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Much Abrew: Survival (Vintage, Magic Online)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. This week, we are trying something different. Over the past couple of weeks, we've had a lot of deck techs featuring Ravnica Allegiance cards, but the cards weren't available to actually record today's episode. As such, we'll start exploring Ravnica Allegiance in next week's episode. For today, we're playing a format we've never played before: Vintage! I have never played Vintage at all, and since I'm on the Vintage Super League this season, it's about time I try to learn the format. So today, we're going to have our first ever Vintage Much Abrew featuring my first-ever games of Vintage. The deck we're playing is built around one of my favorite Commander Cards: Survival of the Fittest. The idea is to tutor up a bunch of Vengevines and Hollow Ones, hopefully play them for free (as early as Turn 1 with the right draw), and smash our opponent before they manage to do something even more broken. What's Vintage all about? Is it possible to post a winning record when playing a format for the very first time? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we can talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Survival (Vintage)


  • First off, since this was literally my first ever games of Vintage, I'm not going to try to criticize or improve the deck. Odds are that the people who play Vintage all the time know what they are doing, so rather than focusing on the specifics of Vintage Survival, let's discuss the format itself.
  • As for our record, we finished 3-2, which is pretty thrilling for not knowing the deck or the matchups. While we did lose twice to Shops (once to Rich Shay, a really good Vintage player who is also on Vintage Super League this season, and once because of a mindblowingly brutal punt of not discarding Vengevine on Turn 1), in general, I was super happy to post a winning record, considering this was our first adventure in the format.
  • As for the deck: it can be incredibly explosive. In the first round of our league, I think we mulliganed pretty poorly. For the deck to work, we really need a Bazaar of Baghdad or Survival of the Fittest, and a hand needs to be really good to keep without having one of our foundational cards. We had one game where we kept a Black Lotus and some random jank like Hollow One and were pretty punished as a result. The deck is basically a combo deck, with the combo being Bazaar of Baghdad or Survival of the Fittest plus our random creatures.
  • While it was probably obvious from our games, the main combo of the deck involves Vengevine, Hollow One, and Basking Rootwalla. With the help of Bazaar of Baghdad and Survival of the Fittest, we can discard our Vengevines and play Basking Rootwallas and Hollow Ones for free, which get back our Vengevines, giving us a massive board as early as Turn 1!
  • Maybe the hardest part of the deck is managing Bazaar of Baghdad. In the first round of our league, I was really conservative with the activations, but when we ran into another Survival player in match five, they were activating aggressively, often on their upkeep before drawing for the turn, to minimize the impact of card disadvantage and to stock the graveyard. While our opponent was maybe too aggressive (they kept doing it when we had a Leyline of the Void on the battlefield), in general, I think the right play is to activate Bazaar as early and as often as possible and to plan on playing more or less empty-handed. 
  • As for the Vintage format, it first felt sort of like Legacy, but we had the game where, thanks to Black Lotus and a Mox, we literally played our entire hand on Turn 1 and ended with something like 14 power on the battlefield at the end of the turn. That experience is when the allure of Vintage really started to sink in: while it doesn't happen all that often thanks to the restricted list, every once in a while, you get to do the most broken, absurd things possible in Magic, which is pretty unique and fun.
  • All in all, Survival was fun, although I really want to experience more Vintage decks and maybe even brew something new for Vintage Super League. While the format is so expensive that very few of us can actually play it in paper, it's super cheap on Magic Online (roughly the same cost as Modern), so if you want to experience Magic's most powerful format, going the digital route is a great way to give it a chance without paying house prices for your cards.


Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget for vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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