Shandalar – The most hidden Gem

Since i started actively playing Oldschool and therefore joined the (felt) thousand various Facebook-groups, i got in contact with various nice and interesting people around the world. A big part of it all are also the online matches in which the precious Oldschool cards get played in front of a webcam.

As a player of the „old ages“ in 1993/1994 (and the following years), there was no fancy Skype or appear.in available –  as a matter of fact, internet was invented but not as functional as today. Therefore we had to wait until 1997 as the famous Sid Meier created the most hidden Gem for us players: Magic the Gathering aka Shandalar. Imagine, you can build a Deck with Oldschool only cards and fight against evil mages within their realm. The game was revolutionary and brought us so much fun in the days of the past. Therefore i would like to introduce to all players this great hidden Gem. If you played it, i am sure you want to play it right now. If it’s new for you be warned: it will suck you in and you will spend hours and hours with it. By the way: Here you find the tutorial and installation guideline.

Welcome to Shandalar

MTG Titel

With the current installation link, you will receive automatic access to ABU, LEG, ANT, AN and The Dark. Therefore great fun awaits you in building and teching your deck. Have you ever imagined to play 4 „contract from below“ main and use them accordingly? Did you ever want to cast multiple time walks and Ancestral in one Deck? Well – here u go.

MTG Pic1.PNG

The easiest way to start is to chose a familiar color for your mage and the easiest mode (Apprentice). Your starting Deck will be either one, two, three or four colored. If you start the hard mode, you will not even have more than one basic land added for some of your colors… haha.

starting DeckAs soon you hit the road with your Deck you should try to get rid of one or two colors and buy as many basic lands as you can within villages and cities. You can also buy other cards you like if you have the money to spare 🙂

buy

Its a lot of fun to travel the world, meet interesting mages, and fight them to get more and better cards for your Deck. The travelling is very intuitive and one can travel from village to village…

Travel…or just seek out for aggressive competitors (like the Mandurang…)

Mandurang

overall this game is still one of my favored games of all the time. Sometimes i just start the game if i have 30 minutes spare time and i try to beat some evil creatures of Shandalar. I hope i have re-enlightned the torch of any nostalgic player or even brought „younger“ Oldschoolers into a really great and fantastic way of playing this tremendous format if nobody is around on Skype or appear.in 🙂

I wish you a nice Christmas time and follow my blog 🙂

Christian aka Lord M from Legion Urborg

Homelands in Oldschool?

Magnus recently wrote within his Oldschool-Blog that they will allow Homelands for the next Arvika Tournament in Sweden (really???). I have to say that Homelands is and was always part of my „This is Oldschool“-mindset. As i started the game back in 1994/95, we bought all possible boosters which are available in Switzerland. We did have Revised, 4th, Homelands and Fallen Empires available back in the days. And there was one biiiig rumor around us: „Did you know that there is a card existing, which is called Baron Sengir? That’s a flying creature which can win you the game if it hits the table“… Nobody did know back in the days how „powerful“ Baron Sengir really was and nobody had ever seen one in existence. For all younger readers: Internet was not a thing back in the days 😉

Homelands is often quoted as weakest expansion within Magic overall – for a 14 year old boy like me it was a strong and nice way to expand my collection with more interesting cards. Anyway, lets have a look at the possible Gems within this edition:

White:
Most of the Gems are offered to a White Weenie shelf. The cards are mostly usable  together with a fast clock and/or to improve the sideboard slightly:

The Bestiary is a very expensive „Oubliette“ in another color. As W has access to Swords to Plowshares, this could be a fifth removal within WW builds. But again, expensive to maintain. As one can wish for a „removal“ without the gift of additional life-points for the opponent, this can be the situationally game winning card.

The Bureaucrats are maybe in between the „Nay“ and „Hmjay“ fraction. To tap something from the opponent is always nice. Tap a Hypnotic, Storm Spirit, Pixies etc. even nicer. Also the Mana cost is more or less acceptable, W would be to cheap and W2 far to expensive. But would one really be willing to sacrifice an aggressive slot for a defensive slot in WW or W-build?

