Vegas was amazing.

I’m sure you’ve heard that enough already from the 10,000+ people that made it out to Nevada, but I have to reiterate the point.  Everyone I got the chance to meet was awesome and I can’t wait to see what Wizards and tournament organizers like Cascade Games have in store for us in the future.

While I signed up for the main event on Saturday, dropping early after winning the Tarmagoyf lottery, the event I was most excited about was Friday’s debut of Vintage Artist Constructed.

Having created and publicized the format just a few weeks before everyone was set to fly out, I was intensely anxious to see how many people would be able to get decks together and tested in time.

After hyping the event as much as I could ahead of the GP (Special thanks to the Heavy Meta crew for spreading the word, @raginggumby, @kevymetall, @theproxyguy you’re the best), I was more than pleased to find 19 eager souls willing to dive into the new format.

Thankfully, I was able to work with Cascade Games to secure a spot in the convention center and they were extremely generous, finding a private room just for us. 

Sure, it would have been great to get the random “What are you all playing?” questions from passers by on the main floor, but the seclusion provided a serene oasis of calm in the insane flurry of cardboard that was GP Vegas.  Major props to Cascade for hooking us up with the room.

In addition to providing a place to run the event, I was also able to secure some legit judge staff to run the tournament.  I’ve played Magic for over 20 years now but would be entirely clueless were I to be given such a task.  Thanks to our judge, Lloyd Dodson, for running a smooth set of matches.  Everyone had a great time at the event and much of that was due to your efforts.

As the 19 daring players battled with their chosen illustrative champions, a wild Marshall Sutcliffe (@Marshall_LR) appeared.

Yep, that’s me in the first half of the interview.

Sorry for flubbing one of the questions, I got a bit ahead of myself in my attempt to explain the (brief) history of the format.  Marshall was a consummate professional and took it in stride.  Overall, I think the spot went over well and Mike did an awesome job with his deck tech.  If the idea of Artist Sealed intrigues you, make sure to check out Mike Linnemann’s (@VorthosMike) article on Gathering Magic.

The Main Event

The general consensus before anyone even sat down to play was that Christopher Moeller’s Red deck featuring Umezawa’s Jitte was the deck to beat. One of the players was even a bit miffed that I had revealed their “secret tech” in my Decks to Beat article, but I knew their secret would be revealed quickly to anyone that did even a cursory search.

While before the event I had a few concerns that this would be a battle between Mark Tedin’s Cash Cow Mono Blue Deck and Chris Moeller Burn decks, the field turned out to be quite varied.

Here was the breakdown by artist:

  • 3 Greg Staples
  • 2 Christopher Moeller
  • 2 Karl Kopinski
  • 2 Mark Tedin
  • 2 Steve Belledin
  • 2 Wayne Reynolds
  • 1 Anson Maddocks
  • 1 Chippy
  • 1 Kev Walker
  • 1 Martina Pilcerova
  • 1 Randy Gallegos
  • 1 Terese Nielsen

Far from the 2 deck wasteland I initially feared, the format turned out to be a font of creative deck building and innovation.  From Control to Combo (yes, Deathrender + Creature into Hornet Queen can be classified as a combo) we had excellent variation, abundant fun, and close games.

The highlight of the entire tournament came from the Anson Maddocks player.  I had initially complimented him on his busted Serendib Efreet + Shield of the Ages combo but I had no idea of the true power of his deck.

The play went something like this: .


[card]Island[/card]s in play.  Play
[card]High Tide[/card]. Tap 4 Islands to play
[card]Denizen of the Deep[/card].  Cast
[card]Flight[/card] on the Serpent monstrosity.  Swing in twice for the win.  There was no salt to be found in the room after that, only the pure enjoyment of being beaten by absurdity.

After 5 rounds of Swiss, there was a cut to a single elimination Top 8.

All three Greg Staples decks made it to the quarter finals (

[card]Baneslayer Angel[/card], I’m watching you) along with Terese Nielsen, one of the Wayne Reynolds (piloted by @VorthosMike), Kev Walker, a Steve Belledin (@nathanjweber) and a Chris Moeller deck.

Having all three Greg Staples decks make Top 8 is interesting, though it’s not surprising as Baneslayer Angel is a brick wall of death in creature combat.  There were some murmurs about banning Greg’s deck for the next event, but I think one data point is far too few to justify such a hasty decision.  Time will tell if changes will need to be made to balance the format.

The eventual winner was Dave Lee (@derfington) playing a solid Greg Staples build.


Derf with his Angelic Champion!

You can check out his Tournament Report here.

Everyone was kind enough to write down their decklists prior to the event, so now you can see their secret tech and prepare for future events.

