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Vintage 101: Rising Power - Part 2


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 finishing up our set review of Zendikar Rising for Vintage. In addition, we have two Challenges worth of data to talk about as well our ever-present Spice Corner.

Just a firm reminder that this weekend is the Champs event for PAX Online held by Pastimes Events, and you need to qualify in a Prelim to get into it. Also this weekend on Saturday is NYSE Online held via MTGMelee by Nick Detwiler. Good luck to everyone competing in these events this weekend! Unfortunately, I'll be out camping, so I won't be able to participate.

Now, with that out of the way, let's dive right into Zendikar Rising.

Zendikar, Oh Zendikar!

We now have the full spoiler for Zendikar Rising, and thankfully it seems as if this set doesn't really have anything incredibly format warping for Vintage overall. We covered a few cards last week, this week we're going to look at an overview of the Modal DFC Mechanic and the three cards that utilize that mechanic that might be worth looking into.

I will also note that someone pointed out last week that Kazandu Nectarpot isn't exactly a new ability, in that Jaddi Offshoot exists at one mana less and isn't played, so I guess that tells me what to expect from the new version.

Mythic Modal DFCs

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The Mythic Modal DFC cycle is a highly intriguing cycle, given that it presents the ability to have an untapped color source by only paying 3 life on the back face, but has a generally interesting front face as well. The big thing about these cards is in how DFCs function in zones outside of being in play as a Land. In these other zones, these cards are defined by their front faces, which allows them to be used in decks that care about Lands in places like the Library. A classic example of this is a deck like Belcher that generally only runs on a single Land so that the chances of hitting a Land in the library when activating Belcher is near zero. Because these cards aren't considered Lands in the Library, cards like Belcher and Hermit Druid and the like won't stop on them. Furthermore, most of the Belcher shell in Vintage is blue based, so Sea Gate Restoration also being a card that pitches to Force of Will / Force of Negation is relevant, while the front face could be cast in a pinch to draw a lot of cards to find gas in a longer game (as Belcher tends to run a ton of mana-producing artifacts).

It's possible as well that cards like Sea Gate Restoration could also see play in decks like PO where having an extra amount of draw could be relevant. Regardless if they do see play or not, this represents an intriguing set of cards that have potential to reconsider how to build certain archetypes.

Ancient Greenwarden

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I don't care if this costs six mana, Landharmonicon seems like the sweetest thing ever. Let's double up on them Hedron Crab/Ruin Crab triggers!

Meandering Towershell

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Hey friends! Am I late to the party? Oh... right. Wrong set.

Vintage Challenge 9/12

Our first Challenge of the weekend was the normal Saturday day Challenge, which had around 63 players overall. Let's take a look at the Top 32 Metagame breakdown!

This is a really intriguing Top 32, as there were quite a few more Mishra's Workshop based decks than we've really seen in a while in one of these events. Shops decks in general have been on a fair downswing in overall popularity over time, as more and more tools have been printed in the past two years that allow decks the ability to deal with Shops decks, such as cards like Force of Vigor, Collector Ouphe, and the interaction between Dreadhorde Arcanist and Shattering Spree. I also tend to chalk this weeks events up a lot to people having All-Access Tokens for PAX Online and being able to play whatever they desire.

Now let's look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
KCI Combo 1st IamActuallyLvl1
Hollow Vine 2nd WingedHussar
BUG Midrange 3rd Wizard_2002
BUG Mirange 4th Clone9
Golos Shops 5th Kanister
PO Storm 6th Lampalot
Oath of Druids 7th AnziD
Hogaak Bazaar 8th UnicornParadise

This is a pretty wild Top 8, and not just because of the winning deck. There's quite a bit of differing strategy in this Top 8, from Bazaar to fair to Shops based decks, and even Oath and PO. Seems pretty cool for a Challenge event.

At the end of the event however, it was our good friend Justin Gennari who absolutely crushed on a deck that had been in the works amongst him and several other players in the Vintage Streamers Discord, KCI Combo.

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As noted by Justin on Twitter, Jegantha was insane generally all day long, even managing to attack for lethal to win the event. The rest of this deck is pretty cool and is definitely interesting. Justin has a lot of skill in the format, so it's no surprise to see him do well continually.

In Second Place, another friend of the column is WingedHussar on HollowVine.

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This deck has evolved a bit to try and game against decks playing cards like Tabernacle against them, utilizing cards like Gaea's Cradle to counteract that card. This is a super powerful deck, much like its sister deck Hogaak Bazaar is as well.

In Third Place we have BUG Midrange.

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This is the most common takes we see for BUG Midrange variants, using cards like Leovold in addition to Brazen Borrower and Oko. It's also pretty cool to see Trickbind in the sideboard here.

In Fourth Place we have another take on BUG Midrange.

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There is a Garruk Relentless in this deck. That is all.

In Fifth Place we have Golos Shops.

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The Golos variants have distinguished themselves into two major variants, one with more of a prison/aggro focus like the list above and the combo variants with Helm of Obedience/Leyline of the Void. The above list is quite strong and has a lot of power behind it.

In Sixth Place we have PO Storm.

