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Vintage 101: A Look Back at 2022 Vintage

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're taking a look back on 2022 and what it meant to the Vintage format! In addition to that, we've got some Challenges from this past weekend to look at!

Just a note that All Access Tokens are coming back to MTGO and there is a Vintage Super Qualifier on December 30th at 7 AM PT! Get your tokens and you have them until January 4th.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

A Look Back at 2022 Vintage

2022 was certainly an interesting time for Vintage. As the format cycled back and forth over the year, most of the actual shakeups from the format came from the second half of the year, but actually should have happened in the first half (something we'll discuss here), which made for a very interesting year overall. Let's take a look back at each half of the year and what it meant for Vintage.

First Half of 2022 - Kamigawa / New Capenna / Commander Legends

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The first half of 2022 gave us two big Standard releases and one major supplemental product release, along with Commander product that released alongside the Standard sets. Right out of the gate we had Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty and while the set didn't have a ton of cards that did a whole lot for Vintage, it did have a strong artifact and enchantment subtheme and cards that made for interesting build-arounds. Cards like Containment Construct seemed at first insane with Bazaar of Baghdad (and there were some definitely interesting lists from people like our friend Justin Gennari that did well with it) and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker broke into the format after being known as very good in literally every other format it's legal in. Although Fable didn't do as much in Vintage, people are still trying to find a way to make that card work there.

Next we had Streets of New Capenna and this set brought us Ledger Shredder, a new threat that could go tall simply because it triggered off both players casting spells. This saw a reasonable amount of success alongside another card that hasn't seen a huge amount of Vintage play in quite some time in Stoneforge Mystic thanks to the realization that Kaldra Compleat is just an absolutely absurd Equipment. New Capenna had very little else to offer outside of Shredder, with the exception of Unlicensed Hearse breaking into Aggro Shops builds.

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Neither of the Commander releases for these two sets did much either. While Kappa Cannoneer reigned supreme in Legacy for a time, the card did very little in Vintage due to the fact that cheating on mana is what the format already does.

The most contentious set of 2022 however had to be Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate and that fact was just not immediately apparent at the time of the set's release primarily due to the fact that a good majority of the cards were not present on Magic Online from the get go. This was largely due to a resource crunch in the timeline of the transition of MTGO over to Daybreak Games. One of the major playable cards from this set right off the bat was Displacer Kitten, and while that card showed its absolutely adorable face for a little bit, it fell off quickly in terms of what people wanted to play. Once Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes became available later in the year we saw a surge of that in decks, but it was Initiative that would ultimately prove to be the best cards in the set. White Plume Adventurer and Seasoned Dungeoneer bolstered the Mono White Aggro archetypes in a way we have never really seen before in this format. The Initiative itself has proven to be an exceptionally strong mechanic and we are seeing a bit of a shakeup in the format because of it.

Even then we still have several cards from CLB that are not yet on MTGO such as Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward, so there may yet be cards that fly under the radar as more and more cards are added.

Second Half of 2022 - Dominaria / Brother's War / Unfinity / Warhammer / Eternal Weekend

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The second half of 2022 proved to be very interesting as we noted already in a format shakeup made notable by cards from CLB finally making it onto MTGO, but before that we had a few Standard releases and some interesting supplemental products.

The first major Standard release of this half of the year was Dominaria United, and very quickly players seemed to identify Sheoldred, the Apocalypse as a very powerful card in Vintage. Combining Sheoldred with powerful wheel effects like Timetwister and Wheel of Fortune was exceptionally strong, and the card itself lent itself well as a hatebear-like threat that stopped card draw in its tracks. Anointed Peacekeeper from this same set would later go on to be quite playable in the Mono White decks and even Vodalian Hexcatcher saw a bit of play in regards to Merfolk Aggro variants. A lot of hype was leveled at Karn's Sylex from this set, and while the card showed up in a few decks here or there, ultimately it has fallen by the wayside as not exceptionally playable.

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The second Standard release came right at the heels of the CLB Initiative cards being released onto MTGO at the same time with The Brother's War. While a good number of this set has been really eclipsed by the power level of Initiative, there were certainly a good amount of interesting cards that came out of it, the major one being The Mightstone and Weakstone. A Workshop castable card that either drew more or killed something like a Collector Ouphe was definitely a strong addition to these decks. New and interesting cards like Hurkyl, Master Wizard and Perennial Behemoth were super interesting as well. The Commander product for this set also gave us a few new cards, the primary one being Smelting Vat. This card single handedly created a new Combo Shops variant using Vat and Keys to find Time Vault combo.

The second half of the year also gave us two new supplemental products, but due to the fact that neither of these are on MTGO yet, it has made it hard to fully discuss their potential impacts on the format. Unfinity was a very interesting release overall though as for the first time we had Eternal legal cards from an Un-set. Much of this set didn't have actually much for Vintage outside of cards like Clown Car. Neither Attractions or Stickers seemed to have much gameplay possibility in Vintage overall. There's currently no firm ETA on Unfinity making it to MTGO, but we've heard first half of 2023 is a possibility.

