fredag 26 februari 2016

Arvika Festival 2

These days, we're veterans in the steel beasts. Gazing at the frozen Nordic landscape rushing by, fleeing from whatever nest of whore mongers and turmoil we started in. Playing cards, telling tales of the road to passers by, and drawing sustenance from crude boxes filled to the brim with apple wine. The steam and noise and clank of trains are music to our ears. We're train people now.
Playtesting had been largely absent, as had good sleep. Last weekend I went to Addis Ababa to try and visit Øyann again. Jumping through the hoops got easier the second time. We had a wonderful weekend together, and I was back in Oslo by Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday night the war started. A stray bullet flying through her tent next to her head. Fires and machetes shredding terror on unarmed civilians. 18 confirmed dead in the camp during the night, I don't know how many were wounded. Horror stories building on horror stories. I managed to talk to her Thursday lunch, and heard shells firing in the background. She told me not to worry too much, and don't be afraid if I wouldn't be able to contact her. Perhaps for days, as they might have to flee to a bunker. How do you not worry? How the fuck does one avoid the sinking feeling of helplessness, and the tingling survivors guilt brought on by not being there and supporting her? How does one properly play the waiting game?

Magic is a good thing then. Brings you out of the house, helps you socialize and slows down the dance of ghosts. I read about the brutalities and crimes against humanity in the place where she is. I know that one hundred and one aerial or shelling attacks have struck MSF-supported facilities since January last year. South Sudan is currently the largest resident of my mind. But I can't let it take over completely. I need to live normal, normal-ish, and have a safe haven when she comes home. I lest not forget how to squire if needed. So Magic. Friends. Beer. Something else to focus on and help clear my mind.

On the train to Arvika with Hardy and Honka.

I think my deck is a monstrosity. It hosts 23 restricted cards and multiple copies of the recently unrestricted Power Artifact and Mirror Universe. Against an opponent without hate, it will usually end the game by turn four. Against a more controlling player, it goes up to 12 counterspells after sideboard to protect the combo. Most hate seems laughable. It is also, by a fair margin, the most expensive Magic deck I've ever sleeved up and the first deck that plays the full Nine. The only issue is that I haven't playtested enough, and that I'm a few copies short of The Abyss.

Not Workshop, Shahrazade, Channel, Black Vise nor Time Vault, but the rest of them.
I've wanted to play Power Monolith ever since we first speculated on the power of the deck in 2008 and restricted Power Artifact in 93/94. My first version of Project M played the combo while it was restricted, and I got to beat Martin Beer with it in Regensburg a little over three years ago.
Bavaria, January 2013.
Something or someone pushed me to finally build it. When Jocke Almelund plays something other than The Deck, you best take notice. His deck was clearly built to help him finally pick up that alluding Shark. Most other builds I've seen of Power Monolith since it got unrestricted looked meek. That is not to say they haven't top8'd tournaments, but they didn't seem to dig deep for the raw power of the combo. They were keeping it durdly, keeping it fair. Jocke's deck from the BSK finals was the first linear combo version I've seen. It looked like the most powerful deck in the format could well be a Power Monolith build that can transform into The Deck after sideboard.

Thursday. I worry. When was the last time I felt fear? Not the threatening scare, but fear like that the carpet you're standing on is being pulled away revealing an abyss. Fear crawls under your skin.

There were moments in Addis Ababa when I saw grains from the handful of dust. When our guide happily told us that "this is a very peaceful place; the muggers wont kill you or anything", it was a sign of using another stick to measure. Her idea of a violent place was bad.

Friends. Beer. Magic. It had been almost two months since I last visited Sweden and Gothenburg. Apart from my family in blood, one person in particular I missed was Honka. Honka and I go way back. We met at his nineteenth birthday in 2006, when he visited Rotary pub during one of my shifts there. He was fairly extreme in his left-wing politics, beyond communism and bordering on anarchism even back then. An oi-punker with mostly shaved head and a huge nose ring, enjoying beer, mosh pits, and the working class. As more of a centre-right person with shoulder-long blonde hair wearing the occasional suit, I think his first impression of me was of natural scepticism. When he later heard that I was born of nobility, that I recently had spent well over a year in the military ending up a second lieutenant, and that I was currently studying civil economics, I think that his second impression was that of an enemy. I dared him to come work at the pub during his first drunken stupor there, and for some reason he actually showed up the Monday after during our weekly meeting.
Honka anno 2016.
We soon found each other as brothers in arms. It started with the shared passion for mosh pits and youthful decadence. Soon we talked about everything, sometimes pissing each other off, but always keeping away from anger. More than once we took help of our fists to get our arguments through. Politics, philosophy and psychology. Music, movies and rare beer. We got to know each others friends and families and went on our fair share of adventures together. The pub was our common living room, where I was responsible for the economy and book keeping while Honka was in charge of the beer and connections to the distributors.

