PastaCon 2: GORLAMI

I had a lot ideas for writing as I departed Casa Reindeer. "PastaCon" surely is one of the finest gatherings of Wizards there ever was, from kitchen tables circa 1994 to the Las Vegas Grand Prix's of latter days. As a Magic player I had ideas, even inspiration, when I left Zürich two months ago. But coming back to reality, a lot of reality suddenly came in the way of writing.

Now, I love being on vacation with my kids. Wouldn't trade that experience for all the Alpha Lotuses in the world. "Dadgic: The Fathering" and all that. But hanging out with a couple of humans younger than five is still intense. A good way of intense, sure, but it's not like I end the day with a lot of pent-up creativity I need to push out in the form of writing. Nah, all the creativity I can muster for a day will be spent around 5 pm, after I've spent the last 11 hours pretending to be an over-enthusiastic pirate dog named Hannibal, or a blind octopus that can only swim in lava.

Someone mentioned going back to work as getting a vacation from the vacation. But then that whole work thing turned out to also be work.

So, this is a late report, as they have often come to be in the last year around this blag. And I've got some fog in the memory's eye. Think of this as The Woodcutter's memories.

But a sweet thing with being a witness today rather than in Heian era Japan is that there are pictures today. So I can just let the pictures do most of my talking.

Who's trustworthy now brah?

The exact schedule for PastaCon 2 was a bit of a secret. I knew that there would be a tournament in Gentleman Swedish 93/94 (i.e. traditional oldschool, but with LoA and Mind Twist banned), and surely there would be Reinvitational casual games going on. At this point I've managed to construct two fairly strong Reinvitational decks; one black and one blue.

Reinvitational Black.
Reinvitational Blue.

If you've never encountered the format, it is basically kitchen table Magic circa 1995 with a very limited number of legal cards in circulation - all physical cards in the format originate from The Reindeer himself. The games are played for ante, a few cards have power level errata, and a handful new cards have been created specifically for the format. It takes a lot of trading and a fair amount of traveling to build a deck, so the games kinda resembles those in the old computer game Shandalar. 

For Gentleman Swedish, I brought my new tech Big White.

93/94 Big White.

This is a fun deck to play, and it's actually not that terrible as winning goes. I'll probably devote a blag post to the strategy in the future, so we'll just leave it at this deck picture for now.

I arrived at Casa Reindeer Friday evening to meet up with a bunch of good people and Gordon.

Gordon enjoying his habitat.

Playing some Reinvitational with Danny.

Somehow losing this game against Jason...

Lost my Hymn in the ante, but traded it back along with a Demonic Tutor for one of my PsiBlasts. That tutor is a blank-backed print-out proxy btw, and the PsiBlast is a real Unlimited one, so money-wise the trade might not have been completely in my favour. "Schoolyard value" and all that...

Yeah, thats' a cooling van filled with beer, wine, and red bull for the occasion.

Brothers in Fire (and lodging).

The real showdown would start Friday, and after a solid nights sleep sharing an apartment with Brother Jordan, Mitja, and Alban, I was good to go.

Very nice walking distance from the apartment to Casa Reindeer. Switzerland is a supremely picturesque place.

The man with the plan.

n00bs eagerly awaiting instructions.

What is this sorcery?

The Reindeer explains the rules. Each player picks a hidden pre-constructed deck with a theme (elementals, minotaurs, vampires, zombies, etc) and pairs up with another player for Two-Headed Giant Planechase shenanigans. We will play best-of-one games against opposing teams, and each round there are chances to win stuff like boosters or blank cards to improve the decks. Trading is encouraged between rounds as well. And again, we're going oldschool plus Planchase.

How to start the game with Shivan Dragon in play.

I pair up with my old frenemy Gordon Anderson, as is tradition during these events. Go team MGordon!

Going back and forth whether I should embrace old family history and pick the Nobles deck, or if I should embrace current height and nationality and take the Giants of the North deck, I eventually settle on the Giants. The initial deck is kinda weak (a lot of vanilla creatures for four mana and quite low land count), but we're here to trade and rip boosters.

