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Browse > Home / Strategy / Articles / Vintage 101: We're All a Little Mad

Vintage 101: We're All a Little Mad

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're looking at a little Madness in our lives with the current state of the Bazaar Aggro variants known mainly as Hollow Vine, and the variety of changes those decks have made since Modern Horizons 2 and diving deeper into that. In addition, we've got some news on some paper Vintage events as well as some Challenge events from this past weekend. Oh and of course, there's a Spice Corner and a Mythic Society event. We also got some spoilers for Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Commander so we'll talk a little bit about one of those cards.

Before we get started, I just want to note that it was indeed announced that there would be no in-person Eternal Weekend event again this year and that we would have an online version much like what we had last year. However, the post was hopeful that we would be able to return to an in-person Eternal Weekend next year in 2022! I totally understand wanting to be safe still for a lot of events that could draw a large crowd, so kudos to Card Titan for getting that info out there and announcing it. You can find the relevant tweet here.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Going Mad, Mad, Mad

Since the release of Modern Horizons 2, we've seen a fair amount of shifting back and forth in the metagame, and the set alone has had honestly a pretty solidly positive impact overall. One of the decks that's had an incredibly large impact from cards printed in MH2 is the Hollow Vine "Madness" style deck, essentially the Bazaar Aggro variant. Let's take a look at a sample list so we can understand what we're working with here.

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The real boost of MH2 cards for this deck came from the fact that it received not only an additional free creature in Blazing Rootwalla, but also another free effect like Squee, Goblin Nabob in Master of Death. Hollow Vine is all about speed and control, utilizing its powerful pitch magic to stop the opponent's game plan while using Bazaar of Baghdad to power out free creatures. In all real sense of the word, this is one of the closest things to an aggro/tempo Delver style deck in Vintage, because the game plan of the deck is pretty similar. Deploy some threats and utilize the free countermagic to protect them.

Let's break down this deck into some of its core components so we can better understand how it functions.


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Pretty much all of the lands in this deck are not for making mana (and even Cradle has a specific usage in that regards), they're to act as spell-like effects that influence the game. Bazaar is the primary engine for the deck to be able to draw and deploy its powerful free threats, while making cards like Hollow One free to cast as well. Cradle is specifically for the situations of dealing with cards like The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, as are the land destruction effects. The deck also plays Petrified Field in order to recur a Bazaar if needed. Cradle can also be used in a pinch to pump multiple Basking Rootwalla if need be as well.

Creature Threats

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The primary straightforward threats you want to be able to put into play with this deck are Hollow One and Vengevine, but the added power of having eight Rootwallas in the deck allows the deck to go wide but also allows you to trigger Vengevine easier by having multiple ways of casting a free creature.

Card Advantage Tools / Consistency Tools

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These cards both turn Bazaar of Baghdad into a draw positive type of card, by being free cards to pitch to the discard three portion of Bazaar's ability. Putting these into your graveyard means they get to recur to your hand on your next upkeep, and then the downside of Bazaar making you discard more cards that drawing suddenly isn't a downside anymore. Master of Death is also very nice because it can pitch to Force of Will and Force of Negation. Squee also has some utility in the post board matchups in this regards as it can suddenly become a red card that pitches to Fury.

Noxious Revival is a great consistency tool for putting things like destroyed Bazaars on top to redeploy the following turn, or to put a counterspell on top to draw with Bazaar during a turn. Serum Powder is the best consistency tool in the deck, as it universally ensures with the London Mulligan that the deck always has access to Bazaar of Baghdad.


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A good chunk of this deck's power is being able to flexibly answer various decks via disruption or countermagic. Because Bazaar is such a powerful draw engine, it allows for these decks to capitalize on the "card disadvantage" aspect of most of these spells requiring a card to be pitched to it in some way (for the Force effects) by allowing the deck to continue to draw into further effects. It's this aspect combined with the creature threats that make it so powerful.

Furthermore, the restricted effects of Misstep and Chalice are just very low opportunity cost overall, so it just makes sense to include them as they're very often pretty back breaking at the correct moments of the game.

The Power of Bazaar

This deck definitely has its ups and downs, the biggest of which is fighting against its own mulligans, but the combination of the London Mulligan and Serum Powder helps with that quite a bit. It is definitely a strong contender in the current metagame though, and the advent of free cards like the Rootwallas and even sideboard cards like Fury have really pushed the power level of the deck quite a bit. This is definitely a deck if you're looking for something interesting and fast to play that it is worth picking up to see what it's all about.

Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Commander 

We had some spoilers last week on the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Commander precon decks, and while there wasn't a ton for Vintage really at all (which is fine) there was at least one card that seemed neat to talk about.

Maddening Hex

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At three mana this is already right in the wheelhouse for Black Lotus mana which makes it immediately interesting to me. We've seen cards in the past like Scab-Clan Berserker see play in aggressive shells, and this card is basically Scab-Clan Berserker without needing to attack and for a lot more damage on rate if you roll well enough. Up to 6 damage per noncreature spell is pretty brutal, and I do think this could be a sweet card in very combo heavy formats.

Paper Vintage! Oklahoma Land Run

We got some news on some paper Vintage coming up this year, thanks to our good friend Edward Bonar. This event is the Oklahoma Land Run, and I'll let Edward take it from here:

Oklahoma Land Run

Featuring Vintage and Legacy Opens with over 1k in Prizes Each!
Each Entry will include one Land Grab pack. Grab packs will consist of one land throughout Magic’s history.
Events will be hosted and ran by Game HQ

Vintage Open

Date: Oct. 9, 2021
Time: 10:00 AM
Entry: $100
Location: Game Headquarters
Entry includes entry into Vintage Open and one Land Grab pack!
First Place receives at least 1k in cash. Additional prizes based on attendances. 

Collector’s Edition and International Edition cards will be allowed during the vintage event. 

Proxies of these specific cards will also be allowed during the vintage event. Bazaar of Baghdad, Mishra's Workshop, Library of Alexandria, Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, Timetwister, Black Lotus, Mox Jet, Mox Sapphire, Mox Emerald, Mox Pearl and Mox Ruby.
Proxies must be of decent quality and onsite Judge staff will have final say.

Legacy Open

Date: Oct. 10, 2021
Time: 10:00 AM
Entry: $100
Location: Game Headquarters
Entry includes entry into Legacy Open and one Land Grab pack!
First place will receive at least 1k in cash. Additional prizes based on attendance.

No proxies will be allowed for this event

Sign ups for the main events

List of events for byes
Game Headquarters: July 24th, 1pm Legacy (Full Proxy) $20 Entry. 
Game Headquarters: August 13th, 6pm Vintage (Full Proxy)  $20 Entry. 
Tabletop Adventures: August 21st, 11am Legacy and August 22nd, 11am Vintage (15 proxies) $40 Entry each. 
Tabletop Adventures: September 4th, 11am Legacy (no proxies) and September 5th, 11am Vintage (15 proxies) $40 Entry each. 

For questions: You can contact Game Headquarters via email at or call the store at +1 (405) 691-0509.

Mythic Society 7/7

As a reminder, every Wednesday is the Mythic Society events at 7PM EST. These events are held on Magic Online and are FNM style casual events. You can find out more information about these events via the Mythic Society Twitter.

Our lone 4-0 of the week last week is a PO Storm build!

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Seems like for sure Urza's Saga is now just officially part of the stock PO list. I don't think it will ever leave at this point honestly. It's very strong and does so much for the deck.

One of our 3-1s decided to take a visit to the CRAB SHACK.

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Kind of surprised to only see Hedron Crab and not go full Eight Crabs, but this deck is still really cool. I love Trade Routes as a card, so that is neat to see.

At the bottom of the event, we've got a Cat Combo (and not the Cauldron Familiar cat).

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Saheeli Felidar combo is not something I had on my radar, but it looks really fun and sweet. Also Coveted Jewel? This deck is hot.

Remember to take part in the weekly FNM events via the Mythic Society!

Vintage Challenge 7/10

We had two Challenge events over the weekend, the first of which was the mid afternoon Saturday event. This event had 68 players in it, thanks to data collected by the Vintage Streamers Discord.

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

Definitely a lot of Golos Stax in the event here. It seems like it is continuing to solidify itself again as the most popular Shops variant in the format, even if it is probably that Ravager Shops is also very good (despite dipping back to very low numbers). This is very intriguing to see for sure. Overall things look fairly fine though, there's a ton of different things going on and some interesting strategies at the top. Doomsday is yet another deck that has some potential problems with it, especially when decks are having to skew sideboard cards specifically for the matchup (see Archive Trap).

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Doomsday 1st ecobaronen
PO Storm 2nd Theo_Jung
BUG Midrange 3rd Beenew
BUG Midrange 4th Butakov
PO Storm 5th Enrichetta
Ravager Shops 6th kanister
Golos Stax 7th EddyViscosity
PO Storm 8th thepowernine

Definitely a lot going on in this Top 8, from fair decks to a lot of PO to Shops, and at the top of the heap this event is Doomsday.

