MM2: Today I learned

Some things I learned over the course of day 1 at GP Las Vegas and Modern Masters 2015 release events:

  • I’d done some analysis previously to try to determine whether it made sense to maindeck artifact removal in Modern Masters 2015 limited. My conclusion was that it didn’t make sense in draft, and only made sense in sealed if you expected a lot of W/U artifacts or sunburst decks. However, there was no way to know predict the metagame would be. My 8th round match took only 15 minutes, so I decided to scout the rest of the tables to see what people were playing. There were indeed a lot of 4- and 5-color decks. For each game that was in progress and not in the first few turns, I looked at whether each player had at least one artifact in play that I’d be willing to expend a card to destroy. I was trying to do this quickly, so I didn’t evaluate the board state to determine whether a Cathodian or a Flayer Husk, for instance, was really relevant to the board state, and I didn’t keep track of how many artifacts each player had in play. I saw 42 tables with an appropriate game state and found that 49 players had an artifact that I’d want to destroy if I were their opponent, while 35 did not. This is just 58%, so my inclination is still to not play artifact removal maindeck. I will add, however, that a surprising number of those 49 artifacts (I didn’t keep a count, but it was about 8-10) were Chimeric Masses, which can become quite problematic if you don’t have an answer, since much of the removal that kills large creatures can’t kill Chimeric Mass (e.g., Arrest, Narcolepsy, Bone Splinters, and Spread the Sickness). Also, colorless bombs can go in any deck, so you’re also more likely to face them than you are to face colored bombs, and you may need to ensure you have a way to deal with them if you hope to make day 2 or the top 8 of a tournament.
  • Grim Affliction interacts differently with +1/+1 counters than I’d realized. I thought if the counter went on a creature with a +1/+1 counter, then the -1/-1 and +1/+1 counter would cancel each other out right away and that you could not add another -1/-1 counter to the creature. It turns out that the +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters don’t cancel each other out immediately, however. They both exist until the next time state based effects are checked, so the -1/-1 counter is still there while Grim Affliction is resolving, and you can give the creature an additional -1/-1 counter.
  • You can’t tap an Eldrazi Spawn token to pay a convoke cost and also sacrifice it for mana to pay for the same spell. An opponent tried to do this at a release event last week, but a judge confirmed that he couldn’t do that.

2 Responses to MM2: Today I learned

  1. senseirobb says:

    The last thing I’d want to do after playing a nine round 4000 player event is write an analysis.

    (I know because I played GPLV ’13 with three byes and was beat by the end of it)

    • sameer says:

      Right after is the best time to capture my thoughts, otherwise I might leave something out. Or maybe I wasn’t tired because I wasn’t focused enough and that’s why I lost round 2 due to a misplay 🙂

      Actually, that is something I left out of this post, since it was about lessons learned and not a tournament report. But maybe there’s something to be learned from it. In game 1, my opponent had a untapped Gnarlid Pack and a 2/2 Scion of the Wild and I had a 3/3 Gnarlid Pack and 5 lands in play (one of which produced black mana), and a Chimeric Mass, a Grim Affliction, a Spread the Sickness, and a couple of other cards in my hand. I was at 14 life to his 20, but thought I could race him with the Chimeric Mass since I also had 2 proliferate spells in my hand that could kill his creatures, so I attacked with the Gnarlid Pack and then played the Chimeric Mass as a 4/4 with 1 mana left so I could block with it. My opponent played Smash to Smithereens, taking me to 11, then attacked with both his creatures and played Sigil Blessing to take me to 3 life, after which it was easy to finish me off.

      What I should have done was not attack with the Gnarlid Pack and just play the Chimeric Mass as a 2/2, with 3 mana left for Grim Affliction on his Scion in case he had Scatter the Seeds at my end step, or in case he had a trick and attacked into my 3/3 (although he would probably have been unlikely to attack if I chose to keep 3 mana up instead of playing a larger Chimeric Mass). The 2 proliferates would have made it a respectable 4/4 while also growing my Gnarlid Pack, and I think I would have taken over control of that game.

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