Week 6 Recaps

*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 vs Rich

These were the only two players who ran back their decks from weeks 1-3 and both were 0-2 so far in the second set. Rich won the die roll and sacrificed a first turn Black Lotus to put Jace the Mind Sculptor into play. Chris didn’t have any of his creature lands to attack Jace with so the game was essentially over before Chris even got started.

Chris was on the play in game and had a good draw so the game was probably going to be a blowout versus most of Rich’s draws, but when Rich took a mulligan all the way down to 3 cards things were over in a hurry. Game 3 was quite close and interesting. Chris seemed to have it with a Lodestone Golem and two Phyrexian Revokers, but Rich drew Shattering Spree the turn before he was going to die and was able to follow up with a Myr Battlesphere. Chris used Sculpting Steel to make a Battlesphere of his own and when the dust finally settled from several messy combats, the Spheres cancelled each other out and Chris was able to win with his other creatures.

The win moves Chris up to 4-2 and drops Rich to 2-4.

Randy vs Dave

Randy had a turn 1 Oath of Druids in game 1 and then top-decked the Forbidden Orchard he needed to turn it on. Dave had no answer for either Griselbrand’s ability to attack or Grislebrand’s ability to draw cards so the players were quickly off to game 2. In game 2 Dave was able to fend off an early Thoughtseize into Necropotence (with Force of Will) and then drop a Back to Basics. Randy’s draw was mana heavy so the Back to Basics didn’t really matter much as he was able to build up a hand full of mana spells and eventually was able to generate enough storm for a lethal Tendrils without drawing any extra cards. However, Dave had his one copy of Mindbreak Trap to counter all the copies of Tendrils and force game 3. In game 3 Randy was able to play turn 1 Oath of Druids (off an Orchard), but Dave had the Force of Will. Randy was then able to use Vampiric Tutor to set up turn 2 Yawgmoth’s Bargain, but Dave once again had a Force of Will. Several turns later Randy used a Duress to try to push through an Oath, but Dave had Force of Will #3 plus a Spell Snare.

The loss means Randy was 0-3 with Burning Oath and is now 2-4. Dave went 2-1 with mono-blue control to move up to 3-3.

Steve vs Luis

Steve had an aggressive start in game 1 with 2 Delvers and a Young Pyromancer, but Luis was able to milk a Library of Alexandria for serious value and put together Time Vault – Voltaic Key before Steve could deal 20 damage. Game 2 was a classic control versus control battle. Contrary to what i said in this space last week, Menendian believes his Delver list is just fine against control decks due to his low land count turning into extra business cards over the course of many draw phases, and he actually sideboards out Delver of Secrets so he can better position himself for the long game. Game 2 went super long and Menendian did seem to have more relevant cards, but Luis extracted maximum value from all of his and was actually in position to potentially deck Steve, thanks in part to Steve miscounting storm on one turn and being forced to use a second Flusterstorm to win a counterspell skirmish. A big fight then broke out when Steve went to Ancestral Recall himself and he actually managed to Misdirect Luis’s Ancestral in the same stack and draw 6 cards. However, he had already gone through pretty much all the permission in his deck and Luis was still able to resolve a lethal Yawgmoth’s Will thanks to a Red Elemental blast off the top. The win left Steve very impressed by Luis’s Vintage chops, saying afterwards “LSV is a master and he outplayed me.”

The win leaves both players 5-1 and tied for first. Luis went 3-0 with this deck while Steve went 2-1.

Tom vs Efro

Both players were 2-0 with their current decks. Efro drew his one Strip Mine to destroy Tom’s Bazaar of Bagdad in game 1, but Tom was able to use his draw phase to extract value over the course of several turns. Efro used Trinket Mage to find his one maindeck Grafdigger’s Cage to stop the Bloodghast recursion, and was almost able to play enough blockers, but Tom hard-cast a Narcomeba plus a Golgari Thug to force through the last few points of damage.

In game two Eric was able to Trinket Mage for Grafdigger’s Cage on turn 2 and had Back to Basics to attempt to shut down Tom’s Bazaar on turn 3, but Tom’s drew the perfect land: an Undiscovered Paradise which both turned on the Nature’s Claim he needed to blwo up Cage, plus Tom was even able to do that as a response to a pair of Bloodghast triggers. Undiscovered even comes back to hand rather than getting locked down by Back to Basics. Tom then used it to cast a second Nature’s Claim to free his Bazaar and was quickly able to dredge up a Dread Return and a Flame-Kin Zealot that allowed him to attack for exactsies.

