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Author Topic: Explanation of Vintage/TMD for new to Vintage/TMD users.  (Read 142440 times)
Meddling Mike
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« on: October 10, 2011, 07:15:43 pm »

What is Vintage?

The Vintage format, formerly known as Type 1, allows cards from all sets and promotions that are legal for constructed play. Vintage maintains a small banned list and a larger restricted list (These lists can be found here.). Unlike in the other formats, the DCI does not ban cards in Vintage for power level reasons. Rather, banned cards in Vintage are those that involve ante, manual dexterity (e.g. – Chaos Orb), or subgames (e.g. – Shahrazad). Cards that raise power level concerns are instead restricted to one per deck. Because of the expense in acquiring the old cards to play competitive Vintage, many Vintage tournaments in the United States are unsanctioned and permit players to use a certain number of proxy cards. These are treated as stand-ins of existing cards and are not normally permitted in tournaments sanctioned by the DCI. Guidelines for creating proxies and criteria for what is acceptable can be found here.

Why Should I Play Vintage?

1) It's fun to play with awesome, broken spells that are too good for other formats. This is sort of an intangible factor, but many people are attracted to Vintage for the chance to play with the most powerful cards ever printed. Decks and strategies that have been honed to perfection over years of adding only the most powerful spells and effects. A refined Vintage deck is like the Hattori Hanzo Samurai Sword of Magic decks.

2) Comfortable blend of competitive and casual. There is no Vintage Pro Tour, no Grand Prix, not even a Vintage FNM. Without pros and higher end tournaments a more relaxed atmosphere and sense of community thrives in Vintage that I have never seen in other formats of Magic. At the same time, structured tournaments allow for a more competitive atmosphere than a purely casual format like Commander.

3) Minimal time investment. For a player that plays standard the entire metagame turns over in a very short time. So few cards can break into Vintage that the pillars very rarely change. New cards enter the card pool, cards are restricted and unrestricted, so there are important and subtle changes, but one almost never starts from scratch in terms of developing a strategy. This also relates to the time spent turning over valuable cards before they rotate out of their format and lose value. Many of the staples of Vintage never change, so the constant turning over of one's collection is not necessary.

4) Vintage games are often very skill-intensive, and seldom end on the first turn. Many people got the impression that because of the exceptional power level of the cards involved in Vintage that most Vintage games end on the first turn or are often decided by whomever has the option to play first. Although first turn kills do occur in Vintage, my experience has taught me that this is the exception and not the rule. There are decks that are streamlined to have a higher percentage of turn one kills, but these decks often pay for their speed at the cost of consistency and vulnerability.

5) Many people point to the cost of cards in Vintage as prohibitive. The proxy system allows players to begin playing without breaking the bank and acquire the higher end cards at their own pace. Although these cards are more expensive, they retain/appreciate in value  in a way cards in other formats seldom do.

What should I play?

With the massive size of the card pool in Vintage, it can be tough to decide what to play. However, for the exact same reason it is a very small number of cards in each set that have a powerful enough effect or fill a niche so well that they can be considered for Vintage play. As a result, the vast majority of Vintage decks fall into 5 general categories or “pillars”. This is not to say that only five decks are competitive in Vintage, but that usually the more powerful Vintage decks tend to grasp on to one of these archetypes. The viability of the decks within pillars wax and wane in strength and popularity as new cards are printed or cards become restricted and unrestricted, but they have all existed in some form for the recent history of Vintage. The lines of which pillar a deck falls in can occasionally become blurred and some decks are capable of changing roles in ways that are not conceivable in other formats.

Blue Based Control



In the past these decks had been referred to as “Mana Drain” decks, but lately cards like Spell Pierce and Mental Misstep have been taking the spots that Mana Drain traditionally held. It can be built with different paths to victory and different draw engines, but are linked by having a number of draw spells and counters.

If you would like to know more about different types of Blue Based Control Decks, here are some in depth deck primers:

Oath uses the enchantment Oath of Druids in tandem with Forbidden Orchard to bring a powerful creature into play early in the game.Click here for the primer.

Tezzeret Control focuses on playing and resolving the card Tezzeret, The Seeker and using it to find and subsequently untap Time Vault to set up infinite turns.
Click here for the primer.

Gush uses the powerful draw engine of the card Gush in tandem with Fastbond to generate both card advantage and mana which it leverages to win the game.
Click here for the primer.

Null Rod Based Aggro



This pillar is also a bit of a misnomer as not all decks that I would put in this category actually play with Null Rod and some decks that do play with Null Rod do not fit this category. Some players have similar strategies but choose to use Stony Silence or Chalice of the Void as Null Rod replacements and build their decks. The common theme of this archetype is cards that are disruptive to the dominant strategies in Vintage and cheap utility creatures that support the disruption as well as provide a win condition. The purpose of Null Rod/Stony Silence/Chalice of the Void is to shut off important 0 casting cost artifact moxes, which provide an important part of the mana base for many vintage decks. Null Rod and Stony Silence take this further and stop other important activated abilities of artifacts for additional value.

