VML Season 12 Week 6 Player Showcase

by Looter-Scooter

With division play over halfway completed, competition for the top two division slots is heating up. Players can get into playoffs through the wildcard slots, but getting top two in a division guarantees the spot. This week I talked to seven of the players who are 4-1 or 5-0 fighting for their playoff spot.

Quill Knight

Quill Knight is playing her fourth season in Division 16. Four players in this division are 4-1, making it the most competitive division this season. This week, Quill is playing 5 Color Slugurk against Reav’s Jeskai Control deck.

Why did you choose your deck this week?

I have loved the Slogurk + channel lands value engine since Kamigawa released, and was super pumped to see this build come together with Rutstein. Been dying to try it out!

What goals did you have going into the season?

I wanted a rematch vs Jason Ye from season 9 (my worst season) which means making playoffs (turning this into my best season).

Ollie Davis

Ollie is playing in their first season of the VML. They’re 5-0 in Division 5 and brought Boros Convoke versus janMelantu on Mono Red Aggro

How did you get involved in the VML?

I follow Nile on Twitter (one of the best posters out there, shoutout Nile), and a few months ago she posted about the Birds of Paradise Open tournament. I’d only ever competed in constructed Magic once, years ago, and had a pretty middling time, but I’ve gotten much better at Magic since then and hadn’t taken a shot at competitive play in a while. I decided to go for it, and both had more fun and did better than I expected! After that experience, I was keeping my eye out for similar opportunities, when I came across the VML and signed up as soon as I could!

What does the VML mean to you?

Even though I’m new to the VML, this has been a really special experience for me so far. Knowing that all of my opponents are of a marginalized gender makes me feel much more comfortable and at home than a league where that wouldn’t be the case. That is part of what gave me the bravery to sign up for a testing team, and being part of a team has been such a shining experience for me. I’ve never had a place where I can bounce high-level (or stupid!) questions and conversations off of people who genuinely want us all to be the best Magic player we can, and it’s so cool to be a part of that. It’s also wonderful to have a place where we can celebrate each other’s successes or soften the blow of our shortcomings together. Being a part of that team and proving to myself that I can do well in constructed formats if I put my mind to it has been a really meaningful experience for me.

Ashley Fairchild

Ashley is one of the other people 4-1 in Division 16, playing Boros Convoke all season. This is her second season in the VML.

How did you start playing Magic?

I started playing Magic when a friend convinced me to go to our local game store’s Lorwyn release draft. I had a lot of fun, so I kept playing.

What does the VML mean to you?

The VML’s opportunity for inclusion/representation is critical for our community. I am glad that it exists, and I hope to see even more initiatives like it in the future.

Ryan C

Ryan is leading Division 10 with a 4-1 record, especially impressive for their first VML season. He’s bringing Golgari Midrange this week and is facing mafermtg’s Mono Red Aggro deck. 

Why did you choose your deck this week?

This week’s opponent has played the same deck for all 5 previous weeks, so I metagamed against her pretty hard! I took a normal GB midrange list and added a bunch of cards I thought would be good against mono red.

What does your testing process look like?

I’m going to take a second to brag and say that our testing team is crushing the field!!! I think we have 5 of the division leaders right now. We try to be there for each other to “villain” and prepare matchup plans. This is what I told my team at the beginning of the season, and I think we’ve stuck to it! Intentional practice >>> ladder practice! Don’t be shy to ask folks to jam specific matchups and use the voice channels. Feel free to stream in a voice channel (silently even) when you’re playing on your own, that way people can silently observe or join in to collaborate on plays depending on capacity/comfort level. I want us to be playing lots of Magic together to the extent that we can – That’s how we’re gonna win!

Amy James

Amy is playing her second VML season, and is 4-1 in Division 12. This week she’s playing Bant Toxic against checkmateCora on Mono Blue Tempo.

How do you feel about your matchup this week?

Based on the toxic vs. monoblue testing I’ve done thus far… well, I don’t want to count my eggs before they’ve cracked (that’s how the saying goes, right?) but the matchup seems very, very good for me. Obviously anything can happen – this IS a high variance game, after all – but I’m feeling quite confident.

What goals did you have going into the season?

My goals heading into any magic event tend not to be much more well-conceptualized than “I’m just gonna try to win as many matches as I can and see how it goes from there”; now that we’re deep enough in the tournament for me to have a concrete sense of how I’m playing and how my opponents have been playing, I’m definitely at the very least aiming for an RC invite, if not for taking down the entire thing. Certainly either one is a tall order, and I’m sure I’ve got a real murderers row of opponents awaiting me in the future, but I’m excited for the challenge and confident I can rise to meet it.


Reavh is our third player in Division 16 this week, playing Jeskai Control all season long. This is her first season in the VML. 

How did you start playing Magic?

My youngest sibling messaged me right before War of the Spark came out and said “come play FNM, we have an extra deck for you”, and handed me a Gruul Rhythm of the Wild deck. I cast Ghalta with a single Forest and pile of elves on the board, then opened a Stomping Ground in my first prize pack. I’ve been hooked since.

What does the VML mean to you?

I wanted to see how I could stack up against all the Magic people I follow on Twitter, plus get to meet some more!


Renz is 4-1 in Division 12, having played Domain Control and Gruul Aggro all season. She registered Domain this week against Rah, playing Mono Red Aggro.

What does your testing process look like?

So, all testing sessions start with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc… All jokes aside, I just pound myself with reps with the deck against different archetypes. I will modify my sideboard choices and decisions in game slightly with each match just so I have comparative data to discuss with my teammates (s/o The Doomsday Dolls!)

What goals did you have going into the season?

My goal is to win it all, but I’ve always been an “aim small, miss small” kinda girlie. I try not to think of my final destination and just focus on my matchup for the week and take it from there.

Wrap Up

And that’s all for this week! Next week is the final week before playoffs, and I’ll be featuring matches between players competing for the top division spots.