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Vintage 101: Risen from the Depths


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're diving into some sweet stuff with Vintage Elementals! One of my favorite cards in Risen Reef gets another go around in this sweet decklist. In addition to that we have a mess of Challenge data to discuss due to three Challenge events this past weekend, one of which was the Showcase Challenge.

I'm saving our Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty set review until next week when we have more of the set, but I'm super excited to talk about this set because it looks pretty amazing!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Rising from the Reef - Vintage Elementals

I love Risen Reef. It's pretty much one of my favorite cards in the past several years of Magic. It has such a unique aspect of approaching the game with how it functionally draws cards that I really love playing with it as an engine card. In younger formats this often means pairing with cards like Ephemerate. In Vintage, the best and truest combination is Young Pyromancer and casting spells. Turning every spell into a draw engine that also generates a body is really very powerful, and since Modern Horizons 2, this deck gets even more of a boost in the form of the cards Endurance and Fury.

Let's take a look at a list.

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The source on this exact list came from my good friend Andy Markiton who posted it to his Twitter. The deck is functionally a regular RUG Control/Midrange variant shell (with all the normal stuff you would expect from those shells) alongside the threats of Young Pyromancer and Risen Reef and company. What this allows the deck to do is to generate raw card advantage and mana advantage off just casting spells, and multiple Reefs or multiple Young Pyros help make the card advantage even more powerful and threatening. It gets to a point where you can almost always assume you will have an answer for a play.

This deck was super fun and I took the opportunity to play this deck through a league, recording it and uploading it over on my YouTube, which you can find below.

I ended up going 3-2 in this league and there are some crazy games in there, including one where I got to steal a Bolas's Citadel with a Dack Fayden (absolutely nuts). This is a deck I would definitely recommend if you're looking for something unique that has a solid chance of winning games on its own sheer power of the Vintage blue deck shell setups.

I love being on the lookout for decks like this, and I ultimately enjoyed getting to revisit one of my most favorite cards in the game right now.

Vintage Showcase Challenge 1/29

This past weekend was the Vintage Showcase Challenge event, the first one of Season 1. This event was a Premier Play event, and required 40 Qualification Points (QPs) to enter. The Top 8 competitors of this event feed into the Showcase Qualifier at the end of the season, where they will play for a MOCS Invitation and a Set Championship qualification. This event had 148 players in it, thanks to data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

You can find the data sheet for this event here. Unfortunately due to some bugs on the Wizards website this weekend, none of the decklists for any of the Saturday events were published.

Quite a bit of Blue Tinker variants around in this event, but its win rate was less than stellar overall. I suspect these decks suffer a lot from looking attractive enough to play to newer players or players unfamiliar with how they play. Still, I think these decks are fine. Hogaak had a stellar winrate, as did the Hollowvine and 4C DRS decks. This is a great picture of a fun and ultimately healthy-looking format though at the moment.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Hogaak 1st noprops
Grixis Tinker 2nd bweezy
4C Midrange 3rd Nathansteuer
Breach 4th discoverN
Hogaak 5th Oosunq
Paradoxical Outcome 6th pokerswizard
Paradoxical Outcome 7th Diem4x
BUG Midrange 8th AlbertoSD

While we don't have any lists, I definitely think this is a solid looking Top 8, and all 8 of these players get to go on to the Showcase Qualifier at the end of the season, so congrats to all of them! At the end of the event however, it was Japanese Hogaak master noprops that took down this entire event, so huge congrats to them for killing such a large event!

Vintage Challenge 1/29

A seeming first for this season, there was also a regular Vintage Challenge running alongside the Showcase Challenge (typically Showcases replace the regular event). This event had 52 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

You can find the data sheet for this event here. Unfortunately due to some bugs on the Wizards website this weekend, none of the decklists for any of the Saturday events were published.

PO and Hogaak both had a good amount of representation, but Hogaak had a much more solid performance overall. BUG also performed well, as did Doomsday despite not cracking into the Top 8. Hollowvine had the worst performance of the decks above the cutoff at 28.6%.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Hogaak 1st Shir Kahn
Paradoxical Outcome 2nd DrPringles
Oath of Druids 3rd WingedHussar
Esper Tinker 4th sinister85
Dredge 5th d00mwake
BUG Midrange 6th AlbertoSD
Hogaak 7th xfile
Aggro Shops 8th Sahakvic

Again we don't have lists, but this Top 8 looks pretty good nonetheless. Hogaak again slammed the door on an event, really cementing how strong of a deck it is right now.

Vintage Challenge 1/30

Finally we had a regular Challenge event on Sunday which had 51 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.

Hogaak was the most populous deck and also had a solid performance, but Dredge greatly outperformed it in regards to the Bazaar shells seen. Bant Archon also coming from seemingly out of nowhere yet again to remind people of its existence had an insane performance given that both players on the deck made it into the Top 8 of the event.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dredge 1st vwxyza648204
Bant Archon 2nd MarioBBrega
Bant Archon 3rd karn_90
Hogaak 4th Promidnightz
Hollowvine 5th Violent_Outburst
Paradoxical Outcome 6th Reinsch
Esper Tinker 7th SenpaiBlank
UR Tempo 8th planeswalkerzen

As noted, this event had both Bant Archon players in the Top 4 of the event, but it was Dredge at the end of the day reminding everyone to pack their graveyard hate!

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Dredge is really strong when people aren't expecting it (and even when people are expecting it!) so seeing it do well here is not super surprising. The deck has its strengths and weaknesses, but cards like Force of Vigor have really done a lot to make those weaknesses dissipate.

The Second Place finalist was on Bant Archon.

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Kind of cool seeing this deck show up again after being virtually nowhere for a while there. New cards Endurance and Outland Liberator have cracked into the list, as well as Prismatic Ending in the sideboard. Seems like a fun and interesting deck!

Also in the Top 8 we had Hogaak!

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This deck was definitely the talk of the weekend with all the winning it was doing! Deck is very strong and has all sorts of strong lines to take down a game.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had UR Tempo.

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Ragavan and Laelia are such a cool combination of threats in this format. Laelia especially is just so much fun to play with.

Around the Web

  • Our good friend Phil Gallagher has some sweetness in Survival Elves! Check it out here.
  • Another great video from noprops on Hogaak's Showcase win. Check it out here.
  • Justin Gennari cannot be stopped! Check out this week's videos:

The Spice Corner

BG Rock is some sweetness.

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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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