Best posts made by meadbert
posted in Vintage Strategy read more

http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/cycle-dredge-1/?cb=1563214506

So Force of Vigor is obviously a really good card and it allows us to go completely away from mana, but then Leyline of the Void becomes a big problem as there are only 4 solutions in the deck rather than 8-10 as I generally prefer.

The main deck's primary threat is losing to Wasteland. Noxious Revival seemed like a great solution to Wasteland and sort of decent against Leyline in that it pitches to Force of Vigor. I may go back down that route.

Gitaxian Probe seemed highly suspect to me at first.

As I thought and thought about how to find Force of Vigor more reliably I contemplated adding mana back in.
Chain of Vapor could pitch to the counterspells which is decent.

Then there was a game where I probed into Vigor. That seemed good. Then I thought about adding more free cyclers.

In particular I contemplated adding 4 Mishra's Bauble, 4 Urza's Bauble and 4 Street Wraith.

Against a Leyline each cycle speeds you up by 1/3 a turn. By the time you are 12 cards deep you may find 3 cycles which means you are 15 cards deep. If you found an extra cycler then 16 cards deep. It is a lot more likely to find Force of Vigor by then.

Testing around with this a bit I first found that this makes the Force cards way worse since none of the new cards to pitch to anything.

I also found that the deck becomes a lot faster. It is very common to get 2-3 extra dredges by turn 2.

The deck also becomes far more resilient to Wasteland. For instance if I have 2 Baubles on turn 1 and you waste my Bazaar I can still get 3 dredges on turn 3. This is not as good as Noxious Revival at all but still not bad.

Turn 2 Ichorid which chains into a bunch of other stuff is far more likely if you are dredging several times before your second turn starts. Noxious Revival can't do this.

Note that the Baubles give valuable information about your opponent's current and future hand and make it
more likely to hit with your first Cabal Therapy.

Finally post board when 17/60 cards cycle for free it all of sudden becomes a lot more likely to find that Force of Vigor against Leyline of the Void

Lets say you are on the play post board and your opponent drops Leyline.
You have 2 cycles in your opening hand so you cycle twice.
Then you play and activate Bazaar. This draws you a 3rd cycler so you cycle a 3rd time.
You are now a full turn ahead of where you would be without the cycles. On average you do not quite get 2 non Bazaar cycles in your opening hand, but you average more than 1.

My testing was done assuming opponents were boarding out their countermagic. This may not be optimal. I have been of the opinion that non Mental Misstep countermagic is sub optimal post board. The role of the Leyline is not turn the other deck into a prison deck, but instead to act as a road block to let the other deck combo out first. Now that there are only 4 Leyline removal spells in the whole deck, the whole prison strategy becomes a lot better.

You cannot cut dredgers below 12 because you really want to dredge and not draw pre-board.

I pulled out Chalice of the Void because it seemed bad with 8 Baubles, but I can just drop the Baubles first. When I don't have a dredger I might draw into a Bauble but a dead Bauble is not the end of the world because Bazaar.

Probably Chalice belongs.

The Unmasks in the board were in case of Jailer or a similar creature. I was thinking about using them on the play only, but I did not use them much at all.
I would consider all of the other usual suspects including Noxious Revival, Misdirection, Hollow One, Contagion, Spinning Darkness, Ravenous Trap and Dakmoor Salvage. Losing to Wasteland when I boarded out the Baubles was a problem so I am currently leaning towards Noxious Revival.

If your opponent does not have Leyline then you can bring in the Forces and remove some of cycle cards so you can counter hate spells.

posted in Workshops read more

All of this information I am about to provide is somewhat dated and may not apply to the current meta, but I played a lot of Uba Stax back in the day. Here are some comments:

The real strength of Uba Stax is not Welder. It is Workshop. There are two kinds of hands that are keepable. There are Workshop hands and there are Welder + Bazaar hands. Everything else is pretty bad. The problem with Welder + Bazaar hands was already addressed by Soly. You are leaning hard on a 1cc 1 toughness creature that doesn't do anything the turn it comes into play. In many metas this is a huge no-no.
Uba Stax should not be thought of as being built around Welder. Welder is a nice like to have card. It is something that costs you 1 mana and your opponent must answer it. It is not a card to build your whole strategy around.

