Finer Points: Part Two

Finer Points: Part Two

This week, we look at State-Based Actions.

Read Full Article

I've been casually playing magic for the last 14 years. Shoot, I just learned something today. My boyfriend loves playing armadillo cloak, on some of my big creatures, now I can link to your article and be like :D AH-HA!

I can't wait for this column to get finished with all the tutorial writing and actually start talking about the game...

That said, it's a good damn article. I see a lot of potential here.

Also, I learned today that Armadillo Cloak has a triggered ability. That's good to know.

I've got a couple of questions: if State-based actions cause effects before any other action can be put on the stack - as in your Healing Salve example, how does that not affect the destruction of the Drudge Skeletons before you can use Regeneration? What about the interaction of lifelink and a card like Norn's Annex - would you be able to attack if your life was at 2 to get the healing from the ability?

IridRadiant:
I've got a couple of questions: if State-based actions cause effects before any other action can be put on the stack - as in your Healing Salve example, how does that not affect the destruction of the Drudge Skeletons before you can use Regeneration? What about the interaction of lifelink and a card like Norn's Annex - would you be able to attack if your life was at 2 to get the healing from the ability?

Because the damage is caused by the spell which does go onto the stack first. So you are adding your regeneration before the spell goes off which applies the damage. You can regenerate in response to the card being played but you can't regenerate in response to the damage itself.

And for the second, I don't think you could. You have to pay the life cost when you declare attackers, but there are steps between that and when you actually deal the damage. So you'll have hit 0 life and will loose before your creatures can heal your life total back up.

IridRadiant:
I've got a couple of questions: if State-based actions cause effects before any other action can be put on the stack - as in your Healing Salve example, how does that not affect the destruction of the Drudge Skeletons before you can use Regeneration? What about the interaction of lifelink and a card like Norn's Annex - would you be able to attack if your life was at 2 to get the healing from the ability?

Lightning Bolt is a spell waiting to resolve on the stack before it actually deals any damage, instants don't happen instantly being an instant means you can cast it any time you have priority, for Lightning Bolt to resolve both players have to pass priority so he gets a chance to activate Drudge Skeletons regeneration.

There is no interaction between Norn's Annex and lifelink. Norn's Annex creates a cost that must be payed as attackers are declared, so if you're at 2 life with no white mana you have to pay all your life to let one of your creatures attack, then you lose the next time SBA's are checked which would be after attackers are declared before any players gets priority during the Declare Attackers step, which is well before Combat Damage.

Savvy?

Well, here's my current deck for you people to have a look at: http://deckbox.org/sets/111373

I'm probably gonna end up sideboarding Smoke and the other more specific cards for more Impulses, but we'll see what happens.

Enjoy!

Thanks Slycne and fanklok! I understand.

I just got the Magic 2012 game on Steam, an Intro Pack and another booster for Christmas, and plan on getting a Deck Building Kit this weekend. I just plan on playing with my brother, but I'm learning...

SL33TBL1ND:
Well, here's my current deck for you people to have a look at: http://deckbox.org/sets/111373

I'm probably gonna end up sideboarding Smoke and the other more specific cards for more Impulses, but we'll see what happens.

Enjoy!

Maybe I'm missing something, but what exactly is your deck trying to do? I imagine it's some sort of combo deck, but I'm not sure how it actually wins. (just confused really)

OT: great article! State based actions are some of the most subtle things in the game and you explained them very well.

ZeZZZZevy:

SL33TBL1ND:
Well, here's my current deck for you people to have a look at: http://deckbox.org/sets/111373

I'm probably gonna end up sideboarding Smoke and the other more specific cards for more Impulses, but we'll see what happens.

Enjoy!

Maybe I'm missing something, but what exactly is your deck trying to do? I imagine it's some sort of combo deck, but I'm not sure how it actually wins. (just confused really)

OT: great article! State based actions are some of the most subtle things in the game and you explained them very well.

Stalls/searches until both goblin bombardment and enduring renewal are out along with any of the 0 cost creatures then kills you with them in a revival loop.

