Today we have a guest report from Kristoffer "Myfz" Karlsson, finalist at BSK and all-round good guy. Enjoy!
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....
That's how the soon to be nine part long Star Wars saga begins, or at least the first six episodes. This nine round 93/94 story starts in April of 2014 when I first started to play Hearthstone. After a few hours I realised that it was Magic I really wanted to play. Every move I made in Heartstone made me longing for turning real cards sideways instead. So after a 2 year long break from Magic, and with no cards left but my black 93/94 deck (without Juzam and power), I embarked to svenskamagic.com to check how things were going. I set out to build a cheap deck for Legacy to pass the time while waiting for some new 93/94 tournaments.
I've always loved the 93/94 format, but only played in a tournament once before. That was the annual n00bcon of 2012. I managed to top8, losing only to Jocke Almelund with The Deck in the swiss (think I was 4-1 or 5-1), and was beaten by the same deck and pilot again in the quarter finals. I was playing Mono Black, the same as now, but back then with Juggernauts filling the role of Juzam Djinn number 3 and 4 which I didn't own at the time.
Preparing for the BSK tournament I made some changes to the deck. In with 4 Underworld Dreams and a Lotus. I didn't have the money to put up for the Jet, Lotus or Juzams, but some nice friends borrowed me the last cards so my deck could perform as it should. When I was sleeving up my deck, noticed that I only had 2 Underworld so it was panic button in the forums to buy or borrow them for the evening. With the deck fixed I was on my way. I picked up Stalin and Tgd, and we were of to Borås; the city with highest number of rainy days in Sweden.
We were 40 player battling for 6 rounds before it was time for top 8. I was a little nervous about the outcome of the evening. It would be fun to win some duels and games, but I didn't expect to go all the way to the elimination rounds. If the tournament would be a complete disaster, I had made sure Tgd would be the one driving home, and I had prepered a cooling bag with some beers in the car.
Would my deck be completely crushed? Had the format evolved to such that a mono black deck had no room in it? Could I beat the UR counterburn deck? Many of my questions would be answered through the night. I just had to remind myself not to mulligan too much.
I was paired against berntsson86 with a green and white deck for the first round of the day. My deck performed well with me having one Hypnotic and two Juzams on the table by turn five the first game. Second game I don't really recall, but Juzam was there to tip the odds in my favor. Berntsson86 was playing CoP:Green in his maindeck and some green creature from Legends that made stuff green when attacking or blocking. Also the big scary Force of Nature. Whirling Dervishes and CoP:Black came in from the sideboard. He never got to assemble his combo against me with terror being there to stop it. 2-0 to me and I was happy for winning the first game to set the mood for the evening.
Next stop at the other side of the table was Felipe "Felipega" Garcia. I recognized him from reading his posts about alterations of cards and playmats. It feels like if we give it a year or two, all tables at upcoming n00bcons will be adorned with playmats from this guy. Felipega is playing a 5-color Mana Flare/Candelabra deck. The Underworld Dreams backed up with Hypnotic wins me game one. Lost the second one and won the third. I'm very impressed by Underworld Dreams performance in the control matchup, much better than I ever imagined. In the third game I made a huge misplay by casting my sideboarded Pestilence with no creature in play (its good to read your own card sometimes), so I had to activate my Mishra to be able to keep it alive. The factory was then bounced by my opponent to kill my Pestilence. In the end, I paid 7 mana to deal 2 damage to Felipega and getting a land bounced. Hard earned points of life. The match had gone long and neither of us had that much life left, but I topdecked an Underworld Dreams the next turn that won me the game and match. Both the second and the third game could have gone either way so I was pleased with the 2-1.
Now I'm up against UR, with the Shark-eating Elof behind the wheel. He runs me over in game one. He had the upperhand all the way to my last lifepoint. Game two and three play quite similarly; Elof keeps hands pretty low on lands when I have Underworld with backup from Sinkholes, and he doesn't draw any land that a Sinkhole or a Strip Mine cant handle. Some creatures on my side helps to close the deal while Elof is locked out of mana for most of the games. Now I'm 3-0 and I'm starting to get my aim on top 8. Some of the 4-2s should make it. Thats only one out of three I have to win. But 4-0 should be too easy on my mind, so I get paired against Mg for my first loss of the day.
