4C Keeper 2k17



  • I am going to start this off with a brief personal anecdote before diving into my deck, card choices and a brief report of my fun (if not somewhat disappointing) experience at NYSE.

    In late April, the day after attending the Waterbury tournament in CT, I received what was easily the worst phone call of my life on what was an otherwise beautiful Sunday afternoon. My parents had been involved in an incident while riding their 3wheel motorcycle and my Mother had been thrown from the bike and was in critical condition. While I am beyond grateful that my Father (who was driving) and Brother (who was riding his own Harley with them) were completely unharmed, we were forced to make the impossible decision to take my mother off life support once the doctors told us she was in a Persistent vegetative state and would never recover.

    Needless to say, I was crushed. My mother supported me in everything I ever did, and even threw me a hundo when my dad wasn't looking back in 2003 to help me purchase one of my first moxen. In addition to my amazing wife and beautiful son, without whom I would be completely lost today, I was able to use Magic as an outlet. Between the support of my friends from my Local Vintage scene, my regular EDH group, and the generally great competition on MTGO, I was able to return myself to a functional state. I may bash the content of this website sometimes, but the fact is that this community is fantastic, and I cannot really say where I would be today without it or this crazy game we all love.

    Anyway, thanks for listening (reading), now onto my deck!

    I do not consider myself any great vintage brewer, but I have always enjoyed playing weird shit. If am going to commit to 10+hrs of IRL Vintage, I am most certainly going to play something I would have fun with:

    4 Scalding Tarn
    2 Polluted Delta
    2 Underground Sea
    2 Volcanic Island
    2 Tropical Island
    1 Island
    1 Library of Alexandria
    1 Strip Mine
    3 Wasteland
    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Black lotus
    3 Deathrite Shaman
    3 Snapcaster Mage
    2 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
    1 Consecrated Sphinx
    3 Dack fayden
    1 Jace TMS
    1 Ob Nixilis, Reignited
    1 Ancestral Recall
    1 Time Walk
    1 Brainstorm
    1 Dig Through Time
    1 Treasure Cruise
    1 Demonic Tutor
    3 Thoughtseize
    4 Force of willl
    3 Mana Drain
    3 Mental Misstep
    1 Abrupt Decay
    1 Ancient Grudge
    1 Engineered Explosives
    1 Crucible of Worlds

    SB:
    4 Grafdiggers Cage
    1 Mountain
    2 By Force
    1 Ancient Grudge
    1 Abrupt Decay
    2 Murderous Cut
    2 Null Rod
    1 Pernicious Deed
    1 Pyroblast

    In testing, I found this list to be extremely consistent in the Shops and Outcome match ups, and had 50/50 results vs Mentor. Knowing that we play in the Northeast, I chose to over-prepare for Shops, hence the MB ancient grudge and Crucible over additional Abrupt Decays...In hindsight, this choice probably left me too soft to the Mentor match up.

    Thoughtseize over MB Pyroblast/Flusterstorm was something else that shook itself out in testing. I found myself always wanting some sort of impactful t1 play, and since 4 Shaman felt like 1 too many thoughtseize really fell nicely into that spot. I had a feeling that blue mages would be prepared to play around Pyroblast, and (as alluded to earlier) Pyro/flusterstorm are nearly dead in the shops match.

    Deathrite Shaman clearly plays well in a 4C approach, and Leovold was fantastic when cast, even in the Shops Matchup where it netted me cards vs their waste effects and Ballista's.
    Consecrated Sphinx is an amazing card, often locking up games after just a single opponents draw step. I resolved in 4-5 times throughout the day, and was undefeated in games where it hit the table.
    Three Snapcaster mage were also fabulous for me, allowing me to ambush any number of shops creatures and even a dark confidant in Rd 2, in addition to the flashback shenanigans that it naturally lends itself to. I never once wished it was baby jace.
    Three Dack Fayden were also really strong for me all day. I stole at least two Inspectors and it really is the lists most consistent card selection engine. I feel like three remains the right number going forward. Ob Nixilis was a last minute suggestion over Jace TMS #2 by local legend JP Kohler. I only got to cast it 1x in a game I already had well locked up, but the look on my opponents face was worth it by itself

    For the SB, Pernicious deed had one shining moment in my Rd 5 Win over Dan Nelson, but aside from that one instance this probably should have been an abrupt decay. I went with Murderous cut over Fatal push or Dismember/snuff out, and was generally happy with them.

