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.

*SPOILER WARNING*

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.

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

#1-ranked player in the world Eric Froehlich had steam-rolled his way through the first two rounds of the playoffs, dropping only a single game to Randy in their best 3 matches out of 5 quarterfinal, and a pair of games to Luis in the semis.

When the finals began he looked like he was going to continue his demolition of all comers by playing turn 1 Lodestone Golem off of Mishra’s Workshop, along with his spicy new tech of Arcbound Ravager. Chalices set on 0 and 1 made sure Chris could never really get into the game. Game 2 was similar with an early Sphere of Resistance plus a Wasteland preventign Chris from ever getting started (since he only drew 2 land).

Eric leads 1-0

It was Chris’s turn to play Shop in the second match, but somehow Eric was still the mana denial deck as he drew the one maindeck Strip Mine he’s running in Delver and used it on a Mishra’s Workshop, which turned out to be Chris’s only land. In game 2 Eric had a pair of Ingot Chewers ready to stop whatever offense Chris might mount, but Chris drew nothing except lots of “resistors” (Spheres, Thorns, and a Trinisphere). Eric snuck a Young Pyromancer into play thanks to an early Black Lotus and Chris never had an answer.

Eric leads 2-0 (and his playoff winning streak now stands at 8 consecutive matches)

The streak looked likely to continue when Eric used Dark Ritual to fuel a turn 1 Doomsday to start match #3. He had a Force of Will and two Mental Missteps in hand to defend his combo-kill, but he did have to give Chris one land and Chris took full advantage. Chris drew a Force of Will of his own to go with the Misdirection he already had, effectively giving him the ability to counter twice, which was enough to stop Eric’s initial Ancestral.

Eric had another great start in game 2 with Fastbond into Gush, with Xantid Swarm turning off all Chris’s permission, but he fizzled. By the time Eric finally found a Doomsday Chris’s Young Pyromancer had dealt enough damage that Eric couldn’t afford to cast it.

Chris wins 2-0, Eric leads 2 matches to 1

The format was set up such that both players could now choose freely from the 3 decks they brought. Chris chose Delver, believing it had the best matchup against Eric’s suite of 3 decks. Eric was tempted by Shops, which was probably his strongest deck, but (as he explained later) he was feeling so good about the way he’s been playing Magic lately that he wanted a deck that gave him more decisions and more opportunities to interact with his opponent. So Eric chose his own Delver deck and match 4 was a Delver mirror.

Eric landed a turn 1 Delver in game 1, but Chris was able to out-race it with a turn 2 Young Pyromancer (getting far enough ahead on cards along the way to successfully kill the Delver as well). Chris once again took the lead in the creature race in game 2 with 2 early Pyromancers threatening to out-race Eric’s Delver plus single Pyromancer. However, Chris drew way too many lands, drawing 10 of his 16 total mana sources by the end of the game and failing to generate the tokens he needed to win the race.

Both players mulliganned to 6 before game 3 and Eric made the reasonable but very risky decision of keeping a hand with only Black Lotus for mana. Eric never did draw a land and Chris was able to beat him up with Young Pyromancers before Eric really even got started.

Chris wins 2-1, Overall match tied at 2 matches each

Going into match 5 both players stuck with Delver. Eric was probably correct in believing he was advantaged in the mirror as he ran 4 Ligfhtning Bolts to Chris’s 2 (mostly because Bolt is so good against the other decks Eric thought (correctly) Chris would run: Merfolk and Shops). Chris wondered in retrospect if he should have put Eric on Delver and therefore audibled to Merfolk, but it’s hard to argue with sticking with the deck that had just won him 2 matches.

Game 1 was long, but Chris never managed to find a second land and that really impacted his ability to unload the contents of his hand. Eric used the opportunity to get so far ahead on cards that Chris was unable to stick any of his threats once he finally did find land #2.

Chris was stuck on 1 land again in game 2 but he used that one land to play out a pair of Delvers, which flipped right away. Pyroblast removed Eric’s Delver and 6-power worth of fliers was a faster clock that Eric could deal with.

It all came down to one last game – the third game of the fifth match would decide the Vintage Super League Season 2 championship. Chris was able to Pyroblast Eric’s turn 1 Delver and Force of Will his Young Pyromancer leaving the game very even 4 turns in. Eric resolved a second Delver but Chris resolved a Young Pyromancer. The key turn then started innocuously enough with Eric casting Preordain. Both players used Mental Missteps, which canceled each other out, and then Chris decided to Gush as a response to see if he could find another Misstep or even a Pyroblast (knowing that he would be up an elemental token from the Pyromancer either way). Eric responded with a Gush of his own, which drew him into a Gitaxian Probe and another Preordain, while Chris’s Gush found just Mox Sapphire and another Gush (with Chris down to zero Islands in play). The game quickly began to snowball from there as Eric resolved the Preordain that was at the bottom of that stack to find Treasure Cruise. His Probe then drew him into Ancestral Recall. The Cruise found a Dig Through Time and a Force of Will while the Ancestral found a Mox and a Young Pyromancer! Chris was pretty clearly right to see that initial Preordain as a potential tipping point in the game, but he was unable to stop it and Eric wound up drawing 9 new cards over the course of that turn, wining the game thanks to Delver plus Young Pyromancer shortly thereafter

Eric wins 2-1, Eric wins 3-2!

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