Shark fishing in Arvika

The epic Scandinavian Championship is in the books. The man to hoist the Shark this year was a familiar face for the Swedes; a man who has properly done his tenure and gotten both the highs and the lows of emotions over his last six years in the format. A man who is quoted as stating that The Deck-mirror is the best way to play Magic, but who's recent results have been with new innovations of Zoo. This is Åland's time. /Mg out

The Deck and me
I started playing old school back in 2012 after the success of n00bcon IV. If I remember correctly it was Stalin (the n00bcon VI winner) who got me into the format talking about it during our regular Tuesday Legacy tournaments. I wanted to play Vintage so I made a post just for fun buying power on our local Swedish community forum, and a guy wanted to opt out of Vintage due to the player base so I got a sweet deal. My first tournament I sleeved up this Deck. The tournament was a small gathering at Kalles place (whom at the time I never met before). At that tournament I also got the predictable nickname “Åland,” which has stuck since that day (I come from the small Finnish island named Åland between Sweden and Finland). The reason I chose to play The Deck was not because it was the best deck, but when playing back in 1995-1999 I wanted it but never had the money to buy it.
Elof and Åland at Warcon 2012.
The second tournament I played was Warcon 2012 with another version, and this time I managed to reach the final against Elof. Two hours later in The Deck mirror I lost after forgetting to activate a Disrupting Scepter in turn 30 or so. At n00bcon V I managed to reach top 8 with this version and lost in the quarter final against Jocke Almelund on the deck (who is a far superior player to me).
Åland vs Honka with Tax Edge at n00bcon V.
A year later I tweaked The Deck a bit and went 6-0 in the swiss of n00bcon VI but lost to Stalin on Electric Eel Aggro in the quarter finals.
n00bcon VI top8
This was one of my worst Magic memories ever. I don’t know why this one got me so bad but I considered quitting old school. But in December I was back again with my first tournament win with this version at Frippan Open. The sweet part, aside from winning, was that I got to get my revenge on Elof in the finals against his Troll Disco.
Kalle vs Åland in the quarterfinals of Frippan Open.
After that tournament I took a break from old school; there were some really stupid things going on which I just hope to forget. I didn’'t play at n00bcon VII and I considered quitting again. But I returned for n00bcon 8 with a 10th place finish with yet another version.
Vs Mg at WSK 2014. Gentleman's game with LoA removed from deck.
In 2017 I wanted to try something else than The Deck and had some success with a deck named “Fantasy Zoo”.
Fantasy Zoo from the BSK 2018 Top8.
But for the Scandinavian Championship 2018 I returned to sleeve up yet another version of The Deck with a little help from my friends. I didn’'t have any expectations anymore, I didn'’t want to be a try-hard anymore and instead focus on the aspects of great friendship and drinking beer.

The trip
I have never really considered traveling to Arvika for a tournament but earlier this year KungMarkus asked me when I was gonna come to Arvika, so I made a promise to show up. I booked a hotel room and didn'’t plan to travel with anyone else. In the end I asked Jan, who started playing old school in May this year, if he wanted to join. On the train station I met up with Gothenburg old school regulars Martin, Jocke "Jaok" Almelund, Sveby, Tibia and Beyonce.

I was tired and hadn'’t sleep for more than four hours the night before and on the row behind us on the train there were people watching YouTube clips on their cellphones. I thought this trip was a really bad idea. But suddenly a wild Sveby appears with a portable beer cooler, and suddenly this trip felt like a really good idea.

After changing trains in Karlstad we found the SiaB-crew playtesting on the train to Arvika. I don’t playtest for old school tournaments. I felt pretty satisfied with my deck as it was.

After a quick check-in at the hotel we found ourselves at the restaurant Regi, which I’m pretty sure is the best in Arvika. I immediately found a mixed grill share platter and told Jaok I'd found our food and gave him a high five. Upon seeing the portion size I felt we would need a kebab afterwards but after we finished eating I was actually really well fed.

A short walk later (after seeing a mix of alcoholics and children playing in a park) we found the site. After a couple of hours of “"späksnack"” and good beer drinking opportunities I found myself in an extremely good mood. Jan arrived later after trading for a lot of unlimited duals with the participating Germans.

The Tournament
As I don’t have any notes or pictures there won’t be much details from the games, but there is some stuff worth mentioning.

Round 1, vs –Kjartan
First round opponent, we sat down and he said they had joked about him facing me first round. We played twice on GP Stockholm (in a four Strip Mine format) and both matches were close. I knew he played mono-green with four Scavenger Folk. This round we were 1-1 and he started with a Sylvan Library turn 2 which was unanswered for the whole game, he had me down to 2 life and a Mishra'’s Factory in play with me having nothing. I top-decked a Serra Angel, being able to block the factory and win. Pretty fast match, got lots of time to sit outside with a beer watching the sun go down.

Round 2, vs Erland
I don’t remember playing against Erland before but he was a really nice guy and the atmosphere in the match was perfect. He beat me 2-1 thanks to one of his four Icy Manipulators being able to tap down Serra Angel. His deck felt strong with Su-chi, Serendib Efreet, Serra Angel and black splash, he also made top 8. After losing I bought an unlimited Underground Sea from William as compensation.
William's impromptu card store.
Round 3, vs Mikael Nastic
This was a brutal match which was over in about 10 minutes. Game one I drew a Library of Alexandria and had all the cards as he was trying to catch up. Game two I landed a turn one Serra Angel which went unanswered. More beer and picked up an unlimited Copy Artifact from William.