The best card that your list is missing IMHO is Serum Powder.

Serum Powder allows you to aggressively mulligan to a hand with Mishra's Workshop or Sol Ring. You do not do this quite as aggressively as Dredge mulligans for Bazaar, but you should mulligan a lot.

General advantages of Serum Powder in Uba Stax are:

  1. It is a free one sided draw7 that can be played on turn 0. (AKA it is just a good card in general)
  2. Tapping for 1 mana is actually really good. Opening up with turn 1 Mox, Shop, Powder, Resistor is usually a strong play as you can play pretty much any card in your deck through Resistor the following turn.
  3. The 3cc mana cost is totally doable.
  4. The fact that it is a near dead draw in the mid/late game is heavily mitigated by Bazaar. Just pitch it to Bazaar.
  5. It Welds out for better artifacts.
  6. It Sacks to Smokestack.
  7. It taps to Tangle Wire (if you play it)
  8. Karn turns it into a 3/3 beatstick.

A big disadvantage is that it is shut off by Null Rod.

Null Rod is a really good card. We had a long debate once about the pros/cons of running Null Rod. I remember I was initially against it, but warmed to it as the debate went on. Now that Chalice of the Void is restricted that makes Null Rod better in a few ways. Chalice@0 already shut off Moxen, so Rod was weaker. Chalice@2 shut off Rod.

What I did not like about Rod was that it would shut off these artifacts that my opponent would either be sacking to smokestack or tapping to Tangle Wire anyway. Also Null Rod shut off a bunch of my own artifacts (including additional Null Rods) so I thought it was hurting me nearly as much as it hurt my opponent.

As I mentioned earlier the key to Uba Stax is the Shop and not Welder. For that reason I am against Sundering Titan. At 8cc it is significantly harder to cast than other options. I used Karn, Silver Golem back in the day. I did not use Null Rod at the time, but Karn was a fast clock when I needed it, ate Moxen and was much easier to hardcast at 5cc.

I remember concluding that Mana Vault was not that great and that was without Null Rod in the deck.

Consider cutting Null Rod. This might be a TERRIBLE idea now that you can only run 1 Chalice of the Void, but at least explore it. I want to be clear that I am not suggesting you actually do it. Only consider it.

Also consider adding Serum Powder. This only works if you mulligan aggressively to Workshop.

I would recommend dropping Sundering Titan.

Other cards to consider:
Expedition Map: Finds Bazaar, Workshop, Strip Mine, Academy or Barbarian Ring. Note that if you run Serum Powders the 2cc activate cost becomes much easier to cast.

Null Brooch: This combos well with Ensnaring Bridge, Uba Mask and Bazaar. Each tends to empty your hand anyway.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

Re: More Cycle in Dredge?

This is an extension of the previous post.

Cycle Dredge was off to a great start in testing for me before the restriction of Grave-Troll.

When Troll was restricted I responding by making a the conservative change of going -3 Troll, +3 Shell.
When a deck is already tops it seems that less is more.

The deck was a disaster. It went from first to worst. Basically I was using the cycle cards to replace normal cards in hand with extra draws. When those draws were Dredges for 6 it was great because my dredge normally hit another Dredger. When those draws became Dredges or 3 it was much worse. I might not even hit a dredger.

I was also inspired by the some of the ideas at the bottom of the thread I am referencing.

nsammael was pushing for an aggressive version of Fatestitcher Dredge.

That version was performing poorly for me the last time I tested it, but that was in a world where Mental Misstep was unrestricted. Maybe now that Misstep is restricted Chain of Vapor and Nature's Claim are better.

I spent the past weekend writing a program to simulate millions of Dredge games. I had two modes.
One was goldfish mode. The other was goldfish against a Leyline mode.

I hard coded that 4 Cabal Therapies are needed in the main.

From there I asked which lists had the fastest average goldfish. I did not count turns past 7, so if you fizzle it counts the same as a turn 7 win.

