• Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2006

    A remarkable year, 2006 may be the best representation in the history of the Vintage format for strategic diversity. Long dormant Schools of Vintage Magic are reawakened by new printings to perform wonders that seemed unimaginable beforehand. Nowhere is this better illustrated that the emergence of Dredge as a viable Vintage strategy. At the same time, combo decks received boosts from printings and the design efforts of players, resulting in a Renaissance for Dark Ritual strategies. And in a dramatic subplot, a well-meaning attempt to clean up old card text set off a furor that would lead to radical policy changes this year and beyond.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2005

    A year bracketed by the restriction of Trinisphere, and the introduction of Portal, 2005 was an exciting time to be playing Vintage. New strategies broke through, new printings surprised, and players like Robert Vroman and Roland Chang became Vintage legends. In the end, 2005 will perhaps best remembered as peak tournament Vintage. There were more large tournaments in 2005 than any year on record before or since, and the tournaments were among the largest in the format’s history, from the record breaking Waterbury, to the nine separate StarCityGames Power Nine tournaments, to gargantuan European tournaments with Grand Prix level prize support. 2005 is a year to remember and reflect upon, and this latest installment of the History of Vintage series provides a trip down memory lane for some, and a discovery opportunity for others.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – The 2017 Vintage Checklist

    2016 had a near-record number of new printings seeing play in Vintage, from Thought-Knot Seer to Paradoxical Outcome. Whether you want to organize your collection better, or track down cards you may want to use in Vintage tournaments, this article and accompanying spreadsheet is the perfect tool. In addition to providing a complete list of Vintage playables by color, this article also identifies all of the new cards that saw play in 2016 (new printings and otherwise), as well as cards that disappeared from Vintage tournaments. This is a great resource for new and old Vintage players (and collectors) alike.
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  • 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!
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  • So Many Insane Plays – The 2016 Vintage Checklist

    Editor’s Note: The 2016 Vintage Checklist has been fully updated and replaced by the 2017 Vintage Checklist. Please head over to that product page below for full details!
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2003

    For a format whose history stretches back towards the origins of the game, 2003 may well lay claim to being the most dynamic and pivotal year before or since in the History of Vintage. It was a year in which the format was rocked by dramatic restrictions, metagame convulsions, astounding printings and shocking new mechanics, quickened engagement and interest from the DCI and Wizards of the Coast, and the inauguration of a new annual Championship tournament. The investments of the player base in 2002 were bearing fruit, and the innovations and novel strategic developments were accelerating. New strategies were born, and old Schools of Vintage Magic were revived. In a sense, 2003 was a springboard for the evolution of the format since. It marks a transition from historical Type I to the format that would soon become known as Vintage.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – A Comprehensive Guide to Vintage Delver

    (Editor’s Note: This Downloadable Product, originally released January 9 2015, was last updated February 13 2015, to account for the recent restriction of Treasure Cruise, and the incorporation of Dig Through Time in Vintage Delver.)

    In his first major deck primer in over a year, and fresh off his win of Season 1 of the Vintage Super League, Stephen Menendian delves into the depths of Vintage Delver, with over 50 pages of in-depth content. With a comprehensive look at building the deck piece by piece, executing the game plan, sideboarding strategy, and in-game tactics, this is something no serious Vintage fan should miss.
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  • 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.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – The First Ten Years

    The first ten chapters in Vintage expert Stephen Menendian’s acclaimed series, Schools of Magic: History of Vintage, are compiled for the first time, weighing in at over 225 pages of unforgettable history. As Magic crosses its 20th anniversary, players are more curious and nostalgic than ever about the game’s colorful history and remarkable growth. As the game’s oldest sanctioned constructed format, the History of Vintage traces back to the origins of the game and reflects the trends and strategic innovations of the game itself. The format that came into existence with the with the first Banned and Restricted List announcement in January, 1994 continues unabated today known as “Vintage.”
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2002

    Stephen Menendian completes the first decade of the History of Vintage series with an epic chapter on the tumultuous changes, debates, and dramatic innovations of 2002. Read about the emergence of new strategies like MaskNaught, TnT, and Grow, and read about the heated debates between Patrick Chapin, Oscar Tan, Mark Rosewater and the broader Type I community. Learn about the tournament results that changed the metagame, and the creators and innovators behind them.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2001

    2001 was the beginning of a Renaissance for the Type I format. After half a decade of slow decline, tournament interest and enthusiasm surged, as players organized tournaments online, in Europe, and as Origins and GenCon became major Type I tournament scenes. Witness the rise and fall of Accelerated Blue, the dominance of Fact or Fiction, and the emergence of the first Welder-based Workshop decks, Gush strategies, Sapphire Oath, and much, much more! Rediscover long-lost decklists and tournament report excerpts that capture the feeling and experience of the format in 2001. Revisit the debates between players like Tom LaPille, Oscar Tan, and Matt Smith, and learn history’s judgment of their arguments. Continuing Stephen Menendian’s epic History of Vintage series, Chapter 9 (2001) is a dramatic turning point in the history of the format. At 30 pages of action-packed history, this chapter is not to be missed!
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 2000

