Sunday, April 10, 2022

The Palladins of the North cup with Hell's caretaker spice

On april the 2nd there would be another option to play IRL oldschool again. These days there are so many OS tournaments in the Netherlands you could play a live event at least once a month or more. If that's not enough for you, you can join one of the many online tournaments. I like IRL tournaments the best, especially if they're organized by people I know and like, like the Cramers. So naturally I said I would come when they announced it a while back. 

As I expected less spiking than on Dadbodcon because there was nothing really to win apart from the glory, I was happy to go for a more spicy approach than last time and take one of the decks that I like to play even though they're not that good. Anne Joldersma challenged me to take Combat Wombat and even though I will take that to a tournament somewhere in the near future, this time I felt more like playing a deck with Hell's caretaker and Tetravus. I've loved the interaction between the Caretaker and Tetravus very much ever since the chronicles/4th edition era, when I used to have a deck with 4 of both from chronicles, 4th and renaissance. It was abysmal, but fortunately most of the decks my friends were playing with were not much better (well, apart from the UW Serra/control magic/counterdeck one of my friends had built..I think that would be good enough to compete in current day OS and maybe reach Top8), so sometimes I would win with just swarming my opponents with Tetravites and blocking with them as well. The best part would be when I would block a Serra or something with a Tetravite, then tap my Sage of Lat-Nam (I had 2 at that time and was unable to find more) for a card. Somewhere during the pandemic I wanted to relive the experience but with a more OS feel, so I decided to see if I could find 4 LG caretakers and 3 more Tetravusses to add to my 1 AQ version. When my local gameshop "Spelkwartier" had 3 LG caretakers on MCM, I called them and picked them up later that week. During the pandemic there was also something called card bonanza's in the dutch oldschool signal group which are basically first come, first serve firesales, so getting my Tetravusses was just a matter of keeping my eye on my phone and type really fast when a Tetravus was on sale. From there I started building the deck from memory, and did some tweaking after playing a couple of games with it. This is the way it ended up for this tournament:

4 Hell's caretakers proved a bit much during the 10 test games I played with it, and since a demon with a hells caretaker is thematically nice, I decided to go for one of those. I'd gotten a couple of them as well during the pandemic, so my bb chronicles version could stay out of this deck. The deck is pretty slow, but if it gets a chance to start working, it really brings out a big grin on my face. The mana vaults are in there to keep up with quick decks and are then usually eaten by the Sages. I was looking for spots for creature removal, but I could not decide what to take out and I did not have a lot of time for testing, so I decided to just leave it like this, because it was pretty close to what I'd played more than 20 years ago. 

Chris asked if I wanted to drive together (he's from Germany) and Peter was also coming. In the week of the tournament Thijs also asked if I was going, so he joined as well. My Mini Cooper would be pretty full, but hey, it was only a 2 hours drive from my house. On the day of the tournament, Chris showed up exactly on time, we picked up the other guys and went up north. 2 hours fly by if you have nice company, so it seemed much shorter when we reached Groningen. Outside of the venue we spotted familiar faces and I was looking forward to nice day of OS. I was hoping for about a 3-3 record in the swiss and not be crushed totally.  

It took some time, but then it was time for round one. I kept a pretty meager hand with the exeption of Library of Alexandria. And, since I am one of those people that get's to use his library only about 20% of the time, it was immediately stripped by my opponent. 

Because.. of course.. right.. 

My opponent went on the offensive with Savannah Lions and while I was able to counter some stuff, he followed up with Ancestral Recall, while I was waiting for enough land to get something into play. I got stuck on 5 mana with 2 Trikes and 3 Tetravus in hand. All I needed was one extra land. But the land did not show up and since he got some extra cards and was just quick, I lost in about 2-3 minutes. 

I boarded in some stuff against the swords, disenchants, I was expecting, with some terrors as well. 

The next game was not much better, because this time I had land (quite a lot of it actually) but nothing to play with it. 

I did some damage with the sage though.. 

