söndag 27 december 2015

2015 retrospective

How about this for a start:
100 000 NOK. Well, actually 99,287, but I added a few hundred more to get a rounder number. The #MtgForLife campaign gathered well over $12,000 in a little over a month. That is awesome, and it will make a difference. And players from around the world keep the mindset going; just a few days ago Chris Cooper and players in the UK held a charity evening for MSF raising nearly £250. It makes me happy to be a part of the community. All the "thank you"-cards have been shipped btw, so hopefully you have them in the mail by now.
Rotary Pub in Gothenburg.
I think I've said this every year, but 2015 saw some big growth for mages interested in the origins of the game. Last year I stated that I thought that this blog and the format had grown about as much as was possible, and showed a graph of growth over the last few years. But it's been doubling season yet again, and we're looking at about about twice the number of visitors compared to last year.

A year ago, the tournaments in Ravenna had just started up and the Italian scene had a handful of players. The first Eternal Weekend tournament was a couple of months old and had attracted 12 players. The scene in Norway was practically non-existent, without any tournaments hosted in the country and no Norwegians having participated in the Swedish gatherings yet. We had scenes across most continents, but most of the communication was done within small groups and private forums.
Viksgården in Arvika.
The year kicked off pretty fast with Arvika Festival, the Mindstage Convention, Stabcon and multiple tournaments in Ravenna in the first couple of months. Then it just kept going. n00bcon 7 last Easter attracted 57 players, this autumn's gathering during Eternal Weekend in USA had 56 and the tournament during Nebraska's War in Italy a few weeks ago drew 58. As for n00bcon 8 next Easter, the 72 physically available seats were grabbed within a few days from when it was first announced at the end of my guest post at Shaman Ben's blog and a private Swedish forum. Players interested in the tournament from all over have signed up interest, and more countries are competing than any year before. It feels very awkward that it looks like everyone who wanted to play wont fit in the pub this Easter. I'm not really sure how to solve it, but it's possible we'll look at some other venue in the future. On the positive side though, there are now multiple alternatives for players who want to swing old cards in casual settings.
Postkontoret pub in Tøyen.
The Moss tournament in Moss. Arvika Festival in Arvika. Sehlskapsspelen in Åsa. Some pub in Gloucester. Somewhere in a pub in Frankfurt. This year we also saw Old School Magic as a part of the schedule on many of the major events in Europe, like Nebraska's War and the MKM Series tournaments. And you know what's pretty sweet? The format no longer really has something akin to a "single point of failure". Lots of other people are writing about the format, other players are organizing large gatherings to unite playgroups from different places, and other fogeys are passionate about creating settings where Juzam Djinn is a card to be feared. If everyone who played seven or eight years ago suddenly stopped for a few years, the format would still go on.
BarCode in Oslo.
During the last year I've gotten a lot of mails and messages about a variety of topics about the format. I first though about writing a FAQ/Rant section here with opinions on heavily discussed topics like legal sets, price trends, organizing the format, and such, but it felt out of place. So I'll just state this. The core of this format has always been to play very old and rare cards in a casual setting, build with what you own, and enjoy the company of fellow players, preferably with a beer in hand. Enjoy nostalgia and what you're doing and you're probably doing it right.
If in doubt, just add more The Wretched and Vesuvan Doppelgangers.
More on the personal side of things, this is the current state of Project M.
Triple Juzam! Also Prodigal Sorcerer.
So I was lacking a black-bordered UG sea for the deck. The blue/black dual stuck out quite a bit as the only white-bordered card in the pile. Upgrading an Unlimited copy to Beta, and not being too picky on condition, would still set me back around a daunting $2,000. But, I figured, the #MtgForLife campaign with the perk-cards, my own donations, postage and random expenses set me back very close to that number. Close enough that I might tell myself that donating for #MtgForLife could be the financial reason I don't have a black-bordered Underground Sea. So I just tagged one of my Unlimited Seas with #MtgForLife, and will play it with more joy than I would a Beta one. Easy pimpin'.

The thing to check off my "nerd bucket list" last year was completing the Power 9, and this year I hoped to complete my set of 40 duals. I had to take a small halt on that project, but I'm getting wicked close.
Who even plays Savannah anyway?
Tradition and good netiquette holds that I should mention a few of my favorite posts of the year. Of the ones I've written myself, I think that these are pretty sweet:
  • Summer Time. We dig deep into the infamous Summer Magic set.
  • Joypad Open: A study in Soot. A slightly intoxicated tournament report from the first non-proxy tournament in Norway.
  • Legendary rules. Writers block takes me into studying the old Legends rule card and marvel over Rampage and Banding. 
  • Brews, casualities, and scanners. Mostly a rant post about the state of the format after a lot of new groups started during the spring.
  • #MtgForLife. Probably the most important post I've written, and the all-time most read post at this blog. Glad to see it worked out so well, even better than I hoped for :)
I've also spread my wings a little this year and contributed to Eternal Central and MtgUnderground. If you have some time to spare during the holidays and need some 93/94 fix you can check out the Old School of Though and Borås is Disorderly and Depraved articles.

Looking at guest posts at this blog, we also have a few gems like Hans Herik Rasmussen's tech, FreeSpace's report from Pimpvitational, Oldschool's Report from the Mindstage Convention and Rausch's report from Card and Board. There has been quite a few other articles about the format in other places during 2015. If you're only going to read one article these holidays though, read Shaman Ben's How I sold my soul for a box of Antiquities and learned to play Magic. It's one of my favorite Magic pieces ever, regardless of format or setting.

I have no idea of what to expect of 2016. Not only regarding this format, but regarding most things. Here's to a happy new year!

lördag 19 december 2015

Old School Cube

It's time for another visit from our three-time Shark winner and 2015 Pimpvitational Champion Elof Gottfridsson. This time he's setting his constructed creations aside and takes us into the world of 93/94 cube drafting. Enjoy! /Mg out  

Hi again!
Quite recently I participated in my second 9394 cube draft. My first time was a few years ago, it was former Swedish Nationals champion Martin Berlin that brought his cube with him before a noobcon. His list was a bit different from "normal" cubes as he had 4 City of Brass and 4 Mishra's Factory, to smooth peoples mana bases and to make Mishra a bit better (like it needs to be better...). He also added a few cards from Fallen Empires to make WW a little better. His list can be found here.
In that draft I messed up a bit. If I recall correctly I took an early Mishra's Workshop not knowing if it was supported in the cube or not, and to be honest with you, my experience with 9394 wasn't that big at the time. I think I played 3 colors with an awful manabase and I was of course paired against Berlin himself in round one. I think he won a somewhat, but not really, tight game one on the back of an Control Magic. The second game ended very quick with Berlin going something like land-Ritual-Mana Vault-Shimian Stalker. 5 turns of attacking later I was done.

Fast forward a couple of years and I would get another try at an old school cube, this one I even helped create! The entire list can be found here.

