Vintage Format Unleashed: A Guide to the Best Cards from Vintage Masters MTG

July 18, 2023 · Usair Arshad
Courtesy of:

Friends and planeswalkers! Vintage is Magic's craziest format where the most busted cards ever printed are legal to play. We're talking power levels off the charts and 30 years of broken combos just waiting to go nuts!


In Vintage, your card pool is virtually every Magic card in history, minus the banned/restricted list. It's a free-for-all where fast mana like the Power Nine and insane tutors enable turn 1 kills and ridiculous plays.


Today I'll guide you through some of the most influential and unfair cards only legal in Vintage. We'll see why Ancestral Recall and Black Lotus have dominated since the beginning, and how newer additions like Force of Will shape Vintage deckbuilding.


Strap in, because we're planeswalking to Magic's wild west where no card is off-limits! This ain't your Standard format, that's for sure. Let's jump into the Power Nine and see what makes Vintage completely vintage!


Understanding Vintage Format

Courtesy of: 

Gather round, planeswalkers! Today we're cruising through the wacky world of Vintage, Magic's anything-goes format. So leave your banned lists at the door, because things are about to get wild!


First up - the rules. Unlike Standard or Modern, Vintage says screw restrictions! The only banned cards are conspiracy and ante cards that literally don't function. Aside from a short list of 1-ofs, your entire pool is basically 30 years' worth of Magic!


Now let's chat power. Vintage has some of the most busted cards ever printed! We're talking Power Nine fast mana insanity like Black Lotus and Ancestral Recall. Even "weaker" powerhouses like Force of Will and Monastery Mentor will smash face. Raw power is king!


But don't think Vintage is just a turn 1 combo-fest. Thanks to diverse threats like Monk tokens and Jace, plus lock pieces like Grafdigger's Cage, there are tons of strategies and counterplay. Combo, control, tempo - you name it, Vintage has a deck for it!


So come on down to Vintage, where we're playing with the power turned up to 11! Don't forget your Moxen and Time Walks, because things are gonna get vintage here! The only rule? No rules! Well, except for like 10 banned cards. But past that - go nuts! Go vintage nuts on custom playmats made for the insane power level. Turn it up to 11 in style!


Power Nine

Alright, let's dive into the infamous Power Nine - the most busted cards ever printed in Magic!


First off, what makes the Power Nine so powerful in Vintage is they let you accelerate your mana and draw cards at lightning speed. That kind of fast mana and card advantage is just not fair! To keep them from completely breaking the format, Vintage restricts each of the Power Nine to only one copy per deck. But even that hasn't stopped the Power Nine from warping Vintage around them for decades, vintage masters mtg.


Let's break down each of these vintage gems:


Ancestral Recall

Courtesy of: 


This single blue mana spell is simply outrageous. Drawing 3 new cards for only 1 mana is efficiency Magic has never seen since. No wonder they call it Ancestral BUSTED Recall! Card advantage is king in Vintage and Ancestral puts you way ahead right from the start. It's the backbone of many Vintage combos, fueling your hand to keep going off. Restricted to only 1 copy per deck and it's still perhaps the most powerful card draw spell ever printed!


Black Lotus

Courtesy of: 


The granddaddy of fast mana, Black Lotus is arguably the most iconic and powerful Magic card ever printed. Adding 3 mana of any one color for absolutely no cost is just bonkers. It lets you ramp out quickly and start casting your really degenerate plays way ahead of the curve. Turn 1 kills happen thanks to Black Lotus! No other card accelerates you faster, which is why after 30 years Black Lotus still blooms powerfully in Vintage.


Mox Emerald

Courtesy of: 


The Moxen serves as "fake" extra Black Lotus, providing fast mana bursts for free just like the OG. While not AS powerful as Lotus, being able to run 5 Moxen gives your deck way more explosive starts. Mox Emerald specifically taps for extra green mana, accelerating you into fatties and combos. It may be "fake" but make no mistake, Moxen fuel Vintage decks to broken heights.


Time Walk

Courtesy of: 


Taking an extra turn for only 1 blue mana is just bonkers value. Time Walk serves as both fast mana (Sort of giving you 2x mana next turn) and extra combat steps to attack faster. Combo decks use Time Walk to go off without disruption, chaining extra turns to victory. Strong on its own, Time Walk gets even better when you can recur it or take more turns. More turns = more wins in Vintage! Sleeve your extra turn power in stunning custom designs. Win more turns in style!



Courtesy of: 


This unique card resets the board state while refueling everyone's hand, all for 2 mana! Timetwister is great for combo decks to recover cards lost or disrupted. Now you can rebuild your hand to go off again next turn. It may benefit opponents too, but you planned for it and you'll be faster off the redraw. Timetwister time travels back to a point where you can start coming anew.


Mox Sapphire

Courtesy of: 


Mox Sapphire produces blue mana for free, accelerating you into game-winning spells and combos. Having 5 "fake" Lotus cards in Vintage offers insane fast mana potential. Mox Sapphire in particular gives early access to counterspells like Force of Will or card draws like Ancestral Recall. Turn 1 kills happen thanks to the Moxen and Mox Sapphire is one of the most powerful zero-cost artifacts ever printed.



