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Vintage 101: Getting Into Vintage with Eternal Weekend


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we have a focus on Eternal Weekend 2020 on Magic Online, and how you can get into this event and learn to play Vintage, as well as a few decks to look at for learning the format! We also have our Challenge data from the past weekend, as well as our ever present Spice Corner.

Without further ado, let's get right to it!

Eternal Weekend Vintage 2020

Last week I mentioned that we got confirmation about Eternal Weekend 2020 occurring on Magic Online. This weekend is the Legacy events, while the Vintage events are next weekend. Those tokens for Vintage events will go on sale in the MTGO Store on Monday 10/19 and they cost $25. Keep in mind you will need multiple tokens if you plan to enter more than one of these events. Once you have your token you will have an All Access account to play with until the Wednesday after the Vintage events (10/28). It is worth noting that the All Access accounts do have some exclusions, most notably cards from Secret Lair are not part of the functionality (meaning The Walking Dead cards aren't available with this account access).

Unfortunately I can't participate in any of the Vintage events because I'm out of town for the weekend. However, we're going to be looking at ways that you can get into Vintage by playing in Eternal Weekend and the All Access account.

Vintage is often a bit of a daunting format, and buying into a format on Magic Online only to find out that you don't like it can be pretty rough. That's what makes events like Eternal Weekend and the All Access account setups so great. For $25 for a week and a half you will have access to nearly every card on Magic Online to play with, meaning that for $25 you can see if Vintage is right for you as a format and get a chance to experience one of Magic's oldest and most powerful formats. But what to play? Vintage has a small bit of a learning curve associated with it, as all formats do, so we're going to go over some decks that are reasonable to understand for players newer to the format.

Some Basics

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Because this is Vintage, we do need to establish some baseline understanding of the format. For example, both Black Lotus and Ancestral Recall are going to be cards that you're going to see an play with. If you've ever played any games of Vintage Cube on Magic Online, you'll already have a small understanding of how powerful these cards are along with the other pieces of Power Nine, as well as the various many Restricted cards that exist in the format.

Power is one of the central tenets of the format, as is efficient spells that often cheat on mana. If you aren't playing a deck that has the ability to cheat on mana in some way, you are going to find yourself in a bit of a pickle in terms of speed in regards to the rest of the format. Even the fair decks in this format are cheating on mana and efficiency by playing artifact mana and hyper efficient spells like Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise.

Another big tenet of the format is centered around powerful lands, the most recognizable being Bazaar of Baghdad and Mishra's Workshop.

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Bazaar decks are a genuinely relevant portion of the overall Meta game right now, so it is best to keep those matchups in mind when playing, but also to potentially learn those decks yourself as they are very powerful and proactive. Workshops based decks have had a big downswing in 2019-2020 as the decks continue to try to adapt to a format that has grown increasingly hostile to them with newer printings such as Force of Vigor and Collector Ouphe. To that end, many of the Shops decks now have gravitated to builds like Golos Stax or Golos Combo to be able to ignore cards like Ouphe and to present multiple cards that can stop FoV in its tracks.

Another common notion of the format is the power level of combo decks. Combo decks are certainly a huge draw to a format like Vintage. After all, who doesn't enjoy casting a bunch of spells and then storming off into a Tendrils of Agony kill, or resolving Doomsday and winning the game? These things are very appealing to a lot of people, and one of the big reasons players play a format like Vintage in the first place to do powerful things. However, there are plenty of fair decks in the format as well, and sometimes (such as current meta forces) those fair decks are actually some of the best decks to play in the format because they have the tools to deal with the combo decks.

With that said, let's look at a few decks!

Paradoxical Outcome

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When it comes to the most Vintage of things to be doing, Paradoxical Outcome is a deck that certainly fits the bill of Vintage-y things. PO is a powerful deck with generally multiple angles of attack, often relying on artifact mana and the ability to Tinker for Bolas's Citadel to create enough advantage to win the game. Most PO decks have at least 1-2 ways of winning the game, such as the list above being able to win with either Monastery Mentor or Karn, the Great Creator.

The titular spell in the deck is one of the biggest draws to the deck mainly, as resolving PO can net both mana and cards by floating mana and then casting PO. Another tip and trick for players newer to the deck that may not be readily apparent is the fact that PO is an Instant, so it can not only be cast on your opponent's turn if you have to, but a fairly common line of play is to tap Sensei's Divining Top to draw a card and hold priority to cast PO in response. This will pick up the Top to hand as well, meaning it won't go to the top of your library, but you will end up drawing an extra card after PO resolves.

