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Vintage 101: Vintage Round Table - The "Thunder Junction, What's Your Function" Edition


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we have assembled the Vintage Round Table yet again to talk about the state of Vintage! We've also got some updates in a Banned and Restricted Announcement from this past week.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The Vintage Round Table - The "Thunder Junction, What's Your Function" Edition

It's certainly been a while since we did one of these Round Tables for Vintage. We just did one for Legacy last week and it felt like a good time, especially with the lack of changes that directly affect Vintage in the Banned and Restricted Announcement to hear what Vintage players currently think of the format. I hope to do more of these more often because I like the format of them.

Let's see who is joining us this go around!

Name Social Media Links
Austin Pipp (Notmi) N/A
Justin Gennari

Twitter

Twitch

YouTube

Andreas Petersen

Twitter

YouTube

Raffaele Ramagli

Vintage Community Discord

Vintage Italy Monthly League Discord

Eric Koziol

Twitter

Twitch

Oracles of the Coast

Rajah James

Twitter

BlueSky

Sahar Mirhadi Link Tree
Kinda Twitter
Stuart Ziarnik

Romancing the Stones

Twitter

TaJoordan Twitter

This is a pretty stellar set of folks. Let's see what they have to say about the format.

#1 - What are your current thoughts on the Vintage format? Are you having fun? Is the format healthy?

Austin Pipp: In my opinion, playing exactly a Lurrus Saga deck vs other Lurrus Saga decks is enjoyable and interesting Magic. I don't particularly enjoy any other matchups.

I think the format, overall, is healthy in that there is no deck with an obnoxious winrate like we had during the Karn/Forge formats, but the playpatterns of this format outside of exactly Lurrus mirrors is pretty miserable. So much of the format has become warped around Saga, and so many games are decided by Time Vault that even different Saga decks often feel similar to play against. The decks that currently see play because they are good in the Lurrus Saga meta are also not ones I enjoy, those primarily being Jewel, Dredge, and Show and Tell Oath.

Justin Gennari: I am having fun. I think the well defined metagame is great for me personally. I enjoy picking angles, brewing, and smart deckbuilding. With clearly defined top tier decks and metashares it becomes easy for less powerful decks with more pointed plans to be effective.

I do think the gameplay of the format is is the best its been in years. I continually express my opinion that the best deck to have as the most played deck should never be the combo or linear strategies but instead a "fair" interactive deck. Lurrus Saga is that which Vintage hasn't seen in a long time. A fair interactive deck that wins with permanents and attacking. Its the best kind of deck to be the best deck.

That being said its numbers in terms of winrate and playrate are starting to approach the bounds that I find acceptable. In the last 2 months of challenges the decks under the category Lurrus Saga (4 wasteland 4 Saga 4 Lorien Blue Decks) are 22% of the meta with a 55% winrate with an ~57% in non mirrors. These numbers typically represent a possible restriction. Leagues are a bit better with only 13% Lurrus Saga and a much lower 52.5% winrate. It could reasonably argued that the format is "unhealthy".

Andreas Petersen: First of all, I'll let you know that I'm extremely romantic and nostalgic about Vintage. I'm having a ton of fun and would consider the format healthy gameplay-wise. You can register fair blue, unfair blue, Workshop (although jammed together), Bazaar and White without giving up a ton of equity.

Raffaele Ramagli: In 2022 I answered that most of the format's recent landscape revolved (but was NOT dominated by) Urza's Saga, you either play it, waste it, or outright ignore it. Now, the most played by a wide margin and winning deck gets to do two of those. I'm personally not having a lot fun, despite playing the dominant archetype. Format is not in an abysmal shape though, if you ignore the tier zero there is the usual mixture of viable decks, although some are a bit too much on the all-in side of the spectrum, think Jewel.

Eric Koziol: I have fun when I play. But it's getting harder to say, "I'll spend my free time tonight playing a League!" knowing that I will play a bunch against Lurrus and Jewel. I'm lucky Japan has a decently robust paper community, and I spend lots of time playing that. Booting up MO feels more like a chore every single week.

Rajah James: Yeah, I really like Ponder unrestriction. The blue decks are reasonable. Everything points to further unrestrictions being safe, so to me, that means things are going well in Vintage.

