torsdag 27 juni 2013

Warcon 2012

In about 4 weeks we'll hopefully have a 93/94 tournament at Warcon in Varberg. I wrote this report after last year's tournament. The report was written in Swedish, as the blog's readers were pretty much only Swedes a year ago (that may also have something to do with the fact that the blog was in Swedish). Today only about 1 in 20 readers are Swedes, so I post a crude translation of my old tournament.

During the Thursday before the Warcon weekend I'd just moved in with my girlfriend, and there were a lot of moving dust on a lot of walls. Luckily the jigsaw fell together in acceptable time, and by half past ten Saturday morning I was waiting by Marklandsgatan to get picked up by the Mirth Mobile and cruise to Varberg. The Mirth Mobile consisted of Max, Honka, Kalle and me; and we had nothing in terms of plans for the weekend or how long we should stay at the convention. I'd chosen to hedge my bets by bringing a sleeping bag with me, but that only served as an incitement for the other members of the car to trash talk me about being overly prepared. Standing at Marklandsgatan, I ran into Nilsson, aka GaJol, who at the last moment had dodged his responsibilities as cat watcher to join the Mirth Mobile and play some black/white control-combo with Skull of Orm (combos well with Su-Chi, Animate Dead and Diamond Valley).

We met up with Honka and the rest of the gang, who had all bought some hip “energy drink” called Monster Rehab. It was green tea and no carbon, and tasted unhealthy in a healthy way. We washed it down with a few beer, rode some car, got to Varberg, found the site, and I got up to hang out with the old Heart Wolves while the rest of the Mirth Mobile found a place to buy alcohol (as a footnote, it's not that easy in Sweden, we have a government monopoly on alcoholic drinks and they can only be bought in certain stores at certain times). I grumble a little bit as I lend out some plains and random cards to people (as I usually don't get cards back when I let people borrow them at conventions), and then just sit and sweet talks (in a masculine way) with Åland who had arrived at the site insanely early. Viktor (Old School) and a crew of other rad dudes starts dropping in, and after some issues with DCI-reporter (some 93/94-players don't have DCI numbers) we're all ready to flip some Chaos Orbs and lose to Millstones.

Pre-game tech. Jhovalking can't find the Twiddles he needs for his deck, but 4-off Bird is the word.
Match 1, vs Eureka! (Michael, aka Johvalking)
An hour or so late the first game is afoot, and my opponent is a mise-monster who plays mise-monsters. We tell some anecdotes about Oslo (where Michael's currently living and I'm moving to in September), and snicker profusely.

My two main-deck Dust to Dust buys me a lot of time in the first duel, as they pick of an assortment of on-color moxen and a colossus that was cast of a Mana Drain. We're trading threats for removals a few turns, and suddenly I get the chance to combo out. I have double Land Tax and Land's Edge in play, and all I have to do is to hit one of my lands with Chaos Orb to activate the tax man. Rusty skills on the flipping combined with some beer makes me miss however, but when I one turn later resolves a Blood Moon, Michael scoops up his cards. His Lotus and green mox were gone, his birds were bolted, and his manabase didn't include any basics. Magic is an easy game. I sideboard out some random durdle and my Chaos Orb, as I clearly can't trust it, and board in Shahrazad and more Moons.

Michael holds the flag high in the beginning of the second duel, and I'm very aware of the fact that an Eureka can result in 25 damage on the spot. I play a Serra Angel which gets Mana Drained into a Colossus. I have the swords to exile it and put Michael at 29 life, but I can follow it with Shahrazad playing the subgame with a deck that contains all my bolts, taxes and edges. The subgame is over fairly quickly, and Shahrazad deals 14 damage for two white mana. Later in the main game I manage to resolve a couple of Thunder Spirits and bolt away a Clone, and my fliers goes all the way. Michaels hand after he lost was Nicol Bolas, Colossus of Sardia, Concordant Crossroads, Mana Drain and something else. An Eureka would have been pretty rough there, but the red-white heroes decided to win before he got to top-deck.

Max attempts to make himself Japanese pimp. The result speaks for itself.
Match 2, vs MonoBlue (Max, aka Balderuse)
Max is the driver of the Mirth Mobile, as well as my new neighbor after the weeks move, so in order to avoid having to walk home I feel the need to keep my trash talk on a timid level. The plan fails miserably, and around the time of pre-game pile shuffling we've questioned each other's decks, reasons for existence, sexual preferences, and how our game one opponents could have been so unlucky that they lost against a n00b. It's not easy to be constantly polite when you're used to the trash talk meta of Gothenburg.

Max is playing MonoBlue, with a steady supply of Time Elementals and Old Men of the Sea that will control the late game if his Serendibs would fail to take down the early game. His Flood only affects my White Knights, but I suspect a large number of Control Magics and Clones. During game one I'm never able to play Serra Angel with a clear conscience, as a Control Magic would run me over completely. I take game one on the back of a pair of Armageddons, and post-board I can fill up on Blasts. Max doesn't appear to play Power Sink, so I can force through some relevant spells after baiting his counters. Geddon, Dust to Dust, and Blasts are houses, and the whole ordeal is fairly painless, even though it's not an entirely obvious matchup.

