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Vintage 101: Everything is Awesome

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 diving into the most recent Banned and Restricted announcement from the viewpoint of why there were no changes made to Vintage! I'll give you a hint, it's because Vintage is awesome! In addition to that we had two Challenges over the weekend to talk about AND there is a Vintage Showcase Challenge upcoming this weekend on Saturday.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Why There Were No Vintage Changes

This past week we saw an update to the Banned and Restricted lists for formats such as Historic, Standard, and even Legacy. One of the more curious things I read heading up to this announcement was a wish for some form of a change to be made to Vintage in this announcement. Of course, there was no changes made to the format, so let's explore some of the changes people were wanting and why they have not happened.

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It's safe to say that the biggest card I saw discussion on was Urza's Saga. It's clear that Saga is a very good card in the Vintage format, but is it actually restrictable? I don't personally believe it is at this point in time. Saga is definitely very omnipresent in the current format, but so are cards like Bazaar of Baghdad (which is often a contentious point but definitely is never getting restricted). Saga has a larger amount of interaction points than Bazaar actually does by the sheer fact that it is also an Enchantment in addition to land. This makes for a lot of different ways to interact with Saga, either by being able to destroy it with Wasteland or Strip Mine, but also to be able to defeat it with other Vintage staples such as Force of Vigor. However, the level of interaction with this card is pretty high, as newer sideboard cards like Alpine Moon and even cards like Dress Down and Pernicious Deed have proven that sometimes you can get through with constructs, but sometimes you're just blown out of the water by one of these cards.

It's this kind of interaction and counterplay-heavy functionality that makes Saga's presence in the format interesting and unique and it makes for some interesting matches and fun gameplay. It's definitely a card that I don't see being restricted ever.

Furthermore, Vintage as a format has been exceedingly one of the healthier formats as of late, largely due to the power of Modern Horizons 2. Currently the format's data sheets (which you can see an aggregate of here thanks to the efforts of the Vintage Streamer's Discord) show a pretty even spread of win rates in decks and their representation.

Things in Vintage look really good right now, and the spread of win rates is great. The only deck cracking above 54% is Breach variants, but their sample size is relatively low compared to every other deck that its lower bound of win rate could be far below what the approximate win rate is. Every event I look at tells a story, and every event continues to show that Vintage looks like a lot of fun and that any deck has a reasonable chance of winning that event. Furthermore, the meta is very cyclical in nature and does a great job of cycling through the Aggro/Control/Combo wheel of things, maintaining a solid balance and a fun sub-game of attempting to subvert the metagame. In the face of this, I think it is fine that they made no changes to Vintage in this announcement. If I had to currently wish for any actual changes to be made though, I would rather see an unrestriction than anything else because I think there are cards that could be easily unrestricted without issue.

I am excited to see how Vintage continues to shape up in 2022, and I'm glad to give it the time to evolve more slowly than other formats because down the line may put us in an entirely different place and Vintage is a format where a lot of really powerful things happen. For now that is what the format truly is and I think that is great.

Vintage Challenge 1/22

We had two Challenges this past weekend, the first of which was the mid-afternoon Saturday event. This event had 62 players in it thanks to the efforts of the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the datasheet here.

Quite a bit of BUG decks in this event, but despite being popular it had a below 50% win rate in this event. Doomsday did the best out of this entire event, given that both of its pilots ended up in the Top 8 of the event. Dredge also performed quite well, and so did PO decks. Still a quite solid spread of things to do in the format though, and every week event keeps looking great.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Doomsday 1st Vertyx_
Dredge 2nd D00mwake
Paradoxical Outcome 3rd DrPringles
4C Midrange 4th billsive
Blue Tinker 5th Lord_Beerus
Doomsday 6th MaxMagicer
BUG Midrange 7th Thalai
UR Tempo 8th Schiaveto

Nice looking Top 8 here. Some combo, some Tinker variants and some midrange decks going on here. At the end of the event, it was Doomsday that won, one of the only two players in the event on the deck.

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I am digging the sideboard Murktide Regent as a way to generate value in post-board games where they're dedicated to really beating your combo plan. Definitely super interesting. We've seen a number of cards do this before like Tasigur, but Murktide is definitely the most clock-heavy version.

The Second Place list was on Dredge.

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Pretty solid straightforward Dredge list here. This is as close I would say to a solid stock list as any and is a great place to start if you're looking to pick up the deck.

Further into the Top 8 we have 4C Midrange/Tempo.

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Vintage is now a place where you can definitely play your banned Ragavans right alongside your banned Deathrite Shamans from Legacy, in addition to your banned Wrenn and Six! Sick looking deck for sure.

Down at the bottom of the Top 8 we have UR Tempo.

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Add Dreadhorde Arcanist to the list of banned Legacy cards and you've got a smorgasbord of sweet stuff you can do. This deck is pretty solid, giving options like the Monkey and Arcanist, plus stuff like Magus of the Moon.

Vintage Challenge 1/23

The second event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 56 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 datasheet here.

Aggro Shops had the popular vote this go around with BUG taking up second place in terms of popularity. Both decks didn't do extremely good though overall. Hogaak had a solid performance here, so did Blue Tinker variants.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Hogaak 1st Oosunq
Blue Tinker 2nd Phill_Hellmuth
Hogaak 3rd noprops
Breach 4th sixmp
Jeskai Control 5th TrueHero
Combo Shops 6th cftsoc3
Blue Tinker 7th GGoggles
BUG Midrange 8th Musasabi

Neat Top 8 here. Some combo, some Bazaar, and even some midrange piles. At the end of the event though, it was Hogaak that really cracked through to the end.

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This deck has a lot of strong options versus the current format, primarily in cards like Collector Ouphe and Deafening Silence. Playing four Wasteland is also strong, even though it is mainly for Tabernacle and stuff it is very good versus Urza's Saga as well.

The Second Place list was on Blue Tinker.

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Grixis gives a lot of options to the Tinker shells, primarily cards like Dack Fayden and Demonic Tutor. Having Ragavan is a great low to the ground play that helps offset any interaction with the Tinker game plan. Surprised to not see Sphinx of the Steel Wind, but Blightsteel Colossus is also super duper sweet.

Down in the Top 8, we had a showing by Jeskai Control.

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Jeskai definitely used to be "the deck" when it came to being a midrange-esque control pile, and it's great that there's a bunch of different strategies for this now, but Jeskai definitely still can put up some results. The bigger additions as of late have been the Monkey and Prismatic Ending, which are both pretty strong.

Further down we have Combo Shops/PO with Coveted Jewel.

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This deck sits in a weird place because it is a Mishra's Workshop deck with PO in it and that in of itself is pretty freaking cool. Coveted Jewel is also super neat.

Around the Web

  • LSV posted a video on 8-Cast. Check it out here.
  • Our good friend Montolio posted two videos, so go check both of them out:
  • As always the content machine of Justin Gennari cannot be stopped!

The Spice Corner

Laelia / Monkey Breach is on the menu today!

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What I'm Playing This Week

Inspired by a recent post from my good friend Montolio, I'm looking back at my good old pal Risen Reef.

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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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