Hello everyone and welcome to episode 479 of the Constructor Criticism Podcast.
I’m your host Hezy and I’m joined by one of my best friends with the longest running
coast of Constructor Criticism, but probably a pretty huge margin at this point, Mason
Five months until episode 500.
I appreciate that a lot more than the number of episodes to the new set.
You can do that one.
Oh, you mean three?
That’s three is the answer.
I have to say until draft, play boosters.
I’ll tell you soon.
That could probably be close to 500.
So if people are, I want to mention that really quickly because it was a really funny
tweet like just a few minutes before we went live of Mark Rosewater clarifying and he’s
like, I just want to be clear that nobody at Wizard’s is trying to kill draft.
Nobody has was trying to kill draft.
I was just talking about a trend of sales.
I just think it’s funny.
Magic players will like take at one sentence and just like, Hasbro wants to get rid of limited
I will say Mark worded his sentence.
Not the best for a man who is a professional writer at one point is like, it definitely
the first time I read it was like, and I thought about some stuff and I was like, better than
seeing right and I thought about how set boosters sold more than draft boosters sounds
like that’s probably what Mark meant.
Yeah, it was pretty funny.
You know, always improving moment on his part.
You know, that is the point of this show is to be getting better.
You know, always, there’s always an opportunity to improve and you know, hopefully Mark won’t,
you know, like the Twitter sphere on fire.
But you know, I should think him because I was really getting sick of my, my notification
So really, thank you, Mark.
What did you, what did you do this week to be always improving?
Well, I work in always improving by actually taking some time to sit down and play more
hard on scales with a decent bit of focus.
I was, I played F&M with my doctor who precomn, which was a fun little experience.
Yeah, I got the excited director of the part of Medi-Kod on the Lidoo.
And I was done.
I was like, I did my thing.
It was fun.
And it was like eight thirty or an effort.
And I was like, I have a whole night ahead of me.
And I was like, well, I think I’m going to actually sit down and play hard and skills
with a lot of focus.
There’s nothing else going on and work on that.
And really just trying to find it.
And I end up putting away the five, like three hours later because the league took forever.
But it was just a good experience to sit there once again and really focus on that and take
the time just to think about everything that I can do with the hard and skills deck because
we were talking about how, well, I was just, we talk about how you should practice the
way you’re going to play.
And I talk about how hard and skills is like brain melting for me personally when I play
And so to like really give it the full attention because sometimes what I do with that is to
get the experience, I might not give it everything because it was just so much.
It was just like, I just need to like experience stuff right now.
There’s too much for me to process them or like I’m too tired.
And I wasn’t very tired.
My Friday was busy but in like short bursts.
And so I was kind of relaxed and I was like, okay, let’s like give us this energy that
I have because it’s worth that.
I actually, my always in programming is a little bit similar.
I’m not going to be talking about foils.
So if you were expecting that on the podcast, you know, go to my Twitter.
But I did play five color bring to light on math this week at an RCQ.
And Mason, I also was finally so overwhelmed by a deck.
That deck is really difficult.
And you know, I’ve played five color, you were on in the past.
And one of the things that I did a really good job of doing is like your own kind of
cover was like kind of a really good way to shut the door or as well as like covering
your weaknesses and a lot of spots because you just have a five four noodle, right?
The deck was really hard in like ways that are a little bit different.
Like I played a lot of five color decks and standard and throughout my time of magic.
But the importance of your sequencing of your lands and this deck, you don’t always
want to grab your trilands.
Like you always, so for example, in five color or four color creativity, you almost always
grab a triumph first no matter what just to set up red.
And this deck, that’s not always true.
You might not want to be grabbing a triumph first because you might be playing in scam
and they actually are going to blood moon you and you need to be able to cast your white
spells to deal with the blood moon stuff like that and I don’t know that part was like,
okay, so this is this is happening.
I need to be aware of this.
There’s also just the what to grab with rental light is actually a much harder decision than
I thought it was going to be.
Like you know, the moment you’re going to grab verdict or whatever, that’s pretty easy.
The moment you’re going to grab omnath and trigger a land drop or whatever, that’s pretty
And outside of those moments, it’s actually a pretty difficult decision to know what to
grab and win.
And I thought that was pretty interesting and a little bit overwhelming for somebody who
had a little too much to drink on Friday night.
Yeah, and you haven’t been, you know, like you’ve been preparing for our CQs, we haven’t
been playing them as much.
So like you haven’t been having that experience with like the round timer and everything in
the know, you know what I mean?
Yeah, this was my first RCQ of this season.
I’m pretty sure.
And that sounds right from our conversation.
And honestly, like I did go to time once in round one and that was, that was all that
I went to time.
But it definitely was like, it’s not like constantly in your face.
Like when you play this deck on MPG, it’s pretty easy to see your timer.
You’re able to like, you know, do things pretty quickly.
There’s not conversation and banter going back and forth.
Like you’re just clicking away.
And it actually, I think is a little easier to play that deck online than it is in paper.
For one, because people do not know when to concede.
It’s like wild.
You’re like, I’m just, I’ve just covered a hand size three times.
My hand is literally entirely interaction.
Like you, you will not win this game, but they still refuse to give up.
So it’s really interesting.
Also the, the shuffling too, right?
Like that’s kind of a.
Yeah, there’s so much.
Like, like I think magic online and magic and paper comparable a lot of the times, when
it comes to like the time of actions outside of shuffling, you know what I mean?
