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Craig H

Magic: the Gathering

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My one complaint at this stage of the set is that I'm not seeing very many commons that are getting played at all, outside of the odd person experimenting with the new Amass gimmick (which is a fun good idea they should continue with). It's a very top-heavy set.

The God-Eternal cards are fucking awful to play against. Other than that it's mostly been real fun.

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I got five wins in the metagame challenge yesterday playing Gruul Aggro with planeswalkers. Sarkhan the Masterless is utterly ridiculous, and I won quite a few games playing Domri, Anarch of Bolas and following up next turn with Sarkhan and swinging for 5 with my new 5/4 Domri dragon.

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4 Judith, the Scourge Diva 
7 Swamp 
6 Mountain
2 Bedevil 
2 Dreadhorde Butcher 
4 Bedeck // Bedazzle 
4 Hackrobat 
2 Captive Audience
4 Priest of Forgotten Gods 
4 Reassembling Skeleton

3 Doomed Dissenter
4 Shock 
2 Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin
2 Memorial to Folly 
2 Memorial to War 
1 Blood Crypt 
2 Dragonskull Summit
4 Rakdos Guildgate 
1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General

This is not an a-list deck, because it relies on your opponent not having board clears, and well good luck with that right now. But as far as "b-tier decks I spent exactly 0 wildcards" on... it's very good among the b's. And a lot of fun to play. When the Priest of Forgotten Gods gets to combo with either 2 Reassembling Skeletons or Krenko's fodder-goblins, it's *chef kisses fingers*. Also Judith, on top of being a wicked card, is maybe my favourite art in Magic right now.

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Image.ashx?multiverseid=226565&type=card

Image.ashx?multiverseid=457329&type=card

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Posted (edited)

I figured because of Magic Arena and Magic Online, this format would be solved by now because that's the way it works with Hearthstone. Within a few weeks, the best decks are developed and played on ladder non-stop.

But holy crap. The phrase "when everything is broken, nothing is broken" comes to mind. There's at least a dozen decks you can play with success on ladder and more are being tested out every day. The newest ones I've seen talked about the past few days are green ramp with Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Sultai with Command the Dreadhorde.

Grixis control is making a comeback thanks the the ubiquitous Teferi, Time Raveler. Rather than play a control deck with countermagic and possibly get locked out by Teferi, Grixis players are dropping Nicol Bolas, the Ravager and playing even more removal.

One pet deck that I've been playing off and on is Orzhov Knights, playing a bunch of cheap creatures like the white and black knights, History of Benalia, and backing them up with the new Gideon and Sorin. I think Sorin is really strong in these small creature decks and especially good with Hero of Precinct One.

EDIT: Oooh, I forgot the Bant Midrange/Flash deck that uses a bunch of creatures with ETB effects and the new Vivien and Teferi. That's a fun one, too.

Edited by FireThunder

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The biggest shift I have noticed is that mono-blue feels weaker, because the new set basically added nothing to mono-blue, and everyone else took a step forward. It can still absolutely win games because it's a control deck, but it's not still top-drawer in my opinion. I haven't touched my own mono-blue in a while now.

I avoid ladder so in free play I am going to see more of a range but it feels like other than lazy people playing mono-red, the meta is incredibly spread out right now.

The other deck I fool around with just for fun is a mono-green deck that runs both Viviens (which you can play at once, BTW), and the other important new card is Challenger Troll which makes your opponent only able to block anything that has power 4 or more with 1 creature at a time... and that's hilarious in mono-green. Goreclaw, Ghalta Primal Hunger, you know the drill. The green God-Eternal that doubles everything's power for one turn is pretty nice too. It's another deck that is super-bad against board clear but I find my tolerance for playing control is very low these days. I really like going face, just not with mono-red because I need to do stuff the hard way. Nissa Who Shakes the World is fucking scary and I'm not even running it, I should probably rework.

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Dude. The stained glass plainswalkers on Arena are almost all amazing.

Vraska-Swarms-Eminence-TTP.png

 

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They look incredible. I wish I didn't have to win 15 games of god forsaken Planeswalker Momir to get the Jace. 😫

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No shit, that format is rough as hell.

1) Games are super-long by Arena standards because even if you know all the cards it is STILL hard to tell at times what the fuck is going on.

2) The format's randomness can turn almost all games into a virtual coin flip for lucky draw. So realistically you should be prepared to play a lot more than 15 games.

Having said that, I was able to grind out 15 wins over a couple days, on top of my normal dalies. Kinda think it was worth it in the end, even though I think this Momir's Madness format is sort of cancer to put that large a win requirement with it. I even figured out an Izzet Drakes variant that uses Jace and isn't complete nonsense (though I wouldn't say Izzet Drakes is super strong either). It has all the same weaknesses of classic Izzet Drakes, but it's playable at least. And Jace's self-mill is actually pretty nasty if you get out those drakes that gain power based on instants/sorceries in your graveyard.

