Well this is a tournament report I wasn't expecting to be writing and especially
not after my testing on Saturday night against cutlex in our hotel room (Note:
Do not test your worst matchup the night before the event, it will only make you
want to audible which is wrong). 

I wanted to do a quick recap of the weekend and then an actual tourney report
for all those poor souls who couldn't attend Champs cause it is/was/will
continue to be the 2nd best event in Vintage MTG (after the Twaun Serious
Invitational). If you just want to read about the event skip to Sunday below.

Wake up with a slight sore throat and a runny nose, but otherwise no big deal. I
fill my mason jar with coffee, kiss my girlfriend for good luck, and carry my
way-to-much-crap downstairs to meet Jerry and G in the yangtime mobile. We stop
by Dunkin Donuts across the street to double down on coffee and then fly off to
the wilds of Cleveland to pick up Nam. After picking him up and looking
skeptically at the remaining room in the car that will hold Caffrey on the way
back to the Cleve, we are on our way. At least, we would have been, but we also
had to stop by Paul's house (just a tiny bit out of the way) to pick up
Charles's cards that he would like to see signed by the artists at champs. We
meet Paul and get the cards in what could only appear to be a drug deal to the
other patrons in the parking lot of cracker barrel. We have a filling and decent
enough breakfast at same Cracker Barrel and set off for Philadelphia only about
2.5 hours later than Jerry would have liked (which he was totally fine with
We proceed to do what magic players always do: Talk about magic, or specifically
what team serious always does: Talk about poop decks!

I want to play a deck with 4x Engineered Explosives and 4x Abrupt Decay.
- Jerry Yang

We can totally make Rip Helm work in a blue deck in vintage.
- Everyone in the car

If you want to beat the other workshops decks you should totally play 2-card
monte, plus it blows up yards for free.
- Myself, thank goodness Nam didn't listen to me.

If you guys are making this Rip Helm deck, I am definitely not playing Black Guy
- G, he did play it.

I want to play UR GAT with 4 treasure cruise.
- Jerry Yang

You know what Terra Nova absolutely can never beat in their 75?  Island
- Myself

I want to play Control Oath with delve cards.
- Jerry Yang

This actually resulted in some useful realizations since A) We convinced Caffrey
to play the Rip Helm deck with the extra set of power Team Serious had with them
at champs and B) I was the only one in the car (and seemingly on Team Serious)
who had any idea what he was playing at champs, other then Josh McCurly on a
similar deck.

Speaking of which here is my self designed (just kidding it is a Yangtime
special from 2008 or 2009) list from champs:
Drawing/Tutoring (22)
4 Gush
2 Dig Through Time - Absolutely absurd all day, let me play much more
aggressively, 2 is probably the correct number.
1 Brainstorm
4 Preordain
1 Ancestral Recall
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Regrowth - One of my favorite cards in this deck, and currently in vintage.
1 Noxious Revival - See above and also, lived the dream against dredge by time
walking by putting back a Grave Troll Rd 5.
1 Gifts Ungiven - I feel like this card has fallen out of favor and I don't know
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Mystical Tutor

Protection/Preventing Other Broken (11)
4 Force of Will
4 Thoughtseize - Play 4 thoughtseize if you are doing anything broken, was SO
good for me all day.
1 Hurkyl's Recall
1 Nihil Spellbomb - Last minute addition, again thanks to Jerry, was great all
1 Abrupt Decay - Last minute addition, not awesome, would have preferred chain
of vapor, MBT, or Fluster.

Misc Broken stuff (3)
1 Fastbond
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Time Walk

Win Conditions (3)
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Tinker
1 Blightsteel Colossus

Mana (21)
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Crypt
1 Island
1 Snow-Covered Island
2 Underground Sea
2 Tropical Island
1 Tolarian Academy
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Polluted Delta

SB: 2 Pithing Needle
SB: 2 Engineered Explosives
SB: 4 Oath of Druids
SB: 3 Forbidden Orchard
SB: 2 Griselbrand
SB: 2 Ravenous Trap

I did come up with the sideboard all by myself, and I was really happy with it,
changed to 2 Rav trap from 2 more needle and it was awesome for me since I
played dredge 2x.

