torsdag 14 juli 2016

Party Crashing at Wexio 2016

Of course he has it. Everyone always has it. Why haven’t I been practicing my Orb flips?
Desolation.
Wexio. The summer convention of Växjö form a rare twilight between the sanctioned Magic scene and the Mtg underground. Sure, they host an FNM during the Friday, but it’s no-proxy Vintage. The Saturday draft is Eternal Masters. The Standard tournament is there, of course, but it seems like a footnote for people who enjoy playing Standard rather than some high-stakes competition of judge calls. The tournaments usually host around 10-20 people, all whom really enjoy the game. People laugh here. Some guy drives his car for ten hours to get to Wexio and play his 100-card tribal Gnomes deck. Here, Magic is a game like the others, not an obvious feature of the players or a reason for aggression or tilts. Or perhaps not like the others. It really is the best game.

I’d spent the last week in Gothenburg, hanging out with family and friends in my old home town. Had a few evenings at Honka’s place playing Super Nintendo and solving the world’s conflicts. The plan is to jump on the train to Växjö when his weekend starts on Friday, and arrive at the site late in the evening for the Tribelander championships. Hardy will join us from Oslo and meet up in Gothenburg. Same guys as Arvika Festival, and same as last year’s Wexio. We’re the Train People now.
Playtesting.
Hardy had spent better part the last week at a Fusion festival at a former Russian airfield in The Middle of Nowhere, northern Germany. He's on no sleep, but in no mood to let things like lack of nurture, REM or location bother him. Of course he would travel to Sweden and meet us, and of course he would join us to Växjö. His Lotus is not some notch in his belt, it’s for casting Icy Manipulators in his monoblack Distress deck.

My deck of choice is Undead Party Crasher. Reasonable name for a deck. In the end of the nineties there was an Extended combo deck with Goblin Bombardment and Enduring Renewal, for some reason called Fruity Pebbles. Another deck builder decided to add black for Necropotence to the mix, and called the deck Cocoa Pebbles. Thus a tradition was formed, and pretty much every subsequent combo deck in Type 1.x was named after breakfast food. Trix, Full English Breakfast, Cephalid Breakfast, and so on.
Just add milk, Donate and Illusions of Grandeur for a balanced breakfast.
Then in 2005, handsome four-eyes Chris Pikula finished second in the first GP in the then new-fangled Legacy format. His deck was a rouge Black-White deck with Sinkholes, Hypnotics, Hymns and Vindicates. He called the deck Rouge Dead Guy Ale. When Scania player Eneas first showed up with a 93/94 variant of the deck at BSK 2014, I decided to keep Pikula’s name for describing the strategy. The Vindicates of the original deck are Disenchants here, and the mana-hungry Nantuko Shades have been replaced by 4-drop creatures, but the deck plays much in the same way as Pikula’s Dead Guy Ale.
But a Dead Guy is not necessarily Undead.
Dead Guy Ale is a very sweet deck. This BW brew plays differently though. This deck wanted to abuse Armageddon and Underworld Dreams. It wanted to lock out pesky Factories with Moat, and have high-end finishers in Serra Angels. Still it was some sort of BW control/aggro deck, but it was not a Dead Guy. So I took a note from the combo decks of old Extended, and decided to name BW decks in 93/94 after beers rather than breakfasts. Enter Undead Party Crasher.
The first guy who builds a BW Aggro with Erg Raiders, Unholy Strenght and Geddon and brings it to a tournament may chose the beer brand name for that one.
I playtested it at GG Bar in Gothenburg the week leading up to the tournament. The results looked solid. Most control decks seemed like a breeze, in particular post sideboard when I removed my creatures for disruption and Warp Artifacts. Most matchups appeared favorable, at the very least beatable, and there are few real week points outside Tranquility. I had some issues beating burn and Lestree zoo, so I added three Ivory Towers and two Wraths to the board. In retrospect, it should probably have been four Ivory Towers. The Tower is a damn house here. And it was restricted for a while in 1994 after all.
As was Underworld Dreams btw. They kept their hands of Skull of Orm though. Surprisingly playable, and cheaper than a soda.
We arrive at the site around ten in the evening for the Tribelander tournament. I’m to face Wervolves, Rouges and Plants in the first pod. Next to us Honka and Hardy battles in a pod with Rats, Thrulls, Clerics, Gnomes and Advisors.
Rats snitching on Advisors to Clerics.
I manage to take down the first pod with Snakes. The final pod is versus Thrulls, Rats and Rogues. The Train People fight the good fight, but eventually Jokemon, one of the convention organizers and a true aficionado of casual Magic, pulls the longest straw with his rogues.
Lucky Mr. Skillpants.
We walk back to our sleeping quarters. The night is dark and full of terrors. Discoteka yugostyle at a pizzeria three dark thirty. Eventually we get back to our hotel and get some much needed sleep before the ultimate showdown tomorrow.
Train people.
The phone interrupts our daze sometime after high noon. Axelsson has just arrived from Scania. Axelsson was the first player from Scania to start playing the format way back when, and was the only player representing the southernmost parts of Sweden until Arkanon started hosting tournaments in the area a little over two years ago. He owns pretty much everything there is to have in the format, except most duals nor any Power. And he always shows up with some new sweet brew. Today is no exception. His train back will leave around the time of the top4 tonight, so he's mostly hoping for some sweet duels in the swiss. A true player, and a really good guy.
Hardy, Honka and Axelsson with some afternoon cocktails. Talking tech and DevOps.
A quartet from the Varberg elite has also arrived. A few not so nooby noobs among them. Elof, the guy with three Giant Sharks and BSK, n00bcon and Pimpvitational wins to his name is one of them. He missed the most recent n00bcon top8 at tiebreaker on 5-2. He's been in the top3 in the pimpvitational race for the last four years, as long as we've been counting points. He's not the nemesis though.

