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I see a recurring commentary here is that people think we have to be playing meta-decks in the current modern-age to compete, but personally I haven’t found that to be true (and modern to me still feels like one of the few formats where smart-piloting is more important than deck-choice). My local meta has around 50% of its players consistently bring strong tier-1 decks, with around 25% of the meta buying & playing whatever’s near the top of the mtgGoldfish most-played-decks. Our format is rife with Omnath, Incarnations, Murktide, Monke, DRC, etc.

Despite this, I’ve won our events with the following non-meta decks:

  • this homebrew that i’d been working on for the last few years. MH2 actually made it playable in that Grist allows solid Coco play, and a lot of my creatures can really mess with Monke/DRC.

  • Lantern Control (this deck actually feels amazing in the current meta). Yes it runs Saga, but it’s hardly an “MH2 deck”.

  • Some BR zombie deck. I hardly ever do mtgo leagues, but i also entered this in one of those and went 5-0 with it also. Yes it does have Fury, but nothing else i’d consider miserable

  • Mill

  • While not winning, i’ve made it to the finals with both The Rock and some homebrew artifact nonsense.

I think there is still tons of room in modern to brew and make decks that can compete. But people so have to realise that the environment/meta has changed, and brew with that in mind. Some strategies that would’ve been easy to pull-off before are admittedly a lot harder now. Though while some doors have closed I personally think a great-many more have opened.

I think the biggest shift from MH2 is now your deck really has to be able to interact to compete. Gone are the days of just goldfishing for a win. This shift in play-pattern I think has thrown many people off-kilter with deck-building. Though personally i’m much happier with the current environment, in that games aren’t automatically decided by whether someone does/doesn’t draw their sideboard card.

July 1, 2022 8:07 p.m.

cyeRunner obviously prints at lower rarity would be great - I just can’t see Wotc having enough sense to do that.

June 28, 2022 3:52 p.m.

What modern needs more than any bannings, imo, is a very heavily distributed bunch of reprints. The biggest thing hurting the format at the moment is the price-of-entry, and I think this is a big factor of player disenfranchisement. The formats probably in one of the healthiest states its been in a long while (it’s certainly healthier than when we had any of Oko, Uro, Astrolabe, Hogaak, EyeOfUgin, and imo better than when the format was dominated by Lurrus, MysticSanctuary, OnceUponATime, and FieldOfTheDead also).

Now that standard is “reigned-in” in power, Moderns in a pretty good place and has become a very stable & healthy format to play. MH2 also fixed a problem the format had previously, of being a “two ships passing in the night” format, by provided a lot of much-needed interaction that could help slow things down. While I did suggest 2-3 cards that could be banned above, I think the number of “cards that feel unfair” in the format is at a very low number.

It honestly feels like the best thing Wotc could do for the modern format at the moment, would be to help reduce its price-point. Doing a second print-run of MH2 might actually be the best way of going about this (or, some kind of “modern horizons masters” reprint set). Next year is their 30th anniversary so i’m hoping they devote some of their releases that year to providing longevity to those formats experiencing strain. Of course, that may be far too optimistic/hopeful.

June 28, 2022 7 a.m.

Some thoughts:

  • you’re running a LOT of cards as 1-ofs and 2-ofs at the moment. This will lead to very inconsistent hands and draws. I would suggest trying to mainly play playsets of the cards that are most important. A good tip for new/beginning deck builders is to pick 9 cards, and run playsets (4-ofs) of those (for 36 cards total) alongside 24 lands.

  • your mana curve is too high, and land count too low. Modern decks typically can’t play more than 4 cards (1 playset) costing 4 mana, and play nothing higher than this. You’ve got a whopping 11 cards costing 4-or-more. In particular, you have no chance of casting Avacyn, Angel of Hope in a game. Further compounding the issue is that you have almost nothing to do turn-1. Going back to the suggestion above to use playsets of 9 cards, i’d suggest those cards mana costs resemble something like: 1,1,1,2,2,2,3,3,4.

  • You have almost no way to interact with your opponent. Just letting your opponent do what they want is generally a really bad idea. I’d suggest playsets of both Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile

June 27, 2022 4:48 p.m.

Said on The Flood (1.28 …...

#5

Some thoughts:

  • both Grave Pact and Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord seem to be going against your strategy of being a fast aggro deck - and both will be particularly hard to cast with 17 lands (especially Jared, having soo few green sources outside of treasure). I think these cards will slow you down more than they will help you.

  • I’m also unconvinced that any of Gather the Pack, Village Rites, or Deadly Dispute help you play aggressively. I would think that these slots would be better suited towards being more quick threats, rather than slowly looking through your deck for stuff.

