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14732 Posts in 1088 Topics- by 448 Members - Latest Member: ThaliaWalt
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1  MagicPlayer Highlander / New Editions / Re: Kaladesh Top 10 Cards on: 02-10-2016, 09:38:24 PM
I will not adhere to the "Top 10" label but instead go over the full set. Here are my thoughts on the new cards:

I am absolutely certain that two Kaladesh cards will see play:

Verdurous Gearhulk and Torrential Gearhulk - Especially the green one is immensively powerful at almost any given board state. The blue one is more volatile in his power level. Sometimes you will be able to cryptic command a spell and get a 5/6 for 4UU and sometimes you will only get a bolt. His power level is strongly dependent on the board state and the contents of your graveyard.

The fast lands are kind of obviously good for agressive decks in those colors.

Cards that might see play:

Dovin Baan - Looks solid but on careful inspection the problem is not his own power level but what he competes with in the four mana PW slot in those colors. Elspeth, Jace the Mind Sculptor and Jace Architect of Thought are much better. Maybe J,AoT is actually worse or on par and you can play Dovin but in UW you have more problems with someone going wide with small creatures than having a singular medium sized threat.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance - She is solid as well but again competes with superior planeswalkers in this slot. Note that you can not play lands you reveal with her. For RDW you want immedeate impact larger than two damage. For Blood you want to add board presence so you rather play Garruk/Xenagos. Izzet has the Jaces. Most decks do not care about the two mana, paying four to torch a creature is underwhelming, the "card draw" can not put lands into play and merely deals two damage to players.

Smugglers Thopter - A really good card. Gives a relevant flying body and card cycling to creature decks that is wrath-proof. Mono Red does not want to play too many creatures, so this is more of a WW or UW Skies card to enhance the draw and gain some evasive damage to smuggle in the last points. You can tap creatures for it that would not get through in the mid to late game or give their damage pseudo haste.

Nissa, Vital Force - 5/5 is enormous, especially until your next turn, and she threatens an ultimate, that will win grindy matchups, on the turn after she hit play. Or she regrows your best card from the graveyard if you need immedeate impact. Looks like an allover great card. Five mana is not nothing in HL but she surely brings the necessary force to make it worth it.

Veteran Motorist - Good aggressive stats and scry two. But since you will most likely not crew anything in HL and Depala, Pilot Exemplar is not a factor, he might just be underwhelming. There are anthems though and he is very very cost effective.

Voltaic Brawler - This seems good. A two mana 3/2 that attacks as a 4/3 trampler twice is something Gruul Beatz might be interested in.

Foundry Inspector - Cost reductions are always possibly powerful.

Key to the City - Without madness or graveyard synergies this probably does not make the cut. But the ability to push through damage and filter cards is a possible key to victory.

Scrapheap Scrounger - If there was an agressive black deck, this would be amazing. But since there is none as far as I can tell, this is just worthless scrap.

Skysovereign, Consul Flagship - It does a nice Flametongue Kavu impression, has a moderate crew cost and is a huge flying threat. If you can you will probably play Thundermaw Hellkite or Stormchaser Dragon over it or not reliably be able to either get the five mana or crew it. A powerful card that probably has no place to go to.

Inventor's Fair - A good card in decks that can get three artefacts into play reliably since they probably have big pay off artefacts as well.

Cards that are on the fringe:

Filigree Familiar - An overall good package but worse than Kitchen Finks if you are in White and/or Green.

Aerial Responder - Skies decks could be interested but they probably try not to play three mana creatures with two power.

Noxious Gearhulk - If there is something to hit, this dude is awesome. If not, he is an expensive crature. Highlander has enough decks that do not play creatures and a lot of those that do can go under it.

Brazen Scourge - 3/3 for three is relevant to RDW but again the problem is what it competes with in that slot. You rather have Ball Lighning, Hell's Thunder, Chandra's Phoenix and Boggart Ram-Gang in that slot. And that slot is small and hotly contested. There are still three mana utility guys one might want to play over it (Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh, Zo-Zu, the Punisher, Magus of the Moon). If you are interested in more, he probably fits the bill but since at the moment the burn heavy RDW versions seem to be better I brazenly assume this will not be the scourge of the format.

