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posted in Vintage Strategy read more

@brass-man Of course, that has to be a consideration. 3/3s are relevant creatures against a puny white deck, and the Aggro Humans deck looks to be super difficult for my deck to deal with, as an example.

The good news is that Shops plays artifacts, and there's a lot of tech already out there that hates on artifacts as well as cards that are maindeckable that also tax a good portion of the field.

I don't for a second think that Shops is the only way to cast taxing cards, counting on Shops as the way to cast that type of card is pretty limiting at this point, imo. There are so many more options.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more


I'm not even quite sure where you're imagining this is going... Are you telling me to play Workshop in a white/x Humans deck for a marginally useful card, or are you talking about Bridge being useful in the only deck that runs Workshop?

If you play brige off a full hand and somehow you have Workshop in that deck, and your follow up is a card not relevant to Shops you're worse off than if you just waited a turn and dropped Moat because you still have 5 cards in your hand. Or 4 or even 3 cards, they have an attacker they can swing in with. Even at 2 cards in hand they can swing with Revoker or a 2/2 Ballista.

I'd like to begin talking about 3-drops as "one mana source cards" since they can be cast off Lotus. What are we even talking about?

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

@desolutionist said in The Present and Future of "Taxing" decks?:


Doesn’t Moat cost 4 mana sources while Bridge only costs 1?

Assuming that effect is essential to the strategy, which I think it is given the speed of Aggro shops.

By definition, a Prison deck has to stop the opponent from being able to win. In this meta that’s stopping Delver, Pyromancer, Ravager, Overseer, Zombie tokens... you have to stop attacks before you can do anything

I'm sorry, but Bridge sucks...

Bridge doesn't cost 1 mana source, it costs 3 colorless. If I drop that as early as I can, say, turn 1 off of a Lotus or a land + crypt, my hand is at best, 4 cards large if I kept a 7. I'm not sure what other people are doing to dump their hands on turn 2 without reliably drawing more cards or replacing them, but my deck usually doesn't get to 1 card in hand until turn 4-ish. Which wouldn't stop Pyromancer tokens. Bridge seems terrible for "speed" unless you're fighting Oath or a deck full of Blightsteel Colossi. Personally? an effective Bridge shuts off my deck.

If we're talking the best cards that tax as many decks as possible, it seems difficult to find something better than Moat, or the mini-moat "I tax your attacks" effect that Propaganda, Ghostly Prison, Windborn Muse, Archangel of Tithes-ish cards have, in addition to Null Rod/Stony Silence, and possibly Suppression Field. Taxing attacks affects BUG, Pyro Delver, Shops, Dredge, and if P.O. decides to grab Mentor. Null Rod/Stony hits every deck except Dredge in some way and is great against P.O., Shops, and Vault/Key. Suppression Field has probably the widest application of all of these because it hits fetches, wastelands, man-lands, planeswalkers, Deathrite Shamans, Ballistas, etc etc.

@Griselbrother how is 3 mana prohibitive! I'm confused. Are people saying that any deck other than Shops has an impossible time generating enough mana to play 3-drops on turn 1 or 2? I think in the past week I've had 2 people drop Jace on turn 1 against me while I was holding a t1 3-drop. If you drop a Prison t1 or even t2 against Shops, They'll most likely have to make a decision of whether to attack or cast spells which can buy you time, and they can't pay for Prison with Shop mana. It's not the greatest thing in the world, but in combination with Null Rod, Suppression Field, targeted removal, etc, it can do work.

