Knights of Thorn, organized by the fabulous Mari, is the first OS tournament I went to that put some sort of restriction on what cards you could use. It requires that you play mostly Swedish legal cards, but you can play up tot 10 revised, or chronicles cards that were in the original ABU+AN-AQ-LG-DK sets, as long as they are in the English language. I've visited the KOT since the 3rd edition, I think, so it is kind of a tradition for me to go there. Usually I feel exited when the time comes nearer, but not this time.
The week leading up to this gathering was not usual for me. I had been sleeping pretty poorly the whole week. The week before we came back from our honeymoon, only to discover our house had been robbed while we were away. We had some money in the house for the summer and to buy a bike for my wife and that was taken. Worse than that was that the silver coins I had inherited from my grandmother were also taken. Although the worth of these only went in the hundreds of euro's, the sentimental value was priceless and my mind just could not wrap itself around it that someone had taken them. What was especially frustrating is that I likely have the thief on camera, but up till now the police have not decided to do anything about the case.
So I had not given the tournament or deckbuilding much thought until friday evening, after work, I still needed to build a deck. With no energy or inspiration left, I just quickly put together my goodstuff deck I played in Gaea's Avengers and one online tournament with the two-headed giant in it. That card still has a special oldschool feeling about it for me and the deck felt pretty OK there, ending just out of the top 8 at 9th place. I made just a couple of quick changes to see if that would work (I put back in the tome I had taken out in the Avengers version and a couple of other minor switches) and called it a day.
Although I was not in my best mood, seeing all of the familiar and new faces of the OS community did lift my spirit a lot. Seeing everyone in real life was a real pleasure, like always. Perhaps I would be able to enjoy the day without that gloomy feeling I had had for the last week.
Round 1 Simon, with Robots
When I was paired against Simon, I figured this would be a hard match. He's a nice guy but he tends to play really spikey decks, so this would be a hard one for my Serra and two-headed giants. His opening did not make me feel much better about how this match would go:
|Oh sure, 6 mana and an orb on turn on. Anything else? :)|
After he dropped a turn 2 trike I looked at my hand and figured this would kill me before I could really get my deck going, I decided to play balance after taking damage from the Triskelion once, but Simon still only had one land and destroyed my remaining Tundra and he was still left with 6 mana to play basically everything he wanted.
|this is, ehm, not good?|
He played another artifact after that and just beat me into the ground before I could anything going. Good thing workshop is restricted in Swedish, formats in which you can play 4 still feel like a complete nightmare to me. Anyway, this is how OS goes, unbalanced stuff happens. So, I boarded in some artifact hate and went on to game to, in which Simon's opening was again, pretty good.
Round 2. Nick, with The deck
If playing Robots in round one wasn't bad enough, I was paired against the Deck in round 2. The only good thing about it was that was played by the nicest the deck player there is, mr Cramer. The bad thing was that this is a pretty bad matchup for my deck. But you know, with a little luck, maybe? I did beat Robots in the first round, so, just go for it :) The first couple of turns were pretty uneventful.
Somehow I was really hoping to be able to play artifact blast on a Tome, but that was not needing to happen. The unfair advantage from the Library put me ahead in cards and since the cards I was drawing were also very good against the deck (see my hand here) I won this game as well. Or maybe I should say the library won the second game for me.
Nice! Robots and The deck on the first two rounds, and I was lucky enough to beat them both. Surely this meant I already had had the toughest opponents of the day right? I was joking after the round that the only thing that could make the matchup worse is if I was paired against Koos. And you guessed it :)
But before that, I had some time between the rounds to take some pictures of other great cardboard.
Round 3, Koos with Combo/control.
Playing Koos is always something of a mixed blessing. On the one hand he's a really nice guy to meet and play against, on the other hand, he is just a very skilled player that likes to play really good decks, so being paired against him is usually not a good sign for your chances to win :) So, how do you win against someone who might be playing The Deck, Lauter or some other very good deck? Well, like they say, better lucky than good. After several rifle shuffles and cuts, I was given a first turn Library.
