• So Many Insane Plays – 2012 Vintage Championship Report & Post-Mortem

    The Vintage Championship is the one of the few Vintage “majors,” tournaments of higher level competition and prestige. The most famous European major is the Bazaar of Moxen, renowned for its extraordinary prize payout. Although the Vintage Championship does not have the best prize payout of the Vintage majors, like the Italian OvinoGeddon or the American Waterbury, it does have a prize that is perhaps more coveted: a piece of original alternate artwork of one of the ‘Power Nine’ cards, framed as a trophy.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – The Parameters of Land Tax in Legacy

    Land Tax is finally legal in Legacy. Hallelujah!

    Land Tax is a card that I have long argued is among the safest cards to unban from the Legacy banned list. In 2010, I asked my readers if they felt Land Tax was a safe unban, and an overwhelming 80% agreed at the time that it was.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – 1st Place With Baleful Strix Control: A Vintage Tournament Report

    I’ve played a ton of Magic lately, surprising given how crazy busy my professional life has been recently, and the ideas have been flowing as if by divine inspiration. Perhaps that’s a consequence of playing Doomsday over and over again in both Vintage and Legacy: my neural pathways have been taxed to the limit, and I’m creating new Magical branches in my brain.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – The Legacy Doomsday Device Primer

    For the last 7 months, Stephen Menendian has been toiling away in his Magic laboratory on a concoction that is certain to shake up Legacy. In this article, Stephen reinvents Doomsday in Legacy, just as he has in Vintage. Focused determination and meticulous refinement have produced a decklist and a deck approach that will blow your mind.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – Avacyn Restored Eternal Set Review

    So Many Insane Plays - Avacyn Restored Eternal Set Review & Updated Vintage Checklist

    (Editor’s Note: This former Downloadable Product has now been made free to all customers. Enjoy!)

    I. Introduction

    Welcome dear Eternal player. It’s great to have you back as we dig into the final set from Innistrad block, and the last major set for 2012 until the fall. This is a huge set, with a bunch of playables, design innovations, and a fascinating, game warping mechanic. In this set review, I will take a look at every single new printing for Vintage (and in some important cases, Legacy) applications. Moreover, I will present you with a plethora of decklists that provide a context for each application. I have a decklist for every playable Vintage card in this set, and then some.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – A Guide to Aggro in Vintage (First Edition)

    Vintage author Stephen Menendian delves into the world of Aggro in Vintage, with a comprehensive look at what the various pieces of the color pie offer to the aspiring deckbuilder, and their applicability in the current Vintage landscape. In this 30 page article Stephen lays out the case for 12 different Vintage Aggro decks, including card analysis, explanations, and sideboarding advice.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – Meandeck Open Report – 10th Place with Meandeck Gush Control

    I’ve had a spectacular run since July, making 6 consecutive Top 8’s, until I placed 9th in the Sandusky, Ohio Team Serious open in December. I decided to rectify that failing at the Meandeck Open, but fell short once again. Check out all the details in full technicolor after the jump!
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – The Dark Ascension Vintage Set Review & Updated Vintage Checklist

    (Editor’s Note: This former Downloadable Product has now been made free to all customers. Enjoy!)

    Greetings Vintage adept! Welcome to my Dark Ascension Vintage Set Review. This will be the most comprehensive review of Dark Ascension for Vintage play available anywhere. I will carefully analyze every card in Dark Ascension for potential Vintage format applications. I will bring to bear not only my expertise, but unmatched experience in evaluating new cards for Vintage play. Not only do I have a proven track record of accurately forecasting new cards for Vintage play, my careful and detailed analysis snares cards that other reviewers overlooked or dismiss. I hope you find this set review enlightening and practical as you decide which cards you will acquire from Dark Ascension, and how you might approach the set from a deck construction perspective.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – Trends & Predictions for 2012 & A Vintage Tournament Report

    (Editor’s Note: This former Downloadable Product has now been made free to all customers. Enjoy!)

