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Vintage 101: Holidays in Vintage

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! Im your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're taking a bit of a break from talking about the metagame (outside of our Challenge coverage) to do something a little fun to try to get into the holiday spirit. In addition to that we do have the Challenges to discuss, as well as our Spice Corner.

Just a reminder that I am still on the hunt for questions for my EOY Mailbag article! Please make sure you send me some questions over here.

Without further ado, let's dive right into the holidays!

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland - A Vintage Holiday Story

The holidays are certainly upon us, and with that I thought it would be fun to play around with some Vintage brews loosely centered on the season. Fair warning that none of these decks are tuned or even playtested, so try them at your own peril (or merriment, whichever you decide it is to be). However, we do get to experience a bit of a story in these decks, so let's get right to it!

Our story begins in a lowly hamlet of Pendrell Vale, where the holiday celebrations are already beginning to take shape. The land is filled with cheer as a great wizard stands tall and proud above it all, preparing to cast the greatest spell of his life, bonding his very essence to the land.

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The wizard's spell begins to take shape, and the land is filled with joyous wonder (and maybe some zombies). Holiday cheer grips the land as the wizard sacrifices it all to see the holidays become a success.

Across the Vale, a lowly Orc works at chopping down trees for the residents of the Vale to purchase. His work is hard and he has to deal with a lot of problems this time of year, what with all the little Scute bugs running around.

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The Orc chops down the last tree, but all is soon to be unwell in the Vale. A massive snowstorm lumbers over the Vale as the frozen winter spirits descend upon it. Their hatred for all things cheery and loving is infinite, and they declare that the holidays are to be forever forgotten. The lowly Orc, upset at the snowstorm's destruction of his tree farm, sets out to the only place he can think of that could help stop the spirits. He sets out for the North Pole, but finds the wintery conditions hard to traverse.

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Braving the frozen North, our hero finds himself finally at the edge of the snowstorms, half frozen to death and wishing he'd never left his farm. However, he is greeted by a powerful and wondrous sight: the great workshop of the creature the Vale knows as "Santa", an ancient elf who is said to wield great power over the holidays. The workshop is perilous however, as automatons and giant engines flit back and forth creating what appears to be children's toys.

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Our hero finally makes it past the Workshop, finding himself in front of a massive castle that could only belong to the Santa creature. Guarding the castle however is a curious grouping of little men with pointy ears. Unfortunately for our lowly hero, they do not appear to be very jolly.

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Just managing to barely escape the little men and their spears and apparent ability to simply become dinosaurs out of complete nowhere, our hero slips around and enters the castle from the lowest level: the dungeons. It's there that our hero realizes just how cruel and powerful this Santa creature truly is, as he finds another group of small men, these ones much uglier than the pointy eared ones, and also a curious shade of green much like the Orc's own skin. The lowly Orc realizes they are Goblins, and they're being forced to work on some form of cruel machinery in the dungeons of the castle.

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Our lowly hero makes his way out of the dungeons and into the main castle, barely avoiding the guards along the way. He comes across a great chamber with a massive throne. Upon it is the most mind-altering being he has ever laid eyes upon. His brain cannot even begin to comprehend the creature that is Santa, as the ancient thing turns its attention to the Orc.

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The orc flees the throne room and exits the castle, narrowly missing the pointy-eared guardsman as he runs back into the frozen wastes, deciding to abandon asking for Santa's help and opting to just go back home instead. The wastes are just as perilous and somehow our lowly hero manages to make it back home, where the snowstorm has passed on to a different Vale. Pendrell Vale is quiet as the orc returns to his farm, breathing a sigh of relief that he survived all of these dangers. He hangs up his hat in his cottage and turns to his tree, waiting to be decorated.

Then the snow buries his cottage.

The End

I hope you all enjoyed this hilarious little jaunt into an Orc's holiday season. I know I did. Remember that no matter what you celebrate, have a safe and happy holiday season. This year is certainly a little different, but we can all find joy in our connections with each other, and of course... the Gathering.

Happy Holidays!

Vintage Challenge 12/12

We had two Challenges this past weekend, the first of which was our normal Saturday event. Thanks to the continued efforts of the Vintage Streamer's Discord for the data they so tirelessly pull together every week, as we know this event had 82 players overall. Let's take a look at the metagame breakdown.

There's a lot of Breach here for sure as well as a lot of Jeskai. Seems still like a pretty diverse metagame for 82 players however. It feels as if things have really just settled down a lot and every week is posing a new and unique question. It will be interesting to see what happens in the upcoming Showcase Qualifier event for sure.

Now let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dredge 1st Lord_Beerus
Breach 2nd Pun1sher
Jeskai Xerox 3rd qbturtle15
Jeskai Xerox 4th AMiracle
Humans 5th Earlder1
Hogaak Bazaar 6th wambocombo2020
Hogaak Bazaar 7th ehhh
RUG Xerox 8th sliphorn

There is a fair amount of both Bazaar and Xerox, sidelined by some Breach and a Humans/Hatebears variant. At the end of the event however, it was indeed Dredge that took it down, piloted by friend of the column Lord_Beerus!

