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By: wappla, wappla
Jun 11 2015 11:00am
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In Vintage, people can sometimes be heard saying, "It has a good Mentor matchup." Sometimes you will hear someone declare the card to be broken, and you will hear someone else reply that it's an expensive Young Pyromancer, powerful but wildly overrated. Sometimes I'm asked, "Which do you think is favored in the Delver vs. Mentor matchup?" I began to answer by saying that Monastery Mentor is a card, not a deck.
 
Monastery Mentor
 
At first, I meant that no one Monastery Mentor deck had yet to coalesce from the many different approaches many different players had taken to the card. Now I say it meaning that there are different valid approaches to the card, different ways to incorporate it into design, and that these designs vary in archetype. Since the card was spoiled and lists began to pop up, Vintage players have talked about these approaches. Many have categorized decks that run Mentor based on card choices, often focusing on the size of the deck's mana base. For several months, if not presently, many refer a certain type of Mentor decks as "Big-Mana Mentor." This was a natural label for early lists, which were derived from URx Delver lists, more or less replacing Delver of Secrets with artifact acceleration and replacing Young Pyromancer with his bigger, more religious cousin. This label actually was quite descriptive, but not all that helpful. Really, we should categorize be categorizing lists by their strategic positioning.
 
People have done this a bit, obviously. Some Mentor decks are referred to as control decks, some as aggro-control. In some cases these labels are inaccurate or unhelpfully vague. Mislabeling stems from misunderstanding the design, and misunderstanding the design leads to misplaying it. Thinking about the specific strategic positioning of a list therefore serves to help the pilot play the cards.
 
This is especially the case for Monastery Mentor and the decks running him. Because of Mentor's raw power, the card creates decision with far greater strategic consequences than does Pyromancer.
 
Consider the following scenario. We are thinking about casting Mentor. We have Mox Sapphire, Tundra and Volcanic Island on the table. In addition to Mentor, we are holding Gitaxian Probe in hand. Our opponent is Grixis Combo-Control. All they have on the table is mana. The simply question is do we tap out to play Mentor, then Probe to create a token, or Probe first, see what we see and see what we draw, then decide to play Mentor.

If we want to play the control role, casting Probe first is clearly correct. Maybe our opponent's hand will indicate that tapping out for Mentor is a fatal mistake. On the other hand, by playing Probe first, we are losing power on the table and likely exponentially slowing our clock.

How we view our strategic position both in that moment in the game and in the matchup is vital to making the decision of what play to make.

Consider a second example. We have just resolved Mentor and now it is our opponent's turn. He has plenty of mana and casts Preordain. We are tapped out, but we have a choice of whether to Misstep or not. If we decide to Misstep, we likely increase our clock significantly. By burning the Misstep on the cantrip, we make ourselves vulnerable to any number of one-mana spells. But if our opponent simply Preordains and passes, and we do not misstep, we have likely given them a whole extra turn. We need to ask how much we value the tempo in that situation and how much we value the control. How we answer that question depends not only on our hand, but also on how we understand our positioning in the matchup and our positioning in the moment.
 
The critical point here is to compare these situations to if we were casting Pyromancer rather than Mentor. Because an Elemental token increase our clock only linearly rather than exponentially, the tempo gain is not as significant, and therefore the tempo loss by not Probing after resolution or Misstepping a Preordain is not as significant. The opportunity cost of not generating a token is much smaller. Furthermore, if we are casting Pyromancer in this turn 3 scenario, we still have a mana open and can hold up Flusterstorm, Spell Pierce, or Pyroblast. Because we do not as often need to tap out to play Pyromancer, we can often cast him without making a significant decision about our strategic positioning. Tapping out to play Mentor is committing much more to an aggressive role than leaving a mana up to cast Pyromancer. Furthermore, tapping out play Mentor on turn 3 is significantly different than tapping out to play Pyromancer on turn 2.
 
