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Thread: GB Vengevine

  1. #1
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    GB Vengevine

    Way back, before Survival was banned rather than running UG, UGW or GBW, I was running a straight GB Aggro version. I top 8íd a bunch of local events with it, the strengths it had vs the more stock lists were that itís agro plan A was very strong and could beat people on itís own, and then if you needed to go to the late game you had your survival engine for that. It was also very very fast, you could kill on turn 2 and 3 without that much trouble with is pretty insane especially just off of creatures, not that it was the focus, but nice when it happened.
    (Turn one putrid imp discard 2 vengevines and a rootwalla, swing for 8, turn two, swing with everything and pump rootwalla for 12 exactly)

    Fast forward to today, and there are a whole bunch of new goodies to help make this work. The survival version didnít even have access to all the awesome Return to Ravnica GB cards. So Iíve dusted it off and started toying around with it again. It still has the turn 2 and 3 kills, which is nice, it doesnít have the late game inevitability of Survival of course, but it does now have somewhat of a draw engine and tools to better grind out the late game. The fast kills are in no way the point of the deck just a side benefit if they do happen. Itís possible I should remove more of the interactivity and focus on those explosive early turns, but I would worry about combo matches a lot. Iím more interested in being semi well rounded than a glass cannon. If I was all in I would just be on dredge, so itís better to play with those strengths and flexibility in mind.
    Because we arenít on Blue, there is a way higher degree of inconsistency here, so Iím trying to fix that, but Iím not quite sure how or if itís even possible.

    This is very much a work in progress, Iím just brewing and having fun at this point, but I feel there is enough going on here that itís worth exploring.


    GB Vengevine

    4 Deathrite Shaman
    4 Putrid Imp
    4 Basking Rootwalla
    4 Cryptbreaker
    2 Gravecrawler
    4 Lotleth Troll
    4 Vengevine
    3 Hollow One

    3 Cabal Therapy
    3 Collective Brutality
    3 Abrupt Decay
    2 Driven to Despair

    4 Bayou
    1 Pendelhaven
    1 Forest
    3 Swamp
    4 Verdant Catacombs
    5 Black Fetches
    2 Green Fetches


    So a few card notes on specific choices:

    Cryptbreaker
    Iím testing this out, it does a lot of heavy lifting for a 1 drop. It can draw cards, make creatures and be a discard outlet. Those are all things this deck is very much interested in. The big knock against it, is that it doesnít do much in multiples, or attack well, and I really donít have a ton of zombies in here, so it can take a bit to get online. That being said this deck isnít trying to just abuse it as much as possible, and it still does good work even with that low zombie count.

    Hollow One
    I want a cheap and big back up creature other than vengevine, but hollow one does require you to jump through some hoops, and is way less impressive off the top. Itís been ok, but not fantastic, and sometimes a bit clunky. Itís possible that cutting back on the interactivity and pushing the synergies more would let Hollow One shine more, like the RB and RG lists you are seeing in modern right now. Without the draw engines in this build he may be the wrong solution to this problem. It is nice that he doesnít get affected by graveyard hate or killed by most removal in the format. Street wraith could be a consideration here, to help out with this creature and to maybe shave a few lands, but I donít know if thatís enough incentive for the life loss involved.

    Driven to Despair
    This card is really great and can do some absurd things in here. But it is very situational. Iíd love to jam the full 4 but there just isnít room, and it isnít always good. Vs the decks with a lot of creature interactivity it can be pretty lack luster, but if you can get a big board presence early this will do some absurd things. The evasion it provides is also not to be underestimated.

    Abrupt Decay
    Oddly enough Iím pretty unhappy with this spell right now. You need some sort of removal, but not being able to deal with bigger creatures (anglers can be an issue) and things like Jace and batter skull that cost more than 3. Pulse is fine out of the board or even one main but it is expensive and clunky. Not sure what the best interactive option is.

    Cabal Therapy
    3 is a weird number for this spell, but honestly you donít always want to be sacrificing a creature, and you canít always do it for free. Vs the fair decks this isnít super great, just fine, but you need something to be competitive with combo game one, and can always be boarded out.


    While this is fairly graveyard dependent it isnít wholly dependent, we donít have goyf or bloodghast here so grave hate isnít as bad as it could be. That being said, surgicals on vengvines are an issue and Iím not sure what the best way to combat this is. Ground Seal is cool, but It shuts off deathrites. Other catch all grave hate isnít as bad, as you can still operate and hard cast things and play a fair and normal game, to some extent.

    Iíve tested a one of Dryad Arbor just for potential synergies with therapy and getting an extra body for driven. But itís gotten in the way more than it has helped so Iíve cut if for now, green isnít very valuable in here so you donít want too many mono green sources.

    Sideboard

    There are a world of options to play with here. The tricky part is the deck doesnít operate that well if you dilute the creatures too much, so if there are creature based options those are preferred, as you can board in more things with out diluting your deck. However all the high impact sideboard cards are non creatures for the most part. My big question is if I want a bunch of reactive and hate cards or if I should try to be proactive and protect my own synergies.
    I am fairly soft to sweepers, but Golgari Charm and other options donít really help protect from a deluge or something similar, not sure what to do there.

    Things that I want more of after board:

    Creature removal:
    Push, Go for the Throat, Dismember, Pulse, Decay, shriekmaw, Lilly, Edict, Pernicious Deed,
    Big Game Hunter is a fun one and works really really well with your over all plan. How many you want depends on your meta, if you have lots of sneak and show, eldrazi, or reanimator, Iíd want to be up to 3 or 4 of these.

