torsdag 29 augusti 2013

Easter egg

Hectic week so far, and I'll update with the last three Shark-winners during the weekend. I got a quick post however, as I recently found an Easter egg from alpha previously unknown to me. I just got a new Forcefield, and lo and behold:

Tap my mox to activate forcefield and... Mind. Blown.
Turns out Forcefield dude is blocking Mox Jet. I may be the last person ever to notice this, but I really love how I can still find Easter eggs in the early expansions so many years later. Nevinyrral is Larry Niven and all that, but this one was pretty sneaky :)

lördag 24 augusti 2013

Shark week!

During the summer of 2010, 93/94 expanded outside the original playgroups from Team 0-2 Drop and the Gothenburg casual scene. Players from Lindköping, Varberg and Stockholm started playing, and you got to see actual new faces at the tournaments. The first tournament where this was evident was GP Rotary 2010, hosted at Rotary Pub during the weekend of a Wizards held Grand Prix in Gothenburg. This was the first time I met people like Robert Schram and Dan Holm, and the first time I played against Viktor "Oldschool" Peterson in a tournament.

Viktor had fixed a lot of things in preparation for the tournament (not including slimming his deck below 70 cards). In particular he had made a glorious trophy that hosted a cut-out of a Giant Shark. During the upcoming tournaments at BSK and n00bcon, this tradition carried over, and we found it very sweet to give the winners something more for their decks if they won a larger tournament. The trophy is obviously nice, but playing with a sub-par card in your deck as a permanent sign of your victory will show off bragging rights in all future tournaments in a whole other way. It's also kind of fun that you only get to win a $0.10 card while competing with $5000 decks, and that you then need to play that card in said deck.

93/94 for dummies.
The old Shark-winners and their decks can be an interesting study on both the players and the meta during the last 3 years. I'll start with looking at the winners from GP Rotary, BSK 2010, and n00bcon 3. As a side note, since BSK 2011 players have started to give out prices to other competitors for their sweet play, sweet decks, or contributions to the community. These prices are usually worth far more than a Giant Shark, so if you want to play for value, play a cool deck ;)

The first guy to win a Giant Shark tournament was Kalle Nord at GP Rotary 2010. Kalle is one of the founders of the 93/94 community, and apart from being one of the first two players in the format he started the first web forum dedicated to 93/94 Magic. He also topped the pimpwalker standings last season; showing both skill and dedication to the format. Not the least, he is a good friend and a great guy.

Viktor, Kalle and me after GP Rotary. Shark at the top of the trophy!
 Kalle wrote a tournament report about his tournament at GP Rotary 2010. I'll probably translate it and post it here in the near future, and hence won't get in to further details about the tournament at the moment. Kalle played a fairly standard version of The Deck, but with the full set of 4 Serra Angels and no Mishra's Factories. Here's the decklist:

CREATURES (4)
4 Serra Angel

 ENCHANTMENTS (2)
2 Moat

 SORCERIES (8)
1 Fireball
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Mind Twist
1 Balance
1 Braingeyser
1 Timetwister
1 Time Walk
1 Recall
   
 INSTANTS (16)
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Disenchant
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Power Sink
2 Counterspell
4 Mana Drain

 ARTIFACTS (12)
2 Jayemdae Tome
2 Disrupting Scepter
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Ruby
1 Black Lotus
1 Mana Vault
1 Sol Ring
LANDS (18)
4 City of Brass
4 Tundra
2 Underground Sea
2 Volcanic Island
1 Plateau
2 Plains
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Maze of Ith
1 Strip Mine
   
 SIDEBOARD
1 Earthquake
3 Red Elemental Blast
1 Control Magic
3 Blue Elemental Blast
1 Greater Realm of Preservation
2 Circle of Protection: Red
2 Dust to Dust
2 Wrath of God

The next Shark tournament was BSK 2010. This was the first 93/94 tournament at BSK, and even though we had booked some hotel rooms (as we've done since 2005), we hadn't booked any suites suitable for playing in. We ended up having the tournament in the hotel bar, which made the seatings kind of amusing, but on the other hand made us able to order beers from our tables. The tournament was won by Dan Holm; a true old school player and later one of the moderators of the Swedish Old School Mtg forum at svenskamagic.com.

