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Vintage 101: Spicy Brews!


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 some interesting and spicy brews from across the interwebs, and consider strategies that are not well represented in the current Vintage metagame.

Next week will be our Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate set review, so be on the lookout for that!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Spicy Meatballs!

We don't often get a ton of spicy spicy decks in Vintage, but I still believe there is a ton of space to explore in the format with archetypes that are not well represented or just simply don't have people who play them at all. This article is dedicated to those kinds of lists. Much thanks to folks such as Justin Gennari and Phil Gallagher for their work in the format in this article and for playing really incredibly spicy stuff that looks super fun. We're going to talk about a few archetypes that could be cool to explore but just don't seem to have much traction.

Reanimator

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Reanimator is an often not thought of in Vintage, despite being a cornerstone combo deck in formats like Legacy, and even having some Modern equivalence in that format. A lot of this primarily has to do with the fact that much of the format is already prepping for graveyard decks because of the existence of Bazaar of Baghdad as an enabler and also the plethora of free creatures that exist to profit off of that.

However, there is something to be said about Reanimator, which might be more of a Blue/Black deck in Vintage given the existence of restricted Blue cards and Force of Will. Let's take a look at a fun list as given to us by Justin Gennari as of late.

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Because of the restricted tutors in Vintage combined with the mana advantage the format naturally lends itself to, using tutors like Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor in place of extra copies of Animate Dead / Entomb can be very strong. There's plenty of ways here to ditch the payoff to the graveyard to Reanimate it, between Ledger Shredder and Tainted Indulgence. I feel like a Reaniamtor subarchetype could be an interesting addition to the overall metagame; it's just dependent on whether people find the time to actively pursue working on it.

Elves

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Another deck that is well known in Legacy but hasn't really ever gotten off the ground in Vintage besides a few times is Elves. Elves is naturally a combo deck that functions off the back of Natural Order. The problem with such a deck is that it at least usually needs to have a turn cycle or two to have creatures to attack with, but it boasts a lot of disruption to opposing countermagic with cards like Allosaurus Shepherd.

This one is another Justin Gennari list, so let's take a look at what could be Elves in Vintage.

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The big thing about this particular decklist that I see is not having a few of the hallmarks of Elves in Legacy, such as Glimpse of Nature as a combo chain. I'd also like to see some of the traditional Elves threats like Archon of Valor's Reach here because of how powerful that card seems like it could be (naming Artifact a lot of the time is very strong). Again, this is a space where if we had players actively pursuing this strategy it could definitely be a deck. Much like how we've seen Goblins become a part of the format again, maybe it would take a few of the strong Elves players in Legacy to come over and apply their wisdom to Vintage as well. Would definitely be interesting to see for sure.

Aluren

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Aluren is another interesting strategy that sees a measure of play in Legacy, but not so much in Vintage. The basic combos of Aluren often involve cards like Cavern Harpy and Ukkima, Stalking Shadow, as well as one-card win condition Acererak the Archlich. I took a little inspiration from existing lists for putting this one together, applying the Restricted List cantrip shell to the deck as best as I could. This deck can be built any number of ways it seems, and this way also involves something that doesn't see much play in Vintage at all and that's Yorion, Sky Nomad.

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Having Living Wish gives the deck ways of fetching important silver bullets from the sideboard, such as allowing the deck to complete the Acererak kill that way, but also to have access main deck to stuff like The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale and Boseiju, Who Endures. In Vintage, having Deathrite Shaman instead of having to use Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch is a huge upside as DRS is a win condition on its own.

Tinker?

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It seems weird to call Tinker decks a space to brew in, but our good friend Phil Gallagher has done just that with the card Cyberdrive Awakener from the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Commander product lines. By having a target that makes all your artifacts 4/4s for a turn, you can sandbag a Tinker until the right time and blow your opponent out of the water, or you can still beat them with Bolas's Citadel and win with Urza's Saga.

