Silver Bullets - Lessons on how to use them propely. Oldschool World Championship report by Valerio Gregori

A little over a week ago the glorious World Championship of oldschool Magic took place. Finally, Genoa, Italy, was the place to be, and as such it is with a special pride I introduce our guest today; the most decorated Italian in the history of the Oldschool World Championships. And Valerio is no stranger to this blag either, having previously recanted his way to the 3rd place at Worlds 2018. But this year Bronze was not enough. It is my pleasure to introduce the official 2022 Vice World Champion; Valerio Gregori! Enjoy! /Mg out

Let’s start from the conclusion: what a strange feeling! I will go straight to the point, I finished second. Second means the first of the losers. Damn. I lost a chance to become the World Champion. I had the window to become it, a little one... and I missed it. This is what you feel when you come close to the final target but end short to it. If you are a competitive guy like me, this is what you feel. Bad.
The initial hours have been very hard, after some days I got back some lucidity and now I can appreciate more what an amazing run has been! Indeed it has been beyond any expectations... Here you will find the report of the day.

WTF!!! I have been disenchanted!


The first (and last) time I played for the World Championship (and The Shark), was in 2018, at N00bcon X in Gothenburg, thanks to our Easter vacations in Sweden and a wild card that Magnus had given to me at that time. It was a blast, I eventually ended 3rd losing in the Semifinals to the future champ Alban, who has been both stronger and luckier than me (at least delivering a T1 Mindtwist on my teeth on Game 1). 

More recently instead, the last tournament I played having physical attendance, has been OUR tournament, the Torinoob IV, in December 2021. It was really fantastic, with a lot of friends attending, incredible prizes (Ubi's Wheel of Fortune on top of all)... and our signed Hurloon Minotaur!

Torinoob IV, magic moments!


First, to finally have an onsite event again, with LIVE play. Live is Live. It is of human contacts and interactions, card touch & deck shuffling & cut... orbs flipping... rivers of beer (despite this year I was not allowed to drink, as I am old, I don’t recover any more and I must contain the size of my belly in some way... at least try to contain it...)

Don’t touch my Reindeer! Ratavuloira and Urborg firms are strong allies (perhaps Ratavuloira is stronger…)

Consequently, to have finally again a trip with friends, like before pandemic, by car, to discuss all the stuff related and laugh about old stories, old friends, deck strategies, bad beats, miss-playing and so on.

Ratavuloira team Turin, almost complete… where is Brunazzen?

Then, not secondary, to see Serendib Efreet and Serra Angel battle against each other again. This is the final meaning of Magic. And Triskelions.

Finally, to have a strong performance, to confirm the top8, and then see what will happen.


Sure. I performed my usual net-decking one week before the event. Searching for the most recent events, I found DFB’s Summer Derby with the usual incredible pictures... my eyes fell on the Lion-Dib variations in top16. I found very powerful both the list of Seth Roncoroni and of Simon Christie, who at the end took down the trophy. 

I tested both for a week, with casual matches with my teammates, in the end not being completely satisfied by the performance. Losing too many times to a casual deck like Eureka drove me to change the decision and move towards Robots. To the latest evolution that has been shown in the Summer Derby, with 3 practically identical brews in the top.

There is a new guy in town. His name is Robocop II.

Applying just very small changes from my side, in the end only one, represented by few (3x) Serendib Efreets MD. They are strong, maybe the strongest. They are blue (perfect in my shell), and they fly (perfect against Moats). And they hit, very fast! I moved the CiaB and The Abyss to the side (I will re-consider this decision in future). The rest is copied 100%, and I must admit that the US players had developed a very lethal weapon.  

Short breakdown of the deck.

4 Suchi, 4 Triskelion – The Core, tons of damage
4 Bolts, 4 Psionic Blasts – The Core, chapter 2, for additional damage from nowhere
3 Serendib – The Spicy addition, Moat-busters
3 Copy artifact – The Appendix, to ramp or to extend the reach
2 Shatter – The Surprise
7 The limited cards – The Limited Cards
29 Mana sources – Are needed

About the side.
2 The Abyss – A Present for Simo
2 City in a Bottle – More Presents
2 Shatters – Mirror management
2 Gloom & 2 Blood Moon – This is easy
3 REB & 1 BEB – Also easy
1 Shivan Dragon – The Signature

Did I test it? I should say no, as I generated the final version the night before Winc0n. But I tested few games with Vittorio using a preliminary version and had the chance to test the final one in a couple of games against El Magico Brunazzen in the morning of Winc0n, just few minutes before the start. From his expression, below, you can easily understand the juicy flavor of the brew. 

