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Vintage 101: Beyond the Horizon, Part 2

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host Joe Dyer and this week I am out of town! That's right, by the time this article is published I will be getting ready to throw down a little paper Vintage at the Star City Games SCG Con Power 9 Series! Going to be super exciting stuff, and look for me on Twitter all day posting about the event and doing on the ground coverage.

In the meantime, we're going to continue our look at Modern Horizons and what it has to offer Vintage. We poked at a few cards last week with the help of Matt Murray (aka ChubbyRain) and we're back this week to look at the rest of the set. Modern Horizons has certainly looked super intriguing and is bringing more than just Modern cards to the world of Magic, it's also bringing cards to offer cool new toys in the best format of all, Vintage. So without further ado, let's continue our journey, shall we?

Horizon-ally Challenged

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis [MH1]

Hulk Hogan is here, brother! This card made me giddy when I first saw it that I couldn't contain myself. The design of this card is wildly out there, but I'm definitely intrigued by the idea of it in a deck like Dredge, since it's another threat that can be cast through a Containment Priest (given that you can stick at least two black creatures so... Zombie tokens from Bridge from Below basically) or Grafdigger's Cage (from hand). Furthermore, this can also be looped with the Legend rule to make multiple Zombie tokens a turn, and that alone can be pretty powerful. In addition, it's a green card which helps the potential green count for a card like Force of Vigor. Suffice to say that I will be testing 1-2 copies of this in Dredge because it definitely seems like it will be a lot of fun.


Shenanigans [MH1]

Did somebody say Shenanigans?! Okay, well not quite that kind of shenanigans, but this card is pretty goshdarn cool. One of the more interesting things about this card is the fact that it is actually more playable in Xerox based strategies than it is actually in Dredge. Costing two mana can sometimes be a real downside in Vintage Dredge, so I expect if decks shift to play this card they will shift to also play some number of Riftstone Portal in the sideboard as well to help account for the mana cost. Still, this has potential and it is very interesting since it's the first Dredge card printed ever since the original Ravnica block. In Xerox lists, this spell reads Shatter every turn if you want, and sometimes multiple times a turn given that you can dredge any draws from cards like Brainstorm or Preordain. This makes this card pair well with Young Pyromancer versus Shops, since it can just repeatedly Shatter its opponent. Expect there to be some real play to this.

Unsettled Mariner

Unsettled Mariner [MH1]

As unsettling as this is, this card is definitely intriguing. One of the first obvious things to point out is that it's a Human, so that alone puts it on a slightly bigger pedestal than other cards like this. There is potentially better room for a Blue/White or Esper based Humans deck in Vintage and having a card like this that protects your permanents and yourself is obviously not bad. This also really hates on cards like Tendrils of Agony so that is probably just fine. I'm curious to see where this goes in the format.

Echo of Eons

Echo of Eons [MH1]

This card is certainly interesting and as someone pointed on The Mana Drain thread on it that it could potentially find a home in Oath of Druids based decks, especially ones that want to play a card like Niv-Mizzet, Parun since you can Oath this over into your graveyard then flash it back, triggering Niv upon every draw and recycling your graveyard back into your library to support your resolved creature (or to simply find another Oath target at some point). What ends up making this fairly powerful in that regards is that you can run four of these. I would not be surprised to see this show up in a different kind of Oath build, and of course, this card is going to be fine in Legacy too because of Lion's Eye Diamond.

Mirrodin Besieged

Mirrodin Besieged [MH1]

Speaking of cards that Oath could build around and play, this actually doesn't seem that bad for that deck given that you can Oath into Sun Titan, get this card back then move to end step and potentially just win the game off the Phyrexian half. The design of this card is really amusing, and the Mirran half isn't hateful either, but does compete with other similar effects already in the format (Sai, Saheeli, etc). Still, this is super intriguing and might actually be fun to win the game with.

Force of Negation

Force of Negation [MH1]

As I have mentioned before here, this card has a crazy amount of potential to change how Pitch Dredge approaches countermagic (likely to the point of dropping cards like Mindbreak Trap in order to play this), since more often than not the threat that needs to be countered is coming down on your opponent's turn and most of the relevant hate is noncreature. This does mean Containment Priest is a little better, but they're also still playing Force of Will so the card is not completely dead (since it pitches to FoW). Outside of Dredge, this card could genuinely see play in things like Paradoxical Outcome since PO as an instant can be cast on the opponent's turn giving Force of Negation the ability to protect the PO that way. However, it's worth noting that the spell is exiled when it is countered, and that can be ultimately interesting in Xerox mirrors where the use of Snapcaster Mage + Jace, Vryn's Prodigy to flash back a Time Walk or Ancestral Recall is very strong. I don't know yet the extent of the impact this card will have on the format immediately, but it will definitely see play.

