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Part 1: Preamble

I was one of the 124 Vintage players who battled in the Power 9 Series this year. Any large paper Vintage event is special, but this one was particularly important to me: this fall I’m turning 30 and having my first kid. With that, a lot of my life is in flux, not least of all my relationship with Magic. I don’t know the extent to which I’ll still get to travel to large Magic tournaments any more, so I’d built SCGCon up in my head as a last hurrah, and a chance to prove myself on the competitive field.

Luckily, I wasn’t going alone: fellow Lone Star Lhurgoyf teammates Ben, Mike, and Patrick all made the trip to Virginia with me. Flights from Austin to Roanoke aren’t cheap, so we arranged to fly into Raleigh and drive from there. We’ve all done these team trips before, and they’re often the most enjoyable and memorable Magic experiences you can have.

SCGCon was structured such that if you make Day 2 of the Power 9 Series, you can’t play in the Duel for Duals Legacy tournament the next day. Likewise, our flights home on Sunday meant that Top 8ing the Duel for Duals might not be viable, so I decided I’d put all my focus and mental energy into Vintage.

I’ve been playing White Eldrazi since I bought power last summer. While it’s my only sanctioned deck and I love it, I had a few other options to consider:

  • Shops: Patrick was on Paradoxical and could have leant me his Workshops.
  • TPS: Ben was on Shops and could have leant me his Blue Power.
  • Dredge: Ben could have leant me his Bazaars.

However, one of the few competitive maxims I follow is, “Play What You Know.” I had the most reps with White Eldrazi, and felt that I’d either be a competent pilot of it, or a bad pilot of my other options. Likewise, the deck didn’t look too badly positioned going into the event! For planning’s sake, I’d boiled down the meta to five contenders:

  • Ravager Shops: bad matchup
  • Paradoxical Mentor: roughly even matchup
  • Xerox: good matchup
  • Oath: good-to-great matchup (depending on their build)
  • Dredge: great matchup

I felt that my 60 could naturally carry me in four of these five, and that if either dodged Shops or stacked my board against it, I might OK. Making these decisions depends on your goals, really. If my goal was to win the tournament, I should have just played Shops. However, my goal was to place well (i.e. Top 32, or cash, or whatever). With that, I was comfortable with the idea of hoping to dodge Shops.

I’ve been happy with my maindeck for a while, but spent a few weeks agonizing over the board. Here’s the 75 I landed on:

3 Containment Priest
4 Revoker
4 Thalia 1.0
3 Thalia 2.0
3 Glowrider
3 Eldrazi Displacer
4 TKS
4 Smasher

1 Chalice
1 Thorn
1 Sol Ring
1 Crypt
5 Moxen
1 Lotus

1 Karakas
5 Plains
1 Strip
3 Wasteland
4 Tomb
4 Temple
4 Cavern

2 Kataki
2 Serenity
3 Plow
2 Fragmentize
1 Stony Silence
2 Null Rod
3 Cage

Part 2: The Trip

Wednesday was a non-Magic day for me. I was up early to get some work done and run a few errands, then flew into Raleigh, where I was spending the night with my college buddy, Greg, who’d moved there a few years ago. He wasn’t out of work when my flight landed, so I Ubered to the Glass Jug, a brewery in Durham, and had a few beers. After I’d gotten a small buzz going, he and his wife picked me up and took me to a hipster bar, Parts & Labor, where we had some IPAs and kimchi poutine. From there we went to an Ethiopian place for dinner. The food was great, though it set in motion some tract issues that would later be exacerbated by a weekend’s worth of stereotypical Magic food. We finished the night with some drinks at a hotel roof bar, and then went back to their house to hang out with their cats and watch some shitty British sci fi show.

In the morning Greg and I got chicken and waffles before he went to work. I had a few hours to kill before the other Goyfs got in, so I hung out at Greg’s house and took care of some work emails.

Ben got in at noon, and we met at the Glass Jug and spent the afternoon drinking, eating Chinese, and jamming Vintage games. Patrick and Mike landed a little before 4:00. They picked up the rental car and met us at Glass Jug; after a quick beer we hit the road to Roanoke. We made a pit stop for Taco Bell and then got into town around 7:00. Ben and Patrick hung out at our Airbnb while Mike and I made a run to Kroger for beer and basic supplies. We were all tired and decided to stay in, tune our decks, watch Rich Shay streams, and drink beers until midnight.

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Part 3: The Power 9 Series

I woke up early to the news that Anthony Bourdain had died, which was strange. After everyone was up and had showered, I put on my Tobasco socks (I always wear graphic socks when I play Vintage), we got McDonald’s breakfast, and headed to the convention center. We were early and not allowed in yet, so we hung around the outside patio and sweated.

Caffeine count: 1

Once we were let in, I found a vendor selling Dragon Shields and resleeved my deck; I’m never sure if it’s important to do so, but it’d be dumb to get a game loss for something like old sleeves. I still had some time before the tournament started, so I went to get my buddy’s Show & Tells signed by Jeff Laubenstein. I also picked up a Show & Tell playmat as a prize for a future Vintage event:

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At 10:00 we all sat down for the players’ meeting, and learned that there’d be 124 of us competing. I don’t know what kind of numbers Starcity expected, but for me, this was great: as someone who gets to play Sanctioned Vintage maybe twice a year, my standards are pretty low!

Not long thereafter Round 1 kicked off, and the tournament was underway.

Round 1: Nick on Powered Colorless Eldrazi

  • Game 1: This wasn’t much of a game: his Endless Ones and Ballistas went bigger than my dudes.
  • Game 2: Nick got in some good damage, but I assembled Displacer/Priest and took over the board.
  • Game 3: I kept a Lotus opener that was ruined by his turn 1 Chalice for 0. From there, my lifepad shows 20 > 13> 6 > dead.
    Matches: 0-1
    Games: 1-2

So, an inauspicious start to my day. As you’d expect from an Eldrazi mirror, my round was over quickly. Rather than scout the field, I had Ken Meyer sign my Dark Rituals and then got a coffee.

Caffeine count: 2

Round 2: Joel on Combo Oath

  • Game 1: Joel led off on turn 1 Orchard + Oath. I did not keep a Containment Priest hand and saw Griselbrand next turn. I didn’t scoop, so he Oathed into Emrakul and showed me a Hive Mind along the way. Having established that it was not Inferno Oath, I scooped.
  • Game 2: I had the straight anti-Oath nuts, and he didn’t get to play Magic.
  • Game 3: I had the straight anti-Oath nuts again, and he didn’t get to play Magic.
    Matches: 1-1
    Games: 3-3

I checked in with my teammates between rounds, and both Ben and I were 1-1. Ben joked that we’ll get paired next round, and we both laughed heartily.

