MVP: Silent Arbiter

Asymmetric Planeswalkers have made their debut. Narset and Karn are strutting their stuff to full effect, and most of the decks seem to have figured out the best ways to abuse the new passives.

Silent Arbiter

It’s round three, game three vs Workshop Aggro, and I’m on the play. I open with turn one KTCG, and immediately wished for Chalice of the Void for 0. We jockey for board state position, and I take control of the game with a wished Wurmcoil, but my opponent answers with a Hangarback Walker for 5. He chump blocks with the intent to attack Karn.

Everyone is already aware of Mycosynth Lattice combo, but Silent Arbiter is my sleeper MVP. This guy changes the entire dynamic of the Workshop matchup. As long as you can disable Arcbound Ravager, you win should win. This is where I won:


At this point, my opponent effectively has no cards in hand (moxen), and I have Ensnaring Bridge in mine. Unless my opponent draws a Karn of his own or a Phyrexian Revoker, his only option is to attack with one Thopter a turn at Karn, forcing me to add a counter to Ballista and kill it. Eventually, I will win this fight.

My opponent didn’t draw an out, and I went on to Crucible/Strip Mine lock my opponent out of the game.

The deck is solid. Voltaic Servant is consistently better than expected. It has pseudo-Vigilance, survives blocking most Vintage creatures (Mentor, Pyro, Snapcaster, Revoker), untaps Grim Monolith, and suffers no Mental Misstep. You know you’re in good shape when your opponent is actively bolting your Servants instead of you or Karn.

Vintage Challenge 2019-05-25

I would consider trimming Karn, Scion of Urza and one Grim Monolith. Also, that Jester’s Cap needs to be Ice Age. Just look at this gorgeous art!

Jester's Cap

I digress. I’m not sure what I would add for those two cards, but I consistently cut these two cards first when sideboarding.

The deck needs an answer for an opposing Karn without needing an activated ability. Meteor Golem and Spine of Ish Sah, are great singleton tutor targets for Kuldotha Forgemaster, but they are too slow to warrant a second slot.

Evasion is out, because, well, there aren’t any good artifact creatures with Flying. Steel Hellkite is the best option, and I’ve tested it (see left). Maybe there is room for some sort of Glint Hawk Idol or Spined Thopter type of threat, but I’m not seeing it. MUD lacks any short of native Shadow or Fear effect, so Hangarback Walker is probably the best bet.

TLDR? I’m happy with the deck. Silent Arbiter is good. We have two slots available.

The London Mulligan

Many years ago, I took a C++ class at the local college, and our professor was a brilliant programmer, but an awful teacher. So a few of us who already knew what we were doing taught the class for the professor. For a final project, we had to write a computer program to simulate Five Card Stud Poker given predetermined rules for the AI.

One classmate implemented the rules with a twist – the AI selected its best hand from both the cards in hand and those it discarded for the turn.

We ran side by side simulations and his AI won about twenty percent more often. For comparison, the house edge in Blackjack is about five percent.

That’s the power level of the London Mulligan.

Tamiyo, Collector of Tales

When you don’t know the answer, keep asking questions.

Tamiyo, Collector of Tales

How good is Tamiyo?

Someone once said we can roughly measure the power of a card by counting the number of cards that change game zones.* So Bazaar’s power is 5 (+2 draw, +3 discard). Tamiyo’s +1 ability is a power of 4. And her five loyalty, six if you +1 immediately, means she’ll probably survive an attack.

What kind of non-Dredge Vintage deck wants to draw four extra cards a turn, but doesn’t care if the cards are in your graveyard or in your hand?

* 99% sure it was one of the So Many Insane Plays podcast.