Week 9 Recaps

Hello and Welcome! Click the links above to read about VSL, the schedule, and the standings. Click here if you want decklists. If you want to watch the video archives you can click here. Meanwhile, if you just want to hear about this week’s matches then read on.


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.


Week 9 was the final week of the regular season yet somehow not a single player had been eliminated from playoff contention yet, and there were realistic scenarios in play that could result in 6, 7, or even 8-way ties (triggering a whole bunch of tiebreaker matches).

Efro v LSV

Luis drew terribly, following up his mulligans with draw phases that provided no business whatsoever. In game 1 Eric Tinkered for the other half of Time Vault / Voltaic Key and in game 2 he Tinkered for Inkwell Leviathan, but it could have been almost anything versus the meager resistance LSV was able to put up.

The win clinched a post-season berth for Eric, and killed the dream of an 8-way tie, but a 7-way tie was still alive and that’s what the crowd switched to rooting for.

Randy v Chris

Randy kept a somewhat risky draw with one Island and a Ponder, and whiffed on land when he cast Ponder, but Chris’s draw was just land and permission so Randy had time to finally draw his second land on turn 4. It was a Cavern of Souls, and that negated all the Force of Wills that Chris had been accumulating. To the surprise of both players and the commentators, Randy wound up winning thanks to a steady stream of uncounterable lords.

The shoe was on the other foot in game 2 as Randy seemed to be winning the whole way, but he only had one lord as his clock and that gave Chris enough time to top-deck the single best card in the matchup: the one copy of Moat that had started the match in his sideboard. Randy conceded immediately upon seeing it on the stack.

In game 3 Randy drew another Cavern of Souls (which stranded several counters in Chris’s hand as Randy played out creatures) and used Strip Mine to deprive Chris of the white mana he needed for his removal (which couldn’t have dealt with True-Name Nemesis anyway). The game looked close early, but quickly became a blowout.

Randy’s win left both he and Chris with 4-5 records, and kept alive the dream of a 7-way tie for 4th through last at that record.

Tom v Steve

Game 1 was really interesting: Steve had a Misdirection which forced Tom to Misstep his own Ancestral Recall, and then Steve was able to use his Ancestral to bait out a Pyroblast and force through a Time Spiral. The Spiral allowed Steve to hard-cast an Inkwell Leviathan, but Tom actually managed to out race it with a Delver and a Young Pyromancer!

In game 2 Steve was able to cast both Preordian and Ancestral Recall on his first turn, setting up a Turn 2 Tinker with Force of Will back-up. Tom couldn’t race that one.

Tom was faced with a tricky judgment call on his first turn on game 3. He had 2 Moxes and a Null Rod (along with Lightning Bolt, Gush, Ponder, and one fetch land). He Pondered into his choice of Thoughtseize or Young Pyromancer. Tom could jam the Null Rod and turn off many of Steve’s most broken draws (plus his own Moxes), or he could run out a Thoughtseize and hope it does the same thing, but he decided to lead with Young Pyromancer. Well it turned out that Steve’s draw was pretty busted: Black Lotus and Lotus Petal let him resolve both Tinker (for Inkwell Leviathan) and Ancestral Recall on his first turn. Tom put up a game fight, and actually had a line that might have been able to race if things worked out perfectly, but Steve used Vampiric Tutor to go get a Time Walk and that was that.

The win tied Steve for 1st and triggered a tiebreaker match for the #1 seed. The loss by Tom dropped him into the massive tie at 4-5 and kept alive the 7-way tie scenario.

Bob v Rich

Dark Confidant was the hero of this match as Bob used his own invitational card for both card advantage and a body to attack with. He pulled steadily ahead in game 1 with this strategy (helped by a Fire that killed both an unflipped Delver and also a Young Pyromancer … before then getting Snapcastered back to kill another Pyromancer). It worked so well in game 1 that Bob pretty much just ran it back again to also win game 2 on the back of … well … Bob.

Both players found themselves at 4-5 after this match and it all came down to the final game of the season. With 44 matches done, all 10 players were still live for playoffs heading into match 45. If Josh could win we’d have a 7-way tie. If David could win he would be the 4th player in a clean cut to the Top 4.

Josh v David

Josh kept a 1-land draw with an Ancestral in game 1, but David had the Mental Misstep he needed to stop it. Josh never did find a second land while David used Mystical Tutor to get a Force of Will and then top-decked a crucial 2nd Misstep to defend the Time Vault and the Voltaic Key that he had drawn naturally.

