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Vintage 101: Showcase, Round Three

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 looking at the results from the final Season 2 Showcase Challenge for Vintage! This is a big event leading into the Showcase Qualifier event for Season 2, so it looks to be an interesting event. We also have one other Challenge from last weekend to talk about, as well as our Spice Corner.

Vintage Showcase Challenge 8/8

The final Showcase Challenge for Season 2 this year took place this past weekend. This is a premier level event that requires Qualification Points (QPs) to enter, and Top 8'ing the event feeds into the Season 2 Showcase Qualifier that will be taking place on August 22nd. Thanks to data collected by our good friends in the Vintage Streamers Discord, we know that there were roughly 110 players for this Showcase Challenge. In addition, thanks to that data we have a pretty complete look at the entire metagame for the event, so let's dive right into that!

The biggest takeaway from this is just how insanely popular Deathrite Shaman based 4C Xerox decks are right now in the format. The number of these decks immensely outweighed every other Xerox build in the format in various deck construction methodologies, but nearly always including DRS, Wrenn and Six, and Oko, Thief of Crowns in some fashion. Furthermore, PO Storm is still definitely a highly popular combo deck, as is the Hogaak Bazaar deck. These strategies being good makes playing flexible Xerox builds like the 4C builds that much better in many ways.

This is certainly a very intriguing look at the overall metagame, and I don't view these results are necessarily a bad thing. Vintage has been in a relatively healthy state as of late it has seemed and every challenge has been a great push and pull type of metagame.

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

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Breach 1st Swengen
Oracle Combo 2nd Ecobaronen
Grixis Urza 3rd GGoggles
Doomsday 4th CherryXMan
Hogaak Bazaar 5th Mogged
4C Xerox 6th JacobIsBoss
Oath of Druids 7th Miharu_Fuyumiya
PO Storm 8th Bryant_Cook

The biggest thing to note about this Top 8 in general is just how combo heavy this Top 8 was. 7/8 of the Top 8 are combo decks, with only a single fair Xerox list in the bunch. This kind of conversion is pretty nutty, but there are some serious competitors in the Top 8 here.

At the end of it all, it was Breach that won the event, piloted by Swengen!

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Breach is a powerful deck in the right hands and this list is no exception. The Breach combo is so incredibly compact that it doesn't need much to go off, and Vintage has a great setup of tutor effects to help enable that. While we've seen this combo in various shells within the format now, Grixis appears to be the most popular of the variants due to the fact that cards like Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor exist. The sideboard plan of this deck having access to Sprite Dragon as a more Xerox-y way to win is extremely strong.

In Second Place we have Thassa's Oracle Combo by our good friend Andreas Petersen!

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What a super interesting list this is! This deck is very much a Xerox Combo deck, capable of winning a game by typical Xerox means such as Monastery Mentor, but the added bonus of having a combo kill with Thassa's Oracle + Demonic Consultation is extremely cool. Factor in Divining Witch as an additional Consultation effect is quite good as well. Andreas is a solid deck builder and it's great to see him doing well with something like this. Very cool deck indeed.

In Third Place we have GGoggles on Grixis Urza.

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Speaking of sweet deckbuilding, this deck is incredibly cool as well. Urza is a card that has a history of ups and downs in the Vintage format, as its often both great and not so great at the same time, requiring a powerful shell to take advantage of the card's raw strength. GGoggles built that shell into a variant with Tinker + Bolas's Citadel and of course that is pretty good.

In Fourth Place we have CherryXMan on Doomsday, a deck they know all too well.

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Doomsday is simply an incredibly powerful deck, and CherryXMan is an incredibly competent pilot on the deck, having put multiple Top 8's with it. If there ever was a story of 2020, it's the fact that Thassa's Oracle made Doomsday simply an incredible deck again.

In Fifth Place we have Mogged on Hogaak Bazaar.

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Hogaak Bazaar has pretty much taken over from Hollow Vine as the default go-to Bazaar based aggro deck. I think the biggest thing about this is that the deck is a little more consistent and is capable of playing mana to get around back-breaking effects like Tabernacle, and Hogaak itself is a huge threat to deal with that closes games super quickly.

In Sixth Place we have JacobIsBoss, a player who is only in his TEENS, on 4C Xerox.

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As noted before, there are several different styles of the 4C Xerox builds, some with Goyf, some with Arcanist, and some with Dark Confidant. This is a solid list, and I have to extend a solid congrats to Jacob on his run in this event. Vintage is a hard format to get into, and the fact that Jacob is in his teens and making waves like this is a fantastic accomplishment all around.

In Seventh Place we have Miharu on Oath of Druids.

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Miharu is one of the big faces of Oath decks, and their track record with this deck is truly incredible. Oath has a really powerful backup plan now in Oko, Thief of Crowns, one that really helps all aspects of the deck's game plan. This backup plan is so good that the deck doesn't even need to play alternative Oath targets anymore, it only ever needs either Niv or Griselbrand.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have Bryant Cook on PO Storm!

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Bryant is no stranger to combo, and his results with PO have been exceptional over this past year. This is a strong list, splashing into red for powerful effects like Pyroblast and of course, Sprite Dragon. This little dragon has proven itself to be quite good in Vintage, so it's great to see it around.

