Eternal Weekend 2018 Vintage Tournament Report:
***My Decklist: http://tcdecks.net/deck.php?id=28940&iddeck=239605
***Background Stuff/Deck Choice (Skip ahead to "The Matches" if this kind of stuff bores you):
*So going into this year's eternal weekend, I had not played any vintage since last year's eternal weekend. Overall, I was not a big fan of the format and preferred legacy. But EW is a time when sanctioned vintage sees play, so I figured I should still play, like I had the 3 previous years. Early on, my buddy Mike told me it was his birthday weekend at eternal weekend and was wondering if he could borrow my power so that he could play sanctioned vintage on for his birthday weekend, likely on Xerox. I said yes, figuring I would just register unpowered red or eldrazi, or perhaps Dredge if I could get my hands on 3 more bazaars. I didn't know what I wanted to play anyway, so I figured it was better that Mike used my power.
*As my EW prep started to get more serious the month prior, my good friend Mike (a different one, obviously) told me he would be able to lend me power/bazaars/whatever to play what I wanted to play. So my choices came down to dredge, paradoxical (what I had played the last 2 years), and notion thief. After some deliberation, I decided on notion thief, as I just love the card. Dredge isn't really my style (though survival seems sweet!) and my experience with paradoxical had been a lot of drawing too much mana or too much business to mediocre finishes. When I looked for the 4C dredge deck I had played up until the restriction of chalice of the void (https://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/17-07-15-notions/), I realized how crazy that deck was and how restricted gush is now. I eventually came to an amalgamation of my old pride and joy with the current grixis thieves builds, using VCF's recent MTGO list as a guide (https://www.mtgtop8.com/event?e=20418&d=333759&f=VI). I know I wanted 4x notion thief, because I'm crazy (and for drawing 14 cards with wheel/twister!!!). I liked VCF's manabase (except strip mine, I'm not mean like that) and card choices (cratermaker won my heart, as I like it much more than abrade), so I started there. Ended up cutting a strip mine, gifts ungiven (I'm not good enough to select piles with this card...), mental misstep (please restrict), and flusterstorm (a reluctant last cut) for 2 more notion thief (4 total), wheel, and twister. In the hotel room the night prior, I brought up changing the 2nd JTMS for a tezzeret the seeker because he was awesome and I was playing vault-key anyway (my buddies agreed). On the morning of, my buddy Travis helped me re-configure the sideboard to fight dredge better: -4 leylines, -1 pyroblast, -1 echoing truth for +4 tormod's crypt and +2 grafdigger's cage (although a non-bo with snap/yawg will, I wanted something vs. oath, at least it doesn't stop my tinker unless I have both of them out!).
*Of note, I found it funny that my parking spot at the airport was P10 (which was my P9 plus Library for P10, perhaps an auspicious omen!). I chose to exclude all names of opponents unless it was already given to the public (via top 8 decklists or camera matches). Apologies that all is done from memory, as I didn't even think about tournament report until I actually top 8'd. I also don't remember most of my SB'ing choices (and doing them wrongly too), but most of them should be at least somewhat obvious. Now onto the matches!
**Round 1 - Paradoxical Mentor:
*Game 1 (Draw): I was overrun by mentor, that's all I really remember.
*Game 2 (Play): I choose not to play out my mana crypt and sol ring on t1, going land and holding up brainstorm. I immediately get punished by his turn 1 balance. Nonetheless, I respond with a brainstorm to set up my next turns with a top and other things to win a top deck war. Notion thief helped too.
*Game 3 (Draw): We trade resources, until I steal them all with notion thief. Eventually we are on top deck and he has a sensei's top to filter, while I'm beating for 3 a turn. I have time vault out and topdeck demonic tutor. When I cast it, my opponent wanted me to get voltaic key for concession (which I show him in my deck). The right move (and what I wanted to do if he didn't just say show key) is to get twister to draw 14 to play around what could be in his top 3 (like a mental misstep for key); therefore, I will count this as a draw 14. Draw 14 count = 1
*After the matches, I could tell my opponent was a bit upset that I always had the notion thief. He asked how many I was on and birthday Mike who was watching happily exclaimed "He's playing four!!!" which did make my opponent feel better about it all.
*Overall Record 1-0, Won 2-1
**Round 2 - Inferno Oath:
*Game 1 (Draw): He resolves oath after getting through my Dack + Notion thief ran him out of cards in hand. I'm in trouble. But he makes a mistake and inferno titan ETB kills my dack and notion thief, passes turn. Forgets to give me a spirit and lets me oath trigger. I already have key in play and mill over DT and tinker into snapcaster, which I use to flash back tinker for the win.
*Game 2 (Draw): I mull to 6 and we fight over oath, I lose the stack war. Inferno titan makes short work of me.