    Combo Disruption:
    Therapy number 4, Lilly, Chains of Meph, Hymn, Surgical, Thoughtseize, Pithing Needle

    Graveyard hate:
    Leyline, Surgical, Macabre, Spellbomb, Sc-Ooze

    Matchup specific cards and catch alls
    Golgari Charm, Dread of Night, Carpet of Flowers, Pernicious Deed, Shapers Sanctuary, Marsh Casualties


    Iím going to try to get out to some local events over the holidays and hopefully some real world testing will answer some of these questions.


    Current list:


    4 Putrid Imp
    4 Carrion Feeder
    4 Gravecrawler
    4 Lotleth Troll
    4 Cryptbreaker
    2 Diregraf Colossus
    4 Deathrite Shaman
    4 Vengevine

    3 Abrupt Decay
    4 Cabal Therapy
    3 Collective Brutality

    4 Verdant Catacombs
    3 Bloodstained Mire
    2 Marsh Flats
    3 Polluted Delta
    4 Bayou
    3 Swamp
    1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    Last edited by ReAnimator; 12-06-2017 at 12:51 PM.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    For reference, this is an experimental list that I put together about a year ago:

    Lands (20)
    2 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Bloodstained Mire
    2 Marsh Flats
    2 Polluted Delta
    4 Bayou
    3 Swamp
    1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    4 Mutavault

    Creatures (20)
    4 Deathrite Shaman
    4 Putrid Imp
    4 Carrion Feeder
    4 Gravecrawler
    4 Vengevine

    Spells (20)
    4 Buried Alive
    2 Contamination
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Cabal Therapy
    2 Liliana of the Veil
    4 Abrupt Decay

    With Fatal Push and Collective Brutality in the card pool now, I'd definitely cut some number of Thoughtseize and/or Abrupt Decay for some. I'm not even sure how good Liliana is right now, either.

    The premise behind Carrion Feeder was that he gave resiliency to Swords to Plowshares and Terminus for Gravecrawler and Vengevine, and was a solid backup threat to the Vengevine plan when combined with Gravecrawler.

    Contamination can be difficult to setup and is a little clunky, but it is brutal against most decks in the format.

    I'm not saying this list is any good, or any better than yours, just that this was where I ended up with the concept last year. I have not worked on it at all since then.

    EDIT: Also, Entomb may be better than Buried Alive. Buried Alive is slow, and although powerful, Entomb would be better at setting up Contamination locks. Entomb is faster to set up Vengevine beats (turn 2) as opposed to Buried Alive (turns 3 or 4), too.
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    The whole Vengevine thing is fine, but Bloodghast is probably just a better starting point.

    Among your better discard enablers are traditionally Faithless Looting and Careful Study. There are other, newer cards that can fill this role including things like Wharf Infiltrator and Chart a Course, which can move you away from the graveyard. These are ofc blue, but there is also the idea of Leovold and Geier Reach Sanitarium/Cephalid Coliseum. If you're really dedicated to the green/black approach, there's some pretty dumb stuff you can do with Amonkhet cards like Archfiend of Ifnir and Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons.

    Looking at the creatures in your list, DRS is great, but the rest is pretty questionable outside of the value triangle of Gravecrawler, Carrion Feeder (doubtful that this should be a 4x), and other zombies (Bloodghast). Basking Rootwalla is fine, but probably needs a better plan than maybe running him will allow me to make a 4/3 haste in a DRS format. Putrid Imp and Hollow one just aren't going to work very well (you're not getting away with playing Hollow One in legacy without Faithless Looting, at which point that's our 1-drop, not Imp). Cryptbreaker is in all likelihood too slow; this card is probably more at home in a Standstill shell that for some reason wants a creature over Innocent Blood??? Lotleth Troll and Vengevine are highly conditional - one requires a very real pitch zombie plan that runs directly into yard hate, and the other isn't all that realistic compared to the power level of what you're trying to achieve.

    Buried Alive probably just has to be Entomb. Driven // Despair should be Sylvan Library, if anything like that. Once you get to the point of Entomb (where we aren't just playing reanimator), Vengevine should start looking like a worse and worse Bridge from Below; a card that is more effective as a tutored singleton even. If the point is to not be Zombardment and use Rootwalla, I think there is something to be said for Archfiend/Looting/Hollow One as the payoff idea to build around.

    If I really can't dissuade you from running Vengevine, the creature you're looking for has to cost 1, have competitive stats, and bounce itself. The card you are looking for is Greenbelt Rampager.

  5. #5
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    I do like the idea but Goblin Bombardment is really hard to pass up on. As far as the Hollow One goes though, what about using Mox Diamond as an accelerator and enabler alongside dakmor salvage?
    Once you go Legacy...

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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Bloodghast and Buried Alive both seem very good to me. Bloodghast is just pure gas with Carrion Feeder and Cabal Therapy. I would even consider playing Dark Ritual in this deck, just to get faster starts and enable t1 Buried Alive. Similar to Pox, Dark Ritual allows for broken starts while being a pitch card to Liliana/Collective Brutality in the mid-late game.
    Last edited by Mr. Safety; 12-05-2017 at 12:39 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    First of all, thank you everyone for your freedback! Lots to chew on.

    A few general comments, Iím mostly not interested in going more all in on the graveyard, as I think the logical end game of doing so is usually dredge or reanimator. The thing those decks canít do is play a legitimate plan b or plan c. I would like this to be a functional deck when going up against graveyard hate, as that is where the strength lies in itís ability to not crumble to hate and have a legitimate plan b. Similar to Zombardment and others. That being said Bloodghast is fine to play around with as it can be more slow rolled.

    Iíve run Zombardment and Contamination decks in the past many times. Iím not really interested in building a Contamination deck as it requires a lot of build around, and Iím already building around other things here, it also doesnít really mesh with the current game plan, it would be a totally different deck.