Outside of the Top 8, I want to give a shoutout to our good friend Elaine Cao (aka OriTart) for her take on Jeskai Xerox featuring Ethereal Forager!

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Also showing up was Mono White Eldrazi (and they were the only Eldrazi player out of 110 players!)

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Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in the Top 32 of this event. As always we are only looking at cards that have had 8 copies or more in the Top 32, with special exceptions made for Companions.

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Negation 23
Force of Vigor 22
Deafening Silence 18
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 17
Narset, Parter of Veils 17
Sprite Dragon 17
Once Upon a Time 16
Collector Ouphe 13
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade 12
Underworld Breach 12
Soul-Guide Lantern 11
Thassa's Oracle 11
Oko, Thief of Crowns 10
Wrenn and Six 9
Mystic Sanctuary 8

All the usual suspects are here, but it's truly the two Force effects that I think has had the most impact on Vintage overall out of all of the 2019-2020 cards that have been printed in the past two years. Force of Negation and Force of Vigor have both forced the metagame to adapt to their presence, and they are both exceptionally powerful effects. It's also worth noting that Sprite Dragon had a very positive showing in this event as well, appearing in a lot of sideboard slots as Monastery Mentor-like effects in decks that could use them to sidestep typical combo hate.

All in all this was a neat event, and as noted the Top 8 will go on to participate in the Season 2 Showcase Qualifier. The winner of that event will receive an invite to a Split Championship event via MTG Arena and a path to qualifying for the Player's Tour. That event will again as noted before take place on August 22nd. These are typically smaller events as they generally only include those players that Top 8 a Showcase Challenge. There is also no pass down of Format Tokens, so any players that repeat Top 8'ed a Showcase Challenge this season will have more than one token.

Vintage Challenge 8/9

Our second Challenge of the weekend was a regular Challenge event, which was the early morning Sunday Challenge, which had only 39 players in it. Let's dive right into the Top 32 metagame breakdown.

A trend that somewhat continued from the Showcase event, again we see just how popular 4C Xerox is in the current metagame. DRS based decks have proven just how powerful they are in the current metagame, and just how popular that play style really is.

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

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Oath of Druids 1st MurkyBlack11
Doomsday 2nd CherryXMan
Hogaak Bazaar 3rd MadMaxerNST
4C Xerox 4th BeeNew
RUG Xerox 5th Surv
PO Storm 6th Aylett
Hogaak Bazaar 7th Goteo
Golos Stax 8th Hampuse1

There was a bit more fair in this Top 8, and it was certainly an interesting Top 8.

At the end of the event it was Oath of Druids that took it all down.

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This is pretty much classic Miharu/Oko Oath, which has been the typical standard for the deck as of late.

In Second Place, in a repeat Top 8 performance by CherryXMan we have Doomsday.

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This is the same list as Cherry's Showcase list, but it is great to point out that there is a Tasigur, the Golden Fang in this list. Seriously though, congrats to Cherry on their repeat performances on the deck.

In Third Place we have Hogaak Bazaar.

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There are certainly a few flex spots in this list, mostly in sideboard construction and whether the deck is wanting to run Tabernacle at all in the sideboard or not. It's nice to see that there is a measure of variation in these decks for sure.

In Fourth Place we have 4C Xerox.

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This list is spot on to Jacob's list from the Showcase event, preferring to lean on the power of Goyf instead of trying to play a synergistic game like Arcanist. This formula seems to work very well, so why mess with the wheel?

In Fifth Place we have RUG Xerox.

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This deck is only slightly RUG Xerox in main deck construction only. It's sideboard is packed with stuff that lets it transform into 4C Xerox, complete with Deathrite Shaman and Leovold, Emissary of Trest. Super interesting take on the archetype for sure.

In Sixth Place we have PO Storm.

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While this is splashing red mainly for Pyroblast, this is a build that opts to have more grindy options like Mystic Remora over a card like Sprite Dragon.

In Seventh Place we have Hogaak Bazaar.

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This is pretty much 75/75 of the other list in the Top 8, so there isn't much to discuss that we haven't already touched on with the deck.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have Golos Stax.

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This is a neat list, and it's rather unfortunate that there is no Smokestack here (I always love seeing that card), but it seems like a powerful deck regardless. Witchbane Orb out of the sideboard is great tech against Hurkyl's Recall.

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

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Vigor 23
Force of Negation 21
Wrenn and Six 16
Narset, Parter of Veils 15
Oko, Thief of Crowns 14
Stonecoil Serpent 13
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 12
Once Upon a Time 12
Underworld Breach 12
Mystic Sanctuary 10
Sprite Dragon 10
Thassa's Oracle 10
Soul-Guide Lantern 9
Collector Ouphe 8

Again all our usual suspects are around that have grown to see a lot of play in the Vintage format currently from 2019-2020. The numbers tend to wax and wane but Force of Vigor and Force of Negation both continue to be the best of these. Stonecoil Serpent also showed up a fair amount as there were more Shops variants in this event.

The Spice Corner

Straight out of the Showcase Challenge, it's Jund!

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Oath of Druids + Footfall Crater!

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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 us next week as we continue our journey into Vintage!

As always you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! In addition you can always get in touch with me via the MTGGoldfish Discord Server as well as the Vintage Streamers Discord.

Until next time!

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