Sunday, August 29, 2021

Camel Trophy III

In the last couple of months, the requirements to stay at home were a bit loosened in our country because the number of people in hospital were going down. This gave me an opportunity to finally meet up with some of the OS-players in our country and flop some cardboard, talk, have some drinks and a good time with nice people that share my love for old magic. This made me realize that while online events are great (with a big thanks to the organizers of these events, like Henk in our country), they are just a substitute for the real OS experience. So when the rules where loosened a bit more, I went looking for an option to run an OS-event again. There are of course still restrictions, so less people in a room, ventilation, etc. I know that most OS-players I know are vaccinated, so felt reasonably comfortable organizing something. 

By the way: if you want to read the report of one of the other contestants, it's here:

I went to Richard, in who's store both previous Camel Trophy's were held. He has since taken over another game store and moved there. This also meant the return of a nostalgic name, "het Spelkwartier". This was the name of the gamestore which is tied with the store The Joker for the most hours I spent playing magic when I was still in highschool and as a student. I wanted to have the event in the store, but Richard told me we could have a maximum of 18 people because of the restrictions and he was willing to make some more room to a maximum of 20. For a while, this didn't seem like an issue because we were around 20 people who wanted to join. Then a couple weeks ago, I got a couple of more questions from people that wanted to join, which brought me over 20. Richard was really great and said he could ask if we could use the restaurant in an office building in Arnhem, even with restrictions this would be able to hold about 35 people. The catch was, we would have to rent it. Even though the price was reasonable, you don't want to rent a space of a couple of people drop off the list and you go under 20 again. Anyway, I decided to just go for it, ask everyone to please send me the money ahead of the event and it was the good choice, because in the last couple of weeks some more people were added and we were up to 30, a great number for a nice OS event. We did some talking about lunch and diner with the new place, some more mailing with the participants and we were set. Oh, nope. I also had to swing by the gamestore to pick up some cards for the lottery I traditionally hold on a Camel Trophy event. Fortunately, Richard still had some old cardboard left, even though he told me there was quite a hausse just after the lockdowns started. It was as if everyone was hoarding old cardboard just to have something to do. I ended up with LG Carrion Ants, Beta scryb sprites, an AN desert, a playset UL Timmy, DK scavenger folk, DK marsh vipers, and a couple of AQ rocket launchers. Now I needed a deck to play myself. 

I also noticed these among the gamestore stock and since I didn't have them, I got them as well. 

I wanted to play something I had not played before on a live event, even though decks like that become increasingly rare. I've played quite a lot of different decks over the past years. I still have not played a Lauter-like Lions/Dib deck on an event, but I didn't feel like playing that. I've sleeved it up a couple of times, but so far I haven't taken it to an event yet because I always end up wanting something a bit more surprising or less common. I'm sure it will come, but this was not the time. While I was flipping through my binder, I stopped at the playset of power artifacts that are in there. I've played with them a while back for a couple of casual games, but then but them away again. I hadn't played this on a tournament, so I thought, why not?

I mean, what's not to like. Infinite damage, my inner Timmy will be very happy. I wanted to have an option to win against COP red and the like, so I added a rocket launcher just to be sure. But when you play a combo deck like this, it tends to be weak against a lot of counters and artifact removal. With all the disenchants, crumbles and shatters you see in main decks, I also wanted something else to be able to win with, and I also didn't want the monoliths to be just combo pieces. So I did some more digging and came up with these options:

I ended up adding all of them, and some more. Dropping a T2 monolith with a mox, and have your opponent think they will just destroy the monolith when you add power artifact is nice, because then you get to tap it on t3 or t4 just for mana and drop a big dragon or djinn. It provides an extra way to win which they don't expect. Even though this makes the combo option somewhat less focused I thought it would be nice to see if I could win with this. I wasn't building this deck to end up winning. 

the usual suspects

After that I added the usual suspects. I thought it would be pretty good, even though not the best of options. Who cares. Infinite damage and dragons. What's not to like :).

On the day of the tournament, Peter told me he was having a fever and was coughing. To take no risks of maybe infecting others with covid, he decided to stay home. Good decision if you ask me. "Fortunately" I got another cancellation, so we would be playing with an even group. 

