Serious Vintage Episode 36: Magic We Love and Foods We Hate, with Erin Campbell

For episode 36, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) are joined by Erin Campbell (@OriginalOestrus) to talk about a bunch of fun Vintage topics including the importance of the community, the Vintage Super League, Dredge, and Two-Card Monte. She also helps us depart a little from our usual “discerning” food-and-drink discussion to a more “picky” angle.

Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment:
00:27 – Erin and the Vintage Community
33:20 – Preparing to Crush the VSL
40:28 – Nat Hate Drafts Onions
Full runtime – 1:03:53

Why Vintage is So Great

Most of our discussion about Vintage community, you’ll kind of have to listen to. Erin recounts her entry into the format—playing fast, graveyard-based decks in Legacy and Modern and being able to get in affordably through MTGO. She also talks about how excited the Vintage community was to share its passion, and how encouraging and generous it could be.

And it is that passion and excitement that drives Vintage players; Erin talks about that too. In my experience, the format is built around big, flashy plays. Controlling those plays, unleashing them or reining them in, is a skill not always practiced in other formats. The cards are all significant, even in situations where they seem otherwise, so games can go from certain win to certain loss in the blink of an eye. Think of cards that are ostensibly fine in smaller formats, like Brainstorm or Lotus Petal, which end up restricted in Vintage because they lead to much more powerful things. Making those powerful plays (or struggling against them) comes with a lot of emotion—high highs. Vintage makes you feel things.

Looking back at my own entry into Vintage—15 years ago, I guess, jeez—I experienced a feeling of welcome similar to Erin’s, even if the situation was totally different. My path to Vintage started with a kitchen-table format that allowed four-of any card you owned. I played multiple Sol Ring, Wheel of Fortune, and Black Vise and could regularly kill on my opponent’s third upkeep. But friends started playing sanctioned Vintage at a small store in Ohio called The Dungeon and were recruiting anyone interested, excited to continue growing the scene. There was a little Power, but people were doing broken things in their own way.

And it was great, like the Wild West: Mono-Black Hatred, Mono-Green Stompy, Goblins, Helm of Awakening Eggs, Angel Oath that was slowly acquiring Power at the time, and some weird brews, including whatever I was playing. For a while it was a Welder Madness list with Memory Jar and Wild Mongrel, which was somehow not terrible. Everyone was having fun, and there were so many friendly deals made to help each other get Dual Lands and Force of Wills and other Vintage staples, so we could all improve together.

It also didn’t hurt that, when our group graduated to larger events, Vintage was very much in favor of allowing playtest cards to lower the entry barrier. Whether driven by passion or desperation, paper Vintage is generally a welcoming format at the local level.

Vintage Super League

Season nine of the Vintage Super League (VSL) is also just beginning, and Erin is competing in her third year of the contest. This season is back to individual competition (season eight featured three-player teams) and players are encouraged to play what they want, with the stipulation that they should keep things interesting and try to play new decks when they’re on. We’ve already seen evidence of this as the second week’s offerings included Andy Probasco playing Death’s Shadow and three decks (Stephen Menendian, Brian Coval, and Randy Buehler) all playing Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, from the newly legal Ravnica Allegiance set.

It would be a disappointment to a lot of fans if Erin were to skip playing Dredge entirely, but we talk about some of her other options, including Two-Card Monte, Stax with actual Smokestack, and Enchantress. It’s always exciting to see innovative new decks (or new takes on old decks) in the VSL, even if the competition format lends itself to “metagaming against your friends,” so the decks can be less reflective of “real life” Vintage. It’s also exciting to see players step outside their own comfort zone and try a strategy or archetype that they may not be familiar with as a pilot.

Food and Drink for Picky Eaters

This episode’s food-and-drink section covers a lot of ground. A lot. We talk about peanut butter, pizza, warm beverages, cold condiments, cottage cheese, rye chips, french fries, hamburgers, hot dogs, corndogs, onions, and more. There’s too much to summarize here, but I thought it was interesting that, out of four people on the show, three of us don’t drink coffee. Make of that what you will.

Erin did mention a couple of Milwaukee restaurants, which I’ll record in case you’re in the area. The Dogg Haus has additional locations in Wisconsin and Minnesota and offers build-your-own hot dogs with multiple meat, topping, and bun options. At least visit the website and check out their logo. There’s also Vanguard Bar, which has a similar offering of housemade sausages (including duck and boar), as well as “tube-less” meals like burgers and poutine.

In the end, while we all have our proclivities and aversions, we all agreed we like food.

Questions for Discussion

What got you into Vintage? The decks? The Power? The people? How do you feel about Dredge, and what deck would you play if you had to pick something other than what you’re playing right now? Are there foods you despise? Is pineapple on pizza OK? How do you feel about small hot dogs? What about a product called the “Corndogger”?

Thanks for Supporting Our Show!

Regardless of how you got here, we’re glad you’re interested in Vintage. If you’d like to support Serious Vintage financially, maybe you and your friends and loved ones would enjoy a T-shirt. For the next three weeks (until February 15, in time for Valentine’s Day!) we’ll be selling shirts to raise money to improve podcasting and Team Serious streaming technology.

“Force of Love” shirts are back, and now you can show you’re competitive when it comes to the post-tournament meal with a “Vintage Supper League” shirt!

As usual, we’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at