Vintage meta-game strategy
I took a break this summer from playing Vintage, hoping that some paper events pop-up by the Fall. I am still waiting for some paper events and I saw that Eternal Weekend will be online again.
I'd like some help from the people that really understand the current Vintage meta-game. I am not looking for deck primers but more of a strategy on how to play the format right now.
I played a bit before MH2 and I played some interesting "janky" decks after MH2. I see that the meta is fairly stable and well-formed now. PO has cut PO and Jeskai is running Dragon's Rage Channeler. There are other changes, these are just some that I have heard or seen from The Eternal Glory Podcast and watching Justin Gennari play on youtube.
I'm looking for any strategies against Urza's Saga, as I am not planning on playing that card. I have seen Ragavan drop off a bit in the meta and I'd like to know why. I'd also like to know how BUG is still doing so well, at least according to MTGGoldfish.
I’ve played some games with Ragavan and he felt very good. Also the most recent challenge has no shortage of Ragavan, so I don’t understand where you’re getting this idea that it’s disappeared.
As far as Urza’s Saga, what about the card is giving you trouble? There are plenty of counter strategies for the card specifically, such as Alpine and Blood Moon, but in a Vintage context, Saga’s construct mode seems slow — so if you’re playing a deck that gets beat by constructs, I’d think about playing something that attacks from a different angle.
First let's discuss Ragavan, I'm using MTG Goldfish for data and the Jeskai deck shows 1-2 Ragavan and this deck is listed at 16% of the meta and the next deck that plays Ragavan is the Blue Red aggro deck at 4.9% fo the meta and plays 3.5 copies. If you go back 30 days and 60 days and 90 days the number of Ragavan in top 8 decklists goes up not down. According to the "Boomer" site mtgtop8.com there were an average of 3 Ragavan in top8 decklists from 7/1/2021-7/31/2021 compared to an average of 2.5 from 8/1/2021 to 8/28/2021.
I hate these kind of "test" to confirm statements. Ragavan was tested and tried in a lot of decks and those decks have been consolidated to what works and the number being played is slightly less than where we started.
Second, I am looking for strategy. If you have a strategy on how to "beat" Uzra Saga decks, then I'm all ears. I own the card in paper and I do not use a rental account. I will not be buying them online any time soon. So, I personally will not be playing the card online.
The meta-game has gotten to a place where it is fairly stable and I am trying to get back into it. I thought that the people who know the meta could provide some strategic advice on what works and what doesn't.
@moorebrother1 I havent had particular trouble vs the saga decks when jamming with doomsday.
John Cox last edited by John Cox
I think the reason BUG does well against Ragavan and Saga is Collector Ouphe. The meta is very soft to null rod effects. If I was to brew I would start with that type of deck.
Well Ragavan is legendary and returns to your hand after use, so you never want more than one in your hand. 2.5 sounds about right for Vintage, where the opportunity cost for more Ragavans than you need is pretty high.
At least when I drafted my first list with Ragavan, I settled on 3 without thinking too hard about it. It’s a legendary 2/1 creature. You’ve got to assume the ground is going to be gummed up at times, making it a dead draw in situations.
Compared to modern where Ragavan is more powerful than most other cards, having redundant copies is more beneficial than not.
I personally like to ignore most of the hype about the "best" strategy to play and prefer to smash face with something people don't expect out of left field. I think there is always a tendency towards greed in some aspect of deck-building that spreads like a freaking plague amongst the sheeple. Thus, if I were to design a list for the meta I'd probably be on some CARDS (not necessarily decks) that own the meta. I suspect that some form of awesome graveyard deck will be at champs so I think dauthi voidwalker is a great choice. I also think that saga will be played a lot so I agree that collector ouphe could be huge. I also have a pet card I'm testing called "Maddening Hex" that I think could stomp some unsuspecting xerox decks. Thus, I'd go the route of some sort of Jund Fish deck for champs just because it satisfies the colors I'm going for.
The fact that doomsday exists and is incredibly powerful and fun should not be underestimated.
