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Welcome back y’all! Let’s pick up where we left! We established why the deck is deck is called Paradoxical OutcomeParadoxical Outcome and we talked a bit about the how the deck wins. Let’s talk about some of the cards that differ from other decks and aren’t necessarily part of the decks overall plan. In this article I will also share my sideboard guide with you!

The deck is a combo deck overall. However, it has a lot of control-like game to it, since it’s a blue deck with counters, draw spells and tutors. This makes for two types of games. We have games that are explosive with us dumping our entire hand and then starting to set up a kill. On the opposite end of the spectrum there are games where “Turn 1 Library of AlexandriaLibrary of Alexandria, go” is the correct play to go a more grindy and controlling route.
One thing is common for a lot of the games though: the crucial importance of drawing cards. This might seem obvious on the surface. But it is important to understand that many cards in our hand make our opponents play safer when they build up. Even more important, almost all the cards in Vintage are extremely potent and everything from a PreordainPreordain to an Ancestral RecallAncestral Recall or a tutor develops our game plan drastically.

Creatures (2)
Monastery Mentor
Blightsteel Colossus

Spells (45)
Ancestral Recall
Black Lotus
Brainstorm
Tinker
Time Vault
Sol Ring
Gitaxian Probe
Hurkyl’s Recall
Sensei’s Divining Top
Preordain
Merchant Scroll
Ponder
Mox Emerald
Mox Jet
Mox Ruby
Mox Sapphire
Mystical Tutor
Night’s Whisper
Paradoxical Outcome
Mox Opal
Mana Vault
Mana Crypt
Force of Will
Time Walk
Treasure Cruise
Dig Through Time
Demonic Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Voltaic Key
Mox Pearl
Fragmentize
Lands (13)
Tolarian Academy
Scalding Tarn
Polluted Delta
Misty Rainforest
Library of Alexandria
Island
Flooded Strand
Tundra
Underground Sea

Sideboard (15)
Island
Grafdigger’s Cage
Hurkyl’s Recall
Flusterstorm
Kambal, Consul of Allocation
Tormod’s Crypt
Repeal

Paradoxic Problems

Some situations you encounter with this deck

Sideboard Library of Alexandria by Drew Baker

Library of Alexandria by Drew Baker

To put the previous sentiment into perspective, I’ve got a few situations as illustration for you.

It is often better to not deploy Moxen, lands and other acceleration but instead draw with Library of AlexandriaLibrary of Alexandria. The more you venture into Vintage, this will become more intuitive. However, as a newcomer it can sometimes be hard to fathom that people don’t incinerate and die on turn 1 every other game.

Like the previous situation, instead of showing which line your hand is more likely to try and win through and/or which answers you have for specific threats, it can be better to use most of your resources to draw a card with the small synergy of Voltaic KeyVoltaic Key and Sensei’s Divining TopSensei’s Divining Top. It seems simple, but it can be a superior play in the right situation.

When you play Vintage, you have a lot of insane cards and explosive turns, but your deck still has a plan, answers and fillers – and this is true for our opponents deck as well. Keep this in mind! It can be essential for a win that we don’t reveal our plan if we can develop in another way. This is important, because it puts our opponent in a spot where they need to keep mana up, deploy threats or try and disrupt us. If we get them to extend in a direction that doesn’t affect our line or overall plan, we can catch them off guard. If we manage that, we gain a lot of edge and momentum in the game.

Think you know your cards? Think again!

Some cards you need to reevaluate with PO

Sideboard Force of Will by Matt Stewart

Force of Will by Matt Stewart

If you play Legacy and think that Force of WillForce of Will is a medium card that often gets boarded out, you need to reevaluate for Vintage. A timely Force of WillForce of Will is often what sets the pace of the game, but also guarantees the win. This is especially important when your opponent plays draw-twos and draw-threes. Sometimes the number of cards can be too much but sometimes you must calculate whether three random cards from the top of your opponent’s deck are more valuable than having a hard counter.

The last bullet in this section will be about Time WalkTime Walk. The card can be an explore with upside, which isn’t really broken. But setting up a perfect spot with Monastery MentorMonastery Mentor or depleting our opponent’s available mana for us to cast a draw spell is where the card shines. I often fire it off as soon as possible, because getting to untap with fast mana with the possibility of a masterful topdeck is key for me.

These things are general thoughts and even though I write them as what I would do in most cases, they don’t always apply. Especially in the Workshops matchup. I will get back to that later.

