lördag 9 april 2016

The n00bcon top8

Of the 9,000 or so page views this blog has had in the last week, how many care about the exact constellation of cards that won? It's not an insignificant number, I'm sure. But I think that for many of the people here, perhaps even for the majority of the players with a small part of their hearts in old school Magic, what's more important is the nostalgia and inspiration. There's a reason why the n00bcon stream showed different sweet decks and players rather than just being a fixed camera on table one. It's not unlikely that there are more players reading this blog who are amused by, say, a blinged out monogreen stompy playing 1-drops into Berserks with 3-of Pendelhaven. So lets start with a Russian built monogreen stompy with Nafs Asp:
Nikita Shelest's sweet monogreen stompy.
That said, top8ing n00bcon is a god damn feat. Building any deck in this format is hard, expensive, and time consuming. Building a good deck even more so. And optimizing a good deck and learning how to master it is a real rarity. 93/94 games are rarely decided on just luck. Sure, you could start with a first turn Library of Alexandria against a control deck and eek out unfair card advantage. Or you could get Mind Twisted for six turn two. But mostly the masters will be able to claw back. The players in the top of standings are familiar names, both from previous 93/94 tournaments and high level sanctioned Magic throughout the history of the game. Games rarely end quickly here. Long term plans and strategy really matter in this pure form of Magic.

All in all, the top8 consisted of three UR Burn, three The Deck, one Lestree Zoo and one Atog Aggro; with Lestree Zoo winning the swiss with a 7-0 record. Another deck with a very strong showing was Erhnamgeddon, having two copies just missing the top8 on tiebreakers after a 5-2 record in the swiss (played by Sehl and Danhor). The other players at 5-2 were Icelander (who top8'ed the last three n00bcons and placed 2nd last year), Elof (previous n00bcon winner, holder of three Giant Sharks), Åland (top8 at multiple Shark tournaments and winner of Frippan Open), ErikSundberg (e.g. top8 last BSK) and Alban Lauter from Germany. These guys are no rookies. But let's delve down and look at the mages from the top8.
Top8 players: Gordon Andersson, Patric Hiness, Martin Berlin, and Carl Olzon.
Gordon Andersson played in his 4th large 93/94 tournament, and convincingly reached the elimination rounds for the 4th time. And for the third time of those, he was eventually eliminated by our current World Champion Martin Berlin. That's a Magic nemesis if I ever saw one. Though a relative rookie in the format, Gordon is already an extremely strong 93/94 player and a driving organizer in the Stockholm community. He'll host his first tournament in the capital June 18th; The Ivory Cup.

Gordon's pet deck of choice is Counterburn, aka Electric Eel Aggro, aka UR Burn. We saw some innovations in his list in the top8 of Arvika, where he first added a playset Flying Men to his menagerie of creatures. This time he opted for a black splash to give him access to the powerhouses Mind Twist and Demonic Tutor. An interesting new take on the Counterburn strategy, and a solid choice against the decks at the top tables.

Gordon's CounterBurn
This was the first time I got to meet the very friendly Patric Hiness of Stuttgart, Germany. From what I heard from him, he hadn't been traveling that much to larger events like NYSE or Eternal Weekend, mostly keeping his plays withing the borders of Germany. It was still quickly evident that he was a master of both casual and eternal Magic. Among his more interesting achievements in tournament Magic, he top4'd a 132-player 100-card Legacy Highlander tournament. And he's got an impressive pile of Eternal top8-decks at mtgtop8.com. He also beat me in an 93/94 showdown with four beers in the ante the day before n00bcon, which is braggable.

Patric's deck is a beautiful artifact aggro. It combines a majority of the fast mana available in the format with full sets of Su-Chi, Triskelion and Copy Artifacts. The mud beaters are backed up by a set of Serendib Efreets and a couple of Atogs for good measure. His cards are in awesome condition, and for the most part from the first printings. I gave him the benefit of the doubt regarding the Unl Volcanic Islands (as many German players go for the fbb German version in Vintage decks, and might not feel like getting an extra playset Beta rather than, say, a new car), but I couldn't help myself to jokingly ask why he "cheaped out" with an Unlimited Lotus in his otherwise pristine pile. Well, turns out that he did have a bb Lotus, but it was in pretty close to mint condition, so he bought an extra Unl Lotus a few days earlier just for traveling purposes, jokingly referring to his extra Lotus as his "proxie". That's next level ;)

