After missing Eternal Weekend last year, I was unreasonably excited to attend
this year. I haven't had a lot of opportunity to play Magic over the last year,
so I was just hoping that I would at least do well enough for the weekend to be
fun. As it turns out, I came just short of another unlikely run to the top 8 of
Vintage Champs.

I got in Friday late afternoon. Too late to play in the Eternal Central Old
School MTG event, but nonetheless I met up with the remaining Old School players
for dinner and some additional bonus matches of Old School. I highly recommend
this format for anyone who enjoys Magic: the Gathering. It is truly the purest
form of the game.

On Saturday I woke up early to play in Legacy Champs. I was playing Sneak &
Show, with basically the same list I have been playing for several years, but
with -2 Intuition, +2 Dig Through Time. It was good enough, and I was in it for
most of the day. At one point I was 6-1, but then my brain started to give up,
and I started making mistakes. I dropped at 6-3, even though I probably could
have drawn the last round into top 64. It was already very late, and I was tired
and hungry, and the main event was still to come...

Vintage Champs 2014
I played MUD (obviously), with a build that was very similar to my 2012 Champs

4 Mishra's Workshop
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Wasteland
4 Buried Ruin
4 Mishra's Factory
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Strip Mine
1 Sol Ring
5 Mox
1 Mana Crypt
4 Lodestone Golem
4 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Triskelion
2 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Tangle Wire
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Sphere of Resistance
3 Crucible of Worlds
3 Smokestack
1 Trinisphere

4 Grafdigger's Cage
2 Tormod's Crypt
1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
2 Null Rod
2 Ratchet Bomb
3 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Batterskull

The mana base is a little different (+Factories), and I am running Spheres in
the main instead of Karn and Ratchet Bomb, but other than that it is pretty much
the same. I got a couple questions from people while just milling around on
Sunday to the tune of "Are you still playing Buried Ruin?" (yes) "Still 4?"
(YES). Card is good.

Round 1: Richard Lessmann - Shops
He mulligans himself into oblivion both games, and I don't have to do much to
(1-0, 2-0)

Round 2: Stu Somers - UR Delver
Game 1 consisted of me dropping something like 4 Tangle Wires (including a
Metamorphed Wire and one recurred with Buried Ruin). Eventually a Smokestack
finishes him off. Game 2 I also win somehow.
(2-0, 4-0)

Round 3: Jim Sharkey (Templar) - Oath
I met Jim on Saturday before the Legacy event. I was hurting for caffeine, but I
didn't know if I had time to run to get a drink before the first round started
(turns out I did). He took mercy on me and gave me a cup of coffee from the Card
Titan booth. Truly a class act.
Game 1 he Oaths me pretty fast. Game 2 I land something like 4 Grafdigger's
Cages. Game 3 is really close and grindy. The key turning point in this game was
Buried Ruin getting me back a Grafdigger's Cage, which then absorbed a Steel
Sabotage that otherwise would have bounced my active Smokestack, which would
have potentially allowed him to rebuild.
(3-0, 6-1)

Round 4: Jacob Hilty (merfolkOTPT) - Tendrils/Oath
Game 1 I soft lock him pretty well with Spheres and Chalices, but am only
putting on slow pressure with Factories. Eventually he is able to build to the
point of hitting a Hurkyl's Recall. In response to Recall I hit him with Trike
bullets to put him at 1 life. This limits him enough that he is not able to
assemble a combo. Game 2 he sides into Oath and catches me off guard. It is very
effective. Game 3 I play a Cage and a Chalice @ 0. The Cage doesn't stick, but I
get it back with Buried Ruin and play it again, then hit Chalice @ 1.  This
shuts him off enough to slowly kill him.
(4-0, 8-2)

Round 5: Josh Potucek (oshkoshhaitsyosh) - Landstill
I know Josh from NYSE Open I, where he beat me in the X-0 bracket, sending me on
a downward trajectory that resulted in me scrubbing out of the event.
This time I win in 2 games, but it was by no means a blowout. Game 1 I think I
just cast multiple Lodestone Golems, which is a good card. Game 2 I won by
having a Crucible of Worlds, although he destroyed it at one point and I had to
restore it with Buried Ruin.
(5-0, 10-2)

