This Week in Magic History: January 31-February 6

Posted in Feature on February 6, 2009

By Wizards of the Coast

January 29-February 1, 1998: 1998 Duelist Invitational

Avalanche Riders

On February 1, 1998, Darwin Kastle capped off four days of Invitational action by defeating Jakub Slemr 3-2 in the final match, thus setting the stage for Avalanche Riders to enter Magic. The formats that year were, as always, an odd mixture from the mind of Mark Rosewater:

  • Duplicate Limited: All competitors received an identical card mix made up from the most powerful cards from recent releases. Then they had to make 40-card decks by carefully weighing the merits of cards such as Rolling Thunder, Capsize, and Ophidian (all of which were in Darwin's deck, which he used in the finals).

  • New York Style Extended: Extended was a brand new format in 1998, but it was changed a bit. Borrowing from the deck construction rules in effect at the very first Pro Tour, each player had to play with at least four cards (either in their decks or in their sideboards) from each of the expansions permitted in the format: The Dark, Fallen Empires, Ice Age, Homelands, Alliances, Mirage, Visions, Weatherlight, and Tempest.

  • Solomon Draft: First, players opened up booster packs from Mirage, Visions and Ice Age. Then one player would divide the cards into two piles of at least one pile each. Then the other player would get to decide which pile to use.

  • Helm of Awakening
  • Vanguard Constructed: Players got to combine any of the Vanguard cards with decks made up of Mirage, Visions, Weatherlight, and Tempest. Twelve of the fifteen players chose a blue deck with Hanna ("Your spells cost 1 less to play") in combination with Capsize, Tempest's Medallions and Visions's Helm of Awakening

  • Standard: Okay, so not all the formats were crazy. Standard at the time consisted of Fifth Edition, Mirage, Visions, Weatherlight, and Tempest.

Also This Week

  • January 31-February 1, 1998: The Duelist Invitational wasn't the only event in Rio that weekend. While the Invitationalists did there thing, Jon Finkel was taking care of business at Grand Prix–Rio. The next year, Finkel would be in the invitational himself, although he'd lose to Chris Pikula in the finals.

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