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Vintage 101: The Class of 2019

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 the Vintage community at large. I know for months I've mentioned names here or there, however I realized that some folks may not really know who some of these people in the community are, and that's what we're going to be doing this week. In addition, we'll be talking about some sweet stories and sharing some sweet decklists that are related to these awesome people.

In addition, we're going to dive into this past weekend's Vintage Challenge as well as the final week of the first rounds of VINTAGE SUPER LEAGUE! This week is exciting stuff, since it's the second time our very own SaffronOlive gets to dive into the format, and there is still technically a chance he's live for the playoffs! How did he do? You'll have to read on to see!

The Vintage Community

By and large, the Vintage Community are among some of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and playing games with. Many of the more notable players in the community are very wonderful people and spend their time promoting the wonders and nature of the format so very well. And then there are those that simply help others with playing, from allowing folks to borrow cards for large events to trying to promote local unsanctioned Vintage to get people interested.

This sense of community has always been what has driven me to this format outside of the insane plays and good times casting some of the most powerful cards in Magic's history. Without further ado, let's take a look at some of Vintage's most prolific community members.

So Many Insane Plays - Stephen Menendian, Kevin Cron

I've talked about this podcast before in passing in this series, but I have not spent much time discussing the two folks behind it. So Many Insane Plays is helmed primarily by Stephen Menendian and Kevin Cron, two longtime players and community members of the Vintage format.

Stephen Menendian

Stephen is a prolific content creator, having written numerous pieces of content about the Vintage format, including current work on an actual book detailing the complete history of Vintage as a format as well as a book solely dedicated to the card Gush. Stephen even wrote articles about Vintage for StarCityGames and has played in multiple seasons of the Vintage Super League. Stephen won the Vintage Championships in 2007 and is one of the most technical and data-driven writers that exists in the format. He is well known for his analysis and ability to deconstruct a game of Vintage, thinking vastly ahead several turns to find the most optimal line.

I had the fortuitous chance to meet Stephen at SCG Con, and it was a great honor to sit and chat with him.

Stephen is also one of the more prolific players of the deck Doomsday.

Kevin Cron

Kevin Cron is the other half of So Many Insane Plays Podcast, hailing from the state of Michigan. Kevin is well practiced in the Vintage format, having played decks like BUGStill, Mentor, Shops, and even PO. He's made three Top 8's in Vintage Championships and has had multiple Top 8's in Team SCG Opens. Kevin is a highly analytical player and a heavy promoter of local Vintage. Kevin also boasts one of the prettiest sets of Magic cards, as nearly most of his decks are altered in some fashion (including his Power which is amazing).

I also had the chance of meeting (and playing against) Kevin at SCG Con, and he was a fantastic opponent and great guy to meet.

Jason Jaco

One of the third members of So Many Insane Plays and Eternal Central, Jason Jaco is a true proponent of Old School Magic, being involved in not just the Vintage community but also in formats such as 93/94 Old School and Middle School. Jason was the winner of SCGMKE in 2013 (which was Legacy) and he is also responsible for the creation of "Jaco-Drazi", an unpowered Eldrazi deck. Jason is also well known for the sheer "pimp" factor of his cards, as many are altered, signed, or foil (sometimes all three).

I met Jason at SCG Con as well, and he was a fantastic guy to converse with and talk about Vintage.

The Academy

The Academy is a loose grouping of several high-class Vintage players, including the likes of Rich Shay, Andy Markiton, Brian Kelly, and Matt Murray. You heard a little bit about this from Matt Murray himself last week, so let's take a look at the rest of these fine folks and talk about them a bit.

Rich Shay

One of the most interesting things about Rich Shay is that quite often, even those who don't know much about Vintage in general, know who Rich Shay is. Rich, otherwise known as Dr. Shay (since he is an actual Doctor), also goes by his online handle "The Atog Lord" and has been a part of Vintage and a part of Magic for a very long time. Rich is outspoken on his thoughts on the Vintage format, often willing to share his thoughts with anyone on how he feels about the format. He has had multiple multiple Top 8's in Vintage Championships and has basically played virtually everything in the format, although he tends to prefer Workshops. Rich is also famous for having a massively large collection of Atogs (and Atog related cards) including over 500+ copies of the original printing of the card. In addition he owns several original art prints of various Atogs, including the original art for Megatog.

