$100 NG Vintage Tournament *Co-Champ* By Edward Paltzik

PART I: The Basics

Event: $100 Neutral Ground Vintage (Type I) Championship
Date: December 30, 2001
Time: 4:00 PM
Format: 4 Rounds, Cut to Top 4
Players: 13
Prize: Winner Take All

PART II: The Deck

“Legend Blue 2002”

4 Dwarven Miner
4 Morphling
4 Force of Will
4 Mana Drain
4 Counterspell
4 Mana Leak
4 Fire/Ice
4 Fact or Fiction
1 Time Walk
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Sol Ring
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
2 City of Brass
4 Shivan Reef
4 Volcanic Island
9 Island

4 Flametongue Kavu
4 Red Elemental Blast
4 Hibernation
3 Powder Keg

The purpose of this deck is to horribly frustrate opponents.  This can be done 
either by countering all of their important spells with the seemingly endless 
flow of countermagic spells or by destroying all of their land with the 
insidious Dwarven Miner, which proved to be the MVP of this tournament, munching 
some 40+ lands in only 5 rounds. Dwarven Miner, if not dealt with immediately, 
will literally digest the opponent---a truly frightful way to go. Watch as this 
little bugger greedily devours ALL of an opponent’s lands. The one other card 
that deserves a brief explanation is Flametongue Kavu. I imported him from Type 
II when I realized how much he could hose some of the dangerous creature decks 
that exist in Type I. I don’t know why this hasn’t been tried before in Type I, 
but this card is brutally effective against beatdown decks. Picture Flametongue 
Kavu aimed at a Phyrexian Negator and you will understand the value of this 
card. So the team is Morphling, Dwarven Miner and Flametongue Kavu. Some days 
all of them will be useful, other days one or two of them will carry most of the 
weight. On Sunday, Dwarven Miner and Morphling were the main players, but on 
another day Flametongue Kavu could certainly be as important.

PART III: The Tournament


“Garbed in my traditional victory uniform of all black with purple tie, I begin 
my quest to capture the title and the money. Long live Legend, long live the 
black and purple.”

ROUND 1: Raymond Lambert---DCI Vintage Rating: 1671---Playing Keeper

Game 1: Going first, I drop Mox Emerald, Shivan Reef, Dwarven Miner. Being that 
all of his lands are non-basic, he tries to Force of Will. I Force of Will 
back. 2 turns later, he tries to Diabolic Edict the Miner. I Force of Will 
again, and from that point on, the game is a living hell for Ray, as he is 
methodically digested by the insatiable Miner, which hungrily devours 8 lands in 
this game before being joined by a Morphling.
Game 2: My sideboarding was -4 Fire/Ice, +4 Red Elemental Blast. I Mana Drain an 
Ancestral Recall and go for a 4th turn Morphling with no blue mana open. Next 
turn he surprises me by trying to Plow it. I Force of Will with Fact or Fiction, 
but now I have no cards in my hand. The situation is momentarily favorable, as 
it is my Morphling versus his two Mishra’s Factories. However, he finds his 
Balance, which leaves us both with no cards in hand and four lands each. 
Unfortunately for me, two of his four lands are those Mishras. The game is 
rapidly deteriorating for me, and when he draws his Yawgmoth’s Will, it’s really 
Game 3:  My first turn play is Mox Jet, Volcanic Island, Black Lotus, Dwarven 
Miner with the Jet and Volcanic. No response from Ray except a look of subtle 
frustration. His turn consists of Underground Sea, Sol Ring. But I sacrifice the 
Lotus and Mana Drain the Sol Ring. Then his next 7 lands are all eaten by the 
Miner. At one point, the situation is 3 Dwarven Miners and a Morphling backed up 
by my hand of 7 counters versus only a Mox Ruby for him. Despite these 
staggering odds, Ray does not concede. At 2 life, we wait in suspense for his 
draw. Actually, to be honest with you there really was no suspense at all. 
Neither of us are surprised when he does not in fact improve his situation with 
that final draw. A handshake follows soon thereafter.
1-0. 2-1

