Vintage Magic Made Me Do It

Part One: Vulgar Display of Power

vdop

“When you walk around wearing a crown you are likely rouse the ire of peasants.”

-King Suleiman

Welcome back to the MTG Underground.

In the beginning there was no magic. When Alpha and Beta came and went, few were fortunate to discover its beauty. Unlimited opened the door to more players, but the enchanting rarity of the early game lingered in relative obscurity. But the game continued to blossom. Arabian Nights explored a whole new world. Antiquities courted me into the multiverse. It mesmerized me, and my eternal obsession with artifacts came to life. Legends, in all of its overpriced and underprinted wonder, gave us new cards and card types.

The Dark was a foray into weirdness and subtlety. Time has proven that its wonder would forever be tainted by the light of a Blood Moon, but for the Argivian Archaeologists of amongst us, we have found fascination in its dark depths. When we emerged from the Maze of Ith, we were certain the future could only bring us to explore brighter and more fascinating kingdoms.

But instead, when the gates were flung open, the Fallen Empires on the horizon instead opened the gates to magic as a product. The set was thematically superior to its functionality, and what it lacked in power it made up for in availability. These were mixed blessings that are mostly remembered in a negative tone, but it brought about subtle changes of its own that still lurk beneath its mediocrity.

I have discussed this in the past, I will drone about it in the future, but I do not intend to dwell on it here and now. While Fallen Empires has more in common with our worst friends than it does with our heroes, for all of its flaws, it is still from our neighborhood and we take it in as one of our own. At least when we feel like it.

Time has done strange and wonderful things with Magic. There are plenty of people who can tell you all about the new and glamorous products being shoveled into your gullet every few minutes. There are plenty of places you can go to learn about the Modern world of Magic. This is not one of them. I have no interest in any of that. And I do not know the first fucking thing about it. Instead, I am going to rant and rave about Old Cards. Expensive Cards. Iconic and Iconoclastic.

The cost of this game has always been on the absurd side, and as a subject I actively avoid it. , Who the hell wants to talk about their habit? Well, the simple answer is that junkies love to talk about their habit. I am an Oldschool and Vintage Junkie. But when was the last time you heard someone talk about how much they spend on their drugs while they are tweaking on artificial heaven or retching from the hell of withdrawal?

wsb

I do not collect for value. I buy cards to play with them. This is not an investment. It is a hobby. It is not what I do for money. It is what I do for fun. Like many of the worthwhile worldly temptations, it is expensive. Indulgence in it is excessive by nature. I am aware that I play the most expensive formats and that you can play magic without a Black Lotus. But I play magic like I drink whiskey. You are welcome to brown bag it behind a dumpster for less than a pack of cigarettes, but I prefer a finer drinking experience.

I have no idea what my Vintage deck is worth because its useless knowledge. I do not plan to sell it. Putting a price on my cards is like calling out my drinking habits. It is lavish, obscene, imprudent. It would kill a lesser prophet, so the non-believers are quick to cast it in an unhealthy light. But doing so will not change my behavior, so it just makes my critics seem petty and crass. I am a motherfucking professional. My unorthodox lifestyle is a perfect fit for Oldschool Magic Cards, Good Whiskey, Better Drugs, and Aggressive Gambling.

I am not going to stop drinking, tripping, or betting. And I am sure as hell not going to sell my cards. Talking shit about my habits is like talking shit about my music. You can think what you want, but if you some swinging your attitude at me like a weapon, I will pry it from your unwashed hands and bludgeon you into submission with it. Or I will break my teeth on the pavement trying to teach you and your asshole friends some respect. Primal Concrete Sledge.

The bottom line is this. If buying a bottle of Laphroaig is going to keep you from putting gas in your 1996 Chevy Impala SS, maybe you should grab the J&B instead. If the price of a Beta Black Lotus upsets you, do not buy one. It is all empty decadence. There is no point to any of it, so do what you want. The only person who cares if you own a set of Power or forty dual lands is you. If the cost is too great, save your money. Maybe they can bury you with it.

This comes into perspective as I have traded away the last of my Unlimited Moxen for Beta copies. They all do exactly what their white bordered predecessors did. This was true yesterday, it is true today, and it will be true tomorrow. There is no strategic advantage, no significant purpose behind them. I did not need a single one of them.