TheGuy(wantstobe):

ZeZZZZevy:

SL33TBL1ND:
Well, here's my current deck for you people to have a look at: http://deckbox.org/sets/111373

I'm probably gonna end up sideboarding Smoke and the other more specific cards for more Impulses, but we'll see what happens.

Enjoy!

Maybe I'm missing something, but what exactly is your deck trying to do? I imagine it's some sort of combo deck, but I'm not sure how it actually wins. (just confused really)

OT: great article! State based actions are some of the most subtle things in the game and you explained them very well.

Stalls/searches until both goblin bombardment and enduring renewal are out along with any of the 0 cost creatures then kills you with them in a revival loop.

Ah yes now I see it. Looks pretty cool. Wish I could give more comment than that but I'm fairly terrible when it comes to making a combo deck (obviously enough I can barely even figure out the combos)

ZeZZZZevy:

TheGuy(wantstobe):

ZeZZZZevy:

Maybe I'm missing something, but what exactly is your deck trying to do? I imagine it's some sort of combo deck, but I'm not sure how it actually wins. (just confused really)

OT: great article! State based actions are some of the most subtle things in the game and you explained them very well.

Stalls/searches until both goblin bombardment and enduring renewal are out along with any of the 0 cost creatures then kills you with them in a revival loop.

Ah yes now I see it. Looks pretty cool. Wish I could give more comment than that but I'm fairly terrible when it comes to making a combo deck (obviously enough I can barely even figure out the combos)

Took me a few minutes to see it myself before I went ooooo.

>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<
3 Island
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Shivan Reef
4 Steam Vents
2 Sulfur Falls
4 Desperate Ravings
4 Desperate Ritual
2 Empty the Warrens
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Grapeshot
4 Manamorphose
3 Past in Flames
4 Pyretic Ritual
3 Pyromancer Ascension
4 Seething Song
4 Serum Visions
4 Sleight of Hand
Sideboard
3 Dispel
2 Early Frost
2 Echoing Truth
2 Telemin Performance
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Shattering Spree

This is basically my modern combo deck.

Friend of mine has a zombie deck, and pulls this trick a lot: he activates tainted sigil, then before the stack resolves activates a shepherd of rot (so the shepherd ability resolves first). If the shepherd causes enough damage to drop him to zero, would he lose before the sigil restores his life loss? Or does the State-Based check happen after the stack resolves?

fultob2:
Friend of mine has a zombie deck, and pulls this trick a lot: he activates tainted sigil, then before the stack resolves activates a shepherd of rot (so the shepherd ability resolves first). If the shepherd causes enough damage to drop him to zero, would he lose before the sigil restores his life loss? Or does the State-Based check happen after the stack resolves?

So after the shepherd's ability resolves, state-based actions are checked again (since someone gets priority). If any player's life total is below zero at this point, that player loses the game. So if he went to or below zero life, he would lose with sigil still on the stack.

ZeZZZZevy:

SL33TBL1ND:
Well, here's my current deck for you people to have a look at: http://deckbox.org/sets/111373

I'm probably gonna end up sideboarding Smoke and the other more specific cards for more Impulses, but we'll see what happens.

Enjoy!

Maybe I'm missing something, but what exactly is your deck trying to do? I imagine it's some sort of combo deck, but I'm not sure how it actually wins. (just confused really)

OT: great article! State based actions are some of the most subtle things in the game and you explained them very well.

Took a while to sort out, but he's trying to get Goblin Bombardment and Enduring Renewal out with a zero-cost creature.

Mana base seems... okay.

Smoke, Relic Ward, and Brows are... well they're not really helping as much. Browse ends up being 8 mana to sift for one card, which is terrible in a format where you could be brainstorming, telling time, pondering, or otherwise being impulsive.

Ersatz Gnomes? Thunder Totem? They do nothing.

Boros signets could be coalition relics, which would make your mana better.

I'm sitting here trying to remember when they actually changed zero or negative life to check on SBA instead of end of phase. Now that I think back on it, it wasn't end of phase at the time, it was called end of step. I want to say it was 96 or 97.

There was a time when you could go for a short period of time with zero or less life until the end of a step, meaning that there are games where the winner had negative life totals, because the other players were forced to draw from empty decks, which was an instant loss condition.

vxicepickxv:
I'm sitting here trying to remember when they actually changed zero or negative life to check on SBA instead of end of phase. Now that I think back on it, it wasn't end of phase at the time, it was called end of step. I want to say it was 96 or 97.

