Pro Thoughts on the Format

Posted in Event Coverage on February 27, 2004

By Toby Wachter


Block constructed is usually a mixed bag, mainly because of the limited card pool you have to work with. The best cards tend to overshadow the rest, which can lead to a lack of diversity and a stale environment. For example, many players complained that the Odyssey Block format only had two viable decks, blue-green and mono-black. With Mirrodin and Darksteel heavily focused on artifacts, the block would seem to have the potential to fall into the same traps due to extreme focus. Yet, there was diversity today, with the Pristine Angel and Tooth and Nail decks surprising many. Whether or not the format is healthy is still up for debate, but as I walked around the convention center it seemed that many Pros had already made up their minds.

Adrian Sullivan - I look at all of the decks that are doing well, and within a couple of cards I played against them and did well against them in testing. I've heard that from a lot of people, and I don't know what it is but it just seems as though there's a lot that has to do with luck here. I don't know how many people I've heard tell the sob stories you always hear at Pro Tours, but this time it just feels like something is a little bit different. I think there is too much artifact and anti-artifact, and that's all the format is. That's bad.

Zvi Mowshowitz - (Silence.) Imagine that was various obscene gestures you can't hear into the microphone.

Ben Rubin - I lost a lot, so I don't like it.

Neil Reeves - I think it's really dumb and draw dependent. You either play Affinity or you try to play a deck that can beat Affinity and holds its own against the other decks. If you don't put eight to ten cards into your deck specifically for Affinity, then you can't beat it. So you either play Affinity or a deck that tries to beat Affinity, and can maybe beat other stuff. I don't like it. It doesn't seem fun.

Nicolai Herzog - I hate constructed. This is constructed, and constructed is just bad. This format isn't really better or worse than other block formats, but block constructed shouldn't be a format at all in my opinion. They should make a Standard constructed Pro Tour instead of this.

Anton Jonsson - If you want to have a block Pro Tour, which I'm not sure you should have, then it should be with three sets. It would be a better format, because then you have complete decks instead of decks with like, ten good cards and ten bad ones, and whoever draws the good ones wins. All the decks are the same, except for those bad cards that don't really matter that much. It's probably better than last year's block constructed format, and it seems fine if this is what you want to do. I think you could have more fun Pro Tours if you chose to go for Standard, or just make everything limited.

Ben Stark - It just comes down to if you get your busted draw, or if they can draw their Dragon or not.

Osyp Lebedowicz - This format is terrible. All the decks are awful, and I dunno. Skullclamp…it's just stupid. I hate the fact that you have to play cards like Shatter maindeck. It's just a bad format, I hate it! I don't like it! I did badly, that's why it's bad!

Dirk Baberowski - I like it. There are a lot of decks I didn't expect, so that's always good. There's a lot of variety. There are two really good decks, like the (Pristine) Angel deck, and the French Reap and Sow deck. They're better than anyone thought, so it can't be that bad.

Diego Ostrovich - (Silence) That's my answer.

Darwin Kastle - It's pretty silly. There isn't much diversity, and so many of my matches were just, "Okay, you're playing something and I'm playing some version, but who can draw Skullclamp" kind of thing. And basically, your deck could be a lot different but there are twelve key cards and whoever drew the most of them wins. Like, out of Disciple, Skullclamp and Ravager. "I drew three of them and you drew two of them, so I win." Then there's the decks that are designed to beat that, like the Furnace Dragon decks. I guess, actually, the French guys had a Tooth and Nail deck, which was a little bit original, so credit to them. But in general, it isn't a diverse field and a lot of the matches are very luck oriented. I know a lot of people who are playing the same deck, and one of them is almost undefeated and another one is 0-4. That's happened multiple times and it's kind of frustrating. It's not even because one person is a good player and the other one isn't.

Brian Kibler - This is one of my least favorite formats to play in a long, long time. I think the games have far too high variance, and are too draw dependent. Overall, I think matchups come down to who draws more of a certain card. It's not that the cards are too good, it's just that some cards are far better than others. There's too much of a power gap, so in the Affinity matchups whoever gets the most Ravagers, Disciples and Skullclamps is going to win.

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