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Vintage 101: Vintage Super League Finals!

Howdy folks! It's Joe again, and we're here for yet another edition of Vintage 101! This week is shaping up to be a little crazy, since not only do we have Vintage Super League's Finals to cover, but also in addition we also got a chance to sit down and chat with VSL Finalist Andreas Petersen on his thoughts about Vintage, VSL, and everything else.

I would like to note that at this time we still don't have the decklists in time for the Vintage Quarterly Playoff event from last weekend, so it will have to be covered in next week's article!

Without wasting any time at all, let's jump right into the meat of things, shall we?

Vintage Super League S9 Finals - Two Will Enter, One Will Leave

That's right folks, this week was the finals for VSL, with Andreas Petersen taking on Rachel Agnes in a battle for the ages, for glory, and well... just plain bragging rights. That being said, the format for the finals is that each player had to submit three decklists in order to play a best three of five matches over the course of the night. This is somewhat reminiscient of the format used for the Mythic Invitational (Duo Standard).

Let's see what each competitor brought to the table.

Andreas Petersen

Rachel Agnes

Round One - Eldrazi Taxes vs BUG Leovold

Game One sees Andreas on the play with an Ancient Tomb with the potential for a Turn 2 Thought-Knot Seer. Rachel starts with Turn 1 Deathrite Shaman. Andreas goes for the TKS and it sticks, taking Ancestral Recall out of Rachel's hand. Rachel makes a Turn 2 Leovold, Emissary of Trest but Andreas cast Turn 3 Reality Smasher and puts Rachel to 9 life. Andreas plays Eldrazi Displacer and swings in with Reality Smasher, getting rid of the Leovold in the process. Rachel takes an extra turn with Time Walk and casts a Tarmogoyf, running out a second Leovold. Andreas plays Karakas and bounces the Leovold. He uses Eldrazi Displacer on the Tarmgoyf and swings in, taking the game.

Game Two has Rachel on the play with Deathrite Shaman and passing. Andreas goes for a Turn 1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben off Ancient Tomb and a Mox Pearl. Rachel goes for a Leovold, but Andreas makes a Thought-Knot Seer to snag her Assassin's Trophy. Rachel burns her Time Walk to find another land. She plays Jace, the Mind Sculptor on her extra turn, bouncing the TKS. Andreas displaces the Leovold and swings in on Jace to get rid of him. Rachel plays out Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and passes. Andreas makes a Thought-Knot Seer and Rachel hits the Eldrazi Displacer with Assassin's Trophy. Rachel draws a second Dark Confidant after Andreas' TKS takes the first one. She plays out the Bob, and pushes Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Andreas makes a second Thought-Knot Seer and Thalia. Rachel kills the Thought-Knot Seer with Snuff Out, paying 4 life for it. Andreas runs out an attack with both creatures putting her to 3 life and tries to bounce Thalia and replay her, but it gets Force of Will'ed. However, Andreas can't beat the Deathrites, and concedes to Game 3.

Game 3 shows Andreas making Turn 1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben once again into Turn 2 Phyrexian Revoker. Rachel makes Turn 3 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Andreas makes a Glowrider to try to keep Rachel off removal. Andreas swings in and trades a Glowrider to Dark Confidant and follows up with Eldrazi Displacer, and Rachel follows up with flipping Jace and Tarmogoyf. Andreas top decks an uncastable Thought-Knot Seer, forcing him to pass back to Rachel. Rachel starts turning Goyf sideways bringing in the pain. Andreas finds a colorless source for Thought-Knot Seer but gets no value out of it thanks to a timely Brainstorm. Rachel sets up double Assassin's Trophy off a flashed back Brainstorm and takes the game and the match.

Round Two - 4 Color Humans vs UW Control

Game 1 shows Rachel with a Turn 1 Strip Mine, while Andreas tries to set up Scab-Clan Berserker off Black Lotus, but it gets Force of Will'ed. She finds a Mox Sapphire and Merchant Scroll's for Ancestral Recall. Rachel finds double land destruction effects and puts Andreas out of lands, but Andreas is able to punish her by drawing mana sources into Lavinia, Azorius Renegade. He flashes in Containment Priest to lay down the extra beats, while Rachel is unable to cast a single spell in her hand. Kitesail Freebooter comes down and takes a Swords to Plowshares as Rachel continues to draw zero mana sources and concedes the game.

