Two years ago, for the first time in history, the Vintage World Championship
relocated to Philadelphia on a trial basis under the stewardship of celebrated
East Coast community pillar and Tournament Organizer Nick Coss whose reputation
for hosting the region's largest and most exciting events is unparalleled. The
2013 Vintage World Championship was smashing success, uniformly heralded as
spectacular throughout the community. At the Top Deck Games Vintage Winter Open
on December 29, 2013, Nick had some exciting news to share with the participants
in attendance. He had been asked to host the 2014 World Championship again in
Philadelphia based on its recent success. The crowd erupted upon hearing the
news and ten months later, it came as no surprise that Eternal Weekend 2014
matched its predecessor in prestige and surpassed it in attendance. Again, Nick
Coss and Card Titan earned the opportunity to oversee the Vintage and Legacy
World Championships for 2015 and worked tirelessly to bring us the best
experience possible. All entrants received gorgeous playmats featuring Deathrite
Shaman (Legacy) and Tolarian Academy (Vintage) and a binder with both images on
opposite sides. The event's location inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center
was enormous and incredibly well-suited to the unprecedented size of the event.
In the weeks leading up to the event, community members optimistically projected
an attendance rate somewhere between 350 and the low 400's. The tally of
registrants on the morning of the 2015 Vintage World Championship reached 483,
making it the largest in two decades. Before getting into the details of my
match-by-match account of the tournament, I want to thank Nick Coss for giving
us all the opportunity to compete in such amazing robust events and to
congratulate him on outperforming his already impressive successes in 2013 and
2014. We are extremeley fortunate to have such incredible organizers keeping the
format we love not only alive but undeniably healthy.

My gratitude extends to local organizers who inspire interest in larger events
by cultivating Vintage at the grassroots level-Calvin Hodges of Black Magic
Gaming, Shawn Griffiths at The Player's Guild, Nick Detwiler, Dan Bergquist at
Mythic Games, Keith Seals and Sally Demellier at 5D's, Comic Book Depot, Top
Deck Games, Xtreme Games, Knight Ware, Pandemonium, Myriad Games, Alternate
Universes, Eudemonia, Atomic Empire, and the countless other stores nationwise
whose communities have contributed to the format's renaissance.

Dragonlord Salvagers Oath, by Brian Kelly
1st Place, Vintage World Championship 2015
1st in Swiss
Artifacts : (13)
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring
1 Engineered Explosives
2 Sensei's Divining Top
2 Pyrite Spellbomb

Enchantments : (5)
4 Oath of Druids
1 Sylvan Library

Creatures : (3)
1 Dragonlord Dromoka
1 Auriok Salvagers
1 Griselbrand

Instants : (13)
3 Force of Will
2 Mental Misstep
2 Flusterstorm
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm
1 Repeal
1 Ancient Grudge
2 Dig Through Time

Planeswalkers : (4)
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Dack Fayden

Sorceries : (5)
3 Gitaxian Probe
1 Ponder
1 Time Walk

Lands : (17)
4 Forbidden Orchard
3 Mana Confluence
2 Polluted Delta
2 Flooded Strand
1 Tundra
1 Tropical Island
1 Volcanic Island
1 Island
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Tolarian Academy
	Sideboard : (15)
2 Nihil Spellbomb
3 Tormod's Crypt
1 Mental Misstep
2 Steel Sabotage
2 Nature's Claim
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Magus of the Moat
1 Sphinx of the Steel Wind
2 Sudden Shock

Dragonlord Salvagers Oath is a Bomberman variant whose composition is broadly
explained in an earlier article here at Black Magic Gaming:
-dragonlord-salvagers-oath/ Like Bomberman, it conceals many complex and
powerful interactions whose minute exposition exceeds the scope of the
tournament report here. If warranted, a more in-depth examination of Salvagers
Oath specifically might one day constitute a useful primer. But for our
purposes, it should suffice to approach the deck not simply as an Oath deck with
Auriok Salvagers but as a Bomberman deck with an Oath of Druids engine that also
functions as a metagame trump. It contains the entire "Trinket package" sans
Grafdigger's Cage (shocking), multiple planeswalkers, and a heavy control suite,
much of which, rather constituting a bland excess of raw counterspells, is
partially delegated to the planeswalkers themselves, the cards Oath of Druids,
Ancient Grudge, and Repeal, and the expanded Trinket package. As it is for all
hybrid strategies, proper role assignment is key to piloting this list and the
smoothest transitions will occur for players already familiar with Bomberman and
Vault-Key Control, but not necessarily orthodox Oath of Druids decks.

