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!
@kenan I finished top 25 with a 4c build that I genuinely feel is right there. I did get rolled by Mentor 2x, but going into round 6 was 5-0 with wins over Outcome w/defense grids, Leovold Bug, and shops x3. All three losses were to eventual t8'ers, but the wheels really came off on me rds 6-8. I can really only point to a single brutal missplay all day (on stream, vs Will Magrann). It does nothing fancy (except consecrated sphynx...was undefeated in games where it resolved) and rewards tight play. Will post my decklist, and am hoping to play my latest edition in the daily tonight.
I was praying for the Portal 3K staples, along with zendikar fetches and Masques staples (unmask, misdirection) for online. The Masques cards may yet come, but I'm done holding my breath for portal in this set.
Am I crazy to say I like the new sensis top art better than the old?
if the restrictions he recommends happen, I predict Workshop will not decline below their average baseline from the last 12 months. Then, we can see, again, who turns out to be right.
It looks like many, if not all, discussions about possible evolution of the metagame as result of hypothetical restrictions are based on one very strong assumptions - the metagame (market) is efficient. This assumption means that players have access to all cards, have plenty of time to spend on MtG, and can immediately adjust to changes. However, players do not have access to all cards, especially in paper, have some attachments to decks they play and are hesitant/slow to change them. Additionally, many players play occasionally and just want to have some fun without carving out too much time from their busy lives.
So any prognostication about metagame changes should take into account all Magic-unrelated factors. Otherwise, such discussions will remain only theoretical discussion quite disconnected from the reality.
Except now, with MTGO, Players do have cheap access to all cards, and can react immediately to the changes. Hell, anyone trying to test hypothetical restrictions can EASILY do so on MTGO.
I have stated this in other similar threads but will reiterate my feelings here....In other formats (standard and modern primarily) when the DCI bans cards, there is always a segment of the player community who's pet deck gets nerfed, and they throw their hands up, put their cards in the closet and say "I quit!". Maybe this hits some local scenes harder than others, but when it comes to larger events, the impact of these folks no longer wanting to play is almost meaningless, there will "always" be more players who want to play these formats (especially standard).
This is very different from Vintage, where the player base is significantly smaller and not growing at any recognizable pace. Restricting something like Workshop, whether validly based on data and statistics or not WILL cause people to quit the format, plain and simple. If your response to that is good riddance and grow up, fine; I personally do not see how a format that struggles to meet attendance floors for its most prestigious events can possibly withstand a restriction that would alienate a whole segment of players.
Maybe the critical mass of artifacts that suck in every other format but are mega playable with a 4-of-artifact-only black lotus that never goes away is real, but I do not think the impact of players that will literally stop playing vintage can be ignored. Is it fair for these folks to hold the format hostage...no of course not, but I do not think that a Shops restriction is the way to go right now. I would rather see sweeping restrictions of Sphere, Ravager, and Revoker, In addition to Mentor, Preordain, and Mental Misstep.
The bottom line is are we willing to "have to have" random artifacts restricted every 12-18 months or just cut the problem off at the pass and restrict workshop. Wizards will continue to print artifacts with nary a sideways glance at vintage. When a compelling case case be made for the restriction of at least four different cards (Ballista, Inspector, Sphere, Ravager) perhaps a harder look needs to be given to what is enabling this.
I am going to keep this short, since I feel the argument is a simple one. Now that there is an official policy on Proxys for foil only cards like Kess in Legacy and Nexus in standard, I believe it is time for Wizards to extend the policy further to include CE/IE cards in the Eternal Formats.
I have no idea if this somehow infringes on the reserved list (not sure how it would...) but the merits of this have to outweigh the negatives. Access to cheaper duals for legacy, and additional power for Vintage players. This would add approximately 14,000 copies of these cards into the pool of available duals and power, and could help facilitate additional sanctioned Eternal events in the future.
Sigh...It's so boring reading comparisons about orchid mox oath or how misstep and FoW see a ton of play so they must go too, even if its tongue and cheek about the BS level of the DCI's reasoning. The cool thing about orchid mox pass is I can abrupt decay, natures claim, disenchant, engineered explosives, cabal therapy away the token right there on my turn without being taxed. If Mental misstep Lava Axe'd my opponent while I was countering their ancestral we can have a conversation.
