[Developing] Budget Vintage: Unpowered White Hatebears

Thanks for putting this together. I read the first part and wanted to jump down here and tell you thanks for doing the work.

Really quickly I would add that Stony Silence is almost always better than Null Rod if you're playing White. There's just more artifact removal in Vintage than there is enchantment removal.

For instance, if you play Null Rod against TPS, they have a main deck Hurkyl's and Chain of Vapor for it. With Stony Silence, they'd have only Chain of Vapor as an out in game one, and not much more than that in games two and three.

Just a thought. You might want to add that on MTGO Null Rod is cheaper, but in paper I'm pretty sure the opposite is true πŸ™‚ .

On second look, I think definitely adding a section of "upgrades" you could make once your budget allows would be cool. For example, Containment Priest is pretty important, unfortunately it's also very expensive.

Even without the extras though, this type of deck does a great job of preying on a lot of the decks.

@Islandswamp That is an excellent idea. I'll be adding that section tomorrow.

Also I think I mentioned it somewhere about Null Rod/Stony Silence and how SS is just better in general, but I think it's a good idea to address it (and the paper/mtgo cost difference) directly. Played a game today and realized how good Ancient Grudge is against Null Rod... That's the next upgrade for me.

Great write up! I love seeing the deck I engineered and piloted to its first Top 4 appearance back in 2011-2012 still being played and evolving. Back then I didn't have Dryad Militant, or any real one drops for that matter. I also didnt have Thalia, the card that glues the deck together. The deck was a Stoneforge Mystic based deck with 4X Chalice of the Void to help lock opponents down. Here is a link to the original incarnation of the deck that myself and my friend, who won the event, built:

http://morphling.de/top8decks.php?id=1472&highlight=Preacher

One card that I'm surprised to not see, especially in your list is Abolish. Card single handedly won me Game 3 in my Top 8 match against Turbo Tezz.

Anyway, thank you for the excellent read and continue doing well with White Trash!

Great primer and as a long time White Trash player (since 2010-2011), I would love to see the deck do well. However, unfortunately the deck isn't very well positioned right now. As you mention, Mentor is the worst matchup and Mentor is all over the place. Honestly, this deck has less than 30% against Mentor in various forms. Eldrazi is also a very bad matchup and it's on the rise as well (until people find out that Eldrazi actually sucks).

I don't agree entirely on your assessment of the matchups. Oath isn't a good matchup, especially with the configuration you propose (but let me get back to that). It's winnable, but we're not a favorite to win. Shops isn't an easy matchup either. Pre-board you're a big underdog but post-board you're favored. However, usually you have to win both post-board games, which isn't easy to do.

I also don't agree that the deck is very forgiving. Because of the lack of pure power you have to play very tight, and mistakes are a lot harder to recover from than in many other decks. That said, once you learn the basics the deck is pretty straight forward to play and definitely not very complex in comparison with most other decks.

On some specific cards:

Mental Misstep: I've been back and fourth on this, and I never really came to a conclusion. I do think it's better now than when I played the deck a lot.
Abolish: You 100% need to play this card in a deck with no Cavern of Souls. Improves your Shops matchup dramatically.
Serenity: This card was also very good for me. Basically my plan against shops was to Abolish/Swords/Relic their threads until I could resolve a Serenity and from there it's usually pretty easy.
Stoneforge Mystic package: I found that this is not the route you wanna take. Fighting on power/toughness is not the way to go. It also takes up too many slots and have bad synergy with Arbiter and Stony Silence
Aven Mindcensor: This is another card that needs consideration. I think that my most succesful builds played 4 Arbiter and 2 Mindcensors.
Kataki, War's Wage: Yet another card that needs consideration. Not only because of the Shops matchup, but it also does a pretty good job against artifact acceleration and other stuff. Not a necessity though.
Acceleration in general: You need some sort of acceleration in your deck. Spirit Guides are good enough.
Grafdigger's Cage: I can't believe this card hasn't been mentioned yet. If there was one thing I found out playing this deck is that Grafdigger's is absolute necessary as a maindeck card. It stops Tinker and Oath - two of our biggest obstacles - and Yawgmoth's Will and hoses Dredge. That said, it's probably not as good now as it once was. You have replaced it with Militant, but in my experience, Militant isn't doing enough and it's a bad late game draw.