In contrast to the list I ran in July, for Champs I cut black entirely and added
two Dack Faydens to the maindeck and two Sudden Shocks to the sideboard. I also
added a Tormod's Crypt. While Yawgmoth's Will is as powerful a spell as ever, I
found it was bordering on win-more while doing little to help claw back into the
game from behind. It's not a pleasant card to see in an opening hand and borders
on dreadful in the Shop match. While Demonic Tutor is great, given the most
frequent card tutored for was a 4x (Oath of Druids), it made more sense to
simply use a filterer like Dack Fayden in addition to existing search tools
(Sensei's Divining Top + shuffle effect, Dig Through Time) to acquire it rather
than stretching the mana base squarely into five colors for a card that, as good
as it often is, can unfortunately also be a game-swinging tempo loss. If the
card were red or blue, I would still include it but with all other black spells
cut, it made more sense to cut Underground Sea entirely, add Volcanic Island,
and make a clean break from the darkness.

Although Dragonlord Salvagers Oath was not cold to Containment Priest in an
absolute sense, despite running numerous tools to control for it, I found I
still wanted more insurance against this meanspirited nuisance hatebear and its
obnoxious co-conspirator Monastery Mentor so I put two Sudden Shocks in the
sideboard, a decision that paid off well, allowing Oathers to recoup some of the
metagame ground lost when the Gush archetype splintered into multiple variants,
one of which (UWR) was consistently able to pull ahead in what was an otherwise
favorable match-up.

Below is an account of the matches that occurred on the day of the event. I did
not take notes so it is recalled entirely from memory. If have made an
oversight, please feel free to contact me here at Black Magic Gaming, The Mana
Drain (brianpk80), or on Facebook (Brian Kelly).

Tournament Report, Final Record 12-1-0

Round 1: Tian Yuan on Dredge, Win 2-1

Tian had come to Eternal Weekend primarily for the Legacy Event and was new to
Vintage. Our day began with a random deck check during which we had a pleasant
interaction with some banter. Our lists were returned without incident and we
received a time extension. While resolving mulligans, I joked that he must have
been on Dredge. Sure enough, he led with Bazaar of Baghdad. Game 1 went on for a
very long time because I resolved an early Oath of Druids without an Orchard and
he had burned quickly through two Cabal Therapies, requiring him to demur on
Bloodghast and Narcomoeba triggers until he could administer lethal damage via
Dread Return through two counterspells with only 2 Therapies left in one turn.
With six cards left in his library, he assembled the necessary army of Zombies.

In game 2, I drew sufficient Dredge hate and soft-locked him with Magus of the
Moat before formally winning. Because other matches were going to time, a judge
nearby sat next to us for monitoring purposes and we informed him we had an
extension. Still, he watched and gave my opponent a verbal warning for missing a
trigger on an Undiscovered Paradise. I asked that the warning be rescinded and
if not I wanted to go on record that the mistake was a harmless oversight. He
said it was my decision whether the Paradise would remain in play or return to
Tian's hand and I said, "whichever he wants."

Since game 1 had gone on so long it quickly went to turns. I asked before the
game if he would agree that either one of us would concede to the other if it
was clear one had an overwhelming advantage if the game ended at Turn 5 with no
victor and he agreed. I had Tormod's Crypt, Mox, Nihil Spellbomb and Tolarian
Academy into Turn 2 Jace and quickly took over the game but had not yet found a
formal win condition when the clock ran out. Tian honored our earlier agreement.

Round 2: Martello Shops, Win 2-0

This was the first of three consecutive Workshop matches. I did not know what my
opponent was playing and won the die roll. My hand was extremely strong though
somewhat-controllable byMental Misstep or Force of Will. I was thrilled to see
non-interactive Workshop cards with Gitaxian Probe and played Ancestral Recall
into Time Walk, landing a Jace on the following turn. Jace was followed by Dack
Fayden. When the planeswalker duo drew into Dragonlord Dromoka I made a decision
to hardcast and masquerade as one of the newer "Dragonlord/Planeswalker Moat
Control" decks and simply beat down from the skies, keeping Forbidden Orchards
in hand that, from a purely technical standpoint, would have been otherwise
discarded to Dack's +1.

