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Vintage 101: The Future

Howdy folks! It's time for yet another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're waxing poetic and talking about the future of Vintage and how content fits into all of that. No, I'm not done producing content for this format, just a curious wisp of a thought on how content has progressed for the format overall. Of course, we've got two Challenges to also talk about, as well as a Spice Corner. We do not have a Mythic Society to talk about this week because the last week event did not fire, but be sure to go check out their Twitter to sign up for their events!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Vintage and the Future of Content

I have been thinking a lot about the future of how content is being produced and also how deckbuilding and gameplay information is typically disseminated in a way that is useable to new players, especially in how all of that relates to the Vintage format. As a whole, Vintage is definitely an intimidating subject for a lot of players who are newer to either the format or to Magic in general. The name of the format carries with it a lot of weight in regards to the various aspects of the format such as the Restricted List, the concept of the Power 9, the variance, and overall speed of the format (something that is often very hyper exaggerated).

For a long time, the majority of Vintage related content was based either in articles or on various forums such as The Mana Drain. But as we've progressed further over time, the usage of these platforms has actually not been very good in regards to information about things such as gameplay sequencing, sideboarding, decision making, etc. It is hard to convey this information via a text format, and has inevitably led to the function of both video content and streaming content. While the written content does still have some value (in regards to things such as primers and metagame analysis), video content has overtaken as one of the premier ways of presenting gameplay to players wanting to learn the format. Even podcast content has steadily fallen by the wayside, as many of the major "Vintage" podcasts like Serious Vintage and So Many Insane Plays have not had a lot of major content releases for the format on a regular basis. This isn't a dig at either of these. They have great content; it just has dropped off quite a bit in the past two years.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. A lot of video content and streaming content is really great to allow people to see the format directly and understand it better from a standpoint of visual evidence of the strengths and weaknesses of the format. From a Vintage standpoint, creating this content can be rather daunting in of itself, and I am ever thankful of the people in the community that continue to put out quality content on a regular basis, such as folks like Justin Gennari, Andy Markiton, Miharu, noprops, and the twin tag team of occasional videos by Brian Coval and Phil Gallagher.

But what does the future hold? Much of what could ever be considered sanctioned Vintage play in paper is a real consideration. Cards cost a lot more now than ever before, and Vintage has an extreme outlier in that regards due to the costs of things such as Power 9. This makes the concept of sanctioned events sort of difficult to consider. Is lugging around a deck worth a small fortune worth the potential downside of having it stolen at an event? Or damaged? Much of the Vintage community is fairly pro proxy in that regards and there still exists a desire for things like Eternal Weekend in paper (outside of the fact of things like pandemic) but the majority of the format now mainly exists in the digital space of Magic Online. MTGO allows players to get games whenever they want, and furthermore it does one thing right in the step towards understanding why content is mostly more visual these days and into the future is that it can be streamed.

I believe the future will continue to be moving towards visual content, more things like streams. How that content directly impacts Vintage is yet another question though. The format is still a relatively small subset of players, and the subset of those players that play and also want to create content either through video or streaming is also fairly low. It is an interesting conundrum to think about how one could approach providing the incentive to create more visual content. My immediate thought there was a somehow recreation of the Vintage Super League.

For those that are unaware (simply because the last time the VSL was held was in 2019), the Vintage Super League was a Wizards supported league-style play event that was held and streamed on a weekly basis, hosted by Randy Buehler and managed/produced by Athena Froehlich. It was a powerful way of presenting the Vintage format to the masses of people who may otherwise be uninformed of the format due to the fact that it was presented in a way of showing the gameplay but providing commentary on the games and analysis of the decision making processes. Unfortunately, Athena's role at Wizards of the Coast does indeed make the possibility of a future season of the VSL a very slim possibility, but somehow figuring out how to bring that back into play would certainly present some interesting possibilities for the Vintage format and the content being produced for it.

I got into Vintage because I greatly enjoyed the gameplay and the interesting decisions each game presented. I got into creating content for it because I found I had a passion for doing so. Creating written content for the format is actually sort of weird. There are a lot of things that one can talk about and approach in an article, but one runs the risk of being overly redundant or not informative enough, at least not as informative as a video showcasing a certain deck can be. More often than not, the metagame content becomes the real meat of the weekly articles, with a deck focus here or there, but I know there's always ways that we can improve in the future and provide even further content. Specifically, if there's something that I haven't been doing that you'd like to see, feel free to reach out and provide some feedback. I really enjoy feedback, especially feedback that tells me I should be doing this or that.

For now, I think the future of content in regards to Vintage is actually very wide open. There's many things to consider, and I feel optimistic about the format going forward.

Vintage Challenge 7/24

The first Challenge of the weekend was the mid afternoon Saturday event, and thanks to the efforts of the Vintage Streaming Discord, we know this event had 47 players in it.