I think the problem is that people want a "Golden Gun" against any deck, like they want to bring in one card from the SB without thinking too hard and just draw it and then their opponent scoops. I can think of several combinations of the cards mentioned that, together, could incapacitate a Shops deck, and many others. Since they're incapable of running crippling taxing effects now and have basically stopped putting things like Tangle Wire into the deck, having 2 or even 3 cards that are really good against shops (but not golden gun good) is perfectly reasonable. I don't think they'll print this for us:

Magus of "I Kill Shops Decks"
Flash, Haste, Hexproof.
T: Destroy all artifacts your opponents control.

so... We might as well just pick things that have the broadest applications in Vintage and use a few of them. Personally, I have 3 Kataki, 3 Stony, 2 Muse, 3 Relic Warder and more, and I'm trying Suppression Field in the SB, but I'm not personally sure it fits into my deck yet. One thing I am quite sure about is that Ensnaring Bridge isn't going to work unless the deck is built around it, and with JUST Bridge and your hand at zero cards, I'm not even sure it would be effective when Ballista is a card.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

Bridge seems decent. I like Moat Man better if I were to go that route though, as it's a Human, doesn't get priced out of reach by Thalia and Glowrider, and lets my fliers do their thing.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

Question for everyone;

Are Taxing decks still in the realm of Shops variants, or are there enough cards elsewhere to get something reliably constructed and winning? I'm focusing on Humans, but I've heard mention of Eldrazi as well - what would that look like?

@chronatog said in The Present and Future of "Taxing" decks?:

This is a valid point. Perhaps because I think about taxing decks more in terms of different tribes, notably humans, I never thought about using fetch lands in such decks. And with the recent printing of Unclaimed Territory, I just can't help sticking to my guns. With 4x Caverns of Souls and 4x Unclaimed Territory perhaps it is possible to have a more stable five-color humans without fetch lands. Have you thought about this approach?

Unclaimed Territory is pretty cool, but my main reason for using Cavern isn't really fixing it's more ensuring that key cards actually hit the table. The fixing is coming from duals and fetches, and while UT would solve the fixing issue, I have 5 or so basics in the list which I'd love to be able to dig out against Shops, BUG, and Standstill variants.

With printing of Walking Ballista it is harder to protect life points from creatures, but perhaps Propaganda or Ghostly Prison are still good options (at least for sideboard). Have you tried either of them?

I wrote a detailed (now way outdated and abandoned) primer here about a list I had been developing last year that includes most of the things you're mentioning: http://www.themanadrain.com/topic/482/developing-budget-vintage-unpowered-white-hatebears/

And I wouldn't expect Wizards to print Magus of the Rod after they introduced an artifact themed block.

I honestly wouldn't put it past them, they've printed two Null Rods and keep replicating or slightly transforming cards that have relevant abilities. I think the problem with Null Rod Man in KLD is that it would have been a hoser for most decks in the format, it would have put a halt to all the trouble they put into developing the cards, and if they DID print it in an artifact-heavy set, it would have had to have been overcosted to adjust it ahead a few turns (think a 3/3 for 4CMC that's also a Null Rod, a.k.a unplayable anywhere but standard).

I like that the Muse is a 2/3 flying Propaganda. I don't like that she costs four mana and is a spirit. I thought about Peacekeeper

Peacekeeper seems good, especially that you can basically just stop paying at any point if you get ahead on board. I was initially thinking about Silent Arbiter, but I am trying out High Priest of Penance. Should act as a micro one-sided Moat anti-sweeper card of sorts.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

@topical_island this has been my experience 100%. Even when it doesn't hit anything, the peek is extremely valuable. I also prefer this at 1/2 instead of 2/1 since it can take a hit from some minor sweepers and stay in play.

As an example of how this can win games, I dropped this g1 t1 in the blind, took a Paradoxical Outcome, and my opponent never recovered. Also noticed the coast was clear (no FOW) so next turn I didn't feel awkward throwing out Glowrider, and that was game.

Again, I think it's marginal-to-ineffective against shops and non-delver aggro decks and about 70% of the time I'd rather play something else in my hand, but it is definitely earning its spot. I encourage other people to test it if they're doing Humans.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

@chronatog I have played all of those, and they are indeed very, VERY good cards, the main issue is that Suppression Field hits my fetches, it gets harder and harder to cast with all the Thorns (9 right now in my build), and it hits Ghost Quarter, Wasteland, Strip, Mother of Runes, etc. The other two are great as well, but unless they come down before a Thorn, it's pretty difficult to cast them. Shops has a 3-mana land that helps them avoid actually paying for taxing effects, and the best a Human deck with 9 Thorns can do is just stick with creatures as much as possible.

