Good morning/afternoon/evening,

I've been looking to become more accomplished in playing Vintage with all my newfound time during the lockdown. I've been using MTGGoldfish's amazing data for a snapshot of how the Vintage metagame plays out (I found it at What the website doesn't have is deck primers to get a feel for how to play actual games. Is there any such resource available? I was hoping to find it here but I haven't seen anything.


You might want to check out the Vintage 101 articles on MTGGoldfish. The author, TMD's own @volrathxp , takes a fairly indepth look into a different deck each week. Not exactly a full primer, but should give you some foundational knowledge.

last edited by revengeanceful

Excellent question. If I had an answer to this I'd be a happier man.

I made a few absolute-intro posts a few years back, you can see them here: . But these are mostly out of date, and from your post I get the impression that you're a little past intros and are looking for something with a bit more of a strategic point-of-view.

I think about this a lot. This is meta-commentary and doesn't really solve your problem, but people just aren't interested in writing primers anymore. I'm sure there are a lot of reasons, but my best guess is something like:

  • there's always been only a small % of the community interested in content generation to begin with. There's a handful of people (like Stephen Menendian, Rich Shay, and myself) who just love (or otherwise can't stop) making vintage content, with an aim of promoting the format for its own sake (or maybe habit at this point). Most people who create content are up-and-comers, people who have gotten into the hobby within the past few months or years, and create things because they want to make a name for themselves or just can't help sharing their passion. (Nothing about this is unique to Vintage itself)

  • there's been a cultural shift away from using forums in general, so TMD owns a smaller part of the global vintage mindshare than it once did. Newer players are less likely to do their discussions on a forum and therefore are less likely to think of a long-form post or article as a medium to make content.

  • it wouldn't be fair to say that streaming is easier or harder than writing, but as someone who's done a bit of both, there there are aspects of stream production that are very content-creator-friendly, the barrier to entry is ... I'll say different but in many ways lower, and the rewards of streaming vs writing are more visceral and immediate. If I want to produce an hour of streamed vintage content, it'll take me about an hour and ten minutes, and I can have a beer and hang out with friends while I'm doing it, while getting immediate feedback from people who have showed up to watch me, specifically. If I want to write a 5 paragraph primer for a deck, it might take me 6 hours to write, possibly weeks to prep for (testing?) and I'm likely to get a few one-word "neat!" responses, and three or four people telling me how poorly I understand the deck. I strongly believe that long-form written content is a real service to the Vintage community, and I've have people reach out to me about 15-year-old articles, but the immediate experience of being a streamer is much more pleasant than the immediate experience of being a writer.

  • these forces create a negative feedback loop. When there aren't primers on TMD, new players don't learn vintage through primers. When new players don't learn vintage through primers, primers lose their value as a tool to reach new players, and as a way to get status in the community.

I own this website so it's important to me to improve the experience visitors have, and it was always very much my vision that TMD would be a useful place for newer players to learn about and ease themselves into the hobby, and I know it's been falling short of that goal for a while now.

But I also want the community to be healthy and happy, whether they're on TMD or not. So I'll suggest in the short-term some TMD alternatives that could give you some information about the format:

  • Most vintage content these days is on Twitch. richshay, chubbyrain1, and iamactuallylvl1 are all smart cookies who stream vintage a lot. If you get lucky you might catch an occasional vintage stream from lsv, cyruscg, reiderrabbit, OriginalOestrus ... there's tons out there I'm sure there's a thread or something 😄

  • Some people just prefer talking about vintage in real time. There's a discord server some of the vintage streamers run which is fairly active, could be worth checking out . There's a private discord server for TMD Patrons but it's pretty empty and probably not worth paying for (I'm an awesome salesman, right?)

  • has some long-form articles and it's the home of the novel-length works of Stephen Menendian. The stuff you'll find there tends to have more of an evergreen focus, and might not be a great source for learning about the latest deck-of-the-week, but it's about as well-researched and high quality as you can get for written vintage content

  • While you can certainly post questions on TMD, a lot of the vintage community is pretty active on Twitter, and we're probably all pretty open to responding to a tweet on any vintage-related content, There's way too many people to mention (maybe worth a thread), but I'm @tmdBrassMan and anyone I've mentioned in this post so far is active on Twitter as well.

  • As mentioned elsewhere in the thread, Joe Dyer's Vintage 101 on MtgGoldfish is the most active/regular vintage article series right now.

  • Some Vintage podcasts I like are So Many Insane Plays and Serious Vintage (light on strategy, big on community). There are definitely other vintage podcasts out there.

  • I wouldn't really recommend any of the other forums: the reddit vintage page, the vintage section of mtgsalvation/mtggoldfish, etc. I think I'm being objective, the other forums just don't have much going for them. But they exist if you want to check them out.

As far as TMD goes? You might get a good response if you start a thread with a more focused question. Post a list you like, ask how someone would approach one particular matchup, maybe leverage Twitter to get the question in front of more people, linking back to the thread so you can get more than a 100-character response. I think when you give a specific prompt you're more likely to get answers from players who are experts with one particular deck, but aren't the sort of people who self-motivate to write content.

If anyone has made it this far, and you in any way identify as the sort of person who MIGHT want to write a Vintage article sometime, I don't know if there's anything that I/TMD can do to make that process easier or more appealing to you. I probably have more control than you think over how written content is presented and shared on the site, which means YOU probably have more control than you think, because I'm pretty open.

The world marches on and I don't think it's some big tragedy that people don't use forums like they used to ... but using TheManaDrain to help people get into Vintage is still something that's important to me, whatever that looks like.


This was a well-informed and incredibly passionate look into not only content creation, but your role in it. While it saddens me that The Mana Drain isn't the beacon of Vintage content it was before, it's nice to see that there are still people passionate about the subject matter and that you still stay connected to them. I found a thread full of the bad eggs and one of the Vintage Discord's best eggs trying to reason with them and think I'll take up your offer to join the Discord server. I might be a lurker, but after the passion you just displayed I should let you know that this one act on a failing website was incredibly important to an anonymous soul on the internet.

What Brassman said.

But streaming has replaced articles as the Magic-content de jure. Articles were very good as primers, but now people can watch streams and learn how to play a deck.

If anybody is interested in producing video content that serves a similar role to a deck primer - a deck tech, video-primer, or vlog that you could point a newer player at ... I'm very open to using TMD as a platform to promote or host that sort of content as well. It doesn't have to be a traditional thread if that's not the best way to showcase the information, we can take "" and turn that into the best possible landing page for however you'd like to teach a new player about shops, whatever that looks like.

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