There is another guy in town. His name is El Magico Brunazzen

The tournament.

Normally I remember a lot of plays, this time I have not that many memories, but I will try to do my best.

Winc0n starting pack.

Turn 1 – against Mauro Prete with Dead Guy (2-0)
Game 1 is signed by Mauro playing one of the most ancestral creatures overall, the Royal Assassin. I am stunned from the splendor of this card, and soon I find on the battleground two Assassins watching my creatures. But he remains stuck with 3 lands for the whole match, in the meantime I develop my game, I get rid of the assassins by Bolts and, once he finished his swords & disenchants, I start to hit with Mishra’s & Dibs. 

Game 2 is copy paste of game 1, there is too much difference between a blue powered build like mine an unpowered one. But playing BW is always fantastic. Well done Mauro!

Also, Simo won fast is match, so we had time to search for Beppe’s table and support him in the appropriate way.

Turn 2 – against Giacomo Zorzan with Red Robots (1-2)
The games against Giacomo will be hard. He is on red artifacts, and the match is going to be win by who will be able to keep permanent pressure on the board. 

Game 1 is signed by his Workshop turn 1. Anyway, I win the die roll, so I start, fundamental in this sort of mirror match. I remember that I start very fast thanks to a Serendib; he tries to build his board, not getting the result to overturn the race. 1-0. 

Game 2 he answers to all my threats, Serendib and Suchi. On the opposite, Giacomo succeeds sticking a Suchi that starts making coast to coast, giving him the way to go to a final game 3. 1-1

Game 3 is incredible. I mulligan to 5, but I start again with a fast Serendib. The problem is that Giacomo opens again with Mishra’s Workshop and plays 4 consecutive Suchi from turn 2 to 5 as far as I remember. I eventually kill all of them, taking anyway a lot of damages in the process, and wasting precious blasts on his creatures instead that on him. This will be key for the match: I am already in the reach area, and few Bolts later I will find myself on 1-2.

1-1 overall, the tournament is already in meatgrinder mode for me after turn 2.

Turn 3 – against Andrea Bianconi with The Deck (2-1)
Almost a complete black-out here, as I don’t remember a lot about plays, just the mainstream theme, quintessence of the endless challenge between Aggro & Control. This was one of the turns which needed a re-pairing, at the end I must confront Andrea, a super nice guy in blue sleeves, like mine. 

Game 1 is about me pushing with Suchi turn 1 (gets swords) backed-up with Serendib to which Andrea finds difficulties to answer, despite compulsive search with Jayemdae Tome; when he finally gets control of the creatures, it is too late as in reach of my fires.

In game 2 I am not able to really enter in the match, my score pad says LPs reduction in multiple of 4... A Serra Angels should have finished me in something like 5 turns. Game 3 is like game 1, as far as I remember, I put a lot of pressure on the board and Andrea cannot manage everything… I eventually finish him with bolts stuff.

Turn 4 – against Damien Emmenegger with UR Dib-Moon (2-1)
Damien is driving a lethal UR machinery, I had the chance to see him beating Ges in the first turn, as we were in the adjacent table… and I saw he can side in Energy Flux, one of the deadliest cards against my artifacts! In Game 1 his start is explosive, I take a quantity of bolts and psi-blast in face, being not able to overtake him in the race… he wins with 4 LP remaining, more than enough! 0-1 

To be on the play, in this match, is crucial. I start game 2 putting pressure with Mishra, and this time is Damien that doesn’t find the way to overturn the race, very soon we are ready for the third game. Game 3 has a slow start from Damien (if I remember well, he mulliganed to 6), on the opposite I start putting pressure again with Mishra and Dibs (which I decided to keep in, as sort of defense weapon in case of fast start from his side), leading to the final 2-1 in my favor, for an aggregate score of 3-1. 

Turn 5 – against Jonas Twitchen with UWR (2-0-1)
The games against Jonas have been very funny and have been streamed. They can be viewed on YouTube at this link from 4:54:10.

Have to say that every game we played, I felt myself in full control, despite the quantity of Black Lotus & P9 stuff Jonas delivered. Triskelion is the real key card here; he shines in the UWR match-up, being capable of killing all their critters and being hard to kill at the same time.

Game 1 sees my mulligan and his start with Black Lotus, Timetwister & Library of Alexandria (I am well trained to play against a turn 1 LoA, having tested a lot of time with Simo who is close to 100% of success in starting with LoA). After the reshuffle I build a strong offence, to which he tries to respond with Black Lotus (again), Time Walk etc., drawing double than me in the process. My pressure is relentless anyway, I bring him to 2 LPs, then he kills both of us delivering 11 damages to me and 2 to himself, with a series of Bolts and final Psi-blast. So, game 1 it’s a tie, but I am confident, as Jonas had to use a huge quantity of restricted cards + LoA, and I resisted.

