Into my Mind - Vintage, May 2019

by Andreas Petersen on 22 May 2019, Wednesday

Andreas Petersen

 

I had been out of the loop for a few weeks when it came to Vintage and decided to get back in it when it comes to research and adapting, and today I decided to invite you into my process.

 

What do you mean, no more card drawing?

I've been desperately trying out various Leovold, Emissary of Trest decks over a long period of time. I always ended up abandoning them because of how bad Deathrite Shaman was as a mid-to-lategame topdeck compared to what the other Blue decks play in those slots. In that metagame, the color combination was worth it. We had Shops, where the mana acceleration aspect of the Legacy-banned Shaman was relevant, and Paradoxical Outcome-powered combo decks, where Leovold would shine the brightest. But the metagame now includes a handful of different decks.

 

Enter: Narset, Parter of Veils. This card has the same disruptive element attached to it while also providing some neat card advantage along the way. And the most important thing: She's castable on turn two without bad cards like Deathrite Shaman. After some research, it turns out that basically every Blue deck out there includes a few copies of this card, and we need to react to that if we play a Blue deck and don't want to sit there with uncastable Preordains in our hand.

 

The rich get richer – Pyroblast and Lightning Bolt

These format allstars that are already staples in Blue-Red Xerox get even better in Narset's WorldTM. Pyroblast deals easily with it on the stack or on the board, while Lightning Bolt finishes the pesky planeswalker off after just a single activation.

 

Even more added utility – Spell Pierce

I instantly removed all copies of Flusterstorm from my Xerox deck and never looked back. Spell Pierce can be Mental Misstepped in a counter war and loses utilty over a long game, but in return it lets you counter Spheres and other lock pieces from Shops, as well as planeswalkers. When you Spell Pierce something like Sylvan Library or Oath of Druids, you will feel great about your tweaked countermagic.

 

Not technically drawing cards – Dark Confidant

Something that popped up in my mind was to run bad cards like Impulse and Sleight of Hand to play around a resolved Narset, but I think Dark Confidant is a more viable option. In order to not die from the upkeep triggers, I think the dynamic duo of Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time have to be sacrificed and top-of-library manipulation like Sensei's Divining Top and Jace, the Mind Sculptor will enter the arena. I don't have a specific deck for it yet, but I imagine I will toy around with Grixis Control at some point in the future.

 

Hiding in the bushes ready to strike – Bazaar, Workshop, and Eldrazi Temple

I spent a great deal of time talking about how Narset impacts Blue decks and forces them to gear up to beat each other, but now it's time to talk about which decks will take advantage of this fact. These decks all plan to win on different axis than card advantage and are more than happy to see you spend three to four mana on the most expensive cantrip of all time. I look forward to the evolution of the format after a few weeks of Blue vs. Blue. How will players try to find and attack the weak spots?

 

Potential valuable crossover application – Ceremonious Rejection

Eldrazi won the last Vintage Challenge, so if that deck gains steam and becomse a matchup you can count on facing in a 6-7 round tournament, I like swapping some artifact removal for this little Modern gem. They do have Cavern of Souls to mess up your plans, but countering a Sphere or Karn, the Great Creator isn't too bad.

 

Best removal spell ever printed – Swords to Plowshares

If Eldrazi are here to stay, viable options include a deck based in Blue-White or a stretch of the Blue-Red mana base. Plow kills Thought-Knot Seer, but looks silly against planeswalkers. As is true in every constructed format, it’s challenging to cover all bases with your control deck.

 

Adjusting the small things is crucial to your success – Library becomes a Wasteland

With Narset all over the place and the resurgence of non-Blue decks, it's time to switch our utility land in Blue-Red Xerox to Wasteland. Wasteland will do wonders against the non-Blue matchups, and don't feel ashamed of using it as a colorless source in the Blue matchups unless you smell weakness in their manabase.

 

Taking a step back – Paradoxical Outcome

My current take on Paradoxical Outcome is that the metagame is simply too hostile with the hard disruption from both new Blue planeswalkers. If you are locked into playing a Paradoxical Outcome variant, one could imagine that Pyroblast would solve the Narset problem, but the reality is that they have four Mental Missteps on top of the Force of Wills, and you don't. My advice would be to stick to the Green version (that I wrote about here) and think long and hard about putting those Hydras in the maindeck.

 

Vintage Challenge Top 4 – May 4, 2019

 

Here is the list I played in the Vintage Challenge to a semifinals finish.

 

Andreas Petersen’s Blue-Red Xerox”

 

1 Flooded Strand
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Island
2 Tropical Island
4 Volcanic Island
1 Strip Mine
1 Wasteland
3 Young Pyromancer
3 Snapcaster Mage
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Emerald
4 Mental Misstep
1 Gitaxian Probe
2 Pyroblast
2 Lightning Bolt
3 Spell Pierce
1 Brainstorm
1 Ponder
1 Ancestral Recall
4 Preordain
1 Time Walk
1 Merchant Scroll
2 Ancient Grudge
3 Dack Fayden
2 Narset, Parter of Veils
4 Force of Will
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Dig Through Time

4 Leyline of the Void
2 Lightning Bolt
2 Shattering Spree
1 Mountain
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Pithing Needle
2 Null Rod

 

Loss vs. Black/Green Depths
Win vs. Bant Outcome
Win vs. Dark Petition Storm
Win vs. Shops
Win vs. Jeskai Xerox
Win vs. Dredge
Win vs. Dredge
Loss vs. Eldrazi

 

I liked a lot about this list except for two things. The first was how weak I felt against Eldrazi and the second were the Null Rods in the sideboard which were one week too late to have a big impact. It's important to not get blinded by the great result and continue to look for improvements. For the next tournament I will do my homework better and hopefully create an even more well positioned deck!

 

This article was created by Andreas Petersen in a media collaboration with mage.market.

 







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