My Top 16 in the Winter Derby with TwiddleVault and my top 10 time travel movies
If I could turn back time, Winter Derby 2023
This Winter Derby I played my favorite deck in old school and all of magic – TwiddleVault. It’s full of interesting interactions, board states, and sideboarding. And when it wins, it can explode. You get to play all the powerful restricted cards of yesteryear AND basic islands. That art is as classic as it gets. I want to thank DFB and team for putting on an amazing event. It’s my 5th derby, and the derby’s are pretty much what got me into old school.
I hadn’t played TwiddleVault in a 4 strip environment. EC and Pacific rules don’t allow the time vaults and recalls. So I knew I needed more land. It turns out, strip mines are pretty good, and also produce mana. The main benefit of more strips is turning off factories, which can give you a few more turns to go off, which is hopefully all you need. It also cuts down opponents’ answers since you can take an opponent off white mana or UU to prevent a piece of interaction.
And since I love sci-fi, I’m also going to share 10 favorite time travel movies. Warning SPOILERS are ahead, but I bet you’re expecting that since we are traveling through time today. For movie one, I stole my title from Keanu Reeves’s hit “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. That film just sets us up with all the good vibes.
On to the matches!
Match 1 vs Matt Tebaldi on TaxEdge
The movie that started it all: Back to the Future
Game One: Matt starts with lotus into Serendib Efreet. Yikes! The race is on. I play a Library and start drawing cards. He casts Land Tax and Demonic Tutor. I’m betting it’s a Land’s Edge to go with that Tax and my days are numbered. I play time vault and take some extra turns with an active Library then run out of twiddles but I can Mind Twist most of his hand. I hit a Land’s Edge so I think I’m safe from his tutor target. His dib attacks me to 8 and he plays another. Just like Marty McFly, I see my future start to fade. This is not looking good. I play a pair of mines, tap my vault for 1 more turn and hope for the best. I rip a recall and can take some extra turns and go off from there. A close one but that’s what makes the deck exciting. Game Two: I mulligan to 5 with a mind twist and a howling mine. I’m hoping I can claw my way back into this with those. With my first draw I pull Black Lotus. Interesting. I play land, jet, lotus, and mind twist his hand. This is peak old school with busted cards doing busted things. I play my Howling Mine but he topdecks the disenchant for it. I topdeck a timetwister and play it. Mind Twist redacted. Off the twister, I play a Mox and a Howling Mine, say go, and hold my breath. He of course disenchants the mine and plays land tax. I untap and resolve Ancestral. He only has a red mana up, so I figure he doesn’t have REB in hand. I tutor for time vault, play it, and twiddle for another turn. But he has the REB and counters the twiddle! He plays a chaos orb, which will be tricky to play through. He says go with Orb up, and I take the opportunity to untap my time vault. This way I can at least use it once without it getting blown up. Only then do I realize the danger I’m in that he can possibly taxedge me to death while I’m tapped out. I’m at 15 and he only need 7 lands or 6 with a bolt to end me. He casts Demonic Tutor and I think this is it. But he doesn’t kill me! He instead plays Energy Flux and has to discard his 8th card. That’s tough for sure facing an energy flux and chaos orb but at least I’m not dead. I untap. The flux takes some casualties but I keep time vault. I have the REB for the flux and the untapped vault, so I’ll at least have a go of this. I play strip mine and use it on his sole untapped mountain. He’s got to use the chaos orb now or never. He doesn’t use it. I REB his energy flux, tap my vault to take another turn, and play one more twiddle. Next turn I play a mine and wheel and go off. Whew that was close. Let’s make like a tree and get out of here!
Match 2 vs Francois Rousseau on LionDibBolt
Best slow build: Tenet
Game One: We start with some back and forth. He strips my Library. I braingeyser for three. Then I land a Howling Mine. He attacks me with a factory for 5 turns and then taps out to play a Dib and a Lion. I untap, transmute out a time vault, twiddle it and go off. Game Two: He strips my Library again. I regrowth it. He strips it yet again. I demonic tutor for Wheel of Fortune. He shows me two Psychic Purges. Ouch, TENet damage! A few Dib and factory beats later and we are on to Game Three. Psychic Purge is a headache.
Game Three: I start with Ancestral during his upkeep. He strips my land. I strip his land. I play time walk then regrowth the ancestral and cast it again. I bring Library online. It’s good to play all the restricted cards. He demonic tutors for a strip and kills my Library. Go figure. At last the strip mines subside and I play a howling mine that sticks. I tutor for a time vault and pass the turn since he’s got all his mana untapped. He plays a Lion. I can then strip his only white source to take him off disenchant mana, play my time vault and a twiddle and go off. It turns out he’s holding a BEB but before I play my fireball I strip his last blue mana source so he doesn’t get to use that after all. So my red team moves forward but his blue team doesn’t stop them.