Here is what I found:

Maindeck:
4 BAZAAR_OF_BAGHDAD
1 GOLGARI_GRAVE_TROLL
4 STINKWEED_IMP
4 GOLGARI_THUG
2 HOLLOW_ONE
1 BLACK_LOTUS
4 BRIDGE_FROM_BELOW
4 FATESTITCHER
4 DREAD_RETURN
3 FLAMEKIN_ZEALOT
4 CABAL_THERAPY
4 CEPHALID_COLISEUM
1 MOX_SAPPHIRE
3 MOX_DIAMOND
1 STREET_WRAITH
2 HOGAAK_ARISEN_NECROPOLIS
2 SHAMBLING_SHELL
2 SUN_TITAN
1 ONCE_UPON_A_TIME
1 LIONS_EYE_DIAMOND
4 NARCOMOEBA
4 SERUM_POWDER

sideboard: (only 14 listed)
2 Hollow One
1 Flame-Kin Zealot
4 Chain of Vapor
3 Tropical Island (Could be City of Brass. Needs access to U/G)
1 Lotus Petal
3 Nature's Claim

sideboard out:
3 Golgari Thug
3 Mox Diamond
3 Serum Powder
2 Shambling Shell
1 Cephalid Coliseum
1 Hogaak Arisen Necropolis
1 Once upon a Time

The simulations are not using any kind of intelligent. It is all totally heuristic driven so the plays are not optimal.

Just looking at some of the replays I have noticed that I am not always happen about when LED is cracked or which target Sun Titan picks. Even the cards that are discarded to Bazaar can be wrong.

The goldfish speed of the main deck is about turn 2.73. This would be the equivalent of about 27% turn 2 wins and 73% turn 3 wins. That is not what happens there are a few turn 1 wins and a lot of turn 4 wins and the turn 2 win percentage is over 27%.

The goldfish speed vs Leyline post board is about 3.83, so just Leyline slows you down by about 1.1 turns.

Note that there is no possibility of your Leyline removal being countered.

Also, the 4th Nature's Claim was already super close to optimal.

Post board the worst cards in the deck are Sun Titan#2 and Hollow One#4.
The best cards left out were Tropical Island#4 and Bloodghast #1.

The worst card in the main is Shambling Shell #2 and the best card left out is Once Upon a Time #1.

I also tried limiting my sideboard to 11 cards. This way I would leave room for 4 Leyline of the Void.
When I do that the Mox Diamonds leave the main deck and Tropical Islands come in.

EDIT: I also had Emerald Charm originally, which was prefered to Nature's Claim since I am only testing against Leyline and not Grafdigger's Cage. I handled that by banning Emerald Charm but allowing up to 8 Nature's Claim.

One of the things I found was that Serum Powder was not particularly good post board. This surprised me. It is actually not amazing in the main either. You can drop to 7 Serum Powders taking very little hit. When I made room for Leylines, I only had 7 Serum Powders in the main.

The Mox Diamonds are pretty solid. They frequently lead to turn 2 wins. You can discard a 2nd Bazaar or a Coliseum to play Mox Diamond on turn 1 and then get a second Bazaar activation if you have Fatestitcher. Then turn 2 you get 2 more Bazaar activations assuming you find a 2nd Fatestitcher.

Running all the artifact mana and few lands made Bloodghast pretty bad.

I added Breakthrough and it is definitely worth it:
New list that saves room for 4 Leylines which I also think are worth it:

eck {
4 BAZAAR_OF_BAGHDAD
1 GOLGARI_GRAVE_TROLL
4 STINKWEED_IMP
4 GOLGARI_THUG
4 BREAKTHROUGH
1 BLACK_LOTUS
4 BRIDGE_FROM_BELOW
4 FATESTITCHER
4 DREAD_RETURN
3 FLAMEKIN_ZEALOT
4 CABAL_THERAPY
2 CITY_OF_BRASS
3 CEPHALID_COLISEUM
1 MOX_SAPPHIRE
3 MOX_DIAMOND
1 STREET_WRAITH
1 HOGAAK_ARISEN_NECROPOLIS
1 SHAMBLING_SHELL
2 SUN_TITAN
1 ONCE_UPON_A_TIME
1 LIONS_EYE_DIAMOND
4 NARCOMOEBA
3 SERUM_POWDER
} end deck
sideboard {
4 CHAIN_OF_VAPOR
3 MANA_CONFLUENCE
1 LOTUS_PETAL
3 NATURES_CLAIM
} end sideboard
out {
1 GOLGARI_THUG
1 CEPHALID_COLISEUM
1 MOX_SAPPHIRE
3 MOX_DIAMOND
1 SHAMBLING_SHELL
1 ONCE_UPON_A_TIME
3 SERUM_POWDER
} out

