A New Moon for Vintage

There are few Magic related things that make me happier than getting a chance to play some IRL, paper Vintage. In fact, the entire reason I got back into MTG a decade ago was to relive the glory of my young teenage years by casting sweet old cards like Moxes and Time Walk.

When you listen to the radio do you prefer Oldies or Classic Walk?

My Old Deck Felt Tired

While my enthusiasm at the opportunity to sleeve up my old cards and battle was sky high, the actual result was perfectly medium. I finished with a middling 2-2 record with a controlling Sultai Oath deck I brewed up the night before that featured the full 5 strip land effects.

Idea for a sick Strip Mine alter. Valentine’s Day candy heart that says: Be Strip Mine.

The best decision I made was to play the maximum 5 Waste effects. The mistake was that the other 55 cards were not as great…

I am constantly drawn to the power of Oath of Druids but frequently regret sleeving up the deck and taking it to a tournament. I can’t really complain too much because I didn’t get a chance to do much actual playtesting and I know my deck wasn’t nearly as refined as it could have been.

Today’s article will not be about my exciting journey to the center of the pack with Oath of Druids, but rather about a very exciting deck that one of my friends ended up doing well with at the event.

New Cards Making a Big Impact

Kevin Cron has been a Vintage mainstay for well over a decade and has had a great deal of success in the format over the years. In addition to being a great player and deck builder, he’s also a wonderful human being and a good friend. In fact, he texted me last Friday and let me know about the Vintage event that I otherwise wouldn’t have attended.

We went back and forth about the format a little bit in the days before the tournament and I asked for some feedback about what deck I should play because I hadn’t played in a while. He offered to share his latest list with me and texted it over:

Esper Tamiyo

Kevin Cron

I thought the deck looked cool, but when I actually started to try and assemble it, some of the cards were really puzzling to me and so I decided to just play something familiar.

The nail in the coffin was that the list had:

  • “1x Tamiyo”

I couldn’t be completely sure which Tamiyo was supposed to be in the deck and so I decided to just shelve it.

Looking back I wish I had played Kevin’s list. Not just for the results-oriented reason that my deck didn’t perform, but because his deck A) looked good and B) looked like an absolute blast to play.

The most exciting thing about Kevin’s deck is that it featured a lot of new cards from Eldritch Moon that look like they will be players in Vintage moving forward.

Easily the best Bant planeswalker ever printed.

It turns out that Tamiyo, Field Researcher was the Tamiyo in question. After watching some of Kevin’s games, I was extremely impressed with the card and how it performed.

He plays a split on Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Tamiyo, but in every situation I saw him draw and cast Tamiyo it was light years better than Jace would have been.

As you all know, creatures have really gotten a big push in the past few years and even Vintage is feeling the impact of these printings. With the exception of a few combo decks like Oath and Storm, the majority of the decks in the format utilize some degree of aggro-control.

Another thing I noticed was that the bodies tended to be small in many of the games I played and watched. Tamiyo +1 up to 5 loyalty isn’t exactly easy to get off the board in one attack in Vintage. In 1 game, he had a Spell Queller and his opponent had a Snapcaster Mage, and the Tamiyo essentially allowed him to draw an extra card per turn and kept the Snapcaster Mage from ever attacking.

I’m not saying Tamiyo is the new Jace, the Mind Sculptor, but in a deck with a lot of creatures, I think the card is going to be a great option.

This Queller Feller is the real deal.

I’ve been mulling around how badly I want to play Spell Queller in Vintage for a while, so it was nice to see the card actually perform in person.

Honestly, I was blown away by how good the card was and it appeared to be one of the best cards in the deck. The ability to take a spell away from an opponent and pressure their life total was pretty absurd.

Kevin also described his deck as “a Moat deck” and Spell Queller being able to fly over a friendly Moat has obvious synergy here. It is also worth noting that Spell Queller exiles spells rather than counters them and so they are ideal for protecting hate cards like Containment Priest or Grafdigger’s Cage from Abrupt Decays.

The best way I can describe why Spell Queller is good is that it is always going to be a 2-for-1. It’s a conditional counterspell that comes with a very relevant 2/3 flying body. It is great in pretty much every matchup because it interacts with the stack against combo decks like Storm or Oath, and interacts with the board in creature and tempo mirrors.

Hi! I’m Silumgur, everybody’s favorite Vintage Pokemon!

I joke about Silumgar, the Drifting Death, but it and Deathrite Shaman are pretty wonderful ways to win a game from behind a Moat. I got a chance to ask Kevin about Silumgar and he said it was the best Moat-friendly finisher he could find that also had utility against a wide array of decks. It blocks well against Workshop and Eldrazi because of the high toughness. The -1/-1 ability is also devastating against token decks that are trying to go wide.

I’m very excited to see the new spells from Eldritch Moon making an impact in Vintage right off the bat! I’m 100% going to be attending the Vintage Championship at Eternal Weekend in Columbus and am interested to see how that format will shake out in the coming month. Obviously, there’s still Conspiracy: Take the Crown on the horizon, but all things considered, I enjoyed playing the format and look forward to having more opportunities. I may have to start bringing my Vintage deck to Grand Prix in order to hit up side events!


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