Sunday, May 30, 2021

RBS online 2021

 Ah, when we heard there might be a possibility RBS would be a live event this year, I was so happy. I was so looking forward to playing a live tournament again. But, as time passed, corona was not under control in our country, so measures were still being in effect by the time Richard had to decide wether or not to host the event. A live event would be out of the question. He decided to let the event go through, but as an online as a follow up to last years' event. Thank you Richard! I had a great day, and also much thanks to Thomas from Timmy Talks, who streamed the whole event. If you don't know Timmy but do love oldschool magic, check out his youtube channel, it's great!

Though I have quite a lot of card which are "Swedish Legal" meaning pre-revised, I stopped acquiring stuff like dual lands from unlimited once the prices got really outrageous, so even though I can choose a couple of different decks with this ruleset I can't just play everything I want. That means I had to choose what to play from "what I have" but I still would have plenty of choices. I wanted a deck that was not that slow. I don't mind slow games in real life tournaments, but online I like to have a bit of tempo. So playing something like "the deck" or a prison variant were out of the question. What then?

My first idea was trying this because I'm a fan of Yawgmoth demon, but it was really bad while playtesting. As in, abysmal. And when it won, it usually was not because of the Yawgmoth demon. This was one of those "You know what would make this deck better? Yes, remove the main card." situations. 

I've been collecting pieces of an old deck I used to play way back when, with Tetravusses and Hell's caretakers (this was an all whiteboarder deck with chronicles and 4th edition deck, which was upgraded to Renaissance blackborder for some of the cards over time). I just got my playsets of hell's caretakers and tetravuses complete, but I also acquired a mishra's workshop while trading a large pile of unused premodern (and a bunch of cash). Just 2 weeks ago I got my latest unlimited copy of Copy artifact, so I wanted to play with these. There was a slight problem though, I could not make the deck exactly as I wanted. 

I know Thomas and Richard were not sure what was suboptimal about my deck, they thought I was missing only one card. The commented they had no idea what I was talking about and wanted to know what I mean, so here it is guys: It was a bit more the just one card: 

I own only 2 UL volcanic islands en 3 underground seas in unlimited, and even though this seems like a small thing, it's actually not once you start playtesting and deckbuilding. I noticed during playtesting that playing the red cards I would like was not going to happen. The mana-base was just not good enough for that, so I ended up taking out Atog. I'm also short of a mana vault (I really would have liked 3 but have only 2 UL) so cutting a second fireball was also a good call. 

Then there was the sideboard, in which I really would have liked 4 red elemental blasts and shatters, but the manabase would not allow that. So I put steal artifact in the sideboard as a bit spicy replacement for shatter. Testing a bit more (I think I've played about 15 games with this deck) I noticed I had to play at least 3 cities of brass to keep the deck consistent enough. So I had to do some replacements in the main deck, like an extra fellware stone in stead of a mana vault. Al of these seem like small things, but (spoiler alert): they did come back to haunt me and I'm pretty sure some of these adjustments cost me some games. I'd like to point out that I'm not complaining here, I chose to play a deck that was less than optimal and it worked out fine, the deck did some really crazy shit during the day, and that's why you play oldschool.  

Anyway, on to the event!


Our hosts for the day! Thanks Guys!


Round 1: Bartel, with green/black 

Starting the first game, I was a bit low on mana and stuck with 2 cities of brass and a workshop. I was able to get out a quick Su-Chi and copied that, but Bartel stripped my workshop after that, leaving me with only cities of brass. Oh, and he played a Royal Assassin, so there was no way I would be attacking. Bartel played a Erhnam Djinn and attacked with it. I was thinking he maybe would have giant growth, but taking hits for four was also not an option when you're already down to 15 from your own cities. So I blocked, we traded, and I was left with 1 Su-Chi, which I copied for some more damage. After not drawing a couple of lands, I drew strip mine and decided to bite the bullit and just take four damage to play a psionic blast on the assassin, and then started attacking. That did the trick, some more creatures showed up, but it was not enough for Bartel to keep my attack down. 1-0

