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Vintage 101: Season Three Showcase Challenge Number One

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 diving into this past weekend's Season Three Showcase Challenge event! This was a pretty cool event, and of course as always we have the other Challenge event this past weekend to talk about and of course our Spice Corner.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Showcase Challenge One 10/3 - Season Three

This past weekend had the first of Season Three's Showcase Challenge events. The entry for these events are 40 Qualifier Points (QPs), meaning the barrier to entry is relatively high, as you only accumulate QPs by doing well in Leagues and Preliminary events. As such, the competition for these kinds of events can be relatively fierce. Thanks to data collected by our good friends in the Vintage Streamers Discord, we do know that there were 99 players in this particular event, and thus we have a solid look at the overall metagame.

This was definitely an interesting event, and PO Storm was definitely very popular in this event, as was a varying number of decks from BUG Midrange to Golos Stax. Lot of really powerful strategies here, and it's great to get a bigger picture than the Top 32 published lists that we usually know, so I really appreciate the efforts by the Streamers Discord to acquire this data. It's definitely invaluable and paints a solid picture of the current metagame, which actually looks reasonable and diverse in this event. Combo is definitely a big part of things, but it looks like there's a lot of fair to keep up with things.

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

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Hollow Vine 1st Montolio
PO Storm 2nd Fnoop
BUG Midrange 3rd BGV1989
4C Xerox 4th KauffJ
Doomsday 5th DiscoverN
PO Storm 6th Billsive
Hollow Vine 7th __Matsugan
Grixis Xerox 8th Aylett

There's a lot of powerful wizards in this Top 8, and some really cool decks to boot. PO and Hollow Vine converted quite well into the Top 8 of the event, but the real treat was seeing who took down the whole event. Piloting Hollow Vine is our good friend Andy Markiton (aka Montolio)!

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I had a great opportunity to sit down with Andy, a player I'd been meaning to have an interview with for quite some time on this column, as I really appreciate his contributions to the format and in addition he's also a really stellar person. So, without further ado, let's talk to Andy!

First things first, introduce yourself for the people who might not be aware of who you are.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Andy and my online alias is Montolio. I have been playing Magic: the Gathering since Ice Age and have been playing Magic Online (MTGO) since it’s infancy. My favorite format is Vintage which I started playing once it became available on MTGO. Chances are if you play Vintage online we have crossed paths at some point. Not long after it’s emergence on MTGO I invested into paper Vintage acquiring Mishra's Workshops and a full set of Moxen which have served me well ever since. My accolades encompass two top 8’s at Eternal Weekend, one of which I became North American Vintage Champion, 2 NYSE titles and a Star City Games (SCG) Power Nine Series champion. 

Major congratulations on winning this Showcase Challenge event. It’s great to see you back playing Vintage on a regular basis! What drove your decision to play Hollow Vine this weekend?

First and foremost I think HollowVine is a powerful, versatile and resilient deck that I have a lot reps with. My philosophy for important tournaments is to bring a deck that you know inside and out, versus perhaps a slightly better meta call that you may not be able to run optimally. Having said that, for the Showcase Challenge I admittedly was a bit skittish to run HollowVine due to the recent uptick in BUG over the last few weeks. In the end I knew there was going to be a healthy field of combo in the Showcase which HollowVine has a good match up versus, and who is kidding who this deck can beat anything on a given day. In addition to that I also won the NYSE a few weeks ago with HollowVine so why quit when you are ahead.

You’ve been developing this archetype for quite a while, are there any changes you’d make going forward after this win?

I am happy with my current list's composition and would not recommend any changes.

Of course, this is metagame dependent and would change based on what I am seeing. As you can see in this Iteration I decided to cheat on the Shops matchup and only ran 2 main deck Force of Vigor (FoV) to fit a fourth Mind Break Trap as a nod to Paradoxical Outcome and Doomsday.

What are your thoughts on Vintage in 2020? Is the format healthy? Are there any changes you’d make to it?

