@brass-man Of course, that has to be a consideration. 3/3s are relevant creatures against a puny white deck, and the Aggro Humans deck looks to be super difficult for my deck to deal with, as an example.
The good news is that Shops plays artifacts, and there's a lot of tech already out there that hates on artifacts as well as cards that are maindeckable that also tax a good portion of the field.
I don't for a second think that Shops is the only way to cast taxing cards, counting on Shops as the way to cast that type of card is pretty limiting at this point, imo. There are so many more options.
I'm not even quite sure where you're imagining this is going... Are you telling me to play Workshop in a white/x Humans deck for a marginally useful card, or are you talking about Bridge being useful in the only deck that runs Workshop?
If you play brige off a full hand and somehow you have Workshop in that deck, and your follow up is a card not relevant to Shops you're worse off than if you just waited a turn and dropped Moat because you still have 5 cards in your hand. Or 4 or even 3 cards, they have an attacker they can swing in with. Even at 2 cards in hand they can swing with Revoker or a 2/2 Ballista.
I'd like to begin talking about 3-drops as "one mana source cards" since they can be cast off Lotus. What are we even talking about?
Doesn’t Moat cost 4 mana sources while Bridge only costs 1?
Assuming that effect is essential to the strategy, which I think it is given the speed of Aggro shops.
By definition, a Prison deck has to stop the opponent from being able to win. In this meta that’s stopping Delver, Pyromancer, Ravager, Overseer, Zombie tokens... you have to stop attacks before you can do anything
I'm sorry, but Bridge sucks...
Bridge doesn't cost 1 mana source, it costs 3 colorless. If I drop that as early as I can, say, turn 1 off of a Lotus or a land + crypt, my hand is at best, 4 cards large if I kept a 7. I'm not sure what other people are doing to dump their hands on turn 2 without reliably drawing more cards or replacing them, but my deck usually doesn't get to 1 card in hand until turn 4-ish. Which wouldn't stop Pyromancer tokens. Bridge seems terrible for "speed" unless you're fighting Oath or a deck full of Blightsteel Colossi. Personally? an effective Bridge shuts off my deck.
If we're talking the best cards that tax as many decks as possible, it seems difficult to find something better than Moat, or the mini-moat "I tax your attacks" effect that Propaganda, Ghostly Prison, Windborn Muse, Archangel of Tithes-ish cards have, in addition to Null Rod/Stony Silence, and possibly Suppression Field. Taxing attacks affects BUG, Pyro Delver, Shops, Dredge, and if P.O. decides to grab Mentor. Null Rod/Stony hits every deck except Dredge in some way and is great against P.O., Shops, and Vault/Key. Suppression Field has probably the widest application of all of these because it hits fetches, wastelands, man-lands, planeswalkers, Deathrite Shamans, Ballistas, etc etc.
@Griselbrother how is 3 mana prohibitive! I'm confused. Are people saying that any deck other than Shops has an impossible time generating enough mana to play 3-drops on turn 1 or 2? I think in the past week I've had 2 people drop Jace on turn 1 against me while I was holding a t1 3-drop. If you drop a Prison t1 or even t2 against Shops, They'll most likely have to make a decision of whether to attack or cast spells which can buy you time, and they can't pay for Prison with Shop mana. It's not the greatest thing in the world, but in combination with Null Rod, Suppression Field, targeted removal, etc, it can do work.
I think the problem is that people want a "Golden Gun" against any deck, like they want to bring in one card from the SB without thinking too hard and just draw it and then their opponent scoops. I can think of several combinations of the cards mentioned that, together, could incapacitate a Shops deck, and many others. Since they're incapable of running crippling taxing effects now and have basically stopped putting things like Tangle Wire into the deck, having 2 or even 3 cards that are really good against shops (but not golden gun good) is perfectly reasonable. I don't think they'll print this for us:
Magus of "I Kill Shops Decks"
Flash, Haste, Hexproof.
T: Destroy all artifacts your opponents control.
so... We might as well just pick things that have the broadest applications in Vintage and use a few of them. Personally, I have 3 Kataki, 3 Stony, 2 Muse, 3 Relic Warder and more, and I'm trying Suppression Field in the SB, but I'm not personally sure it fits into my deck yet. One thing I am quite sure about is that Ensnaring Bridge isn't going to work unless the deck is built around it, and with JUST Bridge and your hand at zero cards, I'm not even sure it would be effective when Ballista is a card.
Question for everyone;
Are Taxing decks still in the realm of Shops variants, or are there enough cards elsewhere to get something reliably constructed and winning? I'm focusing on Humans, but I've heard mention of Eldrazi as well - what would that look like?
