Reservoir Paradogs



  • As soon as some of the cards in Kaladesh where spoiled i began brewing in my head. The whole set is great for Jonnys and is full of potential, especially in vintage where powering out artifacts and casting blue spells is as old as the format itself.
    With the following post keep in mind that i could not test this deck in the amount and quality to my liking. I did however spend this weekend in front of my PC and played as many matches with this deck as possible.

    The deck builds around two new cards: Aetherflux reservoir and Paradoxical Outcome.

    The goal of the deck is to stick a Reservoir on the table and then cast as many spells as possible to gain life and nuke your opponent for 50. Paradoxical Outcome is one of the best enablers in this regard, i think this card can truly become a big player in vintage, it is incredibly powerful if resolved. If played on a board state with enough cheap repayable artifact mana, this card draws ridiculous amounts of cards and often even generates mana to keep going, chaining them together works great.
    Do not underestimate this card: Resolving a paradoxical outcome on a board with Aetherflux Reservoir and enough replayable mana usually immediately translates into a victory.

    Here is my current list:
    Maindeck
    Manasources
    1x Inventors' Fair
    4x Island
    1x Minamo, School at Waters Edge
    2x Ancient Tomb
    Library of Alexandria
    2x Mishra's Workshop
    1x Tolarian Academy
    Black Lotus
    Lotus Petal
    Mana Crypt
    Mox Emerald, Jet, Ruby, Pearl, Sapphire
    4x Mox Opal
    Mana Vault
    Sol Ring
    2x Grim Monolith
    28 Manasources

    Spells
    Ancestral Recall
    1x Flusterstorm
    4x Mental Misstep
    Ponder
    3x Preordain
    1x Sensei's Divining Top
    2x Voltaic Key
    Time Vault
    Time Walk
    1xEchoing Truth
    Time Twister
    Tinker
    4xAetherflux Reservoir
    4x Paradoxical Outcome
    4x Force of Will
    Memory Jar
    1xWurmcoil Engine
    32 Spells

    60 Cards

    Sideboard:
    1x Echoing Truth
    2x Grafdigger's Cage
    3x Hurkyl's Recall
    1x Mind's Desire
    2x Mindbreak Trap
    1x Mishras Workshop
    3x Tomrod's Crypt
    1x Void Snare
    1x Wurmcoil Engine

    15 cards

    Manasources:
    The deck is currently mono blue. I thought about splashing a color, black, but then i realized that i mostly just wanted to play fetchlands and didn't really want to put in the spells. Not playing fetchlands is however a problem, since the ability to shuffle would be great, especially since i am playing a Sensei's Top. Top gets considerably worse without shuffle effects, but the ability to repeatedly but it on the top to find a cantrip, and draw it again just to repeat still keeps it in the deck for now (to add storm). Not playing shuffle effects also significantly reduces card choices that would traditionally be considered or even a must play. Iam talking about more Sensei's Tops, Scroll Rack and Brainstorm. Yes, there is no brainstorm in this current build, crazy, right? That just feels kind of wrong. Maybe adding fetchlands without duals is the way to go, just for the shuffle effect.
    Earlier builds had 4 Mishra's Workshop and no Ancient Tombs. I very much like the idea of playing Workshop in a non prison deck, powering out combo artifacts. Workshop does a great job of playing an Aetherflux Reservoir on turn 1 or dumping a hand full of artifact mana. However the biggest problem with Workshop is that it doesn't help at all casting the 4cmc spell Paradoxical Outcome, which should be the perfect followup after playing a Reservoir and a bunch of artifact mana. Since this Spell costs 4 and i want to be able to play it as reliably and early as possible i cut the workshops for Ancient Tombs. The life loss from the tombs seems counter intuitive in a deck trying to reach 50 life at first glance but it very rarely mattered. Most of the time, if you get to 50 life, just 1 more spell will bring to say 57 or something like that. The land helping to power out more spells renders the 2 lifeloss irrelevant most of the time. Ancient tombs however significantly reduced the turn 1 explosiveness of the deck, since now you cant just play Ancient tomb + 1 piece of artifact acceleration to cast a Reservoir. Also, since i was already playing Wurmcoil in the maindeck, i really liked the idea of beeing able to hardcast it as a secondary wincondition, which attacks from a totally different angle but still advances Plan A. Currently i am playing a 2/2 split in the maindeck and 1 more Workshop in the sideboard to bring in against prisony matchups.
    I play the new legendary land, Inventors Fair, as a one of and i am quite happy with it. Its a uncounterable tutor for your win conditions, i could not be happier with it. Works great, not much opportunity cost, easy to just activate end of turn. The lifegain from it of course seems to play right into the strategy, but to be honest it doesnt matter. If you are going off, the 1-3 life you got from this land over the course of the game are mostly irrelevant.
    I quite like the high count of basic islands. At first i thought i might want to play Seat of Synods, but they aren't really needed since Metalcraft is rarely a problem, i don't play any affinity cards and i really want to be able to cast my bounce spell on Null rods or stony silences. A deck full of easily ho sable artifacts needs some basic lands to be able to cast an answer.
    I am not playing chrome mox or mox diamond because you don't really want to bounce them. I like to bounce reusable mana sources to not only come out on 0 or actually generate mana.
    Mana Crypt and Grim Monolith work wonders in this deck, not only because you obviously can untap them with a voltaic key but also because they work great with bouncing and replaying them to generate mana. I use them pretty liberally and rarely regret it.
    The difficulty with the manabase is to balance both fast sol ring like effects and enough permanents to abuse with paradoxical outcome and enough humble blue sources to be able to cast your spells in the first place. I also want a critical mass of bouncable, mana generating permanents but do not want to draw hands without action and just mana sources.

