Created with Sketch.
67 minutes | Dec 24, 2020
Serious Vintage Episode 49: What’s Cooking, Erin Campbell?
For episode 49, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter) and Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher) talk with Erin Campbell (@OriginalOestrus) about this year’s online Vintage Championships and learning to cook for yourself (and others!) during a pandemic. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 00:41 – Eternal Weekend 2020 Online 32:47 – Food and People 1:12:48 – Outro Total runtime – 1:07:18 Vintage Championships 2020 It continues to be a weird year. This year’s Vintage Championship events, usually held in three events around the world, were instead held online using MTGO. Legacy was too, but we mostly talk about Vintage, as usual. The move online was received positively by most players as a safe, accessible option to experience the format’s biggest event(s). As part of signing up, both Legacy and Vintage gave registered players access to a “god account,” with all of the cards to build any deck, so players didn’t need to scramble or pay extra to build a deck. There were some initial gripes about not having access to odd ducks like the Walking Dead Secret Lair Drop cards in Legacy, but ultimately I think that was for the memes rather than actual format need. Usually Vintage Championship events are held three times: one in Europe, one in Asia, and one in North America. As a nod to this, the online event also had three equal events but with different start times for accessibility. And the same trophies were available: paintings of Vintage-playable lands, mounted in a Magic-card frame. A player could register for and potentially play in any and all of these events, spending an entire weekend from Friday to Sunday playing Vintage. And there were some impressive turnouts: 252 on Friday for a Tolarian Academy Painting, 391 on Saturday for Library of Alexandria, and 427 on Sunday for Mishra’s Workshop. There were 302 players for last year’s Vintage event in Pittsburgh, for comparison. For decklists and analysis, I’ll recommend Joe Dyer’s Vintage and Legacy champs coverage. He was last episode’s guest and does a huge amount of work making eternal formats readable on a weekly basis. Erin played in the Sunday events for Legacy and Vintage this year and we were happy to have her on to talk about it. After trying a few other builds she went with Jund Hogaak in Legacy and Dredge (as expected?) in Vintage and played some rounds and had some fun. Graveyard shenanigans are always fun, and Dredge even won the Saturday Vintage event. We talk with Erin about the variety of decks in Vintage. There are plenty of decks and strategies available if you’re a player who finds themselves drawn to a particular thing. Artifacts and graveyards and spells and counterspells are all good at various times and in various matchups. And we also talk about how the format is still somehow unfulfilling. We offer no solutions other than that there are so many fun ways to play Magic: The Gathering, so make sure you’re doing what you want to do. Maybe you want to play a 62-card Dredge Special, maybe you want to register Tarmogoyf, maybe you like Rage Extractors or Goblin Charbelchers. We cover a lot of ground, most of which is positive excitement about the Vintage play experience and the Vintage community, and some of which I would describe as nostalgic. It’s in that mode that we talk a little about Andreas Petersen’s title from Sunday being stripped after evidence from his and his opponent’s stream revealed that he had exchanged favor for a concession into the top eight. This was far enough past that we didn’t need to report on it (you can review details on Star City Games), but we are able to comment on it. And the biggest reaction was just disappointment, mostly that there were people who felt this kind of exchange was commonplace for MTGO events and wanted to brush it off. Vintage (and other formats!) should focus on fun and community. What is the compelling need to try to get ahead in this way? I mean, I understand you could be 1/3 of a Vintage Champion and get a painting, but would you feel good about it? Be adult, have fun, drink responsibly. Food and Drink: Cooking for Oneself and Others We cover a lot of ground on this section too. To sum it up, early on Erin notes that, when the coronavirus quarantine started, she had friends concerned for her well being because she—quite admittedly and publicly—didn’t know how to cook! Now she’s learning how to cook, and from the looks of it, doing pretty well! Also, can I just say how much better this breakfast turned out than the last? I put a little bit more milk in my eggs, and BAKED the bacon, which I had never done before. I could see and taste the difference. I'm so proud of myself. — Erin Campbell (@OriginalOestrus) October 10, 2020 So we talk about some egg recipes (including Gordon Ramsay’s recipe for scrambled eggs) and baking bacon and how pancakes are kind of scary. Erin likes Miracle Whip and doesn’t like stuff in her eggs (so no omelettes) because it’s a weird texture thing. Nat likes mayonnaise and loves Anolon brand cookware. Geoff doesn’t like eggs at all. We also bring up pancakes again, because Geoff and I do like pancakes. As we mention to Erin they’re not as intimidating as they seem. The cottage cheese pancake recipe I make regularly is in the previous link (skip the blueberries if you don’t like texture), and Geoff’s wife Sarah’s current recipe for buttermilk pancakes is this. Ingredients ● 3/4 cup milk ● 2 tablespoons white vinegar ● 1 cup all-purpose flour ● 2 tablespoons white sugar ● 1 teaspoon baking powder ● 1/2 teaspoon baking soda ● 1/2 teaspoon salt ● 1 egg ● 2 tablespoons butter, melted ● cooking spray Directions 1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”. 2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone. 3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side. I recommend just keeping buttermilk on hand since it’s surprisingly versatile and keeps for a while. Real buttermilk also generally works better than the milk-plus-vinegar (or you can sub in lemon juice for the vinegar) concoction. It’s great for biscuits. These are super easy and we make them all time (don’t let anyone put you down because a recipe is easy; eat what you want!). Ingredients ● 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided ● 4 cups cake flour (I use all-purpose) ● 2 teaspoons baking powder ● 1/2 teaspoon baking soda ● 2 teaspoons salt ● 2 cups buttermilk Directions 1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease an 8-inch square baking pan with shortening or butter. 2. Whisk dry ingredients together and cut in the 10 tablespoons of cold butter, or smash it with your fingertips, into pea-sized pieces. Stir in the buttermilk until no dry pockets remain. Using a spatula, transfer the dough to the prepared pan. 3. Using floured hands, push the dough to the corners of the pan in an even layer. With an oiled or greased scraper or thin spatula, cut the dough into nine biscuits with two cuts by two cuts (like a tic-tac-toe board). Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. 4. Let biscuits cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Pull apart at cuts and serve. Extras will keep in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container for 4-5 days. We frequently serve these as breakfast sandwiches with ham, over-easy eggs, cheese, and perhaps a smear of tart jelly or jam. They’re also great warm with butter and honey. Cooking food in general (and breakfast in particular?) is both a form of self-care and a way to show love for someone else, as we discuss. Cooking a meal—or even just one dish—is often a project that can be planned for and carried out to meet success. Personal victories are always welcome, and you can eat it! And if it didn’t work out, that’s OK too; you can still learn from the experience, and if you used good ingredients, you may still have produced something edible. Any day—but during the holidays especially—we find lots of ways to share food with friends and family, and putting time and effort into making a meal or a dish (or some cookies) can be a great way to show someone you care. You want to nourish them and enrich their life in even a physical way. Likewise someone making you something We range pretty far in this section, so it’s difficult to cover it all, but the cooking and caring part is the best takeaway.
73 minutes | Oct 12, 2020
Serious Vintage Episode 48: MDFCs, More Devices for Combo
In episode 48, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter) and Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher) talk with Joe Dyer (@volrathxp) about the effect of modal double-face cards in combo decks. Joe is THE Vintage and Legacy correspondent to follow, with great weekly strategy and format articles at MTGGoldfish. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 00:37 – MDFC Lands in Eternal Combo 46:29 – Food & Drink: Myracles, Lobster, and Oyster Crisp 1:12:48 – Outro Total runtime – 1:12:59 What Can Lands Do for You? If you’ve listened to this podcast before, you’re probably aware that we have a bit of an interest in (or obsession with?) Goblin Charbelcher decks. From 2007 until 2010 or so, I played almost exclusively Belcher in Vintage. Goldfishing alone, I did a lot of work on that deck to make it a fast, effective weapon, especially good at taking advantage of opponents’ stumbles or setup starts. That was an important period for Belcher because three new cards debuted that revolutionized the archetype: Rite of Flame in Coldsnap (2006), Empty the Warrens in Time Spiral (2006), and Simian Spirit Guide in Planar Chaos (2007). Two +1 mana sources and an additional, cheap, orthogonal win condition that fit next to Goblin Charbelcher in what the deck was already trying to do. They let the deck simplify its mana base and, with the later unrestriction of Chrome Mox, eventually let Vintage players cut Land Grants and lands altogether, so a Belcher activation was always guaranteed lethal and you didn’t have to show your hand to your opponent. Holiday Goblins, by Serious VintageBusiness (18)4 Goblin Charbelcher4 Empty the Warrens1 Wheel of Fortune1 Memory Jar1 Tinker1 Timetwister4 Goblin Welder2 Veil of SummerMana Sources (42)4 Chrome Mox4 Elvish Spirit Guide4 Simian Spirit Guide4 Rite of Flame4 Tinder Wall4 Desperate Ritual2 Pyretic Ritual4 Manamorphose1 Channel1 Lion's Eye Diamond1 Lotus Petal1 Black Lotus1 Mox Emerald1 Mox Jet1 Mox Pearl1 Mox Ruby1 Mox Sapphire1 Mana Crypt1 Sol Ring1 Mana VaultSideboard (15)4 Leyline of Anticipation4 Storm Entity2 Veil of Summer2 Guttural Response2 Pyretic Ritual1 Pyroblast These same cards and developments carried the deck into Legacy as well, with a similar red-green build. Without the additional power cards, and to take advantage of unrestricted Lion’s Eye Diamond, that deck often made use of Burning Wish as an additional win condition, but the idea is the same. It’s surprisingly easy to switch from Vintage to Legacy by just increasing the counts of restricted cards and cutting banned cards. When Zendikar Rising recently introduced the modal double-face cards (MDFCs), it felt like the same kind of watershed moment. Does this change everything? My initial reaction was skepticism. Why play a card that’s really only a land in the best case, a Chrome Mox imprint in the second best case, and unplayable in the worst case? There was also something anathema to me about playing lands in Belcher, but tradition isn’t a good reason to not play good cards. After some consideration, though, I realized that lands are very good in this type of deck. Most cards in the deck—Rite of Flame, Tinder Wall, a Mox, and so on—are simply plus-one mana, the same as a land. And lands have the benefit of being uncounterable and also permanent. They don’t build storm for Empty the Warrens, but neither do Spirit Guides. Finding the right balance of MDFC lands to provide mana, imprint extras on Chrome Mox, and not hurt storm too much would be great. In the above list, switching 4 Desperate Ritual for 4 Shatterskull Smashing (Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass) and 2 Pyretic Ritual for 2 Turntimber Symbiosis (Turntimber, Serpentine Wood) seems totally reasonable, within two or three cards. I don’t think you want any lands that enter the battlefield tapped, for example. But there’s another version of Vintage Belcher that doesn’t rely on storm, and it could really use an additional source of black mana. BuRGr Belcher, by Serious VintageBusiness (13)4 Goblin Charbelcher1 Timetwister1 Wheel of Fortune1 Memory Jar1 Tinker1 Demonic Tutor1 Demonic Consultation3 Goblin WelderMana Sources (47)4 Shatterskull Smashing4 Agadeem's Awakening4 Elvish Spirit Guide4 Simian Spirit Guide4 Tinder Wall4 Rite of Flame4 Dark Ritual3 Manamorphose1 Channel4 Chrome Mox1 Lion's Eye Diamond1 Lotus Petal1 Black Lotus1 Mox Emerald1 Mox Jet1 Mox Pearl1 Mox Ruby1 Mox Sapphire1 Mana Crypt1 Sol Ring1 Mana VaultSideboard (15)4 Empty the Warrens4 Veil of Summer4 Tormod’s Crypt1 Goblin Welder1 Necropotence1 Blightsteel Colossus I’ve played a version similar to the above (without the MDFCs, of course). It’s more all-or-nothing than the red-green version above, which has very consistent mana. BuRGr Belcher aggressively goes for Goblin Charbelcher, using Dark Ritual to fuel bigger plays, including tutors and explosive draw-sevens. The thing missing from previous versions was consistent access to the right colors of mana, since your starts come from green Tinder Wall, red Rite of Flame, or black Dark Rituals and try to make other colors happen from there. Adding more free, uncounterable mana should be a boon to this build, and having permanent mana sources means it is easier to activate a turn-one Belcher on turn two if necessary. I look forward to testing something like this as a much-improved version of its predecessor. Joe helps us talk about playing Oops, All Spells, another combo deck that can’t have lands and doesn’t need storm but does need consistent access to the right colors of mana. Joe wrote about this list in one of his recent articles. Oops, All Spells, by yashimoroBusiness (36)4 Balustrade Spy4 Undercity Informer4 Narcomoeba1 Cabal Therapy1 Dread Return1 Thassa’s Oracle4 Force of Will2 Pact of Negation1 Mental Misstep2 Thoughtseize1 Gitaxian Probe4 Preordain1 Ponder1 Brainstorm1 Ancestral Recall1 Mystical Tutor1 Vampiric Tutor1 Imperial Seal1 Demonic TutorMana Sources (24)4 Agadeem’s Awakening4 Sea Gate Restoration4 Dark Ritual4 Chrome Mox1 Lotus Petal1 Black Lotus1 Mox Emerald1 Mox Jet1 Mox Sapphire1 Mana Crypt1 Sol Ring1 Mana VaultSideboard (15)1 Echoing Truth2 Fatal Push3 Goblin Charbelcher3 Hurkyl’s Recall4 Leyline of the Void2 Surgical Extraction I haven’t played Oops, All Spells in Vintage, but having played it in Legacy, the hardest part of mulliganing hands was trying to get the first black mana to pay for Dark Ritual. Even adding just Agadeem’s Awakening (Agadeem, the Undercrypt) to the list will be a huge help there. This list also looks like it might be happy to play a couple of lands and have a setup turn where it plays a draw spell or tutor. I still recommend Stephen Menendian’s exploration of the archetype for how to build and play a list in both Vintage and Legacy. Even with the new technology, the bases are the same. Getting to four mana with a turn-one, landless, combo deck is tantamount to victory, as even Empty the Warrens tokens or Goblin Charbelcher waiting for activation mana will win the game soon enough, to say nothing of Balustrade Spy and Undercity Informer. However, these are still very much glass cannons. Belcher loses to counterspells and Null Rod, and Oops, All Spells loses additionally to graveyard hate. The pilot of these decks knows they have to make their opponent have an answer, but they also know an answer frequently means a loss. Building these decks means making tradeoffs between more powerful cards, more reliable mana, and more protection like Goblin Welder, Veil of Summer, or counterspells. As better examples in these categories are printed (Veil of Summer coming out last year was huge), these decks will get stronger and stronger. The MDFCs are going to be big here. As I mentioned on the show, I think there’s going to be more done with them than what we’ve seen here. Food & Drink: Myracles, Lobsters, and Oyster Crisp Joe recommended a new restaurant in the Dayton, Ohio area: Myracles Bar and Grill. It sounds pretty good, particularly the idea of specialty egg rolls with different flavors. I’m a fan of bar food in general, and I notice they have $4.29 baked beans, so those have to be amazing, right? Anyway, good luck to them opening in the middle of a pandemic. Someday, perhaps, Team Serious will make it out there and dine as a group once again. Geoff talked about his recent trip to his family’s undisclosed location on the coast of Maine. The cabin is rustic, but it has access to local lobster and a beach, from which it is possible to harvest oysters, at least for now. There’s lots of good talk about fresh and not-so-fresh seafood. I recommended Taylor Shellfish in Seattle, where they will help the uninitiated learn about shellfish and will sell you a geoduck (pronounced “gooeyduck”), which looks like this: And now we can provide the recipe mentioned in the show for oyster crisp, which sounds pretty good if you can get the oysters. Definitely cook them if you’re unsure of their origin. 1 pint oysters, drained 1/2 tsp salt 1/8 tsp pepper 6 strips cooked bacon, crumbled 1 cup Parmesan cheese 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup crumbled saltine crackers 2 tbsp butter, melted Salt and pepper the oysters and layer with the other ingredients in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for at least 20 minutes, or until top is brown and bubbly. Eternal Weekend(s) 2020 We didn’t get a chance to talk about this on the show because it hadn’t been announced yet. Eternal Weekend is going to be an online affair this year (thanks, coronavirus), but that means there’s more opportunities to win as there are still three paintings to give away. Everything is organized on MTGO by Wizards, so details are all online here. The basics are that an MTGO account is required, it’s $25 to enter, and there are three events for three different paintings: ● Saturday, October 24, at 12:00 AM PDT (Tolarian Academy) ● Saturday, October 24, at 2:00 PM PDT (Library of Alexandria) ● Sunday, October 25, at 8:00 AM PDT (Mishra’s Workshop) Good luck! I hope you win on turn one a lot. Questions for Discussion Is it wrong to play lands in Belcher at all? What if you play 15 lands, but they’re all in your sideboard? Should Oops, All Spells get a different name now that it has lands in it? Should it have gotten a different name anyway? Is Oops, All Berries a good cereal? I don’t think so. Crunch Berries have a weird flavor, kind of perfumy. I’m not a fan. Oops, All Oyster Crisp might be a better cereal. Oops, All Geoduck. Conclusion Thanks again to Joe Dyer for being our guest for this episode! Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter and check out his articles on MTGGoldfish. Life has been stressful and weird lately with, you know, disease and injustice and whatever is going on in Washington, D.C. lately. Sheesh. Thank you for spending some of your time with us. We at Serious Vintage encourage you to be safe, and also to vote. We’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at email@example.com.
