Don't feel bad about the confusion. The first words on the Wiki article for Emoji is "Not to be confused with emoticons"
Emoji are a part of the Unicode standard. Most modern software can store unicode without issue, so as long as your computer can produce it, you can post it. As long as your computer understands the emoji, you'll see it.
You're probably most familiar with using it on your cell phone. On your desktop, you can type emoji using cmd+ctrl+space on MacOS or by adding a keyboard on Windows 7+
From a quick Google, it appears that the developers of NodeBB (the software being used for this forum) have opted not to include emoticon support specifically because of the prevalence of emoji. That saves them a lot of coding for emoticons that already have an emoji equivalent but does leave out the possibility of custom emoticons.
I wasn't able to quickly find an emoticon plugin for NodeBB and I suspect that one does not exist. Emoji should be enough for everybody - or at least, it covers a large portion of the use-case for emoticons in a forum.
I personally don't think they need to be added. If they are added, I hope it's either via an easy method or after some of the other feature requests have been implemented.
While having custom emoticons is neat and having mana symbols is useful, I think they're not very necessary. Everyone knows what you mean when you say Force costs 3UU - I don't need the blue mana symbol.
Here are the series standings thru our first 2 events.
Dan Barkon 17
Josh Barkon 32
Jason Beaupre 11
Jeremy Beaver 21
Joe Brennan 38
Matt Buck 11
Max Clark 9
Samantha Dayton 12
William Dayton 29
Dominic Difebo 9
Troy Fluks 9
Josh Fuller 11
Stephen Ganter 14
John Geras 18
Chuck Greb 11
Sean Higgins 5
Greg Hoover 22
Chris Hopkinson 9
Evan Hundertmark 18
Nicholas Kirkenbauer 9
Josh Lalo 20
Madi Lentz 7
Joel Lim 11
Dan Miller 16
Michael Monks 11
Steve Nowakowski 17
Joe Pace 11
Josh Potucek 26
Josh Richards 11
Keith Seals 30
William Sees 13
Carson Shup 5
Dan Sollazzo 7
Chris Varosky 22
This means our top 8 qualifiers at the moment are:
1.Joe Brennan 38
2.Josh Barkon 32
3.Keith Seals 30
4.William Dayton 29
5.Josh Potucek 26
6/7 Greg Hoover/Chris Varosky 22
I'm not sure. It seems like the strongest line of attack against you is actually just huge critters and Walking Ballista/Ravager effects. Some combination of protection from removal and Krenko is likely the way to go.
Magus is for sure a non-bo with the mana bases of the best human decks from recent years (Storm's Humans that won in Spain spring to mind here.), but a couple questions spring to my mind at least.
Firstly, could you just jam a couple Magus into some version of Humans as a sort of uncounterable (off of Cavern), Armageddon-like effect to just end games where you have already played out a Thalia, into Mantis Rider, into Reflector Mage and then Magus is the cherry on top that never lets them replay the Smasher you just put back in their hand.... ? Maybe? I kinda doubt this would work myself... but maybe some slightly redder version of humans with Harsh Mentor is out there where Magus is a capstone sort of lock piece. The destroying your own manabase does seem like a problem though.
Assuming that Harsh Mentor is good, I actually think that something along these lines with 4 Magus, 4Harsh, and 2-4 Blood Moon might be pretty tough, since the opponent will be dealing with a Magus or a Harsh nearly all the time, and will be faces with crazy problems like having to try to remove Magus, so that a Flooded Strand can become not a Mountain, and instead become a fetchland that costs 3 life to use. If a second Harsh comes down, it now costs 5, and at that point shouldn't they just be in such an impossible situation that there is no getting out? I'm also optimistic about this angle, since Magus seems great against both Eldrazi (which I think is the worst matchup for Humans) and Mentor, while Harsh seems great against Shops. Now just add some number of Eidolons and you have multiple, on-color, mainboard answers for a huge chunk of the metagame. (56% of top 8 decks in the last year, going by mtgtop8)
@Islandswamp My wife points out that it might be even sicker tech in a white eldrazi deck that was running Karakas. Now you can bounce any creature on the board with an uncounterable tap? Now you can disappear the mentor if they drive up the prowess, or rip their hand apart turn after turn with a single TKS.
Not sure if there is as much room to jam it in to that deck though.
@Smmenen That's fair, I was unaware of the previous discussions and will do some reading in the linked thread.
Another way to read scenario 1i is that the format is Deck A vs Deck Anti-A (Z?) and they knocked themselves out of the tournament - it's a technically bad choice because of the over-representation, but it's also a bad format.
I recognize that we don't have hard data to pull from, but I think that the Top 8 is a much more limited pool and we ought to do what we can (redesign match slips or how things are reported) to have a full metagame report, but until those steps are taken, do some kind of poll or take into account people's feelings on the events. The feelings of the participants, not the sour grapes on losing but just the general sense of how the tournament felt, is valuable data in this entirely elective pursuit.
So if polling people gets a consensus, then we ought to take that consensus into account.
And maybe it's in the thread, but how do we weight the winner of the tournament? It's still got some amount of variance and is match up dependent and the tournament isn't round robin, etc. So if the winner doesn't get a weight, then it seems that the Top 8 is getting an undue weight in statistics.
But ultimately, if it's the only data we have then I guess we just use it as we can for now and work on changing other reporting solutions. It is unfortunate that WotC doesn't want to share as much of the data from MTGO with us.
I will say that highlander is a really fun format to play. I loved it when my friends and I played it before cube became popular (though to be honest, not a lot of difference between highlander and powered cube).
Highlander is less skill intensive I think (aside from deckbuilding) than Vintage, but such a deep card pool. Only issue I had was the lack of 4 wastelands makes LIbrary of Alexandria a little ridiculous.
If you're looking for a fun night, give it a try. Love the format!
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