2022 Introspective

So Mg, what have you been up to lately?


On a personal level it probably happened more just last August than during the entirety of 2021. I've tried to sit down and summarize more than once, but I was facing a sort of change fatigue, and occasionally it was like my mind didn't fully get out of the pandemic. Sometimes it felt like I left a few things back in late 2020, like my ability to sit down and write.

"Book of the Year (Non-Fiction)" would be Stolen Focus.

So I've kinda plugged out from having the pulse on the global oldschool scene during the last year, focusing more on the IRL games I've come across and the slightly deeper underground. I guess I couldn't keep up with everything, and finding the hours to write - or even read - would sometimes feel like a chore more than a hobby. So I wrote less, followed less stuff on the internet, deleted my Twitter and Instagram accounts, and focused on my love for Magic and The Gathering. And somehow the last six months have been my most consistently enjoyable Magic period for years.


But there's been just so many things since the end of summer. I've lost almost 10 kg in weight. The day-to-day at work is wildly different. My little sister got married. I was on a panel discussing product management with Gibson Biddle. The wife and I sold our apartment, bought a house, and moved to a very different part of life. I was interviewed for a book. I sold my Chaos Orbs. I have an actual nerd cave. I got a second kid a few days ago.

2022 was a good year. Damn, if I'm to use 2020 or 2021 as the yardstick, it was even spectacular. I got a bit tired, for sure, but I managed to avoid hitting any proverbial walls. Part of that balancing act was reevaluating my approach to the hobby and spending less time online, so this retrospective will be even more subjective than usual. I simply do not know who should be "rookie of the year" or things like that. This is just my personal rant of 2022, but there will be some picture of pretty cards, so maybe you'll indulge me still.


Where to start? I think I already talked the paint of the wall regarding the first few months of the year in my n00bcon organizer report, so I wont regurgitate. But in the early summer I returned to one of my top3 worldwide conventions, Wexio. The roadtrip crew consisted of me, Honka, GaJol, and Flax; excellent people with excellent resumes.

Me, Honka, Jokemon and GaJol oldschooling in Växjö.

We were like four people for the Oldschool tournament; a flashback of sorts to the first 93/94 tournament at Gothcon back in 2008. In the years pre-covid, WSK was still kinda small and intimate; it usually hosted around 12-20 people in the Astrid Lindgren part of Sweden. I wrote about the first 93/94 tournament at WSK on Eternal Central back in the before-time, and I've had a couple of good runs there before, winning the tournament in 2015 and placing second 2016 to name two reports on this blag. This was my weapon of choice:

Project M.

And somehow I won. The pride was unspeakable.

The prize was supposed to be a Prodigal Sorcerer, but the organizer didn't find one so I got a Sea's Claim as a stand-in. I'll use it to claim a Tim some time in the future.

Vs GaJol in the final.

WSK offered a lot of other sweet non-93/94 Magic as well. In particular the World Championship of Tribelander was spectacular, as always.

In the semifinal four-player pod I was handed this card - signed by the other three players - as I sat down. An outside player I back-stabbed in a previous pod had bribed them to take me out first. I lucked out immensely and somehow managed to beat them and advance. That game will survive as one of my most memorable multiplayer matches ever.

GaJol (Trolls) and I (Witches) getting unfairly eliminated in the final Tribelander pod.

Flax, perhaps most known around these parts as the original Wizards' Tournament referee, picks up the Tribelander World Champion title.

As the summer went on, I got the opportunity to travel down to Switzerland and hang out with an awesome collection of rad player during Reinvitational, aka PastaCon.

If you want to read more about that joyful gathering, feel free to click the link. One additional thing I didn't really touch upon in the report is how sweet it is to see more Scandinavians traveling to meet communities outside their national groups. Something has surely changed since the pandemic, for the better.

During the late summer a lot of life happened at once. With a pregnant wife and a three-year old at home, traveling for leisure had to scale down. So I sadly had to pass on the Dwarven Warriors tournament in the Netherlands. 

At the same time it got more evident that our living quarters in Oslo eventually had to scale up to accommodate for that long-awaited extra human. We had had notifications for potential future homes up since long before the pandemic, though the time plan was still a couple of years out, if at all - or so we thought in late July. But then a remarkable opportunity came up in the late summer which made us seriously consider making a move before schedule. But if we would, it was clear that I needed to re-prioritize some parts of my nerding, and I had to get my hands on some cold, hard cash. 

I saw the Chaos Orb binder collecting dust in shelf behind me, and kinda knew what I had to do.

