So now that combo decks are extremely rare I ask you, "Where are the creatures?" Type I is even more creature-light than it was before combo disappeared. In fact, the only creatures that have seen play in a Tier One Type I deck since the restriction of Black Vise are the Dark Ritual-friendly duo of Negator and Hypnotic Specter, Morphling, and occasionally utility creatures like Dwarven Miner or Gorilla Shaman (in 5-color control decks, not Sligh). True, once in awhile a Masticore sneaks into a control deck (hey, he's from Urza's Block - he can't be that bad), but in any serious type I competition where players have access to the power nine, creatures that don't start with 'M' or combo with Dark Ritual are pretty much only seen in the scrub brackets past round one.
What? Isn't it a well-known fact that I love aggro? Me swing with creatures. ROAR!
Personally, I don't see control flourishing when the environment had unrestricted Black Vise. The PT Dallas Type 1 top 8 contained a Necro, an unknown, and SIX ZOO DECKS. Weissman finished 39th.
But then again, control didn't have technology like Powder Keg back then, so bring it on.
Nicely written article Matt.
The problem that I see here is that Type I control establishes itself so quickly. In most environments, aggro decks can try to race it, in TI that is a losing battle. The addition of more board control measures slows down the offense of the decks, turning it into something like Junk or 3 Deuce. Speed Black with it's disruption and LD seems to be the best choice for aggro in this environment.
Are you suggesting that it only seems this way because of lack of innovation on the part of aggro players?
He's flat out stating that aggro sucks because the majority of aggro players aren't putting in the time or effort.
I agree! we need more aggro for a healthy environment. I think that something simple like the unrestriction of berserk would really help stompy race. Or something drastic like banning morphling would be a huge boost to aggro while bringing blue based control back down to earth.
Im an aggro player, but hes probably right. I play Suicide because its fun to play and its my best chance at beating control but you honestly cant splash any colors into Suicide, that would be wrong. You can splash colors into Sligh, Stompy and WW but that makes them vulnerable to the non-basic hate that is aimed at Keeper and it allows your opponent to shut you off from your 2nd color with a single Wasteland if you are unlucky. In theory a nice RG beatdown should be better than Sligh or Stompy but in testing i have never found this to be true, it just never seems to work like it should. Sligh is probably the only aggro deck that i believe you can splash colors into(barring the terrible WW) with some degreee of success and i think the splash has to be green because it deals with all of red's shortcomings and also has a good creature base. Splashing blue in Sligh for power sounds good but its actually worse than green(or even white) because it doesnt help you versus the cards that hurt you the most, enchantments. Just my opinion.
Amos shut up. I play Aggro. I'm 21-3 against Keeper lifetime losing to Matt D'Avano, Vincent Pau, and Eric Wilkinson once each. They and Steve Sadin comprised the foursome that took home the money at the $250 T1 @ NG. I honestly know I would have won the whole thing had I not been paired against Zev, who had a sligh build that was not-so metagamed against the dominant(in quantity not actuality) Keeper of NG. Note that I have played aggro my whole magic "career". I vowed to never play an island in constructed, and never did until this recent T2, where my 1st time playing an island in T2 I won the JSS. Mikey P and I went over my R0xx0rz your M0xx0rz deck and agreed I had the optimal build. The 8 Blasts and 4 Pyrokinesis would stay throughout every T1 tourney but the last 3 slots shifted from Scald to Miner to Pop and back to Miner. I know how to play control, but I prefer being on the offensive and feel I should win against keeper. Rant Rant Rant your probably sick of hearing this so I'll finish with this, Darren Di Battista got FoF restricted, not Ed Paltzik. Ed took Buehler Blue, added power, replaced Impulse with FoF, and called it his own. Just stealing any sparks that might be left over from "Legend"'s thunder that he had for a month or so.
Not including tubbies-builds (Stacker, Funker, Whatever) in the aggro bit and leaving out Oath as a known anti-creature measure for control is questionable (no, not because _I_ play it - take a look at the ToC5 decklists!)... But alot of valid points indeed. Nice.
Amos--I dont think you understand how fast stompy can kill with 4 berzerks, control wouldnt have a chance, 2nd turn kills from elephants would become VERY common. But foget stompy, U/G would be the real threat to fear.
So is there a solution to this that doesn't involve unrestricting cards for the aggro decks?
If anybody can come up with a 3+ color aggressive deck that doesn't use counterspells, I'd kinda like to see it.
