@mediumsteve said:

is it actually worth running green just for library and friends? why not remora instead?

Yes. Sylvan Library is deceptively powerful, Ancient Grudge and Nature's Claims are insane in the right matchups, and Dragonlord Dromoka was the reason Rich won game 2 in the finals against double Dread of Night. Remora is IMO not a very good card.

why the lack of tops?

They get countered by opposing Missteps, shut off by opposing Revokers, only generally draw 1 card, and are more mana intensive over the long run.

thoughts on running library, especially in a 4 color deck? after all it is an awkward card with gush.

The deck is a control deck designed to draw a large number of cards over a prolonged game. Gush is actually great with LoA as it allows you to reactivate LoA. Again, watch game 2 of the finals.

how relevant is grudge today when shops is nonexistent online?

Shops is not nonexistent, though obviously a bit on the downswing. In any case, the card also has a place against other artifact-based Blue decks. Watch the semifinals match for an example of how vulnerable those decks are to the 2 for 1 afforded by Ancient Grudge.

@The-Atog-Lord said:

No need for an entire book or anything.

If you say so, Rich.

Thanks for the great writeup!

thanks for the article. if you run green why not including a fastbond in the main? I get that misssteps are quite abundant at the moment but don't you think that it would still be worth to add it ?

Great write up, its great being able to see the thought behind the more control-style Mentor lists. Just one question: what is your general strategy for sideboarding in the mirror? It seems like Verdict and Plow are solid options, Dromoka possibly as well, but past the main deck Ancient Grudge I'm not sure what I should be taking out.

Thanks once again for your contribution to our world with this kind of deep strategy thoughts that allow us all to go a little further in our game.

Was really hoping you would write about the deck and this primer is a fantastic read - thanks Rich and congratulations.

I'd been following the iterations of your list with each new DE and it's good to be able to follow your reasoning. How would you weigh up the inclusion of that fourth Mentor? It had seemed, that by trying cards like Gideon and previously Dromoka in the main, the deck was looking for something of a trump in drawn-outs. Ultimately, is just having more Mentors the best trump?

Also, I like the inclusion of a controlling two-drop in Erayo. But do you ever miss the inclusion of a bit of lifegain - especially with Dromoka also relegated to the sideboard?

Anyway, fantastic deck, fantastic result. Look forward to trying the list out!

Did you think about propaganda or ghostly prison instead of supreme verdict?
Should win the mentor mirror and should be very nice vs dredge (in addition to the traditionnal package)
@artsncrofts : you should cut an island. beside this, removing 1 FoW is an option.

last edited by CwaM

@ChubbyRain said:

@mediumsteve said:

is it actually worth running green just for library and friends? why not remora instead?

Yes. Sylvan Library is deceptively powerful, Ancient Grudge and Nature's Claims are insane in the right matchups, and Dragonlord Dromoka was the reason Rich won game 2 in the finals against double Dread of Night. Remora is IMO not a very good card.

I would prefer a good explanation of why remora is "not a very good card" when it is a 1 mana card that can either stop an opponent dead or draw multiple cards, in a deck that can easily pay the mana for it for multiple turns.

Young Pyromancer can also win through Dread of Night and is not green.

I suspect that Rich won because Rich is a skillful Vintage player, not because this list is optimal. I had the same theory about his "Odd Oath" list as well.

@mediumsteve I dunno. Watching his finals match, Rich was playing to his outs correctly the whole time. The key cards in the matchup were the uncounterable fatties - Supreme Verdict and Dromoka.

The point was that he HAD outs to play to. Other than Dromoka, I'm not sure what he would have drawn that would have sealed the deal. Pyros? He would have run into the opponent's token swarm and not had the same clock post-wrath.

@mediumsteve Rich is a skillful player. Deck selection is a skill. He seemed to have a pretty good deck. He seems to think it's pretty good. I don't think you could ever say a thing is perfectly optimized, since that probably doesn't exist in the real world, but that weapon looked pretty well sharpened to me.

@mediumsteve said:

I would prefer a good explanation of why remora is "not a very good card" when it is a 1 mana card that can either stop an opponent dead or draw multiple cards, in a deck that can easily pay the mana for it for multiple turns.

It's a mana-intensive, misstepable, version of Standstill that your opponent can reasonably expect to wait out and doesn't stop your opponent from running out creatures in an increasingly creature-centric Vintage metagame.

Young Pyromancer can also win through Dread of Night and is not green

The Sylvan Mentor deck runs more lands, artifacts, enchantments, and planeswalkers than your typical Young Pyromancer deck, making it relatively worse in this shell and likely unable to race other Pyromancers and Delvers, which Dromoka can do by virtue of also having lifelink. While immune to Dread of Night, it is not immune to Illness in the Ranks, Virulent Plague, Moat effects, and counterspells.

I suspect that Rich won because Rich is a skillful Vintage player, not because this list is optimal. I had the same theory about his "Odd Oath" list as well.

