Las Vegas – Gush. In portuguese, Jorro. Who follows the banning and restrict announcements are getting used to see this five mana blue card on the report. In the last one, april 24th, she got restricted in Vintage, which promoted some big changes on this format. But it wasn’t the first time. The history of Gush starts in june of 2003. In that time, it was restricted for the first time in Vintage, and banned in Legacy. In Legacy, it has gone forever. In Vintage, it was just the first step.
Less then for years later, in march of 2007, Gush was again free to dive into the most opened format of the game. Almost one year later, in june of 2008, another restriction. In september of 2010 Wizards, enjoying to play, told people could run four Gushes again in Vintage. But this year, nevertheless, game over, again, until who knows… To evaluate the impact of restriction of Gush and Gitaxian Probe, which also got restricted, Joe Brennan, one of the best Vintage players in activity, talked to Fausto de Souza during GP Las Vegas. Brennan played Gush Mentor until april 24th. Than he changed to a harder control list, which still uses Monastery Mentor.
“I have no doubt it was the strongest deck of the format, but still had a 50%-50% match-up against Mishra’s Workshop decks, because they took advantage of the opponents Gushes”, says Brennan, who used, in his version, 3 Gushes and two probes, among the affected cards by the last announcement.
“Gush, as a card, its not good. It’s terrible against Workshop decks, because the last thing you want to do is get back lands to hand against a land denial deck”, explains the players.
“Even with the restriction of Gush, I still believe this is the strongest archetype of Vintage, far away. Restriction of Probe didn’t affect the deck, but to cover Gushes absent, people started to play cards like Compulsive Research or even four Preordain. This was too much. So I decided to go into a harder control version”.
<<The serenity of who know that will be on Top8>>
In this more reactive list, Brennan took of all blue sorceries, except, of course, for Treasure Cruise. “As I run four Mana Drain and two Snapcaster Mage, I don’t want my blue mana tapped on the opponents turn”, reveals.
Another changing was the reduction on the number of Mentors from three into two. “Mentors are in the deck just for one reason: they are very strong against Workshop decks. Normally they are discarded with Dack Fayden, as the list became more planeswalker control. I have two Jace, the Mind Sculptor, two Dack and one Chandra, Torch of Defiance. Besides them, I also can win the game with Vendilion Clique or Consecrated Sphinx. Sphinx goes well with Mana Drain. I’m even running a Sol Ring now. Before, I didn’t need two colorless mana”, evaluates him, revealing the most common way to win the games is with Chandra.
“It’s very difficult to deal with this card. She can’t be targeted by Abrupt Decay, don’t take Pyroblast. In fact, it is just countered by Force of Will or Mana Drain. And its very difficult to resolve it against the list I’m playing. I have Mental Misstep, Pyroblast in main deck… I always try to figure if I should run two or three misstep, because I have a lot of cards that can make his job. But, in fields with a lot of blue decks, I use three copies. And when I cut one, I replace it with Fact or Fiction”.
But this wasn’t the only change in format, the option for harder control decks. If before the battle was between Gush Mentor and Workshop, now there are some strangers. “Big Blue, which is a reactive deck, with Mana Drain and combos like Dack Fayden / Notion Thief and Tinker / Blightsteel Colossus. Another one who’s getting back into the show is Oath of Druids. I have playing against a lot of Oaths”, says the north-american, who made 13 top8s among the 14 tournaments he had played until GP Vegas.
To Brennan, this proves that, besides being the strongest archetype, restrict Gush was a mistake. “Ok, I’m an experienced player, but this is a huge advantage. Mentor should be the one to get restricted. Because now Doomsday is completely dead. It used four Gush and four Gitaxian Probe. I don’t know if you can play Delver of Secrets anymore, which is very weak without Gush”, regrets Brennan, despite the fact of assuming that in his deck Mentor is not that strong.
“It is one of the weakest cards of the deck. But it still possible to get lots of free wins with him. If you can’t deal with him and there is a Misstep to protect against Swords to Plowshares, its complicated. He always will leave a token. Always will be a situation of two for one. Unless you give a Mana Drain, because Force of Will is also two for one”.
<<Eight power nine are on the deck. Guess which one has left behind…>>
Mentor in Legacy
If he is so present in Vintage, why Mentor hasn’t that strength in Legacy, even if you still can use four Probes? “Because it coasts three mana, which is a lot in the format. Young Pyromancer coasts two mana, what make him very superior. In Vintage, because of the mana artifacts, he is good. In Vintage you still have Time Walk, now Paradoxical Outcome, that allows you to make tons of mana in a single turn, which can make possible for you to draw your entire deck in the first turn”, explains.
“In Legacy, I also play Mentor, in a UW hard control shell. I use lots of removals and counters to reach the third mana, but I don’t want to play Mentor with just three mana, I want four or five, so I can follow with other spells. The difference is you don’t have Mental Misstep in Legacy to protect it”, regrets.
In Main Event, during GP Vegas, he was not very well, but he took his Legacy Mentor into a winning among one of the trials.