Sunday, March 15, 2020

Camel Trophy II

Last year's Camel Trophy was great fun, so it was only natural to do a follow up as an opening of the Dutch Oldschool Season of 2020. There had been the Scryings event of course, but this would be the first Dutch oldschool tournament with the Swedish rules. Because last year had quite a nice showing I decided it would be worth investing in some merchandise for the event and did some photoshopping with camels and came up with these buttons.

When I paid for the order, I was hoping I would not recieve some message telling me I was infringing on some sort of copyright issue. I mean, everyone can see that this has nothing to do with the race through the jungle, but stranger things have happened. Fortunately, there were no issues and a nice bag of buttons was delivered just as I had hoped they would be. I had also secured some other piece of merchandise for the winner, more on that later. 2 nights before the tournament, I was still thinking about what kind of deck to play. I had a couple of decks lying around and was thinking about playing an Erhnam on fire and ice deck (a variant on a G/W/U deck popular in the Netherlands, but with some red cards). I could not resist trying my wombat deck though, which had some minor tweaks since the last time I played it, and tried it out against Arno's reanimator deck. And that produced some really weird board states :)

One of the cards I had changed in my deck was an animate dead, because my wombats and enchantresses die so often. And then I got to animate a lord of the pit with it :P awesome. Arno was not afraid though, and just hard cast his own lord of the pit to block it. It is also worh mentioning we both have quite a lot of life here because of the spirit links that had been flying around. I had a perfect awnser for that though and created a boardstate I've never seen before.

an invisible, animated lord of the pit. If this is not oldschool at it's best, I don't know what is :)

At the morning of the tournament, i left with a big bag of groceries (mostly snacks for hungry cardfloppers) and two of my camera stands. I had promised Timmy (from the youtube channel for oldschool magic) I would bring them so he would be able to try them out and see if that would work for him. Last time in the shop there were some moments where his macbook was balancing on the edge of a table, I thought it would be better to try something a little safer this time.

I had also packed my 2 decks (and Peter's one, as always). The aforementioned djinn deck with some red, and my Ancient 100-card highlander deck for the side event. I'd thought to just give it a try because I really don't want Ancient to die. For me this is still the original oldschool I've been playing since 2004 and I'm still hoping some guys will join me in the long run. Most of the Ancient players have moved on to oldschool because the events are bigger and more frequent, including Noobcon top 8 player Roy, but I still hope there is a spot left for Ancient on the oldschool scene. And hey, it's just a good reason to take out my skeleton ship and the like.

In the store, I took out the camel and the printed lists I had of people who had entered through email. All in all, there were 36 registered participants, of those a round 30 showed up. Not bad at all, more than enough to have a great day playing old cardboard. To add something for the winner apart from the mandatory camel, I had also got something extra from Ebay, an original 20+ year old cap from the rally to add as a price for the winner.

I myself picked up my 4th UL savannah which I immediately added to my deck. I also got hold of this piece of MTG history from 1994: 

Thanks Gideon! Even though you can't play with this white knight, I thought it would be nice to add to my collection of MTG junk which is slowly piling up in my closet. I try not to buy too much of this junk, but every now and then something just shows up and I can't really resist it. Timmy also gave me a button to thank me for bringing the camera stands :)

Just as we were starting (after entering all the players in tournament reporter) all of a sudden all of the players disappeared from the list, so I was left with one of the paper lists to make a pairing while Richard was helpfully re-entering all the players and pairings while the rest of us were playing round one.

Game 1 was on camera for Timmy, which made me kind of forget to take pictures. Later on he commented that not all of the games had been streamed correctly due to connection failures, so I'm kind of hoping this was one of the games that was correctly captured so I can insert it here. What I do remember about the game was that I was paired against a mostly black deck. The first game early underworld dreams came out and we destroyed some lands back and forth. I was mind twisted. I either lost game one or two (I'm not sure which one) because of a lot of creatures. In game 3 I kept an opening hand with two swords to plowshares and 5 lands, one of which was a Mishra's factory. I figured a hypnotic specter would show up sooner or later, maybe on turn one, and I would be able to get rid of it quickly and do some damage with the factory. Even if he would start off with a quick underworld dreams, I would still be able to even out the damage with my factory and quite a lot of creatures that were still in my deck. This was a good bet, because my opponent opened with land, ritual, hypnotic specter. Nice. I dropped a savannah and removed it from the game and started beating soon after. I won the match 2-1. These were pretty quick games so I had some time to take some pictures of other games.

There is something about playing in a gamestore with boxes and boxes of cards in the background :)

4 edition works just as good as beta en legends here :)

Mono blue against lord of the pit reanimator. Cool :)
For my second game, I was paired against Peter, of all people. At least we both knew each others decks pretty well, so there would be no surprises. I had an early ice storm and a strip mine to start with, so it looked like this would be quite a quick game. I also drew a library, but that did not do much after the quick start. 

Peter destroyed my mox just after I had the chance to drop a Djinn on the board. In the meantime I had drawn another Ice storm so I kept him low on land. Peter's deck really likes a lot of mana for all the big creatures and copy cards, so this was a pretty bad situation for him. 