I sideboarded in an Icy manipulater and a couple of abysses for game two, and was waiting with abyss in my hand because bartel had played a chaos orb. I tried to get him to use it with Su-Chi's, but he wasn't taking. He had an assasin again, so I would not be attacking anyway. When he played a Hypnotic specter, I just had to play the Abyss in hopes that he would not destroy it or I would lose it anyway. Fortunately for me, he missed the orbflip. (This is a good moment to point out how stupid chaos orb is. It's dumb when you win with it, it's even more shitty if you mis a flip. We should really ban this card in OS. It's dumb and doesn't add anything tactical in terms of gameplay. It you use it and it works, it's basically the best removal spell ever. If you miss, it's just stupid and frustrating. For Bartel it was the latter, because I could wait out the abyss, he kept playing creatures and attacking me with the specter, and for a moment there I thought he would make it. Then he had to decide wether to bury the assassin or the specter. He chose the assassin, after which I could attack and things were over quickly. 2-0

A win in the first round. I wished Bartel more luck on the next games and we went on to the next! 

Round 2: Gideon GWR Agro

On round 2, another familiar face, Gideon, with a Agro green/red/white build with Savannah Lions. I kept a hand with Library of Alexandria, sol ring, fellware stone and no other lands against him because I really wanted to draw some cards with a Library, it's been a really long time. Unfortunately for me, Gideon had a Stripmine (doesn't it seem like that happens in more than half the time you play a library? It feels that way for me..) So I had to skip next turn because I drew no land, but I was confident some would show up. A turn later I droppend the sol ring and the fellwar stone, drew some more mana and got in business with a Su-Chi and then 2 Triskelions and a copy artifact. Fortunately Gideon had decided to just go on attacking with his Erhnam Djinn and then dropped a lions. I could play my copy artifact in that turn, shoot the lions and then attack for 8 (he bolted my mishra's factory). A turn later I could again attack, come through for 8 and then shoot with all the trike counters for the win. 1-0. 

artifact hate after sideboarding

I sideboarded out my sages and animate deads, in came an Icy, Abyss and city in a bottle. That last one was useless because Gideon had taken out the djinns and kird apes :) Really cool move! The Abyss stalled Gideon, who also was not drawing a lot of creatures.Lands mostly, unfortunately. Meanwhile I could play a tetravus and take off the tetravites, just in case he would disenchant or StP it. In the decided turn, he dropped a couple of creatures to block my incoming swarm of tetravites and a Su-Chi, but I topdecked and Icy, tapped one of his blockers and it was Su-Chi's), than it would have been harder for me. I did not see any Abyss-proof flyers with him though, so maybe it would not have made much of a difference.  Gideon was a perfect gentleman about his manaflood and congratulated me with the match. Thanks man! Always a pleasure to play against you! 

On to round 3. 

Round 3 Bas Dietvorst - Rukh Valley

Game one I wasa a bit slow on the start, while Bas had an early sol ring, with Rukh Egg and diamond valley to follow up. Fortunately I could play icy with copy artifact to slow him down. I was frantically playing creatures to keep up with him and then he sacced a Su-Chi to get a lot of mana, then another an played wheel of fortune, and then a big fireball. I thought I was not going to make it, but with the icies I could tap his attackers and do some damage my self, and then attack for a big atttack but because he had just played another blocker I could only get him on two while I was on one. I had 2 icies and 4 creatures on the board (well 3 and factory), he had 2 rukhs. I thought he would have me with all the fire that already had been going on, but he did not have any burn left, so I won. This was a really close and thrilling match. 1-0

Bas playing really, really big fireballs

Game 2 Bas started with sol ring into suchi, into copy artifact. 

That was a really, really fast start

Fortunately I could also play copy artifact to block, then he played another copy. While I was not drawing that much land, he stripped one of mine so I was low and then played fellwar stone. I kept blocking a bit and when Bas wanted to finish me off quickly with a big fireball for 12 I mana drained it. That was when things started to change, I played a big braingeyser and a Suchi, and with two Icies on the table I could tap his sol ring and mountain so I would not be fireballed again. I was pretty happy with my full hand of usefull cards when Bas topdecked wheel of fortune. 

Bas showing his wheel of fortune hand after the game

The first 3 cards I drew where 2 lands and a mox and I was like: Oh no!! But then lady luck smiled on me and I got a Suchi, a fireball, timewalk and ancestral recall! I Attacked with my su-chi, played another one, played timewalk and ancestral, beat Bas for another 8 and then finished him with a fireball. Wow... these were really close and exiting games that could have gone either way. 2-0

Round 4 Baptist with Lion/counter/dib

My opponent opened with a Lotus and Serendib efreet, followed up by a savannah Lions.