Blossoming Defense - If you are in the market for tricks this is a good one.

Kambal, Consul of Allocation - This is a hit or miss card. Against aggressiv Decks this is way too small to have an impact and against controllish decks this is not guaranteed to live long enough. Against combo this is absurd. They usually lack the removal and are prone to kill themselves over time unless it is a two card combo or reanimator. I doubt this will make the cut though. There are just too many decks that do not care about the effect or the body.

Rashmi, Eternities Crafter - Every first spell you play on every turn has a one card chance of cascade or cantrip. That is insane value no matter what kind of deck you play. But four mana usually needs to do more than be a 2/3 that pays off after you untap. But when you untap with this in play it should be absolutely bonkers.

Cards that are overrated or just not good enough:

Cataclysmic Gearhulk - Apart from dream scenarios the fact that it costs five, that Highlander decks usually play at least creatures and planeswalkers and that it does not hit lands makes me think this is a cataclysmic failure. Yes you might get them to one creature and keep two but the fact that they decide which ones to keep and that they can usually keep on going makes it not worth it. Some rare matchups make this great. Workshop decks that have not managed to lock you out or combo until turn 5/6 lose most of their board. But in most other cases this will hit their already outclassed creatures and is horrible if you have two planeswalkers or a mana artefact and a creature etc.
Insidious Will - All modes on this card are really good. But four Mana is too much since countering a spell will be the default mode. Highlander values flexibility but not at such a cost increase. If this card was 1UU it would be nuts.
2  MagicPlayer Highlander / New Editions / Re: Eldritch Moon on: 30-06-2016, 12:29:51 PM
Rabblemaster starts producing tokens right off the bat. If your opponent is tapped out or has no instant removal, you get a token. With Garrison your opponent can just handle him at a time convenient to him. Rabblemaster escalates faster and usually at least takes something down with him, when he attacks. Garrison will most likely not and also has to put itself in danger when there is no clear path. The worst Rabblemaster does is sit around and make tokens that die, the Garrison might often do absolutely nothing.
3  MagicPlayer Highlander / Banned List & Rules / Re: upcoming Ban list votes ChristophO on: 13-05-2016, 01:11:44 AM
Insert The First Avenger: Civil War Meme here.

(I wish we had a forum that was a tiny bit more up to date...)
4  MagicPlayer Highlander / Banned List & Rules / Re: upcoming Ban list votes ChristophO on: 06-05-2016, 07:40:21 PM
So someone who is really really good with a deck that attacks a specific meta wins repeatedly. That is probably how it should be.

I see that you are uncomfortable with that and want to change it by banning vital cards. You might be right or wrong, but to me it looks like every game ever where someone else gets stomped by a superior player and deems something is broken and needs fixing. Sometimes that is true but generally it is just renitence to adapt. The available data suggests that it is a local problem but I am the first to admit that the amount of data in highlander is small.

You are getting way too aggressive and insulting just because someone else does not flop over and assimilates your opinion. You think whoever shares your views is smart and whoever does not is dumb.

I may be mistaken, but whenever I check the Berlin FNM results all I see is creature and midrange decks and mostly tier2 decks at that. I am an outsider looking in and to me it seems just to be a really good player preying on a meta his deck can not be contained by and whose players are unwilling to adapt to or accept what is happening. With all the praise silberhase is getting I can not stress enough how normal it is for a good player with a favourable matchup to win a match.
5  MagicPlayer Highlander / Banned List & Rules / Re: Current bannings 1.April 2016 on: 03-04-2016, 01:57:32 AM
I agree with Adan. Natural Order into Titan usually creates two to three threats at a way too early time. Since lands are generally not easy to handle in our format it is even worse. I think I know why it was unbanned, but to me it was a pipe dream.

SFM is very similar, as it will not generate any diversity but instead just get crammed into every existing deck and generate degenerate blowouts. I just can not get behind the arguments that try to paint it as a balanced card.

