Salt Road Patrol: What is the Deal with Control Players?

Hey all, welcome to episode 3 of the Salt Road Patrol. Lets go:

4) Going to time

50 Minutes is plenty of time to get through a match of magic, but I see the same players consistently going to time nearly every round, holding up the whole thing and it’s actually so tilting. When a couple of those players are in the tournament and the judge says there’s 6 rounds, you start to immediately regret your decision for showing up  because you know you’re in for the ~8 hour long haul. At first you think they’re just deliberate players that don’t want to misplay, and that’s fine and all, you can take your time to think through complicated board states, but it’s only until I’ve recently watched some of these players play (you get to watch them a lot, because their games are always the last ones going) and I’ve seen what they’re taking so much time on. Brace yourselves, it’s usually nothing. Usually they’re just dead, or way behind, and they have 3 lands in hand, and it’s as if they’re contemplating their life and how they got here. They have no meaningful plays, they just sit there and shuffle their cards wasting everyone’s time. I really wish I was kidding. The thing is, when you show up to a tournament and are playing, you can take your time to think out something complicated, but if you’re doing it turn after turn you are straight up not prepared enough. You need to accept that you didn’t practice enough, you don’t know your deck, you don’t know the match-up, pull the trigger, likely lose the game, and prepare enough next time so maybe people can play a magic tournament and get to their family dinner on time for once.

3) Modern Ban List Talk

It seems like the banlist is the most popular thing about the modern format, more so online but it happens in person quite a bit as well. A lot of people are concerned that their deck is going to get banned, so they don’t want to purchase it. Fair enough, modern decks can be quite expensive and to have it banned from underneath you can feel pretty bad, but let’s get serious here, we’re all aware we spend hundreds of dollars for ink on cardboard right? Even if you’re playing a lower end standard deck, it’s still going to cost you a couple hundred by the time you’ve played with it a few times and tried out different cards. There’s no guarantee that the value of the cards will last, so if you can’t afford to buy incredibly overpriced cardboard and have it lose value, then you probably should find a different hobby. Magic is notorious for being an expensive game to play, so if you’re scared about buying into modern and having your deck banned, then play a different format. Standard is slightly cheaper (in the short run), draft is cheap, sealed is cheap.. There’s lots of ways to play inexpensive magic. Now modern is no longer a pro tour format, so I think bannings are slightly less likely, but still, no one knows. Which brings me to the second part of this: Everyone thinks they’re apart of Wizards of the Coast competitive balance team. People are so sure of what’s getting banned, they spit out facts like metagame percentages, what’s dominant, what’s broken,  etc. The fact of the matter is no one has access to this information but wizards, they only post a select amount of decks that go 5-0 on MTGO, they barely post any decklists from large paper tournaments , and they also prevent companies like SCG from doing the same. You’re not a prophet, you’re not a game balancer, just shut up and play the format how it is now.

2) Bad deck names

I’m not sure why, but people feel the need to have a “name” for their deck. They can’t just call it RUG Aggro, or Bant Midrange, or something slightly more descriptive like Bant Eldrazi or UR Storm. No it needs to be some awfully forced deck name that just makes you cringe. Listen, if you have to force some creative deck name for your pile, it’s probably not creative and likely just bad. Here’s a list in no particular order of deck names that I wish I would have never existed and fine alternatives to put on your deck reg sheet:

  • Enter the Bantlefield (Literally just Bant Company)
  • Bring to Kiki (Bring to Light deck with Kiki combo.. Why not just 4/5c Bring to Light?)
  • Evil Twin (Grixis Twin? Hello?)
  • Suicide Bloo (There’s no death’s shadow, thoughtseize, street wratih.. Just call it UR Prowess or UR Aggro, no need for suicide or cutesy misspelled words)
  • Giftfrog (A gifts ungiven deck with gitrog monster as a 1/2 of.. Just say BUG Gifts)

There’s plenty more but as per usual my blood pressure is getting higher than I’d like so I’m going to stop there. Aside from just normally named decks (Colours followed by some sort of descriptor, like midrange/aggro/control, key mechanic, key card) some deck names are cool that have a story behind them, most come from Legacy.. I don’t play the format much but I guess Legacy players are pretty chill. Highly recommend you look up where these and many more come from: Tin Fins, Raisin Bran, Boat Brew, 4 Horsemen.

1) Cringey Control Players

This seems to be a popular thing from some feedback I’ve gotten, the number one point being a salty rant about a certain player type or people who play a particular deck, so I’m gonna keep rolling with it. Some control players might actually be the worst in magic. If you’re trying to make me cringe so hard I scoop up my cards and leave the venue, possibly with the intention of never registering for another magic tournament again, then it’s a bold strategy and I commend you, but I don’t think that’s the case. I’m sure you know the type of player I’m talking about. They’re usually a bad to mediocre player (sounds like me) who plays a control deck because they have some sort of mental complex from being bullied by their cousin at family barbeques when they were younger. Well now they’re here and they have counterspells and removal and they’re going to take control of the game and somehow their life. Nothing makes me happier than seeing these smug people go down in a game. They act so cocky and think they’re a direct descendant of Shota Yasooka. You play a spell and they respond in their condescending voice “Sure, I’ll allow your Tarmogoyf to resolve”. You flood the board and they say “Heh, an impressive turn, I suppose I’ll just destroy your team” while they untap and play a Supreme Verdict. The worst of the worst though, is the “No.” Oh my god I want to punch my monitor right now. Have you ever had Cocky McCringefest respond to your spell with just a simple but stern “No.”? It’s probably the worst thing ever to experience. I think I’m more likely to concede the game to the hard “No.” than I am to nearly any other play someone could make in this game. On the other side of things, one of my favorite feelings in the game is slamming a Thrun against a Cringey Control Player, maybe I should just try saying “No.” when I cast him from now on.

That’s it for this episode, keep the feedback coming, love to hear what you all think about the articles and the series. Cya next time.

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