The owner of the cube is non other than BSK 2013 winner Henrik "Brorsan" Jerberg, famous for playing aggressive 9394 decks like WW, UR burn and RG beats. Henrik also seeded some cards in the cube, to make it a bit more balanced. All lands and power, Icy Manipulator and some other really broken cards where separated and added randomly to every pack so that each pack contained 2. This made packs more balanced and I would recommend it going forward.
The draft was going to take place at the Brorsan Invitational IV (Brorsan being Jerbergs user name on svenskamagic.com), a truly awesome event that really needs to be talked about. Henrik got the idea a few years ago and started planning. The first invitational was simple, it was a M11 draft and the winner would take it all. I got really lucky that year and drafted an aggressive UW skies, after starting the draft with taking Scroll Thief in all of the first 3 packs! The year after that the format was Modern Masters draft and after that auction of all 8 decks from Pro Tour 1996. I managed to win the masters draft and then the hole thing on the back of Leon Lindbeck's Necropotance deck, a deck that includes 4 Strip Mines, 4 Dark Rituals and 4 Necropotence. And finally, last year I was dethroned in the finals against "Kungen of Rolfstorp", famous for having the Kingvitational 9394 tournaments. That year we did Time Spiral two headed giant sealed followed by a chaos draft containing one pack each of 24 editions, starting from Mirage-block. The visions pack contained a pack fresh Vampiric Tutor! The top 4 was then decided by 1999 world championship decks auction. I managed to get Kai Budde's Wildfire but got unlucky against a horde of green stompies in the finals.
So back to this year and the 9394 draft. It started pretty good for me as I opened a really stacked pack. It contained a Mox Ruby, Braingeyser and Regrowth in addition to some other weaker cards. While it always hurt a little to pass on power I think the correct pick is Braingeyser. It's one of few sources of card advantage and it can also act as a win condition if need be. The pack I received contained a Swords to Plowshares and not much else, especially since Swords is one of the better removals (one could argue that Chaos Orb is better, if you can flip it). After picking Swords I received a pack that had a Mana Drain and a Timetwister, and pretty soon after that I had passed a second piece of power. I remember passing a Mox Pearl later, but the cards I got from the first pack was pretty good. I got a Sindbad, Rasputin Dreamweaver, Underground Sea, and some artifacts in Dragon Engine, Jayemede Tome. I didn't have much white cards but that changed in the first pick in the second pack. There was a Mox Jet that I passed and instead took the Balance sitting there. I got passed a Control Magic and the deck shaped up very well. I remember taking a Counterspell early over a Tundra but it eventually wheeled, something I thought was possible since the Rasputin wheeled in pack 1. The last pack contained a Wrath of God as well as a Mana Vault and Basalt Monolith to help with more explosives starts! I got an important late Blue Elemental Blast also as well as some filler cards.
In the first round I faced of against the previous winner Kungen. He showed during the draft (everybody faced off against the person sitting the furthest away) that he had a tough choice between Library of Alexandria and Fireball (extra difficult since we use the "fireball rule", anybody that plays Fireball and gets Fireballed have to take a shot of Fireball "Whiskey"), eventually picking the land. In game one I quickly fell behind since he played an Ancestral Recall followed up by a Library of Alexandria while I mostly drew my weak creatures. I managed to set up a crucial turn where I play a Balance, when I had 1 card to his 6 or 7, I had 1 creature to his 3 and he even had some extra lands. After the balacing part I played my last card, Control Magic on his Air Elemental. After that I managed to take the game over.

In game 2 kungen's early creatures destroys me while my few kritters don't get to play very long. I have a few outs, but find none and succumb to kungen's horde.

In the final game kungen takes 2 mulligans and still managed to put up early pressure. I managed to survive the early onslaught and get one of my many engines going. If I recall correctly I eventually Braingeyser him out.

Round 2 I face of against Adde "JummJumm" Leo, a very close friend. I have no idea what he is playing since I didn't get to scout him. Apparently he is playing green, with a lot of small creatures. I get in trouble when he has a small army but just in time I get to play Rasputin and he is a powerhouse in this situation, making sure that Adde can't attack profitably and he also allows me to untap Monolith, draw card with Tome and all sorts of shenanigans. I managed to take the game a few turns after that.

In game 2 Adde cast lots of creatures again and also a Time Walk. I try to put up some resistance but the deck won't deliver and I am once again locked into having to fight out a third game.

In the final game Adde casts lots of big green creatures like Erhnam, Ifh-Biff, if I recall correctly I Counterspell one and Wrath away another and even manged to steal one of a Control Magic. Adde has a Chaos Orb but I somehow manged to win anyway, awesome! On to the finals!
Addes deck looked really good by the way. He said in retrospect he shouldn't have splashed the red but except for that and maybe the Fastbond I think it looks awesome.

Round 3, final and the challenger is none other than all around good guy Mats, nick named -"Mys-Mats" (kind of like "Cosy-Mats"). He is playing an aggressive base red deck that I scouted in the previous rounds. In game one I get horribly crushed since he got to go first and started with a Black Vise. My hand is slow so I end up taking a lot of damage. I did manage to stem some of the bleeding by playing a Recall for 0 on turn 1 but eventually get crushed by Manabarbs since I didn't draw my Disenchant in time.
I board in Onulet, Holy Light and Blue Elemental Blast, all of them where late picks that I put to good use. I take out some of my slower cards, including Mana Vault, I just think it's to dangerous. My memory is a bit hazy, most like due to the free beer, but I think I managed to go beatdown in one of the games with a Onulet and Primal Clay and in the other Mats doesn’t draw blue mana for his Timetwister splash and his draws was sub-par. I did manage to do a great trade when Mats had a Roc of Kher Ridges, an Elves of the Deep and I think another small creature. I attack with Onulet, he blocked with Roc and after combat I played a Holy Light and traded 2 for 3. Both games did hinge on Mats playing a Shatterstorm and both times I had the Blue Elemental Blast to answer it. I think I was lucky since Mats deck is fast and having both Timetwister and Wheel of Fortune is deadly. Had his draws been better or if he managed to resolve his Shatterstorm the results might have been very different.

All in all everyone had a really nice time and games tended to go longer than anticipated and people really seemed to liked it. We also so several interesting interactions like Mats casting a Detonate for 8 on an Aladin's Ring for the game. One guy had both Sol Ring and Black Lotus but got unlucky (and also said that he build the deck wrong, splashing and taking green cards when he should not) and went 0-3, clearly power isn't everything.

That's it for this time. Next up is some Troll Disco tech, or if people are interested and want to, I'll write about another cube draft.

/elof

lördag 12 december 2015

Canadian Rashomon

Perception is a fickle beast. Reality is shaped by subjective senses where one man's victory is another one's demise. What really happened in Drew's house that day? These are two accounts from our friends across the ocean in Toronto. Enjoy! /Mg out

The first witness
Games night was at Drew’s house for a second time.  Snacks and a 6 pack of sprinkled donuts were provided but never made it out. Poor Joe, he loves a good sprinkled donut. By the way, I had two today and they were magnificent.