The Death Speakers are actually really well positioned. A 1/1 for W with pro Black is definitively worth looking at it. Surviving „the Abyss“ and a nice additional treat for Black Disaster can help WW to jump over the edge of Tier 1.7 – again the question would be if one is willing to sacrifice a more aggressive creature with Power 2+ to include a situationally treat.

Green – winner of the race:
Beautiful green – unfortunately, mono G is not a (real) thing at Oldschool Tournaments. I would love to smash a Force of Nature on the table and Trample my opponent to the grounds. Could Homelands help to make my dream come true? i say: YES my friends:

Carapace may look weird – normally „Enchant Creatures“ are not the best thing as you will have a „2 for 1“ if the creature gets destroyed or removed. Carapace could add value because of the second ability – the regeneration. If you enchant a Serra Angel with Carapace, you have a really nice flying beater which cannot be blocked efficiently by most of the creatures (expect for Lord Shivan and Mister Mahamoti of course 😉

Autumn Willow – Hexproof/Shroud in  Oldschool. Forget the Abyss, forget Swords, Terror etc. but embrace Giant Growth, Berserk and Carapace ;-), regeneration and the latter. The Lady is a little bit expensive for GG4, but definitively adds more value to a green build.

Primal Order is the biggest thing for Mono Green! Just imagine to slam that beauty in turn 2 on the table and look at the opponents face. A slow (or fast?), painful death – and it is not even an enchant world. So you can also slam the second one on the table without any regrets 🙂 nice!

Hungry Mist is a fast clock and can close deal efficient. Also if removed with a sword the amount of life you get is extraordinary 🙂 Maybe better playable within a GB or GW build, to remove bothersome blockers before their hunger gets quenched with the blood of the opponent. But definitely worth looking at.

I like cantrips and i like manafixing. So within a Gx build, this card could find a home with one or two copies. The fact that you can draw the card makes it (maybe) playable. G2 is a little bit expensive, but at least you can sacrifice a tapped land for it’s effect. So the cost is G1.

Spectral Bears – beautiful Artwork fellow Oldschoolers and a cool play-mechanic included. Another card to brew a „deathlace / something does something to black“-Deck. Maybe just a dream but again – look at that Artwork fellas 🙂

Blue
Blue is already one of the most played (if not most played) colors in the format. Homelands will not push blue way forward, but offers some interesting cards, especially as the Gems can be cast with a single U Mana.

The Sea Sprites look very decent with their protection from red. But in reality most of the time one will chose the famous flying men because it is just cheaper. And pro red is not very important nowadays as Goblins will Mountainwalk through your blood mooned duals and other red creatures are not heavily played (despite the angry troll of course – but the disk will eat the sprites).

I like combat tricks – and in Oldschool the combat tricks are underplayed in my point of view. Chain stasis adds for the tricky mage another tool into his repertoire. Either its useful to tap down opponents creature or to untap multiple of yours – both seems decent to do to win the game. It’s definitely worth playing as one or two copies in the proper aggro-midrange deck.

Merchant Scroll – not much to say about it despite the fact that this will receive an instant restriction if ever played within the format -not?

Aether Storm is most of the time worse than a well timed psionic blast, but as it can be casted „into the blue“ against any creature deck and it will save you the loss of 2 life, so it could be taken into consideration. Unfortunately, it cost 1 more than Psi Blast – but that is the price for the live saving i assume.

If you Memory Lapse a random Sol Ring in Turn 13, this will most of the time act as reverse time walk. I am not sure if this scenario is relevant but can definitively win you a game if the opponent cannot draw anything useful.

Red
Most of the Red cards in Homelands look very decent with their abilities (Chandler, Joven, Eron) but they are just to expensive to make them a thing (5 Mana for a creature? does it fly and has vigilance? not? forget it…) But there are two cards which seem to be worth at least looking at them:

Retribution looks like not a big thing as the opponent chooses the order. But -1/-1 IS a big thing in Oldschool. The best creatures have 4 or 5 toughness (Serra, Sengir, Ernham, Serendib, Juzam). Imagine they are currently into bolt range or have only 2-3 power. Literally, you play bolts in a red Deck (yeah, really you do). The only one in this club which is not so much affected is the glorious Juzam. So retribution is a thing in red.

