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Vintage 101: The Eternal Flame


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're going to be talking about all the ins and outs of US Eternal Weekend and notably the North American Vintage Championship held there!

We're also going to be covering last weekend's Vintage Challenge including talking to the winner of the challenge.

Without further ado, let's dive right into the thick of it!

US Eternal Weekend by Card Titan

US Eternal Weekend is essentially for a lot of people, a Mecca of Eternal Magic. It is a place where Vintage and Legacy (and now Modern!) players congregate to sling some great games of Magic and to join together in a true celebration of Eternal formats. As such, there is a lot going on at this event, so we're going to talk about some of the things that are there for Vintage and Old School players.

First of... The North American Vintage Championship. This event takes place on Friday, November 1st in Pittsburgh, PA and is a fully sanctioned Competitive REL Vintage event. The event is Swiss rounds + a cut to Top 8. The unique and interesting thing about Vintage Champs is that the Top 8 of the event is actually played out on the following Sunday (November 3rd), which often allows players who play both Vintage and Legacy to be able to also attend the Legacy Champs event as well. The registration this year for this event is $80 (down from $100 entry in years prior), and comes with a bevy of items, including sleeves, a deckbox, a custom token, a promo code for a Magic Online promo Fatal Push, and also a playmat featuring the art from Survival of the Fittest.

This art on this playmat is really good looking, I have to admit. The playmats are Eternal Weekend are always generally very good looking playmats and are often very sturdy so this is a pretty good deal all around for this event.

The prizing for this event is scaled slightly based on whether the event has 600 or more players or not. Traditionally in years past, there have always been roughly 400-500 players for this event, so it's a pretty safe bet to assume that the prizing for less than 600 players is the accurate prizing for Vintage Champs.

The big prize of the event is the painting. For those that are unaware, Vintage/Legacy Champs tradition has always been a painting of a card (a very large oversized card) awarded to first place for a long time now, and this year's Vintage Championship Trophy is no slouch. Painted by Filip Burburan, it's a new take on Mox Jet.

This painting is evocative and creepy. I love it. Filip really did a fantastic job with this painting. It makes me utterly sad I can't make it to Eternal Weekend just to see this thing in person! In addition to the painting, the winner of Vintage Champs will receive $2500 in Card Titan store credit, and also the following cool prizes:

  • Airfare to the EU Eternal Weekend event in 2020.
  • One full set of each Vintage Legal booster expansion on Magic Online (digital)
  • UltraPro Alcove Flip Deck Box
  • UltraPro Alcove Tower
  • UltraPro 12-Pocket Binder

2nd place will receive the same swag and credit, but will not receive a trophy like 1st place does. 3rd-4th place receives $1200 in Card Titan credit, the UltraPro swag, and one full set each of Vintage Masters and Modern Horizons on Magic Online. 5th-8th gets $700 in Card Titan credit, the same UltraPro swag, and 18 packs each of Vintage Masters and Modern Horizons on Magic Online. Outside of the Top 8 paid down to Top 32 is varying credit and UltraPro stuff.

In addition, as discussed last week, the event also includes a Budget prizing option for decks that do not include the Power Nine, Bazaar/Workshop, or Library of Alexandria. This pays out at $600, $300, and $150 respectively in Card Titan credit.

The Expected Vintage Metagame

Since this past week proved that there are no changes to Vintage with the Banned/Restricted announcement on October 7th, the currently expected Metagame for Vintage for Eternal Weekend can be summed up here.

Jeskai Dreadhorde

If there is ever a certainty of a deck to see at this event, it will be people playing the Xerox build that is currently considered the best Xerox deck in the format right now. Dreadhorde Arcanist has certainly proved itself in the format, and has become a powerhouse staple of the Jeskai Xerox decks. One thing I would expect out of this event is to see plenty of Narset, Parter of Veils and the Xerox decks that support playing her.

