Posts made by Brass Man
posted in Xerox read more

Oh boy, this is neat πŸ˜„ Does graveyard hate shut down the engine too much? I suspect it's not that bad, you're still basically a traditional control deck even if your Sanctuaries are shut off.

posted in Off-Topic read more

I haven't played with them myself so I can't be sure, but the brand new "jumpstart" product looks awesome for new players to me.

They're little themed mini-decks that are designed such that you can combine any two of them to make a new deck. It sounds like a great way to give a new player a taste of constructed. A new player can play a couple rounds with some of the mini-decks and get a feel for what sorts of cards they like, then put them together in any combination ... they get to build a deck that's actually their creation, without the incredibly intimidating barriers to building your first MtG deck, like getting the right mix of lands/spells/creatures. I don't think there's any other packaged MtG product that can really do that.

I like the idea of starting someone on that, though I can't speak to how much gameplay you can get out of them before you'll want to move on to something else.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more


Death's Shadow has become something of a pet card for me. I've tried a lot of variants, including a focused green/black list revolving around Plunge/Berserk (Which I called BERSERKER! while I was working on it. The caps and exclamation point are important.) Unfortunately, like you I never found a list that felt strong enough to play it any "real" event. I've had more luck with hybrid approaches, where I think Death's Shadow can do a lot of interesting things (though I'm a hybrid deckbuilder at heart). Shadow can do real work in a fishy Grixis Delver shell or a BUG midrange shell. I've personally had the best showing with Death's Shadow BUG Survival/Death Survives.

I didn't learn too much about a focused Berserk list that would be useful, but here are some cards I found interesting. Most of these won't be a surprise for people who followed Death's Shadow decks in Legacy/Modern

There's not much to say about Thoughtseize, Dismember, Snuff Out, Vampiric Tutor/Imperial Seal, but they're already good cards that get better with Death's Shadow. Street Wraith is not a great card, but might be good enough in a Shadow deck. Grim Tutor sounds good for a minute, but I don't think you want 3-drops in the middle of your curve. I suspect Mutagenic Growth and Gut Shot just aren't Vintage quality but I'd kinda love to see them.

Temur Battle Rage is more or less just a 1R Berserk for the deck. I didn't explore cutting the green entirely and playing a B/R Plunge/Rage list, but you totally could. You can't use 2 Rages to kill with a 5/5 the same way you can with two Berserks. You can splash red for redundant Berserk effects, but don't forget that Time Walk also lets a creature deal damage twice.

Speaking of Time Walk, blue is the natural splash for any Vintage deck, but I understand there's a big overlap between people who would like B/G Berserk Shadow and people who don't like running blue out of principle. If you're in that group, I'd still consider running your 1x Gitaxian Probe and 1x Mental Misstep. You don't need to run blue mana and they're both very strong with Shadow. Swords to Plowshares is Death's Shadow public enemy number one, and the restriction of Misstep hurt Shadow lists a lot more than opposing Missteps did.

Even in an all-in list I think you need more threats than just the Shadows. The most Berserkable option is probably Gurmag Angler. If you're doing something more hybrid, Shadows in your list let you drop the mana curve real low, so expensive threats requiring more lands kind of kill the edge that Shadow gave you. I tend toward the really cheap stuff like Deathrite Shaman and Delver of Secrets, (though it would be really hard for me to run a BUG list without two or three Oko, Thief of Crowns.)

Nurturing Peatland and its friends are underrated in general, I think. But a Death's Shadow list is particularly suited. I'd consider running some Waterlogged Groves or Silent Clearings even if you don't splash a colorA play tip that might be obvious but took me a couple matches to figure out: If your hand has both a Canopy Land and a Fetch/Shockland, the Fetch deals 3 damage and the Canopyland deals N damage, where N is how many turns it will be in play. Even though the fetch deals more now, a lot of the times it's better to lead with the Peatland on the first few turns, and don't forget to tap it for damage every turn, whether you have anything to cast or not.

There has to be something really dumb you can do with Lim-Dul's Vault. I haven't tested this myself, but it's very straightforward to get Shadow+Berserk+19 damage to yourself all with one cast of this. For people that aren't ancient enough to remember with Vault was a common vintage card, there's a trick you can do where you use LDV to loop through your deck several times. If your library size isn't a multiple of five, you can stack your piles such that you see different sets of cards together the second time through your deck. This means you can force certain cards together, making little mini-doomsday stacks like "Brainstorm->Shadow->Berserk->Time Walk". It's still random, but it's not as random as it looks.

