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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:57 am 
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Hello Duelers,

I was close to making a post something like this -

Spoiler


And I also considered and continue to consider a post like this -

Spoiler


But before I lit the boards on fire with another "This place sucks, goodbye" or before I faded into the B4Z release limbo, I got this message at the end of Duels Diaries Week 14 -

Imma -

"i would love to hear some of our thoughts of how to play those decks of yours propperly. I know that most of the ppl here are Magic Veterans and if it only be the duell games. But as a guy who did never realy played magic that much, it would be very interesting to hear some taktik thoughts to get a more "inside" point of view, you know what i mean? For example, i was always wondering, why u are such a big fan of Abbot of keral Keep. Are u playing him only to get card advantage? For example in Gruul Monsters, do u ever play him in turn 2? Or not at least untill turn 3 so that u have the chance of an extra land (if u play him bevore ur landdrop)?"

Well....

Somebody comes to this board to learn how to play Magic, specifically Magic Duels, betterer! WHAT?!?!?!? I feel like we were all having an argument at the shopping mall on Christmas Eve, committing profane acts of violence to get the last XBOX TWO (how did it go from Xbox to Xbox 360 to Xbox ONE anyway?), and some child started singing silent night. Maybe we can remember what Christmas is really about and stop punching each other out about nothing and celebrate together.

So that is all well and good, and now that I have discovered the true meaning of Magic the Gathering, I have a tough job ahead of me. At the core of the issue, how do I convey how to play these decks? Truthfully, the only answer that pops to mind when asked a question like the Abbot question above, is that it depends. IT DEPENDS! It always depends! It depends on so many things. If I give you a straightforward answer like "Always play Abbot on turn three", I guarantee I will be wrong sometimes. So let me try to describe a situation where I would play Abbot on turn two -

Opponent has played U/B tapland, Evolving wilds on the play.

Your hand is Forest, Nissa's Pilgrimage, Outland Colossus, Gaea's Revenge, Abbot. Your first two plays were Gruul Land, Forest. I would play Abbot on turn two and forget about the bonus value. Why?

Your opponent seems to be rolling a slow hand into Dimir control, maybe Sultai Control, and early pressure is a good idea, but you have to keep Fleshbag Marauder on your radar. If next turn you plan to cast Pilgrimage, and the next turn you plan to cast Outland Colossus, then you want to be prepared for Fleshbag. Maybe you'll even get a three point hit in off the Pilgrimage/Prowess activation. Not casting Abbot on this hypothetical turn two is basically forfeiting your turn by doing nothing, you don't even have a Fiery Impulse or Twin Bolt to respond to the opponent with if you pass the turn, so that makes getting on the board more important. Also, you have Gaea's Revenge up your sleeve. If your opponent has a great mix of removal, such as reave soul for Abbot, Fleshbag for Outland, that is one less Fleshbag that will deal with Gaea's Revenge. You want to keep your opponent focused on dealing with your board (Abbot, Outland) and not on drawing/searching for more resources, because that increases the odds they will have a way of dealing with Gaea's Revenge when it's time comes. So yes, absolutely, play Abbot on turn two, forget about the card advantage, you have what you need to win this particular game right now. The planeswalker who dies with the most cards still dies.

How about the inverse? When would I play Abbot on turn three?

Opponent - Turn 1 G/B gate.

Me - Turn 1 Evolving Wilds/Mountain, turn two forest - decision time.

Hand - Abbot, Gatecreeper, Kird Chieftan, Rhox Maulers, Chandra's Ignition

The play in this case is Gatecreeper. The first reason being Elvish Visionary, his most likely turn two play in my experience, makes having a 2/1 worse than an 0/2. The 0/2 blunts the visionary, the 2/1 does nothing without prowess which you lack access to. Now lets look harder, even though some would say we don't have to. You are likely playing against Elves, maybe against Golgari Control. Against either, the worst thing that can happen and the thing that will most likely cost you the game is not hitting your land drops to cast Kird Chieftain, Rhox Maulers and Chandra's Ignition when you want to. In this case, we have three lands accounted for with your first two drops, and a third from Gatecreeper. Playing Abbot on three gets you an extra card off the top that will either be a land, or will put you closer to a land. If the opponent has removal like Bone Splinters, they may have to use it against Chieftain, but if you keep your Abbot around you may want to Ignite it on turn 5 and wipe out the Elves on the other side. You can't Ignite Elvish Visionary for three can you? It is one of the reasons I love Abbot more then Visionary, but that is another debate.

