Preface to a Series of Crimes:

This is the first in a series of appendices intended to supplement and slowly transmogrify the primer of my good friend @thecravenone into a work all my own, in my usual subtle yet entertaining fashion. This mirrors my time with the deck itself, which I started playing after @JACO crushed me with his version in round one of Vintage Champs in 2015. Since that day I have not played another vintage deck. My life and love belong to 2 Card Monte.

My list, which I will vaguely reference throughout my supplemental material:

Addendum One: Goblin Welder is Not Your Friend

When you were young, you always felt like an outcast. The world was trying to dress you in the trappings of a life that did not fit you. To mold you into something else. Something ugly. Something uniform. You cursed silently and tried to resist, but each day took more from you. It was tearing you apart, and forcing the pieces back together to form some caricature of you that you could not recognize or embrace. It was slow torture and soon there would be nothing of you left. Just the shell of who you could have been forced into being what their world decided.

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Things changed the day you met Goblin Welder.

You were standing by yourself outside of a Mirrodin concert, trying not to look nervous or out of place. Feeling like an impostor, you felt only panic as the grimiest little guy in the street came charging your way. He was bellowing Agnostic Front lyrics and stomping about with questionable balance. He thrust a Mindslaver full of an unknown substance at your face, and you had no choice but to drink it. It burned as it went down, but with the warmth came inebriation. Fast and strong, it was a welcome departure from the emotions twisting about inside you like Teferi’s Puzzle Box. You would not remember much from that night, a theme that would recur throughout the years you would spend together. His methods and madness would rattle you like the Chains of Mephistopheles but they would leave you feeling alive.

From that day on you ran the scene together. You were unstoppable. A Juggernaut tearing through the walls that used to contain you. The world was yours. Side by side, your companionship was forged in darksteel and penned in aether. It felt like it would last forever, like nothing could knock you from the high of endless nights of consuming Serum Powder and Thousand-Year Elixir. The spirit of Lin-Sivvi was coursing through your veins.

When you were an Apprentice Wizard it was easy to ignore the writing on the walls as you tore them down like a Dwarven Demolition Team. Every moment was a new opportunity, and consequences never manifested if you did not look too closely. Never mind that the path was paved with problems, you had to keep charging into the light. It was more important to escape the darkness than face the music.

Punk Rock forever.

Each passing sunset made it a little harder to disregard the price of your friendship. The freedom you felt at his side began to show the true cost. He was always taking your things. Sometimes your nice things. Sometimes things you needed. Things you cherished. And he was trading them for things he told you that you wanted. That you could not live without. Things that he needed. His next fix. He was giving you the refuse from his crime-laden lifestyle and making you an accomplice. You could only turn a blind eye and swallow the truth for so long. Your Limited Resources were strained. Soon they would be One with Nothing.

Times were changing. Your battle raged on, but the more you pushed against the Rule of Law the more you were left with only Exhaustion. The purpose of the fight had become so hazy that you could no longer be sure there was an enemy. You began to question why you were fighting at all. The spirit of resistance dwindled. You were working too hard and accomplishing too little.

Things had to change.

When Goblin Welder got locked up, it was a breath of fresh air. You took a job at the Bazaar of Baghdad to try and get your things together. After some courses at the Tolarian Academy, you established yourself in a real career working for Mishra. By the time you went out on your own and founded Gifts Ungiven incorporated, your reckless Goblin friend was a fading memory.

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We will fast forward through the years to last week, when Goblin Welder showed up unannounced to your Suburban home front to the extreme discomfort of your new and rather conservative wife.

At first, you are elated to see your old friend. Sealed away in the confines of nostalgia, you remember him as a safe, fun-loving brother from your Glory days. You recall things being much better than they were, and you are excited to catch up and maybe even get a taste of your former life.

So you spend an evening pounding beers and trying to keep him quiet as he tells stories that make your new spouse cringe and send you into a panic as you worry about your kids overhearing his steady stream of profanity and vulgarity as they are supposed to be asleep down the hall. You drop numerous hints that it is time to wrap things up. He has a comfortable disregard for your prodding and your wife’s discomfort, and after a few more beers he cannot possibly manage to get anywhere safe.

