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Vintage 101: Rising Power - Part 1


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 about Zendikar Rising and the start of our set review for Vintage purposes. In addition to that, we have two Challenges to look at from last weekend, and as always our Spice Corner. We also have a bit to mention about PAX Online upcoming as well as another plug for NYSE Online, so be tuned in for that!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Rise Up, When You're Living in Zendikar

Zendikar Rising is on its way, and sofar it's looking pretty good for Vintage from the standpoint of not having anything exceptionally broken for the format. We're looking at a small amount of cards this week and then will follow up with the whole spoiler next week, but there are a few cards that are intriguing.

The biggest thing about this set is the introduction of Modal DFCs, which are a different card type on the front face and a Land on the back. This lets decks cheat a bit by having access to a Land always, but in Vintage this isn't really necessary with all of the fast mana available.

With that said, let's look at some cards!

Archon of Emeria

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

If only this card were a Human, then it might be pretty good as a replacement for cards like Thalia, Heretic Cathar or Eidolon of Rhetoric, mainly because its creature type being different is a big stretch on decks that want this kind of effect due to Cavern of Souls. That really pushes it down for seeing play in decks like White Eldrazi, but I could see it maybe in a dedicated hatebear shell.

Cleansing Wildfire

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is pretty interesting and it can do quite a bit of things versus decks that play Workshops and Bazaars as those decks often don't have basic lands to fetch with the ability, and on rate it draws a card too so that part is very strong. I like this a lot and I do expect to see some people trying it out.

Forsaken Monument

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The biggest thing about this card is that it is yet another thing that goes infinite with Basalt Monolith, but it also says any permanent, which includes cards like Mishra's Workshop. Costing five mana might be a bit much for this card to see play, but in a more controlling shell I could see it, especially if you were to use it in conjunction with things like Monolith to go infinite. I've pretty much learned never to count out things like this in Shops decks, because 5 mana is really just Workshop + Mana Crypt or Ancient Tomb and then we're off to the races.

Kazandu Nectarpot

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The good thing about this is that it does technically negate the damage from Fastbond, meaning that you can go infinite with the card if need be (with bounce lands or Oboro). I don't know that this is playable, but the fact that you can cast Fastbond and it off a Lotus is intriguing to me.

Moraug, Fury of Akoum

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Six mana is a steep ask, but this does do some crazy stuff with Fastbond and bounce lands. Please someone make this a thing.

Myriad Construct

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is actually somewhat intriguing. It definitely has the potential to enter the battlefield very large thanks to the number of nonbasic lands in the format, and functions well in a Construct tribal type situation with Steel Overseer and the like. The downside is that it doesn't create the tokens when it dies, only when it is targeted by a spell and sacrificed, so it's not quite Hangarback Walker but it is interesting. It also costs the same as making a Hangarback on X=2 and makes at bare minimum a 4/4.

Roiling Vortex

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is incredibly niche of a card, but in a format where players are regularly casting Moxen, Black Lotus, and the like, the damage from this card can really add up quickly. Even though it is hard to play a good Mono Red Prison strategy in Vintage right now, thanks to cards like Force of Vigor and Force of Negation, but this would definitely be good in that sort of strategy especially when combined with other hate cards like Scab-Clan Berserker and the like. On its own, this doesn't do a crazy amount, but when combined with other hate pieces it has some potential, albeit that potential is exceptionally narrow.

Ruin Crab

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The first thought I had when I saw this card is that Eric's Crab Shack gets to just play Eight Crabs now, and that seems incredibly redundant, since the deck often would feel like it didn't do much if you didn't have a payoff for your Fastbond. Having double the Crab definitely seems great, and since Crab Shack never mills itself it doesn't need to worry about this card only hitting the opponent.

Sea Gate Stormcaller

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Obviously there are a lot of impactful CMC 2 or less instants/sorceries in Vintage that are great when copied, like Ancestral Recall and Time Walk to name a few. Whether this card is any good or not is really going to be in the details of testing it, as it looks a bit fragile. However, it does make for great counter bait to push through an important spell if the opponent doesn't have an answer like Mindbreak Trap or Flusterstorm to deal with the resulting spell. The kicker is mostly flavor text, but I imagine when it does happen it's pretty bonkers to get three Time Walk.

