@ajfirecracker It's really a Survival deck first, with Death's Shadows as a hedge. My gameplan is to quickly win with Vengevines and Hollow Ones, backed by disruption. The Death's Shadows shine when your opponent brings in a bunch of graveyard hate and needle effects and tries to cut you off from using Bazaars and Survivals. Between Thoughtseize, Street Wraith, Mental Misstep and my manabase, it really wasn't too hard to get Death's Shadow live. I tapped Nurturing Peatlands just to float mana and take a damage several times.
Opponent's playing around Death's Shadow is a feature, not a bug! Several of the games I won involved a 1/1 Death's Shadow that prevented my opponent from having any favorable attacks. A deck that need to attack to win, like Ravager Shops, Eldrazi, and Survival, can't really play around it without giving you a bunch of extra time to set up a lethal Survival. Because Shadow keys off of your life total, no matter where the damage came from, they may have to play around it whether it's in your hand or not. In games where you can't get your life total down, they're not as dead as they would be in something like a Modern Death's Shadow deck - Survival decks needs a critical mass of creatures to pitch to Survival, and you can trigger Vengevine with with Death's Shadow even if you're above 13 life, and of course, Bazaar of Baghdad's filtering rewards you for playing with conditionally powerful cards.
Damaging myself was never really a problem, but I could imagine running a handful of additional damage cards making it more consistent. I think the next best cards would be additional Street Wraiths, Mental Misstep, Dismember, but I didn't think any of them were good enough to make the cut over something else. I think Basking Rootwalla is a little less necessary in this list because of the high creature count, so I could maybe see going to 3 Rootwalla in favor of one of those cards. I thought about making the list BUG, but I didn't have enough testing time to figure out how to make the mana work. If I managed to work an Ancestral Recall and a Time Walk into the deck, then Vampiric Tutor and similar cards would be pretty appealing.
@protoaddict I absolutely do not want to downplay your story, because personal history is a big part of vintage for a lot of people. I think you're right that it's hard or impossible for some people to split the idea of collecting from the idea of Magic, it is after all a "Collectible" Card Game. I completely understand why many people enjoy the owning and collecting part of the hobby, and I myself have a personal attachment to a lot of the cards I've had for decades.
But I'm really bothered by the idea that someone who owns more expensive cards is somehow more invested in the format, or more worthy of respect. I can assure you, while some opponents and spectators might respect someone more for owning expensive cards, I absolutely do not.
The cheapest Lotus on CardKingdom right now is $10,000, compared to the $1500 you had to pay. Salaries haven't really raised accordingly. That means in order for someone to get the same respect you have for earning cards, they need to be 6 times richer or 6 times luckier than you were.
When I bought my Lotus from SCG, it cost $419. That's about the price of a played Volcanic Island today. If someone today buys a Volcanic Island, in what way are they less worthy than me with my Black Lotus?
Cards today are dramatically higher in part BECAUSE of people like us who got in cheaply and never cashed out. Our bargain-hunting and passion for the format helped drive the lower supply and higher demand that's made a Vintage deck prohibitively expensive to own. My income is somewhere within top 5% for Americans and there's no way I would buy power today if I didn't already own it. Frankly the decision to buy power is pretty irresponsible for most people. This is to say nothing of people who live in other countries trying to buy cards internationally with USD.
I can think of several people who don't one power, some of whom will never be able to afford power, who have made big contributions to the vintage hobby/community, by writing articles, community organizing, developing decks.
When you're friendly and welcoming, when you play to the best of your ability, when you drive the format forward, when you make an effort to improve the experience of the people around you... these are things that make me respect a player.
When I see Alpha power? "Meh, must be nice."
@fsecco / @garbageaggro yeah I'm confused. I feel like you made a 3 paragraph argument in favor of proxies (people can't afford the cards, people don't want to bring expensive cards with them, etc), and then concluded with "and therefore, proxies are bad." I'm not trying to win you over, but I really don't get it.
All of the things you said about magic pricing being different in different parts of the world (or country) are exactly the things I tell people when I'm trying to convince them how great proxies are.
Last year I spent a month hanging out with magic players in Mexico City (whatup Fernando!), I was AMAZED that people were willing to spend half a day's salary on a single draft, when they could be playing Vintage for free. There are clearly cultural forces at work that make people really reluctant to play with proxies (and I mean the culture of the magic community, not any particular country)
The mindset that you have to own the cards someday is where I'm lost ... why? Why not just proxy a vintage deck and then ... not buy the cards? It's the same game. I'd argue it's a BETTER game, because you're not constantly looking over your shoulder and terrified to put a beer next to your deck. If you're interested in Vintage and you don't live down the street from a place that runs sanctioned events, what does owning the cards get you? You get to subsidize SCG in exchange for a less-fun version of the game?