And then I'll quiz you on whether it can go even 40% first game against Keeper or Oath.
Matt, maybe something should be mentioned about just netdecking a keeper on Apprentice and flooding the environment with control. In real life, unless your at NG, you MAY see one other keeper at a tournament. Everything else is aggro, combo, or just crap.
I think notable aggro decks that have emerged in the recent past are rubber face, stacker variants, and FUNKER. (No, I dont consider Funker a stacker variant, though a glance would lead one to believe so...)
Nikodemus: There's a R/G/W Gun deck around the mill somewhere that's pretty good, and D'Avanzo himself has an AWESOME version running Winter Orbs and Hidden Gibbons. And it should do well game one against Oath and Keeper, what with maindeck enchantment hate (Wax/Wane! ROAR) and a turn 5 goldfish.
Matt: I think that you left out one of the best aggro decks around in Ice Blue Zoo. Anything with permanent card drawing, the ability to deny the control player his Balance or Abyss (4 Forces plus 4 Misdirections), and is BLUE is really pretty good. I just don't think we've finished it yet. I had a thought today about splashing white for enchantment hate and Pikulas, myself. As with all things, it needs a ton of testing. Oh well.
To the rest of us: he's right when he says that we're too lazy to off the control players. It's not THAT hard unless they do degenerate things (and really, how often does that happen? I've seen only a handful of Balance to zero or Timetwister to no land garbage in my entire life.) We just have to remember that if we're splashing or going truly multi-color, we'd better be able to handle the non-basic hate sitting there.
I've read some pretty good Magic articles in the past, but I must say that I think this one is the best I have ever read. It explains perfectly why I only play casual Type I. Thanks Matt. I'm looking forward to the individual aggro articles.
Great artcile Matt. I liked it a lot. As for myself, I love playing Zoo deck and WW. As a matter of fact, I have only played keeper a few times and Mono Blue some others (and no, is not because I'm a bad player or because I don't know how to play them, it is just because I want to do more while I play other than draw, play land go ;) ), but Zoo (R/W/U/B) and WW I played a lot. I know that they are not Tier 1, but as you said, they can be...I even tried a version of the Zoo deck with more black and added duress to deal with Mono Blue and 1 Pyro Blast main deck. But I didn't do that good. It was the one I played on the Toc4. Anyways, I always liked to play ZOO and WW and I'll keep doing it. I'm looking forward to your next articles and your reviews on those diff deck types.
The article was good , but I had some reservations:
2) Tubbies et al???
3) You're not really saying Necropotence should be unrestricted, are you? That doesn't promote aggro decks, just Necro decks. Maybe you're just looking for an excuse to make WW viable again since you love it so much
4) FoF is restricted (with good reason obviously) So...is it saying FoF is still grinding aggro down under its jack-booted heel of tyranny?
The general opinion seems to be that non-basic hosers are needed - since otherwise, duals would be strictly better than basic lands, and thus it follows that multi-colored decks would be strictly better than mono-colored. Well, this is one hundred percent untrue.
If they ever unrestricted Fork, I would be the first to stuff my control deck with four of them.
and i would be the first to waste your 2nd red source ;)
As far as aggro decks go, I believe that we are all missing a deck that is still in it's early
stages, but nonetheless has explosive potential (which I've stated occasionally in
previous posts). The Funker is extremely fast, capable of extremely broken plays,
and does not include a single stick of countermagic.
As posted above (somewhere anyway), The Funker is not a Stacker variant - it
plays very differently.
I admittedly do not play The Funker and have yet to play or see it in action for
any length of time, but the variant which I've witnessed (U/R/B) is a VERY good
deck which has given plenty of Keeper and Oath variants quite a few black eyes !
I've tried searching the BD archives, but I believe only a total of 2 threads
actually discuss it. I truly believe that with enough work and input, The Funker
could definitely become quite competitive in our current environments.
"3) You're not really saying Necropotence should be unrestricted, are you? That doesn't promote aggro decks, just Necro decks. Maybe you're just looking for an excuse to make WW viable again since you love it so much"
This is incorrect. Unrestricting Necro clearly makes Necro dominant over Control. But, Zoo, Burn and Sligh crush Necro. Control can usually handle Sligh, Zoo and Burn. Rock - Paper - Siscors.
