I can see there being a way to build crabshack // a fastbond deck where this + thassa's oracle is a wincon since that would subvert the issue of winning on the endstep. Otherwise I think that the payoff of a eot reanimation from your land is too dubious given how many hoops you would need to jump through.
Posts made by nofuture
RE: [Stranger things] Hawkins National Laboratory / The Upside Down
RE: Mono Blue Delver
Daze #2 is probably good since you are happy to operate on 2 mana sources, the free counter is relevant when you slam a regent (and daze feeds it) it will be hard to play more without the 4x brainstorm legacy players have to shuffle islands back in.
Maybe a stormwing entity to do a bad impression of regent without taxing the gy too much. The only problem is it requires three mana sources
RE: [MH2] Sol Talisman
I hope my read it wrong but it seems like you are digging in to a position for no purpose other than to argue, the goal here is a discussion and engaging in one means actually engaging.
I'll go point by point:
They are not the same card if either is in play, one has cmc 1, the other has effective 0 cmc, one can be used with PO, repealed for value, the other cannot. This is nebulous but looking at the cards that get played in vintage right now the new talisman has more negative interactions which is an important to consider when building with it.
The difference between a key/spellbomb/vault on T1 and a suspended card that is inaccessible until turn four is huge. That mana vault could pay for a Fluster, always threatens Tinker, Spellbomb can be cashed in for a card or remove a gy and Key threatens infinite turns along with a dozen other positive interactions. They all might go unused till turn four or longer, but they also have value in threatening to do things in the intervening turns while Talisman doesn't.
Importantly, and intentionally I didn't say win the game by turn four, I said critical turn. Decks that want to prolong the game still have a critical turn, where they establish their gameplan (Golos Shops with spheres and null rods, standstill with the titular card in play and a full grip of counters, BUG with a leovold/ouphe/Oko or a resolved delve spell).
Sure not every deck has to be trying to push its critical turn as soon as possible, but every deck in vintage is so if we are proposing a critical turn that falls later than the norm for the format bad results are going to follow.
As foretold is a card, as for being a vintage card I can't for the life of me find a deck that has been played including it in vintage. Build it, test it, demonstrate your belief.
RE: [MH2] Sol Talisman
@lienielsen I am fairly sure that the accolade applies to cube, but even if not, consider this:
T1 Sol ring -> +1 mana
T2 +2 // +3 total
T3 +2 // +5 total
T4 +2 // +7 total.
T1 Sol talisman -> -1 mana
T2 0 // -1
T2 0 // -1
T3 0 // -1
T4 +2 // +1
Sol ring is powerful because it provides both an immediate and consistent mana advantage. Sol talisman doesn't even start to accrue that kind of value until the fifth turn of the game. If we are being particularly generous in a very interactive matchup then maybe you get to tap it for mana twice. Think about when the critical turn for a lot of vintage decks happens, Doomsday, Oath, PO, Rav. Shops, even most Jeskai lists are threatening to win with Breach on T4 and that is when they are facing meaningful disruption, if we are exiling a card on T1, essentially going down a card for the first three turns of the game its even harder to find a way to make it beyond that T4 event horizon.
Moreover, we can't be mulliganing to find this card and we can't do much with it if we draw it on later turns. So running four of them has a big opportunity cost.
I cannot think of a deck that can suspend this consistently on turn one, survive until turn four and still have the resources to take advantage of the mana on turns 5+.
RE: [MH2] Sol Talisman
Maybe there is a KCI/Scrap Trawler deck that does some self mill/discard that wants this as its redundant 0 cmc artifact to return at the end of the trawler loops as it generates more mana than a mox, but otherwise I think that the assessment of it being too weak and too slow is pretty on the ball.
RE: Lurrus Painter
I would have agreed before doing some testing, but I found that Oko was insufficient to stop me from comboing, and that the cost of giving me a free 3/3 every turn was meaningful. I've been running my elk'd grindstones into a goyf over and over to recycle them with Welder/Engineer. What I am really saying is that removing one permanent a turn just doesn't stop this build. When Oko does beat you, it's when it comes out early on the play with threats and disruption to back it up, and I'm not in the buisness of trying to beat what is the vintage version of the jund hand. The other threat, ouphe does actually deal with more than a single permanent, but there are 9 ways to remove one/find removal for one and setting up the pfire-grove loop deals with it permanently. That is plenty answers that don't take a slot away from a combo piece.