So far, I have only discussed the card abstracted from lists. To do this is a mistake, that is actually the main point of the article. It is impossible to evaluate the card without the context of the deck it is being played in. Because we have yet to accurately describe the strategic archetypes of the various decks that play Mentor, we can't avoid an abstract discussion of the card.
 
The purpose of this article is to remedy that. I will present three archetypes using the card, arguing that they are positioned as Midrange Control, Aggro-Control, and Hybrid Control.
 
Sometimes, we think about decks as being on a spectrum from "heavy" or "pure" control to aggro-control to aggro. In any one game, that spectrum is the perfect way of thinking about a given moment. We are taught to ask "Who's the beatdown?" We have to ask at each moment where we are positioned on that spectrum. Regardless of whether we label a deck Combo, Prison, Midrange, Hybrid Control, etc, one deck is always in the Control role and one deck is always in the Aggro role. If the deck is winning, it might be in both simultaneously. When evaluating in-game moments, there's not a strategic circle, just a spectrum from control to aggro. Even the most intricate Combo decks are always either aggressively trying to end the game via their combo or trying to stay alive long enough to win via the inevitability of their combo.
 
When we think about where a deck is positioned in the metagame, the spectrum is no longer a good model. A deck's positioning can be thought of as the average of all the strategic moments it is capable of playing. This average is weighted both by how often they are in a certain situation and how effectively they perform in that role. For example, a pure aggro deck is usually just in the aggro role, and that's why we call it an aggro deck.
 
When it comes to Monastery Mentor decks in Vintage, we see the card in a variety of archetypes.
 
All lists are examples taken from Top 8 finishes in significant tournaments. Daily Results are not irrelevant, but MTGO is just one local metagame, and only so much stock can be placed in the 4-0 finish.
 

 

The genesis for this list is Kevin Cron's design from back in January. It's impressive how some of his choices then, before the card had even been printed, have been proven out in the months since.
 
Anyway, I classify this as Midrange as opposed to aggro-control or control. Midrange, rather than present a cheap, early threat to apply pressure, uses a mid-costed beatdown plan that is both bigger than aggressive decks and smaller or faster than control decks. Midrange's answer to early creatures is bigger creatures. A Pyromancer is answered not with removal but with a Mentor. Conversely, Midrange's answer to heavy and slow control is a powerful creature that is resilient to removal, Mentor filling the role perfectly.
 
In Vintage, because creatures are just one of the ways to end a game, we can also think of beatdown and control roles as applying to combo and card-advantage battles. Here again we have midcosted answers to the other axes in Vintage. Jace is a midcosted card-advantage engine, as is Mystic Remora and Sensei's Divining Top, which despite their low mana cost require sustained and extensive investment. Remora is weak if its upkeep is not paid, and Top is ineffective if activating it precludes its pilot from paying for spells. These are "beatdown" cards.
 
It's tempting to classify Togores's list as control since it is slow, but I believe that is a mistake. It can win with a beatdown plan that starts as early as turns one or two, provided sufficient acceleration. Unlike pure control builds, it cannot withhold its threats until the late-late game, as, at least pre-sideboard, it does not have enough removal to do so. With an additional three ways to remove creatures post-board, Togores certainly can transform his list into something that looks like a control deck if he chooses.
 
Cavern of Souls, clearly, is a card that beats control, not a controlling card. Togores here is playing a land that inhibits his countermagic as it produces only colorless mana. It does help him resolve his threats through opposing counters. Of course, in the mid-game and late-game, not needing to Force through threats means that countermagic is seemingly saved for other purposes. This is not true conservation, however, as one would only need to Force in response to a Force from the opponent. If Cavern truly saved your Force, then it also saved theirs, a net of zero. For this reason, Cavern should not be viewed as a card that strengthens one's own control role by conserving countermagic, but rather as a card that undermines the opponent's control of the game, and therefore servicing the beatdown element.
 
