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Eternal Weekend 2020 - Vintage Highlights

November 09, 2020
Justin Gennari

As iconic as Magic: The Gathering itself, Black Lotus is a card you are more likely to see in a display case rather than on the battlefield.

Black Lotus

Each year hundreds of players around the world defy that expectation by bringing the most powerful cards in Magic's history to the Vintage Championships at Eternal Weekend. In North America, Europe, and Asia these players forged powerful artifacts in Mishra's Workshop, bartered with necromancers in the Bazaar of Baghdad, and tapped into the best cards of the past with Ancestral Recall. Competitors battle for the coveted title of Vintage Champion, beautiful original artwork, and their place in Magic's history.

For 2020, Eternal Weekend was moved to Magic Online and three events took place in one action-packed weekend. Granting entrants access to nearly every card, Magic Online ensured there were no barriers for competitors to build the deck of their dreams. Players who may never come across a Black Lotus in real life could cast them for the first time, setting Eternal Weekend 2020 up to be the one of the largest and most competitive weekends of Vintage events to ever occur.

Of course, there's more to Vintage than simply casting the most powerful spells available. Understanding how the three Vintage Championships played out begins with looking at what we knew about the format going into the weekend.

Vintage Metagame

With so many powerful cards available, how can the Vintage format be balanced? Magic's historic and powerful cards appeared as both powerful threats and powerful answers. Over the past five months, the Vintage community has compiled results from more than 18,000 premier-level Magic Online matches. The data shows a story of balance and harmony, and no single archetype has a dominating win rate or metagame share.

Archetype % of Meta Match Win Percentage
Shops 13.2% 48.4%
Bazaar 15.4% 52.4%
Xerox 18.1% 50.7%
Combo 23.6% 51.2%
Deathrite Shaman 15.3% 51.9%
Oath 3.9% 49.8%
Other Blue 5.4% 44.5%
Eldrazi 1.0% 45.1%
Other 4.3% 38.4%

Sub-archetype % of Meta Match Win Percentage
Ravager 3.9% 50.2%
Prison 8.2% 47.7%
Dredge 4.7% 52.9%
HogaakVine 6.9% 53.1%
HollowVine 3.6% 50.5%
Xerox Control 10.6% 50.5%
Xerox Combo 6.3% 52.3%
Xerox Aggro 1.3% 48.7%
Sultai Midrange 8.7% 52.4%
Paradoxical Outcome 12.1% 49.7%
Ritual 9.5% 53.0%

With the largest card pool to access and endless options available for deck customization, the Vintage community categorizes decks into familiar archetypes.

Mishra's Workshop Trinisphere Bazaar of Baghdad Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

"Shops" refers to decks that use Mishra's Workshop to power out artifacts faster than normal. These decks employ either an aggressive or a "prison" style game plan. Bazaar strategies use the Arabian Nights land Bazaar of Baghdad to turn their graveyard into a resource. These strategies vary between Dredge, Hogaak, and free spell variants.

Preordain Ancestral Recall Ponder Gitaxian Probe Treasure Cruise Dig Through Time

Xerox decks, an old school Magic term for cutting lands and playing cheap draw spells instead, cover all the blue-based decks that rely on Preordain and restricted blue spells to gain card advantage. These decks are flexible and can fulfill aggro, control, or combo game plans based on deck configuration and color choices.

Paradoxical Outcome Doomsday Dark Petition

The Combo archetype contains a variety of dangerous one turn kill combo decks including Paradoxical Outcome, and the Dark Ritual decks with Doomsday and Dark Petition Storm.

Deathrite Shaman

The final major archetype are the Deathrite Shaman decks. This card, banned in Legacy, can facilitate fair decks that attack the opponent's mana base.

These archetypes exist in relative balance where the various strategies keep each other in check. A Xerox deck may be able to shut down a Combo or Deathrite Shaman deck but it will struggle when up against a deck using Bazaar of Baghdad. The Bazaar deck might be powerful against Xerox but it struggles when confronted by the Wastelands in Shops and Deathrite Shaman decks. As such, these extremely powerful decks coexist in a cyclical metagame where the best deck can change week to week based on which deck was successful over the previous weekend. Going into Eternal Weekend 2020 the community expected to see large numbers of players gravitate towards these powerful archetypes, but no one knew who which one would come out on top.

