Coming to terms with the new Modern
Posted on Feb. 3, 2022, 11:59 p.m. by legendofa
I've been struggling with Modern for a while now. COVID obviously didn't help anything, and I don't have an active playgroup right now. But what really hurts is the year I decided to take off after War of the Spark. I was just going to step away, focus on my job and moving my life forward, and refocus.
That worked well for my personal life. It destroyed my Modern life.
I was never a full tournament Spike, but Dredge and 8-Rack treated me well, and I could break out a brew and win a game or two with that. I was feeling pretty good when I started my break. That break meant I was gone for:
The Throne of Eldraine power spike
Uro and the explosion
The Companion debacle (Vintage bans!)
4-color decks with Blood Moon and free mana for all
I know that most of the serious problem cards have been banned, but the Modern I came back to looked nothing like what I remembered. My pet decks, solid just 12 months before, had fallen out of the meta. I didn't recognize half the decks. And I have not yet regained my earlier level of confidence.
I'm sure this is all old news, well trodden and analyzed, and everyone's given their opinions. I also know that formats change over time (over time doesn't mean one year for a nonrotating format!). But I'm feeling right now like I'm out of the club, and I can't get back in without basically starting from scratch, and spending time and money I wouldn't have imagined three years ago. I'm not really looking for advice, although I'll happily take any you offer. I just need to blow off some steam. And if I've already put up something like this, I apologize.
If it helps your condidence, Dredge is still in the meta, just no longer top-tier. It’s still sitting at 1% playrate according to mtgGoldfish.
I can see how a large break would make modern look very alien on return - this is almost entirely down to MH2 printing a swath of strong new cards, as well as enabling a bunch of new archtypes.
I personally feel (having been along for the whole ride) that modern is in a really healthy place at the moment. The meta feels super-healthy where interactive decks get rewarded for doing so, and degenerate-nonsense is easier to respond to. Because of that, i’ve also found it much easier to brew decks and have them fair well (there are some exceptions, Omnath makes playing any-other midrange strategy feel really sub-optimal. Also, Prismatic Ending has made it harder to play artifact-nonsense like Astral Cornucopia).
I would say, if you’re trying to get back into the format, to learn-up about the new big threats and common interactions - it’s a steep climb, but re-understanding the meta will help you feel a lot more comfortable in it. It feels to me that both Dredge and 8rack should still be competitively viable, it’s probably just the case of having to tune the decks for the “new world” they’re facing, and adjusting play patterns for new threats they’ll both face.
February 4, 2022 12:23 a.m.
wallisface I appreciate that--the advice, the note on Dredge, your views on the current state, everything.
I definitely have been seeing the MH2 influence--Esper Sentinel, Murktide Regent, Dragon's Rage Channeler, that stupid monkey, and a couple others I'm not thinking of. I'm glad to hear you say it's healthy right now, and I do agree. I guess I just need to jump into the research, get to know the new meta, and update as needed, as you suggest.
I haven't seen any Lantern Control either in person or in the top decklists, but Urza's Saga should be a huge gift to that deck, and I think a good list could hit at least low tier. I might try that again.
Out of curiosity, what was it like playing through 2020? It seems like it would have been really unstable.
February 4, 2022 1:14 a.m.
Just play burn :D
Seriously. I know what you mean. You were not there for the Hogaak and mono red phoenix turn 3 wins. they tried to ban bridge from below to stop hogaak and it did nothing. then they out right banned him as well as faithless looting. which turned a ton of decks off. mox opal soon followed. (this is what got me out of modern) uro was the choice for amulet titan decks (stupid to ban this card imo) so there you have it. play burn or amulet titan. combo always sees top play and burn always does well enough
February 4, 2022 1:27 a.m.
Wizards basicly wants to replace Legacy with Modern. That's the reason of the power surge... I'd say the format closest to what Modern was is currently Pioneer.
I'm active in Legacy, Modern and Pioneer and that is what I've been noticing for a while - the Modern power getting close to or even surpassing Legacy decks.
Even some Legacy players feel this way because we don't play old cards anymore. The old cards were a big part of Legacy's identity and now it's mostly new cards sprinkled with a couple Reserved List cards (and sometimes not even that).
In the end I think the best place to look for the old feeling of what Modern once was is in Pioneer. Because now the formats are Legacy, Neo-Legacy and Pioneer.
February 4, 2022 9:26 a.m.
BTW Ragavan was banned in Legacy and will probably see the hammer in Modern too. That card is too dumb.
February 4, 2022 9:27 a.m.
Don't know if what I have to say will help but I'll say anyway.
There's a very specific deck I want to play competitively with, Monoblack Infect. I know it's not very competitive, probably tier 3 at best. However, it's a deck I really enjoy playing. It's an archetype that really defines me as a Magic player.
