Suddenly, the weekend of the tournament is there. I have a basically untested 
deck of an archetype that is not supposed to be viable. My plane on Friday night 
is delayed by almost an hour. I arrive in Melbourne at midnight and grab a taxi 
to take me to my hostel. A minute after, my driver points to three gorgeous 
Melbourne chicks who he was supposed to take somewhere. I ask where, and he 
reveals that my hostel is on the way to where these girls want to go. So we 
share a taxi, and get stuck in the traffic on Chapel Street. I arrive at my 
hostel at one in the morning with the first tournament due to start in ten 
hours. I did not get the girls' numbers.* What a great way to start a weekend!

However, the Saturday tournament is sanctioned, so it attracts just about twelve 
players, half of which arrive an hour late. Meanwhile, the Yu-Gi-Oh regionals 
are being held in the same room. Waiting for our tournament to start, we Vintage 
players watch the really small kids next to the huge bodybuilder-shaped guys, 
all playing a game we don't care about. I meet Luke Hope, aka "The Luke" on TMD, 
his lovely wife, and a couple more Melbourne Vintage players. Good times, and a 
couple of Masticores also find their way into my deck.

The tournament finally gets rolling at twelve. Here's what I played. It's 61 
cards, because the Masticores are quite mana hungry and I wanted Academy.**

U/B Control

-- Blue (17)
4 Force of Will
4 Mana Drain
4 Brainstorm
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Walk
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Tinker
1 Fact or Fiction

Black (12)
4 Duress
2 Cranial Extraction
3 Skeletal Scrying
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Yawgmoth's Will

-- Artifacts (12)
1 Darksteel Colossus
2 Masticore
2 Powder Keg
1 Sol Ring
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Black Lotus

-- Lands (20)
4 Wasteland
1 Strip Mine
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta
3 Underground Sea
4 Island
1 Swamp

-- Sideboard (15)
4 Chalice of the Void
2 Tormod's Crypt
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Platinum Angel
3 Hurkyl's Recall
2 Diabolic Edict
1 The Abyss

The Sideboard has the Explosives functioning as enchantment and creature removal 
and features two Tormod's Crypt to be used both against Oath and Dragon, which I 
knew would be there. Notice the lack of Crucibles. The choice was between 
Crucible and Extraction, and with the combo-heavy field expected, Extraction 
wins out. Also, with the amount of basic lands the deck has, Crucible is not 
needed as a defensive card. Finally, players are more likely to be prepared 
against Crucible than against Extraction. It is a close decision, though. On to 
the tournament! I'll keep it quick'n'dirty.

Rd 1: Andre Di Mattia, Keeper with 1 Meddling Mage, 1 Shadowmage Infiltrator and 
2 Decree.
Game one (play): I lose to Meddling Mage beatdown. I board in 2 Explosives, 
taking out Vampiric and Mystical Tutor.
Game two (play): We go to the extra turns and draw the second game.

Rd 2: Mark Dann, W/G fatties.
Game one (draw): A first turn Time Walk on my side leads to a second turn 
Colossus and a win. I board in an Abyss and a Platinum Angel, taking out 2 
Extractions. I feel a bit sorry, because it is Mark's first tournament - Tinker 
just feels dirty sometimes.
Game two (draw, mulligan twice): I win.

Rd 3: Luke Hope, Control Slaver.
Game 1 (draw): I lose to the Slaver lock. I board in 3 Hurkyl's Recall, The 
Abyss (wrong) and 2 Explosives, taking out 2 Duress, 2 Extractions, the Vampiric 
and the Mystical.
Game 2 (play): I win on the broad back of a Masticore that comes down before a 
Game 3 (draw): Luke has no permanents in play other than a Titan and three cards 
in hand. I just drew a Hurkyl's Recall and stupidly wait until he attacks to use 
it. Of course, the card he drew was the blue he needed for Force, and I have no 

Rd 4: Socrates, ScepterChant with Winter Orbs and Relic Barriers.
Game 1 (play): This goes forever. His Relic Barriers keep me from playing a win 
condition. Powder Keg destroys Orb and Barrier, allowing me to Tinker, and I 
Will back the Keg to destroy his next Barrier.
Game 2 (draw): He concedes when we go to time.

