Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow,
bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow.
I definitely play some Pithing Needles in the board in the moment, as they work quite effectively against Dredge and Survivial. Shutting down Bazaar has become more powerful against Dredge since they play Hollow Ones und Anglers out of the board as well. And the abbility to hit both, Surivival and Bazaar, make them a good choice against Survival as well. I would then combine them with a mix of answers depending on when they can effect the game state (from turn 0 to turn 2).
... and like 4-8 decks capable of winning any tournament (Survival, PO, Dredge, Oath, BUG(r), Xerox, Shops, WEldrazi).
I agree with smmenen too, alone the quoted diversity of deck types is something we didn't have for a long time, without dominance of one of them and with a broad strategic diversity.
Maybe we can develop the meta a bit further by unrestrictions to establish additional deck types. Fastbond comes to my mind, which could boost Lands/Depth/Loam style decks, but there might be other possibilities.
Thanks a lot for the overview. One thing: I think Rich wants Sphere of Resistance to be restricted, not Damping Sphere. Maybe some sort of confusion happend in the interview. I for sure cant talk for him, but this seems to make more sense (and I would agree with him, even though I would opt for Foundry Inspector over Revoker). Maybe he can clear this up at some point.
Running 5-7 "dead cards" (Missteps/Flusters/Pyros) is a constraint the current metagame.Yes players can opt to run Oath to beat Shops, but you cannot cut those "dead cards" and expect of have prolonged success in the Vintage metagame. At least not in Blue.
I would go further: Many of the actual blue decks (especially the ones based on Preordain) do run even more "dead" cards like Swords to Plowshares, Fragmentize, Lightning Bolt, Abrade in the maindeck, which are useful against Shops but more less bricks in the hand against other matchups like Storm, Paradoxical, Dredge, Landstill ... But I don't see all of them as dead anymore as the filtering ability of blue decks has improved a lot. There is almost no blue deck out there, which doesn't run Mindsculptor, Dack or Baby Jace - beside Brainstorm. So, don't you have to run the most efficient tools in certain matchups preboard when you can easily exchange them against others?
There are decks with Mana Drain that never stopped being played and which are competitive in the moment: Grixis and Landstill. Both had nice results lately. I especially like how some Grixis builds have moved away from the complete artifact acceleration and now just play the Moxen - still with Tinker, but with the whole cantrip engine and relying stronger on Mana Drain to play more costy stuff like Jace.
Maybe it is not correct to still call it Mentor Control, but Jeskai or 4c builds that are based on cantrips, Delve-spells and Planeswalkers are still pretty strong, so I place my questions here.
Why do people not play the full set of moxen? The deck is loaded with spells which can profit from the extra mana (Vryn Prodigy, Snapcaster, all the Planeswalkers, the win conditions, the multi artifact removal you bring out of the board, the two mana Dredge hate ...). While watching streams with these kind of decks I noticed that people often draw many cards but are forced to discard at the end of turn instead of just casting the spells because they are missing the extra mana and tempo boost of extra Moxen. In my eyes, cutting the the off color Moxen only helps in the Xerox mirror (being either Delver or Control). With all Moxen you play 22 mana sources overall before boarding. That still leaves you in a favored position against other blue control decks like Grixis Thiefs or Oath that play two or three more mana sources. And against the rest of the relevant field (Shops, Dredge, Paradoxical, BUG) you even want to have the extra mana and tempo boost.
Why do people play four colors, in most cases UWRG? G is usually added to add Sylvan Library and Ancient Grudge. But this weakens the mana base a lot and Strip Mine (a nice tactical option) gets cut. Even though, both cards are great, I don't see the reason to add them as you have plenty alternatives in the Jeskai colors. For Sylvan Library you can play additional Vryns/Snapcaster/Merchant Scroll if you want. And it's not that this deck isn't already drawing lots of cards. And By Force is a powerful tool against Shops too. Even though Ancient Grudge is an Instant I am not sure if it is even better (you have to play twice for Sphere effects, you have to fetch for serval different Duals, you can't remove more than two artifacts). With just UWR you can play three different types of basics and give Shops a hard fight on that route.
Thanks in advance for some more information on these points!
Great write up Andy!
Some things I have noticed while further developing and testing the deck:
Red is the favorite third color mainly for Pyroblast. Its ability to counter/remove Planeswalkers, Leovold, Standstill ... beside countering the whole rest of the blue spells is too unique and needed. No other color offers this with such a flexibility and for such a cheap cost. Dack has lost a lot of its value with the restriction of Gush and Shops playing lots of Ravagers and Ballistas. I play just one. And By Force is nice but not mandatory. Even just with white Shops is a beatable matchup. The strengthened manabase with more basic bands and more lands overall helps a lot.
Playing 18 lands and two big Jaces slows the deck down for a good degree. Especially in the faster matchups you often get punished for playing too many non disruptive lands and midgame bricks (for what I support playing three Mentors as well and not four). I still like three little Jaces and just one big one. On that way I can play a little more tempo orientated mana base (full set of Moxen, 17 lands with Strip and one Wasteland, and another Wasteland coming out of the board).
I would recommend to play a least one Snapcaster Mage. With all the digging it is not too difficult to find him. And the ability to directly play one card out of your graveyard is a very valuable strategic option.
As much as I hate Mystical Tutor in the control matchups: It offers a flexibility non black decks often need. It can be so crucial to get your hand on Time Walk and Balance (beside Ancestral/Treasure Cruise/Dig/Removal). You don't even have to resolve them, it can be enough to have them in the graveyard.
Some words on Balance: I play it in the maindeck as well and it has proven its value many times. You find yourself in situations where you want to clear the board or otherwise lose. This is one part of the deck which makes it a real control one. For that reason I play Supreme Verdict in the board as well. It helps especially in the Delver, Mentor and the BUG Fish matchups.
Why do you play just one Stony Silence? I have found it the clearly best card you want to see against decks with Paradoxical Outcome (and together with the Wastelands it helps against Shops and other Big Blue variants as well). The nice little Enchantment stops their whole deck. Playing lots of Counters can be enough but it is hard to totally hinder them from playing a game changing Outcome.
I still really like the deck. It has lost a bit in the blue matchups (which makes these games more interesting), but on the other hand gained something against the rest. I might still be the best blue deck but I don't think it will again dominate as other options (especially the quicker blue combo decks, Oath and Landstill) have become reasonably choices as well.