In the turns after this, a troll, Lions and Armageddon followed in turn 4,5,6 so I the whole match was over in about 5 minutes. Though I had expected to lose against spikey decks, this was over much quicker than I had hoped for. It did give me the opportunity to do some walking around and spotting nice people with nice cardboard. 

oldprint vs reprint


A deck with lots of interesting miscuts

lots of Atog burn vs mono green


This one is nice, I just passed by and noticed the situation, remarking that the only thing that would help was... and then he topdecked it!

After a seemingly long time, it was time for round 2. Since I had lost round 1, I was hoping to be paired against a bit less agressive deck, or maybe something a bit less focused. That did not turn out that well, because on turn 2: 

This again, was a pretty short story. I got rid of his Serendib Efreet with chaos orb, he then played a Erhnam Djinn, and I tried keeping up with a Triskelion, which he Swords to plowshared. I was thinking maybe I could get a Hell's Caretaker into play and do some tricks with that and my Jalum Tome. The Jalum Tome only produced more land and the Caretaker was Mindtwisted, so not much of a game there. With no cards left, the Djinn Crushed me. 

I boarded in glooms again, and was able to get one out pretty quickly in game 2. 

I tried putting on some pressure with a Triskelion, but my opponent was neatly helped from under the gloom with some quick moxes on turn 1 and 3. That coupled with an Ancestral recall and a swords to plowshares for my Trike, and the gloom was basically not doing anything. A lions showed up, and instead of being beaten by that, I decided to just take it with control magic. 

My opponent disenchanted the gloom and then played a Serra Angel and Sylvan Library. I tried to keep up with a Tetravus, which was then prompty copied with copy artifact. 

The copy artifact was followed up with Erhnam Djinn, and I was just trying to keep up with an animated trike, but since that is smaller, it was not much of a match there. I managed to get rid of one djinn, only to have it followed up by another. 

Scrambling to get something going, I tried getting the sage/caretaker/tetravus going, but my opponent swords to plowshared the tetravus, so that was not going to happen. 

With no tricks to get blockers into play, I lost the second game again. This match had lasted a bit longer, somewhere close to 12 minutes. This was going worse than I had hoped for. I don't mind losing, but by this time I had been here for about 2,5 hours, and I had only played less then 20 minutes worth of magic. Losing is less bad if the games at least take longer :)

With more than half an hour left in the round, I went for another walk to admire cardboard and take some pictures. 

Yes! Ghost ships! Awesome. 

We don't need a playmat with our moxes!

Sol'kanar! Always cool to spot golden legends in play!

Plenty of time left, left me with time to try to do some trading. I'm not particularly looking for cards, but I do like to make trades without money. Magic was, after all, meant to be a trading card game. Fortunately Thomas (Timmy the sorcerer on youtube. Check him out, it's a cool channel about oldschool) thinks of this the same way, so we traded two UL uncommons just so we could trade :)

Trading cards like in the old days! Thanks Thomas!

After that there was still time left while new pairings were being made, so I played a couple of games with my random red OS deck against Peter, with this combo in it: 

In the rare moments like these, it's actually useful :)

When it was time for the third round, I was paired against a black/green deck. It appeared to be another quick game when this happened:

Land, birds. OK. Another land on turn 2, then 2 dark rituals and... 

I was staring a knight and vampire in the face on turn 2. Ouch. Since I had no counterspell, this would be a hard one.. the creature onslaught did not stop though:

Turn 3 for him, I took another with timewalk, but stil, errr... okay... 

The cards I was drawing here would not bring me much either:

I tried dumping the demon with the Jalum Tome I drew, and then wanted to animate it, but I had not enough mana to do so quickly so that was over pretty quickly. By this time I was wondering if my day would be mostly being crushed and then waiting really long for the next round. I did not give up though, sideboarded in my prodigal sorcerers and some terrors, and tried to see what would happen. I was luck enough to get an Ancestral recall, and was then able to counter the turn 2 Erhnam that showed up. 

