Sunday, May 22, 2022

Raging Bull 2022 with Titania's Song

Ah yes, real life OS, there just isn't a substitute for it. So naturally, when Richard sent out a save the date for the Raging Bull tournament in Amsterdam, I immediately sent back a message that I would attend. Usually I make my decks pretty late and playtest maybe a couple of games, but this time I was a bit occupied in the weeks leading up to RBS because I got married the week before :) This meant I hadn't given RBS a lot of thought until 2 days before the event. I'm always looking for different decks to play as I tend to never play the same deck 2 tournaments in a row. That also means I don't get a routine with any deck, which means every deck is a challenge to play at it's best. In this tournament, looking back, I made one bad call which cost me a game, but since I had not played a deck like this for over 10 years or so, I'm okay with that. 

Although I am fortunate enough to be able to make a couple of different Swedish legal Oldschool decks, I don't have everything for all the different decks out there, so my choice was more limited than with tournaments which a wider reprint policy. But then again, that is the fun of Swedish OS, you play with what you have. On Thursday I had 4 different decks in mind, 3 of which contained a mirror universe. So I guess I wanted to play with that because I hadn't used that for a long time. On Friday I had it down to two decks, both of which used multiple. And I have only one SL mirror. But fortunately, I could borrow from friends and  I decided to go play a deck which I had played in Ancient a long time ago, but never in Swedish Oldschool. A Titania's Song deck. Since I had only about an hour or so to build it on Friday after work, I gave it some thought during the day and asked for suggestions about my deck draft from fellow oldschooler Anne Joldersma. I brainstorm about decks with him regularly and I enjoy his original deck ideas. He thought the deck was fine, but the sideboard needed some tuning. With some of his suggestions in mind, I ended up with this:

The trick with the Serra's and moats in the sideboard seemed a better idea than an extra abyss and Tetravusses, since people would be boarding in artifact hate and most likely creature destruction out after seeing none in game 1. I never drew the transmute artifact during the day, but I did manage to get a complete set of moxen on the board multiple times. It is strange how statistics work :) 

This is obviously not a Tier 1 or even tier 2 deck, but looks okay. Just looking at the decklist I expected to go win some matches, go 2-4, maybe go 3-3. But mostly I was looking forward to hitting people with a 6/6 mirror. I've seen people like Evert do that and it looked like a lot of fun. 

I was a bit early in the game cafe 2 klaveren, so I could help Richard with bringing down some boxes. I was amazed at the gear set up for the livestream by Timmy and Richard. With help from Dyan they had built a setup that was more like a professional TV-studio then your average youtuber. 

You cannot see it from here, but there is professional lighting and multiple professional camera's here. And also a LOT of cables to get it all working together:)

There were some issues with to event in Tolaria, so while Richard was working hard to get that fixed, I did some looking in trade binders. It's always fun to just go through cards. Wouter thought so as well:

hmmm, cardboard

Richard in the end fixed the issues by making an entirely new event, and then it was time to start playing! The first round was against Juan, whom I had also played in the Paladins of the north cup, the previous OS event I went to. Although he's from Spain, he lives in our country now and he's an avid OS player. 

I took a mulligan and ended up with a hand with a library and a sol ring in it, but not much else. I was on the draw so I went for it, even though Libraries tend to be taken out of the game pretty quickly. Juan was okay with it and did not have an answer except a thumbs up. 

As I was drawing my first card to compensate for the mulligan, I was telling myself I wanted to play more with gentlemen's rules. After all, I had let out mind twist this time because the card sucks to much and if you're not going for top 8, why play it at all, right? Anyway, it turns out Juan had an answer pretty quickly, after I swords to plowshared his Ironclaw Orc on turn 2, he quickly dropped a Blood moon.

Turn 3 blood moon :)

Since the blood moon was in play, I dropped the library as a plan and tried to stall Juan by playing winter orb. This worked for a while. He played Lions, I took some damage and then played an Icy. He followed up with a Serra Angel. 

I decided to not use the balance I had on hand yet. I drew a couple of lands in a row, and then a disenchant to get rid of the blood moon. I wanted to make use of the library again, but just as I was up to seven and drew an extra card, Juan put Su-Chi on the board. 

I had taken to much damage to be able to safely take 6 damage against a burn deck, so I dumped all the artifacts and a land on the board and played balance to get rid of all the creatures coming my way. 

