Fair warning, this is NOT a tournament report, but rather a very long write-up about my opinions of all things eternal wekend. Lets jump right in.
i. Old School Magic, presented by Eternal Central competing with the Preliminary Event
I didn't go to this event, though I talked to several people that did. I don't necessarily like the format, mainly becuase I am too competitive, however I do love that it brings people together to play magic. However a person wants to use their cards is their choice, but I do love when the cards get played.
I think Jaco does a remarkable time making sure this event is amazing; he puts a lot of time into this, and there is a lot of cost involved as the cards go out of his own private collection. ANYONE who is interested in trying this format should, as it can be a blast (as long as you're not overly competitive like I am).
That said, while unavoidable, I do think it was in poor timing to host this on the same day as the Preliminary Event. It worked well for me, as I top 4ed the Prelim and won 1 bye to the Vintage Championship, but I'd like to see this event hosted maybe even the day before the actual event. I think the Prelim could have been 100 people had Old School not taken from that.
ii. The Vintage Championship
The Vintage Championship is a special event. The only event that comes close to that in the United States is the NYSE Tournament and Eternal Exravaganza (Which I've never been to, though only heard great things). I was able to play people from Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia, Indiana, Madrid, and Japan; it's amazing that this silly game we play brings so many people together. Each night, I went to dinner with people that I consider great friends as well as people in the community I have never met, and if it wasn't for that, I would not bother going to this tournament. It's a special thing.
Congrats to almost all of the people who top 8ed. More on that later.
iii. Soly's unique thoughts on Vintage as a format
The format is at a weird place. Most of the time, it 'feels fine', but overall this format is the least fun and least interesting variation of Vintage I've played since I started playing competitive Vintage (2003).
I feel like workshops are clearly STILL great, though probably fine as is. However, they have made 11 of 24 spots in major event top 8s, and I wonder what WOTC can do next with that archetype. Part of me worries that they'll just take Workshop, but then I don't think they can... let me make this straight... they don't give a FLYING FUCK about us... but they do care about the opinion of their shareholders... and the community will be up in arms if workshop gets the ax. For every person who actually plays vintage and owns Mishra's Workshop, there is someone who has one in an Antiquities Set, someone who has one in their Artifact based Commander/EDH Deck, and someone who has 1 or more for investment purposes; the collective uproar of the card tanking in value (which it would in ways that haven't been seen since Strategic Planning) would be too much. I'd expect nothing to happen with that archetype.
I won't be playing competitive vintage until the late spring anyway, as vintage is 100% dead in the Midwest (outside any potential Team Serious Invitationals, which are 3 states away from me). However, even if there was, I wouldn't bother playing until Gush gets restricted. I am sick of losing to this card. Specific scenario was the top 4 of the Preliminary Event. I'd like to start this by saying my opponent played it fine, and he also was a really nice guy, and it was a pleasure to play against him. At one point, he had if I recall correctly 4 mana in play (tapped out) and a Dack in Play, and ONLY Gush in hand after my probe. I set up Tezzeret, Demonic Tutor, Time Walk in hand with Force of WiIll on top of my library, and I was tapping for over 20 mana. I pass the turn, he draws, gushes, dacks, ancestrals, digs through time, and plays Jace the Mindscuptor, brainstorms, and passes with 3 or 4 cards in hand. Those cards included Pyroblast, Mindbreak Trap, and Flusterstorm. There is no reason that should be able to happen from out of nowhere, and it's really frustrating. Something close to this happened in the main event where I made a decision not to play Virulent Plague, and on the next turn my opponent hit his 2nd land, gushed, preordained, probed, and demonic tutored for therapy and wrecked my hand from nowhere.
I am not complaining because I lost... I did a lot of that this weekend. But I shouldn't be losing from out of nowhere like that. Any other card that can do that is restricted. Gush should be restricted. Free spells that allow you to draw 1 or more cards should be restricted. (OHHH FORSHADOWING)
Did I mention that Fuck Gitaxian Probe? I crushed someone who opened up Volcanic Island, go becuase I probed him expecting to see Pyroblast or Flusterstorm, a Misstep, and a Force of Will. I saw literal nothing, and he died on turn 1. I also died several times by my opponent casting Probe, and seeing that my hand was juice but because I didn't have a Force of Will I just died. THat's really frustrating. Peek is not playable. Street wraith is not playable. A Street Wraith that ALSO Peeks, is definitely bonkers.