An-Zerrin’s ruins – Pay, play, announce Djinn or Efreet, be happy 😉 (also works for Goblins, Troll’s and Merfolk etc.)

Black
Beautiful Black offers nice things within homelands. It even fuels sacrificial strategies for the black mage with two decent cards. So maybe Lord of the Pit Decks become a thing?

Ihsan’s Shade captured my full attendance the time i opened him in a booster – 5/5 for 6 Mana which cannot be removed from Swords and survives Bolt. Best. Creature. Ever. (i believed). But also in the current Oldschool enviroment it would be a nice addition to any black Deck and i think also these days the opponent will be like „o shit“ if he hits the table.

headstone. I still like cantrips and also ruin any players regrowth strategy. So not more to say about this – or is it?

Let’s look into sacrificial-strategies. Drudge Spell and Sengir Autocrat both offer cheap minions to sacrifice. Drudge Spell even creates „Drudge Skeletons“ – so nice 🙂 Also those creatures can fuel any „Bad Moon“-Black strategy to beatdown the opponent even faster. Therefore good additions in specific decks.

Grandmother Sengir’s is very expensive to cast but offers a great ability. As previously mentioned, -1/-1 is a BIG thing within our format. And a recurring way to interfere into combat is a great thing. Therefore within the proper Deck (maybe even in Troll Disco?) the Grandmother could see the battlefield.

And last but not least the great, evil, ultra expensive Baron Sengir. 8 Mana is definitively way to much but come on – this flavor, this artwork, this 5/5 flyer. Just fall in love an play this fella 🙂

Artifact
Not much to say about Serrated Arrows’s – still -1/-1 is a thing and the Mana cost of 4 offers also opportunities for transmute artifact. Definitely playable and disrupting.

Serrated Arrows

Overall i would love to see this expansion as part of the format. Maybe as an addition to the „Atlantic“-Format which is currently in discussion. What do you think about the cards? completely rubbish or nice addition? let me know.

Best regards

Christian aka Lord M of Legion Urborg

 

 

Urborg Buffet

Hi fellow Oldschoolers around the Globe

This page shall be the first step of a growing Swiss community. This page shall be the meeting and information point for Swiss players and our foreign guests. A platform to announce tournaments, write down tournament reports and chat about more or less relevant facts about our favoured game (e.g. “what music is played at a real well frequented Troll Disko?” 😉

Let me start with an introduction of the Legion Urborg, the central Switzerland Oldschoold community. We (Christian Reinhard and Daniel Imfeld) decided to jump into Oldschool at the beginning of 2018. As a coincidence, a friend of ours wanted to get rid of his Oldscchool collection and i bought a lot of the stuff to complete my collection. Fortunately, i started in at the age of 13 in 1994 with this faboulus game and during my journey i decided, to build an Oldschool Cube. So i owned each card at least once 🙂 in parallel, i bought the famous “dragon altered moxen” (before the great spike) for astetic reasons. Also during the commander-period, we pimped our decks with various old schoold goodies. Long story short – my wallet did scream during the building up period, but it was not a devastating howl from the beyond 🙂 Also i have a very lovely and understanding wife (thank you my love) :-).

My Deck choices are highly driven by creatures i love since i started to play (Sedge Troll, Serra Angel, Llanowar Elves, Shivan Dragon, Serendib Efreet, Armageddon, Lightning Bolt, Fireball, Savannah Lions). Therefore i play mostly Troll Disco, Ernham Geddon or Burning Lions (Lauter.dec with red spice). I would also love to play the famous Juzam Dijn, but mono black hates me and my draws are always terrible… pity… 😉

So the adventure began and now we aim to spread the Oldschool-Virus across the country to gather as much interested, nice and cool players as we can.

The page is in “first growing stage” but we try to have at least a weekly update and ongoing content to be added (like swiss meta, less relevant surveys (i.e. why does the Llanowar Elf wear such a terrible eyepatch?) etc.)

We hope to see you often at the buffet and stay oldschool!

Legion Urborg – Christian