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posted in Vintage News read more

@desolutionist I doubt chalice will ever be unrestricted again, because it's decidedly "unvintage." You get to play all your moxen, then stop your opponent from playing any of theirs, for 0 mana. When you are on the play, it's like a free karn, great creator. Null rod at least stops EVERYBODY'S moxen. It's only good after turn 1 when your opponent is playing things like PO that want to cast moxen more than once.

I think WotC has been looking at restrictions to balance more than unrestrictions lately because they want to slow the game down and avoid the "coin flip" perception. If you unrestrict everything, sure, you could viably play any number of strategies, but then you get to where every archetype is so uber-powered, it can win on turn 1. The foil to that would be running 8+ free counterspells, but then you get into the matches of "turn 1 win" vs "counter your opponent's turn 1" and the matches generally become decided on if you had the free counterspell or not on the opener. I think WotC (and most players) want to avoid that situation.

I kind of see it like Magic is a skilled sword fight, and WotC is trying to limit the length and strength of swords to make a balanced and good fight. Although the argument that "everyone could have bazookas" would make no single deck superior is true, it doesn't make for fun, skillful samurai showdowns.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

@guli @Stormanimagus While Wrenn alone may not be the ONLY problem card, it is a card that eats thalia and friends all day long. In addition to the waste/DRS issues, it's a big thorn. One card that I tried to good effect in the fastbond post-unrestriction meta was Tomik. Tomik not only stops your lands from getting ravaged, but allows you to replay your own wastes without DRS exiling them and stops Wrenn from generating CA.

Tomik is out of Wrenn's ping range too, and he flies over goyfs and oozes. He's a helluva human in the color you already run. Just for the shear fact that he stops waste/strip, I find him to be maindeckable in a lot of white decks. For 2 mana, a 2/3 flyer with that ability is sweet. The fact that you run a ton of utility lands you want to stick around, stopping wastes is even more important for you. He's a solid option.

And I still think, Wrenn or not, you will find value in Icon. It is CA + added clock in addition to the buff against Wrenn, which isn't bad.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

A janky card, but possibly workable is Icon of Ancestry. For 3, you get +1/+1 to all your humans and you can start fetching humans off the top in the midgame if you need to rebuild. Even if you run ouphe, the +1/+1 is always there and is hard to remove (nobody is bringing in artifact hate vs humans). It adds to your clock while making thalias able to beat vengevines and such. It's a neat little card in a tribal deck.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

One card I found to be decent tech is force of despair. Of course, you have to be in black to do it, but when they go turn 1 bazaar, hollow, memnite, reanimate 2 vengevines and you cast FoD, they get a big frown. Of course, it is a terrible topdeck after the initial onslaught, and they can just keep recurring the vengevines (which they somehow always seem to be able to do with relative ease vs me), but it survives the turn one 16 damage on the board, which I tend to find myself staring down 80% of games vs hollowvine. I hate that matchup, no matter what deck I'm running.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

I've found that of those hate pieces, wasteland is almost always the MVP. If they don't open with it, they'll bazaar to go 10 cards deep and likely get one FoV. Then your leylines are garbage. Even if you can rav trap, and they dont use their 4x FoW, they still have hollow one. If you can cut off bazaar and land tabernacle, you should be good - kill their engine and clear their initial onslaught.

Another option I like is extirpate (if you have black) or surgical. They can FoW it, but if you cast on their turn (when they are most likely to activate to get hollow one + 2nd creature for vengevine triggers), you can hit their vengevine and remove their main grave threats. If you combo it with wasteland, you hit all 4 bazaars and they are basically a sitting duck at that point. I'd say 4-5 strip/waste is top slots, then 2-3 tabernacle OR 3-4 surgical if you have other ways to handle that initial 9+ power that drops on turn 1.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

Why the sb mountain? I'd probably try to move that main if you can. Opening up the SB slot seems more important to me.

I actually find wasteland/strip mine to be very helpful. They are going to counter every piece of hate you cast and force of vigor any leylines or crypts you play. They have 4 vigors they dig into and 12 free counterspells, so you are not resolving hate.

