4. New Printings. This is the solution to stagnant formats that no one seems to talk about much when the subject comes up. Just like yesterday's mistakes are tomorrow's Vintage decks, today's bugbears are tomorrow's unplayable garbage. We have already seen Wizards take a step in the direction of making very versatile and powerful answers to Mentor in the form of Leovold. What if we get Dread of Night stapled to a hate bear that does something else relevant? What if we had some card that finally, FINALLY ended the reign of Horizontal Growth once and for all -- say, something that made the opponent's spells cost more for each token they controlled, or something like that?
While I totally agree with preferring new printings to restriction, I think it'd be pretty tough for Wizards to "target" new printings at solving the problems of any format, other than Standard. I think it happens on accident when a new card does warp or add something to a non-rotating format because WotC either doesn't think a certain mechanic will end up making the cut in eternal, or they just don't consider the entirety of Magic when they innovate cards (to many a brewer's delight). I personally think it would suck to have a card like what you describe printed, Wizards would be addressing the problem with a "play it or beat it" mindset, which would make me super uncomfortable as a Vintage player, not to mention it's far less expensive from their perspective to restrict a card than to print a new card.
Good new printings usually emerge as cards that end up propping up various other archetypes that as a side effect, hurt the big bad deck. Not saying that Shops is hurting right now (quite the opposite), but if Mentor is the target of our discussion then cards like Fleetwheel Cruiser or Walking Ballista are "good new printings" because they help boost the competition. (I personally like it best when WotC makes a mistake and prints a 2-card combo with some obscure Tempest card I haven't seen in a deck since 1997, but that's rare ) Thinking in those terms it would be very difficult to see an "accidental" new printing resolving the Mentor issue, the "other" deck has 3-5 new cards in the past year to combat Mentor and boost its own strategies, but Mentor remains a problem.
Since this discussion has gone into minutiae, this isn't really necessary, but I felt like I should bleep in.
I've been saying this for a bit... Gush wasn't completely busted until we started using a 3CMC "gro-wide" creature as a 4 of. Gush in any other creature-based shell was reasonable, and I can't believe I'm saying this because Pyromancer Gush was/is very annoying and boring to play against, but I'd rather deal with U/B/R Delver with a healthy dose of Elemental tokens flashing back Cabal Therapies than deal with any deck that uses Mentor. Mentor is oppressive, uninteresting, and unfun; taking out tokens is key to surviving the fight of both Pyro and Mentor, but Monk tokens are far more resilient and oppressive than Elemental tokens, and they are generated and pumped by enchantments and artifacts... A much different beast altogether.
Point being that if you don't like Gush decks mentally ruling the metagame, restricting the card that profits off of it the most is probably a good way to go.
Some questions I think need to be asked, and I rhetorically answer them because, why not.
If Gush were the real issue, wouldn't (at least) one other Gush-based deck be a runner-up in the meta, and be an obvious successor to Mentor, should Monastery Mentor be restricted?
Considering the other two Gush decks are at 3% and 4% of the meta (Pyro Delver and Nahiri respectively), they both don't add up to half of the numbers Gush Mentor has in the meta (23% of decks as of 4/10/17), even adding the 1% from Gush/Bond. I assume the percentage of Pyro Delver would go up should Monastery Mentor be restricted, but whether or not it is good enough against new Shops variants, Eldrazi, newer Oath variants, etc, is to be seen. I personally don't think Pyromancer is nearly as good, in any way, as Monastery Mentor, and I don't think any variant of Pyromancer would emerge as the "#1 deck" should MM be restricted. And, to be quite frank, if Gush WAS the problem, wouldn't Gush/Bond really be the way to maximize and break the format, considering everyone's talking about "free spells and mana ramp" as reasons to axe Gush? Curious that Gush/bond is sitting at 1.4% of the format... Other factors certainly bear on that number, still is a bit illustrative that many of us are looking in the wrong place.
Are we certain that restricting Gush would have any effect on the metagame other than nearly wiping out that 7-8% of non-mentor Gush decks? Are we sure that Mentor wouldn't still be in top 8s by making the least effort possible to update to a world with 1 Gush?
I don't think so. Restricting Gush "hurts" Mentor like a bee-sting.