Like stack stuff versus like being able to verbalize, I think it all evens out.
But shuffling, there’s just no instantaneous versus like, you know, even if you’re quick,
eight, nine seconds, it does add up, especially the right and six stack.
Yeah, you’re, you’re going to shuffle a lot.
But that’s it.
Like it was really more getting, getting back into the zone, going back to an RCQ.
And honestly, I think I picked it like a little too committal for my first event in like months,
like since I played rhinos.
What did you say in a full of charity control diversion of your deck might have been a little
Oh, I mean, blue, I would have been way easier.
That’s not even, that’s not even the name.
I’m trying to help my friends out.
I’m not even the beta man.
And the amount that you like being right is the amount that I like winning matches with
Oh, must be not that much.
I’m here just to help you buddy.
I just want to always bring home for you to realize you’re Mason’s got your best interest
And always bring moment this week, by the way, was a sushi draft here list on Twitter.
So check that out at more new things.
He’s not here this week, but he’ll do that next week.
Yeah, work stuff came up this week, but we miss you, Abe.
You know, who we are happy to have those Alex, Alex is our newest patron of $5 or more.
Me and the giving Alex access to the discord.
Alex, thank you so much.
If you want to become a patron head on to patreon.com slash EC&G just for $1 a month,
you can access to this live.
We’re recording on Monday.
We usually start the live show just after 8 p.m. Eastern time.
You know, $5 gets you access to the discord, but you can be part of the fantasy draft that
There’s lots of fun stuff going on, lots of conversations.
So head on over.
But today, Mason, we’re talking pioneer.
It’s been a while.
We’ve been focusing on modern for modern R.C.
Do we start with, you know, kind of look at the Frank Carson tweet from the R.C.s.
Do we start with the decks?
Where do you want to start?
I think the biggest thing to start with is just quickly talking about wild of Eldraine’s
impact on pioneer because, you know, if you’ve been listening to content and stuff like that
for a while, I would say about four months ago, right before Lord of the Rings, there’s
some conversation about like, well, something probably needs to happen in pioneer because
unless like wild of Eldraine and Lost Caverns of Islam really affect the R.C.
I’m sorry, the pioneer of the R.C. performance and quite a little bit similar and typically,
you know, standard set don’t always have a huge impact on internal stuff.
Sometimes they do.
Sometimes they don’t, but like it varies.
Wild of Eldraine has had a real impact on pioneer with sleight of hand, adding a lot
of power and consistency to the Phoenix decks.
The heroic sex got a big upgrade with the monstrous role, I think it’s going to unleash
the fears and like that.
And then the convoked deck also got a big upgrade in both Imperial, I’m sorry, Imidine’s
recruiter and Regal Bunny for it.
And so three decks that are good against Monogreen all got significant upgrades.
And then Monogreen got like the turtle, which is the datable.
And then other decks got some other smaller stuff.
So the big thing to notice is that Monogreen has a lot of predators on the rise in like
very real ways because they got big upgrades and that has shifted thing for Green is probably
the worst it’s been in a while.
I think it’s still a really good deck and we’ll get into that.
But you know, things are moving in pioneer in a way that a lot of people were not expecting
four or five months ago.
And it’s really hard to expect.
You didn’t even mention up the Beanstalk and Ichmeta-Cliers, which was already a deck
that just dumpstered Monogreen anyway.
Yeah, the only reason I did is because there’s been some weird tension with that.
Like some lists play four, some play zero.
Like Derek Davis, who topaded the Pro Tour talked about this past weekend on the NRG.
We had him as a feature match and he was against the card because he felt like he was building
his deck too much in that direction.
And that he also said that might have just been his error in deck building and like maybe
he needed to pull away from it, but he decided to revert back away from Beanstalk in a real
I do think that it is a big thing, but it is less of like a slam dunk like mass adoption.
Like these other cards have.
And yeah, I also don’t want to give all the goodies away right away, baby.
Yeah, that’s fine.
Well, let’s talk about the format.
I’m just pulling up.
If you guys don’t follow Frank Carston, you folks don’t follow Frank Carston on Twitter.
He does a really good job breaking down formats by different time periods between Europe and
Canada, we had 11.8, about Rakdos, 10.7 Monogreen, 8.9 or sacrifice, 7.4 Phoenix, 6.6 Monawait,
6.1 Azorius, and then kind of Lotusfield and Blue White to kind of round out those top
decks along with, you already mentioned Boros heroic, all with about 4.3 to 4.1.
Yeah, Boros can go up as well, 3.8.
Yeah, there it is.
The Boros and Zoria’s decks kind of very similar, like to each other, I should say.
So when I look at this, we didn’t really mention, well, we did mention one deck that I really
want to highlight.
Maybe that’s that we should talk about first, going out of order on our thing, but just
Like, it is quite impressive to me kind of looking through Calgary and through France,
how the impact fit just a really good cantrip for the give the deck consistency does for
Yeah, one of the big things is because like if you’re at home and you’ve been played
a ton of time here recently, or even now, a ton of arklek Phoenix in the past, and you’re
thinking, what’s the dispenser they already had often consider?