Of course, there are three sides to every coin, heads, tails and the edge. When do you not want to cast Abbot on turn two or three?

Opponent goes -

Turn 1 - Mountain, turn 2 Mountain, Mage-ring Bully, turn three mountain, Flaring Flame-kin on the play

You go -

Turn 1 - Gruul Gate, turn 2 Mountain, Twin Bolt on Bully, turn 3, decision time.

Hand - Twin Bolt, Abbot, Pilgrimage, 2x Forest, Rhox Maulers, Zendikar Incarnate

So I think the clear play is to cast Twin Bolt on the Flame-Kin, and I probably wouldn't wait until the opponents turn to do it. We already saw Mage-Ring Bully, and while Flame-Kin makes auras obvious, I think the Bully makes Titan's Strength a serious possibility. The quickest way we lose this game is letting the Flame-Kin get enchanted, so if the opponent plays Infectious Bloodlust, we play Twin-Bolt, and they cast Titan's Strength in response...GG. Both of those cards are common, and our opponent still has 5 cards after draw step, so the odds aren't as low as we'd like. I wouldn't play around two rare cards, but I usually play around two commons in a place like this. Playing Abbot here is just bad, we can't be sure we will hit land or anything useful, and we don't need the land if we do hit it. Playing Pilgrimage opens us up to a beating. Next turn, if the top card is a land we can Incarnate, if not we can Pilgrimage and set up future monsters. It is notable that this line gets us Pilgrimage for three Forests, which means several turns down the road we are more likely to cast Abbot with a lot of open mana, meaning we can cast a 4 or 5 casting cost monster if we flip one.

Obviously, all of these things require a lot of presence in the moment when you play. Do you think this far ahead in your plays? Or do you just cast the spell with the highest power/toughness for the lands that you have? Being thoughtful and tactical about turns like those described above doesn't make a small difference in a game, it often completely changes the coarse and quite often, the outcome itself.

So for a bit of fun, let's compare Elvish Visionary to Abbot and I can go further in trying to defend my love for the card -

First lets look at what you actually get -

Elvish Visionary - a 1/1 for 2 mana, and random card in your hand.

Abbot of Keral Keep - a 2/1 Prowess for 2 mana, a random card off the top of your deck, the odds of you getting to play it increase compared to the number of turns in the game so far.

I don't have to go on and on about a 2/1 Prowess vs a 1/1, but it is important to know just how much better Abbot is here. I think it is fair to argue that the Abbot is TWICE AS GOOD. That is like choosing between a 2/2 that draws a card for four mana and a 4/4 that might draw a card in some spots for four mana. I think you would always play the 4/4. People laughed at my inclusion of one Llanowar Emissary in Elves, but many posters don't understand Abbot instead of Visionary.

It is important to note that as the game gets longer, Abbot's ability becomes better and better, closer and closer to just saying draw a card. I run Abbot in my Thopters deck, and that deck maxes out at 4 mana, nothing costs more than that. So if I cast Abbot with five lands on the battlefield and one in hand, I am guaranteed to be able to cast the card if I want to. Even if it is Disperse with no targets worth going after, I can still Disperse my Abbot and take another roll of the dice next turn. Elvish Visionary is always a 1/1, and a 1/1 is not really a card. It does so close to nothing, really. At best it keeps Fleshbag from running your life, which is a thing, but so does any larger 2 mana creature that may also have more purpose in life. I run Gatecreeper over Visionary a lot too, because on turn two it is far more valuable to fix your mana and ensure your turn three, four and five plays are on time and highly effective. Visionary is just a random card off the top, it doesn't promise you will cast anything on time from there. I also cringe on YouTube when I see players holding two or three tap-lands, but they play the one basic in their hand to cast Visionary on turn two. Now obviously, when to and not to do this depends, IT ALWAYS DEPENDS, but most of the time getting a 1/1 on turn two on curve is not remotely as good as saving your basic to cast a three or four drop on curve. Being a three or four drop alone makes them better, but you are willing to take the chance of doing nothing on turn three just to have a random card now. Huh? Anyway.....

I suppose this Duels Diaries will go down as my Abbot/Visionary rant, but there you have it. It's my attempt to explain what is so often unexplainable, how to play Magic fantastically well. This is why I think the Youtube/Twitch approach is so appealing. Getting to watch good players from the backseat as they pilot their decks, and getting to hear the logic of the good players as they do it, is a great way to learn more about the game. I don't think I will ever be the Youtube channel type, but we still have years of content from some very good players to look up, so make sure you do that. It doesn't matter if it was this year's Duels or if the content is from 2012, good Magic is good Magic.

