Khans of Tarkir had only been legal for two days before it made an appearance in a Legacy Top 8. The big winner so far is Dig Through Time. I predicted this card to see play, but I expected it to be in a control deck with a combo finisher. Instead, it appeared in a pure combo deck and a tempo deck.
There were two StarCity Games Legacy Opens on the first weekend of Khans’ release, and each saw Dig Through Time make a Top 8 appearance. On the east coast, in Edison, NJ, Gerard Fabiano played a singleton copy in his otherwise stock BUG Delver list. In the Midwest, the card appeared in Gus Schade’s Sneak and Show list, with two maindeck copies plus a third in the sideboard.
The singleton in Delver may be just an experiment to see if it plays well. Delver decks may sometimes rely on card selection to find situational answers, but Fabiano’s list contains no singletons other than the Dig Through Time. At instant speed, it can always be fired off for 3 or 4 mana if that mana would otherwise go to waste, so it’s certainly worth a shot. I doubt a deck with 3-4 Tarmogoyfs would want more than one copy, however.
The heavier use of the card in Sneak and Show is more interesting. A failed attempt to resolve Show and Tell may well dump several cards in the yard, between spent Lotus Petals, binned fetch lands or City of Traitors, and cheap countermagic. Dig Through Time may give you a reasonable shot to re-load for a second attempt, grabbing both an action spell plus the fattie to go with it, or the countermagic you need to protect it. The deck can also produce a reasonable amount of mana, so casting this at 4 or 5 isn’t that tough. This could be a legitimate new development in the deck, though one wonders how much you can afford to cut cheap cantrips for effects like this without hurting your first combo run.
A couple months back, I tried out a UW Spirits list in Vintage. I liked the idea of playing some hatebear elements in a deck that also could play Force of Will and other countermagic. The deck performed pretty well, but a few changes were in order. The original deck used a Gifts Ungiven package to reanimate Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. Gifts worked fine from underneath a Spirit of the Labyrinth, but the actual reanimation package wasn’t worth inclusion, and I’ve ditched it. In its place, I’ve included three copies of Deathrite Shaman to accelerate into the 3-drops and provide some additional disruption and reach. To accommodate DRS, I also added a Tropical Island to the manabase. It seemed rather easy to do so here, but it’s not absolutely necessary and I have certainly played DRS without green mana sources in the past.
I also decided to try out Drogskol Captain rather than Kira, Great Glass-Spinner. With nearly all my creatures being Spirits, Drogskol Captain can protect my hatebears while granting an incidental bonus of added power/toughness. With the popularity of Snapcaster Mage, getting a Geist of Saint Traft up to 3/3 can also be surprisingly relevant. The difference between Kira and Drogskol Captain is that Kira makes them waste a removal spell no matter what they want to kill, whereas Drogskol Captain just makes them remove the Captain first.
Here’s the list I’ll be playing in today’s videos:
UW Spirits Revisited by RexDart
I continue to be pleased with this deck in practice. The match videos today are going to heavily feature the impact of Eidolon of Rhetoric on a game. The way this card changes the whole flow of gameplay in a blue mirror is bizarrely fascinating, and I’m glad I had a chance to really see what it could do over the course of several turns. I also ran into Stephen Menendian in the queues during this recording session. Menendian is my all-time favorite Vintage writer, and one of my favorite Magic authors across the board. His series on the History of Vintage is amazing, and well worth a read.
I appreciate the feedback I got on the first article, and was glad I could take that into account and refine the deck. One of my flaws as a deckbuilder is to be “too cute” sometimes, and the Unburial Rites package was definitely just something included because it was neat to do, and not optimal. This set of videos makes a great case for the merits of Deathrite Shaman in the deck, and I will be keeping it in the list from here on out. If you have any other suggestions, or would like to see me try some other cards or packages of cards in this shell, let me know in the comments.