Sunday, September 19, 2021

The first Farmstead

A couple of weeks after the Camel Trophy III it was time for another OS experience, the first Farmstead tournament organized by Robbie and Roy. This tournament was originally planned for last year but postponed due to obvious reasons. What would be different about this tournament is that it would be a CSO (coreset only) tournament, but with a twist: it would be with ABUR legal instead of the other CSO like tournaments in the Ancient (ABU) or Dwarven Warriors (AB) formats. It would also give us access to some cards normally not in the CSO formats, like Serendib Efreet and Shatterstorm, to name a few. 

On top of that, there was extra set of rules where you could earn farmstead brewpoints if you would add farming themed cards to your deck, like for instance Farmstead. You could also earn extra points if you showed up in farmer attire. The winner of the most points would win a altered beta swords to plowshares. 

I misread the different versions of the rules (especially the part where you could both points for winning matches and for brewpoints) and ended up building a deck that I thought would be both competitive and earn some brewpoints. 

The first version of a deck I built was not very high on brewpoints, but I thought it was quite enjoyable to play.  It's up tempo and contains a lot of creatures I like. There aren't that many options in decks I usually build to play both channel/fireball and elvish archers. I like the archers, but they generally are trashed by factories in the Swedish format. This would be different. 

I added things like giant growth and bolts to help the archers be effective against bigger critters. When I brought this deck for a kitchentable session it did quite well and won most of the games I played with it. The week before I decided to do some testing against Peter. We built a pretty standard white/blue deck with Serra angels, white removal and counters. And it utterly trashed my deck. Like 10-3 in games. That wasn't good enough for me, so I decided to do some more thinking and play another deck. The only thing I wanted was to play a deck that contained expansion cards that were reprinted in revised to make use of the unique flavour of this tournament. I ended up chosing Serendib and Atog to fill these slots, combined with vises and ankhs. And some flavourcards like Mesa Pegasus and Water Elemental for brewpoints. 

On the day of the tournament I couldn't reach Peter, so I was in the car to Mierlo on my own. This wasn't good because I spent a part of the trip thinking about the deck and how to maybe change it. So I did change some cards on the morning while I already was in the venue. I tried to get an Unlimited Water Elemental to add to the deck, but no-one had one for trading, so I ended up playing with a Revised version. 

It ended up being a long day for me in which I had no dinner, so I was pretty exhausted in the end. This means I may misremember some things that happened. Especially because most of the matches were pretty tense, so I had not as much time as I usually have to take some pictures. If you were one of my opponents and I mispresent something, by all means let me know. On to the rounds:

Before round one we sang happy birthday for Edo, who had decided that playing Magic on his birthday was an excellent way of spending the day. Couldn't agree more :)

Round 1 I was paired against a familiar face from the Ancient days, Marco. He was playing  U/B/R deck with Serendib Efreets. 

This match was probably the most enjoyable of the day because it was so absurd and shows how completely bonkers random OS games can be. I got to start and after some thinking decided to play a plateau first. It was a good thing I did, because Marco opened with a land, two moxen, a lotus, played a Sedge Troll and then Wheel of Fortune. 

As you do when you have a hand like this :)

The choice for the plateau was a good one, because I was able to lightning bolt Marco's troll to get rid of that before my entire hand was in the graveyard. My turn two felt a bit underwhelming after that, but at least I was doing something :)

A couple turns later a Serendib turned up on both sides, but Marco was unphased and psionic blasted mine. I tried to do some damage with black vises followed up by wheel of fortune, but Marco had no problem staying out of range. 

I thought 2 vises and a wheel of fortune would do it, but no!

In a desparate attempt to not be crushed, I played my (restriced in this format) control magic. Only for Marco to... you guessed it, play his control magic :)

He won the game quickly after that, so on to game 2 we went. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures here, while 2 timetwisters and a wheel of fortune went over the table and powercards being played by both Marco and me. I think at least 15 restricted cards hit the table in the pretty short game, which I somehow ended up winning. So on to game 3 it was. 

My opening hand meant it was my time to start of with some broken shit:

Quite a nice turn one, isn't it?

After commenting on how stupidly random this game can be, I thought this meant I would win probably win this one, but again, Marco was unmoved by the display of power. He dropped 2 moxen and started playing his own creatures. 

Marco unimpressed by my vise

He ended up winning after a game in which I remember a Time Walk being played with me on the receiving end of extra damage. We played until the last minute in the round, and Marco ended up winning this match. Even though I lost I had a great time, with all the weird randomness of power cards and the way the game flipped back and forth between who had the advantage. 

The second round I was paired against Edo, who was playing Rats. Yes, you read that correctly. Because of the farming theme here, you could play an unlimited amount of plague rats with a minimum of 16. Edo, who's a big fan of spicy decks, told me after the game he had just bought 20 extra revised plague rats to be able to play them :)

The first game, Edo came out strong with a land and a mox, then a rats on turn 2. And on turn 3. And on turn 4 and 5. So I was quickly facing 2 2/2's then 3 3/3's and then 4 4/4 rats. 

