Duel With Ruel – Vintage and Legacy Tournament Reports

Tuesday, May 25th – In a break from our advertized scheduling, Antoine Ruel avoids Standard to play a few Magic formats in which the spells are more powerful than the creatures: Legacy and Vintage! Antoine shares his decks, matches, and stories from the recent Bazaar of Moxen weekend in France, packed with broken turns and massive prizes!

This week’s article will be a little special. As I’ve not have access to the internet for a week, I could not test any matchups with anyone. Instead, I’ll report from a Legacy and Vintage tournament weekend I recently attended. As I do play in these tournaments very often, it seems like the appropriate time for me to write about these two very exciting formats.

The Bazaar of Moxen is a tournament held once a year in France. The Saturday features a Legacy tournament with 40 black-bordered dual lands for the winner, 40 white-bordered dual lands for second, a Black Lotus for third, and so on. The Sunday welcomes a Vintage tournament with a complete set of Power 9 for the winner. People come from a lot of different countries to try to win big; there were 560 players for the Legacy tournament, and 380 for the Vintage.

I got to the site on Friday, and a lot of tournaments were already being held: multiple 32-person flight trials (giving byes for the main events) with a Mox to earn, and 2 black-bordered 3rd Edition drafts, with a Time Walk for the winner and a Library of Alexandria for the runner up. I played one of these, and drafted this:

1 Drain Life
1 Fireball
1 Disintegrate
1 Stone Rain (filler)
1 Black Vise (bad on the draw, okay on the play; the only time I had it in my opening hand on the play, my opponent took a mulligan)
1 Dark Ritual (might help the 20 lands)
1 Pestilence (as usual : broken)
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Power Sink
2 Spell Blast (not such a nice splash)

1 Earth Elemental
2 Frozen Shade
1 Hypnotic Specter
1 Mons’s Goblin Raiders (filler)
1 Hurloon Minotaur
1 Gray Ogre (filler)
1 Scavenging Ghoul (better than I thought)
1 Bog Wraith

10 Swamp
7 Mountain
3 Island

Sideboard :
1 Simulacrum
1 Flashfire
2 Red Elemental Blast

I really expected to open some dual lands, but I obviously did not. The guy on my right, playing his first sanctioned draft, opened an Underground River and a Plateau, plus he cracked a Volcanic Island in his 5/8th place booster… must be nice.

Even with 4 packs, it was really hard to get enough playable cards, as most of the boosters included between 4 and 6 basic lands plus a lot of unplayable cards. I had two choices during the draft: I picked Disintegrate over Nevinyrral’s Disk first pick first pack, and Fireball over Mind Twist later on. A deck with Fireball and Disintegrate cannot be really bad, and the 20 lands (argh) should almost be okay; anyway, with six filler cards, I had nothing else to run.

I won my first match easily, then struggled to beat the double Dragon Whelp, double Resurrection, Fireball deck, and I split in the final round. The games were fun and relaxed, but the average card quality was very low.

I playtested Legacy a little, and did not like any of the decks I tested much. I decided that I would run a control deck to allow my opponents to make mistakes, but I had to find an unexpected one, so that people would not understand what was happening.

Guillaume Wafo-Tapa gave me his decklist:

I absolutely loved the decklist. Counterspell is a card that I miss a lot in Constructed, and I was really happy to play it once again. The Wrath of God might seem bad, but they can actually deal with Progenitus, Reanimated guys, small creatures decks …. As I expected many aggressive decks, the 3 Engineered Explosives would be good; more, those 3 artifacts are also good against decks such as Counterbalance, as you can cast them for 6 mana if you want to, spending only 2 different colors, to keep it out of reach of the Blue enchantment.

I was interested in Wafo’s results in his Legacy trial, and he told me of a very nice game:

Guillaume won game 1, and his opponent started the second game and cast a third turn Tarmogoyf with a Red mana up. Wafo had 2 lands, Swords to Plowshares, and Spell Snare in hand. He decided to play the counter to get rid of a probable Pyroblast, then exile the Green creature. The Spell Snare resolved, then his opponent played Summoning Trap for Iona, Shield of Emeria, and then a second Trap on Emrakul, the Aeons Torn… GG. Game 3, Guillaume played turn 2 Meddling Mage on Summoning Trap, but his opponent had a Boseiju, Who Shelters All, then cast Through the Breach on Emrakul… and Wafo scooped.

I was surprised to see that the tournament organizer gave up to 2 byes on rating; as I am in the Hall of Fame, I sometimes scoop games, not expecting to use my rating any more. Combined with bad results lately, I had no byes.