It's funny when folks mention the banning of Splinter Twin in Modern as an example of how to hit Gush... (I swear it's somewhere in the morass above)
Mentor IS Splinter Twin and Gush is Pestermite in this analogy. Splinter Twin has an analogous card that is strictly worse in Kiki Jiki (in the case of Mentor is Young Pyromancer), Twin abuses the functionally identical Pestermite and Exarch (in the case of Gush is literally any other draw spell or free artifact spell) to go broken. Imagine the DCI banning Exarch or Pestermite in order to solve the problem of Twin decks. This is essentially what would happen if the DCI restricted Gush to hit Mentor decks. I acknowledge that this is an imperfect analogy since Gush is better than Preordain to a much bigger degree than Pestermite is better than Exarch, but that is beside the point; the big baddy is Mentor.
Will restricting Gush be enough?
It would take quite a lot of restrictions in order to curb Mentor effectively, we're talking Probe, Gush, Misstep, Preordain, and maybe the next-worst cantrip as well. Eliminating 4-ofs of a single card in a Mentor list would be ineffectual at curbing Mentor unless it's Mentor. "Mentor-the-card" is the problem, its effect has been to amplify nearly every card being called for restriction in this thread and elsewhere.
I would think the goal of any restriction is to not restrict more cards, correct? Be as effective as possible in dealing with imbalances without 8-card restrictions and format micro-management? Seeing as Mentor will get along just fine without Gush and will likely need a second restriction to affect its position, not to mention the side-effect of killing gush/bond decks which are enjoyable to watch (from my perspective) and fun to play against, restricting Monastery Mentor is the most effective way to get the desired effect.
I don't want to seem combative, but it's been irritating seeing people value having the card Mentor in the format more than the card Gush. Gush has been around for such a long time, it has a history in the format for good or ill, and it's powerful but by god are we a far cry from calling Gush/Bond more "broken" than Mentor. Gush is difficult to play and is interesting, Mentor is extremely easy to play and is uninteresting.
Gush needs to be correctly analyzed regarding its power level once Mentor (which profits off far more cards than just Gush) is off the table.
As a hatebears player, I can honestly say that Wizards made a huge design flub and continues to make it by printing good, low-cost, hateful creatures in white. Someone earlier said "the deck builds itself", and to be honest, it kind of does. There is very little incentive to splash any other color which makes the decision of what to do with your manabase much easier. Yeah, you could splash green for Teeg, but you could also just cast something else in white that essentially has the same effect on the game.
I have always loved playing prison decks, and would happily play one where each of these 2/2s was replaced by an Enchantment. Because 2/2s die. A lot.
Nobody can really be that put off by hatebears, more than half of the good bears are Enchantments or Artifacts and get hosed by Disenchant or any other non-creature removal (Aegis of the Gods, Revoker, Eidolon of Rhetoric, Ethersworn Canonist), along with any other enchantments or artifacts. They're creatures, which means every Plow you could possibly draw has a target. They're usually only 2-1 toughness so a bolt or any direct damage spell/effect can change the game. There's an enchantment in Magic that costs B that kills Thalia v1, Aegis of the Gods, Dryad Militant, Judge's Familiar, Kataki, Aven Mindcensor, Glowrider, and Vryn Wingmare, there's a creature in red that does the same. If you manage to kill a bear (not hard to do) you're essentially getting rid of a "rule" that has been imposed on the game, and can use that opportunity to go off, kill stuff, draw cards, whatever, it happens in about 1/2 of the games I lose to Gush decks. Jace (who is in a billion Vintage decks) lets you pick and choose which effect you can 'turn off' during your turn by bouncing any creature you so desire, giving you a huge tempo advantage (making us play the card again) and giving you another opportunity to counter a hateful bear. If you get rid of a bear you're not only getting rid of a 2/2 body, you're getting rid of, most likely, the only thing keeping the hatebear player alive, which is a pretty big deal.
