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Vintage 101: Outcome Expected


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're going to be diving into the new state of Paradoxical Outcome based decks in Vintage with Urza's Saga. In addition to that we've got two Challenge events to talk about plus Mythic Society, and of course our Spice Corner.

Before we get started I'd like to point out an error in last week's article that I flubbed on. I mistakenly called Fury a clean answer to Lavinia, Azorius Renegade and of course, it is not. Don't try this at home, it will not work out well for you. These things happen, mistakes were made, and we acknowledge those and move on!

So therefore, allons-y!

The Outcome We Got

As we mentioned in last week's article, it seemed that PO Storm decks definitely got a boost from Modern Horizons 2 in the form of Urza's Saga. This week we're going to dive a little more into the overall construction of these lists and how they function. Let's jump right into it with our sample list.

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There's a lot of small moving parts going on here, so let's try to break this list down into its key components.

Artifact Mana

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PO has always been a deck that is ultra reliant on the critical mass amount of artifact mana in the Vintage format, and this list is no exception. Every piece of Power that is an artifact mana is here, along with Opal, Mana Crypt, Mana Vault, and Sol Ring. These pieces are the critical joints that makes Paradoxical Outcome work as a card and make the deck really hum.

Card Draw + Selection

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One of the more defining aspects of older PO lists was playing cards like Night's Whisper for pure card draw. This particular version of the PO list gets to run deep on cards like Thoughtcast, which increases its reliance on artifact mana (and the deck is even running cards like Seat of the Synod to help enable this), but is still really potent and powerful. Of course, we also get access to restricted all-stars in Ancestral Recall and Brainstorm for draw + selection.

Furthermore, PO is a deck that classically can utilize cards like Sensei's Divining Top very well, given that you can tap Top to draw and then respond with PO on the stack to draw an additional card in the long run. The kind of filtering Top provides is also really powerful with Bolas's Citadel in allowing you to push through the deck, one life at a time much like how Yawgmoth's Bargain works.

Countermagic + Bounce

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Much of PO's action is protecting itself from what is going on across the table. Utilizing countermagic and bounce effects is a way of handling that. Bounce effects like Hurkyl's Recall can be used offensively versus decks like Shops to set them in a position where you can easily win on the follow-up turn. What is super enthusing is the presence of four main deck Flusterstorm, which is owing a lot to the current format and how decks are constructed there and how powerful Flusterstorm currently is in the format.

Tinker Package

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As always, PO has remained a Tinker deck, as the aspect of neatly winning the game on the spot with Bolas's Citadel in a deck full of massive amounts of 0 and 1 drops is really powerful. Time Vault is another solid target for Tinker since it can just win the game with Manifold Key.

Saga Tutor Targets

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While Urza's Saga can fetch Moxen, Lotus, and Sol Ring, the other tutor targets are just as important. Sometimes you need a Soul-Guide Lantern. Others you need a Key because you have a Time Vault already in play to use it with. This kind of versatility is one of the big reasons Urza's Saga works so well in this type of deck.

Grindy Threats + Win Conditions

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These cards are the real meat of the win conditions in the deck. Versions of PO in the past have played numerous different ways to win a game, from cards like Monastery Mentor to even Tendrils of Agony. Urza's Saga grants a huge way of winning the game and puts it on a Land, which makes it relatively difficult and narrow to actually deal with. If the PO player is able to even pop off the Construct ability even once the resulting token is generally going to be very big and hard to deal with cleanly. Urza himself offers another Construct, but also offers a good way to use all that mana that this deck can make by spinning through the deck and casting cards. This makes the restricted Karn a solid inclusion as it can shut down opposing artifact-centric strategies and fast mana while providing utility. While this particular list doesn't have it, the Karn + Mycosynth Lattice combo is a solid way of also ending the game if you have it.

This deck doesn't have any real shenanigans with Urza's Saga such as copying it with like a Thespian's Stage, but it honestly doesn't really need that. The natural Construct generation and artifact tutor is really strong and adds a powerful angle of attack to the deck.

The Evolutions of PO

PO is one of those decks that generally has gone through many evolutionary periods and I actually expect this to be the same sort of thing in the long run. As the metagame changes and adjusts to the presence of this variant the deck will further grow and adjust as well, which makes it one of the more interesting decks in the format to keep up with in terms of growth and change.

Mythic Society 6/16

Just as a reminder that Mythic Society runs great weekly FNM style events every Wednesday night! You can find out more about their events via their Twitter. Check them out!

One of the top lists of the event this week is our good friend Justin Gennari with a sick UR Delverless-Delver style list. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer making waves in Vintage? It's more likely than you think.

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The best part of this deck is the fact that you get to play Dreadhorde Arcanist too, and I can't even begin to have imagined a Legacy world where DHA coexisted with Dragon's Rage Channeler and Ragavan (*shudder*). Also pretty sweet here is the Delirium shock from MH2 in Unholy Heat in the sideboard.

The other 4-0 here was the Bazaar Hollow Vine deck.

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This deck is really really really strong. It can get on board really quickly and do some real damage. This is a further evolution of Bazaar aggro decks to keep an eye on for sure.

Further on down, who needs Doomsday when you've got Hermit Druid?!

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I can dig it. Oracle Combo with Druid is super sick.

The final list asks the question: "What if we played Oath without Griselbrand?"

