Hey all Oldschoolers
I am happy to present you below a Guest Report from Martin – Martin was the “unlucky 5.” at the Lake Cruise and missed Top4 playoffs with a record of 4-1.
But before we move to this great report, be aware of the next big thing(s) 😉
Community Brawl at Fishliveroil Cup:
We are proud to include the community brawl 2019 within the Fishliveroil Cup. To determine the “most succesful community” 2019, we decided to install this additional cup. No additional tournament or sideevent, everything happens at the normal Fishliveroil tournament. The game- and matchpoints of all participants for a community are added up then divided to the amount of community players in this community. The final score will show the most succesful community.
=> no additional tournament – you gather points for your community during the regular Fishliveroil mainevent.
=> to attend all you have to do is being part of a community – and klick here to register
Urborg Mountain Madness 2020
Find yourself playing Magic in one of the most famous Swiss views – the Rigi, queen of mountains!
And here u go with the guest report – enjoy:
How I found Magic Again
Magic to me has always been more than a game. Something with a soul of its own. Looking back, I attribute much of it to an allure of opening this one elusive creature or stumbling onto some insane brew that only I could see. A brew that would catch others temporarily off guard and possibly even steal a game or two before they would adapt their decks with newly pulled cards of their own. Maybe this is truly what it felt like back then, maybe it is just my mind playing tricks and remembering past events through rosy glasses. In any case, my magic-playing career in the mid 90s was a short-lived one; and one that I thought firmly behind myself for good. How wonderfully wrong I was! This is the story of one more kitchen-table mage finding his way back home.
I was walking Te Araroa (New Zealand’s 3000km long distance trail) last season. As such things go — in between scenic panoramas and navigating thigh-deep bog holes — there is a true abundance of time to contemplate life and one’s purpose. It was during one such stretch that my mind wandered back to my time with magic, and it just wouldn’t let go. Later that day we happened to catch a spot with cellphone reception. So I asked Google something along the lines of „who still plays mtg as if it was 1993?“. The brilliant article by Matt Shields (http://oldschool-mtg.blogspot.com/2016/01/matts-story.html) that I found on the matter brought back wonderful memories from the mid 90s, and made me revel in nostalgia beyond what I would have thought possible. A decision was made that day: I had to get back into playing and re-living the game of my teenage years. So, while walking, I gobbled up deck lists and begun sketching brews in my head that my limited remaining card pool back home would sustain. Time passed swiftly.
Fast forward a couple of months and I am the newest standing member at Legion Urborg, slinging old-school spells (and splurging on artisanal ice cream) with fellow mages on a weekly basis.
Forward some more weeks and I sit at a table in the lovely Eichhof Biergarten in Lucerne — beer in my hand — getting to know a truly insane international lot of other old schoolers. It is the eve of my very first magic tournament organized by Urborg’s Lord M. And it is amazing! Many a mage I did not know beforehand, but even for my introverted self things are easy this evening. We talk and revel and talk and play games of magic in a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere. As the evening progresses, most mages amass liberal amounts of poison counters. Others discover that their 96 Pro Tour play-mat is possibly covered in truly authentic magic history. Others, still, draw crowds by engaging in Ante games (where at least one Tempest Efreet changes hands). At least to me, it is an evening of legends. And I only reluctantly manage to say good bye before the last train of of the day departs.
Next day is tournament day. 26 fellow mages show up punctually at the Lucerne ferry terminal, before the ship leaves at 12:12. No small feat given that some required a taxi on their way home just a couple hours earlier. The 6-hour lake cruise takes place on the gorgeous paddle-wheel steamer „DS Schiller“ in its breadth-taking first-class cabin.
On this beautiful day I often find my self in awe, reveling in the ship’s hardwood interior and open machine, and Lake Lucerne’s picturesque landscapes. Luckily, in between games, there is often a bit of time to enjoy the sights.
High time for a deck check. So, what did I bring to play? As the motto of the cruise was „Gentleman Builds“ only, neither Library of Alexandria nor Mind Twist would have been that well received. To me, luckily, both of these cards never had much of an allure. Matt’s earlier mentioned article that brought me back to magic strongly resonates with me: „…I beat Library tonight. Sean had it first turn, on the play. I countered with double Dark Ritual into Sengir; it got Psiblasted after eating a chunk of his life. … After the game I managed to acquire a NM Juzam Djinn for my deck. Psiblast that shit…“
The legendary Juzam to this day remains elusive — but I did manage to snap up a play-set of Erhnams over the years. Same-same but different. Go ahead and Psiblast that shit! Indeed, there is no denying the simplistic beauty of a streamlined in your face beatdown strategy. Nothing just alike Taiga, Kird — go. Opposing mages immediately understand the trouble they get into; no time to study books at the Library or to hide behind a pair of whimsy Counterspells.
So RG beatdown it was; with some added spice in the form of Channel-Ball and a couple of sideboard Blood Moons (the gentleman that I am, I concluded that this was in the spirit of the tournament. Might as well help out with red a bit for all the weak 5C mana bases floating around). In the end, it was a wonderfully minimalistic choice; a beautiful choice; and indeed, at times also an amazingly lucky choice. But I am getting ahead of myself.
So let’s play some rounds of magic.
First round I am paired against Gabriel from Berne. For both of us it is our first tournament. We find a spot at one of the tables, get rid of all the premium plates and silver cutlery, and order a beer instead. I manage to get a reassuring start: high roll on the dice, a decent mix of creatures, removal and mana. Definitely a keeper. I start Taiga into Kird, then follow up with Pixies. His Lions stand no chance; his Serendib is Orbed. The rest of the match is lost in a haze, unfortunately. But I end up winning 2-0, and stand at 1-0 in matches.
