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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
 
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    Went 3-0 with this last night at lgs.

    R1 Lantern Control: 2-1
    Game one he got out the Ensnaring Bridge, and I ended it for the sake of time. Took out 3 harbingers and watertraps for 3 rejections and 3 States. Game 2 was not as fast as I would have liked but bridge never showed and i aggrod. Game three was funny. I just won via turn 2,3,4 having the same play. Summon Master of the Pearl Trident and Swing.

    R2. Grixis Shadow: 2-0

    Between all of the fetching, shocking and giving me islands to walk on, it was pretty easy, when my turn one plays in both games were Kumena's Speakers. A few things died to removal but I still was able to get in creatures and attack. Watertrap shined here, I was able to tap down huge shadows and delve fish thingy so I can attack safely without worrying about leaving up blockers.

    We played casual unboarded games after and he beat me 2-0. When u can't remove those big guys it's a problem

    R3. 2-0: 5 color Deaths Shadow. (Is that even a thing?)

    I was able to spreading seas and island walk game 1 to victory, but it was a bit grindy, me giving him a.blue source allowed him to play the blue spells that were taking up space in his hand. I took out vials and 2 seas for 3 relics and 3 dispels. This game was very grindy. Got in a few hits but my stuff died to removal. Eventually there ended up being 2 shadows and 2 goyfs on the table. Another matchup where having Watertrap get in work by making sure I didn't get mauled to death. After a small stalemate, I finally drew Lord, I had dispel in my hand in case of removal and I swung with my team of 2 watertraps a Harbinger and a Mutavault and won.

    I think I found the right number. 1 Watertrap last week was too little but 3 was just right. It was never dead when I drew it and helped me out more than I thought it would.
    Posted in: Tier 2 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    Quote from Driemer84 »
    Can we please move on from this argument over which is "best"? I think most of us see that UG fish has some merit to it, but that doesn't mean all of a sudden mono blue is bad. Please try and keep discussions to whichever deck you prefers card selection, like why you would run more or less cursecatchers in UG or watertrap weaver in mono blue. It's really obnoxious to see these passive aggressive jabs at each other every time someone asks which version is better. I think the fact that we're having these arguments over and over points out that both decks are powerful.

    Over in the Elves forum there are no arguments like this between GW or GB. People play what they like and they discuss their card choices for whatever deck they're on. This particular forum has become so toxic from a few users that it's almost depressing to read.
    On that note, have people tried Watertrap in the simic version of Merfolk? It's clear that the card enables you to be more aggressive, and when you have 1 mana 2/2s and 2 mana 3/2s it seems like it would be a decent fit, I do understand that slots are an issue tho. I put in one in my Tropical list but did not get a chance to play it last week. Even though it is another pretty decent target for Phantasmal Image, maybe I will cut one image for a second Watertrap. I feel like 3 is where i would go, four might be too much with a playset of Merrows as well.
    Posted in: Tier 2 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    Went 1-2 last night with this list.

    With Images and Watertrap I was going for a more aggressive approach, with copying lords and tapping down blockers/potential attackers.

    Game 1 vs U/R control

    I will not forget the opening hand, it had vial, Kumena, 2 Botanical Sanctums, master of the pearl trident, Mutavault, Silvergill and Image. So glad to have a good hand in my first round of a modern tournament. Game one he was stuck at two lands for a while and I just swung and got through pretty well. Second Game he got some more lands but did not seem to have enough answers to deal with all the creatures. If I recall correctly I boarded out the harbingers and watertrap for 3 dispels and Disdainful Stroke. (i only realized that i should have boarded out spreading seas afterwards)

    Game 2 vs Titan Shift 0-2

    I am going to assume this is a bad or a hard matchup usually because not only did i feel hopeless, but I was having flashbacks to zendikar standard... I did not have a one drop on the first turn but i had a vial 2 lands and a Branchwalker so I thought it would do. before i knew it i could not get enough damage in and i was hit with a billion mountain damage. I felt it was appropriate to board out the harbingers and images. put in 3 disdainful strokes and 3 dispels. Game two primetime came out and killed my dudes with valakut triggers and eventually got me.

