Thursday, March 23, 2023

Vintage 101: Bring Your Angel to School

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Howdy folks! It’s time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I’m your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we are going to be talking about some of the interesting deckbuilding coming out of Phyrexia: All Will Be One and most specifically focusing on the usage of Atraxa, Grand Unifier. In addition to that we’ve got two Challenge events to talk about!

Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Atraxa in Vintage

The release of Phyrexia: All Will Be One has provided some new and interesting cards to the Vintage metagame. We’ve seen people trying out cards like Mercurial Spelldancer to some great effect, but one of the standouts of the crowd is Atraxa, Grand Unifier.

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On the surface glance this is definitely a weird card to grok, especially in a hyper efficient format like Vintage. The biggest aspect of this card is the sheer amount of cards it looks at. Ten cards is a lot of cards to dig through to get a reasonable amount of card selection out of this effect. A good majority of Vintage decks are playing six to seven different card types (Artifact, Creature, Land, Planeswalker, Instant, Sorcery, and sometimes Enchantment for things like Oath of Druids) to where a large amount of time you will be able to select five to six cards off of this effect. The amount of card selection here is pretty great all around.

There are a lot of comparisons to Griselbrand with this card for sure, where drawing seven by paying seven life isn’t always terrible in Vintage, but not having to pay life and having a 7/7 lifelink creature with vigilance and the card selection effect is a very strong thing to do be doing with your big creature.

Furthermore, this card could actually stand to benefit more than just the Oath of Druids decks in general, it could actually allow us to see something like Reanimator or Show and Tell based decks in the format as well.

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It is exceptionally important to also recognize that one of the bigger reasons Griselbrand has had some level of issues in eternal formats it is legal in has been due to the presence of cards like Hullbreacher or Narset, Parter of Veils. Atraxa bypasses those cards without issue and provides a strong amount of card selection to go along with it. At its most bare downside of the card, it can be pitched to multiple Forces, evoke Elementals like Solitude and even Grief. When your floor is pitching to nearly every best pitch spell in the format, there is something to think about when the major upsides of the card are so pronounced.

This card has definitely been at the forefront of a lot of different formats lately, so it is no surprise to see it doing well in Vintage too.

Vintage Challenge 2/18

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the mid afternoon Saturday event. This event had 55 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.

Oath was the most popular deck of the event here, and it had a really good win rate overall. Aggro Bazaar decks did very very well, as did Jeskai variants and Combo Shops.

Let’s take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Aggro Bazaar 1st s8shock
Jeskai Control 2nd Michelino
Lurrus DRS 3rd JdPhoenix
Oath of Druids 4th dancingjesus191
Lurrus Thoughtcast 5th shir kahn
Control Bazaar 6th Kummins11
Jeskai Lurrus 7th Bryzem1
Combo Shops 8th yPrincipe

Pretty interesting Top 8. Good number of Bazaar decks and some Shops, some Oath, and some Jeskai. At the end of the event it was Aggro Bazaar that won it all.

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I really like the Hexdrinker variants of this deck. It seems like a solid mana outlet for the deck having Cradle and allows it to have some game against Tabernacle as well. Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth also seems pretty strong here too.

In Second Place we’ve got Jeskai Control featuring Mercurial Spelldancer.

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I definitely am all in on the idea of copying something like Dig Through Time. Spelldancer is pretty sweet.

Further down this Top 8 we’ve got a sweet Lurrus DRS list.

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Four main deck Dauthi Voidwalker is definitely really strong right now. Ragavan and Baleful Strix also seem very powerful. Neat list for sure.

Vintage Challenge 2/19

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 37 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.

Even spread across some of the upper decks here and a nice even spread across the event overall. Combo Shops had the best performance next to Doomsday and 4C DRS variants.

Let’s take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Combo Shops 1st yPrincipe
Lurrus Thoughtcast 2nd shir kahn
Doomsday 3rd discoverN
Doomsday 4th SingPanMan
Control Bazaar 5th noprops
Jeskai Lurrus 6th unluckymonkey
Oath of Druids 7th MadMaxErnst
8Cast 8th TeamLeaderNa

Interesting Top 8 here. Some Doomsday, Oath, Shops, and even Bazaar. At the end of the event it was Combo Shops that won it all.

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I love the addition of Displacer Kitten in these decks. Makes for a very interesting aspect of this deck where it can also go infinite on mana with Black Lotus and Tormod’s Crypt looping with Karn, the Great Creator.

In Second Place we’ve got a cool Lurrus variant.

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Goblin Engineer here is a super sweet as a tutor for Time Vault while Saga is able to tutor up a Key to go with it. Thoughtcast is a cool main deck card here and Angel’s Grace in the sideboard is also super cool.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we’ve got 8Cast.

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Legitimately haven’t seen this deck for a hot minute in Challenges. It hasn’t seen a ton of play but the core strategies of Tinker for Citadel or Saga into a Time Vault kill are still going to be very good regardless of what you put around it.

Around the Web

  • Justin Gennari has some awesome content for us this week that is also on theme to this week’s article topic.

The Spice Corner

You can find this past week’s 5-0 lists here.

Atraxa Oath!

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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 my Link Tree! In addition you can always reach me on the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the Vintage Streamers Discord.

Until next time!

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