Eternal Questions, pt.1

The rumour broke over on mtgsalvation.com a while ago now: a new competitive format is coming, beginning with Mercadian Masques (most probably) and never rotating. A new eternal format, without the prohibitive costs of Type 1 / Vintage or the reprint policy issues and rapidly increasing prices of Type 1.5 / Legacy that have come with its recent surge in popularity (GP Madrid, for example, had… players in attendance). This new format, henceforth referred to as Type 1.M (though I have seen it referred to as OverExtended also) would certainly open up the possibility of new players getting into a relatively affordable eternal format and a place for all those Extended decks of old that perhaps weren’t good enough in a world of Lion’s Eye Diamondoriginal duals and Force of Will.

Some of the most important cards for the format will obviously include Rishadan Port, Mind’s Desire, the affinity mechanic as a whole, the ever present Tarmogoyf, and it will be very interesting to see if Gush is left unrestricted. May have to spend some time looking at this in more detail soon. However, as of PT Amsterdam last weekend, no such announcement has been made. Here we had the first foray into new Extended (or Double Standard, as some have dubbed it) which some saw as the first indication of the new format’s arrival – with so many cards and decks cut from the top tiers in one fell swoop, along with the changes to the reprint policy meaning that nothing on it will ever be reprinted in any circumstances re-igniting many players concerns about the accessibility of Legacy due to price. Given these circumstances, a new eternal format that was much cheaper and easier for players to get into, and one that might receive more official attention from Wizards, seems a very attractive and likely option. Just to reiterate, no such format has been announced – though I sincerely hope that it will be. Keep reading for the tournament report…

Going back to one of the aforementioned pricy eternal formats i.e. Legacy and more specifically my performance in Amsterdam. The event was only five rounds with no cut to top 8 or whatever, capped at 128 players. It ended up being 113, and I placed a disappointing 36th, just in the prizes but pretty pathetic ones at that.

Here’s the list I ended up with:
4 Dark Confidant
1 Lorescale Coatl
4 Nimble Mongoose
3 Tarmogoyf
2 Vendilion Clique
4 Brainstorm
4 Daze
2 Fire // Ice
4 Force of Will
2 Smother
4 Spell Pierce
4 Stifle
4 Ponder
1 Bayou
1 Forest
1 Island
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Polluted Delta
2 Tropical Island
1 Underground Sea
2 Volcanic Island
4 Wasteland

The random Lorescale Coatl was there simply because I couldn’t source my 4th ‘Goyf in time, though I didn’t have to borrow any cards thanks to some fairly last-minute purchases before flying out there. I knew I needed a relatively cheap beater in the slot, and it was a essentially a coin flip decision between the Coatl and Dr Teeth. A lot of people tested with the snake when it was first released, realising the potential power when combined with cards such as Brainstorm – which is excellent on it’s own without reading “target creature gets three +1/+1 counters” – to a mixture of both successful and underwhelming results. It was the best I had at the time though and does have one not entirely ignorable benefit* though when I went back to the tournament center on Sunday I bought a replacement**. As it happened, it may as well have been a Psychatog, another Tarmogoyf or pretty much anything, as I never saw it over five rounds, not even on a Ponder/Brainstorm and shuffle.

Round 1:
My opponent was playing a B/W deck that seemed to have come straight from Ravnica-era Standard, featuring as it did cards such as Cry of Contrition, Plagued Rusalka, Castigate, Pillory of the Sleepless and even the B/W bounce land. He was a nice guy called Dallas, but obviously new to Legacy as he was unfamiliar with fetchlands, Force of Will, etc. and the games were fairly lopsided because of the obvious power difference between them. I don’t remember too many details about the games, other than that he played the above cards and I by and large countered everything relevant whilst drawing cards with Bob and beating down with Tarmogoyf. I didn’t sideboard anything of relevance. We had a good chat about the format, cards we liked and general stuff after the match and it was a nice way to ease myself into the tournament, happy with an easy matchup.
Won 2-0 (1-0, 2-0)

Round 2:
I played against Matt who was from Nottingham area with U/G Vengevine Madness, and got resolutely smashed. I’ve never had a chance to test against this deck, but I knew it was very strong and very fast. So it went with our two games, as he had double Survival of the Fittest within his first draw or so both games (mise) and in Game 1 made multiple Vengevines on turn 4 to beat me for a hell of a lot of damage. Game 2 I managed to get an early Pithing Needle on Survival and managed to get in for some damage of my own whilst my opponent made a Trygon Predator. I played Tormod’s Crypt on my turn and popped it in response to the trigger, buying myself a turn to find a blocker in the air to stop his engine coming online, which I did in the form of Vendilion Clique, which then ate it pretty quickly. I did manage to Extirpate his Vengevines which seemed pretty good, but in approximately 9 drawsteps and any filtering I did, I didn’t see any of my five post-board wrath effects and so just got swarmed with creatures, whilst my stuff got Forced. I made some fairly bad misplays in this game (Stifle-ing the wrong trigger and making a chump block because I failed to remember an exalted trigger) and felt a bit more bummed about this round. It definitely showcased the power of the format. As a side note, Matt knew Graham from a while back and was also a pretty cool dude, gracious in his victory.
Lost 0-2 (1-1, 2-2)

As much as I hate to break up tournament reports, there’s a fair amount of stuff I want to talk about and this post is already over 1000 words long. Pt. 2 will follow soon.

* Lorescale Coatl is blue and thus can be pitched to Force. My inclination to particularly favour cards that fulfil this particular criterion in the past even led me to consider Slippery Bogle, a card that has surely never seen much play outside of Limited, over Nimble Mongoose in that it had two of the same benefits (shroud to your opponents, one drop green dude) but gained the power of being blue and could also be equipped with Umezawa’s Jitte. Overall, the threshold mechanic won out, but I honestly think there was some merit to my thought process.
** Phyrexian Dreadnought, as I was already running the Stifles and it gave me a cheap and quick threat that might take some opponents by surprise. However, none of the Legacy 8-4’s fired on Sunday whilst I was there, which kinda sucked.

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