@protoaddct I agree with this take - this probably isn't better against Shops than Delver, as it's almost certainly slower. Either Foundary Inspector/Ravager hands will kill you before you fill your yard, or Spheres will stop you casting seven spells in time for it to be revelant.
I wonder if this has some place in a red-based storm deck with rituals, Bonus Round and Past in Flames - possibly with Bazaars if cards in hand aren't important? Or some of the red effects that exile cards for you to play rather than put them in hand (Chandra).
Always nice to see a strange, clunky red enchatment in a set!
So, following that downer from the MTGO blog, I just got in contact with Alli Medwin. They (not sure of preferred pronoun?) say although they're working on M19 now, they have noted that Sentinel Tower is a card eternal players could want and have pencilled in bringing it to MTGO once they're done with M19. Obviously, that's not perfect, but it's better than nothing.
@moorebrother1 This was a conclusion I reached last night too, after going 3-3 in the Challenge with a Damping Sphere BUG build. I couldn't keep up the pressure well enough, wanted access to better sideboard cards... so UW Stoneblade sprang to mind. You get Queller as a nice disruptive beater, Stoneforge to give you a quicker clock (and a way to use your mana without casting stuff through Damping Sphere), plus good token making Planswalkers (again, so you're doing stuff without casting through sphere), be it Elspeth, Gideon or even new Karn. Seems promising so far...
Completely agree with your take on Aaron's words and also share Kevin's pessimism or at least resignation towards the DCI. I'm also with Sam Black - the state of the format, or at least its management, is doing more damage than the effect of restricting a popular card. While I don't think it's a given that all pros want to play Vintage or have a healthy vision for the format, I do believe that they remain the most influential tastemakers in the game - and seeing them mostly and very vocally avoid the format these days is just bad PR for the format and hurting its prospects for growth. The hoops the VSL is jumping through this season to make the format more appealing I think is indicative of where we're at - and I don't think WOTC having ridiculous axioms like Aaron set out, is the way to improve that.
I did have some slim hope that the remit of the Play Design team might extend to the Eternal formats. Given their name, you'd expect they might be just the people to sculpt better play experiences throughout the game. But in effect, R&D have recruited a couple more developers for Standard and called it a day. I think that's very disappointing - but perhaps one area, we could lobby to see improvement in. I want to place my faith in WOTC, I want them to boasts the best expertise and have the necessary authority when it comes to managing constructed formats. And yet, it seems a folly to trust on anything but Limited, and perhaps Standard going forward. That's a sad state of affairs.
@gutocmtt Hi and thanks for replying. I was previously running a second Null Rod in the sideboard and just got squeezed out - kind of going back and forth on that or third Chains. I do think it's a valuable tool to have access to - I just think the reality is, it doesn't stop the meta's best decks in their tracks, in the way it did when blue decks meant Big Blue decks, rather than Xerox decks.
I think the other factor with avoiding the off-colour moxen though is that your moxen are poor cascades. Hence the mix with Spirit Guides. if anything, it might be better to go all Spirit Guide for acceleration and have another Null Rod main... but I'm not sure only having one-shot acceleration is where you want to be in a world of Shops.
Regarding Goyf - he gets plenty big enough, but yes, at the end of the day, he's just a dumb beater. I'm not convinced there's a better option currently - unless the deck went all-in on the Pyromancer route instead? But that way you end up a worse blue deck, so I'm not sure it works. (That's what makes me wonder about the Modern Mardu decks, and if all the flashback cards and Bedlam Reveller might compensate).
Ultimately, it's just a very difficult deck to make work given the current cardpool and meta.
@qq Hey thanks for the comments - I have taken your suggestion and am giving Hymn a try. I've added a pair of Pyromancers at the same time, due to the increased spell count and because you have to somehow keep up the threat density. After playing with Hymn a bit, I think that's really the major downside of the card - you strip the opponent's hand all you want, but it's worthless if you can't also keep up the pressure. You're still succeptible to dying to basically any top-decked draw spell, of which blue decks have many. The more you try and compensate for the tempo loss of hymn, the more I think you start wanting to be something akin to Team America... how insane is it that in Delver, blue has the best agressive one-drop in Magic?? The mind boggles...
It's possible more Grudges a good thing to pair with Pyromancers...I wonder if anything like either Chapin's ultra agressive Bauble/Prowess/Tarmo deck or Gerry T's Mardu deck from the last Modern PT are possible in Vintage? Might be something to explore next.
I did try Excavator but it was inconclusive... may try again. Maybe I should run more Null Rods with it if I do, and push the mana denial angle - though I feel that's less effective than in FIsh's hey-day.
Anyway, will keep trying stuff - thanks for your help!
@chubbyrain Hey dude - and thanks for the reply! I did actually start off with a blue splash for Ancestral, Time Walk and a Leovold. I felt like Ancestral, without Missteps to protect it was useless and kind of started cutting from there. Leovold is OK, but I sometimes feel like he's a little too fair, so I opted for Chains, which you have a better chance of getting down turn 1. What I do wonder though, is whether BUG cascade as per Legacy might be a way to go.
