All posts by randybuehler11

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. 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*

Chris v Bob

Chris ran a build of Merfolk with maindeck Chalice of the Void and he completely blindsided Bob with Chalice on 1 in game 1. (Bob has seen Chris’s hand with Duress and then left two 1-mana spells on top with a Brainstorm). In game 2 Chris’s mana denial plan worked perfectly and Bob never got to even get started.

Chris wins 2-0

Randy v David

Randy won the roll and used Black Lotus to play both a True-Name Nemesis and a Cursecatcher on turn 1. David had no real answer so he chose to play only a single Wasteland before conceding.  Randy put half of his anti-Workshops package into his deck for game 2 but David turned out to be playing Landstill. David also found not one but two copies of Engineered Plague, which he used to kill all Randy’s Merfolk (and all that he might ever play int he future too). Things might have been different if Randy had understood David’s deck and chosen a different line of play (and/or sideboarded differently) but the misinformation really helped David here.

In game 3 David only drew one land that tapped for colored mana, and Randy Wastelanded it. David did get a Deathrite Shaman onto the table first and that let him get down another Engineered Plague, but Master of the Pearl Trident allowed Randy’s Merfolk to live through it and David never found the colored mana he needed to play the Abrupt Decay he was holding (and which would have caused Randy’s entire army to crumble).

Randy wins 2-1

Rich v Steve

Steve got down a reasonably quick Monastery Mentor in game 1, but Rich stuck an Oath of Druids and used it to find Griselbrand. The big flying demon got the job done. In game 2 Steve got control of the game via card drawing, played two copies of Grafdiggers Cage so he wouldn’t have to worry about Oath, and then mopped up pretty quickly with a pair of Mentors.

Game 3 turned on a Thoughtseize. Steve chose not to use a Mental Misstep on it and Rich was really eager to resolve a Brainstorm so he took the Misstep even though he had 2 Missteps of his own. He could have taken Wear/Tear, which wound up blowing up a Mox Sapphire and denying Steve the 3 mana he needed to cast Show and Tell. In addition, Steve quickly found a blue card to go with the Force of Will, which is the other card Rich could have taken, and that let Steve get a Mentor onto the table through Rich’s own Force of Will.

Steve wins 2-1

Tom v Kai

This one was a combo fight, but Kai’s Belcher deck only delivered up a reasonable draw in one of the 3 games. Tom had little trouble defeating Kai’s mulligan to 3 in game 1. In game 2 Kai used a turn 1 Timetwister to set up a turn 2 kill. Tom actually resolved Fastbond, two Gushes, and a Doomsday on his own first turn but had no way to draw teh top of the Doomsday pile so he had to say go. Kai was able to play a Belcher on turn 2 with Pact of Negation back-up. In game 3, Kai kept a mediocre 5-card hand and Tom ripped it apart with both Duress and Thoughtseize on the first turn, followed quickly by a value Yawgmoth’s Will that cast them both again.

Tom wins 2-1

Eric v Luis

The main event for this week featured first place versus second place and when Luis learned that Eric was on Dredge, he announced that his odds of winning the match with his Punishing Pyromancer deck were 0%. Luis may have had a bad matchup, and a sideboard that assumed no one would play Dredge, but none of that mattered when Eric had to mulligan all the way down to 1 card before finding a Bazaar of Bagdad in game 2 and never did find one despite another mulligan down to 1 in game 3.

Luis wins 2-1

The playoff scenarios are relatively straight-forward with two weeks to go. Luis and Eric have clinched playoff berths. Rich and Steve can make the playoffs if they go 2-0 and Chris or Randy go 0-2 (which would then force tiebreaker matches for the actual playoff spots). 4 players have been eliminated from the playoffs (David, Tom, Bob, and Kai) while 4 players have clinched “not last” (Randy, Chris, Eric, and Luis).

The one thing that is not straight-forward is the seedings for the playoffs, which are quite a big deal since 1st place gets a bye into the final and 2nd place gets a bye into the semi. Right now things are wide open with Luis and Eric tied for first one game ahead of Randy and Chris.

Week 6 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.

*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*

Kai v Chris

Kai won the die roll and had his Black Lotus so he was able to both Demonic Tutor for a Force of Will and also resolve an Oath of Druids off a Forbidden Orchard. Turn 1 Null Rod could have made a game of things if Chris had been on the play, but he wasn’t and thus it wasn’t much of a game.

Kai had Lotus again in game 2 but with Chris on the play Kai had to pay 1 for it on turn 1 and by turn 2 there was a Null Rod in play. A second Thorn ensured Kai could never gett anything going and Chris mopped up with Mishra’s Factory.

Kai kept a hand in game 3 which had a lot of mana (including Forbidden Orchard) and the ability to blow up 3 artifacts, but no actual action. He promptly drew Oath of Druids off the top on turn 2. If Chris had played around Abrupt Decay by destroying all of Kai’s black mana, he might have been able to stick a Grafdigger’s Cage and turn the game into a top-deck battle, but with Cage blown up by Decay and flashback on Ancient Grudge live again, it quickly became a blow-out.

