Sunday, 3:00 p.m. – View from the Top – the 3-0 Metagame at the Vintage Championship

Posted in NEWS on November 3, 2013

By Nate Price

A longtime member of the Pro Tour and Grand Prix coverage staff, Nate Price now works making beautiful words for all of you lovely people as the community manager for organized play. When not covering events, he lords over the @MagicProTour Twitter account, ruling with an iron fist.

It's still early here at the Vintage Championship. There are nine rounds of play today, followed by three single-elimination rounds for the Top 8 to determine a champion. Through three rounds of play, 29 players managed to scoop up three wins, putting them on the fast track to the top. Just as in Legacy, Vintage boasts a plethora of archetypes, though they are less apparently distinct in Vintage. Many of the decks, though they may use different tools to achieve their goals, do so using similar engines. They fall into what the Vintage community refers to as "pillars of the format." For example, there are multiple different ways for Oath of Druids decks, or Mishra's Workshop decks to actually kill opponents, though they both rely on those cards to provide their path to victory.

Here's a breakdown of the 3-0 players here at Vintage Champs, with a few generic decklists to use as a reference!

Dredge 5
Kuldotha 3
Storm 2
Grixis Control 2
UW Control 2
Stax 2
Oath 2
RUG Delver 1
Monoblack Depths 1
Bomberman 1
UR Landstill 1
BUG Creatures 1
Worldgorger 1
MUD 1
Junk Hatebears 1
Death and Taxes 1
Young Pyromancer Storm 1
Tinker 1

 

That's quite the breakdown. It's clear that Dredge is the most successful individual deck in the tournament to this point. Considering that every deck in the format is packing half of their sideboard cards intent on dealing with Dredge, this strong early performance is noteworthy, though it is also likely to waver some as the rounds drag on.

Here's a look at a generic Dredge list:

Dredge

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To sift through some of this variety, let's take a look at this breakdown by examining these decks when aligned with their pillars:

Artifact decks 7
Dredge 5
Blue Control decks 5
Creature decks 4
Storm Combo decks 3
Other decks 3
Oath decks 2

 

Based on this breakdown, it appears that artifact-based decks are taking the early lead. Here's a sample of a generic Kuldotha deck, as it appears to be the artifact-based deck of choice:

Kuldotha

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Blue Control decks are also doing fairly well. Of these decks, the most commonly seen are the Grixis variants similar to the version Marc Lanigra used to win last year's Vintage Championship. Since that deck has gotten a good amount of hype, let's take a look at one of the other Blue Control variants doing well this weekend, one that has been a staple of Vintage for a while now:

Landstill

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Named for the combination of Standstill and the various man-lands in the deck (Faerie Conclave and Mishra's Factory), the deck is a pure control deck, filled to the brim with various permission cards and card-drawing spells. It is a slow grind, beating people to death with lands while holding them off with enough permission to prevent things from taking a premature end. The virtually creature-less nature of the deck allows it to dodge one of the other major pillars of the format: Oath of Druids.

The last of the decks I'd like to take a look at are the creature-based decks. In a format utterly defined by the cards of the power nine, and even more detrimental to creatures, Oath of Druids, creature decks don't seem like they'd really be all that effective. They often try to play fair in a seemingly unfair format. Sure, decks like Merfolk were originally designed to fight against the heavy-combo elements in Vintage at the time, but times have changed, and creature decks have certainly been accounted for in the metagame. Yet they are clearly doing quite well. Other than Merfolk, the biggest creature-based decks in the format tend to revolve around white creatures, much as the Death and Taxes deck that won the Legacy Championship does.

Here's a good generic creature list:

Junk Hatebears

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This deck runs a number of cards that are serious deals against the various power cards in Vintage. First, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, is the real deal. Lodestone Golem is another incredibly powerful card in Vintage, and Thalia not only has the possibility to come down faster, but she affects Moxes and Black Lotus, as well. Qasali Pridemage provides an excellent answer to both Oath of Druids and the various artifact decks, Deathrite Shaman is great against decks looking to cast Yawgmoth's Will, and Aven Mindcensor is incredible against all of the tutoring effects that Vintage boasts. You may notice that I have chosen a powerless deck in this example! This is an incredibly good way to get into Vintage if you don't have access to some of the big cards.