Form of the Vanguard

Posted in Feature on November 10, 2008

By Wizards of the Coast

Normally, we don't accept outside submissions, especially for Magic Arcana. After all, who knows more about the inner workings of Wizards of the Coast than us?

However, we got this email from Matthew Tang about a Halloween-themed tournament called "Form of the Vanguard", and frankly, there's nothing we can do to improve upon his description and pictures. So, take it away, Matt!

Form of the Vanguard!

Dress up as your favorite Creature from the Magic the Gathering Universe and see the Multiverse from their eyes! Form of the Vanguard is a cross between Vanguard and having Form of the Dragon. Of course, instead of "Dragon" it's whatever creature you're dressed up as.

Platinum Angel

In a similar way to Vanguard, your starting hand and maximum size is 5 plus your creature's power, and your starting life is 20 plus your creature's toughness (Go Krosan Cloudscraper!). In a similar way to Form, you gain the creature's abilities. Unlike Form, you don't deal damage during your upkeep, and your life is not reset to your toughness at the end of each turn. Life loss is calculated normally, but if you lose an amount of life greater or equal to your creature's toughness in a single turn, you become a regular Magic Player. In other words, if you dress up as Platinum Angel, and say you somehow mana burn for 5, you are no longer a Platinum Angel. If your form has an ability that cannot be applied to you in a flavorful way, then creatures you control will gain those abilities. (Your abilities will be discussed and assigned once you show up in case there needs to be balancing purposes)

The format will be one giant group game where you can only attack the person to your right (turn order is clockwise, so you can only attack the person who takes a turn before you), and spell/ability range is one quarter the number of players rounded down. For example, if we have 4 players, you have a range of 1 on both sides, 10 players, you have a range of 2). This will be a Vintage format in which you can only play cards that are the color of your creature.

If a source would add mana of a color that you are not, then it produces colorless instead. If an ability says you to win the game, instead you defeat the people within your range. For example, if there's an 8 player game, and none of your 4 opponents in the range has a Naturalize for your Chance Encounter, they deserve to lose. Last person standing wins!

The Competitors

For this tournament, we had 5 players of varying skills and costume complexity.

Players (and turn order):
Akroma, Angel of Wrath—Combo
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir—"Control"
Mishra, Artificer Prodigy—Affinity
Uncle Istvan—Discard
Elvish Champion—Elves

Uncle Istvan
Elvish Champion
Left to right: Uncle Istvan; Elvish Champion; Mishra, Artificer Prodigy; and Akroma, Angel of Wrath. Not shown: Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Mishra, Artificer Prodigy
Akroma, Angel of Wrath

Akroma didn't need to attack since she intended to Combo out. Elvish Champion felt screwed as he needed to get rid of Uncle Istvan and didn't run hurricane. Uncle Istvan with Discard was slightly pointless against Mishra dropping his entire Affinity hand. The only person who had a chance to beat Akroma was Teferi, so Mishra needed Teferi alive for as long as possible. Teferi ran a Vintage CounterDeck... with no Counterspell!

Moments:

- Akroma's first turn Painter's Servant naming black essentially winning her the game
- Teferi flashing in random Spiketails to block rather than counter spells
- Uncle Istvan playing Null Rod to shut down Mishra's Affinity and Akroma's Grindstone
- Everyone's face when they realized Akroma had Aura of Silence out to take care of Null Rod for Grindstone fun
- Teferi's Evacuation which meant Mishra could only play Frogmites and Phyrexian Walkers with the Null Rod in play
- Akroma's routine end of turn Scroll Rack, double Land Tax upkeep, and Breastplate Readjustment
- Teferi's inability to flash in a Platinum Angel after being hit by Grindstone due to double Aura of Silence
- Uncle Istvan's death by double Dark Confidant (and almost losing his Form from said life loss on multiple occasions)

End results

First Place: Akroma
Second Place: Elvish Champion
First Victim: Teferi
Second Victim: Uncle Istvan

The players also took some time to play a round of Magic Card Charades. Play along!

Akroma's Vengeance
Pacifism

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