If you would like to know more about different types of Null Rod Based Aggro Decks, here are some in depth deck primers:

Noble Fish is a green, white and blue deck that uses disruptive utility creatures to cripple an opponents ability to execute their game plan long enough to chip away at their life total and kill them.
The primer can be found here.

Workshop Based Prison



This archetype is based around the card Mishra’s Workshop. This card allows these decks to play expensive artifact spells very early in the game. As a result these decks are often comprised largely of artifact spells to maximize the value of playing with this powerful land. Some builds of this pillar are more aggressive while others focus more heavily on locking opponents out of the game.

If you would like to know more about different types of Workshop Based Prison Decks, here are some in depth deck primers:

Stax usually refers to the more control oriented version of the Workshop Based Prison Decks including the card Smokestack, which allows the Stax player to leverage the inherent permanent advantage of a deck where the vast majority of the spells in the deck are artifacts and makes a seemingly symmetrical effect into an asymmetrical one.
The primer can be found here.

Mud refers specifically to Workshop Based Prison builds that do not include any colored spells or colored sources of mana. This primer addresses both aggressive and control versions of the deck.
The primer can be found here.

Ritual Based Combo



This is another sort of misnomer as in the rest of the magic world a combo usually refers to two particular cards that work well together to generate a powerful effect. The “ritual” in the name refers to the card Dark Ritual, which nets the caster two black mana at the cost of a card. The decks in this pillar consist of land and spell sources of mana, powerful tutors that find the appropriate cards needed and powerful spells that allow you to win the game.

If you would like to know more about different types of Ritual Based Combo decks, here are some in depth deck primers:

TPS is an acronym for "The Perfect Storm" making reference to the number of spells that appear in the deck making use of the Storm mechanic and the high storm count the deck is capable of achieving.
The primer can be found here.

Bazaar Based Decks



This pillar is somewhat more loosely defined, but the one common thread is the inclusion of the card  Bazaar of Baghdad as being a central part of their strategy. Some people use this card’s effect to put creatures/artifacts into the graveyard and then get around their casting costs by bringing them into play with cards like Goblin Welder or Animate Dead. Other decks use Bazaar of Baghdad in tandem with the Dredge mechanic from Ravinica to put large amounts of their deck into their graveyard. This allows them to get cards like Narcomoeba, Bloodghast and Ichorid into play and later to use Dread Return to create a powerful effect and win the game.

If you would like to know more about different types of Bazaar Based Decks, here are some in depth deck primers:

This is a general overview of the Dredge archetype.
The primer can be found here.

This is a dredge deck that runs few mana sources and no Bloodghasts.
The primer can be found here.

This is a dredge deck that runs Bloodghast and cards like Undiscovered Paradise to maximize their value in the deck.
The primer can be found here.


Miscellaneous

There are some decks that are viable that don’t fit neatly into any of these archetypes, some decks have some attributes of both, but these misfits tend to make up the minority of what you can expect to see in a Vintage tournament. Keep in mind that although these decks are rarely popular there is an element of surprise to these decks, which can be a significant advantage. You also never know when a new printing or unrestriction/restriction could bring a deck like this to the forefront of the metagame.

If you would like to know more about different types of Miscellaneous Decks, here are some in depth deck primers:

Two-Card Monte is a deck that includes a number of two card combos that it attempts to assemble very quickly using Mishra's Workshop.
The primer can be found here.

Dark Times is a deck that uses the synergy between Vampire Hexmage and Dark Depths to quickly create a large Marit Lage token.
The primer can be found here.

Where can I play Vintage?

Check out the Regional Vintage Tournament Announcement Board and select your region to see what's coming up near you. You can also check out what's on the calendar.

What is TheManaDrain?

TheManaDrain(TMD) is the premiere Vintage discussion forum. People come here to share ideas about Vintage and develop decks and strategies. We have a tiered membership system that recognizes exceptional members with improved status. We have an open membership policy, but even at the bottom levels of our membership we try to build good habits in our members and have high expectations for the quality of posts. The rules of the site are enforced by our moderation staff. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the site rules before you begin posting.

Advice for new users
1) Don’t start a thread right away. Too often new users come onto the site, post a decklist and then are disappointed with the response they get. Take some time, learn what kind of decks your proposed deck might be facing, learn what similar decks are doing and why, read some primers, see the kind of post quality that is expected to accompany a decklist and ask some questions.
2)Introduce yourself. There is a thread dedicated specifically to introducing yourself to the greater TMD community here.
3) If you have a question about the site or the format, post it in this forum!
« Last Edit: November 03, 2011, 09:52:49 am by Meddling Mage » Logged

Meddling Mike posts so loudly that nobody can get a post in edgewise.

Team TMD - If you feel that team secrecy is bad for Vintage put this in your signature
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