Oh Boy I Can't Wait For VSL Season 7!

  • @poxeveryturn said in Oh Boy I Can't Wait For VSL Season 7!:

    @fsecco I’d really like to see someone try that survival/ hollow deck. Or even more bizarre the survival/nought deck with Varolz. Might not be great but it would be a lot of fun to watch instead of someone casting Mentor/pyro once again. Don’t get me wrong I still love watching good vintage. But I want to see something crazy here and there when you call it a brewers challenge.

    Furthermore, even if not a dedicated brew I was hoping to see some more off the wall stuff like maybe no land belcher or some sort of steel city vault variant.
    I know those decks already exist to some extent much like the storm deck. But I think it would be great if someone tried them here and figured this would be the season to try it. I’m still holding hope that the creativity spikes in weeks to come. But I’m also not overly optimistic of that, it’s natural to want to be competitive and hard to bring a deck that will possibly go 0-3. Style points have to count for something though.

    Mono-blue Belcher has seen some play in the VSL, not sure if any "X City" style decks have or not

  • Do keep in mind the timetable for deck submissions. Submitting a decklist 3 weeks before you play it in the day and age of faster vintage deck evolution means that likely nothing will look like a new brew.

  • This post is deleted!

  • TMD Supporter

    @winterstar which is one reason why Paul Ritzel in this season. I consider him an actual brewer. It may be decks that aren’t remotely tier 1, but he is trying something he wants to play but something people typically wouldn’t come up with.

  • Regarding the 4 person round robins; i actually kind of like that in a way. Tiebreakers were fawful kinda, but i don't really mind seeing the same people play a few rounds each.

    Besides thinking it's a shame Brian was cut from this season of all seasons, it's also a shame that there has been a fair amount of 'not brews'.

    The UBG mirrors were a little bit samesy after a little while, but those decks were at least mostly different than other decks i would expect, as well as each other, and in my opinion each gets a few bonus points for not being a tier copypasta.

    @kingleovold said in Oh Boy I Can't Wait For VSL Season 7!:

    (even for me who thinks BUG is the best)

    Username checks out.
    Unrelated, have a decklist to share to forum or link me?

    @winterstar said in Oh Boy I Can't Wait For VSL Season 7!:

    Do keep in mind the timetable for deck submissions. Submitting a decklist 3 weeks before you play it in the day and age of faster vintage deck evolution means that likely nothing will look like a new brew.

    I can't precisely speak for others, only what i think they were putting out and what i think. But the decks that were not brews... Well, they were not brews 3 weeks ago either. I mean i definitely don't personally count a deck that could be titled "Mentor, but there's only 1" a brew. It's the same deck +/- 6 cards for a small amount of metagaming and 3 of those different slots are only because a card was restricted.

  • While an absolute enthusiast level vintage player and a sideline, arm chair, ivory tower gawker of great and notably unstoried proportions, I have enjoyed this season for several reasons, despite the importance or noteworthiness of my opinion:

    1. Seeing some cool mirrors. While painful, all of the null rod mirror games have been very illustrative of how those matches actually work. It's been great to see some of the tech that's emerged (or reemerge, lookin' at you Trygon Predator!). Similarly, seeing Grixis Thieves come out swinging so nicely, run by some talented players, has been a lot of fun. Also, seeing that Rich Shay has played Aggro Shops now, one can only hope there will be a Control Shops mirror brewing in the weeks to come which brings me to...
    1. While indeed, the true Brew aspect of the challenge may have a hitch in its giddyup, it has been Great to demonstrate just exactly why fun, spicy brews have difficulties in the face of top tier decks, even when the spice is...er...sprinkled...by extremely strong, competent, competitive players. As an enthusiast, I try to spread the Vintage love to everyone I know who plays (especially paper) magic, and being able to show people - by way of an easy video link - why certain strategies or cards remain marginal is pretty key in helping them get why vintage archetypes are so normative. Still, dat' Dragon Stompy tho...

    Plus variety! Maybe assigning certain players weeks that they Must bring a brew would help keep things interesting and relieve some of the competitive pressure from players in the league? Or better yet maybe make some guidelines for what Constitutes a "brew."

    More importantly though, kudos to those players brave enough to try out new cards or bring some beloved gems (Go Landstill!) even with the knowledge that they could-most-likely-will just be Stormed, Dredged, Taxed or Tokened into oblivion. Who knows maybe there's shenanigans to come! Gifts? Thirst?? Noble Hierarch?!

