Bazaar of Baghdad (Vintage)Dark Times

Discussions about the Vintage format
rcwraspy
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Dark Times

Post #1 by rcwraspy » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:00 pm

Dark Times is an old deck built around getting out a quick Marit Lage 20/20 Flying Indestructible token via Dark Depths.

Although the archetype isn't "Tier 1" and has only had a few showings in large Vintage tournaments, it's still a strong competitor and can steal games out of nowhere. Some builds don't feature all the Power 9 that many Vintage decks automatically jam into their lists, but there are a few ways to build it and of course you can always put your own touches on it. From what I've seen, there are 3 main builds but they all revolve around Dark Depths, Thespian's Stage, and Vampire Hexmage:

1. Mono-black. This is what I'm currently running. It affords slots for 4x MD Pithing Needle (this deck typically names Wasteland above much
else), acceleration with Dark Ritual, and hand Disruption in Duress and Thoughtseize to protect your combo as well as Dark Confidant and black tutors to find your pieces and an additional win-con. Many mono-black lists, including mine, also MD 4x Leyline of the Void. This of course provides a huge leg up game 1 against Dredge, has incidental impacts on a lot of other matchups, and allows us to run 1 or 2 copies of Helm of Obedience for an alt win-con.

2. B/g. Green is a very natural splash because of the land ramp cards it offers, which allow you to tutor for the uncounterable land combo of Depths + Stage. Go-to cards include Sylvan Scrying, Into the North (Dark Depths is a Snow land, after all, and this brings it into play immediately, not into your hand) and Crop Rotation. I'm
not a big fan of Crop Rotation in Vintage because of the abundance of Mental Misstep and Chalice of the Void on 1. It's great in any Legacy Dark Depths builds, though. Green also affords you the use of Deathrite Shaman, Abrupt Decay, and artifact hate to shore up your Workshops mathups.

3. BUG (Sultai). This mix allows you to run the best tutors from black, some ramp from green, and digging/cantrips/counterspells from Blue to both protect your plan as well as disrupt your opponent's. These are typically considered the more powerful 3 colors in Vintage anyway, and being able to power out an uncounterable land combo adds a powerful approach that many opponents won't be able to handle. The downside here is that you're so all-in on the mainstays of Vintage (typically 6 of the 9 power cards and 12 or so counters) that you're cutting some of the incidental MD hate that the black version allows, such as
Needle, Duress, and Leyline. The counters may be better in games 2 and 3, but the mono-black version can often steal game 1s out of nowhere.

Here's the list I'm working with right now, but I'm always tweaking it:

[deck]
Creatures - 8
4 Vampire Hexmage
4 Dark Confidant

Artifacts - 12
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Jet
1 Sol Ring
1 Lotus Petal
4 Pithing Needle
2 Helm of Obedience
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Expedition Map

Enchantments - 5
4 Leyline of the Void
1 Necropotence

Planeswalkers - 2
2 Liliana of the Veil

Black Tutors - 3
1 Demonic Consultation
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor

Other Spells - 9
4 Duress
4 Dark Ritual
1 Diabolic Edict

Land - 21
4 Dark Depths
2 Thespian's Stage
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Strip Mine
4 Wasteland
8 Swamp

Sideboard - 15
2 Grafdigger's Cage
2 Extirpate
1 Darkblast
1 Grim Discovery
1 Diabolic Edict
2 Yixlid Jailer
3 Null Rod
1 Toxic Deluge
1 Sadistic Sacrament
1 Snuff Out
[/deck]

This has been working for me to a
moderate degree. I have a hard time against Workshops decks, as you may assume from the lack of artifact hate. That said, we don't need THAT much to combo out, and 4x Needle in the main is actually really powerful in the matchup, naming Wasteland and, more importantly, Goblin Welder.

I'm thinking of making some changes. For starters, I find I'm always bringing in the copy of Grim Discovery. It helps grind through their counters and disruption (like Repeal, ugh) very well. They've let me sac Hexmage and a Depths to create a token and they've taken out the token with Repeal, thinking they're safe for a while. Then I just bring them both right back and combo again. However, it may be best in the board, even if I do bring it in every match up, because it helps fight the way my opponents board whereas I'm catching them off-guard game 1.

I've also got a love-hate relationship with Not of This World[/c:
3mtf36ei]. As you can read, it's a free counterspell to counter anything that is targeting my Marit Lage token (such as [c]Repeal
). But you of course don't want to flip this to a Dark Confidant trigger, so it seems the natural swap would be him.

