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posted in Vintage News read more

@griselbrother

If things change regarding Workshops and Bazaar, then I'll update my recommendations. However, I don't think we can ignore the presence of other unrestricted cards in the format when considering action.

For instance, I think Thorn and Lodestone Golem are the most clear casualties of Workshops existing in the format. The fact that these cards function as a one-sided Sphere in most cases, when combined with Workshops mana generation, make the tempo disparity in a match too skewed in favor of the Shops player as Shops moved to more of an Aggro game plan.

A similar pattern exists with the Bazaar decks - the tempo gained from Bazaar, combined with the pitch spells and wasteland effects - creates pretty skewed game play from turn 1. You can say Vintage is format in which broken things happen but the frequency of those things is modulated by the restricted list and Bazaar has become much more consistent with the implementation of the London mulligan and printing of Once upon a Time.

Is the fault Bazaar/Shops or the other cards? Does it matter if no action is taken against Bazaar or Shops?

For what it's worth, I've had a lot of success recently with various Hatebearsish lists, including GW Maverick and Azban Humans. I enjoy the archetype, too.

posted in Vintage News read more

@griselbrother The issue is that Chalice and Misstep are pretty effective in Bazaar strategies. The most played anti-Bazaar card right now is Surgical Extraction at 49% of lists because exiling Turn 1 Vengevines is often important for buying yourself time to deal with the rest of the deck. And the majority of Bazaar decks were running Chalice of the Void.

The way to conceptualize the Hollow One Bazaar decks is honestly a lot like Legacy Delver where you want to generate a quick clock and disrupt the opponent long enough for that clock to get there. This is Vintage though so instead of playing a 3 power flier, you get 6-12 power on turn 1, some of it having Haste. Chalice and Misstep are excellent for that purpose and will further exacerbate the swingy gameplay of which these decks are capable.

I think Lodestone Golem is a card that could be considered down the line as Shops isn't the metagame force it once was with FoV printed, but Windfall and Seal are easy unrestrictions that probably could have been unrestricted earlier.

Edit: I would also point out that Mental Misstep was the card that led most restriction polls for years before it was finally hit. Unrestricting Misstep and Chalice ignores how many players feel about these types of cards. I think it's actually better to unrestrict cards like Fastbond that spawn new archetypes and provide a different type of play experience, rather than slot into existing shells (examples, I think are Jar or even Channel).

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

Karakas is quite solid as a speed bump for Hogaak - they aren't Dredge so they can't always put cards in the yard quickly. Surgical is worse, but still fine. You have to be good with your timing as they can put in a Dryad Arbor in as the second creature and you can't respond.

Tabernacle is still alright to keep the threat base down and allow Swords to manage their remaining threats, but you need something like Needle to protect it or Wastelands of your own.

Good luck, Lupo. Let me know if you find something that works. I've been literally playing Vintage Maverick as a way to bring all those different pieces together.

posted in Vintage News read more

Taking PO down a peg has very little to do with where other decks are in the format.

It has much more to do with peoples' perceptions that PO is doing something too broken, too uninteractive.

It is a subjective view informed by play experience, not an objective view based on metagame share, win rate, or top 8's.

Elevating other decks doesn't change how interactive PO is. Your suggestion is really just going to tick off the people that have a different vision of the format than you by promoting more of the types of games they don't like.

Fwiw, I do not believe any card needs to be restricted right now in Vintage. If you feel you need to address something in PO, I would recommend PO itself - Opal has been seeing play in some fringe strategies like Welder/Painter/Emry/Urza that are new and fresh, but get crowded out by hate directed against PO. To be consistent from an interactivity perspective, you should also hit something in the various Bazaar decks like Hollow One as they are perhaps even more consistent at generating the type of uninteractive games that PO gets a bad reputation for. It boils down to this:

Me, Steve, and Brian:

  • Unban Lurrus,
  • Unrestrict Windfall,
  • Unrestrict Seal - (Not sure if Brian agrees on this, I don't remember for sure).

Steve:

  • Restrict Mox Opal

Brian:

  • Restrict PO
  • Restrict Hollow One

Somehow I'm the minimalist on restrictions...