    I like the idea of brewer points, that's fun. I'd add a category for Grand Old Cards! Laud and fanfare for anyone who resolves The Abyss...

    1. The revolving commentary really makes the show. Having players with varying levels of insight and experience makes for a good mix of technical and anecdotal fun. It gives you a sense that Timmy and Johnny are alive and well in Vintage even alongside fear, surprise and ruthless efficiency. I've definitely watched matchups that I wouldn't normally care much about because of the lively chat, or in some cases the deadpan analytical "this line not that line" banter.

    2. Finally, this has been the first season of VSL that I've managed to watch all the way through so far and enjoy. Not that it wasn't a great thing before, I just mostly would watch one here or there and check out deck lists. But. For more casual players like myself (and I dare to speak for others who may just love Vintage and not be connected to or invested in particular personalities or the depth of the current metagame), this is a lively season that I hope will boost shares, views and ultimately revenue for continued production.

  • @bandswithothers said in Oh Boy I Can't Wait For VSL Season 7!:

    The revolving commentary really makes the show. Having players with varying levels of insight and experience makes for a good mix of technical and anecdotal fun. It gives you a sense that Timmy and Johnny are alive and well in Vintage even alongside fear, surprise and ruthless efficiency. I've definitely watched matchups that I wouldn't normally care much about because of the lively chat, or in some cases the deadpan analytical "this line not that line" banter.

    The great commentary is what makes the VSL so cool to watch!

  • TMD Supporter

    A while back, I said that you'd have to wait until midway through the season, or at least the last trimester, to judge whether the "brewer's challenge" format worked or not. My opinion is that the format is a success, and has resulted in some really neat brews. Personally, without the VSL challenge, I wouldn't have been motivated to put work into the Ad Nauseam deck I played in the 2nd trimester, which many people told me they've enjoyed playing. It was cool to see Sperling's hatebears deck played last week; and Kevin's Grixis Daretti deck is fun to watch.

    I'm really excited for Tuesday's epic conclusion to the regular season. I'm playing cards that have never seen play in the VSL before, and I have little doubt that Erin, David and Bob will have some wild and crazy ideas as well.

  • I've enjoyed this season a lot too, largely in part due to deck exploration. Last week was the worst though as there were so many lopsided games. The people who drew poorly drew really poorly.

  • TMD Supporter

    @smmenen The definately got better as it has moved further in. Erin/ @Oestrus has been a pleasant addition to the cast.

    I miss from a viewer point of view seeing every player play every week... though I understand why that’s not good for the players. However, that’s honestly a minor nitpick.

  • TMD Supporter

    I didn't get a chance to do this on the stream, so I wanted to take the opportunity here to acknowledge some folks who helped tremendous with my VSL brew this trimester. In particular, I want to recognize Tom Metelsky (@i_b_TRUE) and @JACO who also provided some information, including his latest list and a great primer he wrote on EC here.

    Tom was very generous with his time, talking over some of the tweaks I made to his list, which he used to win a Vintage Challenge a few months back, and hearing out my suggestions. In particular, I added Yawgmoth's Will and Peek to the maindeck, and Boseiju to the sideboard, among other changes. Tom also walked through some challenging testing matches I had, and gave me encouraging feedback.

    Here is what I played:


    Stephen Menendian
    Flash Rector
    1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    3 Academy Rector
    1 Griselbrand
    1 Monastery Mentor
    3 Cabal Therapy
    1 Demonic Tutor
    1 Gitaxian Probe
    1 Merchant Scroll
    1 Ponder
    1 Preordain
    3 Show and Tell
    1 Time Walk
    1 Ancestral Recall
    1 Brainstorm
    1 Dig Through Time
    1 Flash
    1 Flusterstorm
    1 Island
    1 Yawgmoth's Will
    1 Hurkyl's Recall
    1 Mental Misstep
    1 Mystical Tutor
    1 Vampiric Tutor
    1 Black Lotus
    1 Ancient Tomb
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Omniscience
    1 Yawgmoth's Bargain
    1 Mana Crypt
    2 Flooded Strand
    1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    1 Library of Alexandria
    2 Misty Rainforest
    1 Peek
    2 Scalding Tarn
    2 Tundra
    3 Underground Sea
    1 Polluted Delta
    1 Sensei's Divining Top
    4 Force of Will

    2 Hurkyl's Recall
    1 Balance
    2 Containment Priest
    2 Kambal, Consul of Allocation
    1 Karakas
    4 Leyline of the Void
    1 Tinker
    1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
    1 Blightsteel Colossus

    The deck is really fun to play, and I cashed almost all of the leagues I played with it. I probably tested it in between 5-10 leagues, and did really well. Despite being extremely non-linear in appearance, it's actually remarkably consistent and resilient.

