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Vintage 101: I Pledge Allegiance to the State (of Ravnica)


Howdy folks! It's Joe again, and we're here for yet another edition of Vintage 101! This week we're going to do our customary review of the cards that look interesting from Ravnica Allegiance! In addition, we'll also talk about VINTAGE SUPER LEAGUE, and also the deck Time/Key Paradox! Get strapped in for the hype folks, because it's about to get Ravnica!

Ravnica Allegiance

Ravnica Allegiance Prerelease is this weekend, so let's take a look at some of the hype of the set. We've got Azorius, Orzhov, Simic, Rakdos, and Gruul (OH MY!) in this set, and there are some interesting cards. Generally what I tend to do for these kinds of things is pay close attention to the chatter the cards receive via The Mana Drain and then compile my own thoughts based on that. There aren't many cards from this set, unlike how Guilds of Ravnica had quite a few. Most of the really interesting stuff is confined to only a few cards, but there are some interesting ones to discuss.

So, without breaking a sweat (even though we kinda did), let's talk about the big hype of the set.

Lavinia, Azorius Renegade

Lavinia, Azorius Renegade [RNA]

Lavinia is the big talk of the set, given that her abilities seem pretty gosh darn hateful versus the rest of the Vintage format overall. At 2 CMC, it's reasonably castable early (in some cases Turn 1 with the right setup) and the payoff is pretty huge. This has sparked some debate over at The Mana Drain because here is a laundry list of things that Lavinia does in the format:

  • Your opponent's Moxen won't be able to be cast because they'd be countered.
  • Force of Will can never be cast for its alternate cost, and sometimes not even cast at all if they don't have five lands.
  • Paradoxical Outcome will usually not be able to be cast, because it is very rare that the opponent has four lands to cast the card with, not to mention the fact that they might not have Moxen to begin with.
  • Basking Rootwalla and Hollow One take a flying leap to counter-town when cast for free.

While Lavinia is just a creature and she is prone to removal spells, I suspect we will see her show up regardless. Her power level is very strong here, and I wouldn't be too surprised to see PO Storm play her in the sideboard, possibly alongside Kambal, Consul of Allocation. And of course, another deck that we could definitely see her see play in is Vintage Humans aka "Power Rangers".

Lavinia by herself is a powerful card, but combine her with other Humans like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Kambal, Consul of Allocation and Scab-Clan Berseker? Madness, I say. Madness. Still, I think Lavinia is most assuredly a powerful card, and I think she will see just enough play to possibly cause a decent shift in card selection in terms of removal and the like. Will she be the key to pushing Humans as a legitimately competitive archetype? Who knows, but it will be interesting to see.

Sphinx of Foresight

Sphinx of Foresight [RNA]

This card is intriguing on a number of levels, and has spurred a very interesting discussion on the math behind it over on The Mana Drain. It's a very different design space kind of card, and some people have discussed it in decks that want to hit cards like Bazaar of Baghdad. I'm not sure I see playing this in a Bazaar deck like Dredge, but it does have some intriguing applications that I will be curious to see if it ever picks up.

Electrodominance

Electrodominance [RNA]

I am a big fan of this card, and while I'm not sure it will do anything or not, the sheer fact that you can play anything off of it means someone will try it somewhere, and I will be on the lookout for that spice when it happens. The laundry list of cool things you can do with this card is really huge, from burning a Containment Priest and dropping an Oath of Druids at the same time on an end step, to blowing up a Jace, the Mind Sculptor and casting Ancestral Recall at the same time. There's a huge amount of space this thing fills, and whether its good or not, it will probably be a heck of a lot of fun.

Pteramander

Pteramander [RNA]

I like this card a lot too, as it gives me vibes of a flying Gurmag Angler for UU. While Delver type strategies have largely fallen off in Vintage, they do exist, and this card has a lot of potential upside to be an interesting and powerful card. Guaranteed that most of the time you are not paying anything more than U to adapt it, and UU is much easier to get to than RR for a card like Bedlam Reveler. In addition, this card flies. Very interesting card, indeed.

Cindervines

Cindervines [RNA]

This card is interesting. I don't know that it will see much play, but the primary discussion behind it on The Mana Drain suggested some sort of fair RUG Delver creature shell, since as a two mana enchantment it can pump Tarmogoyf slightly in addition to being able to blow up an artifact or enchantment when needed. It's certainly a very versatile card.

Emergency Powers

Emergency Powers [RNA]

Please oh please oh please someone make a deck with this. Instant speed Timetwister effect makes me hilariously giddy. Let's make this happen, pleaaaaaaaase?! (Seriously though, this is probably not strictly playable, the spice factor however is through the roof)

Vintage Super League Season 9 - Week One!

Alright, by the time this article will be up, VSL S9 will have begun on January 15th! The way that this season is going to work is that each week a pod of four players will each play three round robin matches. Each competitor will play in two pods over the course of the season totaling six matches. After the pods, there will be a playoff set, with a record of 4-2 advancing to the playoffs, whereas a 5-1 qualifies a player for the semifinals, and 6-0 directly puts that player into the finals.

