This looks like a great event. Good luck, Alan!
Posts made by Prospero
RE: Comic Book Depots Monthly Vintage for Power 5/19 Mox Jet
RE: Workshop with Color
I try not to do it too often. I don't want to be the old man, sitting on his porch, yelling at the kids to get off his damn lawn.
I think we liked a lot of the same old articles. I very rarely read Magic articles nowadays, so I can't really comment on the current state of writing in the community.
RE: Some original MTG I am considering selling
For whatever it's worth, gents, I reached out to him about three weeks ago now, and haven't heard back from him yet.
Also, I previously owned Dom's Counterspell art, and sold it to a friend in New York. I trust both the source I bought it from, and the friend it's with now.
I believe Bloom_Meister has prints in a few cases, but am not entirely sure.
RE: Workshop with Color
Back in the summer of 2011, the Forino brothers and I were searching for a deck for Vintage Champs. Espresso Stax (henceforth Espresso) had dominated the metagame in the heart of American Vintage for a year, but blue pilots had found a new counter to the MUD king in East Coast Wins (henceforth E.C.W.).
E.C.W. was a Gush based control deck that featured ample maindeck artifact destruction (usually upwards of three maindeck Ancient Grudges), enough copies of Jace, the Mind Sculptor to reliably draw (and land) one each game, and a fundamental understanding of what Espresso was. "Just stop their threats" Shawn had said. While Espresso featured Chalices, Spheres, Thorns, Crucibles, and other forms of disruption, the only win conditions were Lodestone Golems, Karn, Silver Golems, and a pair of Duplicants. If you stopped them, if you countered their creatures, they couldn't actually kill you.
E.C.W. became a major player in the NY/NJ/PA corridor, and Espresso took a beating, before it was time to go back to the drawing board. With every move, there is a response, and there would be a response here. But to what?
We first started playing around with 5C Stax. 5C hadn't been dead that long, and we wanted to see if it was possible to revive the deck, focusing on the powerful elements of it, and cutting away everything else. Before we got too far along with that, we came to the realization that the deck was just too slow to compete in a modern metagame; the colored mana requirements of the deck were so onerous that they demanded a sacrifice of your Ancient Tombs. Tomb had been a somewhat marginal card in past iterations of Shop decks, but this was mostly a statement about the cards that MUD had available to it. The printings of Thorn of Amethyst and Lodestone Golem, the move of Chalice of the Void from the sideboard to the maindeck, these all put an onus on the pilot to be able to more reliably produce an explosive start with their mana. Going back to a world of City of Brass and Gemstone Mine felt like a quaint trip to the past, where the world wasn't as harsh, or dangerous. It wasn't long before the 5C experiment was discarded.
One of Forino's greatest lessons was to create references. Some parts of a deck may work. Others may not. Know the difference, and don't be afraid to copy and paste the parts of decks that do work together. See where it takes you, and what you learn.
What we learned was that Goblin Welder and Tinker were still powerful effects. Even in the age of Misstep, a resolved Welder could throw wrenches in the best laid plans. And Tinker, specifically used to find Sundering Titan, was more powerful than ever before; E.C.W. was a four color deck after all.
We were coming up on the hard deadline to have something built, but the deck wasn't quite there yet. We knew it too. We flew out to Indiana that year, not entirely sure of ourselves. We arrived at Champs with a U/R Shop deck that featured Shivan Reefs, Tinker, Sundering Titan, Welders, and a MUD core. The only colored cards in the maindeck were Ancestral Recall, Tinker, and four Goblin Welders.
The day didn't start, or end, well for any of us. At 3-1, I was the last 'live' player in the event of the three of us. I had my first ever match against Rich Shay, and mulligans to five, and then four, were enough to end my day. With my day ended, we were done.