Efro falls to 4-2 (2-1 this set) while Tom came all the way back from 0-3 to get himself to 3-3.

Bob vs Wrapter

Bob led with Chalice of the Void on 1 thanks to a Mishra’s Workshop in game 1.  Josh has 24 1-mana spells in his deck, including every non-mana spell he drew in this game.

In game 2 Josh used his pair of Lightning Bolts to kill off two Lodestone Golems and without much pressure on his life total Josh was able to wait out a Tangle Wire, play Pyromancer’s Ascension, set up a turn where he could Demonic Tutor for both Yawgmoth’s Will and Black Lotus (thanks to the extra copy of Demonic Tutor from the turned on Ascension). From there he played 3 Young Pyromancers, made 20-some tokens, and cast a Time Walk so he could untap and attack for the win.

That turned out to be all the spells Josh was going to get to cast in the match. Bob curved turn 1 Thorn of Amesthyst into turn 2 Lodestone Golem and turn 3 2nd Lodestone Golem.

The win is Bob’s first of the season and pulls him into a tie for 9th with Josh at 1-5.

Week 5 Match Reports

*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*

Efro vs Chris

Chris showed everyone why people play Mishra’s Workshop decks in game 1: turn 1 Chalice for zero plus Sphere of Resistance, turn 3 Lodestone Golem, turn 4 Lodestone Golem. Eric didn’t actually get to cast a spell until game 2, but his first turn of game 2 saw him cast some good ones: Black Lotus, Sol Ring, Jace the Mind Sculptor, and Mox Sapphire all came to play.

Chris and Eric both kept awkward 6-card hands in game 3. Chris got to lead with a Chalice for 0 (stranding one Mox), and he had a bunch of mana (including a Wasteland for Eric’s only land: a Library of Alexandria), but he never found a threat. Eric had no land for quite a few turns, but he fended off some lock pieces with Force of Will and eventually found a Divining Top and started to build a board. Chris’s deck failed to deliver up any of his 8 man lands, or any of his 9 creatures until Eric had Jace and a grip full of cards.

The win moves Eric to 4-1 and drops Chris to 3-2.

LSV vs Josh

Josh was thought to be a favorite with his innovative Pyromancer’s Ascension brew against LSV’s Grixis Control. Game 1 was fairly even for a while with both players dealing with each other’s stuff until they didn’t have any stuff left. Josh won the top-deck war by drawing Yawgmoth’s Will, which brought back an Ascension and proceeded to win the game on the spot.

Game 2 was kind of crazy: Josh had an Ascension turned on, but didn’t have enough card drawing to go off and win. He did have several Force of Wills though, so he was able to stop Luis from Tinkering out a Voltaic Key to go with his Time Vault. Luis then set up an end-step Snapcaster, threatening to give flashback to a Fact or Fiction, with a second Snapcaster in hand ready to give flashback to the Tinker. Josh stopped the first Snapcaster with Pyroblast, and then had to burn a Manamorphose just to draw two cards in an effort to find a blue card to go with his last Force of Will … which he did. Josh then seemed on the verge of victory with Young Pyromancer tokens, but Luis top-decked a Yawgmoth’s Will and extracted enough value to eventually hard-cast a Blightsteel Colossus and force a game 3.

Game 3 was even crazier. Both players kept 7 card hands with no mana sources other than one Black Lotus each. Luis used a Force of Will to stop Josh’s turn 1 Young Pyromancer and then used another Force of Will on a Mental Misstep which Josh was using to try to stop Luis’s plan for finding land: a Sensei’s Divining Top. When the dust settled from turn one Luis had no cards in hand other than an awful Blightsteel Colossus, but he was able to start drawing 2 cards per turn with the Voltaic Key – Divining Top combo and promptly drew a Demonic Tutor to go get an better combo with Voltaic Key: Time Vault.

Luis moves to 4-1 with the win, while Josh drops to 1-4.

Rich vs Steve

The longtime Vintage rivals played quite a good match. In game 1 Rich was able to set up the truly absurd combination of Notion Thief plus Dack Fayden (you target your opponent with Dack’s +1 ability and the Notion Thief means you draw the 2 cards, but they still have to discard 2). The game quickly became a blowout when Steve couldn’t bust up the combo. Game 2 became a blow-out in the other direction after Steve was able to use Force of Will and Flusterstorm to defend a Misdirection on Rich’s Ancestral Recall.