There were a lot of strange things in that collection, including a few literally unique pieces, and giving it up after so many years of building was a bit sentimental. Though my wife's reaction when I mentioned that I could probably sell that binder, and how much we could probably get for it, was almost worth it in itself. I'm open with most people how much I spend on my hobby, and that a few things could have a secondary market value these days, but the sheer magnitude of some price tags are still shocking for most people outside the collecting hobby. 

The sale made buying the house far more viable, and the whole experience of such a windfall was very strange. I'd never really looked at my cards as "potential money" before; in the same sense I would get enjoyment from a rare or expensive beer I could get enjoyment from a rare or expensive Magic card, and just like with money spent on beer I would consider money spent on Magic cards as money lost. This was never a plan. But I surely can't complain about the side effect, especially not when we could use the cards to secure a place to live.

A place where I could fit my newly acquired Magic cabinets, no less.

Had a post-pandemic visit to one of my way-back LGS's (one that had been active with collectible sports cards since before MtG was released), and heard that the owner was going into retirement. So I asked the new owner if they still had the old original WotC cabinets, and if I could buy them. They had, I could, and a few hundred bucks later I had some proper furniture for a future nerd cave.

I was lucky to pass on the Chaos Orb collection to the perfect caretaker; Joel Mick. Partly because the collection absolutely shouldn't get lost in the mail, and partly because I saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit one of the founding fathers of MtG, I decided to fly to San Diego over a weekend to deliver the cards by hand. With transits, new CDC-rules, new ICE rules, and generally trying to travel in a not-quite-post-pandemic world, it was a surprisingly complicated 22 hour door-to-door trip from Oslo to southernmost California. 

But spending that weekend hanging out with Joel, Max, and Nemo was truly spectacular, and I'm very happy I went for it. Receiving such hospitality and generosity from that legendary host was mesmerizing. Nine hours of jet-lag and a steady stream of immaculate food and wine surely didn't play down the dream state of the weekend either.

Handing over a binder.

Playing Alpha with an Alpha playtester.

Pretty sweet view from my guest room.

Though the view from the living room wasn't shabby either.
Every other closet is was treasure trove for a fogey like me. Collections and trinkets without compare.

This is the greatest wording of Lich there ever was.

Drafting Double Masters 2022 with Joel, Nemo, and Max.

Boom, that's a sweet 3-0 deck. First time I've drafted Spider Spawning, and I'm kinda getting what that fuzz is all about.

Good times with dark beer.

And I got to hang out with two lovely dogs. Went on a walk with them in a stroller, which was also a first.

I have a lot of stories of games and people and rarities from the weekend at Joel's place, but I think most of those anecdotes are best saved for physical meetings. But needless to say, I'm glad I went, and I'm happy that the Orbs got such a nice new home.

Memories from JLM.

I came home and realized I was older. I always though that I would have wanted to buy a Medieval Madness pinball machine if I ever found myself with enough money for one. Instead it turned out that I had become shockingly boring, and I found myself DCA'ing most of the gains I didn't need for the house into various boomer stocks and funds. I guess reading too much Benjamin Graham and working at a bank for half a decade does something to one's sense of saving, though it happened so imperceptibly over the years that I hadn't realized the extent of it. Still, I wanted to buy something reckless, and I had my eyes on a couple of Tabernacles that Henk had posted for sale earlier during the summer.

I already had a Tabernacle, one could argue. It mostly hung out in my Legacy Lands deck. But it annoyed me more than I'd like to admit that my "complete" Legends binder had an empty pocket where a Tabernacle should be. And I also wanted to try Tabernacle in my Vintage Oath deck, yet never played it, as an even bigger pet peeve of mine than empty binder pockets is moving around cards between "permanent decks". I'd much rather have a sub-optimal build than a deck that isn't ready to go from the deck box. Yeah, "only having one Tabernacle" is a first-world problem if I ever heard of one, but hey, you're reading a blag post about early 90s Magic cards here. More than that, I also had it on my Magic bucket list to eventually build a Mana Vortex deck, and for that a wizard need multiple tents.

These three are like 150 taches of gold! (That's some Exodus 26:6 humor for all y'all theologians in the house.)

HW is a great dude to make deals with, and the tents were in kinda rough shape so his price was very reasonable (well, as reasonable as Tabernacles get I guess). And he needed the money to buy Juzams, which is a noble cause if I ever heard of one. But even with the recent windfall from selling the Orb collection, I didn't feel  comfortable spending so much cash on a couple of lands I didn't necessarily need, so as a part of the deal I traded away one of my Juzams. So now I only have three Juzams. Trading away a Juzam is something I never thought I would do just a year ago, but I realized I had gotten an immense amount of enjoyment from the playset already, and that I almost never played more than three in my decks these days anyway. It was time. Growing older.

