So Many Insane Plays – Matchup Analysis: Burning Long on the Draw vs. MUD

Stephen Menendian runs his new Burning Long deck up against Workshops for some intensive matchup analysis. Each game is with Burning Long on the draw for maximum difficulty, and greater challenge. This detailed, play-by-play article, taken from a long set of post-board games, illustrates the dangers and key principles of play for the Long pilot. This is a must-read for anybody interested in learning about the nuances of modern Vintage combo versus Workshops, especially for the aspiring combo players.

The Void in Vacaville: A Vintage Tournament Report With Dredge

“The one great crusade worthy of an enlightened man is that directed against whatever impoverishes imagination, wonder, sensation, dramatic life, and the appreciation of beauty. Nothing else matters. And not even this really matters in the great void, but it is amusing to play a little in the sun before the blind universe dispassionately pulverizes us again into that primordial nothingness from whence it moulded us for a second’s sport.” – HP Lovecraft

Vintage for Cash is a tournament series in Northern California organized by Blaine Christiansen and hosted by Olde World Games in Vacaville (CA, USA). So far there have been four events, and this tournament report describes the most recent on November 3rd 2012. I suspected there might be a small turnout for this one since it was only announced a few weeks ahead of time. Blaine wanted to get in one more Vintage event before the holidays. Little did I know there was also a PTQ to siphon away some of the non-Eternal specialists leaving us with only 11 people actually showing up (the previous 2 iterations had 18 and 16). Small does not mean uncompetitive, however. Blaine (Finalist at 2012 Vintage Champs) organized the event, and it was known that Stephen Menendian (former Vintage Champ and all around Vintage heavy-weight) and David Ochoa (returning to Vintage fresh off an amazing Pro Tour performance) would be in attendance, not to mention other good players from the area whose names Vintage enthusiasts across the country might not recognize. Realizing that outplaying my opponents was likely a losing proposition, I decided to play up other aspects of “the game,” namely deck selection and metagaming.

Serious Vintage Podcast Episode 5: On Modern Masters, Power on MTGO, Vintage Judging, and #ManyInsanePies

Welcome to the fifth installment of the Serious Vintage Podcast, hosted by Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher on Twitter), Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple on Twitter). This week we are joined by Abe “Katzby” Corson (@AbeCorson on Twitter). We discussed the physical reprints coming in Modern Masters next June, and the digital reprints coming to Magic Online (MTGO) in the form of Power 9 in the Online Cube. Then we talked to Abe about judging in Vintage, and learned a little about the history of the format in the process. Finally we wrapped everything up in a flaky crust and talked about #ManyInsanePies for the holiday season.

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Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 1993 & 1994

Several years in the making, Schools of Magic: History of Vintage is a brand new series tracing the rich and exciting history of what has become Vintage. Stephen Menendian has been researching the obscure and often forgotten history of Magic’s oldest and most interesting format. For the first time, you can now read the history of Vintage/Type 1 Magic from 1993 to the present. Each chapter will cover a year in the history of the game, highlighting major new printings, innovations and the emergent new decks that resulted. The ultimate payoff for the reader is a profound appreciation for the strategic evolution of the game, and a keen recognition of the ways in which the strategies that emerged in the format that began in 1993-1994 continue unabated today in the Vintage format, from the Weissman school to the O’Brien School. While this series is intended for Eternal fans, and Vintage players in particular, anyone and everyone who enjoys Magic, from the wily Pro Tour veteran to the kitchen table casual player, will enjoy this story.

Serious Vintage Podcast Episode 4: On Belching in Vintage & Legacy, and Serious Chicago Eats

Welcome to the fourth installment of the Serious Vintage Podcast, hosted by Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher on Twitter), Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple on Twitter). Thanks for joining us for our inevitable Belcher show. Team Serious members have played more Belcher than most other players, in both Vintage and Legacy, so we thought we’d give you a little insight into the deck in both formats, when and why it’s a good metagame choice, and some of the tactics that go into playing it. Then we’ll look at some of the food you might be interested in if you’re going to Chicago for the Modern Grand Prix.

Check out all of those topics and more after the jump!

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2nd Place at Action Comics Vegas Vintage, With Burning Long

Vintage, my favorite format by far, has eluded me for the most part for the last few years. Once upon a time, thanks to the innovation of proxy tournaments, Vintage saw a surge in popularity and tournament play thanks to SCG and their P9 series. Now, no thanks to the innovation of proxy tournaments, Vintage has seen a decline in play and popularity marking it as barely discussed and almost completely irrelevant save for a few tournaments a year. I believe without card ownership (too many proxies), gamers have no ownership in the format, thus dooming it to failure.

But this isn’t an article about why Vintage, for the most part, has failed. This is a tournament report and for the Vegas Vintage tournament this past weekend, and a reminder that while Vintage is waning, it is still a great format full of endless possibilities and tremendous fun!

Modern Masters Announced – Tarmogoyf (and more) Reprints on the Way!

During the coverage of Pro Tour Return to Ravnica this weekend, Mark Rosewater and company dropped a bomb on the audience. A brand new 229 card set scheduled for June 7, 2013 titled Modern Masters will be released, featuring reprints of Modern legal cards only, as a way to jump start interest in Modern and increase card availability. Tarmogoyf was the first card previewed for reprint, and you can expect a slew of other big name cards as well. The set will not be Standard legal, but will obviously be legal in any formats the cards are normally legal in (ala Coldsnap).

Check out the video and more details after the jump!