Mg is piloting his Project M. I really like this deck a lot. It feels like every card in the deck just answers what I play. When Juzam lands to take home the game for me, Mg plays his own. I lock his Juzam in an Oubliette, but then Mg follows up with freaking Sol'Kanar! Sol'Kanar should always be played with his name screamed out load like a warlord to get the right feeling when he enters the battlefield. At least based on Mg's reaction to casting him. All games could have ended either way, but copying Mirror Universe with Copy Artifact is a nasty play, it's supposed to be restricted. Mg wins with 2-1. Now I'm starting to think how the f$$k I made my way to top8 on n00bcon 4 without Underworld Dreams. It is so insane against any control deck or any deck that wants to draw a lot of cards if it lands in the first turns.
On the other side now sits Icelander. The guy who borrowed me his Juzams for the evening. I promised him half the Shark if I would win when he handed over the Juzams. All for fun (never thought i would get close) but now I'm starting to realise that it could be possible, at least if I win against him. He's playing The Deck, in his own words a pretty crappy version of The Deck, but better than the one he played at last n00bcon. I don't have any notes on my battles with him and my memory is fuzzy here. I know I won 2-0 though, so I'm starting to get pumped up for the last match of the day to seal my fate for top8 or not.
Of course the last man on earth I want to play against waits for me in the final round. A very skilled The Deck pilot that I have a zero win-% against in previous 93/94 tournaments: Jocke Almelund! The nemesis! To boot my luck I get paired down to meet him, he is 3-2 before this duel. Jocke takes the game with 2-0. In game 2 he takes 17 dmg from my turn one Ritual into Underworld before he finds an answer and wins. I also backed up the Underworld with a Gloom some turns later, but I couldn't go all the way on my enchantments this time. Still always a joy to lose to a nice guy. But I really thought that I at least could get the opportunity to win a game against him. Maybe in the future. Lifetime games in 93/94 are now 6-0 to jocke.
Okay. Time for some waiting game before the rest of the participants finishes the round. Tgd saved my day by bringing me a well needed midnight sandwich. Hadn't eaten for about eight hours, and the time was closing in to 01:00. To make my head even clearer I'd spent my week home with my two sick children whom had allowed me about 20 hours of sleep since the Sunday before (BSK 93/94 was taking place on Friday 31 October. Also my daughter Elva's one year birthday). Never though I would be the reason we were to go home late. My bet had been that the previous Shark winner Stalin would have been the one from our car to top8 and make us stay.
To get in the top8 would prove little tricky. While I was in 8th place on tiebreakers, so was also Magnus "Eneas" Nilsson on identical tiebreakers. So we had nine guys in our top8. We decided to settle the last spot on the top8 with rolling a die. He got to pick even or odd and got the honor of rolling. He chose even. Die stopped at odd. I'm in! At this point I was so tired that top8 or not I would have been more than satisfied with the day to drive home and get some well earned sleep. But this was great!
Getting ready for pairings and crossing my fingers that I would not run in to Jocke this time. I dodge him but get my other loss in swiss, Mg.
As in our previous meeting earlier today, the matches are tight. At 1-1 we shuffle up and draw seven. I get Ritual, Hypnotic, Undeworld, Sink, Sink and 2 Swamps. I'm thinking about what to play turn one; Hypnotic or the Dreams. I go for the Dreams. It is harder for Mg to remove, and backed with two Sinkholes it will be difficult to race if I can also land Hypnotic some turns later. My plan proved to be a great success. I draw a second ritual and Underworld Dreams, followed by a third Sinkhole to seal the match. 2-1, and Mg is still Sharkless despite another top8.
Semifinals. My opponent here is last years BSK winner, Brorsan. He has abandoned his WW from last year and is piloting another UR burn deck. Seems like it was the most popular deck on the tournament. But I also noticed quite a few black decks similar to mine in the room, some with red, white or blue splashes. The hour is getting really late and I don't remember much from this match. My notes only states that I won with 2-1, and I'm off to the finals to compete for our highly desired Giant Shark.
Time to prove that I'm worthy of the Shark signed by all competing players, and the glory of being forced to have it in my 75 as long I'm playing a 93/94 tournament. One of my biggest concerns were that I had promised Icelander half the Shark if i would win. Maybe I could make some deal with him. It would be very hard to present a deck in the future with half a card in it. Also the devastating shame to have violated a signed Shark by cutting it in half.