Even though people were a bit doubtful about playing in an office restaurant, they were convinced once they arrived. Free parking in front or a 2 minute walk from the bus stop, it was easy to reach. It was also recently redecorated and looked great. We could use tables usually for four people for every pair, so keeping a distance would not be a problem. Also there were some big doors opening to outside to let in plenty of fresh air, so it would be no problem keeping with the covid demands. 

While I was setting up the laptop with extra screen for pairings, Timmy the sorcerer arrived to stream the event live. I brought an extra camera mount and extra playmats for feature matches. It took some time to set it up with minimum glare, but I think we managed well. The entire live stream is over here: though it's probably better to watch some of the matches after he finishes reworking the video. 

After everyone was checked in, it was time to start. Time for round 1, I was paired against Bas, who was playing a classic U/R counter-burn deck. Shatters and counterspells. Not my best match-up I guess. 

Game one was as expected, Bas played a flying men and started beating. I tried to set up rocket launcher to maybe set up the combo, or in worse case scenario, just shoot the flying men with it. 

It was quickly shattered before it could do anything. So then I went for the alternative. 

The Shivan came into play after some countering and was then missed by the orbflip (Did I mention how stupid chaos orb is? It's either frustrating because it hits for your opponent or frustrating for you when you miss. It's dumb.) so that did a lot of damage and won me the game. 

The second game I opened with a library, but this time Bas did not miss his flip.

So the library was gone before it could do a lot. Bas was doing what counterburn does, bolt me, blast me and play creatures while I was assembling my combo. After he played serendib and almost tapped out, I went for it and played rocket launcher with my lone monolith, then time walk. 

The turn after that the power artifact came into play after a red/blue blast exchange and that was it. One game with a dragon, one game infinite. My inner Timmy was happy! 

In the meantime, on some other table, someone was dying from walls and sword of the ages :)

plenty of space to play in a nice atmosphere in the Stikker building

Round 2: Antoine with blue manavault-ramp into djinns. 


Game 1, Antoine had a pretty strong opening with turn one sage and a chaos orb after that. I was a bit low on mana and was attacked. I was a bit slower in this game, but eventually the combo did show up in time. 

├Źn game 2 I managed to slow Antoine up with an Abyss. I had sideboarded out the creatures. He had opened with 2 quick sages, but I had Abyss and chaos orb to keep 'the damage away. 

here I already have power artifact in my had, however.. 

Even though I managed to keep him away, antoine had mishra's factories, which proved to be key in this game. Since my deck was a hardcore combo deck now, I had no way to get rid of them. I was close to winning in the sense that I could finally play power artifact when I got my second blue mana (this took quite a while) and I had braingeyser in my had, but I had to wait a turn to play it. And that turn was just enough for Antoine, we took me down with factories. 

The third game, Antoine had an incredible opening:


And he used his mana artifacts to drop a first turn Trike:

Fortunately for me, he also played an Su-Chi which I could control magic just in time thanks to a mox that gave me a turn advantage. I exchanged the Su-Chi with the trike after Antoine attacked, and then could play a Abyss. I thought this would at least slow Antoine down. He just went on with his powerplay :)

A turn after his Ancestral Recall, Antoine played library of Alexandria, so I quickly used my orb to get rid of that. I'm not sure if he expected this, but he played a disk after that. I didn't check the decklists I had recieved as tournament organizer, so I was suprised by Antoine's Nevinyrrall's disk. A disk is basically the death of a combo deck if it stays. And I could not counter it with my powersink, because Antoine would just have enough mana. 

I had power artifact and two fireballs in hand, and a rocket launcher in play. All I needed was monolith. With Ancestral recall, time walk, timetwister, braingeyser, wheel of fortune, demonic tutor and four monoliths still in my deck, I decided I would either need to win or lose horribly because of the disk. So I power sinked Antoine, who paid the mana but was now tapped out. My next draw was Ancestral recall, which I played: 


And there the monolith was. Yes, this was a gamble, but from where was sitting, I figured out Antoine had still counters in his hand, and with more counters and a Disk in play, I had about a 90% chance of losing so I just went for it on the basis that there were plenty of chances for me still in my deck. This time, it worked out and I won. 2-1, pfew. 

The 3rd match, I played Jorgo, who was playing Joldersma-Visser Atog-geddon with vises, ankhs and burn. This an enormously quick deck and unfortunately, I did not get my 3rd mana to play the monolith in my hand. So I was taking massive damage from the vise. 

