Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2004

With this epic installment of his History of Vintage series, Stephen recounts the decks, tales of glory, and mighty tournament contests that defined Vintage in 2004. This was the year that Type I was rebranded as “Vintage,” the 2nd Type I Championship at GenCon, and the emergence of the StarCityGames Power Nine Series. It was also a fascinating year in which cards like Gifts Ungiven, Trinisphere, and Forbidden Orchard were printed, and in which Doomsday was unrestricted, and once again broke out with a mind-bending combo. This chapter reveals all this, and much more!

So Many Insane Plays – Pitch Burning Tendrils, Other Brews, and Three Tournament Reports

Stephen Menendian’s latest weapon of choice is revealed here, in an epic 45 page primer and three tournament reports (including the Vintage Championship). A compelling read for Vintage enthusiasts and experts alike, Stephen’s nuanced and characteristically detailed analysis of the critical trends in the late 2013 Vintage metagame, innovative deck designs, and updated favorites like Maniac Doomsday, are all part of a must read, end of year Vintage strategy article you won’t find anywhere else. His latest deck is, in his view, the best deck in Vintage going forward, and the perfect weapon for upcoming tournaments.

Doomsday: The Puzzling – The Dream Halls Dilemma

Doomsday-the-Puzzling-The-Dream-Halls-Dilemma

Your opponent is on a very strong combo deck in OmniTell, but you are not deterred. You are also on a combo deck, but one which features more countermagic and disruption. This will be a game of inches, but one that you should win if you plan properly. You took the first game of the match, and your opponent is not about to go down without a fight. You brought in a pair of Dark Confidants and Cabal Therapies for some extra draw and disruption.

Doomsday: The Puzzling – The Double Deathrite Conundrum

Doomsday: The Puzzling - The Double Deathrite Conundrum

The moment you feared has finally arrived. After stomping two Show and Tell decks, overcoming a UW Control deck with dominating countermagic, and narrowly defeating a RUG Delver deck, you are faced with your most difficult matchup yet: Shardless BUG. It’s the fifth round of a seven round Legacy tournament, and a trip to the Top 8 is on the line. Win here, and you can draw into the elimination rounds, where guaranteed prizes await. Lose here, and you might fall out of contention completely.

Your opponent, Jimmy the Cat Warrior, is a well known area player, and a skilled opponent. Escaping with a win here will require precision and exact planning. Fortunately, you are focused and determined.

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 – Doomsday: The Puzzling – Five Puzzles to Blow Your Mind!

Stephen Menendian returns to (finally!) publish an update to his inspired Legacy Doomsday that many of you have been clamoring for! More importantly, he’s here to test your skills, challenge your knowledge of the format, and expand your mind as he takes you to your wit’s limit with five brilliant and progressively difficult puzzles.

Modeled after Mark Rosewater’s famous column, the “Puzzling,” these brain teasers will provide hours of entertainment as you examine the complex, intricate, mind-boggling possibilities with Doomsday! Each puzzle is based on game situations that might actually arise in Legacy tournaments. You’ll find yourself coming back to these puzzles over and over again for insight and fun! The beautifully rendered layouts and easy to follow narrative make this an article you cannot miss!

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

So Many Insane Plays – The Legacy Doomsday Device Primer

For the last 7 months, Stephen Menendian has been toiling away in his Magic laboratory on a concoction that is certain to shake up Legacy. In this article, Stephen reinvents Doomsday in Legacy, just as he has in Vintage. Focused determination and meticulous refinement have produced a decklist and a deck approach that will blow your mind.

Stephen’s Legacy Doomsday deck overcomes many of the problems that traditional Legacy Doomsday decks face. It not only runs more countermagic than nearly every other deck in the format, but it is completely invulnerable to storm hate, Gaddock Teeg, Arcane Laboratory effects, and Leyline of Sanctity. It is blisteringly fast and savagely brutal.

This 33 page primer will provide all of the tips, tricks, and advice you need to learn how to play this monster, and will provide the 12 basic Doomsday scenarios you must master. If you buy any article this year, this should be it!

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!

Focus On Legacy - ANT Doomsday Hybrid

Focus on Legacy – Ad Nauseam Doomsday Hybrid

In the world of Legacy Storm combo there are a handful of shells and options available to the Real Men Who Play Combo. There are speed versions of Ad Nauseam Tendrils (ANT), versions with the powerful Burning Wish as a tutor (which also give you the power of Empty the Warrens), and other unique creations such as Jordi Amat’s Ill-Gotten Gains Tendrils deck (IggyPop 2.0). The version that I think offers the best balance of power, stability, and flexibility right now is a hybrid of Ad Nauseam and Doomsday strategies, or as we’ll call it ANT-Doomsday Hybrid.