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Vintage 101: When the Neon Lights Go Down in the City


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're talking all about Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty and what that set means to Vintage! It's an exciting time! We've also got some Challenge data to pore over as well as Super Qualifier event from last weekend.

Without further ado, let's get ready for a GLOW UP!

Neon Days, Neon Nights

A new set is upon us, and Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty definitely looks like it has a lot of really cool stuff in it. This is a pretty wild set, and we've got a reasonable number of cards to talk about, so let's get right to it!

Reality Heist

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card has seen a lot of talk in the Vintage circles and I've seen takes on it ranging anywhere from "this card will probably be restricted" to "this card is unplayable". I'm of the mind that this card is playable and probably fairly reasonable. The restriction that you're only getting artifacts sounds wonderful in Vintage until you realize the actual quantity of most of the artifacts in most Vintage decks. The deck with the greatest quantity of critical mass here is 8Cast, due to all the Affinity stuff (Thoughtcast and Thought Monitor). When this card is getting you a Time Vault and a Manifold Key at instant speed for UU it's pretty insane. If it's getting you two Moxen, not so much. I think this sits probably as a 1-2 of in that deck as additional grind and card draw, but it's going to be virtually nonexistent in any other deck in the format.

Tameshi, Reality Architect

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

What I like about this card is that it gives an extra card draw off the first PO cast in a turn, but it can also bounce a land to get back a Lotus or an Urza's Saga which seems really cool. Whether this is good enough is intriguing but the card is very powerful and does a lot of really strong things. It's also worth noting it costs Lotus mana so you can cast this with Lotus and then return Lotus with the land drop for turn and also draw a card off of it, and that alone makes me interested because I get big Lurrus vibes from that line of play, and it's all in Blue / White which is the normal colors for these kinds of decks anyway.

Experimental Synthesizer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is another card that is just incidentally good with PO as a card draw function, but it's also really good with Goblin Welder and Goblin Engineer. We haven't had too much of an interesting Welder shell in Vintage for a while so maybe some sort of repeatable draw like this is good enough to have in a value Welder deck again. Still, this is a sick card and I think it's pretty neat.

Hidetsugu Consumes All

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

There was a lot of talk about this card being able to hit a lot of different permanents in this format but at 1BR it's rough to cast this thing when you really want it and it probably blows up a bunch of your stuff too. The fact that this doesn't pitch to a Force effect like Force of Vigor is rough as well, and it also doesn't hit Urza's Saga. This is no Pernicious Deed where you can control how you want this to sit in play and function.

Containment Construct

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card does quite a bit, and any time we are putting a Yawgmoth's Will-like effect on a card it's definitely a concern. This is REALLY good with Bazaar of Baghdad + Mishra's Workshop decks especially since you can actually pitch something like a Hollow One to the graveyard, elect to exile it to play it and then cast it for free because you discarded three cards for Bazaar. Definitely just one of the more interesting cards here and it works well with Lion's Eye Diamond as a restricted card, but really the big hitter here is Bazaar. Maybe there's a sweet update to Ziasbond in the future? Seems cool.

Patchwork Automaton

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I think this card is unique enough to probably see some play in any of the Aggro Shops variants that aren't playing Ravager. Ward 2 is a big sell if they can't get through it, and multiples of these grow pretty quickly. If you're playing Ravager I think Ravager's game plan is still way better than this, but in the Ravager-less lists I could definitely see this card.

Boseiju, Who Endures

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is the last card to review and quite frankly it is one of the best cards in the entire set for older formats in general. The laundry list of things this card deals with is very long, from being able to hit Spheres/Thorn and Trinisphere without having to pay extra for it, hitting Sphinx of the Steel Wind (which is one of the format's most played creatures currently) and also being able to hit Bazaar/Workshop with very little downside at all. In fact, those decks often don't play any lands with a Basic Land type, and Wastes don't count because they don't have a Basic Land type, so this is often just a Strip Mine for those decks that can be recurred with Life from the Loam and Wrenn and Six. There's even plenty of playable Legendary creatures in this format to reduce the cost to just G, from Ragavan to Leovold (especially in the decks playing Wrenn and Six). So much of this card is exceptionally powerful, and I expect we will see it a lot in the coming metagame.

Vintage Challenge 2/5

Our first Challenge of the weekend was the Saturday event which had 52 players in it, thanks to the efforts of the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

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

A lot of Tinker shells as some of the most popular decks, and while it had a reasonable performance, so did Doomsday and Aggro Shops variants. This is a nice reasonably spread event though and it looks pretty great.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Aggro Shops 1st TeferiBokaer
Doomsday 2nd MaxMagicer
Aggro Shops 3rd Sahakvic
Paradoxical Outcome 4th DrPringles
Breach 5th fr0z3nsun4
4C Midrange 6th kenzaburo
Aggro Shops 7th fugi1
Bant Archon 8th darius89

Definitely a nicely varied Top 8 here. Some Tinker variants, some Midrange, some Shops. At the end of the event it was Shops that won it all, on the Aggro Shops variety.

