With the release of Shadows Over Innistrad comes the accompanying Banned & Restricted List update, and this is sure to shake up a few formats.
Vintage is the format where Magic’s most hideous and broken cards find an eternal resting home. A home where figurative muscle is flexed, razor wits are honed, and the bonds of normalcy are broken. To outsiders who are not intimately familiar with the savage design mistakes and patterns of Vintage play, the common refrain seems to be “don’t people just die on the first or second turn?” and “why is Card X or Card Y not restricted?”
Courtesy of Hareruya MTG (and translated by us for English speaking audiences), we are pleased to present to you the results of the recent 2016 Asian Vintage Champs, hosted by TokyoMTG. Players were qualified by regional qualifying tournaments, and any Magic Hall of Famers and previous Vintage Championship winners were invited to attend as well (a full list of participants can be found here). 22 players played 5 rounds of Swiss, with a cut to Top 8 playoff.
This past weekend the Chicago Old School group hosted a small 93-94 tournament, with space for 12 players. The seating limitations of privately hosting the event quickly filled up, and we had 12 players show up to battle, including a number of local players, and a few players from as far as about 4 hours away (driving) a state over.
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.
On July 20 2015, Wizards of the Coast announced a radical slate of changes to Magic Online, especially for non-Pro Tour formats. Vintage players quickly found that prizes of substantial monetary value were replaced with Play Points, and Daily Events would become 3 rounds of Swiss. In the three weeks between the announcement and the change taking effect, Wizards published six Daily Event results. The same rate held in the three-week period after implementation, and in the three weeks preceding the October 20 Magic Online announcements, by which point the Daily Events had been altered to a new 4-round structure. In contrast, the three weeks prior to the Play Points announcement had 16 published results. That period was unusually busy for Vintage online, but it demonstrates that Play Points and 3-round Dailies failed to build on any existing momentum. The Wizards announcement of the Power 9 Challenge was a thrilling about-face. Instead of smaller and less-rewarding tournaments, Wizards would offer real Vintage prizes and coordinate less-frequent but larger and more meaningful tournaments. Even so, the announcement expressed some doubts that the 33-player minimum would be met, and stressed that a 12-player minimum Daily Event would be available at around the same time.
(Editor’s Note: The following is a report and deck introduction from Nicholas Rausch, a player and tournament organizer in Ohio, USA.)
For the last 5 months, I have been tinkering in my workshop, trying to duplicate many things. Triskelions and Factories are the obvious but Juggernauts, Su-Chi, Tetravus, Mana Vaults, Moxen, Basalt Monoliths, Choas Orb, Howling Mines, Ankh of Mishra, Black Vise, Tomes of Jalum and Jayemdae, Ice Manipulator, Tawnos’ Coffin, Ivory Towers, and Time Vaults all have found their doppelgangers on the board. Even lesser constructs like Clockwork Avian, Weakstone, and Skull of Orm have been replicated.
It’s safe to say, Copy Artifact has consumed me.
It is new set release time, and with it comes a new Banned & Restricted List Update announcement. The last few announcements have brought few changes, but this month’s will possibly shake up the Eternal formats a bit.
For those who don’t know me, I’m a long time Vintage player and gamer. I don’t write very often, or post on the Internet, or even play Magic all that much anymore. As Jimmy McCarthy often says, we are now proud members of “Team Vintage Has Been.” I could probably sit here and tell you of the glory days, the SCG Power 9 days, the RIW tournaments, and splitting the same Mox Pearl at the Soldiery like 30 times so that we could all eat at Thurman’s. That would be fun for me, because if there is anything Vintage players have in common, it’s that they love talking about their moments in the sun. But I know you all, and if you’ve ever talked to me, you’ve probably already heard all my tired ass stories.
2015 Vintage Champs has come and gone, leaving behind a new conception of the metagame, and exciting technology with which to address it. Big congratulations should be given to Brian Kelly with his Oath of Bomberman victory, but let’s see what else Vintage enthusiasts were able to cook up.
The second annual Eternal Central Old School tournament at Eternal Weekend is over, and a huge thank you goes out to everyone who showed up to support Old School. Players traveled from all over the USA, France, Brazil, Germany, Norway, and New Zealand to battle with sweet brews, while drinking craft brews, and it seemed like everyone had a blast. Dozens of players commented things such as “this was the most fun I’ve had playing Magic in 10 years,” to “this was the most fun tournament I’ve ever played in!” This tournament was intentionally casual and old school in feeling, and that was great to hear. Next year will be even bigger and better, with some special surprises in store.