The Vintage 'year' mostly ends with the crowning of a champion. While there are events that run after Champs, you're going to be playing in the metagame that Champs defined until the calendar moves to the next year. 2011, however, was different. We didn't have our deck in time, and, unfortunately, Champs proved a testing ground instead of a battle for a championship. I was driving to New Jersey the day before the 2011 Summer Open, held by Nick Coss of Top Deck Games, when I called Forino. We talked for a bit, and discussed some changes. The deck wasn't brown enough. It needed Ancient Tombs, it needed some of the MUD power plays. Tinker was powerful, but it wasn't worth the sacrifices that it demanded. Blue was cut from the deck, and MUD Marinara was born:
4 Goblin Welder
1 Black Lotus
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
2 Expedition Map
1 Mana Vault
1 Sol Ring
2 Sphere of Resistance
4 Thorn of Amethyst
3 Crucible of Worlds
4 Tangle Wire
4 Lodestone Golem
3 Phyrexian Metamorph
2 Karn, Silver Golem
1 Barbarian Ring
1 Bazaar of Baghdad
1 Strip Mine
1 Tolarian Academy
3 Ancient Tomb
4 Mishra’s Workshop
2 Tormod’s Crypt
4 Nihil Spellbomb
3 Mental Misstep
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Bojuka Bog
1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
E.C.W. had a brutally difficult time with Goblin Welder. The ability to recur any of your threats taxed their removal beyond its efficacy. Additionally, as we hadn't yet moved to the tempo meta that we began shifting towards, cards like Lightning Bolt and Swords to Plowshares did not see the kind of frequency in maindeck play that we now take for granted. Welder was safe, once he hit.
The 2011 Summer Open was seven rounds. Over the course of seven rounds, I played one round of Dredge, and six rounds of Gush. It was an exorcism of every Gush demon that I had ever had cross my path that day. I lost a close round to Dredge, and then proceeded to crush one Gush deck after another, running the tally up to 5-0 before round seven pairings were announced. My breakers weren't great, and I'd have to play in order to assure myself a place in the top eight. Josh Potucek sat down across from me, I apologized for not being able to draw, and then ran the record up to 6-0 against Gush on the day.
We had found our Champs deck a week too late.
MUD Marinara persisted for a few years. From 2011-2013, it remained an option. Cavern of Souls was a further boost to the deck, in ensuring un-counterable Welders, Lodestones, Duplicants, et al. But the deck's nemesis, Oath of Druids, became more and more powerful as the years passed, and eventually a combination of Lightning Bolts and absurd green enchantments put the deck away.
I sold nearly all my cards last summer, though I kept a German foil signed playset of Goblin Welders. I hope to one day be able to use them again.
Colored Shop decks haven't been particularly good for about five years. In order for a colored Shop deck to be good, what you're sacrificing (the blunt force of modern MUD, the speed of Ancient Tomb (in all likelihood)) must be worth what you gain. Because your deck is split between mana, threats, and disruption, if you're losing on your mana, you had better be gaining more from either your disruption or your threats to more than adequately account for the discrepancy.
This is usually profoundly difficult, as Shop decks, more than many other decks, must be built to be harmonious. Drawing cards like Tinker when your mana consists of four Mishra's Workshops, and five lands that are really effects more often than they're lands (Wastelands and Strip Mine), is counter-productive, and frustrating.
While, to my quick glance, it seems like Lightning Bolt is less popular than it was a couple of years ago, the preponderance of Oath of Druids in the local metagame (perhaps this isn't the case on MODO, or nationally), would be of grave concern. While Shop decks are generally disadvantaged to Oath of Druids decks (especially now, when all Shop decks seem to be Aggro decks), colored Shop decks are significantly more disadvantaged. Welder would thrive in a metagame where his ability to recur would naturally counter the amount of destruction decks pack. Welder cannot, however, live in a metagame where you can reasonably expect to play Oath of Druids once or twice in a six or seven round event.
After Thorn was restricted, I called Forino. I hadn't played in about six months at that point, but I wanted to talk to him about a white hate bears deck. There are many, many powerful effects available to that deck now. They are all unrestricted. You would have to trade your explosive starts for consistent, albeit smaller, plays. I sincerely think it's the right move right now. You have more than adequate answers to the hated Oath decks, and you have a wealth of options for just about everything else in the field. You can afford to run maindeck cards like Containment Priest, which present Dredge and Oath with nightmares, and you can do it all while you render their Ancient Grudges and myriad other artifact removal spells worthless.
A very long two cents, I suppose.
RE: Workshop is a pillar of vintage -Aaron Forsythe
@mdkubiak Mishra's WorkShop.
