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Thread: [Format] Martian Timewalk

  1. #41

    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Is lotus really better than sol ring with mind twist? Lotus + twist is just +1 CA which is worse than recall. The reuability of sol rings seems like you could really pound the opponent into the dirt.

  2. #42
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    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    I tested these 4 decks out for a few games. Rug Burn is bonkers. A fast Mind Twist/Hippie plus LD does a good job of keeping it on its toes, but RUG can refuel too easily.

    Some other blue-based control must be very strong too.

    Edit: Good question. After testing, I preferred the explosiveness of Lotus in the Mono B deck (not just for Mind Twist but also Hippie, Infernal Contract, etc).
    Lotus+land = T1 Twist for 3
    Lotus+Vein = T1 Twist for 4
    Lotus+Ritual+Swamp = T1 Twist for 5
    Lotus/Ritual are 8 ways to get T1 Hypnotic Specter.
    These explosive starts pressure the opponent's hand early with random discard, play under opponent's discard, and dodge counters.

    For fast starts Sol Ring is only +1 mana (or +2 mana -1 turn), while Lotus is +3 mana. The -1 turn is relevant if opponent is also vomiting out their hand or will have UU up by turn 2. This is a format with 12 2-mana counters but no free ones, so accelerating on turn 1 vs turn 2 is a big difference. Sol Ring can also lead to awkward T1 and T2 sequencing with a lot of BB costs.

    Sol Ring is better in the more controlling BU and BW decks. Reusing Sol Ring is only better if you have colorless mana sinks for it.
    Last edited by FTW; 11-17-2021 at 04:06 PM.

  3. #43

    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Thanks for your feedback, FTW. After some fumbling, I believe I've hit on a plan that will minimally alter the rules of Martian Timewalk while incorporating Alpha/Beta in a way that's fun:

    Let the intersection of the Legacy banned list and the Vintage restricted list be called the Special Treatment list of Martian Timewalk.
    (A) Cards entering Martian Timewalk will enter with one point if they're on the Special Treatment list.
    (B) The point-assigning algorithm, instead of only hitting the top two cards, will be allowed to hit many top cards at once if those cards are on the Special Treatment list. (That way, big changes are allowed to happen if the format is overrun with cards from the Special Treatment list.)

    So far, my testing suggests that the format is fun and that the best deck is not obvious. (Opinions welcome!) Every deck has "spice," but no deck can have all the spice --- you have to pick and choose (as you did with your lists). It will feel weird to play decks with 4x Black Lotus, but it's a desirable feature of the format that people can spend their seven deck-building points as they wish.

    Ante cards and dexterity cards (like Chaos Orb) are banned. I didn't make that explicit --- my mistake! (I know they play Chaos Orb in Old School Magic, so it's no wonder you'd want to build with it.)

    ps Hi there Reepicheep!

    ps2 FTW, if you can, please feel welcome to post test results here or share on PM (winning list, size of "event," even if it's a duel) so the point-assigning algorithm has data. I know your sample size must be small, but so is mine, and something is better than nothing! I have so little time these days, but I would love the point list to be able to adapt to the tier-1 strategies, if you're testing them out anyway.

  4. #44
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    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    I like that change. If P9 cards can gain points quickly, that should self-correct soon. It's just a strange feature that Harmonize costs as many points as Ancestral Recall for now.

    Quote Originally Posted by BirdsOfParadise View Post
    dexterity cards (like Chaos Orb) are banned.
    Thanks for clarifying! I checked the stated rules a few times and it appeared legal. Your original format rules had no B/R list, with the point system instead. Chaos Orb also wasn't on your list of Vintage restricted cards starting at 1 pt (because it's not on the Vintage restricted list, it's banned). Considering 4 Ancestral is legal, I thought maybe the Martians allowed silliness like Chaos Orb and Shahrazad in their experiment.