Round 1 — Fish, 1-2

I played first in game 1, going for a turn 2 Standstill, but my opponent played turn 1 Aether Vial. I drew 2 more Standstills and no Brainstorm, and lost.

My opponent kept using his Aether Vial in his first main step for no reason, so all my Wrath effects were more powerful than they should have been, giving me game 2.

Game 3 I died with 5 counters in hand to his 3 Mutavaults in the first 4 turns.

Round 2 – BGW Land Destruction/Discard, 2-0

I played first, and played a Standstill on turn 2 against his Scrubland[/author]“][author name="Scrubland"]Scrubland[/author]. He played Mishra’s Factory and started attacking me. When I was on 7 life, he decided to play a Vindicate on one of my Tundras, allowing me to draw 3 cards when I was about to crack the enchantment myself, and with a 6-card difference, I won.

Game 2, he mulliganed on the play and kept a hand with Bayou, Dark Ritual, Phyrexian Arena, Hymn to Tourach, Duress, and Hypnotic Specter. He chose the worst possible play: turn 1 Dark Ritual, Duress, Hymn to Tourach. I discarded, drew, and he had two three-mana spells in hand. A few turns later, he scooped to Jace, the Mind Sculptor without having cast another spell.

Round 3: White Stax, 2-0

It took me about 10 turns to understand that he was not playing a weird version of the Land deck. Engineered Explosives proved to be very good, but an Armageddon destroyed my board one turn before I could activate Elspeth, Errant-Knight’s ultimate ability. We had a lot of rules problems because of my Humility. First, we traded a 1/1 token with Mishra’s Factory, before the guy next to us explains that the land is still a 2/2 creature (I am not so good with rules). Then, he played The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. I was on 1 life with one Island and 2 fetchlands on the table, and had made all my permanents indestructible while he had Crucible of Worlds, 7 lands (including 2 Wasteland), and 2 Ghostly Prison on the board. As I thought that his land would force me to SACRIFICE my 1/1 tokens, they just kept dying during my upkeeps. At some point I wondered what the interaction between the Tabernacle and Humility was, and called a judge who explained to us that I would not have to pay any upkeep cost. My neighbor (I noticed that neighbors are very good with rules) told us that all my permanents were indestructible…I should read my opponent’s cards when I face them for the first time, I guess. The judge went away, and I was planning to ask my opponent if I could have all my tokens back, but he decided to concede the game. Even if he could not kill me anymore, he would pretty much have decked me no matter what. One more free game… I love Legacy.

The 3 Krosan Grip in the sideboard led me to an easy win in game 2.

Round 4: ANT, 2-1

I won game 1, but it was really close thanks to a lot of counters. I was surprised because every single ANT decklist I saw was exactly the same, but he had Orim’s Chant and Silence main deck instead of the usual discard spells.

I did not draw many counters game 2, and I attacked with Mishra’s Factory when he cast Orim’s Chant with 2 mana up and probably enough to combo off this turn. I tapped out to cast Spell Pierce; he paid, and then passed the turn instead of just trying to kill me. On the following turn, he finally decided to combo when I had all my mana untapped except for a Mishra’s Factory and an Island (and no counters); he played many spells, then Doomsday with no more cards in hand, a Lion’s Eye Diamond, and a Sensei’s Divining Top on the table. He started resolving his Black sorcery and asked me if he could sacrifice his Black Lotus proxy in response. I answered that it was too late, even though it did not change anything as he had no cards in hand, and he scooped his cards.

When we were sideboarding, he realized that I was dead anyway (Doomsday for Meditate, 3 Dark Rituals and Tendrils of Agony, sac the Diamond, draw Meditate, cast it, then kill me).

A third match given to me by my opponent in 4 rounds… nice!

Round 5 ANT: 2-1

I topdecked Force of Will off a Brainstorm to counter his Ad Nauseam in game 1, then lost game 2 and won the third.

The tournament was 9 rounds total and then a Top 16, for 560 players; as I lost the first round, I would now need 3 wins and a draw to reach my goal.

Round 6 — Faeries, ID

I played against my friend who’d lost round 2. We decided to ID and try to win out the last 3 rounds.

Round 7 – BWR Landstill, 0-2

I cast Standstill on turn 3, then played a Mishra’s Factory and Wasteland. A few turns later, I cracked my own enchantment. It’s impossible to win a control mirror when you play an Ancestral Recall on your opponent. Game 2 he played 3 Mishra’s Factories in the 4 first turns, and destroyed me.

No Top 16 for me, but top 50 was still at least 10 Worldwake packs.