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Sahar Mirhadi: I mostly play paper Vintage and attend proxy-friendly events such as 4Seasons and London Vintage, but I also dabble in online play. The format is currently at a crossroads. While I enjoy playing with my powerful cards and representing the strong ladies of vintage, everyone else is trying to predict the weekend metagame for online play which I sometimes struggle to keep up with.

It is no secret that Lurrus Saga dominates 25% of the vintage metagame and 50% of the Top 8 recent online events, which raises questions about the overall format health.

Although we may need to evaluate the dominance of Lurrus Saga as a force in Vintage, playing the format IN PAPER is enjoyable at the moment. Additionally, I would like to emphasise that playing vintage in person will be a more enjoyable experience for players.

Kinda: Vintage and cEDH (multiplayer Vintage) are still my favourite formats. I personally don't like Lurrus control being the top deck though, the format feels much closer to Legacy and Modern right now but without any of the benefits of playing those more popular and more supported formats.

Stuart Ziarnik: I’m a Vintage apologist, so for me, even in the least healthy metas there’s always fun to be had. The format’s premise is that, by ratcheting the power level so high, every turn and single play deeply matters. If you get in the headspace that no game action or time is wasted and everything is critical, you will have a good time no matter what. Certainly that’s true in 2024.

The meta is imperfect, but solid. Our 3 top archetypes – Jewel Shops, Oath, and Lurrus – are all strategically distinct and allow for fun, interesting gameplay (as both a pilot and opponent). There are also a variety of good Tier 2 decks available.

TaJoordan: The Vintage format is an enjoyable experience in small doses for me. I am having fun in leagues testing out cards from new releases and taking old favorites like Hogaak and Oops! for a spin. I don't think the Vintage format is in a healthy place, though. A dream of mine is to play in the MOCS, so when Vintage was announced as a format for Qualifiers, I was ecstatic. I spent more time thinking about the mechanisms of Vintage, tested in calls with teammates, and playing a ton of events over the past 9 months than ever before— Even traveling to an Eternal Weekend. In some ways, I certainly burned myself out, yet I discovered a troubled format along the way.

#2 - What changes would you make to the current format and why?

Austin Pipp: I would restrict Urza's Saga to dramatically reduce the number of games decided by Time Vault key, and remove the backup plan that allows Jewel to exist as an all in combo deck. There are arguments to be made to wait until after Modern Horizons 3, but I think it's extremely unlikely anything printed in it will dramatically change the format, unless it's to make Lurrus and Saga decks better.

Justin Gennari: I am very torn on what to do with this format. A restriction on Urza's Saga leaves the format in shambles and I am VERY worried that the resulting format will be extremely combo oriented and Doomsday dominated. If I had to make a bet the post Saga world would be a less fun, less healthy format.

So what do we do (if we have to do something)? Is a restriction on Lorien Revealed an impactful enough hit? Does it make sense to just trim off the mana enabler here when Saga is as strong as it is? This would likely make a healthier format but at the cost of a "nonsensical restriction". That being said Lorien can be viewed in the realm of brainstorm and ponder so maybe it is fine.

Are there any unrestrictions that could meaningfully impact the Lurrus meta? The first ones that come to mind are Thorn, Narset, and Mentor. These would incentivize a move away from Lurrus but the issue is they probably dont move you away from a Saga Wasteland Lorien shell and instead just replace lurrus with powerful 3 drops and tinker citadel.

I dont have a good conclusive opinion at this time. I lean towards unrestrictions or no changes.

Andreas Petersen: I want to restrict Urza's Saga to see if we can get more variety within the the aforementioned pillars. Players will have more freedom in their mana requirements (both because of Saga itself is colorless, but also because so many slots are used on Wastelands these days).

Raffaele Ramagli: The most pressing matters are, unsurprisingly, the topic of the next question, so I will address them later. As a general answer I can just rephrase mine from the previous Round Table. I would restrict Bazaar of Baghdad, it isn't mandatory though, since it's not a matter of dominace (now), but more of gameplay patterns and chasing many potential new players away from the format, Vintage needs all the new blood it can get. That would trigger a cascade of adjustments, like making room for other graveyard strategies, free Mental Misstep, etc. There is no point in elaborating further though, it will sadly never happen unless the way the format is managed drastically changes.