I had kept a bit of a slow hand with 5 land. I had kept it because I didn't know what Edo was playing and in general, if I mulligan a hand like that, I tend to end up with a hand with no land whatsoever. Because of Edo's quick opening and my slow response (turn 3 Serendib Efreet is just not that great against a lot of big rats) he quickly ran over me in like 5 minutes. My second game was a bit quicker from my side: 

Edo played land, sol ring and started playing rats after that. I kept up in the damage race by producing creatures to keep up the damage while the vises were no longer doing anything.

Revised reprints of dib and tog for the win

The third game was a bit less spectacular from my side but I ended up winning the match 2-1, again with some vise and Serendib damage, and I think an elemental. This gave me some time to take some pictures of the others playing for your viewing pleasure:

manabarbs in the sideboard, cool!

Look closely! I bet you've never had damage from a tree like that :)

Marco being less than nice against a white player :P

This last picture deserves its story to be told!

Anies' opponent played a bird of paradise and a mox on turn one. Anies played land, black lotus, control magic on the birds :) His opponent then did nothing on turn 2 expect play a land, which gave Anies the opportunity to disenchant his mox and gain the advantage because he had more mana available! Winning a game by playing land, black lotus, control magic your bird of paradise must be one of the best ways to win a game, don't you think? I thought it was a really cool story which deserved writing down. 

By then it was time for round 3, I was paired against Bas who was playing a R/W deck. 

The first game I thought I was off to a strong start with 2 vises in hand, but then Bas decided to mulligan to 6, making my opening less strong than I had initially thought. 

Strong opening, right? Less than you would think..

Bas was, like many of my opponents this day, not impressed:

He dropped a lotus, played a Savannah lions and 2 meekstones, which made the Serendib Efreet I was planning to play on turn 2 less than optimal to say the least. It also meant he was starting to beat me with the savannah lions with no way for me to get rid of them. I would have to play the Serendib to take less damage. Fortunately, I finally got some blockers in the form of Atog and a lions myself to win this game, but it was far harder than I had thought it would be looking at my opening hand. T1 2 vises and T2 Serendib, you would think this would be a great opening. Fortunately, olschool gives your opponents plenty of opportunity to get back at you. 

The second game Bas opened with Savannah Lions, which is always a strong opening. I stopped this by playing a first turn Atog. 

The Atog was plowed away and I started taking damage from the lions. My deck proceeded to do what it sometimes does, giving me land, land, a by then useless vise, and then 3 more land in a row. 

What a great game this is! Ehmm..

I finally got the bolt I needed to get rid of the lions. We exchanged some creatures and elimination back and forth and eventually got to play some more creatures and win with it, but it wasn't easy. It felt like a really hard fought game. 

Onto round 4, where I think I played Koendert playing a W/B/R millstone deck with Ivory towers. 

I opened turn one Lions, then followed up with an Ankh of Mishra. Koendert played a millstone and started milling me. 

A revised millstone, you don't see that often in an OS game :)

These were also nice games but a bit less intense than the previous ones. Koendert was happily milling away my deck and destroying my creatures and artifacts, but in the end every creature would do a bit more damage before being removed. Key in both games was that I managed to get rid of his Ivory Towers to prevent him from getting more life. Good thing I had added some artifact hate in my sideboard, these were really useful in this match. 

Round 5 I was paired against Marten, who was playing "a typical Marten deck", which means there are some unexpected one-offs in there so you have to expect everything. Marten had built a 5-color-black deck, which I was about to find out had main deck both Nightmare and Drain life. 

The first game Marten was off to a strong start with tutor, ancestral and a Hypnotic Specter, which is an absolute nightmare in my eyes. My opening was.. let's say... less impressive?

Well, it does damage I suppose.. 

I tried with a Serendib, which was quickly removed with a terror. I then decided to go for drastic measures and play Armageddon, because it would leave Marten with no way to follow up because he would have no mana, while I had a mox and a sol ring. This proved to be the right play because I could play a vise, an Ankh, then get rid of the specter with a swords to plowshares and follow up with another Ankh and a Savannah lions, which eventually won me the game while Marten was stuck taking damage from Vises and Ankhs. 

I didn't take many pictures of the second game, other than that I started out with an Atog, which, looking back, really isn't that good in this format. 

Marten had opened with land, sol ring, which he copied on turn 2. I thought that something really big would be coming, I just didn't know what it was. I attacked a couple of turns with the Atog when Marten hit with an earthquake for 8 damage! So that what he was up to! I also expected at least one fireball or disintegrate in his deck so somewhere in the game I pushed through another Armagedon and it's a good thing that I did, or Marten would have played a really big drain life to get back. I managed to stay ahead just a little because I could do some direct damage with bolts and a couple of points with the vise, in the end it was just enough to squeeze out a win in a very close match. 