Tolarian Academy Championship

256 players registered for the first Vintage Championship of Eternal Weekend 2020, making it the largest online Vintage event ever. Nine rounds of Vintage resulted in a diverse Top 8. A playoffs containing blue Xerox, Mishra's Workshop, and Deathrite Shamans made for an interesting finale.

A peek at the Top 8 decklists finds a unique take on Grixis by MartinMedMitten. Martin's deck featured the new Zendikar Rising card Sea Gate Stormcaller, surrounded by the format's most powerful spells. Even the newest Magic cards make a splash in its oldest format.

On video there's a trio of intricate blue versus blue matchups where I was competing in the Tolarian Academy Championship, but fought an uphill battle against Grand Prix Bologna 2019 Champion Marc 'baby' Vogt. Check out the complete match to see how pivotal sideboard cards can reshape a matchup.

In the semifinals, Vintage regular and NYSE Open VI Top 8 competitor Amir 'Amiracle' Akhundzadeh took on Gernardi. Both players brought Dreadhorde Arcanist Xerox decks but with different supporting colors. It's a technical matchup worth seeing for yourself.

The tournament concluded with 'burrarun' attempting to go blow for blow with Akhundzadeh. Faced with what many would consider an unfavorable matchup, 'Burrarun' managed to vanquish their opponent to become the first Vintage Champion of Eternal Weekend 2020.

Place Player Archetype
1 burrarun Sultai Midrange
2 Amiracle Jeskai Xerox
3 Worldgorger974 Doomsday
4 Gernardi Temur Xerox
5 MartinMedMitten Grixis Xerox
6 Cherryxman Doomsday
7 umeck Golos Shops
8 idraftTheBeatz Sultai Midrange
Top 16 Decklists

Round 5: Baby (Jeskai Xerox) vs. IamActuallyLvL1 (Esper Paradoxical Outcome)

Semifinals: Gernardi (Temur Xerox) vs Amiracle (Jeskai Xerox)

Finals: burrarun (Sultai Midrange) vs Amiracle (Jeskai Xerox)

Library of Alexandria Championship

Not to be outdone by its predecessor, the Library of Alexandria Vintage Championship broke the newly set Magic Online Vintage event attendance record. 391 players began a 10-round trek through the Vintage metagame. Bazaar of Baghdad was suspiciously missing from the Tolarian Academy Top 8 but not here, as two distinct Bazaar decks made Top 8. Looking at the Top 8 we can see a few familiar names, including Kevin Cron. This tournament was Cron's fourth Eternal Weekend Top 8 having done so in 2003, 2004, 2012, and now 2020. It's difficult to have such continued success over such a long span. Congratulations to Kevin Cron!

Round 8 brought us an incredible match between Temur Xerox and Paradoxical Outcome where two of the eventual Top 8 competitors battled all the way down to the last second. If you want to see Mystic Remora fighting a Wrenn & Six emblem look no further!

The quarterfinal match featured what might be the most off-metagame deck to Top 8 an Eternal Weekend in recent memory. Streamer Ryan 'WingedHussar' Waligora brought a unique take on the Bazaar variant called HollowVine. This deck does away with the Vengevines and instead plans on recurring Krovikan Horror and Squee, Goblin Nabob while using Reaper King and The Ur-Dragon to play free spells like Force of Vigor, Force of Will, and Contagion.

Krovikan Horror Squee, Goblin Nabob Reaper King The Ur-Dragon Force of Vigor Force of Will Contagion

In the finals Micheal 'Wizard_2002' Bearmon's Dredge deck faced some stiff competition in the hands of Pro Tour competitor Immanuel 'Gerschi' Gerschenson's Doomsday deck. Doomsday has emerged as a top tier archetype in Vintage after the printing of Thassa's Oracle in Theros Beyond Death. This power boost wouldn't be enough to defeat Bearmon and Bazaar of Baghdad as he became the second Vintage Champion of the weekend!

