Serious Vintage Podcast Episode 10: Rockin’ White in Vintage

SeriousVintageEpisode10

In Episode 10 of our #SeriousVintage Magic the Gathering podcast we welcome Josh Chapple (@joshchapple on Twitter) back from his Internet-free hiatus, when he convinced Wizards of the Coast to sponsor a new You Make the Card event. Then he, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser), and I (@GrandpaBelcher) discuss the prospects of playing white in Vintage. Finally, we get right back to the gin.

Play

Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment.
00:28 – Other People Actually Make the Card
07:03 – Blue and White: Best Friends 4eva?
28:06 – A Tangent on Love of Basic Lands
34:51 – Drinking More Gin and Eating Trattoria Roma
44:24 – Outro

Total runtime: 47:30

You Make the Card 4

You Make the Card events have been fun, community-oriented opportunities for Magic the Gathering players at large to have an influence in the design of a card. From a Vintage perspective, the three previous cards—Forgotten Ancient, Crucible of Worlds, and Vanish into Memory in 2002, 2003, and 2005, respectively—were a mixed bag for Vintage. Crucible of Worlds has found a longtime home in Stax and MUD decks at the intersection of Workshop playability and Wasteland recursion. Forgotten Ancient and Vanish into Memory have largely lived up to their names and are unplayable.

When we recorded this episode, the initial card type had not yet been chosen, so things were wide open. Now, knowing that the voters have chosen to make an enchantment, most of what we said still stands.

The Vintage community is very small and specialized compared to those of other formats. For a card to make a splash in Vintage it will need to be powerful enough to compete with the printings of 20 previous years and have a unique and useful ability. Of course there are also questions of cost effectiveness and how easily (and worthwhile) it would be to cheat into play. I’m sure Oath of Druids would be less popular if it cost four, unless it was black, maybe, and could be accelerated out by Dark Ritual and friends. That sort of thing.

So we’re looking for something cheap or something worth putting into play with Academy Rector or Show and Tell. If it somehow gets the Leyline ability, that should work too. There’s plenty of opportunity for a game changer or new archetype to come out of this; however, because the number of people voting for Vintage interests is so small and because Wizards will undoubtedly rein in the power level somewhat, I think we’re more likely to see something playable in Commander and Type 4. Prove me wrong!

Playing White in Vintage

White has become an attractive option in Vintage, especially as a support color, since it recently has some very powerful Vintage-level hosers. Rest in Peace and Stony Silence have recently (within the past two years) joined cards like Swords to Plowshares, Serenity, and Disenchant as powerful answers to Dredge, Time Vault, Tinker and Tarmogoyf, Workshops, and Oath. Other white playables include Balance, Aven Mindcensor, Auriok Salvagers, Enlightened Tutor, Thalia, Leonin Relic Warder, and True Believer. And, white also has a respectable finisher in Stoneforge Mystic and her buddy Batterskull.

So there are lots of ways to use white, but we’re going to look mostly at some blue-white lists for now. Add or subtract colors as you enjoy them.

Bomberman is probably the best known UWx list. Usually it plays as a control or aggro-control list, using Trinket Mages to find critical lock pieces and attack, backed up by counterspells. However, it can also go straight into combo mode and recur Black Lotus with Auriok Salvagers to make infinite mana, clear the board with Engineered Explosives, draw the deck with Aether Spellbomb, and establish a dominant position from there, usually just Time Walking and attacking for the win.

David Beall recently made top four of an Ohio Vintage tournament with this list, adding Mystic Remoras to Bomberman to stay ahead of combo decks:

Mystic Bomberman, by David Beall

[Business] (36)
Time Walk
Ancestral Recall
Grafdigger’s Cage
Engineered Explosives
Aether Spellbomb
Sensei’s Divining Top
Aven Mindcensor
Auriok Salvagers
Trinket Mage
Thirst for Knowledge
Mystic Remora
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Spell Snare
Flusterstorm
Mental Misstep
Mana Drain
Force of Will

[Mana Sources] (24)
Black Lotus
Mana Crypt
Mox Opal
Mox Ruby
Mox Sapphire
Mox Jet
Mox Emerald
Sol Ring
Tolarian Academy
Cavern of Souls
Polluted Delta
Flooded Strand
Tundra
Plains
Island
[Sideboard] (15)
Swords to Plowshares
Pithing Needle
Tormod’s Crypt
Flusterstorm
Grafdigger’s Cage
Disenchant
Steel Sabotage
Terminus

Sam Krohlow (@sillysam71) recently made top eight of an Ohio Vintage tournament with this list:

UW Landstill, by Sam Krohlow

[Business] (35)
Force of Will
Mindbreak Trap
Mental Misstep
Misdirection
Mana Drain
Steel Sabotage
Standstill
Ancestral Recall
Time Walk
Swords to Plowshares
Crucible of Worlds
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Stony Silence
Snapcaster Mage
Balance

