AuthorPhilip Stanton

Nicknamed the Vintage Supercomputer, Phil compiles results from major Vintage tournaments around the world, then uses the information to present an incredibly detailed analysis of the Vintage metagame.

The Right Threat

Since Magic is ultimately about dealing the twentieth point, every deck’s plan leads toward that. The variables here are how far into the game that will be, how many turns the damage will take, and how many sources will deliver it. Vintage’s abundant cardpool pushes decks toward the answers “soon, one, one”, but Fish is the winningest deck that says “eventually, several, several”. Since, unlike decks terminating in one-card blowouts, Fish uses its threats throughout its game plan, I’m focusing on it today. Whether you want to hate them or play them, it’s important to consider what’s winning.

May-June Type One Metagame Breakdown

You know the drill people. Pip steps up and compiles the numbers, and then teaches you things about the Vintage metagame you can only learn from his analysis, and you can only find his analysis here at StarCityGames.com.

April Type One Metagame Breakdown

Phil has the scoop on all the info you need to know to prepare for the war at Rochester, including the post-Trinisphere metagame shifts, the Vintage Pro Tour standings, and more analysis than you can shake a stick at!

Vintage Metagame Breakdown: March

The reason I wanted to wait an extra week or so on describing the March data was to find some continuity between Trinisphere and post-Trinisphere metagames. Fortunately, the connection isn’t “games are over on turn 1”. The connection is Mana Drain. Any look at the March tournaments begs the question of what will now disappear from the Vintage metagame, and what will be playable that wasn’t before.

U/W Landstill

Being the Vintage Supercomputer is a tough job, so every once in a while, Pip likes to kick back and actually sling some spells as part of his relaxation program. Last weekend at Chicago he did just that, putting up a surprisingly solid record with Landstill, the deck he’s discussing today.

The Color Wheel: Black

Many people think that the color of Yawgmoth’s Will needs little if any tweaking. I agree wholeheartedly. Black is the best understood color (despite that whole “can it be good, not evil?” issue), and it has had the most consistent abilities for ten years as a result. Black is a color with a little of everything, from good, reliable mechanics to good, reliable weaknesses. As a consequence of being so well mapped-out, Black teaches us a lot that can inform design and reformation of other colors’ abilities.

Good or Bad: Conditional Spells In Type One

Casting costs are relatively important in Type One, for more purposes than just evaluating how much mana you need to put in your deck (especially since cheating on casting costs is the primary goal of many if not most Type One strategies). Its actual import reveals itself through the usefulness of other cards: Powder Keg, Smother, Engineered Explosives, Pernicious Deed, as well as the classically sidelined counterspells, Prohibit and Spell Blast. Other cards ranging from Overload and Plaguebearer to Gorilla Shaman and Chalice of the Void also care very much about this aspect of a card. Today I’m going to break down a whole slew of numbers that will make you a better Vintage player for knowing them.

The Color Wheel: White

My mission today is to expand on my perception of White’s problems, and to use Shining Shoal as an example of a weak fix (hopefully pointing us toward ideas for better ones). In the process, you will discover why creatures are the worst card type in Magic, and hopefully achieve a state of enlightenment.

As Much Info As You Can Handle – The Jan-Feb Vintage Metagame Report

Whether or not you like B&R list debates in Type One, this last one was more like hammer to the forebrain than a regular old discussion. Since this debate was arguably at least as intense as November 2003, lots of people were flailing around looking for support for their contentions. Unlike that past incident, which happened before I started my articles, this time there was a concentrated supply of data besides morphling.de’s deck database. I got cited all over the place and learned a great deal about what sort of information you folks want and need to see. As a result, I’ve tried to overhaul my presentation to give you as much information as you can handle.

Functional Breakdown of Vintage Cards From Dec-Jan

Phil Stanton’s articles are almost impossible to explain in short blurbs, but they always include numbers, they are always about Vintage, and they always give you crucial information about some part of the Vintage metagame. This time Phil takes a look at the different compositions of card types in Vintage Top 8s, including how many land/mana sources each deck runs, the amount of countermagic and disruption seeing play, and how much potential most Vintage decks have to damage themselves. If I haven’t explained that this article is really really cool then I have failed, but don’t let that stop you from reading this article, as it should be an enormous boon to every Vintage deckbuilder that reads it.

Type One Oath Dissected

Oath is perhaps the only archetype in the format that has been revolutionized by Champions of Kamigawa, thanks to one card: Forbidden Orchard. Despite the short time since its introduction, many individuals on both sides of the Atlantic have tried to use a variety of different cards in the deck. I thought it would be useful to dissect the various levels of success found by different builds in the last couple of months. In comparing the twenty Oath builds that have made Top 8s in major Type One events since October, only twelve cards were in all twenty decks.

Oct-Nov Vintage Metagame Summary

Phil takes a look at the last two months of big Vintage tournament data and also breaks down the various points being made in the Mishra’s Workshop/Trinisphere banning debate. What does the data say about who’s right and who’s wrong here? You’ll have to click on the link to find out.

Examining the Vintage Metagame – Analysis of The Ultimate Table

For this installment, I have updated the largest table I maintain: the monthly occurrence stats for every card, in terms of how many copies showed up in an average Top 8 for each month. So if you see something like “7.0 Black Lotus” it means that in a typical Top 8 from that month, seven of the decks would include a Black Lotus. Something like “3.0 Great Wall” would indicate that I made an error in the table, which is possible – it’s a big table. Regardless, this article will give you a full analysis of all the card trends for the important cards played at big Vintage tournaments for the past year!