This is for sure a @Brass-Man pet card, but Hex Parasite is a sexy little robot. I already love a Parasite as a top-secret-weapon for taking down Planeswalkers and Workshop Aggro threats, but in Death's Shadow you can just have it target itself for {P} as many times as you want.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

@desolutionist The best spell to cast with the first one is Ephemerate, THEN Time Walk πŸ˜„ πŸ˜„ πŸ˜„

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

What's the "killer app" that makes you want to run Spirits over Merfolk? Lord of Atlantis is a much better value-per-mana than the spirit lords we've mentioned, and you can run 8 of them. Pilferer has a neat effect but I feel like it requires enough weird support cards that you wouldn't want it in a tribal deck even if there was a tribal deck.

Summary: State some specific superlative spirits so Spirit stacks succeed!

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

This is kind of a stretch, but there are already-playable cards you might be running that significantly reduce the drawback here. I like the idea of a U/W control deck that has 4 Repeal using this card as both a removal spell and potential threat. Other cards like Ensnaring Bridge or Engineered Explosives come to mind, though once you start 2 for 1'ing yourself the card looks pretty anemic next to a Lightning Bolt. White is already so good at removing creatures that you'd need to be REALLY concerned about Planeswalkers to even start thinking about this card.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

My gut reaction is that this is the sort of card that won't see play often, but is definitely worth getting 4 and throwing them in your collection. I think people are correct to compare it to Pyroblast and Spell Pierce which will usually be better, but I think you can put it alongside those cards when you're building your deck, and it occasionally makes the cut. I could imagine a field where you have two or three Pyroblasts, but you want an extra slot to use against Storm decks that you don't need to bring in against a Planeswalker-heavy blue deck. I have a set of Annul sitting around for similar reasons.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

I didn't know about the card Alhammarret's Archive before reading this thread, and now I have a new card to try in my Workshop combo deck that already runs 4x Sensei's Divining Top ❀ ❀ ❀

posted in Vintage Community read more

I'm locking this thread, not because of any post so far, but because it's a dangerous, tricky subject. I find myself under-qualified to moderate a thread on this topic, and I won't risk TMD standing for something it shouldn't, just because of my own limitations here.

I believe it's a good thing that WotC is making an effort to address problems of race within the game, though this particular step is insufficient.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

@80percentbuffoon But this one's better because it combos with the newly printed Anticipate πŸ˜„ (old inside joke, I couldn't resist)

Presence costs one less mana which is the difference between an auto-include Demonic Tutor and a fringe-player Grim Tutor. But Illusory Angel is no Grim Tutor, so you might have a point.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

@protoaddict haha okay, fair enough 😁 I guess I meant "just attacks and blocks" but you're not wrong to call it out. On that subject, Tarmogoyf is probably the stronger defensive card, though this is probably better than Goyf at attacking, and better at blocking than a Young Pyromancer.

I guess I don't have any idea how to evaluate "Scry 2"... maybe that's enough to buy it a spot somewhere

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

I don't think this is an airtight argument, but hasn't this never worked before? This is a really common sort of effect and it's never strong. I can think of individual events where someone did well with Jester's Cap or Sadistic Sacrament, but in very specific decks, performing a specific function that this card can't (hitting different card names), and none of those decks were successful for more than a tournament or two. Even when these sort of cards see fringe play (Surgical Extraction), I think people tend to bring them in and cast them way more often than they should. I've run Cap, Sacrament, Extraction (and believe it or not, one time Extract), but I think they're only correct in really niche situations, with advantages that this card doesn't have. This registers as a bulk rare to me.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

This is a nice little card. Would have made a real splash if it was printed in the 4 Gush, 4 Gitaxian Probe era, but there's a lot of competition and not much need for "it just attacks" cards in blue decks right now.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

I'm not following the metagame closely enough to make any strong claims, but I think people might be underestimating this one. A draw 3 is more than twice as good as a draw 2, and we don't even have a 1U draw 2 in the format. The unenhanced mode is pretty comparable to cards that have seen competitive play before (Impulse, Strategic Planning), and the cost to kick it is almost trivial between Snapcaster, Breach, Will. You kind of have to build around it, but I think the cards that you need to run to turn this into a draw three are much better than the cards you need to run to turn Standstill into a draw three. That said, I don't know if the field has a place right now for a late-game control deck like that.

posted in Vintage Community read more

@revengeanceful It was a tournament held during a snowstorm in an abandoned shopping mall in upstate New York. The advertised prize support was power nine to the top 8. The TO gave everyone IOUs and then left the country. It probably sounds like I made all of that up.

posted in Vintage Community read more

@revengeanceful said in The best format in Vintage history ...:

he was kind enough to sign my Memnarch after smashing me in the round 2 of that event that didn't count.

