Finals Recap

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.

This was the final week of season 1 for Vintage Super League. We expect to be back for season 2 in January.


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.


Match #1

Hall of Famer Luis Scott-Vargas and Vintage World Champion Stephen Menendian traded first place back and forth throughout the season so it seemed only fitting that they met in the championship match.

Steve pointed a pair of Misdirections at a pair of early Thoughtseizes, effectively trading four cards for four cards in a highly unusual way. However, with both Misdirections in the graveyard Luis could safely Merchant Scroll for Ancestral Recall, which found a Mystical Tutor for Dig Through Time, and with all those extra cards it was pretty easy for Luis to set up a Yawgmoth’s Will fueled kill (he went for Tinker plus Time Walk but could just as easily have killed via Tendrils of Agony).

It was Steve who got to enjoy an avalanche of card advantage in game 2. Luis tried to fight Steve’s Ancestral with a Force of Will, but Steve had a Pyroblast ready for it and Luis never really recovered.

Luis drew a zero land hand in game 3 that was capable of playing Black Lotus, Mana Crypt, and Tinker.  Steve mulliganned down to 6 and Luis just went for it – sacrificing his Lotus and his Mana Crypt for turn 1 Tinker. Steve did not have a Force of Will and Luis attacked for lethal on turn 2 with his Blightsteel Colossus.

Match #2

Steve used his Black  Lotus for a turn 1 Young Pyromancer in game 1, and had enough permission to buy the couple of turns he needed to attack for lethal.

Game 2 was a long, drawn-out affair where Steve was able to resolve a bunch of card drawing and get a million cards ahead, but he was deathly afraid of playing a Delver that Luis might be able to answer with an Oath of Druids. Luis’s hand was actually quite bad at the time, but all the turns that Steve gave him while Steve tried to sculpt the perfect hand actually allowed Luis to draw some gas of his own. When Steve finally did go for a Delver (on a board that included both a Grafdigger’s Cage and an Oath of Druids), Luis was able to pick a fight in his end step with Hurkyl’s Recall and Dig Through Time. The craziest stack of the entire season resulted in Steve successfully Misdirecting an Abrupt Decay onto Luis’s Oath but that Dig resolved and found a 2nd Abrupt Decay for Luis. He was able to untap and resolve a Tinker for Blightsteel, stealing a game that Steve probably should have won.

There were no Oaths in sight in game 3 and Luis had to use his Force of Will to stop a Young Pyromancer. Steve used his own Force to stop a Jace, but when the dust settled Steve drew a Treasure Cruise and was quickly off to the races, resolving a Young Pyromancer and winning shortly thereafter to even the overall score at one match each.

Match #3

Steve had to drop to 5 cards in game 1 and was able to fight off Luis’s first few threats, but the Tinker and the Jace were really just bait and Luis  was able to follow up with Ancestral Recall and then Yawgmoth’s Will for Tendrils for the win.

Luis kept a 1-lander in game 2, and proceeded to draw the worst two cards in his deck: the Blightsteel Colossus and a Griselbrand. He had to discard before he found any more mana, and never was able to resolve anything proactive.

A pair of mulligans left Luis with a mediocre 5-card hand in game 3. The game looked sort of interesting for a while as both players played “draw-go,” but Steve had not one, not two, but three copies of Force of Will to make sure his Young Pyromancer and his Treasure Cruise resolved, but Luis’s Dig Through Time did not.

Match #4

Game 1 was quite an interesting race. Luis had a turn 1 Library of Alexandria (on the play), but Steve had an aggressive creature draw with turn 1 Delver, turn 2 Young Pyromancer, and then another Delver. Steve chose to use his two Force of Wills to fight a Demonic Tutor, and won, which meant he would win the game immediately if his second Delver flipped. It didn’t, however, and Luis got one more turn while on 1 life. He used it to resolve the Yawgmoth’s Will that was already in his hand and killed Steve with a lethal Tendrils.

The winning formula was becoming pretty clear for Steve. Early creatures were nice and early card drawing was even nicer. His deck delivered these up along with a nice mix of permission in game 2 and the matchup which many had thought should favor LSV seemed more and more like it was actually edge-Delver. Steve’s draws were certainly better than Luis’s, but then again his deck just doesn’t have nearly as many bad draws.

Steve drew two Force of Wills, two land, a Grafdigger’s Cage, and two Young Pyromancers in game 3. Luis was able to Abrupt Decay the first Young Pyro and had a second Abrupt Decay for the Cage, but he could not find a copy of Oath of Druids in the 2 turns he had before he died to an army of elemental tokens.

Congratulations to Stephen Menendian – our first Vintage Super League champion!

Playoff Week 2 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.


