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Vintage 101: 2021 Season One Showcase Qualifier


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're talking about the Vintage Showcase Qualifier event for Season One, including an interview with the winner of the event! In addition to that, we've got a specific card to discuss from Strixhaven that has Magecraft, and of course we've got two Challenge events to cover as well.

Let's get right to it.

The Vintage Showcase Qualifier - Season One

This past weekend was the culmination of the Season One Premier Play for Vintage, with the Vintage Showcase Qualifier. This event was an invitation only event comprised of players that had qualified via the Showcase Challenge events held throughout the season, and the prize on the line is a qualification for a PT level event. Because of this, the metagame for these events is pretty small (as there were only 24 players). There isn't a whole lot of "useful" metagame data you can glean out of the breakdown here simply because many of these players are deck specialists, which is super important for this kind of event in general.

Unfortunately Wizards has not published the lists for this event, but we have some lists and some other stuff to talk about in regards to this event.

Regardless, let's take a look at the full breakdown anyways.

There were a lot of Doomsday players queued for this event, including the very powerful wizard discoverN. Breach was also reasonably popular amongst some of the players as well BUG Midrange. Beyond that there was a lot of individual deck specialists on various things, and no PO Storm at all.

Since there were only 24 players, let's look at the full standings for the event. Just even getting to this event is a true grind, so hats off to everyone who made it here.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Golos Combo Shops 1st Slasher21
Breach 2nd Shir Kahn
Golos Stax 3rd LORiWWA
BUG Midrange 4th Montolio
RUG Midrange 5th twinlesstwin
Ravager Shops 6th zachattack23
Dredge 7th Wizard_2002
Ravager Shops 8th StaticGripped
Doomsday 9th Enrichetta
Breach 10th knightcomplex
Jeskai Control 11th Amiracle
Oath of Druids 12th Miharu_Fuyumiya
Breach 13th ziofrancone
Grixis Tinker 14th brianpk80
Doomsday 15th Diem4x
Esper Control 16th gottelicious
Bant Midrange 17th IfHeDiesHeDies
BUG Midrange 18th Pintogeddon2
BUG Midrange 19th slow_brz
Doomsday 20th lancer0410
Doomsday 21st discoverN
Jeskai Control 22nd SenpaiBlank
Death's Shadow 23rd TrueHero
Doomsday 24th XShockwaveX

What an absolutely great set of players here. Congrats to everyone who made it here, but at the end of the day there had to be a winner, and that winner was none other than Slasher21, a multiple Top 8 performer in the past few months on Golos Combo Shops.

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Slasher certainly came into this event with a real goal and an understanding of this small metagame, and he made it happen! We got the chance to sit down with Slasher (whose real name is Ryan Haddad) to talk about the win.

First of all, thanks for joining us! Take a moment to introduce yourself to those who may not know who you are.

Hi! My name is Ryan Haddad, also known as Slasher21 on MTGO. I am a Vintage player and streamer who mostly plays Shops decks, and I’ve been playing Vintage on Magic Online since October 2020.

Congratulations are in order on your win in the Showcase Qualifier event! Tell us a little bit about the deck that you played and why you chose to play it.

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Thank you! I played Combo Shops in this event, which is the deck that I’ve been working on for several months and have had the most success with. Combo Shops is a subarchetype of Shops that is based around enacting the usual prison gameplan with spheres and fast mana, and then transitions to a combo endgame with Leyline of the Void/Helm of Obedience, or Dark Depths/Thespian's Stage or Mirage Mirror. The deck is generally not seen as being very good, except for in Breach or Bazaar heavy metas (which this was not). However, I ended up staying with Combo Shops for this event because of my experience with the deck. I believe that in Vintage, being a deck specialist is extremely beneficial, and being skilled with your deck is much more important than trying to make a metagame call.

Were there any fun and interesting games that came out of this event? Any fun stories you’d like to share?

There were a few interesting games in this event. My favorite one was against Doomsday in Round 2. It was postboard in game 3, so I had my four Archive Traps and three Mindbreak Traps in. On the draw, my opening hand was Archive Trap, 2 Mindbreak Traps, and some irrelevant cards. I kept and just hoped my opponent didn't Gitaxian Probe me and just went for a turn 1 Doomsday, which they did, and it did not go well for them. Another funny story was game 1 of round 1. First game of the tournament, I get paired against BUG, which isn't a good matchup to begin with. My opponent is on the play, they lead with Mox Sapphire Ancestral Fetchland go. I kept a pretty good hand, with two Spheres, a good amount of mana, and a possible turn 3 Marit Lage. My opponent proceeded to Force of Will both of my Spheres on turn 1, and then drew ALL FOUR Wastelands over the next four turns and hit all of my lands, leaving me with nothing but the “concede game” button. I can laugh about it now, but at the time that was an incredibly tilting way to start off such a huge event.

