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Author Topic: The Dark Times Primer  (Read 101094 times)
2nd_lawl
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« on: August 06, 2010, 12:30:03 am »

I.  What Is Dark Times?

Dark Times is a black based deck centered around disrupting the opponent and winning with the Vampire Hexmage/Dark Depths combo.  It has a number of advantages that make it resilient to other disruptive strategies, while remaining fast and disruptive enough to do well against traditional Storm Combo and Mana Drain control strategies.  The deck features a tutor package that allows it to find combo pieces, disrupt the opponent's strategy, and find answers for a number of key threats in the format.  The purpose of this thread is twofold: firstly I want to provide an updated list and complete sideboard guide, secondly I want to provide a central location for discussion of the deck and variants/derivatives (as opposed to the current situation, where discussion of the deck can be found in 3 different threads on 3 different boards.)

Here is the list I would play, tuned for the NY/Philly metagame (as of August 2010):

4 Dark Ritual
4 Dark Confidant
4 Leyline of the Void
4 Vampire Hexmage
4 Duress
4 Thoughtseize
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Imperial Seal
1 Demonic Consultation
1 Null Rod
1 Pithing Needle
1 Helm of Obedience
1 Yawgmoth’s Will
1 Crucible of Worlds
3 Diabolic Edict
1 Mox Jet
1 Black Lotus
1 Lotus Petal
1 Necropotence
4 Wasteland
1 Strip Mine
2 Dark Depths
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
11 Swamp

SB:
2 Bitterblossom
2 Emissary of Despair
1 Trinisphere
1 Darkblast
1 Pithing Needle
2 Yixlid Jailer
1 Phyrexian Tower
3 Null Rod
1 Engineered Plague
1 Sadistic Sacrament

II. Why should I play Dark Times?


Resiliency: The large number of basic lands and very few mana artifacts make the deck very resilient to mana denial strategies while still being able to proactively attack opponent's mana.

Mana Denial: Combined with hand disruption, the Dark Times pilot will be able to know exactly when the opponent is vulnerable to mana denial.  Wasteland'ing your opponents out of the games leads to a large number of "free" wins for the deck, and you are able to punish mulligans very effectively.

Speed: The deck is capable of turn 1 wins, turn 1 20/20's  turn 2 20/20's etc. One of the key attractions of Dark Times is that you get to play strong disruption like null rod, and still have great potential to "draw broken"

Tutoring: The tutor-centric nature of the deck allows you to find the right answers for the key threats in the format.  Null Rod, Diabolic Edict, and Hexmage/Needle are the best answers for the most common threats your opponents will be deploying: Vault/Key, Tinker, and planeswalkers.  On offense, these tutors quickly leverage your advantage into a game win by assembling combos, or protecting a threat that is already deployed.

III. Sample Hands:

Here are 10 sample hands with an explanation of why they are keep's/mulligans and how I would recommend playing them.  Hopefully this will provide a taste of how the deck functions and what you should look for.

1) Swamp, Swamp, Black Lotus, Leyline of the Void, Strip Mine, Wasteland, Vampiric Tutor.

Okay this one is a little strange, and really illustrates the importance of scouting. If they don't disrupt you this hand kills on turn 2, but is vulnerable to Spell Pierce and Force of Will.  It is also good vs Shops, as it beats t1 Lodestone. I think this is a snap keep vs Shops, Dredge and Storm (since it is also immune to Duress), but it is much much riskier vs a deck like Tezz, Oath or Fish.

2) Swamp, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Vampire Hexmage, Helm of Obedience, Demonic Consultation, Yawgmoth's Will.

This hand is pretty sweet, and there are a lot of ways you can play it. If you are sure they don't have Force you can go Swamp, Rit, Rit, consult for Thoughtseize, Will, Rit, Rit Thoughtseize, Consult for Depths, Hexmage.  If you think they might have Force you can lead with Swamp, Rit, Hexmage. If it resolves, Consult for Depths, if it doesn't then Consult for Swamp and do it again next turn with Will. Note that against Dredge this hand should play like this: Rit, Rit, Consult for Leyline, Leyline.

3)Swamp, Swamp, Wasteland, Dark Ritual, Black lotus, Vampire Hexmage, Dark Confidant.

T1 Bob + Hexmage is going to be good against most decks, especially with the Wasteland.  This hand is an auto mull vs. Dredge.

4)Swamp, Swamp, Urborg, Duress, Demonic Tutor, Leyline of the Void, Diabolic Edict.

T1 Duress, and then Tutor T2 based on what you see/draw.  This hand is middling, but will still get you there most of the time. Excellent vs Dredge obviously.

5) Swamp, Swamp, Mox Jet, Wasteland, Necropotence, Demonic Consultation, Pithing Needle.

Another keeper ( I swear these are all random.)  T1 Necro is good. You could even potentially keep this vs Dredge on the play only (T1 Needle on Bazaar, Consult for Hexmage, T2 Necro, draw a bunch of cards, T3 win hopefully.)

