What are some Common Vintage Tips & Tricks Everyone Should Know?

Title says it all, this is research for an article I will do at some point for Vintage 101. I would like to know some of your favorite tips and tricks for various archetypes or just format in general. If you want to share some decklists to be featured in this article, please feel free (and even better if you use Goldfish to do so).

Also looking for a spice list (sheer spice) for this article and would like to take it from someone on here to feature. Let me know!

@volrathxp common tricks from the top of my head:

  • triggering things by casting pyroblast on a nonsensical target. For example, triggering mentor or dack by casting pyroblast on a land.

  • common sensei's top tricks like tapping top, holding priority and untapping it with key to tap it again to draw an extra card and put top in hand. Or the tapping top and in response bouncing it by any means (PO, repeal...)
    If you want to draw with top, but don't want to have the top on your library as the first card you can activate tops order ability and in response put sensei's on the library to draw your card. Now when the order ability resolves, you can order sensei's anywhere in the top 3 you want.

  • there is value to be gained with triggers that have a scaling factor which is checked upon resolution. For example if you have a Aetherflux reservoir on the battlefield and you cast 2 instants in a row you can gain 3 life total if you let everything resolve individually, or you can cast the second instant while the first reservoir trigger is still in the stack to gain 4 life instead.

  • since probe is restricted there are a few sneaky bluffing possiblies available again. Letting a blind cabal therapy on you resolve even though you have a misstep in hand to counter it might be worth it in some situations. Most players will not name misstep with the therapy if it resolves and you save yourself a misstep and some life. (The cost of course is that your opponent could hit something else, sees your hand etc.)

  • An oldschool bluffing trick would also be selectively skipping to your second main before casting a spell to bluff having a mana drain in hand.

There are so many more...

last edited by Aelien

@volrathxp here are some for the survival deck:

Bazaar upkeep with an empty hand helps find VV, squee, rootwalla, but also makes hollow one a live topdeck.

If you are short on green Mana but have extra creatures in hand you can pitch them to survival for elvish spirit guide (Mana neutral) which can turn on hollow one.

Playing around hate cards is key. Rootwalla for madness never hits the GY, so can help play around ravenous trap (fetching on the opp turn is probably good habit for this reason too). It is also legitimately cast, so not stopped by cage, containment priest or grave hate. Same thing with hollow one. Squee gets hit by gy exile effects, but again not priest or cage.

There are niche cases where you have both survival and bazaar and want to respond to the survival activation with a bazaar activation, most likely to have discarded enough cards to cast a fetched hollow one.

If you have containment priest in your deck you can cast it as the second creature for the turn to resurrect VV before she enters play.

@kaluma Those are great. Thanks!

@Aelien awesome as well, thank you 🙂

Learn the stack and priority. Yes, this is part of any game of magic, but in vintage especially knowing how the stack works (when do triggered abilities go on, how does a spell resolve etc) can make or break some situations.

Know how delve, phyrexian mana and other alternative costs work with trinisphere and sphere of resistance type effects

Game 1, unknown opponent, if they quickly mulligan below 5 without much time considering their hand - they are on dredge

speaking of mulligans - learning how to mulligan properly is a highly useful skill

Remember - the person you are sitting across from the table at (at least in paper) is a player you WILL see again in a tournament. Pay attention to what they play and how they play it. And treat the person with respect and be friendly.

If you can get a Walking Ballista or Hangarback Walker into their yard, Welder reads "T: Destroy Target Artifact an opponent controls."

@volrathxp @kaluma
The other one, which is very niche, is when you have Survival, Bazaar, and 1 Green but no extra creature to go for ESG: at their EOT, pitch your guy to get Rootwala, then if things don’t improve after you’ve drawn, use Survival to discard Rootwala with Madness, with all that on the stack activate Bazaar, then resolve Rootwala and Survival, getting Hollow One. Now all your Vengevines can come back!

Most people don't look at demonic tutor as acceleration but getting lotus with it is +1 mana of any colour. Its sometimes correct to get an academy or sol ring if your low on mana.

Don't overplay your board (especially as a shops player). Hold some stuff in your hand just for mass board removal.

