You may notice this experiment was cut a bit short. It’s because Martello Shops as it exists now is completely unplayable in current Vintage. Normally when
I run into a terrible deck I can tell within two rounds and call it a day (ie. the time I tried to record with Living End and instead got to go out to
dinner), but this time was different. Martello Shops was easily the king of the format two months ago, and I definitely saw the potential in playing a deck
that was part Shops, part combo so that you could win games on the draw.
I did try to record more rounds, but that third one was basically the whole story. They either don’t play a single spell or they play Dack Fayden.
This deck cannot beat Dack Fayden.
Martello Shops is based around the principle that if you can’t stop your opponent from playing spells, you should abuse your Black Lotus land (Mishra’s
Workshop) to cast spells that are beyond the power level norms for unrestricted Vintage cards. For example, Steel Hellkite beats all of the other creatures
in the format and partially Armageddons people if it connects.
In a format with Dack Fayden, these cards are a liability.
You cannot beat your own Steel Hellkite. You can barely beat your own Lodestone Golem. Honestly, in the time it takes you to do this they can probably
reload Dack and take whatever you are fighting back with.
He isn’t the greatest thief in the Multiverse for nothing.
A large number of Stax permanents are actually miserable to steal. Dack does nothing to beat Spheres or Chalices, and stealing a Tangle Wire or Smokestack
is only a marginal loss. The more lock-oriented Stax lists are also better at cutting people off of the three or more mana required to resolve a Dack
Fayden. Mishra’s Factory also gives you the ability to manage Dack Fayden before extending a threat. If I was going to play a Stax list, Espresso Stax
would be where I start. Just don’t let them ever steal a Crucible of Worlds. Of course, that means you lose a lot of ground on the draw, but you may just
have to accept that Stax is just a 60/40 kind of deck.
There’s also the option of finding a home for Phyrexian Revoker, which preempts Dack while also being able to lock down Moxen. Of course, the best home
might just not be a Stax deck, at which point who cares about Dack?
Stax has been a big part of Vintage for quite a while, and while Dack definitely puts a damper on its status as the deck to beat, I don’t expect it to roll
over and die.
- 4 Metalworker
- 4 Lodestone Golem
- 2 Wurmcoil Engine
- 2 Steel Hellkite
- 4 Kuldotha Forgemaster
- 1 Blightsteel Colossus