*Game 3 (Play): We fight over oath, and this time I win the stack. He also has to use his orchard for mana, so I get to beat down with spirits for a couple turns. Notion thief joins the fight for 3 more power and stopping dack + sylvan library activations to ensure I only have to deal with top decks.
*Overall Record 2-0, Won 2-1
**Round 3 - Ravager Shops:
*Game 1 (Draw): He makes artifact dudes and beats me down. I find vault-key in time.
*Game 2 (Draw): He mulls to 6 and still makes lots of artifact dudes and beats very fast. I find Tremors to kill the things and some of mine. Then I find vault-key in the nick of time.
*Overall Record 3-0, Won 2-0
**Round 4 - Ravager Shops:
*Game 1 (Play): My hand is pearl, lotus, twister, 4 cards that don't matter. I am feeling lucky so I go t1 twister with a pearl in play and a blue mana floating. I get to re-draw the lotus and land a t1 notion thief. My opponent's hand is probably worse than the 7 he kept. I actually become the aggro and beat down with 2x thieves in the end.
*Game 2 (Draw): He makes some artifacts. By Force + Hurkyl's is insane blowout. Vault-key with plenty of time to spare.
*Overall Record 4-0, Won 2-0
**Round 5 - Paradoxical Mentor (Kyle Dorgan - Top 8 Player):
*Game 1 (Play): We trade resources back and forth. Multiple notion thief eat multiple forces. I think I drew 14 here, but can't quite remember. Draw 14 count = 1.5
*Game 2 (Draw): I keep a 2 lander with vault-key, misstep, and 2 cards that don't matter. I end up using misstep on his t1 mana vault. Then I play land key and pass. He goes preordain and mana pass. I play 2nd land and time vault then pass. He casts recall and draws a bunch of cards, then extends the hand. He shows me his hand afterwards with multiple paradoxicals and would've destroyed me had he had the mana vault. I'm glad my world's slowest vault-key didn't stop Kyle from eventually top 8'ing.
*Overall Record 5-0, Won 2-0
**Round 6 - Pyromancer Control (Matt Sperling - Top 8 Player):
*Game 1 (Draw): We trade resources but his deck comes out on top due to the spell pierces and other efficient spells. Also a timely strip mine keeps me off mana for him to set up a game ending (well a million turns later) Dack: he filters through and answers all my plays. Eventually he finds the pyros stuck at the bottom of his library and kills me with 10 cards left in library.
*Game 2 (Play): Unfortunately, I mull to 6 in this card advantage matchup. Same story as game 1 also with a timely strip mine, except the pyros were there much earlier and I die quicker.
*After the match, we were discussing sideboarding and I ask how many pyros Matt was playing. His response was fantastic: "That's a state secret." Wish I could've used that in match 1!
*Overall Record 5-1, Lost 0-2
**Round 7 - Oath with Niv Mizzet, Parun:
*Game 1 (Draw): We trade resources and counter each other's haymakers. But then I set up a notion thief + wheel of fortune. It is glorious, but I draw a bunch of redundancy. It takes me a bit to win, but the game was set at the resource difference. Draw 14 count = 2.5
*Game 2 (Draw): We again trade resources. I feel quite far ahead. Then he is able to EOT Hurkyl's my cage and resolve an oath. My draw step is unremarkable, but I am still quite far ahead even through an Inferno Titan. Except his Oath nets him the Izzet Parun. Me and my team are machine gunned down, my attempts at fighting only fuel the dragon. What a game changer.
*Game 3 (Play): This matchup is again of resource trading. My cage stops Oath, but doesn't stop Niv Mizzet from going to the top of the library and being the next draw. I have key in play and some artifacts. He casts Niv Mizzet, to which I respond with brainstorm (finding the land for 6th mana for the tezz in my hand) and flash in notion thief (which eats the Force + blue card in his hand to make him hellbent). Niv Mizzet resolves, but I get to untap play land to cast tezzeret with 1 mana open, finding time vault for infinite turns. But this is turn 0, so I ask my opponent for the concession, to which he graciously agrees. Turns out, I could have just plus'd tezz on extra turns 1-4 to ult on turn 5 for lethal artifact attack.
*Overall Record 6-1, Won 2-1
**Round 8 - Monored Prison (Andrew Frank - Budget Deck Winner):
*Camera Match (Never won one of these before): https://www.twitch.tv/videos/330583568?t=07h48m29s
*Game 1 (Play): Andrew unfortunately mulls to 5 but still has a strong t1 null rod, which I am forced to force (using my other force to keep dack fayden around), given that my t1 play had been land 2 moxen into recall. I untap and draw snapcaster for recall but opt to play 2nd land with dack fayden for early PW advantage and filter my draws getting a DT. He plays 2nd null rod which I cannot answer but can still play 3rd land and snap-recall if I need more resources. However, I believe the DT is enough versus Monored. I untap and cast DT for tinker, activate dack to filter but joke about taking the null rod. He plays a Magus of the Moon, luckily I have not used my fetch yet and also have my 2nd basic island in hand. I untap and play the 2nd basic island and this time I do use dack to steal null rod, which gets tinkered into blightsteel. My unlocked moxen allow for snap-recall, drawing me time walk amongst other riches.
