Well, I'm back from SCG Rochester and I must say-- I'm quite relieved. Before
the event, I heard talk of having the Supreme Galactic Dark Lords of Magic: The
Gathering aka the pros unleashed on our format. One of them even said it was
unhealthy for Vintage that he become involved with it. And he said it in an SCG
article, so he must have been right! So, the day of the event I bade a mournful
farewell to Type One and collected my things, knowing that I was probably on my
way to the last Vintage tournament ever before Zvi Mowshowitz and his ilk were
unleashed on us and ruined our hapless little format.

I arrived and savored the pre-tournament experience for the last time before
Vintage was broken wide open by the pros who had already descended like a
howling pack of merciless Turks, waiting patiently at the gates of Type One,
ready to lay siege to our tournament, our format, and our way of life. I shut my
eyes and prayed that it would all be over quickly as I navigated through the
swiss, going 3-2 or something and then dropping because I picked the wrong deck
archetype to play. I didn't really think it mattered though; without bothering
to check the standings, I was certain that the 10 or so Shooting Stars accounted
for 1st-10th place, and even possibly 1st-30th place. I didn't even bother to
question how approximately ten people could fill the top 30 slots. They were
pros, after all-- they could do it.

But when the dust of the swiss rounds had settled and the top 8 were announced,
I discovered that, much to my relief, some of us shitty Vintage players had
actually made it in. Not only that, but Zvi Mowshowitz's deleterious effects on
our humble format's health were limited to the symptoms of him going 3-2 drop,
much like myself. I don't know what divine entity descended from the heavens to
protect us in Rochester on that fateful June 11th, but I will be forever
grateful that our format narrowly avoided almost certain doom at the hands of
the shooting stars. As for my own performance, I didn't think it to be anything
noteworthy or spectacular, but when I reviewed the final standings and found my
own placement at #89 to be humblingly close to Zvi's placing of #91, I decided
that I'd recount the day's events for everyone interested.

The trip got underway for me around 5:00 in the afternoon, when I was picked up
by Meddling Mage and The Atog Lord. We knew we were in for a long drive, but the
endless stream of remixes of Mega Man II songs on Rich's iPod made the trip seem
to fly by. Well. At least the first 2 hours or so. Then, we decided it was time
for a pit stop and pulled into a rest area off the I-90 turnpike. While Mike and
I were enjoying the respective cusinines of D'Angelo's and Papa Gino's, Rich
attempted to choke down the twisted creation of Fresh City admist the cacophony
of at least 50 screaming children clad in orange shirts. Mike hypothesized that
they attended a camp for ugly children. I debated the wisdom of saying very
thought it might help the noise level since crying and whimpering would be
quieter than shrieking and yelling. Finishing our meals before I came to a
decision on that, we were on the road again and finished the remaining 4 or so
hours of the trip. Arriving at the Red Roof Inn around midnight, we met up with
our teammate, Rico Suave and checked into our room. Apparently Red Roof Inn has
a cost-cutting policy against providing basic amenities to their guests, because
we couldn't get a rollaway cot for us to use, and had to call the front desk for
shampoo which came in the form of small packets. Nothing says classy like
packets of shampoo that look like wet-naps.

The day of the event, we strolled in around 9:55 for the prompt 10:00 start. I
kind of held that up a few minutes filling out my decklist. I considered hurling
myself at the feet of Zvi and pleading for the health of our defenseless format,
but decided it would be a vain gesture; I feared Zvi might even decide to break
it extra-wide open to spite me for my impudence in approaching him. So, the
first round pairings went up and I faced my first opponent, playing the same
deck I was.

Round 1 vs. Worse Than Fish

Game 1  I keep a hand with 4 lands, a Force of Will, a Chalice, and a Standstill
because I don't really know any better. He gets vial down early and starts
dropping guys, making my standstill look like a bad idea. I drew into more lands
as he drew into Ancestral and I concede the game when he had something like
double the cards I did.

Sideboard: -4 Chalice, +1 Kira, +3 Oxidize

Game 2  I mulligan my initial hand into something with 2 creatures a vial and
some mana. I keep and force his Ancestral around turn three. Jitte on the other
hand comes down onto a board containing his rootwalla to my Waterfront Bouncer. 
I proceed to bounce his attacking Rootwalla for the next four or so turns, not
drawing any answers which would include the 3 Jittes in my deck or the 3
Oxidizes. Eventually the Jitte gets active and it's academic from there.


Dejected that the experience did not start out on a high note for me, I secretly
thanked my lucky stars that now that I was in the loser's bracket, I would be
able to avoid horrific destruction at the hands of the Pros. The next round
started shortly thereafter.

Round 2 vs. Standard Oath

I'm paired against a friendly guy who came down from Canada. We talked a bit
about how our previous matches had gone and then got started.

Game 1  I keep a hand with Factories, 2 Jitte, and a Ninja, which turned out to
be a very wise decision on my part. He dropped oath either first or second turn,
but couldn't find Orchard for a long time. My factory hit him for like 6 before
he found orchard, my Jitte had several counters on it. He ended up throwing down
Engineered Explosives at 2 and then replacing his oath, getting rid of my Jitte
and forcing me to gain 8 life or so. I replaced my Jitte on my turn, and then
orchard turned up for him. I then came out blazing with Ninja, Mongrel, Boa. Boa
wound up hitting him for like 8 or 10 unblockable damage to finish things.

