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By: BlippyTheSlug, Volker Kirstein
Dec 26 2013 11:28am
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It's Walker Week here at Pure. Woo hoo! So what does that mean for me? Hmm. Not a whole lot, really. Walkers. Should I have to limit myself to Planeswalkers? Why can't I write about walkers like the old folks use?

He wanders town, with his walker
Awkwardly staring at people's daughters
  - excerpt from Today I Sold Some Knives, by iCwalzy

I could write something in the Star Wars universe featuring Imperial Walkers. Or Walker, Texas Ranger. Maybe I could write about my clubfoot, and CMT, and wishing I could go for an honest-to-goodness walk. Maybe zombies. Or shoes. I don't know. There is a plethora of possibilities.

But this is a Magic article, after all, of sorts. You have certain preconceived notions about what is going to be popping when I, or someone of my ilk, starts talking about "walkers". I will try not to batter your perceptions too badly, but bat at them I will.

So. If I were a planeswalker, what would my abilities be? I tried to design myself, and this card is what I ended up with. I had to soften it up a little, because some things I can't really talk about on a "family friendly" site like this, but I think you get the cut of my jib, to use nautical jargon. 

Terra Incognita

It has been said of Modern: "The most important thing about Modern is [its] diversity. It's by and far the most open format right now, there are huge tracts of land no one has explored. It's the new frontier of competitive Magic.", and "The nice thing about Modern is that the format is very open. There's a lot of room to explore and find decks that can work".

To hammer home this point, here are maps from some recent explorations:

 

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Obliterator Demigod Devotion
Skrem (3-1) Modern Daily #6455130
Creatures
4 Bloodghast
4 Deathrite Shaman
3 Demigod of Revenge
2 Gary
2 Gatekeeper of Malakir
3 Geralf's Messenger
3 Phyrexian Obliterator
21 Creatures

Planeswalkers
3 Liliana of the Veil
3 Planeswalkers

Other Spells
3 Abrupt Decay
1 Go for the Throat
3 Hero's Downfall
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
4 Thoughtseize
12 Other Spells
Lands
1 Forest
4 Marsh Flats
2 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
4 Overgrown Tomb
9 Swamp
4 Verdant Catacombs
24 Lands

Phyrexian Obliterator

 

A few weeks back, we had a Liliana powered Obliterator Devotion show up. This one cranks the devotion up another notch, adding a trio of Demigod of Revenge to the fray. I love the recursive creatures here. Bloodghast (another ) and Demigod are wonderful creatures to throw away to Liliana's +1 ability. Bloodghast comes back at the drop of a land, and as long as all three of 'em aren't in there, Demigod of Revenge is a worrisome threat. The flip side is, Deathrite Shaman is a thing. So, to a lesser extent, are other forms of graveyard hate. To balance that, Gary provides huge, sometimes lethal life swings.

 

8Rack (MBC)
samout (4-0) Modern Daily #6488557
Creatures
4 Bob
4 Creatures

Planeswalkers
4 Liliana of the Veil
4 Planeswalkers

Other Spells
2 Disfigure
1 Dismember
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Liliana of the Veil
2 Raven's Crime
4 Shrieking Affliction
4 Smallpox
4 The Rack
4 Thoughtseize
4 Victim of Night
29 Other Spells
Lands
1 Dakmor Salvage
4 Mutavault
18 Swamp
23 lands

Liliana of the Veil

 

MBC (Mono Black Control) has a long and storied history dating back to Odyssey block, and Worlds 2002. This type of deck focuses on disrupting your opponents hand, then punishing said opponent for having no cards. Various forms come and go, sometimes splashing, sometimes not, sometimes going far outside the "regular MBC" zone. For example, I build Jund as "Mono Jund Control", and use Nyxathid in place of Goyf.

This build focuses on getting the opponents hand empty, quick. With a full four of both Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek, and Liliana of the Veil playing backup in all her drop dead sexiness, The Rack and Shrieking Affliction will very quickly be bonking your opponent on the head. Bob ensures your own hand remains fatter than your opponents.