    Also, DW gave me a good ribbing tonight for durdling around in my 2nd match against Erin tonight. I probably durdled a bit too much, but I was trying to play around Flusterstorm. To explain: my main plan was to Show and Tell Ominiscience into play, and then use the Vamp to find Emrakul, and Bargain to draw it. The problem was that if I cast Show and Tell the turn earlier, Erin could have put the Demon into play, and use the Demonc to tutor up Flusterstorm to stop my Vamp. So I had to wait another turn. Also, if I had paid life for Probe, then I risked not being able to Force, and Vamp, and pay a life to draw the Emrakul. There may have a been a more direct route, but that's what was going on in my head. I wasn't trying to waste anyones time. In fact, I thought folks would have enjoyed seeing Emrakul hard cast! Despite seemingly overwhelming board state, I really didn't have much action in hand, so I just needed to be a bit careful.

    The deck is not really a combo deck. It's a combo-control deck. It doesn't have Tendrils, and it needs to actually win the long way - usually setting up Omniscience --> Emrakul.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it!

  • Week 9 was a fun watch. Technically my latest list was the one I emailed you last month:

    That's a bit off of what I'd play today, but I think it's pretty important to have at least 2 basics main. Both mine and Tom's list from the challenge had 2 basics, and not having 2 definitely cost you in the M1G2 last night against Dave. Not being able to fetch another basic to play through Wasteland + Thorn left you in a pretty rough spot (unable to cast Ponder and/or Ancestral without problem). Still, I was excited to see you play Rector in VSL, especially in light of what was supposed to be the "Brewer's Challenge" be pretty uninspiring outside of yours and a couple other decks. Rector Omniscience has been one of my favorite decks the past few years, and is still the most fun Vintage deck I've played since TNT. I also enjoyed you playing Ad Nauseam Tendrils, which was a throwback to the ANT lists of 2008/2009. Very nice, and different from what the other players were doing.

  • TMD Supporter

    There were some interesting decks this week!

    I thought it would be worth saying a few words about one of my decks. In my second match against Rich, I played a deck I call "Woke Mentor." The name refers to Thing in the Ice, which transforms into "Awoken Horror."

    Thing in the Ice has not received much love of late, but it has a few crucial advantages over Young Pyromancer in addition to the obvious fact of being blue, and thus pitchable to Force of Will:

    1. It is much more resilient against Walking Ballista. Pyromancer dies to the smallest possible Ballista, while Ballista has a difficult time killing off a Thing in the Ice. Since Ballista was printed this year, Young Pyromancer has proven to be a much weaker substitute to Monastery Mentor than otherwise would have been the case.

    2. Lightning Bolt. In many of the Xerox decks of late, players have starting running more Bolts and fewer Swords. Thing in the Ice survives Bolt, whereas Pyromancer does not.

    The first two are the most obvious advantages. But there are a few other ways that Thing in the Ice has tactical and strategic advantages.

    1. Kelly Oath creatures.
      One of the great advantages of Thing in the Ice over Kelly Oath is that the opponent can actually Oath without you losing the game. Because Thing in the Ice triggers are difficult to stop and can be timed with precision, you can use Thing in the Ice to bounce Oathed up creatures, like Inferno Titan, stranding them in hand, while you attack in. I have had this happen. I have even bounced Griselbrand just prior to a lethal attack.

    2. The Low-To-The-Ground, Hyper Aggro Shop Deck

    Pyromancer ostensibly gains it's advantage from horizontal growth, but this growth now does little to impede Shops aggressive game plan. This is where Thing In the Ice Shines.

    Thing in the Ice is a 0/4 wall against a fast Foundry Inspector, but then undoes all of the work of Steel Overseer, Hangarback generation, etc. when it flips. The only creature it won't Unsummon is usually a Phyrexian Revoker.

    There are, of course, disadvantages of Thing in the Ice vis-a-vis Pyromancer. In particular, Pyroblast and Swords are stronger against it than Pyromancer.