    Game 3 vs Jund 1-2

    Because there was more stuff going on in this matchup than any of the others I cant remember many specific details. Game 1 was close but I got killed by a gigantic ooze. Game 2 i put in 3 relics of progenitus and 1 dispel. This game i had more stuff than he was removal and i islandwalked to victory. a dispel saved me from removal, so I made the terrible mistake of overestimating the card and shoving the other two in, forgetting what i boarded out. I believe it was cursecatcher. Game 3 ended up in a stall for a while but then he got out 2 Bobs and was getting all the luck with lands off the bobs and spells from the draws. I was able to keep Goyf under control with relic of progenitus but eventally i got mauled by Huntmaster of the Fells a token and a Kitchen Finks... after being stuck with two dispels in hand... (lesson learned)

    Despite the loss I had a good and fun time. i've noted mistakes I have made and will try to avoid them in the future. A few things to note.

    Cursecatcher felt like it never pulled it's weight. against Scapeshift they can just wait to cast it for one more mana, and against jund, ther best removal in bolts and pushes are one mana anyway. I understand that there are probably some matchups where he shines but certainly not the ones from yesterday. Right now I only see it as being good if I have 4 mana and I want to play a Merrow and something a cursecatcher to tap something down. Of course it was a singleton so I did not get to try it out but I would like to keep in Watertrap to see if it will work as intended if drawn. If I were to replace 2 Cursecatchers for something else what should it be? Here are a few thoughts.

    2 Spellskite: Prof. from TCC raves about this guy a lot. My only experience with the card was from Standard back in the day and I know how good it is, just not sure if it is where Merfolk wants to be. still I see potential as it provides more things to play with a 2 counter vial and can be played off of a manabase of mutavault and cavern.

    2 Smuggler's Copter: I feel like it would be nice when u cant depend on Islandwalk but also at the same time, i feel it might be less effective with two less one drops to turn it on. Still the power to filter through the deck faster is pretty good.

    1/1 Kopala/Kira or Kopala or Kira/Watertrap Weaver: Not sure if adding in 2 more three drops is a good idea with 19 lands. I feel like each of these cards would have helped me in some manner. Trap for tapping down attacking the Jund creatures and Kira/Kopala for making them pay more for removal or double up.

    2 Dismember: I opted not to use these because of the fetches and shocks taking a toll on my life and, and used a fourth harbinger/Watertrap as a way to deal with creatures instead. to be honest I have no idea if this was the right call or not, because in the games where i did not draw the watertrap that meant I knew for sure i would not have drawn a dismember and against jund i feel like If I would have drawn it after the ooze got too big it would have been useless anyway, while the other two might have been more helpful.

    All in all it was a learning experience and I had fun, looking forward to my next opportunity to play. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here Smile
    Posted in: Tier 2 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    I think the second mana base with one more fetch is better given the number of three drops you're running. Also, the other mana base you posted would have trouble playing sideboard interaction. I think Nikachu might have provided a good description of the mana base in one of his deck techs. Look him up on YouTube.

    Def Google a few articles on modern mana bases, it will make your transition easier Smile

    Also, if you end up running 19 lands, that frees up a spot for a single Kira.

    Good luck! This deck has a low floor and high ceiling when it comes to piloting skill, so don't be discouraged the first time around. Modern is about knowing the format and mastering decks and archetypes. The experience will get you where you want to be with the deck.
    Thanks for the advice and while im not sure if it's the best thing to do, I did some testing with the removal of one land and one Harbinger for 2 Cursecatchers, I can't recall who it was who said it here but I did like the idea of just a few more one drops for a more consistent vial. I also want to get in a cursecatcher once in a while so i can get practice with determining when and when not to use it, in case the u/g version is not for me and I go to mono U.

    Definitely gonna give the fetchland manabase a shot. If I see that my lgs has a bunch of control I suppose the wise thing to do will be to change it back afterwards.


    Edit: I will look up some more articles, I saw one on channel fireball yesterday that seemed decent. I have subscribed to Nikachu but never took an in-depth look at him. I'm sure my question can be answered with a bit of research but I'll ask anyway to see what other players have to say.

