torsdag 15 januari 2015

2014 Retrospective

2014 was an impressive year for old school Magic. The interest in the format has grown both locally in Sweden and internationally. Starting on a personal note, this is the curent state of Project M:

It's actually somewhat finished. One might argue that I could use more duals, but with their current price tag, that seems like a long shot. I have the Unlimited versions of the UGs and Volcanics should I want to play them, but I think I prefer to keep the deck BB for now. It's nonetheless a pretty impressive pile compared to the version of the deck I played in Regensburg two years ago:
Did not have the cards for a sideboard, but the main was actually pretty solid.
On another personal note, the nerdy side of me thinks that this is pretty sweet:
Full A/B power on a 1994 Khalsa-Brain mat. Checking it off the bucket list I guess ;)
So, raising our sights a little to the Swedish tournament scene, we can in good conscience say that it has been a good year to play old school. We've had 12 tournaments in Sweden this year, and the major ones have really been major. Both BSK and n00bcon attracted 40+ players, and Freespace's Frippan Open tournament attracted 27 players, being the fifth largest tournament in the format yet (after n00bcon 6, BSK 2014, n00bcon 4, and n00bcon 5). I personally had even more fun at Frippan Open than at BSK 2014, being able to drink at a tournament and upholding the casual ambience feels important to enjoy playing 93/94 fully. There used to be more beer in Magic. Long gone are the days where each GP had their own bar, or when Mark Justice got to casually drink beer in the semifinals of Worlds (check the first 10 seconds of that link if you want to see Justice drawing his opener from an unsleeved deck right next to a beer at the table).

One of the best things with the evolution of the format in Sweden during the last year is the emerging groups of old school players in other towns though. I hope to travel to Scania at some point this year to battle Arkanon and his playgroup at their own turf, and I'm very much looking forward to travel to Arvika to play in a tournament against Kungmarkus and the Arvika players in February. Great excuse to meet new people.

So, looking at an international scale, there are actually quite a few non-Swedish groups by now. A year ago, the only tournaments outside of Sweden had been in Canada, but last year we saw players organizing tournaments in France, Italy and different parts of the US. There are also players in Germany, Russia, Denmark and many other places. There are a lot of people who does a great amount of work to keep the format living and create opportunities to play. Without people like Jason Jaco, Dustin Espersen, Greg Titcomb, Manuel Sternis and Jacopo Borrelli the format could never have grown internationally the way it has during the last year. Thanks, people like you gives me a lot of motivation to keep this blog going! :)
Dustin's deck from last week's tournament at Eudo Games in Berkeley. This is just ridiculously sweet.
The format has also grown over social media last year. If you haven't checked them out, have a look at Greg Titcomb's Instagram or Kalle Nord's ditto. There's also a subreddit for Old School Magic now, also started by Greg. The traffic to this blog is about double of what it was a year ago, and a year ago I was almost certain that we had peaked. It's pretty cool to see that other people shares your passion for 20-year old playing cards :)
Monthly pageview trend since March 2012. The monthly views have now passed the total number of Unlimited Lotuses ever printed. There actually seems to be an interest in old school tech ;)
Good netiquette holds that I should mention a few of my favorite posts from the last year. Among my own posts, I would probably pick these as some of the better ones (in no particular order):
  • The return of The Deck. I've written a few short "deck techs" during the year, and this is probably my favorite of them. Very impressive deck, with an interesting background.
  • All in good timing. This is the only post I've written yet where I go well beyond 1994, and discuss rules and decks up to Urza's Saga. It started with me trying to write a "Magic: The Puzzling" quiz post using rules from 1994, but evolved into a rant about how odd timing used to be in the mid 90s.
  • The Fire of Sri Lanka. A post about the card Serendib Efreet. It's a cool card :)
  • Cut from a different Cloth. A nostalgic post about the first Magic play mats and the history of Khalsa Brain games, with comments from Japji Khalsa. Japji is an awesome craftsman, and he does some great work. "Fun" fact: after this post, the cost of early Khalsa-Brain mats on ebay tripled.
  • Priorities and Luxury. A post about why we prioritize to spend so much money on our cards, and why we play an expensive card game with little to no price support.
There have been some great guest reports during 2014 as well; e.g. Olle Råde's report from BSK, Felipe's report from Playoteket and Heiner Litz's report from Eudemonia, among many others. Thanks a lot, they have been very appreciated! Please keep them coming :)

All in all, it has been an exciting year for old school Magic, and I'm happy to be a part of the great community. It's a fun hobby to have, and has helped me wind down when life has gotten stressful.

Here's to a great 2015!

27 kommentarer:

  1. Awesome! /Åland

    SvaraRadera
  2. Very nice mg, keep up the good work!