For obvious reasons, fighting over their Swords to Plowshares targeting one's Mentor is much better than fighting over Mentor itself. What Cavern truly does is delay the counterwar until after Mentor's resolution, generating power on the board in the form of Monk tokens. Again, Cavern here increases power on board, not countermagic in hand.
 
Here is another Midrange list.
 
 

Although seemingly light on threats, Brian Kelly is running versatile midcosted answers rather than an excess of removal. Jace, Dack, Notion Thief, Top, Repeal, Supreme Verdict are all expensive and versatile ways to interact with the opponent on turns 3ish onwards. He is not running excessive countermagic, his answer to problems is midcosted "beatdown." Jace and Dack are "beatdown" answers. Rather than counter Oath of Druids, he'll resolve Jace and bounce Griselbrand. Rather than counter Time Vault, he'll steal it with Dack. Rather than Lightning Bolt a Pyromancer, he'll Fire it and its token, or race with Mentor, or bounce with Repeal and Jace. Versatile, mid-costed ways of bossing the mid-game. 

Note that both of his instant speed "removal" spells, Repeal and Fire//Ice, can be tutored for at sorcery speed with Merchant Scroll. With only one copy of each, finding the copy is an expensive, 3 or 4 mana play that involves Preordain, Ponder, or Merchant Scroll, or Dack, Jace or Top activations. He doesn't rely on having a copy sitting in our hand, as Delver pilots often do with Bolt. Rather he uses mana to find the spell. Although the spell proper may be cheap, everything that goes into finding it makes it very much a mid-game answer.
 
The sideboard again has versatile one-ofs. Rest in Peace and Aegis of the Gods are run instead of the 4th and 5th copy of a Cage or Priest effect. These answers splash hate onto other matchups such as Gifts, Bomberman and Storm.
 
Whereas the first list used Mystic Remora to generate card advantage, Brian uses Gitaxian Probe to gain information about role assignment. That's vital in a deck that is frequently balancing a strategic decision. Before he activates Top, Jace or Dack, or before he Digs, he needs to know what to look for. Does he need threats or answers? Should he play a Jace or a Mentor? Should he hold up mana for Notion Thief? Because his cards are expensive, it becomes important to invest resources in the right one. Rodrigo's approach generated so much card advantage and control with Remora that the consequences of strategic moments are minimized or simplified.
 
Another approach I would certainly classify as Midrange is James Cady and Joseph Fiorini's Stoneforge Mentor. The card choices are discussed a bit in Fiorini's article, and while I think the list is still a work in progress, it's clear the approach, far from threat-light, is a more aggressive Midrange design.
 
 

Aggro-Control is the archetype that will sound most familiar to most Vintage players, as we have generally called URx Delver an aggro-control deck, which it is. An aggro-control deck is a deck capable of playing the aggro, control, and aggro-control roles, and capable of switching between roles fluidly. The aggro role is closely associated with a tempo plan (concerned with controlling time). The aggro player wants to end the game as quickly as possible, surviving just long enough to reduce the opponent's life total from twenty to zero. The control role is concerned with card advantage, both virtual and real, and inevitability. While in the control role, we want to survive until our card advantage eliminates the chance of losing. The aggro-control role involves presenting an early threat which is either supported by control elements to end the game via tempo or traded with our opponent's resources as a means of establishing a controlling position.

A good example of a platonic aggro-control moment is where we have reduced our opponent to three life. They have removed our threat and are on the verge of taking control of the game. Their expensive stuff is about to come online. We cast Ancestral Recall. They can tap a mana to Misstep it or they can let it resolve. If they let it resolve, we draw three cards and gain the control role. If they Misstep it, we Lightning Bolt their face and win the game. Our aggressive elements have turned our Lightning Bolts into counterspells. This is an extreme case, but often aggro-control's small creatures will force their opponent to make plays knowing he is facing down lethal if he passes the turn. This is how aggressive elements serve the control role. A Delver of Secrets may force an opponent to go for his combo before his inevitability kicks in. If the combo player were allowed to wait a few more turns, his combination would be unstoppable. The early threat actually increases the aggro-control player's ability to control the game. By putting damage on board, the aggro-control cuts off resources from his opponent. Each turn that he has denied his opponent is a lost untap phase, a lost land drop, and a lost card. 

