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Vintage 101: Turkey Day Madness


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're filling our post Turkey Day bellies with some Vintage goodness! In addition to looking at how the metagame has developed on Magic Online over this past week, we're going to also talk a little about a Vintage event in Italy known as the 4Seasons Tournament Series as well as mentioning another upcoming event in Italy called Nebraska's War, and of course as always we'll talk about the last weekend's Magic Online Challenge and some introspective stuff!

Let's dive right into the thick of things!

The Week That Was (Mostly) Without Narset

Our first round of League results after the restriction of Narset are in, and while this isn't much data (given how Wizards posts these results) it's still interesting to get a look at a short round of 5-0's. One thing that is apparent from looking at these lists is how they've each adjusted to playing one Narset. One interesting list that stuck out was the Paradoxical Outcome list that was posted by our good friend Andreas Petersen (ecobaronen).

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It's worth noting that this list is hinging more on Monastery Mentor than a typical PO storm kill, while also splashing red to have for Pyroblast main deck and Lightning Bolt out of the sideboard. In addition, another card that had dropped mostly off the map with the prevalence of Narset is Night's Whisper. This card has a pretty solid rate of draw, but in a format with four Narset, it gets a lot worse. Now that Narset is restricted, this opens up back some of these draw spells like this.

Another list in the league data that caught my eye was the Oath of Druids list. Let's take a look.

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As most of the Oath lists were on at least three-four copies of Narset, finding room here was just as easy as playing other Planeswalkers the deck has played in the past. I myself have been playing this archetype as of late, and Dack Fayden has been pretty stellar once more, while Jace, the Mind Sculptor is certainly a card worth thinking about again. Being able to Brainstorm away an Oath target is very powerful but had been pushed out thanks to the prevalence of Narset. In addition, this build is just playing more Oko, Thief of Crowns since the card interacts with the Oath of Druids combo so very well.

On the fairer side of things, BUG Midrange also appeared in the deck dumps as well.

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I'm not sure how I feel about this particular list personally, as I have really enjoyed seeing cards like Brazen Borrower and full four Assassin's Trophy in the 75. While Abrupt Decay is strong, I don't know that it competes well enough with the power level of Trophy in a format where you can use it as land destruction. Liliana, the Last Hope however is certainly a card I enjoy seeing here, as it is certainly an incredibly powerful card.

Another fair list that appeared was Jeskai Arcanist.

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This list feels pretty common to how Jeskai Arcanist had been built before it started dropping off on Magic Online, with the obvious notion that these decks will continue to be playing cards like Pyroblast main. I think that Pyroblast will continue to be a hard staple of some of these decks due to the rise of Paradoxical Outcome as a matchup and cards like Oko out of Oath.

On the Shops side of things, we did have one Ravager Shops list and one Golos Stax list published. The Golos Stax list is very intriguing since it's running one copy of The Immortal Sun.

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As always I absolutely adore anything playing Smokestack, so this list is really cool and I'm happy to see that it exists. It certainly feels like Golos has breathed some new life into Stax as an archetype, and it's very cool to see.

All in all, it seems like things with Vintage will remain interesting for the time being, and nothing really seems too out there in regards to being overpowered. Obviously however, we will continue to watch the format week to week as it develops and see whether PO becomes the format dominating monster people seem to think, or if there is enough hate in the format for it to be just another part of the format.

4Seasons - Vintage

Held in Bologna, Italy, the 4Seasons Tournament Series is a set of eternal Magic events from Vintage, Legacy, and even Modern held across multiple stores and is sponsored by Card Market. Our good friend Justin Gennari made the trip out to Italy this year with the upcoming MagicFest Bologna being held there (with Legacy as its main event) to play Vintage, so let's take a look at the Top 8 breakdown as published by the 4Seasons' Facebook page.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
Esper PO Storm 1st Giovanni Montecchi
The Perfect Storm 2nd Bernardo Brogi
Esper PO Storm 3rd David ioffini
BUG Midrange 4th Joe Brennan
Esper PO Storm 5th Filippo Cervellati
Esper PO Storm 6th Justin Gennari
BUG Midrange 7th Riccardo Speranza
White Eldrazi 8th Gabriele Fattorini

This event had from what I heard roughly 35 players, and a lot of Esper PO in the Top 8, including a Top 8 appearance by Justin Gennari, as well as a Top 4 appearance on BUG Midrange by our good friend Joe Brenann. Congrats to both of you on your finish!