Optimal? No list is optimal as each must exist in the context of a changing and regional metagame. Also, yes Rich is indeed a skillful Vintage player, as is Brian Kelly - the original creator. Don't you think skillful players such as these will gravitate towards the best decks over time? Rich has stuck with Sylvan Mentor basically since Restriction and I don't think he would have done so if he felt there were better options or more "optimal" lists out there.

Thanks for the great feedback, folks. And great responses, Matt.

I'll go through some of the points here.

Matt has already covered why I prefer Sylvan Library to Remora in this deck. And I do love Mystic Remora as a card -- just not in this metagame.

Grudge remains worth running because as soon as we put away our Shops hate, Mishra will return. I don't want to get caught off guard by someone running a Shops deck into an unprepared field. So, the Grudge stays on. It's not like it is dead against a field where a lot of opponents are running a full set of Moxen.

The manabase is scary-looking. When I first started playing this, I took Brian's four-color manabase down to 3 colors. But I realized that stretching the manabase for Red actually improved the Workshops matchup. After that, I haven't looked back.

Regarding Fastbond -- I've run it before and it was strong. I prefer Sol Ring currently in that slot, but running Fastbond wouldn't be wrong. Fastbond is a higher-variance card than Sol Ring, but when it works it works really well.

Tito is right -- the fourth Mentor is something of a flex slot. It could easily be Thing in the Ice, Gideon, Dromoka, or one of a number of other threats. Running the fourth Mentor has the most raw power, but at the same time it means you are even more vulnerable to further Mentor hate like Dread of Night.

Propaganda is not nearly as good as Supreme Verdict. Propaganda doesn't protect your planeswalkers, can be removed, and can be fought through. The exception is the Dredge matchup; but I have eight full-on graveyard hate spells in the sideboard for that. MaximumCDawg is right that the uncounterable nature of Verdict is a huge factor in its power. I wouldn't be running Wrath of God if Verdict weren't printed.

And finally, as Matt said, this list isn't optimal. Decks aren't generally optimal. But the deck is good, and I've been happy with how I've been tuning it.

well if you take the assumption that you're mostly going to be playing gush mirrors, which is what the metagame has devolved in to, I think remora > library. it's not Standstill, it's a one-sided Standstill. eventually you will draw into enough artifact sources to sustain it, find a mentor, and go off. if your opponent misses land drops, they have to start thinking about discarding or letting the opponent draw cards.

once you remove the assumption that green is necessary you can continue to play your usual artifact hate in the board if need be.

that's just my general opinion of the deck.

@mediumsteve I can see the remora player tapped out to pay his remora. you play mentor (which does not trigger remora). The Remora player has to stop playing with remora and get ride of the mentor. If not, mentor player can "go off" end of turn and end things on his turn...

I will address your point because it's right there - first of all your opponent has to have the mentor, and they have equal numbers of mentors as you (or fewer if they're playing a suboptimal 3 mentor build).

second of all they have to play noncreature spells to power up their mentor, which you get to draw cards off of to find your own mentor and answers.

that's all I will say about other decks for now in this topic. this is the sylvan mentor topic and so I will respect that from now on. if I want to talk about other decks I will make topics for them.

I guess the cat is out of the bag at this point =).

Definitely credit to BK for coming up with adding sylvan library to mentor. Just to add to Rich's experience with the deck, I'm also at something like 23-5 in real life tournaments with this deck, and have top 4'd 4 out of the last 5 tournaments I played in.

One question I have for Rich is have you tested 3x sylvan library?

I've won almost every game where I have a turn 1 sylvan - redundant copies are near useless, but we do have dack and jace to get rid of them as needed. Now that people know how good it is, they are also more likely to FOW the first copy. Lastly, you can always not draw additional sylvans with proper use of fetchlands to shuffle them away.

said:

One question I have for Rich is have you tested 3x sylvan library?

Yes. I tried it. Sadly, it wasn't good. Redundant Libraries are really bad, and drawing a second Library can quickly erode the card advantage granted by the first. I think two is the right number.

Thanks for this interesting list Rich . Just tried it for the first time, got paired against shops. I took the first game thanks to timely ancient grudge (plus flashback). Second game was back to pre-restriction days with turn one lodestone followed by phyrexian metamorph followed by tangle wire=game. Third game was simply epic, I had an opener with lots of artifact hate but got locked down quickly and pressured by Karn. I managed to get Dack in and steal Karn which eventually had to be sacked to smokestack (not before opponent metamorphed into Karn). But step by step I crawled into the game, minus 2:ed my Dack again to get the Karn copy (Dack died), and then started chewing at the spheres with 2x gurdge and nature's claim. Eventually I won with the copy and a Containment priest (just thrown in instead of dead spells) with less than a minute on the clock.

Coolest thing just happened, got paired against Brian Kelly himself (playing his creation). It was actually closer than I predicted but I lost 1-2 after Brian almost running out of time (2 mins on the clock). Enjoyable stuff and such a nice guy.

last edited by kistrand
  • 66
    Posts
  • 64246
    Views