torsdag 16 mars 2017

n00bcon 9 preparations

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

 -T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

April is approaching, and with it Easter and the Oldschool World Championship. A murder of ragtag jesters and spell slingers gathering in Gothenburg. Whatever it may lack in order and sanction, it makes up for in panache and recklessness. This is oldschool oldschool, the way 93/94 was envisioned. April 14th Rotary Pub hosts the 10th annual Easter gathering in 93/94, and the 9th annual n00bcon. Like most times before, it will be the largest old school Magic tournament held yet.
I've been getting a lot of messages about the how, what and when of the tournament, so I used my l33t h4xxor skills and put up a web page with some info.
Party like it's 1994.
While the page could once upon a time be described as "rad", it isn't super user friendly (no WCAG 2.0), so I'll just recap the most common quandaries here:
  •  n00bcon, despite the "-con" suffix, isn't really a convention in the common sense of the word; it refers to a single championship tournament. However, players will usually gather for impromptu side events at the site after the swiss, and there will be plenty opportunities to play Magic with new faces at other locations throughout the weekend if inclined. I'll update the homepage with side events in other locations in Gothenburg during the weekend as they are announced.
  • The players hail from 14 nationalities and 34 communities. Most of the spots were distributed to tournament organizers in larger communities (for them to with what they liked), plus some extra spots for "small communities" with fewer players. The most representative group is probably Arvika with 11 players. They travelled around and grabbed a bunch of invites from qualification tournaments in other communities ;)
  • The 100 player cut-off is a hard cap, and the spots have been confirmed since December. There are currently over 40 players on the waitlist, so I'm sorry to say that there's little to do if someone realize now that they would like to join this year. It sucks that we can't let in everybody anymore, but it's hard to find a location that can let in more people while still upholding the casual ambience that makes the tournament what it is. (But we did manage to raise the cap from 76 to 100 this year.) Don't hesitate to contact me about the tournament anyway though, as there will always be a next year (and a year after that) :)
  • The tournament follow the baseline rules as described on this blog. E.g. no reprints after Unlimited, fbb cards, nor CE/IE.
  • The prize structure is a Giant Shark for the winner. The "EV" is horrible ;)
So why would anyone want to play this tournament? Well, gathering a bunch of rad people with gnarly cards and tubular beer is bound to be groovy. We play because we like the game and enjoy the company, simple as that.
Some pics and videos from last year.
If you think this looks sweet but didn't get a spot this year, I can recommend checking out e.g. The Ivory Cup in Stockholm in June. It's a fairly large (and growing) tournament that embrace the same values as the n00bcon championship. Or just start hosting something in the underground yourself, community organizers have a big leg up in getting spots here ;)

I'm really looking forward to see a bunch of you guys in a month. This will be the first time I'll get to meet players from e.g. the Spanish and the Dutch 93/94 communities, or battle Italians or UK players on Swedish turf. And it will be great to grab a beer with the returning players from e.g. Russia, USA and Germany again. You make this awesome.

Now check out the n00bcon homepage and then place your bets for the next World Champion!

lördag 11 mars 2017

The Wak-Wak deck library

*Rod Serling voice*

An universal truth for those dabbling in charms: cherish what you believe. Whether you walk in Tolarian cloaks or in goblin caves; imitation is only flattery. It was for the mage herself to scribble the pages of her spellbook, expressing the modus operandi of her conjuring with self reflection.
 

Paint a picture of an atypical librarian. Add a cunning smile, a sharp pressed suit and a glass of fine scotch in hand. The man you see is Gordon Andersson. While submitting that a library of libraries will never offer the unassailable wisdom so often craved, it will perhaps supply perspective. Maybe even inspiration. It is said that every master penman knows the virtues of reading.

Gordon Anderson. A man who built an index for inspiration. This is his story. /Mg out

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

A few of the cards I with played back then.
My name is Gordon Andersson and maybe you’ve seen that name pop up on the blog here and there the last year. For those who don’t know me, here is a short introduction. I started playing Magic in 1995 when my brother introduced it to me with a 4th edition starter. Even then I was fascinated by the look and feel of the older cards but as many other players around that time I could never get my hands on any as they were near impossible to find.

So when I got the opportunity to play 93/94 a couple of years ago I fell in love instantly. Now I’ve only been playing 93/94 actively for about 2 years and it’s pushed away every other format I used to play. With my friend Daniel “Paddan” Sunhede I organize tournaments and events in Stockholm, Sweden. But I still felt that I wanted to give even more to the community, so last summer I started a “small” project which now can be found on wak-wak.se/decks.

It's five o'clock somewhere

This is from that exact day when I got the idea. By the way, I do not recommend this bourbon.
The idea came to me one afternoon when I sat down on my balcony with a glass of whisky to enjoy one of the few warm and sunny Swedish summer days. I sat with my computer and answered questions from a couple of people who we’re interested in the format. The questions where the same as always; Why isn’t revised legal? Is there a budget deck? Can you play without power? Isn’t just The Deck the best so why play anything else?