    Welcome Vintage addict, and happy holidays. In this article, I will present my final tournament report of the year, in which I narrowly missed Top 8 on account of a few critical play errors. I took more detailed post-match notes than in recent tournaments, so I may delve more deeply into game states. This kind of analysis is among the most pedagogically helpful for Vintage readers, and will hopefully be entertaining as well. But perhaps just as important is my analysis of the trends of the format and my predictions for 2012.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – The 2011 Vintage Year in Review

    Vintage in 2011 was simply amazing. Each new printing, deck, and idea – each new development – formed a chain of dominoes that led to one incredible story after another. I feel sorry for you if you missed it. The good news is that I’ll tell you all about it. For those of you who played Vintage in 2011, you can relive it again. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the moment. The year’s end is a time for perspective, to reflect on events and to find meaning in them.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – Understanding Remora Gush

    (Editor’s Note: This former Downloadable Product has now been made free to all customers. It has also been retitled from the previous title ‘So Many Insane Plays – Remora Gush: The Final Evolution of Gush in 2011.’ Enjoy!)

    The Vintage metagame is deep and rich. There are more options than ever for the Vintage player. Blue pilots can choose between Confidant/Jace decks, Snapcaster Control, Gush decks at the top tier, and a myriad of other choices such as Standstill, Oath, Painter, or Fact or Fiction-based decks. Combo pilots can choose among Confidant TPS, Worldgorger Dragon Combo, and now Doomsday. Workshop players can choose among aggressive builds, like Slash Panther, controlling builds, like Nick Detwiler’s Espresso Stax, and more combo oriented builds, like the Kuldotha Forgemaster decks that are rampant in Europe.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – Is Vintage ‘Too Fast’ or in a Golden Era?

    Brian DeMars recently penned an article titled ‘Is Vintage Too Fast?‘ While the article is framed as a question, it doesn’t take a psychic to guess at the author’s answer. Brian forcefully argues that Vintage is too fast, and that the DCI should restrict Bazaar of Baghdad and Gush to slow it down.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – Top 8 With Doomsday at Waterbury, and Forward Thinking

    Last week Stephen Menendian unveiled an explosive new Doomsday deck. This week he provides a detailed tournament report, including a blow by blow account of battling his way to the Top 8 of the esteemed Waterbury/TMD Open 15 tournament, including an epic match with the legendary Chris Pikula.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – DOOMSDAY RETURNS! How to Build Doomsday Piles and Win in Modern Vintage

    Hot off a Top 8 at the Waterbury/TMD 15 Open playing Doomsday, Stephen Menendian has written a primer on this unusual and exciting archetype. In this primer Stephen explains optimal deck construction, Doomsday piles, and sideboarding options and plans. With over 15 different Doomsday scenarios analyzed with detailed graphics, this article is a treat for all Magic lovers!
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – Innistrad: A Comprehensive Vintage Set Review

    SMIP Innistrad Set Review

    (Editor’s Note: This former Downloadable Product has now been made free to all customers. Enjoy!)

    I. Introduction and Overview

    Welcome loyal reader to my Innistrad Set Review!

    This article is dense and action packed. I will begin by recapping my New Phyrexia Set Review, and evaluating my predictions there. I will then talk about what entered Vintage with M12, and with the metagame changes this summer. Then I will share my thoughts on Innistrad, beginning with an essay on Innistrad, followed by a comprehensive analysis of which cards are Unplayable, Remotely Playable, Possibly Playable, and Definitely Playable. Finally, I will unveil the list of cards you will want to pick up from Innistrad, and the updated Vintage Checklist. Whew, that’s a lot to get to, so let’s get started!
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – From Confidant to Cobra Gush: First Place in Sandusky

    Today, Stephen Menendian unveils his post-Vintage Champs deck of choice. The recent Team Serious Open in Sandusky, Ohio, provided a battle ground in the post-Champs metagame, with many of Vintage’s brightest minds in attendance. After the dust settled Stephen was crowned the winner, piloting an innovative take on Cobra Gush. He gives an in depth look at his card choices and reasoning, and looks at each of his games in this tournament, turn through turn, detailing the decision tree and ramifications of in-game actions.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – Understanding Confidant Gush

    (Editor’s Note: This content was formerly published on Quiet Speculation, and the former Downloadable Product has since been made available free here with the permission of the author and QS. Enjoy!)