I shall try the Fiery Confluence main - I love it generally, but have found the double red hard to come by at times. The reach would certainly be welcome - another reason I tried Chandra in the main. I'll see how it goes.
Appreciate your input - just wanted to contribute something over here, if not the most competitive of decks
I wanted to post a list I've been having fun with in the practice rooms (less so in the leagues, where I'm getting stomped), in part because I think there are a few similarly minded plucky underdogs on here who occassionally like to turn dorks sideways, and I suppose in part also as a lament for where fish decks are in the format these days. My goal is not present you with a format-breaking list with which to take down the next Vintage challenge, but to show you something I've been having completely subjective fun times with, in case you may have some wisdom to share on building decks like this in the format - however much of a folly that at times feels like.
So: I've barely played Magic over the last 9 months or so, let alone Vintage. I just can't really get excited about the game or the format at the moment. When I have played Vintage though, I've been playing a bit of RUG Cascade. In doing so, I discovered how much fun it was casting Bloodbraid Elf, a card Modern players are currently having a blast with, too. I decided to try and knock together a Vintage Jund deck, as best I could, to keep Bloodbraiding for fun and profit. After many thrashings, here's where I'm at.
As far as I can tell, the number one problem to try and solve when building decks like this is, how do you fight both decks that play on the stack and decks that flood the board. And frankly, it's almost bloody impossible. Trying to get enough disruption in, whilst being able to deploy threats is a real challenge and it's possible that these days, we don't have the card pool for it in Jund (I think White/Thalia based decks, especially with Caverns probably have a better chance). Still, I've tried to pack in discard and modal spells (Command) to do what I can. Why play black at all then? Well, given how hard it is to have a very linear disruptive strategy (for example, as per the Null Rod decks of yore), I think there's virtue to playing silver bullets plus black tutors. In this case, I have the singleton Null Rod, and a card I've found critical if you want to even attempt to hang with blue, Chains of Mephistopheles. I was trying to jam Leovold in here orginally, but he's just too slow. You need a chance at getting down a first turn Chains to slow down cantrip and Paradoxical decks enough to apply pressure.
I've including a pair of Spirit Guides to help cast 2-drops early (and get to 4 quicker for Bloodbraid) - ultimately, I decided a 2/2 body was mostly a better 'bad' cascade than an off-colour mox.
I'm always trying out Kitesail Freebooter - a card that feels a little underpowered, but does give you the kind of valuable 2-for-1 the deck desperately needs. The card I haven't tried in this slot is the classic Jund staple Hymn to Tourach. Whilst I'm playing, I do generally hate seeing the opponent has cards in hand... but I struggle to believe Hymn is actually good. If you have thoughts on that, I would love to know!
Three-drop-wise: There's certainly some questionable choices here. I've liked the one-of Liliana as an out to Oath/Tinker targets and a helpful tool against control. Scab-clan Berserker has also generally impressed me. I love having another haste creature, and I love the slightly disruptive side to the card. I've been toying with the idea of playing a second, but I suspect having double Command is just about better. One of those commands though could be something else... Tried Ramunap Excavator, but never really drew it, so that's a bit inconclusive. I've wondered if something like Collective Brutality might be worth a shot, but it feels a little weak. Possibly a Young Pyromancer? Peezy is a card I've not yet tried to jam in here - but may be the only way you stand a chance at keeping up with opposing token-makers (though as we have to pay for our spells, it's probably a lost cause). What do you guys think? Is cramming Pyromancer in here somehow the way forwad (perhaps with some number of Cabal Therapies?).
Regarding paying mana for spells: It turns out, that in this format, it's a pretty catastrophic thing to do. For that reason, I'm playing the full four Bloodbraids. I keep going back and forth on this, having previously tried a Chandra and a Tasigur in place of Elf #4 and Kologhan's Command #2. I really wanted Chandra to work out, but basically, on turn four against a blue opponent, you won't resolve it. So I tend to think you have to turn to Bloodbraid, so you at least get something out of the exchange. I just wish the body was better. Get swole little elf!
On Goyfs: I quite like where this card is at the moment, or where big-butted creatures are generally. I wish it cantripped or something... but you can't have everything. But since the peak Eldrazi menace days, there are fewer Swords out there in the world, and Tarmo is sometimes just the dumb beater you need. In lieu of a better disruptive beater, he stays for now.
Mostly self-explanatory I think. I like Trap against combo, but also on the draw against anything from Shops to Oath... anything that risks barfing something unstoppable out before you. Fire Convenant could possibly be a different sweeper - Slice and Dice, Deluge, maybe even Simoon? Crypt and Spellbomb frustrate me slightly - I often find against Storm/Paradoxical, I wouldn't mind having both a Spellbomb and a Null Rod in after side, which is of course nonbo territory.