ROUND 2: Jason Deitsch---DCI Vintage Rating: 1687---Playing Survival of The 

Game 1: He gets the Survival engine going, but a Miner holds his mana down a 
bit, and I gain control of the board with a Morphling that reduces him to 4. 
However, a Spike Weaver is keeping him alive, and I am beginning to think that I 
am going to need to Fire him twice for the win. But with only 1 counter left on 
the Weaver, another Morphling joins in, and he soon concedes in the face of the 
2 Shapeshifters and the munching Miner.
Game 2:  Sideboarding: -4 Fire/Ice, -4 Dwarven Miner, since he has some basic 
lands and some anti-Miner measures. +4 Hibernation, +4 Flametongue Kavu. My 
opening hand is all counters, with 2 lands. None of the counters are Force of 
Will, and when Jason’s opening is Mox Emerald, Mox Pearl, Bayou, and Survival of 
the Fittest, I know I’m in trouble unless I find a Hibernation quickly, which I 
fail to do, and I am soon overhwhelmed by the Survival engine and a Reya.
Game 3: I take out the Flametongues and put the Miners back in. My hand is 
decent and I counter some threats. This is followed by a Hibernation of a City 
of Solitude before countering it again. I then Fact or Fiction, and take a pile 
of 3 counters and a land, sending Morphling to the graveyard. Meanwhile, a 
Krovikan Horror has beaten me down to 10, and I still can’t find a second 
Morphling. Finally, after another Fact or Fiction, I find that second Morphling. 
Then I deal with him in the way I know best.
2-0, 4-2

ROUND 3: Michael Pustilnik---DCI Vintage Rating: 1916---Playing Keeper

Game 1: We play land for about 10 turns, doing nothing and discarding some 
cards, each not wanting to be the first to cast a main phase spell. I finally go 
for an end of turn Fact or Fiction and it resolves. At the end of his next turn, 
I win a rather large counterwar over my Ancestral Recall. With 7 Mana Drain mana 
in my pool (from his Mana Drain and his Misdirection) I cast a Morphling and a 
Dwarven Miner. I smash with Morphling and munch with Miner for the win. Mike 
remarks that I always “seem to have more counters than anyone else,” which we 
both laugh about.
Game 2: Sideboarding: -4 Fire/Ice, +4 Red Elemental Blast. His first turn play 
is a Library of Alexandria. This is bad, because I don’t have a Miner in hand 
and if I don’t deal with the Library, Mike will overwhelm me. So I do the only 
thing I can do, dropping Black Lotus and going for the second turn Morphling.  
Mike has a Balance to deal with the Morphling. He also has an Edict to deal with 
my first Miner. Then we go into a period in which I respond to his next 2 uses 
of the Library with Fact or Fictions. I am also able to counter his Ancestral 
Recall. Amazingly, I am able to keep up with his Library, and when I find my 
second Dwarven Miner, I win the counterwar. The Miner destroys 2 Tundras, 3 
Underground Seas, 2 Cities of Brass, and a Mishra’s Factory before teaming up 
with a Morphling, which allows me to deal with Mike in the way I know best. 
Despite the loss, Mike still has a strong chance to make Top 4 with a final 
round victory.
3-0, 6-2

