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posted in Vintage Community read more

@chubbyrain1 it's not all upside. I mean, you have to pay a life. 😉

posted in Vintage Community read more

@protoaddict Oh I agree that vintage fetch/dual manabases are a lot closer to legacy manabases than they are to something like standard. It's one of the many similarities between the two formats, they're more alike than they are different. There is a "uniquely Vintage" manabase however (well ... several. Workshop decks and Bazaar decks are uniquely vintage for obvious reasons). This is less true in today, but the presence of Moxes and other artifact mana has a tangible impact on how manabases are built and therefore which cards can see play. A Vintage deck and a Legacy deck might have a similar number of total mana sources, but the presence of artifact mana means that the Vintage deck has fewer actual lands. I'm fascinated by manabases in general and I think there are subtleties that people outside the format don't catch, for instance, the presence of off-color artifact mana means that generic mana is easier to come by in Vintage. That changes the value of cards with colorless mana costs - in Vintage it's much easier to play a spell that costs 1U than a spell that costs UU, in many legacy decks they're identical. Back when it was common to run 7 artifact mana and 4 Mana Drains, I built my mana curves entirely differently, treating "C", "1C", and "CC" as three distinct mana costs. The difference is less stark now as lots of decks opt to run fewer colorless sources.

Where that intersects with duals/fetches is that the dual/fetch manabase requires a critical mass of lands to be effective - if you only had 3 lands in your deck you wouldn't make them 1 Underground Sea, 2 Polluted Delta. (Okay Meandeck Tendrils did this but you get my point). Committing to colorless or one-color artifact mana puts pressure on your nonartifact mana to be able to support more colors. If your deck has spells that cost 1U, 1R, and 1W, you want to have access to three colors by your second turn, if one of your two mana sources is a mox then your other source needs to be able to tap for 3 colors (Of course there are tradeoffs and in practice you end up shifting the cards in your deck to make your mana better, in addition to shifting the mana to cast your cards better)

Kind of a ramble but I think "Mox Ruby" is actually a card that disincentivizes fetchlands already, and I guess I'd have to conclude that fetchlands are better in Legacy (and I assume Modern?) than they are in Vintage. Of course they're still very good in Vintage, but I do believe there are cards you could print (or ban/restrict) to make them worse.

I think you could make a pretty good argument to say that Fetches+Duals are the third or fourth best manabase in Vintage, behind Workshops and Dredge (and possibly Bazaar/Mana'd decks like HollowVine). While fetchlands were still played in 2015 (the pre-restriction era of chalice/lodestone workshop dominance), it was probably a mistake to play them back then! So one really straightforward way to make fetches bad is to print good artifacts 😀

posted in Vintage Community read more

@80percentbuffoon said in What could replace the fetches/duals as a default mana base:

Oh, a fantasy card thread. Haven't had one of those in a while.

I see what you did there

posted in Vintage Community read more

some scattered thoughts ... my instinct here is that you can't get there by printing new lands, but you might by printing new nonlands.

Purely in terms of manafixing, the fetch/dual manabase is particularly good at getting 3 colors of mana, but in a two or five color deck there are already better options.

The colorless mana symbol on some Eldrazi cards is a special case. I believe that Battlefield Forge is already a better card in vintage than Plateau, and I run something like 4 and 2. A green/white deck with Eldrazi cards probably wouldn't have room for Savannahs at all. If they printed new cards requiring colorless mana, cards that could be used in different strategies, it might incentivize two color decks to look to painlands, or other nonbasics.

Consider the Horizon Canopy cycle. I think there was a few-month window where those lands were both very good and very underplayed in the format, but they suddenly (and perhaps forever) became bad with the printing of Mystic Sanctuary

Basic Land types, particularly Island, are a key part of the fetch/dual's monopoly on manabases in Vintage. During periods where Gush is unrestricted, Island-count becomes more important than manafixing, and Sanctuary is another strong incentive, which is tough to get around. Above both of these is the ability to get basics against a Wasteland deck. Printing new lands with the Island subtype makes fetchlands stronger, printing new lands without the Island subtype would need to be significantly better than dual lands to make up for the fact that you lose basic-fetching and gush/sanctuary enabling. "Significantly better than dual lands" is a pretty high bar, we don't know how high because that's literally never been printed.

There are things that could mitigate those advantages though, restricting Wasteland (or weirdly enough, unrestricting Strip Mine) would make the ability to fetch nonbasics less important. There are probably a lot of scenarios where Mystic Sanctuary could become worse/less relevant.

(On the other hand, the shuffle-effect is huge in Legacy with 4xBrainstorm, 4xPonder, but I think far less important in vintage, and it would be possible to print lands that shuffle your deck without dipping into the Fetch/Dual paradigm)

I could imagine a scenario where some printings successfully disincentivized the fetch/dual manabase. Either by printing:

  • strong cards that are weaker or unplayable when you have land types or shuffle ("sacrifice if you control an island", "-1/-1 for each island you control", etc


  • actually good hosers for land types or shuffling. Choke is not a good hoser, Narset is.