Bryan arrived early-as per usual. He was wearing his favourite - insert Toronto sports franchise throwback jersey based on season -, in this case it is winter, so he was wearing a Leafs Vintage Jersey Sweater. The only people still reping Leafs gear are B, 11 year olds and Carlos-from Gotham Central Comics-who sells me comics and drives a lunch truck on his off days. Needless to say it was good to see B.

Adam and Joe followed. Joe barrelled into the house with a 48oz soft drink, a coffee and a double cheeseburger combo from Wendy's. I don’t really know what to say to this other than Joe seems like a beaten man. This foreshadowed the beating that would get much, much worse.

Jordan ran into traffic and a hangover, so he was the last to arrive.

With everyone now safely arrived and composed, seats were taken and the rules were drawn up. It would be a round robin that kept track of match wins and not game wins, which at the end became problematic since no one really wanted to play the top 4 playoff.

Money was collected with little uproar.

Here are the decks, sadly only a few pics were taken and no official deck lists were recorded.
(Editor's rendition)
Bryan: 4 colour Erhnam-Geddon Control with Chaos Orb, Ancest, Mind Twist and some counters.

Joe: B/W old school death and taxes with sinkhole, hypno, sengir, and lots of creature removal.

Adam: W/R Land Tax+ Lands Edge- a griefer deck with winter orb, relic barrier and a seemingly endless supply of turn 2 Blood Moons.

Jordan: Mono G w/Ancest, Mirror, Chaos Orb and Time Walk-lots of big creatures like Force of Nature and Craw Wurm, Desert Twister and elves (not BoP).

Drew: BANT aka U/W/G aka I cant believe he is not playing Black with erhnams, serras, serendibs and some spice in the board… also a ton of counters.
The event
Lots of cool matches and some sweet plays.

Round 1 saw Adam beat Drew 2-1. Game 1 was a turn 2 Blood Moon into a turn 3 Land Tax and at that point it was “goodnight sweet Prince”. Game 2 saw Drew drop a Library on turn 1 and then face a turn 3 Blood Moon. Fortunately a timely Disk got shit back on track and Drew easily outdrew Adam and his Relic Barrier less Howling Mine. Game 3 was a real nail biter that went all the way to a Feldon’s Cane, Wheel, Winds of Change Land Tax, Lands Edge burn you for 6. Drew has a tendency of playing slow and letting his life hang low which cost him this game. No real punts and no real poor sportsmanship. Solid match all around.

Jordan ran over Joe who forgot to call Chaos Orb and was the victim of a poor flip. One of many poor flips on the night. Jord wins 2-0.

Round 2
Adam played B and got Turn 1 Ancestral, Lotus, Sylvan, TIme Walk Erhnam. He looked at B and scooped his cards. Game 2 was pretty much the same. In fact B would do this to all of his opponents at some point in the night.

Drew and B without knowing it brought very similar decks. B had the Armageddon package and Drew had the more Control heavy package with Balance, Regrowth and Recall. Both Decks had 4x Disenchant and 4x StP. Like Adam said, don’t play oldschool without full playsets of these staples. Mana bases were also much better this time around. Except for Joe who left all his Scrublands in his Legacy Death and Taxes Deck

Drew beat Joe in less than 10 mins.

Round 3
Jord lost to B, Adam beat Joe

Rd4 saw Drew play Jord in what looked like an epic blow up match between brothers, sadly Jordan was out till 6:30 drinking. The best thing that happened was Drew dropping a Merchant Ship and Arboria on him. A sweet play with Balance and the match was over 2-0. Lots of laughs here.
Joe lost to B, badly and we headed into rd 4 with B a shocking 3-0, Drew and Adam at 2-1 and Jordan 1-2. Joe was 0-3, but you already know he loses almost every game he plays if you’ve been following along.

Round 4
This may have been the best round of Magic all night. Jordan played Adam and had a very sketchy controversial Chaos Orb flip. Jordan flipped the card and it ricocheted off the targeted land, a Maze of Ith, but Adam called for a judge ruling. Joe said his view was obstructed due to the aforementioned 48oz soda, B wasn't paying attention as per usual, but Drew ever diligent and looking to weigh in on a play, said the Orb hit its target and the Maze was sent to the graveyard allowing for Jordan to come back from sure defeat. Adam went onto Land Tax, Blood Moon, Lands Edge the match and finish 3-1

The final match of the night was the two similar control decks. B vs Drew. It was an epic match too. Drew won the first match with superior card draw on the back of turn 1 Lotus, Mox, BOP and Sylvan Library. Not much B could do from there. A Counter Spell of the Mind Twist ended it and B scooped. Game 2 had B racing out an Erhnam Djinn, and  a Serendib Efreet and then Chaos Orb, Sylvan Library. Drew had a Wrath, but the Arabian Nights djinns and efreets kept coming to even the match at 1-1. Too bad the misers City in a Bottle from the board didn’t make an appearance; the look on B’s face would have been pricele$$. Game 3 was super tight with lots of interesting plays. Drew stuck an Arboria-Legends Enchant World that prevents attacks if you do nothing during your turn and just sat back and countered everything B tried to do. Eventually Bryan lifted the Green Enchantment, but Drew had his Library and Ancest, Regrowth, Ancest, Recall Ancest and Regrowth and that was that. Serra did her thing and we had 3 players with just a single loss.

No one seemed to want to play it out even though it was only 10:30 so B took the Unlimited Birds of Paradise, I guess based on losing the fewest games, Drew finished 2nd and gave Adam the Legends Land Tax, taking the Legends Xira Arien, Jord somehow managed to get a NM Legends Dakkon Blackblade-which at one time, was 40$ and his record was 1-3.
Joe received a GG from all. And you all know what that means…

A great time was had by all. Looking forward to the next one boys.


The second witness
My take on the evening is a little disjointed and entirely from my perspective so bear with me.

The ride up -- As usual I was late to pick up Joe, even with so few real responsibilities I still manage to find a way to get tied up in some kind of nonsense minutes before. 

I pick Joe up, he's looking a little dishevelled but otherwise ecstatic that I am here to free him from his current obligations.

The ride up is mostly uneventful. Joe's revelation -- "I ain't eating none of that dry pie". We proceed to discuss what Joe hates most about our Pizza Nova order, I tune him out as I am pretty sure he once told me he likes Pizza Pizza.

We proceed to one of the greatest marriages in fast food history the Tim Hortons-Wendy's combo restaurant (usurped only by the Swiss Chalet-Harvey's combination). We order a couple of double-doubles so that we can stay up, Joe also manages to go with an off-menu choice of the Sugar-Cookie doughnut (later reviews were positive).

The two of us feeling pretty good enter Drew's abode little worse for wear and ready to battle. I have brought my tuned Tax/Edge deck, Joe again (a series of questionable audibles) decides to go with W/B, splashing blue for ancestral recall. Everyone remarks on Joe's food choice, somehow we avoid awkwardness while Joe scarfs his meal.

