Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Mol Magic Masters

It was last thursday I think, that I read about some guys going to the oldschool tournament in Mol, Belgium. I hadn't heard of it before so I had no plans for going there. Actually, I did not have any plans for my Saturday at all. So I asked who was going and it turned out Koos, Jasper en Peter were attending. Fortunately they had one seat in the car vacant if I was willing to come to a pickup point where they could pick me up easily. Also fortunately, I have a girlfriend who used to play magic a long time ago. She understands how much I like the oldschool scene, so she was okay with me being away, even though that would mean I would be home way after midnight, probably. So, I did some quick changes to the deck I had lying around on saturday morning, bought some Belgian Wafels to give out and get into the mood of Belgium and told the guys I would be waiting at the pickup point.

Junk food and magic, a great combination :)

We talked politics on the way in the car. The discussion was a nice to spend the time and it seemed we were in Belgium in no time. When we parked near the location, I handed out some of the wafels to celebrate we had reached Belgium safely. We asked for directions and were  sent in the right direction, because we went down a street, down an alley and then we spotted some familiar faces. Unfortunately, the guys were behind a fence which was locked, so we had to walk back and try from the other side to get in :)

The tournament would not be starting until 3.30 PM because there were other tournaments running and people who were dropping out of those might want to join the oldschool tournament. Close to 3.30 the organizer told us they would wait a little longer to see if more people wanted to join, so I asked around if anyone wanted to play a quick game. I got out my mono green deck (variant no. 20 or so) and gave G/B deck a beating in a couple of games.

Always play whirling dervish if you play mono G if you want to have chance of winning :)

When it was time to start, about 20 people had joined in the fun. I saw quite a lot of familiar faces, but also some people I had never seen before in our home country, so these there were also guys mostly playing in Belgium. 

Round 1: RB discard with orders

My first game of the day (or almost evening, since it was already going dark outside) was against a mostly black discard deck. I had a quick opening with an elf, an ice storm, followed up by a Djinn. This is this deck at it's best (without power cards, that is).

The djinn was followed up by argothian pixies, disenchant on a felwar stone and another elf. It was just to quick to stop so I was one game ahead pretty quickly.

Game 2 was a little slower, but an Ice storm and an elf (not on turn one this time, I think it came on turn 2) made it possible to cast a quick serra angel.

When I attacked, I found out why my opponent was playing city of brass. Until this point, there was no indication what the other colors in his deck were so I was kind of expecting white for disenchants, as I have encountered a couple of times before. But no, this time it was a bolt taking care of my factory while a maze of ith was keeping my angel away.

Even though it meant taking some damage from the rack, I played a djinn, hoping it would not run into another bolt while being blocked by the order my opponent had played in the meantime. It did not, and the match was over quickly after that. Looking back, this was the quickest match of the tournament.

This gave me some time to take some pictures of other players who were still very busy playing their matches:

On round two, I was paired against one of the guys I came in the car with. Peter was playing the deck, and his first round had ended in a draw. So not only was I downpaired, I had to play the deck piloted by one of the guys I could have played in Holland :)

To make matters worse, I had to mulligan on the first game because I had a no-land mulligan. The second had I got had a mox pearl, a sol ring and an ancestral recall in it, so I figured I would keep this instead of making matters even worse and draw three cards either on turn 1 or 2. I mean, I had shuffled pretty well, a land would have to show up sooner or later, right?

Turned out, it would not, while Peter was playing time walk and ancestral recall, I was still stuck with nothing.

After a while, I was looking at this, and I still had not drawn any land. We counted and in the first game I did not draw a land, not even after more than 10 turns. As this happens to me quite often, there must be something wrong with the way I shuffle my deck I guess :)

When I finally got my land, it was the basic plains that is in the deck against blood moon. Great. Peter had played his library of alexandria and was happily drawing cards in the meantime. After he mind twisted my for 7, I decided to call it a day. I normally don't concede, but having 15+ card disadvantage left no doubts who would win this game.

