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[MTG] Ixalan
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:53 pm    Post subject: [MTG] Ixalan Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So Ixalan is coming, the prerelease is in a bit over two weeks. And while it is hilarious that the set with pirates got piratted, we now see some high quality images and can start discussing combo potentials. We have not seen enough of the set to say whether any of the tribal decks will be good, and we haven't seen enough of the commons to say what the draft archetypes are going to look like. But as more of the set gets spoiled, we can have those conversations as well.

Let's hop in to discussing some of the madness. Not actual Madness, because Innistrad rotates when Ixalan comes out. But a set that promises Aztecs, Pirates, Dinosaurs, Atlanteans, and Vampire Conquistadors, there's plenty of just crazy stuff to go around.



OK, that's insane. The first thing is that if you play Hostage Taker on an empty board, the game ends in a draw because it cannot proceed to the next state as she is forced to take herself hostage whenever she enters play and forced to release herself whenever she leaves play. That self-interaction alone is probably going to force an errata, banning, or rules change. Because I cannot imagine anyone being happy with people being able to force a draw at will on the Pro-Tour with a one-card combo.

But even when you have other available hostages, she is still allowed to take herself hostage an unlimited number of times before you choose another valid target. And that means that she can generate an unlimited number of Enter The Battlefield triggers if you for some reason care about such things.

    EDIT: This was so insane that WotC errataed the card with almost a month to go. Now it's "just" a Banisher Priest where you can buy the Exiled creature onto your side and keep the creature after they kill the hostage taker. Expensive, but amazeballs in power level. Probably wants to live in a Sultai Ramp deck, but will also get boarded in by Blue/Black control decks of all flavors because if your opponent boards out the small creature removal it's Cast Out with upside and more upside.




Oh, right. So there's a deck right now called Four Color Energy that generates energy and runs it through Whirler Virtuosos, Long Tusk Cubs, or Bristling Hydras to win the game. Hostage Taker slides right into that as a potential Turn 4 infinite loop. And her fail case is still that she's a Banisher Priest that can be kicked as a Dominate.



There are several ways for Pirates to make Treasure Tokens. And there are a few payoffs to using Treasure in various ways. Treasure Tokens do exactly the thing that Gold tokens did in Theros, and I don't know why they have a different name. It would shock me severely if there weren't more treasure generators and payoffs that haven't been released yet, and there are doubtless some intriguing things you can do with some of them. There are already a few ways to go infinite with Treasure as Annointed Procession doubles the amount of treasure you get whenever you get treasure and two Annointed Processions quadruple it and there is at least one card that simply lets you spend mana to make treasure which could potentially give you more mana out than you put in, repeat as necessary. But so far that seems strictly worse than the Eldrazi Displacer + Scions scams that are rotating out, and Jeskai Panharmonicon is a Tier 2 fringe deck at the moment.

The key I think is not going infinite in any particular way, but in generating a buttload of treasure through a variety of means and just having it around. That allows two things: you can either spend that treasure to ramp out ridiculous haymakers, or you can leave it around in piles to win the game with Mechanized Production.



Mechanized Production is a weird win condition where if you begin your turn with 8 artifacts that have the same name you win on the spot. But getting to 8 Treasure Token Artifacts in blue is looking to be trivial. The giant haymaker cards plan seems a little more dubious because the 10-cost game winning Ulamog is rotating out and I don't know that anything can fill his flooby flooby shoes.



So the big new Dinosaur mechanic is Enrage. Every time your Dinosaur takes damage, whether it be a single ping or a lethal blow, it does its Enrage effect. Obviously Ripaw Raptor is bonkers in that it's an on-curve beater that two-for-ones your opponent whenever it trades with an enemy creature or gets killed by a damage spell. But this is also a world with Walking Ballista.



So if you want to trigger your dinosaurs a lot of times, you can. And yes, there's a way to go infinite with that.


EDIT: Now available in English.

