Springtime at Ovino, a guest report from Giuseppe Rinaldi

Ah, summer! Suddenly, everything is alive again, the parks are full of beer, and the sun seems to never set. There are many things I could rant about in the world of the oldest of cards. The unrestriction of Fork has already had a pretty big impact. In the years prior, it has taken a few months before we've seen the real effect of updates to the restricted list; mostly as it takes so much time and effort to build and test new decks. But this time, Marc Lanigra took down the MKM Series 93/94 tournament in Frankfurt with his undefeated Fork deck already the day after the card was legalized. Further northwest, the UK old school players got some stream time during the MagicMadhouse ProSeries in Birmingham last weekend. Chris Cooper and the others in the UK Old School crew have also announced the first UK Old School Nationals championship in Blackpool July 3rd during the Magic Madhouse Grand Finale convention. A part of the proceeds will go to charity, and word on the street is that you'll get to pick your potential spoils based on how skilled you are flipping a Chaos Orb on the prize table. I'll also throw in free entry and a beer at next years n00bcon in the prize pool if the UK Champion would like to come and join us there ;) And Stephen Menendian have completed his third entry in his series on Old School Magic at Vintagemagic.com; this time looking at Zoo decks. And 93/94 Skype Magic has grown quite a bit since the post last week, with both new players and new technical solutions. And I've built a Suicide Blue deck with Illusionary Mask. And some other sweet stuff is going on.

But this is not a week for me to rant. Instead, we have a treat from the southern part of the continent where the mages of old gather en masse to fight for glory and an oversized Chaos Orb. The Ovino tournaments are by now among the top four largest recurring Old School tournaments in the world. A year ago, they hosted an impressive 30 participants. Six months ago, they gathered 40, and this spring they were 51 guys battling it out in Milan, Italy. You can check out some videos and awesome decks on the Ovinotournaments web page. But that's not all, of course. Today we have the story directly from the horse's mouth. I give the word to the 2016 Ovino X Champion Giuseppe Rinaldi. /Mg out.


In the autumn of 2015 I was surfing on this blog looking for some nice decks, when my attention was stunned by this picture:
Thomas's BRW Tempo
I liked the deck, but my first impression was that I could build it better and anyway I didn’t want to play a tempo-oriented deck but a midrange version. So I’ve played a BRW list with Dark Rituals, Sinkhole and Underworld Dreams until march 2016 when I finally got (with an huge trade) my P9, I added two more bombs and made several changes to the list thanks to the experience gained in the tournaments I played.

The main goal to reach was the simplicity: play creatures hard to deal with, like Sedge Troll (that is the most underrated creature in this format), removals and bombs. As you can see from my list, I built the sideboard thinking about control decks.
First version of the deck - December 2015, 3rd position on a 17 players tournament in Milan  (10 proxies allowed)
In the first build of the deck I ran a playset of rituals and factories 'cause I interpreted and played the deck as a Monoblack with a splash. I was wrong. This deck doesn’t want to act like a Monoblack with a ritual-specter on turn one followed by a sinkhole/black knight on turn two. In fact, if your starting hand isn’t explosive, what you want to do in the early game is to stay open and control the board until turn four, when you finally start to play your threats. So the rituals were cut for sapphire and fellwar stones that fix your mana and let you have an easier midgame. Sinkhole is played just as a one-of as a third solution to LoA or (as I often do) to destroy a blue land in order to play a bomb (now I have Fellwar Stone as cc2 drop). Armageddon was another great add: I wanted a big threat against "The Deck" at sorcery speed, in this way, my opponents can fight it only with permissions, and their  removals become useless.

About the Mishra's Factories: playing the first build I noticed that a lot of defeats were caused by Blood Moon or color screw, so the only solution was to cut colorless mana and add more City of Brass and basic lands. During the Ovino tournament I played with only one Mishra's Factory just to troll the other players :) The truth is that I really would like see it in the restricted list because I hate the stalling situations caused by them.

At the moment the only card that doesn’t convince me is Wheel of Fortune: it’s always the first card that I side out in every single matchup. Same thing about Chains of Mephistopheles and Wrath of God, they will be replaced.
The deck I played at Ovino
The deck works fine, I tuned it a lot during the past months. I started from an idea then I developed and improved it and mainly I forgot to blow Mr. Lestree or Mr. Weissman.

The Tournament

Round 1 - Mr Fabbri with BRG Abyss Control (2-0)
In G1 he resolves a Su-Chi on turn four with Badlands, Bayou and Taiga in play. I don’t see any blue sources so I just keep my Disenchant for The Abyss he had previously tutored and it’s gg. Game two is very similar but my hate for artifacts and enchantments has grown.

Round 2 - Mr Pandini with RUG Zoo (only cc1/cc2 creatures) (2-1)
During the morning I playtested with him, he had incredible starting hands and beat me easily 3-0.
In G1 I play a fast Juzam and several removals on his creatures, I force him to make unfavorable plays to take care of my big boys and he quickly lose gasoline and the game.
G2 Land creature go, land creature chain lightning, land bolt bolt. No brain, no pain. Easy victory for him.
G3 He has a Sylvan Library in play but sees only crap, another Juzam take him in the red zone but he’s able to limit it thanks to Maze of Ith until I draw a Time Walk.