Opt isn’t super strong, the best thing about it was kind of triggering legislator on your
opponent’s turn or a thing in the eyes of your opponent’s turn after you interact a
But outside of that, you know, sleight of hand gives you a lot more of the information
upfront, and typically a big thing that would happen is you’re trying to chain spells in
And so being able to start your turn with the sleight of hand and know exactly which of
these two will chain together leads to a lot more of your Phoenix coming back and a lot
more of Phoenix is coming back on turn three.
There’s some debate on 10, 11 or 12 cantrips right now, but no matter, even if you just
like two more, that makes it what turn three, turn four, bring in my Phoenix’s is actually
very easy to do in a way that was not consistently doable before because you only had eight of
those one mana cantrips.
So that has really changed it along with the pickpocket spray.
So talk about pickpocket spray.
Yeah, so that’s a card that there is some debate still between players going on, but
the adventure mode of that card is free the fey, which is mill four cards and add an instant
sorcery or fairy from it and put it in your hand.
And that’s instant speed for a one in a blue and then this card is a one three for one
in a blue with vigilance.
So it’s kind of taken the place of pieces of the puzzle for some players, whereas an
instant speed way to sort of end of turn fill up the graveyard that helps play around some
cards and hate cards.
And then you get that sort of pieces thing without having to commit three mana on your
main phase, which also means you can hold up counter magic more.
Also, one of the weird things about it is the way it reads, it doesn’t seem like it would
do this, but it actually be trivial hate.
So like you can play it and then you will still get the card from a rest in peace or a late
line of the board being in play, which isn’t intuitive, but it’s how it works.
Don’t talk to a judge.
And so there’s been a lot of debate between players and a lot of different directions
you can go and like that sort of card really helps with, I think in general, as one way
to approach things, but also it was nice to the dimming list builds of the deck, which
are just trying to turbo through at very quick speeds and get dimming, let’s going.
And there’s just a lot of different directions to take Phoenix.
We’ve talked about on the show how at least I believe Phoenix will be a fundamentally
broken deck if it goes uninterrupted.
And there’s just players are just now starting to really adapt to Phoenix being back in the
format in a real way, because there hasn’t been much attention on the format.
So players who are in the streets or whatever are medical line, they knew that Phoenix was
a good deck.
But there’s a lot of different ways to the deck to go now.
That’s gotten a little bit better.
And all these things add up, I think, to make Phoenix a much more real player than it was
Even though I do think it was a pretty solid player before.
Yeah, I’m just looking at the list from the Calgary Championship where the person’s name
And I look at the list like this that it is playing 12 cantrips.
But when you look at a list and you’re like, all of this makes sense from like, just a
basic like, oh, yeah, this is pretty close to how I like where I was starting, how I
would build it.
And then you see a deck have success.
That usually means the deck is probably pretty strong because if it intuitively makes sense
to you, and then it also does well, right?
Like, I think that most of our listeners and I mean, I’ll be able to speak for myself.
I think that I’m good enough at magic to be able to look at a list and be like, okay,
nothing here is like super weird and are out of place.
And also it’s the deck that gets to play dub spells.
And like, that’s just really strong.
And also, there’s like a lot of data behind it too.
But one of the things I sometimes don’t like about the data is we’ll have things like
the Pro Tour.
It’s like, you know, the winning is stack in modern was the Pro Tour Spencer.
It was Merfolk of 80% because it played 10 games and it went eight and two, which is
great, not the largest sample size.
We look at the Phoenix sample size here.
It had a 52.3% win rate, which is a good win rate, very happy to have that, especially
like a kind of mid-range interactive deck.
And it has 262 wins and 239 losses.
That’s just over 500 games played with the deck.
That’s a good sample.
Like, you know, this is only two RCs.
There’s only so much to them.
Some of these are small than other ones, right?
So like, that is a pretty good sample size that is telling.
And we’re seeing that, you know, with this information happening, there have been tournaments
since then Phoenix has still done well in magical line at the energy this past weekend.
It was the only deck that have multiple copies in the top eight with others, you know, in
the top 16 as well and also differing build as well.
So Phoenix is a deck that is doing well and is showing up in a real way.
And I think the ultimate test here, I’m curious what your thoughts are Spencer.
Historically, when this happens, players putting cards like go blank from the black interactive
And that was always the killer for Phoenix was a go blank undid your pieces of the puzzle,
which is sort of your best carding your enabling engine piece against them that then you’ll
couldn’t really overpower them.
I do think side of hand might help you more consistently find your sideboard pivots, but
I’m curious what your thoughts are because I don’t know.
And I’m interested to see sort of how people are thinking about it.
Because I do think it’s kind of a hide mind moment, you know, well, if you ask Derek,
you already supposed to play the blank as he had them and was ready.
Because he saw a magical line with the Phoenix is doing well, right?
I think that the Phoenix deck has a lot more like consistency now.
So I’d be interested to see like what the like the high the the high counter count decks
can do with like, you know, I noticed that there was three practical breaks, for example,
in this sideboard and stuff like that.
And like I would be interested to see how that I can adapt to just kind of staying like
this can trippy memory and G deck that like has a lot of card selection rather than trying
to like, I don’t know, do something like transformational or something.
So you’re saying you don’t like the crackling.
Drake’s you do I do like the crackling.
Yeah, I also really like the crackling.
I thought that zoomers don’t come at me.
I think the zoomer Drake deck was great.
I love the zoomers.
Please don’t hurt me for like a weekend, but was like not a very good deck.
