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Vintage 101: Vintage March 2024 Metagame!

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 Vintage in March 2024 from the beginning of the year! In addition to that we've got two Challenges to discuss from the past weekend.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Vintage March Metagame Update

It's near the end of the month, so it feels like a pretty good time to check in on the format! We did just have an unrestriction in the format, so that is a big thing, but much of this data since the beginning of the year is still very relevant. You can find the data I am using, courtesy of the Vintage Streamer's Discord, over here.

Let's dive right into the graphical data for the format at the moment.

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Lurrus Saga continues to be the most popular deck in the format, boasting a solid win rate that gets better in non-mirrors (54.16% w/ mirrors, 55.1% w/o mirrors). This deck's power and the effect it has had on the format overall has shown that the combination of Lorien Revealed and Urza's Saga is insanely good. At the end of the day, this is still a fair deck so I'm not 100% certain we need to do anything about it just yet, but it is a deck to watch. The deck itself keeps flopping between UB, UW, and Esper, with a hard move back to UB as of late. The big linchpin here is Lorien Revealed in all honesty.

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Initiative is the second most played deck, but its statistics are  pretty poor. The deck still puts up reasonable results here or there, but it's settled hard into the format. At a 48.3% non-mirror win rate though, the deck is not that insane that it is overpowering in the format. It's popular though because of the perception of the Initiative mechanic, but the deck requires a lot of sequencing understanding to pull off wins.

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Jewel Shops comes in at number three here, with a very middle of the road win rate. This deck continues to be quite popular and is still very powerful despite many different decks playing cards like Orcish Bowmasters. The big addition to this deck was The One Ring which pushed it hard. Still, the overall win rate of this deck doesn't seem too insane really, and it definitely feels like the deck can be attacked on an axis of artifact hate + stuff like Bowmasters.

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Dredge comes in at number four of the most played decks of the format, but it's win rate is just below 50%. We know for certain that Dredge is a strong deck, but it's only solid when it's taking the format somewhat by surprise. As we've seen from this past weekend's events, Dredge is slowly getting pushed back down in favor of decks like Countervine as the Bazaar deck of choice as the format adjusts to the power level of Dredge once more. This is just a very cyclical thing we see from time to time for how well Dredge can surprise a format. The deck also got recent toys in Poxwalkers so that is a big thing for it as well.

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Sphere Shops, namely those Shops decks playing some form of a prison/aggro strategy, rounds out the Top 5 of the most popular decks, however the overall win rate of this deck is actually a lot lower than it seems like it should be, meaning that popularity doesn't always equate to win rates. Again, Shops is yet another deck where sequencing is largely key, and this can be difficult to pick up at first.

It's worth noting that out of the Top 5 decks of the format right now in terms of sheer metagame share, all five of them are decks that generally are not playing Ponder. In fact, we have to go down to decks like Oath (which might want the card at very minimum) and Breach to find a deck that even wants to be playing Ponder. I think this does show that the unrestriction was a pretty reasonable one, and while I think we will see how much this will impact the format even further down the line, to me it feels like a good unrestriction overall.

I am still of the mind that Vintage in general is in a reasonable place. As I said earlier, I'm not 100% sold on a change needing to be made to Lurrus Saga just yet. If there has to be a change there, I'm more than likely on the side of changing the restrictions for cards like Lorien Revealed over Urza's Saga, but I don't think we are there yet. A fair deck being at the head of the format is reasonable and things continue to cycle back and forth anyways, so we may run into a different situation within the next few months. We have many more sets coming and also coming hot off the heels of a restriction that may be ultimately low impact but could potentially long term be a greater impact than we can see right now. I'm more than willing to wait to see how the format shakes out, and things seem very reasonable right now.

Vintage Challenge 3/23

The first Challenge of the weekend was the mid afternoon Saturday event. This event had 51 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.

Lurrus Saga was the most popular deck of the event, and it's win rate was really good. BUG also did very well as did Countervine. Jewel Shops underperformed as did Dredge and Breach.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Lurrus Saga 1st duke12
BUG 2nd _Shatun_
BUG 3rd Wesal
Countervine 4th Dreddybajs
Lurrus Saga 5th Solidsnake408
Doomsday 6th discoverN
Lurrus Saga 7th DInglis
Lurrus Saga 8th Dr. Jon Osterman

Quite a bit of Lurrus Saga in this Top 8. 4/8 of the slots were that, and it won the event overall.

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Quite a shift back to the UB versions of the deck, proving that Bowmasters is very solid right now as a card. Seeing multiple copies of Spreading Seas in a Vintage deck is insanely wild, but it makes sense.

In Second Place we had BUG.

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Jace, Vryn's Prodigy in BUG seems incredibly sweet. This was definitely tech from older times. Also Sylvan Library?! This deck is just saying no to Bowmasters existing. Life from the Loam is a sweet inclusion here for a four Wasteland deck.

Also in this Top 8 we had Countervine.

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Poxwalkers showing up is not super surprising here. Being able to ditch copies of it and a Blazing Rootwalla to trigger getting them back is really good.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Doomsday.

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Pretty solid stock list overall here. Definitely a very strong deck overall and it really does benefit well from four copies of Ponder.

Vintage Challenge 3/24

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 40 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.

Jewel Shops was the most popular deck of the event and it's win rate was really good, as was Countervine's and Initiative. BUG did poorly as did Dredge.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Initiative 1st 2radMTG
Doomsday 2nd discoverN
Jewel Shops 3rd Turn1GlistenerElf
Initiative 4th BERNASTORRES
Countervine 5th Sarlanga
4C Lurrus 6th MyPotatoes
Jewel Shops 7th ecobaronen
Countervine 8th ElfKid

Really interesting Top 8 actually here. At the end of the event it was Initiative that won.

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There being a Colossal Dreadmaw in the sideboard here seems wild. I really can't grok this one. The rest of the deck is great though.

In Second Place we had Doomsday.

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discoverN is a great player for sure, but I do think we are starting to see the effects of Ponder as a four-of on this deck. It improves the deck so much.

Also in this Top 8 we had Jewel Shops.

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Definitely one of the format's more Vintage-y decks. This deck is pure concentrated power bottled up. The best thing about this deck is that you can play the Secret Lair version of Coveted Jewel.

At the bottom half of the Top 8 we had 4C Lurrus Tempo.

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Questing Druid and Wrenn and Six seems pretty great right? I love it. This list is super sweet.

Around the Web

  • Justin Gennari always has some great stuff for us:
  • Play to Win has a videon Tinker vs Hogaak Vine. Check it out here.
  • Bryant Cook is killing people with Bowmasters and Draw 7s. Check it out here.
  • Florida Legacy Club has a video on Oath of Druids. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

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


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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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