My 2016 MKM and BoM Season Analysis + EU Eternal Calendar ’17

In November, the second season of the MKM Series concluded in Prague. With 300 players showing up for Modern and 200 for Legacy, the tournament has been quite successful and I’m looking forward to seeing the series grow even further in 2017. Following both TOP and Bazaar of Moxen not renewing their own tournament series for 2017, MKM is looking to soak up and concentrate all European players. It’s a shame the Nordic countries still don’t get much representation, but I guess Hamburg is as close as we will ever get. All of Scandinavia is just incredibly expensive; (my friends and I even switched our summer holidays from Norway to Scotland because it.)

This article provides a look back at how I somehow ended up on the top of both the Legacy and Modern MKM rankings and qualified for the Bazaar of Moxen Super Finals, as well as an analysis of all my matchups along the way. For the final section I’m including my updated version of the 2017 EU Eternal tournament calendar, which I will also incorporate into my blog’s sidebar (once I have figured out how to do that.)

My 2016 MKM Season – Legacy & Modern

This past season consisted of five different stops in the following cities:

  • Milan, Italy, 5th – 7th February 2016 (my report) (results)
  • Frankfurt, Germany, 13th – 16th May 2016 (my report) (results)
  •  Madrid, Spain, 8th – 10th July 2016 (results)
  • London, UK, 9th – 11th September 2016 (results)
  •  Prague, Czech Republic, 25th – 27th September 2017 (results)
In the Finals of MKM Milan

Even though I originally intended to visit all of them, I eventually only made it out to Milan, Frankfurt and Prague. I ended up skipping Madrid because it was scheduled the weekend of the UEFA Euro final, which I really didn’t want to risk missing out on. London on the other hand overlapped with the Bazaar of Moxen in Paris, so I had to make a choice; I decided in favor of Paris because unlike MKM, the BoM Super Finals is really difficult to qualify for and I still needed another Top16 to secure my spot. So I went to Paris, got 11th and later collected my almost 800 € store credit at the Super Finals. Humble brags, where humble brags are due, I guess. (Even though now I feel a bit stupid because I could have also Top8’ed the event instead of bragging about a mere 11th place. But backspace is for cowards and people who play Terminus. Elves players don’t undo.) 

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MKM Milan

This was the first event I fielded the recently developed Chaos Elves. And boy did it work out for me. Just a couple of days before, Philipp Schönegger tried to sell me on his Griselblade list which I unfortunately declined. Not that I necessarily thought it was bad..(spoiler: it is), it’s just that you couldn’t really do any better than I did with Chaos Elves in Milan 🙂

Big Legacy Trial:
Legacy Main Event:
Modern Main Event:
Deck: Chaos Elves Deck: Chaos Elves Deck: Ad Nauseam
R1: Zombardment 2:0 WIN
R2: Oldschool Aggro Loam 2:0 WIN
R3: RG Lands   0:2 LOSS
R4: Merfolk  2:1 WIN
R5: *ID*
Quarters: Infect   2:0 WIN
Semis: 4c Delver   2:0 WIN
Finals: 12 Post   2:1 WIN
R1: *BYE*
R2: 4c Delver  2:1 WIN
R3: Shardless BUG   2:1 WIN
R4: Canadian Threshold 1:2 LOSS
R5: Miracles  2:1 WIN
R6: RG Lands  2:1 WIN
R7: *ID*
Quarters: Infect   2:0 WIN
Semis: 4c Delver   2:0 WIN
Finals: ANT   2:1 WIN
R1: 90 Card Kiki Living Endshift 2:1 WIN
R2: Grixis Control 2:0 WIN
R3: UWr Midrange  2:0 WIN
R4: Abzan Siege Rhino 1:2 LOSS
R5: 5c Scapeshift  1:1:1 DRAW
R6: RW Land Destruction   2:1 WIN
R7: RG Tron — 2:0 WIN
Quarters: RGw Burn/Zoo  1:2 LOSS

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MKM Frankfurt

I just wrote about Frankfurt the other week month. It’s been an absolutely amazing weekend for both me and the German Magic-scene as a whole as it saw the return of large-scale events to our country. MKM will continue this trend in 2017 and even add Hamburg as a second stop to the series. I hope I’ll be able to repeat my performance! 🙂