    I donít have anything that costs more than 2 in here, realistically. I donít think Buried Alive is fast enough or flexible enough to do good work here. It seems pretty slow and clunky in a deck that is trying to be faster.
    Entomb I could get behind, but it starts to eat up lots and lots of slots and cuts back on your creature slots. Also it plays into your graveyard dependency more and starts leading you down the path of just being a bad reanimator deck. Iíll test it out and see how it goes, but my initial feeling is that itís not going to accomplish what I want. I could be wrong.

    Iíve run Carrion Feeder engines before, maybe this is the right shell to put that back into, itís a one drop and a zombie, and gives a different engine to threaten with, though it is affected by graveyard hate.
    One interesting interaction with Carrion Feeder and Gravecrawler, is Diregraf Colossus. It becomes a very broken token engine pretty quickly, might be something to explore.

    I can see cutting Rootwallaís for more zombies, it makes you way less explosive though as turn 1 and 2 vengevines are way harder to get in play. If Iím less all in though getting a turn 2 or 3 vengevine can still be fine.

    Dark Rituals are an interesting idea, I worry about being even less consistent though because of them. The upside is that it will enable the early explosive plays that we are looking for even without rootwalla.

    With Carrion Feeder in, Bloodghast starts making more sense, but itís not a zombie, might be hard to squeeze in.

    Iíll test out a new list tonight, dropping the Rootwallas and Hollow ones, for the Carrion Feeder engine and Colossus, Iíll try out dark rituals as well to see if they help bridge that gap in speed.

    @Fox I like some of your thoughts but some of your suggestions confuse me a bit. Why would I be building a -1/-1 Themed counter deck? How can you ever justify a 3BB casting creature that doesnít win the game on the spot? You say cryptbreaker is slow, well not as slow as a 5 drop for sure. Rampager is a cool creature, but getting triggers for Vengevine isnít a problem at all, itís not like we need to activate it every turn either. Seems even more niche than something like rootwalla.

  8. #8

    Re: GB Vengevine

    Man, I have a whole thread on this deck concept somewhere, though it's old and dated now. You really want to go heavy on the draw and discard stuff. I ended up in 4c iirc. Something like (updated for today)

    4x Careful Study
    4x Faithless Looting
    4x Cabal Therapy
    3x Collective Brutality
    3x Deep Analysis

    4x Squee, Goblin Nabob
    4x Vengevine
    4x Bloodghast
    4x Gravecrawler
    4x Basking Rootwalla
    4x Prized Amalgam
    1x Haakon, Stromgald Scourge
    1x Skaab Ruinator

    20 lands

    I ended up ditching the concept because it ended up just being a worse version of Dredge. It's a really fine line between "all in on taking advantage of graveyard beats and ending up a worse version of Dredge" and "all in on being able to hardcast stuff and being a worse version of Rock"

  9. #9
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanni View Post
    For reference, this is an experimental list that I put together about a year ago:

    Lands (20)
    2 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Bloodstained Mire
    2 Marsh Flats
    2 Polluted Delta
    4 Bayou
    3 Swamp
    1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    4 Mutavault

    Creatures (20)
    4 Deathrite Shaman
    4 Putrid Imp
    4 Carrion Feeder
    4 Gravecrawler
    4 Vengevine

    Spells (20)
    4 Buried Alive
    2 Contamination
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Cabal Therapy
    2 Liliana of the Veil
    4 Abrupt Decay

    With Fatal Push and Collective Brutality in the card pool now, I'd definitely cut some number of Thoughtseize and/or Abrupt Decay for some. I'm not even sure how good Liliana is right now, either.

    The premise behind Carrion Feeder was that he gave resiliency to Swords to Plowshares and Terminus for Gravecrawler and Vengevine, and was a solid backup threat to the Vengevine plan when combined with Gravecrawler.

    Contamination can be difficult to setup and is a little clunky, but it is brutal against most decks in the format.

    I'm not saying this list is any good, or any better than yours, just that this was where I ended up with the concept last year. I have not worked on it at all since then.

    EDIT: Also, Entomb may be better than Buried Alive. Buried Alive is slow, and although powerful, Entomb would be better at setting up Contamination locks. Entomb is faster to set up Vengevine beats (turn 2) as opposed to Buried Alive (turns 3 or 4), too.
    I would transform Hannis list to something like this:

    // 60 Maindeck

    // 25 Creature
    4 Deathrite Shaman
    3 Putrid Imp
    4 Carrion Feeder
    4 Gravecrawler
    3 Vengevine
    3 Lotleth Troll
    1 Vengeful Pharaoh
    3 Bloodghast

    // 6 Instant
    3 Abrupt Decay
    2 Entomb
    1 Darkblast

    // 20 Land
    2 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Bloodstained Mire
    2 Marsh Flats
    2 Polluted Delta
    4 Bayou
    3 Swamp
    1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    3 Mutavault
    1 Scrubland

    // 9 Sorcery
    2 Thoughtseize
    4 Cabal Therapy
    3 Collective Brutality


    // 15 Sideboard
    SB: 2 Null Rod
    SB: 2 Tidehollow Sculler
    SB: 2 Fleshbag Marauder
    SB: 2 Sylvan Library
    SB: 3 Surgical Extraction
    SB: 2 Path to Exile
    SB: 2 Golgari Charm

    Looks like some fun and in the past i really enjoyed Walking Dead etc. you can get some good interaction with the cards. Its maybe still to weak for legacy but a lot of players will underestimate a brew like this so you can easily outplay some situations if you have done your homework and knew whats to do with this pile of cards.
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  10. #10
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    So I tested this a little last night vs Grixis delver to see how it ran and it wasnít too bad, I learned a lot about certain cards and some directions I want to go.

