Thursday, May 10, 2018

Draconian Cylix II: Oldschool at Eindhoven

Oldschool in Eindhoven, may 6th, 2018

A while back we decided to switch between Oldschool and Ancient formats so both formats could be played regularly in our group. We then also decided to start the Draconian Cylix Series, where the winner of the tournament would win a cup from Fallen Empires, to signify the inclusion of FE in our playing of the format (we play with the french rules). Only problem was, the first time we played for the series, we there was no Draconian Cylix to be found. None of the players had one, none of the organisers, even the shop we play at mostly, which has plenty of singles in dozens of binders, did not have a single one. So this would be the first tournament where we would actually be handing out one :)

About a year ago, I decided I wanted to play all the decks I admired when I just started. I started at the end 1994, when there were not a lot of places where you could see what other players would play. There were some newsgroups and after a while, the magic dojo site. I acquired my first piece of power somewhere in the late spring of 1995 (a mox sapphire) but I was nowhere near a  "real" Type 1 deck. There was some coverage of Type 1 events, but not many. I looked at the decklists (of course, no pictures then, just plain lists) and tried to figure out what I liked about the decks, what made them good and what I would change about them. 

In 1996 I still did not have the cards I needed to build or play them. Somewhere in 1998 I made my power cards complete, but by then the decks I had admired were nowhere near as effective as they used to be. The Ancient and Oldschool series give me a chance to play them in a format where they still have a chance. I also play with my own creations (and they usually also perform quite nicely) but there is something about these decks that makes me want to play them and see how they match up with all the new insights people now apply in the oldschool format.

So far I've played the original "the deck" by Weissman, The Prison by Chris Cade, the Type 1 version of the "House of pain" by George Baxter, Stormbind/living plane as played by my first MTG Tutor Marc Stevens, Concede or Bleed by Adam Maysonet and Monkey May I? by Mario Robaina In the last Ancient tournament. I don't change anything about the main deck lists, even when I think improvements could be made, and most of the decks perform good. I won first places with The Deck, The Prison, Concede or Bleed and Monkey, may I? so the decks really live up to the admiration I had for them way back when. I'm sorry to say that the deck by my first magic tutor Marc did not do that well, even though he won plenty with it. I've seen him play for ante with it on an early gaming convention and going home with a pile of duallands and nice rares, so that deck can't be that bad.. I think I'll play it again sometime and see if it does any better. 

Anyway, for this Oldschool, I picked the deck that should have been the first world championship deck, Bertrand Lestree's zoo. Lestree explained it way back when to play to get some early damage, and then go for channel fireball. I did manage to pull that off once, but not in the way intended as by Lestree.. 

First Round, the pairing matched me against my playtesting buddy, Peter. He was playing a U/W deck with serendibs, serra's, su-chi's, juggernauts and copy artifacts. And armageddons. The first game I drew so much fire I simply decided to not kill his serendib efreet, but let it attack me for 2 turns, wait for his third upkeep with the serendib doing him one damage and then finish off Peter with a psionic blast. My graveyard was filled with chain lightnings, bolts, psionic blasts and a single argothian pixies. The second game I drew a much more even mix of creatures and burn. The 2 argothian pixies where vital against the su-chi's and juggernauts and I won by blocking those repeatedly and then finishing off with a large fireball after we both control magic'd his Serendib Efreet.

The second round I was paired against Marco, who had very nice U/W/B creation with Moats, Serra's and Thunder spirits. All of those cards are not very nice against my deck.. I managed to pull off a win even after Marco destroyed my only two lands (both city of brass) with a city in a bottle. And he kept bringing back his Serra Angel two times. First with a recall, then with a resurrection. Fortunately, I have lots of psionic blasts and fireballs, and the were really necessary for this win. I boarded in tranquilities against his moats (and, as it turns out, greater realm of preservation). This was also a close game, with me thinking I had him multiple times. First time I thought I had him, he divine offerted his Jayemdae Tome. Second time I thought I had him, he animated his mishra's factory (which was behind the moat anyway), it made itself 3/3 and then he swords to plowshared it. A timely second tranquility took away the Moat and Greater Realm, so I could come through with a lot of damage and win. 

