Salt Road Patrol: Blast From the Past

(It’s a slow day here at The Mana Base so we figured we’d rewind to last year and remember one of the more memorable articles of 2016. If you haven’t read it yet be sure to check it out, and if you have read it, give it another go, because it may just be the funniest thing we’ve ever published.)

I don’t think I’m an overly salty person but I believe a few of my pals would say otherwise. I always try to be a good sport to my opponent and potential spectators, but often I’ll go back to my friends and spew off a good rant. I’ve heard most of these rants are pretty entertaining, and as it so happens they’re about things that most people tend to agree with. I’m fortunate to have been offered an opportunity for an article series here on The Mana Base to share my rants with the world, and if you want, in the comments you can vent off some steam too or just call me out for being a sore loser, it’s up to you.

So since this is the first article in the series I’ll establish a bit of what I’m writing about. My goal is to have a few points each article about things in Magic that leave a salty taste in my mouth, be it something that happens in-game, at tournaments, in the community, anything related to this great game, nothing is really out of bounds here. Long intros make me salty and this has definitely crossed that threshold, so without further ado lets get into this week’s points.

5) Eldrazi In Modern

Now by the time this article rolls fresh off the press this point might be a bit outdated, but wow was this a hot topic, and for good reason. Eldrazi decks in modern destroyed Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, and rose in unprecedented popularity in the tournament scene immediately afterward… but did we really need to keep talking about it for weeks on end? Yes it’s insanely powerful, yes it’ll get banned, yes a lot of people are playing it, yes your tribal crabs deck can’t beat it, but at some point we’re just beating a dead horse. It’s hard to step foot into a modern event without hearing about how strong and overpowered and oppressive the deck is and how it’s ultimately ruined your life. How could Wizard’s be so stupid, destroying their best format like this? Honestly at this point I’m happier a piece got banned not for the good of the format but for my own mental health because I don’t know how much longer I can take it. God forbid you play the deck yourself, which kind of leads into my next point…

4) Getting shunned for playing a strong deck

Legendary decks that make magic history don’t happen often. The likes of standard Affinity, Caw Blade, and now modern Eldrazi are pretty few and far between. These decks are super strong and they often warp formats into a “Beat em or join em” decision, and when they’re strong enough the former isn’t even really an option if you want to win tournaments. Hating on someone for playing a strong deck is rather silly. Do you honestly expect people not to play a deck because it’s too strong? That’s such a ridiculous argument. “As if you brought cleats to this soccer game, are you serious? That’s a little tryhard, you should just have fun and wear new balances like the rest of us” How stupid does that sound? It’s actually the same thing. I’ve played with the Eldrazi deck quite a bit in modern, I’ve had opponents tell me they hope I get cancer, that I’m ruining the game, that I’m part of the problem, etc. Granted a lot of that was online and anonymity makes it easier to be a jerk, but they were still quite upset over such a ludicrous prospect.

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3) Talking about a draft while in the draft

Switching formats here a little, wow is it ever tilting to draft with local limited professionals. FNM’s are meant to be the introduction to tournament magic, a casual environment for people to have fun. Know what’s not fun? Drafting a set for the first time and having what I’m sure are PT Qualified players yelling “How did this even table?”, or “You guys passed this? What is wrong with you?”, or “Hahahaha wow I can’t believe this is going this late”. What does that even accomplish? Of course I’m sure there are some percentage points in asserting your absolute dominance over the  Kaladesh draft format, but other than that you just look like an idiot. Surely someone of their calibre can control the draft in silence right? Nah it’s better to let everyone know how absolutely sick you are. Save the draft intimidation for when you’re sitting to the left of Reid Duke at the next PT.

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2) Getting mad about rolling spindown D20s

Alright, I get it, if you’re practised and a cheater and pretty much a bottom feeding scumlord you can influence a spin down D20 roll. What I don’t get are people’s initial attitudes towards rolling the damn thing. A simple “Hey could we roll a couple D6’s instead?” Would surely suffice, but why would we say that when we can come at it as aggressively as possible? After all, the option to play or draw at FNM is of utmost importance. I’ve heard it plenty of times and I still can’t believe what people say: “NO! I’m absolutely not rolling a D20”, “Uhhh I’m not rolling that.”, “Not happening, we’re going to roll D6’s instead” Of course it’s hard to convey their anger over text but let me tell you it doesn’t make for a friendly first impression. It actually just blows my mind people act like this over rolling dice.. Seriously, it’s dice. So these people lose sleep at night because they’re so worked up that their opponent offered to roll a frickin D20!? I’m actually on tilt writing about this I need to stop.

1) Lantern players acting like their deck is hard

I actually really like Lantern, but it seems like a majority of the people who play this deck are completely delusional. All over the internet you’ll find lantern players boasting about how hard their deck is, how you have to know the entire metagame and stay up to date with it, how you have to grind out small percentage decisions, and tons of other factors that apparently make winning every game with this deck akin to solving a 16×16 rubik’s cube blindfolded without seeing the starting configuration. I love a good challenge and since I own most of the deck randomly I decided to sleeve it up and give it a go. After quite a few games of magic I’ve deduced the following flowchart as a great guideline into playing the deck:

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Using my advanced Lantern Control strategy you can play the deck like a pro as well. But Chris, what about playing before you get the lantern + mill rock lock? Well that part is quite complicated as well but after many rigorous reps with the deck I’ve managed to create a simple 2 step guide to getting there:

Step 1: Find and cast ensnaring bridge

Step 2: Find and cast lantern + mill rocks

And that’s really all there is too it. Sure there’s little tricks you can do to increase your chance of winning but this isn’t exclusive to Lantern, every deck has slight edges you can eek out. There’s always ways you can tighten up the play in a deck but for some reason the majority of Lantern players seem to think theirs are harder, and I guess since a lot of people haven’t played the deck they just sort of take it as fact that the deck is hard to play. Well it isn’t, but it is difficult to play well which is the same for almost every other deck in the modern format. I’m sure even Mono Green stompy has a trick or two up it’s sleeves in some match-ups but you don’t see them strutting around acting as if they’ve single handedly solved the davinci code after every match.

That’s it for this week, but feel free to leave a comment. If you have a salty story to share, or something that ticks you off, or if you feel like reaming me out for something I said feel free to post below and I promise I’ll do my best to reply.  

Cya next time.

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