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By: stsung, Jaroslava Stefankova
Oct 24 2017 11:00am
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In the past few weeks there were many changes and I'd like to keep you up-to-date on what happened.

 

  1. If you read my previous articles you probably noticed that the community was discussing possible bans or unbans in the format.
  2. ML_Berlin, the host of Chainsaw Massacre, the person keeping this format alive for us for years, handed hosting of the event to another player. With that happening I'd like to give big thanks to ML_Berlin for his dedication, effort and all time he spent hosting events and finding new players. He kept the 100 Card Singleton format alive for all of us who love it, he gave us the opportunity to play, and meet new players.

     

    THANK YOU, ML

    Lowman02 is the new host, he is a very good player, a good person who can help make the community grow and I believe that he will keep the Chainsaw Massacre event very much alive. He is providing very high quality content on his Youtube Channel where he explains different strategies in 100CS. If you are interested in seeing how the format can look like I'd recommend watching his videos. Lowman02 also wrote a primer for the format, so if you are not yet familiar with decks or cards, head over to the article -> 100CS Wants You.

  3. We also started a new subreddit which can be found at https://www.reddit.com/r/S100/. If you have any questions regarding the format, ask there and we will happily answer.
  4. With Lowman02 negotiated bigger prize support (from 11 tix to 16 tix, 8 tix goes to the winner, the rest is divided among players that lost once.) for the event and started a voting process for banlist changes.

 

First of all, what me and Lowman02 wanted to achieve with the change of banlist was freedom in playing and deckbuilding. We wanted equality for different deck archetypes in order to create a more healthy metagame that can also shift depending on what people would bring to the table. There wouldn't be one dominant deck like there is now - 4c Blood - around which the metagame would need to warp. With unbannings we envisioned certain decks could become dominant, but there would be an opposition to them which would steer the metagame into another direction. This means there is another impact on the metagame which we didn't talk about but is derived from this. With cards unbanned we will get control decks and combo decks in the format which will give more room for the decks that would prey on those (for example aggressive decks will be the ones keeping Loam decks in check). With more different decks in the metagame, we will get more variance. This means that in events we can get paired against good matchups or bad matchups while before the unbannings the win percentage was mostly in 10-15 percentage difference. I don't want to say that this is bad, it is actually good and this alone should allow us to have more fun playing, experimenting - any deck can win now.

Since we don't have a banlist committee like the German Highlander community for example, there is no explanation why cards were chosen to be banned or unbanned. We as players voted and that means that all our subjective feelings and objective thinking was included in the results.

The results are as follows:

Cards banned:
Birthing Pod

 

Cards unbanned:
Crucible of Worlds
Dig Through Time
Fastbond
Intuition
Life from the Loam
Lion's Eye Diamond
Mana Drain
Memory Jar
Merchant Scroll
Mind's Desire
Mystical Tutor
Necropotence
Stoneforge Mystic
Timetwister
Tolarian Academy
Treasure Cruise
Trinisphere
Windfall
Yawgmoth's Bargain

Cards that did not get unbanned:
Channel
Demonic Consultation
Demonic Tutor
Oath of Druids
Wheel of Fortune
Yawgmoth's Will

 

On Tutors

 

Boogeyman man number one is Demonic Tutor. Only 30 percent voted for its unban while Mystical Tutor was unbanned with 70% agreement. This is a relatively strange thing and shows a certain bias towards Demonic Tutor and maybe a little bit of underestimation of Mystical Tutor. In German Highlander at the time of the voting we said goodbye to Mystical Tutor while Demonic Tutor (that was on the watchlist) is still legal in that format. Why did that happen? I'd like to use this one example to show you that maybe there is more to some cards then you think and that some cards seemingly overpowered are not.

 

When we are judging the power of the cards many people just look at the card and its effect. Some will also look at the cards in context of the format and some will even go further and look at the context of the actual games played with these cards in their decks. Based on the voting we can see that majority of the people most probably thinks that Demonic Tutor is the superior card which in vacuum can be true. In the context of Vintage, I would agree. In the context of 100CS or German Highlander I wouldn't. Why? What's different?

We can look at these tutors from different perspectives. If we break down the two cards we can come up with a table.

