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Vintage 101: The Full Spice


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 some cool spice in Vintage! There is always some interesting spice to be found in the format, and one of our inclusions this week actually won one of the weekend Challenges! Speaking of Challenges, we've got two of those to look at as always.

Without further ado, let's dive right into it!

The Full Spice Breakfast

Vintage as a format often has quite similar decks, but every now and then some real spice gets brought to the table. Some pilots are just great at brewing up some sweet decks, and we're going to take a more in depth look at several spicy lists.

Bazaar Riddlesmith by Justin Gennari

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This quite possibly may be one of the spiciest decks to ever grace the pages of this article, and that is saying a lot, since the deck actually won the first Vintage Challenge this past weekend, in the hands of our good friend Justin Gennari (IamActuallyLvl1) who developed the deck.

The big linchpin of this deck that makes this work so well is the card Ovalchase Daredevil.

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Daredevil is a card much like Squee, Goblin Nabob when used with Bazaar of Baghdad by being able to pitch the Daredevil to a Bazaar activation, and then bring it back to your hand by playing an artifact... of which this deck has plenty between the various Moxen/Power but also the four Hollow One in the deck. This turns Bazaar into a net positive draw effect. In addition to synergy with Bazaar, Daredevil has synergy with Riddlesmith, by allowing you to draw and discard the Daredevil to Riddlesmith's triggered ability, and then returning it to your hand after the artifact enters.

And if that is not enough to top it off... this deck has Paradoxical Outcome in it in order to go positive on cards with PO, but also has Tinker into Bolas's Citadel AND the Time Vault + Manifold Key combo.

Justin has been playing this deck for a hot minute, so it's great to see the Spice really take off. If you've ever wanted to try out a deck that plays like several different decks at once, this is certainly the deck for you. Justin even recorded the VoDs from the Challenge he won, which you can check out here.

Simic Xerox by Matt Murray

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If you've ever felt the need to cast Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath in every format in Magic, well this is the deck for you. Engineered by our good friend Matt Murray (aka ChubbyRain), this is a simple Simic Xerox build that wants to cast cards like Uro and Growth Spiral to gain card advantage within the game, while using countermagic and Brazen Borrower to control the game.

The biggest hinge point of this deck is the card Mystic Sanctuary.

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Matt's deck plays a full grip of this card, utilizing it to recur numerous spells but eventually being able to turn on a combo with Time Walk and Gush and eventually take multiple turns in a row. With the card advantage and beat down engine provided by Borrower and Uro, cleaning up the game from there becomes rather simple.

This is a super cool deck that looks like a real blast to play and has a lot of fun and powerful Xerox cards in it.

Orchardless Oath by Brian Kelly

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I could probably write an entire article on the level of spice provided by Brian Kelly on a regular basis, as he is continuously trying new and different things, from an obsession with the card Torpor Orb to his work on Oath of Druids shells. In this case, it happens to be an Orchardless Oath list, with Forbidden Orchard having found its way to being cut from the deck entirely.

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That being said, this list doesn't quite hinge on Oath as much as other Oath lists do, playing only two copies of the card overall. Instead, this variant is more of a control/Planeswalker shell with a combo of Sun Titan and Underworld Breach as a way to win the game. Titan represents another way of taking infinite turns with Time Walk, by using Titan to recur Underworld Breach every turn and then cast Time Walk for its Escape cost.

As if that wasn't enough, Brian's sideboard contains a few cards that are highly intriguing against some of the more popular decks of the format such as Doomsday in the form of Nimble Obstructionist being able to counter the triggered ability of Thassa's Oracle, and generally being unable to be countered back by the more common countermagic played by Doomsday.

This is a great take on the Oath archetype as only Brian Kelly can conceive, so if you're looking for a slightly different way to play this archetype, this is a deck worth looking into.

Vintage Goblins by Iino Akira

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While this was our Spice Corner from last week, I didn't really spend much time discussing how this deck plays out. A big part of this deck hinges on the card Conspicuous Snoop.

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Snoop works as a combo kill, by using the banned Legacy card Goblin Recruiter to stack the deck to put Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker on top of the library. This allows Snoop to make infinite copies of itself, and finally creating another copy of Recruiter to put Sling-Gang Lieutenant on top in order to sacrifice enough Goblins to kill the opponent.

In addition to the combo, the deck plays a few main deck cards to enable the chain to go off the same turn that Recruiter is cast such as Torch Courier to grant the Snoop haste so that the combo can take place in a single turn. In addition, it has cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Containment Priest that can be used to attack other decks.

Because this deck is not playing blue, it can occasionally draw the combo pieces it needs to go off, which can often be solved with cards like Fire Prophecy being able to put the relevant piece on top of the library. There is also discard in the form of Duress and Thoughtseize to fight against combo, and top of deck tutors like Vampiric Tutor and Imperial Seal to put combo pieces on top as well.

This is a super cool deck and looks really interesting to play. If you're looking for something utterly different, check this deck out for sure.

Community Vintage Update

Reminder that GenCon Online events are this weekend! Check out their schedule at Pastime's website. To those participating, good luck this weekend!

Vintage Challenge 7/25

Our first Challenge of the weekend was the normal Saturday Challenge, of which there were about 64 players total. Let's dive right into the thick of things on the Top 32.

