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Leatherback Baloth Discussion
2 weeks ago
Previous Article: The Modern Brewer's Bible Part 1: Getting Into The Format & Overview
Welcome to the second part of the Modern Brewers Bible, which is building on a budget. This section is devoted to building modern decks for players who either do not have funds to spend on expensive decks such as Jund, or simply choose not to do so. This section will also go over deckbuilding tips, brewing on a budget, format staples and replacements, and things to avoid.
HOW TO PLAY ON A BUDGET
For those of you who fall under the budget players, you might be wondering what can I build thats competitive? The first answer to your question is what you consider to be budget, as people have very different definitions of what budget actually means. For example, someone who is just entering the format might want to spend roughly $100 on their first deck, which isnt necessarily wrong, it just means you have fewer examples to look at. This is opposed to someone who plays on a budget, but has enough cash to be calling decks around $300-$400 budget due to the depicted price tag of modern.
Some examples of players who want to spend little cash on the format might look into decks such as Mono-Red Burn, Mono-Green Stompy, Soul Sisters, Mono-Black Midrange, 8-Rack, etc.
Meanwhile someone who has a higher budget might look into a deck like UW Control, Merfolk, Ad Nauseam, Mono-Blue Tron etc.
In case you havent noticed, many of these budget decks use one-two colors, and this is mainly because in order to have a dependable 3 & up color manabase, you basically have to play fetchlands and shocklands, which are not cheap. This does not mean that they are not possible; it just makes them more inconsistent. I will eventually post some decklists for these decks as well as some primers in a later section of this guide.
BREWING ON A BUDGET
Now I know that there are plenty of people who want to build their won creations and not just netdeck someone elses list. Thats why I included this section just for you! Brewing on a budget can actually be quite a bit of fun, as you can figure out interesting interactions that can end up being quite competitive. When brewing on a budget, it is very important to remind yourself of a few things. The first of which should be looking at cards you enjoy playing or want to play, because that first step will guide you to your next step, which is choosing your colors.
Color choice is huge when building on a budget, because as mentioned above, wanting to play a wedge such as Jeskai on a budget can be very grueling and inconsistent. However, 2 color manabases are very easy to make, as there are plenty of strong budget duallands and fastlands available to players. One important thing to know about budget brewing is trying to find a plan for the rest of your deck to upgrade, as there are many decks that have a competitive side, but have nowhere to go from their current budget status. This can be a trap for new players entering the format, as they buy into decks that arent viable in a competitive metagame.
FORMAT STAPLES AND REPLACEMENTS
This section in particular is very important for new players to see, as well as understanding why it is so pertinent. In many format in Magic, there are cards known as Format Staples, these cards are used across many decks in the format, and often have entire archetypes built around them. Modern is no exception to this, as cards like Kitchen Finks, Abrupt Decay, Liliana of the Veil, Lightning Bolt, Dark Confidant, Leyline of Sanctity, Path to Exile, and Thoughtseize all fit in this bubble, and there are many, many more of them. Looking at these cards, it is easy to see why they are called Format Staples, which is because they are all very good cards, in fact they are so good, that there are no true replacements for them in the modern card pool.
This will not come as a surprise to anyone who has played the format for a decent amount of time, as they are expensive cards for a reason. This often becomes a roadblock to many players who want to build modern archetypes, and do not have the funds to support these cards.
I think the best example of this is the legendary Tarmogoyf.
Tarmogoyf is a format staple in both Modern and Legacy for a few reasons. The first of these is efficiency, in basically any deck that runs the goyf, it can be a 4/5 as quickly as turn 2. That kind of fighting power and relatively unmatched on its own. The second reason is its mana cost, at it is exceptionally easy to cast, and works very well with decks that splash for other colors. Some decks are even based around growing the goyf to as high as a 6/7 beater, and use it to destroy other decks.
The only creature that comes close to matching and the power and efficiency of tarmogoyf is Tasigur, the Golden Fang, which is often a turn 2 4/5 in Grixis Control, but note that it isnt always like that and Tasigur requires a specific deck to match it, goyf does not.
Many budget players have asked me if there are ways to replace Tarmogoyf. In my opinion, there isnt a real replacement, because there plenty of budget beaters, such as Loxodon Smiter and Leatherback Baloth, but once we say that a turn 3 card is a turn 2 card replacement, we are talking about good creatures, not replacements for format staples. This problem usually comes up when people want to do things like build a budget version of deck like Jund that are basically made up of format staples.