With that in mind, I'm getting back to watching and learning myself -

https://youtu.be/_faZmCVzF6Y

I know I have said this for 5 weeks, but I really hope we get Zendikar cards soon. I can't wait to write a post for you guys about initial testing, building and how I make my testing gauntlets to find the best cards/decks in a new format.

In the meantime, are there any other cards that I run that strike you as weird or bad? Any other scenarios you'd like me to explore different play decisions on? In other words, what would you like me to write about? Thanks to Imma for answering that question last week and saving me from the dreaded "got nothin" post :)

Best wishes,

<3 CGB

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:59 am 
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Covert, I was taking a 'break' until B4Z hit, and of course still no sign. There is not much genuine magic discussion going on currently. Not that I can blame anyone or that would be fair to. Even threads that start seem to descend into "off topic" threads.

The best thread of late, and it's been resurrected recently, is the "Ten in a row thread" started by no less than Hakeem himself (so a continued legacy even if he does not return).

I also saw Imma's post and had similar views. I replied to a comment which suggested that the forum should not be solely about deckbuilding which it does to a good extent (or used to) but given Duels was in some ways an entry gate for Magic and NGA is still one of the better sites it would be good if it was catering to newer players.

I had tried to start some threads on game play but it did not really get much support. But we can always count on you to engage the community with the weekly diary and be gracious about reacting to queries and questions.

I was saddened to hear you encountered the iOS server connection bug and did send a PM suggesting we try and play some Magic 2015! I had a brief thread on mentioning it was nice to play again versus online albeit with Magic 2015 and not duels.

I said I would take a break and that is still pretty much the case as there is little game discussion these days. Also it has been a bit depressing to read the quit threads and the biting comments at times. No doubt I will get a comment posting back but even when I look back I never actually said I would Leave the forum but I would quit the game out of frustration (initially because I lost everything but later got it back, for about a week then server connect bug got me :().

I also posted I would take a break (again until B4Z). I saw it was Friday and wondered...... Glad to see you are not letting the community down during a tough period.

I may start adding to the "Ten in a row" thread but I cam only play vs hard AI so in reality would be a bit "meh" but will see.

I will keep looking out for you and we can play Magic 2015 matches. I have 2014 and 2013 but they seem seldom played and I have still some decks in 2014 to fully unlock sideboards so it's nice to get some magic action playing them.

Thanks again and will check back next week.

Oh and note to Barney, I missed your LOTR thread where you assigned characters, Samwise Gamgee eh ;). Yep I will always be around but want to do what's best for the community, it has been tricky to see of late how to do that but like Sam I should not give up :) :thumbsup:

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Last edited by SquiderDragon on Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:01 pm 
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Is your iOS bug still happening?

Great post btw.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:09 pm 
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Great post covert!
On the whole "weird cards" things, when i was running your updated RDW build for lickers tourney, I'd like to know your resoning behind the Inferno Fist's over the more common Call of the full moon's and Infectious Bloodlust?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:25 pm 
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Squider - I've learned to love your rambles, they aren't like most people's posts because you hit a ton of topics like a shotgun, so I call them rambles, no disrespect or malice intended. You're a good guy, and I think from reading your posts in the middle of the drama that you see the big picture for this forum/community.

Mega - thanks for the props, I am still bugged :( it makes it hard to talk meta for sure.

Nighthawk - originally inferno fist had the philosophy that you could go to the dome. However, I changed that up a while back and have been running call of the full moon for some time. I included it in the deck list section of my results sheet from DD14, although I understand not everyone follows all my stuff that closely. It would be a fun discussion though.

The biggest scale-tipper for me is how good call is on Mage ring bully. I haven't always run bully in my rdw either, and I think that was just always wrong on my part. It is one of the only red cards that is truly explosive. Call on bully is six trampling power or turn 3, which is just funny vs elvish visionary or gatecreeper. Either of those can still chump you if you are playing fist. The two spells clause of full moon is tricky, especially with a low curve deck, and I have cast two spells and popped the full moon myself (that sounds nasty) on several occasions, sometimes the damage is more important than keeping the call around. It's another scenario thing, but if the opponent is tapped out facing bully and three mountains, I'll usually Titans strength, call, hit for 10, let the full moon end, because I have faith I'll find the next ten damage somewhere. Maybe that is a future post, winning with rdw. We'll see. Thanks for the question/inspiration.

