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.

So Many Insane Plays – It’s a Young Mancer’s Game: Grow 2013

About once a year, Stephen Menendian innovates a new deck that changes the Vintage metagame. Decks like Maniac Doomsday and Burning Tendrils are examples from recent years, and decks like GroATog and Meandeck Gifts are examples of yesteryear from rich history of the Vintage. If you only read one strategy article this year, this is the one to get. Stephen is proud to unveil his new Grow list coupling Young Pyromancer and Regrowth with Gush, which he claims will shake up the entire metagame. Gush is back in a big way.

Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2001

SOMHOV2001

2001 was the beginning of a Renaissance for the Type I format. After half a decade of slow decline, tournament interest and enthusiasm surged, as players organized tournaments online, in Europe, and as Origins and GenCon became major Type I tournament scenes. Witness the rise and fall of Accelerated Blue, the dominance of Fact or Fiction, and the emergence of the first Welder-based Workshop decks, Gush strategies, Sapphire Oath, and much, much more! Rediscover long-lost decklists and tournament report excerpts that capture the feeling and experience of the format in 2001. Revisit the debates between players like Tom LaPille, Oscar Tan, and Matt Smith, and learn history’s judgment of their arguments. Continuing Stephen Menendian’s epic History of Vintage series, Chapter 9 (2001) is a dramatic turning point in the history of the format. At 30 pages of action-packed history, this chapter is not to be missed!

Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2000

SOMHOV2000

Continuing the epic Schools of Magic: History of Vintage series, Chapter 8 (2000) is a tale of two Invitationals. The old ‘Schools of Magic’ were being revived or reconstituted just as a long-standing pillar of the format was about to fall. The Type I metagame for each Invitational that buttressed the year is a revealing snapshot of what a difference the restrictions in 2000 made, as players brought into being a new Type I order. 2000 was also the year that the Type I community began to organize itself into online forums, rather than just Usenet and email lists. Learn about the emergent and passionate community of Type I players and advocates, how they influenced the format, and what they meant to the history of the game.

Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 1999

SOM History of Vintage 1999

1999 was a year of great highs and dark lows for the slowly evolving Type I format as the remainder of Urza block tidal waved through the format. Watch as Keeper, Combo, and Necro compete on the Magic Invitational stage. Observe the sweeping restrictions that rocked the Type I format in 1999, and read about how players felt about and reacted to them. Learn the real story behind Magic’s only ever emergency banning. See what changes Brian Weissman made to The Deck following Urza block. Learn about the enigmatic yet subtly powerful Mercadian Masques expansion. Stephen Menendian paints a vivid and unforgettable portrait of a format at the precipice of the millennium and great change. Stephen’s penetrating insight delves behind the facts, decklists, and results to reveal the hidden relationships in an unforgettable year in the History of Vintage.

So Many Insane Plays – Designing For Eternal

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Introduction

You Make the Card 4 arrived with much fanfare and even greater surprise. It has been seven years since the last You Make the Card (YMTC) campaign. Its return coincides with the 20th anniversary of Magic, and is a celebratory gesture by Wizards of the Coast on the game’s behalf.

Perhaps as surprising as YMTC’s welcome but unexpected return are the voting results so far. In the card type vote, Land and Enchantment received the most votes, with Enchantment winning a tight run-off. Not only was this result unexpected (few people thought Enchantment would be a top vote-getter), but it was surprising for what it signifies. I believe that these results may be interpreted, as others have suggested, as a signal to collectively push this process in a different direction than previous YMTC events, in which voters selected Creature, Artifact, and Instant as the card types.

So Many Insane Plays – Dragon’s Maze Eternal Set Review & Updated Vintage Checklist

So Many Insane Plays - Dragon's Maze Eternal Set Review

Stephen Menendian takes a deep look into the Dragon’s Maze for potential Eternal playables, and reviews the set with his characteristic insight and detailed analysis. Stephen has also conducted some preliminary testing of an unrestricted Regrowth in Vintage, and briefly shares some insights that you do not want to miss. Finally, for collectors, traders, and Vintage enthusiasts alike, be sure to check out the updated Vintage Checklist of playables.