This list is definitely the most fun I have had in vintage that didn't involve
casting 2 mana draft unplayables and making people tilt. It really is true, to
paraphrase Snoop Trogg, play the deck that makes you the most excited, and with
which you are most comfortable. I have been playing a variation of this list for
6 months, Jerry has been playing Burning Oath for more than a year, and Nam was
born with foil-y shops pieces in his hands. Everyone else picked their deck
basically the night before champs.

[Interruption concluded]

Anyhow, after a successful 7 hour bullshit session we arrive to philly amidst
some serious traffic, and props once again for not just murdering us all out of
rage while dealing with crazy drivers all over the damn place. Once again, it is
good to live in a fake city, and have fake traffic. The young guy party room
checks in/ Sam joins the party (he came up with Greg "nicest person on the
planet" Price and avoided the traffic) and we head out to meet up with Jimmy
McCarthy, Soly, Jaco, and Danny Friedman: the latter two of whom had been
playing their own mini champs of "old school" while drinking classy alcohol in
Jaco's hotel room. We all converge on Nan Zhou and literally have a table of 7
(the old school guys came a bit later) of what Jerry tells us to order the Beef
Brisket Noodle soup (either hand-shaved or hand drawn). Jerry did not lead us
astray. We destroy this food and then head out in search of alcohol. Jerry, G
and I get sidetracked by a restaurant that has soup dumplings (!) and the others
head to a bar. We also hatch 1 of several good plans to spend the rest of our
lives traveling, eating and playing magic and getting paid for some reason. 

At this point we realize that liquor stores are closing soon in PA (and there
aren't a lot of options for buying liquor anyhow) so Jerry and I venture forth
to try and buy supplies so that we are not forced to drink only the Fireball and
"yangtimes" (yeagarbombs for the uninformed) that were brought along by our
compatriots across state lines. He and I settle on some Laphroaig single malt
and Kraken rum, but sadly no beer, since that can only be purchased at a beer
distributor and not a liquor store :\. 

Eventually, we all converge on the hotel room and start drinking in earnest, as
well as, hearing Jimmy disparage our thoughts about UW Helm, and welcome JR to
the mix when he got off work. As it turned out JR had actually already tested
island sanctuary in Vintage (how is that even possible?!) and explained why it
is not, in fact, amazing, or even really playable. While we are all busy being
friends and having fun, Jimmy and Jerry rehash many of the discussions and
realize that is might be possible to make "8-duress Gat" work with Treasure
Cruise which gets them both very excited. They go so far as to write up a list,
and when Jerry and I make the trek to our Hotel in New Jersey (about 15 minutes
away) I realize how excited Jerry is when he builds the deck and opts to stay up
until almost 2am testing it with me (?!), the open bottle of Laphroaig probably
didn't hurt.

We decide that while Gat could work the way you wanted it to, the meta that it
was designed to dominate bears little resemblance to one which has run rampant
with deathrite shaman, and young pyromancer, and Jerry is once again without a
decklist. We go to bed, and Jerry, good guy that he is, goes to pick up Caffrey
at 6am as he was arriving on his flight from Vegas to join in the fun. 


When Jerry wakes up the 2nd time we are ready to start the eating challenge of
the day and meet up with Jimmy and Soly at the Dutch Eating place at Reading
Terminal Market. Once again Jerry's suggestion of the "short stack" of pancakes
is the overwhelmingly agreed upon choice, and we are all very happy with this.
Word of advice to any who go here, you only need the short stack, these pancakes
are gigantic. We also get 2 Apple Dumplings to split between the 4 of us (and
later Caffrey when he arrives) they are so massive and rich that we cannot
finish them.

Next stop convention center for registration, picking up playmats, dropping off
soly for Vintage prelims, and checking in with the guys playing legacy. The hall
is busy, and we get our first inklings from Nick that this is going to be a big
tournament. The artists table is also incredibly impressive, if I had a little
more cash ready at this tournament I may have tried to buy an original piece of
magic art from RKF or of Calcite Snapper!

