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!