    Win Conditions:

    Plan A: Aetherflux Reservoir - i like this card a lot. It looks so innocent and cute, but actually has the potential to escalate out of nowhere.
    Turn 1: Mishras Workshop, Mox Jet, Aetherflux Reservoir - pass. Turn 2: Grim Monolith (gain 1), mox Opal (2), Island, Preordain (3), Paradoxical Outcome (4) bounce Monolith, Mox, Mox draw 3. Just by replaying the you already had you now generated 28 life. Don't forget you just have just drawn 3 card, cast 1 more and the game is over.
    Hell i have forced my own spells a few times just to get an additional 10 life or so.
    The real powerhouse here is obviously Paradoxical Outcome, Aetherflux Reservoir is just a neat win condition that fits pretty nice if you ask me. The life gain over a few turns often buys a lot of time if you are not able to just win with it, which happens not rarely - this deck is not designed to go off on turn 1 or 2 as often as possible like Belcher, i would rather classify it as Combo - Control. The deck definitely has the potential to play a long game. I am currently playing no tutors, apart from the one Inventor's Fair and Tinker, but a full playset of the Reservoir. I am not sure about that yet, maybe 3 is the better number, it needs more testing. What happens when you draw multiples? Well, you don't really need multiples, but they are also not dead. If you manage to stick 2 of them on the board and then go off, the lifegain effect stacks and you will crack that 50 life mark very fast, however drawing 2 of those also is clunky and reduces the chances of you going off. This is one of the reasons i would love to play something like Brainstorm or Scroll Rack. Since this is your Plan A, just casting through countermagic or destruction is valid since you play 4.

    Plan B: Vault/Key. This is a no-brainer in this deck. It wins the game on its own, they are artifacts, so easy to cast, while there are only 2 Tutors, there is also a lot of card draw which sometimes just finds you the pieces. It just fits.

    Plan C: Wurmcoil Engine. This just is great against most creature based or prison decks. It hits hard, trades favorable with everything and even synergises with your main plan of gaining life. It is of course vulnerable to Swords to plowshares, but at least the lifegain is relevant. Why not BSC? Because having Workshops and Sol lands main deck makes Wurmcoil absolutely castable and not just a tinker target. There is a second one, as well as a third Workshop in the Sideboard for Eldrazi, Shops or the hatebears matchup where having lands that tap for 3 mana and win conditions that don't rely on casting a lot of spells are very nice. I also considered BSC just because of the pure powerlevel or Myr Battlesphere to go broader.

