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Guessing Games


When you have access to every powerful card in Magic’s history, it makes sense that there are going to be a lot of powerful instants. Nowhere is this truer than in Vintage. With Force of Will being a critical card in keeping unfair decks in check, as well as the availability of powerful instants like Ancestral Recall, Dig through Time, and more, there’s a lot of incentive to play a reactive Blue deck in Vintage. For many years, the real problem with this strategy is that there were no good flash threats. Vendilion Clique is fine, and Restoration Angel showed up from time to time, but people more frequently opted to play the likes of Oath of Druids and Monastery Mentor instead, opting to give the opponent an opening in exchange for closing the game quickly. Spell Queller may change all of


With the addition of Spell Queller, it’s now completely possible to play an instant-speed tempo game in Vintage. Spell Queller is huge because it’s a soft trump against Blue mirrors, since it doesn’t get hit by cards like Dispel, Spell Pierce, or Flusterstorm when you’re fighting over a key spell. On top of that, Spell Queller will come down and begin applying pressure. Stoneforge Mystic, Demonic Tutor, and Time Walk are the only cards which don’t really fit into the instant-speed nature of the deck, but those are cards that are efficient and powerful enough that they make it worth your while. Stoneforge Mystic in particular provides an enormous amount of utility against both Eldrazi and Monastery Mentor as a means of tutoring up Batterskull and Umezawa's Jitte respectively and cheating them into play on the cheap.

The power of this deck is that it leaves your opponent guessing. If you pass with four mana up, your opponent has to worry about everything from Force of Will to Spell Queller to Notion Thief. Even Containment Priest is a card that some decks will have to be afraid of that you can force them to play around. When you can conceal so much information, opponents will inevitably make mistakes, playing around cards that you don’t have or that they can’t really afford to play around. If they decide to do nothing then you just get to active Stoneforge Mystic or flash in a Notion Thief anyway and start beating down.

This is the kind of deck that is going to have more trouble against other proactive decks; things like Dredge, Eldrazi, or Mishra's Workshop decks. However, the advantage you gain in Blue mirrors is absolutely enormous, barring busted nonsense on either side of the table. I’m not convinced that Vintage is necessarily slow enough for a deck like this to really ever be on the front foot, but whenever the format takes a slower turn towards Control decks, it seems like Spell Queller could be a fantastic tool for tempo decks.

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