måndag 15 december 2014

Burning WW: A report from Vasa Gaming

Today I have the pleasure to post a tournament report from Erik "Sehl" Larsson. Sehl's first year playing 93/94 has been very impressive, and he has tested multiple different decks in tournaments across Sweden. Two weeks ago he took his latest creation to the win at Vasa Gaming. Enjoy!

It all started during the Christmas holidays a year ago, when Viktor ”Oldschool” Peterson brought his complete magic collection to my place for some casual gaming together with Jesper “Munchhausen” Riis and his older brother Pontus. By this time I hadn’t barely seen a magic card for over 15 years, but thought it would be really nice with a stroll down the nostalgia lane. We had a great evening with many laughs and noobie plays. Viktor lured us into start playing magic in the mid 90’s and after this evening, I must confess, he had done it again.

At first I and Jesper placed an order together of cheap revised cards from the US, foolishly thinking that we will stop there and not buy any of those expensive 93/94-cards.  This was of course inevitably followed by ordering some unlimited cards. Power, duals and for that matter beta-cards was still way too expensive and definitely out of the question. I managed however quite quickly to scrape together a fairly cheap Ehrnamgeddon, my deck of dreams from the 90’, aiming for my first tournament in 93/94 Kingvitational 1.

Full of hope and excitement I faced Magnus “mg” de Laval in my first duel in my first tournament for over 15 years. He quickly squeezed the fresh fish and finished the humiliation by screaming scornfully to my face: “Synd att du inte är bättre på magic!” (Too bad you’re not better at magic!). Despite my poor results in the tournament I had a great time playing and hanging out with the guys that evening. The addiction to the game just got worse.

Teching at BSK
So, one intense year of insane bidding, orders from worldwide and participation in several 93/94-tournaments I can now say that I’m a proud and overly pleased winner of my first tournament. The tournament itself was not the most crowded one in the Swedish scene but nevertheless full of, in my opinion, very skilled players and for that matter; actual shark-holders.

Match 1, vs Brorsan - Eel Aggro
I felt really excited meeting Brorsan in the first match, hoping that he would play his great Eel aggro deck from BSK. That type of deck is one of the decks I tried to improve my game against. Red Elemental Blast added to the sideboard and Serra Angels in the main, hoping that they would be tough to burn away.
In the first duel Brorsan literally drew blanks, and I simply ran him over with some small creatures. Of course a great start for me, but it gave me very little information about how my new tech would work.
The second duel was a pure race to the bottom, he was attacking me from above with Flying men and Serendib and I was hitting him on the ground with Savannah Lion and Mishra. He eventually played a second Serendib for blocking, but my newly added Red Elemental Blast showed its greatness and led the way for my small ones.
Stare-down with Brorsan.
Match 2, vs Felipe – Atog Smash
Gaah, not Felipe again! That was my thought seeing him in the second match. He's a really tough player to meet and the actual winner of the last tournament I attended. It feels like he weighs every move with extreme precision making you feel that he’s going to win at any moment. I've met him twice before in tournaments this fall, with 1-1 as a result and my win was only thanks to a very lucky Chaos Orb ("If you have sleeves on cards, they count as the cards." Thanks, Matt Tabak).

The first duel started with an early Mind twist putting me down on my knees. I tried to recover and to get my Loa started, but it was too late. His Mishra’s and mighty Triskelion was hitting me hard and they eventually killed me topped with a Lightning bolt.

I don’t recall much from the second duel, but I remember that an opportune Blue elemental blast protected my creatures from an Earthquake making them able run the race. In the final duel I started with Loa, drew tons of cards, played tons of creatures and won. Loa is a ridiculous good card to start with even in a “Weenie deck”.
"Unlimited is just a gateway to the harder stuff"
Match 3, vs Munchhausen – URG Zoo
Munchhausen is one of my oldest and best friends and we’ve played magic together thousands of times always trying to tech against each other. Our two current decks are basically 50/50, but with an overhand for me after side boarding. He, however, plays one of the things I fear most with my deck; land destruction in form Ice Storm. I’ve always liked to play with a tight mana base, so there’s more room for fun cards instead of lands. This is of course the case of my current deck.

Munchhausen in deep thought.
First duel, Munchausen cast Ice storm, Ice storm and then Chaos Orb on my first three lands, and that's it. I hate Ice storm.

For the second duel I sideboard Red Elemental Blast, Blue Elemental Blast and of course City in a Bottle.  After resolving an early City in a Bottle I managed to lock him down and make way for my creatures. He responded after a few turns with Shatter, but a second City in a Bottle on my hand closed the deal. City in a Bottle kicks ass!

I remember the third duel as "my creatures are bigger than yours thanks to Crusade, I win".

Match 4, vs Elof
Since I don't remember much at all from our duels I asked Elof if he could write some lines about our game. Elof doesn't need much more of an introduction, he holds no less than three Giant Sharks. This is his words:

I sit down for round 4 to play against the mighty Sehl. We are both 3-0 and locked in for top 4. It does make this game somewhat meaningless and we are pretty certain that we won't face each other again until earliest the final.

I have chosen for this day to play Bantamgeddon, a list similar to what JACO wrote about at Eternal Central. I made some changes, and my list is viewable in the decks to beat section. Basically it's a deck designed to use some of the best cards in 93/94 - Disenchant, Swords to Plowshares, Serra Angel, Armageddon and Power. Unfortunately those cards are white and blue and only supply 4 creatures (the Serras). So in order to add win cons I added Erhnam Djinn. It could have been Serendib Efreet, but I was afraid of running into several Reb blasts and also playing Erhnams makes playing Mana Vault more attractive as it can ramp out Serra, Erhnam and Geddons. Anyway, back to the game at hand.

