Top Eight Coverage
For the top eight, I obviously couldn’t cover every match myself. Of those who tried to help me, Marc Perez was asked to leave by one of the players he was covering because of his affiliation with the other player in that match. Thankfully Josh O covered the second game, but because of the incomplete coverage, I’m not including it. Also, Micahel Simister’s Goblin Charbelcher vs. Nick Trudeau’s TnT is a matchup both uncovered and uninteresting. That leaves Mark Biller versus Kevin Cron (which StarCityGames.com Featured Writer Philip Stanton covered) and Giovanni Conedera versus Tom Rotchadl as the quarterfinals matches covered.
Kevin Cron a.k.a. CHA1N5 vs. Mark Biller a.k.a. Windfall
Kevin wins the die roll and unveils his swiss-dominating shuffling tech: seven piles, riffle three times, five piles, riffle three times, seven piles, riffle three times. You can’t argue with a no-mulligan record for the swiss rounds, even if it did take quite a while to go through the whole routine.
Kevin took his first mulligan of the day after seeing the opening hand of Meditate, Demonic Tutor, Tinker, Goblin Welder, Welder, Wasteland, and Tolarian Academy. His six were much better: Smokestack, Trinisphere, Tangle Wire, Welder, Wasteland, Mishra’s Workshop.
The game exploded with Mishra’s Workshop–Trinisphere, Mark casting Force of Will, pitching Mana Drain. Mark didn’t have a counter next turn for Smokestack, followed soon with a Tangle Wire and a Welder. As the”counter, sac, tap, fade” stacking proceeded, Kevin cast Crucible of Worlds, bringing out a second Force. Kevin welded the Smokestack into Crucible and Mark conceded in the face of overwhelming prison advantage.
Kevin sideboarded out all but one Trinisphere, Hurkyl’s Recall, some of his Meditates, and a Sundering Titan. He stuck with the hand of Lotus Petal, Crucible of Worlds , Crucible, Fire / Ice, Mox Emerald, Wasteland, Tangle Wire. Mark mulliganed to six this game, and vocalized his desire not to go to five despite doubts about his hand.
Kevin’s first-turn Crucible was Forced (pitching Thirst for Knowledge), and both players went into draw-go mode. Mark accumulated mana while Kevin waited to draw out of his Emerald-Wasteland mana supply. Only on Kevin’s fifth turn did he topdeck the Workshop needed to resolve his Crucible, but fortunately for Mark, his lands were mostly basics and Moxen.
Immediately after the Crucible, Mark played Mindslaver. Kevin did his best to prevent the activation, casting Tangle Wire and Wasting both Volcanic Islands on Mark’s side of the table. He also played Tormod’s Crypt to neuter Mark’s potential future Welding, but held off on activating it. Kevin played Smokestack hoping to regain the lock he had last game, but he only got to put one counter on it before Mark assembled enough mana to activate his deck’s namesake. Kevin used his Crypt before passing his turn to Mark’s control.
Mark saw the hand of Meditate, Fire / Ice, Wheel of Fortune, Crucible, Triskelion, and Mana Crypt. He used the stack ordering to sacrifice both Crucible and Workshop, and spent a minute or so trying to think of a way to abuse the remainder of the hand, ending by playing Mana Crypt.
Kevin ramped up the Smokestack once again to four counters, obviously intent on clearing the board. He Meditated, discarding Tangle Wire and Triskelion. Mark resolved Ancestral Recall on his upkeep, then saw an entirely clear board, using his main phase to play an Underground Sea and Duress. Among Wheel, Crucible, Fire/Ice, and Grim Monolith, he took the Crucible. Kevin’s board was cleared on his upkeep, leading both players to chuckle at a one-permanent twelfth-turn board, then he played Wasteland.
Both players built up some additional mana, including two Brainstorms from Mark, leading into a Goblin Welder. Kevin made another lock effort with Tangle Wire, matched by Force of Will pitching Force. Kevin couldn’t prevent what he knew was coming.