I think one of the fundamental reasons why people often exhibit bad sportsmanship is because they haven't put Magic in its right place. Magic is a game.
When a lot of us started playing Vintage, we were teenagers, or in our early 20's. Even though the cards were significantly cheaper then, I know that (for me) the money was a lot harder to come by. Buying a Mox in 2003 or 2004 was tougher for me than buying a Mox would be today, and I think that's true for a lot of the people who played back then.
The crux of this was that even though we were working, we weren't making all that much money, and many of us were looking for a way to make a few extra dollars here or there; it would help expand our collections, maybe it meant we weren't strapped for cash that week. In order to buy my first set of Beta Moxen, I had to work out a deal with a store owner who was willing to take $100 a week for me for several months. I couldn't afford to buy them otherwise. When you're in your early 20's, potentially still in college, you're not going to be making the kind of money that leaves much disposable income.
I picked up a lot of shifts working security (graveyard shifts) to be able to afford my first set of power. When I finished my first set of Moxen, I carried them all with me, in toploaders, for a week or so. I would lay them out as I sat in my security booth; I felt pride in having put a set of Moxen together (an aside; Alpha and Beta power will always, always, always look nicer, but Unlimited power will always be special in its own way, as it was what we could afford, and there's a magic in your first piece of power that a gem mint Beta Black Lotus will never have).
Many years later, upon meeting Raffaele Forino, he made a point of noting that if money was an issue for him, he'd just work instead. If you're showing up at tournaments with an expectation of making money, just how much money are you really going to make? Pro-rate that out over the number of hours spent, and then think about how much you'd make if you just spent that time working instead. And if you're not working a job where you can make the kind of money to afford the things that you want, what are you doing to ensure that this is no longer the case in the future? How much do you really want the cards? Are you willing to work a second job for them? Are you willing to make sacrifices in other areas of your life for them? I was broke for the better part of two weeks after I picked up a Mox Ruby from Dave Kaplan back in 2002 (I couldn't have put $20 together). Worth it. The barrier to entry now is obscenely high, and I wish they'd axe the Reserve List, but it's still possible to slowly buy in. If it's important enough to you to do it, you'll do it. And if it's not, it's not; the key is knowing where you stand.
I bring all of this up because it's so easy to look at the prize support, not really have all your priorities in order, go out, play in an event, and maybe take those losses a little harder because your house isn't in order. I don't think I was ever a 'bad sportsman', but I definitely beat myself up harder after losses than I should have back then, when the money was so tight. I could see how that would cause people to lash out, transfer some of that anger that they may subconsciously feel about things, and direct it at whomever they have sitting across from them. It sucks for everybody involved.
Before Magic was anything else, before it was a collectible, before it was about the art, before it was about the tournaments, before it was anything else, it was a game. A game. A recreation that you enjoy in your spare time, and that you play because you enjoy the game itself. Visna Harris is one of the best men I know, and he's having a good time no matter what his record is. He's kind, generous to a fault, and always laughing as he's trying to win with whatever crazy concoction he brought that day. I love this and I wish that everyone was like this.
One of the things that has always bothered me was about players discussing the E.V. of tournaments, and pushing tournament organizers to commit more support than could be reasonably expected. When we all flew to GenCon to play in Vintage Champs, there was the flight, hotel, food, entry costs, etc. Who came out 'ahead' in that calculation? The winner, and...? The tournament isn't being framed the right way by those who would view it through those parameters. The tournament is a vacation. Yeah, I want to win. Yeah, I'm going to test, I'm going to play my best, and I'm going to try to drive you into the ground (while never sacrificing my integrity), but this is a game. The person sitting across from me is a gift, I owe the tournament organizer, judges, and assorted staff my thanks for putting together an event that gives me a chance to play a game I love, I am lucky to be able to play that game and I should be thankful for that. I shouldn't be showing up with an expectation of the 'value' I can gain on the day, because the value I do gain from it all has nothing to do with money, even when I win.
Human beings are complex, and when you show up anywhere, you're carrying things with you. There are always other aspects that factor into how we react to the people around us, how we feel, etc. We don't always react the way that we should. When we don't , we should acknowledge it, own it, apologize for it, and try to be better. Reading about Brian becoming better is heartening. The primary emotion that we should all derive from this game is gratitude.