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You can generally tell when a shell is pretty much solved because the only real flex spots to the Doomsday list at this point are really just sideboard cards. Nothing new is breaking in here because it doesn't have to. The amount of disruption is clearly powerful and the win condition is very easy to protect, leading to some definite skewing as we've seen already in decks to try to beat it.

In Second Place we've got PO Storm.

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This deck got a real big lease on life thanks to Urza's Saga it seems like. The card really revitalized the archetype overall and gave it some new lines of play to allow for more powerful things to occur, no matter what creature suite or how you choose to win with the deck, Saga is definitely a powerful inclusion.

Also in the Top 8 we had a solid showing by Ravager Shops by the one and only kanister.

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It's amazing to see this deck work in both Urza's Saga and of course, Nettlecyst showing up as another card that is very powerful in these kinds of shells. I had an inkling from the get go that Nettlecyst could definitely be a powerful card in the Shops shell, and I'm pleased to see it do well. Also, check out that singleton copy of Gingerbrute for when you just need an unblockable creature.

Outside the Top 8 we've got the Breach shell.

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This is a solid hybrid Breach / Aggro variant that can go aggro heavy with Dragon's Rage Channeler and Murktide Regent but then also just flat out win the game with the Breach combo. Very strong list indeed.

Vintage Challenge 7/11

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday Challenge, which had 56 players overall.

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

BUG had the biggest presence in this event and some of the best performances. It is generally very popular in the early morning events, so this is not much of a surprise here. It's always curiously interesting how different each weekend event looks and feels though. I enjoy that aspect of these events for sure. There's always a different texture to the Sunday morning event than there is the Saturday event.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
BUG Midrange 1st _INF_
Doomsday 2nd Diem4x
PO Storm 3rd bennybo
BUG Midrange 4th Beenew
Golos Stax 5th hodortimebaby
PO Storm 6th LeoFa
UB Tinker 7th Phill_Hellmuth
Golos Stax 8th LORiWWA

Lot of major pillars here between fair, combo, and Shops. Golos Stax certainly did well here, and so did the UB Tinker deck. However, it was BUG that won the event!

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Endurance is another card that much like in Legacy, I believe will have an effect on the Vintage format for years to come no matter what happens in the format. The rate of the card is just really powerful, having both flash and the evoke ability, while being a reasonably strong body with a relevant keyword in Reach. Very strong card, and I know BUG will continue to want it for a long time, especially since it deals with Doomsday well.

Speaking of Doomsday, that's our Second Place finalist.

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This list has a Snow-Covered Island in the sideboard over Island. Jokes aside, we continue to see this deck do well because the shell is just incredibly strong, and I'm not sure when we have to warrant a discussion on whether it's too good for Vintage or if this is simply something we're going to end up with long term. I don't really have a position on this myself because I'd rather see as much of the format be unrestricted as possible, but if it proves problematic then it proves problematic and I'll keep following the data to ask that question.

Down the Top 8 we've got Golos Stax.

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Definitely a really strong strategy and one of the more popular Shops variants in the format right now. This variant has the restricted Karn in order to wish out the artifacts in the sideboard, and of course we can see the anti-Doomsday tech in full force here in Archive Trap.

Outside the Top 8 we've got a showing of the UB Tinker deck.

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This deck is honestly really really strong. Sedgemoor Witch is such an incredibly powerful card, and this variant of the shell continues to put up a lot of consistently good results. This is one to keep an eye on and remember when you're playing events.

Down the Top 32 we've got the Jeskai Aggro deck.

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Alpine Moon is certainly a card we've seen in these decks already as it deals with various things like Bazaar of Baghdad and Mishra's Workshop. This deck is honestly really cool, as it's neat to see a more aggressively slanted Delver-like strategy in Vintage where that strategy has not really been as prevalent in the past formats. I'm certainly digging it.

Around the Web

  • Japanese player noprops has some more HollowVine content for us, so check that out here.
  • Justin Gennari posted his set review of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, so check that out here.
  • Our good friend Phil Gallagher also posted a sweet video on Nettlecyst Shops. Check that out here.
  • Oh and speaking of Justin Gennari, go watch as the Wheels on the Bus fall off over here.

The Spice Corner

We've got a submission this week! User notmi gave us a sick looking DUNGEON Aluren list!

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And then of course... there's Justin.

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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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