This Month in Oldschool: August 2017

Welcome to the first iteration of This Month in Oldschool!

Eight months ago I argued that Old School Magic had reached some kind of escape velocity. Three or four years past one could argue, perhaps with some sliver of merit, that if we stopped working on the BSK and n00bcon gatherings and stopped giving time to this blog, Old School Mtg would retract to the fringest corner of the casual tables. Some seats up from Highlander Gold perhaps, but far south of the more accessible retro formats like QL Magic, Block Wars and Pre-Modern. After all, if there were no content created and no tournaments organized, it would be hard for people to join (or even know about) the community.

But we're clearly not there anymore. I don't think any single person, nor group of persons, could have a heavily detrimental impact on the format or its core values these days. Today our name is Legion, for we are many. This was the main argument for me to stop with the weekly updates and spend some time learning how to ride horses instead.
That's me in 2018.
There's a lot of things going on in the communities these days. And I figured that if WotC can have a daily Magic update on the mothership, and ChannelFireball can have a weekly status check, we should be able to produce a monthly update without to much hassle. So here goes :)

Tournament reports

King of the North (Brothers of Fire)
Richard Stebbing of the London School of Magic board a northbound train to Edinburgh, Scotland, to battle for glory and an invite to the World Championships. A very good report in log form, where Richard actually talks about lines of play and matchups.

Tales from GP Birmingham (Atlantic Games)
As you might have heard, all Grand Prix tournaments these days offer 93/94 sideevents at the site (using ChannelFireball Rules). Chris Cooper recants his tale from the GP in Birmingham, and even if you're not into all the formats he played, you should scroll down and read about his experience in the 93/94 tournament. The dude sleeved up playsets of both Erosion and Psychic Venom in his starting 60, which is clearly braggable.

Rhine is on. Fire (Oldschool Mtg)
If you're here you've probably seen this one, but in case you missed it I highly recommend checking out Florian's report from the first oldschool Ante-tournament in Germany (and probably the world, at least for the last 20 years or so). They also had a "proper" tournament during the weekend, and the deck lists and tech are plenty.

Old School Player's Ball 2017 (Eternal Central)
The Old School Player's Ball was another major tournament hosted by the Chicago players, known as the Lords of the Pit. With 58 players and an abundance of tech, there's no doubt that Chicago is one of the Meccas for 93/94 players around the world. The Player's Ball joins an exclusive list of gatherings that have attracted over 50 players without being associated to other major tournaments; these players are all ballers. Check out sweet tech and pictures at Eternal Central.

Other than those reports, I would be amiss not to mention the first 93/94 tournament in the Philippines. I haven't had the chance to interact with anyone from the Manila Crew yet, but they recently held a seven-man gathering. You can check out some of their decks here. Only around 70 followers on that instagram account thus far, so they are still kinda secret tech ;)

From around the Web

The Mulligan Effect (The Wizard's Tower)
Jon-Michael steps up on Taylor's soap box to tell his story. For some reason it took me a long time before I sat down and read his post. As I am more into being amused and told a story from Magic articles than to read about mulligan theory, the title didn't attract me as click-bait. Boy was I wrong. This is a captivating story by a master penman, and he name-drops Thrull Champion and posts pictures of Juzam Djinn. Can't recommend it enough.

Reading old Magazines (The Wizard's Tower; End of Turn, Draw a Card)
As you might have seen, Taylor at The Wizard's Tower reviewed The Duelist #1 in June/July (far better and more in depth than my own mention of it a year ago). This month he got back on the train and reviewed both Scrye #1 and Inquest #1. On that same note, notorious control player Svante Landgraf has been reading Centurion #3 (the first Swedish magazine to mention Magic) as well as Centurion #4. Wicked tech, and brings back a lot of memories.

Brewing with Chambers (Flippin' Orbs)
Gordon and Grant of the Flipping Orb podcast say it best themselves: "In this episode we talk to player and brewer David Chambers from New Zealand. We pick David’s brain on how he thinks when he start brewing a new deck and we also take a closer look on three of his unconventional creations." The duo is once again flanked by 93/94 veteran Seb Celia, and the episode might be their best yet.

