Emrakul is my backup plan

(Editor’s Note: I cast Black Lotus. I cast Elesh Norn.)

When’s the last time that you heard any of those previous statements in your game of Magic? If you are Mr. Joe Average Casual like me, then answer is “Never.” Until last night when I saw several Black Lotus plays and all three cards in at least one game. Intrigued? Let me explain.

The night started like any other. I watched Guardsmannbob, one of my favorite streamers until about 9:00 when he signed off for the night. There were no other enjoyable Hearthstone players, so I clicked on the only Magic stream that I currently follow. He, too, was in the process of signing off. As he did, though he mentioned the official Magic stream and something called the Vintage Super League.

With nothing else to watch because I was too lazy to move to the living room to watch Netflix, I followed his recommendation. Sure, I could have watched Netflix on my laptop, but I’m spoiled and only want to watch on the television. I know very little about Magic’s pro scene or the various formats, so I had no idea what to expect. Surprisingly, I recognized a couple of names of the players. That was the last recognizable thing on the stream. I saw decks that I never considered possible. They played cards and combos that existed only in my dreams until that point. Kai Budde, one of the names I knew got beat two in a row in very convincing fashion. The first match that I watched ended one game on turn 2 and the other on turn 3.

After that match, I got so excited that I went to Facebook to tell Chris about my discovery. He knew more about vintage than me. He asked about legality of cards and that sent me on a search. I learned that while there is a ban and restricted list, basically the whole of the history of Magic is available to the players to build a deck. That got me even more excited about the prospects of the stream. Suddenly, I started paying attention to the games instead of just having it on as background noise. Holy cow, did he just play a Black Lotus. What is that card in his hand? Emrakul? This is awesome.

Two players played a deck called Omnitell and the announcers kept talking about something called “Shops”. Shops did not interest me much, but I went on a search to find the Omnitell list and some strategy. I will most likely never be able to play the deck, but the blue control aspect spoke to me on a deep level. Then, I saw the full deck and it is right in my wheelhouse. The core deck has only one creature (the aforementioned Emrakul) and plenty of spells to make life miserable for the opponent.

I actually had a brainstorm while in the shower earlier (why is it always in the shower) that there might be a way that I’d get to play all of these cool vintage decks without having to drop tens of thousands of dollars on cardboard. I’m not entirely sure that it is exactly legal, but when has that ever stopped me? Because of the questionable legality, I’m not exactly going to advertise this method. However, I will verify that it worked and I put together an initial list that I found for the Omnitell deck. So far, I have only been able to test it against itself, but I hope to find some other decks to put together those lists and play around with them, too.

The stream had the added effect of renewing my interest in the game. I had been a bit lukewarm about magic since the release of Fate Reforged. I just wasn’t too impressed with a Fat Pack purchase that I made and put the cards away for a while. Watching this stream made me excited again about the prospects of Magic and I can’t wait to try some of the deck ideas that I’ve been considering. So, I say thanks to the Vintage Super League for my renewed interest and dedication to Magic and look forward to the next episode on Tuesday.

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