Last time I talked about my first three playdays on the Vintage Super League which ultimately qualified me for the semifinals. Part of what I always liked about the VSL is the innovation when it comes to tournament structure, and these playoffs were no different. Each player had to submit two decks and play them in a random order for the first two matches. If the score then is 1-1, they can freely pick which of the two decks they will use for the deciding match. You might also have seen this structure used in the Mythic Invitational where they called it “Duo Standard“. Let’s go with Duo Vintage for now.
Metagaming in a small field of Duo Vintage
I continued to analyze my opponents’ ranges while I stayed true true to my own rule of thumb of having fun and showcasing interesting cards. Since we didn’t know the exact pairings, I actually had to prepare for all opponents and find a middle ground that I was comfortable with.
I was close to positive that Randy would show up with Blue-Red-based Xerox and a version of Paradoxical Outcome. I have never seen him play without Preordain, so I figured this would not be the right time for him to branch out into something mindblowing. While I was right, it turned out that he top 8‘ed the Vintage Challenge a few days earlier with Dredge and was super close to submitting it for the semis. Bullet dodged.
Rachel has an obsession with Monastery Mentor and chaining together blue spells in general. She usually errs on the fair side of the spectrum, so I needed a good lineup against fair blue decks. She didn’t disappoint and signed up with two similar Xerox decks with basically the same strengths and weaknesses.
On the contrary, Rich was a total wildcard. He has results with anything from Shops and Dredge to Xerox and PO. My best calculated guess put him on Blue-Red-based Xerox and Dredge which he likes to go back to once he feels the coast is clear. He ended up registering Shops alongside Blue-Red Xerox with a small splash for Ancient Grudge and Sylvan Library (probably his favorite card – he seems to love my splash in the Paradoxical Outcome deck with two copies).
What did you bring to class?
I figured that given Randy‘s and Rachel‘s history of decks, the field would be relatively light on Dredge hate, so I tried and take advantage. These days, the Dredge deck can fit in tons of disruption which would give me game against Paradoxical Outcome variants, and the Xerox matchup is so good in game one that you put immense presure on them to win both sideboarded games.
To mix things up, I played my “new” version of Paradoxical Outcome that hedges a lot to gain percentages in the Xerox matchup thanks to two copies of Sylvan Library in the main deck and what should have been the full playset of Managorger Hydra in the sideboard. I will do a seperate article on the evolution of Paradoxical Outcome at a later point.
I ended up getting paired against Randy with Dredge facing his Outcome deck and with Outcome facing his Xerox, which I wasn’t super happy about but took down anyway. Check out how the games went in this playlist.
Grand Finals Time
Rachel ended up taking down Rich in three intense matches which was my prefered outcome of that match given Rich‘s unpredictable range. Once again, the tournament structure changed, and we now needed to submit three decks and label them as A, B and C and then play out three matches with the opposing decks. Unless the score was 3-0 for either player, we play with any of the three decks until a player reaches three wins.
I still put Rachel on the same range of decks and wanted to blank her copies of Mental Misstep and Force of Will by playing Cavern of Souls-powered creature decks. Those decks are traditionally weak to Walking Ballista and Steel Overseer out of Shops, but I didn’t put Rachel on that deck, so I felt clever for registering Eldrazi and Taxes and Four-Color Humans. As my last “safety net” deck, I went with my trusy Bant Outcome deck, this time fully loaded with multi-headed green monsters in the sideboard.
Removal Spells in Vintage?
Rachel didn’t let me get the last word so easily. I’m very interested in knowing what made her pack so much removal for this match, but it was truly genious and it made me feel very uncomfortable going into the match. I love these little mind games to try and get a small edge. I can’t say that I got a huge advantage out of my homework this season, but at least I enjoyed the process a lot.
Without spoiling too much about the actual matches, let me just say that Match 3, Game 3 is something you can’t miss as a Vintage fan. You can find the full length of the Grand Finals here:
Thank you so much for following my journey through the tough opposition in my favorite format. I noticed great support on social media and I’ve read all the nice comments in the chat when I rewatched the episodes. I will definitely be back for more Super Leagues in the future!