Saturday, November 17, 2018

Draconian Cylix IV with pictures by Bjorn

On november 4th we held the 4th edition of the Draconian Cylix Series, Oldschool magic using the French set of rules. It's always a bit of a surprise how many people show up, but we had a nice group of players, enough for four rounds of swiss, followed by a top 4.

In the last tournament I was in (Frost Giant Cup) several people were playing a Land's edge deck inspired by Randy's deck, and since this deck is different from previous Lands Edge decks I've played (mainly because there is only one kill, a single Land's edge, something I've never tried, minimum I always stuck to so far was two) I decided to give it a try because I wanted to know how it plays. I was also looking forward to using the rainbow vale gimmick and see if that would work (spoiler alert: it didn't, because I either ended up getting them back or them not having a positive impact at all). I tried the deck a couple of times against Peter and it seemed consistent enough even without any counters of it's own. Because it was late and I couldn't decided which cards to cut for power sink, I played the deck without. In retrospect, I think the deck would have performed better with power sinks, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

On the day of the tournament, Arno ran into the fact that the trains weren't going as normal due to maintenance and he had to travel longer. Fortunately, he did get there just in time though. While we were entering player names in our pairing system, one of the players sent us an e-mail telling us he was coming, but would be a little late. Since this is a format that is only about the atmosphere and the cards, we waited and were happy to see he came with a friend, which meant we would be playing an even number of players.

I was first paired against Carl from Belgium. He was playing Cermak-like deck with Serendib Efreets, savannah lions, orders, bolts, counters and power. This is the deck I sometimes think is the most powerful deck in the format, and I know Carl is a good player since I've played him before and know he's very precise and thinks his moves through very well. This would be a tough match, and it was. He opened the first two games with a Library of Alexandria. During the game I noticed several times that rainbow vale would not really do much and chose to play other lands. This was somewhat of a theme during the day, later on I would also regret having them instead of city of brass. The first game was mine after a ivory tower stuck and I ended up drawing extra cards from a Sylvan Library. The second game was Carls after I messed up with my sideboard, I should have added an extra moat in retrospect, because the one abyss and one moat weren't enough, even backed up with the wrath of god from my sideboard. It would be up to the third game, but we ended up 1-1 when time was up and neither of us could finish it within the 5 remaining turns.

Second round I was paired against Hero. He's a long time player of both Oldschool and the Ancient format and according to me, has the right way of looking at this format. He plays it only for fun, and pretty much a different deck every time. That doesn't mean this is going to be easy though, he's a good player. The first game started off with some creatures, some burn and then channel/fireball pretty quickly. I don't known on which turn, but it was somewhere around turn 5 or 6 I think. So the first game was over in less than 5 minutes and had me remembering I had no power sinks. The second game took a while longer. I got my deck running with land tax and ivory towers and ended up with a life total over 50, even after a shatterstorm and a tranquility. We would have to see who would win this round by playing the third game. In the third game, Hero's deck produced both black lotus and channel, combined with one of his fireballs and that was that. Just before that, he pulled off a really neat trick to both do more damage and and keep me from taxing:

Bang! you're dead. Or in this case, I was dead.

Channel fireball twice over in one match, both with black lotus. Wow. It's been quite a while since that happened to me. 1-2 result. At least it was over quite quickly, which gave me time to take some pictures:

This is really awful. But also kind of cool :)

Winter orb with guardian beast. That's just unfair. Later on someone would pull a stunt on Marco that would even it out for this tournament, but that's a later match. Anyway, on to the third round.

In the third round, I was playing another land tax/edge deck, but without a lot of power so it was quite an uneven match. He was very careful to make sure I didn't tax that often and he had burn cards, so in theory he would be able to get me with bolts and a feldon's cane, but that would take a very long time. He had to play a land sooner or later while I was getting life from an ivory tower. When he started to throw some fire at me, I played armageddon and after a while we ended up with this boardstate:

Nice set of artifacts and enchantments :)

In the end he had to play a land to try something, but that gave me plenty of opportunity to land tax and finish the game with lots of lands. It was quite a drawn out game which made sure we would not get to finish another game. If I play this deck again, I'm going to try some more finishers, it takes quite a long time this way. 1-0

On to the fourth round, I was paired against a zoo deck, which I should be able to win with moats, abyss and ivory towers. It was not easy though, and my opponent just kept playing creatures. One of the key moments of the match was when I played a chaos orb, and he played his while I had no mana to activate mine, and he just barely hit mine on the sleeve.

