@wappla Thanks for the article. I always enjoy your analysis.
I'm not sure what people are complaining about unless everyone just wants articles with specific step by step instructions on what and how to play. This article analyzes Mentor and talks about why a category of frequently-played hate doesn't do the job. Then we get an overview of why two modern Mentor decks are good and the two cards that tie everything together and Wappla ties the deck back to two different decks that were successful from last years Vintage Champs.
Also @wappla suggests that we should play broken decks instead of Mentor hate in order to beat Mentor and opines that, as a format boogie man, maybe Mentor isn't so bad. Seems reasonable to me.
I appreciate the theory and the analysis.
I finished 7-3 for 38th place at Champs. I lost vs shops in the last round when I punted several times including missing the win on board in game one. My brain was completely gone after a long day but it was a good run for me. I loved my deck and I’d change only -1 Kataki, +1 Trygon Predator in the board. I’ll write up a bit more later.
My current list is
I am liking this list thus far.
I cut Vryn Wingmare because it's not a Human and because 3 is way more than 2 and added a fourth Thalia because this deck really needs Thalia in play.
Spirit of the Labyrinth has been good thus far. It is also not a Human but it's such a beating if it stays in play and helps to keep from falling as irretrievably behind Gush decks if you aren't able to just Thorn them to death.
Containment Priest is the weakest creature in the deck unless it's in a matchup where it's amazing. The interaction with Displacer is fine. I experimented with Canonist in this spot (and also instead of Spirit) but I was underwhelmed. I'm sticking with Priest maindeck for now. Maybe because I feel like at least I can fallback on the Displacer Combo to get me out of a tight spot.
Revoker is amazing. As is Though-Knot. Lodestone is a dumb card that I take out vs. shops but which sometimes just wins.
I like Reality Smasher but I shaved one to find room for two Endbringers for top-end finishing, theoretical card draw, and a way to close games without attacking. This was suggested to me by @sodoyouwearacape on Twitter last night and I like the theory but I haven't actually cast one yet to test it.
Containment Priest and Displacer are the creatures that most often get sideboarded out in some number for me. I don't have a ton of confidence that that is completely right but they are the most situational.
I would be playing some number of Horizon Canopy as suggested by @wappla but I sold them last year as part of my (successful) campaign to obtain paper power. So no regrets there, I'll get some back and test those out at some point. I do like having so many basic lands, though.
I tried to make the maindeck decent against Gush (and blue in general) as well as Storm/Belcher combo. The sideboard is basically six more cards for dredge and eight or nine for shops. For assorted blue decks usually I just bring in a Swords or two, a Disenchant, or Jitte in, depending what exactly I'm playing against.
The biggest issue with the deck so far is getting white mana, especially in games two and three but it hasn't been too terrible most of the time. Maybe Horizon Canopy would lead me to be less ambitious with white cards in the board but Swords, Disenchant, Rest in Peace, and especially Kataki are so impactful that I like having access to them.
Playing the correct lands not just for the current turn but also to set up potential future draws is really tough and interesting.
In the past I've tried Shops a bit but generally I've played various blue decks. It feels weird that I never draw cards, tutor, or even shuffle (that will be even weirder when I play the deck in paper for the first time). The bottom 45 cards in my library basically don't exist unless my opponent casts Timetwister. I find that... I kind of like that.
In general I'm enjoying playing the deck and I'm looking forward to seeing where it does in the next few months. If anyone has any feedback or comments on anything I'd love to hear it.
@wappla It's not hypocrisy to make a deck choice for a tournament. Rich made predictions about what a Gush restriction would do to the overall metagame eventually but, apparently, made a different prediction of what it would immediately do to the metagame in this daily. Or wanted to employ some misdirection before the P9. Or just wanted to play Stax. Whatever.
This deck choice doesn't mean hypocrisy. It also doesn't mean anyone made an idiotic argument. It's a deck choice for four matches in a daily event.
@grr Congrats on the win. I really liked playing White Eldrazi before the Thorn restriction. I'm looking forward to trying out your list.
Seems like you have a lot of tools against PO and blue decks in general. I'm wondering:
- If you've played against Ravager Shops and what you think of that matchup.
- Did you miss the maindeck Containment Priests? The last list I played had trimmed those to two and my feeling has been that we either want to stay at 3-4 (both for dredge/oath and to maximize the combo with Displacer) or cut them completely as without Displacer it just doesn't pull its weight vs. normal matchups.
- Did you have any problems with the white source count, especially for the Stony Silences? I've played Null Rods in the past but maybe that's wrong now with more Hurkyl's in the format.
- Did big Thalia pull its weight?