RE: Lurrus Painter
My thoughts on pyroblast is that if I am choosing between defending a threat with a pyro or having another threat to present if the first one is dealt with, I would rather just have the extra threat. Threat redundancy helps with consistency and I found that answering stuff like Oko, Dack and even card advantage like ancest. is just not as good as putting a game winning spell on the stack.
In anticipation of the new Urza's Saga I've been working on an iteration of Painter.
I wanted to try a version that was very heavy on tutors for redundancy and could also use Lurrus as a means to recur your combo pieces. I have found that the painter variants in more of a grixis shell end up being worse at comboing and not good enough at interacting to justify the blue.
In testing this I've found that the true control/tempo decks like Jeskai, BUG and Standstill are easier to beat by presenting a lot of threats, rather than trying to fight their coutermagic or even stop their card advantage.
I have really disliked Pyroblast in this shell for that reason.
Here is one of this lists I've been playing:
Vintage Lurrus Painter
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Black Lotus
4 Arcum's Astrolabe
1 Lotus Petal
1 Sol Ring
1 Voltaic Key
1 Time Vault
1 Pithing Needle
1 Mox Opal
1 Chromatic Star
3 Painter's Servant
4 Goblin Engineer
2 Goblin Welder
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Punishing Fire
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Demonic Consultation
3 Prismatic Vista
2 Snow-Covered Swamp
3 Snow-Covered Mountain
2 Snow-Covered Forest
2 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Nurturing Peatland
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Graven Cairns
1 Life from the Loam
3 Living Wish
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Traverse the Ulvenwald
1 Painter's Servant
1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den
1 Yixlid Jailer
1 Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp
1 Goblin Welder
1 Plague Engineer
2 Mindbreak Trap
2 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
1 Blast Zone
2 Ancient Tomb
1 Strip Mine
The manabase is a Basic/Snow build to support Arcum's Astrolabe and be immune to most land hate. Grove of the Burnwillow's does a nice job as a dual as well as enabling Punishing Fire as an answer to Ouphe. The other nonbasics round out the colors and provide either utility or acceleration. Graven Cairns gets the nod because double black/red can be crucial and after some testing I was unhappy with the Badlands in that slot. Missing from this iteration is a main deck Strip Mine effect, I've had one in the past but found that I wanted a Tomb to provide a little more acceleration and that I was able to handle a lot of the problem lands with the Strip Mine out of the Wishboard or with the main deck Pithing Needle.
Since the combo itself is colorless I've been pretty happy with the manabase, as you can find the colors you need to cast your tutors but when it comes time to actually deploy the combo you don't really care which colors you have. Red is the most important color and I don't worry about having double black for Lurrus until later in the game. That said to not run into problems with your colors you need to plan quite far ahead and use Astrolabe well.
I am running 3/4 Painter's in the main with the final on in the SB to fetch with Living Wish, the full playset of Goblin Engineer which has been far and away the stand out card in this build. The tutor effect + ability to weld things out of your yard is exactly what this deck wants. In past versions I've had one in the Wishboard so that Living Wish could, albeit slowly fetch Grindstone/Vault-Key. After testing I found that this was too slow a plan and I was happier with all four Engineers in the main. The final creatures are two Goblin Welders, these have been situationally great, but I found myself not wanting the full set as they don't help find any combo pieces. That said they are a huge part of winning some matchups and great to have in play as the game goes longer, they also do very well in multiples. Using them as disruption is more important than I had first considered and they go up in value when facing Tinker. The third Welder in the Wishboard has felt like a necessary evil, not great but in situations where I have wanted to wish for it, no other card would have worked.