69 minutes | Jul 1, 2020
Serious Vintage Episode 47: Introducing UX: Vintage Unleashed
For episode 47, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) talk with Jerry Yang. Jerry is a longtime Team Serious member and a big influence on many teammates’ love of fun Magic and incredible food. If you want credible, he also has multiple StarCityGames Power 9 Top 8 appearances to his name. But who are we kidding, you don’t listen to this podcast for credibility. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 00:42 – More Like ComBANion 11:42 – Now THIS Is Podracing: Vintage Unleashed 44:01 – Food & Drink: Staying Inside 1:08:21 – Outro Total runtime – 1:09:06 Exit, Pursued by a Cat Nightmare We open our show, picking up where we left off last time, with a discussion on the banning of Lurrus of the Dream Den in Vintage. This was recorded weeks ago, so I imagine everyone has already talked about this a bunch and moved beyond the topic. Some players liked Lurrus changing the face of Vintage, other players didn’t like how ubiquitous it was. Because of the staggered release of Ikoria online and in paper, thanks to coronavirus, many players never even got to play the card. Anyway, it’s gone now. The cat’s out of the format! Does this set a precedent for banning other problem cards? Maybe! Are there other problem cards that might need banning? Probably not. Wizards altered the function of the companion ability to make all of them less powerful. Does even Lurrus need to remain banned? Probably not. When will that change get made? Who knows? UX: Vintage Unleashed Some people play Vintage for the broken interactions. Winning or losing on turn one isn’t a problem for them, and powerful plays are what they crave. Recent trends in the format have been away from that, though. Vintage players used to be excited when cards were introduced to the format as it brought about much needed change. Now we’ve seen more restrictions pushing power levels down, and they’ve come faster. Karn, the Great Creator, and Mystic Forge were restricted within months of their printings, and Lurrus was banned even before it was playable in paper. Vintage is still fun, but there’s so many more insane plays to be made. That, and the play-what-you-want mentality of the MTG Underground, led to the formation of the Unrestrict X movement and Vintage Unleashed. (Thanks to Rajah James, our guest last episode, for helping maintain the rules website.) With that format, the idea is opening up the top-end of Vintage. A rising tide lifts all boats, and the Vintage card pool is an ocean vast and deep, with very many boats to sail. Here is the Vintage Unleashed restricted list in its entirety: ● Ancestral Recall ● Black Lotus ● Demonic Consultation ● Demonic Tutor ● Imperial Seal ● Lion’s Eye Diamond ● Mana Crypt ● Mana Vault ● Merchant Scroll ● Mox Emerald ● Mox Jet ● Mox Pearl ● Mox Ruby ● Mox Sapphire ● Mystical Tutor ● Sol Ring ● Time Walk ● Timetwister ● Tolarian Academy ● Vampiric Tutor ● Wheel of Fortune The X in Unrestrict X turned out to be 31. Thirty-one cards are freshly unrestricted, and Shahrazad and Lurrus are unbanned. That’s less than half the size of the current Vintage list. What’s left restricted is limited primarily to the Power 9, fast mana, tutors, and unbounded three-mana draw-sevens. And there are a few cards there that are already being looked at for unrestriction. I’ll throw out Lion’s Eye Diamond, Wheel of Fortune, Imperial Seal, and Merchant Scroll as getting that scrutiny. We talk to Jerry about some of these lifted boats and some of the misapprehensions from players who haven’t yet tried Vintage Unleashed. There are many claims of an unbeatable deck. Players tend to look at the list and immediately throw out something they like (or hate) as obviously the best. If that was your reaction, I very much encourage you to put a build together and try a few games. You probably haven’t found the format killer you imagined. So what can you do? Flash can be a deck in the format, especially now that it’s reunited with its old friends Brainstorm and Ponder. Or maybe the combination of Channel and Veil of Summer is alluring. Win with Goblin Charbelcher or Memory Jar. Try the Workshop combo route with Mystic Forge and Time Vault. You can play Gitaxian Probe and Mind’s Desire, or Lurrus and Balance, or Gush and Monastery Mentor. Necropotence! Tinker! Yawgmoth’s Will! Some of these explosive strategies are held back by other restricted cards. Workshops get back Trinisphere, Strip Mine, Thorn of Amethyst, Lodestone Golem, and Chalice of the Void to help lock things in place. Mental Misstep is back, joining the normally free or cheap counterspells: Force of Will, Force of Negation, Mindbreak Trap, and Flusterstorm. Jerry mentions that Collector Ouphe and Lavinia, Azorius Renegade are great with Cavern of Souls. Narset can still rein in an opposing draw engine, and Dredge (with unrestricted Golgari Grave-Troll) is still around keeping people honest. Combos and decks from different eras get rebuilt or recombined. Do a lot of broken things. Have a lot of fun. This Sounds Awesome. Where Can I Play? Glad you asked! Vintage Unleashed is the format for the third tournament in the Team Serious Virtual Realm, July 11 at noon ET. I would love to have a great turnout for this inaugural event! The signup sheet is here, including a link to the Discord and more complete rules for the format. As with our previous Virtual Realm events, we’ll have a Friday evening Pub Quiz leading up to the tournament on Saturday. The event is free, but we’ll be doing a raffle for some fun prizes with proceeds going to the Equal Justice Initiative, which focuses on “ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.” Should be a lot of fun, and people are welcome to join the Discord, hang out, play Pub Quiz, or support the raffle even if they can’t play in the event. Food & Drink: Quarantine We admit in the show that having Jerry on to talk about food during a quarantine, when no one is really going out to eat, is kind of like having a fine arts expert talk to you about their kindergartner’s drawings, but it’s a good time. Jerry in quarantine has looked for easy-to-prepare comfort foods. He recommends several kinds of instant ramen (try Nissin Raoh or Mi Goreng), hot dogs, and frozen burritos and things you can do to enrich them beyond their salty, preserved, comfort-food status. The number one rule is to add an over-easy egg (or boiled or poached egg), but you can also try cilantro and peanuts, lime, greens, fresh vegetables, pickled vegetables, bacon or other protein, various hot sauces and so on. The goal is to get a flavor profile that goes beyond just “salt,” possibly add some nutrition, and maybe add complex textures as well. There’s also a discussion of macaroni and cheese, harkening back to Episode 43 with Elizabeth where we talked about that as a pregnancy food. For boxes of pasta + cheese, Jerry likes Kraft Dinner, while Josh prefers Cracker Barrel vastly over Annie’s. Josh mixes his “Macaroni+” with frozen mixed vegetables. If you need a pick-me-up in these dark days, I recommend hotdogtopus. Jerry and Josh also compare the size of their vans (see pics of Josh’s van below), and Geoff talks on the difficulty of getting his young niece and nephews to eat. As it turns out, you can cook frozen chicken nuggets wrong but Marco’s Pizza and E.L. Fudge cookies bring people together. Questions for Discussion What cards have you always wanted to play unrestricted in Vintage? Maybe you got to play them and miss them. Maybe you never got to play them at all. What’s the highest ratio of lands to playable revealed cards you’ve gotten off a Mind’s Desire? Jerry’s gotten higher. What’s your quarantine food status like? Anything you like that makes you comfortable in uncomfortable times? And, hey! If you were a hot dog, and you were starving, would you eat yourself? I know I would. First I’d smother myself with brown mustard and relish. I’d be delicious. Conclusion Thanks so much again for listening! And thanks to Jerry for helping us talk about the fun new format, Vintage Unleashed. We hope you enjoyed it, and please do join us for the inaugural tournament! Continue being safe and remaining healthy so you can fight oppression. We’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
78 minutes | May 15, 2020
Serious Vintage Episode 46: Vintage in the Time of Coronavirus
For episode 46, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) talk with Rajah James (@rykerwilliams). Rajah is a Team Serious member and friend who organized the online Team Serious League and played in the recent Team Serious Invitational: Virtual Realm, so we’re talking to him about getting your Magic fix while dealing with physical distancing. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 01:17 – Team Serious Leagues 24:10 – Enter the Virtual Realm 37:47 – The Cat’s in the Vintage 55:28 – Food & Drink: MTG Pub Quiz 1:16:49 – Outro Total runtime – 1:17:51 Missing: The Gathering These are weird times we’re living in. The coronavirus, as well as thoughtful public health officials and good sense, has relegated most of humanity to stay physically apart from one another to prevent the spread of a particularly virulent disease. I was thinking about it and realized I haven’t been in a building other than my own house in seven weeks. Distancing is the norm now, and that’s a problem for a tabletop card game where players square off in intimate distance, talking, and often interacting with one another’s cards. Wizards of the Coast provided the first solutions to playing Magic under quarantine with, of course, Magic Online (MTGO) and Arena. But these services might leave something to be desired for some players. Arena’s available collection won’t allow players to play Vintage (or Legacy, Old School, Modern, and so on), and while MTGO offers most of the cards, there’s still a barrier to human interaction. You can’t fully engage with your opponent: introduce yourselves when you sit down, congratulate them on a good play, or see their reaction when you have the answer or drop your big threat. It can feel sterile, like you’re one person against a machine. To overcome that, Rajah organized the Team Serious Leagues (TSL) within our group. As he describes, it’s similar to the Vintage Super League: round-robin games are played in batches over multiple weeks, and players are allowed to change decks or strategies between batches. Eventually records are compared and winners are declared. The TSL allows games to be played over any reasonable medium: webcam, MTGO, Cockatrice, even in person since it was organized before social distancing protocols were in effect. It was meant as a way to get Team Serious members to play games against one another despite there being sometimes long distances between players. Since quarantine, it’s been a relief not only for the players, who get to continue playing games and talking to people, but for other Team Serious members, who often get to watch the streamed matches and even interact with the players over the team’s chat and Discord. You can follow along too if you like. The results and decklists from the first Vintage batch are on Rajah’s website, and here are the decklists from the second batch. When the three batches are complete, someone will win these keen lands altered by Daniel Anschutz, or this “Wild Thing” Force of Will altered by Bobby Lupo. Welcome to the Machine Inspired by the TSL and compelled by the coronavirus quarantine, Andy “The Brass Man” Probasco and I started talking about hosting a virtual Team Serious Invitational (TSI). We wanted an opportunity to get people together where they could hang out online, play some Vintage, and perhaps consume some frosty cool alcoholic beverages. Just like a real TSI! The tournament itself, held Saturday May 9 in a Discord server, went surprisingly well! We had 24 players and did six rounds of Swiss plus a top-eight elimination. Vintage luminaries like Kevin Cron and Greg Hughes (Zias) showed up, and six countries were represented in almost as many time zones. There was a minor disaster at the beginning as the Discord server failed to allow video connections, but everyone moved quickly and acutely to get matches played in other formats: Zoom, Cockatrice, Whereby, and Discord DMs. It was a remarkable show of ingenuity and determination! Brass Man did some lovely, fun, insightful commentary throughout the event, adjusting on the fly to be able to show the variety of media players were using to play. Here’s what Zoom versus Cockatrice looks like, for example, as well as Brassy, keepin’ it classy. For a sense of the current Vintage environment, the Top 8 ended up with seven companions in the decklists, including two of them in one deck, played by Jimmy McCarthy. Zias won without a companion, playing Shops Vines. The full results are available on The Mana Drain, with some additional commentary and hot links. For example, for full TSI effect, Steve McGrew opted to drink a shot of Malört, as is tradition upon making Top 8. Congratulations and regrets to Steve, and congratulations to the rest of the Top 8. How Companionable Is Companion? Of course, the event was played under predictably lame-duck conditions. On May 11, Wizards of the Coast announced that in a week’s time there would be a change to the Banned & Restricted List that would include Vintage. As I mentioned, six of the Top 8 decks at the TSI:VR, and indeed many of the top-performing decks in recent Vintage Challenges online have included creatures with the companion ability, recently printed in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. Lurrus of the Dream-Den is the main culprit, being a long-game advantage engine that happens to combo with Black Lotus very well, so it works even in a faster combo shell. The problem is that the nature of companion means that restricting Lurrus will do nothing to prevent its being a problem. A player needs only one copy, which is safely stored in their deck’s sideboard until needed. What to do? What will Wizards do to Vintage on May 18? Will the format get what will essentially be its first banning for power-level considerations? (There are other banned cards: ante cards, conspiracies, dexterity cards, and Shahrazad, all of which are banned categorically.) Will there be an effective power-level errata to make companion not work as written, or perhaps not work at all? Will all the companions be hit or just Lurrus? Could something instead be unrestricted to combat the cat menace? Will there be any consideration to Lurrus’s being used in multiple different archetypes or bringing unexpected cards into the format, like Seal of Fire and Dead Weight? If banning or errata eliminates Lurrus, will another companion follow the same path of degeneracy? We talk about the implications of these questions and why any plan might be preferable over another. It’s a complex issue surrounding complex cards. And the whole situation is exacerbated by the current global pandemic as the cards have only been released in paper in some Asian markets and online. Many players haven’t even touched a paper Lurrus! They showed up at TSI:VR and in the TSL only because these are playtest events that allow proxies. It’s such a weird conflux of situations! Anyway, we do a lot of discussing but come to no conclusions. Food & Drink: MTG Pub Quiz Part of the goal Brass Man and I put together for the TSI:VR was to have it feel like a real TSI. Part of that was making it two days, so people could start the festivities early on Friday. Encouraging people to just hang out in the chatrooms we always hang out in didn’t seem like enough, so I had the idea to put together a pub-quiz-style trivia game that would encourage both hanging out and drinking. There would be some fun questions and activities to encourage interaction, and with Discord we could do some proper trash talking. So I put together a few rounds of themed questions, designed to pass a few hours pleasantly. People drifted in and out, but we ended up with four teams of three to four players, which was perfect. I asked questions over video and was even able to put a few visual questions on screen, like the Movie Magic posters with blanked out titles that were also Magic card names (see below), or Nam Quiz Tran that was Nam’s 2018 Vintage Champs finals list with blanked out cards. And teams were able to retreat to separate Discord rooms to collaborate on answers. It worked great! We did six rounds, which I preview on the show. There was Magic trivia new and old, the movie posters and Nam’s deck, a retrospective of 1993 in honor of Magic’s birth, a lightning round where each team got to pick its own yes-or-no category, and “Drinking With Team Serious,” which we run through in its entirety on the show. I really didn’t think anyone would be able to identify one of Jaco’s custom-built cocktails by name, but here we are: the Charcnado. That’s your important food and drink lesson for this episode. Congratulations to Fernando Aguiano, Jon Hammack, and Kaleb Woodward on their dominant victory! Upcoming Events I think the only questions for discussion are going to surface around the Banned & Restricted List change on Monday. What’s going to happen there, and what will be the long-term impact? But we are planning future online Magic event since the coronavirus quarantine seems unlikely to be meaningfully lifted any time in the near future. And even if it is, we can still get together online to play Magic! June 5 there will be another MTG Pub Quiz, and June 6 will be a Middle School MTG tournament, both again held online using the Team Serious: Virtual Realm Discord server. We learned a lot about both processes last time, so I expect this to go even better. There’s no entry, and we’ll have some nice donated prizes for winners. This June event is open to all, so if you’re interested, let us know, and we’ll be planning more events in different formats in the future. Conclusion Thanks so much for listening! And thanks to Rajah for helping us talk about some positive Magic experiences in these weird dark times. We hope you enjoyed it and found it uplifting, and
75 minutes | Apr 27, 2020
Serious Vintage Episode 45: The Dave Files Part 2, Enter the Hero Zone
For episode 45, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) continue their discussion David P. Baum, longtime owner of a card and comic book store in Northern Ohio. He doesn’t have a personal Twitter account, but (Pop! the store has one. And if you’d like to support the store through the coronavirus quarantine, Pop! opened an online storefront to help get them through. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 01:20 – The Dangers of Supply: Fallen Empires, Chronicles, and the Power 9 30:00 – Dave Opens His First Store 38:49 – “They Stole Your Cardboard?” 51:55 – Changes, Inertia, and Model Railroads 57:26 – Digressions About Success Total runtime – 1:15:19 If You Missed Part 1 We talked with Dave about his role in organizing Magic in Ohio in 1994–1996 or so, from selling his first boxes of product without knowing at all what the game was about to organizing the local event Sand Con and the Chinese 4th Edition prerelease at Origins in Columbus in 1996. (We suspected it was 1995 in the episode, but Chinese 4th debuted the following year, and 1996 was the first year Origins moved permanently to Columbus. Consider this a correction.) There was a lot. If you have an interest in the history of Magic: The Gathering, you should listen. It’s very fun! I admit at one point to playing Icatian Moneychanger. What Happened – Part 2 When we left Dave, he had turned down an opportunity to bid on continuing to organize events for Wizards of the Coast. He sold out of the organizing business and out of Magic entirely. This first part of this episode contains a chronology of the beginnings of tournament Magic, from Dave’s perspective: ● We talk a little about the awkwardness that Wizards went through in its growth period, namely Fallen Empires and Chronicles, from the perspective of a store owner at that time as well as from the players at that time. ● From there we talk about Magic economics in general in those days, including the challenges of finding particular cards or finding someone to trade with you or finding an accurate representation of pricing. The Internet was still in its infancy and paper price guides were out of date as soon as they were printed. ● And we talk about everyone’s favorite topic, the Reserved List! We solve no problems and make no wild claims. You’ll be disappointed. From here it gets pretty crazy. ● Dave tells about his first “store,” selling Magic cards in a hobby shop with an owner who’s, let’s say, a little unstable. Dave moves on, to a closet, with an owner who’s just a thief. ● Finally in 2000 Dave opens a small store on an upper story of an old building in Sandusky, Ohio (the one on the flyer). This includes a pretty interesting recollection of 9/11 and the store’s strange position as a refuge, of sorts, for the local kids who were around after school amid the turmoil of this unique situation. This compels him to move to a more customer-friendly location. ● Josh’s mom goes to the store and scopes it out for us. Josh is impressed in hindsight that his mom is that in tune with what the kids might like. ● Dave tells us about the store’s first robbery! And getting a new landlord, because, wow. ● The wheel keeps turning and the store moves again, gets sold, and opens anew. Dave talks about the risks of selling online and why he hadn’t done it in the past. As I mentioned, these unique times have changed that. They’re online now. ● We talk about the death of Magic, in relation to the death of model railroading. And we close with some of the intangible benefits (and also potential drawbacks) of owning a store. Dave has been running Magic events for a quarter century. At this point he’s seen a couple of generations of players grow up, and he’s had a very real effect on them. Magic is a lifestyle game, but everyone experiences it differently, and everyone who experiences it has a different life that this game fits into somehow. We, as players, even as long-time players, don’t really think about that, but it’s pretty remarkable. Magic is over 25 years old. Dave predicts that Magic will survive even another catastrophic event, “like World War II.” And here we are in a global pandemic that has disallowed the gathering part of Magic: The Gathering. Listening to this now, after recording it before quarantine events began, it’s a little strange. Where does the game go from here? Where do we go? Questions for Discussion Local game stores like Dave’s are being hit particularly hard by the coronavirus quarantine since they can’t bring players in for events, and thus can’t as easily sell sealed product, single cards, or even snacks and drinks. So the only question this week is what are you doing for your local game store, especially after they’ve done so much for you. Times are tough, but consider doing what’s reasonable for you. If you want to support Dave’s store, Pop!, they have a new online storefront that will hopefully carry them through the troubled times. I’m sure they’d appreciate the business. Conclusion Thanks again for listening! And thanks to Dave for joining us on this special, two-part episode. We hope you enjoyed it and found it useful. Usually we talk a lot more about food. We’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at email@example.com.