Workshops Decks

In paper events, Shops is a deck that is always pretty well represented, and Eternal Weekend is no stranger to this. The recent printing of Stonecoil Serpent has also helped out Shops a bit, so it is still a very popular deck to see in paper.

Dredge

One thing is for certain is that paper events always tend to bring out a lot more Dredge players than typically appear online. One of the biggest reasons of this is that it is easily one of the cheapest legitimate decks in the format because it doesn't run any Power. Thus, there always tends to be a fair amount of Dredge in these larger events, so do expect and plan to have graveyard hate for it.

PO Storm

This is another deck that while it has been pushed down has a lot of loyal players and therefore will always show up in a fair capacity at paper events. Definitely expect to run into the occasional PO player at this event and prepare accordingly.

Other Decks

Despite the popularity of Ziasbond on Magic Online, it is hard to say how much the deck will appear in a paper event. The deck's staples are pretty steep, with not just four Workshop and four Bazaars, but also the pair of Tabernacles. Factor in that Fastbonds themselves are not inherently super cheap, might impact how this deck appears at Eternal Weekend.

Survival is another deck I would expect to see in paper, as it is a fun and enjoyable deck to play but also has some great options for attacking the metagame and it has its loyal fans. This holds true with decks like DPS and Oath as well. Despite the fact that Oath has practically died off on Magic Online, in paper the deck is exceptionally popular with the pilots that enjoy it and will always be played in that regards.

And of course, finally there is always expectation to run into a player on a Powerless variant playing for the budget prize. It is common to run into these especially in the earlier rounds. The key is to develop a well rounded sideboard that attacks the most common bad matchups and approaches the metagame with a level head.

What Else Is There To Do?

Outside of Vintage Champs, there is other events available for Vintage / Old School players. Vintage Champs Trials take place on the Thursday before (October 31st) Champs, which are four rounds of single elimination for $20 that awards a 1 round bye in the Vintage Champs main event in addition to prize wall tickets that can be redeemed for things on the prize wall.

In addition, there are always scheduled Vintage events throughout the weekend for players who end up dropping from the main event, in addition to events for Old School players. The full list of side event schedules can be found on Card Titan's website once they are fully published (at the time of this publication there isn't much information on side events).

While there is lots of playing Magic to do at these events, I also always try to make time for the things that don't involve playing as well. This can often mean perusing the vendors available to getting cards signed by the artists at the event. This year's event includes folks such as Dan Frazier, Jeff Menges, Chris Moeller, Mark Poole, and even Drew Tucker. And since the event takes place in a large city like Pittsburgh, there are always great places nearby to eat and hang out with friends. After all, one of the best parts of Eternal Weekend has always been the "Gathering."

Vintage Challenge 10/5

We had yet another Vintage Challenge this past weekend and it seemed like a lot of fun! As always, our good friend Matt Murray did some analysis for us. Let's take a look at the Top 8, shall we?

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
DPS 1st MStephenson (Mitch Stephenson)
U/R Xerox 2nd DeathTongue
Ravager Shops 3rd Montolio (Andy Markiton)
Jeskai Dreadhorde 4th HJ_Kaiser
PO Storm 5th PProteus
White Eldrazi 6th KauffJ
Ziasbond 7th Swiftwarkite2
Ravager Shops 8th GGoggles

This event is a marked difference from the past two weeks that have been traditionally dominated by Jeskai Dreadhorde. The deck only managed one copy in the Top 8, but boasted a total of 20 players in the event overall. At the end of the event however it was Mitch Stephenson on Dark Petition Storm who took down the event. Let's take a look at his list.

This list is solid, and we had a great opportunity to sit down and talk with Mitch about his event.

First off, introduce yourself to everyone!

Hello!  I started playing Magic at the end of 2015 with some Commander decks with some college friends.  By mid 2016 I played almost exclusively Modern and Legacy.  After about a year I almost only played legacy(RIP Deathrite Shaman). I have only just recently started playing Vintage but have some great friends to help out.

