The Россия perspective

Today we have a treat. Our friend Constantine Prishvitsin from Russia is not only a good guy and an awesome alterer of Fellwar Stones, but he was also the first player to travel multiple time zones to compete in Old School Magic. Since his showing at n00bcon 7 he has been building up, and a few weeks back he was to return to Sweden and compete again, this time with a brother in arms. This is his story. Enjoy! /Mg out

I've been attracted to everything oldschool since I realised myself as a person. 80-90s action movies, games, underground and popular music. You name it. No wonder I always felt a bit uncomfortable in modern day magic, even though I am a game store owner and should support wizards' activities all the way.

First, there was a video on youtube where Olle Rade defeated Sean Fleischman in the finals of Pro Tour Columbus 1996. I was mesmerized by the whole oldschool feel of the coverage. Not the oldest of kinds of magic, but it seemed like an awesome one! Next there was a whole Premiere Pro Tour video from WotC, in which they filmed almost the entire final between Bertand Lestree and Mike Loconto. Erhnamgeddon, millstone, Ivory towers and Icy manipulators... They brought tears to my eyes. That was the kind of magic I had always looked for; decks I only read about when I was a kid.I started building decks, almost abandoned Legacy, modern and everything else. I found a brother in arms, Shelest, who followed me through my journey of oldschool magic. And then I found Mg's blog and shit got real.

How do you playtest when you don't play with proxies, you have just one opponent and a very limited cardpool? The answer is very simple: TEST THIS PARTICULAR  MATCHUP HARD! At least you'll know who’ll win when you meet at a tournament (IF WE HAD ONE)!

The Rasputin Deck
We built decks, tried all combinations of colors and strategies as far as our cardpool goes, but every single time we met one single problem: the manabase. It is no secret that an average manabase of an oldschool deck is horrible. So there were two main ways to use that fact: either to play with a single color to avoid color screw or to play a lot of land destruction to punish the opposing greedy manabases.

Last noobcon I played Black-Red land destruction and at this point I was very tired of this deck. It was cool and everything but I had managed to obtain blue pieces of power since then and wanted to try them out in a real tournament. I decided to play monoblue deck based not only on transmute package but also on a rogue tech of maindeck Ivory Towers (a Moscow tech as I call it, as a player from there taught me to abuse them in control decks). The main idea is very simple: play one color, use a toolbox and never ever lose to damage-based strategies.
Monoblue Transmute for n00bcon 8
Shelest, on the other hand, was true and loyal to his pet deck of 1/1 green creatures which is surprisingly strong considering its lack of powerful spells besides maybe a playset of Berserk.

Shelest's Monogreen 1/1 deck
This deck is, as you call it, very “power independent”: it can function on low mana sources, it plays one color AND punishes you for playing multiple ones. It attacks, it taxes you with snakes and Scavenger folks and hits hard with pendelhaven-giant growth-berserk out of nowhere! Believe me, I know what I am talking about - I have been playing against this deck for over a year already! So, we test in real life, test in Shandalar (because why not?). We’re ready to say to each other, “Meet you in the finals, mate!”

I won’t torture you with details of my trip to Sweden and overall boring stuff. I just want to thank Mg, Kalle, Danny, Elof and all other guys for the most awesome tournament in my life! Let’s get down to business and tell a story of glorious battles on the tables of Noobcon 8: A Russian story.

Round 1
The tournament starts hard for me. With a bottle of Imperial Gonzo in hand I meet my first opponent, last year’s finalist Icelander with the Deck!

I keep a slow hand with Ivory Towers and a bit of everything. Icelander stumbles on mana, and I manage to press advantage by overwhelming him with must counter/must destroy threats. I am pretty lucky and I have a decent sideboard plan against the deck: more threats! In the second game I side-in Serendibs and Blood Moons just to become the meanest son-of-a-bitch around. I start with land, mox, mox, Serendib, but it eats a plow. Immediately after that I deploy a Su-Chi and start a beatdown. A couple of turns later Icelander taps out for a book, I play Blood Moon just as planned. It pretty much seals the deal even though he managed to destroy it later in the game. I deal the last points of damage by tapping Icelander’s City of Brass with my Icy Manipulator.