So he is sleeping on your couch.

He will be gone in the morning.

But when you get home from work the next day, there he is, cutting out lines of Serum Powder in front of your mother in law talking about the time you stole Squee’s Toy and hid it in the private chambers of the Adventurer’s Guildhouse after properly compensating Rubinia Soulsinger. As you erupt in anger to keep him from providing the most intimate details of your past in front of your nearby children, too overwhelmed to begin addressing the open use of substances in front of your family, he stares at you in disappointment.

His feelings are hurt.

He tells you that you have changed, and sulks off into the living room. He plops down on your couch as you follow him, wondering if he is right, too rattled to know what to do. Your new life is a little too close to the molded shell they were making for you when you met him, but it is a hell of a lot better than waking up smelling of vomit and holding your head to keep it from throbbing, trying to figure out where you are as you stumble out of an abandoned warehouse near the Rishadan Port.

Youth has its place. And that place is the past.

You try to explain things to him, and he pretends to understand, but the conversation is distant and full of unspoken resentment on both ends. He agrees to pack his things and head out the next day, telling you about a fishing trip he has planned with Karn, Silver Golem that he was going to drag you along on as a surprise for your upcoming birthday, despite the fact that your birthday was a month ago. You begrudgingly agree to let him stay one more night in exchange for his promise to reign in his behavior, knowing well that you are already in over your head with your family for his exploits.

You look in on him from the kitchen as he drinks a bottle of your expensive scotch on your couch, dripping it down his GG Allin shirt that smells like it has not been washed since before the Time Spiral. It is a sad sight on tired eyes.

They say Legends never die. But let’s face it. The last thing your successful and happy life needs is an old legend bringing up the time you snorted Serum Powder off the belly of the Masked Gorgon to get so snow blind that she could not turn you to stone. Even as you reflect on this you have to worry that he is working on trading your four door sedan that you use to drop your kids off to school for a Goblin Charbelcher, unaware that you no longer keep a stock of green mana around to fire it up by the pool. With any luck he has not already turned your lawn mower into some ticking gnomes or traded your satellite dish for a darksteel reactor. There is just no place in your life for Goblin Welder.
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Let go of the past. Punk is dead.

To Sum things up in a more direct manor, Goblin Welder does not make the cut these days. He is a liability at best. I played him for too long, trying to make him good, but it was more work than it was worth. He is at his best if they kill or counter him, fearing him from some memory reflex instead of practical application.

You are playing Leyline of the Void, making him worse against your opponent at least some of the time. Removal in main decks increases every day, and even when the Shops deck does not shut him down with a Revoker they shoot him with a Ballista. Goblin Welder is a weapon of the past, better left to rest in memory than tarnish in resurrection.

Next up will be addendum 2, the Draw 7 Diatribe, but I think this is as much as I have in me for the morning.

Ben, you are truly a gem of the community.

@shaman-ben said in Two Card Monte:

Next up will be addendum 2, the Draw 7 Diatribe, but I think this is as much as I have in me for the morning.

Eagerly awaiting this.


This deck is so cool. Kudos to all of you. I love everything about this.

We will fast forward through the years to last week, when Goblin Welder showed up unannounced to your Suburban home front to the extreme discomfort of your new and rather conservative wife.

I legit LOL'd reading this at work. My co-workers are equal parts concerned and confused about why this is funny.

I played this deck once. A few weeks ago. It was a horrible experience.


Horrible, as in... Damn you, Ben... I don't want to play another deck for champs. It was too majestic.

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I play an alternative version called Deuces Wild. It sheds some of the cards that you don't want multiples of for a slightly more consistent mana base. It's also worth more than many other decks you can put together unless you own 40 beta duals like me. So if you're concerned about winning the value fight it might be up your alley.

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Sample Sideboard:

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This version cuts a land from @Shaman-Ben s version but maybe gets stoned by Null Rod a bit less (Chromatic static ability still works) in exchange for being able to more reliably cast Leyline of the Void (and other cards).