Ps - I also see call as far better than infectious bloodlust in most decks. That is another interesting analysis, but similar to fist it comes down to trampling over chump blockers. Trample and flying are big deal keywords in this format.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:42 pm 
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Ps - I also see call as far better than infectious bloodlust in most decks. That is another interesting analysis, but similar to fist it comes down to trampling over chump blockers. Trample and flying are big deal keywords in this format.


You are correct that Call is better than Bloodlust because of trample, but Bloodlust give Haste, another big deal keyword in this format. And it is as rare as flying and trample, or pretty damn close. And, it pretty much always replaces itself, which is a huge bonus.

Now, I'm not advocating Bloodlust over Call...I'm advocating both of them together. That's what I run in my Boros Enchant deck for Red Enchantments.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:45 pm 
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I've been on call's jock since day 7 or so, lol. Great post covert, as usual. On the subject of RDW, I'm still not sold.

On the subject of Hakeem, when b4z drops, I'll be asking him to come back. Hopefully soon.

On the subject of iOS, I'm still connecting. Sorry you aren't. :-(

On the subject of Abbott, I'm with you on your assessment. But, if I'm running EvoLeap, I'm usually running visionaries, either instead, or as well. (Can you ever really have too many two drops? I test that question often, lol).

On the subject of the PT... I leave to go tomorrow. Maybe I should live tweet or something. (-:

On the subject of Dragons, we've got at least two good ones. Possibly more.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:52 pm 
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easily my favorite post covert well done :)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:22 pm 
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THIS ONE is your favourite?? I'm was about to light him up.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:23 pm 
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THIS ONE is your favourite?? I'm was about to light him up.


You're just mad bc he told you Thornbow Archer was playable.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:36 pm 
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actually I really like your idea of curving into Elite from Archer. We'd have to totally change the mana though to support that.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:51 pm 
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THIS ONE is your favourite?? I'm was about to light him up.



Don't hold back on my account dude, bring it!

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:58 pm 
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I like this one because while game analasis is good it always struck me as very results oriented. I love this one because I'm always down for the analysis on how to play decks :)

also one thing I'm kinda wondering you know how on the main site they sometimes hve deck articles and along side the decklist there is a way to generate example hands... I wonder if their is anyway to do that using that google spreadsheets deckbuilder


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:52 pm 
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Haven't been here in awhile.

Watching the pro tour right now.

Funniest thing so far:

Gabriel Nassif uses EVOLPEA deck to beat Frank Karsten Atarka red :D


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:56 pm 
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Haven't been here in awhile.

Watching the pro tour right now.

Funniest thing so far:

Gabriel Nassif uses EVOLPEA deck to beat Frank Karsten Atarka red :D


Hey, is there a YOUTUBE link to that...I'd like to see it as I am sure others as well.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:02 pm 
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http://www.twitch.tv/magic
been watching pro tour as well they're currently showing off a Sun Temur deck

my favorite match was Dark Jeskai v Cool Abzan hella awesome to watch

edit: now they're interviewing Yuuya Watanabe :o go Team Japan \o/


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:24 pm 
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THIS ONE is your favourite?? I'm was about to light him up.



Don't hold back on my account dude, bring it!


Gah, you called my Bluff, dang.

You made a post directly addressing questions from a forum user asking for help. There's no way to poop on posts like this. You rock.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:08 pm 
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been watching pro tour as well they're currently showing off a Sun Temur deck

my favorite match was Dark Jeskai v Cool Abzan hella awesome to watch

edit: now they're interviewing Yuuya Watanabe :o go Team Japan \o/


Yeah It was nice to see Mihara take that one. I'm hoping for some shouta crazy deck tech to show up soon, but afaik he isn't doing too well.

Btw as unlikely as it seems, my money is on Jacob Wilson going far this PT. Dark Jeskai is probably one of the best decks in the meta; and Jacob is considered one of, if not THE best Legacy Delver aggro- control players in the world, which is basically jeskai A++. He's already 6/0 ? Guess will have to wait, but if the cards fall his way, he will be in a very strong position.


Last edited by Goblin Rabblemaster on Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:18 pm 
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yeah I think he got 6/0 pretty sure all the matches for round 6 just ended too


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:15 pm 
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wow yeah dark jeskai just went 2-1 against atarka red to get an 8-0 for the deck today

gideon is super powerful can't wait to get that expansion


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