Place Player Archetype
1 Wizard_2002 Dredge
2 Gerschi Doomsday
3 KevinCron Jeskai Xerox
4 Tezzeret01 Jeskai Xerox
5 stonepeanut Golos Shops
6 IamActuallyLvL1 Esper Paradoxical Outcome
7 WingedHussar HorrorOne
8 0inksterthepig Temur Xerox
Top 16 Decklists

Round 8: 0inkersterthepig (Temur Xerox) vs IamActuallyLvL1 (Esper Paradoxical Outcome)

Quarterfinals: WingedHussar (HorrorOne) vs Wizard_2002 (Dredge)

Finals: Gerschi (Doomsday) vs Wizard_2002 (Dredge)

Library of Alexandria Champion

  • Name: Micheal Bearmon
  • Age: 30
  • Occupation: Behavior Therapist, also licensed as a special education teacher
  • Hometown: Minnesota, USA

Why/how did you choose the deck you played?

I was on Sultai Midrange up until about an hour before the event. It seemed like that deck had a huge target on its back though, especially since it won the previous EW for Academy. I also didn't feel confident playing it in a 10-round event. I had reps in with Dredge, and my goal was to Top 8 the event, so I played the deck with what I think is the most powerful game plan if it's not disrupted. I noticed also that graveyard hate seemed low, and Dredge is best when that's the case.

What's your favorite card in the deck?

Ichorid. I love the old frame, and I started playing around Odyssey (though no tournaments until Onslaught or so).

What does winning Eternal Weekend mean to you?

It's hard to put into words. It doesn't feel real. I never really made a run at the Pro Tour because they didn't have Eternal format PTQs, and I was primarily a Legacy player growing up. I've found Vintage to be more fun than Legacy right now though, so I've been spending a lot more time with it.

I think the gameplay is really varied and you have matches that you can't have in any other format. I kind of feel like this is the culmination of who I am as a player right now—like I've been steadily getting better, but wasn't good enough to Top 8 a big event. Then I Top 8'd some Challenges and one of the Magic Online PTQs, but I wasn't good enough to win them. It feels great to finally break through.

Mishra's Workshop Championship

[Editor's Note: The following statement was provided by Wizards of the Coast staff regarding the results of the Mishra's Workshop Championship.]

"After the conclusion of Swiss and Top 8 play, user ecobaronen was disqualified without prizes from the Mishra's Workshop Championship.

In Round 10 ecobaronen agreed to a prize split with his opponent ZioFrancone. Per Magic Online tournament policy, prize splits may only be negotiated in the last round of play. Offering a prize split prior to the final round of an event is considered bribery. Players may neither offer nor accept booster packs, rewards, or any other objects in exchange for modifying the outcome of a game or match.

The coverage below and prizes distributed for the event reflect this disqualification."

Attendance records were smashed for a third consecutive time as 427 competitors joined the Mishra's Workshop Championship. By the start of this event both a blue deck and a Bazaar deck had claimed a Vintage Championship. Would the Mishra's Workshop Championship be claimed by a Shops deck?

With a card pool as large as Vintage there is plenty of room to innovate. In Round 2, Eternal community staple James 'CBL_James' Hsu, piloting Sultai Midrange, received a surprise when he was paired versus 'snuffyo_ephemerocate' on Elves! Take a look to see if a rogue strategy took down one of one of the most-played decks in Vintage.

Vintage Champion Brian 'Bosh N Roll' Coval was one of the most familiar names to make it to the Top 8. Coval is no stranger to Vintage Eternal Weekend Top 8s, as the Mishra's Workshop Championship marks his fourth in three years! In the quarterfinals Coval faced off against mattb on Dredge and deployed all the tools his deck provides to stem a zombie tide.

Coval moved on to face Legacy Death & Taxes Expert David 'StaticGripped' Lance in the semifinals. Unfortunately for Coval his Planeswalkers would just become a pitstop for David's robot army.

Lance would vanquish the former Vintage Champion and claim a title for himself, securing first in the Mishra's Workshop Championship with his Mishra's Workshop deck. This match marked the third crowning of a new Vintage Champion and a fitting end to the weekend.

