Eternal Weekend Tournament Report - By Sam Black

Sam Black • December 15, 2023

(Lurrus of the Dream-Den | Art by Slawomir Maniak)

An Old School Tournament Report About My First Eternal Weekend

I've never gone to Eternal Weekend before, but this year I've gotten into Premodern and Old School, so I liked the idea of going to an event where I could play those formats. The Premiere events at Eternal Weekend are the Vintage and Legacy Championships, and I felt like those tournaments were valuable enough that I couldn't make the trip and skip both of them. That being said, I also didn't want to play both and not have time to play Premodern or Old School.

Ultimately, I decided to play the Vintage Championship and not Legacy. Each event has a pretty exciting first prize, but Legacy is a much bigger tournament, so I liked my chances better in Vintage even though I hadn't played the format in over a decade.

Fortunately, I had several friends who were playing the tournament who were willing to catch me up to speed on the format and offer a variety of suggested lists I could play.

The Vintage Meta

After getting caught up, my understanding of the format was that there were the following relevant decks:

Mishra's Workshop decks, specifically Jewel Shops and Artifact Prison

Oath of Druids

Bazaar decks, specifically Dredge and Hollowvine, and maybe something else


Mono-White Initiative

Beseech the Mirror Combo

Blue Lurrus decks, typically either UW or UB, but either could splash

Esper Tinker

I knew Reid Duke was going to play Doomsday, but after looking at the deck I decided that I would feel more comfortable trying to stop my opponent's gameplan than figure out when it seemed safe to pull the trigger on my own combo when the right disruption piece could cost me the game.

I didn't own or want to try to borrow Workshops or Bazaars, so I didn't consider those decks. I heard Beseech wasn't very good. I didn't really think mono-white sounded fun, and it was most likely to involve the most cards I didn't own.

I brought cards to build Oath, Tinker, and either Lurrus deck, which have a lot of overlap.


I was traveling from Madison to Pittsburgh alone, but staying with several friends in an Airbnb a few miles from the site once I got there. I arrived Thursday night at around 9pm, and no one I was staying with had arrived yet, but Dom Harvey was in a car on the way and would be there in an hour and a half or so. We agreed to meet at the site and figure out getting to the Airbnb from there. Since I wasn't in a hurry as I had no specific plans, and an Uber from the airport to the site was about $50, I decided to take a bus to the site.

When I got there, the site had entirely shut down even though the website for the event said it'd be open until midnight. I waited half an hour for Dom and then decided to give up and take the last bus from the site to the Airbnb. He messaged me that he'd arrived at the site just as my bus was arriving, so he'd meet me there. The bus would only bring me a 25-minute walk from where we were staying, and I missed my stop, so I ended up walking 45 minutes to their Airbnb, and somehow still got there only about five minutes after Dom.

The rest of the people staying with us were in a car coming from Chicago and wouldn't arrive until 2-3 a.m., so I started putting my Vintage deck together. I decided to go with UW Lurrus, which seemed like the fair deck that had the best matchup against the unfair decks, thanks to Lavinia, Azorius Renegade and Containment Priest, even though it was worse against UB Lurrus, which has Dark Confidant and Orcish Bowmasters, which are very good against the fair decks. Some last-minute conversations with Dom lead me to decide to splash a Haywire Mite and a Life from the Loam in my sideboard.

I registered the following:

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I went to sleep after the other car arrived and got around two hours of sleep before we needed to get up to go to the site.

Vintage Tournament

My first match of the tournament, I played against UB Lurrus, which felt like an even worse matchup than I'd realized, as both of their black creatures were extremely good in the matchup, and I lost very badly.

The next two rounds I played against Hollowvine. After the first game, I felt pretty good about this matchup. In the first game my opponent drew three Bazaars and I drew three Wastelands, so they drew a lot of extra cards but couldn't keep an engine, and I think at some point I resolved a Lavinia and they lost the ability to cast spells. In the second game I had a Pithing Needle in my opening hand and they mulled low enough that they couldn't keep Force of Vigor, so I basically won on turn one.

The second match went to three games, but their early Bazaar activations put more power into play too often and I couldn't stabilize in time.

Next, I played against Goblins. We went to three games, and I made a horrific misplay in which I'd somehow just decided that my opponent's Goblin Lackey didn't matter because I could block it, so then when he attacked with all of his creatures, I forgot that I needed to actually block it. So then I had to play Dress Down, killing my own Constructs from Urza's Saga to avoid losing to Muxus, Goblin Grandee, which caused a game I was easily winning to grind long enough that we ran out of time in the round while I was losing pretty badly. I was about to have a conversation about how I thought my opponent was winning and concede, but he conceded first. At 1-2, neither of us was very attached to playing the rest of the tournament.