Here, Bertolin has inexpensive early threats, Delver and Pyromancer, and a tempo plan. Snapcaster means he has access to potentially 7 Lightning Bolts or to 6 Mental Missteps. Monastery Mentor, in this list, is far from a vital card, but it still plays a significant role. Most importantly, it is an answer to Monastery Mentor. It allows Bertolin to avoid being outscaled by midrange Mentor decks. It allows him to avoid playing Sulfur Elemental in the sideboard, generating slot efficiency.
 
Why not play more Mentors? Because the cost effectiveness of Pyromancer generates tempo. It allows Bertolin to deploy a threat at two mana while holding up countermagic. It allows him to Gush without delaying his own gameplan. Against aggressive decks, it helps him race and stabilize a turn earlier.
 
The common rebuttal to this argument is that if he simply played more artifact acceleration, he could play Mentor on the same timeline that he plays Pyromancer currently. The problem, as has been discussed, is that mana dilutes the deck, weakening the tempo plan. If we have Jace and Top and Remora, expensive and powerful cards, excess mana can be filtered away and it is also needed for our gameplan. He has powerful uses for mana, and he wasn't on a tempo plan anyway. Top-decking an unneeded Mox is far more devastating for a Delver pilot who is a turn or a spell away from maintaining control long enough to win, or simply trying to maintain control in any situation. The most expensive control element in the Delver deck cost three mana, and it is Snapcasting back a previously played Flusterstorm or Pyroblast or Lightning Bolt, or stealing an artifact win-condition with Dack Fayden, or Dig Through Time into Pyroblast or Flusterstorm. Between Top, Jace, Dack, and Remora, a Midrange deck has often invested a comparable amount of mana in being able to look at four of five additional cards each turn.
 
It's therefore incorrect to compare Mentor and Pyromancer as if the creatures cost the same amount. There is a real cost to playing more mana, and the cost is the aggro-control archetype. Playing more mana pivots an intelligent designer into the Midrange archetype. Because of the reduced spell density in Midrange, Sensei's Top, Jace, and Remora, in some combination, are both good and necessary inclusions. Gush and Preordain become a lot worse when one is playing 50% more mana sources and not enough outlets for that mana.
 
Midrange approaches can be as successful as aggro-control approaches. Each archetype has its benefits and each has its drawbacks. What likely doesn't work, and what I haven't seen finish highly, is a combination of the two approaches— this being four Monastery Mentors with sufficient mana support but without the midrange "beatdown" design, which would hypothetically have been discarded to emulate aggro-control's efficient spell base as much as possible. That doesn't mean four Mentors is unviable, the following list ran it to a high finish.
 


While dissimilar in its threat configuration to Bertolin's 2 Mentor, 2 Pyromancer, 3 Snapcaster, 4 Delver list, Menendian's design seriously differs in its other choices as well. Overall, it is a significantly more controlling deck than Bertolin's, but rather than view it as that, I suggest that is actually a slightly different archetype, Hybrid Control rather than aggro-control. 

Aggro-control is capable of playing the aggro role, the control role, and capable of switching between the two, but it is also capable of playing the aggro-control role. It deploys early threats and either protects them long enough to win the game (a tempo plan) or sacrifices them to establish control of the game (a control plan). A common decision for an aggro-control pilot is whether to protect Delver or Pyromancer from removal with a Mental Misstep. Do I use my countermagic to control the game, or do I protect my threat to attempt to end it? Having that choice is one element that defines aggro-control.
Midrange I discussed earlier, but to review I argued it is versatile, expensive, and powerful spells that alternately beatdown against smaller aggressive threats and threaten more passive combo or control lists.
 
