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Vintage 101: Getting Into MTGO Vintage in 2022

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 all about playing Vintage on Magic Online! Primarily we're going to talk about some core cards to own for the format but also talking about the usage of rental services as well. In addition to that, we've got some Challenge data to talk about as well as our Spice Corner.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Getting Into MTGO Vintage in 2022

One of the great things about Magic Online is the fact that formats like Vintage and Legacy are pretty accessible if you want to get into them and play them on a regular basis. My goal is here is to discuss how to get into the format based on what core cards are good to have for various decks in the format, and also some of the cheaper to get into decks as well as the usage of rental services. Not only is Vintage actually cheaper than most other formats on MTGO, there is also a solid community of players willing to help newer players get into the format and two regular Challenge events every weekend (plus the fact that Vintage is a Premier Play option for Season 1 of 2022).

It is worth noting that prices can and do fluctuate from time to time, so this is definitely approximated. Prices are expressed in Event Tickets on MTGO, where $1 = 1 Event Ticket approximately.

First and foremost your up front cost of having an MTGO account is now only $5 for a fully upgraded account. From there, we can start looking at what important cards one should have for the format. It is recommended that you purchase cards from a Bot Chain on MTGO, the most typical of which are services like Cardhoarder and Goatbots. Both of these provide slightly different experiences and can have some slightly different pricing so it is a good practice to research multiple services like this before making a purchase.

Power 9 Cards (~35 tix)

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

These cards are the cornerstone of every deck typically in the format, so they're cards you should just own if you plan to play a lot of Vintage. Most decks in the format only use the Power 9 listed above, which will run you approximately 35 tickets at the time of this article. For completeness sake, if you want to add Timetwister for a whole set that brings the total up to approximately 38 tickets.

Regardless, these are cards one definitely needs to play this format if you're playing any deck outside of a thing like Dredge.

Vintage Lands That Are Important (~8 tix)

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Even if you maybe never plan to play a Workshops deck or Bazaar deck these are reasonable pickups to have 4x each of because they are so incredibly cheap on MTGO. Even just both of these at 4x only cost approximately 5 tickets. The other two lands in Strip Mine and Tolarian Academy you only need 1x each of, bringing these 10 lands to a whopping 8 tickets. These are all good to have if you ever decide to branch out into different decks later down the line (which is a good skill to have in Vintage).

Restricted Blue Cards (~6 tix)

The nice thing about playing blue in Vintage is the fact that many of the deck's restricted cards are actually very cheap. There's 11 restricted cards that are generally a must-have which are listed in the above image. Not all of these go into a deck together typically, but a vast majority of them do and they're all so cheap that it's pretty much worth nabbing all of them at once.

The Cost Thus Far (~50 tix) and More Expensive Stuff

Sofar in just these things above, we're at a little under or around 50 tickets based on current prices, which could be a little higher or a little lower. This set of cards gives us a good number of the core cards the format utilizes, but we do have to turn our attention towards some more expensive cards and talk about cards that one should probably own based on what type of deck they plan on playing. We will also talk about some of the cheaper cards to pick up for various deck archetypes.

The Blue Elephant in the Room

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The biggest pickups one could potentially make for a deck in the format is Force of Wills. Four Forces will run you close to 110 tickets approximately right now, but they are pretty much required for any deck playing blue in the format and even if you want to play Dredge. If it's a card you want to play and blue decks especially, then these should be the first thing to buy outside of the core cards above.

Another possible pickup in these Blue decks that comes up often enough is Force of Negation, but there are many decks that don't play a full set of this (outside of decks like Hollow Vine and Dredge and even then it isn't always a full four copies). A full four copies of FoN will run you close to ~200 tickets, so it is not an upfront purchase to take lightly. If the deck you're playing only plays two copies, only pick up those two copies. We will also talk about supplementing with rental services later on.

Other Powerful Lands and Dual Lands/Fetches

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

These are two more expensive pickups that see a lot of play in the current format and pretty much required if you want to play a Tinker shell (in the case of Saga), or even a Workshops variant (for both). Sagas are currently more expensive on MTGO at close to ~200 tickets, while Wastelands are only ~85 tickets. Wastelands are also relatively necessary for playing Dredge to answer cards like Tabernacle.

Dual Lands and fetches are a different story but most of them are relatively cheap (below ~20 tickets) that you can generally focus on the ones for the specific deck you are playing.

Other Cards for Various Archetypes

Above is a listing of other various cards and their approximate prices from various archetypes. Many of these cards are relatively cheap, the most expensive of which ends up being Mana Crypt which is really only necessary in the Tinker variants and Workshops. Many of the restricted cards here are solid pickups though as they are generally good in multiple decks.

Using Rental Services to Your Advantage

One of the best ways to approach getting into Vintage without outright buying a deck is the strategy of buying up plenty of these cards like we listed above to a point where you can use a rental service such as Cardhoarder to flexibly rent out cards you either can't afford yet or would allow you to switch between decks easily. It's a solid idea to use a rental service to pull down cards that are transient in lists or sideboard cards. By owning a small base of cards however, you can slowly reduce your level of renting over time by using winnings from leagues and other events to purchase more cards from places such as Cardhoarder.

While it is true that over time, a rental service could cost more than buying a complete deck on MTGO, the flexibility of the rental service allowing you to slowly lower that cost over time more than makes up for it, and is one of the best ways to utilize getting into really any format on MTGO, but especially works well for Vintage as switching cards around and switching decks makes it more interesting to enjoy the format and what it has to offer.

Decks to Consider Buying Into

There are a good number of various decks in the Vintage format currently, but I've identified three pillars of the format that are great decks to get into that are also strong competitive strategies.