Oh, and he also played Ancestral recall on turn two. I put a turn one Su-Chi in play with a lotus to keep up with the damage. Baptist also had disenchant ready so that did not took long.

to make things worse, he followed up by a braingeyser

After the braingeyser, Baptist also got library of Alexandria online. I got a factory and a couple turns later a Triskelion. I shot the lions with the trike and blocked his factory instead of blocking both the lions and factory with my Sage of lat-nam and the Triskelion. Then he played balance even though he had an active library of alexandria. I decided to keep the triskelon. Fortunately, I also had drawn an icy manipulator so that meant even though the balance hurt me, I was still in the lead for damage against his serendib, even with only a 3/3 Triskelion. 

It was a really long, drawn out game where opponent did a lot of thinking, but according to himself it was almost for nothing because he missed I had another factory on the board by then. I had a fireball in hand when he played timetwister. I hoped he would not get a time walk and he didn't, so that meant I could win the next turn. This was a nice and exiting game. I think the games against Baptist were the most enjoyable of the day. Lot's of powerplay on both sides, I lot of thinking about what the best plays were. 

The second game was also a pretty close match in which he opened with turn 1 timewalk. 

the powerplay continues :) :)

But I could keep Baptists creatures locked in icy manipulators for a while and then got the really neat trick of Tetravites blocking and saccing with the sage for cards working. I chose to do that instead of just trading the Tetravus against a Serra angel, because I figured I would get my Library of Alexandria working that way. Baptist saw it coming so he was making sure I had to respond to cards he played, but eventually I got the library online. When I got up to a working library of alexandria, he decided to let me keep it and destroyed one of my icies instead of the library with an orb to push for a quick resolution of the game with damage. I kept the card advantage form there and even though the draws were not great, I drew at least 6 extra cards with the library so I think I would have won, but we ran out of time so the game ended in 1-0. 

Round 5 Ole with Pixies/mana denial/dib

So, up to now I had not lost a single game and was really feeling rather well about my deck. That was about to quickly change though, because in a game involving Ole playing an ancestral recall, a couple of crumbles, strip mine, orb on one of my lands and mind twist, you could say I was not really present in this game. His draw was spectacularly well against my deck. 

To top it off, he also got library of alexandria. It also did not help that he drew a lot of land (I think he played a land almost every turn) while I stalled on land-draws, so this game was over in like 5 minutes. 

The second game Ole opened also pretty strong with a llanowar elf and two moxen. I had library of Alexandria and was hoping to keep it for one or two extra cards. 

what I would call a pretty strong opening

That worked, then I played 2 Su-Chi and a copy artifact in short order, and finished game two also in maybe 10 minutes. 

Dibs and elves are not big enough for Su-Chi's..

Unfortunately, the 3rd game was over so quickly because Ole had everything he needed very quickly. Crumbles and an ancestral and another poor landdraw from my side ended it pretty quickly. In fact, the game was over so quickly that I didn't even get to take screenshots. I think Ole recorded the match and streamed it somewhere, but I could not find it when I searched for it. Maybe I'll add it sometime if someone sends me the link. 

Round 6: Bob with mono blue agrodib

Bob told me he needed to help out with his family, so he hoped the games would not take to long. He got what he asked for, even though I'm not entirely sure this was the way he wanted. To humor Bob, I decided to keep a ridiculous opening hand which, depending on what Bob was playing, could end up in either a spectacular win or a disastrous defeat and end game 1 quickly. It also was the only time I kept a hand with no land in it. During the day I had already taken mulligans 4 or 5 times for opening hands with no lands, but this time I decided to keep it. If I drew one land that gives blue mana I would have a really quick game. 

Hmmm, turn one Su-Chi and time walk, or, turn one two Su-Chi's?

I went for turn one two Su-Chi's and hope that Bob was not playing green/white with swords/disenchants and crumbles while I was taking damage from a manavault. Fortunately for me, he was not. 