The special Maindeck cards

Some of these might look paradoxical to play

Sideboard Mox Opal by Volkan Baga

Mox Opal by Volkan Baga

First of all I would like to talk about the Mox OpalMox Opal in the room! The card is important and works like an additional real Mox in a lot of games. But it can be devastating for our mana base if we draw more copies and don’t get the metalcraft on time.
Where Mox OpalMox Opal is part of the game plan, a card like Night’s WhisperNight’s Whisper seems rather unimpressive when we talk about Vintage. The card is one way to gain an edge in the more grindy blue matchups. This card gets worse when the meta is all about Dredge or Shops. However, I would advise you to try it out if you play in the current metagame.
Where Night’s WhisperNight’s Whisper is bad against Shops, Hurkyl’s RecallHurkyl’s Recall really is a powerhouse without equal. Even though it is a dead card in almost every matchup that doesn’t play Null RodNull Rod or is Shops, it’s often the one card that can turn the table. For example, when you’re locked out of the game through a Lodestone GolemLodestone Golem, Null RodNull Rod or Sphere of ResistanceSphere of Resistance. I would not recommend a list with fewer than 1 of these before you get comfortable with the deck and different builds. However, if you really think that I’m wrong, you can play a catch all card like RepealRepeal or you can go in another direction and play FragmentizeFragmentize – I play all 3.

The Sideboard

How to react to different matchups

Sideboard Kambal Consul of Allocation by Vincent Proce

Kambal Consul of Allocation by Vincent Proce

The sideboard I play is somewhat stock. I do however swap some of the cards, if I feel a bit frisky and want to gamble a bit with the matchups that I think I am going to play against. As a reminder, here is what the sideboard looks like.

Sideboard (15)
Island
Grafdigger’s Cage
Hurkyl’s Recall
Flusterstorm
Kambal, Consul of Allocation
Tormod’s Crypt
Repeal

Let’s go through it on a card by card basis.

The Stock Sideboard

What I’m playing right now

Sideboard Flusterstorm by Erica Yang

Flusterstorm by Erica Yang

FlusterstormFlusterstorm – Next to Force of WillForce of Will, FlusterstormFlusterstorm is the most broken counterspell in Vintage. Most other counters that we want to play are either what we already have or Mana DrainMana Drain. And they all not only suffer from a cost of more than one mana, but they also can be countered if our opponent has backup. FlusterstormFlusterstorm is a perfect card for grindy blue control games, the mirror and the occasional Storm decks.
Kambal, Consul of AllocationKambal, Consul of Allocation – In Vintage it is hard to fit in hard removal that isn’t specialized in killing artifacts. But if you get to resolve this legend, that gives your opponent 10 spells (often less) to close out the game if they want to win.
Hurkyl’s RecallHurkyl’s Recall – As I wrote a bit earlier this card is beyond broken in the right matchups.
RepealRepeal – A catch all card that primarily targets cards out of the sideboard like Kambal, Consul of AllocationKambal, Consul of Allocation or Null RodNull Rods in the decks that are low on artifact count.
IslandIslandShops is one of the best and most dominant decks in the format. So even though it may seem silly to play 2 Islands in the board, it enables us to cast spells on turn 1 and forward. At the same time, we can have a plan that revolves around trying to seal the game with Hurkyl’s RecallHurkyl’s Recall. It is crucial that this is a basic Island since Shops plays the full playset of WastelandWasteland.
Grafdigger’s CageGrafdigger’s CageDredge isn’t our worst matchup, but if we don’t respect it, we will lose against it. Oath of DruidsOath of Druids decks, however, can be a bit more difficult because they are a dedicated control deck, with very few cards dedicated to their combo. This card is great because it covers both those decks and still is a target for Paradoxical OutcomeParadoxical Outcome.
Tormod’s CryptTormod’s Crypt – While the above graveyard hate card overlaps, this card just targets one deck: Dredge (ok, and Worldgorger DragonWorldgorger Dragon combo). Grafdigger’s CageGrafdigger’s Cage stops all the Dredge shenanigans, but it doesn’t stop them from filling up their graveyard and finding an answer like Nature’s ClaimNature’s Claim. This is where Tormod’s CryptTormod’s Crypt gets the job done. It depletes them from their most valuable resource, the graveyard, so that they must rebuild slowly.

Extra Sideboard Choices

These can also be great to play

Sideboard Mindbreak Trap by Christopher Moeller

Mindbreak Trap by Christopher Moeller

The previous part was a bit about the different cards, some small interactions and why the sideboard is what it is. Here are some other cards that I sometimes rotate in and out of the sideboard.

