@kaluma I agree that Rich's reasoning is a bit suspect here... I think he was frustrated after playing a Dredge mirror on stream, switched to the survival deck and added Priest on a whim while chat watched.

I really liked when I had containment priest MD in other lists. But getting the blue count lower on this version is really relevant. TBH I didn't take a close look at the list and spotted only the stony silences issue. Null rod sometimes is awkward which makes me not even get to play it. But shutting off ballista/overseer/hangarback/ravager is usually good enough to make this worth it.

But maybe it's better to not even bring it in and invest in making the deck better against PO with stony over null rod. It's really backbreaking having all the hollow ones and null rods back to hand with hurkyl, but I'm not sure how many repeals are out there nowadays. I'm getting back from vacations and am planning to play it really soon.

But anyways, I think it's valid to play stony over null rod and not bring in against shops, and also what kaluma said in the previous posts. Misstep is an allstar in the blue versions (even without FoW I was playing it as a 4of)

@gutocmtt now that lavinia is on mtgo what would you say is the perfect deck list

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@swiftwarkite2 I'm trying to figure it out. My first attemp is using 1 copy of it instead of the deep analysis. I'm not done with the league, but it feels almost as hard as leovold to cast, as it costs 2 off-color mana (UW). I only drew it twice so far, and in bad spots.

The first time I was with my back against the wall against UR pyromancer and in the other I was against PO with karakas, and it wasn't the right play in neither cases.

Against PO I felt that leovold was way better, as I casted against karakas to get card draw (and the most insane vengevine, entering because when he bounced leovold after I casted it I got 2 more cards in hand and discarded VV + rootwalla), and also I had my opponent with his artifacts locked, and leovold would have locked cheap card draw spells (which lavinia wouldn't).

All that considered, Lavinia sounds pretty good in vintage, and PO w/o karakas (though it already used to play, and with lavinia I think there will be more karakas on PO). I'm not sure it's better than leovold in this shell, and neither if I'd search for it instead of leovold with survival. Maybe, just maybe, it would be better in the bant configuration. I'm still gonna give some try, but I don't think it's really promising.

PS.: Against UR pyro I played Leovold in another game of the match, and I realized it was awesome there in a spot where Lavinia wouldn't have been relevant. I honestly feel like it's a pretty awesome card to play as 2-4 of in a deck that can play it very quickly. We have 3 of the 4 cards that allow it to be played on turn 1 (U/W mox,lotus,time walk), but I don't feel like we can play more copies of it.

Anyone have any general advice for playing this deck for someone who's new to vintage?

@gutocmtt what are your thoughts on abrupt decay vs trophy or claim and also do you run mox pearl now that we have lavinia

@inkfathombiomage There are literally about 3 different decklists, what are you referring to? They have very different results depending on the metagame, if that's also a question you would make, I think the best one is the BUGw (This one) (Or this one)

@swiftwarkite2 Trophy can get any problematic permanent, including sometimes a bazaar, leyline, walkers, fatties, etc. The uncounterable clause is more relevant than the extra land IMO, but I think it's still worth it. I can bring in against more decks, also. Claim I bring in mostly against shops, oath and survival, and it's pretty good also to have a very cheap piece of permanent removal in those matchups. I like the 1 claim/1 trophy split. In regards to mox opal, I don't think it's worth it yet. The low blue count is a huge problem in this deck, and I don't think it's better than the 4th shaman.

Advice about the BUG version would be helpful

This deck is pretty good at changing gears. You usually go for the bazaar/survival hands, but depending on who you are facing, black lotus + vengevine turn 1 is enough having disruption in hand to stop what your opponent is doing.

If you got no cards in hand, bazaar on upkeep to mill yourself for 2 is usually worth doing. Also, if you have bazaar and have only 1 bad card for the turn, wait for the other turn to be able to activate bazaar and chose the best out of the 4 cards you will have at your disposal.

You have force of will and mental misstep, but you should use your forces will a lot of caution. By that I mean, try to analyze if the play you are trying to stop will make you lose the game, and what can happen if you let that one resolve. I say that because there are some counter-heavy decks that (almost) always want to counter good spells. But your forces are usually there for great spells.

Leovold is ridiculous. I've had some cases where it literally won the game by itself. Like, you're behind getting hit and then all of a sudden your opponents can't profitably cast spells. It's awesome against blue decks in general.

Think a lot about clock and disruption. All the time you have to calculate what is your clock against your opponent, and how your actions will change it. This is kinda basic with magic in general, but there are really relevant decisions on that matter with this deck than with any other I've played, so watch out for that. Things like, against PO or other blue combo deck you can deploy leovold and win in 2 turns after this or combo off and win in 1.

This deck is aggro-control-combo. Know your opponents and read the gamestate, so that you know how it's best to act against it.

