Do you like creatures? Do you like undead creatures that spill out onto the playing field on turn 2 and sometimes even on turn 1 and refuse to stay dead?
Then this might be the deck for you.
Bridgevine, is the creature based business end of decks like Dredge on steroids. So much so, that the ceiling of our best opening hands has been likened to Legacy format levels of degeneracy. However, being the Modern version, we loose some consistency and to some degree, some of our potency, not having access to all of the silly cards the Legacy format has in use.
But fear not - this deck is a front loaded beast that is amply equipped to deliver most of what you might expect from a hyper aggro strategy with recursive creatures, and simply cannot be beat when it comes to the amount of power it can put on the field in a single turn.
Although many have tried to build decks around Vengevine, most tried to utilize a creature swarm/zoo template, which often struggled to get Vengevine into the graveyard. With the printing of Stitcher's Supplier, the deck got a dedicated channel on the /r/Spikes discord server where many users brainstormed through multiple iterations of the deck.
Some bad ideas (Gather the Pack), some great ideas (Bridge from Below, Gurmag Angler) and some ugly ones (Vexing Devil) were thrown about, with many of the users taking the deck to local and regional tournaments.
The deck put up it's first results at SCG Indianapolis, securing 49th place and going 10-5 overall. From there the deck saw play at Pro Tour 25, with Jacob Nagro piloting the deck to 7th place.
More recently, the deck has been championed by pro magic player Takumi Utsunomiya, taking the deck to 2 top 8 finishes in 2018 in Grand Prix Hong Kong, and Grand Prix Atlanta respectively.
This deck can be broken up into 5 operative groups, that each lend a hand to push your core strategy: Pump out the maximum amount of creature based damage in a turn without overextending. We will come back to that latter part. Let's break into our groups.
Primary Win Cons/Grave Diamonds
These are your heavy hitters. They produce the largest bursts of damage and or creatures in a turn. However they need to be in your graveyard to work their magic.
* Vengevine is a hasted threat that must have 2 creatures cast to trigger its ability, A free hasted 4/3 can be quite nasty, particularly in multiples, and even more so when you can make this happen before your opponent has established a board state.
* Bridge from Below is a card that is utterly useless (99% of the time) in your hand, as it is little more then a do nothing permanent on the playing field. Discard it to your graveyard to create an army of 2/2 zombies for each of your non token creatures that dies. This card gives us inevitability that is very problematic as it can snowball hard with sacrifice based costs.
These are the cards that push your primary win cons into the grave, where they can do their thing. Faithless looting is an absolute all-star, and is by far one of the best, if not the best card to have alongside a Vengevine or Bridge in your opening hand. Insolent Neonate is something of a milder substitute that has some synergies with Bridge from Below by having discard tacked to a creature. Collective Brutality is a solid modal, if not slower option that acts as a multi discard outlet, checking several boxes in the process - particularly valuable when seeing your opponent's hand and or binning a nasty spell like Anger of the Gods, which can make the difference between a win or loss.
And then finally we have the fairly new addition that brought this deck into notoriety in Stitcher's Supplier, a card that mills 3 cards from your library with its ETB trigger and then duplicate trigger on death. This card in particular has quite a bit of mileage, as it can mil up to 6 cards right away with a sacrifice outlet.
Which brings us to our next group....
These cards are something of a swiss army knife in their ability to aid consistency, protect our win conditions, and ultimately push our strategies in a way that makes it less simple for our opponent to hedge a defense against what we are doing. They also accelerate our strategies to provide a much higher ceiling for maximizing what we can accomplish in a turn, ie. Sacrificing Stitcher's Suppliers to get additional triggers, or gaining multiple Bridge from Below triggers through the sacrifice of recurrent creatures like Bloodghast.
Much of the decks most complex plays and sequencing comes from this group. It is where you would do well to observe as much high level play as possible, as it is deeply rewarding and can be very creative in its lines.
Secondary Win Conditions/The Glue
Bloodghast and Gravecrawler give us creatures at a low cost that push our board state, while being used to buy our way into power plays meant to trigger our primary win conditions.... over, and over, and over again.
They may not look as impressive, but trust me when I say the deck is largely carried on their utility, especially when you are running out of gas and the game runs past turn 4-5.
Goblin Bushwhacker could be in a group of its own. Its arguably our finest haymaker, and turns the corner so fast as to cause our opponents to constantly worry that we are holding it in our hand.
And then our last group...
These cards give us some explosiveness. They allow some of the most degenerate plays in the deck through early Vengevine triggers and have further synergy with Bridge from Below.