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This is a pretty typical Esper splashing red for blast effects and cards like Sprite Dragon out of the sideboard.

In Seventh Place we have good friend Anuraag Das on an Oath of Druids shell utilizing Underworld Breach as the win condition.

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This deck is pretty sweet, able to function as a bit of a hybrid deck where just Griselbrand can often be enough to close a game out, but also having the Breach kill with Brain Freeze to win the game as well. Also, there's a Mana Maze in the sideboard, and that card is super sweet.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have Hogaak Bazaar.

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Stubborn Denial in the sideboard here is a pretty cool card for dealing with certain things, since it's usually typically guaranteed that there will be a creature with power 4 or greater given both Hollow One and Vengevine, not to mention Hogaak itself.

Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event. As always we're only looking at cards with 8 copies or more, with exceptions made for Companions.

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Vigor 31
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim 28
Stonecoil Serpent 24
Force of Negation 22
Once Upon a Time 19
Narset, Parter of Veils 15
Collector Ouphe 14
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 13
Oko, Thief of Crowns 11
Dreadhorde Arcanist 9
Karn, the Great Creator 9
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade 9
Soul-Guide Lantern 9
Underworld Breach 9
Deafening Silence 8
Mystic Sanctuary 8
Wrenn and Six 8
Jegantha, the Wellspring 1

Quite a few 2019-2020 cards in this event, between all the Shops cards and Bazaar cards, but also the major glue cards like the two Forces that continually are shaping the format as we go forward.

Vintage Challenge 9/13

Our second Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Sunday Challenge, which had 40 players, thanks to data provided by the Vintage Streamers Discord. The minimum and cutoff of publication for players in these events is 32, so keep that in mind that this was probably a pretty good event for those in it. Let's take a look at the Top 32 Metagame breakdown.

The regional differences between the two Challenge events are definitely interesting, as this event had more combo than the Saturday event did. This could also be due to the number of players in the event but generally, there is a general slant towards combo in the Sunday events that I've noticed.

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

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
PO Storm 1st Fnoop
4C Xerox 2nd DieM4x
Doomsday 3rd Singpanman
PO Storm 4th Shir Kahn
DPS 5th KillerSUV
Hogaak Bazaar 6th Elfkid
Grixis Xerox 7th XShockWaveX
Breach 8th OptionParalysis

Based on the combo slanted metagame, it's no surprise that there was a lot of combo in the Top 8 here. At the end of the event, it was Fnoop who took it down on PO Storm.

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There's a lot going on in this list, from the Notion Thief to the restricted copy of Karn, the Great Creator. Also, there's a Bitter Ordeal in the sideboard. Super cool list for sure.

In Second Place we have 4C Xerox.

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This is a nice list, and I especially enjoy the Mystic Sanctuary in it to function with both Gush + Wrenn and Six. These lists are incredibly greedy, but they make up for a bunch with Deathrite Shaman and Moxen.

In Third Place we have Doomsday.

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This a solid Doomsday list, and Singpanman is a solid combo player. Their track record with this deck really shows how strong this deck is right now.

In Fourth Place we have our good friend Nico Bohny on PO Storm.

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Slaughter Games. That's it. That's the Tweet. Seriously though, super cool list.

In Fifth Place we have DPS.

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This is a pretty cool list. I've always really enjoyed the play style of DPS, as it is generally a fun deck to navigate lines with. I'm pleased to see it having a bit of a resurgence.

In Sixth Place we have Hogaak Bazaar.

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Life from the Loam is some sweet tech with Bazaar of Baghdad in this kind of deck. Really solid list overall.

In Seventh Place we have Grixis Xerox.

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More commonly referred to as Grixis Tinker, this variation of the list has some intriguing options such splashing white for Balance and Rest in Peace. Pretty interesting list overall.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have Breach.

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Managorger Hydra!!! This is a fun list and super interesting working cards like Wrenn and Six and Mystic Sanctuary into the mix, but really it's all about Managorger.

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

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Vigor 30
Force of Negation 25
Once Upon a Time 23
Collector Ouphe 18
Narset, Parter of Veils 17
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 16
Stonecoil Serpent 15
Oko, Thief of Crowns 14
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim 11
Wrenn and Six 11
Underworld Breach 10
Deafening Silence 9
Soul-Guide Lantern 9
Jegantha, the Wellspring 1
Lutri, the Spellchaser 1

Definitely a lot of the usual suspects in this event, with an appearance by two Companions (one in a Lutri DPS shell and Jegantha in a KCI build much like Justin's winning Saturday list). It is certainly interesting how 2019-2020 Magic has influenced Vintage overall.

Community Feedback - Data Collection

As a content creator I'm always looking for ways to improve upon and develop further content. The topic this week I want to ask about is on the basis of data collection and data presentation. I have been doing some extra collection in Legacy at the moment in regards to cards that players in that format feel very strong about. What I am looking for here is feedback on what kind of data and presentation you would like to see in addition to the data I already publish in regards to the Challenge Metagames and cards involved in those Challenges. Please sound off in the comments or on Twitter and let me know what you might be interested in seeing!

The Spice Corner

This Simic Elvish Reclaimer shell is pretty 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 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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