The n00bcoM 2 top8

n00bcoM 2. We have a tradition. 

While n00bcoM 1 last year came as a surprise to most of us, n00bcoM 2 left little to chance. Players were prepared in body and spirit, with local setup up to code and battle-tested. And no additional expansions or fanciness this time, instead we saw a return to the draconian Swedish reprint policy the Good Friday showdowns are known for.

The "online Shark" created by FloVo and the Brothers of Fire.

In the end 120 players gathered at Tolaria, making this the largest online one-day tournament to date. A couple of minor (and very traditional) kerfuffles aside, the tournament ran as smooth as anyone could ever hope for. My hat is fully off for the organizers and crew, including Florian, Slanfan, Mari, Gordon, and that dude who commented with Gordon (seemed like a really nice guy).

Gordon and co-commentator guiding us through the madness.

These things are a bit different than meeting up at the Rotary Pub, the Lighthouse in Genoa, or the town hall in Arvika, and come with a special set of challenges for the heroes behind the scene. Sitting alone drinking in front of the computer put additional pressure on the tournament flow, the stream, and not the least on each individual player to keep the ambience and the spirits up each round. And from my corner in Oslo, I think it went remarkably well. The stream was a party and my opponents were all true gentlemen. And while I of course missed hanging out with you in the same physical space, this still felt like a proper gathering of wizards. So well played there!

My personal lighthouse. Facing off against DFB round one; a great way to kick things off.

In the end I went 4-3, which is probably my average record for these kind of things. And I did get to blow up all Koos Cramers's permanents and cards in hand with a Guardian Beast / Chaos Orb / Disrupting Scepter lockdown, which was supremely sweet.

Project M, n00bcoM 2.

But this is not a tournament report, nor a post about average finishes with sweet decks. If it were, I would have started the post with Daniel Ewald's Distress pile:

Daniel Ewald's Distress.

Jesus that is an awesome deck with an awesome deck pic. Maindeck Yotian Soldiers and sideboard Juzams. Utterly hard to not love this. And there was a lot of cool and spicy decks competing at the tournament. I mean, I saw at least one guy playing maindeck Celestial Prism. Unless The Spice Files beats me to it, this could fill its own blagpost in the near future.

That's not today though. Today we're talking about the guys that made it to the very top of the pack. This one is for the wind-scarred veterans of ancient spells and the weapons they wielded. Masters of ancient scrolls who survived all the way to the elimination rounds. Or, most of them at least. Let's start with the 9th place.

Svante Landgraf's LionDib. 9th place.

In the always unenviable 9th place we have our own Svante Landgraf. The Doctor of Science Fiction is no stranger around these parts of the woods. And that's not just meant as a stab at his 9th place finish at Arvika Festival 6 (the last large in-person tournament in Sweden before the lockdown), but rather as an astute observation that he makes it into competitive top8s on a regular basis. His Atogs at the last physical n00bcon took him all the way to the finals, and two years before that he added his first n00bcon top8 to his belt. But this time we had to leave him on the outside looking in, crushed in the traditional Blaze of Glory. It could also be notable that the danger zone crew of Svante, Mano, and Will - who teared up the meta at n00bcon 11 with their Atog deck - all placed in the top16 of n00bcoM 2. That is some sweet consistency in the spiking.

Svante's loser deck is a take on what we in the business often refer to as LionDib, LauterDeck, or Temple of Sped (depending on where you have your allegiance and how detailed you are with your deck names; if you are a bit sloppy I guess you could even say it's a take on Fantasy Zoo or White Zoo). Two things stick out here though. One is the numbers on a bunch of cards, like 2-of Bolts and Counterspells. This seems very crunched and well thought out. The other thing is the addition of Armageddon, which is sweet. And while we're here, let's raise a glass to the evolving bling of Svante's mana base, which in his 2017 top8 was fully Unlimited, in 2019 had turned into Beta save three Volcanics, and now has peaked at full insanity.

Mike VanDyke's WUR Midrange. 5-8th place.

Mike VanDyke of the Beasts entered the tournament with the best combo of first and last name. Mike is a well loved face in the community, not the least due to his relentless search for hotness in the Spice Files show. And his work with the Beasts of the Bay of course; organizing wild gatherings like the Urza's Chalice is sure to give you some serious street cred 'round these parts. On a personal note, Mike was also one of the guys that joined the last physical n00bcon in Gothenburg to represent the Beast of the Bay, so I'll happily vouch for him as a good guy to sit down with in the company of beer and Magic.

