The_Week_That_Was

A Constructed format prepares for a debut

Scoop Week

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Scott Johns sure blew it when he picked the theme for this week's articles. It obviously should have been Scoop Week here at magicthegathering.com.

PRO TOUR-LONDON PREVIEW
Brian David-Marshall scans the Champions-Betrayers-Saviors Limited scene for a look at what to expect at Pro Tour-London, where the complete Kamigawa block will be in action for the Booster Draft event.

After all, we have Bennie Smith's article about Mirage becoming available for play on MTGO, Anthony Alongi's shocking article that you says you can indeed "be the beatdown" in a multi-player game, and now my certifiable scoop regarding the format for two upcoming Grand Prix tournaments.

While the details of the next season of the Pro Tour have not been outlined yet (but wait until you get wind of the surprises in store for next year – the Players Club and the Players Lounge were just the beginning), Wizards has determined the format for two Constructed Grand Prix events that will take place during the PTQ season in November and December of this year.

And the format is … Legacy.

Grand Prix-Philadelphia (November 12-13, 2005) to be held at the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania and Grand Prix-Lille (December 17-18, 2005) to be held at the Lille Grand Palais in Lille, France will be Constructed tournaments using the Legacy format. This format (also known as Type 1.5) includes cards from every set legal in Vintage (Type 1) except that there is no restricted list – just a banned list which can be found here.

Before the two Grand Prix events, the format will also recieve additonal support in the form of the Legacy Championships at Gen Con this August. The winner of the Championship will nab a full play set of dual lands – four of each – along with a trophy. The decklists from the event will show up on this website and should provide plenty of grist for the Grand Prix mill.

“We have had many contacts from players asking what we were going to do with the Legacy format,” explained DCI Program Manager Scott Larabee. “With the Extended rotation happening in October, we felt that it is the perfect time to promote this format. The Legacy format will provide a place for players to play with their older cards after they rotate out of Extended. At the same time, Legacy-format Grand Prix will provide a new challenge for the advanced players that attend Grand Prix.”

It is important to point out that these are the only two events for that season to utilize this format. The PTQs themselves will not be Legacy format.

“These will feed the first Pro Tour in 2006,” Larabee continued. “The date and location have not been fully confirmed yet. The associated PTQs will be Extended. Much like we have done with Standard Grand Prix during Block Constructed PTQ rounds in past years, this will be a means of showcasing a different format than players might normally play during a Qualifier round. It also gives us a chance to see what this new, exciting format can do.”

One of the problems with making a game that is as beloved as Magic is that Wizards can't make any kind of announcement without some hue and cry from the masses, and this one should be no different. The expense of some of the older cards – notably the dual lands and Force of Will – will give some newer players pause. I asked Randy Buehler how much consideration was given to the format's costs to entry and what involvement R&D has had in the decision to move forward with these high profile events. He explained that they would be paying careful attention to the attendance at both tournaments to determine how to proceed in the future.

“We do have some concern over the availability and affordability of cards, but we currently think this format will be much closer to Extended than Type 1," Buehler said. "These Grand Prix are very much an experiment – if it turns out that lots of people come out of the woodwork because they've been waiting for a chance to play with some of their favorite old cards, then we'll know that we should support the format even more. If no one turns out because no one can get the cards they need, then we'll know that the barrier to entry is too high and we should support it less.

“R&D has been involved in these conversations since they started happening last year,” Buehler elaborated further. “When we first announced the creation of the format we also began debating internally how much support to give it. Should there be a Legacy Pro Tour and PTQ round? Should it be a day at Worlds? Should it just have a championship event and nothing else? I'm actually really happy with the current plan of a championship plus two Grand Prix. It's a nice compromise between the people worried about card availability and the people who think the format is worthy of as much support as Extended. With this plan, we give the public the ability to tell us how much interest they have in the format via GP attendance figures and then we can figure out what to do next year from there.”

Randy also let slip some tantalizing hints about Ninth Edition and Ravnica: City of Guilds when asked if those sets were designed with Legacy in mind.

“All the cards in Ninth Edition were already legal in Legacy, of course, but it does have some gems that players will find easier to get a hold of since they can crack them in booster packs again," he said. "I can't say much about Ravnica, but I can say that we were indeed aware of Legacy when we developed it and I do expect to see some Ravnica cards show up in the Top 8's of those Grand Prix.”

Larabee did not have many concerns about the lengthy banned list that the format currently sports.

“We will have links from the fact sheets for these events to the Banned/Restricted lists, as well as having the information posted on site at each Grand Prix. This article will also do a lot in getting the word out about the format.”

ONE MAN'S BALLOT
It's time again to check in on how another member of the Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame Selection Committee cast his ballot. If other Selection Committee members wish to provide analysis and explanation of their votes for publication, click here.