Andy Markiton

Andy Markiton, otherwise known as Montolio online, is a master of the Cult of Mishra. His preferred deck, Workshops, has led him to countless victories including winning the 2017 Vintage Championship and the 2018 SCG Power Nine Championship on the deck. Andy is a phenomenal player, and an absolutely wonderful person to converse with. As a preferred pilot of Workshops, Andy has continually evolved and worked on the list, never seeming to play the same sideboard and flex spots.

I met Andy at SCG Con, where he ultimately went on to win the whole event, and he was an extremely humble person and awesome to chat with.

Brian Kelly

One of the most genius and inventive players the format has ever known or seen, Brian Kelly can absolutely be described as a unique thinker. His approach to the format often rewards his willingness to step outside the box and try different things, nearly to the point where Brian Kelly decks can't even truly be classified as their typical archetypes. They're simply Brian Kelly decks. Known as "The Dragonlord," Brian has been responsible over the years for many different innovations to the deck Oath of Druids, including the original inclusion of Dragonlord Dromoka in the deck alongside the Auriok Salvagers + Black Lotus combination. Although he has played many different strategies over the years, Oath is truly his jam.

Other Great Community Members and Teams

Team Serious

1000% Serious. That's right folks. These guys mince no words about how serious they are about the Vintage format. Backed by the awesome Serious Vintage Podcast (headed by Nat and Geoff Moes), Team Serious has been bringing Ohio its daily dose of Vintage for several years now. Many of the Team Serious folks are just incredibly awesome folks, including peeps such as Nam Tran (who has Top 8'ed several Vintage Championships in his time playing the format).

If you're looking for a dose of Serious in your life, look no further because these guys have it.

Lone Star Lhurgoyfs

Based out out of Texas, the Lone Star Lhurgoyfs are passionate about Vintage/Legacy and everything in between. They also run their own podcast, and I was fortunate enough to meet some of their members at SCG Con last year, even to the point of borrowing a playset of Bazaar of Baghdad from Ben Kendrick of the Goyfs. These guys are fantastic and well worth listening to.


Another great group of guys who are also well dedicated to Vintage, Team TUSK also operates their own podcast Tusk Talk. Be sure to go check them out as well!

Randy Buehler

Known for his love of Necropotence, Randy Buehler is a living legend of Magic's history, from his days as a Hall-of-Famer to being on coverage, but Randy's major contribution to the Vintage format has been the creation and ongoing nurturing of the Vintage Super League alongside Producer Athena Froehlich. Randy's excitement for Old School Magic including Vintage is unparalleled and unmatched, and it shows in every commentary he brings to the table of a Vintage tournament, whether it's VSL or a large event such as Eternal Weekend.

Athena Froehlich

The other half of the Vintage Super League's production team, Athena relatively remains behind the scenes on the production, but her touch on the VSL in general is seen in every frame from the design of the stream overlay to the super sweet promotional videos she creates for it (Seriously this season's intro is among the best I've ever seen). Her passion for the format is clearly evident. Last year she even took the stage herself along with Erin Campbell and Rachel Agnes as part of the Hornet Queens and showed off her own skills in playing the format. I think I speak for everyone when I say thanks to Athena for tirelessly devoting time to VSL and the impact she has as a positive force in this community.

Andy Probasco "Brass Man"

Owner and operator of "The Mana Drain", one of Vintage's oldest resources on the game, Andy's passion for Vintage shows in the work that he does for the community by continually developing the usefulness of the website, even recently overhauling the entire site for a much cleaner experience. Andy is no slouch at the game either, boasting multiple Top 8 finishes in Vintage events.

