Video: Grixis In Vintage

Join Drew Levin as he continues his awesome video series with yet another fresh look at the diverse and exciting Vintage format!

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Untitled Document

I was wrong about Mana Drain.

I think that learning Vintage is similar to learning Legacy, except the dominant lockout phenomenon in Vintage is “Mishra’s Workshop into anything” instead of “Wasteland, Stifle, and Daze you out of the game.”

When people first lose to a Delver tempo deck in Legacy, a common reaction is to wonder aloud why they would ever play the format. They may talk about how stupid it is, how little Magic they got to play, and so on. Similarly, in Vintage, the first time you play against a Mishra’s Workshop deck and cannot legally play a single card in your hand despite several of them costing zero, you wonder why anyone would play certain cards.

Mana Drain is punished by Mishra’s Workshops in the same way that four-color control decks are punished by Delver decks in Legacy. It took me a while to get my head around that fact — after all, Workshops don’t even have blue cards! How tempo-oriented could they be?

Well, as it turns out, Workshops are the Daze deck of the format. Or the Stone Rain deck. Or whatever you want to call it — they have thirteen cards (Lodestone Golem, Thorn of Amethyst, Sphere of Resistance, and the restricted Trinisphere) that increase costs for various cards. Nonartifact noncreature spells are affected the hardest, and blue decks lean the hardest on that class of card.

When four-color control decks don’t have to play against Stifle, Wasteland, and Daze in Legacy, though, they tend to do far better. That was my experience with Mana Drain — excellent against combo and blue, complete prey for Workshops.

There are, of course, ways to fight Workshops. There are cards that are more and less versatile, more and less antagonistic to Workshops or whatever else. I have a feeling that Trygon Predator and Nature’s Claim are likely to be two of my favorite non-staple cards in Vintage for exactly this reason.

As for the Grixis deck? It’s a traditional blue control deck with a ton of play. Unlike BUG Fish, this deck is comfortable going long, likely because Jace, the Mind Sculptor is unreal in Vintage. It turns out that Tinker for either Time Vault/Voltaic Key or Blightsteel Colossus is okay, too. And while I have yet to entirely suss out the strengths and weaknesses of, say, Blightsteel Colossus; Tendrils of Agony; Gush versus Dark Confidant versus Snapcaster Mage versus Jace, the Mind Sculptor versus Thirst for Knowledge versus Gifts Ungiven versus Fact or Fiction versus Preordain; Time Vault and Voltaic Key; Oath of Druids; Tezzeret, the Seeker,and various other utility cards like Trygon Predator and Dack Fayden and variations within countermagic suites, I am far more optimistic about the nature of Vintage than I was while playing UW Angels. I think that decks tend to have too little mana, but that that’s a fixable problem. I think that drawing cards is awesome, and Vintage offers no shortage of ways to peel to your heart’s delight.

This format is awesome. I’m having fun exploring it. I hope you’re having fun riding shotgun.