Juuuuust made it :)

Had he missed, it would have been much more probable I would have won that game in stead of going to 1-1. Although one of the other key moments was quite nice:

I wanted to make sure I would not get beaten too much and wanted to speed up the process already started with the abyss with a swords, but that wasn't meant to be. I when he tapped one green mana, I already knew what was going to happen and it always makes me smile when someone avoid fates :) We were in the third game when I had to call time (as the organizer you don't get to bend the rules, at least I think so) so we ended up in a draw. We played out the game and it turns out I would have won 5 turns later, but when time's up, time is up. So this one ended in 1-1 as well, which meant I would not be in the final 4. It might have happend had I won this one, but now I was definitely out.

In the meantime, someone made sure Marco was not destroying their land with a demonic hordes. A strip mine made the difference between this:

and this one turn later, which finished the game pretty quickly:

Although I like the land tax deck and the fairly obscene things it can do, I think it may need some more finishers to make sure you don't draw this often. Either that or I just did not draw the cards that well. I'll work on that and try this deck another time and see what happens.

It did give me plenty of time to watch the final 4, which had one totally unpowered deck! Always nice to see that it's possible to do well without power. In this case it was a variant on a stasis deck which also contained winter orbs.

Top 4 with an unpowered deck! Awesome!

Unfortunately he didn't make it to the finals, it would have been awesome if a unpowered deck would have won one of these tournaments. I remember it happening once (a Erhnamgeddon deck without power once won an Ancient tournament) but I would like to see it done more often. The finals were down to Carl and Marten, playing a speed deck vs Erhnamgeddon without armageddon. The match was very cool to watch, with balance swings from one to the other.

Quite a turn one in the finals..

At one point, I thought Marten was going to win, but then Carl drew not one but two control magics in short order:

Just after this, Marten drew his diamond valley. What a difference that would have made. it was on the third game, which was off to this start:

So it was close from the start, but in the end, Carl's deck was just too fast and and he won the cup, ehh, cylix, fair and square:

The winnner!

Congrats to the winner! As shown in his report, this is obviously a very strong deck and with a strong player like Carl behind it, it proved unstoppable this day. Well played!

As for the rest, some of the other oldschool moments of the day:

How do you make 3 juggernauts in one turn? Well, like this..

Twiddle to prevent damage :)

Yeah! Gaea's liege cast with gaea's touch! Cool!

When you think you're off to a quick start..

Big green vs green

So far, I've never seen anyone use a reset to untap his maze to prevent damage :)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Draconian Cylix IV report by Carl

Last Sunday was a big day for the Old school community with the Old school tournament at Eternal Weekend, but there also was a Dutch tournament: Draconian Cylix IV. Having enjoyed the previous installment, I brought Antoine with me this time. After an uneventful ride from Brussels (Belgium) to Eindhoven, we registered the same 75 cards: Temple of Sped, with a modified sideboard:

4 Disenchant
4 Order of Leitbur
4 Savannah Lions
2 Serra Angel
3 Swords to Plowshares

1 Fireball
4 Lightning Bolt

1 Demonic Tutor
1 Mind Twist

1 Ancestral Recall
1 Braingeyser
3 Power Sink
3 Serendib Efreet
1 Time Walk

1 Chaos Orb

1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Sol Ring

4 City of Brass
1 Library of Alexandria
3 Mishra's Factory
2 Plains
4 Plateau
1 Strip Mine
4 Tundra
1 Underground Sea

2 Armageddon
2 Circle of Protection: Red
2 Control Magic
2 Earthquake
3 Energy Flux
3 Red Elemental Blast
1 Swords to Plowshares

As you can see, only 1 Strip Mine is allowed, we play with the Bazaar of Moxen rules, meaning mana burn is alive, life total checked at the end of the phase (aka Mirror Universe kill, can also be useful when playing Lich) and tapped blocking creatures don't deal damage (i.e. Mishra's Factory).

The 3 Strip Mine from the original (EC) deck have been replaced by 2 Plains (vs Blood Moon) and a Serra Angel (best creature ever).

We are 14 players fighting for the Cylix today. On to the report.