How do you feel about Vintage currently as a format? Anything you think should be changed?

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I think that Vintage as a format is healthy for the most part, with a few exceptions. I think that Doomsday in its current form is too powerful, creates the most unfun games of Vintage I’ve played, and has been warping the metagame to try and beat it without success since the printing of Thassa's Oracle. The best combo deck in the format is also the best control deck, is able to run more counterspells than Jeskai, and can pretty consistently kill on turn 1 or 2 with protection. Another problem with Doomsday is that the hate that is brought in is often just not good enough, as they still run more counters than you and can win the counter war over your hate piece.  I think if any restrictions were to happen, something out of the Doomsday deck should be at the top of the list. However, with the upcoming release of MH2, I think the format will change a decent amount and there should not be any changes at least until that point. 

What most are you looking forward to this year in regards to new set releases?

I am very excited for the release of Modern Horizons 2 in early June. Shops archetypes have not really gotten any new cards in a long time, and it is getting harder to compete with the blue decks every new set. I’m definitely biased here, but I’m hoping for some fun new artifacts to try out in Vintage when MH2 comes out. Fingers crossed!

Once again, congratulations on your win, and never forget that you are awesome! Please take a moment to drop some social media links down below so that people know where to find you!

I stream Vintage over on Twitch at https://www.twitch.tv/slasher21mtg

You can also find me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Slasher21MTG

The other finalist of this event was another player well known to us and those who follow this series. Shir Kahn (aka Nico Bohny) is a powerful player in the format, and he went toe to toe in the finals with Underworld Breach.

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Nico's game plan here is really strong, treating Breach as both an engine kill and a supplemental engine to the power level of cards like Monastery Mentor. Having both Swords to Plowshares and Lightning Bolt is also very powerful in the current format in being able to deal with a lot of cards in general.

Congratulations again to both of these players and again, all the players who made it to this Qualifier. It's awesome to see! And be on the lookout for Ryan Haddad in an upcoming PT level event + the MOCS!

Strixhaven Card Focus - Storm-Kiln Artist

I almost always tend to miss one card here or there in the spoiler seasons and there's always that one card that a few of the more innovative players in the format really pick up on and try. This time around the card is Storm-Kiln Artist.

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This card is functionally both mana ramp and a beater in the same card, since the first ability grants the bonus for every artifact under your control and not just the Treasure tokens it creates. However, the Treasure token making ability is also really strong because making more mana is always very good for a lot of decks. I saw this card in an Underworld Breach deck, and really found it very interesting.

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This seems like a card to keep an eye on, it may be long term just another fun option for these kinds of instant/sorcery heavy decks to have in its back pocket. In fact, a list by the same pilot above placed Third in one of the Challenges this past weekend! In addition, this list was also playing Expressive Iteration, a card that seemed really intriguing in the spoiler season, so keep an eye on that one as well!

Mythic Society Weekly Vintage 4/21

As always, every week there is the weekly Mythic Society events held on Magic Online. These events are very casual and fun, and start at 7PM EST on Wednesdays. You can follow the Mythic Society Twitter for more information.

The event on 4/21 had some fun lists in it though, such as a really unique Workshop/Bazaar hybrid.

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Squee, Goblin Nabob really does get around for sure. Seems like a fun and unique list, especially with the Crucible of Worlds treatment.

Also, Brian Kelly had a fun Withersmog list using Lurrus in this event.

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This list looks pretty fun. I would definitely tinker with such a thing. Very neat stuff.

The last fun list I saw in this event had Gearhulks in it!

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Gearhulks are both artifacts, so offsetting their costs with Mishra's Workshop is really groovy. Also, Magma Opus from the new set! The big synergy here is discarding Opus to create Treasure tokens and then flashing it back from the graveyard with Torrential Gearhulk. Really sweet idea for a list for sure.

Be sure to check out all of the Mythic Society weekly events for Vintage, they are a lot of fun and people can really be super casual in them.

