I have been brewing pretty hard since my son was born back in November and I have not been able to play much paper magic. I wanted to ask for some opinions on how people brew decks.

I tend to look at brewing in 3 ways:

  1. Trying to make a known deck better or at least better for my play style
  2. Creating something new and novel
  3. Taking a different look at a know concept.

Some of you have probably read my threads on Mono-blue PO or Blue Moon, which fits into category 1. I messed around with Aminatou for a minute, which is category 2. Most recently I have been focused on Karn, Scion of Urza which is category 3 but quickly spills over into category 1 or 2 depending on how you approach it.

Vintage is a very unforgiving format for brewing. I find that concepts often flame out fast against the 4 tier 1 decks (PO, Xerox, Shops, Dredge). This can stifle innovation but it does not have to. How can I leveage knowledge of the meta-game and the huge option of cards to innovate?

I make a lot of jank decks that I would normally play at my LSG or against my brother but being unable to get out because of dad duties has kept me on MTGO. Being honest it is really hard to brew on MTGO. I own a ton of cards and cards that I do not own I will proxy in paper to brew. On MTGO, while the cost is low it is still a cost. I find that I get stuck and unable to brew the way I want to because of the cost and because the competitive play on MTGO makes it hard to play decks that are being brewed.

If I play pick up games they do not tell me much because the decks are all over the place. The leagues are too competitive for a deck that is being brewed and not quite ready for prime time.

I am open to all ideas here.

last edited by moorebrother1

@moorebrother1 said in Best way to brew a deck:

I own a ton of cards and cards that I do not own I will proxy in paper to brew. On MTGO, while the cost is low it is still a cost.

There are ways to mitigate this part, at least. If you take a look at mtgowikiprice.com, you can usually find different bots to patronize in a way that lets you not lose much when you cash out of cards that don't work out. For example, I recently tried brewing with Bitterblossom, with not-amazing results, and I'm probably going to cash those back out... if you look here you can see that you can buy MM2 Bitterblossoms for $4.58 and sell them for $4.50. So I was able to take a chance on a not-cheap card, and it will only have cost me a quarter or so. It's a little bit fiddly to manage your cards this way compared to just buying what you want from Cardhoarder or whatever, but it does make it a lot less scary to try cards that may or may not work out.

@moorebrother1 If you are not doing well, then try to identify why you are not doing well. If you cannot then you must be doing something really wrong. If you can, brainstorm on how to make it better, while keeping the core of the deck intact.

It might be interesting to use the emergence of the Survival deck as a case study. Why did this brew emerge when it did? Why was it initially appealing? What angle does it attack the metagame from that has enabled it to remain a viable deck? And so on. If you can understand the answers to these questions in that context, it may help inform your potential future brews.

@revengeanceful This interesting. So, I remember starting a thread about this time last year asking about Bazzar beyond Dredge. An early version of Survival came up from Vintage Champs 2017.

I did not pursue it but the list came up in a few other threads. It is hard to say when people actually brewed with it. I cannot find a real start to it here at themanadrain but once it had some showings in Challenges then people started to contribute.

This is the core issue with brewing. People do not appear to add unless they either really like the deck or the deck is really good. I started a thread on the Experimental Frenzy deck and I got crickets.

last edited by moorebrother1

Here is an example of how hard it is to brew. The thread for Vintage Lands started March 2018 and no one has updated it since September of 2018. The deck is actually good and could be really good if people kept brewing it. @EmoPizza is a great pilot and he was featured in a podcast about yet nothing.

I personally have a brew for Vintage Lands that I like to play at my LSG every once and while but why did the discussion stop?

@moorebrother1 I think one of the problems is that people think of decks to analytically, and make to many assumptions. An example is Crop Rotation is bad it gets hit by Mental Misstep, well does that not extend to things like Death's Shadow? I think people look at decks, correctly identify what is good against them, and then assume or make the case that because of that it is a worse version of another deck or it is not a powerful enough effect to warrant how easily it is to disrupt/hate. Another issue I believe is the issue of opportunity in some ways. I do not have a MTGO account, and even if I did I would not have the money to have more than one deck. I love to brew, but it is pretty much unavailable to me because of how young I am. If more people were more adventurous on MTGO then yes there would be more brews, but there is also the problem of the target audience on TMD. All the brewers and weird deck players tend to not frequent TMD as much I think, and the majority of people on TMD are paper players who own their paper deck or two on MTGO to practice with. Often I think that is all they want to do, so they do not contribute to brews. If I had any type of income, and an MTGO, then I would probably switch decks every day. I love to brew, and I will try to help in the future.

My guess: Lands has PO/storm combo as its worst matchup, and PO is currently the most popular deck in the format. If Lavinia pushes the format towards being infested with Shops and creature decks, I'm guessing Lands will receive a lot more attention.

@rat3de This does not extend to things like Death's Shadow, because you want to have MM with Death's Shadow decks. What does MM do for Lands that advances its game plan?

@moorebrother1 If the MTGO cost is low, but you are reluctant to spend on buying cards that aren't guaranteed to be good, test on free programs like Forge, Cockatrice and xMage. Forge's AI isn't good, but it's good enough for you to get a feel for whether your deck functions the way you want it to. Download a few decks and let the AI play them against you.