Big Modern Trial:
Legacy Main Event:
Modern Main Event:
Super Finals:
Deck: Ad Nauseam Deck: Chaos Elves Deck: Ad Nauseam Deck: Chaos Elves (special SB)
R1: UW Emeria Control — 2:0 WIN
R2:
UWr Control — 2:0 WIN
R3:
Abzan Chord — 2:1 WIN
R4:
Rwb Burn — 2:1 WIN
R5:
Merfolk — 2:1 WIN
R6:
MonoU Tron — 2:1 WIN
R7:
Ad Nauseam — ID
R8:
Scapeshift — 2:0 WIN
R1: *BYE*
R2: BUG Thing in the Ice — 0:2 LOSS
R3: Eldrazi — 2:0 WIN
R4: Belcher2:1 WIN
R5:
BUG Delver — 2:0 WIN
R6: 4c Delver — 2:0 WIN
R7: Esper Humility Thopters — 2:0 WIN
R8:
ANT — 1:2 LOSS
R9:
ANT — 2:0 WIN
R10:
BUG Pod — 2:0 WIN
R1: *BYE*
R2: *BYE*
R3:
BW Eldrazi & Taxes — 1:2 LOSS
R4: Jund — 2:0 WIN
R5:
RG Tron — 2:0 WIN
R6:
Abzan Midrange — 2:0 WIN
R7:
RG Tron — 2:0 WIN
R8:
Ad Nauseam — 2:1 WIN
R9:
Affinity — 2:1 WIN
R10:
Scapeshift — *ID*
Ro16: ANT —2:1 WIN
Quarters: Grixis Delver — 2:1 WIN
Semis:
BG HexDepths — 2:1 WIN
Finals: RG Lands— 1:2 LOSS

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 MKM Prague

Having fun at MKM Prague

After skipping Madrid and London, I was fortunately able to make it to the last stop of the second MKM season in Prague. Unlike in the earlier half of the year, I didn’t really feel like Ad Nauseam was such a strong choice anymore but stuck with it. I fully expected to see a couple of bans after the tournament so I didn’t want to commit to a new Modern deck yet. Turns out I was right about both. Legacy-wise it was heartbreaking to lose two consecutive win-and-ins but so is Magic. Game3 against Dredge I had just Surgical Extraction‘ed my opponent and saw that he only had a single card left in his deck that could turn the game around for him: his single copy of Firestorm. Unfortunately for me, that’s exactly what I cut his deck to afterwards. Oh well. Honestly though, I had made a small mistake in the lead-up to that situation. So had I played better I probably wouldn’t have put myself into that situation in the first place. Get gud, Julian!

Big Legacy Trial:
Legacy Main Event:
Modern Main Event:
Deck: NO Elves Deck: Ad Nauseam
– didn’t play- R1: BUG Delver — 2:1 WIN
R2: ANT  2:1 WIN
R3: Elves   1:2 LOSS
R4: Imperial Painter — 2:1 WIN
R5: UWr Delver  2:0 WIN
R6: Oldschool Aggro Loam  2:1 WIN
R7: BUG Delver — 2:0 WIN
R8: Dredge1:2 LOSS
R9:
Food Chain — 0:2 LOSS
R1: Dredge 1:2 LOSS
R2: Eldrazi & Taxes 0:2 LOSS
About that other tournament in Prague…

An interesting situation happened during my round 7 match vs BUG Delver. My opponent played Brainstorm, but resolved it like a Ponder (meaning that he just picked up the top three cards of his deck and kept them seperate from his hand.) I expected him to eventually add them to his hand but instead he just put them on top and started shuffling. After calling over a judge it was ruled that my opponent would just continue shuffling…and then do nothing. We were told the explanation of the ruling was too complicated to tell us right now, so we should just keep playing. To me it made sense since anything else would have favored my opponent quite a lot. He was in a terrible spot and needed to find some very specific cards in order to survive. Since his Brainstorm had apparently yielded no results, it would have been too much  of an advantage to not only give him a free shuffle (avoiding the dreaded Brainstorm-lock) but also draw him one card deeper into his fresh set of cards.