Vintage Challenge 4/24

Our first Challenge this past weekend was the afternoon Saturday event. Thanks to the efforts of the Vintage Streamers Discord we know this event had 59 players in it.

You can find all the Top 32 decklists for this event here.

Quite a bit of Ravager Shops in this event. The deck has been pretty popular for a while since it has learned to pivot in a world where Force of Vigor and friends exist. Dredge was also fairly popular as well. Despite the popularity of Shops though the decks didn't really convert well to the Top 8, which we'll now look at.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Doomsday 1st MaxMagicer
PO Storm 2nd swengen
Breach 3rd Bedell
Golos Stax 4th bennybo
RUG Midrange 5th _INF_
Dredge 6th Wizard_2002
Breach 7th duke12
Jeskai Control 8th Condescend

Pretty solidly diverse Top 8 here however, with mostly every pillar of the format well represented. At the end of the event however, it was Doomsday that took it all down!

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The most wiggle room this deck has now is in the sideboard slots. Occasionally we see stuff like Opposition Agent, occasionally it's Tasigur. The main deck of this list is pretty well set in stone and it is a very powerful deck, as we discussed earlier in our interview with Ryan Haddad.

The Second Place finalist was on PO Storm.

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PO is a deck that I think has finally just sort of settled into the format these days. Gone are the days of the deck being the most overpowered combo deck in the format to where the format at large has really adapted to its existence. It's pretty cool to see that really, and that natural evolution of how it all started to where the deck is now.

As we mentioned before also in the Top 8 we had the Breach list by Bedell with Storm-Kiln Artist.

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Bedell opted for two of the Magecraft creatures in this particular list, and also three copies of Expressive Iteration. I'm interested in seeing how good of a card Iteration was. It seems like it needs a bit of setup, but it can be powerful and interesting.

Outside of the Top 8 we had a showing by actual factual ELVES!

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This list is sick. I am in love. Elves is one of my more favorite Legacy decks that exist, so seeing it ported to Vintage like this is super sweet.

Vintage Challenge 4/25

Our second Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event, which had 56 players in it!

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here.

As is generally the case with the Sunday events, BUG was very popular. This seems to be often how these events go because it's a very popular play style especially for the European players. Ravager Shops was again also pretty popular here as well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Breach 1st ecobaronen
Doomsday 2nd discoverN
Doomsday 3rd Diem4x
BUG Midrange 4th hiyarako
RUG Midrange 5th _INF_
Lurrus Mono White 6th OxyWithMoxy
Ravager Shops 7th medvedev
4C Midrange 8th burrarun

There were a fair amount of midrange strategies and Doomsday in this event. However it was none of these that crested the finish line, instead it was Breach.

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This is a fairly stock Grixis + White list. These decks are pretty refined to this point however, so it makes sense to sometimes not mess with the program.

The Second Place finalist was the one and only discoverN on Doomsday.

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Very similar main deck construction again to the other Doomsday list in the first Challenge, and as noted the sideboard is slightly different, this one with Opposition Agent. Again, not messing with the program especially for a well-tuned combo variant as Doomsday has become.

Also in the Top 8 we had a Lurrus Mono White Taxes variant.

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Sweet list for sure. Leonin Arbiter + Ghost Quarter is some real Modern D&T vibes for sure.

Outside of the Top 8 we had a showing by an Esper Control list with Sedgemoor Witch.

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Using Witch as an additional Monastery Mentor-like effect seems really good. We also get to see new card Fracture here which seems really strong. Not to mention having Deathrite Shaman as a mana ramp option plus win condition seems pretty good.

Also further down the Top 32 we had White Eldrazi with a dash of new card Elite Spellbinder.

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Really neat list here for sure. Spellbinder seems like a really powerful card in general, so I'm curious how that played out for this deck.

Around the Web

  • Our good friend Justin Gennari has a video on Breach w/ Storm-Kiln Artist all ready for us! Check it out here.
  • Our other good friend Brian Coval has some sweet stuff with Vintage Oops! All Spells! Check it out here.
  • Revenantkioku posted a Doomsday League video! Check it out here. They post these often, so check out their channel as well!

The Spice Corner

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician? Yup. That'll do.

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Thanks for your continued support of the column and join me next week as we continue our journey into Vintage!

As always you can reach me at Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! In addition, you can always reach me on the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the Vintage Streamers Discord.

Until next time!



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