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By: GainsBanding, GainsBanding
Mar 14 2013 12:17pm
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The Classic Quarter League is back on!  The league is a yearlong player-run event with qualifying tournaments leading up to an invitational.  Season three has just started and I’ll be filing tournament reports of my rounds as I try to get into the invitational.


We have a few new players in the league this time, so maybe there is some burgeoning interest in Classic.  So for those who dont know, Classic is an MTGO-only format that includes every card ever printed online.  Its closest paper equivalent in Vintage.  However, the format-defining Power Nine have not been released online (soon though!) so Classic is definitely its own format.  Typical sights include turn 2 Emrakul, The Aeons Torn cheated into play with Oath of Druids or Show and Tell; playing your entire deck out of your graveyard with the Ravnica dredge mechanic, Bazaar of Baghdad, and Dread Return; locking your opponent out of the game with Trinisphere and Tangle Wire; and tapping out but still stopping your opponent’s plays with Force of Will and Mental Misstep.  These are some of the most powerful cards ever printed and the thrill of Classic is swinging with these haymakers.




Deck Tech:

Decklists in the Classic League are public to keep players honest (and because MTGO has no system to save decks for player-run events).  That means we can check out our opponent ahead of time.


I am playing an Affinity list.  This deck wants to puke out its entire hand and attack as fast as possible.  The Genesis Chambers add tons of 1/1s, which can be turned into extra cards thanks to SkullclampArcbound Ravager’s ability to add counters and then move them around when it dies is extremely powerful and often ends the game.






My opponent is playing a budget Blue White Control deck.  I think this one would put up a fight in the Casual Room, but it is not competitive for something like the Classic League.  I am glad that he is checking out Classic and hope he sticks with it and powers up his deck in the future.  This should be an easy match for me though. 





The Match:

Game 1 went way slower than I thought it would, but game 2 had the opening I was hoping for.  I was surprised by my opponent’s illegal Spell Burst but really didn’t want to make a big deal out of it.  I knew it wasn’t going to change the outcome of the match.  I figured it was more important that he have as good an experience as possible, rather than just a disqualification.




Essential Cards for Classic:

My opponent’s deck has prompted me to spread some information about the power level needed in competitive Classic.  This format is all about the most powerful, most efficient, most broken cards.  I'm not doing a primer or anything, but below are some cards that would have improved my opponent’s deck, and are fairly essential in any Classic build.  All of these would have allowed him to control the game the same way he wanted to, they just do so much more efficiently and with bigger effects than the cards he was playing.


Sol Ring Tundra Flooded Strand Strip Mine



Mental Misstep Daze Force of Will Spell Pierce



Engineered Explosives Ratchet Bomb Jace, the Mind Sculptor Standstill



Swords to Plowshares Balance Hurkyl's Recall Wrath of God
(Wrath is not Classic playable, but if you really want this effect, it is strictly better than Day of Judgment)



Brainstorm Preordain Mystical Tutor Enlightened Tutor


The other important thing to do when playing in a competitive environment is to study the metagame and know the types of decks you are going to face.  Competitive play isn’t about building your own deck from scratch the way casual play is.  The best cards and strategies are already known - it's more about slight tweaking and sideboarding so you are prepared for the other decks in the event.


Great resources for the Classic metagame are:


Classic Quarter
Unlocking the Vault
Yawgmoth’s Soap Opera podcast

Classic Quarter League Information




I’ll be back next week with another report.  I’m sure round two will be a little tougher for me and I'll have more insight to provide. 



(If you pay attention in the match video, you can hear the carbon monoxide alarm going off in my neighbor’s (empty) apartment.  A little bit after the match, mine started going off and I had to call the fire department.  Turns out the chimneys in my building were clogged up and carbon monoxide was coming into the apartments.  What a weird day.)


Spell Blast by fmf_navy_corpsman at Fri, 03/22/2013 - 15:36
fmf_navy_corpsman's picture

I was curious as to how Spell Blast was illegal?

Spell Blast - Nevermind by fmf_navy_corpsman at Fri, 03/22/2013 - 15:54
fmf_navy_corpsman's picture

Nevermind. Watched the video. Got the gist.