There are a lot of reasons people are for or against proxies, but "we don't have enough money for proxies" is hard for me to wrap my head around, if the alternative is playing Modern or Commander which is dramatically more expensive. I can't help but think there HAS to be some other unsaid reason here.
I was personally fortunate enough to buy power when it was much cheaper, but I play with proxies whenever I can - I only ever playtest with full-proxy decks, I proxy my power and leave it home when I go to a local event ... it's just a better experience for me, and it's a place I find EW to be consistently disappointing. I know Vintage isn't for everyone, but I hate to imagine people missing out on the format because of some mistaken idea that proxies offer an inherently worse experience.
So this brings up the argument of what is the difference between a really good proxy and a counterfeit.
To be clear, I'm talking about the image printed on a regular piece of printer paper, no cardstock, no glue. In a sleeve, at a glance you don't notice, but there's no way you could possibly convince someone it was a real card when outside of a sleeve. It's in no way more of a counterfeit more than a basic land+sharpie proxy. To me that's the line - could you convince a buyer that the card was real? If so it's a counterfeit. I admit that counterfeit v playtest card quickly gets murky and semantic, but the line is clear for me in terms of what I'm willing to own/play with.
once again going back to the OP why would WOTC enable this? Why would we buy cards from them if we could just print them out?
Well they wouldn't enable it, of course. They never have. They're not exactly enabling non-proxy events, either. Vintage has always been a community-run format, first and foremost.
This is a very old discussion. It won't be resolved in this thread. Some players just don't like proxies no matter what, and some players (like myself) love them. Some of these opinions are there for intractable reasons, and I'm not trying to make anyone budge ... but I do think that there are some people out there who are worried about very solvable problems.
There are some people that genuinely don't get that you can play vintage for free. Those people can be taught.
There are some people that genuinely just dislike proxies for legibility. You can make better proxies.
I think some people are turned off by the concept of proxies, because they think they're for "scrubs" or "poors", and I think those people can be won over pretty easily.
But some people just aren't ever going to like them and that's fine.
As a practical step I think the best thing you can do is just make several high quality proxy decks and ask people to play with you. Tell them you're testing for a big event, or trying out a new deck, or that you haven't played vintage in a while and you're trying to get your fix. Give them a deck you think they'd like playing based on what you know about them, and if they enjoy themselves, ask them if they'd like to keep the deck. Playtesting is fun. Use playtest cards to do it. If you can leverage that into a proxy event, awesome. If not, you're still playing Vintage. Honestly I enjoy a great night testing with friends more than Vintage Champs any day.
@nedleeds Totally agree on the coverage front. Video coverage isn't something we really cared about as a game/community 5 years ago, but it's becoming a much bigger part of what it means to be a magic player. Some proxies/playtest cards are camera-friendly, but most are very much not.
It's strange to me that I never hear people talk about enforced proxy quality. I'm a big fan of proxy events, I have been forever, but I, too, feel the pain of the sharpied Scalding Tarn.
Sometime back in the golden ages, I was an SCG Power 9 event. My opponent cast a Null Rod off of a basic Forest, and then next turn a Tarmogoyf, and that Tarmogoyf killed me. Except the Forest was a Mox Emerald proxy done in ballpoint pen that I couldn't read, and I didn't notice it was a Mox until the turn after he illegally tapped it for mana. I called the judge but it was too late to roll back, and I lost to the Tarmogoyf, knocking me out of the event.
But there's a false dichotomy here which is annoying. There's no reason you can't run an event and say "You can run proxies but they have to be legible." For me, the best proxy is a computer printout, on a plain piece of paper, cut out and put in a sleeve in front of another card. I use these for testing and for lower-key paper events. There's never any confusion, and when effort is taken to print the image out at the right size with the right sized border, bystanders and opponents rarely notice I'm playing with proxies at all.
Is this kind of proxy possibly marked? probably. Is it as marked as a double-sleeved foil? not even close.
Sure, you're asking players to take slightly more effort when making their decks, but this seems like an incredibly low bar compared to sanctioned play. Asking them to spend a few minutes with a printer doesn't really feel in the same ballpark as asking them to spend $20,000 - which, of course, they're always welcome to do if they don't feel like making proxies.
Just asking people to make nicer proxies doesn't solve every problem everyone has with playtest cards, but it does solve a very big one, and it's really weird to me that nobody ever seems to bring it up.