Hi all,

I don’t know that I have ever been more excited about a Magic-related announcement then at this time. Take a moment to read this piece of news, or get the long and short of it here:

  1. Qualify for the Holiday Festival Vintage Championship. Any player who places 4-0 in a Legacy Daily Event or 3-1 or 4-0 in a Vintage Daily Event earns an invitation to play in the tournament.
  2. Enter the tournament with a deck that has neither Power nor Bazaar of Baghdad. No, this isn’t actually part of the rule, but it is essential for our purposes.
  3. Place among the top three tournament entrants that have no Power or Bazaar of Baghdad in their decks. You do not have to place among the top 32 for the ultimate prize, but it is gravy if you do!
  4. Win a complete set of non-foil Vintage Masters!

Every piece of Power, every Vintage and Legacy dual, Force of Will, and more will be yours! Don’t get me wrong; you can win this thing in a traditional sense as well and be just as well off. The reason I’m excited, though, is that budget players can conceivably get in this thing and really win big. Let’s break it down piece by piece.

Step 1: Earning An Invitation

This part is really tricky. If you are drawn to the free power by playing no Power like I am, then you are probably playing on a budget. If you are playing on a budget, it is very difficult to get 4-0 in a Legacy event or a game win in Vintage. It can be done, though!

The cheapest Legacy decks that have gone 4-0 in recent months are Burn and Manaless Dredge. A player can easily build either deck for under 100 tickets. Recently, Burn lists have exploded in price because of how good Treasure Cruise is in the deck and format. While Burn players before Khans were able to do reasonably well with mono-red, players did so much better adding the required dual and fetch lands to draw into more gas. Nevertheless, here is a very streamlined and powerful build that Rich Shay used to 4-0 a Legacy Daily recently. I have taken out the Scalding Tarn playset and replaced it with the newly-reprinted Wooded Foothills to save $150.

The Atog Lord Burn (Legacy)

Land (20)
Wooded Foothills
Bloodstained Mire
14 Mountain

Creatures (11)
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Goblin Guide
Grim Lavamancer

Other Spells (29)
Chain Lightning
Lava Spike
Lightning Bolt
Price of Progress
Searing Blaze
Searing Blood
Rift Bolt
Sulfuric Vortex
Fireblast
Sideboard (15)
Price of Progress
Searing Blaze
Searing Blood
Dragon’s Claw
Grafdigger’s Cage
Smash to Smithereens

Eidolon of the Great Revel and Goblin Guide have offered less excitement in Modern and Legacy lately, so naturally their price is dropping down.

I imagine the Dragon’s Claw will be especially necessary in the sideboard between the 10th and 19th of December, as other players will be fighting for the holiday prize.

More recently, Manaless Dredge, at price points even as low as $50, has placed in Legacy events. User Ricopdx went 4-0 (the magic number!) on November 15 with the following:

Rico Dredge (Legacy)

Land (0)

Creatures (42)
Balustrade Spy
Ichorid
Nether Shadow
Golgari Grave-Troll
Stinkweed Imp
Golgari Thug
Shambling Shell
Phantasmagorian
Narcomoeba
Greater Mossdog
Flayer of the Hatebound
Street Wraith

Other Spells (18)
Cabal Therapy
Dread Return
Bridge from Below
Urza’s Bauble
Gitaxian Probe
Sideboard (13)
Ashen Rider
Surgical Extraction
Noxious Revival
Sickening Shoal

These Legacy Dredge players have frequently had the audacity to play less than 15 cards in their sideboard. I don’t know what metagame factors went into the decision to run 2 Sickening Shoal rather than 4, but it must have been optimal!

Both of these decks will have to be on our watch list when we are creating a sideboard for the Legacy environment of the qualifying dates.

Unfortunately, neither of these decks transfers very well into a good list in Vintage. No one has performed well in Vintage with Burn despite many attempts, and the Manaless Dredge list is simply begging for the Bazaar of Baghdad that would make our deck illegal.

On the other hand, maybe Dredge hate will be very light in the Holiday Festival because of this exclusion. That is something to ponder another day.

Until then, I have scoured Legacy and Vintage results pages looking for an archetype that meets these criteria:

  1. It must operate in both formats with minimal additional cards needed.
  2. It must function well on a budget.

The second goal is disputable, but I’m making it the goal because someone can easily build a functioning version of U/R Delver and the like for Vintage without Ancestral Recall and Time Walk. These decks would likely require Force of Will and Wasteland to compete in Vintage, and at that point, someone’s budget probably allows them to buy Power as well.

