Modern Bans: My predictions

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Tonight is the big night (or big day, depending on what side of the Atlantic Ocean you are on), it’s finally time for Modern bans! Avid readers of this blog knows that I don’t really care, because Modern is shit, and I’m not alone in my opinon on this matter. Sean @copain26 Whatson of Commanderin’ fame, has been a vocal opponent to the way Modern has its way with the prices in Magic, and I couldn’t agree more.

However, I do follow the ban list, mostly because it’s funny, but also because there are deals to be made as cards are banned. So here are my uninitiated predictions:

Banned:
Eldrazi Temple / Eye of Ugin – One of these will have to go, but perhaps not both. The Eldrazi deck is way too strong in the metagame right now, and people have even been calling for emergency bans. Official sources have stated that something will be done about the deck, but they don’t want to neuter it entirely, meaning one will likely stay and the other will go. It’s awkward that both of these were included in last year’s Modern Masters edition, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Unbanned:
Stoneforge Mystic – I don’t think this will be too oppressive in Modern. The format is full of removal, and Stoneforge Mystic is slow. Granted, Batterskull on turn three might be too powerful, but generally, I think it can be kept in check by running it over with a billion eldrazis on turn two! The only prohibitive part of this card is its price, which would certainly skyrocket, but that would in turn prompt a large-scale reprint at some point, beneficial for all Magic players!


What do you think of my predictions? Am I totally wrong? Leave a comment!

 

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[Battle for Zendikar] New duals!

nde bannerJust a quick morning post, PAX has resulted in a lot of cool spoilers, and I will cover them all (Ulamog, Gideon, the chase rares) in time, but for now, the most important bits are these doozies:

prariestream(There is one for each friendly colour combination of course).

New duals with the basic land types is exciting, and even thouh these will be worse than the Ravnica Shock lands in Modern and obviously unplayable in Legacy, I’d say that they will go very nicely into two-colour decks in EDH. Perhaps even three-colour. The restriction, that you have to play two basic lands first to get them into play untapped, is a very interesting design and I like these quite a bit.

What do you think of the new duals? Leave a comment!

Top 5: Ranking the Planeswalkers of Origins

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I have barely touched upon the very core of Magic Origins, the Planeswalkers. In this post, I will rectify my mistake by ranking them from worst-to-best in EDH, and I’ll reason a bit about them in other constructed formats as well.

5: Chandra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arguably, the hardest of them all to flip in non-EDH formats is Chandra. Lots of dumb people on the internet seem to think you need to cast two spells in a single turn to ping thrice in order to flip her, but she counts combat damage too, so swinging at someone who’s open (likely there is at least one of those at the table on turn 4), casting a single red spell to untap her and the pinging once will do the trick. That said, she is still very underwhelming when flipped. Since she can’t kill creatures without minusing herself, she will likely die quite quickly. Maybe in the 99 of some theme deck, but I don’t see this outclassing any of the red commanders available.

4: Jace

jacetelepathunbound

Jace is very easy to flip, and he has that going for him. He is also a looter, which is always nice, especially when available so readily on a commander. Since he doesn’t create card disadvantage when cast from the command zone, he will at least be on card parity in sheer numbers, and up on quality (most times). That said, when flipped, he has one useful ability, his -3, which synergises well with his ability as a creature, but his other two are rubbish. Getting one creature -2/-0 in a multiplayer format will amount to something of a nuisance only. Simply put, not worth it as your commander, maybe as one in the 99.

3. Gideon

While I think this will be amazing in Modern and especially Standard, I don’t see him make a big splash in EDH. Kytheon is quite difficult to flip, going wide in EDH is possible, but token decks are generally not mono white, and for a reason. His activated ability as a creature is pretty damn solid, though, and will be useful at all stages of the game, not only to make sure he doesn’t get himself killed trying to activate. When flipped, Gideon is pretty damn sweet, his +2 ability is nice, his +1 means one of the creatures who attacked with him will be able to protect him the following turn, and his 0 is a pretty standard Gideon ability. I imagine flipping Kytheon on turn 3 via a turn 2 Raise the Alarm, but even so, he won’t overwhelm anyone soon. I think I’d rather have Jazal Goldmane as commander of a mono-white tokens deck, but Kytheon will certainly fit into the deck as one of the 99.

2. Liliana

Choosing which one would take this spot, and thus which one was left to take the the runner-up was not easy. I think both of these planeswalkers are awesome, and I would gladly play either. However, Liliana just misses out because she is a bit too hard to flip and is difficult to flip early game. Her +2 ability is well known from Liliana of the Veil and it at least scales well to EDH since it’s “each player” and not “target player”. It will draw some hate, but any deck with Liliana in it will probably be well-suited to abuse that +2 enough to warrant the hate. The -X is pretty sweet, especially since she starts at 3 and will be at 5 after a single activation. The emblem is also pretty scary. Overall, I think I’d much rather have her in my 99 in my Gisa deck for example than as a commander, but I think she’d be fair as that as well.

