Let's start a discussion about destroying gush based mentor decks!


  • TMD Supporter

    Ok, so basically I've been back playing vintage online after a break of about 6 years.
    I'm already sick of losing to monastery mentor, why this card can be a 4 of, and lodestone got restricted seems like a sick prank to me, but what can you do?

    Here's what we can do:
    Use this thread to discuss individual cards and strategies that best combat a gush based mentor deck, and it's typical sideboard options.

    is a card like propaganda/ghostly prison an effective answer to mentor? it's better than ensnaring bridge possibly due to not getting hit by ancient grudge.
    blood moon effects, typical mentor lists have only 4 force of wills to counter this card as flusterstorm and misstep do nothing against it.

    the best strategy seemed to be to bury them in sphere effects, but what are answers for people who don't want to play that game?

    Let's do some damage, because from what I've seen, mentor is the new boss in the format.


  • TMD Supporter

    Dread of Night, Virulent Plague, Engineered Plague, Illness in the Ranks, Sulfur Elemental, Sudden Shock. But these are all sideboard cards (with the possible exception of Sudden Shock). Deckbuilding strategies to stop Mentor is somewhat harder. I like Null Rod/Stony Silence to slow them down but it's tough. Mentor wins games very quickly once it hits play.



  • Oh one thing you'll want to learn is that Mentor is the new Tinker-Colossus. It's quite easy to put him into any blue deck and most of the time he's just a better Tinker-Colossus.

    You definitely want the Sphere effects since that's seriously going to limit Mentor's output.

    I'd say the next ingredient to destroying Mentor is to actually remove him from the battlefield. Triskelion and Steel Hellkite have the ability to do this.

    Consider the build that won a Vintage tournament yesterday:

    Martello Shops

    4 Kuldotha Forgemaster
    4 Phyrexian Revoker
    1 Lodestone Golem
    2 Phyrexian Metamorph
    1 Kar, Silver Golem
    1 Duplicant
    1 Steel Hellkite
    1 Triskelion
    1 Sundering Titan
    1 Black Lotus
    1 Chalice of the Void
    1 Mana Crypt
    5 Mox
    1 Sol Ring
    4 Sphere of Resistance
    4 Thorn of Amethyst
    1 Crucible of Worlds
    4 Tangle Wire
    1 Trinisphere
    1 Staff of Nin
    4 Ancient Tomb
    3 Cavern of Souls
    4 Mishra's Workshop
    1 Strip Mine
    1 Tolarian Academy
    4 Wasteland
    3 Mishra's Factory

    This deck has the 10 Spheres, and then 4 Forgemasters to tutor out a solution to Mentor.

    If you wanted to go 5c Stax, then you would want Balance and possibly even your own Mentor.

    -edit-

    Hey Juggernaut, a big difference between the lion's share of blue decks now and blue decks of the past is that they play less artifact mana and try to cheat on mana sources. Their mana base is pretty dependent on the success of draw spells. In that way, Uba Mask could be very effective in this metagame.

    Also, against Storm. If you turn 1 Uba Mask, they're not getting to keep their draws as they make land drops. Their strategy is to make mana drops, sculpt their hand, and then Hurkyl's you. They can't do that with an Uba Mask in play; its similar to Lodestone Golem in that way.



  • They're not easy to destroy. The main reason they lose to brown is because they're under tremendous pressure from one another. I've been seeing 4x Misstep and 0x Dack with some really greedy mana bases.

    The best answer is probably something like URw Delver with maindeck Sulfur Elementals.

    I'd encourage people to test Grixis Goblins as it's in a good position to test the viability of Lackey+Aether Vial with backup from Sudden Shock, Thorns, and Rakdos Charm. I'm not sure it's viable, but it wouldn't surprise me if it is.



  • This thread is why Monastery Mentor is so good.



  • I think this is the wrong approach. The reason Shops has been successful against Mentor decks is that it both attacks the namesake card and the draw engine that supports it. I've lost track of the games I've beat Engineered Plague, Illness of the Ranks, Sulfur Elemental, Supreme Verdict, Moat, Slaughter Games, Oath of Druids, etc. with Jace Emblems, Jace Ultimates, random Dragonlords, 18/18 Mentor with no tokens, Mentor + Time Walk to beat Verdict....

    Time to make a thread called "How I learned to stop worrying and love the Monk".



  • @Juggernaut-GO I'm in! But to @ChubbyRain 's point I think we might want to redirect the conversation. This thread should really just be called. How to beat Gush. Period.

    The reason Mentor is so good is because Gush is so good. A mentor on a board where spells can't be played, or when it's controller is out of cards in hand, is just a Grey Ogre. Conversely, if one kills Mentors left and right, but doesn't deal with Gush and the other card drawing, "Mentor" decks will just run you out of cards and kill with any number of alternate kill conditions, or just the last mentor in their deck after the opponent's answers are gone.