Guess what?

ancestral reserve

This motherfucker is next.

 

Before there were modern frames, before there were foils, Magic cards were dignified. Majestic. When every card was printed only in English, before the first promotional or alternate art print found its way into the hand of an aspiring wizard, it was easy to see which cards were aesthetically superior to others. While Alpha cards were snubbed because of their corners, Beta cards have always held a sacred place in the hearts and minds of player and collector alike.

From the first time a white bordered card was opened, there was a desire for the black bordered predecessor.

I have no idea if that is true. For all I know, the first person to open Unlimited Cards may have never seen the earlier printing. Even worse, it could have been one of those psychopaths that claims to prefer the crisp, affronting white frame. The kind of dirty bastard who erases the border on Force of Wills to have them match his Lotus (Ok, they were my Forces, but I lost them playing for Ante.) But it is unlikely. And it does not matter. Its not what I am talking about.

What am I talking about?

I will get to it, play along. Or say fuck it and scroll down until you see something that holds your interest. I am not writing this for you anyway. You are a pretty presumptuous audience. No damn respect. I guess that is what you get from the merry band of rejects that this game has left wandering the streets outside of the reaches of mainstream magic.

To sum up and transition, the cards that were naturally superior to others from the beginning are still the cards that tower like mountains over the sea of cardboard mediocrity all these years later. As ridiculous as they are rare, as an ancient as they are austere, these cards are Immortal in the world of Magic (which is no longer Dominaria, but if you want any further insight on that look elsewhere. I only vaguely understand myself.) They were destined to become objects of reverence and vehemence before the ink set on the first print run.

never mind

Of late, the dissonance of the vehemence has drowned out the elegant song of reverence. Some of the loudest detractors have called for their demise in every imaginable way, both symbolic and physical. The most irrational have demanded that the formats where these cards live and thrive should exterminated, as if the mass execution of eternal magic could somehow tarnish and eventually topple the grandeur of Power. For an endless assortment of reasons, not the least of which is the reserve list, Old Magic cards and their climbing value coupled with diminishing supply have been under relentless assault.

For the moment, the clamor has mostly died down. The zealots have been quelled, or are at least exhausted temporarily by their anger and rhetoric. The mob has dispersed, laying down their torches and pitchforks to return to Friday Night Magic and their Planeswalker Point Carnival Games. They will return, no doubt, but for the moment I am enjoying the silence. When I started this piece over a month ago, I could hardly hear this Immortal Technique song over the foul ruckus of the indignant masses.

In the MTG Underground, we do not hate our roots. We embrace where we came from. I will jam my Black Lotus into any and every deck, shuffling it near a glass of whiskey or a Green Mana Battery without a second thought. There is no price you can attach to my possessions to keep me from enjoying them as they were designed. It is one of the few things in this world that I do that can be described as “intended use.” So I will do it with commitment and disregard for popular or unpopular opinion. I do whatever the fuck I want.

Love not Law.

crowley

The fear will be sowed and the hate will flow. Seek higher ground, and look down on those who demand the death of our magic. Revel in the paradise of a finer game, and dismiss their begrudging angst against our pleasure. As they slander your name, as they blame us for the Reserve List, magic’s greatest scapegoat and boogeyman, smile quietly to yourself. Their fury is meant for the predatory opportunism that is ingrained into the fabric of what magic has become, not for the beauty of our formats.

The accusing fingers will wag with facile contempt for our holiest of relics, ignoring the Icatian Moneychangers who have set up shop in their modern temple. As they are sold overpriced product and overhyped promises, the resplendent radiance of our Valhalla shines bright enough to expose the filthy streets of the Police State of their modern Utopia. It will rouse them, but no amount of opposition can crumble our Ivory Tower. Vintage Magic Never dies. It was forged in the days before its detractors learned to walk, let alone war. They are many, but there are dozens of us. Dozens. And we have the Power.

Are you still listening to me?

Look, it is pretty simple:

“For all ya mages that don’t play vintage and oldshcool magic

Don’t get on the internet and talk about vintage and oldschool magic

‘Cause nine times out of ten you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about

Talk about that bullshit magic that you play

And stay the fuck out of mine”

-Ith Cube “Vintage Magic Made Me Do It

But do not misunderstand.