The translation of that Dinosaur is apparently when its enrage triggers, all of your other creatures get a +1/+1 counter. so if you spend a +1/+1 counter from your Ballista to shoot the Ankylosaur you get the +1/+1 counter back. You can do it 4 times on each player's turn without killing the Ankylosaur and get +8/+8 on all your other creatures each round of turns. +1/+1 synergies all stack of course, and if you for some reason have two Ankylosaurs in play you go inifinite and win on the spot. But if you have any board presence at all, it's pretty hard to imagine a scenario where you don't win very quickly.



So White/Black Vampires is supposed to be a thing. I don't know if it'll work as intended because we haven't seen all the tribal bits yet. But some of the pieces look like they'd work really well in Monument.



The Blue/White version of Monument looks like it's dead. The spirits that go in that deck are gone after rotation. The White/Colorless version is dead too, because the Eldrazi Displacer goes away. And it's hard to say if any version of the deck can survive the rotation of Hanweir Militia Captain and Westvale Abbey - since the cultists are the current premier payoff for going wide. But the core of the deck is still Monument, Aviary Mechanic, and Dusk to Dawn. You have the ability to make ridiculous amounts of 1/1 tokens and you have one sided board wipes that can also be played from the graveyard to refill your hand after your opponent board wipes you back. That stuff all still works.

And it looks like Black is providing some pretty juicy tech for go-wide decks. Certainly the ability to follow up an opponent's boardwipe with an 8/8 Flash for 2 mana is quite a bit of reach. You also have a quite odd secondary plan:



In addition to being playable as a multi-target Path to Exile that doesn't even target and gets rid of gods and boggles with ease - it can also be played on yourself. This means that if you have six Warrior Tokens but can't get through to your opponent's face, you can attack with however many you want, have them take up farming before blocks, and put all the rest of the basic lands from your deck into play. If you're doing to the Aviary Mechanic cycling trick to get X 1/1 Warriors every turn, that can help grind things out. But if for some reason you needed to Ramp to a 5 color, 14 mana spell that would be easy enough to do on turn 5 or 6.

-Frank


Last edited by FrankTrollman on Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Man, I haven't bought new magic cards in four or five years. I can't tell how much of this is me just not being used to how new sets play out and how much of this is this set being crazy.
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Eikre
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:16 pm    Post subject: Re: [MTG] Ixalan Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
The first thing is that if you play Hostage Taker on an empty board, the game ends in a draw because it cannot proceed to the next state as she is forced to take herself hostage whenever she enters play and forced to release herself whenever she leaves play. That self-interaction alone is probably going to force an errata, banning, or rules change.


Already happened.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RobbyPants wrote:
Man, I haven't bought new magic cards in four or five years. I can't tell how much of this is me just not being used to how new sets play out and how much of this is this set being crazy.


Standard is very open at the moment. First of all, there are a lot of sets in Standard at the moment: Battle for Zendikar, Oath of the Gatewatch, Shadows Over Innistrad, Eldritch Moon, Kaladesh, Aether Revolt, Amonkhet, and Hour of Devastation. Secondly, while there are a handful of most popular decks at the moment there are also a huge number of established decks that are high enough quality that you can win tournaments with them. The big oppressive combo decks of Copycat and Marvel were banned outright, and the result is that there are lots of viable decks and no clear "best deck" or even a clear "top three."

The major tournaments are all over the place. GP Minneapolis the Top 8 included: Zombies, Mardu Vehicles, Green/Black Constrictor, Red/Black Control, and Ramunap Red. The next Grand Prix's Top 8 included: Temur Energy, Zombies, White/Blue Monument, and Ramunap Red. That's seven archetypes in the top eight of two back-to-back standard GPs! And that's not even counting all the archetypes that got into the top 16s of those tournaments and missed by narrow amounts of points: Blue/White God Pharoa's Gift, Blue/Red Emerge, Jeskai God Pharoa's Gift, Mono-White Eldrazi, Mono-Black Vampires, White/Blue Approach, Blue/Red Control, Black/Green Delirium, and Black/Green Energy. And let's not beat around the bush: there are a shit load of decks which have winning records and would be the top deck given the right meta for a specific tournment. We could see White/Red Always Exerting or Abzan Tokens or New Perspectives top eight a tournment in the next few weeks.