Sehl. He sometimes flies under the radar somehow. Like Elof, he missed the n00bcon top8 on 5-2 tiebreakers with ErhnamGeddon this year, but he top8'd last year, and the BSK before that. He has a couple of wins as well, e.g. from the Vasa Gaming tournament which he wrote a guest report about. Dude has been a staying power in the Pimpvitational tournaments the last couple of years, and this while not owning a Lotus nor all the blue Power cards. Every year around Christmas, he organizes his own 93/94 tournament called Sehlskapsspelen. For now though, he's my Magic nemesis.
Also clearly a 90s surfer jock.
The first time I played him, at Kingvitational 1.0, he was pretty fresh back to the game. He hadn't played a game of Magic for the last 15 years or so, and I managed to beat him, win the tournament, and throw a barrage of trash talk his way. That was a little presumptuous of me. Sehl is not only a black belt in trashtalk, but has since become a master of the format. It's kinda hard to bash him these days. Last time we met was during Arvika festival, when he abruptly beat me to put me on tilt in the losers' bracket. In the last couple of years, our games have always been very tight and very high stakes in terms of glory and bragging rights. He is obviously one of my favorite opponents in the game. "Guess I'll see you in the finals." "Oh, so you gonna stay and watch me play in the finals? That's nice of you."

16 players have reported to the Wexio tournament at the small convention. This is it. Game face.

Game one I'm facing off against Mattias Nilsson. For some reason I think he's playing WW before we start. Turns out he's on full-power Trick, an Underworld Dreams deck with Timetwister, Wheel of Fortune and Winds of Change along with a majority of the restricted list. Luckily, as I'm on Underworld Dreams myself, his wincons works against him. Also, he's URB, which means no Disenchants. I win the first of a well-timed Disenchant on his Underworld Dreams in response to his Wheel, and then grind out advantage with Skull of Orm. Game two I have turn one Serra Angel and eek out a couple of attacks before it is destroyed. Eventually a follow-up Underworld Dreams and Warp Artifact gets him before he gets to stabilize with his Sol'Kanar.
1-0
Solid start.
Second opponent is Jokemon, the guy who won the Tribelander tournament yesterday. He also won the first Wexio 93/94 tournament in 2014. I managed to win the tournament last year, and hence we both sport a glorious Prodigal Sorcerer in our sideboards. We're looking to get a second one today.
Serious showdown.
He's on his signature Zoo deck. I make a misplay around turn four game one, when I commit a Serra Angel to board rather than just plowing his Serendib and go for Geddon immediately. Geddon would have pretty much locked the game, with the Moat in play on my side, but instead I get greedy. A Channel + Fireball from Jokemon next turn makes us shuffle up for game two. This one works better. I get an early Ivory Tower, soon followed by an active Land Tax, and start running away with life. He doesn't get the chance to catch up, and a couple of Underworld Dreams seals the deal. Last one is tight. This guy knows how to play Magic. He didn't compete at WSK last year, as he had too much work to do organizing the convention, but he lent out his deck to the guy I faced in the semifinals. I won the match based on a few misplays from my opponent that time, but Jokemon wont make those mistakes. The tables eventually turn in my favor when he summons an Efreet of Sri Lanka which I get to cast Spirit Link on. This means that not only is his Efreet worthless as attacking goes, but it will drain one life for me each turn. He has to throw a Fireball on his own creature, and the card advantage is on my side. An Ivory Tower and a Greed later, I start running away, and eventually he succumbs to the nightmare enchantments.
2-0

