Got there! A report from Kingvitational 1.

I had updated my my deck since BSK. I'd traded away my black mox, but I had found a blue one and a workshop. In particular, I'd been tuning the pile to get a more stable midgame, maindecking two transmutable answers to creatures in Icy and Tawnos's Coffin. Large creatures, and Berserks, seemed to be the new big thing. After some reflection, it was clear that many games were lost by the opponent doing something completely broken early in the game; e.g. Library, Mind Twist or Balance, and I wanted to add some strong topdecks that would have impact enough to even out loss of card advantage. Had I been a slightly more strategic player, I would probably have splashed white or green for Balance or Regrowth. Being more of a flavor-player, the obvious choice was splashing red for Sol'Kanar the Swamp King. Two Sol'Kanars this time. Nothing beats Sol'Kanar. Maybe Juzam.

The journey of Project M continues.
The evening before the tournament, I had traveled from Oslo and was home alone in Gothenburg. I decided to go out and have a beer with some friends. This turned out to become more than one beer, and I came home around six in the morning. I sent a strategic SMS to Honka, and nonchalantly fell to sleep.

Half a nights intensive sleep later, I woke up when Honka called. Time to put the game face on. I drank all the water in my apartment, bought a coffee at 7-11, and skulked into the city. Met up with Honka, and we went back to my place to have a pizza, watch The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk 2 on VHS, discuss Buster Keaton, and discuss tech. I claim that Honka is a horrible player, and could not win a match if his opponent mulls to two and wont draw lands. Honka claims my deck is awful, and matches my face. We both agree that Buster Keaton is the greatest action hero in the history of film.

If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and see this movie.
To Gothenburg central, and get some train tickets to Varberg. I'm on the phone with Team Leatherjacket, aka Oldschool and Gajol, who are to drive Oldschool's car to Varberg. Oldschool's car is an old mirth mobile and fueled by love and coin flips.

Honka and I get our tickets, and we're on the road. We sit next to an older lady who seems to be amused by the piles of playing cards we're shuffling about during the trip. Honka trash talks me and Thrull Champion. I call Honka a Trotskyist. A woman with a café tray walks by and I shine up like a sun. Buys all her juice, and feel that I'm soon back at zero.

We enter the city of Varberg and walks along a long street that randomly changes name three times during our stroll. Buys some more juice. We discuss the problem that black and white movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood are regarded as classics even if they are both boring and overacted. We agree on about five movies from that time that are actually good and stand the test of time (12 angry men, The great Dictator, To kill a mockingbird, The treasure of the Sierra Madre, and one more). Honka claims that Witness for the persecution is good as well, but he's wrong. I claim that the Marx Brothers' movies are pretty amusing, and he thinks I'm slow. We agree that all other black and white soundies from Hollywood between 1927 and 1959 are mediocre at best.
It is pretty much the exact same acting as in All about Eve.
We come across the pizzeria in Varberg. I assume that there's more than one, but this was the one we were looking for. Kungen, Elof and Brorsan is there and finish up their lunch. Kungen has recently started training for marathon running, and looks surprisingly fast. Axelsson joins up a while later, after some delays with his train from Scania. We engage in some casual chatting about bandy and the likes, and then walks to Kungen's place where Erik and Munchhausen awaits.

The new Casa Kungen is a really sweet place, with effective tables and windows you can open (I had some mishaps with fans and Chaos Orb flips during Kingvitational 0.5 last summer). Additionally Kungen has even prepared coffee; a sight for sore eyes with my present pulse. Honka and I change to our lederhosen team outfits and have a pre-game beer. Axelsson brough a pile of different sweet decks and ponders which one he should play. A few moments later, Åland and Team Leatherjacket joins, and we're good to go.

The Kingvitational 1 team selfie
Game 1, Erik Larson
Erik plays in his first tournament in over 15 years, and was recently lured back into the game by Oldschool and the Varberg crew. His deck of choice is Erhnamgeddon. Our first duel is long and complex, with plenty twists and turns. I manage to achieve some sort of control with Icy Manipulator and Maze of Ith, and stabilize around 3 life for a few dozen turns. Two geddons and at least three disks clears the board during the game. In the end, with few cards left in my deck, I resolve Mirror Universe, go down to two life with City of Brass, tap down the last blockers with Icy, and beat with Guardian Beast ftw. Second duel starts out tight, but eventually I get the beast/orb lock down. At this point, I think that the game is locked in my favor, and I start playing sloppily. I miss inf flips, tap the wrong lands, and don't keep counter mana up for the inevitable Balance. Erik starts to reclaim the game, but we go to time before one of us claims the victory. 1-0.

