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  • 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.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – Decoding the DCI

    The DCI is a body composed of some of the smartest people in Magic. Unfortunately, intelligence does not entail the ability to communicate ideas or thoughts clearly or effectively. Tom LaPille was a notable addition to the staff of Wizards of the Coast, not simply because of his accomplishments in Magic, but because of his ability to communicate the groupthink of a nest of brainiacs to the outside world. With notable speed Tom became the voice of Wizards R&D as he took over the reins of the column titled Latest Developments. This is not to say that Erik Lauer, the individual responsible for explaining the most recent changes to the Banned and Restricted List, has not explained the changes clearly or effectively. However, further elaboration or insight would be helpful. The implications of the most recent B/R list announcement reach Vintage as well as Legacy. Permit me to attempt to decode the DCI…

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  • So Many Insane Plays – Why Survival Should Not Be Banned in Legacy, But Will Be Anyway

    Survival of the Fittest is putting up unseemly – even gaudy – performance statistics. By any reasonable accounting, it’s dominating the Legacy format, if measured primarily by performance on the StarCityGames (SCG) Legacy Open series. I won’t rehash that data. Admittedly, there is some question about the scope of the data – whether its exclusive reliance on American tournament performance is truly representative of global metagame dominance. More than a few European players point to the European championships as counter-evidence (Editor’s Note: as well as the LCL series and every other large European tournament that is not SCG). But with that caveat, there is more than enough statistical evidence of Survival dominance.
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  • Saito Busted at GP Florence and What It Means

    Saito Busted at GP Florence at What it Means
    Pro Tour regular and Japanese Magic player extraordinaire Tomoharu Saito has been disqualified without prize from Grand Prix Florence 2010 this weekend for Cheating (Stalling). According to GP Coverage writer David Sutcliffe we have this gem from Saturday November 27:

    We are never pleased to have to pass on bad news, so we are sad that we have to announce that Japan’s Tomoharu Saitou has been disqualified without prize from Grand Prix Florence following his sixth round match.

    Head Judge, Level-4 Nick Sephton, explained why the disqualification occurred:
    “We disqualified this player for Stalling, after it was observed that his play speed seemed to change based on his observation of the clock. It was observed by a high-level judge that twice in the round he appeared to change his play speed based on considerations that were outside the game. Consulting among the senior judges we decided that, on the basis of what we had observed, we had no choice but to disqualify the player.”

    Nick [the Head Judge] continued with advice for players wanting to avoid falling foul of this rule themselves:
    “Players should be able to play at a reasonable pace throughout a round. Judges recognize that a player’s speed of play can change during a game – Magic is a complicated game and produces difficult situations for players – but it’s important that players are still able to play at a speed that allows games to be completed. It’s a valid play skill to be able to make difficult decisions quickly.”

    So what does this all mean? Well for one it means that the legendary Saito may be looking at a suspension and may see his pending Magic Hall of Fame induction take a hit. We break it all down after the jump!

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  • In the Lab – Brainstorming Legacy Affinity

    In the Lab - Brainstorming Legacy Affinity

    Since the printing of Mirrodin and Darksteel enterprising mages have been brainstorming the best ways to break the Affinity mechanic. Effects that multiply anything (see: Berserk, Fork, the Storm mechanic) have traditionally been very powerful, and the DCI has treaded very carefully with those effects. The Affinity strategy proved sound enough to thoroughly dominate Standard and get all of the good cards banned in Extended, but hasn’t had the kind of strength or staying power in Legacy to keep it in Tier 1 or Tier 2 status.
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  • In the Lab – Legacy Transformers

    In the history of Magic: The Gathering, milling your opponent has been always a fun (but not always great) way to win the games. WotC keeps printing cards that throw cards from top of the deck to the graveyard, but generally all those cards suck. Even though we know how bad of a strategy milling is we keep trying it.

    The following In the Lab article talks about my latest (monster) creation: Transformers. You can keep reading about it after the break.

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  • Instant Analysis – SCG Charlotte $5K Legacy

    Instant Analysis Charlotte

    As the leaves turn warm shades of yellow, orange, and red, and the temperature cools this early fall, the Legacy scene continues to burn brightly. The StarCityGames Charlotte Legacy $5K tournament was held this weekend, and 147 competitors with decks in hands traveled to Charlotte (North Carolina, USA) to compete for $5,000 in prizes and to earn more SCG Open Series points towards the huge tournament later this year.
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  • X and Owen – On Workshops and Sucking

    (Editor’s Note: this is Owen’s follow up to his Vintgage Champs 2010 report, and may or may not have appeared elsewhere but has been reprinted with permission of the author Owen Turtenwald to serve as a companion work with his other Vintage writing.)