    Don't get me wrong on Mentor. It is crazy efficient, and incredibly dangerous. I really like it as a card. If actually broken, its probably the first white card since Balance that is. So thank you Wizards, thank you for giving Tundra a reason to live. But with that said, I just don't think Mentor is the problem, or the pressure point at which to attack a "Mentor" deck. Talk of sweepers is fine. One might need them to stay alive when a mentor hits the table, but keep in mind that these are for safety only. They will not win the game against Mentor the deck. One doesn't win the Daytona 500 by having the best seat belt. Mentor is only one card out of the Gush player's hand. It feels good to play a Supreme Verdict and know you're going to mop up a board of Mentor and his five students. It even feels like card advantage, but it isn't. That was Verdict trading for Mentor. One for one. If Gush continues to outdraw whatever you're playing... you're losing the Daytona 500.

    The place to really attack Gush, is to attack the engine. Cards like Thalia, Sphere of Resistance, Thorn of Amethyst, Trinisphere, Chalice of the Void (to set at 1), Strip Mine, Wasteland, Notion Thief, Spirit of the Labyrinth, Chains of Mephistopheles are all really disruptive to Gush decks. Non-shops, non-hatebear decks should seriously be testing those cards as sideboard cards, if not finding decks to play them in the main. (I play Oath with a mainboard Chalice just to screw decks that run a bunch of 1 mana spells) As for sweepers, I like the ones that stick around on the board, like Engineered Plague and Dread of Night (though I like Dread less since it isn't a good sideboard card if they play Pyromancer, and because Misstep). Those can add up to real card advantage. If you're just using spells to reset the board, then it will come down to whoever draws more cards, and... oh yeah, they're playing Gush and we aren't. So... original problem. Also, the counter suite in Gush decks tends to have a lot of stuff that can't counter enchantments directly. (Flusterstorm and the like) So Gush decks have a harder time keeping that stuff off the board.

    Lastly, and in light of the recent restrictions. Thank you for starting this thread. This is what should happen, instead of clamoring for rules changes or complaining about OP cards as if Gush is Ancestral Recall or something. We all know Gush is dangerous and widely played. There's always going to be a best deck, so if we aren't going to join them, let's get our crap together and beat them. I think Gush is a great deck, but if I knew the next tourney was going to be 90% Gush... then I like my chances. A predictable meta is a beatable meta.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Topical_Island Gush is great, obviously. But I think without Mentor, Gush is a great engine card in a lot of shells but the other Gush decks don't have the closing power. Delver/Pyromancer is a good deck (my favorite deck) but I don't believe that Gush would be the force it is without Mentor. Same goes for Gushbond Storm or Doomsday. These are good, competitive decks but, in my opinion, anyway, it is Mentor that puts Gush over the top.

    @ChubbyRain yeah, I was trying to say (but didn't say very clearly) that all those sideboard cards don't really stop Mentor reliably. You have to draw them, resolve them, keep them in play and then half the time it doesn't even matter and the Virulent Plague or Propoganda or whatever just gives you an extra turn or two.



  • @DrStreetmention Yeah, I'm fine with that. And to your point, I think Gush-Mentor is way way better than say, Gush Storm with Fastbond. (In fact, full disclosure, my wife has been a Gush player for years so I have to face it every night at the kitchen table... bleh.) But the purpose of this thread isn't how awesome Mentor is (pro tip... very awesome). It's how to beat the archetype, and I think that means having a plan for Gush not just to sweep up Mentor tokens and pretend it's card advantage. Honestly I think that's where most people go wrong. Or put another way. If you get ahead in cards against Gush, you solve every problem at once. They have a hard time resolving Mentors, a hard time finding new ones, and a tough time fueling them when they come down. Which all adds up to giving you enough time to do your own dirty dirty vintage business and end the game in your favor... Oath of Druids Kari! Booya! (Don't be mad honey... I'll clean the dishes)



  • Oath of Druids
    Tendrils of Agony
    Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
    Dismember
    Triskelion



  • @Topical_Island said:

    @DrStreetmention Yeah, I'm fine with that. And to your point, I think Gush-Mentor is way way better than say, Gush Storm with Fastbond. (In fact, full disclosure, my wife has been a Gush player for years so I have to face it every night at the kitchen table... bleh.) But the purpose of this thread isn't how awesome Mentor is (pro tip... very awesome). It's how to beat the archetype, and I think that means having a plan for Gush not just to sweep up Mentor tokens and pretend it's card advantage. Honestly I think that's where most people go wrong. Or put another way. If you get ahead in cards against Gush, you solve every problem at once. They have a hard time resolving Mentors, a hard time finding new ones, and a tough time fueling them when they come down. Which all adds up to giving you enough time to do your own dirty dirty vintage business and end the game in your favor... Oath of Druids Kari! Booya! (Don't be mad honey... I'll clean the dishes)

    Funny you mention this because I've been playing a mentor/gush deck that uses fastbond and tendrils for an alternate kill. Its quite effective at what it does. It can go off as soon as turn 1 (had a turn 2 kill today while playing it...only reason I missed turn 1 is I didn't have a second land to keep going after trop/fastbond). In many games where I get mentor on the board I can swing with mentor next turn and win. And with this build I can get mentor on the board and win that turn.



