Video: BUG Fish in Vintage

Drew Levin charges through a series of Vintage videos with his sweet BUG build!

Round 1: RUG Pyromancer

Round 2: Storm Oath

Round 3: RUG Delver

Round 4: BUG Planeswalkers

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I end up laying out a lot of my thoughts at the end of the fourth video, so I highly recommend watching that for a rambling set of conclusions on this deck and how it’s positioned in Vintage. For those of you who haven’t watched the videos, here are my thoughts on this very slight variation on Ari Lax’s BUG Fish deck:

Black Lotus is cuts. Literally. Cut it. Cedric told me to do it before the match and I believed him, but I figured I would get at least half a dozen “lol, fire him, who cuts Lotus from a Vintage deck?” comments if I did that without showing you all why. Well, I drew Lotus in three games out of four matches and it was literally never good. Not once. I think that change alone makes this deck the best starting point for anyone looking to move from Legacy to Vintage.

– The deck is incredibly flexible and customizable. It’s very good against combo, it can be built to be incredibly Workshops-antagonistic, and it has access to several game plans against blue decks. With that said, there’s clearly a ton of play to it. I love the deck, even if I mis-assigned my role in several blue pseudo-mirrors. A lot of Magic theory that holds in Legacy doesn’t hold in Vintage, which is great. There’s a ton to learn about how to play the format.

Dark Confidant and Abrupt Decay are phenomenal. Just super good. If you like these cards in Modern and Legacy, I promise they are still quite good in Vintage. Getting Misdirection-ed, on the other hand, is not fun at all.

– It’s hard to form an opinion on Deathrite Shaman. I think it’s probably underpowered given the speed of the format and the sheer overwhelming power of the graveyard deck. Deathrite is going to be on anti-Ichorid duty from the get-go, but it still might not be enough. I’d be interested to hear what people think of the card–since it’s obviously very powerful–and its applications in Vintage.

– I love playing a blue deck without Drains. I kind of want to switch from black for Bob and Deathrite to red for Grudge, Pyromancer, and Gush, since Pyromancer is obviously an old flame of mine.

– There are a ton of awesome things to do in the format. Kind of like with Legacy, though, everything is just better in a blue shell. In Legacy, that’s because of having Brainstorm. In Vintage, that’s because getting KO’d on turn 1 is a real thing so Force of Will is just a requirement. 

– I can’t imagine playing a deck without Force of Will or a turn 1 kill in this format. Losing die rolls with something like Dredge or Shops seems miserable. I’d love to know where my blind spots are in this paradigm. Are people just playing too few combo decks? It seems like the combo cards are all very good and the ways to contain them are all very obvious and compartmentalized from deck to deck–that is, you know that Deck One is going to have a range of cards A to C, while Deck Two is going to have a range of cards E to G, and so on. Building a compact sideboard for combo decks seems far easier in Vintage where there are relatively few discard spells, a ton of Spheres and counterspells, and very few random blowout cards (like a beatdown deck with quad Karakas in a format with Show and Tell for instance).

Regardless, Vintage is still the nut high, and I hope you all enjoy watching and reading. Since I don’t know enough about the format to build an intelligent poll on reader preference, I’d love to hear what you want to see me play next. For all ye faithful Legacy readers: don’t worry, I’m working on a nice one.