Kai wins 2-1

Randy v Bob

Randy had Mox Sapphire in game 1, which allowed him to play turn 1 Lord of Atlantis and start the beats, but he ran his Ancestral into a Flusterstorm and Bob resolved an Ancestral Recall of his own. Bob also resolved a Treasure Cruise a few turns later, but Randy was able to Force of Will and Monastery Mentor and so few cards of the other cards in Bob’s deck actually matter in this match-up that the early Lord of Atlantis (with a little bit of help from a Cursecatcher) pretty much went all the way.

In game 2 Randy used Strip Mine, Wasteland, and Null Rod to deny Bob the ability to cast many spells. Bob did manage to sneak a Monastery Mentor into play the one turn his Sol Ring was in play and working, but Randy quickly sent him back to zero mana and Bob never found the Tundra or Plains he needed to turn on the two copies of Swords to Plowshares he was holding. Mentor can’t out-race True-Name Nemesis when there aren’t any monk tokens to help him.

Randy wins 2-0

Rich v Eric

Two quick Thorns of Amethyst and a Chalice that he set to 2 allowed Eric to disrupt Rich’s draw (which included 2 Young Pyromancers). Duplicant exiled a Delver and it took Eric a few turns of attacking to actually win the game, but he was never in any real trouble.

In game 2 Rich showed off a never-ending supply of card drawing and removal spells. Once Dack Fayden stole his Kuldotha Forgemaster, Eric had seen enough and they were on to game 3.

Eric gambled on a turn 1 Chalice for zero (after playing a Sphere of Resistance) because he figured fast mana was the only way Rich could keep up with the rest of his draw. The gambled paid off as he stranded a Black Lotus in Rich’s 1-land hand and Rich was never able to overcome all of EFro’s mana denial.

Eric wins 2-1 – Now 6-0, Eric has already clinched at least a tie for a playoff spot even though there are still 3 weeks to go.

Luis v David

David went for a turn 1 Ancestral Recall and used his entire hand (two Force of Wills and two blue cards) in an attempt to resolve it, but Luis had 2 of his 3 copies of Mental Misstep plus a Force of Will of his own. Luis’s last 3 cards? 2 lands and an Ancestral of his own … turn 2 Oath (off an Orchard) ended things pretty quickly from there.

Luis kept a mana-light draw in game 2, and David figured that out and used Wear/Tear on a Mox Jet after Luis used Demonic Tutor and then said go, but once Luis finally did find a 3rd land it was the perfect one: Boseiju Who Shelters All. This made the Show and Tell he had tutored for uncounterable and suddenly David was being attacked by Emrakul.

Luis wins 2-0

Steve v Tom

Game 1 was a drawn-out control fight. Steve found himself once again discarding to hand size before he found enough land to operate, but then he was able to stick a Dack Fayden, which found him a Monastery Mentor. Tom was able to Demonic Tutor for Yawgmoth’s Will but he had to say go, planning to win the game on the following turn. Steve’s Dack found him a Dig Through Time, which found him a Mox and  Time Walk, which meant he suddenly had 3 monks to fight alongside his Mentor. He was empty handed as his Time Walk turn began and needed to resolve two spells to get enough prowess triggers to win the game. Preordain into Gush got the job done without even needing to go fishing with Dack!

Game 2 was another long one. Steve stuck an early Stony Silence, which turned off Tom’s Vault-Key combo permanently. Tom was able to draw lots of extra cards via Ancestral and Treasure Cruise, but most of them were mana, many of which were shut off by Stony Silence. Academy actually allowed Tom to build up to 12+ mana in play (to Steve’s 2) and eventually he forced a Dack into play, which found him a Jace, and Steve knew he wasn’t winning from there and conceded to the two planeswalkers.

Game 3 saw Tom put on a clinic in properly sequencing spells. He built up a hand until Steve played  Mentor and then he baited out most of Steve’s permission with a Treasure Cruise that Tom didn’t actually care about. Once the dust settled Treasure Cruise did get countered but Steve was down to a Misdirection that couldn’t do anything to stop Tom from Demonic Tutoring for Time Vault, playing Voltaic Key, and playing Time Vault.

Tom wins 2-1

Week 5 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.

*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*

Kai v David

Kai had his Boseju in game 1, but he couldn’t find a Show and Tell and his hand accumulated quite a few uncastable fat things (Emrakul and 2 copies of Omniscience). Both players fought over card drawing spells for a while and Kai finally managed to resolve an Oath of Druids (with 3 spirit tokens from Forbidden Orchard already on David’s side). Things looked good for the German Juggernaut to finally get his first win, but he spilled all 4 copies of Show and Tell into the graveyard before he found Griselbrand when he activated his Oath. With nothign useful left in his deck Kai just had to hope he could attack twice with Griselbrand, but David played out a pair of Monastery Mentors, made two monks, and was able to trigger prowess to kill Kai all the way from 18 in one attack while Griselbrand was tapped. (Afterwards Kai acknowledged that what he should have done was draw 7 with Griselbrand so he could then discard Emrakul to hand size, and trigger its ability to shuffle his graveyard back into his library. It’s not clear this would have won him the game, but it would have let him Oath up Emrakul and then potentially win with one big attack (though depending on what kai drew David’s Mentors might have gotten the job done anyway).)