So I finish 4th and get 25 AU$ store credit, which is exactly the entry fee for 
Sunday's Mox tournament. After the tournament, Ande Di Mattia, Tim Thai and me 
head down to the coffee place opposite the games store. We talk a bit, and Tim 
(playing Psychatog) reveals his tech: Night of Soul's Betrayal. We discuss it 
for a while. Tim had wrecked U/W Fish with it in the tournament. Night works 
better than Engineered Plague because it gets every creature in Sligh and Fish, 
and both Dre and me add a Night to our decks for tomorrow. The rest of the 
afternoon goes by with trading, and then it's time for the Saturday night trivia 

I won't bother you with details, but we have loads of fun. One bit that really 
sticks in all minds is the first creature ever printed with all five colors in 
its mana cost: 1996 World Champion, of course. All twelve participants share the 
same thought. Can we proxy that tomorrow? The stores' judges James and Tom allow 
it. Clever designs brainstormed that night include the Sneak Attack deck and 
Oath, but nobody has Sneak Attacks, so there will be no 1996 World Champion deck 
in the Sunday tournament.

I wake up on Sunday an hour after my alarm clock rings. The store is just three 
minutes away, though, so there's plenty of time to shower and write out the 
decklist. I haven't seen any Null Rods yesterday, but there are bound to be some 
today, so I contemplate replacing one Masticore with a Morphling. In the end, I 
decide to just kill Null Rod players with Colossus, and Masticore will still be 
a 4/4 anyway. In place of one Cranial Extraction, I register the Night of Soul's 
Betrayal. One Extraction should be just fine, especially since the locals are 
convinced that a lot of random aggro will show up.

I arrive at the store at ten, and half the players aren't there yet. Chatting 
along and helping James Ye building his Food Chain Goblins deck passes the time, 
and the tournament finally kicks off at eleven thirty. Apart from the delay, the 
tournament commences smoothly, with a mediocre attendance at 27 players. Six 
rounds of Swiss lay ahead, followed by a cut to T8. A Mox Pearl goes to the 
winner. Second place will receive a Foil DCI Vampiric Tutor, third a Foil DCI 
Intuition, fourth a Foil DCI Oath of Druids, and places five to eight will get a 
Revised Volcanic Island each.

Rd 1: Andrew Grain, Oath.
Game 1 (draw): I draw my opening seven, and I see a Night of Soul's Betrayal 
looking back at me. What a start! I manage a second turn Night that Andrew does 
not answer. A couple of turns later, he fails to counter my Powder Keg, which I 
start building up to kill one of his threats. I'm not sure how much Akroma and 
Spirit actually cost, so I check the game next to us, where another Oath is 
playing. A couple of turns later, the Keg sits comfortably at eight counters 
when Andrew finally decides to do something. He has two Oathes in play, but his 
Orchards are still shut off, so he decides to hardcast his Spirit of the Night. 
I respond with Mana Drain, he Counterspells, I Drain again, he Forces, I Force 
back. He shrugs, and suddenly I find myself with 13 colorless mana in my mana 
pool! I do a giant Will, hardcasting Darksteel Colossus and Masticore in the 
progress, but failing to find a Time Walk.

With me being tapped out, Andrew oathes up an Akroma, which I promptly blow up 
with my overloaded Powder Keg when she attacks. He passes the turn, and I attack 
for ten with the Colossus, bringing him to four. Having triple Oath in play, 
Andrew Oathes up both Akroma and the Spirit next turn after they get shuffled 
back in with a Blessing trigger. He attacks for lethal damage (I am at twelve), 
but thanks to Night of Soul's Betrayal I have just enough mana to shoot his 
Spirit of the Night with the Masticore to kill him next turn. A giant game to 
start with, but the hardfought battle won leaves me in good spirits as I 
sideboard. Luke had earlier questioned Powder Keg over Explosives, but already 
it has proven itself.

Out: 2 Powder Keg, 2 Masticore, 1 Vampiric, 1 Mystical, 1 Skeletal Scrying
In: 2 Engineered Explosives, 2 Diabolic Edict, 2 Tormod's Crypt, 1 Platinum 

Game 2 (draw): I get a second turn Night of Soul's Betrayal - again. This 
incident of pure luck sets me on the road to victory, which I ride down without 
halt to win a very anticlimatic second game. Andrew concedes.