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Round 3: Ben on Ravager Shops

  • Game 1: This is why you don’t joke about getting paired against your friends. Ben and I have tested this matchup extensively, and it’s garbage. I didn’t bother taking real notes because Ben stomped me.
  • Game 2: I brought in 12 sideboard cards, and for a bit I thought I was holding him off – I made a quick Kataki and Revoker-on-Ballista. However, I bricked on lands for forever, Ben played out fatties while Wastelanding me, and eventually he ground me out.
    Matches: 1-2
    Games: 3-5

At this point, I assumed the tournament was effectively over for me. I always try to play out the event regardless, so I wasn’t going to drop, but I did readjust my mindset and try to not care.

Again, with my round going so fast I had some free time, so I got Pete Venters to do some signatures and Mark Tedin to alter my Sol Ring.

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Round 4: Dave on Paradoxical Oath

  • Game 1: Dave and I were both in the losers’ brackets, and I think it showed in our demeanor. Still, I landed double Revoker to lock him out of mana and kill him before he ever got anywhere.
  • Game 2: A first turn Lotus draw turns my mediocre hand into turn 1 Glowrider + Cage, turn 2 TKS. Completely absurd.
    Matches: 2-2
    Games: 5-5

Round 5: David on Dredge

  • Game 1: I did not keep a hand meant for Dredge, and did essentially nothing.
  • Game 2: This was a tight one – I kept a 2 lander with Displacer and Priest. David did not get his engine online or answer the Priest in time, though, so I got there off the fair beats.
  • Game 3: I quickly got down Cage, Priest, and Glowrider to lock it up.
    Matches: 3-2
    Games: 7-6

Two wins in a row is a good way to reenergize! I was still pretty sure I was out of contention, but it’s less draining than the win-one, lose-one exchange I’d started the day on.

Round 6: Josh on RB Daretti

  • Game 1: This is the one match in which I definitely played like ass. I kept a Lotus + Temple opener thinking it made 5 mana, then once the game started, I realized it was 4 mana and my sequencing got all out of whack. Josh led on Badlands into DRS, so I put him on Jund. A quick TKS did a lot of work, but eventually he stabilized at 2 life with triple DRS, Daretti, and Liliana.
  • Game 2: I went turn 1 TKS to turn 2 TKS and he scooped.
  • Game 3: Josh made a turn 1 Karn, Scion that I could never beat.
    Matches: 3-3
    Games: 8-8

Picking up my third loss was rough, as it meant I effectively had to win out to make day 2, let alone top 8. Fortunately, I remembered to energize, so I got myself a concession-stand brat and a Dr Pepper before the next round.

Caffeine count: 3

Round 7: Ro on BUG

  • Game 1: Ro’s a Houston guy I met earlier that morning, and knew he was on BUG. I never like to beat a fellow Texan, but I felt good sitting down against a known BUG opponent. I didn’t bother taking notes, because this matchup is dogshit for BUG and it played out that way.
  • Game 2: Same deal.
    Matches: 4-3
    Games: 10-8

The easy win felt nice, but this deep into the day I was starting to crash pretty hard. I got another brat and sat around feeling sorry for myself that I chose competitive Magic as a hobby.

Round 8: James on Stax

  • Game 1: James was on the play, said, “This is either gonna be great against you or awful,” and went Workshop, Crucible, go. I countered with a Turn 1 Smasher. He never really got anything going in time to beat it; not many decks can.
  • Game 2: Turn 1 Big Thalia did all the work for me, here. James was 1 step behind every turn, and even a Tabernacle couldn’t catch him up.
    Matches: 5-3
    Games: 12-8

It was an ugly day, but I just barely squeezed into Day 2 at 5-3. Unfortunately, I was the only Goyf to make it; despite crushing me in the early rounds Ben had finished 4-4, while Patrick’s record was even worse. As a result he stuck around to play the Vintage challenge, while the rest of us called it quits for the day.

Ben, Mike, Ro, and I drove to our Airbnb to drop off cards, then called an Uber to take us back out. Our driver, Willy, was a Roanoke enthusiast who redirected us from the bar we’d googled to Bick Lick Brewery. There, we ordered pizzas and drank beers until they closed at 10:00 and Patrick met us. From there we walked to a bar where, we’d heard, all the artists would be hanging out. We didn’t see any, but had a few more beers before getting home around midnight.

Day 2 didn’t start for me until noon, but as my Airbnbuddies were playing in the Duel For Duals we were all up by 8:00. Mike was in pain from the beer and food, but the rest of us felt fine! After a quick shower I put on my Lebowski socks and we got another McDonald’s breakfast.

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Caffeine count: 1

At this point, I should mention the convention center’s bathroom situation. In a building hosting several thousand large, nerdy men, there were roughly half a dozen stalls available. My teammates and I all suffered for this on Day 2, as the beer and diet of processed meat caught up with us. If I can fault any aspect of the weekend, it’s that.

With the downtime before Day 2 started, I thought I’d check out the vendors to see if anyone could entice me to be irresponsible with my money. Unfortunately, there were only four vendors in the hall, none of whom had the odd things I’m in the market for (Japanese cards, Beta goblins, etc). I’d brought my Pauper deck with me – for some reason I thought I might want to play a 6:30 Pauper Turbo event that night – so I goldfished that while listening to Tyler, the Creator and Wiki. Then I got a concession-stand coffee and watched Mike and Patrick get stomped in their first round of the Duel For Duals.

Caffeine count: 2

Towards noon I headed over the to Vintage corner of the room to wait for pairings. I saw a few friendly faces – Sean (of Team Tusk) and Greg (who wrecked Ben in round 8 yesterday) and chatted with them. When pairings were announced, I saw Sean’s name next to mine and didn’t know how to feel: I’d beaten Stax handily yesterday, but Sean’s a good player who took down a Goyf the last time he got paired against one. Certainly a lot riding on this one!

Round 9: Sean on Stax

  • Game: 1: Sean seemed to feel this was a bad matchup for him, and the cards didn’t disagree. I made a quick Thalia and Glowrider, and he never really got to cast anything.
  • Game 2: A quick Thalia and Priest ran up against Tabernacle, but I always had mana to pay. Meanwhile, Sean had double Tomb with no follow up, so the game ended pretty quickly. Lhurgoyfs ascendant.
    Matches: 6-3
    Games: 14-8

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Taking down an intimidating first round felt great. With plenty of time to spare, I got another coffee and listened to No Quarter to keep the high going.

Caffeine count: 3

Round 10: Marland on Paradoxical Karn

  • Game 1: You know that good feeling I just mentioned? That ended abruptly when I mulled to 4 and Marland made a turn 1 Karn.
  • Game 2: I mulled to 5 and Marland made a turn 1 Karn. I managed to Revoker the Karn, but it didn’t matter: the Construct he left behind was bigger than any creature in my deck.
    Matches: 6-4
    Games: 14-10

At this point, I didn’t know what to feel, and I was pretty sure I was out of Top 8 contention. Still, I only had 3 rounds left in the day, so I knew I had to play it out to see where I landed; as long I could pick up one more win, I’d at least finish the event with a positive record. To that end I put on some Danny Brown and tried to get my head in the game.