    Other formats that allow Chaos Orb errata out the dexterity component. You assume opponent rearranged their cards far apart so you can only hit one card, and that you have enough coordination to hit the card you want. It's basically Vindicate.


    Quote Originally Posted by BirdsOfParadise View Post
    ps2 FTW, if you can, post test results here or share on PM (winning list, size of "event," even if it's a duel) so the point-assigning algorithm has data. I know your sample size must be small, but so is mine, and something is better than nothing! I have so little time these days, but I would love the point list to be able to adapt to the tier-1 strategies, if you're testing them out anyway.
    Sure

    RUG vs BU Mind Twist (your list): 5-1 for RUG
    The 1 loss was from a "cheating" game where the BU deck had 5 free mulligans to see if it could get a powerful enough start to win. I concluded BU can win with the right mix of fast disruption and multiple threats, but its opening hands were high variance. Or maybe I was just getting bad luck.

    RUG vs Mono B: 3-2 for RUG
    The more explosive T1s helped pressure RUG before it had counters up.

    RUG vs BW: 2-1 for RUG
    RUG recovered after a T2 Balance+Rack discarding 5 cards (Mystical Tutor putting Ancestral on top), but lost one after 2 Balances.

    I'll have to adjust the others without Chaos Orb.

  5. #45

    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Brilliant! Thank you.

    Chaos Orb slipping past was 100% my lack of forethought/organization :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    I like that change. If P9 cards can gain points quickly, that should self-correct soon. It's just a strange feature that Harmonize costs as many points as Ancestral Recall for now.
    I agree that it's strange. It's also very weird, as you pointed out, that Sand Golem is 2pt while Mind Twist runs free. My philosophy of the format is very process-oriented --- keep adding points to cards that keep winning tournaments, keep letting other cards' point values decay. It was your feedback that prompted me to adjust so that Special Treatment cards can get points faster.

    The algorithm will also experiment with unpointing cards like Mox Emerald that aren't seeing use in this rotation. That'll be weird too, but the algorithm has memory, and the more times a card has acquired points, the slower it is to shed them (the cards gets permanent "stickiness"). In that way, errors that get corrected will tend to remain corrected.

    At some point I'll add a full, step-by-step description of the algorithm so that it's not so hand-wavy.

  6. #46
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    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    So far the strength of the RUG deck is how often it can Ancestral (4 Ancestral + 4 Mystical Tutor + 4 Regrowth). That makes it extremely resilient against disruption. Combined with cheap counters & burn and the ability to access copies easily as needed (Mystical Tutor & Regrowth), it's quite adaptive to whatever fight the opponent is picking. Then it just needs to find an opening to set up its combo finish when opponent is vulnerable, which is easy with EOT Mystical Tutor after Power Sinking or opponent taps out.

    The combo finish depends on life total, so it's weak to early aggro pressuring life total. The SB has some help against aggro but maybe not enough (more Rough//Tumble?). A dedicated aggro deck should be favored.

    That makes me wonder if another blue control-combo would be even stronger. You just need to sit back with
    4 Mystical Tutor
    4 Ancestral Recall
    4 Counterspell
    4 Memory Lapse
    4 Power Sink

  7. #47
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    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    After stumbling around with a few UWx combo shells that felt clunky, I turned the same shell into control (using fewer slots for the wincon)

    Jeskai Control (4 Ancestral + 3 Sol Ring = 7)

    //Mana: 25
    4 Flood Plain
    4 Volcanic Island
    4 Tundra
    4 Plateau
    6 Island
    3 Sol Ring

    //Spells: 31
    4 Mystical Tutor
    4 Ancestral Recall
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    4 Counterspell
    4 Memory Lapse
    4 Power Sink
    3 Disenchant
    2 Rough // Tumble
    1 Hammer of Bogardan
    1 Wrath of God

    //Creatures: 4
    2 Frenetic Efreet
    1 Numot, the Devastator
    1 Akroma, Angel of Fury