    Originally I was going to title this article “Why Lodestone Golem is the Worst Card in Vintage.” Ok, ok, hyperbole aside Lodestone Golem is not the actual worst card in Vintage, but I do believe that it is insanely overrated. For one thing, Lodestone says non-artifact which for some reason most people don’t consider a serious drawback. But when every deck you play against has about 10 artifacts, most of which provide mana and make his ability worse, it’s much less attractive. I can hear the forum responses now. “IT DOESN’T AFFECT MY SMOKESTACK!11!!1!” But you already have at least 4 mana for the Golem, which means you are playing Mishra’s Workshop so your deck has about 35 or roughly a million mana in it, so it’s not much of a bonus that he doesn’t affect your cards. The fact that you’re trying to restrict the mana that your opponent is playing is what is most important, because that makes all of your other Spheres that much better.
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  • X and Owen – Winning Vintage Worlds 2010

    For my latest article I’m excited to write about how I recently won the Vintage World Championship at GenCon Indy 2010. I’ve played in the event the past 3 years now, with a Top 8 appearance the first time, and some poor play leading to a loss while playing for Top 8 last year which was pretty disheartening, to the point where I didn’t even want to play in the tournament this year. But thanks to David Ochoa for providing me the decklist and to my amazing friends for lending me the cards. Without further adieu here is the decklist that I (along with Bob Maher and David Williams) ended up playing.
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  • Focus on Legacy – Combating Survival

    Combating Survival of the Fittest

    During the recent coverage of StarCityGames Nashville Legacy $5K event SCG writer called for the banning of Survival of the Fittest. OOOOOOH GOD, a deck has taken the SCG circuit by storm! We had better take immediate corrective action and ban something! Now I think we can all recognize that Survival is a fantastic card, but is it really ban-worthy? Let’s take a look at this, and various ways to combat Survival after the jump.

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  • Vintage Primer – The Riddler

    The story starts with the unrestriction of Gush/Frantic Search (20th of September 2010), the DCI granted the vintage community a gift that could not be overlooked. This was actually right on time since 3 weeks later it was the Eternal Weekend. For those who don’ t know what it is, I leave you a link here of the coverage done by the EC staff. All this meant that we had to squeeze our brains as much as possible in order to find the correct sinergy for the event. Some days later, Scars of Mirrodin was released with lots of interesting stuff for the King of the formats. After reading it carefully, I found a little jewel, so I started thinking about what it could provide to the vintage format, since its potential is more than obvious:

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  • A New Take on Legacy Dredge!

    Legacy is a format that is constantly in flux. Tons of decks are viable and therefore it’s very hard to attack or defend the format from one specific angle. A lot of people dislike this characteristic of Legacy (and old Extended formats), but I think it’s great.

    Nowadays Vengevine Madness is slowly starting to dominate, and various decks and their sideboards are adapting to help fight the Vengevine menace, and are tailoring graveyard hate specifically for attacking this threat. This is great news for Dredge since people are now packing graveyard hate that is quite weak against Dredge. After the jump let’s take a look at the available options that are most often played.

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  • So Many Insane Plays – Scars of Mirrodin 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 suns that orbit Mirrodin dim, their color fading. The Myr have scattered. But the dread and the evil are not done with it yet. They have returned to scavenge the remains of this dying world for malevolent and selfish ends. We are among them.
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  • Scars of Mirrodin – Complete Visual Spoiler

    The complete visual spoiler from Scars of Mirrodin is finally out. Check it out after the break:

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  • In the Lab – Vintage Polymorph

    Due to the current Vintage metagame, that bores me to oblivion, I’m currently testing new stuff in order to find a balance between the fun and the win rate. If I’d play for winning I’d probably play Dredge. If I wouldn’t care about the fun then I’d probably play MUD. But since I’m somewhere in between those 2, I feel the need to do something!

    You’ve seen me trying to design new stuff such as the Jacerator deck. A deck that, despite the fact that it isn’t played a lot, has achieved excellent results at mid/large tournaments around Europe. Jacerator is good because of the current metagame. Playing 4 Tarmogoyf maindeck plus a bunch of Nature’s Claim, Jace, the Mind Sculptor or  Trygon Predator makes this deck a true “metagame deck”. Current Vintage metagame is so stuck that everywhere you go you’ll find the exact same decks. That’s what makes Jacerator good! Anyways, I’m not here to speak about Jacerator!

