A Magical Huffalump Resides Here: Magic: Why the turn one Chalice should not be feared (at least for Modern)

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 =)

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Magic: Why the turn one Chalice should not be feared (at least for Modern)

Why the turn one Chalice should not be feared.

When I first saw the turn one Chalice and the following beatdowns from the CFB Eldrazi (Pro Tour Oath). My first point of comparison was to the Workshops Prison from vintage. But on further thinking its not so bad. I was a little excited because, Workshops does not really need the power 9 to function. It does power up, but thats only because, well it is accelerant, you might as well use it. but Shops is like a persistent lotus, so power nine mana was always a "nice to have". Hence with most of the locks legal in modern (aside from spheres), that was the first thing I thought of. However thinking through, it is not likely :)  Below is roughly my thought process in a rant form. Enjoy.

1) Firstly Turn one chalice has always been around. So why scary now? Its the quick beat down that makes it scary! But fret not. its not as consistent as Shops.

2) I have thought about it and it is actually rather scary but compared to the Workshops prison (which I love), the chalice is really not as consistent. Think about it all there is to put out the turn one chalice is Simian Spirit Guide. Thats it. Sure one can mull into it but that in itself comes at a cost (mitigated by recent mulligan scrye rules of course)

Lets do a comparison::


Workshop Prison

Acceleration - Mishra's Workshop package

CFB Eldrazi

Acceleration - Eldrazi Temple/Eyes/Urborg(Tomb version)

Now this is the part which makes it scary but really might be okay. Mishra's Workshop is like Tron but not having to assemble the pieces. It can drop 3 cc at turn one, 6 on two, 9 on three. All without Moxen and Lotus

Eldrazi package though fast is more like Turn one 2 mana, turn two 4 mana etc etc but you can obviously see it is slower already.

So the acceleration is fast, but might be alright. Its not Vintage nutty quite yet.

In this department there is a resemblance

Now for Fat beatsticks.

This part is where the Eldrazi from Oath are nice, Reality Smashers, Endless One, Mimics, THought Knots. These are all rubbish without the Eldrazi package but are rather strong with the Eldrazi land. Now I am tempted to to say horribly strong or something like that. But if we want Modern to mature, the power levels must be allowed to flex alittle and see if the meta can adjust. I suspect it can.

Mishra's Workshop Prison can also throw out Fatties quickly and this is where I find the resemblence. It is fast and can dump Phatties extremely quickly. This is not the traditional idea of ramp. This is more Shops kind of speed dumps abeit a little slower. Fat packed with disruption is what makes the Eldrazi rather potent.

In this department there is a resemblance

Locks and Disruption.

I don't have a list ready but most of Workshops list rely quite a bit on fast locks.

Note that Workshops cannot cast Eldrazi as the Workshop mana can only beused for Artifacts

This "drawback" feature cuts both ways, Eldrazi too cannot cast artifacts with their fast mana. As it is for Eldrazi only.

This is where the resemblance is less and the decks are more distinctive. While shops relies on locks along the curve, Eldrazi is more on the disruption that the Eldrazi creature provides.

This is why, I suspect we do not need to worry too much about the new Eldrazi decks developing in lock decks with Chalice on one.

The only way for chalice on one is the SSG. Which is only 4 slots and a one shot. The lock cannot be varied easily (say for chalice on two, three etc unlike for Workshops).

So chalice for Eldrazi is quite a one mode tool.

Compare that with Workshops, where you have Chalice(now restricted), Thorn of Amethyst, Spheres of Resistance, Lodestone Golem, possibly Null rods. Eldrazi cannot reliably cast those like Shops.

So the question is will that mostly one mode chalice coupled with the other Eldrazi disruption be enought to keep Eldrazi at the top.

Now I am not saying Eldrazi is weak. It definitely looks like it is getting out of Tier 2 territory. But I am saying that the meta is new and hey this is the first time we are looking at them! Its still too early to call out the ban hammers. People may be losing not because it is insurmountable, but because they are unprepared. There is a difference.

So in summary:

Eldrazi is not quite as scary as Shops after thinking about it.

1) Produce mana quickly (but still slower than Shops)
2) Dump out fat fast
3) Inconsistent turn 1 chalice + Disruption

1) Produce mana quickly
2) Dump out fat fast
3) consistent turn 1 chalice + locks on curve

Now. It is still scary. But I like scary decks. I just hope its not so scary that it gets banned :p I am always excited when a modern deck can potentially go toe to toe against a legacy or vintage deck (this needs testing and I think some already are ;))

I am excited because that means, playing legacy or vintage becomes more of a reality if current card pools can compete against older card pools, even without reprints of the Reserved List. This is true even if stuff gets banned in Modern... so its all good :)

I am eager to see how the meta pans out :) I really like the Eldrazi developments thus far. I just hope the meta is able to rise to the challenge rather than collapse in bannings.

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