Honka is a vocal opponent of DCI numbers and sanctioned Magic. He is a very good player, but would never set his foot in a court of organized play. He likes the grass roots. The Arvika Festival is his kind of place, and after a short argumentation he was convinced to join us. He'll arrive in Olso Friday night and travel with us to Arvika on Saturday.

He knows banding.
Friday crawls forth in colors of distress. For ten hours my phone is silent. I hear nothing from South Sudan. Word about the attack is on twitter by now though, so I can talk about it without having to worry about breaking the correct flow of information or accidentally saying something I shouldn't. Then, half past five, I get the message. She's in Juba, got lifted away with helicopter along a handful others, and is to await instructions there. It is -as the guide in Addis Ababa would call it- a fairly safe place. It's time to breathe out and build a deck.

I meet up with Hardy in the BarCode, whine a little about the situation in Malakal and down a double IPA or two. We meet Honka at the central station around nine. The three of us soon find ourselves at the Stargate bar in the heart of Grønland. Stargate is a weird fucking place.

American "conservative human right's activist" Pamela Geller wrote about the Grønland district last month, and described it as "look[ing] like Karachi, Basra, and Mogadishu all rolled into one. [...] The police have largely given up." Now, Geller has an intellect rivalled by garden tools, and the Oslo police promptly tweeted her and asked her to stop spewing uninformed lies about the city. For an untrained eye though, parts of Grønland might not correspond to the traditional post card view of Norway. And in a sense, the small Stargate bar is the melting pot that boils the preconceptions of the district into one odd stew. Prostitutes, students and drunk ladies in the mid 50s. Large groups from the horn of Africa and families from the middle east. Thugs, substance users and middle aged white men. The odd person sitting alone staring down at their beer for hours. The Jukebox playing Aqua's Barbie Girl while a pregnant woman in her 40s do a drunken dance of seduction with an intoxicated man in his late fifties. The beer is half the price of most pubs in the city and a wandering mind will easily get lost in mesmerising wallpaper. Honka shines up. This is his turf.

