The BSK top8, part 1

In terms of mid-90s tournaments, 40 players are a bunch. Even by today's standards, it is larger than any sanctioned Scandinavian Vintage tournament in the last five years, and 2/3s of the size of last summers main Vintage tournament at GenCon. Quite impressive for a casual format where the first price is a $0.05 card. Winning or having "the best deck" are not the the main reasons why most people play 93/94, but I guess top8'ing a tournament in a format very close to the original version of the game still comes with some nerdy bragging rights ;) Today we'll look at the first half of the BSK top8.
Erik "Sehl" Larsson, Rano "Rafiki" Zangana, Joakim "Jocke" Almelund and Magnus "Mg" de Laval
Erik "Sehl" Larsson relapsed into the game, after a decade and a half, playing Erhnamgeddon at Kingvitational earlier this year. He then took a monoblack deck to a 2nd place at the Warcon tournament this summer, and have since been teching on a "Next Level WW". Rather than splashing red for Bolts, Sehl opted to go for a blue splash to get access to both direct damage with the PsiBlasts and his new blue Power. Like with his monoblack deck from last summer, this deck looks very solid and well built.
Double King Solomon in the sideboard is pretty wizard.
Rano "Rafiki" Zangana worked as the bartender on n00bcon 5, and have since gone deeper and deeper into the old school mire. He holds the distinction of being a pretty good Magic player in Standard and Modern, where many of us old fogeys rarely go past Legacy in terms of newer formats. When he is not studying for his master in physics, he works in a local game store, imports beer for a pub and judges local events. Most important for me though, he is a great friend and a guy I never mind having a beer with. Rafiki has borrowed decks in a couple of tournaments before, but this was the first time he showed up with his own deck. As a self-proclaimed "Spike even in casual formats", he went for the Electric Eel Aggro plan.
One of three different versions of UR Burn in the top8. Time to add Ivory Towers to the sideboard I guess.
Joakim "Jocke" Almelund is easily top3 93/94players never to have won a Giant Shark. He has 4 n00bcon top8s to his name, along with a Pimpvitational win and a pretty sweet 3-0 drop at BSK 2012. He rarely plays in tournaments outside n00bcon, but when he shows up he has something like a 70-80% win rate with The Deck. All in all, he is clearly a very lucky guy ;) His latest update on The Deck looks solid with some new interesting tech. E.g. sideboarding in Ali from Cairo against WW after they've boarded out their Swords to Plowshares seems like a great plan.
Maindeck Time Vault (with 4 Books) and sideboard Sage of Lat-Nam looks wizard as well.
And then there is me! This was actually my 8th time in the elimination rounds of a Shark tournament, so statistically speaking I should have won one by now ;) The deck I played is the same deck I've been building on and playing for over two years. I though I lacked two cards for the deck; alterations of an Underground Sea and a Volcanic Island. I opted to play with the full playset of unlimited Underground Seas rather than go for an all-black bordered deck, as I didn't considered it to be finished anyway. After playing with it this tournament though, I actually think that it is finally done. Not because it managed to win the swiss (5-1 with good tiebreakers), but mostly because I felt that the deck was the pinnacle of what 12-year old me wanted to achieve with a Magic deck in 1995, even with the wb duals. It has been a long journey.
Wouldn't mind a Giant Shark for the deck though ;)
Pretty different strategies here, but it's worth noting that there are 15/16 factories in the 4 decks; by far the most played non-basic card in the top8. This could be one of the reasons for monoblack's success in recent tournaments. With 4 Sinkholes to support your own factories, monoblack have a big edge in the Mishra war.

I still lack one of the decks from the top8, and I might be getting a report from the 2nd place player to post here before I show his deck. If I don't have it by the end of the week I'll post the last three decks I have by Sunday.


  1. All 12 year old dreams aside, your deck is extreamely sweet. I love the Transmute Artifact package!

  2. Mg: Sweet! 8D

    One thing though, usually when you click the images for a zoom, you can browse through them all at once, that doesn't work now.
    Maybe it's by design I don't know? 8)


  3. Thanks Kevlar and Axelsson! And yeah, the deck is close to obnoxiously satisfying to play. Mahamothi beatdown against sengirs is next level sweet ;)

    @Axelsson: Yeah, I noticed that as well now. I tried to rewrite and repost the post, but it doesn't appear to have helped. I don't feel like digging into the coding of the blogger profile at this point though. Hopefully it'll "solve itself", if it doesn't I'll dig deeper in the future ;)

  4. Mg: Sorry if it sounded like a complain, it was meant more like a heads up. Yes, self healing stuff is the best 8D


    1. No problem, it sounded like a heads up ;) Appreciate the feedback, I hadn't seen it before you said it.

  5. Hey again from Australia. Gorgeous decks.

    Here's the one I'm working on:


    14x Forest
    10x Swamp

    1x Howling Mine

    2x Dark Heart of the Wood

    2x Arboria
    4x Elves of Deep Shadow
    1x Regeneration
    2x Shanodin Dryads
    1x Stream of Life
    1x Sylvan Library
    4x Verduran Enchantress
    3x Wild Growth

    2x Dark Ritual
    1x Deathgrip
    1x Evil Presence
    2x Fallen Angel
    1x Gloom
    1x Nether Void
    3x Underworld Dreams
    4x Unholy Strength


    * It plays beautifully. The Enchantresses make "average" enchantments drive the deck much faster.
    * Yes, Deathgrip, Gloom and the second Arboria are just filler cards designed to help me get familiar with the mana base before I can afford to purchase cards with utility. Old School MTG is expensive :)
    * I was thinking maybe 1x Black Knight and 1x Craw Wurm in place of the second Fallen Angel, and even another Nether Void to clinch the game once I've gotten a few enchantments in play and one or more creatures with Unholy Strength.
    * A few Bayous would be really nice.