So. That was kinda rough. Does not look like I'm going for the easy streak today though, as my next opponent is none other than Elof "The Mighty" Gottfridson, arguably the best old school player in the world. These days, he always show up with some random build that nobody really understands how it works before it breaks the meta. He top8'd last Arvika Festival with a Time Elemental deck. He won last Sehlskapsspelen with the first version I've seen of Artifact Smash. He won last Warcon with the first build of Monoblue Artifacts. He placed second at Frippan Open with the first iteration of Troll Disco. Dude can build a deck, and dude can play Magic. I have no idea what to expect.
These are our final moments game one.
Mofo kills me with a trio of Prodigal Sorcerers past my Moat. I don't even. Sylvan Library and Sindbad for card advantage. I try to play linear Magic, but the guy flanks me. Ok. So in with a bunch of removal and Ivory Towers I guess. The long game should be mine if I have towers.

Second game is a grindfest. Elof is one of the last persons you want to grind against. Turns out that he is on a Living Plane combo deck. I assume that it's a pretty bad matchup for him, as I both have all the Disenchants, but also Wraths and Armageddon. Eventually my Underworld sticks and ticks down his life. He has some sort of clock, but I gain a bunch of life every turn from my duo of Ivory Towers, and can play the long game with Underworld.
Elof's Living Plane Combo
Third is a mess. He manages to stick one Prodigal Sorcerer and resolves Living Plane. My few lands are promptly pinged off. He finds the Disenchants for both Ivory Tower and my black Mox. Only upside is that I'm at around 40 life, with him on eight, but he attacks for three or four each round. As all my lands now have summoning sickness, and he has a Tim, my outs are very slim. I do have Land Tax and Balance in hand, but I would need to draw either Lotus or possibly Mox Pearl into Sol Ring to handle this. It's bad odds, but luck and amazing skills delivers my Lotus a few turns later. Cast Land Tax and Balance. Even out the playing field immensely.  I play a City of Brass and pass the turn. Elof plays a Forest. I attack with the City, take one damage, and watch Elof block. It seems like my attack caught him a little of guard, as he plays a new land during his turn. Not an obvious misplay, but far from his usual collected playing style. I tax for three lands, pass the turn, and taxes for three more my next turn before i deploy my first 1/1 land. Eventually Elof has to kill his own Living Lands to survive the onslaught. Eventually an Underworld Dreams join my side to pick off his last few life points.
3-0
Honka vs Simon. Berserk Zoo vs BR Ponza. Good people.
So, 3-0. Who could be the other guy on 3-0? God damn Sehl of course. Sehl is playing a weird deck. One-of of each of the ten duals, a bunch of restricted cards, and playsets of Su-Chi and Juggernaut. He eeks it out game one, as the threats keep coming. Second game is really rough, but my Ivory Towers take me there. Turns out that he had boarded out his eight Artifact creatures for sets of Chain Lightnings and Psiblasts. Didn't expect that. Last game I miss an important Chaos Orb flip on Library and watch myself burn. Felt really close though. One more turn of Ivory Tower lifegain might have gotten me there. The trashtalk is piercing. I'll show him in the finals.
3-1
Jimmie Jephson (Suicide Blue) vs Max Weltz (Troll Disco). One guy playing his first tournament, the other coming fresh of a win at The Ivory Cup.
Semifinals. Facing off against UR Burn, courtesy of Johan Domeij. I keep a kinda sketchy hand against the deck game one, with two bullets in the chamber. I will be able to deploy a Hypnotic Specter turn one and turn two, but I don't have any real gas nor removal after that. It's kinda harsh against a deck with 8 bolts, Serendib Efreets and PsiBlasts, but there's always the chance that he doesn't have the bolt. And he mulls to five and doesn't have the bolt. A turn four Armageddon seals the deal.
Aptly named card.
Game two is a little more exciting, though I have a solid sideboard for UR Burn. He fights the good fight, but I eventually get to deploy a Serra Angel with Spirit Link after he has played a couple of PsiBlasts already. I was at four life at the time, but there's no coming back from a lifegaining Angel.

