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!

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.

*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*

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.

*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 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.

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.

*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*

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.

*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*

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.

*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*

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.