6) Swamp, Swamp, Swamp, Dark Depths, Null Rod, Mox Jet, Pithing Needle

Mull into:

Swamp, Dark Ritual, Vampire Hexmage, Dark Confidant, Duress, Demonic Tutor.

Snap Keep - if you could start every game on T1 Ritual, Duress effect, Bob you would.  Mull vs Dredge.  Obviously.

7)Leyline of the Void, Swamp, Mox Jet, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual,Dark Confidant, Dark Confidant

T1 double Bob is a snap keep, although this hand is scary vs. Oath, especially on the draw.

8) Urborg, Dark Depths, Vampire Hexmage, Vampire Hexmage, Imperial Seal, Thoughtseize, Duress.

T1 Thoughtseize, T2 20/20 usually gets there, and the tutor and backup Hexmage make the hand really resilient.  This is a top 10% hand.

9) Thoughtseize, Duress, Pithing Needle, Yawgmoth's Will, Vampire Hexmage, Leyline of the Void, Vampiric tutor

Mull into (although I would keep this against Dredge game 1 only):

Swamp, Black lotus, Thoughtseize, Thoughtseize, Vampire Hexmage, Diabolic Edict.

Kind of yucky, but it will be fine against a decent number of opposing hands and it beats going to 5.

10)Swamp, Swamp, Swamp, Dark Ritual, Vampire Hexmage, Wasteland, Helm of Obedience.

Mull into:

Mox Jet, Demonic Tutor, Vampire Hexmage, Demonic Consultation, Dark Ritual, Thoughtseize.

An incredible 6: Jet, Ritual, Thoughtseize, Demonic Tutor for Black Lotus, Lotus, Consult for Depths, Hexmage, Depths.  Keep vs. anything, including Dredge on the play.

IV.  Matchups and Sideboarding:

Dredge: An excellent matchup - you shouldn't really lose this one, the key is to understand that you don't keep ANY HAND G1 unless it has either Leyline of the Void, Turn 1 20/20(ON THE PLAY ONLY) or turn 1 Needle, turn 2 20/20 (on the play only.)  If they mull to 5 or less then turn 1 Needle hands without a 20/20 on the play are keepable also.  Consider game 1 a free roll - if you never find a keepable hand, just scoop and don't show them any cards.  You are in no worse shape than any other deck in the format going into G2.

SB:

-1 Crucible
-1 Null Rod
-4 Thoughtseize
+2 Jailer
+1 Needle
+1 Darkblast
+1 Trinisphere
+1 Phyrexian Tower or Engineered Plague

Tezz:

Except for games where one of you draws broken this matchup really revolves around Bob.  Whoever has one in play for more than 1 turn usually wins.  Look for spots to mana screw them with Waste + Null Rod or take all their relevant cards with Duress effects. Don't forget that Hexmage kills Jace and wait for their endstep to make your 20/20.

SB:
-5 Leyline/Helm
+3 null rod
+1 Needle
+1 Sad Sac or Darkblast (if they are Bob Tezz)

Oath:

This is my favorite matchup because the games tend to be intense with a lot of back and fourth. Your combo naturally trumps Oath, but they have Jaces and Vault/Key. Remember that you can sacrifice Hexmage at any time to stop them from Oathing, and post board you have some precision tools for turning off oath that they wont have good answers for.  Just like in the Tezz matchup look for spots to mana screw them and don't be afraid to Needle Jace blindly.  Bob is bad on the draw (where you don't get a crack at their hand first) so the plan on the play and the draw is different.

SB:

On the Draw:
-4 Bob
+1 Plague
+1 Tower
+1 Sad Sac
+1 Needle

On the Play:
-5 leyline/helm
+1 plague
+1 tower
+1 sad sac
+1 needle
+1 null rod

Workshops:

By far the toughest matchup and the one that feels the most random.  You are favored on the play, but they are favored by a larger margin on the play, so the matchup ends up being something like 55% favorite if you win the roll, but 30% dog if you lose it, which makes for a kind of frustrating experience.  The good news is that you have the sideboard tools to make a difference in the matchup.  The key here is to keep land heavy hands, pick your spots, and know all the tricks with Hexmage (killing Tangle Wires, resetting Smokestack, etc.)  You have just as many Waste effects as them, so don't be afraid to try and lock them under their own Spheres.  You have tons of basics and Crucible.

SB:

Shop Aggro:
+2 Emissary
+2 Bitterblossom
+1 Tower
-5 Leyline/Helm

Shops with Welder/Bazaar:
+2 Emissary
+2 Bitterblossom
+1 Tower
-1 Null Rod
-2 Duress
-1 Necro
-1 Yawgmoth's Will
You can leave in 1 Duress instead of Tower on the play.

Fish:

This matchup seems fine.  Just remember to make the 20/20 on your turn, to play around Wasteland unless you have a Wasteland of your own. If there is a lot of Fish in your meta, consider adding Perish (or Natures Ruin) to the SB.

