After a few weeks of wielding the green splash in Paradoxical Outcome, I figured it was time to share my thoughts behind my current favorite build of the deck. After all, I had quite some success with it in the Vintage Super League and also ran it in the MTGO Vintage Playoffs, which got a bunch of attention from fellow Vintage lovers.
Green Outcome by Andreas Petersen
What does Green offer?
If you start with a land and a Mox, the powerful green enchantment offers a strong turn one play that will upgrade your card quantity and quality. Especially in the blue matchups, your life total isn’t too important, so you can usually grab two or three extra cards from your library. On the turns after you ran out of expendable life points, you still get better card selection. When it’s time to go off, it is not irrelevant at all to have an extra permanent to target with Paradoxical Outcome. Just like Night’s Whisper, which is basically the black version of Sylvan Library, it’s not great against Dredge and especially against Shops, where your priority is to fetch out basic Islands.
My favorite multi-headed monster shores up your worst matchup, which is Blue-Red-based Xerox decks by far. They have piles of Pyroblasts, Flusterstorms and artifact removal to keep your main plan in check. Lightning Bolt only has a small window to take down the Hydra and Jace, the Mind Sculptor is a bit too slow for the format right now. That leaves Force of Will as their only safe answer, and Managorger Hydra as the most effective thing you can currently do to turn the tables in this matchup.
Brain Freeze is a Win Condition for Storm in Vintage Cube, right?!
I noticed that the commentators of the Vintage Super League finals agreed that Brain Freeze is a cute card that I play only to “show off”. And don’t get me wrong, I can definitely see why this would be the impression on the surface. If you look into it further, you will notice that this color combination can’t play Demonic Tutor to put together Time Vault and Voltaic Key reliably on combo turns. Aside from that combo, other versions have used Tendrils of Agony to finish the game in one turn, which can be very important against especially the non-blue decks that build up threatening board states. This particular version can win with Vault/Key (remember, you need to find the one copy of Time Vault to do so) or set up Monastery Mentor and Time Walk. For a better chance to finish the game on the same turn I start comboing off, I wanted to add a card that I can find with Merchant Scroll, pitch to Force of Will and flash back with Snapcaster Mage. That is a lot better than not playing it and giving up games you should’ve won or playing a hard-to-cast “blank” card like Tendrils of Agony. Tendrils requires less storm as the only upside. One of the commentators did mention that Brain Freeze can win the game in the mirror match when the opponent plays their second copy of Paradoxical Outcome which I’m sure will come up from time to time. Just keep in mind they can probably counter their own Outcome and are likely miles ahead on cards at this point, so you need to get pretty lucky to pull it off. I will, however, sideboard out Brain Freeze against fair decks because Hydra becomes our main gameplan.
Lavinia, Azorious Renegade and Two Karakas
White is mandatory in this deck thanks to the strength of Monastery Mentor, and the only other white card I bothered to run is a duo of hatebears in the sideboard for the mirror match specifically. Lavinia, Azorius Renegade disrupts everthing from Moxen and Force of Will to Paradoxical Outcome and delve spells. It does require an answer most of the time. On the flipside, your opponent could be on the same plan, so you need a couple of answers to Lavinia yourself.
I really like how Karakas can pull triple duty as an answer to Lavinia and an extra land for the Shops matchup. There are a handful of other relevant legendary creatures in the metagame which are all relevant against Outcome. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Leovold, Emissary of Trest, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and Griselbrand come to mind before the list gets a bit more fringe. The bottom line is that you get a lot of mileage out of cutting Library of Alexandria for Karakas in the main deck and spending one more slot in your sideboard that you were going to spend on another land anyway. However, you give up the Library hands that can run away with the game against blue matchups, which is certainly not nothing.
Farewell Black Splash, I Hardly Knew Ya
Let’s get the real cost of cutting black out of the way first. Demonic Tutor did everything for this deck. Be it searching for Ancestral Recall, Monastery Mentor, Mana Crypt, Force of Will, Tinker or of course the missing piece of your Time Vault and Voltaic Key puzzle. Night’s Whisper gets replaced by Sylvan Library and they are comparable in terms of impact, and Vampiric Tutor hasn’t been in my version of the deck for a long time because I wanted to improve the matchup against Xerox and topdeck tutors don’t exactly help against the quad Pyroblast deck. The dominance shown by Xerox decks also makes Tinker into Blightsteel Colossus a lot less attractive. Lastly, Kambal, Consul of Allocation was a great tool for me for a long period of time, but these days it’s only good against Outcome, because of Lightning Bolt in the Xerox decks. Lavinia has a similar impact in the mirror match but you can also pitch it to Force of Will if your opponent has Karakas or a lot of lands. The short version is I will miss Demonic Tutor for consistency, but until the metagame changes radically, everything else are perfectly acceptable casualties.
Metagame Reactions to Quadruple Hydra
A simple way for the Xerox opposition to adapt is to change their removal suite and manabase a little bit. The problem with this solution is that they will pay the toll in other matchups that can prey on a weak manabase. If you suddenly have to cast Dack Fayden and Swords to Plowshares with your manabase, Wasteland will get you eventually. Jace could go up to a two-of without much cost and has the upside that he is a really good Magic card that wins games. His ability to deal with a large Managorger Hydra is just added flexibility rather than a factor that gets him hand-picked for the job. Sultai-based decks have access to great flexible answers, so maybe that will be the color combination of choice in the near future. Lastly, I listed Mind Harness and hear me out. Mind Harness is a one-mana (I know about the cumulative upkeep, but stay with me here) answer to a bunch of high impact creatures in the format. Aside from the Hydra, which you might only need one or two attacks with, grabbing a Young Pyromancer or Leovold, Emissary of Trest can be huge game. We are not there yet, but if the green version of Paradoxical Outcome takes off and people move away from the Esper version, I know I’ll try out a couple of one-mana Control Magic in my sideboard.
That’s it for today. Let me know if you liked the article or need some information that I didn’t write about. Also look out for some awesome announcements from me in the future – I’m very excited to tell you about them at a later point!