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Thread: Legacy Deck Classifications

  1. #1

    Legacy Deck Classifications

    Someone on Reddit posted a very neat table I hadn’t seen before.

    Clock Redundancy Proactivity Deck Type
    Fast Low Threats Combo
    Fast High Threats Aggro
    Fast Low Answers Stompy
    Fast High Answers Tempo
    Slow Low Threats Ramp
    Slow High Threats Midrange
    Slow Low Answers Prison
    Slow High Answers Control

    I think this “Archetype Cube” is a really helpful framework for thinking about decks.

    Some people describe burn as a combo deck where the combo is resolve 7 spells. Well that is exactly what this “cube” predicts; as you make a combo deck more and more redundant it becomes an aggro deck. And as you make an aggro deck more and more explosive it drifts towards combo (like madness).

    Combo and ramp aren’t often thought as doing the same things, but S&S and 12post are both trying to put a big dude into play. Just one chooses to do it fast and one chooses to do it in a more inevitable way.

    The author thought that the stompy row doesn’t actually exist, but I think it is a good discription of red prison’s plan. Rather than trying to be inevitable after playing a hate piece like lands, it just tries to end the game as fast as possible. Or you can think of it as a low redundancy delver; instead of disrupting with generic cards like daze your are disrupting with specific cards like blood moon. Or the reactive version of combo: instead of assembling enabler plus wincon your are trying to assemble relevant hate piece plus threat.

    If you combine this with the “metagame clock” you can describe shifts really clearly in my opinion. Red prison dropping moons for more threats is it shifting from stompy towards aggro (to be better vs control at the cost of its combo mu)

    The “bigger delver” thing you see is tempo shifting up the edge to midrange to beat the mirror.

    It also lets you describe decks that are usually difficult to classify. Goblins is threat dense, generally fine to go slow, and has a high variance in cards (aether vial and lackey are completely different from muxus and ringleader). A lot of people would describe goblins as midrange or control, but this classification would be as combo-ramp. And on reflection, the play style is closer to amulet Titan than Jund or Standstill.

    Thoughts? disagreements?

  2. #2

    Re: Legacy Deck Classifications

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Some questions occurred to me as I thought about the organization of the table:

    1) Ramp is, by definition, a deck with threats instead of answers and a slow clock? To me, that’s just the same as saying that Ramp is, by definition, a bad deck, which isn’t a fair statement. A deck with a slow clock and few answers will always be bad, but a good Ramp deck could theoretically exist.

    2) It’s weird to me to put Tempo and Combo in the same “fast clock” bin. Delver has a way slower clock than most combo decks. Depending on the build/meta, it could struggle to goldfish by turn 4 or 5. It just feels fast because it fights you so hard over every single thing you try to do, every step of the way. You might die to a single Delver of Secrets with Dazes and Wastelands. Tempo is a great example of NOT needing a very fast clock if you’re extremely disruptive.

    3) What exactly is redundancy? If I were allowed to build SnT with unlimited copies of Show and Tell, Griselbrand, FoW, and City of Traitors, for example, that would be a highly redundant combo deck. Would it be an aggro deck?

    My way of thinking about it: A faster goldfish is better and having more tools to interact with your opponent is better, but there’s a trade-off, so decks tend to either be fast-goldfishing with less interaction or slow-goldfishing with more interaction. The nature of the winning method and the nature of the interaction inform what archetype you belong to, along with your placement on the fast-vs-interactive spectrum. (Note that I’m calling “interaction” many cards that some might describe an uninteractive, such as Chalice; “interaction” in my mind is anything that blocks the opponent from treating you like a goldfish.) Parsimoniously sorting decks by the nature of the winning method and the nature of the interaction is the tricky part.
    Last edited by BirdsOfParadise; 08-28-2021 at 02:32 AM.

  3. #3
    Hamburglar Hlelpler
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    Re: Legacy Deck Classifications

    I'm trying to figure out how this changes on a per-matchup basis, since it might be a more subtle way of responding to the age old "who's beatdown" question

    Like if you're me, which I don't recommend, but if you're me, you probably lean pretty heavily towards GuysAndBurn.dec. I like thinking of burn spells as a variable threat/answer; to be overly simplistic, they're a threat when the opponent's board is empty and an answer when it's not.

    So I guess if I understand this table right, a low-curve fast guys-and-burn deck might ask itself "in this match, am I aggro or tempo" and a higher-curve deck might ask "in this match, am I midrange or control".

    Maybe this is more fundamental to some of you and I should have been thinking this way all along, but I'm basic af. Ha
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  4. #4

    Re: Legacy Deck Classifications

    Quote Originally Posted by BirdsOfParadise View Post
    Thanks for sharing this!

    Some questions occurred to me as I thought about the organization of the table:

    1) Ramp is, by definition, a deck with threats instead of answers and a slow clock? To me, that’s just the same as saying that Ramp is, by definition, a bad deck, which isn’t a fair statement. A deck with a slow clock and few answers will always be bad, but a good Ramp deck could theoretically exist.

    2) It’s weird to me to put Tempo and Combo in the same “fast clock” bin. Delver has a way slower clock than most combo decks. Depending on the build/meta, it could struggle to goldfish by turn 4 or 5. It just feels fast because it fights you so hard over every single thing you try to do, every step of the way. You might die to a single Delver of Secrets with Dazes and Wastelands. Tempo is a great example of NOT needing a very fast clock if you’re extremely disruptive.

    3) What exactly is redundancy? If I were allowed to build SnT with unlimited copies of Show and Tell, Griselbrand, FoW, and City of Traitors, for example, that would be a highly redundant combo deck. Would it be an aggro deck?
    1) Perhaps instead of “slow” I should have said “inevitable”. Show & Tell is a faster way of getting emrakul into play, but a bunch of lands plus karakas is a more inevitable way.

    2) Inherently having more answers than threats will slow the deck down. But Tempo is definitely a deck that trades inevitability for speed, just like combo. If you take out the slow wincons in control and replace them with more fragile but faster ones, you get tempo. (Uro -> delver)

    3) I would argue that that would be built as an aggro deck. You would not have any of the selection or protection typical of the deck but just the maximum combo pieces. Arguably burn is a 7 card combo with lots of redundancy, but most people consider it aggro.

    Tsumi, I do think this is a good way of thinking about it. Vs creature combo, burn doesn’t want to be an aggro deck. It wants to become a tempo deck which usually has good combo matchups. That means you have to switch from threats to answers (ie stick a goblin guide and bolt every dude they play, rather than going face)

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