Same goes for spot removal in Instant form (Swords, Disenchant, etc). I really need to find those effects on legs in order for it to be included (which sucks, but there are options). If they ever print a Null Rod on legs, it's all over.

My SB plan against Dredge is Yixlid Jailer and a couple of Bojuka Bog, which might be swapped for Containment Priests. Oddly enough, a lot of the maindeck cards have game against Dredge, the taxing effects with help from Wasteland can stop Dread Return and Cabal Therapy from being a thing they can do, and having creatures means that just one block can exile all their bridges, so it's generally Dread Return or nothing for the first few turns. I also have Windborn Muse as a 1-of, but it hasn't come up in Dredge yet.

Altogether, I really think the sheer number of blanket hate cards in white, and the number of relevant Humans (And Cats, weirdly) increasing almost every set means the deck should be given a lot more consideration to than it currently is.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

Resurrecting this to say that I have been trying it, and it is indeed very good in a Human deck. Not as a 4-of, but it gives you a peek, most of the games against Blue decks it gives you a card, and it lets you know the coast is clear if you need to drop something of importance after.

Likely doesn't make the cut because it isn't "prison-ish" enough for most people, or aggressive enough, but it has won me a couple games.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

@moorebrother1 Interestingly enough, I was going to try out Deadeye Tracker for spot GY hate against Blue decks and Dredge. Just trying out as many Humans as possible in B/W to see what sticks. I have had a lot of success in general with another Ixalan Human, Kitesail Freebooter... Right now it's a 3-of, but I might need to cut 1 because I'm running into situations where it stays in hand while I'm playing Thalias or Glowriders instead. It is really good for information, and sometimes I can cast it off Cavern, steal a FoW, and then land a non-Human that ends up winning the game. I've taken Ancestral, Time Walk, Bargain, 3-Sphere, Sweepers, Drain, Lotus, removal, etc. It's a micro-TKS and comes down sooner. I like it a lot.

In a previous build I had Dryad Militant, but 1-drops that can't be cast off Cavern are super marginal in a format with 4 Missteps.

@Topical_Island Against Oath (and Storm) I have Aegis of the Gods. It sucks compared to Containment Priest since it's an Enchantment, but for now it's something that can be cast off Cavern and hold Oath activation at bay until they find something. (kind of like Priest in that way, I guess). The worst Oath development for us is Inferno Titan, by far.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

Pre-board, I run 3 Relic Warders, 1 Windborn Muse, 4 Ghost Quarter, 1 Strip, 1 Kataki, and 2 Banisher Priest, and I've had success with 1 -2 Royal Asassin. I also run 1 MB Serene Master, and another in the SB. The do-nothing cards are blockers, usually, and Thalia 2 is great as well against many of the creatures. Post-board I increase the Kataki numbers to 3 and add in 3 Stony, removing some chaff like Ethersworn Canonist.

The main issue is an early Ballista or a Sphere if they're on the play, but so far in its current config I've lost 2 matches to Shops (admittedly only playing an average 1-2 games a day in the Practice room, I clearly need more reps), but pre-board I had enough cards against shops that an opponent yesterday literally thought I had built the deck to beat shops (exiled his first two plays with two Relic Warders), and that's pre-board, without 3x Kataki and 3x Stony. Most games Ive lost are usually due to mana screw in combo with not drawing my 5 basics or fetches for basics, or having to mull to 4.

Hope that explains a bit.

Also, by no means is this 100% solid "the answer to the metagame", but Kataki + Stony in play has resulted in an auto-concede every time it happens. That shops has gotten a lot more aggro doesn't help a bunch of 2/1's chances, but I think it has a much easier time than a blue deck just running Hurkyl's. Also picking up more tech on Friday that will help against more than a few aggro decks.