The second game I managed to get out an early energy flux and quickly had to play balance to make sure Peter would not be drawing any more cards from his library of alexandria, which had played on turn one. He had swords to plowshared my elf, so I did not have that many cards in my had by then.

I kept pushing the issue by playing another energy flux and kept beating at him with factories. This proved enough to win game 2. This meant I still had a chance! On to game 3 it was.

Game 3 looked like a decent start. Nothing spectacular in my hand, but I had a disenchant, some lands and a djinn and an angel, so I just kept it because I still remembered vividly what had happened the last time I had mulliganed. Then Peter started of with a land, mox, ancestral recall.

He then dropped another mox and a chaos orb. I still had done nothing so far :)

To compensate a little for the blazing start of Peter, I topdecked a mox sapphire, which made it possible for me to play my disenchant to get rid of the orb quickly.

Peter continued on with a mishra's factory, time walk, and beat me of the head with the factory.

Oh, and then he drew the library again. I was getting a bit desperate by then and I did not want to get him to seven cards, so I went on the offensive.

Which meant just keep playing everything and beat him as quickly as I could, hoping that would draw disenchants and swords to plowshares, or a balance maybe, but that would also cost him his hand so I was fine with that.

Peter got the library working and cast fireball on my angel, which left me with the djinn to finish the game. I could only hope he would not be drawing a swords to plowshares with the library. He was at 8 after his fireball.

And then... I topdecked one of the psionic blasts I had sideboarded in and was able to finish the game with an attack and the blast. Wow. I did not expect that. After game one I did not think my chances of winning were more than 10%, but it turned out a win. It was an exiting game, this one.

In the third round I was paired against a quick UGW deck which also had a pretty quick start. The games were quite fast and intense. My Elf which should have made sure I could keep up with the mox was quickly removed from the game. Fortunately, I also had a pixies and a factory to make sure I would do some damage.

My opponent started off with a quick serendib efreet and did not want me to take any advantage of the ancestral recall I had cast, so he dropped a balance and took care of my hand and one of my lands.

This was not enough though, a serendib facing off against a pixies and a mishra's factory lost the damage race so we were off to game 2. In which I had a first turn library which I followed up with a sol ring and a sylvan library. The sol ring was quickly taken care of and my opponent then used his Icy Manipulator to tap the library on moments I could not make good use of it so he kept some of the advantage at bay, but the library did gave me some advantage.

And I would need that advantage, because on turn 4, an Angel turned up.

Fortunately for me, I play four swords to plowshares in this deck so fortunately this was not a problem. I also put in to play a maze of ith, so my opponent would have to choose between doing damage or letting me draw cards.

I drew a couple of extra cards and then got to my ancestral recall for a brutal card advantage. I was a bit low on the offensive side though.

 I had sideboarded in Rubinia Soulsinger against his creature heavy deck, which I played immediately after he played his serendib efreet. This was one of those "what does that card do?" moments I really enjoy in oldschool.

My opponent studying Rubinia's ability.
Rubinia would have made a nice impact on the game while adding some extra flavour, but my opponent was not really in for this so he removed her quickly with a wrath of god, along with his efreet and my elf. I just drew an extra card again with my library of alexandria and dropped another djinn. That was enough to win the game quickly. I drew about 4 or 5 extra cards with the library and that really made all the difference. Otherwise this would have been a really close game. I would really have liked to credit Rubinia for the win, but that was not meant to be. Maybe another time :)

My match was over pretty quickly, so I had some time to look around at the other games, which were still being played quite intensely.

Peter playing prodigal sorcerer in a lions/serendib match-up. Awesome tech :)

And then it was time for round 4. I figured I would be paired against some the deck variant, but I was paired against a quick arabian agro deck, which has the advantage in this match-up I think, because my deck is a bit slower. That's why I was quite happy when I was able to icy storm and disenchant a mox to keep my opponent from going way to quickly and see I could keep up.

I hoped the ifh-biff efreet would do some heavy hitting in this match, but it was quickly removed with a psionic blast, and then my opponent played a pixies and an Erhnam Djinn in quick succession while I was struggling to keep this onslaught away.

