My name is Rasmus Vium Fristed, an old school magic player and long time Vintage enthusiast (since 2001). I recently made Top 8 in the main Vintage tournament at Bazaar of Moxen in Paris, and thought I would share my experience. I originally meant to write a report for my fellow Magic players from Denmark in the hope of igniting the smoldering Vintage spark but instead decided to contribute to the global community and write the report in English.
I am the one with the white smiley T-shirt.
Short intro – Getting to France
It began, when Simon Rokkjær, one of my magic-related friends from way back, asked if I wanted to join him and some others for a trip to Paris to Bazaar of Moxen 8. We went to Annecy together in 2011 and that was really an experience, so I signed up immediately. We ended up being six persons in a car (a large one) driving from Denmark to Paris. Five magic players (Simon, Henrik, Jens Peter, Niels and myself) and Jens Peters girlfriend Beatrice.
In order to get some testing done, we decided to go wednesday night with scheduled arrival on thursday afternoon. After a long and tiresome drive we arrived at our hotel, which was situated immediately next to the venue, which was very nice. We settled down for some playtesting, which we basically hadn’t done. There was a lot of magic players at the hotel, obviously, which made for quite an atmosphere for magic-hungry souls.
Preparation for the trial
The main event was scheduled on sunday, while there was a trial on saturday with a chance of winning byes to the main event.
As we were unable to attend both the vintage and legacy main tournaments, we decided to skip the legacy tournaments altogether and really get some testing done. This meant that we were testing at the hotel for almost all of friday.
Simon and Henrik were set on playing their U/R Welder Control, and Jens Peter were on Charbelcher. Niels was a bit torn between playing oath and the new Ravager Workshop. In the end he decided to play the Ravager Workshop in the trial and Oath in the main event.
When leaving for France I was toying with an idea of a Mud Prison with maindeck Null Rod, as I expected Null Rod to be strong. Instead I was tempted by an interesting list I remembered having seen on the net. It was Jordi Amag Puig´s decklist from Gen Con. I remembered him playing Kuldotha Forgemaster, Metalworker, Lightning Greaves, and Cavern of Souls, which really had the potential for power and fun. I didn´t have a decklist at the moment (having a temporary challenge with the wi-fi at the hotel) , so I build a deck around those core cards. I also remembered seeing a Staff of Nin, which I wanted to try. I have tried a prison style Forgemaster build before where Sphere of Resistance frequently caused me trouble, which is why I left them out and instead opted for the ever trusty Tangle Wires.
I ended up with this:
4 Kuldotha Forgemaster
4 Lightning Greaves
4 Lodestone Golem
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Tangle Wire
3 Thorn of Amethyst
2 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Steel Hellkite
1 Blightsteel Colossus
1 Staff of Nin
[Mana Sources] (26)
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring
1 Strip Mine
1 Tolarian Academy
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Mishra’s Workshop
4 Wasteland[/Mana Sources]
4 Grafdigger’s Cage
4 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Crucible of Worlds
In order to avoid posting multiple decklists in the same report, this is what I used in the main event. For the trial I used the following changes in the maindeck:
-1 Steel Hellkite
-1 Lightning Greaves
+2 Crucible of Worlds
The idea in short is to disrupt the opponent until the combo comes online. Or, if that is not available, just play a big, possibly hasty and untargetable, creature. Frequently the aim is just to go straight for the combo.
“The combo” is actually the combination of Kuldotha Forgemaster and Lightning Greaves. Equip the Forgemaster, when you play him, sacrifice three artifacts, search up Blightsteel Colossus, equip Colossus and attack. This synergizes very nicely with Metalworker. A plausible example (which happened):
Turn 1: Ancient Tomb, LIghtning Greaves
Turn 2: Land, Metalworker, equip metalworker, show a lot of artifacts, Forgemaster, equip, search up Blightsteel Colossus, equip, attack
I have later come to believe, that this kind of deck may have been played for a while, yet many of my opponents didn´t know about it.
The sideboard was constructed mainly to combat Dredge, Oath, workshop and fish-style decks. I won´t go into an in-depth description of the sideboarding in this report, though.