But overall, and side of hand does fix some of my problems with that of like actually
finding the interaction you want actually serving a planet having like, you know, extras of
that, you know, let’s you find your ones, you have two of us more often than play a real
So it’s really interesting.
I’m really excited to see how this sort of plays out.
And, you know, one of the interesting things about this is we’re doing a check in now because
the time some of you all have Pioneer RC is all over the world leading up to it.
But for us on the show, our Pioneer RC isn’t for basically two months from now, just under
that at the time of this recording.
So there’s a lot of data.
We’re going to get a lot of it and there’s a whole other set coming.
So it’s going to be really curious to see sort of how these things evolve and change
as players learn about them because that’s a cool part of magic with the metagame.
So should we move on to Black Red?
It seems like a natural next step, a deck that honestly just keeps making its way back
in in a lot of different ways.
You know, this deck has the juice, man.
It just constantly figures out a configuration that can attack a metagame and it doesn’t matter
if it’s Derek Pike or if it’s other people.
It still finds a way, you know, like a dinosaur to come back.
Yeah, I think one of the good things about the Ractose Midrains deck that sometimes the
Phoenix deck has a problem with, because I think they are pretty close to similar to
X-Ray it’s worth the way they play out games.
Ractose, like I don’t care how bad your matchup is, you can’t just go thought sees
Bloodtides, Harvester, Bone Crusher, Giant, Children, you know, and like your opponent
And if you have the right sideboard and you’re sort of well-tuned in the format, all
those things are going to work out well for you.
And it’s weird because there have been some matchups that have recently gotten really
well a lot better, like the Fire
It’s got to be Ractose’s worst matchup by so much.
But also some of its better matchups have been doing well, right?
Like Phoenix, if you play a couple of go-blanks in your sideboard, that really helps that
Ors heroic is a really good matchup.
It’s really popular.
It’s just doing well this.
Yes, spirits, I feel bad for spirits players because they’re like they see the
Agnemic fires players and then heroic and Phoenix come out from behind and go pop pop pop
You know, like every time I want to pull the trigger on spirits again, I’m like, oh,
maybe, maybe not the time.
It reminds me of those cartoons where there’s like the bait, you know, and then like as
soon as you get close to spirits, they pull the string and then the box falls on top of
them and the box is like Phoenix in the situation.
And either way, there’s like just the Ractose deck is good.
It has good solid cards and it has good interaction and it’s well-developed.
And also players know it really well, right?
Like some people like Ginger, Derek Pike, have just been playing it all the time.
Like, you know, he copied his, I believe, fifth of six pioneer RCC’s played.
Now if the deck is conversion rates insane and he’s consistently proved it over multiple
metagames, you know, this deck is good.
And if you play it well, you will succeed.
Is it always the best choice?
Is it one of the safest choice always?
I don’t have a ton of the stack.
I think that it is an interest in spot in the format where if we look at like Derek’s list,
he’s got like the misery shadows on the board.
So he is expecting a down tick and things like monogrene and he’s planning to bring those
in, which was really smart.
If you look at the way that the format played out and things like that, he zigged while
they zagged and I really like it.
That’s also another good card for Phoenix, right?
You bring it in and the late game it outscales the remover early game.
You can’t play your arc.
Phoenix is hard to cast.
It’s a big part of that matchup.
So, you know, heads up stuff by Ginger.
Should we talk about the, I don’t, it’s so hard to call monogrene the believe in at this
point, but let’s talk about it.
I mean, what I said at the start of it is a lot of my thoughts.
I would love to hear what your thoughts are and then we can maybe start the conversation
because to me, a lot of patterns are gone up.
The deck is not at where it was before, which in my opinion, before all these sets released,
it was the deck to beat.
But now, you know, like maybe it’s moving down a little bit, but like if you were the
actual best, you moved down two or three slots.
It’s that a terrible place to be.
I don’t know.
The data is for the first time ever not supporting monogrene being one of the best decks, win
or eight wise of a large sample size.
So what are your thoughts, Spencer?
I think that it is still asking a question that you want to be asking.
The problem that I have is that I’m not convinced that like, that, what is the data?
I need to pull up the, there’s something I was wondering looking at this.
So what is it that I think the universe is monogrene?
And it looks like it looks like monogrene is still a slight favorite, but I would not
put is it Phoenix out of the running to figure that matchup out if they wanted to and actually
kind of shutting the door on monogrene.
Yeah, I kind of, I wanted to how much of that is like that matchup is hard to play, but
if you play it well, it’s pretty easy for you, right?
I will say this like, I think the matchup is really hard to play as Phoenix.
I’ve played it a lot and I’ve lost a fair bit to monogrene.
You can just have it happen, but I do think it is something where like you kind of have
to know when you can go for things and when you can’t and what you can and can’t beat
in a way that sometimes it’s like hard to know even at the RC level, like more players
running into that because there’s also just a lot more Phoenix than there is monitoring
right now, like being played.
One of the things that I have I have struggled with for as long as people try to find slocks
in monogrene is like their favorite thing to do is just cut oath of nieces that just
like, oh yeah, just kind of know that miss just kind of know that and I think that people
underestimate the value that oath of nieces brings to the consistency of the deck, both
in being able to consistently find your nieces consistently being able to find the planeswalker
that you need to either combo off or to chain and I don’t know, I almost think that we’re
like, I know it’s only like three cards, but I think we’re going too far away from stock
Yeah, I mean, I don’t know, I have played some green since the release of wilds of
elterrain in a paper tournament that I won, like when there’s little effects gaming, I
got like three Ks or whatever and that was post wild with elterrain and I played monogrene
and I won and my deck hadn’t changed in seven months.