How long have you been playing Vintage? What got you into the format?

I first played Vintage when the Vintage leagues got added.  Didn’t play a lot and then dropped the format for a while.  After that I picked up the Esper PO deck when Paradoxical Outcome first came onto the scene.  I didn’t have a lot of free weekends at the time and think I only played it in 2 challenges, one of which I did Top 8.  After this I pretty much stopped playing leagues on Magic Online. This also made me realize that I don’t play enough Magic so I decided to play DPS in last week's challenge to 4-3 finish.  I had a ton of fun so I ran it back this week and did a little better this time.  

What drove your decision to play Dark Petition Storm for the Challenge? How do you feel it is positioned right now in Vintage?

I play almost exclusively ANT (Ad Nauseam Tendrils) in Legacy so DPS is a natural transition for me.  I also talk to Cyrus Corman-Gill a lot about ANT and he is also known for playing Storm decks and having someone I knew I could talk to about the format is hugely helpful as well.  DPS also makes more skulls than any other decks.  More skulls = more winning.  I honestly am not sure how DPS is positioned.  I never really felt like I had any bad matchups other than White Eldrazi.  Really you’re worst matchup is the card Black Lotus.  If you are given enough time DPS does some really broken things and can win through a lot.  Missing Spell Mastery for Dark Petition or Threshold for Cabal Ritual is really what can slow the deck down and cost you games where you need to combo t1/2 and can’t.

Walk us through your Top 8 matches briefly. What did you play against?

The quarters was a rematch against White Eldrazi which I loss to in the Swiss.  
G1 involved t1 Tinker for Bolas's Citadel for the win.  
G2 my opponent went Lotus into Thorn into Thalia.  
G3 was a bit of a wild one. I played a [[Sol Ring] t1 and then they played a Sphere of Resistance.  So I tutored a Hurkyl's Recall next turn.  By the time I could cast the Hurkyl's they had a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben out.  I was able to cast tutor->Tinker through Thalia.  Then I realized I forgot to board in Blightsteel Colossus and got a citadel with no mana floating and passed.  Next turn I comboed through the Thalia and got the match.

The semis was against Shops
G1 I was on the draw but my hand was absurd.  My opponent t1 Lodestone Golems and then I was able to cast Tinker through it get Bolas's Citadel and then kill my opponent.  Citadel is a dumb card.
G2 Ended on t2 after I played out 2 moxen and my opponent played a Powder Keg.
G3 I was on the play and my opponent t1 Trinisphere.  I tutored for Hurkyl's Recall and 3 cast it on t4 and then on my t5 won the game.

The finals was against some U/R deck with some interesting hate bears post board.  Both Scab-Clan Berserker and multiple Harsh Mentors.  Not entirely sure what it was.
G1 I t1 cast Necropotence and drew a lot of cards.  Necro is a good card .
G2 I boarded for normal xerox.  My opponent t1 Scab-Clan Berserker and I was at 11 t2 after killing it.  Multiple Harsh Mentors were able to close out the game
G3 I turn 1 Defense Grid and my opponent had some mana issues.  T2 I Ancestralled and drew Library of Alexandria and then t3 made no play and passed.  T4 I played activate Library.  My opponent finally hit their 3rd land and played Narset, Parter of Veils.  T9 I made a bunch of goblins and mini Tendrils of Agony for the win text turn.

Are there any changes you would make to the list going forward?

Considering some number of Thoughtseize over some number of Defense Grids in the maindeck.  Helping both Spell Mastery and Threshold is a big draw and now that Mental Misstep is gone the need for Defense Grid is much less.  Other than that I really like the current configuration.

How do you feel about Vintage right now as a format? Are there any cards you would unrestrict or restrict?

I have really liked the current format so far but I have also only played a few dozen matches.  If I could I would unprint Narset, Parter of Veils in all formats.  

