Best posts made by JACO
posted in Official Tournament Results read more

@garbageaggro said in North American Eternal Weekend 2017 Metagame Breakdown:

I think the problem with restrict misstep so people will be able to play better cards against shops, is that people won't replace misstep with abrade/fragmentize/swords etc, they will probably replace them with spell pierce, or more pyroblasts, and still lose the same way to shops and dredge.

That all aside, isn't this the kind of meta people talk about liking. Everything has things it beats and things that beat it. If there was one thing that couldn't be beaten that would be a problem, but that isn't where we are.

Discussions like these often tend to be muddled, but the clearest arguments in favor of restricting Mental Misstep should stand on their own merits, and have little to do with forcing blue players to change their decks in the face of recent Workshop performances (these changes should come anyway as part of metagaming and adapting your deck). Misstep is arguably a problem because of the lack of diversity it creates in the metagame as a whole, and all of the other things it pushes out of the metagame. This is essentially the argument that applied to the Legacy banning of Misstep, and there's a reason it only resides in Vintage currently. Whether or not that it will continue to exist as a 4-of or a 1-of is an open question, and there will be real consequences either way.

We will be publishing ALL decklists from NA Vintage Champs later today as a downloadable PDF file on EC, and I can tell you from reviewing them line by line for two days that almost all of the non-Workshop Aggro decks are just flat out mis-built for this metagame. A lot of people are misjudging how to combat the current iterations of Workshops, and others are thinking that because they dedicate a card or two like Abrade main deck that's going to get it done (spoiler: it's fucking not). There's going to be a lot of hot takes over the next couple of weeks in regards to banning artifacts and/or Mishra's Workshop, and I suspect nearly all of them are wrong. I'll have more to say on this later, if I have time to get a Champs review article up. Need to finish publishing the Old School report and all Legacy Champs decklists, and then have time to reflect more on Vintage.

posted in Vintage Community read more

@bobbyvictory said in October 17, 2017 Banned & Restricted announcement:

I spent money on cards that I don't even want to use anymore because there isn't anything fun these days that I enjoy playing. Tired of the same old bazaar/islands/shops strategies. I resent my decision to purchase these cards. Every vintage website, group and store that supports vintage should have a disclaimer that says:

Vintage is bazaars/islands/shops only, you've been warned.

Seriously, because If i had known this ahead of time, I would have never bought in. It doesn't make sense that the format with the largest card pool to choose from has the fewest playable options. It's downright stupid :(.

I write this without trying to insult you, so please keep that in mind. Your words here and elsewhere create the distinct impression that you don't actually play the format, nor have paid any attention to it for at least the past decade. Vintage revolves around the most broken cards and strategies, and blue decks, Workshop decks, and Bazaar decks have been 3 of out of the top 4 strategies that have consistently risen to the top for over a LONG time (Dark Rituals and dedicated combo being the other, which is in a lull right now). Decks like Fish, Null Rod tempo things, and Colorless Eldrazi simply arise as reactionary forces to this when the metagaming is correct to do so.

Restricting Workshop isn't going to do anything other than eliminate Workshop decks as a pillar of the format that prevent it from simply charging towards a 85-90+% blue dominated metagame (and yes, I realize not all blue decks are created equal that fit this category, and many have different strategic aims; I'm simply grouping these together for these simple-minded arguments). The critical mass of insane blue spells in Magic's history (many of which are already rightly restricted) are so much higher in power level that it will probably not ever become a format where blue doesn't appear in most of the best decks. It will also likely result in a lot of people quitting Vintage and moving on with their lives (if you do not believe this to be the case, you were not around when the blue apocalypse happened, and Brainstorm/Ponder/Merchant Scroll/Flash all got restricted in one fell swoop, and tons of players quit and set the player-base back massively). If you want Vintage to become a more broken and swingy version of the homogeneity Legacy has moved towards the past 3 years, restricting Workshop is a great over-reactionary idea that will lead to worse outcomes.

posted in Official Tournament Results read more

Full coverage, results, and all decklists from North America Vintage Champs 2019 can now be found on EC here:

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If you have a report you’d like to submit, an unlisted/missing decklist, photos from the event (please!), or any other data, please email Thanks for reading!

posted in Vintage News read more

As titled, a holistic look at Vintage, and why nothing should be done about the Vintage Banned & Restricted List on April 4th.

