суббота, 20 января 2018 г.

MtG. How to Cure netdecking. General Theory

There are times when one comes down with the netdecking disease without even trying to alter their deck list for their needs and/or local metagame. You would simply acquire the same entire 75 and move on straight into the fray. Still this is a bilateral process. If a format/archetype/metagame is not quite familiar to you yet, you should start with picking those original 75, put it through the local scene, and only then get down with any alterations. Fanaticism would be of no good here. If you feel inclined or empowered with time and resources, please do something in order to keep things changing and adapting. Competitive play might witness drastic shifts every week. FNMs might be visited by different people this week and another.

What is the cure for netdecking? The answer is obvious – play more against different decks and probe them for wider cardpool options available for the solutions of real situations within a format. Research statistics in the internet, compare various builds of the same archetype, read articles, as well. It would be wise of you to both respect the cool pros’ lists and mind your mind. A critical point is to understand properly why you need both the former and the latter.
And now let’s proceed to the examples and their explanations.


Oklahoma and Madrid. Infect and Eldrazi Tron
Grand Prix Oklahoma City 2017
Format: Modern | Number of Players: 1419 | Date: 10/12/2017
Gabriel Joglar playing Infect
Position: 24
Deck Name: Infect
Creatures [15]
1 Dryad Arbor
2 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
4 Blighted Agent
4 Glistener Elf
4 Noble Hierarch
Instants [24]
1 Apostle's Blessing
1 Echoing Truth
2 Spell Pierce
3 Become Immense
3 Blossoming Defense
3 Groundswell
3 Mutagenic Growth
4 Might of Old Krosa
4 Vines of Vastwood
Sorceries [2]
2 Distortion Strike
Lands [19]
1 Windswept Heath
2 Breeding Pool
2 Forest
2 Pendelhaven
4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Wooded Foothills
1 Echoing Truth
1 Spell Pierce
1 Dispel
2 Grafdigger's Cage
4 Kitchen Finks
3 Nature's Claim
2 Spellskite
1 Viridian Corrupter

I got to a similar list purely out of practice. The same experience is telling me though that the sideboard, or at least half of it, is outright awful. But that’s not final, maybe I’m wrong.
Tools to bounce permanents help avoid playing such narrow cards as Dismember, and save from those very Lingering Souls. Jaces appeared to be quite useful. They either distract the opponent, claiming their precious removals, or with some luck of survival bring tons of value. Topdeck management, assembling jigsaw pieces in hand, flashbacking buffs for the setup of a one-turn lethal. Some people don’t accept him at all, tastes differ. I would not play him in a more tempo meta, but if a game pursues grinding, he helps out very much. The maindeck Blessing and two Strikes assist in a more accurate evasion of opponent's blockers. Again, this depends on the field, but they will come in hand more often than it seems.

The sideboard is not that bad, but it was calibrated for a more familiar and homogenous field. In case of blind scouting one should diversify their tactics a bit. Shaper’s Sanctuary is smoother against Kolaghan’s Commands, and on the whole against Grixis and Jeskai decks. Spellskite is more useful against Burn and in situations when you are going to need more blockers yourself (it’s hard to confirm without tests that it’s worth siding against Five-Color Humans, still chances are pretty high). And one more thing, i.e. Nature’s Claims. Better against Burn and Affinity, but I prefer the one with cycling, our local players like running diverse decks from time to time. The primary reason though is Eldrazi Tron with its Chalices. With a single charge counter a Chalice kills your play. Moreover, an Eldrazi pilot might always keep an aggressive hand and take you over within few turns.