I hope the new home treats you well old friend. I'll never forget your smile.

I was to deliver the Juzam in hand to a familiar courier in Genoa, because now, after three years in the waiting, it was finally time for Winc0n.

Winc0n could easily be another 4,000 words, but this is supposed to be an introspective more than a tournament report, so let's just check out some pictures.

My handsome roommate Danny Friedman posing with the ridiculously huge trophy.

A story of champions forged into the prize. Good memories of old gatherings are triggered.

Hanging out with Danny and the Italian heroes at Megu's restaurant.

Danny breaks all continental etiquette by ordering coffee and desert as the rest of us order lunch. Confusion ensues, followed by chock.

Alcohol help sooth the wounds of the etiquette breach, but this is not something we'll ever forget. Nor forgive. Classic Danny.

The first evening has a Scryings tournament, and I'm ready to smash. I've come to believe that this deck is just wildly tier1. I played a version of it during Reindeer Double Elimination (which I manged to win), and I think this version is just better. Though I feel a growing headache from the travel, which could impact my ability to use it.

Hey, another Swede! Last time I was here (during Fishliver Oil Cup Ed. 3), I was the only Scandinavian playing, but that's clearly not the case anymore.

And my next opponent is a gentleman from Guatemala! World Championship's gathering players from across the world.

A wild Shark appears! While not going full Åland, I'm feeling kinda powerful in the Scryings tournament. I'm 3-0 by now, and no match has felt that close. But as I start to play my fourth round, it dawns on me that this is a five-round swiss, and it is likely that I'll top8 even if I somehow manages to lose both this match and the next one. So I'm bound for three more hours at least, and my headache is growing. It is close to midnight, and I'm supposed to play the World Championship tomorrow. So I decide to take the grown-up route with a scoop-and-drop in the middle of round four. I had a really good time in the tournament already, so why ask for more.

I get a solid ten hours of sleep and wake up next to a joyful bedmate who managed to catch about half as many. Still, a beautiful morning for both of us.

We send a few questionable pics to our partners back home, and then the game is on!

After the faux pas at the restaurant yesterday, a shameful visit to McDonalds it is!

To the site, drooling over some sweet cards from Sky Guild.

The traditional bro-pic with The Legendary Jonas Twitchen. Won't be a Championship without it.

A man and his birds. Jason managed to win Bwendolyn from me during a game of 40K. That's the 4th time since 2019 he became the owner of that beautiful bird; that's gotta be a record.

Someone asks me to sign their graded Lord Magnus. That was a new one.

But Birds and graded Legends be damned, there's one signed card we're actually fighting for here, and that's a Shark.

Signs have escalated to the back.

My weapon of choice is again Project M. I have a good run, ending up in eleventh (?) place after losing my last match at table 2 against Simone Merlo. So 5-2 today and 3-0 drop yesterday. Channeling that inner Swede.

The glory of 9th place goes to Mle from Sisters of the Flame. Congrats!

It's top8 time. Mitja sets the mood.

The commentator booth has been taken over by Mano's son, some sort of Lobsterboy, and The Reindeer's personal pasta chef. Things are getting wildly serious.


A World Champion emerges! Congrats Brother Stebbo!

Winc0n was awesome in so many ways. The most heartfelt, perhaps, for me was that it marked an end of the isolation. As Winc0n eventually unfolded, we hadn't had a World Championship since Easter 2019; three and a half years prior. And now, way overdue, we were finally able to gather again.

Following that "end of covid tournament", it made ironic sense that my next big gathering would be The Plague.
At 44 players, it was the largest showdown of old wizards in Norway yet. Though "old wizards" might be a misnomer here, as the youngest challenger, Elliot, hadn't turned double digits. It's cool to see how The Gathering is starting to become The Family Gathering, and the older generation is starting to bring their kids to the tournaments.
When I was his age Magic didn't even exist, and now he's here kicking our asses.

As it was a flavorful event, inspired by the art of Theodor Severin Kittelsen and the Black Death, I decided to go a bit flavor over function with my spells.

The Black Death.

If you want to steal the tech and spike harder, splashing red for Wheel of Fortune and Shatter improves the pile's performance. As does splashing blue for the three power cards. But I wanted to go mono-black, mono-black-border, and no creatures maindeck (as they had died from the Pestilence). I have more than a few hours under the belt with the Distress archetype (having come up with the name of it and whatnot), so this seemed solid. And it was sweet to bring one of the new Tabernacles out for a swing.

Game on.

Simon Gauti from Denmark joining to have the full Kalmar Union represented.

