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Vintage 101: Modern Vintage 2

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're looking at the already burgeoning impact that Modern Horizons 2 is having on the Vintage format. In addition to that we'll be discussing last week's Mythic Society event and the past weekend's Challenges. Also of course, we have a Spice Corner (and it isn't mean and green and tossing Loki around like a paperweight!)

Let's get to it, shall we?

A Modern Vintage for a Modern Era

We're now two full weekends into the release of Modern Horizons 2 on Magic Online, so let's talk a little bit about what cards are impacting what decks and what seems to be the biggest winners from the release of this set so far. Note that this can and will change over time however as there are many layers and cards in this set and many long term implications of how this set will affect Vintage.

The Power of a Lone Saga

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Urza's Saga is definitely one of the most talked about cards lately, and the splash it has made in Vintage is actually more than interesting. Many assumed that this card was a slam dunk in Shops decks due to the fact that they play well with the artifact sub theme of the card, and it certainly has shown up in the Combo Shops variants due to the interactions it has with Thespian's Stage being able to copy it and keep the abilities. However, the biggest winner of this card was actually none other than Paradoxical Outcome based decks, reinvigorating a variant of those decks with Urza, Lord High Artificer.

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Urza's Saga in this shell makes a lot of sense really, given the overall critical mass of artifacts the deck runs and the fact that the third Chapter ability can tutor a Key directly to the battlefield to interact with a Time Vault in play. While we've also seen the card occasionally in Standstill based decks, it seems that the biggest winner overall was indeed PO Storm, bringing it back to a forefront in a format that it had largely fallen mostly out of favor in due to other combo decks taking up that space (Breach, Doomsday).

PO has always been a deck however that can adjust to different forms and shells (see the fact that we've had both RUG and BUG as well as Esper versions of the deck over time), so this continued evolution is very interesting and perhaps may end up being one of the most defining and sticky variations of the deck as long as Urza's Saga is good.

As far as the Saga itself is concerned, I think the card is going to remain good in the format, but I also don't think it will ever present itself in such a fashion that it would ever need to be restricted. It definitely has a very strong power level, but I think that power level is pretty spot-on for Vintage, given everything else going on in the format.

How Bazaar, How Bazaar

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Outside of Saga related business, the other big winner so far out of Modern Horizons 2 is the Bazaar of Baghdad decks. These decks received several new cards, the best of which so far seem to be the cards Blazing Rootwalla and Master of Death. Having another set of free Madness creatures and another set of Squee effects (and one that also pitches to Force of Will, etc.) is very very powerful and has led to a direct resurgence of the Hollow Vine variants that utilized Squee as a card advantage option for Bazaar.

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Plenty of the Evoke creatures are showing up in these decks as well. While I was a bit low on Fury at first, it seems to have found a way into these decks as a way of cleaning up creatures like Deathrite Shaman or Archon of Emeria and the like. The fact remains that it can also cleanly deal with a Containment Priest as well as Lavinia, Azorius Renegade. Endurance is also around as a way of dealing with opposing graveyard strategies, but also makes for a nice clean way of handling cards like Ravenous Trap by getting the graveyard back into the library.

Dredge on the other hand, has readily adopted the usage of the card Grief, playing the card in addition to Unmask as an additional discard effect, one that can also be pitched to Ichorid.

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Being able to pitch extra Grief to Sickening Shoal is good too, giving the deck a -5/-5 with the effect. Grief definitely seems to have settled into a solid four of within the deck, and I wouldn't be surprised to see people brewing around these Evoke creatures further into the future.

Out of all the archetypes, Bazaar received the most love out of this set and the power level of the Bazaar aggro shells really shows that off for sure.

The Biggest Losers

The biggest losers of this particular set release are often tied to decks that didn't receive much in the way of support from this set at all. That doesn't mean that these decks are bad however, just that they didn't get new cards that really are targeted at them. The most obvious of these currently is Jeskai Control, which has been a steady slope down in the past few months as is thanks to the increase in power level of cards in the Grixis and BUG color pie via things like Sedgemoor Witch. Jeskai didn't really get anything in this set that other decks aren't already using, and most of the cards that other decks got because they were in color (such as Endurance in BUG Midrange).

Both Breach and Doomsday combo decks didn't get much in this set either, and while Breach is dipping back down, the Doomsday train is still pretty solid and there are still players really holding onto that deck and it's strengths. In addition, Oath of Druids based decks didn't really get much either but the nature of that deck allows for the people invested in it to want to continue playing it if they are good at the deck, so it hardly matters.

Ravager Shops technically got nothing directly unless they opt to try to play some number of Urza's Saga, but that deck is pretty low to the ground with its threats in wanting to end the game quickly that it may not overtly matter.

Is the Impact of Modern Horizons 2 positive?

The real question to ask is whether the impact of Modern Horizons 2 is a positive one. I think that this conversation and question is still a bit too early to tell, as we will really need to see how the metagame evolves and adapts, but there definitely hasn't been any one thing that is utterly defining, which is one of the big strengths of this set. In Modern Horizons there was a lot of very clear power level inclusions (the Force cycles, Collector Ouphe, etc) but there is a lot less of that obviousness in this set. I have a feeling we'll be feeling the repercussions of this for quite a while, but those repercussions aren't necessarily negative. In fact, I think a lot of this is a positive direction and there will be interactions we'll still be discovering further down the line, and that in of itself is very interesting.

