It's all grids from what I'm seeing. I just played 2 leagues and faced 8 shop-forge decks in 10 matches. I dont believe I saw any spheres just the occasional lodestone.

@wfain As the caboose of "Team Batman Villians" featuring Vasu (Mr. Freeze), Brian Kelly (The Joker), and me (The Riddler), I am aware of the cards impact. I just wasn't sure of the adaptation since the lists from the Vintage Challenge were overwhelmingly the Sphere variant. The Sphere variant is a huge underdog to the combo variant as you lack the explosiveness and your Spheres hurt your own Forges and Karns. I would expect a pretty quick transition to the Grids. Pretty insane that it's happened so quickly. Also, 8 Forge decks...sorry @ebgmtg. What percentage of the games were interesting? Did any strategies or approaches help?

Gotcha. I’ve basically come to the conclusion that in order to play non-Mistake Forge, non-Dredge, I have to play at least 3 Ouphe and/or Lavinia main with about 3 FoV and 2-3 disenchant effects in the board (and the ability to go up to 4+ Ouphe/Lavinia). Then, obviously, the rest of the slots go to fighting dredge.

@chubbyrain a low percentage of the games were interesting. The majority I'd say 80+% were decided t1.
I was playing pitch dredge with the plan of counter grid + vigor followed up by therapy. I was running 4 fow, 4 fov, 4 mm in the main and 2 fon + 3 mb out of the board. I will say it was one of those days with dredge where it seemed like I was starting on 5 cards most games and that was without dumping bazaar hands to find better combinations. Overall this was not a winning strategy. What did you determine from the dredge matchup when u were testing? Any decks u recommend looking at with the shifting meta?

The thing I’ve had success with is making sure you can shut off the explosive stuff somehow and have a plan for attacking Karn so they can’t just tutor good things. Sometimes they still get you with the other Karn though.

@ebgmtg I thought the Dredge matchup was very favorable for Forge as you could slow Dredge down with hate and find a way to land your bombs. You could even come back from behind with the combo or Karn, winning from nowhere, or float a bomb with Top and sculpt a win that way as sometimes the permission and dredges don't line up or your hate buys you enough time. Grid is obviously insane as you force them to have removal spell into more removal spells and the chances of that aren't that incredibly high. You are also a threat to win game one which is not true for every deck. I don't think manaless Dredge can effectively combat Forge without branching into mana. The spells are unique and there aren't really that many options. MBT does help but not against Grid and players who know you have it can play around it.

@wfain that is my plan. Grid just shuts off the tools that manaless dredge has available making it nearly impossible to win once it resolves.

@chubbyrain that's basically the same conclusion I arrived at after taking a beating in those two leagues. The deck definetly needs retooled. The two avenues I see are adding mana back in as u suggested or speeding the deck up.

BUG with wasteland and 3+ ouphe mostly stomps forge. It’s really not good for forge, though if your opponent is casting lightning bolt/swords, you’re in for a bad time.

Is there any merit to including Chalice of the Void or Trinisphere here? I know they don't synergize with the combo aspect of the deck, but they both seem like they could potentially win the game for you turn one on the play.

last edited by into_play

I tested this deck, not a lot yet but enough to feel how it runs. It does exactly what it is supposed to do and quite efficiently. If i were to compare it to another deck, it would be PO obviously. Now, shop has a true quick combo deck. Not running sphere effect is something : beside the obvious building reasons, it means that the deck is quick/solid enough not to fear blue brokenness (not sure if that word exists but you get the point i think). For an old timer shop player like me, it means a lot.

I am not exactly fond of such all-in combo decks and usually enjoy to have some kind of out if some sand suddenly breaks the machine. However it is just personnal taste and i have zero problem with such kind of deck in the meta.

What is worrying me is not this particular deck but the fact that we have more and more decks like that. I presume power creep is doing that and there is not much that can be done. I don't mind we have a quick combo deck in the meta but if several decks are just doing their stuff as fast as possible with little interaction, Vintage will get soon very boring.

I know that the meta will balance to take this new deck in account and soon that deck will evolve in something less all-in. We will see how things will be in a few months when the dust will come down but i am not very optimistic about future in the long run.