1. Nissa

Nissa is the real deal. Unflipped, she is basically a Borderland Ranger in her own deck, and a bit worse in other decks, but in her own she generates card advantage when she enters the battlefield from the command zone! She is terribly easy to flip, even though it will probably not happen until turn four or five, and when she’s flipped she’ll give you a Coiling Oracle activation each turn. Her -2 is pretty boss, netting her a 4/4 for protection but leaving her vulnerable to any attack, and her ultimate will clean up tables pretty quickly as well. Overall, I’d gladly play her in my 99 in most green decks, and she will make a fine commander on her own, in my opinion.

What do you think of the list? Am I “out riding a bike” (as we say in Sweden to describe someone who’s terribly wrong)? Leave a comment!

Magic Origins: More EDH and constructed

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More spoilers coming in late (I love when they spoil big sets with lots of rares). The first was spoiled by Jimmy and Josh of The Command Zone: 

the great aurora

Pardon the blurry image, but their site seems to be down at the time of writing. In any case, this card is bonkers in EDH, it is essentially a board wipe for green decks that resets the game. I’m not sure what kind of deck would want this card right now, but I’d say any green deck with lots of lands could make good use of it – perhaps Titania, Protector of Argoth?

Here is their latest podcast episode in its entirety. They discuss the new card at around 51:01.

Further, I’d like to discuss Containment Priest‘s spell kin:

hallowed moonlight

Instead of being a 2/2 with Flash, it is a cantripping Instant. Initially, I don’t think it’s quite as good as Containment Priest, mostly because it’s just a one-shot effect. In Legacy, I’d say “Draw a card” is more valuable than a vanilla 2/2 body, even in decks that might run equipment. Hallowed Moonlight will only be around for a single turn, meaning it must be spent very well in order to not just have the Sneak and Show player pass, untap the following turn and win from there. That said, it is at least playable in Modern I’d wager, even if Birthing Pod is banned.

What do you think of these new cards? Leave a comment!

Magic Origins: Woodland Bellower

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The green mythic was recently spoiled, and I have to say I like it a lot:

WoodlandBellower

Woodland Bellower enters the battlefield as a 6/5 vanilla for 6, which is far from stellar in this day and age where creatures are awesome, but it will also tutor for something with utility for three or less. A short list off the top of my head:

Eternal Witness

Deathmist Raptor

Kitchen Finks

Scavenging Ooze

Tarmogoyf

And more. I predict that this is good enough for constructed play in both Standard and Modern, and since it doesn’t carry the “if you cast it from your hand” clause, I can easily see it in EDH as well in, for example, a Bant Blink deck headed by Roon of the Hidden Realm. For value!

Deck Spotlight: Modern RUG Delver

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Story time: A few years back, my friends and I were attending Borås Spelkonvent (BSK, lit. Borås Gaming Convention), a gaming convention with Magic events traditionally focused on the eternal formats. Although I don’t consider Modern to be an eternal format, they had scheduled one on Saturday morning anyway, when there was nothing else to do.

After losing in the quarterfinals to Show and Tell combo with RUG the night before, I was done with Legacy for the evening and my friends and I went to the apartment we had borrowed for the weekend to brew me a Modern deck. With not a lot of cards in our disposal, I decided to play RUG Delver in Modern as well, and this is what we came up with:

4 Misty Rainforest
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Steam Vents
2 Breeding Pool
6 Island
2 Forest
1 Mountain

4 Delver of Secrets
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Young Pyromancer

4 Serum Visions
3 Gitaxian Probe
2 Spell Snare
3 Mana Leak
2 Cryptic Command
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Burst Lightning
1 Izzet Charm
1 Electrolyze
2 Vedalken Shackles

SB:
2 Thrun, the Last Troll
3 Threads of Disloyalty
4 Ancient Grudge
2 Combust
4 Blood Moon

We did do some testing in the very early hours of the morning after I had sleeved the deck up, but the testing was done exclusively against my friend’s UWR control deck, and I concluded that the deck was a) awful against his deck, but b) the deck fared much better with Thrun and Blood Moon in the main deck. I pondered putting them in the main deck, but decided against it in the end.

My matches, in short:

Round 1 – Mono-B Pox, 2-1

Round 2 – Twin, 2-1

Round 3 – 4C Deathrite, 2-0

Round 4 – Tron, 2-1

Round 5 – Pod, ID for 1st place, half a box and a break for some food.