At the end of the month a pretty big shakeup will happen. Specifically, four sets are leaving the Standard rotation and only 1 is coming back in to replace it. So we are going from 8 sets to 5 sets. A bunch of those archetypes are going to be completely changed or destroyed altogether. All the Eldrazi and Emerge decks are out of the pool because none of those cards will remain. All of the Delirium decks will vanish (but several related Black/Green decks will stagger on).

It's going to change a lot of things. Things like: White loses its best 1 drop (Thraben Inspector), its best 4 drop (Gideon, Ally of Zendikar), and its best 5 drop (Avacyn). We haven't seen all of the white cards in Ixalan, but it's not obvious that White will remain a viable color moving forward.

-Frank
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Eikre
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:14 pm    Post subject: Re: [MTG] Ixalan Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Oh yeah, and:

FrankTrollman wrote:
Treasure Tokens do exactly the thing that Gold tokens did in Theros, and I don't know why they have a different name.


Gold tokens didn't need to tap to sacrifice, and Improvise is in standard.
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Whipstitch
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Other than the pirates I feel like the themes of this set were chosen specifically to come after my wallet in particular.
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It sounds very much like a campaign we ran collectively (rotating DM chair). It was Pirates/Spanish Conquest/Aztec and it was a lot of fun. I'm very curious to learn more. Did they crib my notes?
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JonSetanta
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Dinosaurs are Naya color. This will work perfectly with my Naya deck from years ago.
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Leress
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Whipstitch wrote:
Other than the pirates I feel like the themes of this set were chosen specifically to come after my wallet in particular.


Vampire, pirates, and dinosaurs.. oh my!

I am buying at least one booster box for this set.
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Prak
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I really want to build a deck of dinosaurs and pirate ships. With maybe Vraska as the captain of the dinopirates.
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FrankTrollman wrote:
In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
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JonSetanta
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Leress wrote:

I am buying at least one booster box for this set.


Same here! Splitting it with my brother's friend, hope I get lots of dinosaurs, but if not he'll probably go for pirates and I'll trade him.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Prak wrote:
I really want to build a deck of dinosaurs and pirate ships. With maybe Vraska as the captain of the dinopirates.


Dinosaurs are Naya Colors (White, Green, Red). Pirates are Grixis colors (Blue, Black, Red). Obviously you'll have the ability to use Pirates and Dinosaurs if you're Red, but decks are also frequently two or three colors, so it wouldn't be weird for a deck to be like White/Blue or something and get Dinosaurs from one color and Pirates from the other.

Currently there are only a fraction of the cards in the set that have been previewed, so it's quite likely that some of the cards are going to be game changing. But already we notice that there are ways to make Treasure in every Pirate color, and that Treasure can be sacrificed for mana of any color - which means that you can use Treasure to fix your colors or to ramp you to big spells or both. So there's nothing stopping you from having big 3 color Dinosaurs if you also have some Pirates that make Treasure to buy the Dinosaurs with. Being a Grixis Pirate deck that happens to have some expensive Red Dinosaurs as its end game or a Naya Dinosaurs deck that happens to use some Red Pirates as some of its Ramp is entirely plausible. As is of course simply picking any two colors other than Blue/Black or White/Green and getting Pirates from one and Dinosaurs from the other.

Actual Pirate ships might not be good. So far only two Vehicles have been spoiled and they are both moderate value Draft uncommons. If there's a new Smuggler's Copter or Heart of Kiran, or Harvester, or Skyship then there might be a Pirate Ship that sees play in constructed. But so far they've only shown 2 and neither one is going to see play outside Limited.

