söndag 2 september 2018

Mail days

Here's random fact: Norway has a tax revenue to GDP ratio of 54.8%. It is second only to East Timor (which surprised me), and is joined in that particular top5 by Denmark, Finland and Sweden (which didn't really surprise me). That is quite a lot of taxes. (But for anyone wondering about living in a socialstic hellscape, Norway also have the lowest Gini index in the world, the highest Human Development Index, and the third highest GDP per capita. So I personally wouldn't argue for lower taxes).

Anyways. After living here for the last six years, one subjective observation is that we Norsemen, as a generalized group, are pretty bad at saving money. So instead we kinda get some saved for us. I top out somewhere around 46% income tax most of the year, but each December I only pay half income tax to get the holiday spending well supported, and by the end of June we get the vacation money saved up from last year, pretty much tax free. And at that time, we also get the yearly tax returns. So that means that twice each year, the Norwegians get a substantially larger paycheck than usual. "Feriepenger".

This last June looked like the last time while living the life of a Dink. Double Income No Kids, that is. I could spend a fairly large sum on cards, perhaps as one of the last hurrahs before life would truly happen. I had my budget set up as it will look from the end of September, and I knew that the frivolous days would eventually have to come to an end. Not quite yet though. So now, in these last days of summer, let's look through some of the season's mail.
Cards! Glorious cards I've never owned!
So this first one might be cheating, as I did not in fact get the cards in the mail. I bought them from local slinger Audun, shortly after I managed to do one of the more my heroic recoveries in a game against him during an Oslo meetup. But hey, they are cards of the summer, so they'll count. Defensive, even political, cards those three. Nova Pentacle is the stone cold nuts btw. It may be something of a "hidden gem" among playables as it rarely sees action in ordinary 60-card constructed, but it is a highly reasonable first-pick in 93/94 draft as well as a staple in most of the oldschool highlander formats.

Next batch held these gems:
Watch out PowerMonolith, there's a new killer combo in town.
All these are part of a grander scheme. I rarely buy cards just for the sake of collecting. Political cards, walls, and weird synergy. You might know where this is going.
This dude has gone far too long without a proper army.
If you are unfamiliar with 93/94 EDH, it is gaining traction as one of the more popular variants of multiplayer oldschool these days. I am not sure exactly how the stories go, but it was the format of choice for the 2014 Pimpvitational in Sweden (with Tetsuo banned as commander), then got some more attention by Gina at the (now defunct) Nomad Gamer site, and I think the first "proper" play group were Dyan and his Dutch friends sometime around 2016. Dyan posted an article about the format here in early 2017, and DFB's recent article on 93/94 Brawl fleshed out the rules in a very thoughtful and interesting way (love the mono-colored commander rules!). The articles on Ready to Role are also really good if you want to check it out.

EDIT: I finished this post while away visiting in-laws for the weekend, and when I returned the evening after publishing it, I found another surprise waiting in the mail box! So I blatantly added this section in italics here, as it makes a good amount of sense to put it alongside the other EDH cards :)
An honest to god letter! I love this. But I must confess I've been truly horrible at replying myself in the last months. Looking at you in particular Charlie, you have not been forgotten.
The next level general! Tedin text alter to give him horsemanship!
This was a fantastic surprise from Eliot (aka @betasedgetroll). Might be that this guy will do the dirty work on the battlefield while the artist altered beaut graces the deck box or oversees from the sideline. I will most certainly play this one as though he had horsemanship btw, as it clearly makes sense that he has it. At least until someone punches me for doing so. Thanks man! <3

That mat under the artist altered Lord Magnus is new as well btw. Khalsa Brain released a new version (v5, for those keeping count) of their original spellground design this summer, and I was quick to pick it up. Harsh thing was that the shipping of the two mats (which had a release price tag around 60 USD) ended up at almost 100 USD when factoring in toll and service charges. Still worth it though ;) 
These are awesome mats.
In the vein of recently produced products, some proper "new school" things also populated the shopping list. Even though I spend the bulk of my Magic playing time on the previous side of the millennium, I must say I thoroughly enjoy a lot of the newer releases as well. In particular the casual sets, so I much look forward to cracking this in the not too distant future.
And once one gets used to old school price tags, getting a box of a new set actually appear highly reasonable ;)
The next one was a big one. As some readers may know, I've been working on building my Adventure Island deck from close to scratch over the last year or so. That meant I've been actively looking for Power again. This was one of those milestones. 
15/18
I am giddy to have it. And it is kinda humbling to try and build from scratch today. This one had a price tag of four times of what I played for my Alpha Timetwister five years ago, and about 15 times of what I sold my previous Unlimited TT for six years ago. I should always buy my cards a few years in the past I guess ;)