Jonas laughing after the nth P9 played on his side, and more to come 😊

In Game 2 (in reality, game 1 again), it’s my turn to start with LoA! But Jonas starts again with a monster hand... again Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, Sol ring and Serendib... a disaster! Here I take a brave decision, opting to sacrifice my LoA with City in a Bottle and prepare a plan for a fast Triskelion. Indeed, it comes first a Suchi. A Timetwister from his side has the result of just helping me to seal the game, as entering on my turn, I play a super-heavy Mindtwist that eats almost entirely his hand. Jonas has just the time to Fireball my Suchi, then, seeing the time is flying over and seeing me with a full hand, decides to concede to go into Game 2.

Game 3 sees again Black Lotus from his side, he tries a Braingeyser with it, turn 2. I have the Red Elemental Blast to ruin completely this plan. I understand this Braingeyser was crucial for him when he skips the land drop. I put a Triskelion on the table, which receives answer. Then Jonas tries a Suchi, and at this point I have in hand both a copy artifact and a Psi-blast. I decide to go for the max gain, so I) let Suchi survive, II) copy it, III) blasting it. The plan didn’t work at all like that, as he kills my copy. I recover later landing The Abyss, that together with City in a Bottle, represents a robust prison against UWR menaces. A huge Braingeyser for me and a lot of vanilla draws for both, till the come of Triskelion which seals, as usual, the match. 2-0. Overall, 4-1.

Turn 6 – against Beppe with UW next level, full of Moats & Serra (1-1)
Beppe is one my best Magic friends. He came with me from Turin, we are from the same team, Ratavuloira Turin. We created together the Torinoob event. We have the same room in the hotel in Genova. No matter now, it’s almost a win-and-in, and we are ready to stick the knives in the stomach of the other: indeed, whoever will lose, will be teased for not less than a year...

Game 1, a disaster for me. We talked during the day, I know his strategy of Moats, he knows my strategy of Dibs. The issue is that, thanks to a fast Black Lotus, he sticks a Moat very fastly, then a Serra Angel. I try to manage the Serra, but then I cannot manage the following Mindtwist...

From the top, a Wheel of Fortune (appropriate name) helps me to restore at least the hand size... the issue is that I draw almost all mana cards… the good point is I that thanks to the Wheel I forced him to discard all the Serra Angels… he draws compulsively with the Tome till arriving to 7 cards residual in the grimoire, when I try to Braingeyser him. He saves himself with one of his last counters, than he destroys is own Moat, to attack with 3 Mishras... I go down fastly, too fast after his Time Walk... a very long game in the end, we have very few minutes for game 2, so I must concede. 

In Game 2 I run fast like hell. I deploy Mishra, Suchi & Serendib. Again, he is very fast sticking the Moat, this time I can fly over, and I am drawing fires & more fires. I land the lethal damage just before the final turns are called. No chance to close the third game in 3 turns, neither for me. We tied 1-1, perhaps, winning the last match, we can enter both into top8. Overall, 4-1-1

Beppe Vs. Vale. From Ratavuloira Archives ® - All Rights Reserved.

Turn 7 – against Denny with UWR (2-0)
We are here again, win and in, this is the moment of truth. My opponent is Denny, who has lost the very first match against to Beppe, then has had a fantastic run.
The games are about a merciless exchange of blows... Game 1 is super-fast, driven by Chain Lightning, Bolts & Dibs attacks. After some damage control attempts from both the parties, a not answered Suchi gives me the edge that I need to steal his life. The same happens in game 2, even faster. Again, a not answered Suchi, this time in the very early turns thanks to the Vault, leads me to victory.

With a score of 5-1-1 I am pretty sure I am in. Indeed with 16 points, I end the Swiss in 8th place. Mission accomplished! The joy is even higher, as I discover that both Simo (beating Mg) and Beppe (winning over Danny Friedman) are also in! 

Simo Vs. Magnus, a Clash of the Titans!

Three of the Ratavuloira team are among the best OS players in the world! (It means, hands down, we are the best team :P)

A strong team… maybe too strong!?!