Jorgo followed up with a Savannah Lions and when I finally did get my second land, he destroyed it. 

I managed to get out the monolith with sol ring, but being stuck without the right mana, I lost quickly. The second game was not much better, with an Ankh and lions arriving very quickly. 

Then an Atog joined, and even though I could play my monolith and power artifact before dying, I did not have an X-spell to finish off Jorgo, so I was down 2 games. The second one was closer than the first because I did manage to get infinite mana, but with nothing to do with it, I was stuck. Too bad :)

Round 4: Evan, with powered blue fish. 

Even had decided to keep a hand with no colored mana, but with mishra's factories and started beating me quickly in game 1:

When he got to blue mana, I decided to quickly get rid of his merfolk and do one damage to him also before a lord of Atlantis would appear. This was possible because I had drawn a sol ring. The lord did not appear, but neither did any more land appear on my side of the table, so I just lost to the factories. 

The second game went better for me, with a second turn monolith. 

I played a rocket launcher after that, but still had to wait for power artifact. I figured rocket launcher would not hurt against a lot of small creatures. If necessary, I could use it get rid of those. 

Fortunately for me, Even tapped out to attack me with his factory a couple of turns later, so I could play power artifact without fear of being countered and that was it. The third game, I had an early library of Alexandria and a mox ruby, so I could assemble a lot of mana quickly. 

The red elemantal blast helped in keeping down some early damage when Evan but down energy flux. That would be bad for my artifacts, but fortunately, I still had my backup plan:

The backup plan worked fine, with Evan sacrificing his creatures to block, and the game was over when I played a second dragon. Again one game infinite, one game dragons. Very happy I had two ways of winning in this deck :)

Round 5 I was paired against Marten, who tends to play his own brews, so you never know what's coming. Apart from being a nice guy, he's also one of the best OS players I know, so this was going to be a tough match. When I saw his opening, it was even worse then I had expected:

T1 library. Crap!!

I don't really know how I managed to pull of a win after that library opening, but somehow I managed to get together the combo and just won. The second game Marten dropped a black lotus and played first turn Su-Chi. Damn.. 

This game was over pretty quickly. I had kept a hand with a library, but Marten quickly took in more card advantage then me by playing an Ancestral Recall on T2. 

I could not keep up with the onslaught, so it was 1-1 after a couple of minutes. The third game was broken on both sides, I mean, look at this turn one:

I could assemble power/monolith, but I did not have a fireball, disintegrate or rocket launcher to finish it. I could have played earthquake which I had sided in (Marten also had Atogs), but decided not to draw yet. Marten then played Hurkyl's recall and got rid of my power artifact. 

He then started beating me with factories. I saw a theme here, this deck cannot really handle Mishra's factories. When he started counting his mana, I knew there was no way I was going to win this. So I played my second power artifact and played earthquake for a 1000 damage to us both and take a draw. 

On round 6, I played against Frank who was playing white weenie. He also made one of the coolest plays I saw all day in this match, but more about that later. His opening was quite surprising to me:

Beware of the vultures

Frank followed up with more vultures, lions and a mishra's factory. To speed things up, I played the monolith in the same turn I could then tap it, to play braingeyser. In that case I would at least have some cards in case Frank would disenchant the monolith. He didn't. Good for me, because next turn:

The second game, Frank had a classic and pretty strong opening:

nothing wrong with first turn lions!

The second turn, he dropped 2 more! I needed to slow things down which I could with a chaos orb and a control magic. 

Or at least I thought so, because Frank dust to dusted my 2 artifacts promptly. That card feels so unfair :P

After we exchanged 2 lions in an attack, Frank wanted to speed things up and proceeded to:

Yes, you saw that correctly. He played deathlace on my mountain. Why, do you ask? Well... 

Now I had a black permanent. And Frank had a 4/2 Lions, so that was pretty bad for me. I managed to counter a psionic blast and waited for the combo to assemble. Which was just in time, because I went for it when I was on 2 life. And it worked, fortunately. 