    What I was playing with feedback form here:


    4 Putrid Imp
    4 Carrion Feeder
    4 Gravecrawler
    4 Lotleth Troll
    4 Cryptbreaker
    2 Diregraf Colossus
    4 Deathrite Shaman
    4 Vengevine

    3 Abrupt Decay
    4 Cabal Therapy
    3 Collective Brutality

    4 Verdant Catacombs
    3 Bloodstained Mire
    2 Marsh Flats
    2 Polluted Delta
    4 Bayou
    3 Swamp
    1 Forest
    1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth


    Crypbreaker is super strong and worth building around and supporting. It does a lot of heavy lifting in here. Iím not surprised it was a cornerstone of a standard deck for a long time. With the addition of a bunch more zombies it can really get going fast.


    The Feeder / Crawler engine is great, people here were right it adds an extra dimension and it doesnít take much for a crawler to get out of hand. It is a very mana hungry engine though, the basic forest got in the way a few times not just with this, but with 16 one drops on B you are often on 2 of them turn 2 and the forest can really screw up your tempo.

    Diregraf Colossus surprised me, itís sort of like a young pyromancer, and if you have a Cryptbreaker out it starts cascading out of control very quickly.

    Dark rituals were something I tried at Mr.Safetyís suggestion, but itís really not what the deck is looking for. Because of the activated abilities in here and when you have crawler / feeder going, having permanent mana sources is just way more desirable. The explosiveness wasnít worth the greater lack of consistency, and if you have a Lotleth and a Cryptbreaker in play you are going to want lands, not one shot activations. Worth trying out for sure though.

    @morgan, yeah thatís not the direction I want to go at all, for the reasons you stated, it doesnít really have many advantages at that point over just being dredge, and since itís all in on that strategy it canít really play out like a normal deck when you need too.

    @MD.Ghost That list is really close to where Iím at now and what I tested last night. A few things Iím doing different. I think Mutavault is probably too greedy this deck can be very colour intensive so much so that I want to cut the basic forest from my list. You might be able to support a couple if you had more urborgs which work well with bloodghasts too. I like the idea of the mini entomb package it just eats up a lot of slots. So Iíll have to test that out.

  11. #11
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Keep in mind, the list I posted was built for a different metagame, back when CounterTop Miracles was the most played deck. Cards like Mutavault and Abrupt Decay were much more valuable then. Cutting Mutavault for more Swamps seems better now. Without Mutavault, there is no point in having Urborg.

    I still think Contamination is incredibly powerful. If not maindeck, then at least sideboard.

    I'm not sold on Lotleth at all. There are only 8 creature cards you would want to discard to it. Otherwise, it's extremely mediocre.

    I can get behind Cryptbreaker. The deck definitely benefits from a high count of both 1cc creatures and zombies, so it makes sense. The abilities seem a bit too slow for Legacy, but it does give the deck some more midrange power by being able to convert excess lands or other dead cards into zombie tokens later on, should the game go that long. The ability to tap down a pile of weak zombies to draw a card seems decent, though I'm not sure how often that it would come up. Still, being 1cc and a zombie has me sold.

    I'm not sold on Diregraf Colossus. It is rarely going to come into play with multiple counters, and the only way you're making a bunch of tokens with it is with the Feeder/Crawler engine, which seems win-more. I realize that there are enough zombies to naturally make a couple of tokens with it if you sequence properly, but it's 3cc. Even in this shell, it pales in comparison to Monastery Mentor.

    If you cut Lotleth and Diregraf, you could fit more discard, removal, Entomb, Contamination, Liliana, Buried Alive, whatever. Personally, I'd advocate for 4 Entomb and 2 Contamination.
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  12. #12
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanni View Post
    Keep in mind, the list I posted was built for a different metagame, back when CounterTop Miracles was the most played deck. Cards like Mutavault and Abrupt Decay were much more valuable then. Cutting Mutavault for more Swamps seems better now. Without Mutavault, there is no point in having Urborg.

    I still think Contamination is incredibly powerful. If not maindeck, then at least sideboard.

    I'm not sold on Lotleth at all. There are only 8 creature cards you would want to discard to it. Otherwise, it's extremely mediocre.

    I can get behind Cryptbreaker. The deck definitely benefits from a high count of both 1cc creatures and zombies, so it makes sense. The abilities seem a bit too slow for Legacy, but it does give the deck some more midrange power by being able to convert excess lands or other dead cards into zombie tokens later on, should the game go that long. The ability to tap down a pile of weak zombies to draw a card seems decent, though I'm not sure how often that it would come up. Still, being 1cc and a zombie has me sold.

    I'm not sold on Diregraf Colossus. It is rarely going to come into play with multiple counters, and the only way you're making a bunch of tokens with it is with the Feeder/Crawler engine, which seems win-more. I realize that there are enough zombies to naturally make a couple of tokens with it if you sequence properly, but it's 3cc. Even in this shell, it pales in comparison to Monastery Mentor.

    If you cut Lotleth and Diregraf, you could fit more discard, removal, Entomb, Contamination, Liliana, Buried Alive, whatever. Personally, I'd advocate for 4 Entomb and 2 Contamination.
    There is a point for urborg but it's minor, saving life points off of fetches is relevant for Cryptbreaker, every extra life you have could be a card. I just have to figure out if Urborg helps out my opponents more than me.

    I might try contamination out of the board, i do love the card, just not sure it has the support or if it's more effective than other sideboard hate. I worry that people are going to bring in yard hate anyway, so it might be hard to keep going. It also has the problem of needing a Basic Forest in your mana base, and a way to set up making it fetchable easily.

