Hey guys 🙂

I started playing vintage on mtgo two weeks ago and I'm pretty excited. Currently I'm playing a version of Grixis thieves, but I'd like to explore something new. As far as I can tell most players tend to play non-basics. Therefore this card has to kick ass:

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I'm not sure which deck can abuse this card the most, but I brewed some kind of a mono blue deck. Here is the decklist:

  • Lands:
    1 Library of Alexandria
    4 Flooded Strand
    2 Polluted Delta
    7 Island
    1 Plains
    1 Tundra
    1 Strip Mine

  • Creatures
    1 Thing in the Ice
    1 Monastery Mentor
    1 Snapcaster Mage

  • Planeswalkers
    2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    1 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy

  • Artifacts
    1 Black Lotus
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Sapphire
    2 Null Rod

  • Enchantments
    2 Back to Basics
    1 Search for Azcanta

  • Instants
    1 Ancestral Recall
    1 Brainstorm
    2 Flusterstorm
    4 Force of Will
    3 Mental Misstep
    3 Mana Drain
    1 Mystical Tutor
    1 Gush
    1 Dig Through Time
    1 Hurkyl's Recall
    1 Repeal
    1 Swords to Plowshares

  • Sorceries
    1 Ponder
    3 Preordain
    1 Gitaxian Probe
    1 Merchant Scroll
    1 Temporal Mastery
    1 Time Walk
    1 Treasure Cruise

  • Sideboard
    1 Balance
    2 Containment Priest
    2 Grafdigger's Cage
    2 Hurkyl's Recall
    1 Misdirection
    2 Rest in Peace
    1 Rite of Undoing
    2 Swords to Plowshares
    2 Tormod's Crypt

Card choices:
There are some different ways to build this deck. Generally I thought of a version with and without artifacts. The artifact build would have time vault+ key as well as the full set of moxes, sol ring, mana crypt, senseis top and tinker + blightsteel. Those are a lot of broken cards and sure fast mana is important - But I think that most players rely on their artifact mana, especially if you drop a Back to Basics. Why dont take an advantage of that? Null Rod can be annoying for any deck, not just Paradoxical Outcome decks.
I won't go through all cards, because most of them are obvious. Just want to speak about some cards, that I personally like, but don't tend to see that often. For example Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Search of Azcanta, Narset Transcendent, Thing in the Ice and Temporal Mastery.
Temporal Mastery is like a second Time Walk and helps getting enough land drops, which will be important for this deck. Ponder, Preordain, Brainstorm and JTMS should help cast it via its Miracle costs. If It is stuck in our hand and we can't put it back into the library, we can pitch it to Force of Will. I've never seen this card before in vintage and maybe it's because sometimes Time Walk isn't that great, but I'd like to test it on my own.
Search of Azcanta can Scry 1 each turn and fill your graveyard for Snapcaster Mage, JVP and Dig through Time + Treasure Cruise. If it flips, Search for Azcanta will win the game on the long run. I think this card is amazing, but maybe it's unplayable due to the Back to Basics effect.
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy is a fine card that interacts well with the graveyard. Flashing back a Ponder, Ancestral or even a Preordain has some decent value. Also the loot ability is nice. Maybe he is just a weak version of Snapcaster Mage, but I like him.
Thing in the Ice does a lot of things: It blocks, it can bounce your opponents board and deal the damage necessary to win. With enough cantrips and/or counterspells it shouldn't be a problem to flip it. I imagine that Thing in the Ice is really strong in this deck.
Narset Transcendent is just awesome, right? First the +1 ability has a 2/3 probability to hit. In addition there are a lot of ways to manipulate the library, so missing that is unlikely. Secondly the -2 ability on any good spell is just insane. If you can't get it out or your opponent is resolving creatures you can pitch it to Force.

Splashing White:
I believe that white is color of choice because it has one of the best finishers in vintage: Monastery Mentor
This guy is just absurd. White also provides Swords to Plowshares, which is an excellent removal spell and takes care of nearly everything. Together with Hurkyl's Recall and Repeal this deck shouldn't have problems dealing with threats.
I've also considered black due to its enormous disruption spells, but white convinced me with it's hate for the Sideboard. Having the option to side in Containment Priest, Rest in Peace and/or more Swords to Plowshares is just great.
As we're white, we could also exchange Null Rod with Stony Silence. If a deck mainboards some viable spells to deal with hate, then it's mostly against artifacts. Therefore Stony Silence seems like a decent choice. On the other hand we're having two more cards that need white mana and it costs one more.