Round 6: John Grudzina - 4c Delver
We get selected for a feature match, even though it was not on camera, and
nobody was watching, so it wasn't really "featured" in any way.
I win game 1. Game 2 he gets a Deathrite Shaman, then some other creatures.
Tabernacle does some serious work this game (it's the MVP vs. Delver), and keeps
his mana locked down. Eventually I finish the game in increments of 5 life.
(6-0, 12-2)

Round 7: Ryan Glackin - RUG Delver
My first "win and in" round. Game 1 I mulligan and keep a sketchy hand with
land, 3 moxen, and a Lodestone Golem, which gets countered, leaving me with not
a lot to do. He gets some creatures, easily handle my threats, and that's pretty
much it.  Game 2 he gets a couple Delvers, but I keep his board locked down with
Tabernacle (MVP) and Tangle Wires, and Smokestack eventually finishes the job.
Game 3 is long and grindy and very close. He plays and flashes back 2 Ancient
Grudges, taking out 4 of my pieces. Late in the game I make a critical mistake
when I draw and play a Wurmcoil Engine, which he then proceeds to take with a
newly cast Dack Fayden. If I had been playing right, I would have cast the
Lodestone Golem I also had in my hand, since it is more disruptive, and also not
fatal if stolen by Dack. I also had a Revoker (or drew one the following turn),
which would have kept his Dack Fayden from continuing to do work while I came
back with my Wurmcoil. I think this play specifically may have cost me the top
8. Disappointing.
(6-1, 13-4)

Round 8: Paul Lynch - UR Delver
I'm on the play and have Chalice @ 0, Crucible. On his turn he Strip Mines my
Workshop, which I replay the next turn, then cast Tangle Wire. He scoops. At
this point I still don't know what he's playing, although I think I remember him
running Shops, so I board accordingly. Turns out he is actually on Delver, so my
sideboard plan is somewhat off. Game 2 he beats me with small dudes while I do
very little.  Game 3 is very close, but I land 2 Wurmcoils at different points
in the game, and am able to finish him off before he can draw a Dack Fayden to
steal something (my new worst nightmare).
(7-1, 15-6)

At this point I am 7-1 with one round to go, and my tiebreakers are insane (OMW
= 71.3%). I am really hoping I can draw into top 8, but there are a total of 11
people with 21 points or more, so some matches will definitely have to play it
out. My possibilities of drawing in are dependent on the pairings. Of course I
get paired up against Roland Chang, who is sitting at 7-0-1. I offer him a draw,
which he declines. This is completely the correct thing to do on his part, of
course, because he is playing for top seeding. I was in the exact same position
in 2012 and chose to draw rather than play the last round. This resulted in me
finishing 7th, and I was on the draw for the whole top 8. I am disappointed for
sure, but this is how tournaments work with the modified play/draw rule. I am
still in if I can win...

Round 9: Roland Chang - Shops
Game 1 I keep a hand with Mox, some lands, Crucible, Tangle Wire. It's not a
great hand, but it has a Crucible, and I can keep things slow with Wire until I
draw some more business. He wins the dice roll and starts with Mox, Mana Crypt,
Land, Chalice @ 0, Steel Hellkite. There's nothing I can do about that but
laugh. My only answer to that is Workshop, Metamorph, but unfortunately I don't
have either of those cards in my hand. I play land, go. He attacks with
Hellkite, then plays Lodestone Golem. I play land, go. He attacks me to 5. I
draw a card and scoop.
Game 2 I am on the play, but have to mulligan to 5. I keep a hand of Factory,
Mana Crypt, Chalice, Smokestack, Lodestone.  I play my land, Crypt, Chalice @ 0.
I figure if I can draw a land in the next 2-3 turns, I can play Stack and Golem,
and my Mana Crypt will get eaten by Stack so I won't die to it. Unfortunately
that land never came. We both drew some Tangle Wires, which extended the game
for many turns. I got hot with coin flips, so at least Mana Crypt wasn't killing
me. I probably drew 8-10 cards by the end, but no lands. None.
(7-2, 15-8)

I have a glimmer of hope of still making the top 8 even with the loss. If all 6
of the top tables played it out, there would be 1 or 2 people with 2 losses to
make the top 8. Unfortunately, table 3 ID'ed, and table 5 also ID'ed for some
reason. This left 9 people with 22+ points for 8 spots. I finished in 10th,
still with the best tiebreakers among 21 pointers (OMW = 71.0%).

So that's it. It was a good run, and if nothing else, at least I showed that my
performance in 2012 was not a fluke. I had a great time the whole weekend, and I
hope I can make it back again next year.