Erin Campbell

While many may know Erin from her work via "Magic Mics Podcast", it's no secret that her growing love of the Vintage format has led the self-proclaimed "Dredge Queen" to find her place amongst the Vintage community. If there's anybody who's worked hard to get where they are, it's definitely Erin. Erin is a positive force in the format, spreading the love of the graveyard to all who accept it. She is well known for the idiom "Bless their hearts" and is a strong player who has earned her place in Vintage's history.

Andreas Petersen & Michael Bonde (Snapcardster)


European members of a team known as Team Snapcardster, sponsored by the app team of the same name, Andreas and Michael are strong positive forces in the Vintage community, having worked largely on the development of the Paradoxical Outcome deck alongside folks such as Justin Gennari (IAmActuallyLvl1). Both of these guys are consummate professionals, and always happy to lend their experience and knowledge of Magic to readers, producing great content via the Snapcardster website. Michael Bonde himself recently placed 6th in Mythic Championship I held in Cleveland, OH, earning a little Internet fame in the process thanks to his exuberance on camera.

Rachel Agnes

While she is mostly known for her place on the Commander Advisory Group and her content of Commander articles, Rachel's other love affair is casting Monastery Mentor and then Time Walk and all the spells involved to end a game. Having been a mainstay of VSL for several seasons, she is great lover of UWx decks and Shops, having played the deck to great success on VSL. Rachel is also a very awesome person, and definitively loves Magic and its community.

To Those I Missed

There are many I am sure I have missed throughout the course of this article, as there are many outstanding and wonderful Vintage players who I have had the opportunity to play against and meet throughout this past year. This community is one where everyone deserves to be recognized, not because there are great players in it, but because there are great people. People willing to lend cards, to lend decks, to help others understand the amazing allure that Vintage has.

To the community, thank you for everything that you are and everything that you do. I hope to continue to delve deeper into the vast wonders of this format, and hope to continue to meet more of you amongst it.

Vintage Challenge 3/2

The Vintage Challenge on 3/2 was fairly interesting, with yet again another appearance by the Turbo Depths deck that Top 8'ed last week in this week's Top 8 as well. Let's take a look at the breakdown.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Ravager Shops 1st GGOGGLES
PO Storm 2nd Shir Kahn
Pitch Dredge 3rd PTARTS2WIN
DPS 4th Geekyjackson
UR Xerox 5th Keeline
Turbo Depths 6th LAIN5893
Ravager Shops 7th Pascal3000
Czech Pile 8th Micmer

This is a pretty interesting set of lists in the Top 8, with only Ravager Shops showing up twice in it. There were several decks in this Top 8 that jumped off the page at me, the first of which being Geekyjackson playing none other than Dark Petition Storm.

Storm! Fantastic stuff to see that DPS is still kicking it in the hands of a pretty accomplished player. Congrats on the Top 4 finish Geekyjackson!

Another deck that was really sweet to see was the 8th place list. Vintage Czech Pile!

It's good to see that Deathrite Shaman has found a home in Vintage after his extended stay in the Legacy format along with Leovold, Emissary of Trest.

Outside of the Top 8, some of the other sweet lists caught my eye including an awesome Grixis list playing none other than Goblin Welder!

This deck is sweet. Getting Vault/Key combo into play via Goblin Welder, or Weldering in an Inkwell Leviathan? This is fantastic stuff. Really excited to see it.


That's right folks! We have arrived at the end of the regular season, with our final pod of 4 before the Playoffs! This week is set to be super exciting, with some great competitors, including a second appearance by MTGGoldfish's very own SaffronOlive! Let's look at the competitors, shall we?

  • Stephen Menendian (HE WHO DOOMS THE DAY)
  • Matt Sperling (HE WHO IS SICK OF IT)

This is going to be a fun week, with some interesting matches and some great play. And of course, some Blood Moon's, because who doesn't like not being able to tap lands for colors?!

Let's take a look at the lists!

These are some sweet sweet lists. Let's dive right into the action!

Round 1 is Rich Shay vs Matt Sperling! Game 1 sees Rich take over completely with multiple countermagic like Pyroblast and Force of Will into Dack Fayden to begin stealing Matt's mana sources. Game 2 Rich goes off to the races once again, flipping Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and getting a Dack Fayden emblem and backing it up with Young Pyromancer. Rich seals the deal by casting Pyroblast twice on both of Matt's lands to steal them with the Dack emblem.