  • You have almost no reason to run green, especially as i’m not convinced any of your current green choices are worth running (there is Hardened Scales, but i’m not sure its worth splashing a whole colour for). Have you considered swapping green out for red instead, to give you access to Dreadhorde Butcher and Lightning Bolt?

  • Bone Shards should be better than Eaten Alive as it lets you pitch cards from hand. However, it feels like Fatal Push is just the best option here.

June 26, 2022 5:14 p.m.

Personally I think the format plays healthily, it's just very, very skewed towards all centering around that one MH2 set.

The obvious bans as far as I can see are the following:

  • Fury is the only one of the Incarnations that can go resource neutral (or positive) when casting it for the evoke cost, and makes it pretty impossible to reasonably play creature-based strategies in the format. It feels like the most abusive of the Incarnations, and the one that is most unhealthy for the format.

  • Either Omnath, Locus of Creation or Wrenn and Six I think need to go. Wotc have mentioned many times that they don't like "4-color-piles", and these cards both incentivize that strategy greatly. Omnath makes it hard to justify doing any other kind of midrange strategy, because it just provides sooo much value. It also makes it waaay too easy to run all of the Incarnations in a big pile of nonsense. W&6 just makes it too easy to run whatever colors you want in a deck, and will continue to allow deckbuilding to push boundaries very easy for minimal cost.

June 25, 2022 7:35 p.m.

Said on Lifegain and Drain...

#7

Some thoughts:

  • always aim to get your deck down to 60 cards - anything over this leads to worse deck consistency and power.

  • you currently have a LOT of 1-ofs and 2-ofs in your deck, this will lead to super inconsistent hands/draws. I would suggest, especially for new deck-builders, to run mainly playsets of cards instead. Ideally, pick 9 cards, and run a playset of each of them (for 36 cards total) alongside 24 lands.

  • modern decks typically don’t play more than 4 4-mana cards (i.e 1 playset), and don’t run anything higher than this cost. You have a whopping 12 cards costing 4-or-more mana, which is far too much. This will leave you with very slow/clumsy hands and draws. Added to this, your mana curve is waay too weighted towards 3-mana cards, which is just going to further add to a sluggish deck. Going back to the “playsets of 9 cards”, i would suggest those 9 cards have a mana curve looking like: 1,1,1,2,2,2,3,3,4.

June 24, 2022 1:57 a.m.

Said on Bant Heroic Tempo...

#8

Your land count feels insanely low, especially considering you’re trying to support 3 colours, have cards costing 3cmc, and have a lot of reactive spells (so want mana kept-up to respond to stuff). I think you need to go up to 20 lands as a bare minimum

June 21, 2022 7:17 p.m.

Said on Hag's Harvest...

#9

Some thoughts:

  • modern decks typically can’t justify running more than 4 4-mana spells, and run nothing higher than this. You’ve got 8 cards costing 4-or-more, and this feels a bit high, and will lead to clumsy hands/draws.

  • even with a lower curve as suggested above, i think you’ll still be running too-few lands. I’d imagine 23 would be a better number.

  • you’re running a LOT of 1-ofs and 2-ofs, this is going to lead your deck to being super inconsistent and random. Aim to be mostly playing playsets - running cards as anything less than 4-of should be a rarity. This will also help push you towards a stronger deck by just running those cards that matter.

  • You have almost no interaction currently. Letting your opponent mostly do what they want is a very dangerous way to play, and I would suggest adding a bunch more ways to mess with your opponents stuff

June 21, 2022 6:44 p.m.

Said on How Not To …...

#10

Sorry to tell you but both Arcum's Astrolabe and Mox Opal are banned in modern

June 20, 2022 3:28 p.m.

I think you should have called a judge the second you realised an error had been made which your opponent wasn’t fazed about rectifying.

I’m assuming (but not certain/confident) that the judge would’ve done something along the lines of issuing you both a warning and the win.

June 19, 2022 9:41 p.m.

Said on Hard miller...

#12

Fraying Sanity is a terrible card to draw a second copy of. By the time you drop the first copy an opponent shouldn’t have many cards left in their deck anyway (or you’re doing something really wrong), so a single mill-spell should kill them. Adding a second Fraying Sanity then doesn’t help at all.

Your biggest issue is still your lack of interactive spells, imo

June 19, 2022 3:22 p.m.

Said on Hard miller...

#13

Some thoughts:

  • don’t remove the Hedron Crab. Competitively speaking, Hedron Crab and Ruin Crab are the only 2 creatures ever worth playing in a mill deck! Jace's Phantasm is not a helpful card as it doesn’t do any milling, and is just diluting the primary goal of milling your opponent.