Mystic RemoraMystic Remora – This card is one hell of a fighter, when you think about its mana cost. Earlier I wrote about the importance of the number of cards we can generate. Even though it has Cumulative Upkeep it helps us set the pace of the game and puts our opponents on the spot. If they want to deploy mana through artifacts or try and cantrip we get to draw cards. In the later stages of the game, they sometimes have to play through it and let us get closer to blue cards for Force of WillForce of Will, instant speed draw spells, or they simply have to counter one of our spells and let us draw. If we don’t want to pay the upkeep, we can even reset it with Paradoxical OutcomeParadoxical Outcome or a potential RepealRepeal.
KarakasKarakas – Instead of the second (or even 3rd) basic Island we can play this card. It helps help us against cards like Thalia, Guardian of ThrabenThalia, Guardian of Thraben, Kambal, Consul of AllocationKambal, Consul of Allocation and even Kataki, War’s WageKataki, War’s Wage. It also works against Oath of DruidsOath of Druids where it has a great target if they tinker up Emrakul, the Aeons TornEmrakul, the Aeons Torn, and a nice speedbump if they get GriselbrandGriselbrand.
Karn, Scion of UrzaKarn, Scion of Urza – Like Night’s WhisperNight’s Whisper, this is a card that helps us fight the blue decks. We get to play around FlusterstormFlusterstorm, Null RodNull Rod and PyroblastPyroblast. At the same time this is a card that can finish the game and draw cards if needed.
Mindbreak TrapMindbreak Trap – This card is a mix with Force of WillForce of Will and FlusterstormFlusterstorm but can be good on the draw against Shops as well.

There are a bunch of other cards, but if you play something similar to the list that I play, I like these the most.

Sideboarding and the Top5 Matchups

How to get ready for the most played decks

In this last paragraph I want to write a few words about how to sideboard against the top5 decks of the format. I’ll give you notes about how I think the matchup plays out and give you my sideboard guide along with it.

Mishra’s Workshop Decks

The artifact heavy prison menace

Sideboard Mishra's Workshop by Sam Burley

Mishra’s Workshop by Sam Burley

Shops tries to tax us out with a well-placed Phyrexian RevokerPhyrexian Revoker to shut down our combo of Voltaic KeyVoltaic Key and Time VaultTime Vault and then they just have Spheres and Chalice of the VoidChalice of the Void for days. The current Shops decks are however playing a Steel-Stompy-like game plan with lots of creatures that apply pressure but isn’t a big issue for our overall game plan. We want to fetch as many basics as possible and deploy as many cards to the battlefield as fast as we can. Often, they will pressure us and leave us with a small opening for a well-placed Hurkyl’s RecallHurkyl’s Recall, which should put us in the driver’s seat. Remember to count their damage and if they have Hangarback WalkerHangarback Walker. If this is done correctly, we can take some beating, survive at a very low life total and get the best spot to go off on a clean board.

Sideboard against Shops

Sideboard Out (5)
Night's Whisper
Vampiric Tutor
Gitaxian Probe
Treasure Cruise
Sideboard In (6)
Island
Repeal
Hurkyl's Recall

Dredge

What is dead may sometimes die

Sideboard Bazaar of Baghdad by Christopher Moeller

Bazaar of Baghdad by Christopher Moeller

This matchup is all about speed in game 1, and then all about hate cards and speed in games 2 and 3. Some lists play a lot of blue cards to try and disrupt, which can be a bit harder to play around. They are however a bit softer to fizzling themselves, which overall is good for us. After sideboard we get to play defensive, try to protect ourselves against Nature’s ClaimNature’s Claim and that’s pretty much it. If they get to do broken things, they win. If we draw properly and win game 1, we often win. Most lists can’t do much on turn 1. They will just play Bazaar of BaghdadBazaar of Baghdad and pass the turn. Turn 2 is rare, but can be disruptive, and turn 3 is most likely game over.

Sideboard against Dredge

Sideboard Out (6)
Library of Alexandria
Night's Whisper
Hurkyl's Recall
Fragmentize
Mystical Tutor
Sideboard In (6)
Flusterstorm
Grafdigger's Cage
Tormod's Crypt

Paradoxical Outcome

Sideboarding in the Mirror Match

Paradoxical_Outcome_by Nils Hamm

Paradoxical Outcome by Nils Hamm

This matchup is a bit random and revolves a lot around sideboard cards. Sometimes you combo of and sometimes it goes into a long grind. That is extremely hard to navigate and almost every disruptive resource has to hit its best target – so think it through.
Their game plan is the same as ours, but maybe they have some other sideboard slots, so be careful.