The gambit paid off because I won the match by playing, to my opponent's
surprise, Oath of Druids after he played a situationally non-disruptive Chalice.
Additionally, because I knew not to anticipate Grafdigger's Cage, I was able to
board out my Mental Missteps.

Round 3: Will Dayton on Terra Nova, Win 2-1

I believe I mulliganed to six in Game 1 and lost a downhill battle. In Game 2, I
Oathed up a parade of horrors, none of which any Shop pilot would be happy to
see, while multiple Ancient Grudges went flying into the yard on cue.
Griselbrand died to a Tabernacle trigger but it made no difference. Explosions
cleared the Spheres the Bomberman threw his fire. Game 3 was close to running
out of time. In light of that, Will quickly deployed 2 Lodestone Golems into an
Oath of Druids who were no match for the Sphinx and Auriok Salvagers, as the
combo is completely unaffected by Golem's tax on non-artifacts.

Round 4: Micah Greenbaum on Hangarback Workshops, Win 2-1

Micah was my first match in my first Vintage World Championship two years ago in
2013. I had only very recently returned to paper Vintage at that point and had
no expectation of success. I played a list called "Tinkerfish," a mostly powered
Cavern of Souls Humans deck with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Dark Confidant,
Stoneforge Mystic, Wastelands, Phyrexian Revokers, Tinker into Myr Battlesphere
and the Time Vault/Voltaic Key combo. I ended that day with a positive win
record though nowhere near the Top 8, which was okay since my goals that day
were simply to play well and make my first acquaintance with the World
Championship event experience. During our match that day, Micah was running Oath
of Druids and performed quite well with it.

This year, the tables had turned though one constant remained, the player
running 4 copies of the eponymous green enchantment prevailed. Games 1 and 2
were straightforward showcases of both Oath and Workshop each doing what they do
best, one putting a litany of dangerous creatures into play on upkeep and the
other preventing its opponent from casting meaningful spells. As he'd won the
die roll, he was on the play for Game 3 and led with the dreaded Trinisphere. My
hand had a fetchland, an Island, a Forbidden Orchard, Ancient Grudge, 2 Moxen,
and Oath of Druids. I played the fetchland and Island as my first land drops and
he played a blind Phyrexian Revoker naming Black Lotus. He did not have a Strip
Mine or Tangle Wire so I was able to hit my third land drop and had to choose
between Ancient Grudging the Trinisphere and putting two Moxen on the table or
simply playing Oath of Druids. I chose Oath of Druids and the monsters appeared
in savage succession.

Round 5: Brad Granberry on Dredge, Loss 1-2

In Game 1, I was super-Dredged and did not have early access to Oath of Druids
which can steal the first game in this match-up surprisingly often. I conceded
promptly. Game 2 showed me a single hate piece which was enough to stave off the
Zombie assault until assembling a fast win. In Game 3, my opening hand on the
draw was Tormod's Crypt, Mox Jet, Tormod's Crypt, Forbidden Orchard, Tolarian
Academy, Force of Will, Griselbrand. I kept. My first draw was a Mox so I
deployed the Crypt, Spellbomb and both Moxen with Academy leaving up hardcast
Force of Will. My next draw was Forbidden Orchard. It was clear my first plan of
action was to find another rainbow land and hardcast Griselbrand in the
temporary window of solace my Tormod's Crypts would afford me. He was Sculpting
his hand with Bazaar. I Gitaxian Probed him and saw Nature's Claim and Wispmare,
definite hedges against Oath of Druids. When he hardcast Cabal Therapy, I tapped
my Academy and Mox and Forced it since I did not want him to know what was
forthcoming for future Therapies or to simply lose the Force due to it being the
named card. My next draw was Mana Crypt. In the week leading up to the event, I
was deliberating between Mana Crypt and Lotus Petal in the final accelerant
slot. In the earlier stages of the deck which had more copies of Auriok
Salvagers and a greater emphasis on executing that combo rapidly, Mana Crypt was
a no-brainer. But with less maindeck that capitalizes on Mana Crypt and an
ever-growing tally of games lost to its random upkeep violence, Lotus Petal's
appeal was waxing seductively. Drawing a useless Mana Crypt at that moment where
Lotus Petal would have enabled a hardcast Griselbrand into the win hammered the
point home with clarion unambiguity. Instead, my Tormod's Crypts were disposed
and I drew into air for three consecutive turns, finding the last black mana
only after the demon had been Therapied away. I watched powerlessly as Dredge
did its thing.