Honestly, I can't see people being that miffed about hatebears. We're not putting up very good results as far as I can tell. We have to get creatures through the stack which rarely happens unless Cavern happens to be set to the right creature type (not talking Humans builds which I wouldn't consider to be Hatebears) i.e. FoW, Mana Drain, Misstep and so on can keep the battlefield completely clear; we have to keep those creatures in play which is difficult considering nearly every/any kind of removal can destroy our strategy; and there are multiple cards that can be DT'd for that literally wipe out half the deck.
(One of the problems I have seen is that Vintage players generally are using their life total as a resource, which I think is absolutely a good plan, definitely, but if on turn 2 or 3 you've managed to crack two fetches, have taken 3 damage from a Mana Crypt, have FoW'd a bear, and cast Snuff Out, and the rest of the time you drew cards, you're down 10 points. A single, unobstructed 2/2 then becomes a problem... I'm actually really intrigued that the best answer to a deck that wants your life total to be zero is a card that costs 4 life to cast.)
I guess the point is that Hatebears is hardly the Prisoniest deck out there, we don't have a land that taps for three to cast a Tangle Wire on turns 1-4 while pricing you out of one drops with Thorn and Spheres and attacking for 6-10. Hatebears is not the Creaturiest creature deck, we don't have a self-replicating, pumping 2/2 for 3 mana or the "plain version" for 2 mana. Hatebears' most broken play is a Turn 1 Thalia (pick a version) which can be countered, killed, or hated out with Dread of Night, a 1 drop 1-of card in a sideboard of a deck full of tutors and draw spells. We don't even run counterspells. Yall literally have to do nothing with your blue decks and you're at the very least 50/50 against Bears. Push it over the edge by including one of several options which you most likely already have included in the sideboard for Mentor.
I've met a lot of you online and played yas on MTGO. You all have massive game and probably killed me handily unless you run Storm, Dredge, Belcher, or Tezz. I don't have the best hatebears deck, but honestly I don't think much would change if the list was optimal. I think this is a giant to-do over nothing. Wizards is overusing using low-cost, low p/t, white, rule changing creatures as a design space, I will certainly agree with that, but I ultimately agree with the OP, I would so much rather have decent printings resolve format imbalances than restrictions. Fun? In a format that still contains Mishra's Workshop and Tangle Wire, talking about relative "fun" as it comes to playing against Hatebears seems a little ridiculous from my perspective. I am having fun playing vintage, which, without hatebears, I probably wouldn't have dove in.
New printings always get my creative (terrible) juices flowing though, and green hasn't had a playable printing in quite some time. Doesn't mean this one makes the cut, however it does get me thinking... ETB tricks? Green creature-based combo?
Shusher existing and unplayed is a good point.
@Dumpsterac1d I assume you are referring to me and Steve? Except that I've already stated multiple times that either a Mentor, or a Gush restriction would be fine with me.
Honestly, as a Dredge player I would much prefer Mentor to go. People playing W is a much more difficult thing for me to beat, and having my opponent durdle around with Gush is much easier to win against than a Mentor killing me on turn 2. But that wouldn't be objective. Objectively, either is a fine restriction.
Steve's argument has been that if a restriction should occur, it should be Mentor and not Gush. I'm arguing that there shouldn't be a distinction. Either card could satisfy reducing the power level of Mentor Gush.
Gush has mostly homogenized draw engines similar to how Mentor has mostly homogenized win cons. Both seem problematic in terms of diversity to me.
Not specifically talking about you both, I'm referring to everyone who says "Gush Decks" are the problem, and that Gush is the problem and needs restriction. i.e. Rich says on stream regularly (and more frequently as of late) that "Gush is the only way to beat Gush", like he's playing Pyromancer to beat Mentor or something ridiculous. The distinction needs to be made between Gush Mentor and every other Gush deck because it's useless to lump them together unless your main goal is to get Gush restricted.
In a perfect world I'm for the Brian Kelly approach (get rid of all of them) but that is based on the type of Magic I want to play. If the target is to hit Gush Mentor, it's a missed opportunity if you just hit Gush, simply because the deck works fine without Gush, it doesn't need Gush, and will probably reformulate it with Moxen and an alternative draw engine and be similarly oppressive, or find a way to abuse another "formerly restricted" draw engine that will also come to be oppressive and people will want re-restricted (jeez, Gush would be re-re-restricted).