The biggest downside of this deck is the immense reliance on artifact mana however, and cards like Collector Ouphe can be incredibly strong versus this kind of strategy. However, this is a great deck as the strength of the core blue suite will often just set you on a path to victory very easily. One other great thing about this deck is that there is a multitude of resources on the deck, one of which is notably one of our good friends Justin Gennari (IamActuallyLvl1) who provides a ton of content on his YouTube channel on the deck, making learning it even easier.

Beyond PO, other truly Vintage-y Storm based decks are deck such as Dark Petition Storm (traditional Storm) and Doomsday.

Dredge

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Dredge is one of the archetypes that centers around Bazaar of Baghdad, one of the powerful lands we discussed earlier. Dredge has a powerful and proactive game plan, fueled by the power of Bazaar and free creatures/spells. The general rule of thumb when playing this deck is to double check if your opening hand has a Bazaar in it, and if it doesn't either Mulligan it or Serum Powder it away if you have one of those. Bazaar is so critically important to the functionality of this entire strategy that is one of the most important, if not the most important card in the entire deck. Thankfully, between the London Mulligan rule and Serum Powder, the chances getting a Bazaar in an opening hand are incredibly high.

The biggest challenge of this deck is learning how to manage triggered abilities, and when to dial back and play a control route. Triggered abilities are a huge part of Dredge as a deck, from cards like Ichorid and Prized Amalgam/Narcomoeba to things like Bridge from Below. Bridge especially is important to understand, and if you ever played a deck like Modern Hogaak it is a card you may have some familiarity with.

The other big challenge of Dredge is sideboarding. Dredge is an exceptionally effective Game 1 deck, meaning that it often wins Game 1 of a match very easily (not always, but typically). Games 2-3 are where things get very real as most decks in the format are generally packing some form of graveyard hate. Identifying what the opponent's hate might be and sideboarding appropriately is an important skill for this deck. For example, one of the biggest things in the format right now is generally multiple The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale in sideboards, making cards like Wasteland and Strip Mine very important in those matchups. However, those matchups may also involve cards like Leyline of the Void, which makes Force of Vigor necessary to bring in. The biggest thing about sideboarding with Dredge is that it is almost never correct to board out Serum Powder. It may seem rather innocuous, but Powder + Mulligans makes it incredibly easy to locate Bazaar, and having access to Bazaar is a 1000 times better than not having access to Bazaar.

Dredge is not the only Bazaar shell that exists if you are looking for additional ways to abuse the card. Decks like Hollow Vine and Hogaak are also Bazaar based decks with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Oath of Druids

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Oath of Druids is a Xerox combo deck, meaning that it can play a pretty fair game of Magic, but it's primary game plan revolves around resolving Oath and then giving the opponent a creature with Forbidden Orchard to put into play a big creature, typically Griselbrand. Oath is quintessentially the Show and Tell of the Vintage format, but its combo pieces are much more compact in only needing 1 copy of each payoff card.

One of the biggest things about this deck in recent times is the printing of Oko, Thief of Crowns, which really revitalized the power level of Oath as a deck. Oath's biggest issues were often due to hate permanents like Containment Priest or Grafdigger's Cage. Oko gives the deck a powerful way of dealing with those cards, but also makes for a strong win condition in its own right for when the Oath plan breaks down.

Oath is another deck that has a decent amount of content available for it, but a good majority of this content is in Japanese. One of the most prolific pilots of the deck on Magic Online, Miharu_Fuyumiya posts plenty of content to their YouTube Channel on the deck, and their lists are generally the big gold standard of the archetype these days.

BUG Xerox/Midrange

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On the fairer side of things, one of the most popular Xerox variants in the format right now is the BUG Midrange variant. Don't worry if you don't know what Xerox refers to, it's an old term referring to a theory developed by Alan Comer in regards to lands in a deck vs cantrips, and is utilized in the sense that people copied Alan's lists because they enjoyed them so much. You may already be familiar with this variation of this deck, as it was the winner of last year's Eternal Weekend Vintage Championshops in the hands of Joe Brennan, who wow'ed coverage by making a Black Lotus into an Elk with Oko, Thief of Crowns and using it to attack for lethal.

