A Magical Huffalump Resides Here: Eldrazi: The Fourth Awakening

A Magical Huffalump Resides Here

My name is Ed, I am a programmer. Just another dude with another blog. I like MTG, Open Source (more towards FREE software). I like sports, and eventually I hope to do business and do good for the world in general. This blog is gonna be about Magic The Gathering. Decklists and snippets will be posted here. It may lead somewhere or nowhere, as with all things arcane, that was bloody obvious =)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Eldrazi: The Fourth Awakening

Boy, that awakening thing is corny huh.

Anyways, a theme is a theme is a theme. So.

So what is this "fourth awakening"?

It is a sub point of point 2 (2nd Awakening) in my previous post on the recent drama over the "Rise of the Eldrazi" at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch.

The point was that Modern's power level is in question.

This fourth point is building on that. Sorta.

Thing is, I really don't think the Eldrazi is the insurmountable scourge that people in Sally make it out to be.

Some are asking the proponents (like myself but not really - I don't mind Eye of Ugin getting banned, a pity yes, but not the end of the world), what are the answers?

Well. I am not in the habit of spoonfeeding, but if you look around answers ARE being packed and the decks seem to do well. I'll admit I mostly just armchair and just look at results, but I am sure most of the doomsayers are too.

Now warping. Everything warps. Really. Its called the metagame.

I mean if no deck affects anyone then why the sideboard yo?

Now but back on the metagame bit. As well as back to that fourth awakening thingie.

It just occured to me (well it occured earlier but this is seeing it in a different way), that the reason the new Eldrazi seem so strong is because the power level of Modern is weak.

Think about it. It was already mentioned before that many previous decks that got axed, might have been able to make the current Eldrazi a non event. But they were already banned into oblivion. So what you are actually seeing, is the result of previous bannings to keep "OPPRESSIVE" decks in check. Perhaps in those earlier time those decks were the only decks that were at that power level.

What if all those old decks were around? Like what was mentioned in Sally where some are playing Modern with no bans. You would actually have a bunch of "powerful" decks! That can balance Eldrazi with ease.

The reason the current decks are so overwhelmed by the Eldrazi is that they are used to a weaker competition. The eldrazi are just showing what Modern is: An Eternal format.

Lets back up a bit. A Eternal format. That is loaded. Some have even said Modern is not Eternal. Even Wizards appear to not consider Modern as Eternal, merely non-rotating. But Modern is Eternal if not in form, but at least by its nature. The only difference in terms of its raw cardpool, is the time in Magic's history that it starts adding cards into its cardpool (from 8th Edition). By that definition, it is eternal as it will keep on going on and on and on :p

And what we are seeing now is exactly that. The beauty of Eternal, is that old cards meet new cards and Magic happens (Johnnies love this bit!). That is exactly how, intentional or not, the new Oath Eldrazi synergised with Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple to form the monster at PT Oath.

And it will keep happening. The only way it won't happen is if they utterly nixed Standard's power level (which I hope never happens as I might really stop buying Standard products if that is so, as LIMITED is meaningless to me, it can be removed and I would feel nothing, I suspect this is true for many players!)

And that is the fourth Awakening. Modern is an Eternal format. At least by nature.

Of course a format is not just delimited by the Magic timeline it draws its cards, but also the limitations imposed by the Ban List. And this is where we can go in two directions.

I lied.

Although I realised Modern is an Eternal format by nature, it is NOT an eternal format in application because of the Ban List. It is really a rotating format. The only difference between a rotation in the normal sense that we know (like Standard and previously Extended) and what we have applied in Modern is in terms of scale. Else cards are removed and the meta warps (see i can use the w-word too ;))

So two things can happen.

1) Status Quo

 Modern as it is, is really a format for the masses. The format is focused on Midrange. The only "interaction" it recognises  are angles of attack that it can respond to. Everythng it cannot respond to, such as counterspells, LD are deemed as non interactive (roughly its like that) and is on thin ice.

Modern is a format to make the average Joe happy. Nothing too fast, too complicated, too grief (locks, LD,poison,counterspells). Combo can only win after turn 4 and it cannot be consistent.

Also we don't really care if there are answers. If they cannot be found in time (currently it is according to the Ban Schedules and Eldrazi has about a month plus left, tho Sally doomsayers waant it nowz!!!!) it is tantamount to no solutions. (i.e. No depth or artificial shallowness).

In this situation (and its very likely), Modern will continue to be what it is and something in Eldrazi might be banned.

Everything stays the same and I get to pick up cheap(er) Eye of Ugins =D

2) Wizards allows Modern to MATURE as a format

Modern is a bit like a bonsai right now. How it grows will largely be determined by how the pruning is done. Wizards can choose to allow Modern to expand more and use determined and considered prunings to make the bonsai grow ermmm... nicely? LOL

This is as opposed to 1) where wizards just kinda cuts the bonsai so that it ALWAYS STAYS THE SAME. Note this is actually key. Modern is for the masses. It exactly 1). Average Joe must not be pissed or confused. Modern is home for the masses.

In 2) Eldrazi as is may escape without bans. Answers may be found and life goes on, but Modern's power level is affirmed and increased. Note: Average Joe might not want a powerful format. So how the format developes has absolutely no relation to healthy, natural evolution of the format and EVERYTHING to do with what Average Joe wants or can accept.


It sounds like I am making fun of opponents of Eldrazi or Average Joe. But I am not. There is no easy way to put it. Average Joe is really that. I myself have hardly any time to play. I will net deck and then tweak (if I even do that). One thing I realised is that I do not care if the meta evolves and Eldrazi kills everything, that is because I see the beauty in that and I am able to switch decks easily. The Average Joe, may not be willing or able to do that. Switching decks may kill the game for him. Ultimately Modern is a safe house for players rotating out of Standard. Do we need a high power level? I think the honest answer is no. Wizards wants player to know that there is life after Standard. Modern is currently fulfilling that role. And Wizards will continue to cookie cut Modern to fit the EXACT mould that it wants.

Hence Modern's strength/evolution/whatever as a format entirely hinges on what Average Joe finds palatable.

This is why despite the fact that Modern is by nature an Eternal format. It will never be. Anything strong or seen as too strong will be cut down.

Now I sound doom and gloom. BUT. I think that is why we may see a true Eternal format. A legacy lite so to speak. This is entirely speculative at this point in time of course.

Will Modern die because of the new Eternal format? I doubt. Because Modern has a role. It is for the masses. For Average Joe (and I mean no malice :) ). Will Legacy die? Hardly. Legacy never did need support. In fact a distraction will put it exactly back on track. I mean. The same people who think Legacy is dead also think Vintage is dead. But it really is'nt :)

Sure if you consider there is no one playing in sanction tournaments and no one has the cards so you have no opponents as the format being dead... I will give it to ya, to you the format is quite dead and you have a compelling case :) For someone like me following the meta and trying to build towards the cards, the meta is alive and well. I like to keep the faith and truck on building decks I may never play but hey, thats how I roll with Magic. So no, the format is quite alive (to me at least) and at least the people in the format's respective forums would agree I guess :p

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