    But, to look at Thing in the Ice as better or worse than Pyromancer misses the point. Tempo threats for Xerox/Gush decks don't lie on a simplistic continuum of better or worse or high/medium/low. The question is always contextual: which threats are better in different shells, conditions, and contexts?

    In a field of Xerox mirrors, Pyromancer probably has the edge. It's distributed power is better against Plow and certainly better against Pyroblast. But in a metagame that looks like the Top 8 of the Vintage Championship - of Aggro Shops and Kelly Oath (with little to zero Pyroblast) - Woke Mentor is, I believe, a better choice. Thing in the Ice is better than Pyromancer against Oath sans Pyroblast and much better against Aggro Shop, in my testing.

    And, if you run a deck like Soly's from Champs, Thing in the Ice gets even more value, since Soly ran 4 Snapcaster. Thing in the Ice's transforms returns Snapcasters, and allows you to replay them for value.

    In Conclusion, Thing in the Ice is an overlooked Xerox finisher that is worth of special consideration in metagames with a higher density of Oath and Aggro Shop, and especially strong in metagames with few Pyroblasts like Vintage Champs Top 8. Young Pyromancer is often underwhelming in those matchups, and it here that Thing in the Ice can shine. Thing in the Ice may also be decent in Xerox metagames that have more Bolts and fewer Plows.

  • @smmenen I feel like this argument is familiar...


    @chubbyrain said in Discussing Gush Mentor (beating it, restriction discussion, anything):

    My opinion has been that the actual win conditions in Gush decks are interchangeable and should be based on what you feel the metagame will be like. Mentor is arguably the most powerful in a vacuum, but people start running Sudden Shocks, Sulfur Elementals, Dread of Nights, etc. Thing in the Ice is a very powerful alternative. Shops becomes very popular...look to Delver/Young Pyromancer. Shops becomes nonexistent...look to Doomsday. People start cutting Dack Faydens and loading up on Supreme Verdicts...Tinker becomes viable. The format is actually very dynamic and open...so long as you are willing to run 3-4 Gush in your Blue decks. That's the one card I feel is metagame proof.

  • TMD Supporter

    Except you wrote that when Mentor was unrestricted, which makes your statement obviously false. Mentor is not "Interchangeable" with other Xerox finishers, and never was.

    Everyone knows, or now should know, that Mentor is miles better than any of the alternative Xerox-based Tempo finishers. in my post, I am comparing distant 2nd place and far inferior replacement options, Young Pyromancer to Thing in the Ice.

  • @smmenen Yes, Xerox win percentages are way down as a result of the Mentor restriction...

    The only obvious thing is that neither Mentor or Gush were integral to the function of the deck. That was my argument. I said Mentor was the best in a vacuum but no one plays Magic in a vacuum. But then again, you focus on the word "interchangeable" since it makes you right, ignoring the rest of what I said...

  • TMD Supporter

    @chubbyrain said in Oh Boy I Can't Wait For VSL Season 7!:

    @smmenen Yes, Xerox win percentages are way down as a result of the Mentor restriction...

    I"m not sure what you mean by "way" down, but yes, Xerox has had a significant reduction in metagame % since the restriction of Mentor. It's been roughly a 20-33% metagame penetration decline since the restriction. Yes, that's a pretty significant reduction.

    Anyone even half paying attention knows that Mentor was a huge blow to Xerox decks.

    Give it a rest, Steve.

    If you don't want me presenting facts and obvious axioms, then don't bait me into doing so by responding to my posts.

  • @smmenen The "give it a rest" was you attempting to lawyer every argument in such a way that it makes you right. My intent was clearly to state that other win cons could be successful in the Gush - Delve engine. And that focusing on the win con ignored the rest of the deck. It was hyperbole to a degree, but I believe the point is apparent.

    Edit: I edited it out, as it was clearly a flame. Sorry.

  • Anyways....
    This season of VSL has been a blast to watch. Congratz to Kevin on the amazing run since his 0-3 start.
    The decks have been pretty fun to see as well. Lot of different decks and angles that I don't remember see in recent VSL's. The coverage has been very entertaining as well. Thanks @Smmenen and the rest of you for putting on a good show.
    Can't wait to see how it end's up on Tuesday between Kevin and Reid.

  • TMD Supporter

    Tune into the finals in just a few minutes!


    All of the decklists have finally been posted:


    Really proud of the decks I played this season.