Because of the nature of this deck, this is one of the fairest things to be doing in all of Vintage, despite cheating on mana with Moxen and Lotus, signing up to play Tarmogoyf in Vintage is a big thing, and doesn't feel very Vintage-y. However, due to the power level of this deck, it has a ton of answers to various decks in the format from combo to other fair matchups. BUG is a deck of resources and resource gathering, utilizing the tempo it generates from its plays to further the game along. BUG has slowly risen to be a major force within the format due to the popularity of cards like Deathrite Shaman but also the sheer amount of answers the deck has against other decks in the format.

The big challenge of this deck is learning to play the mirror matches. Fair mirrors in Vintage are often some of the most skill intensive games in the format overall as both players trade resources back and forth to outplay the opponent. More skilled players can easily outperform lower skilled players in these matchups, and mulligan and decision points within these game matter very critically.

Shops

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Mishra's Workshop is another big pillar of the format, utilizing the titular land to play out powerful artifacts and threats quickly, and by using prison pieces to lock the opposing player out of playing the game. Shops based decks have evolved a lot over the past two years, mainly due to the rise of new printings that have affected the archetype. The current incarnation of the Shops variants that is the most popular is the Golos Stax variants, which use Golos, Tireless Pilgrim as a way to mana ramp as well as hunt down silver bullet lands such as Tabernacle.

The biggest part of playing Shops is mulligan decisions and sequencing. The London Mulligan did a lot for these kinds of decks in helping the deck be able to shape its mulligans for the plays it needs to make, but the general rule of thumb for Shops is that if the hand doesn't put a threat or disruption piece, or even multiple pieces on Turn 1-2, then the hand isn't worth keeping. Furthermore, hands with this deck can often be heavy on mana, and hands too heavy on mana can often not be kept either.

Shops' biggest challenge lies in decks like Paradoxical Outcome which are naturally inclined against the deck by virtue of having cards like Hurkyl's Recall, but also decks like BUG that play cards like Force of Vigor and Collector Ouphe, in addition to Wasteland. These decks and their popularity has certainly made it so that Shops' metagame share has dipped quite a bit, having essentially forced the evolution of the deck past general Aggro variants back into the more prison element variants we see today.

In addition to regular Golos Stax, there are also variants of this deck that utilize more of a combo kill such as Leyline of the Void and Helm of Obedience, but also Dark Depths combo.

Playing Vintage!

As always, it's important to remember that Vintage is a format full of high power cards and that the very nature of the format is based on Restricted cards being exceptionally powerful. Often times games will be swingy based on sheer variance of either player having more Restricted cards or simply more busted plays than the other. It's important to recognize that this is something that does happen in the format, and to accept the experience as part of the nature of the format. This isn't for everyone, obviously, but the format is definitely an experience that is exceptionally fun to watch and play.

If you are definitely interested in playing Vintage for Eternal Weekend, I would heavily recommend jumping into the Vintage Streamer's Discord. It's a great place to ask questions and talk about the format and learn, as well as to find people to play with!

Vintage Challenge 10/10

Our first Challenge event of the weekend was the normal during the day Challenge that takes place on Saturdays. Let's take a look at the Top 32 Metagame breakdown!

BUG Midrange was a legitimately huge chunk of the metagame here, as it has a huge amount of play versus the rest of the overall metagame. I'm not very surprised since BUG is very powerful and popular with a lot players. It even converted quite well to the Top 8, as we will see here.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
PO Storm 1st Bryant_Cook
PO Storm 2nd NumotTheNummy
Doomsday 3rd WamboCombo2020
BUG Midrange 4th _Pady_
HollowVine 5th KenjiTS
BUG Midrange 6th Yoshiwata
Hogaak Bazaar 7th GoodPlayer95
Breach 8th Swengen

Both PO and BUG converted extremely well, given that there were only four PO players in the Top 32. At the end of it all, it was a slugfest of epic proportions between two very skilled players, as PO stalwart Bryant Cook takes it all down over well known streamer and player NumotTheNummy.

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These are both exceptional lists from some exceptional players. I'm a big fan of the Sprite Dragon sideboard plan. This is yet another notch in Bryant's belt for Vintage events, so major congrats to continually crushing these events.

In Third Place we have Doomsday.

