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Vintage 101: But I Can't Change Time


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 the Companion mechanic change that occurred this week and what it means for Vintage. In addition, we'll be discussing last weekend's Magic Online challenge events as well as a fun deck list for the UX Vintage format. In addition, we always have our Spice Corner.

The Companions are Dead, Jim

On June 1st, Wizards of the Coast issued an update to the Companion mechanic. The rule change is explained over here and is listed as follows:

Once per game, any time you could cast a sorcery (during your main phase when the stack is empty), you can pay 3 generic mana to put your companion from your sideboard into your hand. This is a special action, not an activated ability.

This change essentially is going to make the Companions in Vintage virtually unplayable, which post Lurrus ban had only come down to Lutri, the Spellchaser, Zirda, the Dawnwaker (very minimally), and Jegantha, the Wellspring (in some of the Golos Stax decks). Having to pay three mana essentially invalidates the mechanic itself, making it impossible to play a deck with one of these cards. Lutri especially loses a ton of equity and surprise factor and building a singleton deck no longer really feels that powerful. None of the other Companions are really ultimately that strong in Vintage, so this change essentially soft bans them from the format by making them completely unplayable.

The biggest question of all surrounding this change however is whether eventually we could see a reversal of the banning of Lurrus of the Dream Den.

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My gut feeling tells me that it is rather unlikely for Wizards to revisit this ban decision, however, the nature of this rules change may actually make Lurrus somewhat safe and less format warping than it was under the old Companion rules. It even has the potential to promote playing the card in the main deck as an option instead of as a Companion. The question only becomes whether Wizards decides that it is potentially safe enough to unban the Cat and let it roam free to see how it might flourish under this new Companion rules change. I would not mind them making this change to see whether or not Lurrus is truly broken again, if anything just to see and ascertain what it might do. In a sense that will then allow them to preserve the nature of the format being able to play virtually any card.

Regardless, this change means that many of the Companion decks we were seeing such as Lutri Xerox will simply disappear and the metagame will completely shift back into a pre-Ikoria realm. We are going to talk about the Challenges last weekend despite there being some Companion lists because of there being other lists that are not Companions. I will be restarting these metrics as well as watching for any possible Companions going forward in next week's article.

Vintage Challenge 5/30

Our first Challenge of the weekend is the normal Saturday challenge, so let's take a look and see how things shook out with the Top 32.

Quite a big spread of decks here, and while Dredge/HollowVine did put up some numbers in this event, it didn't really convert as well. Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
PO Storm 1st Bryant_Cook
4C Control 2nd Svaca
PO Storm 3rd ThePowerNine
Lutri Xerox 4th Gernardi
Golos Stax 5th Shir Kahn
Jeskai Xerox 6th AMiracle
Breach 7th Pun1sher
4C Control 8th Leeties

Some interesting lists here, so let's dive right in with the winner in a back to back week of Challenge wins with the exact same list, Bryant Cook on PO Storm.

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This deck seems very powerful, and again the main deck Underworld Breach is pretty strong. Very straightforward and clean list overall.

In Second Place we have Svaca with 4C Control.

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This is also a pretty straightforward midrange/control list, leaning on the power of Deathrite Shaman and Dreadhorde Arcanist.

In Third Place we have another PO Storm deck, piloted by ThePowerNine (Justin Franks).

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I dig the Karn, Scion of Urza in the sideboard here, otherwise this is a fairly straightforward list as well.

Fourth Place had a Companion deck in Lutri, so let's slide down to Fifth Place. While this Golos Stax deck also has a Companion (Jegantha) it is wholly possible that it's premise is still viable without it.

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This list seems pretty cool, and like I said, I think it is possible this deck works even without Jegantha. It's just that Jegantha provides a free 5/5. It's even possible that Jegantha is still useable under the new changes but it's pretty doubtful to me.

In Sixth Place we have Jeskai Xerox.

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Yet another pretty clean list here. Not much to say about this one.

In Seventh Place we have Breach.

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Sprite Dragon is a cool inclusion in this deck as another way for it to kill the opponent quickly outside of leveraging multiple Lightning Bolt.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have another 4C Control list.

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This version of the deck is not utilizing Arcanist or Dark Confidant, and is more of a midrange type deck with Goyf and Leovold.

Vintage Challenge 5/31

The second Challenge of the weekend, which was the early morning Sunday Challenge, so let's take a look at the Top 32.

This event had less in the way of Breach decks, but had plenty of PO and 4C Control as well some other fun decks. Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
PO Storm 1st Nanaiper
Lutri DPS 2nd KTMR-39
Ravager Shops 3rd Kuroyukihime
Ravager Shops 4th Quinniac
4C Control 5th Svaca
4C Control 6th Leeties
Doomsday 7th SingPanMan
Lutri Xerox 8th Gernardi

At the top of the heap this week with another win was PO Storm.

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There isn't much to say about this list that we haven't said already as it is relatively straightforward.

Let's move down to the Shops decks in Third and Fourth since the Second Place deck is a Lutri deck.

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Both of these decks are mostly the same, but the Third Place deck does have a restricted Karn and copies of Fleetwheel Cruiser in it.

Fifth and Sixth Place were both 4C Control decks respectively again by Svaca and Leeties who also Top 8'ed the Saturday Challenge.

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Svaca ran back what they knew in this event and it really paid off. Leeties also ran back most of what they knew as well, in addition to slotting in some Dreadhorde Arcanist into the deck.

In Seventh Place we have Doomsday.

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I like the cut of this list, and also the fact that there is a Hope of Ghirapur in the main deck. Very powerful still indeed.

The last list in the Top 8 was another Lutri list, which we won't get into until we know more about how the new rules will actually affect Companions in this format going forward.

Vintage Unleashed Deck - GushBond

One thing I wanted to do is start up a bit of a focus on decks in the Vintage Unleashed format that we talked about last week and what more decks might look like as the format evolves. A deck that has obvious applications in this format as a combo deck is the interaction between Fastbond and Gush, especially when combined with Mystic Sanctuary. This deck utilizes that alongside Hedron Crab to have a win condition of simply milling the opponent out of cards while also drawing a bunch of cards.

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The Spice Corner

Gaak Attack!

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SHARKSTILL!

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Thanks for continuing to support the column and join us next week as we continue our journey into Vintage!

As always you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! I'm also always around the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the Vintage Streamer's Discord Server.

Until next time!


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