I had to do a double take on Mike's deck list. At glance this looks like a LionDib deck, but then you realize that Mike doesn't play Dibs. LionSu-Chi? This is a weird surprise, and I dub this spice. Maybe not asafoetida, but at least some white pepper. Other things of note is perhaps the 3-1 Disenchant-Divine Offering split (which seems to approach new best practice), the sideboard Geddon, and the miser's Psionic Blast over the fourth maindeck Lightning Bolt. Also of note is that this is a really beautiful deck.

Christian Bang Jensen's Guardian Disco. 5-8th place.

If Mike VanDyke had the most rhyming name of the tournament, Danish player Christian Bang Jensen certainly had the most designer sounding name. It is a tradition of sorts for the n00bcon/m Top8 posts that I don't really google the players here, but rather just drop whatever word on the street I have at the top of my head about them. Research is for nerds after all. And I unfortunately have never crossed paths with Christian, so I don't have that much here. But he is at any rate the third Danish player to make a 93/94 Good Friday top8 (joining the ranks of Simon Gauti Rokkjær and Jesper Eising), so now I'll never forget his name. And the distance between Norway and Denmark is a pittance, so I hope for the chance to travel down to southern Scandinavian turf in the post-pandemic world to get to know that community a little better. They seem to be hard core.

Anyway, Christian's deck is likely my personal favorite of the top8. I say this because it is an unholy child of Troll Disco and Project M. Troll Disco in the sense that it plays four disks and three Sedge Troll, but Project M in the sense that it plays a full grip of Guardian Beasts alongside sweet miser artifacts like Disrupting Scepter and Icy Manipulator. Also Candelabra of Tawnos in the board. It is very hard for me to not love this pile. Just needs more Juzam and Sol'Kanar for A+.

Anton Glans's UWb Skies. 5-8th place.

When we're on the note of sweet decks and netdecking, Swedish hero Anton Glans is probably the person that I'd be most inclined to steal tech from in general. Dude's not only a dead-lifting powerhouse in the physical world, Glans holds some serious force in the realms of most non-rotating Magic formats as well. For one he's a very proficient Vintage player (he e.g. won a Swedish Vintage tournament the very next day after n00bcoM), and his forays with an Oath of Druids / Paradoxical Outcome Storm hybrid deck will probably be the first deck I blatantly just copies for that format. He's also a decorated PreModern player often seen at the top of various standings (and I'd like to steal his elf deck in that format as well). #ProtectYaTech, or I will rip it.

Glans's Skies list is not unsimilar to the list he took to the Top8 of n00bcon 9, though now with a black splash. The sideboard has also been spiced up a bit for the current expected meta, e.g. cutting the old City in a Bottle in favor of Circle of Protection: Green, getting some more Atog-answers in Divine Offering, and not the least adding an extra Armageddon. This is a very sweet list, and seeing the combo of Mahamothi Djinn and Moat always puts a smile on my face.

Peter Monten's GR Blitz. 5-8th place.

While Belgian player Peter Monten joins Christian and Seth in the trio of n00bcoM 2 top8 players I haven't met at a physical n00bcon, Peter is certainly a familiar face in the real world. I believe I first saw the Iron Man of Gaea's Avengers at Wizards' Tournament II in 2019, a 100+ player Alpha-only tournament at the Rotary Pub the day before n00bcon 11. Peter is also one of the heroes to have competed in the AB4K format at Dwarven Warriors, and with these gatherings in his CV it is notable to see that his deck has among the most white-bordered cards of the top8. Clearly a dude who prioritize his spending correctly to build decks for many formats.

Peter took a playset Emerald Dragonfly to the top8 of a competitive 120-player oldschool tournament. He didn't play Mind Twist, Library nor Black Lotus, but he did have two-off Wyluli Wolf in his 61. I think that is all we could possibly say. Mad respect.

Ben Twitchen's ? 3-4th place.

Brother Ben stands out as one of the most remarkable brewers out there. Not only the kind of guy to play Fishliver Oil maindeck at Fishliver Oil Cup, but also the guy that wins huge international tournaments with maindeck Black Ward. At n00bcoM 1 he just missed the top8 on tiebreakers playing an Ashnod's Altar combo deck, and at his first physical n00bcon he swung with stuff like Lady Evangela (he did revise that particular tech the year after though, and went back for a Top4 finish at n00bcon X). Ben is of course also a founding member of the Brothers of Fire, and one of the brains behind the Brothers Highlander format. And, I mean, just a really great guy to be around.

