Pictures from BSK 2016

I should have written this post two days ago. My focus is a little off today.

I get that there are agitators and populists in every political landscape, and I can't blame the next president in that large country on the other side of the ocean for who he is. But I find something amiss with the culture when tens of millions of voters supports a demagogue, even when given other options on the ballot. I can't help to feel disturbed. This is a rough day, and my best wishes goes out to my friends in the US. I hope you manage to bridge the political divide.

That's all I have to say about that. I guess that most people today need some time off from the politics, so let's drop yesterday's election and travel to BSK.
Magic: The Traveling.
Somewhere on the train between Gothenburg and Borås, it hit me that it was 19 years since I first visited BSK. 1997. In a pre-9/11 world, when you could fly with a bottle of water, Star Wars was a single trilogy, and talking too loudly about Magic was an invite to get punched in the hallways. I skipped the convention for a few years after the turn of the millennium, when my adolescence and the zeitgeist demanded prioritizing beer and romance. Back then, parties and nerd culture didn't mix well, and I had more than a few notches on the nerd belt. I kept nurturing my garden of obscure horror movies, Star Wars, and manga, but the D&D, board games and Magic had to go. It was still OK, as a quirk of some sort, for me to love Star Wars, as I also enjoyed competing in MMA and had a solid tolerance for alcohol and mosh pits. It's almost hard to grasp these days. Some combination of social media, adulthood, and getting nerd culture into the mainstream has made what was once considered socially awkward to be minor traits like any others. One guy can play Magic as his or her hobby and another can play the guitar, and nobody really cares who's who.

It's a brave new world. But I like it better this way. I would play either way, but it's nice to not tip-toe around apologias anymore. People assume that the 'why' is enjoyment and rather ask the 'how' these days.
Train people.
BSK was awesome. At this point, I'm at least as excited about meeting the people new and old as I am about actually playing. The weather hit Sweden badly during the weekend, and a handful players didn't make it due to a derailed train. But 52 happy Swedes still managed to join for the 93/94 Shark tournament last Friday. Let's check out some pictures from the event.
For the first time in 19 years, I actually get an organizer pin at the larger BSK convention as I am responsible for the 93/94 tournament. Along with the rest of The Train People, I still manage to arrive a little over an hour late to the site, due to various combinations of miscommunication and plain lack of orientation skills. The Halloween buckets behind the trophies are the Easter Eggs of the season.
The glorious shark.
Off to the races! The guy with the 1-up t-shirt, Robin, won BSK two years ago and have a slew of high finishes in the format. He's one of the early adopters of 93/94 and picked up the format already back in 2008.
Even Robin was late to the party compared to Sveby though, one of the first in the small handful of players to pick up the format. Sveby started back in 2007 and is the only player apart from myself who has been to every 93/94 Easter tournament since 2008. He pretty much only plays n00bcon and BSK these days, and usually shows up with Eureka.
But among the old faces, it's always a great pleasure to get acquainted to the new ones. Michell is a baker from Lindköping who first started playing Magic in 1995. He took a break in 2002 until he picked up a 93/94 deck in 2012, but sold it again once he realized that there were no players in Lindköping. A few months back, Michell and got a friend interested in the format, built a new deck, and now joined his first tournament. Welcome man!
Sveby, Jocke Almelund, GaJol and Oldschool. GaJol shows how to properly eat before shuffling another player's deck ;)
Kalle vs. Arteleas from Karlstad.
Mats Karlsson vs Per Algander. Mats first showed up at BSK 2013, but didn't have time to play in the tournament that time. He just took a two-hour drive to come to the hotel room I shared with Oldschool and Freespace to play a few games before he had to drive back to his family. Great and very friendly guy, who sold me a few Alpha Swords to Plowshares at the tournament :) Per is a really strong player, who e.g. top8'd BSK last year with Ehrnamgeddon. See if you can spot his moxen btw, first time I've seen that one in play :)
n00bcon 7 top4 competitor and masterful The Deck player MrSinclair vs Hardy with his Machines. Tight game.
Lennart Guldbrandsson from Arvika vs last year's finalist (and five-time n00bcon top8 competitor, Pimpvitational winner, and once Pro Tour player) Jocke Almelund. Warp Artifacts vs powerful Artifacts.
Sehl (my damn nemesis) vs Felipe Garcia's TwiddleVault.
Magic can be fun! Casual Shark-winner Viktor "Oldschool" Peterson vs Frasse from Arvika.
Horrible person and all-round bad guy Michael "Jhovalking" Ahlberg casually kills my Spirit Linked Juzam with a Psionic Blast and Fireball for 1. "Skrutt-Juzam", he laughs.
A few turns later I stabilize with another Juzam, and then a third one. He kills them both the same way as the first; PsiBlast and Fireball for one. He didn't even really need to, he just toys with them at this point. Only thing I keep hearing is "Skrutt-Juzam". It haunts me.
Åland resprenting against Iceman. Solid players around the top tables.
At perhaps the most exciting game of the day, Sweden's first DCI Manager Martin Jordö battles his MirrorBall deck against a harsh opponent (whom I unfortunately can't remember having met before). It's round six at table 10, and the crowd gathers. I can't even remember how many Time Twisters I saw in the duel.
Placing the eight spell on the stack in the intense third duel. Martin managed to win the match, and was rewarded a small bucket of candy and an All Hallow's Eve. He looked at the card with great joy in his eyes. "In over 22 years of playing, I never owned this card. So much nostalgia. This is awesome!". Then his eyes turn cold and he reached out his arm to a guy in the crowd who worked in the store. "Sell this! For money!".
Three-time Shark winner Elof facing off against n00bcon 8 finalist Martin Lindström in the semifinals.
Martin vs MrSinclar in the finals. I really get an urge to play The Deck when I see intricate matches like this.
After a tight game, masterful Magic player MrSinclair is perfectly content with his 2nd place...
...while our glorious new champion Martin Lindström picks up the Shark and all the pride that comes with it! Congratulations Martin, and well deserved!
Martin Lindström's winning deck from BSK 2016.

There are more stories to be told of BSK. In particular, I'd be amiss if I didn't give a shout-out to Andreas Rosén who found and won Hövveturneringen ("The main tournament"). And that the champion Martin Lindström decided to give most of the money left from the participation fees to Doctor's Without Borders, but left 500 sek to start "The Mike Long fund", a charity aimed at gathering money for travel and hotel expenses for Mike Long to visit n00bcon in 2018. Now, if someone would just start a Mark Justice fund and a Chris Pikula fund, we could have a rad showdown in 2018.

But let's leave it at that. Thanks for this weekend. I'm looking forward to the next time already.


  1. Yeah to digging up Mark Justice from Oblivion ! MJ is even more old school than Mike Long, being already "up there" at worlds' 95. Money isn't everything though, you'd still have to find the guy.

  2. And the winning deck is running oh surprice: tome, mishra. So boring, all old school winners are the same deck....

    1. Yeah, for the second time in the ten tournaments I've registred on the blog since n00bcon 8 a control dock wins. Outrageous stats ;)

      Seriously though, it is a very good and very complex deck, and I'm not surprised that a masterful player piloting it won the tournament. But more importantly, I don't really care that control won a Giant Shark. I hade a great time with my non-blue zero-mishra deck anyway :)


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