This was something I had asked for a while back when discussing what the new website could have. I honestly do not know how popular this would be, but a lot of users of TMD do tend to play 93/94 as well. Having a separate to discuss stuff on this format would be awesome. A single sub-forum would probably be enough.
Best posts made by Hrishi
Old-School (93/94) Sub-forum
RE: JULY 2, 2018 BANNED AND RESTRICTED UPDATE
I'm amazed by some of the comments in this thread. There's no results that say Outcome is dominating Vintage by any means, and yet I can't help but feel that going by this thread it's going to be restricted anyway. I'm not sure I really want to play a format where public opinion on the internet is the deciding factor of what cards do and do not get restricted.
If Outcome's results are oppressive, by all means restrict it. Until then I don't see any cause for restrictions. We seem to be restricting multiple new cards every year. Are we trying to get the restricted list to stretch for a mile long? Is Vintage not the format where you get to play all cards ever printed or does it come with the qualifier "you get to play everything but every powerful card ever printed will get restricted until we are playing highlander"?
Hi, I've enjoyed combo decks for the longest time and enjoy deckbuilding with them. Deckbuilding is my favourite part of MTG, and I love discussing ideas, especially when it relates to combo. I've long wanted to contribute to the forum with a deck discussion of my own. I hope some people find this interesting to read!
So what exactly is Drain Tendrils? In essence, it is a combo/control deck that leans heavily on control elements but utilizes a storm kill as its finisher once you have taken control. As the name suggests, the deck has a number of Mana Drains and finishes the game with a Tendrils of Agony.
Nobody needs any introduction to how important Mana Drain was to Vintage, considering the name of this very website. In recent years it's fallen off quite a bit, but it is still a ridiculously powerful card.
I always like include some historical perspective when writing about decks heavily influenced by older versions. Note that the metagame has changed dramatically since this thread was active, but I still found it an interesting read. Feel free to skip if none of this interests you!
Following the unrestriction of Thirst for Knowledge and the restriction of Gush, I became interested in trying to revive this archetype, as the gameplan felt beautifully elegant to me. My good friend Matt Murray ( @ChubbyRain ) was also interested in this and worked on it for a while, ultimately winning the Vintage Challenge in June 2017.
The deck fell out of popularity since then, but I've always felt the idea of the deck's gameplan was extremely powerful, so it was always in the back of my mind and ended up being something I tuned for months and months. I fell out of Vintage for a while, but this stayed my pet deck ever since. Eventually I took an updated version to win the New Zealand Eternal Weekend Vintage event. This inspired me to do a write-up on it.
This is the decklist mentioned above. Please only take this decklist as a sample. I'll write down a quick overview of some of the choices below.
Lands 1 Flooded Strand 2 Island 1 Library of Alexandria 4 Polluted Delta 1 Tolarian Academy 3 Underground Sea 3 Volcanic Island Artifacts 1 Black Lotus 1 Mana Crypt 1 Mana Vault 1 Mox Emerald 1 Mox Jet 1 Mox Pearl 1 Mox Ruby 1 Mox Sapphire 1 Sol Ring 2 Sensei's Divining Top Restricted Cards 1 Ancestral Recall 1 Brainstorm 1 Demonic Tutor 1 Gitaxian Probe 1 Merchant Scroll 1 Mind's Desire 1 Mystical Tutor 1 Ponder 1 Time Walk 1 Timetwister 1 Tinker 1 Treasure Cruise 1 Vampiric Tutor 1 Yawgmoth's Will Counter Magic 1 Flusterstorm 4 Force of Will 3 Mana Drain 2 Mental Misstep Blue Bullshit 4 Paradoxical Outcome 2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor 2 Snapcaster Mage Win Conditions 1 Sphinx of the Steel Wind 1 Tendrils of Agony Sideboard 2 Abrade 1 By Force 3 Grafdigger's Cage 3 Hurkyl's Recall 2 Ravenous Trap 2 Red Elemental Blast 2 Yixlid Jailer
The biggest departure from the more traditional Paradoxical Storm decks (and indeed, older versions of this deck) is the lower artifact count. The reason for this is to be less prone to disruption on that axis. You are perfectly capable of transforming into a traditional Big Blue deck that wins off Mana Drains and bombs without needing to depend on a Storm kill. At the same time, being a deck capable of such a kill puts your opponents on the defensive, fearing that you are indeed capable of winning out of nowhere.