I am not encouraging you to buy old or expensive magic cards.

It is a terrible idea.

But you already know that, and you are going to do what you want, which is the way it should be. You may not need a set of Power, but if you have the means and the desire there is no reason for me to stop you. And likewise, there is no reason for you to stop me. We are a tight-knit band of degenerates, and our mission is to enable each other. Pour another round of shots and help find the last Guardian Beast for your Oldschool deck. Practicality be damned.

And if you cannot afford or do not want to buy expensive magic cards, grab some basic lands and a sharpie. Or fire up your printer. If you play cards with me, you can proxy whatever you want. Just because I do not use proxies does not mean that you must refrain. Contrary to what you may have heard, I do want you to play magic.

Just because I am particular and elitist about my collection does not mean I apply the same ideas to your cards. Not everyone has the means or motive to do what I do, just as I do not have the ability to own everything that others have. My collection is under five hundred cards. And I could probably trade my cards for a nice boat. But I do not know how to shuffle a boat, so that notion is out from the start. I will just keep playing magic instead, which means I will keep acquiring old, rare, and often useless cards. No finance or prestige motives. No warped idealism or compulsory missions. It is about doing what I want to do without regard for the opinions others may or may not have about it.

I will not try to justify my actions. My lifestyle is not something anyone else should live in the shadow of or attempt to recreate. Drinking is bad for you. Drugs are bad for you. Waking up on top of a cooler full of garden gnomes is bad for you. Buying expensive magic cards is bad for you. Buying anything is bad for you.

buy things

Buying a Black Lotus was far from the worst decision I have made, any of the times I have done it. It could be argued that selling and buying back at a higher price is pretty terrible, but timelines blur and the utilization of money gets hazy when taken out of context. I could tell you depraved stories that make the purchase of expensive cardboard seem trivial. In fact I have told you stories, but that is besides the point.

You should do what is best for you. No one else will be able to determine what that is, you have to make that decision for yourself. Right or wrong is for you to resolve. Taking advice from others is a reckless gesture bound to throw you off course. This is your ship, do not let someone else be the captain. People are terrible, so their influence is dangerous. That goes for everyone. Even me.

Never take advice from me.

We each have our own standards for our collection. We forge a relationship with the cards we own. Some things hold sentimental value in spite of a lack of application while others are practical and feel like a necessity. After some tumultuous decisions a year or two ago, my collection changed not only in nature but also in composition. I now have as many Beta pieces of power as I do Dual Lands. I have no Fetch Lands but I have Juzam Djinns. I have more Mox Jets than I do Planeswalkers. It is ideal for me, but this strange and wonderful assembly of cards would service most magic players poorly.

The average Magic Player would sell my collection and buy greedily into Modern or Commander, only to loathe the life they made for themselves in the aftermath. It is easy to pass judgment on others, but when staring at your own cards, they become the Abyss that perpetually stares back. No matter how quickly or violently you gouge out the eyes, it still sees you, and you still see what you have done.

If spending your birthday money from your grandparents on every Narwhal on every website you can think of makes you happy, fuck it. Maybe it is a better idea than grabbing a box of [insert current set name here] or a few grams of Serum Powder. Someone will detest you for it, and they will write terrible condemnations in the vast space of the internet. But you will have a shoe box full of a homelands rare.

Who really wins there?

Just remember, if you decide to buy an ounce of Green Mana instead of your fourth Underground Sea, make sure you do not buy it from a cop. Have some damn sense.

The glee or the guilt of your actions belong exclusively to you.

oscar wilde

If you pursue terrible decisions, I will make the most appropriate company. I will never deter you from your quest for oblivion, and I will be a delightful companion for the ride through hell. I will know many of the demons and devils you face along the way, though I will do nothing but meddle and celebrate. But if you fall asleep and leave me alone in the darkness, I will snort all of your serum powder, scribble an unintelligible thank you note in the sand, probably with my own blood, and disappear quietly into the night. In your newfound abandonment, as you start to curse my name, remember that I left you with a story that few others could offer.