This is a valid point. Perhaps because I think about taxing decks more in terms of different tribes, notably humans, I never thought about using fetch lands in such decks. And with the recent printing of Unclaimed Territory, I just can't help sticking to my guns. With 4x Caverns of Souls and 4x Unclaimed Territory perhaps it is possible to have a more stable five-color humans without fetch lands. Have you thought about this approach?
Unclaimed Territory is pretty cool, but my main reason for using Cavern isn't really fixing it's more ensuring that key cards actually hit the table. The fixing is coming from duals and fetches, and while UT would solve the fixing issue, I have 5 or so basics in the list which I'd love to be able to dig out against Shops, BUG, and Standstill variants.
With printing of Walking Ballista it is harder to protect life points from creatures, but perhaps Propaganda or Ghostly Prison are still good options (at least for sideboard). Have you tried either of them?
I wrote a detailed (now way outdated and abandoned) primer here about a list I had been developing last year that includes most of the things you're mentioning: http://www.themanadrain.com/topic/482/developing-budget-vintage-unpowered-white-hatebears/
And I wouldn't expect Wizards to print Magus of the Rod after they introduced an artifact themed block.
I honestly wouldn't put it past them, they've printed two Null Rods and keep replicating or slightly transforming cards that have relevant abilities. I think the problem with Null Rod Man in KLD is that it would have been a hoser for most decks in the format, it would have put a halt to all the trouble they put into developing the cards, and if they DID print it in an artifact-heavy set, it would have had to have been overcosted to adjust it ahead a few turns (think a 3/3 for 4CMC that's also a Null Rod, a.k.a unplayable anywhere but standard).
I like that the Muse is a 2/3 flying Propaganda. I don't like that she costs four mana and is a spirit. I thought about Peacekeeper
Peacekeeper seems good, especially that you can basically just stop paying at any point if you get ahead on board. I was initially thinking about Silent Arbiter, but I am trying out High Priest of Penance. Should act as a micro one-sided Moat anti-sweeper card of sorts.
@topical_island this has been my experience 100%. Even when it doesn't hit anything, the peek is extremely valuable. I also prefer this at 1/2 instead of 2/1 since it can take a hit from some minor sweepers and stay in play.
As an example of how this can win games, I dropped this g1 t1 in the blind, took a Paradoxical Outcome, and my opponent never recovered. Also noticed the coast was clear (no FOW) so next turn I didn't feel awkward throwing out Glowrider, and that was game.
Again, I think it's marginal-to-ineffective against shops and non-delver aggro decks and about 70% of the time I'd rather play something else in my hand, but it is definitely earning its spot. I encourage other people to test it if they're doing Humans.
@chronatog I have played all of those, and they are indeed very, VERY good cards, the main issue is that Suppression Field hits my fetches, it gets harder and harder to cast with all the Thorns (9 right now in my build), and it hits Ghost Quarter, Wasteland, Strip, Mother of Runes, etc. The other two are great as well, but unless they come down before a Thorn, it's pretty difficult to cast them. Shops has a 3-mana land that helps them avoid actually paying for taxing effects, and the best a Human deck with 9 Thorns can do is just stick with creatures as much as possible.
Same goes for spot removal in Instant form (Swords, Disenchant, etc). I really need to find those effects on legs in order for it to be included (which sucks, but there are options). If they ever print a Null Rod on legs, it's all over.
My SB plan against Dredge is Yixlid Jailer and a couple of Bojuka Bog, which might be swapped for Containment Priests. Oddly enough, a lot of the maindeck cards have game against Dredge, the taxing effects with help from Wasteland can stop Dread Return and Cabal Therapy from being a thing they can do, and having creatures means that just one block can exile all their bridges, so it's generally Dread Return or nothing for the first few turns. I also have Windborn Muse as a 1-of, but it hasn't come up in Dredge yet.
Altogether, I really think the sheer number of blanket hate cards in white, and the number of relevant Humans (And Cats, weirdly) increasing almost every set means the deck should be given a lot more consideration to than it currently is.
Resurrecting this to say that I have been trying it, and it is indeed very good in a Human deck. Not as a 4-of, but it gives you a peek, most of the games against Blue decks it gives you a card, and it lets you know the coast is clear if you need to drop something of importance after.
Likely doesn't make the cut because it isn't "prison-ish" enough for most people, or aggressive enough, but it has won me a couple games.
