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Vintage 101: The Best Deck in Vintage?


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 one of the decks that is in possible contention for the "best deck in Vintage." The other half of that we'll be talking about next week primarily as sort of a two part series (Lurrus Saga), but for this week we're going to be talking about the more Vintage-y of those decks, which is Jewel Shops. We've also got two Challenges to discuss from over the weekend.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Is Jewel Shops the Best Deck in Vintage?

This is part of a two-parter here as we talk about two decks that are in contention to possibly be the Best Deck in Vintage. The first of these we're going to talk about is a deck that's gone from arguable meme status in the format to a true format-defining powerhouse and is coincidentally the most Vintage-esque deck of the two decks.

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Jewel Shops is a hybrid amalgamation of a blue Mishra's Workshop deck that cannot only play cards like Force of Will, but it can play things like Paradoxical Outcome as well. Because of the sheer mana advantage this deck has it can power out some insanely powerful turns, using the card draw from the Ring and Jewel in conjunction with PO to easily win games. On the flip side, it can leverage it's artifacts to fuel Urza's Saga to win the game that way.

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What makes this deck mostly in contention for the best deck in Vintage? Well, a big portion of that is due in part to the fact that the deck is fairly flexible, and capable of turning on a dime to win the game. Some builds also play cards like Displacer Kitten to make these win condition lines deterministic. In addition, the presence of Saga makes for a really good backup plan that the deck can fall back on quickly. This makes the deck incredibly powerful and sometimes hard to attack.

Jewel Shops is a great Game 1 deck primarily though, as a lot of its power comes from surprising the opponent with its explosive nature, as a lot of Vintage decks of this nature can do. Where this deck gets interesting is in the post-board games. Most of the format is already capable of dealing with artifacts in some way, via effects like Null Rod or Collector Ouphe, which can slow or delay the Jewel Shops decks enough to win. The biggest aspect here is that if you want to beat this deck, the sideboard options are there.

That being said, the primary blockade for this deck to being the defacto best deck is the presence of other decks like Lurrus Saga in the format. We'll be talking about this deck more in-depth next week as that deck has evolved greatly in the past few months, but the options that deck has are natural foils to Jewel Shops with cards like Orcish Bowmasters making it hard to draw cards or Lavinia, Azorius Renegade making it hard for the deck to cast most of its spells, as it's a Mishra's Workshop deck after all, and it plays only 4 creatures. While those cards aren't so good versus the Saga game plan, a lot of other decks are also playing the Saga game plan, giving those other decks ways to combat it.

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I think Jewel Shops is a powerful deck, and it is the most Vintage-y of decks in the current format, but I don't think it is the defacto Best Deck in the Format. It is tempered well by other decks, as all decks have access to some way of dealing with it, and its overall win rate with a sample size of over 600+ decks is roughly 51.85% at the moment.

It's a good deck, but it has a lot of ways to combat it, and the format at large seems to be handling it well.

Next time, we'll be looking at the other half of this with Lurrus Saga.

Vintage Challenge 1/13

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the mid-afternoon Saturday event. This event had 69 players in it thanks to the efforts of the Vintage Streamer's Discord and Daybreak Games. Nice.

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

Jewel Shops was the most represented deck of the event, but it's win rate was less than 50% here. Lurrus Saga did the best out of the bunch while everything else floated about that just above and under 50% mark, except Aggro Shops, which was close to Lurrus Saga.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Lurrus Saga 1st HeyNongMan
Lurrus Saga 2nd Eonwe7
BUG 3rd medvedev
Aggro Shops 4th tao_bye_bye
Lurrus Saga 5th Mogged
Prison Shops 6th s8shock
Jewel Shops 7th techou_aisu
Breach 8th thedeck84

More than a few Lurrus Saga decks in the Top 8, with the finals being a battle between Cats. The winner was the Dimir version of the deck.

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Black offers a lot of primary advantages which we'll talk about more in-depth in next week's article, but the biggest is getting to play Orcish Bowmasters which is a pretty natural foil to The One Ring out of the Jewel decks.

In Second Place we had the Azorius build of Lurrus Saga.

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On the other hand here, the Azorius build offers cards like Lavinia, Azorius Renegade which is a very strong card right now versus a lot of the decks in the format.

Also in this Top 8 we had BUG.

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Very clean and straightforward build here. Not even any copies of Bowmasters, but focusing more on Collector Ouphe and making that stick with four copies. Wild.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Grixis Breach.

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No frills Breach here. This list would look more at home in previous metagames, but it still shows that if you know what you're doing you can do well in this format.

Vintage Challenge 1/14

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 50 players in it thanks to the efforts of the Vintage Streamer's Discord and Daybreak Games.

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

Lurrus Saga was the most played deck by a mile here, and its win rate was pretty good to boot. Prison Shops also did very well as did other blue Tempo, while everything else just sort of rode the 50% line.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Prison Shops 1st kasa
Jewel Shops 2nd bolov0
Blue Ring Tinker 3rd KingHairy
Lurrus Saga 4th LjubljanaKnights
Lurrus Saga 5th discoverN
Lurrus Saga 6th Minest110
Initiative 7th choutin
Lurrus Saga 8th Mogged

A lot of Lurrus Saga in this Top 8 for sure, half of the Top 8 is just that deck, but at the end of the event it was Prison Shops that won.

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Prison/Aggro Shops is slowly converging again it seems, and there's not a huge distinction between the two anymore. This could easily be called just Prison Shops at this point to pick one.

In Second Place we had Jewel Shops.

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This deck is doing a lot of things for sure, and it's all quite good. If you're reading this first, go read the topic of today's article about this deck instead!

Also in this Top 8 we had Blue Ring Tinker.

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Pretty much what it says on the tin here. Tinker variant with four Rings! We've seen these builds before, but they've been pretty removed from the metagame as of late.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Initiative.

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Straighforward list here, and that's fine. This deck works best as a finely tuned machine.

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

Let's dive into the League postings for some truly spicy stuff!

Justin Gennari posted the video, but here's the list for LUMBERJACKS.

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Merfolk is always super sweet.

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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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