Saturday arrived, and we participated in the vintage trial with about 35 players, I think. Time to find out how good the deck was.
On the way to the pairings I joked a bit with Simon Rokkjær about him and I meeting in the first round. Well, naturally…
Round 1 – Simon Rokkjær with VS-Welder Control
I really didn´t want to face Simon as I knew him to be on a deck specifically designed to beat artifacts. His maindeck contained Goblin Welder, Gorilla Shaman, Lightning Bolt, Smash to Smithereens, FoW, Mana Drain and Snapcasters, which combined spells serious trouble for my deck. My gameplan is to hopefully stick a Chalice@1 and use Caverns to play uncounterable threats.
Simon won the die roll, and we both kept.
Him: Land, Gorilla Shaman
Me: Mana, Lodestone<-FoW
It was basically over from there with Smash to Smithereens also joining the fray. Had I started, I would have played a Chalice@1, which would have drawn the FoW, making it a more interesting game. I can´t say that I would have won anyway though.
I´ve forgotten most of the details but my notes tell me that I met an early FoW. At one point I managed to stick a Forgemaster against an empty board and hand. Simon ripped a Smash to Smithereens, and I never recovered.
A disappointing start yet not a surprising one the matchup considered. Especially since Simon was able to bring in more hate from the sideboard, while I had nothing against him in the sideboard.
0-1, 0-2 games
Round 2 – Kristoffer Timm with Dredge
Kristoffer won the die roll, and we both kept our opening hands.
Me: Tomb, Greaves – he activated the Bazaar.
Him: Dredging a whole lot, having two Bazaars. Some Bloodghasts and Narcomoebas came into play.
Me: Land, moxes, Forgemaster->equip-Blightsteel-equip->attack, he blocked.
Him: Kill me with a horde of zombies, Ichorids and Bloodghasts.
So I lost the first game despite attacking with a Blightsteel Colossus on my second turn. Darn you die roll!
I brought in the Cages and Crypts. I kept my seven, while Kristoffer took three mulligans.
Me: Wasteland, Cage, Crypt (can´t be unhappy).
From there I wasted his Bazaar and removed his graveyard after his first activation, which prevented him from dredging and his Petrifield Field from bringing back the bazaar. I quickly took the game from there.
Kristoffer took a mulligan, while I kept my seven.
I don´t remember this game except that I had multiple hate including a Cage again. I believe that I at some point sealed the game with a Trinisphere protecting my hate.
1-1, 2-3 in games
Round 3 – Pierre Canali with Oath
Pierre got a game loss for being three minutes late. A harsh ruling but the judges were very strict and consequent on this matter. A judge explained that they aimed at reducing unnecessary delays to a minimum.
Pierre mulliganed twice, while I kept my seven.
Him: Forbidden Orchard
Me: Workshop, Sol Ring, Chalice of the Void set to 2.
From there Pierre only played a Preordain for the rest of the game, while two Metalworkers beat him down. During the game I played another Chalice at 2 and a Chalice at 3 (to stop Show and Tell).
It was very tough luck for Pierre but I was happy to win.
2-1, 3-3 in games
Round 4 – Kadir Nohut with U/B/G/R/W utility Humans
Kadir was a nice fellow who attended his first big tournament. He ended up doing quite well despite of that though.
We got deckchecked but both escaped without a game loss. As a result we received 12 minutes of extra time.
I am not at all able to precisely recall these games, as they were very long and complicated.
Kadir won the die roll, and we both kept our seven.
This game came down to Kadir being able to remove my threats with Swords to Plowshares while establishing a superior board position from which I couldn´t recover.
I began with a turn 1 Lodestone, which went all the way combined with additional disruption, most likely a Tangle Wire.
Game 3 was an extremely lengthy and difficult affair with the battle raging back and forth. It was complicated by many permanents on each side combined with lifegain from my Wurmcoil and his Batterskull. I believe that we were both fatigued at this point and, combined with heavy time pressure, as a consequence we made a lot of errors. In the end I won by being able to get Hellkite into play, which slowly turned the match in my favor. I won on the third or fourth extra turn. Fortunately for me, Kadir never saw any of his Swords to plowshares or Ingot Chewers in this game.