- I count 31 mana sources, which is 1-2 more than I'd expect. Do you think this is the right number? How do you feel about 2 Horizon Canopies?
This policy seems like it is in place for Standard and, maybe, Modern. It may or may not be a good policy there but I can understand their concern that people will lose interest in those formats once they are more or less solved.
I expect that they have decided to maintain a consistent policy rather than do something different for Vintage (or Legacy) just to be consistent and not out of any special consideration for Vintage. Even if we had all of the MTGO Vintage data it would be a much smaller dataset than the known Standard results (and for a much bigger format). I don't know whether convincing WOTC to make a different policy for eternal formats is possible or not, but my guess is that any lobbying to get them to change their minds has to lean on this argument of Vintage as an exception.
Though I also have the sad suspicion that MTGO and their reporting tools somehow can't handle a difference in policy between formats. I can't imagine how this would be the case but I also can't imagine how it would take a month to implement B&R changes online either...
@Topical_Island Gush is great, obviously. But I think without Mentor, Gush is a great engine card in a lot of shells but the other Gush decks don't have the closing power. Delver/Pyromancer is a good deck (my favorite deck) but I don't believe that Gush would be the force it is without Mentor. Same goes for Gushbond Storm or Doomsday. These are good, competitive decks but, in my opinion, anyway, it is Mentor that puts Gush over the top.
@ChubbyRain yeah, I was trying to say (but didn't say very clearly) that all those sideboard cards don't really stop Mentor reliably. You have to draw them, resolve them, keep them in play and then half the time it doesn't even matter and the Virulent Plague or Propoganda or whatever just gives you an extra turn or two.
(I would Waste an opponent's Fetchland if they were at 1 life and about to win some other way... That's probably the most sleezy thing I would actually do. Paul's tactic of accidontpurposly forgetting a trigger is probably the least dubious thing I wouldn't actually do, which, when one considers the rich history of overt cheating in Magic, marked cards, and artisanal shuffling methods... is maybe pretty mild in the grand scheme of things.)
Wait, is this sleezy? Do I not understand the situation?
I've played a few matches with new Thalia. Some in a more white version without Smasher and Temple and with Stoneforge and also in a list with more Eldrazi including Mimic and Endless One.
New Thalia has been good. Definitely a hassle for opponents. The 3CC means it doesn't get down as quickly which is pretty key. I'm going to add Petal, maybe, for more acceleration.
I don't have enough reps with new Thalia yet but initial experience has been good. I said earlier that this deck needs something like Tangle Wire as an extra piece of disruption to not run out of steam. Or some crap like that. Thalia's biggest issue is that she doesn't affect cards already on the board but maybe it will be able to serve that purpose anyway.
I really enjoyed playing Delver a year or more ago but recently I haven't had much luck with it. These lists suggest why that might be. I keep going back and forth vs Mentor and then eventually they land a Mentor and it takes over. I tend to play this deck as more of a control deck. Not as extremely as Menendian in early VSL seasons but that was still my inclination.
But these lists with the four bolts and no STO/path look like they play faster and, against Mentor, look to race. I would try to do this but I think my lists were not designed for it and my play wasn't aggressive enough.
So thanks for the report and lists. I'll try again. And I'm wondering what the plan is vs. Eldrazi. Clog the ground with tokens and fly over with Delver?
@grr Thanks for the reply!
My mulligan strategy for this deck is that any hand without a white source has to be otherwise very strong in order to keep it. I've tried Lotus Petal before and it was ok but if I remember correctly I was less dependent on Null Rod/Stony Silence before Thorn was restricted. What I really want is exactly 1 (or occasionally 2) basic Plains in a game and that's it. But I really do want that one. I had experimented with Smuggler's Copter before for flying over board stalls as well as filtering but this version feels so reliant on Stony Silence that I don't think that's the right direction anymore.
I managed to play six matches with this list (with Swords subbed in for Holy Light) online last night. They were just Tournament Practice Room matches and there were some rogue-ish matchups but I did win all of them, so that's good. In a nutshell I beat:
- Oops All Spells
- Traxos Shops (with Tangle Wire and, I suspect Null Rod although I didn't see that)
- Jeskai Control
- a strange blue deck with Ancient Tomb, Mox Opal and Tinker
- 5-color Thieves
- Esper Outcome
Every match went to three games except vs. Shops. When this deck works and you resolve two or three disruptive permanents it's amazing and when they manage to deal with those and you draw all lands it just feels so bad and they vintage you.
Anyway, I really liked the Spheres, Stony Silence over Null Rod and cutting the maindeck Priests. I want to test more aginst Ravager Shops, especially.