 A mirror universe showed up after that, and even though Juan had drawn a Lions, he saw no way he would win this, so he scooped with this boardstate:

On game 2 Juan was off to a quick start with a first turn Ironclaw orc and a second turn mishra's factory and a chaos orb. My first turn was less impressive but hey, it contained a mox so no complaining here. 

Because I could not get rid of it otherwise and Juan was playing a lot of vises now instead of the expected lions, I played wrath of god just to get rid of that. I was not drawing a lot of land and Juan destroyed one of them with the orb and another one with city in a bottle, but fortunately one of the lands that did show up was the Mishra's workshop, which enabled me to play the mirror universe and use it to get back to 20. Juan kept burning away at me with fireballs, fortunately the vises did not do much. 

I had boarded in my hopefully unexpected trick with the Serra Angel and Moat, and that worked. Juan had not expected that after he fireballed me and had no awnser, so I won 2-0. 

2-0 against an aggressive burn deck, not bad. Maybe this deck was better than I had expected or remembered from the Ancient days. Since I finished the match in less than the planned 55 minutes, I had a couple of minutes to take some pictures. 

Peter Monten playing his super awesome RUG weenie deck

Library vs vise classic

what do you play against a mean Juggernaut? A regenerating troll! Oi!

Round 2 against Blackborder Ben with a superfast green artifact deck

Ben had a fast start, I had a library. Forgot to ask ben right away to play gentlemens rules. I could tell I had not been sleeping a lot this night. Ben had Icestorm in his deck I think, but did not draw one quickly. We both started building mana fast, on turn two Ben was up to 5 mana. I tried to keep up with mox/fellwar stone and waiting to draw something better than just mana, but if the library would stay I would probably draw something useful. 

I was a bit scared when Ben tapped 6 mana on turn 3. There was 4 green there and I was really scared he would play a Force of Nature, because I had no awnser for that yet so I would probably take 8 - 16 damage before getting rid of it. Fortunately for me it was 'just' a Triskelion, so I would have some more time. And I did get some stuff after taking some hits, an Icy Manipulator and then a copy artifact to start hitting back. 

I've taken 2 extra turns here, still no land draw. Statistics are weird. Thank god for the moxen.

Ben flipped an orb on my Trike and decided to let my Icies stay, so we stalled, which is exactly what this deck wants. 

A couple of turns later:

Than I got parfait working, with mine/relic barrier. Ben later commented he had chosen not to destroy the library, because I was drawing cards anyway. He did destroy it with city in a bottle though. Second time someone plays that card main deck. Is that even healthy, playing a card like that main deck? Perhaps it should be restricted. Ben was playing other hosers main deck as well, like Tsunami. Fortunately for me, that does not do that much. 

I was able to start locking Ben in after I drew a winter orb, and I finished the way this deck should:

Go Titania's Song!

Second game Ben opened quickly with land, wild growth. I had a serra on hand and two moxen, zo I decided to slow him down by throwing my orb at his land and see if I could race him. I got the Serra out pretty quickly, Turn 5 I think, but Ben had the perfect answer:

Drop of Honey, you don't see that every day

I played howling mine with my Icy, which Ben crumbled. He then played Jayemdae tome, which was what I was waiting for to play my Winter orb. Ben later commented he should have played his Icy Manipulator instead. 

That probably would not have done that much because of the dust to dust I had on hand, but still, it probably would have been the better play. I used the dust to dust on his tome and a fellwar stone in stead and kept his land locked. 

My second Serra was again met by a drop of honey. So I would have to finish this another way. 

It ended up being the factories that had to do the work after the serra's had done 8 damage. So again, 2-0. By now I was starting to feel that this deck was probably better than I had imagined when I built it. And again before time was called, so again some time to take pictures of some classic cardboard:

Stasis/siren's call

Titania's Song and Living plane in one deck!

Another classic: turn 3 ball lightning

Ali with anti magic Aura :)

Round 3, Gideon, with something I would describe as Louter/tax?

On the third round, I played Gideon, who I have seen really ridiculous openings with, like in Dadbodcon where he opened with multiple moxen and a lotus. I did remember to play gentlemens rules and Gideon agreed. I got to start and thought this would impress him:

He was totally okay with this and asked if I was ready for his opening. Of course, bring it on! And he did bring it on: 

First turn land tax, mox, sol ring, fellwar stone. Wow. I disenchanted the tax because I wanted to play more lands, and since I had nothing in my hand after that, I went for a howling mine without a way to shut it off, hoping tot do something against Gideons Serendib Efreet. 

