just midrange.

I agree with LSV that just throwing together a midrangish deck and hoping to beat the common archetypes is plain dumb. Obviously, the midrange deck would have to be extremely tight and focused - I would never dream of playing Wrath in what is essentially a creature-based deck. It needs focus and a tight game plan. Standard Elves have no reach, but because they can take away resources early with Thoughtseize it's hard to deal big creatures like Putrid Leech, Chameleon Colossus and Vanquisher in the mid-game - you know, where midrange is strongest.

Just my 50 cent.

QFT. You put it way better there than I could have. There absolutely IS room for mid range control decks IF that deck is HIGHLY in tune with whatever the metagame is. Those decks have the potential to be the best decks in the meta, but if you dont make them just right, they will be very bad. I think after a while a lot of good deckbuilders realize that you can get a lot of wins if you learn to make a meta specific mid range deck.
Rock-like decks aren't bad, they just need to be tuned to the environment they are in. Yes a 1st place rock deck in an aggro heavy tourny will do poorly when charlie from down the street netdecks it and brings it to his lark heavy FNM, but its not the fault of the achetype. Rocks greatest strength is the ability to shift gears, making tuning for specific meta's much more important than any other deck.
Yeah, that does not really prove Rock is bad at all. In his pt example, if he had been playing a better rock deck, BG Elves, he woudnt have lost to lolCrypticCommanddrawlulz. GW Midrange=/=BG Rock.

Rock decks are, and will always be a force to be reckoned with since their matchups are usually all 50/50 or better post-board.
Just because midrange takes a certain metagame to be successful in doesn't make it bad.
The only comment I really have for his argument that rock decks are bad, is that for a very long time in extended The Rock was a very very strong deck, and became even stronger when blue was splashed for Gifts and tog.

I myself used to run UGb MadRock that I took to repeated 1st place finishes at my FNM. I placed 1st for 5 weeks in a row before being hated out and having to adjust the build of my deck severely. If they're tuned for your metagame then they are very very very strong decks. That said I personally believe that midrange and Rock are two completely different deck types and that they should not be lumped together.

Midrange = aggressive mid-late game deck with early game stops
Rock = Control deck that uses mid-late game creatures to put the nail in the coffin on the opponent.

The article had some good points to it, but I feel that the two decks in question are different archetypes and function very differently from one another.
I can't read this until the site learns how to make apostrophes.

120.6. Some effects replace card draws.
I can't read this until the site learns how to make apostrophes.


If that prevents you from reading an intelligent and thought-out article, I'm sorry for you.
57860688 wrote:
121183109 wrote:
57074928 wrote:
So when UR Delver came out to win a GP, did Christian Calcano email/call you and thank you personally, or was there just a mutual understanding?
Legitimately laughed at this...haha
No kidding. +1 internets for a hidden gem in the standard deck help.
One thing that LSV ignores is that midrange completely bypasses the rock-paper-scissors of aggro-combo-control.

Let's take Zoo, Storm, and NLU (completely arbitrary) from last season. Let's say Zoo beats NLU 80% of the time, NLU beats Storm 80% of the time, and Storm beats Zoo 80% of the time (and each deck has a 50/50 shot in the mirror) (note that I'm pulling numbers out of my ass, but it's to illustrate a point). You bring Zoo and you do okay against most of the field, but as soon as you get matched up against Storm your tournament run is done.

Now, say you're playing Death Cloud Rock which has about a 60-65% win percentage on average (again pulling numbers out of my ass, but in the proper metagame Rock could average this) DC Rock didn't fit nicely into the RPS because it can function as a control deck or aggro deck as necessary. However, it could use its sideboard to transform itself into a more controlling or more aggressive deck based on its matchup very well, and it could side in lots more disruption to deal with combo. Post-sideboard a DC Rock deck has a much better chance against Storm than Zoo did even after siding in Gaddock Teeg and Canonist. It could go from a "half-and-half" deck to a 3/4 chance of a good draw (again arbitrary numbers, but it illustrates my point still).

Furthermore, The Rock was really the only deck capable of running powerful hand disruption, which can make it the best deck in certain metagames. Neither blue control, 3-color Zoo, nor Storm could often afford to run Thoughtseize/Raven's Crime/Duress etc. because it compromised their deck in one way or another, where hand disruption plays right into The Rock's hand.

Conclusion: when the metagame is favorable, The Rock can be one of the most potent decks on the field.
+1 Makaro that is a good assessment.
Conclusion: when the metagame is favorable, The Rock can be one of the most potent decks on the field.