Game 2 shows Rachel making a Turn 1 Monastery Mentor off a Black Lotus. Andreas has no action other than Mana Confluence. Rachel makes a token, and Andreas tries to play Thalia, Guardian of Thraben getting Force'd. Rachel puts the pressure on and is able to push through with Mentor and friends.

Game 3 with Andreas on the play making a Turn 1 Dark Confidant. Rachel starts on a Scalding Tarn while Andreas puts through some damage. Rachel Time Walk's and sets up Fragementize on Andreas' Phyrexian Revoker. Andreas takes Rachel off lands with Wasteland, putting her to a single Island. Andreas drops Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Lavinia, Azorius Renegade to bring the beats. He drops a second Phyrexian Revoker on Black Lotus and slams through with the damage. A resolved Kitesail Freebooter steals the game and the match.

Round Three - Sylvan Outcome vs UR Pyromancer

Game 1 has Andreas on the play with some powerful artifact mana and a Turn 1 Monastery Mentor and double Sensei's Divining Top. Andreas gets to loop Top to make multiple monks for the win.

Game 2 shows Rachel going to play Turn 1 Preordain and passes turn. Andreas tries to get on board with Mana Vault, while Rachel tries to stick a Null Rod that gets countered. Andreas sets up Time Walk with Sylvan Library and is able to stick a Managorger Hydra. Rachel sticks a Young Pyromancer to try to go wider than the Managorger Hydra. She manages to make a bunch of tokens as the Hydra grows. Rachel has some creatures to try and push through the damage as Andreas swings in with the Hydra to bring Rachel to 6, but a Dack Fayden activation finds her another Lightning Bolt to win the game and go to Game 3.

Game 3 shows Andreas with a Preordain while Rachel tries to make Dack Fayden Turn 1 with protection up in the form of Force of Will. Andreas goes digging and tries to find a Managorger Hydra while Rachel makes a Young Pyromancer to contend with his board. Rachel casts Dig Through Time getting Volcanic Island and Pyroblast. Andreas attempts to Repeal the Dack Fayden and manages to fight through the Pyroblast. Rachel casts Treasure Cruise and recasts Dack Fayden to find a Force of Will. Andreas casts Dig Through Time and defends it with Flusterstorm finding Treasure Cruise and Time Walk. He manages to find two Paradoxical Outcome and a Mana Crypt. He goes off the rails with PO, hunting for a way to win the game. He finds a Monastery Mentor off the second Paradoxical to put some slam dunk power on board. He finds Snapcaster Mage to flash back Time Walk for the win.

Round Four - Eldrazi Taxes vs BUG Leovold

Game 1 shows Rachel with a fetch land while Andreas runs out a Cavern of Souls naming "Human" which Rachel promptly Wasteland's. Andreas tries to get in with a Trinisphere that gets Force of Will'ed. Rachel goes on Demonic Tutor for another Force of Will. However Andreas makes an uncounterable Reality Smasher off a second Cavern and a Mox Pearl. Andreas eliminates some lands with Wasteland and continues to slam in with Reality Smasher to take the win.

Game 2 shows Rachel with a pretty explosive hand with Sylvan Library and Time Walk. She pays 8 life on her followup turn to keep two cards and is able to roll out a Deathrite Shaman. Andreas draws into a Cavern of Souls, getting him on board with a Thorn of Amethyst and a Thalia, but Nature's Claim and Fatal Push says no. Jace, the Mind Sculptor comes down and bounces the Thalia. She loses the Jace to a flashed in Containment Priest. Andreas takes a Mana Crypt hit and concedes.

Game 3 shows Andreas a Turn 1 uncounterable Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Rachel Strip Mine's the Cavern, but Andreas is able to put power on the board between Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Eldrazi Displacer. He casts Phyrexian Revoker naming Black Lotus and Strips her Underground Sea and takes 5 from the creatures on board. Andreas slams in for 7 damage the followup turn as Rachel is choked on mana. Andreas pushes through the final damage to take the match and take the finals.

Andreas Petersen is the Vintage Super League Season 9 Champion!