Round 2 is SaffronOlive vs Stephen Menendian! Game 1 sees Stephen making a quick advantage with basic lands and Dack Fayden to take the game. Game 2 is some crazy back and forth and classicly described as "Duel Decks: Jace vs Chandra" with Seth conceding to a resolved Monastery Mentor.

Round 3 is Stephen Menendian vs Matt Sperling! Game 1 shows Matt going off to the races as he attacks Stephen's manabase, eventually landing an Oath of Druids into Yawgmoth's Will and Time Walk to crash in with Inferno Titan. Game 2 shows Stephen accelerating into an early advantage with Dack Fayden (star of the show) to seal the deal. Game 3 sees Matt drawing and casting several copies of Oath of Druids, but Stephen makes with the spirit beats to try to steal the game. Matt Oaths into Inferno Titan, cleaning up the spirit tokens. This goes back and forth with Stephen exiling the Titan, while Matt Oaths into Griselbrand into a Pithing Needle naming the big demon, but Matt is able to pull through with a very powerful Yawgmoth's Will to sneak through the window and steal the game.

Round 4 is SaffronOlive vs Rich Shay! Game 1 sees Rich have all the answers and basic lands to be able to pull away and take over the game. Game 2 sees Rich showing up with a basic Island and a Mox Sapphire and is able to run away with Young Pyromancer backed up by a mess of countermagic to steal the match.

Round 5 is Matt Sperling vs SaffronOlive! Game 1 shows Saffron going to the races and resolving the timely Blood Moon and a Chalice of the Void into Goblin Rabblemaster and Scab-Clan Berserker to take the game. Game 2 shows Saffron on a Turn 1 Trinisphere into Turn 2 Blood Moon and quickly makes a Chandra, Torch of Defiance to power through Sperling's spells to quickly seal the match.

Round 6 is Rich Shay vs Stephen Menendian! THE GRUDGE MATCH! Game 1 sees Rich with some powerful draws to clear away some of Stephen's early plays, but the game extends into a battle back and forth for supremacy. Rich is able to steal Game 1. Game 2 shows Stephen going off to the races and more back and forth between two mighty powerful wizards but Stephen is able to pull ahead to steal the game. Game 3 is a crazy back and forth again as each player tries to gain the advantage over the other pulling into dead even top decks. The game boils down to a Mental Misstepfrom Stephen and a Lightning Bolt from Rich to finally defeat Stephen.

We end the night with Rich Shay at 3-0, pulling into the semifinals at 5-1! SaffronOlive ends 1-2, as does Stephen and Matt!

What a crazy night and a wild end to the first rounds of the season! Now we look forward to the playoffs!

The Spice Corner

Shipped to me this week by Aaron Gazzaniga of Hipsters of the Coast, it's a little ditty known as Vintage Pox.

What I'm Playing This Week

Thanks to the awesome that is the Cardhoarder Loan Program (seriously this program is great), I have been playing around with all sorts of decks including Jeskai Xerox, but our good friend ChubbyRain passed me a list that I have been heavily enjoying playing so far. Affectionately in our friend's honor, I'm calling it "ChubbyJund".

Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! I hope you guys have been having a fantastic month so far, and it's only going to get more interesting as we look forward to the rest of this year in Vintage. Next week we'll be diving into Challenge Results yet again, as well as discussing this Turbo Depths deck that has been popping up as of late. I'm looking forward to it!

I am still working out getting the recording done for the next episode of The Vintage Series. The weather around here has been up and down as of late, and my allergies have been kicking me hard making it difficult to record with a scratchy throat and sniffly nose. Rest assured, I'll be getting it done soon along with possibly recording some of my games on this Jund list to do a deck tech on it as well.

As always, hit me up on Twitter or Discord if you'd like to chat a little Vintage! My door is always open!

Until next time, may you all continue to be awesome!

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