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@botvinik No doubt that Doomsday is an awesome deck but it takes a deck specialist and someone who really enjoys that style of deck. I'm actually strongly considering it as a deck to pick up and master.
@stormanimagus I tend to think this way too and when I was more plugged into the Vintage meta, I was able to attack the meta from several angles.
To your point, the meta is soft to mana denial and graveyard hate overall. There are a few notable exceptions. The issue with this line is that you lose to deck specialist. When I played in the Mythic Society I would get crushed by Slasher on Artifact Combo because I was not expecting it. I was prepared for Bazaar Vengvine decks but struggled against Dredge.
You cannot attack every deck and various deck specialist will beat you if you are not a master of your deck. This is probably why BUG is doing well based on my research, several of the pilots are deck specialist.
@moorebrother1 I am a fish specialist. Granted my real wheelhouse is Thalia Hatebears variants, but I've also played and invented 5-C Humans for Vintage. I think Jund might be more in that vein. Maddening Hex can deliver a lot of damage (I know people will question it because you are rolling a die so there isn't determinism with the results but the average roll will be between 3 and 4) and you get Ouphe for dumb artifact things and Dauthi for yards + Deathrite Shaman + Wastelands. I've thought this through quite and a bit and I think a color combination like Jund is largely untested and thus could fill an interesting niche. The only thing I'm unsure about with the list is an ability to provide a beefy threat in a pinch. My general go-to in green is Hexdrinker for this and that is probably the direction I'd go.
@stormanimagus Having played a lot of jund, I don't think we're currently in a good format for it with all the tinker running around.
John Cox last edited by
Here's an article on the meta by Joe Dyer
@ian-mars I am seeing a lot of lists with Tinker for Bolas's Citadel and almost Zero with Tinker for Robot. How is Jund poor against this again?
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@stormanimagus for reference, looking at the most recent 25 lists with Tinker on mtgtop8, 10 have sphinx main and 10 have sphinx or blightsteel in the board.
There are better and worse things that they could be tinkering for and obviously force of vigor has improved things somewhat but in my experience tinker decks are the worst matchup for jund.
Mabye most of my opponents are clowns but as a doomsday player the matchup seems extremely good for me. Jund neither has the force of will or the spheres + aggressive pressure plan that are the two biggest stumbling points for the doomsday deck in my experience. They will often pack vigors but a double oracle pile and some planning is, at least in my experience, usually good enough to get there anyway especially since they can't protect the vigor with forces. Then again I haven't faced an exceptionally large amount of the deck and my opponents may have simply played or drawn badly, but it has been a very bad for the jund guys in my experience.
@botvinik doomsday is definitely a tough matchup, for me at least it is less frustrating to play against than tinker and it has also fallen out of the meta a bit compared to where it was so I wasn't really thinking too much about it but I would still say that tinker is a worse matchup for jund than doomsday and more relevant in a discussion of the current meta.
That said, while jund does not have spheres or forces, and it is difficult for us to beat a turn one nut draw from doomsday, I think we still have the tools necessary to compete in the doomsday matchup. In my experience mana denial through wasteland and collector ouphe can be very effective since doomsday is running on very few lands. Collector ouphe especially forcing pass the turn piles most of the time can be very relevant since you have some good clocks. Disruption like opposition agent makes it hard for them to combo if you can make it through the first turn or two and you can ramp to it with deathrite shaman. Postboard cards like mindbreak trap can help shore up the early turns. Endurance has also been a huge improvement to the matchup.
I started this thread to get a pulse on where the meta is right now and to get some strategies on how to play with or against some decks.
I dipped a toe into a Vintage league with a mono blue delver brew and went 3-2. The format looks fast when I play against any bazaar deck. I also get put on the backfoot fast against Shops and almost any Urza saga deck.
The strange observation that I have is that the Challenge results do not match league play. The leagues have very fast decks that made to grid out a league. The Challenge results has RUG, BUG and Golos decks that look more like grindy decks.
I'm not sure what is going on here but I can say that I'm not in a hurry to play in a league again.
I'd like to play in the practice room more and just experiment with some brews. Without the MTG Melee, I'm not sure on how to do that. Does anyone out there have any suggestions?