  • a game should never go so long that Fleet Swallower can be cast… i would suggest ditching it

  • A good way to evaluate mill spells is to compare them to burn spells. In burn, 3 damage (aka Lightning Bolt) is the bare minimum damage a spell needs to do. Spells like Shock, doing 2 damage, aren’t helpful, as you run out of resources in-hand well-before the game is close to being won. Mill cards, in a similar vein, need to generally mill at least 8 cards to be worthwhile. So stuff like Overwhelmed Apprentice, and Tome Scour just aren’t worth it (Mind Sculpt is borderline).

  • Psychic Corrosion is also not great for similar reasons as above. By the time its cast you’re unlikely to be drawing enough cards in the remainder of the game to make it worthwhile.

  • Fraying Sanity is a trap card, and i wouldn’t suggest playing more than a single copy, if any. By the time its down your opponent should already be heavily milled, so oftentimes the card only equates to milling as much as a single millspell anyway. Drawing a second copy of this card is prettymuch a dead draw and can often cost you the game.

  • both the planewalkers are just too slow, imo.

  • i think you need more interaction. Mill can’t rely on winning races, so you need ways to throw the opponent off-kilter

June 19, 2022 7:13 a.m.

Stardragon Just replying to your comments:

On Ceara's plus ability, i'm not saying she can't have a plus ability that makes creatures, as lots of walkers do do that. I'm saying that having an ability that is +2, and creates a 4/4, is very, very pushed, and imo this should be toned back.

On Chichan's Scry not feeling in-color. Yes multicolor walkers do occasionally get abilities that a single-pip of their colour couldn't do - BUT those things are normally either very-adjacent to what that pip could do, and/or something which the shard/wedge is known for being able to do. My issue with the Scry is that it's neither something that Red does, or something Jeskai does. It feels really out of place and not-in color, at least in my opinion. I don't think the "So what" approach will be healthy for making cards that feel "on-theme" for a shard/wedge.

As for Chichan's second ability, I would have just worded it as "Until end of turn, you may cast spells by exiling 3 cards from your hand, rather than paying their mana cost". This text is more in-line with how Wotc currently words these abilities. There's also no point in restricting this ability to being only 2 times per turn because generally people don't have massive hand sizes anyway. - Also, I never said this effect was anti white, it fits in well for Jeskai mechanics.

For Gwisin ideas, i'd suggest something akin to a Grisly Salvage effect for its +1, and its ultimate being a emblem that does the bottom paragraph of Abzan Ascendancy. This feels more in-theme, and provides a distinctive difference between these abilities.

Sorry I should have elaborated on my comment around Kuva reading like a pre-constructed-deck walker. What I meant from that is that it feels very weak, especially for its mana cost, but the abilities feel correct and on-theme. If I were trying to tune this to feel more competitive, i'd make it 4 mana, and change the -2 to only be -1. But it depends what level of competitiveness you're looking for these walkers to be. If you're wanting them all to be around this power, then the others all need to be significantly weakened.

Skipping over Nimthall, and Shataj Sar as it feels like we're on the same page/opinion at the moment with these.

For Vull, I have remembered that Sarkhan also becomes a dragon creature on one of his cards, so becoming a creature is at least partially in-color (or at least was, in wizards past). I think for me my Jund motifs might be skewed a bit from exclusively playing Modern, and so seeing the Jund deck through that lens. Personally I feel like hand-disruption, and winning through incremental advantage, are big parts of Jund - but there are many directions the color can go in, so what's here is fine also.

For Zendik I see you've already reworded his minus ability, and it feels far more balanced now. I think if I were making changes to this walker, I'd do the following: Firstly, I'd change his current -4 to be a +1 (it's now very close to stuff Tezzeret already does, so this should be fine). I'd change his current +1 to be a -1, and in addition to the current text, add "Whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player this turn, draw a card". I'd simplify his current -8 to just read "For each artifact you control, create two 1/1 colorless Thopter artifact creature tokens with flying.", and make it cost only -6. Finally, I'd make him only cost 4 mana, and start with 4 loyalty.

June 19, 2022 5:36 a.m.

Some thoughts:

  • You don't really have any way to "storm off" with Chatterstorm, which kindof makes that a useless card here.

  • Your mana curve seems pretty high, with a big problem being that you have nothing to do turn-1, meaning your effectively starting every game a turn behind your opponent.

Personally i'd ditch Chatterstorm and Second Harvest for eight mana dorks. Gilded Goose could be a good fit as a playset for one of those mana-dork choices, as its food tokens can create squirrels as well from Chatterfang, Squirrel General

June 18, 2022 9:27 p.m.

