At last years NZ Nationals, we had 2 guys from out team finish 1st and 3rd. We
wanted to make another strong showing again this year a started testing fairly
solidly about 2 months before the event. Oddly, only 2 of us could make the
Vintage champs again this year - but it was the other 2 of our 4 man group.

Last year's Nationals was a pretty scrubby metagame - very little power turned
up. We expected much the same this year. (turns out we were wrong - more on that

I have a love for Vengeur Masque, and was pretty set on wanting to play it,
testing for me was mostly to decide on what build I would use. The team member
travelling with me decided fairly early on that Oath would be best for him -
given the expected high number of aggro decks. We build FCG, Mountain Wins
Again, and SuiBlack to test with.

I sent a few emails back and forth with Carl Devos regarding card choices for
the deck, while discussing the meta I expected and how various options would
likely perform.
I tested a list that included Dark Confidant for a while, but decided against it
since he was turning out to be weaker vs aggro packing Wastelands than either
Wall of Roots or Quirion Ranger. Adding the Black mana also upped my Non-Basic

I ended up playing a 2 colour version as my primary concern was mana stability.
The last email I got from Carl before the tourney he suggested Trinket Mage +
Sensei's Divining Top. Also pointing out that it has benefits with sideboarding
Tormod's Crypt and Pithing Needle. I decide to add these 2 cards, and end up
playing this:

Vengeur Masque - Martin Jeffreys, Credit to Carl Devos for Trinket Mage tech

4 Bird of Paradise
2 Quirion Ranger
4 Survival of the Fittest
2 Wall of Roots

1 Phage
1 Squee

4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
1 Gilded Drake
2 Impulse
1 Trinket Mage
1 Voidmage Apprentice
3 Volrath Shapeshifter
1 Waterfront Bouncer

1 Black Lotus
4 Illusionary Mask
4 Phyrexian Dreadnaught
1 Sensei's Divining Top

1 Flooded Strand
5 Forest
4 Island
4 Tropical Island
2 Windswept Heath
3 Wooded Foothills


1 Eternal Witness
1 Genesis
1 Gilded Drake
2 Misdirection
2 Naturalize
2 Pithing Needle
1 Ravenous Baloth
2 Stifle
2 Tormods Crypt
1 Uktabi

We have 14 players for the event. The 'Nationals' itself is still running, it's
in about round 9 and there are many people that 'would' play in the Vintage if
they lose their next match, but we need to get started.

Round 1 - Jacob playing Skullclamp Kobolds.
My 1st suprise. People playing with Powered combo. I was impressed that people
decided to make more of an effort with decks this year :)
I win the flip.
I keep a slowish hand which has a Quirion Ranger, Brainstorm, Survival, Gilded
Drake, 3 lands. He was younger and I expected him to be playing something aggro
with wastelands.
Me T1: Quirion Ranger
Him T1: Kobold, Kobold, Land Grant - revealing Saphire, ESG, Ritual, Skullclamp,
Me T2: I decide to play the Survival rather than hope to brainstorm into a FOW.
Him T2: Tendrils for lots.
I sideboard in 2 Pithing Needle and 2 Stifle
Game 2 I get a T1 Pithing Needle for Skullclamp, T2 Mask, T3 Naught.
Game 3 I play T1 Pithing Needle again. His T2 has a double glimpse hand and
manages to combo into a Tendrils with a Storm of 7 - I scoop up my stuff mostly
in disgust of being 'killed' after my only play being the best my deck could
really manage without paying attention to the storm. Apparently his plan from
that play was to try have me scoop... nevermind... life goes on.

Matches: 0-1
Games: 1-2

Round 2 - Clint playing TPS
Powered, after the match he tells me his is missing the Mox Jet.
Lose the flip.
My opening hand alright: Quirion, Shifter, Phage, Survival, Brainstorm, 2 Land
He Duresses my Survival and I play Shifter on T3 for a T4 Phage kill. He
attempts to go off but can only Tendrils for 14. Phage wins.
I sideboard in Stifle, Misdirection, Tormod's Crypt.
I FOW his T1 Ancestral, and he casts Grim Tutor. I play Divining Top, he Wheels
and I draw into a FOW. He Duresses, which I FOW since I'm holding a stifle. I
cast Shifter. He plays main phase FOF, I split Will from the other 4 cards. He
takes the 4 cards but doesn't try going off yet. I cast Trinket Mage for
Tormod's Crypt and use it, then Shifter becomes a 12/12 from my hand to drop him
to 5. He Grim Tutors and plays a few spells before failing to go off.

