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:
1x Inventors' Fair
1x Minamo, School at Waters Edge
2x Ancient Tomb
Library of Alexandria
2x Mishra's Workshop
1x Tolarian Academy
Mox Emerald, Jet, Ruby, Pearl, Sapphire
4x Mox Opal
2x Grim Monolith
4x Mental Misstep
1x Sensei's Divining Top
2x Voltaic Key
4x Paradoxical Outcome
4x Force of Will
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
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.
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 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!