Round 6: Greg Mitchell on Esper Bombermentor, Win 2-0

Greg said at the beginning of our match that my name sounded familiar to him and
asked if I had ever designed a deck called Humanstorm. Almost two years ago, I
had, and it was actually the earliest origin of the deck I was piloting today.
He said he enjoyed that deck a lot which I was happy to hear. I mulled to 6 game
1 and he played a quick Monastery Mentor, upon which I placed an Oath of Druids,
and on his turn he slammed Black Lotus into Demonic Tutor for Time Walk. On his
Walk turn, his Preordain failed to chain into another business spell so he dealt
only approximately 14 damage before Griselbrand and Dragonlord Dromoka
combat-stalemated the Monks and then Auriok arrived for the win.

In Game 2, I boarded in Sudden Shocks anticipating Containment Priests. I was
indifferent to his Gradfigger's Cage. Pyrite Spellbomb and Sudden Shock
controlled the Priests he did resolve from chipping away at my life total and my
list's Bomberman components took over my strategy and soon the game. Dack Fayden
arrived and stole his Mox Sapphire. Dack's filtering put me in a strong enough
position to resolve and protect Auriok Salvagers and win without ever activating
Oath of Druids.

We quickly filed our decks away so that I could grab a water and run to the
restroom before the next round. Apparently we were both too hasty as it neither
of us noticed that the Sapphire Dack stole was packed up by mistake with my
things. Fortunately, Greg found me in time before the round started to reclaim
the inadvertent spoils of the greatest thief in the multiverse. Since I started
playing Dack Fayden, I've had a few close calls of almost forgetting to return
artifacts and a few on the other side of almost forgetting an opponent had taken
mine(*editor's note: this would have been the end of our hero's journey had the
altered sapphire been lost. :-))*. It's definitely something to be more
conscious of going forward, especially given the planeswalker's 50% saturation
rate in this year's Top 8.

Round 7: Richard Mattiuzzo on UR Landstill, Win 2-1

Richard's deck was encased in Toploaders. I found that awesome. He introduced
himself and mentioned his username on The Mana Drain was ShockWave, which I
instantly recognized. I'd always respected his writing and remember agreeing
with him on numerous occasions. I won the die roll but did not know what he
would be playing. Gitaxian Probe revealed Lightning Bolt, Faerie Conclave, a
temporarily offline counterspell (Flusterstorm or Spell Pierce), two Null Rods,
and a land. This indicated the coast was clear for me to fire off Ancestral
Recall on his upkeep. His first draw was Library of Alexandria so I knew we had
a real game on our hands. Any card advantage profit otherwise gained from
resolving Recall was lost when I had to double-Force his first Null Rod through
his own Force of Will he'd drawn and then Force of Will his second. The reason
Null Rod was so dangerous at that point was because I had not drawn into an
abundance of land and was relying heavily on my artifacts to function and
Sensei's Divining Top to filter. I also wanted six mana to hardcast Dragonlord
Dromoka, which I did after the Null Rod battles concluded. This Dragon is very
powerful against UR Landstill as it is difficult to remove without Swords to
Plowshares and Abolisher effects are phantasmagorically oppressive to decks
running that many counterspells. He played a Crucible of Worlds. I swung in
twice with the Dragon and hardcast Auriok Salvagers. He found a third Null Rod
to prevent Salvagers from getting out of control. I suspected he was hoping to
find Jace and bounce the Dragon whose re-deployment would be delayed by that
third Null Rod. He attacked with his Factories and Spirit tokens and on my next
turn I hit him for lethal with the Salvagers and Dragonlord.

In Game 2, Richard had a turn 1 Sapphire that quickly powered out a Jace and he
Strip Mined my Island and Wastelanded my Mana Confluence. My Ancestral Recall
did not resolve. With no mana source on the table, I conceded.

