This past Saturday I was able to play in my first paper vintage event in a few years. Big thanks to Calvin for lending me cards! I went with Dark Petition Storm, since that is what I have been playing online recently and I love me storm combo. That said as far as combo decks go, I thought it would be better positioned against Stony Silence than Outcome decks because you get to play with 6 rituals. My list was as follows:
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mana Vault
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring
1 Lotus Petal
4 Dark Ritual
2 Cabal Ritual
4 Gitaxian Probe
3 Cabal Therapy
1 Chain of Vapor
1 Hurkyl’s Recall
1 Yawgmoth’s Bargain
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Minds Desire
1 Yagmoth’s Will
1 Ancestral Recall
4 Dark Petition
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Empty the Warrens
4 Polluted Delta
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Scalding Tarn
2 Underground Sea
1 Watery Grave
1 Tolarian Academy
3 Defense Grid
2 Mindbreak Trap
2 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Ravenous Trap
3 Hurkyls Recall
The deck is pretty stock, but I’ll go over some card choices that deviate from Efros list from a while back.
The Watery Grave and Preordain were proxy considerations. I would have played with the third Underground and Time Walk if I had access to more cards or a higher proxy limit.
Personally, I haven’t been impressed with Library of Alexandria in this deck. Often I think it creates awkward play patterns and its inability to tap for colored mana is a negative. Also, I come from the TPS school from years past, where we played with an abundance of basics. I hadn’t been impressed with Ancient Tomb in the limited games I played against shops in testing, so I went with the tried and true strategy of more basics. The post board games I have played against Ravager Shops come down to making land drops, casting an EOT Hurks and either immediately winning the following turn or creating an overwhelming advantage with something like Necro.
Finally, I moved the ETW to the main to gain some sideboard space, hopefully improving game one against shops and giving you an extra win condition.
The tournament went well. I went 4-2, losing in the last round to miss top 8. I apologize if I have the naming conventions wrong. It’s been a while.
Rd 1. Sylvan 4 color Mentor – W
Rd 2. Paradoxical Oath – L
Rd 3. UR Blood Moon Control – W
Rd 4. Ravager Shops – W
Rd 5. Non FOW Dredge – W
Rd 6. Paradoxical Mentor – L
I didn’t take notes at the tournament, but will go over some of the plays/moments that stood out to me. To my opponents, let me know if I messed up any of the details.
Rd. 2 Game 1 - I lose on turn one to Outcome shenanigans. Game 2 my opponent led with Mox, Orchard, Oath, and FOW for my turn 2 Bargain. I lost on his turn 2. At this point, I’m wondering if I made a horrible mistake in choosing what felt like a considerably weaker combo deck.
Rd. 5 Game 1 – I mull to 6 and keep 2 lands Vamp, Dark Ritual, and 2 other irrelevant cards. Having won the die role and knowing my opponent is on dredge, I am feeling decently confident. I can’t remember if he mulled or not, but if he did he was on 6 and led with a Leyline of the Void. I led with a land and passed. My opponent played Bazaar and passed. At this point, what should I do? I think I got it stuck in my head I needed to Timetwister pronto, since Timetwister is a great main deck answer to dredge. However, did I need to do it on turn 2? What about Necro? I didn’t even consider it at the time – tunnel vision and all that. In the moment, my decision was if I should cast Vamp for Twister now or wait a turn. I decided now, but I think it was likely wrong. I’m probably not losing on turn 2 and may be able to twist on my turn 3 with additional mana. When I went for it on turn 2, my Twister hand almost provided me with enough resources. The problem was when one mana short of Demonic Tutoring for Tendrils. Instead I used the tutor to grab Black Lotus and cast Wheel of Fortune from my hand. It was not so fortuitous and I lost on my following turn.
Rd 6. I was bummed I had to play it out and wasn’t feeling great as I was destroyed in Rd 2 by another Outcome deck. Turn 1 or 2 my opponent cast Thoughtcast, played out some artifact mana, including a Mana Vault and passed the turn. I cast Duress and saw his hand included Mystical and Outcome. I took the Mystical because I had Therapy for Outcome. The problem was he had mana to cast Outcome, which he did in response. I essentially lost the following turn. I should have taken Outcome and let him mystical for Outcome. That way when he Outcomes he does it on his turn, instead of mine. He is also down a card this way. Furthermore, I can still Therapy a Top out of his hand.
G2 I Vamp for Necro and resolve it on my turn 2. I know he has Time Walk and Mentor in hand. However, I already have Mindbreak in hand and am hoping to trap the Time Walk and win the following turn, since he would need to cast artifact mana first to play the Walk and Mentor, which means my trap is live. My opponent had Academy to ruin my day and I lost on the spot. I can’t remember my hand, but I wonder if there was a different approach that doesn’t involve passing the turn.
Having played a tournament with the deck, I think I need a better strategy against the Outcome decks. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I want to try Pryoblasts and maybe Surgicals or Thoughtseizes.
I’m not sure on the Mindbreak Trap sb slots. The only decks I currently bring them in against are other combo decks.
I have yet to use the Massacre in any matches I’ve played online or in paper; however; I am afraid to cut it and get paired against Thalia.
In the main deck, 4 Dark Petitions seems like 1 or 2 too many. They can be clunky in multiples and if your opponent has Leyline or Rest in Peace, they are exceedingly poor.
I also think 3 Therapy may be one too many. As an alternative, I may try moving a Defense Grid to the main to open up a sideboard slot.
Another consideration is adding a second Chain of Vapor or Echoing Truth. It is nice to have generic bounce to deal with the enchantment based hate.
I had a great time at the tournament and look forward to playing more. All of my opponents were a pleasure to play against, especially Jostin (spelling?) on Shops. I think he was more excited with my win than I was. It was also awesome to see so many familiar faces after years away. Vintage is great.
Let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading.