Welcome to my first Old School report, which is actually on my first Old School event... When I first heard of old school, I was disappointed to discover that some groups only allowed up to unlimited printings for base set and no reprints. I can see the attraction of keeping it exclusive, but this represented a big of a challenge for me. I actually started playing round Beta/Unlim' Arabians, but briefly stopped as I thought it was getting too expensive! I came back during Revised/Legends, but tended to trade my older (non power) black bordered cards away, keeping only things like bolts, elves and some basic lands etc. I recently discovered the UK group is more relaxed than some, and will happily allow reprints of from Revised, 4th, Chronicles/Renaissance etc, subject to art being the same. This meant no having to acquire ABU duals or Arabian Serendibs, Cities etc. I actually sold or traded all my Arabian and Chron's Cities years ago to dodge City in a Bottle (before it was errata'd) so had to dig out old Cities along with original picture Icy's and as many old playables as I could from the dustiest areas of my collection. Happily I also found a couple of booster boxes which have been traded or sold nicely in the meantime! I've not played much in the last few years aside from a couple of Vintage events a year since the kids came along, so Old School promised to be a reminder of simpler times and a lot of fun to boot.
|Pre-tournament signing of the participation card D'Avenant Archer.|
|Round one facing Steve.|
Third Round was against James Griffin, piloting a mono white deck which was a thing of beauty to behold. He does his own alterations and every single card was altered (and by altered, I mean entirely repainted) himself with a monochrome feel with subtle colour used to good effect. I was able to keep multiple Crusades from hitting, meaning I could Bolt or creature trade efficiently, and I cast my mind back 20 some years to remember how best to counter the mono white builds. I was able to get a favourable combat trade by a sneaky Boomerang of a Crusade. I avoided getting 'Geddoned and once the creatures ran out, the burn could go to his face instead for another 2 – 0.
|James's monochrome altered WW.|
|Jim's blinged boardstate.|
|Quarterfinals vs Chris.|
|Alastair vs. Karl in the swiss.|
|Alastair's UW Control deck.|
|The final seven.|
|Finals vs Rod|
So, what have I learnt about the format? Suggestions that Vise should be de-restricted are not realistic, it just deals too much damage early, keeps card drawing (especially with Library EOT) in check, and gives free kills off Wheels and Twisters. Speaking of the Library, in the absence of Wasteland, early LoA can be a deciding factor, especially for controlling mirrors. Having had a run on one classic deck from the era, I'm torn whether to fettle with it, or dig out some other old stuff and go combo or heavy control.
Wonderful day of magic at a well run event with friendly people and no unpleasantness. Magic Madhouse even donated a proportion of entry fees to a charity of the winner's choice and sprung for a nice glass trophy. Am hoping to fiddle with more deck types and get to more events, am certainly sold on Old School. There are still complex decision trees, different archetypes to explore and metagame, but less anguish over whether they're holding a Force/Mis-step or Daze, and more booze and junk food. I'll be back for more, that's for sure.