The first place PO list was taken down by Giovanni Montecchi, so congrats on your finish! Let's take a look at the list!

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Giovanni's list is pretty stock Esper PO material, but it is cool to see a card like Karn, Scion of Urza in the main deck. Another cool piece of tech in the sideboard is the presence of Inkwell Leviathan over the typical Blightsteel Colossus, which I'm attributing to the presence of Oko, Thief of Crowns being unable to Elk up an Inkwell.

In second place, we have Bernardo Brogi on The Perfect Storm! This deck is slightly different in construction than Dark Petition Storm in that it leans more on countermagic and discard more and also plays cards like the restricted Narset. Let's take a look at the list.

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This list seems pretty cool and would be interesting to test out at some point.

Outside of the PO decks listed, we also have the People's Champion, Joe Brennan on his signature "A Bug's Life" deck that he won Vintage Champs on!

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This is what I love out of a finely tuned BUG list, and Joe's results with the deck certainly shows that he knows what he's talking about when it comes to this deck. Brazen Borrower is pretty powerful and overall an exciting card, while the sideboard Liliana, the Last Hope is also very strong to have around as well. As noted, Joe went in on a basic Forest for this list, erring on the side of caution against other BUG Midrange decks for the purposes of Assassin's Trophy.

In addition, in 8th place of this event we had Gabriele Fattorini on White Eldrazi featuring no less than FOUR copies of Deafening Silence in the main deck. I would be very interested to find out how often this card was being cast on Turn 1 to make it worth it.

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Another cool piece of tech here is the presence of False Prophet and also Sanctum Prelate in the sideboard.

Upcoming Event - Nebraska's War 7.0

Also held in Italy in the city of Lucca, Nebraska's War is a long going tournament series that will be taking place on December 5th - 8th. This is a massive set of events from Pioneer, Legacy, Pauper, to Vintage and Old School.

More information about this event is available on their website here.

I will be looking forward to seeing if we can get any information on the Vintage events there so we can talk about the decks showing up at those events!

Vintage Challenge 11/23

We had our first Vintage Challenge in the post-Narset restricted world, so let's dive right into the results, shall we?

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
BUG Midrange 1st ChubbyRain (Matt Murray)
Esper PO Storm 2nd WallOfRoots
Ravager Shops 3rd Kanister
Snow PO Storm 4th Shir Kahn (Nico Bohny)
Dredge 5th Sti
RUG Planeswalkers 6th Lain5893
Eric's Crab Shack 7th AnarchistAbe
HollowVine 8th HanChoBai

This event was pretty wild, with only two PO decks appearing in the Top 8 amidst other decks like BUG, RUG, Shops, and even Eric's Crab Shack and HollowVine! Wild! At the end of the event though, it was our good friend Matt Murray running it back for another Challenge win on BUG Midrange, via a list that was pretty similar to Joe Brennan's list from Eternal Weekend. Congrats to Matt on his finish!

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This is very similar to the list Joe played in Italy at 4Seasons, minus the basic Forest and in addition playing a Jace, the Mind Sculptor as well. Matt was kind enough to record and post his entire event over here on YouTube for those that might be interested in watching this deck at work.

Also appearing in the Top 8 we had MPL member Kanister on Ravager Shops!

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This list is very aggressive leaning, utilizing cards like Stonecoil Serpent and Traxos, Scourge of Kroog very well for fast aggressive starts. In addition, Precursor Golem provides a ton of pressure in general.

One of the cooler PO lists I've seen in a bit is our good friend Shir Kahn with his take on an Arcum's Astrolabe focused version of the deck.

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At the bottom end of the Top 8 we had both Eric's Crab Shack and HanChoBai's awesome HollowVine list from last week's Spice Corner.

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Unfortunately for this event, we did not get any data on the overall metagame breakdown but we can at least look at the Top 32 and get an idea of how things looked.

As we can see, PO was definitely a huge chunk of the Top 32 decks at 25% of the Top 32 Metagame. It's safe to say that this is likely due to the fact that people do consider PO to creep to the top of the heap, but as evidenced by how the finals played out of BUG vs PO, there are certainly ways to attack and beat PO. It will be interesting to keep track of this data going forward to see how the Metagame evolves.

Now let's take a look at our 2019 era cards and see what shows up, like we always do with these challenges!

