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Author Topic: Introduction to Noble Fish  (Read 12091 times)
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« on: May 30, 2010, 09:04:53 pm »

For much of 2009, Fish decks were adrift.  While BUG Fish put up results on occasion, it was severely out-classed on card quality in-color against decks like Tezzeret and Oath of Druids.  BUG Fish didn’t have enough points of resistance against Time Vault and Oath.  In order to succeed, Fish decks needed to regroup and rebuild.

Enter Noble Fish, a “Bant” Fish deck that leverages synergy among recent printings to provide overlapping resistance points against the other top-tier decks.  While the deck can be built in a number of ways, it almost always includes:

Noble Hierarch
Qasali Pridemage
Meddling Mage
Force of Will
Null Rod

These cards are usually supported by a selection of disruptive spells, such as:

Spell Pierce
Swords to Plowshares

The three-drops often depend on the expected metagame, and tend to include:

Trygon Predator
Cold-Eyed Selkie
Thada Adel, Acquisitor
Vendilion Clique
Aven Mindcensor

The deck tends to be rounded out by some number of singletons and/or restricted cards:

Time Walk
Ancestral Recall
Mystical Tutor
Hurkyl’s Recall

Noble Fish is the best-performing Fish archetype in modern Vintage.  Unlike most Vintage decks, which are centered on cards from years past, the keys to Noble Fish’s success are a number of recent printings:

Qasali Pridemage – One of the main reasons to play Noble Fish is access to Qasali Pridemage, which helps the deck combat key cards in the most popular Vintage decks.  Most importantly, once on-board it lets you destroy Time Vault and Oath of Druids, along with key lock pieces in Workshop decks.

Noble Hierarch – Noble Hierarch is a mana accelerator that helps power up attackers, such as…

Cold-Eyed Selkie – While Selkie has come in and out of favor, it combines with the Exalted ability of Hierarch and Pridemage to create an unblockable draw engine on legs.

Thada Adel, Acquisitor – When Time Vault decks are popular, Thada will often see play.  Thada can let the Noble Fish player go infinite using an opponent’s Time Vault / Voltaic Key, as well as stealing Tinker targets or stealing an opponent’s Black Lotus.

Spell Pierce – Pierce is a powerful addition to a tempo deck like Noble Fish, allowing the deck to survive long enough to establish a board presence.

The mission of the Noble Fish player is simple:  disrupt the opponent long enough to establish a board presence.  Using Force of Will, Stifle, Spell Pierce, and Daze, Noble Fish can survive the early turns and start resolving creatures.  Noble Fish uses a variety of mana disruption effects, such as Wasteland and Null Rod, to score easy game wins, along with targeted card choices for specific decks.

Against Oath of Druids, Noble Fish can preemptively play Pridemage and Meddling Mage to disrupt Oath itself, or Swords to Plowshares to combat Tinker targets.  Once Trygon Predator hits the board, it can sweep away any additional Oaths and lock up the game.  

Against Tezzeret, Noble Fish can combat Time Vault using Pridemage and Null Rod.  Swords to Plowshares can trump Dark Confidant and Tinker, while a creature offense can bypass Tezz decks banking on Mystic Remora as a drew engine.  Wasteland, Trygon, Mindcensor, Stifle, and Null Rod attack Tezz’s mana base.

Against Stax and MUD, Trygon Predator is Noble Fish’s best weapon; the deck can also mount a quick offense using Tarmogoyf while countering key artifacts like Smokestack, Tangle Wire, or opposing creatures, or sweeping them away with Qasali Pridemage.

Against TPS, Noble Fish can use Stifle and creatures like True Believer, Meddling Mage, and Ethersworn Canonist, and spells like Stifle and Mindbreak Trap.

Noble Fish has come on strong in the US at large over the past six months, and has mostly replaced other creature strategies like R/G, G/W, and Meandeck Beats.  With Oath, Tezz, and MUD making up a large portion of the current metagame, there’s no reason to expect anything but continued success from this deck.

Example Decks:

Tournament Reports:


« Last Edit: May 30, 2010, 11:10:50 pm by voltron00x » Logged

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