Grand Prix Oklahoma City 2017
Format: Modern | Number of Players: 1419 | Date: 10/12/2017
Gilbert Davila playing Eldrazi Tron
Position: 13
Deck Name: Eldrazi Tron
Creatures [20]
1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
1 Wurmcoil Engine
2 Endbringer
4 Matter Reshaper
4 Reality Smasher
4 Thought-Knot Seer
4 Walking Ballista
Instants [2]
2 Dismember
Sorceries [2]
2 All Is Dust
Planeswalkers [2]
2 Karn Liberated
Artifacts [10]
2 Mind Stone
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Expedition Map
Lands [24]
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Field of Ruin
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Sanctum of Ugin
1 Sea Gate Wreckage
3 Wastes
4 Eldrazi Temple
4 Urza's Mine
4 Urza's Power Plant
4 Urza's Tower
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Crucible of Worlds
2 Grafdigger's Cage
2 Hangarback Walker
2 Ratchet Bomb
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
2 Warping Wail

After all these Grand Prix events this Eldrazi Tron list looks like a logical outcome in face of a more variable meta. But we need to understand the development of such logic. Relics left the main deck due to the Shadows decline. An additional couple of big guys entered maindeck as the answer to mirrors and midranges.

The sideboard underwent changes, as well. The Spyglass now substitutes for the Needle in order to keep one’s own Chalices going and be more flexible. The rest remains the same. I would rather run 2 Extractions or 3-4 Relics instead of Ugin and Crucible, which are not so critical. The fact is that Dredge and Storm still get really high within the format, and Relics can play too slow against some rogue Reanimator.

Grand Prix Santa Clara 2018 - Team Trios - Modern
Format: Modern | Number of Players: 1479 | Date: 07/01/2018
Sam Pardee playing Eldrazi Tron
Position: 7
Deck Name: Eldrazi Tron
Creatures [20]
4 Endbringer
4 Matter Reshaper
4 Reality Smasher
4 Thought-Knot Seer
4 Walking Ballista
Instants [4]
2 Dismember
2 Warping Wail
Sorceries [2]
2 All Is Dust
Artifacts [10]
2 Mind Stone
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Expedition Map
Lands [24]
1 Sea Gate Wreckage
2 Cavern of Souls
2 Wastes
3 Ghost Quarter
4 Eldrazi Temple
4 Urza's Mine
4 Urza's Power Plant
4 Urza's Tower
1 Warping Wail
1 Basilisk Collar
2 Grafdigger's Cage
2 Gut Shot
2 Hangarback Walker
2 Pithing Needle
2 Ratchet Bomb
3 Relic of Progenitus

A fresher list, a more acclaimed pilot, a different view. Let’s get closer and analyze it. Humans must have made Karn unnecessary, Affinities and Dredges have struck back. Additional Bringers were added as a more convenient way to top-end. The sideboard features Needles instead of Spyglasses. The intention seems to be in needling whenever it might get called for, or it means Chalices leave in key match-ups. I wouldn’t say Needles are better for Modern. This is one of those instances when you got to keep an eye on up-to-date top lists and what exactly wins the tournaments. Gut Shots came almost as no surprise to me. I dare presume they are expected to solve Humans and Thalia-like pests.

Grand Prix Madrid 2017 - Team Unified
Format: Modern | Number of Players: 1875 | Date: 10/12/2017
Adrian Ramiro Cano playing GWx Vizier
Position: 1
Deck Name: Collected Company
Creatures [30]
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Selfless Spirit
1 Tireless Tracker
1 Walking Ballista
2 Noble Hierarch
2 Viscera Seer
3 Duskwatch Recruiter
3 Eternal Witness
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Devoted Druid
4 Kitchen Finks
4 Vizier of Remedies
Instants [8]
4 Chord of Calling
4 Collected Company
Lands [22]
1 Godless Shrine
1 Plains
2 Forest
2 Gavony Township
2 Horizon Canopy
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Razorverge Thicket
2 Temple Garden
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Windswept Heath
1 Qasali Pridemage
3 Path to Exile
2 Abrupt Decay
3 Tidehollow Sculler
1 Sin Collector
1 Eidolon of Rhetoric
1 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Kataki, War's Wage
1 Orzhov Pontiff
1 Loaming Shaman

An excellent list. I tell you as a long-term pilot of Abzan Company and Abzan Pod. Everything has its purpose and function. No luxuries, still not without idiosyncrasies. Vizier decks and their ancestors have always been famous for powerful singletons in the main deck and sideboard due to the tutors and digging tools. The maindeck features only the cards that can always do something. The side has only those of singletons that bring on a guarantee of ruination for the principle opponents active within the current format.


