@mediumsteve I did not say you cannot run preordain in a deck with this manabase. By all means, tinker around however you want. You did ask people who play this and similar decks to chime in though. I personally would not run more than 1-2 preordains in this deck. I think git probe is an amazing card, but there are certainly two camps.

My point was that you are less likely to want a bunch of preordains if you have this manabase and in addition have 2 CMC cards you want to deploy on turn one which only require 1 colored mana. To be concrete, let's look at recent Jeskai/Sylvan mentor decks on mtggoldfish: http://www.mtggoldfish.com/archetype/vintage-uwr-mentor-25516#online

Going down the list here are the ones with more than 2 preordains:
http://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/416062#online
http://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/411883#online

Note that there are none of these 2 CMC cards conflicting with the preordains. The first list I can find with more than 2 preordains and some 2 CMC cards is this one:
http://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/409259#online
which is from the April P9. My personal opinion is that this is not an optimal list. Note that the other 4 mentor decks making the Top 16 eschew some number of preordains while running 2 CMC cards.

last edited by diophan

@mediumsteve
Preordain is an essential card for the Gush engine, but the more you diversify your draw engine, the less essential it becomes. In a traditional Gush deck where Gush and the restricted spells are your only sources of card advantage, Preordain helps you chain these together in the late game at the cost of a small amount of tempo. If you look at Sylvan Mentor, the deck augments Gush with Planeswalkers and Sylvan Library, which are permanent sources of card advantage/selection. Esper Mentor has Dark Confidants. Some Jeskai builds have JVP. These cards are also threats and/or answers in themselves so you have a card with multiple purposes which means the card selection aspect of Preordain is less needed...you don't need to be digging to find Mentor to end the game. The difference in these approaches is that the other cards are more expensive than Preordain so you need to fill out the manabase more with Moxen, which is @diophan's point. It also makes the tempo bump a bit more significant as you get competition between slamming a Bob/Library/JVP and firing off a Preordain.

Gitaxian Probe has been controversial - Kevin and Steve put forth an entire podcast on the card and in general felt it wasn't necessary. I have the opposite opinion and consider it to be one of the best Blue cards in Vintage. I know Brian feels similarly and I think Rich and Ryan also do, but the rationale is a bit more than can be conveyed in forum post.

@ChubbyRain I agree with your post. I just have a remark on the permanent draw engines (e.g. Bob and Sylvan). Does anyone else feel that Sylvan is much stronger than Bob due to how easily a creature dies compared to an enchantment? There are a lot of plows and sudden shocks flying around currently and Bob doesn't stick as easily as Sylvan does. Then again, one could argue that Bob is a great way to fish out the creature hate before mentor hits but, to me, the loss of (future-turns) card advantage is a very significant loss when Bob dies.

last edited by kistrand

@kistrand said:

@ChubbyRain I agree with your post. I just have a remark on the permanent draw engines (e.g. Bob and Sylvan). Does anyone else feel that Sylvan is much stronger than Bob due to how easily a creature dies compared to an enchantment? There are a lot of plows and sudden shocks flying around currently and Bob doesn't stick as easily as Sylvan does. Then again, one could argue that Bob is a great way to fish out the creature hate before mentor hits but, to me, the loss of (future-turns) card advantage is a very significant loss when Bob dies.

Actually, I would find the life-loss from Sylvan Library to be scarier than the fact that I might lose my bob. paying 4-8 life is just not what I want to be doing in a format where decks can put damage on the board so very fast. I am biased, of course, as I am currently playing a deck with 4 Scab-Clan Berserkers in it, but I think decks with 4 Thought-Knot Seer and 4 Reality Smasher can also put a lot of damage on the board rather fast. I'm not saying Library is flat-out bad, but I think it matches up poorly against decks that seek to create damage tempo and put you on a clock fast.

-Storm

@Stormanimagus True, I can agree with that point of view too. The thing is, though, that if your draw-engine never materializes your deck usually fails miserably. Of course, you can protect Bob with missteps and stuff and not save everything for protecting Mentor. Often you also use Sylvan like you use Sensei's divining top and just re-arrange the order of the top cards of you library (and not taking damage) and make use of fetches+Dack to get rid of stuff you don't want. When I read about Sylvan, people usually refer to how many cards you "see" and not necessarily "draw". Hmm, I guess there are positives and negatives with both Bob and Sylvan.

@kistrand would it be possible to play both bob and library in the same deck? use sylvan to rearange the top cards so when bob triggers next turn you wont take much damage.

last edited by letseeker

@letseeker Maybe, but at that point you probably have too many "draw" spells and not enough gas. You already have Gush on top of this, and you're choosing Bob or Sylvan Library. Taking both seems like overkill to me.

@kistrand Not saying it is better or worse , but if you are on Esper, and concerned that Bob wont hang around long enough to have an impact, have you considered Nights Whisper? For the same cost you 2 cards for 2 life right now, as opposed to maybe 2 cards over 2 turns for an unknown amount of life. Nights Whisper also chains together nicely with Gush. I would not run Bob and Nights Whisper in the same Mentor List, but if you are concerned about lots of removal Nights Whisper could be a viable option.

I'm a bit new to Vintage and very new to TMD so I hope I'm 'doing this right'.

It seems like library and bob are better than each other in certain situations. For example, when you're running 4x force 4x gush 2x JMS 1x Dig you break even and even save life using library to find them, and even with Dack and Mentor you only effectively lose 1 life vs drawing them with Bob. Complete opposite with 1CC draws, counters, or other interaction, you much rather draw it with Bob than choose to keep it with library. So it seems like library vs Bob is more about playstyle and deck build than one being strictly better than the other.