Oh my god, the phantom round two! What an insane event that was. I ran TPS and ended up in a t4 or t2 split. I won the advertised Black Lotus which it turned out was damaged heavily enough to be unplayable in a sleeve. I had a good time as well, but that will surely go down in history as one of the worst-run Vintage tournaments of all time. Perhaps second only to the Baldswinsville catastrophe. Someday I'll have to write that stuff down.

posted in Vintage Community read more

here's four from me:

52 "Control Slaver Emerges" - Tog vs Slaver

My very first Vintage tournaments were just before and just after Onslaught, in a local metagame that was insulated enough to not be overwhelmed by top-tier netdecks, until Eric Dupuis showed up to our store during the last days of GAT and showed us how deep the Vintage rabbit hole could go. I attended the first Vintage Champs which was won by Psychatog/"Hulk Smash", and I don't feel like I really ever got to know a deck before that one. Hulk Smash was pure distilled blue deck, with 2-3 Psychatog and the rest entirely mana, counters, draw spells.

Psychatog-based lists were popular for a while but mostly dropped off the map as blue players migrated to Control Slaver, mostly on the strength of tournament wins and articles written by Rich Shay. I'm a big fan of Control Slaver, but I still felt most powerful behind the wheel of a Tog deck. People at large were afraid of a Mindslaver'd Psychatog discarding your hand, but that was a fundemental misunderstanding of the matchup. You died when you got Mindslaver'd no matter what, so you were better off building a deck that could contain your opponent and stop them from ever doing it, and nothing contained another player like Tog. As Goblin Welder ate more of the metagame, my Tog deck got better and better as people cut their draw spells for Lava Darts and Tormod's Crypts. Tog taught me how to play a control deck, taught me how to form my own metagame opinions, and won me my first power tournaments. I played a lot of different decks during that era, but Tog was my favorite ... until Champions of Kamigawa ushered us into an era we'll talk about later ...

71 "End of the 2nd Gush Era" - Flash vs Gushbond

What a rush. Gifts Ungiven was restricted in the same announcement as Gush's unrestriction, but the Gifts deck never would have survived. Gushbond decks came out of the gate stronger than they were the first time, and players hopped from Quirion Dryads to Tarmogoyfs to Oath of Druids to Painter's Servants as the metagame approached a fever pitch. The games got shorter and shorter, but instead of eliminating decisions like Trinisphere did, the Gush-Flash dynamic was a singularity, compressing more and more complex decisions into the same turn. It was a pressure cooker that forced rapid and dramatic evolution. People began to use their 75 cards as an entirely new sort of resource. Rich Shay boarded in 8 Leylines against Flash decks; I ran Encroach, but only in postboad games on the play, to punish the streamlined strategies that were effective against me on the draw; And Manaless Dredge, of course, broke every rule of magic we had learned up to that point.

Era #71 is the culmination of this format, right before the biggest restriction upset I've lived through as a player. I picked this as my favorite because it marks the tragically short life of MS Paint, the Gush/Painter deck I played to win the very last SCG Power 9 Series event ever held. I have never built another Vintage deck where I felt so far ahead of the curve, and so overqualified to handle a field. In the top 8 of that tournament I beat a Dredge player in two games by Pyroblasting their Bazaars, I beat a control mirror after I mulliganed to three, and in the finals my opponent had turn one Orchard-Oath-Force-backup on the play, so I killed them through their counter before they got a second turn.

But a better example of the times might be an event from #68, the 2007 TMD Open/Waterbury finals between Rich Shay on Gush and Justin Timoney on Flash, when people were just starting to get an idea of how different things were going to be. The finals match took all of fifteen minutes, and for some people that was a dealbreaker, but I watched the match in person and I was completely spellbound. Justin and Rich sat down and shuffled up. Justin is a chatty, playful trash-talker most of the time, and on this day very possibly had some chemical help. He's smart player who can always find the complex lines, but sometimes plays so fast and loose that he misses them. Rich is talkative but very disciplined. He's friendly and polite but a stickler when it comes to precisely applying layers and stacking triggers. They're both fun to watch play and I'm looking forward to settling in to see their dynamic. Both players know each other well and exchange pleasantries. Both players keep conservative hands, Rich opens with land-Brainstorm-go and Justin does the same. Everyone's waiting to see how the match is going to play out, each player surrounded by excited teammates. Justin's second turn takes about 3 seconds "draw, land, pass". Rich cracks his fetch on end of the end of Justin's turn and ...