I glance over to the other table to see Sehl beat Simon's RG Berserk deck. So it's him and me again. I was dreading, and hoping for, this final.

Sehl. A player who started in the mid-90s, left his cards for a decade and half, and came back to play 93/94. A guy who plays with what he's got, and doesn't let the lack of duals or full power be an excuse for him not to win. A laughing man we he loses, but a louder laughter when he wins. Tournament organizer. House builder. Nemesis. It was a tight match in the final round of the swiss, and I have the cards to beat him. I know what to expect now.

My deck delivers decently game one, but Sehls delivers better. Threats are bigger than Answers. He has turn two and turn three beatsticks, and follows up with Sylvan Library. I've got spot removal, but he grinds it out with card advantage and solid play. I didn't really expect to win game one though. Game two and three is where I'll shine. He'll never beat a trio of Ivory Towers, regardless of his game plan.

Turns out his game plan is turn one Library of Alexandria, and my game plan is to miss the flip on my turn two Chaos Orb. Of course it is. Why haven't I been practicing my flips? He gets to draw five extra cards before I resolve Armageddon. He has the Disenchant for my first Ivory Tower, and a greedy misplay ends up costing me. I cast two more Ivory Towers the next turn, which is pretty much an invitation for him to cast Demonic Tutor for Dust to Dust. Less greed would have made me cast just a single tower, gain the life I needed to get out of range, and have a backup in case of removal. A couple of turns later he goes Time Walk into Wheel of Fortune, and draws the ten direct damage in bolts and blasts he need to put me at zero. "Hold on sec, I need to grab my phone so I can take a picture of your loser-face."
Humble winner, gracious loser.
So there we are. A glorious defeat from a glorious man. It's hard to not be at least a little humble when you get outplayed. I could have hit the Chaos Orb flip, and I could have been less greedy with the towers. I had the opportunity to win, or at least play a longer game, but Sehl took it anyway.

Eventually my tears dry, and I join an eight-man free-for-all Tribelander multiplayer downstairs. I will get him next year. I will crush him at BSK to get that glorious Shark that yet eludes us both. The Train People will be back.

This was a great gathering.
Sehl's winning deck from Wexio 2016

10 kommentarer:

  1. Awesome as always and a big congratulation to Erik! Always nice to see more medals for Varberg <3 // Jhovalking

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Thanks man!

      Isn't Sehl technically still in Åsa? ;)

      Radera
  2. Svar
    1. It's really good! Much prefer it here over, say, Jayemdae Tome. It makes the most important wincons and control cards immune to counterspells and removal, and also grabs the occasional Spirit Link for another go. Also, none throws a disenchant at it, as most people assume it will suck ;)

      Radera
    2. And once again you are trying to get me to play with Skull of Orm - and succeed! Can only be better than my last experience :-P

      Radera
  3. Great read mg, and also nice to catch up! 8) Even though the train ride could have been a lot more easy going, it was totally worth it to play some sweet old school magic. Congrats to sehl and thanks to Jokemon and the others at Wexio-Convention for a great gathering!

    /axelsson

    SvaraRadera
  4. Elof takes it home for me again. I mean, Living Plane? Seriously? Can't wait to try this build!

    //Twiedel

    P.S.: The comment about being forced to test Skull of Orm once again was also me ^^

    SvaraRadera
  5. Naming BW decks after beers is brilliant! I guess it's time to rename my Argian Abyss deck!

    SvaraRadera
  6. Naming BW decks after beers is brilliant! I guess it's time to rename my Argian Abyss deck!

    SvaraRadera
  7. I like such adventures with fun photos. Especially I love the one where Hardy, Honka and Axelsson with some afternoon cocktails:) I can only imagine how it was difficult after short sleeping.

    SvaraRadera