David kept a very interesting draw in game 2: zero land, Gitaxian Probe, 2 Mental Missteps, and 2 copies of his best sideboard card in Grafdigger’s Cage. Kai’s turn 1 looked nuts: Ancestral Recall and enough mana to also play Oath of Druids off Forbidden Orchard. David Misstepped the Ancestral and if he could find a land for Cage he would be in great shape, but he whiffed on his draw step and his Probe so all of a sudden Griselbrand was in play … and they were off to game 3.

David resolved an early Cage in game 3, and it bought him a ton of time, but Kai was able to resolve multiple copies of Dig Though Time while David flooded a bit and never found a Mentor. Kai steadily pulled ahead and was able to Force of Will the Misdirection on the Abrupt Decay that Kai was using to blow up that Cage and allow him to Oath. One Oath activation is all it takes as Griselbrand put him quite far ahead.

Kai wins 2-1

Chris v Eric

The big showdown between the last two 4-0 players was a slugfest. Eric used a pair of Tangle Wires to great effect in game 1, providing himself with a window where he could play Kuldotha Forgemaster and copy in with Phyrexian Metamorph, but Chris did not have enough mana for the Null Rod that he drew on the one turn before they went active.

In game 2 Chris had large mana advantage since he was the one who drew a Workshop, but the real advantage he had was all his “man-lands.” His 2-power beatdown strategy was working so well that he actually paid 3 mana and 2 life to copy a Phyrexian Revoker with a Metamorph and Eric couldn’t deal with all those creatures before he ran out of life.

Game 3 was a weird one. Eric had a quick Crucible of Worlds and a Wasteland, but Chris has Phyrexian Metamorph in hand, ready to copy the Crucible (and allow him to play Wasted lands back from his graveyard) as soon as he got to 3 mana. He never did draw a Workshop, but Eric was loathe to use his Wasteland on untapped Wastelands that could be activated as a response (or Ghost Quarters … or Strip Mines … Chris drew a lot of these). However, Eric did let himself get 2-for-1ed whenever it looked like Chris might actually get to 3 mana. It took a while but a Mishra’s Factory and a Phyrexian Revoker got there for Eric as Chris played a 12-ish turn game without ever missing a land drop, but none of them were Workshop so he never got to 3 mana or played any meaningful spells.

Eric wins 2-1

Tom v Rich

Quite a few league members looked on eagerly to see if Tom had found a way to make the recently unrestricted Gifts Ungiven work in modern day Vintage. In game 1 Tom had turn 1 Time Vault into turn 2 Vampiric Tutor for Voltaic Key. Rich Gushed as a response … and found the Force of Will he needed! Rich’s Delver and Pyromancer tokens had Tom on a 1-turn clock, but Tom did have a Gifts Ungiven and a Tolarian Academy that made enough mana to leave him with 3 main phase mana after the Gifts resolved. He  put together the following 4 cards: Slice and Dice, Black Lotus, Yawgmoth’s Will, and Recoup. Rich gave him Recoup and Slice and Dice. Tom used Slice to kill Pyromancer and all the tokens, thus buying him the turn he needed to untap and Recoup Yawgmoth’s Will (putting Voltaic Key into play with his Time Vault). However, Rich top-decked a Time Walk, allowing him to hit with Delver and drop Tom to 1. On his Time Walk turn Rich concluded a crazy serious of top-decks with a Grafdigger’s Cage (which means you can’t play cards from the graveyard with Yawgmoth’s Will). Rich clearly got very lucky to win, but if Tom had gotten a Time Walk instead of a Slice and Dice with his Gifts Ungiven then he never would have had to give Rich that one last turn to potentially top-deck something.

Rich had another fast Pyromancer in game 2, and by the time Tom built up to the 4 mana it costs to play Gifts Ungiven it was basically too late. He had to just give himself card drawing spells and hope he could top-deck a Slice and Dice, which he didn’t. All in all the Gifts looked depressingly slow and Tom fell into last place by himself at 0-5.

Rich wins 2-0

Randy v Steve

Randy kept a 1-land draw with multiple free counters, a Ponder, and a good curve of creatures if his deck delivered up land. It did. Steve’s drew into some cheap answers when he was able to Gush as a response to a Wasteland, but Randy knew that was a possibility and just wanted Steve to pick up his lands. Monastery mentor eventually came down on Steve’s side thanks to a Black Lotus, but randy was way too far ahead in the race and True-Name Nemesis finished things off fairly easily.

