torsdag 27 november 2014

Atog Smash: A report from Playoteket

Last weekend Playoteket hosted their second 93/94 tournament. The attendance had grown since September, and a lot of new tech was represented in the wake of BSK. The eventual champion was none other than our artistic friend Felipe Garcia. This is his story. Enjoy!

When I moved from Spain to Sweden I thought I would deeply miss the old school booster drafts from Sevilla's Vintage scene. We used complete collections of CE Beta, Arabian, Antiquities, Legends and Dark to create boosters and play 8-man drafts. The games were surrounded by beer and an amazingly fun ambient.

It was a great surprise when I, in the beginning of 2014, discovered that there not only existed a great oldschool scene in Sweden, but that this scene was one of the most active and interesting in the whole world. I became a hardcore Magic collector three years ago when I made an important decision. By that time Legacy was huge in Spain, and Legacy GP Madrid had been the largest Magic tournament to date. As many other long time players, I had the opportunity to complete a pretty decent Legacy pool which allowed me to play most of the top tier decks in the format. The birth of my twins drastically reduced the amount of Legacy tournaments I could attend, so I decided to exchange that pool into some oldschool collections. I began with the “easier” sets (LE, AR, AN, TD), and left the Beta to the end. Finally, five months ago, I could get my hands on the last card of the sets, a Beta Ex signed Black Lotus from a well known Spanish/German player.

 
My family moved from the southern Spanish city of Sevilla to the Swedish countryside near Gothenburg one year ago. Representatives from Västra Götalands Regionen's health care system went to Spain in 2013, to hire doctors in order to alleviate the severe lack of specialists that suffers Sweden. A couple of other young doctor families encouraged us to take the offer and leave behind our comfortable life in Spain.

I'm an architect myself, and at that time 80% of my projects came from China and South Korea so for my overseas clients it wasn't a huge change. We thought about it for some time. Then in June 2013 the recruiting company invited us on a visiting trip to take a close look at the working place, kindergartens, houses and the country in general. We had a great experience and the other doctors who came before finally convinced us.

I spent the first 6 months learning the language, and now I am waiting for a final interview to get a job in the city. I must give great thanks to Stalin (the first Swedish player I contacted), Johan and Jenny, Mg, and all the players who trusted in my art skills for some playmat alterations. First year in a different country can be difficult due to the language and culture shock. In my case I must say that the people in SvenskaMagic's OldSchool community have been an awesome help. In those moments the feeling of being a little part of a larger group is extremely important.

In Borås BSK I played a 5color combo deck based on Mana flare and Candelabra of Tawnos. It was pretty fun and included one-offs of almost every card, as I only had singles in my collections. But my knowledge of the metagame proved to be very short.
The CandleFlare deck from BSK
I have previously discussed with MG the deepness of oldschool magic in terms of strategy choices. I am convinced that Richard Garfield originally created an incredible vast game. Later expansions have added a lot of new cards, but mostly only tweaks to the already existing strategies from the first years of the game. Therefore I think that oldschool is still a world to be discovered.

In Borås a realized a couple of things. Under the current metagame there are no reasons to prescind of the strong Mishra's Factories, so I cut a couple colors (green and white)  in order to play four of them. Nowadays I thinks is obligatory to have an answer to them, which in my case was the Lightning bolts and the Cyclopean Tomb. The second decision was to take a more proactive role in my game style, because with most of the decks running Disenchants it was difficult to keep Candelabra/Flares alive. So the best thing to do, rather than trying to defend them through Counterspells, was to cast some Disenchant targets early in the game. 
The AtogFlare deck
 In order to beat agresive decks I added a playset of Lightning bolts and Earthquakes. I think control decks are possible without counter magic. Another thing Johan and I talked about was the power of the Mana Vault playset which work great with Transmute artifact and the Atogs.
Freespace's Atog deck in full motion.
Match 1, vs Erik “Sehl” Larsson.
White Weenie, blue splash for Power and Psionic Blasts.

I played against Erik in the the final battle for the top8 at BSK. It was a great match back then and in Malmö. He is a great player which it has been a pleasure to meet.

A quick Su-chi and Triskelion pressured his board in the first game, but it was not enough to stop his White knights and Serra angel. Sehl carries 4 Swords to Plowshares and 4 Disenchant maindeck which makes it really difficult for my artifact creatures to survive.

In the second game I resolved a Mind Twist for 5 early, and countered his Ancestral Recall with Red Elemental Blast to run him out of gas. In our final game my Factories and his City of Brass lowered his life quickly and he never got a significant board presence.
1-0
Tournament organizer Arkanon vs Sehl.
Match 2, vs Kim
Monored Goblin Burn

Kim was piloting a very effective and aggressive deck. Around 10 goblins, some other fat guys and burn spells. In the first game I got burned away through big Disintegrates and Fireballs. I never got the opportunity to apply early pressure on him to force him to waste his spells on my creatures.

The second was quick because I played Su-chi on the first turn and his 4 toughness keep him safe enough time to take the game.