Round 11: David on Paradoxical Oath

  • Game 1: Besides Revokering Top, I did absolutely nothing while David drew a million cards. I was not super happy to be facing another Paradoxical deck, until David played out an Orchard and I knew I’d be OK.
  • Game 2: I opened with Lotus, Ancient Tomb, Glowrider, Priest. So that’s that.
  • Game 3: Over the first few turns I made a Priest, Cage, Revoker (on a Mox) and Wastelanded one of his few lands. He desperation Timetwistered, passed, and I drew a hand that let me double TKS.
    Matches: 7-4
    Games: 16-10

I was feeling pretty good about picking up that “gets-me-a-positive-record” win. Remembering that energy is important, I got two brats before the next round started.

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Round 12: Chris on UWR Xerox

  • Game 1: I thought I’d seen Chris on Xerox, and when he mulled to 5 I was pretty sure I’d be fine. Yep – all the Thorn effects were way too good.
  • Game 2: I was doing already doing the White Eldrazi thing pretty well and had Chris down to 12 when he punted a Snapcaster into my Thalia, forgetting that she has first strike. It was all over after that.
    Matches: 8-4
    Games: 18-10

So now I was in an interesting spot: while I was still sure I couldn’t Top 8, I was in the Top 16 range. Fortunately, Patrick and Ben were done with their events and got in my corner. Patrick got me a coffee and gave me a quick shoulder rub, then I scouted the tables to get a good idea of what everyone was on. Once I felt confident I’d memorized faces, I put on some Death Grips and prepared for my last round.

Caffeine count: 4

Round 13: Daniel on Dredge

  • Game 1: I saw Daniel sit down at our table and felt immense relief: I’d dodged Shops and gotten, arguably, my best pairing in the room. I hoped I’d be able to easily draw a Priest, but my opener was Land, Mox, Sol Ring, Crypt, Smasher, Displacer, Revoker. I decided to keep: it’s a turn 1 Smasher into an additional 5 power on turn 2, so if he stumbled at all, I could get there. I think it’s a fine keep, but when Daniel said, “Let’s see if your nut draw beats my nut draw” and played two Bazaars and made ten zombies, I was toast.
  • Game 2: I mulled to 6 and kept Cage, Strip Mine, and some irrelevant junk. My Cage got Misstepped, and while I was able to Strip his Bazaar, I was feeling pretty dead. But then, Daniel didn’t play another Bazaar, and despite Dredging 6 per turn, he never hit a Narcomoeba or Ichorid. Meanwhile I got to play out some dudes and kill him!
  • Game 3: This game was for everything, and my deck gave me the Dredge nuts: by turn 2 I had Priest, Cage, and another dork. Daniel managed to land a few Hollow Ones, but I was able to trade off a TKS and a Smasher to clear his board, then land Displacer to take over the game.
    Matches: 9-4
    Games: 20-11

Towards the end of game 3, I felt a smile creeping onto my face: it was clear that I’d won the match, and I was finishing in Top 16! Patrick and Ben were thrilled to see me take it down. Patrick had been texting updates to my wife, who normally doesn’t give a shit about Magic, and she was sitting on the edge of her seat waiting to hear. When I called her to give her the news, she was obviously excited. I mentioned that I was happy because, with the baby coming, this might be my last opportunity to do this for a while. Her reply? “I mean, you’re doing this in Pittsburgh in November. Be real.”

Ben and I hung around the Vintage tables to hear my final standing. After a little while the judges got on the mic and announced that there’s a clean cut to Top 8 at 27 points. We looked at each other. “27 points? That’s me.” They read out the Top 8, and suddenly everyone else was looking at each other. A few people approached the stage, and a minute later, the judge came on the mic. “I’m sorry. Our actual Top 8 is . . . “ They’d gone off of Round 12 standings. Oh well. I finished out at 13th of 124, and walked away with 200 SCG Funbux for my effort.

With the exception of Patrick, who wanted to redeem himself in the 6:00 Vintage Challenge, we were all pretty beat. The three of us got beer, ordered pizza, and watched the Top 8 back at the Airbnb. We planned on all swapping decks for the Vintage Challenge the next morning, but as we only had three sets of power between the four of us, I put together Unpowered UR Delver before calling it a night.

Part 4: The Final Day & Bonus Delver Report

We were up at 7:00 to pack, clean the Airbnb, shower, and eat some bagels we’d bought on Thursday. We got to the convention center a half hour before the Challenge, so I picked up some By Forces for my Delver board (as well as a pair of Golgari Thugs to meet their credit card minimum).

Round 1: Jeff on Metalworker

  • Game 1: I tempo’d Jeff decently, but never landed a real threat. Eventually, my unflipped Delver was racing two Voltaic Servants. Jeff got me down to 1, and on my last turn Delver flipped to swing in for lethal.
  • Game 2: I had all the tempo ever. Jeff made a Bridge that I Abraded, and then just Delver’d him out.
    Matches: 1-0
    Games: 2-0

Round 2: Justin on Grixis Pyromancer

  • Game 1: I was watching Justin’s last round and knew what he was on. He mulled to 5, I Misstepped his Probe, and he never really did anything else. At this point, being on Blue felt great after 13 rounds of Ancient Tomb.
  • Game 2: Justin led on Lotus, Pyromancer, make two tokens. I never caught up. Not even close.
  • Game 3: I had a triple Delver hand. What beats that?
    Matches: 2-0
    Games: 4-1

Round 3: Andrew on UWR Xerox

  • Game 1: Andrew led on turn 1 Library. I did not have the Waste and got buried in cards.
  • Game 2: I had a perfect tempo hand that kept him off the Xerox plan.
  • Game 3: Andrew led on turn 1 Library, and again, I got buried.
    Matches: 2-1
    Games: 5-3

Round 4: Jeremy on UWR Xerox

  • Game 1: Jeremy kindly offered to ID, despite knowing what I was on. I got him down to 3 before he stabilized with a Mentor and ran away with it.
  • Game 2: Same deal.
    Matches: 2-2
    Games: 5-5

UR Delver actually felt pretty solid, except for the Dazes. God, that card is awful in Vintage. Next proxy event I’m in, I’ll hafta try Delver with -4 Daze, +4 pieces of power.

I walked away with eight packs of Dominaria that converted into about $2 of trade in value. However, Ben bought one pack each of Vision, Coldsnap, New Phyrexia, and Planar Chaos, and did a grab bag for our team. I got Visions and opened an Elephant Grass.

With that, we hit the road.

Part 5: Closing Thoughts

SCGCon was a great experience. I always enjoy traveling to bigger events with buddies, and this was no exception. The tournament was well run, and with the exception of the bathrooms, the convention center was fine.

