Jan 19, 201713797 views

Announcing MTG Team Massdrop East/West

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Welcome Planeswalkers,
We’re proud to officially announce our sponsorship of pro Magic: The Gathering team, Massdrop East/West! The 12-man team, formerly known as East West Bowl has been tearing it up in tournament play. They had an extraordinary run at Pro Tour Oath of Gatewatch, in which three different players reached the Top 8 and one took home the crown—not to mention their impressive finishes at Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad and Pro Tour Eldritch Moon.
Building on that success, Massdrop East/West has high hopes for 2017—and plenty of firepower to back them up. For the new year, MTG is debuting a brand-new format called the Pro Tour Team Series. Seeing as some of the most compelling story lines in Pro Tour history have come from testing teams of friends, rivals, aspiring pros, and all-time greats, the decision makers at Wizards of the Coast created a format to facilitate those relationships. Starting with Pro Tour Aether Revolt (February 3 - 5), the Pro Tour Team Series will be underway, with over $50,000 up for grabs.
To prepare for the Team Series, Massdrop East/West will be testing and strategizing together as a collective. Entering the competition, they will be two teams: six members from Massdrop East and six members from Massdrop West—and they’re all here to talk about the upcoming competition! Check out the roster below to start following each player and learn more about their backgrounds.

Team Massdrop East:
Pascal Maynard (Captain) - https://www.massdrop.com/profile/PascalMaynard/
Jarvis Yu - https://www.massdrop.com/profile/JarvisYu/
Ricky Chin - https://www.massdrop.com/profile/RickyChin/
Timothy Wu - https://www.massdrop.com/profile/TimothyWu/
Eric Severson - https://www.massdrop.com/profile/EricSeverson
Jon Stern - https://www.massdrop.com/profile/JonStern/

Team Massdrop West:
Mark Jacobson (Captain) - https://www.massdrop.com/profile/MarkJacobson/
Paul Dean - https://www.massdrop.com/profile/PaulDean
Jiachen Tao - https://www.massdrop.com/profile/JiachenTao/
Ari Lax - https://www.massdrop.com/profile/AriLax/
Scott Lipp - https://www.massdrop.com/profile/ScottLipp/
Benjamin Weitz - https://www.massdrop.com/profile/BenjaminWeitz/
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Lautaro, NanoMagnetics, and 42 others
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Mox Opal - Ban / no ban? Also, as a long time casual player looking to slowly edge into competitive modern, what deck would you recommend? (I know matchups for Infect, Affinity and Death's Shadow from online testing [over 24 hours each]).
ocstewart4
As we have seen lately, the Death's Shadow decks are packing a lot of punch and seeing a lot of success. Infect, on the other hand, has seen a big drop. I think the metagame is too hostile for Infect right now, with lots of discard, removal, and Collective Brutality (which combines both!). Affinity is still a tried and true solid Modern deck that you can't really go wrong with, unless people are packing a ton of SB hate. So probably Shadow, then Affinity, then long gap, then Infect. Shadow is both hard to play with and hard to play against, so if you get in the reps, it will pay off.
As for Mox Opal, it seems like a card that could be banned. But who knows. It's very strong, but not currently warping the metagame. There may have been a case if the Cheerios deck ended up being more consistent and less fragile. So right now, I think it is safe. However, it might restrict design space a bit because they need to worry about printing good artifacts that go well with it.
MarkJacobson
Well, Mox Opal survived, and I decided on Naya burn. Now halfway through, it fits my playstyle, is inexpensive, and I believe it is doing well in the meta. Thanks!
Shouldn't there be more b/g standard decks right now? Like with greenbelt rampager, winding constrictor, fatal push, and bristling hydra?
Kirkles
I was actually pretty impressed by the amount of aggression the BG Energy deck can put out. I think Hydra is powerful but too clunky for that style of deck.
Ben Stark took a BG deck and added red for Scrounger + Disintegration package and it looked pretty good. I think it may have even had sideboard Lathnu Hellion.
Maybe the metagame will crack at some point and not just be Mardu, 4C, and a smattering of Tower.
Note that when I was testing with Tower, the low-to-the-ground high-pressure BG Energy with lots of Blossoming Defense was actually pretty annoying. Blossoming is so good. Not sure if Tower will actually becomes more popular now that it won a GP.
Can we apply to join one of the teams? I never saw Massdrop sponsoring pro MTG, but I absolutely love this. Go Mass Drop East!!
Abby_Rhode
I'll ignore you preference for the _other_ team and say that the first step to being viable for a squad like this is to make a name for yourself on the MTG Pro Circuit. We will soon have MTG content coming in on Massdrop which I hope will help you level up!