Round 1: Drew with U/G/W control
Game 1 - I drop an early blood moon, and follow up with land tax/land's edge and finish in short order.
Game 2 - Drew gets some massive card advantage with Ancestral Recall, Regrowth, Ancestral Recall. While it may have seemed I was in this game, I got so buried in card advantage I never really was.
Game 3 - This one was a nail biter. Drew has some good removal for my combo pieces, I counter with removal of my own on his threats. I eventually land a late Tax/Edge but have to feldon's cane to get enough lands to burn him out. Good games tight play.

Round 2: B-Nut Ernham Geddon
Game 1 and 2 go exactly the same - B is able to drop a bunch of mana rocks into a turn 2 Ernham turn 3 Armageddon. I am in neither game and my salt level is Dead Sea x 3. I hold off making any actual insults but don't feel particularly good about these losses.

Round 3: Joe B/W I don't even know
Game 1 - Early tax edge does it's work, am able to burn out in short order. Joe remarks my combination of relic barriers, Icy Manipulator and removal have made his evening "miserable" I apologize but I am secretly satisfied - I conclude I am probably not a good person.

Game 2 - This is a weird one. Joe opens with an aggressive strip mine/sink hole--dark ritual, However I get a land tax and a strip mine and am able to stall while removing a couple of hypnos. Tax Edge again goes the distance but not quickly, again probably miserable and again I am probably not a good person.

Round 4: Jordan Giant Green Guy with mana elves
Game 1 - A combination of mana rocks lotus and a tax/edge allow me to turn 3 dome Jordan for 18 and follow up with bolt. Jordan comments on how he is hung over and how that wasn't nice. I agree but not being a good person I don't care either.

Game 2 - This game was close, Jordan has good removal for my enchantments including a tranquility which removes the combo entirely. As Drew alluded to there was a suspect chaos orb flip. Unlike Joe's which did not make it's full rotation this one missed the card entirely. However the call being 2 against 1, the other spectators unable to see the ruling goes against your hero. The smirks on both Drew and Jordan's faces lets me know that I did in fact get foiled. Jordan takes this game, I avoid tilt.

Game 3 - This game goes much like the first, I am able to combo out before the 6 mana desert twister removal is able to interact. Jordan comments that this deck may in fact not be very good -- I agree, Andrew agrees, we all agree.
Wrap up
I get what I want as Drew flips me the Land Tax, the other top prize of birds of paradise make it into someone's deck. Both cards will probably not see the light of day for several more months.

All in all it was a great evening, while truncated - somehow we had thought we would play for 7 hours, this may have been ambitious. 

I think in the end - B Nut won, Drew and Adam tie for second, Jordan gets the booby prize, while Joe enjoyed his meal. Successful for our second ever old school games night.

lördag 5 december 2015

Antiquities Roadshow

While my Channel Universe deck had to take a backseat to spending that budget on #MtgForLife, that didn't mean I didn't brew the last few months. The luxury of having collected a bunch of duals and a majority of the restricted list actually makes building a lot of decks in this format somewhat budget friendly. A couple of months ago I lacked 21 cards for this deck, including 11 Antiquities rares and a pair of Arabian Nights rares, and the whole ordeal still cost me less than a box of Battle for Zendikar.
Dig it.
The plan was the Archaeologist. The digger from Argivia is, like, a super sweet card you guys! Even if we let go of the fact that many of the top decks in the format already play one third artifacts in their decks, the synergies with the card and the broken stuff it can do is just awesome. For two mana, you get back your Lotus. For two mana, you can go inf with Chaos Orb. Two mana nullfies a Disenchant. Repeatable card advantage from a three-drop sounds like a bargain in this format. And being used to pay four mana to repeatedly get a card with the Tome, paying two doesn't seem shabby. In 1994, it was actually the most expensive card in Antiquities, though the price have pretty much stood still since. I've always wanted to try the card properly, and after Hans Henrik Rasmussen showed off his mono-white Bottle of Suleiman deck, I had to try it.

I didn't go mono-white myself though. Sage of Lat-Nam looked like too good a card to pass on. Sacrificing a mox and picking it up again with the Archaeologist nets you a card draw for one mana. And the Chaos Orb synergy is soo good that I wanted at least one Transmute Artifact in the deck. And while I'm blue, mise well add the broken clover of Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, Braingeyser and Recall to the pile.


There are basically two ways of winning here. One is ramping out a Tetravus with the abundance of jewellery, create a bunch of tokens, maybe sacrifice the tokens to a Sage, maybe recur the Tetravus with the Archaeologist, or maybe just bash with the flying 4/4. The other, sweeter, option is to resolve a Martyrs of Korlis and start flipping coins with Bottle of Suleiman. If you miss, the Martyr will take the hit and you can dig up the bottle again with the Archaeologist. If you hit, you get a 5/5 flying and still get to dig up the bottle. You should statistically get a 5/5 flying every other turn for no additional card investment. It's highly possible that one bottle is enough for the deck, and a second Transmute Artifact should take its place. I went with two though. They have a lot of personal nostalgic value, and the reprinted Gathering version was one of the first rares I ever opened.

Creature removal in the deck is kinda scarce, as the Martyrs and the Moat should handle most comers. The Martyrs both blocks Juzam and sucks up all artifact damage from everything between double Factories to stolen Tetravi. You have an extra out to kill summons with Ashnod's Transmogrant though. With six spot removals for artifacts in addition to the four bodyguards, the Transmogrant should remove the claws of most opposing monsters. You can also use it with the Archaeologist to beef up your Martyrs or just cycle it with the Sage.
At this point, it feels like you are cheating.
Finally we get some extra digging value with the Bazaar of Baghdad. I got one this spring, and I haven't had the chance to play it yet. To use Bazaar with some consistency in e.g. Colossus Skull or The Machine, you really want to have two of them. Here it looks like one is just the right number though. Discarding cards isn't really that bad when you can throw away artifacts to be recovered with the Archaeologist. Also, the ability to dig for important one-ofs like Chaos Orb is really neat. Probably a "win-more" card, but I'm not gonna let it rot in my binder. For more budget concerned players, it can be replaced with Jalum Tome without that much loss.
UW Archaeologist.
Though useful, the power cards aren't really necessary in the deck, you'll go a long way with the advantage you get from just the Archaeologist. I'd probably play more Mana Vaults and Fellwar Stones if I hadn't had access to jewellery. Another option is to play red instead of blue and just go nuts with Transmogrant, Archaeologist, and Alladin. Orcish Mechanics should probably fit in there too.

I playtested the deck for the first time this Thursday, and it was really sweet. One thing in particular is the crazy amount of tempo created by the Sages. When using e.g. Jayemdae Tome to draw cards, it taps out four mana and it's unlikely that you can cast the spells you draw the same turn unless you're in the very late game. The tempo is completely different with the Sages. And they combo really well with Tetravus, in particular if you lucked out with an Archaeologist in play.

Next time we're gonna look at a tournament report from players in Canada, stay tuned.

tisdag 1 december 2015

Hövveturneringen and 24 decklists

This week I spread my wings and wrote a guest post for Shaman Ben's MtgUnderground blog. If you haven't seen his blog, I highly recommend checking it out. Ben is a fantastic writer and his gonzo-style reports are rare gems in the often bland world of Magic chronicles. The red thread in my article is the second, smaller, 93/94 tournament that took place the day after the Shark tournament at BSK a month ago. It is one of my longer posts, and in my own opinion a good one. You should check it out (and the rest of Ben's blog) here.
But that's not all. In case you've already seen the post and feel the need for some netdecking inspiration, here are 24 decks-to-beat from the last months.
Audun's Nether Void Ponza from Moss.
BSK 2015 top8
55 participants, photos of 8/8 decks. The sixth showdown at BSK was the grandest one yet. Top decks include e.g. MirrorBall combo, Power Monolith, UR Burn, The Deck and a solid Deadguy Ale. When the dust settled, UR Burn was seen hoisting the Shark once again.

Moss 93/94 Top8
26 participants, photos of 8/8 decks. The second non-proxy tournament in Norway was a smashing showdown as people came from far and wide to fight for the Moss Monster. The top8 contains diverse decks like Stasis, Erhnam Burn'em, Nether Void Ponza, Troll Disco and two different builds of Power Monolith.

Wexio #3 93/94 Top4
12 participants, photos of 4/4 decks. This time the top of the heap belonged to Project M, BRw Tempo, Enchantress and UGR Tempo. The control decks were yet again left behind in the swiss. Worth noting is that three out of four decks play maindeck land destruction spells to complement the Strip Mine and Orb.

Joypad Open Top4
7 participants, pictures of 4/4 decks. The first non-proxy tournament in Oslo gathered some dark mages. For a change, the top4 didn't contain a single blue card. Instead we saw 16 Dark Rituals, 13 Underworld Dreams and 11 Hypnotic Specters in the top four decks.

onsdag 25 november 2015

Gothenburg Invitiational and ramblings

Last weekend I attended the first Gothenburg Invitational 93/94 tournament in Gothenburg. It was a smashing event, hosted by the Master of enchantments and fine beer that is Kenneth Mossberg.
Åland builds his Moat with open containers. The lions are at bay.
I'm showing up to battle with flying 2/2s and the old fashion four-eyes look.
Kalle lucks his way to yet another final win. He has now won three of the last four big tournaments he has played. Soon I can't attribute it to just luck anymore.
Mid-nineties Swedish champion Nikolai "Now" Weibull beating down with goblins.
Not Dead Guy Ale, but Undead Party Crasher Porter maybe? Made it to top4 at least :)
The event was streamed live at twitch, and there might be some videos coming up in the future. The commentator had gotten a cold though, so instead of doing his job he sleeved up The Gun and drank cinnamon whisky. It might still be watchable if you are deep in the 93/94 mire :)

And this is going on:
I've started the signing and packing process for the #MtgForLife cards now. Again, for those of you who asked, the cards are all from my own collection and all of the money we've raised will go directly to MSF (apart from possibly transfer fees and such). And thanks again for all the backing, I'm really proud of what we've done! I realized that there was some issue with the shipping information for the "Fetcher" perk, so I'll be sending an email to the forty of you soon to make sure that I get your correct addresses. Might take some time before I get it all set up and sent though, there was a lot of good people backing and the cards in the picture is far from all I'll be bringing to the post office.

It's quite a lot on the plate right now other than Magic, so I'll keep it reasonably short today. If you urge for some sweet tech, I'll be updating the Decks to Beat section with the decks from the Joypad Open, Wexio, Moss and BSK tournaments in the next couple of days. Before that though, I highly recommend checking out Christopher Cooper's article at manaleak.com about getting into the format on a budget. The UK players permit a few more reprint sets (from 94-95), but the ideas about deck building and budgeting are great regardless of where your group chose to draw the line. Well, at least up to the point where you would start playing with Blood Moon from Modern Masters and Serendib Efreet from From the Vault, but at that point I think you'd be doing Old School blatantly wrong ;)
You are awesome btw @Oldschoolmtg :)

onsdag 18 november 2015

Stream of #MtgForLife

"With 10,000 dollars, we'd be millionaries! We could buy all kinds of useful things... like love!"
-Homer Simpson

It was a success. $12,692 has been contributed by over a hundred players of the mtgunderground. We've managed to do this without any support from the larger stores like SCG or CardKingdom. We've spread the word on informal channels, zero fucks given about the discomfort in asking fellow players to look at situations worse than thier own. This is not a political thing, it is a simple humanitarian thing. It's about acknowledging people who have been dealt a crappy hand in life and helping those who help in what way we can. It's about giving up a small part of our own luxury to help other people's lifes move from 'abysmal' to 'pretty harsh'.
#MtgForLife doesn't end just because the campaign is over. Today I recieved a mail from a guy in Norway who just had sold cards for $90 and asked where he should donate them now that the Indiegogo campaign is done (this could be a good start). Another guy just sent me a message on Twitter asking the same. Yet another guy posted a comment here the other day saying that he runs a charity auction that will end in a month. We can still keep the spirit of this alive. In the last post, Felipe wrote about how Magic had helped him find friends and easier get in to the Swedish society when he moved here a couple of years back. Maybe we could build a few cheap decks from our bulk, give them to a local refugee camp, and teach a few Syrians how to play Magic? Regardless of where we go from here, we should be proud right now. There are some seriously good people in this community.
And not that many Trolls.
It will take a week or two before I can transfer the money to MSF. Indiegogo estimated 10-15 days after the campaign is over before the accounts have been verified and the money has been transferred from the campaign. I'll also need some time before I can send out all the perks. People from all over the world have contributed, and I need to get deep into the world of stamps. There are also a couple of cards (including the Mox) that I'd like to alter before sending them out, and I haven't had the chance to fix that yet. So please be patient. And who gets the Mox? Well, I took all the people who had contributed $100 and added them to a spread sheet. Then I took the people who had contributed more than that, and added them again for each extra $100-150. I figured that would be the most fair, as those who contributed e.g. one $500 donation could have picked more potential "tickets" with five $100 contributions. That gave me about 80 names. So I opened an R-interpreter, typed sample(1,80:1) and got a random name from that list. I guess that I could just have sat down and picked someone myself of the list, but I think that randomness is the most fair way to go here. If the guy who gets it already has a red Mox, I guess that person could just sell it and use the money for something sweet.

What else? This weekend I'll be travelling to Sweden and Gothenburg to play at the first Gothenburg Invitational 93/94 tournament. The organizers will show the tournament on twitch, so if you want to see players like Kalle Nord, Olle Råde and Freespace misplay with the oldest of cards you could watch it live. You can check out the facebook page if you're interested.

I'm not sure what to play yet. Both Troll Disco and Deadguy Ale looks really sweet, but I don't have enough of the cards. Armageddon looks really strong right now, so I've been thinking a lot about different takes on WW. I've also thought about upgrading Project M to some sort of Power M for the tournament, playing the full Nine and Power Artifact combo, but Guardian Beast making you unable to enchant your artifacts is actually a real hassle. Serendib Djinn / Land Equilibrium combo? Some pile with 4-of Tetravus? More than two days left, so I guess I have time to figure something out.