    Lotleth isn't super amazing but it'a actually really really hard to kill in the format right now. STP's are at the lowest they've ever been. Something like Grixis or Czech pile have no real answers to it, and the trample is relevant vs protection creatures in D&T, and vs young pyro tokens. The regenerating can keep something like a Angler at bay indefinitely which is nice too.

    Cryptbreaker was deceptively amazing when i started testing it. You have a ton of 1 drops in here, so often you can just start activating the draw on it turn 2, which is way better than swinging in for 3 or 4 damage. There have been a few games in testing where i was just drawing 2 cards a turn from turn 2 onwards, the fact that it does more than that later was really great.

    I'm not sold on Diregraf either. Your points are valid, it might be too win more, and it might not be strong enough on it's own. It's been testing better than i thought it would be, so i'll give it a shot for a bit longer, but i think you are right and it isn't going to be there in the end.

    Thanks for the awesome feedback.

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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by ReAnimator View Post
    @Fox I like some of your thoughts but some of your suggestions confuse me a bit. Why would I be building a -1/-1 Themed counter deck? How can you ever justify a 3BB casting creature that doesnít win the game on the spot? You say cryptbreaker is slow, well not as slow as a 5 drop for sure. Rampager is a cool creature, but getting triggers for Vengevine isnít a problem at all, itís not like we need to activate it every turn either. Seems even more niche than something like rootwalla.
    I'm not advocating some all-out -1/-1 counter plan, it's just so effortless to take a strategy like this and have a few unintentionally-supported Archfiends to go way over the top for very low risk [cycling; there is no obligation to ever cast it]. When I look at the original deck idea I see at least three reasonably competitive [non-blue] decks whose concepts were mashed together to make the original list - Looting/Rootwalla/Archfiend/Hollow, Rootwalla/Vengevine/more build-around with concepts like Rampager, and then Zombardment. While all of these approaches are less-winning (probably) than B/R reanimator, one wall I keep running into with Vengevine is that the G/B approach feels worse than Zombardment...and if you really focused on green, it should probably just be elves.

    The main decision fork you're going to run into is whether or not your deck wants the zombie value engine, or if it wants to really try and maximize Rootwalla in some way. I think it's going to be pretty difficult to find the slots to do both at once, particularly if Vengevine is still in the mix. When you tally up Rootwalla/Bloodghast/Gravecrawler, you're reaching a critical mass of cards that are telling you to play Faithless Looting and Cabal Therapy - for the sake of simplicity let's say these are all playsets so we have 20 slots solved. We know we're running DRS x4 and at least 4x slots of Brutality/Decay and now we're really only working with 12 slots as roughly 20 are reserved for lands. Those last 12 slots can't really support Vengevine as we want more value, more powerful synergies, more PWs, more interaction, and potentially the 1 mana black instant (Rit or Entomb).

    There might be a competitive Vengevine build, but I'd be more inclined to have 58 cards that have a plan which happens to align with Archfiend. I think the effect is more powerful than potentially assembling repeatable 4/3 haste creatures, while also attacking on a different axis. The starting point for me would be:
    Creatures (18)
    -DRS x4
    -Basking Rootwalla x4
    -Bloodghast x4
    -Gravecrawler x4
    -Archfiend of Ifnir x2

    Spells (22)
    -Cabal Therapy x4
    -Faithless Looting x4
    -Collective Brutality x3
    -Abrupt Decay x1
    -Entomb x4
    -Liliana of the Veil x2
    -Thoughtseize x2
    -Bridge from Below x1
    -Contamination x1

    Lands (20)
    -Cavern of Souls x2
    -Badlands x3
    -Swamp x2
    -Bayou x2
    -Verdant Catacombs x4
    -Bloodstained Mire x4
    -Polluted Delta x2
    -Mutavault x1

    SB options I like:
    -Abrupt Decay
    -Surgical Extraction
    -Contamination
    -Krosan Grip
    -Vengeful Pharaoh
    -Toxic Deluge
    -Sulfur Elemental
    -Dread of Night
    -Diabolic Edict
    -Sylvan Library
    -Ground Seal (maybe...if you expected a lot of SCM/StP and are open to boarding out DRS)
    -Leyline of the Void
    -Liliana, the Last Hope
    -Fatal Push
    -Darkblast

    In terms of value, more zombie creature types for Gravecrawler would have been fine [Carrion Feeder]. In my list I'm deferring that value into Entomb synergies and open to the idea of hiding a zombie in the manabase w/ Mutavault. The list checks the synergistic combos box, without derailing the plan, with Archfiend and Contamination. Another approach could have been Hollow One, although it moves away from a Gravecrawler emphasis. The walkers are there, and the additional interaction slots are properly filled (Thoughtseize). The mana base is probably generally okay, and the number of Decay can be optimized with relative ease.

  14. #14
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Thanks for this Fox, I totally understand your thought process, and you are probably right that the logical end game of any deck like this is just bad dredge or bad reanimator. You are right on the not having enough slots to go for all the synergies.

    I think in the list you posted, there really isntí a reason to be green. Root Walla could probably be hollow one, youíd probably need street wraiths as well. I know the RB Hollow one lists that are seeing play in modern right now are running some call to the nether worlds as well, which can make an interesting engine with Wraith and Archfiend.

    I guess for my exploration I want to explore the zombie based list I posted. With a small VVine engine that isnít all in on it. But Iíll test out the Entomb engines, and other builds.

    Really appreciate your thoughts.