This deck, more than others, is perfectly happy to use a Paradoxical Outcome as a simple instant draw spell. It does not need to end the game immediately. Of course, it is absolutely capable of doing so in some cases, but you are able to use those Outcomes less aggressively and set up a win, rather than punching through.
That being said, this was simply the configuration I felt most comfortable with and evolved with through the months. It's perfectly legitimate to go an entirely different route.
Now that I've written a fairly high level overview of what the deck attempts to do and shown off a sample decklist, I'll try to describe its function in more detail. To put it simply, this deck is a sort of fusion between Big Blue and Paradoxical Storm. One of the reasons I really like how the deck functions is that it has the ability to play the game as a control deck, as well as a combo deck as the situation demands. The deck typically has three ways it can attempt to win the game.
Usually your first option when it comes to figuring out lines you must take. Note that unlike Paradoxical Storm decks, you must consider the role in each individual game very carefully. In most cases, you are not attempting to win the game as soon as you can. You would much rather take control of the game, develop your manabase and then use Paradoxical Outcome once you have controlled the game. If you feel your role is to be the combo aggressor, then by all means attempt to go broken. It's just the deck plays more like a control deck with a combo finish, rather than a fast combo deck.
There are a million different ways you will be prevented from comboing off. There are Null Rods, Resistors, Thalias, Stony Silences and even Dack Faydens. There is no shortage of ways to attack your artifact mana and your ability to draw cards. In such a situation, it's usually better to not fight that battle and simply change your gameplan to resolving and protecting Tinker.
Choosing your Tinker target is very important. In the current state of things, my first choice is Sphinx of the Steel Wind. I'll talk about this topic more later.
When all other routes fail, this is still an option available to you. Jace and Snapcaster are both technically win conditions that can take you all the way. Consider a situation where comboing off is not an option and your Tinker target is gone. You should still be alright, Jace can win the game on his own if you protect him, and Snapcaster can slowly end the game as well.
There are some cards that should go into any deck attempting this gameplan. I've always found it helpful to narrow down what cards make up my deck's core and what cards are extras that work well.
1 Ancestral Recall
4 Force of Will
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Time Walk
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Black Lotus
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Sol Ring
There should really be no discussion about any of these cards. You are playing a big blue deck splashing black, so play these cards.
1 Mystical Tutor: A lot of decks do not like running this card anymore, for good reason. However, I feel it's a core part of this deck's gameplan, in order to achieve a critical mass of tutors that can find your kill cards. Feel free to board it out against blue decks, but it's invaluable versus a lot of the field.
1 Vampiric Tutor: I would not board this out even against blue decks. Everything I said about Mystical Tutor applies here, except it can fetch things like Black Lotus and Tolarian Academy.
3-4 Paradoxical Outcome: As strange as it sounds, you could go with 3 Paradoxical Outcome if you really wanted to, I did for a while. Since you aren't really attempting to go off as fast as possible, you can afford to wait to draw into one, which you then re-use with a Snapcaster hopefully. However, as mentioned above, I ended up being happy with 4 copies.
1 Tendrils of Agony: This is your combo finisher, play it. You can board it out when you feel you'd rather heavily lean on Tinker to close the game.
1 Tinker: This is your other finisher for when you are not able to combo off. I've found Tinker to be a spectacular card, and it comes down to picking the right Tinker target for the occasion. Board it out when you feel your Tinker target isn't going to get the job done, due to your opponent's deck configuration.
1 Mana Vault: Mana Vault is a low cost include in this deck. It lets you accelerate out some stuff, and you get to bounce it back with Outcome.
2 Sensei's Divining Top: Must include card, this plays so well with Paradoxical Outcome and gives you some much needed card selection. Remember that you can tap the top to draw, then respond with an Outcome to get an extra card.
3 Underground Sea
3 More Blue Duals
Not too much to add here. You'll be mostly be picking your third colour based on your sideboard, although there are some main-deck considerations too. If you want to play only two colours, just add more Underground Seas and basic lands.
