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Vintage 101: At the End of the Year

Howdy folks! It's time for the final Vintage 101 of 2021! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week is going to be pretty short as we prep for the end of 2021 and for the beginning of 2022. I'm going to talk about the people in the community who made 2021 so awesome. We've also got two Challenges from this past weekend to discuss as well as one question from my EOY Mailbag.

Without further do, let's dive right in.

The End of 2021, the Beginning of 2022

We're at the tail end of 2021 folks! We made it! As I look ahead to 2022 I am reminded of how much fun we had in 2021 with the Vintage format. I spent a good portion of this year back and forth between both Vintage and Legacy, but Vintage has had a consistently great year in regards to the overall power level of the metagame, as well as absorbing a lot of powerful cards from Modern Horizons 2.

I am pretty thankful for the overall Vintage community this year, especially the people on the Vintage Streamer's Discord. I feel like I would be remiss to not mention some of them and the contributions they've had this year to me and especially Vintage 101.

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At the top of this list of awesome people is Justin Gennari (IamActuallyLvl1). For those that know Justin well, they know that he is one of the most positive people in the entire modern Vintage community, and continues to do his best each and every week to promote the format as well as become a true ambassador for it. Justin is always immensely helpful with anything, and is often willing to go above and beyond to help others. He's also one of the hardest working content creators that solely focuses on the Vintage format, putting out video after video after video of streamed content, all while managing the Vintage Data Collections for the Challenges. Oh and if you didn't know, he qualified for a Pro Tour level event playing Vintage this year. What an accomplishment. Kudos to Justin for an awesome 2021 and looking forward to an amazing 2022!

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Another person I want to mention is Ryan Haddad (Slasher21). Ryan's game stepped up hard this year, and it's amazing because this guy has only been playing Magic for a year. In that year though, not only did he dive into one of Magic's most complicated formats in Vintage, but he pushed himself and became well known as a great Workshops player and as well stepped outside of his box to also play decks like Tinker variants. Ryan won one of the Vintage Showcase Qualifiers this year, qualifying for both the PT level events and for the MOCS. Not only is he technically proficient, but Ryan is a great guy and easy to converse with, and also is always willing to lend a helping hand when need be. Regularly he is pushing the envelope and it's always fun to see when he does well.

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This year had a lot of struggles for live events, and despite that all we still managed to see some events happen. Despite the fact that the Legacy Pit Open was indeed a Legacy event, it was great to see the one and only Mike Noble end up back in the coverage booth yet again. Mike's boundless positivity for Magic is unparalleled, and he is regularly amazing and awesome. He's a solid commentator on all things Eternal formats, and I greatly enjoyed seeing him get to make that happen once again at least once this year.

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Speaking of live events, I am thrilled to shoutout the folks of Team Serious, notably Rajah James, David Lance, Jacob Hilty, Brass Man, and many many others who this year really made this year amazing with the Team Serious Invitational event at The Land. Truly an incredibly fun and amazing weekend full of awesome games, but also the Gathering, which is incredibly important to me. Also major shoutout to Roland Chang who showed up for this event and got his first initiation of a TSI Top 8. I hope you can make it to further events in the future.

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Finally, one of the most fun things of any year is when I get to meet people in real life. This year I had the pleasure of meeting more players from the community, one of which was Jeremy Pinter of Eternal Weekend fame. Jeremy is awesome and it was amazing and fun to hang out and chat while trying to enjoy Legacy.

For anyone that I missed, the entire Vintage community has been truly awesome, so thank you for being that way and KEEP BEING AWESOME.

EOY 2021 Mailbag

I had put out a call for mailbag questions earlier this month, but unfortunately I only got one question this year out of Vintage 101. However, that one question was actually really intriguing, so let's see what it was.

Kevin Rodgers asked:

Modern Horizons every second year to revitalize Vintage or just too much upset to other formats to contemplate that schedule?

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This is is a great question honestly. The release of Modern Horizons 2 two years after the release of Modern Horizons has had everyone contemplating the concept of whether that is the true schedule for Horizons sets. For those that have been following along might have seen that Modern Horizons 2 while having a pretty powerful impact on Vintage in addition to other formats, the format overall seems to have done a great job of absorbing all of these cards, even ones that seem to look egregious on the outside like Urza's Saga. Vintage seems to weather these sets better than other formats, even going as far to have new things appear in the format or have boosts to other shells occur.