The next round I played against Oath of Druids. In the first game, my opponent and I both started on six cards. He went land, Mana Crypt, Tinker, which I countered with Force of Negation, and he countered back with Force of Will, so I lost to Bolas's Citadel. In the next game he had Forbidden Orchard and Oath of Druids, and a Force of Will for my Containment Priest. I was able to use Time Walk to resolve the third chapter of my Urza's Saga to get Haywire Mite before the Oath triggered, but then he had another Oath and forced one of the Moxes I needed to recast Containment Priest or Haywire Mite from my graveyard with Lurrus, after finding Black Lotus with a second Urza's Saga. So I lost and dropped from the event.

Overall, I think Vintage seems like it's in a pretty good place. There's a decent range of decks and a lot of interesting decisions in a lot of the games, but at the same time the decisions don't necessarily feel like they matter all that much most of the time; matchup advantage or one player having a wildly broken draw definitely decides a lot of games. In this way it reminded me of cEDH, where the gameplay is extremely intricate, but sometimes someone just does something powerful enough that none of that matters.

I've had a lot of fun lately with these formats. Having a lot of complex micro-decisions keeps the games strategically interesting, but the big swings from strong cards keep them exciting.

Old School

I was pretty happy to be out of the Vintage tournament, because it meant I could play Old School. I also had time to work on my side quest for the weekend, which was completing my set of Beta Power Nine.

I owned an Alpha Time Walk and Ancestral Recall, a Beta Timetwister, Mox Emerald, and Black Lotus, and Unlimited copies of the other Moxes, but I also had two extra Beta Mox Emeralds. My goal was to trade cards such that I kept the same total number of cards in the Power Nine, but had at least one of each from Alpha or Beta. Fortunately, Tales of Adventure had plenty of Beta copies of everything and were willing to work out a large trade so that I could swap my Alpha cards and Unlimited cards for Beta cards at only around a 10% rake, which I was happy with for the service and convenience of owning my first Beta set of Power. Then it was on to Old School.

I have an Old School deck that I'd been saying I expected would have great matchups against every Old School deck I knew about, and I've been wanting to get enough experience to see if that's true. But it's very hard to find opportunities to play - I've only previously played at Gen Con this year.

The theory of my deck is that all of the creatures are so weak that Ivory Tower makes games very hard for creature decks, and combining Ivory Tower with Sylvan Library gives me a better draw engine than the other control decks have. 

I played this deck:

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At Gen Con I mostly played against other creatureless decks, and my Swords to Plowshares kept rotting in my hand, so I decided to move two of them to the sideboard. At Eternal Weekend, most people seemed to be playing creature decks, and with only two Swords to Plowshares, a Balance, and a Chaos Orb as main deck removal, I lost very badly to creatures. I also discovered that my matchup against aggressive white decks was very bad, since I rely on artifacts and, to some extent, enchantments to defend myself, and they all have Disenchant, Divine Offering, and Dust to Dust, as well as a lot of one- and two-mana threats that I can't efficiently answer. In my three-round side event I lost twice and got a bye, and was thoroughly humiliated.

This caused me to go back to the drawing board to prepare for the Old School Showdown the next day. I needed more answers to creatures, but there were more problems than that. I wasn't good enough at assembling a meaningful card advantage engine and I was taking too much damage from City of Brass. My solution was to play four Land Taxes main because I was having too much trouble keeping a full hand for Ivory Tower. In order to make Land Tax work, I'd play four Strip Mines, and then I'd play four Fellwar Stones so that I'd have enough mana sources without my lands and could Strip Mine myself as needed to trigger Land Tax. 

Fellwar Stone would typically make my mana good enough that I could cut my City of Brasses. As a concession to my less reliable mana, I'd cut all my counterspells from my main deck, as they hadn't really seemed very good. There just weren't that many spells that really had to be countered.

I supplemented my four Swords to Plowshares with The Abyss and a Triskelion to help answer creatures and end the game.

I'd also been considering that Serendib Djinn might be a good transformation out of the sideboard to catch people by surprise. With four Land Taxes it seemed even better, since those cards are very good together, so I added two Serendib Djinns to my sideboard.

I felt optimistic about the changes I'd made.

Friday night the people at my Airbnb went out to dinner with some other people, then headed back to the Airbnb and stayed up chatting and preparing for our respective events the next day. So I got to bed pretty late again. After being asleep for an hour or two I woke up to some very loud snoring from the floor below, as sound traveled easily through the old house we were in. I'm very bad at sleeping when there's noise, and I didn't have a great solution to this situation. I was now several days into getting very little sleep, so I began having an existential crisis about whether I'm too old to travel to events and should just stay home rather than dealing with all this.

Somehow after a few hours I think I managed to pass out again, but then my early alarm went off and again I'd only gotten a few hours of sleep.

Old School Showdown

I was heading to the site early since other people needed to go, even though my event didn't start until 11:40. I didn't want to stay back and sleep in because I was trying to play an Arena Qualifier in the morning before my event, so I figured I'd just go to the site to do that.

I set up a table in the hallway in the convention center outside the event and got to five wins and one loss, where seven wins or two losses ends the event. I decided to go get food before the Old School event, thinking I'd have time later. At the time I didn't realize that the Old School Showdown was going to be six rounds plus a top eight, so I wouldn't actually be done with that event before the window for the Arena Qualifier ended, and my deck doesn't exactly finish rounds quickly.