There was a time when you could go for a short period of time with zero or less life until the end of a step, meaning that there are games where the winner had negative life totals, because the other players were forced to draw from empty decks, which was an instant loss condition.

It was probably before The Big Revision in 6th edition. That's when interrupts got rolled into instants, the stack got turned into an actual thing (IIRC), and a bunch of other differences that made the game a lot easier to puzzle out (but made the actual hardware a good deal more complicated).

TheGuy(wantstobe):

Took me a few minutes to see it myself before I went ooooo.

>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<
3 Island
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Shivan Reef
4 Steam Vents
2 Sulfur Falls
4 Desperate Ravings
4 Desperate Ritual
2 Empty the Warrens
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Grapeshot
4 Manamorphose
3 Past in Flames
4 Pyretic Ritual
3 Pyromancer Ascension
4 Seething Song
4 Serum Visions
4 Sleight of Hand
Sideboard
3 Dispel
2 Early Frost
2 Echoing Truth
2 Telemin Performance
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Shattering Spree

This is basically my modern combo deck.

That deck is terrifying! Storm decks hit my radar recently and I've been fascinated with them since. I've playtested a few games with this build and I'm pretty impressed with how it works. Since I'm pretty new to Storm, what's the ideal draw here? I'm curious if it's feasible to go off on Turn 2.

DracoSuave:

ZeZZZZevy:

SL33TBL1ND:
Well, here's my current deck for you people to have a look at: http://deckbox.org/sets/111373

I'm probably gonna end up sideboarding Smoke and the other more specific cards for more Impulses, but we'll see what happens.

Enjoy!

Maybe I'm missing something, but what exactly is your deck trying to do? I imagine it's some sort of combo deck, but I'm not sure how it actually wins. (just confused really)

OT: great article! State based actions are some of the most subtle things in the game and you explained them very well.

Took a while to sort out, but he's trying to get Goblin Bombardment and Enduring Renewal out with a zero-cost creature.

Mana base seems... okay.

Smoke, Relic Ward, and Brows are... well they're not really helping as much. Browse ends up being 8 mana to sift for one card, which is terrible in a format where you could be brainstorming, telling time, pondering, or otherwise being impulsive.

Ersatz Gnomes? Thunder Totem? They do nothing.

Boros signets could be coalition relics, which would make your mana better.

I am aware of all of these, yes. The Ersatz gnomes can be useful, though. It makes colour protection easier to get around which can be fairly important. Smoke is there because of many sliver decks in my meta.

Relic Wards are a remnant from an older version including Mangara's Tome. Browse has actually been fairly useful in the past, it was mostly a "they looks cool, throw it in." As for Coalition Relics, I don't own any, sadly. To be honest, though, I've never actually had mana issues in that deck, colour or number-wise.

So yeah, basically all of the issues with this deck is just having sideboards in the maindeck.

Thanks for the tips, though.

vxicepickxv:
I'm sitting here trying to remember when they actually changed zero or negative life to check on SBA instead of end of phase. Now that I think back on it, it wasn't end of phase at the time, it was called end of step. I want to say it was 96 or 97.

There was a time when you could go for a short period of time with zero or less life until the end of a step, meaning that there are games where the winner had negative life totals, because the other players were forced to draw from empty decks, which was an instant loss condition.

Yeah, that change happened in the M10 rule changes, I think.

Encaen:

TheGuy(wantstobe):

Took me a few minutes to see it myself before I went ooooo.

>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<
3 Island
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Shivan Reef
4 Steam Vents
2 Sulfur Falls
4 Desperate Ravings
4 Desperate Ritual
2 Empty the Warrens
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Grapeshot
4 Manamorphose
3 Past in Flames
4 Pyretic Ritual
3 Pyromancer Ascension
4 Seething Song
4 Serum Visions
4 Sleight of Hand
Sideboard
3 Dispel
2 Early Frost
2 Echoing Truth
2 Telemin Performance
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Shattering Spree

This is basically my modern combo deck.