SB:
-1 Null Rod
-1 Needle
+1 Darkblast
+1 Bitterblossom

Storm:

This matchup can feel tough, it can feel easy, and everything in between.  In general the more controlling they are, the more you want to keep in Leyline, since they are more reliant on Will to win.  This is by far the matchup that takes the most practice, as choosing the wrong card with Duress generally leads to a loss.  If they really are creature-less you can side out the Edicts, if they just have Bobs and no Tinker, you can side out 2 Edicts for a Darkblast and something else.  I'm not going to give a SB guide here because it really depends heavily on their build, but you want Trinisphere, Sad Sac and some number of Null Rods for sure.

V.  Other Cards to Consider:

This is a short list of other colors, cards and ideas to consider.  Some of them have been in the deck previously, some are untested.  I firmly believe that Vintage is a format with so many cards that whatever kind of problem you are having there is a card out there that can address it.  This philosophy has led me to Emissary of Despair, Phyrexian Tower, Bitterblossom, etc.  This list isn't comprehensive, and I am willing to hear suggestions that are not Hymn to Tourach (which is the one card that I strongly feel is bad and does not belong in the deck.)

Cabal Therapy
Karakas
Gate to Phyrexia
Bitter Ordeal
Chalice of the Void
Inquisition of Kozilek
Sadistic Sacraments (additional)
Massacre
Grim Tutor
Gatekeeper of Malikir
Chains of Mephistopheles
Green splash for Natures Claim and Tarmogoyf
Blue splash for Ancestral Recall, Time Walk and Hurkyl's Recall


VI.  Feedback:

I have had a lot of success with this deck since I designed and started playing with it towards the end of last year.  A bunch of different top 8's, a win in a 64 person Blue Bell Tournament, and something like a 65-70% MW% overall. It can easily be built for less than 100 dollars in a 15 proxy environment, and I encourage anyone who is interested to try it.  I'm happy to answer any questions about the deck, explain card choices etc.  
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 10:12:04 am by 2nd_lawl » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2010, 09:16:34 am »

I recently played dark times and I was very happy with it. However, my build was 4 cards different from yours. A couple things:

1. Yawgmoth's Will: I don't see why this card gets an inclusion. YawgWin seems like an auto include in any deck running black, but honestly, what are you playing out of the GY? The game is not in your favor if you are deep enough in the game for YawgWill to be a good play.   

2.As far as edicts, I only ran one maindeck, and I thought that was enough. Running 3 weakens your match up vs the control decks very much since it will be a worthless card against Tezz and any version of tendrils.
3. Pithing Needle: I had these in my SB (2) and I felt that was the right play. I believe its too situational and not worth an inclusion unless you know it is going to be worth it, and I don't consider naming a fetchland to be worth it, that's pretty much a stab in the dark.

With these 4 different cards, I had 3 more null rods and an extra dark depths. Running 4 nulls is something I believe in, but could be a meta game call. As far as 3 dark depths, I loved having 3, I seemed to always draw it with consistency, but it never was a dead draw.

Lastly, I believe Chains of Mephistopheles is definitely a card to consider in the SB. Dark times is a great deck and I encourage anyone to try it out if you're looking for a competitive vintage deck.   
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2010, 09:45:56 am »

The list looks solid, BUT two things I'm seeing. 

1) Urborg is in many cases a "gimme" that prevents you from shutting your opponent out of black with Wasteland.  That'll be relevant against Tez/Oath/Combo.  Could you quickly defend its inclusion?

2) No fetches?  Thinning is good.  With so many basics in your mana base, you don't have to worry much about Magus of the Moon and Pithing Needle can be addressed by just running 1 of each black fetch.  I see relatively little downside other than life loss to finding more spells and fewer lands in the late game.  Is the life loss that critical?  Uncracked fetches additionally bluff colors you don't run.  A Bloodstained Mire could well be used to cast Nature's Claim/Stifle/Tarmobutt.
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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2010, 09:59:02 am »

Quote
2) No fetches?  Thinning is good.  With so many basics in your mana base, you don't have to worry much about Magus of the Moon and Pithing Needle can be addressed by just running 1 of each black fetch.  I see relatively little downside other than life loss to finding more spells and fewer lands in the late game.  Is the life loss that critical?  Uncracked fetches additionally bluff colors you don't run.  A Bloodstained Mire could well be used to cast Nature's Claim/Stifle/Tarmobutt.
Deck thinning is an incredibly marginal effect that is almost never worth it in decks that have no form on card manipulation.  The only slight benefit would be Crucible + Fetch because fetching every turn would add up but just fetching 1-2 times will make very little difference.