*SB Out: 2x Misstep, Pyroblast, Fluster; SB In: Mountain, Tremors, Cratermaker, By Force
*Game 2 (Draw): I keep Academy, Volc, Jet, Time Vault, Cratermaker, Mana Drain, and Treasure Cruise. I feel that I am able to deal with anything out of Monored with Cratermaker + Mana Drain, plus should have enough mana to cast Cruise. Andrew makes a t1 city into null rod and I'm a bit sad, but as long as there's no moon effect I'm only slowed down. I draw a Sol ring and decide to develop my Academy by casting Jet and Sol Ring. He then plays a magus of the moon, losing his city, and I am more sad; but luckily it is a creature that cratermaker can deal with and not the enchantment. I untap and draw a fetchland; I play my volc and time vault to set up cratermaker next turn (I don't want to cast it and let it die before activating it). He plays 2nd mountain and plays grafdigger's cage, and we share a laugh at how it would've been great last game if it weren't for dack taking that for tinker fodder instead. I draw another fetch and play out cratermaker with mana open. He misses land drop and passes, so I opt to kill magus with my goblin to free up my fetch lands and academy to set up a longer game and be able to untap and cast cruise with 1 mana free. This also takes away his clock and null rod is much easier to beat than magus for this deck, esp after sideboard. I draw tezzeret for turn and opt to play that, since Andrew was missing land drops so I can develop the board while he is stumbling and even if he has pyroblast for it, I still have treasure cruise and mana drain next turn. Tezzeret is a turn 2 clock, because I go get mox on this turn then tick up and ult for 20 damage; a 3rd land drop allows Andrew to make blockers and turn this plan off (and threaten tezzeret), so I figured it was best to just play the threat to turn the corner. He ends up missing land drop and plays the Sol ring that was draw. I draw a hopefully soon-to-be 5/5 lotus and play that out. I cruise to leave 2 mana open for mana drain and leave cratermaker in the GY in case I get yawg will. The cruise draws me a mana crypt, FoW, and time walk. I play the crypt out and cast time walk for a tezz ult 1 turn earlier.
*Overall Record 7-1, Won 2-0
**Round 9 - Ravager Shops (Dr. Rich Shay - Top 8 Player):
*Game 1 (Play): An early vault-key over 2 turns without a revoker for answer takes game 1.
*Game 2 (Draw): I start with a library and draw some cards. Rich develops his board. I choose to not play mox and leave up Hurkyl's to play around revoker, but Rich drops a 2nd sphere pre-combat to punish me; I think I should've played the mox as more permanents are always better than not. I play another land to keep up with sphere to leave up Hurkyl's again. This time, Rich attempts to strip mine my library pre-combat. Instinctively (and wrongly), I float mana from library for Hurkyl's, but a precombat Hurkyl's is terrible here and I should've instead drawn a card. Next turn, a Dack to steal revoker buys time and a body. Hurkyl's recall sets up a by force, leaving Rich with a 4/4 Factory and me at 4 life. Drawing an artifact for my tinker likely wins the game with blightsteel. I brick. The next card was either a land or sol ring (I could not remember based on me looking after I had scooped the cards onto the top of the library), but if it had been the sol ring and I had drawn a card with library when I was supposed to, this game is likely mine instead, as Dack steals whatever blocker he can play and factory must chump blightsteel, as does every subsequent creature played from top deck.
*Game 3 (Play): I lead with fetchland pass, with by force and vamp tutor in hand. He goes t1 lodestone golem, so I respond by using vamp tutor. I initially put lotus on top so I have enough mana to by force his artifacts, forgetting that lotus doesn't cost 1 with lodestone. A more appropriate tutor would be mana crypt or sol ring, as they would be lasting sources of mana for my mana light hand. He follows my vamp tutor play with a chalice on 0, further punishing my mistake of not getting sol ring. Turns out he had a revoker in hand anyway, but it may have bought me more turns to kill the lodestone a turn earlier than I had. The pressure + prison is too much as I succumb before a stabilizing Hurkyl's or a fast vault-key.
*Overall Record 7-2, Lost 0-2
**Round 10 - Dark Petition Storm:
*After confirming the standings, looks like the winner of this is very highly likely to top 8 unless breakers drastically change. Due to the stark difference between t8 and t16 prizing, I do offer a prize split with my opponent regardless of the match outcome. Although he is a gentlemen of a person and opponent he does decline, so +Karma points for me.