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Doomsday is an incredibly powerful combo deck right now, and has a lot of tools to beat a wide array of matchups. Thassa's Oracle really did a lot for these decks for sure.

In Fourth Place we have BUG Midrange.

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This is a pretty cut and dry BUG Midrange list, with all the typical threats the deck is accustomed to playing. Main deck four Assassin's Trophy is certainly some big energy.

In Fifth Place we have Hollow Vine.

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Krovikan Horror as an additional Squee-like effect is certainly something incredible. Homeward Path in the sideboard is also crazy interesting.

Since Sixth Place was also BUG, let's move down to Seventh Place with Hogaak Bazaar.

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This is a super clean list, with all the right notes hit on what makes Hogaak very good right now. This is another great Bazaar deck to consider playing for EW.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have Breach.

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Breach had dropped off quite a bit in metagame share, as other combo decks arose back up like PO or Doomsday, but the shell is still very strong. This is another fun combo deck to look at for consideration for EW.

Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event. As always we are looking at cards with eight copies or more, and our exceptions are now extended to Modal DFCs, Companions, and any mechanically unique Secret Lair cards (thank you The Walking Dead...).

Card Name Number of Copies
Collector Ouphe 36
Force of Vigor 35
Oko, Thief of Crowns 21
Narset, Parter of Veils 20
Force of Negation 18
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim 16
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade 15
Stonecoil Serpent 15
Teferi, Time Raveler 12
Sprite Dragon 10
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 8

All our usual suspects are here, with the Ouphe taking a big chunk of 2019 cards along with Force of Vigor. This is definitely directly correlated with the amount of BUG Midrange in the event for sure.

Vintage Challenge 10/11

Our other Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Sunday Challenge, so let's look at the Top 32 breakdown!

Yet another large amount of BUG Midrange in this event, making it one of the biggest decks of the weekend in both event last weekend. It also did incredibly well in the Top 8 conversion, putting half of its Top 32 pilots from Top 32 into Top 8. Let's take a look at that now.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Hogaak Bazaar 1st Mogged
Golos Stax 2nd Boin
BUG Midrange 3rd Kenzaburo
PO Storm 4th CherryXMan
BUG Midrange 5th Yuurari_Yuko
PO Storm 6th Cho_Manno
Breach 7th Lenka
BUG Midrange 8th Yoshiwata

BUG certainly jumped all over this Top 8, but so did PO. However, at the end of it all, it was the lone Hogaak Bazaar pilot in the Top 32 that rose to the top and won the whole thing.

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This is basically the same list as the other list that Top 8'ed a Challenge event this weekend, so this is a very good stock place to start on this deck.

In Second Place we have Golos Stax.

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Silent Arbiter in the sideboard here is some very interesting tech against the aggressive Bazaar decks like Vine and Hogaak. Very interesting indeed.

In Third Place we have BUG Midrange.

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Again, a fairly stock BUG list here. This is a good place to start as well with these kinds of lists, as it's a very clean and powerful list.

In Fourth Place we have PO Storm.

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Again, the Sprite Dragon sideboard appears to be catching on. It's a very strong sideboard plan for this deck and gives the deck some more reach outside of Mentor.

Since both Fifth and Sixth were both BUG and PO, let's move down to Seventh with a sweet Breach list.

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Managorger Hydra is such a cool card in these kinds of shells. Just an exceptionally powerful threat all around.

Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event.

Card Name Number of Copies
Collector Ouphe 25
Force of Vigor 24
Force of Negation 23
Oko, Thief of Crowns 20
Narset, Parter of Veils 17
Stonecoil Serpent 16
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim 12
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade 11
Underworld Breach 9
Soul-Guide Lantern 8
Glenn, the Voice of Calm 1
Rick, Steadfast Leader 1

As we will see shortly in our Spice Corner, we had a showing by Secret Lair cards in this event. Otherwise we had a lot of the usual stuff, especially the BUG Midrange related cards showing up.

The Spice Corner

I don't know what I hate more, the fact that this exists or the fact that it placed NINTH in a Challenge event. I wonder how good Rick was. Secret Lair TWD cards definitely killing it, it seems. Still, super congrats to Surv for placing Ninth in an event with a sweet Humans list.

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This is a super cool Urza/Emry/Welder deck. Really interesting.

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You ever just want to play Elves in Vintage? Got you covered!

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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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