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Picking a Winner

What Decks Will Emerge in the Post-Champs Metagame?

 

Now that the 2016 Election season is finally over, we can finally stop worrying about which candidate to choose, and can get back to choosing which deck to play in Vintage!  If your social media feed has been jam packed with political rants for the past few weeks, it would be hard to blame you for missing the discussion about the results of the North American Vintage Championship.  This year’s winner is Team Vintage Magic.com’s own Joe Bogaard.  His Landstill list was well positioned to defeat  a metagame that was strongly been influenced by the most recent printings and moves by the DCI – but what does that mean to everyone going forward?

I guess that’s why they call it the Blues

If you factor in Oath decks, almost 50% of the Vintage Championship metagame were blue based decks.  In my personal experience at the tournament, I played against blue decks in 7 of 9 rounds.  Moral of the story – If you’re playing in a large Vintage event this year, you need to be preparing for most of your opponents to be blue.  Let’s take a look at the blue deck that rose to the top:

 

Old School

2016 Vintage Championship – 1st Place

By Joseph Bogaard


 

Creatures and Spells:

1 Engineered Explosives

1 Crucible of Worlds

1 Moat

1 Sensei’s Divining Top

1 Supreme Verdict

3 Swords to Plowshares

4 Standstill

2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

2 Snapcaster Mage

1 Emrakul, the Promised End

1 Brainstorm

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Time Walk

1 Dig Through Time

1 Treasure Cruise

4 Force of Will

3 Mana Drain

3 Mental Misstep

1 Mindbreak Trap

1 Flusterstorm

Mana Sources:

1 Black Lotus

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Sol Ring

4 Flooded Strand

2 Polluted Delta

3 Tundra

3 Island

1 Plains

1 Strip Mine

4 Wasteland

3 Mishra’s Factory

1 Library of Alexandria

Sideboard:

2 Rest in Peace

2 Grafdigger’s Cage

2 Energy Flux

3 Containment Priest

1 Swords to Plowshares

1 Hurkyl’s Recall

1 Kataki, War’s Wage

2 Ethersworn Cannonist

1 Disenchant

 

 

moat

None shall pass!

 

I’ve tested Landstill decks leading up to the Vintage Championship, and the card that really stands out is Moat.  There are many decks that have very few outs to a Moat.  With as many counterspells as this list packs, it will be very hard for someone to resolve anything that can lower the drawbridge.

This deck is required to play Wastelands to prevent opponents from using Mishra’s Factories as a win condition that can be played without breaking Standstill.  Being a blue deck that features Wastelands ends up being pretty awesome when playing against the many decks employing greedy manabases that can be completely annihilated when Crucible of Worlds gets involved.

I don’t, however, expect a lot of the metagame to start playing Landstill.  It’s a challenging deck to play properly, and I don’t think a large portion of the Vintage metagame likes to play grindy blue control decks.  The largest contingent of blue players were on Gush.  This deck, by Brian Pallas is a pretty creative list that combines Gush with Thoughtcast:

Old School

Thoughtcast-Gush Mentor, 2016 Vintage Championship – Top 8

By Brian Pallas


 

Creatures and Spells:

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Time Walk

1 Time Vault

1 Timetwister

4 Force of Will

1 Brainstorm

1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

1 Ponder

2 Voltaic Key

4 Monastery Mentor

3 Mental Misstep

2 Flusterstorm

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Tezzeret the Seeker

1 Repeal

3 Thoughtcast

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

3 Sensei’s Divining Top

2 Mystic Remora

1 Hurkyl’s Recall

Mana Sources:

1 Black Lotus

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Sol Ring

1 Mox Opal

1 Mana Vault

1 Mana Crypt

4 Flooded Strand

2 Polluted Delta

2 Tundra

2 Underground Sea

1 Tolarian Academy

2 Island

1 Seat of the Synod

Sideboard:

4 Leyline of the Void

1 Toxic Deluge

1 Ensnaring Bridge

2 Fragmentize

2 Engineered Explosives

1 Plains

1 Mystic Remora

1 Mindbreak Trap

1 Notion Thief

1 Aethersworn Canonist

 

altered_thoughtcast_by_mbeausoleil-d7olk6m

I really like artifacts.  You might say I have an affinity for them…

 

I love this deck.  Combining the best two blue draw engines – currently Gush and Thoughtcast – is historically a winning strategy in Vintage.  This deck can play control and then quickly combo out with Monastary Mentor, Time Vault/Tezzeret + Key or Yawgmoth’s Will.  Sensei’s Top plays so many roles in this deck.  Obviously it gives you lots of card filtering, but it also adds to affinity and metal craft,  creates a draw engine with Voltaic Key, and gives you an easy way to get extra Monastery Mentor triggers.  In the late game if you can build the mondo-combo of two Tops + Mentor, you can keep tapping to draw a Top and then replay it for one Mentor trigger per mana.