Quote
1. Yawgmoth's Will: I don't see why this card gets an inclusion. YawgWin seems like an auto include in any deck running black, but honestly, what are you playing out of the GY? The game is not in your favor if you are deep enough in the game for YawgWill to be a good play.
I've watched Max play this deck quite a bit and Will gets you out of a lot of dicey situations, also its not like he's just playing a straight up Fish deck the Dark Rituals means he will usually get pretty good value out of Yawg Will.  The card is an excellent tutor target for the decks 3 safe tutors.

Quote
2.As far as edicts, I only ran one maindeck, and I thought that was enough. Running 3 weakens your match up vs the control decks very much since it will be a worthless card against Tezz and any version of tendrils.
Edict is fine against Tez because most lists are still running Dark Confidant as they want to have game against Shop decks.  It can also potentially kill a Trygon Predator in some builds that would stop you from killing them with your 20/20.  Also you say it is dead vs. any version of Tendrils, many Tendrils builds are running Dark Confidant right now so while Edict effects are much worse than Duress' in that matchup it won't be dead when they are playing Confidant.  Bob Tendrils and GWSx both play Confidant and are combo lists.
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2010, 10:09:33 am »

I recently played dark times and I was very happy with it. However, my build was 4 cards different from yours. A couple things:

1. Yawgmoth's Will: I don't see why this card gets an inclusion. YawgWin seems like an auto include in any deck running black, but honestly, what are you playing out of the GY? The game is not in your favor if you are deep enough in the game for YawgWill to be a good play.   

Will is one of the best cards in the deck, and I tutor for it in nearly every midgame situation since it allows you to replay all your disruption, replay the tutor and then win the next turn. it is especially good in the Tez and Oath matchups which can be a real grind.  You need to be prepared to play the long game, especially against oath post board. Will is going to be the card that wins you alot of games by itself, and I wouldn't dream of sleeving up without one.
2.As far as edicts, I only ran one maindeck, and I thought that was enough. Running 3 weakens your match up vs the control decks very much since it will be a worthless card against Tezz and any version of tendrils.
edict is excellent versus tez, since you want to kill their bobs ASAP, and need an answer to tinker. You could move 1 to the sideboard if you think your local meta has almost no creatures, but in my experience, the best tez decks are now running trygon main in addition to bob, its obviously good vs oath, and needed in the shop and fish matchups.  It is also fine against dredge postboard where they will be hardcasting creatures in all likelihood.

3. Pithing Needle: I had these in my SB (2) and I felt that was the right play. I believe its too situational and not worth an inclusion unless you know it is going to be worth it, and I don't consider naming a fetchland to be worth it, that's pretty much a stab in the dark.
Ive certainly won games off the back of swamp, rit duress, take a mox/lotus, needle fetchland, omperal seal for strip mine.  Looking for spots to manascrew them is excellent. Plus it stops Jace, and is an answer to vault/key. I find that the mix of answers to threats (rod, and needle for vault key, needle/hexmage for jace/tez etc) is most effective with the tutor package, it also prevents you from drawing multiple null rods against decks where the card does nothing or close to nothing. Needle also lets you keep more g1 hands vs dredge.  That said needle obviously isn't a critical deck component, I just find it to be a flexible card that does alot of good work.  You could think about replacing necro also if you need the slots.

With these 4 different cards, I had 3 more null rods and an extra dark depths. Running 4 nulls is something I believe in, but could be a meta game call. As far as 3 dark depths, I loved having 3, I seemed to always draw it with consistency, but it never was a dead draw.
It is a metagame call for sure, if your meta is infested with tez and storm then more null rods are going to be good. The problem is that they arent actually that good against storm which is really well equipped to find a bounce spell, and null rod will hardly phase them. The most important thing vs storm is that you use your dresses effectively.  

.
Lastly, I believe Chains of Mephistopheles is definitely a card to consider in the SB. Dark times is a great deck and I encourage anyone to try it out if you're looking for a competitive vintage deck.   
I actually used to play this card, before the TFK restriction. I just forgot about it, oversight on my part, adding it now.
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2010, 10:22:59 am »

The list looks solid, BUT two things I'm seeing. 

1) Urborg is in many cases a "gimme" that prevents you from shutting your opponent out of black with Wasteland.  That'll be relevant against Tez/Oath/Combo.  Could you quickly defend its inclusion?
It is usually easy enough to sandbag urborg when it is relevant.  The situations where it is good far far far outnumber the situations where it is awkward, and even when it is awkward, it wont usually matter. Frankly it is necessary, since it lets you keep many more hands, and enables the "natural" t1 thoughtsieze t2 hexmage/depths.

