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  • Resource Advantage in Magic Part 1: One-Shot Resources

    Magic the Gathering is a game of resource management. While the quirks of particular cards will drive certain formats, the general principles of resource management will dictate how one should best address particular strategies. Using resource management as a lens through which to view Magic decks, archetypes, and even entire formats will allow players to make unprecedented connections and reach new levels of understanding.
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  • There and Back Again – Believe in Miracles!

    In today’s article we’ll look at how my version of Legacy Miracles has evolved since Grand Prix: Paris!
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  • Vintage Masters Sneak Peek – Vaulting Through Vintage

    In the pantheon of historical Vintage/Type I decks, there are few strategies that have the ruthless efficiency of untapping Time Vault to take extra turns repeatedly. Taking extra turns in Magic has always been fun (thank you, Time Walk!), but taking all the turns is even better.
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  • It’s Vintage Masters Preview Week!

    Vintage Masters is due out for Magic Online next month, and is getting the full preview treatment on the Wizards of the Coast mothership this week.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – The “So Do You Wear a Cape?” Book Review

    Enthusiast Titus Chalk has authored a brilliant, page-turning history of Magic: The Gathering sprinkled with entertaining anecdotes, remarkably deep insights, and journalistic treasures. Chalk’s brisk narrative, brimming with behind-the-scenes stories that reflect painstaking investigatory work, traces the broad arc of Magic’s 20+ year history. Chalk sketches the development of the game, its unbridled growth, and the myriad debates and issues surrounding it, from the complaints of fundamentalist parents over the ‘demonic’ elements of the game, to the emergence of the Pro Tour (with its heroes and villains), the business of the game, from its initial financing to its sale to Hasbro (with Richard Garfield pocketing a cool $100 million, no less), to the growth of the secondary market, to the wrangling over the Reserved List. It’s all covered.
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  • There and Back Again – Miracles Philosophy & Sideboarding

    Hello, and welcome to my second article here on Eternal Central. My last article was about my success at GP Paris with my beloved Miracles deck. It is arguably the best deck in the metagame as of now, but somehow it’s still lacking popularity, especially in the US. But why is this?

    Miracles is a difficult deck to play (especially playing quickly enough for tournament constraints), even though it might not look like this all the time. In the following articles I will talk about certain philosophies of this deck, as well as certain approaches on the most important matchups. But enough of useless babble, let’s get it going.
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  • Grand Prix Paris Finalist Report with UWR Miracles

    After my incredible run I felt an obligation to write a report. I would have been glad to say win, win, win, win, win, win, and win, but it will only be win, win, win, win, win, win…and loss. I ended up finishing second at the Grand Prix in Paris.

    First of all, I will make a short introduction of myself. I am Maxime Gilles, and I have played Legacy for several years. I am currently an administrator on legacy-france.org, and a member of the team GT Paris (even though I moved to Lyon last year).
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  • There and Back Again – Grand Prix Paris Top 4 Report With Miracles

    I am back from Paris, where this year’s European Legacy Grand Prix was held. It was an outstanding weekend for me, leaving me with my first GP Top 8. But before getting into this, please allow me to introduce myself. I am Philipp Schönegger, a Legacy enthusiast from Austria. I’ve been playing Legacy for about three years, but didn’t play it really competitively before GP Strasbourg, where I finished Top 64 without any byes. After having dipped into this perspective of Legacy I kept on testing a lot, which rewarded me with various top finishes at smaller tournaments in Austria and Italy. With GP Paris on the way I kept on testing the same deck I had been playing for about two years now, Miracles. This blue-white-red menace has conquered a piece of my heart ever since.

    Coincidentally though, my preferred deck was also the best deck at the GP, with positive match-ups all over the format. Before delving into the tournament itself, let’s take a few moments to briefly analyze my list:
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  • Heart of the Storm – New Frontiers

    While I enjoy hot drinks in the cold and my cross-Europe-travel to visit all my friends and family in Spain, France, Bavaria, and Poland usually the last 2-3 weeks of the year, I admit I’m just not the type for the warm and fuzzy Christmas-feeling, maybe as a result of usually breaking up during October/November (3 years in a row…don’t ask me why). If people I meet there on the long rail-travels across Europe or during a chatter in the departure hall of an airport ask me where I’m from, I usually answer that question with “Europe!” due to my wide-spread multi-national family tree and being pervaded by that cultural mix, rather than a distinctive nationality. I also mixed my academic training, as I have a bachelor degree as an architect and a diploma (equals a master degree) in construction engineering, working internationally as a consultant for conversion of stores (worked for Levi’s, Otto Kern, Fossil, etc.), re-utilization of urban space (often into living areas), town planning, and rights of residence. This is my third year living in Germany’s capital and I still adore the rough, edgy, gross, and yet historic and monumental sides of Berlin, with all the available space to actually create/alter the face of the city.