That deck is terrifying! Storm decks hit my radar recently and I've been fascinated with them since. I've playtested a few games with this build and I'm pretty impressed with how it works. Since I'm pretty new to Storm, what's the ideal draw here? I'm curious if it's feasible to go off on Turn 2.

Firstly glad you like the deck. There is nothing like making a few hundred goblin tokens on turn 3 is there?

Ideally you want to hold off on comboing out until you've sculpted your hand enough that you can either make a bajillion tokens with empty, outright kill using grapeshot or until the last possible turn before you're killed as each card you draw is another possible spell for the storm. You should usually be able to go off on turn 3/4 with startling consistency.
Going off turn 2 I'd only do if I had something like 2 probes 2 rituals a manamorphose and an empty the warrens in my hand to use the RRBB in the pool in case the three card draws went bust just because that is a very fun amount of goblin tokens to have on the second turn.

To that end you want some land (2 is usually going to be enough), some hand fixing ala serum visions/sleight of hand at a minimum and maybe some gas like a ritual in your opening hand but the beauty of it is that you can get away with what may seem like dud hands due to how fast you can filter through the deck to what you actually want.

Another thing I like with the deck is that it's a great way for players to get into Modern as you can buy everything but the U/R lands for about £40($60) just replacing those expensive duals with basics and not really harming the deck that much (you just have to be a bit more aggressive with mulligans).

Encaen:
~Snip~

I think it would be really interesting if you talked about sideboard composition in an upcoming installment of Hexproof. I've seen some about the strategy of it in other places, but it would be cool to hear your take on the subject.

Probably a bit of a noob question but what about cards like Elixir of Immortality, that go back to your library once they resolve (in this case along with your graveyard)? Would they save you from an empty library if they“re the last card you draw? You wouldn“t be drawing from an empty library technically.

Great column by the way. I“ve gotten back into magic right when you started doing this, so the timing“s pretty good. Again it“s only me and one friend at the kitchen table at the moment. I would really love to get into it competetively, but I fear I might get slaughtered at a FNM. Plus the closest one is 40 minutes away.
Any ideas on how to prepare for your first competitive match?

Juan Regular:
Probably a bit of a noob question but what about cards like Elixir of Immortality, that go back to your library once they resolve (in this case along with your graveyard)? Would they save you from an empty library if they“re the last card you draw? You wouldn“t be drawing from an empty library technically.

Great column by the way. I“ve gotten back into magic right when you started doing this, so the timing“s pretty good. Again it“s only me and one friend at the kitchen table at the moment. I would really love to get into it competetively, but I fear I might get slaughtered at a FNM. Plus the closest one is 40 minutes away.
Any ideas on how to prepare for your first competitive match?

So long as you pop the elixir before you would draw with no cards left in your library you'd be fine.

edit: For FNMs best thing to do is go in with what you have and try to have some fun while doing it. This'll also let you see what the local metagame is like and then you can either build a deck that should do well against them or change cards in the deck you currently have to ones that are more suited to it. But most importantly just have fun!!

TheGuy(wantstobe):

So long as you pop the elixir before you would draw with no cards left in your library you'd be fine.

Thanks, good to know I did play correctly after all (I still lost but at least I lived a couple rounds longer).

TheGuy(wantstobe):

edit: For FNMs best thing to do is go in with what you have and try to have some fun while doing it. This'll also let you see what the local metagame is like and then you can either build a deck that should do well against them or change cards in the deck you currently have to ones that are more suited to it. But most importantly just have fun!!

The fun part of course depends on the players. Magic players can sometimes be a bit dismissive of new players (One gave me a very angry rant about card protection a few years back, cause I didn“t use sleeves yet). But yeah, I guess I“ll just go with the best deck I can muster up and see what happens. They also do Limited tournaments. Maybe that could be a good start as well. At least you don“t have to worry about how many cards you own. I have quite a few but most of them date back to the sixth edition.

DracoSuave:

ZeZZZZevy:

SL33TBL1ND:
Well, here's my current deck for you people to have a look at: http://deckbox.org/sets/111373

I'm probably gonna end up sideboarding Smoke and the other more specific cards for more Impulses, but we'll see what happens.

Enjoy!