  Demonic Tutor Mystical Tutor
CMC 2 1
Speed 1 Sorcery Instant
Speed 2 Card is put in hand Card is put on top of library
Card advantage None (0) Disadvantage (-1)
Looks for Any card Instant or Sorcery
Hidden information Hidden Revealed

If we look at this we might come to the conclusion that Demonic Tutor is the better card after all. In Vintage for example it would be true. Mystical Tutor is a card that was often cut from decks because there were stronger cards. The card was doing the best job in a Delver shell where it could find the needed answer, timely Time Walk or flip Delver of Secrets with certainty (if Tutor resolved). In combo-control decks the card disadvantage and tutor's limitation (looking for instant or sorcery) was sometimes simply the reason to cut the card altogether. When the card was used mostly to look for instants, players even gave preference to Merchant Scroll.

In 100CS the situation is different. I'll share my experience from playing Demonic Tutor and Mystical Tutor. I used to play with Demonic Tutor in all my decks I brought to events. Even if that was the single splashed black card since I was often on multicolored decks and splashing a color was easy. Mystical Tutor was finding its way into blue-based decks. The use of the tutors was totally different though. Since I played with both cards for years and even was checking the winning cards in my decks for 3 years, I noticed one thing. Most of the time Demonic Tutor was searching for answers while Mystical Tutor in the decks I played it in was looking for a win condition. I'll give few examples from this weekend. I used the said tutors to look for these cards.

Demonic Tutor Mystical Tutor
Wasteland Enlightened Tutor
Taiga Mystical Teachings
Zealous Persecution Entreat the Angels
Siege Rhino Terminus

In the case of 4c Blood (Demonic Tutor) I looked for the cards in order to even have a chance to win the game. Without playing the tutor I'd most probably simply lost the game. In the case of UWb Combo-Control I searched for cards that allowed me to win in two turns (or be in winning position from which I couldn't lose). In two cases I looked for a tutor that I needed in order to find what I needed in order to win. In the first case I just needed one part of the combo and in the second one I needed to look for both parts of it - Helm of Obedience and Rest in Peace. In the third case I just looked for Entreat the Angels to win the game on my next turn. In the last case I needed to get rid of my opponent's creatures in order land Jace, the Mind Sculptor and win with it. Tutoring for Terminus to put it on top of my library and cast it for its miracle cost meant that I could play both cards and still have mana open for permission. In the first two cases I could have played Demonic Tutor with the same result (even though I couldn't cast it in case 1) in the other two Mystical Tutor's 'disadvantage' was turned into an advantage. With Demonic Tutor I wouldn't be able to cast the spells for their miracle cost.

On our way back we discussed the banning of Mystical Tutor and while at it the winner of the tournament said that he cast Mystical Tutor 4 times during the event. In three cases he looked for a card that ended the game - Price of Progress twice and Ruination. I believe that if you'd ask the Demonic Tutor players and Mystical Tutor players about their tutored cards their answers could be divided in two categories similarly to my example - answers and win conditions.

What does this mean? While Demonic Tutor is very strong card and I won't argue about that, Mystical Tutor is often on very similar power level or even stronger in singleton. Casting Demonic Tutor at Sorcery speed and waiting a turn to play the tutored card or playing it right away needing more resources is often something that makes Demonic Tutor less powerful. Mystical Tutor doesn't allow for sorcery speed disruption and even blue permission has difficulties since the player casting the tutor usually casts it at end of turn while being untapped. The fact that the card needs to be revealed isn't much of a downside since the card will be played the next turn and the opponent simply doesn't have much room to deal with the tutored card. If you don't see what I mean try replacing Mystical Tutor with Imperial Seal. After casting it few times you will realize that the one full turn your opponent has to find an answer for something that is coming (the target will most likely be easy to divine if the tutored card is a win condition or answer depending on the board state) is a very big difference.