Lets paint a quick sequence for reference:
Turn 1 - Faithless looting dropping 1 Vengevine and a Bridge from Below
Turn 2 - Play 2 Walking Ballistas for 0, This triggers both Vengvine to come onto the field, and in turn causes 2 triggers of Bridge from below, giving us two 2/2 zombies. We still have 2 lands currently unused. Lets play a Goblin Bushwhacker kicked to pump all of our creatures including Goblin Bushwhacker by +1+0, while also giving it haste.
Swing for 5+3+3+2 damage for a whopping 13 damage on the field on turn 2.....
Its actually possible in extreme cases to swing for even more on turn 2, or swing for 8 damage with Vengevines in the 1st turn of the game....
Also, it doesn't hurt to have some reach to close games with Walking Ballista, though this is a corner scenario as we rarely are in a position to tap for 4
There are 3 main components in the Bridgevine methodology that you will need to learn in order for the deck to function.
1) Recognizing a good hand in order to increase the odds of binning your graveyard diamonds like Vengevine and Bridge from Below
2) Optimizing the way in which you sequence any actions intended to put creatures on the field
3) Pressing the advantage
These are pretty straight forward. But there will be times where you will be faced with tough decisions. Maybe your hand won't be optimal. Maybe you will be faced with more then one possible path to sequence your plays to net the most value, or if the most value may not equate to the best play (there are cases, particularly when it involves hate where overextending will leave you dead on the board.)
Having said that lets move on to how we actually follow through with this gameplan.
Or more specifically, what we want in our opening hands, and when to pitch a hand that is sub-optimal or poor.
First we want a hand that has some combination of our enablers like Faithless Looting, Insolent Neonate,and or Stitcher's Supplier, and if we are lucky at least 1-2 primary win cons like Vengevine or Bridge from Below.
To make this easier I'm going to share with you a solid rule of thumb for determining if an opening hand is playable or whether you should pitch the hand to a mulligan.
Any hand that has either,
1-2 Enablers in the way of a discard outlet (Faithless Looting or Insolent Neonate) + 1-2 Graveyard Diamonds (Vengevine and or Bridge from Below)
- Or -
At least 1 Stitcher's Supplier and 1 Sacrifice Outlet like Viscera Seer or Greater Gargadon.
If you have 1-2 X-drops like Walking Ballista in combination with either of these hands, you are looking at a real winner. The kind that can secure a win with little effort at all.
These are optimal hands that will net you some early game dominance. Redundancy on enablers can be particularly good because it makes it harder for your opponent to throw a wrench in your plans by disrupting your first turn, particularly when they are on the play.
(Not great, but not bad - don't get greedy, keep these)
Any hand that has at least 1 discard enabler like Faithless Looting or Insolent Neonate or Collective Brutality + any combination of secondary win conditions like Blooghast or Gravecrawler
-- Or --
Any hand that has multiple Stitcher's Suppliers
These hands will give you a solid chance of either drawing into something good, or hitting something good through Stitcher's redundant mill triggers.
LOW BAR KEEPS
(You only keep these if you are down to 5 or less cards, and I would suggest not going below 5 unless you are literally drawing unplayable hands - landless or too many lands)
Goblin Bushwhacker + some number of functional 1 drops in Gravecrawlers, Stitcher's Suppliers and possibly 1 Blooghast as it can be brought back with a land drop for some early pressure.
Sneaking damage in early can sometimes allow Goblin Bushwhacker to blow your opponent out with minimal use of the graveyard. Its his "top decking" potential that makes him so explosive in our deck.
-- OR ---
1-2 Vicera Seer + 1 Gravecrawler + 1 or more other zombies. This will give you some recursive cards to sacrifice and scry through to something useful like an enabler or primary win condition.
This is pretty straight forward.
Any hand with more then 2 X drops and no Enablers is usually a guaranteed loosing hand. Earlier iterations of this deck used an abundance of x drops, that would either make for massive early game combo like plays, or simply look like something that was "constructed by a 5 year old" in the words of the YouTube content maker, Magic Aids.
If you don't have any of your win cons, and no means of filtering or drawing into them, AND no early game pressure with your opening hand in terms of 1 drops - you need to mulligan. Sometimes even as low as 4 cards. As this deck can actually manage to win with just a single Enabler and 1-2 good hits in the primary or even secondary win condition department from their use, and your chances of winning with a dead hand are zero anyways.
This is arguably one of the most important aspects to piloting Bridgevine.