Some General Remarks
Boy -is it a tough time to be a Fish deck. Overall, the one-time pillar of Vintage has never-recovered from the printing of Delver and co - the cards that allowed URx to be the best Aggro-Control deck in the format, which unlike previous Blue decks, did not struggle against Null Rod and could even play the card itself. Without a consistently disruptive crutch like Rod, it feels like Fish - certainly any non-blue attempt at such a deck - is kind of dead in the water. Something like Jund will need some radical printings to really catch up - or perhaps another Blue apocalypse...but, it can still be fun to jam in the practice room, if you like a change of pace, if you like come-from-behind wins etc. It's unforgiving, but I've enjoyed playing a lot of cards that simply give me pleasure - Bloodbraid and its inherent variance to me is one of those cards - it just makes for exciting in-game moments.
I suspect if there is a Vintage aggroey deck out there, it either plays blue (like RUG Cascade) or White for Thalia. Thalia though comes with a whole bunch of deck building constraints that I personally haven't really thought about yet - is Junk for example just straight up better than Jund? Oscar Rubi from the LCV seems to consistently do well with it. We've also seen how central Thalia was to White Eldrazi. And she's the glue (along with Caverns) that makes Vintage Human decks tick... she's probably aggro's best chance in Vintage - and I will certainly be jamming Humans next time I fancy a change...
Still, for now, I'd quite like to make this Jund pile as good as it can be and would welcome any thoughts to that end. I'd also just love to hear generally from anyone else who wishes there was a little more variety to Vintage and more competitive ways to beat down with non-artifact. non-blue, non-zombie duders. What do you think? Is Thalia plus Caverns the only real option out there? Will Dampening Sphere change anything (I can imagine it as a one of in a deck with tutors for example)? Are any of the non-Human tribes being overlooked at the moment, or any color-combinations - RG beats was once a thing etc.
Beatdown players of the world unite!
@thecravenone While it's mostly more intutive, there's a few things I don't like about this:
- That there will be cards that read 'any target' that you can't actually point at any target (only PWs, creatures and players). I just find that confusing,
- It powers down an already weak colour in Red. Earthquake effects... Chandra Torch of Defiance... neither hit 'walkers any more which is a real shame. I'm sure we will see plenty of PW removal in the future, but for now, it's annoying to have fewer ways to interact with one of the game's most powerful card types.
- Flavour-wise, I liked that walkers were in a unique space between players and creatures - they felt like the powerful allies they seem designed to be. Now, they're basically 0 power creatures with defender and activated abilites. Meh.
Obviously, these are fairly minor complaints and I shall suck them up and get on with the game. But I don't know... was the change really necessary?
by the by, do you still have to host pictures on a third party site, to post them up here on TMD? I don't know what the implications would be in changing that (server space?), but it's definitely a barrier to deck discussion here. It's so much easier to post a screen shot to Twitter for discussion than it is to type up a list on TMD or faff round trying to figure out how to post a picture here. It's certainly what I (and clearly others) do - it's a shame that that can't be duplicated here. This site misses out on discussion because of that extra barrier. Is it somethnig that can be changed @brassman?
Really interesting thread Andy - and though I largely agree with your opening statement, I think 1) WOTC pays too little attention to the format for us to get these cards other than by pure fluke and 2) The dribble of relevant hate cards we get is still useful. I think a card like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is a nice example of a card that sits somewhere between the two - we probably mostly saw it as just another hatebear when printed, but she is also probably the nearest card we have to legitimising various underplayed aggro strategies.
I'd really like to see a non-blue card that helped make Cabal Therapy a thing - it feels like one of the few cards that could help a green-black deck disrupt opponents efficiently enough to keep up.
When Scout comes into play, look at target players hand.
When Scout dies, draw a card.
But hell, I'll settle for anything format playable in the next set...Damping Sphere, though a hate card, looks promising. I think we lost Null Rod as a strategy once Delver hit the scene... be interesting to see if this could replace it.
Super interesting design - god, it just feels god when you get the feeling R&D made something with eternal formats in mind. Eldrazi gets a boost from this and should be fun to brnig out of retirement. What else? Maybe some of those Blue Moon decks that were running Ancient Tomb (and even Thought-Knot in some cases)? And could this see play in an Eldrazi shops decks like the ones with TKS/Smasher that were popular for a while? Slow down opposing shops decks/blue stew decks, make your own shops at least useable for casting big Eldrazi?
Anyway... think its fair to say this set already looks like a massive home run in both game play and flavour. Looking forward to it!
I admit, I've been dorking about in the practice room with an Esper build playing both Seeker AND Homunculus, which I'm sure makes me some kind of Vintage hipster
Not doing anything particular to get value out of him other than play Night's Whisper, plus Yawg's Will. Just a handy little beater, who also allowed me to cut a land, which in these post-Gush days feels quite a luxury against other blue decks. Not saying it's fantastic or anything, but I like the little blighter. With only one lonely Monk in my deck, I've got to beat down with something...
Baral meanwhile I've been playing in a more controlling Slaver style build, but that's another story!
Only just come back to MTGO after a break over the summer... will run some of this nonsense through the leagues and report back. Happy to admit, The Homunculus is probably more a fun/pet card. But life we would be boring if we didn't occasionally try these things!