The Vintage Super League Experience
Back in March, a friend of mine, Legacy Grand Prix Top 8 competitor Janus Skovby Andersen, messaged me and told me Randy Buehler had tweeted out that he needed the 8th and last team for the upcoming season of Team Vintage Super League.
I am hoping to launch Team Vintage Super League next month. Patreon is currently our only funding and you can support the show here: https://t.co/Ps0fLPx57P. (Also, I have 7 teams in the queue … feel free to pitch me your squad for the 8th slot!)
— Randy Buehler (@rbuehler) March 25, 2018
This is in fact exactly what we’re going to see. I am happy to find a team of European lunatics willing to set their alarms for 1am and the TVSL field is now full. (Support the show on Patreon so we can launch next month: https://t.co/sSyMbCszQt) https://t.co/mhF7glhKHL
— Randy Buehler (@rbuehler) March 26, 2018
I figured I would have a shot with my online Vintage Challenge merits if I was able to lure some Magic celebrities to team up with me. My first thought was to write fellow Snapcardster goon, Michael Bonde; who loves all kinds of Magic and doesn’t mind staying up late. Team Vintage Super League matches are played on Friday at 3 a.m. for us. Despite this, Michael immediately accepted. I was fairly sure that the third musketeer, Thomas Enevoldsen, would decline due to the scheduling, so I reached out to Swedish Pro Tour Champion Joel Larsson and Russian double-Magic Online Championship Series Champion and Magic Online endboss, Dimitriy Butakov, to get some star power on the squad. Unfortunately, they were not fully invested in the project, so I decided to write Thomas a sales pitch and go to bed.
The next morning he had accepted to play despite the time table and I shot a message to Randy. Coming fresh off a Team Grand Prix 2nd place finish and representing Europe as the only team, we were accepted without too much trouble. Needless to say, I was very excited to compete in an awesome tournament in my favorite format with my two favorite friends.
To the catchy tunes of the 80’s, these are the eight teams that took part in this season:
Let me try and explain the rules and format for Team Vintage Super League:
- Each team submits six decks 24 hours before showtime. These decks can’t overlap with more than 12 non-mana cards (lands + artifact mana) in the main deck.
- Once the opponents’ decklists are revealed, each team bans an opposing deck.
- Teams decide which deck to use in the first match, and from there the winning deck stays in the arena and the losing team chooses the new challenger and deck.
- When one team has four wins, the match is over (best of 7).
Round 1 vs. ChannelFireball
When I first delved into the rules for this tournament, it seemed difficult to build more than two combo decks (Paradoxical Outcome and Dark Petition Storm are doable), but I really wanted to find room for a third one to hopefully catch our opponents off guard. Another theory of mine was that because of the restrictions, it would be very hard to have more than one or two Mental Misstep decks which would make Dark Ritual-fueled combo decks even better positioned.
Aside from the three combo decks, we submitted a stock Aggro Shops deck and White Eldrazi deck to make sure we had some non-blue disruptive decks. To round out the deck lineup, I suggested the Temur color combination that had to use Sleight of Hand instead of Preordain to make it work.
Interestingly, we banned their Shops deck because we decided to build our decks to beat “everything else” and not pack any dedicated artifact hate. If they would have had another disruptive deck submitted, like the Eldrazi deck we had, we would have been in a world of hurt with our three combo decks.
Round 2 vs. So Many Insane Plays
The Team Vintage Super League uses a two round swiss where the record of 2-0 gives you a free pass to the semi finals and 1-1 gets you through to the quarter finals. With this in mind, I really wanted to beat the living legends of Stephen Menendian & Co., but at the same time playing the quarter finals would be fun as well.
Also worth mentioning is that this round there were no bannings, so we had to build our decks more well rounded. I like all deck building challenges even though I prefer the setup with bans.
For this week, we decided to switch things up and move away from the triple combo setup. We kept Eldrazi and Shops around alongside our lovechild of Esper Paradoxical Outcome, but we added an Oath of Druids deck and a spicy Sultai Landstill deck. I really wanted our opponents to bring some creature-based decks that would beat our expected combo decks and then be weak to Oath, which is always a good strategy vs. Shops, but they ended up bringing basically everything but creatures. Thomas and Michael are very good with controlling blue decks, so I trusted their ability to bring home the bacon.
Semifinal vs. Cardsphere
The bannings were back for this round and it affected our decisions in a big way. I wanted to make sure we would have two control-ish decks, two combo decks and two Thalia, Guardian of Thraben decks to ensure they would have to leave at least one in. They didn’t feel like playing against Storm while we banned their Sultai deck packing Leovold, Emissary of Trest and multiple copies of Null Rod.
Michael starts out the series with our Paradoxical Outcome deck and does an insane job with some very complicated decisions.
Seeing Thomas cast white creatures and disrupt his opponent in Legacy is always a delight, and I can tell you it’s no different in Vintage:
Grand Final vs. ChannelFireball
Rematch time! CFB, with Luis Scott-Vargas as the spearhead, managed to grind their way through the lower bracket to come full circle and face us with vengeance in the Finals.
This round we submitted a spicy Survival of the Fittest deck sporting Hollow One and Vengevine, inspired by Magic Online user “Kinny”, that you should do yourself a favor and go check out. It was the perfect combination of a Thalia deck that could withstand a matchup with a lot of spot removal while still disrupting the unfair decks.
We went back to the Blue/Red base and splashed green because cards like Dack Fayden and Ancient Grudge do a great job against Paradoxical Outcome, the consensus best deck, and of course Mishra’s Workshop-based decks.
To catch CFB off guard, I agreed to submit and play Dredge even though I don’t enjoy that kind of Magic. We stuck to our guns regarding Humans and a tweaked version of Sultai to make sure we utilized Thomas’ skills to the fullest.
All in all a very enjoyable season with sweet Vintage Magic from start to finish. I also want to mention our German super-sub Julian Knab who agreed to be our fourth player in case of emergency. This concept is great and getting to participate in it and hopefully gave the viewers at home a great experience and was an honor for all three of us. We are looking forward to giving it another go next season!