The Weekly Guild Build: Pimp My MODO

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StarCityGames.com!The Ferrett, laid up sick after a long flight filled with foreign germs, plays thirty-five matches on a lazy Saturday afternoon and muses about Magic Online. And in addition to dissecting the usual Ravnica Block Sealed Deck, he asks you a vital question that might help others: How do you have MODO configured?

When I returned home after spending a glorious three weeks in Europe, I returned as a very sick man. But this should be no surprise; after all, I had been locked in a thin metal tube for ten hours, breathing recycled air thick with the germs of various passengers, each of whom had carried their fantabulous virii to my lungs from places far and wide.

So I spent last Saturday sitting at the computer, numb to the world, repeatedly playing in my Magic League on MODO.

It felt senseless. I mean, Time Spiral is coming out soon, and Coldsnap draft is the big story of the day, so playing a handful of games with a format that had been explored thoroughly seemed to mean nothing from a tournament perspective.

So I thought about MODO, and how badly documented it was. And how it should be set up.

I mean, I’ve got my stops customized fine for me. They work. For the record, here’s where I pause:

Upkeep (both mine and my opponent’s)
It didn’t used to be set at mine until Forecast hit the skids. Then, after the third time I skipped past the opportunity to use my Sky Hussar, I finally stopped there. I may drop this after Ravnica.

Main (Mine)
Beginning of Combat (His)
Declare Attackers (Both)
Declare Blockers (Both)
There was a time I skipped past my Declare Attackers phase, but there were a few times I needed to drop in a protective effect before my opponent got a chance to set up his defense, so it’s in. But I skip past it 99% of the time, and I do wonder whether I should just set it only if I have a deck that has a card that relies on split-second timing.

Main (Postcombat) (Mine)
End of turn (His)

But then I realized the reason I could set up my games with so many stops is because I kept one hand on the F2 key, “Okaying” my way past everything. And it occurred to me that perhaps I should ask you folks what your default MODO configuration is, in the hopes of creating a beginners’ novice article that the new-to-online person can look to to create his own kit-out.

Oh, I know that MODO three-oh will be arriving soon — Real Soon Now, as they say. And I hope that the new MODO arrives next week, and it’s set up for experienced players out of the box, and we don’t need this. But if MODO 3.0 takes a while — as I suspect it might — or if a lot of attention hasn’t been paid to initial configuration — as I suspect it might — then it might be a useful tool.

So here’s the two questions I want to ask you:

What stops do you have set up on MODO?
What hotkeys/settings/habits do you think are absolutely essential for you to play easy games?

Answer in the forums. I wanna know. And then I can compile it, and maybe place it in our “New To Magic?” center, which has a surprising number of novice Magic players flooding in.

(And as long as we’re talking about novice stuff, our former Managing Editor Ted Knutson has a great series at Magicthegathering.com. If, for some reason, you don’t know Magic that well yet find yourself reading me, I’d suggest you read him, too.)

(And as long as we’re talking about contacting me stuff, if you live in the Cleveland area I’m trying to get together a regular multiplayer group. We just kicked off on Sunday with Vrax – whose articles you should read if you haven’t already, his brother, and my friend Dmitri. Get in touch with me at [email protected] if you feel like slinging some cards in a group occasionally, or perhaps setting off en masse to go to the prereleases and such.)

The Guild Build I Killed With As I Chilled
So what do we have for the fans?

Solid playables: Bathe in Light, Conclave Equenaut, Courier Hawk, Faith’s Fetters, Freewind Falcon, Shrieking Grotesque

I feel like Chong, toking off a fat blunt, his lungs so full of good stuff that he can barely choke out the words: “This is some primo s**t.”

Seriously, it’s not the best White I’ve ever seen, but it’s pretty darned good. You have your annoying enchantments to neutralize stuff, you have a host of solid fliers, and above all you have Bathe in Light. I love Bathe in Light, because it’s the Swiss Army Knife of Ravnica. Need to clear the way for an Alpha strike? You got it. Need to protect your guys in combat? You got it. Need to remove an annoying enchantment? Absolutely! Want to fizzle some gigantor spell that’s going to end the game if it plops on an opponent’s creature? Its service is yours.

I know that as a Magic player I’m not supposed to say this, but I love to Bathe.

Solid playables: Compulsive Research, Tidespout Tyrant, Tidewater Minion, Vedalken Plotter

Note that there are fourteen Blue cads here and almost none of ‘em are “solid.” Some of ‘em are pretty situationally strong — I know I love Drake Familiar in the right enchantment-laden deck — but Runeboggle and Vision Skeins are too situational, Stasis Cell is too expensive, and Mnemonic Nexus is, um… An uncommon.

I’m stretching by putting Vedalken Plotter in here as a solid playable, but as everyone in the world of Sealed now knows that the bouncelands are so good you should be playing them no matter what, you can screw your opponent with much more consistency. He’s only good in the early game (or when your opponent has some annoying Guild Hall), so perhaps I’m overstating the case.

