Serious Vintage Episode 8: January B&R Update, Non-Blue Aggro-Control, Team Serious Open, and Cocktails

In Episode 8 of the #SeriousVintage podcast we invite Jake Hilty (@TuringTested) to join us and talk a little about non-blue aggro-control in Vintage. Jake is an aggro aficionado, and recently wrote an article for Mana Deprived on the transfer of Jund to Legacy, along with the banning of Bloodbraid Elf in Modern. Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser) and I (@GrandpaBelcher) will be tossing out questions about non-blue dudesweats. We’ll also talk about the January Banned and Restricted List update, the upcoming Team Serious Open, and cocktails!

Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment.
00:28 – January B&R Update: Much Ado About Nothing
05:55 – Happy Vintage Aggro Control (No Blues Allowed)
41:13 – Prepping for the TSO in Sandusky, Ohio
47:47 – Seriously Drinking a Lot of Cocktails
52:18 – Outro
Total runtime: 57:35

Banned & Restricted – No News Is Good News

The January Banned and Restricted List update came and went, and, as is the course with Vintage recently, nothing happened. No cards on; no cards off.

All in all this is a positive sign for Vintage. Wizards of the Coast is unperturbed by the current state of the format and saw no reason to restrict or unrestrict anything. We tend to agree with that; Vintage is healthy. Many decks are viable currently: Workshops and blue decks are well balanced; Dredge is a beatable threat; Landstill is playable as a pure control deck; RUG Delver and several aggro-control lists represent; and Burning Oath Long has brought combo back into the light. No matter what kind of decks you enjoy playing, the Vintage world is your oyster.

We also talked a little about the frequent calls for restriction of Workshop staples, usually Lodestone Golem or Chalice of the Void. These two cards together limit the options of opposing decks, increasing the cost of non-artifacts, locking out artifact mana that would help pay for other spells, and putting opponents on a four-turn clock. The best ways out of this are Force of Will or one-drop removal for Lodestone such as Lightning Bolt and Swords to Plowshares, assuming, of course, that MUD doesn’t bury you under more lock pieces. It’s a frightening prospect, no doubt.

However, this really just seems to put Workshops on the same level as blue decks. Perhaps, rather than clamoring for restriction, blue decks should start having multiple maindeck anti-artifact cards rather than the one-of tutorable answer. It’s long been accepted practice to play multiple maindeck anti-blue cards, and recent additions like Flusterstorm and Mental Misstep are no help against Workshops. Vintage has a large cardpool, so there are multiple ways to deal with imminent threats, even on turn one and before.

Also, for anyone arguing for a return to the zero-proxy standard, realize that restricting Chalice of the Void also removes that from the arsenals of non-Workshop decks. If you’re looking forward to budget aggro-control decks being played in a Sanctioned Vintage metagame, it’s almost imperative that those decks have access to Chalice to level the playing field against powered blue and Workshops.
Just something to think about.

Non-Blue Aggro-Control

Jake, known as “garbageaggro” on Internet forums, has a penchant for putting together decks that ignore Vintage’s favorite color. His strategies are well thought out and have earned him several top-eight spots in the Ohio Vintage circuit, most recently on December 1, 2012, using this list:

RGW Aggro-Control, by Jake Hilty

Business (36)
Swords to Plowshares
Lightning Bolt
Stony Silence
Grafdigger’s Cage
Pithing Needle
Phyrexian Revoker
Qasali Pridemage
Torch Fiend
Porcelain Legionnaire
Goblin Welder
Gorilla Shaman
Simian Spirit Guide

Mana Sources (24)
Strip Mine
Black Lotus
Mox Pearl
Mox Ruby
Arid Mesa
Wooded Foothills
Windswept Heath
Sideboard (15)
Lightning Bolt
Rest in Peace
Porcelain Legionnaire
Serra Avenger
Ancient Grudge
Red Elemental Blast
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

The references we make in the podcast are to this list, though Jake does talk a little about what all the colors have to offer and what some of the better cards in each color are.

Like most metagamed aggro-control lists, this one plans on shutting down its opponents’ routes to victory with targeted hate cards: Swords, Bolts, and Legionnaires against creatures; Pridemage, Torch Fiend, Welder, and Mox Monkey against artifacts; and Needle, Revoker, and Cage against blue’s Mind Sculptors, Time Vaults, and Yawgmoth’s Wills. The deck limits the unfair options available to other Vintage decks, buying enough time for its 21 creatures (including Spirit Guides) to finish things off.

Serious Cocktails

Vintage Magic: the Gathering often calls for Vintage beverages as well. Here are three Vintage cocktails to get you started.

Tom Collins
Ice cubes
2 oz. dry gin
2 oz. lemon juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup
Soda water
Slice of lemon
1 cherry

Place ample ice in tall Collins or high-ball glass. Add gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Top with soda water and stir well. Serve with lemon slice, cherry and a straw.

(Whiskey) Old Fashioned
1 lump sugar
1 dash seltzer water
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 piece lemon peel
2 oz. whiskey
Ice cubes

Gently muddle sugar, lemon peel, and bitters in an old fashioned/rocks glass. Add whiskey and ice; top with seltzer. Stir gently and serve with the spoon. Alternatively, you can use simple syrup in the place of sugar and water.

Dark and Stormy
Cubed or crushed ice to fill about 3/4 of the glass
3 oz. dark rum (Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, for example)
7-8 oz. ginger beer
Fresh lime wedge

Add the ingredients in order to a Collins or high-ball glass, give it a stir, and enjoy.

If you have other favorite drinks, let us hear about them on Twitter or in the comments. It’s important.

Special Notice

For listeners and readers in the Ohio area, there are Vintage tournaments coming up where you can hang out and game with the Serious Vintage crew. We mentioned the February 9 event in Sandusky and what we expect to appear there in this episode. Who knows? If you’re there, maybe you’ll even end up on the show!
Team Serious Open February 9 (Saturday) – Sandusky (Ohio, USA)
Team Serious Open March 17 (Sunday) – Columbus (Ohio, USA)