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Death, Taxes, and Vintage Mentor at Eternal Weekend

Last weekend I flew to Paris. Not to play any GPs or PTs, but to play my new favorite formats: Legacy and Vintage. You’re likely aware of my love for Eternal formats, and last weekend it grew even more as I played in two huge events, with players from all over Europe.

On Saturday, I played Death & Taxes in Legacy, a deck I’ve been on for months, and that I enjoy playing now as much as I did the first time. The event was capped weeks ahead of the tournament at 450 players. That was pretty disappointing, since Wizards said that Europe wouldn’t have a GP Legacy for 2017, but in exchange gave us Eternal Weekend, then capped it at 450 players. Next time, I hope we can a have a real GP, or at least a 2-day tournament where the hundreds of people that showed up at the tournament without registering online will be able to play.

Since it was only a 1-day tournament, the TO chose to run 9 rounds plus Top 16, which is reasonable, though I would much prefer a Day 1 and Day 2. They were running Vintage on Day 2, but I think smoothing out the tournament would have been a much better experience for both players and staff. For example, they weren’t able to end the tournament on Saturday, and chose to delay the finals until Sunday since it was a Miracles mirror match (who would guessed?).

After a blazing 5-0 start, I picked up a loss to Elves—a crazy bad matchup in which I managed to win the second game on the back of Sanctum Prelate on 4 and Palace Jailer. I then won my next round against OmniTell and lost my win-and-in versus Eldrazi. Eldrazi is such a good matchup that when my opponent led with Eldrazi Temple, I was already in the playoffs in my head. Then I got mana flooded game 1, and locked out by a Pithing Needle on Aether Vial and only colorless-producing lands in game 2.

I still had hope since the cutoff was at Top 16 and I had very good tiebreakers, but after defeating U/R Delver I ended up in 17th with a clean cut. That left with me only 100 BOM points, good just for 2 Modern Masters boosters.

I’d recommend the list I played to anyone who wants to pilot Death & Taxes. I’ve written about the deck before, and made some minor changes here. I added a Palace Jailer to the main deck since it’s crazy good whenever you aren’t playing against True-Name Nemesis, which is the vast majority of the time, and it works so well with Flickerwisp that I chose to run the full 4 copies.

Death and Taxes

I went home disappointed, but was confident that I would get my revenge in Vintage the next day. I chose to play Silent Mentor there, a deck that everyone was high on—so high they even wanted to restrict Gush.

I was disappointed by Stony Silence in the main deck. The decks you want it against are only Shops and Paradoxical Storm. The card is indeed great against those two decks, but awful against the rest, leaving you with 2 dead cards in the main and 2 fewer Moxes (Jet and Emerald).

The tournament itself had 148 players, which meant 8 rounds of Swiss. After 6, I was 5-1, battling my win-and-in against Mono-White Eldrazi, a deck that I’d played 4 times during the whole event, going 3-1 overall against it. And my loss was exactly that one, the eventual winner of the whole thing: Joaquin Solis. I ended up winning the last round and finishing 18th on tiebreakers, which meant not even a single BOM point, and a whole lot of disappointment.

Since I wasn’t happy with my list, I did a bunch of tuning, and now I have a list I’d run if I had to play a Daily Event on MTGO tomorrow.

Speaking of which, I got a great idea from Andreas Petersen about MTGO Vintage—considering that DEs are hard to fire on MTGO, he had the cool idea to do a 4-player tournament where everyone plays each other person. So that you don’t have to schedule, they can fire it off like the old Constructed 8-mans. This could be a good way to make Vintage playable in Europe as well, since the only DE that fires starts at 2 a.m. on the weekend.

On Banning & Restrictions

Bob Huang wrote last week about possible bannings in Legacy, which I think would be a huge mistake. Wizards did a great job creating hate for Miracles with Conspiracy 2. Sanctum Prelate, Recruiter of the Guard, and Leovold, Emissary of Trest are three great cards against Miracles that made those matchups much closer than they should be. Miracles is still the best deck, but it’s hard to play and even harder to master. I truly believe that Legacy is a perfect format right now, and the most balanced and fun experience you can find in Magic.

On the VSL, I heard a lot about possible restrictions in Vintage as well. In the latest B&R announcement, Wizards did say that they were looking into the Eternal Weekend to talk about possible restrictions for the format, and it turns out that Mentor didn’t put up the results they needed to see to restrict Gush. Shops and Eldrazi were all over the place, and Grixis Control and B/U/G Leovold made appearances in the Top 8 as well.

I truly believe that the VSL pushes too much for bans (see Lodestone Golem and Chalice of the Void). Wizards has to look at real tournaments, and not invite-only events, in order to make these huge changes. Vintage is a very fine format at the moment, and the diversity of the Top 8 showcased that.

Please Wizards, don’t shake up Eternal formats like Modern! Both are healthy environments that I hope remain free from interference.

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