lördag 5 mars 2016

The Arvika top8, part 1

We're getting deep into the n00bcon preparations, but for now let's keep the focus on the latest gathering in Arvika. I must say that I really like the tech from the elimination rounds. The eight decks are all very distinct from each other, and combo, control, aggro and tempo are all represented. Winning should not be the top concern when playing this format, but it's still nice to see that we're at a point where no deck is the obvious best one, and that people get the chance to sleeve up a myriad of different strategies and still have a chance to top8. Maybe there's a build of Power Monolith lurking somewhere that will tear the field apart; maybe it's the one that placed second in this tournament. Maybe Deadguy Ale, which was the only deck to 6-0 the swiss, is much stronger than most people give it credit for and could take a real tier1 position in the near future. Or maybe it's all about the players, owning their pet decks from the inside out and just playing them really well against the field.
Top8 players: KungMarkus, Audun, Emil and elof.
KungMarkus is the mastermind behind the Arvika Festival and a great guy in the community. He successfully defended his third place finish in last year's Arvika Festival with a third place finish in this one as well. Markus and Berntsson were the first two guys from Arvika to travel down to Gothenburg and defend their city in a different turf during n00bcon 6, and since then the city of Arvika has become a major player in the 93/94 community. Markus have been building on his Toolbox Murderers deck since I first met him. Over three years of trading and waiting are paying off, and at this point he only lacks a Time Walk before he considers himself done (as he said a year ago; "My fiancee knows what a Lotus costs and what it looks like; there's no way I'll buy one" ;)). The deck is of course brilliant. Probably the second sweetest deck in the format after Project M. It has quite a few similarities in play style to my own pet deck, but use a heavier red splash and a full set of Counterspells rather than Guardian Beast shenanigans.
KungMarkus's Toolbox Murderers
Emil worked as barkeep during the Arvika Festival last year and got his eyes open for Magic back then. He started his career with playing a slighly newer format though, Modern. He was interested in trying out 93/94 properly, so Markus contacted me and asked if Emil could borrow my Distress deck. MonoBlack Distress is a cheap deck by the formats standards, in particular a build like this that doesn't play Power (or even Chaos Orb or Library here). Still, it's a very powerful deck if the correct pilot gets their hands on it. It takes a certain kind of person to play though, as it is so damn evil. Few things are more painful than to slowly bleed out from a Warp Artifact. Emil played the deck to great success, and I hope we get the chance to see him crush souls again next year.
Emil's MonoBlack Distress. (Yes, all cards are legal. I acetoned the Aq Strip Mine and the Maze)
Norwegian Audun Døsseland is fairly new to the format, having picked it up last summer. Though a relative rookie in 93/94, he is an Eternal Viking with high skill and lots of experience in most Eternal formats. He is also a sweet bass player :) (check out AlphaTross at Spotify). Audun has played in two larger 93/94 tournaments the last few months - Moss and Arvika - and he has top8'd both of them. In Moss he took help from Nether Void, but this time another black Enchant World helped him ride to victories. His BRW Artifact Beatdown uses full sets of large colorless 4-drops backed up by three maindeck copies of The Abyss. Very cool deck!
Audun's BWR Artifact Beatdown.
So, to the surprise of absolutely no one, elof decided to top8 this tournament as well. His accomplishments in the format are unparalleled; including winning gatherings like n00bcon, BSK and Pimpvitational, and holding a record three Giant Sharks. During the last year he has gone deep into the tech pool, and usually shows up with a new deck with some rarely seen cards. E.g. Artifact Smash, Troll Disco and Monoblue Artifacts are examples of decks where he was the first to the party, finishing among the top with each. This time he decided to go all in with Time Elementals and bounce. Sweetest tech in the Deck? Probably that he plays two Moats when his wincon is the ground walking Mishra's Factories.
Elof's Time Elemental Control
In other news, Italian good guy Filippo Caccia have recently started an initiative for Old School Magic tournaments via Skype to help people in smaller communities find new opponents and playtest, while at the same time giving a much closer experience to "real" Magic than a game of Cockatrice would do. If you are looking to playtest or find some new opponents across the globe, you should check out the Oldschool 9394 Skype Tournaments group at Facebook. In particular, next Saturday Filippo will organize the first tournament of the group, giving all the proceeds to charity in the name of #MtgForLife. So if you're aching to play some Old Shool while at the same time helping out a good cause, there's a great opportunity for you. The entry fee is €10 and the winner will get a special signed #MtgForLife card :)

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