Patric's Atog Aggro
Then we have Martin Berlin, the god damn World Champion! Berlin first showed his face at n00bcon 4 hoisting a sweet 93/94 cube and an appetite for destruction. He eventually took an hiatus from 93/94 for a few years, but returned to the stage with a vengeance last winter. Of the three large tournaments he played since December, he has won all of them. He first took down Nebraska's War in Italy, followed up by winning L.I.G.G. In Stockholm, and now picked up the Giant Shark at n00bcon. Berlin has quite a record in sanctioned Magic as well, including a few stints on the Pro Tour and representing Sweden in the World Championships after winning Nationals in 2011. Clearly a very lucky guy ;)

Martin's deck is a modern interpretation the boogie man of the mid 90s, the powerful pile known simply as The Deck. It hosts a majority of the restricted list combined with the best control cards in the format, using Jayemdae Tomes and other card advantage tools to bind it all together. It's a very cool deck; basically the first real "deck to beat" and the deck that made card advantage a thing. As it is both very powerful and highly intricate to play well, combined with the fact that it is perhaps the most famous deck in Magic history, variants of it is a popular choice for long time players with access to deep card pools (if you own full power and duals, you are more likely to play a deck that uses them than to leave them in the binder). Martin took some additional tech-savy decisions in his deck building, e.g. using maindeck Stone Rain to help him beat Libraries and Factories. (If you're interested, you can read a little more about The Deck in this post.)
Berlin's The Deck
Carl "Tibia" Olzon is no stranger to old cards, and one of the most familiar faces in the Swedish Vintage scene. I think that this was his 3rd n00bcon, though he has of course played in other old school events as well. He e.g. won the 16-player StabCon 93/94 tournament last year with UWR Skies. But this tournament seems special, and as he said during the day, "I've had to tell my girlfriend that we unfortunately can't celebrate Good Friday together, it's a part of our deal. For every Easter where there's a n00bcon, I will be here." Good for us :)

This time Tibia left the white cards at home, instead letting just the red complement his blue power to create a counterburn pile. Tibia's deck is a little lighter on summons than e.g. Gordon's and Olle's builds from the top8, only playing the sets of Serendib Efreet and Factories as creatures go. Serendib Efreets had quite a showing in the last rounds of this tournament, with half of the top8 decks playing the full set. Still don't hold a candle to Mishra's Factory though, which every single deck in the top8 had a playset of. Stone Rain and Blood Moons seems like good choices.
Tibia's CounterBurn
Other stuff? The response for the April's Fools B&R update last week have started a lot of interesting discussions. For the sake of Rukh Egg, I want to add that the first version actually was misprinted in AN (like that Elvish Archers never was supposed to be printed as 1/2 in Alpha). In February 1994, before official errata was a thing and while AN were still to be found in stores, Richard Garfield had this to say about the card: "The "going to the graveyard" text means only when it leaves play as a creature.  It does NOT include being discarded from your hand.  One may be able to read this card wrong.  This is one of the few "play it right" and not "play it as it reads" corrections." So if we were to ever start with "power level errata", this would be a weird place to start.

And there has been some sweet old school tech from around the world in the last few days. Canadian Guillaume Soucy have recently started a new old school blog where his first post covers the Roi de la Chope tournament in Quebec a few weeks back, check it out at Argivian Restoration. Yespair have added a few more videos from n00bcon and posted them all at Youtube. Stephen Menendian has started a very good article series about old school Magic at Vintagemagic.com. The first part is up right now, second part will come soon. Well worth a read :)

6 kommentarer:

  1. Regarding the black splash if someone wonders, it was amazing! I do not think I would go back and play without it. It gives the deck the one card combo with Mind Twist and Demonic as another answer to Library or as another drawspell to fill up your hand.

    Playing black also made me play one more Mox which pusches the procentage of a turn 2 Serendib Efreet. The downsides are that Energy Flux now hits you a little harder (but usually that's not a problem) and that you need to play one more City of Brass.

    Of course that means Blood Moon is worse but I haven't found it to be that powerful to be honest.

    SvaraRadera
  2. I only see the semi finalists deck lists ... Would love to see the entire top 8! Thanks for also including the 1 drop mono green deck :) love the rogue brews!

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Been kind of busy, but I'll hopefully get the time to post the rest of them tonight :) I still lack one list though, but I'll just post that last one whenever I get it.

      Radera
  3. Actually, I suppose those are not the Semifinalists decks. It's the winner's deck and 3 quarterfinalist decks, I think. Also looking forward to see the rest of the top 8.
    Cheers.

    SvaraRadera
  4. I actually played UWR to the win in StabCon. It's wrong info in the description on StabCon in the Decks to Beat section. :)
    /Calle

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Ha, thanks for the heads up! I'll update the info.

      Radera