Well, he said he doesn't want Eldrazi, so that's out. Null rod is probably the way to go - stop power if you're not running power - but even then, a lotus is just optimal. Land, lotus, sac for null rod is infinitely better than land, pass, let your opponent go ape and hope to play rod off your second land drop.
Outside of dredge, I think almost every deck can benefit from lotus, so that's your biggest hurdle. There are a handful of very good decks that use a couple duals, a lotus, 2-3 on-color moxen, and then affordable cards to round it all out. If you are in blue, ancestral and time walk just make everything better. Your best bet would be some kind of non-blue deck if you want to run something optimal without Ancestral/walk/bazaar/shop and minimal moxen. I don't think you can be optimal in anything non-dredge without lotus.
I think I'd just run 8 removal spells rather than a 2 card combo to push one of 4 spells through. Your odds of drawing 2 removal out of 8, even with 1 being countered, is greater than you drawing a cavern and a wisp. It'll really suck when you cavern a wisp and they mindbreak trap it :p.
I think LutS is a really good addition to burn in any format. I'd also think Skewer the Critics is an auto-include. You will deal damage every turn, in addition to fetches and phyrexian mana burning the opponent. It's basically Lightning bolt 5-8.
If you're making this for vintage, than I think any build without bloodmoon is a mistake. BM hits you none at all and just flat out wins vs bazaar dredge and Workshops. If you are running 4x SSG (and I'd go with lotus and on color moxen even if you run 4x rod), you'll get a lot of turn 1 BMs that just own any opponent holding fetches and duals.
I dislike sulfuric vortex. 2 damage a turn for 3 mana (that also hits you) is no bargain. Cindervines seems much better in a build like this. It has utility and also is going to do 2+ a turn to an opponent (and only the opponent) much faster and more reliably. Life gain isn't a thing in Vintage - artifacts/enchantments are. Cindervines also removes chalice @ 1, which blocks MANY of your spells.
If you are going green, I'd also think atarka's command is decent and tarmogoyf could be huge. I think Dryad could be SB as it is just a 2/1 vs a lot of decks (shops, survival, humans, eldrazi, oath), but it could just be an efficient 2/1. I like swiftspear better here.
I'd go with 4 tokens. 4 is often enough to represent all the tokens you need. If you need more, just put dice on them and you have enough to represent all the tapped, untapped, and opponent controlled tapped and untapped (assuming they have a way to steal tokens). There aren't any other configurations you'd need to represent with more than 4 tokens.
So, there is an Assassin's Trophy single card discussion already, but I think this thought/discussion deserves a separate thread.
As noted in the AT thread, a direct comparison isn't exactly right because AT is better for a broad spectrum answer whereas AD is better as an uncounterable answer to a critical set of cards (oath, TV, cage, etc.). However, I'd like to know which is better as a main deck card given the current state of vintage. Assume a moderately fast kill with a medium amount of counter/discard magic. The main decks at the moment seem to be:
Shops (aggro - prison is dead)
Pyro/Mentor/Delver (aka Xerox)
Eldrazi (barely in the meta)
Am I missing anything? Given these as the main players, FoW is in about 50% of these decks. Decks with FoW tend to have oath, mentor, pyromancer, TV, dack, and things costing 3>. They also have Library and Jace at times. Decks without FoW have bazaar or workshop and threats that cost 4<, such as hollow one, gurmag, golem, VV, Karn.
Let's assume you face FoW decks 50% of all matches. You want to run 2-4 main deck decays or trophies (not a split). Which do you pick and why?
In the deck I'm mainly thinking about, I look to close out the game in the first 4 turns or sooner. Mid-game isn't really where I want to be, and late game I'm probably up a creek outside of an ancestral->gas turn.
My primary colors are BUG. I have white available in lotus petal, black lotus, 2 mana confluence, 5 fetches (for savannah if I add white), savannah, and 4 nobles. I am fairly green/black heavy, but I actually get as much white as I do black counting nobles (black gets 3 bayou and a jet). I run 1 trop and a sapphire as well, so I have the same access to blue regardless of if I go 4 color or stay BUG.
I have 3 slots open (and a 4th if I drop from 4 thoughtseize down to 3). So I can be on 3-4 main lavinia, 3 main leovold, or eshew them both and go with something else. I currently run 3x Leovold, and he's been SBed out in most matches. He's great vs blue draw decks, but seems meh elsewhere. I am leaning towards Lavinia just because of the "Oops, you kept a land, mox, lotus hand - I win," games.
I don't really want to post a decklist (just noting my mana base to emphasize mana colors aren't the issue) because I want to discuss this more in the abstract than in the context of my current pet deck.
It seems like in a deck wanting to win the fast game and leverage an early advantage rather than a long-game advantage, Lavinia gets the nod. But I still want to see what the thoughts are on the spectrum of these two solid creatures.
So I have been playing several brews with these cards lately, and I just want to see what everyone thinks. Between Leovold or Lavinia (in decks where mana color is not an issue), which is better main? What matchups are better for Leo vs Lavinia?
My analysis in playtesting is as follows:
Lavinia is solid on the play turn 1. Thereafter, it's fairly useless since it doesn't block creature spells.
Leovold is a better blocker for golem, but slower vs spheres due to cmc 3 vs 2. Leo makes you draw off a wasteland, but it's hardly profitable. He's solid vs ballista unless you are playing X/1s, in which case the draw 1 is not great. Both creatures are less than stellar here.
On the play, lavinia stops turn 1 oath. Lavinia also stops FoW and misstep on your claim (unless they pay for it). Lavinia is not stellar as she triggers oath and they don't have that much overcosted stuff they are casting with ramp anyway.
Leovold gives you a card off oath trigger and orchard. It stops cantrips and ancestral. It's usually in play much later than lavinia and does nothing vs counterspells. Both seem negligible in the matchup.
Lavinia stops dread return, flashback therapy, misstep, FoW, unmask. It doesn't seem to have much use but isn't 100% dead, unlike...
Leovold stops nothing. They can dredge to replace bazaar's draws, so no dice there. They don't target you with anything but therapy, so it's a corner case you get any benefit.
Lavinia stops FoW, misstep, free rootwalla, free hollowed one. Stopping the rootwalla and thus vengevine is pretty decent.
Leovold stops bazaar draws, but not survival. You never get targeted, so the other ability is negligible.
Lavinia stops all the PO and spells the opponent ramps into, all the moxen, the FoW, the probe, and missteps. Really solid in this matchup.
Leovold stops the card draw, including PO. You draw a ton off a tendrils before a single copy resolves. This is also a solid matchup.
Vs blue control/mentor
Lavinia stops FoW, gush, moxen, treasure cruise, DTT
Leovold stops all the card draw, even cantrips, but not counterspells. Both seem equally strong vs this matchup.
Lavinia really does nothing.
Leovold really does nothing but have a 3 toughness butt, which isn't bad vs 2/1s.
Anything I'm missing? Am I wrong in any analysis? Other big meta players I'm forgetting?
Which is better if you decide to run, say, 3x main of either. Is a mix better?