Hybrid control falls in between aggro-control and control. It is a deck that does not optimize its control element, trading that off for the ability to play the aggro-control role. It can move between aggro, aggro-control, and control roles, but not fluidly. It can play an aggro role only awkwardly, and, in doing so, will often sacrifice its ability to effectively change roles. It will, however, have efficient enough threats to play the aggro-control role, but unlike true aggro-control, it will often be unable to shift gears into the aggro role to close out a game. I believe Menendian's list is most accurately described as a Hybrid Control deck.
 
Rather than play Snapcaster, Menendian runs three Dig Through Time. This is a cheaper way to generate card advantage, and costs the same if Digging for countermagic or instant speed answers. Dig Through Time has the distinct advantage of being able to produce Force of Will, Misdirection, or Gush, none of which can be Snapcastered back for their alternate, free costs. Despite running fewer Mentors, Bertolin ran a Mox Pearl. This was specifically to support Snapcaster. Without Snapcaster, Pearl can be cut, a fourth Misstep, however, needs to be added in its place. Less reliant on Moxen to support Snapcaster, Menendian can run Stony Silence, and does so in the maindeck here.
 
The most telling difference is Menendian's use of Swords to Plowshares in place of Lightning Bolt. In concert with his other choices, the reasoning should be clear. Menendian is not emphasizing the tempo plan as much as Bertolin does. Dig instead of Snapcaster, one fewer Delver of Secrets, and Swords instead of Lightning Bolts. And, of course, no Pyromancers. While, Monastery Mentor can be cast via Gush as early as turn 3 if the pilot decides holding up countermagic is unnecessary, in many matchups Mentor will be delayed by a turn or two. It can output damage at a higher enough rate to make up for the time lost, but investing three mana on a threat on turn 4 or 5 is, in many games, vastly different than investing two mana on a threat on turn 2 or 3.
 
Rather than classify Menendian's list as aggro-control, I argue that it is Hybrid Control. It has the ability to play the aggro-control role, certainly, but it does not do it nearly as well as a true aggro-control deck. Without Lightning Bolt and Pyromancer, and short a Delver, it has a weaker tempo plan. Its ability to use time-controlling elements to end the game only comes online in the mid- and sometimes late-game, after Mentor has resolved. Unlike pure control, it does have a tempo plan- it is concerned with controlling time- but, unlike aggro-control, that plan doesn't start (or is at least very weak) in the early-game. It has Delver to generate early pressure and generate control, and Delver cannot just be ignored, but it does not have access to plays like end of turn: Snapcaster Mage, flashback Lightning Bolt, generate an Elemental Token, ending the game a turn or two turns ahead of schedule. Winning with a Lightning Bolt to the face is among the most impressive and telling ways aggro-control ends a game. It means that the pilot and the deck has managed to output the exact right amount of damage, balancing their control and aggro elements perfectly. A turn slower and the game might have slipped away from them. Commit excessive resources to threats, control of the game might have already been lost.
 
With three Delver, Menendian is certainly capable of playing the aggro-control role, but without the supporting cast, it is not the list's strongest game, and makes it difficult to flip the switch into aggro. Delver, however, is vital in the Mentor mirror or pseudo-mirror, as it means that the opponent must either expend removal on Delver, at best an equal trade of 1-mana for 1-mana, or be disadvantaged once the Mentor battles begin. Delver flying over the Mentor wall means that Menendian can use his Mentor to play defense against his opponent's, while Delver continues to swing for damage. Against Midrange Mentor, he actually can go on a tempo plan, playing a stronger early game and a cheap threat to soak up resources and establish control for himself or to tempo them out just as their more expensive "beatdown" elements come online.
 