In Game 3, I played an Oath of Druids off of a Mana Confluence and Mox on turn 2
as bait for something else (either Jace or a fast Dig Through Time) expecting it
to be countered. It was not countered so I put Forbidden Orchard into play and
passed the turn. I think the first thing I Oathed up was Griselbrand and I had
access to multiple Ancient Grudges for his Null Rods so winning from that point
was academic.

Round 8: Chris Pankiewicz on Grixis Landstill, Win 2-0

The sauce in this list was Bitterblossom. Unfortunately for Chris, most decks
running 4 Forbidden Orchards are undeterred by the black tribal enchantment.
That said, his deck was otherwise so competent I did not even realize it was in
the budget category until he pointed out that fact after the match. He said
Bitterblossom had been great for him all day and that the only deck he in the
room he was dreading was mine. He didn't specify whether he meant my list
specifically or Oath of Druids in general. The results substantiated his prior
cause for concern because Dragonlord Dromoka entered the battlefield in Game 1
and then a series of other monsters made their cameos in Game 2. I did not board
in Magus of the Moat which is sometimes very reasonable against Landstill
because... well... Faerie Rogue tokens.

Round 9: Brian Pallas on Steel City Mentor/Vault, Win 2-0

At every event except one, whenever I've seen Brian he's been on Workshops. I
also knew that he was on Tezzeret for the NYSE and had performed reasonably well
there. I won the die roll and decided it was best to anticipate Workshops since
erring on the other side would be more catastrophic. I mulliganed a servicable 7
that contained Mental Misstep and Flusterstorm into a 6 with two lands, a Mox,
Ancient Grudge, Flusterstorm, and Brainstorm. He led with Seat of the Synod ("uh
oh"), several accelerants, including Black Lotus and played Thoughtcast. I
Flusterstormed it. When he sacrificed his Lotus to pay for the Storm count of a
then unprofitable Thoughtcast, I immediately suspected he must have had some way
of recouping it (Yawgmoth's Will, for instance) or just desperately needed
business spells. He played Voltaic Key and passed back the turn. On his next
turn, he resolved Yawgmoth's Will with only Thoughtcast in the graveyard as a
business spell and it resolved. The first spell he played after that was a Mox
from hand, to which I responded by Ancient Grudging his Voltaic Key so that it
would be exiled. He Thoughtcasted and ended with a Monastery Mentor. I played
Jace, bounced the Mentor, and played Oath of Druids. On is turn, he replayed the
Mentor and then played a second Monastery Mentor. I won the game via Oath of
Druids shortly thereafter.

The critical play in Game 2 followed an early Gitaxian Probe. His hand was Force
of Will, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Mana Crypt and Tezzeret the Seeker. He had 3
mana on the table, at least two of which was blue. I played an Oath with an
Orchard and he Forced it pitching Jace. I Forced back. On his turn, he played
Tezzeret and used the -2 ability to seek out Time Vault. My next turn was
sadistic. I Oathed up Griselbrand, putting an Ancient Grudge into the graveyard
for his Vault and then drew Sudden Shock for the turn to destroy Tezzeret.

Round 10: Will Magrann on Martello Shops, Win 2-0

Will is a remarkably tight player, trained at the highest levels in the dark
arts of Shop, with a slew of recent very high profile wins. I predict that
within the next five years, he will one day represent us all as Vintage World
Champion. He was one mere die roll and a Forbidden Orchard away from potentially
doing just that in 2015. Our Game 2 was broadcast but prior to that the
following occurrences transpired. I won the die roll and with great enthusiasm
announced to the small crowd gathered around in jest, "Yes! I just won the
match!" The crowd laughed as the importance of being on the play in the Workshop
match is universally understood among Vintage aficionados. I scanned my opening
hand one by one, "Dig through Time, Force of Will, Mox Sapphire, Oath of Druids,
Mental Misstep... [ugh this looks like a mulligan], Force of Will [I can't keep
a no-lander!]," ...and then there it was. Forbidden Orchard. "Keep." I opened
with the coveted Orchard, Mox, Oath opening that occurs far less in practice
than its victims might imagine. In fact, I think this was my only
Orchard-Mox-Oath-Go play of the day. In succession, I Forced his first lock
piece and also his first Forgemaster. Dragonlord Dromoka was the first arrival.
He had Revokers in play naming Mox Sapphire and Griselbrand. He played a second
Forgemaster. Ancient Grudge was Oathed into the graveyard. Griselbrand appeared.
I played a Polluted Delta signaling that flashback Ancient Grudge was online.
Rather than Forging away his board into a target that was dead on arrival,
enabling me to draw at least 7 cards in the process, versus Dromoka,
Griselbrand, Oath of Druids and un-Sphered Auriok on his way, we went to Game 2.
We moved to the filming area for the remainder of the match to be streamed. He
led with a Thorn of Amethyst and passed the turn. I played Forbidden Orchard,
Black Lotus, Oath of Druids. Magus of the Moat and his other Shop-hating
compatriots arrived next and the match was sealed. I ended the Swiss with a
9-1-0 record as the #1 seed.