Mark started his immense turn with Brainstorm, Polluted Delta (Kevin responded by Icing Underground Sea). Then Mark went Black Lotus (sac), Yawgmoth’s Will, replay Lotus, Mox, Mox, Mox, Ancestral, Brainstorm, Mana Crypt, Thirst for Knowledge, Mox, Sol Ring, Goblin Welder. With a Storm count of fifteen, it was apparent that he should have been playing Tendrils of Agony.
Kevin tried to come back from Mark’s extensive digging through his deck, playing a Smokestack. He charged a Sundering Titan into Mark’s last Force, then Wheeled. Mark responded with Thirst and Brainstorm, then let it resolve. Kevin drew Blue Elemental Blast, Trinisphere, Fire/Ice, Mox Jet, Welder, Strip Mine, and Demonic Tutor. He Fired the Welder, then passed the turn.
Game 3 Kevin started this game with some very bad draws; his opening seven combined three-mana spells with just two mana sources and no search. Going to six yielded Mox Emerald as the only source, but he managed to get a satisfactory five-card hand with Wasteland, Mana Crypt, Mox Pearl, Tinker, and Wheel of Fortune providing some hope of a broken recovery.
Kevin led with Wasteland, and Mark Duressed away his Wheel, clearly not happy about leaving Tinker behind. Kevin drew a Gemstone Mine and tried to Tinker, but Mark Forced it, Mystical Tutoring for his own Tinker, promptly getting Pentavus on his next turn. During the beatdown, Kevin tried to resolve a Goblin Welder, but the Welder was Drained and he scooped.
Mark Biller wins 2-1
Giovanni Conedera versus Tom Rotchadl
Giovanni is playing a deck of his own design, that when compared to any existing archetype looks most like Eric Miller’s The Man Show. Basically, it’s another Workshop/Welder variant, providing hard and heavy beats with Juggernauts and Su-Chis, but it’s also based on Black instead of the more common Blue, to utilize strong hosers like Chains of Mephistopheles as well as restricted goodies. Tom Rotchadl is playing something that looks like fairly standard U/R Fish, but if you look closer, you’ll notice something else… His list is unpowered! A player running none of the restricted expensive goodies has snuck by the higher power players with a deck based much more on being consistent than being broken.
Giovanni won the die roll, and elected to lead with Badlands, Mox Emerald, Mox Ruby, Blood Moon. Tom was thankful that he had an Island in hand, and played it. Giovanni played his Mana Crypt, and played a Gorilla Shaman and a Trinisphere. Tom played a Mountain, a.k.a. Strip Mine, and passes. Giovanni played Juggernaut and attacked for one. Tom played Grim Lavamancer. Giovanni played a second Juggernaut and swings for six. Tom played a Cloud of Faeries – a card that has never looked so bad! The game basically ends here, as Tom is forced to throw his board in front of the Juggernauts. Giovanni has a Goblin Welder for backup, and Tom scoops.
Tom leads in game two with a fetchland, which he breaks immediately for Volcanic Island. He then played a Grim Lavamancer and passed the turn to Giovanni. Gio plants a Swamp, and says go. Tom’s board is much more active. He dropped a Mishra’s Factory, played a Null Rod, and beat for one with his Lavamancer. Gio has a Mishra’s Workshop, and nothing else. Tom has a Wasteland for it, and the equivalent of a Lightning Bolt with little man beats.
Gio found another land, and sacrificed his fresh Bloodstained Mire to get a basic Mountain. He the cast Demonic Tutor, which Tom decided was a good thing to counter with Force of Will. Then Tom smacked Gio for three more damage, and passes. A big hubbub is exchanged when Giovanni played Chains of Mephistopheles. The table judge needed the exact wording, so we all waited for two minutes while some croney behind the desk printed it out for him. Tom swung for one with his little man, and then played Spiketail Hatchling, getting everyone back on track after the Chains issue. Giovanni played Bloodstained Mire, and passed again. Tom beat down for four, and played Faerie Conclave. Suddenly there’s a lot of clapping, and the word comes through that Stephen Menendian has been stopped after going undefeated in the swiss by Dave Allen of Team Short Bus. Giovanni has a Welder off the topdeck and a new artifact, but it’s not enough. While the clapping is still going on, he concedes, and game three commences.
