Days pass, the seasons march on from summer to fall, and once again Eternal Weekend comes upon us. I was one of 7 Lhurgoyfs who made it to Pittsburgh to represent the team over 4 days and 29 rounds of Magic.
Wednesday - Travel
My wife drove me over the airport around 4:00. After a bit of a struggle getting through security – my cards looked fishy in the TSA’s scanners – I made it to my gate, where I had a Shiner Bock before boarding. Because you can’t fly direct from Austin to anywhere in the country, I had a layover in Atlanta, where I ate some Chick Fil A before boarding again. The flight was a couple hours long, so I struggled my way through a few pages of Virginia Woolf before switching to So Many Insane Plays and its equally verbose host, Steve Menendian.
I landed close to midnight only to discover that 2 of my fellow travelers, Sam and Patrick, were delayed 4 hours and getting drunk at the Houston airport. Fortunately our other man, Tim, had checked into our Airbnb, so I headed that way. One $35 Uber ride later and I decided I wasn’t sold on Pittsburgh.
Tim and I jammed a few games of Old School, then went to bed around 1:00. At 3:00 I woke up to our neighbors having a domestic dispute, and Pittsburgh felt increasingly questionable.
Thursday – Old School
Patrick and Sam got in at around 4:00, and when we woke up at 8:00 they were still drunk. A quick Google search showed that no nearby restaurants were open until 11:00, and I decided that maybe Pittsburgh isn’t the best. Fortunately, I found a café, grabbed us coffees, and listened to Gravediggaz to get in the right headspace for a day of 90s Magic.
It was a nice, brisk walk to the Omni Hotel. On our way we passed a Brueggers and carbo-loaded. Old School this year was BYOB, so we polished off the few beers we’d brought and shuffled up.
I was on Goblins:
Round 1: 2-0 vs Dan on Mirror Universe Control (1-0)
- Game 1: Dan’s deck was sweet, but I just kinda did the aggro thing and beat him down before he could do anything.
- Game 2: I got in some quick beats, getting him down to 4 before he could play Mirror. I had a Goblin Grenade to finish him off, but I knew he had a BEB in hand that he’d Recalled from his yard. I also had a Wheel, which I cast. He took the bait, and once he was tapped down I Grenaded for the win.
Round 2: 0-2 vs Trevor on Pink Weenie (1-1)
- Game 1: I beat him down to 2, Wheeled, whiffed on burn, and then he started playing creatures that my deck can’t beat.
- Game 2: He dropped a turn 2 CoP Red. I don’t have a Chaos Orb in my deck, and he knew to kill my Factories.
My round was over quickly, so I went to find us more beer. I walked over to a liquor store, only to learn that liquor = / = beer. I returned empty handed.
Round 3: 2-1 to Owen on White Weenie (2-1)
- Game 1: Owen’s a member of the Tax Men, one of whom won this event last year. Yikes. I didn’t take notes, but as his life total didn’t drop below 16 it looks like things went poorly for the goblins.
- Game 2: I got in some beats before CoP Red connected. Once it was down, I flooded the board and eventually got in the rest of the damage.
- Game 3: He landed a quick CoP Red, but was stuck on lands. I flooded the board and dodged Balance / Wrath until he was dead.
In between rounds, I attempted another beer run. This time, I returned with some Yuengling and Two Hearted. My teammates and I were very happy to be drinking beer.
Round 4: 2-1 to Andrew on Grixis Goblins (3-1)
- Game 1: I sat down and reached into my backpack for my deckbox, but found nothing. Apparently, I just left it sitting somewhere and a kind soul turned it in. Once I demonstrated to Jaco (the TO) that it was my deck, we got started. No good notes, but I think I just Goblinned better than he did.
- Game 2: The Grixis part of his deck did its job when he Spiraled and Ancestralled into some good aggro cards. Pretty sick.
- Game 3: He got stuck on lands, so I was able to go wide and kill him pretty quickly.
By this point the IPAs are kicking in, so I run down the street for some McDonald’s. God, I love the dollar menu.
Round 5: 1-2 to Joe on UR Burn (3-2)
- Game 1: Joe got stuck on two lands for a while, and by the time he landed a Serendib his life was too low for it to matter.
