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Vintage 101: Turkey Day Metagames

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're doing a vibe check on Vintage as a format with the Vintage Streamer's Discord's data sets before Eternal Weekend. In addition to that we've got a follow up on last week's Vintage Puzzle and two Challenges to discuss.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

A Look in on Vintage Before Eternal Weekend

Eternal Weekend is fast approaching, with the first event taking place in Prague this very weekend! After that we've got the event in Aichi, Japan the following weekend and then we get a break until the NA Eternal Weekend at the beginning of December.

With that in mind, let's do a vibe check on where Vintage is at right now in the past 45 days. The source of this data aggregate comes from our friends in the Vintage Streamer's Discord ran by Justin Gennari. I pulled a copy of their most recent dashboard and went back 45 days. You can find this sheet here.

Let's look at the graphical data first.

The most popular deck in Vintage right now is the Lurrus Saga decks, making up roughly 16.5% of the current metagame. I've talked a lot about this category of decks and how it really is a game changer for the format overall, enabling a deck that plays both blue restricted cards and Urza's Saga a way to neatly tie together their manabase with Lorien Revealed. We can see this easily in the deck's estimated win rate at a little over 53%. This deck is good and it isn't going away any time soon.

Following right behind Lurrus Saga is Oath, and this is also not surprising to see as Oath tends to have a strong matchup versus the Lurrus Saga decks. That being said, Oath has had its weekends where it gets dogpiled on and doesn't do well, but I still think it's one of the stronger combo decks of the format right now and tends to be overrepresented in paper events especially.

Initiative from just last year has had an interesting trek through the format. While it's the third most popular deck in the past 45 days, it's win rate is less than 50%. We've seen this deck go from the most busted deck in the format over this past year to just being a solid part of the format. The deck is powerful on the power level scale of Vintage decks, and it does some really strong things, but people have definitely figured out how to beat it and metagame against it. Oath being popular too doesn't help as not having an answer to an Atraxa is rough.

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Beseech Storm finds its way into the Top 5 most represented decks here but it's a pretty sharp dip down from Initiative's popularity. Still, Beseech has a reasonable middle of the road 50% win rate, and I've seen the deck have some strong finishes. Having a Dark Ritual deck that's not Doomsday is pretty interesting, and furthermore having a deck that is a Tendrils of Agony deck is quite neat to have around.

Both Aggro Shops and Combo Shops have reasonable dents in the current format as well, with Combo Shops having some strong performances in the past 45 days due in part to some innovations in that list such as playing more copies of cards like The One Ring. After this we arrive down to decks like Doomsday, Dredge, CounterVine, and BUG that all have sub-50% win rates, but they all have had some Top 8 performances over this time frame too.

The true dark horse of this data is the Turbo Vault Key deck. This deck is a Lurrus based deck popularized by shir kahn that plays cards like Goblin Engineer, Saga, and even Haywire Mite. It's major game plan is to turbo out the Time Vault / Manifold Key combo and win the game from there. While this deck is sitting at just above 3% metagame share, I feel like this deck probably should see more play. It's had a bunch of impressive Top 8 finishes not to mention Challenge wins over this time frame and it looks really good.

Overall, Vintage looks rather reasonable. There's an axis of fair decks, Shops, Bazaar, and Combo that all seem to jockey for positioning and they all kind of cyclically roll in and out from event to event. It makes keeping your pulse on the overall metagame very rewarding and interesting to figure out, and honestly no deck seems truly overpowering in the format.

It's going to be very interesting to see what Eternal Weekend Europe looks like this weekend, but I suspect it will be super fun to keep an eye on.

Vintage Puzzle Solution - Breach Win

Last week we did a Vintage puzzle where it was up to the reader to find the line to win. The first one was a submission via Twitter by Maxtortion, who had posted a really interesting line that could have won the game. To recap the situation, this is a scenario where a Painter opponent has activated Grindstone in response to a main phase Ancestral Recall by a Breach player with Underworld Breach in play. The Breach player is tapped out.

The solution to this scenario isn't very super apparent. One of the proposed solutions was to let Grindstone resolve and then cast Force of Will from the graveyard to counter your own spell, but Underworld Breach doesn't actually let you cast Force of Will like that. The answer is more based in studying common Breach lists and knowing what cards the Breach player is going to mill.

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The answer to this is to allow Grindstone's activation to resolve. This will mill the entire Breach player's library into the graveyard. Then with Ancestral Recall still on the stack, you cast Mental Misstep with an Escape cost of Phyrexian mana by paying two life and three cards exiled to counter your Ancestral Recall. You can then proceed to win the game with your milled library and Underworld Breach.

This was super fun for sure! We'll do another one of these, I just have to find a good one. If you find yourself in a good one, please reach out and let me know and I might include it!

Vintage Challenge 11/11

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the mid afternoon Saturday event. This event had 70 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

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

Both Combo Shops and Lurrus Saga were tied for most popular deck here, and both had reasonable win rates. Initiative did rather poorly, while Other Blue Control and Dredge did well. Oath did not do so hot here.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Combo Shops 1st Karatedom
Turbo Vault Key 2nd J0se
Lurrus Saga 3rd Rooney56
Lurrus Saga 4th Baby
CounterVine 5th Tixis
Lurrus Druid 6th unluckymonkey
Lurrus Saga 7th HJ_Kaiser
Lurrus Druid 8th slaxx

Lot of Lurrus in this Top 8. At least 6/8 of the Top 8 was a Lurrus deck. At the end of the event however it was Combo Shops that won.

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This deck is quite strong and it does a lot of really powerful things. The biggest boon to this deck it seems was definitely the advent of The One Ring being such an incredibly powerful card.

In Second Place we had Turbo Vault Key.

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This deck has shot up quite a bit since it's original introduction by shir kahn. It has a lot of really powerful things it does for sure.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Lurrus Questing Druid.

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Questing Druid is also starting to make waves in Legacy, and it looks quite good in this kind of shell where it gains access to a lot of different cards that it can cast off the Adventure half while triggering the creature half. This certainly looks fun.

Vintage Challenge 11/12

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 59 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

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

Lurrus Saga was the most popular deck followed by Combo Shops, but both had less than 50% win rates. Prison Shops did very well as did BUG, while much of the rest of the field performed sub par.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Prison Shops 1st shir kahn
Combo Shops 2nd yPrincipe
Grixis Tinker 3rd moatzu
Combo Shops 4th satu2112
BUG Midrange 5th yoshiwata
Prison Shops 6th Coronach
Oath of Druids 7th JUJUBEAN__2004
Dredge 8th makuto86

Lot of Shops here alongside some Tinker and Bazaar. At the end of the event it was Prison Shops that won.

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Very interesting list for sure here. Only one Nettlecyst main is for sure super interesting, but the deck has a bunch of ways to win the game with Golos and friends.

In Second Place we had Combo Shops.

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I really like Argentum Masticore in the sideboard here. That card has always seemed rather powerful every time I've seen it.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Oath of Druids.

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Spell Pierce is a cool inclusion here. I like having three copies of Oko too. Card always seems very good for sure.

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

You can find this past week's 5-0 lists here.

PO Painter!

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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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