Sunday, August 12, 2018

Draconian Cylix III Oldschool report with pictures

On August 5th, we had another round of the draconian cylix cup. In total, 15 guys showed up and 13 actually played (the other two had personal obligations that day so they couldn't be there for the entire event). There were 2 former Knights of Thorn finalists there and several finalists of earlier oldschool events in Eindhoven, so although the group wasn't very big, there was a lot of potential for interesting matches.

In the weekend before the tournament, I did some playtesting with Peter. He really wanted to play with dance of many and the last build of that deck (with ball lightning in a counter/burn deck) did not really work that well, so we wanted to make a new build for that one. I wanted to try some of my decks to see which one I would play. I had mono green, a troll disco with rukh eggs (I recently bought a couple to make a playset), a stasis deck (after my recent purchase of some resets I wanted to try these out and there's not much else to do with it) and a new build of my BWU deck which can be described as some variant on a partycrasher deck. I thought I would play the deck with the rukh eggs, but it just wasn't doing that much. Although it's fun to blow everything up and end up with a 4/4 flyer or two, a lot of the time the eggs don't do much. It was fun when they did, but most of the time the eggs just sat there waiting to do something. And then didn't, making me wish they were Rocs of Kher ridges. As a variant of Troll Disco with some pretty awful singing (hymn to tourachs) I named the deck Karaoke Bar, but in the end it just wasn't that great, doing nothing most of the time.

The stasis deck was ok in playtesting (turbo stasis variant with resets) but was very weak against a deck with both enchantment destruction and counterspells. And fast creature decks. And though I did not try it against agressive discard, I had a feeling it would not be stellar against that as well. So in the end it would be a variant of my partycrasher deck, but I took the armageddons, as they hadn't done much while playtesting, and even though I won one of the earlier tournaments with a deck like this, the armageddons hadn't done much then either. Looking back I'm not sure it was a wise decision. Anyway, I wanted more pressure, so I added the UL nightmare I had won as a prize a while back.

Peters deck ended up being something of a speed/heavy hitter deck. Have you ever helped someone building a deck, and then looking at it and telling them to get out some of the cards? In this case I asked Peter: "you know what would make this deck a lot better?" He said no. "If we would take out the dance of many.." But since that was the whole point of the deck, we didn't do that. I did add a couple of triskelions and suggested taking out the serendib efreets and replace them with more ghost ships (I had already put in two) but Peter wanted to keep them in. So I added an extra counterspell (so he would have 4) and we left it at that.

On the day of the tournament, there seemed to be a lot more people than had pre-registered. Though most of the people standing around would play, some of them were also there for the legacy tournament. Arno and I registered the players. We would be playing 4 rounds and then we would have a winner. We thought of doing a top 4, but the heat (it was over 30 degrees because we were in the middle a heatwave) and the fact that some games to quite a long time to finish made us decide we would simply keep it at the swiss part.

In Round 1, I was paired against Marten. He was a Knights of Thorn finalist at that last gathering, and apart from being a good player he also a really nice guy. I would have loved to play him in a later round, but chance made us meet right away. He was playing a deck with savannah lions, efreets and angels, so though I'm not totally sure, it was some variant on the  Cermak deck. He started of with a turn one lions, but I terrored that, followed by hymn to tourach, hypnotic specter, Juzam Djinn. Although he took out some of the creatures that just kept coming, there was just too much pressure with hymns and consistant creature follow-up. In a nice exchange between my 4/4 Nightmare and his serra angel, he stripped away one of my swamps and made it 3/3 again. I had more lands, but considering they were a city of brass and mishra's factory, this was the first game I was thinking the nightmare wasn't that great. Fortunately, the vampires and djinns were big enough to take care of the angel, and that was it. Marten told me this was the first time he played this deck and he still had to get used to it. He also did not draw that good, so he did not have much to do about my pretty aggressive creature horde and discard. So we ended up 2-0

In round 2, I was paired against Arno, so again I would be playing against someone I knew well. At least this meant he had won the first match with his GW aisling leprechaun deck. Turns out he had beaten Peter's speedy djinns. Even though Peter had opened pretty strong, he wasn't able to get enough damage through. And when he did, it wasn't much fun either..

No damage, please!
Damage? No, thank you..
Ok, I'll take damage then.

Arno likes really wacky decks like this one, and manages to surprise some people at least. He made me not block his leprechaun to make sure it did not turn my nightmare green for a couple turns, since he had COP green in play. At least nog untill I drew another creature, so in the end I blocked it, my nightmare became green and I played a sengir vampire after that to make sure I could keep hitting, without the chance of being caught off guard by some giant, berserked leprechaun. Since my creatures were bigger and I managed to take some cards from Arno in the meantime (so he could not turn all my threats green) I won this match also, even though he managed to surprise me with righteousness and an eye for an eye.