David never drew gas in game 2, but Josh had a grip full of permission pretty much the whole game anyway. David attacked for about 10 turns with a Goblin Welder while Josh strung together 3 copies of Dig Through Time to pull farther and farther ahead, eventually winning with a Young Pyromancer.

Of COURSE it all came down to the final game of the final match of the season!

Dave’s draw had fast mana and a Mystical Tutor, which he used to get a Tinker for Inkwell Leviathan for turn 2. Dave also had a Force of Will and a Misdirection, which Josh had seen with a Gitaxian Probe so he knew not to cast his Ancestral Recall until he got David to Force a Young Pyromancer.

Josh’s only chance was to somehow outrace Inkwell with Young Pyromancer tokens and Time Walk. He set about digging for those pieces with two Gushes, a Brainstorm, and two copies of Dig Through Time. His position looked hopeless when he began this process, but he came shockingly close to pulling it off. His real problem was that he pretty much whiffed on his first Dig through Time. He did manage to find the Time Walk, and a Yawgmoth’s Will, and a Fastbond, but without a Young Pyromancer in play at the beginning of the process, he was never able to mount a meaningful offense and eventually ran out of steam.

So the dreams of massive tiebreaker brackets died and the Top 4 cut wound up being clean, with David and Eric tied for 3rd at 5-4 and Eric and Luis tied for 2nd at 6-3. meanwhile, with that loss (plus the wins by Bob and Randy), Josh wound up alone in last at 3-6.

Next week Luis and Steve will play a tiebreaker match to see who gets the #1 seed (and the bye into the finals) plus Eric and David will play best 2 out of 3 matches to see who advances to the semi’s.

Week 8 Recaps

Hello and Welcome! Click the links above to read about VSL, the schedule, and the standings. Click here if you want decklists. If you want to watch the video archives you can click here. Meanwhile, if you just want to hear about this week’s matches then read on.


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.


With three weeks to go in the regular season I started looking at who had clinched the playoffs and who had been eliminated. I discovered that it was still possible for someone with a 4-5 record to make the playoffs because if exactly the right 15 results happened, there would be an 8-way tie for 3rd through last. Well, 10 of those games have now happened and the 8-way tie scenario is still live!

Chris v Bob

The maximum possible 9 Bobs came to play in match #1 (4 Dark Confidants each plus Bob Maher himself). Bob had a great draw in game 1 and Chris struggled to figure out what to take with Thoughtseize and what to point his Mental Misstep at with the choices including Ancestral Recall, Snapcaster Mage, and the Sensei’s Divining Top / Voltaic Key combo. Chris took the Recall and countered the Top, but the Snapcastered Ancestral resolved and found Bob a Tinker to go get the Time Vault – an even better combo with that Voltaic Key.

Chris seemed to have game 2 under control, having disrupted Bob’s hand and knocked Bob down to 3 with a pair of Spirits of the Labyrinth. However,  Bob top-decked a Trinket Mage on the last possible turn to go get a Voltaic Key to go with the Time Vault that had been rotting in his hand up until that point in the game.

Rich v Luis

Luis was able to Force Rich’s Young Pyromancer and use Gush to get back to 7 cards so he could start drawing cards with Library of Alexandria, but Rich was able to resolve a Treasure Cruise for one mana on turn 3. The Cruise gave him another Pyromancer plus an Ancestral and Rich had so much card drawing that he used Force of Will on Luis’s Black Lotus. The play was good enough that Luis actually Forced back and then used the Lotus to put out 2 Pyromancers of his own. Rich had a Bolt for one, resolved his Ancestral, and then pointed Pyroblast at Luis’s Dig Through Time. A second Cruise made sure nothing could go wrong and Rich won going away.

Luis was able to stick an early Pyromancer in game 2 and then show off the broken power of his version of the deck with Fastbond and Gush creating 6 1/1’s and enough counters to stop every spell Rich drew before he was dead.

Game 3 started much slower, with several turns of “draw, go” before both players pushed through Young Pyromancers. Rich was the one holding Lightning Bolt so his was the one that generated a bunch of tokens. Treasure Cruise also looked great once again, though it was helped by all the land Luis drew in the mid-game.

Tom v Josh

Game 1 was positively insane as the players dueled for control of the game across many, many turns. Josh eventually dealt with all Tom’s threats and accumulated a grip full of counters, but he was down to just one victory condition left in his deck: a lone Young Pyromancer. It turned out to be the 4th card from the bottom of his deck and Josh had just enough time to make just enough tokens to win the game before his deck ran out of cards.