In game 2 it was not one but 2 Monastery Mentors for Steve and that’s a lot harder for True-Name to race. A Strip Mine denied Steve access to his 3rd mana for a couple of turns, though, and that bought Randy just enough time to be in position to top-deck a Lord for the win. Steve could have saved a Pyroblast to use its destroy mode on any top-decked Lords, but he used it a turn earlier to kill a Cursecatcher and make more monks. The lord did come off the top and randy was able to attack for exactsies with True-Name the turn before 8 monks and those two mentors would have dealt approx 400 damage to him.

Randy wins 2-0

Bob v Luis

Luis drew his one main deck copy of Boseju and used it to make his Show and Tell uncounterable. That let him put Griselbrand into play and the game was not very hard to win from there. (For the record he Showed again and this time Omniscience came down and made all his other spells free (including multiple copies of Dig Through Time, but Bob had seen enough before they could resolve).

Game 2 was similarly lopsided as Bob mulliganned a 1-land draw into another 1-land draw that never really worked out. With two copies of Show and Tell Luis played one to bait out the permission that he assumed Bob must have, but Bob had nothing and suddenly Griselbrand was in play again. Once he was joined by Omniscience and Emrakul, Bob conceded with Emrakul’s Time Walk trigger on the stack.

Luis wins 2-0

Week 4 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.

*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*

David v Chris

This was a make-up match from week 3 and used decklists from the first “trimester.” In game one Chris played a fair amount of mana, but couldn’t quite get to 4 for Diminishing Returns so he had to say go and hope David’s turn 2 with Dredge wasn’t too good. Chris used Force of Will of David’s first Cabal therapy, but the second one resolved and David had to guess what the last card was in Chris’s hand. He guessed Goblin Charbelcher (which did seem like the correct thing to guess in that spot). If he’d been psychic he might have won, but he wasn’t and Diminishing Returns eventually found Chris everything he needed to win on turn 2.

Chris kept a hand with no blue mana in game 2, and never did find any. It took David until turn 3 to get his Dredge engine humming, but that was plenty fast enough when Chris’s speculative draw failed to work out.

Game 3 was decided on another judgment call where David made what was probably the right decision, but where the psychic play would have worked out. He chose not to point Mental Misstep at Chris’s Voltaic Key (since the deck has so many more targets that are usually so much better), but Chris had also drawn Time Vault and with Key in play he was able to take all the turns.

Chris wins 2-1

Kai v Eric

Eric showed up with a Mishra’s Workshop deck in an effort to continue his hot streak, while Kai is running an Oath of Druids deck with Show and Tell and Omniscience built in. Kai commented later that he thought his deck was solid against ‘Shops, but Eric crushed him pretty easily in 2 straight (dropping Kai to 0-4).

Eric wins 2-0

Luis v Steve

In a rematch of last season’s final this game played much more like a rematch of the regular match between these two. In both games Steve accumulated a hand with more permission spells than Luis had cards in hand. In both games, however, Luis just refused to do anything until he had a chance to sculpt his own hand and then wait for Steve to make the first move. Game 2 was particularly crazy as at one point Steve was discarding Pyroblast from a hand with 5 counters and 3 card drawing spells. Somehow Luis was able to hard-cast Elesh Norn a few turns later, a card which Steve simply could not deal with even if he could stack his deck.

Luis wins 2-0

Bob v Rich

One day after receiving his PhD from Carnegie Mellon (congrats to the newly minted DR. Atog Lord), Rich was the only player to stick with his archetype from the first set of decks. His trusty Delver deck served him well against Bob’s controllish Monastery Mentor deck, which never really seemed to get much going in a quick 2-0 match. Both players now find themselves in the middle of the pack at 2-2.

Rich wins 2-0

Randy v Chris

The one-time Belcher brothers both went back to decks they ran in season 1 (both of which would be very good against Belcher should anyone try it this set). Chris’s Terra Nova Shops deck wasn’t all that disruptive in game 1, but he found the clever play of using Phyrexian Metamorph to copy a Lord of Atlantis so his Mutavault would be a 4/4 Islandwalker. Randy couldn’t find a Wasteland or enough creatures to race. He almost won by top-decking Time Walk into Treasure Cruise, but he failed to find any lords and came up one point of damage short.

In game 2 Chris kept six land and a Dismember, which seemed fairly sketchy, but Randy had 3 Wastelands and used them on Chris’s first 3 lands thinking that would be good but all it actually did was give Chris time to draw real cards. Randy then failed to draw any lands for the rest of the game and Chris’s mana denial strategy kept a lethal True-Name trapped in randy’s hand, along with a Hurkyl’s Recall and a bunch of lords.

Chris wins 2-0

David v Tom

Tom ran a Gifts Ungiven deck, but his draws were fairly mediocre. He conceded the first game fairly early so David wouldn’t know what he was up to when David, who was already reasonably ahead, resolved an Ancestral Recall. In game 2 David stuck an early Monastery Mentor and Tom had no answer. Those monks don’t very long to win the game once they get going …

David wins 2-0

Week 3 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.