Throes of Chaos

Throes of Chaos [MH1]

I don't care what anyone says, this is the best card in the set. I don't know what it does, but it does SOMETHING.

Vintage Challenge 6/1

We had yet again another Vintage Challenge, and yet again another Challenge filled with Karn, the Great Creator. Is it time to be worried? Let's look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Brass City Vault 1st Ecobaronen (Andreas Petersen)
Colorless Eldrazi 2nd Kanister
Ravager Shops 3rd SwiftWarkite2
Colorless Eldrazi 4th Jazza
Ravager Shops 5th Oderus Urungus
Oath of Druids 6th Condescend
BUG Midrange 7th DiscoverN
BUG Survival 8th TheLastGNU

5/8 of the decks in the Top 8 were colorless decklists, with 3/5 of those being decklists running Karn. Winning the whole thing was our good buddy Andreas Petersen on Brass City Vault.

Interestingly enough, this is yet another Karn list without the card Mycosynth Lattice in the sideboard to fetch with Karn. However, the list looks pretty solid and powerful overall.

So how did we stack up with WAR cards in this Challenge? Let's take a look at the numbers.

Card Name Number of Copies
Karn, the Great Creator 40
Narset, Parter of Veils 27
Ashiok, Dream Render 2
Bolas's Citadel 3
God-Pharaoh's Statue 2
Blast Zone 1
Karn's Bastion 1
Ugin, the Ineffable 1

That is a lot of Karn. I took the liberty of running some further statistics to get an idea of the extent of the Karnage (yes, I went there) of this event. Let's take a look at the chart.

This chart is very telling, showing a roughly 43.8% combined amount of colorless based decks in the overall challenge. That is a lot of colorless decks for one event, and a metric ton of Ancient Tomb's. The decks that were not colorless rose to the occasion, with BUG based decks in the Top 8 (including BUG Midrange and BUG Survival). The 7th place list by DiscoverN ran four copies of Infernal Reckoning in the sideboard to be able to counteract Eldrazi based strategies.

Also appearing in the Top 8, an Oath of Druids based deck with Gisela, Blade of Goldnight and Sphinx of the Steel Wind as targets in addition to Griselbrand.

Also further down the Challenge list is our good friend Matt Murray on his Jund list, this time running a pair of Tireless Tracker main deck in addition to a main deck Pithing Needle.

All in all, this event was very telling about the strength of cards like Karn, and furthermore the strength of things like Narset. Narset appears to be cannibalizing the blue decks as they have to be able to interact with her, which leaves them fairly open to Karn based strategies taking a move ahead.

The London Mulligan

As we all know by now, it has been announced by Wizards that the London Mulligan will be the new mulligan rule as of the Core Set 2020 release. This mulligan rule will officially go into effect on July 5 with the prerelease for Core Set 2020 and will be reflected in the official comprehensive rules on July 12. However, the Mulligan rule will be active on July 2nd on Magic Online after scheduled downtime.

I am still a little skeptical of this change overall, and I do feel that longer term it may end up more damaging... that being said I'm willing to give this a shot. I nearly expected the rule to be put into place anyways, so it will be interesting as we move forward into this brave new world and see just how the Metagame adapts to the rule in the longer term. Couple this with Modern Horizons being released and it does stand to make some interesting waves in Vintage.

The Spice Corner

DiscoverN decided to spice up their BUG list a little bit with the addition of a card from Guilds of Ravnica in the form of Thief of Sanity!

Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Be on the lookout for next week's article, as I will be going over my time at SCG Con in Roanoke, VA. It is sure to be a lot of fun to talk about this event, and I'm really looking forward to writing that article. As always, you can find me on Twitter, Twitch, and Patreon, and be sure to check out the YouTube channel as I'll be trying to post more video content there as I can.

I am really appreciative of everyone who takes a moment to check out and read these articles. You all who directly support what I do I could never be more grateful and happy to know you and know you care about me and my work. You are all indeed awesome people.

Until next time folks!

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