I agree with this.
I think his assessment of the style is being misinterpreted... I also thinking MTG-Fan gave a terrible false implication to the article by titling the thread with a specific deck. Fan boys, get in here...

The assessment that midrange is bad because it tries to do too much is a fine one to make. In a diverse metagame like the extended field boasts, it's a terrible game plan in general. Dedication is very useful to decks when they're looking to battle against the board. That's not to say midrange doesn't have a place, though. Some midrange decks stepped into aggro-filled metagames and ripped the place apart. Ghazi-Glare comes straight to mind.

My conclusion to the article: It's a decent approach with valid points that aren't always applicable to the game. Fan did pick the appropriate forum to post it in, though because Extended is arguably the most diverse constructed format in competitive magic—the exact format that midrange falters in.

Makaro, though, I have gripes with your post. First, did you even read the article? Your post seems like it completely justifies the 3rd sentence in my post; you showed up and defended the hell out of the Rock without touching base on the article or its points at all. You also made up numbers, even admitting to it. How the two posters above me let that go with just "+1..." and "I agree..." are beyond me, especially since I respect mntwinsfan and didn't expect it out of him.

Your conclusion is fine, but your paths to it are, at the very best, shaky. Since when is the Rock the only deck capable of running hand disruption? I ran Aggro Loam and it ran plenty of hand-based hate in cabal therapy, duress, thoughtseize, and raven crime. That's some potency, but you seem to miss it.

My conclusion to Makaro's post: You have a decent point to make that the Rock was a bad choice for MTG-Fan's attacks, but justify it with shaky logic, pick-and-choose topics, and slipperly slopes.
How the two posters above me let that go with just "+1..." and "I agree..." are beyond me, especially since I respect mntwinsfan and didn't expect it out of him.

Notice how I only quoted the last sentence of his post, which was correct.
If that prevents you from reading an intelligent and thought-out article, I'm sorry for you.

nah I read it.

but still. having a simple ' replaced by four random characters does not make it an easy read.
120.6. Some effects replace card draws.
How the two posters above me let that go with just "+1..." and "I agree..." are beyond me, especially since I respect mntwinsfan and didn't expect it out of him.

Your conclusion is fine, but your paths to it are, at the very best, shaky. Since when is the Rock the only deck capable of running hand disruption? I ran Aggro Loam and it ran plenty of hand-based hate in cabal therapy, duress, thoughtseize, and raven crime. That's some potency, but you seem to miss it.

I stand by my agreement with Makaro, his assessment might be a bit trite, but he does a good job of explaining the role of mid range Rock decks in relationship to the current meta.

Also you should note that aggro loam could arguably be considered "mid range" and therapy being gone changes things disruption-wise.
nah I read it.

but still. having a simple ' replaced by four random characters does not make it an easy read.

I got used to it fast. I think the font he used has an uncommon symbol for the ', which probably caused the whole problem.
Also you should note that aggro loam could arguably be considered "mid range" and therapy being gone changes things disruption-wise.

That aggro loam is midrange is like Rock is midrange; synergy-based mid-to-late game strategies may be a type of midrange, but they're very different from the deck LSV was discussing. It also led to forests' rebuttal to makaro's post.
57860688 wrote:
121183109 wrote:
57074928 wrote:
So when UR Delver came out to win a GP, did Christian Calcano email/call you and thank you personally, or was there just a mutual understanding?
Legitimately laughed at this...haha
No kidding. +1 internets for a hidden gem in the standard deck help.
Your conclusion is fine, but your paths to it are, at the very best, shaky. Since when is the Rock the only deck capable of running hand disruption? I ran Aggro Loam and it ran plenty of hand-based hate in cabal therapy, duress, thoughtseize, and raven crime. That's some potency, but you seem to miss it.

Aggro Loam is a weird deck but I'd still classify it as midrange. And I don't think it was a very good deck, but that's a topic for another day.

Are my examples, though made up, any better than LSV's example of PT Hollywood 2008? Not really. He made many bad choices in his deck (1 Finks? 4 Oversouls?) and thus his example is not one that represents a truly optimized midrange deck. Instead of Top 50 he probably could have made Top 16 with a better list. He even lost to Doran and bemoaned that he wasn't playing a control deck - and Doran is midrange!

I also find it surprising that LSV fails to mention the dominance of BW Tokens last standard season, despite that it really is a midrange deck that has little impact on the board until at least turn 3.

