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?

Leovold, Emissary of Trest from Ultimate Masters

Leovold, Emissary of Trest from Ultimate Masters

I’ve been desperately trying out various Leovold, Emissary of TrestLeovold, Emissary of Trest decks over a long period of time. I always ended up abandoning them because of how bad Deathrite ShamanDeathrite Shaman was as a mid-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 OutcomeParadoxical Outcome-powered combo decks, where Leovold would shine the brightest. But the metagame now includes a handful of different decks.

Narset, Parter of Veils from War of the Spark

Narset, Parter of Veils from War of the Spark

Enter: Narset, Parter of VeilsNarset, 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 ShamanDeathrite 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 PreordainPreordains in our hand.

The rich get richer

Pyroblast
Lightning Bolt

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

Even more added utility

Spell Pierce from Ixalan

Spell Pierce from Ixalan

I instantly removed all copies of FlusterstormFlusterstorm from my Xerox deck and never looked back. Spell PierceSpell Pierce can be Mental MisstepMental Misstep‘ed 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 PierceSpell Pierce something like Sylvan LibrarySylvan Library or Oath of DruidsOath of Druids, you will feel great about your tweaked countermagic.

Not technically drawing cards

Dark Confidant from Modern Masters 2015

Dark Confidant from Modern Masters 2015

Something that popped up in my mind was to run bad cards like ImpulseImpulse and Sleight of HandSleight of Hand to play around a resolved Narset, but I think Dark ConfidantDark Confidant is a more viable option. In order to not die from the upkeep triggers, I think the dynamic duo of Treasure CruiseTreasure Cruise and Dig Through TimeDig Through Time have to be sacrificed and top-of-library manipulation like Sensei’s Divining TopSensei’s Divining Top and Jace, the Mind SculptorJace, 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 of Baghdad
Mishra’s Workshop
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. Dredge, Shops and Eldrazi 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 from Kaladesh

Ceremonious Rejection from Kaladesh

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 SoulsCavern of Souls to mess up your plans, but countering a Sphere or Karn, the Great CreatorKarn, the Great Creator isn’t too bad.

Best removal spell ever printed

 

Swords to Plowshares from Battlebond

Swords to Plowshares from Battlebond

 

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 SeerThought-Knot Seer, but looks silly against planeswalkers. As it’s 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 of Alexandria
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 WastelandWasteland. WastelandWasteland 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 from Kaladesh

Paradoxical Outcome from Kaladesh

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 PyroblastPyroblast would solve the Narset problem, but the reality is that they have four Mental MisstepMental Missteps on top of the Force of WillForce 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 Managorger HydraManagorger Hydras in the maindeck.

Vintage Challenge Top 4 – May 4, 2019

Here is the list I played in the Vintage Challenge.

Round 1: Loss vs. Black-Green Depths
Round 2: Win vs. Bant Outcome
Round 3: Win vs. Dark Petition Storm
Round 4: Win vs. Shops
Round 5: Win vs. Jeskai Xerox
Round 6: Win vs. Dredge
Quarterfinals: Win vs. Dredge
Semifinals: Loss vs. Eldrazi

UR Xerox by Andreas Petersen

Lands (16)
Flooded Strand
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Island
Tropical Island
Volcanic Island
Strip Mine
Wasteland

Creatures (6)
Young Pyromancer
Snapcaster Mage

Spells (38)
Black Lotus
Mox Sapphire
Mox Ruby
Mox Emerald
Mental Misstep
Gitaxian Probe
Pyroblast
Lightning Bolt
Spell Pierce
Brainstorm
Ponder
Ancestral Recall
Preordain
Time Walk
Merchant Scroll
Ancient Grudge
Dack Fayden
Narset, Parter of Veils
Force of Will
Treasure Cruise
Dig Through Time
Sideboard (15)
Leyline of the Void
Lightning Bolt
Shattering Spree
Mountain
Grafdigger's Cage
Pithing Needle
Null Rod

I liked most things about this list except two. The first was how weak I felt against Eldrazi and the second were the Null RodNull 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 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.