I don't really know what to call this deck. Commentators on the stream (myself included) referred to it as a prison deck, but on inspection a closer analogy would probably be a control deck that cuts Jayemdae Tome for Howling Mine / Relic Barrier synergies. But that doesn't remotely give it justice. I mean, it plays Titania's Song maindeck and has a transformational sideboard to become an UR Burn with Old Man of the Sea. This is a wild pile, and certainly nothing less than what we've come to expect from Brother Ben.

Leo Bruder's Artifact Aggro. 3-4th place.

Leo Bruder is another familiar face around these parts. The Sage of Stuttgart has an awesome track record of community building around south-western Germany and is a core player in Legion Urborg. But these days he's still probably best known among the hive mind for crushing it in the most venerable European showdowns. Like, I believe his average finish at Fishliver Oil Cup is somewhere between second and third, with his worst finish in the last three years still being in the Top4.

Leo has gained something of a reputation as an Artifact Aggro player, and his deck for n00bcoM 2 appears to be an evolution of the pile he took to the n00bcon 11 Top8 two years ago. Among the sweeter updates are a third main-deck Sage of Lat-Nam and a heavy dose of Blood Moons in the sideboard. This deck is a supremely cool take on Artifact Aggro in my book, with spicy Animate Dead shenanigans and the miser's Atog flanking his Sages.

Seth Roncoroni's WRU CounterBurn. 2nd place.

OK, so Seth is the second guy in the Top8 that I've never met. At least I don't think we've met, though it is very possible that I've blacked out a conversation or two at Fishliver Oil Cup 3. At some point I probably should start contacting the people I write about, or at least do some proper research. But this page ain't no home for objective truths, our currency are subjective hunches. And, I mean, his name is certainly not that of an unfamiliar. We do after all listen to All Tings Considered where he has been a spicy guest, and he hasn't been a stranger in the commentator booth in many of last year's high stakes online showdowns. Seth is representing the US East Coast as a Sister of the Flame, and has made his name as a great sport with a penchant for the spicy. Like, he's likely the dude that has gone deepest of us all in the 93/94+Homelands format, and he might have the most comprehensive understanding of the Type4 format of anyone. And as other non-rotating shenanigans go, he is credited as one of the core innovators of the Legacy Painter archetype. For the n00bcoM Training Day tournament, he showed up with Juzams and Berserks in a pile of unholy awesomeness.

Seth's deck from the n00bcoM training day.

As for his deck for the real show, it's certainly a Roncoroni pile. Seth is known for his love of Savannah Lions, and almost equally known for his unimpressability (made up a new word) of Serendib Efreet. His deck is somewhere between a LionDib deck that cut Serendibs for burn and an UR CounterBurn that cut the 'Dibs for Savannah Lions. Burn control at its finest (que Mike VanDyke also cutting Dibs; no Dibs is the new Atog). 

I guess cutting Serendibs might be a solid choice for the wallet as well, as Seth has a strong affinity for Summer cards and a playset Summer Serendibs have a price tag somewhere between mind-numbing and impossible. But still, just look at that pile of cardboard up there. That's a double digit number of Summer cards, including stuff like Mind Twist, Wheel of Fortune, Sol Ring and a playset Savannah Lions. And a personal Top3-card of that near-mythical set; a Demonic Tutor with the forehead pentagram airbrushed out. Truly a beautiful deck piloted to an amazing finish.

Danny Friedman's TwiddleVault. 1st place.
 
Danny Friedman. The hero we all need. It is hard to know where to start here; dude is a legend in the oldschool community, and for the few that may not know him, which stories would suffice as an introduction? That he pretty much grandfathered the US oldschool with co-creating the EC rules back in 2014? That he was the first American to play overseas at a n00bcon, and that he has been a staple on both sides of the ocean for over half a decade? Something about his consistently insane finishes with decks sporting almost no wincons? Maybe about his rad alters, or perhaps his inspiring stance against unnecessary plastic? Personal anecdotes about carrying a table or stolen bike wheels in Oslo? I don't know. I should probably just do a winner's interview with him, dedicate a blogpost rather than a paragraph to this. Regardless, dude is the whole package.

It is a rare treat to see a combo deck go all the way in a tournament of this size. TwiddleVault is a complicated strategy with an extremely tight maindeck, though Danny is most likely the most experienced pilot in the world. The idea is to land a few Howling Mines, take extra turns by untapping Time Vault with Twiddle, replay the Twiddles using Recall, and perhaps reach a Timetwister loop of sorts where you'll have access to most of the cards in your deck every turn. In this version of the deck Danny plays a single Fireball to speed up the winning a bit, though it is possible to run the list without it and just use Braingeyser as the wincon. A remarkable deck by a remarkable player, and a well deserved champion.
 