Eric Koziol: I'm the rare fan of Restrictions over Unrestrictions – you can't unrestrict until you restrict! Despite my saying above how much I play paper over digital, I'd still prefer to see more Restrictions and later Unrestrictions if necessary. With four challenges every week – Which I love! One is actually playable in my timezone now! –, so many more games are getting played, and we'll see players get exhausted more frequently.

My biggest dream is to add Semi-Restriction to Vintage. Only two copies of semi-restricted cards are allowed. I know people would complain that it becomes "too variance-driven", as if Magic isn't already that kind of game. Anyone who has played enough Vintage has drawn Black Lotus when they needed anything else or drawn nothing they needed off of Ancestral Recall. The Restricted list adds a beautiful wrinkle to the Vintage format, and as the game's card pool grows, I fear it's not enough to keep the game in check.

Rajah James: See my above answer. I would like to see an additional card unrestricted every 3 months or so.

Sahar Mirhadi: While restricting Urza's Saga may seem like a good idea, I suggest restricting Lorien Revealed instead. This card has a powerful effect as it can turn an off-colour Moxen into an Underground Sea or Tundra. Additionally, it can be pitched to Force of Will and also draw cards, making it a very versatile card in the Lurrus Saga shells. Also, it can be played in any blue deck (did I mention it draws cards?!)

Kinda: I would restrict Saga (Lurrus and Jewel), Lorien Revealed (Lurrus), Atraxa (oath), Ponder (Doomsday and strong results in Tinker/Breach decks but underexplored there imo), Chrome Mox (Mono White Initiative), and Force of Will (Doomsday, Jewel, Bazaar, Oath etc etc...used too much to Force through proactive combos. The format would be better with 4 Force of Negation / 1 Force of Will standard in decks). Unrestrict Channel.

Stuart Ziarnik: When I participated in MTGGoldfish’s 2022 Vintage Roundtables, I proposed restricting Force of Vigor and Urza's Saga. The Force of Vigor suggestion aged poorly – in the time since then, Bazaar has waned while new powerful strategies have risen up. However, my 2022 comments on Saga hold up. I wrote, “Saga is an absolutely insane card that slots into a huge number of archetypes for very little cost. The card was (hopefully) not designed with Manifold Key, Sol Ring, or Black Lotus in mind. With those cards in the pool, it's a land that tends to give you 2 6/6s and either a bunch of mana or a game-ending combo piece. The power level is off the chain, but the real problem is that it forces us into stale play patterns: everyone has to build and play around this insane land, and when it's playable in so many archetypes, it homogenizes the experience - every round you have a good chance of having to play the Saga subgame.” That’s all still true, and Saga has become even more prevalent since the printing of Lorien Revealed.

Does that mean Saga should be restricted? I’m not sure. The argument for restricting it is that 1) it’s everywhere, and 2) it dominates play patterns. But in terms of meta penetration it’s an equal-opportunity offender that doesn’t prop up one specific strategy, and in terms of play patterns and power level, well, maybe it’s just the new normal and we need to get used to it. I’m still enjoying the gameplay, and I find the blue mirrors to be fun and interactive, so I’m indifferent to Saga staying or going. I wouldn’t miss it if it were gone, but it hasn’t messed up Vintage for me, either.

Lurrus is another story. I’ll talk more about him in a later section, but suffice it to say, I would like Lurrus to be banned, or for the Companion rules to be changed (e.g. the Companion Zone doesn’t exist in this format, or something like that).

I also think we should take a look at Paradoxical Outcome. Despite repeated printings that punish card draw, it’s been propping up nigh-dominant strategies ever since it Kaladesh. A restriction might temper Jewel Shops or whatever the next flavor of PO will be.

In the 2022 Roundtable I called for unrestricting Channel, FlashImperial Seal, Memory Jar, Necropotence, and Windfall. I also tentatively suggested Library of Alexandria, Golgari Grave-Troll, and Thorn of Amethyst. Flash is no longer a safe unrestriction thanks to Atraxa, but I stand by the rest of those.