  6. ^
    + 1x Fastbond (is very wiz)
    + 1-2x Animate Dead (ideally, to throw back an opponent's Ball Lightning at them :P)

  7. Awesome! 8D

    Another Sylvan Library would probably do the deck good too. How about Instill Energy? Oubliette for some protection maybe? Or Paralyze, it's a lot cheaper. Titanias Song to handle Artifacts?

    Keep up the good work! 8D


  8. That's funny,
    I'm working an Enchantress deck myself. Seem like this deck gets more attention lately. Instead of G/B I'm going the control route over G/U/W. Here is my list so far:

    4x Verdurean Enchantress
    4x Birds of Paradise
    3x Instill Energy
    2x Fastbond

    1x Ancestral Recall
    1 x Power Sink
    4x Counterspell
    4x Boomerang
    3x Stasis
    1x Copy Artifact
    1x Time Elemental

    1x Land Tax
    2x Island Sanctuary
    3x Spirit Link
    1x Serra Angel

    1x Sol Ring
    1x Mox Emerald
    1x Mox Sapphire
    1x Mox Pearl
    1x Black Lotus
    2x Ivory Tower
    1x Black Vise

    2x Mishra’s Factory
    4x Tundra
    4x Savannah
    4x Tropical Island
    3 x Basics

  9. Thanks axelsson, and yes it's a BOMB deck already. All BB of course :D

    "Another Sylvan Library would probably do the deck good too." << I was thinking the same thing. Sylvan Library is a powerful card, though I'm still getting used to it and am wondering whether it would be better to have a) cards that will benefit my play or b) slam my opponent. It will either be another Sylvan Library or - if I wanted to do the latter - Nether Void.

    Not both, I don't think.

    Still fixated on the idea of playing Animate Dead on an opponent's Ball Lightning and then drawing a card (with Enchantress in play) and then sacking a Forest or two to Dark Heart of the Wood. :P I am picturing this play right now - WHAAM!

    * Instill Energy - for Elves of Deep Shadow/Fallen Angel, you mean? I honestly don't think I'd need it, but considering the deck type, it's an enchantment (with cantrip + Enchantress) for G, so it could work. One or two, at most, though.
    * Oubliette might help as the deck has no Terrors or any creature removal. I was actually thinking Sorceress Queen as she looks more frightening.

    Anonym, your U/W/G Enchantress is extremely wiz and you must post a pic of it some time if you haven't already. How does it play?

    More comments of G/B Enchantress:
    * The deck can't use Maze of Ith on account of its mana base, it's bad enough me having no Bayou (yet).
    * Mind Twist, to complement Stream of Life. Regrowth and Demonic Tutor.
    * As well as a Sorcery or two (see above), the deck doesn't complain about a few creatures other than Enchantress, so maybe even an Ernham Djinn or Juzam if I can afford it.
    * axelsson, Titania's Song could work as a Mox-smasher, or I was even thinking Tranquility to ruin things for both parties - after I have drawn my card of course :D

    Thanks guys! :)

    (Now playing: Darkthrone - Goatlord, "Sadomasochistic Rites")

  10. ^ I like Island Sanctuary in your deck (probably plays way better than Arboria in mine)... would you mind telling me, what's the rationale behind Land Tax?

    Which reminds me... for deck-thinning, if I have Sylvan Library and some other good cards in play, I could draw an extra Forest or two for 4 life each and then sacrifice to Dark Heart of the Wood for 1 each and excellent deck thinning. Nice :)

  11. Fastbond seems like a good include as well 8)


  12. MG your deck is a piece of art! // Jhovalking

  13. Once again, very beautiful decks. Thanks for sharing the pictures! One tech-related question: Joakim Almelund (as well as some other versions of "The Deck" that I have seen on this blog) runs Time Vault main deck. What is the reason for this? Why is it good without something like Voltaic Key or any other way to untap it? I don't seem to get it.


    1. Thanks Andreas!
      Regarding time vault, basically it's due to the fact that turns have a different value in different times of a match. E.g. if you cast a time vault turn two and skip your next turn, you might only have given up a draw phase and a land drop. During late game, that extra turn might give you a couple of extra draws with the Books, or you may get to activate the mirror universe before a lethal attack, Time Vault lets you trade a less valuable turn for a more important one. About a year ago I had a post that discussed strategy in extra turns with time walk, and a lot of the later part of the post is applicable on time vault. You can check it out at if you're interested.

      Cheers, Mg

    2. Yeah, I see. Thanks for explaining! :)

  14. ^
    Damn right, which is why I want to spend nine hundred (American!) dollars on a Beta Time Vault. Good card.

    "Fastbond seems like a good include as well 8)


    Yep, got that one :)
    Or WILL get it, when I have a spare three hundred bucks laying around :)

    - Aussie1

  15. Awesome as always MG! And nice to see oldtime Sehl in the game again :-)


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