Prioritizing the existence of Mentor the card vs Gush the card in vintage is the problem because Mentor amplifies minor problems in Vintage that become major problems and need dealing with.
edit: People will probably argue that Gush does a similar thing, but when in the past 10 years of Gush's unrestriction have people legitimately been calling for 5 cards to be restricted from Gush-based decks at once? The targets of restriction are erratic in ambivalence and target; Probe, Gush, Misstep, Preordain, Mentor, Outcome are all being discussed. The thing linking all of these to this specific moment in time is the card Monastery Mentor.
The irritating thing that I had brought up last mega-thread that's rearing its ugly head right now is a difference in definitions.
"Gush decks" were the problem, always and forever, the baddy in the room that needed to be taken down, a HUGE chunk of the metagame, according to many people. The error with analyzing the meta that way, as defined by a single card within a set of decks, is the notion that once that card goes away, the "problem" goes away, and that clearly did not happen. Many people saw "the Mentor deck" as the problem, and only now that we don't have this classification of "Gush Decks" to point the finger at, we're resurrecting the older, more accurate designation the problem decks should have had all along, which is Turbo Xerox.
I just find this very irritating, I never understood why "Gush decks" were lumped together, any analysis from that lack of distinction other than "x percentages of decks would like to draw cards at some point during the match so I need to prepare for that" are tending to be inaccurate. Dominance, prevalence, longevity, percent in top8s and top16s, etc. In April, nobody was referring to the Pyromancer decks when they were discussing restriction, nobody was referring to GushBond, they were referring to Gush Mentor. Gush was a part of TX strategy and might have been a defining card within a good portion of those decks, but the problem with the "Gush Mentor" deck was that Mentor was generating win conditions while the deck was doing it's thing. It was enough of a degree better than the next best, -1CMC card that it replaced almost completely. Now it lives on in the most effortless transformation in a 1-of-Gush world.
I don't think Gush was ever the problem, going out on a limb here, I can see why people would be irritated by it (especially if they had the "Gush decks" are all X and they are all problematic viewpoint), but because the DCI hit Gush/Probe and not Mentor/Misstep, we are now discussing bans in Vintage. For those who are saying a 1-of Mentor deck will still make top 8s... Yes, it will. There is no doubt in my mind, even if that deck just replaces the other three with Pyromancer. Mentor restrict will still have a greater effect on the deck's performance than Gush restrict has had, and I would much rather play in a format where the Mentor/Pyro/Tutor deck is making top 8s, instead of now where I've stopped playing Vintage because it's uninteresting.
Rich's comments come 4 months too late. If this was the recommendation given then (which it was by the majority of players) and taken by the DCI, we would have had a healthier format over the past few months and have been able to assess whether or not "pushing other blue decks out of the format" is a reason to restrict Gush, without Mentor dominance. I don't really mourn Gush so much as I just wish the DCI had listened to more people and had made the more correct choice, I'd still be playing Vintage.
As someone who needs bulk vintage chaff, I'll be trying to get a few (5-6) packs of these close to MSRP (if possible). If the list is decent and contains even 1/3 Vintage playables I'm all over it, simply because it helps negate the hassle of robo-buying from TCG player or going through bins of Weatherlight and Urza's Legacy at my picked-dry LGSs to get 10-50c cards. I don't really care if I pull a Wasteland or a Force (or any printable mythics) because I assume I'd have to buy them anyway eventually and I'd rather have a beat-up Alliances FoW playset than a new- new-border playset, but I am pretty excited about being able to crack a pack and getting relevant cards, as opposed to how it is now, where I never crack packs because I'm not interested in Standard. It will be interesting to see how they crafted this set to give us enough while possibly getting us stoked for a new EMA in a couple years.
If I were Wizards, I would have announced a year ago that they were going to tank the price of FoW and Wasteland and then reprinted them both as uncommons. I'm sick of non-RL cards that cost that much...