    //Sideboard: 15
    4 Red Elemental Blast
    3 Blue Elemental Blast
    3 Wrath of God
    1 Shatterstorm
    1 Boomerang
    1 Braingeyser
    2 Voidstone Gargoyle


    This felt strong overall but still lost to RUG. Kaervek's Torch made it hard to win counter wars, forcing the counter on Channel instead of the burn spell, which let RUG keep developing with no penalty (1-for-1 instead of 2-for-1 and no 19 life paid). Once Jeskai almost got there with a tricky StP on Frenetic Efreet (to survive at 2 life vs 2 life) into 2/2 morph, but then RUG found another burn spell in time. Edit: Added 3 BEB to help this matchup.

    Jeskai did well against the rest though. The Sol Rings were bad early game but eventually fueled unstoppable Power Sinks and powered out the big finishers.

    Jeskai v RUG 0-3
    Jeskai v BU Mind Twist 2-0
    Jeskai vs Mono B TurboTwist 2-0
    Jeskai vs BW 8Twist 1-1

    I've tested some aggro ideas too. Maybe you can help improve these.

    Big Red (4 Sol Ring + 3 Wheel = 7)

    //Mountains: 20
    20 Mountain

    //Artifacts: 11
    3 Lion's Eye Diamond
    4 Sol Ring
    4 Gauntlet of Might

    //Spells: 14
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Incinerate
    3 Hammer of Bogardan
    3 Wheel of Fortune

    //Creatures: 15
    4 Blood Knight
    4 Reckless Wurm
    4 Akroma, Angel of Fury
    2 Wildfire Emissary
    1 Torchling

    //Sideboard: 15
    4 Red Elemental Blast
    2 Burning Palm Efreet
    2 Goblin Tinkerer
    2 Shatterstorm
    2 Dead // Gone
    3 Fireball


    This deck is trying to ramp into big red mana sinks, playing all the best red cards instead of having to play the bad 1-3 drops for curve reasons. Numbers are still rough. It's very good at making Akroma, and Akroma is annoying to stop for nonblack decks. This deck is also good at grinding out with Hammer.

    Blood Knight, Wildfire Emissary and Akroma are immune to StP (ironically this makes Torchling very weak to StP because it lacks targets to redirect at).
    Wurm and Emissary are both bigger than Bolt too, and Emissary can untap under Meekstone, so Wildfire Emissary is better than it looks.



    GW NettleGeddon (7 Mox = 7)

    //Mana: 21
    4 Mox Emerald
    3 Mox Pearl
    4 Savannah
    4 GW fetch
    5 Forest
    1 Plains

    //Creatures: 27
    4 Birds of Paradise
    4 Mtenda Lion
    4 Mire Boa
    4 Hedge Troll
    4 Groundbreaker
    4 Nettletooth Djinn
    3 Calciderm

    //Spells: 12
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    4 Giant Growth
    4 Armageddon

    //Sideboard: 15
    3 Berserk
    2 Radiant Essence
    2 Lifeforce
    3 Tsunami
    3 Seal of Primordium
    1 Tranquility
    1 Calciderm


    The plan is to accelerate efficient threats with Mox and Birds, then blow up all lands with Armageddon. Postboard there are 7 Armageddon effects vs blue decks!! Because of the Geddon plan and the high demand for colored mana costs, I think the Moxen are better than Lotus or Sol Ring.

    There's also a "combo" plan to alpha strike with Groundbreaker + Berserk. I initially had Berserks main but moved them to the SB, because the combo plan is weak to heavy disruptive decks. Against other aggro Berserks can come in over Geddons. Against control, Groundbreaker comes out for hate.

