The Situation Room: Gifts Ungiven

  • @desolutionist I'm aware...I ran Gifts in the Challenge in a Mentor shell. Not tutors, no Will. Just value. I ended up with a 3 to 1 split of JVP vs Tiago, but would run 3 to 2 next time. It's just good to have options.

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    Ya and it actually works to Gifts' benefit to have all these great restricted cards like Gush, DTT, Cruise, etc.

    Gush, Jace TMS, Drain, Ancestral/Demonic/Scroll is one of my favorite value Gifts piles so when you add cards like DTT to the mix there are a lot of options.

  • By Force
    Time Walk
    Demonic Tutor
    Gifts Ungiven

    He would probably give Gifts and Time Walk, in which case Gifts for:

    By Force
    Hurkyl's Recall
    Jace, Vryn
    Yawgmoth's Will

    He'll have to give you By Force and Hurk's, at which point you destroy his board, take another turn and play Dig through Time in peace with Hurkyl's in hand. If he chooses anything wrong, he loses to Will.

  • @brianpk80 That is exactly the same mindset I had with mine.

  • Off topic but...isn't this the point in a thread nowadays where a shops player is supposed to step in and say "I'm so glad to see the gush restriction is functioning like it was intended" ?? ;-)

    Kidding aside. Three cheers for good old gifts piles!

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    This post is deleted!

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    So I've been streaming and recording most of my matches with Gifts Ungiven, and I just wanted to point out my last match on twitch might be beneficial to those new to the card.

    In match 4, game 1 against Workshops my opening hand was: Undergound Sea, Jet, Pearl, Lotus Petal, Mana Drain, Gifts Ungiven, Gifts Ungiven

    I Drained his Lodestone Golem and proceeded to resolve two mainphase Gifts that effectively ended the game. If you'd like to see how check my video @ 02:11:42 I spent so much time thinking and talking it out that I timed out in game 3 despite having the deterministic win in hand. (Apologies for the crackling in the mic, I realize now thats because my mic is getting hit by my fan)

    I drew Ruby for the turn and made this pile:

    Yawgmoth's Will
    Ancestral Recall
    Black Lotus
    Tolarian Academy

    If he gives me Will and Ancestral, then I cast Will, replay Black Lotus, Lotus Petal, and Tolarian Academy and pass the turn with Ancestral and Gifts ready to fire. This choice would actually give him a chance to remain in the game, but it's obvious why someone without perfect information wouldn't make this choice. If he gives me Will and Lotus, then I cast my second Gifts to fill up yard and win on the spot with Will. If he gives me Ancestral and Lotus, then I cast Ancestral and the 2nd Gifts.

    He gave me Black Lotus and Tolarian Academy. So then I cast my second Gifts for:

    Yawgmoth's Bargain
    Snapcaster Mage
    Hurkyl's Recall
    Demonic Tutor

    As you can see, his best choice now is to give me Yawgmoth's Bargan and put Snapcaster in the graveyard. Demonic and Hurkyl's would give me a lethal Tendrils at this point. So he gave me Demonic and Bargain. I could have cast Bargain with 1 mana leftover, but instead I chose to Demonic for Time Walk and just cast that. And then on Time Walk turn, cast Bargain with plenty of mana to do what I needed to do to get JVP online with counter backup for whatever he could play.

  • Thanks for sharing the video with us.

    While watching, I was talking out, predicting the piles you would/should put together. I haven't played with Gifts Ungiven in a long time except for a stint where I played a Thought-Knot Seer Gifts Ungiven deck not long ago. It had more deterministic Gifts piles though as it sought to assemble Vault/Key and not lethal Tendrils of Agony piles. It's an incredibly complicated card that rewards very sharp play and a keen knowledge of one's deck and board state. I had forgotten how difficult of a card it is. I do miss the days of Fact or Fiction and Gifts Ungiven piles.

    I found myself thinking out different lines than you did. Would they have changed the outcome of the game? No idea. I recall playing Gifts in its heyday and remember committing several piles to memory for common game states. A common one that I don't recall you talking out is the triple tutor and flashback spell pile (MT, VT, DT, Snap) during an end step Gifts in search of Yawgmoth's Will.

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    So with everyone complaining about the metagame, I just feel the need to point out that over the last 4 large events I played Gifts in (3 Vintage Challenges and NYSE) Gifts has a 65% match win percentage against the field, which makes it the best performing deck in the metagame. 2 deck format? The facts don't support the theory...

  • @desolutionist said in The Situation Room: Gifts Ungiven:

    So with everyone complaining about the metagame, I just feel the need to point out that over the last 4 large events I played Gifts in (3 Vintage Challenges and NYSE) Gifts has a 65% match win percentage against the field, which makes it the best performing deck in the metagame. 2 deck format? The facts don't support the theory...