46 minutes | Mar 27, 2020
Serious Vintage Episode 44: The Dave Files Part 1, Early Magic
For episode 44, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) join David P. Baum, longtime owner of a card and comic book store in Northern Ohio. He doesn’t have a personal Twitter account, but (Pop! the store has one, as well as a Facebook page and Discord, if you’re interested. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 02:29 – Dave Discovers the Magic 17:39 – The First “Grand Prix” and SandCon 32:18 – Origins 1995 Total runtime – 45:39 Who Is David P. Baum? We’ve talked about how hobby store owners need to focus on the store as a business rather, than as a hangout, so it can be challenging for someone who has fun with Magic: The Game to have it become Managing: The Gathering. But I believe Dave is an entrepreneur at heart. He’s not out to take advantage of customers to make money. He’s always been unassuming, welcoming, and respectful towards his customers, great at making connections, and being helpful beyond the normal cash register transaction. Instead he’s trying to create a better experience for customers, knowing that the money will come along with that. So far it’s seemed to work out. Thinking about it, I’ve been to shops he’s owned in eight different locations: five in Sandusky under two different names, and others in Huron, Port Clinton, and Bowling Green. When one has closed it’s been mostly on David’s terms, and when one opens it’s with foresight and the hope that it will be an improvement on the last. He’s been able to work solely as a game-store owner for a long time. For some members of Team Serious, Dave has been a part of our lives for many years. I’m 37 now and have been going to his stores since I was in high school, at least 20 years. He comes out to dinner with us after events and I’ve been to his house to play board games. He was at my wedding, and then last year was at the tournament and diaper party we had to celebrate the birth of our first child. I guess this is just a personal recommendation on Dave to go along with his years of experience as a Magic: The Gathering tournament organizer and store owner. He’s a great guy and valued member of the community, no matter what he says. What Happened – Part I My plan for this episode worked perfectly. I know that Dave’s a good talker and storyteller, so it was easy to just kind of turn him loose. We ended up with more than two hours of recorded audio that just happened to be pretty neatly divided between “The Early Days of Tournament Magic” and “What It’s Like to Own a Store.” So you’ll get more Dave soon! This first part contains a chronology of the beginnings of tournament Magic, from Dave’s perspective: ● Dave gets his first boxes of Unlimited from a sports card dealer and sells them at a little sports card convention without knowing what they are. He opens some starters and “auctions” some singles, including Demonic Tutor. Did he sell a Black Lotus? ● He takes some of the cards home, learns to play, and becomes engrossed. He gets a Shivan Dragon. ● At another sports card show, Dave organizes probably the first Magic tournament in Northern Ohio, maybe one of the first tournaments ever. ● When Magic was still fresh and new, starting in 1995 or so, Dave and his brother and some friends organize a circuit of tournaments in Northern Ohio that they call the Grand Prix. One of these includes an event at a golf resort in Huron that is my first tournament ever, where I played a team event with future Pro Tour player Tim Aten. Tim and I were in the same class in high school, and on the same quiz team if you’re familiar with his Jeopardy! appearances. He was also coincidentally the Magic editor I replaced when I got hired at Wizards. Vermilion High School class of 2000 was apparently good for Magic editors. ● They also organize SandCon in Sandusky, which Geoff and I attend to buy cards and not be competitive in tournaments. I play Icatian Moneychanger in a deck at one point. The early days of Magic have such primitive strategy and buying options compared to those we have now. Dave starts a “zine” to promote SandCon and no one really knows how to build a deck. ● Dave runs the Chinese Fourth Edition release event at Origins. There’s no reference for any of the cards, so Dave makes a photocopied booklet to show what the cards do based on how they look. Two of the judges he brings down are Mike and Jeff Donais, both of whom eventually work in Wizards R&D and later go on to other game development jobs. Dave meets Richard Garfield, Peter Adkison, Brom, and other Magic luminaries. ● Magic weathers some of its early challenges, enters its first big growth period, and begins the Pro Tour in 1996, asking tournament organizers to bid to participate. Dave and his partners decline, and Dave takes a break from Magic entirely. It covers a lot of time in Magic’s first big growth phase, up to and including some of the difficulties with Fallen Empires and Chronicles, and the Wild West days before everyone had constant information from the Internet. Prices were made up on the spot and the decks people built were largely terrible. Perhaps you remember the advice that 20 lands were enough? That has been wrong forever, but it was long-lasting as a baseline for deck construction. Anyway, this is merely part one. Dave will continue in a second episode where he tells about running a store and some of the experiences surrounding that. Questions for Discussion When did you start playing Magic? Did you ever go to a small “convention” with a bunch of vendors selling sports cards and a few people selling gaming cards? I remember going to one and buying a couple of Star Wars CCG starters. That was a mistake. I also remember buying $1 cards like Shapeshifter and Tetravus, which were fine but rare and I had never seen them before so I had no idea what they were worth. That was a weird thing too: “I’ve never seen this card so it must be good or worth a lot.” Conclusion Thanks for listening! And thanks to Dave for joining us on this special, two-part episode. We hope you enjoyed it and found it useful. Usually we talk a lot more about food. We’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
96 minutes | Dec 2, 2019
Serious Vintage Episode 43: GenCon After-Party
For episode 43, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) join Nat’s wife Elizabeth (@eaeshelman) to talk about a gamer’s first GenCon, hosting a diaper-party Magic tournament, and pregnancy food cravings! Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 0:00:41 – GenCon 2019 1:13:25 – TSI Diaper Party 1:23:31 – I Need Some Pickles Right Now or I Will Fight You Total runtime – 1:36:17 Everyone Enjoys GenCon Hello! It’s been several months since we’ve had time to do any recording, and in that time Vintage has changed drastically at least twice, so obviously we’re not talking about Vintage at all. Instead, we’re looking back three months to the beginning of August and the best time of the year, GenCon. Geoff and I attended this year, along with several Team Serious members, and this year I had the pleasure of rooming with my wife (five months pregnant at the time) and her older cousin John. Being able to introduce (or reintroduce, in John’s case) people to GenCon is a real treat, and even offers a refreshing perspective for myself, who has attended for the past 10-or-so years. My view of GenCon has always been that each year’s experience is slightly different, and usually gets better as you weed out elements that weren’t as fulfilling and replace them with something new. You learn something and improve each time. For example, as much as I love playing Magic, there’s so much more going on at GenCon that I now prefer to spend my time elsewhere with friends, unlike the first couple of years where I spent most of my days in the tournament hall. Elizabeth, John, and I played a nice Commander game on Wednesday night before getting to the convention on Thursday, and Geoff, Andy “Brass Man” Probasco, and I did an Andy’s Closet Cube Three Player Partner Nonlegendary Commander Brawl draft (patent pending) one evening to pass a few hours. Action photo and my deck below; ask Andy about it on Twitter. Most of our time was spent in GenCon’s extensive exhibit hall, where new games and products can be demoed and purchased. Covering everything in detail would take a lot, but we talk about several games: ● Robo-Rally-like programming games were surprisingly popular. These included the rubber-duck racing simulator duck! Duck! Go!, Tremors: the Boardgame game Terror Below, and Dauntless Dirigibles, which is still in development but was a lot of fun. ● Elizabeth and I played Foundations of Rome, still in development and on Kickstarter, as the last game on Sunday. It’s got a lot of potential, particularly with well-designed game pieces. Elizabeth would like to remind you that she won, by a lot. ● Adventure Island was a fun, cooperative, narrative game, which sparked some discussion on the nature of those types of games and their replay value. ● Elizabeth and her family like the Lost Cities series of games. Lost Cities: Rivals is the newest addition to that group and is a fun bidding game. There’s also a four-player board game. ● I wanted to pick up Unearth, which we played at last year’s GenCon but which stuck with me. It holds up to my memory of it. ● Silver: Amulet was new from the creator of One Night Ultimate Werewolf but had some frustrating elements. We all had to try it twice to check. ● I also liked 3 laws of Robotics, a fun social-deduction game with a party game element. My only gripe was that I thought the instructions were missing an important clarification on how points work. ● Geoff was enchanted by the simple dexterity game Catch the Moon if you appreciate games that are easy to teach. This one is super cute. ● Elizabeth and I both liked Wingspan a fun, complex engine builder with amazing bird art. And I just learned from BGG that it was primarily developed and designed by women. Outside the regular exhibit hall, Elizabeth, John, and I got to look at the First Exposure Playtest Hall, which always has a fun feeling of being able to offer constructive criticism on a game before it comes out. We also played in the One Night Ultimate Werewolf World Championship, my first non-Magic sanctioned tournament at GenCon, and they made a few fun twists to the rules. Elizabeth and John also played several games of traditional and Ultimate Werewolf over conference. And the three of us attended a seminar on “The Secrets of Magic: The Gathering,” hosted by frequent GenCon presenter and intellectual property lawyer Jason Webb, who went step-by-step through a pack of Magic cards and explained all the symbols, language, and other IP text. It was interesting. And free. And we each got a pack of Ravnica Allegiance. So it’s worth an hour to relax at an otherwise busy con. For food, we talk a little about brunch at Cafe Pikachu and dinner (and shrimp cocktail) at St. Elmo Steakhouse. I don’t remember if we mentioned the best chicken fingers in the world, but this was also the first year I ever dined at the Steak ‘n Shake near the convention center. Diapers for Little Magic Player A few weeks ago, in anticipation of the arrival of our firstborn, Elizabeth and I hosted a Team Serious Invitational: Diaper Party (TSI:DP) at our house in Columbus. In addition to being a fun episode of camaraderie, where the entry fee was just some number of (unused, I really felt we needed to specify unused) diapers, this was also a lead-up to Eternal Weekend for the Ohio Vintage players. But in addition to the five rounds of competitive Vintage Magic: The Gathering, we also had some fun baby-related games. Players were invited to stick balloons up their shirts to simulate pregnancy for example, and two of the balloons had tickets to win a Death Star beach ball! Guhstin used three strategically placed balloons for the full effect. We also organized that game where players try to identify candy that has been melted in diapers. If you’d like to play at home, I’ll put the answers on Twitter. And we had a basket of diapers for people to write messages on so that we could have some encouraging cheer for those late-night feedings and changings. Those will be fun to go through, as will the box of diapers that one Twaun P. Pwnertown sent, decorated with Orkz. It was a great time! At least Elizabeth and I had a great time. I got to play some Vintage and she got to show off our house—including the newly finished nursery—and play hostess to a bunch of fun people. I think our guests had fun too, but who am I to speak for them? Regardless, our attendees, along with a few who couldn’t attend and sent mail instead gave us more than 3,000 diapers, and nearly as many wipes. We also got a great assortment of books, toys, and clothes. Vintage writer Joe Dyer brought the rocking horse, and the day’s winner, David Lance, brought a personalized MTG onesie for the boy. (We had joked about first prize for the tournament being naming rights for our son, so maybe David just called his shot.) There’s a more complete report on The Mana Drain. As I mentioned, David Lance won with Survival. Steve McGrew, Nam Q. Tran, and Rajah James rounded out the Top 4 on Paradoxical Outcome, Ravager Shops, and ZiasBond Lands, respectively. Prizes included sealed product from my infancy in Magic: a 4th Edition starter, an Urza’s Saga precon, and Ice Age and Fallen Empires boosters. Food and Drinks: Pregnancy Cravings For our food and drinks section, we talked some about the culinary highlights of GenCon, but we also talked with Elizabeth about her pregnancy cravings. Instead of the stereotypical strange combinations of pickles and ice cream, she wanted mostly comfort foods. Shells and cheese, or pot-roast sandwich with fries and a Coke from Bob Evans, for example. We’ve had several batches of shells and cheese over the past three trimesters, and this is the first time in our 10-year marriage we’ve ever done that. Here’s the recipe. It’s what you’d expect: delicious. We also talk about how there should be more nonalcoholic cocktail options. Recently Elizabeth and I rediscovered Asterisk Supper Club, which is mere minutes from our house. There the bartender will concoct a “mocktail” to your taste preferences, and it’s a reasonable price because they’re making you a fancy pop. Questions for Discussion Why don’t you come to GenCon? You’d probably enjoy it. Also, why don’t you host a Vintage tournament (or whatever format you prefer) at your house? Invite your friends and have fun. Act like you like one another. Have you ever been pregnant? Did you enjoy restricting your diet? No alcohol, limited caffeine, avoiding foods like sushi, unpasteurized dairy, lunch meat? Did you have any weird cravings? What hot spots did you find for mocktails in your area? Conclusion and Post Script Thanks for listening! And thanks to Elizabeth for joining us. If you’re interested in some of her writing, it’s available on McSweeney’s and elsewhere under her authorial name, Elizabeth Eshelman. And in the few weeks it took for us to get the podcast edited and the writeup written up, Elizabeth and I had a baby! Jesse John Moes was born on November 16 at 7:13 a.m. He weighed 7 lbs. 13 oz. and was 7+13 in. long, so he’s got some clear lucky numbers. Both mom and baby did just great. In fact, we’ve had him home for two weeks now and are having fun figuring out this whole “Living With a Baby” thing. So far, so good! We’ll probably be on hiatus a bit longer as Nat and Elizabeth enjoy their newborn, but we’ll be back. Geoff loves editing these shows too much to let us quit. He is a harsh taskmaster. We’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at email@example.com.