Would take a lot of things coming together, but I could imagine a fetch/dual-free future. For what it's worth I don't want a fetch-free future? I think the unique way Vintage manabases work is a big part of what makes the format feel special compared to other formats. Fetchlands don't bore or upset me the way they seem to for other people. If we just banned duals and fetches I'm not sure we'd end up with a funner format. Some of the things I suggested might work, but cause way bigger problems.

posted in Xerox read more

Oh boy, this is neat 😄 Does graveyard hate shut down the engine too much? I suspect it's not that bad, you're still basically a traditional control deck even if your Sanctuaries are shut off.

posted in Off-Topic read more

I haven't played with them myself so I can't be sure, but the brand new "jumpstart" product looks awesome for new players to me.

They're little themed mini-decks that are designed such that you can combine any two of them to make a new deck. It sounds like a great way to give a new player a taste of constructed. A new player can play a couple rounds with some of the mini-decks and get a feel for what sorts of cards they like, then put them together in any combination ... they get to build a deck that's actually their creation, without the incredibly intimidating barriers to building your first MtG deck, like getting the right mix of lands/spells/creatures. I don't think there's any other packaged MtG product that can really do that.

I like the idea of starting someone on that, though I can't speak to how much gameplay you can get out of them before you'll want to move on to something else.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more


Death's Shadow has become something of a pet card for me. I've tried a lot of variants, including a focused green/black list revolving around Plunge/Berserk (Which I called BERSERKER! while I was working on it. The caps and exclamation point are important.) Unfortunately, like you I never found a list that felt strong enough to play it any "real" event. I've had more luck with hybrid approaches, where I think Death's Shadow can do a lot of interesting things (though I'm a hybrid deckbuilder at heart). Shadow can do real work in a fishy Grixis Delver shell or a BUG midrange shell. I've personally had the best showing with Death's Shadow BUG Survival/Death Survives.

I didn't learn too much about a focused Berserk list that would be useful, but here are some cards I found interesting. Most of these won't be a surprise for people who followed Death's Shadow decks in Legacy/Modern

There's not much to say about Thoughtseize, Dismember, Snuff Out, Vampiric Tutor/Imperial Seal, but they're already good cards that get better with Death's Shadow. Street Wraith is not a great card, but might be good enough in a Shadow deck. Grim Tutor sounds good for a minute, but I don't think you want 3-drops in the middle of your curve. I suspect Mutagenic Growth and Gut Shot just aren't Vintage quality but I'd kinda love to see them.

Temur Battle Rage is more or less just a 1R Berserk for the deck. I didn't explore cutting the green entirely and playing a B/R Plunge/Rage list, but you totally could. You can't use 2 Rages to kill with a 5/5 the same way you can with two Berserks. You can splash red for redundant Berserk effects, but don't forget that Time Walk also lets a creature deal damage twice.

Speaking of Time Walk, blue is the natural splash for any Vintage deck, but I understand there's a big overlap between people who would like B/G Berserk Shadow and people who don't like running blue out of principle. If you're in that group, I'd still consider running your 1x Gitaxian Probe and 1x Mental Misstep. You don't need to run blue mana and they're both very strong with Shadow. Swords to Plowshares is Death's Shadow public enemy number one, and the restriction of Misstep hurt Shadow lists a lot more than opposing Missteps did.

Even in an all-in list I think you need more threats than just the Shadows. The most Berserkable option is probably Gurmag Angler. If you're doing something more hybrid, Shadows in your list let you drop the mana curve real low, so expensive threats requiring more lands kind of kill the edge that Shadow gave you. I tend toward the really cheap stuff like Deathrite Shaman and Delver of Secrets, (though it would be really hard for me to run a BUG list without two or three Oko, Thief of Crowns.)

Nurturing Peatland and its friends are underrated in general, I think. But a Death's Shadow list is particularly suited. I'd consider running some Waterlogged Groves or Silent Clearings even if you don't splash a colorA play tip that might be obvious but took me a couple matches to figure out: If your hand has both a Canopy Land and a Fetch/Shockland, the Fetch deals 3 damage and the Canopyland deals N damage, where N is how many turns it will be in play. Even though the fetch deals more now, a lot of the times it's better to lead with the Peatland on the first few turns, and don't forget to tap it for damage every turn, whether you have anything to cast or not.

There has to be something really dumb you can do with Lim-Dul's Vault. I haven't tested this myself, but it's very straightforward to get Shadow+Berserk+19 damage to yourself all with one cast of this. For people that aren't ancient enough to remember with Vault was a common vintage card, there's a trick you can do where you use LDV to loop through your deck several times. If your library size isn't a multiple of five, you can stack your piles such that you see different sets of cards together the second time through your deck. This means you can force certain cards together, making little mini-doomsday stacks like "Brainstorm->Shadow->Berserk->Time Walk". It's still random, but it's not as random as it looks.

This is for sure a @Brass-Man pet card, but Hex Parasite is a sexy little robot. I already love a Parasite as a top-secret-weapon for taking down Planeswalkers and Workshop Aggro threats, but in Death's Shadow you can just have it target itself for {P} as many times as you want.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

@desolutionist The best spell to cast with the first one is Ephemerate, THEN Time Walk 😄 😄 😄

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

What's the "killer app" that makes you want to run Spirits over Merfolk? Lord of Atlantis is a much better value-per-mana than the spirit lords we've mentioned, and you can run 8 of them. Pilferer has a neat effect but I feel like it requires enough weird support cards that you wouldn't want it in a tribal deck even if there was a tribal deck.

Summary: State some specific superlative spirits so Spirit stacks succeed!