At least I made it clear that I was BSing my numbers whereas LSV does no such thing.
*nods in agreement with Makaro.
considering teh decks LSV used to place at almost every event with the exception of elves and fae were midrange, I really don't take him seriously on it. its an interesting read, but interestingly biased read moreso.

Problem with midrange is actually poor deck design. similar to the problem aggro control decks have. sometimes you want to be the control, but you've got the cards in hand for the other role, and you just can't win.
Good read. Sort of hypocritical though.
While there's no point denying that LSV is a very good player, both his writing and deckbuilding are underwhelming.

I particularly hate the article because it has buried any hopes of an agreement about what midrange means. It would have been much different if the title of the article were "How not to make a midrange deck" rather than "midrange can't ever be good, so drop it".

It is true, like KomSK, that many players end building midrange decks where they trying to be rogue because the aggro and control options are already pretty established. Then they start mixing cards that are conditionally useful cards that depend on the matchup. It is a mistake, but blaming the archetype is just wrong. A midrange deck can be focused on the threats it plays and prepare its SB precisely for the matchup it is weak: it usually prepares to be good against aggro, then SB against control.

LSV states that midrange is a bad archetype because he has defined midrange to be bad; his definition is relative to start up with: even a deck like Kithkin with 24 - 25 lands to play Spectral Procession and Cloudgoat ranger is far more midrange than a Gruul deck of the old 20 / 20 / 20 formula. Therefore, by defining Kithkin or Elf rock as aggro, he moves the midrange definition up where it doesn't actually exists in the metagame, such as the homebrew Oversoul of Dusk deck.

Which leads to the next point: that article is about Standard and Extended is a different animal. Two archetypes are traditionally the bane of midrange decks: fast combo and permission based control. Both are much more stronger in Extended than Standard, that's why midrange is far more scarce in Extended, if it happens to exist. Rock is either the only or the best example of a viable midrange deck because the discard + beats formula works against any archetype: a card like Thoughtseize is equally effective card to slow down combo, aggro and permission control, which buys time to drop the usual rock threats such as Ravenous baloth / Loxodon hierarch / Genesis recursion. However, a midrange deck that bases its game only in the power of his expensive threats without any disruption has a much harder time in Extended. So he might be right, if he was talking about Extended.
If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
Actually, in the article he references his Extended Gifts Rock deck that he played exclusively online for a year. So he clearly has Extended in mind also as the subject of his article.
I particularly hate the article because it has buried any hopes of an agreement about what midrange means. It would have been much different if the title of the article were "How not to make a midrange deck" rather than "midrange can't ever be good, so drop it".

I completely agree. Those considering playing midrange need to be aware of its faults and the metagames in which it's bad, but it should never be dismissed entirely.
The bottom line, and what you should really take away from the article, is that mid-range / Rock decks are difficult to build and need to be fine tuned for your meta. If done correctly, you will have the most powerful deck in the meta. If done incorrectly like LSV did, expect the same poor results.

The hardest thing about Rock and midrange, and the reason nooblets dislike the archetype, is that netdeck lists wont do you much good at all. You have to get your hands dirty and fill your deck with META SPECIFIC hate cards. Thats why so many people stay away from mid range, you cant just google a list and expect to get some wins like you can with zoo for example. You have to be a good deck builder AND you have to be aware of what everyone around you is playing.

PS - Rock isnt the only viable midrange deck in Ext either. Bant decks range from midrange aggro to midrange control and are VERY powerful if tuned correctly. There are others as well.
Wow, I personally like Rock. Its a deck I can pilot very comfortably in all its forms. This article did not make much sense beyond him trying to stress that he personally does not like Midrange anymore.

As people have said in the thread its more about the decks pilots and the choices to fine tune to the meta that makes midrange good.

Makes me sad that LSV has attempted to poison people against this type of deck. Its had success in the past, it has success right now, and it will have success in the future weather he thinks its "bad" or not.

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*nods in agreement

Heh Im glad he wrote the article, I really hope he does poison a bunch of sheep into thinking The Rock is a bad deck. Then they will be that much more surprised when I roll them with it. The less people playing decks similar to those I play the better the way I look at it.

The article was essentaily him QQing because he epically failed to tune his deck properly, then got stomped by some random nobody. Whats worse, he doesnt even sound like he knows what the heck meta tuning is from that article...