Swords to Plowshares strengthens the control role of this list, as does Dig Through Time and Stony Silence. As mentioned earlier, Dig means he can access Misdirection and Force of Will in ways a Snapcaster list cannot. Swords removes Marit Lage, Forgemaster, Auriok Salvagers, Consecrated Sphinx, and Blightsteel Colossus, threats that Lightning Bolt-based aggro-control has trouble dealing with. Stony Silence is a controlling answer to degenerate combo, against which, running a more or less identical counterspell package, aggro-control lists are often somewhat softer.
The control role of this deck should not be overstated, however. It does have seven creatures, four of which are Monastery Mentor, a threat to end the game rapidly. With four, it can reliably play Mentor on turn 3 or 4, an ability none of the other decks listed above have.
 
Despite the threat density, it can only play the aggro-control role awkwardly. It will need to tap out for early Mentors, and if a first Delver is removed, it may not have a threat for the several interim turns until Mentor arrives. Dig Through Time strengthens the control role via Snapcaster, but weakens the aggro role, as does Swords to Plowshares via Lightning Bolt. Hybrid Control is unlikely to end the game the moment before it loses control of it. Rather it is likely to use its threats to seize control. This is what is meant by Hybrid Control— a control deck capable of playing the aggro-control role. It plays this role, however, more often and more fluidly as a way to establish control than as a way to beat the opponent through tempo.

Whatever happened to just plain old Control?
 
While I do not believe any of these lists are truly control lists, I think it's established that Monastery Mentor could, can, and has simply been played as a control finisher. None of these lists play both sufficient amounts of removal and sufficient amounts of universal counterspells (i.e. Mana Drain) to qualify.
The Midrange lists comes superficially the closest, and certainly they are almost always called control decks, but I believe this is wrong. Brian Kelly's answer to a Delver of Secrets is not Swords to Plowshares, it is Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Dragonlord Ojutai or Monastery Mentor. His answer to Young Pyromancer certainly isn't Force of Will or Mana Drain.
 
Against these Midrange decks, aggro-control is actually often forced into the control role because it is unable to tempo them out and it is unable to deal with their larger threats as efficiently as the Midrange deck can deal with its smaller ones. In the games aggro-control wins vs Midrange, it has both an early threat and countermagic for the opponent's beatdown cards. It needs both. Lacking either leaves aggro-control poorly positioned in these matchups, which is why these decks, beginning with Kevin Cron's list all the way back in January, have dominated Delver-based aggro-control.
Were these Midrange decks actually Control decks, like they frequently are called, Delver aggro-control should be an unfavorable matchup for them just as it is for most control lists. Empirically, seeing that it is far from unfavorable is evidence that identifying them as control is likely wrong.
 
Menendian's list is the closest among those listed here to a control list, but it is not really that close to being one. It is threat dense, and the use of Delver allows it to play the aggro-control role against control lists, including Workshops. With its combination of virtual card advantage, removal, and efficiency, Menendian's list has the greatest ability to play the control role among these decks, but I don't think any of us are rushing to call a Gush deck with seven creatures, three of which are Delver of Secrets, a control deck.
 
It's unclear whether sliding upwards on the control scale to Hybrid Control creates enough space for aggro-control to slide under a list like Menendian's and play its tempo game, or whether Menendian can still just win the pseudo-mirror by being slightly slower and more controlling. Against a list with just Pyromancer, he can likely outscale his opponent, but if they are prepared with a sufficient combination of Sudden Shock and Sulfur Elementals, the sideboard games become close to toss-ups, if not unfavorable. Against a split list like Bertolin's, things may be difficult for Hybrid Control.
Of course, the pseudo-mirror is only one consideration for these decks. Reasons for going with one archetype rather than another are likely extremely metagame dependent, as well as due to personal preference.
 