Looks like Honka plays monoblack. Nerd Thugz!
Match 3, vs The Deck (Åland, aka Aginamist)
Åland made his debut in the format about a month earlier during Gråberget Champs, and have since then dug up about $5k winner-cards in order to build a truly strong control deck. I heard after the game that he lacked the 4th Mana Drain and a Time Walk, but 8 power cards and the library were cheating around in his 75 nonetheless. I've played around inf games against The Deck with Tax Edge, and with maindeck sideboard cards like Blood Moon and Dust to Dust, as well as an additional 7-8 slots in the sideboard against it, I'd give myself an almost 60% matchup (at least as long as I won't have to face Kalle). Activated Mirror Universe is almost always game, but I have at least 8 answers to it post board.

Game one was not a sight for sore eyes, as Åland casts multiple Fellwar Stones and easily plays around both Moons and Geddon. He manages to resolve both Mind Twist and Mirror Universe (as I for some reason assumed that he didn't play black, and didn't remove his Mox Jet). During game two we both take mulligans to 5, and as my deck mulls generously with Land Tax and Winds of Change, while Åland's deck won't find Ancestral before I find a Blast. Last game handed out some cheaty plays from both sides of the table, until Åland decides to play a match deciding Mind Twist. Åland was at 12, took two damage from his Cities when playing the Twist for my entire hand of 4 cards. I respond by throwing three lands in his head with Land's Edge (my last card was a REB), and during my next turn I'm able to topdeck a Lightning Bolt and attack for the last point with my lonely White Knight. Very fair, and I place myself at a reasonable 3-0.

Kalle loses in match 4 by sucking at Magic. Not seeing him in the single elimination rounds is highly unusual.
Match 4, vs The Burn Deck (Elof)
Elof is a rough opponent who just missed top8 at n00bcon 4, ending up at a respectable 9th place there. As the only two players at 3-0 we won't have to worry about a rough game here though; we ID into top4 with a lark, and walk out in the sun to spend an hour drinking beer. Magic is an easy game.

Semi finals, vs The Deck (Åland again)
Åland wins the flip, and game one appears to be in my favour, as Åland mulls to five while I have a very sweet keep with Mox Pearl, Land Tax, Library of Alexandria. Looks like a hard hand to lose with, even if Åland would have mulled into Ancestral. It turns out that Åland is a slightly better player than me after all though, as his turn one play is City of Brass, Black Lotus, Time Twister. Åland effectively mulls to 8, and my new hand is comparably useless. It ends with Åland burning me out with two Fireballs in lategame. Game two I beat him down to 7 before he gets to exchange that for my 26 with the Mirror (he sworded a Thunder Spirit and a Serra earlier). I manage to beat him down to five before he topdecks a Fireball and finish me off. It's kind of annoying to attack someone for 34 without them dying. An interesting scenario during one of our games was when Åland's board, sometime during lategame, only consisted of five moxen and a Black Lotus. Sometimes Geddon won't walk the extra mile. During this game I cemented the opinion that Fellwar Stone is amazing against Tax Edge; it walks around Geddon and Blood Moon, and supplies white mana to both Swords and Disenchans to get out of soft locks.

Warcons convention Shark, and a lucky someone's future sideboard card.
Loss that is, and no Shark for me today neither. The second semi finals was between Elof and Honka's MonoBlack. Honka was one of four players at 2-1-1 (the other three were Kalle, Viktor and GaJol), but as his only loss was against Elof, he pulled the longest straw. Honka's deck have a lot of things going on against The Deck, not the least in his full sets of both Underworld Dreams and Sinkhole maindeck. Elof decided he mise well win again in the semi-finals though, and he was on to face Åland in the finals. 

Intense control mirror in the finals.
The finals between the two control-heroes were surprisingly intense (more so than the 2.5 hour long semi-finals between Dan and Rober Schram at BSK 2011 at least). As far as I remember, it was decided in the third and final game of tournament, when both Elof and Åland had about 10 life and active Disrupting Scepters, and were in some kind of strange topdecking mode. During a deciding moment, Åland decided not to activate his Scepter, which made elof able to keep a card in hand after each Scepter activation for the rest of the game. That in turn let him have a counter for Ålands lethal Fireball (which in turn made Åland unable to active the Scepter that round as well). Elof could then during his next turn activate his own Scepter to take Ålands last card (a Counterspell), cast Recall for Time Walk and Fireball, take an extra turn, and then cast a lethal Fireball. Well played, good game, and congratulations to Elof!

So! Damn! LUCKEEEEEEEEEEEE!
I and Elof followed up the 93/94 tournament by playing the Eternal King qualification tournament where I managed to beat him in the semi-finals, just before I was crushed myself in the finals by some innovative combo deck. I and Elof split the few hundred crowns we won, drank more beer, and Elof then volunteered to let the entire Mirth Mobile stay over at his place.
Nerd Thugz! Fuck tha Police!
About a cube draft later; I, Kalle and Honka was lost in the woods of Varberg as the rest of the Mirth Mobile had driven home to Elof. The Varberg night treated us well, and an hour later we all slept at mattresses and floors in the home of the new Shark. The next morning was broken around 1 pm, and after some hangover stories and tech we were on our way back to Gotheburg. The road trip home included, besides the obligatory trash talk and burger king pit stop, a nightmarish story told by GaJol about when a friend of his accidentally sat down on a sharp stick. I won't be able to make it unheard myself, but I will spare you the horrible details. 

GaJol doing some morning-after tech.
In conclusion, it was a sweet convention with a sweet tournament, and I'm as always looking forward to the next opportunity to meet all the rad guys. An extra shout out to Viktor “Oldschool” Peterson who took the time to make it all happen, and fixed the trophy and the shark.

Thumbs up to you, Bro!

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