onsdag 25 oktober 2017

Leprecon 3: The Repreconing

A letter lost in the shuffle. A story from a simpler time perhaps, when we had the summer ahead of us. One night, we sit down, breathe out, ponder, and find the hidden gem in our lap. Perhaps this was the way it should be. The other stories from that pub in Karlstad all had long journeys between their creators' minds and the public's eye. Let's follow Max Weltz back to back to the early days of summer. Let us finally hear his story from Leprecon 3. Enjoy! /Mg out 

For the second year in a row I find my way to Karlstad, or the red pin as my son calls it. Why calling it the red pin, will you ask? Because Google.
I spent the day after the tournament looking for a giant red pin in Karlstad city center but could not find one. The Tourist Information Center did not seem to have heard of it either. Do not always trust what is on Google.
For those keeping score at home, my wife does know where Karlstad is now. And really, if Magic has helped me with anything, it is definitely my knowledge of Sweden outside of Stockholm and the opportunity to practice my Swedish. So I will start this report by giving a Big thanks to all my opponents of Leprecon 3 and to the Swedish Magic communities at large (Old School and otherwise) for being so patient and for being understanding of, and understanding full stop, my broken Swedish. One of my proudest accomplishments in the Magic Old School scene is winning a prize at Leprecon 2 for telling the funniest story (in Swedish) while being a non-native speaker. Good times.

Last year I ended up second with my then trustee black-red Disco Troll™ deck in a tournament that had been a good warm up for the first Ivory cup in Stockholm a few weeks later. I have since then been toying around with different decks, including UBR Troll Disco, which, despite looking better prima facia and having some very powerful lines of play (activate the Disk and play a Hurkyl’s recall with the ability on the stack for value), has failed to convince me.

I decided on what deck to sleeve up before the B&R announcement but I felt my deck would not suffer too much from a few Black Vises as it can pour its hand out rapidly, and would love to draw more cards under a Howling Mine if it came to that. Also Maze would be a really bad card to run against my deck. Definitely unphased in my resolve by the B&R changes. The deck is a rather stock Power monolith combo which also brought me to the top 4 of the n00bcon training day in Stockholm earlier this year.

With what I considered as two flex slots in my deck, I decided to sleeve up a Reconstruction and an Amnesia. I did not get to play Amnesia in a single game, and the UUU requirements had me remove it in quite a few matchups (Land Destruction or Blood Moon ones). Reconstruction saw play and I feel it is relevant in a deck with so much mana and so many artifacts.
Stock Powermonolith list with a janky sideboard - 5/7 would play again
I arrived a bit early in front of the pub, at the same time as three other brave souls fighting their way out of a sunny Saturday afternoon and desperately awaiting for it to open. The pub is aptly named the Leprechaun, or maybe is the tournament aptly named, this will be for future historians to determine when they discover the relics of the tournaments.
The relics of Leprecon 3, circa anno 2017
Amongst the last to arrive is the Grand Organizer, Mällroth, with his usual kilt (I had packed mine but did not wear it because my matching shoes had stayed home #firstworldproblem), and the second car from Arvika. Rapidly we begin and I am paired against Fungi, who bested me in the finals last year with his Deadguy Ale. He is once again rocking that deck.

Highlight of game one is when his Mind Twist for 5 (aka my hand) is followed by a topdecked Balance for a hand of 4, a Juzam, and a land. I definitely believe that one of the most important skills to hone in Magic, especially when picking up this deck, is proper topdecking. After some beatdown a Mirror Universe comes to rescue me and his 19 become my 7 instead and a Fireball seals it.
Brutal Balance
Game two is a loss after the beats come down rapidly and I get my full grip of cards Mind twisted away from me again, but without a lucky top deck to follow it this time.

Game three sees me ship a do-nothing 7 for a 6-card no-lander, which I mulliganed into a 5, 4, and subsequently 3-card no-landers which I eventually kept. It is now Fungi's turn to land a brutal play and Sinkhole my topdecked land on turn 2. 0-1 is a good way to motivate me to up my game and puts me in the not-as-stressful bracket of first round losers.

