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Vintage 101: Playing for Keeps


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 all about the most recent tournament results from the Magic Online Quarterly Vintage Format Playoff.

For those of you who are unaware of what this is, the Format Playoff is a quarterly event that awards spots at the Top 8 to be invited to participate in the end of year Format Championship (which will take place in January). In order to enter a Format Playoff, you need 35 Format Points based on the format you're entering into, in the case of Vintage that would be 35 Vintage Format Points. Inevitably this means that these events are stacked to the gills with some very powerful wizards, and the competition is fierce. This event was a 7 round event boasting around 70-ish players.

In addition, Wizards recently made a notice that due to some issues with Playoff events, they are holding a fifth event for each of the Format Playoffs in October, bumping the number of players in the Format Championships from 32 to 40 total. Keep that in mind if you're already qualified or if you are planning to qualify!

This event has a lot of interesting lists and lot of data to look at, so let's get right into the thick of things, shall we?

Vintage Format Playoffs - Q3 Top 8

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Dreadhorde 1st The Atog Lord (Rich Shay)
White Eldrazi 2nd Yamakiller
Dark Petition Storm 3rd Bedell (Rodney Bedell)
Ziasbond 4th Aooaaooa
Jeskai Dreadhorde 5th DiscoverN
PO Storm 6th Sandydogmtg
Dredge 7th Lord_Beerus
BUG Survival 8th Thelastgnu

This is a pretty cool looking Top 8, not going to lie. Lot of really interesting lists in this event, and we're going to go over them all here. Let's start however, with the winning list, by our good friend Rich Shay. The Atog Lord himself took down the event in style with Jeskai Dreadhorde!

This list is pretty stock for Jeskai Dreadhorde these days, so there's not a lot to talk about here. The notable thing is 4 Pyroblast total across the 75, owing to the fact that cards like Narset, Parter of Veils and of course being able to fight Paradoxical Outcome on a mana efficient basis is pretty key now. Rich eschews cards like Teferi, Time Raveler here in favor of the old classic Dack Fayden alongside his own Narsets. This is a powerful list and was helmed by a pretty powerful wizard. Congrats to Rich on his finish!

In Second Place, we've got Yamakiller on a very tightly designed White Eldrazi list.

This list is pretty downright straightforward and to the point, and it's really just so super clean. I love it! Congrats to Yamakiller on your placing!

In Third Place, Rodney Bedell proves yet again that SKULLS = POWER with a showing by Dark Petition Storm!

This list is pretty nice as well, and I really enjoy the red splash of being able to cast sideboard cards like Empty the Warrens and Pyroblast here. The star of this type of deck now is however, Bolas's Citadel. This card generates an insane amount of value and often wins the game all on its own by sheer virtue of allowing the Storm player to churn through their deck to locate the cards needed to win the game. This card is so good it has completely edged out Yawgmoth's Bargain from these decks, since Tinker into Citadel is pretty often game-ending. Plus... Citadel has more Skulls on it, so clearly it is more powerful. Congrats Rodney on your finish!

In Fourth Place, we have the very special, very awesome Ziasbond Fastbond/Shops list piloted by Aooaaooa. This deck is named Ziasbond because it was originally developed by our good friend Zias, who has posted a few 5-0s on this style of list.

One really cool thing about this list is the Enlightened Tutor in the main, which can dig for either a Fastbond or a Crucible of Worlds or any one of the powerful taxing artifacts in the deck that it might need to get through the game. It is great to see a Fastbond deck do well here in such a fiercely competitive environment. Congrats to Aooaaooa!

In Fifth Place is DiscoverN with another take on Jeskai Dreadhorde.

Again, this list is pretty similar to Rich's list outside of a few sideboard differences but other than that it is relatively the same list. DiscoverN also continues to use Dack alongside Narset, presenting a pretty powerful interaction between the two in which Dack can make the opponent simply draw one, discard two if need be. Congrats to DiscoverN on their finish!

In Sixth Place, we have Sandydogmtg on one of the few showings of PO Storm in this event (1 of 2 lists total in the Top 16).

This list seems pretty close to what PO has been up to these days, including cards such as Pyroblast and Karakas in the sideboard to deal with Narset/Lavinia but also Chain of Vapor for dealing with Null Rod-like effects like Collector Ouphe. While PO has a big target on it at the moment (as we discussed last week) it is always possible for a strong player to push through and make a strong showing. Congrats to Sandy on their finish!

In Seventh Place, proving that what is dead never truly dies is Lord_Beerus on Dredge!

Dredge, although it was hit by two major restrictions, continues to seemingly be powerful, although I have to wonder how good Force of Vigor really is in this deck right now with only 9 postboard green cards to make it work (when before decks were previously on close to 12 after board). Still, I can't argue too much with results, so congrats to Lord_Beerus on their finish!

