The recent restriction of Treasure Cruise in Vintage meant that we were going to rewind a few months to the pre-Khans of Tarkir and pre-Cruise era. But this time we get additional information. We know that aggro-control strategies are hitting hard (being it Wasteland decks, or Delver ones), preying on Blue decks that have thus far been ill-equipped to handle the onslaught of powerful and efficient creatures. Workshops are also preying on this, as Chalice of the Void is more potent than ever, and Wasteland can be crushing against low mana ratio decks. Oath of Druids being a natural predator to both of these strategies has vaulted it to the forefront as well. And last but not least, we have the unrestriction of the previously format-defining Gifts Ungiven.
Some people have argued that removing Gifts Ungiven from the Restricted List would be fine, because it would not be able to compete in the modern metagame. However, since the moment the last Banned & Restricted List changes were announced, I knew for sure I was going to try to play with a 4 Gifts list again.
Several strategies can be approached when trying to build the next broken Gifts deck: Burning Gifts, Almost [Blue] Gifts, Grixis Gifts, UW Gifts, and on and on. The Banned & Restricted List change has ignited not only my inner deck-building spark, but also that of many Control Combo lovers.
My first attempt has been to update the list I played in the 2014 LCV Finals, the Top 32 invitation-only tourney of the oldest and arguably the most prestigious Vintage league in the world (the LCV, in Spain). I ended up winning that event, so thought it would be a reasonable starting point.
In modifying my LCV-winning list that leveraged the power of Gush, I opted to increase the number of lands and mana sources, instead of playing Preordains, in order to be able to support the 4 Gifts package (due to the card being so mana hungry). I also removed Jace, and added Mana Crypt, while updating the sideboard for the shifting metagame. After some testing I was ready to take the deck to the January edition of the LCV 2015.
With 37 players in attendance, I finished 11th with a 4-2 record, beating Oath, Esper Blade, Mono Blue Charbelcher, and Junk (WBG Hate Bears). My losses were to Merfolk and URW Gush Delver. Here is the list I took to battle:
Gifts Talrand Gush, by Guillem Ragull
The decklist is powerful, but still needs some fine tuning, especially as we see how our “new” metagame is established, with the restriction of Treasure Cruise, the introduction of Monastery Mentor, and the re-introduction of Gifts Ungiven.
A new Vintage is yet to come, so stay tuned!
Guillem Ragull (PeAcH)