Always remember, the cost of admission to the MTG Underground is only what you choose to give to it. Almost every event I play in allows proxies. Every event I organize allows unlimited proxies. That means if you want to play Vintage Battle of Wits, you can do that without owning a single card. And if you are comfortable with that I will support it. I recognize that not every segment of the community does this. It is not the right approach for every scenario. If unlimited proxies (I am not going to start calling them playtest cards either, they are fucking proxies) is not right for your scene, do something else. In your house, you get to make the rules. But this is what works in my Fight Club.

You are not your DCI number.

If you do not like the magic you play, throw it away and play the magic you like. No one can stop you. If you want to drink beers and listen to loud music while you play, find a few degenerate bastards and start your own scene. You do not have to play cards in a game store, and you do not need WER to jam games against like-minded fiends. Not qualified for the Pro Tour? Hold an MTG Underground Invitational. Make the cost of admission a bottle of whiskey and a prestigious magic card. Invite the guys who you want to drink with or who will bring a deck that is a blast to jam games against.

Manifest Destiny.

The American Dream is not swimming in the mainstream. It is hustling up cash games in a poorly lit basement and hoping you never find out what it did with your sister. And it is not exclusively American either. The beautiful truth about the world we live in is that there are lunatics with an affinity for our passions both near and far. And through this strange and fascinating web if technology, we have found ways to weave our worlds together.

Underground Magic does not have to be all about Vintage and Oldschool. I talk about those formats because typically I play those formats. There is some buzz circulating about Classic (when I ran it we called it Pre-Modern Vintage) that sounds amazing, if you are interested in that sort of thing, check it out here. If you like limited, hustle up your favorite sets and get that shit going. Almost every year for my birthday I get some guys together to draft Mercadian Masques block, because that was when I learned to draft and is still my favorite way to do it. The point is to play whatever you want however you want and not worry about how others want to tell you it is supposed to be done.

Some rainy day in the future I am going to tray to assemble the Haups Cube that was shared with me by Magnus de Laval of Oldschool MTG. I will not go into detail here but if you are not following his blog, you should be. Check it frequently, he posts far more often than I do.

But the Underground Mindset is not just about formats. Deck choices are important, but not for the reasons most aspiring magic writers will try to convince you with their propaganda and rhetoric. The most important thing to do is to play decks that you love. Do not worry about what is well positioned or the best deck. Winning should always be secondary to playing. If someone tells you otherwise, question that monster with extreme suspicion. Those are not the type of people who will enrich your experience. Do not let other people talk you out of your passion. If you give it up, no matter how far you make it there will be no joy at the end of the road. It will lay dead beside the dreams you left behind.

It is no great secret that I dislike Legacy as a format. It has not always been this way, and it was Legacy that helped me get back to where I am. When I moved to California, knowing no one and having no idea what I was doing, I started going to local card shops to get a feel for the game a few thousand miles from where I grew up. What I found was a grassroots legacy scene organized and promoted by an LGS that had a fantastic relationship with its community and shared a passion for Eternal Magic. That store was Knight Ware in Studio City, California, and my chance encounter with Lori, the owner, sparked a lifelong friendship and introduced me to Legacy.

These are different times, and as my love for Vintage is not only rekindled but as strong as it has ever been, as my passion for Oldschool continues to expand and find new limits, my love for Legacy has diminished. But for all the disdain I feel for the format, it is offset by the elation I find in playing my favorite deck in the format. I have practically built a cult around my love for Goblin Charbelcher, aka the People’s Cannon, and in addition to putting up some results with it over the years I have gone to great lengths to share my fanaticism.

As a result I have found many a drunken vigilante who shares my madness. They have that same wild look in their eye and share the belief that the most effective way to play around something on turn two is to win on turn one. While we obviously hold high reverence for a deck that is not the flagship of the format, we are not delusional about its unsound methods or questionable reliability. We just know there is more to magic than winning at any cost. We will do it on our terms.

And we will have time to step out to our car and pound a few beers before the next set of pairings go up. We will be able to explore the vendor tables at a GP or use the restroom every round (a naturally occurring need when you are slamming 24 ounces of salvation over and over) without letting it impact our game. This is part of the Belcher Cult Life. My bias is heavy. The People’s Cannon is the only deck I will play in Legacy because it is the only way I can find pleasure in it.