For the Old School Showdown I submitted the following modified version of my deck, which I think is a big improvement:

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I wanted to play four Plains and two Islands main deck with one Tundra, but I forgot that I had an extra Plains in my Vintage deck and also just miscounted which cards I had in my deck and ended up playing a slightly incorrect manabase.

In the first round I played Don Perrien, a staple of the Old School community who was very courteous in introducing me to the format and talking about various aspects of the community before our match. He was playing a blue/red Blood Moon deck with a lot of counterspells and burn spells and, presumably, a few creatures. He cast multiple Blood Moons, which I was happy about because it meant I didn't have to worry about his Mishra's Factorys.

His best cards against me were his Shatterstorms, but fortunately a Mind Twist for three against his five-card hand in game two made him discard two Shatterstorms and a Shatter, and the game was pretty easy from there.

Unfortunately, I don't remember the order of the other decks I played against. I played against a Workshop deck with Atog, a mono-blue Workshop deck, a white aggro deck (which I lost to quickly enough that I had time to mostly finish the Arena event between rounds, and then lose the last game to make day two of the qualifier during the beginning of the following round), and I don't remember what else. I also don't remember what I took my second loss to.

Overall, despite only going 4-2 in the Swiss, I had excellent tiebreakers and made the top eight because Old School doesn't allow draws. I felt very good about my deck as long as I could avoid the two white aggro decks in the top eight.

Top Eight

In the first round of the top eight I played against Zoo-a Temur deck with Kird Ape, Serendib Efreet, Argothian Pixies, and Mishra's Factory, supported by Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, and Psionic Blast. This was a somewhat close matchup, and my sideboard Serendib Djinns did some heavy lifting here. Better yet, the control deck next to me beat the white aggro deck.

That meant that in the top four I got to play against a control deck, and both games my opponent kept weak hands with Library of Alexandria, and I kept strong hands with Strip Mine, so neither game ended up being very competitive.

In the finals I played against another control deck, so I was feeling very confident. I kept a hand with Tundra, Ivory Tower, two Land Taxes, and some more expensive spells. My opponent opened with a bunch of artifact mana and had Counterspells for both of my Land Taxes and a Jayemdae Tome. I had a Disenchant, but couldn't find the second land to cast it. I thought my Ivory Tower might buy me a lot of time, but he played a Shivan Dragon that made quick work of my ~40 life.

In the second game, things went much better for me. I managed to get Sylvan Library going and Mind Twisted my opponent's entire hand. I had a Counterspell, and all I was missing was an Ivory Tower to really lock up the game, so I paid down to four life to dig further to find Ivory Tower. My opponent passed with one card in hand and I cast Braingeyser for four, holding up two mana for Counterspell. My opponent drew and cast Fireball for four, I countered it, and he countered my Counterspell, and I lost. In hindsight, I shouldn't have paid the last four life, but I didn't know if my opponent was playing Fireball and he still had to draw exactly Fireball into Counterspell to beat me there.

By the end of this event, it was very late, and the hall was basically empty. Fortunately, some of the people staying with me were still in the area and were able to swing by to pick me up to grab some food and head back to our Airbnb.


The event schedule for Eternal Weekend was released very shortly before the event, so I bought my tickets before knowing the schedule. My return flight Sunday was unfortunately too early for me to have time to play the Premodern Showdown on Sunday or the Modern RCQ, so I settled for playing a Premodern Challenge.

I've had a theory that blue/green Enchantress is a great Premodern deck, but haven't had much opportunity to try it out. I was looking forward to at least getting a few matches with it.

I played this:

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Unfortunately, my opponent didn't show up in the first round, so I only got to play two matches. I beat a G/W Cataclysm deck and the Rock in pretty short games in which I drew fairly well. Both of those decks have some tools to interact, but they need their cards to line up right, and even when they do, they close fairly slowly. It's not necessarily hard for me to draw another Enchantress and go off. It also helped that I drew Sacred Ground against Cataclysm.

Overall, it was an extremely fun weekend despite my constant state of exhaustion from lack of sleep. Vintage turned out to be a format I wouldn't mind playing more, and I'm always thrilled to get a chance to play Old School or Premodern. Since this is a report about Eternal Weekend, a celebration of nostalgia, it would only be fitting to end with Props and Slops, as was the style in the '90s and early '00s.


Reid, Jarvis, Theo, and Dom for help with Vintage.

Dakota for sleeping in the car for the good of the group on Saturday night.

ToA for being well stocked, extremely fair, and easy to work with.

Old School for being very fun.


Uber for getting very expensive.

Hills (the Airbnb we were staying at was at the top of a very steep hill).


Further Reading:

The Best Commander Cards From... Urza's Saga

Sam Black is a former professional Magic player, longtime Magic writer, host of the Drafting Archetypes podcast, and Twitch streamer. Sam enjoys a wide range of formats, especially limited and unofficial fan formats like Old School and Premodern in addition to cEDH.