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B&R Hits Vintage

Vintage is the format where you get to play all the most degenerate cards, and where no cards (that still make sense in Magic) are banned. In order to maintain a semblance of order, however, some cards have to be restricted to a single copy. This week, we had a new banned & restricted list announcement just for Vintage that added two new cards to the list.

Monastery Mentor is Restricted

White always saw very little play in Vintage, but since Monastery Mentor was printed, most of the blue decks automatically became Mentor-based, as the card was insane and could exploit its best cards like Gush and Gitaxian Probe. Then Wizards tried to weaken the archetype by restricting Gush and Probe, but Mentor still ruled the format along with MUD, and there was very little room for other blue-based decks.

Monastery Mentor’s restriction now makes other blue-based decks viable. Decks like Leovold Control, U/W Landstill, Grixis Control, and Oath of Druids now have more room and more freedom.

Despite being a Mentor lover myself—I’ve played Mentor since it was printed—I’m happy to see it leave. It was great playing it, but the card was way too busted to allow 4 copies of such a powerful end-gamer.

Thorn of Amethyst is Restricted

I’ll take a strong position and keep hating on MUD for the enjoyment of the game. Whenever I’m up against it, I always hate the games. I hated it so much that, up until the last B&R announcement, I didn’t play Vintage as MUD was by far the strongest deck and everyone was playing it, making it an awful format.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Mishra’s Workshop is the problem, and banning one card a year (or more) is just a consequence of the card simply being too unfair. The only reason Wizards not to restrict Mishra’s Workshop is that it will assuredly tank the price, and cost their customers thousands of dollars.

People say that MUD keeps the format honest by not having too many turn-1 Storm combo decks. Though, if Thorn of Amethyst were still legal, Eldrazi would still be viable, and Mental Misstep, Flusterstorm, and Mindbreak Trap are efficient answers for blue decks.

What’s the difference between a turn-1 kill and a turn-1 Trinisphere ?

Restricting Thorn of Amethyst extinguishes Eldrazi since Sphere of Resistance is much weaker there, a much fairer deck that MUD, and a somewhat budget deck that I don’t mind having in the format as an alternative to blue decks.

Yawgmoth’s Bargain is Unrestricted

I played Storm for a while some years ago, and resolving an early Yawgmoth’s Bargain always gave me the win. Gitaxian Probe was a great card in that deck and it has since been restricted, but now that Thorn of Amethyst is on the list, Storm could be dangerous.

There is a relatively new card in Vintage: Paradoxical Outcome. It’s great when paired will all the Moxen, though it saw very little play when it was overshadowed by the hegemony of MUD and Mentor.

I’m not so sure which is better between a Storm-based on Paradoxical Outcome (with Mox Opal) and one based on Yawgmoth’s Bargain (with Dark Ritual and Cabal Ritual). If you could merge the two strategies, it would be a new deck in the metagame that could be cool to face.

You Can Now Have 2 “Jace” Planeswalkers in Play

I like this change. It won’t have the highest impact, but I like it. Liliana of the Veil and Liliana the Last Hope were fighting for slots in Modern, and now you can make both girls happy!

In Vintage this is somewhat relevant as Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy were often together in Jeskai Mentor. I’m still not sure if this deck will be viable—I think it will be, though.

Overall, I loved this B&R announcement (considering that restricting Mishra’s Workshop is apparently a taboo), and moving forward, this is what I will play.

Butakov, 1st place at August 26th Vintage Challenge

This deck was originally played by Andreas Petersen in a format where MUD and Mentor were the sheriffs, and was taken to a first place finish by former MOCS Champion Dimitri Butakov in the latest Vintage Challenge.

You don’t really need to change much to make this deck legal, just cut a Monastery Mentor. I personally like Time Twister in deck with so many mana rocks to empty your hand—that would be my replacement for running this deck in your newest League on Wednesday—Yes! Leagues are now on Magic Online, and yes, videos are coming shortly.

Vintage looks to be in a good place, and I’m excited to play Leagues on Magic Online and to attend Eternal Weekend in October!

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