  • Gary Wise's ballot
  • France and Philadelphia have been the sites of some of the larger GPs on their respective continents. Larabee was optimistic that the robust tournament communities in North America and Europe were the perfect places to incubate the new format – especially in a Grand Prix setting.

    “If history is on our side, the attendance for these events should be strong. When we first introduced the Extended format to Grand Prix, those events were the largest attended events in their time.”

    Are there Legacy PTQs in the future? Or even perhaps a Pro Tour? Larabee didn't think so but he also did not rule out the possibility.

    “For the time being, no. Who knows what the future holds? We are running these events partially to evaluate how well the format performs at higher level events. We will continually evaluate the state of the Legacy format and make the decision about PTQs/PTs later.”

    To whet your Legacy appetite, here's the winning decklist from Shinder's Crystal Legacy Tournament, where first prize was a set of dual lands.

    Gerry Thompson - Goblins

    1st Place - Legacy

    Regionals Decklists

    Mike Flores reported Thursday that almost all the North American Regional decklists are available for your greedy consumption. As predicted, Tooth and Nail was the dominant force but there were more than a few surprises to be found including White Weenie, Hostile Witness, and Osyp Lebedowicz's Ukranian Invasion.

    Jason Aral - Ukranian Invasion

    4th Place - New Jersey - Secaucus

    Osyp worked with some of his TOGIT teammates to tune a deck that has been on everyone's to-do list since Kiki-Jiki was first introduced to a Standard format that also featured Intruder Alarm and abundant mana-fixing. His deck was played to a Top 4 finish in New Jersey by Jason Aral, and I tracked Osyp down to get a little more detail about the deck from him.

    “You can go off on turn three, but in general you combo them out on turn four, depending on the amount of disruption they have,” said Osyp as he broke down the deck's inner workings. “The whole concept of the deck is to get an Intruder Alarm in play and then abuse it with Forbidden Orchard or Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. You can use Lifespark Spellbomb to make your Forbidden Orchard a creature, which will allow you to generate infinite mana and use one of your Legendary win conditions to finish them off. You can also simply win with Kiki-Jiki by generating infinite creatures.”

    Despite being qualified for Nationals and having no selfish reasons to bother with Standard, Osyp developed the deck after hearing about teammate Mario Melillo's attempt to build a deck around the combo. All right, maybe there is some small amount of selfishness involved…

    “I love playing Constructed more than anything else, so for me it's not so much a matter of whether or not I need to build decks, it's just fun to do. I also have a lot of local friends that still are trying to qualify and I love helping them out. The more friends I can surround myself with at the big events, the more fun the tournament becomes for me.

    “Mario Melillo is one of my local friends who were trying to Q for Nats and he mentioned an Intruder Alarm deck idea he had on the way home from Atlantic City one time. I decided to look into it because it seemed interesting and started to work on various builds. I noticed that some people talked about the deck online, but no one really seemed to put very much thought into any of the lists they were posting, so I thought it was a deck people were underestimating.”

    Osyp's creation qualified for Nationals.
    There were only two players at the New Jersey Regionals running Osyp's list and they had varying levels of success on the weekend.

    “Only Mario and Jay played the list. I had only come up with the list a week before Regionals and they were the only two people I could talk to about it that were eligible to play in Regionals. Jay obviously made Top 4 and Mario ran into some bad luck during the day. He did however win a side T2 box tournament after he scrubbed out of Regionals.

    “Jason was going to play White Weenie up until a couple of nights before the tournament when we kept beating him over and over again. He had only played a couple of games with the deck prior to Regionals, but if you get the right matchups, you don't need to be an expert with the deck, it will pretty much run itself.”

    Osyp had some very compelling reasons for championing the deck aside from being the deck's designer – its matchup against public enemy No. 1 being chief among them.

    “I think a combination of things made it a good choice," he said. "For one, it has an almost un-losable matchup against Tooth and Nail, which is very popular in our area. Two, it was relatively unexpected, so people either didn't know how to play against the deck, or didn't have the proper tools to beat it. I also think that monogreen agro decks are unplayable and should be relegated to Tier 2 or 3, yet for some reason people love to play those decks, so as long as they're out there, you should be able to beat them easily.”

    Firestarter: Diggin' those Decklists

    So which decks stood out for you from the Regionals decklist page? Personally, I liked the Erayo Affinity list from Columbus. I very nearly played a similar list that was designed by a local player named Jae Shin. Do any decks stand out for you as likely candidates for the JSS/Friday Night Magic circuit?

    Chime in with your thoughts on the post-Regionals metagame in the forums by clicking on the ‘discuss' button right below.

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