Thoughts on VSL and Vintage - An Interview with Andreas Petersen

In addition to the hype that is VSL, I got a chance to sit down with VSL Winner Andreas Petersen. Andreas' passion for this format is so very high, and it was absolutely a lot of fun interviewing him.

Andreas, thanks for joining us. First of all, for those who might not be aware of your accomplishments, give us the rundown on who you are and what you’ve done.

And thanks for having me! I would label myself as a Constructed specialist play who likes to play Modern, Legacy and Pauper, but LOVES to play Vintage. I’ve had moderate success at Grand Prix and Pro Tour level with some cashes here and there, but what I’m most proud of is my 19-20 Vintage Challenge Top 8’s with a handful of wins. These days you will mostly find me playing Magic Online or writing articles for MageMarket (formerly known as Snapcardster). I suppose some people recognize me from last year’s Team Vintage Super League where me and my boys Michael Bonde and Thomas Enevoldsen made it all the way to the finals, but unfortunately fell short of the title. Needless to say, I’m back with an agenda this season.

How long have you been playing Vintage? What attracted you to the format?

I started spectating the weekly Vintage tournament at my local game store around 2002. A few years later I had my full set of Power Nine and started climbing the virtual skill ladder and netted some Top 8’s in the process which fueled my motivation. I didn’t live in the capitol (Copenhagen) at the time, but I was so obsessed with the format that I took the train at 6am on Saturday morning from my city to play in the monthly Vintage tournament in Copenhagen which started at 11. You can call it passion that I still have to this day where I happily play against Americans from 2am to 6am. To summarize I think I liked the big card pool, expensive cards and high power level.

Do you have a favorite archetype in Vintage? Why do you like it?

My first few real decks were Blue/Red Landstill (crack Nev’s Disk, response Chain of Vapor it comes to mind) and Blue/Black Doomsday, so I’ve always been a Blue Mage at heart. I love card advantage, and I love the feeling of stabilizing. As the years went by, I learned the value of dipping into other decks to understand how to defeat them more easily and also to try and be as well-rounded as a player as possible. I now have Top 8’s with everything from Mentor and Paradoxical Outcome to Shops, Dredge and even Humans. I now see myself as a very versatile Vintage player which is a huge bonus in the Vintage Super League.

Conversely, are there any archetypes that you don’t like in the format and why?

I’ve really tried to adopt the mindset that no strategies are “superior” (not power level-wise, but worth more), but I would be lying if I told you that winning with Shops and Dredge feels as good as winning with blue decks. I will take turn one Preordain over turn one Hollow One any day of the week.

What is your favorite spicy tech in the format?

I pride myself as a thorough deck builder and tweaker, so this is a great question. I remember popularizing Kambal, Consul of Allocation in the format which did tremendous work for me and my friends. I’m also a big fan of Gut Shot for the Shops mirror to optimize your chances of Steel Overseer/Phyrexian Revoker superiority and Managorger Hydra to get an edge in the Blue/Red/X Xerox matchup. In general I enjoy the process of looking through data to notice tendencies and choose/tweak my deck and sideboard accordingly. I rarely play Vintage aside from the Challenges and Vintage Super League, but you can bet your bottom dollar I will be doing my homework leading up to a tournament or match day.

You have had quite a run on VSL this season. What’s your favorite moment of your own from this season? Do you have any favorites that don’t involve your own games?

Thank you for noticing. I’ve been super happy with my performance against extremely tough opposition. My favorite moment is me going through on “hard mode” first having to 2-1 two tough groups followed by the “group of death” that I needed to 3-0 in order to even qualify for the semi finals. The fact that I was able to bag these wins while still playing flashy decks (Bant Hydra and 5c Legends) for entertainment value means a lot to me. 

A part of Vintage Super League that I enjoy as much as actually playing the matches is doing commentary and pregame shows, especially with Randy. I get to sit in my comfortable office and not only watch high level Vintage, but also think out loudly what I think about the decks, situations and choices in the match. Delivering one of my favorite things in life to the audience is an awesome feeling, and I’m very grateful to be a part of it.

Your Finals matches versus Rachel were very interesting. Is there anything that stands out to you from your matches?

