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.

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