Welcome to another edition of Fact or Fiction! Two of our Premium writers tackle five statements each, giving their takes on whether they're Fact or Fiction. Read what Tom "The Boss" Ross and Todd Anderson have to say and then cast your vote for who won this week's Fact or Fiction!
1. A Collected Company deck will win #SCGRICH.
I think a Collected Company deck is the favorite to win of all strategies. It's just not overwhelming, as in above 50%. The rise of B/U Zombies will suppress the success of Collected Company decks as well. Emerge decks, Delirium decks, U/R Thermo-Alchemist, Humans, and W/x control decks will make up big portions of the metagame. Collected Company decks are undeniably good. I just wouldn't bet on them versus the field.
Todd Anderson: Fiction. I think Bant Company variants will be the most popular archetype by far and will put at least two copies into the Top 8, but I think the better players are going to be prepared for it. Bant Company isn't throwing anything new at us, and we've had the same tools to fight it that we've had for months (and even a few extra from Eldritch Moon).
With Emrakul, the Promised End being one of the better foils for the Bant Company decks, as well as Ishkanah, Grafwidow being an absurd roadblock to put up pressure, I'm under the impression that Temur Emerge is the best deck in the format. While it's slow to start, and likely an underdog to aggressive strategies, the format seems to be pretty slow. Card advantage and battlefield advantage matter less when Emrakul is hitting the battlefield and bringing a Kozilek's Return from the graveyard with it.
While Bant Company will put up great numbers, I don't think it will win the tournament.
2. Under the old rotation schedule, Collected Company would've been banned in Standard.
Tom Ross: Fiction. There has to be some card that's the Most Played Card in Standard. Collective Company is a good Magic card that goes well with the current suite of quality three-drops. However, it's a beatable strategy and far from oppressive in my eyes.
I dislike Bant Company mirrors as they have a high frequency to drag on until time is called, before their natural conclusions. Mirrors and matchups will exist that are tough to finish. That's just Magic.
Many people don't like the variance of Collective Company. Personally I like the chance nature of spinning the wheel and think that it's good for the game. Most aspects of variance in Magic are disguised one way or another. The fact that Collective Company is in-your-face about it gives it a lot of attention. A good card, and not nearly too good to be banned under any system.
Todd Anderson: Fact. I thought there was a good chance Collected Company was going to get banned even with the new rotation schedule. It is oppressively powerful and discourages innovation in deckbuilding. And with cards like Collected Company only getting better with each new set printed (see Green Sun's Zenith, Chord of Calling), I figured they might just admit their mistake and try to remedy it.
But banning cards always creates other problems. A banning creates a power vacuum that other cards can take up rather quickly. I can only imagine how good Emrakul, the Promised End is going to be once Collected Company rotates. It is difficult to understand just what banning a card can do to a format. No one has played that format without the card before, not even Wizards of the Coast.
With that said, I'm certainly glad that Collected Company isn't going to be in Standard any longer than it has to be. But if you think about it, this is about the time Collected Company would have normally rotated out of the format, right?
3. Two or more cards from Conspiracy: Take the Crown will make an appearance in the Top 16 of the #SCGRICH Legacy Classic.
Tom Ross: Fiction. There are some Legacy playables in Conspiracy: Take the Crown. I just don't think people will slot them into decks quickly enough by #SCGRICH. If the question was “would one or more,” I would think yes, based on the foreseeable strength of Recruiter of the Guard in Death and Taxes. If two do appear, I expect it's because of a well-finishing Death and Taxes deck that also has a few Sanctum Prelates in there too. Maybe Grenzo, Havoc Raiser.
These look strong enough too:
Still, I think it's going to take a little longer for these cards to find a good home in Legacy. They'll eventually make some Top 16s and Top 8s, just not this weekend.
Todd Anderson: Fact. If you count reprints, then that is certainly going to be Fact. As for new cards, I think that Death and Taxes (or any other Aether Vial deck) could put these two to good use. My only fear is that adding a toolbox package for Recruiter of the Guard will make the deck less consistent.
Death and Taxes thrives on being able to put threats onto the battlefield early in the game that disrupt the opponent. Adding a three-mana 1/1 creature will make draws featuring Aether Vial a bit stronger but actually reduce the consistency with which your threats are deployed. You'll also run into the downside of drawing random one-of creatures in matchups where they don't really do anything.