My answer was also the same as it always is: ­– “You can build whatever you want to play, so just play the cards you love. There are a bunch of different decks because it’s all about having fun, not just about winning”

This is when I usually sent a link to the “Decks to Beat” section of the Old School Blog but I as it usually only shows the top decks of each event (hence the name Decks to Beat) I wasn’t completely happy with that. That’s when it hit me; how about building a site listing all the different decks in the format, both good and bad? That way people can see how big the format really is, and also get some inspiration for what to brew themselves. 

I immediately started to list all the deck archetypes I could come up with and after asking around I soon had a list of about 40 decks. I then started to think about what information people would like a site like that to have about each deck. A couple of questions that ran through my head was: Should I write about if it’s a tier 1 or tier 2 deck? Should I list the main colors of the deck? Maybe there also should be a card list with the most used cards? 

We Built This City

Join the stream on Sundays! More info at wak-wak.se/streaming
I soon settled on “less is more”. It was important for me to NOT build a netdecking site. The whole reason was to give people inspiration and show how many different decks they actually could build. So I decided quite quickly to only have the most relevant information about each deck; main color, what type of deck it is (Combo, Control etc.), a short description mentioning often used cards and some wonkier choices, and last but not least a picture of ONE sample deck. Because what is 93/94 without having nice pictures of beautiful decks to look at? 

Then it took a little bit over half a year to write about every deck archetype and to set up a page on our local community’s webpage (which I manage). A couple of weeks ago the site was at last “finished” and I was ready to launch it! I clicked publish and then went on to tell the world about it on the Super Sunday stream on Twitch. Super Sunday is a stream we do on Sundays where people all around the world play Old School magic against each other via Skype and you should absolutely check it out!

Description of a Strange Man

The deck that’s my deck of choice right now, The Beast. You can soon read about it on the site.
So the reason I built the site was to give people inspiration and show them how many different decks they can play in the format. Right now you can find around 40 decks or deck archetypes on the site. Each deck has a short description written about it which first of all describes the decks overall game plan. The description also gives you a short rundown about what cards are the most commonly used and play key roles in the deck. Some decks also list some more unusual, but fun, cards that you could choose to play and also what splashes are the most common.

All the decks are categorized in four different deck types; Aggro, Midrange, Control and Combo. Of course some decks have some overlap but I’ve tried my best so that you at least can identify approximately what type of deck we’re talking about.

I’ve also added a search function which can be used in a couple of different ways. You can of course search for deck names but a more useful function is probably being able to search for specific cards. Not all cards that are played in a deck is searchable but every card that is mentioned in the description is searchable. So if you want to play a deck where Dark Ritual plays a big part, just search for it and you’ll get a list. I’m thinking of adding a database with more cards than the once mentioned but that will be a future project. But one thing I have added is a database with what the main colors of each deck are. So if you want a red deck, just search for red and if you want it to be more colors just add them to the search.

I don’t want to talk about it


Lastly we have the most important function of the whole site. I you go to a deck page and scroll down to the bottom you will find a commenting section. I put it there after realizing that there isn’t a forum anywhere online where you can discuss the different decks, like Vintage has The Mana Drain and Legacy has The Source. So please use that function to post pictures of your own lists, discuss cards you like, cards you think is overrated and more.

Tell me why

Ok, maybe you have some questions after looking at the site and reading all of the above? I’ve already gotten some feedback and questions about the site so why not give you some answers to the most frequent subjects.

1. Why don’t you publish decklist in written form?
There is a couple of reasons for this. First of all, it’s in the spirit of the format. 93/94 is a format where esthetics is important and that’s why we see pictures instead of lists from almost every event. We want to see all the beautiful decks and if someone has an all Alpha deck except for an unsummon or something like that. The second reason is the one I’ve written about above, I don’t want this to be a netdecking site and written lists would make netdecking easier.

2. You should publish more pictures of each deck
This is something that I thought about doing but decided not to. As said above, I don’t want this to be a netdecking resource so I just want to show one nice list for the esthetics. Most of the times the picture doesn’t even show one of the best lists out there.

3. Can’t we get a card list for each deck of all the different cards it can play?
The short answer is no. And the reason is the same as the questions above. I do not want to give away everything; you need to do some brewing yourself. Isn’t it more fun to come up with card choices by yourself?

Holding out for a Hero

The feedback I’ve gotten so far has been amazing, thank you all very much! I already have at least another 10 deck archetypes to write about and I’m sure there will be more soon. If you feel that the site is missing an archetypes, or if you have any other feedback, please send me an email at wakwakmtg@gmail.com. 

Thank you for reading!


Ps. Yes, all of the headings are song titles and Tell me why should be the Neil Young song.

lördag 4 mars 2017

Pictures from Arvika Festival 3

Arvika Festival 3. In the world I see, this is how Magic should be played.