Game 2 swung on a very subtle mistake on the very first turn: Josh tapped his Library of Alexandria during his main phase and then played out a Mox Jet. If he had said “go” before tapping the Library for a card he would have still been able to activate Library after he cast Force of Will to stop a Young Pyromancer. When Tom then followed up with a Thoughtseize the next turn Josh was never able to get back on the Library plan and Tom was able to start resolving Treasure Cruises. Notion Thief delivered the fatal blow when Tom resolved it as a response to a Gush.

Josh was again punished for the way he played turn 1 in game 3 when he slow rolled a Black Lotus only to have his hand ripped apart by Cabal Therapy and Thoughtseize. Tom then resolved a Young Pyromancer and seemed to have the game, but Josh top-decked Demonic Tutor to go get Yawgmoth’s Will to cast approximately one million copies of Gush (thanks to his Fastbond). He eventually found a Young Pyromancer and was so far ahead that he was able to win despite a fairly brutal mis-click.

Randy v Steve

Steve was feeling good about having already clinched a spot in the Top 4 based on earlier results, and he was feeling even better when he was able to Tinker out an Inkwell Leviathan on turn one through Randy’s Force of Will. Randy’s turn 2 Null Rod was suddenly irrelevant and he did not have the perfect draw that was required to race the 7/11 trampling islandwalker.

Randy used Mindbreak Trap to stop Steve’s turn 1 Time Walk in game 2, buying himself the time to drop a Null Rod and turn off not just Steve’s artifact mana, but also his Vault-Key combo. In game 3 Steve mulliganned fairly aggressively and wound up starting with just three cards. Randy had kept a draw with Black Lotus and no other blue mana, but he did draw an Island on turn 2 and things were pretty easy from there.

Dave v Eric

Eric dubbed his version of the Angel/Steel City Vault deck “Sin City Vault” and declared that this round would decide once and for all which was the best city. Dave resolved a turn 1 Ancestral (Forcing Eric’s Misdirection), and was able to use the extra cards to set-up a turn 2 Yawgmoth’s Will that found both Time Vault and Voltaic Key (with a little help from Transmute Artifact). That’s a turn 2 kill.

Dave tried to do even better in game 2 as he had 4 mana on turn 1 along with both Time Vault and the Key, but Eric stopped the turn 1 kill attempt with a Force of Will. After both players resolved an Ancestral Recall Eric put a Memory Jar into play but had to pass the turn to Dave, who played a Timetwister and found the Tinker he needed to get his Time Vault again. Eric cracked his Jar to look for a Force of Will, and found one, but so did Dave. Apparently LA is the best city.


Week 7 Recaps

Hello and Welcome! Click the links above to read about VSL, the schedule, and the standings. Click here if you want decklists and to watch the video archives you can click here. Meanwhile, if you just want to hear about this week’s matches then read on.


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.


Week 7 marked the third time players got to submit new decks for league play, but more importantly it was the first new set of decks since Khans of Tarkir was published on Magic Online. There was much speculation about Treasure Cruise, Dig Through Time, and even Jeskai Ascendancy and the week 7 matches did not disappoint as players who played Khans of Tarkir cards in their match went 4-0, while players who did not went just 1-5.

Eric v Rich

Rich finally moved away from his trusty Control Slaver deck, opting instead for a ride on a boat full of gold. His game 1 Treasure Cruise delivered up both a counterspell to stop Eric from playing the Time vault / Voltaic Key and also a Time Walk to provide the extra turn his Delver needed to be lethal.

Eric resolved an Ancestral Recall early in game 2, but Rich drew his own Ancestral and followed it up with a Treasure Cruise. That wave of card advantage gave him the ability to Force of Will Eric’s next three spells, though he only needed to stop 2 of them to win the game.

Chris v Luis

Chris brought a saucy home brew to play this week while Luis went back to a Young Pyromancer Gush/Bond list similar to the one he ran in weeks 1-3, but spiced up with 3 copies of Dig Through Time. Chris seemed to be riding a pair of Dark Confidants to victory in game 1, but Luis was able to force through a Fire // Ice to kill them. It required playing a Mana Crypt and a Yawgmoth’s Will to get it back from the graveyard so it seemed like it might be a pyrric victory since Luis only had 5 life left. However, Chris saw an opportunity to knock Luis down to just one land (a Library) by blowing up all his artifacts with Engineered Explosives and he went for it. What Chris didn’t know is that there isn’t a single card in Luis’s main deck that could remove that Mana Crypt from play, so he was almost certainly going to lose 2 coin flips before he could take control of the game and kill Chris. In practice, however, Luis had a Bolt for Chris’s third Confidant and a Force of Will for his Vendilion Clique and suddenly Luis had an active Library, starting Digging Through Time, and came all the way back to win the game 10-ish turns later.