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Team Serious’s Full Warning Podcast recently had a discussion of unrestrictions that opened my mind on this, and I think we can free even more cards than the above! Merchant Scroll seems incredibly tame – many blue decks don’t even play the one copy they’re permitted, and it’s hard for me to imagine how we would abuse it in multiples. Narset is probably fine, too: since she was restricted we got Hullbreacher and Orcish Bowmasters, and besides, who’s playing 3 CMC permanents these days? Lastly, I think we can take a hard look at Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise. Cantrip/xerox strategies have been waning for a while now, and we saw that the recent Ponder unrestriction didn’t really do anything. I doubt many decks would abuse multiple copies of Dig or Cruise, and if they did that might just open up the meta with a new strategy.

A caveat: I don’t know what’s coming in future sets, so all this could be moot. When I think back to my call for restricting Force of Vigor, I didn’t know that 1-2 years later, Bazaar decks wouldn’t be performing as impressively because other strategies got powerful new tools. It’s possible that in an upcoming set, we’ll see a 3- or 4-CMC permanent so good that we stop playing Lurrus, or we’ll get a new answer to Saga that’s powerful and flexible enough that it becomes less ubiquitous.

TaJoordan: I feel strongly that Urza's Saga is a blight on the Vintage format and should be restricted. Urza's Saga is a compact, uncounterable threat that is both versatile and format-warping. It's a win condition and an uncounterable sideboard card all in one. I think less games revolving around the Urza's Saga play patterns would be a net positive for the format.

The Restricted List as it currently stands is dated, there's no way around it. I feel the Ponder unrestriction was a net positive for the format and I'm always told that if I want to suggest an add that I need to suggest a cut in deckbuilding, so why would the restricted list be any different? I don't feel strongly about these unrestrictions, but I do think they could introduce some new life to the Vintage format we know.

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Thorn of Amethyst: I enjoy Shops, but I'd never want to play in a 4 Chalice or 4 Trinisphere environment. I don't think Thorn is all that great in the current metagame, and Sphere Shops could use a boost in play, so I'd like to see this card unrestricted to see what happens.

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Imperial Seal: Doomsday doesn't play this, Beseech doesn't play this, and I can't think of anyone who plays the first copy so I don't know what deck or monster I'm creating by allowing the full four copies of Imperial Seal but I think this would be a relatively safe unrestriction.

#3 - What do you think specifically about Lurrus and Urza's Saga in Vintage?

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Austin Pipp: I think Lurrus Saga as a deck is pretty ideal to have as the top deck in a format, but Saga as a 4 of turns so many games, from various decks, into a very samey type of gameplay. Breach decks and tinker decks and control decks and Jewel decks all play Saga Mox Time Vault, or play all of their threats then play a Saga and make two 5/5s, and even though decks are built very differently overall, the play patterns often make the games feel the same.

I believe Lurrus is a net positive on the format, and encourages fair gameplay, for a given value of fair considering this is the companion mechanic and in vintage. I also think that, if the current format were changed by banning Lurrus, effectively nothing changes, Lurrus Saga decks would just play a few three drops like Mentor and Narset.

Justin Gennari: Lurrus is a fundamentally broken card. When the cost to companion Lurrus comes close to 0 cost in deckbuilding it becomes a "free" 8th card. This is the current state of things. The 3+ drops of the world arent impactful enough to have Lurrus be a choice instead of a requirement. It does not help that Lurrus' requirement can be read as "play good cards". Lower cost cards are typically better for constructed magic. Lurrus will continue to be a staple of Vintage for the rest of time (I dont believe it will ever be banned again).

Urza's Saga is at an appropriate power level for the format. It rewards interaction outside of Force of Will. A player sitting on all counters is rightly punished for not advancing the game. I think both the costs and play patterns of Urza's Saga and its constructs are GOOD for the format.

That being said in the context of the rest of the card pool Urza's Saga presents two very distinct problems. One: it combines too well with the Time Vault + key combo. It provides too many low cost ways to find an oops I win scenario. Two: its pairs too well with Manifold Key's second ability. The fact that you can not effectively block constructs due to manifold key combined with the first problem forces players into rushing a combo element instead of combating the constructs. If manifold key was never printed and voltaic key was used I think constructs wouldn't be as threatening as they are.