For those unfamiliar with it, White Eldrazi is a very strong deck. For the most part I piloted it well, but it also just gives you free wins; I had a large number of insane Lotus openers, and many decks are unprepared for the sheer volume of hateful permanents it has. Its biggest weakness, however, is Shops, which I believe makes it much better in paper than online. I don’t play MTGO, but if I did, I’d avoid White Eldrazi: all the Shops players will just smash you. I was running 12 pieces of Shops hate in my board and still lost that matchup handily. But in paper, because of Workshops’ card availability issues, dodging the matchup is more realistic. I took that to the extreme and only played the deck once; had I run into it more, I could easily have finished 8-5, 7-6, or worse.

That aside, my expectations for the deck panned out. I felt confident in most of my Blue matchups, and smashed anyone on Oath and Dredge (both of which are popular paper options). The list itself was good, too; I might trim Shops hate next time, but I think anyone could pick up this list and achieve reasonable success with it.

On the ground, Vintage also looked pretty good as a format. That decks like Xerox and Paradoxical are currently competitive with Shops is great. I was a little surprised to see 50% of the Top 8 as Shops – just because there wasn’t that much in the room – but at least it wasn’t a 5/3 split with Oath! Likewise, you can’t really be upset to see Montolio win an event.

I’m personally thrilled with my performance. After going 5-5 at Vintage Champs last year, this was a nice affirmation that I can hang in competitive Vintage. That said, I don’t attribute too much of that to in-game skill. Rather, I think I had two advantages this weekend:

  1. As mentioned, deck choice. White Eldrazi felt well positioned in the meta; it’s relatively under the radar; and it’s not taxing to pilot over 13 rounds.
  2. I suspect I have better stamina than most Magic players. I often start these events weak, but then get into a flow, and by round 8+ I’m still able to play competently. Deck choice helps with that: I never had a round go over thirty minutes, which always left me time to clear my head, drink water or coffee, eat food, etc.

I hope my wife is right and that I’ll make it to Vintage Champs this November. It’s impossible for me to know how having a baby will change my relationship to Magic; I wouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of my life and responsibilities changing, but I also love getting to go spend a weekend hanging out with friends and playing busted cards. With any luck, you’ll all see me playing some Thalias and Displacers in Pittsburgh this fall.

posted in Vintage Community read more

@13nova Well, at least that frees up 9th and 10th place for other people.

posted in Off-Topic read more

Unlimited. Once you’re willing to accept proxies in the first place, it feels arbitrary to say “your $1000 Library can be fake, but your $500 Underground Seas need to be real.”

posted in Vintage Community read more

@thecravenone We need to record another cast talking about how the Austin Vintage scene is going; we've taken a different approach from what you're doing in Houston, so it might be worth discussing the differences and what works/doesn't.

@nevilshute Good luck getting a scene going! Here's some thoughts from the Austin Vintage series I've been involved in this year:

We've been running events every 6 weeks, which I think is the right amount. For starters, it keeps us, as organizers, from getting burnt out. Likewise, it's frequent enough to stay on people's minds, but infrequent enough to feel special. With that, we've had 24, 17, and 27 players for the three tournaments we've run this year.

Regardless of frequency, consistency is super important! E.g. if you want to do it monthly, commit to that and let people know it's monthly.

In addition to consistency, the most important thing you can do is build hype! To that end, we've structured our tournaments as a year-long series, culminating in a year-end championship. Long story short, whoever comes in 1st for each tournament gets an invite to that year-end championship. I think this has helped build some enthusiasm and a sense of prestige.

"Advertising" is another important piece, both for hype and general attendance. Post all your events 3 weeks beforehand on here, on the local Facebook page, twitter, etc. Then try to update people on something every week. Our marketing timeline is:

  • 3 weeks out: announce the event
  • 2 weeks out: announce the 1st place prize playmat
  • 1 week out: post a reminder

Likewise, if you have someone who knows how to do it, make a flashy poster! This will help the event feel legitimate and fun. Here's the poster from our first event:
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Re. prizes: we are paying out all the cash we take in, and buying some door prizes out of pocket. These include a playmat for 1st place, and smaller prizes (e.g. sleeves or a deckbox) for Best Brew and Last Place. Obviously this is a loss for us organizers, but we're all adults who work full-time, so we can afford to spend $70 or $80 every 6 weeks. If money is a concern for you, don't offer additional prizes but just pay out the cash you take in. An unfortunate reality is that Magic players are little bitches about EV; if you either take a cut of the cash, OR if you offer cards and keep the cash, they might get upset.

Per @JonHammack's comment, I would avoid giving prizes to "Best non-proxy finish," because that could just encourage people who are already into it. Prizes like Best Brew and Last Place help out people who are in it for fun, and they're the people you want to keep coming back.

Re. venue: we've been running our tournaments at breweries, instead of game stores. I think this helps recontextualize the events and make them more "special": instead of being a normal tournament, it's a chance to hang out and drink beers with friends, while you're playing Magic.

Anyway, I hope that helps. If I think of anything else I'll let you know!

posted in Vintage News read more

Great season - thanks to everyone involved. The finals were a blast to watch, especially when @Smmenen was commentating. His enthusiasm was ridiculously contagious.

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@thecravenone Won't that just undermine the authentic, underground element of it? We were thinking poor lighting, sharpied basics, and someone spilling their drink all over the finals midway through game 2.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

@diophan said in Hippoath -- New deck strategy:

Why isn't this deck called Hippocratic Oath?

It does way too much harm.

posted in Tournament Reports read more

Preamble
Days pass, the seasons march on from summer to fall, and once again Eternal Weekend comes upon us. I was one of 7 Lhurgoyfs who made it to Pittsburgh to represent the team over 4 days and 29 rounds of Magic.

Wednesday - Travel
My wife drove me over the airport around 4:00. After a bit of a struggle getting through security – my cards looked fishy in the TSA’s scanners – I made it to my gate, where I had a Shiner Bock before boarding. Because you can’t fly direct from Austin to anywhere in the country, I had a layover in Atlanta, where I ate some Chick Fil A before boarding again. The flight was a couple hours long, so I struggled my way through a few pages of Virginia Woolf before switching to So Many Insane Plays and its equally verbose host, Steve Menendian.

I landed close to midnight only to discover that 2 of my fellow travelers, Sam and Patrick, were delayed 4 hours and getting drunk at the Houston airport. Fortunately our other man, Tim, had checked into our Airbnb, so I headed that way. One $35 Uber ride later and I decided I wasn’t sold on Pittsburgh.

Tim and I jammed a few games of Old School, then went to bed around 1:00. At 3:00 I woke up to our neighbors having a domestic dispute, and Pittsburgh felt increasingly questionable.

Thursday – Old School
Patrick and Sam got in at around 4:00, and when we woke up at 8:00 they were still drunk. A quick Google search showed that no nearby restaurants were open until 11:00, and I decided that maybe Pittsburgh isn’t the best. Fortunately, I found a café, grabbed us coffees, and listened to Gravediggaz to get in the right headspace for a day of 90s Magic.