So I was 4-1, which meant I would be playing top 8. A nice opportunity play some more games :)

Before the Top 8 however, the person with the most brewpoints was announced, which was Rob, who had gone all the way for the points:

Running around in a chicken suit all day, that's dedication!

Then it was time for a live Legends booster opening. You can see it Timmy the sorcerer's livestream from about 6 hours and 1 minute of the tournament livestream.

I am not going to mention what the rare was, but I do want to give an impression here:

Legends boosterpack, always exiting. 

What will it hold? Will it be Tabernacle or Elder land wurm?

There it goes, look at the serious faces :)

The first card was a pit scorpion, which was followed up by a very playable divine offering. 

I won't show the entire booster pack here, go watch the opening on Timmy's youtube channel :)

Because I had been watching the Legends booster opening and trading and buying some cards I sort of missed the opportunity to get some dinner.

But I did add some nice cards to the collection, although I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with all of them. I had a quick cheese bun in the venue and went to play my quarterfinal. He was playing an aggressive zoo build with giant growth and berserks. 

On the first round he played a classic Taiga - Kird ape. When he did not play a land on the second turn, I decided to make use of my Chaos Orb (which I had missed 4 flips during the day... did I mention how stupid this card is? It's dumb. ) to destroy his taiga. That way I was sure he would take some damage from the Ankh I had on hand and I could attack with my Atog and Lions. 

He was low on land though, while I was playing a land each turn (quite a rarity for this deck). Fortunately, I also had something to play with the land in the form of my Air Elemental. This made for a quick win because he had no blockers that would be big enough in time, even he started drawing lands. After I won game one and was hit with his sideboard, I fully onderstood why this deck had managed to reach the quarterfinals. 

After the first Tsunami

During the game I was hit with Tsunami twice, and then by a flashfires. Fortunately, my deck does not need a lot of mana in general, so I could keep playing. 

After the Serendib was hit with Chaos orb I was able to play my Water Elemental, which was quickly fireballed. 

The most enjoyable play I remember was my opponent playing a berserk to get rid of my Air Elemental, which cost made him take 8 damage. Only for me to unsummon it after it did it's damage, so it could live and fight another day. Fortunately I was also able to Swords to plowshare his Force of Nature. 

After I was hit with the flashfires, it was getting a lot harder to keep in the game, but since I was ahead in damage, I could squeeze in a win with my flying Mesa Pegasus after my Air Elemental was blasted out of the sky. So I managed to win even after 2 tsunami's and a flashfires. Wow.. though game.  

The semifinal was against a control deck, for which I was a bit to fast and keeping up damage with a vise and then creature after creature and some direct damage won me game 1, I was just too fast for the slower deck. The second game he decided to mulligan, and after I was able to counter his Ancestral recall with red elemental blast, I was able to stay ahead and win the second game also. So I was in to the final! Pretty cool!

vise and burn against control

So, time for the final against Bas. I was pretty exhausted at the time and wished I had some more to eat, because I was feeling a bit lightheaded. 

The Farmstead Final

The first game was quite close with some a lot of nice plays. Bas was playing with Elvish Archers, als I had originally planned to. I think deciding to control magic his Scryb Sprites even though I didn't know what else would be coming was the key play, because it kept me ahead in damage.

The first game

After leading 1-0, the second game was a total non-game in a bad way. My opponent decided to mulligan twice and then opened with turn 1: two black vises, followed up by turn 2: another vise, while I had kept a pretty normal hand with no moxen. 

The moment I felt how stupid this game sometimes is :)

This meant I was down 14 damage by the time I was getting from under the vises, and my opponent was also bolting me. I felt I might be able to do something with some creatures I got out, but I was on 4 and then on 1 for a long time. All it took was another bolt, and that came quickly. 

Third game I kept an opening hand with 2 lands, pegasus, vise, serendib and timetwister, figuring I would be able to play T1 vise, T2 pegasus, and then T3 I would have drawn another land for the Serendib and timetwister to follow up, to also do some damage with the vise. 

It was not meant to be however, as I did not draw a single land in the first 5 turns, and when a land did show up in turn 6 it was too late. My opponent had out two Elvish Archers, a sprite, a Kird ape and a vise, so I had take way to much damage by the time I could play my efreet. I tried stopping the Archers with an Atog, but it was bolted in response to my eating my vise and that was it. The 5 turns it took for a land to show up did me in. Had I drawn one of my earthquakes or Swords to plowshares, I might have been a different game. But instead I was stuck with 2 serendibs, a psionic blast and a timetwister, with no lands to play them. Oh well, that's Magic for you. 

The farmstead champion

I will post some more atmosphere pictures under this text, but first I want to thank everyone, especially Robbie and Roy for organizing this event! Also thanks to all of my opponents for the (mostly) nice and exiting games! I had a really great day, OS in real life is the best. 

Wijnand, our local cardboard crack dealer

Timmy the sorcerer playing his elementals deck

And just some people really enjoying OS in real life: 

Thanks for reading and all the players: thanks for showing up, you're the greatest. Until next time, see you then!