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

I have been playing some variation of this since vintage began and Tog was a thing.
Cody Vinci had a bunch of success with a similar list in the 2006 time frame.
This is the deck that just won my most recent testing gauntlet. It was done after Misstep restriction, but before Narset restriction and Oko printing.

1 Scalding Tarn
1 Polluted Delta
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Flooded Strand
4 Underground Sea
4 Island
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Black Lotus
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mana Vault
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Crypt
1 Blightsteel Colossus
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
2 Snapcaster Mage
1 Tinker
1 Time Walk
4 Force Of Will
4 Intuition
3 Force Of Negation
4 Thirst For Knowledge
4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Mana Drain
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm
1 Chain Of Vapor
1 Mystical Tutor
sideboard: -> This needs work
1 Strip Mine
4 Wasteland
4 Leyline Of The Void
3 Yixlid Jailer
3 Control Magic

The sideboard is probably bad right now. I had been running Strip and Wastes back when they were good against both Shops and Dredge, but now Wastes are not as good against Shops since Shops throw down a few creates and are happy to trade lands.

Ever since Force of Negation was printed I have been looking for a home for it.

The idea is you want to have huge bombs that you drop on your opponent's turn. Originally I thought of a Gifts shell and a Flash shell. Flash just straight up wins on your opponent's turn and 4 extra Force of Wills make it better. Because Flash is restricted it is a bit tough to make Flash viable particularly post board.

Gifts also did not work out. Generally opponents will want to counter the Gifts, but usually your Gifts sets up huge bombs the following turn. Your Force of Negations cannot protect those huge bombs and Gifts usually does not protect it either.

What you really want is play huge bomb on your opponent's turn and then chain that into another huge bomb on their next turn.

This is where Accumulated Knowledge comes in. You can use Force of Negation to protect AKs for 3 and 4 on your opponent's turn. Force of Negation is also fairly easy to hard cast and saves you from random broken stuff in the early game.

At first I tried both Vault/Key wins and Tendrils wins. I hated Vault/Key after Force of Vigor was printed. It was a decent backup plan to take infinite turns and attack with Snapcaster Mage for the win, but I generally prefered to Tinker for BSC or Tendrils. Tendrils did not quite work. Cody's old list had a lot of combo 1ofs that allowed broken plays. He would do stuff like:
tap library: Draw
Gush: Draw 2.
Frantic Search: Draw 2, discard 2 gushed lands, untap library
tap librar: Draw

So all of those cards were sort of decent but suboptimal during the mid game and then could go bonkers when when he went off. He also ran as many as 3 Rebuilds during the Stax era and then added at least 1 Dark Ritual during the Pitch Long era.

The Force of Negations crowed those cards out so going for a huge Tendrils was too tough. If I wanted to do that I would end up switching the deck to be closer to Paradoxical.

I was left with Tinker->BSC as the primary win condition. Yes this gets hated by Grafdigger's cage, but Force of Negation counters that and I can always just bounce EOT before I Tinker.

In general you can always Intuition for 2xSnapcast Mage + Tinker to win the following turn (assuming you have 5 mana)

So the way the game plays out is you just play control. You AK for 3 and then 4 and then ideally you use Snapcaster to draw 4 cards again. You can still Intuition for Yawg, Tinker, Snap later to find Tinker. Between the MASSIVE card advantage and the 11 counterspells you can stop most of your opponent's threats. Then you finally Tinker with double or triple counter backup.

Here is where the Force of Negations shine again. So you might be thinking that your opponent could just Swords the BSC and then you are screwed, but if they only have 1 spell you are fine. You should already have a counter. What is really scary is if they are about to Swords BSC on their turn and then attack with Dreadhorde Arcanist to flash it back. Maybe they have Pyroblast too!

