Another Eternal Weekend come and gone, and as usual I have some thoughts about it.
The location: Columbus, I have to admit, mildly exceeded my (breathtakingly low) expectations. Minus points for the convention center being under so much construction, but plus points for: North Market, chicken & Liège waffles at North Market, cheeseburgers with pirogi on them, and a con center food court with surprisingly good Indian food. Worse hotels, but eh, can't have everything.
The event itself: in past years, the main events have been one-day affairs, with Legacy on Saturday (with some portion of the top 8 being played out Sunday morning), then Vintage on Sunday. Growth has made that a little bit awkward, which is a good problem to have, and the way it was run this year was with Vintage swiss rounds on Friday, Legacy swiss on Saturday, and both top 8s playing out on Sunday. This is one solution, I guess, but hopefully they iterate on it next year. It's a little awkward that unless you made top cut, Sunday is kind of a dead day. Especially weird was the timing of the bigger side events; Legacy and Vintage both had a 25K Showdown, but on Friday and Saturday mornings, opposite the main event (so Legacy Showdown on Friday vs Vintage Champs and vice versa). If you wanted to play in both Champs events and made top-cut in neither, the big Showdown event on Sunday was… EMA Sealed 15.
I dunno. That seems wrong to me.
I also really missed the chance to warm up with a Vintage side event before Champs without arriving another full day early. I got in Thursday night and it's almost impossible to arrive early enough to play anything when flying from the west coast, and I'd have benefited from having a few rounds to settle into things before a cold start Friday morning. This isn't a reason to change anything – cross-country logistics are what they are. Just something I personally missed a little.
Anyway, Vintage champs. I was going back and forth a lot on my deck selection the week before Champs. I'd seen Rich Shay stream a Stax list the week before and played it at a Knight Ware event:
(Sideboard may be off a few cards from the original.) I fundamentally love the list.
As an additional note, I spoke to Dr. Shay at the event and asked him why no Sol Ring. He said it was to make Mental Misstep completely blank, but also that he'd been wishing he had it all day. I'd probably play it over
So ultimately I went the other direction and ran an Esper Mentor list taken from one Brian Kelly played in Season 5 of the Vintage Super League, with only a few tweaks to increase the amount of main-deck removal.
The deck was damn fun and quite powerful, and also quite hard to play. In addition to the usual challenges in sequencing
The most common kills with the deck once you factor out "lol Vintage" starts like T1 Mentor + Time Walk nonsense was probably a short Tendrils for half their life followed by Mentor beats for the other half. This plan does an excellent job of punishing opponents who think they have 2-3 more turns and highlights Mentor's role as "the white Tendrils of Agony". I got a fair number of incremental Bob beats in too.
Of course, Bob has risks in a deck with 4 Force, 3 Gush, 2 Jace, and a Tendrils, but they're probably overstated. I took, I think, five Gush/FoW hits to the face all day, and only once did it matter in terms of giving the opponent the win. Three were utterly irrelevant, one I was dead anyway, and one just made me fire off a short Tendrils for 12 to give me some buffer that I Willed back later. I mean, if Bob flips a Gush, the upside is now you have a Gush. Life could be worse.
Obviously I'd have loved it if my record had been better, but in contrast to last year, where I was frustrated and angry with myself for some bad decisions made in deckbuilding that haunted me all day, this time I felt like I had a strong 75 and my failures were primarily from needing more prep time with the deck: a perennial problem I have given how often I change decks in various formats, compounded by losing access to a convenient LGS and the inability to tolerate Magic Online.
In a side event on Sunday I tried it with a few modifications: maindeck -Library, +
On the whole, the Vintage event was a blast. I saw many archetypes, played nine rounds of great Vintage, and like I said, while I wouldn't have turned down a better record, I'm not nearly as frustrated by my results as I was last year.
And in Legacy… well, what can I say. I played the Ben Perry Special:
Though I did run a
For once, I managed to avoid paying actual factual cash for any really outrageous purchases. Just did some trading and turned a good-sized stack of random foils and spare Khans fetchlands into a smaller stack of other random foils I wanted more, plus a graded Moat I liberated for the good of the game.
Great event overall, and it's time to start preparing for next year: starting with the Vintage Control Restoration Project. Watch this space.
Updated: FORGOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. I FOUND ONE:
But there is karmic balance. Behold: pic.twitter.com/MIZxN7TH13— 4x Mana Drain (@lowbeyonder) October 28, 2016
Or, really, my friend Post found one, at a booth while I was in round. He correctly picked it up immediately before the waveform collapsed and it ceased to exist. So that's awesome too.