Mana Base:
I'm actually unsure on how many to play. In a 60 card deck I'd play 24 lands. Because this is vintage and most of the cards are very cheap, one could play a few less. But this deck wants to drop a land on each of it's turns. Furthermore it has just two on color moxes, so playing like 20-21 should be fine. Strip Mine is not actually a land, but in the last resort it is one, so I suggest 21 with Strip Mine. Including the rule of xerox we can cut like four lands (9'ish cards that can be interpreted as cantrips). That makes 17 and I hope it isn't too unreasonable. Please correct me, if I'm wrong.

I haven't tested the deck so far, as I will need to buy the cards first. But I think, that I will do that in the next few weeks. Please feel free to comment whatever you think about this pile of cards. I'm looking forward to hear your opinion on this. Also please have mercy as this is my first post and my english isn't the best.

Thanks in advance and stay tuned,

last edited by StormtheBrain

I like this idea and I tried playing around with it but Back to Basics requires a game that has developed a bit. Vintage is a little too explosive for this card.

The issue with this card in vintage is that is not fast enough or disruptive enough . Maybe Damping Sphere could help but I do not know. Also, you are playing the ground game with Mentor and playing with Moat may be your better bet here with Tabernacle.

The combo decks rely very heavily on artifacts, the shop deck usually need 2 turns to put enough pressure on the board to force you to react, and Dredge needs 2 dredge targets to move past you.

Blood Moon is overall a better card because it is immediate disruption. The other issue is Oath and LandStill can play past you. You may disrupt some blue control decks but most good players will get past you and either race you or fight you on the stack to get their won con down.

So, you'll quickly find that Back to Basics/Blood Moon is this plan that looks great in theory (and steals games when everything goes according to plan), but isn't as good as you want it to be. Artifact mana (and Gush, though that's full restricted) make Back to Basics look awful. Blood Moon ends up better, but nobody is on 0 Basics, like they are in Legacy, so it's less exciting. And yes, we we assemble both Back to Basics and Null Rod, we're in great shape...but we're now talking about much harder things to get going.

If you look at your deck--you're look like a worse Standstill deck. Standstill punishes non-basic heavy manabases (which is a weakness which can be attacked), and I think that's basically the style of deck you want to play. Even better, Standstill is even pretty good in Vintage right now!

I have to agree with @moorebrother1 and @neo_altoid that Blood Moon is often a more powerful hoser, but I've only tested one challenge with a UW BtB deck similar to yours (the main difference is that I used Consecrated Sphinx as a sink for Mana Drain instead of Thing in the Ice/JvP).

I really like ErikSensei's original build of Blue Moon as a base (2 fluster, 2 Reb, 2 snare) -- I think it gets stronger as people play Mentor lists more similar to the URw Xerox configuration that's getting popular. It is, however, soft game 1 versus Shops.

@neo_altoid said in Back to Basics!:

Blood Moon ends up better, but nobody is on 0 Basics, like they are in Legacy, so it's less exciting.

Workshops is consistently on no basics.

But the argument holds true regardless because even one use out of a workshops can be enough against some lists.

Thanks you for your advice. Blood Moon seems like fun, too, but I'd rather be blue based. Standstill looks fine. Therefore I'd make the following exchanges:
3x Standstill for 3x Preordain
3x Tundra + 4x Mishra's Factory + 2x Islands for 7x Islands + 1x Plains + 1x Tundra
3x Wasteland for 2x Back to Basics + 1x Thing in the Ice
1x Crucible of Worlds for 1x Jace, Vryns Prodigy
2x Stony Silence for 2x Null Rod
Maybe take out Mystical Tutor or Merchant Scroll for another Swords.
Maybe add Narset Transcendent, I really like her.

I love long games, but my biggest threat is the time on magic online. Guess I need to train a bit more 🙂

Thanks guys and best regards,

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