Match 3 vs Mike Ridler on Green Stompy
Most heartwarming: Muppets Christmas Carol
Game One: I start strong with land, mox into Howling Mine and play a lotus for later. He goes forest, Llanowar Elf. I play a land, time vault and a twiddle. With my extra turn I can crack the lotus and make him discard his hand. Woof. He adds a few more green guys to the board but I play an Ancestral then a regular Recall and seal the deal. Game Two: He starts off with a Scavenger Folk. That’s strong against me. I play two moxen and drop a chaos to kill it. It’s a hit. He plays an Elf; I play Howling Mine. He plays a Pixies. I tutor for ancestral and draw three. He plays factory and attacks me to 12. I time walk and a second mine to draw three more. I recall and play the time walk. Next turn I tutor for a time vault and twiddle it. He has the crumble but I counter it. I can go off from there. Mike was an excellent opponent and a joy to play against. His green guys did their best Kermit impression but the clock struck midnight anyway.
Match 4 vs Peter Mangus on Robots
Most crushing ending: Terminator
Game One: He starts with a factory. I start with mox, land, and a time vault this time. He misses his second land drop so I take the opportunity to untap my time vault instead. This seems like a good spot to do that. I get to play a mine and tap the vault for another turn. I add a second howling mine. He punches in with factory to send me to 16. I mind twist him, but in response he casts Ancestral to go up to 9 cards. That’s effective. He casts Animate Dead on his Suchi from the twist! “I’ll be back” says Suchi. He psiblasts me to 12 and attacks me to 7, then tutors for time walk and taps his last mana for a game-ending turn. I tap two islands and cast the best feeling counterspell. He’s tapped out and my two mines draw me into extra turns and I get there. Game Two: I get lots of mana so I strip his first land. He adds a mana vault and workshop. Once I get to 4 mana, I tap 2 for time vault. I then cast my black lotus. In response, he disenchants the time vault. Oooh. I think a bit and tap 2 to counter the disenchant. I want to save the counter for a trike or something but I need it here too.On his turn he disenchants the time vault again. Dead. I try to Recall my vault, but he REBs it. I sac my lotus to cast timetwister then pass the turn. He goes lotus into trike and time walk. This is the scary part about twisting time. He attacks and passes the turn. I try to chaos orb his trike. In response to the flip he deals me 3. I don’t need to kill a 1/1 so I kill a land instead, taking him back to 5 mana and I hope that stops him from playing another trike. On his turn, he casts his own timetwister. Interesting. He follows up with a time walk. I only have U untapped so I can’t counter it, but I do have a twiddle. He then taps out to cast fellwar stone. I use the window presented by the artifact to crush his dreams, just like Sarah crushes Arnold Schwarzenegger. I can twiddle my time vault, taking another turn before his time walk can get me. I don’t have much card draw, but I am able to chain together some twiddles and recalls to find a wheel of fortune and get out of batch one unscathed.
Match 5 vs Michael Russo on Robots
Most rewatchable: Groundhog Day
I lost to Michael in the elimination rounds of December NEOS on Robots to end my run to win the league. I’m hoping I can get the best of him this time. Game One: Bill Murray reliably starts every day by stepping in a pothole. And Michael reliably starts by losing the die roll. He says he lost 6 of 7 die rolls this derby. I start with a Howling Mine. He answers it with Chaos Orb. He plays Suchi and I counter it. I tutor and play my time walk, then follow it up with Wheel of Fortune. He plays an Icy and I counter another Suchi. We draw-go for a few turns then I pull Ancestral which draws me into Braingeyser that gets me the cards I need to go off. Game Two: He gets a trike down and then a tawnos coffin. This looks familiar. That combo is what he beat me with in the December NEOS semis. Will today be different? He then passes with 3 mana up, enough to use the coffin. I think and EOT I crumble his untapped sapphire to take him off coffin shenanigans. He responds by tapping out and psiblasting me to 10. With him tapped out,I cast Wheel of Fortune and escape this rerun a thankful man.
Match 6 vs Joe Becica on TaxEdge
Most plains: Interstellar
Game One: He starts with Savannah Lions. I get Library and draw on his turn. He plays Land Tax and stays on one plains. I play an underground sea, tap the Library to play sol ring for time vault, tap the sea for twiddle. I can then regrowth the twiddle, cast howling mine, use the sol ring to recall both twiddle and regrowth and capture the rare turn 2 win. Oooh it feels so good. Game Two: He begins again with Plains. I go mox, mox, land, timetwister. Ooh I love playing power. His second turn sees another plains and two Lions. I get to cast time walk and Howling Mine to draw an extra card first. Transmute Artifact and Twiddle get me another turn. I’m out of turns so opt for Mind Twist instead of holding up a counterspell. Mind Twist is busted but maybe I would have been better off with the blue denial. He’s out of cards but topdecks a third Lion and attacks me to 15. This will go fast. I draw blanks. 9 life. He plays Land Tax and starts fetching lands. More blanks. 3 Life. This is it. The black hole is pulling me in. He casts Winds of Change with 8 cards. I could counter it, but I think a fresh start is a better gamble. His new hand lets him disenchant my time vault but he taps out to do it. I can cast Demonic Tutor for Time Walk and start looping tutor for recalls until I have all the time I need. That was another close one.