It was a nice, brisk walk to the Omni Hotel. On our way we passed a Brueggers and carbo-loaded. Old School this year was BYOB, so we polished off the few beers we’d brought and shuffled up.

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I was on Goblins:

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Round 1: 2-0 vs Dan on Mirror Universe Control (1-0)

  • Game 1: Dan’s deck was sweet, but I just kinda did the aggro thing and beat him down before he could do anything.
  • Game 2: I got in some quick beats, getting him down to 4 before he could play Mirror. I had a Goblin Grenade to finish him off, but I knew he had a BEB in hand that he’d Recalled from his yard. I also had a Wheel, which I cast. He took the bait, and once he was tapped down I Grenaded for the win.

Round 2: 0-2 vs Trevor on Pink Weenie (1-1)

  • Game 1: I beat him down to 2, Wheeled, whiffed on burn, and then he started playing creatures that my deck can’t beat.
  • Game 2: He dropped a turn 2 CoP Red. I don’t have a Chaos Orb in my deck, and he knew to kill my Factories.

My round was over quickly, so I went to find us more beer. I walked over to a liquor store, only to learn that liquor = / = beer. I returned empty handed.

Round 3: 2-1 to Owen on White Weenie (2-1)

  • Game 1: Owen’s a member of the Tax Men, one of whom won this event last year. Yikes. I didn’t take notes, but as his life total didn’t drop below 16 it looks like things went poorly for the goblins.
  • Game 2: I got in some beats before CoP Red connected. Once it was down, I flooded the board and eventually got in the rest of the damage.
  • Game 3: He landed a quick CoP Red, but was stuck on lands. I flooded the board and dodged Balance / Wrath until he was dead.

In between rounds, I attempted another beer run. This time, I returned with some Yuengling and Two Hearted. My teammates and I were very happy to be drinking beer.

Round 4: 2-1 to Andrew on Grixis Goblins (3-1)

  • Game 1: I sat down and reached into my backpack for my deckbox, but found nothing. Apparently, I just left it sitting somewhere and a kind soul turned it in. Once I demonstrated to Jaco (the TO) that it was my deck, we got started. No good notes, but I think I just Goblinned better than he did.
  • Game 2: The Grixis part of his deck did its job when he Spiraled and Ancestralled into some good aggro cards. Pretty sick.
  • Game 3: He got stuck on lands, so I was able to go wide and kill him pretty quickly.

By this point the IPAs are kicking in, so I run down the street for some McDonald’s. God, I love the dollar menu.

Round 5: 1-2 to Joe on UR Burn (3-2)

  • Game 1: Joe got stuck on two lands for a while, and by the time he landed a Serendib his life was too low for it to matter.
  • Game 2: He led on an insane turn 1 Mox, Lotus, Strip Mine, Serendib DJINN. Yes, Djinn. Not Efreet. Yikes. He hit his land drops to feed the Djinn and I died very quickly.
  • Game 3: This was a great aggro game. We got each other both down to 3 when he Chain Lightened me. I had RR up, but learned that his 3 damage resolves before I can send it back at him, and he won.

Round 6: 1-2 to Dan on Tron (3-3)

  • Game 1: Dan’s from San Antonio and familiar with the Goyfs, so that was cool. He makes a natural turn 3 Tron and does degenerate things with it.
  • Game 2: No notes, but my life pad shows him going from 17 to 16 to 4 to 0, so I guess I Goblinned pretty well.
  • Game 3: This was another great game. Dan’s a mad man and Winter Orbed me. Thanks to Orb and some big dumb artifact wall, I was only able to swing in with a flying Balloon Brigade every turn. He Colossus of Sardia’d me to 3, but I still managed to get him to 1. He killed the Ballon, but I then drew a Detonate, which with 1 more mana would be lethal. On his turn, he drew a Black Vise, played it, and I died on my turn.

Round 7: 2-0 to Grant on UW Stasis (4-3)

  • Game 1 & 2: the beers must have done their job by this point, because I have no notes. I just remember aggroing him way too hard.

Round 8: 2-0 to Jeremy on Eureka (5-3)

  • Game 1: I did the aggro thing very hard, and he died quickly.
  • Game 2: I was able to resolve a turn 3 Blood Moon, which completely locked him out. He scooped.

Finishing out at 5-3 with a good buzz felt great. Goblins isn’t the most interesting thing you can do in Old School, but I had a good time playing classic aggro with shitty creatures.

While we were playing, fellow teammate Sean got in from Houston. Sean was going to stay with us for the rest of the weekend (as Sam was ditching us to hang out with cooler friends), so Sean came and met us at the Omni when the event was over. Outside we chatted with Evan (of Team Tusk), and then headed over the convention center to quickly check out the official EW scene. I found a Pearl at a good price, which I needed for Vintage, so I snatched it up. Patrick also picked up some Renaissance packs for us to crack, nice guy that he is.

At around 10:00 we walked back towards our Airbnb. We stopped at the nearby James Street Pub for dinner and had some decent food with iffy service. From there we headed home. I chatted with my wife for a bit, then jammed a few test games with Tim before we turned in around midnight.

Friday – Vintage Champs
Our alarms went off at 6:00, and after some quick showers and instant coffee we headed out. Because the day before had gone so well, we decided to repeat our Bruegger’s breakfast and grabbed some bagels. Once we’d eaten, we went over to the convention center. It was still pretty empty, so I decided I’d get Shuler to sign my Demonic Tutor before things got crazy. After that I listened to Honor Killed The Samurai to get me pumped up for a day of White Eldrazi:

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Round 1: 2-0 to Andy on Show & Tell Oath (1-0)

  • Game 1: I was on the play and made a blind Revoker on Lotus. He did something – maybe cantripped? – and passed. I Thought-Knotted, and saw a hand of Lotus, Show and Tell, Emrakul. Brutal. Next turn I Reality Smashered and it was over not long thereafter.
  • Game 2: I led on Cage, which is followed up with TKS and Containment Priest. The Oath nightmare.

Round 2: 1-2 to Ed on Dredge (1-1)

  • Game 1: My deck was built to beat Dredge, but I didn’t keep a hand with Dredge interaction. Dredge did what it does and I died.
  • Game 2: A turn 1 Spyglass shut down Bazaar and that made things pretty easy for me.
  • Game 3: I mulled to 4, and while we still had a game (I was able to Waste a Bazaar and make a Thalia and TKS), a Gurmag gummed up the board until he was able to Dredge out.

I had some time to kill after the round, so I headed over to Tedin’s booth to get a couple signatures and a Juzam print. I also found a FBB Sol Ring to replace my stupid Revised one.

Round 3: 2-1 to Nick on Fatestitcher Dredge (2-1)

  • Game 1: I don’t have good notes, but I think he just Dredged me.
  • Game 2: Spyglass shut off Bazaar and he didn’t ever get to do much.
  • Game 3: I believe he had to mull pretty low, and my various hate cards did the rest.