Rd 2: Sean Hindley, Food Chain Goblins.
We get deck-checked and chat a while about the political situation in Germany. 
Sean is a really nice guy, and it was a pleasure to play him. Our decks get 
returned, everything is alright, and we start playing.
Game 1 (play, mulligan): Being on the play is always an advantage, especially 
when you manage to make a second turn Masticore with two blue to spare. Against 
Food Chain, that is a win.

Out: 1 Cranial Extraction, 2 Duress, 1 Skeletal Scrying
In: 2 Engineered Explosives, 1 The Abyss, 1 Platinum Angel

Game 2 (draw, mulligan twice): We head off the usual way, but when Sean makes a 
Ringleader, things could get ugly. They don't, because he just gets another 
Ringleader and two Wastelands, which I am happy to see going to the bottom of 
his library. The second Ringleader yields a single Warchief and another 
Wasteland, and soon after I Tinker for Platinum Angel, sealing the game.

Rd 3: Llewellyn Stevens, Ankh Sligh.
Game 1 (draw): Until now, I never knew how to pronounce that name. Now I do, and 
he gets me down to 14. With two Jackal Pups and a Mogg Fanatic in play, I decide 
things are a bit scary and plop down my Night of Soul's Betrayal. He starts to 
throw burnspells at my head me one by one, and I have only Colossus to Tinker 
out. The Big Guy swings once, and I am down to 1 life as I pass the turn. A 
hardcast Force of Will saves me from the Chain Lightning that would have killed 
me, and I swing for the win.

Out: 1 Duress, 1 Skeletal Scrying, Extraction, Mystical, Vampiric
In: 3 Chalice of the Void, The Abyss, Platinum Angel

Game 2 (draw): First turn Tinker for Darksteel Colossus. Llewellyn shrugs and 
accepts fate.

Rd 4: Jackie Ng, FCG.
Game 1 (play, mulligan): There are four FCG in the tournament, and I meet two of 
them. I had not thought about FCG before the tournament at all, but I feel 
confident about it. My deck appearently loves me today when I face little red 
men! This time, though, the deck cannot stop the onslaught of Warchiefs and 
Piledrivers. Jackie does straight beatdown, not trying to combo off at all, and 
that obviously works.

Out: 4 Duress, 1 Skeletal Scrying, Vampiric Tutor, Cranial Extraction
In: 3 Chalice of the Void, 2 Engineered Explosives, The Abyss, Platinum Angel

Game 2 (play): The sideboarded cards should really be able to help me out. 
Unfortunately, even though I can Force Jackies first turn Goblin Lackey, he 
brings out more Goblins that my Powder Keg can kill in one go. I take my only 
loss in the Swiss.

Rd 5: Michael Simon, Suicide Black.
Game 1 (play, Michael mulligans): Michael needs a win at this point to have a 
realistic shot at the T8. A win in this round would enable me to draw in for 
sure, so there is no question that we play. Michael gets a solid start with a 
Juzam Djinn and a Nantuko Shade, but they never get to touch me once as I 
Mystical up a Tinker and let Colossus finish the work.

In & Out: My notes record no sideboarding, but I think I side in an Abyss and 
maybe some Explosives or Edicts.

Game 2 (draw, Michael mulligans again): The hand I keep is extremely risky, as 
any discard on his first turn will wreck me. Undisrupted, this hand will give me 
a second turn Colossus. Disrupted, this hand will give me nothing. He goes 
Swamp, Ritual, Necropotence, go, paying four life to make up for his mulligan. 
On my turn, I go Fetchland, Mox Ruby, Mox Jet, playing Demonic Tutor to get me a 
Tinker. On Michaels' turn, he plays a land and another irrelevant card, and pays 
two life to refill, going to 14. Appearently, he has still not drawn a discard 
spell - lucky me, as my daring gamble (or is it stupidity?) goes unpunished. My 
second turn sees the Tinker for Colossus. Michael then fails to use Necro 
aggressively, preferring to take one hit from the Colossus and only drawing two 
cards. That does not find him an Edict, and I take this round.

