I don’t love the Pithing Needle. If you really want that Revoker seems better. I’d also cut the ESG for another Diamond in this version. Sphinx is certainly interesting. Do you ever find yourself not having enough relevant creatures in the SB games? That’s the concerns I’d have.
I started brewing the deck sometime last summer. I saw Dredge using Hollow Ones and friends of mine enjoyed the modern version of Hollow One so I decided to look at cards that could work well with it in vintage. Years ago I missed out on playing Survival in legacy by a few weeks and that was a bummer since I’ve been in love with the card since the World Championship Rec-Sur deck.
What ended up happening is I figured out the core cards in the deck and threw some other stuff in to try it out. I messaged @infant_no_1 to jam some games online and we both felt like there was something good happening, so I kept working on it until I started putting up about a 5-0 per week (plus basically never going negative). That sold me on it as a “real” deck and not just a project. That’s when I posted it here. People chimed in, it got picked up a couple times in VSL and then won the Japan champs event!
I simply started out by saying free 4/4’s have to be good enough for the format and worked to figure out how I could make it happen. Bazaar was obvious, then Rootwala fit right in, then VV, then Survival. Those 20 cards just happened really, it was about finding the right mix to work with them.
@miryafa The best strategy against Survival decks is to win outside the combat step. If your deck always or nearly always wins by attacking with creatures you cast you probably don’t have a favorable matchup. Dredge and Oath can both fight in the combat step, but I don’t think either is really favored by much, of at all.
I prefer the second Trophy. It’s far superior imo. Only worse against Shops, but not much worse. It is 100% better vs Oath, better in the mirror and vs Dredge (blowing up Bazaar is pretty decent).
To me the only time Shops is tough is when they lead on Trinisphere or can put incredible pressure via Overseer on turn 1. Claim does help in the latter case, but not necessarily the former.
Pharaoh: what are you trying to remove? Most decks don’t attack with creatures that matter, and the things you’d really like to get are often indestructible or draw around 14 cards. I guess it could be interesting against Oath unless they land Niv Mizzet?
Arbor: yeah, I played it for a couple weeks this summer and the number of times it was helpful to me were few, where the number of times it was actively bad were many.
Bloodghast: it hasn’t played because it doesn’t actually synergize with Vengevine and you have to discard it to ever get it back. That’s a lot of work for a 2/1.
Vengeful Pharoah: not a relevant ability for Vinage games.
Mental Misstep: I’ve been playing 3 in a non-FoW, non-Thalia version and been pleased with it.
Dryad Arbor: is fine, not great. The Survival interaction is neat but hardly something you’ll do. Works well if you want to play Cradle though.
Mana Confluence: you could build the mana base off these if you wanted, but you’d have to eschew DRS.