In a different tab I am currently writing a "developing", strictly non-primer, about my experiences with a specific deck I've been toying with and getting feedback, with the intention to update it once I have more information. More exhaustive than "Here's a decklist what should I do to make it better", but less exhaustive than "here's all the white weenie decks that ever existed, let's talk about White Knight". Eventually, maybe it'll become a "primer" with divergent strategies/decks incorporated into it, but I honestly just want to write something about Vintage in a constructive way and contribute content to TMD. If it ends up meeting some people's expectations? That's awesome. If it falls short? Hey, at least I tried. I suggest some folks on the fence about writing because of lack of completeness to go about it in the same way, because, at the very least, you're contributing to the site and to vintage discussion.
Recruiter of the Guard
Creature - Human Soldier
When Recruiter of the Guard enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a creature card with toughness 2 or less, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.
Before a cause can have supporters, it has to have a voice.
Imperial Recruiter in White. Oh hell yeah. I'm ready.
7. 'Current' Metagame Analysis (Last Updated August 1, 2016)
The Sad News. Due to the matchup against Mentor, I don't think this deck, or other Monowhite Hatebears, has a real fighting chance in the current meta. In the past week I have been tweaking the deck to shore this matchup up, but around 1/2 of the matches I played against were Mentor, and of those I won maybe 1/10. According to TCDecks.net, as of 8/1/16, Mentor is the top performing archetype in paper Magic with 8 top 8s in the last 30 days. I checked out the last 30 events that included Mentor, and 27/30 decks made it to the top 8. According to MtgGoldfish.com, as of 8/1, roughly 21% of the MTGO metagame currently runs Monastery Mentor. This is Mentor's moment, and short of a new printing or new bannings in the format, it looks to be there for quite some time.
I have tried several budget configurations to help shore this matchup up but all have been varying degrees of unsuccessful. Mentor's ability to stop our plays, while simultaneously adding significant power/toughness on the board with every Counterspell and Swords to Plowshares is far too powerful for a monowhite deck to handle. Nearly every other matchup is either a toss-up, really good for us, or good enough that, under the right circumstances and making decent plays, we can overcome. An example would be decks that run Pyromancer. Pyromancer comes out a turn earlier but the assault generally gets halted/delayed by dropping one 2/2 on your side, and trying to keep pace with a Pyro deck is much easier. They are also less likely to run maindeck Swords to Plowshares.
Our deck is also tied to Mentor's success/failure. Oddly enough, even though the strategies are very different between the decks, any likely new printings that could help our deck also have the potential to help their deck. Mentor's dominance right now also means that decks run a lot of hate specifically against Mentor, some of which directly affects our game plan, like boarding in Dread of Night and Sulfur Elemental, which can outright kill Thalia 1.0, Spirit of the Labyrinth, Dryad Militant/Judge's Familiar, and Vryn Wingmare, and put us off those plays until they're dealt with.
Until something drastic happens to the Vintage metagame (and I think that the meta is currently pretty stable, with Mentor at the top), be prepared to lose some rough/unfun matches, or switch to a new deck. I'll keep working on this deck with the full knowledge that nothing's going to get better or worse until something gets banned or someone figures out how to nuke the strategy well enough that Mentor becomes a bad deck to play.
8. How to Defeat this deck
Fetching basics is a misplay. Don't do it. I have seen many players somehow equate Ghost Quarter with Wasteland and if I managed to GQ one of their lands and they get a Basic, I'm just doing it to keep them off of a color. With all your basics in play, my Path to Exiles become drawback-less Plows and my Ghost Quarters become Strip Mines. Keep them in your deck so you don't fall behind, and you might actually get ahead curve.
Learn to effectively play with an Ethersworn Canonist/Eidolon of Rhetoric on the battlefield. It gets scarier when Grand Abolisher is out, too. Eidolon, if you're playing Mentor especially, is a rough card. On it's own, it can limit the amount of tokens generated by each Mentor to one-per-turn. You also run a lot of creature removal which becomes dicey. If there's an Eidolon and you need to get rid of it, do yourself a favor and wait to cast the Swords to Plowshares, Lightning Bolt, etc until I have put a play on the stack. Responding to anything with a removal spell is 100% the way to do it, and I can't count the number of times a Mentor player will try and kill something during their turn using a Plow, and I have a Mental Misstep, and you can't respond to the misstep with your own. This interaction is weird, but it gets even weirder with a Grand Abolisher in play, essentially in two turns (mine and yours) you will only be able to use 1 spell. My suggestion is to counter Grand Abolisher if you can, or get rid of it as soon as possible.