Gio opens with Workshop, Mox Jet, Sol Ring, Trinisphere. Tom is forced to Force, pitching his Spiketail Hatchling. Tom has nothing but a Wasteland for Gio’s Workshop. Gio dropped a Mountain, cast Demonic Tutor and then played a Goblin Welder. Tom played an Island. Gio swapped out his Mox for a Trinisphere, and then played Blood Moon. Tom drops his Mishra’s Factory and passes. Gio floats some mana, and Welds in his Mox to play a Su-Chi. Tom drops an Island. Gio swings for four, but Tom has Rack and Ruin for Su-Chi and Trinisphere. Gio elects to allow it to resolve, instead of Welding out one of the targets for something in the bin. Tom played a Cloud of Faeries and a Strip Mine. Gio welded in his Su-Chi at the end of Tom’s turn, then beat down hard and welded it back out for Sol Ring, so he could cast his Triskelion. Tom played a Wasteland, and cast Null Rod. Gio swung with Trike, and said go. Tom played a Delta, and Gio used Tom’s end step as a perfect time to bring back the Su-Chi. Gio swung for eight more, and Tom packed up his cards.
Interview with the top 8: Tom Rotchadl
B: So Tom, where ya from?
T: I’m currently living in Minnesota.
B: I know the Wizards guy just asked you the same thing, but did you have any interesting plays today that you’d like to share?
T: I’m playing Fish, heh, the closest thing to exciting I get is an opening hand with two Wastelands.
B: If you could change anything about the metagame right now, what would you do?
T: I just wish that there was more combo and less Workshop aggro.
B: Were there any times today you felt like you should have won but you were beaten out?
T: There was one guy running that Crucible Fastbond combo. I really felt like I had the game.
B: How did you feel about the matchup against Giovanni just now?
T: I really feel like if I’m going second, it’s more or less impossible for me to win.
B: What kind of matchups did you particularly enjoy today?
T: I love the mirror, I was very prepared for it.
B: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the readers of StarCityGames.com?
T: I think my placing proves that you don’t need to be rich to succeed in Type One. You just need to know your limits and play something that can run well without the big stuff.
B: Thanks Tom.
T: Any time.
Semifinals Michael Simister versus David Allen
The Belcher deck, also known as The Clock, has already been discussed. But what is David Allen running? David’s list is nicknamed”5/3,” a clever joke based on his team’s most recent successful innovation in 7/10. 5/3 is a deck based very much around beating face while disrupting the opponent as much as possible; essentially it’s a good suicide deck. It runs Trinisphere, Crucible of Worlds, and large beaters, in addition to the usual Blue and Red artifact deck components like Goblin Welder and Tinker.
Simister and David have finished their top eight matches already, and I arrive after game one is already concluded in David’s favor.
As I claim my seat, David is resolving a Tinker to get Triskelion and remove Michael’s Goblin Welder from the board. Michael played Tropical Island and says go. David Wastelands Michael’s Bayou. Michael casts Brainstorm into the Belcher with enough fuel to win that turn and it’s on to game 3.
Game three, David opens with Shivan Reef, Mox Ruby, Mox Pearl, Trinisphere. Simister, having won through this before, refuses to scoop. He played his Taiga defiantly, with an air of confidence that visibly left David uncomfortable despite his strong position. David Wastelands the Taiga, and Michael counters that with another land drop: his Bayou. David played a Workshop as well as a second Trinisphere and a Goblin Welder. Michael draw-gos. David played Wasteland hitting Michael’s Bayou before casting Juggernaut. Michael puts scooping on the stack and passes priority.
Interview with the Top Four: Michael Simister
B: Were there any interesting plays over the course of the day, either yours or your opponents, that you thought were cool or notable?
M: There was one guy playing TPS that hardcast a turn 1 Darksteel Colossus against me. I thought that was pretty slick.
B: Were there any things you wish were done differently at this tournament?
M: The judges seemed to be very lax in calling this a REL 4 event. They were just very inconsistant.
B: Were there any matchups today you felt were unfortunate and difficult to win?
M: Oh God! Every single one of them sucked!
B: So there were none you were comfortable with?