I must stress that under no circumstances should Gush be unrestricted in Vintage (with or without Fastbond). Mystic Sanctuary has put the final nail in that coffin.

posted in Xerox read more

@vaughnbros Thank you for the suggestion. I wanted to go in hard on the Mystic Sanctuary loops, so I chose mostly spells for the SB. You game plan is to loop Ravenous Trap (which you can draw at instant speed with Gush), Surgical, Force of Vigor, etc. The Tabernacles aren't as effective as I wanted against Dredge and some of the HollowVine variants, so I'm actually thinking of something like Tangle and literally switching to a turbo fog strategy. It's kind of just a cool thing about this style of deck that might not be apparent.

The main thing is that you get a lot more value out of spells than permanents. Ouphe is fine and gives you more options - I had a singleton main in the first variant and you could definitely push more in that direction if you wanted. Your deck doesn't have much synergy with it in that you don't attack mana wastelands or attack life totals with more creatures.

posted in Xerox read more

@serracollector The interaction with Mystic Sanctuary is cool. My concern is that I don't have Moxen to take advantage of it and I run a lot of countermagic, many of it situational (showing my opponent a Flusterstorm, MBT, or Misdirection lets them play around it). I am also trying to make Pyroblast worse by avoiding more expensive Blue spells with Uro being an exception since it has Escape.

posted in Xerox read more

@brass-man You are able to play around one-shot graveyard hate because you have multiple Sanctuaries (You try to Sactuary back Time Walk, they try to exile it, you fetch another Sanctuary which you may or may not have put into play at Instant speed of a Growth Spiral...).

I don't have a huge sample size against Leyline of the Void effects but the Brazen Borrowers are an attempt to have a flexible maindeck answer. Other considerations are adding a MD Force of Vigor as a Mystical Tutor target. You actually end up hardcasting your Forces more than you would expect and looping Force of Vigor is a broken line against Shops that would help if Leyline is a concern.

My answer is "Probably about the same as Arcanist decks if not slightly better since your dead cards tend to be more useful than a 1/3".

posted in Xerox read more

@pilsburydohboy42

A good observation and perhaps I could have been more clear but Uro is actually the equivalent of Time Vault in this deck. You assemble, Gush + Time Walk + 2 Mystic Sanctuaries and the consistent extra land drop from Uro lets you take the rest of the turns in the game. Even without that, you can still take a 8+ turns with Daze, Growth Spiral, and Gush. If the opponent is representing removal, you don't have to run you cards out there. Just wait and build up your resources so when you decide to go for it, there is no way your threat dies. It's similar to Vault - Key. Could your Blightsteel get swords and your 1 of Jace Pyroblasted after you take a ton of turns? I guess, but I'm not going to add True-Name Nemesis to the deck for that purpose. It's just not an avenue I'm particularly worried about fighting.

As for the situational counters, I generally favor them as 1-ofs because you get value if your opponent plays around them while not getting blown out if they play around them while you have multiples in hand (never a good feeling to have 2 MBTs in hand and then they cast 2 spells each turn and slowly win that way).

Force of Vigor is not necessary as a turn 1 play in this deck. When it happens, great, but you have the 6 Blue Forces for that, so you get the ability to use your cantrips to find the second green card. Once you reach the late game, the goal is to start looping Force of Vigors with Gush like you would with Time Walk and hardcast it to destroy all of your opponents threats, 2 at a time. That's something Nature's Claim can't really do and why I didn't want to make a simple substitution. Might sound impractical and it's something I want to test more, but in the 2 matches I've played/seen, it's worked really well.

posted in Xerox read more

@protoaddict Rarely, if ever? I know I have few win cons so I play around creature removal and grave hate. For instance, you can protect Uro from instant speed graveyard removal by stacking the triggers so the sacrifice ability resolves last. You gain priority before your opponent and you get to Escape Uro. I used that against Brian Kelly's on-board Soul-Guide Lantern a month or two ago. Or I found Mindbreak Trap when I knew the opponent had Supreme Verdict to protect my Uro. The Brazen Borrowers are actually there in part to fight Leylines and Rest in Peaces as well as be win cons. Sometimes you have to work harder for wins but you get the advantage of having more interaction in combo matchups where cards like Tarmogoyf are less powerful.

