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!

Play

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).

Soly at GenCon: Bolt to the Cranium!

Welcome to my first article for Eternal Central! I’ll share with you my experiences playing a deck I’ve developed and tuned in Vintage called RUG Delver, and also the awesome times I had at GenCon 2012 this past weekend.

My notes and reports won’t be as detailed as some, as this is just from memory and I will mainly just highlight the key plays that won or lost a particular game. So let’s do it!

So Many Insane Plays – 2012 Vintage Championship Report & Post-Mortem

So Many Insane Plays - 2012 Vintage Championsip Report & Post-Mortem

The Vintage Championship is the one of the few Vintage “majors,” tournaments of higher level competition and prestige. The most famous European major is the Bazaar of Moxen, renowned for its extraordinary prize payout. Although the Vintage Championship does not have the best prize payout of the Vintage majors, like the Italian OvinoGeddon or the American Waterbury, it does have a prize that is perhaps more coveted: a piece of original alternate artwork of one of the ‘Power Nine’ cards, framed as a trophy.

It’s a Dredgedy – The Vintage Takeover

Hello, and welcome back! In my last article I briefly introduced myself and described the genesis of my Legacy Dredge deck, and performance at the 2012 Bazaar of Moxen (BoM) Legacy events. While I was not able to repeat my Top 4 performance from the previous year in the Legacy portion, I was able to play Dredge in the Vintage main event at BoM and ended up winning the whole thing! Below I’ll describe how that happened, and talk a bit about Dredge in Vintage.

So Many Insane Plays – 1st Place With Baleful Strix Control: A Vintage Tournament Report

I’ve played a ton of Magic lately, surprising given how crazy busy my professional life has been recently, and the ideas have been flowing as if by divine inspiration. Perhaps that’s a consequence of playing Doomsday over and over again in both Vintage and Legacy: my neural pathways have been taxed to the limit, and I’m creating new Magical branches in my brain.

When Kevin Cron and I podcasted So Many Insane Plays #15 – Doomsday Scenarios recently, our goal was to cover the Bazaar of Moxen results and to present some Vintage and Legacy Doomsday scenarios. Yet, in covering Planechase 2012, I was struck by how insane Baleful Strix seemed, especially in light of the metagame we had just covered from the Bazaar of Moxen 2012 Vintage tournament.

The second place deck was MUD. Baleful Strix is pretty much exactly what you want against Workshops: it’s an artifact creature, which means it can be played under Lodestone Golem and Thorn of Amethyst without any problem, and trades with a Lodestone Golem while also netting you a card in the process. In other words, it’s a 2-for-1 there. With Goblin Welder, it’s almost impossible to deal with, and things can quickly spiral out of control for the opponent.

Bazaar of Moxen 2012 Vintage Decklists, Reports, and Video Roundup

Early May annually brings about the biggest Vintage tournament on the planet, and this past weekend marked the sixth annual Bazaar of Moxen tournament in Annecy, France. A whopping 337 players came out to battle in the Vintage main event for some incredible prizes, and 22 year old German Erik Hegemann walked away with the crown piloting an innovative Dredge list, outdueling Spaniard Daniel Majano (playing MUD) in three action packed games!

Terroy Cyril of Paris, France won the Golden BoM 2012 Award, awarded to the player with the highest finish in both the Vintage and Legacy main events. Terroy piloted Tempo Zoo to a Top 4 finish in the main Legacy event, and played Dredge to a 15th place showing in the main Vintage event, netting him a playset of Underground Sea’s altered by the fabulous Sandreline.

The coverage teams from WatchDaMatch, Mana Infinito, and BoM were working hard all weekend to document Eternal’s biggest International weekend, and our many thanks go out to them, for without their hard work the information below would not be available. Below you will find the Bazaar of Moxen 2012 Vintage Top 8 decklists, videos from the coverage, as well as various BoM Vintage tournament reports from around the web, as well as some bonus decklists and information from other competitors who finished outside the Top 8. Check it all out after the jump!

So Many Insane Plays – Avacyn Restored Eternal Set Review

So Many Insane Plays - Avacyn Restored Eternal Set Review & Updated Vintage Checklist

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

I. Introduction

Welcome dear Eternal player. It’s great to have you back as we dig into the final set from Innistrad block, and the last major set for 2012 until the fall. This is a huge set, with a bunch of playables, design innovations, and a fascinating, game warping mechanic. In this set review, I will take a look at every single new printing for Vintage (and in some important cases, Legacy) applications. Moreover, I will present you with a plethora of decklists that provide a context for each application. I have a decklist for every playable Vintage card in this set, and then some.

The enigmatic title implies a return to the place or revival of something known as “Avacyn.” Yet, this set feels very much in line with the path opened by Innistrad, to push and advance the development of creature-oriented strategies in the Vintage format. Delver of Secrets, Snapcaster Mage, and Grafdigger’s Case were each major printings aiding that trajectory. It seems that Avacyn Restored is giving one last push in that direction. The central figure in that effort is obviously Cavern of Souls, which is discussed prominently in this set review.