Show All 19 Decklists

[deck title=Brenda Smith (Steve Belledin)] [Creatures] 4 Nightveil Specter
4 Parasitic Strix
4 Puppet Conjurer
3 Silumgar, the Drifting Death
3 Dragonlord Silumgar[/Creatures] [Spells] 4 Duress
3 Surgical Extraction
4 Unmake
3 Temporal Extortion
3 River’s Grasp[/Spells] [Lands] 16 Swamp
4 Island
1 Exotic Orchard
4 Evolving Wilds[/Lands] [Sideboard] 4 Deathmark
3 Wash Out
1 Idle Thoughts
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Reap Intellect
2 Bonds of Quicksilver
3 Grim Roustabout[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Byron Miller (Kev Walker)] [Creatures] 4 Dragonspeaker Shaman
4 Bladewing Thrall
4 Pack Rat
4 Rakdos Pit Dragon
2 Inferno Titan
2 Bladewing, the Risen
1 Mirri the Cursed[/Creatures] [Spells] 2 Devour Flesh
2 Damnation
2 Draconic Roar
2 Undying Evil
2 Void
2 Chandra Nalaar
2 Slaughter Pact[/Spells] [Lands] 1 Volrath’s Stronghold
12 Mountain
12 Swamp[/Lands] [Sideboard] 2 Juggernaut
1 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Aether Snap
2 Eastern Paladin
2 Geralf’s Messenger
2 Draconic Roar
1 Undying Evil
1 Inferno Titan
2 Hellhole Rats[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Davis Gibson (Wayne Reynolds)] [Creatures] 4 Facevaulter
4 Goblin Arsonist
4 Stingscourger
3 Arms Dealer
2 Goblin Sharpshooter
4 Mad Auntie
4 Warren Pilferers[/Creatures] [Spells] 4 Terminate
4 Dreadbore
2 Brute Force
1 Kindled Fury[/Spells] [Lands] 4 Auntie’s Hovel
11 Mountain
9 Swamp[/Lands] [Sideboard] 2 Mountain
1 Brute Force
1 Stingscourger
1 Kindled Fury
1 Throttle
1 Cunning Sparkmage
1 Arms Dealer
3 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Thunder Strike
2 Raiders’ Spoils[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Derfington (Greg Staples)] [Creatures] 4 Sigiled Paladin
4 Leonin Relic-Warder
4 Blade Splicer
4 Solemn Simulacrum
4 Baneslayer Angel[/Creatures] [Spells] 3 Punishing Fire
3 Mugging
2 Marital Coup
1 Demonfire
2 Parallax Wave
2 Radiant’s Judgment
3 Warleader’s Helix[/Spells] [Lands] 14 Plains
7 Mountain
3 Mirrodin’s Core[/Lands] [Sideboard] 1 Divine Reckoning
1 Arrest
3 Opal-Eye, Konda’s Yojimbo
2 Echoing Calm
2 Stone Rain
2 Sunhome Enforcer
2 Keldon Vandals
1 Captain of the Watch
1 Warleader’s Helix[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Flagstaff MC (Mark Tedin)] [Creatures] 4 Goblin Bushwhacker
1 Keldon Champion[/Creatures] [Spells] 3 Nevinyrral’s Disk
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Vault
4 Lava Spike
4 Scorching Lava
4 Fireball
4 Mind Bomb
2 Aether Storm
2 Second Chance
3 Ponder
4 Browbeat[/Spells] [Lands] 7 Island
16 Mountain[/Lands] [Sideboard] 3 Telepathy
1 Ponder
1 Winter Orb
1 Aether Storm
1 Plague Boiler
1 Nevinyrral’s Disk
2 Second Chance
2 Mountain
3 Island[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Geoff Dearing (Chris Moeller)] [Creatures] 4 Isamaru, Hound of Konda
4 Stillmoon Cavalier
4 White Knight
4 Azorius Guildmage
4 Samurai of the Pale Curtain[/Creatures] [Spells] 1 Yamabushi’s Flame
4 Chain Lightning
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Guardian’s Pledge[/Spells] [Lands] 14 Plains
9 Mountain[/Lands] [Sideboard] 3 Yamabushi’s Flame
3 Manic Vandal
4 Seal of Cleansing
3 Boil
2 Mindbreak Trap[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Geoffrey Drake (Greg Staples)] [Creatures] 4 Warmind Infantry
4 Preeminent Captain
3 Blade Splicer
4 Daru Stinger
3 Baneslayer Angel
3 Captain of the Watch
2 Palisade Giant[/Creatures] [Spells] 1 Demonfire
2 Mugging
3 Judge Unworthy
3 Punishing Fire
2 Radiant’s Judgment
3 Warleader’s Helix[/Spells] [Lands] 15 Plains
8 Mountain[/Lands] [Sideboard] 2 Avacynian Priest
2 Souther Paladin
3 Global Ruin
2 Magus of the Scroll
2 Echoing Calm
3 Keldon Vandals
1 Echoing Ruin[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Ian Marra (Greg Staples)] [Creatures] 2 Emblazoned Golem
3 Solemn Simulacrum
2 Gobin Sharpshooter
4 Blade Splicer
3 Baneslayer Angel
2 Sigiled Paladin[/Creatures] [Spells] 2 Demonfire
1 Electrickery
1 Gut Shot
4 Mugging
1 Martial Coup
2 Punishing Fire
3 Honor of the Pure
1 Radiant’s Judgment
4 Warleader’s Helix[/Spells] [Lands] 4 Mirrodin’s Core
12 Plains
9 Mountain[/Lands] [Sideboard] 3 Echoing Ruin
2 Echoing Calm
1 Divine Reckoning
2 Shackles
1 Elecrtrickery
3 Southern Paladin
2 Avacynian Priest[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Jimmy Kovacs (Randy Gallegos)] [Creatures] 4 Cloud Spirit
4 Sprite Noble
4 Cloudhoof Kirin[/Creatures] [Spells] 4 Shock
4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Counsel of the Soratami
4 Call of the Skybreak
4 Scalding Tongs
4 Leonin Blade Trap[/Spells] [Lands] 4 Gruul Guildgate
20 Island[/Lands][/deck]