In the third one I tried to play slower, as the Ivory Tower on my starting hand is a good option against burn. That is one of the things I really liked about this deck, it is very flexible in terms of speed. You can adapt to the starting hand and the opponent. Finally double Ivory Tower keep me in the safe range of 16 life for the remainder of the game. I must say it was not easy though. The burn deck is quite dangerous when it reaches 8 lands.
2-0
White Weenie vs Black Weenie
Match 3, vs Jesper “Munchhausen” Riis
Su-Chi Quicksilver

First game. I think an early mind twist cleared this one.

In the second game Energy Flux appeared on his side. It made things quite difficult for my cheap artifacts (ivory, candelabra, mana artifacts…), but fortunately Control Magic proved vital after I stole away two of Jesper's Su-chis.
3-0
A year full of Mishras is a strong alternative win condition.
Fourth match, vs Johan “Freespace” Andersson
Atog Smash

Very interesting match against the other Atog deck. The things I really liked about his deck: The Howling Mine/Relic Barrier draw engine and the 4-off Atog finisher style.

In the first two games both decks showed their potential. Johans 58/30 trampling Atog killed me right away in the first game, while I was quick enough to beat him in the second before he could get his pieces together.

In the third one I was lucky enough to have a Time Walk at the perfect moment. We could say that Time Walk is automatic win when the third Howling Mine is played.
4-0
Johan "Freespace" Andersson and Felipe. 'Tog bros.
Semi final, vs Olle “Rolex” Råde
The Deck

I began to play Magic in 1994. Back in the days before the web, information was much more restricted. Rumours were spread through specialised magazines like The Duelist or Spanish magazine URZA. I still remember how my small Magic community dreamed about what the card called Black Lotus could be. We did not have a way to know its text or cost. We just knew it was worth 8.600 Spanish pesetas (around €50).

Through that spanish magazine I read about the adventures of legendary players like Olle. Needless to say that it was a tremendous honour to meet him in Borås and play with him in Malmö.

First game I was constantly behind him in threats and he seemed to hold an answer to every line of play I tried to develop. I tutored for the only card I supposed it would be hard to counter, the Library of Alexandria, but it was already too late to beat his Serra Angel.

In the second I started with a first turn Timetwister off two moxes, and followed with a Cyclopean tomb which sealed the game. I have found the Tomb a great card versus a wide range of the decks, and a perfect answer to the factories when it's played early enough.

Olle's Mishras vs Felipe's Cyclopean Tomb.
In the third and definitive match my moral was a bit higher and a first turn library gave the advantage to overwhelm his control tools. A Mind Twist sealed the game, taking me to the finals.
5-0

Final, vs Johan “Freespace” Andersson
Atog Smash

The last swiss round gave me great information about Johan's strategy. He had a very synergetic deck, but I felt that my deck had stronger topdecks. I must keep attention to his Atog which I think is his bottle neck, and knowing that his only protection for the red creature was Avoid Fate, I strongly hoped to find board swepers like The Abyss or Earthquake.

The winning deck from BSK ran 3 Earthquakes, and I think that this was one of the reasons of its success. I played a playset in Malmö and they proved highly valuable.

I don't remember too much about the details, but I managed to win the first game.
Starting hand of game 2.
Johan begins game two. Awesome start by Johan through Workshop, Vault, Howling Mine and Relic Barrier.

I tried to search for an answer to his Atog with my Demonic Tutor. The choice was between Maze of Ith and Abyss. I picked the latter as it would be more difficult to handle and could take care of multiple copies. It was promptly removed from my hand by his Wheel of Fortune.

I played Su-Chi to distract his Relic Barrier and balance his card drawing advantage, but Johan could follow up with sacrificing 6 artifacts to his Atog and play Berserk for the win.
Coffin shenanigans.
In the last game, I played some early threats as Johan played multiple Howling Mines without finding Relic Barriers. The advantage was on the side who had enough mana to cast the 3 or 4 cards drawn per turn. I played Maze of ith and Tawnos coffin which stopped his Su-chis and factories. Finally when Johan overextended in his board presence, the Nevinyrral's disk sealed the game.
6-0
The spoils of victory: two Blasts and a signed Contract from Below.
The prices were perfect for my Beta collection as both REB and BEB was an upgrade in terms of card condition to my previous copies.

It was a great day. It was my first time in Malmö, which looked much bigger and more interesting than I had guessed. Definitely I need to take my family there for some proper tourism. Thanks to Kristoffer for the 6 hours drive, it was a fantastic language training journey.

Hope to see you all in the next 93/94 event!!

/Felipe

5 kommentarer:

  1. Great read Felipe! / ottifant

    SvaraRadera
  2. I really like your deck Felipe! But i would play a Mishra's Workshop if I were you ;)

    //Kungmarkus

    SvaraRadera
  3. Fantastic report Felipe and well played in the tournament. If I recall correctly you sealed the last game in the finals with a huge Mind Twist the turn after I resolved a Timetwister :)

    SvaraRadera
  4. Good read, looking forward to see your decks in the future // Jhovalking

    SvaraRadera
  5. Awesomeness! 8D

    /axelsson

    SvaraRadera