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Vintage 101: After the Fallout

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week is a doozy of an article! We had some major, and I mean major changes made this week to the format through the 8/26 Banned and Restricted List Update, so we're going to talk about what happened and of course where we go from here.

Given that this set of changes is so huge we will not be discussing the results of the Vintage Challenge last weekend, since many of the decks featured in it will need changes to be legal decks.

The Biggest Restrictions

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First off, let's start with what is restricted. In what has been possibly one of the biggest sets of restrictions ever made, we can officially say "Bye Felicia" to having 4 copies of Karn, the Great Creator, Mystic Forge, Mental Misstep, and Golgari Grave-Troll. I talked about three of these cards in last week's article, but it is still a little amazing to see that it actually happened. Furthermore, they took an extra step and restricted Golgari Grave-Troll as well.

Suffice to say this set of restrictions is pretty huge. Mental Misstep has long been at the forefront of the restriction debate, and I for one am glad to see it moved there. I have long advocated for it to be restricted, mainly because I have a firm dislike of Phyrexian Mana. Golgari Grave-Troll I am a little torn about, as I do enjoy the play style of Dredge. However, I can see the understanding and idea of why, and I am looking forward to seeing how the archetype will evolve under this new world.

In regards to the Karn + Forge restrictions, as always I saw a number of folks musing on Twitter that another two cards were restricted for the sins of Mishra's Workshop. I don't really personally believe this was the case with both Karn and Mystic Forge. Having heavily played these archetypes since they've been available, Karn was more utterly powerful without Workshop because frankly, Workshop couldn't actually cast Karn. That is why most of the Karn decks were primarily artifact mana heavy, in order to leverage fast mana like Sol Ring, Mana Crypt and Grim Monolith into an early Karn. Even with Workshop restricted, these openings would still occur because of other Sol lands like Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors. The same applies to Mystic Forge, sadly. Forge was very easy to power out on the back of artifact mana in hands that sometimes didn't even include Mishra's Workshop and from there assembling the combination of Top + Inspector wasn't nearly so hard. So I do feel that in regards to these two cards, there's no doubt that restricting them was absolutely correct.

I was also very pleased to see Ian Duke's explanation and understandings of why these changes were made. I really appreciate Duke and his upfront nature of describing BnR changes in these updates. I also found it superbly interesting that there are further considerations for unrestrictions including Necropotence and possibly Windfall.

That being said, things are certainly going to be pretty interesting, especially with the one unrestriction that appeared in this update...

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That's right... Fastbond is now unrestricted! This card is very interesting and powerful and I'm looking forward to brewing with it myself. As the announcement stated itself, decks built around this card will often look very different than other Vintage decks because they will be less reliant on artifact mana and play more lands and utility. This makes for an exciting way to approach this metagame.

So... What's Next?

Well... the format is certainly going to be in a bit of flux for some time, but there are some predictions we can reasonably talk about and some decks that are going to be reasonable options down the line.

Paradoxical Outcome Better?

It should go without saying that Paradoxical Outcome stands to benefit greatly from the restrictions of Karn and Forge but also from Misstep as well. Karn was one half of the equation that really pushed down this deck and there is definite merit to it coming back as a much better deck. That being said, there are a lot more options now beyond the pressure that Karn placed on this deck, including cards like Collector Ouphe, Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, and most especially Narset, Parter of Veils. However, restricted Misstep means that the deck's important permanent based 1 CMC cards like Sol Ring, Sensei's Divining Top, and Mana Vault have an easier time of resolving on Turn 1. I think there will be certain cards that can keep PO in check so that it is not overpowering but still just a strong option in the format to be playing.

Furthermore, there may continue to be a place for the green splash of PO (Sylvan PO) with the fact that the new card Veil of Summer exists in addition to having the ability to have cards like Managorger Hydra. This could definitely be an interesting way to take this deck as well as the variants that play Draw 7 effects like Wheel of Fortune and Timetwister.

Dark Petition Storm (Skulls are Powerful!)

DPS or Dark Petition Storm is another deck that I have good feelings about, primarily due to the fact that Mental Misstep is now restricted, and that cards like Bolas's Citadel are harder to hate out via Null Rod or cards like Sorcerous Spyglass/Pithing Needle, but especially since Narset doesn't impact Citadel's effect. The only downside to this is that Xerox decks will have to adjust and play more variations of countermagic like Flusterstorm or Spell Pierce which can make it harder on the DPS player to resolve key spells like Tinker. That being said, I'm pretty hyped about DPS being better myself. I relatively enjoy Dark Ritual based decks so I'm excited.

DPS has the least amount of changes that I've seen out of the deck to account for the new metagame, and the deck feels strongly positioned against the wave of Fastbond decks that will inevitably creep up.

Xerox Decks Have to Change

As already stated, Xerox decks like BUG are going to have to adapt from having 4 Mental Misstep to just one. This will mean these decks will end up playing more interactive options simply because they're forced to do so. The clear winner to me out of all of this however will end up being Jeskai Xerox decks with Dreadhorde Arcanist, as BUG's utility in being the best deck against Karn Forge and Dredge has changed. Jeskai feels exceptionally powerful going forward as one of the better Xerox variants.