    Here is a brief report from NYSE:
    Rd 1 - Cosmo on Paradoxical Outcome storm w/Defense grid 2-0:
    G1 He forces my t1 thoughtseize to protect his defense grid RFGing his Chain of Vapor. I am able to drain the grid anyway, resolve a consecrated sphinx and take control of the game. I was pretty sure RFGing Chain of Vapor killed his only out vs Sphinx, and he showed me the timetwister he drew the turn after sphinx resolved.
    I board in both null rods, 1 by force 1 grudge & 1 pyroblast.
    G2 I do not remember super well aside from a Snapcaster mage and null rod doing a lot of work, as well as an ancient grudge and late in game thoughtseize. I believe I dacked his grim monolith at some point

    Rd 2 Ben on Leovold BUG w/Dark Confidant's 2-0

    G1 - He Decay's an early DRS I cast and resolves a Confidant. I had moxen in my opener, and am able to get down Jace TMS, bounce Bob and took over from there. I believe I won with Leovold/Snapcaster Beats.
    I board in Decay, Cut's and Pyroblast
    G2 - We misstep each other's early Shaman's but I am able to stick Dack Fayden and bury him in card selection. Consecrated Sphinx come down off of a drained Leovold, and he has no answer.
    After the match he actually comments that he has no, single card answer for Sphinx, as he was on a single dismember only.

    Rd 3 - Travis Laplante on Uba Mask Stax 2-1
    I've known Travis for the better part of 15 years, and am always thrilled to run into him at these events. He plays cool decks, and gives 0 F*cks.
    G1 I think I wasted his lands two straight turns, and then proceeded to draw 0 lands of my own. He locks me down with Uba mask and Stack on 1 by about turn 6.
    I board in all my shops hate.
    G2 was very long, and featured him neutering the Mana dorking of my deathrite with a Metamorph'd deathrite on his side. I don't recall the exact turning point of this game, but I believe it involved a By Force and Dack fayden.
    G3 Travis resolves an early thorn, and then made a slight error that ultimately cost him the game. I have a shaman in play, and he goes to waste my land. I am holding drain, so i float blue in response. Instead of moving phases, he attempts to jam defense grid which I drain with exactly 3 mana available. I drop my land for turn, play consecrated sphinx and it gets fairly academic from there.

    Rd 4 - Nick DiJohn on "mustard shops" 2-1
    Nick is a very well known player in the NE, so I am 99.999% sure he is on Shops but fortunately no one has heard of me :).
    G1 I force his T1 trinisphere, get down a Dack and take control of the game. I do not 100% recall, but I think Sphinx sowed this game up.
    G2 my had is COMPLETELY INSANE but he plays perfectly around my hate and wins on just about exact damage with a combination of Revoker, Ravager, and Ballista. Had i gotten another turn I think I would have been able to wipe his whole board.
    G3 I push a big by force through a Sphere, counter a Cruiser and take over with Dack.

    Rd 5 - Dan Nelson on Shops 2-1
    Dan ultimately T8'd and we played 3 fun games. We were one of the last matches to end, so we ended up with quite a crowd.
    I recall I won an extremely long G1, involving me dacking him with Sphinx in play to draw 4 cards, and then countering a Metamorph.
    G2 I got run over pretty fast.
    G3 was the really fun one...He is able to get down an early lodestone and foundry inspector (maybe turn 2 or 3) that took me down under 10 life. I am able to stabilize by resolving a dack + time walk (he didn't have any other spheres in play). I am able to hold him off, and ultimately resolve a big by force and am able to win from there.

    At this point i am 5-0, flying high. I go into round 6 tied for first.