But we can't stay for long. Tomorrow is an important day, and we need decks. Also, there's something unnerving about sitting at Stargate with backpacks filled with a double digit number of Power cards. On the road to my apartment we stop by Illegal Burger to break our fasting. They have their own brand of beer from Mikkeller to match the watery Rignes of Stargate.
Deckbuilding.
Saturday. Game day. The alarm goes off sometime before noon. We attacked the deck building and playtesting pretty hard last night and didn't manage to hit the hay before 4:30. The hangover is palpable, but we have decks. I'm thoroughly convinced that my pile is unbeatable. I almost feel ashamed playing it, as I surely just have destroyed the format I enjoy so much. Nothing will ever beat this pile.
All-in Monolith
We're train people. It's painless travel. Hardy and Honka keeps playtesting on the train, and I manage to get a somewhat steady line talking to Øyann. Feels good to be able to talk to her before the Festival starts. It's a fucking weird situation.
The burned Protection of Civilians camp in Malakal during Friday. 43,000 civilians lived there two days earlier.
The whole week had been out of the ordinary. Just five days earlier, I drank coffee by a pool in Ethiopia. Then a day of travel, three days of distress, a sweet evening with two old friends, and now this. Damn roller coaster.
Looks like downhill now though. Time to win this one.
Arvika. The Arvika Festival is certainly one of the sweetest gatherings to be found for unsanctioned Magic. Players from the city started slinging 93/94 about three years ago, and showed up more prominently on the radar during n00bcon 6. They hosted their first local tournament (with six players) about a year and a half ago. Last year, KungMarkus and the Arvika crew organized the first Arvika Festival tournament, gathering 16 players to battle; most from the local area but flanked by Hardy and myself from Oslo, and Artelas and Mällroth from Karlstad. They have a great appreciation for the spirit of the game. The word spread, the format grew, and this time 34 players are ready to battle.
Kalle, elof and Mg of Team 0-2 Drop doing the Lestree pose.
It's great to see everybody. Any remains of distress fly away as I enter the site. This is my kind of place for Magic. A couple of dogs running around, an abundant supply of beer, spacious location, and people of all shapes and kinds. This is the sort of tournament I always looked for in my later years playing the game. Someone once said that we don't really look like Magic players. What the fuck does a Magic player even look like?
Is it the guy in the suit, the tattooed biker-dude in the tank top, the fella with shaved head and large beard, or the oi-punk electrician with the Dwarves t-shirt?
Round one is on. My first opponent CH is shuffling up WW. A novice might think that it could be troublesome to face Disenchants, Divine Offerings, Dust to Dusts, CoP: Red, Armageddon and quick clocks on the board. A novice would be wrong. This is one of the few matchups I've actually tested the night before, and my win-percentage in ten or so duels is 100. Just wait until round five or so, sculpt the hand and cast Power Sink before going off. Post sideboard, bring in Ali from Cairo and Mirrors. He fights the good fight, but in the end I pick up the win.
My first nemesis.
Is this fun Magic? It's weird to play all these restricted cards. I have so ridiculously many good topdecks. In Project M, my gameplan is pretty fair. Here, it just feels like cheating. Also, it is very clear with this deck that there's no middle ground; either you win in a blaze of unfairness or you lose. We should restrict Power Artifact again.
KungMarkus, the mastermind of the tournament, flanked by some sweet flute music of old school wild card and former national DCI manager Mällroth.
Next man to the slaughter is Erik "Sehl" Larsson. Sehl is a very strong player, having top8'd two of the last three Shark-tournaments and holding a slew of other high finishes. He is also a black belt in trashtalking. Sehl wins the d20 roll with a '2' against my '1', and promptly goes turn one land, mox, Sol Ring, Balance to put me at a starting hand of three cards. A turn later Sylvan Library shows up on his side, and Erhnam soon joins in. I'm racing back. My last turn alive, I have a tapped Monolith with Power Artifact in play, two blue mana untapped and a Braingeyser in hand, but I fail to topdeck the last mana needed to untap my Monolith after Sehl used Strip Mine and Chaos Orb to mess with my lands. Oh well. It was a rough start.

Second game I get to play Demonic Tutor and Fork it to search for Ali from Cairo and Fireball. Sehl scoops when I resolve Ali. That's a pretty sweet achievement to unlock.
In another sweet achievement at a table next to us, JohanGuld attacks for 20+ lethal damage with one angry Birds of Paradise.
Our last round is a little anticlimactic. Sehl resolves three Disenchants on my first attempts to go off between turn four to seven, and keeps beating down with Erhnam. I counter a couple of Geddons, and think that I'm finally safe to resolve The Abyss, which would pretty much guarantee me the game, as I have a Counterspell to protect it from the next turn on. Odds of him having four Disenchants on the top quarter of his Library seems slim. But it turns out that his keep was three lands, three Disenchants and an Erhnam, and he drew the fourth. I still have a fireball to kill his Erhnam when I hit my sixth mana next turn, but Sehl goes for the drawstep Storm Seeker. Countering it depletes my mana for Fireball, and Erhnam reign supreme. Not only have hell frozen over, but they're using it as a venue for Ewoks on Ice.

So, it turns out my deck wasn't unbeatable in the strictest sense of the word. Maybe it's for the best. I'll still top8 with 5-1, and I'm having a blast. Losing to Storm Seeker and Erhnam Djinn is a good way to go out and Sehl is a great guy. I'll never hear the end of this from him though.

Before round three starts, KungMarkus demands attention. It turns out that Berntsson have just won his first match in a tournament since he started playing 93/94 over three years ago. He has competed in a dozen tournaments, including multiple n00bcons and BSKs, and he finally got his first match win. The players at the site give him a roaring applause and cheering.
Berntsson, great guy and great example of the 93/94 mentality.
Round three is up. One of the last people you'd want to face at 1-1, if you aim to win the tournament, is the top-rated 93/94 player in the world Kalle Nord. If you aim to have a good time though, you couldn't hope for much better.

