Enchanting the Jutland Ridge by chance

You know how something just seems to not be impossible to match? How everything seems lost?

That was my feeling when the great Jonas Brincher announced his tournament At the Mountains of Madness 2024 (must be interation numero VI). It was to go down on the exact same date, as I was already booked for 70 years birthday at my wifes uncle’s.

What a shame it was. How sad I was. Tears. Crying. Fiddling with calenders and trying to pull every available string. Checking the family account – it was already in negative. Alas. No avail. All was set in stone.

Until – a week before the date – my wife’s uncle had to cancel the celebrations due to illness. Thankfully he recovered relatively fast, and I hope he will get back to some celebration at some point. 

But now it was potentially on – if only I could somehow get a place at a table.

Reaching out to Jonas, meant I was able to secure a seat (“there is always room for one more!”). That was easy. 

So that very Saturday June 8. 2024, that day it was time to play some sweet, sweet old school Magic.

What to expect?

When it comes to Jonas Brincher, and the At the Mountains of Madness series especially, one is to expect a whole lot. And so I did.

And let me just get this off my chest before going into the playing parts of the day: I LOVE THESE TOURNAMENTS. Yep, that is me shouting from the rooftops, but this is my fourth time at the mountains (link, link and link), and it never ceases to amaze me how awesome these tournaments are.

The setup. The attendees. The size of the tournament. The feeling of community. The insistence on trying to further spicy brews. The hosting. The surrounding nature scenery. The ice cream shop on the other side of the road. The weath… Wait. Not the weather this year. It was raining all day, but it takes a whole lot more to ruin this gathering of wizards!

We are only around 40 players, which is probably what I find optimal nowadays. It is big enough to feel like “a real” tournament, but small enough that it is an almost intimate experience. The relatively small number makes for a relatively smooth run of the tournament.

And then just the atmosphere. It is something special every year at the Mountains of Madness. I know this is of course a very subjective thing, but there are no other tournament experiences that are close to these. 

It simply is a great time, everytime. Also when rain pours down from start to end.

So thank you Jonas and everyone who helped before, during and after. Thank you to all the other participants, and thank you, especially, to my opponents for being awesome kings among men the whole day.

Deck and goals for the day

As always there were several ways to win the tournament. There was a tribal challenge, a necronomicon challenge: Biggest creature maindeck, most basic mountains maindeck (you’d have to best 25!) and of course, a price for the best placed Enchantress deck!

So yes, I had to assemble some 56 cards around my four beautiful ladies.

I tried to fit my newly acquired insanely beautiful Ankhs of Mishra, but I was not able to make anything remotely looking like a playable deck. Not remotely.

Then I wondered whether it was time to play the Enchantress combo deck. I figured it might be the best deck to try to best placed Enchantress player. But I also figured two other things:

  1. I did not really want to play a complex, easily disrupted combo deck
  2. There would probably be a 50/50 chance that playing any deck with Enchantress would secure me the prize for best placed Enchantress. There are not a lot of die-hard fans of the beautiful card-drawing machine out there

So, instead, I ended up with something along some lines I have played before. Something with machines and shenanigans. Something so mid-rangy it is probably there in the dictionary when you look for the word Midrange. 

This:

With this sideboard:

I have designed and played several different versions of this deck. The bigger change, and what I haven’t really tried before is the addition of four Serendib Efreets. I put them in to give the deck some more punch. In earlier iterations of the deck I have played Psychic Venoms, Icy Manipulators, Tetravus and other cards in these spots. But I have often had trouble finishing games. I thought a set of Dibs might help in this regard.

The rest of the deck is really just Trisk-Chantress package + restricted and lands. I really like to play with what I call the Trisk-Chantress package. It is simply Verduran Enchantress, Triskelion, Copy Artifact and Animate Dead. It makes the deck able to attack from different angles, which is very cool when you are a slow control deck on the surface. When you suddenly Trisk-ping your opponent for eight out of the blue, it just feels right.

The problem I always encounter when designing Enchantress decks is a lack of space. I would have really liked space for some Counterspells, Crumbles and other interactive cards. I also tried to find room for white cards, but it was simply impossible.

I was tinkering on scrapping the Wild Growths because they are very often a liability after the opening hand and round two, being a very dead draw, but I wanted to play as many turn two Dibs as possible, and make sure that the Trisks where not entirely out of reach. I think I will try to cut them next time. Even though it feels a bit weird when playing Enchantress.

