måndag 25 november 2013

Colossus Skull

Ahh, the man that is GaJol. I've written about his tech twice before, once about the old Skull of Orm deck and once about his distress deck. I'm not really sure exactly what he's up to these days, but the word on the street is that he's back in Sweden again for the foreseeable future.

GaJol enjoying a good beer and Schram.
GaJol teamed up with Viktor "Oldschool" to prepare for BSK. The deck he put together is definitely one of my favorites from the tournament. I'm not really sure what is maindeck and what is sideboard here though. I believe that the cards on the last row are most of the sideboard, except for the fourth Priest of Yawgmoth and the Berserk, and that the two All Hallow's Eve are supposed to be in the board.

Lots of shenanigans going on here

tisdag 19 november 2013

Revisting the Grail

At BSK I finalized a trade for a particular card that I'd had my eyes on for over six months. I've wanted the card for as long as I've played, but this specific copy was the one I'd been trying to get since n00bcon. I only know about 4 or 5 copies of alpha Black Lotus in Sweden, and I've only seen two of them IRL, but this was my favorite copy of the few I know to exist :)

Roland bizing moxes, lotuses and duals (it was obviously more to the trade than the cards on the table here).
I know around 15 years of the card's history. It was acquired by a guy in Texas around 97/98, and then sold to Roland Johansson in 2005. Among it's sightings in Gothenburg, Roland played the card to the finals of the Gothcon Vintage tournament in 2007, and won that tournament again with the card in 2008. There is actually a previous picture of the card at this blog as well, from my short deck tech about Roland's machine head ponza from n00bcon 5. I wonder who opened the card, and if that person was more impressed of a Craw Wurm or something from that pack. Not an impossible scenario.

Swamp, Lotus, Scavenging Ghoul, go.
So, now my Project M deck has taken a leap forward, and few steps back. I don't have any moxes for the deck anymore, but I have the card that I though would be the by far most difficult to get my hands on. Moxes, schmoxes.

I did a post a while back about Black Lotus and Holy Grails. Alpha Black Lotus is pretty much as deep as you can go considering the requirements for a "grail", but there actually are some rarities from 93/94 that I assume could fetch a higher price than a (played) alpha lotus, if they were to be sold. Here are three examples for you trivia buffs:
  • High end "pre-alpha" cards, that is playtest cards. There were three editions of the playtest cards (alpha, beta and gamma; easy to mix up the names). I have no idea how much the asking price would be for the Starburst card I showed in my post about Time Walk, but I guess it would be stupid high.
  • High end Summer Magic cards. In particular Serendib Efreet from Edgar is insanely expensive.
  • High end Antiquites/Unlimited double sided test prints. Just crazy.
 I don't really want to own test prints and such myself though. I want to play with my cards, and use my lotus to cast a second turn Vesuvan Doppelganger. I'm really glad to finally have it :)

torsdag 14 november 2013

White winner

This format can at times look somewhat expensive. One could argue that it would be cheaper to play - and get new decks for - Type 2 for about 40 years than to buy a deck like Freespace's 5c Machine Head. That may be true, but nonetheless there are very viable budget alternatives in 93/94. Black Lotus and Moxen are great cards, but they are probably less broken in 93/94 than they would be in any sanctioned format. Playing skill and evaluating the meta goes a long way, even when battling uphill against power.

This hand is unbeatable btw.
One of the players that illustrates this is Henrik "Brorsan" Jerberg. Brorsan is one of the driving players from Varberg, hosting his own Brorsan Invitational each year and contributing greatly to the older casual scene in his town. He does own full power (for his cube, of course ;)), but he doesn't play it himself in Old School tournaments. Nonetheless, he won both Kingvitational in June and BSK 2013 two weeks ago with slightly different takes on white weenie.

He is also a handsome guy
Brorsan's deck does a few things few people have done before him in the format. He doesn't play Land Tax for one. He uses Army of Allah rather than playing maindeck City in a Bottle. He also plays King Suleiman in the sideboard, which is awesome.

Ancestral into Old Man and Jovial Evil seems fruitless against the horde of tiny guys
Since Kingvitational, Brorsan has added Balance to the maindeck, which seems like a fair choice. Here is the winning deck from BSK in all its glory:

If the deck would be completely whiteborded, one might even call it "very affordable".

måndag 11 november 2013

BSK 2013 top8 decks

The decks to beat section have been updated with 7 of the 8 decks from the elemination rounds at BSK 2013. The missing deck is Brorsan's winning WW list, but the other sweet decks can now be viewed in full glory. I'm sure I'll discuss some of these decks in more detail in the future, as well as some of the decks that didn't make the cut (in particular GaJol's reanimate deck was awesome).

The Djinns and Efreets are showing up in big numbers this time. As control has been somewhat weakened, the big Arabian Night's creatures can dominate the board more easily.

Freespace's 5c Machine Head.
 The only card played in all 8 decks is Strip Mine. Some other cards that are played in a majority of the decks include Black Lotus, Sol Ring and Mishra's Factory. The most copies of a non-land card is Berserk, with no less than 16 copies in the top8. I guess that cards like Moat, Terror and City in a Bottle will become more popular soon :)

torsdag 7 november 2013

The Powertwist Dream deck

In the coming weeks I'll be showing some of the decks played at BSK. We'll start with Viktor "Oldschool" Peterson's Powertwist Dream deck.

Viktor mainly builds his decks on his own, and then rigorously tests them against a gauntlet of his other decks to see how his creations play out. The first version of this deck was played at n00bcon 4 (Easter 2012). That version wasn't tested that much, and Viktor opted to play some other strange decks during BSK 2012, n00bcon 5, and Kingvitational. After some more playtesting and tweaks though, Powertwist Dream really broke some backs at BSK last weekend. It looks somewhat yanky and strange, but this version really holds together surprisingly well.

