Doomsday: The Puzzling – The Dream Halls Dilemma

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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.

So Many Insane Plays – A Short History of Dual Lands

So Many Insane Plays - A Short History of Dual Lands

Mana is the foundation of Magic. Although it is possible to design and build decks without mana production, it is extremely difficult. More importantly, the possibilities for mana production define the range of strategic possibilities in Magic. This is why Zvi Mowshowitz once claimed that he began analyzing a format by examining the possibilities inherent in that format’s mana production capacity.

Lands are the building blocks of mana production. While there are many forms of mana production, and while it is possible to build decks without mana producing lands (or even lands at all), mana producing lands are the most basic building block in the game of Magic. They shape and constrain the strategic possibilities in the game.

Doomsday: The Puzzling – The Double Deathrite Conundrum

Doomsday: The Puzzling - The Double Deathrite Conundrum

The moment you feared has finally arrived. After stomping two Show and Tell decks, overcoming a UW Control deck with dominating countermagic, and narrowly defeating a RUG Delver deck, you are faced with your most difficult matchup yet: Shardless BUG. It’s the fifth round of a seven round Legacy tournament, and a trip to the Top 8 is on the line. Win here, and you can draw into the elimination rounds, where guaranteed prizes await. Lose here, and you might fall out of contention completely.

Your opponent, Jimmy the Cat Warrior, is a well known area player, and a skilled opponent. Escaping with a win here will require precision and exact planning. Fortunately, you are focused and determined.

So Many Insane Plays – It’s a Young Mancer’s Game: Grow 2013

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About once a year, Stephen Menendian innovates a new deck that changes the Vintage metagame. Decks like Maniac Doomsday and Burning Tendrils are examples from recent years, and decks like GroATog and Meandeck Gifts are examples of yesteryear from rich history of the Vintage. If you only read one strategy article this year, this is the one to get. Stephen is proud to unveil his new Grow list coupling Young Pyromancer and Regrowth with Gush, which he claims will shake up the entire metagame. Gush is back in a big way.

Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2001

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2001 was the beginning of a Renaissance for the Type I format. After half a decade of slow decline, tournament interest and enthusiasm surged, as players organized tournaments online, in Europe, and as Origins and GenCon became major Type I tournament scenes. Witness the rise and fall of Accelerated Blue, the dominance of Fact or Fiction, and the emergence of the first Welder-based Workshop decks, Gush strategies, Sapphire Oath, and much, much more! Rediscover long-lost decklists and tournament report excerpts that capture the feeling and experience of the format in 2001. Revisit the debates between players like Tom LaPille, Oscar Tan, and Matt Smith, and learn history’s judgment of their arguments. Continuing Stephen Menendian’s epic History of Vintage series, Chapter 9 (2001) is a dramatic turning point in the history of the format. At 30 pages of action-packed history, this chapter is not to be missed!

Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2000

SOMHOV2000

Continuing the epic Schools of Magic: History of Vintage series, Chapter 8 (2000) is a tale of two Invitationals. The old ‘Schools of Magic’ were being revived or reconstituted just as a long-standing pillar of the format was about to fall. The Type I metagame for each Invitational that buttressed the year is a revealing snapshot of what a difference the restrictions in 2000 made, as players brought into being a new Type I order. 2000 was also the year that the Type I community began to organize itself into online forums, rather than just Usenet and email lists. Learn about the emergent and passionate community of Type I players and advocates, how they influenced the format, and what they meant to the history of the game.

Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 1999

SOM History of Vintage 1999

1999 was a year of great highs and dark lows for the slowly evolving Type I format as the remainder of Urza block tidal waved through the format. Watch as Keeper, Combo, and Necro compete on the Magic Invitational stage. Observe the sweeping restrictions that rocked the Type I format in 1999, and read about how players felt about and reacted to them. Learn the real story behind Magic’s only ever emergency banning. See what changes Brian Weissman made to The Deck following Urza block. Learn about the enigmatic yet subtly powerful Mercadian Masques expansion. Stephen Menendian paints a vivid and unforgettable portrait of a format at the precipice of the millennium and great change. Stephen’s penetrating insight delves behind the facts, decklists, and results to reveal the hidden relationships in an unforgettable year in the History of Vintage.

So Many Insane Plays – Designing For Eternal

SMIP-Designing-for-Eternal

Introduction

You Make the Card 4 arrived with much fanfare and even greater surprise. It has been seven years since the last You Make the Card (YMTC) campaign. Its return coincides with the 20th anniversary of Magic, and is a celebratory gesture by Wizards of the Coast on the game’s behalf.

Perhaps as surprising as YMTC’s welcome but unexpected return are the voting results so far. In the card type vote, Land and Enchantment received the most votes, with Enchantment winning a tight run-off. Not only was this result unexpected (few people thought Enchantment would be a top vote-getter), but it was surprising for what it signifies. I believe that these results may be interpreted, as others have suggested, as a signal to collectively push this process in a different direction than previous YMTC events, in which voters selected Creature, Artifact, and Instant as the card types.

So Many Insane Plays – Dragon’s Maze Eternal Set Review & Updated Vintage Checklist

So Many Insane Plays - Dragon's Maze Eternal Set Review

Stephen Menendian takes a deep look into the Dragon’s Maze for potential Eternal playables, and reviews the set with his characteristic insight and detailed analysis. Stephen has also conducted some preliminary testing of an unrestricted Regrowth in Vintage, and briefly shares some insights that you do not want to miss. Finally, for collectors, traders, and Vintage enthusiasts alike, be sure to check out the updated Vintage Checklist of playables.

So Many Insane Plays – 1st Place in Vacaville with Burning Tendrils, Again: A Tournament Report and Other Thoughts on Vintage

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Stephen Menendian has done it again, finishing first at the latest Vintage tournament with his creation, Burning Tendrils. In this detailed 27 page tournament report, Stephen characteristically provides a thoughtful play-by-play recap of his tournament experience, delving behind each play with an explanation of his decision process, and an analysis of alternative lines of play from each land drop to sequencing spells. Stephen will test your abilities in the process by asking the reader to select a line of play. Stephen also introduces an updated non-Oath Burning Tendrils list for control metagames, talks about Voltaic Key and Time Vault in Burning Tendrils, and shares his broader thoughts on the archetype and the Vintage format. As always, Stephen breaks the mold for tournament reports with his iconic style and brilliant insights.

Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 1998

Schools of Magic History of Vintage 1998

Continuing in the Schools of Magic: History of Vintage series, author Stephen Menendian retraces the history of 1998, an unforgettable year in the history of Type I. Follow the important changes to the Restricted List, the rise of recursion strategies and new combo decks, and the lasting impact of Urza’s Saga on the format. Read about the birth Oath and Workshop Aggro decks in the format, and about the continuing evolution of The Deck, Necropotence, Prosperity, and Zoo strategies.

Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 1997

Schools of Magic History of Vintage 1997

Building on the previous chapters of the Schools of Magic: History of Vintage series, author Stephen Menendian has uncovered a treasure trove of lost decklists and forgotten history as he explores the trends, experiences, and metagame of Type I in 1997, the fifth year of Magic. Whether you are a student of the history of the game, a fan of the early years of Magic, or simply curious about the early years of Vintage, this article is not to be missed. With fifteen tournament winning and high-performing decklists and in-depth analysis, this article is perfect for those who want to relive 1997, as the first age of Type I Magic draws to a close.