As I briefly talked about in my winner’s interview, the Wasteland/Strip Mine sub-game was quite interesting throughout the night where she tried and turn the tables on me and make the hunter become the hunted multiple times. I was able to set a nice trap in Match 4 where I play Cavern of Souls on “Human” (before she knows the matchup) to bait out the Wasteland to keep me from supposedly casting an uncounterable two-drop on turn 2. I topdecked Trinisphere which was met with Force of Will, and her Demonic Tutor fetched another Force of Will. All this time I was holding the Reality Smasher and the 2nd Cavern to go with it and totally foiled her plans. I won the game by casting two spells only.

Aside from that of course the insane decider of Match 3 where I’m facing Young Pyromancer and company and need to find either two business spells or one plus disruption for her Force of Will. I manage to Preordain into Dig Through Time and find Flusterstorm on the Top activation, and I was off to the races. I could only leave one card in the graveyard which I chose to be Time Walk, and I end the game by flashing it back with my singleton Snapcaster Mage and turn a 20/20 Managorger Hydra and double digit amount of Monks sideways. Playing to my outs and getting rewarded is one of the best feelings in Magic, and these two scenarios delivered big time.

hat are your thoughts on the current state of Vintage? Do you think things are healthy or unhealthy? What changes would you make to the format?

I have seen a lot of talk about the state of Vintage from prominent figures with a powerful voice on Twitter, but I don’t share their concerns. A few decks will win a lot if they’re not respected which is a tough reality to face if you have played Vintage for two decades and used to be able to win with goofy decks. I’ve won pieces of power with bad decks like Gifts Ungiven-fueled High Tide and Infernal Contract Storm back in the day, but those days are over. If you ask me, Vintage is now functionally a 5-6 decks format and that is not going to change in the foreseeable future because these decks share the good finishes between them with an acceptable percentage distribution.

What are your thoughts on the London Mulligan and how it will impact Vintage?

The obvious answer is Dredge looking for their Bazaar of Baghdad because they are not very concerned about card quantity and the opposition looking for Leyline of the Void as an answer, but let’s try and dig a little deeper. Non-Dredge Vintage decks as a whole mulligan well because of fast mana and card advantage that define the format. This rule will boost the amount of starting hands with Mishra’s Workshop a bit (remember, Shops will always keep a functional hand without Workshop, so this only applies if they were gonna mulligan anyway) and I’m sure it will also help Survival strategies piece together some busted draws. As I talked to Randy Buehler about, not sure if it was on or off air, Xerox decks will benefit the least from this change which is fine considering its position in the metagame. Overall I say it’s exciting and might change the metagame for the worse the first month or so, but I expect the world to move on similarly to what happened with Lavinia.

Any last thoughts you’d like to share?

I’d like to take the chance to thank a few people. Thank you Joe for your passion for Vintage and how you help keep the format alive with articles week after week. Thank you Randy for running the VSL and taking me in. I can’t describe how happy I am to play my favorite format on its’ biggest stage. Thank you Tanja for supporting me through thick and thin in my Magical endeavors. I love you and our children to death. Thank you MTGMintcard and especially Peer from Mage for believing in me on a daily basis. I can’t wait to see what the future of the app has in store, and I’m happy to be along for the ride. If you haven’t already and want to support me, follow @ecobaronen and @magemarket on Twitter, and download the Mage app.

Thanks for joining us, you are indeed an awesome Magic player, and congratulations on your accomplishment in making it as a finalist on VSL!

You’re welcome. Let’s see if I can finish the job I came to do!

The Spice Corner

This list stuck my fancy and I've been playing around with it myself on Magic Online. You ever cast the card Uba Mask? You ever read the card Uba Mask? Yeah. Uba Stax is the real hype.

Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! This was an exciting week with some great stuff, but it's only getting better. We've got a lot to talk about in the upcoming weeks, especially when we get ready to do our set review for War of the Spark! As is expected, I'm going to wait til we have the whole set before I put together my Vintage review of the set, but I'm really excited about it! So far I have seen some goodies for Vintage that I'm really excited about.

That being said, next week we're going to talk more about the sweet Stax list above and also talk ongoing Vintage Challenge information as well as the Vintage Playoff! Should be exciting!

Until next time, keep on Wasteland'ing!

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