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Author Topic: Red shops!  (Read 2698 times)
tito del monte
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« on: January 17, 2015, 10:38:44 am »

So, I took a slightly funky Workshop pile to battle Vintage in the wilderness of Berlin last night, in the first of what we hope will be a monthly FNM-like 10-proxy tournament series. In keeping with the vibe of welcoming some new people to the format and getting these fairly casual events up and running, I decided to play something I've never played in anger before, namely Shops.

That's right - I've owned them for a couple of years now and always thought I wanted to play them. But it turns out that I am just not enough of a cold-blooded killer to ever sleeve them up. Unless of course, I can find some way to make them notionally "fun" (read, ineffective) and less straight-up, sadistically prison-focused.

It was with great interest then, that I stumbled upon this list a few months ago by Randall Witherall. I'm guessing he's a TMD user, but I don't know his handle - hello Randall! Great work!
http://www.tcdecks.net/deck.php?id=14216&iddeck=104750

Now, that thing looked a blast, but I was never a fan of Bazaars + Squee and wanted to try out Daretti instead. I thought that with his looting, some choice card draw would be required to run him, so I borrowed the triple Sword of Fire and Ice tech from this Spanish list, which also looks ace:
http://www.tcdecks.net/deck.php?id=15581&iddeck=115939

I managed to combine them into something far less than the sum of their parts and go 1-2-1. Here's the list, which actually looks really neat on paper, with discussion afterwards. I would like to point out that I am not good at making decks that, you know, win. And therefore, I would be grateful for your input if you, too, like the *idea* of shops but are too self-conscious to be a fun-wrecking Mono-Brown Misery Robot and secretly miss Goblin Welder. (I appreciate squeamishness at crushing your opponents is a very British foible. I'm working on it).

Red Shops 2015:

Land/Mana:
6 Mountains
4 Wasteland
1 Strip Mine
3 Ancient Tomb
1 City of Traitors
4 Mishra's Workshop
1 Diamond Valley

1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring

Creatures:
3 Goblin Welder
3 Eidolon of the Great Revel
3 Magus of the Moon
4 Solemn Simulacrum
4 Scuttling Doom Engine
1 Wurmcoil Engine

Other Artifacts:
4 Tangle Wire
3 Sword of Fire and Ice

Planeswalkers:
3 Daretti, Scrap Savant

Fun Times:
4 Shrapnel Blast

= 60 cards

Sideboard:
4 Witchbane Orb
1 Jester's Cap
3 Relic of Progenitus
3 Crucible of Worlds
2 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Pulverise


Broad remarks about the deck:
- As is, this build doesn't know whether it's arseholes or breakfast: It is neither full-blooded aggro or soul-crushing prison. I was hoping for a kind of Terra Nova middle ground - speed bumps backed with aggression. But when all your speed bumps dies to Lightning Bolt, you have problems.

- I really focused way too much on beating UR Delver. As is I played against Grisel Oath, 4-colour Jace Control, Gush Tendrils and URg Landstill. Thus, I had my arse handed to me. Oath was a super bad match up (Going Welders means losing out on Grafdiggers Cage), everything else was very close - as long as I had Tangle Wires going basically at all times. This leads me to believe that the deck is overall not controlling enough.

- Good draws were good - getting a Wire down early and following up with either a couple of sworded up small critters or a Doom Engine was mad fun. I like more of those good times, even if I doubt anything playing Shops that isn't mono-brown can be truly consistent. With that proviso in mind, on to some...

... Specific Card Choices:
- There's too many 3-ofs, right? This probably means I didn't know really what I was doing.

- Eidolons in particular were problematic. I *thought* they would be great and actually add a reason for playing red. But to run them, I think I would have needed 4 of them, 4 Magus of the Moon and perhaps a Lotus Petal instead of, say, Sol Ring which is screaming out to Misstepped. I do think the card has potential in the current Vintage metagame - but I found myself bringing in the sideboard Revokers all the time and I think they would provide more flexible disruption in the main.

- Goblin Welder versus Daretti: The good news here, is that Daretti is pretty good actually and I think, in 2015, a genuine reason to run red in your shops deck again. The bad news is, that I'm not sure anything has changed to make Goblin Welder genuinely playable again. The little guy is just a lightning rod for Missteps and Bolts - and these are pretty damn prevalent right now. I don't think I could cut him completely and just run Daretti (I like that Welder can 1. Weld at instant speed 2. Deal with Blightseel), but the reality is, I don't think I untapped with an active Welder once. Probably go down to 2 and slow roll them, for when Sword of Fire and Ice is up and running.

- Just as Welder dies to Bolt, so does all this decks disruption apart from the all important Tangle Wire. This made me wonder, if the disruption I add to the deck should also be bolt proof. While running a ton of Spheres looks difficult, maybe Crucible belongs in here. Plus maybe a miser's trinisphere (say over the singlteon Wurmcoil).