Keep it in mind: know your enemy, meta, decklists and tendencies. Not only Tier1. The same is true for all the other formats. Unfortunately, this works poorly at the World Cups, Pro Tours, etc. Sometimes a new or refreshed format gets hit hard by a totally off-the-radar nonsense.

National Championship, Finland, September, prior to Ixalan release, Top4, the match to enter the country’s team. UR Control against a teammate with 4c Perspectives. The UR pilot gets all-tapped on their sixth turn. Then… New Perspectives, the first Approach, Traverse for the Sphinx of the Final Word, and the Second Sun was secured.

MKM Series Frankfurt 2018 - Standard Main Event
Format: Standard [Kld_Akh_Xln] | Number of Players: 126 | Date: 07/01/2018
Philipp Krieger playing Selesnya
Position: 4
Deck Name: G/w Aggro
Creatures [25]
1 Narnam Renegade
2 Kinjalli's Sunwing
2 Oketra the True
4 Adanto Vanguard
4 Adorned Pouncer
4 Merfolk Branchwalker
4 Resilient Khenra
4 Sacred Cat
Instants [4]
4 Blossoming Defense
Sorceries [6]
2 Legion's Landing
4 Appeal // Authority
Artifacts [2]
2 Aethersphere Harvester
Lands [23]
1 Scattered Groves
3 Hashep Oasis
3 Shefet Dunes
4 Sunpetal Grove
5 Forest
7 Plains
3 Ixalan's Binding
2 Gideon's Intervention
2 Fumigate
1 Settle the Wreckage
2 Sunscourge Champion
1 Gideon of the Trials
1 Ajani Unyielding
3 Heroic Intervention

Not by monowhite alone, and even after RIX has come to pass, don’t limit yourselves by vampires alone. The deck is still quite poignant and has some particular tricks to ambush one’s opponents, for there are tools without anything at W or WB’s disposal to substitute them in it.

Grand Prix Santa Clara 2018 - Team Trios - Standard
Format: Standard [Kld_Akh_Xln] | Number of Players: 1479 | Date: 07/01/2018
Josh Carter playing UW Control
Position: 8
Deck Name: White-Blue Cycling
Creatures [2]
2 Curator of Mysteries
Instants [19]
3 Settle the Wreckage
4 Censor
4 Countervailing Winds
4 Hieroglyphic Illumination
4 Renewed Faith
Sorceries [3]
3 Fumigate
Enchantments [10]
2 Search for Azcanta
4 Cast Out
4 Drake Haven
Artifacts [2]
2 Abandoned Sarcophagus
Lands [24]
1 Shefet Dunes
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Irrigated Farmland
7 Island
8 Plains
1 Settle the Wreckage
1 Spell Pierce
2 Negate
1 Ixalan's Binding
4 Authority of the Consuls
2 Torrential Gearhulk
1 Jace's Defeat
3 Regal Caracal

My teammate’s feedback about their thorough experience of running this deck has it that Sphinxes and the Cycling lifegain are far from being essential in this archetype, and mostly carry out the filling function. The sideboard seems nearly untouched, but each card of it has very serious reasons to be there. We need to gain life, counterspells and additional/alternative win conditions. So these are the best possible cards for the job within the format right now. Nothing really seems to help from RIX.
With RIX at hand both variations of WU decks are enjoying the access to cheaper removal spells, which makes Pushes and Esper builds less attractive, the sideboard Scarab is still a strong argument though.