The tutor package is maybe the most significant part of this build. The three black, restricted tutors are all solid, with Demonic Consultation often being the best and Vamp. usually the weakest. The red tutors (I include Engineer in this) are slower but usually easier to resolve being creatures in the case of Engineer and a seemingly dubious card in the case of Gamble. Gamble has been good for me, you are comfortable recurring most cards for the yard, it is cheap, red and there is also a small package of spells that you don't mind Gambling directly to the yard (Punishing Fire, Life from the Loam and, Ancient Grudge). It can be a poor topdeck, and you might be forced to get a loam or pfire rather than the combo piece you wanted. The green tutors mostly interact with the Wishboard, the simplest is getting a Painter to combo with. The board also has answers to most problem cards for us, Bonecrusher has been an all star way to deal with annoying creatures, Plague is a newer addition that has helped with the Witch infestation in Vintage, Yixlid is a nice way to shut off dredge and Welder is a great way to stay relevant in a longer game when no single card wins. The lands in the Wishboard also mostly answer a specific problem, Karakas is usually going to bounce a Lavinia or Marit Lage, Strip can take out a bazaar or is a good opportunistic target when you have a good hand and were casting Wish to bait a counter. Blast Zone has been a solid out to a wide range of things, it might be unneeded and is one of the first cards I am looking to cut for the new Saga. I run two copies of Tab. so that when I face Dredge/Hollowvine I can have one main and one side pretty much guaranteeing that I will find it in time. Finally, the two Tombs are my latest attempt to improve the PO/dedicated combo matchup by going faster. I also will occasionally fetch one when facing Shops to help my own mana. Finally, the Traverse is a nice topdeck for us as it will often be on in the mid to late game and can get either half of the combo fairly easily (Painter directly or an Engineer for grindstone).
The density of the tutors is to ensure that we can threaten to combo over and over, through removal and counters as well as to give the deck game vrs. a lot of different hateful permanents an opposing strategies. Casting them correctly is difficult, as you need to consider the counterspells you are facing and how they line up with your tutors/combo pieces. Often times figuring out if you want to bait with a tutor or not will determine the game. Also while this is a Painter-Grindstone deck it is also a really good Vault-Key deck, which is a less mana intensive combo to execute, don't forget to look at lines that win with infinite turns rather than milling them out.
All of the Artifacts are pretty standard, we play all the restricted mana and our combo pieces. We also have a playset of Astrolabes for fixing and some card draw + to act as fodder for our Welders. Finally, there is a single Chromatic Star for a little more fixing and as a good Lurrus/Welder target for a little card advantage.
As I mentioned earlier, the true control matchups have been pretty good with this build and I've had a very easy time vrs. Jeskai in particular. Doomsday is a little worse, but Grindstone itself is a pretty decent disruptive card vrs. them and I have run into a number of situations where the Doomsdays pilot over values countering my spells and ends up without the resources to combo themselves. I think that it is in reality a bad matchup if the opponent recognizes that they simple need to goldfish. Similarly, PO is a poor matchup, really the only times I've won have been when they keep a disruptive hand or we keep a very fast one. BUG has been fairly good, as we deal with Ouphe quite well and deal with removal/disruption without too much difficulty. I have had good results vrs. Bazaar decks by having access to a lot of hate in g1 and able hold off on combing myself until they have expended all their resources. Workshops decks have been unfavorable but not wildly so, a needle on Ballista and an active Welder often is plenty to secure a win.
All told fun, different and not terrible. Needs a better way to handle faster combo and I am interested to see if the new Saga gives it a meaningful push. As always suggestions, questions, comments are all welcome. And forgive spelling/grammar errors, I'll fix em as I see them.
RE: [STX] Harness Infinity
Maybe something of a Combo Oath Shell with Scholar of the Lost Trove and a Tendrils kill. I think 1 Sphinx and 1 Griselbrand as targets.
Could also lean a little on fast mana and rituals to fuel your disruption (Thoughseize and maybe even Hymn powered out by Dark Rit.) as getting hellbent is not the worst when you are exchanging your graveyard for your hand.
I also imagine that Entomb as a tutor would be valuable as you can cast it on upkeep to make sure you have a critical combo piece and effectively choose which Oath target you want to hit by responding to your own Oath trigger .
An important question is if you will be able to effectively play Tinker-Citadel with 2 extra 7 mana spells in your deck.
My guess is that it would be hard to play more than the restricted blue package (no fow/preordains) to have enough room for rituals and other combo pieces.
I think about a list when I have a spare moment.
RE: Price Spikes & Paper Vintage
Hello, I have pitch for addressing some of the issues brought up in this thread.
I think that any solution has to do most or all of the following:
- Increase access to vintage-critical cards (this means both increase the supply and reduce the cost)
- Incentivize sanctioned tournaments of all sizes and attendance at those tournaments (small LGS to larger events)
- Not meaningfully devalue collections
- Not meaningfully effect the secondary market
- Allow for WotC and event organizers to profit (without this there is no reason for either of those groups embrace a change to the current system)
My idea is inspired by the MTGO god pass that allowed users temporary access to all cards for a single fee.