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From my view, its likely that Urza's Saga will eventually be restricted due to its interactions with the vault key combo.

Andreas Petersen: Lurrus has proven to be well worth skipping Tinker, Citadel, Narset, Mentor, Dack, Hullbreacher despite the companion nerf of old. As a result, a smaller card pool and fewer nostalgic cards see play which is a net loss to the format as a whole according to me. Urza's Saga warps the format a lot where you either have to play it yourself and/or go out of your way to not lose to it (Spreading Seas and Haywire Mite are great examples of anti-Saga cards).

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Raffaele Ramagli: For Lurrus is just a matter of when. If Tinker -> Citadel is not played, I struggle to think of any printing that would make you consider dropping the Companion. The mechanic is flawed and the card itself is flawed and it's only going to get worse, any answer is just at risk of becoming just another mirror breaker. Maybe it doesn't have to be now, but eventually it will have to be addressed.

A decent amount of Power, a tutor for the half of a combo that also makes such Power unblockable and inevitable, all of this not going through the stack, on a permanent of the hardest type to interact with that doesn't share any with the threats produced and can be often included at zero opportunity cost. With this premises we should have already got rid of the card long time ago. Now it can be paired with the best answer to it in a shell built around a powerlevel ban in Vintage, producing the clear best thing you can be doing in Vintage at the moment, hopefully we'll all soon play the one copy.

Eric Koziol: Lurrus and Urza's Saga are the types of Magic cards that get better with every set. Since sets are not designed with Vintage in mind, (Hell, they're mostly only designed with EDH in mind but that's another story for another time.) Vintage will continue to be under the thumb of these cards. Both are mistakes – Lurrus shouldn't allow any cards with mana values over two (See Keruga), and someone said Saga making two constructs before going away was missed during the design process.

But let's put that aside since Magic generally doesn't do errata. We have one playable Vintage companion. I'd like to see more of them or none. I started Vintage just before Lurrus was printed, then through the ban and its recent resurgence. The game will be just fine without the cat.

Saga is a pickle that I'm having trouble wrestling with. Does it get to the point where, akin to Bazaar and Workshop, we start restricting cards around it so that Vintage is the place where four copies of the cards are still playable? Saga's Third Chapter can snag anything restricted due to Saga, so that's not a huge loss. Unlike Bazaar and Workshop, Saga can win games on its own. Even Wasteland, which some purport to be stronger than Saga, can win a game. Saga does too much.

I fear we're getting to "You can play any deck in Vintage you want as long as it's Lurrus Saga Vault Key!" with some players sticking to their pet decks because it's what they know or genuinely believe in.

Rajah James: Lurrus doesn't die to Doomblade, so it's basically Unkillable.

I really like the Urza's Saga arms race. The card is very good. Since it is Modern Legal, I expect they will print more cards that will have counterplay to Saga. Mishra's Saga perhaps??

Sahar Mirhadi: I believe that Urza's Saga has brought the Vintage format into the modern Magic era. However, its ability to create two bodies for the cost of a single card and tutor any 0 or 1 mana value artifact you want is perhaps too powerful and can snowball games. While it might be slightly overpowered for the "broken artifacts" format, its inclusion in Vintage has added interesting dynamics to deckbuilding and playing to the board instead of the stack.

Now, let's talk about Lurrus. I think that the Cat of Vintage is the appropriate power level for the Vintage format. It offers a variety of deckbuilding options, making it an interesting choice for players.

Kinda: I value trying to keep formats as interesting places to brew first and foremost. Lord of the Rings broke Lurrus in half and I don't think all the restrictions in the world can put Lurrus back together again. I'd prefer Lurrus banned and Saga restricted.

Stuart Ziarnik: I touched on Saga earlier, but to recap: Saga is pushed, and I can take it or leave it. I wouldn’t miss it if it were gone, but I’ve also accepted it as the new paradigm.