    GW Geddon vs RUG 1-2
    GW Geddon vs Jeskai 0-2
    GW Geddon vs Mono B TurboTwist 1-1
    GW Geddon vs BW 8Twist 0-2
    GW Geddon vs Big Red 0-2
    Big Red vs Mono B TurboTwist 2-0
    Big Red vs BU Twist 0-2
    Big Red vs Jeskai 1-1
    Big Red vs BW 8Twist 1-1

    GW should have a better shot after some point adjustments on the more powerful cards, since those Moxen may be the last to survive. It can pack a lot of hate for the more dominant blue and black decks! It should also get a boost once the points adjust to favor Harmonize and Sand Golem over Ancestral Recall and Mind Twist. This deck badly wants to refuel with Harmonize but can't afford wasting points on non-Power. Without card draw, the blue decks were able to answer everything until this deck ran out of gas. The one win against RUG came from a Geddon that snuck through after making them tap down vs 2 Mtenda Lion (by preventing damage RUG had lethal Channel+Fireball next turn, the Lion damage would have stopped it, so it was worth the gamble but walked into Geddon).
    Last edited by FTW; 11-17-2021 at 07:27 PM.

  8. #48

    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Cool lists! I'd been wondering how to use Groundbreaker. And I'd forgotten all about Gauntlet of Might. I'm looking forward to playing with these. And thanks for posting your own testing results! Much appreciated.

    Dwarven Miner has to be good now that dual lands are everywhere, right? I'd run it in mono-red for sure, and maybe in the sideboard of URW Control for when the opponent sideboards out creature removal.

    Did you consider Sacred Mesa in URW Control? I had it in decks with 14 W sources, not 12, but I think that deck looks made for Sacred Mesa. It's the actual perfect card in a late-game scenario where you have lands, but you need board stabilization, and you need a way to win, and your topdecks will be more lands and countermagic.
    Edit: I also had my eye on Crovax, Ascendant Evincar --- it has a built-in board control effect, is immune to removal, and plays well with Sacred Mesa if for some reason you ever have to go there.
    Edit2: Frenetic Efreet doesn't play well with protect-the-threat counterspells... you can't just try the coin flip and then spend the counter only if you lose the flip. Maybe 2--3 Mesa, 0--1 Crovax, 0--1 Numot? I do like the idea of getting a swing in with Numot :-D

    Shatterstorm is not legal, but no worries, Builder's Bane should be similar, right?

  9. #49
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    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Quote Originally Posted by BirdsOfParadise View Post
    Cool lists! I'd been wondering how to use Groundbreaker. And I'd forgotten all about Gauntlet of Might. I'm looking forward to playing with these. And thanks for posting your own testing results! Much appreciated.
    Glad to help contribute to your game!

    I played a few more with the modified Jeskai list, but it still lost 0-2 to RUG (even after boarding in 7 blasts!). It's funny to think that Granger Guildmage and Sand Golem were tier 1 cards, and now I'm playing blue mirrors where Ancestral Recall is put on the stack over 10 times in a game (including both players).

    Gauntlet of Might has been insane in Mono Red. I had games with Akroma attacking for 17 damage on turn 5. It's also a lot easier to Hammer every turn.
    But the BW deck shut it down hard with Enlightened Tutor into Conversion or Circle of Protection: Red! Without Chaos Orb, red lacks enchantment removal. It probably needs Disks in the SB.


    Quote Originally Posted by BirdsOfParadise View Post
    Dwarven Miner has to be good now that dual lands are everywhere, right? I'd run it in mono-red for sure, and maybe in the sideboard of URW Control for when the opponent sideboards out creature removal.
    Yeah, Dwarven Miner is good tech. Attacking greedy mana seems good. I originally had 2 Miners in the Jeskai SB and cut it because tapping down sorcery speed to play fragile creatures is not what draw-go control is about. Monored definitely wants it. Jeskai maybe... Detritivore is another option that even dodges counters and spot removal.


    Quote Originally Posted by BirdsOfParadise View Post
    Crovax, Ascendant Evincar --- it has a built-in board control effect, is immune to removal, and plays well with Sacred Mesa if for some reason you ever have to go there.
    The synergy with Sacred Mesa is nice. Otherwise it suffers from the problem of being another "dragon" (6-mana sorcery speed), when the deck really wants to play Draw-Go with untapped lands. Recasting it makes that problem even worse. A flash creature would be ideal.