My friend was royally pissed and after the obligatory rounds of high-five, we went and played a real format (Legacy) instead. I didn’t win that tournament. I only won the tournament where I didn’t care about the format, the deck or the prize pool (Theros boosters, which we mini-mastered on site). So why am I even typing this.

It’s not just the bragging, a year or so later a deck called Blue Moon surfaced, meaning it took the rest of the format a year to figure out that Blood Moon is bonkers when everyone is greedy and playing 15+ non-basics in their lists. It was a good time, even if Blue Moon fell off the radar pretty quickly.

Get with the times,  and friends!

Ding dong, the witch is dead!

treasure cruise bannerAfter much anticipation, here’s the total tally for the new Banned and Restricted list:

Standard:
No changes.

Modern:
Treasure Cruise, Dig Through Time and Birthing Pod are banned.
Golgari Grave-Troll is no longer banned.

Legacy:
Treasure Cruise is banned.
Worldgorger Dragon is no longer banned.

Vintage:
Treasure Cruise is restricted.
Gifts Ungiven is no longer restricted.

So in total, I was correct about Standard, one card off from Legacy and Modern, and way off on Vintage. I thought Jesaki Ascendancy was up for the chopping block, but apparently breaking the “three-turn kill” rule wasn’t as damning after all. One of the readers also commented on this:

Skärmavbild 2015-01-20 kl. 20.57.40

 

I agree, I had no idea what I was talking about. I didn’t see the DCI banning Birthing Pod, again, I have no idea what I’m talking about – though in my world, knowing what one is talking about when it comes to Modern is akin to being able to recite the Bristol Stool Scale from memory.

Treasure Cruise getting the axe in both Modern and Legacy, as well as Vintage, wasn’t really surprising. It was clearly too good for the faster formats, and really needed to go. I’m glad they kept Dig Through Time in Legacy, since it’s a bit more restrictive and less objectively powerful than its common Dredge brethren.

I’ll post an in-depth view on the winners and losers in the Legacy format due to this ban tomorrow, but for now – what do you think, dear reader? Leave a comment below!

 

Ban season is coming up!

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Fate Reforged is almost upon us, and soon the new B&R announcement will be revealed. Here’s what I think will happen:

Standard:treasurecruise.full
No changes. (still shit)

Modern:
Jeskai Ascendancy is banned.
Treasure Cruise is banned.
Dig Through Time is banned.

Legacy:
Treasure Cruise is banned.

Vintage:
No changes.

Jeskai combo breaks the “turn three rule” of Modern, and the delve spells have been tearing up Modern and Legacy for quite some time. They probably need to go, although it’s a bit sad that the only real Aggro deck in Legacy (UR Delver) will be back to tier two town.

What do you think will happen on Monday? Leave a comment below!

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

 

 

Over the holidays, Wizards hit us with a Fate Reforged spoiler with some dignity: Ugin the Spirit Dragon!
ugin the spirit dragon

 

It’s quite obvious that he’s going to make a splash in EDH, but I think even modern Tron decks might find use for him. Only time will tell how big of a deal he’ll be, and how big his price tag will be, but I for one really like him as a card. His +2 protects himself quite well, and his -X very well, and his ultimate mirrors Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, and good old Nicol Bolas in a neat way. On top of that, it’s extremely powerful.

What do you think of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon? Leave a comment below!

 

Modern Masters 2015

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One big piece of news over the weekend is that Magic has its first consecutive World Champion, as Shahar Shenhar of Israel won handily against Patrick Chapin in the finals yesterday. Another big piece of news is the announcement of Modern Masters 2015 edition, set to release this summer.

The only two cards known from the set so far are Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Etched Champion, and like the previous Modern Masters release, the set is designed to be drafted with a few archetypes included. Aside these two reprints, I think there are a bunch of cards that they need to reprint for the sake of the format, which will likely still be shit after the release.

One thing that comes to mind when I think about Modern is staggeringly expensive commons. Sleight of Hand in its only black-bordered release is around €5, Serum Visions is €5, Gitaxian Probe is €2-3 and so on. Moving away from commons, Remand is €9-10, Fetid Heath and friends are all €10-15 or even more, Damnation is €20 and so on. Damnation wasn’t reprinted in From the Vault: Annihilation either, which was expected by many players, signalling a reprint here. EDH as a format would also benefit greatly from cheaper Damnations and especially cheaper filterlands.

The set is due on May 29th, with a reasonable MSRP of $9.99. Cardboard Crack made fun of the ridiculous MSRP of the previous Modern Masters set and it’s even more relevant this time around.

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Thirty-dollar drafts aside, what cards are you hoping for in Modern Masters 2015? Personally, I just want a decent print run this time around, so the price of some of the staples of the format and the game at large are at least dented, which didn’t happen last time. Leave a comment!