I hope you do well with the deck, there are not many better things in Vintage than beating your opponent with Plains πŸ˜„

last edited by JuzamJim

With the help of @Stormanimagus I've put together an unpowered build that seems to look very promising for budget players. Now this list isn't as budget as the OP lays out, but it is still Unpowered.

Here is the list:

"White Trash!"

5 Plains
4 Wasteland
4 Ghost Quarter
3 Cavern of Souls
2 Karakas
Strip Mine
4 Elvish Spirit Guide
4 Simian Spirit Guide

4 Mother of Runes

4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Leonin Arbiter
4 Phyrexian Revoker
3 Containment Priest
3 Spirit of the Labyrinth

3 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
3 Vryn Wingmare

3 Path to Exile
3 Stony Silence

Sideboard:

4 Rest in Peace
3 Serene Master
3 Kataki, War's Wage
2 Aegis of the Gods
1 Stony Silence
1 Containment Priest
1 Path to Exile

The deck isn't playing certain cards because Noah and I have looked at them and feel they are simply suboptimal. Dryad Militant, while good IF played turn one ON the play against TPS is good, if they are on the play all they have to play is Probe and something else then Militant is almost useless, Spell Mastery is already met.
Leonin Relic Warder, while great against Shops and Oath, can easily become a two for one against you. Also the WW casting cost can be hindering for the deck when running 9 Strip Effects. With Leonin Relic Warder cut from the deck I wanted more ways to attack Oath, so I added 2 Karakas on top of the main deck Priests and sideboarded Aegis.
Cavern of Souls does a great job at pushing through creatures. It also lets us cast the 8 Spirit Guides as dudes if we want to apply more pressure.
I hope you guys enjoy the list, any thoughts would be appreciated!

This is quite a write-up. I don't think I will sleeve this deck anytime soon (not my style), but I just wanted to say that I am really impressed by this primer.

@msg67183 Funny thing, on MTGO Wastelands and Caverns are more expensive than power. So if you are going with "budget" in terms of online play, this is not very friendly πŸ™‚

last edited by maciek16180

Is Containment Priest not a budget card? Priest is essential against Dredge, as otherwise you're leaning very heavily on having Militant on turn one, or catching your opponent by surprise with Ghostly Prison.

@evouga 10 bucks in paper, 35 online. On MTGO Commander sets usually have very limited print runs (or more like, you can't draft them, so there is less incentive for people to buy them from Wizards store as you can only buy entire decks).

last edited by maciek16180

@maciek16180 said:

This is quite a write-up. I don't think I will sleeve this deck anytime soon (not my style), but I just wanted to say that I am really impressed by this primer.

@msg67183 Funny thing, on MTGO Wastelands and Caverns are more expensive than power. So if you are going with "budget" in terms of online play, this is not very friendly πŸ™‚

I don't play MTGO, so I don't use those prices for my determination of the word "budget"

So for my unpowered lists, because hitting two is so important I tend to run some acceleration in the form of lotus petals and 4-8 spirit guides. I would also say that new thalia has opened my eyes to the possibility of playing some number of ancient tombs, as that card is REALLY powerful.

Overall, I haven't been that impressed with Dryad Militant, as generally we have better ways to hate on graveyards and a 2/1 is not as impressive as it once was. I do like both Judge's Familiar and Mother some of the time, though the creature type on Judge's familiar is frustrating as I have found myself leaning quite a bit on cavern rather than grand abolisher.