At this point, Kalle's deck has reached a point of simple ridiculousness. Him and I were the first two players to start with 93/94 nine years ago. Back then, I was a student while Kalle already ran his own tattoo studio. He decided to put a lot of his liquidity in old cards, and built up one of the most impressive collections I've ever seen. A couple of years back, he had pretty much everything you could want to play in the format, with black borders to boot. Two sets of the power nine, all the duals you'd ever need, and pretty much the pinnacle of what most people would consider pimp. Then he decided to start pimping for real.

Kalle loves the game. His cards will never gather dust in a binder. So when he sent over a picture of his final design of the n00bcon 8 logo a week before the tournament, I knew where it was going:
There's a lot to take in here. First, that is one awesome pin. Icy Manipulator 8-ball for n00bcon 8. I really liked the Dragon Whelp from last year, but this has to be my favorite design yet. Second, see that thing in the background? That's a mint-graded rare from 1994, and one of the best spells in the format. It is also from god damn Summer Magic. I can't say how he got it, but you best believe that this is how he started his deckbuilding in Arvika:
His pile is full of advanced alterations from the original artists, Summer-cards and Alpha-duals. It is not inconceivable that this is actually the most expensive deck ever played in a tournament in the history of the game. I'm trying to picture some full-bb Vintage Time Vault deck with Russian foil Mindsculptors and the likes, but I can't say if it would beat this.

We go on for three rounds. I narrowly win the first, narrowly lose the second after a few to many Time Walks from Kalle, and win the third of an unfairly topdecked Power Artifact. 2-1, and still going strong.
So I'm to face Gordon Andersson. The 93/94 rookie from Stockholm who placed second at both Nebraska's War and at L.I.G.G. a couple of weeks ago. Never met him face to face before, and I'm very happy to finally see him. The dude is hilarious and extremely friendly.

I keep a decent mulligan game one, six cards but a LoA and some sweet spells on the draw. Gordon goes turn one Lotus, Serendib Efeet, Island, Ancestral, Mox Ruby, Chain Lightning. That's a rough start. I race pretty well, but get a couple of bolts in the face the turn before I can go off.

It would have been a good idea to win the first one. This matchup gets really tough after sideboard with all of Gordon's Elemental Blasts, Energy Fluxes, Blood Moons and Shatters. He jokingly says that he has 14 cards to board. Looking at his decklist, it's not that far off.
Probably leave the Earthquake in the board, but other than that...
Great skill would have it that I start with LoA again, this time without a mulligan. Gordon's hand is a little slower than last time, mostly Flying Men and the odd bolt doing the beatdown. I get to resolve a Mind Twist for seven and a turn later play a Braingeyser on his Library. Last game I'm hit with the crippling unfairness again. One mana short of victory as every counterspell and hate card in the history of game resides in Gordon's hand until his Flying Men and the creatures of Sri Lanka have punched me into submission. "Hahaha! So do you STILL think we should restrict Power Artifact? Is the deck beatable, or are you just a horrible player?".

2-2. Ok, so maaaybe I didn't break the format and perhaps Power Monolith is just a very good deck and not a broken one. It's also possible that I'm not the single best player in the world. I'm fairly unfamiliar with the deck, haven't had a full nights sleep in a week, and just finished my first 10-beer punchcard I bought in the bar. I've had a couple of bad matchups, but it's good to know that the deck actually have bad matchups.

Things don't get much easier in the 50/50 bracket. My next opponent is all round good guy and fellow Eternal Viking Erland Petersen of Drammen, Norway. I remember him beating Stasis in the semifinals of the Moss tournament a couple of months ago, in a game where most players would have scooped up their cards 20 minutes earlier. Erland has recently obtained a new location for their local gaming association, so we can be sure to have a couple of sweet 93/94 events coming up in Drammen in the near future. He is on some The Deck pile, though I'm uncertain of his wincons.

We're both on the library plan the first game, and Erland soon finds a Book to check out from his. There are some back and forth, but Erland gets the advantage in the counterspell wars and eventually punch me out with a pair of Mishras under my Abyss. I board in blasts and Amnesia and shuffle up for game two. I have a good mulligan into Ancestral, bait a counterspell with Amnesia, and resolve Braingeyser for the win. Erland did have the blue blast, so it was good fortune to go for Geyser rather than Fireball.
There are worse ways to use Power Artifact.
Last game is drawn out. Erland have all of the answers but none of the wincons. I try to build up to a critical turn where I have the mana to counter at least two removals on my combo. Maybe I should have baited harder with Power Sinks before going off, but a combination of alcohol and lack of sleep starts to get to me. So this happens:
Don't try to do this with the original timing rules.
I don't get the chance to reassemble before Erland finds the combo pieces on his own and forces me draw myself dead.