This is all about achieving maximum value with the cards you're given. One of the most complex, and rewarding aspects of playing this deck is that you can take the same hand and play the cards in multiple ways and in different orders to achieve very different results. Much of the subtleties of doing this properly to maximize the efficiency of your plays will only come with continuous practice. I will however detail some things to watch for that will help you to achieve this goal.
1) It may go without saying, but whenever there is an opportunity to mill more cards before attempting to trigger single cards in your graveyard, you should do so. Particularly, in the case of Stitcher's Supplier, she should usually be played as your first creature to maximize the potential of hitting more primary and secondary win conditions to increase the number of triggers available to you. Which brings us to -
Vengevine is an amazing card. When you have the opportunity to pitch this card to a Faithless Looting or Insolent Neonate, and then bring him to the field immediately, its frequently tempting to do it at soon as possible to get him onto the field and swinging right away to deal as much damage as you can in the first 2 turns of the game.
But considering that its not always possible to bring him back to the field repeatedly, you really want to make sure you don't waste your only doubled up creature casts to a single Vengevine trigger whenever possible.
Rule of thumb: If you have a Stitcher's Supplier, or some other means of binning more win cons like through a redundant Faithless Looting, it is frequently worth playing these cards prior to playing your second creature cast, or even waiting an extra turn to maximize the potential for multiple graveyard triggers of this card.
3)Blooghast Triggers, and getting the most out of your land plays.
This card is really one of the absolute best cards in our deck. Its Landfall trigger returns it to the battlefield whenever you play a land. Fetchlands in particular can lead to Blooghast returning to the battlefield multiple times in the same turn. Considering that we have cards that benefit from sacrifice costs (like Viscera Seer and Greater Gargadon) and yet others that trigger from the death of your creatures (like Bridge from Below) you can often times get extra mileage out of Bloodghast then you might think by holding off on playing a land until after you've had the opportunity to sacrifice him, so that he can be brought back afterward for more of the same.
Example: You have 1 Bloodghast on the field from a previous turn and 1 in the yard, along with 3 cards left in hand - 1 Viscera Seer, 1 Stitcher's Supplier, 1 Bloodstained Mire. In this instance playing your fetchland immediately could bring you back the 2nd Bloodghast, and with your opponents health below 10 it might be tempting to simply swing for 4 damage and crack the fetchland afterward to bring back the Bloodghasts later if your opponent uses removal.
1. However, you decide to play the Stitcher's Supplier first without playing a Land. It mills a Bridge from Below into the yard.
2. You then play a Viscera Seer with your second land, and sacrifice your Stitcher's Supplier to mill another Bloodghast. Scrying a land to the bottom of your deck
3. Finally comes a nice sequence. You sacrifice the Bloodghast currently on the field with Viscera Seer, triggering Bridge from Below in your graveyard to give you a 2/2 Zombie Token, You play a Bloodstained Mire triggering all 3 of your Bloodghasts to return to the battlefield. And go to combat to swing for 6 damage. On your opponents turn he plays several chump blockers to survive the following turn. On his endstep you choose to sacrifice each of your Bloodghasts to Vicera Seer creating 3 more 2/2 Zombies, and then you crack your fetch again returning the Blooghasts for a 3rd time, to sacrifice, and make a final set of 2/2 Zombie Tokens, netting you a total of 7 Zombie Tokens ready to swing on the following turn for lethal.
Bloodghast can be used for many cost based functions and trigger combinations.
4) To a lesser degree Gravecrawler can be used the same way as Bloodghast, except it involves playing 1 black mana. Keep in mind that this card can be sacrificed repeatedly and recast from the yard as long as you have a Zombie creature and the mana to spend. Do take care to notice that neither Viscera Seer or Bloodghast are Zombie Creature type.
5) Get more mileage out of your X-drop creatures like Walking Ballista by waiting until after you've binned a Bridge from Below, so that you net 2/2 zombie creatures in the process of triggering Vengevines. Remember, casting them for 0 will cause them to die immediately when they enter the field, and this will in turn cause any bridges to trigger. Sometimes, with multiple bridges it may be worth it to cast them outright even without Vengevines and top them off with a kicked Goblin Bushwhacker for a hasty wall of damage.
6)Goblin Bushwhacker is a card that is ultimately meant for finishing swings in this deck. Maximize its potential damage in a turn by playing it after you've created a sizeable army to reap its benefits. Combat math is your friend. Its best used for guaranteed lethal in this shell or to push through a wall of chump blockers.
Here are a few pointers and things to watch out for when playing Bridgevine:
* If your opponents creatures die, and go to the graveyard for any reason they will exile any Bridge from Below cards you have there. You can prevent your opponent from killing their creatures by running them into yours anytime you have a sacrifice outlet on the field. Just simply sacrifice your creature before damage calculation and their creature will survive, leaving your Bridges intact.