33 minutes | Jun 24, 2019
Serious Vintage Episode 42: Heating Up M20’s Mystic Forge
For episode 42, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) welcome back Andy Probasco (@tmdBrassMan) to talk about Mystic Forge, a free preview card from Core Set 2020, provided by Wizards of the Coast! Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 00:28 – Surprise! It’s Mystic Forge Total runtime: 33:05 “I Can Build ANY Machine.” There are a lot of exciting cards in Core Set 2020 (better known as M20), but there are two I left design notes for that specifically mentioned Vintage. Scheming Symmetry I was intrigued in because a combo deck could potentially exist built around the now six available one-black-mana topdeck tutors. And my note on our preview card was that “If this hits Vintage, it will do something new and fun.” We brought Andy “The Brass Man” Probasco back to the show to help us figure out what those new and fun things might be. He’s the owner of The Mana Drain and has been a participant on the Vintage Super League, and as winner of the most recent Team Serious Invitational with Death’s Shadow Survival, is one of the Vintage format’s more creative players and deck builders. Mystic Forge has a lot of potential as a card-advantage engine in Mishra’s Workshop decks of all kinds. The question, as always, is what do you cut from an existing list to make room for a card that doesn’t do anything to your opponent on its own? You could trade one turn in the early game to play Mystic Forge and potentially accelerate all of your future plays, but that gives your opponent an undisrupted turn either free of disruption (like Sphere of Resistance or Phyrexian Revoker) or free of threat (like Arcbound Ravager or Walking Ballista). It’s a risk. In today’s metagame, Mystic Forge also competes directly at mana cost and some utility with Karn, the Great Creator, who not only disrupts the opponent but also serves as card advantage. But Mystic Forge has so many exciting benefits. Many Workshop decks and Eldrazi decks are built with fairly low mana costs relative to the amount of mana they can produce between Workshop itself, Ancient Tomb, Eldrazi lands, as well as Moxes, Sol Ring, and Mana Crypt. If you get Mystic Forge into play, your next turn might include casting three or four cards from the top of your library, and you can exile a card you can’t or don’t want to cast. With enough mana, you can cast cards even through Karn or Collector Ouphe, potentially allowing you to overwhelm your opponent. This is helpful whether you’re playing more lock pieces or attacking with creatures or trying to combo off. After we talked, Andy proposed this list, which is based on current Karn Workshops builds and is happy to play whatever role its opening hand and the game situation gives it (of course, none of the lists presented here are tested, and your metagame may vary, so good luck!). Karn's ForgeBusiness (34)4 Mystic Forge3 Manifold Key4 Karn, the Great Creator4 Sensei’s Divining Top3 Helm of Awakening4 Serum Powder1 Chalice of the Void3 Arcbound Ravager4 Foundry Inspector4 Walking BallistaMana Sources (26)4 Mishra’s Workshop1 Black Lotus1 Mana Crypt4 Ancient Tomb4 Grim Monolith1 Mana Vault1 Mox Emerald1 Mox Jet1 Mox Pearl1 Mox Ruby1 Mox Sapphire2 City of Traitors1 Tolarian Academy1 Mox Opal1 Lotus Petal1 Sol RingSideboard (15)1 Manifold Key1 Time Vault13 Other Cards If you can use Sensei’s Divining Top or a similar effect to further manipulate the top card of your library, you can easily get around lands blocking the top of your deck. Top also goes infinite with Foundry Inspector to draw your library. Together with the variety of mana producing artifacts, including Grim Monolith and Voltaic Key, there might be a Mystic Forge combo deck that aims to play most of its library on turn one to some great effect. Potentially this deck wins with Aetheflux Reservoir or, my favorite, Goblin Charbelcher. This could be the basis for a Krark Clan Ironworks-type deck in Vintage and potentially other formats. Aetherflux ForgeBusiness (36)4 Mystic Forge3 Aetherflux Reservoir3 Krark Clan Ironworks3 Manifold Key4 Karn, the Great Creator4 Helm of Awakening4 Sensei’s Divining Top1 Engineered Explosives1 Spine of Ish Sah1 Myr Retriever4 Scrap Trawler4 Foundry InspectorMana Sources (25)1 Mox Emerald1 Mox Jet1 Mox Pearl1 Mox Ruby1 Mox Sapphire4 Mox Opal4 Grim Monolith1 Black Lotus1 Sol Ring1 Mana Crypt1 Lotus Petal1 Mana Vault1 Lion’s Eye Diamond1 Lotus Petal4 Mishra’s Workshop1 Tolarian AcademySideboard (15)1 Manifold Key1 Time Vault1 Aetherflux Reservoir1 Goblin Charbelcher11 Other Cards But maybe you just try to run Mystic Forge in a Tiny Robots list and try to cast a bunch of tiny creatures that will attack anything in sight. You can cast Walking Ballista and Hangarback Walker for 0 to move them off the top of your library, and it might be better to have Chief of the Foundry main deck to get some value out of that play. Tiny ForgebotsBusiness (39)4 Mystic Forge4 Sensei’s Divining Top3 Skullclamp2 Cranial Plating1 Chalice of the Void1 Thorn of Amethyst4 Memnite4 Foundry Inspector4 Arcbound Ravager4 Walking Ballista4 Hangarback Walker4 Phyrexian RevokerMana Sources (21)1 Mana Vault1 Sol Ring1 City of Traitors2 Mox Opal4 Ancient Tomb4 Mishra’s Workshop1 Tolarian Academy1 Mox Emerald1 Mox Jet1 Mox Pearl1 Mox Ruby1 Mox Sapphire1 Lotus Petal1 Mana CryptSideboard (15)4 Chief of the Foundry11 Other cards One last thing to notice is that these decks will all benefit greatly from M20’s other gift to Vintage, the London mulligan. Touring London will help players find a quality turn one: a hand with Mishra’s Workshop, or an early Mystic Forge or Karn, or both. Seeing seven cards at a time and picking your favorites will make a big difference in these kinds of decks, which are so reliant on opening hands and won’t be able to as easily fix their situation as a blue deck with multiple Preordains and other cheap cantrips. When it comes to this new era of colorless decks, mulligan often and mulligan with intention. And the Hi-Res For our free preview this time, I also had the time and forethought to ask Wizards about the high-resolution art from Titus Lunter. And they provided! So here’s the hi-res version of Mystic Forge from M20 for your eyeballs to enjoy (and click to download wallpaper). Questions for Discussion Will Mystic Forge be a hit in Vintage? What about in another format? It’s definitely legal in a bunch of them, and Legacy has a bunch of Sol lands to help play it. Did any of you play X-Men Legends games, where the character Forge is played by Lou Diamond Phillips? And you’d interact with him and he’d say lines like “I can build ANY machine” like he’s real smug about it? That was great. He was right too. He built a lot of really useful stuff in that series of games. Conclusion Thanks for listening! And thanks to The Brass Man for joining us on this special episode. If you found this show because of our free Wizards preview card for M20, welcome. We hope you enjoyed it and found it useful. Usually we talk a lot more about food. We’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
75 minutes | Jun 12, 2019
Serious Vintage Episode 41: Peering Over Modern Horizons with Allison Medwin
For episode 41, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) talk about Modern Horizons with Allison Medwin (@trulyaliem), who worked on the exploratory and vision design teams for that set. Nat was also on exploratory design and was the set’s lead editor. Then we also talk about…cats! Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 0:00:31 – Peering Over Modern Horizons 1:03:47 – Cats? Necessary. Rails? Optional. Total Runtime – 1:14:38 How Modern Horizons Came to Be Modern Horizons started its life as part of a “hackathon,” where several teams of Wizards were given the opportunity to brainstorm about a particular project and put together a proposal for its potential eventual publication. Ethan Fleischer presented it as Time Spiral II, “A Magic Set About Magic: The Gathering” that would have delicious references to previous cards, characters, and even strategies that longtime players would recognize and cherish. Mark Rosewater wanted to do the same but with a more mechanical focus, so it would be more like Future Sight II. Being on the exploratory team at the beginning and as the lead editor at the end, I had a somewhat unique position of watching over the set throughout its life. Termed “Project Decadence” early on, it was great fun to see how much rich flavor and tactical sweetness could be squeezed into the set with just a handful of designers (including our guest, Allison) brainstorming on a deadline. As the Modern Horizons concept was developed further – particularly with the idea of the cards going directly into the Modern format, anticipating some of them would make a splash – it was fascinating to watch the power level increase without losing the sense of fun nostalgia. This is when the subthemes were fleshed out and the Canopy cycle were added, for example. And then, with that last layer of glitter, the names and flavor text are applied. It would be hard to add anything in writing to what we talked about with Allison on the show. As we got to the end, it was obvious that between Allison and me, we could talk about nearly every card and just create a flood of notes. Which would be so much fun! But also a really, really long podcast. If you want more depth on one card, you can check out our previous episode on Collector Ouphe, our free preview card from Wizards of the Coast. Anyway, here we covered our own highlights and were still able to leave something for players to discover on their own. There’s a lot. Even we were finding out new things as we talked. And Then There Were Cats Instead of our usual Food and Drink section we decided to talk about cats. There’s just a lot of love for cats on the show. Allison is prone to posting her cats, sister and brother Emery and Evan, on her social media, and they’re pretty great. You can follow the exploits of Geoff’s cats, Awbee and Oberon, on his Instagram, Tonkinesetime. That’s dedication. And Josh also has cats, Ed and Eddy—indoor/outdoor cats in the mountains above Denver. He said of Eddy, he’s “the long-haired, dirty mouth killer.” I’m limited to posting pictures other people’s cats because my wife is allergic. Recently I’ve spent time with Green Lantern (“Greenie”), who belongs to my friend Arnie, and who I would catsit for sometimes. It’s true that all cats have attitudes – good and bad – but Greenie is most prone to just crawl into your lap, plop down, and start purring, so I give him a high rating. What a goofball. I can only imagine how excited Jaco was to receive our always-high-quality Vintage Magic: The Gathering podcast with a bunch of cat pictures in it. Questions for Discussion What cards’ backstories did we miss from Modern Horizons? Were there characters or references you were particularly excited to see? I liked Allison’s question, I think in reference to Shenanigans: “Is this what Vintage players want to see?” What do Vintage players want out of new sets? Is it more cats? It’s probably more cats. Cats are great. Conclusion Thanks for listening, and to Alli for joining us! We should have something special coming up so stay tuned to our next episode as well. We’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at email@example.com.
25 minutes | May 27, 2019
Serious Vintage Episode 40: Introducing Collector Ouphe
For episode 40, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) are pleased to show off Collector Ouphe, a free preview card from Modern Horizons, provided by Wizards of the Coast! 01:25 – Oof 17:59 – The Real Collection Was the Friends We Made Along the Way Total runtime: 25:22 Null Rodney I’m sure most of you are here looking for the free Modern Horizons preview card, so we’ll get right to it. It’s a Null Rod on legs! At long last! This card was at the top of my list from the very beginning of exploratory design, and it went through everything almost unchanged mechanically. In my head I named it “Null Rodney.” Null Rod has long been a staple of Vintage aggro-control decks because it helps prey on artifact-based manabases as Wasteland and Strip Mine take apart dual lands. It slows down explosive starts and combo finishes, allowing the control deck enough time to block paths to victory and win with creatures. That was one of Null Rod’s big weaknesses, in fact; it didn’t apply pressure to the opponent by itself. Without threatening creatures bearing down, opponents could find answers or additional threats and break out of their prison to win. Collector Ouphe has the same crippling potential as Null Rod but brings its own threat. As formats get older and smaller, and artifacts get more powerful, Collector Ouphe has increasing utility. In Modern it shuts down Affinity (the deck, not the ability), Aether Vial, and much of the Tron decks’ ability to fix colors and tutor for lands. In Legacy it starts hitting fast mana (Mox Diamond, Chrome Mox, Lotus Petal, and Lion’s Eye Diamond), artifact decks with Grim Monolith, and powerful equipment, like Batterskull and Umezawa’s Jitte. And in Vintage, Workshop Aggro runs Walking Ballista and Arcbound Ravager, in addition to all the decks using Moxes, Black Lotus, Sol Ring, and Mana Crypt as a big chunk of their mana base. Oh, and Time Vault is still an OK card, I think. Anyway, we’re primarily a Vintage podcast, so we’ll go deeper into Vintage applications. Obviously not every deck is interested in this effect, but there are probably a few. Stony Silence is one of the most important cards in Survival decks for buying time against Workshops and Paradoxical Outcome, and Collector Ouphe is a Stony Silence that can be tutored for (or discarded to) Survival of the Fittest. Maybe there’s some risk in making creature removal even better against this creature-heavy strategy, but all kinds of removal were good against this deck that has a key land, a key enchantment, big artifact creatures, lots of other creatures, and a relevant graveyard. Ouphe Survival, borrowed from David LanceBusiness (38)4 Bazaar of Baghdad4 Survival of the Fittest1 Ancestral Recall1 Time Walk1 Thorn of Amethyst4 Basking Rootwalla4 Vengevine4 Hollow One3 Collector Ouphe3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben1 Hooting Mandrills1 Manglehorn1 Spell Queller1 Squee, Goblin Nabob1 Wonder4 Noble HierarchMana Sources (22)2 Elvish Spirit Guide1 Black Lotus1 Mox Emerald1 Mox Jet1 Mox Pearl1 Mox Ruby1 Mox Sapphire2 Verdant Catacombs2 Windswept Heath2 Wooded Foothills2 Misty Rainforest3 Savannah2 Tropical Island1 ForestSideboard (15)1 Chalice of the Void4 Containment Priest1 Energy Flux1 Fairgrounds Warden1 Force of Vigor2 Grafdigger’s Cage1 Kataki, War’s Wage1 Collector Ouphe2 Squee, Goblin Nabob1 Stony Silence BUG Control (which we’ve never talked about on this show before) is already looking to deny resources to the opponent with creatures like Leovold, Emissary of Trest, stopping card-draw, and Ramunap Excavator and Wasteland hitting important lands. Like Excavator, the Ouphe is another artifact that’s been given a body and a purpose – preventing the opponent from having nice things. And thanks to Deathrite Shaman, BUG Control can skip running a lot of the artifacts that would make the Ouphe a double-edged sword. BUG CollectorBusiness (38)4 Force of Will2 Mental Misstep1 Thoughtseize1 Abrupt Decay1 Assassin's Trophy1 Ponder1 Brainstorm1 Ancestral Recall1 Time Walk2 Painful Truths2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor1 Treasure Cruise1 Dig Through Time1 Demonic Tutor4 Deathrite Shaman3 Snapcaster Mage3 Collector Ouphe2 Baleful Strix3 Leovold, Emissary of Trest1 Rumanap Excavator1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang1 Gurmag AnglerMana Sources (22)1 Black Lotus1 Mox Emerald1 Mox Jet1 Mox Sapphire4 Verdant Catacombs1 Misty Rainforest1 Polluted Delta3 Underground Sea2 Tropical Island1 Bayou1 Swamp1 Strip Mine4 WastelandSideboard (15)4 Grafdigger's Cage2 Yixlid Jailer1 Forest2 Nature's Claim1 Force of Vigor1 Pithing Needle1 Toxic Deluge1 Flusterstorm1 Engineered Explosives1 Infernal Reckoning Another strategy, which hasn’t been around recently but could show up again, would be something like Christmas Beats. In Magic, red and green both hate Vintage staples blue and artifacts, so this deck focuses on those in an aggro-control shell. Christmas Beats foregoes playing most artifacts in favor of Elvish and Simian Spirit Guides, so it can disrupt mana with four Collector Ouphes and an additional Null Rod for moral support. There are lots of creature options beyond that: Magus of the Moon, Tin Street Hooligan, Scavenging Ooze, Tarmogoyf, Harsh Mentor, Vexing Shusher, Goblin Cratermaker. And for spells you get Pyroblast, Lightning Bolt, Ancient Grudge, the new Force of Vigor from Modern Horizons – whatever you think will make a difference in the expected metagame. Santa’s OupheBusiness (32)4 Deathrite Shaman4 Collector Ouphe4 Tin Street Hooligan4 Tarmogoyf4 Magus of the Moon1 Chalice of the Void1 Null Rod1 Blood Moon1 Force of Vigor4 Pyroblast4 Lightning BoltMana Sources (28)4 Elvish Spirit Guide4 Simian Spirit Guide1 Lotus Petal4 Verdant Catacombs1 Wooded Foothills3 Taiga3 Snow-Covered Forest2 Snow-Covered Mountain1 Snow-Covered Swamp1 Strip Mine4 WastelandSideboard (15)3 Pithing Needle1 Thorn of Amethyst4 Leyline of the Void3 Ancient Grudge2 Red Elemental Blast2 Mindbreak Trap There’s a lot of opportunity for Collector Ouphe to succeed in Modern and eternal formats. Artifacts continue getting stronger and allowing opponents to carry out nefarious, broken schemes. Ouphe says no! How Many Team Serious Members Does It Take? Because podcasts are a tricky way to reveal a free Wizards preview card, we decided we’d try something different, and perhaps unique. The Serious Vintage podcast looks at the Vintage format through the lens of community, rather than competition. We have fun playing Magic, but it’s also an excuse to hang out with people we enjoy. And it’s one of the reasons we always end our shows with discussions of food and drink, because the post-tournament meal is just as important as the event itself. Sometimes more so. So thanks to everyone who helped us preview our card (in order of the word they read): Steve McGrew, Jake Hilty, Jon Hammack, JR Goldman, Guhstin Dewey, Paul Blakeley, Ryan Seeley, Nam Q. Tran, Duane Haddix, Rajah James, Anthony “Twaun” Michaels, Jimmy McCarthy, Andy “Brass Man” Probasco, Sam Krohlow, Frank Singel, Josh McCurley, Phil Thorson, Jerry Yang, Eric Caffrey, Mark Trogdon, Gilberto Rivera, Kevin Nelson, Justin Waller, Rick Gideon, David Lance, Kyle Lennox, Charles Rolko, Kevin Poenisch, Matt Hazard, Erik Butler, Joe Dyer, and Ben Perry. Lots of people had fun with it, none more than Brass Man, who provided the stinger for this episode. Thanks also to Geoff Moes, who, when I said I wanted to have him splice 40 or so contextless words of a card together into a coherent whole, didn’t blink an eye. It was just that normal twitch thing he gets when I tell him I have an idea. And thanks to Josh Chapple, who, since it was snowing in Colorado when we recorded, went up the road to podcast from the parking lot of his local bar, Snowpack Taproom, to get a working internet signal. He recommends Snowpack as having a strong selection of rotating local kegs, good food, and powerful internet. The next Team Serious Invitational he hosts in Colorado will definitely take a trip there. Finally, thanks to Jaco for hosting our show at Eternal Central. He loves formats with old Magic cards and has put together quite a home for them. We exist in large part because of his help. My job is easy; I just write words. Upcoming Events We close this episode with a couple of upcoming Vintage events, a section that we used to do and would like to do more regularly. If you have a Vintage (or Middle School or Old School) event that you want us to hype, let us know! If it’s reasonable to put on our next episode, we will. First up, an event I found on The Mana Drain. The Lone Star Lhurgoyfs group is hosting a Vintage event Saturday, June 8 in Houston, Texas. They have a nice writeup, it’s at a bar, and they’re going to raffle off some pretty awesome looking Eldrazi proxies. Check that out if you’re near Houston. In Warren, Ohio, there are two Vintage Eternal Weekend Trials, on Friday, June 14 and Sunday, June 16 at Bottom Dollar Trading. Those events should just be crawling with Team Serious members, so it should be a lot of fun. And Josh is looking forward to the TinFinVitational events in Denver, being run the same weekend as that city’s Magic Fest at the Whittier Pub. There’s a Vintage event on Friday, July 19, and a Legacy event on Sunday, July 21. Take a look if you