    For a sorcery-speed threat, Voidstone Gargoyle might be better. You can either name removal (to protect it) or name one of their important spells to shut down their deck. So even if you get tapped down for a turn, Gargoyle can stop them from doing anything broken with that turn.


    Quote Originally Posted by BirdsOfParadise View Post
    Did you consider Sacred Mesa in URW Control? I had it in decks with 14 W sources, not 12, but I think that deck looks made for Sacred Mesa. It's the actual perfect card in a late-game scenario where you have lands, but you need board stabilization, and you need a way to win, and your topdecks will be more lands and countermagic.

    Edit2: Frenetic Efreet doesn't play well with protect-the-threat counterspells... you can't just try the coin flip and then spend the counter only if you lose the flip. Maybe 2--3 Mesa, 0--1 Crovax, 0--1 Numot? I do like the idea of getting a swing in with Numot :-D
    Both Numot and Akroma were amazing. I wouldn't cut either.

    Frenetic Efreet doesn't need protection. It protects itself with 50% chance, good enough to mess up opponent's decision trees and make them bleed cards. It's a low-maintenance threat, letting you ignore it and save resources for disrupting the opponent's plan while it's annoying for them to answer. The bigger problem is it's a very slow clock. Opponent has a lot of time to assemble a win condition through counters, especially with any lifegain. I've wanted to cut it for another low cmc threat that can close the game faster. Sacred Mesa does that well, although it ties up the mana a lot more, which is a big downside. I'll test 2 Mesas for now and maybe drop it to 1.
    Last edited by FTW; 11-18-2021 at 03:23 PM.

  10. #50
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    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Updated Jeskai Control


    //Mana: 25
    4 Flood Plain
    4 Tundra
    4 Volcanic Island
    3 Plateau
    7 Island
    3 Sol Ring

    //Spells: 31
    4 Mystical Tutor
    4 Ancestral Recall
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    4 Counterspell
    4 Memory Lapse
    4 Power Sink
    3 Disenchant
    2 Rough // Tumble
    1 Hammer of Bogardan
    1 Wrath of God

    //Creatures: 3
    1 Crovax, Ascendant Hero
    1 Numot, the Devastator
    1 Akroma, Angel of Fury

    //Enchantment: 1
    1 Sacred Mesa

    //Sideboard: 15
    4 Red Elemental Blast
    3 Blue Elemental Blast
    3 Wrath of God
    1 Builder's Bane
    1 Disenchant
    1 Braingeyser
    1 Detritivore
    1 Voidstone Gargoyle



    Updated RUG Burn


    //Mana: 20
    4 Flood Plain
    4 Mountain Valley
    4 Volcanic Island
    4 Tropical Island
    4 Taiga

    //Spells: 34
    4 Mystical Tutor
    4 Ancestral Recall
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Regrowth
    4 Counterspell
    3 Channel
    1 Fork
    1 Dissipate
    4 Kaervek's Torch
    2 Fireball
    2 Power Sink
    1 Braingeyser

    //Artifacts: 4
    4 Ivory Tower

    //Enchantments: 2
    2 Mana Flare

    //Sideboard: 15
    4 Red Elemental Blast
    1 Blue Elemental Blast
    1 Power Sink
    1 Venarian Glimmer
    1 Hammer of Bogardan
    1 Tranquility
    1 Seeds of Innocence
    1 Savage Twister
    1 Earthquake
    2 Rough // Tumble
    1 Nevinyrral's Disk


    More matches
    Jeskai Control vs RUG Burn 0-2 (in addition to the 0-2 reported above)
    Jeskai Control vs Big Red 2-0

    Even boarding in 7 blasts and 2 more disruptive creatures, RUG still gets the upper hand!