2-3? Am I the Hurloon Minotaur today? Usually I couldn't care less about the results, but this time I've actually bragged quite a lot even before the tournament, and the deck I built was more of a proof of concept for restriction than one of my usual pet decks. Maybe that's the problem. Honka waits in the final round.

The trashtalk is piercing. The Festival is out of reach, but we can still bet on the outcome. Honka wants to give me no better than 9:1 odds of winning, but eventually he settles on 5:2.
Ante up.
This should be fairly academic. I played the matchup a lot last night and didn't lose a duel. But then it hits me. The trashtalk cuts to a weak spot. I feel the guilt of privilege washing over me. Why am I sitting here getting drunk instead of focusing on what's going on with Øyann and the people in Malakal? At the very least, I could be sleeping, playing the waiting game in a proper fashion, and be awake and alert for a status update early next morning. This game feels wrong. I want to play in silence, but it doesn't really work. My focus is completely off. We play a couple of rounds, I forget to use my Maze of Ith and to play my wincons, and after a while I just scoop up my cards. I need a quick breather, check that the status is ok, and realign my state of mind. I should be happy to get to be here, not feel guilty about it.

Honka apologizes, but of course it's not his fault. It had been a strange week, and I was unusually susceptible to tilts. I catch my breath and soon find my focus again. I'm privileged to be here and really like the people, and it's time to keep enjoying it.

So 2-4. I've got the stats of a Giant Spider. Or a Giant Slug. Probably my worst finish in a 93/94-tournament since, uh, Gråberget Champs in 2010? Still one of the sweetest tournaments I've ever played, so I can't complain. My deck clearly needs more Juzams. Maybe a Doppelganger. I don't really think my results could be an argument for restricting Power Artifact. Also, I finally got my hands on this:
Congrats Per, and thanks a lot for the contribution! I'll be shipping it this weekend.
While the top8 prepares for the ultimate showdown, a ragtag group of us starts to draft The Haups Cube. It's hilarious. There are a couple of players in this format who really knows how to battle drunken Magic.
I want to watch the finals, so I drop out of the draft after a couple of rounds and give my deck to elof when he gets eliminated from the top8. In the end the finals stand between aspiring Rookie of the Year Thomas Nilsen and flute-playing professional Mällroth. Mällroth and his Lestree Zoo eventually pulls the longest straw against Thomas's Power Monolith and the Kird Apes reign supreme.
I'll get back with the full tech from the top8 next week. Btw, as always, you are very welcome to send in decklists even if you didn't place high in the standings. It would be nice to complement the "Decks to beat" with a "Decks too sweet" section here.

We clean out around 4 am. Hardy and I join KungMarkus to his new home. We get a huge bed to sleep in, and are woken up by the smell of bacon and fresh coffee. Carolin and Markus are the best of hosts. We fight a little with their dog, get a kiss from their kid, and return to the site to do some cleaning before grabbing a local pizza with a few from the Arvika crew and their families. This was a great event. I'll be back next year to defend my 25th place.

We conclude with the winning deck from Arvika Festival 2016.
Mällroth's Lestree Zoo.

tisdag 16 februari 2016

Decks to beat and Arvika preparations

I'm not currently in possession of the best of internet connections.

This weekend, we'll go to Arvika. About a year ago KungMarkus said that the Arvika Festival would soon become the third largest 93/94 event in Sweden, beating gatherings like Warcon, Sehlskapsspelen, Frippan Open, L.I.G.G. and Wexio in awesomeness and attendance. And it looks like they've already done it. 33 players have signed up so far to battle in the small city; a hair's breath from the number of players at last year's national Vintage championships. We're looking at six rounds before the top8, and as awesomess goes, the ambience at Arvika last year made it one of my favorite Magic events of 2015. Casual gaming, sweet decks, and lots of cheap beer. Arvika is a haven for the #mtgunderground in ways few gatherings are.
I once lost a game against the Safe Have / Preacher combo btw. Good Magic was had.
I will per chance defend my title from last year with a vengeance. I have a monstrosity of a deck I've wanted to try in a tournament for a long time. It's not perfected, both due to a lack of cards and a lack of testing, but I still think it's a machine. It's not a deck I will be sleeving up often as it's a little too linear for my taste, but this weekend I want to see what the current version can do in a pit fight. I've already started writing my victory report. Let the trash talk commence ;)

