Once again I find myself sitting here on a Monday late afternoon with not a single thing written for the bird cage liner you're reading right now. I mean, sure, the decklists are there, and the meta, and the Friday Night Standard results. But those are the skeleton upon which I build. What about the meat on this beast? Where is the blood? The savage bite as it leaps off the screen and attacks your senses? I can't simply keep putting up taxidermy pieces and pass them off wild animals, a la The Dead Parrot Sketch. I don't want this one to be nailed to it's perch. So what can I write about?
There's the dailies being back, but I don't want to open with that. Let's see... what else?
This parrot has ceased to be. It is no more.
GP Dallas happened over the past weekend. I'm not a Standard man, despite running a Standard format event series, so I really don't have anything relevant to say. There were some obvious misplays, but those happen all the time at the end of a long weekend when one is under pressure. Nothing new there.
One of the things I really enjoyed about the GP Dallas coverage was the live Deck Techs, and the 'on the spot' interviews. I was also amused at some of the technical aspects of the coverage, such as the grey squares around everyone's face during the first Deck Tech, ordering nachos, and the hand held camera work. All in all, it was fun, and I was well pleased with the weekend's coverage. I understand about the difficulties running a show undermanned with last minute replacements (if that was indeed the case).
I don't really feel like parroting what others are already writing about GP Dallas, so let's talk about owls instead.
Some of you might be seeing this deck for the first time, but it's really nothing new. Owling Mine was a competitive deck during Kamigawa Standard/Extended. In fact, Tiago Chan piloted a list very similar to this one to the Top 8 of PT Honolulu '06. In fact, I think a good look at the whole T8 of that PT is in order. I see some cool deck possibilities there. I wonder what other killer decks from the past are lurking out there, just waiting for the right time to strike?
Obviously, the plan here is to keep laying down draw effects to keep all hands full to overflowing, with Ebony Owl Netsuke dinging your opponent for four, eight, or even twelve for the privilege of a full hand. All the while keeping him controlled with bounce, counters, and tempo. Of course, the plan of keeping your opponents hand full backfires horribly against burn, or quick swarming aggro, or any other deck built around emptying it's hand fast and furious.
Speaking of fast and furious...
It is so strange referring to a four color deck as "RDW", but here it is.
Bump decks, also known as Rakdos Deck Wins, started appearing soon after Bump in the Night came out with Innistrad. RDW found that a splash gave them some additional Lightning Bolts, with Flashback, no less!
When Return to Ravnica burst onto the scene amidst much fanfare and hoopla, Bump decks started experimenting with Deathrite Shaman as a more versatile replacement for Grim Lavamancer. Some started splashing , as well, for lifegain tricks with the Shaman, and the Flashback cost of Ancient Grudge. Jund Bump was born.
When Gatecrash brought us Boros Charm, a heftier (and more versatile) replacement for Lightning Helix, White Lightning (RDW splashing for Helix, Charm, sideboard Path to Exile) and Boros Bump also started making their appearances. By the time Dragon's Maze arrived, White Lightning had phased out, and Bump was regularly running three or four colors.
Here's the Nykthos Wave deck again, using devotion to power out huge Genesis Waves for the win. Not to mention dream plays like Turn 1: Arbor Elf, Turn 2: cast Utopia Sprawl on an untapped Forest (naming ), tap for two, untap it with Arbor Elf, tap for two more, cast Garruk Wildspeaker, +1 Garruk to untap lands, cast Coiling Oracle.
Wait. Naming for Utopia Sprawl? Coiling Oracle? What? Yep, this one has a bit of in it. Why the splash? Easy! Ghostly Flicker. This common out of Avacyn Restored, which allows you to "bounce" not one, but two of your permanents, allows for some intriguing shenanigans. Have a peek at some of these bounce targets:
A neglected (in Modern, I'm sure it sees significant Pauper play) common from the Dissension expansion, when Coiling Oracle plops onto the battlefield, good things happen. This Simic Snake Elf will either plop another land onto the field, or a card into your hand. Either way, that's card advantage.
First seen in Shards of Alara, Elvish Visionary quickly became a staple, replacing itself in your hand, allowing you to dig further into your deck while putting up a chump to block.
Fifth Dawn brought us Eternal Wetness, another handy dandy Elf that returns a selected used card from your graveyard to your hand. How cool is that?
These are the three major targets for the flicker effect. In addition, there's no reason you couldn't bounce a pair of Burning-Tree Emissarys to generate mana. (Why you'd want to do that, I don't know. Just saying it can be done) Or you could reset your Karn Liberated. Or, of course, protect your blockers.
I spy, with my little eye, something green and red in the side.