During this match I really felt the lack of food and drink in the course of the day. You really have to stay fresh and get enough energy, which I usually preach to everyone around me. Even then, it is easy to fall into the trap.
3-1, 5-4 in games
Round 5 – Timur Böse with Grixis Control
There are nice persons and then there are the really pleasant ones. Timur is of the last kind and I really enjoyed the banter. Especially after such a grueling and hard fought match in the last round.
I won the die roll and mulliganed to four, while Timur kept his seven.
I couldn´t really put on any pressure and quickly lost to a Myr Battlesphere.
In this game Timur managed to keep me at bay, and it was looking steadily worse. Then I drew a mox for my Tolarian Academy, played Cavern of Souls on Golems and used my precise twelve mana and last card to put an uncounterable Blightsteel Colossus into play. Timur didn´t find a solution on his turn, and we were on to the last game. He afterwards showed me a hand of FoW, blue card and Ingot Chewer. Hooray for indestructibility and Cavern of Souls.
We both kept our opening seven. My hand consisted of:
Mana Crypt, Mox Pearl, Lightning Greaves, Metalworker, Kuldotha Forgemaster + two artifacts.
Him: Land, Lotus, Jace->brainstorm
Me: Draw Academy (yehaa), Mox, Mana Crypt, Greaves, Academy, Metalworker<- FoW
Him: Land, Dark Confidant
Me: Forgemaster, resolves->equip->Blightsteel->equip->attack
The third game was really Vintage showing off. Luckily I had the most broken hand. Actually, I would have killed him on turn one, had he not had the FoW.
4-1, 7-5 in games
So I ended up with a 4-1 score. Luckily for me, all 4-1´s were awarded a German or Italian Taiga plus a bye for the main tournament the next day.
Preparation for the main event
When going to France I intended to play combo in the main tournament. Yet, I felt that the Forgemasterdeck really had potential. So did my friends, so I decided to play it again in the main event. We playtested a bit at the hotel after going out for some dinner. Speaking of dinner we wound up in a completely deserted part of the city, when we followed the GPS in the car. At one point we found ourselves in the middle of a building complex with an atmosphere that bore a remarkable resemblance to the many zombie movies out there. No such thing happened though and we made it out.
I felt that the Lightning Greaves were really pulling their weight and decided to up the count to four. The Steel Hellkite felt good enough for the maindeck an also made the 60. The Crucibles hadn´t really helped me a whole lot in the main, so they were put in the sideboard to combat mana denial.
Finally time for the most exciting event of the year for me. This time I was prepared with water and chocolate and a plan of eating and drinking enough between rounds. 152 players participated in the tournament.
Round 1 – Bye
1-0, 0-0 in games
Round 2 – Babin Geoffroy (FRA) with a red Workshop build
I was actually late for this round because I couldn´t find myself on the list (as it turned out, I was looking at the list with the wrong part of the alphabet…). I hurried to the judge table which confirmed that I was indeed in the tournament and pointed me to the correct table. I hurried to the table, where a judge was waiting for me. I wasn´t handed a game loss, since I went to the judge table and we instead received one minute of extra time. Phew. I apologized to my opponent for the delay, and we shuffled up.
Babin won the die roll. We both took a mulligan.
Him: Workshop, go.
Me: Ancient Tomb, Mox, Metalworker.
Him: Land, Mox, Gorilla Shaman, eat my Mox.
Me: Reveal a bunch of artifacts, Greaves, Chalice, Forgemaster->equip->Blightsteel->equip->attack.
Babin mulliganed twice, while I kept my opening seven.
Him: Workshop, Trinisphere.
Me: Workshop, Tangle Wire.
Him: Tap down, land go.
Me: Tap down, Tomb, Mox, Mox, Mox, Forgemaster.
Him: Tap down.
A second and a third turn kill with a Workshop deck. Quite the way to begin.
