Monday, February 7, 2011

Mind-Sculpting Tech- Getting Even More Real

This Sunday, a rather controversial article went up on Channel Fireball's website, found here, in which pro tour veteran Kyle Boggemes pretty much bashes innovation in the face with a Loxodon Warhammer the size of his ego.  I mention this because this article has truly inspired me.

"we only got 155 new cards and many of them are just flat out worse than cards that are already legal. I always made a point to play a good deck at Friday Night Magic when a set is released because most of the players end up with janky brews." -Kyle Boggemes
Well isn't that nice of him.  Instead of using FNM to test the waters with new stuff and figure out what works and doesn't in real-time, becoming an innovator in the game like the rest of his pro tour buddies, Kyle would rather use the exact same deck over and over again while swapping out cards only for power creep reasons, such as Doom Blade and Go for the Throat.

Kyle proceeds to google up a couple random decklists, not use them to test with at all, and declare them fail.  For example, look at how Kyle describes Adam Yurchick's Tezzeret build.

"This list was created by Adam Yurchick. As you can see, the removal involves a single Brittle Effigy that you can fetch with Trinket Mage. A deck like this does not have a prayer against any of the aggro decks, so I can’t see it being viable. There is also a lack of disruption so the control mage is free to do whatever they want as long as they can kill some of your creatures along the way." -Kyle Booger 
This list, with not one, but two copies of Molten-Tail Masticore in the main, has no removal other than a single Brittle Effigy, apparently.  And y'kno, the ability to cast a Wurmcoil Engine by turn three is totally bad against aggro.  And after all, four Lodestone Golems, the Phyrexian Revokers, the Effigy, the Mindslaver, and the Masticores don't count as disruption at all, either.  Yeah, this deck totally has no way of stopping your opponent from doing things.

Regrettably, I do agree that this isn't actually the way to play Tezzeret.  I really don't agree with the decision to use metalcraft, and some cards like the Steel Overseers simply don't fit with the deck.  The thing is that if you're going to use Tezzeret, you need to decide what you're going to do with him.  Either you're going to use his -1 three times or you're going to use his +1 until you can -4 once or twice and end the game.  This deck is leaning toward aggro beats, and Tezzeret is just sitting there to give +1 card every turn, making him strictly worse than JtMS.  But more on Tezzy later.

The inspiration I got from this article came from reading through the comments section, in which a massive flame war was taking place.  Arguments were flying back and forth, those that ridiculed Kyle's beatdown on anything new and those that actually supported him just because he was in a Pro Tour event, like this user.
"Anybody who’s decided to criticize Kyle and his writing style/tone should post a link to the professional website that they’re writing for.
Oh, wait. None of you are writing for websites. You’re all struggling week-to-week trying to figure out why your infect deck won’t win at FNMs when it’s doing awesome at the lunch table every day. Seriously, get real. Kyle is smarter than any of you egotistical scrubs who think you’re some deck-building prodigy because you figured out that playing kuldotha rebirth on t1 is awesome.
Go pro before you try and criticize somebody who’s already there. Excellent article, Kyle. Be as biased on subjects that involve JTMS as much as you please; anyone responding negatively to subjects involving Jace is either too broke to buy them or too stupid to play with them correctly.
And the empty threats of not reading his future articles, I’m sure, shakes him to the core. I’m sure he really gives a flying f@ck if you don’t read his articles anymore when you’re sitting in study hall.
Place nice kids, and keep showing up to FNM with these amazing decks you come up with. I love the extra prize pool you give me." -Addie
Honestly, I'm still not certain that that wasn't actually written by Kyle himself. I mean, I'm pretty sure that the "egotistical scrubs" he's referring to don't check strategy sites. If they did, they wouldn't be running infect decks, and they also wouldn't be egotistical.

But I'm losing track of the point, and that comes in the form of another user's comment, Greatbox.
"I see that people here are really allergic to the tone the author takes to some of the possible new deck ideas with the release of Besieged. While I can clearly understand the frustration against such tone, one needs to understand – and understand thoroughly – the following concept :
Innovation for the sake of innovation is worthless.
Innovation, in terms of breaking the metagame, only works if there’s a niche to be exploited or there is a major oversight in the current deck designing process.
Kuldotha red / BR vamps are great examples it took advantage of the apparent void of real aggro decks (boros and quest white just weren’t good enough), and bypassed the entire UB / Valakut hype. These decks consequently posted great results.
With Tezzeret / Infect decks – the amount of cardpool available to make these cards good is clearly limited. And with millions of people trying to take a crack at breaking artifact combo / synergy, it is highly unlikely that there’s some unknown interaction or mix of cards that’s going to break the meta wide open. As such, it suffers from huge identity crisis – it can’t really be control without good range of spells (due to Tezz needing certain # of artifacts in a deck) and it can’t really be a threat-heavy ramp decks like RUG / Gx decks.
Infect is just bad – it doesn’t have any possibility of bending the curve like Vamps / K. Red – nor does it have any real answers to the dominating decks of the format.
Whether you like it or not, this is the reality of having online spoilers and archives of thousands of thousands of previous decks that worked in their respective meta. In most cases, the innovation – the one that everybody happens to miss out on – that you’re searching for simply won’t come no matter how much you wish for it.
And let’s be honest, it’s not like YOU are doing the work anyways. If you want to berate the author’s stance on what works and what doesn’t, design your own decks and prove him wrong. You can’t fault him for having sound logic based on what’s available in the format."
Oh really now?  Well you know what, I'm gonna go ahead and do it.  I wasn't planning on building Tezzy, but I will now, and just for you.  So happy birthday, Greatbox.  You want to see someone ridicule Kyle, and then provide their own list that does what his does not?  I'm friggin game.