This win places me at 4-1. The standings go up, and I see myself in 4th place of 
the Swiss entering the final round. Andrew Grain with Oath, Jackie Ng with FCG 
and James Ye with FCG are above me. Having played Jackie and Andrew already, my 
opponent will be James.

Rd 6: James, FCG.
We ID into the T8 and go watch the deciding matches. I am happy to make T8 and 
that nobody has played a Null Rod against me yet.
Final Swiss result: 4-1-1

Round 6 is most dramatic to watch. Matt Dunne surprises everybody - including 
himself - by piloting Cerebral Assassin, Team Hadley's 
Welder-Bazaar-Animate-Titan-deck, to a sixth round win against Sligh and making 
T8. Another surprise twist sees my round 5 opponent, Michael Simon, getting into 
the T8 on pure luck. Luke Hope and his opponent Giles cannot finish their third 
game in time, even though the winner of that match would have proceeded to the 
T8. With noone backing down and conceding (and why should they), Michael makes 
it in as 8th seed.

Quarterfinals: Tim Thai, Psychatog.
Game 1 (play): We both know what the other is playing, but not the exact 
contents of our decks - not until the second game, anyway. Playing draw-go for a 
while, Tim manages to force through a Tinker for his Foil English Colossus. I 
have my own Tinker in hand and topdeck Mystical Tutor. Taking one hit and going 
to two life, I Mystical in his endstep to get a Demonic which gets me the 
requisite off-color Mox to sacrifice. My Foil German Colossus trumps his in 
terms of pimpness according to the spectators, but a couple of turns later he 
reveals a Cunning Wish for Berserk to trample his 22/22 Colossus over my tiny 
11/11 one.

Out: I have no idea how I sideboarded here. As far as I can remember, I side out 
the two Mirage tutors, but my notes fail me here.
In: I only remember siding in 2 Edicts, but there might have been more.

Game 2 (play, Tim mulligans): It does not really matter anyway, because I go 
broken in this game, dropping almost my entire opening hand and playing Cranial 
Extraction on the first turn. I take his Force of Wills and note that he has 
only one Tog and one Colossus as win conditions. He answers with an Extraction 
of his own, taking my Colosuss and leaving me with only my Masticores to win. 
More hilariousness ensues, including a very broken Will that gets my Extraction 
back. This time, I take his Accumulated Knowledges and kill him eventually with 
a Masticore.

Game 3 (draw, we both mulligan): This game is over early, mostly due to me 
making two crucial mistakes. First, I play my Ancestral into his Cunning Wish 
for Red Elemental Blast, which I know he has from a previous Duress. I even had 
it written down, so there is no excuse for me to make such a stupid mistake. 
Shortly after, Tim Intuitions for one Accumulated Knowledge, Mystical and 
Demonic Tutor, and I make the mistake of giving him the Mystical instead of the 
Accumulated Knowledge for 3 cards. He gets the obvious Tinker and grows a 
Colossus out of a Mox. I topdeck my own Colossus, but am three mana short of 
hardcasting it, so Tim takes the game and advances to the semis.

In the semis, Tim loses to my first-round opponent Andrew Grain with Oath. 
Andrew proceeds to win the Mox from Andre Di Mattia with Keeper, who battled 
down Matt Dunne in the second semifinal. For those who want to know more, 
coverage of the event, including T8 decklists and T8 match coverage, can be 
found at in the Vintage Forum.

I left Melbourne with a Revised Volcanic Island and the good feeling that my 
deck did what it was supposed to do. Even though it needs a lot more thorough 
testing for different matchups to make a comprehensive statement about the 
viability of this kind of deck, I am confident that control decks like the one 
portrayed above will continue to do well and win.

Hanno Terbuyken

* But then again, I didn't ask. Being in a steady relationship does that to a 
** That makes 44,3 % of the deck mana. In testing, that screwed or flooded me 
less than 26 mana out of 60 cards (43,3 %) or 27/60 (45,0 %). Plus, I have been 
playing 61 card decks in the last years, and it never let me down. Call it 
superstition, if you like. The deck does work with an Island less, though, so 
for you 60-card-believers out there, take an Island out.