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This list certainly shows that there is a lot of space still even within the Tinker archetypes in the format, and that we can come up with some powerful things this way.

The Takeaway

The takeaway from all these lists is that there is still plenty of space in Vintage that we just haven't explored yet and that there are archetypes that could see play but simply don't due to players not having the hive mind resources to work on them. As there are often a lot fewer players in the format than other formats, this is to be expected, but I'm thankful for the many content creators that do so day in and day out that provide us with interesting and spicy lists to look at.

So get out there and get exploring!

Vintage Challenge 5/21

We had two Challenges this past weekend, the first of which was the Saturday event. This event had 53 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 data sheet here.

Blue Tempo had the highest population here in this event, but it didn't do quite as well. Tinker also had some popular numbers and solid representation, while Oath of Druids had low numbers but a great performance overall.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Doomsday 1st discoverN
Oath of Druids 2nd D00mwake
Jund 3rd Jackpuddy
Mono White Aggro 4th LuckyOnline
Breach 5th Miharu_Fuyumiya
Doomsday 6th iloveyou
Breach 7th thepowernine
Esper Tinker 8th JUJUBEAN__2004

Really interesting Top 8 here with a lot of different stuff going on including some combo, some Tinker, and even some Oath. At the end of the event though, it was the Doomsday master himself discoverN on Doomsday!

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Tainted Indulgence making its way into the deck is really interesting. We talked about this card earlier and it seems to be very interesting. Using it as draw two / potential discard one here is definitely strong.

The Second Place finalist was on Oath of Druids.

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It has been a while since we've seen Niv-Mizzet, Parun in an Oath deck so that in of itself is pretty sweet.

Down the Top 8 we've got a showing by Lurrus Jund!

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This list is sick. I love the inclusion of Abundant Harvest as a cantrip of sorts, and also main deck copy of Mind Twist! There's a lot going on here and it's so cool.

Further into the Top 8 we've got Mono White Aggro.

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Another Lurrus build that is also non-blue and that's really cool to see. Lurrus enabling some of these white aggro variants and making things like Leonin Arbiter a card is really sweet.

Vintage Challenge 5/22

The other Challenge 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 data sheet here.

Aggro Shops and Tinker both had solid representation and win rates in this event, while Blue Tempo also did quite well. This looked like a pretty reasonable event overall.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Bird Blade 1st SenpaiBlank
Aggro Shops 2nd bless_von
Paradoxical Outcome 3rd Dafne17
UR Tempo 4th Mogged
Aggro Shops 5th AlbiMTG
Doomsday 6th iloveyou
Grixis Tinker 7th Butakov
Hogaak 8th Shir Kahn

Really interesting Top 8 here. At the end of the event, it was SenpaiBlank on BIRD BLADE taking the whole thing down.

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Ledger Shredder still remains one of the more interesting cards from Streets of New Capenna for Vintage purposes. It definitely seems very powerful when used in conjunction with Stoneforge Mystic. Really strong deck for sure.

The Second Place finalist was on Aggro Shops.

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There's a lot going on here, but Patchwork Automaton is really tying it together, and this deck is also boasting three Null Rod in the 75 and not caring because of how strong Automaton is. Really fast-paced aggressive list for sure.

Down the Top 8 we have UR Tempo.

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These decks are very straightforward and powerful. Murktide Regent continues to be an absolute house of card in this format for sure.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we have Hogaak.

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A red splash here is wildly interesting, gaining access to cards like Blazing Rootwalla, but also for stuff like Pyroblast and Alpine Moon. Definitely a fun and interesting list.

Around the Web

  • The content machine cannot be stopped! Justin Gennari's round-up of videos is here:
  • SenpaiBlank posted a video of their Challenge win with Bird Blade. Check it out here.
  • Andrea Mengucci posted a video on Breach. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

You can find all of the 5-0 lists from this past weekend here.

Planeswalker Oath from Brian Kelly is always amazing to look at.

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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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