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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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  • Hard Work Pays Off – Eternal Weekend 2017 Double Top 8

    Legacy and Vintage are my chosen formats in Magic, and I enjoy them far more than any other, and choose to not play anything else. Because of this, Eternal Weekend is basically my World Championships, so I decided to treat it like it was.
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  • Vintage Champs 2017 and the State of Vintage

    This is going to be a long article, because there’s a lot to touch on. If you care about nuanced policy, this may appeal to you. If you are turned off by a wall of text, please seek hot takes in the form of social media posts and video clips elsewhere. Policy has far reaching implications, whether I agree with it or not, and whether I enjoy the cards and decks being affected or not. I own all the cards, I test all the cards, I lend out the cards I’m not using. They are a sunk cost, and I’m not worried about the value of them because of policy changes. The truth is I enjoy playing every type of strategy in Vintage, from hatebears to Workshops to combo to Dredge to the broken blue decks that play all of the most fun cards. In my own preparation for Champs this year I tested and seriously considered 6 distinctly different decks for Champs, then narrowed it to 4 in the final days, before finalizing my 75 the morning of.
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  • North America Legacy Champs 2017 – ALL Decklists and Metagame Breakdown

    North America Legacy Champs is now in the books, with 711 players attending this year. Once again, Nick Coss and all of tireless staff at Card Titan did an outstanding job organizing and running the events at Eternal Weekend, and should be commended for growing and supporting the community.
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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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  • Spedternal Weekend 2017: An Old School Tournament Report

    It all started back in 1997 at PT Rye. Jamie Parke, Ben Farkas, Joe Weber (whatever_7 on mIRC, try #mtgpro), Lyle Cohen, Adam Lemke, Dennis Speigel and I had been hanging out playing Magic together for years. We were deece(ish), but back then all you had to do was attack before casting your spells and you were a Top 100 player in the world. Two of our own had finally made it to the big time, the Top 8 of the Magic: The Gathering Junior Pro Tour! Ben Farkas and Jamie Parke were playing each other in the semifinals. Jamie ended up beating Farkas after Farkas main phase tapped Jamie’s Cockatrice with Aysen Bureaucrats, only to lose on the crackback from said Cockatrice as he was at 2 (I mean…I mean…). Jamie promptly lost in the finals to one Ron Franke, a fact we make sure he never forgets (even today we occasionally refer to him as Ronald Franke or some variant thereof). Before the finals, Jamie comes out and says that they want to interview him, and we need a team name on the hop. We had always considered ourselves a team, but had yet to formally announce it to the world. The finals of the prestigious Junior World Championships seemed like the perfect place. Joe Weber suggested Team Sped, which fit for a variety of reasons, and we ran with it. And so Team Sped was born. We have been through a lot together over the years: weddings, babies, Mario Kart, McRibs, etc. They remain my best friends to this day.
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  • Old School 93-94 at Eternal Weekend 2017 – ALL Decklists and Photo Report

    The fourth annual Eternal Central Old School at Eternal Weekend tournament is history, and made history. 118 players came out to battle on game day, making this the largest Old School 93-94 tournament to date. There were many familiar faces, some players who came out of retirement, and many new players joining in the festivities for their first Old School event. Everyone seemed to have a blast.
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  • The Curious Case of Mishra’s Workshop

    With 5 out of 8 spots consumed by shop decks I thought I’d post some thoughts that I’ve been boiling for a year of so now, since the restriction of Chalice of the Void.

    If you objectively looked at Vintage Champs this year, were unencumbered by budget or cardboard loyalty concerns, and had to choose a deck of the ‘known’ options, Mishra’s Workshop Aggro was a great choice. Workshops are always a good choice when ~50%+ of the format is on 3.8 Missteps, 1.2 Flusterstorms and half a Pyroblast game one. But how did we get to where we are? How can we destroy the current dichotomy?
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  • North America Vintage Champs 2017 – ALL Decklists and Metagame Breakdown

    North America Vintage Champs has once again come and gone, and an impressive 427 players attended this year, improving noticeably upon last year’s 343 players. For all of the grousing that a vocal minority do online, this was the second largest Vintage Champs of all time, only behind 2015’s high water mark of 462 players. As usual, Nick Coss and all of tireless staff at Card Titan did an outstanding job organizing and running the events at Eternal Weekend, and should be commended for growing and supporting the community.
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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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  • Old School Player’s Ball 2017 – Results, Decklists, and Photo Report