And like, I’m not saying that I had the best deck list or that’s even good data.
More of what I’m saying is I find it hard to believe a lot of these things solve problems
and my biggest contention point with the monogrene players at large has been their arguments
don’t support their claims and they don’t make sense for solving the problems they typically
Yeah, I just definitely the bossing in sort of solves anything for this deck.
I think it is a good way to have an advantage in the mirror because you find your cityscapes,
your storms and your nicos is more because you have more cards that do that, but not
if you’re cutting oath in this, you know what I mean?
Does that make sense?
So like if you have four and four oaths and I have one turtle and you don’t have a turtle,
I think I’m probably favored if I’m on the play with a turtle, but I also just believe
that like creatures controlling the battlefields, what matters, so I mean a lot of blue connoisse
is what matters.
I’m willing to believe that weekend to weekend that isn’t true.
I’m not sure if people consistently claim that’s not true in general and then I watch
them just lose match it’s a lot, which is like not the greatest argument I have on my
point, but also I’m on a podcast talking to you, DM me, we have a real conversation.
You know, so like should we should we talk about the deck that the people be asking about
in the discord?
Rural vehicles did very well at the European RC and went undefeated in the Swiss at the
NRG this past weekend.
We lost a little bit of a heartbreaker and the topic you can watch that one on coverage
if you want to ban for us, but I think that deck is good and have that player I think
not been so tired.
They probably would have made it to our top four and I think the Huntsman’s redemption
is a great add to the stack.
There’s another three job you can easily cast.
You know, your deck wants to be one into three and having things like pack leader and ease
were nice, but they didn’t like really fit what was going on and sometimes let the awkward
draws and major elves plus impactful and it’s going hunt and redemption.
You know, play it chapter two, you float the man from your elf, you play the thing, you
search whatever and then the next chapter, you know, you get that plus two plus two and
That’s really good and things like well, they’re in throw seeker.
That’s a huge burst of damage.
You know, we saw this on coverage where like person has a three three, they get plus two
plus two, they support it.
They get supposed to plus two more, attacker seven, blink for seven more.
That’s such a huge swing in damage that, you know, if you’re a deck that can’t get in the
way of that, you’re going to die.
Yeah, not too long ago, the people were asking about like Spencer Woodger thoughts on throw
seeker versus the other effects and I had swung completely around.
I’m like, yeah, throw seeker makes you want to play low strip beast again, which I was
completely off of before before that.
And like this is just playing to what the deck is trying to do even more and making it
kind of this real aggressive mid range deck still rather than the, I don’t know, like
the, the mishmash of things that was trying to do too many things at once.
And I think that, you know, this deck now, I’m really, really happy to like play a prone
war in it again in the main, which I think is really important for the deck overall.
I think the deck is in a really good position.
It’s a more close, constant redemption is also a real combo.
I don’t know if you’ve seen that yet.
Do you a prone war take the thing?
You sack it to the redemption.
Like, like it, it is definitely not why you’re playing those two cards, but like, it’s
You would play both those cards.
Now you just like got removal and your deck, which is like huge.
Sometimes you know, you take their phone or you hit them, they stabilize a little bit
and you can’t actually kill.
So now I think this deck is in a really good position.
So, you know, one of those moments where the monitoring gets a little bit lower, you know,
people will be trying to play things like the medic fires and, and, you know, stuff
like that where you get to really, you know, beat down.
You know, there are time, you know, you’re one of those decks that’s happy blocking with
So like those little we need decks, like not as happy to play against you as they might
be other elf decks.
So there’s a lot going for it.
It’s a solid deck.
I’ll say this.
I have not been the highest in the deck a lot of points.
And I think when monitoring sides peak, I don’t know why you’d play this over that.
But that being said, this deck has consistently done well every RCC.
And I think is one of those decks that really rewards fundamental gameplay.
We talked about last week.
Yeah, I agree.
This deck really suffers from Phoenix on being on the rise.
That is a really bad matchup.
And Ractosack, you know, at the end of the last RCC’s and a lot of players like, oh,
yeah, kind of been the best version of Ractos.
Couldn’t beat the green matchup.
For Ms. Raines does enough.
We’re pretty happy with it.
Basically, I kind of agreed with a lot of that on like broad strips levels.
Phoenix being rising up in the meta game makes us a lot of a worse choice.
And some other small things moving as well, like fires, you know, going up makes a smash
But overall, I think Ractosack Christ is still a good solid deck.
And if you like playing sacrifice, you play it well.
You know, you got my thumbs up or whatever, being a reasonable deck gamer.
But it’s not my favorite choice right now by a little bit.
And you definitely can just get run over.
I’ve always started with this deck in the form of like, if it doesn’t come together,
your deck is like one key as all can be in a format where I don’t know that I don’t
know that you have time for obviously discipline mulligan’s hope.
And I want to just be clear that I understand that’s really important with this deck.
And that it is one of those decks that like monitoring, you know, if they’re really mulligan
But it, if you get broken up, it feels like it’s two sides of a pencil.
I’m like, you’re either like going off things are happy, go lucky or you’re on the other
side and you’re like, I don’t even know what sequence of draws could get me out of this
Yeah, I think critical mass decks, typically that’s like a thing that goes wrong for them.