Quarterfinals: me (8) against Daniel (1) with UR Moon-Dib-Suchi (2-1)
Daniel is unbeaten in this tournament, with a score of 7-0 he has taken the first spot at the end of the Swiss. Not a good client, that’s sure. He starts first.
And he starts fast! Very soon I must face a Serendib Efreet… to which I respond with mine, which get killed by Chain Lightning, to which I respond, eye for an eye, Bolting his one! A Mindtwist from my side, powered by Black Lotus, eats almost all his hand… I have to say almost, as in the process he delivers to me 4 (FOUR!) Lightning Bolts, sending me to 5 LPs. I am almost dead, but not yet. I set up a couple of Suchi, generating an interesting clock. Which works. 1-0
Game 2, it is very simple: I just take plenty of damages, so fast that there is not chance to enter in the match. So, we tied, 1-1.

Daniel army is going to tie the match. 

A sober Gesiot is taking free lessons with the Old Man Gregori, how to properly sling spells at Magic. He is training for next Toriboob V, that will take place between 10th and 12th December

Game 3 is again, a bar brawl, which I am happy to start. Indeed, the two decks know only one language, the violence. Life points go down fast, Mishra’s attack after Mishra’s attack. In the end I deliver the final, lethal damage, with still just 6 LPs on my notes… 2-1 & great games!

Semifinals: me (8) against Simo (5) with UWR LionDib (2-1)
You can see the whole video of this match, from approx. 10:05:00. The streaming is very funny thanks to the cool commentary of the infamous couple Delfino & Gesiot. Simo is one my best Magic friends, if not the best at all. We start to joke. He will win for sure.

Simo starts Game 1 very aggressively, attacking since the beginning with Mishra. I cast a fast Suchi, that is answered. I cast a Serendib more, in the meantime Simo is continuing pressing and attacking my life points, thanks to Mishra & Blasts… in few turns I find myself already in the reach area, and Simo’s hand is ready to punish me and send me to sideboard.

It takes a lot for me to properly side, I am super tired. I shuffle, check, re-check, I am not convinced… At the end, I decide to side IN Ciab and Moons, I remove some mana stuff, the Dibs… let’s start! I start and I mulligan. Despite this, I start aggressively, with a Suchi in turn 1. First 4 damages go through, but not twice.

Simo answers to almost everything, sometimes taking too many damages, but in the end effectively (a Psi-blast on Triskelion means always a 5 damages delivery...). He resisted to 3 Suchi & 3 Triskelion, but it seems that after the side he has packed the deck of answers removing the threats… Turn by turn, indeed, I found myself still quite high in life, and his bleeding doesn’t stop, despite the fact I am playing without red mana. In the end I draw the needed Mox Ruby and start to play red spells. A final triskelion completes the job and ties the match. 

Game 3, Simo starts, I mulligan (again). When I deploy The Abyss, it seems to be game. Indeed, his hand starts to become full of blue and white creatures, well handled by Enchant World. It’s matter of time, but without any pressure on the board from his side, I can just sit waiting to draw what is needed. In the process I draw a lot of useless cards, all discarded by Simo’s Mindtwist. Then I start to draw Bolts, Psi-blasts and Trikes, till the end. 

The Semifinal, fratricidal confrontation.

The final: me (8) against Richard Stebbing (3) with UWB Suchi (1-2)
You can see the video of this match for the first 2 games; third one went outside the 12 hours limit for the streaming, and you will have to follow my report.

Commentary has been great, also this time, thanks to Simo, Dave and Will; having these commentators, all World-class players, have to admit that my strategy in Game 2, not approved by them, was indeed the correct one has been super satisfying.

The Final, a hard confrontation.

As general comment, Finals have been a very hard match for me. Not only because Brother Stebbo is an excellent player, but also because I have been most of times behind in the games. The top of frustration has been reached at the start of Game 3, on which I suffered a mulligan to 5, quite demoralizing, having him on a turn 1 LoA.

Anyway, the game is the game. Let’s play it and see what happens. 

Game 1, it has been terrible for me. Instead of playing the role of the aggressor, I face a Lion turn 1 (and Stebbo starts first, as higher ranked in the seeds). I am super happy, at least once, to have LoA turn 1, I play it… but suddenly the stupid land gets destroyed by Richard’s City in a Bottle turn 2. Well done and good main-deck choice, game changer by direct demonstration. From this moment, Stebbo puts a lot of pressure on the board, mainly in the shape of Suchi. Suchi will end the game very soon if not answered, I know very well, as it is also my weapon of choice.

With no removals in hand, I need to dig one by forcing a Braingeyser for 2. And I succeed, finding a Shatter! To let it resolve, I sacrifice my Ancestral Recall to Stebbo’s Counterspell, but finally I can destroy the nasty artifact creature, without risks. Unfortunately, I face soon a second one, followed by a Serra Angel… I am flooding, the only chance is to try a lucky Wheel and cross finger. But it will be not lucky for me. Indeed, he has gained too much advantage in the board, and I can’t recover the gap. 0-1. 