    Continuing the epic Schools of Magic: History of Vintage series, Chapter 8 (2000) is a tale of two Invitationals. The old ‘Schools of Magic’ were being revived or reconstituted just as a long-standing pillar of the format was about to fall. The Type I metagame for each Invitational that buttressed the year is a revealing snapshot of what a difference the restrictions in 2000 made, as players brought into being a new Type I order. 2000 was also the year that the Type I community began to organize itself into online forums, rather than just Usenet and email lists. Learn about the emergent and passionate community of Type I players and advocates, how they influenced the format, and what they meant to the history of the game.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 1999

    1999 was a year of great highs and dark lows for the slowly evolving Type I format as the remainder of Urza block tidal waved through the format. Watch as Keeper, Combo, and Necro compete on the Magic Invitational stage. Observe the sweeping restrictions that rocked the Type I format in 1999, and read about how players felt about and reacted to them. Learn the real story behind Magic’s only ever emergency banning. See what changes Brian Weissman made to The Deck following Urza block. Learn about the enigmatic yet subtly powerful Mercadian Masques expansion. Stephen Menendian paints a vivid and unforgettable portrait of a format at the precipice of the millennium and great change. Stephen’s penetrating insight delves behind the facts, decklists, and results to reveal the hidden relationships in an unforgettable year in the History of Vintage.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – Dragon’s Maze Eternal Set Review & Updated Vintage Checklist

    So Many Insane Plays - Dragon's Maze Eternal Set Review

    Stephen Menendian takes a deep look into the Dragon’s Maze for potential Eternal playables, and reviews the set with his characteristic insight and detailed analysis. Stephen has also conducted some preliminary testing of an unrestricted Regrowth in Vintage, and briefly shares some insights that you do not want to miss. Finally, for collectors, traders, and Vintage enthusiasts alike, be sure to check out the updated Vintage Checklist of playables.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – 1st Place in Vacaville with Burning Tendrils, Again: A Tournament Report and Other Thoughts on Vintage

    SMIP-1st-In-Vacaville-Again

    Stephen Menendian has done it again, finishing first at the latest Vintage tournament with his creation, Burning Tendrils. In this detailed 27 page tournament report, Stephen characteristically provides a thoughtful play-by-play recap of his tournament experience, delving behind each play with an explanation of his decision process, and an analysis of alternative lines of play from each land drop to sequencing spells. Stephen will test your abilities in the process by asking the reader to select a line of play. Stephen also introduces an updated non-Oath Burning Tendrils list for control metagames, talks about Voltaic Key and Time Vault in Burning Tendrils, and shares his broader thoughts on the archetype and the Vintage format. As always, Stephen breaks the mold for tournament reports with his iconic style and brilliant insights.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 1998

    Continuing in the Schools of Magic: History of Vintage series, author Stephen Menendian retraces the history of 1998, an unforgettable year in the history of Type I. Follow the important changes to the Restricted List, the rise of recursion strategies and new combo decks, and the lasting impact of Urza’s Saga on the format. Read about the birth Oath and Workshop Aggro decks in the format, and about the continuing evolution of The Deck, Necropotence, Prosperity, and Zoo strategies.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 1997

    Building on the previous chapters of the Schools of Magic: History of Vintage series, author Stephen Menendian has uncovered a treasure trove of lost decklists and forgotten history as he explores the trends, experiences, and metagame of Type I in 1997, the fifth year of Magic. Whether you are a student of the history of the game, a fan of the early years of Magic, or simply curious about the early years of Vintage, this article is not to be missed. With fifteen tournament winning and high-performing decklists and in-depth analysis, this article is perfect for those who want to relive 1997, as the first age of Type I Magic draws to a close.
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  • So Many Insane Plays – 1st Place in Vacaville: Two Burning Tendrils Tournament Reports

    So Many Insane Plays - 1st in Vacaville

    Hot off his Team Serious Open victory in December, Stephen Menendian took his Burning Tendrils creation to another 1st place finish in Vacaville this past month. Read this epic 29 page double tournament report to see what the latest changes are that Stephen has made to combat the ever-evolving metagame. Complete with play-by-play game coverage and Stephen’s characteristic detailed analysis, trace both the lows and learning experiences of an underwhelming tournament performance, to lessons learned translating into the highs of another tournament victory at the most recent Vacaville vintage tournament. Follow Stephen’s thought process in each situation as you learn how to become a better combo pilot by learning from the best in the format.
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  • Schools of Magic: History of Vintage – 1995 & 1996

    Building on the foundation of Schools of Magic: History of Vintage 1993 & 1994, author Stephen Menendian dives deep into the history of the Type I/Vintage format in this historical look at 1995 & 1996, the most formative years in the format’s grand history. Do not miss the story of The Deck, perhaps the most famous archetype in the format’s history. Culled from long forgotten archival materials, historical records, new exclusive interviews with key players of the era, and much much more, you will see decks published in these pages for the first time ever and read about:
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  • So Many Insane Plays – Victory with Burning Tendrils *1st Place*

    Stephen Menendian has finally had the chance to play his latest Vintage creation in a marquis event, and ended up winning the tournament! Read play-by-play action of 8 rounds of tournament Magic, and learn how to employ Stephen’s latest sideboard and tournament refinements. Learn strategy, tips, tactics, and decision making in critical situations, all in this 25+ page in-depth accounting of tournament victory at the Team Serious Open with Burning Long.
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  • 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.
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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.
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  • 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.
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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!
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