If you want to play some real Magic yourself, Erik "Sehl" Larsson will host the second edition of Sehlskapsspelen in Åsa, Sweden, December 18th. Looks like a sweet gathering with rad mages.

I'm very proud of what we achieved with #MtgForLife. This is a great community. Keep the mindset alive.

söndag 15 november 2015

Two and a half days left: Felipe's Time Vault

It's a little over two days left on the #MtgForLife campaign. It's a different climate than just a couple of days ago.

I think a lot about what happened in Paris yesterday. I also think that thinking or praying isn't enough. Is there something that you can actually do, if even at a micro level, to help someone or change things for the better?

The $12,257 we've collected for MSF of course wont create world peace alone. But it will help a lot more than $0 would. Everything is pretty fucked up right now. I'm glad to be around people who cares about changing it for the better rather than scream for more blood.

I'm going back down now to our casual realm of card games. Today we have a special treat from one of the top techers and good guys in the format, I give the word to our own Felipe Garcia. Enjoy :) /Mg out

---

A couple of weeks ago the BSK gaming convention was held in the Swedish city of Borås. The yearly BSK oldschool tournament at the site attracted 55 players. Six rounds of swiss and a top 8 gave us a Hall of Fame champion: Olle Råde.

I played Time Vault combo for the second time after the last n00bcon tournament and placed 10th, missing the top 8 on a close game based on some unfortunate misplays.

I am going to talk a little about the deck here as it has caused some curiosity among opponents and because I think combo is a bit underdeveloped in the current 93/94 meta. The list is somehow self explanatory but I will go through it a little just to clarify its goal and go a deeper into some of its synergies.
Maindeck
Sideboard
Conceptually in the game, the sequences of turns equals to the speed of actions made by two opponents in a duel. Ideally, both players would play simultaneously, but this is almost impossible to recreate in a real game. So if we could play two turns for every turn the opponent has, this would mean we would be moving twice as fast. The average amount of turns played by this deck per match is more than twice the turns our enemy usually have. We would be conceptually moving, drawing and casting spells much faster. Isn't it cool!

The deck's goal is to develop mana and play some card drawing accelerators on the first few turns, preparing the ground for a chain of extra turns out of the Time Vault-Twiddle combination. This must be done with some caution depending of the opponent's strategy. I will go deeper on how to play it against the current archetypes further down on this article.

The mana base is focussed on blue producing lands and mana accelerators. Among them the Mana Vault is of extreme importance as it helps us to lower our life down to an optimal Mirror exchange point and trades through transmute artifact into Howling Mines or combo pieces.

The defense block is prepared to fight against our most feared enemy: The Deck. The maindeck Red Elemental Blast is for both counter fights and to remove our own Stasis. The Power Sink is extremely valuable as we will often have more mana than the opponent. For optimal value it must be played on opponents turn to tap out his mana preparing for a more comfortable combo turn. The Hurkyl's Recall is a tech choice which has proved to be critical in my recent games. Against control the usual play is as follows: at the end of a turn in which a Mishra's Factory attacked you, you cast Hurkyl's backed up with Power Sink and they will usually lose a land drop, bounce up some mana producing artifacts and subsequently discard some of those cards. Hurkyl's Recall is extremely powerful in the current meta due to lots of deck which run four Jayemdae Tome and 4 Fellwar Stone. They also work very well in combination with Timetwister, Balance and Wheel of Fortune. On top of that, they also won some matches without the Mirror combo just bouncing a couple of Mana Vaults and moxes for a lethal 20 points Fireball.

On the card advantage there are not too many things to clarify. We could only point out the importance of the Sylvan Library which helps you at drawing, searching and lowering your life total. The ability to shuffle the library through Transmute Artifact help you search for the cards needed any specific situation. I have also tried it in combination with Bazaar of Baghdad and it has proven really useful. I finally cut the Bazaar because it was somehow a "win-more" card and didn't really help in tight situations.

For the combo itself I would advise a lot of practising, because even when you have two Howling Mines and a Sylvan Library on the table it can be a little tricky. Before using Twiddles on the Vault we normally want to maximize the effect of the extra turns by playing as many Mines as possible. Remember to use wisely the shuffling ability of Transmute Artifact. The deck can take infinite turns with the Regrowth/Timetwister combination but remember that Recall is a one time use card so use it carefully.

The lone Stasis can be used as another Time Walk in this deck in combination with Time Vault, giving us some more time to gather our combo pieces and lock opponent down for a few turns. Never play it just on top of some howling mines because you need some protection and a way to minimize its effect on yourself (REB or Time Vault). Another techy card is Reconstruction. This card is awesome in combination with Mana Vault and Transmute Artifact, as it allows us to reach ridiculous amounts of mana with Black Lotus. Perfect before a draw7 or an Amnesia.

Strategy against the current meta decks:

Playing against Control
Against control decks we only have to focus on their mana. There is no Force of Will in 93/94 which is crucial for us. They can have a full hand with Library of Alexandria, Jayemdae and two Factories in play, but if they are out of blue mana during our turn they are dead anyway. Sylvan Library is extremely useful in this matchup because it allows us to do a lot of different tricks. They are very slow on lowering our life so we can take advantage of its -4 ability two or three times without worries. I always try to keep a Demonic Tutor or a draw7 on top without drawing it in order to have a chance of recovery after a big Mind Twist. In this matchup we have to be very cautious casting Howling Mines before comboing because a Time Walk-Regrowth-Time Walk from their side would be critical.

The strategy here is to gather some defense, develop mana and use their end step to eventually tap them out through Hurkyl's and Power Sink.

Playing against Aggro
I will divide aggro in two groups, the one with Disenchants and the one with burn. Against the first group we have to play fast and try to bait out some Disenchants on your early howling mines. Try to wait or force them to tap out before comboing off. Against the burn group, it is usually easier. It is similar to the control matchup in the sense of mana counting, but in this case instead of counting blue mana for counters, we should count red mana for instant speed burn spells. On top of that I usually run some copies of Fog which is a one green mana Time Walk against aggro decks.

Playing against Combo
I haven't had the chance to play against many combo decks in 93/94 tournaments apart from Enchantress or Lands Edge. On those matches I noticed that we can be a little bit more explosive than them so we could wait until the optimal spot without exposing our pieces or strategy. The deck can disguise itself as some kind of control until it finds the spot to finish the enemy from full life without giving them the chance to have another turn.
There is one card to be feared over all the rest which is Underworld Dreams. Save counters and sideboard the 4 disenchant in that case. Other annoying threats like Black Vise or Copper Tablet are much more easily to answer with Hurkyl's Recall.

A short example from BSK
Second match in the swiss against Icelander (finalist in the 57 player n00bcon 7 tournament).

Icelander plays a heavy control version of The deck with Factories as the main win condition. I begin with a hand with very little defense so I decide to go full throttle from the beginning so I play land, mox and Howling Mine, hoping to not face a Time Walk soon from his side.