55 minutes | May 6, 2019
Serious Vintage Episode 39: Planeswalking Around Town
For episode 39, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) talk about the role of planeswalkers in Vintage, speculate baselessly about some new cards in War of the Spark, and discuss sous vide and other novel methods of cooking. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 00:42 – A Brief, Half-Educated History of Planeswalkers in Vintage 26:56 – What Do We Do With 36 New Planeswalkers? 43:16 – Sous Vide? So What? Total runtime: 55:29 Planeswalkers in Vintage I want to start the writeup with a lament, actually, for the loss of Morphling.de. That website was a longtime store of Vintage decks and knowledge from the paper and early online days of the format, going back to 2002. I did a lot of research there for articles and podcasts and considered it a great source for questions like “Who was the first person to top eight with Rage Extractor?” and “Is there a recent 5C Stax list?” The archives are still available, but they’re not searchable. It’s a blow to people like us who enjoy the historical perspective. At least the archives of The Mana Drain are still in good working order. Using those, it seems like the first planeswalkers, from Lorwyn, mostly missed Vintage entirely. Little Jace Beleren wasn’t explosive enough and too generously gave cards to your opponent. Chandra Nalaar and Liliana Vess were too expensive, and Ajani Goldmane was too creature-centric for the time. In fact it was Garruk Wildspeaker who had the most attractive power-level to cost ratio, making into an experimental Worldgorger Dragon combo build by Rich Shay and a novel mono-green deck from Guli. These weird, attackable enchantments with activated abilities didn’t really go anywhere It wasn’t until Tezzeret, the Seeker combined with a newly re-re-un-re-errata’d Time Vault in 2008 that planeswalkers really took hold. Suddenly there was an entirely new deck archetype—two if you distinguish Turbo Tezz from the regular kind—that featured an entirely new card type. And it was winning! Tezzeret still won in a very Vintage-y way, that is, immediately. You had one to stop your opponent from taking all the turns, which meant short-term answers like counterspells and artifact removal were reasonable. Still, Thirst for Knowledge was restricted in 2009. Then, in 2010, Jace, the Mind Sculptor appeared in Worldwake. There was a lot of discussion when the text first appeared, with players trying to determine the new card’s role, if it had one. You should really treat yourself to skimming that thread, as it’s hilarious in hindsight. Big Jace didn’t catch on right away, but it definitely left a mark on the format. Jace paired nicely with Dark Confidant as a draw engine in control decks, so well that Owen Turtenwald won the 2010 Vintage Championship with it as a three-of. Jace succeeded in making the game longer, and Gush and Frantic Search were unrestricted in October 2010 to compete in that environment. It’s at this point that Vintage really turned more towards creatures as part of a strategic plan. Stuff on the board started being more important than stuff in the hand, and planeswalkers, creatures, and removal jockeyed for superiority. (This is actually where Jace Beleren (the card) started to show up, as a counter to players trying to push the envelope on Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Beleren was slightly cheaper and could strand an opponent’s Mind Sculptor in hand. It was kind of a weird time.) There haven’t been so many planeswalkers that reached Tezzeret or Jace status. Dack Fayden certainly made an impact, particularly as an anti-strategy against Workshop decks, encouraging the use of Arcbound Ravager alongside Lodestone Golem and necessitating Phyrexian Revoker. And the bar has gotten lower for other planeswalkers to be tested. Even unexpected hits like Arlinn Kord, Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast, and Tamiyo, Field Researcher have made Vintage Top 8s. So It’s WAR Now we enter a new era of planeswalkers. Previously, they had been weird, attackable enchantments with activated abilities. Now they have static and triggered abilities too! This puts even more emphasis on preserving a board full of stuff as you increase your value as the game goes on. Not only do planeswalker abilities draw you virtual spells each turn, but you’re further rewarded for keeping a board full of stuff. Creatures and removal—particularly if it covers a variety of permanent types—thus get more important as well. We look at some cards from War of the Spark completely without context aside from being a Vintage-focused podcast. Certainly there are a few standout planeswalkers that could slot easily into an existing Vintage deck or something similar, and War of the Spark seems like it will have a major impact on the format. Consider Saheeli, Sublime Artificer, or Ral, Storm Conduit, as a fifth copy of Young Pyromancer with benefits like comboing a little with Time Vault or copying Ancestral Recall or any of Vintage’s other great spells. Teferi, Time Raveler, could make it into Jeskai as a control piece, or into Paradoxical Outcome as anti-counterspell technology. Maybe Teyo, the Shieldmage, or Dovin, Anarch of Bolas (don’t forget hybrid mana can be mono-colored!) find a place in a mono-white prison deck alongside various Thalias and other white weenies. Karn, the Great Creator, seems like a shoo-in for a Mishra’s Workshop deck. Despite being a four-drop nonartifact, Karn’s one-sided Null Rod ability is powerful, particularly in the mirror and against Paradoxical Outcome, where it can’t be removed by artifact hate. Being able to get artifacts out of your sideboard or that were exiled is also strong, potentially game-winning and well worth four mana in an artifact combo deck like Two-Card Monte. Karn’s suite of abilities could also find a home in Paradoxical Outcome decks, similar to Teferi; Karn can shut down opposing Shops or the Mirror and provide an alternate route to victory. Even getting old effects on new card types could be exciting. Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, is a new Laboratory Maniac, potentially with a built-in path to an empty library. Narset, Parter of Veils, is similar to something like Notion Thief in conjunction with Dack Fayden or any number of draw-sevens. And Ashiok, Dream Render, potentially shuts down tutor-heavy combo decks like a one-sided Mindlock Orb or permanent Shadow of Doubt. These may not see long-term heavy play without help, but they have some interesting applications. Beyond planeswalkers there are plenty of other interesting cards in the set. Some combo-minded players are salivating over Bolas’s Citadel, which seems to combine Yawgmoth’s Bargain and Channel into one Tinker-ready package, and (particularly as I write that sentence out) seems nuts. An aggressive, black-based storm or Goblin Charbelcher deck make use of that if players aren’t too scared of Mental Misstep to run Dark Ritual. And if planeswalkers do run roughshod over Vintage, The Elderspell has some seriously exciting text for two mana. I realize this section reads like a bit of a laundry list of card names, but that’s because War of the Spark has great potential. The addition to Vintage of this many planeswalkers (and associated cards) that are reasonably costed with reasonable abilities is unprecedented. Food and Drink: Unconventional Ovens We close this episode with a discussion of sous vide and other cooking techniques for the lazy hipster. Geoff likes the convenience of long-term, constant-temperature hot water baths for his bachelor chow of salmon. He can put his filet-o-fish into a bucket in the afternoon, set the temperature on the sous vide wand, and return later when he wants to eat. There’s no chance of overcooking, and a quick sear in a pan or on the grill adds caramelized flavor. It’s trendy and fun! And as you’ll learn in the podcast, you can sous vide pretty much anything, including phones. Josh is intrigued by cooking salmon in the dishwasher or on top of a car engine during a long road trip. Nat adds that he used to cook Pop-Tarts in a hot pot in his dorm in college. We all do what must be done to survive. Questions for Discussion Which is Jace, the Mind Sculptor’s best ability? What different planeswalkers have you played in Vintage? Did you ever go crazy and, like, BOOM! seven-mana Garruk, Apex Planeswalker instead of playing, like, Yawgmoth’s Bargain? What War of the Spark cards spark your interest? Did you ever cook fish in your dishwasher? How about just throwing a steak in the dryer to tenderize it? What’s the most expensive card you’ve ever sous vide’ed? Conclusion Thanks for listening! We should have something special coming up in the next few weeks so stay tuned! We’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
41 minutes | Mar 15, 2019
Serious Vintage Episode 38: The 2019 Hazardvitational
For episode 38, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) talk with Matt Hazard (@winedope) about the most recent invitational Vintage tournament he held at his house, and how you can host similar local events. 00:30 – Matt Hazard, Magic Man 01:00 – Just Because We Haven’t Adequately Tested London Mulligan Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Share Extremely Uninformed Opinions About It 08:20 – The Return of the Hazardvitational and How to Host Your Own Total runtime: 40:43 Baselessly Speculating About London Vintage (and Magic in general) has been in a bit of a snit recently as players discuss the implications of the London mulligan, which will be tested at the upcoming Mythic Championship II. If the test goes well, the new rules would replace the current Vancouver mulligan rules. In brief, the London mulligan has players continue to draw seven cards for each mulligan and then put a card on the bottom of the library for each time they’ve mulliganed. So if you mulligan twice, you’ll draw seven cards, pick your five favorite, and put two cards on the bottom of your library. We’ve tested with this a few times in Middle School and Vintage pickup games, and it hasn’t made a huge amount of difference in most games. Where you’re keeping seven or six cards, for example, it’s equivalent to the current, or nearly so. At more than four mulligans (keeping three cards or fewer), you’re still so far behind on materiel that your chances are vastly depleted, even if you keep a solid looking trio or pair of cards. So the real test seems to be in keeping four or five cards, where you might have a powerful way to recover—Ancestral Recall, or Workshop-Trinisphere for example. Regardless, even with this potentially strengthened mulligan rule, we don’t think you want to mulligan. Cards are just too powerful a resource. So we don’t think this will be too-too upsetting for Eternal formats. In reality it will just make players feel better when they have to mulligan a long way down. But! In any case, it would be a shame if Mishra’s Workshop or Bazaar of Baghdad to be restricted based on a mulligan rule change, since they’ve been vibrant parts of the metagame for so long. How to Run a Magic Tournament at Your House A couple weeks ago 29 players showed up at the home of Matt Hazard in Columbus, hungry for the competition of a Vintage tournament and the fun of a casual environment. For an average suburban house, that’s a lot of people, particularly if you need them to have enough room between them to comfortably play a game of Magic. Matt and his wife, Trece, have hosted a similar event for four years in a row now, growing in scale each year. The first few years they had three dogs and two cats, and now they have a young kid to contend with among all the hubbub. And they do a great job! This is one of the Ohio Vintage community’s favorite tournaments. There are so many things to take into account if you want to host a similar event, but it can be done. Aspects include: seating, tournament organization, food and drinks, and prizes. Butts in Chairs The first thing Matt suggested was making sure you have enough places to put the games. His dining-room table only seats six, so with 23 more players to fit, we were spread out at the kitchen island (4), another table in the dining room (6), the living room (4), and the basement (8), including games on an ottoman and some borrowed folding tables. Knowing how many players you’ll be serving gives you a sense of scope for the event. Be realistic about how many you can host, and be firm in capping the event if necessary. It will be more than uncomfortable to cram players in where there’s not actually enough room for them. Names in Spreadsheets Then you need to put all those players into some sort of tournament organizer software. Wizards Event Reporter is the “official” software but shouldn’t technically be used for events with playtest cards. Plus everyone in WER needs a DCI number. We are more likely to use MtG Arena (not the online MTG game), which is free and uses the same algorithm to calculate player rankings. It requires only a Google ID to login, and the only difficulty is that it’s hard to re-pair if something gets off mid-round. You can print off pairings, or put them on a big TV, or just shout them out. For smaller events, a little yelling never hurt anyone. I’ll also recommend knowing and making clear how many rounds will be played and how a winner will be determined, so there’s no confusion toward the end. Typically you play N Swiss rounds for P players, where 2N – P isn’t negative. So 3 rounds for 8 players, 4 rounds for 8 to 16, 5 rounds for 16 to 32, and 6 rounds for wow, you have a lot of friends. There are plenty of options to determine a winner: Swiss and elimination rounds (usually top-eight for more than 16 players), Swiss+1, or – as Josh suggested for small events – round robin. Beverages The Hazardvitational and other events at peoples’ houses (like TSI Steveland, which we talked about recently) have asked players to bring their own drinks. It helps make sure everyone has something they like and takes a lot of burden off the hosts for supplying. Team Serious tends to go through a lot of Jägermeister, Malört, and Hamm’s because we hate ourselves. This year we even imported the “Dressed Hamm’s” from Chicago, which is better than it sounds, really. Food Breaks Are Nice Our home-based events have also typically included a break in the middle of the event for food. The Hazard’s had everyone throw money in a bowl for a big pizza order from Columbus-area favorite Donato’s, ending up with 15 large pizzas in all (almost half a pizza per person). Geoff’s invitationals have ordered in subs or burritos from Jimmy John’s or Chipotle. Coordinating a big grill-fest of burgers and hotdogs has worked as well too at events, in part because someone who’s not playing can serve as grillmaster. Regardless, food helps ground everyone and is another event people can socialize around. Prizes Are Nice Too And of course there are prizes to think of. Some Team Serious Invitational series have traditional prize structures that ask for entry fees and then condense those to pay out to the top four or eight players. This can be tricky since the prizes have to be bought in advance with a prospective amount of money based on the number of confirmed players. Often players or teammates are interested in selling cards to this venture, but you have to hope that the right mix of cards comes available at the same time as the money or risk over- or under-spending for prizes. The Hazardvitational bypasses this hangup by skipping the entry fee and asking players to donate prizes, suggesting a value of $20 or more. Cards are frequent additions to the pool, and we’ve had things like Dual Lands, Jaces, Commander decks, complete sets, and various user-created packages. Jake Hilty put a complete Middle School deck in the pool for this event, which was awesome. We’ve also had non-Magic prizes like alcohol (including Josh Chapple’s prize of bitters and a cocktail recipe book) and even a Sawzall, which went highly in the structure. Recent additions to the prize pool have been “mystery box” prizes, which are pretty much what they sound like. The sky’s the limit, and part of the prize is the fun of opening an unknown quantity. Ben Perry consistently outdoes himself in this category, as this year’s “Do Not Open” box included a choice of keeping a Tundra or one of two further mystery packages. The chosen prizes were intended to be given to other players of the winner’s choice and turned out to be more Middle School cards. In the end there are lots of ways to put a home tournament together. These are just basic ideas, and you can feel free to modify as necessary. In Case You Want to Stream I also didn’t get a chance to mention this in the podcast, but I devised a much-improved streaming rig for holding a camera above a game of Magic. Instead of using two vertical posts with a crossbar, I got a boom stand with a single counterweighted arm, like this. What an improvement! The stand can be put to either side of the table, or even behind one of the players, and is so much stabler than the previous crossbar. I was able to glue the camera to a section of dowel and use the protective cap as a method of attachment to the end of the boom, so the camera screws on and off and angles can be adjusted. I didn’t have sand to weigh the bag, so obviously I used basic lands. I’m really pleased with this new setup and am looking forward to using it in the future. Working With Land Grant In the last episode we talked about an upcoming (now past) Old School event run alongside Magic Fest Cleveland, hosted by the Cleveland Rocs at BottleHouse Brewery and Mead Hall. The event ran smoothly, everyone had a great time, and the event organizers were able to donate more than $1,700 to Providence House, a Cleveland-area family crisis center. This episode we talk about contacting Land Grant Brewing to help us make a more fun event by providing fine liquid refreshment to players. Josh Chapple operates under a policy of “Don’t ask, don’t get,” so he asked and we got. In this case we told them that Land Grant is actually a Magic card, and they asked for one for their trophy case. A fair exchange, for sure. There’s a lot of power in the Magic community, even among smaller groups like local Vintage or Old School scenes. Charity events are wonderful opportunities to combine the people-power and (let’s be honest) money inherent in these groups and put them to good use. It’s an attempt to make a difference where it’s needed. So many Magic events are inward looking, with players essentially giving back to themselves. Charity events are outward looking, good