Game 3 went long when Steve drew a lot of permission, but no creatures. Steve’s Delver deck sometimes struggles to win the long ones, but he was able to fend off all of Rich’s efforts to win and eventually start attacking with a Snapcaster Mage. Control Snapcaster got there and Steve ran his record all the way up to 5-0. Rich is now 2-3.

Randy vs Tom

Tom won the die roll in a match-up (Storm versus Dredge) that was always going to be a race. Randy mulliganned down to 4 cards, but actually had 7 mana and a Griselbrand on turn 1. However, by the time Tom got done flashing back multiple copies of Cabal Therapy on turn 2, Randy was drawing dead before his 2nd turn. On the play in game 2, Randy was able to Vampiric Tutor as a response to Unmask and set up a turn 2 Yawgmoth’s Bargain. Drawing 15 cards was good enough to set up a lethal Tendrils of Agony, as it almost always is.

Game 3 Randy once again had to take two mulligans. His hand was decent, and had a chance to deliver the first turn 1 kill in league play, but Tom had Mental Misstep in his own (6 card) hand and used it to counter the initial Dark Ritual, forcing Randy to say go and hope to live long enough to cast his Demonic Tutor and/or Burning Wish on turn 2. He never got a turn 2 as Tom’s Bazaar drew about as well as it is capable of drawing: Fatesticher untapped it once, Dread Return put Sun Titan and a second Bazaar into play, and then a second Dread Return put the Sun Titan into play a second time (after Tom sacced it to a Cabal Therapy). That 4th Bazaar activation of turn 2 finally found the Flame-Kin Zealot that allowed fully 30 Bridge From Below zombies to gain haste and attack for approximately 412 damage.

Both players are now 2-3.

Bob vs Dave

Game 1 was truly bizarre. Dave’s maindeck Grafdigger’s Cage prevented Bob from activating Kuldotha Forgemaster, but Bob was able to instead use his Metalworker mana to play a Chalice of the Void on 6 (!), locking out Dave’s main victory condition: Consecrated Sphinx. Dave tried to beat down with Trinket Mages, but once Bob got a second Metalworker the two 1/2’s were able to threaten a double-block and hold off the 2/2 (more combat math was involved in this game than we have seen in the previous 4 weeks of league play combined). Dave went through all 4 copies of Jace the Mind Sculptor, but Bob kept killing them. Down to just 2 life, though, Bob chose to leave a Lodestone on defense rather than attack the last Jace and be forced to chump block with his last Metalworker (when Back to Basics meant his ability to cast spells hinged on being able to tap that Metalworker for mana). Dave went into “fateseal” mode with that last Jace and was able to build up enough loyalty to activate Jace’s ultimate, and Bob couldn’t find any way to stop him from winning that way.

Dave had a Force of Will and a Steel Sabotage at the beginning of game 2, but Bob just kept pumping out threats with his Workshop until Dave ran out of counterspells. Bob sequenced it so that Lodestone Golem was the third threat (the first to resolve) and it served double duty as both a lock piece and an attacker. When Steel Hellkite showed up as a 4th threat, the players were quickly off to game 3.

Game 3 showed off the power of Dave’s sideboard. Bob had a turn 1 Lodestone Golem, but Dave’s turn 1 Sol Ring (on the play) allowed him to play both Energy Flux and Back to Basics, the combination of which made it impossible for Bob to keep his Golem around long enough to attack 4 times. Or to attack with anything else. Ever. The win raises Dave’s record to 2-3, while the loss drops Bob to 0-5.

Week 4 Match Reports

*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 Dave

Dave showed up with a mono-blue control deck and seemed to be in decent shape in game 1 with an early Back to Basics, but Luis drew both his basic Islands, plus Mana Vault and Voltaic Key so he was able to shrug off the mana denial and play out a Tezzeret. One Time Vault later they were off to game 2.

