What is the worse that a un-bolted bird can do?

Modern forum

Posted on Aug. 30, 2017, 4:42 p.m. by Xica

Is Abrade worth running in the mainboard?
What's the worse that can result from Lightning Bolting the Birds of Paradise, or Arbor Elf on turn 2 instead of turn 1?

SlimJim83 says... #2

You'll fall really far behind.They can play Tarmogoyf plus Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, Fatal Push, Lightning Bolt, Traverse the Ulvenwald or any number of horrible 1 drops that will swell that Goyf once it resolves. All this on turn 2. Bolt the Bird.

August 30, 2017 4:56 p.m.

SteelSentry says... #3

Goyf plus one drop is very strong, and the one I thought of at first was turn 2 Liliana of the Veil, but there's a bigger problem with Abrade over Lightning Bolt. If you bolt the bird turn 1, you can start advancing your own strategy on turn 2, with two mana. If you run Abrade, you're giving up your turn two to kill the bird. In the first two turns of the game, the guy running Lightning Bolt can kill a bird and then drop a Goyf, ScOoze, etc. If you run Abrade, in the first two turns you'll kill the bird and then maybe were able to drop a dork of your own, or maybe hand disruption. Someone running Lightning Bolt simply has more resources to use throughout the match, since he is saving one mana every time he Bolts over someone using Abrade.

August 30, 2017 5:07 p.m.

Dredge4life says... #4

You can also dome them for three with bolt.

August 30, 2017 5:13 p.m.

SlimJim83 says... #5

Or a turn 2 Liliana of the Veil or Liliana, the Last Hope. Maybe a Gideon of the Trials that immidiately drops an emblem. Have dislodging him. Bolt the Bird.

August 30, 2017 5:13 p.m.

clayperce says... #6

And Arbor Elf is even worse than the Bird.

From Ponza, you'll be facing their T2 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Chameleon Colossus, or whatever. And from Mono-G Devotion, you'll be facing their T2 Garruk Wildspeaker plus whatever else they case (if +1) or a 3/3 Beast Token (if -1).

August 30, 2017 5:19 p.m.

DarkMagician says... #7

clayperce how do they turn two a Wildspeaker off of the Elf?

August 30, 2017 6:31 p.m.

T1 elf, T2 Utopia Sprawl a forest, float 2, tap elf to untap the enchanted land, make 2 more mana for garruk.

August 30, 2017 6:35 p.m.

Also players are more likely to keep mana light hands of they have a mana dork. So if you bolt the bird turn 1 you may cut them off of mana and prevent them from playing. Therefore getting a free win

August 30, 2017 6:47 p.m.

clayperce says... #10

What ToolmasterOfBrainerd said.

It's not Magical Christmasland either. Ignoring mulligans (and Bolts!), Ponza has 4 Mana on T2 16% of the time. Mono-G Devotion is even more, since they have more Green sources.

August 30, 2017 7:10 p.m.

Xica says... #11

I am worried about two cards Grafdigger's Cage & Aether Vial.

They both tend to be terrible if i have no answers, when i try to play Platinum Angel of of Madcap Experiment.
Grafdigger's Cage is game on the spot
Aether Vial tend to result in a loss when sooner or later it puts a Flickerwisp or Harbinger of the Tides in play.

I am not that worried about ponza, since they tend to be to slow, and pack far fewer answers than what is needed to kill the angel.
Chandra, Torch of Defiance is bad, but it can be countered, especially if the player is greedy and plays it early into stuff like Spell Pierce
Luckily the same is true about Liliana of the Veil

And in both cases its unlikely i won't have mana for countering them since i don't really care about countering the stuff that is generally seen as threatening like Tarmogoyf.

So are there other broken things, that could lead to a very fast game loss (t3, t4 at worst), or removal, that result from a mana dork being un answered on turn one?

August 30, 2017 8:31 p.m.

clayperce says... #12

I personally think you'd still be better off with Bolt + some dedicated Artifact hate. I'm a huge fan of Ancient Grudge personally, but there are tons of solid options.

Unless your heart is just set on running Abrade. Then seriously, go for it! I mean, nobody has yet placed in any competitive Modern event with the card, but that doesn't remotely mean it's not possible.

Good luck either way!

August 30, 2017 9:06 p.m.

Xica says... #13

I would go with Ancient Grudge, but i am already splashing black for Extirpate, and i don't want to reduce the number of my Islands in a deck running Blood Moon if possible.

Maybe Ancient Grudge is worth playing a single Breeding Pool - still i love my islands, and fear the backlash created by blood moon.

August 30, 2017 9:20 p.m.

Bolt the bird before the bird bolts you.

August 30, 2017 10:45 p.m.