I haven’t played a lot of Paralyze before, but wanted to have something to combat the faster aggro decks and keep them at bay until I could either play a Control Magic or take over the game with some form of card-advantage engine. Paralyze is a great card and should not be underestimated.

Okay. Enough about the deck.

As always when I attend a tournament, I had set up some goals for me to try to achieve, instead of only going for the main prize. For this tournament, these were it:

  • Be best placed Enchantress deck
  • Draw at least 25 cards with Verduran Enchantress
  • Play at least five Serendib Efreet at turn two or earlier
  • Play Triskelion, Animate Dead and Copy Artifact in the same turn
  • Skull of Orm, Copy Artifact, Chaos orb!
  • Skull of Orm, Copy/Animate with Trisk
  • Play Control Magic while Verduran Enchantress is in play (it is just such a great feeling)
  • Win at least three rounds

The tournament

This, of course, was not a solo mission. Three comrades from the Wednesday Wizards team METAGEYSER had also booked a seat at the Mountains, and so, of course, the day started with great roadtrip of a couple of hours. Not really much to say, other than we started out like this:

And then figured we had to find a draft beer. Luckily on the rather lonely stretch of road in Jutland, there was a really brown Inn. Really, very brown indeed. It was 10.20 but this place was bustling! Or at least there was around 20 elderly types playing bingo like their lives depended on it. We felt a bit out of place, but found a tap beer and got on.

In short, we transcended to this:

Wounderous what a couple of cups of beer can achieve. Notice Peters glass. He – a man of so much style and splendor – could of course not drink his beer from a plastic cup, so he bought the glass along with the beer. Stylish as hell.

After the on-tour drink, we felt so great, that we made it our plan to not fill up the bottom five of the tournament, even though that is usually how we fare. This time both Lando and Rasmus had been fine-tuning some red-based killing-machines, and they were not going to go down without a fight. Peter had also brought some bolts, some eggs and a lot of other shenanigans. We were ready!

A couple of hours and many high-fives to old and new friends later, we were ready for the first round of seven.

Round 1

I am up against Johnny Kjærsgaard. I have met him twice before in tournaments, and he informs me that we are 1-1. So it is really on, this is!

It is always a joy to play against Johnny. None of us are too serious about what we do, but we still want to win. And have a good time still.

And I did not want to be down 2-1 against him!

Johnny is on a UWB Goodstuff control/midrange deck.

In game one I lead with a Sol ring wanting to play a Dib turn two. Johnny plays a City in a Bottle and foils my plans. I play Ancestral into another Dib and a City of Brass, but luckily Johnny does not have to much follow-up. 

And then I land a Triskelion. He gets it out of the way, but I manage to Animate and Copy it so I am able to burn him out and win when I Control Magic his Su-Chi, even though he plays a Balance. 

Yes – already one goal achieved.

I take out four Dibs and side in four Psionic Blasts.

In game two I play turn one Enchantress off of Lotus. A killer play! There are only two things better to do with a Lotus turn one: Ball Lightning and Storm Seeker.

I don’t have a lot of notes from this match, but I manage to find some restricted stuff – tutoring for a Regrowth to replay my Ancestral. Draw five (!) cards off Enchantress and do some of the nice things with Triskelion and Copy Artifact. The deck worked as it was supposed to. 

1-0 (and up 2-1 against Johnny! Important to remember the important things…)

Dibs played in round 1-2: 0

Cards drawn with Enchantress: 5

Round 2

I am up against Mathias Thorup.

I am unsure if I have played against Mathias before, but I know I have been hanging out with him and his brothers for some tournaments. It is always a great time.

Mathias was playing Red Black and wanted to attack my mana and burn my life total. That was somewhat scary.

In game one I resolve a turn two Dib and a turn three Enchantress. The Dib is hard for him to deal with, because of the slightly bigger-than-bolt-can-handle ass.

I find another Dib, Paralyze his Rukh and Animates his Rukh Egg to draw a card. I win the game.

I make sure to put three Blue Elemental Blast in my deck and take out one Copy Artifact, one Enchantress and the Braingeyser.

In game two I keep a two-lander which is somewhat risky, but I feel like the risk of muliganning is even bigger.

Mathias plays a turn three Fallen Angel off Dark Ritual. I paralyze it. In turn three I have drawn another land and a Lotus and plays double Serendib Efreet. 

A turn later I play an Ancestral Recall and Mathias uses his Fork on possibly the best target! So nice! 

