@desolutionist said in Cards to unrestrict:


What do you think about Imperial Seal?

And if you go down the rabbit hole of unrestricting Imperial Seal, can you also unrestrict Vampiric and Mystical Tutor?

My thought is that Imperial Seal doesn't see play and I don't think it's because you cannot play 4. If you were to unrestrict all the topdeck tutors, how many would you really want to play?

Those are good questions, that have complicated answers I can't begin to fully unpack here.

I will say, however that two key variables are whether Probe stays restricted and whether Misstep is eventually restricted. The topdeck tutors are much more dangerous if Probe is unrestricted, but less dangerous if Misstep is unrestricted.

The upkeep Vamp play is sufficiently insane that I don't think it can ever be safely unrestricted.

@DeaTh-ShiNoBi said in Cards to unrestrict:

@Smmenen I'm not terribly convinced that Flash would have a good matchup against Workshops if it were unrestricted. Phyrexian Revoker and Walking Ballista are both creatures that were not printed before Flash was restricted and both of them can stop the Reveillark kill. I have a hard time imagining that Disciple of the Vault is good enough to avoid this weakness (too much deck space), but maybe? Is there perhaps other viable Flash kills enabled by newer printings that haven't been explored?

Yeah - I should have been more explicit about this earlier, but I think we'd have more Rector Flash or other novel/different combos than we had in the past in addition to the ones used in the past. Since no one has really worked on Flash since the banning/restriction, there is a good chance that superior kills exist than were used in 2008. And certainly ways to overcome the normal obstacles in the format.

And, if your suspicions are right that Flash would have a bad Shop matchup, then all the more reason that Flash shouldn't be restricted at all.

last edited by Smmenen

@Smmenen You might be right about Rector Flash being more suitable to the current format than classic Hulk Flash. Grafdigger's Cage and Walking Ballista don't have anything to say about Rector. However, Bargain would still be vulnerable to Revoker.

@DeaTh-ShiNoBi said in Cards to unrestrict:

@Smmenen You might be right about Rector Flash being more suitable to the current format than classic Hulk Flash. Grafdigger's Cage and Walking Ballista don't have anything to say about Rector. However, Bargain would still be vulnerable to Revoker.

Agreed. I left this implicit, too, but there are ways to deal with that tactically as well. If Revoker is down proactively, and names Bargain, maybe you Rector for Necro, or Form of the Dragon, or something else, like Future Sight, that is optimal in that moment. I think Jaco or someone thereabouts had a 1 Flash Rector deck they played not terribly long ago. We might look at that, or the 2008 Flash Rector decks, to get a better sense of how they were built. This guy, from 2007, even had a Null Profusion!

Chapin even suggested, at one point, 4 Phryrexian Dreadnaught and a Bob! He was most fond, however, of the Sliver kill.

This conversation is reminding me how much worse Flash is with Brainstorm restricted. You really want a lot of these cards in your deck.

But, as you suggested, there may be new kills that are in the card pool since 2008 that can be used with Protean Hulk that aren't vulnerable to Ballista/Revoker. That's a good question!

last edited by Smmenen

A lot of focus is being placed on the speed vs interaction axis. So I think it's worth thinking about that.

I think there is common agreement that people don't like being killed on turn one. It's not fun gameplay, and subjectively it doesn't feel "fair".

It also makes a big difference in how games play out strategically. Playing combo some hands are faster and some are more resilient. Often you will mull to look for a hand that doesn't fold to a single piece of disruption and you will make deck building concessions to that end as well. If your opponent gets even one turn, they can hold up a one mana counter, or cast discard, or play a lock piece. So if you won't kill on turn one, your deck and your hand need to be able to play through disruption. So a deck with an un disrupted turn 2 clock is really a 2.5-3 turn clock at the fastest because it has to fight.

A deck with a turn one clock actualy kills on turn one. The old 4 LED long deck really did kill on turn one a lot of the time. If you scouted your opponents as not being on force, you could probably turn 1 them 60%+.

I think when unrestriction discussion is considered, it's very important to differentiate between cards that could boost combo in general and cards that boost turn one combo. The two play out very differentently.

last edited by walking.dude

The above dynamic is why I think cards like channel and balance would be very bad choices to unrestrict.

It's easy to get 2 mana on turn 1 without making major sacrifices. Getting 3 mana reliably on turn one is harder and requires playing some sub par choices (e.g. Lotus petal).

I think this is why flash is a potentially poor candidate. If the deck isn't good it does nothing. But if the deck is good enough, then you've added a potential turn one deck, because land mox flash is easy.

I think this is also why windfall is scary to me. I played academy, and spent a lot of time tuning neo academy (never played live because I couldn't get it to reliably beat keeper), and played long. The draw sevens are so strong and let you get away with playing temporary mana to reach 3 on turn one. The windfall deck if it works doesn't look like tps or dps it looks like a weaker long deck. The windfall deck if its good enouph is a turn one deck at least 20% of the time.

That's why I think it makes sense to focus on cards that are powerful but a bit slower. Tutors make combo more consistent. They speed up the average kill, but they don't speed up the fastest kills, because the fastest kills involve naturally drawing the pieces and not wasting mana and cards on tutors. Tutors are where I would look if you wanted to raise average speed without the drawbacks of raising max speed

last edited by walking.dude

People are talking about speed and turn 1 kills which brings me back to brainstorm. If quick-kill combo decks are more enabled I think the only way to really counter them is to move blue control back to the old instant-speed style. Think of a quick combo deck today that can get turn 1 kills. You win the die-roll and have force back up, you pretty much win. You lose the die roll, watch your U opponent go land, off color mox, preordain - again you pretty much win.
But if your opponent is going mox, land pass that makes you pause and consider force of will/fluster or force/pyroblast. You are now playing around 2 counters instead of 1.

