It's been a while since my last live oldschool tournament. Unfortunately I had to cancel the planned camel trophy in januari due to regulations, so this would be the first live os tournament this year. It also happened to be the first tournament organized by David from Utrecht. He had picked the national denksport centrum for the occasion, a venue where there are also chess, checkers and bridge tournaments. At first I thought of playing either an elementals deck or some hell's caretaker variant, but then I noticed 2 things:
1) I don't own enough elementals to make an elemental deck and
2) there would actually be something to win in this tournament, namely mystery boosters filled with os cards for the top 3 contenders.
I figured that would invite a bit more spikey atmosphere and I although I don't really mind losing with a deck I enjoy playing, I don't like being trashed 0-7 in 7 rounds of swiss, so I decided to bring something that would definitely win more than lose and have good chance of reaching top 10 in a tournament with over 60 participants. There are some top notch decks I'm not really a fan of because I don't really enjoy playing them, but I do find joy in playing some robots variant in which I can sacrifice Tetravites with sage of lat-nam, so I decided to do some tuning to the deck I played in RBS online. In this tournament, some reprints were allowed so that meant I could play it with 4 volcanic islands. FBB cards were not allowed in this tournament, so I needed to borrow revised volcanic islands to fill out my deck. I also wanted to try some other changes because I didn't really like the wheel of fortune last time and during RBS I kept sideboarding in the one Icy Manipulator in my sideboard, so some other changes were made. I talked over the deck a bit with Anne Joldersma, and added one The Abyss to the main deck instead of leaving it in the sideboard. I asked Thijs if he needed a ride to Utrecht and he did, so we would be going there together.
The next (pretty cold) morning I picked up Thijs and off we were. The venue had a great parking space next to it so we wouldn't have to walk a long distance. It was just park and get inside. It was really great to see a lot of familiar faces again, but also quite a lot of people I had not seen before. Oldschool just keeps attracting new people in the Netherlands it seems, which is great. I registered and got my stamped revised earth elemental and button. While everyone was doing their registration with David, I went through the boxes and binders of our local cardboard crack dealer Wijnand. There I found some bases for the elemental deck I had been pondering, so I scored some additions for my collection (although some of these will be going to a friend of mine who started OS just recently) :
|The Crevasse I bought from Edo earlier. I just like the artwork of Rob Alexander so much I wanted this one with his autograph on it. |
When it was time for the first round of swiss (there would be no top 8, just swiss), Thijs was placed at table number 1 :)
I was on table 4 against Gideon, one of the familiar faces I love playing against. He's a great guy and a good player. I kept a reasonable hand, which was a bit tricky. I had a strip mine and sol ring, also a time walk and ancestral recall, but no blue mana. And some artifact creatures, of course. But considering my deck had plenty of blue producing lands, I decided to keep it anyway. A blue mana should statistically show it within about 2 or 3 turns.
|My first round opponent :)|
I played my first turn strip mine and sol ring. Not to bad, and then Gideon got off to... let's say, something a bit better than my turn :)
Yes, that's him playing sea, lotus, mox ruby, ancestral recall. But the fun wasn't over yet :)
I just laughed really hard at this ridiculous opening, especially since Gideon is the kind of guy where you don't mind this at all. This was definitely oldschool at it's best!
I needed something to fix this and fast, but that would be largely depending on what I would draw. A land of mana artifact would be nice, because that would mean I could join in the game. Since half my deck is mana in the form of lands or artifacts I wasn't too worried. I took one damage from the atog, and the turn after that I got my mana artifact and played Su-Chi.
I took some beatings after blocking the Atog with the Su-Chi, forcing Gideon to eat some of his moxes. He animated my Su-Chi and beat me with that as I was waiting for more land. Just as I thought the game would be over, I got my much needed underground sea. That meant I would be able to kick into gear and join the game. I took my time walk, ancestral and got some more mana to play creatures, so a few turns later the boardstate was like this:
This would turn out to be a serious game after all. I countered his second copy artifact so would be able to hold out a bit longer and do some damage of my own. I was doing some damage with tetravus first, then with tetravites which I used to block the Atog. I was hoping to block with my tetravus and than animate it, but unfortunately, gideon drew another atog and a copy artifact to copy my trike first, and I could not keep up with that.
The quick mana from gideon versus the slow start from my side was just a bit too much. Had I drawn the sea one turn earlier, I think I would have had a good chance of getting back in time but now it wasn't meant to be. It was an exiting and fun game.
