As a rule of thumb, any spell that costs you more than two mana in Vintage needs win you the game, or you need to be able to gain a powerful effect for cheap. While I don’t think Fractured Identity wins the game outright, it does have the potential to swing the game heavily in your favor, and it pairs well with both Mana Drain and Narset Transcendent.
I tested the deck in a tried and true Vintage UW Control Shell and found the testing seemed to confirm my expectations. It was good against Jeskai, Oath, great with Narset, and swingy against Shops with the wash against Sphere effects. Surprisingly, it was outstanding against Lavinia Control. I did not expect Narset’s Rebound effect to be as valuable as it was against Lavinia Control, but Karakas in response to the trigger is strong, as is Path.
Here is the deck I ended up with, and I made two glaring mistakes. Did you spot them both?
First, I originally played Vault/Key combo, and then I removed the combo, but I left Tezz in. Whoops! Second, Angelic Curator is a nod to the hot, hot tech Sea Sprite vs Sligh from the 90’s. What was good then, is not good now. Ballista and Friends can go over, around, and through all manner of critters, and Hurkyl’s Recall is just better. Also, double blocking with two Curators doesn’t kill creatures like it did against Sligh. The third mistake is arguable. Paths in the board and a Supreme Verdict main is a coin toss. You’re better vs a variety of creature decks, and the format is definitely creature heavy right now, but you’re worse off against Tinker/Blightsteel.
I like to test a few cards at once because the chances of drawing the test card on MTGO is slim, so I’m testing Fractured Identity, Narset, and Karn together. Karn was every bit his old self and won many games through sheer existence. Narset was surprisingly valuable against a variety of decks, and performed admirable as a +1 draw, gain life in the worst case. In many cases, she would net me six cards off a Rebounded Ancestral Recall, or a two permanent swing with Fractured Identity, sealing the game.
I won three matches in the league, pre-London mulligan. The losses were against Storm and Jeskai. Jeskai is a tough matchup, and Storm managed to plow through a plethora of counterspells to land a Bargain. Happens. Workshop was a toss up, but we usually split the three games.
If I ran the deck again (hint: I will), I would run 58/60 and 12/15. Remove Tezz and one Wasteland from the main to make Mana Drain easier to cast, and add another blue land and a Repeal. Replace the Curators with either three Hurkyl’s Recalls or two and a meta card of choice.
I don’t know where these cards will end up, but they’re good enough to warrant further testing.