Round 4: 0-2 to Kevin on Oath (2-2)

  • Game 1: I coincidentally kept a hand with Priest and other good anti-Oath cards. When it became apparent that that’s what he was on, I felt great. However, when he got 3 lands, a Lotus, and hardcast an Inferno Titan, I was toast.
  • Game 2: I was a little tilted losing to Oath, but still knew that it’s a good matchup. Unfortunately, Kevin destroyed my anti-Oath stuff and Oathed into Stormbreath, which is absurd. Good on him.

Round 5: 2-1 to Mike on UWR Pyromancer (3-2)

  • Game 1: Mike had a gorgeous deck that was foiled out and running Beta duals and power. He put it to good use by countering all my threats and letting Peezy run away with the game.
  • Game 2: Turn 1 uncounterable Young Thalia > turn 2 uncounterable THC > TKS is the nuts.
  • Game 3: The exact same start from me, except that Mike also mulled to 5.

Round 6: 0-2 to Anuraag on UW Landstill (3-3)

  • Game 1: We all know and love Anuraag. I beat him down to 1 before he did his control-player thing and took over.
  • Game 2: Not even close. I did 4 damage all game.

Round 7: 2-0 to Eugene on Colorless Eldrazi (4-3)

  • Game 1: At this point I was pretty solidly in the “just for fun” bracket. Eugene and I slugged it out, but my dudes overcame his.
  • Game 2: Not many notes here, but I know I had a THC with Jitte that ran away with it.

Round 8: 1-2 to Dan on Drain Tendrills (4-4)

  • Game 1: I did the prison thing and locked him down.
  • Game 2: Dan dropped a quick . . . Tasigur. What the fuck. I didn’t draw a Smasher and The Golden Fang completely stonewalled me until Dan could combo off.
  • Game 3: Same deal – Tasigur brutalized my poor weenies.

Round 9: 2-1 to Jeremy on Moon Stompy (5-4)

  • Game 1: Jeremy was new to Legacy and Vintage, and very enthusiastic to be playing. I guessed he might be on Stompy and kept a hand with basics, and eventually my dudes beat his.
  • Game 2: Bridge + Hazoret is just so strong. All these Standard creatures beating my Standard creatures, man.
  • Game 3: I was able to quickly Thought-Knot a Bridge out of his hand. He didn’t draw much action before I was able to close it out.

Round 10: 0-2 to Michael on Moon Stompy (5-5)

  • Game 1: Michael played Patrick earlier, so I knew what he was on. He brutalized me with a turn 1 Rabblemaster.
  • Game 2: Same deal – he does gross Stompy stuff, like Rabble and Hazoret.

5-5 is never a record you can feel amazing about, but because I literally went “win 1, lose 1” the entire time, this was an absolute slog. By the time round 10 was over, Saturday Legacy Champs sounded about as appealing as a root canal. Fortunately, my opponents were great guys. Likewise, I was able to meet some cool people in between rounds, including Jerry Mee, Erin Campbell, and Kevin Cron.

Once everyone’s matches were over we met Sam at the Sharp Edge, where he was drinking with Koby and Xemit. I had a few Deliriums and Two Hearteds, along with a chicken avocado sandwich, and felt much better about life. Patrick got a to-go growler of Two Hearted, and we went back to the Airbnb to tweak decks until 2:30.

Saturday – Legacy Champs
We woke up at 6:00 and I wanted to die. Per tradition, we walked over to Brueggers, ate some bagels, and chatted about how miserable it was to be awake and going to play some Magic. From there we headed to the convention center to fill out deck reg sheets.

I was on Maverick, which I’ve been playing for the past 6 months or so. The prospect of 11 rounds with it wasn’t appealing, but this was the event I was really there for and I didn’t wanna fuck it up. As such, I decided to stick to a strict regimen of coffee every other round.

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Round 1: 2-0 to Morgan on BUG Delver (1-1)

  • Game 1: Well, if I was gonna have an easy start, getting paired against Delver was it. I mulled to 5, but I stuck Young Thalia and Big Thalia and brutalized him.
  • Game 2: My only note is “Knight is fun.”

Round 2: 2-1 to Tony on Grixis Delver (2-0)

  • Game 1: More Delver – hell yeah, right? Well, he tempo’d me perfectly and I never even attacked.
  • Game 2: No notes, but it was too close for comfort – I ended at 3.
  • Game 3: Ramunap made one of his few appearances for the day to let me double Waste. Hellll yeah. After that Knight ran away with it.

Round 3: 1-2 to Brad on Food Chain (2-1)

  • Game 1: Food Chain’s a deck I can never wrap my head around. We ground for a while, but then he stuck his combo and killed me with a Ballista for a million.
  • Game 2: He landed a quick Leovold, but I made THC and Choke. It messed with his mana way too hard, and eventually I killed him.
  • Game 3: I wasn’t in great shape to begin with when the board was just Young Thalia vs Griffin. Eventually I landed a Ramunap, which wasn’t really relevant but was at least a body, right? WRONG. HE PLAYED A HOSTAGE TAKER ON MY RAMUNAP. I died, big time.

Round 4: 2-1 to Horace on Elves (3-1)

  • Game 1: I don’t have a lot of Elves experience, but the last time I played the matchup I Junded them out pretty hardcore with THC and removal, so I felt fairly confident. I assembled a pretty good lock, but without enough pressure he eventually hardcasted Hoof and killed me.
  • Game 2: I got down some quality bears and he never really got to do much.
  • Game 3: I had the perfect anti-Elf hand: double Plow into a Canonist, followed by Teeg, Jitte, and THC.

Round 5: 2-1 to Porter on DnT (4-1)

  • Game 1: This was about what you’d expect. Neither of us had the nuts, so my dudes were just better than his.
  • Game 2: Things went back and forth, but he had triple active Mom to gum things up completely . . . and then came Mirran Crusader. And Jitte. I had triple 7/7 Knights with Jitte and SoFaI, and I still lost.
  • Game 3: Same deal as game 1, I think. Maverick just has the better dudes.

At this point, I was feeling pretty great and listened to some Death Grips to get me all pumped up.

Round 6: 1-2 to Jimmy on Infect (4-2)

  • Game 1: Infect always makes me nervous, but it’s a good matchup for Maverick. I controlled the board pretty effectively, and he drew lands a few turns in a row before scooping.
  • Game 2: If I had a big punt this weekend, this was it. He had out Inkmoth, Pendelhaven, and Hierarch. I had a Zealous Persecution. I never cast it, because I didn’t read the fucking Pendelhaven – of course you have to pump before exalted triggers, so I could have ZP’d in response to Pendelhaven. As a result I never killed Inkmoth and it got me.
  • Game 3: I got wrecked. I had a great hand . . . but my green source was Dryad Arbor. I led on Arbor . . . and he Submerged it. Then he played an Inkmoth. I Wasted it . . . and he Stifled. Then he Became Immense and Invigorated.