- Game 2: He led on an insane turn 1 Mox, Lotus, Strip Mine, Serendib DJINN. Yes, Djinn. Not Efreet. Yikes. He hit his land drops to feed the Djinn and I died very quickly.
- Game 3: This was a great aggro game. We got each other both down to 3 when he Chain Lightened me. I had RR up, but learned that his 3 damage resolves before I can send it back at him, and he won.
Round 6: 1-2 to Dan on Tron (3-3)
- Game 1: Dan’s from San Antonio and familiar with the Goyfs, so that was cool. He makes a natural turn 3 Tron and does degenerate things with it.
- Game 2: No notes, but my life pad shows him going from 17 to 16 to 4 to 0, so I guess I Goblinned pretty well.
- Game 3: This was another great game. Dan’s a mad man and Winter Orbed me. Thanks to Orb and some big dumb artifact wall, I was only able to swing in with a flying Balloon Brigade every turn. He Colossus of Sardia’d me to 3, but I still managed to get him to 1. He killed the Ballon, but I then drew a Detonate, which with 1 more mana would be lethal. On his turn, he drew a Black Vise, played it, and I died on my turn.
Round 7: 2-0 to Grant on UW Stasis (4-3)
- Game 1 & 2: the beers must have done their job by this point, because I have no notes. I just remember aggroing him way too hard.
Round 8: 2-0 to Jeremy on Eureka (5-3)
- Game 1: I did the aggro thing very hard, and he died quickly.
- Game 2: I was able to resolve a turn 3 Blood Moon, which completely locked him out. He scooped.
Finishing out at 5-3 with a good buzz felt great. Goblins isn’t the most interesting thing you can do in Old School, but I had a good time playing classic aggro with shitty creatures.
While we were playing, fellow teammate Sean got in from Houston. Sean was going to stay with us for the rest of the weekend (as Sam was ditching us to hang out with cooler friends), so Sean came and met us at the Omni when the event was over. Outside we chatted with Evan (of Team Tusk), and then headed over the convention center to quickly check out the official EW scene. I found a Pearl at a good price, which I needed for Vintage, so I snatched it up. Patrick also picked up some Renaissance packs for us to crack, nice guy that he is.
At around 10:00 we walked back towards our Airbnb. We stopped at the nearby James Street Pub for dinner and had some decent food with iffy service. From there we headed home. I chatted with my wife for a bit, then jammed a few test games with Tim before we turned in around midnight.
Friday – Vintage Champs
Our alarms went off at 6:00, and after some quick showers and instant coffee we headed out. Because the day before had gone so well, we decided to repeat our Bruegger’s breakfast and grabbed some bagels. Once we’d eaten, we went over to the convention center. It was still pretty empty, so I decided I’d get Shuler to sign my Demonic Tutor before things got crazy. After that I listened to Honor Killed The Samurai to get me pumped up for a day of White Eldrazi:
Round 1: 2-0 to Andy on Show & Tell Oath (1-0)
- Game 1: I was on the play and made a blind Revoker on Lotus. He did something – maybe cantripped? – and passed. I Thought-Knotted, and saw a hand of Lotus, Show and Tell, Emrakul. Brutal. Next turn I Reality Smashered and it was over not long thereafter.
- Game 2: I led on Cage, which is followed up with TKS and Containment Priest. The Oath nightmare.
Round 2: 1-2 to Ed on Dredge (1-1)
- Game 1: My deck was built to beat Dredge, but I didn’t keep a hand with Dredge interaction. Dredge did what it does and I died.
- Game 2: A turn 1 Spyglass shut down Bazaar and that made things pretty easy for me.
- Game 3: I mulled to 4, and while we still had a game (I was able to Waste a Bazaar and make a Thalia and TKS), a Gurmag gummed up the board until he was able to Dredge out.
I had some time to kill after the round, so I headed over to Tedin’s booth to get a couple signatures and a Juzam print. I also found a FBB Sol Ring to replace my stupid Revised one.
Round 3: 2-1 to Nick on Fatestitcher Dredge (2-1)
- Game 1: I don’t have good notes, but I think he just Dredged me.
- Game 2: Spyglass shut off Bazaar and he didn’t ever get to do much.
- Game 3: I believe he had to mull pretty low, and my various hate cards did the rest.