In another situation, my opponent played Jace, the Mind Sculptor which he then +2’ed on himself and kept. Afterwards he tried tapping his Dearthrite Shaman, presumably to play a second DRS. I countered his activation with my own, leaving his Jace wide open to my exactly five points of attackers. Had he not needlessly tapped his own Elf, I could not have taken down Jace, allowing him to untap with it and probably win the game from there. It takes a particular set of skills to create card disadvantage with both Brainstorm and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

I end up in 21st place out of 216 players in Legacy.

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Final Player Rankings MKM Series 2016

With the 2016 season in the books, I have made it to the top of both the Legacy and the Modern leaderboards, once again qualifying me for the Super Finals at Frankfurt in May:

It’s really cool to see that the goal I had set for myself at the beginning of the season worked out perfectly. Admittedly though, many of Europe’s greatest players didn’t travel to all the different events otherwise I’m sure Rodrigo, Angelo, Anton and many others would have given me a very serious run for that top spot.

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My 2016 BoM Season – Legacy & Modern

While we’re at it, let’s also look back at the Bazaar of Moxen Series 2016:

  • Madrid, Spain, 26th – 28th February 2016 (my report) (results)
  • Annecy, France, 6th – 8th May 2016 (my report) (results)
  • Strasbourg, France, 1st – 3rd July 2016 (my report) (results)
  •  Paris, France, 9th – 11th September 2016 (no report) (results)
  • Super Finals Paris, France, 5th – 6th November (no report) (results)
Downtown Annecy, the place to be!

Unlike the MKM Series, Bazaar of Moxen made it incredibly hard to qualify for their Super Finals. On the plus side it featured a €10,000 prize pool for a total of just 14 players. One way to qualify was Top4’ing one of their respective main events, while the other was to collect enough “mana points” obtained through multiple Top8/16s. Looking back, I think Tom Kellock and I were the only ones who actually qualified on points with the rest coming in on Top4s. (Technically you could also qualify via a “Super Qualifier” but as far as I know, the only Super Qualifier was won by Johannes Gutbrod, who had already qualified twice before.)

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BoM Madrid

The first stop of the Bazaar of Moxen series really blew my mind. I had previously experienced an SCG-quality event  during the Open in Richmond back in 2014 and I have to say the BoM Series is the only time I’ve seen a European do it even better. During their stops in Madrid, Annecy and Strasbourg, their venues, service and event management had been better than anything I’ve experienced before. Something I also loved was their live coverage including the very well-equipped feature match booth. It’s a shame they didn’t get the viewer numbers to continue this during BoM Paris later that year.

Big Legacy Trial:
Legacy Main Event:
Modern Main Event:
 Deck: Chaos Elves Deck: Chaos Elves
Deck: Ad Nauseam
R1: Eldrazi — 0:2 LOSS (Opp still scooped)
R2:
Manaless Dredge — 2:0 WIN
R3:
Infect — 1:2 LOSS
R4:
RG Lands — 2:1 WIN
.
and
.
R1: RG Lands — 1:2 LOSS
R2: BUG Delver — 2:0 WIN
R3: RW Imperial Painter — 2:1 WIN
R4: Affinity — 2:1 WIN
R5: 4c Loam — 2:0 WIN
R1: *BYE*
R2: ANT  2:1 WIN
R3: RW Painter — 2:0 WIN
R4: Shardless BUG — 1:2 LOSS
R5: 4c Loam  2:0 WIN
R6: 12 Post   1:2 LOSS
R7: Jund — 2:0 WIN
R8: Eldrazi2:0 WIN
R1: Jund 2:1 WIN
R2: UWr Control — 2:1 WIN
R3:
Merfolk — 2:1 WIN
R4:
Living End — 1:2 LOSS
R5:
Abzan Aggro — 1:2 LOSS
R6:
RG Eldrazi — 0:2 LOSS
R7:
Ad Nauseam — 1:1:1 DRAW

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BoM Annecy

Following a year of no Annecy event in 2015, I was thrilled to return to the holy city of Eternal Magic in 2016. Even though I eventually lost my win-and-in, it was great to see my two teammates Anton and Florian meet in the finals. Really loved this entire weekend, Annecy is just one of the loveliest places to play Magic.