    The rest of the Deck is mix of card draw/selection and control/protection elements. I do not believe that i have found a fine balance between those elements yet. I always feel that i like more cantrips AND more countermagic.
    I tried different configuration of countermagic and cantrips already and currently i havent testet enough to be sure what works best. I am considering playing Probes, Merchant Scroll, Mystical Tutor, Thoughtcast. I would like to be able to play Brainstorm. If i have shuffle effects i would consider Scrollrack or a second Sensei's Top. I considered not playing much countermagic but instead go for Defense Grids and going for a more "all in combo" approach. However this leaves the deck incredibly vulnerable to Artifact hate, also i think this would play more like belcher, which is not what i was going for with this deck. I pondered about including Manadrains to power out the more expensive spells, however currently the count of blue mana sources is too low to support it.
    There is one bounce spell maindeck because some decks run Null Rods or other hate (Kataki...) in the maindeck, and i like to at least have an out in the deck.

    Notable might also be the Mind's Desire in the Sideboard. I had this maindeck for a while but i found myself not really wanting to hold all my spells to generate Storm in case i would draw it and if i dump my hand and then draw it, it feels terrible. Mind's Desire is one of my favorite Spells, maybe it will find a place main deck again. It is currently in the sideboard when i feel my opponent will out control me most of the time (Landstill for example) and having a storm spell is just harder for my opponent to handle.

    As far as i tested, the deck works suprisingly good against Powered Eldrazi, Delver, Storm, Mentor, Pyromancer and Shops. The matchup against Oath and Turbotezz seems fine. Hatebears, JacoDrazi, and everything playing maindeck artifact hate is a hard matchup. I played one match against Standstill and got destroyed, it always felt like i had just 1 threat and maybe 1 way to defend it against my opponents hand full of counterspells and postboard hate.
    As for today i did not play against Dredge, Belcher or Doomsday. Postboard the deck struggles the most against effects like Kataki or Energie Flux, Null Rods and Stoney Silences can be bounced when the time is right to go off, but these will kill your board. Im having problems finding suitable answers to those, especially when Kataki gets cast by a Cavern of Souls. Keep in Mind, the cards are not even released so testing is not easy at the moment.

    I would love some feedback and ideas, thanks!



  • The deck looks nice and reminds me of all the turbotezz / city vault decks. As far as engines / disruption / mana etc. goes, I suggest you have a look at the following decks (which I'm sure you have seen some already) to develop it further. Giving you feedback on individual card choices would be hasty on my part though, as I have not tested the deck at all yet and haven't even examined it thoroughly. Keep up the enthusiasm though, I'll get back with more serious insight when I have looked into it.

    5-0 and 4-1 at Gencon with turbovault

    but also, even though it is somehow another deck (but also operates on resolving a 4cc spell)
    Antoni Sanchez' ever dominating "Supremacy" gifts deck

    One card that comes to mind is transmute artifact though. Have you tested it? Sounds like a neat tutor for your deck, aside from the UU cost.



  • After another week of testing i was able to tinker with the deck a bit, change a few cards and try out some more possibilities.
    I got to test a bunch, now including Dredge, where the matchup seems fine, since at least after the sideboard you should be able to buy enough time to combo off. I tested against BUG and i can say: Leovold is a pain to play against and has to die! (i won all games, i was able to handle him, and lost all games where i was not). I also played one match against Doomsday, and won.