    The problem is Jeskai can't make a threat without committing a lot of mana, which creates an opening for RUG to go off. It's a typical blue staring contest. If Jeskai does anything proactive, RUG untaps and wins. If Jeskai waits, RUG has forever to make land drops, gain life, draw cards, and sculpt a perfect hand to beat 2-3 counters. RUG can also pick some fights on end step (Ancestral, Bolt, Glimmer) and Jeskai has to let them resolve or be handicapped to fight the possible untap into Channel+Torch. But RUG can freely counter Jeskai's Ancestrals at any time because Jeskai can't exploit tap-outs in the same way. Between that and Regrowths, RUG is resolving a lot more Ancestrals each game. RUG can also exploit mana advantages to force counter wars over Channel instead of Torch (preserving resources). If Channels fail, RUG lost little and has a strong late game plan of piling up lands and hardcasting X spells.

    LD could fight this, but Dwarven Miner is easily killed before it destroys anything. Detritivore is harder to stop but commits a lot of mana at sorcery speed, which gives RUG a big opening to go off the next turn.

    The nice thing about Frenetic Efreet was it allowed Jeskai to actually do something proactive without committing much mana. The current build felt even worse against RUG, with Crovax and friends sitting dead in hand or casting them leading to losses.

    Edit: Jeskai finally won a match against RUG! (won both postboard games)
    The wins came from boarding in 2 Voidstone Gargoyle. This allowed Jeskai to make a proactive threat (accelerated by Sol Ring) that wouldn't allow RUG to untap and win, so it could start picking fights more freely. Both games had a bit of luck with Jeskai having more Ancestrals in the opening hand, and the proactive Gargoyle let it take advantage of those better draws to lock down the game and win when RUG drew poorly.
    Last edited by FTW; 11-18-2021 at 06:47 PM.

  11. #51

    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Conversion
    mono-red
    Is THAT why Sunglasses of Urza was printed?!

    It looks like RUG ChannelBall is the best deck so far and URW Control is perhaps number two. BW 8Twist also seems to have an ever-or-better record against everything except RUG ChannelBall.

    If nothing were favored against RUG, then the equilibrium would be trivial: Everyone play RUG and tune for the mirror match. So the assignment is to find one deck that's favored against RUG.

    How about this? I did one quick Bo3 and it was RDW 2 > 1 RUG ChannelFireball.

    Does Red Deck Win?
    // 12 Artifact
    4 Black Vise
    4 Mox Ruby
    4 Ankh of Mishra (Mirage fetch lands = 4 damage!)

    // 16 Creature
    4 Simian Spirit Guide
    4 Blood Knight
    4 Keldon Marauders
    4 Dwarven Miner

    // 10 Instant
    2 Red Elemental Blast
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Incinerate

    // 16 Land
    16 Mountain

    // 6 Sorcery
    3 Wheel of Fortune
    3 Hammer of Bogardan

    Just saw your last line about Jeskai stealing a match. Sounds like Gargoyle was impressive!

  12. #52
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    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Quote Originally Posted by BirdsOfParadise View Post
    Is THAT why Sunglasses of Urza was printed?!
    Yeah, the early sets had a lot of hate but then also very specific counters to that hate.

    The other use for Sunglasses was as mana-fixing for casual RW decks. Plateau was the only RW dual until Apocalypse's Battlefield Forge.


    Quote Originally Posted by BirdsOfParadise View Post
    It looks like RUG ChannelBall is the best deck so far and URW Control is perhaps number two. BW 8Twist also seems to have an ever-or-better record against everything except RUG ChannelBall.
    Yeah, at least in my pool of decks RUG was the top dog. I was looking for something to beat it. I hoped some aggro brew would but couldn't put together one that was strong enough.

    I like your RDW. Black Vise and Ankh of Mishra add a lot of hate to the card drawing and fetchlands, punishing RUG for its greed. Maindeck REB and nonbasic hate too! That should balance the equilibrium to make a more stable meta.
    Last edited by FTW; 11-19-2021 at 07:50 PM.

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