Not everything the mailman brings costs money though. I actually traded for a card for once. It is unusual for me to trade these days, as I very rarely get "spares", but I had a few extra Dark Rituals and a familiar guy were looking for Rituals and had an extra Bolt. So now I have fewer rituals and more bolts.
Even cheaper than trading is when a generous soul just send a gift :) This was a surprising pleasure courtesy of Francesc Montserrat and Gregory Protic; a couple of local organizers from Spain and Switzerland respectively.
Unboxing!
Francesc and Greg recently created a set of tokens for 93/94, with art by Francesc and printed on proper stock that survives a few beer spills. The package contain representations of all the possible tokens that can be created by cards from ABU and the first four expansions; a few of which never had official tokens.
A strange clone.
A wasp that must be killed individually.
These counters are independent creatures, except they can't be enchanted.
Be careful with that egg.
Powerful combo with Argivian Archaeologist and Martyrs of Korlis.
Finally! Oh how I have longed for this token. Technically it only bands with other Wolves of the Hunt, but clearly close enough ;)
...And some more tokens I don't own the corresponding cards for. Two points to those who can name the cards that create them. Three points if you know their mana costs ;)
Back of the tokens.
These things are sweet. If you are looking for a set for yourself, I would recommend reaching out to Francesc at sindados(at)gmail(dot)com, or try to find him or Greg at Facebook. It's also a nice way to support some fellow players :)

The last letter was the biggest though, easily pushing the Power card to the curb. It was a thing I first heard about a year and a half ago. One of the unique pieces I hoped to eventually find and add to my Global Chaos Orb collection.

The Chaos Orb that belonged to the first ever Magic World champion in 1994. The Orb that was then actually chewed by his dog and not sold for another twenty years, maybe due to it having the poorest of conditions and, perhaps, some special nostalgic value. How does one even put a price on that? Maybe a "recklessly damaged card" by most eyes, but a proper gem in any Chaos Orb collection for anyone familiar with the story.
"A gift" is an unexpected price by any measure though. So much love to you Megu, I hope I am able to pass your generosity along to other players myself <3
So this was a summer of sweet stuff. And I can't thank the generous people in the community enough for the gifts you've sent. But I will try to carry your generosity with me, and keep that mindset alive whenever I find opportunities to give back something to other people in the community. The willingness to give something just for the sake of making the recipient happy is inspiring, and something that seems to become one of the core values in oldschool magic. It is such a pleasure to a part of a community like this.

I have a few more cards incoming in preparation for next year's Wizard's Tournament, but other than that I think it'll be a slow autumn and winter. Magic is a luxury product after all, and oldschool even more so. It has been a really good run this summer though, and it feels like I'm leaving on a high note of glorious mail days.

6 kommentarer:

  1. good summer yeah! with new beautiful toys !!
    i hope the chaos orb is signed by Zak ^^

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Thanks! Hehe, the Orb is not signed itself, but he sent a signed "letter of autenticity" with it :) Might be a fun idea to try and get the orb signed by him as well though!

      Radera
  2. Hazezon Tamar - 4RGW
    Boris Devilboon - 3BR
    Stangg - 4RG
    Serpent Generator - 6

    Fun fact, I was able to get the Hazezon Tamar / Karakas combo rolling two-weekends ago.

    Also, I used Nova Pentacle in my Titania’s Song 93/94 deck a couple of years ago. It was a fun deck, but was not tweaked and performed poorly. I need to try this out again...

    Fun read, glad to see you keeping up with the blog again!

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Impressive, three points to you!

      And thanks :) I've been going for weekly updates again since July (with a mix of guest posts when I get them). Feels nice to return to form a little after a year and a half with more sporadic updates. Feel free to give a shout if there's any particular topic you'd like to read about btw!

      Radera
    2. If I can think of a topic, I will let you know. I do like reading on your blog much more than Facebook groups. Facebook doesn’t ever feel very “old school” to me. Seems too new age.

      This blog reminds me of purchasing a Scrye magazine as a kid. Internet wasn’t around yet so there was no real value to put on cards other than a magazine like this. There was no way to netdeck with the click on a few buttons, and tournament reports could only be read about this way or actually attending an event (which I never did). There was no more personal creativity in deck design. I have learned an infinite amount of magic history on Facebook, but all is being revealed too quickly. I like the slowness of the blog and more in-depth, personal interaction that leaves you thinking at the end, pondering on ideas for longer than 10 minutes before the next post has you moving on.

      Maybe this sparks something you can write about. How old school was back in the day to how it is now and maybe we need to slow it down or remove ourselves from social media for a bit. I say this, but without Skype/appear.in, I wouldn’t be able to actually play old school. It is a double edged sword for sure.

      Radera
    3. Thank you for the feedback Ryan, appreciate it! :)

      Radera