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Vintage 101: Unrestrictable

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 talking a little bit about the Banned and Restricted list for Vintage, but not in the way of wanting to get rid of things, but rather looking critically at what cards could conceivably become unrestricted! Definitely a super interesting topic to cover. In addition to that we have two Challenges from this past weekend to cover, so let's get right to it shall we?

Unrestrictable, That's What You'll Be

We don't often get to talk about the side of the Banned and Restricted List where we discuss what could potentially become Unrestricted, and there was some chatter this week in the community about such a thing so I figured I would talk about the cards that I think could feasibly become unrestricted in Vintage.

Now let's get out of the way the obvious fact that we are not unrestricting any pieces of Power or any cards like Mana Crypt or Sol Ring, so upfront we are choosing to keep those right where they are. There are also obviously cards that probably should never be unrestricted that were recently restricted in the past few years (such as Narset, Karn, and Golgari Grave-Troll).

With all that being said, let's look at the top card of our list that could be unrestricted.

#1 - Channel

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On the surface Channel does seem pretty powerful, allowing you to cast large generic mana spells like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or being able to abuse the life payment nature with cards like Lich's Mirror, but since Channel is not only a Sorcery but also costs double green to actually cast I feel like this is a reasonably safe unrestriction. I expect what would happen is that players would definitely try out the Lich's Mirror deck much like how players jumped on Fastbond decks upon its unrestriction and then those decks would just sort of fade back into obscurity. The big presence of decks that play eight Forces plus the aspect of some decks playing Daze and other spells like Mindbreak Trap makes me believe that the format would just simply asborb Channel as another interesting and futile combo to be pull off.

Essentially I feel like the answer suite is hyped up enough now that unrestricting Channel would likely not do anything, and it would be fun to have in the format. It's also interesting that Wizards has continually reprinted the card as well, despite not being legal in a large variety of formats.

#2 - Imperial Seal

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A Sorcery speed Vampiric Tutor doesn't actually feel like it cuts it too much in current Vintage, and I suspect Seal would be largely not played because of it. It doesn't see much play now even as a one-of due to how much more outclassed it is by Vampiric Tutor and Mystical Tutor. The downside is that Seal is a pretty expensive card in paper, but I don't think this should factor into unrestriction decisions at all.

#3 - Windfall

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is another card that seems honestly interesting to unrestrict, and is likely just okay since hand sizes in Vintage don't often amount to much and the effect is only really good with Hullbreacher or Narset. Even then, it is not nearly as back-breaking as Wheel of Fortune or Timetwister is with these effects. Spending three mana to wheel three-four cards away for three-four Treasures isn't nearly as good as making a full seven of this effect. There's enough variance and answers for this that it's more than likely just fine.

#4 - Yawgmoth's Will

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This one might be controversial, but given that we've been just fine with having another unrestricted Yawgmoth's Will effect in Underworld Breach in the format and the format has managed to absorb it and handle it, I don't think that just unrestricting the OG Yawg-Will would do much of anything. Deckbuilding space in Vintage decks is pretty cramped as is with all the restricted cards that finding room for more than two-three copies of this card would be rough, and at that point what good are they actually doing for deckbuilding considerations. This is one I'd definitely give a chance because more than likely it doesn't need to actually be restricted and would not see play as more than a one-of anyways.

#5 - Library of Alexandria

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is another one where price of a card shouldn't really influence anything, since the paper printing of this is pretty high, but with most Vintage being played on Magic Online we shouldn't shackle ourselves to that sort of thing when it comes to restrictions and unrestrictions. The truth of the matter is that Library is having issues seeing play in general and doesn't see a whole lot of play as a one-of, and likely would not see any play as a four-of especially when there are cards like Urza's Saga to consider. I think this one is likely fine.

#6 - Necropotence

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This one is on the riskier side of all of the cards that we've discussed sofar, but I honestly think Necro would be potentially okay for the format if it can absorb cards like Yawgmoth's Will and Channel. Necro still is a staple of certain decks in the format like Doomsday and having four might be very good for that deck, but at the same time it would be interesting to see what a Necro based control deck would look like. This one is mentioned only because it's been mentioned by Wizards before in relation to further unrestrictions, and I would honestly be curious to see what would come of having it be unrestricted.

Wrapping Up

Those are the primary cards that I had on my list to discuss for right now. Are there any cards you think I missed in this? Any ones you want to see me discuss? Let me know in the comments!

