Sooo i have been testing this as a one of in a U/B key/vault outcome list. Its a pretty far break from the conventional lists i see people playing these days, but i think the card can have a place in many combo control lists. I had a chance to test it at a local event and went undefeated in the Swiss. As for Whir itself, the card won me the game outright 3 times on the day and pitched to force a few more (which i think is a pretty good track record for a one of at a small tourney). I can say the card is at least solid but i cant help feeling that there arnt better cards to be playing. I enjoyed the utility of Whir and am playing many one-of artifacts in the main and SB to take advantage of this. I would say if u r playing transmute artifact it is a strict upgrade, so there's that. Just my thoughts :)
Having a Vintage gauntlet is super fun! I have one and I think that Elliot B. in the bay area has one that he printed out a while back. I usually have between 12 and 18 Vintage decks built out at any time (with a metric shit-ton of proxies) to test with friends. Thanks to the VSL, a lot of people are familiar with some of the notable vintage decks, so a lot of people can pick up a deck and at least make reasonable plays after a few games and get super excited to be playing Magic's most awesome format. When I was building my gauntlet (and when I decide to change it), I basically followed the advice that Steven gave you above. I think that my current gauntlet includes:
2 Mentor Decks (a stock list and my dumb combo mentor deck)
Land Heavy Dredge
A more Fenton-esque build of Oath
DPS (Haven't got around to building Paradoxical Storm)
A UW Moat Control Brew Deck
My stupid Thing in the Ice/Blood Moon deck
Why these decks? Some are good and some are fun. Depending on your mood and purpose, you'll want to play with different ones. Have fun learning this crazy ass format!
I have also listened the MUD's player reasoning. Also from another perspective: there is always that person at a tournament that quickly loses chances because he was paired against a weird deck in first round and quickly lost chances to perform Top8. That was really usual years ago when there were lots of budget decks around playing 4 null rods: combo or blue players could be prepared against Tier 1 decks, but then suffer against rogue decks. However MUD is quite strong against most "rogue" decks, being a great deck to start winning rounds.
I also understand the gush player reasoning. Once you assume you have a deck capable of having a >50% wins, and capable of win rogue decks, you can focus on Tier 1 decks. Since gush decks are really Tier 1, focusing on the mirror totally makes sense.
In my case, I don't design my deck to maximize chances of winning random decks. I just try to pack some cards that I'm confortable with, bearing in mind tier decks. Since I don't play a tier deck, I never had to play a mirror (after about 40-50 rounds of tournament and dozens of matches in cockatrice), so I don't think at it at all.
I think Spatial Contortion is criminally underplayed, and I'm glad Andy mentioned it; but Walking Ballista is realistically what you should be playing as your primary answer to creatures with some sort of backup (that preferably doesn't lose to Null Rod).
My experience outside of the VSL with W/R Eldrazi was very different from what we saw on stream. I've experienced far more "Elemental is great" matches than "Elemental is bad" - and I'm still not convinced non-Elemental cards would have won me those games, given the draws both players had.
However, there is definitely no denying that the deck's performance on camera was disappointing. I think you're overestimating how often Elemental runs into your own cards, and underestimating how often Elemental wins through attacking, sniping planeswalkers, or getting rid of blockers on a critical turn.
I will say that I was impressed with Menendian's use of Missteps, while I wouldn't have liked them a few months ago, the Eldrazi v Mentor matchup has shifted to become very Swords-to-Plowshares centric, and it's possible that running them shifts the numbers around in a way that leaves no room for Elementals, and hedging against StP decreases the importance of threat density. Trying a Dismember/Misstep configuration in this meta is something I should consider doing.
I suspect that Eldrazi is about to get worse in the post-AER metagame, (due to improved workshop decks and adaptations from gush decks) so I probably won't be testing any Eldrazi, with or without Elemental, in the short term. Things move quickly these days so I wouldn't be surprised if I had another chance to play Eldrazi in the future.
@Stasis_Kismet You know... there was a moment right after this tourney, when @Solomoxen, who won the whole thing at 5-1, asked me what I thought of my deck and I fumbled through an ambivalent response. Solo was on a fairly standard, RUW Mentor/Gush list that I beat 1-0 in the first round, drawing a long second game that I would have won with an extra turn. After that game, Solo (Charlie) kinda shook his head and said something like, "Dang I just can't get through all your stuff." I'd won the first game on an Oath activation, then post-boarding, had ground the game to a halt by playing Standstills, allowing Mentor's to resolve, then Abrubt Decayed them and swept up the remaining tokens with Engineered Explosives. The Standstills kept me ahead in cards the entire game and I never was afraid I would be killed. I just ran out of time. In another turn I would have cast Emrakul.
As I said, Solo went on to run the table and win the whole thing. So that was the subtext of his question I think, that mine was the only deck he seemed to have trouble with? I ended up going 1-1 against Shops and 2-1 against Gush/Mentor on the day (@thediabetical got me good in the last round), and 1-0 against paradoxical.
What I tried and failed to explain to Solo, was that I really like this deck, but the Gush match-up worries me. Gush is so so strong. @Smmenen has stated, and I agree with him, that the card Standstill has certain advantages over the card Gush... namely, Steve says that it comes down a turn earlier than Gush, since Gush can't be played to maximum effect until turn 3, and can't be accelerated by Moxen, while Standstill is a turn 2 play. I'd argue that the differential is even greater, since a certain percent of the time Standstill does get accelerated by Moxen. Gush is a turn 2.9 play. Standstill is like a turn 1.7 play. So theoretically speaking, there's that.