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Vigor 23
Force of Negation 18
Narset, Parter of Veils 16
Stonecoil Serpent 16
Oko, Thief of Crowns 15
Veil of Summer 14
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim 11
Collector Ouphe 10
Mystic Forge 7
Bolas's Citadel 5
God-Pharaoh's Statue 5
Teferi, Time Raveler 4
Wrenn and Six 4
Arcum's Astrolabe 3
Karn, the Great Creator 3
Deafening Silence 2
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade 2
Manifold Key 2
Niv-Mizzet, Parun 2
Ashiok, Dream Render 1
Brazen Borrower 1
Once Upon a Time 1
Shenanigans 1

In truth, it will be some events before we can figure out how these numbers shake out longer term, but I think the answer is clear that Modern Horizons had a farther reaching impact on the format overall, despite the initial bursts of power from War of the Spark planeswalkers. Force of Vigor is a card that has cemented itself within the metagame.

Introspective - Looking Ahead to 2020

We're getting closer to the end of 2019, and this year has been a tumultuous year for Vintage (and other Eternal formats as well) in regards to Magic card design. However, regardless of how insane things have gotten with the format this year, I find myself happy and thankful to be surrounded by the awesome Vintage community that continues to keep the format alive and kicking. This year has seen my content grow and my connections within the community deepen. I have only been playing the format now for a few years, but I have found that the community is very welcoming and inviting. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the people who really made 2019 awesome for me and give them shout outs because frankly, they deserve it.

  • Zias! What started out earlier this year as simply having fun playing against each other on Magic Online has turned into more collaborative things with "Bazaar of Moxology" in addition to just learning more about one another and becoming great friends. Zias, your innovation and thought process is inspiring and I look forward to seeing where you go next in 2020 with your ideas.
  • Team Serious - you all rock, and you're all incredible people. I've never felt more welcome to come and play with you fine folk, and I am thoroughly excited to see what happens next in 2020. Stay 1000% my friends!
  • Erin Campbell - You and I have had much more interaction this year between the Dredge Discord and Team Serious, and you are an incredibly wonderful person and a strong player, and I look forward to being able to hang out with you this next year.
  • Mike Noble - What more can say about Mike Noble (other than that it's rumored that he became a 3/3 Elk)? You're an awesome guy, and I look forward to talking and working with you more in the future!
  • Justin Gennari and Matt Murrary - Both of you have been staunch supporters of my work on this column, and thus I greatly appreciate your efforts and work within the format. Keep brewing and keep innovating!
  • Rat3de - Some of you might remember our good friend Edward, who took a moment of his time to talk about his experiences as a young Vintage player. I look forward to next year, to seeing you continue to grow as a player and hopefully one day we can meet!

As I look back on this year, I'm filled with wonder on how amazing the Vintage community truly is, and how much more there is to experience. As I look forward to 2020, I'm excited to work towards goals of making it to Eternal Weekend next year, but I'm also filled with trepidation over what Magic will bring this next year for the format. Based on the most recent article about Play Design and the powering up of Standard sets, it seems that we are going to see more cards like Narset, Karn, etc. that have a chance to impact Vintage in a reasonable way. Enough that it might be necessary to continue to make further restrictions to the format. This is the nature of the format, but this past year's designs have really exacerbated the issue a lot.

Regardless of how Magic may change over this next year, I remain thankful for the community and committed to continuing to develop Vintage content that will help people find a path into the format that works for them and allows people to understand how much fun Vintage really can be. And of course, I'm thankful to the readers and supporters of this column for continuing to provide great comments and great support.

The Spice Corner

MTGO User Lain5893 Top 8'ed the Vintage Challenge with this take on RUG Planeswalkers, by including a way to Crop Rotation for the Depths combo!

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! We're looking ahead to the EU Eternal Weekend in Paris next month on December 21st-22nd, and next week we're going to be covering the ongoing changes to the Vintage metagame as well as talking about another deck with Fastbond, Eric's Crab Shack!

In addition, if you get the time today, please take a moment to check out our good friend Brady Iba's stream over at twitch.tv/briba20 as he is doing a 48 hour stream for charity! Check out the details below!

As always you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! Please take a look and subscribe! I'm looking at getting out Episode Three of "The Bazaar of Moxology" soon, so be on the lookout for it!

Until next time, keep casting Moxen!


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