I never really got to see Babin´s deck in action, so I don´t know exactly what he was playing.
2-0, 2-0 in games
Round 3 – Antonio Sanchez (CAT) with a blue deck
I won the die roll but had to mulligan twice, while Antonio kept his opening seven. My five card hand was:
Ancient Tomb, Lightning Greaves, Mox, Mox, Forgemaster
Me: Tomb, Greaves, pass.
Him: Island, Mox, Mana Crypt.
Me: Draw Mox, Mox, Mox, Mox, Forgemaster, resolves, equip->Blightsteel->equip-attack.
I didn´t sideboard. Antonio took a mulligan, while I kept my opening seven.
Me: Chalice of the Void set to 1, Lodestone Golem.
Him: Island, Mox.
Me: Metalworker <- FoW, Forgemaster.
Me: Staff of Nin, Greaves, Forgemaster->Blightsteel->equip->attack.
I never really got to see Antonio´s deck in action, so I don´t know exactly what he was playing. He most likely didn´t draw very well.
3-0, 4-0 in games
Round 4 – Marius Bausmann (GER?) with Forgemaster
Marius got a game loss for being two minutes late, which clearly upset him. Yet, the judges had decided to accept no unjustified delays and ruled accordingly.
Marius begins with no sideboarding. We both kept our hands.
I am not able to recount the game in detail. We both played a lot of artifacts but my Forgemaster came online the turn before his, which decided the game, as I removed his Forgemaster with a Duplicant. I also managed to draw both of my Wurmcoils and a timely Tolarian Academy.
4-0, 6-0 in games
Round 5 – Mathieu Carlouet (FRA) with Dredge
Mathieu was very friendly and a real pleasure to play against. Unfortunately for him this just wasn´t his match at all.
I knew Mathieu to be playing Dredge and therefore mulliganed an otherwise decent hand looking for my combo. I kept a hand containing Ancient Tomb, Lightning Greaves, Kuldotha Forgemaster and three other cards. I didn´t have the mana to play the Forgemaster yet but had the opportunity of killing fast with a proper topdeck.
Mathieu just kept throwing back hands without Bazaars or Serum Powders ending up with just a single card. He went first.
Me: Tomb, Greaves.
Him: Draw, go.
Me: Topdeck Metalworker, land, Metalworker, equip, show a bunch of artifacts, Forgemaster, equip -> Blightsteel, equip, attack.
A second turn kill and a very nice game 1 win. As was evident in my second match in the trial a second turn attack with a Blightsteel isn´t necessarily enough against Dredge.
I boarded in the Cages and Crypts for Thorns, Wires, and the Duplicant.
Mathieu opted to mulligan. My opening hand was:
Mox Pearl, Chalice, Cage, Crypt, Lodestone, Lodestone, Wurmcoil
An interesting hand. Only the Mox for mana but with both a Cage and a Crypt. With those I could keep him down for a while. If I could draw mana, I might be able to protect one of them with a Chalice at one and eventually play golems. I decided to keep. Matieu took another mulligan.
Him: City of Brass.
Me: Draw Strip Mine, Strip Mine, destroy City, Mox, Cage Crypt.
Him: Petrified Field.
Me: Draw Workshop (so lucky), Workshop, Lodestone Golem.
Me: Lodestone Golem.
From there the game was basically over.
5-0, 8-0 in games
Round 6 – Francois Mercier (FRA) with Oath
I won the die roll and took a mulligan, while Francois kept.
I don´t have specific notes on this nor remember it in detail. Francois played some Forbidden Orchards but didn´t do much otherwise, never finding an Oath. I believe I had a Chalice of the Void set to 1 while beating him down with creatures. At some point I was hit by a Hurkyl´s Recall but it didn´t change the outcome.
I boarded in my 4 Grafdigger´s Cages, taking out the Thorns and another card. I considered not boarding in the Cages because of the Oath players tactic of boarding in Laboratory Maniac but decided to stick with the plan.
Francois took a mulligan, while I kept my opening seven.
Him: Land, Mox, Sol Ring, Time Vault.