While I hate to say goodbye to SDT, I also love to see it go. In control mirrors he very likely just wins the game over the long run while being close to uncounterable because either he comes too early or you have to pay more mana than it costs and leave your opponent free to push something actually threatening through. In other matchups it is solid but often underwhelming because you do not have the time to make up for the invested card and constant mana investment.

Gifts is problematic in the usual fashion. While it may slightly boost control archetypes it will just open up the doors for a few degenerate interactions, instant combo tutoring or lock assembly.

Most of the argumentation towards reintroducing those dangerous cards into the metagame look like arguments to introduce an invasive species to a healthy ecosystem in the hopes of diversifying it. We all know what usually happens in that case.
6  MagicPlayer Highlander / General Discussion / Re: Why It’s Urgent to Change the HL-Council-Situation NOW (please read, no rant) on: 02-04-2016, 09:31:46 PM
No, I am not a member of the council. I did not know you wanted to argue alone against the council.
Maybe we are kind of losing ourselves in semantics at some points too and I probably went a little bit overboard with some expressions.
I am arguing with/against what I thought your ideas were. I thoroughly red and reread your posts. Of course I am bound to get some stuff wrong, as is always the case.

I agree that there needs to be change, but the change first and foremost has to come in the form of a new website that gets groomed well, if you ask me. In the same way I got "triggered" by your arguments to assume you wanted to build some weird direct democracy, I think you got triggered by the club metaphor. The FIFA is about money. The highlander council is pretty much not.

I see this as kind of a club, still. But the club is not open to anyone at this point and its intransparency is hurting it's perception in the community. Since you said you are good at making websites, what I just do not understand is, if you love the format as much as you claim, why you did not just offer to make a new one. You probably would have had a lot of freedom. The MGM site looks great (not perfect, but really well structured and acessible, which is important above everything else).

The council probably is open to any help it gets. It won't get you a vote for the bannings, probably just pats on the back, the good feeling of having achieved something and some recognition in the scene.

Look, I know I am not a council member. I have my qualms with the system as well. That is why I participate in that discussion. That is also why I said that I think, despite your agressive way of arguing, that getting it going is important.
7  MagicPlayer Highlander / General Discussion / Re: Why It’s Urgent to Change the HL-Council-Situation NOW (please read, no rant) on: 02-04-2016, 12:25:35 AM
My opinion on the matter is that I see no need to seek the improvement of the player base by overthrowing the council.

I am not completely sure how serious your post is, given that it is the 1st of April and that you had pretty much the opposite opinion about a democratically elected council last year. I will still honor your thoughts with an honest response.

First I would like to mention that I think the main reason why the player base is stagnating/shrinking is for various reasons of which the council is one of the least or none at all. The main problems in my opinion are:
  • Completely outdated, impractical, visually unappealing web presence frequented only by the hardcore players.
  • One of the most absurd initial investments for a competitive deck. A few years back you could still play "budget" decks with acceptable success. Nowadays it is 2000€ pile vs 2000€ pile if you want to have a shot. This makes it risky to build a brew from scratch and also close to impossible for newer players - considering the exploded prices for eternal cards - to have a second or god beware third deck option.
  • With competition like commander, which has "intro decks" released every two years or so and that is catering a lot more to the casual crowd, only the semi-competitive players with a huge bank roll are left as the target audience.

As for the decline of some tournament series I can only guess. For Karlsruhe, which was never particularly large, it is the lack of a store backing it up. Having it in a pub after work hours is convenient for the adults already involved but will not in any way acquire new blood.
For Berlin I suppose it is the oversaturation two tournaments a week bring. If you skip one, the next is around the corner. You have a hard time having a larger tournament when people have not enough time to participate in multiples. And at some point there will not be enough players for one tournament at which point people will lose faith that their travel time pays off and will stay at home. The Berlin metagame seems to be among the most casual of all the metagames. To me, as an uninvolved onlooker, it seems that a few very strong players and deckbuilders dominate a group of players that either do not have the card pool or the playskill to compete. Instead of trying to see the underlying causalities, there is a witch hunt going on against cards that are not the slightest problem in any other metagame so far. Maybe the cards have not caught on and we will see them taking over other metagames as well. That remains to be seen. But seeing this crazy alarmism about the banned list is, to me, one of the best arguments against direct votes. This obviously is the least serious of my arguments. I do not want to offend anyone too much and I might very well be wrong about it.