2) No fetches?  Thinning is good.  With so many basics in your mana base, you don't have to worry much about Magus of the Moon and Pithing Needle can be addressed by just running 1 of each black fetch.  I see relatively little downside other than life loss to finding more spells and fewer lands in the late game.  Is the life loss that critical?  Uncracked fetches additionally bluff colors you don't run.  A Bloodstained Mire could well be used to cast Nature's Claim/Stifle/Tarmobutt.
thinning isn't very good on its own, without a way to manipulate the top cards of its library, fix colors, or otherwise leverage the shuffle effect it isn't worth it.  This is doubly true in a deck that is already doing quite a bit of damage to itself in the form of thoughtsiezes, Vamp, seal, Bobs and necro. I frequently win games at under 5 life.  The other small thing is that I consult for swamp probably 20% of the times is cast it, and playing less just makes those consults worse for little benefit.
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2010, 12:13:42 pm »

I've been playtesting the deck for a couple of months and I really do like it. Our maindeck lists are slightly different in that I'm running:

-1 Necropotence
-1 Diabolic Edict
-1 Crucible of Worlds

+1 Darkblast
+1 Sadistic Sacrament
+1 Grim Discovery

I think I'm running an outdated version of your list that I got off another thread. The deck has been doing very well, but my toughest matchup so far has been Oath. It just seems like there's nothing I can do against it in game 1. And it doesn't seem to matter whether I'm on the play or draw. I still get wins here and there, but I have close to a 20% win percentage in game 1s. Is this usually the case, and does the matchup just become more favorable after boarding? Or is it more likely pilot error (I'm not afraid to admit it)?

I just wanted to get your thoughts about how your game 1 Oath matchups go for you. Any suggestions? Thanks.
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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2010, 12:18:27 pm »

I recently played dark times and I was very happy with it. However, my build was 4 cards different from yours. A couple things:

1. Yawgmoth's Will: I don't see why this card gets an inclusion. YawgWin seems like an auto include in any deck running black, but honestly, what are you playing out of the GY? The game is not in your favor if you are deep enough in the game for YawgWill to be a good play.  

Will is one of the best cards in the deck, and I tutor for it in nearly every midgame situation since it allows you to replay all your disruption, replay the tutor and then win the next turn. it is especially good in the Tez and Oath matchups which can be a real grind.  You need to be prepared to play the long game, especially against oath post board. Will is going to be the card that wins you alot of games by itself, and I wouldn't dream of sleeving up without one.
2.As far as edicts, I only ran one maindeck, and I thought that was enough. Running 3 weakens your match up vs the control decks very much since it will be a worthless card against Tezz and any version of tendrils.
edict is excellent versus tez, since you want to kill their bobs ASAP, and need an answer to tinker. You could move 1 to the sideboard if you think your local meta has almost no creatures, but in my experience, the best tez decks are now running trygon main in addition to bob, its obviously good vs oath, and needed in the shop and fish matchups.  It is also fine against dredge postboard where they will be hardcasting creatures in all likelihood.

3. Pithing Needle: I had these in my SB (2) and I felt that was the right play. I believe its too situational and not worth an inclusion unless you know it is going to be worth it, and I don't consider naming a fetchland to be worth it, that's pretty much a stab in the dark.
Ive certainly won games off the back of swamp, rit duress, take a mox/lotus, needle fetchland, omperal seal for strip mine.  Looking for spots to manascrew them is excellent. Plus it stops Jace, and is an answer to vault/key. I find that the mix of answers to threats (rod, and needle for vault key, needle/hexmage for jace/tez etc) is most effective with the tutor package, it also prevents you from drawing multiple null rods against decks where the card does nothing or close to nothing. Needle also lets you keep more g1 hands vs dredge.  That said needle obviously isn't a critical deck component, I just find it to be a flexible card that does alot of good work.  You could think about replacing necro also if you need the slots.

With these 4 different cards, I had 3 more null rods and an extra dark depths. Running 4 nulls is something I believe in, but could be a meta game call. As far as 3 dark depths, I loved having 3, I seemed to always draw it with consistency, but it never was a dead draw.
It is a metagame call for sure, if your meta is infested with tez and storm then more null rods are going to be good. The problem is that they arent actually that good against storm which is really well equipped to find a bounce spell, and null rod will hardly phase them. The most important thing vs storm is that you use your dresses effectively.  

.
Lastly, I believe Chains of Mephistopheles is definitely a card to consider in the SB. Dark times is a great deck and I encourage anyone to try it out if you're looking for a competitive vintage deck.  
I actually used to play this card, before the TFK restriction. I just forgot about it, oversight on my part, adding it now.

1. I concede to your point on Yawgwill, after further thought I think it is good in this deck.  

2. I still think 3 edicts is a little heavy, and I should've gone into more detail on my thoughts.  I know many decks run Bobs and its good to get rid of them due to the massive card advantage they provide, I just believe that a different card or two in place of said edicts can enhance your match up against these decks more than an edict could.  Also, I purposely did not specify Oath because Edict is obviously good against Oath, even I know that  Wink.  I guess we can compromise in the middle at 2 edicts Razz.

3. I think we both agree Pithing is a fantastic card.  I just prefer it in my SB, no worth debating this since we are essentially in agreement.

Also, I will try and dig up an article on fetching and "thinning".  Someone did a lot of testing and has the numbers to back up the fact that fetching and the idea of using them to "thin" out your deck is more of a myth than an actual fact.

