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Vintage 101: Go Ninja Go Ninja Go!

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're gonna be chatting a little bit about Vintage Ninjas, in addition to the Magic Online Vintage Format Challenge results (the first Challenge with Theros: Beyond Death legal!) and of course, our Spice Corner.

We're in a bit of a lull in the format since things are generally slow at the beginning of the year, but I do have a local Team Serious event coming up in a few weeks, so I will definitely be writing about that when we get there!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The Ninja Equation

Ninjas is an interesting idea for a deck and it's really solid in Legacy, but if you had shown me a list in Vintage prior to a few weeks back when Justin Gennari placed Top 4 in a Vintage Challenge with, I'd have probably told you that you were crazy. Regardless though, Justin was able to show that the deck idea is viable and that we can always draw inspiration from other formats when developing a list.

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As we always do here, let's dive into the base components of this list!

Fast Artifact Mana

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Being a base blue / black deck, this deck only needs to include the on-color Moxen and Lotus as other colored Moxen could provide a bottleneck of mana development.

Actual Ninjas

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The big reason this deck functions as well as it does is mainly and solely on the basis of both Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow and Ingenious Infiltrator. Both cards act as card advantage when a Ninja connects with an opponent's life total, with Yuriko able to provide an additional win condition as well. Changeling Outcast serves a double role here of being a card that is not only a Ninja for the purposes of triggering the other cards, but it also can't be blocked so thus can be used to also set up Ninjutsu.

Cards That Enable Ninjutsu

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In addition to Changeling Outcast, this deck has a number of ways that it can enable Ninjutsu to occur. Ornithopter generally is never getting blocked by anything since very few fliers really exist in the format, and Retrofitter Foundry can make a creature on a dime on an opponent's end step that is free to bounce with Ninjutsu as well. Baleful Strix also fits this role very well, since bouncing it is sheer value. In addition, bouncing Brazen Borrower with Ninjutsu is pure upside given that it can be used to cast Petty Theft again.

Card Draw / Selection / Tutors

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Because this deck is a blue/black deck, it is going to be playing a lot of the cantrips + draw selection spells that are typical in these kinds of decks. One cool interaction that can be done with a card like Yuriko is casting a card like Mystical Tutor or Vampiric Tutor with the trigger on the stack in order to put something like Dig Through Time or Treasure Cruise on top to maximize the life loss from Yuriko's trigger. Brainstorm can also perform this interaction as well, putting a big business spell on top to reveal off Yuriko's trigger.

Countermagic + Misc Spells

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This deck is afforded the ability to also play free countermagic to protect what it's trying to do, so cards like Force of Will and Force of Negation are present here. This deck is essentially at its heart a tempo style deck that is trying to accrue value with its creatures and close the game out. Daze often proves to be very powerful in the early game where it matters the most.

Ninja's Sideboard

The sideboard of this deck is geared towards the normal things in the current Vintage format, such as Dredge and Paradoxical Outcome, while having some options like Plague Engineer open for things like Young Pyromancer or Monastery Mentor.

Vintage Challenge 1/18

We had our first Vintage Format Challenge since the release of Theros: Beyond Death on Magic Online, so let's take a look at how it all wrapped up!

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dredge 1st Coffeannan
BUG Midrange 2nd Palk52
Ravager Shops 3rd Ecobaronen (Andreas Petersen)
Ravager Shops 4th Boin
Dredge 5th Eruxus
Oath of Druids 6th Notmi
RUG Planeswalkers 7th Tattoocek
4C Walkers 8th Svaca (Tomas Mar)

This is certainly an interesting Top 8, with 2x Ravager Shops appearing in it. This made for a certainly interesting event given how the deck has been performing as of late. However, at the end of the event, it was Dredge master Coffeannan who won it all!

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This is pretty stock for Dredge these days, although the singleton Once Upon a Time is pretty spicy. Still, congrats to Coffeannan on their victory!

Also showing up in the finals was BUG Midrange! This list had an interesting inclusion in the form of Dovin, Hand of Control.

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Pretty strong list overall, so congrats to Palk52 for their finish!

Both Ravager lists placed in the Top 4 of this event, but it was our good friend Andreas Petersen who snagged a solid 6-0 undefeated record with the deck.

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This list is super clean and I really love it. Very powerful stuff indeed, congrats on the finish Andreas!

Also in the Top 8 we had a showing by Notmi on Oath of Druids featuring the new Theros: Beyond Death card Underworld Breach!

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This deck is super sweet, using Sun Titan off an Oath trigger to get back Underworld Breach and use it as a sheer value engine. In addition to Breach, this deck also features new card Soul-Guide Lantern in the sideboard. Sweet cards and sweet list, Notmi!

Speaking of new cards, since we're on a new set release, let's start looking at which new cards are showing up in this event, shall we?

Card Name Number of Copies
Underworld Breach 3
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove 2
Soul-Guide Lantern 2

This isn't much, but honestly, it's also the first week of these cards being available and Challenges tend to move slowly in this regard. It will be interesting going forward to see whether or not Underworld Breach is truly a really powerful card or not in this format, but I suspect it might be pretty strong.

The Spice Corner

My good friend Zias didn't get this list published this past weekend despite snagging a 5-0 with it, and it is super sweet. 

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In addition this week we have RUG Planeswalkers with a dash of... Standstill?!

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! As I noted before, we are in a bit of a lull with the format right now. Post-holiday season generally tends to be like this, so if there's anything you'd like to see me cover or talk about, please feel free to reach out! As I also said before, I've got a great Team Serious event coming up so it will be super fun to talk about that! Look forward to it!

As always you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! I do promise I will be getting to an episode of "The Bazaar of Moxology" soon, and hopefully it will be a super spicy one!]

Until next time, keep casting Moxen!

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