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Vintage 101: I Heard it Through the Hollow Vine


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for yet another Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and we're quickly closing in on the end of 2019! It's been a crazy year, and of course we're going to go over the big highlights of this year in our End-of-2019 wrap-up article on the 27th! Furthermore, I'm doing an AMA on Twitter to answer questions for that article, so please take a moment to head over to the Twitterverse and ask a question!

This week however, we're going to be talking about a deck that's popped up in some fashion over the leagues and Challenges that is like a Survival of the Fittest list, without the Survivals and a lot more free spells. I'm talking of course about HanChoBai's Hollow Vine list!

In addition, we'll be talking about Nebraska's War's Vintage events, the results of the final 2019 Vintage Format Playoff, as well as listing out all the players who will be making it to the 40 player Vintage Format Championship on January 11th!

The Hollow Vines

We have talked about this deck a few times on this article series, so I figured it was time to get a deeper look at this deck. This deck is essentially at its core, a Bazaar of Baghdad aggro/control deck that focuses heavily on free spells and free creature threats. The major basis of this is the trifecta of Basking Rootwalla, Hollow One, and Vengevine, three cards which often form the base threats for a deck like Survival. However, HanChoBai decided to take things a little more aggressively slanted and tossed in a bevy of free spells and interaction into the deck, hinging on maindeck interaction like Mindbreak Trap, Force of Will, Force of Negation, and Force of Vigor.

Now let's take a look at the list.

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As we like to do on this series, let's pick apart this deck into its base components.

Engine Cards

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These are the three primary "engine" pieces of this deck. As noted before this is a Bazaar of Baghdad control deck, so that is obviously going to be a big part of this deck's primary engine construction. Serum Powder can help the deck locate Bazaars and also locate serviceable hands with Bazaars, while Squee is a card advantage engine by basically counting as a free pitch to a Bazaar activation. It will come back on the next upkeep to hand to be used again as part of grinding through the deck, allowing you to keep other spells off Bazaar activations.

Free Creatures

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The big reasons to play a deck like this comes from the ability to simply be able to dump a lot of power on the board in a very short fashion. All of these creatures work well with Vengevine which is one of the bigger beaters the deck has in terms of speed and power. Hollow One with Vengevine starts are among the strongest and fastest things this deck can do with interaction available.

Countermagic / Spell Interaction

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Another big reason to play a deck like this is for all the free interaction the deck has in regards to spells. Between being able to pitch spells for countermagic like Force of Negation or Force of Will, to being able to use Misdirection on Ancestral Recall, this deck has a lot of these effects. Commandeer is pretty cool as well in being able to steal things like Ancestral/Time Walk or even Planeswalker spells like Dack Fayden or Oko, Thief of Crowns.

Other Free Interaction

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Other forms of interaction in this deck include cards like Noxious Revival that can essentially regrowth a creature like Hollow One or buy back things like sideboard cards in post board games. Snapback is intriguing since it double as removal for things like Oath targets as well as Marit Lage, but also can be used to replay a creature to trigger Vengevine. As always any deck like this that has Bazaar and green cards should be running Force of Vigor to deal with things like Oath, Leyline, etc. The list of things that FoV deals with in the format is very high.

Disruption / Land Destruction

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In addition to all the other free interaction this deck packs, it also packs some disruption in the form of the restricted copy of Chalice of the Void (which can be back-breaking against Paradoxical Outcome based decks), and also Strip Mine + Wasteland to clean up other pesky Bazaars, Mishra's Workshops, or other specialty lands plus duals to keep an opponent off their plan while running them over with threats.

Sideboarding with Vines

Now let's take a look at the sideboard options this deck has to bring to the table.

Graveyard Hate

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As always, this deck needs ways to interact with Dredge, so nuclear options like Leyline and Ravenous Trap are very powerful and give incentive to Bazaar and Serum Powder-based lists.

Creature Hate

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Since this deck is essentially manaless and doesn't run actual mana sources, it's ability to deal with permanents are pretty limited, but dealing with creatures that hurt the deck like Containment Priest is necessary. Both Sickening Shoal and Contagion do a good job of dealing with creatures as necessary.