 

UB Superf(r)iends
Azazel314 (3-1) Modern Daily #6488563
Creatures
4 Cloudfin Raptor
4 Dark Confidant
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Pack Rat
2 Snapcaster Mage
18 Creatures

Planeswalkers
3 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
2 Jace Beleren
2 Liliana of the Veil
7 Planeswalkers

Other Spells
3 Dismember
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Serum Visions
4 Thoughtseize
12 Other Spells
Lands
1 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Darkslick Shores
1 Island
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Mutavault
1 Overgrown Tomb
2 Swamp
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Watery Grave
23 Lands

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

 

You know I like Superfriends decks. You know I like "griefer" decks. This one combines the two into one beautifully twisted machine. I love how the mana curve tops out at three. Four after sideboarding in Leyline, but I don't really count Leylines towards the curve, IMO, as the intention is to get them onto the battlefield for free on turn zero. Anyway, the curve topping at three means Bob is relatively "safe". 

It remains to be seen if this shows up again. It's a nice deck, with a unique twist, and one cannot argue with results. But Superfriends type decks don't appear that often for a reason, despite how cool and powerful they can be, and I believe this one got to 3-1 on matchups and good draws.


image by victorstd8

Feur Frei!

I promised I'd set it on fire, so here we go!

Let's start with one of my all time faves, Cruel Control! I've been playing with this type of deck for a while. Here's one of my early builds (along with Kangaroo Court). But you don't wanna see mine. You wanna see a winner! Well, here ya go: 

 

Woo hoo! Another deck with a spell suite that has lots of slots that can be filled with full art/textless cards! I do love me some full art/textless!

Cruel Control is one of those decks that plays out a long, grindy type game. After all, the namesake of the deck has a CMC of seven! You have to stay alive long enough to cast it, no mean feat in today's Modern world. This is also why this deck runs so many lands. For this deck to miss a land drop in the early turns is tantamount to losing. You need to be able to cast Cruel Ultimatum on Turn Seven, more often than not.

Unlike Robots (for example), which has remained virtually unchanged since Day One, Cruel Control requires constant tuning of the spell base as the meta shifts hither, thither, and yon between all the various compass points. I'm pretty sure Cruel Control gets played a lot more often than we see it, but I'm also sure that delicate spell suite balancing is probably the culprit behind why we don't see it more.

 

 

Just last week, I was talking about Blue Ninja Delver, and how most Delver decks these days are of the UR Pyro version. I knew it would just be a matter of time until someone crammed Ninjas into a UR Pyro Delver, and whaddaya know? The day after I submitted that article, this showed up. This build doesn't run Phantasmal Bear, electing to run Spellstutter Sprite in the one drop slot. This pesky little flier does yeoman duty (there's that phrase again!) as both a chump pinger and "virtual permission countermagic", albeit cheap permission.

People seem to be getting the wrong idea about this deck. It's not a Ninja deck! Accept that. Don't let the Ninjas fool you. It's a Delver (read "Tempo") deck that happens to run Ninjas. Ninjas do good things when they can, but they aren't the primary focus of the deck. They're a piece of tech in a Delver deck whose primary function seems to be as Snapcaster Mage wannabes.

Huh? Snappy? Yeah. Snappy. In the sense that it gives "card advantage". Say, for example, you're on the play. You play a Turn One Sprite. On Turn Two, you lay a Delver, and your opponent taps out with whatever he was doing. You swing in with a Sprite (and flipped Delver, if applicable) on Turn Three. This 1/1 flier is all of a sudden a 2/2 unblocked walker, you have two more cards in your hand (the Sprite plus what the Ninja drew you), and one mana open. This is might not be the proper opening play, depending on the board state, but the Ninja replacing an unblocked Sprite is almost always a good thing.

