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Vintage 101: First Metagame Update of 2023!

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 where Vintage is at in 2023 with our first metagame review of the year! In addition to that we've got two Challenge events to discuss.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Vintage in 2023 - One Month In

Alright so we are one month into 2023 here, and with that we've got a glut of data on the Vintage metagame for the first month of the year. All of the data we're going to be discussing here is coming from the Vintage Streamer's Discord data managed by our good friend Justin Gennari. This version of the aggregate data they have collected I have copied off to its own file for historical accuracy sake and it is only looking at January 1st - 2/7. You can find this file here. This data consists of 913 entries of data, which is quite a bit for a month.

So let's start off by looking at some graph data.

At the top of the current Vintage format in regards to popularity in this first month of 2023 is of course Mono White. However, even though Mono White is one of the most popular decks right now, this past month is showing that it's win rate for the month was slightly worse than 50%. In fact, it is the next highest deck in the format Doomsday that had the highest win rate of the month. Many of the other decks in the cutoff here also had very reasonable win rates, with several hovering the in the 50-52% range across the board. The worst performing decks of the month outside of Mono White ended up being Grixis Tinker and Prison Shops decks. A lot of the Grixis decks have merged more into Breach however, which did a little better than straight Grixis Saga Tinker has done.

At a macro level, this also shows us that a good portion of the format has been split between Aggro and Combo, which is a weird first for Vintage in quite some time. A high portion of that Aggro pie is the Mono White deck and of course Doomsday makes up the largest part of the Combo pile, with Oops trailing behind that. Shops is also reasonably low here, but a large part of that has to obviously do with Mono White being such a Shops-like deck in regards to the threats it pushed into play but not having to solely rely on Workshops or artifact mana to really make work.

I think in the short term we are seeing just how Vintage absorbs new mechanics and new cards with this data. Mono White was definitely highly divisive amongst the community last year during Eternal Weekend and we've certainly seen the deck doing rather well, but it has definitely not become the format destroying deck that we thought it might. Vintage has absorbed the deck and the format has shifted yet again to cyclically adjust for it. This is one of the coolest and most interesting things about Vintage right now because it is one of the few formats that I feel like metagame forces really are able to function like they are supposed to.

I will be very curious about the impact of Phyrexia: All Will Be One but for now, I think Vintage continues to look really good.

Vintage Challenge 2/4

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the mid afternoon Saturday event. This event had 69 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.

4C DRS was at the top of the heap here, but its win rate was quite poor. Mono White did very well, as did Esper Saga Tinker variants. Jeskai also did very well because one of its two pilots placed in Second Place in the event. This is a good spread though.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Esper Tinker 1st thepowernine
Jeskai Lurrus 2nd unluckymonkey
Aggro Bazaar 3rd moon11
Doomsday 4th MaxMagicer
Control Bazaar 5th JUJUBEAN__2004
Paradoxical Outcome 6th JOANANTON
Aggro Bazaar 7th bobthedog
Breach 8th Diem4x

Quite a lot of Bazaar here in this event. However, at the end of it all it was Esper Tinker that won the entire thing.

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Very strong list here. Two cards sticking out at me in the sideboard here are Virtue's Ruin for the Mono White matchup, but also Portal to Phyrexia which is just the most absurd card versus Mono White when you Tinker for it, and then start reanimating their Initiative creatures. Pretty cool overall.

In Second Place we have Jeskai Lurrus.

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The lean and mean of this deck is pretty good. It's such a powerfully strong pile of cards, backed up by Lurrus and the strength of stuff like Ragavan and Arcanist.

Also in this Top 8 we had some Hogaak action.

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Leaning on all eight Rootwalla is massively strong here. Having a huge glut of free creatures is really good for Vengevine for sure. Four Collector Ouphe main deck is a statement for sure.

Vintage Challenge 2/5

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 55 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.

PO was the most popular deck of the event and it had a pretty solid win rate. There was a reasonable split down the line amongst a lot of the other archetypes here, and 4C DRS decks did quite well overall as did Combo Shops.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
4C DRS 1st duke12
Mono White 2nd Wesal
Combo Shops 3rd yPrincipe
Control Bazaar 4th 416FrowningTable
Breach 5th sixmp
Jeskai Lurrus 6th Magicofplayer1
Doomsday 7th Vertyx_
Paradoxical Outcome 8th helvetti

Definitely a much more well rounded Top 8 here. At the end of the event it was 4C DRS that won the event.

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A who's who of Legacy banned all stars here for sure. There are two banned Planeswalkers and two banned creatures in this deck and it's just lean and clean. I love the pair of Fury in the sideboard.

In Second Place we've got Mono White.

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As we are continuing to see the arms race of this deck, we are seeing more and more Legacy tech adopted by the deck in the forms of cards like Chancellor of the Annex and Archon of Absolution. Very strong stuff.

Also in this Top 8 we had Combo Shops.

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Displacer Kitten is so freaking cool in these decks. I love how busted value that card can be and you can still pull off an infinite combo in the card with Black Lotus and Tormod's Crypt plus Karn, so that's sweet.

Around the Web

  • Justin Gennari has some awesome stuff for us this past week.
  • The Year in Review of 2022 from So Many Insane Plays is up! Check it out here.
  • Revenantkiouku has a sweet article on diversifying your Doomsday sideboard! Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

You can find this past week's 5-0 lists here.

Lurrus Shadow!

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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 my Link Tree! In addition you can always reach me on the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the Vintage Streamers Discord.

Until next time!

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