That being said, while I think that Horizons sets have had a more positive impact overall on Vintage, we can't fully ask to be focused on either because that leads to worse things occurring. The two years in between Horizons sets seems to me to be a bit too short of a time period due to the effect on other formats and the game overall. I don't know what the correct course of action here is, but I would not be surprised to see another set stretched out to three years or more based on consumer feedback on the set. Granted, it is also possible that Wizards just simply ignores that and goes on every two years like clockwork with these sets, and while I'm sure Vintage would be just fine, there would eventually be a tipping point I'm sure. If Urza's Saga is good enough to be present in a ton of Vintage decks, what is something that could be printed that would be better than that? Every two years could potentially put a ton of power creep on every format rather than slowing it down and letting the formats have some breathing room in between to discover what could be good and what needs to be fixed (via either bans or restrictions).

There's also the possibility that Wizards cancels upcoming Horizons sets based on consumer feedback and player feedback, but based on how much people seem to have actually like Modern Horizons 2 that seems unlikely. I suspect we'll still get these sets, but the frequency of them should be adjusted so that we are not overhwhelmed in the long run.

Vintage Challenge 12/25

We did indeed have two Challenges this past weekend, the first of which was on Saturday (Christmas Day) which had 52 players overall 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.

Large amount of Blue Tinker based decks but not by much really. Everything seems to continue to be balancing and self-correcting and nothing is really that insanely good that it seems overpowering. Vintage still appears to be pretty awesome.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Grixis Tinker 1st ReneRandrup
UB Tinker 2nd IdraftTheBeatz
Combo Shops 3rd Cftsoc3
Dredge 4th Wizard_2002
Paradoxical Outcome 5th SheaStrausman
Aggro Shops 6th Eaglov
UR Saga 7th HrothgarScylding
BUG Oath 8th FunkiMunki

Definitely an interesting Top 8 here. At the end of it we had a Tinkeriffic face-off with ReneRandrup taking it home on Grixis Tinker.

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These variants of the Tinker decks have been doing quite well, functioning more on the backs of cards like Hullbreacher to grind the game out while winning with Tinker.

The other finalist was on UB Tinker.

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Urza in general is quite strong here and this deck allows the card to really shine. Primarily the big loss here is Pyroblast with not splashing red, but Mystical Dispute is pretty good on that avenue as well.

Down in Third Place we had a sweet PO/Combo Shops variant featuring Coveted Jewel.

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This deck is pretty sweet and looks like a lot of fun. Ghostly Flicker with Coveted Jewel seems super nuts.

Vintage Challenge 12/26

The second Challenge of the weekend was the Sunday morning one, which had 56 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.

Blue Tinker had some representation but not a fantastic win rate, whereas Aggro Shops dipped in and had a solid performance overall. PO also performed pretty well given that it put the only two pilots on the deck into the Top 8. Still, this looks really solid and interesting.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Aggro Shops 1st Aylett
UR Magus 2nd TeamLeaderNA
Tinker Oath 3rd Thalai
Paradoxical Outcome 4th Fnoop
Paradoxical Outcome 5th Lavaridge
Aggro Shops 6th Eaglov
4C Midrange 7th TrueHero
Tinker Oath 8th sixmp

Good amount of Tinker/Oath in the Top 8 here as well as PO, but the big hitter here is Aggro Shops, which won the event in the hands of Discord friend Aylett!

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Nettlecyst was one of the best printings for this deck ever honestly. It really accelerates the power this deck has.

The Second Place finalist was on a sweet UR Tempo build.

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Magus of the Moon! Attacking Urza's Saga all day and every day! Solid way of approaching a metagame full of the card for sure.

Down near the bottom of the Top 8 we have perennial Shadow player TrueHero playing a Monkey instead!

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Ragavan and Deathrite Shaman seem pretty tailor made for each other. Definitely a gross combination of cards.

Around the Web

  • Japanese Oath master Miharu takes on the BUG Oath variant by Justin Gennari. Check it out here. (It's in Japanese, just fyi!)
  • Our good friend Byrant Cook posted a video on Vintage Breach for his Deck Showcase! Check that out here.
  • Jeremy Pinter posted a video on Standstill! Check that out here.
  • And then there's Justin.

The Spice Corner

Anuraag Das kicking up the old Oath machine again but this time with Hullbreaker Horror!

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And then... there's Justin.

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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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