In this brave new world of Karn, BUG is leveraging the strength of the newly-printed Force of Vigor and Collector Ouphe to catapault itself up to top-tier.

Like a Xerox deck, BUG has a mix of efficient threats, counters, and removal, but BUG decks tend to have a flatter power curve, with each card having value on its own, rather than filtering to your best cards with cantrips, which are becoming more of a liability in a post-Narset metagame. Black/Green/Blue threats tend not to have the raw power of a Monastery Mentor, but often have some disruptive or utility ability tacked onto them.

I often recommend BUG to players who enjoy midrange decks in other formats, and almost no other Vintage deck gives you that feel. BUG is one of the most personalizable decks in the format and lists tend to vary quite a bit from player to player.

What cards and strategies have you been using in BUG?

Though not technically bug, I’ve been having success with a white splash to incorporate Teferi, Time Reveler and Lavinia while keeping the normal spread of DRS and Collector Ouphe.

@wfain my friend @JonHammack recently won an event with a BUG-esque deck splashing red for Wrenn and Six. I think there are several approaches where a fourth color might make sense ... but the deck name "BUG!" is so pleasing to me I find it hard not to call it that.

@brass-man totally agreed, and I know Jon as well!!!

The reason I like white is the addition of Lavinia. She, along with Narset and Ouphe (and Teferi and Leo), creates a really disruptive element. It also lets you play that silly Monastery Mentor card 🤷🏻♂

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4x Ouphe and Force of Negation have been great for me.

What’s everyone’s take on Dryad Arbor? I see it often but is it even worth playing?

It’s $13...

I love the deck, but how important is the tabernacle on the side?

@wakkz said in BUG Control:

I love the deck, but how important is the tabernacle on the side?

It's really good since it can be a hardlock with any other hate piece against dredge. A lot of times I lead with Leyline and tutor for Tabernacle and that's pretty much game against any kind of Hollow One nonsese. But you can do without if there are budget concerns.

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How often is a 1/1 flash good?


Randomly good against planeswalkers. But what do you mean flash? Isn’t GSZ a sorcery?

@desolutionist said in BUG Control:


Randomly good against planeswalkers. But what do you mean flash? Isn’t GSZ a sorcery?

I'm assuming he means fetch lands.

It has a few good uses. Flash attacker for planeswalkers, surprise blocker to throw off combat math, and it can be a good way to get rid of bridge from below out of dredge.

For its utility I would strongly consider running it, but it doesn't necessarily make the cut.


If you are running GSZ, I think Arbor is almost a must so you can cast your GSZ at 1. Without Zenith, you are only getting it via fetchlands, which makes it have flash. You have to weigh that utility with the number of times it will be bad to draw.

Okay well seems Dryad Arbor is a bit “clunky” but has some things going for it. I actually didn’t know you can Fetch for it and I don’t think Green Sun Zenith for it is a good play.

Moving on, what do you guys make of the Sylvan Library?

My impression has been that it wins games. I’m curious about why only one? Is it just because it is bad in multiples?

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Here are some pointers:

I cut Arbor, won a challenge, and haven’t looked back.

Sylvan Library is great, but is redundant in builds playing more than just two planeswalkers. It also does nothing against a Narset.

I think the optimal configuration of Planeswalkers is: 2.5 Narset, 1 JaceTMS, 1 JVP. It’s possible that more JVP would also be good.

More than 1 Goyf is necessary. Either 2 Goyf + GSZ or 3 Goyf and 0 GSZ is sufficient. I’ve gone back and forth on GSZ, it seems better than the third Goyf. More than one Goyf is just necessary for fighting opposing 4x Goyf builds. I’m not sure if most 4x Goyf builds play Scavenging Ooze, but Ooze has to be better than the 4th Goyf.

I’ve messed with Threads of Disloyalty in the sideboard, but have instead arrived at sideboarding multiple Fatal Pushes. It’s one mana, gets the job done, and more useful in a variety of matchups including Humans and Merfolk.

