Some people have asked for a way to follow the Vintage Super League without watching all the matches every week. These match recaps are for them.
Efro vs Chris
Chris showed everyone why people play Mishra’s Workshop decks in game 1: turn 1 Chalice for zero plus Sphere of Resistance, turn 3 Lodestone Golem, turn 4 Lodestone Golem. Eric didn’t actually get to cast a spell until game 2, but his first turn of game 2 saw him cast some good ones: Black Lotus, Sol Ring, Jace the Mind Sculptor, and Mox Sapphire all came to play.
Chris and Eric both kept awkward 6-card hands in game 3. Chris got to lead with a Chalice for 0 (stranding one Mox), and he had a bunch of mana (including a Wasteland for Eric’s only land: a Library of Alexandria), but he never found a threat. Eric had no land for quite a few turns, but he fended off some lock pieces with Force of Will and eventually found a Divining Top and started to build a board. Chris’s deck failed to deliver up any of his 8 man lands, or any of his 9 creatures until Eric had Jace and a grip full of cards.
The win moves Eric to 4-1 and drops Chris to 3-2.
LSV vs Josh
Josh was thought to be a favorite with his innovative Pyromancer’s Ascension brew against LSV’s Grixis Control. Game 1 was fairly even for a while with both players dealing with each other’s stuff until they didn’t have any stuff left. Josh won the top-deck war by drawing Yawgmoth’s Will, which brought back an Ascension and proceeded to win the game on the spot.
Game 2 was kind of crazy: Josh had an Ascension turned on, but didn’t have enough card drawing to go off and win. He did have several Force of Wills though, so he was able to stop Luis from Tinkering out a Voltaic Key to go with his Time Vault. Luis then set up an end-step Snapcaster, threatening to give flashback to a Fact or Fiction, with a second Snapcaster in hand ready to give flashback to the Tinker. Josh stopped the first Snapcaster with Pyroblast, and then had to burn a Manamorphose just to draw two cards in an effort to find a blue card to go with his last Force of Will … which he did. Josh then seemed on the verge of victory with Young Pyromancer tokens, but Luis top-decked a Yawgmoth’s Will and extracted enough value to eventually hard-cast a Blightsteel Colossus and force a game 3.
Game 3 was even crazier. Both players kept 7 card hands with no mana sources other than one Black Lotus each. Luis used a Force of Will to stop Josh’s turn 1 Young Pyromancer and then used another Force of Will on a Mental Misstep which Josh was using to try to stop Luis’s plan for finding land: a Sensei’s Divining Top. When the dust settled from turn one Luis had no cards in hand other than an awful Blightsteel Colossus, but he was able to start drawing 2 cards per turn with the Voltaic Key – Divining Top combo and promptly drew a Demonic Tutor to go get an better combo with Voltaic Key: Time Vault.
Luis moves to 4-1 with the win, while Josh drops to 1-4.
Rich vs Steve
The longtime Vintage rivals played quite a good match. In game 1 Rich was able to set up the truly absurd combination of Notion Thief plus Dack Fayden (you target your opponent with Dack’s +1 ability and the Notion Thief means you draw the 2 cards, but they still have to discard 2). The game quickly became a blowout when Steve couldn’t bust up the combo. Game 2 became a blow-out in the other direction after Steve was able to use Force of Will and Flusterstorm to defend a Misdirection on Rich’s Ancestral Recall.
Game 3 went long when Steve drew a lot of permission, but no creatures. Steve’s Delver deck sometimes struggles to win the long ones, but he was able to fend off all of Rich’s efforts to win and eventually start attacking with a Snapcaster Mage. Control Snapcaster got there and Steve ran his record all the way up to 5-0. Rich is now 2-3.
Randy vs Tom
Tom won the die roll in a match-up (Storm versus Dredge) that was always going to be a race. Randy mulliganned down to 4 cards, but actually had 7 mana and a Griselbrand on turn 1. However, by the time Tom got done flashing back multiple copies of Cabal Therapy on turn 2, Randy was drawing dead before his 2nd turn. On the play in game 2, Randy was able to Vampiric Tutor as a response to Unmask and set up a turn 2 Yawgmoth’s Bargain. Drawing 15 cards was good enough to set up a lethal Tendrils of Agony, as it almost always is.
Game 3 Randy once again had to take two mulligans. His hand was decent, and had a chance to deliver the first turn 1 kill in league play, but Tom had Mental Misstep in his own (6 card) hand and used it to counter the initial Dark Ritual, forcing Randy to say go and hope to live long enough to cast his Demonic Tutor and/or Burning Wish on turn 2. He never got a turn 2 as Tom’s Bazaar drew about as well as it is capable of drawing: Fatesticher untapped it once, Dread Return put Sun Titan and a second Bazaar into play, and then a second Dread Return put the Sun Titan into play a second time (after Tom sacced it to a Cabal Therapy). That 4th Bazaar activation of turn 2 finally found the Flame-Kin Zealot that allowed fully 30 Bridge From Below zombies to gain haste and attack for approximately 412 damage.
Both players are now 2-3.
Bob vs Dave
Game 1 was truly bizarre. Dave’s maindeck Grafdigger’s Cage prevented Bob from activating Kuldotha Forgemaster, but Bob was able to instead use his Metalworker mana to play a Chalice of the Void on 6 (!), locking out Dave’s main victory condition: Consecrated Sphinx. Dave tried to beat down with Trinket Mages, but once Bob got a second Metalworker the two 1/2’s were able to threaten a double-block and hold off the 2/2 (more combat math was involved in this game than we have seen in the previous 4 weeks of league play combined). Dave went through all 4 copies of Jace the Mind Sculptor, but Bob kept killing them. Down to just 2 life, though, Bob chose to leave a Lodestone on defense rather than attack the last Jace and be forced to chump block with his last Metalworker (when Back to Basics meant his ability to cast spells hinged on being able to tap that Metalworker for mana). Dave went into “fateseal” mode with that last Jace and was able to build up enough loyalty to activate Jace’s ultimate, and Bob couldn’t find any way to stop him from winning that way.
Dave had a Force of Will and a Steel Sabotage at the beginning of game 2, but Bob just kept pumping out threats with his Workshop until Dave ran out of counterspells. Bob sequenced it so that Lodestone Golem was the third threat (the first to resolve) and it served double duty as both a lock piece and an attacker. When Steel Hellkite showed up as a 4th threat, the players were quickly off to game 3.
Game 3 showed off the power of Dave’s sideboard. Bob had a turn 1 Lodestone Golem, but Dave’s turn 1 Sol Ring (on the play) allowed him to play both Energy Flux and Back to Basics, the combination of which made it impossible for Bob to keep his Golem around long enough to attack 4 times. Or to attack with anything else. Ever. The win raises Dave’s record to 2-3, while the loss drops Bob to 0-5.