In actuality, I play against Gush all-the-time. I play against good players on Gush. And I know the match-up is reasonable, but also not what I wish it was. It's probably about 50/50. Which is ok. I think that Oathstill is absolutely a legitimate deck. The mainboard Abrupt Decay and the raw card draw, in addition to the Oath package and the ability to win on the spot make it both able to steal wins early and able to grind out wins over very long games. The heavy land count (18 main and 1 Waste in the side) make running Energy Flux in the sideboard very profitable against Shops, with Oath already giving you a game 1 edge. But with the field so much Gush, I'm a little torn on this deck. It is strong for sure. If were going to play a tourney in which I just had to win more games than I lost... I would play this deck in a heart beart. But I don't feel like there is a great chance to go all the way with this deck, since the Gush matchup is so even and there are so many of them out there, it feels like eventually you run into one of them that gets you.
I feel like this deck is the deck to play in a meta dominated by Shops... it has me looking for something else for a meta dominated by Gush. If there were a deck that had a 70% win rate against Gush/Mentor, and a 50% against Shops and Combo, I think that's the deck to play. (Unfortunately, right now, I think that deck is actually just Gush in the hands of the best players who can win the mirror at a high rate via precise play.)
How good is the card filtering aspect of tiny Jace #3 as opposed to having the power of gush #4? I haven't played much with tiny Jace and just wanted more input. In your experience does the ability to rebuy spells once jace flips worth the trade off?
The deck looks really good and I will be bringing a version of it to my next event.
I would argue that costing two makes doomblade a lot worse and it doesn't kill opposing tinker monsters which swords does. If you want something closer i would suggest dismember, or the new fatal push, or what has been pretty popular lately: snuff out.
I usually lump Aggro Shops (car shops) and eldrazi together for sideboarding purposes. So if i am going to lump stuff together it is usually for that matchup. Without knowing a lot about your deck i would say snuff out, snapcaster mage, bolt (to a lesser extent) the new fatal push, and maybe even something like shriekmaw or FTK could be reasonable since those both dodge reality smasher discard and thorn effects, but I don't know how that matches up with your mana bse.
In general point removal + snapcaster is where I want to be against large creature aggressive decks.
For mentor I think sulfur elemental is the best card, full stop if you have access to red. You need something that can handle both mentor and cleanup the tokens. I would still side in spot removal, but in my experience it isn't enough unless you have your own token generator. The white decks have been running some number of supreme verdict sometimes, for the same reason I think? Notion thief is also powerful in those matchups but only if you can protect the board too, i don't know if you are running young pyromancer or not.
I went 7-0 (14-3) with a Paradoxical Outcome deck last night and won the Cardhoarder season championship series finals event. The list I played is here: http://www.gatherling.com/deck.php?mode=view&id=43480. I don't think there is anything especially attractive or egregious with the list, which focuses on Tezzeret in game 1 and Mentor in sideboard games. I think I had two turn-one kills. I beat WW in round 1, Shops in round 2, Grixis Control in round 3 (forfeit win off a disconnect), and UW mentor decks in rounds 4-7 (two of which had Delver and a full Wasteland package). What to bring in is usually obvious in the matchups. For sideboarding, I'll limit my sideboarding comments to my blue decks matchup where I usually took out around seven cards among Chain, Vampiric, a Top, a Key, a Monolith, Snapcaster, and Tezzeret (sometimes two), and Jar. This was the first time I had ever cast Mentor - a.k.a., Mr. Staples button - before. My daughter told me to name the deck after Zeno, a Greek philosopher (mentor) whom she informed me was the master of paradoxes. My deepest appreciation to Cardhoarder for the sponsorship (a Black Lotus!)
Which brings me to my first point... the bad players have gotten better. Now do we know this for sure? No. Because again we have no measure of how bad the bottom losing players really were a decade ago, but I'm just going to make some inductive reasoning here. Player's access to information about strategy, tactics, and especially deck lists has gone way way up in the past decade. Thanks to MODO, their ability to practice has gone way up. Heck Steve wrote a friggin book about Gush, which is simultaneously kind of hilarious and also probably important. I'm assuming some people buy it. I'm assuming those people read it. I'm assuming it makes those players at least a little better. The cumulative effect almost has to be profound. And part of it's effect is that it's likely more difficult for the best players to beat the average player than it was in the past... ergo, more based on the fall of the cards than it was.
I think this is a great point. A few years ago, the average person would only have a chance to get better by:
1.) Being friends with better players or live in a Vintage hotbed.
2.) Doing a ton of reading and goldfishing
3.) Playing other formats.
These days, with MTGO, streaming, player videos, and a proliferation of articles, the average player has so many resources. Many years ago you could put in thousands of hours into Magic, but not really get better. These days, if you have the time, you'll get better. Just the ability to get dozens of live Vintage reps in a week is something unfathomable years ago for a bulk of Vintage players.
I'm really, REALLY getting the vibe that design around this set went like this:
Designer 1: You know how players like spells and effects that just put things into play? Like, from the graveyard, library, or battlefield?
Designer 2: Sure, they're interesting combo pieces and players like them. But, we can't print them. When you get something for free, the result has ALWAYS been bad. Phyrexian Mana, Show and Tell, whatever.
Designer 1: Okay, but what if we did this.... what if we put a limitation on the converted mana cost of what you're cheating? That way, we can control exactly how broken the cards can be.
Designer 2: Huh. That's a very elegant solution to the problem. Let's design a whole set around getting stuff for free, but with that limitation.
Designer 1: And we can call it, "Urza's Block Continues: The Return of Tinker"