*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*

LSV vs Kai

Kai had a turn 1 of Young Pyromancer (thanks to Black Lotus), Gitaxian Probe, and Strip Mine on what he saw was Luis’s only land. However, Luis Pondered off a Mox Sapphire into a land and immediately top-decked another land. Kai was able to counter a Time Walk and a Merchant Scroll, but Luis resolved a Doomsday with Gush in hand and that was game.

Luis’s deck continued to love him in game 2, delivering up a Xantid Swarm that turned off all the counter-magic in Kai’s hand, and a crucial land on his second draw phase. He had a potential turn 2 kill (enabled by Demonic Tutoring for Black Lotus so he could cast Doomsday), but with no creatures in play on Kai’s side and a second Xantid Swarm on his own, Luis contented himself with using his draw phase to access the first Doomsday stack (an Ancestral Recall, as usual) and a win on turn 3.

Luis wins 2-0

Rich vs Kai

The Delver mirror isn’t normally about the initial coin flip, but Rich got to go first and had a spectacular turn 1: Black Lotus, Young Pyromancer, Gitaxian Probe, Time Walk, attack for 4, Ancestral Recall, Ponder, “you can have a turn now, all I have is Force of Will, a blue card, and a Treasure Cruise.”

Game 2 was grindier, as the match normally is, but Rich eventually found a window where Kai was tapped out and he used it to  stick a Young Pyromancer, Time Walk, and then Snapcaster back the Time Walk. Volanic Fallout and Fire/Ice dealt the final damage as Rich exploded seemingly out of nowhere.

Rich Wins 0-2

Tom vs Bob

Dredge did what Dredge does in game 1. With no main deck way to interact, it would take a spectacular draw from Bob to be able to race and he didn’t have one.

In game 2 Bob drew his Strip Mine and used it to destroy the Bazaar of Bagdad that Tom had mulliganned down to 4 in order to find. Tom couldn’t find another and Bob it only took Bob a couple of turns to generate crazy value from a big Yawgmoth’s Will and finally stitch his combo together. With Zuran Orb and Fastbond already in play Tom conceded as soon as Bob found the Crucible of Worlds that could give him infinite life.

Game 3 was pretty interesting as both players drew a bunch of sideboard cards (in other words Bob drew hate cards and Tom was able to keep finding answers to them). First Bob played a turn 1 Grafdigger’s Cage. Tom dredged to fill his graveyard and then pointed a Nature’s Claim at the Cage, which resolved (his sequencing choice did not work out, though, as his Narcomeba was kept at bay by the Cage while no Bloodghasts showed up to come in off his post-dredge land drop). Bob used a Yawgmoth’s Will to replay the Cage on his next turn, and Tom was able to find another Nature’s Claim, but this time Bob had a Force of Will. Tom used Mental Misstep to counter Bob’s 2nd Cage and he found yet another answer on his next turn (a Chain of Vapor), but he chose to give Bob one draw step instead of playing a land and using his Chain as a response to the Bloodghast trigger so he could get a Bloodghast to sacrifice to Cabal Therapy to then strip the Cage from Bob’s hand. That one draw phase was a great one (pun intended) – it gave Bob a Ravenous Trap and suddenly Tom was in big trouble. He did manage to bounce the Cage and do a reasonable job of refilling his graveyard, but the final insult came in the form of Snapcaster Mage to flash back the Ravenous Trap.

Bob wins 2-1

Eric v Steve

Eric got ahead early with a turn 1 Delver, and with Steve forced into action to try to defend himself Eric was able to win the permission war over Young Pyromancers and Lightning Bolts. When all the dust settled on around turn 4, Eric had an army of elemental tokens that Steve couldn’t answer. Game 2 was decided primarily by Steve’s Strip Mine, which left Eric without any blue mana for most of the game.

Game 3 was once again all about Young Pyromancer advantage. Eric, whow as on the play, played them on both turn 2 and turn 3. By teh time Steve cycled through his various cantrips and had his mana set up, he was too far behind on board to ever really recover. Eric used 2 Force of Wills to stop Steve’s Pyromancer and with 6 tokens on the other side of the table all the card drawing in the world could not save Steve.

Eric wins 2-1

 

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.

*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*

Rich v Chris

Chris took the interesting line in game 1 of doing almost nothing for the first few turns while he slow-rolled several moxes and a Time Vault. He knew Rich played Dack Fayden in his deck and there was no reason to risk getting anything stolen. Rich did have exactly Dack Fayden in his hand, and eventually used it to steal a Chrome Mox, but by then Chris had found an Academy and a Voltaic Key, all of which he deployed on the same turn, winning the game without ever exposing anything important to Dack.

Rich used artifact removal cards in from his sideboard to slow Chris down in game 2, and Rich was able to Dig Through Time to find Force of Will and another Dig Through Time before Chris could even get to 4 mana to attempt his Diminishing Returns. It took Rich a while to actually win the game, but he had a grip full of counters the whole time and there was never any real danger of Chris getting back into it.