The next stop on the food tour was Di Bruno Bros Market for Roast Pork
sandwiches and our own created cheese and charcuterie boards including Duck
Prosciutto (!), my favorite cheese (garrotxa), and a 5-year aged gouda from WI
based on Jimmy's recommendation. The pork was a little worse than last year, but
still a really tasty, and well constructed sandwich. Also, still better than any
cheesesteak, by a country mile. This was also just a pleasant way to eat a meal,
chatting constructing bites, and not feeling like we were in any rush. 

We planned on heading to a good whiskey bar next since it was well past noon,
but we were sidetracked by a french bakery called Miel Patisserie (I think)
where we bought some macaroons which were eaten during champs and were really
delicious, light and full of flavor. At the whiskey bar we ended up on the
second floor (this seems to be more common in Philly than a lot of cities) and
got some good suggestions from the waiter for whiskies to try. All were
delicious, but I believe the Talisker 10-year was the overall favorite of the

Our group then added a few people, and then promptly split into two groups to
accommodate more restaurants in limited time. Jerry lead a group in the
direction of Temple University for Bulgogi Beef Cheesesteaks and Jimmy Sam and I
headed over to Barbuzzo. We got and split 3 small plates and some truly
excellent cocktails. The bone marrow was rich and very delicious, but my
favorite small plate was the roasted pear bruschetta, savory and really
fantastic. It was also the first time I had tried flat apple cider, it was very
dry, served in a wine glass, and I would for sure try it again some time.

From there we met back up with Jerry, and Nam and added Jaco and JR to the mix
at good dog. Though the prices on drinks were high, and the waitstaff was not
the most helpful, my food at least was really excellent. I split a grilled
cheese with smoked gouda, slab bacon and roasted apples with Jimmy, and split a
duck pot pie with Jerry that had shitake mushrooms and star anise in it. Really
excellent. Sadly they did not have the Lamb Belly sandwich and I fear that was
just a fleeting menu item, never to be heard from again.

Lamb Belly

Thinly sliced lamb belly brined in red wine, roasted then lightly grilled,
topped with spiced oven roasted tomatoes, pickled red onions, arugula & lemon
aioli on rosemary focaccia

Anyhow, JR and Jaco are not overly satisfied, and the Handy Nasty has been on
the docket for awhile so we plan on heading out the mid 30s block since they
have an opening at about 9pm, and G is planning on meeting us. This meal is
probably one of the best of the whole trip, but I will let Jerry describe it, as
it was all on him for ordering and served family style. Suffice it to say that
we wanted spicy delicious sichuan and it was delivered. Once again a really
great overall meal experience and walking to and from the restaurant lead to
some more speculation/deck descriptions/claims about best decks, and one tidbit
from JR that inspired a conversation in the car on the way back to Jersey with
Jerry about what sort of shell might be good with Treasure Cruise and Dig
Through Time in the future.

Anyway, we finally arrived back our hotel and began talking to cutlex and Kevin
Poenisch who had driven in that day and were staying with us. They were both
actually pretty sure about what they were playing (gasp!) and given that the
tournament was the next day we decided to build a deck for Caffrey (see below),
Jerry, and get in some testing. Let me just say that Terra Nova is the scariest
deck in vintage in my opinion. That thing is a monster. Jerry after days of
theory crafting, testing and vacillating finally decides to play the deck that
he is most comfortable with Burning long, with the addition of a couple of Digs
and 6 duress effects. We eventually go to sleep much later than we had planned,
after making a shower schedule for the morning to insure max sleeping time for
Jerry and myself, since we were already reg'd for the tournament and had filled
out our decklists.

Vintage champs has officially arrived and we are ready for some action. After
handing Caffrey his decklist, acquiring the power for it from various parties
(we literally had a whole extra set between us though Soly/Jimmy did forgot a
mox at JR's), and asking what everyone was playing (apparently a lot of
decisions in the young man party room had been fueled by Yangtimes and made at
1am) we were ready to game.