Here's another wha-Wha-WHAT?!?! card out of Shadowmoor. It always tickles my funnybone seeing Vexing Shusher pop up, and always wonder why it doesn't see more play in gobby, and other decks of this ilk. Other than "dies to removal". Which is true of any non-indestructible creature. Bob, too. We see him all day long. Why not this guy?
Mini Meta Madness
The return of Daily and Premier Events was announced on Monday.
And so it ends, and begins anew again. Dailies are firing as you're reading this. Premieres are in the queue for the weekend. The last 5-3-2-2 results will be published today. Maybe. It might be one of yesterday's dailies.
While the structure and prize payout of these events remains mostly unchanged, the schedule, on the other hand, clearly shows the hand, and foot, of Wizard's craftsmanship.
For one thing, Momir and Pauper are no more, as far as Dailies go. There are still Pauper and Momir Premier Events, but that's small consolation to the Pauper community, which was just starting to experience a serious growth surge. I don't know about Momir, but I know Pauper is a very popular format, and has a large community. Which wizzos just kicked in the tenders. I guess since Pauper and Momir don't crack packs, or snap up the latest cards as soon as they come out, they're not considered schedule worthy. But wizzo's don't care. They as bad as they wanna be. They do what they want.
Having the events at the same time every day is a fine idea. Except for, I don't know, Modern players who have a job and live on the west coast? I'm sure there are other groups of people it inconveniences, as well. But overall, having a set schedule will make it easier in the long run. I have some ideas, though. Perhaps a "stepping stone" schedule, where events start 1 hour later each day. Perhaps a staggered schedule: Schedule A on M-W-F, Schedule B on T-W-S-S.
The announcement also said that we're going back to the "samo samo" as far as event results go: the highest attended event on a given day, plus all Premier Events. I call [REDACTED]. I'm reasonably sure all the arguments for the redaction of event results set forth in the original forum post of over a year ago have been shown to be just so much [REDACTED].
All results. All the time.
NOTE: Google Docs has been having issues recently, so if you see a chart that's simply a red box with "'undefined' is not a function...", refreshing the page will often clear it.
This glimpse into the Modern meta is presented for your entertainment only. It is by no means representative of the actual meta.
The Wall of Voodoo
Today, the basic core of the Modern Rock deck is:
Inquisition of Kozilek / Thoughtseize
Liliana of the Veil
Everything else is “accessories”, according to the builder’s preference. Jund and Junk are two appendages of the same beast. Ajundi happens when the appendages slap together. But it’s all the same slavering, rabid swampbeast hybrid that comes tearing into every Modern FNM, every Modern GP, every Modern PTQ, every Modern PT. And usually ends up King of the Hill. That beast is Rock.
Spank The Slug
I'm trying something new. To be more accurate, I'm stealing an idea/tool that I like. I see this tool being used elsewhere to good effect: feedback and interaction.
I want to be known for my words, as well as my commitment to giving back to the community that spawned whatever this is. (This being the whole gestalt of MTGO (and me), my articles, my events, the community, and you) I want to be known for a lot of things, actually, but those two are the issues at hand here. This is an article about MTGO (and me), and I am writing it. You are part of my gestalt. I want to interact with you.
So. Ask me something. Ask me anything.
Nobody asked me anything! *sniff!*
So I'll give you some poems, instead.
Turbulent Dreams of Liliana Vess
Her Hand of Cruelty gives Liliana's Caress
Boiling Blood and Psychic Drain
Flashfreeze in a Crystal Vein
Triclopean Sight into The Abyss
Frozen Solid Delirium Skeins
; Assembly Language Love Poem
Friday Night Standard
Friday Night Standard is a limited seating, free-to-enter tournament that runs twice every Friday. Once at 1800 UTC, and again at 830PM Eastern time. It's structured just like the Dailies on MTGO: 4 Rounds of Swiss Pairing, with prizes going to all 4-0 & 3-1 players. Registration is done via Gatherling. You can find more information at the main event thread here.
Watch Friday Night Standard from the Tournament Organizer's perspective! The Slug's Lair on Ustream will be bringing you all the action live! Everything from the player meeting to the final math, experience a tournament from the TOs point of view! There are "feature matches" every round.
I am considering adding a third event to the Friday Night Standard lineup, to cater to MTGO players living in the Pacific Rim and eastern Asia.
I believe a start time of 1800 UTC+7 (Bangkok) would be convenient to most of the area, but this is subject to clarification from players in that area.
I am still looking into the demand and feasibility of this, so don't take this as a promise.
FNS EU #39
3-1: Justsin, Farfishere, rickster_, jackfrost86, pan
Decklists and results from all Friday Night Standard EU events can be found here.
3-1: tobon, kyosukenoir, arcbounddaylabor. Mendoza
Decklists and results from all Friday Night Standard events can be found here.
BlippyTheSlug on MTGO
USTREAM Channel: The Slug's Lair
Blog: Read At Your Peril (NSFW!)