So Many Insane Plays – 1st Place in Vacaville with Burning Tendrils, Again: A Tournament Report and Other Thoughts on Vintage

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Stephen Menendian has done it again, finishing first at the latest Vintage tournament with his creation, Burning Tendrils. In this detailed 27 page tournament report, Stephen characteristically provides a thoughtful play-by-play recap of his tournament experience, delving behind each play with an explanation of his decision process, and an analysis of alternative lines of play from each land drop to sequencing spells. Stephen will test your abilities in the process by asking the reader to select a line of play. Stephen also introduces an updated non-Oath Burning Tendrils list for control metagames, talks about Voltaic Key and Time Vault in Burning Tendrils, and shares his broader thoughts on the archetype and the Vintage format. As always, Stephen breaks the mold for tournament reports with his iconic style and brilliant insights.

Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 1998

Schools of Magic History of Vintage 1998

Continuing in the Schools of Magic: History of Vintage series, author Stephen Menendian retraces the history of 1998, an unforgettable year in the history of Type I. Follow the important changes to the Restricted List, the rise of recursion strategies and new combo decks, and the lasting impact of Urza’s Saga on the format. Read about the birth Oath and Workshop Aggro decks in the format, and about the continuing evolution of The Deck, Necropotence, Prosperity, and Zoo strategies.

Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 1997

Schools of Magic History of Vintage 1997

Building on the previous chapters of the Schools of Magic: History of Vintage series, author Stephen Menendian has uncovered a treasure trove of lost decklists and forgotten history as he explores the trends, experiences, and metagame of Type I in 1997, the fifth year of Magic. Whether you are a student of the history of the game, a fan of the early years of Magic, or simply curious about the early years of Vintage, this article is not to be missed. With fifteen tournament winning and high-performing decklists and in-depth analysis, this article is perfect for those who want to relive 1997, as the first age of Type I Magic draws to a close.

Team Eternal Presents: Pernicious StrixStill – A Primer

Pernicious StrixStill - A Primer

Editor’s Note: Team Eternal is one of the frontrunners of the Landstill archetype (both BUG and WUB) in the Netherlands, and is composed of Michèl Theissen and Jeroen van Beeck, among others. Since 2011 this duo has been working on the archetype full time and has given the deck a chance to shine in Europe. In this article, some of the deck’s card choices and tactics are presented and discussed.

Introduction

StandstillThe archetype known as Landstill, in all its variants, predates the birth of the Legacy format, and can easily traced back to the Mana Drain-fueled powerhouses that exixted in Type 1.5 (Classic Restricted), before the modern Legacy format was created. Many versions of said archetype can be found on the Legacy boards of the well-known forums. While the deck is well known and extremely powerful, it does not see the light of day as much as we believe it should. If your goal in a game of Legacy is to a) play with the best draw spell in the format (i.e. Standstill), b) get rewarded for high level play, and c) provide your opponent with many, many turns of being frustrated to the point of conceding, then Landstill is the deck for you.

Type 4 Introduction and Eternal Central Stack Update February 2013

Type 4 Introduction

It’s been a long time coming, but we have finally released our updated #TYPE4 stack for public consumption! The link below is a GoogleDoc that is free for everyone to access, and is downloadable. It is fully sortable with built-in filters at the top of each column, so you can narrow down the view by different card types (removal, counters, etc.), set, color, and more.

So Many Insane Plays – Rogue Hermit: The Fastest Deck in Vintage

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A long time ago, Wizards of the Coast printed Hermit Druid.

Hermit DruidThis little critter may look harmless enough, but he soon got into trouble – big trouble for such a little guy. Once players figured out that they could build decks without basic lands, they realized that they could activate this guy to empty their entire library into their graveyard. For years, players had tried to prevent their opponent’s from doing just that. But the printing of so many new cards that could be played or used from the graveyard changed all that.