My screen in the lower right with two Su-Chi's

I attacked on turn two for 8, then played an island and time walk. Bob was on 4 before he had his second land in play. I apologized to him twice for how ridiculous this win was. But it was very oldschool powerplay :)

The second game was closer, but not by much. Bob opened strongly with land, mox, fellwar stone. 

To keep up, I did the same with land, mox ruby, fellwar stone. Bob then played Serendib Efreet, followed up by Serendib Efreet. 

Bob on turn 3

In the meantime, I did not draw a land, so decided to just copy my fellwar stone with copy artifact to at least play Su-Chi the turn after that to keep up with the damage. So I played the Su-Chi, then the turn after that I drew into an extra copy artifact, along with the one I already had in hand. So then I had 3 Su-Chi's in the damage race. It became even more ridiculous after that. 

Turns out the mox ruby was just what I needed.. 

I drew a time walk after that, and another copy artifact. Then I red blasted one of Bob's efreets which was the one card I still had from my opening hand. I'm not sure it would have mattered, this game was again, completely ridiculous. It was 2-0 in about ten minutes. I again apologize for how stupid this game can be. But I can't say I did not enjoy this total broken shit. 

here bob plays telekinesis to keep my Su-Chi tapped and doing no damage. Awesome!

The games were over quickly which was good, because this would mean I would have time to fix an actual meal while Thomas and Richard were ordering snacks. Normally, there is no time for that in the RBS schedule. I was able to make a nice curry and had plenty of time to spare to eat with my girlfriend during the remainder of the round. 

hmmm, curry. I did not eat the cat, that was just there for company :)

So, 6 rounds with 5 wins with 2-0 and 1 loss with 1-2. Not bad. I placed second in the top 8, after Ole. 

The quarter final I was up against Baptist again. A though opponent on a really good deck, but I had been able to beat him in swiss, so maybe I could do it again. 

I opened with ok opening with land, mox, manavault, but not with a Su-Chi to follow up. Baptist opened with:

Land, mox, sol ring, timetwister.. not bad!

He then dropped another mox (sapphire) and passed the turn. I had hoped to play Triskelion on my turn 2 and was a bit sad to see the quick timetwister. That was about to change though, because my hand actually improved by the timetwister. It just shows how it is a tricky card because your opponent can also benefit from it. And benefit I did. Thank you, lady luck again. 

I got Ancestral recall, another mox, black lotus, factory so I could drop a triskelion, copy it and play Sage of Lat-nam on my turn 2. What? Oldschool can be so insane. 

When I passed my turn back to baptist, he decided to recall for the the timetwister again. When I asked him why, he showed me his options:

He had hoped to Mind twist me and then start the beating, but he could not because he had no black mana, and it would not have mattered. I had played most of my hand anyway. So he just decided to timetwister again and hope for more broken stuff to fix his problem. 

here Baptist already packed up, but this is what I got

He did get another mox, but that was not going to solve his problem. I had gotten time walk (thank you, Timetwister) so I attacked with two trikes and played time walk. Attacked again, shoot Baptist with Trike counters and it was over.  

Game 2 was a lot more intense. I got a first turn Su-Chi, which Baptist plowed right away. 

Baptist took the initative with Su-Chi and Serra Angel, I got to slow him down with several Icies and copy artifacts and did a Tetravus/Tetravite/block and draw card trick with the Sage again. 

That slowed Baptist dawn sufficiently that I start attacking a bit while tapping down his creatures, and I eventually won this one. Baptist commented musingly that the Sage was really good and perhaps more worthy of a Swords to plowshares than he thought initially. 

Semi final against Wouter Boendermaker

I've know Wouter for a long time, he used to join in the Ancient tournaments in Eindhoven when we still played those. He was a regular there and is a really nice guy. He was also playing an underpowered deck, which made him the underdog everyone wants to win. Unfortunately, because it was getting later in the day I did not take much really good screenshots here. Fortunately Timmy streamed the whole thing, so I could take some shots from there. 

Game 1 

I opened with factory, mox, sol ring. Pretty solid. Second turn workshop with Tetravus. Wouter chose to double bolt (well bolt, chain lightning) it. 

The turn after that I missed a land drop and but down a mox, but no threats. 

I did get another mox though.. 