Luis was once again studying at the Library of Alexandria in game 2. Chris had Vendilion Clique with Karakas, but Luis was able to ignore that while building his own board with a Young Pyromancer and a Jace. Chris never drew anything meaningful after his opening while Luis was drawing 3 cards per turn so the game got out of control fairly quickly.

Randy v Josh

Randy went back to Merfolk (but with Treasure Cruise) for this set while Josh played his first non-combo deck of the season: a Pyromancer / Gush list with 3 copies of Dig Through Time. It’s pretty interesting that he and Luis did not work together this time, but they wound up with very similar decklists.

The coin flip was huge in game 1. Josh won it and was able to play a turn 1 Young Pyromancer off a Mox. When he then top-decked a Time Walk on turn 2 things got very ugly, very quickly. In game 2 Randy missed an opportunity to Cursecatcher a Merchant Scroll and the resulting Ancestral Recall pulled him a bit too far ahead. The Cursecatcher did later nail a Dig Through Time, but only because Josh let it so he could clear a path for Yawgmoth’s Will (rebuying the Ancestral).

Bob v Steve

Week 6 saw Steve’s first loss and Bob’s first win, but with 10 great players in the league every match is a tough one. Spectators were happy to see Bob show up with Dark Confidants in his deck. Bob was actually playing from Germany, having travelled to Essen Spiel on business and then set his alarm for 5am so he could get up and play. Bob’s first turn was absurd: Island, Ancestral Recall, Black Lotus, Mox Pearl, Jace the Mind Sculptor, Brainstorm myself with Jace, and oh by the way Mental Misstep your Sol Ring. Steve was unable to resolve a spell (other than Mox Sapphire) before Bob set up Vault / Key.

Game 2 was a blow-out in the other direction, with Steve’s “Angel City Vault” deck Tinkering out an Inkwell Leviathan (with Pyroblast backup) on turn 3. In game 3 Steve kept a hand with 8 mana by turn 2, but Bob resolved Ancestral and Dark Confidant before Steve drew any action and nothing meaningful was resolving for Steve after that.

Dave v Tom

Dave is running the same “Angel City Vault” list as Steve (which is also similar to what Eric is playing, fwiw). In game 1 he had a choice between Turn 1 Wheel and turn 1 Tinker for Inkwell Leviathan. Dave went for the Wheel, but later regretted it when Tom drew significantly more gas than he did. Tom’s Delver plus Dave’s own Mana Crypt whittled him down from 20 before Dave could do anything else meaningful.

In game 2 Tom had to choose whether to crack his fetch land on turn 1 for Underground Sea (in order to cast Thoughtseize) or Volcanic Island (in order to cast Young Pyromancer). He went for the Pyromancer, but was punished by a turn 2 Tinker for Inkwell Leviathan which he couldn’t quite race.

Over the course of game 3 Tom went on two Treasure Cruises and resolved Ancestral Recall (and Gush). This resulted in a steady supply of counters, and when Dave’s Yawgmoth’s Will ran into one after everything else had already been countered, the game was effectively over.


Week 6 Recaps


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.


Chris vs Rich

These were the only two players who ran back their decks from weeks 1-3 and both were 0-2 so far in the second set. Rich won the die roll and sacrificed a first turn Black Lotus to put Jace the Mind Sculptor into play. Chris didn’t have any of his creature lands to attack Jace with so the game was essentially over before Chris even got started.

Chris was on the play in game and had a good draw so the game was probably going to be a blowout versus most of Rich’s draws, but when Rich took a mulligan all the way down to 3 cards things were over in a hurry. Game 3 was quite close and interesting. Chris seemed to have it with a Lodestone Golem and two Phyrexian Revokers, but Rich drew Shattering Spree the turn before he was going to die and was able to follow up with a Myr Battlesphere. Chris used Sculpting Steel to make a Battlesphere of his own and when the dust finally settled from several messy combats, the Spheres cancelled each other out and Chris was able to win with his other creatures.

The win moves Chris up to 4-2 and drops Rich to 2-4.