I'll keep it reasonably short today, but we have a few more decks to beat from the last few months.
Gothenburg Invitational 93/94 Top4
8 participants, photos of 4/4 decks. Kenneth Mossberg hosted a tournament inviting Swedish Pro Tour players from the mid nineties and a handful of the top rated 93/94 profiles in the country. Free Imperial Stouts and an abundance of liquor was provided, as well as the first 93/94 twitch stream. The eternal luck-sack Kalle ended up on top with one of the most pimped decks I've ever seen in the format, snubbing The Deck, Troll Disco and Undead Party Crasher Porter from glory in the top4.

Karlstad 93/94 FNM top4
9 participants, photos of 4/4 decks. Yeah, you don't have to sleeve up Type2 and sit in a game store to play FNM anymore. Mikael Mällroth gathered a rag-tag crew of delinquents to battle for foils with the oldest of cards in The Leprechaun Pub in Karlstad. Lestree Zoo, Ponza, Toolbox Murderers and MonoBlue Artifacts battled it out in the top4, eventually leaving Artelas and his artifacts at the top of the heap.

Sehskapsspelen 2015 top4
12 participants, photos of 4/4 decks. Erik "Sehl" Larsson hosted his second yearly tournament in Åsa during the Christmas holidays. Some savage tech in the top4, with surprisingly few blue cards and instead a slew of Erhnam Djinns, Atogs and Avoid Fates. JummJumm's Time Vault Burn and Elof's Artifact Smash faced off in the finals, after stopping Erhnamgeddon and Erhnam Burn'em cold in the semis. 

In other parts of the world, there was recently a gathering of wizards in Chicago. You should check out Dominic Dotterer's excellent tournament report at Danny Friedman's blog and Jason Jaco's photo report at Eternal Central. A few of the larger tournament circuits have also showed more interest in the format. GP Houston has a 93/94 side event planned for February 28th. On the other side of the ocean, the Bazaar of Moxen organizers announced a few days ago that they will host Old School gatherings as part of their schedule. The BoM rules differs somewhat to those recommended e.g. here, at Eternal Central or in Ravenna, but hopefully the ambience will be sweet. That is something to be said for the Chicago Mages btw; with Fallen Empires, house rules, and un-restricted Strip Mines and Workshops, they still really embrace the the spirit of the format. The prices in the tournaments are usually whatever the players bring to the table, beer and good times are aplenty, and judging from the reports players aren't afraid to sleeve up sub-optimal decks and just enjoy themselves. I hope to visit them sometime in not to far future.

torsdag 11 februari 2016

A short thanks

When I started playing, there were a few artists who were as important to the game as the rules themselves. The guys who created the world where we played. Artists like Jesper Myfors, Ron Spencer, Drew Tucker, Anson Maddocks and Dan Fraizer. And of course Christopher Rush.
Christopher Rush had a huge part in creating the nostalgic joy we experience when we play old school Magic. Just a few days ago, Kalle and I were talking about contacting him again to get some alters of Rukh Eggs for n00bcon. I never talked to him myself, but from what I heard he was a very friendly and easy-going guy. My personal experience with him was solely from his work, but through that he made a big impact.
Magic just got older. I'm sad to hear that one of the original creative minds is gone. His work and the impact he made will be with us as long as there is a Black Lotus in the world.

söndag 7 februari 2016

Tech from L.I.G.G.