Finally in Eighth Place, we have thelastgnu on BUG Survival!

This list is sweet. I'm a big fan of the main deck Bazaar Trademage (which can often just come down off a Lotus and act as a second Bazaar in a turn) as well as the main deck inclusion of Deep Analysis. I still feel that Survival has all the tools necessary to be one of the best Bazaar decks in the format, so it is great to see the deck do well here. Congrats to thelastgnu!

The Rest of the Top 16

Now that we've looked at the Top 8, let's take a look at the rest of the Top 16 and see if there's any cool spice we can find.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
PO Storm 9th ItSukis
Jeskai Dreadhorde 10th Pokerswizard
Dredge 11th AdmiralSandman
Ravager Shops 12th Thiim
Jeskai Dreadhorde 13th I_B_True
Ravager Shops 14th AntiRush
Ravager Shops 15th Scaldy
U/R Delver 16h Lain5893

 

This is a pretty decent rest of the published lists, with a few showings by Ravager Shops that also included some copies of Karn, the Great Creator in them. However, the spiciest inclusion in the Top 16 is all the way at the bottom of the Top 16, with Lain5893 playing legitimate U/R Delver in Vintage.

This deck seems pretty wild, given the presence of cards like Eidolon of the Great Revel and Scab-Clan Berserker in a format where noncreature spells and efficient spells are pretty big. One other really cool spicy inclusion is Tunnel Ignus in the sideboard! Seems like a pretty cool list!

Crunching the Data

As we always like to do for these types of events, let's show a little data on the event. As always our good friend Matt Murray worked with some other folks to provide some other great data on this event as well. You can find that here.

Card Name Number of Copies
Narset, Parter of Veils 18
Dreadhorde Arcanist 13
Force of Vigor 12
Collector Ouphe 4
Force of Negation 4
Bazaar Trademage 3
Bolas's Citadel 3
Teferi, Time Raveler 3
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 1

While we only have 16 lists total to work with here, it's still pretty clear at this level how prevalent a card like Narset has been in the format. She has definitely cemented herself as one of the better cards in the format now. This has caused some distress for folks, and although yes the card can be not fun to play against, I think it's pretty early in the game to be talking anything about restrictions. The format we find ourselves in now is pretty young and there still needs to be some time given to let it breathe a little.

Let's also look at the recently restricted/unrestricted crew.

Card Name Number of Copies
Mental Misstep 9
Fastbond 4
Golgari Grave-Troll 2
Karn, the Great Creator 2
Mystic Forge 2

Again, this isn't a lot of data, but it is interesting information. Mental Misstep ends up being one of the restricted cards that were obvious it would still see play even as a one-of. Instead of disabling sections of the format, as a one-of the card has become just an interesting option for a one-off countermagic piece that occasionally can get there, and can also pitch to either force in a pinch. I was surprised to see Karn in two Ravager Aggro Shops lists, as that has not been the case as of late for the deck.

The Spice Corner

MTGO User Deunan comes to us with a Dredge list with some cool sideboard choices, including a few copies of Squee, Goblin Nabob in the sideboard!

Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! It's a slow week for the format, but we're heading into prep season for US Eternal Weekend! We're going to spend some time in the next few weeks talking about the event as well as discussing some options for Powerless decks (which is a huge deal at Eternal Weekend, so huge in fact that they offer a special prizing for those who do it) for the event as well. Unfortunately, I cannot make it again this year! I am fully planning on next year being there, but this year just happens to not be in the cards.

That being said, I am looking forward to covering the event from here, and I am also super excited for streaming coverage. This year is going to be an awesome year, since Card Titan appears to be pulling out all the stops, including giving away a full set of EVERY Vintage legal expansion on Magic Online to the winner of each US Format Championship event, of which now includes not just Vintage and Legacy, but also a Modern Champs as well! This is some serious prizing, and in addition, they also cut the price of entry from $100 to $80! Sounds like it's going to be a killer event. You can read more about it here.

Next week we will be talking all about the newest Magic set, Throne of Eldraine, and what cards from that set we might like to see for Vintage!

As always you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! I've got a lot in the works coming up to try to do some more fun stuff with my YouTube channel, so look forward to it! In addition, I am still hosting a giveaway to celebrate my first year at MTGGoldfish! You can find the form to enter that here! Streaming has been really rough for me as of late, as I've been attempting to deal with equipment issues and PC problems preventing me from really providing a good looking stream (as in I really really need a new Desktop PC and some other equipment for it), so I've been slowly trying to piece together more ideas for YouTube. If you'd like to support me and help me out, it would be greatly appreciated!

Until next time folks, ascend the throne and claim victory!


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