Belcher gives me a reason to play Legacy. This is why I have devoted my life to teaching others the way of the Cannon.

good guys 7

Did you know I wrote a web comic for a while? Perhaps I will do an update with all of them in it. The Good Guys was far too good for its audience.

 

Part Two: Far Beyond Driven

The Summer is the busiest time of my life. There are precious few hours when I am not working, and for the bulk of the last couple months I have been fortunate enough to spend those hours with my daughter. She visits for a handful of weeks while she is out of school, and I am grateful for the bonding time, even if it is just for a few hours every night and a myriad of planned and unplanned Sunday activities.

This leaves no time for Magic and little time for writing. So before my life vanished into endless toil, I took a weekend off near the beginning of June to attend GP Columbus. I did not plan to play in the main event, and I resolved to avoid the madness that became GP Detroit. This was a casual trip that would be full of relaxation in my favorite two forms: Drinking with friends and playing Vintage and Oldschool Magic.

So now, over two months later, I am finally writing about the Grand Prix. It is not coverage in the traditional sense, so the time sensitivity of most people’s analysis does not apply. If you were looking for mainstream content you should have found that any number of places a long time ago. I never even wandered into the main event area, and I have no idea what happened. It does not matter who or what won the event. The real story, the true spirit of the weekend, was found just tables away, in the hearts and minds of the Underground. We were there, in small numbers, enjoying their event more than they could possibly understand.

There will be nothing conventional about the journey we are about to take together, a stroll through snapshots, musings, memories, and a fair amount of magic that I am finally trying to give some life and order. There will be no corporate slogans. No clickbait articles from your favorite pro player. No store front to sell you cards from hyperlinked deck lists shared exclusively to lure you into buying overpriced singles. I brought nothing trendy back from Columbus. No product. No message. No smoke and mirrors. Just Bullshit. Unadulterated MTG Bullshit.

drunk magic

“I am not drunk, the world is just blurry right now” -Shaman Ben, Any Given Sunday

 

Where do I begin?

I took Friday off so we could head down early, hoping to catch the afternoon Vintage event and scour the vendors for the last few German cards to complete my small, focused collection. But on Tuesday, my driver was detained and I was suddenly not sure I would be attending at all. My lifestyle, even on a toned down weekend, does not allow for me to drive myself to this sort of thing, so it was going to take some work and some good fortune to pull things together.

But as soon as I found myself without a path, my phone rang and a back up driver volunteered his services. In addition to transportation, he arranged for us to stay with a mutual friend and bypass the need for lodging. Everything fell perfectly into place, accept that Jeff had to work Friday and we would head down in the evening instead. Vintage would have to do without me for the day.

We agreed to meet at RIW Hobbies in Livonia, Michigan at six. For once I was prompt, but Jeff is rather small and sometimes his short legs keep him from being punctual. So I grabbed a couple of tall cans from the gas station adjoining the parking lot and wandered in to wait.

I was lurking in the back and drinking a  beer when one of the shirts from the store asked if I wanted to play FNM. I agreed without hearing him, used the restroom, and headed up front to watch for my driver. I was sipping from the can when my first round opponent found me to see if I was ready to play.

What the fuck was I doing?

I sat my beer on the table and fumbled around in my bag for my deck. My opponent did not express any concern, which kept the mood light as I sipped it again and began to shuffle. I won the die roll, he cut my deck, and I drew my hand. I waited for him to keep, and opened with Mishra’s Workshop.

“That’s not legal” he laughed nervously.

“Its pretty good.”

“Yeah but you can’t play that in Standard,” he retorted.

His eyes said he was annoyed, his hands suggested he was unsettled.

“Are you going to tell?” I antagonized.

He was quiet but looked flustered.

” You going to call a judge on me?” I asked. “You like telling on people?”

“Come on dude, this is crazy.”

I held his eyes with my gaze and tapped the Workshop. I played a Grindstone, declared my two floating mana, and slammed a Painter’s Servant.

“Blue.”

“What?” His bewilderment dripped from his lips.

“Blue. For Painter.”

“How the hell am I supposed to play against this with my Standard deck?” he blurted desperately.

Maybe you should not play Standard,” I responded as I casually played my Mox Jet. I tapped it, smiled, and cast Demonic Consultation.

“Far Beyond Driven. I will name Black Lotus.”