The other supplemental product of the year was the Warhammer 40,000 Commander products, which also didn't seem to have a ton of cards for Vintage playability. However, one of those cards did stick out in Poxwalkers which seems to look very good with Squee/Hollow Vine strategies and Madness cards. This card did show up in a Top 16 list at US Eternal Weekend.

Speaking of Eternal Weekend, 2022 also marked the first set of paper Eternal Weekends in several years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We had two separate Eternal Weekend paper events in Asia and North America and both were exceptionally interesting events. North America Eternal Weekend had a sick amount of coverage provided by Anuraag Das. These events saw the rise of Mono White Initiative being one of the best decks in the NA event especially, with the event being won by my good friend Rajah James on the deck. It was superb however to have coverage, especially when we had commentary from such long time Vintage stalwarts such as Brass Man, Kevin Cron, and Stephen Menendian.

2022 in Final Review

All in all, 2022 was actually a very reasonable and solid year for Vintage. While we didn't have much of a MTGO Premier Play capability with most of the year, Vintage MTGO grinders kept the spirit of the format well and alive and we saw much discussion on the state of the format overall throughout the year. Vintage has looked like it's in a fantastic place for quite some time now and the format is exceptionally fun and interesting.

Hats off to 2022, let's look forward to what 2023 has to offer!

Vintage Challenge 12/17

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the mid-afternoon Saturday event. This event had 65 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

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

Mono White Initiative being the most popular deck of the weekend is definitely very interesting. The deck's win rate was very middle of the road overall at 50.8%. Bazaar decks and Tinker also floated about this event, and the rest of the metagame down to the cutoff looks pretty reasonable.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Mono White Initiative 1st Musasabi
Esper Tinker 2nd IdraftTheBeatz
Breach 3rd Michelino
Goblins 4th 42crookedsporks
Dredge 5th dgreen16
Combo Shops 6th Serjero
Mono White Initiative 7th 416FrowningTable
Voidwalker Storm 8th Money

Definitely an interesting Top 8 with quite a bit of variety overall. At the end of the event though it was Mono White Initiative that took down the event.

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Super interesting list here focusing more on the hatebear aspect of the deck with Anointed Peacekeeper and Spirit of the Labyrinth to control things such as Bazaar decks among other decks. I am not sure if three Seasoned Dungeoneer is correct or not here because Dungeoneer is a pretty absurd card. I don't like Urza's Saga in these lists either personally, but that's more of a preferential thing I feel.

In Second Place we've got Esper Tinker.

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Pretty solid list here. The main deck Sheoldred is quite nice, and we're starting to see some things like Balance out of the sideboard as that can be used to slightly deal with Mono White Initiative. Very interesting stuff for sure.

Also in this Top 8 we had some Goblins!

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Goblins being a veritable combo deck is just one of the cooler things about the deck. Having the ability to just Vintage someone with Goblins is super sweet. The triple Fury in the sideboard is also pretty cool.

Vintage Challenge 12/18

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 53 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

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

Mono White was again the most popular deck in the event, with a nice solid win rate of 56.3%. The next highest set of decks was Bazaar and Doomsday piles, with the rest of the event split pretty evenly across multiple archetypes.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Mono White Initiative 1st bless_von
Esper Tinker 2nd TrueHero
Combo Shops 3rd Cherryxman
Mono White Initiative 4th SenpaiBlank
Belcher 5th CodeProvider
Hollow Vine 6th Zwischenzug
Jeskai Lurrus 7th unluckymonkey
Doomsday 8th discoverN

Certainly an interesting Top 8 here. Some Tinker, some Jeskai, some Mono White, and even a Belcher list. At the end of the event though it was yet another Mono White Initiative deck that would take it down.

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This list eschews the Saga game plan for Cavern of Souls. Despite the vast array of creature types, I like Cavern in these kinds of lists because it's often going to name whatever you need it to in order to win the game. The restricted Karn is also a very interesting choice for sure.

In Second Place we've got Esper Tinker.

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This list is much more focused on the Planeswalkers like Teferi and the restricted Karn/Narset combo. Much more oriented towards Tinkering into Citadel and having Saga as a backup game plan with Mentor as the prime win condition.

Also in this Top 8 we've got Combo Shops.

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The Coveted Jewel decks are always so cool because they make a ton of mana quickly and with PO they can just make more and more. Jewel itself just draws so many cards and having Moonsilver Key as a way to find a Jewel is pretty cool.

Around the Web

  • Justin Gennari's content machine is unstoppable! Let's look at this past week's videos:
  • Phil Gallagher is smelting some Vats. Check it out here.
  • Revenantkioku is doing some Jund Hermit nonsense. Check it out here.
  • Our good friend Rajah James, Vintage Champs NA winner was on the Pitcast this past week! Check out the cast here.

The Spice Corner

You can find this past week's 5-0 lists here.

Welder shenanigans are always super sweet.

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Brian Kelly, I hope you never change.

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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 my Link Tree! In addition you can always reach me on the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the Vintage Streamers Discord.

Until next time!

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