Matt, I liked your article. You did a great job. Zoo decks can cream Keeper. Zoo decks should cream Keeper. If Keeper packs one Edict, one Fire/Ice and one Abyss, Zoo should be able to easily win. Gorilla Shaman first turn. Second turn Wasteland. Third turn Wasteland, Cursed Scroll. Fourth turn Lion... Keeper dead.
But, since Zoo isn't trendy Zoo doesn't win. I think you did a good job of illustrating that point.
I look forward to more articles.
Milton, from your posts about Keeper, I've seen you stress your need to handle Zoo, in quantity if not quality. If this is still the case, would you mind divulging to us at least the basic nature and color of the more powerful Zoo decks you've had to face recently? I've engaged in debates about proper Zoo builds in the past, but not since the restriction of FoF and the return of the Phid.
My personal experience playing against Zoo is a deck that runs R/B/W/U. Its got the host of 2/1s and 2/2s in Black, Red and White, a few Dauthi Horrors, and Serendibs. What I feel really separates it from the pack, however, is the high number of both Seal of Cleansing and Vindicates. I'm not sure how often Fishonmyplane frequents BD anymore (so I'm not sure if he'll read this to speak about his own deck), but his deck has taken its fair share of games from both my OSE and my Enchantress. Seal, Seal, Vindicate backing up a first turn Lion does a lot when your anti-critter defense is Keg, Core, Abyss (on a side note: yes, Core regenerates, but I used him as bate, hoping the Abyss would stick the next turn (the Seal was on the board and waiting 2 extra turns didn't look good)).
The key, as I mentioned earlier, is the high amount of Enchantment and Artifact removal. Matt listed the big problems that aggro decks face, and nearly all of them are one of the above types. While I had long ago found this to be true myself, back in my days of White Weenie, my solution of running 5 "Disenchants" + E.Tutor didn't really stick with many others, as the deck was 1) White Weenie and 2) within a relatively short time, Null Rod became the fad on BD. However, as much as people said WW sucked, I delivered my fair share of beats with some unexpected cards (Abolish being a surprise response to having a Seal countered). Perhaps its a time to start stressing White in aggro decks again. Multiple Disenchant-effects have long fallen out of favor in control decks, but perhaps they are one of the keys to aggro's success.
I'm not so sure it's only the "trend" factor that keeps Zoo from being tier1, and i'm definately not so sure about the "Zoo decks should cream keeper" thing. You seem to be forgetting the No.1. creature killer; Balance. No card can turn the tables like a well-timed Balance. With the amount of tutoring and brokenness that keeper has, i don't think a lion, a shaman and a scroll by turn four is that intimidating. Watch fire/ice take care of the critters, and if you want to use 3 mana each turn to scroll for two points of dmg. there's plenty of time for keeper to gain control. Most keepers pack 4-5 creature-kill cards MD, and it's not like you'll be seeing less post-sideboard...
It seems like you are overestimating Zoo quite a lot...with unrestricted Necro i'd be happy to face Zoo and even Sligh. Please remember the black summer...even decks that maindecked 10+ necro hate cards lost to it miserably. You should have seen the Swedish nationals that year...it was something like 50% necro, 25% ehrnageddon and 25% r/w necro-hate. I don't think there's any deck that would auto-win against necro, not even academy. Perhaps if someone tried to ressurect turbo-stasis ;)
Thanks alot for reading the article and commenting. I got a lot of email too. Realize that I will be tracking your various asses down in BD chat for playtesting various aggro builds when I get some time.
The black summer had nothing to do with type I. It was a type II and 1/x phenomenom. In type I we have better burn and things like Wheel, Twister, etc. Sligh will wreck Necro 9 out of 10 games. Hell, BAD sligh will wreck Necro. The most that would change in the mono-black/Sligh matchup with unrestricted Necro is that maybe Guerilla Tactics will be worth something again. I am 100% in favor of Necro being unrestricted.
It wasn't my intention to talk about every card that deals with creatures--just the big ones. Oath has not had much of an effect on type I. The idea that that "Gee, I need a way to not lose to an Oath of Druids" is a relatively recent concept.
Re: Decks I didn't discuss
I'm just trying to talk about aggro as a style in general. When I get to individual decks I'll try and do everyone's pet favorite decks after Sligh, WW, Suicide, Zoo, and Stompy are out of the way. Also, there are a lot of rogue/uncommon decks like Ice Blue Zoo, Funker, and Tubbies that I can't comment intelligently upon simply because I've never picked them up and played them. Give me time!