Restrict Gush and Gitaxian Probe would balance the format out. Mentor would still be the best, as people would go more to Brian Pallas' deck, but it would be a step in the right direction.
iv. Legacy Disqualification of Zach Dobbin
For those that don't know,Zach Dobbin was playing Michael Guthro, who is another Vintage allstay in the format. Zach was very nervous in the match, as winning this match gives him a very good odd of top 8ing the Legacy championship. He played brainstorm, and found Moat. Being friends with Michael and knowing the list, he KNEW Moat would seal the deal 100% for him. Throughout both Vintage AND Legacy, whenever Dobbin found a card that he HAD to keep, he would place it down on the table. The judges talked to him after the match, and he said he disagreed with a Disqualification but said that if it happened on Camera he'd accept the consequences. In turn, he was disqualified, and Michael Guthro was given the win. I think a disqualification was harsh, and that it should have been a Game Loss (and thus Michael would be given the win, but Zach would still be live for top 16 Prizes). I believe 100% that Zach made an honest mistake in a high pressure situation.
On Sunday morning I walked by, and I ran into him and we were talking. I'd like to state that I had not that I could remember spoken in person with Zach before this. He was holding back tears... in our conversation, he never once mentioned being upset about not landing prizes or top 8ing. He was really bothered by the position he put Nick Coss and the Judge Staff in, he was upset for the situation he put Michael Guthro in, because I'm sure Michael has a lot of questions about this match, and he was upset that people would question his integrity. I have dealt with cheaters before, and they are upset to get caught or upset to not get prizes, but they're never upset about the integrity of the event. He even told he that he accepts the Disqualification, but hopes that people understand that it was an accident.
Here's the fact: He wins that game 100% if he doesn't make that mistake. He gains NOTHING by cheating; if he's stupid/smart enough to try and cheat, it would be to GAIN ADVANTAGE not to gain nothing. After all, the saying doesn't go "everything to lose, nothing to gain".
V. Vintage Qualification of the eventual winner.
The person who owns the painting right now has a huge asterisk next to their name. I refuse to say our Vintage Champion, because my opinion is he isn't the champion.
Facts: Joe Brennan had stated to me the winner of the event had Lotus + Library in all 3 of their games in the Swiss. The winner, in the top 8, had the judge called on him for insufficient shuffling, and was given a warning. Against Andy Markington, he had Wasteland, Sol Ring, Crucible, Tundra, Moat, Mana Drain, and I can't remember his last card. On the play, that hand is insane as he knows Montolio doesn't play a Crucible of his own. Side note? His Sol Ring was Judge Foil as well as his Crucible being foil, and they were shaped in such a way they were actually curving off the table. I brought this fact up to Rich Shay, who brought it to the judge, who then made him remove all suspected foils from his deck. Against Joe, he had a Turn 1 Strip Mine for Joe's only land, and shortly afterwords had his Sensei's top and a Snapcaster Mage if I recall correct. The reason this is important? Those were the three foils that remained.
I spoke with others who played against him and watched him shuffling in a weird way; I thought nothing of it at the time until another player told me he was Lotus + Library'd on the play. There were reports of him playing two lands, and I watched him wasteland an Urborg and then tap a Flooded strand to pay for a spell (which was minor, and a warning). How does a sloppy player get into the top 8 of a major event?
In this country, you are Innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, we have no real proof. However, in the scheme of things... if it looks like a skunk and smells like a skunk, most likely it's a skunk and not a cat.
That's just my opinion on the matter; he should have been DQ no-prized, and our Semifinal should have been Montolio v. Joe Brennen.
The event was amazing, and I look forward to it already for next year. I really wish I could play more vinage, as it was an amazing event. Nick Coss really does amazing things for our community.
****Edit: I am not at all complaining about Old School; I think @JACO does an AMAZING job with that event, and I encourage anyone to check it out.