I think Vintage is in a healthy state overall. There is good deck diversity, and no one deck is dominating. I don’t think any card is restriction worthy, but I would be remiss not to mention my dislike of Force of Vigor. As an acolyte of Mishra’s I feel FoV hurt that archetype significantly and I wouldn’t be sad if it got restricted. In all seriousness, I feel that WOTC needs to strongly consider reinstating Lurrus of the Dream Den back into Vintage. With the errata changes to Companions we will not see the type of brokenness we saw leading to it’s ban. The fact WOTC has not addressed this is plain lazy.

As we all well know, a lot of the Vintage community is close due to the Gathering part of Magic, so let’s talk about you and how you’re doing. How have things been for you in 2020?

Things are going well for my family and I during these challenging times we are all living in. My wife and I are blessed to both be working fulltime and our kids are now back to school and their activities, so life is feeling more like our normal routine. Like many of you I am definitely missing the gathering piece of playing paper magic. As we approach Eternal Weekend I feel saddened that I will not be seeing all my friends that I only get to see once a year with some paper Vintage sprinkled on. Hopefully next year.

Are there any shoutouts you’d like to make or social media links you’d like to share? If so, drop them below.

I would like to give my friend Will Magrann a shout out as he has worked closely with me on HollowVine and many other projects over the years.

Please follow me on twitter @TheALPHA7.

Thanks for joining us this week! Again, congrats on your finish and never forget that you are awesome!

In Second Place we have PO Storm.

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I always love looking at Fnoop's lists, because they always seem to try out various new cards and put up interesting results with them. In this case it's Thieving Skydiver, which is certainly an interesting card. Also showing up here is new card Feed the Swarm, which is super sweet. I'm especially amused that the major win condition for this variant is either Grapeshot or Karn, the Great Creator, instead of having stuff like Mentor or even Tendrils.

In Third Place we have BUG Midrange.

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This is a pretty common BUG Midrange list, but it's still incredibly powerful. In fact, this is pretty close to the list Jacobisboss played in the Challenge that he won. It's certainly a really strong archetype to be on right now as it tends to have solid game against combo and graveyard based archetypes.

In Fourth Place we have 4C Xerox.

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Singleton copy of Daze is always pretty amusingly interesting in Xerox builds, but I tell you as someone who has played a Xerox build with one-of Daze it's pretty incredible when it does come up and you catch your opponent unaware with a Black Lotus.

In Fifth Place we have Doomsday.

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One thing I love seeing is how tiny micro decisions to play various newer cards make things more interesting rather than being a central part of the deck. While Thassa's Oracle certainly shines as the root of the Doomsday shell now, it's cool to see cards like Cling to Dust and Mystical Dispute as well.

In Sixth Place we have another PO list.

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This is a more commonly seen Esper build, with zero splashing into red for blast effects. In this case, this list is running both Tendrils and Mentor as a win condition, but they too also have a Karn to win the game with as well, which is a good place for PO decks to be.

In Seventh Place we have a second Hollow Vine list.

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The major thing here is slotting in a 1-of Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis as an additional payoff to the other threats in the deck, which seems pretty interesting overall.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have Grixis Xerox, otherwise often known as Grixis Tinker.

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Grixis Tinker is mainly very much just some of the best cards in Grixis colors that do the important things, from tutoring to winning the game such as Sphinx of the Steel Wind being a solid Tinker target versus a varying number of strategies.

Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards to appear in the Top 32 of this event. As always we're looking at cards with eight copies or more, with exceptions made for Modal DFCs and Companions.

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Vigor 33
Force of Negation 32
Collector Ouphe 24
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade 23
Narset, Parter of Veils 22
Oko, Thief of Crowns 19
Dreadhorde Arcanist 15
Soul-Guide Lantern 13
Mystic Sanctuary 11
Sprite Dragon 9
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim 8

Not much in the way of new stuff from Zendikar Rising cracking into the 8 copies or more here. We saw a few cards here or there, which is interesting for sure. As always we have our usual 2019+ cards in the two Forces at the top.