Last weekend Alexander "Talad" Midjich and the L.I.G.G. crew in Stockholm organized their first 93/94 gathering. 20 players showed up to battle with the oldest of cards, and when the dust settled Martin Berlin and Gordon Andersson faced off in the finals. Wasn't it the exact same finals at Nebraska's War in Italy in December btw? Those guys might have something going on.
Berlin with his spoils of victory
Eksem with his spoil of last place
If anyone of you who participated in the event would like to write a short report, I'd be happy to post it here. In lieu of a tournament report, let's check out some tech from the top8 of the tournament.
Pefken's BRW Menagerie
Most of the players in Stockholm are fairly new faces for me (only four of them had previous Pimpwalker points from 93/94-gatherings), but Rickard "Pefken" Samuelsson is surely a name to be reckoned with. Pefken hasn't showed his face at 93/94 Gatherings for a year or two, but he can count winning n00bcon twice (2010 and 2012) and a staggering number of top4/8s among his achievements in the format. This time he left his blue cards at home (obv apart from his Giant Shark from n00bcon 4) and went all guns blazing with Juzam, Trolls, Vampires and Dragons. The deck looks surprisingly fair and straight forward, without any cards like Berserk or prison components, but beating down with a menagerie of the hardest creatures in the format is clearly a solid strategy.
Berlin's Artifact Aggro
As far as I know, Berlin has played two 93/94 tournaments during the last season and won both of them. Apart from this win, he hoisted the trophy in the 58-player Old School tournament at the Nebraska's War convention in Italy in December. It has been quite a while since he sleeved up a deck in the format before that, I think we last saw him at n00bcon 4 in 2012. His deck of choice looks really solid, and is not something we've really seen before. It does have some resemblance to Elof's winning Artifact Smash deck from Sehlskapsspelen 2015, but Martin foregoes green and races without Berserks, so I would assume that the decks play very differently. Instead of Berserks and Juggernauts, Berlin goes all in on huge artifact 6-drops and adds a set of Serendib Efreets. Very sweet deck!
Mikael Karlsson's UWbg Skies
On a first glance, Mikael Karlsson's deck might look like just a variation of The Deck with its high number of restricted cards backed up with Swords, Disenchants and Counterspells. Then you realize the the wincons aren't something like two Serras, a couple of Fireballs, or a set of factories. Mikael goes full throttle with complete sets of Serras, Efreets and factories. This is a very, very aggressive control deck. Every now and then, The Deck tries to just play a turn one or two Serra and "goes for it", hoping that it'll stick. This seems to be the main game plan for this deck; get a wincon down and defend it, as opposed to defending yourself until you get to resolve a wincon.
 Jonas Rebenius's WWr
WW has been a deck to beat since the start of the format, and this build has a few interesting tweaks. Jonas splashes red for a set of Lightning Bolts and a Wheel of Fortune, but cuts commonly used cards like City in a Bottle and Dust to Dust. This seems to make the deck even more aggressive, and having Bolts to back up his Thunder Spirits makes combat a nightmare for all creatures south of Mahamothi Djinn. With his extra off-color mox, he also has some extra outs to cast Armageddon already on turn two or three after having resolved a couple of threats.

You can see the rest of the lists here. I hope to add the lists from a few other tournaments from the last few months in the coming week as well.

On a different note, it's less than seven weeks left to the eight edition of n00bcon and the World championships now. Really looking forward to meet you all! And sorry that we are short on space this year; the pub can only hold 80 people including staff for legal reasons. If you signed up in December but for some reason know you can't make it anymore, please send me a message and we'll take in someone from the wait list. There are weirdly much people interested, in particular considering we're playing a format with a huge barrier of entry and pretty much no prize support. Gonna be good times though.
Potential n00bcon 8 pin design
Speaking of good times, the second edition of the Arvika Festival tournament will take place in just two weeks. A record-breaking 32 players have signed up so far, making it the largest non-shark tournament in the Scandinavian countries yet. And if last year is any indication, it's gonna be a sweet gathering. Spacious location, incredibly cheap beer and passionate players with solid tech.
Damn, I need to take a step back and just appreciate the fact that there are over 30 players travelling to Arvika to play 93/94. That's awesome. Three or four years back, you were hard pressed to find any Eternal tournaments of that size even in major cities in Sweden. And today we get not only to cast Moxen at a regular basis in six-round swiss tournaments, but to use them to cast first turn Black Knights while drinking beer.

There have been some sweet posts about the format in the last couple of weeks I recommend checking out. Danny Friedman recently updated his blog with some fresh tech. Fab Sanglard wrote a great post where he built decks inspired by the four seasons of Mishra's Factory. Gathering Magic published an article about the format where they interviewed Christoffer "Stalin" Andersson, Sigmund Ausfresser and Fab Sanglard. And as always, it's a pleasure to immerse in the world of Shaman Ben's MtgUnderground blog.