The primary focus this week is going to be my experiences and observations of Eternal Weekend. I spent most of the weekend in coverage, which meant a lot of interacting with decks and archetype data.
And conveniently, as a bit of a Card Titan myself, I was at the site for nearly the entire weekend.
That's a lot of Vintage and Legacy.
I'll very lightly touch on some other formats as well, then I'll close on a personal note.
The primary lesson from the weekend seemed to be that planeswalkers are a big deal now and planeswalker removal sucks. Astute readers will immediately recognize that these two things are related.
These are not Vintage cards.
That means an uptick in creatures of all things. In Vintage. In 2019.
Magic is a wild game.
It wasn't long ago Jace, the Mind Sculptor was more or less the only "real" planeswalker in Vintage. Since then, Dack Fayden and Karn, the Great Creator have both shown up. In fact, they're still hanging around here and there.
But right now, these are the two that mostly rule the roost:
My first Throne of Eldraine passing glance threw out Oko. God knows why. And no I'm not hyperlinking it.
I'm still depressed by how many players are bothered by planeswalkers with static abilities. Like, get better. Reframe your crap. If you're still forgetting about Narset and throwing away a Brainstorm eight months later in a Vintage Championship, then it's not Magic's fault that you're stubborn. Like, that's the hardest thing about Vintage Magic? Really? That?
So obviously Narset is completely insane in these formats. Fortunately, the entire format is insane, so she's just kind of a mechanism to make the games go longer.
And this Oko guy. Look, I don't dread bannings the way everyone else does, but it's getting hard to deny that planeswalker design is at another interesting fork in its journey. These are the breakout cards in Vintage right now. Are we where we want to be with this? I'm not saying we are or aren't -but it is time to decide what planeswalkers are.
So there you go, that's some Vintage.
Your winner is a popular chap 'round the Vintage neighborhoods:
Sultai | Vintage | Joe Brennan, 1st Place Vintage Championship
- Creatures (12)
- 1 Brazen Borrower
- 2 Collector Ouphe
- 2 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
- 3 Tarmogoyf
- 4 Deathrite Shaman
- Instants (18)
- 1 Ancestral Recall
- 1 Brainstorm
- 1 Dig Through Time
- 1 Fatal Push
- 1 Flusterstorm
- 1 Force of Vigor
- 1 Gush
- 1 Mental Misstep
- 1 Misdirection
- 1 Misdirection
- 1 Spell Pierce
- 3 Assassin's Trophy
- 4 Force of Will
- Enchantments (1)
- 1 Sylvan Library
- Lands (18)
- 1 Bayou
- 1 Strip Mine
- 2 Misty Rainforest
- 2 Verdant Catacombs
- 3 Polluted Delta
- 3 Tropical Island
- 3 Underground Sea
- 3 Wasteland
Despite Joe having plenty of Vintage notches on his belt loop, he didn't have this one. And even so, he insists his greatest achievement in the format is being involved in the community.
Wonder how these formats stay alive this long despite all the obstacles?
Now you know.
Temur Delver won on the other side, and from the early rounds it was obvious it was one of the more popular decks. I rarely mourn being on the labor side of an event versus the tournament side, but this was obviously a tournament you could play Knight of the Reliquary and do well with. Oh, what might've been!
Temur Delver | Legacy | Tom Hertfelder, 1st Place Legacy Championship
- Planeswalkers (3)
- 3 Wrenn and Six
- Instants (22)
- 2 Force of Negation
- 2 Spell Snare
- 2 Thought Scour
- 4 Brainstorm
- 4 Daze
- 4 Force of Will
- 4 Lightning Bolt
- Sorceries (4)
- 4 Ponder
- Lands (19)
- 1 Waterlogged Grove
- 2 Flooded Strand
- 2 Scalding Tarn
- 3 Tropical Island
- 3 Volcanic Island
- 4 Polluted Delta
- 4 Wasteland
If you plan to brave the Legacy metagame with a restrictive creature deck that preys on Delver antics but eschews Brainstorm, there are several things to keep in mind over just Googling whatever version from a few years ago last did well.
Both big Lands varieties (and a new one from Magic real estate mogul David Long) mean that you want to be nowhere near the Dark Depths contests. Don't play their game. Ramunap Excavator pulls plenty of weight in other ways, and it's not like the deck needed yet another way to abuse Knight of the Reliquary. Play an extra Karakas and get on with your life.
Three Zealous Persecution in the sideboard is one of the few non-changes to my builds of Maverick since the Glenn Jones days. TNN makes sure it's going to be true in perpetuity. Use these tenets, stay true to the old ones that still make sense, and you'll be stomping Temur Delver in no time.
I bought Visions packs off shelves a lifetime ago, but I imagine drawing Fireblast late feels just as good these days. If you want to square up against Temur but can't leave behind the Brainstorms - because unlike me, you're a sane person - this might be your game.
Huge sidenote: This would've been a perfect tournament to show how misleading a Top 8 can be. There were six Delver decks in the Top 8, though they were mostly very different, but there were also nearly all non-Delver decks in the Top 32. There was ANT, Control with and without Miracles, three varieties of Lands strategies, two different Red prison decks, and a few other outliers. Delver is obviously a consistently good way to go in a wide open field, but if you think Legacy is just back to being about Delver again, you're probably wrong.
Start with Oko. When they ban Oko, have another two things waiting in the wings. Don't get complacent. There are a lot of legal cards in this format. Snap a few over your leg.
It'll be interesting to see how players dictate their time between Pioneer and Modern. They seem to be cannibalizing some of the space, but we'll see. Anyone seen any data out in the wild yet?
As an Arena lover, my investments in Oko are pretty safe since they get replaced as soon as he's gone.
I empathized with the greater world of paper peeps until the Elk memes took off. Now, I have no more patience. I'm ready to move on.
Non-bomb games of Arena Throne of Eldraine Limited are largely about these cards until the next patch. This is one of the places where bot drafting becomes much more interesting. Whereas we'd have a natural correction in paper Magic life when drafters could choke (like they do with say, infect in Scars of Mirrodin). The bots, however, will continue just doing what they're programmed to do until a more sophisticated bot (aka "a human person") programs them to do otherwise.
Until then, I'll continue to enjoy people running headfirst into Revenge of Ravens because they've so tunnel visioned their understanding of tempo that they can't imagine that life gain (a "useless" thing to Magicians with bad theory and understanding) can make it extremely relative.
All that said, I still have rares I haven't played with in the format, and it's a whole bunch of fun. We are getting about ready for that patch, though.
Pro Magic Guerilla / Artistan
This bi-week's event is unified duos! We're playing Standard-legal commons and uncommons but with the bonus stipulation that you can't use any cards (other than basic lands) that your opponent is also using. Evolving Wilds had never felt more love.
Artisans, take note: this is the deck I registered.
I'm undefeated through one whole round. Boom.
Izzet Drakes | Artisan | Danny West
- Planeswalkers (2)
- 2 Narset, Parter of Veils
Eternal Weekend was more to me than it was to most. In a few ways, I was measuring how much I'd put my life back together over the last four years.
It went rather excellently, thank you.
Working with Card Titan and their leadership is really a pleasure. Re-establishing close friendships, helping others learn new things, learning new things yourself, seeing how far people will go to make sure you're doing okay... It was my absolute pleasure to affirm my place in Magic and its industry amidst a very, very long six-day work week in Pittsburgh.
Thank you to everyone who contributed such warm fuzzy self-confidence.
The Indestructible Danny West