Today, I will be going over the three tournaments I competed in – Vintage, Old School and Legacy! I honestly had such a fun weekend, and I was so excited to put this article together, as I was just brimming to share my experiences from these events!
Friday Evening – Vintage
The first event of the weekend was Vintage, which was held on Friday evening alongside the Pauper event. Historically, this had been a popular event as we competed for the Andy Fletcher Cup – an annual event that was named after an influential tournament organiser in Auckland from the early days of Magic, and it has been going on for more than fifteen years. In fact, I even won it in 2013 when I was 15 years old, playing an old-school Blue-Red Landstill deck, which can be found here.
However, in more recent years, the attendance for this event has decreased as it doesn’t allow for proxies and the number of players who own Power Nine has dropped off with time. This year, just seven people participated.
For this event, I decided to play Blue-Red Murktide. As I’ve only played Vintage once or twice since I won the event nine years ago, and I am pretty unfamiliar with the format in general, I wanted to play a deck that felt “closest” to a Legacy deck, and Blue-Red Murktide seemed to fit the bill the best as it mostly resembled a fair blue deck. I also had a bit of experience with the archetype as I made the Top 8 of an online challenge earlier this year with a similarly styled deck, though the list I played had Dreadhorde Arcanist and Laelia, the Blade Reforged instead of Murktide Regents.
I didn’t play any games prior to the event, and my preparation just involved getting some tips and sideboard notes from my close friend and former World Champion, Javier Dominguez, as he had won an online challenge with the deck at the end of March. In all honesty, what I was most excited for was that this was my first opportunity to play with my own Power Nine cards in-person, as I bought into my first pieces last year, when I purchased an Ancestral Recall and a Mox Sapphire (I borrowed the other pieces from a friend for the weekend).
I ended up going 3-1 in the swiss rounds, losing my first match to Hollow Vine, then beat Storm, Hypergenesis and Grixis Tinker in my remaining matches. After the swiss rounds, there was a cut to top two for the finals, but the top three players all had a 3-1 score. Unfortunately, I ended up being the one who missed out on tiebreakers. However, I had a lot of fun and I still came home with an awesome Black Lotus from Duel Masters as my third-place prize, so on the whole, I was pretty stoked!
Most of my games were interesting, and I felt like the wins and losses came down to fairly small decisions, except against Hollow Vine where I just got steamrolled both games. One of my favorite highlights from the event included a game where I had a Murktide Regent in play and to get to lethal I had to float two mana and cast Gush, when I then Pyroblast’d, and then I Force of Will’d the Pyroblast. This put enough spells into the graveyard for me to cast a second Murktide Regent with the floating mana and grow the one already in play to a big enough size to swing for exact lethal damage.
Saturday – Old School
The second event of the weekend for me was Old School, which was on Saturday and ran alongside the Modern event. This was definitely the event I was most excited for, and the one I had prepared for the most.
I played “The Deck”, which was one of the most iconic decks from back in 1993/1994, and was considered one of the best decks at the time.
Leading up to the event, I played nearly a hundred games of the mirror match with Javier, though funnily enough, the mirror was also the only archetype I had played against prior to the event.
Similar to the Vintage, what made me so excited about this event was that I was finally going to get to play with the cards I’d spent the past two years collecting! I couldn’t wait to show off my beta Disenchants, black-bordered City of Brass and Library of Alexandria!
If you look at the photo closely, you’ll also notice that a large amount of the cards in my deck are German, and that’s because they were all bought from right here at Three for One! To be totally honest, the reason I even found out about Three for One in the first place was because I used to visit their booth at European Grand Prixs just to look at all the cool Old School cards they had!
I love the Foreign Black Bordered cards, and it’s so awesome that Three for One has such a large collection of them! Unfortunately, I have yet to pick up any German words even though I’ve tried reading these cards multiple times, but my partner has enjoyed trying to recall her high school German to read the cards out to me!
Like Vintage, the event didn’t allow for any proxies, so we had just six people turn up – though four of us had full Power Nine. Since all of us just wanted to play as much Magic as we could, we decided to do a round-robin where we all played against one another.
Awkwardly, the rules we had agreed on in the group chat for the event were different to what they had posted on their Facebook event page, so four people turned up without any cards from Fallen Empires but had the full playset of Strip Mines in their deck, while the other two turned up with Fallen Empires cards but with only one Strip Mine in their deck. We weren’t sure how to resolve this issue, so in the end we allowed the two players with Fallen Empires cards to play up to four Strip Mines if they wanted to.
I ended up going 5-0 and finished in first place, beating the mirror, Atog, Mirror Universe combo, Red-Green Zoo and Mono Black Aggro. Of my matches, the Mono Black Aggro one was definitely the toughest, as they Fallen Empires cards which meant having the full playset of Hymn to Tourach, which are excellent against me and turn off my Ivory Towers, and the full playset of Order of the Ebon Hand, which gave them the full eight pro-white creatures alongside Black Knight. The previously mentioned format rules issue also meant that they had the full playset of Strip Mines, which is not seen in any Old School format where Fallen Empires is legal. Naturally, the combination of all three of these factors meant the matchup was a massive uphill battle for “The Deck”.
In game one, my opponent led with a turn one Dark Ritual into a Hypnotic Specter and I just died as I had no removal for it, and it quickly ripped apart my whole hand alongside some Hymn to Tourachs. In game two, I got pretty lucky as I stole their Hypnotic Specter with a Control Magic and started taking apart their hand while also drawing multiple Strip Mines to keep them off double-black. In the third game, I was falling far behind and thought I’d definitely lose, before I luckily topdecked The Abyss and then drew into consecutive Strip Mines to get rid of their Mishra’s Factory. Had I not topdecked both The Abyss and the multiple Strip Mines, I would have lost that game for sure!