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Aggro Shops is definitely quite strong right now and the deck is exceedingly straightforward to play. Nettlecyst really did a lot for reinvigorating this deck.

The Second Place finalist was on Doomsday.

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Doomsday is the defacto Dark Ritual deck of the format, and it's power level is really good in Vintage where it can back its game plan up with a mess of countermagic. It's amusing seeing a Tabernacle here in the sideboard, but Hogaak has been insanely more popular as of late, so has Dredge so that combats those decks well.

Further down the Top 8 we have Breach.

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Ragavan and Laelia make for a solid one two punch in these Breach decks, since they push mana advantage and card advantage while being threatening enough to force an opponent to have to try to deal with them or lose, only then to potentially lose to Breach combo kill. Very solid Control Combo variant right now for sure.

Also in the bottom half of the Top 8 we have a 4C Midrange variant.

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Uro is not a card we see often in this format but when he does show up it's usually pretty reasonably powerful. I like this list a lot. The Planeswalker spread is powerful and the threats are great.

Vintage Challenge 2/6

The second Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event, which had 47 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.

Pretty similar picture of Tinker decks and Aggro Shops, but Aggro Shops had a slightly worse win rate performance here. PO had a really strong win rate in general in this event, so did Jeskai decks and Hogaak.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Paradoxical Outcome 1st wong4210
Paradoxical Outcome 2nd Gaiametris
Hogaak 3rd Oosunq
Jeskai Control 4th Diem4x
Mono White Aggro 5th mandrillman
Aggro Shops 6th WhiTe TsaR
Oath of Druids 7th ktmr-39
Jeskai Control 8th discoverN

Pretty interresting Top 8 here, with some Bazaar as well as some Mono White action. At the end of the event though it was a battle of Outcomes where only one Outcome could win!

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There's a reasonable number of similarities in these two decks with the winner having the restricted copy of Monastery Mentor. I really like the Dress Down in the sideboard in the second list though, as the card is really powerful versus other Saga decks. There's also a Balance in the winning list's sideboard! I haven't seen one of those in a long while.

Also in this Top 8 we had a showing by Jeskai Control.

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The Monke continues to rear his ugly head in these decks, giving these decks a really strong persistent threat that generates both mana and card advantage. This Monke is pretty good in Vintage.

Right below the Jeskai deck we have a showing by Mono White Aggro.

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So much of this deck is a lot like Modern Death and Taxes, where you have cards like Leonin Arbiter to convert Ghost Quarter into Strip Mine. With Luminarch Aspirant this plan is pretty real.

Vintage Super Qualifier 2/6

We had a full on Vintage Super Qualifier this past weekend! These events are large premier play events where the First and Second Place both receive a qualification for a Set Championship (basically a PTQ). This particular event had 177 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.

BUG was extremely well represented in this event, but it had a slightly less than 50% win rate overall. Blue Tinker variants performed exceptionally well as did 4C DRS variants. This looked like a really solid healthy spread of decks overall, and nothing looks quite out of place.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Grixis Tinker 1st Jpsn54
Esper Tinker 2nd Capriccioso
BUG Tinker 3rd lilianaofthevess
4C Midrange 4th TrueHero
BUG Midrange 5th fermtg
Breach 6th fr0z3nsun4
4C Midrange 7th billsive
Saheeli Tinker 8th GGoggles

A lot of Tinker in this event, and the four decklists I'm going to focus on are all relatively different variants of Tinker shells. The First Place winner and one of the qualifications went to Grixis Tinker.

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Grixis affords this deck options like Ragavan and Dack Fayden as well as Pyroblast and Abrade. It's a definitely strong way to approach building out Tinker at the moment.

The Second Place finalist and other qualifications went to the one and only Dom Harvey.

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Esper benefits from more flexible removal like Swords to Plowshares and Prismatic Ending but also sideboard cards like Lavinia, Azorius Renegade which can be brutal against other Tinker shells. You also get Mentor as another win condition in the deck.

Moving down a bit we had a showing by BUG Tinker which is not a very common variant outside of Oath builds.

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The biggest draw here is having cards like Deathrite Shaman and Oko, Thief of Crowns. Oko continues to be a reasonable and powerful part of the current format and it's a solid card to lean on here.

At the bottom of the Top 8 here we had a sweet Tinker variant in a UB version playing Saheeli, Sublime Artificer.

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Saheeli is much like a Monastery Mentor effect by continually creating creatures to swing in and attack with. The upside here is that she triggers off any noncreature spell so it's just a very powerful effect overall.

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

You can find the Weekly 5-0 League Decklists here.

Our Spice this week actually comes from the Super Qualifier over the weekend and no surprise it's our good friend Justin Gennari. SICK list for sure here.

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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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