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Vintage 101: Painting with Power


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 talking about a fun little list in Mono Red Birgi Painter! In addition to that we've got two Challenge events to talk about and thank Griselbrand that the decklists from the Wizards website are now fixed so we can actually stare at the lists! (Just don't stare too hard)

Also, as of this article's posting, we have now live in the Magic Online store another All Access Token pass for the next two weeks! The token costs $25 and gives you access to nearly every card on MTGO for the next two weeks. This is a great way of seeing whether or not you might like Vintage. To go with that, there is a whole two weeks of Super Qualifier events, with yes a Vintage one again this coming weekend at 7:00 AM PST on Sunday April 4th. The Super Qualifiers themselves cost either 40 tix, 400 play points, 40 QPs, or if you buy two All Access Tokens you can also enter one.

In addition to that, we are still in the midst of Strixhaven spoiler season, so I will be doing my set review of that once the set is all spoiled.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More

Every so often a decklist catches my eye and I'm super intrigued, especially when those lists include newer cards in them. This week's list is no exception, as it includes the new card Birgi, God of Storytelling. This is a card we've discussed before as to how powerful it is, but this list takes that power and dumps it into a combo deck with the infamous Painter's Servant + Grindstone finish.

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One thing that immediately jumps out at me in this list is the fact that there is no Goblin Welder for redundancy's sake and we're only utilizing Goblin Engineer to enable locating either Painter or Grindstone as a tutor effect. However, this deck has a lot of other ways of pushing through the deck, between Experimental Frenzy and just simply casting the back half of Birgi, God of Storytelling to start discarding cards to play more spells.

What's even more interesting about this deck is the usage of both Magus of the Moon and Blood Moon. Both of these effects aren't ones you typically see in Vintage too often as most of the format relies fairly heavily on artifact fast mana, and the Moon effects don't generally affect those decks too much. However, some decks like the Bazaar decks and even decks like BUG are very reliant on their nonbasic lands tapping explicitly either for an activation (Bazaar of Baghdad) or tapping for colors (such as BUG, etc.).

This deck is certainly unique in nature, and I really enjoy the overall construction of it. Birgi adds a bit of a powerful aspect to this kind of deck by allowing the deck to either have a way to push through its deck (back half) or by generating mana (front half) in a way that is never really dead (since having multiple Birgi in hand isn't truly a downside thanks to the nature of MDFC cards).

If you're looking for something new and unique to try out, check this deck out. It is definitely interesting!

Vintage Challenge 3/27

We definitely had two Challenges this past weekend, so we have lists to look at! Thanks to the efforts of the Vintage Streamers Discord however, we know that the first event on Saturday had 58 players in it. You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here.

Let's dive into the metagame breakdown!

While the past few weeks have been relatively heavy on BUGin the Saturday events, this week flipped it on its head with a lot of popularity centered on the Jeskai variants. Another interesting thing here is the fact that there seems to be less and less of Lurrus in the overall metagame as well. This is honestly really interesting and I think shows the fact that Lurrus was indeed a safe unban in the current format. Even a lot of the Breach variants have dropped the card, so it's definitely interesting to see how this card has progressed in the metagame.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Control 1st duke12
Breach 2nd Ennuixd
Jeskai Control 3rd JUJUBEAN__2004
Golos Combo Shops 4th Slasher21
Ravager Shops 5th Felo
Oops All Spells 6th sawatrix
BUG Midrange 7th Teredier
Dredge 8th PRGJJAR

Definitely an interesting Top 8, and as noted a fair amount of Jeskai rose to the top here, including winning the event in the hands of duke12. Let's take a look.

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One thing I find super interesting here in this list is that instead of Pyroblast they're playing straight Red Elemental Blast. I often find the former is a bit better in decks with Mentor because then you can at least throw around a blast effect for a Prowess trigger, but I can definitely see the idea that REB is a lot harder to deal with cards like Misdirection, so the choice is certainly interesting.