Said on 5-Color Midrange...

#16

Eladamri's Call feels more suitable in a combo or toolbox deck, so i’m not sure it fits in well here

June 18, 2022 7:47 p.m.

Said on 5-Color Midrange...

#17

Personally the big 3 things i'd be doing is:

June 18, 2022 6 p.m.

Said on 5-Color Midrange...

#18

Most modern decks struggle playing more than 4 cards costing 4-or-more mana, you’ve got 9… i’d suggest at least ditching the Nahiri, she doesn’t feel very useful if you’re not cheating out Emrakul

June 18, 2022 5:15 p.m.

Said on 5-Color Midrange...

#19

How do you fare/compete against moderns current tier-1 pile deck, aka Omnath, Locus of Creation?

Your land count feels low to me considering your relative lack of mana dorks, and relatively high mana curve.

June 18, 2022 4:59 p.m.

My thoughts:

Notably, you're missing the Grixis walker!!!

Ceara, The Dragon Claw: Feels a bit overpowered. Not really doing very Temur things.

  • The +2 feels too strong, as if it should be a 0 or -1 ability instead.

  • The -3 also feels too strong (and needs to use the words "up to"). Having a Planeswalker ability do one of two things is usually a bad idea.

  • The -9 needs to be reworded because you want your creatures to have haste/trample, not the spell.

Chichan, Master of Inner Enlightenment: Nothing about this walker really screams "Jeskai" to me.

  • The Scry 4 from the +1 feels a bit excessive - Wotc generally stray away from such high scry numbers for a reason... it's also very anti-red.

  • The -3 feels very unnecessarily wordy, but also doesn't feel right with this manas colors (it feels like this is very anti-white, and very black-orientated). I feel like this needs a complete rework.

  • The -7 is really weak for an ultimate.

Gwisin Noh: Feels really limited in what it's doing, when there are a lot of options open to Azban

  • The +1 is waaay too strong imo. Should just be 1 creature, and the toughness needs to probably be something like 2-or-less

  • The -X seems fine, though a little weak. Feels really out-of-place compared to what the rest of the card is doing.

  • The -4 needs to read "Up to". Its a decent ability but will never get used while your +1 is so strong.

Kuva, Fang of the Jungle: is probably fine. Kindof reads like a planeswalker you'd find in a pre-constructed deck though.

Nimthall, Master of the Dead: Feels really overcosted for what it's doing. I don't see how this is currently playable.

  • Imo the +2 should just be one 2/2 zombie. Don't try to overcomplicate things that don't need complicating.

  • The -10 reads really wrong, I had to have 3 goes at trying to understand your wording. I think you mean to say "...from your graveyard onto the battlefield. Then shuffle...". I'm not sure why this is grabbing enchants also?

Shataj Sar: The +1 alone is too ridiculous and needs a complete rework. The rest of the card seems fine.

  • The +1 is making waay too many solid creatures, you're basically dealing 6 damage immediately, and 12 the turn after, which is far too much. Also horsemanship is a really weird ability here - it's very outdated and no-longer used. Adding to that, White & Red aren't known for their evasion (its generally a Blue/Black thing)

  • Personally I think the -7 should either say "destroy", or not gain you the life.

Sibrel, Bant’s Guardian: seems fine

  • The -4 has the word "either" but there's no choice here?

Vull, The Bloodthristy: This card just doesn't feel like it captures the Jund motifs to me, but maybe that's just me.

  • The +2 needs to mention "Prevent all damage that would be dealt to XXXX this turn." - otherwise he'll get killed off for taking damage and losing loyalty (indestructible does nothing to protect that). In any case, this ability doesn't feel very Jund at all - making non-creature cards act like creatures is a pretty White effect.

  • The -X reads weird, where i'm not sure whether the opponent has a choice, or the owner of the planeswalker. In any case, having a Planeswalker ability do one of two things is usually a bad idea.

Zendik, Etherium Master: This card really doesn't feel Esper to me... more like a janky mono-blue walker. It also feel like it doesn't really do anything useful for its 6 mana cost (aside from the -3 that just wins the game).

  • The +1 doesn't feel very Esper at all. Esper is the color of control, this just feels like generic creature pump.

  • The -3 is waaay too game breaking. I would suggest having this instead as an "Ancient Stirrings" style effect.

  • The -8 is worded pretty poorly, though I get what you're trying to do here. It feels like a really underwhelming ult, especially compared to the insanity the others above do. Again, doesn't feel particularly Esper.

June 18, 2022 4:02 a.m.

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