Gideon followed up with Armageddon and another Efreet. This was looking bad. Fortunately I was able to deliver some payback in the form of a balance. This cost me most of my hand, but taking six damage was not really a good option against a pretty aggressive deck. 

We both played Ancestral recall shortly after the balance and I got my relic barrier. I also got an icy and tapped Gideons sol ring to prevent him from quickly playing more creatures. 

Also, a full set of moxen. I didn't notice at first. Badly in need of a lunch by now :)

I kicked parfait into gear after this, with howling mine/relic barrier, copy artifact, icy to draw a lot of cards. That felt really crazy. It was also probably not the best play, but since I had no winter orb at the time, I really wanted to get that. 

Since I had noticed the full set, I put them together

Gideon played Serra, I played The Abyss. 

He then played a Land Tax, which I destroyed with Chaos orb. A winter orb eventually showed up, but I had no Icies, because Gideon had destroyed them. So with cards in my deck running out and because he did not destroy my card draw engine, I figured he did not have disenchant on hand. I was at 7 and expecting something like psiblast/bolt/fireball (although I had not seen any red, it was kind of the deck for it, and Gideon was saving some cards in his hand). This is were I made a judgement error. I could have tapped the cities some more and put him on lower life, but that gave him more chances to draw a disenchant, and I would be easier to kill. So I went for it and exchanged life totals with a mirror and then played Titania's song. And this was in hindsight wrong: he did have swords to plowshares and disenchant, so he destroyed my other mirror (with STP), the winter orb as well, and then disenchanted my song. I then hit him with a factory, putting him on 5. When I tried again, he swords to plowshared it, leaving me with no way to win, so I congratulated him and scooped. Had I been more agressive with the mirror and put him on 1 or 2 life, I would have won because he had no psionic blast in his hand. Looking back, this felt like an error on my part and since Gideon went on to the finals, this bugged me a lot. If there was a good chance this deck could win against him, it had Top 8 potential that I had not expected. 

Figuring he would take out his anti creature stuff, I boarded in the Serra's and Trikes, hoping to race him and win by slowing him down with icies or the mirror. It turned out a total anticlimax. I had to mulligan (2 serra's, a trike, an icy and only two land with one of them being a city is not good) and after shuffling and rifling about 5 times with: 2 serra's, 2 trikes, an icy and again, 2 lands. 2 lands was all I got and Gideon opened with land, 2 moxen, serendib. I drew no more lands or a Swords to plowshares for 3 turns, so it was over in a couple of minutes, a total non-game. I probably should have mulliganed another time but I was so fed up with how I had handled the first game and badly in need of some food, so I just did not think of it. 

First turn dib, Yikes!

Round 4, Wander with U/G berserk agro. 

Wander opened with Sprites, I with a Relic Barrier. 

I got another barrier, which was good against his factory and I could play winter orb to keep everything at a slower pace. 

After Wander tapped his blue mana a couple of turns later to play a flying man, I took my chance and played the Abyss. 

That left him without a lot of options, so eventually won the first game. That took a long time though. 

Titania for the win!

The second game I was struggling to get some creature destruction, while wander was hitting me with Scryb Sprites and giant growths every turn while I needed my icy to keep the mine tapped I had played earlier. I did not draw the Triskelions or Serra Angels or swords or wrath of god, so he did quite some damage. After a big hurricane I thought I would be back in the game with mirror universe on the table, but Wander topdecked a Psionic blast and that cost me this game. I felt so close. 1-1. 

The third game I got into play a Moat, which Wander had not expected. I could stall a bit by taking out his flying creature with Chaos orb. 

Going for it, Wander played copper tablet even though I was ahead in life. I suppose he figured because he had psionic blasts, he would then win the game. Not an unlikely scenario, but I was pretty confident I could get out ahead, because Wander had not seen my trikes yet. Then the last 5 turns were called, and while I had 1 trike in play, he was still too high in life. I drew: 2 lands, 2 lands, a land and a mox in the 3 turns I got. Wander was at six, I had one trike, but no copy, no serra, no other trike. I also could not use my cities to put myself lower because Wander had regrowthed a psionic blast. It ended up in a draw, with the top card of my deck being a demonic tutor which would have won me the game :(  

This felt really, really dissatisfying. Even though card draw is just random, it sucks when you feel you should win a game and then draw 6 mana sources in a row. I later learned that Wander made top 8, which made my pretty obvious win had the game lasted 20 seconds longer even more sucky. By now I had the feeling this deck was much better than I had expected, but I just needed a bit more luck to make it. This also meant that top 8 was out of the question. That was expected, but not like this :)

