Hello and welcome back to another Vintage article from my hand. Last time I talked about the impact of the new planeswalker Narset, Parter of VeilsNarset, Parter of Veils in the blue vs. blue matchups and the reaction it would likely cause in the revolving metagame. Fast forward one week and it was time to prepare for the next Vintage Challenge after the previous top 4 finish with Temur Xerox.

Why Xerox wants White

Fight back against Eldrazi

Swords to Plowshares from Battlebond

Swords to Plowshares from Battlebond

This time around I knew I wanted access to removal spells that could kill opposing Thought-Knot SeerThought-Knot Seers and Reality SmasherReality Smashers, but I also knew that it had a huge cost. Either I should move to a base blue-white manabase and give up on Dack FaydenDack Fayden, PyroblastPyroblast and Lightning BoltLightning Bolt, or I should build an ambitious manabase and accept losses to multiple WastelandWastelands in a match. The omniprescence of Narset makes the red cards even more necessary, so I opted for the latter. Enter Jeskai Xerox!

The Full Jewelry

This deck has use for Moxen 4 and 5

Mox Jet
Mox Emerald

Xerox decks are known for playing a lot of one-mana cards and not a lot of generic mana on their cards. For this reason, they usually only run the on-color Moxen and spend the last few “mana” slots on utility lands like Library of AlexandriaLibrary of Alexandria, Strip MineStrip Mine or WastelandWasteland. In this version however, I have a fairly high amount of generic mana requirements, and I also wanted to up the number of times I could play Young PyromancerYoung Pyromancer, Dack FaydenDack Fayden and Narset, Parter of VeilsNarset, Parter of Veils ahead of schedule. Being servicable with Snapcaster MageSnapcaster Mage and against opposing taxing effects like Thalia, Guardian of ThrabenThalia, Guardian of Thraben and Sphere of ResistanceSphere of Resistance made me go with the full suite. The rule of thumb is to not play out the Moxen for no reason because you have Dack FaydenDack Fayden and the singleton BrainstormBrainstorm in your deck.

Maybe Next Time

A Card I Should Have Played

Gush from Duel Decks Anthology Jace vs Chandra

Gush from Duel Decks Anthology Jace vs Chandra

I didn’t register GushGush for this tournament, which is most likely a mistake. GushGush is good with Young PyromancerYoung Pyromancer, Monastery MentorMonastery Mentor and Dack FaydenDack Fayden, a total of six cards in my current list. It does however have some conflict with basic Mountain, the full Moxen and my desire to play three copies of Narset. I can see myself trying -1 Narset, -1 Mountain, +1 Gush, +1 Volcanic Island for the next event.

The Sideboard MVP

Get All Your Bases Covered

Pithing Needle from Return to Ravnica

Pithing Needle from Return to Ravnica

I get a lot of questions about Pithing NeedlePithing Needle, and I don’t think I ever talked about it publicly before. In Vintage you need a certain number of sideboard cards against Shops and Dredge if you want to be competitive, and 15 slots aren’t a lot to cover all bases, even though they are relatively few. Needle is a great example of clever deckbuilding that lets you have enough cards to bring in against the non-blue decks. Remember, our maindeck is packed with clunky Narsets and Dack FaydenDack Fayden fodder like PyroblastPyroblast, Mental MisstepMental Misstep and Spell PierceSpell Pierce. Against Dredge you Needle their Bazaar of BaghdadBazaar of Baghdad which is huge on the play, especially if they mulligan and have a long way up to discarding to handsize and start slow dredging, which is very beatable by the way. Against Shops you need to analyze the boardstate and identify your weaknesses. Sometimes you can’t afford to get Wastelanded. Sometimes Arcbound RavagerArcbound Ravager needs to be switched off to turn on your Dack FaydenDack Fayden and sometimes you don’t have enough life points to survive a topdecked Walking BallistaWalking Ballista. Or maybe the turn one Steel OverseerSteel Overseer needs to be stopped before it loses summoning sickness. The icing on the cake is to have this card against Survival of the FittestSurvival of the Fittest which is still played here and there. Two sideboard slots well spent, I’d say.