    Rd 6 - Jose Antonio Alascio Lopez - Jeskai Mentor
    These games were over before they started
    G1 - I have no idea what my opponent is playing, so keep (what i think) is a solid had on the draw featuring thoughtseize, wasteland and a turn 2 dack fayden, but no FoW. He goes turn 1 Lotus Mentor mox preordain and thrashes me from there.
    G2 - I play library and pass with Force up. He strips my LOA and i counter his Baby Jace. His card draw is better than mine, and he resolves mentor and time walk.
    Both of these games took about 10 total minutes.

    Rd 7 - Will Magrann on Super Aggressive Shops (on stream)
    We pull the feature match, so my one major mistake was broadcast on twitch for all to see :) Everyone can watch this on the twitch video (I believe it starts at around 2 Hrs 30 min in) but i fully admit that the way I played Explosives on 0 on t1 cost me the game.
    G2 He has like 12 power on the board by turn 4 and that was that

    Needless to say I was pretty crushed dropping 2 straight like that, but was in 10th (top seeded 2 loss player) going into round 8, confident that a W would have me most certainly taking home a shop, if not sneaking into the T8.

    RD 8 - Vito Picozzo on Jeskai Mentor
    Vito had watched one of my earlier matches so he knew what to expect.
    To be honest, my memory is shaky on these games except that I lost both, and that the Judge made the super odd decision to give us both warnings for failing to maintain game state for forgetting Fetch land and then FOW damage. I will call this odd only because he made the decision with Vito actively swinging with more than lethal damage with awesome Foil Charizard Mentor Tokens. Again, at least G2 was captured on stream, so feel free to go back and watch.

    I ended up in the t25, but ultimately out of the prizes. Despite losing 4 not super close games to Mentor, I really do feel like this deck is right there. I am planning to test a tweaked version on MTGO when I have time.

    Best cards of the day - Thoughtseize, Dack, Sphinx, DRS
    Worst cards of the day - Crucible, Demonic Tutor

    Thanks for Reading everyone!



  • Very solid write up Pete, it was great seeing you as always. I was lucky to watch a few of your games from the side lines and I gotta say, the deck looks awesome.



  • I played this list today with a fourth Abrupt Decay taking the spot of the Pernicious Deed as you'd suggested. I went 3-1 for 4th place and had a lot of fun.

    My only complaint thought was that maybe some of the sideboard cards targeted at Workshops should be in the main, especially with how heavily Workshops is played locally.

    Also, someone new to playing this type of deck should be reminded - your board will be covered with stuff to do so don't forget to activate everything and do it quick!

    My board shortly before an opponent conceded to boredom:



  • Just remembered the other thought I had:

    The deck is heavy on answers but light on game-ending threats. I think I'd like to cut a Dack or a Thoughtseize for a second find-anything tutor, most likely Vampiric.

    I'd also like a Ponder as that has the ability to shuffle and clear the garbage off the top. However, Dacking that stuff away is approximately as good and Dack has a lot more other applications.



  • @thecravenone said in 4C Keeper 2k17:

    Just remembered the other thought I had:

    The deck is heavy on answers but light on game-ending threats. I think I'd like to cut a Dack or a Thoughtseize for a second find-anything tutor, most likely Vampiric.

    I'd also like a Ponder as that has the ability to shuffle and clear the garbage off the top. However, Dacking that stuff away is approximately as good and Dack has a lot more other applications.

    Glad you enjoyed the deck!

    I feel you on the "light on game ending threats" comment, but I feel that that is really just a statement on the fact that the other blue decks in the format are winning via Mentor, Tinker/Bot, or Tendrils by way of chained outcomes. As played at NYSE, this deck was tuned to beat shops. It has been stated many times on this site and in the FB group that you can meta for Shops OR Mentor but no deck has emerged that has a consistent match-up vs both. While I genuinely feel that this list is "close", close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. I have tried cutting thoughtseizes for an extra MB Decay and a fatal push/dismember (have tested both, don't love either MB), but then I feel weak in the combo matchup where duress effects really shine. My most recent configuration actually featured 1 Mind Twist, a 2nd Decay and 1 Vampiric tutor in the Thoughtseize slots. I'm not sure if that is correct, and I will continue to try different things. Vamp tutor will probably stay around to serve as an extra copy of all the singleton MB "answers"


  • TMD Supporter

    In my recent games with this deck, I've often felt as if I've had good cards in hand, but been unable to cast them. It hasn't been immediately clear if this was just bad luck, or bad mulligan decisions, or 3 DRS not being quite enough. Anyway I'm now trying a build with 4 DRS.