And the real strength of the sacrifice deck is that cat plus oven dominates like your
opponent trying to regress you on the ground.
And so that would buy you a lot of time because for a while the ground is all that mattered
And specifically going tall, not wide, right?
If Spencer has a five five and I have a cat, well, then nice deck idiot, but if Spencer
has like three, three, three is not a cat.
I’m like, I’m sending the bleeding, but I am falling behind, right?
And we’re seeing things that like, we’re doing more of that.
We’re seeing things that go way over the top.
So even if you assemble your synergies, not working, and then we’re seeing things like
Enix just fly over.
And so it’s like, Oh, all of these things are making my position a lot worse.
And a lot of my natural predators are also leaving the format because they are losing
to these things as well, which is creating like this knock on effect.
The next deck, I think one one of the events and that is the Lotus combo.
But missing, where do you stand on Lotus combo today?
If you’re talking about Lotus combo, it’s not the right time to find Lotus combo.
Like if you go and look at like the energy sideboards, like so many people had so many
damping spheres, I stand by this Lotus field is a deck that can win a tournament and is
But if players have the hate for you, where the format is leading in a really aggressive
stance, it is not good for you.
The format is like a bunch of fires and Phoenix and Ractos, thumbs up, go into town.
If they don’t have hate for you, they’re going to lose to you incredibly easily.
But in the real world, I don’t think things happen like that a whole lot.
So I think if you hear a bunch of people talking about Lotus or my content, like content graders,
you hear me talking about it, you’re Jerry, Dom, whatever, blah, blah.
That’s probably not the time to play Lotus is my sort of go to answer this day.
Yeah, I wouldn’t play this deck.
I mean, I typically wouldn’t play this deck, but I think the rise in index that can like
just turn things sideways and kill you and like, you know, it’s just not the right time.
And there are certainly times where I had to bite the bullet and I was like, oh, I was
Like the stack was good this weekend.
But I just like, you have to remember that these, these RCs were weeks ago now as of
the time of the recording and like, you know, energies have happened, you know, big size,
$5,000 side events from the laughing, dragging events have happened.
Like there are big events happening in Pioneer still and people are still using those to
prepare for their upcoming RCs.
This is just not one of those.
This is not currently one of those times that I would play this deck, but that’s because
we’re talking about it.
Like you said, yeah.
So here, here’s all the little whiskers.
If when the next time we get around the Pioneer season, assuming there’s no dramatic changes
in the format, like new decks, bandings, whatever, and no one’s talking about Lotus
field unless we get to the part of the conversation, it’s like, should we talk about Lotus field,
that’s the point where you should maybe play it for your RC that weekend.
If we’re talking about Lotus field, people are going to come prepared for you.
And when decks, like I think I’m actually sure it was the next one, maybe we should talk
about it, like for us heroic are on the uptick and like doing really well, those sort of decks
goldfish as well, and they kill you a lot quicker than you killed them.
You’re a turn five combo deck.
They are a turn three to four combo deck against you.
You are going to die.
We’ve got a bunch of heroic.
I didn’t have an on list.
But it’s super popular on arena for what it’s worth.
I don’t know if you’ve played it explore, been the explore used.
Sometimes when I’m bored, I’ll play some monogriding there.
Holy crap, do people be using using them Boris cards, Boris heroic.
I mean, I think heroic is pretty good.
It is not great.
Like it’s not like the best that 90 means, but like why the really well against is it
Phoenix lines up well against monogriding.
That’s like two good places to be.
There’s some other matchups that are kind of struggling like practice mid range.
You’re just kind of a dog too.
You’re going to have these sideboard plans.
But it is a tough matchup that puts you in a like a really skill testing position.
But Boris and Rokus where those next ups where it’s like your good matchups are so good.
Your Phoenix matchup, your Lotus field matchup, your green matchup, like you just barely
sideboard for these matchups.
You know, you’re just aces against them at a like a fundamental structural level and they
can’t really change to stop that without giving up versus so much else that Boris or
Rokus, I think a pretty good deck in the meta game.
I typically say like either heroic or convoke is going to be like the right borosecta play
that oscillates weekly week or whatever.
So but heroic.
I don’t have anything to add.
I’ve actually never played a game of boros or oaks.
I don’t want to don’t want to slander what I think is a pretty good deck.
You should try playing some.
It’s pretty fun.
I might I might give it a I might give it a couple runs.
But we already talked a little bit about it, the automatic fires, I don’t think we need
to cover too much on that deck.
It is the go over the toughest deck in the format and it is well positioned probably
the best positions it’s ever been.
But I still don’t know if it’s if it’s the right time with with the other things that
Blue I control is a deck that I think that you my and myself have been pretty antsy on
the show as anything changed for you.
I don’t think they got any new tools that I’m particularly happy about and looking at
Well, well, you got a well.
You’re gonna try and hear.
Yeah, that’ll well.
You could play a well.
Wales aren’t real.
Those are mythical creatures made by magic the gathering.
Anyways, no jokes on.
I think I guess the whales fine.
It’s like a zorias charm that’s a threat.
I can’t can trip, but is a threat.
So maybe that is great.
I don’t know.
But basically the only thing that’s happened that makes me kind of like get from a metagame
Special objective is that your rest and pieces are a lot better with is it Phoenix running
However, I believe that you should almost never win game one against is it Phoenix?