Two kinds of boosters were available; the "Reinvitational boosters" with (mostly) proxied versions of Alpha-through-Homelands cards that were also used for the Reinvitational format, and something a bit more curious...

Branching Paths boosters!   

Branching Paths is a "new" oldschool set created by the Montreal Tundra Wolves. It is a true labor of love, and slides great into the OS card pool. I never played with the cards before, so this was a pleasant surprise! You can read more about Branching Paths here.

Almost all cards in Branching Paths are new designs, but the set also have the original dual lands (at uncommon). Excellent for building three-color decks in our limited environment!

And a few of the cards in the Reindeer decks and boosters have updated casting cost or stats. Aladdin's Lamp for 4 mana is right up my wheelhouse.

Sleeving and trashtalking with Danny Friedman and Marc Lanigra.

Meanwhile, a content Mitja roasts a pig. Gathering a group of friends to eat a whole pig and drink barrels of red whine is unspeakably cosy.

MGordon vs Italian stallions.

Last round vs two Brothers of Fire.

Reigning OS World Champion Stebbo is impressed by the four-mana Aladdin's Lamp. Actually kinda playable.

By the end of the day my deck looked like this. A pretty solid pile, if I may say so. I'll keep it sleeved in hopes of getting the chance to use it again someday.

I don't recall which team won in the end. Probably Reindeer, as he likes to win his own tournaments. Though there was a bit more randomness than usual - what with the shuffled Planechase decks and the Planar Dice rolls and best of one and whatnot - so maybe everybody won. I had a blast at least, and felt like a winner.

What are these Italians doing in a tent outside in the middle of the night? Cooking pasta sauce of course!

As night falls and the darkness thickens, a handful Wizards gather indoors to experience Leo's Vintage Cube.

The cube is a proper work of art; not only is it a really fun cube, but all the cards are first printing. First-picking an Alpha Sol Ring is somehow even more satisfying than just first-picking a Sol Ring.

Hello, my name is Magnus and I'm the fun-police. MonoRed aggro it is.

We keep drinking, joking, and laughing. I get in an argument with Gordon, as is tradition, and life is as it should be. These are good times with good people. And we're still only half way. Tomorrow, the pasta awaits.

Actual constructed. Time to shine.

Saturday starts out sweet. Black Lotus into Sengir Vampire is met with Swords to Plowshares, and then my Black Lotus into Serra Angel is met with Psionic Blast. 9.5/10, much flavor. Only thing that could have topped it is if the Blast had been a Terror.

But it turns out one Karma is pretty good...

...and two Karma is bordeline unbeatable.

Turn one active Fountain of Youth is met by trembling fear.

Around round four of the swiss, I grab the opportunity to try for the Chaos Orb patch. I never tried for that one before, even though I've been hanging out with Danny and the Lords since they started the challenge and I would consider myself something of a Chaos Orb aficionado. But when I heard that they only had a very small number of patches left, I realized this could be my last chance to go for it. It was a kinda nervous thing to do to be honest, but with the help of coach Svante, head judge Danny, and height judge Stebbo it turned out to be a very professionally run event. Did 49 hits in a row, missed number 50 to get a shot, and then picked up that glorious patch. My pride was unspeakable.

And suddenly, when life is already good, it's time for the reason we went here in the first place: Pasta.

If you never had Italians come to your home to cook pasta sauce in the middle of the night, have you ever really had pasta?


Fellow Norwegian player Blazer approves.

I kinda zoomed out of the Magic part of the tournament at this point. I nabbed a couple of wins with Big White, but was never in real contention for the Top8. But to be fair, the field was really strong, both in terms of players and of decks.

The Reindeer shows off one of the prizes; an amazing Bad Moon piece by Italian painter/sculptor Ubi.

Ubi holding a small vernissage in The Reindeer's library.

Some really cool stuff, including an Illusionary mask made of driftwood, and a Triskelion crafted from and old coffee maker.

I managed to get my hands on the Triskelion, and now it stands prominently on my trinket shelve.