Our champion with a different trophy. Always a winner.

...

So that's the n00bcoM 2 Top8! Combo, aggro, control and midrange in a glorious mise-mash of fancy cards. I tip my hat to the players that made it all the way to the top and much hope that we'll see each other in the flesh before long. And if you are looking for some more coherent narratives from n00bcoM 2, I highly recommend checking out Jeff White's report at Quest for the Shark. Cheers!

Kommentarer

  1. Great post MG, I liked our games, it could have gone either way. I had to face Peter's R/G deck afterwards which was a true nightmare match-up for me. Hopefully we get the chance to physically play again this year, maybe in a hot back garden ;-)

    Keep on posting and see you on the next one.

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Haha, yeah, Peter's deck looks like a very hard nut to crack for your deck; your geddons aren't that impressive against his 1-drops, and all the Crumbles and Scavenger Folks looks like an uphill battle. Really enjoyed our game, let's hope for a physical one before the end of the year!

      And I'll never stop posting ;) Just the occasional hiatus for a week or three I guess :P

      Radera
  2. Thanks for the shoutout, MG. The deck is so much fun to play, I cannot distress it enough. //Daniel

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. It looks like a blast! I really like the 2-off Winter Orb combined with the pair of Yotian Soldiers and only using half a playset of Factories. Very cool tech with the Toy Soldiers in particular, feels like they can buy you a lot of time. I've only tried WInter Orb very sporadically, and back then I used four (which was too many), but now I get the urge to go back to the drawing board with them as possible 2-offs :)

      Radera
    2. The Soldiers were kind of last minute; I love them and they proved to be great. I faced many aggro decks and sorely missed my Pestilences, however, so in the next iteration I will try to squeeze in at least one copy. I have mixed feelings about the Winter Orbs in general. Sometimes they skew the game totally and I love them, other times the opponent just cruises on with their artifact mana or low-curve creatures (both of which was my experiences this tournament), so now I hate them again. Regarding the number of Mishra's, every time I up the count all my big black spells get progressively worse, so I haven't concluded on the count. For my sideboard I really want the 20 black sources, but then I have to either cut on the Mishra's or the Mazes (I ran one and regretted it, usually maindeck two), so I usually end up slightly below optimal.

      Radera
    3. Yeah, at least one Pestilence seems like a good idea. Pretty good combo with the soliders as well. And as 1-2-offs go, I really like having access to at least one City in a Bottle. Great color denial to kill City of Brass, and can answer problematic Serendibs. Maybe switch the Winter Orbs for those kinda things? :)

      Radera
    4. Absolutely. CiaB is the obvious choice, indeed (I would play it if I owned it!) =)

      Radera
  3. Thanks for the nice words dude. Great event and really nice top 8! It really felt like the closest thing to an actual n00bcon with wizards in the digital room sharing stories and drinking beer.

    Also want to give a shout out to Spirit Link. Amazing card. Saved my ass so many times this event.
    Cheers!/Glans

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Yeah, the ambience was really great this time! And spirit link is such a killer. Building your own baneslayer by spirit linking a Serra Angel is almost impossible to race, and one of the greatest feelings in Magic is of course to spirit link an opposing Serendib Efreet :)

      Radera
  4. Philipp S/Vienna26 april 2021 10:41

    Hi,

    great post, really a pleasure to look at all the pics. Makes me want to spend yet more money on this hobby!

    Looking forward to your next entry and maybe one day playing each other at the Viennageddon!

    SvaraRadera
  5. Noobcon/m top 8 post feels every year very special. Like a small holiday. This one is no different. Great job. I am very suprised, there is no The Deck among the best.
    And honestly I wouldn't believe that such a tournament can be won by TwiddleVault.
    OS is in perfect condition according to this Top 8.

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Thanks a lot Jirka, that warms my heart :)

      Radera
  6. Thanks for giving my deck an A, it's been a pet of mine for a long time:) Would be really cool to play some cards in person one day and visit Sweden. Thanks for the blog!

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Haha, and thank you for showing that Guardian Beasts are fit to top8 a tournament of this magnitude :D Much looking forward to being able to travel again, hopefully a meetup is possible in the not too distant future.

      Radera
    2. Balance was the MVP in the 5-0 bracket, 11 for 1 Balance stung pretty hard :D

      /Mikael "Åland"

      Radera
  7. Fantastic post as always, and thanks for the kind words! It was a day of busted play and amazing cool opponents.

    Cannot wait to play IRL in GBG or Oslo (maybe even Genova ;) ). Hope to see you again sooner than later!

    /Danny

    SvaraRadera

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