Having access to instant speed card filtering changes how blue mages play out their first turn. Which, in a control match up can fundamentally change how your opponent plays. I think it actually slows gameplay down in that sense as players are more careful about playing around spells like pyro, flusterstorm, force etc.

There are a lot of people on TheManaDrain who I feel argue with @Smmenen just to argue and squawk.

Unrestricted Necro would be interesting but ultimately problematic should Misstep be restricted. Force of will and spell pierce are the only playable counter's that can reliably stop this on turn 1, and (as was pointed out earlier) unmask would be a house in that deck, on top of thoughtseize and duress.

Let's actually build the Flash deck.

Here's a stab:

The combo:
4 Flash
4 Protean Hulk
1 Reveillark
1 Body Double
1 Carrion Feeder
1 Mogg Fanatic
1 Body Snatcher

Restricted Cards:
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Ponder
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Walk
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Brainstorm
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Dig Through Time

4 Force of Will
4 Mental Misstep
4 Pact of Negation

1 Chain of Vapor

2 Summoner's Pact

1 Other card - maybe Preordain? Or Misdirection?

20 Mana:

13 Lands
5 Moxen
Lotus Petal

One key weakness is that if you've drawn Flash combo cards, you'll need to put them back into your deck. Maybe the last card needs to be See Beyond.

So, one question is whether this is better than Rector Flash? And, another question is whether a deck like this is actually that good in an era of Sudden Shock, etc. This combo could be easily broken up by all kinds of hate.

I'm not sure that you can afford to run 2 Delve spells without 4x Preordain and/or Dack Fayden. You just won't fill your graveyard fast enough.

I think you should slot in at least one Snapcaster Mage, too, because it's just too good with Flash after your first one gets countered.


Creature suite for combo should consider
Karmic guide
V seer
Mikesus the unhallowed
Walking ballista

I think that's one fewer pieces needed to combo, and it's a bit more resilient to spot removal, and ballista is a playable card in its own right.

All that said, I think I like rector lists better. Being able to play therapy along with flash for more redundant ways to kill it, and being able to cast it in pinch would be worth a lot.

Old school rector decks back in the early 2000s (maybe circa 2003) did better against shops than you would expect on the strength of just powering out a quick rector and just brick walking (though that was obviously stronger against the smokestack builds of yesteryear).

last edited by walking.dude

What sort of targets would be wanted for Rector? Bargain/Necro seems obvious, and Steve mentioned Future Sight before, but what about something like Omniscience? While it's not as sure a win as Bargain can be it seems like will get you there with minimal support and at least will pitch to Force if stuck in your hand, as if you get the Bargain after it lets you play it for free.

If I had access to 4 Flash I'd brew some awful Oops! deck that either cast Flash to trigger Balustrade Spy or to trigger Protean Hulk to find Balustrade Spy and Grand Abolisher.

@desolutionist Not that I disagree with it being a viable option, but it amazes me that Vintage is in a place where Form of Dragon is a card you might play when if you had said to my younger self that Vintage would be in such a place I would have called you crazy. What a world.


Well even the old versions of Rector played Form of the Dragon. It's quite good. It's a Moat that is also a win condition and gains you life. You get that instead of Bargain against Shops or something. Obviously now it's a little more risky because of the Ravager + Ballista combo and Hangarback Walker.

last edited by desolutionist

@desolutionist I was out during the times that deck saw play although that's not too surprising thinking about it. That card's always been sweet when you can cheat it out, albeit slow. The fact that Shops can now just kill you via Ballista or Walker is a pain though.

@desolutionist said in Cards to unrestrict:


Form of the Dragon...

I mentioned FoD in post 50, and the deck I linked to from 2007 had it in it.

@walking.dude said in Cards to unrestrict:


Creature suite for combo should consider
Karmic guide
V seer
Mikesus the unhallowed
Walking ballista


So, after Flashing in Hulk, the combo is:

Step 1: Put Karmic Guide and Viscera Seer in play.

Step 2: Karmic Guide trigger puts Protean Hulk back into play.

Step 3: Sac Hulk to Viscera Seer to put Mikaeus and Ballista (x=0) into play.

Step 4: The Ballista will die as a statebased effect, but come back into play via Mikaeus as 1/1

Step 5: Sac Ballista as many times as needed to kill an opponent.

Bonus: you can also loop Karmic Guide with Seer to Scry through your entire deck, I believe!

Is that what you had in mind? Nicely done. That is certainly one card smaller than the Reveillark combo, if I understand that correctly.

Also, if I'm understanding this correctly, does this make Micakeus and Ballista a 2 card, 6 mana instant kill in any format?

EDIT: after 2 seconds of web searching, it does appear this is the case:



last edited by Smmenen

@Smmenen sure looks that way to me. It won't have a counter on it when it dies, comes back with one, remove it, it dies, rinse and repeat. Pretty cool combo.


So you could just hulk in Mikaeus and Ballista; that's only two cards. That's much better for Protean Hulk that what there used to be!

last edited by desolutionist
  • 150
  • 70451