Åland's perspective

Lots of interesting things has happened in the last days. One of my personal favorites is that Heiner Litz from California actually built and played a Mana Vortex deck in an old school tournament. We'll get back that (and the 2015 retrospective) later though. For now let's give the word to our own World Champion, Christoffer "Stalin" Andersson. Stalin got a hold of Mikael "Åland" Johansson after his win at Frippan Open to ask him some questions. Enjoy :)

Stalin: For the people that's not in the Swedish 93/94-community and know you; How would you introduce yourself?
Åland: My name is Mikael but everyone in Sweden calls me Åland, which is the name of the island I grew up on. Apart from 93/94 I like to play vintage but I also play legacy, modern and sometimes standard. I’ve studied for quite some time and have a bachelor of information technology and a master of public administration. I work as a systems analyst at Mölndal municipality. When I don’t play magic I like to watch TV-series, play board games or read police investigation reports and verdicts.

What got you into playing 93/94?
A couple of things. This blog surely helped but the fact that I started playing during the revised era and bought a lot of (Italian) Legends makes this format very nostalgic to me. Also the fact that it was a childhood dream to play The Deck but I never could afford it back then.

You just won Frippan Open, any particular moments from the tournament that you want to share with us?

Not really. The main thing with the deck is to play consistent during the day and don’t make any major mistakes. I got no Mind Twist for seven round one stories but I started with Library of Alexandria turn one a couple of times. 93/94 seldom gives really intricate lines of play like in legacy or vintage.
Kalle testing an interesting line of play against Åland in the quarterfinals.
We talked during the event and you told me that you where not as competitive this time around as you where at n00bcon (where you tilted quite hard vs me in the quarterfinals). Was that just a lie or how and why has your take on the format changed since then?
I want to clear up one thing, I didn’t tilt against you I tilted against myself. Generally people think I tilt against my opponents, but most of the time I tilt against myself (bad plays, bad mulligan decisions etc). I made a fatal deck building error in my deck during n00bcon ‘14 where I had too many mana sources, I had been lucky all day and got “unlucky” during the quarter finals. I wanted to sell my cards the next day (not the power, but cards like balance, tomes, mind twist etc). I was really upset with myself for a couple of days. I realized that there is no point in taking 93/94 that seriously when there is no prize money involved. I need to take the losses with a smile and during BSK where I did not make top 8 it still felt okay, I went to sleep with a smile on my face. In Frippan open I lost the first match. I just shaked my opponents hand and didn’t think more about it. It sounds weird but I might have become a better person by losing to you in the quarter finals of n00bcon compared to if I had won the whole tournament.
Åland and Elof have faced each other before; here in the finals of Warcon 2012.
I know that you've been playing ”The Deck” for quite some time. Is it since you entered the format several years ago? Any thoughts you want to share with us about the evolution of the deck? Did you do any changes for this tournament to beat the current meta?
I’ve played The Deck since I’ve started playing the format, my début was the 16th of June 2012 and I’ve played in 12 tournaments since that day, I have all the deck lists still saved. There are several The Deck players in Sweden and everyone has their own take on how to build the deck. I never fancied Mishra’s Factory in The Deck when some people see it as a must, it doesn’t fit my style of play. I don’t like weird variations with Fissure either. For this tournament I went down from 31 to 29 mana sources, it is the biggest change in a long time. I cut all the weird cards like Disrupting Scepter, Icy Manipulator, Copy Artifact, Circle of Protections etc. I call my deck “The Deck with Wincons”, I play 2 Serra Angel and 2 Fireball. I didn’t make any big meta changes, I played 2 Lightning Bolts in the sideboard and Mirror Universe main because I thought it would be creature heavy meta and that was the right call. I don’t like fancy strategies with weird cards or combos, I prefer a consistent deck with the best wincons. Moat is probably one of the best cards in the format, to quote my final opponent Elof “Your Moat worked overtime in the finals”.
The Deck with Wincons. Including Riven Turnbull.
What do you think about the format right now? Anything thats particularly good or bad? Anything you want to change? Anything that you feel should not change?
I think the format is really healthy, we see new decks popping up. The Atog Smash is a new variant which I haven’t seen before. Alot of people are talking about Mishra’s Factory restriction/ban, I don’t really understand what people see in that card. I mean it gives you random wins sometime but most of the time you open up yourself for opponents land destruction without them having land destruction cards in their decks.

There are lots of people out there interested in the format but they feel that they can afford to get into it. What's your thoughts about that? Any pointers to people on how to get into playing 93/94?
Either be very certain about what deck you want to play and just buy it, which I did with The Deck, or find a cheap variant. I think the best budget deck is White Weenie which you can buy for around $250 with the cheapest card versions available. It can quite easily be remade into a RW Tax Edge or WW with bolts. If you like blue you can splash Ancestral Recall, Time Walk and/or Psionic Blasts. Remember this about the old expensive cards, they are a good investment. Stop playing drafts and standard which effectively is a big money sink.

If you could ask yourself a question. What would that question be, and how would you answer it?

"What is your goal with playing Magic?" My goal is actually three different goals: top 8 a Grand Prix, win a Giant Shark and become the Swedish national vintage champion. I think the most reasonable one is to win the Giant Shark, I’ve already been close a couple of times. I have won a couple of smaller vintage tournaments and top eighted Bazaar of Moxen so winning the Swedish national championships in vintage isn’t that unreasonable. The problem with that is that you only have one chance every year (starting again in 2015). The hardest goal is to top 8 a Grand Prix, I have only made day two once and I wasn’t even close to top 8 that one. Top 8 a Grand Prix would be sweet so that I would qualify for a Pro tour which I want to play once in my life.

Thanks for taking the time for this interview!


  1. Good read, looking forward so smash your the deck on N00bcon // Jhovalking

  2. Not even sure I will play n00bcon this year //Åland

    1. Why not? Funniest tournament in the year! I need someone to share cigarettes with!

    2. There is a very bitter taste in my mouth at the moment. It's been a long time coming. For that reason I will not participate. There is no reason to feel discomfort over a card game. There are more important things in life. /Åland

      PS. Call me bitch, whiner, loser, moron, cry baby, emotionally disturbed whatever, I don't really care. You asked why not and this is my honest answer.

    3. I actually lost a sentence there after the first sentence: People except some kind of standard from you when they themselves and in a direct opposite manner. /Åland

  3. There are some sweet tournaments at Gothcon at the same time.

  4. I checked the schedule, and it looks like n00bcon will only collide with a Standard construted, a Modern GPT and a draft. Doesn't collide with any of the three vintage tournaments, the Legacy win-a-mox tournament, the PPTQ or Highlander Gold. Seems fair :)


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