Honka: "Mox, Land Tax." Oldschool: "I'll see that mox." Honka: "I will not raise."
Game 2, Munchhausen
Munchhausen is another sweet player from Varberg who just picked up the cards again. He plays an aggressive UG Berserk deck, but with the full set of Mishras instead of more Djinns and Efreets (apart from Erhnam and Serendib). Duel 1 he plays all his 4 Mishras pretty early, and it's a quick affair. Giant Growths and shenanigans kills the few creatures i manage to resolve, and we're soon off to duel 2. The second duel takes a little more time, but I still play very shaky. I miss Chaos Orb flips, count wrong, and plays my deck on autopilot instead of thinking properly. Munchhausen plays the full set of Psionic Blasts, which easily kills my Guardian Beasts. When a Crumble destroys my Forcefield, he can attack for 17 with Giant Growths and Berserks boosting Erhnam and Mishras, and the game is over quickly. I feel that I've played pretty bad the last three duels, in particular considering my flipping and transmuting, so I drink a couple of beers and ponder my strategy before round 3. 1-1

Gajol and Axelsson.
Game 3, Elof
Ah, Elof. This should be easy ;) Elof plays the Nether Void deck. Duel one is very interesting, and we go back and forth 3-4 times switching the upper hand. At one point the game looks good for Elof, he's got a couple of Hypnotic Specters and a Nether Void in play, I've got a Guardian Beast, Forcefield, and a lot of mana. Skilled as I am, I topdeck a Chaos Orb and start flipping (good flips this time). I kill off his Hypnotics before he exiles the Orb and my blue mox with Dust to Dust. We have some more back and forth before I land a Sol'Kanar and swampwalks him to victory. The second duel is a little more one-sided. I get a good start and can keep board position enough for Elof not to be able to profitably cast Nether Void. He Disenchants three relevant artifacts, but then proceeds to draw all his four Nether Voids rather than something exciting. I transmute into Jayemdae Tome, and cast Sol'Kanar for the win. 2-1.

Game 4, Kungen
Kungen plays the Kobold deck, and hence have 11 maindeck 0-mana Kobolds he won last BSK. He also plays some good cards, but most of them are in his sideboard. He has been losing the first duel in all his matches, but has then proceeded to win most of his other games. Very amusing. I win the first duel when Kungen plays a bunch of 0/1's and no Taskmasters or Gauntlets of Might. In the second duel, Kungen is very light on lands, and I get an early disk to remove his moxen. I resolve a turn five Sol'Kanar after than, and the rest is a formality. I looked at his decklist after the game, and it looked very strong, so I think that I could have been in deep water if he hadn't been stalling on mana in duel 2. He did btw sideboard 15 cards between the first and second duel. 3-1.

The King of the Kobolds.
Semifinals, Munchhausen
3-1 and off to top4. Munchhausen did beat me in the swiss, but I feel like I'm in a little better shape now. Honka throws a lot of friendly trash talk at me before the game. I drink a beer and contemplates. I know that I need to play around Munchhausen's Psiblasts, and that I need to respect his Mishras.

Duel one i start with land, go. Munchhausen goes land, Sol Ring. I follow up with land, copy artifact on Sol Ring. Munchhausen plays a land and cast Erhnam, and I can follow up during my turn with swamp, Mind Twist for four. Next turn I can transmute my copied Sol Ring into Nevinyrral's Disk and clear the board. I win a few turns later by attacking with Su-Chi and a Mishra. Next duel Munchhausen starts with land, Birds. I go land, Mox. He casts an Unstable Mutation on the bird, but doesn't play a land. I see an opening, and Strips away his land. He draws another land and cast a second Unstable Mutation on the bird. I cast Recall for my Strip Mine and take away his other land, but he draws a new one and beats me down to 9. I cast Fellwar Stone, and the turn after I hit six mana to cast transmute into Chaos Orb, Demonic for Guardian Beast and Time Walk. Cast the beast and start flipping during my extra turn. My flips are back to being 50/50 though, as I clearly haven't been practicing them enough lately. Transmute another Stone into Triskelion and starts going for the beats. Munchhausen resolvs a Psiblast to ge me down to 4, but I have the Mana Drain in case of a second one, and Triskelion goes all the way. Honka trashes and congratulates all at once, and I'm off to the finals.

Facing off against Munchhausen.
Finals, Åland
The second semi-final is between Oldschool (who went 4-0 in the swiss with The Dragon) and Åland with The Deck. Åland manages to win after an epic battle, and we're facing of in the finals. Last time I and Åland met in elimination rounds at a tournament was in the semi-finals of Warcon 2012, where he managed to sneak himself to the victory. Duel 1 is very one-sided, when Åland starts with Library turn 1, and builds up a huge card advantage with answers on everything i do. When he plays his second Mishra I scoop, as there at that point was no reasonable line of play left in my deck that could beat his cards combined with a 5-turn clock. Duel two is pretty similar, but this time it's I who start with the Library. Åland never catches up, as I transmute into Tome and Scepter to increase my card advantage even further.

Duel three is the most exciting one, as none of us have the Library. My first transmute-target in this matchup is clearly the Scepter, to keep down his card advantage and make him unable to hold counters. Eventually I get the Orb/Beast combo going as well, and hits a pair of flips before he can sword my Beast. I still have my Orb though, and cast a Copy Artifact to double up. I destroy another pair of lands, and can safely cast a Sol'Kanar. Nothing beats Sol'Kanar, and he is forced to scoop up his cards shortly afterwards.

We have a period of high fives, and I'm immensely happy over my new Relic Barrier (and my first 93/94 tournament victory!). That Barrier will surely be in the deck for n00bcon! After a few more beers and some happy pictures, me and Åland gets a ride to Varberg central station to take the night-train to Gothenburg. The other players stay and play casual into the early hours, but as the clock has passed midnight after a long day, I need to get home to get some sleep. It was an awesome tournament with sweet decks and happy faces, and I'm looking forward to see you all this Easter!


  1. Thanks! Been quite a few top4s without going all the way before this one ;)


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