Rd 1 Control Slaver - Tony from Michigan
Tony was a really good guy, and I believe he drove own with Cron. He thinks I
look familiar and he eventually realizes I am an idiot from Ohio so he must have
met me at a TSO. He was playing a pretty spicy list with Dack Fayden, Intuition
AK, welder and other goodies, that made me want to play slaver. Game 1 probably
was the most "vintage-y" of the whole day and really set the tone for the deck.
I won the die roll and played land, mox jet, preordain and picked up a vampiric
tutor to go with my regrowth, lotus and yawg will. My opponent goes turn 1
mystical > tinker, AK to draw tinker and cast it to get myr battlestation
emptying his hand. At this point I am pretty confident that I can just win
before his bot kills me, so I end step get ancestral with vamp. My turn 2
involves ancestral regrowth ancestral and tinker> Blightsteel with force back up
and a yawgmoth's will in hand. I didn't lose this game. While I lost game 2 I
saw his welders, gorilla shamans and other dudesweats and decided to side in the
oath package. He didn't see it coming. I eventually take down the match 2-1.
Record (1-0)

Rd 2 Dredge - Unknown guy
Sorry I don't remember this guy's name and it appears I didn't write it down,
but after he rolls out his My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic playmat, and
riptide shuffles his deck about three times I realize this probably going to be
an interesting round. I open up an initial hand with my miser's Nihil Spellbomb
and a regrowth and realize this guy is almost assuredly on dredge (or is just a
crazy person given the intense shuffling) so I keep my 7 and am rewarded. I
actually managed to spellbomb him twice, but the 2nd one is minimal and because
he had the mainboard chewers to force my hand, and his two bazaars allow him to
capitalize before I can find a win condition. I manage to land an oath and
blightsteel him out in game 2. Then in game 3 an early needle on bazaar, plus a
timely ravenous trap allow me enough breathing room to land oath > griselbrand. 
Record (2-0)

Rd 3 Gush Tendrils/Young Pyromancer - Josh McC (infant_no1)
Sadly paired against a friend, but happily both at 2-0 with decks everyone else
had pooped on. We high fived and began our match. In game 1 I cast one of the
more interesting Digs of the day. I was trying to go off this turn but I was
going to be light on mana. I knew I was going to be utilizing Will, but the Dig
itself took 2 mana, and I was going to be very light. The dig had a Force of
Will in it, but also a Fastbond and Lotus, and I had a Gush in the yard and one
still in hand. I was definitely taking Lotus, but I realized that if the counter
was there I was probably going to get boned, so I took the force and then
immediately started regretting it. Josh hadn't countered my Dig, he probably
didn't have anything, etc.  Anyway, I start going off using gush, and some other
stuff to generate storm and mana, and go for will. It resolves, and now I am
really kicking myself. I start to bring back lotus and Josh tells me to wait,
and shows me steel sabotage. I force and because of the two counters I manage to
hit 10 storm and kill him even though I couldn't reuse both the gushes in the
yard. I am still not confident it was the correct move, but it worked. Josh of
course knows my 75 and is hip to the plan, but he has Young Pyromancers as a
trump to my all-in tendrils plan, so I decide to move in the combo anyhow and
Oath Griselbrand makes the game pretty straightforward.
Record (3-0)

Rd 4 MUD - Blaine Christiansen
I knew this guy was a name vintage player, but I couldn't remember his deck. We
chat for a little bit, and then we sit down to a game, and he just dominates me
with shops. Then I remember what he plays :(. I bring in the Oath plan and it 1)
really surprises him, and 2) works and we are back at even, but now he is
bringing in his hate. I mull in game 3 and keep a hand with pithing needle, mox
emerald, oath, force, blue card, and preordain. Not a great hand, but almost
certainly better than any 5 since it allows for some protection and oath off any
land. His turn one is as follows workshop into grafdigger's cage (which I
force), chalice 0. I draw my card, find something that is not a land and pass.
His turn 2 is buried ruin returning cage, play the cage and then play chalice 1.
I did not win this game.
Record (3-1)

Rd 5 Dredge - unknown dredge player from DC
Another really nice guy, that I forgot the name of. He talks about not playing
vintage a whole lot, but definitely loving every minute he gets to play. We talk
about home towns and it turns out he knows a guy I used to game with in New
Orleans who moved to DC. Sadly he gets hit by the mull train and goes down to 3
cards but they are a pretty good 3 with Unmask x2 and a bazaar. Not the best,
but pretty close for a dredge player. Anyway, it takes him a bit to find a
dredger and I put it back on top with noxious revival to time walk. I ultimately
find a nihil spellbomb as well via tutoring and he only manages to put me to 11
before I can tinker blightsteel. In game 2 he mulligans to 4, and I manage to
get a couple needles in play before storming him out on turn 4.
Record (4-1)