It started with 16 players two years ago, expanded to 34 last year, and hit 47 this time. It is not unlikely that this was the largest Magic tournament in Arvika ever, regardless of format. The word is spreading and people travel from far to be a part of the festivities.
Train people.
The Train People -this time consisting of Hardy, Øyann and myself - arrived in Arvika Friday evening and stayed with KungMarkus and his family for the full weekend. Had our traditional fight with their dog and got filled up on good beer and good food.

Last year I wrote an in-depth report of my experience from the tournament. This time I'll take an easier route and approach it the way I did the first one. We had guests in our apartment this week and I didn't find the time to go deep nerd and write a lot. What I will say is that the difference between having your fiancée in South Sudan in the middle of a tribal war and her being in Arvika playing the tournament with you is a world. The latter option was far better for the nerves.

Markus Lundqvist casually (*cough*) hosted an 11-hour stream of the entire main tournament from London. There are some sweet decks and interviews, I recommend scrolling through it if you missed it last weekend. You can find the full stream at https://www.twitch.tv/videos/124654483. And as alway, Markus and the Skype players will do a Super Sunday this weekend as well, check out https://www.twitch.tv/oldschoolmtg for more info.

But now, lets look at some pictures from the weekend in Arvika.
Starting Friday night with some HaupsCube shenanigans at KungMarkus place. Hardy fails to properly sneak in his Sneakyface and the end is night.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad // So I had one more for dessert. Ever so slightly hungover a gang of scoundrels gather at noon to play "påsdraft". Randomized packs from between Stronghold and Shadowmoor picked from a plastic bag, courtesy of Mällroth.
Polers and Øyann finished 1st and 2nd in the påsdraft after a 2-0-1 record (unintentional draw against each other). They were both on BR btw, Øyann with a very low curve with a bunch of goblins, burn and an Ensnaring Bridge from the Stronghold pack, Polers with a higher curve and a lot of more high-impact cards.
KungMarkus watching over Björn watching over the bar.
The price structure. Unlike most other tournaments, Arvika Festival actually have some fairly high-value prizes to the top finishers. Me: "Are you giving an oversized Shivan Dragon to the 2nd place, and a Portal Three Kingdoms booster to the third?!" Markus: "It should hurt coming second."
Players starts to roll in. Kenneth Mossberg from Gothenburg discuss his EurekaLegends deck with Gordon Andersson from Stockholm.
Berntsson from Arvika resurrected his Aisling Leprechaun deck for the occasion. He was searching for more Lifelaces before the tournament. Still, with only one copy of lace in his deck, he managed to take it to a highly respectable 3-3 finish. Impressive!
William "Timecode" Ljugberg came from Gothenburg to set up a temporary shop at the tournament. Lots of sweet old cards up for grabs to get the last fine-tuning of the decks in place. Including four copies of Black Lotus, but unfortunately not that many Lifelaces along for the ride ;)
Looking through Kalle's tech binder. Yeah, all those cards are Summer Magic.
Gathering the Magic.
I face off against Kalle game one. Three broken games as we both draw far too much power and stupid spells. I did it one game, he did it two.
At the table next to us, real Magic is being played.
Gentleman's agreement. After the broken game one with Kalle, I ask my following opponents to board out LoA and Mind Twist in our games. Aspiring Rookie of the Year Max Weltz gladly agree. 
Facing off against great guy Paddan at 3-1. We keep the gentleman's agreement going. Nobody said anything about the raw power of Mahamothi and Sol'Kanar though!
Round five. I'm starting to take it for granted that pretty much nobody drops in these tournaments. Players gonna play.
Magic's original Art Director and the father of the look and feel of early Magic joins the stream! Legendary Jesper Myrfors checking out the Arvika Festival mofos! Step one, hold the high fives and ask him what was going on with Word of Command ;)
Harsh tiebreakers put Jonas Rebenius just out of contention at 9th place. As tradition holds, he was awarded with a Quagmire. (So I guess that the real first loser was yours truly at 10th place ;)).
Top8! Elof "The Mighty" Gottfridsson face off against Kalle "Egget" Nord in the quarterfinals. Familiar faces in the elimination rounds.
Apart from Kalle and Elof, no player has won more than one Giant Shark. Between them, they hold five. Elof hopes to win his 4th today. If he gets the playset, we as a community have agreed that he may exchange the four Sharks in his deck for a single Leviathan. It would make his future deckbuidling slightly easier.
After ruthless elimination rounds, Andreas Cermak's UWGb Zoo takes down Elof's ErhnamGeddon in the final to claim the Shark and the Festival. Congrats man, and well played! 
Cermak's winning deck from Arvika Festival 3.
I'll post the rest of the decklists from the top8 in the not too distant future. Thanks again for a great tournament, already looking forward to next time!