Sideboard in any hate you might have against Mentor. Sometimes this doesn’t work, but Sulfur Elemental is pretty harsh to an opponent’s unpowered white weenie deck.
Removal is definitely key. If you are a deck that is light on removal and consistently dies to Hatebears decks, add cheap removal to your SB. If you’re playing Storm, you definitely need to think of spells like this as part of your Storm combo. If you’re not playing storm, are playing red, hate Null Rod, consider adding Ingot Chewer. Much of the protection this deck relies on is Misstep, which doesn’t work against Chewer.
Play planeswalkers. Yup. Until they print a Swords to Plowshares for planeswalkers in white, they will always be rough. Their abilities get around Thalia, they aren’t affected by Null Rod/Stony Silence, and they allow you to have a play every turn in an otherwise locked-down game.
Use Jace’s bounce ability. This is extremely annoying, especially since the deck is generally a 1-play-per-turn deck. Expect to have Jace absorb a few attacks after that.
If you’re playing a deck that scoops to Null Rod/Stony Silence, contemplate adding Surgical Extraction to the SB, especially if the metagame favors Null Rod decks (which I believe it currently does).
Be careful with fetchland openers. Or at the very least, play and crack them ASAP. Arbiter can shut off fetches and hurt your manabase as a result. You can get away with being on the play and depending on 2 fetches. After turn 2 there is a high likelihood an opponent will have Arbiter or will draw Arbiter and be able to play it. You can also trick them into thinking Arbiter is a great play if you use fetches, saving you a Thalia or Spirit of the Labyrinth turn.
Use Force of Will judiciously. This is a given, but it really matters here, especially if your only counters are Forces. Someone who knows the deck well can put me off the most hateful bears using Force of Will, someone who Forces a scary-looking creature might be surprised by what comes next. If your deck has a lot of counterspells, it’s a good idea to save one in your hand for Grand Abolisher, which will blank all of your counterspells until it’s dealt with.
Prepare to deal with Path to Exile and Swords to Plowshares. If you’re running Misstep and have creature-based wincons, hold Misstep for the eventual removal spell.
If you’re playing Storm, go off on turn 1 or 2.
If you're playing a Mentor deck, don't worry, you got this.
If you’re playing on MTGO, shut off Arbiter BEFORE you try to fetch or search. The interface won’t prompt you to pay and you will throw away a land/tutor.
Cards that get around Spirit of the Labyrinth:
Dig Through Time
Any card that says “put X into your hand” instead of “draw”
More to come here too.
9. Things to try
Non-Budget cards (Kataki, War’s Wage, Wasteland) - these are both obviously good in this deck.
Thalia 2.0 - Can’t wait to test her.
Trinisphere, Chalice of the Void - With an Enlightened Tutor list, I think these would be fun cards to test.
10. Things I've Tried
Black Vise This card is good, but the slots are better given to something else. In a list that relies heavily on Enlightened Tutor and gets rid of Arbiter, I think it's a worthwhile card to have in the SB if there's room. I've had it win games, but also it's been dead. One thing that's good is you can redirect the damage to Planeswalkers if they play any, and I think this card is very good against Jace.
Magus of the Moat Never comes down. The SB slot is better given to something else.
11. Why U No?
Doesn’t combo with Leonin Arbiter. Equipment gets switched off by Null Rod/Stony Silence. Drawing Batterskull is terrible, and this deck needs great topdecks and as few dead draws as possible, least of all ones that are self-imposed and built into the main deck. Also, Batterskull is about 30 bucks online, Jitte is 30 bucks in paper.
Cavern of Souls
Doesn’t easily fit into the ‘budget’ category. Also this deck has too many different creature types for Cavern to be useful. There’s no need to fix mana, since the deck is monocolor. It’s almost more important to get safe land drops instead of ensuring our plays don’t get countered, and Cavern is vulnerable to Wasteland.
Gives an opponent something to do with Wasteland, which is pretty bad. Haven’t found a good reason to include it, maybe if a build had Kataki there would be more to do with the bounce effect, but I’ve found that a basic Plains is just better.