As for JTMS and Oko, they tend to be hard to defend in these matchups since I lack creatures or removal spells to protect them. Oko is less powerful with only 2 Moxen to animate. Jace is not a very strong card in Vintage right now, the prevalence of Pyroblasts really makes paying 4 mana rough. You see him in a couple Big Blue style lists from time to time but largely decks have opted for cheaper alternatives. Uro getting Pyroblasted is not as big a deal because you will eventually just Escape him back and be up a card in the long run (or two if they didn't have a mana up).

posted in Xerox read more

Have put a couple of leagues into developing this, most recently picking up a trophy with the UG version here:

I have been experimenting with Mystic Sanctuary since its release, first by just throwing it into Arcanist shells that release weekend on MTGO (wasn't very hard to find on MTGO then), and later building around it more with the RUG Walker list that used Wrenn and Six. A key synergy is Gush and two Mystic Sanctuaries lets you recur the instant or sorcery of choice from your graveyard, whether Time Walk, Ancestral Recall, or something more boring. However, you are limited by the number of lands you can play in a turn.

Fast-forward a bit...In fooling around with Vintage Unleashed, I started with a Gush-Fastbond deck and was incredibly impressed how powerful that engine has become with the addition of Mystic Sanctuary. Sanctuary means you keep Gushing for as long as you have life points and you can recur whatever you want - you don't need to make use of the format's unrestricted Yawgmoth's Wills. I was winning with Hedron Crabs, Lurrus, and infinite Time Walks at that point but the shell is malleable. With the change in the companion rule, I was consider Uro - the life gain from Lurrus was helpful as it made up for the Fastbond life loss and allowed you to go infinite.

And that brings us to the current approach. Growth Spiral was being talked about as in the context of the Arena PTs as both something player's thought was busted (it's the internet and I have no opinion really on formats I don't collect data or play in) and were sick of since it's been in Standard for nearly two years and good the entire time along with Wilderness Reclamation (that one makes more sense to me...). And for better or worse, if cards are great in Standard, they are generally powerful enough to be fringe playable or better in Vintage. That's just the state of power creep in recent sets.

Growth Spiral fulfills the function of being able to play additional lands in the Sanctuary recursion engine (as does Uro for that matter). It does that while pitching to all three Forces in the deck, ramping up to 4 Islands, and cycling. As a card, I was very impressed by it. There are also fun things you can do like Daze back a Sanctuary, Growth Spiral it into play at instant speed to put a Mental Misstep or Misdirection on top of your library, then Gush into it or otherwise draw it at instant speed. The main
consideration though is these additional land drops mean you just get to take a bunch of consecutive turns and win the game.
I took 8-9 turns on stream last night during which my Landstill opponent killed my first Brazen Borrower, but I was able to find, play, and attack for lethal with the second Borrower. Both Uros had already been pathed.

By no means is this a finished product. There are other color combinations - I typical start minimalist to identify certain needs and then add colors that I think will help plug in the gaps. For instance, I started with a Bant version for Swords and Mentor, because I thought I would want Swords to deal with threats like Sprite Dragon and Mentor to win the game. After a 3-2 league, Mentor wasn't necessary since you take so many turns that you can literally attack with a 3/1 flier, and Swords was mostly clunkly in my hand without Dack Fayden to filter. I figured a bounce spell was enough to buy time against Sprite Dragon and Brazen Borrower could condense the slot while allowing me to cut White. I didn't get to play against Hatebears or Eldrazi, which would have presented more of a challenge for a deck without Swords.

Oh, and you need a bunch of lands to maximize your explore effects and the odds of having three Islands for Mystic Sanctuary. I cut Black Lotus to help find the slots, but I recognize that not everyone will be interested in this, regardless of the reasons behind it. Just keep in mind that deck design involves balancing competing elements so if you trim lands, that has an associated cost. I actually went from 20 lands to 21 after the first league because I thought it was too few.