söndag 27 januari 2013

Regensburg Rumble

A few months ago I mentioned that a German player had contacted me about old school Mtg. Since I'm currently working in Munich, which is about an hour and a half away from Regensburg where he lived, we decided to meet up.

I met Martin at the station and we walked through the beautiful city, passing by Catherdral and the Bridge, chatting about nostalgia and good times. We came home to Martin's place and I met his family, got a beer and had a look at his amazing collections. It hard to explain the feeling properly, and my few pictures are horribly blurry, but among other things a got to see the serra angel statue, pretty munch everything done by Rebecca Guay, and a complete collection of He-Man figures.

Moxen!

He-Man!

After about an hour we went to the local pub to play. The pub was called Die Tankstelle, a place with wooden interior, rock music, beers served at the table and mostly a few regular as customers. It felt very much like Rotary Pub in Gothenburg, definitly my kind of place.

This was what I had sleeved up (my current, at this point very unfinished, project):

Martin had build his deck according to the Chang school if I remeber correctly. The first game went fairly quick when I could get a Chaos Orb/Guardian Best lock down on turn 4, when Martin stumbled on his mana. I think we played out around 6 games for a total finish of about 3-3 i duels, Martin beat me with Rasputin Dreamweaver and Mishras, I managed to go inf with Basalt Monolith and beat down with Su-chis other times. My Xenic Poltergeists never got to live and make a difference, but at least they could eat some bolts. Guardian Beast is btw a really awesome card.

Of course I immediately topdecked another Guardian Beast


I somehow managed to lose this one.

After a little while Alex joined up with a deck inspired by something that won a large tournament in Regensburg about 15 years ago. Lots of Serendibs and Juggernauts. Fairly even matchup this one as well, with some edge to Alex.

The Wretched? Clearly unbeatable.

 Powerful dudes with powerful cards.

It was a very sweet evening, and I was great to get a chance to play some magic again! I pretty much hadn't touched my old school cards since I moved to Munich in November. Lots of thanks to Martin and Alex for their hospitality, and I hope to come back to Regensburg in the coming months!

tisdag 15 januari 2013

Magic: The Charades

If you get enough old school players and beer in one room, the results will inevitably be Magic: the Charades...







söndag 13 januari 2013

Banned and restricted: 1994 and now

Magic's very first B&R rules simply stated that you could not play with more than one of each artifact, and no more than a total of five artifacts in your deck. That didn't live for long, and in January 1994 (after Arabian Nights, before Antiquities) USENET provided the first ever proper banned/restricted list. The banned cards were the ante cards and Shahrazad; the restricted cards were a pile of power and randoms. Cards like Orcish Oriflame was restricted due to the 2-mana alpha version, Dingus Egg was restricted since it was to good with Armageddon. Cards like Balance, Mind Twist, Channel, Library of Alexandria and Chaos Orb were free to play as 4-offs.

Flash forward to the autumn of 94. Three new expansions have been released (Antiquities, Legends and The Dark). The tournament scene has grown, the successful tournament players understand the power of card advantage, and the control decks have evolved to the best decks in the game. This is where we come in, these are the cards we play with. The B&R this time 94 looked like this:

Restricted (30)
Ali from Cairo
Ancestral Recall
Berserk
Black Lotus
Braingeyser
Candelabra of Tawnos
Channel
Chaos Orb
Copy Artifact
Demonic Tutor
Falling Star
Feldon's Cane
Ivory Tower
Library of Alexandria
Maze of Ith
Mirror Universe
Mishra's Workshop
Mox Emerald
Mox Jet
Mox Pearl
Mox Ruby
Mox Sapphire
Recall
Regrowth
Sol Ring
Sword of the Ages
Underworld Dreams
Time Walk
Timetwister
Wheel of Fortune
Banned (3 + Ante)
Divine Intervention
Shahrazad
Time Vault
Ante cards

One of the first things we notice with the B&R list is the cards that are banned and restricted here, but legal in e.g. Legacy without being played there at all. Cards like Copy Artifact, Mirror Universe, Feldon's Cane and Recall fall into this category. We note cards on the list that are both legal and playable in legacy; this would be cards like Maze of Ith and Berserk. Next we note cards that are legal in vintage but restricted here, that would be the Workshop. Then we note cards that are restricted/banned in Vintage today, but doesn't appear on this list, e.g. Strip Mine, Shahrazad and Balance; and finally Mana Drain, which is legal in Vintage but banned in Legacy.