ROUND 4: Yan Margolin---DCI Vintage Rating 1655---Playing Suicide Black

Game 1: Yan checks in at 2-0-1 after an intentional draw with Eric Wilkinson in 
the previous round. But 2-0-2 will not make Top 4, so he has to play. I am 
already assured of Top 4, so there is little pressure on me in this match. In 
this game, he opens with Duress, seeing Force of Will and 2 Fire/Ices. he pulls 
the Force of Will. I open with Island. He then Strips the Island, and Rituals 
out a Phyrexian Negator. I know that the 2 Fire/Ices in my hand will never be 
used because the 2 Shivan Reefs in my hand will almost certainly be Wastelanded. 
My only hope is to topdeck a Mox, which, to Yan’s chagrin, I do, allowing me to 
Fire the Negator, causing him to lose the Negator and his Swamp. The game falls 
apart from there, and Yan concedes upon the Morphling arrival.
Game 2: I’ve boarded in the 4 Flametongue Kavus for the 4 Dwarven Miners. This 
is the moment that I had in mind for the Flametongues. I’m definitely going to 
win this match. Except Yan has other ideas. An early Hypnotic Specter is working 
me over, and is quickly joined by a Phyrexian Negator. My only hope is to 
topdeck a Flametongue Kavu. I do. It is aimed at the Negator, causing Yan to 
sacrifice all 4 of his swamps, leaving my Flametongue versus his Negator and 
Specter. But I continue to draw land as the Specter attacks again and again. I 
have to leave the Flametongue untapped to block the Negator. Yan finds another 
swamp, and Rituals out another Specter, which I Fire off a topdeck. But I draw 
nothing else of consequence, and, unbelievably, I lose the game.
Game 3: A Flesh Reaver knocks me down to 7 and him to 8 (1 City of Brass 
damage). It is joined by a Phyrexian War Beast which I can’t counter because all 
of my counters have either been used or cherry-picked by Yan’s handkill. I 
topdeck a Morphling, but I have to tap out for it. Yan attacks with both 
creatures. I block the Reaver to stay alive, losing Morphling. Yan plays a 
Hypnotic Specter. I’m at 4 life, and when I draw a Volcanic Island next turn, it 
is over and Yan has pulled off the shocker by making it through my minefield of 
Flametongue Kavus. This puts him in the Top 4 as the #1 seed at 3-0-1.
3-1, 7-4

Meanwhile, Eric Wilkinson wins his 4th round match over Jason Deitsch, putting 
Eric in the Top 4 at 3-0-1. JP Meyer has also won his last round match, giving 
him a 3-1 record. Mike Pustilnik does the same, also giving him a 3-1 record. 
Unfortunately for Mike, this is how things work out.
Player                    Record    Points      Op-Match Win %
1.     Yan Margolin     3-0-1     10          70.8333
2.     Eric Wilkinson   3-0-1     10           61.1111
3.     Edward Paltzik  3-1-0       9           64.5833
4.     John Paul Meyer 3-1-0      9           50.0000
5.     Mike Pustilnik      3-1-0      9            47.9167

So the top 4 features Yan versus JP and myself versus Eric.
JP is playing a deck of his own design, called “The Patriot”. It is a U/W/R 
anti-control deck. The creatures include Meddling Mages, Mother of Runes, 
Lightning Angels and Goblin Legionnaires. The anti-control measures include Null 
Rod, Red Elemental Blasts, and Force of Wills of his own. Yan is playing a 
Suicide Black deck that he designed. The name he decided on was “ Red Red 
Pajamas” to mock some of the stupid deck names that appear on the Internet. He 
wanted a nonsense name that had nothing to do with what the deck actually does. 
Yan built an outstanding deck here and his performance shows that Type I is not 
all about blue control decks, and you do not have to own the Power 9 to do well 
at tournaments. This idea that Type I success is dependent on owning every 
two-hundred dollar cards is a myth. Completely bogus. I will say that the Power 
9 are needed in order to play control decks, though. The only Power 9 in his 
deck was a Black Lotus and a Mox Jet. As for their match, the result was the 
same as when JP and Yan played in the second round. The match lasted about 10 
minutes, with Yan scoring a KO. The disruption of Sinkholes, Hymns, Duresses and 
Wastelands combined with dangerous creatures was too much for The Patriot, and 
when Yan put his ENTIRE sideboard in against JP, it was hopeless. This match was 
basically over while myself and Eric were still shuffling in preparation for our 
first game.