M: Well, there was the TnT deck in the top eight. Other than that, no. Bad matchups all day long.
B: So where are you from, anyway?
M: I’m living in Cincinnati.
B: Do you think the DCI will have anything to do after this event in terms of restrictions?
M: Honestly, ESG is the culprit in broken combo. If Dark Ritual were restricted, I’d just run more Cabal Rituals, and Belcher would live on. The minute they hit Elvish Spirit Guide, my deck is dead.
B: In this particular top eight, which deck would you like to face most in the finals if you had made it, besides the TnT you defeated to get this far?
M: They all look equally hard, but I think the Slaver build would have been the easiest.
B: Is there anything else you’d like to add to the StarCityGames.com readers?
M: Always eat your veggies. Oh, also, Travis Hopkins aided me in development of the list.
Top Four Coverage Giovanni Conedera versus Mark Biller
Mark is playing Control Slaver, a deck utilizing Mana Drain to speed out early Mindslavers and steal control with it as a disruption tool. It gets to run many seemingly odd choices in order to keep up the consistency, like using Darksteel Citadel as a method of dodging Gorilla Shaman. Giovanni is playing his Black/Red Workshop aggro variant, based more around disruption than most workshop aggro variants, sporting both maindeck Blood Moon and Chains of Mephistopheles.
Giovanni decides to throw back a hand with first turn Trinisphere and little else, and receives instead Juggernaut, Blood Moon, Su-Chi, Mox Jet, Strip Mine, Badlands. Opening the game, he drops his artifact and his Strip Mine, and passes. Mark opens with Flooded Strand, Mox Sapphire, Mox Emerald. Giovanni played his Badlands, and attempts to resolve Goblin Welder, which meets Mana Drain as Mark digs up his Island. Mark uses his turn to cast Thirst for Knowledge, discarding Platinum Angel, and drops another Island.
Giovanni Strips one of Mark’s Islands, and Mark responds with Brainstorm. Giovanni then played his Goblin Welder off the topdeck, which resolves. Mark, however, is holding the sickness. He casts Time Walk, and on his extra turn, he casts Thirst for Knowledge, discarding Mox Pearl. Then he plays Black Lotus, sacrifices it for Black, and plays Yawgmoth’s Will. He’s able to replay his Lotus and Pearl, as well as his old Strand, which gets him Underground Sea. Then he pops Lotus for triple Red, and drops two Welders. A floating mana and his sea lets him Time Walk again, into Ancestral Recall, Volcanic Island, Mox Jet, Tinker, getting Pentavus, at the expense of his Mox Emerald. After the topdeck, Gio scoops to Pentavus and a Welded in Platinum Angel.
Gio opens with Swamp, Mox Ruby. His hand contained Trinisphere, Su-Chi, Crucible of Worlds, Strip Mine, and Sundering Titan. Mark starts off a little stronger than Gio with a Volcanic turning sideways for a Goblin Welder. Giovanni played his Sol Ring, and attempts to resolve Crucible, which gets Force of Willed removing Mark’s Fact or Fiction from the game. Giovanni uses his Strip Mine to destroy the Volcanic Island anyway. Mark played another Volcanic, and swings for one. Giovanni changes his posture a little, and rips a Mire off the top. He plays a Su-Chi and says go. Mark plays another Welder, and passes. Giovanni swings for four, but at the end of his turn, the Su-Chi gets Welded out for Crucible of Worlds. At this point, Mark is juggling Giovanni’s threats, causing him a little mana burn each time. Every one of Giovanni’s turns, his Su-Chi gets Welded in on the upkeep, keeping him both from attacking or from playing his lands with Crucible. Mark has him in a tight spot with a pretty interesting play. As the game progresses, Mark goes broken and gets to Slave Gio a couple times. Despite Gio’s must counters consistently entering play (including a Triskelion that almost turns the game around) Mark is able to Tinker into the infinite slaver lock and keep Gio from moving on to the finals.
Finals Coverage David Allen versus Mark Biller
David’s deck, 5/3, has already been discussed in the coverage of the top four. It combines hard hitting artifact creatures with broken blue and red support, as well as crippling disruption like Crucible of Worlds and Trinisphere.