    So, today I’m going to try to explain why Polymorph might be good in Vintage.

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  • Instant Analysis – SCG Denver & Minneapolis $5K Legacy

    The past two weekends have brought some of the biggest crowds for Legacy in the USA this summer, with 170 players in the SCG Minneapolis $5K Legacy this past weekend, and 125 players in the SCG Denver $5K Legacy tournament the weekend prior. As the post-Mystical Tutor world of Legacy develops we have seen Reanimator and Ad Nauseam combo neutered, but not completely dead, and plenty of other decks have sprung up to take their places in recent tournaments.

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  • Focus on Legacy – Playing and Sideboarding UBG Landstill

    In our last Focus on Legacy article we broke down individual card choices for Constructing UBG Landstill. In today’s article we’ll look more closely at constructing a sideboard from available options, sideboarding against common match ups, and some lines of play with the deck.

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  • Matchup Analysis – Comprehensive guide to dredge sideboard

    Dredge has always been considered as a “really easy to play” deck. You find your Bazaar of Baghdad, you dredge a bunch of cards, you Dread Return your victory condition, and it’s all over. Well, if it’s not far from being totally true in game 1, where the only difficult thing is to name the good card on Cabal Therapy and correctly counting your Bridge from Below tokens, it’s really far from being that simple in post board games. And with dredge, you will have to play a lot more post board games, just because you have a really high game 1 win rate, and your opponent brings a lot of hate for game 2 and 3, lowering your win percentage to around 50-60% in games with sideboard.

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  • Focus on Legacy – Constructing UBG Landstill

    Are you one of the types of people who likes to see your opponent squirm in their chair as you destroy everything they play, or counter anything else? Are you one of the types of people that seeks to demoralize an opponent and chuckle inside as you stare at their board state, barren of all relevant non-land permanents? If so, you may just be the type of person who likes playing a deck like Landstill.

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  • Instant Analysis – SCG St. Louis Legacy $5K

    With temperatures in the 90’s and brutal humidity down near St. Louis this weekend, the weather was scorching but interest in Legacy was cool and somewhat reserved. While 192 people attended the StarCityGames Legacy $5K this Sunday, interest appeared slightly down, as this was essentially a lame-duck tournament, with the recent changes to the Banned-Restricted List that take effect next week. This weekend was the last chance for players to pilot Mystical Tutor-themed decks, so a lot more interest and buzz seemed to be in testing the format that the upcoming Grand Prix Columbus will be (no Mystical, but with Grim Monolith), as the rewards are much greater at a Grand Prix in terms of cash and Pro points.

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  • What the June 2010 BR List Update Means for Legacy

    It’s that time of the year again, when Magic players and pundits alike have been waiting by their computers for the clock to strike midnight, in eager anticipation of news on the Banned/Restricted List. Extended got a rude awakening when their format was turned upside down, shrinking the card pool from about seven years worth of sets down to four years, and then also banning Sword of the Meek and Hypergenesis for good measure.
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  • Focus On Legacy - ANT Doomsday Hybrid Focus on Legacy – Ad Nauseam Doomsday Hybrid

    In the world of Legacy Storm combo there are a handful of shells and options available to the Real Men Who Play Combo. There are speed versions of Ad Nauseam Tendrils (ANT), versions with the powerful Burning Wish as a tutor (which also give you the power of Empty the Warrens), and other unique creations such as Jordi Amat’s Ill-Gotten Gains Tendrils deck (IggyPop 2.0). The version that I think offers the best balance of power, stability, and flexibility right now is a hybrid of Ad Nauseam and Doomsday strategies, or as we’ll call it ANT-Doomsday Hybrid.
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  • Solutions to the High Price of Cardboard

    Following our discourse on the potential Breaking of the Reserved List, the community and Wizards of the Coast seemingly need to contemplate a solution to the spiraling cost of older cards if Wizards’ feels that these prices are too high and would prevent a legitimate barrier of entry for newer players. If Wizards’ is going to respect the spirit of the Reserved List and not undermine it dramatically using the foil/premium loophole, what can be done to increase supply and thus lower prices on key Legacy staples? I would suggest that the first thing to do is to look at what cards are priced high, and look at those that are not on the Reserved List that could safely be reprinted without breaking the Reserved List.

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  • Thoughts on Breaking the Reserved List


    Over the past couple of months there has been much consternation and discussion in online forums and articles discussing the rise of prices in older Magic cards. There has also been much discussion lately of the Reserved List on the Official Reprint Policy.

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