Last weekend I played my first Paper Tournament in quite a long time, and it was a 19 person Vintage event that we organized in our town. With the Eternal Weekend Vintage event coming up this weekend I figured I’d share what I’ve learnt about the deck I played and that I split the final with. Vintage Jeskai Control.
Watch the deck in action here.
Vintage Jeskai Control
I’ve always loved playing Vintage and Tinker is usually my go to deck. Two months ago I won an MTGO Vintage Challenge with Grixis Tinker and I thought that would have been the deck I played at the local event that was coming up. Although after testing both online and with a bunch of friends I noticed how much Urza’s Saga and Tinker have been hated out, between Archon of Emeria and Force of Vigor I was really struggling to make my Artifacts work.
I decided to switch archetype and embrace the fair gameplay of Jeskai Control, using the many cheap answers to get around the many prison elements of the format, while also having plenty of countermagic to fight the unfair strategies.
Dreadhorde Arcanist and Monastery Mentor are incredibly powerful cards that I rarely get to play with. I have been so impressed by those cards that I almost forgot how easily they can run away with the game and how very little answers there are in the formats for those two cards.
Urza’s Saga was certainly a very annoying card to fight. I did have 1 copy of Maindeck Fragmentize for it, but the constructs could definitely be a problem and Urza’s Saga was easily a 3×1 every time against my deck without either a fast clock or Wastelands.
Post sideboard Alpine Moon helped but Urza’s Saga certainly remains the biggest enemy of the deck.
I started with 3 Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and slowly cut down to 1. This deck doesn’t have access to the full 5 Moxes and Mana Crypt, so dashing it on Turn one was less of an option and against the Blue decks I prefer having access to Lavinia, Azorius Renegade as she’s both an excellent hate piece as well as a Blue pitch for your 6 Force of Will and Force of Negation.
You can’t afford to play many threats in a deck like this, since you need a high count of cheap one mana spells for Dreadhorde Arcanist as well as a higher count of spells for Monastery Mentor. Playing only 1 might feel unintuitive but it felt right to me.
Another card that I haven’t played with in a while and that impressed me very much was Mystic Sanctuary, it brought back Ancestral Recall and Time Walk very often, as well as being a “soft combo” with Gush, since you’re able to pick it back up and reset your best card on top again. Not very many decks can exploit Mystic Sanctuary in Vintage at the moment and it’s another driving force for Jeskai Control.
Mishra’s Workshop and Bazaar of Baghdad are two pillars of Vintage, and they require you to have a playset of Leyline of the Void and Shattering Spree in your sideboard, ready to fight Graveyard and Artifact decks.
Alpine Moon is a new card to Vintage, it’s now mostly played because it kills Urza’s Saga on the spot but you’ll be happy to sideboard it in against Mishra’s Workshop and Bazaar of Baghdad as well.
I loved having the Basic Mountain in the sideboard, Ghost Quarter and Assassin’s Trophy are popular cards in Vintage and having access to a second basic to tutor up for is really nice. I’ve also faced many Archon of Emeria lately, and having an additional land to fetch that comes into play untapped was quite important against it.
It’s also a way to play around Wasteland if you’ve seen their hand with Gitaxian Probe or you really need to resolve your Shattering Spree and untap with that Red mana.
Prismatic Ending is a catch all card, able to replace Fragmentize in the fair Match-Ups (like vs Sultai or in the mirror) as well as being a good card to answer Time Vault or Oath of Druids against certain Blue Combo decks.
Mindbreak Trap comes in against Doomsday, Oops all Spells and Paradoxical Outcome, some very good Combo decks that can win as early as Turn one and against which I want to be able to have up to 8 protection spells on the draw between Force of Wills and Force of Negations.
- If you’re holding Pyroblast or Flusterstorm and have at least two lands is often correct to not play a Preordain on Turn one, since you might want to have some extra protection up for the earliest turns of the game. Remember that this deck doesn’t play a lot of fast mana, but the format is super fast.
- When delving with Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time you want to leave the best 1 mana spells in the graveyard for Dreadhorde Arcanist, the only exception being Time Walk, since you might want to Mystic Sanctuary it back on top later in the game.
- Lavinia, Azorius Renegade acts like a Xantid Swarm for Forces, meaning that you want to try to resolve her first in the Blue mirror matches.
- Against Graveyard decks you want to mulligan to Leyline of the Void pretty desperately and you want to keep in hand as many protection possible for the opposing Force of Vigor.
- Against Artifacts you want to keep a land heavy hand, possibly with Force of Will, that will make you play around their Spheres and be able to cast your fair spells in time to answer their key cards and run away with the game.
- If you have Narset, Parter of Veils and Dack Fayden in play you can target your opponent with Dack Fayden and they will draw 1 card and discard 2.
- With Dack Fayden’s emblem you can steal cards casting Pyroblast or Prismatic Ending on your opponent’s permanents.
- Remember about Mystic Sanctuary being in your deck and don’t use all your Fetchlands in the earlier turns of the game to thin your deck.
+2 Alpine Moon +1 Prismatic Ending
-3 Swords to Plowshares
+1 Serenity +1 Prismatic Ending +4 Shattering Spree +2 Alpine Moon +1 Mountain
-1 Narset, Parter of Veils -1 Mental Misstep -2 Flusterstorm -3 Pyroblast -1 Dig Through Time -1 Gush
+1 Prismatic Ending +1 Mountain
-1 Fragmentize -1 Strip Mine
+2 Alpine Moon +4 Leyline of the Void
-1 Prismatic Ending -3 Pyroblast -1 Swords to Plowshares -1 Treasure Cruise
+1 Prismatic Ending
+2 Mindbreak Trap +2 Leyline of the Void
-3 Swords to Plowshares -1 Prismatic Ending
+4 Leyline of the Void +2 Mindbreak Trap
-1 Fragmentize -3 Swords to Plowshares -1 Prismatic Ending -1 Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
+1 Mountain +2 Mindbreak Trap +1 Prismatic Ending
-3 Pyroblast -1 Fragmentize