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Vintage 101: Qualifying in the Old West


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 taking a look at the Vintage Qualifier event from this past weekend! In addition to that we've got a lot of Challenges to discuss.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Vintage Qualifier 5/5

This past weekend was a large scale premier event on Magic Online. A Vintage Qualifier! Qualifiers are slightly different than Super Qualifier events because they only require Qualification Points (QPs) to enter, and the number of Regional Championship invites they give out is locked down to the two finalists in the event. This particular event in question had 117 players, thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord, and it definitely provided an interesting overall window into what current Vintage is all about.

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

As we can see, analyzing a little deeper we had Lurrus Saga as the most popular deck of the event, with a win rate at a very strong 56%. This has been one of the decks that has been all over Vintage as of late, and while the archetype in the data sheets reflects all variants of Lurrus Saga (UB, UW, Esper), the deck's days of rocking back and forth between variants seems to have settled quite a lot and people are now fully in on the UB variation of the deck. It has certainly become a very large portion of Vintage right now, leading a lot to discussions over the nature of cards such as Lorien Revealed and Urza's Saga.

The second most played deck here is Jewel Shops, and while this deck is overall extremely popular as well, the overall win rate of the deck seemed quite poor at around 41%. Jewel is definitely a deck that has a lot of strong gameplay behind it, and it's popular because of how "Vintage-y" the deck is. The fact is though, that the deck is a lot easier to attack in general than other decks simply because decks can have a lot of hate dedicated for these matchups post-board. Jewel might be a deck with a really strong game 1 most of the time, but it's post-board games become a lot more difficult.

We also see this quite a bit with decks like Dredge in this Top 8, where the win rate of the deck looked pretty bad despite being played quite a bit. The deck has its fans and that makes it popular enough, but the format has adjusted to it.

Of the decks above the cutoff, Initiative looked very good here which is interesting, given that the deck hasn't had insane conversions in events as of late, but it is a very strong deck if you know how to sequence well and have it pay off for you.

The Top 8 definitely tells a bigger story in this event though, so let's take a look.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Lurrus Saga 1st McWinSauce
Lurrus Saga 2nd MestariMatt
Lurrus Saga 3rd jvidarte
Lurrus Saga 4th Maxtortion
Lurrus Saga 5th pepeteam
Sphere Shops 6th bergamo83
Initiative 7th LasVegasChaos
Initiative 8th olbeda

With over 5/8 of the Top 8 being Lurrus Saga and functionally every placing from 1st to 5th being that exact same deck, we can see that the overall conversion rate of Lurrus Saga is pretty great. This deck is slowly getting to an extremely homogenous point in the format, and I'm really curious if anything at all will change after even Modern Horizons 3 coming soon.

At the end of this event, as noted it was a pair of Lurrus Saga decks that won. We'll look at both.

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The differences between these two decks are so extremely minute in nature. One more Spreading Seas versus one more Force of Negation. The sideboards here have some differences, but overall these are very similar in nature, and I think that's basically where we will begin to see the homogenization of these decks is that their flex spots will basically be sideboard decisions mainly.

As we also noted, Initiative showed up quite strongly and put two copies in this Top 8. Let's look at the higher placing one.

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Very strong looking deck here. I will note the lack of cards like Anointed Peacekeeper which makes a lot of sense in a metagame where you are expecting to play against a lot of Lurrus Saga simply because Peacekeeper is a much better card versus Bazaar, whereas cards like Loran do a good job of hurting Saga as an Enchantment.

Outside of the Top 8, we can see the omnipresence of Lurrus Saga across the event. There's a few more in Top 16, with even more still in Top 32 showing up. There's a lot to be said about this deck, and I will be having an official Vintage Round Table next week to see what people think about this current format.

Vintage Challenge 5/2

The first Challenge event from last week was the Thursday event. This event had 52 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.

Lurrus Saga was very popular in this event, and despite having strong finishes and good conversion it's overall win rate was less than 50%. Jewel Shops did quite well here, converting and having a strong win rate.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Lurrus Saga 1st Mogged
Jewel Shops 2nd ConnorM426
Jewel Shops 3rd oosunq
Jewel Shops 4th Kenzaburo
Lurrus Saga 5th Graciasportanto
Dredge 6th mattothec
Initiative 7th joker10289
Jewel Shops 8th _J0SE_

As indicated, Jewel did very well here. At the end of the event though it was Lurrus Saga that won.