However, just because you cant afford a format staple, doesnt mean you cant play competitive decks, it just means you have to change its plan. For example, Ive run into Jund players who chose not to buy Tarmogoyf or Liliana of the Veil, and instead decided to use Tireless Tracker and Grim Flayer instead, and make the deck more aggressive then the usual jund decks.
This follows my best advice I can give to players who are building towards an archetype. If you cant afford a certain card(s) in your deck, you should focus on what you can use to change the decks plan in order to work with your budget. Examples of this are the jund example above, as well as Little Kid Abzan, a deck thats mostly GW Aggro that splashes black for Thoughtseize and Siege Rhino.
THINGS TO AVOID
In addition to the things stated above, here are a few more tips on things you should avoid while building on a budget.
Curve: Modern is a turn 4 format, which means that the majority of decks in the format are trying to either kill you or lock you out of the game around turn 4. This means that you need to have plays those first few turns if you want to compete with tiered decks.
Proactive versus Reactive: Every card in your deck should have a purpose, whether its something proactive like a Lightning Bolt to an opponents face, or a Mana Leak that is to be held up until your opponent starts casting spells. If a card serves no purpose, there is likely something better you could be playing.
Avoid The Glass Cannon: While it might seem tempting to go all in one strategy, you will likely have more success if you focus on multiple win-cons in your deck. Having more then one win-con also makes you less weak to discard and removal.
This is the second article of my Modern Brewer's Bible series, I will post more articles when I finish making them.
2 weeks ago
Hey, no apologies necessary. I just wanted to make sure I was giving you the right suggestions. So, I saw your Arbor Elf, and it reminded me of a Turn 2 (technically Turn 3) win you could pull of with it. Let me give you that combo.
Cards you will need for this:
Helix Pinnacle <-- the win con
(3) Tap the enchanted Forest to add to your mana pool.
(4) Tap Arbor Elf to untap the enchanted Forest. Tap the enchanted Forest to add to your mana pool
Now you have unspent.
(5) Pay to put Freed from the Real onto the battlefield.
DO NOT PAY ! You need to keep floating
(7) Tap Arbor Elf to untap your enchanted land. Tap the enchanted Forest for .
(8) Pay to use Freed from the Real and untap Arbor Elf.
(9) Tap Arbor Elf to untap your enchanted land. Tap the enchanted Forest for .
(10) Pay to use Freed from the Real and untap Arbor Elf.
(11) Repeat these steps until you have 101 mana.
(12) Pay to play Helix Pinnacle. Then pay 100 for to add 100 counters to Helix Pinnacle. End turn.
Next upkeep, you win.
That's just a cool wincon that would fun to pull off. Below, I'll just list some cards I think you might want to take a look at for ideas in general.
Avatar of the Resolute -- Having a 3/2 body for 2 mana is good already, but this guy has Reach AND Trample to boot. He catches your opponent's flyers and carries extra damage over to your opponent when he attacks. On top of all that, he gets stronger if you have creatures with +1/+1 counters, which green is very good at doing.
Leatherback Baloth - He's just a really good beatstick for a cheap cost.
Kalonian Tusker - Same. More power than mana spent is always a good thing.
Experiment One - This guy starts off small, but get's bigger easily. Almost all your creatures should have more than 1 power. His Evolve will cause him to grow for most of the game. When something does manage to kill him, you can remove counters (i.e: not pay ANY mana) to Regenerate him. You lose counters to do that, but you'll just get them back later.
Dryad Militant - 2 power for 1 mana is pretty good. It also disrupts some combos or effects your friends might be using if they run any cards that interact with Instants and Sorceries in the graveyard.
Strangleroot Geist - A guy that swing 2 power on Turn 2 is on curve, and he can get stronger. If he dies, he'll just come back with 3 power.
Dismember - Don't worry about not having . You can pay 4 life instead. It might seem a hefty price to pay, but this card is basically death to most creatures. It even kills things with Indestructible. It's nice to have some removal on hand in case there's something to powerful for you to take head on.
Rancor - This is a guaranteed 2 power and Trample on a creature for the whole game, unless they exile it.
Aspect of Hydra - If you are using some of the creatures above, it's easy for you to get as much as 10 devotion or more. This card can be a powerhouse in Mono Green
Vines of Vastwood - It protects one of your creatures from removal or de-buffing, and then boosts it's attack by 4. Great card in the right situations.
Guttural Response - This card really depends on what your friends are using. If you have anyone... ANYONE who plays Blue, throw this in just to ruin their day.
Pithing Needle - Once again, this one depends on your friends meta. If someone has a super annoying card, I'd throw this in to shut it down.
This is just a quick suggest list from some really good Green cards I know of. You can actually build a deck with the above cards in the right amount. However, I'm not sure what you would be willing to take out or what you really want to keep in.