Round 8 – No Doran (or whatever you call it), 2-0

Game one was very close. At some point I had Jace, the Mind Sculptor; Elspeth, Knight-Errant; and Standstill on the table, when he had lands and no cards in hand. He drew Thoughtseize to get rid of the Elspeth I drew from the enchantment. Then he drew Elspeth when I kept drawing useless cards, then another Elspeth, and I realized that my only out was to kill him with Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I played Wrath of God, then Engineered Explosives, Day of Judgment, another Explosives and then Swords to Plowshares, to deal with one token a turn, and eventually won.

Game 2, I played the Blue Planeswalker, which won all by itself.

Round 9: ANT 2/1

I lost game 1 despite 7 Mishra’s Factory attacks (the more life he has, the better Ad Nauseam will be). He killed me with Ill-Gotten Gains. As he was the third guy to play the deck with Orim’s Chant and Silence, I boarded in Faerie Macabre. The “tech” did not need to work out, as I got game 2 quickly with Meddling Mage (I usually named Mystical Tutor), and game 3 he played Silence on turn 3; I countered with Spell Pierce, then he cast Dark Ritual, Diabolic Intent, sacrificing his Lion’s Eye Diamond in response, but I had a Spell Snare up, which won the match.

I was happy to get 10 Worldwake packs with a 6/2/1 record, but as I needed a Jace, the Mind Sculptor for Vintage, I opened the packs and gave my eleven non-Jace rares (one foil) to my flatmate. What an idiot.

For the record, Omar Rohner, a very nice guy and good player from Switzerland/Spain, won the 40 dual lands with Mono Blue Fish.

Wafo-Tapa lost in the semis and got a Black Lotus as a reward. The deck was really good, and I loved playing it. Jace was so good that I decided to run Guillaume Matignon (Wafo’s alter ego) Vintage decklist, which had Jace as its only win condition.

I absolutely hate the Voltaic Key/ Time Vault combo, which is too strong and beaks the Vintage format.

Here is Matignon’s decklist:

Most of the Vintage decks have about 40 cards in common, but I figured that the list was original enough to have fun and win when my opponents have no broken draws.

Round 1 – Oath, 1-2

Jace, the Mind Sculptor won game 1 by itself, then he got a broken draw game 2 and I lost.

Game 3 was really interesting. At some point he played Oath of Druids when he knows that I was empty handed on the previous turn. I sacced my Polluted Delta in response, then cast a Brainstorm to get a counterspell. The third card was Spell Pierce (he only had one mana untapped and no cards in hand). I smiled, as my topdeck would very likely win the match.

I loved this weekend because I was the underdog every round. None of my opponents had ever heard of me, and I always introduced myself as someone who had not play the two formats for years (which is true), and as someone who was playing his first game with his deck in the first round (which was also true).

So, back to the game. As I smiled, my opponent knew that I’d topdecked, and hoping that I was an inexperienced idiot, he said, “sorry, but I did not cut your deck after you fetched.”He obviously had done so, and my friend behind me confirmed it afterwards. A judge came and allowed me to keep my cards. It is sick to see how people can lie to a judge just because they think that their opponent knows nothing about Magic.

A few turns later, I had to choose between drawing with my Jace or looking at the top card of his library. I’d already spent 3 Force of Wills, and had Ray of Revelation in my graveyard. The only thing I was afraid of would be my opponent’s Time Vault on the board, but he had no cards in hand. I decide to look at his top card, to kill him in 3 turns rather than try to hit something from my own deck. I see Time Walk and decide to put it on the bottom of his deck (in case he draws Yawgmoth’s Will). He draws Brainstorm and gets Voltaic Key out of it. I lose to a Voltaic Key against a deck that can only use it to untap Moxen. I hate that combo.

Round 2: I do not know what the deck was, 1-2

My first Italian opponent of the weekend. As usual, Jace, the Mind Sculptor won the first game, then my opponent started mumbling “I should win this matchup…”. As I lost games 2 and 3, he was really a nice person, but my friend playing against him in the following round just hated him. The guy kept muttering random insults in Italian for the whole match, and when my friend called a Judge, the guy pretended that he was insulting his own friend stood two meters behind him …

I dropped after this round because my article would have been too long to write had I continued (and maybe because I was fed up with Magic at this point…)

In the end, a German guy won the tournament, and as he made Top 8 the day before, he earned the special price for the best result on average during the 2 tournaments. He earned a non-scanned Alpha pack!

I loved playing a tournament in which the spells were better than the creatures. It was really friendly, and the prize pool actually made sense. I hope that some people will lend me the cards for the next one, so I can play some more enjoyable Magic games.

Next time, the testing will be back. Until then, good luck!