    The first annual Old School Player’s Ball has finished, and was an incredible day for the community. With road warriors hailing from California to Texas to Wisconsin to Tennessee to Maine, and everywhere in between, 58 ballers showed up to battle. This will probably go down as the third largest Old School 93-94 event in 2017, and we were filled to our capped registration limit immediately, even after expanding from 48 to 58 seats.
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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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  • Old School Magic 93-94 – Naya (Budget) Land’s Edge Combo

    Welcome to Old School Month on Eternal Central. We’re looking at a different Old School 93-94 deck each day of the month. Today’s deck is Naya (Budget) Land’s Edge Combo, utilizing the combination of Land Tax and Land’s Edge for a combo kill, in a Red-White-Green (Naya) color scheme. This is a budget build, with no Power 9, but still utilizes Chaos Orb and a few dual lands.
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  • Old School Magic 93-94 – Shahrazad’s Sick Burn

    Welcome to Old School Month on Eternal Central. We’re looking at a different Old School 93-94 deck each day of the month. Today’s deck is Shahrazad’s Sick Burn, named for playing Shahrazad in a sick Blue-Red-White shell, with a ton of burn spells. Shahrazad functions as a burn and tempo spell in the deck.
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  • Old School Magic 93-94 – Mono Brown UrzaTron

    Welcome to Old School Month on Eternal Central. We’re looking at a different Old School 93-94 deck each day of the month. Today’s deck is Mono Brown UrzaTron, appropriately named for playing Mishra’s Workshop and the Urza’s lands from Antiquities, in an aggressive mono brown shell, full of artifacts. Here is a recent version I played.
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  • Old School Magic 93-94 – All-In Reanimator

    Welcome to Old School Month on Eternal Central. We’re looking at a different Old School 93-94 deck each day of the month. Today’s deck is All-In Reanimator, which puts most of its emphasis on reanimating a large creature with either Animate Dead, or reanimating multiple creatures with All Hallow’s Eve to create a tidal wave of fatties. Here is the latest version I’ve been toying with.
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  • Old School Magic 93-94 – 5C Power Artifact Combo

    Welcome to Old School Month on Eternal Central. We’re looking at a different Old School 93-94 deck each day of the month. Today’s deck is Power Artifact Combo, utilizing the combo of Power Artifact and Basalt Monolith to generate infinite mana, in a five color combo shell. Here is my latest version.
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  • Old School Magic 93-94 – Red Green (Budget) Aggro

    Welcome to Old School Month on Eternal Central. We’re looking at a different Old School 93-94 deck each day of the month. Today’s deck is one that is more for budget-minded players, and one that many players coming back to the game will be familiar with, from what they or a friend used to play at the lunch room table years ago. Red Green Aggro, utilizing efficient threats and burn spells. Here is but one variation as an example.
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  • Old School Magic 93-94 – Grixis Control

    Welcome to Old School Month on Eternal Central. We’re looking at a different Old School 93-94 deck each day of the month. Today’s deck is Grixis, named for playing Blue-Black-Red (Grixis) colors, in an aggro-control shell. Here is a recent version I played locally in Chicago.
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  • Old School Magic 93-94 – Mono Green Workshop Aggro

    Welcome to Old School Month on Eternal Central. We’re looking at a different Old School 93-94 deck each day of the month. Today’s deck is Mono Green Workshop Aggro, appropriately named for playing green and Mishra’s Workshop, in an aggressive aggro shell. Here is a recent version I played.
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  • Old School Magic 93-94 – Mono White Prison

    Welcome to Old School Month on Eternal Central. We’re looking at a different Old School 93-94 deck each day of the month. Today’s deck is Mono White Prison, utilizing a number of prison elements in a mono white shell.
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  • Old School Magic 93-94 – Esper Skies

    Welcome to Old School Month on Eternal Central. We’re looking at a different Old School 93-94 deck each day of the month. Today’s deck is Esper Skies, named for playing Esper colors (the modern name given to Blue-White-Black), along with Moat and a handful of flying creatures (“skies” is a historical term in Magic for decks that were heavy on flying creatures).
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  • Old School Magic 93-94 – Naya Bazaar Zoo

    Welcome to Old School Month on Eternal Central. We’re looking at a different Old School 93-94 deck each day of the month. Today’s deck is Naya Bazaar Zoo, named for playing an aggressive “Zoo” deck (with lots of creatures), in the Naya (Red-White-Green) colors, and utilizing Bazaar of Baghdad (more on that later).
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