56 minutes | Feb 11, 2019
Serious Vintage Episode 37: Returning to Middle School
For episode 37, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) talk with Steve McGrew and Jake Hilty (@TuringTested, our first returning guest) about a new, fun format we’ve been enjoying. It’s not as old as Old School or as new as Modern – it’s Middle School! Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 00:25 – Introducing Middle School 39:54 – Upcoming Middle and Old School Events 42:30 – Shameless Plug 43:20 – Food and Drink for #MTGCleveland Full runtime – 55:52 Also, until February 15, we’re selling Serious Vintage T-shirts! Hurry! Trying to Get A’s in Middle School Magic players love nostalgia. It’s not necessarily a “things were better when…” attitude. Sometimes it’s just that “things were different and I enjoyed that too,” as well as the fun that comes along with resolving favorite old cards, or even just seeing and thinking about them. Frequently that nostalgia will surround the era you started playing, when you were first learning the game and absorbing as much as you could. Good or bad, those cards tend to stick with you. Most players started in the Modern era, so they can get play their early favorite deck or card or strategy in the Modern format, even if it’s not the best path to victory, just to get that hit of remembrance. Old School likewise fills a need for people who want to get that historic Magic feel—simpler creatures and spells with “classic” art. Middle School fills in between Old School and Modern, allowing sets from 1995 (Ice Age and Fourth Edition) to 2003 (Scourge), stopping at the frame change with Eighth Edition. Deck construction rules tend towards inclusion, allowing pretty much anything printed during that time: promos (except Mana Crypt, part of a small Banned List), ancillary sets like Beatdown, any gold-bordered Championship Decks, and all three Portal sets. That’s a lot of cards! These allow a lot of great decks, many of which haven’t been fully explored simply because not all the cards were legal in the same format at the same time, except in Legacy and Vintage, where they’ve already been outclassed. From what I’ve seen, there are all kinds of archetypes available to players. Aggro decks have tribal and synergistic examples, and are very few turns behind the combo decks, meaning even that potentially lopsided matchup is challenging when one side stumbles. Midrange has excellent historical examples to learn from, and control has good options, being challenged mostly because the format is broad enough to allow so many disparate threats. There are also some interesting challenges to all Middle School deck building, including—as Jake mentions in the podcast—that mana fixing is far from perfect. Should you stick closer to two colors, or are you OK adding more and accepting the risk of not having the mana you need when you need it? We talk a lot about the format and what’s possible. I’m going to post some decklist photos, but you should know they’re for inspiration only. None of us would suggest that these are the best decks in the format or even necessarily optimal examples of their own kind. Just look at these hot pix and get excited about playing with old cards. UG Madness First up is Josh Chapple’s UG Madness deck, which is great because I’m pretty sure he was able to just pull this off the shelf as-is when he heard the format was created. Counters, card draw, and efficient creatures. Pretty straightforward. 10-Land Stompy This is mono-green 10-Land Stompy. When I told my local store owner about the format he was very excited to be able to build this deck. There are a few adjustments I would make, but it goldfishes very well. Jungle Lion can’t intercept, but it can attack pretty well. Aluren This Aluren deck from Jake does a couple of things that a lot of Middle School decks do: Birds of Paradise as a mana fixer, and Intuition as a Demonic Tutor. Also notice Living Wish and Rhystic Tutor. This deck will find what it wants. Eggs! Eggs (Helm of Awakening Storm) was the first deck I played seriously in Vintage, and I was really excited when I realized I could play it competitively in Middle School. Being able to Frantic Search for two mana and untap three lands is a real treat. The sideboard at the bottom is mostly for Burning Wish. Enchantress Jake will play Enchantress in literally any format, so obviously he has a Middle School version. This plays lots of answers to various threats, can lock out an opponent with Words of Wind, and might even win with Squirrel Nest. Wheaties Wheaties (one of many “cereal decks” in the format) uses Academy Rector to put together enchantment combos, primarily Enduring Renewal and Goblin Bombardment, or Survival of the Fittest and Recurring Nightmare. UW Landstill Steve’s Landstill deck is an example of one of the control decks in the format, with lots of card draw and removal. You can sit behind Standstill and attack with Mishra’s Factory or Faerie Conclave, and even cycle Decree of Justice to make tokens. How fun! That’s just a few examples of what neat things are available in the format. Keep in mind too that any of the gold-bordered Championship Decks are legal as well, and most of them are going to be playable (and competitive!) right out of the box. Upcoming Events UPDATE! If you’re interested in playing Middle School and are coming to Cleveland for Magic Fest, we got you covered! Friday evening, February 22, at 7 p.m., Team Serious is hosting a Middle School event at Mars Bar, a great local bar with beer and gyros in Lakewood, a short ride from the convention center. Even if you don’t have a deck or are getting in after 7, this will be a great opportunity to meet people and learn about the format! There’s also an Old School event hosted by the Cleveland Rocs for the benefit of Providence House, one of the oldest and longest operating crisis nurseries in the country. Entries are limited to 32, and they’re almost full, but there is a waiting list for cancellations or other provisions. That event will be at Bottle House in Lakewood (see below), on Saturday, February 23, at noon. Dining Out Around Magic Fest Cleveland Magic Fest Cleveland is coming up February 22-24, with its usual schedule of Magic tournaments, side events, artists, and ephemera. If you’re coming to the North Coast later this month, Team Serious is happy to present a list of food and drink recommendations before, during, and after your gaming adventures. Highly recommended and nearby the convention center, Pho Thang will offer hot Vietnamese soup and sandwiches that should be perfect for Ohio in the middle of winter. Also within walking distance is Mabel’s BBQ, which features “Cleveland-style” barbecue, as created by Michael Symon of Food Network fame. The area near Mabel’s, around Prospect and E 4th streets, has several other restaurants probably good for a post-tournament meal as well. A short Lyft away is the Ohio City area (outlined in red on the map), which surrounds the West Side Market. The market has fewer prepared foods than Reading Terminal Market in Philly or North Market in Columbus, but it’s a similarly fun place and great to pick up snack items if you’re there during the day. Try some of the different jerkies. Ohio City also has several bars and restaurants. Listing just a few: Bar Cento (open late, voted “Best Pizza in Ohio”), Great Lakes Brewing Company brewpub, Flying Fig for creative fare, and (if it’s not too cold) Mitchell’s Ice Cream. Tremont is next to Ohio City (in blue) and also has several restaurants and bars, as well as the house from the movie A Christmas Story. Steve recommended Prosperity Social Club for comfort food and beer, and Restaurant Ginko for sushi. Ginko is closed on Sunday but open till midnight on Friday and Saturday. In Asia Town, east of the convention center also a brief ride away from the convention center (in green), try Szechuan Gourmet or Han Chinese Kabob and Grill. If you’re there early enough (before 8 p.m.) or want a quick lunch, you can also stop at Koko’s Bakery, which has sandwiches, bubble tea, pastries, and Chinese buns. A little farther away to the west is the suburb of Lakewood, where the Old School and Middle School events will be. Lakewood has the original location forMelt, which serves outstanding and creative grilled-cheese sandwiches. They’ve since expanded to Columbus and beyond. Proper Pig is there as well, which was mentioned alongside Mabel’s as good barbecue. And for drinks, LBM describes itself as a “friendly neighborhood viking cocktail bar” and has great burgers, while Bottle House is the brewery and meadery where the Old School event will be held on Saturday. For food, try also Sarita, a restaurant, which has happy hour 5-9 on Thursday and Sunday if you’re in the city early or late, or Georgetown for cocktails and live music. Steve also recommends Good Company for burgers and boozy milkshakes; it just opened. He also touted the grouping of Plum Cafe, Platform Beer Co., and B and G Tavern (for cheap beer and pool), all in the same area of Lorain Avenue. And Jake likes Mason Creamery, an ice cream shop that transforms into a ramen shop during the winter, as well as Jerry Yang’s favorite pizza in Cleveland, Angelo’s. They’re also in Lakewood but they deliver. Cleveland has a burgeoning food scene thanks to local chefs like Michael Symon and Dante Boccuzzi, so there are definitely places to check out. And as mentioned, it’s the Midwest, so drinking is pretty cheap. Let us know if you have questions or want more specific recommendations. Questions for Discussion When did you start playing Magic? What cards from Middle School get you excited? Have you ever played Oath of Druids without Forbidden Orchard? Should Mind Twist be banned if Dark Ritual already
64 minutes | Jan 25, 2019
Serious Vintage Episode 36: Magic We Love and Foods We Hate, with Erin Campbell
For episode 36, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) are joined by Erin Campbell (@OriginalOestrus) to talk about a bunch of fun Vintage topics including the importance of the community, the Vintage Super League, Dredge, and Two-Card Monte. She also helps us depart a little from our usual “discerning” food-and-drink discussion to a more “picky” angle. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 00:27 – Erin and the Vintage Community 33:20 – Preparing to Crush the VSL 40:28 – Nat Hate Drafts Onions Full runtime – 1:03:53 Why Vintage is So Great Most of our discussion about Vintage community, you’ll kind of have to listen to. Erin recounts her entry into the format—playing fast, graveyard-based decks in Legacy and Modern and being able to get in affordably through MTGO. She also talks about how excited the Vintage community was to share its passion, and how encouraging and generous it could be. And it is that passion and excitement that drives Vintage players; Erin talks about that too. In my experience, the format is built around big, flashy plays. Controlling those plays, unleashing them or reining them in, is a skill not always practiced in other formats. The cards are all significant, even in situations where they seem otherwise, so games can go from certain win to certain loss in the blink of an eye. Think of cards that are ostensibly fine in smaller formats, like Brainstorm or Lotus Petal, which end up restricted in Vintage because they lead to much more powerful things. Making those powerful plays (or struggling against them) comes with a lot of emotion—high highs. Vintage makes you feel things. Looking back at my own entry into Vintage—15 years ago, I guess, jeez—I experienced a feeling of welcome similar to Erin’s, even if the situation was totally different. My path to Vintage started with a kitchen-table format that allowed four-of any card you owned. I played multiple Sol Ring, Wheel of Fortune, and Black Vise and could regularly kill on my opponent’s third upkeep. But friends started playing sanctioned Vintage at a small store in Ohio called The Dungeon and were recruiting anyone interested, excited to continue growing the scene. There was a little Power, but people were doing broken things in their own way. And it was great, like the Wild West: Mono-Black Hatred, Mono-Green Stompy, Goblins, Helm of Awakening Eggs, Angel Oath that was slowly acquiring Power at the time, and some weird brews, including whatever I was playing. For a while it was a Welder Madness list with Memory Jar and Wild Mongrel, which was somehow not terrible. Everyone was having fun, and there were so many friendly deals made to help each other get Dual Lands and Force of Wills and other Vintage staples, so we could all improve together. It also didn’t hurt that, when our group graduated to larger events, Vintage was very much in favor of allowing playtest cards to lower the entry barrier. Whether driven by passion or desperation, paper Vintage is generally a welcoming format at the local level. Vintage Super League Season nine of the Vintage Super League (VSL) is also just beginning, and Erin is competing in her third year of the contest. This season is back to individual competition (season eight featured three-player teams) and players are encouraged to play what they want, with the stipulation that they should keep things interesting and try to play new decks when they’re on. We’ve already seen evidence of this as the second week’s offerings included Andy Probasco playing Death’s Shadow and three decks (Stephen Menendian, Brian Coval, and Randy Buehler) all playing Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, from the newly legal Ravnica Allegiance set. It would be a disappointment to a lot of fans if Erin were to skip playing Dredge entirely, but we talk about some of her other options, including Two-Card Monte, Stax with actual Smokestack, and Enchantress. It’s always exciting to see innovative new decks (or new takes on old decks) in the VSL, even if the competition format lends itself to “metagaming against your friends,” so the decks can be less reflective of “real life” Vintage. It’s also exciting to see players step outside their own comfort zone and try a strategy or archetype that they may not be familiar with as a pilot. Food and Drink for Picky Eaters This episode’s food-and-drink section covers a lot of ground. A lot. We talk about peanut butter, pizza, warm beverages, cold condiments, cottage cheese, rye chips, french fries, hamburgers, hot dogs, corndogs, onions, and more. There’s too much to summarize here, but I thought it was interesting that, out of four people on the show, three of us don’t drink coffee. Make of that what you will. Erin did mention a couple of Milwaukee restaurants, which I’ll record in case you’re in the area. The Dogg Haus has additional locations in Wisconsin and Minnesota and offers build-your-own hot dogs with multiple meat, topping, and bun options. At least visit the website and check out their logo. There’s also Vanguard Bar, which has a similar offering of housemade sausages (including duck and boar), as well as “tube-less” meals like burgers and poutine. In the end, while we all have our proclivities and aversions, we all agreed we like food. Questions for Discussion What got you into Vintage? The decks? The Power? The people? How do you feel about Dredge, and what deck would you play if you had to pick something other than what you’re playing right now? Are there foods you despise? Is pineapple on pizza OK? How do you feel about small hot dogs? What about a product called the “Corndogger”? Thanks for Supporting Our Show! Regardless of how you got here, we’re glad you’re interested in Vintage. If you’d like to support Serious Vintage financially, maybe you and your friends and loved ones would enjoy a T-shirt. For the next three weeks (until February 15, in time for Valentine’s Day!) we’ll be selling shirts to raise money to improve podcasting and Team Serious streaming technology. “Force of Love” shirts are back, and now you can show you’re competitive when it comes to the post-tournament meal with a “Vintage Supper League” shirt! As usual, we’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at email@example.com.