* Sacrificing any of your recursive creatures like Vengevine and Bloodghast that are being targeted by an exile based removal spell like Path to Exile, is a great way to counter those cards and ultimately keep your best creatures from being removed from the game. You can also prevent your opponents from gaining life from spells like Lightning Helix by sacrificing their targets in response to their casts.
* Sometimes its worth losing a bridge or 2 to remove a really problematic creature like Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet - which can literally bring our deck to a stand still.
* When playing against cards like Cryptic Command that can tap all of our creatures prior to combat, you can wait until after the spell resolves, and then bring Greater Gargadon off suspend by sacrificing some permanents. Remember - Suspend creatures have haste after they come off suspend. You can also hold back some hasted threats to play after the spell is resolved, or to trigger from the graveyard in much the same fashion.
* Greater Gargadon has some unique lines of play that set it apart from Viscera Seer as a sacrifice outlet.
You can continue to sacrifice cards on top of the trigger that takes it off suspend to maximize its use in response to cards like Settle the Wreckage to save every recursive card you have on the board from being exiled. Or in other cases you may be able to net a massive army of zombie tokens with multiple Bridge from Below cards in your graveyard. This can be pivotal in quite a few games.
Bridgevine is a fast deck, that aims to win earlier then most. This means in most cases, considering Bridgevine's incredibly explosive play style, and being a heavily graveyard powered deck - it is absolutely pivotal to sideboard appropriately against your opponent's very likely addition of hate cards aimed at locking you out of the game. You are the aggressor. They have to answer you, not the other way around (unless of course you're fighting something as fast or faster = combo decks like Storm.)
That said, its important to recognize the primary ways our aggressive gameplan is shut down.
1) Permanent based Graveyard Hate (Rest in Peace, Leyline of the Void)
2) Combos potentially faster or fast as our Primary Plan (Storm, Counters Company, Griselbrand/Goryo's decks)
3) Walls (Ensnaring Bridge and similar cards that gate winning through the combat step.)
4) Heavy creature production. Decks that go as wide as us like Elves or produce tokens that can chump block us for days.
5) Problem Creatures that must be answered like Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, or Scavenging Ooze - typically midrange decks play these creatures to stabalize and then take control of the game.
For this reason, the most successful Bridgevine lists are equipped with these cards as a means of destroying resolved permanents that cut off our gameplan:
Assassin's Trophy - this card is an all star as it will clear up anything that isn't indestructible. Most of the time you're using this to remove enchantments like Rest in Peace and Leyline of the Void, or artifacts like Ensnaring Bridge. It also deals with Problem Creatures, lands, and a host of other corner cases you may not expect.
Because of its versatility, ultimately, Assassin's Trophy is the most frequent card you will board in.
There are other Artifact based permanents that wipe the graveyard like Relic of Progenitus or Nihil Spellbomb, but in most cases these cards will simply be activated in response to their targeted removal, still netting their effects on the stack.
You will want to also learn how to stagger out (piece out your milling, and discards of primary win conditions) to bait the activation of these kinds of 1 hit graveyard wipes so that you can play around them and still press your game of utilizing the yard.
These are all fine options depending on your meta, but are considerably more limited or have a downside that may work against you if your answers don't line up. So plan accordingly if you go this route.
You bring this in against opponents who are likely to use the instant based Graveyard Hate (and arguably the best against us as its nigh impossible for our deck to answer) - Surgical Extraction
Thoughtseize is also an all star for delaying faster combo decks by taking one of their primary combo pieces out of their hand. It will slow them down just enough to win through your normal gameplan in most cases.
For Problem Creatures and Wide Threats we have cards like:
These cards will clear the field of creature based permanents that would otherwise allow your opponent to stabalize and take the game from you. Bridgevine is not a deck meant for playing the long game. Past turn 5 it becomes progressively less likely that we will win the game.
SIDEBOARDING RULE OF THUMB - You very rarely want to be bringing in more then 4 cards from your sideboard. Do not oversideboard. Simply put, this deck will fold to itself if you do. I can't stress this enough.
Comprehensive information concerning matchups is very sparse online (practically non-existent, mostly limited to select few articles that are outdated by this point.)
There is a facebook group for Bridgevine that I am a part of, where I am hoping to compile our experiences in a way that is readily accessible to anyone looking to pick up this deck. This is a work in progress.
In this regard, I will share some information concerning matchups that I have more experience with, so that players are not going in blind in those cases in terms of what to expect.