Serra with Spirit Link; the original Baneslayer.
Due to engagements with his family during easter, Dan has been unable to make it to any n00bcon during the last years. On the other hand, he has top8'd every one of the last three BSK tournaments, in addition to winning the one in 2010. His winning list was a Moat Control deck with huge fliers and Spirit links, which he used to beat Pefken's Zoo deck in the finals. This is what he had sleeved up:

CREATURES (12)
4 Serendib Efreet
3 Hypnotic Specter
4 Serra Angel
1 Mahamoti Djinn

ENCHANTMENTS (3)
2 Control Magic
1 Moat

SORCERIES (7)
2 Wrath of God
1 Balance
1 Time Walk
1 Mind Twist
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Recall

INSTANTS (10)
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Disenchant
2 Psionic Blast
1 Ancestral Recall

ARTIFACTS (8)
1 Black Lotus
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Vault
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Pearl
LANDS (20)
1 Maze of Ith
1 Strip Mine
1 Library of Alexandria
4 Mishra’s Factory
4 City of Brass
4 Tundra
3 Underground Sea
2 Scrubland

SIDEBOARD
2 Armageddon
3 Blue Elemental Blast
1 Disenchant
2 Divine Offering
2 Disrupting Scepter
3 Circle of Protection: Red
2 Spirit Link

Next up was n00bcon III, a really sweet tournament. Apart from alcohol and atmosphere, I got to play against a lot of amazing decks and players. This was also the first tournament for players like Hjalmar Backlund and the first tournament when I played with a power card (Mox Pearl). The winning deck was totally outside the box, a Colossus of Sardia Control deck that used All Hallow's Eve to reanimate multiple Colossi at once. The winner was of course Viktor "Oldschool" Peterson, one of the main innovators that moved 93/94 outside the Gothenburg area, and the guy that introduced Giant Shark as a price in tournaments. This is his Colossus Control list:

CREATURES (3)
3 Colossus of Sardia

ENCHANTMENTS (6)
4 Sylvan Library
2 The Abyss

SORCERIES (7)
1 Regrowth
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Mind Twist
2 All Hallow’s Eve
1 Balance
1 Wrath of God

INSTANTS (13)
1 Ancestral Recall
4 Disenchant
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Mana Drain

ARTIFACTS (9)
1 Sol Ring
1 Black Lotus
1 Disrupting Scepter
2 Jalum Tome
2 Millstone
2 Tormod’s Crypt
LANDS (22)
1 Scrubland
1 Swamp
1 Plains
1 Tundra
4 City of Brass
2 Tropical Island
2 Savannah
3 Underground Sea
1 Library of Alexandria
4 Mishra’s Factory
1 Strip Mine
1 Maze of Ith

SIDEBOARD
3 Tundra
4 Counterspell
2 Control Magic
2 Serra Angel
1 The Abyss
1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Braingeyser

"Screw the throphy filled with a mix of Gonzo and Bigfoot, look at this friggin' Shark!"
I'll follow up with the next three shark winners next week (Robert Schram, Pefken, and Elof x3). Already starting to look forward to next BSK :)

måndag 19 augusti 2013

Showdown in Oslo

During the last year I've been travelling a lot. Constantly going between the city I work in and the city where I have my family and most of my friends can be very taxing. It's in situations like these I appreciate 93/94 Magic the most. Meeting up with the guys in Regensburg gave Munich another dimension; hanging out with people apart from the ones you know from work makes a city feel more like a home. Last week I had my first chance to battle Juzams on Norwegian ground. It's a good excuse to meet good people.