I was surprised he was still sitting there. He started to look around for help, for anyone to save him, but I was merciless.

“There is nothing in Standard as exciting as Consulting for a Restricted Card. You should try a better format”

I flipped the top six, and the Lotus was not in them. I grinned and began flipping the cards one by one, when I suddenly forgot whether or not Demonic Consultation exiled itself upon resolution. I flipped up the Lotus, put it in my hand, and tried to read the German text to no avail.

I finished my beer, sat the can on the floor, and called a Judge for Oracle Text. He meandered over and looked at the table in complete confusion. I do not think he heard me as I asked about Consultation. He was too busy telling me that I could not play my Vintage deck at FNM. I think he was more upset than my opponent.

I conceded the game with a First Turn Kill in progress. The judge wanted to talk to me away from the table, and I did not want to leave my deck behind. As we stepped over to the Judge’s station at the front, he tried to stay calm as he asked me what I thought I was doing.

“I am a Vintage Player,” I grinned.

“This is FNM, not a Vintage tournament,” he replied.

I asked him why he would invite me to play if I was not allowed to play my deck. He was at a loss for words, so I shook my head and told him that this was his own doing. I did my best to shame him into letting me continue, but he was having none of it. As we bantered about the matter I opened my second beer, making his life harder. When it was clear that he would not let me go on playing my deck, I agreed to concede the match and drop from the event. As I did so, my Hobbit sized driver wandered into the store like he had a ring in his pocket.

I finished my second beer while we loaded the car and decided to grab two more for the road. We left late enough that we did not plan to head to the site, but instead head straight to David’s place to crash. We stopped on the way at Meijer ( a large Midwest grocery and department store chain) for frozen pizzas, whiskey, and an extra change of clothes for Jeff, given his history with vomiting on himself or others during the course of Magic Weekends.

By midnight we were in the depths of drunken revelry, celebrating the weekend to come. I loaned out my decks and a few assorted cards from my collection, sorted the small stack of cards I brought to get rid of, and made sure my Vintage and Oldschool decks were in my bag. It may have been a Legacy Grand Prix, but it was a vacation for me. I was there to enjoy myself. My day would be full of Unorthodox Social Activity, day drinking, and the best formats in Magic.

Morning flooded through the window a little too swiftly for my liking. I rose before the others and started my breakfast with two shots of moonshine. I chased them with a beer and followed it with another. About this time the others began to stir, so I finished my second bottle in the shower.

We headed to the site early because the rest of my crew was playing in the Grand Prix. This gave me time to head to the RIW Hobbies booth, ensure that both players who were borrowing my Belcher decks were ready, and begin coordinating what promised to be the high point of my weekend.

The Acquisition of my Beta Mox Ruby and Mox Pearl.

When I decided to once again buy power I decided that I would get an Unlimited Set and be happy with it. The rapid series of accessions tested my resources and my comfort, but it hit a roadblock when it came to finding an Unlimited Mox Sapphire locally (I resolved to obtain all of my power from my local community.) A Beta Sapphire fell within reach, and with Eternal Weekend 2014 lingering on the horizon I decided to settle for one black bordered piece, content to downgrade it later.

But the truth was sealed in blood at that moment. It was a year later before it began to manifest, but I found the opportunity to trade my Unlimited Mox Emerald towards a Beta one, keeping me from ever realizing the dream of having a white bordered Sapphire. I decided that I would just have the two of them, but I would go no further.

A year later I began negotiations for the Ruby, and found the Pearl also in reach. To make matters better, the upgrade would help my friend  @sigfig8 obtain his Black Lotus, something that I say I would never help someone do, but in honest disclosure, if you are looking to take the plunge I will be there with a needle and a spoon. We met at 8:30 on a Saturday morning, and with little effort and mutual agreement we made the exchange.

darkpact

After a survey of the room and several appraisals of beautiful pieces of cardboard, I helped Sig settle on the right Lotus and was there to help him celebrate his monumental accomplishment. I was a willing opponent for the first games it would experience with its new owner, and we sat down to battle Oldschool for a couple hours. He was playing Deadguy Ale, a deck that my Electric Head (Counter Burn) tends to do well against, as long as I am not staring down a First Turn Juzam Djinn. As such, I won the majority of the games, but many of them were close victories. In the end it was not about the results but the experience, and we were both soaring on the rush of newly acquired power.