Round 7: 2-1 to Damon on Dredge (5-2)

  • Game 1: I’ve played against Dredge a lot, so when he led on Confluence into Careful Study, my whole mentality shifted immediately. He discarded Troll, Stinky, and Bridge. I went Forest, GSZ, Arbor. He dredged into another Bridge and more dredgers, but no Ichorid or Narcomoeba. I played Deathrite, then Wasteland, and he got very confused. He dredged into a Narcomoeba and Ichorid. When the Ichorid died, I Wasted my Arbor to eat the Bridges. From there, Deathrite started to control his yard, and a Scryb Ranger blocked Narco and Prized Amalgam until Knight hit the board.
  • Game 2: winning game 1 felt great, but I got stuck on 1 land and he dredged me pretty hard.
  • Game 3: Damon mulled to 6 and then bricked on draws, while I had DRS, Big Thalia, and double Surgical in hand.

Round 8: 0-2 to Benjamin on Big Eldrazi (5-3)

  • Game 1: I was feeling great again, and while Benjamin was shuffling he showed me a Sol Land, Spyglass, and Kozilek. I put him on Big Eldrazi and felt pretty confident. Well, he went Smasher > Smasher > Smasher and I went on mega tilt.
  • Game 2: I tried to battle the tilt, and felt good about my hand with double Wasteland. He hit his land drops, though, and ran out a Wurmcoil. I punted a 7/7 Knight right into his Deathtouch, and then the tokens and follow-up Smasher closed it out. I got a little salty and wasn’t really a courteous opponent. Benjamin: if you’re reading this, sorry for being a little bitch!

Round 9: 1-1-1 to Jacob on Elves (5-3-1)

  • Game 1: After the round 8 loss, I chilled out a bit and assumed I couldn’t have a good finish. I think that helped, as did the fact that I junded Jacob out pretty effectively.
  • Game 2: I was feeling good again, especially after Zealous Persecutioning away his whole board on turn 3. He rebult, though, and eventually Hoofed me for a million.
  • Game 3: Our first two games took 50 minutes thanks to some grinding and intense combat math, so we were at time on turn 2. He puked his hand, which I Zealous’d away. However, my deck is literally incapable of winning in 1 turn, so we ended in a draw.

Round 10: 2-0 to Francisco on ANT (6-3-1)

  • Game 1: OK, maybe I’m still in this, right? I decided to keep it chill, though, and didn’t want to overthink anything. Francisco led with U Sea and Ponder, and with his Petal playmat I gambled on Storm. A Thalia slowed him down long enough for Teeg to lock it up.
  • Game 2: My hand was double Surgical, Canonist, Teeg. He led on Ponder. I said fuck it, Surgical the Ponder. Surgical got another one out of his hand, leaving him with Rit, Rit, Fetch, Decay. On his turn he Brainstormed. I said fuck it, Surgical the Brainstorm. He’d put Decay back on top, which left him with Rit, Rit, Past in Flames. I Duress away a Pyroclasm, get out Canonist, Teeg, and DRS, and close it out.

Round 11: 2-1 to Motherfucking RUG DELVER (7-3-1)

  • Game 1: At this point, I was simultaneously very stoked and very tired. So whatever, right? He led on Volc, Delver, and I put him on Grixis. He started to tempo me perfectly, and when he only played RUG lands, I understand: my final test was the most classic of classic Legacy matches: RUG vs Maverick. I didn’t resolve a threat until it was too late, and Delver + Bolt got me.
  • Game 2: I mulled to 5 and was feeling doomed: I was really gonna lose round 11 to RUG. However, I cast a turn 2 Young Thalia, and somehow he didn’t have permission or removal for it. A 4/5 Goyf was scary, but then I got Knight online to Waste and block until it could take over.
  • Game 3: With RUG on the play again, I really, really didn’t want to mull – he would invariably tempo me to some degree, so I just needed a volume of cards to power through it until I could stick a Knight. Once he mulled to 6, I snapt kept. Then he mulled to 5. I picked him apart, exactly as the deck was designed to do so many years ago.

And that put me at 7-3-1! Or, put in sexier terms, I came in 69 out of 711. I was a little bummed to miss top 64, but at 69th is pretty badass, right?

Sean and I were the only Goyfs to play out the whole event (he finished 7-4 on Infect), so we went to The Commoner for some steaks and beer. God damn, steaks and beer was a wonderful thing. Both of us had felt like Vintage Champs were such a grind, and that Legacy had just felt great in comparison. It was a good feeling.

When we were done eating we met the other Goyfs at the Sharp Edge, where they’d been drinking for hours. We ran into Steve Menendian outside, which was cool, too. We were all about ready to call it a night, so we went back to the AirBnb for some RtR pack wars and, a few hours later, some sleep.

Sunday – Return to Real Life
While Sean had to wake up at 4:00 to catch a flight, the rest of us slept till 9:00 and woke up chipper (in my case) and hungover (in Tim’s and Patrick’s). We’d slept past any potential side events, so we went for a nice 2-hour brunch at Meat & Potatoes.

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When we were done eating and enjoying our coffee, we walked over to the hall for some last minute shopping (I grabbed a JPN Aven Mindcensor) and to hang out with people.

Patrick and I had 6:00 flights, so at around 3:00 we Ubered over to the airport. I called my wife to say hi and got the wonderful news that I’d be coming home to a pot of chili! A little while later Xemit walked by, and being an all-around class act he offered to buy us a beer if we’d play against him with a fair Legacy deck. I obliged, and the 3 of us had a drink and jammed Maverick vs Nic Fit Walkers.

And that about does ‘er. Wraps her all up. It was another great Eternal. Shout outs to:

  • Card Titan!
  • Every single opponent: you guys were all great, and awesome competitors.
  • Anyone who complimented us for the podcast.
  • All the cool people I met outside my matches (the SMIP guys, Jerry, Xemit, Koby, Team Tusk, etc).
  • My teammates! You guys rock and are the reason I go to these events.

Until next year,
Stu

posted in Vintage Tournaments read more

So after a few successful events this year, we're launching our 2018 Austin Vintage series, Romancing The Stones!