Match 2 was against Verena on White Weenie who, foreign like me, was an opportunity to play in English. Playing Magic in a language in which I am fluent and not mumblent is a nice luxury once in awhile. Fun fact, I am French and my name is German-sounding while Verena is German and has a French-sounding name. Small world, many wars between our two countries as well. Let us reenact one in paper format.

Game one, the beats start coming from the other side of the table and I throw a Mirror Universe into the fray at 10 life and trade my subsequent 5 for her 19. 2 Triskelions seal the deal. At some point I blocked a Benalish Hero during that game. Luckily it was not banding. I am too old for this sh@!#t.
In game two my fast mana on turn one and taste for adventure make me run a T2 Timetwister. I am a strong believer in T1 Timetwisters/Wheels, and pretty certain it is better for both of us to draw 7 now rather than later when her hand has emptied completely. Alas, not much else happened for me after that, so we move to game three and I hope not to have to mulligan too much this time.

I do not recall game three in detail, but looking at my life pad notes I seem to have been laying down the beats more than the White Weenie deck, somehow, and did not win off a combo. Seems like the Triskelions did some work.

This match did not finish early but I get to assist the final moments of a match involving Stasis (which, surprise, went to rounds). The board speaks for itself:
And if the board does not speak for itself, the opponent had this one comment: “Oh, f@$ck”
Now onto the third match against Tommy who was on a UR Atog build. Game one I slowly get my combo on the table, with a Rocket Launcher and a Triskelion – because why not – waiting for the next turn to close it. Never a good feeling when facing red and its Shatters but sometimes you have to trust they do not have it. Also I must admit I miscounted and thought I was the one having it this turn. One is the loneliest number, as the song goes, especially as in "one mana short".
Tommy goes in the tank, tries to play his out but it is not enough to win this turn. I untap for the win.
Game two, I rapidly plow an early threat but take a lot of beats until I try to go off. I play a Timetwister to find me some wincon, and do find one. There is so much mana in this deck than drawing a cold whole new seven is too often a thing. Not this time.

Doing some scouting I got a glimpse of the deck I will be pitted against for the fourth match. I saw Svetzarn slam a All Hallow’s Eve earlier so I know I will be facing some reanimator deck. Reanimator is an archetype I wish was more viable and more represented in the format, unfortunately some of the enablers are pricey (looking at you Bazaar of Baghdad) and the payoffs not as game breaking as in Legacy (I hear drawing 14 cards in a turn is good). I know I would be happy to lose against that deck in any case as it plays my kind of shenanigans.

Game one sees us trading beats until Svetzarn starts milling me. At some point he decides to mill himself to hit some gas and mills... a Demonic Tutor. Certainly not the card you want to see binned.
If you want to see it binned, here it is. Binned. Also quite a few pieces of jewelry on that playmat, moxen and badges that is.
Eventually I miscount my life total (not the first miscalculation of the day) and engage on a line of play that did not work out. That is another pro-tip for playing this deck: you must be able to count. For instance, you might have infinite mana later in the game, but you still need to get there. I find myself one mana short of comboing all in the same turn way more often than I care to admit (and I did admit it earlier!). Remember: play it tight, boys and girls!

Game two I combo off Rocket Launcher. Such a weird card, an artifact with essentially summoning sickness, and terribly pricey if you are not going infinite. I do remember using it in a pinch on a creature once to buy myself a turn. 0/7, would not recommend. Usually it soaks up a piece of artifact removal, sometimes it is also a nice surprise when you are trying to combo, digging like crazy until you realize it was on the table all along played off on a turn 2 Workshop because reasons.

Game three I combo off Rocket Launcher once again somehow and going with a 3-1 record before the final match where I will face Nelson for a place in the top4.