The deck's main win conditions are Underworld Dreams combined with multiple draw7 spells, or Mirror Universe followed by Fireball. Game 2 it also has a group of evasive creatures. As the opponent most probably sideboards out creature removal, cards like Serendib Djinn and Shivan Dragon can be impossible to handle. It ended up in 2nd place in the tournament, giving yours truly a crushing defeat in the quarter-finals, and buring out the opponent in the quarterfinals with a quick Channel-Fireball. It fell short against the White Weenie in the finals, but managed to have a pretty amusing win against WW in the swiss, when Viktor responded to Balance by sacrificing all his lands to Dark Heart of the Woods.

Here it is in all it's glory:

måndag 4 november 2013

A casual report of BSK 2013

Weekends like this really warms up the cold November rain. It included a tour back to the pubs of my old university, learning Roborally with my girlfriend, an awesome Vintage tournament at BSK, and finally getting my hands on the most powerful of the Power. Most of all though, it was time for the annual Old School Shark tournament at Scandic Plaza in Borås.

Hard to see most of the players' signs, but the sign in the text box is Tom Wärnerstrand's. Now that's rare.
I was planning to stay with Honka and Freespace. We were to compete as the dreaded Team Lederhaups, but Honka could unfortunatly not make it due to exams. Instead the third bed in our suite was filled by the amazing deckbuilder and all-round good guy Viktor "Oldschool" Peterson.

Freespace making some last minute adjustments; adding some Vampires to battle City in a Bottle and changing unl Swords to beta dito.
I'm still building on my Project M deck, and I had some new additions for this tournament. Since Kingvitational, I'd added Terror, Time Walk and Forcefield to the maindeck, and updated my sideboard. Turns out that Abomination stops most creatures in the format, and that Copy Artifact is awesome. This is what I had sleeved up:

Abomination is the new The Wretched. Sorry for the blurry pictures btw.
Due to a combination of bad timing and a hard time planning for the event, there were fever players who could make it to the tournament than the last two years. The people who could join were however awesome. Elof has recently become a father, and it was great to see him for the first time since the occasion. Gajol has been away for a long time in Iceland and Greece, and I hadn't seen him since before the summer. Tournaments like this is a great way to meet people. It may also be the best kind of Magic.
Flashed mob
Before the tournament started, the Lederhaups suite got a visit from old school collector Mats "Ottifant" Karlsson. He didn't have the time to stay for the tournament, but he wanted to try out the format and test his deck. Ottifant btw owns about 85 alpha Thoughlaces. As there exists very few alpha cards, that's almost 8% of the entire print run of the card. It's kind of daunting to consider that all copies ever to exist of any alpha rare could fit inside a single long box. Mats proved to have quite a few more alpha cards than laces though.

Sedge Troll might survive the Disk, but Control Magic still works. A few more Trolls from Mats unfortunately turned the tables on our hero later on.
After about five hours of pre-game beer, the tournament was afoot in the Lederhaups suite. Since the restriction of Mana Drain, the format has become much more open. Pretty much all Shark tournaments before this one have ended in a final between two The Decks with 8 Mana Drains between them. This time both creature decks and combo decks had the opportunity to do well in a whole different way. In the swiss, I faced a ponza with Roc of Kher Ridges, a reanimate deck with Bazaar of Baghdad and Priest of Yawgmoth, a Book Deck, a very strange Draw7 deck with multiple Dark Heart of the Wood and Fastbond, and a good stuff Djinn/Efreet/Birds deck. I managed to go 4-1 in the swiss (losing to Elof and the Book Deck), and was off to top8. Rather than writing a proper tournament report, here are some pictures:

First game about to start. Team Lederhaups and new player Axelsson in the couch.
An altered Library gets the Ice Storm. Fair response.

Kungen contemplates his keep.

Pretty stacked graveyard. The Tutor fetched Island btw :)

New player Macensi's Savannah Lions vs Oldschool's Dark Heart of the Woods.

GaJol looks sad after I copy my Chaos Orb with Copy Artifact, and go nuts with help from Guardian Beast. I won that one.

GaJol looks even more slumped during the next game, when I use Tawnos's Coffin on his Colossus of Sardia and attack with a swampwalking Sol'Kanar. Magic!

Kungen managed to place last in the tournament, and was awarded with a playset of each Kobold.

12 players ahead of him in the tournament singed one Kobold each (with a lot of friendly trashtalk about his mediocre skills).

The glorious Top8; Axelsson, Mg, Oldschool, Brorsan, Jokemon, Jhovalking, Elof and Freespace.

Oldschool and Brorsan; finals between the radest dudes on the block.

Erling and Axelsson scorekeeping the finals.

WW facing a seemingly random pile of cards. Oldschool's deck was incredibly well built, and horrible to face.

Brorsan take the trophy after an amazing performance! The newest Shark-winner repeats his dominance from Kingvitational, and shows that powerless WW is a real threat in the right hands.
What else? Elof easily won the swiss with his Book Deck, but lost in the quarterfinals against Axelsson's hasty UG beatdown. I lost in the quarterfinals against Oldschool, and I mean really lost. Oldschool's insane deck left me utterly defeated both factually and mentally. Jokemon lost in the semifinals against a traditionally unfair Channel-Fireball. There are lot's of more anecdotes between the lines, but I guess that some things that happens at BSK stays at BSK ;)

I'll post some more deck tech during the coming weeks, as well as a summary of  interesting discussions about the legal sets in the format. It was a great weekend with sweet people, and I'm looking forward to the next time we'll meet!