Heading to Grand Prix Phoenix and Pro Tour Ixalan in Albuquerque, I made a stop in Pittsburgh to play Eternal Weekend. As you know, I recently became enamored of Eternal, and this event fit perfectly into my schedule, so I accepted Steve Rubin’s invite to stay at his place along with Ondrej Strasky for the whole week. I arrived on Thursday night, thinking that I would have one day to recover from jet lag before battling on Saturday.
It turned out that Vintage was on Friday and Legacy was on Saturday.
I am a control lover, and in particular, a Mana Drain lover, so this is what I played:
Vintage Drain Pain
More than 400 players showed up, making this not only the biggest Vintage event I’ve ever played, but also the longest tournament of my life in one day without byes. I finished 6-4, going 2-1 vs. Dredge, 1-2 vs. Shops, and 3-1 vs. blue decks.
I don’t want this to come across as an excuse for my poor performance, but after round 6 (when I was 5-1) I started to feel incredibly tired and my legs didn’t want to walk anymore. I definitely shouldn’t have flown in one day prior to the event.
The Vintage format is easy to predict, but calculating the sideboard slots between Shops and Dredge hate is a difficult thing to do.
For example, in my last Vintage event I played this deck but had 2 Hurkyl’s Recall instead of 2 Ravenous Trap in the sideboard. After losing a bunch to Dredge, I decided to pump up my hate at the expense of Shops hate.
I lost twice to Shops and five copies made the Top 8—no Dredge decks did. Dredge is usually big when there are no proxies allowed, and Hollow One is an insane recent addition, so it was high on everyone’s radar.
People undervalued Shops, mostly after the Thorn of Amethyst restriction, but the deck is still great. It’s no better than what it was in the past—people just left their sideboard hate at home. Once the metagame adjusts, everything will be fine again.
I was shocked to see zero blue decks in the Top 8—Oath doesn’t really count, since it’s sort of a combo deck. I played vs. Mentor, R/U/G Delver, Paradoxical, and a mirror match (with Leovold), and they were all great games of Magic. My deck felt favored against them.
Having more counters is the key to winning those matchups, and that’s why I’d add 1, maybe 2 Mana Drain. They are great vs. blue and great vs. Shops to deploy your big mana cards (Tinker, Jace, Subterranean Tremors), even under a Sphere of Resistance.
Here again, I’m a control lover and in particular a Leovold, Emissary of Trest lover.
I’ve written plenty about the deck, and you can find all you want here .
The record of highest number of rounds played in one day was quickly shattered by the Legacy Championship. More than 700 people showed up, making for 11 rounds of Swiss!
After losing the first round to Siege Rhino and friends (4c Nic Fit), I won six rounds vs. blue decks, then lost to Reanimator and Elves, eventually rounding it out by defeating two more blue decks.
I played against Grixis Delver four times in the event and always emerged victorious, though I still don’t think the matchup is fantastic or anything, as the Top 8 shows plenty of Delver decks and only one 4c Leovold (Ondrej Strasky). But it’s still something I’m very comfortable playing. It’s what I like the most about Magic: counter wars and card advantage.
I finished 8-3 for 40th place. I have no jet leg excuses this time, as I recovered pretty well and didn’t feel tired at all during the day.
I think 4c Leovold is still the best deck and the most fun to play. It’s not even particularly hard—you have to know the metagame well and what your opponent is doing to know exactly how to fight them.
A few people asked me what I thought about a possible Deathrite Shaman ban. The format is healthy, and even if multiple copies of the same archetype made the Top 8, it just demonstrates the formula to make the Top 8 of an 11-round Swiss. Your deck needs to be consistent—no turn-1 combo deck, and only 1 Chalice of the Void deck, made the Top 8. Legacy is a wonderful place for having fun with great games of Magic (blue mirrors), but also a place where you can play your combo or prison deck to a good result.
Deathrite Shaman was in many of the Top 8 decks, but so were Brainstorm and Force of Will. Deathrite Shaman is a great Magic card, that’s true, but there are plenty of answers that can be played by every deck, and it doesn’t lock your opponent out of the game by any means.
Eternal Weekend was an insane experience. I want to thank all of the people who came to express an appreciation for my Eternal articles here on ChannelFireball, and to those who spent some time with me. It always feels great to be appreciated, and here at Eternal Weekend I really felt a part of the community.
I made a huge number of new friends. It turns out that when you only know 3 people in the room, you have to make new acquaintances. In the North American Legacy community, I learned plenty of things about new decks and have lots of many new ideas for my future Eternal videos once I’m back home.
Thank you for the support, and I’ll keep delivering Eternal content each week!