    How large is the sample?

  • @desolutionist could also mean you are just good and could win with anything. I hope you are right but it will take more people succeeding with it before what you said is true.

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    @desolutionist You're probably best off pulling a @Pokey and just earning prizes 20 tournaments in a row with nearly identical lists until someone a year from now finally switches decks and becomes pilot #2.

  • @mickey.nobilis I could totally be pilot #2 again!

  • interesting lists. Can you explain your lack of Preordain/Ponder? I have taken your decks for a spin and they're great; the only downside I've noticed is that you will often find yourself with a hurkyl's and tendrils (or something) in your hand vs. a random blue player. There also aren't many turn 1 plays. I feel like more card selection would help.

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    Hurkyl's is actually an essential component of the quick storm kill. So Tendrils + Hurkyl's is a decent hand against Blue since you can likely bait out some of your opponents counters to increase storm for a sneaky Tendrils; I never side out Hurkyl's and it's often in Gifts piles.

    On card selection:

    The best card selection ability this deck has is the mulligan. I mulligan aggressively with this deck and it typically pans out. It requires deep analysis of the opening hand. Not particularly a fan of Ponder/Preordain since when you play it, that means you're passing the turn without mana up to counter spells or to threaten/cast an EoT Gifts, which is important against any deck. The one mana cantrips just don't do enough in my opinion, so I'm not sure what you would cut for them. If you do find room for them, I'd argue that Treasure Cruise/Gush or more counterspells would just be better. If card selection continues to be an issue, I would look into Dack Fayden because it's better than Preordain/Ponder and generally just a really good card. This Gifts deck doesn't seek to play fairly, so fair magic cards are just out of the question. They make sense in a dedicated mana-light Gush deck for hitting land drops or triggering Mentor, but this deck has 25 mana sources so it should be fairly easy to just cast a Dack Fayden, Gifts, Jace, or similar. If you can't and you don't have Drains, then probably a mulligan.

    On turn 1:

    I've gotten turn 1 kills before. Ideally you have turn 1 Drain (Black Lotus, Lotus Petal, Sapphire, or Academy), JVP, or Gifts. But fetchland, go is a fine opener against an unknown opponent, otherwise your land is getting Wastelanded. And if you can't do anything turn two or at least have a bunch of counterspells, I would consider the mulligan. Overall in a 10 mana artifact blue deck, Preordain is just a bad effect since you're not taking advantage of incidental generic mana. The average starting available mana is two. And so there is Walk, JVP, Scroll, Ancestral, Probe, LoA, Demonic, Vamp, Mystical, Mana Vault, Sol Ring, and Brainstorm as reliable turn one proactive plays. Then if more mana is available there is Gifts, Big Jace, and Tinker. Though a lot of times it's better just to pass with fetchland and counterspells until you know what they're on and can formulate a path to victory.

  • Have you played around with Dark Confidant? Seems a natural home here given how often you'll have 1B on turn 1. Also, your twitch videos appear to be deleted.

    Would love a primer if you have time -- tons of possible permutations of the list here. Very exciting. Thanks!

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    Yes I was thinking about writing something like that up to help new players get into piloting the deck. I deleted the videos before the NYSE because I wanted to prevent someone from getting an edge on me at the tournament. I'm planning on streaming the Vintage challenge this Saturday and have no incentive to delete my videos for now on.

  • @desolutionist

    Seconded on the primer request!

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    I've been thinking about what you guys were saying with regards to turn one plays and card selection. Today I had the courage to try something to bridge the gap from zero to four mana: Baral, Chief of Compliance.

    My thought was that rather than add more spells to smooth out my draws, I'd rather just ramp into Gifts. (I cut a Gifts for it but was also strongly considering Pyroblast or Mana Vault)

    He didn't come up until round 4 against Rich Shay (on Esper Mentor) and boy was he brilliant!

    In play:

    Mox emerald
    Underground sea
    Volcanic island

    My graveyard:

    Merchant Scroll
    Demonic Tutor
    Mox Pearl
    Hurkyls Recall
    Jace, vryn's prodigy
    Misty Rainforest

    In hand:

    Mindbreak Trap
    mystical Tutor

    So at the end of Rich's turn, I cast Mystical Tutor for Yawgmoth's Will. Because of Baral, this is a lethal Yawg Will turn. (My opponent was only at 14 life and this deals 16 damage)

    Watch it play out here @ 2:18:40

    Honestly it makes me want to try more and with cards like Frantic Search.

  • @desolutionist I never got a chance to do any actual testing with it but had been trying to brew with Baral and Gifts before because he seemed like he'd be a good fit for it, glad to see he did work for you. Is that the only change you made to the list to add him, or have you made additional changes beyond that?

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