In game 3 Rich was able to Force of Will both a Timetwister and a Diminishing Returns, but then both players were out of gas and the game turned into a top-deck war (with Chris racing his Mana Crypt in addition to Rich’s draw step). Rich Gushed into another Gush and finally found a Delver of Secrets, but Chris promptly top-decked a Tinker. Bang. All Rich was holding was a pair of Missteps so Charbelcher was immediately lethal on the spot (much to the surprise of Chris who didn’t realize Rich’s 6 cards were all worthless).

Chris wins 2-1

 

Bob v Kai

Bob was able to assemble his entire Rube Goldberg contraption in game 1 against Kai’s Delver list. It took a bunch of Gushes, a Yawgmoth’s Will, and a Time Walk (in order to turn off the Yawgmoth’s Will exile effect), but he finally had Crucible of Worlds plus Zuran Orb plus Fastbond, which allows him to sacrifice land for 2 life and put them back into play for 1 life. That’s infinite life. You can also tap the lands before sacrificing them. That’s infinite mana. Bob also had a Sensei’s Divining Top and a fetch land so he was able to look at the top 3 and then reshuffle for however many times he needed to reshuffle in order to find a Kaervek’s Torch to sink all that mana into. Once Bob demonstrated the Top/reshuffle loop, Kai conceded rather than make Bob actually find it.

In game 2 Bob was on the Library of Alexandria plan, but Kai had Young Pyromancer and enough permission to build up a lethal army of tokens before Bob could use the card advantage from the Library to pull ahead.

Bob once again had a Library in game 3 and Kai once again had a Pyromancer, but this time Bob was able to run Kai out of permission and resolve a Demonic Tutor. He found Slice and Dice, which he cycled in order to kill all of Kai’s creatures (and draw a card). A second Slice and Dice dealt with Kai’s next Young Pyromancer and Bob’s Library gave him enough cards to keep pulling farther and farther ahead. Eventually Bob resolved a Yawgmoth’s Will with 20+ cards in his graveyard and Kai conceded rather than make Bob play it out.

Bob wins 2-1

 

Randy v Eric

Randy kept 2 moxes, 2 counterspells, and a Timetwister in game 1 but he didn’t draw the 3rd mana until Eric had his shields fully up and Randy wasn’t able to resolve anything meaningful before the end of the game. In game 2 Randy had a potential turn 1 kill, actually playing and activating Goblin Charbelcher on his first turn but the Tolarian Academy was still in his deck and it turned out to be about a dozen cards down. Normally the Belcher deck just shrugs and then reactivates the Charbelcher on the next turn, but Randy had used Black Lotus to cast it and Lion’s Eye Diamond to activate it so he only had 2 mana available. It took a couple of turns but he was eventually able to resolve a mana source and win the game on turn 3 or 4.

In game 3 Eric mulliganed into a mediocre 6 card hand, but decided Delver, Black Lotus, Pyroblast was better than going down to 5. Randy’s draw was great, but the net result was forcing through a Timetwister on turn 1 with an Academy and a bunch of other mana in play. Randy’s 7 cards off the ‘Twister had no action: Force of Will, Mental Misstep, and 5 mana sources. Meanwhile, Eric’s new hand was great. Eric had actually declined to Pyroblast the Timetwister because he was hoping for exactly this scenario. Randy eventually drew a Diminishing Returns, but Eric had plenty of permission and the undefeated reign of the Blue Belcher deck was finally over.

Eric wins 2-1

 

David v Steve

David had to mulligan down to 4 before he found a Bazaar of Bagdad, but Steve’s Delver deck doesn’t really have any way to interact with Dredge in game 1, and isn’t all that fast at dealing 20 so David was able to build a horde of zombies and attack for lethal in about 4 turns or so. In game 2 Steve drew his Strip Mine and David did not have any dredgers or a 2nd Bazaar in the top 10 cards of his deck. Steve didn’t have much of a clock and David did have time to eventually draw another one, but he still couldn’t find any dredge cards and Steve was able to attack 3 times with Young Pyromancer and some tokens. In game 3 David mulliganed all the way down to 1 card and still couldn’t find a Bazaar of Bagdad. The deck can’t operate without one (as we saw in game 2 when Steve had his one Strip Mine)

Steve wins 2-1

Luis v Tom

Well, it took a whole season before we had our first turn 1 kill, but it only took 1 week before we got #2. Luis started with Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, Fastbond, Merchant Scroll (for Gush), 2nd land, Gush, Dark Ritual, and Doomsday. He used Doomsday to stack his deck as follows: Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, Gush, Laboratory Maniac, Force of Will. He still had a Brainstorm in his initial hand, which he used to draw the first three of those. Then Ancestral got him the Maniac, which he could cast off the Lotus. Then Gush drew more cards than he had in his library, thereby killing Tom via the Laboratory Maniac! Tom had gotten to keep 7 cards with his Dredge deck, but he never got a turn.