They also run waste/strip themselves so that they can answer tabernacle and pin you down on mana while they beat face. I've found killing their bazaar buys you the most time, as then they only have 3 cards left in their deck that they need to be able to do anything. They will likely get a hollow, vengevine, and a rootwalla off that first activation, so you'll need to be able to handle that initial rush while not needing your mana for 1 turn. If they get the double hollow, double vine hand, you need a tabernacle to survive 2 turns...and you will likely face the vengevines again on the next turn since they still have bazaar. If they DON'T "cast" 4 damage on turn 1, a strip/waste can just win you the game on the spot, as they are drawing in desperation at that point.

TLDR; use wasteland/strip mine in combination with tabernacles. It's the only hate you have a prayer of sticking/being effective.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

@blindtherapy Yeah - misread AG. Thought your life couldn't go below 1, not just damage. Unlife still works. I'm actually tinkering with a deck now and it morphed into a Thassa/Doomsday/AG/Unlife/Spoils/Consultation deck. Basically Like a thassa/DD list, but with a lot of paths that don't require DD. It's pretty neat.

I tried to make it a DS/Berserk build, but it's just not good enough no matter what I've tried. It's a fragile two card combo that requires multiple turns and is super easy to stop. When compared to mox, orchard, oath; hermit druid; thassa,'s just not where you want to be.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

@john-cox Yeah, I'm a big fan of angel's grace. A lot of decks rely on counterspells when they try to go off. If you can just play a 1-mana, split-second "you don't win now" spell, you can straight up steal wins off DD or PO or whatever. At the worst, you time walk vs almost every deck for W.

Plunge is decent, but if you are playing AG or PU, you can run 4x spoils of the vault and just dig your whole library deep and win. You're in black for DS anyway, so you are surely running 8x duress/seize regardless. The PU and AG are just great combo enablers while also solid defense at the same time. If you go with a consultation and 4x Spoils with running AG, You could probably run thassa as an alt-kill yourself (if you get a viable 4-color manabase (and city/confluence/horizon lands seem to be on the "whittle down my life" plan that DS needs anyway).

Hope is okay as a combo enabler, but if I'm not misstaken, you need to attack with it to clear the path (which means you can't ALSO attack with an all-in DS). Hope also doesn't stop losing on your opponent's turn like PU or AG do.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

So, as I noted, the biggest hesitancy for me is running a deck where bolt just kills you in response to winning. That got me thinking - what if you run BGW and 4x phyrexian unlife/4x angel's grace? Both of those cards are naturally amazeballs vs tendrils decks, so you get a nice bonus there. AG is essentially time walk vs all decks since most kill you on their turn and only at sorcery speed. White also lets you run Spirit of the Labyrinth, RiP, Leyline of Sanctity, etc, and is probably the best SB color around. With an unlife or grace, you can plunge for 60 to basically DT and guarantee you get berserk. You could probably even run ad nauseum as a plan B kill instead of other beatsticks. You also get anguished unmaking, which helps your DS plan. Shallow grave becomes a fine choice if you have no other creatures in the deck too.

TLDR; Death's Shadow is basically a suicide mission making him 10/10 in a world with bolts anyway - why not go full suicide and live with 0 life?

posted in Decks read more

@protoaddict Re: Noble, I often use her like a great colored mox, more than exalted - but exalted has ground out some games. Moxen in general are not great off-color, and ouphe is a necessary evil that makes moxen worse. ESG is nice, but I think I want them WITH nobles, not in place of. The repeated mana is important often.

Ichorclaw had its place, but with FoV now, I feel it just adds a target to get blown out - killing my dude and a mox, or worse the ichorclaw and an inkmoth.

I'm considering BG as my modern version is a solid deck, whereas my legacy version is just super fast with daze protection that sucks wind after turn 2 or 3. I think if I have ESG and noble, I can turn 2 a crusader easy enough with a 2-color build, especially clearing the road with a duress/seize. Or I could use ritual and a mox to turn 1 duress/crusader. I also get Stinger, which is a fine replacement for Blighted Agent. Having trophy/decay is also fantastic. And black has some bomb spells.

I'll post a BG version tomorrow.