Serious Vintage Episode 49: What’s Cooking, Erin Campbell?

For episode 49, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter) and Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher) talk with Erin Campbell (@OriginalOestrus) about this year’s online Vintage Championships and learning to cook for yourself (and others!) during a pandemic.

Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment:
00:41 – Eternal Weekend 2020 Online
32:47 – Food and People
1:12:48 – Outro
Total runtime – 1:07:18

Vintage Championships 2020

It continues to be a weird year. This year’s Vintage Championship events, usually held in three events around the world, were instead held online using MTGO. Legacy was too, but we mostly talk about Vintage, as usual. The move online was received positively by most players as a safe, accessible option to experience the format’s biggest event(s). As part of signing up, both Legacy and Vintage gave registered players access to a “god account,” with all of the cards to build any deck, so players didn’t need to scramble or pay extra to build a deck. There were some initial gripes about not having access to odd ducks like the Walking Dead Secret Lair Drop cards in Legacy, but ultimately I think that was for the memes rather than actual format need.

Usually Vintage Championship events are held three times: one in Europe, one in Asia, and one in North America. As a nod to this, the online event also had three equal events but with different start times for accessibility. And the same trophies were available: paintings of Vintage-playable lands, mounted in a Magic-card frame. A player could register for and potentially play in any and all of these events, spending an entire weekend from Friday to Sunday playing Vintage.

And there were some impressive turnouts: 252 on Friday for a Tolarian Academy Painting, 391 on Saturday for Library of Alexandria, and 427 on Sunday for Mishra’s Workshop. There were 302 players for last year’s Vintage event in Pittsburgh, for comparison.

For decklists and analysis, I’ll recommend Joe Dyer’s Vintage and Legacy champs coverage. He was last episode’s guest and does a huge amount of work making eternal formats readable on a weekly basis.

Erin played in the Sunday events for Legacy and Vintage this year and we were happy to have her on to talk about it. After trying a few other builds she went with Jund Hogaak in Legacy and Dredge (as expected?) in Vintage and played some rounds and had some fun. Graveyard shenanigans are always fun, and Dredge even won the Saturday Vintage event.

We talk with Erin about the variety of decks in Vintage. There are plenty of decks and strategies available if you’re a player who finds themselves drawn to a particular thing. Artifacts and graveyards and spells and counterspells are all good at various times and in various matchups.

And we also talk about how the format is still somehow unfulfilling. We offer no solutions other than that there are so many fun ways to play Magic: The Gathering, so make sure you’re doing what you want to do. Maybe you want to play a 62-card Dredge Special, maybe you want to register Tarmogoyf, maybe you like Rage Extractors or Goblin Charbelchers. We cover a lot of ground, most of which is positive excitement about the Vintage play experience and the Vintage community, and some of which I would describe as nostalgic.

It’s in that mode that we talk a little about Andreas Petersen’s title from Sunday being stripped after evidence from his and his opponent’s stream revealed that he had exchanged favor for a concession into the top eight. This was far enough past that we didn’t need to report on it (you can review details on Star City Games), but we are able to comment on it. And the biggest reaction was just disappointment, mostly that there were people who felt this kind of exchange was commonplace for MTGO events and wanted to brush it off. Vintage (and other formats!) should focus on fun and community. What is the compelling need to try to get ahead in this way? I mean, I understand you could be 1/3 of a Vintage Champion and get a painting, but would you feel good about it? Be adult, have fun, drink responsibly.

Food and Drink: Cooking for Oneself and Others

We cover a lot of ground on this section too. To sum it up, early on Erin notes that, when the coronavirus quarantine started, she had friends concerned for her well being because she—quite admittedly and publicly—didn’t know how to cook! Now she’s learning how to cook, and from the looks of it, doing pretty well!

So we talk about some egg recipes (including Gordon Ramsay’s recipe for scrambled eggs) and baking bacon and how pancakes are kind of scary. Erin likes Miracle Whip and doesn’t like stuff in her eggs (so no omelettes) because it’s a weird texture thing. Nat likes mayonnaise and loves Anolon brand cookware. Geoff doesn’t like eggs at all.

We also bring up pancakes again, because Geoff and I do like pancakes. As we mention to Erin they’re not as intimidating as they seem. The cottage cheese pancake recipe I make regularly is in the previous link (skip the blueberries if you don’t like texture), and Geoff’s wife Sarah’s current recipe for buttermilk pancakes is this.

● 3/4 cup milk
● 2 tablespoons white vinegar
● 1 cup all-purpose flour
● 2 tablespoons white sugar
● 1 teaspoon baking powder
● 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
● 1/2 teaspoon salt
● 1 egg
● 2 tablespoons butter, melted
● cooking spray

1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

I recommend just keeping buttermilk on hand since it’s surprisingly versatile and keeps for a while. Real buttermilk also generally works better than the milk-plus-vinegar (or you can sub in lemon juice for the vinegar) concoction. It’s great for biscuits. These are super easy and we make them all time (don’t let anyone put you down because a recipe is easy; eat what you want!).

● 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided
● 4 cups cake flour (I use all-purpose)
● 2 teaspoons baking powder
● 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
● 2 teaspoons salt
● 2 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease an 8-inch square baking pan with shortening or butter.
2. Whisk dry ingredients together and cut in the 10 tablespoons of cold butter, or smash it with your fingertips, into pea-sized pieces. Stir in the buttermilk until no dry pockets remain. Using a spatula, transfer the dough to the prepared pan.
3. Using floured hands, push the dough to the corners of the pan in an even layer. With an oiled or greased scraper or thin spatula, cut the dough into nine biscuits with two cuts by two cuts (like a tic-tac-toe board). Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
4. Let biscuits cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Pull apart at cuts and serve. Extras will keep in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container for 4-5 days.

We frequently serve these as breakfast sandwiches with ham, over-easy eggs, cheese, and perhaps a smear of tart jelly or jam. They’re also great warm with butter and honey.

Cooking food in general (and breakfast in particular?) is both a form of self-care and a way to show love for someone else, as we discuss. Cooking a meal—or even just one dish—is often a project that can be planned for and carried out to meet success. Personal victories are always welcome, and you can eat it! And if it didn’t work out, that’s OK too; you can still learn from the experience, and if you used good ingredients, you may still have produced something edible. Any day—but during the holidays especially—we find lots of ways to share food with friends and family, and putting time and effort into making a meal or a dish (or some cookies) can be a great way to show someone you care. You want to nourish them and enrich their life in even a physical way. Likewise someone making you something

We range pretty far in this section, so it’s difficult to cover it all, but the cooking and caring part is the best takeaway. <3

Questions for Discussion

Did you play in one of the Eternal Weekend online events? How was it? Did you miss being able to wander up to your awkward, bag-laden group of friends who were exhausted, discussing which of three mediocre restaurants to adjourn to after Steve finally loses his second match, so you could relate how much of a detestable lucksack your opponent was for topdecking Paradoxical the turn after you Thoughtsiezed them to nothing, and then they even had the nerve to tell you, “I topdecked that!” when you told them it resolved, so you had to watch them go through their long, tedious process of drawing cards and playing artifacts and drawing more cards before finally finding Monastery Mentor and playing Time Walk and playing more spells the next turn so they could win, and that was just game two? There’s a lot that online Magic just doesn’t quite capture sometimes, right? And yet we miss it. Who wants breakfast?!


Thanks again to Erin Campbell for being our guest for this episode! We always enjoy talking with her and hope you enjoy listening in on some fun conversation. Take care of yourselves this holiday season. Perhaps 2021 will look a little brighter. We’re looking forward to doing something special for episode 50! We’ll also look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at