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Vintage 101: Apocalypse Now


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're going to be talking about the impact of a card that really flew under the radar in Vintage until very recently, and that's Sheoldred, the Apocalypse! In addition to that, we'll be discussing the two Challenge events from this past weekend as well as the Spice Corner and a nod to the BnR announcement from this past week.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Apocalyptic Wheelies

We talked about this slightly last week in regards to one of the decks from the Legacy Pit Open II's Vintage event, but one card that has been slowly starting to see adoption is a card that was initially underrated at the release of Dominaria United for Vintage, and that is of course... Sheoldred, the Apocalypse.

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At face value, Sheoldred is very unassuming until you actually sit down and play with the card. One of the primary things this card does is it makes it difficult for an opponent to locate an answer to it if they do not immediately have one due to just existing on the board. Since the only real primary answer to this card is something like Swords to Plowshares or Karakas, if the opponent doesn't have these answers lined up and ready to go, finding those answers in a reasonable amount of time and life points is going to be rough, given that Sheoldred only has to be in play and attack their life total with her triggered ability. Opponent casts Ancestral Recall to try to find their Swords? That's six points of life right there. Even if they do find the Swords by that point they might be already close to dead.

In reality, Sheoldred plays much like Leovold or Hullbreacher does, by creating the incentive for the opponent to stop playing Magic at a fundamental level due to the worry that they might just straight up lose to the card draw triggers. At the same time, because Sheoldred gains you life with every piece of card draw your own cantrips and cards like Ancestral become much better in general due to the fact that it just makes it harder for the opponent to kill you with damage.

Of course, there is also the notion that you can just straight up kill your opponent too in Vintage with this card by the use of cards like Wheel of Fortune and Timetwister.

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Having this option to just deal 14 to your opponent with this card is very, very strong, and definitely makes it a real contender in the Vintage format. Unlike other card draw hate effects of this type, the size of Sheoldred's P/T is very rough for a lot of decks to deal with (4/5 is pretty huge and beats out much of the cards out of Bazaar decks outside of Hogaak, and even then she trades with Hogaak essentially due to the deathtouch).

This is definitely a card I think we'll see more of in the format going forward, as more and more players figure out how good it is, and the above decklist is a great place to start if you want to explore utilizing the card in the format.

Banned and Restricted Announcement - 10/10

We did have a Banned and Restricted Announcement this past Monday, but no changes were made to Vintage as a format. However, there was a statement on the format, so let's take a look and see what they had to say about it. You can find the full announcement here.

So despite the fact that there were some cards named here are not quite prominent Vintage staples (Displacer Kitten saw a very minimal amount of play and Vodalian Hexcatcher is super new and not present enough to have done much yet except for a sweet Spice Corner this week), the major information here to lean on is that Vintage is actually showing itself to have a great amount of diversity among archetypes and the natural metagame forces are responding as necessary to adjust to the format.

They do recognize Tinker decks here, but as we've seen ourselves the amount of divisiveness and differences in those decks has really allowed them to be attacked well, as no single Tinker strategy has really arisen as the defacto best list. The play patterns of Vintage are in a really good place right now, and I think that speaks a lot to how good the format really is.

This is a great update in that regards. Nothing really needed to happen in Vintage, but it was nice to know what Wizards is thinking about in terms of the format.

Upcoming MTGO News - Transition to Daybreak Games 10/18

There are some mighty big changes coming imminently to Magic Online next week, with the final transition over to Daybreak Games taking over Magic Online's servers. This is super important to read in case you play on MTGO, due to the fact that much of the transition details require a client uninstallation and reinstallation on 10/18 as part of the transition.

You can read the full documentation on this here.

Some of the finer details of this transition include some of the proposed changes to MTGO going forward, including things like Multi-Factor Authentication, Battlefield Automation tools, new user Onboarding, and improved Commander play.

In addition to this we did get some confirmation on how some of the products like Unfinity and Warhammer 40K will work, with only the really important Eternal legal cards being released to the client initially, as the team has been managing Commander cards like this for some time now. With the weight of the whole transition period, this does make sense, but it is a little sad to hear.

Vintage Challenge 10/8

The first Challenge event of this weekend was the mid-afternoon Saturday event, which had 63 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.

Dredge and Breach were pretty popular, with Dredge doing poorly and Breach doing reasonably. Hogaak, Prison Shops, and Doomsday all did quite well and Tinker decks did below average.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Hogaak 1st Nammersquats
Doomsday 2nd hardi
Hogaak 3rd SknerusMcKwacz
GW Aggro 4th Wesal
Prison Shops 5th oosunq
Oath of Druids 6th IamActuallyLvl1
Dredge 7th satu2112
Breach 8th Miharu_Fuyumiya

Quite an interesting Top 8 here with some Bazaar, some Shops, Combo, and even Oath. At the end of the day it was Hogaak that won the event.

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After a seemingly brief return to the pure GB lists, we're back on the Jund plan this go around with the extra Rootwallas and Blasts out of the sideboard. I like this version of the deck since it feels like it adds a few more ways to trigger Vengevine and the extra Rootwallas are nice to have.

In Second Place we've got Doomsday.

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Seeing some of the tech being applied from Legacy Doomsday here with a copy of Sheoldred, the Apocalypse in the deck. This card has been making waves over there in Legacy, so it's cool to see it in Vintage too.

Moving on down to Fourth Place we've got GW Aggro.

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Archon of Emeria and Outland Liberator are still among some of the most interesting interactions in this deck, given that Archon gives you the ability to flip your Liberator and never have to flip it back again. Very powerful deck indeed here.

Further down at Sixth Place we've got our good friend Justin Gennari on Oath.

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BUG Oath is pretty sweet. There's even a Show and Tell workaround which is pretty cool. I like the two Serra's Emissary in the sideboard here too.

Vintage Challenge 10/9

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event, which had 52 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamers Discord.

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

Breach was incredibly popular and it sat very much in the middle of the road as far as win rates are concerned. Prison Shops and Hogaak did well, as did Jeskai and DRS decks. Tinker again did very poorly.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
4C DRS 1st CodeProvider
BUG Midrange 2nd Musasabi
Prison Shops 3rd NorrathDecay
Mono Red Stompy 4th TeamLeaderNa
Tinker Breach 5th AFX
UR Murktide 6th Mogged
Prison Shops 7th Tsubasa_Cat
Jeskai Lurrus 8th unluckymonkey

Pretty wild Top 8 here, with some Shops and Control/Midrange variants and Mono Red Stompy?! At the end of the event it was 4C DRS variant with Planeswalker heavy skew that won it all.

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Minsc & Boo seem really sweet as a top end here, especially when you consider dashing Ragavan into play and giving it functionally +3/+3 for the turn for a real clock. Expressive Iteration looks really good here as well.

In Second Place we've got BUG Midrange.

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Pretty solid BUG list here, no frills to talk of really. Very clean and straightforward and knows what game plan it wants to execute. Can't go wrong with that at all.

Moving down to Fourth Place we've got Mono Red Stompy.

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This list is sick. Caves of Chaos Adventurer? Check. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker? Check. Unlicensed Hearse? Triple check. This list has so much fun attached to it, and I love it.

All the way down to Sixth Place we've got UR Murktide.

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This deck seems quite powerful and does a lot of strong things. Making a big dragon that smacks for a lot is a really powerful way to push a clock in Vintage for sure.

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

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

Not anything super duper spicy in the decklist dumps, but Justin Gennari has one for us coming soon.

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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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