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Vintage 101: Online with GenCon

Howdy folks! It's time for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're finally digging into some of the lists from the GenCon Online weekend and the Vintage Championships. We also have our regular Vintage Challenge result from this past weekend to look at, in addition to our Spice Corner.

Without further ado, let's dive right into the thick of things!

It's Time for GenCon!

GenCon Online was a few weeks back, and we finally have all of the lists published by Wizards of the Coast for these events. Not only were the Championships lists posted, but all the Preliminary lists that went 4-0 were also published.

Prelim Events

The Prelim events were feeder events, where every player who went 4-0 in one was able to progress to having a spot in the Championship event at the end of GenCon Online. Some really neat lists ended up making 4-0, so let's take a look at some of the more interesting ones.

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Now here's a deck that hasn't been seen in what feels like forever. Survival! This is more of the traditional 4C build splashing white for cards like Lavinia, Azorius Renegade and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. It's crazy to consider just how out of the overall metagame this deck has been, having been supplanted by the HollowVine and Hogaak variants of Bazaar strategies.

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It's great to continue to see people playing this pile, as it truly is an amusing and interesting deck. It is also amusing enough to note that both Riddlesmith and Ovalchase Daredevil were both reprinted in Double Masters, so hooray for Vintage staples being reprinted!

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There are four copies of Rotting Regisaur in this deck. That is all.

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It's always cool to see POath floating around. Such an interesting way of approaching both Oath and PO archetypes.

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4C Xerox featuring Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse! Also Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath!

There was certainly a lot of interesting spice in the Prelim events, but the real action was in the Championship event.

GenCon Vintage Championships 8/2

61 players qualified over the three Prelim events in order to compete in the Championship event on the last day of GenCon Online. Thanks to our good friends in the Vintage Streamer's Discord we have the ability to post the full metagame breakdown of all 61 players.

This event had a ton of Doomsday decks, taking up nearly close to 20% of the overall metagame of the event. The second most represented deck was variants of 4C Xerox builds at close to 15% of the overall metagame. These builds are generally Deathrite Shaman-centric variants. The other big takeaway here is that there is definitely a lot of combo in the format as of late, especially combo variants that have the ability to run cards like Force of Will + Force of Negation. Doomsday especially has been the biggest story of the year, coming from being nearly dead prior to the printing of Thassa's Oracle to now being one of the best combo decks in the entire format, converting exceptionally well into the Top 8 of the event.

Now let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Xerox 1st ShriekingLeader
Breach 2nd Aigis
Golos Combo Shops 3rd KeeperX
Doomsday 4th SheaStrausman
Doomsday 5th HolyShamgar
Golos Combo Shops 6th ScorpionDeathDrop
Ravager Shops 7th CoolestRaven
Doomsday 8th pg8

Speaking of combo in the format, pretty much 6/8 of this Top 8 was a combo deck of some sort, even the two Golos Shops lists (which wanted to win via Helm of Obedience). However, it was one of the fair decks that rose to the top and managed to win the whole thing.

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Jeskai hasn't been too utterly high in the Xerox world for a while compared to the Deathrite based decks that seem to ooze value out of every inch of the deck, but this deck is lean and strong and full of value itself.

In Second Place of the event we had Anthony LaVerde (Aigis) on Breach.

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Breach is an incredibly strong combo archetype, and moving into four colors by splashing white is exceptional given that the deck gains access to mirror breaking tools like Lavinia, Azorius Renegade and of course the restricted copy of Monastery Mentor.

In Third Place we had Golos Combo Shops.

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This deck is super cool, boasting a combo kill with both Helm of Obedience + Leyline of the Void and also being able to combo with Dark Depths + Thespian's Stage. Depths can also combo with Mirage Mirror, which is super sweet. The Mirror can also become a copy of Time Vault every turn to act as another way to combo with that card. Golos drives the whole thing, being able to hunt down silver bullet lands as well as ramp.

In Fourth Place we had Doomsday.

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Most of the deck building space in Doomsday is based in the sideboard slots and a few main deck flex spots. Hope of Ghirapur sees play in and out of this deck, and it's a great option of being able to combo off without having to worry about being interrupted.

Since Fifth - Sixth Place both were Doomsday and Golos Shops, lets move to Seventh Place with Ravager Shops.

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This is a super clean aggro list, with interestingly no Golos, Tireless Pilgrim as has been the norm in these kinds of lists lately. Instead, this list is focusing on triple Traxos, Scourge of Kroog as one of the deck's powerful high-end threats.

Outside of the Top 8 there were some interesting lists, such as the Tenth Place Grixis Thieves list.

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This deck is pretty sweet, simply just an old school "Grixis cards that are good" type deck with synergy like Notion Thief and Dack Fayden. In addition, there's good old fashioned Tinker + Blightsteel Colossus.

In addition we had Survival at Twelfth Place.

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I'm actually just geeking out at seeing Survival, especially since it did so well. Maybe this kind of turnout with the deck is what has been needed to get people to consider playing it again!

All in all this was a supremely interesting event, and it was great to see it have such a solid turnout, especially considering that there was the ability to have access to any card on Magic Online for the duration of the event.

Vintage Challenge 8/15

Our first Challenge of the weekend was the regular Saturday Challenge, which had roughly 63 players, so let's dive right into the Top 32 breakdown.

Again, combo centric metagame was at the top of it all, with Breach, PO, and Doomsday all sharing pieces of the pie. It definitely feel like the format is trending very combo centric as of late which is fairly interesting to note.

Now let's take a look at the Top 8 of the event.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
PO Storm 1st DontKnoxTheHustle
Doomsday 2nd JDPhoenix
DPS 3rd Sneaky Homunkulus
Grixis Urza 4th GGoggles
Hogaak Bazaar 5th Kanister
Hogaak Bazaar 6th MomsBasementStreams
Breach 7th DiscoverN
4C Xerox 8th Kasa

Despite Doomsday being big in this event, PO Storm was the one that took it all down!