Mark’s deck is a pre-existing archetype, Control Slaver. It uses Mana Drain to suck up opponents’ tempo and use it as its own to force through Mindslavers and cripple the opponent with them before killing with Sundering Titan, Pentavus, or Platinum Angel.
Mark wins the die roll and elects to play four cards on his first turn.
David topdecks a second Fire/Ice. He plays his Reef, which turns sideways for Sol Ring. Then he plays his Lotus, which becomes three Blue mana. He casts Su-Chi, which walks into Mana Drain as Mark fetches his Island, and then he casts Mystical Tutor, getting Tinker.
David plays Volcanic Island, and then casts Tinker. It resolves, and he takes a moment to consider the merits of Duplicant vs. Sundering Titan. Titan is useless against a wall of Pentavites, so he gets his Duplicant to remove the three-counter Pentavus. David then puts Duplicant in his yard, thinking that, since he removed a creature with a printed power and toughness of 0/0, the Duplicant died. Several people ask the judge why and David is informed his Duplicant is in play. This was an incorrect ruling, but done by the head judge, so it was the way the game was played this time. Not many people caught it. Mark seemed to be thinking the same thing as most people, at least until after the game.
Mark was still undaunted however. He casts Fact or Fiction into Yawgmoth’s Will, Time Walk, Mindslaver, Volcanic Island, and Mana Drain. David separates the two piles, and Mark decides Time Walk and Mana Drain is combo. His Pentavites begin to smack David in the sky. At the end of David’s uneventful turn, Mark casts Mystical Tutor for Tinker. He casts Tinker on his first main phase, to get Sundering Titan. David is unable to recover and they begin to sideboard.
Mark topdecks a second Welder, and plays his basic Island. He then sacrifices his Polluted Delta for a Volcanic Island, and casts Thirst for Knowledge, in to Goblin Welder, Flooded Strand, Underground Sea. He discards a Goblin Welder and an Underground Sea.
Mark topdecks Polluted Delta, and plays it.
David plays a third Volcanic Island, and says go.
Mark topdecks Mystical Tutor, and passes the turn, but David has an end of turn effect in Thirst for Knowledge. Mark responds by getting a Volcanic Island and an Underground Sea, and then casting his own Thirst for Knowledge, in to Fact or Fiction, Ancestral Recall, Darksteel Citadel.
David’s Thirst resolves, but apparently doesn’t give him much gas. He plays his fourth Volcanic Island, and attacks with Gorilla Shaman. Mark trades with his Goblin Welder, and David casts Time Walk. His Time Walk turn is spent casting Sol Ring and saying go.
David plays Mox Pearl, and wastes Mark’s Sea. He then casts Triskelion, while Mark notices his sexy walk is not only beta, but crimped. Mark attempts Ancestral Recall in response to Triskelion, but David has Red Elemental Blast. Though David removes Mark’s Goblin Welder from play, Mark has Mystical Tutor in to Tinker on David’s endstep.
Mark Tinkers for Black Lotus, and casts Yawgmoth’s Will, as I frantically flip to a fresh page on my notebook to cover all the spells he’s about to cast. Mark first plays his Lotus again, as well as his Sapphire and Jet, a Ruby, and Ancestral Recall, which nets him Blue Elemental Blast, Force of Will, Polluted Delta. He casts Tinker to get Pentavus at the expense of his Mox Sapphire, and casts Mystical Tutor again, this time for Mogg Salvage. Then he plays Goblin Welder, plays a Volcanic Island, and a second Goblin Welder, before passing to David once again.
David makes his Triskelion a 1/1 to remove the welders from the game on Mark’s endstep, and casts Mystical Tutor on his upkeep for Tinker. He casts Tinker, but Mark has Force of Will removing Blue Elemental Blast. David casts Rack and Ruin, destroying the Pentavus and Mark’s Mox Jet. Then his bumbling 1/1 cone domes Mark for one, and David passes.
David beats for one, and plays Juggernaut.