For the time being I’ll call this thing the [Proxy Pass]. The [PP] would allow purchasers unlimited sanctioned use of proxies of a list of cards* for the duration of an event. WotC would sell these passes en mass to organizers who would then sell them to participants on an individual basis. I imagine that these would be accompanied by proxy-ready blanks (just a formalized version of swamp+sharpie) and the participant who purchased the pass would fill out and register their proxies as they register their deck.
*The list of proxy-able card would include reserved list cards + vintage staples over a certain value/play frequency (a cheaper staple 4-of for an archetype might be included over a more expensive card only played as a singleton). I am not the right person to generate this list, and I invite suggestions around how to best construct it.
I don’t know exactly how the pricing for these passes would look but let’s imagine that the cost to the participant is $40 per day. Of that $40, $30 would go into the the pockets of WotC, guaranteed regardless of participation as organizers have to buy their passes beforehand. The remaining 10$ would go to the organizers who sold the pass for their event at a slight markup, both to profit themselves but also to protect their guess about how many passes to purchase vrs. the demand from players. Obviously the real numbers might look different in either direction but the point of my mentioning this is that it allows for profit for both WotC and organizers, WotC’s is unrelated to actual participation in the events and thus more stable while organizers benefit from both the ability to mark up the price on the passes and the idea that their existence will drive up attendance in their events and that the passes are an addition to registration fees. All of this is to explain how this idea fulfills the 5th requirement.
[PP] also represent a functionally infinite supply scarce staple cards for Vintage at a reasonable price hopefully, to bring the price of playing in a sanctioned event to the levels of a Modern or Standard one. This will ideally not lead to 100% proxied decks as players will be expected to own the cards not found on the proxy list.
My hope is that because these [PP] don’t actually create any product (the proxied ‘cards’ expire at the end of an event) the effect on the value of people’s collections and on the secondary card market will be minimal. Competitive play is, to the best of my understanding, not the driving force behind the price of expensive Vintage staples.
There are also some secondary benefits to this proposal, the first is that even players who own all of the proxy-able cards can also chose to purchase a pass as a means of protecting their valuable cards from things like theft or damage. As many in the thread have mentioned even bringing a fully powered vintage deck to a tournament location represents a huge, huge risk. While I am sure that some will chose to take that risk, offering the ability to play the same cards without risking them would be a welcome option I imagine. This also hopefully would open the door to more lending etc. as having the bones of many different vintage decks built but not redundant sets of Power and other costly cards might let players encourage friends to dip their toes into the format without as great a risk.
There also should be some oblique benefit to collectors as use of these cards in competitive play devalues them and removing them from circulation should help maintain high quality cards in the system.
I think that those are the main strengths of this idea, but I also want to recognize weaknesses as well.
First off, I could be wrong in my assessment of the effects secondary market and collections and making these [PP] a viable alternative to owning expensive cards cause them to lose value in such a way that it damaged those institutions. Furthermore, it also introduces a means for WotC to indirectly effect the secondary market by choosing which cards they add to the proxy list as adding or removing cards could have an effect on their price.
This idea also adds some logistical issues to tournaments surrounding the proxies and would take extra effort on behalf of organizers to ensure that no cheating or other advantaged play was generated from these cards.
It is also important to recognize that since Vintage is not a popular format, the incentives for adding this system are not very great for WotC, while in the ideal case more accessibility would drive up participation and thus make it a worthwhile change that is speculative. The other piece of this is that if WotC chooses to do as I’ve suggested they will calculate the value of the [PP] at a high enough price that it becomes restrictive for both organizers and participants to purchase, sure it will always be cheaper than buying a lotus but if it is an extra $200 on top of a registration fee it may keep almost the exact same number of players out.
Another weakness is that flooding tournament play with proxies taking the place of all of the most iconic cards will have a real effect on how it feels to play Vintage and may even turn some of the long time proponents of the format away from playing.
Obviously there are so many unknowns in a proposal like this, and I have definitely missed what will be glaring problems to others, so please, in the interest in arriving at a truly viable solution share your insight.