In the third game I faced Carl with a Land tax/tower powermonolith deck. The first game was ok with a strong opening (hymn with land/mox jet) against his strong opening (turn 1 sol ring and ivory tower). Unfortunately, the deck stalled after that because no lands showed up, even though the deck had pretty solid manabase. After this game I found a pile of 7 lands in a row when I took out cards to sideboard. Apparently, shuffling and then rifling 5 times is not good for land distribution. After a couple of turns, the deck kicked into gear and I could put down some threats which won me the game. In the second game I had a pretty strong hand against him with a disenchant and a dust to dust with the mana to cast them, but he dropped a land tax and then timetwistered with a lotus, leaving me with a pretty lousy hand, while Carl had a library of Alexandria. In this game I managed to deal some damage, but he drew way too much cards with the library, even though I did keep the land tax out of order. The game took quite some time. I slowed him down with my energy flux, but that didn't do much because of the modern rules. When I used to play vintage you couldn't use an artifact unless you first paid the upkeep. In this day and age, that doesn't matter anymore, fortunately for Carl :) That way, it was easier for him to keep a mox and a tower in play. In the end, he killed me after getting a power monolith fireball, without me doing anything about it because I hadn't drawn any of the disenchants. I figured beating combo decks would be easier with both hymns and disenchants, but apparently combo decks are better than I thought :) So on to the third game. Again, not a strong opening from my side. I managed to put a COP red into play which he tried to destroy with a chaos orb but missed, but the time this gave me did not do anything because I drew to little threats to finish it off. And his deck takes some time to set up, so we end up in a draw because we don't decide games by orb flipping in Eindhoven. Oh well, on to the next game. In the meantime, Peter had brutally beaten Marten by drawing very good.

Second turn: say hello to my little friend

And even more djinns

I'll play ancestral, then braingeyser for 6 and then, while you try to do something, I'll just say no, no and no..

The fourth round was against Simon with the deck, who was 3-0 at this time. I think I Played him once before with a deck like this but I'm not sure. Matches like this draw out a long time because the deck just keeps coming back after you give it a beating. He had an early Library of Alexandria, which needed to be shut down quickly. I shut down his library by drawing a counter for a hypnotic specter and then cast balance with only two cards. I figured I would beat him quickly with my mishra's factory and made the wrong choice of not keeping my second swamp. I then drew 2 Juzam Djinns and a specter, but no lands. In the meantime he came back with ancestral recall, regrowth, ancestral recall and then braingeyser 2 of 3 turns after that. Plenty of counterspells and creature destruction after that, so I had no chance of coming back. Second game I had him down to one and we were both without cards. We exchanged creatures for counterspells for a couple of turns, but I then proceeded to draw 5 lands and 2 dark rituals in a row. By that time he had gotten out a tome, had drawn disenchant for my factory and 2 factories himself. Shortly after that a working library showed up, but he did not need that to win anymore. Last time I played against deck like this was in the finals a while back and I beat it that time. This time it solidly beat me and left me thinking how much I would have liked an armageddon in this game :) He would have probably countered it, but it would have given me a better win chance than the nightmare I had in my deck now.

So, what do I take from this? Well first, all of my opponents were really  nice people to play against. Second, nightmare pretty much sucks in a deck that also contains non-swamp land, even when there are only 4. Third, my shuffling skills are bad. I manage to riffle, shuffle, rifle several times before starting my games, but somehow I manage to end up drawing piles of land or almost no land at all for quite a lot of turns. I wonder what the ideal shuffling method would be for good randomizing, without piles of land getting stuck to each other :) Fourth, the deck is really good. It won 4-0 and it seemed not to have a hard time at all. 

The champion!

Thanks to all players for showing up and being really nice!

Other notable oldschool moments of the day:

So, with the first turn lotus I'll play... wait! You're not playing a lotus..


Friday, August 10, 2018

Draconian Cylix III: a tournament report by Carl

I've been to Draconian Cylix III in Eindhoven (NL) last Sunday with Pascal
Delfosse. The ruleset was peculiar: based on the French 2017 Bazaar of Moxen
tournament, Fallen Empires was allowed, only 1 Black Vise, 1 Recall and 1 Maze
of Ith, otherwise it is the Swedish B & R list. Cards with the same art and old
frame were allowed for a greater accessibility.

I chose to play Power Artifact without having playtested it (some goldfishing
though), but it looked good. I chose a Land Tax/Ivory Tower shell since I was
expecting a lot of Hymns.

Thirteen players show up, we played straight swiss for 4 rounds.