Due to the raw power level of specific spells in Vintage, the format's tendency is to concern itself with tactical answers. We ask ourselves how to stop Oath of Druids, Bazaar of Baghdad, Lodestone Golem, Time Vault, Blightsteel Colossus, and, now, Monastery Mentor. Although these tactical questions are important, strategic positioning is arguably even more so. Monastery Mentor is powerful, expensive, and extremely decision intensive. It is among the most popular ways to deal damage in Vintage currently and has already established itself as a card that will consistently make appearances at the final tables of tournaments. Understanding the difference between the decks that play the card is vital to winning both with and against the Monastery.

12 Comments

I'm at work right now, so I by Joe Fiorini at Thu, 06/11/2015 - 11:32
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I'm at work right now, so I haven't had time to read this entire article yet. I liked what I have read so far. In fact, I like it so much that I feel the need to tell you now, and to save the rest of the article for a time where I can give it my entire attention!

This article reminds me of a post on the mana drain. Are you the one who wrote about mentor recently on tmd?

I have more kind words about this, I'll post later. Good job!

yeah, I expanded it a bit and by wappla at Thu, 06/11/2015 - 12:34
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yeah, I expanded it a bit and decided to post it here. Much of the content is the same.

Well, I think that it was by Joe Fiorini at Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:54
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Well, I think that it was very thoughtfully written. I'd love to read more of your work in the future!

You should definitely post a by Joe Fiorini at Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:57
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You should definitely post a link to this on The Mana Drain as well. If you'd like to play some Vintage on MTGO sometime, look me up.

will do. I just very recently by wappla at Thu, 06/11/2015 - 19:35
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will do. I just very recently got MTGO and am trying to scrape together the cheap parts of a list.

I'll help in any way I can. I by Joe Fiorini at Thu, 06/11/2015 - 20:49
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I'll help in any way I can. I like to see new Vintage players on MTGO! The community of players online and at the Mana Drain have been very helpful to me in general, so I like to pay it forward.

Good luck! And I know that I for one look forward to your next article. If you have any questions, I can help with that too. It took me a while to get good at making my articles look nice, and I had a lot of help from other writers here on puremtgo. Linking your card names like so is helpfull: (Black Lotus) typed like that becomes a link as long as spelling and capitalization are correct.

Bravissimo! Brilliant by Paul Leicht at Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:00
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Bravissimo! Brilliant exposition of an archetype I've been toying with. Thank you for writing and keep it up!

thanks! I'll probably be by wappla at Thu, 06/11/2015 - 19:35
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thanks! I'll probably be writing more about this topic in the future

Very nice article. Once I'm by CalmLittleBuddy at Fri, 06/12/2015 - 06:34
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Very nice article. Once I'm done with GP Providence, I will be exploring Vintage. This seems like a great place to start. Thanks.

This is a MONSTER of an by deluxeicoff at Fri, 06/12/2015 - 08:33
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This is a MONSTER of an article/effort! Bravo! Bookmarking this gem...wonderful & unbiased throughout...

First of all, I really liked by Reaper9889 at Fri, 06/12/2015 - 09:34
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First of all, I really liked your article, but I am still going to nitpick. Mentor is quadratic, not exponential. I.e. the k'th spell gives you only additive k+1 more power over k spells (and 0 gives 2 power), which is k^2/2 + 3k/2 + 2 power for the first k spells in 1 turn - this is quadratic because the highest dependency on k is in k^2. Exponential would be something like 2^k power for the first k spells. It could be achieved if each spell cast doublet the power (or some other factor). Concretely, the following card would do that: 1/1 with "whenever you play a spell put a copy of this into play". Exponential is a lot faster growing than quadratic, i.e. 20 spells would net you over a million power with the suggested card while it would only net you 232 power with mentor.

thank you, you are certainly by wappla at Fri, 06/12/2015 - 11:07
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thank you, you are certainly correct. This is a very relevant nitpick, as pilots should be aware of just how much their clock is increasing in a given line.