Mythic Society 6/9

As a reminder, Mythic Society does their events every Wednesday night! These are fun FNM style events. You can find out more information on the Mythic Society Twitter page.

The lone 4-0 this past week is the new PO Storm variant.

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One fun thing about this list is that if you're in a grindy matchup and want maximum Karnstructs, you've got Karn, Scion of Urza hanging out too as an additional way of creating some giant creatures!

Also on the docket is this sweet list.

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Grief + Solitude, main deck Lurrus?! This deck is gorgeous amounts of fun and I'm here for it.

This next deck has one of my favorite cards. Showdown of the Skalds! But also, Power Conduit!!!

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Conduit / Hex Parasite as a way to remove counters from Urza's Saga is really hype. Digging that quite a bit.

Justin Gennari always likes to play some silly decks, so let's see what he brought this... oh.

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Academy Manufactor is such a wildly insane Magic card. I dig it so much and it's such a sweet concept for a deck.

Remember to keep up with all the Mythic Society events and be sure to join them! They're a lot of fun for sure.

Vintage Challenge 6/12

Our first Challenge of the weekend was the mid afternoon Saturday event, which had 53 players according to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

You can find all the Top 32 decklists for this event here.

Definitely a pretty varied event with a lot of diversity in all actuality, given the large number of spreads of decks here. Lot of Bazaar up at the top and that is to be somewhat expected, as well as a plethora of PO and Doomsday.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UB Tinker 1st CrazyDiamond513
Oath of Druids 2nd Miharu_Fuyumiya
PO Storm 3rd thepowernine
Oops! All Spells 4th Cuikui
Doomsday 5th Diem4x
Dredge 6th kasa
4C Midrange 7th ZYURYO
Hollow Vine 8th bparis15

Pretty neat Top 8 here! Lot of variation of Bazaar, Combo, Midrange. Really only just missing a Shops deck and we've got a party! At the end of the event it was none other than the UB Tinker Sedgemoor Witch deck that took it all down.

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This deck has a lot of strengths, leaning hard into the power level of Sedgemoor Witch, but also having a solid plan in Tinker and Bolas's Citadel as well.

The Second Place list is Oath afficionado Miharu!

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Metamorphose in this list is a weird inclusion, and I had to read the card a few times to really grok what it does. Getting rid of a permanent at the cost of an opponent being able to put something into play is interesting enough and I'm not really sure how good it is in this context. Very interesting list for sure.

Further into the Top 8 we've got some Oops!

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Pretty solid list for this type of strategy. Having both the Oops kill and Belcher kill is really powerful for sure.

Near the bottom of the Top 8 we've got a SWEET 4C Midrange deck.

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Monkey Pirates in Vintage! That's right, Ragavan is here to steal some cards and make some mana. Seems pretty silly but there aren't many deck that are deploying blockers for such a thing Turn 1 that Ragavan can't get in and do his thing and he can even be dashed in if need be. Seems fine to me!

Outside of the Top 8 we've got a super fun Shops build.

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This deck has The Immortal Sun in it. That is all.

All the way down at the bottom of the Top 32, there is a sweet new Two Card Monte variant with Dauthi Voidwalker.

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Super interesting way of having more than four cards to enable the Helm of Obedience kill for sure. Really digging this list a lot as it looks like a lot of fun.

Vintage Challenge 6/13

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the Sunday morning event, which had 58 players in it.

You can find all the Top 32 decklists for this event here.

Again both Doomsday and PO sit at the top of the heap in popularity in this event, but the rest of this event also just looks very fine. There's a nice spread of decks here, and plenty of different things to try out. Also there is some real spice here or there in this event for sure.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Hollow Vine 1st karatedom
PO Storm 2nd Phill_Hellmuth
Mono White Hatebears 3rd TeamLeaderNA
Dredge 4th vwxyza648204
UB Tinker 5th medvedev
Death's Shadow 6th mei0024
PO Storm 7th Vertyx_
UW Bomberman 8th Aylett

Pretty solid Top 8 here with some wide variety of decks. At the end of it all, however, it was a split finals between karatedom and Phill_Hellmuth. Let's take a look at karatedom's list first.

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Free creatures and card advantage is the name of the game as we see how close to being tuned one of these lists really is. Four Fury is notable and not surprising at all in the sideboard.

Phill's list is PO!

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More Urza's shenanigans abound here. These lists are also running Thoughtcast to take advantage of the critical mass of artifacts. I have to wonder if it would be possible for Thought Monitor to actually be better as it can be picked up with Paradoxical Outcome if need be. Intriguing idea for sure.

Into the Top 8 we've got a Mono White Hatebears list with some new cards!

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Sanctifier en-Vec seems like a super intriguing card given that it deals a lot with things like Dredge (eating almost all the Dredgers and Bridge from Below seems really good). Solitude here is super interesting as well.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we've got a super sick Bomberman list.

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This list is really something else. The combination of stuff like Salvagers combo + Urza's Saga being just generally good is really cool. This definitely looks like it would be a lot of fun.

Down at the bottom of the Top 32 we've got a UR Tempo list w/o Delvers.

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Dragon's Rage Channeler seems like it is a lot easier to enable when you have stuff like Dack Fayden being able to pitch things to the graveyard. This is definitely a very aggressively slanted list with the big threats like Murktide Regent hanging around.

Around the Web

  • Justin Gennari has some sweet ones this week for us.
  • A further write up on The Land by Nam Tran over on TMD! Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

Matt Murray gives us some Lurrus Voidwalker this week.

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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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