Randy vs Dave

Randy had a turn 1 Oath of Druids in game 1 and then top-decked the Forbidden Orchard he needed to turn it on. Dave had no answer for either Griselbrand’s ability to attack or Grislebrand’s ability to draw cards so the players were quickly off to game 2. In game 2 Dave was able to fend off an early Thoughtseize into Necropotence (with Force of Will) and then drop a Back to Basics. Randy’s draw was mana heavy so the Back to Basics didn’t really matter much as he was able to build up a hand full of mana spells and eventually was able to generate enough storm for a lethal Tendrils without drawing any extra cards. However, Dave had his one copy of Mindbreak Trap to counter all the copies of Tendrils and force game 3. In game 3 Randy was able to play turn 1 Oath of Druids (off an Orchard), but Dave had the Force of Will. Randy was then able to use Vampiric Tutor to set up turn 2 Yawgmoth’s Bargain, but Dave once again had a Force of Will. Several turns later Randy used a Duress to try to push through an Oath, but Dave had Force of Will #3 plus a Spell Snare.

The loss means Randy was 0-3 with Burning Oath and is now 2-4. Dave went 2-1 with mono-blue control to move up to 3-3.

Steve vs Luis

Steve had an aggressive start in game 1 with 2 Delvers and a Young Pyromancer, but Luis was able to milk a Library of Alexandria for serious value and put together Time Vault – Voltaic Key before Steve could deal 20 damage. Game 2 was a classic control versus control battle. Contrary to what i said in this space last week, Menendian believes his Delver list is just fine against control decks due to his low land count turning into extra business cards over the course of many draw phases, and he actually sideboards out Delver of Secrets so he can better position himself for the long game. Game 2 went super long and Menendian did seem to have more relevant cards, but Luis extracted maximum value from all of his and was actually in position to potentially deck Steve, thanks in part to Steve miscounting storm on one turn and being forced to use a second Flusterstorm to win a counterspell skirmish. A big fight then broke out when Steve went to Ancestral Recall himself and he actually managed to Misdirect Luis’s Ancestral in the same stack and draw 6 cards. However, he had already gone through pretty much all the permission in his deck and Luis was still able to resolve a lethal Yawgmoth’s Will thanks to a Red Elemental blast off the top. The win left Steve very impressed by Luis’s Vintage chops, saying afterwards “LSV is a master and he outplayed me.”

The win leaves both players 5-1 and tied for first. Luis went 3-0 with this deck while Steve went 2-1.

Tom vs Efro

Both players were 2-0 with their current decks. Efro drew his one Strip Mine to destroy Tom’s Bazaar of Bagdad in game 1, but Tom was able to use his draw phase to extract value over the course of several turns. Efro used Trinket Mage to find his one maindeck Grafdigger’s Cage to stop the Bloodghast recursion, and was almost able to play enough blockers, but Tom hard-cast a Narcomeba plus a Golgari Thug to force through the last few points of damage.

In game two Eric was able to Trinket Mage for Grafdigger’s Cage on turn 2 and had Back to Basics to attempt to shut down Tom’s Bazaar on turn 3, but Tom’s drew the perfect land: an Undiscovered Paradise which both turned on the Nature’s Claim he needed to blwo up Cage, plus Tom was even able to do that as a response to a pair of Bloodghast triggers. Undiscovered even comes back to hand rather than getting locked down by Back to Basics. Tom then used it to cast a second Nature’s Claim to free his Bazaar and was quickly able to dredge up a Dread Return and a Flame-Kin Zealot that allowed him to attack for exactsies.

Efro falls to 4-2 (2-1 this set) while Tom came all the way back from 0-3 to get himself to 3-3.

Bob vs Wrapter

Bob led with Chalice of the Void on 1 thanks to a Mishra’s Workshop in game 1.  Josh has 24 1-mana spells in his deck, including every non-mana spell he drew in this game.

In game 2 Josh used his pair of Lightning Bolts to kill off two Lodestone Golems and without much pressure on his life total Josh was able to wait out a Tangle Wire, play Pyromancer’s Ascension, set up a turn where he could Demonic Tutor for both Yawgmoth’s Will and Black Lotus (thanks to the extra copy of Demonic Tutor from the turned on Ascension). From there he played 3 Young Pyromancers, made 20-some tokens, and cast a Time Walk so he could untap and attack for the win.

That turned out to be all the spells Josh was going to get to cast in the match. Bob curved turn 1 Thorn of Amesthyst into turn 2 Lodestone Golem and turn 3 2nd Lodestone Golem.

The win is Bob’s first of the season and pulls him into a tie for 9th with Josh at 1-5.