- Shrapnel Blast: Other friends who gave the deck a test drive were very down on Shrapnel Blast and it certainly felt painful to have to use it to get rid of an opposing threat, rather than follow up a Doom Engine attack and essentially kill out of nowhere. Could these just be normal Bolts? Or Lodestones? I don't know.... I do feel like one of the decks strengths, should be being able to kill out of nowhere (compared to MUD). But if there aren't enough prison elements, it makes going for the throat with these super dicey anyway.

- Diamond Valley: I chucked this in to have an uncounterable sacrifice outlet and was in no way angling for style points - should probably be High Market!

So, there you have it. I know there are good people on this forum who feel Red Shops tugging at their hearts. If you also know how to crush your enemies, please chip in and let's see if we can rustle something up with this pile. What do you make of the general direction of the deck - should it be more aggressive or controlling? What's the right mixture of disruption and threats? Can the manabase be improved to support these or other red cards? Should I give up on the dream and just play Delver?

Any help greatly appreciated! I really feel like there's room for innovation in the Shop world at the moment, even if I may personally be barking up the wrong tree. Would be great to see what you guys think. Cheers!
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enderfall
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2015, 10:49:34 am »

I think you hit the nail on the head with Welder and it's current position in this metagame. This deck doesn't have any permission and/or prison elements and the only early game play it has is a Welder (which as you said dies to Bolt and is often misstepped) or if you are fortunate, a Magus of the Moon.

It appears that this deck can't possibly do anything until Turn 3 or 4. How does this deck make it to Turn 3 without being so far behind that it's impossible to come back from? What exactly is the "nut draw" for this deck?
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StanleyAugust
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2015, 12:40:35 pm »

I honestly don't think that Mental Misstep makes Welder that much worse. Sure, your game 1 is affected to some extend but game 2 and 3 aren't affected at all because your opponent is gonna board out MM anyway.
That said, I don't think that Welder is very good positioned right now but that's because of the prevalence of targeted removal, not Mental Misstep.

Your deck looks fun although Eidolon of the Great Revel looks weak to me.
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Prospero
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2015, 01:10:02 pm »

There's something to be said for trying unconventional things. At the very least, it creates references that can later be called upon when building other decks.  Also, Welder, when active, can be a beating.

One of Welder's weaknesses is Jace, the Mind Sculptor.  He doesn't like how Jace can interact with him, often times negating a board state that took a couple of turns to set up.  Jace, it seems, is at an all time low in terms of play since his printing.  This is a mark in Welder's favor.

The issue with Welder at the moment isn't his power level (his effect is still quite good), it's that he never seems to be able to stick around long enough to get going.  At any given event, the following cards see a fair amount of play:

Swords to Plowshares
Mental Misstep
Dismember
Lightning Bolt
Abrupt Decay

There's more removal out there (in the form of counters and kill), but that's a decent rough approximation.

If we're going to play Welder nowadays, I think we need to do two things:

1.  Negate any of those cards to the best of our ability.
2.  Be built in such a way as to minimize the impact of those cards.

The first point leads me to want Cavern of Souls in lieu of basic Mountain, as it potentially shuts off Mental Misstep.  

The second point is more a commentary on the mana base and the choice of threats.

MUD Marinara was the last successful Welder based Shop deck that I can think of.  I'd want to consider looking at that list for a rough approximation of where to start.

Your list occupies two spaces; on the one hand it plays many creatures that are best suited to aggressive style decks.  On the other hand, it has control elements of a traditional Shop prison deck.  I think that you're probably going to have to commit more towards being one variant or the other.

I'd call what we're seeing the renaissance of creature based strategies for Vintage, but that's probably a misnomer, as I don't think that they've ever been this good before, or had so many viable weapons to combat the metagame.  

I think that may lead towards an interesting strategy.  I think it's possible to build a new style of control deck, where in lieu of trying to establish a backbreaking Smokestack, you look to establish control off the backs of the various bots that combat opposing creatures so well.  Sundering Titan, Steel Hellkite and Wurmcoil Engine are great trumps to Delvers, Deathrite Shamans and the assorted small beaters of the field.  The irony in wanting to do this isn't lost on me, as the sacrifices to the mana base required to run Welder make casting any of those cards more difficult than they would be in a traditional MUD style deck.

I don't think that there is a modern Shop list that can be built nowadays without Lodestone Golem.  Lodestone Golem puts a tremendous amount of pressure on colored spells.  As such, I'd want to ensure that if I was running colored spells that they'd be so powerful that they're still worth trying to resolve through my own Lodestones.  Welder falls in this category.  

I think Magus of the Moon and Null Rod are similar cards in that they both look to 'Time Walk' an opponent for a few turns before said opponent is more likely to break out of the forms of control that they exert.  Magus, being a 2/2, gives an opponent a long time to get out from underneath his ability, and, on top of that, Magus will also shut off our Shops, Tombs, etc.  I don't think Magus is worth playing through Lodestone.  I could be wrong.

As far as cards like Eidolon of the Great Revel and Solemn Simulacrum go, I don't think they have a place.  If we're cutting the Mountains for Caverns, there's no benefit from Jens' searching ability.  Eidolon just seems like a tough card to cast in the prior incarnation of this deck.  Additionally, as much as I'd love to run Factories, I don't think we can run Factories while still running the other lands that we need to in order to reliably cast our threats.