WHat a baby, I hope he reads this.
*nods in agreement

Heh Im glad he wrote the article, I really hope he does poison a bunch of sheep into thinking The Rock is a bad deck. Then they will be that much more surprised when I roll them with it. The less people playing decks similar to those I play the better the way I look at it.

The article was essentaily him QQing because he epically failed to tune his deck properly, then got stomped by some random nobody. Whats worse, he doesnt even sound like he knows what the heck meta tuning is from that article...

WHat a baby, I hope he reads this.

Well, I feel that this may be excessive, but I do think that it is unfair to devalue an entire archetype based on one obviously suboptimal list. I feel that the main reason that midrange decks are more difficult to succeed with is that they need to be played very conscientiously. An aggro deck, when presented with a dearth of information, slams as hard as it can as fast as it can. A combo deck waits until the opponent is tapped out and tries to go off, and a control deck tries to stifle relevant early turn plays and then resolve wincons. Midrange, however, has to decide which of these to do, and needs more information to do this. I would say that this is its only real, fundamental weakness.
Regarding the "weak against combo and control" argument: while this is true of many midrange decks, an ideal deck like this is capable of changing, via sideboarding and play style, to counter its opponent's plays. Against Zoo, a rock player might start off by Smothering a Nacatl, then dropping Goyf. Against Elves, however, a Thoughtseize or Raven's Crime would be more ideal, where against control a Jitte to draw out counters followed by a threat would make more sense. I am aware that no one hand can hold all of these possibilities, but that's what mulliganing is for.
In short: Midrange is not fundamentally weaker that "real control." It just requires better decision making.
I'm here to tell ya! It's not midrange, it's aggro that shouldn't be played.

What is an aggro deck? Well, that's the first thing to discuss isn't it. Aggro is a deck that tries to play early spells in which to take advantage of an early tempo to knock down slower decks, but right from the start you have to ensure your deck is the fastest, and how do you do that?

Many players take the angle of only running 20 lands, but even in an aggro deck, your not winning with 1CC and 2CC plays, and need to get to a range of at least 3CC or 4CC plays to stand a chance, especially versus midrange and combo. Combo just has such a game on you because it's probably faster, and midrange is going to slow you down and slap you in the face with it's bigger and generally more diverse creatures, and probable removal.

Your game is going to be against control, which really wants to sit around and wait for the late game, but with your speed you should just win, right? That's the concept, isn't it? It's just not very true, as Control has a tendency to be defensive, so you resemble someone beating their head against a wall of hurdles in your way. A control deck that isn't running good defenses isn't good. Don't even get me started on what such a deck can accomplish with it's sideboard.

In conclusion, you will lose some of the games against your best matchup simply due to draws, and running 20 lands, you will get land stuck sometimes even beyond what you would be willing to take. Such a deck takes a 2 land hand if it gets it, and I've had a few situations where I just didn't get another land! Aggro wants to speed through everyone's defenses, and this just isn't a reliable strategy...

___________________________________________

There, I rewrote his article for him. I could do this to any generalized set of archetypes, and really, it comes down the same way. Any deck can have arguments put against them. Any deck can lose to it's best matchup. ANY deck suffers from some of the generalized statements he made.

What you need is a GOOD deck. a GOOD deck usually answers the common problems in it's generalized archetype.

Even amongst his examples of what are apparently flawed creature designs(no focus) he sounds almost like an amateur:

Loxodon Hierarch: In it's standard hey day this card was beast in it's deck, which was probably more on the aggro side than most care to admit. It with Congregation at Dawn kept decent protection while assuring your consistency against either matchup.

Kitchen Finks: I'm confused how this card belongs there, considering how good it's proven to be in a few AGGRO decks that aren't midrange at all! Against aggro you get health, which plugs you to where you want to be against such a deck, possibly putting you into the endgame and them into a topdraw to try and beat you. It's persist is yummy in aggro decks which have a 3/2 body to bully their opponent into submission with that comes back at no cost as a 2/1 when someone answers it. Kitchen Finks is a good versatile card that will be played in many decks.

