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Vintage 101: Eternal Weekend Cram Session - Paradoxical Outcome

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 full on prep mode for Eternal Weekend 2021 with a look at the deck Paradoxical Outcome for those players looking to pick up the deck for the event. We'll take a short jaunt into Innistrad: Crimson Vow next week once we have the whole set, but for now we'll be talking about the upcoming event. In addition to that we've got some Challenge data to discuss as well as a Spice Corner.

Without further ado, let's dive right in.

Prepping for Eternal Weekend - Paradoxical Outcome

Eternal Weekend 2021 is just a short month away, and while we wait for tokens to go live on November 15th, we can start prepping. We talked last week about several decks that you can pick up to play in the event, so this week we're going to dive into a specific deck and talk about why you should consider playing this deck for Eternal Weekend Online. The first deck we're picking here is Paradoxical Outcome.

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At its heart, PO represents something about Vintage that is truly "Vintage-y". There's a lot of powerful spells, a lot of card draw, and winning the game gives the feel of really playing Vintage. It does powerful things and does them well, and that's one of the big attractions for this kind of deck for newer players to the format is that they want to experience Vintage from that macro level.

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While this deck used to be strictly a combo deck (and it sort of still is but it's more of a hybrid now) the current iterations have leaned the deck more towards being a sort of combo/control deck that plays a lot of individually powerful cards backed up by the critical mass of artifact mana it can generate. The card Paradoxical Outcome itself is a great reflection of one of the deck's biggest strengths in that it leverages artifact mana so well that it turns it into cards with PO and makes it so that PO itself either generates mana advantage or at the very least nets neutral mana.  One thing to remember when playing with the card PO itself is that you need to have that critical mass to make PO good, and a higher critical mass makes it even better. That being said, some of the big predators to this card and the usage of it are cards like Narset, Parter of Veils, Leovold, Emissary of Trest, Hullbreacher (this one is even worse because it's instant speed), and cards like Spirit of the Labyrinth and Archon of Emeria. Hatebear effects like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Collector Ouphe also impact the ability for this deck to win with the card Paradoxical Outcome as they make it harder to make mana net positive or neutral. Main deck answers to these kinds of cards generally involves the card Repeal (or going deep on a different strategy like Tinker) to get rid of the offending permanent to go off. I will note, just don't cast Repeal off your Bolas's Citadel as it is currently bugged on Magic Online and can bounce anything. Please don't abuse these kinds of bugs, but be aware that they exist so you don't accidentally do it or recognize it when someone does it to you.

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Some important things to remember about actually casting PO is the fact that it is an Instant and that can be used to incremental advantage. For example, casting a value PO in response to a Shattering Spree or By Force effect can be fairly back-breaking as it nets you cards and saves your own permanents. One other trick with this card is the usage involving Sensei's Divining Top. It's a common trick to tap Top to draw a card and then cast PO in response and bounce the Top as well. The end result here is a net +1 card to the amount of cards drawn by PO, and that kind of tiny incremental advantage is too easy to take advantage of to put down.

Of course, the big appeal of current PO lists is not just the angle of being able to play PO, and if you approach the deck with only that mindset then it will come back to bite you. There's a fair number of other angles for this deck to explore and it can change those roles fluidly throughout the game. For example, Urza's Saga is relatively powerful on its own and can often generate win conditions with the artifact mana based on the size of the constructs. Tinker as well is one of the big primary angles of the deck to winning, as Tinker into Bolas's Citadel is one of the more powerful things once can be doing in the current format right now. Cards like Urza, Lord High Artificer also provide a powerful backup plan and win condition by being able to turn artifact mana into casting cards from the library.

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The way that this deck can win games is generally pretty fluid and allows it to pick whatever role it needs to play for a particular game. The combo half of this deck often involves the synergy between Time Vault and Manifold Key by giving the deck extra turns that never stops. One of the best parts of this combo is the fact that Urza's Saga can snag one half of it in Manifold Key while a Tinker can get the Time Vault into play, or it can be found with all the card draw this deck has.

While there's a learning curve to every deck in this format, this is definitely a deck I would recommend if you're looking for something that gives the "Vintage Experience" and allows you to really experience the format's high power level.

