It is a tribute to the strength and fervor of the New England vintage community
and its TOs that we have a weekend with not one but two large-scale Vintage
events. Dan and Eric were both hosting tournaments, and Chris and I were both
free on the weekend. The only question became which seventy-five cards to put on
a decklist. The prior tournament, at Hippy's store, had been SlaverCon '08. One
could not turn a corner without stubbing a toe on one of the many Control Slaver
decks which had swarmed the place.

This, combined with the fact that New England players gravitate toward
Drain-based decks anyway, lead to the conclusion that a deck which lost to
Control Slaver was not an ideal choice. So, the decision was to make our Control
Slaver builds win the mirror consistently, or to play something else strong
against Control Slaver.

The obvious choice for playing against Control Slaver is Long. The problem with
this, however, is that I was no good at playing Long. Chris has some experience
with modern Long builds, but the last time I played Long it involved Death Wish.
I put Becker's Grim Long lists into Magic Workstation, attempt to gold fish, and
found myself fizzling like a diet coke. Given that other people had been able to
win games with the deck, I realized that it must be my own play rather than any
fault inherent in the cards. While Chris was firmly behind Long, I was still on
the fence, and didn't decide between Long and Slaver until  a few events pushed
my mind towards Rituals. T00L, in some test games, crushed me 5-1 when he played
Grim Long and I played Control Slaver. Second, Tommy K won the ICBM tournament
with his Pitch Long deck. I sure felt safer using Force of Will in a deck, and
being able to sideboard into a non-storm deck seemed like a great option in case
I found myself with difficulty playing Storm in a matchup. The other motivation
for our playing Long this weekend was learning how it works so that we could
beat it with Control Slaver in the future. Storm Combo had always been a tough
match for Control Slaver, and we thought that we could learn the matchup better
by actually playing the deck.

So, Chris and Mike and I tested. I read Becker's excellent Grim Long primer. I
talked to JD about some card choices and play scenarios with the deck. Feeling
as ready as I ever would, I got my usual four hours of sleep and then met with
Chris and The Minivan rumbled off to Worcester, hoping for as few Round Twos as
possible. This was a long, tiring day spent at scorching temperatures. The Air
Conditioning unit in Stoke's store spent much of the tournament unused in the
window, taunting us.

Round I -- Nick M with Control Slaver
Game 1: I have a first turn Grim Tutor, and I Force his first turn Ancestral. I
duress him and take his Drain, leaving him Mystical Tutor, some mana, and some
robots. He plays a Thirst next, and I play a Bargain, Forcing the Drain that he
tries to play.
Game 2: Nick has a Goblin Welder, and I have a Confidant. Bob builds up a solid
hand for me as pitch magic slows him down.

Round II -- GI with Sensei Sensei
Game 1: GI mulls to five cards, and I mull to six. He has Top and I have
Imperial Seal. I desire for four, and hit Misdirection and Bargain. I pass the
turn, and despite his scrambling for an answer, he can't stop me from winning on
the next turn.
Game 2: I have an early Goyf who ends up not mattering at all. GI resolves a
pile of draw spells, and eventually puts a Future Sight into play. I realize
that I have only one turn, because GI has Sight and Academy and Top on the
table, with plenty of mana. However, Extirpate ensures that he lacks any
counters, and my Bargain again comes down and ends things.

Round III -- Joe B with Stax
Game 1: Joe plays a Chalice early. I Duress him, then resolve Bargain and win.
Game 2: Chalice locks me out this game, and Sphere helps it out. I'm in bad
shape for the whole but manage to get the win.

Round IV, V -- ID

Top Eight: Nick Rodriguez
Nick is a player who has really stepped up his game lately. He beat me the last
time we played in top eight, so I know I have a challenge ahead.
Game 1: Nick plays and I mulligan. Nick Forces my Ancestral, but I manage to
slip in a Time Twister, Nick has double Force after my Twister, but on my next
turn Bargain resolves and ends things.
Game 2: Nick Duresses me a few times and this really hurts. We get into draw/go
mode, but despite my attempt to Force it, his Tinker resolves and that's the
Game 3: Nick Duresses me again, and has a Force. I Scroll for Brainstorm since
my Ancestral is already countered. Top helps Nick's hand. I get out Bargain but
can't win, and am starring down 6 Goblin tokens. On his turn, Nick is thinking
deeply, and is looking like he might not remember to attack with his tokens. At
this point, Jimmy comes up to us and says, "What are those tokens for?". He then
reiterates, "Are those Empty the Warrens tokens?". At this point, Nick sits
upright from his slump, and turns his tokens sideways. I draw a few more on my
turn off Bargain but am two life short. I have a word with Jimmy about this
after the match.

Nick takes me out in Top Eight again. Well played, Nick. You're becoming a real
force to contend with. I received a Chinese Academy for Top Eight, taking it
over an Underground Sea. ELD did a great job running the event, as he always
does. The prizes for 5-8th were various foreign cards, foils, and dual lands,
making them quite good prizes.