Richard and Thomas thought I would be complaining here, but hey, all the mana in the world. All I have to do is draw something good and I'm in business :)

I got to ancestral recall and play a Su-Chi an reanimate my Tetravus. Wouter was playing Rukh Egg and Su-Chi though, so it would be down to my Tetravites to do damage. 

the beads on the right (form the mtg giftbox from '94) are Tetravites here

Wouter obliged me by putting down some actual Tetravites there from his side, shows you what kind of great guy he is :)

Look at the awesome tokens :)

I got ahead quickly with the Tetravites and won game 1. Wouter's egg did not hatch so they the Tetravites did pretty good business. 

In game 2, the less than optimal manabase came back to bite me though. I got 2 cities of brass in short order and Wouter had gotten a quick library of Alexandria, so he was drawing extra cards. I needed to do something about that quickly. That took a while because Wouter shattered my sol ring after I had tutored for a mind twist unfortunately, but to make sure I turned the library off I sacced a Su-Chi to the Sage of Lat-nam and mind twisted wouter for 6 to make sure the library was off. I had taken quite some damage from my own cities by then. That kept happening because I had to play Icy manipulator to keep Wouter from attacking and then also use city of brass to activate it. I was slowly going down because of my not so nice manabase here. To make sure I would not die from his Atog, I played Abyss, again taking more damage from the cities after Wouter had tried to detonate my Su-Chi (the sage saved my here). Wouter also had a factory while I had no creatures, so I had to play another Icy and take more damage from my cities. To rub it in, I drew another one. 

I was on 6 life here, against a burn deck. Not good. 

At this time in the stream Thomas and Richard comment I'm getting in control. I don't know what you would think, but being on 6 against a burn deck with cities of brass you have to use does not feel like I'm in control to me. (not a complaint, just an analysis of the situation) I never had that feeling in this game by the way. Wouter was getting more and more factories, which I tried to keep from attacking me by getting more and more icy manipulators in play. I kept the factories at bay, but did not draw any threats myself and Wouter finished it with 2 chain lightnings. Considering I'd taken 7 or 8 damage from the cities, this was to be expected. 

The third game I opened with library of Alexandria. Of course a black vise followed from Wouter, because that's how those things go :) I don't see why there's OS players complain about it so often. Sometimes, it's really good (like, awesome spectacular level), but in most of my games, it's just not. 

Wouters response to my Library. 

I played a quick Triskelion thanks to workshop and black lotus, and Wouter took it out with shatter, two for one. Not bad! Wouter then made a playing error on his turn, playing a fellwar stone, which actually did not give any mana because I had not drawn colored mana still so he could not follow up. I got a city of brass a bit later, and could also play a Su-Chi. I got to swing with that and felt that the game could go my way. 

Looking pretty good right?

A turn later, things were a bit different. 

I had a tetravus, but Wouter had a Su-Chi and a Atog on the board, which could attack 11 damage potentially. This was bad. This was one of those moments where having more red cards to play would have been nice, because I had steal artifact in my hand but could not play it. Maybe I should have just gambled and put shatters in my sideboard, but I didn't really dare with just the 2 volcanic islands. 

I attacked with the Tetravus to follow up with time walk, unfortunately Wouter had a red blast for that, and that changed everything. Wouter got to attack with a really big attack with factory, Atog, Su-Chi. The turn after that, I got to play the steal artifact, but then it was too late, Wouter sacced it to Atog and then on his turn, played another Su-Chi. That meant I was very much on the defensive here. I figured that if Wouter would have drawn a burn X spell, I would have been dead by then. In retrospect, I should have cast the timewalk before attacking a turn earlier, that would have made a big difference. Was that a mistake? Maybe. I'm not sure it would have ended any differently, I think the extra Su-Chi on Wouter's side made all the difference. Anyway, Wouter got a Su-Chi, I got a fellwar stone, and that made all the difference. I had to let the Su-Chi pass and then was bolted twice and Wouter won. I had to block his Atog, so my Tetravus was gone, and a fellwar stone was not going to block his Su-Chi, so that was it. Well played Wouter! 

Thanks to all for playing. I had some really great matches, some crazy power gaming and all of my opponents were really nice guys. Hope to see you all in the near future for a real life event. I'll organize a Camel Trophy as soon as I am able :) and hope to see you all there. Special thanks for Richard and Thomas for organizing this whole thing. If you have any questions about how a good deck can still be suboptimal, don't hesitate to ask :)