    Gush is the Vintage Magic equivalent of the Wonderlic test. How a player views Gush as a card is indicative and suggestive, although not determinative (by any means), of their Vintage IQ. If a player looks at Gush, and is either unimpressed or thinks it’s simply not that good, it is only a matter of time until they are proven wrong. If a player doesn’t know how to play Gush, and fumbles around with it in testing, it’s guaranteed that they will underestimate it. If a player casts Gush on turn two, and passes the turn without doing anything else meaningful, they are GushFailing.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – Three Lessons From Bobby Fischer

    Bobby Fischer is arguably the greatest Chess player of all time. This fact is all the more astounding because he was an American who rose to the pinnacle of a sport dominated by non-Americans (think soccer, or “football”). His method of play, his studious preparation, and even his descent into madness contain valuable lessons for the young or mature Magic player.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – 2011 Q2 Vintage Metagame Report

    (Editor’s Note: This former Downloadable Product has now been made free to all customers. Enjoy!)

    Ah Vintage, you are a stunning creature. Just 18 and a half years old, reaching maturity, you are in full bloom. It is my pleasure to help others appreciate your wonder. The Vintage metagame is a special creature, but it takes a seasoned hand to help illuminate this beauty. Every quarter, just as corporate America is compiling and releasing earnings reports for investors and regulators, I am doing the same, but for the Vintage format.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – What is the LEAST Unrestrictable Card in Vintage?

    This month may herald some exciting changes to the Vintage Restricted List. In recent years, the DCI has typically made adjustments to the Vintage Banned and Restricted List mid-year, perhaps with an eye towards the Vintage Championship at GenCon. For each of the last five years, changes to the Vintage Restricted list have been announced, and all of the announced changes to the Vintage occurred in June or September.
    Continue Reading

  • Why Fact or Fiction Should Be Unrestricted: An Open Letter to the DCI

    (Editor’s Note: this article was co-authored by Stephen Menendian and William Winger

    Almost ten years on, the time has come to reconsider Fact or Fiction‘s restricted status. As difficult as it is for us Eternal enthusiasts to believe, Fact or Fiction has now inhabited the Vintage Restricted List for half of the game’s existence. Announced December 2001, and effective January 1st, 2002, the restriction of Fact or Fiction demarcates the midpoint in the life of the Vintage format and the game itself, the fulcrum between 1993 and 2011. This fact underscores the need to reconsider whether it still deserves to be restricted. We make the case not only that Fact or Fiction no longer deserves that status, and can join the ranks of cards like Gush and Frantic Search which have safely returned to the format unrestricted, but that its unrestriction would be a net positive, promoting the strategic diversity of the format and generating interest, enthusiasm, and good will throughout the format.
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – New Phyrexia Vintage Set Review

    (Editor’s Note: This content was formerly published on Quiet Speculation, and the former Downloadable Product has since been made available free here with the permission of the author and QS. Enjoy!)

    The Phyrexians have arrived, and they seek to remake the orb of Mirrodin in their own image. Will they remake Vintage as well?
    Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – The 2010 Vintage Year in Review

    2009 was the Year of the Monster. 2009 witnessed the printing of many new colossi: Inkwell Leviathan, Sphinx of the Steel Wind, and Iona, Shield of Emeria, most prominently. 2010 marked the dawning of a brave new world for Vintage players, a world awakened. Continue Reading

  • So Many Insane Plays – The Mirrodin Besieged Vintage Set Review

    (Editor’s Note: This content was formerly published on Quiet Speculation, and the former Downloadable Product has since been made available free here with the permission of the author and QS. Enjoy!)

    I. Introduction

    Welcome loyal reader! In this article I continue my long tradition of reviewing new sets for Vintage format (the greatest format!) applications. As always, I will also provide a checklist of cards from Mirrodin Besieged that you will want to acquire to complete your collection and enable you to play any deck in the format. This checklist will give you a heads up over the competition, and allow you to make better trades. I will tell you which cards you should pick up now, which cards you should wait to pick up (because I expect them to fall in price), and which cards will be the sleepers you can make a killing on.
    Continue Reading