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Vintage 101: Consulting Demonics


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 taking a look at some of the various new combo archetypes that have arisen out of the release of Theros: Beyond Death and the card Thassa's Oracle. In addition we'll be covering last weekend's Vintage Challenge from Magic Online as well as the ever present Spice Corner!

Also, I'd like to point out a small error from last week's article that needs rectifying. I did mention that there was "nary a Paradoxical Outcome" in the Top 8 of the Challenge, when in fact Raymond's 2nd place list was a hybrid PO/Oath variant. Sorry about that folks! Sometimes, we tunnel in on specific cards in a list (in this case it was Oath of Druids) and often slide right by the others.

In addition, I'd also like to thank everyone for the interesting and well thought out responses to last week's article. It was an interesting topic to cover and I definitely would like to revisit the topic and concepts presented by it in the future.

Also, before we dive right into the thick of things, I just want to note that I was nominated for two categories in the MTG Content Creator Awards! The nominations were for Best Article and Best Writer, and you can see the whole list of nominees over here.

Now, without further ado, let's consult some demons!

The Art of Consultation

One of the most interesting cards to come out of Theros: Beyond Death, Thassa's Oracle has proven to be the real deal in providing a win condition that is difficult to interact with if it resolves. While the first thing that comes to mind with this card is the use of Doomsday to enable the win condition, another card that functions well with this card is none other than a restricted card, Demonic Consultation.

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The way that this combo functions is by using Demonic Consultation to name a card that is not in the deck in response to the trigger from Thassa's Oracle. This will completely exile the entire library, meaning that even if Thassa's Oracle is removed from the battlefield, the devotion will still be sufficient to satisfy the alternate win condition. While this sounds like it might be overly complicated and hard to actually pull off, that isn't actually the case, since the combo can easily slide into a control variant that can play a fair control game while also having a combo finish in its back pocket.

Let's take a look at a recent list, a BUG control based variant.

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The major takeaway from this list is the absence of cards like Deathrite Shaman, as this is less of a midrange pile of cards and more of a control based deck. Instead of trying to grind out every advantage, this deck is trying to control the board and the stack in order to get to a point to cast a tutor spell to close the game out with the combo. The backup plan here is a fair game plan utilizing cards like Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Oko, Thief of Crowns to grind if need be.

As we are want to do on this column, let's break down this list into its base components.

Fast Artifact Mana

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As always, this type of deck only utilizes the on-color Moxen it needs, in addition to the requisite Black Lotus. Decks like this can't often afford to run off-color Moxen because of the strict color requirements of the deck.

Tutors

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This deck plays the restricted copies of these tutor cards in order to be able to locate pieces of the combo as needed or to locate whatever is needed in a specific situation. Each tutor does something a little different, but they all interplay together to provide some redundancy effects to the deck.

Card Draw / Selection

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Most of these are restricted and all of them are part of the general blue suite of card draw and selection effects that most blue Vintage decks play. Sylvan Library is also another exceptionally powerful draw engine that can help push ahead in card advantage over the opponent.

Countermagic / Combo Protection

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The big draw of this list is being able to run countermagic as combo protection in order to push through a win. In addition, cards like Veil of Summer can be fired off proactively during a combo turn to ensure the kill goes off without a hitch.

Interaction / Utility

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The rest of this deck is pieces of various interaction from creature disruption to hand disruption, to the eponymous Oko, Thief of Crowns as a great backup plan plus interaction piece to stop problem permanents. Snapcaster Mage and Yawgmoth's Will also both represent a way to replay the combo from the graveyard if need be.

The Combo

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As noted before, the primary combo kill of this deck is the interaction between Oracle and Consultation. Since Thassa's Oracle's devotion trigger specifies "greater than or equal to," even if Oracle is removed in response to the trigger, the devotion equaling zero will still satisfy the alternate win condition that Oracle presents.

In addition to the BUG aligned lists like above, our good friend Matt Murray also posted a Grixis based version on Twitter. It appears as though Matt's version did not get posted to the 5-0 league dumps, so here is the list in picture form:

The big draw of this variant is to gain access to cards like Dack Fayden, Pyroblast, and Dreadhorde Arcanist as ways to eke value out and protect the combo. Whether or not the Grixis or BUG versions of this deck are better yet remains to be seen, but it is definitely cool to see a new card develop a truly new deck archetype like Thassa's Oracle has.