What are your plans now for Vintage? Are you attending Eternal Weekend?

Really just planning on playing the challenges for now.  If I owned more Power I probably would go to Eternal Weekend but until then I'll stick to Magic Online.

Thank you so much for joining us and talking about your event. Drop some social media links below and let people know where they can find you, and never forget that you are awesome!

Thanks for having me!
https://twitter.com/wtfitsnotbutter is my Twitter and if you find me on Facebook feel free to add me!

 

Mitch's finals opponent happened to be DeathTongue, on a U/R Xerox build with some interesting card choices indeed. Let's take a look.

This deck seems pretty interesting and definitely seeks to attack the blue decks in the format on an axis of multiple hate effects such as Harsh Mentor and Scab-Clan Berserker. Wildly cool list. Congrats on the finish, DeathTongue!

In Third Place we have our good friend Montolio on Ravager Shops, playing a full four copies of Stonecoil Serpent. I tell ya, this card is really solid and so is this list.

I especially love the Powder Keg and Ratchet Bomb's in the sideboard. Very powerful tech that I myself have played from time to time in Shops. Congrats on the finish, Andy! It's good to see you killing challenges!

Further down the Top 8 we have another Top 8 appearance by Ziasbond. This deck is exceptionally strong and I would never discount how powerful it really is.

Again we see the sideboard options of cards like Elvish Reclaimer and Sanctum Prelate. Very powerful stuff here.

The rest of the event was highly a mixture of Jeskai, Ziasbond, Shops, and PO, but one list did catch my eye by SamuraiFunn. I give to you, Crab-Bond!

The primary combo here is Hedron Crab and Oboro, Palace in the Clouds with Fastbond to continually make the opponent mill themselves out, however there is a sub combo with Retreat to Hagra that is basically just "target opponent loses all their life and I lose zero" because of the life gain involved. This is a really cool Fastbond shell I have to admit. Very cool.

Now let's take a look at the cards showing up in this event from new sets this year. New cards from Throne of Eldraine certainly appeared, from Stonecoil Serpent to some copies of Mystic Sanctuary. Let's run the number.

Card Name Number of Copies
Narset, Parter of Veils 50
Dreadhorde Arcanist 38
Force of Negation 22
Force of Vigor 19
Collector Ouphe 10
Stonecoil Serpent 10
Scrapyard Recombiner 7
Mystic Sanctuary 6
Bolas's Citadel 5
Mystic Forge 5
Veil of Summer 5
Magmatic Sinkhole 4
Prismatic Vista 4
Teferi, Time Raveler 4
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 3
Elvish Reclaimer 2
Emry, Lurker of the Loch 2
Oko, Thief of Crowns 2
Deafening Silence 1
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim 1
Karn, the Great Creator 1
Questing Beast 1
Urza, Lord High Artificer 1

This event still had a pretty large amount of Narset in the Top 32, and of course a lot of Deardhorde Arcanist as well. Outside of Narset however, there is a solid amount of playable cards from the newer sets this year, and people are starting to really hit upon Mystic Sanctuary and how good of a card it really is. Another interesting thing from last weekend's challenge is the presence of a singleton Questing Beast in a Survival sideboard, which seems to be an intriguing card for the archetype.

The Spice Corner

This decklist is like the start of a hilarious joke. What if Emry, Urza, Karn, Sai, and Oko all walked into a bar? Well, Oko turns them all into Elk, obviously. It's a PO list from Saturn!

Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! We're getting ever closer to Eternal Weekend and it's going to be an exciting time! Up next week we're going to dive deep into another deck tech type article, this time talking about the newest archetype to emerge from the restrictions: Ziasbond.

As always you can reach me via Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! Also, I posted my first episode of "The Bazaar of Moxology" this past weekend to my YouTube channel. Go check it out and throw me some support!

I hope you fine folks have a great week and we'll be back to talk about Vintage as always week after week. Until next time, keep casting Moxen!


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