1 Tolarian Academy: One of the most busted cards ever made. You will find that this is a constant tutor target in this deck. It provides boatloads of blue mana and is often your ace in the hole in the face of Null Rod and Stony Silence. Just remember to be careful when exposing it to Wastelands.
1 Library of Alexandria: While sometimes this can be a bit slow, it takes over the game in many other instances. Just note that there comes a point in the game when you use that accumulated card advantage to throw all your cards at your opponent to beat them. Pick that moment carefully!
Graveyard-based Card Advantage
1-3 Snapcaster Mage
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Dig through Time
I thought I'd lump all these together as this part of your configuration is fairly inter-connected. In general, the more Snapcasters you want to play, the fewer Delve spells you can. As a general rule I found, you can play any 3 of the above cards. Be very wary of choosing a configuration that runs both Treasure Cruise and Dig through Time as that can mess with your Yawgmoth's Will pretty severely. You'll want to run more cantrips than normal if you choose to go that way.
2-4 Mana Drain
2-4 Mental Misstep
I didn't include Force of Will here as that should be obvious. Feel free to play with the numbers of the above cards until it feels right to you. I ended up with playing 10 counters including the Forces. Mana Drain is amazing to fuel explosive turns, but it can be a bit slow to get going. Mental Misstep is great versus Xerox-style decks, but is completely dead to some other decks like Shops. Flusterstorm is the same, but can be pointed at more spells at least.
0-2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
0-2 Dack Fayden
Not much to say about Jace, he takes over the game if you have an empty board. It also serves as a win condition. While I chose to play Jace because it works extremely well with Mana Drain, Dack is another fantastic option. However, note that stolen artifacts don't play nicely with Paradoxical Outcome. Of course, you'll need to play red to use Dack. I found that running 2 planeswalkers seemed correct, so any combination of the above would potentially work. I haven't tried crazier options such as Teferi, but that might be a consideration too.
Blightsteel Colossus is usually the default Tinker target, and is phenomenal with Time Walk, resulting in an instant win. Note that this requires no blockers to do so. It's weaknesses is that it can be stolen by Dack, and it often doesn't save you if you are very far behind on the board, as a single swing does not do it, and you will be killed on the following turn. If your metagame has a heavy presence of Dack, I would avoid.
Sphinx of the Steel Wind is another strong pick because it lets you win on the board thanks to the Vigilance and Lifelink. On top of that, it is immune to Dack. However, it still falls victim to Swords and Jace and it can be slow to close the game.
Inkwell Leviathan is the only other consideration, in my mind. It's immune a ton of cards, but a notable exception is Hurkyl's Recall. However, it's slow and takes many turns to close the game, so I would only recommend in specific metagames.
While the core of the deck makes up approximately 54-55 cards (with a bunch of options as I've outlined above), there are more cards that make up the remaining slots. These slots can be extremely competitive so remember to consider each card's role in the deck carefully.
1 Merchant Scroll: Decks have stopped playing this card a ton, but I really like it here. On top of being able to fetch an Ancestral Recall early, this can get you Paradoxical Outcome or Mana Drain too, which can be very useful. Once again, this contributes to the critical mass of tutors. Post-board, you can grab a Hurkyl's Recall too.
Gitaxian Probe: Free storm and information about your opponent's resistance level, what's not to like? It can feel rather dead in the face of spheres though. Feel free to board out versus Shops and other such decks.
Ponder: This card is nice to include as it's a low cost method of some filtering. Note that there are some annoyances with playing this alongside Mana Drain as you don't really want to lose having UU up.
Preordain: Same comments above apply, except I think this is slightly worse than Ponder in this deck.
Repeal: Nice versatile way to bounce a great many things, and can also be cycled at instant speed.
Thirst for Knowledge: I've personally found this a bit slow, but as many people know this works quite well with Mana Drain and slowly accumulates some card advantage. One issue is I don't really want to be discarding my artifacts. I want to be playing them for my Outcomes which makes it a bit awkward. If I played with this card, I'd try to include a few more artifacts somehow.
Mind's Desire: This card is one of my favourite cards (if you couldn't already tell). The deck is often a bit too reactive to use this as well as you would hope, and it has led to some spectacular fizzles, but when it works, there's nothing quite like it. Feel free to avoid if this is not for you.