Dudes trading and playing for fun after the swiss.
My deck over-preforms, and I somehow end up in the top4 along with Kalle, Simon Gauti, and Ole. Nova Pentacle was a proper MVP btw, boarded it in almost every game and it helped me win some absurdly unfavorable board states.

My luck finally runs out in the semifinals, and I'm unable to find my way past a murder of Triskelions. No Golgothian Sylex to be found.

Ole cackles maniacally before he goes on to face Kalle in the finals.

Shortly after The Plague it was time for me and the family to move to our new place. That whole ordeal could easily fill a couple of more blag posts, but I presume that the few people that still lurk around here are more interested in cardboard than the Norwegian housing market.

Speaking of things that only few people find interesting; I got these proxies as "filler cards" during a recent mail day, do you think they would be legal to play in MAILDAY 50? I could pretend that I think they are real if that helps.

But here's some phresh nerd-cave furniture for all y'all fools still sticking around. I am positively giddy to have laid my hands on this. My wife also smiled kindly when she saw it, though it's possible that was a bit more kind sympathy than raw amazement.

A subterranean desk area that would have made 14-year old me proud.

And yeah, I framed a playmat. Hmm. I guess it is possible that I've walked a bit deep into the nerd quagmire...

With the move out of the way, it was time to load up for BSK. I've been a hangaround at the Borås convention since 1997, and the oldschool tournament there has been an annual thing since 2010, making it the oldest recurring gathering in the format save n00bcon. And in general, BSK is just a spectacular celebration of Magic. 

I was to share a hotel room with Kalle, and I was particularly excited to get to meet my old friend Arvid Grahn again, for the first time in like 10 years. Arvid was once my neighbor, and we worked together at the Rotary Pub back during the second Bush administration. He's the guy that helped me look past my general nerd shame; before I met him, I had "friends" and "Magic friends", and carefully avoided mixing the two worlds. And he was one of the core designers of the Tribelander format, as well as the guy who won the first ever oldschool tournament at Gothcon 2008. These days, he didn't have a deck though, so I repurposed my 40K deck as a traditional Sligh pile for him:

"Why do you only play three Chain Lightning?" "I lost the fourth playing Ante with Svante Landgraf in Switzerland." "Ah, good answer."

My own deck of choice of BSK was perhaps even spicier than the last couple of mono-colored monstrosities I had sleeved up. The thing was that I was going to play the Vintage tournament at BSK, and for that one I had sleeved up a full-power Oath of Druid Storm deck. And I really don't enjoy moving cards between decks while on the road, and felt uncomfortable traveling across borders with too much power. So I decided to leave Project M at home and just play Monogreen Midrange instead. It's a fun deck, and surprisingly playable.

I am not 100% sure with regards to the correct number of Ifh-Biff and Cockatrice here. If Cockatrice would be a 2/5 I'd slam two for sure, but as it trades with cards like Serra, Su-Chi, and PsiBlast I think just one is correct. I could likely cut one Su-Chi for a second Ifh-Biff, and the SB Clay Statue could be Master of the Hunt. If I had owned any black bordered Hurricanes, I'd find room for at least 1 within the 75 as well, probably replacing a Storm Seeker. And to be extra gentlemanly, I skipped Library of Alexandria, which you should obviously play if you want to increase your odds of free wins.
Relic Barrier mirror against old BSK winner (and two-time n00bcon winner) Pefken.

My deck over-preforms, and again I find myself in the Top8. My quarterfinal opponent is Vigo who is playing Green Weenie. This is very close to an unwinnable matchup for him; basically we have the same core disruption but I get to draw a few more cards and my dudes are like 3/3 while his are like 1/1. His deck has a far better matchup against the actual decks in the Top8 like The Deck or LionDib. Hah!
Eventually I find myself in the finals, facing off against last year's BSK winner and generally well-rounded Magic player Svante Landgraf. We trade the first two games 1-1 before he just annihilates me in the third. Yeah, that picture up there is not me having scooped up my cards, that's after he destroyed every single one of my permanents. "Here, but no further", said the end boss.

Sore loser and proud winner.

In a sense I'm still the real winner, as I get to cosy down next to Kalle in bed after the endeavor. Suck on that, Doctor Landgraf!

So, that concludes my Magic introspective for 2022. If this would have been a broader retrospective, which has been the tradition here for the previous ten years, there are a lot of names that I would have shouted from the rooftops. Henk, Erwin, The Reindeer. Megu & the Fishliver crew. Markus and Svetzarn. Mitja and Alban. Far too many Americans to mention. Far too many more Europeans to mention also. But I guess that my loudest shout goes to all the guys who made online friendships during Covid and then moved them offline. The new Flying Men in the community.

