A Ringer's Report of BSK 2014

Today we have a guest report from one of the true legends of old school magic. A list of his achievements would probably be longer than the report itself, so I'll just quote a line from his Hall of Fame profile, and state that he was "the first consensus "world's best Magic player" in Pro Tour history". Or as he introduced himself in the report: "Pro Tour Player of the Year 1996, Pro Tour Hall of Famer, but still an apprentice in the format of formats, 93/94." Let's give the word to Olle Råde.

When you sit down at the table for the first old school tournament of your twenty or so years Magic career, what could be a more rude awakening than staring down at the classic opening of Plains, Mox Pearl and Two Savannah Lions?

The first time I went to BSK was, fittingly enough, in 1994. Back then I had dropped out of high school to spend my days selling Magic cards at the local gaming store Tradition. I had picked up Magic during the summer, and although I didn't think of myself as skilled enough to play Magic at the convention, I remember trading away newly opened Ball Lightnings from The Dark to complete my Revised set.

A lot of things have changed since then. But what hasn't changed is my passion for the old cards. So when I visited n00bcon earlier this year and saw the top 8 my mind was set. For next year I would build a deck. Since then I've been trading for Unlimited duals and moxes alike. Managing to almost complete my set in time for this weekends Halloween festivities.

Nikolai "Now" Weibull, Olle Råde and Jocke Almelund.
Oh well, back to the tournament itself. Like I mentioned I was up against the classic double Lion opener. And although I managed to win that game, thanks to a timely Serra Angel holding off my noble opponent Sehl's army, he did take the next two games. The highlight was Sehl's double Dust to Dust, being able to take out my Mirror Universe even though I had Mana Drain backup.

The deck I played, The Deck, was the Boogie Man of vintage already back in the 1990s. And it seems like the old school players have been building up their hate against it ever since. My second round challenger, JummJumm had brewed up a Red/Green/White deck with a bucket full of artifact removal, Blood Moons, Armageddons and Ernham Djinns. Although I put up a good fight to start with, his Strip Mine + Chaos Orb was able to keep me low on lands and a few spicy Tsunamis made sure I never reached the point of being able to cast spells for the remainder.

So here I was, a few months ago having made the claim that I had already started on my report as the winner from BSK, with the worst start possible at 0-2. Was I demoralized? On tilt? Ready to put up my Moxes on auction and give up this silly format? Of course not. When playing for the pure love of the game an 0-2 start isn't much worse than 2-0, and I couldn't be more fortunate than to be paired against former head of DCI in Sweden, Mällroth, and all around good guy and international professional, JhovalKing in the next two rounds.

The Mällroth match wasn't much of a sweat after he held a hand with only Mox Ruby for mana and a fistful of bolts. The JhovalKing match however earned me a new nickname, “Fusk-Olle”, as surely I must have tampered with my deck to get the dream start of Tundra, Sol Ring, Fellwar Stone, Black Lotus + Timetwister. Not quite Black Lotus + Channel + Fireball, but in a control deck, as close as possible. Good times were had, Juzam Djinns were cast, hands were Mind Twisted away and in the end I got the best of it and advanced to 2-2.

Olle shows the Power of The Deck against JhovalKing's 5c Berserk deck.
One of the decks that popped up at n00bcon earlier this year was the Red/Blue Electric Eel aggro. With a ton of burn and cards like Energy Flux and Blood Moon it suits up well against control and is faster and more focused than most of the other decks in the format. After losing to it in the semifinals last year, my good friend, Nesid, came up with an idea to sideboard four Ivory Tower. Which I had the opportunity to test in the penultimate round at BSK.

My opponent, 1997 Swedish National Champion, “Now”, was piloting the Eel-aggro and he came to battle. I stole the first game with a Serra Angel after his Wheel of Fortune spun in my favor. In the second game I had one of the Ivory Towers, backed up with Ancestral Recall to guarantee a few turns of life gain. But Now proved that although he is as old in the game as I am, we are both rookies in the old school format. He did so with a first turn play of Black Lotus, Electric Eel, Dandan, Mishra's Factory. And none of us realized that Dandan actually has Islandhome, which an observant Åland pointed out with a grin and sent it to the Graveyard. The game was closer than it should have been. Since I went to Demonic Tutor for Regrowth (for the Ancestral), but suddenly remembered side-boarding it out. This put me out of Ivory Towers life gain and instead I went for a Serra Angel, which bought enough time to build up my hand and even cast a second Ivory Tower.

In the very last round I was paired against Munchhausen, who apparently had not only built a new deck, but also had forgotten to add enough lands to it. He learned his lesson quickly though and admitted that he would rebuild his mana base in time for the prestigious n00bcon next April. From the small glimpse I saw of his deck he was on Red/Green/Blue, Ernham Djinns, Ice Storms and Fireballs. But mostly he discarded to hand size in game one and in the second Library of Alexandria did what it does best, and tutored my way to victory.

Olle Råde's The Deck. The sideboard contains an additional 4 Ivory Towers.
My 4-2 finish sadly wasn't enough to make the top 8, since my tie-breakers weren't exactly stellar. But in the end I can't be disappointed and BSK only served to whet my appetite for the format. And I'm sure to try and sharpen my skills in time for n00bcon next year.

Finally, I'd like to thank mg for a great event, as well as all my opponents and other participants for the good times last weekend. It's not every day I enjoy playing Magic with nothing at stake other than your reputation, and I hope my 4-2 finish was decent enough to not be considered a complete fish in the format.

I hope to see all of you again in Gothenburg this spring!


  1. Thank you very much for your wonderful blog :)
    The "Magic94" format seems to be slowly growing up in many places!
    In France, we have had our first "real" (I mean more than 5 players :) ) tournament last sunday! 20 players gathered for this event...We are following you, but we nwill need time if we want to reach more than 40 people like in your BSK tournament ;)

    1. Thanks a lot!
      20 people is an impressive turnout! Feel free to send over some pictures if you want me to post them here, it's always nice to hear from players in different parts of the world :)

    2. We have just 3 players in Moscow's community. Would it be interesting for you? I mean pics.

    3. Yes! I'm sure a lot of readers (including myself) would be interested in seeing some Russian tech :)

  2. Hahaha, Fusk-Olle! :D

    Nice read :)

  3. Kommer fusk-Olle från att leklistan inte innehåller Timetwister? :P

  4. hahaha jag sa ju det ;) kul läsning! Jag ska ha revansch på N00bcon! // Jhovalking


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