This reminds me so much of people lobbying against counterspells, instant card draw and land destruction for three mana. It was not the cards that were the problem. They were strong, no question, but it mostly was poor deck building and weak play skills that made people lose to them. But wizards listened and nerfed them into oblivion. Now we do not have a more diverse metagame but a mix of goodstuff midrange decks. Still, because people never understand, now they got out the pitch forks again and we will probably not see 4 mana wraths, one mana discard or two mana instant removal with acceptable conditions anymore. Is the meta more diverse? No. Do the same better players still beat the crying bunch of worse players with the new cards? Yes.

That being said I think what you state as the main reason - the perceived inactivity of the council - is not the underlying problem.

As for your actual plan, I see multiple flaws:
  • First and foremost the council is not a political party, it is a lot more like a club. Likeminded people around a founding father try to cultivate an idea. The ones that want to help and seem to pull weight and actually contribute are appointed as leaders. The founding father steps down and the club tries to work towards the goals without him. I would compare it to the culture club my parents founded in my hometown. They organise it, found a friend who is interested in music and is scouting for suitable bands. They then decide on which comedians/bands/artists to book. None of the people attending those concerts get to elect the people organising the clubs or what artists are invited. That would be pretty absurd. If you want a voice in it, you should start by doing the footwork, talking to the leaders of said club, and when you have proven yourself, you might get rewarded with influence.
  • Direct democracy, in my opinion, is one of the scariest ideas ever. If I wanted every hype, fad or unfounded fear to rule without the least shred of actual responsibility, I would suggest a direct democracy. And let us be frank, the discussions in this forum have, time and time againg, shown that we totally misjudged a lot of things and it was correct to let patience and expert opinions guide us.
  • You confuse actual contribution with community visibility. Having a seat on the council is a bona fide thing. The council members from my communities are actually present at almost every tournament in that area, discuss with the players about their opinions and sacrifice their spare time to organise things. Could some maybe do more or do it better? Possibly. Is it ungrateful and extremely unfair of you to call them out just because you do not see their actual work? Absolutely.
  • With a community as volatile and decentral as highlander, how on earth do you set up representative votes? How do you get enough people to vote? How many are even necessary to be "legitimated"? Do you hold campaigns before such a banlist referendum? How do you communicate the voting dates with the players without a working website and with such high fluctiation? What is a person, who attends two highlander tournaments per year even worth?
  • You use the word "democratic", but I do not think you really understood it. The model you suggest is undemocratic. Communities with too few members get no vote. Communities of any size get one seat. You ignore the small groups and you defang the large groups. Then you appoint people for an indeterminate time. You also turn something where no one is compensated in any way for his involvement into a huge hassle.

To sum it up I thing that having a few people who know the format, care about it and have shown merit and dedication enough to be elevated into the ranks of that bona fide club by the other members decide on things as crucial as bans and unbans is totally fine.

What always strikes me is that it is mostly people with - rightfully - unpopular or downright absurd opinions declare themselves as the voices of reason and/or the community and demand direct democracy. I do not know you, so you might do it for other reasons but usually it is extremists that want to damage the reputation of a leading group and that hope to get instant influence without having to do the necessary work to earn it first. I have seen this too often in politics to not recognise a distinct pattern. Democracy is a great thing. But letting every uninformed peasant have a vote instead of trusting in informed experts is silly. Especially since there are no lobbies or other things that threaten to taint the councilmens and -womans judgment.