PPTQ - Waaagh Taverne
Format: Standard [Kld_Akh_Xln] | Number of Players: 43 | Date: 07/01/2018
Jean-baptiste Munoz playing Dimir
Position: 8
Deck Name: Ub Control
Creatures [6]
2 The Scarab God
4 Torrential Gearhulk
Instants [25]
1 Pull from Tomorrow
1 Supreme Will
2 Essence Extraction
2 Hieroglyphic Illumination
3 Vraska's Contempt
4 Censor
4 Disallow
4 Essence Scatter
4 Fatal Push
Sorceries [2]
1 Bontu's Last Reckoning
1 Entrancing Melody
Enchantments [2]
2 Search for Azcanta
Lands [25]
2 Field of Ruin
3 Fetid Pools
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Evolving Wilds
6 Island
6 Swamp
1 Arguel's Blood Fast
1 Battle at the Bridge
1 Bontu's Last Reckoning
3 Contraband Kingpin
3 Duress
3 Negate
2 River's Rebuke
1 Vraska's Contempt

This list is rather known, but it was not created all of a sudden. With the time, everybody understood that not a single deck would ever need more than 2 Azcantas. In case you are extremely card-greedy, you may boost this pack with a few black enchantments. The same is true for the removals, to be precise their proportion to card-drawing tools. Ambitions now mean much less than practical outcome, but the basic structure remains stable. The sideboard felt different, but not to the same extent. The toolkit is almost the same, as are the functions and match-ups, very much alike to compare with WU Controls. And it was extended with a gear of a brand new black tutor. So, you know, be prepared for slow black decklists coming soon.

New Year Win A Case @ Meta Breakers
Format: Standard [Kld_Akh_Xln] | Number of Players: 45 | Date: 01/01/2018
Derrick Locke playing Jund
Position: 3
Deck Name: Jund Control
Creatures [15]
1 Carnage Tyrant
2 Deathgorge Scavenger
2 Gifted Aetherborn
2 Glorybringer
2 Ripjaw Raptor
2 Walking Ballista
4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
Instants [11]
2 Abrade
2 Vraska's Contempt
3 Fatal Push
4 Harnessed Lightning
Sorceries [4]
4 Attune with Aether
Planeswalkers [5]
1 Nissa, Vital Force
1 Vraska, Relic Seeker
3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Lands [25]
2 Dragonskull Summit
2 Mountain
2 Rootbound Crag
2 Swamp
3 Canyon Slough
3 Forest
3 Sheltered Thicket
4 Aether Hub
4 Blooming Marsh
1 Abrade
2 Appetite for the Unnatural
2 Chandra's Defeat
2 Deathgorge Scavenger
1 Doomfall
4 Duress
2 Trespasser's Curse
1 Vraska, Relic Seeker

Well, yes, Attunes, khmm, but the archtype is not super-duper dependant on them. I include this archetype and the decklist as an instruction to win at your local events with something off-the-radar but with valuable cards in an unusual shell. Jund has been the paragon of stability and flexibility both in Modern and Standard for many years already. Quality and durability. It lacks catastrophic match-ups, but lacks triumphant ones, as well. Protein and sweat. And a good illustration of what to smash faces with and not to get busted too much. Americano, but with sugar. Concrete in a formal suit. Any card you look at is ...well, ...nice. This is what people keep on playing anyway, for it has a weapon for each fundamental threat.

And a little Legacy case for dessert. Are you sick of the Stompy decks and alike? And you are a Grixis Delver pilot. Then, you might use your courage, use two green duals in the deck, remember you got Shamans and put a Trygon Predator into your sideboard. But if you are heading for a Grand Prix, have a coffee and simply take old good Ancient Grudges.

Everything’s good at its time and place. Anyone of us makes mistakes. Some things are good for only a few chosen pilots. If you don’t know what to do about a sideboard – this sideboard is not for you. If a deck is Tier1 – it doesn’t mean it is good for you personally. Don’t sink low but don’t overestimate yourselves either. If you feel absolutely confident with a Tier2 deck, you can achieve everything. If you are an expert at a format and the one with your cards, a tournament can be owned through your own designs.

I hope, this material will help you get used to analyzing data, test the options, and ask decklists’ authors and yourself more constructive questions.

- Aarne Pyulze
Until the next cruise!
Stay reasonable and listen to your guts!

- OthalaBor in Hearthstone, EternalTCG and Faeria
- Ekvilor or BoatBrew at other game accounts
@BoatBrew on channels and media
- website-cupboard: boatbrew.com

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