The second game I kept a Library of Alexandria hand, hoping tot get some advantage with that. Although Gideons next opening was less spectacular than his first, it was very nice:
He opened land, mox, time walk, play factory, animate factory, copy artifact. So he had a structural 4 mana/damage sources on the board before I had even drawn my first card! I drew my first card and extra card, hoping to get in the game quickly as Gideon swung for 4 with his 2 factories. I drew one extra card with the library, and then decided to give up the advantage to get in the game quickly before it was too late:
Unfortunately, my only other mana source was city of brass. Not good. I shattered one of his artifact creatures but he drew more and quickly had me down on life. My trike also died pretty quickly after a block and even when I revived it it was not fast enough to keep up. Gideon just had the better draw and the initiative.
So I ended up losing 2-0. Not a good start for the tournament, but the games were very nice, intense and against a nice opponent, so I felt pretty good about the start of the tournament. There was some time left, which gave me time to spot mister Cramer playing an Enchantress deck! Awesome!
There were also a lot of other nice games going on with awesome cardboard to look at:
|Evil Eye and fountain of youth, what's not to like?|
The next round I was 2 rows of tables down with the rest of the first round losers. I was playing Tristan Krap, who was playing a green/white/red build with also a lot of artifact creatures. I tried getting off to a quick start, but was quickly thwarted by what white does:
I did get a sage, that managed to get rid of the mana vault. A was a bit low on mana, so I copied my mishra's factory. As you do, I drew my fourth land a turn later and used that to get out a Su-Chi. That managed to attack.
A turn later Tristan had an Icy, so it would take a while before I would get through some serious damage. A regrowth on the disenchant took care of my Su-Chi. Fortunately, I got through a Triskelion.
That was then joined by a Triskelion, which would be able to evade the Icy pretty well if I could turn it into tetravites.
Unfortunately, my Tetravites were then shot out of the sky:
I did get an extra card from the sage though, and eventually that advantage from getting card when Tristan shot my creatures won me out a pretty long grinding game. 1-0 While we were sideboarding, I noticed this beautiful Alpha frozen shade being equipped with fear and then doing a lot of damage :)
I boarded in glooms and shatters, and this was my opening hand:
|Why in gods name do I have to draw both the cities in my deck? I play only 2 to not draw them both :)|
I decided the gloom was probably worth it, so I kept it. With no other direct options, I decided to play the sage and do damage with that, followed up by factory damage. I should have waited, the sage was immediately removed with Swords to plowshares. Figures. But that meant I would have a better chance of attacking with factory. He played some more lands (also factory) and Su-chi. I got Icy and copy artifact online to get through some damage.
The Icy was eventually removed after I got through some damage, but I got some Trikes after my Su-Chi was removed. One was also quickly dispatched, but this one stayed in play for some time and after some exchanges of blows and creature/factory battles, I won out here. I finally got something out of gloom when he played regrowth on disenchant, and I got to play the mind twist I had kept in my had for 6 or 7 turns to some effect because he wasn't able to play disenchant right away. Shortly after this won me the game. So this match was 2-0, 1-1 in matches. I would be moving up a bit in the standings.
On round 3: Bartel Kars, with Black/blue disruption
My openingn hand was again a bit strange. Not a snap keep, but ancestral recall should make up for the one land, right?
I did not know what Bartel was playing, so I just kept the hand, played an island after he had started, en then he followed up with sinkhole.
Naturally, I cast Ancestral recall in response, but that gave me this..
|A definite Oh, oh.. moment after I played my mox|
So I played the mana vault and just hoped for the best. My next land came two turns later (a underground sea), which was quickly blessed with a psychic venom. I decided to just bite the bullit and take all the damage, playing a Su-Chi and a next turn copy artifact. The su-chi was quickly possessed and Bartel had a maze of ith. Figuring I would die anyway if I didn't do anything, I started hammering him with Su-chis, trading 2 for 4 damage.
He followed up with even more psychic venoms, I used chaos orb to get rid of the maze.
This way, I managed to finish off the game quickly, before any Icies or twiddles would show up. Meanwhile next to me, this happened:)
The next game I didn't get off to a quick start, but neither was Bartel.
He got an ancestral recall after this, not too shabby. It was actually the first time he played it in a tournament, he mentioned, he had just acquired it. I got my next land, a city of brass... Jippy... but again, I just went for it, and took 3 damage to get out a Su-Chi. Bartel followed up with a maze... great. At least my sage was doing 1 damage a turn..