I think it is okay to start a discussion, even though I think your tone was rather harsh and you ruffled some feathers that should have been left unruffled. There are problems with the format and the council might not be the most effective tool. But in my opinion the council is doing good work and is not the fundamental cause of said problems.
8  MagicPlayer Highlander / New Editions / Re: Shadows of Innistrad The Clue Edition on: 31-03-2016, 07:14:10 PM
I would assume Pieces of the Puzzle gets ignored because it is a sorcery. Thus it is only interesting for instant/sorcery based combo decks, which only are a really minor part of the metagame.
9  MagicPlayer Highlander / Announcements / Re: MKM Series Frankfurt on: 31-03-2016, 02:18:58 AM
Do I understand that correctly? To enter the venue I have to pay 15€ and then I have to pay an additional 20€ to participate in the highlander side event? The 15€ will of course not be added to the prize pool.

Has inflation hit the TOs harder than I thought? Is this considered fair these days? Am I nuts if I think that this is actually insane?
10  MagicPlayer Highlander / New Editions / Re: Shadows of Innistrad The Clue Edition on: 29-03-2016, 01:38:46 AM
For me it is rather hard to evaluate the cards in this set. Some seem incredibly powerful but have huge flaws that make me doubt it.

Look at Thing in Ice. It looks great. 2 mana for a 0/4 wall is okay, if it comes with a benefit like Wall of Omens. But this card has a delayed payoff. You need to cast 4 instants/sorceries. The flip is amazing. You get a huge creature and bounce all other creatures. But your opponent can just wait for the last trigger and destroy it in response. You have to work hard for it to be good and a single removal spell can bust you. You have to be able to pull the trigger in time. It is a horrible topdeck. It looks promising but it has an inherent weakness.

Sorin looks pretty amazing. High loyalty, a +1 ability that generates card advantage and is able to end the game. The 2nd ability removes most threatening cards an opponent can have and gains life. The ultimate is weak. But he costs 6 mana. That might as well be too much. If you play white and black and want 6 mana planeswalkers you have elspeth, sun's champion in that slot. And she might very well be better. Do you want to play both?

The 1BW removal that costs three life. Removing any non-land at instant speed is brutally powerful. But three life is a hefty price tag. Without playing it mysef I can not asess wether that is a fair drawback for a strong effect or too much.

The 3/2 Devil for 2R seems pretty nice. But he comes at a point in the curve of RDW where you really value haste because you need immedeate impact. If he stays for a turn he is powerful because he either draws you a card or damages your opponent. But is he better than Goblin Rabblemaster in the same slot? He pushes more damage faster, dies to pretty much the same removal and develops your board.

The flip card for R is shaky too. As a 1/1 it has no additional ability. Mono Red will play a spell every turn and very often play 2, so you yourself are not realistically letting it flip but will probably unflip it at some point. The backside is okay as a 2/2 menace, but as I said, you will very likely either have to keep spells back or risk unfliping it into uselessnes. Glory Chaser at least stays formidable.

The 2/1 for R is probably okay since a 2/1 with a negligible upside is strictly better than a 2/1 with a downside like Jackal Pup.
11  MagicPlayer Highlander / Banned List & Rules / Re: Ban the Fetchlands on: 26-03-2016, 08:04:42 PM
I do agree mostly.

The combination of fetchlands and duals is the best color fixing magic has to offer. Especially in our 100 card signleton format searching for the colors you lack is powerful. Since it is really hard to get synergistic decks going with only one-ofs, apart from some two-card combos, highlander decks in general benefit from cards that are strong on their own. Multicolor cards are, by design, stronger than monocolored ones because they should come with the price of wonky mana. In the current card pool they are unfortunately without risk, apart from very few cards like Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon and Back to Basics, which unfortunately do not solve the problem the already established board poses.

Legacy does not suffer from the singleton problem. Synergies and plans can beat sick mana. Additinonally, if you tend to lose to colorfull decks you can pack 4 Wasteland in 60 cards. Most highlander decks pack a Wasteland and maybe a Tectonic Edge in 100 cards. The format is significantly slower than Legacy or modern, where mana issues will be punished by the opponents fast execution of his game plan.

Since 4-Color-Blood seems mostly solved, by which I mean the teams testing it figured out a pretty precise range of slots devoted to a certain card type, all it does is replace cards in said slots by strictly superior new ones. All it has to do is slightly adjust the mana base, if necessary. The deck literally has everything, save counters and instant card draw, good magic cards offer. At no real cost. The early game is better because they have powerful cards at every casting cost, the late game is better because the power level is just higher. The deck almost never stumbles on mana, unless the player makes mistakes.