If I was going to play a Welder based Shop deck, I'd start with this and make some changes:

http://www.mtgdecks.net/decks/view/19157

I'd immediately cut:

3x Phyrexian Metamorph
2x Karn, Silver Golem

I'd consider running four Spheres in lieu of four Thorns, leaving us with a 4/2 split.

I'd add the fourth Smokestack.

I'd add four Phyrexian Revokers.

I'd consider cutting the Barbarian Ring for another utility land.  Maybe Karakas for Oath, or something else, so long as it taps for mana.

Finally, I'd want to find a way to run the Razormane Masticores in the main.  They're an absolute beating against just about all of the field right now, and because of Welder shenanigans, in combination with Welder, they're capable of killing Trygons.  5/5's with first strike are a serious problem for the field right now.

The problem with this style deck is that you're going to be a dog to Oath, nearly regardless of your hate.  I'd pack the board with three Duplicant and then see where that led me.  

I may follow up on these ideas and take this style deck to a tournament sometime soon.  If I do, I may follow up and let you know what worked, what didn't, and what it should look like moving forward.
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vaughnbros
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2015, 01:10:18 pm »

As you've said this deck looks confused.  I think when you pick which one you want to be it'll be easier to make the rest of the choices.  For example:  Right now you are running 4 workshops and really only 5 spells that need it.   You have seemingly random aggro cards like shrapnel blast and eidolon, but nothing else that puts early pressure.  Then a light mana denial package with only strips, wire and magus.  The deck is just pulling too many ways.  Do you want to be a welder deck?  A shops deck?  A blood moon deck? A blazing fast aggro deck?  
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Chubby Rain
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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2015, 06:41:11 pm »

Professor Detwiler, dropping some serious knowledge! Excellent post, Nick, and I appreciate the time and experience that you put into it.

To the OP, I agree with Lance that we need a bit more focus. Nick's MUD Marinara approach is probably the way to go for the mana denial route. On the other hand, if you want to emphasize Eidelon I would recommend Mindsparker for redundancy, Simian Spirit Guide for speed, and Mental Misstep to protect them from the bad things in the world. Price of Progress also looks insane as a finisher and the Red Analog of Force of Will seems excellent against the Young Pyromancers running around. If you want to try Blood Moon, it is actually good right now as many decks cannot deal with it effectively and it shuts off Gush by itself (Oath also hates it) Chalice of the Void seems disruptive in this shell and Chalice on 1 could protect Magus of the Moon if you choose to go that route. Considering the metagame that you want to try this in is probably paramount on which approach to choose. Just my initial thoughts and I apologize for following up Nick's expansive analysis with my much shorter post.
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tito del monte
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2015, 11:53:30 am »

Thanks for all the responses - especially Prospero: I appreciate the strategic and historical lesson. As I said, I've always only thought of Shops as an opponent, so it's great to pause and consider the archetype's evolution. I shall have a look at some Marinara lists for sure.

It appears that this deck can't possibly do anything until Turn 3 or 4. How does this deck make it to Turn 3 without being so far behind that it's impossible to come back from? What exactly is the "nut draw" for this deck?

This is fair. Although I found for example first turn Solemn into second turn Doom Engine to be strong. Following up on Turn 3 with a Shrapnel Blast kill would be the nut draw. I'm actually very curious to know how the original list (Randall's) did so well with this plan. Anyone know him or play against him when he piloted the deck?

As to play-style or desired strategy - I think I put this together hoping it would be a an aggressive deck - perhaps misunderstanding that Goblin Welder is, especially due to his propensity for dying, a more controlling card that you need to set up for a mid- to late-game boost. I.E He's not really going to stick turn one and weld you into some fat turn two. As Chubby Rain is right to point out, I could probably achieve a more aggro-control play style with a mono-red hate bears style deck, sans Workshops - but as I would like to give Shops a whirl, that almost certainly means that the build needs to become more controlling.

This list from Brian Schlossberg seems like it might have something to recommend itself in that sense:
http://www.tcdecks.net/deck.php?id=13769&iddeck=101196

I shall start fiddling round with what I've got and see what I come up with for the next Vintage FNM instalment, bearing in mind all the advice in this thread. Bit braindead right now (and watching sport), so no idea of a new list just yet. Would still like to give Daretti a go, as he is at least more resilient than Welder, just seemingly incompatible with a mana denial strategy (perhaps something for Rich Shay to test drive in a future Slaver build...). Headscratcher for sure.

On a side note - Prospero you mentioned Razormane Masticore and that's a card I've been wanting to play, too. Before going red I was playing around a bit with Loresteeker's Stone and personally, I thought it seemed decent. Could definitely see Razormane alongside that. I tried Uba Mask with it, too, but it just didn't feel disruptive enough.

Thanks again for all the help everyone - I shall stick with it and see if I can polish this approach a little in future.

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