Community Vintage Events

In an effort to shine a little more light on events as they appear, I'm going to be adding this section to this column from now on! If you have an event you'd like to me talk about, please feel free to reach out to me!

  • Team Serious Open at Kidforce Collectibles in OH on 2/29 - Full Proxy Vintage! Event info here.
  • Team Serious Open at The POP! Shop in OH on 3/21 - Full Proxy Vintage! Event info here.
  • Game Time Indy Full Proxy Vintage event in IN on 2/22 - Event info here.
  • Gamestoria Vintage Full Proxy event on 2/23 - Event info here.
  • Terra Eternal Championships hosted by The Bearded Dragon and Joe Brennan in NJ on 3/17 - Sanctioned Vintage! Event info here.
  • Top Deck Games Vintage Event 15 proxies allowed in NJ on 3/28. Event info here.

Vintage Challenge 2/1

We had yet another Vintage Challenge over the weekend, so let's dive right in!

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dredge 1st Perke
Oath of Druids 2nd Miharu_Fuyumiya
Ravager Shops 3rd OnionLotus
4C Walkers 4th Svaca (Tomas Mar)
White Eldrazi 5th MindOfaKid
PO Storm 6th Kacknub
Ravager Shops 7th Karatedom
PO Storm 8th ThePowerNine (Justin Franks)

The weekly challenge metagame continues to move in waves as the players continue to adjust to the goings-on of the current format. The fact that these various challenges continue to be fairly well represented has me believing that the format is in a pretty good place right now, but the need to play to the metagame on a weekly basis is very real if you're playing on Magic Online.

At the end of this event, it was none other than Dredge that took down the whole thing. Dredge has been killing it lately and definitely is one of the best decks in the format.

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This list looks much like how most other Dredge lists have been lately, but the formula while tried and true is powerful and clean. Congrats to Perke on their finish!

In second place of this event, we have an archetype master in the form of Miharu_Fuyumiya on Oath.

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Miharu's list is super clean, especially in the sideboard, and the failsafe backup plan of Oko is very good for this deck.

In third we have Ravager Shops, piloted by OnionLotus! It's worth noting that OnionLotus was the only undefeated player in the Swiss rounds, so congrats!

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One neat thing about this list is the presence of new card Soul-Guide Lantern in the sideboard. This seems like a great way to attack Dredge on an axis that bypasses cards like Leyline of Sanctity. Overall, the list is super clean and very strong.

In Fourth place, we have the master of 4C himself, Tomas Mar (aka Svaca) on the 4C Walkers list!

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Again this list continues Tomas' method of playing a more focused manabase with splash options into black. This is a RUG deck at heart, splashing black for a few cards and the utility provided by both Wrenn and Six and Deathrite Shaman.

At the bottom of the Top 8 was a showing by White Eldrazi, piloted by MindOfaKid!

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Further down the Top 32 show that a lot of Ravager Shops did very well in this event. Here's a small breakdown of the decks in the Top 32.

Deck Name Number of Decks
Ravager Shops 9
Dredge 5
Jeskai Arcanist 5
BUG Midrange 4
PO Storm 4
Oath 3
4C Walkers 1
White Eldrazi 1

Now let's take a look at the new cards appearing in this event from 2020!

Card Name Number of Copies
Soul-Guide Lantern 3
Underworld Breach 2

While this seems like very few cards, I strike this as a good thing. To me this means that many of the cool new shiny toys we got in Theros: Beyond Death are good but not so back breaking that they rip apart the format much like 2019 design presented to us. Even Underworld Breach, arguably a powerful card, has not proven itself to be excessively broken in Vintage. Whether this status quo will be maintained going forward however is anyone's game.

The Spice Corner

It's the return of Flash Rector! But not just any Rector, Arena Rector!

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Join us next week as we continue our journey into the Vintage format! My article next week will be covering my weekend with the Team Serious crew at the Hazard Invitational! It's going to be an exciting time as we have 30ish players for full proxy Vintage!

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

Until next time, keep flashing Rectors!


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