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Vintage 101: Getting Metal

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 right into Kaldheim and seeing what goodies might be in store for us from a Vintage perspective. In addition we've got two Challenges worth to talk about, one of which was the first Season One Showcase Challenge of 2021. As always we've got our Spice Corner.

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

Bang Your Head - Kaldheim Vintage Set Review

The frosty world of Kaldheim is upon us, and spoiler season is thick in the snow at the moment, and thankfully thus far for Vintage... the fare seems light and tasteless. There just isn't much from this set to be super excited about it seems, and that is a small breath of fresh winter air as we come out of having sets in 2020 like Theros: Beyond Death and IkoriaKaldheim appears to be just under the radar in that regards, but there are a few small things to look at, so let's take a look at what cards look interesting.


Kaldheim brings us back some mechanics we're already used to, namely the usage of Modal DFCs. This time around the Modal DFCs however are not just lands on the back, they're different card types and that's important to keep in mind. There are some unique ways these cards interact with mechanics like Cascade, but that doesn't really affect Vintage playability. The important thing is that the front face always matters in every zone other than when it is in play as the back face, and that's important mainly for type specific tutor cards like Tinker, etc.

Furthermore, Kaldheim brings back the Snow mechanic, which doesn't really quite see that much play in Vintage overall.

The rest of Kaldheim's mechanics are things like Foretell and Boast. Foretell is an intriguing mechanic, but ultimately I didn't see much that met the bar of playability for Vintage. The mechanic seems pretty powerful overall however, so if there's a card you feel I missed below in that regards, let me know.

Weathered Runestone

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card was high at the top of the list to talk about due to its potential applications in Vintage. It is amusing to note that had this card arrived in a metagame where Mental Misstep was still unrestricted, it might have been played immensely over Grafdigger's Cage just for the sheer fact that it dodges Misstep entirely. With Misstep restricted, it's still probably correct to just play Cage, however there are a few key differences for this card that set it aside.

One of those differences is the fact that it hits all nonland permanents. While this might sound just like Cage in Vintage, it does hit one notable and infamous card in the format in Tinker into Bolas's Citadel. Now, while Cage does technically effect that interaction as well, it only does so by preventing the opponent from casting spells off the top from Citadel. This allows the opponent with Citadel to bide their time and find an answer for the Cage and then immediately be able to start casting spells off the top. This card handles this by just not letting them put a Citadel into play in the first place.

It is also amusing to note that this card does let you put Dryad Arbor into play from the graveyard or library when Cage doesn't. This isn't super relevant for Vintage purposes but it is amusing.

I could definitely see this card as a playable option however, especially when it's supplementing Grafdigger's Cage in the sideboard, for when you really need those extra slots to fight the types of decks this card fights.

Burning-Rune Demon

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Most sets these days we get a new card that tries to fit into Oath of Druids strategies, and then generally seems to fall very short of the litmus test presented by cards like Griselbrand. This card is no exception really, as it's sort of like a Rune-Scarred Demon but lets your opponent choose what you get, and that feels awkward. Sure it costs one less than the other, but that never factors when Oath'ing this into play. The only consideration here is that there's some combination of cards you can get to force your opponent into a poor position that no matter what they choose they're not choosing a good option. Sort of like a Gifts Ungiven scenario in a sense.

I suspect though that this demon will just end up on the shelf and likely not see much play in any Oath strategies, and that's just fine too.

Birgi, God of Storytelling

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is super sweet and I'm actually really excited to see what possibilities this unlocks. With the front half of the card, every spell cast generates a red mana and activates the effect of not losing mana until end of turn, and that is any spell, which can be severely powerful when casting Moxen and the like generating positive mana. While the mana is red mana sure, using it shouldn't be an issue really, and I'm excited to see what crazy brews some people can come up with on this.

The back half of this card, while costing five mana, is an artifact (so you can offset with Mishra's Workshop which seems hilarious). The effect of this card seems utterly silly and reminds me a lot of cards like Uba Mask in a sense. Discarding a card to +2 draw effectively is really strong, and I can't imagine that with how cheap many Vintage spells are that this card would put in a lot of work. Also, it's an effect that can't be Pyroblast'ed.

Magda, Brazen Outlaw

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

With as many interesting ways to generate Treasure tokens (cough Dockside Extortionist cough) I wonder if there would be a world where this card would just be a cool alternative to Tinker (given that it also can't be Pyroblast'ed). Magda's fragile as a 2/1 for this kind of engine, but I would really love to see a sweet deck with Dwarves and Treasure generators do something.

Sounds like a fun Spice Corner deck.

Tibalt's Trickery

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I feel like this card is a lot better than it reads because of the fact that it is a two mana hard counterspell. This can be used in conjunction with cards like Teferi, Time Raveler to shut off the opponent's ability to reap a benefit from the counterspell aspect, but also due to the very nature of the Vintage format, hitting a differently named card that could be low impact is pretty high. If anything, I could see this in a situation like a Lutri deck countering its own spell to gain a big benefit out of it.

I definitely feel like there is something for this card simply because of the hard counter aspect of it for sure, I just don't know offhand what that is yet.

Vintage Showcase Challenge 1/16

This past weekend we had the first Showcase Challenge event of 2021, with the first of Season One's events kicking off in a grand fashion with a stellar 152 player event, thanks to data provided by the Vintage Streamer's Discord. The Top 8 players from this event become the first eight to qualify for the Season One Showcase Qualifier event at the end of the season.