So I've been thinking of the following changes:
[deck]
Out - 21
4 Dark Confidant
2 Liliana of the Veil
1 Sensei's Divining Top
4 Leyline of the Void
2 Helm of Obedience
1 Expedition Map
7 Swamp

In - 21
3 Sylvan Scrying
2 Into the North
1 Sylvan Library
4 Not of This World
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Bayou
1 Mox Emerald
1 Forest
[/deck]

This affords both more inevitability in finding my combo as well as more interaction with my opponent's gameplan and their disruption of mine.

I may also want to find room for one or both of Grim Tutor and/or Imperial Seal.
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Post #2 by rcwraspy » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:06 pm

-1 Helm of Obedience
+1 Crucible of Worlds

Ability to replay the combo and/or strip/waste lock the opponent is much better than drawing more Helms than I need or drawing one without a Leyline in play. Bonus of one less life lost to a Bob flip.
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Post #3 by rcwraspy » Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:50 pm

i love Dark Depths combo, and think it isn't easily stopped by opponents. The biggest problem, as anybody can see from looking at the decklist, is the complete lack of stack interaction. I can proactively interact with my opponent's game plan via Leyline, Needle, Duress, etc., but each of those cards require an experience in and knowledge of the format that is still a bit out of my reach. As such, I've been drawing up a Dimir Depths brew. Here's where I'm at right now, with the help of a friend and local Vintage afficionado:

[deck]
Instant (16)
1x Ancestral Recall
1x Brainstorm
1x Flusterstorm
4x Force of Will
1x Lim-Dul's Vault
4x Mental Misstep
1x Mystical Tutor
1x Not of This World
1x Spell Snare
1x Vampiric Tutor

Sorcery (9)
1x Demonic Tutor
1x Ponder
4x Preordain
1x Time Walk
1x Tinker
1x Yawgmoth's Will

Artifact (8)
1x Black Lotus
1x Lotus Petal
1x Mana
Crypt
1x Mox Jet
1x Mox Sapphire
1x Sol Ring
1x Time Vault
1x Voltaic Key

Land (20)
4x Dark Depths
2x Island
4x Polluted Delta
1x Strip Mine
2x Swamp
2x Thespian's Stage
3x Underground Sea
2x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Creature (5)
1x Blightsteel Colossus
4x Vampire Hexmage

Planeswalker (2)
2x Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Sideboard (15)
1x Diabolic Edict
1x Extirpate
2x Grafdigger's Cage
1x Grim Discovery
1x Helm of Obedience
4x Leyline of the Void
1x Murderous Cut
1x Sadistic Sacrament
1x Snuff Out
2x Yixlid Jailer
[/deck]

This vastly increases my ability to protect my own combos as well as halt early wins by other decks that vomit out T1 and T2 kills. I'm basically giving up Needle, Leyline, Duress, and Wasteland for counterspells and dig - which should be a good tradeoff for a combo deck. The shell also lets me slot in a few other combos. It's much more of a "silver bullet" list, but I like the looks of it on paper at least. We'll see how it tests. I
initially began the brewing process with Dig Through Time in mind. I thought it was sweet in a combo-oriented deck to dig 7 deep and choose the 2 that best match your hand and/or the board state. I ended up cutting them, though, because of the inherent tensions with other cards in the list and also because I found that unless you're playing dredge or mono-cantrip.dec your yard isn't filling up fast enough for a T2 or T3 Dig for 2.
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Post #4 by rcwraspy » Sun Sep 21, 2014 4:58 pm

Tournament coming up on Saturday. I'll test this at the LGS on Tuesday night and likely bring it Saturday:

[deck]
Creature (5)
1x Blightsteel Colossus
4x Vampire Hexmage

Enchantment (1)
1x Necropotence

Instant (14)
1x Ancestral Recall
1x Brainstorm
1x Flusterstorm
4x Force of Will
4x Mental Misstep
1x Misdirection
1x Mystical Tutor
1x Vampiric Tutor

Sorcery (11)
1x Demonic Tutor
3x Thoughtseize
1x Ponder
4x Preordain
1x Time Walk
1x Tinker

Artifact (8)
1x Black Lotus
1x Lotus Petal
1x Mana Crypt
1x Mox Jet
1x Mox Sapphire
1x Sol Ring
1x Time Vault
1x Voltaic Key

Land (21)
3x Dark Depths
3x Island
3x Swamp
4x Polluted Delta
1x Strip Mine
2x Thespian's Stage
3x Underground Sea
2x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard (15)
2x Grafdigger's Cage
1x Helm of Obedience
3x Hurkyl's Recall
4x Leyline of the Void
1x Murderous Cut
1x Nihil Spellbomb
1x Notion Thief
1x Steel
Sabotage
1x Toxic Deluge
[/deck]

I'll also post the decklist in an alternate format. This breaks it down into the following categories: Combo pieces, disruption, dig, mana/acceleration. Note that some lands appear in combo and disruption instead of the mana/accel category.

