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Vintage 101: Samwise, the Vintage Powerhouse


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 Samwise the Stouthearted in Vintage and how that card has slowly become a very strong contender in the current format.

In addition to that we've got a paper event to talk about from North Carolina and two Challenge events.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Samwise, Oh Samwise

The Lord of the Rings set has been around for a while now, and while cards like Orcish Bowmasters and The One Ring have made big splashes in both Magic and Vintage as a whole, it's interesting to talk about cards that didn't make as huge of a splash but still settled into a space of solidly constructed playable.

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At it's core, Samwise is a strong value engine, primarily when used in conjunction to loop Wasteland with cards like Karakas. Furthermore, it can net back free cards like Mishra's Bauble and also bring back stuff like Cathar Commando for repeated artifact destruction.

Of course, the best and most logical place for all of these things is within a Lurrus of the Dream-Den shell!

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Lurrus is a very natural fit for Samwise here, as it promotes using Sam's Legendary status to also loop Sam's at some point in the game to not only max out the Ringbearer status but also to gain further triggers with Karakas and Lurrus being able to also rebuy the card. This utilizes Lurrus primarily more as an engine card and all of the little pieces of the deck flow together to work with each other while still having a lot of individual strength on their own.

It's a really cool deck, and looks like a ton of fun. It showcases just how cool some of these new cards can be without being completely overpowering.

The Gathering Place Games Vintage 1K 8/20/2023

This past weekend was a large event weekend at The Gathering Place Games in NC known as The Gathering 2023. You can find their Facebook page here.

As part of this event weekend there was a Vintage 1K with a 15-card Proxy limit. This event drew in 44 players to it.

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

There were a good number of lists that were not recorded on MTGMelee unfortunately (likely paper decklists that never got filled in to the system), so the numbers are a little skewed. AggroVine however seemed to do well as did Initiative.

Here is the recorded Top 8 after Swiss rounds. It seems that MTGMelee was not used for running the Top 8 so we don't actually know who won the event as I was unable to locate information on any postings about it.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
No Recorded Decklist 5-1 Jeremy Henry
Doomsday 4-0 Hunter Sandlin
Hogaak 4-0 Kilian Cooley
Grixis Saga 4-0 Lucien Longlais
No Recorded Decklist 4-1 AdamCostsbile
Initiative 4-1 Tyler Mollenkopf
Reanimator 4-1 Jason Hallman
Grixis Saga 4-2 Dave Kaplan

Pretty interesting spread here. The one deck that really stuck out at me here was the Reanimator list by Jason Hallman.

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This is honestly quite spicy. I love the idea of having a Reanimator-type deck in the format and feel like this space could be explored more for sure.

Vintage Challenge 8/19

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the mid-afternoon Saturday event. This event had 56 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 datasheet here.

Initiative was the most popular deck of the event and while it did have some Top 8 appearances the win rate was otherwise lower than 50%. Grixis Saga did very well as did AggroVine and Dredge. PO did quite poorly here as did Ring Tinker variants.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dimir Tinker 1st Capriccioso
Doomsday 2nd Fnoop
BUG Midrange 3rd littledarwin
Initiative 4th yPrincipe
Jeskai Lurrus 5th s8shock
Initiative 6th Dejekt
Oath of Druids 7th Miharu_Fuyumiya
Lutri Combo 8th billsive

Very interesting spread of decks here. Worth noting no Mishra's Workshop, as Shops decks were well underrepresented as a whole (three decks in the entire challenge). At the end of the event it was Dimir Tinker that won.

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Well-constructed list here. I like the split of 2/2 Bowmasters here as the card isn't always 100% in the matchup as you want it especially with a lot of Initiative roaming about.

In Second Place we had Doomsday.

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You can definitely tell the tech here to beat on Initiative with four copies of Subtlety in the sideboard, as that is a great card that answers a threat in that matchup long enough to give Doomsday a chance to go off and win the game. Very smart for sure. Main deck Dress Down is also quite cool.

Further down the Top 8 we had Oath of Druids.

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I love Crop Rotation in this kind of list where it gets you either the Forbidden Orchard you need to trigger Oath or the Urza's Saga. Four Lorien Revealed is also incredible here to always fix your mana to what you need.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Lutri Combo/Lutri PO.

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Lutri is great for building piles where every card is just individually a powerful and strong card. This list is definitely doing that. Even the sideboard is singleton! Gotta appreciate the commitment.

Vintage Challenge 8/20

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 48 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 datasheet here.

Initiative and Blue Control variants both very popular here and both had strong win rates. AggroVine decks had a really good win rate, while Countervine didn't do that well. Jeskai also did very well. Blue Ring Tinker didn't so hot here either.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
CradleVine 1st MissTrigger
Initiative 2nd _Shatun_
Breach 3rd Kuvalda
Dimir Lurrus 4th Mogged
Initiative 5th J0se
Esper Tinker 6th Cioffo86
Initiative 7th yPrincipe
Doomsday 8th SingPanMan

Lot of Initiative in this Top 8, alongside some Tinker. At the end of the event though it was CradleVine that won.

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I really like this deck personally. It's quite strong and has a lot of proactive aggressive gameplay to it. Hexdrinker is one heck of a card for sure.

In Second Place we had Initiative.

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Phyrexian Censor is a pretty strong and interesting card. Also interesting to see Anointed Peacekeeper again, and a split of Solitude between main and side. This deck does seem to be pretty flexible for sure in some of its slots.

Also in this Top 8 we had Breach.

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Very stock-looking list here, although I do enjoy the single copy of Gifts Ungiven in the main deck. That is pretty cool considering how far removed Gifts has been from the format as a card.

Further into this Top 8 we had Dimir Lurrus.

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Very much leaning on the power of cyclers like Lorien Revealed and being able to rebuy Bowmasters with Lurrus. Seems like a very strong deck for sure.

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

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

How very Stoneforge Mystic of you!

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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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