Matches: 1-1
Games: 3-2

Round 3 - Richard playing unpowered combo with MOM + Academy.
Lose the flip.
I my hand is solid and play T1 Birds, T2 Mask, eot Brainstorm for Lotus, T3 I
Mask Shifter and Voidmage Apprentice while holding 2 FOW. He casts TimeTwister
(his 1 power card) and I decline to FOW since I want a better hand, and he has
no mana in pool or on table from casting it. I draw Survival and Phage, and I
attack with a 0/1 with 3 counters and lots of green mana open.
I side in Misdirection since all see in game 1 is blue mana with artifacts and
expect FOW to be in the mix.
My opening hand is good with mask naught, so I keep it. He first turns Windfalls
and I draw another hand that's good with survival + squee. I FOW his FOF on T2
while his mana crypt deals more dmg to him. He casts MOM and I 'finally' realise
what he's doing. He taps my lands down in my upkeep and mystical tutors eot for
Braingeyser. He Braingeysers himself for 14 and he's holding a Kaervek's Torch.
I bring in Pithing Needle to deal with his MOM.
T1 Lotus, Trinket Mage, Pithing Needle MOM. Divining Top finds me a Mask and the
fetchland shuffle finds me a 12/12.

Matches 2-1
Games: 5-3

Round 4 - Henry playing Goblins with White.
The first deck I expected to see in the tournament.
I win the flip and keep a hand with Forest, Bird, Survival, Mask, Naught,
Brainstorm, Wall of Roots. My Bird is met with a Lackey, I draw a gilded drake
and Brainstorm to find my other 3 Brainstorms and have to end. He burns the Bird
and Lackey gives him a Siege Gang Commander. I pick up my forest to shuffle.
Side in Misdirections and Stifle.
I keep and hand that highlights Spinning Top, and 2 Misdirections, Brainstorm. I
play the top, he has lackey. I brainstorm to find lands putting some back and
keeping 2 fetchlands. I fetch to shuffle. His Lackey gives him a Flunkie, my top
reveals 3 lands, I take another fetch. I fetch and cast a wall of roots, block
the lackey while he casts a piledriver, spinning top reveals 3 lands still. I
take another fetch. I fetch again and top to try find something. I see 2 lands
and a Brainstorm.

Matches: 2-2
Games: 5-5

Following that match I'm annoyed since it was such awful luck in that match, and
I'd given away the first round. It seems however than 2-2 in a field of 14 makes
the Top 8. My team mate (Godder) playing Oath was 3-0 and drew the final round
to go top seed. Top 8 comes out and I'm in the opposite bracket to my team mate,
and playing Henry's Goblins again.

Everyone that entered got an Italian Legends Booster - including 14th/last
place. One of the non-top8 opened a Mana Drain.

Quarter Finals - Henry playing Goblins with White.
Win the flip, and he Mulligans 3 times before keeping his 4 cards.
Meanwhile, I'm playing Spinning top, Mask, Trinket Mage, and a Naught.
I side in Misdirection and Stifle.
My opening hand has FOW, Stifle, Impulse, Bird, 2 Land, Gilded Drake. I decide
to keep it.
He opens with Fetch and Vial, I FOW with Drake. I lead with Bird. He Fetches a
2nd time and plays a lackey, I worry I've lost the chance to use my Stifle
'tech'. I play Wall of Roots. He Fetches a 3rd time, which I get to stifle.
Lackey can't get past my Wall. I cast Impulse to find Spinning Top, which I
play. Top finds a Mask, I take and play that. Top then finds a Survival, so I
play that and survival for Squee and then Shifter rather than a Naught so I can
Phage him next turn. He has STP for my Shifted Squee. I Survival for Naught and
Mask it. He has STP for that too. I Survival for a Naught and a Shifter, then
play 2 creatures under Mask, 1 with 1 counter, 1 with 3 counters, he scoops.