Nebraska's War

As I mentioned in an earlier article, this past weekend was the 7th annual Nebraska's War event in Italy. This event included two Vintage events that were higher profile, one of which was a more expensive entry "High Roller" event which boasted 20 players, and a main event which had 72 players overall. There was also coverage of these events, provided in part by our great friend Andy "Brass Man" Probasco. We have some data on the decklists and the Metagame breakdown (in addition to some cool graphics cooked up by Card Trader, one of the sponsors of Nebraska's War), so let's take a look!

Vintage All Stars

Boasted as a "High Roller" event, the Vintage All Stars event had 20 players in it, and was shown on coverage round to round. The Metagame for this small event was as follows:

One caveat of this image is that the "URW Reclamation" deck was not playing Wilderness Reclamation like the graphic implies, but was rather playing Sevinne's Reclamation. Just to clear that up a little. All in all this seemed like a pretty interesting Metagame, with several archetypes well represented across 20 players.

This event seemed pretty cool, with the following players making Top 8 of the event.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
PO Storm 1st Justin Gennari
DPS 2nd Cyrus Corman-Gill
Dredge 3rd Sullivan Brophy
BUG Midrange 4th Ben Lukas
BUG Midrange 5th Joe Brennan
4C Control 6th Tomas Mar
PO Storm 7th Tiziano Ostigoni
Ravager Shops 8th Luca Meregalli

At the end of the event in the finals, it was Justin Gennari who won this event, triumphing over Cyrus Corman-Gill. It was great to see two people I'm thankful to call friends in the finals of this event!

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Justin is well known for playing PO decks, so it's no surprise to see him with it here. Congrats to Justin on his finish!

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Likewise it's not surprising to see Cyrus on a DPS based Storm build. He has spent a lot of time perfecting his play on these kinds of decks and truly is a master at the deck.

Vintage Main Event

The main Vintage event boasted 72 players with what seemed to be a pretty stable Metagame. Let's take a look at the graphic.

Again, this appears to be a fairly stable Metagame at this point in the format. Whether PO is over-represented or not remains to be seen still, but for right now it seems as if other archetypes are keeping up with it.

Let's take a look at the Top 8 of this event.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
DPS 1st Cyrus Corman-Gill
Jeskai Arcanist 2nd Dan Miller
RUG Planeswalkers 3rd Raffaele Ramagli
BUG Midrange 4th Werther Masi
PO Storm 5th Rodrigo Togores
Ravager Shops 6th Pedro J. Sanchez
Dredge 7th Luca Bonetto
Ravager Shops 8th Maciej Fidzinski

This seems like a pretty sweet Top 8, and of course the winner of this event is on the same list as he played in the All-Star event was our good friend Cyrus Corman-Gill! Congrats to Cyrus on some incredible finishes this weekend! Very well deserved.

In 2nd place of this event, we had Dan Miller on Jeskai Arcanist.

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This list seems pretty close to what I've been seeing of Jeskai Arcanist since the restriction of Narset. Getting to see Jace, Vryn's Prodigy again is pretty sweet, as the card lost out a bit when Narset was more prevalent in the format.

Also showing up in this Top 8 is RUG Planeswalkers, by Raffaele Ramagli!

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I really enjoy these RUG lists a lot, and I very much enjoy seeing more copies of Brazen Borrower floating around. That card is exceptionally good, and it's exciting to see it breaking into the format as just another solid spell to play.

All in all, these events seemed to be pretty awesome, and you can review coverage of this event over on Nebraska's War Twitch Channel!

Vintage Format Playoff Q4

We had our final Quarterly playoff event this past weekend, determining the Top 40 players who will be taking part in the Vintage Championship on January 11th. Furthemore it's worth noting that this is the first, and the last year that this kind of event will take place for Vintage. If you had a chance to read up on the way Magic Online's Premier Play Program will work into 2020, Vintage is not a format that is capable of being played at the Showcase Challenge/Showcase Open level. What this means is that you can earn Qualifier Points (QPs) by playing Vintage but there is no outlet to spend those QPs to play Vintage on a larger event like how the Format Playoffs/Format Championships worked this year. Furthermore, Vintage, Standard, and Legacy next year in 2020 will use a different prize structure bracket based on 32 minimum players for the weekly Format Challenges. These changes intrigue me, and it kind of stings a bit to see Vintage set aside on the one place where it can be played more (due to the cost of digital), but maybe there might be some player-organized events or independent TO sponsored events next year.