  • As a storm player holing a land in hand while casting dark ritual to bait them to Misstep the Ritual, thinking they can constrict you on mana. Withholding information is not really a Vintage specific thing, but some of the applications of this are.

  • Very Common: Hurkyl's recall yourself bouncing your artifact acceleration back to produce mana and storm count. Same works with Chain of Vapor ofcourse.

  • Casting Cabal Therapy or Thoughtseize on yourself sometimes has slight advantages: It might get a Blightsteel Colossus shuffled back into your deck if you want it as a tinker target. Pretty rare, but it sometimes helps: Taking a spell you are not planning on casting to get quickly to Threshhold for Cabal Ritual. It costs a mana and 2 hand cards to produce 2 more mana, quite the all in play.

  • Gushing in response to a Balance to make your opponent sac their lands.

@thecravenone Wait. Someone has actually resolved Goblin Welder in the last 24 months?? Pics or it didn't happen!

@bandswithothers said in What are some Common Vintage Tips & Tricks Everyone Should Know?:

@thecravenone Wait. Someone has actually resolved Goblin Welder in the last 24 months?? Pics or it didn't happen!

Well it was against a Hangarback Walker deck so it wasn't nearly as hard as usual 😛

Based on the best streamers I watch like @The-Atog-Lord, @ChubbyRain and Brian Kelly, a thing which they are really good at is to always thoroughly consider their options before making a play and also to plan for the worse (because things can go horribly wrong quickly in vintage). Sounds easy in theory but so hard to do when you play yourself. Another important thing is to always have the old card-frame version of every card 😉

last edited by kistrand

dredge basic trick: put ichorid ability in stack and active bazaar for dredge, dredge cards --discard ..and pay ichorid cost.

You can block with a Mishra's Factory and use it to pump itself.

You can activate an Orchard on your opponents end step so they don't get an attacker the turn before you Oath.

(not explicitly vintage) +ing a planeswalker is a cost, so you can cast a Jace and + it if you think it will get bolted.
This plays out as you cast a Jace TMS, hold priority +2 it then pass priority. They then bolt it. Now your Jace is alive, at 2 loyalty and at that point the fateseal resolves.

I'll keep adding to this thread.

last edited by John Cox

@kistrand To piggy back on this, plan for the worst case scenario, but don't always act like the worst case scenario is the case. For example, if your opponent is on blue, has drawn some and has 5 cards in hand - he MAY have FoW, so you have to carefully consider casting that clutch spell. But if you DON'T cast that spell, and have nothing you could topdeck to push the spell through next turn, then not only did you virtually give them FoW in their hand, but you also gave them time to dig more and actually find FoW.
Sometimes they have the stop, sometimes they don't. Sometimes you cast your spell and they counter and it seems crippling (but if you held it in your hand, they'd STILL have the stop, so does it matter?). If you never cast the spell out of fear of a counter, then they ALWAYS have the stop, whether a counter is in their hand or not.

Having Mishra's Workshop and Trinisphere in your opening hand. Having Ancestral Recall and enough Missteps to choke a Llama in your opener.

@nedleeds Now you're talking : ) A similar classic vintage skill is to have Oath, orchard, mox, FoW+blue card in opener.

Sequencing land drops and spells is a skill many still lack in mtg in general.

spell sequencing: For one, It took @Smmenen writing an entire book on how to play Gush properly before some people caught on to how good the card is outside of Grow.dec or Gush Storm. (Turns out, Gush was THE blue deck)

On lands: I still see players making the mistake of cracking one for a dual as soon as they play it, (many still think "thinning" your deck is a valid reason) unnecessarily giving away info and opening themselves up to wasteland.
Many times players lose to themselves, making the wrong land drop turn one.

last edited by Ten-Ten

Innumerable, but sideboarding is a complex and nuaced set of operations. To pithily reduce it to a sound bite or “tip,” remember to differentiate between sideboard plans on the play vs. the draw. Too many players overlook this with generic instructions.

I don’t think this was said yet, but if you can, don’t play into Mindbreak Trap. E.g. if my opener has land, mox, mox, Bob, I should play land, mox, Bob, mox.

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