Big Legacy Trial:
Legacy Main Event:
Modern Main Event:
Deck: Chaos Elves
Deck: Ad Nauseam
– didn’t play- R1: Legacy Dragon — 2:1 WIN
R2: Maverick 2:0 WIN
R3: 4c Delver   2:0 WIN
R4: UWr Delver — 1:2 LOSS
R5: Death’s Shadow Delver  2:1 WIN
R6: Canadian Threshold  2:0 WIN
R7: Miracles — 2:1 WIN
R8: Miracles2:1 WIN
R9:
ANT — 0:2 LOSS
R1: Eldrazi & Taxes — 2:1 WIN
R2:
Ad Nauseam — 1:1:1 DRAW
R3:
Esper Thopter — 2:0 WIN
R4:
UWr Control — 2:1 WIN
R5:
<didn’t remember> — LOSS
R6:
<didn’t remember> — WIN
R7:
UWr Control — 1:2 LOSS
R8:
Infect —
0:2 LOSS

1.
BoM Strasbourg

Florian & I in the Feature Match Area in Annecy

Competitively, Strasbourg was probably my biggest fail of the year. Still, there’s two things for me to take away from this weekend: one is to not lose my cool after making stupid mistakes. I’m usually quite good at the mental game but after having to bury what looked to be a great shot at Top8 because of a stupid mistake against Jund, I also lost R6 to Eldrazi vs an opponent I should have called out on his Slow Play like 20 minutes earlier. Oh well. Also probably didn’t help my mental state that I lost R7 to Storm Ad Nauseam’ing for the win from 3 life and being done in by OmniShow in less than 10 minutes.

The other positive experience I learned a lot from (and I never thought I’d ever say that) had been Modern. Despite forgetting my Ad Nauseam deck at home (notice the pattern of fail this weekend?), I was able to throw together a ragtag version of Modern Elves in the last minutes before the tournament. If you didn’t see me at the players meeting that’s because I was running from table to table, asking if anyone had additional copies of Elvish Mystic. Ever since this tournament I’ve been thinking that Elves is probably one of the most underrated decks in Modern and I’ve been wanting to try it. Maybe it’s gonna be my Modern deck for the 2017 MKM Series, who knows?

Big Legacy Trial:
Legacy Main Event:
Modern Main Event:
 Deck: Chaos Elves Deck: Chaos Elves
Deck: GWb Elves! (I forgot Ad Nauseam at home)
R1: RG Lands — 1:2 LOSS
R2:
Imperial Painter — 2:0 WIN
R3:
Imperial Painter — 2:0 WIN
R4:
OmniShow — 2:1 WIN
R5:
GWb Maverick — 2:0 WIN
R6: Dredge — 1:2 LOSS
R1: BUG Delver — 2:0 WIN
R2: Shardless BUG 2:1 WIN
R3: Elves   2:0 WIN
R4: BUG Opposition — 2:1 WIN
R5: Jund  1:2 LOSS
R6: Eldrazi  1:2 LOSS
R7: ANT — 1:2 LOSS
R8: OmniShow0:2 LOSS
R1: Eldrazi & Taxes — 2:0 WIN
R2: RW Land Destruction — 2:0 WIN
R3:
Ad Nauseam — 2:0 WIN
R4:
UWr Control — 1:2 LOSS
R5:
Infect — 2:0 WIN
R6:
Jund — 1:2 LOSS
R7:
RG Land Desctruction — 2:1 WIN
R8:
RG Scapeshift — 2:0 WIN

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BoM Paris

I came into Paris knowing that I would need a Top16 to qualify for the BoM Super Finals on points. Even though I would have loved to Top8 the event together with Johannes, who ended up taking the whole thing down, I was super happy to achieve my goal. The only downside at this event was BoM’s decision to no longer provide video coverage. Oh, and balance was restored to the Force as Modern once again became the let-down of the weekend. But I couldn’t have cared less! 🙂