Finally a disclaimer, I have never played in a paper tournament, never owned a magic card and likely never will. I speak from a deep well of ignorance about the tournament process, the Vintage community and Magic as a whole. If I have made a bad assumption, missed someone else's espousing of the same idea or anything of the sort it was done out of ignorance not malice and I hope you will forgive the pretension.
RE: Splendid Scholar Oath
@chubbyrain1 Good catch with the sanctuary, I think my brain shorthanded it to 'if you control 3 other islands, put a card on top'. I'm sure that there is a janky work around that would allow the deck to get a haste/extra turn on top with some amount of consistency to push through the Rec plan but as many other have noted it is a fundamentally flawed plan.
Additionally, I think that while Eerie Ultimatum/Enter and even something like a Yawg Will or even Past in Flames represent more powerful things to flash back they also require too many additional elements and have a high price/fail case. If we are choosing Scholar as the Oath target you are almost obliged to win the game on the spot.
I think that Rec is way more castable than any of the other spells mentioned, with the exception of Yawg Will and actual use a non-zero # of times.
Given my mistake I think that another option would be to go towards a more disruptive/controlling list and either eschew the Field of the Dead entirely in favor of Vault/Key + Mirage Mirror + Dark Depths with more Wasteland effects and W6 in the main hoping to control the game with land destruction and some counters and eventually land an Oath to hit a critical mass of free lands off of a Rec, an instant win the Vault or a slightly delayed one with Depths. Also lets you slot in Tinker + Blightsteel as another plan.
Splendid Scholar Oath
I have been thinking a bit about a new-ish card that I feel like got a little discussion going but never ended up in a deck. That card being Scholar of the Lost Trove from JMP. After looking at a few different options for leveraging the free flashback ability I landed on the strange and probably inefficient choice of Splendid Reclamation a 4G card you likely have never heard of in the context of vintage.
The idea is that we trigger Oath on our upkeep, milling until we flip a Scholar, hopefully our graveyard is now stocked with some # of lands, with at least one Mystic Sanctuary and Field of the Dead, a copy of Reclamation and either a Time Walk or Burst of Speed. We will target Reclamation with the trigger from our Scholar, putting a bunch of lands into play and making enough zombies to attack for lethal. Since we are also putting a Sanctuary into play and will almost certainly have the requisite 4 islands we can put Time Walk/Burst of Speed on top and then draw it with our draw step to win the game on the spot.
The remainder of the deck is fairly stock Oath list with some disruption/protection and a standard pile of blue cards that draw more cards. The requirements of my chosen combo/kill condition mean that I am running fewer disruptive spells and cantrips than I would normally in an Oath list. I don't think it falls below the minimum needed to survive things like PO but it is close.
I'll be honest, this is both conceptually and practically worse than a stock Oath list, I am toying with it for the challenge of building something a little more unique. It works surprisingly well when it goes off, with the fail state being somewhat rarer and softened a bit by the inherent value of a free flashback effect even when it doesn't win outright.
As always happy to hear comments, suggestions or questions or to play a match.
Splendid Scholar Oath
1 Black Lotus
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Emerald
4 Forbidden Orchard
3 Tropical Island
3 Volcanic Island
1 Snow-Covered Island
2 Mystic Sanctuary
2 Field of the Dead
2 Misty Rainforest
1 Flooded Strand
1 Polluted Delta
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Strip Mine
4 Oath of Druids
2 Scholar of the Lost Trove
2 Splendid Reclamation
1 Gaea's Blessing
1 Burst of Speed
1 Time Walk
The Fields of the Dead and Mystic Sanctuaries are part of this category as well
4 Force of Will
2 Red Elemental Blast
1 Veil of Summer
1 Force of Negation
1 Mental Misstep
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Ancestral Recall
2 Oko, Thief of Crowns
1 Dack Fayden
1 Narset, Parter of Veils
2 Soul-Guide Lantern
1 Ancient Grudge
2 Ravenous Trap
1 Surgical Extraction
2 Nature's Claim
1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Oko, Thief of Crowns
2 Wrenn and Six
RE: Berserk Shadow
Okay so in order @BlindTherapy the number of hits is fairly low you are correct, but the opportunity cost of running OUaT is even lower based on my testing. I tried fetchlands and found that they are much weaker than you would anticipate, losing three life one off just isn't good enough and they cannot be found by Grant. I would play the fourth copy of Citadel and at least two copies of Nurturing Peatland before adding any fetches.