So you Tinker BSC with Force of Negation + Mana Drain backup.

Your opponent is holding Swords + Pyroblast with Dreadhorde Arcanist out and an untapped Tundra and a tapped Volcanic Island.

Your opponent could EOT go for Swords, but won't have Pyroblast backup so they wait.
Their plan is to go for Swords and then if that is countered they can attack with Arcanist and Swords against with Pyroblast backup.

So they Swords first. You Force of Negation back. Now they have a problem because Force of Negation will Exile the Swords. They are Forced to Pyro the Force of Negation, but then you Mana Drain the Pyroblast, Swords is Exiled and you win with a BSC.

So Force of Negation was REALLY, REALLY good in this deck in a way that it was not good in other decks.

There are two cards that seem like they wreck this deck. Narset and Oko. I have admittedly not tested against Oko at all. It was printed after I started my gauntlet, but Narset was still unrestricted so I tested against that a bunch.

A resolved Narset obviously wrecks you, but Narset rarely resolves. In general non creature Sorcery speed threats are the easiest for this deck to handle. You essentially run 7 Force of Wills against them.

So while I have not tested against Oko, I am pretty confident that Oko will only rarely resolve. Still, the way I tended to handle a resolved Narset was to Intuition for Snapcasters and Tinker rather than AKs.

Possible improvements to the list:

  1. It does happen that BSC gets Swordsed. Maybe run a second BSC or Vault/Key. If so Thirst should probably get dropped. The problem is you now have more cards to pitch to Thirst, but fewer Thirsts. I am not sure how helpful this is since if I just had my BSC Swordsed and I have no counters, then I am probably going to lose either way. I think the second BSC is a lose less card when I want it and dead the rest of the time.
  2. Maybe drop a Thirst to run a 4th Force of Negation.
  3. Wastelands in the sideboard are terrible and even the Control Magic was terrible. Maybe add 4th Yixlid Jailer for dealing with Dredge and then 4 anti shops cards. Hurkyl's Recall? The sideboard needs work. Grafdigger's Cage is actually a possibility since you can Tinker out your own Cage to get BSC, but now you just removed your own hate. Does not seem ideal.
  4. Maybe combine 1/3. Add Vault/Key to the board to deal with opponent's Grafdigger's Cage.
  5. Thirst compliments Force of Negation because I had keep mana up to hardcast Negation and then EoT Thirst if there is nothing to counter. Thirst is decent, but against Narset it was not ideal so I toyed around with use Fact or Fiction instead. Fact can load AKs into the yard fairly well and does not say "draw" but I think I still prefer Thirst, particularly if I am relying on Tinker->BSC to win.
  6. Maybe Narset needs to be added! I seriously underestimated Narset. Arguments against Narset are that I have few creatures and thus can's protect it and I hate tapping out to play spells at Sorcery Speed. This means Narset will perform worse here than other decks, but it is still a HUGE bomb.
posted in Vintage Strategy read more

That is a good point. Compared to your list I dropped 4 Narcomoeba from my reanimation suite.
They are missed for sure, but the extra cycles are nice as well.

The bigger change was dropping the maindeck blue Forces. I miss those a lot.

Here are the comparisons to consider. The downside is the loss of dredging into Narcomoeba. Lets consider the following scenarios: We will label 4 Naromoebas, 6 Forces and 2 Fields as your "questionable" cards. My questionable cards are 8 Baubles and 4 Street Wraiths.

What if we have 0 in our hand? - In this case you deck is clearly better because you can dredge into Narcomoebas and I cannot.

What if we have 1 in our hand? - If you have a Narcomoeba it is dead. If you have a Force then it is great IF you have a Prized Amalgam. Without a Prized Amalgam the Force is dead too. My extra Bauble means I am likely to dredge 5 extra cards off of an Imp so I start turn 2 with 7 cards in my yard instead of 3. That is a huge difference!

What if we have 2 in our hand? - Now you can pitch one blue card to a Force so this extra counter is fantastic. You can feel much safer. I have 2 extra cyclers so I am likely to start turn 2 with 12 cards in my graveyard rather than 3, which means I am likely to be half way through my deck by the begining of my main phase.