[deck]
Combo Pieces - 13
3 Dark Depths
2 Thespian's Stage
4 Vampire Hexmage
1 Blightsteel Colossus
1 Tinker
1 Voltaic Key
1 Time Vault

Disruption - 14
4 Mental Misstep
4 Force of Will
1 Flusterstorm
1 Misdirection
3 Thoughtseize
1 Strip Mine

Dig - 12
1 Brainstorm
1 Ponder
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Walk
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Necropotence
4 Preordain

Mana/Accel - 21
4 Polluted Delta
3 Underground Sea
3 Island
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Black Lotus
1 Lotus Petal
1 Sol Ring
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mana Crypt
3 Swamp
[/deck]
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Post #5 by Col. Khaddafi » Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:03 am

Hey man, I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate reading about this deck you threw out. Dark depths is one of my favorite combo cards and I'm planning to run it on my upcoming Legacy Lands deck, so I was intrigued to know it could stand a chance in Vintage too (although due to lack of tournaments, its hard to distinguish between competitive and casual vintage anymore).

I have nothing to add, except to let you know I'm reading this, I know it sometimes can be frustrating when it looks like you are just talking to yourself in a thread
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Post #6 by rcwraspy » Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:51 pm

Thanks! Yeah Dark Depths is one of my favorite cards. I haven't run it in any Legacy deck yet, but I do know it's viable there. Lands.dec certainly runs it, as you mentioned, and every once in a while you see a dedicated Depths combo deck pop up on the SCG Open circuit. Those usually have green in them for that land tutor package I discussed in the first post - Sylvan Scrying, Crop Rotation, and Into the North.

I know what you mean about competitive vs. casual in Vintage. At an LGS you get pretty much all the same players each week since the Vintage community is so small, so the meta game gets inbred very quickly. But MTGTOP8 does have a few results for Dark Depths decks with good showings in large events. Here are a few example lists:

Won a daily July 2014: http://mtgtop8.com/event?e=7790&d=244853&f=VI
This one's interesting since it seems to eschew all but tutors from black, doesn't dip into green for anything but Trygon Predator and Abrupt Decay. Seems to play a long control game with an "oops, I win" uncounterable Depths/Stage combo. I like the Trygons main since the deck typically has a hard Workshops matchup.

22 player paper event in Europe April 2014: http://mtgtop8.com/event?e=7357&d=242133&f=VI
This is a lot like the base-black deck I posted in the first post, but with a green splash for cards like Abrupt Decay, Pernicious Deed, and Sylvan Library. It looks like he dropped the Pithing Needles and Leyline of
the Void
s from the main to fit in green cards and Deathrite Shaman. Again, the green here really helps the Workshops matchup, but I like having seconday "oops, I win" combo in the deck somewhere - be it Tinker/Blightsteel or Leyline/Helm.

There's another list that did well in a 40+ person Vintage side event at GP Melbourne, but the list is almost identical to the one above.

So it can be competitive, but it doesn't have a large share of the meta game by any means. The version I'm currently on, which looks almost like a Doomsday list except swap their combo for ours, or a BUG Fish list swapping their creatures for our combo, is my own brew that I'm continually tweaking and working on as I get more familiar with the format. I have no concept of whether or not it can potentially spike a tournament, but the shell, minus our combo, is proven.

Tuesday nights line up well for me with my current schedule and that's Vintage/Modern night at the LGS.
Since there are no upcoming Modern events I've been playing Vintage. I also have a larger tournament tomorrow, Saturday September 27th, in southern New Hampshire. I'm going to bring Dimir Depths and see how it goes. Goals for the tournament are to practice and get more experience with the format.
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Post #7 by rcwraspy » Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:16 pm

Current iteration of the deck:

[deck]
Creatures - 7
4 Deathrite Shaman
3 Vampire Hexmage

Instants - 6
4 Abrupt Decay
1 Demonic Consultation
1 Vampiric Tutor

Sorceries - 12
4 Living Wish
4 Thoughtseize
2 Night's Whisper
1 Life from the Loam
1 Demonic Tutor

Enchantments - 2
1 Sylvan Library
1 Fastbond

Artifacts - 9
1 Lotus Petal
1 Sol Ring
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
4 Pithing Needle

Land - 24
3 Dark Depths
3 Thespian's Stage
3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Wasteland
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Bayou
3 Swamp
1 Forest

Sideboard - 15
2 Grafdigger's Cage
2 Nature's Claim
3 Null Rod
1 Pernicious Deed
1 Snuff Out
1 Toxic Deluge
1 Vampire Hexmage
1 Dark Depths
1 Thespian's Stage
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Yixlid Jailer
[/deck]

