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Vintage 101: The Top 10 Vintage Cards of 2023

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 taking a look at the Top 10 cards for Vintage from 2023! This year was pretty tumultuous so it's interesting to see what impacted the format! In addition to that we've got two Challenges to look at, one of which we don't have actual decklists for yet because of issues ongoing with new updates made by Daybreak this weekend (see my Legacy article earlier this week for more information on that).

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The Top 10 Vintage Cards of 2023

2023 was a wild year for Vintage for sure. We had quite a bit of cards released this year and there was a lot of cards that heavily impacted Vintage as a format, including some that greatly shifted the landscape of the format overall.

Let's look at the cards that hit Vintage in 2023.

10. Get Lost

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is seeing some fringe play but it's definitely an interesting piece of removal for Vintage, given a number of different matchups where the Map token doesn't actually help the opponent due to having no creatures. It's not the strongest entry, but it's doing some work.

9. Samwise the Stouthearted

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A lot of entries on this list are going to be from Lord of the Rings, as that set had the most fundamental impact on Vintage as a whole this year. Samwise was one of those cards, seeing play in various Lurrus shells as a way to rebuy cards like Wasteland and Mishra's Bauble. Sam's aggressive cost and synergy with Lurrus made it a very interesting card.

8. Forth Eorlingas!

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While this card has certainly seen more play in Legacy, the ability to jam the Monarch into play and scale with a leverage that Forth provides is also quite good in a format like Vintage where there aren't always going to be creatures to steal back the Monarch. This is a slow burn of a card, but it's very good and I suspect we will see it more going forward.

7. Boromir, Warden of the Tower

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Since the Initiative decks can't easily play cards like Lavinia, being able to have an effect like Lavinia's counterspell mode on a 3/3 Vigilant creature is pretty nice. Boromir is a sweet flex spot for Initiative, giving them a powerful prison piece.

6. Dauntless Dismantler

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Another Initiative goody! This card is extremely good. Being able to delay your opponent's mana development while also acting as a Meltdown effect is wildly strong and a solid effect for Initiative to have access to.

5. Beseech the Mirror

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Beseech the Mirror did a solidly interesting thing to the format by bringing back decks that want to actively cast Dark Ritual in conjunction with a win condition that is Tendrils of Agony instead of Doomsday. Having a different Ritual deck in the format is great, and Beseech Storm has been a fairly positive addition to the format overall.

4. Atraxa, Grand Unifier

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Atraxa singlehandedly redefined Oath of Druids as an archetype, unseating the mighty Griselbrand from its perch as the one true Oath target, something which was pretty much unheard of in regards to Oath decks. Atraxa's ability to be cheatable into play beyond just Oath, turning the deck into an Oath+Show and Tell variant and also being pitchable to multiple forces, while having card selection akin to a mega Dig Through Time has pushed this card into the current stratosphere. It's very difficult to deal with Atraxa when you know the Oath player has picked up a lot of countermagic and possibly something like a Time Walk.

3. Orcish Bowmasters

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Like any other format with cantrips and draw effects, Bowmasters very much has made its presence known in the current format, especially in pairing well with cards like Lurrus of the Dream-Den. This is a very strong card, and it will continue to always be strong as long as there are draw effects in the format.

2. The One Ring

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I think most people would have assumed this card to be number one, and believe me I did consider it, but the number one spot has had a huge impact on the format but the margins are very close. That being said, The One Ring is still one of the most impactful cards of 2023. It completely redefined the Combo Coveted Jewel Shops deck, making it more resilient and powerful, and has simply become one of the best effects like this in the format for decks that can cast it, especially those decks with Mishra's Workshop in them.

1. Lorien Revealed

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Lorien Revealed changed the landscape of the Vintage format pretty much forever, and it very much deserves the number one spot in this list for that reason alone. By giving decks playing Urza's Saga access to their colored duals and mana, this card fundamentally course corrected Vintage into a different era of gameplay. While both Bowmasters and The One Ring are splashy cards that look cool, Lorien's presence in the format has allowed entire new archetypes like Lurrus Saga to exist. Being able to act as a fetch land, a draw spell, and a pitch to Forces all at the same time is a very good reason to understand why this card is so subtle but powerful.

While other cards have had an impact on the format, this card's significance as having changed the fundamental landscape of Vintage is exceptional.

Vintage Challenge 12/16

The first event of the weekend was the mid afternoon Saturday event. This event had 64 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

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

Initiative was the most popular deck here but it's win rate was not very good overall. Combo Shops did the best out of all of the decks here, with everything else floating around that just above and below 50% mark, with the exceptions of Beseech Storm/BUG being far down and Dredge doing very well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Doomsday 1st Diem4x
Combo Shops 2nd AFX
Breach 3rd SuperCow12653
Combo Shops 4th ForsakenBalerion
CounterVine 5th Montolio
Lurrus Saga (UW) 6th Trailovsky
Initiative 7th bernardocssa
Dredge 8th CapTenPlanIt

Pretty interesting Top 8 here overall. At the end of the event it was split finals, with the recorded winner being Doomsday.

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Solid and interesting list here. Not much deviation from a lot of the stock lists that I've seen. I still enjoy Sheoldred, the Apocalypse as a sideboard juke to this deck.

In Second Place we had Combo Shops.

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As we discussed earlier, no other card impacted the format quite like The One Ring, turning this deck from a fringe interesting deck into a monster of Vintage goodness. It's very good and very Vintage-y to play.

Further down the Top 8 we had our good friend Montolio on CounterVine.

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Clean and straightforward deck. No need for frills here. It's already doing what it wants to do and that part is pretty awesome.

At the bottom half of the Top 8 we had UW Lurrus Saga.

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This version of the deck seems to have utterly supplanted the UB version of this deck. It's very interesting, but Lavinia is a really hard threat to deal with by some decks and getting to play four copies of her plus rebuys from Lurrus seems quite good as opposed to decks that are only playing 1-2 Lavinia.

Vintage Challenge 12/17

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 45 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

You can find the data sheet for this event here. Due to the issues with the Daybreak site ongoing we don't have decklists for this event.

Both Combo Shops and Lurrus Saga were very popular here, but Combo Shops did not have a solid win rate here. Initiative and Lurrus Saga did very well, while Oath performed super poorly.

We can look at the makeup of the Top 8 but again we don't have any decklists for this event.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Initiative 1st keyzoo
CounterVine 2nd AlpInco
Lurrus Saga (UW) 3rd musasabi
Aggro Shops 4th TVigs
Lurrus Saga (UW) 5th medvedev
Beseech Storm 6th Sommertroll
Initiative 7th Moonmadness-_-

Around the Web

  • Justin Gennari has one video for us, with As Foretold. Check it out here.
  • Montolio posted a video on his Vintage Challenge T8 run. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

There were a lot of scattered League results due to the issues with Daybreak's decklist postings, so we'll see if we can find something spicy!

Merfolk seems pretty spicy!

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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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