Abrade is a SB card at best. It's good against heavy aggro decks, like Zoo, or any pesky artifact. However, it's a totally dead draw when facing let's say Ad Nauseam or Scapeshift decks.

Always bolt the bird, plain and simple.

August 31, 2017 5:52 a.m.

Xica says... #16

As far i am aware Ad Nauseam decks don't run any kind of dorks for acceleration, instead they tend to run Lotus Bloom & Pentad Prism - and against the latter Abrade is much more useful than Lightning Bolt.
Not to mention the fact that i am willing and able going into counter battles with them, they are not the only deck that runs 4 Pact of Negation, on the other hand i run a miriad of other counters, including stuff that stopps Boseiju, Who Shelters All dead in its tracks -> Glorious End, beside other goodies of course.

I also have my doubts about Scapeshift decks winning on t2, even on the play...However i am no expert on that, so please enlighten me! How do they do that?

August 31, 2017 8:12 a.m.

I wasn't making a point about T2 especially, more about answering the 'should I bolt a T1 bird?'. And indeed, my bad, Abrade is useful against Ad Nauseam.

I don't know what you're talking about with your counters and Angels though, I assume it's your UR list? If so, linking it wouldn't be a bad thing ;)

August 31, 2017 8:26 a.m.

Xica says... #18

Well true that i am mainly intrested in the value of removing birds on t1 compared to removing them on T2.

Naively i thought that making the question a bit more general - making a question about the strongest possible effects that can result from being a turn late to bolt - would aid others beside me...
...in the end i should have been more upfront from the start.

August 31, 2017 3:42 p.m.

alanwescoat says... #19

Bolting the bird on turn 1 negates your opponent's tempo. The bird gets played in anticipation of a possible 3-drop on turn 2.

September 30, 2017 8:31 a.m.

Xica says... #20

I am intrested in the strongest tempo swinging cards that could be the result of previous inaction on Turn 3.
Liliana of the Veil comes to mind, i am prepared for her, so what else is out thera?

September 30, 2017 9:28 a.m.

alanwescoat says... #21


September 30, 2017 1:55 p.m.

filthyc4sual says... #22

As an Elves player, I am disgusted by the very notion of playing birds in our deck. I understand that Xica also asked about Arbor Elf and although that is slightly less horrifying, it isn't as consistent as Llanowar Elves or Elvish Mystic.

That said: Bolt the Birds

September 30, 2017 3:13 p.m.

Xica says... #23

The question is somewhat related to this deck: Blood Angel's Pact

I would not say that elves are worse than liliana.
Since once i resolve Madcap Experiment the little guys can run under Platinum Angel as much as they like, that won't cause game loss

September 30, 2017 3:15 p.m.

filthyc4sual says... #24

It could... Reclamation Sage

September 30, 2017 3:34 p.m.

Xica says... #25

True, still Reclamation Sage < Qasali Pridemage - since it can only cause problems (IF resolves) after the angel is on the field.
That is a pretty big if considering that the deck is built to counter such threats - and Glorious End doesn't care for Boseiju, Who Shelters All or Cavern of Souls.

However removing stuff like Liliana of the Veil, or Seal of Primordium is a real trouble for U/R decks.

So i am just inquiring about stuff that could get me in real trouble like lilana, at 3 cmc cost - if its not a simple hate card, but something that warps the game if left on the field then i would like to hear about it even more.

September 30, 2017 4:02 p.m.

filthyc4sual says... #26

I can also Chord of Calling or Collected Company for it once you're tapped out.

September 30, 2017 4:59 p.m.

Xica says... #27

Instants are exactly the spell type, all counters in my 75 can catch.
Casting them while i am tapped out is not nearly as good since i have free Pact of Negation
High cmc is an advantage for me - since it makes succesfull Logic Knot, or Spell Pierce much more easy to achieve.

Devoted Druid + Vizier of Remedies + Duskwatch Recruiter = turn 3 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is a lot more scary than anything the usual aggro elf lists have.
However that is still a turn 3 problem, i am interested in the worst possibility on turn 2 that results from an unbolted mana dork.

More to the point the deck is more or less built to pray on linear decks that have few interactions to deal with Platinum Angel - as against such deck its nigh impossible to not be able to counter their answers.
Just to illustrate, its a viable strategy against melira + finks decks that gone infinite, to wait till they mill themselves out. Since i can easily have more counters in hand than the number of answers to the angel they have in their deck.
(For example a hand with 2x Pact of Negation + Cryptic Command + Snapcaster Mage enables me to counter 6 spells)

September 30, 2017 5:22 p.m.

filthyc4sual says... #28

I just use the Vizier of Remedies combo for an infinite/infinite Walking Ballista :P

Cloudy with a Chance of Elfball

Modern filthyc4sual


September 30, 2017 5:29 p.m.

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