  • @Khahan Does it seem more fragile to countermagic? My wife just cut green from hers altogether cause misstep is just a huge pain in the butt. She also didn't like drawing meaningless tendrils. (She runs vault key now, which I hate losing to will Emrakul on the table. Yuck)


  • TMD Supporter

    I haven't found Tabernacle to be as effective against Mentor as it was against Delver. Not only are moxes more abundant with Cotv gone, but Mentor only needs one monk, whereas Depver usually needed multiple tokens.

    I've been unimpressed with Tabernacle of late, and have seen it pushed from a lot of shops sideboards. anyone else impressed with it, or do Mentor player fear it?



  • @joshuabrooks No, I'm not afraid of Tabernacle at all when I'm on Mentor.



  • Ensnaring Bridge, Maelstrom Pulse, Pernicious Deed, Uba Mask, and counting to 7 or 10 before they cast Mentor, are ways to easily beat it, but most don't see play, for right now, I hate to say it because I honestly hated yawgmoth's will and the storm mechanic, but storm seems to be the best viable answer versus Gush Mentor lists.



  • Mystic Remora is pretty good against any kind of Gush and cantrip based deck (and storm btw), if you have a way to end the game fast. Remora does nothing against Mentor himself but can lead you to a game state where you can outplay the deck.



  • @joshuabrooks said:

    I haven't found Tabernacle to be as effective against Mentor as it was against Delver. Not only are moxes more abundant with Cotv gone, but Mentor only needs one monk, whereas Depver usually needed multiple tokens.

    I've been unimpressed with Tabernacle of late, and have seen it pushed from a lot of shops sideboards. anyone else impressed with it, or do Mentor player fear it?

    I would imagine it being dependant on the build of Workshops and working in conjunction with other cards.

    There's probably no single card that solves Mentor as a threat. This to me, seems to be where the disconnect is. Like any meta threat it requires forethought and deliberate structural planning.

    Why individuals would expect to solve Mentor by siding in two to three meta slots but not Workshops or Dredge is humorous to me.

    I fully agree with Wappla.


  • TMD Supporter

    I am going to elaborate on what @wappla said about "this thread is why Monastery Mentor is so good".

    it's because the ideas here for the most part are terrible.

    You want to beat the mentor deck, you need to have multiple approaches. I usually will board in 1 or 2 Sulfur Elemental, but beyond that, most of my cards are going to be revolved around countering their blue spells. You don't need to focus entirely on mentor, because they'll still destroy you with Card Advantage. Also, I've definitely bashed for a ton with a mentor without using the tokens (in the face of things like Illness in the Ranks).

    Sulfur Elemental is uncounterable and kills the tokens when played correctly, which is huge. Beyond that, a couple Red Blasts do wonders. Your best bet is going to win the blue-battle, and just counter the thing if they land it early.

    Also, there's something in the ice that handles mentor quite nicely.


  • TMD Supporter

    @ChubbyRain said:

    No, I'm not afraid of Tabernacle at all when I'm on Mentor.

    I cannot like this at all. When I resolve mentor, I'm not really afraid of ANYTHING. Tabernacle is probably THE WORST card that was suggested, because you can easily pay for 1 mentor and MAYBE 1 or 2 tokens, and still alpha-strike someone from 20.

    Supreme Verdict is the 2nd joke card mentioned, becuase with Supreme Verdict, It's not like I'm in a bad spot because you just 1 for 1'ed me, and my deck isn't playing Supreme Verdict so my deck definitely has better cards in it to gain advantage.



  • @Juggernaut-GO said:

    I'm already sick of losing to monastery mentor, why this card can be a 4 of, and lodestone got restricted seems like a sick prank to me, but what can you do?

    Yeah. It's a 3-mana spell that wins the game in two turns; it's comparable to Tinker. It can be uncounterable off Caverns, and it's really good against any kind of removal that was played in the format prior to Mentor being printed. Like Tinker, it demands special answers... on the old Mana Drain there was a 6-page thread called "Can we answer a Monastery Mentor?" where we tried to find the most efficient answer. Some leading contenders were:

    sulfur elemental
    sudden shock
    toxic deluge

    Other stuff like lightning bolt or swords to plowshares or dismember is likely to leave a token or two around. The best answers are probably stuff that makes it harder to get into play: counterspells, spheres, meddling mage.

    Of course answering a Gush shell is way harder. I think basically the only thing that really worked against the lean Gush decks with 15-20 1-cmc spells was chalice@1, but that's obviously much less reliable now.

    TLDR; it's probably dumb to think you can play a midrange blue deck that doesn't have gush and mentor, and still be able to compete with Gush-Mentor decks.



  • Lately I've found that duressing their draw spells and comboing them out no later than the turn after they resolve Mentor to be a very effective strategy against the deck. Soly and Matt's analysis is correct I think, all the supposed "answer" cards just end up trading one-for-one with a single Mentor while they card advantage you into the dirt.


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