Sadly, I haven’t had the opportunity to play many daily events with RUG Tron at this point in time. There was a Standard 1K in the area last Saturday and for the last couple days Daily events have been at undesirable times if they were even firing at all. From what I could discern, things were rough this weekend after the MOCS crashed.
Actually, as of now it would seem that Daily events have been postponed indefinitely. The announcement suggested different types of events will be instituted in the interim, but until more details are revealed it looks like my foray into Pauper will likewise be postponed.
Instead, this week I’m going to talk about a format that is even less discussed these days than Pauper: Vintage. One of the local game stores in the area will be hosting a Vintage tournament next weekend and from the buzz I’ve heard I fully expect them to hit their max seating of forty entrants, which should make for a pretty good time.
As of now, I’ve played Vintage approximately twice, and the extent of what I remember involved playing either side of dedicated Key-Vault Combo deck against a Workshop variant. So, basically I rolled some dice. Workshop is a pretty neat deck, but it doesn’t do Vintage as a format any sort of justice in terms of complexity.
Fortunately for me, Eternal weekend just happened, which gives me some information to look over. When it comes to Legacy I could tell you about dozens of decks, mainstream or fringe, and how they playout. When it comes to Vintage, what I know usually boils down to things that I’ve heard, and the very occasional gander at a decklist. I’m uncertain how indicative this is of the format at large, but WotC’s coverage tells me that two Gush Delver decks top 8’d the Vintage Championship.
While I’ve played Delver decks in several formats- Standard, Modern, Legacy, Pauper, Limited- the Vintage deck is a totally different monster. It has the same elements as Delver strategies tend to (efficient creatures backed up by disruption), but the spell suite is radically different from what I’m used to. Only having one Brainstorm is going to make gameplay and mulligans alike much different than Legacy Delver, and four copies of Gush is pretty uncharted territory for me. I’ve played a few Gush in Pauper, but I’ve definitely Brainstormed more lands than I’ve bounced.
Setting up Shop
When approaching a new format the first thing that I do is goldfish a ton. I don’t think that many players goldfish nearly as much as I do. The general idea of goldfish is to see how quickly and consistently a deck could theoretically deal 20 points of damage, but I goldfish for the purpose of seeing a lot of opening and hands and getting a feel for how they might play out. For the purposes of Vintage Delver the goldfishing I’ve done has mostly been to investigate what types of advantages could be gained from Gushing at different times and to see how the card-drawing suite that Vintage’s restricted list allows a player to play contrasts with jamming four Brainstorm and four Ponder.
Additionally, when I goldfish a new deck I look for any cards that just don’t seem to be pulling their weight. I make note of these cards, talk to people about their inclusion and later track how well they perform in actual playtesting. In Gush Delver I really don’t see a ton of purpose to playing Mox Ruby. It seems pretty silly to question the inclusion of Power in a Vintage deck, but the deck has already trimmed all of the off-color Moxen, and Ruby is very close to a colorless source in these decks. The best application it seems to have is getting to five mana to hard-cast Gush, which is a B plan if I ever heard of one. I might be crazy, but I think that cutting the Ruby is worth exploring.
While both top 8 lists included Mox Ruby, they had a few discrepancies that offer some food for thought. One list featured Young Pyromancer while the other featured Snapcaster Mage. For my money, I’m a lot more about Snapcastering Ancestral Recall than I am about making 1/1s. I’m intrigued by the inclusion of Mystical Tutor. Mystical Tutor for Ancestral Recall only puts you one card up, but Tutoring for Time Walk and Ancient Grudge can be game breaking. Hawthorne tells me that he’s expecting a good amount of Oath decks at the event, and the Tutor will also be handy in finding the Nature's Claim I plan to maindeck to combat them.
One of the top 8 decks contained the restricted copy of Ponder and there are discrepancies in the counter suites, but it’s tough to say what is “correct” on these fronts without fighting some battles. The above thoughts in mind, I intend to test this list as my starting point:
I anticipate most people playing in the tournament to look to the same top 8 for decklists, so playing against the other top 8 decks will be a good starting point for my testing. If time allows, Shop, Oath and the Skullclamp Robots deck also seem relevant to test against.
With such limited time allowed I won’t be able to test as much as I like, but if this tournament is successful then the tournament itself will hopefully provide quality experience for future Vintage battles.
As for what to do with my column until WotC decides what to do with Pauper, I guess we’ll go back into more of a potpourri style of doing things. In the mean time, if anybody can offer me any Vintage advice, I’m all ears!
Thanks for reading.
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