Mark topdecks Time Walk, casts Brainstorm into Force of Will, Mana Drain, Mana Crypt. He puts back the Citadel and the Crypt, and pops a fetch to get Underground Sea. He then casts Time Walk, and topdecks Blue Elemental Blast.
Mark Brainstorms a bunch, and ends up burning for 3.
They go back and forth, and Triskelion hits Mark a few times while he topdecks counters. Soon, Mark finds his Goblin Welder, at three life. He plays it, and says go. David swings and brings Mark to two. Mark topdecks Thirst for Knowledge, and plays Mana Crypt. David hardcasts Titan into hardcast Force of Will, and on David’s endstep Mark welds in Pentavus.
Mark attacks for five, and David takes it. Soon however, a counter war ensues between Blue Elemental Blasts and Red Elemental Blasts, leaving Mark casting Mana Drain targeting a REB. Entering his turn, he forgets about his one floating mana, and burns down to one life. He topdecks Mindslaver, and attacks. As David sits at ten with Mark controlling Pentavus and five Pentavites, he asks the judge”so there’s no mana in my pool, is that correct?” to which the judge nods. When Mark is certain that winning is in front of him, he declares his attack, and the two players shake hands. Mark Biller is the new Vintage World Champion!
Interview with Second Place: David Allen
B: David, you know what I’m about to ask. Were there any cool plays or poor judge rulings or any of that fun stuff that people back at home would love to read?
D: Well, there was that whole Duplicant thing, but other than that, the day has been fairly straightforward.
B: Fun stuff. You look like you were ready for this event, how did you feel with your matchups?
D: I felt like I was very well prepared. We tweaked our maindecks last night, and I was very happy with how it ran.
B: Were there any bizarre card choices you would care to explain?
D: I was the only one of us maindecking Fire/Ice. I maindecked two. I really liked it, it felt solid in every matchup all day.
B: It seems like unlike the TPS builds with Colossus and Mark running Mindslaver, you don’t have any major bombs to get with Tinker. What kind of things do you like to end the game with when you play that card?
D: Oh I’ve got plenty of stuff, things like Sundering Titan, Memory Jar, Duplicant, or even Triskelion.
B: Do you feel that there were any decks overly powerful at this event, or that there were any cards that Wizards should be restricting?
D: Not really, I felt like the whole environment was very fair and balanced. Workshop will be too broken someday, but it isn’t there yet.
B: Anything else you’d like to say to the readers at home?
D: Just go Short Bus!
Interview with First Place: Mark Biller
B: Hey Mark. Congratulations on first place.
M: Thanks man, I appreciate it.
B: So now that you’ve won the whole thing, I have to ask you some questions. First, how did you feel about your maindeck today?
M: It was absolutely amazing. Duress is amazing, and the whole maindeck felt very solid. Mystical Tutor definitely goes in this deck. The sideboard could have been a little better I think. The Mogg Salvages were mostly for U/G Madness, but I didn’t see any of that. Like, against Kevin Cron, I would have really rather had Rack and Ruin.
B: Interesting. So I’ve heard you have some strange choices in that sideboard of yours. How was Old Man of the Sea today?
M: It beat Fish so savagely and was useful against other archetypes, it was one of those cards that I thought was very helpful and should see a lot more play.
B: Were there any matchups you felt worried about going in to this event?
M: Mono-Green aggro.
B: Haha, what?
M: Seriously, it’s like Fish, except they can accelerate the Rod out faster and have giant guys and more disruption that I’m worried about. I don’t think I can win that matchup.
B: Many people dismiss Control Slaver because it’s too inconsistent. Did you often find you sat around with nothing but expensive artifacts and not enough juice to cast them?
M: Actually, yes, that cost me a game once today, but the situation is uncommon enough that the possibility doesn’t make me uncomfortable. It’s all about knowing when your hand is too weak and you have to mulligan.
B: Anything else you have to say to TMD, Star City, and the world?
M: You guys have been absolutely awesome. I know I’ve been a new guy in the community, and haven’t spoken out much, but I’m hoping my win here will get more people to know me as I met a lot of you today, and I hope I can join some playtest groups and whatnot because you guys are just great. I can’t wait for the next slew of big tournaments so I can see you guys again.