    Why is there a split in the manabases, where some recommend a bunch of caverns and others a bunch of fetches. I'm thinking a mana base with 3 caverns and 2-3 fetches seems like a good compromise. You still have a good shot of getting ur green splash for sb cards and u have a higher chance of playing around control with cavern.
    Posted in: Tier 2 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Merfolk
    I've had the modern merfolk shell built for a year or so now but I never decided to go and actually play in a modern tournament because it seemed intimidating, from a standard player's standpoint. While I have been plying a ton of commander with my friends lately, I do miss the lgs scene but as of now standard seems pretty boring atm. My lgs has a modern event in two days so i decided that I will give it a shot. I'm thinking that I want to try the U/G version because even thought I believe cursecather is good, I just have a preference towards agressive cards. So having a 2 power one drop that will essentially be 3 power when it attacks thanks to a lord is more appealing to me.

    As you can see I do not have a sideboard but I do have pieces to assemble one. I'm not going to ask anybody to build one for me but if anyone can give recommendations on what to put in going into a completely unknown meta, I can work from there. Aslo...

    In terms of a manabase I'm having trouble determining which is better given my lack of experience in the format. My gut s telling me the one I'm using is better given the off chance of my store having a control meta. If someone with more experience can tell me why one might be better/more efficient than the other it would be greatly appreciated.

    Also wondering if instead of 2 Kopalas, would a 1/1 split between him and Kira be better.
    Posted in: Tier 2 (Modern)
  • posted a message on Naya Token Card Draw Options?
    How easy is it for you to get tokens pumped to at least 3 power? I started using Mouth in Gahiji tokens because he can reliably make my 1/1s into 3/1s. The card gave me something to do in the early game besides ramp which the deck was lacking and it gave me an option to use in the late game while it was just sitting in the graveyard. I Usually net 4-5 cards off of it. The most it's ever gotten me was 30 or so.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Growing Rites of Itlimoc
    I know Ixalan is still relatively new so people may not have had ample time to test new stuff.

    When I saw Growing Rites of Itlimoc spoiled I was hype. I thought to myself wow, I can afford Gaea's Cradle. As I've been playing with it, my hype dwindled. My deck that wants it has a mix of creatures that produces tokens and instants/sorceries that make tokens.(Gahiji tokens) It only runs 16 creatures and every time I've played it, it has never gotten me a creature. But I have flipped it on two occasions.

    Even though a Gaea's Cradle effect is something obvious that the deck wants. I do not believe it is worth it if I can't get value out of the enchantment effect, and then go through a hoop to make it Gaea's Cradle.

    If anyone else has used the card, how has it been for them? Is there a certain number of creatures that you can have in your deck that makes getting a creature off of it's enchantment effect more reliable?
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Controlling Dissidents (Kess, Dissident Mage)
    I'm trying to build a non-storm Kess deck myself, so im looking for inspiration anywhere I can get it. Some suggestions.

    Maybe Cut is better than Roast? One less power, can get flyers and can be a finisher sitting in the graveyard. It's not like Exsanguinate where it sits in your hand and is bad until you have a bunch of mana

    Curtain's Call: I usually play with 3 other people so this always costs 3 for me. Not sure how it would fair in your meta

    Ancient Excavation and Grave Upheaval Can be cycled away for land in the early game and used with Kess later.

    Jace, Vyrn's Prodigy Snapcaster Mage: Re use spells when Kess is in the command zone. And probably not as good but Goblin Dark-Dwellers
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Kess, Dissident Mage Commander Discussion [Let's Brew!]
    I have cards all over the floor, a bunch of tabs open and ive been trying to figure out how to build Kess all day.

    I built a Scarab God deck but despite me liking the card a lot, he required too much work to get going for my taste. I still kinda want him in a deck. My first plan was wheel/reanimator in order to support Locust/Scarab God. The idea sounds fun, just not sure how to go about executing it and if its the best (or even a reliable) non-storm thing I can do. I mean if it's wheels, maybe Nekusaur is better suited for that?

    Some silly idea I came up with was to cast exsanguinate for a bunch of mana with Neheb, the Eternal on board. Use the bunch of mana u got with him and re cast exsanguinate with Kess.

    I do like getting advantage out of her casting those small draw spells, what im looking for is a consistent way to win. Just not sure if more creatures or more spells is the way to go.


    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on The Scarab God, which approach to take
    My first draft that I currently have is zombie tribal with a lean on zombie tokens for better Scarab triggers, and a bunch of Lords to make the tokens and bit better. It also has paradox haze and training Grounds because they just go well with Scarab. I do not have too much mill though.