P.S. I wouldn't cut necro, ritual necro on the first turn just provides insane card advantage, it is just so good.

EDITED: to correct spelling
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2010, 11:06:28 am »



I just wanted to get your thoughts about how your game 1 Oath matchups go for you. Any suggestions? Thanks.


Oath G1's should not be nearly that bad. Simply speaking you should be denying them oath with discard and attempting to make a marit lage as quickly as possiblle.  In general 90% of your oath opponents are going to be running Iona, Terrastadpn, Sphinx as their creatures. which means that essentally none of their guys deal with marit lage:
If they oath up terrastadon first: They die.
If they oath up iona, then terrastadon, they chump block for a turn then die.
If they oath up Iona, then sphinx, then terrastadon, they chump block twice, take 20 swing back for less than 20, then die
The worst that can possibly happen is if they oath up sphinx first, then terrastadon then Iona, in which case they could potentally kill you maybe except that in order for them to kill you with terrastadon, they need to make a bunch of creatures, but then they cant oath again, unless you have more blockers.  Basically what im saying is, You shouldn't lose to oath if you assemble the combo, unless they also have jace.
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2010, 04:24:02 pm »

So, it's been a LONG time since I've played Magic.  Years.  2005.  I'm planning a gradual return to Vintage and I'm actually intrigued by this deck moreso than others out there - which is weird because I used to play 4CC, Gifts, and Control-Oath.  I like the aggressive nature of this deck, but because I'm still kind of new - could you explain to me the utility in the Leylines you use?  While I see that it's a safeguard against decks that heavily manipulate their graveyard, I guess I would be extraodinarily annoyed in game 1 if I'm not playing such a deck and can't Will anything good.  And on top of that, getting stung by my own Dark Confidant.  What do you say?  Or is it in there because you feel that game 1 would be an auto-lose against those decks, otherwise?  If so, then do you always play the opening Leyline if you have it in your hand if you don't know what your opponent is playing?  Maybe I'm missing something incredibly basic, in which case I apologize if I am.  Thank you!
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2010, 04:45:58 pm »

It is very hard to beat this deck with Oath or Dredge.

And, you should play Yawg Will.  I cut it initially but Max kicks my butt with it repeatedly. It belongs in the deck.  It is deceptively good, the lines of play with it are just sometimes not as obvious as with other decks.

In fact the only real changes I advocate from the list Max had last January is to play Crucible and of course to update the sideboard over time.

This deck's development and success is actually one of the more interesting stores of Vintage 2010.
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« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2010, 04:46:42 pm »

So, it's been a LONG time since I've played Magic.  Years.  2005.  I'm planning a gradual return to Vintage and I'm actually intrigued by this deck moreso than others out there - which is weird because I used to play 4CC, Gifts, and Control-Oath.  I like the aggressive nature of this deck, but because I'm still kind of new - could you explain to me the utility in the Leylines you use?  While I see that it's a safeguard against decks that heavily manipulate their graveyard, I guess I would be extraodinarily annoyed in game 1 if I'm not playing such a deck and can't Will anything good.  And on top of that, getting stung by my own Dark Confidant.  What do you say?  Or is it in there because you feel that game 1 would be an auto-lose against those decks, otherwise?  If so, then do you always play the opening Leyline if you have it in your hand if you don't know what your opponent is playing?  Maybe I'm missing something incredibly basic, in which case I apologize if I am.  Thank you!

With Leyline of the Void in play, a single activation of Helm of Obedience will exile their entire library. 
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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2010, 05:13:12 pm »

This deck is solid, and the primer here is informative.  Good work Max.

I like the aggressive nature of this deck, but because I'm still kind of new - could you explain to me the utility in the Leylines you use?  While I see that it's a safeguard against decks that heavily manipulate their graveyard, I guess I would be extraodinarily annoyed in game 1 if I'm not playing such a deck and can't Will anything good. 

It seems to me that you believe a Leyline in play will shut off your own Will, but I just want to clarify that a Leyline in play will only affect your opponent's graveyard.
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2010, 05:57:29 pm »

alrightie-then.

1)  My bad for not reading the card.  Leyline clearly won't hurt my YWill.  That's what I get for not reading the new cards (it's new to me ...).
2)  So then it seems that the Leyline/Helm combo is like Plan B - if you see an out, then go for it?  In my absence, was there already a slew of decks that attempted to abuse the crap out of the Leyline/Helm combo, but failed?  Is it because Helm is too obvious to fight, via counterspells and targeted removal?  Is it because we don't like running 4 serum powders?
3)  Back to this deck - how do you deal with Jace - assuming that the tricky blue mage managed to get him out through your Duresses and Thoughtseizes.  Pithing needle is good and all, but they soon fall victim to Trygon Predators.  Of course, maybe you don't have these problems because you're using your Duresses and Thoughtseizes effectively, and I'm not. 
4)  Separately, if you could Thoughtseize an early Dark Confidant vs. a Trygon, which do you choose?  On one hand, Dark Confidant might help them squirm out from underneath your disruption (or tutor/topdeck something nasty), but a Trygon will similarly wreak havoc if you were relying on that Null Rod.  Perhaps just pray for an Edict? 