    Here are cards i tried but did not convince me and got cut again:
    I tested playing chromatic lantern and 4 mishra's workshop (instead of a 2/2 split with ancient tombs). I was not impressed, casting a lantern didn't feel good, not having a lantern crippled the ability of the deck to generate blue or just enough mana to cast Paradoxical outcome. Bouncing a lantern is rarely profitable.
    I tested playing Seat of Synods and as i expected it made the deck way too vulnerable too null rods, stoney silence, wastelands, new thalia and all kind of other hate, that i can play around using basic island. While playing Seat of synod i used Thoughtcasts, which are nice, but do not help with weaker hands at all. I don't think they are needed, and i don't want the deck to be just another tezzcast deck.
    I tested Tezzeret the Seeker and deemed him not neccesery since iam not reliable on finding vault/key and i dont need a fifth copy of Aetherflux Reservoir in the deck. 5 mana and double blue is still a lot.
    I tested transmute artifact and again i dont think it is neccesery since there are already 4 copies of the main wincondition in the maindeck. UU is not something i want to be reliable on as well.
    I tested Mana drain to power out the expensive 4cmc spells, again i didnt feel like i want to be relieable on UU. While it is nice to power out an Aetherflux reservoir, it is actually not profitable to use the generated mana to cast a Paradoxical Outcome. For a useful paradoxical outcome you already want as many mana generating permanents on the board as possible, at which point you don't need the manadrains generated mana. Its nice when it works, but it doesn't happen often enough and too often i had it in my hand without UU up.
    I tested Windfall, it rarely seemed useful and only was incredibly powerful when my opponent wasn't able to cast cards (manastuck), or when i already resolved a draw 7 at which point it was mostly a win-more card.
    Gitaxian probes just performed worse than preordains. Mystical Tutor always felt awkward.

    Here is my current list:
    Maindeck
    Manasources
    1x Inventors' Fair
    4x Island
    1x Minamo, School at Waters Edge
    2x Ancient Tomb
    Library of Alexandria
    2x Mishra's Workshop
    1x Tolarian Academy
    Black Lotus
    Lotus Petal
    Mana Crypt
    Mox Emerald, Jet, Ruby, Pearl, Sapphire
    3x Mox Opal
    Mana Vault
    Sol Ring
    3x Grim Monolith
    28 Manasources

    Spells
    Ancestral Recall
    1x Flusterstorm
    4x Mental Misstep
    Ponder
    3x Preordain
    1x Sensei's Divining Top
    2x Voltaic Key
    Time Vault
    Time Walk
    1xRepeal
    Time Twister
    Tinker
    3xAetherflux Reservoir
    4x Paradoxical Outcome
    4x Force of Will
    Memory Jar
    Mind's Desire
    1xWurmcoil Engine
    32 Spells

    60 Cards

    Sideboard
    1x Echoing Truth
    3x Grafdigger's Cage
    2x Hurkyl's Recall
    2x Flusterstorm
    1x Mishras Workshop
    2x Tomrod's Crypt
    1x Dismember
    2x Ceremonous Rejection
    1x Myr Battlesphere

    15 cards

    Ok, so here are notable changes:

    • added Repeal to the main deck. It just performs the maindeck bounce spell role better than echoing truth, since it isn't as a bad draw if there is nothing problematic to bounce.
    • replaced 2x Mindbreak Traps in the sideboard with 2x Flusterstorm. This change improved my matchup against opposing blue decks significantly while still being useful against storm.
    • cut the Mind's Desire, which makes me sad, since its one of my favorite cards, but i rarely used it. I would love to find a spot for it again sometime. EDIT: I added it back in, cutting the 4th Reservoir.
    • exchanged the Wurmcoil Engine in the Sideboard for a Myr Battlesphere to diversify secondary win conditions.
    • added Ceremonous Rejections and a Dismember to the sideboard.

    I also tweaked some card amounts.
    On my wishlist now is one more blue mana source and still shuffle effects. (Thinking about adding an amount of expedition maps, but i am not thrilled about it)

    I am pretty happy with the decks power and how it plays at the moment (ofcourse it still needs more work) and having a blast playing it. Feedback and suggestions are always wanted!



  • @Evoclipse said:

    On my wishlist now is one more blue mana source and still shuffle effects. (Thinking about adding an amount of expedition maps, but i am not thrilled about it)

    I am pretty happy with the decks power and how it plays at the moment (ofcourse it still needs more work) and having a blast playing it. Feedback and suggestions are always wanted!