To me by far the biggest weakness of the Baubles is the loss of the blue Forces.

I am not sure about Thug vs Shambling Shell.

In Magic there are some games where you blow your opponent out and there are others where you get blown out. The trick is to win the ones in the middle where it could go either way. Cards that primarily effect that middle are most important. Other cards are "win more" or "lose less." Typically if you have Stinkweed Imp or Grave-Troll pre-board you are doing very well and very likely to win. If you have no dredger at all you are in a lot of trouble. Wasteland will just wreck you. One could argue that 0 dredgers is in the middle, but it is close to you getting blown out.

The important middle section is when you get that Thug or Shambling Shell. Basically if Shell/Thug is your only dredger, then getting 4 chances to dredge into something rather than 3 is a pretty big different and impacts the important games where things can go either way.

Unfortunately there is a very serious downside and it shows up in two ways.
First is your opponent goes turn 1 Oath and you have no green spell to pitch to Force of Vigor.
The second is you do have a green card to pitch, but said green card is Golgari Grave-Troll. I would MUCH rather pitch a Shell so I can dredge my Grave-Troll rather than pitch my Grave-Troll so I can dredge a Thug.

There are also games where I end up with 2 Thugs in my hand. Since I run 4 of them this is actually reasonably likely after a Bazaar activation. For this reason I think running 4 Thugs and 0 Shells is the wrong ratio. I think at least 1 Shell is worth it, maybe 2.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

@wfain So the cycle spells are only "air" in the graveyard, which is the point that Smmenen was right to emphasize. This is a concern. The loss of Narcomoeba does matter. Ultimately I am more than willing to give up Narcomoebas to start turn 2 with 7 cards in my yard rather than 3. So my cards are on average worse in my graveyard, but I get more of them. The bigger concern is the loss of the blue Forces.

In your example with Preordain, the issue is you end up tying your mana up trying to draw cards instead of doing stuff. In this case the cyclers are free so no mana is being tied up and no tempo is lost.

The list I am considering now is:

21 draw:
4 Bazaar of Baghdad
4 Serum Powder
4 Street Wraith
4 Mishra's Bauble
4 Urza's Bauble
1 Gitaxian Probe

12 dredge:
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
4 Stinkweed Imp
3 Golgari Thug
1 Shambling Shell

15: Win
3 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
4 Ichorid
4 Bridge From Below
4 Prized Amalgam

12: Defense
4 Mental Misstep
4 Cabal Therapy
1 Strip Mine
1 Chalice of the Void
2 Force of Vigor

sideboard:
4 Leyline of the Void
4 Force of Will
4 Force of Negation
2 Force of Vigor
1 Noxious Revival

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

I have been testing several Fastbond decks fairly regularly.

The deck that will probably be best is Turbo - Gush:
1 Scalding Tarn
2 Polluted Delta
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Flooded Strand
2 Tropical Island
2 Tundra
3 Island
1 Cephalid Coliseum
1 Nomad Stadium
1 Strip Mine
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Pearl
1 Sol Ring
3 Crucible Of Worlds
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Time Walk
1 Ponder
2 Preordain
4 Force Of Will
1 Gush
4 Intuition
4 Gifts Ungiven
4 Accumulated Knowledge
1 Echoing Truth
4 Mana Drain
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm
1 Fastbond
1 Regrowth
2 Argivian Find
sideboard:
4 Wasteland
4 Grafdigger's Cage
4 Trygon Predator
3 Pithing Needle

I am not sure how many Fastbonds this deck should run but I am thinking it would be at least 3 and maybe 4. I do not know what to cut.
Ponder has felt like the worst card for a while and Fastbond is a 1 drop.
Also with 3 Fastbonds, perhaps 2 Argivian Find is not needed.
So maybe go -1 Ponder, -1 Argivian Find, +2 Fastbond.
Then you can Gifts for Fastbond, Crucible, Find, Regrowth.