That's it. The game's over. Justin plays Flash in response, both players have a flurry of countermagic but Rich is one Mana Drain short of winning the fight, one Mana Drain he can't cast with a fetch trigger on the stack. While we were waiting for the game to start, several critical plays had already been made and the outcome was locked in place. This was not a miscalculation for Rich. Rich was among the best Vintage players in the world. This was a quarter-second lapse in judgement that Rich made and Justin didn't. The game was different now, we were playing for keeps.

54 "The End of Type 1" - Slaver vs Gifts

The first time I played Gifts Ungiven in a tournament, my opponent said "Oh cute! That's the bad Fact or Fiction people talked about on TMD, right?"
They read the card and quickly picked which two I got to keep. I reached for the pile and they said "oh wait no, if I give you those you can combo". I smiled as they picked another two and then took it back, and it slowly dawned on them that they had already lost. This exact interaction happened every match that day. The second time I played Gifts Ungiven in a tournament, they knew better. The early days of Gifts were thrilling to me. There were a thousand ways to build the deck: Charbelchers, Slavers, Welders, Damping Matrices, Tinkers, Tendrils, Merchant Scrolls. In a few months other players started catching up and creating their own variants. Smmenen and I wrote point-counterpoint articles about the critical differences between Brass Man Gifts and Meandeck Gifts. I played the same archetype for years but it never felt like the same list twice.

65 "Manaless Dredge Arrives" - The Gifts Mirror

If Psychatog was my first love, and Gush was a passionate unhealthy college fling, Gifts Ungiven is "The One"

My favorite era to play Vintage was really this huge stretch of time, starting with the printing of Gifts Ungiven, rising in a slow boil until Gifts was restricted (#67). This was a two and half year stretch where I played so many decks that I loved that it feels impossible to pick a favorite. If I had to narrow it down, it's #65, the age of the Gifts Mirror, the peak of Vintage for me.

The Gifts mirror is a delicate dance where both players are trying to hide who's leading. It requires all the discipline of Keeper player, saving their counters for the spell that matters ... all the working memory of Storm player, tracking lines 5 tutors in advance. The decision density of a deck with Brainstorm, Merchant Scroll, and Gifts Ungiven is just massive. I can vividly remember testing mirrors in Ben Kowal's living room, discovering how you could win the match by strategically starting counter wars and losing them, at just the right time. Your opponent having no idea that their Force of Will on your Ancestral Recall just cost them the game.

It's impossible for me to separate the actual games of Vintage with this time in my life, when I met so much of the Vintage community, when I took 14 hour road trips to play Vintage every weekend. For better or worse, the SCG Power Nine series was my college experience, and I spent my brain's peak math-solving years figuring out Gifts piles.

It was Keeper (and the inimitable Control Player's Bible) that got me to enter my first Vintage tournament, and it was Tog that made me feel like I was a part of the Vintage Community, but Gifts made me feel like Vintage was a part of me.

edit: if you want to add the fun headers to your post, try starting your lines with some hashtags like: # Section Title/## Subsection Title/ etc, one to four hashtags are all displayed differently

posted in Vintage Community read more

I'm really loving the walk through memory lane I'm getting reading through @Smmenen 's just-posted Timeline of Vintage. I'm always blown away by how generous Stephen is with his time when it comes to making things for the Vintage community.

I want to share the good vibes this gives me with a good vibes thread. Skim through the Timeline of Vintage and pick out 1 to 5 of your favorite times to play vintage and post them in this thread. Stephen already posted his list here: . I want to know about the times you were having the most fun being part of the Vintage community.

  • List the number and title from the Timeline, and if you want, provide a new label that resonates for you.

  • Write a few sentences or a paragraph on why you loved that format. This is subjective and that's fine. Why did you love vintage then? If your fondest memories of Vintage are fond because you bought your first piece of power or met a group in a new city, that's just as good.

  • Good vibes only. I just want to know your favorites. Don't tell other people why they're wrong for liking a format they liked. If you want a "least favorite" thread, you can start it.

posted in Vintage Community read more

I'm getting a lot of views on this post, I do want to say that I'm not trying to actively trash people who love their collections. I view collecting Vintage has an adjacent/related activity to playing Vintage. I'm a player first, but I'm also a collector - I love the history I have with my Power and some of my old cards carry with them a sense-memory of where I was in my life when learned to play Psychatog, or Recoup, or Painter's Servant. A collection doesn't have to be expensive to be meaningful, but making a sacrifice to own something rare can be a positive/meaningful part of the experience for a collector. I just don't believe these two hobbies need to be coupled together in any circumstance where they bring each other down.

(and sorry for derailing the thread, honestly I should know better ❀ πŸ˜„ )