Timetwister: Another high variance card, but this can be quite strong in a number of cases, notably if you have an artifact heavy hand. Once again, it can turn dead if you're ahead on cards already and you don't really want to gamble away your chances of winning at times.
Imperial Seal: While this card sees very little play these days, this could also serve as yet another tutor to grab your Tinker, especially in metagames where you tend to lean on that gameplan a lot. With a Top out, you can access the card immediately, too.
Monastery Mentor: Obviously ridiculously powerful if you're playing white, but I've found this kinda takes the same spot as Tinker. I wouldn't personally play this over Tinker, but if you'd rather go this way, Mentor is a fine way to go.
Hurkyl's Recall: You can play a couple copies main if you'd prefer to lean a bit more heavily on the storm plan too. It can just be dead in a number of matchups.
Engineered Explosives: Another nice catch-all answer to many things, and is a bonus artifact for your Outcomes.
I could go on all day about the number of cards that could be considered. Above are some examples, but there's got to be many more.
Configuring your sideboard can make or break your tournament. In this section I don't want to give specific sideboard cards as it's extremely metagame dependent, but I'll just talk about what you need to address. Look to my sideboard I posted above for an example. The only card I think is mandatory for this sideboard is Hurkyl's Recall. I feel you absolutely must play 2-3 copies as it works very well with your gameplan.
I picked red as my tertiary colour above because I felt it was the strongest option for artifact destruction as well as being anti-blue, but there are probably legitimate reasons to go with either white or green. In fact I also played around with only 2 colours, which could also work.
Dredge Hate: Don't skimp on your dredge hate (and ensure you're prepared for Survival if you wish, too). You aren't a combo deck that wins at breakneck speeds and Dredge will outrace you.
Artifact Destruction: You need a way to deal with Shops post-board and you need to be able to blow up Null Rods and many other nasty artifacts. Consider cards like By Force or Fragmentize.
Oath: Consider Oath, but it really depends on the metagame. Grafdigger's Cages will do nicely, as will enchantment removal such as Nature's Claim
Anti-Blue: You typically will have to side out a few cards when playing other blue decks. Make sure you have a few cards that work nicely against them, such as extra Flusterstorms or Pyroblasts.
Some Creature Removal: There are some creatures that are pure misery to play against, such as Notion Thief and Thalia. Try to ensure you have some sort of answer post board, such as Swords to Plowshares or Abrade.
There's a lot more I could cover here, but this should cover mostly everything you need to be prepared for. Remember that you should be siding out either your Tendrils or your Tinker package if the matchup demands that.
I hope you enjoyed reading this write-up. This is very much a work-in-progress, but I really enjoy playing this archetype and I'd like to open it up for discussion and see how it can be improved on. In many cases, your own decklist will reflect your personal play patterns and preferences, but I thought I'd share!
RE: Vintage Buyouts
@MaximumCDawg I think if they expect these reprint sets to make a major impact, they shouldn't be of limited availability (like Modern Masters and Eternal Masters were).
Now, I own every card that I would need to build any sort of deck with Ancestral Recall and Force of Will in it, so this is completely irrelevant to me. I also own Moats. However, it sucks that people are now potentially priced out of owning Moats. The same happened with Library of Alexandria about a month ago, if I'm not mistaken.
As for having 22 years to buy Moats, I would point out that we have new players coming into Vintage ever so often who did not have 22 years to buy anything. As a personal note, I started playing Magic in 2013. People telling me that they had no sympathy for me needing to buy cards needed to play vintage because I had 22 years to buy them would have left an extremely sour taste in my mouth. Thankfully, most people aren't like that.
RE: How do I beat a sphere-heavy shops hand when I'm on the draw without FoW?
@grizzly I'm saying I find it very hard to beat shops when I'm on the draw and they get the nut hand+follow-up draws.
This isn't just you. If any Vintage deck gets a nut hand you're not likely to win unless your draws are also stellar in many cases. I'm sure you could beat a nut hand from shops with your own nut hand, but you can hardly expect your average draws to get there.