In the end, being aware of the problems is a good way to ensure where you stand. midrange can work fine if your utility cards are utility enough. His argument just falls over when looked at from most any angle.
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Well, I feel that this may be excessive, but I do think that it is unfair to devalue an entire archetype based on one obviously suboptimal list. I feel that the main reason that midrange decks are more difficult to succeed with is that they need to be played very conscientiously. An aggro deck, when presented with a dearth of information, slams as hard as it can as fast as it can. A combo deck waits until the opponent is tapped out and tries to go off, and a control deck tries to stifle relevant early turn plays and then resolve wincons. Midrange, however, has to decide which of these to do, and needs more information to do this. I would say that this is its only real, fundamental weakness.
Regarding the "weak against combo and control" argument: while this is true of many midrange decks, an ideal deck like this is capable of changing, via sideboarding and play style, to counter its opponent's plays. Against Zoo, a rock player might start off by Smothering a Nacatl, then dropping Goyf. Against Elves, however, a Thoughtseize or Raven's Crime would be more ideal, where against control a Jitte to draw out counters followed by a threat would make more sense. I am aware that no one hand can hold all of these possibilities, but that's what mulliganing is for.
In short: Midrange is not fundamentally weaker that "real control." It just requires better decision making.

Wow I just read what I wrote a long time ago and that does seem a bit harsh! I must've been mad at the wife when I wrote that lawl...

@Kage I love how you made the same arguments against aggro as he made vs mid range...well done, and point taken.
I'm here to tell ya! It's not midrange, it's aggro that shouldn't be played.

What is an aggro deck? Well, that's the first thing to discuss isn't it. Aggro is a deck that tries to play early spells in which to take advantage of an early tempo to knock down slower decks, but right from the start you have to ensure your deck is the fastest, and how do you do that?

Many players take the angle of only running 20 lands, but even in an aggro deck, your not winning with 1CC and 2CC plays, and need to get to a range of at least 3CC or 4CC plays to stand a chance, especially versus midrange and combo. Combo just has such a game on you because it's probably faster, and midrange is going to slow you down and slap you in the face with it's bigger and generally more diverse creatures, and probable removal.

Your game is going to be against control, which really wants to sit around and wait for the late game, but with your speed you should just win, right? That's the concept, isn't it? It's just not very true, as Control has a tendency to be defensive, so you resemble someone beating their head against a wall of hurdles in your way. A control deck that isn't running good defenses isn't good. Don't even get me started on what such a deck can accomplish with it's sideboard.

In conclusion, you will lose some of the games against your best matchup simply due to draws, and running 20 lands, you will get land stuck sometimes even beyond what you would be willing to take. Such a deck takes a 2 land hand if it gets it, and I've had a few situations where I just didn't get another land! Aggro wants to speed through everyone's defenses, and this just isn't a reliable strategy...

___________________________________________

There, I rewrote his article for him. I could do this to any generalized set of archetypes, and really, it comes down the same way. Any deck can have arguments put against them. Any deck can lose to it's best matchup. ANY deck suffers from some of the generalized statements he made.

What you need is a GOOD deck. a GOOD deck usually answers the common problems in it's generalized archetype.

Even amongst his examples of what are apparently flawed creature designs(no focus) he sounds almost like an amateur:

Loxodon Hierarch: In it's standard hey day this card was beast in it's deck, which was probably more on the aggro side than most care to admit. It with Congregation at Dawn kept decent protection while assuring your consistency against either matchup.

Kitchen Finks: I'm confused how this card belongs there, considering how good it's proven to be in a few AGGRO decks that aren't midrange at all! Against aggro you get health, which plugs you to where you want to be against such a deck, possibly putting you into the endgame and them into a topdraw to try and beat you. It's persist is yummy in aggro decks which have a 3/2 body to bully their opponent into submission with that comes back at no cost as a 2/1 when someone answers it. Kitchen Finks is a good versatile card that will be played in many decks.

In the end, being aware of the problems is a good way to ensure where you stand. midrange can work fine if your utility cards are utility enough. His argument just falls over when looked at from most any angle.

I don't agree with this at all. To keep it very short, Aggro doesn't completely rely it's topdecks. Aggro CAN be the fastest and be potentially way more powerful than a control deck. Aggro now does have spells that stop things like combo like Silence. Stating that aggro just "relies" on its expensive spells is bull, a 3/3on turn 2 or a fat Goyf on turn 2 is incredible.
I'm here to tell ya! It's not midrange, it's aggro that shouldn't be played.

What is an aggro deck? Well, that's the yada yada yada.