I used to know a bit more about Modern. Whenever Seth uploaded a Modern video I'd watch no matter the deck. Recently though, I've slowed down with MTG content, mainly due to WOTC's actions that really had a negative impact on my enjoyment. Which means I also haven't been updating my deck, nor have I finished my primer. I also do not have the money right now to finish building the deck.
The reason I'm saying all of this is if you like, love and truly feel joy playing your decks, then keep playing them. We play this game to have fun, and sometimes it feels like we want our decks to be something that wins rather than just be ourselves and enjoy some games. Will I ever be such a good competitive player with Monoblack Infect that when they reprint Spike, Tournament Grinder it'll have my face on it? Of course not. However, I like it and have very good memories with it. So, I'll keep trying to perfect it as much as I can.
I completely understand if time and money are truly something complicated for you. Sometimes a break is needed anyway and it does feel bad to come back and not know anything. Just take a bit of time and a few deep breaths to figure out if Modern/your decks are still worthy of your time or if you should maybe try a different format.
Also, don't worry about ranting. With the way some things about MTG have been going, I'm surprised there aren't more people ranting everyday.
February 4, 2022 1:20 p.m.
legendofa as far as the road since 2020 goes, it has indeed been a rocky one. Obviously Hogaak was a massive issue, though at least wasn’t around for long (same goes for Oko). Uro and Astrolabe were massive issues for a long while, and Astrolabe in particular was a huge problem that kindof ruined the format for a long while.
As far as future potential bans, i think modern currently probably needs none, though there’s a few to watch out for. I don’t see Ragavan getting banned anytime soon, as there’s a lot of good it provides also (forcing interactive decks), though that may change if it consumes a higher % of the meta. I can see either Lurrus of the Dream-Den or Mishra's Bauble getting banned at somepoint due to being everywhere (personally i’d prefer Bauble getting gone), and possibly Omnath, Locus of Creation and Urza, Lord High Artificer down the line (Omnath is just going to become the only way to play midrange, Urza will eventually become busted when the right artifact is printed).
^ saying all that, we’re not in a position where we need any bans at the moment. The format is in a state of good health and the only real downside is the current barrier-to-entry ($$$$$). Some homebrew nonsense decks i’ve been working on for the past few years have actually become reasonably viable in todays format, which is super-exciting - and on top of that i’ve seen a bunch of other brews actually working well, something that wouldn’t have really been possible a year-or-two ago.
February 4, 2022 1:34 p.m.
My two bits on the monkey vs. DRS is that the monkey must get into combat to generate value, which can be a surprisingly large drawback. A lot of people board out Ragavan on the draw because it's not likely to get in. Heck, I'm playing 4C Indomitable Creativity and after my opponents see Hard Evidence and Dwarven Mine I don't normally see Ragavan at all after game 1. And DRS on the other hand realistically never sees that kind of danger. Only change I want right now is I want the companion ability deleted from the game.
Personally, I never had a strong attachment to previous eras of Modern, and when I came back with MH2's release I found that I really enjoyed the tight gameplay. There's so much less of the "ships passing in the night" criticism since the removal and interaction are so strong.
But if the gameplay isn't for you or the format isn't what you enjoy, I'm not sure what to say except: "Fair." That's how I feel about Commander right now so you're not alone in feeling out of place.
February 4, 2022 2:31 p.m.
Deathrite Shaman is mainboard grave hate that also provides multiple other beneficial effects while having a hybrid cost in the 2 best colors for midrange decks. ragavan is a 2/1 in red that must be unblocked to do anything. i think it's pretty clear why one is banned and the other is not.
February 4, 2022 3:42 p.m.
DragonWolf420 players would refer to Deathrite as turn 1 PW or 1-drop PW for a reason... but on the other hand Ragavan is such a BS card that not only has it already been banned in LGC, but it is also one of the reasons Delver decks weren't even playing Delver anymore. I'd say Deathrite is still better, but Ragavan is very close to it.
Back in the day Deathrite was an auto-include just as Ragavan is now
February 4, 2022 8:05 p.m.
I've seen a lot of debate about Deathrite vs NFT Monkey with the first saying Deathrite should be unbanned and another objecting but my opinion is they both should be banned. Deathrite has his unfairness, Rag Man also has his unfairness but they are not really comparable beyond being extremely annoying one drops. On other MTG forums like the ModernMagic subreddit there is a lot of unrest about Monke and I think it would be a relief to a lot of people if it were to be banned. I would mention Abu being banned in Legacy but that wouldn't help the point because Legacy is just on another level which enables Curious George far more than Modern ever could like how Deathrite is legal in Pioneer and doesn't see a concerning amount of play as far as I've seen. Modern Horizons 2 is kind of frustrating because I feel like my affinity deck doesn't do as good as it should without a full playset of Urza's Saga but that's just way out of my budget as with a lot of things brought about by the new pseudo-rotation that dominates my game store. There's still fun to be had without using all of the super expensive MH2 cards (even if your opponent is running them) but, it just feels like there's a necessity to have a lot of them in the deck.