    I first played the game in 1994 between the Arabian Nights and Antiquities expansions on a non-regular basis and really became a real tournament player in 2003, playing mostly Vintage at that time and therefore pervaded by Scourge’s key mechanic which sculpted the metagame back then: Storm. If you’ve ever sleeved up the powerful mana artifacts of the old days with sets of Lion’s Eye Diamonds and Minds Desire, it carves a lasting passion which now lasts for a full decade in my case, even if I don’t sleeve up my Beta Power anymore. Over the years, a passion grew between me and Legacy combo decks, slinging infamous cards like Doomsday, Show & Tell, Aluren, and Survival of the Fittest in their full bloom. I was ever a pretty fast guy for taking down notes for reports and to reconstruct possible misplays, thanks to my dear grandmother who taught me stenography during middle school. It was late 2012 as I thought that I could use that ability to create very detailed notes during the matches and my knowledge of the storm-mechanic to unravel one of the most complex and misunderstood decks in the current Legacy metagame: The EPIC Storm.
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  • Fighting the Blues: An Enchanting Story

    I am thrilled. Why? Because Wizards of the Coast cares for us. Yes, they do not simply hang us out to dry, as though Legacy players are mere scavengers rummaging through the meager portions of goodies among dozens of Standard playable cards in a newly revealed set. Oh, sometimes we are simply emaciated. A set is fully spoiled and we find that none of the cards see even marginal play in Legacy. Set after set, we hang our mouths wide open in anticipation for the next Stoneforge Mystic, Snapcaster Mage, or even Swan Song and most times our hope is bitterly betrayed. We slump our shoulders and walk away from the computer wondering why we even looked in the first place. Although possibly not true, we non-blue mages experience this more often than not.

    And yet, here we are. The dawn of Born of the Gods brings forth a shining star from the ashes of desolation. It takes up its sword, ready to join the ranks, to fight the good fight, and to bring balance to what was once a desert storm of blue decks. We welcome you to our ranks, oh mighty Spirit. Make way brethren, Spirit of the Labyrinth arises!
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  • Fighting the Blues: Decks for the New Year

    So the holidays are here. Did you get your wish? I hope it didn’t include blue. I know, I know. You have been eyeing that Tundra for a long time, glimmering in the protective wooden card display of your local game store. Perhaps it’s on sale, even 20% off now that the crazy shopping season is coming to an end. But do you really want to sacrifice your integrity? You have been known in your local group as the one who fights against the tide. You were the chosen one to wield white. Your heart throbbed when you first encountered the alluring raw power of green back when you first started. Black made you a tiny bit more evil, and a little more sadistic. Not to mention the flavor! I ask again: are you willing to give all of that up so your deck can become “consistent?” Hope your 2014 year doesn’t start with this unfortunate step.
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  • Fighting the Blues: Against the Waves

    No Such Thing as Stock

    “No way,” my friend shook his head with a hint of sass. “Yes, I’m serious Carl. I really think it would work,” I said, mustering up as much confidence as I could. “It’s not even a goblin! It will dilute my deck.” He wasn’t convinced. “Yes, I know, but the synergy is perfect. I can’t imagine Goblins not running this. You have to trust me.” Any other testing partner might have moved on, playing their usual 75. Being a fantastic friend and an open minded person, he listened. He took one of the cards in his deck and flipped it around displaying the ever-so-familiar back through the warn sleeves. “There. This can be Purphoros. Let’s see what it can do,” he sighed as he started shuffling.
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  • Youth in Magic, and the Price of Gaming

    Hello. Many of you may not know me, unless you’ve seen me at events in Spain, My name is Juan Vilar, and I’ve been playing Magic since the release of Fourth Edition. Magic: the Gathering has come a long way since then, and it has been a joyful part of my life for a long time. As an old school player I’ve had the opportunity of seeing so many different metagames and format changing events.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – Pitch Burning Tendrils, Other Brews, and Three Tournament Reports