  15. #15
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Curious where you left off with this ReAnimator? DRS was likely the reason this deck couldn't get off the ground but also one of the best enablers of the strategy. Without it, I've been brewing a list lately due to the hotness of the Dark Ritual/Buried Alive/Arclight Phoenix interaction. I think that Bg can play a similar game with Vengevines, Bloodghasts, and to a smaller extent Hollow Ones. Attacking for 9 with hasty flyers is likely better than attacking for 12 with hasty 4/3's but the difference is that we would have access to Abrupt Decay and other forms of disruption to fight the metagame. Here is my theoretical list, dropping the zombie engine (Gravecrawler/Carrion Feeder) for Street Wraith/Hollow One.

    4x Putrid Imp
    4x Basking Rootwalla
    4x Vengevine
    4x Hollow One
    4x Bloodghast
    4x Street Wrath
    1x Tombstalker
    1x Vengeful Pharaoh

    4x Thoughtseize
    2x Collective Brutality
    4x Dark Ritual
    4x Buried Alive
    2x Abrupt Decay

    4x Verdant Catacombs
    2x Marsh Flats
    2x Windswept Heath
    1x Bayou
    2x Blooming Marsh
    4x Swamp
    2x Forest
    1x Treetop Village

    2x Pithing Needle (could be Ground Seal)
    2x Diabolic Edict
    4x Faerie Macabre
    1x Maelstrom Pulse
    2x Sylvan Library
    1x Liliana, the Last Hope
    3x Hymn to Tourach


    The idea is to piggyback on your premise of using the graveyard, but not going all-in (unless it can play around it, for example t1 blast of Vengevines or Hollow Ones.) I really leaned out the disruption package, possibly too much, but I'm not sure. In testing this list I have found that it is decent at explosive starts and can grind ok, but not fantatastic. It really wants 2 4-power threats by turn 2 to really put the pressure on.
    I am counted amongst legions of the unrighteous
    who dread not being immersed in pits of fire

  16. #16

    Re: GB Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    Curious where you left off with this ReAnimator? DRS was likely the reason this deck couldn't get off the ground but also one of the best enablers of the strategy. Without it, I've been brewing a list lately due to the hotness of the Dark Ritual/Buried Alive/Arclight Phoenix interaction. I think that Bg can play a similar game with Vengevines, Bloodghasts, and to a smaller extent Hollow Ones. Attacking for 9 with hasty flyers is likely better than attacking for 12 with hasty 4/3's but the difference is that we would have access to Abrupt Decay and other forms of disruption to fight the metagame. Here is my theoretical list, dropping the zombie engine (Gravecrawler/Carrion Feeder) for Street Wraith/Hollow One.

    4x Putrid Imp
    4x Basking Rootwalla
    4x Vengevine
    4x Hollow One
    4x Bloodghast
    4x Street Wrath
    1x Tombstalker
    1x Vengeful Pharaoh

    4x Thoughtseize
    2x Collective Brutality
    4x Dark Ritual
    4x Buried Alive
    2x Abrupt Decay

    4x Verdant Catacombs
    2x Windswept Heath
    2x Marsh Flats
    1x Bayou
    2x Blooming Marsh
    4x Swamp
    2x Forest
    1x Treetop Village

    2x Pithing Needle (could be Ground Seal)
    2x Diabolic Edict
    4x Faerie Macabre
    1x Maelstrom Pulse
    2x Sylvan Library
    1x Liliana, the Last Hope
    3x Hymn to Tourach


    The idea is to piggyback on your premise of using the graveyard, but not going all-in (unless it can play around it, for example t1 blast of Vengevines or Hollow Ones.) I really leaned out the disruption package, possibly too much, but I'm not sure. In testing this list I have found that it is decent at explosive starts and can grind ok, but not fantatastic. It really wants 2 4-power threats by turn 2 to really put the pressure on.
    I really like the deck, but rootwalla is a bad card imo and bloodghast too I think. I would cut these two for nimble mongoose and tarmogoyf. The deck in my mind would be eva green with an oops I win combo in the deck. I would cut tombstalker and pharaoh for more brutalities too or discard liliana.

    Edit: maybe bob over goyf?
    Quote Originally Posted by Laser Brains View Post
    With the printing of Gigantosaurus, Thrashing Brontodon and Steel Leaf Champion the deck has evolved from good to very competitive. Anyway, give it a few play tests if you are interested and let me know what you think.

    Winter Maze
    Quote Originally Posted by CptHaddock View Post
    With veteran explorer I know that I 100% will not enjoy a 30 minute grindfest against someone who can barely afford dual lands and believes that their deck can cast a 10 mana 8/8.

  17. #17
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by kinda View Post
    I really like the deck, but rootwalla is a bad card imo and bloodghast too I think. I would cut these two for nimble mongoose and tarmogoyf. The deck in my mind would be eva green with an oops I win combo in the deck. I would cut tombstalker and pharaoh for more brutalities too or discard liliana.

    Edit: maybe bob over goyf?
    Thanks for the thoughts! I really appreciate it.

    I think Gurmag Angler would probably be slightly better than Tarmogoyf. Rootwalla is a bad card by itself but enables free creature plays to trigger vengevines. It isn't the worst as a mana-sink if I get flooded, too. Gurmag could be another 1-mana card to trigger Vengevines.

    I think Mongoose could be good as a substitute for Hollow One if I went with Dark Confidant, which I think is a great suggestion. It would give me more 1-mana threats that don't ding me for 5 if flipped with Confidant. I'm a little hesitant on Mongoose however because it's one of the worst threats in RUG Delver lately, some people switching over to Hooting Mandrills in some number instead of Mongoose. I'll have to keep them in reserve. I'm also playing Street Wraiths, which are fantastic at getting cheap Hollow Ones and allow me to trim down to 18 lands. That's a lot of high-mana cards, risky for Bobs.