Round 4: 0-2 to Kevin on Oath (2-2)
- Game 1: I coincidentally kept a hand with Priest and other good anti-Oath cards. When it became apparent that that’s what he was on, I felt great. However, when he got 3 lands, a Lotus, and hardcast an Inferno Titan, I was toast.
- Game 2: I was a little tilted losing to Oath, but still knew that it’s a good matchup. Unfortunately, Kevin destroyed my anti-Oath stuff and Oathed into Stormbreath, which is absurd. Good on him.
Round 5: 2-1 to Mike on UWR Pyromancer (3-2)
- Game 1: Mike had a gorgeous deck that was foiled out and running Beta duals and power. He put it to good use by countering all my threats and letting Peezy run away with the game.
- Game 2: Turn 1 uncounterable Young Thalia > turn 2 uncounterable THC > TKS is the nuts.
- Game 3: The exact same start from me, except that Mike also mulled to 5.
Round 6: 0-2 to Anuraag on UW Landstill (3-3)
- Game 1: We all know and love Anuraag. I beat him down to 1 before he did his control-player thing and took over.
- Game 2: Not even close. I did 4 damage all game.
Round 7: 2-0 to Eugene on Colorless Eldrazi (4-3)
- Game 1: At this point I was pretty solidly in the “just for fun” bracket. Eugene and I slugged it out, but my dudes overcame his.
- Game 2: Not many notes here, but I know I had a THC with Jitte that ran away with it.
Round 8: 1-2 to Dan on Drain Tendrills (4-4)
- Game 1: I did the prison thing and locked him down.
- Game 2: Dan dropped a quick . . . Tasigur. What the fuck. I didn’t draw a Smasher and The Golden Fang completely stonewalled me until Dan could combo off.
- Game 3: Same deal – Tasigur brutalized my poor weenies.
Round 9: 2-1 to Jeremy on Moon Stompy (5-4)
- Game 1: Jeremy was new to Legacy and Vintage, and very enthusiastic to be playing. I guessed he might be on Stompy and kept a hand with basics, and eventually my dudes beat his.
- Game 2: Bridge + Hazoret is just so strong. All these Standard creatures beating my Standard creatures, man.
- Game 3: I was able to quickly Thought-Knot a Bridge out of his hand. He didn’t draw much action before I was able to close it out.
Round 10: 0-2 to Michael on Moon Stompy (5-5)
- Game 1: Michael played Patrick earlier, so I knew what he was on. He brutalized me with a turn 1 Rabblemaster.
- Game 2: Same deal – he does gross Stompy stuff, like Rabble and Hazoret.
5-5 is never a record you can feel amazing about, but because I literally went “win 1, lose 1” the entire time, this was an absolute slog. By the time round 10 was over, Saturday Legacy Champs sounded about as appealing as a root canal. Fortunately, my opponents were great guys. Likewise, I was able to meet some cool people in between rounds, including Jerry Mee, Erin Campbell, and Kevin Cron.
Once everyone’s matches were over we met Sam at the Sharp Edge, where he was drinking with Koby and Xemit. I had a few Deliriums and Two Hearteds, along with a chicken avocado sandwich, and felt much better about life. Patrick got a to-go growler of Two Hearted, and we went back to the Airbnb to tweak decks until 2:30.
Saturday – Legacy Champs
We woke up at 6:00 and I wanted to die. Per tradition, we walked over to Brueggers, ate some bagels, and chatted about how miserable it was to be awake and going to play some Magic. From there we headed to the convention center to fill out deck reg sheets.
I was on Maverick, which I’ve been playing for the past 6 months or so. The prospect of 11 rounds with it wasn’t appealing, but this was the event I was really there for and I didn’t wanna fuck it up. As such, I decided to stick to a strict regimen of coffee every other round.
Round 1: 2-0 to Morgan on BUG Delver (1-1)
- Game 1: Well, if I was gonna have an easy start, getting paired against Delver was it. I mulled to 5, but I stuck Young Thalia and Big Thalia and brutalized him.
- Game 2: My only note is “Knight is fun.”
Round 2: 2-1 to Tony on Grixis Delver (2-0)
- Game 1: More Delver – hell yeah, right? Well, he tempo’d me perfectly and I never even attacked.
- Game 2: No notes, but it was too close for comfort – I ended at 3.