2x Tabernacle is almost a necessary sideboard inclusion specifically for Hollow One. I always want to cut one or both because Dredge doesn’t always come up. You think you have them locked out with Leyline, but then you just get wrecked by triple Hollow One.

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Post restrictions, BUG is still the best deck in the format. Lately the deck has gotten a bad reputation. “It’s only good because of Karn and Dredge” they say. They’re using faulty logic to arrive at conclusions such as “there is no longer a reason to play BUG”. Here’s reason number one to play bug: Force of Vigor.

Workshops and Outcome are still dominate strategies in Vintage. Artifacts will always be at the forefront of Vintage. It isn’t Karn that made BUG great, it was Force of Vigor. Take a look at the Force of Vigor spoil thread. “Green is good now”. Shops will still be 20-30% of the meta and Force of Vigor still dominates it. I don’t see anyone hitting the necessary number of green cards without Deathrite Shaman and Tarmogoyf. Fastbond is unrestricted and people are trying wacky things. What disrupts these wacky things for zero mana? Force of Vigor.

Reason number 2 to play BUG: Deathrite Shaman and Narset. There’s less Missteps so DRS is going to resolve on turn one. This is very meaningful in the blue mirrors because BUG is just going to be more reliably casting Narset on turn two and grind out long games with DRS abilities. People overlook the fact that Karn has been absent and Jeskai has been seeing more play before the restrictions yet BUG still commands half of every top 8. This is because BUG is a good Vintage deck that plays all the best blue cards in conjunction with DRS. (DRS is banned in Modern and Legacy. It’s that good)

Reason number 3 to play BUG: Veil of Summer and Thoughtseize. With the restriction of Mental Misstep, everyone thinks they can play DPS. That just isn’t the case against BUG. Historically, BUG has always been strong against storm because it can attack the deck on multiple fronts. It has discard in Thoughtseize, which is very effective, it has all the best counterspells including the miser Mental Misstep. It has disruptive permanents such as Leovold, Narset, and Ashiok. It has mana denial elements in Assassin Trophy and Wasteland. And it has graveyard disruption through Deathrite Shaman. Then it has all of the broken card advantage spells to retool. BUG is the kind of deck that wants to trade its opening 5 cards with the opponents 5 cards. That is something that DPS has a hard time recovering from because it doesn’t play Delve spells, planeswalkers, and the like. The final nail in the coffin is Veil of Summer, which has been quite amusing against Storm. It’s the perfect counter to Duress.

Reason number 4 to play BUG: Dredge. People are willing to admit that BUG is good against dredge, but they don’t seem to think Dredge is part of the new meta. I think it will be because it’s still too strong even without 3 Trolls. People sideboard 10 cards for dredge so it’s unreasonable to think it will go away.

It’s common knowledge that BUG loses to the “go-wide” strategies of Young Pyromancer. I don’t buy that argument because if BUG is the better control deck, which it is, it can just play a board wipe such as Toxic Deluge. So I’m finding it difficult to discover a reason NOT to play BUG. It just dominated Vintage more than any deck ever for a period of a month+.

Yesterday I went 4-1 in my first league post restriction. My only loss? The mirror...

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Of course BUG will still be good. They’ve lost none of the recent printings that made them good.

@desolutionist I've found the BUG vs Jeskai matchup to be one of the most enjoyable to play. A true 50/50 matchup IMO and very swingy. Toxic Deluge, Plague Engineer, and Fatal Push (no more misstep yayy) all shine in that matchup.

@vaughnbros they might not have lost anything but the prevalence of both KarnForge and Dredge were both big reasons to choose BUG over like RUG or jeskai. BUG didn't get weaker but other decks with reasonable BUG matchups might have gotten stronger.

@ian-mars I agree. Pyroblast which is Bugs bane was largely margenalised with Karn Forge and Pitch dredge. Jeskai and RUG will get a major boost by effectively being able to replace Misstep with Pyro which is a net zero gain vs shops but is a huge tempo swing vs BUG

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