@brass-man How have you been liking By Force in the board? I feel like it's a bit too costly with spheres out, and I didn't see many copies in the top 8 at NYSE (just two total IIRC).

By Force has been great for me. I don't know yet whether I prefer 2 or 3 copies in the sideboard, but I'm very happy with the card ... but my approach to Shops seems to be a little different than some.

I wouldn't want to run By Force unless I was totally sure I had:

  • a rock-solid manabase
  • enough cheap removal to survive long enough to develop my manabase

Postboard I'm running 19 lands (+5 artifacts) and 7 one-drop removal spells, which has been good for me. Typically I'm able to play a one-for-one By Force early, and get bigger value out of it in the late game.

I think if I were not already in a position to do that, I would run more lands or more 1-drop removal instead of By Force.

last edited by Brass Man

Monastary Mentor was restricted today, obviously requiring some pending edits to this topic. Removing from Decks-to-Beat for now.


Discussion about how this archetype will adapt given the changes is completely welcome.

To me the big question is, if you can't run enough mentors to be able to reliably find one quickly with velocity/ cantrips do you go with an inferior mentor (like pyromancer) or do you move away from velocity into an actual draw engine?

I think that's likely the big metagame defining question for blue.

Leading candidates for draw engine are paradox or gifts both of which have proven shells that have put up results. Remora is a slightly outside the box option that's allready been used some. As is standstill. And maybe something retro like intuition AK or FoF will come back, though I doubt it.

last edited by walking.dude

I wonder whether this will cause a fork from URW to URW and UBW. Red will continue to lean on the greatest thief in the multiverse, together with pyro. Black will move towards tutors and tendrils. Tinker is likely to re-emerge too.

Maybe it is not correct to still call it Mentor Control, but Jeskai or 4c builds that are based on cantrips, Delve-spells and Planeswalkers are still pretty strong, so I place my questions here.

Why do people not play the full set of moxen? The deck is loaded with spells which can profit from the extra mana (Vryn Prodigy, Snapcaster, all the Planeswalkers, the win conditions, the multi artifact removal you bring out of the board, the two mana Dredge hate ...). While watching streams with these kind of decks I noticed that people often draw many cards but are forced to discard at the end of turn instead of just casting the spells because they are missing the extra mana and tempo boost of extra Moxen. In my eyes, cutting the the off color Moxen only helps in the Xerox mirror (being either Delver or Control). With all Moxen you play 22 mana sources overall before boarding. That still leaves you in a favored position against other blue control decks like Grixis Thiefs or Oath that play two or three more mana sources. And against the rest of the relevant field (Shops, Dredge, Paradoxical, BUG) you even want to have the extra mana and tempo boost.

Why do people play four colors, in most cases UWRG? G is usually added to add Sylvan Library and Ancient Grudge. But this weakens the mana base a lot and Strip Mine (a nice tactical option) gets cut. Even though, both cards are great, I don't see the reason to add them as you have plenty alternatives in the Jeskai colors. For Sylvan Library you can play additional Vryns/Snapcaster/Merchant Scroll if you want. And it's not that this deck isn't already drawing lots of cards. And By Force is a powerful tool against Shops too. Even though Ancient Grudge is an Instant I am not sure if it is even better (you have to play twice for Sphere effects, you have to fetch for serval different Duals, you can't remove more than two artifacts). With just UWR you can play three different types of basics and give Shops a hard fight on that route.

Thanks in advance for some more information on these points!

last edited by Tom Bombadil

@tom-bombadil Pyroblasts are common and Sylvan Library is one of the best non-blue sources of card advantage. It's a very powerful card but you are right about how it taxes the manabase.

In UWR or UWRg mentor decks post restriction, many play a slower game now and use maindeck Stony Silence/Null Rod to protect Pyro/Mentor from Ballista as well as hose PO decks/Ravager, so they try to minimize artifact mana

Off colour moxen use to help power out a turn 1/2 mentor more often and could still trigger mentor&tokens later in the game. Now it is just a dead draw lategame even with Pyro in play

By Force is indeed great against shops, but drawing multiples can be awkward, and in decks with multiple Dack/JVP, Ancient Grudge is also a source of card advantage

@tom-bombadil said in Mentor Control:

Maybe it is not correct to still call it Mentor Control, but Jeskai or 4c builds that are based on cantrips, Delve-spells and Planeswalkers are still pretty strong, so I place my questions here.

Why do people not play the full set of moxen?

My Gush book answers this in far more detail 🙂 , but...

In general, the "Xerox" decks that preceded Mentor rarely played full complements of Moxen, and usually stuck to on-color Moxen, and often omitted even tertiary on-color Moxen. The main reason is that these decks gain virtual card advantage by having a much lighter relative mana base than their competitors in the field. So, they prune mana for spell density. They compensate for this by having a much lower overall mana curve, which bends low or flat in the upper end, and rarely include cards that cost more than 3 mana.

Take a look, for example, at the UR Delver decks that were doing well in the summer of 2014. Those decks, even if they splashed green, often just ran Sapphire & Ruby. But, even if you go back further, and look at GroAtog decks from 2003 or 2007-8, they rarely ran full sets of Moxen.

The reason that I started playing full Moxen (and my list from the NYSE V this past summer is a case in point) was specifically because of Mentor. It turns out that Moxen were valuable to helping accelerate out a more expensive growing threat like Mentor (most "Grow" or "Xerox" threats in the history of the format were no more than 2 mana - Delver, Pyromancer, Dryad, etc. are all 1-2 mana (I have a whole table of such cards in my Gush book)). Mentor, being 3 mana, is challenge to the Xerox/Grow archetype, because it often means you need/want more colorless acceleration to both play your threat and then have a mana up to protect it with Spell Pierce/Flusterstorm/Pyroblast. Secondarily, but no less important, the virtual card advantage downside of drawing dead Moxen was mitigated by the fact that a Mox pumped Mentor and generated new tokens.

Very few of the Pyromancer/Delver decks from 2013 on generally played JTMS, either, which would also incentivize you to play full Moxen. Without full Moxen, it's hard to reliable Gush into JTMS on turn 3. So, the exception to playing full Moxen or more artifact acceleration in Gush decks that used lots of cantrips were decks like East Coast Wins from the summer of 2011, which were essentially just big mana blue decks with Gush. But, historically, most Vintage Gush decks in the Xerox mold do not run off color Moxen. There are exceptions, of course, but that's not the norm.

Another, third related reason, is that, at least since 2003, alot of "Xerox" decks will play Null Rod or Null Rod variants. Thus, running more Moxen makes Null Rod less asymmetrical. Contemporary Delver, for example, often has 2-3 Null Rods in the 75 somewhere.

last edited by Smmenen

In the actual meta (see the last vintage challenge) it could make sense to maindeck Containment Priests. Dredge and Oath are stronger than ever and the Ambush Viper mode of the Priests make them even usefull in almost any matchup but Storm and Paradoxical.

last edited by Tom Bombadil
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