    /axelsson

    SvaraRadera
  3. I love your deck mg! I can't wait to beat you in februari ;)

    //Kungmarkus

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Haha, I'm sure I'll be having the last laugh next month ;)

      Radera
  4. Awesomness! The blog is kick-ass! Please let me know if you are staying in Oslo over a weekend so we can play some :D Take care // Jhovalking

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Thanks! I'll stay in Oslo quite a lot from now on. How about this Sunday? I have two friends staying here this weekend who are pretty well versed in the format as well :)

      Radera
  5. Good mashed potatoes!

    SvaraRadera
  6. with the growth of the format, I wish you'd once again consider Revised and maybe FE. Revised was printed in 94 and introduces zero new cards to the format - just more players. A lot more.

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. We don't need more players, and if you can't afford to play with expensive cards, you're not entitled to play with expensive cards.

      Including rev in 93/94 would do the same as playing vintage with proxy. It would kill the format.

      Radera
    2. There are too many players and too many tournaments already. This is becoming the new standard. /Åland

      Radera
    3. Including Revised sounds like the wrong way to go.The next step should be only allowing blackboarded cards in the format ;) /Munchhausen

      Radera
    4. Teluin: Local interpretations of the rules are of course welcome. E.g. the Eudo Games B&R is interesting, and they also include Revised and FE as legal sets (http://www.eudogames.com/magic/150111-old-school-magic). It's hard not to be impressed by some of the amazing decks from Berkely and Ravenna during the last month (whom both allow Rev). If you want to battle in Scandinavia, basics are (often) viable budget alternatives to duals.

      I don't think that we'll ever come to include Revised here in Sweden though. Most players enjoy the complexity of building their decks, and the added casual factor by not allowing the more easily obtainable cards. The format has grown well, and with friendly and casual players, and it is very possible that allowing revised here would actually work against that.

      Radera
  7. Christoffer - I'm a P9 owner and Vintage player. The problem is getting others to join who don't want to play with proxies: just like with Vintage, no one wants to play with cards that aren't actually legal.

    Mg: I am aware of the other tournaments/scenes, but yours is the standard that the format is held to. It can be hard to convince others to try it out when they refuse to play with proxies or modified versions.

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Well, there is budget alternatives to play 93-94 (and vintage for that matter, but I'll stick to 93-94 now). Getting a WW deck costs around $250, and gives the owner options to expand on it over time. Like, adding red for bolts Taxedge etc, blue for power aso.

      People who want to get into the format need to do the same thing as the people already playing the format. Save money and build their deck over time. Putting years into affording the deck you want to build should be the norm for 93-94.

      I believe its a good thing that Sweden and our very conservative views is the standard, cause this is not a competitive format. This is a casual format for collectors, and every event I go to where I can avoid to take competitive judge calls or can avoid to play against competitive players I'm happy.

      I see no point in opening up 93-94 for people who don't want to prioritize putting $10k+ on a deck, this is not their format, and I don't want them here. And if people can't spend $10k+ on magic over a 5-10 year span, then playing magic should not be their #1 priority.

      Radera
    2. I agree with everything Christoffer said.

      I would also just like to add that the viability or legitimacy of a format is not determined solely, or even mainly, by how many people play it. Nor by how "accessible" it is.

      This is probably an "elitist" viewpoint, but I find myself rather confused by the idea that every hobby should be immediately accessible at the highest level, with basically no cost or commitment on the part of the player/participant.

      Radera
    3. I never said that it was, but Mg keeps talking about the growth of the format.

      Radera
    4. Den här kommentaren har tagits bort av skribenten.

      Radera
  8. How does that beautiful Lich deck win? :-)

    -Hans

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Lord of the Pit beatdown looks like a good plan :)

      Pestilence also works really well with the walls and the lifegain. Mirror Universe could be a cool card to include as an alternative wincon after Lich has resolved btw.

      Radera
  9. Hans, with Pestilence. The Walls make Pestilence stay and then for the final blow sac a wall to diamond valley and you're ahead in the life race. Lich is there to draw cards from the diamond valley, but you should probably play it very late game.
    Missing a Mirror Universe though which is BFF with Lich.

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Well yes, Pestilence but once Lich is in play that plan seems mighty difficult considering he will have to sacrifice a permanent each time Pestilence is activated, but maybe it works in practise. Mirror Universe definitely wants to be in there, though. And it looks as if Lord of the Pit is in the SB :-)

      -Hans

      Radera
    2. Oh, and thanks for the great article(s)!

      -Hans

      Radera
  10. I have to agree that Pestilence with Lich seems a little suicidal. :) I haven't tested it, though. Anyway, very impressive deck!

    SvaraRadera
  11. Great read as always MG :-)
    I love Lich and those who know me might remember my old Lich deck from 2012 which could draw the entire library in one single turn and winning the duel. The look apon you're opponent is priceless... If there is interest I could post an article?!

    Enjoy and see you in 2015 :-)

    SvaraRadera
  12. That Lich article would be much appreciated!

    SvaraRadera