These decisions are obviously related to playing more acceleration and having a harder time hitting WW rather than 1W but still I believe fall under the budget category. I agree with the inclusion of 2 mana thalia and revoker as the starting place of basically any hatebears list these days along side 4 waste and a strip mine, and I think there are build that are reasonable that include Leonin Arbiter (even 2 color!) I think there is a place for 2 color lists that run arbiter especially if they also run eldrazi, battlefield forge + plateau makes for a pretty reasonable mana base if you are trying to do that. There is also a neat trick with arbiter and Displacer where they pay for the first one, then before the search thing happens you displace the arbiter and they have to pay again.

I haven't been that impressed by wingmare and glowrider to date, though given the choice and my predilection for cavern I prefer glowrider, if you want the effect, in general, with acceleration in the form of spirit guides, I would rather play thorn and be able to play them on turn 1 more regularly.

Ethersworn Canonist has never impressed me much, because any deck you would side it in against is planning on answering artifacts/creature or both. I would much rather have something that doesn't get killed by everything, and that has a more powerful effect.

As someone already mentioned, for the mox hate I prefer Stony Silence, Revoker, and then red cards, Null Rod is easy to remove (relatively to Stony Silence) and LRW is hard to cast and not permanent, I am ok with that for revoker, because it is so much easier to cast. The red cards I referred to above are hammer mage, and gorilla shaman. Hammer Mage especially is quite good if you are playing cavern of souls and SSG.

In terms of cards you didn't mention, I said this at the top, but more acceleration, either spirit guides, petal, ancient tomb, sol ring, etc you can play new Thalia who is worth it! It makes a lot of the "bad matchups" you mentioned much better (eldrazi of a couple stripes and mentor). It also allows you to play some of the eldrazi in the form of Displacer, Matter Reshaper, and even TKS. All these cards have been pretty reasonable for me. Displacer especially is so awesome for combat math calculations and TKS if you play enough accel has proven to be quite good.

As for the the sideboard, white is the best sideboard color in Modern, Legacy and Vintage at the moment, but don't forget about non-white cards, especially in the form of Rav Traps, Leyline of the Void, and ots of relevant artifacts. I am not impressed by Suppression Field generally, because it turns off you own wastelands, and the best thing it does is turn off fetchlands early. Otherwise you mention some good ones, and seem to cover most of the good ones.

SOrry if this seems like a lot of comments, but I have been playing hatebears of various stripes for a long time, and I would love for people to start respecting it as an option, even when you aren't budget. It seems like you did a lot of good work, but it is important to consider other options even in budget decks I think.

last edited by garbageaggro

All great points! Happy the discussion has expanded to other budget hatebears decks. I definitely want to update with a "less budget" list that's still unpowered, or offer some upgrade suggestions based off of what people recommend.

@JuzamJim said:

I don't agree entirely on your assessment of the matchups. Oath isn't a good matchup, especially with the configuration you propose (but let me get back to that). It's winnable, but we're not a favorite to win. Shops isn't an easy matchup either. Pre-board you're a big underdog but post-board you're favored. However, usually you have to win both post-board games, which isn't easy to do.

What's interesting is that, other than getting really horrible draws, I find that the Shops matchup is quite good, and us running Null Rod/Stony Silence, in conjunction with us blanking their Wastelands AND adding 5 Strip Mines is actually all that tends to matter. That and Relic Warders and Path/Swords helps us keep up. Other builds of White Hatebears that add more targets for Wasteland (Karakas, Cavern of Souls) are more likely to get crushed by Tangle Wire, but the sheer number of basics in the deck are what help it in this matchup, I've found. I'm over 70% vs Ravager Shops so far with the build I outlined. Weird that it's so, but it is.

Oath has been a good matchup for me without Cages and Priests, primarily because I have 6 creature removal spells post-board, and 4 Leonin Relic Warders to get rid of Oath. The rest of the Oath deck is only incidentally hurt by the bears, but keeping Oath of Druids from being effective through diligent handling of the creatures that get Oath'd up has been pretty good. I will say, I hadn't faced a Void Winnower before yesterday, which virtually turns off the deck. It actually boils down to what creatures they chose to include in their deck, I really don't care about Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Griselbrand, Blightsteel Colossus, Sun Titan.... but Void Winnower, Emrakul, Tidespout Tyrant, those are cards that can drastically change the game once they are played or flat-out win. It would be great to add Containment Priest or Grafdigger's Cage, I picked up a playset of Cage for 2 dollars a few months ago in paper, but it doesn't do me much good when I have this deck on MTGO and the price for both is unreasonably high. If I see more Void Winnowers and Emrakuls in Oath decks and consistently get beaten by them, I'm downgrading the matchup, but so far, I'm hovering around 60-65% vs the Oath decks I've seen.

