Hatching eggs in Long Island

Today I have a day off from work. It was needed. Not only has work been a little crazy the last couple of weeks, I have also been a little off my game and have been coughing like I was paid to do it.

Oh, right, I also went on a crazy weekend to the Long Island Cup 5.0 in Aarhus.

If that is not a reason for a day or two of restitution, I don’t know what is.

This year’s iteration of the traditional LIC craziness had seen a couple of new initiatives. First of all the tournament came to be invite only, because the organizer’s had so many people they wanted to invite to join, that there was no room left when that dust had settled. This led to some discussion within the community, but it is not the topic for this tournament report. I will discuss the issue in my next post.

Another novelty was the fact that there was to be a Revised40 Ante tournament the Friday night before the main event. We could not let such a chance for absolute idiocy go past our noses, so Peter, Lando, Rasmus and myself from Team Metageyser went into the frey and started the roadtrip towards greatness directly from work on said Friday November 10…

Playing like it is 1994

Actually I had said that I did not want to attend the Revised40 tournament, because I did not want to play for ante. But when I figured it would probably be a lot of chaotic fun, and the most expensive card in my deck was a Revised Sol Ring AND that every attendee would receive an altered Revised Contract from Below, how could I say no.

Every tournament participant was to play their Contract. It was errataed to cost a single generic mana and it was to be signed by each opponent one faced. It did not count towards the maximum number of rares in the deck.

I have had a Revised40 deck laying around for a year or two now. A really stupid meme deck, that I was uncertain would work or not (I was leaning strongly towards not).

I looked like this:

The contract was added to the pile, before the tournament started.

Ready for some school-yard action!

Point of the deck, of course, is to try to slow the game down enough with Fogs, Swords and Streams of Life, that I am able to mill people dead. I was rather sure it was not a very potent combination of cards, but I wanted to give it a swing. And in a field where every player had a draw7 for one mana in their 40-card deck, who knows?

I do. Now at least. My one goal with the deck was to win just one game. I barely did so. But I actually won a round. Because of a lot of luck (I was up against a Psychic Venom deck where I played an early Millstone and then continued to mill all three Mana Shorts…). My deck was pure trash. Maybe not too surprising. But still. I liked the idea, but should have gone the way of great brewer, general nice guy, member of the Drain Life Crew Kristian Ringkjær, who had thought along the same lines as me, but with greater wisdom. He had chosen white with Healing Salve, Ivory Cup, Howling Mine and Island Sanctuary. He was a play mistake away from going 3-1.

Anyway, I lost horribly to a really mean Red-Green aggro burn deck, with Atogs, Ankhs and Black Vises, that continued to win the tournament. I also lost to a Black-Red deck with Manabarbs, a card I simply cannot win against if it hits the board. And then I won against a Psychic Venom deck, and lost against another Psychic Venom deck.

But the tournament will go down in my history as the most insane, drunken madness, I have ever experienced within the realm of Magic nerderies. I am very certain that the history of man has never seen a single night in which more penises were drawn on Revised cards than said Friday night, November 10 2023! Most of them was drawn only from imagination, and then there was some that had some very live “models”.

Okay. At that point I had to go to the thing I had dreaded the most about the weekend: Sleeping in a bunk bed amongst 20-or-so other middle aged, drunken men. I hit the bunk at around 0100. But did not manage to go to sleep until around 0300. Peter, Rasmus and two more hit the pulsating Aarhus nightlife. Because they are insane. Lando waited up all night, to let Peter and Rasmus in, when they got back. But the door wasn’t locked, so they just went in a got to sleep.

Right. On to the “serious” part of the tournament…

Choosing a deck

A long time ago I stumbled upon a great looking deck with Rukh Egg, Diamond Valley, Skull of Orm, Relevant Enchantments and more great cards. It was a deck Bryan Manolakos had played all the way to the finals back in the 2018 edition of the Winter Derby. I am not sure whether he created the deck, but I think so, and it is such a beautiful creation! One that really resonates with me, because it both have Valleys, Rukhs and one of my most beloved Old School card: Skull of Orm! I also knew I wanted to try out Control Magic, because I think it is an underplayed card.

So several months ago, I had decided that this was the deck, I wanted to play. Of course I had to dumb it down a bit, and add some of my own additions, so the deck ended up looking like this:

As you see, this is a deck that wants to do a lot of things. I added more Lightning Bolts and more Animate Dead than in the original deck, because I just think those are some very strong cards. I did not want to splash for Balance and Regrowth because I am stupid like that. And I didn’t find the Earthquake necessary in the main.

As always I had some goals for the day – these were it:

  • Hatch three Rukhs in the same game
  • Get at least one Skull of Orm engine going (Valley+Animate, Valley+Control, Trisk+Copy or Orb+Copy)
  • Counter some big creature to then reanimate it
  • Control Magic something for the win
  • Win at least three out of seven rounds

Mediocre cards in an awesome setting

Or less than mediocre, really. But I am getting a bit ahead of myself here.