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This is a pretty classic PO list, splashing red for the red blast effects but also for Sprite Dragon in the sideboard. It is cool to continually see Sprite Dragon seeing lots of play in the format as the card does seem to be incredibly strong.

In Second Place we have Doomsday.

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This list is the other variant of sideboard strategy, having fair midrange-y cards like Tasigur, the Golden Fang and cards like Steel Sabotage. Doomsday continues to be just one of the best combo decks in the format and it does very well, converting well to Top 8's very regularly.

In Third Place we have DPS.

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Yet another combo variant, DPS has seen a measure of popularity increase after Reid Duke piloted the deck this past few months in one of the Challenge events. It's very cool seeing cards like Bontu's Last Reckoning see play in Vintage for sure.

In Fourth Place we have Grixis Urza.

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This list is super strong, and GGoggles has been working very hard on it. Urza is a hard card to build around in Vintage, but GGoggles seems to have really figured out the formula on it.

In Fifth Place we have Hogaak Bazaar.

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Hogaak is the newest Bazaar aggro variant in the format, and it is still super powerful. Hogaak in general is a pretty wildly messed up powerhouse of the card, and it was only a matter of time before someone really broke the card.

Since Sixth Place was also Hogaak, let's move down to Seventh with Breach.

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This is a straight Grixis variant, no splashes of colors or anything like that. Breach is a strong variant of combo that should be planned for now when determining what combo decks to attack.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have 4C Xerox.

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Sprite Dragon! Kind of a neat list here, with a Breach sub kill in addition to the main fair game. The fact that this deck can just combo kill out of nowhere makes this incredibly strong.

Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event. As always we're only looking at cards with 8 copies or more, with exceptions made for Companions.

Card Name Number of Copies
Sprite Dragon 27
Force of Vigor 21
Force of Negation 20
Narset, Parter of Veils 18
Underworld Breach 18
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade 14
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 13
Deafening Silence 12
Once Upon a Time 12
Thassa's Oracle 11
Teferi, Time Raveler 10
Bolas's Citadel 9
Mystic Sanctuary 9
Soul-Guide Lantern 9
Oko, Thief of Crowns 8
Wrenn and Six 8

There was a lot of Sprite Dragon in this event, one card that I continually think was a fun and powerful inclusion into the format that hasn't been completely and utterly broken. All the rest of the usual suspects are here, and with all the combo a larger number of Bolas's Citadel than usual.

Vintage Challenge 8/16

Our second Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Sunday Challenge, which had roughly 50 players. Let's dive right into the Top 32 breakdown.


Again there was a lot of Doomsday in this event, but not so crazy on the other combo decks. Doomsday being over represented is definitely continually interesting, and the deck is refined thanks to the presence of Thassa's Oracle. However, in this event the deck did not convert to the Top 8 at all.

Now let's take a look at the Top 8 of the event.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Breach 1st DiscoverN
RUG Xerox 2nd AlbertoSD
PO Storm 3rd JoanAnton
Hogaak Bazaar 4th Aylett
Hogaak Bazaar 5th MadMaxErnst
4C Xerox 6th Kasa
Countertop 7th ChainsOfMephiStopPlz
Breach 8th Yuurari_Yuko

At the end of this event it was DiscoverN on Breach who managed to take it all down.

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This is again, a Grixis variant, so it's much more clean and focused on manabase than the 4C variant. Which of the two is the strongest definitely remains to be seen, but I definitely like the 4C variant for access to things like Lavinia.

In Second Place we have RUG Xerox.

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Nimble Obstructionist is some real Brian Kelly energy here, as using the card to counter a Thassa's Oracle trigger has certainly got to feel absolutely insane.

In Third Place we have PO Storm.

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There are some real bangers in the sideboard of this deck, between Extirpate and Nimble Obstructionist to Kambal, Consul of Allocation. This list is also playing Tendrils of Agony, because getting the job done is very real.

In Fourth Place we have Hogaak Bazaar.

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Again, these lists are fairly stock outside of sideboard options at this point. It's kind of cool to see Unmask in the sideboard however.

Since Fifth Place also had Hogaak, let's move down to Sixth Place with 4C Xerox.

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Jamming the Breach/Brain Freeze combo into these 4C Xerox decks is certainly becoming the thing to do, giving these decks more of a combo aspect to win the game instead of having to always focus on grindy games. I suspect we'll see more of this going forward.

In Seventh Place we have a sweet Counterbalance control deck.

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This deck is super cool! I can just imagine how powerful Counterbalance + Sensei's Divining Top can be in current Vintage, and it's very interesting to build around. I love everything about this list, it seems really fun. There's even a Heliod's Intervention in the sideboard!

Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event.

Card Name Number of Copies
Oko, Thief of Crowns 17
Force of Negation 16
Narset, Parter of Veils 16
Sprite Dragon 16
Force of Vigor 15
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim 15
Wrenn and Six 15
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 12
Mystic Sanctuary 12
Once Upon a Time 12
Thassa's Oracle 12
Underworld Breach 12
Deafening Silence 8

Again all the usual suspects are here from the past two years of cards. It is pretty amazing to see how the last two years of Magic have reshaped Vintage as a whole as to what is viable and what is not. Certainly by the end of the year, we'll be able to have a big look at 2019-2020 and see the real impact these sets have had, be it for good or bad.

The Spice Corner

Our good friend Justin Gennari continues to develop spice for us to post. U/W Hatebears!

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week! Thanks for your continued support of the column and join us next week as we continue our journey into Vintage!

As always you can reach me on 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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