Electric Head

 Above: My Electric Head deck as played at the GP but featuring the more recently acquired Beta Mox Jet

Below: Left: Sig’s Deadguy Ale deck Right: A shot from one of our games featuring my Unlimited Mox Jet

Following our games I signed up for the afternoon Vintage tournament, eager to play some games with 2 Card Monte, my favorite deck I have ever played in the format, except for maybe Worldgorger Dragon in the Pre-Modern era. I followed up by also playing in the Evening Vintage Event, as well as the Sunday Afternoon event.

2 Card

This picture was taken after the event, featuring the Beta Jet I had RIW Hobbies bring back from Pittsburgh for me, but it accurately depicts the deck as I played it at the Grand Prix. This is also not a current build.

The noon event was Eleven or so players, and was stacked to the brim with Talent. I went 3-1, winning a round for each shot of whiskey I did during the event. I defeated Mentor, White Eldrazi, and BUG Fish, losing tragically to Thundermaw Hellkite.

The evening event was ten or twelve players, and I was 4-0 at the end, once again swallowing a swig of Jameson for each victory. I defeated Living Belcher, Dark Petition Storm, Bomberman, and Dredge.

Before the Sunday event, which had something like 28 players, I was enjoying the company of Team Serious when I was asked to Jailbreak a graded card. It was a Beta Mox Sapphire that belonged to @winedope aka the Legendary Matt Hazard, and they even brought a knife (which was fortunate, as it was a rare instance that I did not have one in my possession.)

Ben Jailbreak

That is correct.

They trusted me with a knife and a graded Beta Mox Sapphire. I love these crazy bastards.

But wait, there is more.

There is a video.

I went 3-2 in the event, dropping the first round to Dragon and the third to a Mentor deck that featured Nahiri and Emrakul. I defeated TKS shops twice and Dark Petition Storm.

There are a few other tales I could share from the Grand Prix. One involves some friends after they left the bar in an Uber. I could explain how I watched their car get sideswiped, and how the culprit fled on foot from the Police. But if I did that, I would feel obliged to incriminate a friend by suggesting that he wanted to plant drugs in the man’s car while he was fleeing from the cop (fortunately I was a stranger in a strange land, and out of Serum Powder and Green Mana, not to mention Spore Frogs.) Doing so would be ugly, so I am going to refrain.

Instead I will share my Jet with you once more.

mox jet

This completed the five, and set me on my way to seeking Blue Cards and the most sacred of all, a Black Lotus. I sent some cards with RIW Hobbies to GP Pittsburgh to obtain this wonder, and I am grateful to have such powerful connections as friends. It is greater thanks for organizing and promoting Vintage for them than I could have ever asked for, but it fuels the passion I have for the work that I do. And somehow in the process I retained my Unlimited Jet, and have stuck it thoughtlessly into my Mono Black Oldschool deck. If I can do the same with my Lotus, when that heavy and fateful day falls, I will be able to have two properly powered decks to wield.

In case you needed a reminder that I am a madman and I love my cards.

Up next is my summary of the Team Serious Invitational that was held in mid July. I will save it for the next blog update, as winning the event left me with an endless amount of material to discuss. But before I go, I will share with you the Playlist of Videos and the Serious Vintage Podcast with me as a guest discussing that event and the MTG Underground in general.

So until next time, Drink Whiskey, Play Magic, and Buy Old Magic Cards. Or Do not. It does not matter.

The Doctor has left the Building.

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6 thoughts on “Vintage Magic Made Me Do It

  1. This is the best “magic” blog I’ve ever read. You’ve puts words to how I actually feel about the game and how I want to play it. It’s not about large collections, metagamíng, etc. but about playing with cards/decks you like. I’ve come back to the game in recent years (with no cards) and reacquired a large collection. First by buying into modern, because that’s what everyone was playing. However, I found it boring and I wanted to play with the “old” cards I knew from my childhood. Then I bought into legacy and became part of the local legacy scene. However, it’s too competitive to my taste. When I discovered the existence of the Old School format I knew it was it…. I immediately decided to got trade my entire legacy collection to get a deck or two. I’m almost there AND with the Power 9 within arm’s reach.

    Like

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