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Vintage 101: Ringing in the New Year


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we are ringing in 2023 by looking ahead at what's coming this year and what it could mean for Vintage! We've also got data for several events to cover, including a Vintage Super Qualifier! Also, yay decklists are finally fixed on MTGO's website so we're getting that information now!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

2023 - A Look Ahead for Vintage

2023 stands to be an interesting one for Magic in general, as we finally complete a story arc that's gone on for a few years by wrapping up Phyrexia. In addition to this, we've got a few large-scale supplemental products this year that could stand to make an impact on Vintage. We're going to talk first about the upcoming Standard product for the year before diving into the Supplemental stuff.

The Standard Sets of the Year

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Very imminently within this next month spoiler season for Phyrexia: All Will Be One will be beginning, thrusting us into yet another spoiler season to determine what from this set may be Vintage playable. There are a few things we've seen from this set already and we know that this set will be very Planeswalker heavy (with ten Planeswalker cards, five of which will be compleated Planeswalkers) so the potential for a Vintage playable amongst those cards could be very high. New Phyrexia boasted a bunch of cards that utterly defined Vintage (and somewhat still do thanks to the restricted nature of both Gitaxian Probe and Mental Misstep) so keeping an eye on this set is probably pretty important as things usually come out of Phyrexia based sets.

Continuing on that theme however in April - May we have both March of the Machine and March of the Machine: Aftermath. The first of these sets is the climactic end of the Phyrexian arc, and based on the product marketing it seems like this set will be crossing streams of a lot of planar travel stuff and thus could have some implications on how cards could work.

However, the Aftermath set is the most curious anomaly of this year. Dubbed as an Epilogue set, it is a much smaller set than the main March set and has smaller boosters, but at the same time, this time period is regarded as doing something incredibly ambitious for Magic in general as indicated by Mark Rosewater. What this means remains to be seen still, but I would keep an eye on these two sets.

The rest of the year's Standard product is set between Wilds of Eldraine and The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. Given the relative power level of Throne of Eldraine and the fact that the original set gave us Oko, Thief of Crowns this is definitely a interesting set. Ixalan the last go around was a very low-powered set of sets, but under fresher design ideology this new set could be more powerful than the last time we went there.

Supplemental Product

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But wait, didn't the 40K decks come out in 2022?! I hear you asking this, but in the same breath, those cards also did not make it to Magic Online in 2022. The 40K decks are set to be put on MTGO sometime in the first part of 2023, as they have to be released as full Commander decks due to a licensing contract with Games Workshop (according to Daybreak). The big thing here is the just general dumping of over 100+ new cards onto the Magic Online client all at once and that alone could stir something within the format. Poxwalkers especially is a solid card we've seen in some paper events, so that is one thing at least for this format out of supplemental products.

Also we do still have to wonder if Unfinity will make it onto MTGO at some point, and whether there's anything out of that set that could potentially impact the format.

The two big "entering Vintage directly" supplemental products this year that are coming out in 2023 are both Universes Beyond products, much like Warhammer 40,000. The first of these is The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth and it is going to be a full draftable set that is legal from Vintage right up to Modern. There's a lot to wonder about Universes Beyond sets, and a full set could inadvertently introduce something not planned for, especially if there was no forethought or testing for Vintage. That being said, I also feel like this set will play it fairly safe and we'll just see what happens with it. However, players have also dubbed the set Modern Horizons 3, so who's to say what will happen.

The other major supplemental product is the Doctor Who Commander decks. I do expect a lot less out of this product simply because it's only going to be four Commander decks and a lot of likely reprints, but there will be new cards as well and new cards from Commander products do warrant a look to see what impact they may have.

Of course, we don't know yet what further amounts of product may make it into this year's slate. There may be more to come but for now this is what 2023 is shaping up to be for Vintage.

Vintage Super Qualifier 12/30

The final week of 2022 gave us a sweet Vintage Super Qualifier event. This is functionally an RCQ based event for MTGO, so the players who do well in this end up becoming queued for PT level events. This event had 208 players in it, which is super sweet. Big thanks to the Vintage Streamer's Discord on the data for this event.

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

Mono White was the most popular deck by an insane amount (a little over half over the next entry of Control-based Bazaar decks) and it had a really strong win rate of 52.5%. PO also had a strong win rate in this event, and the rest of the top decks had pretty even win rates overall.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Mono White 1st kauffj
Paradoxical Outcome 2nd Cioffo86
Mono White 3rd McWinSauce
Hollow Vine 4th Cstrolo
Mono White 5th _Batutinha_
Doomsday 6th IdraftTheBeatz
Oops! All Spells 7th kasa
Breach 8th thedeck84

Mono White definitely dominated the Top 8 here, putting three copies into the Top 8. At the end of the event it was Mono White that took it all down.

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We've seen the hard shift in these decks to seeing cards like Spirit of the Labyrinth in them. Since a lot of this deck's weak points seem stressed by decks like PO and Bazaar aggro decks, having a card that hurts those decks seems pretty good.

The Second Place finalist was on PO.

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Saga-less PO does well again and it's a pretty solid deck for sure. Lavinia and Teferi are very powerful and so is Mentor as a win condition.

Vintage Challenge 12/31

The final Challenge event of 2022 was the mid-afternoon Saturday event. It had 74 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

Mono White was again insanely popular here, but it had a more middling win rate overall. Jeskai did exceptionally well and there was a really even middle aground among the rest of the decks here.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Lurrus 1st echecetmat35
Combo Shops 2nd Lux_Solis
Jeskai Lurrus 3rd WingedHussar
Jeskai Control 4th SenpaiBlank
Mono White 5th Gul_Dukat
BUG Midrange 6th Gernardi
Oops! All Spells 7th Alex_Brown
Mono White 8th Cover85

Mono White did sneak two decks in here, but Jeskai reigned supreme here as Jeskai Lurrus won the overall event.

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Having a Breach sub plan here is pretty strong, and Ledger Shredder especially works very well with that. Also we get to see new card Brotherhood's End in the sideboard here. It looks very powerful for sure.

The Second Place finalist was on Combo Shops.

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The Coveted Jewel deck is highly interesting and even more so because of Phyrexian Metamorph because while it can copy a Jewel it can also copy Initiative creatures and that's very strong. It's also fun to see stuff like The Mightstone and Weakstone out of the sideboard here and even Ghostly Flicker in the deck. Very cool stuff.

Vintage Challenge 1/1

The first Challenge of 2023 was the early morning Sunday event, and it had 63 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

Mono White was again super omnipresent, and its win rate was middle of the ground, but it also had a lot of mirror matches it seems like. Hollow Vine-based decks did quite well, as did Doomsday.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Mono White 1st _Gerwaz
Mono White 2nd canepis16
Doomsday 3rd sixmp
Mono White 4th cenora_jf
Lurrus Jeskai 5th excel0679
Hollow Vine 6th NathanLipetz
Oops! All Spells 7th Tsubasa_Cat
Mono White 8th ecobaronen

Mono White infested this Top 8 with four copies in the overall top tables. At the end of the event it was a split finals (not played) by two Mono White decks.

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The major difference here is the usage of Urza's Saga in the winning deck, which presents a very powerful backup plan to the normal game plan. The Second Place deck is also playing some of the typical tech we've seen in Legacy in Empty-Shrine Kannushi as a mirror-breaking tool.

Around the Web

  • Justin Gennari's power continues into the new year! What's on the docket this week?
  • Revenantkioku has an interesting one on Mox Pearl. The most dangeous Mox? Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

You can find this past week's 5-0 lists here.

This list is SWEET.

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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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