There was an era maybe a year or so ago when this was the very top performing deck in my meta. That sounds weird, but it worked out at the time because Grafdigger's Cage had convinced a lot of people to drop their other Graveyard hate from their board. Grafdigger's cage does nothing against this deck. You can still play lands from the yard and AK for 4 and Argivian Find Fastbond etc. So a bunch of decks had little to no sideboard plan.

Recently the meta had turned against this deck. Because Dredge became so strong there was actually some main deck hate and that had more or less crushed it. Also decks running a lot of Mental Missteps are problematic.

This deck is very, very powerful but it is also fragile.

All of you running Glacial Chasm should probably switch to Nomad Stadium.
If you run a Nomad Stadium and a 1 Tundra then you can gain infinite life and ignore Fastbond damage.
Nomad Stadium taps for mana and does not sacrifice a land.

EDIT: The sideboard I listed was for a prior meta where I was mostly worried about Dredge and Workshop Aggro. I don't know what I would use right now.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

There are 27 mana sources + Argivan Find which functions as an any color Dark Ritual so the 3rd mana is not too hard to find.
If you miss your turn 2 land drop you are usually in trouble either way.
If you have Fastbond + Crucible in hand then you can win with just the 2 mana you used for Oath.

If you really just don't have the win, then throw back Sol Ring and Black Lotus with your Memory's Journey and win on turn 3 instead of turn 2. As far as hands missing a turn 2 land drop, winning on turn 3 is pretty decent.

It is TERRIBLE to lose to one counterspell after Oathing and that is why there is a 2nd Memory's Journey.
If first Journey is countered, you have a second. The second one is very important and you brought up an excellent point!

I have even considered a 3rd Memory's Journey in the Spell Pierce slot. The graveyard hate is decent. Pitching to Force is decent. Occasionally I want to Flashback one Memory's Journey to use the other two to keep refilling my library so I never deck myself. Mostly this shows up if Coliseum was exiled and I have infinite life (which most decks just can't handle right now) so I just try to assemble a hand full of counters and wait for my opponent to deck themselves. This situation is rare enough that I consider the 3rd Memory's Journey not worth it.

So basically if you have 3 mana out and your Sevinne's Reclamation gets countered, then the next turn you can throw back Fastbond + Crucible + Argivian Find. You won't get them all in one turn, but it now takes a total of 3 Counter Spells to stop your win. I am not saying this is ideal, but it is better than just losing to a single counterspell.

I can't speak to what happens post board because I have not settled on a sideboard and I have not even settled on how to board against this deck. Is Grafdigger's Cage even worth it?

Pre-board against the top decks according to mtggoldfish the two main forms of maindeck hate are Ziasbond using Crop Rotation for Bojuka Bog, Survival having Deathrite Shaman and White Eldrazi having Thalia who makes my land be tapped.

Deathrite Shaman is a disaster, but the list on mtg goldfish only has 2 and usually you can race them if have to use Survival to find Shaman. Also you might have Mental Misstep or Force for Shaman. Thalia is scary, but occasionally too slow and there are no tutors to find Thalia, but she is a huge problem.
Crop Rotation for Bojuka Bog just beats me if I don't have the counter. One of the knocks on Spell Pierce is that Ziasbond is likely to have the extra 2 mana to ignore my Spell Pierce on Crop Rotation.
These three hate pieces are one of the main reasons that I badly need Force of Will and to a lesser extent Mental Misstep. Shaman and Thalia are huge knocks against Spell Pierce. Force of Negation won't work either.
I also tested Daze which is solid against Thalia, but frequently too slow against Shaman and is even less likely to work against Ziasbond.

Getting back to the counters. Of the top 8 decks on mtggoldfish only 2 even run counters. Those are Paradoxical and Dreadhorde. Paradoxical runs 4 relevant counters because Mental Misstep can't counter Reclamation or Memory's Journey. Paradoxical will need to use 3 of its 4 Force of Wills over 4 turns and hope that you have none of your counters. I am comfortable conceding the loss in a situation that rare.

Dreadhorde runs 6-9 relevant counters. 3 Pyroblasts can only counter the Memory's Journey which is why there is a second. This is probably what you had in mind, but it is still unlikely that Dread Horde can assemble 3 non Pyro counters over 4 turns or double Pyro in one turn or Pyro one turns and then 3 non pyro counters the next 3 turns. Imagine you are the Dreadhorde player and you have like 3 counters in hand. I am pretty sure you just counter Oath. Non need to risk some huge creature coming into play next turn.