Quarterfinals: Ryan Eberhart on URw Delver, Win 2-0

Ryan is a friend and a phenomenally bright player and deck designer. He managed
to Top 8 the two largest Vintage Championships in modern history back-to-back in
2014 and 2015 which is no small feat. While our matches are often lopsided
blowouts, as this too would be, I know my record against him far more reflects a
disparity in our decks' metagame positioning vis-a-vis each other rather than
any discrepancy in play skill. Our best match in fact was in the semifinals at
The Player's Guild in February of this year when he played UWR Mentor and I was
on Grixis Gush with Tasigur. I chose the play and kept a hand with Force of
Will, mana, Engineered Explosives, and Ponder. He mulliganed to 5. My Ponder
found Oath of Druids and a Dack Fayden to pitch to Force of Will to protect it.
I Oathed up Griselbrand and hardcast Dragonlord Dromoka after drawing 7 cards.

Game 2 was almost as unfair. I "Kohlered" him Turn 1 with Force back-up, the
monicker referring to Bomberman Superpilot Justin Kohler's notorious frequency
of playing first turn Jace, the Mind Sculptor, a natural byproduct of running as
many as four copies for much of his UW deck's tenure. (I've also seen him play
first turn Magus of the Future off Cavern of Souls more than once.) Ryan saw my
hand with a Probe but didn't have the tools offhand to stop Jace's arrival. An
early return Probe on him revealed Containment Priest and Swords to Plowshares.
On Ryan's third turn, he Gushed a Tundra and Volcanic, played a cantrip,
replayed a dual land and summoned a Young Pyromancer to begin pressuring Jace.
In that brief window, I cast Time Walk with 3 cards remaining in hand. "I know
you don't like Force of Will so there's a good chance you shuffled it back with
Jace." He Forced my Time Walk. I Forced back, pitching Mental Misstep. The last
card in my hand was Oath of Druids.

Semifinals: Paul Mastriano on Hangarback Workshops, Win 2-1

I chose to be on the play. My opening hand contained a Mox, Brainstorm, and
ample Lands, ending the turn with Sensei's Divining Top in play. The Brainstorm
was not particularly exciting and the cards on top of my library afterwards were
two lands and a Flusterstorm. After he played a Thorn of Amethyst, I resolved
Sylvan Library and paid 4 life to filter more deeply. There were many
undesirable cards polluting the uppermost portion of my library, which was
unfortunate since I don't maindeck an exorbitant amount of dead cards in the
Shop match (0 Pyroblast, 0 Misdirection, only 2 Mental Misstep and 2
Flusterstorm). Sylvan Library is often one of the best cards on the play v.
Workshop and I regret its brief moment in the spotlight did it no justice.
Sometimes the best cards fall flat, Ancestrals into nothing, fizzled Mind's
Desires, bum Timetwisters, and such is Vintage. When Paul played Tangle Wire, I
extended my hand.

In Game 2, I destroyed his first turn Lodestone Golem with Nature's Claim and
was relieved when he played Sphere of Resistance, Sphere of Resistance,
Phyrexian Metamorph copying Sphere of Resistance in a game state where I had an
active Sensei's Divining Top, multiple mana sources in play, and no less than
four lands in hand. As soon as I reached five mana, I played Oath of Druids with
a Forbidden Orchard I'd been sandbagging. I Oathed up Magus of the Moat which is
wonderful at significantly reducing the amount of legitimate threats in an
opposing Shop list to less than a handful as well as hedging against demise by
Spirit tokens. Magus dramatically narrows the focus of what needs to be
prevented to not lose. Sphinx of the Steel Wind spearheaded the next float in
the Oath parade, putting an Ancient Grudge in the graveyard along the way. I was
not worried about Paul copying it, since an even trade does nothing but force
him to waste time and an important card netting us both 6 life. I did not
however want him to have a mammoth-sized Sphinx so I flashbacked Ancient Grudge
when he put Metamorph on the stack. Before Oathing next, I played Dig Though
Time to ensure I would not accidentally self-mill. I saw Black Lotus and
Griselbrand in the Top 7 and elected to move the Demon to fifth from the bottom,
squarely committing to Oathing up Auriok Salvagers, retrieving the Engineered
Explosives already in the graveyard to blow up the three Spheres and combo out
for the win. That is exactly what transpired.