So without further ado, I bring you Thinking About: Tezzerator Edition.

Alright, as I said before, the first step is to figure out what you want Tezzy to do.  I listed two options, either a sacrificial version that had Tezzeret dying after three turns no matter what, or a more controllish version that uses his ultimate to do lethal damage.  However, there is a third option that allows you much more freedom, and fans of the site should already know what that is thanks to my current G/W build.

Ah, the Contagions.  Not only will this card add to the pool of available disruption, because as we learned before, this deck needs more disruption, but it will allow you to do pretty much whatever you want with your Tezzerets.  You can use them to generate 5/5 beats every turn without ever lowering the number of counters on Tezzeret, or you can add two counters minimum in a single turn, even to the point where you can pop his ultimate the turn you cast him.

Next on the list for what I want to include is my pick over the example list's Steel Overseer.

This guy is flat out amazing, even without Tezzeret.  Against Goblins, he's going to trade with your opponent not once but twice, and unless they drop a surprise Red Sun's Zenith on you, they have no way to exile the Sire.  Against Vampires, it serves as your Wall of Omens when you don't have access to white, blocking creatures just long enough to pull out a wrath effect.  And against control matchups, it's still a great creature, able to serve as two blocks against a Grave Titan without being hit by removal, since they've switched out Doom Blade for the next best thing.  With Tezzeret, he helps maintain your board advantage, even after they manage to get rid of your latest 5/5 etherium-laced masterpiece.

Greatbox brought up another important point, however.  Tezzerator is definitely caught in an identity crisis, since full control is limited due to a minimum artifact requirement in the deck.  However, he hasn't done his math.  Tezzeret's +1 looks at the top five cards, so you need one in every five cards in your deck to consistently get something for adding a counter.  A sixty card deck has only twelve instances of five cards, so only twelve artifacts are actually needed, twenty-four if you want to always have a choice.  Since Lodestone Golem, Brittle Effigy, Ratchet Bomb, Phyrexian Revoker, Contagion Clasp, Wurmcoil Engine, and Tumble Magnet are all artifacts with powerful abilities for control decks, I'd say that there should be no issue over making a Tezzerator control deck.  Bearing this in mind, here's my first list for Type II Tezzeret.

3 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
3 Jace, The Mind Sculptor
4 Spreading Seas
2 Black Sun's Zenith
2 Trinket Mage
1 Treasure Mage
3 Myr Sire
2 Contagion Clasp
2 Everflowing Chalice
2 Ratchet Bomb
1 Brittle Effigy
4 Lodestone Golem
1 Chimeric Mass
1 Elixir of Immortality
1 Molten-Tail Masticore
2 Pilgrim's Eye
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Mindslaver

4 Drowned Catacombs
3 Darkslick Shores
3 Creeping Tar-Pit
4 Tectonic Edge
1 Marsh Flats
2 Misty Rainforest
4 Island
3 Swamp

This basic list seems well to me, at least as a starting point.  I cut a Masticore, as my deck had much less for creatures, and added in two Pilgrim's Eyes because they make for good JtMS synergy as well as turning into 5/5 bodies off of Tezzeret AND fixing your colors, all for three mana.  And yes, I'm using JtMS as opposed to Phyrexian Revoker that the example list had.  So sue me.  I plan on winning the Jace war, not settling for a tie attached to a 2/1 body.

Note that the deck has a grand total of 21 artifacts, so there should be no issue in hitting one off Tezzeret.  Of course, You can always just use Jace to put an artifact on top first.  But y'kno, that's just too easy.  Kinda reminds me of your mom.

Anyways, this list is currently untested, but I plan on sleeving this up for testing over the next couple weeks, and I'll make sure to let the world know how it goes.  Because I follow up on articles, unlike mister Kyle Booger.

-If you actually read this Kyle, my deepest apologies.  I don't know you at all, and to be honest I've paid no attention to you whatsoever until now, so I really can't comment on your work.  I'm sure you're a great player, and this article is meant merely to disperse the usual monotony of MtG strategy articles with a bit of humor.  I don't mean to degrade you in any way, merely explain how I actually got around to building my Tezzerator list.-

-Also, your mom.-

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