To add some more abuse of power cards I time walked, took the walk back with regrowth and time walked again and then added timetwister to get the library working. This was insane. 

The timetwister did give Peter something to work with though, the two swords to plowshares meant he would live a little longer. 

But the insanity of power just kept coming, I drew ancestral recall and played another djinn. The game was over pretty quickly after that. 

On the second game we both seemed off to a quick start with some mana acceleration. 

Peter took out my elf to keep me from playing quick creatures, but that did not keep me from playing a land every turn and then a Djinn and an Angel. 

While I was playing, someone asked if I wanted some more pictures of abusive power cards. Sure! Why not. This was oldschool after all. It's all about the old cardboard. This does seem like an excellent play to me :P

When I got back, Peter also dumped some powerful abuse on me with a balance, taking out both my creatures. 

I kept at it with more creatures while Peter played a triskelion.

I thought I was going to run over Peter quickly, but he blasted my angel of the board and played a mahamoti djinn after that. 

I took out his Djinn with my a swords to plowshares and used chaos orb on the triskelion so I could play a preacher the turn after Peter had copied my Erhnam Djinn. I could take the djinn token and keep attacking and that won me 2-0. 

Playing a quick deck has it's merits. This also gave me some time to take some more pictures.

A Knights of Thorn doing good work on a Knights of Thorn playmat :)

Cool oldschool moments: considering there's a burning Library of Alexandria in the background of Serendib Djinn, it is fitting that a Library is sacrificed to it right here.

Having a huge screen in the store is really helpful for showing the pairings! Thanks for letting us use it Richard!

it's not really visible here, but Marco's Exorcist is frequently Slight of minded during the day to destroy the creature color of his choice. With a lot of other creatures with protection from a color this was probably the most creative brew I saw during the day. 

On round 3, I was paired against Robbie, who is a very experienced player of a Erhnam/Ice storm deck. This was going to be a tough match. 

Robbie quickly disenchanted my sol ring and I was forced to play regrowth because a lack of mana.

That did not do much good though, it was quickly destroyed again after that.

We exchanged destroying each other's permanents till we were both low on cards, and then Robbie was left with an Elf, a factory and a Serra Angel, while all I had left was an Icy Manipulator. That was not enough to stop the beating and I was behind 0-1.

The second game I was able to return the favour of the destroying some mana and dropping an early preacher.  

Which led to this weird board state, with me taking his preacher.

Robbie had a plan though, he played his prodigal sorcerer which I took with his preacher, and then swords to plowshared my preacher to take them both back. Nice play. 

I quickly took out his preacher with a swords to plowshares and used my icy manipulator and Erhnam Djinn to win game 2. 1-1.

The third game had us both open with a library, so that would be a race to the first Ice Storm and that would probably win the game. 

I added an Ancestral Recall to the power, but sometimes power does not do that much because I drew very little useful cards.

I did draw an ice storm and took out his library, but he was beating me with a Djinn and a prodigal sorcerer. 

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I used balance to clear the board and was hoping to beat Robbie using Mishra's factories because I had another in my hand along with a Djinn. There was not enough time though, so we ended up in a draw. A fitting end to a match with two similar decks I suppose. 

So, with two wins and a draw, I was paired against Marten, one of the best oldschool players I know. Fortunately, I had a good opening with a library. 

Unfazed, Marten bolted me, bolted me again on his turn, then dropped a lotus and played balance to take care of the library, that would not be doing much. 

I had kept an Ice storm in the balancing act to keep Marten low on mana, hoping to recover with a quick creature. 

I quickly found out that Marten's deck does not like creatures though, because next to Swords to plowshares, he also played multiple terrors in his deck, quickly scaring away my preacher. 

And my Serra Angel... while beating at me with a Sedge Troll. I also found out he was playing red elemental blasts main deck. So we were in for a second game.

The second game went a bit better for me, though I was low on mana.

I was able to take out a Sedge troll with a Swords to plowshares and play a Djinn.

The Djinn was quickly taken care of, so we were back to who would have the first threat on the board. I wanted to get to some more mana quickly, so I played a tome.

And that was a bad mistake, because I was mind twisted quickly afterwards.

And that took quite a toll on my hand.. damn. I had not played the Ancestral and Time Walk earlier because I was pretty sure Marten had boarded in more Red elemental blasts, so I was waiting for the right time, but that never came :(

I got a card extra from the book though, and able to return the favour by playing balance, taking care of Marten's hand. 

From there I was ahead in the game, playing a Serra Angel while I also had a maze of ith to keep a creature from his side at bay. 

Marten played a Juzam Djinn to sacrifice to his diamond valley to buy a turn, so I kept swinging with the angel.

The Angel was terrored of the board and my book was disenchanted, but I recovered with a Djinn and that brought the match to 1-1.

The third match was a bit quicker with my starting beating quickly with a factory and I won 2-1.

And on to the next match: Roy, who was playing a G/W/B deck.