Unfortunately, this is where my drawing and dice rolling luck ends. On my second match, I mulligan to six, and should have probably gone down to five — keeping a hand light on threats. I play against Matthias, a fellow Swiss mage from Wallis. He goes first, and quickly starts applying pressure via a Serendib Efreet. I eventually manage to handle it, but just as I think I stand a chance at stabilizing the board state, he finds a Moat. Really. Bad. News. My deck simply cannot handle this card pre-board outside of a lucky Chaos Orb top deck, or the opponent being in bolt range already. After some more pro-forma turns of draw-Go, Serra finally does me in. At least these additional turns confirm that Matthias seems to be on a shaky mana base of white, blue and this one suspicious volcanic island that I don’t fully grasp at the time. I board in Blood Moons and two Elemental Blasts. Second game, my hand draw is again somewhat risky, but I am feeling lucky. On the play, I drop a first turn Sylvan, and a second turn Blood Moon. I then proceed with shattering his Mox. For all intents and purposes, this should be game. No threats in hand though, so I draw cards aggressively using Sylvan down to twelve live. What should have been a prudent, save play given the board state backfires horribly. Matthias stoically holds three (of his four main-boarded, I later learn) lightning bolts which he casts in my direction at the end of my turn thanks to Blood Moon mana. A Fireball does me in a turn later. WtF?! We both laugh and lament my bad luck. Down goes the next beer. I lose 0-2 and stand 1-1 in matches. In hindsight this game lost me my Top4 ticket. But, again, we are getting ahead of ourselves.
Next I am paired against Mitja, a fellow Legionnaire. He seems to have brought a new brew — having been discouraged from playing prison, because “gentlemen”. We play on his recently acquired signed Pro Tour ’96 2-player mat. It feels so right to sling Taigas and Kird Apes onto the aged signatures of Bertand Lestrée, Brian Weissman, and other Old School heroes; including one Reece (?) whom we couldn’t quite place — despite him apparently being “the Greatest Magic Card Player Ever“. You just can’t make this shit up… ;-P
I am back to drawing decent hands. And despite some heavy early removal on Mitja’s part, I manage to close the game before he ramps up. He has nothing to board in w.r.t. my deck and game two goes down quickly. I manage to win 2-0, and stand at 2-1 in matches.
Until now it had been all pleasant chit chat and casual relaxed games. The next pairing feels a tiny bit more competitive. First time since the 90s an opponent cuts my deck. 😛 But no need to reciprocate just yet. I am on the draw. Kird pays some early visits before it is sent farming. Unfortunately, my follow-up threats pale in comparison to Daniel’s UW flyers. I lose quickly. High time to again board in some bloody moons, blasts, and Tranquility. Of course, game two my deck receives its obligatory cut again. This time I reciprocate. Tit for two tat and all that. Luckily, said cut lands me a Blood Moon in my starting hand, which I proceed to throw onto the battle field on turn two. Game. Over! (This time for real.) Same story in game three — albeit on turn three while Daniel is tapped out. Definitely not the most gentleman-like plays of the day on my part.
I enjoy a longer break while the steamer steadily makes its way back into Lucerne harbor. The blue hour is approaching, resulting in phenomenal views and lighting. I could gaze at the picturesque landscape all day long.
Then we swap ships, and off we go onto a second (shorter) circle. First, we are spoiled with some great local dinner comprised of a variety of cheese and sausage (and another obligatory round of beer). We then proceed with the final round of Swiss.
I am paired against Daniele from the Ratavuloira Drinking Team. Both of us are at 3-1 and still stand a chance at making it into the Top4. The sun is getting low. Showdown! It takes a while until we realize that we can lower the blinders on the ship, and some comfort returns — well as much as is possible with an opponent playing Hippies and Sinkholes. It doesn’t help that I decide to keep Lotus und three Elves in my starting hand. I am missing a crucial red mana source, and the alcohol is starting to take its toll (at least this is what I tell myself ;-P). As the game draws on, I start making silly playing mistakes, like dropping the wrong land, or forgetting that a factory can indeed block when it has summoning sickness… My opponent is a real gentleman and points the latter out. I am glad that I lose the game in the end. It would have been terrible karma otherwise. Speaking of karma, the second game I win mid-game via a top-decked Channel into Fireball. I apologize profoundly. In the third game, my deck is back to its former glorious self: Taiga into Kird, followed by beat after beat. Daniele never sees any of his Juzams. I win 2-1 for an overall standing of 4-1 in matches.
So, surely 4-1 is sufficient for proceeding to the Top4, right? Unfortunately there are four mages at 4-1, taking up the spots two to five after the Swiss. My tie-breakers place me on position 5.
Part of me is relieved that I don’t have to play semi-finals under the watchful eyes of — everyone on the ship. And part of me couldn’t help but think what could have happened, were I given the chance to spin the Wheel of Fortune two more times. Alas, this will need to wait for another time.
In retrospect I am very content with how my deck played. It held its own (even in the first games) vs a diverse field. The real MVP was Blood Moon though, which single-handedly won me three games (two of which I would have likely lost otherwise).
So where does that leave us? Well, for one, at the end of a wonderful tournament, which itself marked the end of an intense weekend with likeminded mages and other wonderful spell slingers. And, for another, at the end of the very beginning of my second magic playing career. May it end up just as amazing as my first one — and hopefully last somewhat longer! Until next time.
Thank you Martin for this great report 🙂
I hope you enjoyed and may the moxen be with you
Christian aka Lord M of Legion Urborg