First game won on pure luck with a Lib, second game was much closer and more exiting but still a win. The switch back to Jayemdae Tome instead of Sylvan Library was proving a good decision during this day.
There was some time left in the round, so I went out spotting nice OS situations while the others were still playing. And I spotted some nice classics:
|One land against this? Seems unfair..|
|Nice, a second turn dib, second turn dib mirror.. good luck guys!|
|On the right, Marten has both Enchantress and Force of Nature in play, awesome!|
|Oh, you can also use berserk while blocking for instance, Juzam Djinns :)|
|Cockatrice, Craw Giant and Wall of Ice! One of these is rare, but I don't think I've ever seen them together like this.|
|Errr, 3 dreams? That's aweful! But cool he has to block the Killer bees!|
Round 4, Louis with Red/Green burn
After running into Robots, the deck and combo control, Taiga - Kird Ape might not be the first thing you expect, but apparently a very relaxed Louis had managed to win 3 matches in a row with this classic R/G agro burn deck. He went for a quick start and put pressure on right away.
I thought I would still have a chance considering the many options still left in my deck, but none showed up and I lost against a deck I figured I should have no trouble winning against. This was turning out a really weird day. Still 3-1 is not bad.
There were still a lot of people playing, so I used the time to take some pictures.
|Meanwhile on table 1|
|Chains of Mephistopheles! Cool!|
|So much mana and not much to do with it :)|
On table 3, I spotted Nick having his share of broken openings:
|In one turn? Yes.|
Round 6, Gwenn, with Lauter.
By this time, I really could have used an opponent who would surprise me, but unfortunately this was not the case. Not only was Gwenn playing Lauter, he was also more competitive in his style and communication than I am used to in OS. But so be it, this was the day I would meet mostly meet Tier1 decks apparently. Maybe the next time I'n out of inspiration I should bring The Deck instead :P
Gwenn got to start, and was off to a really agressive start, first turn Lion, second turn dib with factory.
Gwenn played creature but I can't remember which one. I drew a Black Lotus.
|Swell, just swell. Looks like luck ran out.|
|Doable, if I draw green mana.|
|Oh Shit, turn one lib in a deciding game.|
I knew I had balance, but unlike the previous games, there was not a mox in sight to get rid of the disenchants I had drawn. Gwenn had destroyed my Sol Ring, by the way
Pffff, this was a really intense game, but ended up 2-1. So, 6 rounds against 5 Tier 1 decks and only lost against the not-so tier 1 burn deck. What a weird outcome, but it felt good.
I was second in the swiss, just after Joep playing his Erhnam on Ice deck. I would not have minded playing that, I think those would have been close and exiting games. In the swiss were also Nick and Koos, and Louis of my opponents of the day. Looking at the top 8, there was RG Burn, my goodstuff, and control decks in the Lauter or the deck, or combocontrol fashion.
I was paired against Koos with combocontrol.
The first game I was the lucky one, with a bunch of power in my opening hand.
|Not bad. This should work.|
And it did work, I could play ancestral, Time walk, ice storm, and chaos orb.
|Mari hands Ron the prize|
After the final, there was a raffle draw with some nice prizes for those who stayed. I'm not entirely sure if it was the universe trying to lift my spirits from the theft in the back of my mind, or that Mari maybe had something to do with it, but I ended up with a lovely red reaper life counter. Since I am a big fan of these, it felt really great to add one to the collection.
|This will definitely see a lot of play :)|
It was a long and tiring day, but like always I did meet a lot cool people, saw some really cool decks, won some matches I thought were very unlikely and to top it off I took a nice life counter home. Cool! This was a great day and it definitely took my mind of the theft out of my house. Thanks to all for coming but especially for Mari for organizing this great event! And for Marten for playing both Enchantress and Force of Nature in one deck :) That really made me smile. See you all next time!!