@moorebrother1 Interestingly enough, I was going to try out Deadeye Tracker for spot GY hate against Blue decks and Dredge. Just trying out as many Humans as possible in B/W to see what sticks. I have had a lot of success in general with another Ixalan Human, Kitesail Freebooter... Right now it's a 3-of, but I might need to cut 1 because I'm running into situations where it stays in hand while I'm playing Thalias or Glowriders instead. It is really good for information, and sometimes I can cast it off Cavern, steal a FoW, and then land a non-Human that ends up winning the game. I've taken Ancestral, Time Walk, Bargain, 3-Sphere, Sweepers, Drain, Lotus, removal, etc. It's a micro-TKS and comes down sooner. I like it a lot.
In a previous build I had Dryad Militant, but 1-drops that can't be cast off Cavern are super marginal in a format with 4 Missteps.
@Topical_Island Against Oath (and Storm) I have Aegis of the Gods. It sucks compared to Containment Priest since it's an Enchantment, but for now it's something that can be cast off Cavern and hold Oath activation at bay until they find something. (kind of like Priest in that way, I guess). The worst Oath development for us is Inferno Titan, by far.
Pre-board, I run 3 Relic Warders, 1 Windborn Muse, 4 Ghost Quarter, 1 Strip, 1 Kataki, and 2 Banisher Priest, and I've had success with 1 -2 Royal Asassin. I also run 1 MB Serene Master, and another in the SB. The do-nothing cards are blockers, usually, and Thalia 2 is great as well against many of the creatures. Post-board I increase the Kataki numbers to 3 and add in 3 Stony, removing some chaff like Ethersworn Canonist.
The main issue is an early Ballista or a Sphere if they're on the play, but so far in its current config I've lost 2 matches to Shops (admittedly only playing an average 1-2 games a day in the Practice room, I clearly need more reps), but pre-board I had enough cards against shops that an opponent yesterday literally thought I had built the deck to beat shops (exiled his first two plays with two Relic Warders), and that's pre-board, without 3x Kataki and 3x Stony. Most games Ive lost are usually due to mana screw in combo with not drawing my 5 basics or fetches for basics, or having to mull to 4.
Hope that explains a bit.
Also, by no means is this 100% solid "the answer to the metagame", but Kataki + Stony in play has resulted in an auto-concede every time it happens. That shops has gotten a lot more aggro doesn't help a bunch of 2/1's chances, but I think it has a much easier time than a blue deck just running Hurkyl's. Also picking up more tech on Friday that will help against more than a few aggro decks.
@griselbrother One of those 2/1s is Kataki which totally destroys Shops and slows down PO, and post-board my current build can drop either that or Stony on turn 1.
Edit: While "totally destroys" is def an overstatement, I'm still confident that it gives enough of an edge that post-board games are in my favor.
In testing I'm about 70% against Shops on both post-board games, with the list as-is my main problem is Oath (Oath seems to be a problem for Taxing decks in general, so no huge surprise there, also I don't have any Containment Priests yet so I anticipate that matchup getting slightly better once I pick up a couple).
I would be interested in reading a rundown. I think Wizards keeps printing taxing cards in White, as creatures, so this strategy in this particular color needs to have an eye kept on it. I'm pretty sure the last 2-3 sets including Commander have had brand-new or reconfigured hatebears or hate-ogres, and I don't think they're going to stop anytime soon.
Would like to toss this question out there and give my take on it, as the topic was touched on slightly in the latest SMIP podcast and on Rich's stream at some point recently...
Since the main taxing deck in Vintage has transformed by and large into an aggro deck, what colors and types of cards is Wizards developing the prison strategy for current and future printings, and is there a decent place for prison in Vintage after all the restrictions (Thorn, Chalice, LSG)?
I have been thinking about this for a month or so and have been slowly building my vintage collection back on MTGO. My project deck last year was W Hatebears, and due to Mentor running amok it was just overpowered and outnumbered constantly, and decks were over-prepared to deal with any creature, especially white creatures. Without Mentor obliterating the meta and Shops largely shying away from Prison/Taxing due to restrictions, I think the correctly configured Hatebears deck has a chance to fit into this particular hole in the metagame.
I've been experimenting with a total of 9 (3x Thalia1.0, 4x Glowrider, 2x Wingmare) Thorns on legs, among a lot of other hateful terrible cards, and 9 seems like a lot, but honestly it's where this deck starts to get competitive. I have 3 more things to pick up and a few more to try, and I'll take it to a league and do a write-up after the list gets solidified. There's some kooky shit in there.
I think some combination of 2- or 3-color hatebears has the capability of filling in the void left by the restriction of Thorn, but the decks aren't quite there yet.
Any thoughts on the future of taxing/prison decks?