Big Modern Trial:
Legacy Main Event:
Modern Main Event:
 Deck: Ad Nauseam Deck: NO Elves Deck: Ad Nauseam
R1: UWr Control — 2:0 WIN
R2:
Infect — 2:1 WIN
R3:
Living End2:0 WIN
R4:
Affinity — 2:0  WIN
R5:
Jund — 1:2 LOSS
R1: *BYE*
R2: Shardless BUG 2:1 WIN
R3: Elves   1:2 LOSS
R4: Eldrazi — 2:0 WIN
R5: MUD  2:0 WIN
R6: BUG Nic Fit  1:0:1 WIN
R7: UR Delver — 1:2 LOSS
R8: 4c Delver2:0 WIN
R9:
Infect — 2:0 WIN
It’s not in WotC’s database
and I hardly remember
anything about the Modern
Maint Event. Pretty sure I
went 23 Drop after resolving
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

only to kill myself with Pact of Negation
during my next Upkeep. #SkilLGame

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BoM Super Finals, Paris:

With just 14 players fighting for a prize pool of €10,000 this was probably the most high-stakes event I ever participated in. And judging by the people in attendance, this also looked to be one of the the hardest Legacy tournaments ever to be held in Europe. Or even the world? I’m probably getting a bit carried away with how staked this tournament was, both players- and prize-wise. It’s just a real shame there was neither video nor text coverage 🙁

Legacy Super Finals
 Deck: NO Elves
R1: Goddik, Hans Jacob — 4c Delver — 2:0 WIN
R2: Bastogne, Jerome —
Dredge — 2:1 WIN
R3: Bartl, Sebastian —
Elves —  2:1 WIN (I still scooped so my friend could have a shot at Top8 since I was paired down)
R4: Kellock, Tom
— RG Lands — 1:2 LOSS
R5: Sauvageon, Kevin —
Eldrazi —  1:2 LOSS

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Analysis:

For those who like ’em raw!

First, lets take a look at all the decks I faced during the 2016 MKM and BoM seasons. I grouped all the decks I faced only once in the “rest” category as they would otherwise break the diagram. For the raw numbers including each and every single deck my opponents brought to the table, check out the graphic on the side. (There’s some really weird stuff in there.)

Since I need to fill this space for the layout to work, here’s some more or less interesting stats that I came up with while watching a Street Fighter tournament in the UK. (Looks like Balrog is finally becoming a real force!)

  • I went 16-4 vs Delver decks. #PestControl #Exterminator
  • My win% versus decks containing…
    White     94%
    Black 78%
    Blue       73%
    Green    73%
    Red        69%

(The color statistic is just for fun. Note that I reduced certain decks to their core colors. Manaless Dredge for example is black. ANT is categorized as blue, black and red.)

 

That’s Legacy for you: over the course of the season I faced 34 different decks. Even though you could of course group a couple of these decks together it still showcases the wide variety of archetypes people like bringing to the table. While we can all agree that not each one of those decks is really viable anymore in a competitive environment (I’m looking at you, Dragon) it’s still a testament to how hard it is to actually try and out-meta the format.

Looking at the decks I faced the most, the vast majority of them are ones that are primarily trying to exercise their own strong proactive game plan. Whether that’s murdering the opponents with tentacles, 20/20s or Insects, milling, hoofing, infecting or the old Rich Garfield classic, overrunning the opponent with Zombies and Jellyfish, it looks like the best answer to an proactive plan seems to be your own version of it. Except for when you’re Miracles; nothing beats Miracles [citation needed].

Or maybe Elves beats Miracles? Let’s look at how I fared against all the decks I faced at least three times over the course of the season.