Round 5 Leo Bruder with Robots

Leo was playing his signature Robots deck. Leo, while in the semi finals, would later comment that he got lucky against me. When Nick asked what I was playing, Leo said: lands, mostly.. which was sort of the truth. We both did not got a quick start. I was drawing lands mostly and disenchanted Leo's mana vault, preventing him from going off quickly. 

mana, mana, mana

He got a factory online though, and did some damage. I got rid of that with another disenchant, waiting for something like an Icy/mine/etc to show up. Leo got his damage sources quicker than I did though. He got rid of my Abyss and got Sage/Trike/copy into play. 

With no Icy or anything at all (I would have been glad for a relic barrier or something) I was forced to use my balance, but that also gave me an extra 6 damage from the trikes. Leo played some more trikes while I was waiting for something to help me with the 2 howling mines I had in hand. I also had Titania song and mirror/copy, so I thought I would get him here.  I figured this would work so I just played all the artifacts in my hand, wanted to go for a mirror switch next turn, play titania and win. 

Chances are, this should work, right?

But, Leo topdecked exactly what he needed, an extra mox with the one he had on hand, with a land and a fireball. He dropped another land, 2 moxen, and fireballed me, with another attack from the sage this was enough. Damn, so close!

This was a slow and bit weird game but I felt I could have won this one as well, but Leo's Robots is one of the best OS decks there is, so I guess feeling close is kind of a compliment for my deck :)

The second game was also kind of weird. This was my opening hand:

This did not seem bad. A lot of mana on turn one, a disenchant against an artifact deck. So, I kept it and went for first turn 3 mana + ancestral recall. Hoping to get my deck started. 

Leo went land, mox, copy on my sapphire, which seemed dangerous to me, so I played dust to dust on his 2 artifacts and decided that since I had the mana advantage, I would get better chances out of drawing more cards, so I played howling mine again, with no way to shut it off. Likely by now you've come to the same conclusion as I did during the day, this deck probably needs more relic barriers. 4 instead of 3. Or an extra icy. Or both.  

I played Moat with disenchant as backup, figuring that chaos orb was the only way to get rid of it. Leo had not expected the moat and indeed tried to use the orb to get rid of it. Fortunately, I had the disenchant. A couple turns later Leo tried Tetravus, which I swords to plowshared. We stalled and I did what my deck does best: drawing a couple of lands in a row. 

Fortunately, Leo had no way of getting rid of the Moat now, so I could afford to stall a bit. But my deck was taking it to the ridiculous level, with drawing 2 more mana cards in the next 2 turns. While Leo was drawing more trikes. 

I tried dust to dust on the trikes, but that didn't work. I got 4 damage, and Leo followed up with 2 animate deads while I was as he so aptly put it: "playing lands mostly".

I got a fireball on my head, and then for the first time in 6 turns, I drew something else than a land or a mox, a Serra Angel. And then 2 turns after that, another one. 

Leo topdecked a psionic blast to kill me. Had the 6 lands, Serra, land, Serra been 5 lands and a Serra, then a land and a Serra, I would have won. Unfortunately, it was not in the draw. But again, it felt like it was possible. And if something gets your hopes up, it's kind of a bummer when it does not play out. 

But as said, Leo's deck is one of the best there is. It would have been awesome to win, but you can't really expect to win against a Tier 1 deck with such an experienced player with a deck of less quality. 

So by now I was 2-2-1 with a feeling it could have really been better. On to round 6 and see if I could finish this day with a positive result. By now Richard was also telling everyone not to leave after round 6, because of "the angry mob event". I had no idea what he was talking about, but was curious. But first, the last round. 

Round 6, Bartel Kars with UG Agro. 

We played gentlemen's rules and Bartel won the diceroll. He got off to quick start with a second turn Serendib with the help of a mox. I played a first turn Fellwar stone, also not bad. 

I was a bit slow and did not draw a land, so I copied my fellwar stone. Next turn I got a Ancestral Recall, hoping to get something against creatures. But mostly mana followed. 

quite the turn 3.. 
Bartel hit me with Serendib, and then again and played a whirling dervish and time walk. And also a mishra's factory. So even if I got a balance, wrath or an icy manipulator, this was over. 0-1.

The second game Bartel got off to a good start with first turn elf, I played a mishra's factory. I drew a couple of moxen while Bartel got a Argothian Pixies. When I got an Icy out to stall some more, he played energy flux. 