Vintage Challenge 10/2

We had two Challenge events this past weekend, the first of which was the mid-afternoon Saturday event. Thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamers Discord, we know this event had 54 players in it.

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

A fair amount of Golos Stax as we've seen in recent events, but as the Vintage format is apt to show, it had representation but didn't actually do all that great performance-wise as players sought to metagame against it. One of the truly interesting things about Vintage week to week is how the format reacts to previous events. Probably one of the more true push/pull type metagames we've ever seen right now.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Control 1st albertoSD
Blue Tinker 2nd ReneRandrup
Doomsday 3rd CrazyDiamond513
RUG Control 4th Mogged
Blue Tinker 5th IdraftTheBeatz
Dredge 6th MagicPlayer00009999
Hogaak 7th kanister
Oath of Druids 8th s063

Lot of interesting variety here, with some combo elements to fair control and also Bazaar decks. At the end of the event, however, it was Jeskai Control that won the event.

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Definitely what we've come to expect from the Jeskai builds as of late. Ragavan is a solid inclusion to this deck and works well side by side with Dreadhorde Arcanist. Prismatic Ending is another strong option for these decks as well.

In Second Place we had a Blue Tinker build.

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More Ragavan! This build utilizes the Monkey and Hullbreacher alongside the generic Grixis Tinker control plan as just another angle of attack.

Speaking of the Monkey still, we see it yet again in the Fourth Place list with RUG Control that turns into Oath.

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Transformational sideboard plans are always neat, and this one is one we've seen before on this column, but it's still pretty fun to see. Really interesting list overall here.

Down at the bottom of the Top 8 we had a showing by Dredge.

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Doomsday hate being brought out yet again in Archive Trap in the sideboard here. Also interesting to see a pulling back on stuff like Wasteland + Strip Mine, but it is fun to note that Force of Vigor is like Strip Mine specifically for Urza's Saga based decks.

Outside of the Top 8 we have a UR Saga deck.

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This is aggressive and strong and very lean. A lot of four-of effects here, and four main deck Pyroblast. Very cool list.

Further down the Top 32 we had another neat UR pile.

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Thing in the Ice!!! I love it.

Vintage Challenge 10/3

Our second event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday Challenge event, which thanks to the Vintage Streamers Discord we know had 50 players in it.

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

Golos Stax had a more reasonable time this go around, with BUG following up right behind it. Personally, I think these kinds of events are showing just again how well Vintage players are reacting to the evolving metagame, and things are never continually settling it seems, which is great to see.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Blue Tinker 1st IdraftTheBeatz
Golos Stax 2nd billster47
Oath of Druids 3rd s063
Golos Stax 4th Tsubasa_Cat
Ravager Shops 5th medvedev
BUG Midrange 6th HouseOfManaMTG
Breach 7th Condescend
4C Midrange 8th keeline

Pretty interesting Top 8 with some Shops, fair, Oath, and even Combo elements in it. At the end of the event though it was a Blue Tinker build (the 8-Cast build) that won it all.

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The most interesting thing here is the omission of Bolas's Citadel. I'd be curious to hear what the reasoning on that was, to be honest since it always seems like a slam dunk inclusion with Tinker decks in general. Still, very interesting and powerful list.

In Second Place we had Golos Stax.

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This deck is really maximizing on its land destruction effects, with not just four Wasteland but four Ghost Quarter as well. A lot of this is to attack opposing Urza's Saga decks, but it's good against a lot of different decks as well.

Further down we had Oath of Druids.

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There's more of a combo element here that is reminiscent of the Tinker decks since this also plays the Tinker package with Citadel. Serra's Emissary in the sideboard is also an interesting Oath target. Also, note the presence of Urza's Saga here as well.

Also in the Top 8 we had Ravager Shops!

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Someone took our discussion about Shops last weekend and opted to play Ravager (this is my story and I'm sticking to it), and it did quite well here. Nettlecyst is incredibly strong especially when paired with a usually unblockable threat like Gingerbrute. Still pretty amazing how Saga has supplanted Mishra's Factory in the long term.

Outside of the Top 8 we had a showing by BUG Midrange.

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It has been interesting seeing stuff like Outland Liberator and Malevolent Hermit in these decks. Very intriguing stuff. I'm very curious how those cards are performing in these decks for sure.

Further down the Top 32 we have our good friend Justin Gennari piloting the notmi spice of 4C Elementals.

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This deck is so cool. Risen Reef is my spirit animal.

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

Always post Goblins 5-0's.

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

Until next time!

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