He was pretty annoyed, figuring he should have easily beaten me again. But from
the 2 Italian Legends Boosters he wins, he opens a Mana Drain (the 2nd from the
box) and ends up being happy he lost at the time and got that specific pack.

Matches: 3-2
Games: 7-5

My team mate (Godder) has won his Quarter Final - Oath vs Gifts Oath. Apparently
the key play was his Vamp in response to Gifts, both players having 1 card in
hand when these spells were on the stack. He vamped for Strip Mine, and gave his
opponent the Tinker and Recoup over the Regrowth and YawgWill. Stripmine broke
the Orchard Parity and he gets the win in the air with Akroma and Razia before
Tinkered 11/11 can touch him.

Semi Finals - Morgan playing Red Burn.
I have to be told what he's playing. I've seen he had Mountains earlier in the
tourney, but didn't look past that.
I win the flip and he mulligans.
T1 Bird is met with Goblin fanatic. I cast Survival, and take Chain Lightning
for 3. I cast Shifter with a 12/12 in hand and and mana open. My Quirion Ranger
gets to beat for 1. I take a Helix and Lava Spike to the head. Life totals are 7
vs 21. Phage gets the win.
I side in Misdirection and Stifle.
He chooses to draw for some reason. I'm confused.
I lay a fetch and end. He plays fetch and I Stifle it. I play Spinning top. He
plays Fanatic. I find Mask but no 3rd land. I FOW his Lavamacer. He plays a 2nd
Fanatic and swings with 1. I Mask a Naught after the spinning top gives me a
MisD for the turn. MisD the eot Lava Spike to him. I block a Fanatic with 12/12.
I swing for 12 dropping him to 3. He has eot Bolt. Untaps and has Helix and sacs
2 Mountains to Fireblast for the win
Game 3 we both go to 6 cards. We reach a critical point of the game with the
board as such.
Him: 10 Life, 2 Mountain, 1 Plateau (all uptapped), Pithing Needle for Mask, 3
Card in Hand
Me: 13 Life, Board: Spinning Top, Mask, Survival, Naught, 2 Forests, Tropical,
Hand: Naught, Phage, Shifter, Foothills.
I know none of his 3 cards are a land, because he just missed a land drop.
I fear that he can easily have a helix and get to 13 Life and would burn the
remaining life out on me given the extra turn + card.
I play foothills and drop to 12 (even joking at the time that it would cost me
the game), and fetch'ed a Tropical so I have the double Blue for Shifter, cast
Shifter, and have a Phage kill next turn.
He casts Price of Progress dropping me to 8 leaving 2 cards in hand. Draws and
plays Mountain, Double FireBlast for the win.
Even in hindsight, I think I still made the correct play.

Matches: 3-3
Games: 8-7

Godder lost the other Semifinal to the Kobolds. In one of the games on the play,
he casts Orchard, Mox, Oath. Opponent Land Grants and he FOW's seeing no skull
clamp to otherwise hold it for. Oath gets Akroma only to see him draw
skullclamp, have the token provide the draw into a Glimpse, ESG powered the
glimpse and he went off.

Prize support was better than last year.
1st: Foils - Regrowth, Meddling Mage, Mishras Factory + 4 Italian Legends
2nd Foils - Regrowth, Meddling Mage + 4 Italian Legends Boosters
3rd Foils - Regrowth, Mishras Factory + 3 Italian Legends Boosters
4th Foils - Regrowth, Intuition + 3 Italian Legends Boosters
5th-8th Foil Regrowth + 2 Italian Legends Boosters
9th-14th 1 Italian Legends Booster

I opened a Moat among my 3 packs.

I'll add to this post when get the deck lists of everyone that entered.
All in all, I was pleased to see that we finally had a T1 event with multiple
people turning up powered.
While most of the people were borrowing half the power (or some borrowing whole
decks), and clearly hadn't playtested like we had, or tried to consider the
meta, I think it's a good point for next year's Vintage champs to grow bigger

I look forward to it, by then I expect to be fully powered.