Game 2 was almost as fast. Luis led off with a Leyline of the Void on turn zero. Tom has to exile some cards as he used Bazaar to find mana for the Chain of Vapor he was holding. He found it, but before he even had time to cast a Chain Luis played turn 3 Doomsday (off two land and a Mox Jet). He was holding a Gush so he was able to stack his deck as Mox Sapphire, Ancestral Recall, Laboratory Maniac, Black Lotus, and Gitaxian Probe. Gush gave him the first two, which gave him the Maniac plus the mana to cast it, and then Gitaxion Probe let him draw a card without needing any mana so that was game. Tom used his Chain to attempt to bounce the Maniac (which would have resulted in Luis dying from drawing off his own empty library), but Luis had had a Force of Will ready to defend himself the whole time. All Luis needed was 3 turns to win the entire match!

Luis wins 2-0

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.

There’s a Pro Tour next week, so Vintage Super League will be back for week 2 on February 10th.

*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*

Eric v David

Eric probably felt good about his opening draw of turn 1 Library of Alexandria, but then he found out that his housemate was running Dredge this week and that Library was way too slow to impact the game, especially versus quite a good Dredge draw. David already had multiple copies of Bridge from Below and a bunch of dredgers by turn 2 so Eric conceded and went to his sideboard.

Eric did not skimp on Dredge hate when he built his Delver sideboard: fully 4 copies of Grafdigger’s Cage and 2 Ravenous Traps came in (along with another Dig Through Time to go looking for them.) Game 2 was kind of a non-event as David never found a Bazaar of Bagdad despite mulliganning all the way down to 1 card. This is standard operating procedure for Dredge: you mulligan (or Serum Powder away) all non-Bazaar hands and the math says you are about 98%+ to find one. Well this was a 2% game and Eric mopped up pretty straight-forwardly.

Game 3 was kind of a real game, and David was able to destroy EFro’s first Cage while filling his graveyard thanks to a pair of Bazaars. However, Eric blew away his graveyard with a ravenous Trap and then used Dig Through Time to find not just another copy of Grafdigger’s Cage, but also a second Ravenous Trap. When the game ended, over 50 cards were in David’s Exile zone …

Eric wins 2-1

Randy v Rich

Randy kept a 6-card hand with his Charbelcher deck that was just fine if he could resolve Expedition Map on turn 1 and thus have 3 artifacts to turn on his Mox Opal. However, one Mental Misstep later and Randy couldn’t cast any more spells. One Dack Fayden later and Randy didn’t even have his Chrome Mox any more. Randy’s deck delivered up nothing but more Mox Opals and more Charbelchers so he was never able to cast another spell.

Rich had all the permission he needed to stop Randy’s initial attempts to go broken in game 2, and he even had a pair of Ingot Chewers to blow up Randy’s artifacts. However, when both players proceeded to draw mana off the top of their decks that was a lot better for Randy than Rich. Randy managed to resolve a Diminishing Returns, but it gave Rich another hand full of permission that Randy had to slog through. After they traded threats for counters again, Randy managed to top-deck and resolve an Ancestral Recall that found him a net of +6 mana. That allowed him to play out a lethal Charbelcher and the players were off to game 3.

Game 3 was another grindy one. After seeing what he was up against with Gitaxian Probe, Randy baited out a Misstep and a Pyroblast with Expedition Map and a Misstep of his own. Rich then used Force of Will to stop Randy’s Ancestral Recall and the players were suddenly in top-deck mode. Randy once again had time to draw into the mana he needed to cast the Charbelcher which was the last card left after the initial flurry.

Randy wins 2-1

Randy vs Luis

Match #3 was supposed to be Kai Budde versus LSV, but Kai had no access to internet and instead there was a last minute swap between Luis’s week 1 match and his week 3 match. After the dust settled Kai will be playing twice in week 3 and while Randy will take that week off having played twice in week 1.

Luis shocked pretty much everybody by showing up with a Doomsday deck. He mulliganed a reasonable 7-card hand with no free counters since he knew what Randy was playing and found the Force of Will he needed to stop Randy’s turn 1 Charbelcher. He then used Mystical Tutor (and Gitaxian Probe) to find another Force of Will, which Randy promptly made him use on a Time Vault (with Voltaic Key already in play). Both players were completely empty at this point and the game lasted quite a few turns, but with Randy on 7-mana to LSV’s 2, things looked good for Randy. He used Pact of Negation to counter the Doomsday that Luis drew into (paying the 5-mana on the next turn) and then drew into Mind’s Desire and built up a big hand that got his storm count all the way up to 11 after he forced Luis to Flusterstorm a Tinker on the one big turn. He found a Tezzeret that could tutor up a Charbelcher and that was that.