Work In Progress - But there really needs to be some information for this deck on this forum, so here we are.
Also, please allow me to continue to work on this primer and update. I'm currently involved in a Facebook group for this deck and we are pulling together our collective experiences with the deck to make something more comprehensive over time. This is merely a start - something the deck desperately needed at this point.
I'm glad people are excited about it. I would like to keep it updated and continue to refine it and make it more accessible in general. Hoping a new Bridgevine thread in Established can be started using my Primer. From there I would like to continue working on it.
More XX means that a list is more "all in" on the combo. It can create more explosive turns. Its also easier to trigger vengevines. However, with the meta being what it is currently, going "all in" on the graveyard can be rough. There is a lot of graveyard hate being thrown around, and with phoenix decks on the rise, its probably safe to say that the hate is here to stay.
Less XX means you can do other things if your bridges get exiled or vengevines surgically extracted. Most lists run 4 or 5 right now.
Got back from Magicfest L.A.(GP L.A.) this weekend playing TyrantRevolver's list (having 2 Alpine Moon's and 2 Fatal Push instead of 2 Damping Sphere, 1 Darkblast, and 1 Necrotic Wound) and ended up 5-3 on day 1 and wasn't able to make day 2.
Matchups in order were vs
GW Tron 2-1
The rock 0-2
Izzet Phoenix 2-0
Bant Spirits 1-2
All in All wasn't too bad not of the matchup losses were mostly due to the deck folding to itself and just plain out losing to The Rock with mainboard Scavenging ooze and Kalitas. Valakut was always a hard matchup even after siding in Alpine Moons and Assassins Trophies, too much mainboard hate with Anger of the God's and Relic of Progenitus and a free sac outlet for them i.e. Sakura Tribe Elder to exile Bridge from Below. Against the Spirits matchup the deck just drew poorly and was aggroed out while countering the deck with Mausoleum Wanderer, Spell Queller, (countering the Faithless Looting, Insolent Neonate, or Stitcher's Supplier) and Selfless Spirit to exile Bridge from Below.
The deck was a blast to play this weekend and I'll continue playing it as well.
thanks for representing our deck in the magicfest.
agree, the rock with it's mainboard ooze / kalitas is really a hard matchup, same with valakut and spirits deck that has self sacrifing creatures to remove our bridge.
if i may ask, i'm curios about the match-up against dredge? i think without mainboard leyline it's all down who gets to get their engine going first wins. my guess in your 2nd dredge match is that dredge got G1 and you got both G2/G3.
i also want to ask how you boarded in/out against izzet phoenix.
Against the first dredge deck I got game 1 and 2 just too fast for him. Against the other dredge deck i got game 1 and 3. Both games I boarded leyline of the void and assassins trophy. Against the Izzet Phoenix I boarded in leyline of the void and thoughtsieze. The Izzet deck was a rough one cause mainboard surgical hit my bridge from below but still got him game 1 mostly because he set himself to a low life goal eith fetches shocks surgical and gut shot.
Im going to play in a Magic Fest very soon with this deck and I have been toying with some ideas to improve on both the decks consistency and post board gameplans.
Have any of you guys had any experience with :
Flamekin harbinger as a pseudo-entomb card for vengevine? Had this idea looking at some old builds.
Ghor-clan rampager as a way to push some damage specially in post board games which are very often scrappy because of Gy hate.
Hazoret the fervent out of the sideboard as a creature that doesnt need the GY to work and can win the game on its own against slower decks.
hi claudiohmiranda! are you the bridgevine player who did day2 in magicfest tampa?
re: the cards you mentioned Hazoret the fervent, haven't tried this but it has high cmc, unable to support with our land count. Ghor-clan rampager, i've tried this one, the card can do it's job specially with insolent neonate menace, but i'd rather go for an answer for those gravehate than this card. our strategy folds against gravehate, we would lose alot from not answering gravehate than winning with ghor-clan.
Im not( im after this players list as well , if you get it please share here );
Im fairly experienced with the deck and i found that the cmc 2 answers to the GY hate cards slow me down to much, specially when the ones playing those are other fast decks. thats why im hovering to the white splash ( which gives me acess to both Wispmare and Ingot chewer ) or the standard Jund version with some nature's claim.
I think speed is the name of the game.
This is my SB today :
My LGS is full of burn so i sb heavily to crush them . For the Gp i will swap some cards around to fit 2 more anti-hate cards and the leylines of the void ( wich im also considering playing main deck ). Driven // Despair is a really neat trick against decks with no blockers like tron and phoenix as its fairly easy to mind twist them.