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Serra's Emissary is a super interesting choice. I have to wonder how well it performed for them when it got into play. Multiples seems really good for sure, since you can pick multiple card types. Note that this is a little wild because if you pick Instant, then you can't actually target yourself with Ancestral Recall because Emissary gives you the protection as well as your creatures.

Vintage Challenge 6/19

We had two Challenges this past weekend, the first of which was our mid-afternoon Saturday event. Thanks to the efforts of the Vintage Streamer's Discord we know there were 53 players in this event.

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

PO was pretty popular in this event, but it didn't actually perform all that well. Such is the nature of how much of a push and pull metagame Vintage has seemed to have even since the release of Modern Horizons 2. There's good and bad to this, but this kind of rolling metagame where week to week something different is doing well can be pretty exciting if you're capable of predicting how the metagame will shift. Doomsday was also reasonably popular here and converted very well to the Top 8 as we will see here.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Doomsday 1st MaxMagicer
BUG Midrange 2nd Sprouts
Oath of Druids 3rd Miharu_Fuyumiya
UR Control 4th notmi
Ravager Shops 5th Cuikui
Doomsday 6th discoverN
4C Midrange 7th Dazai
Doomsday 8th Enrichetta

3/5 Doomsday players made this Top 8, which is a pretty stellar conversion rate overall. There was a solid smattering of Control/Midrange type decks as well as Shops here, but no Bazaar representation.  At the end it was indeed Doomsday that took it down.

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New sets don't really faze this deck much as its construction is pretty solidly set in stone at this point. The shell alone is pretty strong, and it takes a lot for something new to break in to the deck.

The Second Place list was BUG Midrange!

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BUG has a lot of flexibility to it. One big thing we're seeing here is the addition of main deck Grafdigger's Cage, likely to try and deal with the Vengevine decks but it has a lot of splash over versus decks like Breach and Dreadhorde Arcanist based decks as well.

Also in the Top 8 we have yet again the Master of Oath, Miharu.

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Again we've got some copies of Metamorphose in this week's list. I'm really thoroughly curious on the usage of the card, so if anyone knows Miharu and can help translate to shed some light on it, that would be super awesome!

Further on we've got another UR Delverless-Delver list by notmi.

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This list seems really powerful and I think it's very possible that both Ragavan and DRC are massively underrated in the format and are much better than believed. Especially Dragon's Rage Channeler. Just seems like a really easy card to enable in Vintage. Not being able to be hit by Pyroblast seems strong.

Outside of the Top 8 we've got some White Weenie action going on.

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Sanctifier en-Vec is a really strong card honestly, and probably really good against a plethora of things in the format. Not hitting Vengevine is a big turn off though. Solitude is also sweet here as a free pitch Plow.

Further down the Top 32 we ask the question: "Why not Delver?"

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Delver and Sedgemoor Witch are a solid combination for sure. Definitely a super straightforward blue tempo list.

All the way at the bottom of the Top 32 we've got Jeskai with some Monkeys!

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I think I'm going to have to address Ragavan for sure at some point (maybe in next week's article) because it definitely looks very strong in the lists it is seeing play in.

Vintage Challenge 6/20

Our second Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 50 players in it.

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

A lot of equality at the top end, with three different decks tied for the top spot. This is looking like a good place to be for sure. The deck of the event though? UB Tinker variants, of which all three managed to place FIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UB Tinker 1st CodeProvider
UB Tinker 2nd wambocombo2020
UB Tinker 3rd medvedev
PO Storm 4th sawatrix
Dredge 5th SingPanMan
Golos Stax 6th Tsubasa_Cat
4C Midrange 7th ZYURYO
Golos Combo Shops 8th Radagast22

UB Tinker had a really solid performance in this event as the finals was between two slightly different lists (one with Witch and one without Witch). Golos also had some representation in this Top 8, as did Dredge. Let's look at both finalists lists:

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The major difference here is the fact that one of these lists is playing to the Sedgemoor Witch plan while the other is not. The upside of the winning list here is the fact that it is attempting to go more on the Time Vault + Key route and has Urza's Saga to assist with that game plan. Both of these lists look very strong for sure.

Also in the Top 8 we've got Dredge!

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Grief showing up here is pretty cool. I think this card is pretty solid for Dredge in general since it has a lot of utility in stripping the opponent's hands away, but can also be pitched for free to Ichorid later on.

Further down we've got some Golos Stax action.

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The Golos decks have a hard time fitting in multiple copies of Urza's Saga but the fact that they play four copies of Golos more than makes up for it as they can go snag it when they need the card in play. Saga definitely plays very well here, as there are plenty of sweet targets for it to tutor up.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we've got some more Monkey business in a DRS build.

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Ragavan seems pretty solid in a deck that can overly utilize the extra mana like DRS can. This definitely seems like a sweet list.

Outside of the Top 8 our good buddy Slasher21 has some STIFLENOUGHT action going on.

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This list is sick sick sick! I am digging everything about it. Dreadnought is a long time favorite of mine and I just really find everything about this super cool.

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

Our first entry this week is a sweet UR Painter list.

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You want Humans? We got Humans! (And a Goblin)

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Okay this is pretty amusing. A 4C midrange-ish style deck with Dauthi Voidwalker that boards into Oath of Druids.

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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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