-Frank
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Prak
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I was kind of thinking of going Jund: get my dinosaurs from red and green, get pirates and pirate-themed cards from black and red, and I'm assuming Vraska will be GB.

But it really wouldn't be surprising if Vraska doesn't get a card until set 2, especially since we already know that the PW Decks will be Jace and [New World Specific Walker We Will Never See Again]. But, hey, Amonkhet had Liliana, Gideon and Nissa in the first set, so maybe.
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The book is a hardbound liars paradox.


Winnah wrote:
No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


FrankTrollman wrote:
In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Vraska might indeed be a set 2 kinda girl.
I think Jund Pirates/Dinosaurs is looking to be a Midrange deck with a lot of sweepers. The key then is to get value out of your Pirates before you kill them with Sweltering Suns/Hour of Devastation.

There's a couple of things that make that appealing. The first is that the existence of Raid means that chump attacking with Pirates is a lot less likely to make people immediately twig that you're about to play a sweeper. Attacking with a 2/2 into an opponent's 5/5 is actually pretty likely to get your opponent to lose their 5/5 to your Sweltering Suns. The second is that the existence of Enrage makes the Sweepers generate a bit of value on the back end.


Makes Sweltering Suns into a Cantrip.

The next thing to note is that the Rexproof Carnage Tyrant is big enough to survive Hour of Devastation.



So that's a thing. Clearing the board and then smacking your opponent in the face with an untargetable 7/6 seems like a decent top end.

Anyway, the real proof is going to be in what Jund can play in the first 3 turns.



Lannery Storm and Deadeye Tracker are the only 1-3 cost Pirates that a Jund deck hoping to ramp into midrange Dinosaurs seems especially inclinded to pack from the ones spoiled so far.

-Frank


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Lord Mistborn
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'd dismissed Carnage Tyrant at first because historically big dumb green creatures haven't made the cut. Given the state of sweepers in the format I'm worried that piece of unimaginably shitty design my actually see play.

Like I can almost accept that we'll never have mana leak again because little Timmy cries when you tell him his spell go countered but that shit is twice as dumb and half as interactive.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The existence of Sweltering Suns, Hour of Devastation, and Yaheni's Expertise - three Sweepers that don't kill the Carnage Tyrant - are all in the format - I think it's pretty likely that Carnage Tyrant will see play.

I think we might actually see people using combat tricks in Standard. Both because combat tricks are a lot better than they used to be and because brawling it out with Carnage Tyrants is the only way to get rid of the fucking things.
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JonSetanta
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Tell me if you can see this


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GreatGreyShrike
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

^I personally see a prompt for you to upgrade your account to enable third party hosting

I recommend just using imgur for hosting images for embedding into posts. You don't even have to make an account.


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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I see the prompt on my laptop and the cards on my smartphone.
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JonSetanta
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well shit. Hang on.

Quote:
https://imgur.com/a/4wgOJ


EDIT: OK that's the best I can figure out


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GreatGreyShrike
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List



After upload, right click and 'copy image location' on the uploaded image, to get the actual image URL instead of the location of the album.

Code:
[img]https://i.imgur.com/wrWP3Hs.jpg[/img]
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JonSetanta
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

All right thanks! I'll keep that in mind next time.
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Scaling feats were just a bad idea. I'm sorry I wrote them.
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Gishath rustles my Timmies.
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JonSetanta
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chamomile wrote:
Gishath rustles my Timmies.


It should have been bigger IMO
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Surgo
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I play EDH online rather than any kind of standard magic and I'm always on the lookout for big creatures to add to my Mayael deck. Nothing really here though but I'm loving the dinosaur theme. Maybe they'll print a dinosaur commander to use for dinosaurs in Mayael colors, like Reaper King for scarecrows (but there aren't very many scarecrows). edit: Obviously you can use Gishath but come on, it's 8 fucking mana.
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