Vintage Masters drafts began last week with a flurry of questions. What would the market do with Power Nine? Would the format take off immediately, or would people need time to acquire their cards? Would it even be popular in the first place, card availability aside?
Well, it’s still early, but things seem to be shaping up pretty well. As of this writing, the price on Moxen is ranging between about 55-70 tickets, with Ancestral Recall and Time Walk going for around 70 each. Timetwister, the black sheep of the Big Blue family, is pulling up the rear as expected in the neighborhood of 20 tickets. All these cards were readily available from both human sellers and the major bot chains during the opening weekend, with the bot chains often being a bit cheaper if you were willing to comb through them to find any in stock. This isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s not nearly as bad as some predicted, and these prices are within the range of what I think a majority of Legacy and Classic players are willing and able to pay. Black Lotus appeared to be settling in at about 130 on Saturday, but by Sunday night I was hearing from fellow MTGO Academy writer enderfall that there was a price spike occurring on Lotus. We’ll have to see whether that trend continues. These cards are highly sought after, but the fact that every Vintage player only needs one copy should ensure that a reasonable number of people are able to acquire a Lotus, unless there is an attempt to hoard them.
Despite the early prices being perhaps a bit inflated, it appears that many Vintage enthusiasts were waiting and ready to take the plunge. Vintage 2-man queues were firing with about the regularity of Legacy 2-mans, and the Tournament Practice Room had at least a few Vintage matches going all weekend. There were Power Nine everywhere, and even a few diehards with what looked like full sets of FOIL Power. A few of the names looked familiar from Classic PREs over the past year, but some did not, and I suspect a few paper Vintage players may have joined the MTGO family just for this. If so, this is the kind of player surge we were hoping for, and may help Vintage reach the momentum it will need to survive the v4 transition this summer.
The pack value on VMA has remained above retail, which may make the EV math on constructed queues better than expected for the short term.
As for myself, I was able to pick up the three on-color Moxes for my Bant Fish deck, as well as Time Walk and Ancestral Recall. I should have the Lotus by the next article, but I knew you guys would want to see Vintage constructed play this week, so I converted my deck to Vintage minus the Lotus for right now.
With a land swapped in for the Lotus, here’s the decklist I played, which is basically what I proposed back in Eternal Warrior #22 for Vintage Noble Fish:
Vintage Noble Fish by RexDart
Fish decks have to be very conscious of the metagame, and this one may be biased by the nature of the Classic metagame. For example, Storm Combo was not popular at all in a Mox-less world, but should be a major pillar of the format in online Vintage. I also didn’t have to worry too much about other blue aggro-control players, as Classic PREs generally only included a few Fish pilots each event. Aggro-control is a popular playing style in Legacy, and I suspect that Legacy converts to Vintage may flock to some variation of that deck.
Apart from adding the Lotus, there are some alterations I need to consider at this point. First, I want to try replacing one copy of Swords to Plowshares with Mystical Tutor, for some added flexibility. Second, if other creature decks remain popular, I should consider additional removal in the sideboard, likely Dismember.
Finally, I need to consider whether Tarmogoyf is going to remain in the deck. I’m aware that it’s not a popular option in Vintage, though not totally absent from the format either. It is the cheapest and quickest way to pressure an opposing deck. Though it doesn’t directly disrupt the opponent, it does give them less time to win than a 2-power bear would in its place. It’s also one of the only non-blue threats in the deck, which makes a difference when facing down a grip full of Pyroblasts as I was in this week’s videos. In any kind of creature mirror, I am generally glad to have the biggest dude in town on my side of the field. But at the same time, it gets boarded out quite a bit, and perhaps the conventional wisdom is conventional for a reason in Goyf’s case. If you have any thoughts about this, I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!
I hope you enjoyed taking this early look at online Vintage play. I have several decks I want to play in the future, so if you’re tired of Fish, don’t worry, we’ll have more variety in the coming weeks. If you don’t have a Vintage collection yourself, but like watching Vintage video content, I’d particularly like to hear your suggestions for decks you’d enjoy seeing me play for this column.
See you next time!