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Date: Saturday January 13, 2018
Location: 4th Tap Brewing Co, 10615 Metric Blvd, Austin, TX 78758
Registration Time: 12:30 PM
Event Begins: 1:00 PM
Entry Fee: $10 - EXACT CHANGE ONLY
Payout: 100% of Entry Fees; high-end playmat for 1st Place; door prizes
Proxy limit: Unlimited proxy
Proxy rules: Don’t make us need to make a proxy rule!

posted in Vintage Tournaments read more

Texas will be sending a delegation to this.

posted in Vintage Tournaments read more

The NYSE brand is so well established that I’d assume people will come regardless of what, exactly, the prize pool is. Cash should be fine.

posted in Eldrazi read more

I’ll write a detailed SCGCon report this week, but went 9-4 in the Power 9 Series and finished 13th out of 124. Super happy with the weekend. Wins and losses were:

Wins

  • Stax: 2-0, 2-0
  • Paradoxical Oath: 2-1, 2-0
  • Jeskai Xerox: 2-0
  • Dredge: 2-1, 2-1
  • Oath: 2-1
  • BUG: 2-0

Losses

  • Paradoxical Karn: 0-2
  • Colorless Eldrazi: 1-2
  • Ravager Shops: 0-2
  • BR Daretti: 1-2

(Astute readers will notice how little Shops I ran into.)

posted in Vintage Community read more

Could you guys just record a @wfain vs @Smmenen battle royale edition of SMIP so I can stop reading this?

posted in Vintage Tournaments read more

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Alright, it’s what we’ve been building to all season: the Invitational! Our 8 invitees (the winners of each of this year’s 8 events) will be battling over 5 rounds for the title of Season 1 Champion.

If you’re in the Austin area, please come hang out, drink beers, jam games, and root for your favorite invitees! However, we will also be streaming this event on Twitch!!! We’ll post a link here, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Location: Barracuda (611 E 7th St)
Start Time: 11:00 Central Standard Time
Payout: 1st place wins a Tropical Island and a year’s worth of bragging rights
Proxy limit: Unlimited proxy
Proxy rules: Unlike previous events, we’re requiring full-size, color, etc. They need to look good.
Decklists: We will collecting decklists a week before the event, then releasing them to the invitees the morning of.

posted in Vintage Community read more

Working from the assumption that Vintage is in a bad place, I find all of @brianpk80's proposed restrictions to be completely reasonable. Not sure about the bannings, though I see where he's coming from. Now, as someone who enjoys contemporary Vintage I'm less sure about all this, but I still think this was a well-reasoned piece.

Vintage Singleton sounds fucking miserable, though.

posted in Official Tournament Results read more

It's a crime that you haven't mentioned the fact that Dan Sprinkle registered 2 Juzam Djinn.

posted in Vintage Community read more

I just went for a run and more thoughts occurred to me:

  • Before each event, I put together a binder that includes: a signup sheet (it's a grid that has Name, Decklist, and Paid boxes to check), deck reg sheets, and a list of announcements for the player meeting.
  • Figure out your REL/judge situation and communicate it clearly. We do not have judges available for our events, and at our last tournament, a rules dispute came up that we didn't know how to solve; it ended in one player dropping and shit talking us on Facebook. If you want a judge but can't afford to pay them, maybe offer them free entry into the tournament and pick up their beer tab? Alternatively, make sure during the player meeting that you say "We don't have a judge! This is friendly REL! Please work out all your differences on your own! If you can't, the TO makes the call!"
  • I highly recommend that you keep your proxy policy as basic as possible. Magic players are extraordinarily lazy; if you put in a policy like "proxies must be full-size and full-color," they might not show up. I would just tell people that anything goes.
  • To that end, I put together a gauntlet of 11 proxy decks I can loan out. This was a huge pain in the ass, but has been immensely helpful. I loan out 2-6 decks each event, because people either couldn't get their shit together, or they have never tried Vintage and didn't know how to start.
  • We use MTG Arena for pairings. It's free, which is nice, but it isn't perfect. Specifically, we've had issues with being unable to edit results if we entered them wrong (e.g. if we didn't mark someone as dropped, we can't go back and change it, which messes up pairings). Whatever pairings software you use, I recommend familiarizing yourself with it before the event starts.
  • Contact your venue 4-6 weeks before the event. Getting them to commit to a time/date can be difficult, and you certainly don't want to just show up the day of the event and expect they can accommodate 20 or 30 dudes all day. If they're on the fence about hosting, remind them that that's a lot of guys buying beer, cards, or whatever.
  • Evangelize your tournaments in person! When you're at Legacy/Modern events, tell people it's happening. One of the biggest reasons no one plays Vintage is the price, and when they hear there's a Vintage tournament their eyes will gloss over. That's why it's important to talk to them in person: when they tell you they can't afford Vintage or they're intimidated by the format, that's your opportunity to clarify that it's 100% proxy and is super fun.
  • As you can probably guess from all this, running tournaments can be a lot of work. Don't do it alone! Romancing The Stones is a group of 5 of us, which lets us delegate work. It also means we have a core group, so we don't need too many people to show up each time.
  • Vintage gameplay can be intimidating, so we've started running 1-2 testing sessions between our events. This is helpful for players, and also keeps the hype going during the weeks you're not playing.
  • Lastly, and most important, I want to stress that EXPECTATIONS ARE EVERYTHING. For yourself, you need to decide what type of event you want to run - weekly? monthly? friendly? super competitive? proxies or sanctioned? - as that will inform everything you do. For players, the more information they have, the better than chances they'll be satisfied with the event. Set expectations up front and communicate them well, and you can't go wrong.
posted in Art and Collecting read more

I've been working on JPN White Eldrazi over the past year and just got my final 3 Caverns in the mail today, so the deck's done!

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On the non-JPN cards:

  • Power obviously doesn't come in Japanese
  • Sol Ring, Crypt, and Karakas don't have old-frame JPN printings, and I would play old-frame over new-frame any day of the week
posted in Official Tournament Results read more

This Sunday, 24 players decided to spend their Memorial Day Weekend playing Vintage at 4th Tap! The Texas summer reared its ugly head, and by mid-afternoon we were battling in 100-degree heat. Fortunately, we persevered and got ourselves a beautiful Top 4, culminating in Ravager Shops finally taking down a Romancing The Stones event and Aren earning himself an invite to the Festival of Friendship.

More pics pending, but here's our top 4 and champion!
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Final Standings:

  1. Ravager Shops: Aren Wilson-Wright
  2. UWR Standard Walkers: Derrick Steele
  3. Blue Moon: Chris Huckabee
  4. BW Hex Depth: Eric Miller
  5. Paradoxical Mentor: Bryan Hockey
  6. Moon Stompy: Rob Connolly
  7. Ravager Shops: Patrick Vincent
  8. Landstill: Jack Bellingrath
  9. Dredge: Alex Zavoluk
  10. Oath: Matt Jordan
  11. Erayo Mentor: Dan Ersch
  12. Blue Jund: Mike O'Malley
  13. Eldrazi Shops: Douglas McGrew Jr
  14. Belcher: Jeff Lubinski
  15. BUG: Douglas McGrew
  16. 5C Humans: Hugo Vargas
  17. Paradoxical Mentor: Christan Dinh
  18. Paradoxical Mentor: Joseph Amaya
  19. Grixis Pyromancer: Jake Baltz
  20. UW Bears: Ian Files
  21. Jeskai Mentor: Heather ???
  22. Burn: Jacob Zernick
  23. Oath: Brian Tweedy
  24. Oath: Brandon Newton