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Vintage 101: Maddening Times


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're talking all about some great new changes to Magic Online, including new cards added and changes to the League system. In addition to that we've got two Challenges and a Super Qualifier to discuss!

Without further ado, let's dive right in.

Mad Mad Mad Magic Online Changes!

Last week we were gifted a very solid update to Magic Online, thanks to the Dominaria United MTGO article that came out. One of the big things that they released with this update was the advent of new cards that were previously only available in paper Magic onto MTGO. Some of these were primarily from Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate (hello, Minsc & Boo!) but some of them were from older Commander sets. One of those cards that was highly anticipated is Maddening Hex.

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As far as Vintage is concerned, this card is very, very good. Vintage often relies on a lot of noncreature spells, given the status of cards like Moxen and Lotus, as well as things like Sol Ring and Mana Crypt. Punishing those cards in an asymmetrical fashion is stupendously good. In fact, it could even lend itself to possibly seeing play in a form of a Mono Red Prison strategy, which is very fringe in Vintage overall, but the addition of cards like Hex that work in addition to other cards could be very strong here.

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It's definitely something to think about. For now I expect people will be trying Hex out in various sideboards in the format, so only time will tell if such a lock piece style deck will have legs or not.

In addition to the new cards being added from Commander sets, one of the other big pieces of news in this update is the new changes in League Matchmaking and how that all works. As you may be aware, win traders have been a real issue for Vintage overall. With the new changes, the ability to cancel out of a League once the League match is paired has been removed, and so win traders can no longer just cancel and re-queue until they hit their other account. This should hopefully make it much more difficult in general for win traders to do their thing, and that in of itself is a very solid thing.

You can read all about the entire set of MTGO changes here.

Vintage Challenge 9/3

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the mid afternoon Saturday event. This event had 60 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.

Quite a large variety of decks really across the pillars of the format in this event. No one deck was super dominant and things seem pretty evenly spread out. Shops did well, as did Mono White and Dredge.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dredge 1st Lord_Beerus
Breach 2nd handsomePPZ
BUG Midrange 3rd jankyb
Aggro Shops 4th Cover85
Paradoxical Outcome 5th RespectTheCat
Esper Tinker 6th Condescend
Prison Shops 7th V4nquish
Mono White Aggro 8th Grymn

Definitely a very varied Top 8 here, with good representation across multiple pillars. At the end of the event, it was a split between the finalists, with the First Place recorded as Dredge officially.

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Main deck restricted Chalice makes a lot of sense really given the amount of Tinker decks and various things like PO floating around the format. Having a lot of countermagic also really helps as well.

The Second Place finalist was recorded as Breach.

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This very much toes the line of being also Grixis Tinker, as only one copy of Breach is listed here. A lot of this terminology is fairly interchangeable here or there because of the amount of overlap in those types of decks for sure.

Further down the Top 8 we have some PO.

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Very interesting splash into red in the sideboard here, with gaining access to sideboard blasts and threats like Laelia. Definitely cool for sure.

Vintage Challenge 9/4

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 50 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.

Tinker was highly represented in this event, and it did have a slightly positive win rate overall. Prison Shops also did very well, as did Aggro Shops.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Hogaak 1st moon11
Aggro Shops 2nd _Shatun_
Breach 3rd desolutionist
Esper Tinker 4th Capriccioso
Esper Tinker 5th dani_tb
Prison Shops 6th yPrincipe
Jeskai Lurrus 7th zhinonono
Esper Tinker 8th _INF_

Lot of Tinker variants here, but we've also got some Bazaar decks and Shops. At the end of the event, it was Hogaak that took it all down.

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It has been rather interesting watching the evolution of Hogaak in general. For a while it seemed as if the red splash variants were all over the place, now we're back to not splashing and playing pure BG. Eaten Alive is a neat removal spell given that it can sac stuff like Stitcher's Supplier to cast for B.

The Second Place finalist was Aggro Shops.

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Very straightforward list here. Unlicensed Hearse has definitely become a big part of these decks, and it seems like a really stellar card for Shops in general.

Also in this Top 8 we had another Breach deck, but this one with a very interesting take.

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Sideboard copies of Fury in this deck is really intriguing, while also leaning more on Hullbreacher as a big threat in this deck as well. Definitely interesting stuff.

Vintage Super Qualifier 9/4

This past weekend we also had a bonafide Vintage Super Qualifier on MTGO. Super Qualifiers are events where the Top 4 qualify for a Regional Championships, sort of like an RCQ style event. This makes for a very competitive event for sure. This particular event had 160 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 datasheet here.

Tinker was by far the most represented deck, and it had a win rate that matched the fact that it was the most represented deck. However, Breach and Jeskai also did very well, as did Dredge.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Esper Tinker 1st Mentalmisstep
Jeskai Lurrus 2nd NooxTom
Dredge 3rd Lord_Beerus
Grixis Tinker 4th Rooney56
Grixis Tinker 5th Butakov
Paradoxical Outcome 6th Cioffo86
Hogaak 7th Slatorade
Jeskai Lurrus 8th Oceansoul92

Good amount of Tinker and Jeskai in this Top 8. It was in fact Tinker that took down this entire event.

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Esper and Grixis variants have long been at war with each other, with neither side really being seen as the best Tinker deck. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and both are very powerful. Esper here having access to powerful removal and stuff like Lavinia is well worth considering though.

The Second Place finalist was on Jeskai Lurrus.

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Jeskai moving to this kind of build is intriguing that is for sure. It seems like a great build though, as getting to rebuy cards like Bauble with Lurrus seems very good.

Also in this Top 8 we had some PO action.

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This build is much closer to what we typically expect PO to look like these days, with Mentor and splashes for stuff like Swords to Plowshares in the sideboard alongside the four Saga package.

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

You can find this past week's 5-0 decklist here.

Oath with Minsc & Boo? It's more likely than you think.

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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 my Link Tree! In addition you can always reach me on the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the Vintage Streamers Discord.

Until next time!



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