[Mana Sources] (25)
Black Lotus
Mox Sapphire
Mox Pearl
Lotus Petal
Mishra’s Factory
Strip Mine
Wasteland
Library of Alexandria
Flooded Strand
Misty Rainforest
Tundra
Island
[Sideboard] (15)
Spell Pierce
Vendilion Clique
Plains
Rest in Peace
Kataki, War’s Wage
Engineered Explosives
Supreme Verdict

For players coming out of Legacy and Standard, a Stoneblade deck might be a familiar sight. Being able to control the board with Stoneforge Mystic, counterspells, and removal is a powerful option, and having access to a Vintage manabase of Moxes makes it easy to play your backbreaking Kor artificer on turn one.

Eric Butler (@ButlersTweets) took fifth at that same Ohio tournament with the following Stoneblade list. You’ll see he also played main deck Rest in Peace and Helm of Obedience, Time Vault and Voltaic Key, and an Enlightened Tutor to find any of his missing pieces (or potentially devastate a Dredge player game one).

Vintage Stoneblade, Eric Butler

[Business] (37)
Time Vault
Voltaic Key
Helm of Obedience
Rest in Peace
Tezzeret, the Seeker
Enlightened Tutor
Time Walk
Ancestral Recall
Brainstorm
Merchant Scroll
Steel Sabotage
Echoing Truth
Spell Snare
Mindbreak Trap
Mental Misstep
Force of Will
Mana Drain
Snapcaster Mage
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Stoneforge Mystic
Batterskull
Swords to Plowshares

[Mana Sources] (23)
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Flooded Strand
Plains
Island
Tundra
Tolarian Academy
Sol Ring
Mana Crypt
Black Lotus
Mox Pearl
Mox Emerald
Mox Ruby
Mox Sapphire
Mox Jet
[Sideboard] (15)
Rest in Peace
Ravenous Trap
Swords to Plowshares
Engineered Explosives
Pithing Needle
Mindbreak Trap
Seal of Cleansing
Serenity
Disenchant

Finally, a deck I’ve been working on with good results known as Vintage Restored. This list tries to maximize Snapcaster Mage and Vendilion Clique by playing Restoration Angels. Even as just a 3/4 flyer with flash, Resto has been a formidable force, blocking Delvers and opposing Cliques, trading with Lodestones, and dodging Lightning Bolts. Getting an extra use out of Snapcaster to recur Ancestral Recall or Time Walk is just gross. The deck can hold most of its cards until end of turn to maintain control at instant speed.

I was too ill to play at the aforementioned Ohio tournament, but you can be sure I would have done well with this list:

Vintage Restoration, by Nat Moes

[Business] (38)
Snapcaster Mage
Restoration Angel
Vendilion Clique
Blightsteel Colossus
Force of Will
Mana Drain
Swords to Plowshares
Mental Misstep
Spell Pierce
Mindbreak Trap
Steel Sabotage
Echoing Truth
Tinker
Preordain
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Brainstorm
Ancestral Recall
Time Walk
Mystical Tutor
Merchant Scroll

[Mana Sources] (22)
Tundra
Flooded Strand
Island
Plains
Library of Alexandria
Black Lotus
Sol Ring
Mana Crypt
Mox Emerald
Mox Jet
Mox Pearl
Mox Sapphire
Mox Ruby
Polluted Delta
[Sideboard] (15)
Energy Flux
Ravenous Trap
Rest in Peace
Surgical Extraction
Steel Sabotage
Disenchant
Annul
Swords to Plowshares
Mindbreak Trap

We also talked a little about being able to run a bunch of basic lands in these UW lists. You can see most of them have plenty (at least three), which can be critically important when facing down Wastelands from Workshops or Fish.

Gin and Trattoria Roma

Since Josh returned, we once again have a gin aficionado on the crew, and he highly recommends Ransom Old Tom Gin. Rather than a clear, pine-scented gin like Tanqueray, Old Tom is golden-colored and has a malted flavor alongside the usual gin botanicals. It sounds like an intriguing change, and the historical recreation angle is something you can use to impress people. (Or just bask in your own superiority as you fall asleep alone.)

Trattoria Roma was some Serious Eating for my wife and me. We went there as part of Dine Originals Week in Columbus, which is a regular event that encourages Columbus residents to try some of the local independent restaurants with discounts or special offers. Trattoria Roma is a classy bistro in the Grandview area, so it would be great for a date, though maybe not for a post-tournament meal. The food was delicious, though, and I talk about it in great detail.

So that’s it for this week. Follow up with us on Twitter or by email (seriousvintagepodcast@gmail.com) if you need more food and drink recommendations or to tell us your favorite basic land or to tell us you’ll never play white ever because it’s the color of weakness. Thanks!