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Vintage 101: The Human Condition


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 digging into the more current iterations of the Vintage Humans deck, as the deck has actually started picking back up just a bit recently.

Unfortunately, it seems that none of the Magic Online Challenge data got posted this past weekend, so we have no big events to talk about. Furthermore, the GenCon Online events were also this past weekend but we did not get any of those lists posted either. This makes for a bit of a light week for us, so we'll have to make do. There is some intriguing things to talk about in regards to GenCon Online and about Wizards BnR however.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Becoming Human

Vintage Humans has had a long and somewhat interesting history that has continued to get better and better as more Humans get printed. The deck has been multiple colors from four to five colors as each color has Humans that are powerful. However, as of late, the following types of lists have been gaining in popularity and doing well in the current metagame.

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The biggest reason I find for a list like this to be performing is the consistency increase given by the card Once Upon a Time.

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Once Upon a Time provides an incredible consistency upgrade. Being able to look at five cards for absolutely free in a deck full of creatures is quite strong, and here the effect is fairly pronounced by having access to many different strong Human creatures, one of the most important of which is Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Thalia is one of the decks bigger lock pieces, but is backed up nicely by cards like Sanctum Prelate and Thalia, Heretic Cathar.

That being said, while the deck does have some strength in the lock department, it has quite a bit in the aggressive area as well, by power boosting creature such as Mayor of Avabruck and General Kudro of Drannith to Thalia's Lieutenant. Kudro especially is exceptionally powerful, being both a Lord effect and also a disruptive effect. This can be solid against decks that rely on the graveyard like Bazaar of Baghdad strategies. In a pinch, Kudro's third ability can be used to deal with a big creature such as a Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis (while also being able to be used to get rid of cards like Bridge from Below due to the fact that the Human creatures are sacrificed before the creature is destroyed).

In addition to aggression, the deck gains both a card advantage engine in Dark Confidant as well as a taxing engine in Kambal, Consul of Allocation. Kambal is exceptionally powerful versus spell-based combo decks, and when combined with Thalia can often be lights out for those kinds of strategies. Meanwhile, cards like Palace Jailer are very good at mopping up random things like Oath targets as well as stuff like Blightsteel Colossus.

Post board, this deck gains access to several other hate effect such as Collector Ouphe and Containment Priest (which can be great against a lot of the current Vengevine based strategies) but also cards like Swords to Plowshares (which seem very good right now, given decks like Hogaak and HollowVine having powerful recurring threats). In addition, the boost in green cards in matchups where Ouphe comes in allows the deck to gain acces to Force of Vigor, which is an obviously strong card right now in the format.

This is certainly an interesting deck, and one that gives a bit of a different feel than most Vintage decks, as it is trying to be a bit like Shops in being both disruptive and aggressive, however this does not fall prey to the hate that typically is good against Shops, and the shell gains access to a few good flex spots to adapt to the metagame for different effects. This makes for a varied and interesting gameplay full of silver bullet fun and aggressive games. If you're looking for something that is a bit different than usual, be sure to take a look at this deck and give it a try!

Community Vintage - The Best Part of GenCon Online

This past weekend had a plethora of Vintage event in the form of GenCon Online. One of the biggest and best things about this event was not just the many Vintage Prelim events that were held, but also the fact that all of these events had the functionality of providing access to the players involved with essentially stocked Magic Online accounts in order to playtest and play in these events.

Suffice to say, this was a huge success in regards to promoting people to play Vintage, by not only allowing player to pick up on the format for a mere $24 entry into a prelim event, but also to allow paper player who might have been interested a way to play without having to worry about having to buy into Magic Online. This is a superb idea, and definitely promoted people trying and playing in the events, and it seemed that there was roughly 61 players in the big Championship event that required a player to 4-0 a prelim to get into.

I am a big fan of this style of event, and I hope we see more of that in the future, especially considering that it sounds like Eternal Weekend will need to move online as well this year. I suspect we will see a similar setup for this event, which will definitely help drive participation in it.

Surprise! A Wizards BnR

This past week gave us a very interesting thing in the form of a surprise Banned and Restricted announcement. While this announcement had nothing to do with Vintage, the big thing to note about was how this announcement was done, as there was no pre-announcement of a BnR coming like how Wizards has done for other BnR announcements this year. In fact, it was noted that this was a change made not only to gauge how people felt about this, but also due to the fact that most play online right now. By performing this ban announcement in this fashion, it reduces the possibility of lame duck format weeks and people feeling not much incentive to want to play in them.

Now, there has been some discussion that this particular BnR was necessary to do this with, due to the fact that many cards were banned in both Standard and Pioneer, but the prerequisite this sets is interesting, and I suspect we may see this yet again. Whether this could affect Vintage is a very real and interesting possibility due to the fact that much of Vintage's current play is on Magic Online, due to paper play being on the downswing from the pandemic, but also just typically down to one major event a year. Is it possible that bigger restrictions / unrestrictions could occur? Unknown, but it is interesting to consider.

The Spice Corner

Our first list this week is sort of a sweet take on a Maverick style of gameplay, including Knight of the Reliquary.

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Our second list is just Show and Tell in Vintage.

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Wrapping Up

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

As always you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! In addition you can always find me on the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the Vintage Streamers Discord Server!

Until next time!



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