Round 1: Bjorn - Randy's 5C Tax-Edge
Last time I played Bjorn already, he was with Deadguy Ale. This time it is another great deck: Randy Buelher's Land Tax-Land's Edge.
I open with a Library of Alexandria, always a great start. Bjorn has to be proactive, and he is: Mox Emerald, Mountain, Winds of Change (so I initially think he is on Underworld Dreams), Mox Jet and Sylvan Library. I play Plateau and Savannah Lions. Bjorn plays Mox Pearl and Land Tax, meaning he will be able to tax next turn. I disenchant the Land Tax, but he has another one. He plows my first Serendib Efreet, balances away the second one. He gets Ivory Tower in play, and after I manage to get him to 4, he gets back to 22, starts drawing extra cards, assembles the combo and kills me in one turn by discarding 10 lands to Land's Edge.
Game 2 I get Library turn one again and put some pressure, he plays a Blood Moon that I disenchant after some time, then I play Energy Flux. Bjorn answers with a second Blood Moon, which I disenchant again. I mind twist his hand away, but he manages to play The Abyss, getting rid of Savannah Lions. Fortunately, Orders are abyss-proof and the pounding starts. Bjorn plays a Wrath of God, I play a second Order. Bjorn attempts a second Wrath of God at one life, and I kill him with a Power Sink (tapped his City of Brass).
We have no time to complete the third game.
1-1, 1 point.

Round 2: Wouter Jansen - R/W/g Tax-Edge
Well, there seems to be a pattern. Wouter's deck is unpowered, so he cannot do broken things like Bjorn. Except for Balance, he also doesn't play mass removal (no Wrath of God, Earthquake, Moat).
I start game 1 with an Ancestral Recall at the end of his first turn, then play an Order that he bolts. Wouter plays Wheel of Fortune, I get out some creatures while he manages to deals with some of them (REB on a Serendib Efreet, bolt on Lions). Still, his life is dwlindling and I take the game.
2-0, 4 points.

Round 3: Wouter - Monoblue Stasis
Another Wouter, another deck without Power nine.
Wouter starts with Black Vise, I play Land, Mox, Lions. He plays a turn 2 Howling Mine, I play an Order. He gets a second Vise out, I disenchant the Howling Mine. He plays Stasis with one untapped Island which meets my Strip Mine. I then tutor for a Time Walk to hit him again and finish him off with a Fireball.
I have a hand with Serra Angel, Mox, and Demonic Tutor. I get a turn 1 Lotus to play a second turn Serra Angel, while Wouter plays a Black Vise, a Howling Mine and a couple of Fellwar Stones. He tries to Boomerang the Angel, but I have a REB for it. He plays Maze of Ith, but Strip Mine takes care of the bugger. Wouter cannot stop the best creature of Magic.
2-0, 7 points.

Round 4: Antoine - Temple of Sped
I get a good hand with Library and a Mox, but no other mana source. Antoine has a turn one Sol Ring, turn 2 Demonic Tutor. I think he took Mind Twist, so I disenchant his Sol Ring but he strips my Library away. I don't draw enough lands to empty my hand, Antoine pounds me with a Serendib Efreet and 2 Mishra's Factories while playing Ancestral Recall and Time Walk, followed by a Geyser for 6 cards...
I keep a one-land hand (with Sol Ring) and play a second turn Efreet which is blasted away. Antoine plays an Order and 2 factories, I mind twist a Serra Angel and a Control Magic, miss my Chaos Orb flip of a Factory. I control magic his Order, he REBs, I cast Earthquake for one to stabilize at one life, but Antoine has an Earthquake of his own to take the match.
0-2, 7 points.

Antoine is first of the swiss rounds with a perfect 4-0 score, I squeeze in as 4th seed as we were only 14 players. This means that there is a rematch.

Semi-finals: Antoine - Temple of Sped
In the first game, Antoine destroys my Efreet with Chaos Orb, then he plows my Factory (holding a Disenchant, this was probably a mistake). Since he has no red mana open, I play a Order and Time Walk, hitting him for 3 in the extra turn. He bots the Order, we both drop a Serendib Efreet that chip at our life total. I have direct damage to take the game.
Game 2, I play a Serendib Efreet that Antoine plows, I manage to get a Serra Angel out and Power Sink his.