    After playing with it for a few weeks I can't say I'm fond of the direction I chose. I usually play with at least 3 other people and it is really hard to keep an army of Zombies AND Scarab on the field at the same time by the time my upkeep comes along. So if this is the approach you are doing, I don't want to say just forget about it, it's bad, but it is risky.

    I might try the opposite next. More focus on it's eternalize ability but try to keep a zombie sub theme so it does not become too similar to my Mimeoplasm.

    To answer one your questions

    1) I played 7 Lords and in a lot of cases I ended with hands of Lords looking down on my field clear of zombies cuz of a board wipe. Maybe it is too much, I'm going to suggest 5 maybe 6 Lords. The ones that served me the best were Lord of the Undead, Cemetery Reaper, Diregraf Captain and Undead Warchief

    I'm in the same boat with trying to figure out what to do myself and I mostly have the same questions that you do.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on [Primer] B/x Zombies
    Quote from Tim1137 »
    went undefeated at local FNM with this list:




    selfless spirit was an all star in this build. It totally threw off my opponents and changed their game plan against me. dusk // dawn was another great card too, won be multiple games using both modes. You can also sac a selfless spirit to protect your pumped zombies.

    I was just thinking about splashing white for wayward servant and shambling vent to have some life gain as a leg up against aggressive red decks. Glad to hear you did good with it. Curious, how was it not playing with Dread Wanderer?



    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on [Primer] B/x Zombies
    this concept seems interesting. Although the only issue with decks like this in general is the turn you can play anointed procession, that's it. It's easy for many decks to take advantage of taking a whole turn doing *nothing* and the advantage you gain from it afterwards sometimes does not make up for it. I have not played much this new standard but my experience with this was from Parallel Lives back in original Innistrad standard. I will still look into something like this because as a poster from before said it seems Zombies are not as viable this time around despite, Aetherworks gone.

    While it is still unclear at, it is safe to assume that the God-Pharoah's Gift deck shows promise. It's most basic goal which can make a 6/6 flying lifelinker appear and swing at you can put you behind enough to not come back. A 6/6 Angel of Invention gets past grasp of darkness. It's a copy too. And not a regular token so it completely avoids fatal push. Dark Salvation has the potential to kill it but it's at sorcery speed.

    Personally I have no idea what to do so I'm curious what others think about it. I mostly picked up the black zombie deck because it played very similar to my modern Merfolk and I enjoyed it a lot. While not the most surprising of innovations. I liked the blue splash for scarab god in one of the recent decks. I like Gissa and Geralf too but not as much. I also believe the blue splash has more potential if GFG gets bigger because if u bounce the "eternalized" token that deals with them. Im not sure if standard has any good bounce spells ATM tho.

    Sorry for the wall of text.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on [Primer] B/x Zombies
    I just keep thinking how awesome Plague Belcher would be with Geralf's Messenger I think WB zombies is cool, I just dont like thst Wayward servant is the only thing pushing me in that direction. Still trying to come up with a BR build with a fast clock.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on [Primer] B/x Zombies
    http://magicgameplan.com/blog/rakdos-aggro-rtr-standard/

    The last time I played zombies it was something like this back in original Innistrad/RTR standard. Oh boy was it aggressive. Maybe now it can finally be replicated. I imagine playing a deck with Glorybringer and Hazoret as wincons. I'm not sure if there is any other constructed viable hasty threat on turn 4.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on BG counters
    Quote from TheEmgee »
    I went undefeated at my local FNM. I was fortunate enough to be paired against two control decks which I 2-0'd. MVP cards against them were Scrapheap Scrounger, Ruinous Path / To The Slaughter, Transgress the Mind, Nissa, Vital Force, and War Machine Walking Ballista. I played the following list but it is going to change before my next FNM.

    On another note, Pro Tour Aether Revolt showed Mardu Vehicles as the popular deck. Saheeli decks were having a difficult time. Once we figure out the best cards against control, we should use our collective minds to prep against Mardu Vehicles and RB zombies.
    I'm glad you did better against control than I did. I would not worry about vehicles too much, GB decks have been beating them hard in the last few opens, only reason there are a lot in the PT top 8 is because of the sheer number of people playing it because of it's good MU vs control. I would bring in Liliana's because it's Plus 1 deals with motorist and toolcraft, even it can't kill anything it can make creatures unable to crew stuff. Fatal Push just straight up kills Kiran.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
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