I got a library working to take an advantage with a braingeyser, but Roy was taking out plenty of my cards.

And, shut down my card advantage with a mind twist.

I kept beating and tried a Serra, but he took that out with a Chaos Orb.

An extra Djinn did the trick though, and I was at 1-0.

The second game was a fierce exchange of trying to get ahead, with Roy taking out a lot of my manabase.

And, a Serra Angel with a Chaos orb. Again. He was ahead with mana at the start so started beating earlier than I did, so we ended up 1-1. On to the second game. 

In the third game, we ran out of time. The second draw of the day.

For the next round, I was up against Thijs, who was doing very well with his Red Atog/Gargoyle deck. The gargoyle did a pretty good job during the game blocking Djinns and Angels. Then Thijs started fireballing me for 6 with the help of a mana vault and I felt like I needed to get ahead so I started beating with factories.  

It took a while to get to a big creature to help with the beating though. Even with an Ancestral in between, no Djinn or Serra showed up. 

I had to play a braingeyser to finally get to a Djinn, and that won me game 1.

The second game Thijs started beating quickly with an Atog and a factory. He bolted my Llanowar Elves of the board and put on some early pressure.

After I had taken care of the Atog and the factory Thijs played wheel of fortune in an attempt to get the pressure on again, but that also made my Library work and that turned out badly.

Thijs tried a blood moon to take away my reliable mana, but fortunately I also play some basic lands so disenchanting that was no problem.

He kept blocking my Djinn though, so I was not getting anywhere. Eventually it was taken out by a bolt and a Gargoyle. A Serra and an Icy would take care of that, I thought.

But a bolt and a Desert took care of the Serra, so I had to make use of the Icy and my factories to eventually win. 

Some more pictures of the players still playing in the round:

mono blue against mono black
Mono black winning because the orb missed the pestilence. 

I was second after the last round of Swiss, so I was hoping for some exiting games in the top 8.

My hope for exiting games were however quickly quashed when Bas opened with a library of Alexandria. I played a quick first turn elf, hoping to ice storm the library. 

Nu such luck though, Bas drew an extra card, played a land and Swords to plowshared the elf.

I tried to keep up with the card advantage by playing a Sylvan Library, but again, Bas drew an extra card, played a land and disenchanted my Sylvan Library.

On turn three I was able to ice storm the library, but on turn four I was shown how ideal Bas his draw had been against what I was holding as he disenchanted my factory after hitting my over the head with his factory. 

I was able to Swords to plowshare is Shivan Dragon though, so that was something.

I played regrowth om my Sylvan Library to also get some extra cards, but Bas disenchanted that as well. By then I was like, really? How many disenchants can I man draw so quickly?

My Erhnam was quickly fireballed of the board and then Bas drew two creatures in a row, while I was drawing three lands in a row. That's when those extra cards your opponent draws with a library really start to hurt. So I was down 0-1. 

Game 2 I was hoping to return the favour of drawing some extra cards and winning because of that, but no such luck. Bas played a handful of restriced mana sources including a lotus and mind twisted me for my entire hand. Later on someone noticed he could not have mindtwisted my for six with that, but I was so frustrated with this turn of events I did not even notice when it happened. 

With no cards in hand, I scrambled to not be beaten to a pulp, but there is just no getting back from losing your hand unless you draw a balance. And I didn't, so I was just crushed. The two games were over in less than 10 minutes. Not really the exiting top 8 I had hoped for :(

In the meantime, the side event of Ancient 100-card highlander had started with a grand total of 3 players. But hey, at least the format is not dead yet and the games did look like a lot of fun. 

I also noticed someone playing with this playmat. My girlfriend collects magiccards with animals in the picture, so I spent some time looking for what card this was. I ended up asking someone who plays with modern cards and he told me what it was. I picked up a copy for my girlfriend and waited for the final. 

The final match was Gideon against Marten.

The game was going back and forth when Marten got ahead with two sedge trolls after taking Gideon's Serra Angel of the board. At that point, Gideon had no cards in hand and the game seemed to go to Marten. 

But then Gideon cleared the board of lands with Armageddon, followed up by a bunch of Moxen, an Ancestral recall and two Erhnam Djinns in short succession. Also, a Mishra's factory was crucial in keeping the trolls out. Marten did not draw any lands in the meantime, so the first game went to Gideon. It's those small things. What if Gideon had not drawn the Ancestral? Or the Mishra's factory? But that's Magic for you. 

The second game is pretty much summed up with this opening:

Marten drew no awnser against the Library of Alexandria, put up a good fight, but in the end the card advantage of the Library was too great and Gideon won the second Camel Trophy fair and square!

The champ. Congrats Gideon!!

While cleaning up and getting my stuff together I was thinking about joining some of the guys for dinner, but by the time I got my stuff in the bags I had lost track of them. I was kind of exhausted so I did not really mind eating at home by that time. So I did, and got to spend some time with my girlfriend in stead of getting home with her asleep :) 

Thanks for all who came, for great games against great guys. You are the best! See you on the next event.