Rd 6 MUD - Alex, Josh's Friend from TX
Another nice guy, who we didn't realize was from Josh McC's crew until after the
match was over and we were talking about the sideboard. Just as a side note,
what started as a slight sore throat and a runny nose, was at this point turning
into pretty intense sickness, I guess not a lot of sleep and a lot of alcohol
probably hadn't helped that. At any rate I spent the day carrying around a
pretty thick packet of paper towels and heading to the bathroom to get new ones
every other round, and to continuously blow my nose. I say this not to excuse
the punt I committed in game 2 but to help explain it. Game 1 was pretty
typical, he played some lock pieces including a couple tangle wires. I floated
mana and then bounced his board with hurkyl's which gave me the opportunity to
land tinker bot, and he didn't have a metamorph. In any event game 2 rolls
around and I have an opener which includes force, preordain, mox emerald,
timewalk, land, vampiric tutor, and an orchard. So I force his turn 1 play, and
then take my turn with the plan of time walk, upkeep vamp for oath, and
presumably win. However, I fetch with my non orchard land and say to myself, ah
yes vamp was part of this plan, and i don't want to shuffle twice, announce
vampiric tutor. Then I realize what I just did. Ugh. Anyway, of course his next
turn is null rod wasteland, and I never recover enough to actually play my oath,
but on the plus side I also do not need to actually play my orchard before he
beats me. I did, however, write the word punt on my notepad and underline it 3
times. So in game 3 when I play oath according to Josh:
(10:39:14) infant_no_1: you surprised the shit out of him with your oath s/b
. So griselbrand and darksteel make an appearance, and I make sure to get extra
permanents in play so that tangle wire won't save him. He was a really pleasant
opponent, and I hope the Texas crew make it onto the boards here, and up to a
TSO at some point. Maybe if the New Orleans food trip ever happens we can
arrange for a TSO and have those guys meet us in NOLA.
Record (5-1)

Round 7 Notion Thief Combos! - Matt
Another funny guy, this time from central PA. I encouraged him to make the trip
out for a TSO at some point, but I don't think it will happen too soon as he is
a med student and it would be a far trip for him. In any event he looks just
about as sick as me, and seems to be sort of down even though we are table 9 or
so and both doing pretty well magic-wise on the day. Game 1 - has a lot of back
and forth between thoughtseizes, counters, and not a lot of draw spells, so I
knew he was on UBx good cards with drain, but beyond that I wasn't totally sure,
but I managed to draw a Dig in the mid game and set up an amazing yawg tendrils
turn, when he scoops basically to yawg will resolving (which I appreciated).
Game 2 we are playing back and forth again, and then all of the sudden he slams
a notion thief, and my hand of Preordain, Gush, Jace and some sundry other
stuff, doesn't seem quite so good. Then he Tinkers for memory jar and starts
giggling, I like this guy!.
You never forget the first time you get Thief Jar-d.
- Guy sitting next to us. 
Almost as good as thief timetwister
-my opponent. 
I did not win this game, but I did see that he also had the salvagers combo,
trinket mage, and 3 nihil spellbombs. Time to turn into Oath. This plan took him
by surprise. I think he dropped after that to go to sleep, I hope you feel
better today man.
Record (6-1)

Round 8 UW Landstill - Keith
Another awesome guy from PA, and this was his first Champs and first year
playing vintage and he was super pumped to be there. I did what you normally do
against Landstill and just draw way more cards from him game 1 and storm out for
the victory without seeing much of his deck than tundras a library some
factories and a standstill and blue cards. I side in my needles and get ready
for game 2. In this game he plays mystic > Batterskull and TNN with counter back
up, and I realize this is a different MU than I had thought. I bring in the oath
plan, and continue the wildly surprising my opponents with oath and blowing them
through the wall. This one was interesting because our first game was pretty
long and he had an EE for my first oath so turn 0 was called the turn I played
oath. Then I played time walk. I had exactly enough time to take him from 18
down to 0 with my griselbrand. I wished him good luck, and told him I hoped he
could win some money to get the power for his deck (he was borrowing from a
friend), and told him to come by a TSO if he ever wanted to hangout with some
(Record 7-1)

At this point I think I will be able to draw and get some food and maybe rest my
brain for a minute, but when they put up standing I am in 9th place and I am not
excited about being able to draw.

