Recent Vintage Tech

Looking for a cutting edge deck to play? In this article I canvass the Vintage tournament scene and present four decks that I think represent the best Vintage tech from the last month or so. Whether you are a Vintage newbie or an expert, you should take a peek.

Looking for a cutting edge deck to play? In this article I canvass the Vintage tournament scene and present four decks that I think represent the best Vintage tech from the last month or so. Whether you are a Vintage newbie or an expert, you should take a peek at this article.

Dutch Oath

To put it mildly, this is the hottest Oath variant to come out of Vintage in some time.

Ask Charlie why he loves his angels so much.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Oath of Druids combo, the premise is simple: Oath of Druids is triggered by the use of your own Forbidden Orchard to cause you to reveal cards from your library until you put Akroma and Razia directly into play, dealing 18 damage to your opponent over the span of two turns.

This deck is brilliantly conceived in the same vein as the list that Mat Endress used to make Top 4 at the Vintage Championship in August. The concept behind his Oath is Chalice of the Void, plus a full contingent of Wastelands, and most importantly, a mana base that can support Choke! I faced Mat in the swiss and was brutalized. I was playing Gifts and had no idea what the heck he was playing until it was too late.

This Dutch Oath is even nastier in some ways. Let’s not beat around the bush: Null Rod is one of the strongest cards in the format. It is back breaking. Imagine Stax opens a hand with Mishra’s Workshop, Mox, Mox, and Sol Ring. You drop Rod on them before they get a turn, Wasteland the Workshop and the game is yours.

If you need further evidence, this Oath list won a 177 player tournament in the Netherlands. The third place list was almost identical.

Like the Endress list, this list eschews Mana Drains in favor of Mana Leak. Given the mana denial focus, that makes some sense. I may well try adding another Null Rod into the maindeck just to further increase the odds that you see it. Like Endress list, he has access to four Duress.

In case it wasn’t clear, Razia has permanently replaced Spirit of the Night as the second Oath creature of choice. Blazing Archon is a nice touch in the board as well. See, Ravnica is slowly making its way into this format. I think the sideboard Woodripper is horrible though. Woodripper is pretty terrible against Stax. If you need to use the Woodrippers ability, you have one in two or one in three chance of actually Oathing it up when you need it and your probably best off just killing them with Razia or Akroma. Rather than win games, it seems to me that Woodripper can just as easily cost games by giving your opponent additional turns to play bombs.

Muddle of the Mixture looks a little clunky, but it does find both Null Rod and Oath of Druids, as well as Time Walk. And it is counterspell 11-12 for this deck.

Meandeck Fish, Redux

Earlier in the year, teammate Ashok Chitturi invented what was called Vial or Chalice Vish, which used Chalice of the Void instead of Null Rod to support the efficient and counterspell resistant Aether Vial.

Teammate Rian Litchard piloted what should become a permanent evolutionary leap in Fish decks at the most recent StarCityGames Rochester to 10th place, missing Top 8 on tiebreakers:

Extensive testing by my team and R&D employees Randy Buehler and Mike Turian confirms that this deck is one of the best decks in the format. In fact, it was Mike Turian deck of choice at the Seattle Vintage Championship this past weekend. You’ll have to ask to find out how he did.

This deck combines both Null Rod and Chalice of the Void – the first Fish deck I’ve seen do that. This is also the first deck I’ve seen play Savannah Lion’s and Isamaru in the same deck, but the real key is the Meddling Mage, True Believer, and Stormscape Apprentice.

It doesn’t take much to convince me that these cards are good. True Believer is a format bender – a card which makes Gifts Ungiven unresolvable. It makes Tendrils of Agony a dead card as well. Stormscape Apprentice cleans up the other side of most Vintage decks by repeatedly tapping Darksteel Colossus down while Savannah Lion beats in.

Long a staple in Fish decks, my teammate has finally taken the important step of leaving behind Standstill, instead running the more powerful Brainstorm.

The plan for playing this deck changes in each matchup. In general, the mana disruption is more important than the beaters. Resolving Chalice and Null Rod is your number one priority. Against Gifts and Tendrils combo, resolving True Believer should be a priority as well. Meddling Mage should come down and name a card you suspect your opponent has or a card which would seriously wreck you. For instance, naming Tinker or Yawgmoth’s Will if you think either card will wreck you can’t be terrible. Against Stax, naming Smokestack or Crucible of Worlds is a solid play.

The sideboard is also quite well developed. Kataki seems like there may just be too much anti-artifact technology, but this format is artifact centric. Pithing Needle is amazing against Uba Stax and Control Slaver and Seal of Cleansing is amazing against both Stax and Oath of Druids.

Like Dutch Oath, this deck is hot. I fully expect to see more of this deck in some major tournament results in the near future.

Confidant Tendrils

I will never look at Flava Flav in the same light.

Okay, so this deck is more just cute than hot tech, but Koen Van Der Hulst made third place at a recent Dutch Castricum tournament with this deck. This deck has a lot of the same components as many of the major Mana Drain decks. The primary reason I write about this deck is to emphasize just how solid Dark Confidant is. You can throw it in almost any major Vintage deck and the results won’t be that bad. Confident is not just a solid source of repeatable card advantage, but it has very nice synergy with Sensei’s Divining Top and is clock himself. After a few beats with Dark Confidant, it shouldn’t be too difficult to play a Tendrils preceded by a few spells to finish the job.

One more list before we go.

To remind you, Control Slaver is built upon the synergy between Goblin Welder, Thirst for Knowledge and recurring Mindslaver. This deck doesn’t have a single game plan, but one of the more powerful game plans is Mindslaver recursion with Welders. This deck, more so than other Control Slavers of the past, is focused on finding and resolving Yawgmoth’s Will. As a result, this deck is faster and more powerful than previous Slaver incarnations. Gifts Ungiven and Imperial Seal help put Yawgmoth’s Will in focus.

I think this is one of the finest decks in Vintage and the best version of Control Slaver. Brian Demars made 3rd place at the Rochester Power Nine tournament with this creation and it is probably stronger than the deck that Ugo Rivard used to win Rochester. Burning Wish is a fantastic addition that helps the deck replay Yawgmoth’s Will and provides a solid suite of versatile answers as well as a Tendrils to Wish for to finish the job immediately after a busted Yawgmoth’s Will.

Imperial Seal is another solid addition to this deck, giving the deck not only another way to find Yawgmoth’s Will, but another tool to Gifts for. In addition, Brian has properly assessed the power of Gorilla Shaman in the format as it stands. Shaman eats Chalices, opposing Moxen, and is an annoying weapon in combination with Goblin Welder.


These lists represent some of the hottest Vintage tech and definitely reflect cutting edge technology you may not have seen. Don’t be surprised if you see these decks in future top 8s. As with anything in Vintage, expertise counts for a lot. But I encourage you to play around with these decks. Vintage is alluring because the card pool is totally unique. To have the most fun with these decks, I suggest you plug them into Magic Workstation (you can download them from this website), go online and play some games, and see what you think. Vintage is a great format with a constantly changing metagame. Even if you aren’t a big Vintage player, learning these decks will flex your magical muscles and enhance your technical skills. Good luck and remember to have fun!

Stephen Menendian