Yep, Juzams.
Michael have been playing 93/94 for a few years, and we've met each other at n00bcons and BSKs before. He moved up to Oslo to work two years ago, and he is well versed in the city by now. We met up at bar in Østbanehallen, a part of the Oslo central station, just across the ail from Outland. Outland is the local FNM place in central Oslo, and is from what I've heard a very nice place. However the tables are kind of badly placed, and you can't drink beer there, so we stayed in the bar instead.

Playing Magic in a bar is something of an unusual experience, in particular if you haven't been in that bar before. It's not uncommon that random people get very interested, or that someone familiar with the game walks by and start talking. This evening there were three slightly intoxicated ladies in their late 40s that stumbled by. All very polite though.

Michael had also brought a friend of his, Andreas, who just built his deck the day before. There were Sinkholes and Serendibs, combined with lots of random sweet cards.

That's a Juggernaut with Unholy Strength, and Andreas do have the Boomerang for the Serendib.
Andreas did actually pack two Ali from Cairo and multiple Spectral Cloaks in his deck. He managed to get the combo together against me, but as I play a deck with no less than 3 maindeck Nevinyrral's Disk I managed to beat it. Before I cleared the board with the Disk, my Sol'Kanar had swampwalked Andreas down to his stable 1 life, and I could finish him of with a Su-Chi later on.

Michael himself played an aggresive pile with sets of Berserks and Giant Growths, combined with lots of fliers and Juzam. He had a full set of birds and and a few Old Men of the Sea as well, with at least two of the birds from Alpha (with the awesome '//' in the text box). My favorite play against him was probably when we both were at fairly low life total, and Michael dropped a Serendib and Juzam. I could transmute in Forcefield during my turn, and his djinn and efreet killed him just before he could win.

I'm actually not very sure which of our three decks that preformed best during the evening, all three of them felt very stable, and the games were generally tight and interesting.

That's a very nice binder btw.
So, first time playing in Oslo, and hopefully there will be many more. Good games led us to talking about having some sort of small tournament up here before the end of the year. I'll keep you posted if when we get the ball rolling.

tisdag 13 augusti 2013

The Ali from Cairo deck

Last weekend me and a few friends celebrated Oktoberfest in Gothenburg. Not October (or even September), and no Bavarian Helles, but we somehow managed to drink a truly heroic number of maß anyway. The hosen were on, and the Sunday hangover were far from slight. It gave me some fond memories of Starkbierfest in Munich, and the day after when I first went to Regensburg to play oldschool magic with Martin and Alex. I guess it's high time to return to the sweet books I got from them, and delve into the Ali from Cairo deck.


Here's the list in larger print:

 BLAU (20)
1 Ancestral Recall
2 Clone
1 Copy Artifact
2 Counterspell
4 Mana Drain
1 Recall
4 Serendib Efreet
4 Spectral Cloak
1 Time Walk

ROT (12)
4 Ali from Cairo
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Fireball
1 Wheel of Fortune

ARTEFAKTE (11)
1Black Lotus
4 Copper Tablet
2 Jade Monolith
1 Jester's Cap
1 Mirror Universe
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
LÄNDER (17)
7 Island
6 Mountain
4 Volcanic Island

SIDEBOARD
2 Acid Rain
3 Blue Elemental Blast
1 Feldon's Cane
2 Flashfires
2 Jester's Cap
3 Red Elemental Blast
2 Shatter


This deck was presumably built around late 1995, but apart from Jester's Cap and the 4-off Mana Drain the list is legal in 93/94. Cutting the Cap is not a huge loss for the strategy, and Mana Drain is mainly a powerful value spell here and can be replaced.

