@protoaddct I agree with this take - this probably isn't better against Shops than Delver, as it's almost certainly slower. Either Foundary Inspector/Ravager hands will kill you before you fill your yard, or Spheres will stop you casting seven spells in time for it to be revelant.
I wonder if this has some place in a red-based storm deck with rituals, Bonus Round and Past in Flames - possibly with Bazaars if cards in hand aren't important? Or some of the red effects that exile cards for you to play rather than put them in hand (Chandra).
Always nice to see a strange, clunky red enchatment in a set!
So, following that downer from the MTGO blog, I just got in contact with Alli Medwin. They (not sure of preferred pronoun?) say although they're working on M19 now, they have noted that Sentinel Tower is a card eternal players could want and have pencilled in bringing it to MTGO once they're done with M19. Obviously, that's not perfect, but it's better than nothing.
@moorebrother1 This was a conclusion I reached last night too, after going 3-3 in the Challenge with a Damping Sphere BUG build. I couldn't keep up the pressure well enough, wanted access to better sideboard cards... so UW Stoneblade sprang to mind. You get Queller as a nice disruptive beater, Stoneforge to give you a quicker clock (and a way to use your mana without casting stuff through Damping Sphere), plus good token making Planswalkers (again, so you're doing stuff without casting through sphere), be it Elspeth, Gideon or even new Karn. Seems promising so far...
Completely agree with your take on Aaron's words and also share Kevin's pessimism or at least resignation towards the DCI. I'm also with Sam Black - the state of the format, or at least its management, is doing more damage than the effect of restricting a popular card. While I don't think it's a given that all pros want to play Vintage or have a healthy vision for the format, I do believe that they remain the most influential tastemakers in the game - and seeing them mostly and very vocally avoid the format these days is just bad PR for the format and hurting its prospects for growth. The hoops the VSL is jumping through this season to make the format more appealing I think is indicative of where we're at - and I don't think WOTC having ridiculous axioms like Aaron set out, is the way to improve that.
I did have some slim hope that the remit of the Play Design team might extend to the Eternal formats. Given their name, you'd expect they might be just the people to sculpt better play experiences throughout the game. But in effect, R&D have recruited a couple more developers for Standard and called it a day. I think that's very disappointing - but perhaps one area, we could lobby to see improvement in. I want to place my faith in WOTC, I want them to boasts the best expertise and have the necessary authority when it comes to managing constructed formats. And yet, it seems a folly to trust on anything but Limited, and perhaps Standard going forward. That's a sad state of affairs.
@gutocmtt Hi and thanks for replying. I was previously running a second Null Rod in the sideboard and just got squeezed out - kind of going back and forth on that or third Chains. I do think it's a valuable tool to have access to - I just think the reality is, it doesn't stop the meta's best decks in their tracks, in the way it did when blue decks meant Big Blue decks, rather than Xerox decks.
I think the other factor with avoiding the off-colour moxen though is that your moxen are poor cascades. Hence the mix with Spirit Guides. if anything, it might be better to go all Spirit Guide for acceleration and have another Null Rod main... but I'm not sure only having one-shot acceleration is where you want to be in a world of Shops.
Regarding Goyf - he gets plenty big enough, but yes, at the end of the day, he's just a dumb beater. I'm not convinced there's a better option currently - unless the deck went all-in on the Pyromancer route instead? But that way you end up a worse blue deck, so I'm not sure it works. (That's what makes me wonder about the Modern Mardu decks, and if all the flashback cards and Bedlam Reveller might compensate).
Ultimately, it's just a very difficult deck to make work given the current cardpool and meta.
@qq Hey thanks for the comments - I have taken your suggestion and am giving Hymn a try. I've added a pair of Pyromancers at the same time, due to the increased spell count and because you have to somehow keep up the threat density. After playing with Hymn a bit, I think that's really the major downside of the card - you strip the opponent's hand all you want, but it's worthless if you can't also keep up the pressure. You're still succeptible to dying to basically any top-decked draw spell, of which blue decks have many. The more you try and compensate for the tempo loss of hymn, the more I think you start wanting to be something akin to Team America... how insane is it that in Delver, blue has the best agressive one-drop in Magic?? The mind boggles...
It's possible more Grudges a good thing to pair with Pyromancers...I wonder if anything like either Chapin's ultra agressive Bauble/Prowess/Tarmo deck or Gerry T's Mardu deck from the last Modern PT are possible in Vintage? Might be something to explore next.
I did try Excavator but it was inconclusive... may try again. Maybe I should run more Null Rods with it if I do, and push the mana denial angle - though I feel that's less effective than in FIsh's hey-day.
Anyway, will keep trying stuff - thanks for your help!
@chubbyrain Hey dude - and thanks for the reply! I did actually start off with a blue splash for Ancestral, Time Walk and a Leovold. I felt like Ancestral, without Missteps to protect it was useless and kind of started cutting from there. Leovold is OK, but I sometimes feel like he's a little too fair, so I opted for Chains, which you have a better chance of getting down turn 1. What I do wonder though, is whether BUG cascade as per Legacy might be a way to go.
I shall try the Fiery Confluence main - I love it generally, but have found the double red hard to come by at times. The reach would certainly be welcome - another reason I tried Chandra in the main. I'll see how it goes.
Appreciate your input - just wanted to contribute something over here, if not the most competitive of decks