I followed up with 2 copy artifacts a couple of turns later. That sealed the game, because it did more damage than Bartel could hold off.
Another 2-0, now 2-1 in matches. Good, I would be getting a bit closer to the next row of tables :) Meanwhile next to us, Peter got hammered from 18 to 0 in 3 turns. A Shivan was played, it attacked for 9, and then:
I also spotted Jaap playing dragon whelp :) Awesome!
|Oh look, I've got an Erhnam. OK, I'll spirit link it. *sigh*|
|Enchantress combo playing out|
Next round was Martin Purrio, with a black artifact deck. It seems I would be playing a lot of Trikes today.
Martin got off to a nice start with the first Su-Chi with help of a sol ring. I had to wait with my mana drain and counter his Tetravus, which led me to get out mine, and then one turn later I was up to enough lands to play my Su-Chi, which we traded.
He animated his Tetravus, and then played a Trike. Then some exchanges an animation followed from both sides. I managed to get out ahead in a turn where I used black lotus for playing both a Trike and an Animate in one turn.
We exchanged blows but I was ahead in life, so eventually I managed to win that game. The next opening hand was promising. All I needed to draw was a Tetravus or Triskelion. And if this hand would stay, chances of that happening were good :)
Martin started doing damage first however. But I was confident that a working library and a workshop would give me enough tempo to get back in the game.
And that worked out! I drew and played a mox each turn (weird how that goes sometimes) and was able to get out Triskelion in turn 3!
And next turn I drew... another mox :) 4 in 4 turns, cool :) It also let me play my favourite creature of this deck :)
The Trike was eventually killed with gate to Phyrexia, also cool! That's the first time that happened to me in a tournament, I think. It was followed up by a Su-Chi and an animate dead for the Trike. The unfair advantage of the library did its work very well.
|probably the coolest deck I played against all day!!|
I had some time left to walk around and take some pictures, there were a lot of nice decks to be seen, but these I wanted to share with you:
|Elementals vs carrion ants!|
|Classic Juzam vs Erhnam and Serra battle|
5th round: Juan with white/red moon weenie burn.
I had seen Juan on several tournaments, but never actually played against him. We chatted a while and then started our match. I was off to a mishra/sol ring start, but Juans was even better:
He quickly orbed my sol ring, and after I had decided to copy my factory to keep up with the mana ramp, I drew into my workshop and happily played Tetravus. That was short lived though:
After getting rid of my Tetravus and my copied mishra, he also swords to plowshared my next tetravus and then played blood moon. Good thing most of my creatures are colorless, so I could play Su-Chi.
The Su-Chi did some damage, but was taken care of as well:
Juan played a savannah lions after that and did some damage, I played a Triskelion which quickly met with another disenchant. After that my basic islands showed up and I could do some more Su-Chi tricks.
That was enough for a 1-0 in games. After some sideboarding we got back into the game, in which Juan was off to a quick start with factories and orcs. I played a Su-Chi to start blocking, but that was gone right away:
The orcs was followed by Gargoyle, or "fletse vlieger" as some people here like to call them. Next to me, Thijs was calling to show me how he would live through an assault of AN creatures. And so he did, by utilizing one of the few black cards in his deck to find:
I meanwhile was hammered by red creatures. I tried getting out blockers, but they were all removed and I died very, very quickly.
The next game, Juan got out another orcs and gargoyle but I managed to get out some Trike/copy stuff. I wanted Juan to tap out to make sure he would not have any red left, so he double blocked, killed one of my trikes which left me able to play my ancestral recall without fear of a red elemental blast. I could then play some more artifact creatures to get ahead. But in this game, Juan had it all under control:
I did get to shoot him for 5 more damage though, and untapped my mana vault in the next turn. I had nine life left, so I was pretty okay with the situation. If he would not kill me quickly, I could just leave the other vault tapped next turn, and then:
|I was able to finish it off with a big fireball. I accidently tapped the workshop, but that wasn't giving any mana for this, but it was not necessary :)|
So 2-1 in games, 4-1 in matches. I was getting closer to the first row of tables and my goal for winning more than losing was in the pocket. I walked around, looking for cool pictures to take, and got to see this situation:
|Evert playing Titania's song to great effect :)|
Meanwhile, Chef and Peter M where playing for the top stop on table number one:
|Some intense games going on|
When the next pairings (with oldschool match slips) were put onto the table, I was feeling good about my standing in the swiss :)
|table 2, not bad :)|
I was playing Peter Monten, so whether I would win or lose, it would be a nice match. I love playing against Peter. I also love the deck he's playing, a green/blue weenie deck.