Fortunately, this time I had drawn some answers so I disenchanted his flux. I got to follow up with wrath of God, after that Bartel played a whirling dervish. 

Than a back an forth of cards followed, I played moat, he chaos orbed it. 

He played Erhnam Djinn, I played mirror. I got a bit lower, played regrowth on the moat and Bartel played more creatures, including a Serendib efreet, realising this was not the best play with an Icy in play. He then got another serendib and regrowth in his next turn, destroying my moat. That was bad. I had waited with my balance for him to take more damage from the Efreets because I figured I was higher on life and they would kill him or bring him low enough that I would be able to kill him with a factory after disenchanting my own moat, but had not expected him regrowth the Chaos orb. But he did, and I was forced to tap the djinn, swords to plowshare one of the efreets to not take too much damage. 

It also meant my carefully waiting balance had to be played the next turn. 

The upside of this was I could now kill him with factories, with an extra barrier and Icy showing up against his elf and sprites. 

So 1-1. On the next game to see who would win. He got first turn factory, I got a really quick first turn relic barrier. Let the stalling begin. 

I also had a Serra Angel in my hand an figured the moxen would let me play her pretty quickly. I drew balance so I decided to try for a quick resolution of this game. I put howling mine in play and played balance, forcing a lot of Bartels cards out of his hand. 

The next turn I got my much needed extra mana, to play Serra. Serras came in clusters today, because next turn her sister showed up. 

Bartel had not drawn a land to play his energy flux, and as he noted, that would have made a lot of difference and that is very true. I still think the Serra's would have taken the game, it would havel lasted a lot longer though. But I would have been able to draw two extra cards from the parfait game before giving them up and I'm pretty sure that would have also given me enough advantage. So, I ended up 3-2-1, with both losses with the feeling it could have gone both ways, and the draw with the definite feeling I would have one had the game lasted 1 turn longer. All in all, pretty good. 

Now it was time for Richards angry mob event. This turned out to be a guessing game. Some sort of a quiz. You get in line in 2's, Richard gives hints about a card from the Dark, and the first one to name the card wins the card and gets back in line. The other one loses and leaves the que. This was pretty funny and went on pretty quickly. 

Richard playing Angry Mob

Because we had not been out of the cafe all day, Wouter, Fulco and I wanted to see if there was anything else to eat nearby and found a really nice pizza place that made excellent pizza's. 

We also got to make fun of the stressed people in cars honking their horns in Amsterdam traffic while eating the really great pizza. It also got Wouter the last chance to show off his Raging Bull Trophy for winning last year, because he would have to give the ring to the next winner today. 

Showing off the golden raging bull ring

After this I watched some of the quarterfinals, played a couple of games against Joep and watched some more semifinals. 

Nick on the deck vs Leo with Robots semi final. 

Since it was getting kinda late I decided to watch the final on live stream while on the tramcar back to my car. I watched the first part and when I got back to my car I put it on audio. So I missed a small part while I was connecting to bluetooth in my car, but the first thing I heard after that was Timmy saying: "Yeah, that mind twist really took the game", so again another final being decided by one of the least fun cards in the format. O, well, I suppose that is to be expected. Perhaps I should make the next Camel Trophy Gentleman's rules, no Library, no mind twist. And maybe no Ancestral recall to top it off, although I have much less issue with that card than the other 2. I'll think about it. Some screenshots of the final:

Looking back, the deck felt better than I had expected, but from the games I played, it needs tuning. Tapping out an opponent completely before Titania's song is pretty essential and I did not manage that on some crucial moments. So I think 4 Icy Manipulators is probably better, and also an extra Relic Barrier because I ended up with howling mines in my had or in play that I could not shut off. Also, one finisher like a fireball or a rocket launcher would probably be a good idea, because I felt I could not finish quickly enough after using the mirror and that also cost me 2 games, even though they were very close. 

The spoils of the day:

Thanks to Marten Buhler for helping me almost finish getting Fallen Empires complete, thanks to Wijnand and Wouter for the Swedish legal cards and thanks to Juan for organizing a fundraiser to get money to help getting rid of cancer in kids. That is amazing and I'm glad I could donate to that good cause. 

And of course most of all, thanks to Richard for organizing this amazing day, thanks to Timmy for the livestream and Dyan for the pictures. I'm looking forward to seeing some of than. To finish off, as always, thanks to all the guys I played and all the guys that showed up for this great day of Oldschool cardflopping. I had an awesome day thanks to all of you. Until next time!