I am always weary of hard and fast rules around real vs fake when looking at the pixels through a jewelers lens. I had acquired a revised scrubland before eternal weekend from a reputable shop local to me. Maybe a month later I go to another local store with the intent to trade said scrubland toward an underground, and the owner immediately noticed something "off" about the card and busted out his Jewelers lens to inspect. Within about 30 seconds he said the card was a fake (a great fake, but fake none the less).
Obviously angry, I intended to return to the store that sold me the card and demand my $$ back, then another patron of the store who claimed to know a thing or two asked to look at the card (I took his word based solely on my personal knowledge of his extensive collection) and he stated that the card was not a fake, but more likely from a different printer/print run from Revised. He and the store owner argued a bit and agreed to disagree. PS I decide to take this card to Eternal Weekend knowing that with the shear number of Dealers down there I would get my answer. I show up Friday early afternoon and immediately start going around telling each dealer that I have this card, don't know if its real or fake and want an opinion and a potential trade assuming its authenticated. Without naming names, I went to 6 dealers, and 4 said its real, agreeing with the gentleman who stated that it was from a different printer/print run, and two agreed with the store owner that the pixels were wrong and that it was a really good fake.
Moral of my story, to this day I have no idea if this scrubland was real or fake...all I could go by was the majority opinion and I ultimately traded it toward some blue duals. I should add that I feel no guilt regarding this...I was honest and up front and each dealer did their due diligence. Be an informed consumer, and don't be afraid to do your homework before investing $1000's in cards but I am hesitant of hard and fast rules surrounding some of the more intricate aspects of card design and printing.
My parents bought me my first pack(s) from Ice Age when I was about 7..at the time they were just cards in a binder and nothing more. Most of them were sold at a garage sale a few years later and to this day I can't say if there was anything valuable in there. Fast forward to Oddessy Block I started playing Standard and Block (Psychatog, Maddness and Mirari's Wake mostly) Until I saved up $80 and bought the Mox Pearl sitting in the showcase for like 6 months at Tri County Flea Market on Long Island (it was marked at $110 but the owner knew me and knew he had been sitting on it for 6 months...). A couple of the locals played Type 1, and when Onslaught came out I dove in head first and bought dual lands, Force of wills, Mana Drains and as much power as I could afford. I played Psychatog first, then almost exclusively TPS. My dad was great enough to drive me all over creation (Waterbury, Richmond, Chicago, and Rochester for SCG P9 events) as well as the small and infrequent local events mostly run by Nick Detwiler. I sold my collection in 2006 (foolishly) before departing for College after I had grown bored of the local scene and lost the motivation to travel for events that only happened every so often. As is so often the case, I followed the format from afar for almost 10 years and then shortly after getting married I decided it was time to get back into it since the local Long Island scene was (and is) flourishing. I can enjoy 2-3 15-20 person events a month if I wish, not to mention a great crew that always seems to be around to play some games on the side.
When I first got back into magic and was looking at the Delve Mechanic I was mega excited for all the cool cunning wish interactions and then had my buzz completely killed when I learned of the errata If I cant cunning wish for the brainstorm I imprinted on my chrome mox then why even play magic?
I like that this topic has been brought up, as it is a conversation that takes place at my local game stores fairly regularly. My opinion on the "classic" magic collectibles (P9, LOA, Bazaar, Workshop, Expensive Legends cards) is that if you have them, hold on for dear life. While some regular fluctuations happen, these cards have almost all done nothing but appreciate over the past 10 years, and barring some overall MTG market collapse (like someone discovers that 10% of P9 is counterfeit, or something crazy) they should continue an incremental price increase.
For me, the real business in speculating on MTG comes from playable Uncommons and rares. Can you identify that card that will see play in several formats, will be used in multiples, and that you can purchase in bulk for 15-20 cents a piece that will be selling for 2-3$ on Starcity next month? I most recently picked up about 140 copies of Painful truths for (tops) a quarter each, and managed to sell them in bulk at GP NY for 50 cents each, more than doubling my investment.
I know, "congrats on your whopping $70!" but with an initial investment of only 30-35$ I did pretty darn good! Everything is relative... I do not have access to 1000's of individual cards like others do. My point is that investing in "classic" expensive MTG cards is like buying a savings bond. Someone somewhere that has had 20 Libraries for the past 15 years is sitting pretty, but that's a small subset of the market. I do not know how many people woke up to $800 LOA and said "WOW BETTER BUY THIS NOW BEFORE ITS $1000!" If you really want to speculate, and frankly gamble, start looking for the next Rest in Peace or Stony Silence.