Your feedback here or on EC is most welcome and appreciated.

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Our NA Vintage Champs 2017 coverage post is up here:

Incorporates Matt & Ryan's metagame breakdown above, as well as including ALL decklists in a single downloadable PDF (alphabetical by last name, with bookmarks by last name letter) and we'll be updating that page with more infographics, links to reports, and the YouTube playlist embed as it all becomes available. As WotC has chosen to continually ignore official coverage of Vintage and Legacy Champs, we'll try to make the page above the central repository for archival purposes of NA Vintage Champs 2017 (fully matching Legacy coverage coming soon, as soon as the decklists arrive in the mail). Stay tuned for further updates.

posted in Vintage Community read more

I play a variety of formats (mostly Vintage, 94, 95, and Middle School these days, with Modern and Legacy lagging far behind the past year or two). I enjoy playing different formats because they all offer different interactions, some overlap of cards used, and different things to enjoy. Rotating what you play and focus on helps ensure you never really tire of any of them, if you appreciate the differences between them. I have started organizing events based on this principle, and will continue to do so in the short term while it continues to interest me. Hopefully that mentality spreads.

  • Vintage is basically at all time highs the past couple of years. Compared to other formats, it is always going to be viewed as on life support, because of the ever increasing cost of the cards. This will not change, even with so much new lifeblood being injected by MTGO and the VSL the past few years. Some people will shift in, while others age out or focus on family (or sell off collections for a final time to buy a house).
  • Old School (and other similar retro formats) are growing in popularity for some of the same reasons that EDH/Commander is popular. Players don't have to pay attention to any real metagame to have fun, and they can jump in an out without much knowledge lost. The type of players that tend to gravitate towards these are also older, and enjoy their limited free time playing something they want to play, rather than just grind and compete. This is the difference between mature adults deriving enjoyment from beyond the more narrow scope of what the young grinder does.

There is almost zero chance of positive expected value (EV) of playing any type of Magic long term if you are focused on dollars and cashing checks. Opportunity cost/time, travel, food, and cards assure that it will always be costly beyond monetary return. The value comes in fun and enjoyment of playing, and casual formats translate to that much more directly than competitive formats for most people.

posted in Official Tournament Results read more

Great work as usual, gentlemen. I am really enjoying this metagame currently, and had a blast at Vintage Champs this year. So as to not create another distinct thread with Vintage Champs 2018 results, here is the full Eternal Central report with ALL DECKLISTS and so forth (mods can break this off in to its own thread if necessary for some reason).

North America Vintage Champs 2018 Coverage, Decklists, and Results

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NYSE Open 6 Coverage and Results, including ALL decklists, metagame breakdown, video embed, and massive photo report.

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Once again, a massive thank you to @Prospero for organizing everything and creating such a great experience for the community to get together.

posted in Vintage Community read more

WotC is doing this for the same reason they used to restrict publishing fewer decklists in The Duelist and The Sideboard magazines, the same reason they don't post the winning decklists from ALL grinders at the GP/Pro Tours (they only do a portion), the same reason they don't post results and winning decklists for each tournament on MTGO every day (they have dramatically narrowed what they publish from where MTGO originally started), and the same reason they proactively contact sites like MTGGoldfish and others to prevent them from scraping data.

They are intentionally trying to slow formats from becoming "solved" by those with the time and inclination to mine big data. The less data there is, the more uncertainty there is about what the best cards, decks, and strategies are in a given format. It is certainly frustrating for anyone who wants to collect data to measure card and deck performance, but this speaks to the "discovery" line about gaming, and they will continue to do this going forward. We are supposed to trust that they'll make the best decisions with the data, but I don't know many people who trust WotC to do this with any good faith, especially in light of what we've recently seen.

