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.

Vaulting Through Ohio – Vintage in Sandusky

Earlier this year the members of Team Serious, that is, my teammates, decided there wasn’t enough Vintage action going on in the great Ohio valley, so they decided to do something about it and organized a tournament at POP! in Sandusky, Ohio (USA) for July 2nd, 2011. Team Serious extraordinaire Nat Moes of Charbelcher fame traveled in from the DC area and took down the whole thing with Wizards.dec. Yep, seriously. You can find all the sick decklists from that tournament here, courtesy of Asian assassin and rap battlemaster Twaun007.

I couldn’t make it to that tournament, but was determined to make it to the next one to support the posse and to sling Vintage cardboard with the world’s finest. New Subaru Outback in tow (RIP Honda), on extremely short notice (like less than a week away) I convinced my teammates the Lord of AllCats aka Jimmy McCarthy to drive down from Wisconsin with Mike Solymossy aka The Salad aka Soly aka Mr. Pink aka “I can’t be tilted” and to carpool out with me across three states. I was determined to dominate both sandwiches and Vintage alchemists. Read on for more details of my road trip Vaulting Through Ohio, leaving a wake of tattered sandwiches and dreams crushed beneath my feet.

So Many Insane Plays – Understanding Confidant Gush

(Editor’s Note: This content was formerly published on Quiet Speculation, and the former Downloadable Product has since been made available free here with the permission of the author and QS. Enjoy!)

Gush is the Vintage Magic equivalent of the Wonderlic test. How a player views Gush as a card is indicative and suggestive, although not determinative (by any means), of their Vintage IQ. If a player looks at Gush, and is either unimpressed or thinks it’s simply not that good, it is only a matter of time until they are proven wrong. If a player doesn’t know how to play Gush, and fumbles around with it in testing, it’s guaranteed that they will underestimate it. If a player casts Gush on turn two, and passes the turn without doing anything else meaningful, they are GushFailing.

In many respects Gush is a test of a true Vintage master. The best Vintage players know and have always known how powerful Gush truly is. They respect it and abuse it. This is more so now that so many parts of the old GushBond engine have been restricted. Gush is now only a menace in the hands of the most experienced players. It is a card that separates the wheat from the chaff.

With this reality now manifest, consider the fact that Gush has been unrestricted since October 2010. Yet, it took until the Vintage championship in August 2011, nearly a year later, for the Vintage community to awaken to its true power; for Rich Shay and others to demonstrate and remind players of Gush’s true place in the Vintage pantheon. How many players have wisely used that time to hone their Gush skills? How many have played Gush decks, or at least tried them, in the interim?

Gen Con 2011 Vintage Champs Top 8 Videos

For those who weren’t able to watch the live stream of the 2011 Vintage Champs Top 8, the archived videos are now available.

Top 8 Quarterfinals
Ryan Glackin (Cat Stax Fever) defeats Joe Brown (Painter) – no video
Paul Mastriano (Bob Gush) defeats Rich Shay (Gush Storm) 2-1 – no video
Stephen Menendian (Bob Gush) vs Joseph Bogaard (BUG Fish) – video below

Gen Con 2011 Eternal Event News

Welcome to Eternal Central’s coverage of GenCon 2011! Scroll down below for Vintage and Legacy results as they stream in. We will be updating this periodically throughout the weekend as news, results, and tidbits flow in from the Internet and our friends on site, so keep hitting the F5 to refresh all weekend and keep it locked to EC for your Eternal news!

So Many Insane Plays – 2011 Q2 Vintage Metagame Report

SMIP-Q2-Vintage-Metagame-Report

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

Ah Vintage, you are a stunning creature. Just 18 and a half years old, reaching maturity, you are in full bloom. It is my pleasure to help others appreciate your wonder. The Vintage metagame is a special creature, but it takes a seasoned hand to help illuminate this beauty. Every quarter, just as corporate America is compiling and releasing earnings reports for investors and regulators, I am doing the same, but for the Vintage format.

This is the most unusual metagame report I’ve ever composed. This is true for a number of reasons, but above all because of the sheer diversity in the Vintage metagame. This diversity manifests in a number of ways.

So Many Insane Plays – What is the LEAST Unrestrictable Card in Vintage?

This month may herald some exciting changes to the Vintage Restricted List. In recent years, the DCI has typically made adjustments to the Vintage Banned and Restricted List mid-year, perhaps with an eye towards the Vintage Championship at GenCon. For each of the last five years, changes to the Vintage Restricted list have been announced, and all of the announced changes to the Vintage occurred in June or September.

Debates over the Restricted List generally follow the same narrative in two forms: a particular card is too dominant, and statistical evidence or player discontent is proffered in support; alternatively, a particular card can be safely unrestricted, because players want it and the unrestriction would have a modest statistical impact on the format given what we know about the metagame. Last week I co-wrote an article arguing that Fact or Fiction should be unrestricted along those lines. In both cases, the argument centers on whether a card would be statistically healthy for the format and the degree of player support for or against a particular change.

But what if we flipped the question? What if, instead of asking “what is the most unrestrictable card in Vintage?,” we flip the script, and ask “What is the LEAST unrestrictable card in Vintage?” Why ask this? If we can answer this question, we will be forced to conceptualize and formulate a clearer understanding of the Vintage Restricted list and the purposes it serves. We may uncover hidden or obscured criteria for restriction or unrestriction. And, this process may help answer the original question regarding what the most unrestrictable cards in Vintage may be. This is likely because, in most cases, a person answering this question will likely begin by working backward.

Why Fact or Fiction Should Be Unrestricted: An Open Letter to the DCI

By Stephen Menendian and William Winger

Almost ten years on, the time has come to reconsider Fact or Fiction‘s restricted status. As difficult as it is for us Eternal enthusiasts to believe, Fact or Fiction has now inhabited the Vintage Restricted List for half of the game’s existence. Announced December 2001, and effective January 1st, 2002, the restriction of Fact or Fiction demarcates the midpoint in the life of the Vintage format and the game itself, the fulcrum between 1993 and 2011. This fact underscores the need to reconsider whether it still deserves to be restricted. We make the case not only that Fact or Fiction no longer deserves that status, and can join the ranks of cards like Gush and Frantic Search which have safely returned to the format unrestricted, but that its unrestriction would be a net positive, promoting the strategic diversity of the format and generating interest, enthusiasm, and good will throughout the format.