Well look at that. I just today had a conversation with Jona (@JonLX) about I seem to be one of the few non-blue players to respect Storm enough to actually put up a real fight against it. And it really shows quite well given how unfavorable game1 is against them. While some of you might look at that 3-0 vs Miracles, I’m much happier about seeing my usual commitment of 8+ SB cards vs Combo paying off. Other than that one has to point out that insane run vs both 4c as well as BUG Delver. I’ve always felt quite favored vs them but had no idea my paper matchup had actually been this good. Most of you probably already know this but BUG Delver’s biggest propblem has always been their lack of strong 1-mana removal, often making them fall behind rather quickly versus Elves. I wonder whether the arrival of Fatal Push is going to change that. I initially thought that the card would just replace Disfigure in their sideboards, but early results demonstrate players’ willingness to just jam it into the maindeck and run it side-by-side with Abrupt Decay. Whether that’s just everyone’s excitement about trying a new card or a actually more than just a recent trend remains to be seen.

Also, Painter seems super popular among my opponents. The matchup for Elves is incredibly good so I’m not surprised to see a solid 5-0 there. Outside of turn1 Blood Moon on the play, there’s not a lot of ways that Elves will actually lose against them. (queue my next article about how I lost miserably to Painter.)

The bad news is that my matchup against RG Lands remains as bad as it has always felt. You will be able to occassionally steal games and matches through explosive draws, but the general problem of the matchup remains: the good draws of Lands always beat the good draw of Elves. You have to hope for them to struggle early on and hopefully not hit a Mox Diamond+Punishing Fire draw, which often leads into very unfavorable game states on turn 2 and 3.

Top8 at MKM Frankfurt!

The thing I’m taking away from this is that except for combo, not a lot of matchup are really worth dedicating rather specific sideboard cards to. The marginal utility of cards intended to specifically break non-linear decks like Miracles, Shardless or Delver is always going to be significantly smaller than cards meant to improve linear matchups like most combo decks. That doesn’t mean that Elves players shouldn’t address those linear matchups, especially when their plan is to remove Natural Order in postboard games. But in doing so, I’ve always been a bigger fan of having broader, less powerful SB cards like Planeswalkers, Sylvan Library or Umezawa’s Jitte. For linear decks, it’s the exact other way around: I want my sideboard cards to hit early and hit hard, while giving less consideration to secondary facotrs like card advantage or overal applicability in non-linear matchups. Maybe I should commit even more to this in the future, even though I think my sideboards are pretty well-balanced in the current meta. I used to be much more concerned about Delver decks in the past but that was when you’d routinely face Canadian Threshold with two Rough/Tumble and multiple Submerges.

One last thing I want to look into is my performance versus blue decks. I’m of the rare variety of non-blue players who think that Brainstorm isn’t a real problem in the format. That doesn’t mean that I’m having no issues with a couple of cards that heavily benefit from its existance *coughterminuscough*, but I really don’t mind the card itself. I would still be interested to see what happened if it were gone, but that’s more about me feeling that Legacy has become somewhat stale lately and hoping for any kind of change.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, non-blue decks have on average been worse matchups for me than their azure counterpart. Metagame-wise, I have also only faced 55% blue decks in all the matches I played, a number much lower than what you usually see in general metagame reports both off- and online.

I definitely wouldn’t go as far as to say that this data confirms that Brainstorm is perfectly fine, but it definitely goes very well along with my gut feeling that the card (or blue as a color) isn’t really much of an issue…for Elves! I would love for other players of non-blue decks to conduct a similar analysis and see what their results look like.

But for now let’s finally get into the stuff that you actually came here for…

The EU 2017 Tournament Calendar

Last year I compiled all the Eternal events relevant to European players into a single, handy calendar. Since we have neither the BoM nor TOP series around anymore, I decided to also include a couple of the smaller events like the Dutch Open Series. I think 2017 is going to be a much more healthy schedule for European players following the overabudnance of events in 2016 that often cannibalized each other and eventually lead to everyone feeling oversaturated with tournaments. MKM has emerged as the one big European Eternal series and I’m already super excited for their new “Power 8” system of attendance money of up to 300 € for their top players.

 

The calendar is still missing a couple of events that haven’t received an exact date yet, that are very much worth attending, like the Eternal Clash in Flensburg or the Danish Legacy Masters in Copenhagen. I’m gonna add the calendar to my blog’s sidebar and constantly update it with new events. If you got some kind of event that I didn’t include in the 2016 version of the calendar, please hit me up and let me know.

Have fun in 2017, see you all in Vegas!
So long,
Julian

What do you think? Comment below.