I also don't agree that the deck is very forgiving. Because of the lack of pure power you have to play very tight, and mistakes are a lot harder to recover from than in many other decks. That said, once you learn the basics the deck is pretty straight forward to play and definitely not very complex in comparison with most other decks.

You're definitely right about that. I have played tight games where I had to wait a turn to Path an opponent's creature because I made the mistake of playing Thalia first. Is taking a bad opener a misplay? Other than that, though, the deck doesn't give you enough opportunities to make mistakes. The only mistakes are the ones I mentioned above, and whether or not this bear is situationally good/bad vs this other bear. There's no stack sequencing, no digging through your library, no piles, no Brainstorm/Gush... I think its lack of complexity makes the decisions that you can mess up much less impactful. I've had games where I was distracted and recognized several minor misplays I made and still was able to pull through.

On some specific cards:

Mental Misstep: I've been back and fourth on this, and I never really came to a conclusion. I do think it's better now than when I played the deck a lot.
Abolish: You 100% need to play this card in a deck with no Cavern of Souls. Improves your Shops matchup dramatically.
Serenity: This card was also very good for me. Basically my plan against shops was to Abolish/Swords/Relic their threads until I could resolve a Serenity and from there it's usually pretty easy.
Stoneforge Mystic package: I found that this is not the route you wanna take. Fighting on power/toughness is not the way to go. It also takes up too many slots and have bad synergy with Arbiter and Stony Silence
Aven Mindcensor: This is another card that needs consideration. I think that my most succesful builds played 4 Arbiter and 2 Mindcensors.
Kataki, War's Wage: Yet another card that needs consideration. Not only because of the Shops matchup, but it also does a pretty good job against artifact acceleration and other stuff. Not a necessity though.
Acceleration in general: You need some sort of acceleration in your deck. Spirit Guides are good enough.
Grafdigger's Cage: I can't believe this card hasn't been mentioned yet. If there was one thing I found out playing this deck is that Grafdigger's is absolute necessary as a maindeck card. It stops Tinker and Oath - two of our biggest obstacles - and Yawgmoth's Will and hoses Dredge. That said, it's probably not as good now as it once was. You have replaced it with Militant, but in my experience, Militant isn't doing enough and it's a bad late game draw.

I hope you do well with the deck, there are not many better things in Vintage than beating your opponent with Plains πŸ˜„

A lot of folks talking about Abolish! I tested with it in the first couple builds and came to the conclusion that it was just not as good as 4x Relic Warder, and I'll explain why.
First, Relic Warder is easily a 4-of in the deck. Even if it has no targets in a matchup in game 1, it's still a 2/2 body and can do all the things a 2/2 can do. Relic Warder isn't real removal because all it takes is a Lightning Bolt to get their artifact back, but it is a huge tempo play in a game where the opponent usually needs to decide what to get rid of first. Relic Warder on an otherwise empty battlefield is an easy target, but backed up by Arbiter, Canonist, Spirit, it is actually a tough call whether or not to wait to get that artifact back.
Abolish is a terrible topdeck. 3/4 of the games I play I get into topdeck mode, for good or ill, and part of my comfort level with that scenario is that there are no dead topdecks in any situation. People are talking about Dryad Militant being a bad late-game play, but I'd still much rather draw that than a Sol Ring that has been switched off or an Abolish.
Which also brings me to the 2-for-1 aspect. We can't obviously keep up in card advantage against blue decks, but what allows us to be at least competitive against them is that we're not 2-for-1-ing ourselves, and that our Bears give us virtual card advantage every time one is played.
Relic Warder can handle the same targets, barring one, which is Chalice on 2. I've had that cast against me twice, and am really comfortable scooping to it. If it becomes a search target, or if I see it happen more often, it might be worth an Abolish in the SB for it, but as of now that scenario isn't even on my radar. For Oath, the game needs to pass through another two of your main phases before it gets activated, which is plenty of time to steal it with Warder.
Abolish isn't free with Thalia and Wingmare in play, and can easily cost a land AND two mana.