Luis brought in a 3rd basic land for game 2 and Dave’s two copies of Back to Basics added up to just one Stone Rain. The game became a control war, and a super interesting exchange happened when Luis forced through a Tinker for Blightsteel Colossus and Dave pointed a Steel Sabotage at it, trying to bounce it on LSV’s end step. Luis had Force of Will, Misdirection, and two other blue cards but he let the Steel Sabotage resolve (rather than Misdirecting it to a Mox) because he just wanted to make sure Dave couldn’t untap and stick Jace the Mind Sculptor. Dave had nothing and Luis was able to force through a Jace of his own shortly thereafter, riding the Jace to a huge advantage and eventually Snapcastering back the Tinker to get the Colossus that he had put back in his library with Jace.

The win dropped Dave to 1-3 and puts Luis into a tie for 2nd at 3-1.

Efro vs Randy

Randy is running a Burning Oath deck full of maximum brokenness while Efro is running the same mono-blue control deck as Dave. Randy’s opening (6-card) hand allowed him his choice of Ancestral Recall or Wheel of Fortune on turn one. After resolving a Sol Ring he figured there was no Mental Misstep coming and went for the Ancestral, which worked, loading his hand with even more gas. Turn 2 he went for Dark Ritual into Demonic Tutor into Yawgmoth’s Bargain, which was sure to win the game if it resolved but Efro had his main deck Mindbreak Trap! Even worse, he untapped and dropped a Back to Basics which deprived Randy of colored mana for the rest of the game, stranding both Wheel and Burning Wish until Efro was able to Jace his way into total control.

Game 2 saw Randy go for a turn 2 Grisbrand (off 2 Dark Rituals and 2 Moxes), but Eric once again had the free counterspell, this time in the form of Force of Will. It took a while for Eric to actually win the game, but he was in total control for the rest of the game, putting himself into the tie for 2nd at 3-1 and dropping Randy to 2-2.

Bob vs Tom

Both players came in at 0-3 and the gloves were off. Tom had been threatening to play Dredge all week and that’s exactly what he’s doing. Bob showed up piloting Mishra’s Workshop for the next three weeks. Game 1 saw Bob cast a turn 1 Steel Hellkite, but Tom had an Ingot Chewer to buy himself enough time to turn his Bazaar into a horde of hasty zombies.

Game 2 saw Bob’s sideboard show up, with both Tormod’s Crypt and Grafdigger’s Cage coming down on turn 1. It also gave him a chance to show off the explosiveness of his deck with Metalworker powering out a hasty Kuldotha Forgemaster (thanks to Lightning Greaves), which immediately fetched a Blightsteel Colossus that also put on the Greaves to attack for the immediate win.

Game 3 looked good for Bob when his Wasteland destroyed Tom’s only copy of Bazaar of Bagdad, but Tom was able to use his draw phase to dredge a couple of times and get out a couple of free creatures. Two Bloodghasts and a Narcomeba wasn’t going to beat Wurmcoil Engine, though, so Tom went into the tank and figured out that his only chance was to take one draw step off and hope to draw a land so he could cast Chain of Vapor. He hit the ~20% shot and drew the land he needed! It wasn’t enough to win on the spot, but it turned the game into a very close, very complicated race that Tom was able to win when Bob failed to draw any reasonable follow-up plays.

Wrapter vs Rich

Josh shocked everyone by brewing up a Vintage deck around Modern staple Pyromancer’s Ascension. His combo fizzled in game 1, but he got enough value to win in the long game anyway. In game 2 it was the other Pyromancer – the Young one – who carried him to a relatively quick victory. It was Josh’s first win in league play, and the loss dropped Rich to 2-2.

Steve vs Chris

It’s a round-robin schedule, but it worked out that the only two players at 3-0 happened to be paired in week 4. Chris stuck with his Terra Nova ‘Shops deck while Steve changed away from Doomsday and is now running Delver. Game 1 saw Chris string together enough Spheres of Resistance to prevent Steve from doing much, and when Steve picked up his dual lands with Gush to save them from Wastelands, it meant he couldn’t cast any spells while Chris whittled his life down from 20.

After sideboarding Steve cast seemingly every anti-Shops card in existence: Ancient Grudge, Shattering Spree, Ingot Chewer, Nature’s Claim, and Trygon Predator all put in an appearance. Despite all the hate, Chris almost won game 3 by racing with a pair of Darksteel Juggernauts (one courtesy of Phyrexian Metamorph), but Steve had the Lightning Bolt he needed to win the race with his (flipped) Delver and one leftover token from an earlier Young Pyromancer.