Thank you to everyone for these really generous comments. It means a lot. I love the community back; there's no format other than Vintage for me.
In positive news, despite its "12-overlap rule" constrained version
that choked on mana in game 3 of its VSL match, Snakestill is now entering a phase of peak performance, 5-0 again twice in the past few days and winning the 48 person Vintage Challenge on Saturday:
I started brewing a few things recently and every time I tested them, I thought not only "whoa, this needs work" but "damn, I wish I was playing the Snake deck right now since that could handle this situation." It's pretty close to a final refined form, with flex slots always open as the meta changes and it's very enjoyable for me to pilot.
There are some good questions below:
@joep said in TMD Vintage Magic Podcast - e1: Brian Kelly:
I do have some questions about the snakestill deck for Brian. For a deck that wants a fast standstill in play, why was the 4th standstill cut?
That's a good question. The answer foremost is in empirical results, the versions with 3 outperform the versions with 4. I think omitting the 4th and instead playing Treasure Cruise (which was absent from the 4x Standstill VSL list due to the overlap rule) is correct. It's also a hedge against the fact that in a less frequent but real % of cases, Standstill will be a useless topdeck because the battlefield has been lost, so this prevents flooding on a situationally dead card. Snakestill exists to abuse Standstill without being beholden to it.
I like the inevitability aspect for a single champion of wits. However, the mishra's factory weakness was glossed over a little fast in my opinion. How does this deck fare against the workshop decks with factories? Do the standstills come out? Or do you assume the opponent plays as if you have all the factories?
Another very good question. The answer is that all of the Standstills stay in except the fourth one (if you are running it) which comes out only on the draw. I was initially hesitant to play a fast Standstill against Shops or Landstill because of the fear of opposing Factories. What I've learned is that you ignore it and play the Standstill turn 1 if possible. The reason for this is that you are able to use Standstill as an actual stall card. I would rather break my own Standstill at 6 life at EoT on Turn 10 with 6 lands and no Spheres in play than get bullrushed on their first turn. It's totally worth the 3 cards that they will discard and I will not draw from that particular Standstill. I lost only 1 game to low life from this approach (double factory, triple Wasteland) while winning over a dozen directly because of it.
What usually happens is you play something at EoT that often bounces or kills their Mishra, or you play Dig through Time, Ancestral, Brainstorm, or Snapcaster and then you untap unimpeded with a huge mana base and the usual array of blue options that tends to end up with players taking 3 turns in a row and passing back with some planeswalker, more creatures, and a Null Rod in play. This is so much better than keeping Standstill in hand and facing an Inspector, Overseer, Thorn, and 6 mana on the table "because I was scared of Mishra's Factory."
Dredge is the match-up where Standstill is dreadful. I board them all out except for 1 since it's occasionally part of complex sequences needed to get there (including decking them) contrasted with other things in the sb that have no use, like Mindbreak Trap. Boarding all of them out isn't unreasonable.