yar the main nod I give to bot over sphinx is, Sphinx is terrible against shops and Tinker is amazing against shops. Metamorph is at an all-time low so Tinker is almost always GGs. Meanwhile, in a world full of Precursor Golem, it's very easy to cast a sphinx (if you can cast it) and still lose to their onslaught. Meanwhile, they're both about equally good vs. blue decks, on average, I'd say.

@boggyb Despite my small sample size, I was undefeated in games where Sphinx resolved, including at least 3 games vs shops. Not going to debate that tinker/bot isnt better vs shops, but Drain+Sphinx was a play all day.

Why no engineered explosives?

After reading through this thread I have a few thoughts most of which might hold no merit.
Prior to EE6 we tried Thoughtseize wastelands crucible bobs painful truths and most of the time they left us feeling flat. W/o Gush I definitely feel we lost the best draw engine but the addition of preordain helps your fixing (ala Dack) but cheaper.


  • Tried white, but the mana doesn't work.

This is definitely true. I love the addition of red just for Dack pyro and either grudge/by Force. Personally I haven't had the time to try something like this myself yet but on paper it looks fantastic.

  • Wasteland is a requirement for this deck idea to work reliably. You must keep their mana occupied, whether through Wasteland or through answering your little threats. So, cutting Wasteland while keeping the deathrite/leovold/1-for-1 removal core of the deck just doesn't work very well.

I disagree here a little. I never felt like I wanted to be wasting my land drops on wastelands as most of my deck was very color intensive (Shaman/Leo/Decay and you guys are playing Dack)
One turn of me wastelanding them and them having a follow up land or me w/o an active DRS usually spelt doom.
Also Pete commented that CoW and DT were the worst cards if CoW is bad then wasteland will be worse as that's the main reason to play them together. if DT is bad then we don't have the right targets available in the deck. Every time we draw it we should be doing cartwheels in our head lol.

  • Leovold is really good!

End of story. He easily is one of my favorite creatures to play with and every time I resolve one I go right into "protect the queen" mode.

  • Thoughtseize is good against storm, bad against shops, semi-decent vs Mentor. Not sold on it either way; but I think its value is too variant to be worth it in the context of a large tournament. Also I'm not happy blind-fetching a sea into Wastelands in a shops-rich environment, given how tenuous the mana situation here is.

We found Tseize to just be bad. More often than not the blue decks can delve/jvp/snap their way back into the game as we're trying to play this long grindy game(which is a huge reason we ended up on Managorger). We opted for for card draw/selection which worked out great with the more solid no wastelands mana base.

  • I wish there were more good draw spells for this deck that aren't Preordain or Gush in Vintage. Merchant Scroll is a good addition for this archetype to this end.

The best thing we have really is nights whisper
And possibly painful truths and skeletal scrying (these two we could never really get behind due to having to gush still and our 3cc slot was jammed with Leo/Hydra)

  • I don't know which black removal spell is best. Murderous Cut is, I think, like 5% better than the rest but it's very close.

Snuff out was a house for me at EE and the 5 weeks after of top 4s and top 8s
Also not sure why we're eschewing fatal push here?

last edited by Fisken

@Fisken I still love thoughtseize in any room full of combo (outcome or otherwise), but it is the DEADEST draw ever sometimes, and those times are often the least opportune. I have been sliding away from wastelands in exchange for basics and permission. I should clarify that DT was bad for me that day, but that may have been a function of staring at spheres for 4 rounds when underground seas are waste target numero uno. In general DT is a strong card, and a more recent version runs vamp as well.

Snuff out was a house for me at EE and the 5 weeks after of top 4s and top 8s
Also not sure why we're eschewing fatal push here?

Snuff Out is a real option. BUT: 1. It can't be Snapped back, and 2. Fatal Push is approx. as unreliable as Murderous Cut and can be misstepped. That said it is close; I think I give the nod to Murderous Cut over all.

I still think Engineered Explosives should be a 2 of somewhere in that 75. Also I've been noticing some lists utilizing Baral and Night's Whisper. Obv nobo with Painful Truths, but amazing with Night's Whisper and/or Skeletal Scrying. Also have you tried or considered Sylvan Library?

@boggyb said in 4C Keeper 2k17:

Snuff Out is a real option. BUT: 1. It can't be Snapped back,

Given how much mana I've had in the late game, 4UB isn't that bad.

@Serracollector said in 4C Keeper 2k17:

I still think Engineered Explosives should be a 2 of somewhere in that 75.

What number are you most wanting to EE at? 0 for Monks?

Zero for Monks, Zero for Mana Rocks in PO, 2 for Spheres and 99% of MUDs creature base, or just zero to wreck Moxen after getting a Crucible/Wasteland lock. All of these scenerios seem good in the MUs you expect.

@thecravenone The main function of that removal spell slot is to kill shops creatures. UB4 + double spheres is totally uncastable unless you have already won the game. What you want to do against shops is just grind their threats and spheres down and emerge on turn 4-5 with an at least healthy mana base, a decent board, and some cards in your hand, and you will usually win. The bridge to get there is to 1-for-1 remove their stuff, and Snapcaster is a good tool there to buy back a removal spell and trade/chump in combat to help you make it to the end game. With snuff out he's totally useless. I think Dismember is very strictly better in this list than Snuff Out given the presence of Snapcaster, and Cut is probably better than Dismember.

last edited by boggyb

How awesome is Ob Nixilis?

@sovarius In testing it was fantastic when it resolved, often killing a Mentor or Revoker on the spot. Double black was sometimes a problem, but I have since tweaked this list to include a badlands, as it helped smooth out some of the inconsistencies in the manabase.

It is definitely a card with a great WTF factor from opponents, but a second EE, or additional spot removal is probably better long term.

@p3temangus Hi I just got into vintage and am very interested in 4c Leo decks. I was wondering if you had any updates to your list? So far I've playtested a version with 4 bobs and bolts, and kolaghans command and it's been a complete blast (only had match ups against Grixis Thieves and 2 Card Monte)

I've been interested in fitting Kess in somewhere in the deck too.

@bscheidemann Happy to hear you are interested. There have been lots of folks playing 4C Leo Variants lately, though I think most of them have cut Drains and Sphinx toward the Dack/Delve Package. Sphinx is my favorite card printed in the past 10 years so I Jam it in wherever I can...so feel free to cut it. Here is my current list. the third preordain could easily be Ponder, Drains could easily be extra pyroblasts or spell snare if you expect a lot of Oath & Shops. Sphinx could become tasigur, a third leo, or third Shaman. The only other change I have considered is going down to 6 fetches for a badlands to sure up the black and red count, but would only do that if I cut Drains.

7 fetch
2 underground sea
2 tropical island
2 island
2 volcanic island
1 strip mine
4 mox
1 black lotus
2 Deathrite shaman
2 leovold
3 snapcaster mage
1 consecrated sphynx
2 lightning bolt
3 abrupt decay
4 force of will
3 mental misstep
2 mana drain
1 flusterstorm
1 pyroblast
1 dig through time
1 treasure cruise
3 preordain
1 ancestral recall
1 time walk
1 brainstorm
2 jace the mind sculpter
2 ancient grudge
2 dack fayden


Thanks for getting back to me! The list looks great. I’m sure it makes for some real grindy games. I’m going to my first vintage event this weekend and looking forward to running some sort of Leovold deck!

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