Holy Doomsday, Batman! There was quite a bit of the deck this event, but also quite a bit of combo in general. It's certainly interesting to see how differing each weekend's Challenges are in terms of metagame. Things in the format definitely seem to be up and down as of late.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Bazaar Riddlesmith 1st IamActuallyLvl1
4C Xerox 2nd Svaca
Ravager Shops 3rd Caleb_Yetman
Death's Shadow 4th FlXex
Doomsday 5th SheaStrausman
Doomsday 6th DiscoverN
PO Storm 7th Condescend
BUG Midrange 8th DarkPoetBill

The spice covered in our earlier section is the one that won this event, but the rest of the Top 8 was certainly interesting. Doomsday certainly overperformed here. The deck has been doing incredibly well for several weeks and there seems to be no stopping it (or its best pilots, folks like DiscoverN). This is a deck to keep an eye out for, as Thassa's Oracle has certainly improved the deck overall.

Since we covered our First Place winner earlier, let's go right to the Second Place deck in Svaca with 4C Xerox.

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This list is classic Svaca style, leaning hard on the CA provided by both Dark Confidant and Dreadhorde Arcanist. Especially interesting here is the four maindeck Daze, but no copies of Force of Negation.

In Third Place we have Ravager Shops.

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This appears to have been coalescing into the most stock variant of Ravager Shops as of late, and it's not real hard to see the strength in it. Golos is especially good as both mana ramp and silver bullet finder.

In Fourth Place we have a sweet Death's Shadow Xerox list.

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This list is super cool for a Xerox based list. Death's Shadow as a game-ending threat is pretty cool. I love seeing Eliminate in the sideboard here.

In Fifth place we have Doomsday.

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Doomsday is exceptionally strong right now, and it continues to put up great results. This is a good list to build off of, but really most of the lists have converged on a few simple configurations, with a few flex spots.

Since the Sixth Place list was also Doomsday, let's go right to the Seventh Place list with PO Storm.

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This list is pretty much the same list that we have seen as of late, splashing red for Underworld Breach, and of course having Sprite Dragon out of the sideboard is also pretty strong.

Rounding out the Top 8, we have BUG Midrange.

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There are THREE Tabernacle in the sideboard of this deck. That is all.

Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event. As always we're looking at cards with 8 copies or more, with special exceptions made for Companions.

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Vigor 25
Collector Ouphe 18
Oko, Thief of Crowns 17
Force of Negation 16
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade 16
Narset, Parter of Veils 16
Once Upon a Time 13
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 12
Wrenn and Six 12
Sprite Dragon 9
Deafening Silence 8
Dreadhorde Arcanist 8
Thassa's Oracle 8

All the usual suspects are here, with Force of Vigor taking the top spot. There's no surprise to this, with Hogaak/HollowVine being popular as well as 4C Xerox and BUG.

Vintage Challenge 7/26

Our second Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Sunday Challenge, with about 43 players. Let's dive right into the Top 32!

Whereas the first event of the weekend had a predominant skew towards combo, this event had a lot of Xerox and fair decks. However, combo converted well to the Top 8, with Doomsday being a big part of it.

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

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
4C Xerox 1st Dazai
Doomsday 2nd SingPanMan
Doomsday 3rd DiscoverN
Doomsday 4th CherryXMan
Hogaak Bazaar 5th ToonDoslav
HollowVine 6th BennyBo
Oath of Druids 7th K_F_Chicken
Humans 8th Griselbrother

Doomsday REALLY wrapped up this Top 8, taking over nearly all of the Top 4. The rest of the Top 8 was mostly Bazaar based, with the exception of Oath, Xerox and a Humans deck which is super cool to see.

Taking down the event overall was 4C Xerox by Dazai.

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This is more of a Planeswalker skewed build with multiple Wrenn and Six + Dack Fayden as well as Oko, Thief of Crowns. This is definitely a fun looking and strong list.

In Second Place we have Doomsday.

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SingPanMan has been one of the most consistent Doomsday pilots in the format as of late, and their results really show. I love the concept of boarding into Helm of Obedience combo kill here.

Since both Third and Fourth both had Doomsday, let's move down to Fifth Place with Hogaak Bazaar.

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This is a super clear Hogaak list, and this archetype has been really pushing the envelope as of late.

In Sixth Place we have HollowVine.

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Despite the fact that Hogaak Bazaar has mostly overtaken the Bazaar space in the format, HollowVine is still highly viable. Just about any shell playing Bazaar of Baghdad with Vengevine and Hollow One has a real potential to be great, honestly at this point.

In Seventh Place we have Oath.

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Instead of slanting towards the typical targets of Griselbrand, this list is attempting to Oath into a hasty win condition via the card Dragon Breath, which turns any Oath combo turn into a win. If that isn't all, we also have Karn, the Great Creator as a way to win the game.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have Humans.

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This list is super cool! Leveraging the power of Once Upon a Time in creature decks is exceptionally good, but with Humans as the tribe it is super interesting. General Kudro of Drannith is a really super good card that gives Humans a great ability to beat graveyard decks and delve decks.

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

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Vigor 21
Force of Negation 20
Once Upon a Time 16
Wrenn and Six 15
Collector Ouphe 14
Narset, Parter of Veils 14
Sprite Dragon 13
Mystic Sanctuary 10
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade 9
Deafening Silence 8
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 8
Oko, Thief of Crowns 8
Soul-Guide Lantern 8

Both Forces topped the charts yet again, proving once more that Modern Horizons is still one of the most format-defining sets of the modern Vintage format.

Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Thanks for the continued support of the column and join us next week as we continue our journey into the world of Vintage!

As always you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! In addition I'm always around the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the Vintage Streamers Discord Server.

Until next time!


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