[deck title=Laurie Nisbet (Martina Pilcerova)] [Creatures] 4 Brass Gnat
3 Runewing
4 Hornet Queen
3 Axebane Stag
3 Feral Ridgewolf
1 Stone Golem[/Creatures] [Spells] 4 Deathrender
4 Farseek
2 Horned Helm
2 Gruul War Plow
1 Lux Cannon
1 Skullmead Cauldron
3 Sylvok Lifestaff[/Spells] [Lands] 4 Island
1 Fungal Reaches
4 Vivid Crag
4 Mountain
2 Skarrg, the Rage Pits
10 Forest[/Lands][/deck]


[deck title=Matt Mathevorn (Karl Kopinski)] [Creatures] 4 Furnace Scamp
4 Hellraiser Goblin
4 Krenko’s Enforcer
3 Krenko Mob Boss
4 Hell’s Thunder
3 Rummaging Goblin
1 Mardu Heart-Piercer[/Creatures] [Spells] 4 Krenko’s Command
2 Five-Alarm Fire
4 Titan’s Strength
4 Pillar of Flame[/Spells] [Lands] 23 Mountain[/Lands] [Sideboard] 1 Mardu Heart-Piercer
1 Siege Dragon[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Max Power (Anson Maddocks)] [Creatures] 4 Serendib Djinn
4 Serendib Efreet
1 Dragon Engine
1 Dancing Scimitar
1 Living Wall
1 Denizen of the Deep[/Creatures] [Spells] 4 Invisibility
4 High Tide
3 Pit Trap
2 Reconstruction
3 Siren’s Call
2 Flight
2 Ashnod’s Altar
1 Shield of the Ages
1 Transmute Artifact[/Spells] [Lands] 22 Island[/Lands] [Sideboard] 1 Jade Monolith
3 Null Rod
2 Fishliver Oil
1 Ashnod’s Altar
1 Shield of the Ages
1 Creature Bond
3 Island[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Mike Linnemann (Wayne Reynolds)] [Creatures] 2 Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
4 Oona’s Prowler
3 Rakdos Shred-Freak
3 Marsh Flitter
3 Stingscourger
3 Deathbellow Raider
4 Hanweir Watchkeep
2 Vaultbreaker
3 Mindsparker
2 Ashling the Pilgrim[/Creatures] [Spells] 4 Dreadbore
4 Terminate[/Spells] [Lands] 10 Mountain
9 Swamp
4 Auntie’s Hovel[/Lands] [Sideboard] 3 Throttle
1 Vulshok Refuge
2 Crack the Earth
3 Koth’s Courier
3 Kindled Fury
1 Stingscourger
2 Skeletal Vampire[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Nathan Weber (Steve Belledin)] [Creatures] 4 Cenn’s Tactician
4 Sinew Sliver
4 Hearthfire Hobgoblin
4 Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
3 Abzan Falconer
3 Transcendant Master
3 Mikaeus, the Lunarch
1 Meadowboon[/Creatures] [Spells] 2 Barkshell Blessing
3 Citadel Siege
4 Unmake[/Spells] [Lands] 4 Evolving Wilds
17 Plains
4 Swamp[/Lands] [Sideboard] 3 Deathmark
3 Duress
3 Masticore
2 Order of the Whiteclay
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Treacherous Urge[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Sam Luton (Mark Tedin)] [Creatures] 4 Vinelasher Kudzu
3 Tetravus
3 Forgotten Ancient
2 Wirewood Guardian
4 Thorn Thallid[/Creatures] [Spells] 3 Beacon of Creation
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Vault
1 Mana Crypt
3 Nevinyrral’s Disk
2 Eldrazi Monument
3 Ring of Gix
2 Winter Orb
2 Jayemdae Tome[/Spells] [Lands] 2 Urza’s Factory
24 Forest[/Lands] [Sideboard] 1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Ring of Gix
2 Winter Orb
4 Gloomwidow
4 Defense Grid
1 Nevinyrral’s Disk
2 Thought Leech[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Terry Tu (Karl Kopinski)] [Creatures] 4 Hellraiser Goblin
4 Krenko’s Enforcer
4 Rummaging Goblin
3 Krenko, Mob Boss
1 Hell’s Thunder[/Creatures] [Spells] 4 Pilar of Flame
4 Titan’s Strength
4 Bolt of Keranos
4 Krenko’s Command
1 Faithless Looting
1 Aether Vial
1 Five-Alarm Fire
1 Witch Hunt[/Spells] [Lands] 24 Mountain[/Lands] [Sideboard] 3 Five-Alarm Fire
3 Hell’s Thunder[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=The Proxy Guy (Chris Moeller)] [Creatures] 2 Triskelion
2 Razor Golem
3 White Knight
3 Isamaru, Hound of Konda
2 Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker
4 Ceradon Yearling[/Creatures] [Spells] 4 Searing Spear
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Chain Lightning
4 Seal of Fire
3 Punishing Fire
2 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Seal of Cleansing[/Spells] [Lands] 11 Plains
11 Mountain[/Lands] [Sideboard] 1 Seal of Cleansing
2 Sphere of Grace
2 Sphere of Law
2 Manic Vandal
2 Moment of Silence
3 Boil
2 Imperial Mask
1 Fortune Thief[/Sideboard][/deck]