Me: Mox, Mox, Mox, Mana Crypt, Cavern of Souls (Dragon), Steel Hellkite.
A first turn uncounterable Hellkite isn´t too shabby. Francois didn´t find his Voltaic Key the next turn, so I destroyed the Vault on my attack. From there I basically just attacked with the Hellkite, though the game lasted some more turns and some more plays. At some point I got a Cage on the table and Francois an Oath.
6-0, 10-0 in games
At this point I can ID into Top 8, if I am paired against one of the other players at 6-0.
Round 7 – Pierrick Mode With Workshop
We intentionally draw. I didn´t get to see exactly what Pierrick was playing. I just knew it to be Workshops.
6-0-1, 10-0 in games
Round 8 – Michael Bonde with BUG Tempo (w/Null Rod)
We intentionally draw. I thought I might be a lock for top 8 but I didn´t want to take the risk and appreciated the break.
6-0-2, 10-0 in games
As a result of all my ID´ing I end up in sixth place in the seedings. One could argue that I should have played the last round but I didn´t feel completely secure in my breakers and wasn´t exactly ecstatic about my chances against the winner-to-be of the tournament. The reason for this was that Michael was maindecking Null Rod and had Energy Flux in the sideboard, coupled with Abrupt Decay, Steel Sabotage, and probably more. All said I preferred the break and sure entry to Top 8.
Quarterfinals – Marcel (NET) with Forgemaster Workshops
In the quarterfinals I was to play against Marcel, a nice fellow from the Netherlands. I knew him to be on workshop but didn´t know the particular build.
Preparing for the quarterfinal
We rolled the die, and I went first.
My opening hand was disappointing with slow mana and no proper threats, so I took a mulligan. The second was the following:
Ancient Tomb, Wasteland, Cavern of Souls, Chalice of the void, Lodestone Golem, Wurmcoil Engine
Not impressive. I was on the play though and had the random chance of manascrewing Marcel with chalice at zero and the wasteland with a slow follow-up, so I kept rather than going to five. Marcel kept his opening seven.
Me: Wasteland, Chalice at zero.
Him: Wasteland, waste my Wasteland.
Me: Ancient Tomb.
Him: Workshop, Metalworker.
It lasted a few turns longer but I just got steamrolled from there by Blightsteel, Wurmcoil, and Forgemaster. Not much to do except recognizing that I was playing the mirror. I should have played the Cavern first of course but it didn´t make any difference. Marcel showed a very nice tech in the form of a maindeck Grafdigger´s Cage nullifying my Forgemasters.
I put in 4 Dismember, 2 Crucibles, and the Duplicant for the Thorns and Chalices.
My opening hand was hopeless, so I took a mulligan. The second hand was the following:
Ancient Tomb, Mox, Metalworker, Lightning Greaves, land, and a non-threat artifact
This hand has huge potential though lacking actual threats, so I decided to keep instead of going to five. Marcel kept his opening seven.
I went first again.
Me: Ancient Tomb, Mox, Metalworker.
Him: Ancient Tomb, Sol Ring, Metalworker.
I knew I was in trouble facing that start and thought a real topdeck would be nice. Lo and behold! A Forgemaster was waiting at the top!
Me: Reveal two artifacts, land, Greaves, Forgemaster -> Blightsteel -> equip -> attack. Marcel blocked with his metalworker.
Him: Draw, scoop.
Quite the topdeck to keep me in the match. Sometimes it pays off to create an opportunity to get lucky.
Now to the deciding game.
Marcel kept his opening hand after quite a bit of pondering. Mine was horrible with only a Wasteland for mana, so I took a mulligan. The second hand was the following:
Ancient Tomb, Mox Pearl, Tangle Wire, Lightning Greaves, Forgemaster, Wurmcoil Engine
Not impressive at all but probably better than the average five cards. I planned to keep him at bay with the tangle wire while drawing into mana for a hopefully deciding Forgemaster. It was also relevant, that Marcel took a long while before keeping his hand making it very unlikely that he held the nuts. I decided to keep.
Marcel went first.
Him: City of Traitors, go (hmm, strange).