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@ChubbyRain said:

Have other Gush pilots found the [DPS vs. Mentor Gush] matchup difficult? I'm curious...

From the results we've read online, and the testing I've done with DPS vs. UWR Mentor Gush it has been about a 50/50 matchup, depending on deck configuration. The more Defense Grids you play main deck the better the match gets for DPS, as it invalidates a lot of the soft counters that Mentor and Gush decks rely on. Things like Xantid Swarm, Thoughtseize (takes opposing hatebears, TKS, and never misses usually make it worth the life), City of Solitude, and even Mind Twist (doesn't get Misstepped, and is better against more decks) are also very good tools for DPS and Gush Storm decks at the moment.

I split my two matches against White Eldrazi (punting one of them) - Adding Mystical Tutor and Balance to complement the Walkers and Swords is pretty strong. Mindbreak Trap also can do work against their most broken openers. Alternatively, JVP is quite good if you can get him active, Baleful Strix is quite strong against them. Gush can definitely be built to beat Eldrazi and the Gush decks that did well made the necessary adjustments. That doesn't mean that Eldrazi is not a powerful deck - it certainly is.

Jaco's version is likely much weaker against Mentor. The reason White Eldrazi has a strong Mentor matchup is the combination of Spheres and the big threats. Without the Spheres, Mentor can just go nuts and the deck is more susceptible to Supreme Verdict, which commonly sees play out of Mentor SBs.

To give you some tiny data, I went 2-0 (4-1 in games) against UWR Mentor Gush (both having a small Bomberman package) at NYSE4 with Unpowered Eldrazi, and thought the match was generally in my favor against Gush decks of all varieties heading in to this tournament after having tested the past few months (which is why I simply couldn't justify playing 4C Mentor at NYSE4, which was my other deck sleeved up and ready to register). Null Rod and 8 Wasteland effects function similarly to 8+ Sphere effects. Balance can be very good against Eldrazi, but often comes priced in with losing most of your hand when casting it against an Eldrazi player who usually has 1-2 cards in hand. I believe I had my board reset by Balance, Engineered Explosives, and Toxic Deluge at NYSE4, and it didn't even seem to matter in any of the games. Eldrazi Mimic plus one other resolved follow up threat is usually enough to finish off your opponent in those situations because of the damage already incurred before a sweeper is cast. I remember beating Oath in a fun G3 after he resolved Deluge to wipe the board, then I cast an uncounterable Mimic and passed, and then I cast another large (non-Reality Smasher) creature the next turn, triggering Mimic, and the game was over.

The main path to victory for Mentor from every playtest game I had was if the Mentor decks get a very fast start against any form of Eldrazi (ie. resolving a Mentor before Eldrazi or Workshop deck does anything relevant), but barring that they are usually on the back foot most of the game against the versions with 4 Cavern of Souls, as there is effectively zero working countermagic at that point, and even having 4 Swords to Plowshares is not usually enough to save you. Dark Confidant, JVP, and Young Pyromancer are all OK, but none really seemed to swing games like a turn 1-2 Mentor racing. The fact that dedicated Eldrazi decks are basically half creatures, and keep pumping out larger creatures makes it very winnable for both Tribal Eldrazi and White Eldrazi. Endbringer or Eldrazi Displacer can clean up the battlefield very quickly against Mentor if the board is clogged. This also ignores the ability for any deck to play Dismember, which matters more than you'd think.