Bumping this thread for some new stuff I'm trying. Nobody's really utilized Kambal, so I cut a few non-human creatures from the must-include white hatebears list and added Caverns to my list. Finding a few humans to fill in.
Two things I noticed while playing a LOT of hatebears: 1) topdeck-mode sucks very much; and 2) it is difficult to be "reactive", much less proactive without any kind of card selection except for 2-3 Recruiter of the Guard, so much of the time either I'm wishing I had one creature and not another, and no way to reliably get it.
Black can solve this with Humans.
Ixalan has a card that I'm very interested in trying, indeed:
Kitesail Freebooter (1B)
When Kitesail Freebooter enters the battlefield, target opponent reveals his or her hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. Exile that card until Kitesail Freebooter leaves the battlefield."
IMO this is on-par with Tidehollow Sculler in that it's a Human and has some kind of evasion. The P/T arrangement is a little unfortunate, it would be nice to take opposing Jaces and Dacks down a few loyalty points, but this kind of uncounterable effect (with cavern) is in my opinion what is lacking in a lot of hatebears decks, something proactive that, at the very least, can delay broken things from happening until other bears lock them out. (Added bonus that if this actually sucks, there's just Sculler waiting to fill the slot).
In addition to Kambal, Freebooter, and other situationally good hatebears that might come up should they need to (SB Yixlid Jailer, some jank like Royal Assassin), black gives access to Bob, which solves the topdeck mode pretty handily. Bob also "draws" cards underneath a Spirit of the Labyrinth.
My go-to before this was to count on drawing cards as the Monarch with Palace Jailer, but this almost never lead me to victory, someone would attack with a Ramunap Excavator (or any card that has 3 toughness) and I'd have to choose between letting a Canonist die so they can cast all the shite they want, or letting them draw an extra card, sometimes for the rest of the game. Palace Jailer actually very sucks, and a 2/2 for 4 mana that has the capability of giving the opponent an extra card is very, very bad. Without a way to actually stop Elemental tokens, Monk tokens, and fipped Delver (and again, any card with 3 toughness that likes to attack every turn), Jailer is a recipe for disaster. YMMV, but Jailer literally has never done what it needs to for me. It incentivizes attacks from your opponent, which is very stupid for a hatebears deck to want - we're supposed to be the ones going on the offensive. They will find ways to get their creature back -and- become the monarch in the process. There has to be another card other than Jailer and Banisher Priest (which is still preferable), and I think digging deep enough can find us a B Human with a low CMC that can probably do it.
I think the B/W version of the deck should be tested, and I have a list I'll be running very soon, just have to get a few more cards. I had to give up some of the "situational" hate cards like Spirit of the Labyrinth, but adding to the card pool with Black makes adjusting numbers very easy. I'll probably do a writeup if I get any results.
@ajfirecracker That is a very good point. It's not the exact same (a land, can be paid for over 2 turns for +1 of any color on the second turn), but I concur.
Some differences: this can be searched up with SFM and any other card that looks for equipment, has a funny interaction with Oath decks, costs less with cards that are already used in Shops, etc.
I found it interesting also that they'd print this at rare and not as a Legendary land.
Dowsing Dagger (2)
Artifact - Equipment
When Dowsing Dagger enters the battlefield, target opponent creates two 0/2 green Plant creature tokens with defender.
Equipped creature gets +2/+1.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, you may transform Dowsing Dagger.
(T): Add 3 mana of any one color to your mana pool.
I know this requires a lot of hoops to jump, but it turns into a non-legendary, repeatable Black Lotus (Lotus Vale). For 4 mana when it drops (with a flier out), it can flip and then be used the same turn, so it costs a grand total of 1 colorless for an extra 2 damage to the face and a Lotus Vale.
Is there a way to break this card fast enough? As is, I can't think of a way to make this easy, Auriok Windwalker is the only creature with flying that has "equipment" text, and it taps to equip which misses the point. Clearly this doesn't really fit into many decks unless there's a stoneforge build that makes ample use of fliers.
Also Stony Silence/Null Rod kills it, Wasteland kills it, etc.
Any other ideas? Seems like a fun card to brew with, possibly.
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.
Pretty sure Mentor will stay so long as it's unrestricted, and even after it gets the axe. Wrong move if their goal is less restrictions, IMO.
On the plus side, this terrible deck I've been brewing gets slightly less bad due to Gush restrict so I'm not super angry, selfishly, but am pretty disappointed at their reasoning.
Probe restrict makes combo a little more fair, but for those who absolutely need that effect it still exists as a 1CMC card (can't remember the name) so not too terrible.
Mentor is here to stay and will likely be equally annoying.