This would give me some options, because I would be able to play Triskelion next turn. Since the Hell's caretaker I also had would not do much until the next creature would be in the graveyard, I attacked with it. Well, at least I had one in play that did... something. 

A couple of turns later, I drew a Jalum Tome which would maybe speed up the process. 

The Tome was mostly producing land however, and no big creature to discard. But since I was able to shoot my opponents elves and stuff with the Triskelion, I was not complaining. The tome also helped digging for my terror, which were used on my opponents Erhnam Djinn. But, even though my deck was doing something, it had not produced the much needed Tetravus. So I had to do some chump blocking against another Djinn that could not be terrored. 

Juzam, always cool. And a problem. 

I was digging for my Tetravus with the tome, but none showed up. This meant I had to try some other tricks, blocking with the trike, shooting my opponent, then saccing to draw a card and in my upkeep bring it back with the caretaker while saccing the Tim. After shooting my opponent for 1 of course. I was hoping this would add up with the pinging the Juzam did. In the meantime I was digging with two tomes, but still no Tetravus showed up. 

In the end, I had to keep shooting and saccing other creaturs to bring back the Triskelion. The Tetravus never showed up, but in the end my pinging was enough and the Djinn killed my opponent in his upkeep. Yeah! A game won, and it took pretty long. Just what I was looking for. 

On to game 3, my hand was looking promising:

My opponent was producing creatures at high speed, but my Tim was going to some breaking there. 

A Tim + Triskelion would be able to get rid of a Vampire, but not a Juzam, so that was countered. This was looking pretty good. Maybe I would be able to win a match here. This time, there was a Tetravus in my graveyard, but no caretaker showed up. 

But I had my Triskelion to attack, and a Tome to dig for the caretaker, so maybe I would work out this game. And if not, at least I was filtering through my deck for other good things. It took al long time, but eventually, the caretakers showed up. And they would have to do some work to get the Juzam off my back. 

Fortunately, they're excellent at that, and I was able to shoot the djinn of the board with Triskelion exchanges. 

The game lasted until into the final 5 turns because time was up, and I won with 2 caretakers hard at work and a Tim :) A long game, with active caretakers. I loved it :)

This time I would have to wait less long, on to match 4. 

While I was drawing my opening hand, next to me this was happing: 

A library! Great, you think. And then this happens..

My opponent opened with a sol ring, I had a vault. Not as good, but maybe I would be able to keep up, I thought, but then a Troll appeared right away. 

The Troll started beating while I was trying to keep up. A Hypnotic specter followed quickly, but I was able to get rid of that with a Triskelion, which I sacrificed to draw a card after blocking the troll. 

The Troll was a big problem though, so I tried a Tetravus to keep up with the speed, but that was quickly shattered. I drew another card with the Sage, but that did not help much. 

I decided to just sacrifice the vault as well, to draw another card. And after my draw phase, I had this. 

Not really helping, deck.. 

I lost with this in play... 

After saccing every artifact I drew, there was just nothing else showing up. No creatures, nothing. So I just lost to the troll after eventually blocking with the sages.

 My opening hand in game 2 was this. 

I decided to keep it. A Troll would be bad, so a blue elemental blast and a time walk were not that bad of a draw. My opponent opened with sol ring again. 

I used the time walk to gain some time, than tutored for ancestral to eventually end up with this while being beaten by factories. 

My first Tetravus was destroyed by a chaos orb, but another showed up, and with the bunch of mana I had, I was able to play a Triskealion after that with no problems. 

Things were looking hopeful. I unfortunately drew the caretaker just after my opponent had played a disk.. 

After the disk had gone off, I played the caretaker, which was bolted. The turn after that I drew a blue elemental blast. Great :P

I was able to take my opponents specter with control magic, but that was taken care of by a will'o the wisp.

I got a tome working to get rid of the enormous amount of land I was drawing. It did not do much at the start, but eventually it got my to useful cards. 

Just as I thought I would be able to get somewhere, an underworld dreams appeared. And by this time, tie time in the round was almost up. 

