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Deck Description

Seat of the Synod Mentor (SSM) is a branch of Paradoxical Outcome (PO) lists which seeks to use as much artifact mana as possible in Vintage. The deck attempts to use this mana to chain multiple draw spells until the deck finds and resolves Monastery Mentor with an abundance of non-creature spells left in hand.

Most lists include the following in full play-sets (4-ofs):

  1. Mox Opal
  2. Seat of the Synod
  3. Paradoxical Outcome
  4. Monastery Mentor
  5. Force of Will

Who Plays SSM Currently?

Seat of the Synod Mentor lists have been popping up throughout the summer of 2017 in Magic Online tournaments:

Reference Maindeck

What is the Deal with the Non-Mox Opal Artifacts?

For SSM to efficiently enable metalcraft for Mox Opal it requires two other artifacts in play. The probability of hitting at least two other artifacts within the first seven cards is greater than 50% when playing with 14+ Non-Mox Opal artifacts. That is to say, whether or not you draw Mox Opal, you would have a greater than 50% chance of drawing two other artifacts to enable metalcraft.

Hypergeometric Probability Calculator

  • Population Size (Deck Size) = 60
  • Number of Successes in Population (# Non-Mox Opal Artifacts) = 15
  • Sample Size (# Cards Drawn) = 7
  • Number of Successes in Sample (# Non-Mox Opal Artifacts Desired) = 2

Stony Silence?

Stony Silence.

Null Rod...

Stony Silence

Traditionally SSM folded to Stony Silence coupled with any form of pressure/backup.

  • There are only seven (7) "7?!?!" \7\ non-artifact mana sources in the list.
  • Force of Will (and to a lesser extent chains of vapor/fragmentize/hurkyls recall) are SSM's only answer to the effect.
    • Force of Will as a playset could not be reliably found to counter Null Rods or Stony Silences.
    • For lists running Fragmentize the deck needed to resolve this through Mental Misstep, Spheres, and Wastelands.

The Answer is a Mindtwister

One With Nothing

Force of Will is Expensive.

However, Force of Will is also Free:

  • Shoal disrupts from an angle not affected by wasteland or mana denial.
  • Shoal disrupts 2-CMC turn one plays while on the draw.
  • Slower Monastery Mentor lists are the only decks not running powerful 2-drops worth countering.
  • The Paradoxical engine, especially when reinforced by Snapcaster Mage, is a strong draw engine in Vintage.
    • This engine definitely provides enough card advantage to reliably find the artifact mana to hardcast Disrupting Shoal and Force of Will.
    • This engine might even provide enough card advantage to reliably pitch cards to Disrupting Shoal and Force of Will.

The following is a rough interpretation of what a Disrupting Shoal SSM list might look like:

Flexible Design Choices

The following maindeck inclusions are highly flexible e.g.:

  • 4x Snapcaster Mage + 1x Disrupting Shoal + 1x Baral, Chief of Compliance
    ----------------------------------------------------- vs. ---------------------------------------------------------
  • 4x Predict + 2x Sensei's Divining Top
    ----------------------------------------------------- vs. ---------------------------------------------------------
  • 3x Thoughtcast + 2x Snapcaster + 2x Mystic Remora - 1x Lotus Petal
    ----------------------------------------------------- vs. ---------------------------------------------------------
  • 1x Merchant Scroll + 1x Predict + 2x Snapcaster Mage + 1x Disrupting Shoal + 1x Baral, Chief of Compliance

In particular the numbers of most of the 2-drops can be shifted around as long as there are enough to counter the dreaded Null Rod or Stony Silence turn 1. It should be noted that the deck runs enough 1-drops to use Disrupting Shoal as a functional Mental Misstep (and similarly as a counterspell to Jace, the Mindsculptor using Paradoxical Outcome). Some other niche scenarios where Disrupting Shoal stands out vs. Mental Misstep are countering Black Lotus and other Moxen, as well as combining well with Baral, Chief of Compliance to be hardcast.

So Literally All You Did Was Change Mental Misstep to Disrupting Shoal?!

Yes.

The Super Up for Suggestion Sideboard Debacle

SSM lists have inherently fragile mana bases as discussed earlier. This often translates into higher land counts postboard. Cards such as Basic Island and Basic Plains are often found in SSM sideboards even though the deck lacks an efficient way to find them (3x Flooded Strand). I would argue that Cavern of Souls and Karakas should take over this sideboard space as basic lands tend to add nothing to the deck in post sideboard strategies other than mana flood. Similarly most SSM lists have heavy white splashes postboard for cards such as Fragmentize and Disenchant; these cards feel like traps that our primarily blue-based deck can't afford to fall into (3x Flooded Strand, 3x Tundra). Instead I would argue for cards such as Chain of Vapor, Hurkyls Recall, Steel Sabotage, Dismember, Into the Roil, and Echoing Truth as sideboard material if the deck requires permanent interaction.

An Example Sideboard Strategy vs. Thiim Shops:
Out -

  • 3x Snapcaster Mage
  • 1x Brainstorm
  • 1x Ponder
  • 4x Preordain
    In -
  • 3x Hurkyls Recall
  • 2x Cavern of Souls
  • 1x Karakas
  • 1x Steel Sabotage
  • 2x Ceremonius Rejection

Potential Cards for Discussion

Extra in-hand filtration (to prevent flood):

  • Brainstorm
  • Baral, Chief of Compliance
  • Thirst for Knowledge
  • Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
  • Jace, The Mindsculptor

More Broken Cards (to win faster):

  • Balance
  • Tinker/Blightsteel (requires extra in-hand filtration e.g. Thirst for Knowledge)
  • Memory Jar
  • Timetwister
  • Defense Grid

Thank you for your time!