Sorry for the newbie questions ... I apparently have a lot of playtesting ahead of me.
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« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2010, 07:54:59 pm »

alrightie-then.

1)  My bad for not reading the card.  Leyline clearly won't hurt my YWill.  That's what I get for not reading the new cards (it's new to me ...).
2)  So then it seems that the Leyline/Helm combo is like Plan B - if you see an out, then go for it?  In my absence, was there already a slew of decks that attempted to abuse the crap out of the Leyline/Helm combo, but failed?  Is it because Helm is too obvious to fight, via counterspells and targeted removal?  Is it because we don't like running 4 serum powders?

Serum Powder Is pretty bad in a deck with so many critical 1-ofs.  Its good in decks that want to use mulligans to assemble a combo or find a specific card, this isnt that deck. this deck wants to disrupt long enough to combo-kill quickly OR lock the opponent out of the game (with null rod + crucible/strip)

3)  Back to this deck - how do you deal with Jace - assuming that the tricky blue mage managed to get him out through your Duresses and Thoughtseizes.  Pithing needle is good and all, but they soon fall victim to Trygon Predators.  Of course, maybe you don't have these problems because you're using your Duresses and Thoughtseizes effectively, and I'm not. 

Vampire Hexmage Kills jace, this is one of the key reasons this deck is well positioned.


4)  Separately, if you could Thoughtseize an early Dark Confidant vs. a Trygon, which do you choose?  On one hand, Dark Confidant might help them squirm out from underneath your disruption (or tutor/topdeck something nasty), but a Trygon will similarly wreak havoc if you were relying on that Null Rod.  Perhaps just pray for an Edict? 

Sorry for the newbie questions ... I apparently have a lot of playtesting ahead of me.

You almost always want to take the confidant. In general the Tez match is won by the player who can keep bob on the board.  You have targeted answers to everything their deck is capable of, so as long as you stay ahead on cards you should win. Trygon isn't really good against this deck, as it frequently has no targets, plus color screwing tez on green is possible with some hands.  It does chump block marit lage for a turn though, which is a consideration if you have a hand that is making a 20/20 very fast, but the turn it buys is usually the same as the extra card from bob anyway.
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« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2010, 07:58:28 pm »

Chains also gets stronger in the Jace metagame, I would think.   
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« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2010, 08:38:50 pm »

hand # 2 is fucking insane, and you're playingg it wrong


You turn 1 Swamp, go, then consult for thoughtseize/duress, turn 2 go rit, thoughtseize, rit, will, rit, rit, consult, hexmage
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« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2010, 09:12:38 pm »

hand # 2 is fucking insane, and you're playingg it wrong


You turn 1 Swamp, go, then consult for thoughtseize/duress, turn 2 go rit, thoughtseize, rit, will, rit, rit, consult, hexmage

I think they clearly force your ritual if you do that.
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« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2010, 09:13:21 pm »

Max,

Wonderful Primer! Thanks man. If only others on this site could write with the same constructive goals and open-mindedness as you I might actually recommend TMD to more of my Vintage playing friends as a tool for deck building. Bravo dude!

Now, just a couple thoughts.

1st -- How do you ever know if your opponent is on Dredge game 1 unless you scouted it? If you are truly blind to them playing dredge are you going to know what to keep? Was your comment about the 3 types of hands to keep restricted to IF you KNOW your opponent is on Dredge or just in general. That statement was a bit confusing.

2nd -- Have you ever considered some number of Bojuka Bog in the SB or MD as additional yard hate? I ran a list very similar to yours once and was pleased with Bog most of the time (especially against Mono-Red Stax and Dredge, and TPS though it had other narrow applications like reducing the size of a Goyf). Just curious as to why it is not even on your list of possible includes.

That's all I got for now. Again, great work!

-Storm
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« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2010, 09:13:30 pm »

Chains of mephistopheles

Fact.
hand # 2 is fucking insane, and you're playingg it wrong


You turn 1 Swamp, go, then consult for thoughtseize/duress, turn 2 go rit, thoughtseize, rit, will, rit, rit, consult, hexmage

I think they clearly force your ritual if you do that.

ok, land number two?
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« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2010, 09:23:45 pm »

Chains of mephistopheles

Fact.
hand # 2 is fucking insane, and you're playingg it wrong


You turn 1 Swamp, go, then consult for thoughtseize/duress, turn 2 go rit, thoughtseize, rit, will, rit, rit, consult, hexmage

I think they clearly force your ritual if you do that.

ok, land number two?
you mean the one you dont have?

edit: playing it that way also lets you get blown the fuck out with spell pierce
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« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2010, 10:05:38 pm »

Max,

Wonderful Primer! Thanks man. If only others on this site could write with the same constructive goals and open-mindedness as you I might actually recommend TMD to more of my Vintage playing friends as a tool for deck building. Bravo dude!

