Vintage History- Investigative Report from 1994 Vintage Magic World Championships (the true decklists)

@countbeckula I just got a message from Cyrille that the deckslist was wrong, I've updated it (with Chaos Orb). So either this is revisionist history or he found some more information on his decklist. There was a lot of back and forth and difficult to get exact deckslist. Either way, this is what he says he played 🙂 Check out the sideboard and main deck changes.

@tribet Got the ancestral, I think it was a typo. Not sure about his report either chaos orb/Sylvan, as I haven't found it anywhere on the net. I know Zak was petrified of Bertrand's skill with Chaos Orb. I know that Zak and possibly Dominic? agreed not to use Chaos Orb, but I haven't read anything about that anywhere else.

last edited by joshuabrooks

@tribet said:

I'm pretty sure you are missing Ancestral Recall from Bertrand's list. Source:

Also I'm not very clear where this guy get this from but he reckons Bertrand replaced Chaos Orb for Sylvan Library in the finale against Zak. Source:

In the Zak Dolan Duelist article, I think the recordkeeper (Mark Rosewater, right?) mentions that Bertrand has a Chaos Orb as one of his choices during a Demonic Tutor. And the records also show Bertrand getting a Sylvan Library into play at least once I think.

last edited by joshuabrooks

Wow thanks so much for compiling this info. I'm currently building the top 2 decks from '94 with my oldschool pool, and now I can even go for the whole top 4 - cool stuff 🙂

That's the most amazing thing ever. Thanks a lot for this man, I've been wondering for ages what this decklists were, and I remember your post on the old TMD. Really glad you were able to do it!

No Drains or Counterspells is interesting.

@Serracollector said:

No Drains or Counterspells is interesting.

Dolan ran one mana drain, but i think it was more for mana acceleration than for countering ability. Mono-blue decks back then just got crushed by aggro.

I think that is one of the main reasons (other than drawing Ivory Tower and LoA) that Dolan won. When you replay these matchups, once the Bertrand player figures out the Dolan deck is light on counterspells, it becomes a totally different match. But when you assume he has drains and counters, it makes the channel/fireball play a ton more risky.

last edited by joshuabrooks

@tribet said:

I hear you Titus but, in my opinion, it is very important that Zak's deck won. I reckon it may even have helped MtG to be where it is today. It showed that the game had real depth, that it was intricate, with crazy interactions, combos, interesting lines of play & solutions. Zak's deck is hard to grasp, I can imagine all the noobs trying to figure out how the pile worked back then & failing miserably to win with it. All in all, I believe that Zak winning helped nursing the mystery around MtG and its infinite possibilities.

I agree with this completely. Magic was the wild, wild west back then. With relatively no internet then, the only thing you learned about Magic was self-taught or what had beaten you the previous day. Seeing a deck like Dolan's that had intertwining parts and tons of value plays, helped change the way we thought. We knew Ancestral and LoA and Control Magic's and STP's were good, but we didn't necessarily know why. Or if we did know why, it was because of some flashy play (LoA with Ivory Tower, or Regrowing Ancestral, or Plowing a giant Shivan Dragon), not as obvious (or important) were the small edge plays like refreshing your Sylvan Library with a Demonic, or killing an attacker with a Berserk. The average player wanted to play big and win big.

Granted, I think some of Dolan's cards are a little too Johnny for me (what's the point of Siren's Call if you already have them locked down with meekstone or stasis or Old man, no need to kill the creatures too), but Dolan also wanted every card to at least work with another card (Howling Mine-Icy, Time Elemental-Stasis, etc). He wanted hard locks. Magic didn't understand tempo or the value of soft locks back then.

I'll never forget incorporating STP into my early decks and being told to "never give an opponent life." In my mind clearing the board for multiple turns of attacking was worth it, but Magic was incredible short-sighted then. Almost every deck was completely different, and the small edges weren't as considered. At least for the average player.

Thanks for posting, great to see the semi finalist decks for the first time, surprised how many birds of paradise there were in the top 4. Based on my experience with my local playgroups I'd always thought them underplayed but guess they were popular than I thought - a good hedge against land destruction.


Yeah, birds were a pretty big deal back then. I remember quite a few tournaments offering them as one of the main prizes. I think with most of these decks, it also helped with mana fixing a little, but also helped facilitate the channel-fireball ALOT. Fun decks to play. It's great to have an aggro deck with a combo finish, and even better yet to not have to worry about Force of Will!

@joshuabrooks amazing work. Thank you for this, what a time travel 🙂
Maybe you should change title to "Investigative Report from 1994 World Championships" .

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