Paul led Game 3 with a Strip Mine, a Grafdigger's Cage, which I Mental
Misstepped, and Mana Crypt into Thorn of Amethest which I Forced, pitching
Brainstorm. My hand had been Forbidden Orchard, Black Lotus, Mental Misstep,
Force of Will, Dack Fayden, Ancient Grudge, Brainstorm. My first draw was Mox
Pearl. I played the Pearl, Lotus, and Orchard, and tapped them all, usig the
Lotus for Blue and played Dack Fayden. I used his +1 on myself and saw Nature's
Claim and Time Walk. I discarded the anti-artifact cards and played Time Walk.
On my Time Walk turn I debated between stealing the Mana Crypt and destroying
it, but with him having Strip Mine and an Orchard token already in play, I did
not want to die to Spirit beats and volatile upkeep abuse at the hands of a Mana
Crypt I didn't particularly need. I destroyed it with a flashbacked Ancient
Grudge, keeping the fetchland for Tropical Island after using Dack again,
incidentally discarding Griselbrand without hesitation. Paul Strip Mined my
Tropical and I played Sensei's Divining Top. I hit a patch of cards I very much
wanted to resolve with UU in their casting cost, Dig through Time and Jace. I
also stumbled upon Sphinx of the Steel Wind which I neither wanted to draw nor
to discard, as that would undermine the potency of resolving Oath of Druids and
leave me with only Bomberman and Jace Ultimate as actual win conditions. I
played a Sol Ring and as soon as I found a Mana Confluence, I played Jace,
fatesealing Paul and seeing Mox Jet while he was evidently bottlenecked on mana.
He was surprised I let him keep it but I did that for several reasons, including
the fact that I would rather him play that than draw Ancient Tomb or Mishra's
Workshop and my intent was to steal the Jet with Dack Fayden (who was at 6
loyalty) and Force of Will anything annoying it was used to resolve. I stole the
Jet and bounced his Spirit token with Jace. He neglected my planeswalkers and
attacked me with Mishra's Factory. The next turn, he played another Factory and
used it to animate the one in play. When it attacked me, I Steel Sabotaged it
which not only prevented combat damage for the turn but also set him back a land
drop. On the next turn, I finally hardcast Sphinx of the Steel Wind with Force
of Will back up. Afterwards, Paul played Tolarian Academy and Sphere of
Resistance. I began stealing his artifacts to limit the Academy's output. He
attacked into my Sphinx planning to Dismember it but he did not have enough mana
to do so and I had an Ancient Grudge for the Factory. After attacking him down
to 8 life, I did some library manipulation at the end of his turn and located
Pyrite Spellbomb. I attacked him with the Sphinx down to 2, played Pyrite
Spellbomb off of a Sol Ring, and sacrificed it for 2 damage and the win.