Then, if the deck feels satisfactory, you can take it to Cockatrice to test it with people. If you like how the deck plays out, you can buy the cards on MTGO.

These programs are wicked fun. You get access to a ton of cards for free. You can also customize the artwork, add your own cards, etc., which you can't do much of on MTGO.

last edited by Guest

@Juice-Mane I think that any card that both advances your gameplan and/or slows your opponents is good. MM is a card that fits that description perfectly, as it helps you resolve things you need, and prevents your opponents from resolving things they need without committing extra resources.

@rat3de To cast Crop Rotation you have to sac a land, when it get MM it's a 2 for 1. When Death's Shadow is counter it's a 1 for 1.

@cuikui said in Best way to brew a deck:

@rat3de To cast Crop Rotation you have to sac a land, when it get MM it's a 2 for 1. When Death's Shadow is counter it's a 1 for 1.

Can't you just Misstep their Misstep? Or if necessary Misstep the Misstep that Missteps your Misstep?

@rat3de and @Cuikui you both just proved my point that there is still a lot to discuss about Vintage Lands and it can brewed better with this discussion.

How do we get more of this?

last edited by moorebrother1

@moorebrother1 There should have people interested in the deck, and at least one person dedicated on the task of brewing, thinking, talking and testing ideas for improvements/new stuff. Survival drew attention of lots of people. And in the beginning @wfain was all the time bringing new stuff, and eventually me and @kaluma were hooked, and we became the dedicated people to improve the deck and keep that flow going.

It got my attention after it proved by people playing against me that it was a decent idea, that was still in it's early drafts but that was promissing. And the deck idea is pretty different from most of vintage and that sounded awesome.

I don't know what the problem about lands is. I always liked the idea of the lands deck, but it used to be too expensive, now it's not anymore. Actually, now everything is cheaper than ever on MTGO \o/

But it's hard to get attention from people before doing a lot of brewing and showing something worth spending some time on. I mean, brewing is nice, but when we got so many things to do in the world, it takes something that look worth spending some time on to really get hooked. I personally read everything new here. My unread tab on TMD is usually empty, because I love looking at new ideas and thoughts for the format, and when something comes to my mind I reply to keep the ideas flowing. But one thing is read what people are saying and say something new I may bring to the table.

Spending more time on thinking deeply, researching, etc, is different, and I guess we are lucky that you along with some other people are always trying to bring nice discussions here on TMD.

PS.: Oh, and also to draw attention it should be something that seems nice/cool/great to people in a personal level. I never got into PO discussions because I never really liked the deck. The same way there are people that like PO and don't like survival, and so on. I don't know if that's the case, but maybe there are less lands entusiasts playing vintage than there usually are. I doubt that's the case, but that's also a possibility and something that influenciates on the community effort made to brew.

last edited by GutoCmtt

@GutoCmtt @moorebrother1 I agree. It all comes down to personal preferences and creating an alluring deck. A random internet stranger is much more likely to invest time and effort into brewing a deck with you if you can provide results and/or feedback. I would personally love brewing a lands deck, in fact I have at least three very different ideas for it! The problem for me is accessibility and time. If you want any help with Lands, I will try my best.

@moorebrother1
I started brewing the deck sometime last summer. I saw Dredge using Hollow Ones and friends of mine enjoyed the modern version of Hollow One so I decided to look at cards that could work well with it in vintage. Years ago I missed out on playing Survival in legacy by a few weeks and that was a bummer since I’ve been in love with the card since the World Championship Rec-Sur deck.

What ended up happening is I figured out the core cards in the deck and threw some other stuff in to try it out. I messaged @infant_no_1 to jam some games online and we both felt like there was something good happening, so I kept working on it until I started putting up about a 5-0 per week (plus basically never going negative). That sold me on it as a “real” deck and not just a project. That’s when I posted it here. People chimed in, it got picked up a couple times in VSL and then won the Japan champs event!

I simply started out by saying free 4/4’s have to be good enough for the format and worked to figure out how I could make it happen. Bazaar was obvious, then Rootwala fit right in, then VV, then Survival. Those 20 cards just happened really, it was about finding the right mix to work with them.

@cuikui said in Best way to brew a deck:

@rat3de To cast Crop Rotation you have to sac a land, when it get MM it's a 2 for 1. When Death's Shadow is counter it's a 1 for 1.

Technically, MM a DS is still 2 for 1 since they used a mana source to cast DS.

@ten-ten So MM a crop rotation is a 3 for 1? 😨

Edit: Just realized it is a 3 for 3, you spend 1 card and 2 lives.

last edited by GutoCmtt

@ten-ten said in Best way to brew a deck:

@cuikui said in Best way to brew a deck:

@rat3de To cast Crop Rotation you have to sac a land, when it get MM it's a 2 for 1. When Death's Shadow is counter it's a 1 for 1.

Technically, MM a DS is still 2 for 1 since they used a mana source to cast DS.

They also made a token and got +1 mana for delve. (ducks)

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