Fungal Bloom at the Horrible Horse Gathering

A few weeks back, a couple of guys from the Oslo community asked if I could help set up a 93/94 tournament during the Oslo Eternal Winter. That was an easy yes. It had been a while since I hosted a Gathering, especially as Svante Landgraf took over the recent BSK, so it felt like a good time to get off the horse and do something.
I think I might have a slightly different approach for hosting tournaments than most real organizers of proper formats. But I guess that the core obstacles are the same. Location, location, location. Participants. Refreshments, prizes, something unexpected. This might be as good a time as any for me to rant about some of my experiences hosting, so let's start with that.

Location is the most arduous task. You need a place with a lot of tables and chairs, sure. That's easy enough as long as the head count is below 70-80. But then you want the option to drink beer, which whittles down the options. You also want to be able to drink without having too many unknown drunks swaggering about. An intoxicated nerd with a $20,000 pile of cards left on a table somewhere might get uneasy if faceless thugs straddle about. Then you want the location to not throw you out when the top8 is afoot. Most pubs in the Nordic countries close around 1 am, and you'd be hard pressed to find any place that aren't required by law to throw you out around 2:30. Acoustics is a thing as well, access to Internet, and stuff like that. And you don't really want to pay for the location, at least not a large sum, which makes finding a location something of a treasure hunt.
Our location for the Horrible Horse Gathering might have been slightly overdone in the "treasure hunt" sense though. The place wasn't marked with a street number, and you had to go in to a shopping mall, find a coffe shop, find an elevator in said coffe shop, and then contact me to buzz up said elevator to a restricted floor. And there were no signs. But people managed to eventually find it, and it turned out a sweet place to play.
I'm personally not that big on promoting tournaments online. The locations I use are more often than not hard to find unless you know about them, and I rarely post much about the tournaments I help out with on social media. If I do, I mostly opt to create private events. Why? I don't really have a good answer. I guess I don't feel the need to promote them that way, and prefer word of mouth. Social media can skew a large portion of the community away from the discussions, as many players aren't that active on facebook or twitter, and instead include a lot of people who are mostly looking at the tournament from a non-player perspective. If I want to host a local tournament, one of the most important things for me is that the locals feel that it is for them. Other people view this differently, and it is clearly possible that we could gather even more players if we would spread the word a little more (e.g. by posting about it in the 93/94 facebook group or OldschoolMtG4Life group), but I kinda like focusing on the locals.
I rarely have any real prizes in the tournaments. Not for the Top8, nor even for things like "best unpowered deck" or lotteries or similar. I do think that lotteries and such are nice, in particular as an alternative to give someone else than the winner more value, but it is not something I usually do myself. Instead I mostly try to keep the participation fee - and the stakes - a little lower. I do have Easter Eggs with random gifts at n00bcon, but that's more an exception than a rule. I always buy trophies though. And a card to sign for the winner, but that's rarely more than a dime's worth.
This one is ten bucks though! Crazy. I had it lying around since last Invitational, and it was a Horrible Horse if I ever saw one, so it seemed like a good fit regardless of the somewhat higher price tag.
At the Horrible Horse Gathering, we were 27 players. A solid gathering of spell slingers by any standards. I thought it was particularly cool that 21 of those players were locals from the Oslo area, including Drammen. One guy (Honka) came from Gothenburg, another one (Glenn) traveled from Varberg, one person represented Stockholm (Cermak), and three guys came from Arvika (KungMarkus, Svetzarn and Loff), but other than that it was all locals. It was the biggest 93/94 tournament in Oslo yet, with a fair margin, and the first time I saw almost all of the local players at once including a handful new faces. That's sweet.

The Oslo crew is fantastic. Great people, cool decks and just a very pleasant atmosphere. These are guys I would hang out with for 12 hours without a Magic card in the room. There's no power gaming and people are quick to help out with anything they can. I didn't have a proper swiss calculator, but Michael helped me install and used his credentials to set up Wizards Event Reporter. We didn't have a judge for the tournament, but HaiWei took it upon himself to make sure everything ran smoothly, log the match results and fix pairings.