Round 1: Robert Vlackeners - B/R discard
I met Robert previously, he was playing Goblins and I a Living Plane land
destruction deck. Robert chose to play heavy discard (Hymn, Specter, Mindstab Thrull and The
Game 1 was uneventful: I fireballed Robert three times to win without combo (the
first time I split it on a Mindstab Thrull, the other two times at him directly).
Game 2 I mulligan into a slow hand with 2 Fireball, Robert is light on mana and
my Strip Mine on his Badlands didn't help. I can't finish it though, Robert
recovers, strips my hand away and beats me with Factories.
I don't get lands in my initial hand in the third game, but I have a Sapphire
and Ancestral, so it's OK. I also get an Ivory Tower out. My first Basalt
Monolith is shattered, a Power Artifact REBed. I get a Land Tax out to keep The
Rack from doing its job. Robert plays Underworld Dreams. Nevertheless, I play
Timetwister and it's a hit: I manage to combo him out with a lethal Fireball
2-1, 3 points.

Round 2: Frenk van der Mey - G/W/R aggro-control
Frenk has come from Leiden with Marten who I played several times recently. They
both play a good stuff G/W/R deck with Serendib Efreet, Savannah Lions, Bolts
and a lot of restricted cards. Frenk also plays Power Sink.
We both get a turn one Ancestral, but I also get an Ivory Tower. Henk
disenchants it, so I play City in a Bottle to kill his City of Brass. It turns
out that he also drew Dibs and a library later on. I combo him.
Game 2 goes back and forth until Henk plays an unmatch Serra Angel that goes all
the way.
I get a great hand game 3: I get a turn 1 blood Moon out (Henk has very few
basic lands if any), but Henk plays his Sapphire, enabling him to play Time Walk
followed by Timetwister next turn. I gain a lot of life thanks to Ivory Tower.
After playing a second Blood Moon, I get out a Serra Angel that I can protect to
take the match.
2-1, 6 points.

Round 3: Bjorn Stemerdink - B/u/w Deadguy Ale style
Bjorn is one of the organisers, it is nice to meet him :)
I win the toss and open with Land, Sol Ring and Ivory Tower. Bjorn answer with
Swamp, Mox Jet and Hymn to Tourach, getting my second land and the Timetwister I
planned to play next turn. I am holding a Monolith and a Power Sink. Bjorn
misses his next land drop, so I play the Monolith. Next turn Bjorn gets a land
and plays a Hypnotic Specter, eating my hand away. Soon an Order and a Vampire
join the battlefield and I am dead.
I have to mulligan in the second game, getting a hand with Library as my lone
land and a Land Tax. Things could have been good, but Bjorn gets a second turn
Mind Twist for 3. Fortunately, he cannot put pressure on, and I am able to
recover, gaining life thanks to Ivory Tower powered by Land Tax. It is a hard
slope to go up though, as Bjorn played an Energy Flux, so I am hampered by the
upkeep cost of the tower (and 2 Moxen went in the bin). I manage to assemble the
combo later on and Bjorn gets toasted.
Game 3, Bjorn opens with a City of Brass, I play a land, Lotus, Land Tax and
Timetwister. Bjorn plays a CoP: Red, but I am not too worried. I get a Powered
Monolith and am holding Fireball, time for Chaos Orb to get rid of the CoP. But
I miss the flip, with Recall and Timetwister already in the bin, no way to
recover it. My hope is to get Braingeyser to deck him. Time is called, Bjorn
doesn't manage to kill me in the 5 extra turns, so it is a draw...
1-1-1, 7 points.

Round 4: Pascal Delfosse - The deck
We have driven 1.5 hour to play each other... Pascal is playing a version of The
Deck with 2 Lightning Bolt main deck and Moat.
I have to mulligan, but get a Library (on the draw) that stays, Pascal has kept
a hand with 3 Mishra's Factories and is hitting me hard. Fortunately, I have
been able to play an Ivory Tower to keep me alive. He disenchants it, but I get
another one. I cast Timetwister, Time Walk, Wheel of Fortune: this is enough to
pull the combo and fry Pascal.
Game 2 is long, Pascal casts Dust to Dust on a Basalt Monolith and Sol Ring. I
play two Ivory Tower and a second Monolith later on, Pascal is able to regrowth
his Dust to Dust and chooses to remove the two Towers (I am already at 40+
life). Next turn I pull the combo (he counters my Power Artifact, but I have a
second one) and send a huge Fireball at his face :)
2-0, 10 points.

This is already the end of the tourney, too bad we were not a bit more numerous,
I would have enjoyed an extra round.
I finish 2nd and get a Fellwar Stone for my trouble: it is now in my deck!

Props to Bjorn and Arno for a smooth and enjoyable tournament, I hope to be able
to come to the next one in November.