So Many Insane Plays – A Guide to Aggro in Vintage (First Edition)

Vintage author Stephen Menendian delves into the world of Aggro in Vintage, with a comprehensive look at what the various pieces of the color pie offer to the aspiring deckbuilder, and their applicability in the current Vintage landscape. In this 30 page article Stephen lays out the case for 12 different Vintage Aggro decks, including card analysis, explanations, and sideboarding advice.

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

So Many Insane Plays – The Dark Ascension Vintage Set Review & Updated Vintage Checklist

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

Greetings Vintage adept! Welcome to my Dark Ascension Vintage Set Review. This will be the most comprehensive review of Dark Ascension for Vintage play available anywhere. I will carefully analyze every card in Dark Ascension for potential Vintage format applications. I will bring to bear not only my expertise, but unmatched experience in evaluating new cards for Vintage play. Not only do I have a proven track record of accurately forecasting new cards for Vintage play, my careful and detailed analysis snares cards that other reviewers overlooked or dismiss. I hope you find this set review enlightening and practical as you decide which cards you will acquire from Dark Ascension, and how you might approach the set from a deck construction perspective.

So Many Insane Plays – Trends & Predictions for 2012 & A Vintage Tournament Report

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

Welcome Vintage addict, and happy holidays. In this article, I will present my final tournament report of the year, in which I narrowly missed Top 8 on account of a few critical play errors. I took more detailed post-match notes than in recent tournaments, so I may delve more deeply into game states. This kind of analysis is among the most pedagogically helpful for Vintage readers, and will hopefully be entertaining as well. But perhaps just as important is my analysis of the trends of the format and my predictions for 2012.

Readers note: If you are reading a hard copy of this article, have a pen or pencil available. I recommend that you print out a copy of this article to get the most out it. Throughout this article I’m going to ask you to examine lines of play, commit to one of several options, and then analyze them.

So Many Insane Plays – The 2011 Vintage Year in Review

Vintage in 2011 was simply amazing. Each new printing, deck, and idea – each new development – formed a chain of dominoes that led to one incredible story after another. I feel sorry for you if you missed it. The good news is that I’ll tell you all about it. For those of you who played Vintage in 2011, you can relive it again. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the moment. The year’s end is a time for perspective, to reflect on events and to find meaning in them.

For Vintage, 2009 was the Year of the Monster. 2010 was the Year of Worldwake, Vintage defined by the competing forces of Jace and Lodestone Golem. What about 2011? 2011 was a year of many storylines: the re-emergence of Gush at the Vintage Championship, the rise of Landstill, the printing of Snapcaster Mage, and the return of creature decks. But the biggest story of 2011 was the emergence of Dredge as a tier one deck, capped off by winning the Vintage Championship. The performance of Dredge was not only unprecedented, it was precipitated by a dare – a gauntlet thrown down by one of Vintage’s most prominent voices.

Xtreme Games Vintage 11-20-2011 Top 8 Decklists and Video Roundup

On November 21 2011 at Xtreme Games in Lindenhurst, IL (USA), a Vintage showdown was held. A car full of players from the Ohio chapter of Team Serious drove out, and a number of local players from throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana all made the trek, giving us 26 players in all, duking it out for the cash money.

Thanks go out to Xtreme Games owners Eric and Shannon for hosting yet another great Vintage tournament, and continuing to support the community when few others do. Props also go out to Jimmy Lord of the Cats McCarthy for awesome audio-video coverage. Check out the Top 8 results and decklists, a metagame breakdown, and a video roundup after the jump!

So Many Insane Plays – Understanding Remora Gush

(Editor’s Note: This former Downloadable Product has now been made free to all customers. It has also been retitled from the previous title ‘So Many Insane Plays – Remora Gush: The Final Evolution of Gush in 2011.’ Enjoy!)

The Vintage metagame is deep and rich. There are more options than ever for the Vintage player. Blue pilots can choose between Confidant/Jace decks, Snapcaster Control, Gush decks at the top tier, and a myriad of other choices such as Standstill, Oath, Painter, or Fact or Fiction-based decks. Combo pilots can choose among Confidant TPS, Worldgorger Dragon Combo, and now Doomsday. Workshop players can choose among aggressive builds, like Slash Panther, controlling builds, like Nick Detwiler’s Espresso Stax, and more combo oriented builds, like the Kuldotha Forgemaster decks that are rampant in Europe.

So Many Insane Plays – Is Vintage ‘Too Fast’ or in a Golden Era?

Brian DeMars recently penned an article titled ‘Is Vintage Too Fast?‘ While the article is framed as a question, it doesn’t take a psychic to guess at the author’s answer. Brian forcefully argues that Vintage is too fast, and that the DCI should restrict Bazaar of Baghdad and Gush to slow it down.

Although Brian’s article is well written (from a rhetorical and literary perspective), and entertaining, ultimately his argument is poorly conceived, badly reasoned, and, most importantly, factually wrong.
It’s the former attributes that give it the patina of credibility and the superficial appearance of insight, when the opposite is true. As Matt Elias observed on TheManaDrain, ‘I have no doubt that your heart is in the right place, but [your article] is consistently incorrect.’