It's nice to see you all together! As piece of advice to a brazilian player, do you think that a BW/Mardu control is a viable/strong deck in the meta to come with a lot of combos?
Mascarenhas
I think a lot of it will depend on what style of combo decks. BW and Mardu have a lot of removal, so combo decks that rely on creatures could be good matchups. Marvel style could be an issue, but you at least have discard and Anguished Unmaking to help out. One of the tough parts about control this early is that control by definition is reactive, and if the meta is undefined, you don't even have a clear understanding of what you need to react to. Once some initial results come in it'll be easier to see how they might stack up.
Do you prefer Joe Cool or the Flying Ace?
lordofthepit
I prefer the head bagel
What do you recommend for a player wanting to eventually get sponsored in mtg? I find time the most difficult variable considering I work a lot.
Perfy
I think it's important to find people with the same goals as you do. So in your case the goal might be to succeed at MTG while keeping a full time job. When time is limited, the challenge becomes how to prepare in a smart, efficient manner. We spend a fair amount of time thinking about our process and trying to improve it. One of factors leading to the creation of EWB was that a lot of us couldn't afford to go to a PT weeks in advance to prepare. Nearly all of our testing is done online to fit our schedules.
What will do you think people will play in aether revolt standard
Nashtagg
Hard to say right now, next couple of weekends there should be some preliminary Standard events which will set the tone for the Pro Tour. With the new set and the bannings everything got shaken up. Aggro, combo, and control all seem viable. There are a lot of build-around cards in Kaladesh and Aether Revolt, should be interesting to see what the different teams bring to battle.
I started an MTG club at my college, and it's mostly casual players (we play modern, standard, edh and pauper, but mostly homebrews, and nothing competitive for most of our members)- now, I have a ton of questions about meta, speculation, and the ever-present "How does my deck look?" but I'm going to ask instead if it would be possible for one of your team to come to my college as a guest speaker for the club? I haven't really worked out any kinks, or have a specific plan, but I think it would be awesome, so I figured I'd ask a floating question on it, and if there's interest, develop the idea further. Would you be interested and available? It's a SUNY school.
supdi1
I don't think any of us live in the NY area :(. Most of us are in CA and DC.
BenjaminWeitz
Fair enough xDThank you for your time!!!
Favorite jank Standard deck?
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that deck was a beauty.
<3
Thoughts on Tezzeret? All versions, all constructed formats.
kineticstasis
Vintage: I think Paradoxical Outcome has removed the need for The Seeker as a win condition, but I haven't been opposed to Agent of Bolas in Ancient Tomb midrange that arises to combat specific Sphere heavy Stax lists. Prob too bad vs Mentor to be good any more but if Gush is axed....
Legacy: Never really liked Affinity sadly.
Modern: Would not be surprised if Agent of Bolas sees a bit more play due to Affinity getting Spire of Industry.
Standard: [redacted}
Limited: My opponent at the prerelease had T5 The Schemer G1 with 3 artifacts and T4 The Scheme G2 with 2 artifacts. I did not come close to winning either game.
kineticstasis
To add to Ari's answer, I haven't read Agents of Artifice yet, but my initial reaction to his appearance in the KLD storyline was unfavorable. His interactions with Dovin Baan have really saved the character though, and I'm excited to read more about his schemes when I get the chance.
what are you thoughts on ub faeries in the current meta?
klugermtg
Mostly worse than Grixis / Jund / Abzan, unfortunately. I do enjoy a good Mistbind Clique, though....
What is your team's favorite podcast?
dratnos
Ever hear of Sallied Tragedies? Kappa
dratnos
I really enjoy about 2/3rds of a podcast called Allied Strategies.
In your opinion, what is your top1 skill as a team? Is it outstanding individual skills? incredible professionalism?
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R3mi
There's also an alignment of goals. We all want to win, but we all want to enjoy the experience of doing it just as much.
R3mi
Agree with @PascalMaynard. When you are a group of friends as opposed to a group of mercenaries, things feel way smoother. I've heard some horror stories of teams where egos get in the way. Top moment from GP Syndey captures the camaraderie perfectly - http://magic.wizards.com/en/events/coverage/gpsyd16/top-5-moments
Which team is, on average, more attractive, and how much does Pascal's beard affect your answers to this question?
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I assumed this was why the two of you were split up - to prevent other teams from getting down on themselves.
tirentu
Is it even close?
What are your thoughts about Madcap Moon in modern? What about Blue Moon decks in general?
