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Vintage 101: Ponderosa!


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're taking a look at the ramifications of an actual Banned and Restricted change in Vintage! That's right, Ponder is now unrestricted, so let's see what that means for the format! In addition to that we've got two Challenges to discuss from over the weekend. Because of the changes in the format we'll only be showcasing the top two lists from each of those events.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Banned and Restricted Update 3/11 - Ponder Unrestricted!

We had a Banned and Restricted Announcement this past week, and with it came an interesting update to Vintage! We got an unrestriction! You can read the entire article here.

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That's right, Ponder is now freed to be played as a 4-of in Vintage. This card has been restricted in Vintage for quite a long time, going back to June of 2008 where many blue spells were restricted in one fell swoop. This is the same restriction update that restricted Brainstorm, Flash, Merchant Scroll, as well as Ponder. The idea behind this unrestriction is that bringing back Ponder as a 4-of may reasonably boost decks that are more combo oriented.

So who are the big winners of this change? Well, some of your more midrange-y piles that don't play Urza's Saga would benefit from this change. Decks wanting to play Dreadhorde Arcanist and friends will have a great time with this kind of card as a 4-of. Where this card will really shine though is in combo-centric builds. Decks like Doomsday or Breach will most assuredly benefit from it as those decks are often playing a good number of blue lands to enabled a Turn 1 Ponder and the shuffle effect as well as getting to see multiple cards will help quite a bit. These are decks where most of them are already playing Ponder before it was unrestricted, so it makes sense to find space for them to play more than one.

The Lurrus Saga piles as indicated are not generally playing any copies of Ponder and contextually this is down to the fact that many of the Lurrus Saga decks are playing eight colorless lands, which in turn means it's often rough for those decks have a Turn 1 untapped blue source to cast a Ponder. It might be rough to try to slot in Ponder on these decks for that reason alone. I wouldn't be surprised to see it but at the same time it seems like it might not be too good for them.

It's going to be very interesting to see how this pans out. While this shouldn't shift things too much, it will be a cool addition to Vintage overall, and it's nice to see that Wizards is considering the Vintage metagame from a high level standpoint.

Vintage Challenge 3/9

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the mid afternoon Saturday event. This event had 61 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

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

Dredge was the most popular deck of the event, and it makes sense given the recent rise of popularity of the deck but also because it got a new card on MTGO in the form of Poxwalkers. The worst performing deck here was CounterVine, at a very low 35.4% win rate.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
BUG Midrange 1st Wesal
Dredge 2nd Firetruck
Breach 3rd handsomePPZ
Beseech Storm 4th Beekeeper
Dredge 5th 416FrowningTable
Initiative 6th pepeteam
Lurrus Saga 7th John1111
Jewel Shops 8th _BOI_

Really interesting Top 8 here. At the end of the event it was BUG that won.

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Knight of Infamy as a hedge against Initiative is pretty interesting. I also really like the singleton Daze in these midrange-y shells. It's a pretty cool effect to have when you catch your opponent off guard with it.

In Second Place we had Dredge.

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Dredge having access to Poxwalkers now is a bigger reason to play cards like Cabal Therapy and Bridge from Below, due to primarily how Poxwalkers interacts with Therapy. If you sac a Poxwalkers with Therapy, the triggered ability will return the Poxwalkers back to play tapped. It's a pretty cool effect for sure.

Vintage Challenge 3/10

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 43 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

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

Even spread of decks across the top here, with varied win rates across the decks above the cut.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
White Shops 1st adm29
Jewel Shops 2nd ElfKid
Esper Tinker 3rd TrueHero
Initiative 4th _Mago_
BUG Midrange 5th duke12
Lurrus Saga 6th John1111
Breach 7th handsomePPZ
Jewel Shops 8th Testacular

Really nice looking Top 8 here. At the end of the event it was a White splash Shops deck that won.

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Stony Silence in the Shops deck alongside Null Rod is pretty cool. It's a really difficult permanent type to interact with typically for a lot of decks, so it's interesting for sure.

In Second Place we had Jewel Shops.

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This deck continues to be super powerful, and always looks like a lot of fun. Coveted Jewel is quite good indeed!

Around the Web

  • Justin Gennari has some great stuff for us as always.
  • Revenantkioku has a video on Saga Doomsday. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

Now that Leagues are posted throughout the week, let's find some spice!

Our first big results with four Ponder are already here, thanks to our good friend Justin Gennari.

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Also with four Ponder we have Sedgemoor Witch Tinker!

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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 my Link Tree! In addition you can always reach me on the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the Vintage Streamers Discord.

Until next time!



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