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Vintage 101: The Other 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 continuing from last week about the two decks that have been the subject of a lot of discussion lately. We focused on Jewel Shops last week, so we're taking a look at the various flavors of Lurrus Saga this week. We've also got two Challenges from last weekend, one of which was a Showcase Challenge.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Lurrus Saga Lurrus

Last week we spoke a lot about one of the big "best decks" of the format in Jewel Shops, but that deck has an interesting counterpart to it in that it's tempered by the existence of another set of decks in the format, the collective variants known as Lurrus Saga.

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The primary selling points of these variants is the interaction between Lorien Revealed and Urza's Saga allowing these decks to run multiple colorless lands and still be able to fix their manabases by pitching Lorien to grab an Island typed land. Lurrus acts as a glue here, allowing the decks to rebuy effects like Mishra's Bauble, Dress Down, and now even Spreading Seas.

Initially these decks showed up in the format as primarily Dimir based decks. The Dimir versions of this deck focus on cards like Orcish Bowmasters, Drown in the Loch, and removal like Fatal Push to get rid of threats.

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Much of the early work on these decks were centered directly on the Dimir variants, even going as far to utilize cards like Dark Confidant as additional card advantage that bypasses Bowmasters.

However, a curious thing has occurred with these decks, as we saw a primarily Azorius based variant take off, using cards like Lavinia, Azorius Renegade.

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The Azorius pairing means the deck doesn't have access to Bowmasters, but Lavinia is a very powerful threat in general and a strong lockpiece in the current format. Gaining additional removal like Swords to Plowshares and some really powerful sideboard cards also helps this variant.

In addition we've seen blends of these two variants into an Esper build as well.

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The variations of the Lurrus Saga archetype are somewhat interesting to have watch evolved. There's been a lot of discussion about these decks, especially concerning the sheer prevalence of Urza's Saga in the current format. Whether or not the Lurrus Saga archetype qualifies as a "Best deck" is interesting. The fracturing of color pairings means the decks generally have slightly different game plans and are prioritizing different things in a match, so there is a measure of diversity there, but much of the cards in the deck are very much the same, especially down to the Saga/Lorien pairing.

Lorien in general is what has pushed these decks, turning them into the sheer powerhouses they are. I don't know if this deck is the "Best deck" because in general this archetype also has a predator in decks like Oath of Druids (another deck that is really strong right now). I do think that between this and Jewel Shops, both decks are in a spot where they are some of the best things to be doing in Vintage right now, but as always the format continues to move and change.

There's a lot of concern right now especially around Saga in general, it seems. I don't personally believe that things are bad enough yet to restrict cards, because I would rather prefer to see if more printings and more time would circulate the format more. Vintage has long absorbed new sets and cards well, outside of very sheer outliers, but if the prevalence of Lorien/Saga continues it could likely lead to a restriction and more than likely that restriction would be Saga over Lorien.

Still, I'd rather keep my eye on the format overall and see what the future brings. We have Modern Horizons 3 this year, and there's more than likely going to be cards there that will be playable in Vintage (as it's a Horizons set after all). I like thinking much more long term on this format than short term, because I've seen how circular this format rotates around due to just natural metagame forces.

Vintage Showcase Challenge 1/20

The first event of the weekend was the first Vintage Showcase Challenge of the new Premier Play season! Vintage generally only ends up being a Showcase format for one season a year, so these events generally are only around in the first part of the year. This event had 200 players in it thanks to the data collected/provided by the Vintage Streamer's Discord and Daybreak Games.

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

Lurrus Saga was the most prevalent deck of the event with a very reasonable just over 50% win rate. Initiative was also popular but it's win rate was not as good. Jewel Shops did very well here, as did Doomsday. CounterVine and Aggro Shops both had sub 50% win rates, despite the latter having a top finish.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jewel Shops 1st Sharkm02
Oath of Druids 2nd karatedom
Jewel Shops 3rd L4rss0n
Lurrus DRS 4th medvedev
Doomsday 5th Tsubasa_Cat
Aggro Shops 6th TVigs
Lurrus Saga 7th Minest110
Lurrus Saga 8th Solidsnake408

Quite a bit of Lurrus and Saga here. At the end of the event it was Jewel Shops that won.

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We discussed this deck quite a bit last week, and it's definitely just a very strong thing to be doing in the current Vintage format. The evolution of old school PO into Jewel Shops is pretty interesting overall.

In Second Place we had Oath of Druids.

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This is another deck that one could argue as the big third aspect of "Best Deck" series we've been doing, as it's exceptionally powerful and can prey on the two other big decks pretty well. Serra's Emissary is such a sweet Magic card in general.

Further down the Top 8 we had Lurrus DRS.

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Very clean and straightforward BUG Lurrus variant. Main deck four Collector Ouphe is a true mood right now in Vintage.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had some Lurrus Saga variants.

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As we discussed earlier the Azorius variant gives some very interesting options, one of the most interesting is cards like Serenity and Seal of Cleansing that you can rebuy with Lurrus.

Vintage Challenge 1/21

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 47 players in it thanks to the data collected/provided by the Vintage Streamer's Discord and Daybreak Games.

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

Jewel Shops was the most popular deck of the event here, but it's win rate was quite bad despite a top finish. Lurrus Saga did well as did Initiative, while both Turbo Vault Key and Aggro Shops did exceedingly well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Lurrus Breach 1st daibloXSC
Doomsday 2nd Gerschi
Turbo Vault Key 3rd shir kahn
Lurrus Saga 4th albertoSD
Jewel Shops 5th noprops
Aggro Shops 6th ziofrancone
Lurrus Saga 7th Gregoriusil
Oath of Druids 8th etoustar

Still quite a bit of Lurrus here. At the end of the event it was Lurrus Breach that won.

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Fairly straightforward Breach list here. It's got a strong game plan and it knows what it wants to be doing. I like the copy of Pyrite Spellbomb in the main to abuse with Lurrus.

In Second Place we had Doomsday.

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Solid list overall here. Sleight of Hand is a sick card because of how it gets around Bowmasters, which is cool. The sub plan of cast Demonic Consultation is also very real.

Also in the Top 8 we had Turbo Vault Key.

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Oswald Fiddlebender! This list is sick. I love seeing cards like Oswald and also Portable Hole showing up. Really neat stuff.

Further down the Top 8 we had Aggro Shops.

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These Aggro lists are really strong. Patchwork Automaton is really the best threat in these lists. It's so very powerful.

Around the Web

  • Justin Gennari has some videos for us!
  • RiskyDiceMTG has a video on UW Tinker Ring. Check it out here.
  • Martin Nielsen has a video on Doomsday. Check it out here.
  • Montolio has a video on Golos Shops. Check it out here.
  • Charlotte Legacy League has a video on Beseech Storm vs Oops. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

Now that League results are spread out throughout the week, let's find some spice!

Painter is super sweet.

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Urza's Incubator Shops?! WOW.

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Absorbenthree decks are almost always a delight.

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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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