I look at my opening hand and realize it does need some help. If I recall correctly it was something in the line of Tropical, Tundra, Fellwar and Erhnam together with some cards I can't recall, probably Disenchant and Geddon. In retrospect this was not a hand to keep. I knew that Sehl was playing something aggressive since he borrowed a Plateau from me and also traded for some Lightning Bolts. So basically I should mulligan but somehow I hope to get lucky with my draws. A very bad choice since Sehl plays Savannah Lions and other creatures. I sword one but Sehl has Disenchants for my Fellwar and things spiral even further after that.

I sideboard in all the removal I can find, the Control Magics, Preacher, Drop of Honey and a Balance. I remove my Geddons and Mana Vaults. The second game locks several times, I have removal for his creatures and I'm able to steal White Knight but it get bolted, same for my Preacher. I drop a Drop (of Honey) but Sehl has Disenchant, something I wasn't counting on. My very controlling hand starts to run out of answers and Serras, Erhnams or any of my good cards is nowhere to be seen and I die slowly after hitting a land pocket.

Sehl played really good and I didn't, and that made most of the difference. Apparently Sehl had cut his Swords to Plowshares so playing a fast Serra would definitely been a good play against him. I do recall him having Serras in play one of the games, so that would be his best answer I would guess. He also plays some amount of Psionic Blasts so the matchup does favor him, especially since my Geddons does very little in the matchup.

Semifinal, vs Felipe
Not again?!
He started, as per usual, with an early Mind twist, but this time I was able to respond immediately with an Ancestral Recall followed up next turn with a Wheel of Fortune, both making his awful Mind twist quite useless. My creatures went the distance easily after this.
I decided to play a bit differently in the second duel; usually I save my artifact removal for something other than moxes, but this time I went after them directly. This turned out to be a great strategy, since Felipe had a very light land draw. He couldn’t respond to my attacks and the final was waiting around the corner.

Elof vs Freespace in the other semifinal.
Final, vs Freespace
I’ve fought Freespace a couple of times before in tournaments almost always resulting in extremely tight duels. He’s a great player and he always seems to look for the big smash with one or two Berserks. This time I had the chance to glance at his deck during the swiss and knew that he was playing lots and lots of brown cards. This made me quite relaxed facing him in the final, since I played 6 artifact removals maindeck and 3 Dust to Dust in the sideboard. Whatever he plays I should have an answer for it.

I got a dream start in the first duel; land, mox and two Lions, thinking that this would be over quickly. Freespace responded by completely pouring out artifacts in forms of moxes, Fellwar Stone and Howling Mine. In turn two I tried to destroy his card engine Howling Mine, but a well played Avoid Fate stopped me. Quickly after this he blocked away my Lions by playing his terrifying Atog. A few turns later, whilst the game was locked and when further Howling Mine had entered the board together with several other artifacts he beat me down with the Atog, huge as freakin’ monster.

Freespace was unable to get his game going in the second duel, if I remember correctly he never summoned a single Howling Mine. Eventually I had two Serras, flying over his Atog, smashing him down pumped with Crusade and topped with a Lightning Bolt.

The third duel looked quite alike the second one, he was unable to get his game going. This time it was a very opportune Dust to Dust who stopped him by removing a Relic Barrier and a Howling Mine. The really sweet price and honor was finally mine!
Who's the noob now, Mg?
Some thoughts in retrospect:
It seems like you never can play enough artifact removal, especially instant ones as almost everyone has a playset of Mishra’s in the main deck. Being able to remove moxes is never bad either.
A solid sideboard is extremely important; this in terms of cards that actually are sideboard cards and not cards that could be good against any deck, hence resulting in that you probably never use them.
If a deck doesn’t make you feel like mulligan particularly often you probably have a deck that is both well balanced and a deck that works well against any opponent.

Now I’m looking forward to Frippan Open at December 20 and I sincerely hope that Freespace will get his revenge and take the price back home, until then: Cheers and Merry Christmas!
//SEHL

5 kommentarer:

  1. Nice Read Erik! See you and the other crazy 93/94 players on Saturday in Gothenburg, and hope to get to play a lot in the christmas weekend in Varberg // Jhovalking

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Yeah, I'm really looking forward to saturday! A lot of random sweet players and lots of beer, just as 93/94 should be played :)

      Radera
  2. Just wondering what the heavily signed cards are? Are they trophies for the winner, signed by the Top 8/Top4?

    How is the card chosen?

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. The price card(s) are chosen by the tournament organizer. The first price is pretty much always signed by all the participating players. The reasons for this is partly to void the card of any secondary market value to make the tournaments less competitive, but mainly to get a personal show-off trophy card for future tournaments. If you counter a spell I've cast with a Counterspell that has my signature, it shows that this is not the first time you've bested me in a tournament ;)

      Different cards are awarded in different tournaments, but a few are "ear-marked". During Kingvitational tournaments, the first price is always a Relic Barrier; at Warcon it's a Fellwar Stone; and at WSK it's a Prodigal Sorcerer. At the big BSK and n00bcon tournaments, the first price is traditionally a Giant Shark. If you win a signed Giant Shark, you are pretty much required to play it in your deck from that point on to show it off. Having a signed Giant Shark somehow comes with bigger bragging rights than owning a full bb P9 in the Swedish 93/94 tournaments ;)

      Radera