Sideboard against PO

Sideboard Out (4)
Vampiric Tutor
Mystical Tutor
Hurkyl's Recall
Fragmentize
Sideboard In (4)
Flusterstorm
Kambal, Consul of Allocation

Blue-Red Xerox

A classic Control Deck

Sideboard Dack Fayden by Eric Deschamps

Dack Fayden by Eric Deschamps

Blue-Red Xerox is a control deck in its finest shell, that preys on artifacts and spells. It isn’t really that powerful, but in the current metagame it fills a nice niche with cards like Ancient GrudgeAncient Grudge and Dack FaydenDack Fayden. They fight us in an irritating way with the ability to play Null RodNull Rod, loads of Dack FaydenDack Fayden and counterspells. Their issue is that they must deploy a threat at some point, and they don’t really play a lot of fast mana. This gives us some windows to resolve an end of turn Dig Through TimeDig Through Time or Paradoxical OutcomeParadoxical Outcome and either fight with our own counterspell or untap and cast a powerful spell. In this matchup, we can’t rely on Blightsteel ColossusBlightsteel Colossus, since it will get snatched by the greatest thief in the multiverse, Dack FaydenDack Fayden. We need to make sure to either resolve our Monastery MentorMonastery Mentor through hate, or to set up a guaranteed attack with Blightsteel. I find this matchup hard but interesting and it’s different almost every time I play it. When I face it, I would look up a stock list, just to see how many cards you potentially have to play around!

Sideboard against UR Xerox

Sideboard Out (5)
Hurkyl's Recall
Vampiric Tutor
Mystical Tutor
Sensei's Divining Top
Tinker
Sideboard In (5)
Kambal, Consul of Allocation
Flusterstorm
Repeal

Survival

The new kid on the block

Sideboard Survival of the Fittest by Shelly Wan

Survival of the Fittest by Shelly Wan

The new kid on the block are the Survival deck. They draw energy from Bazaar of BaghdadBazaar of Baghdad and Survival of the FittestSurvival of the Fittest and get to deploy a bunch of hate bears combined with Null RodNull Rod or Stony SilenceStony Silence. This game is about speed in game one and about countering their Survival of the FittestSurvival of the Fittest as well. Game two and three get a bit trickier. We can sometimes win with pure engine power or a fast turns combo, but most games go quite long and are determined by few key interactions. Like the Xerox deck, I would look up the current hate suite which can range from taxing effects to cards like Vintage all-star ManglehornManglehorn. Overall this is a deck that Is quite hard to play against, and you really need to study the list to know what can happen with their cards.

Sideboard against Survival

Sideboard Out (6)
Mystical Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Treasure Cruise
Night's Whisper
Hurkyl's Recall
Sideboard In (6)
Repeal
Grafdigger's Cage
Tormod's Crypt

I am a bit uncertain about the full Grafdigger’s Cage. I would try and swap 1 or even 2 with a Flusterstorm when I play leagues, just to see if it’s better.

Overall Metagame Position

Paradoxical is still the deck to beat

Black Lotus by Chris Rahn

Black Lotus by Chris Rahn

Overall, I think we have some good and some bad matchups across the field. We are favored against almost everything that is broken and against Shops. On the other hand, we struggle a bit against both Survival and Xerox. I really enjoy this deck and the opportunity to just shuffle around different builds. The possibility to try out new things makes the deck even more enjoyable to try and master.
As I get to the end of this article, I would like to stress something that I just addressed in passing earlier. A lot of the plays and interactions seem quite straight forward. Counter an Ancestral RecallAncestral Recall, since it’s a 2 for 3 in our favor, is an example. This transitions into muscle memory quickly, but next time it happens, try to stop yourself and think about if it’s the right play.

That was everything I had for now regarding PO or Paradoxical Outcome. I hope you will put it to good use and try out some sweet Vintage Magic.

I have one request before I say goodbye. I would love for everyone who plays Vintage to tag me in a screenshot, if you get to a situation where it is correct to untap a Time Vault[/

mtg_link] “normally”. This always sparks great discussion and is a somewhat un-intuitive play – but an extremely cool thing to do in my opinion.

Here’s another interesting situation I had with the deck to send you off. What are your takes?

Sideboard Would you counter here - I didn't.

Would you counter here? (I didn’t :P)

Cya next time and let’s go!

 

 

This article was written by Michael Bonde in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com