Round 2
Sveby. Maaan! I had really no idea what he’s playing. He started with Birds of Paradise - very pretty ones from beta, altered with double slashes as if it’s alpha. My thoughts at this point: maybe he plays some kind of Zak Dolan’s Stasis Control… But he follows up with Eureka and everything goes right for him: he drops two Shivans and I have just one Su-Chi and a Mirror Universe (which buys me a turn, but I die quickly anyway) - there goes the first game.

In the second game he drops fast Energy Flux, but he has to sacrifice his own mana acceleration, and I have just enough mana to kill him with Su-Chi transmuted to Triskelion.

The third game was decided once again by the quantity of mana sources as he starts with Strip Mine-Sol Ring-Winter Orb. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to draw any more lands and I overcame him with a lone Su-Chi.
2-0 (very surprising for me!)

Round 3 

Some muscular guy with quite pimped the Deck offers me to arm wrestle instead of rolling for a turn. I immediately throw hands in the air shouting, “I give up!” My puny physique won’t stand this shit!

This particular guy beat Shelest in the first round by his quite unfair starting hands of power cards. There were two quick games, as he was very lucky to drop early Tomes around my countermagic, and in control mirror it matters a lot. In the end, he is a real Destroyer of Russians!

Shelest vs. The Destroyer of Russians
Round 4
Lennart Guldbrandsson with black-red Underworld dreams. I’ve never met a person playing so carefully (and I’m more of a nervous type myself). In this matchup Ivory Towers really shine! I manage to gain approximately 50 life through the course of the game — it is very hard for a fair deck to inflict that much damage! In the second game I don’t have enough counterspells. He manages to drop two Underworld Dreams and destroy my tower, so I am crushed. And in the final game his hand is full of red and artifact blasts, but I just don’t need to play spells as I have 2 factories for a beatdown.

Round 5
It is time for another Imperial Gonzo Porter and another opponent with the Deck! Ohh, I’m starting to feel a bit drunk but super happy. I am overconfident and it becomes my doom as my opponent quickly destroys me with two Serras! It’s time for a massive sideboard plan: moons, Serendibs and a stick. This time I show him who is the beatdown. My creatures keep coming and his defences are thwarted by my counterspells!

And there was THAT third game when my deck betrayed me. At first everything was flowing like in a dream. I dropped Serendibs and Mishras, pressed hard and he even was forced to play his Timetwister into my EMPTY HAND! At that point I felt great: he was at very low life, I had board presence and he just gave me a fresh seven!

Seven. Freaking. Mana. Sources. SEVEN! Against his hand of swords, disenchants and Serras. My deck betrayed me, and I fell to my knees - what a glorious defeat!

I need to kill a bitter taste of defeat with a bitter taste of porter. Mohawk it is then.

Round 6

What a coincidence! Shelest is also 3-2 and we are playing against each other. I guess, here it is: our “finals” :) Unfortunately for him, I know this matchup by heart: play towers, do nothing, win. My deck plays along but there’s no satisfaction in it. Sigh…

The Final round 7 

I look for the pairings and see the one thing I feared the most. It was the same person I met in the last round. The almighty Olof "Elof" Gottfridsson. That’s what I call “the last nail in the coffin” :) We play three tight games (he’s on Time Elemental/Hypnotic Specter deck by the way) and in the end he emerges victorious with 1 life left! Ah, anyway that was sweet - almost felt like finals to me. It is always a great experience to play against a strong opponent and overall nice guy! Thank you, Elof - see you in the last round next year!

Shelest also manages to make 4-3 in the last round preying on another UR Burn deck (I think he crushed two or three of them in the tournament). Let’s call it a tie. I’m glad that we finished like this. Now we have stories to tell and all this awesome people to meet next time.

It is almost 11 pm, we’re starving and going back to hotel. It will be a big day tomorrow, but not as big as this day of Noobcon 8 which will stay with us forever. Mg, we thank you!

хорошая игра


  1. Very nice report! Thanks for this! Salut! :)

  2. Hi, sweet report!

    I really like that mono U control.. what did you use for your sideboard?

  3. The sideboard was something like

    2x Blood Moon
    3x Serendib Efreet
    1x Disrupting Scepter
    1x Unsummon
    2x Blue Elemental Blst
    1x Titania's Song
    1x Ivory Tower
    1x City in the Bottle
    1x Millstone
    1x Juggernaut
    and one more random card

  4. Great report and always a pleasure to meet and play against you :) Next year we take our tradition in the finals, right? :)


  5. Enjoyed the post! Thanks a lot and keep it on!


Skicka en kommentar