Valakut Exploration

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Speaking of Fastbond, which seems to have just gotten a ton of love in this set, this card just goes infinite with it, and possibly can just kill the opponent with the end step trigger. This is an engine and a win condition in one card, which is super cool.

Vintage Community Update - 4Seasons Series

In other parts of the world where the pandemic isn't stopping paper Magic play, the 4Seasons Tournament Summer Series kicked off this past weekend in Italy. This includes several different events with a great focus on both Vintage and Legacy. It seemed from the pictures posted on their Facebook page that everyone was being safe and everything, and this is probably the first big paper Vintage event in some time, so it's pretty cool to see. You can check out all the information on their tournament series over here.

Vintage Community Update - PAX Online and NYSE

Upcoming this weekend and into next weekend from September 12th - 20th is PAX Online! Much like how GenCon Online ran, this event is also being ran by Pastimes Events, and includes several events devoted to Legacy and Vintage both. The best thing about this is also the fact that stocked accounts are back for the Prelim and Champs events, so for a mere $25 for a Prelim event you can gain access for over a week and a half to every card on Magic Online to play Vintage/Legacy with. This is a fantastic way to get into playing Vintage on Magic Online. You can check out all the info on the various events over here at Pastimes' website.

Furthermore, that same weekend is the NYSE Online event on Saturday the 19th, which is great timing for our good friend Nick Detwiler, since players entering into the PAX Online can receive their stocked accounts and will be able to play in NYSE as well utilizing those accounts, since the cards can be used for any event for the duration the cards are in the account (which lasts until September 23rd, by the way). So if you're planning on playing both, be sure to check out Nick's entry form here.

Vintage Challenge 9/5

Our first Challenge event of the weekend was the normal during the day Saturday event, which had around 66 players thanks to data collected by the Vintage Streamers Discord. So let's dive right into the Top 32 breakdown.

This event had a ton of Hogaak in it. It has been consistently interesting seeing the Challenge events go back and forth like they have continually. It seems as though the metagame is adjusting back and forth, but Bazaar decks have definitely been very popular overall. Hogaak definitely converted well, but it was Doomsday that really converted well.

Now let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Doomsday 1st DiscoverN
Doomsday 2nd TieMuuu
Golos Combo Shops 3rd PootisGodsAmongUs
Hogaak Bazaar 4th TheRock988
Oath of Druids 5th AnziD
BUG Midrange 6th ZollZollZoll
Doomsday 7th WamboCombo2020
Hogaak Bazaar 8th Sknerusmckwacz

At the end of the event it was a Doomsday throwdown with DiscoverN taking it all down. Let's look at their list.

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All I have to say about this list is that DiscoverN is a truly powerful player, and that there's also a Peek in this 75 as well as a Cling to Dust.

Now let's move down to Third Place with Golos Combo Shops.

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This is more of a combo oriented variant, utilizing combos such as the Leyline of the Void and Helm of Obedience combo, as well as the Dark Depths + Thespian's Stage combo. Golos acts as a great glue for these pieces.

In Fourth Place we have Hogaak Bazaar.

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This list is pretty solidified to the current incarnations and is incredibly strong.

In Fifth Place we have a sweet Oath of Druids + Underworld Breach list by our good friend Anuraag Das.

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This is a pretty cool list, being able to utilize Oath to dump cards into the graveyard for the purposes of functioning with Underworld Breach. I'm a little surprised to not see Sun Titan, but Griselbrand really is just the best Oath target.

In Sixth Place we have BUG Midrange.

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There are copies of Trickbind and Nimble Obstructionist in this sideboard. That is pretty sweet.

Both Seventh and Eighth had Doomsday and Hogaak respectively, and those lists were relatively the same so we aren't going to look into them, but we are going to look at the 2019-2020 cards in this Top 32. Remember that we are only looking at cards with eight copies or more with exceptions made for Companions.