Finals: Marten Buehler - G/W/U midrange
Marten plays a deck that looks a lot like the one played by Joep Meddens won Giant Frost 2 with a few weeks ago: Erhnam Djinn, Serra Angel, Elves, Pixies, Icy Manipulator and white removal. I didn't see any Armageddon, but I suppose he played them.
Marten has a Swords to Plowshares for my Serendib Efreet after I hit him once. We trade some blows, then he plays a Serra Angel that I have to double bolt. A second Angel goes all the way, as I don't draw any Swords to Plowshares.
Game 2 doesn't look good as Marten plays a turn 1 Library of Alexandria and has a Swords to Plowshares for my turn 1 Serendib Efreet. He regrowths the plow to get rid of an Order I played turn 3, his Strip Mine hits my Factory. I get rid of his Library after he has drawn 5 or 6 extra cards. I manage a Geyser for 5 to even things out. But Marten plays 2 Maze of Ith, an Erhnam Djinn and a Serra Angel. Fortunately, I am able to control magic both of them (and Marten has sideboarded out all his Disenchant). An Order joins the team and I can finally hit him. He doesn't manage to mount a defense, and I take this gruelling game.
Game 3, I play a second turn Serendib Efreet, but Marten has a Plowshares. I play a second Serendib Efreet, play Power Sink on his Serra Angel, attack and Time Walk, then Armageddon to seal the game.

I am happy to finally beat Marten and can hold the cup (well... the cylix :-)
Temple of Sped is as great as Bryan Manolakos claims in his Eternal weekend 2017 report: not counting mirror matches, Antoine and I didn't lose a match. Moreover, I think that one Strip Mine benefits the deck compared to four. The modified sideboard to fight The Deck worked well against other decks (nobody played The Deck at the tournament). Thanks to Bjorn and Arno for another great event, and to Antoine for the ride and chat over the deck.



Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Draconian Cylix IV tournamentreport by Antoine

One of our players sent me a nice tournament report of the last Draconian Cylix of the year, here it is! Cheers, Bjorn