*Game 1 (Play): My opponent mulls to 6. I start with land plus 2 moxen and recall on his upkeep. He goes for a turn 1 duress, which I end up flustering to protect my hand of yawg will, thief, and twister as now I am thinking his countermagic is nonexistant due to it being likely storm. I draw lotus for turn and think a long time. I go for a value yawg will with the lotus to recast the recall and lotus. The recall finds me a sol ring, which gets me the extra free mana to cast thief + twister. The mind twist draw 14 prompts a concession. Draw 14 count = 3.5
*Game 2 (Draw): I keep a hand with force of will, mana drain, thief, twister, and some lands. He goes for a t1 necropotence which gets around thief, so I force that. I end up drawing an academy to speed things up but am still short for thief + DT for twister. He represents pyroblast, so I don't EOT notion thief as it would spend my lotus. I pass again, this time he taps out for demonic tutor, so I decide to mana drain without using lotus. There is no subsequent land drop, so I am free to go wild. I use the mana drain mana for thief + DT into twister. Draw 14 count = 4.5
*This was a time warp back up camera match, but unfortunately the files were corrupted. This match was insane and full of draw 14s! So my breakers were insane due to a lot of my opponents being in the top 8 and top 16/32; I sneak into top 8 as the only X-2!
*Overall Record 8-2, Won 2-0
***Top 8 - Paradoxical Mentor - Brian Coval:
*Everyone has probably heard of how Brian got into the t8 with back to back opponent 3rd GRVs for game loss. However, it is probably not common knowledge that Brian did NOT call a judge on these and actually asked the judges to downgrade the penalties. +Karma points for Brian too. In these cases, I believe it is his opponent's fault for racking up the GRVs and not playing a cleaner game.
*Game 1 (Draw): I keep a hand with a t1 notion thief (which is pretty much lights out in this matchup) but no counter backup. What's the chance that he has one of his 4 forces? Turns out it was 100%. I then proceed to get paradoxical'd.
*SB Out: JTMS, Island, Vamp Tutor; SB In: Pyro, Fluster, Mindbreak
*Game 2 was played on camera: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/331522823?t=04h12m22s
*Game 2 (Play): He mulls to 6 and bottoms. I start with mana crypt into top and spin top, seeing a twister but no 2nd land in the top 3. I then play out my island and pearl, leaving mana drain, tezzeret, time vault in my hand. Brian plays an island into mana vault. I decide to go for the t2 twister with the island and crypt, feeling ahead on permanents with the pearl and top too, since I couldn't cast drain or tezz anyway. My 7 is solid but not great because I still lack black mana (ruby, sapphire, dack, brainstorm, volc, thief, pyro). I get ruby + sapphire to cast dack off the jeskai moxen. Then I play volc to leave up brainstorm/pyro and pass. Brian goes lotus into recall, which I decide to let resolve, as the chances of it drawing 2-3 business spells instead of just 1 is probably less than 50%. It is also more important to protect the thief than to fight over Brian's draw spells here. My top shows me wheel, hurkyl's, and fetch, so I move fetch to the top followed by wheel. I now have enough mana to thief + wheel with pyro backup, but I would lose my top and not get to untap mana vault. I decide to go for it. Brian has the Force for my thief and fluster for my pyro. I lose the stack. The mistake here was not +dack on myself first to see if I can find another countermagic piece, allowing for brainstorm in response to fluster to dig deeper. I end up ditching the wheel because I lost the thief battle. However, this is also a mistake. Having more permanents means another wheel could put me far ahead, knowing what the next 2 cards on top of my deck is, but here I didn't want to ditch key as I was trying to set up a vault key (which almost did happen). Brian sets up a bunch of monk tokens and annoyingly remora. I set up a cruise and hardcast force to protect it. The cruise + dack finds me the way to vault-key. I am left with time walk, DT (for vault), key, and hurkyls (to bounce the mana crypt so I don't die). Unforunately my time walk to set up mana to win is met with a Force of Will; here the remora ultimately drew Brian too much countermagic. Mistakes were made on my part, but likely not on Brian's (he is an excellent player, and has beaten me 2ish out of 3ish times in our past matches).
First off, much thanks to Mike who lent me power so that I can jam 4 notion thief. Also much thanks to Birthday Mike who was one of my biggest supporters throughout this tournament. It was great to catch up with my friends again after having moved this summer. I definitely had some fortunate draws to help me make top 8, but the tournament was a blast to play. All of my opponents were gentlemen to play against! Glad to see that vintage is still a great community. This deck was a blast to play and attacks from many angles.
*Cards that overperformed: Notion Thief! Goblin Cratermaker also and would've done even more had I faced Eldrazi
*Cards that underperformed: Mental Misstep (I hate this necessary card, please restrict), technically JTMS as I never cast him (only theoretically cast him during infinite turns)
*Until next time! -Cosmo Kwok