Lurrus’s problem isn’t so much what he does to gameplay as deckbuilding decisions. By playing Lurrus, we’re all eschewing cards like Tinker, Bolas's Citadel, Monastery Mentor, Narset, Teferi, Hullbreacher, and Karn. Putting aside what that says about Lurrus’s power level, this is frustrating because Lurrus pushes us away from playing and enjoying more cards in the card pool. I’m reminded of part of the reason Chalice Of The Void was restricted: because it shuts off everyone’s Moxen, and Moxen are why we play Vintage! Lurrus stops us from getting the most out of the format by constantly pushing us to the bottom, so we can only play 2 CMC permanents.

Lurrus’s upside is that he also ensures there are interactive Blue decks at the top of the meta. It’s hard for me to anticipate what a Lurrus ban would do to the meta – hopefully we’d see another fair blue deck take its place, rather than degenerate Oath and Jewel strategies take over completely.

TaJoordan: Urza's Saga is both one of the biggest boons to the Blue Control archetype, as well as one of the best ways to attack the deck. It's ubiquitous in the format and I foresee a Saga restriction causing Blue Control to play a few more threats to close out games, allowing other decks some additional opportunities to interact on the stack and thus creating less non-games that revolve around a simple 'Wasteland Check' on turn 2. Jewel Shops would lose its consistent backup plan and might end up playing more blue cards and interaction to keep Null Rods and Collector Ouphes off the table. I think these would be two positive developments that might give some other archetypes in the format a new breath of life. For the better part of a year, Urza's Saga has needed to be destroyed on sight. At this time, a restriction is simply overdue.

If Saga were to be restricted, I think Lurrus is alright. I don't think Lurrus needs to be re-banned at this time even without a Saga restriction. I'd prefer to see unbans instead.

#4 - What Outlaws of Thunder Junction cards are you most excited to play with for Vintage?

Austin Pipp: I was very excited to play with Jace Reawakened, because both it and Valki can be slotted into a stock Lurrus deck as reasonable cards that also do something cool if you draw both.

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Justin Gennari: High Noon is the most interesting inclusion. Simulacrum Synthesizer is the most fun. Caustic Bronco is the most playable.

Andreas Petersen: Caustic Bronco is a classic "mirror breaker" as long as the metagame is this predictable. I've always had a soft spot for "land + mox" plays for turn one, and this qualifies. It either gets Force of Will'd, connects for card advantage, or baits out Bowmaster, so you can follow up with your own Bowmaster - all good scenarios in the Dimir mirror match.

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Raffaele Ramagli: None, but it's not a big deal since we're about to receive Modern Horizons 3. I did try High Noon though.

Eric Koziol: Mostly the beautiful paper reprints, like Mindbreak Trap and Surgical Extraction. I wrote up an article about cards that I might try in Doomsday for fun (Insatiable Avarice, Jace Reawakened, Fblthp, Lost on the Range), but I didn't even publish it because it felt more of a joke than a serious possibility.

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Rajah James: Oko is usually good. Not super up to date on these things, but nothing seems too exciting at a glance.

Sahar Mirhadi: So the Mono White Initiative deck is pretty close to stock at the moment, so testing cards is always tricky but I think I would like to give High Noon, Final Showdown and Requisition Raid a test.

I am particularly interested in Requisition Raid because it can deal with both an Urza's Saga AND a construct token (or any other artifact - looking at you Portal to Phyrexia) for the same cost as Loran of the Third Path, which is quite impressive

Kinda: I've really enjoyed playing with Jasper Flint in an Outlaws deck, which also had Generous Plunderer. Had a strong league beating several Lurrus decks. Also tried Caustic Bronco in Jund Hermit Druid. There are quite a few other fringe viable cards.

Stuart Ziarnik: For the past 6 months I’ve been playing the 5C Engineer PO deck, which doesn’t really want anything from Outlaws. It’d be fun to try out some Lavaspur Boots or High Noon, though. If I get off this deck I also think a Slickshot Show-Off deck could be fun.

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TaJoordan: I've been experimenting with Lavaspur Boots and have had mixed results, but I'm hoping for bigger and better things in MH3 soon!

#5 - What is your big ticket wish for Modern Horizons 3?

Austin Pipp: Ideally, I would love a blue deck permanent with cmc 3+ that is good enough to encourage players to break the Lurrus shell. It's a pretty big ask considering currently Tinker + Bolas's Citadel isn't enough for that, but that's what I would wish for.