The last point against fetches is that this deck really wants to bottom cards and not shuffle unless it is tutoring out an important piece explicitly. Plunge and Spoils both really care about that and a bottom 5 that doesn't find a land or creature is more okay with the overall plan than it would seem.
The Mox Diamonds are again a fairly low opportunity cost and they are actually most important for their ability to turn a the second land in your hand into a permanent mana source and possibly turn on the free mode of Grant.
@Serracollector The Unearth vs. Reanimate thing is exactly as Therapy explained. Additionally, this is not a Dark Rit. deck, you really don't want to play rit when you can't win on the spot and since we are using a creature as a wincon we don't really get to win the turn we go off. We need permanent mana sources because we will have to take 2-3 turns each game and often what we do with that mana changes drastically with new information. Like should we cast rit turn one to fuel a lot of lifeloss to land an earlier shadow only to be unable to cast a tutor or plunge on the turn when we could attack.
The reasons for omitting the BBB draw fours are similar we don't often have BBB + additional mana to use the cards we find with them on the same turn so they end up slowing down the deck by nearly a whole turn.
RE: Berserk Shadow
I liked this idea enough to give it a few hours of thought and testing and came up with the following:
Vintage Combo Shadow
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Black Lotus
4 Mox Diamond
1 Lotus Petal
4 Chrome Mox
2 Overgrown Tomb
3 Tarnished Citadel
4 Death's Shadow
4 Street Wraith
1 Spoils of the Vault
4 Plunge into Darkness
4 Once Upon a Time
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Mental Misstep
3 Tainted Strike
1 Snuff Out
1 Force of Vigor
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Imperial Seal
1 Demonic Tutor
4 Land Grant
2 Gurmag Angler
4 Leyline of the Void
3 Force of Vigor
3 Veil of Summer
2 Surgical Extraction
As per the original idea the goal is to play Shadow as quickly as possible and then kill with it on your next turn.
Manabase: The goal was to consistently play a Shadow on turn two and win with it the next turn. To do this the deck needs two or three permanent sources of mana for the entire game but the earlier you can put them into play the more likely you are to play a shadow on pace. I went with only BG colors because while the blue cards are powerful, they don't really contribute to our turn three kill plan. Tarnished Citadel a card most people have likely not seen is the best land to put into play as it allows us to take three damage each time it is tapped, the two copies of Overgrown Tomb are there to both damage us and to be found by Land Grant and finally the singleton Bayou is for situations where we cannot afford to take damage, also a good land to pitch to Mox Diamond to slightly increase the chances we find a more painful land.
We play the on-color Moxen, Lotus and Lotus Petal as part and parcel of the Vintage fast mana package. Rounding out our acceleration is the full set of both Chrome Mox and Mox Diamond which while costly allow us to consistently cast our spells and convert unneeded pieces into mana. I would caution people picking up this pile from mindlessly playing out either Chrome or Diamond without considering what you gain from them as they are useful when the accelerate you into something meaningful but can be a trap if used without a purpose.
Finally, we have the playset of Land Grant and Once Upon a Time, these spells will help ensure that we find the lands we need and fix our opening hands. Pay attention to both the restriction on a free OUaT and Grant when assessing an opener, specifically you can use Street Wraith before casting OUaT to gain more information and can use Mox Diamondwe in addition to your land drop for the turn to ensure that Grant is free.
Lifeloss and Utility: To Play a Shadow on turn two or sooner we need to be able to lose at least eight life in those turns, and to kill we will usually need to lose 17 or more life. To do this, profitably, we have a number of cards that both disrupt our opponents (Thoughtseize), cycle to find our own combo pieces or provide mana for ours spells. Street Wraith does double duty as a cycler to find what we need and pinging us for two, it is also good good friends with Reanimate as cycling a Wraith then brining it back puts us to 13, just one life away from being able to cast a Shadow. It is also important to note that Wraith attacks for three which can be an important part of dealing 20 damage and winning the game. As I mentioned earlier, Tarnished Citadelis one of our best ways to lose life, if we land it on turn one we can hit ourselves for nine by the time we are killing, it is a good idea to play it early and tap it aggressively. Tomb does something similar but only once, and is a necessary evil to support the Land Grant. Plunge, Vamp, Imperial Seal and Spoils are all very similar for our purposes as they are going to find a missing piece of our combo and lose us some life along the way. Vamp is the best for pure tutoring while Plunge gives us the most control over out life total. Finally, we have our two 'blue' cards in Misstep and Git Probe both of which are too good not to play and a way to lose some life and gain some value. Snuff Out has been fine for me, you could easily replace it with an Unmask or a Surgical in the main.