I bided my time playing lands, waiting to take out two creatures with the fireball, when Black Lotus showed up and gave me the option for an extra creature, taking out 3 creatures with two of my cards. Second time the lotus did something really useful this day! Usually it just sits there and does not do that much.
Peter decided to wheel of fortune after that, to get his library online and get back at me with an advantage, but that gave me a lot of mana and options to play.
The Trikes are really awful against Peters deck, so that gave me game 1. The next game game me one of those really, really, really insane and awful goddam hands. I had never done this before on a tournament this way, so I kept it. Peter went land, elf. I went:
|Jezus, what an awful card is this, is it not?|
This left me with not a lot to play, but with a lot of mana on the board. Peter got back with an Argothian Pixies, I used my orb to flip that of the board.
I mean, look at this graveyard...
|only restricted cards? Really??|
It was hard for Peter to bounce back from that, but it got worse when I played The Abyss and he had nog sideboarded against that. That gave me plenty of time, so here it ended with me playing a braingeyser, getting Trikes, and finishing it off.
So there I was, 5-1 in matches. I got a drink for Peter to make up for the aweful shit of that last game and with the next pairing I was paired against Chef, who was unbeaten on table 1.
|Well, at least I would end the tournament on the best table :)|
|Chef coming for me!|
Chef bolted it. I decided to then play Abyss, since he was playing hippies and trolls. I was drawing lands mostly, with factories on both sides this was not going to do much. I managed to get one swing for 4, then a bit more damage and then everything stalled. Since I had 2 cards and he had 4, I decided to go for it, and play timetwister for the first time today.
But it seems my luck for the day had run out. I got 4 lands, a mana vault, fellwar stone and a Su-Chi. Chef had disenchanted my Abyss just before that and now all I had was one creature. Oh well. At least I would not be mana screwed.
Chef however, had gotten a better hand. Playing swords on my Su-Chi and then discarding everything I had.
At least I got to swing for 4 again, putting him at 4. He had city of brass, and now I was hoping for a icy, or a trike, or my fireball. There were still plenty of options. Chef played a troll. From there on, no more damage with factories I guess.
There was some orb flipping, him bashing me with little defence, until I got out 2 Tetravus (or at least, one and one copy).
I figured I would at least have a chance to swing at him with those and the factories, and at least get rid of the Hypnotic specter he had, and then probably win. Which was when he got this:
He tutored for ancestral recall, sure, why not up the card advantage to 15 :) (5 from the mind twist, 7 from the geyser, 3 from the recall). There was nothing I could do about this, because he then dumped a lot of creatures on the board, while I had nothing. He was on 3 though, so A trike, or the fireball would do it. So, I had 3 trikes, a fireball and a tutor as options, as well as 2 icy manipulators for his city of brass, which would kill him before he took out my life. Alas, none of those appeared as I got hammered by trolls. Oh, well, so close, but the card advantage was just too much. The second game I opened with a factory. No power, just a reasonable hand I had kept. Chef however, was going through on a roll:
|2 moxes and a hippy, yey.. :(|
I decided to use the lotus I drew for an Abyss, which took care of the first hippy, but chef had all the awnsers. He disenchanted the Abyss, and also had a chaos orb. When I tried racing him by putting into play a Su-Chi, he took care of that with divine offering and didn't even need the orb. He used that on a copy artifact, I think.
He then got a Troll, and a Sol'kanar the swamp king, which was certainly cool. I drew a library of Alexandria that did nothing.
The turn after that I got rid of the sol'kanar with my orb, but Chef kept drawing all the awnsers while my draw was, well, not that good, so there was nothing I could do, unfortunately. My luck had run out and he won fair and square. So I was 5-2 in matches, 3rd in standings overall. Not bad for a 60+ tournament, but I was unable to break my streak of close-but-no-first places. I hope it will happen some time, because I'm starting to believe the stars are aligned against me :) Except for the last game most games were nice and exiting games. The atmosphere was great, I some lots of nice people in real life again and saw lots of cardboard action which was why we were there for! And, I won a mystery booster with these cards in it:
|some nice old cardboard as a prize!|