Match 7 vs Koen Haak on TrollDisco
Best costume design: Donnie Darko
Game One: I try to match his turn 1 Library with my own howling mine. He goes to kill my mine with chaos orb but I have the counterspell. I transmute out a second Howling Mine to continue to try to catch up. He drops one ugly Sedge Troll and while he only has one blue mana untapped, I use my other transmute for time vault, play twiddle, and get it done. Game Two: I start with a mox and a Howling Mine. He answers with an Energy Flux. I can keep paying 2 to keep the mine alive, but I’m not doing anything else. I keep playing lands but can’t find what I need. He plays Troll and Juzam and the clock counts down to zero. Game Three: I mulligan to 5 and he gets an early hymn, taking out the Howling Mine in my hand. He adds a Hippie to haunt my dreams, then a Troll. A Nevinyrral’s Disk falls from the sky to kill everything. He tutors for another Disk, and the Troll beats me to oblivion. Can’t get around that. Our hero didn’t make it out of this one. On to the final showdown. This will be my win and in. No pressure.
Match 8 vs Pez Unholy on Robots
Biggest stakes: Terminator 2, Judgement Day
Game One: I’m facing off against robots again to try to avoid annihilation. I start with Library. Always good. He matches with his own first turn Library. I draw and strip his Library. He plays a workshop into a chaos orb, poised for burning books. I can use my library again, and then time walk to get an extra card. I draw and strip his Workshop. He strips my Library. He plays a factory that gets stripped. He’s back to no lands. He plays another and a workshop and finally casts Suchi. While he’s tapped out and Chaos Orb is idle, I transmute out a time vault and twiddle it. I take some extra turns and play Wheel of Fortune into more gas and can win from there. Game Two: I keep a risky one with one land and Ancestral. Go big or go home, and I might be doing either here. I fire it off on his upkeep. He time walks out another land and attacks with factory. I play my own time walk, and lay a lotus. I go again with vault and twiddle. I get a sol ring and the lotus lets me braingeyser for 5. That draws me into a land to twiddle the vault once again. I strip his white source, play howling mine and pass it over. He plays workshop and pulls a T-1000, copying my sol ring, but leaving him with only colorless mana untapped. I draw twiddle, transmute out another mine, and play recall which gives me two more turns and 6 cards which seals the deal. Hasta la vista, baby! I’m 7-1 and made the Top16 of the Derby for my first time ever!
Top 16 vs Julian Reidl on Erhnamageddon
Best fight scenes: Edge of Tomorrow
Game One: Julian is the higher seed so gets to go first. He starts fast with forest, birds of paradise, mox sapphire. I start faster with lotus, ancestral, sapphire, ruby, strip mine, two howling mines, go. Boom boom boom! He drops another land and ernie and we drop into battle right away. I could hold up counterspell, but I’m afraid he’ll strip my island and mind twist me. So instead I go the more convoluted route to recall that counterspell into black lotus so I can cast demonic tutor (I had no black mana) and fetch time walk. I’m hoping to draw into recalls or twiddles while staying alive. I do drop a time vault and keep up UUU to avoid the strip/mindtwist. He attacks me to 16 and disenchants my time vault. I draw and can recall time walk and demonic tutor. I cast the walk and next turn tutor up and play wheel. I’m drawing a ton of cards here but I’m out of gas. I have to transmute a mine into chaos orb to kill his ernie. I could take another ernie hit, but I’m still afraid of mind twist and I’m hoping I buy more time with this play. He does in fact mind twist me for 5 of my 6. When he also draws 20 cards, he’s gonna find a mind twist. He hits my timetwister which was my get out of jail card. If I had a counterspell in hand, I would have saved my orb mana and lived to fight another day. I do nothing and he plays serra angel and pixies. I draw nothing and he attacks me and psi blasts to end the game. Game Two: I start off with a mox and a howling mine. He’s got a bird and strips my tapped strip. Well okay. I can time walk with a mine in play. He summons two pixies. The race is on. I take another turn with a vault and twiddle. Then I drop my own erhnam, hoping this holds off his pixies for a bit. But he swords it right away and attacks me back to 20. I play another Howling Mine. I drop to 16. He disenchants my time vault and adds his own Erhnam. I play another Erhnam, hoping he gets to block this time. How many swords did he keep in? He again has the STP. Djinn is gone. He attacks me to 12. I play my third erhnam djinn. Is he out of swords yet? He mind twists me to be sure and regrowths his swords to clear my erhnam. It won’t save me here. I draw lands and that’s the game! It turns out he only kept two swords in his deck, but he got them when he needed them. I may have fallen today but like Tom Cruise I’ll be back!
I had a blast this derby. It was most outstanding. I got to meet some great people along the way, have some intense showdowns, and even learned a thing or two. Thanks again to all my opponents and Dave for making this such a great tradition.
Be excellent to each other and party on dudes!
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