Game one rapidly reveals he is on a mono red build rocking some Blood Moons to keep me off my mana (and geez did it work, look at my lands, there are as many basics as money in my bank account after getting all these duals). It also packs some Howling Mine and Black Vises, fresh off the restricted list. Cool to see new decks emerge so rapidly. My deck does not operate well under Blood Moon since Power Artifact just does not work so well without U (great title for a romantic ballad if I ever heard one). I am left hoping for a Triskelion or two, or a Mirror Universe, or a miracle. I eventually get there after Nelson sends a Chain Lightning my way, I send it back, he sends it back, and we do that a few times, leaving him at 7 life. All my expensive mountains turned out to be enough for a natural Fireball for the win. On to game two with Disenchants and Blue Elemental Blast coming in from the sideboard. I do not draw them and we go on to game 3 where I land my combo rather rapidly with a solid starting hand and end up the Swiss portion of the tournament on 4-1, giving me the lowest seed in the Top 4.

After some awkward attempts at taking pictures of the decks going onwards to the top4 (imagine bearded men climbing on the tables at a pub one holding a phone and one holding a jacket to block the lights but not too much and you will understand why some of the below deck pictures do not feel like they were taken by Cartier-Bresson. Also, because they were not).

Time for the semi-finals against Dan who is playing a Mono Black build which I was crushed by during n00bcon. Game one makes me relive my nightmares about Hypnotic Specters stripping my hand and Underworld Dreams making refilling it a dangerous proposition. Down at 5 life I try to go for it and get a lucky Wheel for the win.

Game two starts off with Underworld dreams on his side followed by a Mishra’s factory coming into the red zone. Underworld Dreams are sure good at making you think twice about that Ancestral in your hand and your Library activations, but you have to do what you got to do and I combo off Rocket Launcher once again. It is one of these days I guess.
Dan “danols” Olsson’s Mono black deck - 3-4th place
^^^ The deck ^^^
vvv The man  vvv
Dan “danols” Olsson holding his plaque for 3-4th place at Leprecon 3 - Thumbs up as well for a great opponent in semi.
Hearing the news from the other semi table, it sounds like I will meet Jimmie in finals as he won against Johan “JohanGuld” Guldbrandsson.
Johan “JohanGuld” Guldbrandsson holding his plaque for 3-4th place at Leprecon 3.
Johan “JohanGuld” Guldbrandsson big pink deck - 3-4th place.
I have not been able to scout Jimmie’s deck enough to know more than his colors, it will be exciting, but I am feeling good about my deck and its ability to win off all sorts of situations. Game ones are all about comboing freely without fearing much dedicated hate, so I usually come out on top by the time we start sideboarding.

Game one an Underworld dreams comes down rapidly and I start to regret having cut one Disenchant from the sideboard when sleeving up the deck. Luckily I draw into a Chaos Orb and go back to my business until a few turns later, a couple more Underworld Dreams land on the table, followed by a Vise and some Sedge Trolls. The same trolls that had afforded me my second place last year, so I dare hope they will not side against me this time. They did. 0-1 in the finals. Time to sideboard but I am not ahead at all. Jimmie takes in every card with the word Shatter in it, and I side in for a creature matchup because of the Trolls, which turned out to be a mistake as they were hardly a main feature of Jimmie’s deck. It did not prove to costly a mistake as I did not see my sideboard cards in game two, nor did I see the trolls. Nor did I see Lady Victory.

That being said, onto game two, where rapidly I get pinged to death by his Underworld Dreams. For so many turns, I end up doing nothing relevant. So many turns that I, in fact, die. Jimmie made a rapid affair of the finals and gets a well deserved first place at Leprecon 3!
Jimmie “oboy” Hansen’s ponza deck - 1st place.
Oboy celebrating his victory, drinking Oboy Guiness out of his first place trophy
Fun fact, during this tournament, I got to win off combo + Fireball, combo + Braingeyser, Mirror Universe + Fireball, straight off Fireball, and straight beats with Triskelions. It is a definite advantage of the deck to be able to win without the combo, sadly, it is still very artifact heavy when it comes to wincons.

In hindsight, my sideboard was all over the place. More disenchants were needed for sure as Underworld Dreams can be a real pain with little answers for a deck poised on drawing cards until it can assemble its combo. Not sure what deck or sideboard I will pack for next year's Leprecon, the only sure thing is that you will see me there as Old School, great arrangement, great people, and good beer are a more reliable combo than Power Monolith!
Posing with the combo and one of my wincons.

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