Serious Vintage Podcast Episode 3: Workshoppin’ With Twaun, Serious Open, Sanctioned Vintage

Welcome to the third installment of the Serious Vintage Podcast, hosted by Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher on Twitter), Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple on Twitter). This was a special episode as we spent some time with Anthony Michaels @Twaun007 on Twitter), an expert on Mishra’s Workshop prison decks in the Vintage format. He’s also an expert on Sandwich Punch, the gentleman’s game that has swept through the Midwest Vintage scene, so we’ll look at that as well, along with sanctioned Vintage and casual Magic: the Gathering.

Check out all of those topics and more after the jump!

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Serious Vintage Podcast Episode 2: On Concession, Burning Wish Testing, Serious Eats, and Gin

Welcome to the second Serious Vintage Podcast! Episode 2 features #TEAMSERIOUS members Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher on Twitter), Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple on Twitter), discussing the politics of concession, a look at some of the lists developed in the wake of Burning Wish’s unrestriction in Vintage, and Serious food and drink talk. Check out all of those topics and more after the jump!

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So Many Insane Plays – The Glorious Return of Burning Long!

Combo is coming! Long.dec is back! Dark Rituals are back! Stephen Menendian has been working tirelessly since the announcement unrestricting Burning Wish. He has been testing, tuning, and brewing Burning Tendrils. Stephen has uncovered some critical discoveries and made some incredible design leaps to unleash a deck that he firmly believes is well positioned to take its place in the top tier of the Vintage metagame. In this article, Stephen will take you through a meticulous design process, a careful primer on how to employ each tactic, and a detailed analysis of card selection and omission. Let Stephen guide you on an entertaining ride through new Vintage!

After the jump we’ll share a long excerpt from the review for FREE, so check it out!

So Many Insane Plays – A Time For Grixis Control and Other Thoughts on the Vintage Metagame

The night before the Vintage Championship I struggled to decide what I would play. As recounted in my GenCon Vintage Champs report, I had decided I would play Cobra Gush in the prelim tournament, based upon my conclusion that it was the best Gush option. Despite my strong performance, I still sensed – inchoately – that UBR Confidant/Jace Control might actually be a better option, especially in a Workshop heavy metagame. I had just such a list drawn up and ready for testing that night.

Serious Vintage Podcast Episode 1: On Burning Wish, Return to Ravnica, and Sandusky Food

Welcome to the inaugural Serious Vintage Podcast! Episode 1 features #TEAMSERIOUS members Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher on Twitter) and Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), discussing the unrestriction of Burning Wish in Vintage, potential playables in Return to Ravnica, Sandusky Food options, and even tackle some questions from Twitter. Check out all of those topics and more after the jump!

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So Many Insane Plays – Return to Ravnica Eternal Set Review

(Editor’s Note: This former Downloadable Product has now been made free to all customers. Enjoy!)

Welcome to Ravnica. Welcome back, that is. This seems to be a motif of Magic: revisiting old haunts, often with new twists. If we look more deeply, Return to Ravnica is less of a return than a revolt from Ravnica. While superficially similar, the mechanics, themes, and ideas are a rejection of what we found in Ravnica. Yes, the Guilds exist. Yes, hybrid cards are here. Yes, dual lands and mana producing artifacts are here.

But what’s not here are the incredible mechanics, top tier creatures, and powerful bombs. Ravnica was a set of huge spells, potent engines, and broken mechanics. Ravnica was the home of Dark Confidant, Life from the Loam, Remand, Dredge, and Golgari-Grave Troll. It was the set of Darkblast, Seeds of the Past, Flame-Kin Zealot, Stinkweed Imp, and Muddle the Mixture.

This set is far more timid in terms of the splashy spell. Epic Experiment and Jace, Architect of Thought highlight and exemplify the limitations of the set. These are cards that want to be great, that could be great, but are just a hair away or a subtle limitation from reaching that aspiration. In contrast to the bold mechanics of the Golgari or Dimir from the original Ravnica (Dredge & Transmute), we have weak and anemic mechanics that are, admittedly, flavorful, but far less interesting in the older formats.

If there is a card from the original Ravnica era that reminds of this new Ravnica, it’s Dimir Cutpurse: a creature that is almost, but not quite good enough. This new Ravnica features plenty of near playables, aggressively costed gold cards that demand attention, but perhaps not a spot in your 75.

But perhaps most surprising of all, and certainly the most subversive to the original Ravnica, is the fact that the best Eternal cards from this set aren’t threats, but answers. Again and again, the cards that stand out for Eternal play aren’t huge bombs, flashy spells, or dangerous mechanics, but exactly the opposite: brutal hosers, stalwart answers, and utility tactics. Could that be more different than the original world of Ravnica?

September 2012 Banned & Restricted Update – Burning Wish Unrestricted in Vintage, Valakut Unbanned in Modern

The DCI has announced their quarterly updates to the Banned and Restricted lists today, and Burning Wish has been Unrestricted in Vintage, and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle has been Unbanned in Modern! There are no changes in any other format.

Vintage
Burning Wish is Unrestricted.

Modern
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle is Unbanned.

Standard, Extended, Legacy, Block Constructed
No changes.

Soly Says: A Primer on RUG Delver in Vintage

A Brief History of RUG Delver

In April of 2012 I built a RUGB Gush deck for Vintage at my friend Travis Heipp’s apartment, testing for an upcoming Xtreme Games event. Originally it was a relatively standard Gush deck splashing red for a couple of Lightning Bolts and green for Fastbond, while also playing both colors to support Ancient Grudge. After getting thrashed by Travis’ version of the UR Landstill deck, I realized that Lightning Bolt was very strong right now, but while the rest of the deck seemed to include the “broken” plays of Vintage, lacked effective ways to really interact with the most popular current strategies in Vintage (Landstill and Workshops being everywhere at the time).