Sideboard -4 Standstill, -3 Basking Rootwalla +4 Ray of Revelation, +1
Waterfront Bouncer, +1 Tundra, +1 Plans

Game 2  I have a similar hand to my first one, except it includes Force of Will
which I think took out an early Oath while my creatures accumulated very
quickly. He wound up getting a second Oath the turn before I attacked for
lethal, I think.


I heard rumors that Zvi Mowshowitz was in the X-1 bracket along with me, sending
a tremor of fear through my fragile frame right as the next pairings went up.

Round 3 vs Mask

This was without a doubt the most intense match of the day for me.

Game 1  I get absolutely destroyed. I have a hand with multiple standstills
which immediately become useless once he drops first turn illusionary mask off
Workshop, then puts down a creature with 1 counter off a Mox. Next turn, to my
shock and dismay, a Phyrexian Dreadnought gets flipped up and another creature
gets put down with one counter. Yay.

Sideboard -4 Standstill, +1 Waterfront Bouncer, +3 Oxidize

Game 2  I mulligan to five, expecting a swift and sound defeat. He drops an
early Platinum Angel off a ton of mana around turn three, when I have a Mongrel
down. I Oxidize at the end of his turn and attack. He drops chalice for 1 on his
turn and Juggernaut. I drop a second Mongrel on mine and attack. My other
Mongrel takes out his Juggernaut before he drops chalice at 2. Wonderful. I now
have one creature on the board for the rest of the game. I draw into several
strips which set him back on mana. Mongrel knocks him to around 10 and I force a
Sundering Titan. On my turn, I ninjitsu in a Ninja and keep the 2 damage clock
going, drawing into another force. At 2 life, he drops workshop, memory jar. I
force. I win off my lone ninja of the deep hours, which is absolutely insane.

Game 3  I keep an opening hand with a Mox Emerald, a Wasteland, and 5 2-drops. I
get 1 in before he drops trinisphere. I strip his workshop and he has a lot of
trouble working back up to 3 mana as my lone creature again goes to town.
Finally he gets down Choke around 8 life and I knock out his 3rd land. In the
closing turns he gets a Juggernaut down but that only kept my attackers at bay
for one turn.


Round 4 vs Salvager Oath

Game 1  My hand contains Chalice, 2 Wastelands and a Strip Mine along with a
Vial. I take out his first four lands, drawing another Wasteland along the way.
He's never really in this game.

Sideboard: -4 Standstill, -3 Basking Rootwalla +4 Ray of Revelation, +1
Waterfront Bouncer, +1 Tundra, +1 Plans

Game 2  I have a lot of guys online very quickly and get in a lot of damage. He
tries for Oath which gets forced. He throws balance which gets rid of Mongrel,
Boa, and Bouncer. We discard down 2 cards each and I found out next turn that
his 2 cards are Salvagers and Lion's Eye Diamond, much to my dismay.

Game 3 I open with Chalice at 0 and a vial. I get down a Rootwalla and then a
Mongrel. He enlightened tutors for a seal of cleansing which I force, thinking
he has a bunch of Moxes in hand. The assault continues more or less unchallenged
from there. He shows me a hand of high-end creatures after we finish.

Round 5 vs GiftsBelcher

I'm paired against my teammate Rich. We grumble about this and we reach for each
other's decks to cut before starting before a judge darted in, blocked our hands
and said "Hold it! Deck check." Beautiful. This happens, and we're underway.

Round 1  I have Factory, Wasteland, Sapphire, Ancestral, Standstill and other
stuff. I Ancestral right off the bat looking for Vial. It gets forced. I throw
down Standstill to buy some time, but that proves to a fatal mistake. After
doing this, Rich misses a land drop so I'd have had time anyway. I'm still in
the game with Ninja in hand that I can slip in with my attacking Factory but
never find the mana. He goes off at 2 life.

Round 2  I just get overpowered; my cards do almost nothing in the face of land,
mox, mox, Lotus, Tinker and Yawgmoth's Will.

I might have played another match, but even if I did, my heart wasn't in it at
this point. I finish with 3 wins.

My teammate Rico Suave picked the silver bullet against Fish and made it to the
top 8, representing Reflection all the way to the top 4, losing to the eventual
winner. During that time the rest of us amused ourselves by playing keep-away
with Brassman's hat. It was like childhood all over again; we always picked on
the kid who rode the short bus.

I had to get back that night for work on Sunday, and Mike and Rich were planning
on going to Syracuse. So, I caught a ride on the shortbus from Kowal and
Brassman. Along the way home, we discussed at length the redeeming achievements
of one Dave Feinstein. A sample of the conversation went like this:

"Did you know that Dave Feinstein was seventeen feet tall?"

"Did you know that Dave Feinstein was all 44 Presidents of the United States?"

"Did you know that Dave Feinstein made the original Articles of Confederation
out of a block of wood, a feather, and a pinecone?"

"...Did you know that Dave Feinstein is the United States?"

" Dave Feinstein!"

"to Dave Feinstein!"

"to Dave Feinstein."

The quality of the conversation proceeded from there. I made it home at 9:00am
and wandered off to bed, thankful that Type One survived its encounter with Zvi
Mowshowitz and Associates. Until next time.