[deck title=Tim Burke (Chippy)] [Creatures] 4 Spellskite
4 Master Transmuter
4 Sphinx Sovereign
3 Darkling Drake
3 Vampire Bats
4 Gomazoa
3 Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon[/Creatures] [Spells] 4 Ostracize
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Doom Blade[/Spells] [Lands] 2 Phyrexian Tower
11 Swamp
10 Island[/Lands][/deck]


[deck title=Wayland Chan (Terese Nielsen)] [Creatures] 4 Birds of Paradise
4 Mother of Runes
3 Lotus Cobra
3 Eternal Witness
2 Angel of Jubilation
1 Essence of the Wild[/Creatures] [Spells] 4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Giant Growth
2 Dismember
4 Call of the Conclave
1 Loxodon Warhammer
3 Glorious Anthem
3 Garruk Wildspeaker[/Spells] [Lands] 13 Forest
9 Plains[/Lands] [Sideboard] 2 Keening Apparition
3 Nyx-Fleece Ram
2 Wall of Nets
1 Voidstone Gargoyle
2 Divine Offering
1 Hero’s Reunion
1 Disorder
1 Penance
2 Choke[/Sideboard][/deck]

In addition to the Decklists, I made sure to take a bunch of pictures at the event.

Here is a little photo diary that I put together to share the experience with everyone that was unable to make it to Vegas.


Thank you to everyone that pitched in to get the room set up



Final preparations made, everyone finds their seats for the first round



Looks like someone found a way to tame the Jitte menace



This was taken just a few minutes before the epic Flying Denizen of the Deep appeared



Baneslayer OP



It’s not looking good for Terese Nielsen at this point



Josh (@TheProxyGuy) unleashing the hasty beast on his opponent



Sprite Noble x2 and Triple Scalding Tongs were too much for Anson Maddocks



Behind the Scenes with Mike and Marshall



Ceradon Yearling held at bay by a lone Avacynian Priest.



Battling for Top 8 Contention. The Blade Trap and Tongs vs. Hella White Beaters



Top 8 Match #1 – Kev Walker Pack Rat Control vs. Steve Belledin Mono White Aggro



Top 8 Match #2 – Greg Staples Soldier Tribal vs. Chris Moeller Boros Beats



Top 8 Match #3 – Wayne Reynolds’s Goblins vs. Terese Nielsen’s Beasts



Top 8 Match 4 – Staples vs. Staples Mirror Match



Shaking hands at the start of the Finals. True gentlemen.



Baneslayer’s Protection from Dragons turned out to be surprisingly relevant in the last game of the Finals



2nd Place received this “Weener” token by rkpost



It wouldn’t be Vegas without Elvis



Turns out Elvis play Goblins. Who knew?

Thanks to everyone that helped make this event possible.  I hope you enjoyed this report and will spread the word about Vintage Artist Constructed.

I’m going to be running more events like this in the future and I hope to see you there.  Details will be posted on OMA when they are available.

Until next time!