- Game 3: Ramunap made one of his few appearances for the day to let me double Waste. Hellll yeah. After that Knight ran away with it.
Round 3: 1-2 to Brad on Food Chain (2-1)
- Game 1: Food Chain’s a deck I can never wrap my head around. We ground for a while, but then he stuck his combo and killed me with a Ballista for a million.
- Game 2: He landed a quick Leovold, but I made THC and Choke. It messed with his mana way too hard, and eventually I killed him.
- Game 3: I wasn’t in great shape to begin with when the board was just Young Thalia vs Griffin. Eventually I landed a Ramunap, which wasn’t really relevant but was at least a body, right? WRONG. HE PLAYED A HOSTAGE TAKER ON MY RAMUNAP. I died, big time.
Round 4: 2-1 to Horace on Elves (3-1)
- Game 1: I don’t have a lot of Elves experience, but the last time I played the matchup I Junded them out pretty hardcore with THC and removal, so I felt fairly confident. I assembled a pretty good lock, but without enough pressure he eventually hardcasted Hoof and killed me.
- Game 2: I got down some quality bears and he never really got to do much.
- Game 3: I had the perfect anti-Elf hand: double Plow into a Canonist, followed by Teeg, Jitte, and THC.
Round 5: 2-1 to Porter on DnT (4-1)
- Game 1: This was about what you’d expect. Neither of us had the nuts, so my dudes were just better than his.
- Game 2: Things went back and forth, but he had triple active Mom to gum things up completely . . . and then came Mirran Crusader. And Jitte. I had triple 7/7 Knights with Jitte and SoFaI, and I still lost.
- Game 3: Same deal as game 1, I think. Maverick just has the better dudes.
At this point, I was feeling pretty great and listened to some Death Grips to get me all pumped up.
Round 6: 1-2 to Jimmy on Infect (4-2)
- Game 1: Infect always makes me nervous, but it’s a good matchup for Maverick. I controlled the board pretty effectively, and he drew lands a few turns in a row before scooping.
- Game 2: If I had a big punt this weekend, this was it. He had out Inkmoth, Pendelhaven, and Hierarch. I had a Zealous Persecution. I never cast it, because I didn’t read the fucking Pendelhaven – of course you have to pump before exalted triggers, so I could have ZP’d in response to Pendelhaven. As a result I never killed Inkmoth and it got me.
- Game 3: I got wrecked. I had a great hand . . . but my green source was Dryad Arbor. I led on Arbor . . . and he Submerged it. Then he played an Inkmoth. I Wasted it . . . and he Stifled. Then he Became Immense and Invigorated.
Round 7: 2-1 to Damon on Dredge (5-2)
- Game 1: I’ve played against Dredge a lot, so when he led on Confluence into Careful Study, my whole mentality shifted immediately. He discarded Troll, Stinky, and Bridge. I went Forest, GSZ, Arbor. He dredged into another Bridge and more dredgers, but no Ichorid or Narcomoeba. I played Deathrite, then Wasteland, and he got very confused. He dredged into a Narcomoeba and Ichorid. When the Ichorid died, I Wasted my Arbor to eat the Bridges. From there, Deathrite started to control his yard, and a Scryb Ranger blocked Narco and Prized Amalgam until Knight hit the board.
- Game 2: winning game 1 felt great, but I got stuck on 1 land and he dredged me pretty hard.
- Game 3: Damon mulled to 6 and then bricked on draws, while I had DRS, Big Thalia, and double Surgical in hand.
Round 8: 0-2 to Benjamin on Big Eldrazi (5-3)
- Game 1: I was feeling great again, and while Benjamin was shuffling he showed me a Sol Land, Spyglass, and Kozilek. I put him on Big Eldrazi and felt pretty confident. Well, he went Smasher > Smasher > Smasher and I went on mega tilt.
- Game 2: I tried to battle the tilt, and felt good about my hand with double Wasteland. He hit his land drops, though, and ran out a Wurmcoil. I punted a 7/7 Knight right into his Deathtouch, and then the tokens and follow-up Smasher closed it out. I got a little salty and wasn’t really a courteous opponent. Benjamin: if you’re reading this, sorry for being a little bitch!