The opponent in the finals was no one less than Robin "Hagelpump" Lundberg. Always well performing in the format when he show up, and clearly a Shark worthy opponent. The deck of choice today is UR (though, that has been his pet deck in the format since 2008). I feel pretty confident in this matchup, and know that it is more than winnable for me and my deck. I take home the first game, lose the second.
So we are up for the last and third decisive game. After explosive starts and a lot of back and forth, I start to get the upper hand with two Underworld in play. I'm at 10 life with Hagelpump at 6, and my Underworlds will deal him 2 damage in his drawstep. I have a Ritual and a Tutor in hand and five lands on the board. I play the Tutor for a Drain Life as it will put me at higher life and give him one less turn to try to finish me. My plan is to tutor for two mana, ritual for one and use my last five to drain him for three. When I've fetched my Drain I start to think about maybe it could be better to play it for five on my next turn. I am at 10 life and he had taken me there with 2 bolts and a Psionic Blast. He's got some cards in hand, but it would be hard for him to hit me for 10 in one round with bolts. So I decide to stand up, bend over, and ask him to please take the Giant Shark and give me all he's got in the behind.
Well, no, that's not exactly how it happened, but that's how it feels now ;) I keep the Drain in hand and eat a PsiBlast in my end step. I ask him if he's got any bolts, and the answer is "I have lots". I would have won if I'd played the Drain and gotten out of reach for the bolts. Hagelpump takes the shark with 2-1! Congratz!
When thinking about it now I didn't even look at his hand when I asked him about the bolts. The time was 03:30 and with my sleep record for the week didn't make me more intelligent. Proof of that is when I shuffle his deck in one of the rounds I cut it and place the same half on top again :) One more nice thing was when he Timetwisted in one of the games, and I took up the card to read it as I didn't recall what it did (a lot of laughter in the background ensued here; a player in the finals reading a power card). Then I put it down and just sat there while Hagelpump started shuffling before someone said "you should do it too, you know". Aha!
The deck I played
The deck performed well all day, with very few occasions for me to be disappointed in it. The inclusion of Underworld Dreams was just perfect. It was the MVP of the tourney. Sinkholes are so damned important to run four of. They together with the lone Strip Mine can make games just unfair when drawing multiple. They're also a big factor in the Mishra wars that frequently occurs when playing an opponent who stacks his own playset of factories. The factories are just awesome utility. As lands they're able to dodge a lot of removal and then activate, boost each other and swing. I would never cut the playset if it wasn't really necessary for my manabase, and even then I would think twice before cutting them completely.
Juzam and Hyppe are straight up unfair when landing t1, and being able to back that with Sinkhole and Strip can seal some games in an instant. Never thought I would choose Underworld Dreams over Hyppe, but against some decks (i.e UR) I think turn one Underworld off a Ritual is a tougher threat for them to handle than Hypnotic, which will usually just eat a bolt and set me back a card. Oubilette is there for black dudes that terror cant handle. And the disk is a must have, at least one main because there are some enchantments that just shuts down mono black if they land (e.g. Circles and Karma). It's also a nice Mox killer to backup the land destruction plan. Black Knight isn't that sexy, but when facing white weenie it's just a house and something to stand in the way for Lions and Wolves.
I've chosen to play some one-offs in main. With access to Demonic Tutor I think it's better to know that I have answers to most situations rather than just fold. The Tutor makes up as a second copy of many cards. Drain life can be a bit odd, but as the game proceeds it just gets better, and the ability to gain a few life should not be underestimated. With a Greed on the battlefield it'll give me some extra cards, and against UR it can nullify a Lightning Bolt or two.
Not so much exciting stuff. Most of it is removal of some sort. Second disk is in my opinion a must have, and I'd like to have room form a third. Pestilence is great against control and creature heavy decks. Good to have a mana sink against control that can put some extra damage through.
I'm glad that I got the time to sit down to finish this little report. It's my first attempt on this, and I hope you enjoyed the route I've taken with it. Not to go deep into each play or if I could made it better, bur rather I wanted to share my thought and feelings about my games. Now my thumbs feels numb after writing this report on my iPad (not to recommend), but in lack of a computer its better than the phone at least ;)
Over and out, and may the Schwartz be with you.