Vintage Challenge 10/30

We had two Challenges this past weekend, the first of which was the mid afternoon Saturday event. This event had 54 players in it, according to 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.

This event was heavily infused with Tinker variants, namely the 8-Cast deck as well as typical Grixis/Esper Tinker shells. Collectively all the Tinker shells did very well in this event, with generic blue Tinker shells doing the best out of the category. The fair decks that did well here were both BUG and Jeskai.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Blue Tinker 1st thepowernine
Blue Tinker 2nd ReneRandrup
Paradoxical Outcome 3rd roter_Erzengel
Breach 4th lsv
Breach 5th Condescend
Golos Stax 6th _Shatun_
Blue Tinker 7th IamActuallyLvl1
Blue Tinker 8th Sahakvic

Definitely a lot of Tinker variants here, and a case can be made for the 4th-5th place lists to be classified as generic Blue Tinker as well as the lines are much more muddy with these variants now. If I had to really recommend a deck for EW it would be one of these Tinker shells for sure. At the end of the event it was our good friend thepowernine bringing down the house on an Blue Tinker variant.

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The big selling point of this variant has a lot to do with how good the mana is, by not really crossing too hard into splash colors outside of just black for Vampiric Tutor and Demonic Tutor in the main deck. There's a lot of flexibility here with this deck for sure and it's very powerful.

The Second Place list was on Tinker as well.

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This takes the splash skewed towards red slightly more by allowing the deck to play Dack Fayden and blast effects out of the sideboard. Dack provides some solid card selection fixing and allows the deck to steal away critical artifact pieces. Greatest thief in the multiverse indeed.

Also in this Top 8 we had a showing by Breach Tinker by none other than Luis Scott-Vargas (aka LSV).

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Having the Breach kill in this deck is very compact and doesn't really impact the overall game plan too much. Definitely a powerful plan. I like it.

Outside of the Top 8 we had a sweet showing by another good friend of ours on Oops! All Spells.

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Grief is a sweet addition to this to get cards out of the opponent's hand. Really sweet. Works really well too with additional copies of Agadeem's Awakening to pitch to it.

Vintage Challenge 10/31

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday Challenge which had 40 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 data sheet here.

This event looked a lot different than Saturday's event. While Tinker was still fairly prevalent, Golos Stax/Prison Shops variants were very popular and did well as did Doomsday. This event also tends to have a lot of 4C DRS variants as well as it is a popular deck for players who can regularly play in this time slot.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Doomsday 1st sixmp
Paradoxical Outcome 2nd musasabi
BUG Midrange 3rd Rank1Lynx
Golos Stax 4th Tsubasa_Cat
Blue Tinker 5th Condescend
8-Cast 6th otakkun
8-Cast 7th SHAKELION
Doomsday 8th discoverN

Definitely a more interesting Top 8 with some cool spread of variety. At the end of the event it was Doomsday that took it all down.

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The thing that jumped out at me immediately was the double Murktide Regent in the sideboard. New tech? Seems pretty sweet for when your opponent is planning on beating your Doomsday plan and then getting beat on by some big dragons.

The Second Place list was on Paradoxical Outcome.

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Pretty solid list here overall and fairly stock at this point. This is what I would play if playing PO in Eternal Weekend.

Down the Top 8 we also had a showing by BUG Midrange.

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This is definitely geared towards beating up on the Tinker shells with triple copies of Collector Ouphe and stuff like Force of Vigor + Energy Flux. It's also teched for graveyard decks with Endurance. Really solid list for sure.

Outside of the Top 8 we had a showing by Hogaak.

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Serenity is a sweet card I haven't seen in a while. Love that it is seeing play here, as it seems quite strong for Hogaak.

Down the Top 32 we had a sick UW Control list.

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Yorion UW Control! This is amazing. Anything that is playing Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is a-okay in my book.

Around the Web

  • We've got a Doomsday league from good friend revenantkioku. Check it out here.
  • Another Montolio league video on 5C Shops! Check that out here.
  • We've got a great video on Oath of Druids from Kai (aka sawatarix). Check it out here.
  • As always, the content machine (and I mean it) of Justin Gennari has a ton of a videos for us to grok.

The Spice Corner


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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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