Justin Gennari: I would be happy for the set to have as many powerful cards as possible to keep deckbuilding fun and fresh!

Andreas Petersen: Sanctum Spirit Guide

Raffaele Ramagli: I don't have anything specific in mind, I just hope for decent power level, but not obnoxious, cards. Oh and maybe to not have to buy multiple sets of very expensive Mythic Rares.

Eric Koziol: While I'm mostly a Doomsday player, I enjoy giving Goblins a spin now and again. Since I have doubts anything remotely playable in Doomsday will be printed, some playable Goblins would be nice.

Ooh, how about a Goblin Companion! There we go. Kindred Companions. EDH players will love them, and we might get some decent archetypes out of it. And since Doomsday is a Merfolk deck, it's perfect. Give us more Companions.

Rajah James: I love free spells! Gonna be hard to top force of negation and friends.

May a new spirit guide? In white??

Frfr. Been waiting for Lady Orca, Planeswalker forever!! Let's do it Wizards!

Sahar Mirhadi: Archon of Emeria but it is a Human (I will also accept Cleric) <3

Kinda: I want a Dog themed companion that you can play for free from the companion zone if your opponent has revealed a Cat this game. Otherwise it costs 30 mana. It's a 10/10 hexproof dog with annihilator 8.

Stuart Ziarnik: For years I enjoyed both White and Colorless Eldrazi decks, but they’re pretty underpowered in a world of Initiative. If we could get some pushed Midrange Eldrazi, a la Thought-Knot Seer, maybe we could revive that archetype! I’m not sure what the effect would be – I’m thinking a chunky body with a Pithing Needle, Meddling Mage, Deafening Silence, or Null Rod effect.

TaJoordan: I'd like to see a Blue Rootwalla! Blazing and Basking Rootwallas are some of my favorite (and cutest) cards ever and I think a blue printing would give some of the Vengevine decks a needed boost in an Orcish Bowmasters world!

Banned and Restricted Announcement 5/13

We had a very interesting Banned and Restricted Announcement this week that tangentially affected Vintage, but not in a way that people somewhat expected. We didn't get any Restrictions or Unrestrictions, but instead a large number of bannings. Yes, bannings in Vintage, but in this case, it was based on a subset of cards from the Unfinity set. All cards utilizing the Sticker mechanic and the Attractions mechanic are banned in Vintage. This does affect the single card "Name Sticker" Goblin on Magic Online.

Let's take a look at what they said about this below. You can find the full announcement here.

The biggest thing here to remember is that Vintage never really absorbed these Sticker cards in paper, and "Name Sticker" Goblin never really took off in Vintage on Magic Online. However, I think it makes a lot of sense to just ban these across all Eternal formats (except Commander which is handled separately) and not have to worry about any future implications with these cards. The same goes for Attractions. The big issue that occurs with these mechanics is the logistics in paper events and the fact that many of these cards would never come to Magic Online ever.

Wizards also briefly mentioned Vintage in another capacity as to cards they are keeping their eyes on.

Pretty short blurb here, but I suspect that we will see what happens with Modern Horizons 3 and how that might shift Vintage and then we will see what Wizards may do with certain cards in the format. This got discussed at length in the Round Table above so I won't rehash any of that here, but it is nice to know that Wizards is keeping their eye on the format and the community health of it.

Vintage Challenge 5/9

The first Challenge event was the 5/9 event. This event had 45 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 with a very close to 50% win rate overall. Shops did well here too, as did Oath. Doomsday and Countervine did rather poorly.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Lurrus Saga 1st ecobaronen
Blue Shops 2nd Dreddybajs
Sphere Shops 3rd yPrincipe
Sphere Shops 4th Cuikui
Oath of Druids 5th sebastianpozzo
Lurrus Saga 6th Graciasportanto
Lurrus Saga 7th MackSmith
Lurrus Saga 8th Misplacedginger

Quite a bit of Lurrus in this Top 8. The winner of this event was Lurrus Saga.

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Caustic Bronco continues to look quite good in these decks. It does a lot of work really at drawing through your deck without actually drawing, and if you get to a point where you can Saddle it, it's also a win condition.

In Second Place we had Blue Shops.