Is it Phoenix players confidence and post sports you have to win one of the games.
That is a really hard place to be.
So my opinion about Blue White is that I don’t I think that the Lotus version is better.
And so I don’t see a reason to play normal Blue White.
I think that if everybody just switched, they’d be better off with Strict Proctor in their
So that’s that’s my problem.
Anything that we talked about that matters in Pioneer today that it wouldn’t cover Mason.
I think the Boris conduct is good.
I know we’re going to get into what we’re going to play.
So maybe I can talk about them.
But those are kind of the big overarching things I think the most probably covered all
of the decks that are really mattering.
Obviously, there’s a lot of decks out there.
There are some things like near form that theoretically make a little bit of sense right
But you’re really kind of taking a shot in the dark and hoping a lot of players are moving
in the direction that things are going.
So you know, take down the grain of salt.
But yeah, yeah, I don’t have anything too big outside and can vote to talk about.
Yeah, I just want to mention that we didn’t that with the rise of we kind of mentioned
this every show and I just want to hammer it home.
Blue red cards be good.
This time it was birds, you know, historically we’ve talked about all kinds of different
decks, whether it was, you know, the creativity deck, whether it was the Drake’s deck like
blue red cards be, you know, the prowess decks, whatever it is, knowing where to sit, where
your deck sits against the current best blue red deck and also the best blue red deck to
play is often key to doing well at your RC, whether or not you’re playing those blue
red cards because it impacts how you need to create your side board.
I think that’s a key that people are not talking about in Pioneer enough.
What would you play Mason?
I played Boris can book.
I’m pretty sure the deck is actually very well positioned right now and strong.
A big problem I had with can vote was twofold.
Well, I don’t answer threefold.
The first is whoever first popularized Boris can vote.
I think if you had just not said anything for a week, you would have walked to the pro
tour because the format was not ready for your deck and then you like copied the challenge
and then everyone paid attention.
I think it was like doom, wake and pike onto your players, but this time around, if you
don’t play, don’t play before, be cool.
But the two of the problems were one is that your deck only had a few cards that were actually
So you had all of your convoked creatures, those cards were good and your reckless push
whackers had the ability with burn tramissary to reproduce some really absurd draws and
that was good.
And that was about all you had and really two of those cards could be together at the right
They fall off pretty hard and I didn’t like it enough there and the format was really
prepared for Boris can vote.
People were really playing it, I played main deck for the headset, that’s like a card on
So that’s an example of like what’s going on there.
That is not the case right now and a lot of the format looks very similar when it comes
to removal wise to what it did when Boris can work first popped up and the convoked got
two big upgrades.
The first is Emmettings recruiter.
It is a three man a two three that when a ETB gives all the creatures plus one plus zero
This is a draft all star from WUB.
It also had for five man a make two two two nights with vigilance so it does have some
flood protection which is something you actually do appreciate the stack.
But you really I would just play it for the creature part and the nights are vanilla like
vanilla ice cream on the side.
The other big thing is regal bunny corn.
So this is that creature that just gets bigger for each permanent on the battlefield.
I kind of compare it to tarmacoid for if you just believe keyword big is good, bunny corn
is a good card.
You believe bunny corn to be good and once you have bunny corn in your deck, Ember cleave
actually becomes a really appealing card because before your Ember cleaves were like
You had eight good cards and that was it.
So you would see some cyber or Ember cleaves for match ups you had to go super duper fast
but that was it.
Now, bunny corn you actually have a you know 11 to 12 family bunny corn you play things
that were Ember cleave well and Ember cleave is not awful if the other thing you just kind
of need to have a critical mass of things to believe in the cleave.
So it’s really pushed me in that direction and the convict deck has been very good.
It’s surprisingly good against the Phoenix deck.
You have to think of your farm cards like thing in the ice and brotherhoods and if you
don’t play around it well, we’ll get you.
But once you start adapting to the mashup and learning, I found it to be not untenable
which is a really nice place to be and they do struggle against some of your draws that
are more like put a locks on end of play, you know, where I play a couple of one drops
play a bunny, you know, your bunny counts non creature permanence to so the clues and
the bloods count.
So it is a winnable matchup.
It is just not your favorite matchup.
But overall, I like a lot of what the bunny corn the bunny blade deck is doing.
I play rule.
I think this is the best position.
It’s been a long time.
It’s my favorite deck.
So I would just I would jam it so fast.
That is going to do it for the main topic.
If you want to join the conversation, you need to become a patron of $5 a market access
to this where you can ask questions like Adrian, he says, when looking through decks
on empty jail, what is the most important things you’re looking for?
Is it flex slots?
How many of an architect made top eight or top 16 is our presence of an individual
drill card, common interaction suite or other things?
I mean, I think you listed a lot in there, Adrian.
I’m looking at lots of things like that.
You know, like what are the flex slots?
Like we talked with this before, but you know, do you scam as an example?
They’re kind of two flex slots in the main and you see like blood moons and crocs or
like terminus crocs or turning blood moon, like all these little things, you know, some
children’s popping up recently.
So there are flex slots there.
So I’m curious what players are doing with that.
I’m curious on the representation of the deck, right?
Did this deck have a lot of people playing it?
How did they do?
Sort of how are they building their sideboards?
How did it seem they wanted to approach the matchup?
All of those things are things I care about.