Let's dive into the collective metagame data, shall we?

Definitely, a lot of Breach and Dredge in this event, followed by a good amount of both Doomsday and Jeskai. Breach seems to have utterly supplanted Paradoxical Outcome at this point as the go-to Vintage-y combo deck of the format, and it's crazy to consider that pretty much all the cards from the Breach deck were legal from Theros onward last year and it took the Lurrus metagame to really see the deck come into its own. Now it's simply dominating the format. I don't know that this is a bad thing though, as it basically has just replaced the space that PO had occupied prior, so nothing has really changed overall. The rest of the format still looks pretty great, and there are plenty of ways to interact with the Breach deck for sure.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Doomsday 1st DiscoverN
Breach 2nd twinlesstwin
BUG Midrange 3rd gottelicious
Hogaak 4th Pintogeddon2
RUG Midrange 5th Amiracle
Golos Combo Shops 6th Slasher21
Oath of Druids 7th knightcomplex
Death's Shadow 8th TrueHero

Lots of really neat decks here, from some blue control variants to Shops to Combo. This all looks actually pretty decent really. At the very least two of the names here would have a solidly great weekend in both DiscoverN (who won not only this event but also would go on to win the Sunday event too) and Slasher21 (who Top 8'ed both events this past weekend as well).

As noted, it was indeed DiscoverN (a very powerful wizard) on Doomsday who won the event overall.

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This list is rather strong and focused on its game plan very well. Portent is a unique inclusion, but it's just another Ponder variant that is useful for pass the turn style Doomsday piles. DiscoverN certainly has a knack with this deck and continues to just crush events like this. Very strong and powerful player indeed.

The Second Place finalist was Breach!

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The white splash is extending just a bit further now, with Teferi, Time Raveler seeing a tick up in play due to being able to protect the combo turns as well be proactive with reactionary spells as well. This is certainly a solid list.

Down the Top 8 we had a neat showing by BUG Oath.

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This is more of a combo centric variant of Oath, utilizing Oath as a path to combo'ing off with Tendrils of Agony. The fun inclusion here is Memory's Journey which can stuff some things back into the library as needed.

The bottom of the Top 8 we had Death's Shadow.

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Shadow is a largely unexplored archetype in Vintage, and this pilot TrueHero is no stranger to it, having played the deck in Legacy for some time now. Everything about this list is smooth and focused, which is really cool. Deathrite gives the deck an added boost and some reach as well.

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

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No Rick-rolling here, just good clean fun with some Bant Humans action. There's a good amount of power here that can easily shut down an opponent's game plan between Thalia to Lavinia. Very neat list.

Vintage Challenge 1/17

We also had another Challenge this past weekend in the normal Sunday morning event, which had 47 players in it. Let's take a look at how the metagame broke down here.

Again both Breach and Jeskai seem pretty popular, and Breach had a much better event here than it did even in the Showcase event, putting three of its seven pilots into the Top 8 of the event, one of which was into the finals. Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Doomsday 1st DiscoverN
Breach 2nd SourceOdin
Dredge 3rd NekoReality
Golos Combo Shops 4th Slasher21
Breach 5th Shir Kahn
Breach 6th Vertyx_
Dredge 7th Rodeo
Oath of Druids 8th JoseOrtiz

As noted, several Breach decks here as well as some Dredge pilots. However, proving yet again that they're super powerful at this game, it was Doomsday by DiscoverN who won it all.

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There's not much to say here further, this is the exact same 75 ran back for this event that DiscoverN ran in the Showcase event.

The Second Place finalist of this event was also Breach!

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This list moves a step further and includes Dreadhorde Arcanist as another card advantage engine that can often win on its own. In addition the sideboard has some fun stuff like Bloodchief's Thirst and Yixlid Jailer.

Also in the Top 8 we had repeated T8 offender for the weekend Slasher21 on Golos Combo Shops. This event saw an even better performance in a Top 4 appearance.

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This is a combo variant primarily, using the Shops plan to power out both prison elements but also to have a combo kill either via the Dark Depths kill or Helm of Obedience + Leyline of the Void. Slasher has been performing very well with this deck, so huge congrats on Top 8'ing both events this weekend!

Also in the Top 8 we had another showing by Oath, this time in a more Grixis splash green variant.

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This list doesn't have a combo kill with Tendrils like the other list, instead focusing on the Oath plan and having Tinker + Citadel to back that up. This list also has sideboard cards Blazing Archon which occasionally sees play as a sideboard Oath target versus aggressive strategies like Dredge/Bazaar decks.

Outside of the Top 8 further down we had a showing by Sharkstill.

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Court of Cunning is super sweet, especially when you look at combining it with Rest in Peace. This makes for an amusingly powerful durdle kill that is a pretty massive clock. Keeping the Monarch in Vintage is often really super easy, barely an inconvenience, so this card looks really stunning in a deck like this. Main deck Hullbreacher also seems really super powerful as well.

Around the Web

  • I posted a video to YouTube! I played a league with Vintage Enchantress (and it didn't go so well!). Go check that out over here.
  • I had an opportunity to join Phil Gallagher on stream recently to play around with a little bit of the Love Shack (Hedron Crabshack + Valakut Exploration/Breach). Check that out here.
  • Jarvis Yu posted a video going over his Vintage Showcase Challenge deck with Mike Noble. Go check that out here.

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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