 

Colorless Comeback

The DCI put a serious beat-down on colorless decks by restricting Chalice of the Void and Lodestone Golem since last year’s championship.  The colorless club had the last laugh, though – The best performing decks in the tournament were the Workshop and Eldrazi decks, taking five of the top 8 slots.

The most popular of these decks seemed to be “Car Shops,” a Mishra’s Workshop deck featuring the vehicles from Kaladesh.  However, only previous champion Hiromichi Ito was able to make top 8 with that particular list.  In a field like this, it is often a great strategy to play a Workshop deck that is designed to play well in the mirror match, and with 4 Null Rods, and 3 Crucible of Worlds in the main deck, Jacob Kory’s second place list is just that:

 

Old School

Smokestack Shops, 2016 Vintage Championship – 2nd Place

By Jacob Kory


 

Creatures and Spells:

4 Null Rod

4 Smokestack

3 Crucible of Worlds

4 Thorn of Amethyst

1 Chalice of the Void

1 Trinisphere

4 Sphere of Resistance

4 Tangle Wire

1 Lodestone Golem

1 Phyrexian Metamorph

4 Phyrexian Revoker

1 Karn, Silver Golem

Mana Sources:

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Sol Ring

1 Tolarian Academy

4 Ancient Tomb

4 Wasteland

4 Mishra’s Factory

4 Mishra’s Workshop

1 Strip Mine

1 Inventor’s Fair

1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

2 Mutavault

Sideboard:

2 Dismember

4 Grafdigger’s Cage

3 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale

2 Ghost Quarter

2 Ratchet Bomb

2 Wurmcoil Engine

 

 

crux

Got the whole world in his hands

 

Shops are already good against greedy blue decks that are land-light and need to play cantrip spells like Preordain and Gitaxian Probe to get going.   When playing against other Shop decks, Wasteland is easily one of the most important cards and Crucible gives you protection to opposing Wastelands while providing you with an infinite supply of them.  The Null Rods are general good against the Moxes and artifact mana that most decks play, but its extra good when its stopping your opponent from crewing vehicles.  As we move forward I still expect the Car Shops to be the most popular Workshop variant, so a deck like this could be a great choice.

 

Taking the Oath

The deck I developed for this event was a 5 color Oath deck featuring Auriock Salvagers, Griselbrand and Void Winnower.

 

paul-mastriano-deck-smaller-file

Paul Mastriano’s Deck for Vintage Champs 2016

 

Old School

5 Color Salvagers Oath, 2016 Vintage Championship – 59th Place

By Paul Mastriano


 

Creatures and Spells:

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Time Walk

4 Oath of Druids

4 Force of Will

1 Brainstorm

2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

1 Ponder

1 Griselbrand

1 Balance

1 Void Winnower

1 Ancient Grudge

1 Auriock Salvagers

3 Mental Misstep

1 Pyrite Spellbomb

1 Dack Fayden

2 Abrupt Decay

2 Engineered Explosives

3 Preordain

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Dig Through Time

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

1 Sensei’s Divining Top

Mana Sources:

1 Black Lotus

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Sol Ring

1 Mana Crypt

1 Library of Alexandria

1 Strip Mine

1 Tolarian Academy

4 Mana Confluence

4 Forbidden Orchard

2 City of Brass

2 Gemstone Mine

Sideboard:

2 Flusterstorm

4 Nature’s Claim

1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

1 Ancient Grudge

3 Nihil Spellbomb

2 Pyroblast

2 Tormod’s Crypt

 

vw-jpg

The odds favor this guy

 

Void Winnower is great addition to the Oath creature set – it’s a giant 11/9 monster and is massively disruptive, especially to Workshop decks that are typically comprised of 99% even-costed spells.

This deck takes advantage of the fact that most decks need to play creatures as their primary win condition, making it easy to trigger Oath.  In this version you will need to be very careful about how you tap your mana (it will kill you if you’re not careful), but the payoff is that you get to play with the absolute best cards of any color.  You get tutoring from Black, Artifact removal from Red, card draw and control from blue, Balance and Salvagers in white, and the titular Oath from Green.  If your opponent is making it hard to win with Oath, you have alternate win conditions with Planeswalkers, or you can just assemble the Auriock Salvagers + Back Lotus combo without ever Oathing.

As usual, the North American Vintage Championship will alter the Vintage landscape for the foreseeable future.  Blue decks are still the most popular, but the colorless decks are on the rise with the best win percentage.  As we move forward I’d highly recommend playing a Workshop deck, but if you really like blue, I’d make sure to incorporate Moat.

Until next time,

Paul Mastriano

2 comments
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This Week in MTG – MTG BALANCE says:

Dec 05,2016

[…] Picking a Winner | by Paul Mastriano on VintageMagic.com : Take a broad look at the current Vintage metagame with Paul Mastriano’s review of the North American Vintage Championship and the best decks from it, including the winning Landstill list, Toughtcast-Gush Mentor, Stax, and Salvagers Oath. […]

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» This Week in Magic says:

Nov 28,2016

[…] Picking a Winner […]

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