RE: Thoughts on restrictions
From a personal standpoint, I'm getting sick of cards being printed that do nothing but specifically hate on "vintage strategies". It's such binary gameplay and extremely boring. Call me a "blue mage" or whatever, but honestly I have the most fun when I play big blue or something like that, slinging the most broken spells ever printed against someone else doing the same, blue or otherwise. Some of my favourite games in Vintage were when I played against Prison Shops, or when I played Storm Combo versus a Big Blue deck, or indeed, big blue creature-less mirrors.
I do not have fun trying to answer a random human whose name I cannot remember whose text basically says "you cannot do X", where X refers to something specifically you do in Vintage.
RE: N.Y.S.E. Open VI?
While it's going to be hard for me to make it (to put it lightly), I just wanted to say that for the times I did, the prize support was a very minor part of the event. I would say that the main attraction was how well the event was run, the fun times to be had by all, and above all else, the fact that it was a large paper Vintage event, of which there aren't very many left! The prize support is secondary to being able to run the event, IMO.
For anybody on the fence, definitely consider going. This event was one of the best Vintage events I've ever been to.
RE: April 24th, 2017 Banned and Restricted update: GUSH AND PROBE/TOP in Legacy
@wappla First you used Rich's deck choice in a daily to attack him. Then you called him a hypocrite. Then you made a snide remark suggesting he was engaging in self-deception. Then you claim you are the one are being bullied?
RE: JULY 2, 2018 BANNED AND RESTRICTED UPDATE
I mean, the power level argument is silly. We're playing Vintage, with the most powerful cards ever printed. Oath of Druids is legal as a 4-of in this format, is that not "super high power level with very little downside"? Saying a card has a high power level is not a sufficient reason to do anything. Cards that do not have a high power level do not get played in this format.
The restricted list is meant to keep format diversity, not restrict cards that people feel hit some arbitrary measure of power.
RE: Single Card Discussion - Lavinia, Azorious Renegade
@chubbyrain said in Single Card Discussion - Lavinia, Azorious Renegade:
@hrishi Sounds like they need to print more and better Hatebears. Then they'll see more play and you can play your Lightning Bolts and your Swords and "not feel bad".
No, the hatebears that need to be printed need to not be so binary in their function. I don't really consider bolting a hatebear whose only function is turning specific vintage cards off to be the epitome of interesting gameplay. More binary hatebears simply mean there'll be more such non-interesting decision making in games.
But perhaps this is simply my opinion.
Latest posts made by Hrishi
RE: Price Spikes & Paper Vintage
Solid write-up, Nick.
There's a bit of concern among some people (not necessarily from anybody here) that abolishing the reserve list will mean that people's old cards will not be worth much. Some cards, yes. Random reserve list cards that don't have much meaning, yes. But Black Lotuses? No way in hell. The value of such cards will outlive the game.
However, I am extremely concerned that every single time I step away from the game and return, my collection seemingly gains another arbitrary percentage of value.
I got into Vintage (and indeed, magic itself) only in 2013. I loved the North-East Vintage community and have made some of my best friends there. A little while before Vintage went online, I was given some advice by @Prospero that "if I ever wanted to buy in, it would be a good time to do so now, before Vintage goes online and prices sky-rocket". It was among the best advice I've ever been given, and I'm forever grateful for that. I purchased an Unlimited Lotus for $800 and the rest of the P9 shortly after. Compare that to the prices of today and it's ludicrous.
There is no way I could do a repeat of 2013 and get into what was essentially a new game today. The prices are too high and price out anybody who does not have an inherent connection to the game already. Yes, proxies exist, but I've met a number of people who prefer playing with real cards and don't want to use proxies. It's not a strange notion either, wouldn't you want to actually see the cards you're playing?
I don't actually think we need to divorce the collectible from the game. What I mean by this is, in a hypothetical scenario, we could abolish the reserve list tomorrow, print every card under the sun and the old printings will STILL hold collectible value. Keep the collectible nature of the game, but let it not impede the ability to enjoy the game itself.
RE: Is it possible to have vintage be community run and maintained?
Why do some of you seem to think that any community managed format would eventually have multiple iterations of B&R? I'm not saying that the format is no longer sanctioned. It is still WOTCs format. I am in effect asking them to outsource the playtesting B&R discussions, etc to a volunteer community who is more invested and knowledgable of the format.