Dreadehorde is actually a major motivation for adding the Oaths. Basically you can't keep up in card advantage against Dreadhorde and mana denial is ineffective. Oath is one of the best ways to deal with Dreadhorde. Ziasbond keeps its Dreadhorde matchup decent by running 0 blue spells and zero creatures so Swords, Bolt and Pyro lack targets. The lists that I have been testing all either had blue cards to Pyroblast or Ramunap Excavator or Collector Ouphe to bold or Swords. Oath is actually really good in that matchup!

So as far as maindeck hate goes I worry about Thalia, Crop Rotation for Bojuka Bog and Shaman far more than seeing 3 Force of Wills over 4 turns while having no counters myself.

If going a single creature route then another thought I had is Muldrotha the Gravetide.

She lets you play both Fastbond and Crucible out of the yard for a total of 4 mana. Since you can get one land from your yard to begin with you really only need 3 mana, so she is an alternative to Rasputin Dreamweaver and actually has some synergy with Ziasbond in general although her colors are wrong. I liked Rasputin in the Ziasbond variant because on problem is the Resistors can make it touch to combo out and Rasputin just dodges that because the 7 mana is plenty.

For my list Muldrotha has the benefit of being reasonable to hardcast (if I can find a black source) and being blue. Any creature that can be pitched to Force is huge because a limitation of my list is it only has 19 Blue cards so every blue card helps to keep Force viable.

I am still leaning towards creatureless in the maindeck because I just don't have room for multiple Stadiums or Coliseums and then creatures that ignore the graveyard post board since I will mostly want them when my yard is hated out.

Because of the maindeck hate I am tempted to add a Chain of Vapor in place of Spell Pierce. A singleton Chain helps a lot against Thalia. A main drawback is having fewer counters for Crop Rotation.

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I have been testing mostly my list and here is what I have found. The most important role for Oath creatures is to fight graveyard hate.

The protection creatures like Dramoka and Archon are great in game 1 protecting you against counters, but weaker post board. Because Archon is triggered it does not save you from Ravenous Trap. Dramoka is better, but the beatdown plan is fairly weak compared to the alternatives. Too many times I have had Oath, my opponent Tinkers for Blightsteel and then I flip Dramoka and realize I am dead if I don't draw the win this turn.

Emrakul is very good by itself. If you pull off the normal Turboland combo, but are scared to use Coliseum as a kill condition you can just draw coliseum into Emrakul and then hardcast with infinite mana. The problem is that annihilator let's your opponent sack all tokens and then Oath themselves. This has not burned me, but I always get this bad feeling in my stomach. What if they flip Duplicant or Griselbrand.

Griselbrand is very good because card draw is good in Fastbond decks. Also the life gain can help.

Gisela is good because she cancels both Fastbond and Orchard token damage. She synergize well with Griselbrand because you get double the lifeline.

There is an order dependency where you want Griselbrand first.

My favorite has been running 2xTyrant + Oona. With infinite mana I can straight up deck an opponent with Oona. Just having her is a nice alternative to using Coliseum as the win condition.

The Tyrants are also good because I can bounce various hate and also generate infinite mana with Moxes. Having 4 Gifts I sometimes Gifts for 4 moxes with Tyrant out.

Both creatures are blue which helps support Force.

The main drawback is that being blue they also are vulnerable to Pyroblast. It is nice that both creatures can actually do something at instant speed if they are immediately blasted.

Neither is vulnerable to Karakas.

I would run Griselbrand, Emrakul and Gisela, but I hate having them stuck in hand when Brainstorm and Coliseum are my only options for trading them and they are nearly impossible to hardcast.

I had two more ideas I have not tried yet. Lavinia seems very good in Turboland so I should try a version with her. Also I could run a bunch of Coliseums and Narsets. Then I could use coliseum as a discard 3 effect on my opponent. If I do it on their upkeep they draw 1 and discard 3 and then lose their draw step. That seems good, but establishing threshold is hard to do early in the game.