Combo: This part is fairly simple, we have the full four Shadows and Berserks as well as three additional similar effects in Tainted Strike. Remember that you can double up on Berserks and even combine it with a Strike if your life total is too high.
This deck functions as advertised, it plays a Shadow on turn two or earlier and kills on turn three or earlier when it isn't disrupted. It loses to itself infrequently (missing on Spoils or something similar) and certainly feels unique. That said it doesn't hold up well to disruption, lots of the Xerox decks are going to overpower a single discard spell and counter our Shadow. PO has been a coinflip in my experience, on the play you are fast enough to beat them and a single discard spell is often good enough. Shops is better that it would appear and usually they will need a good hand to keep up. BUG is unwinnable.
Play this deck for the novelty, I would say that the above list is a good start if you want a very combo oriented version, but do not expect to run the table.
As ever I am happy to talk theory and testing with anyone who is interested in the list or the logic that got me there.
RE: [M21] See the Truth
I don't see a place for this in Vintage at the moment. I think that it has potential to become an engine card in Legacy with Shardless Agent and the Cascade mechanic. It also may be efficient enough to see play in Modern paired with Chandra Torch of Defiance's +1 or even in a Prowess shell with Light up the Stage.
All of that to say I don't think that planning on getting access to the 'draw 3' mode by way of flashing it back from the 'yard is going to be efficient enough and that if it gets broken it will be by effects that let you play cards from exile or the top of your library.
RE: Vintage 101: Cat Scratch Fever
I loath to advocate the middle road, but for the moment I think that there is merit to waiting. People are still building and playing with new toys, even if they may be sub-optimal. Lists and archetypes are changing often enough that power is more important than tuning.
Many of us have played in iteration of the Vintage format where the margin is how many copies of Pyroblast you registered, wether you played Spell Pierce or Flusterstorm as your 9th piece of countermagic. I think that we are coming into the release of IKA after a period where tuning was the premium skill and moving into a place where people are building new things with new cards and those skills we were honing are less important.
I feel like we have yet to reach the point where the meta will not adapt and open up without direct action being taking. I, from a place of no particular authority, believe we can already see the seeds of this happening; BUG lists running a Reanimate to rebuy a spent Lurrus or yoink one from their opponent. People like Iamactuallylvl1 reminding us that Tinker for Citadel beats a 3/2 lifelinker in PO. An uptick in bolts and people leveraging Sprite Dragon in more classic Xerox shells. To me all of these things look like the first steps in preying upon the assumption that it's Lurrus or nothing.
Perhaps I am wrong, and in a few weeks the biggest topics of discussion will be the correct number of Baubles and Remoras to pair with your new cat friend, and if that is the case then I will defer to those who have the tenure with Vintage as a whole to address companions both efficiently and in the right spirit. My only argument is that I don't believe we are there yet and in the oldest eternal format we can afford to take the time to get it right.
All of that said, the fundamental problem of the 8th card, no matter how many restrictions you attach to it is one that I don't have an answer for. If companions become as ubiquitous and varied as walkers have perhaps we will be looking at a game that is almost unrecognizable from the one we know now.
Karakas has arrived.
RE: [IKO] Lurrus of the Dream-Den
@Serracollector While I do love a recurable draw 3 I think that Lurrus + Standstill is a different deck from the one I built. My experience with Standstill decks is that you need both more lands than I play (22-23 instead of my 18) more countermagic shoot for 10 or so hard counters and some bigger threats to slam alá JTMS. I'm sure that there is a deck out there that uses Lurrus and Standstill but its not this particular one.
I would also mention that I don't know if Lurrus solves any of the problems Standstill has currently has; usually if you play enough copies of Standstill to have it be a plan a. then you will find another copy naturally after you opponent pop's yours and makes you draw 3. So the question is what does the standstill plan gain from Lurrus? When you answer that one a good secondary question would be how am I going to get enough mana into play such that I can play Lurrus, Standstill and protect them in the same turn? After that you are probably well on your way to a good deck, best of luck!