The Second Place finalist was on Underworld Breach.

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This is certainly a neat Breach list, staying out of the Jeskai + Black colors to be in green for cards like Managorger Hydra and also Oko, Thief of Crowns. Definitely seems very interesting as a method of having a kill condition that isn't restricted and lets you board into more of a control variant without the Breach kill to win with Hydra instead.

Also in the Top 8 we have a little Golos Combo Shops!

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Solid list here. I'm loving the idea of using Archive Trap especially when you consider the implications it has on decks like Doomsday. I can definitely get behind it for sure.

Further down the Top 8 we had a showing by Oops! All Spells!

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I think it's pretty neat that cards like Sea Gate Restoration and Agadeem's Awakening have really made this deck viable in Vintage again. I love how interesting it is and how it also smashes together parts of Belcher as well.

Just outside of the Top 8 we had a cool Lurrus deck in Lurrus Death's Shadow.

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Instead of having cards like Street Wraith to enable life loss, this deck loads up on Thoughtseize and shock lands as well as repeatable effects like Dreadhorde Arcanist to make do. Painful Truths is also really powerful as well as a general draw three lose three.

Further down the Top 32 we have our good friend Justin Gennari continue to prove that cards are playable.

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Uro, Brazen Borrower, Growth Spiral!!! This deck is super sweet, just a solid Simic Midrange variant that uses Uro as a finisher. I am especially in love with the Entrancing Melody in the sideboard.

Vintage Challenge 3/28

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event, which had 54 players in it. You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here.

Let's dive right into the metagame breakdown for this event.

This event went off in the other direction than the Saturday event, with a lot of BUG and a lot of Doomsday, both very much big favorites of the player bases that typically attend this particular timeframe. Ravager Shops was also quite up there as was traditional Golos Stax builds (not the combo builds). Similarly to Saturday though there really wasn't a ton of Lurrus.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
BUG Midrange 1st Venom1
Lurrus Breach 2nd Vertyx_
Golos Stax 3rd LORiWWA
Jeskai Control 4th geekyjackson
Horror One 5th WingedHussar
Ravager Shops 6th medvedev
Ravager Shops 7th WhiTe TsaR
BUG Midrange 8th _INF_

Definitely a fair amount of interesting decks and a lot of Workshops for sure, with also at least one sighting of the Nightmare Cat in the Top 8. At the end of the event it was indeed BUG that took it all down.

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This is a pretty solidly stock list for sure with all the normal threats one would expect to see in a BUG variant. Brazen Borrower floats in and out, but the card is currently very good right now.

In Second Place we have Lurrus Breach.

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Having Lurrus is a real choice for this deck now it seems, since it loses some major cards like Bolas's Citadel + Tinker but namely win conditions like Monastery Mentor. This deck makes up for it however with the power of Sprite Dragon and Dreadhorde Arcanist.

Further down the Top 8 we had a rare showing by the Horror One deck by WingedHussar.

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Having eight copies of Squee, Goblin Nabob effects in both Squee and Krovikan Horror is really exceptionally powerful, turning Bazaar into a positive draw engine as opposed to a card disadvantage engine. It also helps that Horror pitches to both Sickening Shoal and Contagion out of the sideboard.

Outside of the Top 32 we had a showing by Hatebears/D&T.

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Archon of Emeria is a very solid build around in Vintage right now. If you can build to abuse the card like this decklist does, it is very very powerful at what it does. Uniquely enough I like the copies of Angel's Grace in the sideboard. It seems like a really solid play vs Doomsday decks since you can essentially win the game on the spot against their Oracle trigger by casting it, and having split second means that it is hard to deal with. Seems strong!

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

Brian Kelly is back to playing Vintage?! Be still my beating heart.

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What I'm Playing This Week

With the All Access Token on deck I might fire up some Vintage this next few weeks with some Birgi Wish Combo.

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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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