He answer with some mana accelerators and a Mind Twist to make me discard my whole hand. At least he is tapped out, I thought. On the following turns I play the rest of my three Howling Mines as he develops his mana sources with Fellwar Stones and Factories. He was sitting on some counters and decided to let the Howling Mines resolve as he was taking advantage of them. Finally I gathered some defense and when he tapped out for a big threat I played Hurkyl's Recall on his step which would have bounced seven artifacts and two factories. He fought the counter-fight over the Hurkyls', depleting his mana and rendering him helpless for my following turn when I could take seven extra turns in a row drawing 7 cards each turn.

On this tournament I played a transformation sideboard and sidedboarded out the combo to convert the deck into a full control version. He opened with Library of Alexandria and I answered with two Mana Vaults and a lethal Mind Twist which lock him down with the help of a transmuted Disrupting Scepter.

Closing
Finally I want to take the chance to speak a little bit more generally about our game. Unfortunately I won't be able to visit Nebraska's War tournament in Italy, so I will miss the great opportunity of meeting Richard Garfield in person. Nevertheless I want to say here what I would like to tell him in person. The game he created is great in many aspects. In my case I would like to point out that in my process of adapting to a new culture and country, the game has proven to be a wonderful communication tool. Sometimes we use clichés when we meet people from abroad which obstacle a fair understanding. Magic the Gathering creates a frame of communication and instant friendship which "exiles" automatically all those barriers that our minds create between people.

Adding "The gathering" to the game's name could have never been as accurate.

felipegarciaarenas@gmail.com

onsdag 11 november 2015

6 days left: The BSK top8, part 2

Six days left for the #MtgForLife campaign. A few days back we reached the $10,000 milestone we sat out at the start, but we keep charging. Right now, we've raised $12,052. We're at at a level where it sends a signal to and from the Magic community at large. Sometimes we need to raise our eyes from our playmats, and when we do, we have the opportunity to make a small difference. Ball Lightning if I ever saw it. Thanks for being awesome.

With the last week of the campaign in mind, let's check in on the rest of the mages from the BSK top8.
Hannes "Halo00" Löfgren, Andreas Rosén, Olle "Rolex" Råde, Martin Jordö.
Hannes "Halo00" Löfgren holds the distinction of being the youngest player in the format; at 22 years he's only slightly older than the cards themselves. That does not by any means say that he is low on experience with old cards though. Quite the opposite. Hannes slowly bought in to Legacy a bunch of years back while in school, and showed impressive results at the tournaments in Gothenburg early on. He started his transition to Vintage around 2011 (I think), and have since then become one of the arguably best players in the format in the North. After a usual string of great finishes, he convincingly topped the standings in the largest Swedish Vintage league last year (with yours truly quite a leap down at second place btw). He is a known quantity in the elimination rounds of eternal tournaments, this year including e.g. the Vintage nationals. Hannes started playing 93/94 a little over a year ago. After missing the top8 of last n00bcon on tiebreakers, this time his take on The Deck would take him to the top of the standings at BSK. And there's some solid tech right here! In particular his win conditions are a 3/2/2 split between Serra, Factories and Fireballs. The 3/0 split between main deck Books and Scepters and a few MD Lightning Bolts seems to have become conventional wisdom in later versions of The Deck.
Halo00's The Deck
For our next guy, Andreas Rosén, I actually know very little about him. I've heard that he comes from Norberg, a smaller city in Sweden, and visited BSK with a friend. But I'm surprisingly blank. A stout man with an arm covered in tattoos, smashing faces with second turn Juzam Djinns. Solid description of a 93/94 player for sure.

Deck of choice in his first 93/94 tournament though? Deadguy Ale. A really cool deck for those who dare pick it up. It combines the power of an early Juzam or Underworld Dreams with the best spot removals in the format; Disenchant, Swords to Plowshares and Sinkhole. It also has the ability to go first turn Hypnotic or just blow out the game with Balance or Mind Twist.  5-1 in the swiss. Who said you had to have blue power to get to the elimination rounds? Juzam has god damn five power on his own.
Andreas's Deadguy Ale
Olle "Rolex" Råde was "the first consensus 'best player in the world' in Pro Tour history". He was the first player with five PT top8s, the first Player of the Year, the first DCI Invitational winner, and got inducted in the first class of the Magic Hall of Fame. If you ever looked for a real old school Magic pro, Olle will fit your bill. About a year ago, Olle decided to show that he's still the man to beat when it comes to the oldest of cards. He first came to play 93/94 at BSK 2014, finishing with a 4-2 record and missing the top8 on tiebreakers with his The Deck (you can read his excellent report here). This year, his Efreets, Djinns and burn spells took him all the way to the top. "Feels like there's not that much more left to win now", as the new Shark-winner said with a smile.

Olle's deck is a next step in the evolution of UR Burn/Electric Eel Aggro. He's down to just five creature spells, all hailing from the island of Sri Lanka. Instead he's going strong with the burn suite and counters, and more control elements than we're used to. His pair of maindeck Blood Moons are complemented by cards like Amnesia, Disrupting Scepter and maindeck Red Elemental Blasts. A very solid tempo deck with few bad matchups.
Olle's UR Burn
Martin Jordö has pretty much always played Magic, at least for as long as the Nordic Magic scene is concerned. His story is tightly knit to the history of Magic in Sweden. He started playing in the spring of '94 with a pair of tournament packs and friend, playing ante for three months before before opening the door to boosters and other players. After getting his appetite for higher competition, he first appeared at the Pro Tour in 1996. He played a few PTs, top8'd a GP, and then became the first DCI manager of Sweden in 1997. Apart from a dispensation to play at PT Chicago in '97, that meant an end for his high level tournament play. He later became the first Level 3 Judge in Sweden. In 2002, he put his Wizard duties aside and started SvenskaMagic with two friends. With his new-found opportunity to play in tournaments, he started casting spells a little more competitive again and qualified for the Pro Tour during Kamigawa block. He then went on to open the gaming store Vasa Gaming (current Mindstage) in Gothenburg. And that's just a few of his milestones Magic-wise. Dude has done a lot of things, and the Swedish community would look very different without Martin in the picture.

Deck of choice? "Enchantress-less Enchantress". A Mirror Universe combo deck of sorts. Inspired by Mats Karlsson's Enchantress deck, but drawing on the power of the recently unrestricted Mirror Universe instead of the creatures of Verdura. The deck looks really sweet to play, and grossly unfair to play against.
Martin Jordö's MirrorBall
It is fun to see how both of the cards we unrestricted after n00bcon 7 make a big impact on the meta, and that both decks using Mirror Universe and Power Artifact show up in the top4 of a 55-player tournament six months later. Last year, it also took about half a year before we saw the full impact of unrestricted Mana Vaults in Atog Decks (as well as monoblue, combo and Nether Void). The ninth place deck was a really sweet pile as well btw; a BRG Land destruction deck without Nether Void. We also have quite a few other sweet piles that just missed out on the top8, including Time Vault combo and WW. Next time we'll take a deeper look at Vault combo with Felipe Garcia.