Thorn of Amethyst
The thing about Thorns on legs is that the cost doesn’t go up for successive Thorn effects. The number of times I’ve had to hold a really effective Null Rod play in my hand because Thalia/Wingmare have priced it out of reach are enough to come to the conclusion that more Thorns aren’t the way to go.
12. Sample Maindecks
“Bears”, 1 CMC:
2x Mother of Runes
2x Dryad Militant
2x Judge’s Familiar
“Bears” 2-3 CMC:
2x Grand Abolisher
3x Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
3x Leonin Arbiter
3x Vryn Wingmare
3x Ethersworn Canonist
3x Spirit of the Labyrinth
3x Phyrexian Revoker
4x Leonin Relic-Warder
3x Null Rod
4x Mental Misstep
4x Path to Exile
1x Strip Mine
4x Ghost Quarter
This list has no mana acceleration and does a pretty good job at giving you amazing topdecks. Synergy is near 100%, since there's no artifacts switched off by Null Rod. This list also has no Enlightened Tutors, which has two effects... One is that Leonin Arbiter becomes extremely good, and two is that good cards need to be 4-ofs since there's no way to fish them out and they must be drawn off the top. Not necessarily a great list, but it is very very consistent and very easy to play.
2x Mother of Runes
2x Dryad Militant
2x Ethersworn Canonist
2x Spirit of the Labyrinth
3x Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
2x Grand Abolisher
4x Leonin Relic Warder
2x Phyrexian Revoker
2x Eidolon of Rhetoric
3x Vryn Wingmare
4x Null Rod/Stony Silence
1x Ghostly Prison
2x Enlightened Tutor
4x Mental Misstep
2x Path to Exile
1x Swords to Plowshares
3x Simian Spirit Guide
1x Lotus Petal
1x Strip Mine
4x Ghost Quarter
This list allows for a little bit more flexibility. With the Enlightened Tutors searching for things, this deck can make use of 1-ofs to a much greater effect and essentially diversify the deck without sacrificing a whole lot. One tradeoff is that Leonin Arbiter had to go, it became a liability in regard to Enlightened Tutor, and eliminating it made Ghost Quarter and Path to Exile much less good. This deck needs 4 Wastelands, which unfortunately aren't budget.
13. Upgrade Sequence
This deck is designed as a budget deck, but some readers might already have a few Vintage cards, or might want to work on acquiring more, or simply want to make the deck better. Here's some steps you can make to improve the deck:
Replace any Null Rods with Stony Silence. Null Rods have a tendency to get removed quickly, and Stony Silence is just better because less Vintage-played cards deal with it. This is an immediate upgrade if you went the Null Rod route.
Add Grafdigger's Cage, or even better, Containment Priest to the SB Both of these cards are extremely good against Dredge and Oath. One thing you need to decide, really is if you're playing this deck to help you get into Vintage, or if you're a big fan of Hatebears, Humans, or White Eldrazi. Priest is far better in these decks than Cage, but Cage is a better purchase because it easily goes into decks that don't run white.
Add Wastelands. Wasteland plays directly into the mana-denial strategy, and has many good targets in Vintage. If you have a full playset, I'd consider cutting two basics and two Ghost Quarters to make room for two more land destruction effects in the mainboard. If you feel like the deck could use all 4 Ghost Quarters, all 4 Wastelands and a Strip Mine, I'd recommend cutting a maximum of 3 Plains to make room, and one other underperforming card, which will usually be a metagame call.
More to come!
14. Thanks for reading!
Hopefully this will be updated once I get feedback and test a few more options. I repeat myself in several different sections, but I’m going to leave some of that in because it helps people find the info they need more quickly. I will say that my win rate has gone up with my current build, and that I’m confident that there’s enough in this deck to effectively deal with much of the current Vintage metagame, and there is enough room to improve on the basic shell and craft a sideboard that makes the deck better.
Wow... Cards like this make me want to bust into Standard for this set... Wizards doing us a huge favor here.
I perhaps smell a future restrict? If you manage to pay for this with moxes and a Crypt, it's a free draw 3 or 4? It also has a similar "Gush" type mechanic, you can easily tap additional ramp stuff, return it, play it, tap it again...
Yeah, this is broke.