Will be interesting to test Serenity. The main issue with that is we have maindeck answers to Shops in Null Rod/Stony Silence, and that many of our creatures are doubling up as artifact creatures/enchantment creatures and have to be boarded out for something else.

Kinda the same scenario with Kataki. Gets better if the deck upgrades to Stony Silence, but most of the targets in vintage for artifact hate are switched off with Stony Silence, everything else is a Sphere or Tangle Wire, which don't bother me too much.

Mindcensor is pretty swell, but I opted for Arbiter because of the 2CMC. I'm going to try a build with Spirit Guides, and if that opens enough doors and lets me play better cards, then I'm all for it.

This is all super good commentary and has me thinking about more options. Hopefully in the next couple days I can update the post with upgrades, address the "budget" aspect a little better (in regards to Null Rod/Stony Silence, Containment Priest, Wasteland, Grafdigger's Cage )and test a version with some Spirit Guides for acceleration.

last edited by Dumpsterac1d

*** Updated today, added section 2 "What do you mean by budget"

In addition to the aforementioned spirt guides (Elvish is likley superior because of Dryad) I really like Ghostly Prison right now. In many respects it is better than moat for a list like this, while still being budget, because:

1 - It can affect flyers
2 - Asymmetrical
3 - Not dead in multiples
4 - Cheaper
5 - Pairs well with other taxes.

I also think some other cards that could be of use include dismember as swords number 5 or even thorn of amethyst as another Thalia you can have in play at the same time. Also what about leyline? It is a very strong card against Oath for a deck that just wants to rush creatures.

Board wipes are the natural enemy of this list and are seeing more play. I wonder if something like Selfless Spirit would maybe not be a good thing to consider if you suspect people are going to be running supreme verdict?

@Dumpsterac1d

Interestingly, I always found Stony Silence to be underwhelming against Shops. Of course a lot have changed since I played this deck and Shops has gone from 4 Lodestone/4 Metamorph to Ravager/Triskellion type of builds against which Stony Silence of course is a lot better. That said, Triskellion and Ravager are a real pain in the ass if you don't get down a Stony Silence. You're totally tight that Waste effects are really good against Shops though. At one point I even played 7 main deck Strip effects (Strip + 4 Waste + 2 Ghost Quarter) with two more Ghost Quarters in the sideboard (and it worked quite well with my 4 Arbiter + 2 Mindcensors), and in combination with Stony Silence, that's pretty good. The main problem is that you often get under a lot of pressure even before you can get down your Stony Silence (this was especially true in the pre-Lodestone-restriction era).

Regarding Grafdigger's Cage, I played this maindeck before Containment Priest was printed. I would definitely play 4 Containment Priests and no Grafdigger's Cage maindeck now - of course that's tough in a budget build.

I agree with you on Relic Warder. I don't think I've ever played less than 3 maindeck with 1 sideboard. That doesn't exclude Abolish though.

You almost make me want to sleeve up a White Trash deck again, but as mentioned, I don't think it's very well positioned right now.

last edited by JuzamJim

@Protoaddct said:

In addition to the aforementioned spirt guides (Elvish is likley superior because of Dryad) I really like Ghostly Prison right now. In many respects it is better than moat for a list like this, while still being budget, because:

1 - It can affect flyers
2 - Asymmetrical
3 - Not dead in multiples
4 - Cheaper
5 - Pairs well with other taxes.

I also think some other cards that could be of use include dismember as swords number 5 or even thorn of amethyst as another Thalia you can have in play at the same time. Also what about leyline? It is a very strong card against Oath for a deck that just wants to rush creatures.