 

Boros Twin Splinter Twin
MblH (3-1) Modern Daily #6455106
Creatures
4 Blade Splicer
2 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
4 Restoration Angel
4 Village Bell-Ringer
4 Wall of Omens
18 Creatures

Other Spells
3 Blood Moon
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Magma Jet
4 Path to Exile
1 Relic of Progenitus
4 Splinter Twin
18 Other Spells
Lands
4 Clifftop Retreat
5 Mountain
5 Plains
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Tectonic Edge
24 Lands

Splinter Twin

 

Well, well, well! (Deep subject!) What have we here? A Splinter Twin deck without a trace of ? Woo hoo! Eschewing Deceiver Exarch and Pestermite for Restoration Angel and Village Bell-Ringer, this Boros bada... uhhh... bully made it's way to 3-1. Using Wall of Omens to keep out early threats and draw cards, and Blade Splicer to provide some early threats, the lack of will throw many opponents off guard into thinking they aren't dealing with a Splinter Twin deck until it's too late. Then it's buh bye!  

Meta Madness

Two weeks into the latest revision of the Q4 2013, the meta is starting to look like what it was before the big brouhaha of November's event closure. During the month that we had the 5-3-2-2 results to work with, we had some interesting data. The meta for eight man single elimination events developed a little differently than what we're used to.

Meanwhile, we're back to the "samo samo" of only hearing the scores from about a fifth of the games. Imagine if the NFL only reported the scores of the highest attended games in each division. It's inconceivable. Yet this is what we, the players, are being forced to deal with every day. In the long long ago, in the time of the birthgivers, there were results from all the daily events. It was just over a year ago that they stopped with a barely audible peep.

“… Obviously, time and the growth of the Internet made Wizards realize that sharing information, not withholding it, was a key part of building the community and metagame.- Mark Rosewater, 2009

“… Note that we are still showing a lot of decklists so that players can have an idea of what decks are being played and can metagame, but we are making it tougher to crunch hard data.” – Mark Rosewater, 2012

I call [REDACTED].

All results. All the time.

The Big Leagues

College Ball

High School Ball

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

 

 

 

 

 

It is so strange referring to a four color deck as "RDW", but here it is. Bump decks started out as , but now regularly run three or four colors.

Aggro and Burn are both "true" RDW variants, being mono . The main difference between the two is in the creature base. Aggro typically runs twelve to eighteen creatures, while Burn runs eight or less.

 

 

 

Rock

Today, the basic core of the Modern Rock deck is:

Abrupt Decay
Dark Confidant
Deathrite Shaman
Inquisition of Kozilek  /  Thoughtseize
Liliana of the Veil
Scavenging Ooze / Tarmogoyf

Everything else is “accessories”, according to the builder’s preference. Jund and Junk are two appendages of the same beast. Ajundi and Junk'd happen 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.

 

 

"Dusty" Tron is simply GR/b Tron with three or four All is Dust. "Regular" GR/b Tron runs none, sometimes one, never two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random Gibberish

I guess the Spank The Slug segment went over like a lead balloon. I mean the common concept thereof, not the actual lead balloon made by Mythbusters. So I'm going to use this space to throw random gibberish at you. Be it in the form of poetry (most likely), video composition (maybe), rambling pointless stories (also likely). If you want to see something else, ask me. So there. And here we go...

Stalkerless Victim

Your used q-tips
Have lost their appeal to me
Here’s your trash back

 

Alone In An Empty House At 9PM When It's Forty Below Out

The train blares in the darkness
As cold reaches in from the windows
The furnace howls
Trying to warm the iciness within
Touching the glass; arctic sparks
My face, and the emptiness behind
Reflected in nothingness

 

 

 

 

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 every Friday at 830PM Eastern. Everything from the player meeting to the final math, experience a tournament from the TOs point of view. There are "feature matches" every round.

 

 

 

FNS EU #41
Players: 12
4-0: Lannister1
3-1: DarkDuelist88, dueyutah, flioxan
Decklists and results from all Friday Night Standard EU events can be found here.

 

 

 

FNS #52
Players: 17
4-0: rittmeyer
3-1: NecrOmniPotenz, Lannister1, pan, Lickitung
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!)