Sanctum Prelate is also a pretty messed-up card, hosing entire strategies for just three mana. I could definitely see either of these creatures making a breakthrough in Legacy. There are a few others that stand out, but I'm unsure just how good they're going to be.
This card is definitely interesting. Being able to gain virtual card advantage, even if those cards don't synergize with the rest of your deck, is pretty cool. A red deck being able to cast Brainstorm, Ponder, or some other draw spell off the opponent's deck is pretty cool. The one major downside is that you can't play lands drawn this way.
Even if this card isn't good, it still makes me very, very happy. I just wish it were Modern-legal, to be honest.
4. Jace, the Mind Sculptor wouldn't be great in the current Modern format.
Jace is like Nahiri, the Harbinger, except you Brainstorm instead of rummaging, bounce a creature instead of exiling it (sometimes your Snapcaster Mage), and kill your opponent without having to play an uncastable Emrakul, the Aeons Torn in your deck.
There's an argument that Jace, the Mind Sculptor is best against fair decks and that Modern is plagued with unfair decks that Jace would have little impact against. My counterargument is that the decks with Jace, the Mind Sculptor in them will have the ability to play better, or even narrower cards in their deck. You'll see more cards with the Brainstorms and can use Jace in tandem with fetchlands to have an effect that's almost exclusive to Legacy.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor should be banned for a while, at least until a powerful card like Bloodbraid Elf comes along that attacks Jace well. If that happens, of course, we'd have another problem on our hands.
Todd Anderson: Fiction. Have you ever cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor? Even when it was in Standard, and Bloodbraid Elf was running rampant, it was still very good. I mean, sometimes your opponent doesn't draw Bloodbraid Elf, and then you're left with a Jace doing all sorts of very unfair things.
After writing about the Modern format last week, I got a lot of people asking me questions like, “Why did you leave Jace, the Mind Sculptor off your list of potential unbans?” My only response was a chuckle. You just don't get it, and you probably never will.
I know that Legacy is a format where gaining control is a big deal, and card advantage is tough to come by, but it is nearly impossible to win a game where an opponent untaps with an active Jace, the Mind Sculptor. You can argue with me about it until you're out of breath, that Jace “dies to Lightning Bolt,” or the decks in the format are too fast. But just unban Jace for a trial run. Go ahead.
I'll make you regret it.
5. At least three cards that are currently banned in Modern will be legal by next spring.
Tom Ross: Fiction. Maybe cards could be unbanned. I don't know what they'd be. Green Sun's Zenith is probably okay now that Deathrite Shaman is gone. I wouldn't unban Bloodbraid Elf. I think the Mirrodin artifact land cycle being unbanned wouldn't drastically improve the strength of Affinity. I believe Blazing Shoal Infect to be worse than G/U Infect without Preordain or Ponder. Stoneforge Mystic only really comboing with Batterskull may be acceptable.
Although there are reasonable candidates to come off the banned list, for one reason or another, I don't think it'll actually happen in six months.
Todd Anderson: Fact. I think there are a few cards that could safely be removed from the ban list. With Modern being full of polarized decks that are mostly trying to ignore the opponent, I'd be fine unbanning any card that could give fair decks a bit more consistency and a little more power (Green Sun's Zenith). Of course, if you start to go too far with stuff like Birthing Pod or Jace, the Mind Sculptor, you get into sticky territory.
Wizards should unban some stuff just to make things interesting. The last few unbans have been underwhelming, leading me to believe that they can (and will) push the envelope. Mostly, I just want them to be more open about their process. Leaving us in the dark, waiting for answers, is not helping anyone. If they're taking a closer look at the format or reevaluating their theory on what Modern should be, then they should tell us! We're so deep in the format that we're gonna grow gills before it's all said and done.
Should more cards be banned? I don't think so. At this point, there are too many decks doing the same type of thing, only on different wavelengths. You'd have to ban Mox Opal, Chord of Calling, Faithless Looting, Goblin Guide, Through the Breach, Simian Spirit Guide, Gitaxian Probe, Aether Vial, and maybe even Eldrazi Temple (and probably a few other things I'm forgetting). Aside from that, opening things up a bit with an unbanning is a much better solution.
The prospect of unbanning three or more cards in the next nine months is tantalizing and would definitely reel me back in. And I think that sentiment holds true for a lot of people who love Modern.