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Not much of a huge difference from other lists in this regard. Very much what one would consider a stock list if there is one for this archetype.

In Second Place we had Jewel Shops.

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Solid looking list here for Jewel. The Wurmcoil Engine in the sideboard is some tech for sure. Lurrus has a hard time with a card like that as it's very difficult for Lurrus to clean up.

Further down the Top 8 we had Dredge.

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It's sort of interesting to see how Dredge has continually evolved. Being back on Therapy and Bridge even without Poxwalkers is so intriguing for sure.

Vintage Challenge 5/3

The next Challenge of the week was the friday event. This event had 49 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.

Lurrus Saga was again super popular and its win rate looked great. Countervine also had a strong win rate here, while Dredge and Turbo Vault Key suffered quite a bit, despite the former having a strong finish.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Lurrus Saga 1st duke12
Lurrus Saga 2nd Graciasportanto
Countervine 3rd medvedev
Lurrus Saga 4th Mogged
Lurrus Saga 5th Solidsnake408
Oath of Druids 6th FL_LegacyClub
Jewel Shops 7th zzh
Dredge 8th Wizard_2002

Again quite a few Lurrus Saga decks in this Top 8, and even the finals was a pair of them versus each other.

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The big difference here is the inclusion of everyone's new favorite Snorse, Caustic Bronco. We talked about this card last week and it really is a super sweet card. It will be interesting to see where it lands in these lists over time.

Also in this Top 8 we had Countervine.

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I love Poxwalkers in this shell, it seems so incredibly strong there as a free pitch alongside Madness creatures. So cool.

Vintage Challenge 5/4

The next Challenge on the weekend was the mid afternoon Saturday event. This event had 55 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.

Lurrus Saga again looked very popular and very solid in win rate, as well as Jewel Shops looking great too. Sphere Shops and Oath also looked very good.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Lurrus Saga 1st MackSmith
Jewel Shops 2nd death_grips
Jewel Shops 3rd teichou_aisu
Lurrus Saga 4th kasa
Oath of Druids 5th ladrion
Lurrus Saga 6th thedoc96
4C Lurrus 7th unluckymonkey
Jewel Shops 8th Jiliac

Quite a few Lurrus and Jewel decks here. Lurrus did indeed win the event.

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Again though, Caustic Bronco looking quite strong in these lists. Dark Confidant is interesting, but having a reverse Dark Confidant that gets to attack too is pretty neat.

In Second Place we had Jewel Shops.

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Very stock looking Jewel list here, but stock is usually not a bad thing with this type of deck. You usually don't want to veer too off the path with this kind of strategy.

Further down the Top 8 we had Oath of Druids.

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Solid looking Oath list here for sure. I like having the cards like Serra's Emissary and Sphinx of the Steel Wind out of the sideboard for sure. Portal to Phyrexia is a nice include too, to be honest.

Vintage Challenge 5/5

The final Challenge event of the weekend was the Sunday morning event. This event had 39 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.

Lurrus was again very popular, with a solid looking win rate. Jewel also looked good here. Doomsday did exceptionally well with a low number of players.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jewel Shops 1st EiJunCHN
Oath of Druids 2nd etoustar
Doomsday 3rd Tsubasa_Cat
Lurrus Saga 4th Munchlax446
Lurrus Saga 5th notmi
Blue Shops 6th kanister
Dredge 7th minitaste
Jewel Shops 8th AJV20

Good number of both Jewel/Lurrus, and it was indeed Jewel that won.

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Again a very stock looking list overall here. This deck doesn't have a ton of things that could be done to iterate on it though, as its quite powerful in its current incarnation for sure.

In Second Place we had Oath of Druids.

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A main deck Duress is kind of a sweet inclusion, coupled with a main deck Energy Flux?! That's pretty sweet.

Also in this Top 8 we had Doomsday.

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This is also a very straightforward list here. Ponder has done a lot being unrestricted for Doomsday though, as it's always looked quite good with this shell.

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

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

From the Vintage Qualifier... CAVES OF CHAOS ADVENTURER.

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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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