February 4, 2022 8:20 p.m.
Bedeck / Bedazzle: i'm assuming by PW you mean planeswalker. people can "say" that, but i'd say they're comparing apples to oranges. btw i'm not saying that ragavan is bad, i'm just saying it's not Deathrite Shaman level. Deathrite Shaman is also banned in legacy. not sure why you wouldn't run delver in a delver deck just because ragavan is also in it. that makes no sense. you can run both.
February 4, 2022 9:01 p.m.
When Legacy got to a point where Delver decks were stopping to play Delver altogether, it was precisely then when WOTC stepped in and banned Ragavan.
The Deathrite PW thing is not to be taken literally. It's about how good Deathrite was. It had 3 relevant skills and it sometimes really did fell as if it were a PlanesWalker - without an ult, but that could be activated instant-speed. Calling it a PW was like an inside joke for LGC players, but one that beared quite some truth along with it.
I think one thing we are overlooking is the DASH from Ragavan. Ragavan unchecked T1 would snowball, but also a mid-late game unchecked Dashed Ragavan would too because the exiled card would be relevant and sometimes too relevant (Brainstorm,Ponder,Thoughtseize,Blood Moon... etc)
February 4, 2022 9:22 p.m.
I'd be very surprised if monke gets the ban, at this point. It is very good, yes, but only 4 of the top 15 decks are playing it, at least by goldfish. It's not nearly as warping as it is in legacy, either.
I do think Rag shouldn't have had dash at all, though. There's not enough playable instant speed removal outside of red, and I think having Plow in modern would be bad for flavor, as it's such an iconic legacy card.
February 4, 2022 11:26 p.m.
BEDECK : i get it could feel like a planeswalker, but still. as for those other creatures...big whippity? 16 creatures is the minimum i'd run in that deck anyway, but thats just me. the mtg goldfish version of legacy izzet delver currently has 13 creatures, but i don't like durdling around and not drawing my win condition. so 4 each of delver, monkey, channeler, and murktide sound good to me.
February 4, 2022 11:52 p.m.
Well, this thread took off. I'll stick my nose into Pioneer, but I'm going to be focusing on updating my decks and catching up.
And on DRS vs that stupid monkey, I think they should either both be banned or both be unbanned. Either one's fine, although I would prefer to have DRS available, personally. DRS is a flexible 1-drop that can provide a variety of resources simply for playing the game. TSM is a less flexible 1-drop that provides resources just for attacking (i.e. playing the game in ), or be a 2-drop with some removal protection that provides resources simply for playing the game. While DRS might be a little better, I believe they're close enough in value that one being banned while the other is available isn't the correct path. But like I said, I'm out of touch.
February 5, 2022 12:28 a.m.
If i was forced to choose 3 cards in modern to ban right now, they’d be, in order:
Omnath, Locus of Creation - mentioned this already a bit above. It invalidates too many other archtypes, and imo encourages 4-colour piles too much as an archtype.
Shadowspear - I doubt i’ll get many people agreeing with me on this. I believe it gives Hammer Time too many “get out of jail free” options when they were otherwise on the ropes and about to lose.
Mishra's Bauble - I don’t mind the Lurrus/Bauble stuff at all, but I can see how its a long term problem for the game, leading to many repetitive games (seeing as drawing Lurrus is guaranteed). Also, I think this card makes DRC too “free” to play.
I’m not even sure monke or DRC would be in my top 5. And I should add I don’t play either of em (i’m generally not a fan of red in general)
February 5, 2022 1:02 a.m.
February 6, 2022 1:29 a.m.
DragonWolf420 I would probably agree with you about Jitte, but free mana and free cards are things that deserve caution.
It's frankly stupid how many busted decks become viable when cards like Opal and OUaT are playable--it just opens so (read:too) many lines to have 1 more mana or 1 more card.
Slightly off topic: DRC may not need the hammer in Modern, but I despise that card in Historic and would not mind seeing the whole Izzet Phoenix deck go.
February 6, 2022 1:46 a.m.
I hope Opal stays away forever. It can't possibly make the format healthier; there's just no upside. Jitte - maybe, but I feel like Stoneforge decks are strong enough, and buffing them would warp the format enough that it would be less interesting.
February 6, 2022 1:49 a.m.
Omniscience_is_life: i kinda feel like the meta has grown enough that they arent as powerful as they once were. on mtggoldfish, affinity is number 14 at 1.8% of the meta. and hardened scales is nowhere. i just like playing those decks.
February 6, 2022 1:02 p.m.
I'm going to agree with most of what was said here, but Once Upon a Time needs to stay banned, especially with the new mulligan rules. It just makes combo decks way too consistent, to the point of being unhealthy for the meta. They don't even need green in their manabase to benefit from it if they are glass shell oriented enough.