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Vintage 101: Highly Liberating

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're looking at a deck that has had a lot of continual traction as of late in GW Lumi! In addition to that we've got two Challenges to talk about for this past weekend.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Liberating the Outlands

Vintage has always been traditionally a blue heavy format, so it's always super interesting when strategies pop up that aren't predominantly part of the Big Blue variants of the format and aren't directly related to other non Blue strategies like Workshops or Bazaar. This has been happening more in the past few years as we've been receiving many different printings of cards that have enabled these kinds of decks to exist in general.

The biggest set of printings for these decks came in both Zendikar Rising and Innistrad: Midnight Hunt.

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These cards all in conjunction with each other have really pushed these GWx variants to the forefront of events in a lot of cases, and have shown that they are very strong ways to approach building a hatebear-esque aggressive strategy in Vintage. Primarily pushed by the MTGO player Wesal, the deck that has grown out of this has come to be known as GW Lumi.

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The big hitters in this deck are Archon, Aspirant, and Outland Liberator for sure. Liberator is a very strong and subtle card because of how it interacts with Archon of Emeria. Because Archon makes it impossible for opponents to double spell during their turn, flipping a Liberator on its back half means that it will never flip back, giving you a 3/3 that blows up an artifact on every attack. This can be extremely brutal against many decks that rely on trying to push through artifact mana in order to ramp enough to get on board with a threat to win the game with, especially slowed down by the Archon's ability.

Aspirant functions at the same time here, growing these hatebears until they become game-ending threats on their own. The Thalias also help slow down the opponent while also growing into real threats as well. Furthermore, since many of the creatures involved in this deck are Humans by creature type, cards like Cavern of Souls really help push through these threats through countermagic and make them stick.

This is definitely a solid deck and well worth considering if you're looking for something to play online that is a bit different than other non-Blue decks that typically see play.

An Update on Win Trader Situation

We finally have an update on some of the Win Trading situations in the Vintage leagues from Wizards. The immediate thing being done here to combat this situation is a slight decrease in League payouts for both Vintage and Standard leagues (as Standard is another format where this is occurring). See the image below for the changes, and refer to this article for the source.

What these changes will do to the league attendance is unknown, but it is great to see Wizards trying something systemic to combat the Win Traders.

Vintage Challenge 6/25

Our first Challenge event over the weekend was the mid afternoon Saturday event. This event had 67 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.

Hogaak was in full force this weekend in all the events this weekend, and while it looked like it did meh on paper, it did put two copies into the Top 8, one of which won the whole event which is important to note. Tinker also did well, so did DRS variants and Blue Tempo.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Hogaak 1st medvedev
Grixis Tinker 2nd Beekeeper
Dredge 3rd Wizard_2002
Hogaak 4th Montolio
Dredge 5th Lord_Beerus
Bird Blade 6th SenpaiBlank
Lurrus Standstill 7th MadMaxErnst
Doomsday 8th discoverN

As noted, we had a lot of Bazaar here with 4/8 of the Top 8 taken up by both Dredge and Hogaak. Dredge is important to note because both Dredge players made it into the Top 8 and there were only two of them in the event. At the end, it was Hogaak that took it all down.

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The red splash has fully become the stock variant of this deck and it's not hard to see why. As long as Alpine Moon and Pyroblast stay relevant, having the extra set of Rootwallas is just a huge boon to this deck and really helps push it to be competitive.

In Second Place we've got Grixis Tinker.

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This deck also gains the benefit of having the Breach combo, blurring the lines between full on Breach and the Tinker strategy. Urza is a sweet and powerful payoff for sure, allowing for some really strong gameplay. This is a solid list for sure.

As noted, we had some Dredge action in this Top 8. Let's look at the highest placing one.

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It's still super weird to see Dredge lists without Bridge from Below and Cabal Therapy, but I definitely get the aspects this list is going for and how overtly aggressive it can be.

Further down the Top 8 we had some Bird Blade!

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There's a lot of power in this list. It does some really strong things and Ledger Shredder continues to just be an absolutely solid card.

Vintage Challenge 6/26

The other Challenge this weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 60 players in it, thanks to the efforts of the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

Doomsday and Hogaak were both at the top of the map of this event, with both having reasonable win rates. BUG also had some solid win rates, as did PO.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
GW Lumi 1st jaredallsop619
Hogaak 2nd cool95
BUG Midrange 3rd GGoggles
Hogaak 4th LaikaComeHome
Doomsday 5th discoverN
Paraodixcal Outcome 6th Dafne17
Bant Archon 7th Nerdkneereape
Golos Stax 8th musasabi

Pretty interesting Top 8 here. At the end of the event though, it was our featured deck this week that took it all down!

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There's a lot of power in this deck, even when it's on straight GW with no splashes. Very raw and powerful deck.

The Second Place list was on Hogaak.

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This list is tossing in a restricted Chalice into the board as well, which is really reasonable in these Bazaar decks given how quickly they can draw it and deploy it to stop things at zero mana value.

Further down the Top 8 we've got PO.

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This is a really straightforward PO list for UW Saga variants. It does exactly what it says on the tin and that is strong enough.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we've got some Bant Archon action.

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We don't see too much of this deck around lately, so it's cool to see it show up. Getting to utilize Boseiju seems quite good out of this deck, especially with how strong Archon is.

Around the Web

  • Montolio has got some videos for us this past week!
  • The content machine that is Justin Gennari is always amazing! Check out this past week's video roundup.
  • SenpaiBlank has yet another video on a Top 8 run with Bird Blade. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

You can find this past weeks 5-0 lists here.


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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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