Finals: Robert Greene on Grixis Thieves, Win 2-0

I kept a no-lander with a Mox, Sensei's Divining Top, Gitaxian Probe, Ancestral
Recall, Flusterstorm, Dig through Time, and Force of Will. It was a gambit but I
was confident my deck would deliver the good in terms of land because I play so
many of them, would see 4 cards minimum, and it had good protection for a
prospective turn 3-4 breakout play. Probe revealed a hand including Force,
Flusterstorm, Mana Drain, Jace, and 1 Mox. He played Time Walk finding a second
Mox and landed a Jace. I did not Force because I knew he had his own and thought
it would be preferable for me to save mine for a latter battle over something
like an Oath of Druids. He fatesealed himself and passed the turn. I spun the
Top on my upkeep and found Tolarian Academy. I Ancestral Recalled myself with
Flusterstorm online but he neglected to Force it, so I followed that up with
Ponder, which saw another Force of Will and Library of Alexandria. I put Force
in hand and Library on Top. On his turn, he cast Ponder and fatesealed himself
again. This line of play was considered very controversial afterwards, and from
my perspective I was thinking he may have tested a lot against orthodox Oath of
Druids lists which typically maindeck only Abrupt Decay as spot removal. I can
appreciate how quickly ramping up Jace might be a very clever victory strategy
in that context. On my next turn I played Library of Alexandria with 7 cards in
hand and passed. He played Demonic Tutor and fatesaled again. I played Dack
Fayden and Flusterstormed his Mana Drain. He attempted to play Snapcaster Mage
(presumably targeting Time Walk) on his next turn and I Force of Willed it
pitching Dig through Time and then Force of Willed it again pitching another Dig
through Time taking me off of Library of Alexandria. I was not worried about
losing to Jace's ultimate at that point because my Sensei's Top was overloaded
with tools to control for that; I was in fact more concerned that he would begin
Brainstorming and recouping much of the ground I'd gained in the attrition war.
I resolved a Pyrite Spellbomb and played Oath of Druids. He fatesealed himself
again, ticking Jace up to 13. On my next turn, I dealt two damage to Jace via
plaeswalker-redirection with the Pyrite Spellbomb and played Forbidden Orchard.
He moved his Jace back up to 13. I Oathed up Griselbrand, drew 7 cards, and
played Time Walk. I Flusterstormed his Force of Will. I then Repealed his Jace
with 13 counters, prompting concession.

In Game 2, he mulled to 6 that included Mox Sapphire and Notion Thief. I played
an early Pyrite Spellbomb and refrained from sacrificing it to deter Notion
stealing. After developing my mana base, I had Dig Through Time and Flusterstorm
in hand and wanted to grind him down and win a major counterbattle on his turn.
I played and Oath of Druids and allowed it to be Force of Willed, Notion Thief
pitched. There was a minor oversight in the official recap of the match that
described the play as an "unprotected Oath" but I did in fact have Flusterstorm
and refrained from using it. That particular Oath was intended to grind away at
my opponent's defenses. In the early-mid game, I played what seemed to be a
harmless Ancient Grudge on his Mox Sapphire, which he also Force of Willed. He
Flusterstormed the flash-back as well. On my next turn, I Probed him and his
only card in hand was Yawgmoth's Will. I played Dig Through Time looking for a
counterspell and instead found the Auriok Salvagers combo. Pyrite Spellbomb,
unused since the beginning, was still in play. I generated an arbitrarily large
amount of mana without a single micro-click and dealt Robert a correspondingly
arbitrary amount of damage for the win.

Thus concluded a 13 hour marathon to the finish line. I was ushered away into a
post-game interview and series of photographs that refelcted a mix of adrenaline
and exhaustion. The feeling was surreal. It cemented the fact that returning to
Vintage after a 15 year hiatus was one of the best decisions I'd made. Many
different people contributed to that moment, either through writing,
playtesting, organizing, friendship, or support and I'd like to acknowledge them
here, in no particular order: David Bauman, Justin Kohler, Matt Murray, Calvin
Hodges, Shawn Griffiths, Nick Coss, Nick Detwiler, Kadir Nohut, Thomas Dixon,
Keith Seals, Rob Edwards, Vasu Balakrishnan, Hrishikesh Sidhartha, JD Nir, Rich
Shay, Lance Ballester, David Kaplan, Noah Smith, Dan Bergquist, Greg Fenton,
Cory Redmond, Corey Vangel, Josh Potucek, Logan Little, Stephen Menendian,
Jørgen Gjærum, Niels Thiim, James Saltsman, Danny Batterman, Samantha Reichert,
Matthew Gottshall, Samuel Alaimo, Brian Higgins, Michael Lynch, Allan Tran,
Joshua Brooks, Joel Lim, AJ Grasso, Benjamin Marleau Donais, Michael P. Kelly,
Katie Kelly, Brian W. Kelly, Patricia Kelly, Marla Hunter, Malinda Hunter,
Melissa Sabol, Benny, Buddy, and Milton.

I look forward to seeing everyone at upcoming events later this year and next,
including Eternal Extravaganza 3 this fall. Thank you for reading and for being
the best community Magic has to offer. Sincerely,

-Brian P. Kelly