  • @nucleosynth that's a thing with 4c lists, and one of the reasons I originally packed MB crucible; Aside from the fun things you get to do with strip effects, it helps you color fix. If i were going to add a 4th Deathrite, i'd maybe consider sylvan cantyad, or even a mana confluence.


  • TMD Supporter

    @p3temangus Haha, I was thinking about both Confluence and Sylvan! And yeah, I took Crucible out of the 75 without thinking about that upside...



  • If I had to go to champs tomorrow, this is what I'd run:

    I need to work more on Mentor. Shops is very solid. Storm quite good, though I might try and make MBT/a 3rd Rod work. Eldrazi is good, though tense.

    Thoughts:

    • Tried white, but the mana doesn't work.
    • Abrade is the real deal, folks. Perfect card for this deck.
    • Wasteland is a requirement for this deck idea to work reliably. You must keep their mana occupied, whether through Wasteland or through answering your little threats. So, cutting Wasteland while keeping the deathrite/leovold/1-for-1 removal core of the deck just doesn't work very well.
    • Leovold is really good against Mentor.
    • Thoughtseize is good against storm, bad against shops, semi-decent vs Mentor. Not sold on it either way; but I think its value is too variant to be worth it in the context of a large tournament. Also I'm not happy blind-fetching a sea into Wastelands in a shops-rich environment, given how tenuous the mana situation here is.
    • I wish there were more good draw spells for this deck that aren't Preordain or Gush in Vintage. Merchant Scroll is a good addition for this archetype to this end.
    • Dack is really powerful here. I think this is the best Dack deck I know of.
    • I don't know which black removal spell is best. Murderous Cut is, I think, like 5% better than the rest but it's very close.
    • The tutor package is beautiful, and Tinker is a very clear improvement imo. The improvement your shops match gets by including Crypt alone is notable.


  • @boggyb Tinker/Bot is a direction i thought of, but ultimately went away from because I could not comfortably fit 5 moxen + crypt without sacrificing aspects of the mana base, specifically the wastelands. I also did not want be naked to an opposing dack fayden, but I am playing a small paper event tonight so I will try this out!.

    Your comments on thoughtseize are probably correct, and those three slots could be transitioned into 3 blue permission spells, maybe a 4th drain, misstep or even flusterstorm/MBT. I actually may run out a Mind twist because why the hell not...

    Dack is an all star in this list. What this deck lacks in a formal "draw engine" it makes up for in Dack :).

    I would probably go with a second MB Decay over the MB Cut, but that's predicated on my Meta.

    To me, Consecrated Sphinx is the heart and soul of this deck, but maybe tinker/bot is better, I will let you know tomorrow!



  • yar the main nod I give to bot over sphinx is, Sphinx is terrible against shops and Tinker is amazing against shops. Metamorph is at an all-time low so Tinker is almost always GGs. Meanwhile, in a world full of Precursor Golem, it's very easy to cast a sphinx (if you can cast it) and still lose to their onslaught. Meanwhile, they're both about equally good vs. blue decks, on average, I'd say.



  • @boggyb Despite my small sample size, I was undefeated in games where Sphinx resolved, including at least 3 games vs shops. Not going to debate that tinker/bot isnt better vs shops, but Drain+Sphinx was a play all day.



  • Why no engineered explosives?



  • After reading through this thread I have a few thoughts most of which might hold no merit.
    Prior to EE6 we tried Thoughtseize wastelands crucible bobs painful truths and most of the time they left us feeling flat. W/o Gush I definitely feel we lost the best draw engine but the addition of preordain helps your fixing (ala Dack) but cheaper.

    Thoughts:

    • Tried white, but the mana doesn't work.

    This is definitely true. I love the addition of red just for Dack pyro and either grudge/by Force. Personally I haven't had the time to try something like this myself yet but on paper it looks fantastic.

    • Wasteland is a requirement for this deck idea to work reliably. You must keep their mana occupied, whether through Wasteland or through answering your little threats. So, cutting Wasteland while keeping the deathrite/leovold/1-for-1 removal core of the deck just doesn't work very well.