Round 9: 1-1-1 to Jacob on Elves (5-3-1)
- Game 1: After the round 8 loss, I chilled out a bit and assumed I couldn’t have a good finish. I think that helped, as did the fact that I junded Jacob out pretty effectively.
- Game 2: I was feeling good again, especially after Zealous Persecutioning away his whole board on turn 3. He rebult, though, and eventually Hoofed me for a million.
- Game 3: Our first two games took 50 minutes thanks to some grinding and intense combat math, so we were at time on turn 2. He puked his hand, which I Zealous’d away. However, my deck is literally incapable of winning in 1 turn, so we ended in a draw.
Round 10: 2-0 to Francisco on ANT (6-3-1)
- Game 1: OK, maybe I’m still in this, right? I decided to keep it chill, though, and didn’t want to overthink anything. Francisco led with U Sea and Ponder, and with his Petal playmat I gambled on Storm. A Thalia slowed him down long enough for Teeg to lock it up.
- Game 2: My hand was double Surgical, Canonist, Teeg. He led on Ponder. I said fuck it, Surgical the Ponder. Surgical got another one out of his hand, leaving him with Rit, Rit, Fetch, Decay. On his turn he Brainstormed. I said fuck it, Surgical the Brainstorm. He’d put Decay back on top, which left him with Rit, Rit, Past in Flames. I Duress away a Pyroclasm, get out Canonist, Teeg, and DRS, and close it out.
Round 11: 2-1 to Motherfucking RUG DELVER (7-3-1)
- Game 1: At this point, I was simultaneously very stoked and very tired. So whatever, right? He led on Volc, Delver, and I put him on Grixis. He started to tempo me perfectly, and when he only played RUG lands, I understand: my final test was the most classic of classic Legacy matches: RUG vs Maverick. I didn’t resolve a threat until it was too late, and Delver + Bolt got me.
- Game 2: I mulled to 5 and was feeling doomed: I was really gonna lose round 11 to RUG. However, I cast a turn 2 Young Thalia, and somehow he didn’t have permission or removal for it. A 4/5 Goyf was scary, but then I got Knight online to Waste and block until it could take over.
- Game 3: With RUG on the play again, I really, really didn’t want to mull – he would invariably tempo me to some degree, so I just needed a volume of cards to power through it until I could stick a Knight. Once he mulled to 6, I snapt kept. Then he mulled to 5. I picked him apart, exactly as the deck was designed to do so many years ago.
And that put me at 7-3-1! Or, put in sexier terms, I came in 69 out of 711. I was a little bummed to miss top 64, but at 69th is pretty badass, right?
Sean and I were the only Goyfs to play out the whole event (he finished 7-4 on Infect), so we went to The Commoner for some steaks and beer. God damn, steaks and beer was a wonderful thing. Both of us had felt like Vintage Champs were such a grind, and that Legacy had just felt great in comparison. It was a good feeling.
When we were done eating we met the other Goyfs at the Sharp Edge, where they’d been drinking for hours. We ran into Steve Menendian outside, which was cool, too. We were all about ready to call it a night, so we went back to the AirBnb for some RtR pack wars and, a few hours later, some sleep.
Sunday – Return to Real Life
While Sean had to wake up at 4:00 to catch a flight, the rest of us slept till 9:00 and woke up chipper (in my case) and hungover (in Tim’s and Patrick’s). We’d slept past any potential side events, so we went for a nice 2-hour brunch at Meat & Potatoes.
When we were done eating and enjoying our coffee, we walked over to the hall for some last minute shopping (I grabbed a JPN Aven Mindcensor) and to hang out with people.
Patrick and I had 6:00 flights, so at around 3:00 we Ubered over to the airport. I called my wife to say hi and got the wonderful news that I’d be coming home to a pot of chili! A little while later Xemit walked by, and being an all-around class act he offered to buy us a beer if we’d play against him with a fair Legacy deck. I obliged, and the 3 of us had a drink and jammed Maverick vs Nic Fit Walkers.
And that about does ‘er. Wraps her all up. It was another great Eternal. Shout outs to:
- Card Titan!
- Every single opponent: you guys were all great, and awesome competitors.
- Anyone who complimented us for the podcast.
- All the cool people I met outside my matches (the SMIP guys, Jerry, Xemit, Koby, Team Tusk, etc).
- My teammates! You guys rock and are the reason I go to these events.
Until next year,