Luis v Eric

Eric and Luis were playing the same 75 cards for the playoffs, but this still shaped up as a fairly interesting mirror match. Game 1 was all about Ancestral Recall as Luis was able to Vampiric Tutor for his first, and Eric couldn’t stop him from resolving it. When Eric then tried to Vampiric for his own, Luis was able to say “no, untap, and go get a Dig Through Time with his Merchant Scroll. The game took several more turns, but Eric never recovered from that avalanche of card advantage.

Game 2 was all about Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Both players had one in their opener, but Eric had a Black Lotus that allowed him to play his on turn 1. Fastbond allowed Eric to go off with Gushes on turn 2, and Yawgmoth’s Will fueled a turn 2 kill via Tendrils of Agony.

Game 3 would revolve around a 3rd different card: Notion Thief. Luis used Black Lotus to resolve his on the first turn (Eric’s first turn, to be precise … in response to a Preordain). Eric never really recovered. He was eventually able to flash in his own Thief to trade them off in combat, but he was way too far behind by then.

Luis – 1, Eric – 0

The MVP of game 4 had to be Luis’s Library of Alexandria. With Luis drawing extra cards, Eric was forced to go for things as quickly as possible and Luis had enough copies of Force of Will to stop him. Between Dig Through Time and Gush, Luis could get back on the Library plan but it was easier to just go ahead and win the game via Tendrils.

LSV’s run of awesome draws continued in game 2 as his deck delivered up a turn 1 Jace. Eric fought gamely, and almost took advantage of a window where Luis was low on permission, but Luis was able to Flusterstorm Eric’s Dig Through Time and things were pretty brutal after that.

Luis – 2, Eric – 0

Randy v Kai

Kai Budde was revealed as the newest member of the Vintage Super League – he’ll be replacing Josh for season 2. Kai played a pair of scrimmages in honor of this announcement.

Randy showed off a mono-blue Charbelcher deck that was about 4 cards off of a list he got from Danny Batterman (who calls it “The People’s Cannon”).  Randy’s 6-card hand (on the draw) in game 1 was able to go Chrome Mox (removing Preordain), Mana Vault, Expedition Map, sacrifice the Map to go get Tolarian Academy, Lotus Petal, Goblin Charbelcher all with Pact of Negation back-up. Kai didn’t have a counter to force him to use the Pact, but even if he did Randy could have activated the Charbelcher on his upkeep with the Pact trigger on the stack.

In game 2, Randy cast Gitaxian Probe to see that Kai had Force of Will, Misdirection, Mental Misstep, and Tinker (along with two Ingot Chewers and a Library of Alexandria). He drew Pact of Negation off the Probe and when his Preordain found him an Ancestral Recall he decided to go for it, casting the Ancestral as bait. Kai went for Misdirection and Randy cast his Pact. Kai played his Force of Will so that he could successfully Misdirect Randy’s Ancestral but thanks to naturally drawing his Tolarian Academy Randy still had enough mana left over to cast a Tinker. While Kai won the fight over the Ancestral, he had to hit a Force of Will and a blue card or he was just dead. He hit the Force, but not the blue card. Randy’s Tinker for Goblin Charbelcher, sacrificing Black Lotus to activate it, meant we had the first turn 1 kill in Vintage Super League history!

Bob v Kai

Bob resolved a quick Timetwister in game 1 and was up a pair of Moxes, but Kai drew the better hand and was able to Tinker out a Blightsteel Colossus while Bob was 1-mana short of using Tezzeret to put together infinite turns with Time Vault. Kai was stuck on one land for a while in game 2, but his Force of Wills were able to stop Yawgmoth’s Will and leave the game stalemated, though Bob did have Time Vault in play and when he eventually top-decked a Voltaic Key that was good enough to send them to game 3.

Game 3 was close. Bob played out fast mana, a Demonic Tutor, and a Time Vault on his first turn, setting up a turn 2 Tezzeret for infinite turns. Kai decided to risk tapping all his colored mana for a turn 2 Jace (with just one Force of Will to defend himself with). Bob played out a Time Walk and a Thirst for Knowledge in an attempt to dig for a counter, but couldn’t find one. Bob pretty much had to go for it anyway (rather than let his opponent untap with Jace in play), but once Kai Forced the Tezzeret kai never had to let his guard down again, assembling a grip full of Pyroblasts to defend himself while he attacked with Young Pyromancer for the win.

Playoff Week 1 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.


Eric vs David

Eric brewed up a creatureless “BUGbond” concoction for the playoffs with a main deck that could only win through Tendrils of Agony or Tinker for Blightsteel Colossus, and a transformational sideboard package that allowed it to turn into an Oath of Druids deck against Delver (or other creature-based strategies).

