I am going to start this off with a brief personal anecdote before diving into my deck, card choices and a brief report of my fun (if not somewhat disappointing) experience at NYSE.
In late April, the day after attending the Waterbury tournament in CT, I received what was easily the worst phone call of my life on what was an otherwise beautiful Sunday afternoon. My parents had been involved in an incident while riding their 3wheel motorcycle and my Mother had been thrown from the bike and was in critical condition. While I am beyond grateful that my Father (who was driving) and Brother (who was riding his own Harley with them) were completely unharmed, we were forced to make the impossible decision to take my mother off life support once the doctors told us she was in a Persistent vegetative state and would never recover.
Needless to say, I was crushed. My mother supported me in everything I ever did, and even threw me a hundo when my dad wasn't looking back in 2003 to help me purchase one of my first moxen. In addition to my amazing wife and beautiful son, without whom I would be completely lost today, I was able to use Magic as an outlet. Between the support of my friends from my Local Vintage scene, my regular EDH group, and the generally great competition on MTGO, I was able to return myself to a functional state. I may bash the content of this website sometimes, but the fact is that this community is fantastic, and I cannot really say where I would be today without it or this crazy game we all love.
Anyway, thanks for listening (reading), now onto my deck!
I do not consider myself any great vintage brewer, but I have always enjoyed playing weird shit. If am going to commit to 10+hrs of IRL Vintage, I am most certainly going to play something I would have fun with:
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Polluted Delta
2 Underground Sea
2 Volcanic Island
2 Tropical Island
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Strip Mine
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Black lotus
3 Deathrite Shaman
3 Snapcaster Mage
2 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
1 Consecrated Sphinx
3 Dack fayden
1 Jace TMS
1 Ob Nixilis, Reignited
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Walk
1 Dig Through Time
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Demonic Tutor
4 Force of willl
3 Mana Drain
3 Mental Misstep
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Crucible of Worlds
4 Grafdiggers Cage
2 By Force
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Abrupt Decay
2 Murderous Cut
2 Null Rod
1 Pernicious Deed
In testing, I found this list to be extremely consistent in the Shops and Outcome match ups, and had 50/50 results vs Mentor. Knowing that we play in the Northeast, I chose to over-prepare for Shops, hence the MB ancient grudge and Crucible over additional Abrupt Decays...In hindsight, this choice probably left me too soft to the Mentor match up.
Thoughtseize over MB Pyroblast/Flusterstorm was something else that shook itself out in testing. I found myself always wanting some sort of impactful t1 play, and since 4 Shaman felt like 1 too many thoughtseize really fell nicely into that spot. I had a feeling that blue mages would be prepared to play around Pyroblast, and (as alluded to earlier) Pyro/flusterstorm are nearly dead in the shops match.
Deathrite Shaman clearly plays well in a 4C approach, and Leovold was fantastic when cast, even in the Shops Matchup where it netted me cards vs their waste effects and Ballista's.
Consecrated Sphinx is an amazing card, often locking up games after just a single opponents draw step. I resolved in 4-5 times throughout the day, and was undefeated in games where it hit the table.
Three Snapcaster mage were also fabulous for me, allowing me to ambush any number of shops creatures and even a dark confidant in Rd 2, in addition to the flashback shenanigans that it naturally lends itself to. I never once wished it was baby jace.
Three Dack Fayden were also really strong for me all day. I stole at least two Inspectors and it really is the lists most consistent card selection engine. I feel like three remains the right number going forward. Ob Nixilis was a last minute suggestion over Jace TMS #2 by local legend JP Kohler. I only got to cast it 1x in a game I already had well locked up, but the look on my opponents face was worth it by itself
For the SB, Pernicious deed had one shining moment in my Rd 5 Win over Dan Nelson, but aside from that one instance this probably should have been an abrupt decay. I went with Murderous cut over Fatal push or Dismember/snuff out, and was generally happy with them.
Here is a brief report from NYSE:
Rd 1 - Cosmo on Paradoxical Outcome storm w/Defense grid 2-0:
G1 He forces my t1 thoughtseize to protect his defense grid RFGing his Chain of Vapor. I am able to drain the grid anyway, resolve a consecrated sphinx and take control of the game. I was pretty sure RFGing Chain of Vapor killed his only out vs Sphinx, and he showed me the timetwister he drew the turn after sphinx resolved.
I board in both null rods, 1 by force 1 grudge & 1 pyroblast.
G2 I do not remember super well aside from a Snapcaster mage and null rod doing a lot of work, as well as an ancient grudge and late in game thoughtseize. I believe I dacked his grim monolith at some point
Rd 2 Ben on Leovold BUG w/Dark Confidant's 2-0
G1 - He Decay's an early DRS I cast and resolves a Confidant. I had moxen in my opener, and am able to get down Jace TMS, bounce Bob and took over from there. I believe I won with Leovold/Snapcaster Beats.
