Originally I was going to write a recap of ARG Ft Worth but I figured it being the event before Nekroz was released made it rather irrelevant. It was so irrelevant that I didn't even really bother following it, at least to the extent that I have for previous events. I saw that Satellars won, which just made me chuckle as I know I've hated on that deck for the past few months now. I think with the recent trend of decks basically running no back row that Satellars were able to capitalize on this so they wouldn't get blown out by Fire Lake. I mean if BA only plays like 2 Emptiness 2 Fire Lake as their backrow line-up, basically MST'ing something is a fairly safe move. If you hit the 1 down and it's Fire Lake then as long as you have an Alpha or something you're free to set your entire backrow without fear of getting blown out. I think Satellars winning was more of a "right place at the right time" instance rather than being the actual best deck. Over the weekend I actually ended up following the Magic Pro Tour instead. Now my interest for the Modern format is rather minimal because financially it's not as accessible as Standard is and I didn't know too much about the format or what the decks did but it was still great watching some of Magic's greatest pros go head to head. The quality of coverage just blew me away, I knew it was basically how Magic has always done it but after watching Yugioh "coverage" for so long I had forgotten what good coverage looks like. All of the commentators knew what they were talking about and what the cards did as they were played, they discussed sidedeck and draft strategies, conducted player interviews, commentators acted and dressed professionally, the list goes on. Yugioh simply still has such a long ways to go, which is sad as the game is certainly not new or anything. Anyways, the problem with Modern, at least from what I can tell, is it reminds me of Yugioh. The top 8 was 2 Bloom, 2 Twin, 2 Burn, and 2 Abzan. So basically 4 combo decks, 2 burn decks, and 2 decks that wanted to actually play Magic. I say it reminds me of Yugioh because those combo decks have the potential to OTK out of nowhere and burn is the same degenerate strategy as it is in any other game. I didn't get away from one self-touch game just to play in another. Furthermore the finals was Twin vs Bloom. I watched the first 2 games where game 1 Bloom combo'd off, and game 2 Twin dropped Blood Moon which made it so the Bloom player couldn't play. At that point I stopped watching because Twin could just Blood Moon the Bloom player out of the rest of the games and sure enough Twin won. Blood Moon is essentially a floodgate that says "you can't play Magic". Again, I've dealt with enough floodgate shit in Yugioh that I just wouldn't be interested in having to deal with that in Magic as well. Luckily those cards either aren't in Standard or just no one plays them.
The big talk in the Yugioh world, for what has felt like the past few months now but is really starting to ramp up, is Nekroz. Tacoma will be the first event that they are legal (inconveniently only a day after release) and I for one am quite interested to see the impact they will have. I know they will do well, I just want to see how well. The pull rates for the good cards is reportedly absurdly low, in the realm of 1 Trish/Brio out of 6 boxes. Seeing this is frustrating as I felt that Konami could've made the deck really accessible to a larger player base by making essentially a Hidden Arsenal set for them. I remember in Hidden Arsenal 1 you could buy 1 box and for the most part be sure to pull 1 each of Catastor, Brio, and Mist Wurm (which were pretty much the only cards people actually wanted). Now you have to buy a case just for the chance to pull 2 of something? In a 60-card set? My God that is absolutely ridiculous. It is just yet another slap in the face to the players that have still stuck around with this game and wanted some possibility or hope of being able to play a tier deck that would be budget. I got to the point where I was finally done with it and I know a lot of other players have as well. I'm guessing Nekroz will be the most expensive deck in the format and if the hype correlates with the results, it will end up being the best deck as well. Going into the event I know there will be a lot of BA, Qliphort, Shaddoll, and Satellars as Nekroz just isn't accessible as it should or could be to the player base. This puts players into an awkward position of "how much should I be siding for this match-up?" Theoretically you might not need to because the odds of running into it (especially in the earlier rounds) would be low, but if you do well and end up seeing a lot of Nekroz in the later rounds you wouldn't wanted to be ill-prepared as well. I remember at the previous Tacoma/Seattle YCS it was when Mermails had just come out and I remember a lot of us wondering how much we should be siding for it. My guess is the upper echelon of pros will be playing Nekroz since they will have easier access to the deck through their sponsor or their network of other pros/friends. I'm not saying everyone that will be playing Nekroz will be good, cuz who knows maybe they just have money but haven't bothered learning the deck, but my guess is that the guys like those in the ARG crew will be running the deck and will be very up-to-speed with it. I think the event will ultimately boil down to "Nekroz vs anti-Nekroz strategies" where the non-Nekroz decks will try to flood Nekroz out of the game and Nekroz will have to out-draw those floodgates. Kinda reminds me of Dragons vs Anti-Dragons. I haven't done a whole lot of testing but I think Qliphorts are the best non-Nekroz deck in a meta with Nekroz. The match-up for Burning Abyss is so skewed in favor of the Nekroz player that I honestly wouldn't even consider playing BA if I were playing the game. Now I might be totally wrong, and I'm not saying that we won't see BA top. I'm sure we will, I just think as the format progresses we will definitely see less of it than we used to and it will evolve into Nekroz and Qliphs being the 2 best decks. I'm not sure where Satellas fits into all this and Shaddolls have shown themselves to be straggling in the race to keep up. The water fusion is not going to cut it when Cross Souls comes out. I think as people increase their anti-search cards to deal with Nekroz this will have a negative impact on Satellas.
I have a few friends that are going to the event so I just wanted to wish them good luck! I hope to God they are prepared for Nekroz. The Seattle ARG was a disappointing event for them so hopefully this event will turn out better. I will not be going since a) I don't have a deck and b) it's Valentine's weekend and I'm married. Originally I was actually going to judge the event and got accepted to do it, but had to opt out of the event due to my general lack of interest in the game, not feeling comfortable with rulings related to the newer cards, and again Valentine's day. Hopefully the event goes well for everyone, players and staff included!