    Stephen Menendian’s latest weapon of choice is revealed here, in an epic 45 page primer and three tournament reports (including the Vintage Championship). A compelling read for Vintage enthusiasts and experts alike, Stephen’s nuanced and characteristically detailed analysis of the critical trends in the late 2013 Vintage metagame, innovative deck designs, and updated favorites like Maniac Doomsday, are all part of a must read, end of year Vintage strategy article you won’t find anywhere else. His latest deck is, in his view, the best deck in Vintage going forward, and the perfect weapon for upcoming tournaments.
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  • Fighting the Blues: Introducing a New Perspective

    When I Used to be Blue

    I sigh deeply as I see a Flooded Strand enter the battlefield on the opponent’s first turn. It sits there mocking me; an overpriced un-cracked fetchland. The opponent passes with an unmistakable smirk on his face. Suddenly, the hand of Tarmogoyf, Lightning Helix, and Kird Ape seems not powerful enough to get there. What if he plays a Counterbalance on his second turn? Does he have a Force of Will to diminish my pressure? The dreaded Terminus may be looming on the horizon to null my entire deck of creatures and burn spells. My creatures, which were acquired through much saving and trading, now face an uphill battle as pound for pound, their card strengths don’t match those of the controlling opponent. Speed is the name of the game. If I were to rip one creature after another the game may be still mine. But the possibility of drawing lands makes me nervous. I untap, draw for my turn. Taiga smiles back at me, my fourth land. The hill just got steeper.
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  • Legacy Metagame Analysis November 2013

    Welcome to our initial Legacy Metagame Analysis. This will be a monthly series of Legacy metagame reports covering all of the major tournaments, showing which decks are grabbing the top finishes. I have been doing my own metagame analysis for months now, and I find it really helpful as a bird’s eye view of what is performing well in Legacy.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – The First Ten Years

    The first ten chapters in Vintage expert Stephen Menendian’s acclaimed series, Schools of Magic: History of Vintage, are compiled for the first time, weighing in at over 225 pages of unforgettable history. As Magic crosses its 20th anniversary, players are more curious and nostalgic than ever about the game’s colorful history and remarkable growth. As the game’s oldest sanctioned constructed format, the History of Vintage traces back to the origins of the game and reflects the trends and strategic innovations of the game itself. The format that came into existence with the with the first Banned and Restricted List announcement in January, 1994 continues unabated today known as “Vintage.”
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2002

    Stephen Menendian completes the first decade of the History of Vintage series with an epic chapter on the tumultuous changes, debates, and dramatic innovations of 2002. Read about the emergence of new strategies like MaskNaught, TnT, and Grow, and read about the heated debates between Patrick Chapin, Oscar Tan, Mark Rosewater and the broader Type I community. Learn about the tournament results that changed the metagame, and the creators and innovators behind them.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – Preparing for the 2013 Vintage Championship

    SMIP Preparing For The 2013 Vintage Championship

    I am in the Nick Saban school of game-day preparation: process is everything. Studies show that students who imagine themselves performing well on a test actually perform worse than a control group. The explanation behind this counter-intuitive fact is simple: performance is a product of preparation, and students who imagine themselves doing well are less likely to prepare as intensively. Process is everything: from what you eat, to how you sleep, to how you practice, and manage your life outside of that process.
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  • Doomsday: The Puzzling – The Dream Halls Dilemma

    Doomsday-the-Puzzling-The-Dream-Halls-Dilemma

    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.
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  • Doomsday: The Puzzling – The Double Deathrite Conundrum SOLUTION

    Doomsday-the-Puzzling---The-Double-Deathrite-Conundrum-Solution

    Previously on Eternal Central we featured a free Puzzling challenge titled Doomsday: The Puzzling – The Double Deathrite Conundrum. The solution to this Puzzling can be found below.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Solid Magic – The GenCon 2013 Experience

    SolidMagic-GenCon2013Experience

    Those of you who have followed Vintage for awhile may know me, however some of you may not. I broke out in 2008 when I took 5th place at Vintage Champs with Drain Tendrils at the first event after the “big blue” restriction. After piloting numerous combo decks over the years I developed the RUG Delver deck that was tearing it up in the summer of 2012, and I wrote a report about my run with the deck at GenCon 2012, as well as a RUG Delver Primer last year.

    In the past year, I’ve had several subjects I wanted to write about, but none of them were really engaging enough to warrant my time…until now. Another GenCon is in the books, and I’d like to take a slightly different approach to a tournament report. I played in three vintage tournaments and one M14 sealed event, but that wasn’t really what made GenCon 2013 a great time. Once you understand how my whole trip went, including the shenanigans, tomfoolery, and devastating plays, you’ll understand why GenCon truly is the best 4 days in gaming.
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