After 6 rounds of swiss, it was time for the Top 8, but not before I did the lottery. With a random number generator which generated the same number 3 times and once landed on myself (I did not want to win a prize myself), I managed to skip all those and hand out the prizes to the happy winners. 

coronaproof handing out of prizes :)

In the meantime, me and Wouter were looking through the deck pictures to figure out to whom we wanted to give the spice price. After some deliberation, we could not figure out if we liked Arno's deck better or Robins. Fortunately, they were playing each other, so in stead of letting that end in a draw because of time, we let them play out and awared the spice price to the winner, which was Robin. But both decks are really cool I think: 

Arno's animator ( snap)

Robin's Arboria Bees 

After this, it was time to figure out the Top 8. These were the standings after swiss:

I was in the top 8, with which I was happy. Unfortunately, I would be playing Jorgo, which out of all the people in the tournament is probably my worst matchup. 

In the meantime, we heard that the cook of the venue we were in was home sick, so he could not make dinner for the people that had pre-ordered this. When Richard, our local gamestore owner, heard of this, he offered to take over as chef and make us lasagna. Or have us order food via the internet. All of us who wanted to have dinner there took Richard up on his great offer, and he made lasagne, both vegetarian and with meat. This guy must be one of the greatest gamestore owners in the world. At least I think so. Again, a big thank you from all the people you made dinner for, Richard. The food was great! 

Possibly the greatest gamestore owner in the world in the kitchen

We had some food and then played top 8 (or first played a top 8 game and then ate, by then the orderly part of the tournament was over :)). 

Not only was Jorgo my worst matchup, he opened with a great opening as well. 

I managed to get out a monolith but could not finish the combo before I was dead. The chaos orb did not help either. In the second game,  he promptly dropped multiple black vises, stripped my land, etc. It was a total disaster and over in minutes, he just had all the awnsers. If I had an artifact, he disenchanted. If I had more land, he destroyed it. Like I said, the worst matchup in Top8 I could have possibly had. Oh well, top 8 with Dragon Power Monolith it is not a bad finish, I was happy with the decks performance and perhaps one day in the future I'll improve on it. 

If you want to see the semi final between Frenk and Marten, you can find it here on Timmy the sorcerers YouTube channel

But first, I have some other decks to make, because these were the next two acquisitions of the day:

my third pit scorpion and a tawnos wand!

 The last I had to think about a bit longer, because it was quite the sum of money. They are italian, but then I'm more of a player than purist. I like to make as many different decks as possible. And the offer was a good price, and 3 all at once. I figured I would either have to buy them now, or probably never. So I just went for it. I have some happy brewing coming my way :) 

the best reanimation art in the game, I think :)

In the meantime in the Top 8, Peter had won, Marten had won and Frenk had won. Which meant that Frenk and Marten who are friends would be playing each other (this game is on Timmy's stream by the way!). 

I will try to get all of the deck pics together and make another post of it. This is what the top 8 looked like:

Frenk - Robots variant

Rob - Stasis

Marten - Su-chi/Atog good stuff

Bjorn - Dragon Power Monolith

Jorgo - Joldersma-Visser Atog/geddon

Antoine - monoblue fatties

Peter - UW Lion/dib/serra

David - WRB Troll Disco. 

During the semifinals, I could finally pass along an Ifh-Biff efreet to Alex and a Personal Incarnation to Wouter, both of which had been waiting for over a year after we made the deal during lockdown. And just as my UL bird of paradise had waited for a year to come over to me these were still waiting for their new owners. OS is just a great community like that. 

After the dust of the semis settled, Frenk had beaten Marten, and Jorgo had beaten Peter. So the finals were Frenk against Jorgo. 

You can watch the final here on TimmyTalks. 

Unfortunately, the finals were not very exiting. Frenk was basically manascrewed and Jorgo won pretty easily. Too bad, I feel this could have been a much more exiting finals if you look at the decks, but that's magic for you. Sometimes you draw your ancestral just in time, sometimes you're just shit out of luck. 

The winner of the day!

Looking back, I think this was a great event. We had a good place to play, the food was good during lunch and even better with dinner. I can't thank Richard enough for contacting this place for me and then showing up to make us dinner. The atmosphere was really great and I enjoyed seeing all the people having fun at flopping cards again. This is why I organize events like this. OS is best enjoyed in real life, and I hope there are many events that will follow. Till next time!

Some atmosphere shots:

Library vs vise. Doesn't this happen more often than expected?