• Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2008

    As the clock turned forward from 2007 to 2008, it would not have been possible to foresee the incredible changes that would occur through the year. The format was rocked by sweeping restrictions, surprising errata, and impactful printings.

    A tightly defined metagame allowed a few low key printings to shake the Vintage firmament, including Reveillark and Painter’s Servant. The sturm und drang over the Flash combo, and whether it was the most deadly Vintage deck of all time seemed overheated weeks later with Painter’s Servant making Red Elemental Blast a main deck card, and Dredge making Leyline of the Void the second most played card in the format.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2007

    The Vintage format pivoted from the Gifts and Pitch Long era headlong in to a new Gush metagame in 2007. Dive into this exciting chapter in the History of Vintage to observe the metagame changes resulting from new sets, the tournament successes that propelled the format forward, and the unexpected twists and turns in the evolution of the great Schools of Magic.
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  • Three In a Row: Top 8 at Eternal Weekend 2017 Old School Tournament

    Some years ago, in daydream ruminations, I began developing a theory about what makes Vintage so compelling, as distinguished from other Magic formats. How can something as intangible and unquantifiable as “fun” be described? Intrigued, I began to formulate a mental catalogue of answers. First, Vintage features high impact, high stakes plays. A minor miscue in a high speed race can result in a severe crash; the same is true of Vintage. Fetching a land at the wrong time can result in Ancestral Recall – or worse – resolving. Given the objectively high power level of the tactics in the format, there is a natural anxiety – and exhilaration – produced from playing the format. Anything and everything can and will happen, and as early as the first turn. There is no passive early game, where nerves are calm and game play sedate. Vintage is high octane. It’s a thrill, and there is a rush.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2006

    A remarkable year, 2006 may be the best representation in the history of the Vintage format for strategic diversity. Long dormant Schools of Vintage Magic are reawakened by new printings to perform wonders that seemed unimaginable beforehand. Nowhere is this better illustrated that the emergence of Dredge as a viable Vintage strategy. At the same time, combo decks received boosts from printings and the design efforts of players, resulting in a Renaissance for Dark Ritual strategies. And in a dramatic subplot, a well-meaning attempt to clean up old card text set off a furor that would lead to radical policy changes this year and beyond.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2005

    A year bracketed by the restriction of Trinisphere, and the introduction of Portal, 2005 was an exciting time to be playing Vintage. New strategies broke through, new printings surprised, and players like Robert Vroman and Roland Chang became Vintage legends. In the end, 2005 will perhaps best remembered as peak tournament Vintage. There were more large tournaments in 2005 than any year on record before or since, and the tournaments were among the largest in the format’s history, from the record breaking Waterbury, to the nine separate StarCityGames Power Nine tournaments, to gargantuan European tournaments with Grand Prix level prize support. 2005 is a year to remember and reflect upon, and this latest installment of the History of Vintage series provides a trip down memory lane for some, and a discovery opportunity for others.
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  • Understanding Gush: The Final Chapter?

    On April 24, 2017, the DCI broke my heart.

    The signs were all there. I even expected it to happen. And although I’ve moved on, and done very well after the breakup, the pain lingers.
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  • Understanding Gush, 3rd Edition (a Post-Restriction Update)

    EC Press is proud to present Stephen Menendian’s Understanding Gush: Strategies and Tactics (3rd Edition). For the first time in over five years, Stephen’s expert guide and master class on Gush strategies in Vintage has been revised, updated, and expanded.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – Notes on the State of Vintage, January 2017

    Vintage is a singular format. It is a format of deep strategy and broad possibilities. In the eyes of its proponents (like myself), Vintage is the epitome of what Magic should and can be. Years of accumulated printings seamlessly interacting in unimaginable ways. It is the legacy of Dr. Richard Garfield’s vision for the game, and the closest approximation to that vision. As time rolls onward, Vintage players increasingly appreciate that this is a format that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – The 2017 Vintage Checklist