I board in Decay, Cut's and Pyroblast
G2 - We misstep each other's early Shaman's but I am able to stick Dack Fayden and bury him in card selection. Consecrated Sphinx come down off of a drained Leovold, and he has no answer.
After the match he actually comments that he has no, single card answer for Sphinx, as he was on a single dismember only.
Rd 3 - Travis Laplante on Uba Mask Stax 2-1
I've known Travis for the better part of 15 years, and am always thrilled to run into him at these events. He plays cool decks, and gives 0 F*cks.
G1 I think I wasted his lands two straight turns, and then proceeded to draw 0 lands of my own. He locks me down with Uba mask and Stack on 1 by about turn 6.
I board in all my shops hate.
G2 was very long, and featured him neutering the Mana dorking of my deathrite with a Metamorph'd deathrite on his side. I don't recall the exact turning point of this game, but I believe it involved a By Force and Dack fayden.
G3 Travis resolves an early thorn, and then made a slight error that ultimately cost him the game. I have a shaman in play, and he goes to waste my land. I am holding drain, so i float blue in response. Instead of moving phases, he attempts to jam defense grid which I drain with exactly 3 mana available. I drop my land for turn, play consecrated sphinx and it gets fairly academic from there.
Rd 4 - Nick DiJohn on "mustard shops" 2-1
Nick is a very well known player in the NE, so I am 99.999% sure he is on Shops but fortunately no one has heard of me :).
G1 I force his T1 trinisphere, get down a Dack and take control of the game. I do not 100% recall, but I think Sphinx sowed this game up.
G2 my had is COMPLETELY INSANE but he plays perfectly around my hate and wins on just about exact damage with a combination of Revoker, Ravager, and Ballista. Had i gotten another turn I think I would have been able to wipe his whole board.
G3 I push a big by force through a Sphere, counter a Cruiser and take over with Dack.
Rd 5 - Dan Nelson on Shops 2-1
Dan ultimately T8'd and we played 3 fun games. We were one of the last matches to end, so we ended up with quite a crowd.
I recall I won an extremely long G1, involving me dacking him with Sphinx in play to draw 4 cards, and then countering a Metamorph.
G2 I got run over pretty fast.
G3 was the really fun one...He is able to get down an early lodestone and foundry inspector (maybe turn 2 or 3) that took me down under 10 life. I am able to stabilize by resolving a dack + time walk (he didn't have any other spheres in play). I am able to hold him off, and ultimately resolve a big by force and am able to win from there.
At this point i am 5-0, flying high. I go into round 6 tied for first.
Rd 6 - Jose Antonio Alascio Lopez - Jeskai Mentor
These games were over before they started
G1 - I have no idea what my opponent is playing, so keep (what i think) is a solid had on the draw featuring thoughtseize, wasteland and a turn 2 dack fayden, but no FoW. He goes turn 1 Lotus Mentor mox preordain and thrashes me from there.
G2 - I play library and pass with Force up. He strips my LOA and i counter his Baby Jace. His card draw is better than mine, and he resolves mentor and time walk.
Both of these games took about 10 total minutes.
Rd 7 - Will Magrann on Super Aggressive Shops (on stream)
We pull the feature match, so my one major mistake was broadcast on twitch for all to see :) Everyone can watch this on the twitch video (I believe it starts at around 2 Hrs 30 min in) but i fully admit that the way I played Explosives on 0 on t1 cost me the game.
G2 He has like 12 power on the board by turn 4 and that was that
Needless to say I was pretty crushed dropping 2 straight like that, but was in 10th (top seeded 2 loss player) going into round 8, confident that a W would have me most certainly taking home a shop, if not sneaking into the T8.
RD 8 - Vito Picozzo on Jeskai Mentor
Vito had watched one of my earlier matches so he knew what to expect.
To be honest, my memory is shaky on these games except that I lost both, and that the Judge made the super odd decision to give us both warnings for failing to maintain game state for forgetting Fetch land and then FOW damage. I will call this odd only because he made the decision with Vito actively swinging with more than lethal damage with awesome Foil Charizard Mentor Tokens. Again, at least G2 was captured on stream, so feel free to go back and watch.
I ended up in the t25, but ultimately out of the prizes. Despite losing 4 not super close games to Mentor, I really do feel like this deck is right there. I am planning to test a tweaked version on MTGO when I have time.
Best cards of the day - Thoughtseize, Dack, Sphinx, DRS
Worst cards of the day - Crucible, Demonic Tutor
Thanks for Reading everyone!