To finish on the bright side, it is nice to see the format is changing a lot and new decks are rising.

last edited by albarkhane

In my testing thus far I've found that mystic forge shops is opening a HUGE gap for DPS and Bolas DPS decks. They are much quicker than forge and are reliant on rituals rather than artifacts for acceleration so are far less impeded by New-Karn than PO was.

A similar point was made in another thread focusing on Ad-Nauseum based tendrils deck.

I personally would love to see a meta shift towards DPS decks.

@nba84 Personally I dont think they are any slower than DPS.

I think Eidolon of the Great Revel might be ok in today's meta. It seems decks either want to play everything on one turn (like this deck), or have a bunch of cantrips. At the very least I think its worth trying.

last edited by John Cox


But they require a lot more cardboard to do anything. I would guess the average 7 from DPS kills a little faster and more resiliently than the average 7 from forge, in the sense of when the opponent is hard locked or actual dead. But it doesn’t do the same on 5 cards. Forge, Mox, Shop kills on 2 or 3 some decent percent of the time if the opponent doesn’t have good interaction. No storm hand of 3 cards does the same reliably.

That’s really the big difference—a lot of the Karn/Forge hands are legit 1 card combos, in the way Ad Nauseam is a 1 card combo (you just need mana and Ad Nauseam, everything else is a “I’ll sort it out later”). The mana production in Forge is a lot better than for DPS (see: Mishra’s Workshop), so it mulligans better and kills faster on average, when you take mulligans into account.

@neo_altoid recommended that I move this post over here so that more people can see it.

Using Hope of Ghirapur in KarnForge

Karn Shops is one of the top performing decks in the Vintage format but is often defenceless. In the N.Y.S.E. Open VI there were five Karn Shops decks in the top nine that seemed to rely on just 3-4 coppies of Defense Grid in the deck for protection. I propose that adding copies of Hope of Ghirapur would improve upon an already powerful Karn Shops.

I do say that Defense Grid is better to defend Karn Shops is than Hope of Ghirapur. My argument is that four Defense Grid is not enough to defend Karn Shops with and that multiple Hope of Ghirapur would help.
Hope of Ghirapur denies your opponent from casting non-creature spells on the second phase of a turn. Often is that all you need to win the game is to have a Karn, the Great Creator or Mystic Forge on the battlefield and Hope of Ghirapur can deny the opponent from using counter magic or other interaction that would stop a Karn or Mystic Forge.

Hope of Ghirapur is cheap to cast and is free with Foundry Inspector.

Manifold Key’s secondary ability can be useful to make Hope of Ghirapur unblockable if your opponent has a flyer to block with.

Hope of Ghirapur can make Karn Shops faster by slowing the opponent. It can take away half of an opponent’s turn by denying them the ability to cast sorceries, enchantments, planeswalkers, and non-creature artifacts for a turn. This is very helpful in slowing down fast combo decks such as Paradoxical Outcome, Dark Petition Storm and Karn Shops mirror-match.

Because Mystic Forge lets you draw many cards per turn, you can cast multiple Hope of Ghirapur turn after turn, preventing your opponent from counter your spells and casting non-creature spells during their turn for multiple turns. This could give you enough turns to assemble a Time Vault/Key or Karn/Mycosynth Lattice combination and lock your opponent out for the rest of the game.

Let’s take a look at the final match between Joe Brennen and Vasu Balakrishnan in the N.Y.S.E. Open VI. Vasu was playing Karn Shops combo with Mystic Forge and Joe was playing BUG Control. In game one Joe had a hand full of counterspells. If Vasu had a Hope of Ghirapur on the battlefield at the time, Joe would have been unable to cast most of his hand. In round two, Joe countered a Mystic Forge. If Hope of Ghirapur had attacked, Joe could not have played his Force of Will to counter Vasu’s Mystic Forge and Joe would have been unable to cast his Narset, Parter of Veils on his turn. The game may have turned out differently but these are just examples.

Thank you for considering using Hope of Ghirapur in Karn Shops. I look forward to seeing how Karn Shops evolves over the next couple of months and how it will perform at Eternal Weekend.

Daniel Worobec

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