Let's say that in an alternative world, black vise costs 2 instead of 1 would it be still broken with four of them running around? 3 certainly wouldn't cut it since Iron Maiden was never used.
Sligh will wreck Necro 9 out of 10 games. Hell, BAD sligh will wreck Necro.I am 100% in favor of Necro being unrestricted.
No, that's not the point.
Necro brings balance back in the game. Currently, it's in an extremely stable pattern:2 sides(combo is almost never played). It's gonna go one way; it can't just stay with both sides as strong.
Necro brings back a fun deck, and adds another pole in the game.
We'd get a tripod, a very unstable position. Necro kills control, but good aggro just wrecks necro(and control tends to be good VS aggro)
The difference between unrestricting necro and unrestricting vise? Necro goes in a necro deck. Vise goes in any deck.
The problem with your analogy? Moxen don't really add anything to the metagame.
If the DCI were paying enough attention to listen to complaints about Fact or Fiction and restricting it, when so many of us didn't thought that way, how possible is for us to have Necropotence back unrestricted?
Bringing back vise would make aggro way too strong, I think. The ability to deal about 10 damage in the first turns with a 1cc artifact is a bit too good, isn't it?
As sylvester put it, necro wrecks control which wrecks aggro, which gets a upper hand against necro. Necro isn't just a deck, it's an archetype on its own: we have aggro, control and combo. And then we have Necro.
The way things currently are I'm all for necro's unrestriction. The question is: wouldn't that make control too weak? (or would it be possible to decently play a match of control vs necro?)
I used to just fine with Keeper in a field of heavy Necro. It's difficult, but hey, there are supposed to be difficult matchups besdies the mirror IMO.
Sligh will wreck Necro 9 out of 10 games.
Thank you Matt for the excellent article. It got me thinking. Thank you for that.
I forgot to say the same. Although I disagree many times with some of Matt's opinions, not only has he made an excelent article, as he is undergoing a serious work: a serious insight about aggro in type 1. Very good work Matt
Unrestricted Necro, I'm all for. Balance the field by sucker-punching control. I may be assuming a little, but maybe you want aggro to make a comeback so that your Academy decks can just stomp over the new 80% aggro tourneys.
What will happen to Trix, though. Didn't that run Necros somewhere?
Superman:Is the problem in the combo necro or the 2 more or less shaft cards that interact /too/ well?
The problem with unrestricting Necro is that Type One Trix is just too strong. I don't see why they can't restrict Illusions in type one only to break the combo, and letting Necro be unrestricted. As far as I know, CocoaPebbles was never considered a serious threat to type one.
They restricted FoF in just this format, and there's several cards restricted in type one that aren't in 1.x (Voltaic Key, Frantic Search, Crop Rotation, Grim Monolith, Doomsday, Mirage/Visions tutors, Hurkyl's Recall, Recall, Stroke of Genius, Tinker).
Granted these are just about all restricted because Academy isn't banned, but the point is that there are many precedents for being able to play four of a thing in 1.x and only one in type one, and that one of these examples was very recent.
The problem is the Necro-Illusions combo. Necro is the most broken card drawer in the game, and if you Necro for 15 in a deck with 3-4 Illusions you will almost always draw one or a way to find one. Once you have, you can smack it down with Duress and double Force of Will backup and draw ANOTHER 20 cards to find Donate and another double Force of Will backup. I.e., if you can get Necro down, you win. In addition, the life gained by Illusions also makes you impervious to beatdown decks.
The problem with necro is necro being broken and necro winning -every single game- it lands on the ground first turn.
Unrestrict necro? Umm.. like.. no. Unrestricting necro will lead to this: Decks with FoW, decks with necro, decks with necro and Fow. It will also lead to compost/guerilla tactics maindeck in aggro. And then the evolution will continue etc etc.
Well done, Matt. I'm looking forward to more of the kind.
It's easy enough if they just errata'd Illusions. Make it say "when you lose control of Illusions, lose 20 life", and life is good again. I'm all for unrestriciting Necro. Black Vise is too strong to be unrestricted, although Black Vise is the classic countermeasure against Necro.
(And for God's sake, unrestrict Berserk, Recall and Hurkyl's Recall!)
Why does no one ever suggest unrestricting voltaic key?
because reviving academy will *not* help aggro.