Anyway, I hope this just gives you some ideas. Let me know if you need anything else more specific. Happy Magic-ing!
3 weeks ago
Leatherback Baloth can be considered a great card in mono green decks, whilst in a dual color deck or tri-color deck its almost a waste of space considering its mana cost
3 weeks ago
while i agree with your points, i think this is delving more into the topic of "what makes a bad card" rather than "what makes a good card".
Triforce-Finder: from the WOTC page -
"Vanilla" is a term refering to creatures with no rules text.
"French vanilla" refers to creatures that only have keyword abilities: I.E. flying, exalted, deathtouch, ect.
"Virtual vanilla" refers to creatures that are vanilla after the first turn they ETB.
whatever way you look at it, Leatherback Baloth is certainly vanilla
3 weeks ago
The quality of a card is quite hard to judge in a vacuum. Even the cost/impact factor is far from universally applicable.
Even the most atrocious costs and drawbacks can be turned into an advantage, that's the beauty of Magic. Just one example, Altar's Reap would be inferior to most blue draw spells, but in a deck that runs undying creatures like Young Wolf, you get 2 cards, a +1/+1 counter, and some combat trickery at the cost of 2 mana, suddenly outclassing the very same blue draw spells.
What makes this important is that everyone tries to maximize the efficiency of their respective deck. A card doesn't have to be good for everyone and all decks, it only has to be good for me and the deck I am building. Universal value is always beaten by specific value.
Now what if you just love building decks and churn out several prototypes and variants every month? A universally good card can be reused in many different decks, so it's most probably a good investment. On the other hand, if you can get two, three or even ten specialized synergistic playsets at the cost of one universally good playset which you then have to proxy or shift around all the time, that's a different case.
To sum it up, Cards are never played in a vacuum, therefore their quality can't be measured in a vacuum either.
I think Leatherback Baloth, a 4/5 for 3, hardly counts as a vanilla creature, so it's probably not a very good example anyway.
4 weeks ago
Snap157 that is a very narrow way to view card value. there are plenty of horrible non-creature spells (if you can build a deck with Arcum's Weathervane where it isn't a waste of resources, then fine, you win) and a fair number of very playable vanilla creatures. Leatherback Baloth is a great example of this. being highly played when he was standard legal, and still seeing mild play in modern devo and aggro decks
1 month ago
I second Terra Stomper such a great card for its mana cost.
Also Leatherback Baloth is an efficient beater for any mono green aggro deck
Red_X on green bean
1 month ago
First, I need to give some information, and then ask some questions based off of it.
Format: If you plan to play anywhere but the kitchen table, you need to know what format your deck is in to know where and what you can play.
Standard: All cards that were released in standard legal sets in the past 2 years. This how most players get started in magic because it's the most advertised and supported format, and its the least expensive competitive format.
Modern: All cards since the set Mirrodin in 2003, with a banlist that is kept up by Wizards. This is a non-rotating format that is moderately expensive, especially compared to what you have now, but it's possible to make a cheap deck.
Legacy: All cards in all of magic, with a banlist. Generally very expensive because of manabases and format staples.
Vintage: All cards in magic, with a restricted list (only one of each card can be played). Most expensive format, but it can be approachable depending on te deck because most shops allow some number of proxies.
So I need to know what format you want to try. I'd recommend standard or modern. Also, all standard decks are legal in modern, so you can use one deck for both formats.
The second thing I need to know is what type of deck you want to build. I'm assuming you want to stick with mono-green, so green generally does one of four things well.
Ramp into big creatures: This is what green used to do a lot more, which is essentially use cards like Elvish Mystic and Rampant Growth to get mana quickly and then just play gigantic creatures like Craterhoof Behemoth to win.
Utility creatures: This is a newer thing, but green has enough creatures that are just generically good that you can put them in a deck and outvalue your opponent. Cards like Tireless Tracker and Scavenging Ooze let you play creatures that are just generically better than your opponents and win the fair game. Generally it is paired with black when it does this, but it can do it by itself.
Have really big creatures quickly: This is a deck generally referred to as mono green stompy. It is solely based around playing cards like Leatherback Baloth and Strangleroot Geist to play bigger creatures than your opponent faster than your opponent and run them over.
Have a lot of creatures really quickly: ELves do this perfectly. This is a type of deck that is designed to put as many creatures onto the board as possible, and then either use something like Craterhoof Behemoth to go for the win or just keep attacking with more creatures than your opponent can block until they are dead.
After you have an idea of what you want to do, I can help you with specifics.