Mystical Tutor is not the only tutor unbanned. Intuition is also a powerful card but often underrated as well. This card will find its way into combo decks but also into BUG control decks where it will search for Life from the Loam in most of the cases. In others it can look for 3 removal spells for example or 3 relevant creatures when one is needed. Intuition though is the perfect tutor for Life from the Loam and some lands. No matter if you look for Life from the Loam, Wasteland, Cycle land or Life from the Loam, Eternal Witness, Volrath's Stronghold what you earn is a huge card advantage over time. This of course has a downside and that is the speed. Using Loam engine to gain card advantage takes time. It can be efficiently used at the earliest during the time when aggressive decks should have won (or lost) the game. This in general means that decks utilizing this engine will be soft to Red Deck Wins or White Weenie/Death and Taxes decks. When facing a control deck though, if you manage to resolve Intuition on turn 3 and use Loam a turn later, you've most probably just won. Loam package comes with a price and it is up to the player to see if that is worth including, this alone suggest that the card or cards in question are not all-powerful.

After reading this article you should be able to see Mystical Tutor and Demonic Tutor in a different light. What you need to understand is that many players often cast Demonic Tutor in a losing position while Mystical Tutor is being cast in winning one. Mystical Tutor is being cast in order to secure your position and win the game, when you fall behind this card often doesn't save you. Demonic Tutor looks for the answer that can put you back in the game, but it can also lose you the game since often time is of the essence when you need to cast this card.

What is important when evaluating cards is context. I used Vintage and 100CS as an example. It does not stop there. 100CS has a certain metagame and that creates another context. Different matchups create other contexts. If you know how to play and what you need you will know what to do and how the game should progress. This way you can use the knowledge to use your cards the best. In this case I was talking just about two cards - with one now being legal, while the other one banned mostly due to misconception of the card.

Don't be afraid of the cards that got unbanned. If you don't have enough experience with them, just try them out. See how they behave in your deck and what is the best use for them. Necropotence might seem overpowered but what deck wants to play it? BBB is a very big commitment and the deck needs to win on the spot (next turn) in order to make use of it. Even Storm in 100CS wants to stay away from it. If you don't know why, put the deck together and goldfish. The answer can be easily found, just by playing. You will find out that Ritual driven deck similar to Legacy's ANT is more difficult to built than one that is cantrip driven and plays High Tide to generate mana, cast spells, tutor for Tendrils of Agony, and cast them.

Thank you for reading
S'Tsung (stsung on Magic Online, stsungjp)

3 Comments

Demonic by Sensei at Wed, 10/25/2017 - 11:46
Sensei's picture

I don't know how you can say many players often cast Demonic Tutor in a losing position
when you don't control when you draw it. It can be drawn in winning and losing positions. It can also win you the game as you referenced with RiP or lock your opponent out with Winter Orb/Crucible or win you a blue mirror with Cavern of Souls. The card disadvantage in 100cs is real; very few games are over turn 3 a la Vintage.

Demonic vs Mystical Tutor by lowman02 at Wed, 10/25/2017 - 14:15
lowman02's picture

Hey guys,
I think the comparison of these two cards is extremely interesting and I tend to think that they are on a closer power level than may be readily apparent.

So, and I hope she'll correct me if I'm wrong, I think what stsung meant to explain was this: Demonic tutor because of the range of what is findable with it, will tend to be played in almost any deck that can support casting it--it's never a bad card, because it can be whatever you need it to be given any gamestate. This comes at a cost of what is castable by -2 turns given natural mana development of 1 per turn, but comes at the gain of 100% perfect selection. This is a great deal for any deck that can cast it, however, it's inefficient. I don't mean that it's an inefficient tutor, it's highly efficient as a tutor, but moreso that tutoring in and of itself is inefficient, coming at the cost of time or mana resource for the gain of selection (perfect selection in this case), which in and of itself is inefficient because the finding of a card at the cost of mana does not directly impact the game--based upon what you find and that found card's ability to have relevant impact in the required time window this can still be back breaking (Winter Orb, RIP, etc).