Mathias plays a Disk and a couple of Sedge Trolls and the race is really on. At one point I Mind Twist him for one to force him to use a Bolt, if that is what he is holding. It was a Fireball, which would have killed me in his turn. In my next turn I draw the land I need to play my Trisk and kill him with the pinging along a hit from his own Fallen Angel I had Animated.

What a great game!

2-0

Dibs played in round 1-2: 1 (1)

Cards drawn with Enchantress: 1 (6)

Round 3

2-0 is what dreams are made of, but unfortunately it also meant, that I was now up against End-Boss Henrik Storm.

Henrik is a great player, he plays The Deck which is a great deck and one that I have to be unbelievably lucky to win against.

So I did not have much hope for this match. Luckily Henrik is also one great guy to be around. I am not entirely sure, but I am relatively certain that our internal score is something along the lines of 10-0 to Storm. I had to at least try and change that…

In game one Storm plays a turn one Library of Alexandria…

I play a turn two Dib. Against a white deck, it does not hold its fort for long.

At one point Henrik taps out to play Braingeyser. It gives me the opportunity to do something. I play a Twister to try and get something going. Play Time Walk and Regrowth it. But even all of this is not enough. 

I manage to land a Skull of Orm with a Chaos orb in play. I try to play Copy Artifact to do the thing! But alas, Henrik has a Disenchant on Skull of Orm ready.

I lose the game to Henriks card advantage and host of answers to my plays.

In game two I land a turn one Dib which ends up killing Henrik. He only draws lands and Counterspells. It was boring, but a win, I guess… Not really how one wants to win. But now it was really exciting, as I was still live in the match.

Game three is long and interesting. Now it was my time to land a turn one Library. A couple of turns later I have a crazy turn (or turns, rather – Demonic, Walk, Regrowth): 

At this point I felt I was about to win. Then Henrik plays his Balance. Such a fair card…

I built right back up, mange to resolve a Trisk and a Dib plus a Psionic Blast, but Henrik plays Recall x=2 to get back his Balance and an Ancestral Recall. I end up losing to an End Boss with only two lives left after he Divine Offerings his own Jayemdae Tome! 

Such a close game. 

But it was not to be this time either. Henrik 11 – Emil 0. Or thereabouts.

2-1

Dibs played in round 1-2: 2 (3)

Cards drawn with Enchantress: 0 (6)

Round 4

After round three, I hoped I would get back into the bracket below end-bosses. But no such luck. In round four I am up against another The Deck End Boss in the form of Martin Hellfritzsch.

Well, at least it was two very fast games. The went like this:

Game one: Martin draws around 40 cards. I don’t.

Game two: I play a turn two Dib. Martins draws around 40 cards. I don’t.

I think this round was around ten minutes.

2-2

Dibs played in round 1-2: 1 (4)

Cards drawn with Enchantress: 0 (6)

At this point I became very interested in knowing how many other Enchantress players were in the room. I had been placed next to Martin Skovsgaard playing combo Chantress in round one or two, but I had not seen anyone else playing the ladies. And correct, Martin and I were the only ones. He was also 2-2 at this point. So here started quite an intense competition within the competition…

Round 5

Up against Daniel Jensen. I am pretty sure I have not had the opportunity to play against Daniel before. 

This time he had brought a UWR control deck. I think. To be honest the games were not that long, and he could have been on a more aggroish approach in the colors. I have to admit I did not make too many notes in this game.

Game one I play turn one Ancestral Recall. Turn two Lotus into Enchantress into two Wild Growths. Then I follow it up with a Chaos Orb which is Mana Drained. Daniel Orbs my Enchantress. I animate her. Later I draw a Trisk. Then another Trisk and finally a Dib. Daniel does not find his removal in time.

I remove four Enchantress and two Paralyze from the deck, and add four Psionic Blast, a Mana Drain and a Control Magic.

In game two I play turn one Sol Ring into turn two Dib. Daniel Orbs. I twist his hand. He plays a couple of Factories which really pressures me as I am not able to submit anything useful to the board. After bricking for some turns, I luckily draw a Triskelion which I can then play my Copy Artifact on to remove the remaining four life points from Daniel. 

The end of that game was a nail-biter!

3-2 (YAY! Three wins)

Dibs played in round 1-2: 1 (5) YAY!

Cards drawn with Enchantress: 3 (9) 

Round 6

In round six I am up against Anders Olesen who bested me at one life in the last tournament “The Whisperer in the Darkness.”