Not only is Vintage arguably slower than it has been in years, the format is more amazingly diverse, rich and deep, with more design options than ever and a rapidly evolving metagame. Far from being too fast, available tournament data suggests that this is arguably the best Vintage metagame ever. By creating a false impression of the format, Brian misleads his readers into believing that the format requires drastic, irresponsible changes to solve non-existent problems. In fact, Brian’s restriction proposals would make Vintage a significantly less diverse and dynamic format.

Not only is Brian’s conclusion wrong on the facts (as I will demonstrate later in this article), his reasoning is flawed. Brian’s argument is based on three main points. Only one of these points supports his conclusion that the format is faster. The other two legs of his argument not only fail to support his argument regarding the speed of the format or his policy recommendations, but are factually wrong and misleading.

So Many Insane Plays – Top 8 With Doomsday at Waterbury, and Forward Thinking

Last week Stephen Menendian unveiled an explosive new Doomsday deck. This week he provides a detailed tournament report, including a blow by blow account of battling his way to the Top 8 of the esteemed Waterbury/TMD Open 15 tournament, including an epic match with the legendary Chris Pikula.

Stephen goes on to detail lessons learned from his tournament experience, and shares his updated list and ideas for the Maniac Doomsday list going forward for aspiring players looking to pilot this beast in upcoming tournaments! He also presents more detailed information on the notable Mishra’s Workshop matchup, and slight tweaks to give you an edge for your expected metagame.

So Many Insane Plays – DOOMSDAY RETURNS! How to Build Doomsday Piles and Win in Modern Vintage

Hot off a Top 8 at the Waterbury/TMD 15 Open playing Doomsday, Stephen Menendian has written a primer on this unusual and exciting archetype. In this primer Stephen explains optimal deck construction, Doomsday piles, and sideboarding options and plans. With over 15 different Doomsday scenarios analyzed with detailed graphics, this article is a treat for all Magic lovers!

Is Doomsday now the premiere Gush strategy with the printing of Innistrad’s Laboratory Maniac? How does this Doomsday puzzle work? Find out all of these answers and more in So Many Insane Plays – DOOMSDAY RETURNS!

So Many Insane Plays – Innistrad: A Comprehensive Vintage Set Review

SMIP Innistrad Set Review

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

I. Introduction and Overview

Welcome loyal reader to my Innistrad Set Review!

This article is dense and action packed. I will begin by recapping my New Phyrexia Set Review, and evaluating my predictions there. I will then talk about what entered Vintage with M12, and with the metagame changes this summer. Then I will share my thoughts on Innistrad, beginning with an essay on Innistrad, followed by a comprehensive analysis of which cards are Unplayable, Remotely Playable, Possibly Playable, and Definitely Playable. Finally, I will unveil the list of cards you will want to pick up from Innistrad, and the updated Vintage Checklist. Whew, that’s a lot to get to, so let’s get started!

September 2011 Banned & Restricted Update Instant Analysis

The DCI has announced their quarterly updates to the Banned and Restricted lists, and there are some major changes in Vintage, Legacy, Modern, and Extended!

Vintage
Fact or Fiction is no longer Restricted.

Legacy
Mental Misstep is Banned.

Modern
Blazing Shoal is Banned.
Cloudpost is Banned.
Green Sun’s Zenith is Banned.
Ponder is Banned.
Preordain is Banned.
Rite of Flame is Banned.

Extended
Jace, the Mind Sculptor is Banned.
Mental Misstep is Banned.
Ponder is Banned.
Preordain is Banned.
Stoneforge Mystic is Banned.

These are some major changes to every widely played format outside of Standard (where Jace and Stoneforge are already Banned). What does this mean for these formats? Check out our Instant Analysis after the jump!

Chasing the Mind’s Desire – Looking Ahead to the September 2011 Banned-Restricted List Announcement

The next Banned and Restricted List announcement will be delivered September 20th 2011, if this announcement is in keeping with the timetable established over the last three years or so. About three months ago Stephen Menendian, a former Vintage World Champion, and I co-wrote an article outlining why Fact or Fiction should be unrestricted for Vintage play. Unfortunately the importance the DCI felt in addressing the problem with Standard, where they banned both Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, the Mind Sculptor, prevented them from focusing their attention on the other formats. In the intervening time we’re seen the birth of a new format, Modern, which has already been played at the highest level in Pro Tour: Philly. Including the shift in Standard due to rotation as Innistrad enters, I think there is the possibility that each of the formats (Standard, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage) look very different on October 1st than they do today.

In this article we’ll target Vintage specifically, as it’s a format I believe is ripe for potential changes. Join us as we delve into a look at the Vintage landscape, and what ramifications possible changes could have as we analyze some of the weaker cards on the Vintage Restricted List.

So Many Insane Plays – From Confidant to Cobra Gush: First Place in Sandusky

Today, Stephen Menendian unveils his post-Vintage Champs deck of choice. The recent Team Serious Open in Sandusky, Ohio, provided a battle ground in the post-Champs metagame, with many of Vintage’s brightest minds in attendance. After the dust settled Stephen was crowned the winner, piloting an innovative take on Cobra Gush. He gives an in depth look at his card choices and reasoning, and looks at each of his games in this tournament, turn through turn, detailing the decision tree and ramifications of in-game actions.