And what makes you think the same thing you're doing now wouldn't happen again? In fact, it would be easier to feel that a player-run version is inadequate and want to make your own. Any B&R discussion whether it be here or on twitter is evidence of that.
Unlike players who are heavily invested in a format, the DCI is meant to make impartial and dispassionate decisions that is good for the game in general. Players have a slightly different desire (which is to maximise their enjoyment), even though those goals are often aligned.
RE: Is it possible to have vintage be community run and maintained?
As much as I disagree with the DCI on a number of their decisions, I believe they do a better job of managing the Vintage B&R list than any group of community members could. The last thing Vintage needs is the old school effect where there are a million different B&R rulesets when the community is already small enough.
As much as everyone is ready to say the DCI are clueless, can you not see what a difficult job it is trying to please such a diverse group of players and their various wants? Do you really think a community could accomplish this and not have similar complaints flare up anyway?
So I kinda disagree with the initial premise that WOTC "doesn't know how to" or "does not care" to run Vintage.
RE: B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020
So the above is how a past version of development didn't go in an alternate universe in the back of Rosewater's mind. Okay got it. Thanks for clearing that up.
I don't know if you're trying to be snarky? But I'm going to assume you're not in order to be charitable.
Citing a semi-hilarious semi-embellished story about MTG development and using that as a basis to say Rosewater's credibility went to zero in your book seems like a bit of an over-reaction, unless you're under the impression that was a real story.
RE: B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020
So these young interns who have spent their entire lives studying, applying, working part-time jobs, taking loans, and navigating the waters of internship landed a dream job that requires testing games of magic for research and development. They were so offended by a game mechanic under development that they threw away their careers just after dramatically writing a detailed message with lipstick on a two-way mirror?
Rosewater's credibility just went to zero in my book.
Er, you realise this isn't a real story, right? It's just a fun way of telling us how a past version of development went?
RE: B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020
I'll also state for the record that I have reservations about the quick ban. I don't have as much time to play Vintage as I used to, and I've certainly not had the time to play with the companions yet. But honestly I never felt the need to once the conversations around Twitter turned into "ban them now" because what would be the point? They'll be irrelevant soon enough. The format changes too quickly for me now, with every new set creating a new set of cards for people to complain about publically, which invariably results in a complete loss of interest because I know the format's probably going to change before I get to play any measurable number of games.
I've not read the posts in great detail, but I figured this perspective might be useful. The fast-paced nature of the format certainly benefits those who play Vintage on MTGO regularly, and if that's the direction Wizards chooses to go, that's also fine. But know that it comes at the cost of another group of players.
FWIW, the card seems busted enough that a ban seems reasonable on the surface, but I'd certainly have liked a little more time given before taking such a massive decision such as a power level banning in Vintage. I shudder to think what future B&R discussions are going to look like now that seemingly bans have been brought back to the table.
RE: November 18, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement
I'm sure Narset was problematic enough to warrant a restriction, but all I can think of at this point is "what is the next card people are going to complain about for the next few months"? My bet is on Paradoxical Outcome.
These constant restrictions are tiring.
RE: August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement
Look at any major sport and there is a players union fighting for/against rule changes. I don’t see why magic should be some great exception. No one is going to advocate for a change that they think will kill the game.
I absolutely think objectivity is a good thing. Most players are unable to see what their proposed actions will accomplish beyond the immediate future. This is not a knock on people, it's just not a skill players of a game need to develop.
Of course nobody is going to advocate for a change they think is going to kill the game. But the problem is that a change players want might not necessarily give them the result they want. Someone emotionally and financially invested is not necessarily going to consider opposing points of view. Objectivity lets you do exactly that.
RE: August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement
I think the idea that the DCI has better Vintage experts than the actual Vintage players is pretty suspect
You can have the best players in history but if you aren't able to manage the format while holding a dispassionate and objective view of the long-reaching ramifications of your actions, being a good Vintage player means nothing. Management of a format takes more than simple player skill, as evidenced by some of the restrictions proposed by skilled players of the format on this very forum.
RE: August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement
Seeing 4x Necro being a consideration makes me so happy. I hope it follows soon, nothing would please me more.