This list is clearly an improvement of the one from January 1994, but with our current knowledge of magic, this list needs to be updated to something that doesn't just break the format. Mind Twist for example was banned for a long time in vintage, and Black Vise is incredibly powerful but nowhere to be seen here. Also how good are really cards like Recall and Ivory Tower? (Spoiler: Recall is awesome).

The first steps to create a more balanced list was to play a lot against the potentially busted cards and decks. The point where our B&R is right now has evolved for over five years, and we are still tweaking it; last year we saw the unrestriction of Fastbond, and the re-restriction of Mirror Universe after having that card legal for two years. The point were the list is right now is well though trough, even if some cards might seem surprising for new players in the format (yes, Power Artifact is good):

Restricted (30)
Ancestral Recall
Balance
Black Lotus
Black Vise
Braingeyser
Channel
Chaos Orb
Demonic Tutor
Fork
Library of Alexandria
Mana Vault
Maze of Ith
Mind Twist
Mirror Universe
Mishra's Workshop
Mox Emerald
Mox Jet
Mox Pearl
Mox Ruby
Mox Sapphire
Power Artifact
Recall
Regrowth
Shahrazad
Sol Ring
Strip Mine
Time Vault
Time Walk
Timetwister
Wheel of Fortune

After n00bcon (during the coming Easter), we will give the list a thorough look again and see if we need to change something else in order to keep the format fun. The last two years many players have complained about having Mana Drain legal as a 4-off, and players have also expressed that Fork could be a nice card to un-restrict. If you have any suggestions on the B&R, you're welcome to send me a mail to delaval(at)gmail(dot)com.

lördag 5 januari 2013

Skull of Orm tech

Daniel "GaJol" Nilsson has a great love for the spirit of the format. I've never seen him play blue, or with the high end power cards, but he can easily play with a set of Abyss and alpha Scrublands or Bayous in case his decks needs some colour splash. In terms of price, his creations are not averse to compete with cheaper versions of the deck; in terms of awesomeness, he runs them over. I've seen him compete in tournaments with a deck that ran on 16 lands due to the fact that he couldn't find the last 5 basics (that didn't go well btw), I've seen him prox Juzams for Su-Chi in order to test properly, and I've seen him hang out for hours to play and drink beer with other players after he's been out of contention to the top8. Last BSK he ended up in the top4 with one of the strangest decks in the tournament; a mostly black creation that won with Warp Artifact, Haunting Wind and Underworld Dreams. For some reason, maybe due to his very casual and friendly approach to other players, I've never seen him as a real threat in tournaments; he has always seemed like a random awesome old school player with a beer in one hand and a pair of juzams in the other. I've realized that is a misconception. Currently, he's ranked at number 5 in the pimpwalker race, with an inspiring 29 points; the four guys above him (Kalle, Pefken, Elof and Schram) are all previous Shark-winners and recognized as players you really don't want to face round 1 of a tournament. GaJol does not have that recognition among players yet, but that might be due for a change soon.

One of my personal favorites of his creations during 2012 is an updated version of his old Skull of Orm deck. There are lots of strange combos in here, but one of the main goals are to sacrifice a Su-Chi enchanted by Animate Dead and return the Animate Dead with Skull of Orm, this somehow leads to profit. It's all very strange and awesome.


CREATURES (16)
4 Priest of Yawgmoth
4 Triskelion
4 Su-Chi
4 Colossus of Sardia

ENCHANTMENTS (8)
4 Animate Dead
4 Instill Energy

SORCERIES (2)
1 Mind Twist
1 Demonic Tutor
ARTIFACTS (14)
4 Skull of Orm
4 Fellwar Stone
3 Jalum Tome
1 Basalt Monolith
1 Mana Vault
1 Sol Ring

LANDS (20)
1 Diamond Valley
1 Mishra’s Workshop
10 Swamp
4 Bayou
4 City of Brass


GaJol is building something