Gogo, gaga, one of us!

There are some sweet gatherings I'm looking forward to in 2023. I plan to go to Italy for two weeks in October with the family, sneaking away for a couple of days to join the championship at Winc0n 2. During the summer I hope to return to Switzerland and eat pasta at Casa Reindeer. The Easter will turn Gothenburg into a Mecca of 93/94 players, with the first n00bFest.

But before that, we have Arvika Festival 8 coming up February 25. And Markus and Svetzarn really went for the bleachers this time. Last year Markus asked me what the largest Swedish-rules oldschool tournament had been, and I noted that n00bcon in the years before the pandemic had a cap on 120 players, so around there would be the bar*. In typical Markus fashion he scoffed and said he could easily beat that - in a post-pandemic world nonetheless. I laughed and said that he could have the Shark I had planned for a possible n00bcon if he somehow managed to get over 100 players to travel to god damn Arvika; a city in the middle of the Swedish woods with 14,000 inhabitants. And now, a month before showdown, they have 126 oldschool players signed up and paid. So hats off to him I guess. And Drew Tucker is coming, so that's awesome.

If this was the kind retrospective we'd do while working on some continuously improving process, we would probably ask questions like "what could we improve for 2023?" and "what went well in 2022?". Start, stop, continue? So. I kinda like being a bit less online, hanging out some more in the moment and the IRL with my hobby. Deleting my Twitter and Instagram profiles ended up a net positive. So I think I'll continue with that. As for 'start', I'd like to play a bit more with the locals; I've been terrible at joining the local pub meetups in the last months. And I've just found out that there's a Legacy scene here in Oslo, so I should check that out. 

As for stopping, I should stop overthinking my own output of content (or lack thereof). The tournaments I organize and the things I write are honestly not that important anymore, and that's a good thing. I can still post some musings every now and then, or organize some tournaments, and not worry too much about reach. If I, or anyone, want to check out more frequent Scandinavian Oldschool content, Farmstead has a thousand subscribers now, and he frequently uploads very well made videos. When I abstained from organizing n00bcon in 2023 due to the extended family, KungMarkus and Svetzarn took it to organize a 120+ player Swedish-legal Shark Tournament, and The Reindeer and Mitja and FloVo took over the Gothenburg Easter celebrations with n00bFest - inviting the world's wizards to the Rotary Pub, the Skansen redoubt, and the Wizards' Tournament. Things continuously improve. And continuous improvement is the whole purpose of doing retrospectives after all.

Thank you for sticking around, and thanks for making this hobby - and this format! - better and better. I can't wait to gather with you all again in 2023! <3

 * Exact number is 122 on-site for n00bcon X due to a mistake that made us overflow the cap. Additionally for any besserwisser nerd historians; n00bcon 11 and Urborg Feast played in the same city at the same time for the same Top8/Shark, and capped at a total of 170 players; though that was on two separate locations with separate swisses. The largest in-person event that allowed for a more relaxed reprint policy I believe was Eternal Weekend 2019 EC Event with 196 players in Pennsylvania. And the largest event if we go online and move away from simultaneous playing is probably the 2021 Winter Derby with its 375 players in cyberspace. (Please correct me if I have some numbers wrong, or missed some major showdown.)


  1. Thank you for the great read. Its been a pleasure reading your posts for the last 10 years!

    1. Thanks Seoul, that makes me happy to hear! :)

  2. Thanks for the write up. I hope one day the Swedish rule may also embrace the use of collector’s edition cards given they were printed in the early era of MTG.

  3. Great write up! Good to read the Tabbies are being well used, no worries I've put your Juzam sideways many times already and managed to complete the playset in 2022. Hope to see you at some of the gatherings this year!

    1. Thanks! Good to hear Juzam is getting some time off the bench again ;) And yeah, tabernacle has been a super fun card to run, I think I might try it out in a bunch of other decks now that I have the chance!

  4. Good reading as always, big congratulations to you and your family with the new member :)
    See you in Arvika soon :)

  5. To correct one number, it's the 8th Festival. What do you think we are? Some kind of n00bs?

    1. Slip of the keyboard. I still know you are a n00b, you god damn n00b. <3


  6. For et år! Top read as always. The Plague returns in 2023!

    1. Thanks Daniel, I'll be back with some black tech! ;)

  7. Mg, I also would like to thank you for your writing and this great post.
    And I am pleased your family is joined by another future Mtg player!

  8. Kul läsning! Precis börjat spela oldschool (efter en 25års come back) och bloggarna som skrivs runt om är episka. Så även denna :)


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