Game 2, in contrary, it has been wonderful – and probably one of the best I played during this day. Despite the tiredness I am lucid to running change a streamlined game plan. Indeed, I start with LoA turn 1, Stebbo makes the same. His turn 2 Chaos Orb triggers in me the idea to change strategy. So, I deploy two moxen, then I go for a Mindtwist for 3 and the loot is great: Suchi, Serra Angel & Counterspell go in Richard’s graveyard. I cannot ask for more.  I start pushing with Dib, which encounters the Orb originally destined to my LoA. To which, anyway, I am not anymore interested. Indeed, I insist in the action as I see he wants to reach back a 7-cards hand, which means he will not spend cards on my threats easily. My idea is to catch him in a tempo game. So, I keep high the pressure on the board with Suchi, then Triskelion… going for the breakthrough! And when he reaches the 7 cards to activate his LoA, it is already too late for him. Another Triskelion and another Bolt seal the game. 1-1, let’s move the dispute to the last game.

Game 3, it has been a drama. He keeps is hand, I have to mulligan to 6, a vanilla hand not worthing of the final game of the Finals. I try again, after a second reshuffle, I find no lands. So, I am forced to go to 5. A lot of times I have been able to overtake games starting with 5 cards, and a couple of times also with 4, but not in a final against one of the best players in the world. I keep anyway my 5. He starts with LoA. More desperation for me.

I try to enter in the game, he swords my fast Triskelion. I back-up with Serendib, which is not answered. Turn by turn, he digs with LoA searching for removal & blue mana, drawing double of the cards I draw. I am not finding red mana as well. Nevertheless, it is very clear he is not finding solution to my creature rebus, and I start to believe. Indeed, he goes down to 14, then 11, finally to 6 with the help of 2 Mishras, one getting Divine Offering. 

So, he is at 6 LPs when he finally Tutors for blue mana, then he Time Walks. On the second turn, he deploys a Serra Angel, tapping out. An incredible sequence, what a battle and what a Mage! I go in the tank... I have a single red mana, and a single card in hand, a Lightning Bolt. The most conservative part of me wants me to stay in the game, proposing me to don’t waste the Bolt on him... Kill the Angel and see what happens, let the turns pass… But I am not convinced, I come back to this decision, I am pondering to Bolt him and topdeck another Bolt or Blast for the win... Also because if he untaps, he will control the stack with the double blue... I have few outs, luckily, I will connect one... But during the whole day I connected just once one out (the Wheel against Beppe)... And in the end, I don’t believe in the top-deck. I go back to the original decision, and I decide to draw. And the draw is, incredibly, Lighting Bolt.

Should have been my Silver Bullet. Will not.

Sipario. I don’t follow neither the original defensive scenario, I cast the Bolt in anger, sending him to 3 LPs, but then giving back him the turn, and consequently the start of stabilization for Stebbo. I will draw four useless cards and no red mana, before being Disenchanted by Defeat per hands of the Angel. 

Excellent games! Good games for Richard, he played superbly, and the Shark is well deserved, congrats again!


What a crazy experience! 

It has been incredible, I finished just 3 LPs far from the Shark… with this one, I played two times the World Championship: once achieving the Top4, this time reaching the Final… so close! My friend Alban, consoling me, is confirming that next time the trophy will be mine. We will see. One safe point, I am consistent. 

My friends were great; not only demonstrating to be among the top players in the world, but also giving me the “beautiful” Lightning Bolt, which will take the place of an Alpha one, as perennial memory.

The path of penitence… it will be a long path… a loooooooooooooooong path!

The tournament and the organization were incredibly good.

So, I want to thank my team: Simo, Beppe, Ges, Giorgio (for not coming too many times to watch my games, he is like a walking death note for me), Andrea, Brunazzen, Vittorio (playing last minute against him, I finally decided to switch to Robots); Christian, Mitja and Alban, they are super and part of the “extended” Magic family… also this year I am sure they will try to come & conquer in Italy, targeting our Torinoob trophy; Francesco, Lorenzo & Megu, congrats for another achievement, Winc0n 1 has been great. I also thank everyone that has supported me, appreciated my game play, and consoled me in the end. 

This time, I gained the Disenchanted by Defeat & the “beautiful” Lightning Bolt. These incredible cards worth the day, and even more. But next time, after “Bronze” and “Silver”, there will be “Gold” in the title of the report – it’s a promise! Thanks for reading!