Since this is the Sylvan Mentor thread I'd assume that Sylvan may be strictly better here because, so far in my experience with Rich Shay decks, I have seen them to be much more methodical game plan+card advantage oriented than aggressive+card advantage which is where I think Bob fits better.

Anyways, TMD has been a godsend for me over the last few months and this community seems amazing! Thanks to all involved moving it forward!

@kistrand said:

@ChubbyRain I agree with your post. I just have a remark on the permanent draw engines (e.g. Bob and Sylvan). Does anyone else feel that Sylvan is much stronger than Bob due to how easily a creature dies compared to an enchantment? There are a lot of plows and sudden shocks flying around currently and Bob doesn't stick as easily as Sylvan does. Then again, one could argue that Bob is a great way to fish out the creature hate before mentor hits but, to me, the loss of (future-turns) card advantage is a very significant loss when Bob dies.

It's complicated. You have to keep in mind that the VSL playin started 3+ weeks ago and when Brian decided to play the deck, Sylvan Mentor was the most popular Mentor variant at the time. Sylvan Mentor was light on creature removal, making Bob much more likely to survive, and Bob being able to attack pressured Sylvan's Planeswalkers and facilitated the mini-Tendrils line (and Sylvan Library helped with that too).

Now, there is more targeted removal, making Bob worse. Like Noah (@Stormanimagus ) said, there is also more pressure on players' life totals from lightning bolts and Scab-Clan Beserkers, making Sylvan Library (and Bob) worse. These cards are really there to get an edge in the control or midrange Gush mirror - the more aggressive the format becomes, the more the life and tempo loss becomes relevant. So, I actually think both Bob and Sylvan Library are not great now.

@letseeker You could certainly try to play them both, but they compete with each other for the two-drop slot and are different enough that they tend to take the decks you put them in in different directions.

@p3temangus Night's Whisper is interesting. I don't have much experience with it but it seems like it would be powerful in the right Mentor deck. I've used Painful Truths as a 3 drop card draw in decks that primarily play 2 drop threats (Thing in the Ice, Young Pyromancer, etc.) but the reverse could be true in a Mentor deck.

@thoppterman Welcome to the Mana Drain! It's a good point that neither is strictly better than the other and I wholeheartedly agree - metagame, playstyle, and deck construction are hugely important in determining the value of cards and that really does make it subjective.

last edited by Guest

@ChubbyRain It would seem that you are spot on concerning how neither Sylvan nor Bob are particularly great right now. I keep mainly racking up losses now after running so well with Sylvan just last week. Bolts are just everywhere and make you not want to risk it with Sylvan. Shame, it was fun while it lasted 🙂

@kistrand The MTGO Daily metagame changes on a week by week basis. It's hard to keep up at times.

@ChubbyRain True indeed. one could of course just stick with it for the sake learning the deck (which I am very much still doing), but it's always more enjoyable to win rather than to lose 🙂

After having done some testing of other decks for a while, I recently returned to this deck (which I still consider as my main deck). To my great joy I found that it was still great and a very potent deck even in the current metagame, although you have to adjust the sideboard to all the prison-ish hate out there. Balance and more swords/paths are good as well as engineered explosives for all the spheres and hatebears (gotta hate 'em bears...).

Deck List

I have been having great results with this deck recently, going 4-0 in a paper event in NYC, 3-1 in a MTGO daily, and 12-4 in "casual" games on mtgo. My only loss in the daily was to Montolio, and the games were very close.

You can watch the deck review here (please let me know what you think about my questionable plays!):

Game 1 vs Montolio here: https://youtu.be/Pjz1mMQFzDQ

Game 2 vs Montolio here: https://youtu.be/UkNd4Ofv0Mk

I think this deck is very well positioned at the moment. It has Stony Silence for the Paradoxical Outcome decks and Ancient Grudge for the Workshops. It is a bit bigger than most Blue decks, which I think helps. Really, it doesn't seem to have any obvious weakness, besides perhaps Landstill. I am thinking that a Mountain in the sideboard may make more sense than a Plains. I would love any ideas to help continue helping this archetype improve.

last edited by Brass Man

@jcardshark

Game 1, after looting with JVP and drawing a second copy, I would have discarded Grudge and flashed it back on Fleetwheel Cruiser. Untap, Time Walk, loot with JVP, untap loot with JVP, Flip and +1 on Legionnaire, play out Mentor with possible Gush/FOW based on draws (or JVP #2 if you miss on the land drop so you can keep up Force). This gives you a JVP with 6 counters, a blocker for the Legionnaire, and a way to build advantage in the next couple of turns. Later on, I would have removed both of the opponent's creatures rather than chumping with JVP. Also, I think you had to let Revoker resolve and hope to draw a 3rd mana source to keep up Force as you have very few answers left to Trike or Cruiser.

Game 2, you locked yourself into Claim on the Mox Pearl whereas I would have held it to either hit one of his threats or to hit the Sylvan Library and gain more life to work with. If you were going to claim the Pearl, you needed to fateseal your opponent to keep him from drawing lands (I think you realized that in hindsight).

This was interesting. Congrats on the performance with the deck.

Thanks for the feedback @ChubbyRain. Analysis like yours will certainly help me get better.

In game 1 I didn't even see the line of discarding the Grudge. I was apparently too concerned about killing 2 artifacts.

In game 2 I completely forgot that I could Claim my Sylvan. I need to figure out how to see all the possible options!

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