TOP 4: Eric Wilkinson---DCI Vintage Rating: 1850---Playing Keeper

Game 1: Most of the people who played in the tournament are gathered around to 
watch our match, as is Brian David-Marshall, who amuses the crowd greatly by 
observing how remarkable it is that we are only one step away from a Legend vs. 
Negator final. I laugh at this briefly but quickly return to my usual manner of 
grim concentration, which is especially important considering the quality of my 
opponent, who has defeated me the last two times we have met. My nemesis draws 
his opening 7, pauses to think for a moment, and mulligans. He draws his 6, then 
mulligans again. He keeps the 5 card hand and plays a Tundra and a Zuran Orb. 
Not surprisingly, though, his hand is awful, and a quick Miner leaves him with 
nothing except a Zuran Orb. A few turns later, enter Morphling.
Game 2: Same sideboarding as before (-4 Fire/Ice, +4 Red Elemental Blast). My 
deck is now nothing but 20 counters, Morphlings, Miners, and card-drawing. I 
keep a hand of Mox Sapphire, 4 lands, a Morphling, and an Ancestral Recall. 
However, Eric opens with a Duress, robbing me of my Ancestral Recall. I draw for 
my turn, and it is a Counterspell. Island, Mox Sapphire is my play. Eric’s 
second turn consists of his attempt to bring out a Morphling with a Black Lotus. 
This was the correct choice on Eric’s part, it was just unfortunate for him that 
I drew the Counterspell after he had seen my hand with Duress. I Counter the 
Morphling, and then my next draw confirms that this is just my day. It is a 
Dwarven Miner, which I cast with no counter backup. The facial expression that I 
have begun to associate with Dwarven Miner appeared on Eric’s face at that 
moment, just as it had appeared on Ray’s face in the first round. It is not a 
demonstrative look. Rather, “Miner Face” is a subtle expression of brooding 
frustration. I don’t blame them either, it is an extremely frustrating card, 
especially at such an unfortunate moment as this one. The game comes to a 
predictable end from there, with the insidious munching of the Miner grinding 
away at all of Eric’s lands until he is incapacitated. Soon enough we are 
shaking hands.
4-1, 9-4

FINALS: Yan Margolin---DCI Vintage Rating 1655---Playing Suicide Black
With him at 4-0-1, and myself at 4-1, we are certainly not going to play this 
one out. Why should we, when the triumph of the black and purple is complete, 
with Legend and Negator in the finals? Yan beat me earlier in the tournament, 
and the matchup is 50/50 anyway, so neither of us are eager to put our rating 
point gains on the line. Myself especially, since I had cracked the 1800 barrier 
during the tournament, and I wanted to keep the points I had gotten against such 
fine opponents as Mike and Eric.
Instead, by mutual agreement, Yan drops out of the tournament, and I have no 
problem giving him a favorable split of the $100, since I care much more about 
the winning than the money.  In case you are wondering, here is Yan’s decklist.

“Red Red Pajamas”
4 Phyrexian Negator
4 Hypnotic Specter
4 Flesh Reaver
3 Phyrexian War Beast
4 Sinkhole
4 Hymn to Tourach
4 Duress
4 Null Rod
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Demonic Consultation
4 Dark Ritual
4 Wasteland
1 Strip Mine
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Jet
16 Swamp

4 Masticore
4 Contagion
4 Spinning Darkness
3 Dystopia

CONCLUSION: I’ve played in Type I tournaments with more participants than the 13 
of Sunday’s event, but this was definitely the best field I’ve ever played 
against. This tournament boasted a collection of elite, highly accomplished 
players. Every participant had access to the Power 9, and I would consider the 
decks that were played to be highly representative of top-level Type I play. 
Here’s the breakdown of what was played.

Keeper (7): Eric Wilkinson (Top 4, 3-1-1), Michael Pustilnik (5th Place, 3-1), 
Steven Sadin (6th Place, 2-2), Raymond Lambert (9th Place, 2-2), Matt D’Avanzo 
(11th Place, 1-3) Adam Wasserman (10th Place, 1-3), Andrew Zorowitz (12th Place, 
Legend Blue (1): Myself (Tied 1st, 4-1)
Suicide Black (1): Yan Margolin (Tied 1st, 4-0-1)
Survival of The Fittest (1): Jason Deitsch ( 8th Place, 2-2)
Enchantress(1): Daniel Rosenheck (13th Place, 0-4)
The Patriot (1): John Paul Meyer (Top 4, 3-2)
Turboland (1): William Murray (7th Place, 2-2)