Old School Mtg: The Basics (PucaTrade)
Hey, did you know that PucaTrade had an article about 93/94 already in 2015? They interview me about #MtgForLife and the oldschool format. So I guess they kinda covered their basics already, but it's always fun to read different perspectives and introduction articles to the format :)

The Last Bike from Gothenburg (MtgUnderground)
Ok, so this might not be about tech or 93/94 or even that much Magic per say, but it is an article on a mainly 93/94 blog, and it is pretty much the only thing I wrote last month so it could be worth sharing. It's about shame and tribulations of daring. Maybe you like it, maybe it makes you annoyed. But I'm kinda glad I wrote it.

Fishliver Oil Cup 2017 (Web 1.0 homepage)
Last year, the "Italian rules, Swedish style" premise of the first Fishliver Oil Cup made me pack my bags and jump on a plane to play a Magic tournament far away from home for the first time. And did it ever deliver. We were 34 player last year, and to say I had a great time is an understatement. The word about it spread, and just the side event the day before the tournament already have around 50 players signed up (the side event is on Colombus day btw, so we'll use EC rules during that one). The main event this year will probably attract around 100 players from 10-12 nationalities. And the winner gets a Fishliver Oil card and some actual oil. Check out their awesome webpage for more info.

Upcoming gatherings

Scandinavian Championships (Sweden) September 23
The Swedish Nationals title has moved from Borås to Arvika, and with some cooperation from the Norwegian players, the Arvika Crew will host the first Scandinvian Masters tournament. It is a Giant Shark tournament without a Shark (this year, as Arvika already gave away their yearly Shark), but it comes with the glory of being a multi-national champion and of course with an invite to the World Championship next Easter. This is the major Swedish tournament this autumn.

Berlin 93/94 Gathering (Germany) September 23
For those of you closer to Berlin than the cold North, September 23 will still be a date to mark in your calendars. Florian von Bredow (the guy whom hosted the Rhine is on Fire gathering) will set up shop in the restaurant Dicker Engel in Birkenstraße 44. The flames start fanning at 13:00.

GP Providence (USA) October 1
Well, you say, every GP these days has some side event for 93/94. Well, I retort, not every GP is in the home of Dave Firth Bard. Dave is one of the most active 93/94-fans on the other side of the ocean, and has previously contributed to this blog about his exploits in Providence. The upcoming GP will be sure to host some familiar names in the format and sweet tech.

Fishliver Oil Cup 2017 (Italy) October 27-28
I already mentioned Fishliver Oil in Italy, but if you have your weekend around October 28st free, this is the tournament to join. Ragazzi!

Team Championship (UK) 25-26 November
The UK crew, in particular Christopher Cooper, will host the first 93/94 Team Championship. The format is unified oldschool. i.e. if you put all the team's decks on top of each other, the resulting pile should still be a legal (though large) deck when using the baseline B&R. The winning three-player team will get invited to the World Championships.

Gathering the Knights of Thorn #3 (Netherlands) December 3
Mari Stenhage gathers the Knights of Thorn once again, this time without a cap on the number of participants. The Dutch Old School Guild is one of the fastest growing in the world. Check out the tournament report from Knights of Thorn #2 here if you want some inspiration.

I don't have any details about it yet, but the US Eternal Weekend will most certainly be adjacent to one of the major 93/94 gatherings of the year. Last year they gathered well over 80 players. If you live in the US, mise well mark October 19 in your calendar. Also if you happen to hang out in Gothenburg, people are trying to get together more frequent gatherings at GG Bar. Same is true for Amsterdam, where Dyan and the crew are starting a tradition of casual spell slinging at Twee Klavering at the time of this post being published.

#OldSchoolMail of the Month

I've seen people post their #OldSchoolMail on various sites, so I'll take the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon. It has been a few sweet packages this month, but one particular card really takes the cake. I've just completed a playset that was almost three years in the making. I hoped to eventually complete this set since I got my first one from Danny Friedman before I met him. And I recently got the last one completely by surprise in the mail.
Unlocked! Four player-altered Fellwar Stones from four different countries.
Thanks a million Andrea Braida! I really appreciate it!