In my match against Atog, I also had a pretty sweet highlight where my opponent played a Black Lotus into a Mind Twist on turn three on the play to leave me with no hand and just two lands in play. I then topdecked my own Black Lotus, followed by a Serra Angel, which I just jammed into play and hoped for the best. Unfortunately for my opponent, they couldn’t find an answer for the iconic angel, and five swings later they were dead.
My proudest win though was against the mirror, where my opponent was a close friend of Brian Weissman and played their version of the archetype. Weissman was the original creator of “The Deck”, and was one of the most recognised and respected professional players from the earliest days of Magic.
However, after playing so many games of the mirror with Javier, we came to quite different conclusions for how to approach both building the deck and the way to play the mirror match.
For example, we decided to cut Balance from the deck as we felt that it didn’t really fit into the archetype as you generally have more resources than your opponent, except for creatures, which can be dealt with better in other ways, while we also felt that Serra Angel was superior to Hypnotic Specter in the sideboard due to how good it was against Atog and Zoo decks. We also believed that while this mirror match was grindier than almost any other control mirror match in the game’s history, it was still correct to be on the play, as being able to cast the more powerful spells first and put your opponent on the backfoot was key.
Ultimately, each player only has five Counterspells in their deck, which means the number of key cards you want to resolve out number the amount of answers your opponent has to them, so being the one to proactively act first felt better.
In our match, I won the die roll and opted to play, and I won the first game fairly easily as I kept aggressively jamming key cards until my opponent ran out of Counterspells. In game two, my opponent opted to take the draw, and I luckily drew both my Swords to Plowshares I kept in post-sideboard to answer his pair of Hypnotic Specters, and won a key Counterspell battle thanks to having Red Elemental Blasts while his list didn’t play red.
Overall, the event was a blast, and I was really happy I managed to take it down! For winning, I took home a near-mint Su-Chi, which was kindly donated to the prize pool by one of the players in the community!
Sunday – Legacy
The final event of the weekend for me was Legacy on Sunday, where we competed for the Adrian Kitto Cup. Adrian was instrumental for getting more players into Legacy, as he always lent out decks, which led to multiple people getting into the format and helping to grow the community. A few years ago, he moved to Australia, and we put together the trophy as a goodbye present. Twenty one players turned up for this event, which meant five rounds of swiss followed by a Top 8 playoff.
Awkwardly for me, I also had a half-marathon to run on the same day. I wasn’t planning to run in the first place, but at the beginning of the year I set a goal of competing in my first half-marathon, with a stretch goal of running one in under two hours.
I ended up running one in both January and February, where I achieved a time of 2:00:30 and 2:01:08 respectively. Falling just short on both instances was pretty frustrating, so I impulsively signed up for this third race, knowing that I would be cutting it really close with the Legacy event as the half-marathon would be starting at 7 AM and the Magic tournament would be starting at 11 AM but was held about an hour away from my apartment.
For me to realistically make both, I would basically have had to run the half-marathon in under two hours. Luckily for me, I ended up achieving a personal best, with a time of 01:57:02! I then rushed home, took ten minutes to have a shower and get changed, before rushing back down to get picked up by a friend to head to the event. By this point, my legs were so worn out that I struggled to walk up the stairs when I got there!
For the event, I played Blue-Red Delver. I was originally planning to play either Jeskai Control or 4c Control, but I was worried that I’d be exhausted from the run and didn’t want to play hour-long matches every round. I didn’t play any games prior, but I got a bunch of notes and a sideboard guide from Javier, and I’d played with Delver decks enough in the past to feel somewhat confident. Funnily enough though, I hadn’t played Delver since Oko, Thief of Crowns was banned, and playing this deck in the event, I was blown away by how powerful it felt.
Historically, Blue-Red Delver was more tempo orientated compared to other Delver versions, which meant it usually struggled against control decks. However, this version of Delver is a lot more midrange and felt closer in gameplay to the old Sultai Delver decks, and against control you can reliably out grind them thanks to Expressive Iteration, having more Pyroblast-effets and having less lands to flood out in the long game.
My final score was 3-2, but I had good tiebreakers so I thought I could sneak into Top 8, though it was not meant to be as I ended up in ninth place. I beat the mirror, 4c Control and Esper Stoneblade, while losing to Dredge and Jeskay Day’s Undoing. I couldn’t do much against Dredge as my list was so light on graveyard hate, but my loss to Jeskai was frustrating as I think I could have won if I had played better as I definitely drew better than my opponent in both game one and three but I just mis-sequenced both games and lined up my cards poorly against what my opponent had.
Still, I had a lot of fun, and it was nice to play the best deck for a change, as I usually avoid playing tier-one decks at our local fortnightly legacy events.
With that, the weekend came to a close, and what an enjoyable three days it ended up being! It was so much fun to play Vintage and Old School, and it was good to play in a decent-sized Legacy tournament as our fortnightly events generally only attract between eight to twelve players. By the end of the weekend, I was so exhausted that I practically fell asleep over dinner on Sunday night, and I ended up sleeping for nearly twelve hours before waking up for work on Monday!
I cannot wait for the next Eternal Weekend to come around again, and hopefully by then I’ll have upgraded a few more cards in my Old School deck and maybe even picked up another piece of Power Nine! In the meantime, I have an itch to start working on Worldgorger Dragon again in Legacy, and I need to start learning Pioneer in preparation for trying to get back on the Pro Tour again!
Till next time!
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