Vintage Championship 2015
What do Dragonlord Dromoka, Pyrite Spellbomb and Repeal have in common? Obviously they are the best cards in Vintage, right?
Last weekend was Eternal Weekend featuring the 2015 Vintage Championship, which pulled in unbelievable 460 players! Vintage is a fascinating format, and has always remained near and dear to me. In fact I was dominating the Trader Vintage league back in 2001 before I started playing “all these other formats” on the Pro Tour. There are quite a few deck lists available from the Vintage Championship event and you should familiarize yourself with the state of the metagame to prepare for the upcoming MKM Series in Prague (held October, 16-18), which will once again feature Vintage, Legacy, Modern, and Standard main events!
While the three big pillars of the format (Bazaar of Baghdad/Mishra's Workshops/Force of Will) can make the format look a little stale from the outside at times, there are many interesting things going on if you look a little more at the details. First of all there a many different archetypes in the Force of Will camp. While Dredge and Shops decks can play very similar even if they are built quite different, the blue decks all play very differently. Mentor, Oath, Doomsday, Delver, and Grixis Thiefs might overlap in their mana base, cantrips and counter suite, but their respective winning options change the way how you should use all of those other cards quite a bit. All the restricted cards also turn the games into more of a puzzle, that rarely plays out the exact same way.
Due to the high power level of most cards, it does not really cost you all that much to include some fun-ofs (one-ofs that should not really be in your deck), especially if they can also be pitched to Force of Will. That way you can include your favourite cards from the entirety of the Magic Multiverse in your 75 cards without hurting your chances much. Just looking at the Top 8 deck lists we can find an unexpectedly high number of cards that range from ingenious tech to sheer madness alongside a heap of restricted cards.
Talking about Walkers: Hangarback Walker is the newest edition to the Workshop decks, granting them the new option to go wide and to fly over a Moat (which actually was in one of the decks). Seeing play in multiple formats will bolster the Walker's value even further. You should probably just bite the bullet if you didn't buy your copies yet.
Pulverize was promoted as sideboard tech against Workshops by Randy Buehler during the last Vintage Super League season and is showing up here as well, while Containment Priest and Grafdigger's Cage are trying to keep Dredge and Oath decks in check.
Now let's look at the most awkward cards showing up in the two finalist's decks.
I am not a big fan of using multiple different creatures with Oath, as you can never be sure which one you will have access to on the next turn, but it seems like the unusual choices worked out fine for Brian Kelly.
I really like the Sphinx of the Steel Wind in the lists using Tinker (which Kelly wasn't) because unlike Blightsteel Colossus it can not be stolen by an opposing Dack Fayden and it is a blue card as well.
Basically every card mentioned in this article is ultra cheap in comparison to the cards that form the backbone of the format. Therefore I suggest to always buy foil copies if you want to invest in any new cards that see play in Vintage. Many Vintage players like to foil their decks and can easily afford the extra cost. Some of the best targets are:
Monastery Mentor Available foils: 118 Foils from: 39,00 €
Hangarback Walker Available foils: 63 Foils from: 19,48 €
Pulverize Available foils: 21 Foils from: 3,95 €
Grafdigger's Cage Available foils: 93 Foils from: 14,89 €