Maybe I'm missing something, but what exactly is your deck trying to do? I imagine it's some sort of combo deck, but I'm not sure how it actually wins. (just confused really)

OT: great article! State based actions are some of the most subtle things in the game and you explained them very well.

Took a while to sort out, but he's trying to get Goblin Bombardment and Enduring Renewal out with a zero-cost creature.

Mana base seems... okay.

Smoke, Relic Ward, and Brows are... well they're not really helping as much. Browse ends up being 8 mana to sift for one card, which is terrible in a format where you could be brainstorming, telling time, pondering, or otherwise being impulsive.

Ersatz Gnomes? Thunder Totem? They do nothing.

Boros signets could be coalition relics, which would make your mana better.

Alright, I'm back from my tourney and I have some news. Right before we started I swapped the Relic Wards for Oblivion Rings. They were crazy useful for getting rid of Leylines of Sanctity which was one of the main weaknesses of my deck. Smoke was less useful against the slivers than expected, purely because they'd just wait until they could one shot me with 3/4 slivers.

Browse was actually really useful. It's great late game when my board is filled with mana. For example, I had Enduring Renewal and Goblin Bombardment out, but no 0-drop. So I play an Academy Rector, sac him for Browse, pay the 4 and look at the top 5. Either I get what I want, or I get a card to dig deeper into my deck with. And since it removes chaff from the game for me, my deck gets smaller, and thus easier to sift through.

Ersatz Gnomes I can drop, since nobody has colour protection there any more. But thunder totem was actually pretty good. The first strike really got me out of a few nasty situations.

I will however, swap the Signets for Relics as soon as I get my hands on some.

Encaen:
Finer Points: Part Two

This week, we look at State-Based Actions.

Read Full Article

With the Dark Ascension release coming up are we going to be looking at limited in depth in say 2 weeks time when most of the list is released?

It's a very different format and way of deck building compared to constructed and would probably be a good way of showing the difference in formats along with getting new players into the game.

TheGuy(wantstobe):
With the Dark Ascension release coming up are we going to be looking at limited in depth in say 2 weeks time when most of the list is released?

It's a very different format and way of deck building compared to constructed and would probably be a good way of showing the difference in formats along with getting new players into the game.

I've been watching the Spoilers roll out and I have to say I'm pretty excited so far! I'm definitely planning to dedicate a week to Limited or, at the very least, discussing some of the more exciting reveals!

Encaen:

TheGuy(wantstobe):
With the Dark Ascension release coming up are we going to be looking at limited in depth in say 2 weeks time when most of the list is released?

It's a very different format and way of deck building compared to constructed and would probably be a good way of showing the difference in formats along with getting new players into the game.

I've been watching the Spoilers roll out and I have to say I'm pretty excited so far! I'm definitely planning to dedicate a week to Limited or, at the very least, discussing some of the more exciting reveals!

Big thumbs up for that! Sealed events are always fun and with a set as odd as this one seems to be shaping up to (Jar of Eyeballs i'm looking at you /bowbow) it's going be interesting to see everyone's builds come the pre-release.

This thing is freaking insane in limited/EDH though. Why yes I would like to pay 3 and rearrange my entire deck so I'm never screwed/flooded and draw what I want when I want it.
image

SL33TBL1ND:

DracoSuave:

ZeZZZZevy:

Maybe I'm missing something, but what exactly is your deck trying to do? I imagine it's some sort of combo deck, but I'm not sure how it actually wins. (just confused really)

OT: great article! State based actions are some of the most subtle things in the game and you explained them very well.

Took a while to sort out, but he's trying to get Goblin Bombardment and Enduring Renewal out with a zero-cost creature.

Mana base seems... okay.

Smoke, Relic Ward, and Brows are... well they're not really helping as much. Browse ends up being 8 mana to sift for one card, which is terrible in a format where you could be brainstorming, telling time, pondering, or otherwise being impulsive.

Ersatz Gnomes? Thunder Totem? They do nothing.

Boros signets could be coalition relics, which would make your mana better.