How to Shatter?

By Force or Shattering Spree?

By Force
Shattering Spree

Moving away from green forces me to look at alternative options in the artifact removal slot. By ForceBy Force takes advantage of extra mana while Shattering SpreeShattering Spree is more flexible as long as you have a lot of red mana. For this tournament I chose to go with By ForceBy Force, partially because of the lands I played (only 3 Volcanic IslandVolcanic Islands) and partially because I played all five Moxen. I’m of the opinion that you need the full amount of Volcanic IslandVolcanic Island plus basic MountainMountain in your 75 to run Shattering SpreeShattering Spree, so I like By ForceBy Force for now. I might look into changing the manabase later because I like Shattering SpreeShattering Spree more in a vacuum since it allows me to kill a single artifact for one mana.

My Jeskai Xerox

The list I fielded at the Challenge

When it’s all said and done, here is what I played and what I was paired against in the event:

Jeskai Xerox by ecobaronen – Top 8 in the Vintage Challenge May 11, 2019

Jeskai Xerox by Ecobaronen

Jeskai Xerox by Ecobaronen

Jeskai Xerox by ecobaronen

Lands (15)
Flooded Strand
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Volcanic Island

Creatures (6)
Snapcaster Mage
Young Pyromancer
Monastery Mentor

Spells (39)
Black Lotus
Mox Pearl
Mox Sapphire
Mox Jet
Mox Ruby
Mox Emerald
Gitaxian Probe
Mental Misstep
Spell Pierce
Ancestral Recall
Lightning Bolt
Swords to Plowshares
Time Walk
Merchant Scroll
Narset, Parter of Veils
Dack Fayden
Force of Will
Treasure Cruise
Dig Through Time
Sideboard (15)
Leyline of the Void
By Force
Swords to Plowshares
Pithing Needle
Grafdigger’s Cage

Round 1: Win vs. Dredge

Round 2: Win vs. Grixis Thieves

Round 3: Win vs. Shops

Round 4: Win vs. Dredge

Round 5: Win vs. RUG Xerox

Round 6: Gentleman Scoop vs. Shops

Round 7: Lost vs. Shops

Closing Thoughts

  • I’m always happy to top 8 any tournament, but I’ve been playing for long enough that I know it doesn’t matter a ton. I’ve learned to lean on my instinct rather than specific results when evaluating a deck.
  • 5 out of 7 of my opponents brought non-blue decks that don’t care about Mental MisstepMental Misstep (Dredge does care about this one after sideboard, though), Narset nor Karn, the Great CreatorKarn, the Great Creator. This makes for an interesting dynamic moving forward where players need to balance their blue mirror breakers and more widely applicable cards even better.
  • I didn’t face a single unfair blue deck which confirms my suspicion from the last article that Paradoxical OutcomeParadoxical Outcome is in very bad shape with the new planeswalkers running the streets of Vintage.
  • The presence of Karn, the Great CreatorKarn, the Great Creator which, on paper at least, is very powerful against Shops did not harm Shops in any meaningful way yet. It turns out four mana is still a lot thanks to Spheres and WastelandWastelands.
  • I really like it when new cards are injected into Vintage. We like trying out new things and will sometimes go overboard to try them out or prepare for others who sleeved up new toys. When the dust settles, the format is always better than it used to be, and I think that trend continues this time around.

Next time I will write about all four old constructed formats and show you my weapon of choice for each of them. See you there!


This article was written by Andreas Petersen in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com

Andreas Petersen

Andreas Petersen

Andreas is probably better known as "ecobaronen" on MTGO. After 2nd place of Team Trios #GPMadrid playing Modern he's heading to his second Pro Tour in Minneapolis this year. Andreas has an opinion about every constructed format except Standard.