    Liliana of the Veil is really not great in legacy anymore. I don't think she's bad, but I don't think I can afford to dedicate too many slots to slow discard outlets. I think Ritual into Buried Alive is a faster, more reliable way to get Vengevines for cheap. I feel like if I wanted to grind there are better Black mid-range decks. I think for an agro deck to be viable it needs to be quick onto the board. I'd love to play Wild Mongrel, but even at 2 mana it's slow. Ditto on Lotleth Troll.

    Bloodghast is there as a secondary outlet to Buried Alive. If my Vines get surgical-ed (very possible) I can still assemble 6 power with triple Bloodghast. They are easier to trigger too, just needing a land drop. I can typically hold an uncracked fetch in reserve.

    Great thoughts, just letting you know why I came to this configuration. I'll keep all of your ideas in reserve if I see any glaring holes they could help. Also keeping Big Game Hunter, Stinkweed Imp and Darkblast on my testing list.

    EDIT: Also Stitcher's Supplier, great with Cabal Therapy if I decide to use that.
    Last edited by Mr. Safety; 02-11-2019 at 12:29 PM.
    I am counted amongst legions of the unrighteous
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  18. #18
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    I played this in a league, think I went 2-3 or 3-2. Fun but very inconsistent. However, here's an idea if you want it:

    4 Stitcher's Supplier
    4 Bloodghast
    4 Prized Amalgam
    4 Gravecrawler
    4 Vengevine
    4 Birds of Paradise
    4 Putrid Imp
    2 Carrion Feeder
    2 Cryptbreaker
    1 Filth

    4 Cabal Therapy
    3 Assassin's Trophy
    1 Life from the Loam

    3 Bayou
    2 Swamp
    2 Forest
    2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

    4 Verdant Catacombs
    4 Marsh Flats
    2 Windswept Heath

    I don't remember the sideboard, probably 4 Thoughtseize, 4 Surgical, 4 Thorn of Amethyst, 3 Krosan Grip or something like that.

  19. #19
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Thanks! If you don't mind me asking, where were the inconsistencies? What were the matchups? Was it hate or the deck losing to itself that made it play out poorly?

    Prized Amalgam has been on my mind but I wanted to avoid creatures I can't cast. Interested on your take with that creature in particular. In general I'd love to know if you were happy with the zombie engine or if it was too 'all-in'.

    Again, like ReAnimator started with, I'm looking for a deck that can puke out 4/3's and 4/4's turns 1-2 but not be so dependant on the graveyard that a single piece of hate wrecks me. Post-board I'm looking to be a much more 'fair' deck with Hymns and Libraries to grind out games.
    I am counted amongst legions of the unrighteous
    who dread not being immersed in pits of fire

  20. #20

    Re: GB Vengevine

    I designed a deck like this about 7 years ago, after Survival was banned and R2R was first spoiled. Even though enemy DRS hoses the deck, DRS wasn't so widely played right after it was printed (Abrupt Decay had the bigger hype), so it did pretty well in that meta.

    The original core list was something like this, and had a transformational SB into Eva Green to dodge grave hate (boarding out Bloodghasts first for a partial transformation, or more for full transformation).


    //Creatures: 34
    4 Deathrite Shaman
    4 Carrion Feeder
    4 Gravecrawler
    4 Basking Rootwalla
    3 Putrid Imp
    4 Lotleth Troll
    4 Wild Mongrel
    3 Bloodghast
    4 Vengevine

    //Spells: 7
    4 Cabal Therapy
    3 Abrupt Decay

    //Lands: 19
    4 Verdant Catacombs
    3 Marsh Flats
    3 Windswept Heath
    4 Bayou
    2 Forest
    2 Swamp
    1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

    //Sideboard: 15
    4 Dark Confidant
    2 Tarmogoyf
    2 Scavenging Ooze
    3 Thoughtseize
    1 Abrupt Decay
    1 Maelstrom Pulse
    2 Disfigure


    In different iterations I swapped in things like:
    -All-in version: 4 Dark Ritual + 3 Buried Alive
    -Toolbox version: 4 Green Sun's Zenith, Fauna Shaman and utility singletons
    -Stinkweed Imp as more discard fodder/deathtouch blocker/gravefuel
    -Zombie Infestation over Wild Mongrel
    -Liliana of the Veil for a grindier version with better game against both control and Reanimator / NoPro / SnT (before Griselbrand was printed, when an edict was a good enough answer to Emrakul and Progenitus)

    The deck ran a full 15-16 creatures you're happy to discard as fodder, 8-11 madness outlets, 11-12 recursive threats, and "grow" combos with Carrion Feeder and Lotleth Troll.

    Trample+regenerate Lotleth Troll surprisingly wins a lot of games by itself against nonwhite decks. Troll is also a hard-to-kill zombie to enable Gravecrawler.

    Mongrels + Trolls + Carrion Feeders let me bluff attacks into enemy boards without actually growing your guys, which was good in that creature-heavy X/2 meta of Maverick and Stoneblade, but I wouldn't run Mongrel today.

    That many 1 drops and the Carrion-Crawler recursion made it easy to trigger Vengevines.

    Carrion Feeder also saves Vengevines/Ghasts from StP/Terminus and was OP vs Batterskull/Jitte.format. For these reasons, the Carrion-Crawler combo had a lot of synergy in a Vengevine Madness build.

    Undiscovered Paradise was old tech to recur Bloodghasts (or get another card to pitch to Mongrel).