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matthewcnicklas
I've never tried Madcap Moon yet, at first sight I wasnt a fan of the combo since you still die to Inkmoth Nexus and Path to Exile. However, overall I like Blue Moon decks. Unconditional love for Serum Visions and Lightning Bolt.
matthewcnicklas
Haven't tried it yet, but with Infect getting neutered it might be a bit better now. I liked the Madcap combo as a SB option against decks that weren't very good against it, but didn't really like it as a MD plan. I don't really like Blue Moon decks in modern in general, because I think your deck is too weak when Blood Moon isn't good.
I'm curious if you divide up duties based on players strengths within each team? (___ is good at brewing so let's have him work on that, ___ is good at compiling data, Ari is good at staring someone down, etc.)
Haste
Since we all colaborate together, our team split was specifically based on giving us the highest chance of doing well in the Team Series. Basically, we split between Team A and B, A being the one with the highest PT median finish.
Haste
Yeah we definitely divide up duties. Some players are better at Limited, others at Constructed. Some are good technical players (the best testing partners), and some are better at building new decks. We more or less let people do what they want to do, and it usually works out.
I find it interesting you didn't just make teams down the Continental Divide- No Biggie/ 2Pac shenanigans.
melouke
All eyes on me! We are all great friends, now we get to see which team will finish with the best records! Blue or Red?!
ScottLipp
2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted Teams
I feel like a Reddit post needs to be made about this announcement, I'm super excited about the new team but only heard about it because I get Massdrop email newsletter.
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PascalMaynard
Sweet I found the post now thanks! Upvoted it lets get it to the front page! (created a reddit account for the first time haha, I normally just read posts)
Curious if you guys have any friendly rivalries going on between East / West? Any pre-protour bets? (higher placed team gets free dinner, lower team has to rip up their deck, etc.?)
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Haste
Tons of trash talk!
Sorry Ben didn't think about the rules like that, good catch. Glad trash talking with your teammates is allowed though :p
Can we expect you guys to be wearing some sweet hoodies? (hoodies = east/west bowl in my mind)
Haste
We have some badass track jackets currently being made that we made sure ya'll will associate to East/West Bowl :)
PascalMaynard
Can't wait to see them! :) Just gonna throw out a suggestion: everybody on the team wears bowling shoes.
What are all cards you can think of that counters Bogles/ gw hexproof that are commonly played in the meta? I would like to play around those cards.
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Alex1514
Blessed alliance also sees some play. Also abrupt decay can knock off Dawnbreak Coronet if you're not careful.
Alex1514
Crackling Doom was a really good one that dodges the backup Dryad Arbor most other sacrifice effects hit. Also the specific strategy of Merfolk was an issue, as their creatures grow faster than yours and Spreading Seas really slows you down.
i have quite a bit of old magic cards from when i was younger from.....1994 i believe....all mint condition. i actually have a whole little box set too! is anyone interested in taking a look at what i have and possibly trading me for something cool or buying it? josh@andersonseafoods.com
Joshanderson
None of us is really into trading/collecting that much, we mostly just play tournaments, however, I'm sure you can find somewhere on the internet to do that!
Joshanderson
Those could be quite valuable, so try to take the time to figure out what they're worth.
What's your favorite booze, and what set would you draft while drinking it?
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danielout
Gin Tonic + Cube.
danielout
From past experience, I would advise against triple Zendikar with the stipulation you block, you drink. Not because I don't like Zendikar, but this mostly ends with everyone still sober.
What inventions would Pascal not pass in Top 8 draft?
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whatsyourken
*BRB checking prices*
Ensnaring Bridge.
PascalMaynard
Pretty sure you can't pass Mix Opal after all it has done for you
I know you probably can't tell us how things are going in testing, but blink twice if the Saheeli/Copy Cat combo is oppressive and will dominate the Pro Tour.
MisterPhoton
It's a decent combination of two cards :P
MisterPhoton
Why would you only blink twice for the combo? Isn't ten million a better number?
Nice teams! Hope the best for the Pro Tour!
Can we have some insight on your expected Tier 1 decks for the tournament?
Cheers
MatuGermany
We're still a little bit early to tell, especially without the SCG results, but I can tell you that Delirium, Vehicules and Marvel are still real decks despite the bans, RG Energy gained a new sweet pump spells and CopyCat is obviously a thing. I'd say these are on our radar for sure!
gratz on the sponsorship. Anydefined goals for each team(placings)?
Pilhas
We don't want anything less than 1st and 2nd place!
well, this is a fun little team. Do you guys think a G/W Token strat in modern is legit with oath of Ajani.
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More for the counter than for the ramp.
Tomdon0783
Yeah, Between Virtue, Nissa and Township I think you'll have enough ways to ''anthem'' your team
So... you guys play magic or what
renopants
Sometimes ... :)
PascalMaynard
More like sometimes I don't play magic. My default state of being is playing/thinking about magic
Sup.
renopants
Sup.