    2016 had a near-record number of new printings seeing play in Vintage, from Thought-Knot Seer to Paradoxical Outcome. Whether you want to organize your collection better, or track down cards you may want to use in Vintage tournaments, this article and accompanying spreadsheet is the perfect tool. In addition to providing a complete list of Vintage playables by color, this article also identifies all of the new cards that saw play in 2016 (new printings and otherwise), as well as cards that disappeared from Vintage tournaments. This is a great resource for new and old Vintage players (and collectors) alike.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2004

    With this epic installment of his History of Vintage series, Stephen recounts the decks, tales of glory, and mighty tournament contests that defined Vintage in 2004. This was the year that Type I was rebranded as “Vintage,” the 2nd Type I Championship at GenCon, and the emergence of the StarCityGames Power Nine Series. It was also a fascinating year in which cards like Gifts Ungiven, Trinisphere, and Forbidden Orchard were printed, and in which Doomsday was unrestricted, and once again broke out with a mind-bending combo. This chapter reveals all this, and much more!
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  • EC Press Presents: Understanding Gush, 3rd Edition

    EC Press is proud to present Stephen Menendian’s Understanding Gush: Strategies and Tactics (3rd Edition).

    For the first time in over five years, Stephen’s expert guide and master class on Gush strategies in Vintage has been revised, updated, and expanded. At a time when Gush decks have never been more central to the Vintage metagame, this book is a timeless and essential primer to one of the most sophisticated and challenging strategies in the Vintage format. Persistently misunderstood and generally misplayed, Gush requires many simultaneous decisions and precise timing. Maximizing all of the advantages offered by Gush demands deep understanding and strategic insight. This book presents a comprehensive theory of Gush, all of the advantages derivable from Gush, and a complete range of strategies and tactics.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – The 2016 Vintage Checklist

    Editor’s Note: The 2016 Vintage Checklist has been fully updated and replaced by the 2017 Vintage Checklist. Please head over to that product page below for full details!
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  • So Many Insane Plays – Magic Online P9 Challenge Metagame Analysis

    Returning home from Eternal Weekend was a dispiriting experience this year, as far as Vintage is concerned. We enjoyed the largest crowds ever for both Vintage Champs and Legacy Champs – at a special, non-convention event, no less – while Vintage had languished in a slow decline on Magic Online, the platform for which it has the most promise, unconstrained by the Reserved List or paper card supply.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2003

    For a format whose history stretches back towards the origins of the game, 2003 may well lay claim to being the most dynamic and pivotal year before or since in the History of Vintage. It was a year in which the format was rocked by dramatic restrictions, metagame convulsions, astounding printings and shocking new mechanics, quickened engagement and interest from the DCI and Wizards of the Coast, and the inauguration of a new annual Championship tournament. The investments of the player base in 2002 were bearing fruit, and the innovations and novel strategic developments were accelerating. New strategies were born, and old Schools of Vintage Magic were revived. In a sense, 2003 was a springboard for the evolution of the format since. It marks a transition from historical Type I to the format that would soon become known as Vintage.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – A Comprehensive Guide to Vintage Delver

    (Editor’s Note: This Downloadable Product, originally released January 9 2015, was last updated February 13 2015, to account for the recent restriction of Treasure Cruise, and the incorporation of Dig Through Time in Vintage Delver.)

    In his first major deck primer in over a year, and fresh off his win of Season 1 of the Vintage Super League, Stephen Menendian delves into the depths of Vintage Delver, with over 50 pages of in-depth content. With a comprehensive look at building the deck piece by piece, executing the game plan, sideboarding strategy, and in-game tactics, this is something no serious Vintage fan should miss.
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  • #GiftsWeek – So Many Insane Plays – MeanDeck Gifts 2015

    It amazes me how many new Vintage players are out there, and, moreover, how many never played during the Gifts era. In some ways, the Gifts era was the peak period of involvement in the game and the format for myself. It was the height of the StarCityGames Power 9 series circuit, and much more. It was a time of enthusiasm and discovery.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – Top 8 at NYSE Open 2, a Tournament Report