I woke up around 8.30 – the tournament was set to begin at 11.00. So I had all the time in the world to find some coffee and a couple of slices of bread. Then close friend and Metageyser team mate Robin arrived. Along with a lot of other familiar faces.

It really was a gathering of friends. As almost always. The atmosphere was hitting some highs way before the 75 participants were called to order around 11.30. But that is what we were there for. Having a blast. And so we did.

But we also had to play some cards at some point. My three cups of coffee and one beer had helped me get into shape-ish. I was fully aware that this would be a long day, and I was just barely keeping the tiredness at bay, when the first round of pairings were ready.

I was up against:

Round 1: Bjørn Michelsen

Bjørn! Another one of those wall-to-wall great guys that I have been attending tournaments with several times throughout the last four-five years, but we have never met in combat. That was to change now.

Bjørn often plays some quirky, spiced-up pile of utter deliciousness, so I had no idea what to expect.

Game one was a nailbiter – I found out he was playing Living Plane. I drew a lot of factories, but he killed them all in different ways. I then put some pressure on with Rukh and a Valley. Much later I drained his Trisk to draw my own and play for the mana. I could then copy my Trisk to remove his remaining five life.

I took out some Control Magic for Fireballs, as Control Magic is not that sexy against Living Plane, I figured.

In game two I keep an okay, but not explosive hand. Bjørn mulligans to six, but plays a turn one Wheel. Getting me a really lackluster hand. But it doesn’t matter as he plays Ancestral Recall and Mind Twists me, after his Strip Mine. I proceed to do absolutely nothing. He plays a Shivan Dragon and a Mahamoti Djinn. I lose.

I board back in some Control Magics…

Game three is strange. I don’t have a lot of mana producers, but manage to get a Trisk into play via Lotus. Bjørn plays Eureka. He puts a Djinn into play, I Control Magic, he puts a Shivan into play. And another Djinn.

I have a Skull of Orm on the field, and I am able to produce five mana. He attacks with his Djinn and his Shivan. I block the Djinn with my borrowed Djinn. He Trisk kills it. It don’t Trisk kill his! That was a major mistake because had I done so, I could have taken a swing from his creatures and then maybe have been able to stop his onslaught and rebuild. Instead, I die.

0-1, a pity. In two out of three games my deck had some trouble dosing spells and mana producers just somewhat meaningful. I either got only spells or only mana. That was to be the story of the day, unfortunately.

Round 2: Nicolai Rasmussen

I played against Nicolai at LIC 4.0. Back then he played a Red-Green-White aggro deck. This time he brought his wonderful Red-Green-Blue Sindbad deck. I have seen him play the deck at other tournaments, and it really is a beautiful thing, and a really interesting take on Sindbad.

It happens to be two relatively quick games.

In game one Nicolai draws all his draw engine cards. Which is just too much for me. In game two he draws all his burn. Coincidentally also too much for me…

My cards simply don’t match. And even though I draw me some restricted goodness, it just not enough, when it only produces mana.

0-2, darn it! I had actually had my hopes up for this deck to be able to win something!

Round 3: Johnny Kjærgaard Nielsen

In round three it is time for another rematch. I met Johnny in round two of the Tron Wars back in September. Now I felt, it was my turn to win!

In game one I keep a rather risky hand, but I don’t think it should be muliganned:

It doesn’t do much, but it had potential.

Johnny is on an aggressive White-Red-Blue deck with Lions, Su-Chi and burn – you know the kind. The risky hand manages to become playable, and I play a Rukh which is soon hatched to make a deadly 4/4 flier that takes home the win.

I take in some direct burn and a Factory for some of the Skull of Orm package.

In game two I do nothing, while Johnny plays Ancestral, Su-Chi a couple of Blue Elemental Blasts and a Time Walk. On to game three…

That was a long one. With a rather intense ending. Johnny manages to resolve a Circle of Protection: Red, which is rather problematic for me. I have to Demonic Tutor for my Chaos Orb to flip out the CoP to then be able to Fireball him dead. I manage. It was close.

My fingers were sticky on the flip, and one bystander was not sure it was exactly a foot from the table, but it was accepted. Phew! A great game it had been!


Round 4: Martin Skovsgaard

This was a rather epic round. I am up against Martin, which I have never played against before. I know he is a great player, and equally great guy to be around. I have seen him play at several tournaments and I think he has played something Blue-White more than once. But he is also located at table 32, so that was strange. And he keeps talking about how the dull dudes at the top tables always just plays white – who wants to play white anyway?

So I have no idea what I am up against.

Before we start, the other guys at the table finds that it is time for “… a wee glass of rum…” Apparently that meant a bottle of rum. So he fetches his bottle, puts it on the table along with four glasses and makes us promise that we will not leave the table before the bottle is emptied. I love Old School tournaments.

In game one I keep an insane hand – my only truly great hand of the day – with Sapphire, Pearl, Sol Ring, Wheel, Ancestral, Valley and Sea.

Martin is also here to play some cards so he goes Ancestral into Regrowth into Ancestral.