Me: Draw Lodestone Golem, Ancient Tomb, Mox Pearl, Tangle Wire.
Him: Tapped his land, no play.
Me: Tapping my permanents, drew a Workshop, Workshop, Greaves.
Him: Tap land.
At this point Marcel was thinking for a long while. I crossed my fingers for him to pass again, as I had the combo available in my next turn but alas…
(him continued): City of Traitors, Metalworker, Pithing Needle naming Lightning Greaves.
That was horrible. Not only did he shut off my combo kill but he also ensured himself plenty of mana in the face of my Tangle Wire.
I drew another Tangle Wire and had a difficult decision. My options were to play either Wire, Forgemaster, Wurmcoil or Lodestone. Playing Wire would stall him, but not for long because of my Metalworker. I might play the Wurmcoil or Lodestone in the hope of drawing out his (liklely) sideboarded Duplicants. That would unfortunately leave me completely vulnerable to a Forgemaster on Marcels side barring a six-outs topdeck (My own Duplicants and Dismembers). I decided to put my balls to the wall.
Him: Reveal Duplicant and Mox, Play Duplicant removing my Forgemaster (drat).
Me: Draw Workshop, Workshop, Wurmcoil Engine.
Him: Reveal Duplicant and Mox, Duplicant removing my Wurmcoil (double drat), attack with Duplicant #1.
Me: Draw Wasteland, Wasteland, Tangle Wire, Lodestone <- instantly killed by Dismember (triple drat).
Him: Attack me to one life.
Me: I drew a land and conceded.
Thus ended my run at the Bazaar of Moxen 8. I anybody feel I should have played it differently feel free to let me know.
For reference, Marcel´s opening hand in the deciding game was:
City of Traitors, City of Traitors, Mana Crypt, Pithing Needle, Dismember, Duplicant, Duplicant
Marcel and I discussed the deck afterwards. It turned out that he has been playing it for years to very good results at both BoM and other tournament. Marcel wasn´t playing with Tangle Wires or Cavern of Souls, instead opting for City of Traitors and Grafdigger´s Cage and something else that I don´t know of at the moment. He told me that he had tried Staff of Nin but found it lacking. I would very much have liked to talk further to Marcel but my friends from Denmark was eager to get going for the 14 hour ride home, so I had to leave. I wished Marcel good luck in the semifinals.
6-1-2, 11-2 in games
Final stage of the deciding game.
For my efforts I received a Bazaar of Baghdad.
Before we left we got to see fellow Dane Michael Bonde advance to the semifinals.
Thoughts on the deck and the tournament
First of all I think it was a really well organized tournament, and I had a great time there being with friends that share my passions for the greatest of Magic’s formats, Vintage. I am most definitely coming back another time. Hopefully with the same people plus perhaps some more, if they can be persuaded.
I had an incredible run at the BoM with nine victories in a row between the trial and the main event and did not lose a single game in the swiss part of the main event. I certainly were lucky in some situations but in general I really feel that the deck were just powerful. Because of its combo, it is actually able to just plain race an otherwise bad matchup such as oath and also has game against Dredge game one. I believe it to be good against most Workshop builds, not the Ravager though. That one proved to be tough in testing. Mainly because of their speed, card advantage, and Revokers.
Null Rod is obviously a real pain, which is the great weakness of this deck. Short of just playing big creatures, maybe Precursor Golem, I have yet to find a solution against that card. Staff of Nin did not really pull its weight and will most likely be replaced with a Wurmcoil Engine or Steel Hellkite. A case can be made for using City of Traitors instead of Carvern of Souls. I believe this to be a metagame decision though. Finally, I am undecided regarding the Tangle Wires. It would seem that most others chooses not to run them, including Marcel whom I met in the quarterfinal. They have been good to me but I will try something else in that spot next time I play the deck, which I most certainly will.
As for the metagame I noticed mostly Oath, Grixis Control, and Workshop at the top tables though I also remember a couple of BUG Null Rod decks, Gush, and Dredge.
That´s it for now. Any thoughts are appreciated.