    (Editor’s Note: This was originally published by VintageMagic.com, and has been re-edited and published here for archival purposes, with the approval of the author and VintageMagic.com).
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  • So Many Insane Plays – The “So Do You Wear a Cape?” Book Review

    Enthusiast Titus Chalk has authored a brilliant, page-turning history of Magic: The Gathering sprinkled with entertaining anecdotes, remarkably deep insights, and journalistic treasures. Chalk’s brisk narrative, brimming with behind-the-scenes stories that reflect painstaking investigatory work, traces the broad arc of Magic’s 20+ year history. Chalk sketches the development of the game, its unbridled growth, and the myriad debates and issues surrounding it, from the complaints of fundamentalist parents over the ‘demonic’ elements of the game, to the emergence of the Pro Tour (with its heroes and villains), the business of the game, from its initial financing to its sale to Hasbro (with Richard Garfield pocketing a cool $100 million, no less), to the growth of the secondary market, to the wrangling over the Reserved List. It’s all covered.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – Pitch Burning Tendrils, Other Brews, and Three Tournament Reports

    Stephen Menendian’s latest weapon of choice is revealed here, in an epic 45 page primer and three tournament reports (including the Vintage Championship). A compelling read for Vintage enthusiasts and experts alike, Stephen’s nuanced and characteristically detailed analysis of the critical trends in the late 2013 Vintage metagame, innovative deck designs, and updated favorites like Maniac Doomsday, are all part of a must read, end of year Vintage strategy article you won’t find anywhere else. His latest deck is, in his view, the best deck in Vintage going forward, and the perfect weapon for upcoming tournaments.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – The First Ten Years

    The first ten chapters in Vintage expert Stephen Menendian’s acclaimed series, Schools of Magic: History of Vintage, are compiled for the first time, weighing in at over 225 pages of unforgettable history. As Magic crosses its 20th anniversary, players are more curious and nostalgic than ever about the game’s colorful history and remarkable growth. As the game’s oldest sanctioned constructed format, the History of Vintage traces back to the origins of the game and reflects the trends and strategic innovations of the game itself. The format that came into existence with the with the first Banned and Restricted List announcement in January, 1994 continues unabated today known as “Vintage.”
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2002

    Stephen Menendian completes the first decade of the History of Vintage series with an epic chapter on the tumultuous changes, debates, and dramatic innovations of 2002. Read about the emergence of new strategies like MaskNaught, TnT, and Grow, and read about the heated debates between Patrick Chapin, Oscar Tan, Mark Rosewater and the broader Type I community. Learn about the tournament results that changed the metagame, and the creators and innovators behind them.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – Preparing for the 2013 Vintage Championship

    SMIP Preparing For The 2013 Vintage Championship

    I am in the Nick Saban school of game-day preparation: process is everything. Studies show that students who imagine themselves performing well on a test actually perform worse than a control group. The explanation behind this counter-intuitive fact is simple: performance is a product of preparation, and students who imagine themselves doing well are less likely to prepare as intensively. Process is everything: from what you eat, to how you sleep, to how you practice, and manage your life outside of that process.
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  • Doomsday: The Puzzling – The Dream Halls Dilemma

    Doomsday-the-Puzzling-The-Dream-Halls-Dilemma

    Your opponent is on a very strong combo deck in OmniTell, but you are not deterred. You are also on a combo deck, but one which features more countermagic and disruption. This will be a game of inches, but one that you should win if you plan properly. You took the first game of the match, and your opponent is not about to go down without a fight. You brought in a pair of Dark Confidants and Cabal Therapies for some extra draw and disruption.
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  • Doomsday: The Puzzling – The Double Deathrite Conundrum SOLUTION

    Doomsday-the-Puzzling---The-Double-Deathrite-Conundrum-Solution

    Previously on Eternal Central we featured a free Puzzling challenge titled Doomsday: The Puzzling – The Double Deathrite Conundrum. The solution to this Puzzling can be found below.
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