On a decent second place, this was also a glorious mail day:
Now to force-pick Booster Tutor in the next Haupscube draft.

This month's topic: Buyouts

I'm pretty bad at responding to notifications on social media, and I thought this could be a good place to share some responses I've failed to write on Facebook or Twitter. This month, the largest topic by far was the latest stream of 93/94 price increases. I don't have a single correct answer here, so all I can offer is an opinion.

First some context. I am horrible at following the consensus on card values.  While I do have the luxury to spend some money on Magic each month (though usually far less than last month), I mostly use my own, highly personalized, estimation of card value. I do not intend to sell my cards for profit, so the price I am willing to pay for a card is proportional to the joy I think I'll get from having it. I valued a playset of Juzams to €1,000 three years ago when I completed my set. Back then they had a price tag of around €150 each, so I was still happy when I "overpayed" a little and got the set for around €700. When I got my Alpha Lotus for around €2,700 in cards and cash four years ago, one fellow player who were looking for one asked how much I would value it. After being pressed I reluctantly agreed to €10,000, and he looked at me like I was out of my mind. "So if someone, right now, would offer you €5,000 for your Alpha Lotus, you are saying that you wouldn't sell it?!". And I said that it was correct. I didn't have a particular use in mind for the €5,000 at the time, and if I sold it, where would I find another one?
I value this above what a reasonable person would pay for it. I want my nine flips while playing under Drunken German Rules.
When people buyout cards like North Star and Stone Calendar I guess none of us can really complain. Who would ever play North Star? How many of us even knew what Knowledge Vault did a month ago? Many of us are kinda weird like that.

So what do I value Stone Calendar at? Still €3. Master of the Hunt? €25. Drop of Honey? €60. Sol'Kanar the Swamp King? €40. My evaluations aren't helping anyone except myself. And I'll guess I'll save some money by not buying Drop of Honey as it has passed my buy-in point. Cyclone is almost as cool anyway.
I the mid 90s I refused to trade a Clone for a stack including two duals. Haven't really learned that much since then.
What I'm trying to say is that these buyouts doesn't actually change the format. Not this particular format. We still get to play with what we have, as we always did. I do have a pretty solid collection at this point, but I'm not by any means one of the guys who has everything. Would I like to have a few copies of The Abyss at its pre-spike price? Sure. Will me not being able to afford The Abyss prevent me from sleeving up a Distress deck? Of course not. I'll just play Pestilence or Icy Manipulator or Paralyze instead. I'm not entitled to a bunch of Abysses.

The best time to buy cards is still, as always, two years ago.

Yeah, that rant didn't help anyone. But one guy did do a slightly more competent analysis on the buy-outs, one which I completely agree with. So I'll let him take the wheel instead of me driving us into a ditch. If you want to understand the buyouts from a fairly sober perspective, check out Saffron Olive's article at MtgGoldfish.

This month's deck

Let's finish up with a deck of the month. KungMarkus's deck of choice is a very impressive take on the Sligh archetype with some interesting choices. It is also pretty much only Alpha and signed stuff. And it looks fun to play.
Ydwen + Immolation is serious tech.
If you have any input or feedback (like, if these kind of posts are a good thing or not) or have something to contribute for next month's summary, feel free to hit me up in the comments or send me a mail.


  1. Good idea to have a state-of-the-format monthly post!

    I'm glad to see that you liked the fellwar stone. It's from the whole Ligurian community. During last year's Fishliver oil cup we saw your playset was one card short...

  2. One event you did miss is the team world cup in November in London. Entry will close on October 10th (to allow us time to sort out all of the fantastic personalised things we want to do for you) so you'll need to sign up quickly to guarantee a space.

    1. I did write about that one. Check under "upcoming gatherings".

  3. This is great, keep it up monthly.

    I kinda agree with you on the buyouts, my 2 drops of honey were on MKM for 90€ during the buyout and I sent them to the shop who bought them from me, the card aint worth more than 50-60€ as you said :)

    Cheers from Paris,


  4. Great round-up - really useful! In addition to the events listed, we Brothers of Fire are also holding the fourth COPcon here in London on 21st October - it's a relaxed event held on British rules (although in London we do enjoy our black borders!).

    Facebook event here:


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