Round 4, vs Cermak
Game one we had a long game where I won with five cards left in my deck (Jonnie Myrbacka had a bye so he fetched me some beer, much appreciated!).
Game two was long where I lost after Cermak resolving two Armageddon.
Game three finished in a draw after time rounds. I was at 4 life and he had a Psionic Blast in hand. Needless to say, I got lucky here. Since we were 82 players and this would end me up with a 2-1-1 record there was no point in me scooping as we both were live for top 8 after this round.

Round 5, vs Johan Guldbrandsson
When the round started he was nowhere to be found, but 10 minutes later he showed up “as he "had to buy some more kôrv" (sausages)”; a good reason to show up late! I thought Johan was on Troll Disco but he played (according to me) a Trick Deck with Sedge troll, Stone Rain and Sinkhole. Don’t remember much about the match except that I won.

Round 6, vs Jan Eid
This round was a The Deck mirror against my roommate at the hotel. Game one was slightly interesting but game two he missed land drops which basically is game in the mirror. At this time I was getting pretty drunk and now I felt I really needed to do well in the tournament after knocking out my roommate.

Round 7, vs Erik Sjödin
I was at 4-1-1 and my opponent was at 4-2 with best tie breakers, so the match was a win and in for both of us. Erik played pink weenie and we had two interesting duels where I played a Serra Angel into my own the Abyss and ended up 1-1. In game three time was called. I had 31 life, The Abyss and Moat in play. Erik asked if he could concede since a draw would kick us both out of the top 8, I didn'’t really know what to say but I felt I would have won the game. I try to thank him as much as possible for his honorable scoop.

Top 8
The top 8 consisted of a healthy mix of sober and non-sober players. In my book someone who was drinking beer had to win the Shark so I put the hope to me, Mitja or Simon. After drinking 12+ beers and a bottle of Caprice Kir my memory is a bit cloudy. Mitja seemed to win his quarter final and decided to drop instead of playing his semifinal against Emil.
The glorious Shark.
Quarterfinal, vs Anders Ekman
Anders Ekman was a new acquaintance, but I know his little brother from several Magic trips abroad. Apparently it was Anders first old school tournament and he was making top8, which is impressive in my book. I don’'t remember many specifics about the match. He played what I think was strictly white/blue with about the same plan as me. In these matchups I think The Deck with all the restricted cards really shines and I don’t remember it being that close at all. The only thing I remember is Emil taunting me for destroying an Ivory Tower instead of a Fellwar Stone. My thought process (after 14 or so beers) was that it would shorten down the game.

Semifinal, vs Morgan Karlsson
Morgan was 8-0 at this point and Emil had already discussed some kind of deal with him for the finals. I don’t remember anything about this match. I think I drew a Library of Alexandria in game three which sealed the deal. Sleeping only for 4 hours and staying up for 20 hours drinking beer all day long goes hard on your memory.

Final, vs Emil Klintbäck
15 beers or so later it was time for the finals. I've lost a couple of times to Emil, but never with The Deck which he reminded me of (I won our The Deck mirror at n00bcon 8). We agreed to play the final in one game only (this seemed reasonable with my state and the fact that the clock was around 03.00). Emil was on the play and I took a mulligan to six. Emil played - if I remember correctly - a Volcanic Island and no second blue source. I had an Ancestral Recall in my hand which I could resolve. A couple of turns later I had a Serra Angel in play, and then some turns after that Emil offered me the best handshake of my life.
The living end.
The happiest of winners :)
Final thoughts
I got struck with lots of emotion after the final. I think I screamed quite a bit, there might have been some tears in my eyes. Being able to get that Shark after six years of playing old school and sharing the joy with my friends is one of the best feelings of my life. After the tournament we took a walk back to the hotel. Tired, drunk, hungry (hadn'’t eaten anything since lunch) and happy. After sleeping about two hours I tried to eat breakfast without throwing up and explain the top 8 to Svante. There were lots of congratulations IRL and on Messenger, and I am thankful for every single one.

So what comes next? I won’t be playing The Deck anymore since I now got my Shark (except in “money tournaments” like the ones on Grand Prix), and I'll be trying to brew with Twiddle Vault and perfect the Fantasy Zoo deck. My next goal is to have a rubber match final against Elof in some old school tournament.

Thanks to everyone and I am looking forward to meet everyone at BSK and n00bcon XI.
The winning deck of Scandinavian Championship 2018.
  • The Janitor, Ballad and Thai –- for deck help and support.
  • Jan - –for on-site support, great companionship and staying the whole night.
  • Sveby and JhovalKing - for being all-around good guys and keeping the old school spirit alive.
  • Markus ”Kungen” - for convincing me to travel to Arvika and hosting an awesome event.
  • ”Haups” (GaJoL, Honka, Kalle, Mg) - for being the main reason I really continued playing oldschool.
  • ”Övik-gänget” - for being the nicest and friendliest community in the world.
  • Lindén - for lending me cards for the tournament.
  • Me - for not visiting the great Arvika community before 2018.


  1. Awesome Åland! Finally!

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  3. Kickass and Always great seeing you, well deserved Åland! ill make sure to sign your Shark next time we meet // Jhovalking

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