I'm also playing Misstep instead of Defense Grid because Misstep is Phyrexian Cancer. Having to invest a main phase mana in a Grindstone only to have my opponent wake up from a snooze, flick a booger out of their nose and make the pro move of Misstepping it is too much for me to bear. So I Misstep the Misstep. Sometimes I even Misstep the Misstep that Misstepped my Misstep. It's thrilling and skill intense.

I also strip Helms because I don't have skills with it. @JACO reliably hits good creatures that let him win when he YOLO helms. For me its always suboptimal Millstone. I'd rather Tutor for it than fan out triple Helm openers.

Having a bot that Dack can't steal that ignores Grudge, The Abrade and Chewer is pretty good. He's also very castable when I'm riding on all that chrome(atic lantern). He gets plowed, but Painter gets Plowed alot and I can always enter into the sub game of who has more Missteps.

There are some bad cards like Time Walk, not too impressive in this deck that I can get behind cutting. After having Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast go Event Horizon on me numerous times I think a couple of them might be a good addition in this version which excels at making colored mana.

I'll try to become a better person and learn how to Markup a decklist, that being said pictures are worth thousands of words (and thousands of dollars when your deck is pimped like mine).

I have a sample sideboard here. I like Witchbane as a catch all, ironically it's decent in the mirror. Stops Hurkyl's, Storm has to deal with it or Empty. Also if Curse Mid Range is big at your store it's a beating. They could well be Defense Grids as well. I have some Grudges and Chewers for shops, Traps for triggering people, Chains for Blue Stew, Virulent Plague is Oath and Mentor hate but probably only on the Draw. I think this deck, like most Shop decks, is one where you are really adjusting your board depending on if you are on the play. I play Jester's Cap because I'm a fucking gangster. Many millenials don't know how it feels to get capped, it's fun to violate the privacy of their libraries and pull all their Oath men for example.

Typed it out for you. I appreciate the pics, but had no f'ing clue what virulent plague was until you wrote it out, lol.

@wiley I appreciate the list as well. I browse TMD at work and have to scroll past pictures to stay covert about it.

Wow, that list looks great, and those are some NICE Cities!

Demonic Consultation also much more exciting when you have less 4 of's. I'm also running Balance. To me the card is such a savaging in a deck playing Leylines. You can reliably get your hand pretty low on the play between fast mana and a Leyline and Balance just becomes an atomic elbow. Of course its also fantastic as a wrath-a-geddon also.

City of Brass rules. Any game I lose where I have City of Brass out I actually win. I have 2 full sets of altered ones and it depends on my mood. One set are all just fucking Necropotence variations. The set depicted here is a bit more eclectic reflecting some of Tedin's god like work. Orb, Drain, Lord of the Pit and Juzam.

@nedleeds said in Two Card Monte:

I'm also running Balance. To me the card is such a savaging in a deck playing Leylines. You can reliably get your hand pretty low on the play between fast mana and a Leyline and Balance just becomes an atomic elbow. Of course its also fantastic as a wrath-a-geddon also.

Can confirm, @Shaman-Ben has blown me out multiple times with Balance, sometimes on turn 1.

@cutlex said in Two Card Monte:

@nedleeds said in Two Card Monte:

I'm also running Balance. To me the card is such a savaging in a deck playing Leylines. You can reliably get your hand pretty low on the play between fast mana and a Leyline and Balance just becomes an atomic elbow. Of course its also fantastic as a wrath-a-geddon also.

Can confirm, @Shaman-Ben has blown me out multiple times with Balance, sometimes on turn 1.

@Shaman-Ben is my hero for deck building. 😄

last edited by mdkubiak

@mdkubiak I didnt really do all that much. My build is customized to the way I like to jam magic, based on what was out there, cut into pieces, and stitched back together to resemble my likeness.

I love this deck. I love this thread.

I have no poetic words to offer, nor pictographs. Just hazardous technology, which the FAA never ceases to let go unmolested every time I travel through airport security.