You usually can't race combo decks. It's usually better to search for more disruptive hands than go with no disruption (leovold/lavinia are disruption). BUT you sometimes win on turn 2. If you have a hand like bazaar, hollow, rootwalue and 2 vengevine, you should obviously go for it. Even though vintage is busted, I think most of the times winning on turn 2 with no disruption is enough.

Also, this deck takes some time and effort until it brings you some results. It took me a lot of time to figure it out and start getting positive EV out of MTGO leagues, as I imagine that took other people here too. But the journey is pretty cool as well.

And most of all: don't get discouraged when you get "vintaged". Variance has a pretty big roll in vintage, and even though your skills will determine in the long run if you are successful, and decisions matter A LOT, sometimes your opponent will have turn 1 mentor with tons of stuff, or big outcomes, trinisphere, recall+snap+lotus+fow+waste+.... But it happens. And vintage has the best public I've seen on MTGO in regards of not getting salty against lucky opponents, because we can't blame people for how lucky they or we are.

And there are lots and lots of small hints of gameplay in general that you will get with time. Rich Shay streamed some amount of times with it and there's probably some good hints there too.

And there's this article about the deck that can help you a little bit. I had streamed myself but the videos go off after some time and now I have only this one small video of gameplay. There's probably other people streaming with it too (don't watch hoogland's stream, that's not good material to learn).


Rich streams often but rarely with survival, and kaluma hasn't in a while and I think I won't be streaming in the next couple of weeks. But I'd say take a look at those accounts from time to time.

Thanks a lot! I did watch a video of Hoogland playing RGBw but he literally never played survival and then called the card bad...I was disappointed.
There are some youtube videos of rich playing BUG though and watching one of those was much more helpful.

@gutocmtt i always seem to lose in the xerox matchup any sideboard strats or tips?

@inkfathombiomage oh god yeah that hoogland video was so bad. You can totally see that he never played that deck before and didn't even bother to read up on it or look at some gameplay before recording. Stuff like that by highly visible players is always giving their (often non vintage audience) a very warped and terrible look at the format.

@swiftwarkite2 Sure, I saw your post and needed more time to respond and ended up forgetting, sorry about that.


I probably undersideboard against it, only bring nature's claim (now with skullclamp it's viable, as they got usually only few hate pieces) and assassin's trophy. I side out always phantasmal image and hollow one as I don't always enjoy playing it against the possibility of dack.

I think it's mostly about how you play the matchup. FoW is usually protection to try to deploy your gameplan, and sometimes I FoW pyromancer in the beginning of the game if I don't have anything going on.

Here the 'playing normal magic' hands are better. If you have some misstep, shaman, leovold and stuff like that you can keep those hands. Leovold is extremely powerful here. I've sometimes kept hands with black lotus into vengevine turn 1 and protection, and won the game. You usually have some amount of stuff to do. I don't know how to explain the way to play this deck, but here you have to let go some stuff a lot of times. Wonder is awesome as they usually don't have grave removing hate, and sometimes you can just ignore dack stealing your hollow ones and go upstairs FTW.

I've had games where I ignored the combo hate from my opponent and tried to stop THEIR gameplan. Shaman exiling stuff, blockers against peezy and tokens, leovold stopping everything, while the 9 counters-package did it's work. I like a lot this matchup because every match feels different, and it should be played differently. But one thing is for sure: Leovold is a star against them. If you have it, most of the times you can deploy and protect it, and you probably will be just fine.

PS.: I saw ChubbyRain made a stream with Lavinia Survival and did 5-0 with it. Didn't have time to catch up to that yet, but sounds promissing. I shouldn't be playing until next week, and the one I posted is an old list (with just Lavinia as an addition, but I don't think it will hold). The next attempts will probably be with the 3rd Leovold somewhere in the SB and no Lavinia (probably back to deep analysis), and then maybe try a little bit Matt's take on Lavinia Survival.

last edited by GutoCmtt

I'm not finding very many situations to use elvish spirit guide in. Are there important cases where you tutor for her with survival besides exactly GG available and 2 creatures in hand?


I cut ESG from the Mox Diamond list and have missed it a couple of times against the mirror or a combo deck where it's essentially a race and the extra activation is the difference between a lethal and nonlethal chain. I don't think it's a good enough draw by itself though, especially without other non-Survival uses for the green mana.

An example situation I came across where I wasn't sure what to do:


Do I get rootwallas + hollow one here or just leovold? Would it be different if my opponent didn't have the voltaic key?

@inkfathombiomage Yeah, I would probably get Leo on this board. It forces the opponent to basically top deck key or an answer and shuts off Land into PO. There isn't a sequence that wins next turn through the crypt as far as I can tell.

Where has everyone landed following the new set? I haven’t been able to play in several weeks (months?). Is BUG still considered the best iteration? Has the UW bear shown up to make an impact?

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