Round 3 - Mr Ancarani with UWB Abyss Control 2-0
Before the match we talked about how Juzam is overvalued in this format. He asks me if I play them. I digress.
In G1 my starting hand is: 3 lands, mox, fellwar, Mind Twist and a random card. The plan is simple: Mtwist for 3 on turn 2, unfortunately for Mr. Ancarani my first draw is a Lotus...
However, the match is really long 'cause I draw only mana sources and removals, he’s able to rebuild his hand and has a nice comeback with his Mtwist. Then arrive 3 Juzam and it’s game over.
G2 again 3 overvalued djinns teach him how is wrong to mess with them.

Round 4 - a guy with Monoblack 2-1
In G3 I have to face a dramatic situation: my opponent has 2 Juzam in play, x cards in hand and 11 lifepoints, my board is a Troll, 8 lands and one card in hand (a mox). He attacks me and I go to 4 lp then he casts another Juzam. I topdeck a Fireball and let him die on his upkeep. An inglorious victory.

Round 5 - Mr Maggi with The Deck (with Serra Angel and Power Monolith combo) 2-0
G1 I play some fast creatures that meet stp and cspell, he resolves a Serra Angel so I have to invest my Demonic Tutor for a stp. I play a Juzam and he tries to chaosorbing him but the wrong flip gives me the game.
G2 I can’t remember much of this game, probably I win it thanks to a creature+armageddon.

Round 6 - Mr Lauter with The Deck (i.d.)

Quartefinals - Mr Melandri with UR Counterburn 2-0
G1 He keeps an hand with no red sources and my Specter starts to hit him. Eventually he takes care of him and when he taps out for a threat I simply discard his hand with a Mtwist. A Troll finish the job.
G2 In the midgame he plays a Control Magic on my Troll then resolves a Su-Chi, I play a Juzam and keep him on defense while destroy his blue lands with Sinkhole and Strip Mine. He plays a Timetwister and in response I cast a Bolt on his face, he seems dazed but what I need is just one of my eight outs (Reb or Disenchant) to let the Troll come back home. After the twister he chooses to attack me and I block his Su-chi with my Juzam, he looks at me, he looks at me again, he says "I know u want to fuck my ass", I put my pokerface on, he looks at his lands (island and cob open), he thinks, he looks at me again than taps his cob to bolt my Juzam.
"In response Reb on Control Magic"
"Ok man, you got my ass".
He pass, I untap, draw, play lotus, moxen, Mtwist for 6 and a second Troll. Call me scum.

Semifinals - Mr Esposito with Red Artifact 2-1
The match has been recorded so I hope u will see it online soon.
G1 I’m at 1 life and close to give up, but I succeed to take care of his massive army of Su-Chi and Juggernaut and then my Trolls give me an unexpected victory. Probably one of the best comeback in my life.
G2 A Blood Moon on turn one is enough for me.
G3 He chooses not to Chaos Orb my Troll (and swing his creatures to my face) and probably this choice costs him the game.
Mr. Esposito's deck.
Finals - Mr Citino with UBR Power Monolith 2-1
G1 I start with Scrubland, Lotus, Troll, then land, mox, Demonic Tutor (powersinked), in the midgame he plays a Timetwister and I see again Lotus, Demonic Tutor + Juzam, Strip Mine, and other bombs.
G2 An huge flood for me: 10 lands, 3 fellwar, 2 moxen (the other 2 in my hand). I play 4 spells: Time Walk, Reb, Disenchant and a Troll. He resolves Blood Moon and the Abyss then plays 4 Bolts and a Fireball.
G3 He quickly resolves a Blood Moon but has only an island and sapphire as blue sources, this means he cannot try his combo with a backup cspell. I have a Troll plus swamp and Mox Jet and slowly start a race. He gets some turns bolting my Troll in the precombat phase, then tries an Ancestral Recall on my eot, I let him resolves ‘cause I have only a Reb in hand as active protection. Then he casts a Boomerang on the autolocking Blood Moon and I let him resolves too 'cause now with Reb, Disenchant and Fork (previously drawn) I feel pretty safe. On his turn he plays a land and pass. No bombs, no Abyss, he’s in a deep flood. I draw a second Troll and resolve it (can’t remember if there was a counterwar on him). Two turns later he extends his hand.

That’s all, thanks for reading.
The prize: A huge Chaos Orb signed by Tedin and the players.
We give Giuseppe a great thanks for his story, for his good games, and for showing us again that underestimating Juzam Djinn will come at the price of your demise. All the best! /Mg


  1. fellow 93-94 players beware, the chinese are now counterfeiting nearly all olds chool staples, not only power nine. The list growns every couple months. Even SINGING TREE, LIGHTINING BOLT and other cheap cards are being faked. Check this out:


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