Round 9 UR Delver - Dario
I notice that a lot of the people ahead of us are playing out the last round (we
were at table 5) including Nam and Roland Chang which means that there are
likely a couple of slots freed up for me to sneak into top 8 with a draw. I
offer that to my opponent, and he says his breakers are bad and he doesn't think
he can. We shuffle up and start to play. In game 1 he goes turn 1 delver, but I
manage to resolve tinker when I am at 5 life and blighsteel gets there. I side
in the oath plan, and feel pretty good. The game goes on, and I resolve oath,
but he has been beating down with a delver and I am at 5. When my blightsteel
oaths into play (if it had been griselbrand, I think I can't possibly lose this
game but whatever). I have a force in hand, a blue card, and an abrupt decay,
but I have a mana crypt in play. My opponent flashes in snapcaster on the end of
my turn and then goes to his turn and plays a Young Pyromancer, in response, I
play Abrupt Decay (which my opponent's friend talks to me about for like 10
minutes after the match) on his Delver. My thinking is if I don't kill his
Delver I can still lose this game pretty easily since I go down to 2, and one
missed flip on crypt kills me, and I need to do it now, in case he has any
counter spell to get another blocker off his pyromancer. I don't know if this
was right or I should have killed my crypt. It ends up being irrelevant as I
activate oath during my upkeep to try and have some insurance in the form of
griselbrand as a blocker and proceed to deck myself. :\  At this point my
opponent seeing that I am on Oath (presumably a bad MU) and tilted from decking
myself with Oath asks if I still want to draw. I snap accept, thinking that I am
ahead of this guy on breakers and several players ahead of us are playing so a
couple people are getting knocked out, in addition I need to blow my nose and
drink some water and stop thinking in the off chance that I have to play more
magic today. My opponent then checks with a judge (presumably to make sure he
doesn't do anything illegal) and turns back and asks me about a prize split. I
think about it and say, if one of us doesn't top 8 and the other does we can
split otherwise, we are both happy or we get the same prize anyway so it doesn't
matter. He accepts and we shake hands.
(Record 7-1-1) 22 points

I then nervously wait around for 35 minutes, but proceed to eat almonds, drink a
couple bottle of water and try to make myself feel not sick or exhausted. 

The announcement come and Abe gets to his portion of talking where he describes
5 people at 22 points with 4 more slots remaining. I think I am locked at this
point, but it turns out I am the odd man out, because Roland beat Blaine to
secure being on the play for the whole top 8, my breakers got worse and Dario my
opponent from the last round had jumped me to get into top 8.

Still felt pretty awesome to get up there, and I still made more money than I
had hoped. There was a little confusion with what "split" means, but I happier
to blame the language barrier and give Dario the benefit of the doubt,
especially since the split resulted in me getting a time vault more than I would
have gotten after all. In addition, with my winnings I pulled down a mana drain,
and was able to give Nam some store credit to augment his, for letting me borrow
his ancestral, which I didn't almost lose in the car on the way back to
cleveland at all.

At this point I was almost delirious, and thankfully Nick said he would handle
my prize splitting for me so I could meet up with the guys at the hotel, eat
some dinner and go to the hotel around 2am. I was apparently tired enough that I
decided I was friends with Smennen and showed him my deck and made pleasant
conversation. I also got good wishes from everybody, and probably felt the best
about 9th place that I could have, thanks for the kind words everybody,
especially JR who has felt the 9th place pain himself.

Thanks especially to Jerry for all the help with the deck, and generally being a
really accommodating guy the whole weekend, including Road Warrioring up and
driving both to and from Philly. 

Also, props to Nam on the top 8. It seems like we are starting a trend of top 8
for you top 16 for me, so if you want to game together again, just let me know.

It was great to see everyone and let's see if we can get a couple more guys in
the top 8/16 next year!

Hurray Team Serious the current 6th, 9th, and 16th best Vintage players in the