At the end of all this searching, I believe that the best list to receive an invite in the Legacy Dailies AND climb the charts in the Holiday Tournament will be Goblins. It is very unfortunate not to be able to run Wasteland and Rishadan Port, but again, if we fork out $800 for these, then the Power is very easy to acquire.

Even with this setback, the deck is not without a great amount of interactivity. Let’s look at some of the hate that Goblins offer against decks you’ll be sure to face using a build from TheManaDrain’s desolutionist, which he has used to hit 3-1 in Vintage events.

Desolutionist Goblins (Vintage)

Land (20)
Badlands
Bloodstained Mire
Cavern of Souls
Mountain
Strip Mine
Wooded Foothills

Creatures (26)
Goblin Lackey
Goblin Piledriver
Goblin Recruiter
Stingscourger
Gempalm Incinerator
Goblin Chieftain
Goblin Matron
Goblin Sharpshooter
Goblin Warchief
Goblin Ringleader
Krenko, Mob Boss
Earwig Squad

Other Spells (14)
Black Lotus
Chalice of the Void
Mox Jet
Mox Ruby
Grafdigger’s Cage
Mental Misstep
Sol Ring
Sideboard (15)
Grafdigger’s Cage
Crash
Ghost Quarter
Ingot Chewer
Pulverize
Pyrokinesis
Red Elemental Blast
Shattering Spree

Against Dredge, Mogg Fanatic kills Narcomoeba at inopportune times and exiles Bridge from Below from your opponent’s graveyard in the same activation, so I think I’d like to see him in the coming list. In the list above, though, you can opt not to pay an echo cost, ping your own guy with Goblin Sharpshooter, or cycle Gempalm Incinerator to kill one of your guys. The sideboard Ghost Quarter is perfectly acceptable when its target is Bazaar of Baghdad because your opponent will not have any basics.

Against other graveyard-based strategies, first we have maindeck copies of Grafdigger’s Cage, but also we have Stingscourger to return reanimated fatties to our opponent’s hand. They have to find a way to get them back into the graveyard and a reanimation spell. Stingscourger also makes Show And Tell awkward.

Against many combo decks, Earwig Squad removes the essential pieces, whether they are Tinker targets, Tendrils of Agony, big creatures to bring out with Oath of Druids, or Time Vault.

Against Aggro, Delver, and Midrange, the deck is able to gain so much incremental advantage that it’s hard to stop the aggressive pressure. Goblin Ringleader and Krenko, Mob Boss are very difficult for these decks to beat.

Young Pyromancer has nothing on a good Goblin Sharpshooter, especially if the latter has haste.

So here are my ports of desolutionist’s deck into budget Vintage to try and 3-1 the qualifying dailies and into Legacy to (don’t throw things at me) 4-0.

Vintage Goblins

Lands (20)
Badlands
Bloodstained Mire
Cavern of Souls
Mountain
Strip mine
Wooded Foothills

Creatures (32)
Goblin Lackey
Goblin Piledriver
Goblin Warchief
Goblin Ringleader
Goblin Matron
Mogg Fanatic
Earwig Squad
Gempalm Incinerator
Skirk Prospector
Goblin Sharpshooter
Krenko, Mob Boss

Other Spells (8)
Chalice of the Void
Grafdigger’s Cage
Mana Crypt
Sideboard (15)
Crash
Grafdigger’s Cage
Ingot Chewer
Pyrokinesis
Red Elemental Blast
Stingscourger
Smash to Smithereens

Legacy Goblins AKA If Manaless Dredge Can Do It...

Land (20)
Bloodstained Mire
Cavern of Souls
Mountain
Plateau
Wooded Foothills

Creatures (31)
Goblin Lackey
Goblin Warchief
Goblin Piledriver
Goblin Ringleader
Goblin Matron
Gempalm Incinerator
Skirk Prospector
Mogg Fanatic
Stingscourger
Siege-Gang Commander
Krenko, Mob Boss
Tuktuk Scrapper
Goblin Sharpshooter

Other Spells (9)
Tarfire
Aether Vial
Grafdigger’s Cage
Sideboard (15)
Grafdigger’s Cage
Mogg Fanatic
Path to Exile
Stingscourger
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Tuktuk Scrapper
Warmth
Wear/Tear

So there you have it. Here is your equipment to go and fight for power. What 3 brews do you believe will win complete sets of VMA? I think it’s Goblins, and I encourage you to try.

Either way, good luck, have fun.

-drinkard

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