As noted, this event was the final Playoff, so let's take a look at the Top 16.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
PO Storm 1st Condescend
Dredge 2nd Lord_Beerus
BUG Midrange 3rd Teredier
RUG Planeswalkers 4th Eheh_Dude
PO Storm 5th ThePowerNine (Justin Franks)
White Eldrazi 6th Kauffj
PO Storm 7th Lampalot (Michael Bonde)
PO Storm 8th Legion273
PO Storm 9th Soulstrong
PO Storm 10th Shir Kahn (Nico Bohny)
Dredge 11th Sentiment
BUG Midrange 12th Thiim
RUG Planeswalkers 13th Psiven
Grixis Thieves 14th TheDeck84
PO Storm 15th Oneau
PO Storm 16th IamActuallyLvl1 (Justin Gennari)

This is a big mess of PO here, with half of the Top 16 being dominated by the deck. Whether this is cause for alert yet is unknown. I'm still willing to give the format time to breathe personally coming off several major restrictions this year and would prefer to let the format sit for a bit before restricting anything else.

At the end of the event it was PO that did take it down in a finals vs Dredge, in the hands of pilot Condescend!

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This list is pretty much how PO has readjusted, including still splashing red for Pyroblast and Lightning Bolt to be able to deal with cards like Lavinia and Collector Ouphe. Congrats to Condescend on a stellar finish!

As I noted before, in second place was Lord_Beerus on Dredge!

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Dredge lists have been in flux since the restrictions but have finally resettled into a comfortable pattern it seems. The deck still seems pretty strong in the Metagame right now, and is worth a look at if you're looking to do unfair things with the graveyard. Congrats to Lord_Beerus on an impressive finish!

Also appearing in this Top 8 was White Eldrazi in the hands of kauffj!

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This deck is very clean and powerful. I'm still not relatively sold on Deafening Silence as a card, but a 1-of in the sideboard seems pretty fine for the current Metagame.

Now let's take a look at the 2019 era cards appearing in this Top 16!

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Vigor 15
Narset, Parter of Veils 13
Force of Negation 12
Bolas's Citadel 7
Collector Ouphe 7
Oko, Thief of Crowns 7
Teferi, Time Raveler 6
Wrenn and Six 4
Arcum's Astrolabe 3
Veil of Summer 3
Karn, the Great Creator 2
Manifold Key 2
Ashiok, Dream Render 1
Brazen Borrower 1
Deafening Silence 1
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade 1
Legion's End 1
Mystic Sanctuary 1

There's not much more to say here outside of the fact that 2019 era cards continue to have an impact on the format. It's going to be interesting following this trend into 2020 and what cards from those sets make a splash in Vintage as well.

So, we now have the final list of every player in the Vintage Championships on January 11th! This is a very stacked set of players, so let's give all of these folks a hearty congratulations!

Player Name Player Name
pokerswizard Montolio (Andy Markiton)
discoverN s063
geekyjackson Condescend
CyrusCG (Cyrus Corman-Gill) Shir Kahn (Nico Bohny)
Smmenen (Stephen Menendian) JOANANTON
Briba20 (Brady Iba) Eruxus
MENTA_LI_ILL Swiftwarkite2
Espiatrianero Mathonical
The Atog Lord (Rich Shay) aooaaooa
Bedell (Rodney Bedell) Yamakiller
Lord_Beerus Sandydogmtg
TheLastGnu ItsukiS
Miharu_Fuyumiya IdraftheBeatz (Ben Lukas)
Blinkmoth-Nexus AMiracle
GutoCmtt GGoggles
DancingJesus191 Coffeannan
Teredier Eheh_Dude
ThePowerNine (Justin Franks) Kauffj
Lampalot (Michael Bonde) Legion273
Soulstrong Sentiment

The Spice Corner

What's better than Oath'ing an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play? Oath'ing one with Dragon Breath in the graveyard!

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Next week we're going to go full on Post-Apocalyptic as we talk about an archetype that hasn't seen a lot of play lately, but has started to resurge a tiny bit in some small ways. That's right, we're going to be talking about Vintage Doomsday!

As always, you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! In addition, I'm always around the MTGGoldfish Discord if you'd like to reach out to me and chat about anything Magic related!

We're winding down to the end of the year, and I'm really happy to continue delivering more and more Magic content into the next year! I will be working on Episode Four of "The Bazaar of Moxology" soon to be released next month!

Until next time, keep casting Moxen!


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