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This is a really sweet looking deck. Seems like a ton of fun. Blue cards plus Simulacrum Synthesizer is neat.

Also in this Top 8 we had Oath.

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Pretty solidly stock looking Atraxa Oath list here. I'm digging it. I always love seeing Portal to Phyrexia in the sideboard.

Vintage Challenge 5/10

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the 5/10 event. This event had 36 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 again super popular but despite some top finishes its overall win rate was slightly lower than 50%. Oath did very well as did Doomsday.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Lurrus Breach 1st ARCII
Doomsday 2nd ScreenwriterNY
Jewel Shops 3rd TaJoordan
Oath of Druids 4th McWinSauce
Lurrus Saga 5th MestariMatt
Oath of Druids 6th kasa
Doomsday 7th revenantkioku
Lurrus Saga 8th slaxx

Bit more of a diverse Top 8 here. At the end of the event it was Lurrus Breach that won.

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This is definitely a solid looking PO/Breach list. Four main deck Dress Down is wild, but I can see it.

In Second Place we had Doomsday.

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This is a pretty good looking list. Surprised to only see one copy of Ponder though, as that card has seemed quite good in multiples for Doomsday.

Further down this Top 8 we had Jewel Shops.

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Very stock list here, but the one thing to note is multiple copies of Wurmcoil Engine in the sideboard. That card is quite good versus Lurrus decks because it's definitely very difficult to remove and deal with.

Vintage Challenge 5/11

The third Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 58 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 again very popular and despite two top finishes had a lower than 50% win rate. Dredge looked quite good as did Sphere Shops. PO also had a strong showing.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Sphere Shops 1st Sommertroll
Beseech Storm 2nd IamActuallyLvl1
Lurrus PO 3rd Bullwinkkle6705
Sphere Shops 4th ice_nine_BIGFAN
Dredge 5th Lord_Beerus
Lurrus Saga 6th SoulStrong
Esper Lurrus 7th JOANANTON
Lurrus Saga 8th Thunderstriker7

Definitely an interesting Top 8 here. At the end of the event it was Sphere Shops that won.

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This is a very nice looking list. I like the Golos shops lists for sure. They look quite fun.

In Second Place we had good friend Justin Gennari on Beseech Storm.

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This is a really interesting looking list for sure. I like the Saga sub plan here. Beseech Storm is kind of a really sweet deck for sure.

Further down the Top 8 we had an Esper Lurrus (non-Saga) deck.

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This gives me big Brian Kelly energy as I'm sure I've seen this deck out of him before. It's pretty neat though, getting to utilize cards like Cathar Commando with Lurrus.

Vintage Challenge 5/12

The final Challenge event was the Sunday event. This event had 47 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 also the most popular deck of the event and it had a strong win rate. Doomsday also did very well as did Oath.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Lurrus Saga 1st LeoFa
Doomsday 2nd Jujkata
Lurrus DRS 3rd medvedev
GW Aggro 4th Wesal
Oath of Druids 5th etoustar
4C Tempo 6th unluckymonkey
BUG 7th vwxyza648204
Sphere Shops 8th _Shatun_

Pretty reasonable Top 8 here. At the end of the event it was Lurrus Saga that won.

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Again we see Caustic Bronco here. I'm definitely thrilled with that card overall. It seems quite strong and fun to play.

In Second Place we had Doomsday.

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Full four Ponder and Preordain here. I like it.

Further down the Top 8 we had 4C Tempo.

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Ragavan, Questing Druid, Lurrus, and W&6? This is neat for sure.

Around the Web

  • Eternal Durdles had Dave Kaplan on to talk about Vintage. Check it out here.
  • Justin Gennari always has some good videos for us.
  • Revenantkioku posted a Vintage Challenge vid with Doomsday. Check it out here.

My Video for the Week

Thanks to being a part of the Magic Online Creator program, I'm getting back to streaming a bit more and posting more videos. This past week I had a stream playing Atraxa Oath! This league was sort of rough, and I definitely had some moments that showcased how minute decisions matter in Vintage, so it's worth checking out in that regards.

The Spice Corner

Now that Leagues are throughout the week, let's find some Spice!

This Simic DRS variant is pretty sweet. Freestrider Lookout!

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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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