Place Player Archetype
1 StaticGripped Ravager Shops
2 Bosh N Roll Temur Xerox
3 Magni_93 Jeskai Xerox
4 Antartica Golos Shops
5 Dan9IN HogaakVine
6 Aylett Four-Color Control
7 mattb Dredge
Top 16 Decklists

Round 2: snuffyo_ephemerocate (Elves) vs CBL_James (Sultai Midrange)

Quarterfinals: mattb (Dredge) vs Bosh N Roll (Temur Xerox)

Semifinals: Bosh N Roll (Temur Xerox) vs StaticGripped (Ravager Shops)

Mishra's Workshop Champion

David Lance, Mishra's Workshop Champion

  • Name: David Lance
  • Age: 24
  • Occupation: Software Developer
  • Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Why/how did you choose the deck you played?

Cyrus Corman-Gill suggested it and he is a smart guy so I ran with it, and I'm a Legacy Death and Taxes player so it came rather naturally.

What's your favorite card in the deck?

Fleetwheel Cruiser "Beep Beep"

Fleetwheel Cruiser

What does winning Eternal Weekend mean to you?

After making Top 16 in four previous Eternal Weekend events it's absolutely fantastic to get some validation. It was also a huge positive to make up for it being the day I was supposed to be getting married before it got pushed back. Shout out to my fiancé Rachel, the Nerdbirds, and Team Serious!

Eternal Weekend 2020 Vintage Metagame

Over the course of the weekend the Vintage community was able to publicly source the data for both the Tolarian Academy and the Mishra's Workshop Championships. These two events combined over 650 players and more than 2,250 matches to give us one of the most comprehensive weekends of Vintage data.

Archetype Count % of Meta % Win Rate
Shops 97 14.5% 50.2%
Bazaar 78 11.6% 54.1%
Xerox 126 18.8% 53.0%
Combo 142 21.2% 48.4%
Deathrite Shaman 135 20.1% 50.8%
Oath 13 1.9% 53.8%
Other Blue 32 4.8% 42.2%
Eldrazi 1 0.1% 28.6%
Other 47 7.0% 41.1%
Total 671 100.0%  

(Win rates include mirror matches.)

Sub-archetype Count % of Meta % Win Rate
Ravager 26 3.9% 55.1%
Prison 71 10.6% 48.4%
Dredge 19 2.8% 59.3%
HogaakVine 37 5.5% 52.9%
HollowVine 22 3.3% 51.0%
Big Blue 13 1.9% 42.2%
Standstill 9 1.3% 43.9%
Xerox Control 95 14.2% 53.3%
Xerox Combo 26 3.9% 50.0%
Xerox Aggro 5 0.7% 61.9%
Sultai Midrange 96 14.3% 51.1%
Four-Color Control 39 5.8% 49.8%
Paradoxical Outcome 91 13.6% 47.7%
Combo Oath 7 1.0% 51.9%
Control Oath 6 0.9% 56.4%
Dark Petition Storm 9 1.3% 37.3%
Doomsday 41 6.1% 52.8%
Total 612 91.2%  

(Win rates include mirror matches.)

We saw an extremely similar breakdown to the 18,000 matches from before Eternal Weekend. A diverse metagame spearheaded by Sultai Midrange, Xerox, Paradoxical Outcome, and Golos Shops (Prison). For archetypes and sub-archetypes with a large enough count we saw normal win rates below 54%. From a data-driven perspective it would be hard to draw any conclusion other than positivity about the health of the format.

Xerox and Bazaar decks had the best showing at Eternal Weekend 2020, putting up solid numbers versus a field with many combo and Deathrite Shaman players. Among the Bazaar variants, HogaakVine saw the most play but the best choice for the weekend came in the form of classic Dredge. Not only did it take home a title it also put up a solid win rate among its few pilots.

Looking Back

Eternal Weekend Online 2020 can be described as nothing other than a success. In the face of a global pandemic we were still able to come together in huge numbers to crown three new Vintage Champions. Congratulations again to burrarun, Wizard_2002, and Static_Gripped. Attendance was through the roof, and the engagement of new players was something to be cherished.

I want to personally thank the Vintage Magic community for supporting both the event and stream. I streamed Vintage for 26.5 of the 48 available hours in the weekend and I couldn't be happier. At one point the largest Magic stream on Twitch was one featuring Vintage!

Special thanks to Julian Knab, Annurag Das, Eric Vergo, and all the casters and the production crew without whom we would not have such amazing video coverage. Shoutout to the Vintage Streaming Community who helped do public data sourcing for this weekend and stayed up late to get as much data as possible.

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