What I threw together, could probably be improved with more thought:

 

4 Jace, Wielder of Mysteries (WAR) 54
11 Island (RIX) 193
3 Jace's Triumph (WAR) 55
4 Crackling Drake (GRN) 163
7 Mountain (RIX) 195
4 Enigma Drake (M19) 216
4 Pteramander (RNA) 47
3 Blink of an Eye (DAR) 46
2 Opt (XLN) 65
2 Opt (DAR) 60
2 Divination (M19) 51
1 Ugin, the Ineffable (WAR) 2
1 Chemister's Insight (GRN) 32
3 Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor (WAR) 56
1 Niv-Mizzet, Parun (GRN) 192
2 Wizard's Retort (DAR) 75
1 Steam Vents (GRN) 257
2 Sulfur Falls (DAR) 247
3 Izzet Guildgate (GRN) 251

LOTS of card draw. Obviously if you have more rare lands than I, feel free to jettison the guildgates into the sun. Ulgin is also terrifying and if you want to work in more than one, be my guest.

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So is anybody else stoked for Modern Horizons? I was initially inclined to ignore it, because I don't care about the Modern format, but in articles discussing the design of the set they keep making comparisons to Time Spiral block. And Time Spiral was peak Magic IMO.

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The more I see of Modern Horizons, the more I like it. There's some real powerhouse cards (the new Urza, for instance) but there's two things that really appeal to me: a ton of flavor and a lot of cool returning cards (Genesis, Future Sight, Nether Spirit) and mechanics (ninjutsu, snow, slivers). It looks like it would be a ton of fun to draft.

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I love modern horizons. Cycling and slide decks y'all!!

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The second event for the glass plainswakers starts tomorrow in Arena. Format will be Pauper so it should be significantly less of a time-sink.

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When M20 goes live, it brings with it the London Mulligan for all formats.

I don't think I've seen a deck benefit from a rule change more than the ludicrous Neobrand deck in Modern, where you can potentially win on turn 1 by playing an Allosaurus Rider, turning it into a Griselbrand using Neoform and drawing your deck.

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That, and infect with the new spell that turns your 1/1 into a 6/4 for a single green mana.

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I'm still not a fan of the London Mulligan. I think it gives too much of an advantage to combo decks. It is what it is though.

I still wish Horizons would be available on Arena. They could have their own version of modern on there and just call it Arena Modern or something.

I basically just want to play Slide decks wherever I can.

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Next (last?) stained glass Arena event is Singleton format.

I assume this is a bug and not an actual rules workaround, but you can technically run "you can have more than 4 of this card in your deck" even in Singleton for some reason. I've seen it with both the ole' Rats deck as well as Persistent Petitioners. I reported it as a bug but the staff clearly didn't understand the rules problem based on the exchange that followed up, so I am going to assume it is still present.

I'll probably take a run at it with some kind of white/black/green deck. All kinds of deathtouch and token bullshit going on.

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I put together a pretty straightforward Gruul deck that looks to apply pressure early and finish with things like Sarkhan the Masterless, Ravager Wurm and Skarrgan Hellkite. It's a pretty fun format.

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7 hours ago, FireThunder said:

I put together a pretty straightforward Gruul deck that looks to apply pressure early and finish with things like Sarkhan the Masterless, Ravager Wurm and Skarrgan Hellkite. It's a pretty fun format.

I actually abandoned my initial plan because it was just too slow and switched to Boros, because there's just a comical number of good low-cost white and red cards.

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So, non-mythic planeswalkers are here to stay. Link has the first three cards from M20 to be spoiled.

https://io9.gizmodo.com/get-to-know-magics-most-famous-fire-mage-in-these-brand-1835412320

Edited to add: WotC has posted that the planeswalker getting the "multiple cards printed in different rarities" treatment is the only character to get such an honor in M20. Interesting.

Edited by FireThunder

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I have a lot more faith in them pulling that off post-WAR than I did before. It's a pretty wild set but it's been pretty fun to play in without feeling like any one card is dominating.

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I'm having an absolute blast with MTG: Arena. Its exactly what I've been looking for, in that it takes care of a lot the small mechanics for me and the finances are pretty much optional, though I have kicked in some money. I've built Mono-Red and I'm working on Simic Mass Manipulation and Esper Planeswalkers for just over $100. In paper, we're looking at a whole lot more and those decks might not even be viable in six months. 

I played for a short while when I was a kid and it had first come out, but couldn't afford it and comics. Comics won. I've been looking for a way back in, but was always put off by the money involved. Arena is the answer for me. Buuuut, my coworker has a weekly Modern game going, so if I want to take the plunge and play face to face, I might give that a shot or start a Pauper or EDH game. 

TLDR, Magic fucking rules and I'm stoked to finally be playing.

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My friend shared an article with me from Goldfish that goes into quickly accumulating a collection of 4x of each rare.

https://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/collecting-mtg-arena-part-1-of-2

Tl;Dr - Only play draft, only draft rares (and maybe mythics too), don't open any packs until you reach critical mass, which he has a calculation for. It would basically take around 45 drafts or less to do this. You draft up to a certain point and then when you're close enough to getting 4x of each rare, you crack your packs. Due to duplicate protection, when you open your packs, you'll get the rest of the rares you need without using wildcards on them.

I'm going to give it a shot. Doesn't seem that hard to do, plus, I like drafting more than most formats anyway.

Edited by Craig H

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