    I disagree here a little. I never felt like I wanted to be wasting my land drops on wastelands as most of my deck was very color intensive (Shaman/Leo/Decay and you guys are playing Dack)
    One turn of me wastelanding them and them having a follow up land or me w/o an active DRS usually spelt doom.
    Also Pete commented that CoW and DT were the worst cards if CoW is bad then wasteland will be worse as that's the main reason to play them together. if DT is bad then we don't have the right targets available in the deck. Every time we draw it we should be doing cartwheels in our head lol.

    • Leovold is really good!

    End of story. He easily is one of my favorite creatures to play with and every time I resolve one I go right into "protect the queen" mode.

    • Thoughtseize is good against storm, bad against shops, semi-decent vs Mentor. Not sold on it either way; but I think its value is too variant to be worth it in the context of a large tournament. Also I'm not happy blind-fetching a sea into Wastelands in a shops-rich environment, given how tenuous the mana situation here is.

    We found Tseize to just be bad. More often than not the blue decks can delve/jvp/snap their way back into the game as we're trying to play this long grindy game(which is a huge reason we ended up on Managorger). We opted for for card draw/selection which worked out great with the more solid no wastelands mana base.

    • I wish there were more good draw spells for this deck that aren't Preordain or Gush in Vintage. Merchant Scroll is a good addition for this archetype to this end.

    The best thing we have really is nights whisper
    And possibly painful truths and skeletal scrying (these two we could never really get behind due to having to gush still and our 3cc slot was jammed with Leo/Hydra)

    • I don't know which black removal spell is best. Murderous Cut is, I think, like 5% better than the rest but it's very close.

    Snuff out was a house for me at EE and the 5 weeks after of top 4s and top 8s
    Also not sure why we're eschewing fatal push here?



  • @Fisken I still love thoughtseize in any room full of combo (outcome or otherwise), but it is the DEADEST draw ever sometimes, and those times are often the least opportune. I have been sliding away from wastelands in exchange for basics and permission. I should clarify that DT was bad for me that day, but that may have been a function of staring at spheres for 4 rounds when underground seas are waste target numero uno. In general DT is a strong card, and a more recent version runs vamp as well.



  • Snuff out was a house for me at EE and the 5 weeks after of top 4s and top 8s
    Also not sure why we're eschewing fatal push here?

    Snuff Out is a real option. BUT: 1. It can't be Snapped back, and 2. Fatal Push is approx. as unreliable as Murderous Cut and can be misstepped. That said it is close; I think I give the nod to Murderous Cut over all.



  • I still think Engineered Explosives should be a 2 of somewhere in that 75. Also I've been noticing some lists utilizing Baral and Night's Whisper. Obv nobo with Painful Truths, but amazing with Night's Whisper and/or Skeletal Scrying. Also have you tried or considered Sylvan Library?



  • @boggyb said in 4C Keeper 2k17:

    Snuff Out is a real option. BUT: 1. It can't be Snapped back,

    Given how much mana I've had in the late game, 4UB isn't that bad.

    @Serracollector said in 4C Keeper 2k17:

    I still think Engineered Explosives should be a 2 of somewhere in that 75.

    What number are you most wanting to EE at? 0 for Monks?



  • Zero for Monks, Zero for Mana Rocks in PO, 2 for Spheres and 99% of MUDs creature base, or just zero to wreck Moxen after getting a Crucible/Wasteland lock. All of these scenerios seem good in the MUs you expect.



  • @thecravenone The main function of that removal spell slot is to kill shops creatures. UB4 + double spheres is totally uncastable unless you have already won the game. What you want to do against shops is just grind their threats and spheres down and emerge on turn 4-5 with an at least healthy mana base, a decent board, and some cards in your hand, and you will usually win. The bridge to get there is to 1-for-1 remove their stuff, and Snapcaster is a good tool there to buy back a removal spell and trade/chump in combat to help you make it to the end game. With snuff out he's totally useless. I think Dismember is very strictly better in this list than Snuff Out given the presence of Snapcaster, and Cut is probably better than Dismember.


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