Welcome to the Vintage Power Rankings. Since Vintage is slower to change, and has a smaller player base than some other formats, this will only be an occasional feature for the time being. Nonetheless, I love writing about Vintage, and wanted readers to have something they could reference for a rough overview of the format.
Here are the resources I use to inform all Power Rankings, leaning more heavily on what applies best to the given format:
- Magic Online results. This includes Preliminaries, Weekend Challenges, Super Qualifiers and MOCS Events.
- MTGMelee results. I typically look at all of the events with at least twenty players.
- Large tabletop events. When applicable.
- Untapped.gg stats. These show win rates of various archetypes on the Magic Arena ladder.
- Previous rankings. Just because a deck didn’t make a top 8 over the weekend, doesn’t mean it’s suddenly a bad deck.
- Public opinion. I discuss things with my teammates, and take a look at what’s getting a lot of attention on Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, podcasts, and written content.
- My own instincts and experiences.
Vintage Goblins by GRUMSH
It’s impressive for a deck that’s not centered around blue cards, artifacts or unfair graveyard synergies to be successful in Vintage, but Goblins seems to be able to hit the format just right. In addition to creature beatdown, it can assemble the combo of Conspicuous Snoop plus Goblin Recruiter to stack Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker on top of the library.
Vintage Dredge by WINGEDHUSSAR
Dredge is one of the classic pillars of Vintage, with long-time wisdom being that if you want to beat it, you’d better pack seven or eight graveyard hate cards in your sideboard. With the help of four Serum Powders, Dredge players usually employ the strategy of mulliganing to Bazaar of Baghdad. Even a very small number of starting cards can convert to a fast win if you start dredging with Bazaar right away.
Vintage Izzet by MOGGED
Izzet is one of the “fairest” decks on this list, with close resemblance to the Izzet Murktide deck of Modern and the Izzet Delver deck of Legacy (powered up with a few restricted cards, of course). But playing fair Magic doesn’t make it any less effective. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Murktide Regent, Expressive Iteration and a core of permission spells give this solid game against virtually everything. You can even use Blood Moon in the main deck or sideboard if that appeals to you.
7. Underworld Breach
Vintage Underworld Breach by TERRIBAD
Underworld Breach is a highly impressive archetype that can play as a normal midrange strategy while also having a one-turn-win combo built in with little effort. Brain Freeze serves as both combo enabler and win condition, and also makes Underworld Breach the perfect foil to the powerful Doomsday combo.
6. Paradoxical Outcome
Vintage Paradoxical Outcome by DRPRINGLES
Paradoxical Outcome is a combo deck that uses tons of cheap (free) artifact mana alongside card drawing spells and Paradoxical Outcome. A common pattern is that your first Outcome will pick up three Moxes, drawing three cards and restocking you with three untapped mana sources. Your second Outcome will pick up five artifacts, drawing five cards and actually netting mana. Your third Outcome will pick up seven or eight artifacts, and before you know it you’ve snowballed into drawing your whole deck, and winning the game becomes trivial.
5. Hogaak & Hollowvine
Vintage Hollowvine by TSUBASA_CAT
Hollowvine is a category of decks which are powered by Bazaar of Baghdad. Some are manaless, employing the same mulligan strategy as Dredge to find Bazaar in every opening hand. Some use Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis, while others are less focused on the graveyard. In any case, these decks dump a ton of power and toughness onto the battlefield, and are resilient to both permission and removal spells.
Vintage Midrange by AWEPP
Alongside Izzet, green midrange decks represent the other “fair” archetype that’s successful in Vintage right now. While it can come in the form of Bant, Temur, Sultai or four-color, you’ll almost always see midrange players trying to shut down opponents by attacking artifact mana with cards like Collector Ouphe, and attacking card drawing with cards like Leovold, Emissary of Trest and Narset, Parter of Veils.
Vintage Workshops by D00MWAKE
Workshops is an artifact-based strategy. What you give up in the blue power cards, you make up for with the insane mana generation of Mishra’s Workshop. These decks can take the form of creature beatdown strategies, or take a more prison-style approach to locking the opponent out of the game. In either case, you’ll see lots of disruptive elements including Trinisphere, Chalice of the Void, Sphere of Resistance and Thorn of Amethyst.
Vintage Doomsday by MAXMAGICER
Doomsday is the fastest and most unforgiving combo deck in Vintage. All you need is a Dark Ritual and a Doomsday, and you’re inches away from winning the game. An example Doomsday pile would feature Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, Thassa’s Oracle, Flusterstorm and Force of Will. That means a win condition, enough mana to cast it and two disruptive elements to make sure nothing goes wrong.
1. Esper & Grixis Tinker
Vintage Esper Tinker by ZACHATTACK23
Esper and Grixis Tinker are the types of decks people think about when they envision the Vintage format. I wouldn’t exactly call them “combo” decks, but they use all of the most broken fast mana and card drawing that MTG has to offer. Eventually you’ll find a decisive win by Tinkering for Bolas’s Citadel, Sphinx of the Steel Wind or Blightsteel Colossus, or by assembling the infinite-turns combo of Time Vault and Manifold Key.
An alternative take on this strategy is to use Hullbreacher, sometimes alongside “draw sevens,” as an additional way to punish opponents and pull ahead.