In game 2 Randy kept a hand with Academy and a bunch of artifact mana, but his only action was a Gitaxian Probe and a Preordain. Luis used Thoughtseize to take the Preordain, but the Probe found another Preordain, which found a Tezzeret and suddenly we had the first actual turn 1 kill in the history of the Vintage Super League! (The best we’d had before was turn 1 Tinker for Blightsteel Colossus.) For posterity, the full turn 1 kill was: Gitaxian Probe (into Preordain), Mox Jet, Mox Ruby, Black Lotus, Expedition Map, Lotus Petal, Tolarian Academy, tap Academy for 5, Preordian, draw Tezzeret the Seeker, tap Mox and use 4 floating blue mana to cast Tezzeret, activate Tezzeret’s middle ability to find an artifact with cmc 4, put Charbelcher into play, sacrifice Black Lotus for 3 mana, use that mana to activate the Charbelcher, revealing a library with no lands to deal 49 damage and put Luis at -33.

Randy wins 2-0, somehow running his record to 2 wins versus no losses just 60% of the way into week 1.

Chris vs Tom

Tom Martell did a great job of writing this match up. You should go read all about it there.

The only thing I want to add to that is that Chris did start with the decklist Randy ran in the Vintage Holiday Festival tournament, but he came up with a pair of new cards that added enough power to the deck that Randy decided to run it even though he had previously been planning to go in a different direction: Diminishing Returns and Candelabra of Tawnos.

Chris wins 2-1

Steve v Bob

Bob has a sweet looking brew designed to set up the combination of Zuran Orb, Fastbond, and Crucible of Worlds. With those 3 cards in play you can tap a land for mana, sacrifice it for 2 life, and then pay 1 life to put it back into play (untapped). Rinse, lather, repeat and you’ve got infinite life and infinite mana (technically you have arbitrarily large amounts of life and mana, but you knew what I meant). Bob’s plan is to then sink that mana into a Kaervek’s Torch.

Unfortunately for fans of cool things, it turns out Delver is still a good deck even after the restriction of Treasure Cruise and Menendian was able to  stop Bob from ever really getting anythign started. Bob’s draws weren’t great and Steve just kept drawing more cards (including the one Treasure Cruise in both games … plus the Ancestral, a Dig Through Time, etc.) It took a while to actually win, but Steve was in control the whole way.

Steve wins 2-0

Season 2 start date announced!

Season 2 will begin on January 27th (aka, ‘a week from Tuesday’ as I post this). The matches will start at *6*pm pacific time, which is a new start time and one hour earlier than we were starting in season 1.

9 players return from season 1 and Kai Budde has replaced Josh Utter-Leyton.

The rules are essentially the same, though we have tweaked the playoff format by making all rounds best 3 out of 5 matches and requiring each player to bring 3 decks for each round, first playing them in a preset order, and then choosing freely from those decks for match 4 and match 5 (if necessary).

Note that we will be skipping a week after our debut since the majority of the league will be busy with preparations for Pro Tour Fate Reforged in Washington, DC. This means Week 2 will take place on February 10th.

The People’s Hammer

EDIT – I changed the decklist to match the one I used in the Holiday Vintage Festival final, where I took 2nd out of 130-ish players (losing to LSV in the finals). The tweaks from before were to take out 2 Time Spirals, Brainstorm, and a Time Walk for a Mystical Tutor, the 4th Grim Monolith, and 2 Tezzerets. The Tezzerets were definitely better than Spirals. (I also put 2 Workshops in the board, which helped me win the one match I played vs ‘Shops, but I had to activate Belcher twice since I had a land in my deck.)

—–

Here is the decklist for the Mono-Blue Goblin Charbelcher deck I used against Kai, and used to qualify for the Vintage Holiday Festival championship:

1 Ancestral Recall
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Timetwister
3 Chrome Mox
4 Mox Opal
1 Tolarian Academy
4 Force of Will
4 Gitaxian Probe
1 Mind’s Desire
4 Preordain
1 Tinker
4 Expedition Map
4 Goblin Charbelcher
4 Grim Monolith
1 Lion’s Eye Diamond
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Memory Jar
2 Voltaic Key
1 Ponder
1 Time Vault
1 Lotus Petal
1 Sol Ring
1 Windfall
3 Pact of Negation
2 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 Time Spiral
1 Mystical Tutor

1 Void Snare
3 Mental Misstep
2 Mindbreak Trap
2 Defense Grid
2 Mishra’s Workshop
4 Leyline of Anticipation
1 Hurkyl’s Recall

It’s possible that I should have more mana (the 4th Chrome Mox, the 4th Grim Monolith, and/or the 3rd Voltaic Key) as it’s felt a little tight lately, but I really like having 3 Pacts. Maybe I have too much expensive card drawing? Also – sideboard out Windfall on the draw.

Leyline of Anticipation is the plan when on the draw against Shops as you literally cannot cast a spell if they go first and play any sort of Sphere effect. Don’t play this deck if you think you’re likely to run into ‘Shops, but I think it’s pretty good against blue decks, especially permission-light ones (like Delver).

Enjoy!

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.

*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*

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!