55 minutes | Dec 10, 2018
Serious Vintage Episode 35: Frank, TSI Steveland, and Lands in Vintage
For episode 35, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) talk about Lands (the deck, not the card type) with Frank Singel, winner of the recent Team Serious Invitational. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 00:28 – Frank Singel: Landing Hard on Vintage 33:20 – A Time Vault Tangent 40:28 – Holiday Foods Full runtime – 0:54:37 Lands in Vintage It’s always fun to talk to a player who has spent a lot of time developing, playing, and perfecting one deck. Frank Singel is just such a player, and his deck of choice is an interesting one in a format where so many people are focused on playing many, many spells per turn: Lands. Lands, by Frank Singel, 1st Place TSI StevelandLands (35)2 Bayou4 Bazaar of Baghdad1 Bojuka Bog3 Dark Depths1 Forest1 Ghost Quarter1 Glacial Chasm1 Karakas1 Maze of Ith4 Riftstone Portal1 Savannah1 Strip Mine1 Taiga2 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale4 Thespian’s Stage1 Verdant Catacombs4 Wasteland2 Wooded FoothillsNot Lands (25)3 Ancient Grudge1 Chalice of the Void2 Crop Rotation4 Exploration1 Fastbond4 Life from the Loam2 Manabond2 Mental Misstep1 Mox Diamond1 Mox Emerald1 Mox Jet3 Null RodSideboard (15)1 Abrupt Decay2 Assassin’s Trophy1 Chains of Mephistopheles1 Crop Rotation4 Dark Confidant2 Grafdigger’s Cage2 Nature’s Claim2 Stony Silence Lands, the deck, is based on the similar build from Legacy. Lands, the card type, have the benefit of being free and uncounterable, with the drawback of being able to play only one of them per turn. There are a lot of unique effects available on lands, and in Eternal formats, there are several ways to break the one-per-turn rule. Vintage adds Bazaar of Baghdad to the mix, allowing Lands players the opportunity to grind through their own deck to find their best answers against an opponent—think The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale against Eldrazi or Bojuka Bog against Dredge. On top of that, Dark Depths and Thespian’s Stage provide a potential 20/20 flying, indestructible combo win. So the deck has some different looks depending on the cards it draws. At TSI Steveland, Frank finished 3-2 in the Swiss but won a play-in to the elimination rounds and won out from there. Part of his journey involved staving off Paradoxical Outcome three times, which seems remarkable for a deck that has so little turn-one interaction against that spell. We talk about that matchup quite a bit, and though Frank agrees there was some fortune involved, it’s not as bad as one might think. Permanents are pretty good, it turns out. If you’re interested in seeing how the Lands deck works, matches from the TSI are available on YouTube, with commentary and analysis from Andy Probasco and Jimmy McCarthy. Check out Lands versus Archon Oath in the swiss, Lands versus Archon Oath tiebreaker, and Lands versus Paradoxical Outcome in the finals. There’s also some discussion of the Banned and Restricted List, particularly regarding Mental Misstep and Fastbond. Mental Misstep plays a critical role in Lands as the protector of important one-drop spells, like Fastbond, and particularly Crop Rotation, which is an awkward two-for-one if it gets countered. So which would help Lands more: restricting Mental Misstep or unrestricting Fastbond? Full results of TSI Steveland are here on The Mana Drain. A Time Vault Tangent I (Nat) played against Lands at Eternal Weekend, piloted by Jody Keith. In the critical game three, I resolved an early Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and was hoping to ultimate that to win the game. I knew Jace wasn’t great against the Dark Depths combo, but Jody had multiple answers in play for my Oath, so Jace was currently my only hope. With Jace at nine counters, Jody final found both Dark Depths and Thespian’s Stage, so I was boarding the train for a loss. Except I had Time Vault in play. You can hear how things could have, should have, and did play out in the podcast. You can also enjoy what is still one of the most resonant Magic: The Gathering articles ever written by a guy whose deck fell out of his shirt pocket and into a toilet: “Stuck in the Middle With Bruce.” For reference, this is the picture of Nat that Frank sent to Jody while we were talking about the incident. Holiday Foods Our discussion on holiday foods was interrupted at one point, but we still had obviously heated discussion. There were strong feelings on turkey, cranberry sauce, red cabbage, vegetable sides, leftovers, and, surprisingly, ravioli. Hidden in there was the point that you have to make turkey stuffing with the giblets, because the stuffing makes the turkey. In the discussion of various family holiday traditions Frank mentions that his family makes pretty delicious sounding ravioli with marinara for their gatherings. That sounded pretty awesome. Geoff and I only had spiced apple rings from a jar. I’m not sure how it went from my thinking you should enjoy turkey and not have it be just a holiday food to “Nat hates turkey,” but it was exciting talk. Josh also recommended recipes for roasted carrots with cider vinegar gastrique and cranberry sauce made with alpine liqueur. Alpine liqueur is an herbal liqueur (there are other makers than Leopold Bros.), so if you can’t find it, Josh recommended something like an amaro. (I recommend Jägermeister, to really show you care.) Questions for Discussion What’s the greatest number of lands you’ve ever played in one turn? Have you ever seen the right line of play and just blatantly ignored it for no reason, like some messed up trolley problem? Do you put cranberry sauce on your leftover turkey sandwiches? Do people actually eat spiced apple rings? Really? Gross! Conclusion Thanks for listening! However you choose to eat and drink when you celebrate with friends and family, we here at Serious Vintage hope you have merry times. This will probably be our last episode in 2018, but we have some exciting stuff coming up next year. We’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
57 minutes | Nov 22, 2018
Serious Vintage Episode 34: We’re Gonna Need a Montage! (Eternal Weekend 2018 Wrap-up with Nam Tran)
In episode 34, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) bring North America Vintage Champs finalist Nam Tran on to wrap up Eternal Weekend and talk about what got him to the finals. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 00:29 – Nam Q. Tran: Vintage Finalist 37:05 – Eating Out in Pittsburgh Recap 55:50 – Outro Full runtime – 0:56:50 Who is Nam Q. Tran? Anyone who’s played Magic in Ohio should recognize Nam’s name, but there are plenty who don’t simply because he keeps such a low profile. He’s quietly put up Top 8s and other quality finishes at local events and larger for well over a decade now. Aside from the Vintage Championship finals we go in to great detail on here, he also T8’d Vintage Champs in 2014, a SCG Legacy Open in 2013, and a SCG Power 9 in 2005. Locally, if you want to win a tournament, you probably go through Nam on your way to the top. As we mention in the episode, Nam’s record at Team Serious Invitationals is exemplary. We’ve had 11 such events; Nam has played in nine of them and has T8’d all nine, winning one. When we first met Nam he was a Mana Drain pilot, frequently on Control Slaver. Now he would insist that he doesn’t know how to tap Islands anymore and has focused on various archetypes fueled by Mishra’s Workshops, starting with 5C Stax, dipping into Uba Stax when that was en vogue, and now switching between Two-Card Monte and Workshop Aggro. His decks are ideal representations of a long-time collector of extravagant cards: all foil wherever possible. And since he’s played Workshops against pretty much everything over the years, he has a box of shiny sideboard options that he’ll bring with him to update his list for a particular tournament’s metagame. Throughout all the successes, though, it’s patently obvious that crushing people with Workshops just happens to be a natural side effect of Nam showing up to hang out with people. His true motivator is the camaraderie of Vintage. He’s happy to loan cards to friends, even to the detriment of his own decks, and always arrives generously laden to BYOB events so he can share. He came up with the Team Serious maxim—“We are friends; we have fun”—and provided its mission statement—“We just need to be the best that we can to get better, dominate Vintage tournaments, and represent the Cleveland area. Yeah, man! Yeah!” If you know Nam, you’ll read that and hear him say it in your head. Training for a Top 8 We spend a lot of the episode covering Nam’s Friday run to The top 8, and he recalls all of the details expertly. If you want to play along with him, I highly recommend pausing and reflecting on some of the plays he outlines. They go quickly, but all the information is there. Here’s Nam’s list from Vintage Champs 2018: Workshop Ravager Aggro, by Nam Tran - 2nd Place NA Vintage Champs 2018Business (34)4 Sphere of Resistance1 Chalice of the Void1 Thorn of Amethyst1 Trinisphere4 Foundry Inspector4 Walking Ballista4 Arcbound Ravager4 Phyrexian Revoker4 Steel Overseer3 Phyrexian Metamorph2 Hangarback Walker1 Chief of the Foundry1 Lodestone GolemMana Sources (26)1 Black Lotus1 Mox Emerald1 Mox Jet1 Mox Pearl1 Mox Ruby1 Mox Sapphire1 Mana Crypt1 Sol Ring1 Strip Mine1 Tolarian Academy4 Mishra's Workshop4 Ancient Tomb4 Mishra's Factory4 WastelandSideboard (15)4 Grafdigger's Cage3 Precursor Golem3 Null Rod2 Tormod’s Crypt1 Sorcerous Spyglass1 Dismember1 Chief of the Foundry And here were his matchups throughout the day. You’ll notice a few big names, including two former Vintage Champs, so the road wasn’t easy. Round 1 – Ryan Maddux – Delver UWR – 2-0 Round 2 – Jason Jaco – Paradoxical Mentor 4C – 2-0 Round 3 – Adam Pereira – Landstill UW – 2-0 Round 4 – Jared Lentz – Landstill UW – 2-1 Round 5 – Andrew Markiton – Workshop Ravager Aggro – 2-0 Round 6 – Joseph Bogaard – Landstill UW – 2-1 Round 7 – Blaine Christiansen – Uba Stax – 2-1 Round 8 – Sierra Black – White Eldrazi – 2-0 Round 9 – Matt Sperling – RUG Pyromancer – ID Round 10 – Eliot Burk – Landstill UW – ID Round 11 (Top 8) – Marshall Arthurs – Vengevine Survival – 2-0 Round 12 (Top 4) – Rich Shay – Workshop Ravager Aggro – 2-1 Round 13 (Finals) – Brian Coval – Paradoxical Mentor UBW – 1-2 Record: 10-1-2 Games: 21-6 After Nam cleared the first 10 rounds, though, several members of Team Serious pulled together to help him go the distance. This meant rigorous testing against Survival, the deck played by his T8 competitor Marshall Arthurs. After bubbling up in the MTGO testing lab a while back, it has grown serious legs the past 6 months, and has some incredibly powerful opening plays, including dropping 16 power worth of Hollow Ones and Vengevines into play on turn one, or opening with a nightmare scenario of Energy Flux and Stony Silence against Workshops. The process of intensively learning a specific match was fascinating to watch. It was heartbreaking as Nam’s testing opponent, Jerry Yang, drew god hand after god hand. But despite that, Nam was keeping up, so the matchup looked difficult but not unwinnable. We speculated that with average hands from both sides, the Workshop deck might just have the edge. And, spoiler alert, it did. We continue with Nam’s thoughts on the rest of the Top 8 matchups. Dining in Pittsburgh: The Recap Condado and Emporio, which we recommended in our previous episode seemed to be popular destinations for plenty of Eternal Weekend attendees, since they were so close to the venue. But they also proffered delicious tacos and meatballs, respectively, so: score! Josh Chapple made it to another recommendation, Starlite Lounge, and said he was disappointed in the food but excited by the bar. The pierogis there just didn’t live up to the Team Serious hype. Josh also made it to Cinderlands and raved about it, recommending it to everyone. They make beer, have flavorful pierogis, and their menu includes rillettes and a scotch egg that look worth the trip on their own. A group of us also went to Max’s Allegheny Tavern on Saturday, which seems like a strong option in the future. Recommended by Team Serious teammate Oliver Sovol, who has gone there with his family since he was a kid, Max’s serves authentic Bavarian food, including hasenpfeffer, several kinds of wurst and schnitzel, and great sides like red cabbage, German potato salad, and spaetzle. They also serve “Bavarian nachos” (maybe skip those) and have a good beer list of local offerings and German standards. We also have some commentary on the McDonald’s Triple Stack breakfast sandwich, but questions might be better directed at either Andy Probasco or Jerry Yang, who had wildly different experiences. We also diverge into Columbus food with Los Guachos and Buckeye Pho, and we learn an important lesson about eating chocolate you find on the ground. Namely: maybe don’t. Questions for Discussion How do you feel about the current Vintage metagame, following the results of Eternal Weekend? How did we do on our other food recommendations from Pittsburgh? Would you ever eat a McDonald’s Triple Stack? How about three? Conclusion Thanks for listening! And congratulations to Nam and to the actual winner of the 2018 North America Vintage Championship, Brian Coval! We’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at email@example.com.