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Vigor 41
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim 24
Once Upon a Time 23
Collector Ouphe 21
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 21
Deafening Silence 20
Force of Negation 14
Oko, Thief of Crowns 13
Narset, Parter of Veils 11
Underworld Breach 9
Sprite Dragon 8

The massive amount of Hogaak in this event led to a lot of Force of Vigor seeing play as well, as that card is essentially just a four-of in any of these Bazaar Aggro variants. Because of a low number of Xerox, there were only 11 copies of Narset.

Vintage Challenge 9/6

Our second Challenge of the weekend is the early morning Sunday event, which had around 42 players, so let's get right into its Top 32 breakdown!

This event carried forth the fact that this past weekend was a Bazaar weekend overall. Both Hogaak and Dredge did well in this event overall as well a single Hollow Vine.

Now let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dredge 1st PrgJJar
Lutri DPS 2nd Negusen
Golos Stax 3rd BernaStorres
Grixis Xerox 4th Aylett
Hogaak Bazaar 5th NoProps
4C Xerox 6th Yuurari_Yoko
RUG Xerox 7th TeamLeaderNA
PO Storm 8th Mogged

This was an interesting Top 8, with a Lutri DPS list even appearing. Lutri has been pretty MIA as of late, so it's cool to see it show up. At the end of the event it was Dredge that took it all down.

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I do so enjoy seeing cards like Creeping Chill in Dredge now. This list also has Strip Mine and Wasteland to deal with various bad things like Tabernacle.

In Second Place we have Lutri DPS.

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This is like part PO, part DPS, part Thieves list with Lutri as the glue. It's a pretty cool list, seeing as how we haven't seen Lutri in some time.

In Third Place we have Golos Stax.

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This is not quite full on Stax, but is more Prison since there is nothing like Smokestack in it. It's a powerful list regardless, as Golos is very strong.

In Fourth Place we have Grixis Xerox.

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In general, another name for this deck is Grixis Tinker, since it is often trying to resolve that card a bunch to grab either the Time Vault combo or a big beater like Sphinx of the Steel Wind.

In Fifth Place we have Hogaak Bazaar.

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This is pretty much the same list that we saw in the other Challenge this weekend. Not much to say about this formula at this point as the deck has been pretty much worked out to a solid powerful point.

In Sixth Place we have 4C Xerox.

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Nimble Obstructionist yet again! This card is really cool, as it is a great way to stop Thassa's Oracle, since the Stifle ability of the bird is an activated ability and can't be countered by cards like Force of Will or Force of Negation. You can use this to basically force them to lose, which is really cool.

In Seventh Place we have RUG Xerox.

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This is a relatively straightforward RUG Planeswalkers list with Wrenn and Six and Dack Fayden being the central walkers. Goyf and Arcanist provide backup while setting up the Mystic Sanctuary loops with Time Walk until Wrenn can ultimate.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have PO Storm.

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As always I love seeing Sprite Dragon in sideboards of this deck, as I think it is pretty strong there as an additional Monastery Mentor-like card that is hard for certain decks to deal with because it can fly.

Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event.

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Vigor 47
Once Upon a Time 31
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 30
Deafening Silence 22
Force of Negation 21
Collector Ouphe 20
Narset, Parter of Veils 15
Oko, Thief of Crowns 14
Wrenn and Six 12
Underworld Breach 10
Sprite Dragon 8
Lutri, the Spellchaser 1

Again, as this was an absolutely Bazaar dominated weekend, all of those pieces just simply had all the numbers, but quite a bit for Force of Vigor, which has waxed and waned but has definitely had an overall impact on the format since last year with its printing. Deafening Silence has also come into its own with the Hogaak lists and the play that it sees there as a sideboard card since it is a super clean card when beating up on PO / Breach / DPS lists.

The Spice Corner

Survival counts a Spice sometimes, since it isn't seen all that much anymore.

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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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