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Vintage 101: Back in a Flash

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 a deck that utilizes the card Flash to great effect in conjunction with the cards Academy Rector or Arena Rector! We'll be talking about both schools of thought on this deck this week, in addition to discussing last weekend's Vintage Challenge on Magic Online and of course our Spice Corner.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Flashing in for Fun and Profit

Decks abusing Academy Rector have been around for a long time in Vintage, typically using the Rector's ability to nab any enchantment to grab cards like Yawgmoth's Bargain to win the game. Most often these decks are paired with one of Magic's most infamously famous restricted (and banned in Legacy) cards: Flash.

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Flash has a long storied history in the game, due to the fact that the card had been given errata a few times during an era of Magic when Wizards of the Coast used to do what we refer to as power level errata. Because of this, Flash now presents combo potential with creatures that do things when they die, the most common of which known in the game of Magic is Protean Hulk for its sheer combo potential. The card became restricted in June of 2008 in the same set of restrictions that hit Brainstorm, Merchant Scroll, and Ponder.

Since then, Flash Rector decks have sat on the side of fringe status in Vintage, but they do present some interesting ideas to the format when reviewing them. For the most part, these decks are typical blue control shells, but can operate quickly to deploy a powerful threat. The most common way to do this with Academy Rector has been either between Yawgmoth's Bargain and Omniscience. Let's take a look at an older list showing this off.

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Most recently, however, the decklists have evolved to utilizing the newer Rector card Arena Rector over Academy Rector, due to the incredible power level of some of 2019's most powerful Planeswalkers such as Narset, Parter of Veils.

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In addition to Narset (which is restricted, making this a much more interesting proposition for sacrificing Arena Rector) there are also cards like Tezzeret the Seeker that can assemble the Time Vault + Key combo. Let's take a look at a recent list.

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As we like to do here, let's deconstruct this list into its base components.

Fast Artifact Mana

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As is expected, we see the full range of fast artifact mana here. This deck wants to get on board with its game plan quickly, whether it's getting a Rector into play to sacrifice it, or the ability to naturally play out a Time Vault combo.

Card Draw / Selection / Tutors

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Again, most of these cards are restricted and most of them make up the normal suite of cards you would usually see in a blue Vintage deck. Arena Rector is the primary "tutor" engine however, since it finds the Planeswalkers that also make up this deck.

Sacrifice Effects / Interaction / Countermagic

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This deck includes a lot of ways of getting rid of its Rectors outside of the restricted copy of Flash. Cabal Therapy does an excellent job of this in addition to being able to tear apart an opponent's hand, and Balance can occasionally let you get Rectors off the table as well. In addition, the deck needs a measure of countermagic and interaction to protect its game plan.

Creature Payoffs

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These are simply common things to see in UW based lists, as Lavinia is pretty powerful against a number of decks in the format and the restricted copy of Monastery Mentor can end games on its own, as can the combo of Tinker into Blightsteel Colossus, although that gets a little sketchier these days with Oko in the mix.

Non Creature Payoffs + Planeswalkers

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This deck boasts a decent amount of noncreature payoffs however, in the form of singleton copies of the Planeswalkers here and the combo of Time Vault + Manifold Key. Karn + Narset are the big hitters here since either or can be very good against combo archetypes like PO/DPS, while Jace + Ugin are strictly super value, and even Ugin can be excessively strong against certain decks in the format such as Dredge (by being able to exile threats).

In short, I think this version of the Flash Rector package deck is pretty cool, and it's certainly a deck that I would enjoy playing.

Community Vintage Update

Our good friend Jon Hammack held a Charity event in OKC this past weekend. 11 people showed up and $220 was donated to Crisis Infant Services! Good job folks! You can check out some pictures and a follow up over here.

There's an event this weekend at The Bearded Dragon in NJ, a Vintage 1K Qualifier for the venue's 15K Terra Eternal Championships. You can find details of it here!

Just a reminder if there are any large events you'd like me to cover, please feel free to reach out to me!

Vintage Challenge 2/22

We had yet another Vintage Challenge this past weekend, so let's take a look at how things shook out!

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Xerox 1st DiscoverN
BUG Midrange 2nd Shir Kahn (Nico Bohny)
BUG Midrange 3rd Simmsey
Dredge 4th Travis8427
White Eldrazi 5th GGoggles
Golos Stax 6th Kuroyukihime
Grixis Breach Painter 7th Lampalot (Michael Bonde)
Hollow Vine 8th Montolio (Andy Markiton)

This was certainly an interesting Top 8. The format continues to be very interesting to watch week in and week out as people try to figure out what is working well in the overall Meta game. It's also worth noting the absence of Paradoxical Outcome again, as people were clamoring a few months ago for a restriction on the card. I think we are still in a position where there is no chance this happens as the deck is being sufficiently pushed on enough by other decks in the metagame to consider restricting it.

At the end of the event, it was DiscoverN on Jeskai Xerox running a main deck copy of Underworld Breach that took it all down!

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It's more interesting to note the evolution of Jeskai in this Meta game no longer attempting to play cards like Dreadhorde Arcanist in massive quantities (other Jeskai lists in this event if they played them played at most two copies) and instead going back to a more Mentor + Lavinia focused build with Underworld Breach as a powerful value effect.

In Second Place, we have the return of our good friend Nico Bohny on BUG Midrange!

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This decklist is clean, lean, and very strong. Not much else to say here other than that I really appreciate the power of this kind of list. It's definitely got answers for just about anything.

Further down the Top 8, we have a showing by none other than White Eldrazi!

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Again, White Eldrazi lists are always pretty cool to look at because they're clean and well-designed decks. Once Upon a Time has definitely found a home in this deck and it makes perfect sense for it to be there. Very cool deck all around!

After having dropped out of the Meta game for a bit, we have in Sixth Place the Golos Stax list! This deck hasn't really acquired much new in the time since then, but it still looks pretty solid. Worth noting the presence of MAIN DECK Grafdigger's Cage in this deck. In the words of Erin Campbell: "WHO HURT YOU?!"

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At the bottom of the Top 8 we have our good friend Andy Markiton again kicking butt and taking names on the Hollow Vine deck (the Hanchobai special).

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It is super cool to see a card like Sphinx of Foresight see play now in a deck like this. This deck is really powerful and consistent.

Now let's take a look at which 2020 cards appeared in this Challenge and how many!

Card Name Number of Copies
Underworld Breach 4
Soul-Guide Lantern 1
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath 1

It is certainly interesting to see just how little of Theros: Beyond Death truly is impacting Vintage as a format. While Underworld Breach seems busted, it isn't really the kind of card that is warping the format like how Narset and Karn both did. Does that mean that it's safe? Who knows?! We'll just have to keep an eyeball on this data to see how it all shakes out. There was also no Thassa's Oracle floating around this week either, which was very interesting.

The Spice Corner

MindOfAKid went 4-3 in the Challenge on this deck, which is basically G/W Eldrazi without Eldrazi, and more Collector Ouphe.

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Thank you for continuing to support Vintage and this column! I greatly appreciate it!

As always, you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! I'm also always around the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the Vintage Streamers Discord! If there's ever a topic you'd like me to cover here, please feel free to reach out and let me know!

Until next time, keep casting Flash!

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