BUG IN ALL FORMATS!
Or is it Sultai? Okay, Sultai Control. You know, these clan names are kind of growing on me.
Standard is obviously very slow at the moment with tons of spoilers rolling in by the day (speaking of which, you should follow us on Facebook to make sure you don't miss anything), so I figured we might as well play something fun!
Of course the fact that I picked up four Wastelands on Magic Online earlier this week, along with a bunch of other Vintage and Legacy staples didn't hurt either. I basically wanted to be able to play the "tempo" decks with lots of versatile one- and two-drops like Dark Confidant, Snapcaster Mage, and Deathrite Shaman. I'm also a huge fan of Shardless BUG in Legacy. I mean, who doesn't like cascading into an Ancestral Vision? Of course all of those decks required Wastelands!
So I bit the bullet. One thing that seems obvious is that Wizards is trying to support Modern by reprinting all of the Onslaught fetchlands. The byproduct of this is that it allows people to get into Legacy and Vintage a little easier if those were some of the cards they were missing. Seeing as a fetchland reprint could instill some eternal format interest, I figured cards like Wasteland were more likely to go up than down. We'll see.
The deck I'm trying out today is, well, just like I said. Check it out.
The list took third in the recent Vintage Champs that took place on Magic Online. The winning deck was a Stax deck and the second place deck was missing, so for all intents and purposes, this was the second best performing deck in the event! Hooray! While we all know that isn't how things work, this was a deck I've been wanting to try out for a while and now that I've acquired some Wastelands, I can. Let's see if it was worth the wait.
BUG Control vs. Oath
BUG Control vs. Pyromancer Storm
BUG Control vs. Shay Storm
Wow, 3-0. I guess you can really see the power of cards like Wasteland and Dark Confidant. This was also the first time I have ever cast a True-Name Nemesis in my life. That card is utterly ridiculous. I was tempted to hold off picking them up in case they ever had a reprint, but seriously, when will this card ever be reprinted? It's still very easy to come by currently, and it was released mere months ago. If it's ever going to see the presses again, it isn't going to be for a while.
My opponent in the third round was Rich Shay, a well-known Vintage player from the New England area. While he didn't win our match, I was a huge fan of his list. Playing Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and Keranos, God of Storms in Vintage is just awesome and proves that the format is incredibly ripe for innovations.
The single Null Rod in the maindeck is interesting. It really worked out for us in the first match, and being that there's only one, it doesn't really come up often enough to give us problems. But let's talk about one-ofs for a second. The deck also contains a single Scavenging Ooze, a single Vendilion Clique, a single Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and a single True-Name Nemesis. In truth, the deck actually contains about three of each of these cards thanks to Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor. If we have a tutor in the yard already, it's basically like we have five copies of each because of the three copies of Snapcaster Mage (one copy of the actual card, one tutor in the deck, three Snapcasters in the deck). Having one-ofs in Vintage means a lot more than simply having one copy of that card in your deck, as you can often tell from the plethora of one-ofs in every Vintage list.
Another utility that we have a ton of access to (that is somewhat supplemented by Null Rod) is land destruction. We have five ways to destroy lands in our deck, and seeing as Vintage decks are often incredibly light on land to begin with (around 16 lands or so per deck) this can usually prove a huge hurdle for the opponent to overcome, especially if they kept a particularly land light hand. While Moxes (or Moxen if you prefer) usually help to accelerate you in the format, often times you'll need very specific colors or colors in multiples to actually cast the spells you need to cast. Things like Mana Drain or Tendrils of Agony coupled with things like Yawgmoth's Will are all very color intensive. All of these cards and lines of play require very specific mana types. The fact that Deathrite Shaman can get two activations out of every iteration of an opponent's Wastelanded land (one from his land and one from our Wasteland) is just huge.
Every time I play it, whether I win or lose, Vintage ends up being an incredibly fun format. The games are nowhere near as broken or degenerate as people make them out to be. Sure, I lost to ten Goblin Tokens against Storm, but really, 1) I could have Force of Willed the Yawgmoth's Will and potentially turned that entire game around, and 2) there are similarly broken things happening in Modern as well. The truth is most games go on for quite a while and there is a ton of back and forth that occurs. While the Modern format might have a similar level of interaction, there are often situations in Vintage that are much easier to recover from thanks to the power level of the cards, which makes most of your games seem within reach, even if you lose.
Anyway, that's about all I've got for today! I hope you've enjoyed another look at Vintage, because the format is super fun. Next week I'm off to Seattle for the Community Cup and be sure to check out our exclusive spoiler on Wednesday as well. Thanks for reading and I'll catch you on Monday!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV