Quick Questions

Posted in Event Coverage on August 23, 2015

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

What are you playing in the Vintage Championship, and why?

The resurgence of Vintage in recent years can be attributed to many things. The live streaming of the Vintage Super League, a group of top players and format aficionados dedicated to sharing it came as a result of the release of Vintage Masters online.

Playing Vintage from the comfort of one's home had never been an easy task before.

With a mammoth 460 players starting the day with Magic's largest format it made sense to check in with some of the game's greats to ask a simple question: What are you playing in the Vintage Championship, and why?

Reid Duke was one of the may top-ranked players that took the trip into Philadelphia for a weekend of Eternal Magic.

Reid Duke

“Storm Combo, but it might have once been called Grim Long. Long was an old Storm deck with Lion's Eye Diamond was unrestricted. Eventually Grim Tutor made its way in to add consistency when things were restricted. For this event I've cut Grim Tutor, that's the deck it's evolved out of.”

“It plays one of every of the most broken cards in the game: fast mana, broken card draw spells. Every opening hand is different and it's a puzzle to build a storm count of 10, then Tendrils of Agony your opponent for 20 life as fast as possible.”

“The most common path to victory is to make a bunch of mana, tutor for Yawgmoth's Will, then flashback the tutor for Tendrils of Agony. My deck is more single-minded and focused. Similar decks might play Force of Will or Tinker for Blightsteel Colossus. My deck is all-in on Tendrils of Agony. Every card is there to eventually drain you of life.”

Matt Costa went from the Top 8 of the World Magic Cup Qualifier to competing in the Vintage Championship: A jump from the newest Standard tech to the old cards in Magic.

Matt Costa

“Grixis Young Pyromancer Control. I'm playing it because I've never played Vintage before and it was the deck Randy Beuhler had ready to lend me. For my first time playing Vintage I wanted it played something more similar to the Legacy decks I'm used to playing; this is like a Legacy deck with power. I wasn't going to play a combo deck and I wasn't going to play without blue cards: Ancestral Recall, all the good stuff.”

How does it compare to the similar decks in the format? “It's pretty similar to any of the Vintage Delver of Secrets/Monastery Mentor tempo decks. The difference is that Delver of Secrets isn't a particularly good card in Vintage. With the printing of Young Pyromancer you don't need to use any other win conditions when you have that card.”

Steve Rubin didn't have Vintage on his mind: He had a World Championship to prepare for (after he made Top 8 of the World Magic Cup Qualifier first).

Steve Rubin

“I'm playing Dredge. I think my deck's fun but other people don't like it. I played it last year, but there's just this weird stigma about it.”

“The biggest thing is I've been preparing for the World Championship. I didn't have a chance to think about Vintage so I just played the deck I played last year. I don't like borrowing cards and I already owned the Bazaar of Baghdads.”

Is there anything unique in Rubin's take on Dredge? “It's straightforward. I just try to play a more interactive version. It has less business spells and more Unmake, Leyline of the Void, and Mental Missteps. Other people will play Fatestitchers or Dread Returns or Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. Most of the games when you're doing your think you're going to win anyway so that's the idea behind the extra interaction.”

Brian Demars was a Grand Prix winner mainstay of the Vintage community.

Brian Demars

“I'm playing MUD with Arcbound Ravagers and Hangerback Walkers. “

“I think Mishra's Workshop is the most powerful archetype, and I think it's the best build for beating other Workshop decks and Dredge decks. It has a cheaper mana cost than the Forgemaster versions – ally our spells costs four or less, mostly two and three so you can play your spells faster. Ravager lets you be more aggressive.”

Mark Tocco wasn't a renown professional player, but as the reigning Vintage Champion from 2014 he had a plan to keep his crown.

Mark Tocco

“I'm playing a very similar build to the deck I played last year: Oath of Druids. Technically you can call it Fenton Oath, but there's also another name like Green Alpha Exodus or something.”

“You have a 7/7 flying with lifelink that beats people to death while you counter their spells and take extra turns. There's a lot of different builds for Oath of Druids so they all don't play the same. My line of thinking is that two weeks ago Oath of Druids was a terrible choice at the NYSE tournament,” he said, referring to a large Vintage tournament that takes place in New York City. “However in the last two weeks there's been an extreme emphasis on Dredge and Mishra's Workshop. This tournament being what it is, a very large sort-of ‘pet deck' tournament, there's going to be large number of creatures being played as well. Monastery Mentor is sort of on the decline because once you had Griselbrand in play they could still reasonably race you with tokens. With the increase in Dredge and Blue-Red Delver – that sort of thing – Oath of Druids preys on creature decks.”

Just how similar is it to last year's winning build for Tocco? “No Maelstrom Pulse this time! That was a feature of the list last year. The list I have this year is streamlined. It tried to cut out a lot of awkward draw. No Time Vault and Voltaic Key. No Memory Jar. Yawgmoth's Will is in this year, and there's an extreme importance to getting Griselbrand in play, getting a Time Walk, and getting the extra turn to attack with Griselbrand. The creature decks can output a lot of damage in one turn: You want to get the extra swing in there without a clunky card in your opening hand.”


Brian Demars's MUD – Vintage Championship

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Reid Duke's Storm Combo – Vintage Championship

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Steve Rubin's Dredge – Vintage Championship

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Mark Tocco's Oath of Druids – Vintage Championship

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Matt Costa's Grixis Young Pyromander Control

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