And I’m really just going to get an idea of how players are thinking about cards and
sort of their approach to playing games.
So what about you Spencer?
I’m almost always looking at sideboards when I’m looking at decks of the T Joe and Mason
mentioned like a lot of the reasons why.
I just be understanding like what matchups they’re, they think are important right now.
I just be understanding how they think those matchups should play out and really understanding
like, okay, and then talking about it with people, usually when I’m looking at deck lists,
I’m like sending them to either Matt or Quentin or responding to Mason or there’s lots of
different people that you can talk to about lists.
And when you’re sending somebody a list, I think that the things that you talked about
like those conversation starters will help you understand what you should be looking for
more in lists.
I know that’s not really what you’re asking, but that is, that is kind of what I’m looking
for is the things to talk about to help me understand the list and to help me understand
it be better at that archive.
YouTube is another way you can join the show.
Leave a comment or question.
This one is from Travi McDowel.
I’m going to say Travi McDowel.
19 or 93.6 because I enjoy the great content you guys put it every week.
It helps me become a better magic player.
I have a question.
I’m trying to get into Pioneer.
Is there, is it better for me to pick up one of the known decks in the form or play a
home brew that I have more fun playing?
I think that depends on your goals.
If you have a home brew in Pioneer that you think can win versus some of the things that
we’ve laid out like the questions that Monogrene asks, the versatility of something like Phoenix
or the other blue red decks or the rectus midrins deck, and then also can combat the
actor of things like a mono white or a gruel.
Go for it.
Play your home brew.
But if you’re trying to learn the internet of the form and what to expect, I’d like to
try to maybe start with different decks that are well known and try to understand the format
from the perspective of that archetype.
Yeah, I like a lot of what Spencer said there.
I really want to hammer home the what are your goals, right?
When you ask this question on our competitively slanted Magic the Gathering podcast about strategy
and improving, I’m going to assume your goals are winning.
But your goals might just be, for right now, I want to learn the format and I just want
to go play locals with my friends on Wednesday.
Totally valid goal.
If you want to do that, go and do that.
I think sometimes what I kind of hear in between the lines maybe with this is like, can I succeed
with these sort of decks and do that?
And the answer is you probably won’t succeed at the highest level with your brew, but you
might do pretty well.
And like, what do you really want to do?
And also, if you just want to play the cards you own for a while and then test and learn
other things on the side and figure out what you want to buy, that’s also a totally reasonable
way to do it.
I think so often players think the only way they can learn about decks or engage in learning
in a format is by playing those decks, but you can read articles, consume content, read
over deck with think about how they play, watch others play.
There’s just a lot of things you can do in order to learn about a format.
And hopefully today’s episode helps you understand and pioneer a little bit more and can help
you down that decision point.
I love it.
If you want to join the conversation, I don’t know the Patreon Discord, the public Discord,
the ways that we mentioned here, or you can hit us up on Twitter at CCMTG.
The rest of the network right now is drafting archetypes with podcasts by Sam Black.
He goes every week and dives deep into archetypes.
And this has been one of his best seasons so far.
Highly recommend the show.
Like sub comment review, one of the best ways to support the show without putting those dollars
Yeah, Mason, where can people find you?
I’m probably on Twitter at Mason E. Clark.
I’m going to switch.tv slash the Mason Clark and it’s streaming this week actually with
the convoked deck.
So that was pretty fun.
If you want to go check out those blogs, you can do that.
I mean each every week at card kingdom writing about something this week, I’m running about
So you probably are going to be too interested if you’re a podcast.
So maybe you are.
You can reach out to me for coaching.
You can do it on Twitter like we talked about, which is at Mason Clark or you can reach out
Let’s just masoneclark at gmail.com, put coaching description that way.
I know we sent you and it’s been so worth making.
I find you at he’s the media or he’s a game on Twitter.
You can find me switch to each basically if we’re out.
I have maybe a couple of coaching spots left.
I appreciate everybody reaching out after last week.
But yeah, I’m happy to do that.
You can find aid at more nothing’s and Mason, what did you really show this week?
I’m not really sure this.
So you go first.
I’m having a moment.
I’m having a crisis.
I think that the thing that I learned on the show this week is just the ability for magic
players to adapt quickly.
If you look at kind of the energy and its reactionary status to things like the RCs,
you know, we live in a way different time of magic where a few years ago it would take
weeks and weeks for paper to catch up to something like these RCs.
But I think if it’s actually happening a lot faster these days.
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point.
I really like that.
I think I have learned and just in general that players are really quick to say something
is dead when it’s not, especially if they don’t like it.
You know, anything that moves the needle along that line and kind of like looking over the
data and looking at everyone taking a big examining preparation for the show, you know,
the way it’s made out to me on how Monodreen did herself actually did.
Yeah, where like still had a top eight in one of them and like did it okay.
Yeah, yeah, like it’s just totally reasonable.
People act like it’s just dead, you know, everyone’s going to gun for the top dog obviously.
And so when the top dog moves even a little bit, people care a lot.
But I really care about everyone surrounding the throne as well.
Much like Game of Thrones.
You can’t be looking only at the Iron Throne.
You’re looking out for Littlefinger.
Yeah, you’re going to get poisoned if you do it that way.
Well, thank you everybody so much for listening.
We’ll see everybody next week on another episode of Constructed Criticism.
Hello everyone and welcome to episode 479 of the Constructor Criticism Podcast.