I have played tons of different versions of 2 Card Monte over the years, including at the past couple Vintage Championships, and done pretty well with it in general. One of the issues I would run in to when piloting the deck was the fact that if your couple threats got countered, you would often just get outdrawn by the blue decks, or planeswalkers. This was an ongoing issue no matter what I tried. Because of this, I have played Dark Confidant in most versions I have played in tournaments (going back to 2011 even) , as another bomb to play on turn 1, and as another draw mechanism to pull even with the blue decks. I am not a fan of the Draw 7s in here, because if you can't muster the mana to cast both that and your kill condition(s), and activate them in the same turn, it will most often result in your own demise when your opponent untaps with mana in play (and a fresh full hand). I have sideboarded in Timetwister from to time, as another weapon against Dredge. Memory Jar floats in and out of my builds, and with the abundance of delve spells the past 2 years has been mostly out, but will probably make its way back in.

Unlike Ben, I still love Goblin Welder in this deck. Missteps abound, but Welder has immense synergy with your own Grindstones (Grind yourself, then Weld back in a relevant card, often for the win), and in most of my recent versions, with Dack Fayden and/or Bazaar of Baghdad. It also lets you play through decks packing tons of countermagic. I played something like this at Vintage Champs 2016:

I used to play multiple Ancient Grudges main, but found that Daretti proved much more beneficial at dealing with hate coming from different angles, and dealing with the Workshop and Eldrazi menace over the past year. Daretti is harder to cast, but you can definitely retool your manabase to accomplish whatever you want with this deck (hence my 3 Workshops, and multiple Urborgs currently). I have a love/hate relationship with Mox Opal (mostly hate), so it's sitting back on the shelf for now.

Over the years I have tried everything from Kuldotha Forgemaster, to Chromatic Lantern, to Thoughtseize, to Notion Thief, to Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas (which is slow, but actually very interesting for the effects it provides, and problems it solves). I have tried versions utilizing lots of pitch counters (aka Pitch Monte). I have tried Oath of Druids variants (both main and sideboard). So there is definitely a lot of room for innovation and latitude in design, depending on what you're trying to combat in the metagame.

I think the next version I am going to build around will probably incorporate an angle of attack using Dark Depths. I have tested this before, but never found a variant I thought was consistent enough. But I think it's probably possible with enough testing and tuning to get a very competitive version. Now that Solemnity has been printed, I think this offers some real potential (especially as yet another tool against the most popular individual deck currently - Workshop Aggro).

last edited by JACO


Do you feel that Dark Confidant is still worth it given the ubiquity of Walking Ballista?

@senor_bisquick said in Two Card Monte:


Do you feel that Dark Confidant is still worth it given the ubiquity of Walking Ballista?

Dredge and Workshops have been the easiest matchups for this deck, including the current metagame. So I'm not really worried about Confidant dying to Ballista (as does Welder). This means they A) have to have Ballista in hand (or draw in to it immediately), and B) take a turn off of any other disruption they may have to deal with Confidant. I have tons of cards to help combat the Workshop matchup, as well as appropriate mana to power through Spheres, so I'm not going to sacrifice Confidant when Workshops only amount to 30-40% of the field, and Force of Will decks occupy 60%+. It's just too good everywhere else, and Confidant can easily be sideboarded out against Ballista (or Oath decks).

Also, regarding Confidant and average converted mana cost (ACMC), in the list above, the total casting cost of the main deck is 79, divided by 60 cards, equals an ACMC of 1.3167 (rounded).

last edited by JACO

I'm fairly new to 2 Card Monte (like, I played it for the first time less than a month ago). I only ever played against @Shaman-Ben's version of the deck.

One thing I've found interesting is the different builds that are out there. I honestly didn't know there was this much variation in the deck.

I started out with @JACO list from 2 years ago, and most of the changes I made initially were for budget reasons and I eventually evolved into the mess I have now because it suits the way I play magic, which is usually heavily inebriated or medicated. I still like to dabble with variants, and had a lot of fun with the list above. Black Daretti is a bad ass motherfucker. The best part about this deck is how many different ways you can play it, how many different things you can do with it, and in the end how awesome it is to exile your opponent's library.


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