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Vintage 101: More Human Than Human


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week I'm going to be talking about Human cards in Vintage and the impact of the tribe and the deck that has been had over the past couple years. In addition to that we've got some Challenge data to talk about plus some other news that may tangentially relate to Vintage in the future. As always, we've got a Spice Corner (it's okay, Doctor Strange hasn't ruined that... yet)!

Without further ado, let's dive right in.

I Am Human, Hear Me Roar!

Out of all the tribes in Vintage, the one that has continually had a true and real impact on the format over time has definitely been the Human tribe. Humans have slowly and continually become far more playable not just on their own, but in Human tribal decks as well. A big majority of this for a long time had mainly to do with cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, but also classic staples such as Dark Confidant. Mayor of Avabruck also added a functioning tribal element to Humans that pushed the tribe a little further.

However, a lot of this trend in playable human cards in the past recent years began right at the precursor to an era in Ravnica Allegiance when we were first introduced to this gal:

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Lavinia was one of those cards that absolutely rocked a lot of Vintage players to their very core, right down to the point where there were claims of this card needing to be restricted right out the gate. It turns out that Lavinia added an extra layer to game play that was actually interesting and allowed decks utilizing the card well to compete, but not to the point where the card actually needed to be restricted. Lavinia it seemed was pretty much here to stay and it was simply fine.

Further down the line, while we got some cards like Tomik, Distinguished Advokist in War of the Spark, it would be until Ikoria when the next big Human tribal printing would break into the format.

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Kudro gave the Humans decks a powerful way of interacting with the graveyard while at the same time acting as a Lord effect. The final effect doesn't exactly have much traction in Vintage, but a 3/3 for three with all the other effects is definitely something.

Further down the line it was not until Zendikar Rising when the next really powerful Human effect to see play would be printed in the form of Luminarch Aspirant.

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In addition to just being very cheap to get into play, Aspirant represented something that decks like Human tribal always really needed and that was a clock to close out games. The powerful clock presented by this card especially in multiples is definitely extremely strong.

Fast forward through into the end of 2021. Innistrad: Midnight Hunt has yet again given these types of decks more unique effects for the Human tribe.

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Innistrad sets in general tend to produce a lot of the best playable Humans, but these three have been a true solid addition to the format to help bolster decks that wanted these effects. Outland Liberator especially is exceptionally powerful when it flips, and in a creature-heavy Human deck Augur of Autumn functions much like a Future Sight effect.

All of these effects over time have come together and are definitely seeing play across various archetypes, but there is definitely a solid Humans deck out there for this format.

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As time goes on, I expect to always see more and more Human creatures that will be able to be adapted to this format and this deck. As noted, Innistrad sets especially tend to have them as Human tribal elements are often important to those sets, but I can definitely see other sets much like Ikoria which care about Humans as well.

Vintage Challenge 1/8

We had two Vintage Challenge events over this past weekend, the first of which was the mid-afternoon Saturday event. This event had 74 players in it thanks to 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 bit of just simply Uncategorized one-off stuff it seems here, but Aggro Shops and Tinker had the highest representation of categorized decks. Pretty even spread of stuff overall though and the format continues to look very healthy.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
BUG Midrange 1st Yamakiller
Paradoxical Outcome 2nd Vertyx_
Breach 3rd Promidnightz
Doomsday 4th StormGuyisMe
Aggro Shops 5th TeferiBokaer
RUG Midrange 6th Thalai
Paradoxical Outcome 7th MaxMagicer
RUG Midrange 8th JOANANTON

Solidly interesting Top 8 here, with a good amount of varying archetypes from Tinker to Combo to even Midrange. At the end of the event however it was the one and only Yamakiller who took it all down on BUG.

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Definitely can usually tell what decks BUG is keyed in on beating just by what effects they're on multiples of in the main deck. This list is very much keyed on Collector Ouphe and Endurance and honestly those seem like a good place to be right now.

The Second Place finalist was on PO.

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A pretty stock-looking list at the moment, but the old adage of "if it ain't broke don't try to fix it" does indeed apply. This formula just works and is very powerful.

Going down to Third Place we've got a Tinker list eschewing Force of Will!

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I think what this really says is that all these cards are just so powerful that protecting them with Force isn't necessary? Unsure, but it's pretty interesting to see. Nice finish!

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had World Champ Javier Dominguez on RUG Midrange.

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Ragavan seems like a solid play for these Wrenn and Six decks. Curving Monkey into W6 and connecting with something like Wasteland or Strip Mine ready seems impressively gross.

Vintage Challenge 1/9

The other Challenge of the weekend had 46 players in it, which was the Sunday event. Again, this data was made possible by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

Top heavy on PO in this event followed by other Blue Tinker shells. Again, I think this looks pretty solid and the format continues to look like it's in a fantastic spot of push and pull over the course of every week and even every event.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Paradoxical Outcome 1st Vertyx_
RUG Midrange 2nd travis8427
BUG Midrange 3rd Slasher21
Aggro Shops 4th kanister
4C Midrange 5th TrueHero
Grixis Tinker 6th Karn_90
Paradoxical Outcome 7th Tsubasa_Cat
DPS 8th Fnoop

Good amount of Midrange/Control shells here, not to mention some Tinker shells and even a combo pile. At the end of the event though it was the Second Place finalist from Saturday who took it down.

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Remember what I said about "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Prime example right here of just running back what works and making the magic happen.

The Second Place finalist was on RUG Midrange.

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I like this list a lot. It looks very powerful and has a strong suite of countermagic and draw effects.

Down to Fourth Place here we have kanister on Aggro Shops.

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The biggest thing to note here is obviously no Ravagers or Ballista, which is interesting. What kanister does have here is powerful stuff like Nettlecyst and main deck Null Rod. Definitely a solid hedge versus the other Aggro Shops decks floating about.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we have Fnoop showing us how to DPS in 2022.

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I haven't seen a Dark Petition deck in forever, so I'm just going to stare at this in wonder for a bit, and I encourage you to do the same.

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

Brian Kelly is back and he is out there popping off Foretell spells!

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It is not often that we see Yorion in Vintage, so this is pretty cool.

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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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