    I've been testing steel city vaults a LOT lately which is a very similar shell and game plan to get your win-con on line. In fact I'd almost call this SCV2.0. Regardless - give the expedition map a try. That tutor for the tolarian is amazing. Plus its a 1 drop artifact - cheapy artifact spell that easily increases your spell count - doubly so with paradoxical outcome.



  • Have you considered 1 helm of awakening? I know it helps opponents also, but vastly helps you more, allowing keys and tops to be free and Grim Monolith to only be one mana.



  • Have you considered 1 helm of awakening? I know it helps opponents also, but vastly helps you more, allowing keys and tops to be free and Grim Monolith to only be one mana.



  • @Serracollector said:

    Have you considered 1 helm of awakening? I know it helps opponents also, but vastly helps you more, allowing keys and tops to be free and Grim Monolith to only be one mana.

    There's the new kaladesh artifact that lets YOUR artifacts cost 1 less. Probably better suited.



  • I will echo @Khahan and suggest Expedition Map as well. I've had some success running 4 Expedition Maps in a Tolarian Academy combo deck, which my friend won an event with this week. They are just cheap artifacts you can throw down and find all your fun lands (Academy -> Minamo -> Workshop).

    You can also consider increasing the number of Tops you play. They're pretty cool too.



  • @Hrishi I want to test expedition maps, but i am not sure what to cut to be honestm i have to try some combinations out. I would probably run a second top if i had reliable shuffle effects. Top gets significantly worse without the ability to shuffle your deck.

    @Khahan @Serracollector I have not considered such effects yet, very interesting. Just for artifacts Etherium Sculptor might be the best bet, however i feel like i rather would like to cheapen Paradoxicals as well. Helm of Awakening seems very powerful and incredibly risky to run. Stuff like that feels like the deck would shift more towards powering out the combo as fast as possible and disregarding what your opponents play.



  • @Evoclipse Remember that Maps are shuffle effects!



  • @Hrishi Yes, but not very efficient ones. Also i don't really want to play 4 of them. Getting specific lands isn't that important to the game plan. Getting to 4 mana is often enough. I will try them nonetheless.



  • @Evoclipse said:

    @Hrishi Yes, but not very efficient ones. Also i don't really want to play 4 of them. Getting specific lands isn't that important to the game plan. Getting to 4 mana is often enough. I will try them nonetheless.

    I run 2 in my scv build and its amazingly consistent getting Tolarian out as I effectively have 3 chances to draw it. If I draw tolarian naturally then it fetches minamo and if I have both or dont need it, t he map is +1 mana for tolarian or +1 spell count from paradoxical. Maybe for testing -1 mox opal +1 expedition map.



  • Another option is Metalworker. You can drop him turn 1, then turn 2 barf out your hand, paradox, untap him with a key and continue the fun.



  • What about non-artifact permanents? Like Oath of Jace?

    Some diversity would help prevent null rod locking you out of filtering.



  • @spook In general diversifying the deck so it doesn't just fold to a Null Rod or a similiar effect is definetly important. That is the main reason why i am playing basic islands and not Seat of Synods and why there are 3 different win conditions in the mainboard.
    The most powerful and consistent of them is Plan A but suffers from most hate, including Null Rod effects or Sphere Effects. Plan B still wins the game on the spot but is not as consistent to get out, it still suffers from Null rod effects, however it often can ignore taxing effects. Plan C is often the most robust of the win conditions, but it takes a while to win and is not as game ending.
    Currently playing basic islands and Preordains fills the filter role and does not suffer from null rod effects. Maybe i should play more of that though. Oath of Jace does not seem powerful enough, especially not for the price. The fact that it is a permanent doesn't really do any good.


  • TMD Supporter

    I like how this deck has Mishra's Workshop x2. That's sarcasm if you hadn't noticed. They only cast 8 non-mana cards in your deck. They seem completely worthless. This deck is incredibly gimmicky.

    There's a reason some of the bigger names in the format never comment on decks like this. It has NO direction. It's just a bucket of marque cards. You need focus.

    I think the Aetherflux Reservoir is completely and utterly terrible. When you're casting a chain of spells unimpeded you can win with a fucking Magma Mine at that point.