Six days left for #MtgForLife. Over $12,000. This is the spirit of the format.

fredag 6 november 2015

Day 29: Milestones and BSK Top8

Well I'll be a six-drop in a sligh deck. We've done this:
10,000 'murcan dollars! Well, actually $10,417 by now. You guys are awesome.
What now? We're going into Win-More. Still-had-all-deez mode. Of course we pursue. It's 11 days left, and we keep charging. Every contribution matters, and we have some momentum now. Even WotC is starting to take notice (Helene is the Director of Global Organized Play at Wizards):
So, if anyone from WotC is reading this and wants to get in, feel free to send me a message.

----

But now, lets go to some hot tech from the elimination rounds of BSK. I give you the first half of the BSK top8.
Erik Sundberg, Mikael Lindén, Per Algander, and Jocke Almelund.
Erik Sundberg is one of the real champions of exploring what can be done with the 93/94 cardpool. And I'm not just talking about 60-card constructed here. Erik has been hosting a 93/94 Cap Magic circle for some time (oldschoolcapmagic.wordpress.com), where the players "vote out" cards from the card pool after each session to make deck building more and more intricate. He recently hosted a 93/94 Rotisserie draft, a draft where every legal card in the format is layed out on a table, and each player gets to pick in order to draft a deck. A twist was that if you picked a restricted card, you only got one copy, but if you picked a non-restricted you got the full playset. So would you pick one Ancestral over e.g. four Lightning Bolts? Erik has played 93/94 in tournaments for a little over a year now, and is known to show up with some kind of weird home brew declaring that he has "broken the format". This time, he decided not to break the format for once, and instead sleeved up a solid copy of The Deck. With his deep knowledge about the format and the card pool, he was able to pilot it all the way to the top8.
Erik Sundberg's The Deck.
Mikael "Placebo blue" Linden is one of the absolute top Vintage players in Sweden. For more than a decade he has consistently been showing up at the top tables at Eternal tournaments and conventions. A couple of weeks ago he won the 50+ player MKM series Vintage tournament in Prague. He is also a super nice guy and one of the best opponents you could hope for in a tournament (as long as you don't mind losing). Mikael's deck of choice for this showdown was UR Burn, with some pretty cool twists. Mikael stocked up on more counterspells than normal, but in particular he opted for a very techy creature base. Rather than playing cards like Electric Eel and Flying Men, he went all in on Dandan and Kird Ape! Kird Ape is supported by a set of Taigas and Tropical Islands, without him playing any other green spells whatsoever. Solid call.
Mikael Linden's Monkey Burn
This was Per "hattper" Algander first 93/94 tournament. As an old Vintage and Legacy player, he showed that he is no scrub with the oldest cards. His Erhnam Djinns and Serras provided some serious tempo in the swiss, and he was able to take his Geddon-pile all the way to the elimination rounds. I love the super sweet tech with Lord Magnus in the sideboard btw, shutting off the drawback of Erhnam. The Tolaria is very nice as well. Solid tech against Unholy Citadel :)
Hattper's ErhnamGeddon
And finally we have Jocke Almelund. Of course we have Jocke Almelund. I don't know what to write that I didn't write in his top8 profile from BSK last year. Or his n00bcon profile from this year. Or in any of the other tournament where we've had profiles. Dude has top8'd n00bcon five out of six times, and the three times he has played at BSK he has top8'd twice and 3-0 dropped once. He won the first Pimpvitational. He has also played at the Pro Tour btw, I don't think I've mentioned that before. He is most probably the most skilled player in the format not to have won a Giant Shark yet. This time he set his The Deck aside, and took a Power Monolith combo all the way to the finals:
Jocke Almelund's Power Monolith.
We'll get back to the rest of the top8 players soon. Until then, feel pride. We've rasied god damn 10,417 'murcan dollars. You remind me of why I love this community. #MtgForLife.

tisdag 3 november 2015

Day 26: Pictures from BSK

Do we really care about the starting numbers? Sure, it's impressive that a casual old school tournament in Borås without any real price support gathers more players than the main Vintage event of the MKM series tournament in Prague. And it's sweet to see that the old players keep coming back, and that new players are attracted to the format every year, showing up to play with what they have. But what I really like is this:
That's during round six of the BSK tournament. Of the 55 players in the tournament, pretty much none has dropped. People are playing at the 0-5 table. Players play because they like the game and enjoy company of the other players. There are no draws here, and players gonna play.

This year, the 93/94 tournament at BSK took place at the main Magic room at the convention. It was the first time we did this. Moving from the hotel bar in 2010 to hotel rooms in 2011, then to hotel suits in 2012 and 2013, to a secluded part of the convention building in 2014, and now into the main area. It could have felt a little weird, but the guys organizing the Magic part of BSK helped us a lot with the set up and made us feel very welcome. No trashtalk about being exclusive or too casual. In Borås, the #mtgunderground is well respected. Here, the grinders, the EDH crew, the FNM casuals and the 93/94 players embrace their differences in a greater community. It's a good place to play Magic.

I'll get to sweet tech and top8 profiles later in the week, but for now, lets enjoy some pictures from the event.
The deck mirror. One of the more intricate ways to play Magic, as long as no one starts with Library of Alexandria
Erik Sunberg vs Halo00. For once, Erik decided to not break the format.
It later became a Serra Angel for the win.
Late game at the top tables. Olle Råde versus n00bcon7 top8 player Emil Klintbäck. Some real old school mages.
WW Mirror. Would you sideboard out Crusade?
Felipe Garcia going for the combo. He took ten turns in a row before killing me with Mirror + Fireball. Very cool deck that we'll look deeper into soon.
William vs Emil. William owns the Mindstage store, Gothenburgs prime LGS, and this was the first time he had sleeved up for 93/94. Good guy!
Long time 93/94 supporter Olof Svanberg's Killer Bees vs n00bcon finalist Icelander's The Deck.
Su-Chi beatdown and lands over spells.
Family feud.
Green vs White. Radjan Spirit is wicked tech.
Shivan and Serra? Scoop.
Enchantresses gonna enchant.
Dervish vs Monoblack somewhere in the middle.
JohanGuld from Arvika, 2013 BSK winner Brorsan from Varberg, and Mikael from Oslo.
Similar turn one as my opponent Elof. I prefer mine though ;)
The third and the first price. Second place gets nothing. "It should hurt to lose in the finals."
Top 8 showdown. Note the sign saying "Demo Magic" that was already at the table when we sat down. Good way to demo the game I guess :)
Both Sol'Kanar and Tetravus shows up for the quarterfinal win.
Hall of Famer Olle "Fusk-Olle" Råde claims the Shark, a small trophy and a bottle of Vodka after an impressive performance. Congrats and very well played!
The winning deck.
And #MtgForLife? We've just passed $9,000 after support from the Swedish Legacy nationals and players at BSK. Over 9,000 god damn dollars! Be proud! It's two weeks left, lets see how far where we can take this sucker.