Mentor certainly can (and will) adapt to the results of the last month, but I think the other decks will keep adapting as well. I know I will (both with Eldrazi, and all of my other decks). I have read consternation about Gush (and Workshop) decks occupying a certain varying percentage of the metagame, but I can honestly say this is the most open Vintage has been to me since like 2002-2004, if people will take the time and put forward the effort to innovate, and I'm way more excited to play Vintage now than anytime in the past few years. We all know Monastery Mentor and Gush are synergistic and the best of breed/most efficient at what they individually do, but there are Thirst, Gifts, Landstill, and other combo decks out there that can be competitive in this metagame, and you just have to put the work in to tuning them. I had a blast at this tournament playing, meeting new people, and chatting up friends of yesteryear. The post-tournament meal was my highlight of the weekend, and I wish we could have had time for more of those. NYSE continues to be my favorite tournament each year, and I'm thankful for all of the hard work @Prospero and crew put in. I really look forward to seeing everybody that can make it to Eternal Weekend in Columbus this year.

posted in Vintage Community read more

Regarding holding Old School on the day before Vintage Champs, there is not a lot of crossover from the people who wanted to play in the Vintage Prelim and those who played Old School, from those I spoke to. A surprising number of the people who played in the Old School tournament told me they came to Eternal Weekend specifically for Old School, which is pretty astonishing - and this happened last year as well. Just as in the past 2 years, most of the players I talked to said or wrote to me that the Old School tournament was the most fun they've had playing Magic in years. And I don't even know what the hell I'm doing as a tournament organizer (yet).

The vast majority of Vintage players I talked to last year who played in the Vintage Prelim event the day before Vintage said it was a mistake, and they were unlikely to do so again in the future. Unless Vintage is all you play (or if you very rarely get to play), it is not very enviable to grind through an all day Vintage event for almost no reward on Thursday (or Friday), and then do so again the next day, especially for those who were planning on playing in yet another all day grind (Legacy Champs) the very next day bright and early. It's simply not worth the mental drain, when the optimal play is to save your energy and focus for the Champs events themselves, and spend the rest of the weekend enjoying free time and food with friends. Long travel times compound this problem. This is symptomatic of many all weekend events, and you can see this in the past when Waterbury has had like 120+ on Day 1, and then under 20 on Day 2.

The other reason that the Vintage Prelim tournament attendance was down quite a bit from last year is because it was on a Thursday, and many people were not willing to take yet another midweek day off of work to travel on Wednesday night (or early Thursday morning) to play in what is essentially a very long side event for little reward. The reason that people are willing to come in early for Old School is because it's totally unique, and the casual atmosphere, imbibing, and fun that they have is often more rewarding than the rest of the weekend. I suspect that if the weekend schedule was changed to being something like Friday (prelim events)/Saturday (Legacy Champs)/Sunday (Vintage Champs), there would be more participation again next year, even in Columbus.

posted in Vintage Community read more

This thread is a lot of blather from people who haven't even played any games of the format. I guess that is typical of today's society.

The best thing you can Tinker for is Memory Jar, as all of the creatures suck. If you played Vintage (and other formats) back then you'll quickly realize that sure, there's a Tinker deck, a SquirrelCraft deck, and a Rector Bargain deck (just as there were back then), and they're still not busted compared to decks like Psychatog and some others.

Give the format some breathing room before you trash it. Vintage was awesome from 2001-2004 - and probably one of the most fun formats of all time, and this is a close (but not exact) approximation of that time.

posted in Vintage News read more

After you check out the free companion article "Unpowered Vintage Eldrazi (aka JacoDrazi) - A Double Tourney Report," if you're interested in learning more about the ins, outs, and corner cases of Eldrazi, please check out my new short book on the subject.

Eldrazi Meditations

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This extended length treatise chronicles the spread of Eldrazi from its Modern lineage to its impact on Vintage, along with how to build and play a variety of Eldrazi decks in Vintage. With in-depth analysis of deck building tactical options, granular mana source construction, and sideboarding strategy, this book dives deep on Vintage Eldrazi strategies, with translatable lessons for the Vintage novice and the battle-hardened expert alike.

This is now available in Digital Download PDF, Paperback, and Hard Cover at the link above. Please let me know your thoughts, and if there's anything you'd like to see addressed in a future potential revision, what you enjoyed, or what could be expanded upon. Thanks for reading!

posted in Vintage News read more

@wappla said:

If you think someone 3-1ing a daily with a card is valid evidence their manabase can consistently cast it early in the game, I don't know what I'm even doing here.