The new mulligan solved the problem with the four- or five-color aggro archetypes that played less than 30 lands and had their curve stop at two or three. They just abused the mulligan. Unfortunately after fixing that problem we are now made aware that there is another, more fundamental, problem in the availability of colored mana for all archetypes. It is just Blood that benefits the most from it and exploits it the best.

The dangerous part is, that the format is mostly stable and has a very small player base where a hand full of players dropping the format might mean the end of everything. Radical changes might alienate several people, although the change, or testing thereof, is more than necessary in my opinion. We should try to see how the format looks without fetches or without the original duals. But as we can see from the current standard, even though it is not directly comparable as a 60 card four-of format, fetches and duals of any sort in combination always results in wacky four-color decks, unless there is anything to keep it in check like readily available land destruction or powerful monocolored cards. And WotC just seems to refuse to print those, because most are deemed unfun by the casual community. I could go into a rant over that, but that is an entirely different topic. The point is, the problem will, in all likelyhood, not solve itself.

I can understand the reservations about this drastic measure but it would probably be in the best interest of format diversity to have tests over a longer period of time to collect sufficient data.
12  MagicPlayer Highlander / Reports / Re: Metagame Masters Berlin Highlander Vol.3 (48 Players) on: 25-08-2015, 03:33:48 PM
Yes, I did. Maybe that was some statistical abberation and I got very unlucky but basically the following is what usually happens:

They have cheap removal because burn spells kill literally all of your creatures, a bunch of them even two for one. They filter through their deck fast and employ the same hate strategy you are using, thus being immune to several of your otherwise best cards. Their creatures all provide advantage while trading with yours one for one. Even if you get them low, they can stay on a low life total and protect it with counters.
13  MagicPlayer Highlander / Reports / Re: Metagame Masters Berlin Highlander Vol.3 (48 Players) on: 25-08-2015, 01:54:47 AM
I think the reason RDW is not putting up any numbers is because
a) it is hardly played at all
b) it is especially not played by the top players

The deck has a very bad reputation as a deck that is for kids because it is easy, that it is not consistent and underpowered. In my very short experience with the deck (four or five small tournaments) none of that is true. The big problem it has is that it has a horrible matchup in Izzet. But since no one seems to play Izzet anymore the next big problem is 4c blood but against them it seems to be 50/50. If you hit the hate before they get too much on the board you win most of the time. If they have a clunky draw your chances are good too. It comes down to single cards like Kitchen Finks, Sylvan Caryatid and the like on the one side and Blood Moon, Price of Progress and others on the RDW side.

The mulligan rules benefit such an agressive deck very very strongly. You can agressively mulligan into good hands or Blood Moon.

It is not the best deck out there but a good way to attack a metagame that is having a bit too much fun.
14  MagicPlayer Highlander / New Editions / Re: Magic Origins on: 14-07-2015, 06:50:31 AM
I think Pia and Kiran is a good card. But it costs 2RR and that makes it close to uncastable for a lot of decks. For Burn or aggressive red strategies four Mana is too much. 2R for the ability is rather clunky.

While I do agree that this might be a total powerhouse I see no spot for it in the top tier decks.
15  MagicPlayer Highlander / Reports / Re: Highlander tournaments in Mannheim on: 05-07-2015, 03:12:11 PM
I got stuck in traffic on the way to the tournament. I started it 0-1 in games and I missed the announcement about the mulligan being tested.

I would have gladly taken a mulligan to six with scry in the "third" game of my first match. But because I did not know and my opponent chose to tell me after the match that we were trying out the new mulligan I did not go down any further because the hand was weak but okay and I did not want to go to 6. With scry to see wether or not it is a land I would have done it.

I later used the mulligan once and I liked it. Sometimes all you need to have for a game is that extra spell/land. I like the change so far because it is much closer to having seven cards than without the scrying. Is not such a huge punishment.
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