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Vintage 101: It's a Ravager eat Ravager World out there...

2017 North American Vintage Championship Top Eight

Duelling Ravagers in Pittsburg! 

Over 470 planeswalkers entered the Steel City of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to battle in the noblest of formats, Vintage. After the magical dust settled, there was a new champion; Andrew Markiton! By all accounts this was an amazing event, and the Top Eight was stacked with the best of the best Vintage specialists around. 

Let's take a look at the final eight contestants:

2017 North American Vintage Championships
1. Andrew Markiton Ravager Shops
2. Rich Shay Ravager Shops
3. Pat Fehling Inferno Oath
4. Mike Kiesel Ravager Shops
5. Ibrahim Aldridge BUG Oath
6. Brian Kelly Inferno Oath
7. Brian Durkin Ravager Shopa
8. Eric Vergo Ravager Shops


I don't want to sully the fantastic experience everyone had by criticizing the metagame breakdown of the Top Eight, but as you can plainly see it is not very diverse. Three Oath decks and five Workshop decks in the Top Eight does seem a little crazy to me, but I digress. For a complete metagame breakdown of the event, please read Ryan Eberhart and Matthew Murray's complete metagame data on the Mana Drain. 

In my last article I mentioned what I felt were the "Decks to Beat" and while I was not 100% correct, I was absolutely right about Shops being the number one deck to watch out for. Oath of Druids also made my list, but I put it at the end because I wasn't sure many people would play it. Oath is typically very good against Workshops, so it makes sense that the archetype would perform well. However, I am a huge fan of Oath decks, and I tend to overestimate them at times. To counteract my personal bias I didn't speak all that strongly in regards to Oath being a good choice for the weekend. 

Now that all of that is out of the way, let's take a look at some of the decks! 

The People's Champ!


Andrew Markiton went with an extremely aggresive build of the Workshop archetype. Instead of replacing three copies of Thorn of Amethyst with something like Sorcerous Spyglass this deck opts for more aggressive creatures.

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Walking Ballista and Arcbound Ravager are standard-issue equipment for most modern-day Workshop builds. To augment the power of these two creatures Andrew's deck has Foundry Inspector, Steel Overseer, and a single Chief of the Foundry

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Foundry Inspector enables this deck to have some shockingly explosive starts, especially when drawn in multiples. Chief of the Foundry has the potential to overwhelm opponents with it's Crusade effect. Finally, Steel Overseer has a similar "Anthem" effect, but since it works via +1/+1 counters it can be used with the deadly Ravager/Ballista combo. 

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The sideboard for this deck was well-prepared for the field. By my count there are ten cards that could be brought in to fight the Dredge matchup. The obvious ones would be Tormod's Crypt and Grafdigger's Cage, but there's more. There were two Ratchet Bombs and a [[Powder Keg] in the sideboard, and both cards act as a mini-Wrath of God against token stragegies. 

When facing an Oath deck, Grafdigger's Cage is a Workshop decks best friend. Ratchet Bomb can be used in this matchup as well, as they give the Workshop pilot a way to destroy an enchantment. 

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Precursor Golem and Dismember are the last two cards in the sideboard. Golem is great in the mirror, and Dismember happens to be one of the only targeted removal spells available to Workshop decks so it sees play in many of them. 

Congratulations to Mr. Markiton for winning the 2017 Vintage Championships! That is quite an accomplishment, and I think it qualifies him to be included in the next season of the Vintage Super League. I'd love to hear your opinions on this matter, so please let me know what you think!.

2017 Vintage Champ Andrew Markiton (center) posing with teamates


The Atog Lord Strikes Again!

Rich Shay, VSL alumni, and well-known Vintage nice guy took second with his Ravager Shops list. For most of his Magic career Rich played blue decks, but starting with the 2015 Vintage Championships (in which he also made Top Eight) he's been known to play Workshops when the deck is posititioned well.

Griselbrand's Revenge!

Who needs Sun Titans or Spellbombs when you have a massive, flying Yawgmoth's Bargain with lifelink?

I'm a huge fan of Oath decks, and I especially like this one. Ibrahim's deck is quite close to the paper Vintage deck I currently have assembled. This archetype has been around for a long time, and it still works. The deck has the strength of an Oath deck yet it adds the extra dimension of Tinker and Time Vault. Adding Tinker also lets the deck play with Sphinx of the Steel Wind effectively. 

Sphinx of the Steel Wind isn't as good as Griselbrand in a lot of situations, but it does have some advantages that make it worth considering. Sphinx can't be stolen by Dack Fayden, and it doesn't get bounced by Karakas. The lifelink helps to stabilize the board, and it's a second creature which means that you can use your Oath more than once. It's also really sweet to Tinker out a Sphinx on turn one against Workshops or Eldrazi. 


Return of the Dragonlord! 

Brian Kelly won the Vintage Championships in 2015 with a unique Oath of Druids/Bomberman hybrid. Since then he's gone on to create many popular Vintage decks, and he's regarded by many (including myself) as one of the greatest stewards of the Vintage format that we've ever had. 

Brian's decks always look a little strange at first, but that's because he is a deck builder that is not afraid to take risks and try new things. Many of the "strange choices" he's made end up being copied by the rest of the community so much that they become commonplace. For instance, Salvagers Oath went from a strange Brian Kelly brew to the best Oath deck in Vintage at one point. 


I'm stoked that another Eternal Weekend is in the books and that it was a resounding success. I wasn't able to attend the event again this year, but I'm crossing my fingers for next time. I've heard nothing but good remarks about Eternal Weekend, and I can't wait to go to one some day. I'd like to thank Mark Arce and Ryan Eberhart for digging up some photos for me, and I'd like to thank each and every one of you in the Vintage community for being consistently amazing people. You rock! 

That's all the time I have for this week folks, I'll be back soon with more Vintage action.  You can find me on Twiter, TMD, and Magic Online @Islandswamp



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