This build started out as BG deciding to go all in on the combo. I had Sylvan Scrying and Into the North (and the basics were snow-covered, as is Dark Depths itself), but left out Crop Rotation because Mental Misstep and Chalice on 1 are pretty prevalent in the format. I'm now experimenting with dropping those land tutors and turning to Living Wish, which is the same CMC but can find any of the 3 combo pieces plus either Reclamation Sage or Yixlid Jailer, should they be necessary in the moment. I may develop more of a Wish Board, but I feel that would push me into White and I don't want to make that leap yet. Putting the 4th Hexmage in the board allowed me to bring in the restricted Fastbond which is just super cute in this deck. It's not a Gush deck by any means, but putting both pieces of the combo out at once, or combining Fastbond with Life from the Loam and Wastelands, provide the deck more angles. Deathrite has also had a great impact, getting me on board faster, providing a must-answer threat, and accelerating the combo.
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Post #8 by Kaitscralt » Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:50 pm

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Lord_Mcdonalds » Yesterday, 3:13 pm wrote: Standard hobos who play budget garbage should be looked upon with suspicion.

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Post #9 by rcwraspy » Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:30 pm

Spam » Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:16 am wrote:Seems like an interesting deck. How has it fared in testing?

I'm not really the one to answer that question. I don't play Vintage often enough to test thoroughly. I will say, though, that whenever there's a big vintage event in Europe a version of Dark Depths typically makes it to top 8.

I know I'm answering a troll question but thought I'd do so anyway.
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Post #10 by Mcdonalds » Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:50 am

Curious do you actually own power, or do you simply proxy?

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Post #11 by rcwraspy » Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:50 am

I have the Jet and Emerald, and proxy the Lotus. Don't own any blue power and Pearl is my only other mox. Power, Library, Mana Drain, Workshops are pretty much all I'll proxy - if I can't build the rest of whatever deck I want with my collection I'll either start collecting it or move on to another deck.
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Dark Times

Post #12 by Adalbald77 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:50 pm

rcwraspy » Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:50 pm wrote:i love Dark Depths combo, and think it isn't easily stopped by opponents. The biggest problem, as anybody can see from looking at the decklist, is the complete lack of stack interaction. I can proactively interact with my opponent's game plan via Leyline, Needle, Duress, etc., but each of those cards require an experience in and knowledge of the format that is still a bit out of my reach. As such, I've been drawing up a Dimir Depths brew. Here's where I'm at right now, with the help of a friend and local Vintage afficionado:

[deck]
Instant (16)
1x Ancestral Recall
1x Brainstorm
1x Flusterstorm
4x Force of Will
1x Lim-Dul's Vault
4x Mental Misstep
1x Mystical Tutor
1x Not of This World
1x Spell Snare
1x Vampiric Tutor

Sorcery (9)
1x Demonic Tutor
1x Ponder
4x Preordain
1x Time Walk
1x Tinker
1x Yawgmoth's Will

Artifact (8)
1x Black Lotus
1x Lotus Petal
1x Mana
Crypt
1x Mox Jet
1x Mox Sapphire
1x Sol Ring
1x Time Vault
1x Voltaic Key

Land (20)
4x Dark Depths
2x Island
4x Polluted Delta
1x Strip Mine
2x Swamp
2x Thespian's Stage
3x Underground Sea
2x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
paris airports transfers
Creature (5)
1x Blightsteel Colossus
4x Vampire Hexmage

Planeswalker (2)
2x Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Sideboard (15)
1x Diabolic Edict
1x Extirpate
2x Grafdigger's Cage
1x Grim Discovery
1x Helm of Obedience
4x Leyline of the Void
1x Murderous Cut
1x Sadistic Sacrament
1x Snuff Out
2x Yixlid Jailer
[/deck]

This vastly increases my ability to protect my own combos as well as halt early wins by other decks that vomit out T1 and T2 kills. I'm basically giving up Needle, Leyline, Duress, and Wasteland for counterspells and dig - which should be a good tradeoff for a combo deck. The shell also lets me slot in a few other combos. It's much more of a "silver bullet" list, but I like the looks of it on paper at least. We'll see how it tests. I
initially began the brewing process with Dig Through Time in mind. I thought it was sweet in a combo-oriented deck to dig 7 deep and choose the 2 that best match your hand and/or the board state. I ended up cutting them, though, because of the inherent tensions with other cards in the list and also because I found that unless you're playing dredge or mono-cantrip.dec your yard isn't filling up fast enough for a T2 or T3 Dig for 2.

Hi, thank you for the information :)


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