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Beerus' list is the commonly accepted stock shell for this deck now and has been for some time. The usage of Creeping Chill is pretty powerful, since it gives the deck a lot of reach in plenty of matchups, and in some cases can just outright kill an opponent (especially Doomsday pilots). It's great to see Beerus do well here, this list is powerful.

The Second Place list is of course, Breach Combo.

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At this point, it seems like Breach has slowly become the defacto Combo/Control deck in the format as the prominence of PO Storm has really dipped a lot in the past few months. Breach has waxed and waned itself though, but this time it really seems to be pushing itself into a position where the other combo deck to contend with is Doomsday. I attribute a lot of this to the win condition for this deck being primarily immune to Pyroblast (thanks to Underworld Breach being a red card, and blasting a Brain Freeze is silly). Still, this deck is very strong and I would not be surprised to see it vie for the top spot against DD more in the future.

Further into the Top 8 we had a showing by Humans.

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Despite not having a Rick-Roll, this list is pretty sweet and focused. Four main deck Containment Priest is absurd, but when there are a lot of decks like Bazaar strategies in the format I can definitely see the need for them. All in all a really fun and interesting list.

Outside of the Top 8 we had a very interesting Oath list.

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Having Iona as an Oath target is certainly interesting enough, but it is rather surprising to see four main deck Oath targets, since Oath tends to want as few as possible. Still, the Sphinx can also be tutored into play with Tinker and Griselbrand / Emmy is always good, so maybe Iona is currently worth it enough to make it good.

Further down the Top 32 we had a rare showing by DPS, and in the hands of long-time Storm aficionado Reid Duke as well!

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I like this list a lot, especially cards like Bontu's Last Reckoning in the sideboard, since very often this is not tapping that many lands that wouldn't untap (if any at all). This looks all in all looks like a very fun list for sure.

Vintage Challenge 12/13

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event, which had 51 players in it. Let's dive right into the metagame breakdown.

Doomsday definitely seems to always end up being more popular with the Sunday crowd, reinforcing my thoughts on the fact that the two Challenges are simply two big regional metagames separated by time frame, and that in of itself is pretty interesting. There were a lot of Ravager Shops here too, which is pretty cool to see since the deck was low in representation for a good portion of the year.

Now let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
BUG Midrange 1st Zar0s
Dredge 2nd Ennuixd
Doomsday 3rd Singpanman
Breach 4th Condescen
Jeskai Xerox 5th killersuv
Doomsday 6th DiscoverN
Grixis Xerox 7th hadesblade
Jeskai Welder 8th Surv

This Top 8 is super interesting since it has a fair amount of fair decks, combo, and Bazaar in it. No Shops here, but it does have a cool Goblin Welder list we'll talk about. At the end of the event though it was BUG Midrange that took down the event.

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BUG is a very clean and powerful archetype, as the color combination lends itself to a lot of the best overall answers to various strategies between cards like Assassin's Trophy to hate effects like Leovold, Emissary of Trest. This list is no slouch to this and has all of the best stuff in spades, even down to two main deck copies of Force of Vigor.

The Second Place list here was also Dredge, on a very similar list to the Saturday Challenge First Place list.

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The big difference in this list is the fact that the Wasteland effects are in the sideboard, but I think at that point it's really splitting hairs on whether this is right or if playing them main deck is right. I think it honestly ends up boiling down to personal preference.

Down at the bottom of the Top 8 however, we had a really sweet list utilizing Goblin Welder... Magmatic Channeler... and Luminarch Aspirant?!?!

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This list is SOMETHING. It's like Jeskai Humans but with a Welder package and there's also a Gorilla Shaman in the deck and I'm just super amused. Stupendous work by Surv here.

Outside of the Top 8 we have a showing by everyone's favorite little Otter, with Lutri PO Storm.

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I love how this is just PO in singleton, not going to lie. Having to play cards like Painful Truths to stay singleton has got my mind ablaze. Very solid and interesting list.

Further down the Top 32 we had a showing by Standstill with not just Shark Typhoon, but also Court of Cunning and Rest in Peace!

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Court of Cunning is pretty absurd with a Rest in Peace in play, just saying.

Around the Web

  • Our good friend Brian Coval posted a video on a Vintage Blue Moon Donation deck. Go check that out here.
  • A continued reminder to check out all the Mythic Society has to offer weekly in their Vintage events. Check out their Twitter over here.
  • Team Lotus Box is starting to hold Vintage Octagon events. These events are 8 player single elimination events for big prizes. The first of these was held this past Tuesday, and you can find out more information and keep up to date in their Discord.
  • Our good friend Justin Gennari posted a video on Jeskai Human Welder Prison! Check that out over here.

The Spice Corner

Here's a deck we haven't really seen in a while in Grixis Painter!

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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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