Now, just a couple thoughts.

1st -- How do you ever know if your opponent is on Dredge game 1 unless you scouted it? If you are truly blind to them playing dredge are you going to know what to keep? Was your comment about the 3 types of hands to keep restricted to IF you KNOW your opponent is on Dredge or just in general. That statement was a bit confusing.
Round 1 -Jake Gans, mark hornung and sam berse are on dredge, noone else is unless I heard or saw something vs deck reg. By round 2 you should know every dredge player in the room.  Your rounds are pretty short with this deck. In a year of playing with it I have only 1 unintentional draw, and have never otherwise went to time outside of that 1 match.

2nd -- Have you ever considered some number of Bojuka Bog in the SB or MD as additional yard hate? I ran a list very similar to yours once and was pleased with Bog most of the time (especially against Mono-Red Stax and Dredge, and TPS though it had other narrow applications like reducing the size of a Goyf). Just curious as to why it is not even on your list of possible includes.

That's all I got for now. Again, great work!

-Storm
the best anti-dredge card is jailer, If i wanted to put another piece of dedicated dredge hate in the board it would be another jailer.
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« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2010, 10:24:48 pm »

I may mention something else about this deck in my article next week:  this is not a good deck for new Vintage players.  It is, in the sense that the deck itself is relatively budget given proxies, but in terms of playing the deck successfully, it is a hard deck to play.  You will win and lose games based on your understanding of the stack, knowing which bullets to tutor for and when, how to play out some bizarre Will turns, and knowing targets for Needle and Sacrament, etc.  This is not an easy deck to play unless you know the format and the rules.  In that way, it is actually akin to "normal" Vintage decks.  I think it also might explain why the deck hasn't "caught on" like I expected; most people playing it, are not playing it anywhere near Max's level of proficiency.

Anyway thanks for the primer Max, well done.
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« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2010, 10:25:28 pm »

Max,

Wonderful Primer! Thanks man. If only others on this site could write with the same constructive goals and open-mindedness as you I might actually recommend TMD to more of my Vintage playing friends as a tool for deck building. Bravo dude!

Now, just a couple thoughts.

1st -- How do you ever know if your opponent is on Dredge game 1 unless you scouted it? If you are truly blind to them playing dredge are you going to know what to keep? Was your comment about the 3 types of hands to keep restricted to IF you KNOW your opponent is on Dredge or just in general. That statement was a bit confusing.
Round 1 -Jake Gans, mark hornung and sam berse are on dredge, noone else is unless I heard or saw something vs deck reg. By round 2 you should know every dredge player in the room.  Your rounds are pretty short with this deck. In a year of playing with it I have only 1 unintentional draw, and have never otherwise went to time outside of that 1 match.

2nd -- Have you ever considered some number of Bojuka Bog in the SB or MD as additional yard hate? I ran a list very similar to yours once and was pleased with Bog most of the time (especially against Mono-Red Stax and Dredge, and TPS though it had other narrow applications like reducing the size of a Goyf). Just curious as to why it is not even on your list of possible includes.

That's all I got for now. Again, great work!

-Storm
the best anti-dredge card is jailer, If i wanted to put another piece of dedicated dredge hate in the board it would be another jailer.

True, I understand that and 100% agree that Jailer IS the best hate. My question is more along the lines of: would you consider Bog as simply added hate that sorta doubles as land? or like 2/3 of a land per Bog?

When I used the card it was sort of a part of the manabase. Perhaps as a tutorable 1-of at least?
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« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2010, 05:48:05 pm »

How would you guys address chalice @ 2 with this deck?
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« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2010, 05:56:05 pm »

Xenic Poltergeist can kill Chalice.  But I wouldn't play that card. 
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« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2010, 09:20:09 pm »

Any other suggestions?  You get totally destroyed if a chalice @ 2 ever hits the table.
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« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2010, 09:29:15 pm »

Also, what do you guys think of maybe putting in a few Painter's Servants and a Grindstone somewhere in here?  Just a thought, and I know its been thought of before.
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« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2010, 01:14:35 am »

Any other suggestions?  You get totally destroyed if a chalice @ 2 ever hits the table.

In my experience it hasn't been that big of a problem.  No shop player is going to blind chalice 2 you on the play game 1 and post board you have emissary.  You can also still helm them.  If you really absolutely feel you must have an out to chalice 2: Engineered explosives.
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« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2010, 11:22:58 am »

Any other suggestions?  You get totally destroyed if a chalice @ 2 ever hits the table.

In my experience it hasn't been that big of a problem.  No shop player is going to blind chalice 2 you on the play game 1 and post board you have emissary.  You can also still helm them.  If you really absolutely feel you must have an out to chalice 2: Engineered explosives.

Good luck setting it to 2 in a mono black deck.  lol
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