In the third round, I was paired against Marten, who, spoiler alert, would win the tournament with his very cool combination of heavy hitters and utility cards. We both like the oldschool theme a lot, and I couldn't resist taking a picture of his Scrye lifecounter next to my Duelist Lifecounter :)

The first game I had an opening hand of volcanic island, mox ruby, 2 kird apes, an argothian pixies and channel and fireball. I kept the hand, thinking there are plenty of opportunities for drawing land that gives green mana or a mox emerald. Turns out, this was one of those moments when that just does not happen. I was trashed and eventually had to block with my 1/1 kird apes, without my pixie getting in to play. O well. Up to game two. This gave a good opening with an ape, a whirling dervish and a pixie, which started the beatings quickly, followed by lightnings and a psi-blast, which made it 1-1. The third game gave me a channel and fireball in my opening hand again, with some creatures but only two lands. Which were the only two I was going to draw, while Marten had cast a Juzam Djinn in the meantime. I thought this would not be a problem, because I could bring out my dervish. And then it turned out there was also fireball in his deck :) He followed this up by an Erhnam Djinn. At this time, I was still ahead in life, so I figured I could just block his big creatures that would kill my apes and pixies and then hope for my third land and channel fireball him. That did not come, and then he played.... Diamond valley. Turns out the next card I drew was a Taiga, but by that time it was too late. He could simply sacrifice one of the djinns and stay alive, so I lost that one. 1-2. 

The fourth round I played former Knights of Thorn Champion Roy. He was playing a White Weenie deck with really A LOT of one-drops. I did not draw that well, so he ran over me while I was drawing mostly land. In 10 turns, I drew 8 lands and 2 chain lightnings. That was not enough against this horde. 

Second game, Roy was not drawing that well, staying at one land for a couple turns, which I then destroyed with Chaos Orb and ran over him quickly.

Third game, my apes kept the lions and knights at bay while I was waiting for the fireball to come with the channel I had drawn on my third turn, but then he played an order of Leitbur and.... his signed Knights of Thorn. Which has banding and protection from red... this was going really bad all of a sudden. Fortunately, I had sided in control magic. We exchanged blows for a while, with him playing ever more creatures, exchanging some of them in combat while I was trying to keep ahead in life. Somewhere around turn 20 he disenchanted the control magic and after that played city in a bottle. I had drawn some fire and killed of his thunder spirit and an order, but after the city in a bottle I could not keep up because I had drawn quite a lot of land. I first had to block some of the orders, which of course gained first strike and killed off my blockers. Then he started eating at my life. Somewhere around turn 28 I was at 9 life, Roy at 14. Then I finally drew my fireball and played channel, tapped out my lands and fireballed him for 18. This was a close match, but I won. Not in the way Lestree envisioned it, channel managed to win the game for me. 

I ended up second, after Marten. Congrats Marten, for winning the first Draconian Cylix in the series!!

The Champion:

The winning deck:

Some of the other Oldschool moments of the day:

Thanks to all who were there! We had a great time with our old cardboard. Till next time!

Ancient April 21st

After our Oldschool event in februari, it was time for some Ancient action again. Some of the people from the Oldschool group Knights of Thorn showed up to see how Ancient compares to Oldschool and from what I heard to also liked this format. It always nice to have some crossover between the groups :)

Some of the action during the day:

First turn Serra with a lotus. Nice!

Oh yes, this format has THAT card..  Moxen are just a little les awesome in Ancient.

Sometimes, life just isn't fair.. al that against just one lonely plateauu..

Well, that's an unusual use of a control magic :)

Monkey, May I? deck (which eventually won the day) against black pox

Some of the other plays of the day:

In the end, the winning deck was the classic monkey, may I deck which was somewhat succesful in the 1996 era for a short time. Usually we don't publish full decklists here to keep some of the mystery, but since this deck can be found on the net with a little effort, here's the decklist:

Mario Robaina's Monkey May I deck, version as played by Bjorn in this Ancient

There is something to be said for this deck in Oldschool too, but then it would miss what I experienced are pretty key cards: the merchant scrolls. I've used them for the Ancestral Recall mostly, of course, but also to get the mana drain or a psionic blast at some moments where I really needed them. I really think this deck would me much less effective without them.