Board wipes are the natural enemy of this list and are seeing more play. I wonder if something like Selfless Spirit would maybe not be a good thing to consider if you suspect people are going to be running supreme verdict?

I don't think Ghostly Prison is where you want to go. In fact, I think that the fact that you are tempted to play Ghostly Prison is a very good indicator that this deck isn't very well positioned right now. You want a metagame where you don't fight (many) other creatures. This deck has a hard time beating creature based strategies, simply because our creatures are much smaller.

You don't want to be the deck playing non-creature spells trying to stop creatures. You want to be the deck playing creatures trying to stop non-creature spells.

Oh, you also never want to play Thorn in this deck. Glowrider/Wingmare are much better.

@JuzamJim said:

I don't think Ghostly Prison is where you want to go. In fact, I think that the fact that you are tempted to play Ghostly Prison is a very good indicator that this deck isn't very well positioned right now. You want a metagame where you don't fight (many) other creatures. This deck has a hard time beating creature based strategies, simply because our creatures are much smaller.

You don't want to be the deck playing non-creature spells trying to stop creatures. You want to be the deck playing creatures trying to stop non-creature spells.

This is totally correct. I've found Ghostly Prison to be a little clunky, which is why I'm testing a version with Magus of the Moat in it's stead and some Simian Spirit Guides for acceleration, but again, Moat makes most of the creatures just worse Enchantments which is pretty bad. But, it's a budget card and if it gets played would help against the 'drazi and Mentor, so why not?

Anyone have any opinions on Black Vise in general? Anyone tested it in the current metagame? Maybe with new Thalia this card can be a blowout, and help punish Mentor, at least that's what I'm hoping.

Current updates, I'm testing a build with 3x Simian Spirit Guides and 1x Lotus Petal for acceleration. Seems to be working, I even swapped out 2 Canonist for 2 Eidolon of Rhetoric due to the increase in available mana and was able to slam an Eidolon on turn 1... One thing of note, though, the list was more heavily adjusted than I wanted, I dropped three Plains to make room for the acceleration and that ended up messing pretty badly with the balance, two games I mulled down to 4 cards with no turn 1 play.

The list I'm testing now:

2x Mother of Runes
2x Eidolon of Rhetoric
1x Ethersworn Canonist
3x Leonin Arbiter
1x Grand Abolisher
3x Spirit of the Labyrinth
3x Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4x Leonin Relic Warder
2x Dryad Militant
2x Judge's Familiar
2x Vryn Wingmare
3x Phyrexian Revoker

3x Path To Exile
4x Mental Misstep

3x Simian Spirit Guide
1x Lotus Petal

3x Null Rod

4x Ghost Quarter
1x Strip Mine
13x Plains

SB:

2x Swords to Plowshares
2x Serene Master
2x Suppression Field
2x Ghostly Prison
2x Magus of the Moat
2x Archangel of Tithes
1x Null Rod
2x Ratchet Bomb

The SB is essentially to see which is most effective as SB hate against Mentor. I'm leaning on Archangel right now, but if they get harder to cast because of the 1WWW casting cost and accel being majorly off-color, thinking about trying Windborn Muse and/or Blinding Angel, maybe. Open to other non-bear, mono-white fliers that are decent.

Also already running into situations where it'd be better to cast the Spirit Guides instead of using them for mana, usually in topdeck mode. Trying to figure out how to mitigate that.

last edited by Dumpsterac1d

@Dumpsterac1d

This is awesome, as someone who is looking to step into vintage due to the very reasons you mentioned (VSL, prices on MTGO, etc...) it's great to see a deck option that is not only budget but may also be relatively intuitive to play. So thank you so much for the time and effort you've put into the primer, you're helping add a new member to the community!

last edited by aniso

I'm not a fan of Black Vise. It doesn't impact the board state and if your opponent has 7 cards in hand it's either because he's already locked out or because he's doing his Gush/cantrip stuff and winning.

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