Mox Jet

Courtesy of:


As part of the Mox cycle, Mox Jet adds one black mana for no cost. The fast mana bursts allow you to quickly cast necrotic spells or tutor up silver bullets. Moxen enables the most broken Vintage starts, and Mox Jet itself powers out early Necropotence, Demonic Tutor, or Dark Ritual into something degenerate. Free mana is busted in Vintage and Mox Jet provides that in spades.



Mox Pearl

Courtesy of: 


This iconic Mox produces one white mana for free, allowing you to accelerate out game-winning spells and combos ahead of schedule. Mox Pearl in particular gives fast access to removal, lock pieces, or synergistic enchantments. The Moxen as a whole enables the most degenerate openings in Vintage, and Mox Pearl is no exception. Turn 1 smashing with free Mox mana!


Mox Ruby

Courtesy of: 


Mox Ruby produces one red mana for no cost, allowing explosive starts with early access to red spells. This Mox accelerates out fast damage, rituals, and synergistic enchantments in the first 1-2 turns. Mox Ruby specifically enables turn 1 kills thanks to providing mana for cards like Channel, Fireball, or Blood Moon into an attack.


While not as strong as Black Lotus, Mox Ruby is part of a cycle of "fake" Lotuses that provide similar fast mana potential. And in a format like Vintage with numerous powerhouse red spells, the acceleration from Mox Ruby is downright busted. It's one of the most powerful zero-cost mana artifacts printed in Magic's history. Store the fake lotus power safely in worthy deck boxes. Keep the acceleration protected!


Supporting Cast


The Power Nine might get all the hype, but there's a whole supporting cast of cards that enable the broken Vintage plays too!


Let's look at some of the key unsung heroes that fill important roles in Vintage decks:


Swords to Plowshares

Courtesy of: 


With 1 mana instant speed removal so important in Vintage for answering fast threats, Swords to Plowshares fills that role perfectly. Exiling any creature for just a single mana at instant speed allows you to break up your opponent's combos or remove blockers on the spot before they can go off. Sure, you give them life, but removing their creature now is crucial. Swords is a top-tier removal spell that every Vintage deck packs some number of.


Mental Misstep

Courtesy of: 


Since so many busted Vintage plays rely on landing a 1 mana spell or effect on turn 1, Mental Misstep is the perfect answer. As a 0 mana counterspell, Misstep battles opposing fast mana, tutors, and draw spells, buying you a crucial extra turn to pop off. Many decks want to go off quickly, so free interaction like Misstep is key. It's among the most important countermagic in Vintage for policing crazy turn 1 plays.


Grafdigger's Cage

Courtesy of: 


By shutting down tutors and graveyard recursion, Grafdigger's Cage is a star sideboard card in Vintage. Decks relying on Tinker, Yawgmoth's Will, or Dredge get completely hosed when Cage hits the battlefield. Since it's colorless and just 1 mana, Cage is easy to bring in as grave hate and tutor hoser against the field. It stops returnable value engines dead in their tracks. Display your hosers prominently on custom tabletops. Halt engines in style!


Monastery Mentor

Courtesy of: 


With all the cheap draw, filtering, and free spells in Vintage, Monastery Mentor quickly snowballs an army of monk tokens. Mentor builds an overwhelming board presence starting as early as turn 2 or 3. Your cantrips and one mana spell turn into scaling threats. And the deck manipulation provides prowess triggers to buff your army. Mentor is a huge threat left unchecked. Mouse over opponents with monumental token armies on custom mousepads. Overwhelm in style!



Courtesy of: 


On its surface, Gush simply draws 2 cards for 1 mana. But when combined with the ability to bounce lands back to your hand and replay them, it provides incredible card advantage engines in Vintage. You can recast the lands Gush bounced to net 2 fresh cards for almost no tempo loss! This allows fast, repeatable draw to dig through your deck and combo off. Plus you can reuse ETB effects from lands. Gush is a key card advantage cantrip that fits perfectly in the powerful Vintage card pool.


While they aren't as flashy as the Power Nine, cards like these enable Vintage strategies to thrive. They fill in gaps and take on niche duties that every deck needs. So don't sleep on the supporting cast - they make Vintage go round too!


Final Thoughts

Whew, we covered some truly outrageous cards today, didn't we friends? From the almighty Power Nine to niche supporting pieces, Vintage is home to Magic's most ridiculous spells!


Let's recap the totally busted cards we explored!


The Power Nine - Ancestral Recall, Black Lotus, Moxen, Time Walk, and Timetwister. These cards warp Vintage with fast mana and raw power!


Force of Will and Mental Misstep keep turn 1 plays in check. Grafdigger's Cage hoses graveyards. Wasteland and Strip Mine battle crazy lands. Monastery Mentor overwhelms with tokens. And Gush draws cards like a fire hose!


With nearly 30 years of spells to choose from, Vintage lets you combine the most broken interactions into machine gun combos. We're talking turn 1 kills and unstoppable card advantage engines!


Just make sure you bling out your deck with pimped-out accessories from Your Playmat! We've got all the sweet custom playmats, sleeves, and deck boxes to flex your Vintage swag in style. Because the only thing more vintage than the format itself is pimping your deck to the max!


So if you want to experience Magic: The Gathering pushed to its absolute limits, come hang out in Vintage, baby! The power level and speed here are unrivaled. Just be prepared for some seriously degenerate plays happening at lightning pace! Ain't no banned list holding this format back. We're playing with power, vintage style!