This is a very powerful card, but I can't see what we do with it in Vintage. Wouldn't you want Bob any time you might reach for this? I know this card is faster in some cases, but it's also so much less reliable than a card that draws you something every upkeep.
Just wanted to mention I played Shops with 4 Traxos at the TMD Open this past weekend to a 5-2 finish, missing out on T16 due to tiebreakers. Traxos was completely insane. I encourage you all to try it. My list was as follows:
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Mishra's Factory
4 Mishra's Workshop
1 Strip Mine
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Black Lotus
1 Chalice of the Void
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Sol Ring
4 Sphere of Resistance
1 Thorn of Amethyst
4 Arcbound Ravager
4 Foundry Inspector
1 Lodestone Golem
2 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Phyrexian Revoker
4 Steel Overseer
4 Traxos, Scourge of Kroog
4 Walking Ballista
tremendously pressuring in conjunction with Ravager, often threatening to one-shot the opponent through blockers
effective source of reach on many stalled boards
the lowest cmc maindeckable mirror breaker
easy enough to untap without playing any weird cards like Voltaic Servant. Yes, when your hand gets small, you have to think about what happens if you topdeck a Traxos. It's a decision point you have to practice. Also Shops is already 70% historic cards...
You want to play four of them because it's better the earlier you play it. Besides the obvious reasons due to the untap clause, playing it early in conjuction with a lock piece (either before or after) often presents a tough fork for blue opponents with opening hands of average strength. Can they outrace Traxos if they counter or destroy the sphere? Can they set up under a sphere if they counter or kill Traxos?
I think people are worrying too much about the legendary clause. In certain archetypes in other formats, it is often correct to play 4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben despite the fact that it's legendary. I think a similar remark holds here. Untap triggers are sometimes worth a card, so drawing multiples isn't even the end of the world...
Damping Sphere has been insane thus far for me. . . in a Knight of the Reliquary/Thalia Shell, that is. As for folks saying they are trying it in a PO list, why? I use it in Knight Humans to BEAT PO decks so why on earth would THEY want to use it? It shuts off one of the most important cards in their deck in Tolarian Academy. I have a very spicy Knight brew with the card that anyone is welcome to ask me to PM to them, but I'd like to keep the tech under wraps until I crush at a tournament with it.
For the same reason Brian Kelly was running Chalice and 3-Ball in his PO decks... PO breaks the symmetry of the hate pieces as your opponent can't combo through them, but you can bounce them with your own PO and proceed to combo off. It hasn't done enough though.
If the card is only good in your fringe lists, it doesn't really justify the lofty expectations players have had and fears of a "Grafdigger's Cage" level of influence on the format. I thought this card would be a niche role-player in the format and it seems like that has been the case so far.
I forget which store this was in Ontario, but they were having issues getting in a set that (at that time) I wanted to preorder. The only way they would sell me some boxes was to give the buy a box promos to them.
This is not as uncommon as you would think.
@hierarchnoble I think the version I gave him could have better used and protected TAW. Chalice of the Void on 1 is particularly effective at stopping Pyroblast and there is just something cathartic about attacking with a 5/5 Chalice.
That variant has moved more towards Karn and PO and away from Damping Sphere and TAW, but I plan on revisiting those cards later in a deck that is more "prisony".
Edit: This isn't unusual. I often try to build multiple synergies and strategies into decks, then adjust based on how games play out. Turns out, Karn making multiple Marit Lage tokens is pretty good...
@Serracollector The most aggressive deck in Vintage is Ravager Shops, which is naturally resistant to Aetherflux Reservoir by virtual of its Sphere effects. That ended up being a pretty big strike against the card in testing. I actually have a mental note to look to Reservoir if Kambal becomes much more prevalent, but the metagame is simply not at that point right now.
Some time ago I played around with a UWG Enchantress deck on MODO, which used Mystic Remora as one of the enchantments. I was playing this when Gush was a 4-of and it honestly worked fine too. The problem I had was that it wasn't consistent enough but I never worked on it much to get it right. There might be something along this direction for you to consider too!
Honestly, I don't think Combo Oath is where you want to be right now - you are essentially compounding the inconsistency of Oath with combo pieces without obvious gain. When Mentor was unrestricted with Gush and Probe, you often couldn't pass the turn back to the Mentor pilot or they could chain enough spells together to attack through Griselbrand. It's why Inferno Titan has risen to prominence after the restriction.
This card interests me outside of combo applications - you can recast Dack, Pernicious Deed, 3Ball, Null Rod, Lotus and replay Strip Mine each turn. Some people have tried value takes like this with Sun Titan while eschewing the Sun-Rai kill. It seems attractive as a castable sort of value creature similar to Titan, but possibly in better colors. The downside is that it's vulnerable to Pyroblast, which is not a good place to be right now. And it doesn't get around Grafdigger's Cage like other castable creatures.