David showed up with an even spicier Grixis creature-based control brew featuring two copies of Chains of Mephistopheles in the main deck, which would turn off all the Gush and Treasure Cruise action that he (correctly) predicted his playoff opponents might show up with.

Match #1

Eric had a Library and a Thoughtseize for Dave’s Force of Will, but Dave seemed to be in good shape with two Dark Confidants and a Wasteland for the Library. However, Eric was able to “go off” with Gush and Fastbond on turn 3: casting Gush twice, then Yawgmoth’s Will (after Tinkering for Black Lotus), then replaying the Gushes and using his Vampiric Tutor to access a lethal Tendrils of Agony.

Eric had to mulligan to 5 to start game 2, and Dave quickly resolved a Dack Fayden. Dack dug up a Chains of Mephistopheles and we all got to see how well those two cards combo together. (Dack’s plus ability turns into “target opponent draws 2 and discards 4”). eric conceded fairly quickly after Dave set that up.

Dave once again resolved an early Dack Fayden in game 3, but even after several turns of using Dack’s plus ability he couldn’t find the black mana he needed to play the Chains he was holding. Eric drew an Abrupt Decay to deal with Dack and was then able to work his way through all Dave’s accumulated permission and eventually resolve a Tinker for Blightsteel Colossus.

Match #2

Eric was forced to use his game 1 Abrupt Decay on Chains of Mephistopheles and that meant Dark Confidant stayed in play, generating a steady stream of extra cards for Dave. Eric was actually able to set up a turn where he could Preordain and Gush and build up enough just enough storm count to kill Dave from 12, but Dave sniffed out the potentially lethal Tendrils and used his Force of Will to stop Eric’s Black Lotus, thus denying him the mana he needed to cast the Tendrils.

In game 2 Eric went down to 4 cards before he found a hand that was remotely keep-able. He did manage to resolve an Oath of Druids, but that’s mostly because Dave let him and promptly Demonic Tutored for a Grafdigger’s Cage. Eric promptly drew two more copies of Oath and with Bob and Snapcaster beating down, things were over quite quickly.

Match #3

The third and deciding match got off to a fast start as Dave Forced through a turn 1 Dark Confidant while Eric got to resolve an Ancestral. Eric was able to use Abrupt Decay to kill the Confidant, but Dave used Vampiric Tutor to go find a replacement. The only problem with Bob is that attacking with him takes a few turns to actually win the game and Eric saved up a hand full of artifact mana and a Tendrils. When he top-decked a Demonic Tutor at 4 life he was able to go get Black Lotus and play out 6 total spells for an exactly lethal Tendrils.

Eric had to mulligan to 5 in game 2 (a running theme in this series) and Dave used Black Lotus to play out a turn 2 Dack Fayden with Negate back-up. Eric once again had the uncounterable Abrupt Decay to deal with Dave’s threat and the players went into top-deck mode. Eric made nice use of a Thoughtseize to clear permission out of Dave’s hand and Dave smelled a Tinker and so when he top-decked an Abrupt Decay he pointed it at Eric’s only artifact (and half his total mana): a Sol Ring. For what it’s worth, both commentators also thought Eric was setting up Demonic Tutor for Tinker, but it turns out Eric had sideboarded out his Tinker and his Blightsteel. What Eric did use the DT to go get was an Oath of Druids, which he could defend from Nature’s Claim with his Force of Will. The Oath brought Griselbrand into play (since Dave controlled both a spirit token from an Orchard and also a Deathrite Shaman) and then it was all over but the card drawing.

It was a really impressive series by Eric as he mulliganned a bunch and seemed to be on the disadvantaged side of a number of clever metagame decisions by Dave, but managed to win 2 of the 3 matches anyway and earned himself a spot in the semi-finals.

LSV vs Steve

LSV and Steve tied for first in the regular season so they needed to play a 1-game playoff to see which of them would get the #1 seed and the bye into the finals, and which would have to play Efro in the semi-finals. LSV ran the same 75 cards as Efro while Steve showed up with the Cruise – Delver deck that has become the boogeyman in Vintage in recent weeks.

Their two games were shockingly lopsided. Luis’s deck was designed for a metagame where he and Efro expected a high chance of Cruise-Delver opponents, but Steve was able to Misdirect LSV’s turn 2 Ancestral Recall in game 1 and he pulled so far ahead from that swing in card advantage that he was able to easily build up an army of Young Pyromancer tokens and win the game. In game 2 Steve resolved his own Ancestral early and then a few turns later he was yet again able to Misdirect Luis’s Ancestral to himself. It took a while for Steve to find a victory condition, but the game was never actually close.

With that win Steve earned the 1-seed and the week off. Next week Luis and Efro play each other in a mirror match, with the winner going on to face Steve in the finals.