I got a Hells caretaker when I was at 2 life, and my opponent was pretty sure of his win. And he also played a disk to take care of my stuff. Since he was at over 10 life and I was at 2, it was not looking good. 

After some number crunching in my head, I did not use the caretaker in my upkeep and attacked with everything I had, including the caretaker. That allowed my to shoot my opponent with my full trike for 2 after combat, then one at itself since I could not sac it to the sage because I was at 1 now, then animate it and shoot him for 3 for the win :) Wow! This was a super close game and took a really long time and ended in a tie with this. Even though it was not a win, I was still very happy with this long and tense game :)

Rond 5 I was treated to a first turn hypnotic specter: 

I had no awnser, it took my entire hand, so 1-0. 

The second game I would get the card advantage, at least for a couple of turns:

The strip mine duely arrived 3 turns later, but hey, at least I'd been able to draw 3 extra cards, although I had to dump most of them in de graveyard. 

But fortunately, I had some creatures and eventually a caretaker showed up. No Tetravus in de graveyard, but a Trike, so that was still nice. 

But then it finally happened :)

I finally got it working the way it was intended!

Hell's caretaker online with lots of Tetravites :)

So, 1-1, up to the third game! The opening hand was, well, less spectacular. I decided to keep it just in case a Specter would show up early, so I at least would have mana to play some stuff. 

More mana showed up, but my opponent's opening was not quick either. 

Or, so I thought. My oppenent played underworld dreams, and then another underworld dreams. So, no time for waiting then. Eventually, I just cast Tetravus after strip mining his white mana source and hoped for the best. 

The dreams would not be allowing me to get the engine running, so I just played the creatures I fortunately got (would have loved to have the Yawgmoth demon now!) and just started beating. 

It was enough! I won with just creature beatdown. 2-1 and another exiting and pretty long game! I was happy and since I had lost more than I won, I figured I would be playing round 6 against a not to good deck. Unfortunately, I was wrong there :P Juan dropped a turn 2 serendib. 

I had some manavaults, but not much more. 

I tried for a coffin after he played a Su-Chi and a Yothian Soldier

It stayed, but the Triskelion I was hoping to use with the coffin was not so lucky. Juan played ancestral recall, destroyed my stuff and beat me 1-0 in about 5 minutes. 

The second game he opened with Savannah Lions, which I exchanged for my Sage. 

I then took his serendib with control magic, but Juan was okay with that, casually playing an Ancestral Recall and took out the serendib. 

Which he followed up with a braingeyser: 

The card advantage he had was pretty big by now, and even though I played some glooms, he just beat me to a pulp with a factory and a Serendib. I would have loved to get a bit less mana and some more cards that did something, looking back:

But hey, you can't have it all. Juan won quickly, but fortunately he's a nice guy so you don't really mind losing against him. It left me with some time to take pictures around the venue. 

Miscuts, miscuts, and more!

The top players going for it:

The last table also enjoying themselves :)

Thijs finally got out his demonic hordes, but instead of applauding him like would be appropriate, Erin just beat Thijs with his Lions deck. The were a LOT of lions out in the field today, and a lot of Sedge trolls. Seems that the meta has shifted after Chef took Dadbodcon with a deck which also had both. 

Since Chris needed to drive home after we would be getting back to Arnhem and the tournament had taken quite a while, we decided to get a quick bite somewhere and head back instead of waiting for the top 8. Waiting for that would mean Chris would be getting home somewhere at 3 in the morning, and that was a bit of a long drive after al long day of magic. So we got something to eat and went back, but not before I bought a signed lightning bolt from Wijnand. Ever since my signed Lotus was stolen, I wanted to get another signed Rush card that I would play with, and a bolt seemed like something I would use at least in some decks. We drove home and Chris quickly got behind the wheel of his car with an energy drink I gave him. I took out the spoils of the day and could look back to another good day of Oldschool magic. 

Thanks to the Cramers for organizing, and all of the people who showed up to play some old cardboard! Till next time!