@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!
@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.
@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
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...).
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.
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!