One thing to note here is that while Narset does seem to get better, I actually do believe that Narset ends up in a space where cards like Pyroblast, Duress, etc have more equity and thus might keep Narset on the down low. However, Narset is absolutely a card to keep an eye on throughout the next few months since it is exceptionally powerful.

In regards to the BUG lists, these decks are still pretty good, and will also adapt pretty well. However, the decks that natural prey on Karn decks are the decks that have been hit hard, and therefore it gives other decks a chance to step in and become prominent. But definitely don't discount BUG and its ability to play multiple Leovold/Narsets in addition to creatures like Tarmogoyf.

Shops Goes Back to Aggro

Without the sheer combo potential that was Karn and Forge, Workshops decks will inevitably roll back into the realm of Ravager Shops, but they will, of course, be playing the restricted cards like Forge. Karn I am unsure about in an aggro list since the aggro variants tend to hinge more on Workshop casting threats without a plethora of artifact mana that the Karn Forge decks needed to power out Karn. I am sure however, Karn will definitely show up in other decks within the format, I'm just not sure that Ravager Aggro is the correct place for it. Mystic Forge on the other hand, feels much more like a solid value card draw option for the deck that gives it a way to power out some cards in some matchups. A little more fair than the combo of Forge + Top + Inspector for sure.

That being said, I could see Karn showing up as a mirror breaker tool possibly. It has the potential to be very good in the Shops mirror where resolving it might just win the game.

Outside of aggressive variants, there still could be room for variants of Shops based decks, more likely in decks like Two-Card Monte where Karn would be an excellent fit as a one-of, being able to tutor the other half of a combo there is pretty powerful even as a restricted card.

Dredge... Redefined

Dredge technically was hit with not one, but two major restrictions in losing both Misstep and Golgari Grave-Troll. This changes a lot of dynamics for this deck since being able to reliably cast Force of Vigor comes into extreme question when you've just lost 3 green cards out of the main deck that were also pretty important ones. Sure, if you can hit your one-of GGT now you are cooking with gas, but I feel like this will absolutely change how the deck is constructed and it will be a good amount of time before a solid way to approach the deck will occur. Me? I'm gonna try out the list above and play some Molderhulk as a place to start with. It's a weird start but I enjoy this version of the deck a ton so I'm excited to give it a shot. That being said, I do feel like Dredge's spot at the top of the tiers has come to an end, as the deck will be slightly slower and therefore easier to interact with.

In turn, this means that Dredge will once again likely splinter into a few different dynamics and may have to start playing lands again in the sideboard to be good. There's a lot up in the air with this, but I do know that Erin Campbell went 3-2 with Fatestitcher Dredge and Sun Titan, so there is that.

Fastbond Decks Come Out to Play

Possibly the most obvious thing to consider is what value that a card like Fastbond will add to the format and how we will have to adjust to these decks. The most obvious place to start with this is of course... Lands. Lands based strategies have been around for a bit, but having a more regularly found copy of Fastbond does quite a bit for this type of strategy. I am also looking forward heavily to versions of this deck that can play cards like Experimental Frenzy for obvious reasons. This seems like a pretty powerful interaction and I'm excited for the space that allows for this to exist.

Oath of Druids Decks Face Less Hate

One of the very common ways of hating out cards like Mystic Forge was the use of Grafdigger's Cage, which also hated on Oath of Druids based strategies. I think it seems reasonable that with less crazy amounts of hate in the format for Dredge going forward that Oath might be a decent strategy to play around with. Obviously, it too has to adapt without access to 4 Mental Misstep, but that doesn't feel that bad to me.

Brew Central - Vintage

Whether it's Turbo Depths or decks playing the card Skullclamp I can safely say this set of restrictions and unrestriction have certainly helped bring out people who want to brew in Vintage. I think we will definitely see some more of the fringe decks that have been on the outskirts like Eldrazi, Grixis Thieves, and other interesting brews pop up a little bit more. Who knows, one of them might even break through like Survival had done.

Speaking of Survival...

I still believe that Survival has a massive opportunity to continue to be a powerful metagame deck and may end up being one of the better Bazaar decks in the format going forward. There is some concern over Swords to Plowshares based decks being good once more, but I don't think that is a reason to not play Survival. Survival still has plenty of equity and I'm pretty happy to continue to see it grow as an archetype.

The Spice Corner

This decklist I acquired off of Matt Murray (ChubbyRain) and I've updated it slightly for post BnR. I don't know if it's any good or not for these changes, but playing Risen Reef in Vintage has been legitimately nuts.

The second spice list this week is a hot take on combo with Fastbond utilizing Experimental Frenzy!


Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! It's going to be an exciting time for Vintage as we all try to adapt to the new world these changes have made for us. But hopefully, we can adapt and figure out what is good and what isn't. Regardless, I'm excited to continue covering the format this way and I'm equally excited for Eternal Weekend now this year.

As always if you want to chat or want to support what I do you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, Patreon, and of course the MTGGoldfish Discord Channel. I'm always around if you want to chat about Vintage or anything else. Next week we'll be going over some league results and this coming weekend's Challenge to see what falls where in this new Vintage.

Until next time, keep on Vintage'ing!

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