I must say I really like this deck! The idea of abusing Ali with Copper Tablet, and protecting him with Jade Monolith and Spectral Cloak is very nice. There are some obvious updates that can be made here though. Playing only 17 lands, not playing Sol Ring, and including the Fireballs seems a little random. If I owned the cards for the deck, it's most definitely something I would start teching with though. Green for Avoid Fate maybe?

tisdag 6 augusti 2013

The Icy WinterSmoke of Life

I first though about writing something about The Book Deck; maybe muse a little about card advantage and quote something fundamental from Robert Hanh's "Schools of Magic" (section Weissman). It is a very sweet deck, and a good evolution of control, but I think that Viktor "Oldschool" Peterson's new deck is even more interesting. Viktor constantly manages to surprise at tournaments with sweet new tech; his previously abused cards include All Hallow's Eve, Lich, Field of Dreams and Living Plane. This time he turned to the Smoke and Ivory Tower.

Kingen told a story about facing the deck. Viktor had played an Ivory Tower on turn one, which Kingen neglected to destroy with Disenchant, instead opting to cast an Ice Storm (or similar) on Viktors lone land. The next turn, Viktor dropped a land and proceeded to cast Lotus and two Copy Artifact. The beatdown plan got even harder for Kingen as the game progressed.

Five Ivory Towers beats one Black Vise.
In the very, very late game; Viktor have about 120 life and 5 cards left in the library. Kingen still had 8 cards left in his deck, but Viktor managed to resolve a Balance, making him discard 3 cards to the top of his library using Library of Leng, giving him the edge in the decking race. To make a tense and long story short; Kingen then resolved Ancestral, Fork, Regrowth, Ancestral; showcasing the restricted list and forcing Viktor to draw his library.

Kingen winning the game while doing his best Zak Dolan impression.
At the Kingvitational tournament, Viktor lost against Elof in the first round and against the eventual winner Henrik in the last, winning his other two matches. He stated that he built the deck just after n00bcon, and didn't find the time to tune the deck before the tournament. For his out-of-the-box creations this usually means the difference between a median finish and a top4 finish; e.g. Demonic Tutor would have been a nice include that he stated he simply forgot to put in the deck before shuffling up.

The Icy WinterSmoke of Life is still a very impressive deck, and I hope we'll see an even more tuned version more of it at BSK. Here it is in all its glory:

Note that more than half of the deck is signed (not the least his sideboard Shark).

torsdag 1 augusti 2013

DTB updates and more Canadian Tech

The decks to beat section have finally been (slightly) updated. I've added the top8 decks from n00bcon 5, as well as the top4 from Kingvitational 0.5 (with pictures of the decks from both tournaments). Worth noting is that it does not contain any decks from BSK 2012 or Warcon 2012; hence decks like Distress, Tax Edge 2, and Field of the Sphinx Command are missing. To view these decks (and additional sweet tech), check the blogposts containing the tag <decklists>.

The decks shown also don't include an updated version of what could very well be the "actual" deck to beat. The best deck may be The Book Deck, a version of The Deck that contains multiple Jayemdae Tome and multiple Copy Artifact. Only one copy of this deck was seen at Kingvitational, and it ended up at 6th place after facing some rough turn one Library draws. Both the first and the second place deck at n00bcon were Book Decks; but as those versions play 4 Mana Drains these decks are not legal in upcoming tournaments. Other than that, White Weenie and Machine Head looks very good right now. I'll write a post about The Book Deck next week.

I've also update the "About 93/94" text slightly. Stalin's original text was very good, so I've mostly done some proof reading and added some pictures.

The guy who triggered the updates on the Decks to Beat section was Canadian Michael Bogardus. Mike placed 4th in a 10-man 93/94 tournament in Nova Scotia recently, playing a deck that looks like something I would really like to abuse. It's similar to Fork's Good Stuff Mud from n00bcon 2, but also uses the Chaos Orb / Guardian Beast combo (and lacks Workshop and Abyss).

4 Disks, 3 Hurkyl's, 2 Beasts. Permanents will be destroyed; which combos well with the Animate Dead.
If you're checking out the DTB pictures later, spend an extra moment on Pefken's 4C Machine Head from the Kingvitational. Very nice pile of cards :)