While playing casually at home for a while, I finally got to play a real Old School tournament after a side event at GP Brussels earlier this year where I played UR counterburn to a 2-1 record, but it really felt too short. So on this Sunday morning, Carl,my friend and teammate since 1995, came early to my house so we could hit the road and head to Eindhoven to cast a few spells in the Draconian Cylix IV tournament, Carl played the third one and had a very good time so I had great hopes.
With no time to playtest together this week, we both opted to play the same deck, Temple of Sped, slightly modified to comply with the French restricted list. It meant only one strip mine:
Carl already played this list in Paris to finish 9th (ouch) of the EU championship.
14 people showed up and it was decided to have 4 rounds with cut to top 4, so 3-1 might not be enough in theory.Sorry if names are misspelled or missing.
R1 Hero playing RG with bop, ball lightning, dragon whelp, berserk (I know he won another round on the back of Channel fireball combo twice vs the Land Tax Land's Edge deck, but I didn't see any of those)...
Won the die roll
G1 I bolted 2 Dragon Whelps and power sinked one Erhnam Djinn and he was out of gas, a large Braingeyser refuelled me and critters killed him.
G2 My opponent mulled to 5, I opened with a land and a lotus which I cracked to power sink his blood moon, then he flooded and the game was pretty uneventful.
1-0, 2-0
R2 Peter playing UW with Su-Chi, Juggernaut, Serra Angel, Dance of many...
Won the die roll
G1 I mulled to 6 and my opponent plays a 1st turn Library of Alexandria. I get 2 lions out and push some damage to drop him to 14 while he's getting some Library of Alexandria action but then he proceeds to pop Juggernaut after Juggernaut, a Dancy of many make it three 3 and my lions are harmless kittens in front of them and I succumb.
G2 I get a quick start with a turn 2 Serendib Efreet followed by a turn 3 mind twist for half his hand (3 cards), he tries to stabilize with a Serra but a control magic is the nail in his coffin.
G3 was an epic game, probably the best of the day, with each player seeming to take the lead in turn. Energy flux wipes his board and especially his freshly cast Jayemdae Tome, then Braingeyser for 8 turns the tide for me as from there I can answer each of his treat while dropping his life total closer and closer to zero, then on his last possible draw, from the top of his library, he managed to pull a card that didn't help him and died (sorry I wanted to include some drama in my report).
2-0, 4-1
R3 Arno playing GW around Ifh-Biff Efreet, full support from main deck Circle of Protection: Green, green Ward, backed with all special lands: Karakas, Maze of Ith, Island of Wak-Wak...
Lost the die roll
G1 He opens with a Library of Alexandria on the play, so I play a land, my Black Lotus and mind twist him for 3 making sure his Library remains ineffective, he skips a land drop, actually keeping it in hand faking the mana death and trying to go back to 7, but I get some aggression going so the plan is off the table, he plays regrowth on the balance I twisted and we start a new game with 4 lands and 1 card in hand, but the card I kept is a Braingeyser and it allows me to refill shortly after, my lions come after his life total, he plays a pair of Ifh-Biff Efreets to try and stabilize but they're too late, I was too far ahead. I even get to activate on to kill the Efreet who blocked a lion off a City of Brass after disenchanting his Circle of Protection: Green, sweet.
G2 He gets a slow hand, I patiently lay lands as his special lands prevent me from damaging him and I am afraid of his wraths (he played 2) until I can mind twist him of all his cards, then proceed to draw 7 or 8 and win easily from there.
3-0, 6-1
I'm the only 3-0 left so top 4 seems in the bag.
R4 Carl so an exact 75 mirror
Won the die roll
G1 I go land sol ring Carl has Library, I DT for strip mine, he thought I'd go for mind twist so he disenchanted my Sol Ring, I get critters out while he's mana screwed, easy win.
We do the sideboard dance
G2 he short on mana once again, an early ferret from him is met by a red blast, I have a knight attacking and I even let my factories die in combat (and he failed a chaos orb flip) pushing as much damage as possible, he mind twists my Serra and control magic, we trade knights, I too deck one, he earthquakes for 1 leaving him at one and I find an earthquake of my own to win 2-0.
We sideboarded a bit differently, so we discussed our choices, he left only one power sink optint to keep 2 disenchants, while I kept mine.
4-0, 8-1, 1st seed to the semis, #feelsgood, too bad it is at the expense of a friend.
Semi final
While we thought that Carl was eliminated, it turned out that because of the number of unintentional draws he got to squeeze in 4th with his 2-1-1 record and the best tiebreakers, cool! But we are 1st and 4th seed, this means we have to play together once again in the semis, bummer.
Unfortunately this time Carl wins the die roll and it goes downhill from there as it is my turn to be on the receiving end of the beating in this mirror match to lose 0-2. After mulliganing into a weak hand, I made a small mistake game one using a swords on a mishra eot instead of waiting with a disenchant, as a consequence he got to attack a few times with a pump knight before I could answer it, putting him in the driver's seat. He did the job consciensiously and won the first easily.
He changed his sideboard approach and left 2 power sinks which he drew and used well to make sure I wouldn't make a comeback in game 2.
4-1, 8-3
Lesson: never go undefeated in the swiss, you'll always lose your 1st elimination round. #feelsbadman
Match for 3rd place vs a turbo stasis deck Someone won the die roll and I think he did.
G1 He mulls to 5, I play a turn one Serendib Efreet and disenchant his first howling mine. Sorry if the report for this game is short.
G2 I keep a hand with lotus a Tundra as my only land but a pair of pump knights look confident that they can do the job in time for me, so I keep and play them both on turn one, I get to draw a mox of his howling mine and disenchant it, I draw another mox and play energy flux to ruin his board of howling mine and winter orb while the knights keep putting a lot of pressure, he tried a stasis with two mana open but a power sink for 2 foiled his plan, he play a boomerand on a knight in response to buy some time, the rest was pretty academic.
5-1, 10-3
3rd place it is. #feelsgood
Carl went on to win the finals after losing game one and being in a really bad position game 2 with his opponent abusing his LoA, great job!
We took 1st and 3rd, deece :)
Props and slops (a tribute to old tournament reports) Props
+ The Temple of Sped deck is pure gas, So 5-1 for me 4-1-1 for Carl, if we don't count our mirror matches we went undefeated for a combined 7-0-1 record.
+ The organisation and the venue, bought myself some treats: a beta fireball and power sink and a second unlimited control magic for the tournaments with Swedish restrictions.
+ Carl for bringing me to Old School format, feels so good to play magic as we did in the beginning and slinging those beautiful cards.
+ No "The Deck" player
+ Me for being 100% in chaos orb flips on the day Got to play 6 rounds
+ of old school
-Bad timing to get my only loss of the day, should have lost in the swiss -Traffic jams in Antwerp area on a late Sunday afternoon
Until next time, can't wait to play in a third one!
PS: I know a link to MTG goldfish isn't exactly Old School (especially with the wrong Lightning Bolt illustration) but I have no pictures yet and I thought people might find it handy.