    Dark Confidant always got boarded in. The deck pitches its hand fast and is hungry for card draw to recover. The new Madness Asylum Visitor might be worth testing, but Bob is never bad in a low curve deck.

    The SB swap caught a lot of people off. Turns out good cards are good, and making them mull to gravehate while boarding out Bloodghasts + Buried Alives gives you a good matchup.

    I abandoned the deck years ago as the meta changed.

    Hollow One + the banning of DRS are great reasons to consider this archetype again.

    When I tested Buried Alive in the old list, it also had DRS to play Buried Alive turn 2 (without Dark Ritual) and Carrion-Crawler combo to exploit Dark Ritual mana without Buried Alive, so at least the cards weren't dead without the combo. Buried Alive could also grab Bloodghasts or Gravecrawlers if Vengevines got Extracted. Often I just played the deck without Dark Ritual (accelerating Buried Alive with mana dorks), then boarded out Buried Alive most game 2/3 because the payoff wasn't good enough to waste resources defending against gravehate.

    Going all-in on Buried Alive may not be good. Dark Ritual + Buried Alive doesn't help trigger Vengevine (while it does trigger Phoenixes), so you still need to cast 2 more creatures. The ideal hand is Turn 1 Land + Dark Ritual + Buried Alive, Turn 2 Land + 2 1cc creatures. That's a very specific sequence and without cantrips or protection (unless you wait another turn). Also 4/3 Vengevines get blocked by Anglers, Goyfs, Germs, Knights, Mom + dork, TNN, and random 1/1 tokens. It's not as "sure" a clock as 3 Phoenixes.

    Because you're running creatures instead of cantrips, it's a lot harder to assemble multi-card Buried Alive combos in this shell. Sometimes you have Magical Xmas land, but more often you're playing a fair game. It won't be as consistent as Phoenix. It's also less explosive and easier to disrupt, since you attack the turn after Buried Alive instead of the turn you cast it. It also doesn't recover from removal/blockers as easily. It's more awkward to cast 2 more creatures than it is to chain 3 cantrips (Gravecrawler recursion helps a lot, which is why Carrion-Crawler was in my old build).

    OTOH, the big advantage this archetype has over Phoenix is that you're able to run a lot of threats. They're stuck in a spell-heavy shell with few threats. Even if your Vengevine plan gets stopped, you have many other threats to answer. Resilience and grindiness is where this deck could shine. That's why I usually played for a more balanced game instead of going all-in on Buried Alive with Dark Ritual.

    With Vengeful Pharaoh you probably want another discard outlet, like Lotleth Troll or Cryptbreaker or Fauna Shaman so you can maintain the lock without Putrid Imp. Outlets that let you discard multiple cards at once for 0 mana (Putrid Imp, Lotleth Troll, Noose Constrictor, Zombie Infestation) are also good with Hollow One.

    If you're going for a zombie build with Carrion-Crawler combo, Cryptbreaker is a great new zombie to include.

    Without Carrion-Crawler, I might start with something like this


    //Creatures: 31
    4 Birds of Paradise
    2 Noble Hierarch
    4 Basking Rootwalla
    4 Putrid Imp
    4 Lotleth Troll
    4 Bloodghast
    4 Vengevine
    4 Hollow One
    1 Vengeful Pharaoh

    //Spells: 11
    4 Thoughtseize
    3 Abrupt Decay
    4 Buried Alive

    //Lands: 18
    4 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Windswept Heath
    2 Marsh Flats
    4 Bayou
    3 Forest
    2 Swamp
    1 Undiscovered Paradise


    With either Putrid Imp or Troll out, it's easy to play Hollow One for 0-1 mana.

    Mana dorks are good. They're 1cc dorks to trigger Vengevine or discard as fodder. They enable turn 2 Buried Alive without the card disadvantage/dead slot of Dark Ritual. They let you get ahead on mana in fair games, even hardcasting Vengevine in a pinch. I'd probably start with mana dorks over Dark Ritual. It's less explosive but may be more consistent.

    Dark Ritual might be easier to support in a zombie build, where you can use the mana on Carrion+Crawler or draw more cards with Cryptbreaker to make up for the card disadvantage.


    //Creatures: 32
    4 Cryptbreaker
    4 Carrion Feeder
    4 Gravecrawler
    4 Basking Rootwalla
    4 Putrid Imp
    4 Lotleth Troll
    4 Vengevine
    4 Hollow One

    //Spells: 12
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Buried Alive

    //Lands: 17
    4 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Marsh Flats
    2 Windswept Heath
    4 Bayou
    2 Swamp
    2 Forest
    1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth



    Another option is to play Fauna Shaman and maybe GSZ too with some toolbox cards like Quirion Ranger (untaps), Big Game Hunter (lol kills Emrakul and Griselbrand and 5/5s at instant speed for 1 mana), Vengeful Pharaoh, Gaddock Teeg (combo, Terminus), etc..


    //Creatures: 30
    4 Birds of Paradise
    4 Basking Rootwalla
    4 Putrid Imp
    1 Quirion Ranger
    4 Fauna Shaman
    1 Lotleth Troll
    3 Bloodghast
    4 Vengevine
    4 Hollow One
    1 Vengeful Pharaoh

    //Spells: 12
    4 Green Sun's Zenith
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Buried Alive

    //Lands: 18
    4 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Marsh Flats
    2 Windswept Heath
    3 Bayou
    3 Forest
    2 Swamp
    1 Savannah
    1 Dryad Arbor

    //Toolbox Sideboard:
    1 Big Game Hunter
    1 Reclamation Sage
    1 Knight of Autumn
    1 Gaddock Teeg
    1 Scavenging Ooze


    Edit: Prized Amalgam also looks like a great new card to include.

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