Also, if you haven't watched this intro from the highly talented Athena Froehlich, it is hot fire. Amazing work indeed.

Week One we will have seen the talent and raw magic of the following powerful wizards:

  • Rich Shay (THE ATOG LORD)
  • Bob Maher (GREATNESS, AT ANY COST)
  • Andreas Petersen (THE SNAPCARDSTER)
  • Cyrus Corman-Gill (THE MASTER OF SKULLS)

It's going to prove to be an exciting week of Vintage play with these awesome players duking it out over three round robin matches! Make sure you tune in weekly at 9PM EST to Vintage Super League on http://twitch.tv/magic!

Let's take a brief look at each deck the four competitors submitted this week.

Match 1 sees Cyrus Corman-Gill slugging it out against Andreas Petersen, ultimately ending in a win for Andreas in three games.

Match 2 is Rich Shay on Pitch Dredge slamming hard into Bob Maher (THE GREAT ONE) in a very quick Game 1. However, Game 2 is debilitating to Dredge. However, Rich rebounds to take Game 3 with a very decisive Mental Misstep on a Grafdigger's Cage.

Match 3 brings us The Atog Lord (Rich Shay) once more versus Andreas Petersen. Rich takes Game 1 in a very decisive victory, while Game 2 sees Andreas Tinker into a Blightsteel Colossus, but Rich is able to pull through it and win.

Match 4 brings the classic matchup of Bob Maher on UR Pyromancer Control versus Dark Petition Storm with Cyrus Corman-Gill at the helm! Cyrus obliterates in Game 1, putting Bob on the ropes to try to get there in post-board games. However Cyrus is able to scrape through a win and Tendrils Bob out of the game.

Match 5 lines up Andreas Petersen versus Bob Maher in a classic Xerox control vs Xerox control matchup. The Great One himself manages to swing through Game 1 into a board state with Skullclamp and Young Pyromancer, pulling into a clear lead to take Game 1. Game 2 Andreas rips through with a Turn 2 Managorger Hydra. Andreas is able to push through Game 3 to take the win for the match.

Match 6 brings the Doctor vs the Legacy Storm Expert in a Dredge vs Storm mashup! Rich takes Game 1 undeniably, as Dredge is want to do, but Cyrus blasts through Game 2 with a Turn 2 Yawgmoth's Bargain. Playing around Mindbreak Trap, Cyrus squeaks through a win in Game 3 to take the match!

We end the night with Rich Shay, Cyrus Corman-Gill, Andreas Petersen all at 2-1, with Bob Maher coming in at 0-3.

Next week is going to be an exciting time with Randy Buehler, Andy Probasco, Stephen Menendian, and Brian Coval! Tune in then!

Storming the Vault(Key)

We talked a little bit about this deck last week in the Spice Corner, but we're going to take a deeper look at this deck this week. This deck is known as Time-Key Paradox, and it's a Paradoxical Outcome deck whose win condition isn't Monastery Mentor or even Tendrils of Agony, but rather... Aetherflux Reservoir!

As we are want to do in this article series, let's deconstruct this list a little further.

Mana

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

For the sake of normalcy we won't list the Power artifacts here. This deck does run a bunch of other artifact mana however, including cards like Grim Monolith in addition to the usual suspects.

Engine Cards

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00    $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

The engine of this deck is truly and most ridiculously sweet. Part of what makes this deck interesting is the inclusion of cards like Helm of Awakening which makes things like Sensei's Divining Top cost zero mana, which in turn works really well with Experimental Frenzy in rearranging your library so that you can keep playing cards from the top of your library. Paradoxical Outcome off the top also makes it so you can bounce Frenzy, refill your hand and then keep going. What makes it so unique is that you can also just dig to Time Vault + Voltaic Key and then suddenly you are golden.

In short this is a very interesting take on the traditional Paradoxical Outcome deck, and it's cool to see it gaining some traction. I love seeing new deck builds within the Vintage format, because it's always so interesting to see how you can take a pile of cards in this format to make them good.

The Spice Corner

My Spice Corner this week comes to me from Twitter user @joemtg and it's a list he played at a local event in Michigan. It's Genesis Chamber Aggro!

Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks. Hopefully looking forward next week to WEEK TWO OF VINTAGE SUPER LEAGUE! This next couple weeks are going to be highly exciting, and I can't wait to talk about all the fun action that occurs on it.

In addition, I finally managed to get around to putting up the first of what I hope is going to be multiple entires in a video series not only doing deck techs, but some gameplay videos, and possibly even interview content with Vintage community members! You can check out the first video of THE VINTAGE SERIES here, with my first video being a deck tech on Ravager Shops! As always, make sure you hit me up on Twitter!

Until next time folks, keep casting Moxen!


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