whitedragon never did anything banworthy either, just slowly, consistently, annoys people away from the site
I cut Mentor.
I also have been running Thieving Skydiver as a value creature against Shops.
MBT is sometimes reasonable against Shops. You can trim some of the removal because Showdown means you don't have to care as much about Leovold, Tarmogoyf and other creatures that you would otherwise struggle against.
Just so TMD has a thread for this card in case people want to talk about it.
Again, my process for evaluation isn't necessarily labeling cards "playable" or "unplayable" or trying to break Vintage by whatever definition, but exploring the amount of interactions a card has access to within the confines of the Vintage format.
Showdown of the Skalds has a number of interesting interactions like turning your cheap value creatures into de facto Mentors, pumping Dreadhorde Arcanist up to cast essentially any instant or sorcery, or even giving Blightsteel Colossus the extra oomph it needs to crash through a wall of Eldrazi for lethal (if you watched @IamActuallyLvL1 's stream last night).
It does this while dodging relevant counterplay from the opponent like Flusterstorm, Pyroblast, Leovold, Hullbreacher, and Narset. The Sagas have been viewed as an attempt to "fix" planeswalkers by limiting the effect they can have, but Showdown has an Storm-like second mode that is much more broken in Vintage than in other formats. The front half is at a good rate and there are all sorts of interesting synergies with bounce like Teferi or Chain of Vapor (LSV featured that deck but I feel if you are not running creatures, you are not maximizing the potential of the card).
I have been brewing with this card more than anything else despite how excited I was for Lurrus's unbanning, because I found it so powerful and fun.
Thank you for trying Birgi out. The purpose of writing up posts like these is encourage people to give the new cards a shot and I'm happy you were both impressed by the card.
Surprisingly, I have won 9 out of 10 combo matchups (mix of Breach, PO, and Doomsday). I board out all but 1 Defense Grid (mainly as a tutor target) and board in the interaction. MBT is on the weaker side but it's not a dead hit with Citadel and will typically buy you a turn. Other versions I've seen have sacrificed the interaction for more Keys and Tops. There was also a Grixis Breach version with Birgi that made the top 8 of the ManaTraders series.
@botvinik There are numerous flex slots and @IamActuallyLvL1 and @notmi have been fooling around with different configurations. They have run multiple keys, but they are running more Tops and Monoliths. I have deemphasized that aspect of the build a bit to run more interaction.
@vaughnbros Jarvis played some games with it and added Wasteland Strangler to the SB (cutting Karn and Lattice). I don't think he was serious.
@botvinik You are pretty explosive and you have Mishra's Workshop to power things out through Spheres. In addition, Birgi is pretty strong against Thorn (and I was able to respond to my opponent copying their Sphere with Mimic Mirror by casting Ancestral then having the mana float into my main phase). Other games were won with Tinker - Robot.
Just curious on that choice. You have a full 5 color base, but only 3 colors in the deck. What would you cut for Balance in the 75?
The deck is 4 colors. Balance is in the SB and is a common Wish target.
Because the format is pretty aggressive with hatebears, ravager shops, and dredge with creeping chills/hollow ones, and your life total is a significant resource. I found maxing out on painlands put more pressure on your life total and that you rarely lost your gemstone mines (unless you intentionally tanked them to set up a balance).