This looks to have been a solid event with a great amount of players and a solid looking Top 8. Congratulations to all of the Top 8 competitors on making it to the Season Three Showcase Qualifier!

Vintage Challenge 10/4

Our other Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday Challenge. Let's dive right into the Top 32.

Doomsday was the doom of this event, with a fair number of lists over the others in the event. However, it didn't actually convert well to the Top 8 of the event, being overshadowed by a number of other archetypes.

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

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
BUG Midrange 1st Butakov
Dredge 2nd Vwxyza648204
Jeskai Xerox 3rd MurkyBlack11
Hollow Vine 4th BlueDragon1981
4C Xerox 5th Dazai
BUG Midrange 6th AlakazimDK
PO Storm 7th Cho_Manno
Golos Stax 8th Toondoslav

Fair Xerox based decks certainly did very well in this Top 8, with BUG / 4C DRS variants doing very well. These have been good variants to be on for some time, so I'm not very surprised to see them convert well. At the end of the event it was BUG that did win.

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This is a very clean list and pretty typical of the common BUG lists we see these days, and is close in construction to the list in the Showcase Challenge as well.

In Second Place we have Dredge.

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Creeping Chill is a fun inclusion into current Dredge lists. This looks like a fun and powerful list for sure.

In Third Place we have Jeskai Xerox.

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This Jeskai list is very all in on Arcanist, as lists tend to gravitate back and forth between the card in terms of raw numbers. This looks like a strong list, though.

In Fourth Place we have Hollow Vine.

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Hollow Vine continues to be one of the most consistent and powerful Bazaar shells, and is consistently adapting to the metagame overall.

In Fifth Place we have 4C Xerox.

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This is more of a Planeswalker based build with some creature threats like Goyf over things like Arcanist. I'm still staggered by the numbers of things like Tabernacles in the sideboards of these decks, but I get that Hollow Vine is definitely a force to be reckoned with as is the Hogaak deck.

Since Sixth Place was also BUG, let's move down to Seventh Place with PO Storm.

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This is pretty identical to the other list in the Showcase, but the big difference is lack of cards like Tendrils and instead relying on either Mentor or Karn to put the game away.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have Golos Stax.

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Golos decks have really shined through over traditional Ravager builds, and I think the presence of Force of Vigor has a lot to do with that mainly. Golos is a powerful card, even if we aren't activating his secondary ability.

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

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Vigor 39
Force of Negation 26
Collector Ouphe 15
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 15
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade 14
Narset, Parter of Veils 13
Dreadhorde Arcanist 12
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim 12
Oko, Thief of Crowns 11
Mystic Sanctuary 8
Soul-Guide Lantern 8

Again we have more of the usual cards, with both Forces solidly at the top. It's interesting, but not surprising that free countermagic/disruption would be highly played. These cards are incredibly powerful and have driven more metagame shifts and changes than anything else it seems.

Vintage Community Update - Eternal Weekend Magic Online 2020

This past week gave us a solid update on what we can expect the Eternal Weekend event on Magic Online to look like. You can check out all the details here, but for Vintage the details look like this:

  • Event entry is $25 per event
  • A single event entry gets your account access to every Magic Online card from the Wednesday before the Eternal Weekend for the specific format to the Wednesday after, so players can practice.
  • Vintage events are on October 24th and 25th, with three different events. Each event will win an oversized artwork depending on the event.

This looks like it will be a great time for Vintage competition and a lot of fun. While we can't have Eternal Weekend in person this year, it is great to see Wizards supporting Vintage / Legacy in this fashion, and the all-access accounts are also really great for getting people into the format. So for $25 you can play a lot of Vintage and Legacy!

The Spice Corner

Allosaurus Shepherd in Vintage! Make all your Crop Rotation uncounterable!

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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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