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.


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.