My deck of choice was Mycosis; aka GB Fungusaur. Fungusaur is the new big tech around these parts. It gets ridiculously huge, and it is a Fungus Dinosaur. It is somewhat amusing that Jhovalking, myself and Gordon Anderson all had built different Fungusaur decks over the last few months, without knowledge of the other's tech.
You know you're getting deep when you start upgrading to black borders.
This has escalated even further in the last couple of weeks, and by this point there are so many people building Fungusaur decks that Gordon has taken it upon himself to host a Fungusaur Invitiational tournament early next year. I claim an early seat on the bandwagon, as I think that my deck might have been if not the first, at least one of the first around these parts (yeah, the Scania players beat us). I was originally working on a Verduran Ponza with Enchantress, Blight and Kudzu, which somehow morphed into a Fungusaur deck last summer. I will call the pile Mycosis, as that is a fungal infection disease. The deck use Pestilence and Fungusaur to win after all, so it's about as flavourful as it gets.
Mycosis v2.3
I have some ideas for upgrades 'til next time. I should probably go even harder on the Greed / Ivory Tower combo and I want to fit one or two Maze of Ith in the sideboard. And Avoid Fate was a lot better than I expected. But all-in-all it was a pretty solid deck that went X-X in duels, 2-3 in matches. It should be able to cross the "wins more than it loses" threshold pretty soon.
Fear the mighty summon!
Let's check out some pictures from the event.
Starting up the registration. Michael, a well known character in the community working in the Outland store, guides us through Wizard's Event Reporter.
Speaking of local heroes, one of the new faces at this gathering was none other than Simen, the owner of Outland and one of the core pillars in the Olso subculture gaming communities.
Bjørn-Einar Bjartnes, local player and colleague at work, tries to settle a deal with Andreas Cermak to take his deck to the next level before the first round starts. Scandinavian Championship winner Jimmie following the bartering.
And it's a deal! Bjartnes finds himself with his first power cards, 20 years after he first picked up the game. The Oslo community can add three new moxen to their chest of Power. Cermak opts to take the payment in cash, which leads to some nightly shenanigans at the ATM.
The game is afoot!
I'm facing GW Elephants game one, and it is an uphill battle. Those bastards have banding! Combined with Elephant Graveyard and Maze of Ith, not even Kudzu can strangle the onslaught.
Duel two my 10/10 Fungusaur kills the Elephant Master before Eye for an Eye gets to resolve. These things grow quick!
Facing my old room mate and Best Man bro Hardy with The Machine in round three. It's a fairly quick 2-1 in his favor. I have serious trouble beating him in tournaments ;)
The ol' City in a Bottle / Oubliette standoff.
Refreshments and air between rounds.
HaiWei was our impromptu Judge, and is one of the main community organizers in the city. He is currently brewing new plans for conventions.
Moxen, Gauntlets and Trolls.
Savannah Lions did a huge showing this tournament. Here we have Thomas Nilsen and Hasthi working out a stack.
This would get pretty strange with pre-batch timing rules.
Hardy facing down Audun's Jade Statues. Audun also made great work of Wrath of God during the tournament, a card that seems somewhat underplayed in the current meta.
Fist turn LoA, meet first turn Sinkhole. Who needs unrestricted Strip Mines? ;)
There was a n00bcon invite in the pot for this tournament, offered by Thomas Nilsen. Rather than simply giving it to someone who placed well in the tournament, the winner of the invite would be decided by a game of trick-flipping Chaos Orb Horse after the swiss.
JhovalKing doing the double-flip.
Honka preparing for a nonchalant Jenga-flip.
Hashti and the dreaded Tower-flip.
Audun casually approaching the FlipCup-flip.
Last man standing and the winner of the n00bcon invite: Andreas Lövgren! Here posing in his final challenge, the long-distance sitting thumb flip. Andreas picked off a lot of players by challenging to what he called the "Standard flip". As pretty much everyone have different standard flips, trying to adopt another player's personal flipping technique was perplexing to say the least.
Top8: KungMarkus's MonoRed Ornithopthers vs Audun's Titania's Song Control. Behind them, off camera, a brutal battle of Tribelander between Soldiers, Shapeshifters, Witches (Shamans) and Rats are taking place.
Finals! 2016 Rookie of the Year Andreas Cermak vs 2015 Rookie of the Year Thomas Nilsen. Strong players surprisingly on top of things, in particular considering that the clock is well past 3 am.
The gravity of the situation begins to take hold. The finalists, Honka, and yours truly are eventually the last clover standing. Savannah Lions doing a lot of work here.
The proud winner of the Horrible Horse Gathering: Andreas Cermak!
Cermak's Winning Deck. Personal Incarnation shows that it is no one-trick pony.
That's it for today. Next on my list is to update the Decks to Beat with a bunch of decks from recent gatherings, and after that it is back to the drawing board with the Fungusar deck. Thanks for an awesome gathering, I had a great time!


  1. Thanks again for organizing! It was a blast :)

    / Audun

  2. Audun, would love to see your decklist!

  3. Ok, Mg, you started to write again! Great read as always! I'd rather check your blog every week in true anticioation than sift through facebook feed.:)

  4. I ment anticipation of course :D

  5. Hehe, we'll see how well I manage to keep it up Constantine ;)

    Tapanmeister: Will post all the deck next week.

  6. i had a blast this tournament, the atmosphere was so good, hope we see more of this gathering // Jhovalking

  7. I don´t think you have the correct image of the winning deck.



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