No, don't errata Illusions. Let extended players have their toy. If restricting is too little ban it in type one - or will 1.5 players suddenly miss their mono-blue donate decks?
If you read the Sligh threads here you will see innovation and experimentation along with occasional mind-numbing stupidity (Scullscorch= Red's Arcane Denial).
Recently I've seen:
Creature selection: Patrols, Miners, Shamens, Goblin Vandals, Ball Lightning, Kird Apes, Sedge Troll (Ok I'm pushing my luck!), as well as the new 1cc mage. Hell I even suggested Ydwen Efreet to someone playing in a creature heavy environment.
Control measures: Pillage, Null Rod, Ankh, Winter Orb, Powersurge, Black Vise, Lava Blister, Scullscorch (not remotely control but was added in an attempt at control)
Land selection: Barbarian Ring, all mountains, Mishras, no of strips, use of Mox Ruby and Lotus
Burn: PoP, Guerrilla Tactics, Flamerift, Chain Lightning, Shock, Seal of Fire, Fireburst and the new Reckless Charge.
Misc: use of Wheel of Fortune, no of cursed scrolls, black splash, green splash, white splash, blue splash, 5cSligh, use of Fork
Note I don't think that all of the above are good ideas but there is experimentation. The problem is that as you shift your resources from aggro to control you are less aggressive (duh!).
My Sligh is at the control extreme and so has a much tougher time vs Suicide. Pure aggression decks should get game 1 vs a lot of decks since most people are not prepared for them but games 2 and 3 are almost autolose (aggro sides out aggro for blasts which can't damage the opponent=longer game, longer game=loss for Sligh)
The problems are Mana Drain (read early Morphling), Powder Keg and Misdirection. Misdirection means you cannot use all of your mana (i.e. fire off some burn at your creature-light opponent) since a Pup will get toasted. There are solutions to Keg but Mana Drain and Misdirection hurt the way Sligh is played (try casting a Ball Lightning on turn three and you'll see what I mean).
What is the answer? I don't know but a walking blast would be nice (R 1/1 sac to counter target blue spell).
A walking blast? Why the heck would red need 12 red blasts?
Unrestricting Necro would definitely mean Trix would have to get neutered. I was trying to point ou that aggro players who want Necro unrestricted also have to consider that it fueled degenerate combo decks. (Well, just one)
Well Superman, you need to see what Sligh is all about: damage. A walking blast can swing for 1, get reckless charged, sacrificed and then kill a blue spell. A blast sits in your hand while your aggro deck tries to play control.
Note that the walking blast, while vulnerable, counters a blue spell, not attempts to counter one. Red could then run Pillage, Ball lightning, Wheel or various other 3+cc spells that , at the moment, just act as Mana Drain fodder.
This would be an interesting choice for Sligh since, for example, at present most Sligh decks choose not to run Goblin Vandals maindeck because they are only 1/1s despite the fact that they kill Powder Keg, Sol ring, Tomes, Disk and various other annoying artifacts.
It is very similar to Stompy running Lyrist (or the newer version) rather than the various versions of tranquility available.
A walking blast may be too good for Sligh though... REB is considered a lot better than tranquility, I believe. ;)
I, personally, would love to see Academy banned. It would allow the unrestriction of Voltaic Key,, Frantic Search, and alot of other artifact mana Matt mentioned. Crop Rotation, for example, is only good with Academy, and utterly useless everywhere else.
However, I dont expect to see the Mirage/Vision tutors to get unrestricted. If they were unrestricted, it would completely defeat the purpose of restricting cards. Who cards if I can only put 1 copy of Mind Over Matter in my deck when I can stuff it with 8+ cards to find it?
From 'A walking blast? Why the heck would red need 12 red blasts? ' to 'A walking blast may be too good for Sligh'. My post must have been persuasive.
Do you think a 1/1 for R with a colour specific sac ability is too powerful?
I meant that with 8 red blasts you can use already, another 4 thrown in would be crazy. Red doesn't need that much more blue hate.
And a 1/1 for R that could sac for a red blast effect is a little too good, I think. It'd have to be dumbed down a little. Tings and counters in one little neat package? I don't think so.
Much of the artifact mana that is restricted is really that broken even in academy: grim monolith, voltaic key, mox diamond, hurkyl's recall.
Mana Vault and Crypt are the insane ones, and petal exists solely to fuel combo.
Do you think a 1/1 for R with a colour specific sac ability is too powerful?