It's in the Books (Winner's Report from the Winter Derby)

286 players. Twenty-two countries. One champion. It is my great pleasure to share the musing of Koos Cramer from the last oldschool Winter Derby! /Mg out

Writing a tournament report is new to me. But for this occasion, winning the winter derby 2022, I've given it a try. Hope you enjoy it. 

The first derby I ever participated in was the summer derby of 2018, ruleset EC. Here’s the deck I played that tournament:

Back then I didn’t own enough Underground Seas, so I borrowed them from my good friend Jasper. I went 4-4, if I’m not mistaken. One of my losses was against Randy Buehler with his awesome TaxEdge deck. After that derby I tried that deck for a while, also at n00bcon 11.

I’ve played a few Derbies so far and I try to play a different deck every time (not only for the Derbies, but in general). Here’s what I played in the Derbies thus far:

  • Summer derby 2018 – Black Blue (4-4)
  • Winter derby 2019 – Tax Edge (4-4)
  • Summer derby 2019 – Mishra’s Workshop deck (6-2, top16)
  • Winter derby 2020 – Mono White (5-3)

After the Winter Derby of 2020 I skipped a few, but for the Winter Derby of 2022 I gave it another try. Ruleset Atlantic.

In my experience the Derbies are quite spikey, so I decided to play a tier one deck. I played Shops before under Atlantic rules, so that was no option for me. I thought about a deck with Savannah Lions, Lightning Bolts and Serendib Efreets, but didn’t feel like it, so I opted for another deck: The Deck. I played The Deck when I started playing Old School Magic in late 2016. Here’s the deck I played back then (Swedish rules):

Heavily influenced by Martin Berlins list that he used at n00bcon 8. I played it a few times: the first gathering of the Knights of Thorn that I joined (top8), a nice old school side event during GP Birmingham (3rd place), and once at the Hill Giant Cup (can’t remember my finish).

For the Atlantic ruleset, and because it’s been five years, I had to decide what 75 cards I would choose. I’ve seen recent versions of The Deck without red by Luis Scott Vargas, Brian Weissman, and also David Third. David won a derby with a deck that appealed most to me. He wrote a nice article about it, therefor I won’t go through all the cards and the sideboard strategy. You can read it here. I made a few changes (cut one Jayemdae Tome for an Underground Sea and cut the Scepter in the sideboard for another Hymn). Here’s the deck I played

When I put this deck together it gave me a feeling of nostalgia. I know not everyone is a fan of The Deck, but it’s a classic deck and an important part of Old School. Without The Deck in the format, whether playing with or against it, it’s not old school magic for me.

I started 4-0 in Batch 1 of the Derby. I beat two Dead Guy Ale decks (both 2-0), an Erhnamgeddon deck (2-1), and the other one I can’t remember (also 2-1). 4-0, that went better than all the previous derbies for me, and the deck felt super good.

Batch 2 I faced an Alban Lauter deck (2-0), Lions/Dib/Bolt deck with Blood Moon main deck (2-1), a mono blue artifact deck by Ben Katz (2-1), and the last one was special, I played against David Third with his mono brown deck (2-1). It was a great match and we talked about the deck he built and I was playing. He also gave me some tips for my matches later in the tournament.

So, 8-0 after the two batches and I finished 4th in the standings. It felt incredible.

In the playoff bracket I first played against Philip Dahlerup with another Alban Lauter deck with maindeck Armageddon, I was able to beat him 2-0. The first game was long and very interesting, the second game he was mana screwed (also Mind Twisted some lands away) and my Maze of Ith did a lot of work against his Serendib Efreet. He eventually tried to Swords to Plowshares on his own Serendib, but I used a Counterspell for that. You can watch it here.

Then, in the quarter finals I played Mike VanDyke with his Four-Color-Hymn deck. A super strong deck and a great player. Mike won the first game and after sideboarding, his odds of winning grew, but I pulled that one out; 2-1. Game two I had a turn one Library of Alexandria and game three he had to mulligan to five. And I had a turn two Ancestral Recall followed by a Mind Twist. Here is the match.

In the semi-finals I played against Mats Furby in a best of five match. The match-up felt pretty good, especially in a best of five (and I was on the play) and the end result proved that: 3-0. You can watch the match here. Rich Shay, also on The Deck, beat Will Magrann in the other semi-finals in five really interesting games. It took more than two hours, and some tough decisions had to be made! So, I knew I had to prepare for a The Deck mirror match.

Then, the finals...

We all hoped for long, grindy and interesting games in this The Deck mirror, but the opposite happened. Within 40 minutes I defeated Rich 3-0. I won the derby! And it was not that he drew terribly, he had an Ancestral Recall turn one, in both game one and three, and a turn one Library of Alexandria in game two. But I had it all: the Ancestral, the Balance, the Mind Twist, the Jayemdae Tomes and the Counterspells... Rich took the loss like a true sportsman and gentleman, that was impressive. 

To finish, I’d like to mention the cards in the deck that performed really well (besides the usual super stars): Power Sink, Control Magic and Maze of Ith in the sideboard. I boarded in the Control Magics and the Maze against almost all creature decks. And Power Sink as Counterspell 6 and 7 felt super good, they just fitted my playstyle. 

After this tournament these 75 cards go back into my binder, and they won’t be hanging out in this configuration for a long time. 

Many thanks to Dave for organizing the Derby, thanks to Timmy Talks for streaming the Top16 matches and thanks to Åland and Nick for co-commentating!

One more thing, this week we received this Melissa Benson original art piece, which we are going to give away at our tournament in Groningen in April this year. Just wanted to share this. I think it looks amazing and I’m already jealous of the person who’ll go home with it :)


  1. I am happy to have been a part of this journey; cheering, watching, commentating and then recording. /Åland

    1. Let's hope for many more journeys Åland!

  2. This article was a pleasure to read, thank you :-)

  3. Hi Koos, Thanks for the write-up and congratulations! I decided to put our match online and write a brief report, too. You can find it here:


Skicka en kommentar