The onslaught continued though, with an extra kird ape. I tried to keep up with an Icy manipulator, but that was obviously not enough. I played an Erhnam Djinn, but that was quickly removed by a chaos orb flip which was so close it almost missed. I think it was just about 1 mm from missing. Then I hoped the Serra Angel I got was going to slow my opponent down. Unfortunately, my opponent had also drawn an extra psionic blast to take her off the board and then it was on to game 2. Wow, the game took 6 or 7 turns I think, this was really quick.

On the second game, I did not have a spectacular opening, drawing neither a mox or an elf, but I did have some lands, an Ice storm and a Erhnam Djinn, so I thought it wasn't too bad and I kept my hand.

I thought I had a good chance with my djinn and factories, but a pixie appeared on the other side pretty quickly.

There were a lot of creatures coming out from the other side though, also a Djinn, then an Efreet. Too bad I could not play city in a bottle here. I did have an Icy though, so I thought I still had a chance.

Then another efreet showed up, followed up by a chaos orb and factories. The orb took my Djinn and that was pretty much it. This deck was so fast and such a good draw there was absolutely no way I could win these games.

In round 5 I was paired against Jasper, who was playing a classic hymn/order deck. And the hymns were very, very good in this game.

Jasper took out most of my good threats with discard in a couple of turns and then followed up with a rack and paralize. With no cards left in my hand, there was no chance of winning. I must admit I really don't like hymn to tourach. The suggestion that card should make into the scryings set along with necropotence makes me feel slightly nauseated. I will certainly make sure I never attend a scryings event, let's just hope that does not happen :)

I sideboarded in 4 whirling dervised and kept an opening hand with two of them, a tropical island, an regrowth, a factory, a djinn and a serra angel. I figured I could at least get one into play before losing it to a hymn and that would probably win the game. So I played it on turn one, but no land appeared. A mox pearl did, but no land. I drew a plains 2 turns later, but by that time I had already been hymned twice, with Jasper taking (did I mention I really don't like random discard? I do) both the dervices, the ancestral I had taken with regrowth, hoping to get a green mana source, and my serra angel. He also took out my djinn with a terror. Wow. That was a really great hand there.

From that point, I really wasn't that motivated to play on this match because I was frustrated about the random effect of me not drawing green mana while Jasper drew two hymns in his opening. I tried to do some damage with pixies, while Jasper followed up with underworld dreams (which I disenchanted), a chaos orb, a disk and a  factory. I drew a swords to plowshares and a lot of land, so you can guess the outcome here.

So, a 3-2 record. Not great, but since I had played some people who had a high resistance score, I ended up being 5th and got a played beta fireball as a prize. I did not have a beta fireball yet, so that left me happy with the result. My match was over this quickly I still had some time to take some pictures of the other matches.

It was quite late in the evening by then, so we were hungry. Fortunately, we were in Belgium, the land of the "Frituur" as snack bars are called over there. We had seen several of them on the way over, so we were hoping at least one of them would still be open at 10 PM. While in the car looking for a Frituur, Koos was telling us he really, really wanted something to eat so he was very happy when we saw one on the other side of the road that seemed like it was still open. We quickly turned around the car and it was open. Great! As you can see, Koos was very happy with his food :)

Jasper later commented he had learned a valuable lesson, which was not to order an extra, extra large fries, which was something close to ordering your own weight in fries in this establishment. Even though he was quite hungry, it was so much he wasn't able to finish it. Koos did finish pretty much all the snacks on the tray though and was looking much better after :)

Thanks to the guys in the picture for letting me drive with them and for the great company. I had a great time! Also thanks to the organizers in Mol for doing a great job in organizing a lot of Magic events, especially since you added oldschool :) I'm looking forward to the next event already. Plenty of Oldschool for me this dark december. Coming Saturday I will go the Knights of Thorn in Deventer and don't have a lot of time to make a deck. But since I never play the same deck twice in a row, I will have to make something. It's a bit harder then normal because of the restrictings (KOT is mostly Schwedish legal with just 10 cards you can play from reprints) so I have a bit less options. Find out in the next post what I'll pick :)