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Vintage 101: Showcase of Vintage Excellence

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 taking a look at the Vintage Showcase Challenge event from over the weekend. In addition to that we've got one other Challenge to take a look at. This is the first really big event on the client with Ponder being unrestricted, so that's interesting.

It's a bit of a slow news week otherwise, so let's get to it!

Vintage Showcase Challenge 3/16

This past weekend was the first big Showcase Challenge event in which Ponder is fully unrestricted. Showcase Challenge events are large events in which the Top 8 of the event gets invited to the Showcase Qualifier at the end of the season. These events costs Qualification Points (QPs) to enter. This particular event had 182 players in it, thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

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

Surprisingly the most played deck here was Initiative, but despite a top finish it's win rate was subpar overall. Lurrus Saga did very well here, as did Jewel Shops and Doomsday. Oath didn't do so hot here and neither did other Shops variants.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jewel Shops 1st bennybo
Lurrus Saga 2nd duke12
Lurrus Saga 3rd Magician15
Dredge 4th msskinbolic
Lurrus Saga 5th gatekappa
BUG 6th Montolio
Initiative 7th SpicyLeche
BUG 8th lordoflifegain

Quite an interesting Top 8 overall, with a lot of Lurrus Saga hanging about. At the end of the event, the winner was Jewel Shops.

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Jewel is most assuredly one of the decks that gains no direct benefit from the unrestriction as it never played Ponder in the first place and isn't really about to start. The combination of colorless lands plus Mishra's Workshop makes that a problematic position anyways. As for the deck's result here, it's not a surprise it's doing well enough to win this event. It's a solid deck right now and does a lot of very broken things.

In Second Place we had Lurrus Saga.

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This is another deck that arguably didn't benefit much from the unrestriction either, partly because these builds generally didn't play Ponder at all. An uptick here back to the UB variants instead of UW / Esper though as other builds within the Top 8/16/32 are also mostly UB.

Also in this Top 8 we had BUG.

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A third deck without Ponder in it! I don't think it was ever really a good BUG card anyways. I like this list a lot. Despite not running any of its own Bowmasters, it has a lot of strong gameplay.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Initiative.

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Solidly mostly stock list here. Anointed Peacekeeper continues to hang about and a good portion of that ideally is due in part to Dredge's resurgence in the overall metagame, as the card is good versus Bazaar of Baghdad.

But wait, we had an unrestriction! Where are all the Ponder decks?! Well, let's start at 12th place with Breach.

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A purely Izzet based build of Breach is something I can see utilizing Ponder as a four-of in alongside having four copies of Preordain. This all just fuels Sprite Dragon as the primary fair game plan threat while digging you towards the Breach kill.

Another Ponder deck in the Top 16 was Doomsday.

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Gaining more access to chances to see cards in your deck can only be good for a deck like Doomsday since it is often seeking to locate the cards it needs to win the game (aka Doomsday). It makes the deck very interesting for sure.

Vintage Challenge 3/17

The second event of the weekend was the early morning Saturday Challenge. This event had 41 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

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

Lurrus Saga was extremely popular here and its win rate was very good overall, eclipsed only slightly by Doomsday having a very positive win rate as well with fewer players. Initiative and Dredge both had positive win rates, while Jeskai seemed to do very poorly and despite a strong finish by one player Jewel Shops did poorly.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Lurrus Saga 1st ElfKid
Paradoxical Outcome 2nd Tunaktunak
Doomsday 3rd discoverN
Lurrus Saga 4th Mogged
Dredge 5th dingzhen
Oath of Druids 7th snoopy-magic
Jewel Shops 8th EiJunCHN

Very interesting Top 8 here. At the end of the event it was a split finals with the recorded winner being Lurrus Saga.

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The real norm for this deck is becoming the builds with Vault Key in them. I know we've seen builds without but the opportunity cost seems so ultra low to include it.

In Second Place we had PO.

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Neat to kind of see Esper PO rolling about again. Most PO decks these days are mostly Jewel Shops, so to see a more traditional PO variant is pretty nice.

Further down the Top 8 we had Dredge.

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Sort of surprised at the lack of Poxwalkers here, but it goes to show that both versions of this deck are very good still right now and doing well.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Oath of Druids.

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Definitely a stock Oath list at this juncture for the most part, with the one exception of there being a lone Emrakul, the Aeons Torn in the list. Pretty interesting stuff.

Around the Web

  • Justin Gennari always has some great stuff for us:
  • FiretruckModo has a video on Poxwalkers Dredge. Check it out here.
  • Revenantkioku has a Doomsday video. Check it out here.
  • Montolio has a video on his BUG run in the Vintage Showcase. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

We've got some Spice from the Showcase Challenge this week! Check out some SCAM lists.

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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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