Alright, I'm back from my tourney and I have some news. Right before we started I swapped the Relic Wards for Oblivion Rings. They were crazy useful for getting rid of Leylines of Sanctity which was one of the main weaknesses of my deck. Smoke was less useful against the slivers than expected, purely because they'd just wait until they could one shot me with 3/4 slivers.

Browse was actually really useful. It's great late game when my board is filled with mana. For example, I had Enduring Renewal and Goblin Bombardment out, but no 0-drop. So I play an Academy Rector, sac him for Browse, pay the 4 and look at the top 5. Either I get what I want, or I get a card to dig deeper into my deck with. And since it removes chaff from the game for me, my deck gets smaller, and thus easier to sift through.

Ersatz Gnomes I can drop, since nobody has colour protection there any more. But thunder totem was actually pretty good. The first strike really got me out of a few nasty situations.

I will however, swap the Signets for Relics as soon as I get my hands on some.

Alright.

Some other changes you might consider; Goblin Bombardments changed for Blasting Stations. 3 cost artifact, which accomplishes the same role in the deck. This allows you to smooth out your mana consideribly. This would also allow you to exchange the mountains for manlands, which would take the place of the thunder totem. However, a case could be made not to remove all Goblin Bombardments... don't wanna concede to lobotomy.

As well, if you're using shocklands, then use fetchlands to get them. This will thin your deck out more which will greatly increase combo consistancy.

I would dissuade you against Jar of Eyeballs, however. If you're saccing creatures enough to make it work, you've already won.

Another thing you can do, if you want some cheap plan B, is Myr Servitors. They come back every upkeep so long as one is in play... and you can do some crazy stacking tricks with them and GB or BS.

Grave Pact also works very well with this archtype.

DracoSuave:

SL33TBL1ND:

DracoSuave:

Took a while to sort out, but he's trying to get Goblin Bombardment and Enduring Renewal out with a zero-cost creature.

Mana base seems... okay.

Smoke, Relic Ward, and Brows are... well they're not really helping as much. Browse ends up being 8 mana to sift for one card, which is terrible in a format where you could be brainstorming, telling time, pondering, or otherwise being impulsive.

Ersatz Gnomes? Thunder Totem? They do nothing.

Boros signets could be coalition relics, which would make your mana better.

Alright, I'm back from my tourney and I have some news. Right before we started I swapped the Relic Wards for Oblivion Rings. They were crazy useful for getting rid of Leylines of Sanctity which was one of the main weaknesses of my deck. Smoke was less useful against the slivers than expected, purely because they'd just wait until they could one shot me with 3/4 slivers.

Browse was actually really useful. It's great late game when my board is filled with mana. For example, I had Enduring Renewal and Goblin Bombardment out, but no 0-drop. So I play an Academy Rector, sac him for Browse, pay the 4 and look at the top 5. Either I get what I want, or I get a card to dig deeper into my deck with. And since it removes chaff from the game for me, my deck gets smaller, and thus easier to sift through.

Ersatz Gnomes I can drop, since nobody has colour protection there any more. But thunder totem was actually pretty good. The first strike really got me out of a few nasty situations.

I will however, swap the Signets for Relics as soon as I get my hands on some.

Alright.

Some other changes you might consider; Goblin Bombardments changed for Blasting Stations. 3 cost artifact, which accomplishes the same role in the deck. This allows you to smooth out your mana consideribly. This would also allow you to exchange the mountains for manlands, which would take the place of the thunder totem. However, a case could be made not to remove all Goblin Bombardments... don't wanna concede to lobotomy.

As well, if you're using shocklands, then use fetchlands to get them. This will thin your deck out more which will greatly increase combo consistancy.

I would dissuade you against Jar of Eyeballs, however. If you're saccing creatures enough to make it work, you've already won.

Another thing you can do, if you want some cheap plan B, is Myr Servitors. They come back every upkeep so long as one is in play... and you can do some crazy stacking tricks with them and GB or BS.

Grave Pact also works very well with this archtype.

The problem with blasting station is it makes the Academy Rectors far less useful. Regardless, thanks for all the tips. I'll be sure to check these out.

I have a question about state based actions. Say I control a Psychosis Crawler and have 2 cards in hand. Someone casts Wheel of Fortune, so I discard my hand and draw 7 cards. Does my Psychosis Crawler die?

 

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