  • I've been testing vs Aetherflux Reservoir alot online with Paradoxal...and while the Paradoxal card looks impressive at times, I have yet to be impressed by Aetherflux. I generally let the card resolve lol.

    I'm curious how it's been for you when you're facing an opposing blue deck with artifact removal and countermagic. I've been very unimpressed



  • @Soly
    Aetherlfux reservoir is just the win condition. It does not make the deck, you are correct in that. Paradoxical outcome makes the deck and as you said: at the point where you could maybe chain them together and "go off" you could probably win with a few other cards. Tendrils or any of the other playable Storm cards come to mind. I also never stated that Aetherflux would be incredibly good or anything like that. Quote from my very first post:

    The real powerhouse here is obviously Paradoxical Outcome, Aetherflux Reservoir is just a neat win condition that fits pretty nice if you ask me. The life gain over a few turns often buys a lot of time if you are not able to just win with it, which happens not rarely - this deck is not designed to go off on turn 1 or 2 as often as possible like Belcher, i would rather classify it as Combo - Control. The deck definitely has the potential to play a long game. I am currently playing no tutors, apart from the one Inventor's Fair and Tinker, but a full playset of the Reservoir. I am not sure about that yet, maybe 3 is the better number, it needs more testing. What happens when you draw multiples? Well, you don't really need multiples, but they are also not dead. If you manage to stick 2 of them on the board and then go off, the lifegain effect stacks and you will crack that 50 life mark very fast, however drawing 2 of those also is clunky and reduces the chances of you going off.

    That does not make Aetherflux Reservoir "completely and utterly terrible", what an unreasonable and out of proportion thing to write. I chose this win condition because i was interested in what it can do in the right deck and at the moment it performs fine, not broken, but fine. It is a very interesting way to win a game, since it is no spell that you play as a finisher after going off, but a spell that you play while or before going off. It can be played one turn, and win the next one. This, obviesly has its up and downsides and feels a little like Goblin Charbelcher, in which the card can be played and activated in the same turn if your hand supports it, but it can also be put on the table to set up the win next turn.

    Your complains about Mishra's Workshop in the deck are based on what? The card plays very nicely in the deck and is responsible for most of the more broken starts the deck can perform. Workshop does a very nice job powering out the Reservoir and spells like Grim monolith or Memory Jar. It is one of the best set-up cards in the deck. It works wonders against opposing taxing decks like shops or hatebears and enables secondary win conditions like hard casting Wurmcoil or Myr Battlesphere, both of which are mostly chosen for this spot because they are hard-castable with the Workshops. I tested the deck without Workshops and the result is a deck that loses a lot of its explosiveness and flexibility.

    @tattoocek In the matchup against blue control decks longer games favor the blue control deck (at least in game 1). The superior density of countermagic and ways to find it those decks have is the main problem. To support the combo potential and paradoxical outcome this deck has to play a lot of artifact acceleration, which produce explosive starts, but also empty your hand fast and are terrible draws in a situation when i try to sculpt a hand to go off, and they try to sculpt a hand to stop me. If you empty your hand and cast a paradoxical outcome or draw 7 and then lose the counterwar, the deck tends to suffer a few turns from that until you manage to draw another paradoxical or draw 7 and a way to protect it. In games 2-3 the matchup gets better after boarding in additional countermagic. Artifact destruction is lesser of a problem, mostly because if you are able to go off, you will often find additional copies of the artifacts you need or ways so you wont find them. Permanent artifact hate is another story. Null Rod, Stoney Silence, Kataki and similiar effects are way worse, that is why there are a bunch of bounce spells in the sideboard.



  • @Evoclipse Oath of Jace is not great, but there may be other non-artifact cards to consider with PO.



  • Trinket Mage and the new 1/3 bird for 1U that gets an artifact out of your top 4 are bouncible objects in blue that could work with Paradox.



  • The first time I saw this deck I figured it won with Brain Freeze. Is there a reason you chose the Reservoir over Brain Freeze besides the life gain?


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