I manage to assemble the Rukh-Valley “combo” and go on to play Skull of Orm and Control Magic with a lot of mana on the table. I Control his Shivan to simply sac it, gain a lot of life, and Control whatever he had then played as a blocker. YES! The Skull of Orm engine worked! In the game I saw an All-Hallows Eve.

We cheered in rum several times.

In game two Martin manages to reanimate a Triskelion in his first round. It kills me.

Game three is even less of a game. I have held a hand with Counterspell, so he just plays All-Hallows Eve in his first round. Right. That’s that, I guess.

We were done fast, but the bottle was not at all empty yet, so of course we played some more games. In one, this scenario unfolded:

Martin had Bazaared two Shivans into his graveyard and the tried to Animate Dead them. I counter both his Animate Dead, only to play two of my own in my turn. Great times!


Round 5: Simon Sørensen

In round five I am up against Simon, who was attending his first ever Magic Tournament. Welcome!

He was playing a Blue-White deck. Controlish. Good. I drew mediocre hands. I lost game one to a Mind Twist and a Serra Angel.

Game two was a bit more of a game. I played so many Eggs and even got to hatch some of them – apparently he didn’t draw his Swords at the right time. Anyway, I win.

In game three. I try my best. I even play an Ancestral Recall, I think for only the second time in the entire tournament! But it is not enough. Simon has a Dib and despite my drawing three, I simply don’t do anything for five turns. When I am trying to get back in the game, it is way too late!

1-4, damn this is bad!

Round 6: Rasmus Pindstrup

I have also never played against Rasmus before. I did not know for sure what he was playing, but I had a feeling it could be a Rukh-Valley deck, because I know from the Danish OS forum that he has been buying Valleys.

I was right!

In this round, I double the amount of Ancestral played throughout the day. I play one in both game one and two. In game two I even played a LOA! First of the day, I think. And it was even left for a couple of turn, because Rasmus was fearing the Valley more, I think.

Rasmus is very unlucky in his draws, and never really gets to start playing in either of the games. His deck was really cool though. With a very strong focus on Diamond Valley, he was also playing Greed. Very nice, I like it when people are thinking somewhat out the box!

Rasmus has this awesome playmat where he “keeps track” of his OS games, I got to sign it twice, as Rasmus was also the one besting me with a Psychic Venom deck in the Revised40 tournament.

2-4, still not exactly impressive, but I still have a chance to at least reach my own goal of at least three wins.

But then I had to best:

Round 7: Stefan Björklund

Another new friend! Still one of the best things about going to tournaments!

Stefan was playing a Red-Blue aggressive deck with Blood Moons main.

In game one he plays turn one Flying Men, I figure he is on something aggressive so I try to hamper him a bit by Mind Twisting him for two. He then Mind Twists me right back for two, and plays a Braingeyser for two. And then a Blood Moon.

Luckily the Moon is actually not that big a deal for me, because I am still able to play my Rukh and Bolt them. And then a Triskelion enters the game and wins it for me.

In game two Stefans deck is simply too fast for me. My notes say “LOA – DIB – Walk – Control Magic on Rukh.” Not much to do, unfortunately.

And then on to the last game of the day.

I keep a hand that is just really the entire tournament in a nutshell:

It is not exactly great, but it is not so bad I should mulligan it either. But this was just how many of my hands looked throughout the day. Mediocre!

But then Stefan plays Ancestral and LOA. So I guess it doesn’t matter too much.

In the entire game three, I saw these cards:

Okay, that is variance, I guess. But I really think it was against me this day. This deck should be able to fare better than my measly end result of…

2-5… Ugh.

Rounding things off

The deck really did not play up to my expectations. Of course I also made errors, but I really think the deck should have fared better than 2-5. Especially because I never faced neither Robots, The Deck or the really aggressive LionDib decks. I guess variance is somewhat to blame. I should also probably have played at least one Fireball main and the Balance would definitely have been a life saver several times. I could easily shave a Counterspell, and maybe also one of the Animate Deads. At least I did not draw them at the right time thoughout the day.

When the deck played somewhat okay, it was a blast, and I am certain that I want to play something along these lines again some other day. I really love it when I am able to start up one of the several Skull of Orm machines, and I just enjoy playing cards like Control Magic and Animate Dead main. They are very strong cards, also in a vacuum.

Okay, enough of that, There is just one – major –thing left to write something about: The tournament and the great job the organizers had done.

It was a major blast to be privileged enough to participate in the LIC 5.0. The tournament organizers (I am afraid to mention them, because I am not entirely sure that I know whom all of them are) had done an amazing job. Even though we were dangerously close to running out of toilet paper and beer early Saturday evening. Nothing a pizza delivery guy couldn’t handle.

I love attending tournaments where you can rest assure that even though things may look chaotic, and even though we may not exactly start on the exact time that was announced, everything is okay. The company is great. There will be food. Beers are plentiful (once restocked at least). And everything is really about having a great time, and writing some new stories

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