Back then he was playing robots. This time, he was on an Elves tribal deck. Basically a mono green (light splash black for restricted) with some more elves. I was somewhat worried as quick aggro is not necessarily my favorite match-up. But if I get to resolve Triskelions and/or Copy or Animate it, all should be good.

In game one I go turn two Sol Ring Dib. Anders Mind twists two out or three cards out of my hand, but misses my Time Walk. A turn later I play Walk – Regrowth – Walk. Then I geyser myself for five. Then I Animate my Trisk and remove his board, winning the game.

I don’t board anything. 

In game two I keep a two-lander where one land is Library. I play it turn one and feel fine, but Anders swiftly tutors for his Strip Mine and kills my Loa. Now I have basically nothing, and Anders continues to Ice Storm and Chaos Orb my drawn lands while playing small but hurtful creatures. It was a slaughter.

In game three I lead with another Library. Anders Orbs it in his turn two. I land a turn three Dib and begins to do some damage. In round Five I play a Trisk that relly hurts Anders’ dudes. But Anders has a lot of pressure on board, and manages to get back. It gets down to me having to Orb my own Dib to not get killed in the upkeep, and then double copying a Trisk for the win. 

That was also a really close one! And I got to draw a lot of cards off Enchantress! I love not playing against red or white with her…

But!

4-2! The other Enchantress player was 3-3 at this point, so I was in the lead at this point, but nothing was determined. 

I was also in the win and in spot, so the last round was important!

Dibs played in round 1-2: 1 (6)

Cards drawn with Enchantress: 9 (18)

Round 7

And I was up against a new friend – Martijn (I did not get a last name) from Holland. Martijn was playing his first Old School tournament I think but doing very well! He had assembled a cool blue green non-powered aggro deck with Birds of Paradise, Serendib Efreets, Erhnam Djinns and even a Gaea’s Liege! Yes! So cool to see cards like the Liege sometimes.

Game one was a bit weird. I play turn two Loa into turn four double Enchantress. At this point I have three Copy Artifact in hand, and feel fine. But Martijns Erhnam Djinns is troublesome! I play Time Walk. Chaos Orb and Copy. At one point I play three Dibs in the same turn – later the fourth one joins the ranks, but it was just short. I lose to my own Dibs with Martijn at two life…

Out goes one Copy and one Wild Growth

In comes two Control Magic

In game two I land a turn two Dib. I play a Paralyze at Martijns Bird at some point to both hinder his mana development and remove his flying blocker. The early Dib is joined by a Triskelion and they end the game together.

In game three I lead with what looks like an insane start:

Three Moxes, Lotus, an Enchantress and a land. The remaining cards in my hand was two lands, but I figured anything I drew from here would be good, because I had an enchantress in play and enough mana. A Control Magic would have been insane. Trisk turn two is also often relatively good. I manage to find a Time Walk and a Regrowth, but all other cards I drew in the short game, was lands and a couple of Animate Deads that basically read 1B draw a card. Which was not enough against Martijns turn two Dib into turn three Dib. Ouch.

A bit bummed I missed the last game and thus the top8, but it is what it is and the first to games of round seven where a joy. Sometimes you just play an insane amount of power, and dies to a Serendib.

It was a pleasure playing against Martijn, and his deck was very cool.

4-3

Dibs played in round 1-2: 1 (7)

Cards drawn with Enchantress: 12(!!!) (30) YAY!!!

Round…ing things off

I was very pleased with a 4-3 record. 

I really enjoy playing these kinds of decks. Of course – as always – this deck would benefit quite some by removing four Enchantresses and four Wild Growths. But Trisk, Copy, Animate is just a lot of fun. When you get to use Skull of Orm just a single time or two you feel like a king.

Most of my goals was achieved. I drew 30! cards off Enchantresses throughout the day – way more than what I drew from Ancestral Recall. That was very pleasant. 

The three guys I lost to all went on to play the top8. I think Martin won the entire thing. I really can’t complain about anything. 

My teammates even stayed clear of bottom five, as was our goal.

Oh, and best Enchantress deck? Martin Skovsgaard ended up in place 17. I was 12th! Yes! I won this crazy cool altered Circle of Protection: Green.

Altered by team member and Altar artist Thomas Lando. Now I just need to build that Leprechaun deck…

And then, of course there were great spoils in the “Ante” pack I got to keep (I always ask my opponents to sign the card if I win a match. Unfortunately I lost the one I won from Johnny…).

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