However, I think her point was, more so, is that this card will often be run in any deck that can support casting it--which means it has a higher propensity to be cast in multiple different ways--one of which is stopping your opponent from winning, or buying yourself time to win--In a deck like 4CB that she referenced, most of the cards are pretty focused on doing one thing: killing your opponent; in a deck like this, if it's packing demonic tutor, you'll often hold this tutor, because 1. you can expect variance to favor you drawing more threats to accomplish your goal (there's a whole lot of them to draw and they're all really good), so getting another threat at the cost of -2 mana is fairly anemic and 2. You want to have the flexibility to find your more specific answers to that which actually is known and can beat you. For instance, if I know my opponent has Back to Basics in hand, then going down on efficiency to find Dromoka's Command to kill one of their threats through fights and blow up the Back to Basics is better than just finding a better threat that I can cast a turn after casting DT. Looking through her use of the card, while playing 4CB, she used it to make a relevant land drop (Tiaga; stop from losing to variance and ensure an uncastable card in her hand did not continue to be dead), stop vast mana advantage or an opposing land based win condition (Wasteland, possibly targeting Gaea's Cradle to halt vast mana generation or targeting a Thespian's Stage after a Primeval Titan put this land and Dark Depths into play--another, and very possible, proactive use could have been destroying a Glacial Chasm, to enable a lethal swing from her critters), kill an un-targetable threat or win in combat (Zealous Persectution, to kill True-Name Nemesis, or to break a board stale situation that she expected would over time benefit her opponent), and present a relevant body that also swung life totals (Siege Rhino, likely vs a very aggressive deck possibly RDW or WW, while sitting in a losing position). When this card can be run, it will do whatever your deck needs it to do, just a little slower than you'd ideally get to do it if you could draw what you needed each turn--in a deck like 4CB, a very consistent deck, this will tend to equate to answering things that lose you the game, because your fairly focused plan to win will tend to present you with far more threat cards than you need, but the answers to specific situations will be far more uncommon, so given a choice for singular, but perfect, selection, you'll often save it to deal with something that your more common cards cannot. All of that said, Demonic Tutor, when allowed, will tend to be played in any deck that can cast it, some of them will use it to generate vastly unfair gamestates, but due to the card's inherent loss of efficiency, it will allow greater time for reaction, but it will also be played in a lot of "fair" decks as well, and here I agree, due to the rationale above, that it will more often lead to finding something that either stops your opponent from winning or stops variance from beating you as the caster.

On the other hand, Mystical Tutor, a known immediate loss of a card, will tend to be a part of more deliberate engine style deck or chain that as a course of using it will either win the game or accommodate for the loss of the card with overwhelming card advantage (Loam/Intuition) or near immediate presentation of overwhelming threat (Entreat). It can also be used in a fair way to simply find a wrath effect to keep a player alive (and sometimes you'll have to go for this, but it's not likely the go to card), but generally it tends to be a build around card, similar to natural order//Primeval Titan. The fact that it costs one less mana is highly relevant, as typically, in any game of eternal MTG (and 100c is an eternal format) a player's use of mana and cards in the first 4 turns of the game is highly relevant to determining victory or defeat and playing this card at instant speed is highly relevant as the caster of the card is given the flexibility to see an additional full turn out of the opponent's board development and actions, allowing one to opt between interaction or selection, and possibly both due to the small mana investment requirement this card comes with. The point is, if you run this card you should generally know that it costs a card, and because it is more limited in what it can find, you'll generally build engines around having this card available in your deck--Demonic Tutor does not limit your selection, so while you may very well have an engine or immediate win condition that Demonic Tutor could find, you almost assuredly do when you're playing Mystical Tutor (if you want to play it to it's full potential).

So, I tend to agree that it would be more common to see Demonic Tutor used reactively than it would be to see Mystical Tutor used reactively. Note that I'm not saying either card has to be used reactively, but moreso that due to the limits of Mystical Tutor it will often be used in engine style decks that strongly incentivize going for the engine or win condition over Demonic Tutor that is a far more flexible card and would be played in a wider range of deck archetypes that can cast it. Both can be used to do busted crap.

However, Rob, what I'd ask you is do you think Demonic Tutor is more powerful than Vampiric Tutor?

In some contexts it is, but I think if we unbanned Vampiric Tutor we'd have far more issues with that card than if we allowed Demonic Tutor back into the format.

Speed Kills, the most iconic card ever printed, Black Lotus, is a prime example of efficiency at the cost of card economy--but it makes every deck that it's in (excepting dredge) better--why is that--Speed Kills.

Vampiric by Sensei at Thu, 10/26/2017 - 14:52
Sensei's picture

Yes I think Vampiric is the strongest of the three due to being able to EOT tutor for any threat or answer and then untap