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here.

BUG continues to be a pretty dominant deck in regards to overall popularity, but then out of nowhere we have quite a few variants of Oath decks on the docket as well. Very interesting for sure to see Oath sort of pop back up like this. Of course, we've also got our perennials in Doomsday and Golos Stax, but also the Blue Affinity style Tinker shell as well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8!

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Bant Midrange 1st Beenew
Oath of Druids 2nd Punchilleno
Mono White Hatebears 3rd notmi
Doomsday 4th Diem4x
BUG Midrange 5th _INF_
Jeskai Control 6th SenpaiBlank
Blue Tinker 7th shir kahn
Dredge 8th kasa

One nice thing about this Top 8 is the sheer diversity of strategies, from Midrange piles to Oath, Control, Combo, Hatebears, and even Bazaar. About the only thing really missing here is a Shops deck. Pretty cool stuff overall. At the end of the event however, it was the Bant Midrange Archon of Emeria deck that took it all down!

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This is a solid list. We get to see the power of both new cards Endurance as well as Prismatic Ending as an additional removal effect. This is all backed up by the power of Archon of Emeria and Lavinia. Very strong deck indeed.

In Second Place we've got an Oath deck!

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I am digging the fact that there is a Stormtide Leviathan in the sideboard here for those games where you just want an Islandwalking Moat. Also, a Library of Alexandria in the main is really interesting given how little that card actually sees play in Vintage right now.

Also in the Top 8 we've got Mono White Hatebears.

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This is a really cool deck. There are a lot of maindeck ways of punishing the opponent's plays outside of just Thalia now and this deck is definitely leaning hard on them. Again we see how strong Archon of Emeria really is with all the existing fast mana in the format.

Further down the Top 8 we've got some Jeskai Control action.

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Looks like this deck is having a Whale of a great time. Moving on...

Down near the bottom of the Top 8 we've got our good friend Nico Bohny on Blue Affinity Tinker.

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This list is really cool. I dig how good Thought Monitor is in these older formats, providing both a beater and a card draw option. Really solid stuff.

Just outside of the Top 8 (in TENTH) is Aluren featuring Acererak the Archlich.

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We're going Dungeon Crawling! This list looks like a ton of fun. I am never surprised anymore when these kinds of things crawl out of the woodwork.

Further down the Top 32 we've got some Ragavan action backed up by Territorial Kavu.

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Tribal Flames. YEP.

Vintage Challenge 7/25

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event, which again thanks to the Vintage Streamers Discord we know had 45 players in it.

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here.

BUG was EXCEPTIONALLY popular in this event, and that often is the case in the Sunday morning event anyways. However, despite being very popular it didn't actually convert all that well to the upper tables. Instead Doomsday and PO had a great event this go around, but it was the 4C Midrange pile that had the best weekend as we'll see from the Top 8 here.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
4C Midrange 1st Dazai
Doomsday 2nd ecobaronen
Golos Stax 3rd GYBA
PO Storm 4th Vertyx_
PO Storm 5th Fnoop
Bant Midrange 6th Beenew
Blue Tinker 7th medvedev
Doomsday 8th sixmp

Definitely a very COMBO heavy Top 8 here, as noted before in both PO and Doomsday just having a really solid run in this event. However, it was the Monkey man that really brought it home in 4C Midrange as the winner of the event.

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Ragavan being a solidly playable Vintage card sort of blows my mind, but then I remember that Mental Misstep is restricted so that makes so much sense. This list is really strong though, with a lot of pressure on top of just the aggressive elements.

In Second Place we've got Doomsday.

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DD continues to be one of those decks that we keep talking about as a deck that just shows up and beats up on a lot of different things, and requires a lot of strange card choices to actively attack. Even with all the Endurance in this event, it still is killing it.

Speaking of strange card choices, our next Top 8 deck is Golos Stax!

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What I mean there is the fact that a lot of these decks are being forced to run cards like Archive Trap in the sideboard in order to be able to functionally combat Doomsday as a deck. To me, that feels a little warping, but I don't know what the right answer is to really address that long term (outside of the fact that we've discussed the mere possibility of them ever restricting Doomsday).

Also in the Top 8 we had a wildly interesting PO list by Fnoop.

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This is leaning really hard on the MDFCs and Lurrus as the backbone of the deck. Really wild and interesting given that the win con is really just Urza's Saga + Time Vault combo.

Also on Urza's Saga, outside of the Top 8 we have a Standstill variant with Timeless Dragon!

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I am not going to lie and say I do kind of miss the flying Sharks, but this deck is really sweet too.

Around the Web

  • Brian Coval gets at us with a little RUG Midrange. Check it out here.
  • Justin Gennari has two entries for us this week.

The Spice Corner

Archon of Cruelty. That's it. That's the tweet.

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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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