In any case, Blue? Big but flimsy, like a guy who flunked the wrestling tryouts.

Solid playables: Carrion Howler, Necroplasm, Stinkweed Imp, Thoughtpicker Witch

A couple of nice cards. But really, nothing much, either. I guess we can leave it behind.

Solid playables: Barbarian Riftcutter, Ordruun Commando, Seal of Fire, Tin Street Hooligan

Not so much. Despite the fact that Ordruun Commando and Tin Street Hooligan are attractively priced for their bodies, that doesn’t make them much more than vanilla guys with a twist. Thus, even though I reluctantly list them above, realistically they’re only great if you can pair something with them. They’ll almost always make the cut in my decks, but they don’t pull me into a color, which perhaps should mark a change in how I start reviewing these decks come Time Spiral, when people start caring about Sealed builds again.

Some would question the inclusion of Barbarian Riftcutter as a playable, and I have no doubt he’s terrible in Draft. But in Sealed, which is slower, the ability to pop a bounceland is nice (especially with recursion), and he’s not a terrible body for five mana.

Solid playables: Farseek, Gather Courage, Elves of Deep Shadow, Greater Mossdog, Patagia Viper, Sundering Vitae, Transluminant

I expect Green to fix my mana, destroy my opponent’s enchantments, pump my creatures, and provide me with beef. This pretty much does all of that, though it does none of it with particular efficiency. The beef isn’t that big, the pumps aren’t plentiful, and the mana-fixing is… Well, okay, with an Elves and a Farseek, we’re doing okay on mana. So Green’s probably in, but it’s not a spectacular Green.

Solid playables: Golgari Rotwurm, Grave-Shell Scarab, Guardian of the Guildpact, Minister of Impediments, Mourning Thrull, Pillory of the Sleepless, Putrefy, Riot Spikes, Shambling Shell, Thundersong Trumpeter

Wowza. You may have lost it in the welter of other cards, but Grave-Shell Scarab is a nice little card. I’ve never cracked it before, but despite the slight difficulty of the double-Green and a Black in its cost, it comes out quite consistently. The Dredge is easy as pie, the body is well worth the five mana, and the ability to draw a card at will fizzles an awful lot of effects. It’s been relentless in the games where I can get it out.

Then you look at the rest of the Golgari lineup, and it looks like an all-star showcase: Golgari Rotwurm, Putrefy, Shambling Shell. So with four powerful G/B spells, we’re definitely going Green/Black.

What else can we throw in? Well, Blue is weak. Red is weak. Given that our White was pretty good and our White/Black stuff is okay, I guess that forces us into G/B/W in pretty much the most clear-cut color choice I’ve seen for a Ravnica build in months.

1 Bathe in Light
1 Boros Garrison
1 Conclave Equenaut
1 Courier Hawk
1 Elves of Deep Shadow
1 Faith’s Fetters
1 Farseek
5 Forest
1 Gather Courage
1 Golgari Rotwurm
1 Grave-Shell Scarab
1 Greater Mossdog
1 Gruul Scrapper
1 Gruul Turf
1 Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi
1 Mourning Thrull
1 Necroplasm
1 Pillory of the Sleepless
4 Plains
1 Putrefy
1 Revenant Patriarch
1 Shambling Shell
1 Shrieking Grotesque
1 Stinkweed Imp
4 Swamp
1 Transluminant
1 Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree
1 Freewind Equenaut
1 Minister of Impediments
1 Utopia Sprawl

So how’d it do? Well, actually, very well, but not during the tourney proper. I was horrifically sick the weekend I came home, and so bored out of my skull and unwilling to pay any money, I played about thirty-five matches with this damn deck. I won about twenty-five of them.

It was a surprisingly strong deck that won via attacking in the air. That was pretty much it; I had the ability to keep the skies clear with my spells, and I was usually attacking for three a turn overhead while the ground was clogged with my dredgetastic fatties. Basically, I won unless they had Trophy Hunter or Rakdos Ickspitter — two cards that pretty much shut this deck down.

The Necroplasm and the Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree occasionally interacted in very funny ways. And if you’re sleepy and sick and bored, sometimes you do the funny thing of casting a creature which will be immediately destroyed at end of turn. Still, considering how it clears the way of all those annoying three-drops — and there are a lot of them — it’s still worth it.

The Weekly Plug Bug
We’re in the middle of the “Princess Fluttershine” storyline, wherein Branch — the annoying, mealymouthed, vexing hottie nerd — is gaming under the harsh mercies of Tom, the terrible GM. On Friday, she unveiled her character, the eponymous Princess Fluttershine, who is “half-elf half-angel and she can cast rainbow spells that make men fall in love with her and all the puppies adore her and she flies on butterfly wings to bring candy to the world.”

This week? The gaming commences. And the world holds its breath.

Signing off,
The Ferrett
The Here Edits This Site Here Guy