54 minutes | Oct 29, 2018
Serious Vintage Episode 33: Forest Bear Goes to Eternal Weekend 2018
For episode 33, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) talk with Josh McCurley (@infant_no_1) about Eternal Weekend and the food of Pittsburgh. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 00:24 – Slinging Cards with Josh McCurley 03:26 – “Josh, What’s the Vintage Metagame?” 42:21 – Eating Out Pittsburgh 53:03 – Outro Full runtime – 54:16 Enter the Forest Bear Josh McCurley visits from Texas, where he’s a Magic judge and Eternal formats aficionado. Online he streams Vintage on MTGO regularly and has even dabbled in Arena recently, all with a penchant for the Portal card Forest Bear. Despite focusing mainly on Mishra’s Workshop-based strategies himself, Josh keeps a close eye on other archetypes and is willing to experiment with radical lists he concocts or that his viewers send him. Plus, he has to recognize how other strategies are doing if he wants to beat them, right? So we brought him in as an expert. As further evidence of his expertise, Josh and Nat once played a casual Vintage game of Lantern Control versus Jester’s Scepter Uba Mask and—thanks to Ensnaring Bridge, Uba Mask, and some other dumb artifacts—finished as an actual, no-winner draw. Reminded of this, Josh said, “We are so good at Vintage.” Predictions on Eternal Weekend Note: Since our knowledge of Eternal Weekend was admittedly muddled, you should visit Card Titan for all the details. Vintage right now is a battle between five top decks: Ravager Workshops, Paradoxical Outcome Storm, Jeskai Control (or some flavor of blue-based control), Dredge, and Oath. None of the decks can beat all of the others, so there’s a tug-of-war at the metagame level as players try to pick which deck they feel will be best equipped to beat most of their opponents and then tune to make their poor matchups slightly better. For example, if you think there’s going to be a large number of Workshop decks, you would play PO Storm to beat them and then work to combat Jeskai’s draw engine and countermagic so you don’t lose too many points there. But then if you think there’s going to be a lot of PO Storm, you play Jeskai and try to adjust to beat Workshops in the sideboard. And then Oath or Dredge show up, being all weird, and just decimate an unprepared field. Good luck! Defending Champion: Workshop Aggro Andy Markiton won last year’s North America Vintage Champs with Ravager MUD, and the strategy hasn’t changed drastically since then. The prison builds of years past have been replaced by a kind of aggressive tempo deck. Instead of slowing an opponent down with lots of Sphere of Resistance effects, Workshop players speed themselves up with Foundry Inspector and have a kind-of combo win with Arcbound Ravager and Walking Ballista. It’s similar to other formats’ Affinity lists; they may not hinder an opponent’s plan at all, except for putting them on an exceptionally fast clock. Expect to face it multiple times and be prepared to do better than one-for-one artifact and creature removal if you want to win. The Newcomer: Paradoxical Outcome When Paradoxical Outcome debuted in Kaladesh, every Vintage player looked at it and said, “Oh, yeah, that card’s absurd.” It finally hit its stride as a combo engine and has a few different looks as players decide which colors they like and which win conditions they want to use—usually some mix of Tendrils of Agony, Monastery Mentor, Time Vault, and Blightsteel Colossus. These lists can range from very aggressive storm-focused strategies (almost like Pitch Long or TPS) to those that are happy to build more slowly to the win (similar to old Gifts Ungiven lists in pace). Outcome preys on Workshop decks because it has a lot of free mana and a generally faster clock, but it can struggle against counterspells if it can’t resolve its bombs. The Comeback Kid: Survival Survival of the Fittest has been around for a long time and is good enough to be banned in Legacy. But it made a startling resurgence in Vintage when it took first at Asia Vintage Champs. This is thanks to the printing of Hollow One, which gives it a beefy aggro plan to go along with its toolbox of searchable answers to other strategies. It’s a novel look for a Vintage deck—lots of green, not a lot of blue or artifacts—and players may lose percentages just because they won’t know how to play against it. Of course, players who pick up the deck might suffer from unfamiliarity as well. Answering creatures is good, but Survival relies on its namesake enchantment and Bazaar of Baghdad to find and make threats, so stopping activated abilities is also strong. The Contender: Jeskai Control We lumped most of the blue-based control decks together even though they encompass a wide variety of colors and flavors. Most players agree that restricted blue cards, Preordains, and Force of Wills make a powerful broth and are then happy to add their favorite flavor of win condition, everything from Monastery Mentor, to Tinker, to Jace, the Mind Sculptor. These decks like to draw and filter cards and tend to win the game, really, by having better natural access to efficient answers and threats. That is: it’s difficult to focus on one particular card to stop because all the cards do the same thing. Workshop decks tend to do well against Jeskai Control because artifacts like Sphere of Resistance and Phyrexian Revoker can hinder the blue deck’s ability to effectively keep its hand full. The Fading Star: Oath of Druids Is Oath a fading star? It hasn’t been popular or done particularly well recently, but it seems like it could be a dark horse in the current metagame. Oath can do well against creature-based strategies like Mishra’s Workshop and Survival decks, especially if it can remove or ignore their answers, typically Grafdigger’s Cage or Containment Priest. And Oath can easily play Preordain and restricted blue cards, so it can potentially keep up with Jeskai Control lists as it looks to resolve its one important spell. Griselbrand is a powerful demon companion, and there are any number of other useful, powerful creatures would make potential inclusions, but no one seems to have devised a list that wins consistently. Between commonly played hate (since Grafdigger’s Cage pulls double duty against Oath and Dredge) and a heavy reliance on one idea, Oath struggles. The Underground: Dredge When Dredge was totally a graveyard-based deck, it seemed to gain strength when opponents had become complacent, forgotten about it, and shaved graveyard hate from their sideboards. Now, again because of Hollow One, it has a solid backup plan that might not need to touch the graveyard at all. It’s consistent metagame terror, particularly in the hands of a knowledgeable pilot, and it will win a lot of games against prepared and unprepared opponents alike. To beat Dredge, apply a lot of varied graveyard answers (different types and costs of permanents and spells), and don’t forget about Hollow One. Void Winnower beats all of these decks. Eternal Weekend Dining in Pittsburgh We had a few food recommendations for Pittsburgh. Primanti Brothers is kind of a Steel City tradition. They make big sandwiches that frequently include the french fries in the sandwich (a concession to steel workers who needed to eat their lunch in a hurry). Hopefully your waiter sticks around. The Original Hotdog Shop, better known as “The O,” is kind of a Magic: The Gathering tradition, as it was the frequent meeting spot of Team CMU, one of the early premier Pro Tour teams, which was based in Pittsburgh. You can get giant fries, burgers, hotdogs, and beer in this casual, college atmosphere. Open late. Last year’s hits for Team Serious were Emporio and Starlite Lounge, each of which specializes in its own brand of comfort food. Emporio calls itself “A Meatball Joint” and lets you choose your meatball, sauce, and method of conveyance (pasta, bun, or fries). This was literally all I heard about after Eternal Weekend last year. Starlite Lounge appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and serves three kinds of pierogis, as well as other home-cooked Polish diner food. Nearby the convention center, Josh recommended Condado for their tacos and margaritas. They do a good job offering creative combination tacos, as well as letting you build your own. You’ll have to challenge yourself to see if you can acquire margaritas on the run between rounds. This year Team Serious members Jerry Yang and Rajah James had some recommendations of places they’ve been and places they were looking to try. In no particular order: ● Robert Wholey & Co. for seafood and fish sandwiches. ● Gaucho Parrilla Argentina for fresh South American food. ● Ephasus Mediterranean for pizza with a Turkish twist. ● Nicky’s Thai Kitchen for Thai food voted best in Pittsburgh. ● Yuva Indian Kitchen for Indian food, including lots of vegetarian options. ●
47 minutes | Oct 17, 2018
Serious Vintage Episode 32: Talking Guilds of Ravnica With Its Lead Editor
After a long hiatus due to staffing issues, for episode 32, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) talk about Guilds of Ravnica. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 02:24 – How Cards Are Made 09:03 – Listener Questions on GRN 32:10 – Lunch and Dinner in Seattle 38:38 – Invert // Invent and Being an Editor Total runtime: 46:44 Where Was That Nat Guy Anyway In October 2016, I (Nat) moved to Seattle and briefly touched the sun as an editor in Magic R&D for Wizards of the Coast. For two years, my wife and I lived for adventure in the Pacific Northwest, and I got to live out the dream of working on Magic: The Gathering, the game I’ve managed to dedicate more than half my life to playing. Working for Wizards was great. I learned many things that I’ll carry with me now that I’ve left, not only about Magic (how it’s created and how it’s played) and about editing in general. For anyone who’s dreamed of working in Magic R&D, I’ll say it’s pretty much everything you’ve imagined. You can spend an entire day playing Magic with some of the best, most insightful, and most creative players ever. You get to see all the cards as they develop, before they come out. And you end up with more product than you realistically know what to do with. But it’s still a pretty regular office job, with meetings and whatnot. Most of the time employees are still concerned with meeting job responsibilities, managing whatever it is you’re working on at the time. And when my wife and I were looking at what we wanted from life, it was evident that with aging parents and the thought of having children of our own, it would be a lot more convenient to be back in Ohio than a day’s flight away from it (also, housing prices in Columbus are literally a quarter of those in Seattle!). In my two years, I worked on a lot of different things you may have seen. Among other things, I did Duel Decks: Merfolk vs. Goblins, finished the editing on 25th Anniversary Masters and Iconic Masters, and did the creative editing on Rivals of Ixalan. There are things I worked on that I still can’t talk about because they’re not even a gleam in the players’ eyes yet. I was also the lead editor on Guilds of Ravnica, and in this episode we talk about that. I answer some listener questions about the Magic R&D process and talk about some of the cards. If you want to know about some names or flavor texts I wrote or what the heck happened with Invert, it should be pretty entertaining. If you’re interested in reading about the process I describe pretty quickly, Mark Rosewater has a column detailing it, titled “Vision Design, Set Design, and Play Design.” I directed listeners to an earlier article, which is here, and also worth checking out. Lunch and Dinner in Seattle Josh asks what the good places to eat around Wizards of the Coast are. I didn’t take full advantage of all the local options because I’m frugal (cheap). I like to save money on normal eating so I can spend more on special events, so I generally packed my lunch. But there were a few places that I enjoyed semi-regularly. Malakor Thai and
62 minutes | Feb 1, 2017
Serious Vintage Episode 31: BUG and Aether Revolt
For episode 31, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Andy Probasco (@tmdBrassMan), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) return to justify their extended absence, sing the praises of basic swamps, and delve (we wish) into some new cards from Aether Revolt. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 00:48: Where’s Nat? 06:35: BUG Chasing in the VSL 40:46: Aether Revolt Total runtime: 1:01:33 Serious Vintage Lineup Changes As you may have noticed, Nat Moes, who has been a driving force for Serious Vintage, isn’t part of Episode 31. Nat recently accepted a position at Wizards of the Coast as an editor, and will not be a regular participant on the podcast going forward. We are thrilled for Nat and wish him all the best at WotC. If you run across any new cards with They Might Be Giants lyrics or Latin quotes as flavor text, that’s likely Nat leaving a legacy. With that said, we’re happy to announce that Serious Vintage does have a future! Geoff, Andy, and Josh plan to continue the podcast, so stay tuned as we move forward. Welcome to the Party, Leovold! BUG control has been a popular deck on Team Serious for a while, and below are two examples from the team. The deck is generally tweaked for the expected metagame, but the basic game plan of controlling the board while you pick away at your opponents life total remains the same. The recent printing of Leovold, Emissary of Trest fits the deck perfectly. At a minimum he replaces himself with a draw trigger, and at his best he completely shuts down your opponent. BUG Control, by Jimmy McCarthyBusiness (39)4 Force of Will3 Mental Misstep1 Flusterstorm1 Null Rod1 Dismember3 Abrupt Decay1 Crucible of Worlds1 Ancestral Recall1 Brainstorm1 Dig Through Time1 Ponder1 Treasure Cruise1 Time Walk2 Painful Truths1 Demonic Tutor4 Deathrite Shaman3 Snapcaster Mage2 Trygon Predator2 Baleful Strix1 Gurmag Angler1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang3 Leovold, Emissary of TrestMana Sources (22)1 Black Lotus1 Mox Emerald1 Mox Jet1 Mox Sapphire4 Verdant Catacombs1 Misty Rainforest1 Polluted Delta3 Underground Sea2 Tropical Island1 Bayou1 Swamp1 Strip Mine4 WastelandSideboard (15)3 Grafdigger’s Cage2 Nature’s Claim1 Engineered Explosives1 Virulent Plague1 Dread of Night1 Tormod’s Crypt1 Forest1 Ravenous Trap1 Maelstrom Pulse1 Malicious Affliction1 Murderous Cut1 Null Rod BUG Control by Andy ProbascoBusiness (38)4 Deathrite Shaman4 Leovold, Emissary of Trest3 Snapcaster Mage2 Phyrexian Revoker1 Baleful Strix1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang1 Vendilion Clique2 Painful Truths1 Ponder1 Treasure Cruise1 Demonic Tutor1 Time Walk3 Thoughtseize1 Ancestral Recall1 Brainstorm1 Dig Through Time4 Force of Will3 Mental Misstep1 Flusterstorm2 Abrupt DecayMana Sources (22)1 Black Lotus1 Mox Sapphire1 Mox Jet1 Mox Emerald4 Verdant Catacombs1 Polluted Delta1 Misty Rainforest3 Underground Sea2 Tropical Island1 Bayou1 Swamp1 Strip Mine4 WastelandSideboard (15)1 Forest1 Crucible of Worlds2 Trygon Predator2 Dismember3 Nature’s Claim3 Null Rod1 Mindbreak Trap2 Dread of Night Aether Revolt It’s always exciting when new sets come out to see what cards may have Vintage applications, and Aether Revolt has a few options for players to try out. Below are the three cards that we believe will see the most play in the format. Although we have boldly predicted that the last card below will have zero Top 8 appearances in 2017, but we’ve been wrong before. 1. Who doesn’t love a good removal spell? Fatal Push checks a lot of boxes for us, converted mana cost of one, and Instant speed to start with. There aren’t many things that Fatal Push doesn’t kill in Vintage, and with fetch lands it’s pretty easy to cast with Revolt. BUG control and storm combo decks seem like the perfect place to try Fatal Push out and see if it has a future in the format. 2. The next card we covered shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Walking Ballista is an obvious nod to a previous Vintage Workshop staple Triskelion. This card has a lot of potential as it combos well with other artifacts like Steel Overseer and Arcbound Ravager. Workshop decks have also struggled with colorless creature removal and in a pinch Ballista fills this role. The ability to turn unused mana into additional +1/+1 counters on your opponents end step is also something to consider. 3. This last card was a bit surprising, but Geoff is really excited and I’m sure Winding Constrictor will be an auto include in the Thallid deck. Spore counters add up quickly with this powerful ability and 2017 may just be the breakout year for Thallids. With a less color dependent casting cost this would have been an interesting ability in an artifact deck that either relies on prison cards like Smokestack and Tangle Wire or with Walking Ballista, Steel Overseer, and Arcbound Ravager. Concluding Remarks Thanks for listening and thanks for sticking with us during this transition. We’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
68 minutes | Sep 7, 2016
Serious Vintage Episode 30: GenCon 2016 Magic, Gaming, Eating, and Drinking
For episode 30, Geoff Moes (@ThallidTosser on Twitter), Nat Moes (@GrandpaBelcher), and Josh Chapple (@joshchapple) talk about Gen Con, an annual gaming convention with 64,000 attendees and the erstwhile home of the Vintage and Legacy Championships. Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment: 00:24 – On Feet and False Starts 01:55 – Gen Con Magicking 24:38 – Gen Con Gaming 53:59 – Gen Con Eating and Drinking Total runtime – 1:08:03 Magical Fun Times at GenCon With Wizards of the Coast ramping up its presence at PAX and making its Grands Prix larger, more elaborate affairs, Magic: The Gathering at GenCon has taken a back seat to the rest of the conference. Magic events are run by Pastimes, and were smaller overall affairs this year. We played in one Vintage event with 28 players and had a good time, but it’s a far cry from previous years’ events with Vintage and Legacy Champs, and even Worlds. Many of the players at the Vintage events of GenCon are regulars, coming every year. There’s also a healthy group of new players who may just be getting into the format. Nat tells about playing against a newer player who was using Delver of Secrets with Kiln Fiend and Reckless Charge! Josh did the best of us, playing BUG Control: BUG Control and @joshchapple, representing #SeriousVintage in the 2-0 bracket. #GenCon2016 #vintagemtg pic.twitter.com/UKOKT5gQLV — Grandpa Belcher (@GrandpaBelcher) August 5, 2016 BUG Control, by Josh Chapple, GenCon 2016 Friday VintageBusiness (38)4 Force of Will3 Mental Misstep1 Flusterstorm2 Cabal Therapy1 Thoughtseize1 Null Rod1 Dismember3 Abrupt Decay1 Crucible of Worlds1 Ancestral Recall1 Brainstorm1 Ponder1 Time Walk2 Painful Truths1 Dig Through Time1 Treasure Cruise1 Demonic Tutor3 Deathrite Shaman3 Snapcaster Mage2 Baleful Strix2 Trygon Predator2 Gurmag AnglerMana Sources (22)1 Black Lotus1 Mox Emerald1 Mox Jet1 Mox Sapphire4 Verdant Catacombs1 Misty Rainforest1 Polluted Delta3 Underground Sea2 Tropical Island1 Bayou1 Swamp1 Strip Mine4 WastelandSideboard (15)3 Grafdigger's Cage2 Nature's Claim1 Engineered Explosives1 Virulent Plague1 Dread of Night1 Tormod's Crypt1 Forest1 Ravenous Trap1 Maelstrom Pulse1 Dismember1 Murderous Cut1 Null Rod From all experiences with the deck, you play some bad cards and then, just when you’re about to lose, you find one that just crushes your opponent. On Saturday, we played Vintage Artist Constructed, hosted by Josh Krause. The rules for this format are simply Vintage, with the additional restriction that all of your cards need to be illustrated by one artist. It’s a lot of fun, and I would anticipate an event at Eternal Weekend this year. You can see how much fun I was having here (playing against Sam): Turn 1 Walking Dead from @GrandpaBelcher. The beat down has started! pic.twitter.com/JqCimXkPIp — Josh Krause (@OriginalMtGArt) August 6, 2016 But seriously, the format has a surprising amount of life. There are several varied decks and options for people to play, and you can have as much fun or be as competitive as you want, just like regular Vintage. Gaming Highlights from GenCon The main reason for going to GenCon (besides the friendship of course!) is for the games. Every year the event hall is wall-to-wall with new games, old favorites, and plenty of accessories and related oddments. Every year improves because you learn more what you want to do and can focus on that. We highly recommend it. We played many games this year, but the ones we talked about on the podcast were these: 1. Pocket Dungeon Quest, which we referred to as Nethack the Boardgame. It’s a light dungeon crawler that mimics a roguelike computer game. 2. Thief’s Market, a dice splitting and bidding game. We kind of wanted to see this played by different people in different groups. It’s an interesting exercise. 3. Captain Sonar, which is Battleship on Super-Soldier Serum and was a highlight of Gen Con. Here’s the French video if you’re interested. 4. Werewolf, which is really a family of games at Gen Con including Ultimate Werewolf (which adds different roles) and WitchHunt (which gets people yelled at for not playing well). GenCon Eating and Drinking We’ve talked about some of our other Indianapolis food experiences (Pearl Street Pizzeria, Punchburger, Patachou) in previous episodes, but the one new place we went this year was Pioneer, which was excellent. They had several house-made sausages, a wide selection of drinks, and a well balanced set of appetizers and entree foods. Innuendo for dinner. #Pioneer #GenCon2016 pic.twitter.com/usa1bOCaqW — Grandpa Belcher (@GrandpaBelcher) August 6, 2016 Would highly recommend and will look forward to going back next year. There was also talk about carrying water and other beverages around the event. I bought a Hydro Flask before GenCon and was impressed at how it kept ice water icy throughout the day. I could fill it with ice in the morning, drink, and still have ice in the afternoon. Jon Hammack, a Team Serious affiliate and friend of the show, recommends a CamelBak backpack-style carrier, which holds enough to not need refilling throughout the day. Both good methods, I’m sure. Question for Discussion We closed with a brief and simple question for discussion: What’s your favorite non-Magic game? There’s obviously a lot to choose from whether you like simple card games, complex war games, intense betting games, or relaxing party games. There’s no wrong answer. Except maybe Monopoly. Concluding Remarks Thanks for listening, and thanks to everyone who made GenCon great this year! We always look forward to the one-of-a-kind entertainment that “The Best Four Days in Gaming” offers, especially since we get to meet and hang-out with so many great people. We’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or TheManaDrain or on Twitter. You can also email us at email@example.com.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2021