Truthfully, I don't even know what you're doing here either. You didn't listen to the podcast very closely, but you're willing to continue to attempt to pick it apart, and even ignore things that were said in the podcast. Seems like an efficient use of time.

No one said, or wrote, that a two time 3-1 performance was an absolute guarantee that you could reliably do something in Vintage. It appears as if being obstinate is more important to you than any meritous discussion. It was obvious from the context that they merely alluded that some people were already headed in that deck building direction anyway, and the shell could continue to be adapted (as it already has been).

Regarding the criticism of the podcast content for lacking specificity of mana efficiency and more, perhaps it may be worth carefully listening to if that's what you actually want. From the podcast at around 29 minute mark: "with a single white, I think it would be an obvious inclusion in White Elrazi. But with double white, I feel like that is stretching the deck's mana base - not that it is impossible, but this will be difficult to cast on turn 3 reliably in a White Eldrazi I've heard discussions in the past about variations that can be built without Wasteland, or a reduced number of them, and I don't know if this card makes that worth it or not...but I do think the white white really does put a damper on inclusion in that particular deck." Kevin then goes on to talk about how it most likely is a reliable turn 2 or turn 3 play for the 5C Humans deck because of their 5C rainbow lands and Noble Hierarch. They then go on around the 56 minute mark to talk about the adaptation of the White Eldrazi mana base to fit the card, and then expand on it from there, talking about specific white mana numbers.

posted in Vintage Community read more

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Shout out to the people recommending Flash, Merchant Scroll, and Channel. You are funny.

posted in Vintage Community read more

I am the opponent in question (who shuffles anywhere from 30-100% of the deck; no riffle shuffling). I shuffle every opponent's deck like this at every event from Friday Night Magic to Grand Prixs to the SCG tour, have for many years, and have had it approved by many judges. It's basically just grabbing anywhere from the top third to two-thirds of the deck and doing a couple of side shuffles, probably some overhand shuffles (no riffle shuffling), and putting it back on top, or bottom (ie. followed by a potential cut, or no). If your opponent has sufficiently randomized their deck as required to do so by the rules, it is entirely irrelevant how you cut or shuffle their deck afterward, if you are not cheating.

posted in Official Tournament Results read more

We've added a section titled "Standings After Swiss (21 Points or Better)" on the EC report page which is a sortable table showing all of the players 1-58 who had 21 points or better after Swiss rounds (IE. were within potentially one match of a Top 8 birth based on tiebreakers), alongside what deck they were playing. If anyone has any ideas for what you'd like to see added or visualized, feel free to DM me. I'll be adding more over the next week as I have time to flesh out the page.

posted in Vintage Tournaments read more

In the summer of 2018, after a 10 year hiatus, StarCityGames dusted off the long running Vintage Power 9 series of events from the prior decade at last year’s SCGCON. This year StarCityGames once again unearthed the Power 9 series, at SCGCON 2019.

SCG did not do a coverage writeup this year, electing only to post T16 decklists, so we've done a full writeup. Full report of this year's Power 9 event, including pairings, results, standings, in-game photos, Top 16 decklists, and complete metagame breakdown of all 82 players can be located exclusively on Eternal Central here:

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@wiley said in North America Vintage Champs 2019 Coverage, Decklists, and Results:

Top 8 list locations from the pdf in alphabetical order:

Brennen, Joe - p.24
Coval, Brian - p.57
Eberhart, Ryan - p.77
Franks, Justin - p.96
Hockey, Brian - p.134
Kieth, Jody - p.148
Pinter, Jeremy - p.219
Schatteman, Boston - p.241

Huge thanks to Jaco and team for getting these put up like this. Already saw a lot of neat and interesting decks rolling through this, and I liked the artwork on brassman's sheet

EDIT: 1st place unpowered list (Humfleet, Patrick) is on p.137

Just updated the page for a section for the actual Top 8 lists, typed out on the web page. Will add a separate post for Top 8 Unpowered decks sometime later this week/weekend. Legacy Champs, Modern Champs, and Old School coverage on the way as well.