Svante, Danny, and Gordon. Rad dudes about to hit the lake.

Play the game, see the water.

As have become tradition, I pose a challenge to swim back to Casa Reindeer from the lake. It is very possible thanks to a rushing river connecting the spots, but it is also a very bad idea due to said rushing river. In particular due to the sharp rocks in the river and the generally low water level. If you go in, you almost surely will finish, but you also will bleed. But thanks to the rain earlier, it might not be that bad this year?

Well, it kinda was. Still Hunter and I emerge victorious, and we are now three people who have completed the Rushing River challenge. I should make a patch for us and Mitja to give more people incentive to try it next year.

Back at Casa Reindeer, people keep playing Magic. These guys are doing their thing in the Top8.

...while Björn and I go for some Reinvitational Ante.

Danny Friedman and Gordon playing the Ultimate Matchup.

These are two guys who basically have all the cards, but went for flavor over tier in the tournament and now want to jam their decks some more in peace.

Magic indeed.

Top8 shenanigans.

Two Brothers of Fire - and yesterday's 2HG teammates - face of in another elimination round.

The finals is all British, but in the end Jason Savage has to see himself bested by his countryman. Still looks kinda cool with it, and he got a rad playmat.

And the eventual winner of Renivitational PastaCon 2 is none other than our Oldschool World Champion, Brother Stebbo! Congrats!

At some point the night ends and suddenly it's Sunday morning. I spend the better part of the day traveling and hanging our with Dr Jordan Boyle; fellow Brother of Fire and spectacularly interesting human being. Our conversations ranged between mechatronics and gender identity, from diasporic family histories to the energy conservation of bees. But most importantly, I think we found an answer to the age-old question "If you had to do some hands-on racketeering, or other morally justifiable extortion work, which five oldschool players would you pick for the job?". 

 After some deliberation, we think the ideal setup would be:

  • Let Mari take the lead, and things might not have to escalate. He is collected and to the point, yet everything he says appear a bit threatening and you get the feeling that he doesn't mind if things go south.
  • Behind Mari, we have Wilfred and KungMarkus. Big guys who give you the feeling that they would be disappointed if the thing doesn't escalate.
  • Coming up to help defuse the situation created by having Wilfred and KungMarkus in the room, we have Svante Landgraf. He want no real part of any violence or such, and just wish that you wouldn't put yourself in a situation where that has to happen. But if you make the choice to not listen to reason, that would of course only be on you.
  • And finally, we have the wildcard Gajol. Gajol might just come in with a smile and start making coffee in your kitchen or ask you about things unrelated to the situation at hand. He might not even acknowledge why you are there, and as such make you very uneasy about what's going on.

Feel free to share your top five, so we can set up an official rooster to call on in case we ever need to get into that business.


So that's was our glorious gathering in Switzerland this summer. Check back here in March 2024 when I should be wrapping my report from the wonderful Dwarven Warriors 6; or next summer as I might finish a report from The Plague 2 in Drammen. I'm going there tomorrow, and for the occasion I've finally completed a deck I've been itching to play for over 10 years. It's not very good nor fun, but it is kinda cool.


  1. Hello MG, excellent reading as always.
    Have a nice beginning of the autumn.

    1. Thanks a lot Jirka, I wish you a nice autumn as well :) /Mg

  2. Nice to see some old Star Wars CCG cards in this post. Would love to play some old CCGs from the 90s (Star Wars, Netrunner, Jyhad/Vampire, Trek 1st ed, Middle-Earth CCG, Legend of the Five Rings, Dune etc), but finding other players here in Kalmar has been a nightmare. At this point I am a collector and not a player of card games. It's not ideal but I enjoy sorting them so it still keeps me busy albeit in a somewhat sad way.

    1. Wow, that's a good eye to spot the SW:CCG cards! I have a pair of decks still, but it's been ages since I actually played. Wouldn't mind giving it a go if we cross paths at a tournament in Sweden in the future :) I would really like to learn Jyhad as well; never picked it up but I've heard only good things about it. /Mg


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