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Vintage 101: Guilds! Guilds!

Howdy folks! We're back with another edition of Vintage 101! I hope you all enjoyed your Pre-Release and Release Weekend! This week we're going to be taking a look at some of the cards from Guilds of Ravnica and how those cards might impact the Vintage format.

Without waiting let's get right into the thick of things!

Assassin's Trophy

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Ah yes, the elephant in the room (or rather, on the back of the turtle). Assassin's Trophy is one of those cards that everyone is talking about, so I would be remiss myself if I didn't mention it here. Assassin's Trophy is extremely powerful, given that many of the top decks in the Vintage format only run at most one basic land, maybe two. Some decks like Ravager Shops and Dredge don't run any basics whatsoever, turning this spell into an instant speed Vindicate. While this card does require you to be running both green and black, there is indeed a deck for that in Vintage. Sultai Control decks as well as Four Color Control decks are still around, fueled by the power of Deathrite Shaman. In fact, four copies overall in the 75 appeared in a 4-2 list by ReneRandrup from the Magic Online Vinage Challenge on September 29th.

The primary comparison for Assassin's Trophy is Abrupt Decay, mostly due to the similar mana costs but the two cards are very different. Trophy gives decks like Sultai clean instant speed answers to cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor or even being able to strip Bazaar of Baghdad or Mishra's Workshop. In fact, Trophy could even see play in decks like Dredge as a clean catch-all answer that also deals with Leyline of the Void.

Mnemonic Betrayal

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Given that this card was spoiled by the one and only Stephen Menendian of So Many Insane Plays, I think this is most assuredly going to be an interesting card to look forward to. A Yawgmoth's Will type effect for your opponent's graveyard, Mnemonic Betrayal definitely has some fun things you can do with it, such as chaining your opponent's own Time Walk so you can keep taking turn after turn after turn (by casting another Mnemonic Betrayal on the followup extra turn) or being able to cast your opponent's Paradoxical Outcome and combo off after you've already countered it.

I'm real curious to see where this one goes. It definitely has some interesting potential.


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This is a card I'm personally excited to test out in Vintage Dredge, specifically the builds that play cards like Fatestitcher and traditionally Sun Titan. With basically the same stats as Titan and for the most part doing the same thing (getting back a land is usually what Sun Titan does most of the time anyways) while being a black creature for the purposes of Ichorid and being somewhat hard-castable without jumping through too much hoops is very intriguing to me indeed. I have been playing around with Muldrotha, the Gravetide but this seems a lot better than that card by miles. The fact that many Dredge lists are also now playing Riftstone Portal again in their lists means this card is often castable at just paying Green/Black. It will be neat to see how this card does for the deck going forward.

Ral, Izzet Viceroy

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Ral is an interesting card indeed. Five mana planeswalkers are often in a strange territory as sometimes being unplayable, but in the past year we've had cards like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Tezzeret the Seeker come into some of the limelight, so Ral is worth visiting as an opportunity. His filtering ability is very flexible, especially when you are pairing him with cards like Snapcaster Mage. I am curious what kind of deck Ral could be brought to, as the only one that comes to mind offhand is a deck like Blue Moon (which is a traditionally Xerox style deck that utilizes cards like Blood Moon and Young Pyromancer). Regardless, it will be interesting to see if our new Izzet friend finds a home in the format.

Mission Briefing

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I find this card actually very interesting. The comparisons to Snacpaster Mager notwithstanding, I think this card has a sort of hidden potential that we just haven't seen yet. The fact that you can cast spells with alternate costs (like Force of Will or Gush) makes this intriguing to me. While it may not be a competitive option I do think it would be fun to build a deck purely around Snapcaster-like shenanigans, and getting to play an extra four Snapcaster effects seems pretty fun to me. The fact that this also digs through your library as well also helps fuel delve for cards like Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time.

Experimental Frenzy

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This card is... wow. If there ever was a build-around-me strategy this is it. I have heard that Future Sight was once a playable card, and this is basically Future Sight for 3R. Again, I don't think the things you can do with this card are format-breaking or even competitive, but I do think you can pull of some fun shenanigans with Sensei's Divining Top, Scroll Rack, and Paradoxical Outcome. I look forward to seeing a crazy brew list with this card (I might even come up with one myself if given the time!)


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In my research for this article, I came across this card seeing some light discussion on The Mana Drain in regards to playing around with this in Oath of Druids. This seems very interesting and I'm curious to see how something like this would pan out. Copying a card like Archon of Valor's Reach to lock your opponent fully off of their game plan seems awesome to me.

Niv-Mizzet, Parun

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This card seems very interesting, despite how restrictive the mana cost is. Obviously this would probably be pretty good in a deck playing Oath of Druids (foreshadowing intensifies). Casting Ancestral Recall with this in play to draw four cards and deal four damage seems pretty hilarious.

Creeping Chill

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This got talked about a bit on The Mana Drain boards, but I'm not sold on it. While it looks great for Modern Dredge (which has additional access to Conflagrate), the upside here doesn't quite feel as good in Vintage Dredge to me. This is probably a card I'm going to need to test with myself to see if it's actually any good. On paper it reads pretty great (free Lightning Helix and all), but how often you draw it versus how often you actually need the extra damage needs to be considered.

Goblin Cratermaker

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The last card I'm going to talk about is our good little buddy Goblin Cratermaker. I think this card has some interesting appeal, especially in decks like Survival where it can be hunted up and used to deal with cards like Grafdigger's Cage or Containment Priest. I don't much like this card versus a deck like Shops because their card quality to mana cost ratio is super high and spending the same amount of mana to blow up one of their pieces feels rather awkward. However that being said, if this helps you push through some damage to get rid of a tax effect or a Cage, it has potential. Suffice to say, my opinion of modal creatures is always rather high so I hope to see something of this bad boy at some point.

The Spice Corner

Despite the fact that this went 2-4, this decklist included a card from Guilds of Ravnica! Oath of Druids featuring Niv-Mizzet, Parun!

Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week my friends. I want to give props this week and implore you to check out the awesomeness that is So Many Insane Plays! Hosted by none other than Stephen Menendian and Kevin Cron, their podcast is a great view into the Vintage format and well worth consuming on your off time.

As we look forward to Eternal Weekend at the end of the month, I grow increasingly excited to see what is going to happen at this event. Will Rich Shay dominate this year? Will Andy Markiton take the Champion title another year in a row on Ravager Shops? We're just going to have to wait and see! It's so exciting!

Another thing I want to note for those of you that may be attending Eternal Weekend and play 93-94 Old School (OS). Card Titan recently announced that all of their OS events onsite will be unsanctioned and will allow the use of Collector's Edition and International Edition (CE/IE) cards to be played. This puts these events right in line with how Eternal Central presents the rules for 93-94 Old School. Be sure to check them out if you're attending!

Join me next time on Vintage 101 as we discuss the ins and outs of the format's new best combo deck: Paradoxical Outcomel! As always, hit me up on Twitter or Twitch and give me a shout!

Until next time!

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