I don't think this is true at all. An aggro deck doesn't have to be the fastest deck in the room. That honor is given to combo. The aggro deck has to be the most consistently fast deck in the room. Sure, TEPS, our resident combo deck, has a good matchup against Zoo. But Zoo takes a lot of top 8's that TEPS had a shot at because, partially, it tends not to fizzle. Also, aggro is easier to tweak. When Elves! became popular, so did Mogg Fanatic in Zoo. As TEPS bubbled, Pyrostatic Pillar stole a lot of games. So, in our trifecta of deck archetypes, we see a hierarchy. At the top of the power scale is combo, which has the flashiest, biggest, fastest kills. Then, aggro, which beats face fast and hard. Then, control, which classically takes forever to even be able to play threats, much less want to. However, flip that hierarcy, and you get the amount of adaptability each deck type has. It's easier, and more effective, to squeeze in a maindeck Tormod's Crypt in that Tezzerator you've been running and to grab it with any of your six Trinket Mages than to relegate it to your Affinity sideboard and cross your fingers during the dredge matchup. (Examples from dredge-heavy local meta, but they work.) And throwing it into TEPS is just going to spoil your consistency.

In short: We have, not a number of distinctly different deck concepts, but a spectrum. Arguments of balance, power and adaptability can be made, but I think it's all pretty subjective.
Combo-- Wins fast and hard, but doesn't adapt well.
<----Affinity lives here.
Aggro-- Wins big relatively consistently, adapts better
<---Midrange goes here-ish.
Control-- Has least maindeck flash and bang, but adapts best.
I don't agree with this at all. To keep it very short, Aggro doesn't completely rely it's topdecks. Aggro CAN be the fastest and be potentially way more powerful than a control deck. Aggro now does have spells that stop things like combo like Silence. Stating that aggro just "relies" on its expensive spells is bull, a 3/3on turn 2 or a fat Goyf on turn 2 is incredible.

You read the second part yeah?
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Actually at first I thought the second part was your sig...still they did miss the point.

While there's no point denying that LSV is a very good player, both his writing and deckbuilding are underwhelming. I particularly hate the article because it has buried any hopes of an agreement about what midrange means. It would have been much different if the title of the article were "How not to make a midrange deck" rather than "midrange can't ever be good, so drop it". It is true, like KomSK, that many players end building midrange decks where they trying to be rogue because the aggro and control options are already pretty established. Then they start mixing cards that are conditionally useful cards that depend on the matchup. It is a mistake, but blaming the archetype is just wrong. A midrange deck can be focused on the threats it plays and prepare its SB precisely for the matchup it is weak: it usually prepares to be good against aggro, then SB against control. LSV states that midrange is a bad archetype because he has defined midrange to be bad; his definition is relative to start up with: even a deck like Kithkin with 24 - 25 lands to play Spectral Procession and Cloudgoat ranger is far more midrange than a Gruul deck of the old 20 / 20 / 20 formula. Therefore, by defining Kithkin or Elf rock as aggro, he moves the midrange definition up where it doesn't actually exists in the metagame, such as the homebrew Oversoul of Dusk deck. Which leads to the next point: that article is about Standard and Extended is a different animal. Two archetypes are traditionally the bane of midrange decks: fast combo and permission based control. Both are much more stronger in Extended than Standard, that's why midrange is far more scarce in Extended, if it happens to exist. Rock is either the only or the best example of a viable midrange deck because the discard + beats formula works against any archetype: a card like Thoughtseize is equally effective card to slow down combo, aggro and permission control, which buys time to drop the usual rock threats such as Ravenous baloth / Loxodon hierarch / Genesis recursion. However, a midrange deck that bases its game only in the power of his expensive threats without any disruption has a much harder time in Extended. So he might be right, if he was talking about Extended.


I've always considered LSV both a good player and deckbuilder/theorist, but I agree with you on this article.


Basically he cuts off lots of things that are considered Midrange by most (Tokens builds, Blood builds, recent builds of WW) and then brings Midrange in the territory where it sucks, to demonstrate that it does. It also speaks ill of Elf Rock, kinda risky when you consider how many players won with that deck when it was at its peak - no matter how amazing a theorist can be, it can't tell people to avoid the deck they're winning with; as of today Elf Rock is mostly obsoleted, so telling people to avoid it is superfluous, and when it was trendy it was one of the best choices out there. So what's the point?


It's easy to demonstrate that Control sucks if everything I'm willing to consider is Teachings vs Fae or similarily impossible games.


Fact is, most modern aggro decks do not, as of today, win with the 20/20/20 formula, or within the "goldfish in 6 turns" rule. People tend to group as midrange just every aggressive deck that doesn't try to race fast as hell, but if you look closely to it, it's just the evolution aggressive strategies had.