Of these decks the most expensive deck here ends up being Dredge at ~560 tickets.

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This is certainly a competitive strategy in the format and has been so for a pretty long time, so it can be easy to get into this deck and really master its inner workings enough to do well with it that it pays for itself in the long run. Comparing this to Modern where there are plenty of decks that are starting to cost 800 tickets and above, this is the higher end of cheaper entry into Vintage, but it's still very very strong.

Further down in expense is a Tinker deck in PO.

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PO is yet another solid deck entry into the format and it has a ton of great resources on learning how to play the deck. PO offers a lot of critical mass gameplay and a lot of very Vintage-esque gameplay that can be appealing to players looking to do "Vintage" things (meaning absurdly powerful things). Again this is reasonable and pays for itself in the long run because it's a hard deck to invalidate.

At the lower end of the spectrum we have Aggro Shops below 500 tickets.

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Shops is a very powerful deck and it's certainly hard to keep this deck down no matter how hard the format tries. This is a great deck if you're used to playing more tempo-esque oriented decks because Aggro Shops is at its heart an aggro/prison tempo variant that puts permission on the opponent while trying to clock them. It's also a great deck for players newer to the format to try out because the sheer power level of the deck is good enough to win games on its own.

Wrapping Up

Vintage on MTGO is pretty easy to get into and it's even easier to find a community to play with as well. The Vintage Streamer's Discord is one of those resources and they really do a great job of helping and welcoming new players to the format. If you've ever been on the fence of trying this format, give it a whirl! It's a ton of fun and feels very healthy and interesting right now while being much cheaper than formats like Modern and even Legacy on MTGO currently.

Vintage Challenge 1/15

We had two Challenge events over the past weekend, the first of which was the Saturday 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.

Quite a bit of Tinker shells at the upper range of popularity, but they had fairly medium win rates overall in the event. Dredge had the highest win rate of the event by a good margin and converted exceptionally well to the top tables given that 4/6 of it's players ended up in the Top 8.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dredge 1st PRGJJAR
Dredge 2nd Wizard_2002
BUG Midrange 3rd Thalai
Paradoxical Outcome 4th Condescend
Aggro Shops 5th kanister
Dredge 6th PTarts2win
Dredge 7th Wingedhussar
8Cast 8th S063

As noted, Dredge did exceptionally well in this event, with 4/8 of the Top 8 covered by the deck. The rest of the Top 8 had some Shops, some Tinker, and a midrange pile. At the end of the event however, it was the Showdown of the Graveyards with both First and Second Place players on Dredge. Let's look at both lists.

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One interesting thing about the winning list is the absence of Grief that has been a general inclusion into most Dredge lists, instead of leaning on cards like Noxious Revival and Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis. It's definitely purely preferential and whatever fits your play style. Both of these pilots are solid Dredge players and the Dredge mirror is really nuts sometimes. Congrats to both of these players for the sheer insane awesome that is Dredge.

Down to the Third Place we have World Champ Javier Dominguez on BUG Midrange.

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Definitely a super clean list here, and pretty indicative of the power level that BUG pushes on the format overall. Its threats are well adjusted and clock well and it has great proactive and reactive spells. Also seems to be a solid home for cards like Oko, Thief of Crowns.

Also in the Top 8 we had a Shops showing by none other than kanister.

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I like the approach that kanister takes here, instead of leaning on cards like Arcbound Ravager and playing instead four Null Rod in the deck along with scalable threats like Stonecoil Serpent and Nettlecyst. Really strong take on the Aggro Shops variant.

Vintage Challenge 1/16

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 43 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 a strong showing here with a solid win rate and representation, but all the other decks did quite well too. Dredge tanked it hard in this event, with only two pilots and a 20% win rate.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Hogaak 1st noprops
8Cast 2nd S063
BUG Midrange 3rd Musasabi
Aggro Shops 4th medvedev
Aggro Shops 5th kanister
Oath of Druids 6th pablohotdog
Grixis Tempo 7th NooxTom
GW Lumi 8th Wesal

Good amount of variety here, with Shops, Oath, even the GW Luminarch Aspirant deck showing up. At the end of the event however it was noprops on Hogaak that took it all down.

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I've always really liked this variant of the Bazaar aggro decks because it always feels like it's game plan isn't always ultra-reliant on Bazaar. It allows the deck to have profitable games where it can win with actual mana-producing lands and not worry if their Bazaar gets hit by a Wasteland/Strip Mine.

The Second Place finalist was on 8Cast.

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8Cast has a lot of strong gameplay to it, besides just the fact that it is a Tinker shell first and foremost. Having all the draw effects makes this deck really hum very fast. It's worth noting that this pilot also ended up in the Top 8 of the Saturday event as well.

Further down the Top 8 we had a sweet Grixis Tempo variant show up.

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Ragavan and Dark Confidant seem pretty sweet together in a deck like this. Really digging the power of this kind of pile. Definitely looks like a fun deck.

Down at the bottom of the Top 8 we had the GW Lumi deck.

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Outland Liberator is definitely one of the strongest Humans to come around in quite a while. Flipping into a Trygon Predator that functions solely on attack triggers is pretty strong in a format where Shops and Moxen are a thing.

Around the Web

  • Engwar01 continues their Tour of Vintage with a focus on Doomsday. Check it out here.
  • noprops posted a video of their Hogaak Challenge win. Check it out here.
  • Our good friend Jeremy Pinter posted a video on Dredge! Check it out here.
  • Eric (revenantkioku) posted a video on Doomsday with Urza's Saga. Check that out here.
  • The content machine that is Justin Gennari cannot be stopped! Check out this week's videos:

The Spice Corner

Brian Kelly is always generally pushing the envelope of stuff in the format like always.

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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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