Merry Christmas you all!

Nope, this is not the end-of-the-year post, that is the Happy New Year post that will arrive tomorrow or some day after that. No, today is a merry Christmas post. Or happy holidays or whatever it is called these days.

Two weeks ago one of my colleagues mentioned in an almost whispering tone, that I am a very jolly Christmassy kind of person. All year, I go around skulking and being in a horrible mood – listening to power-, black- and death metal, but 1 November I bring out my Christmas mugs and 1 December I start wearing different iterations of ugly Christmas sweaters; from the stylish sweater west that is almost fitting in a professional setting, to the all out, red “Tree Rex” sweater with a Tyrannosaurus Rex dressed as a Christmas tree complete with little bells and everything. It is a pure joy to wear. One can even play Jingle Bells by jumping on the spot.

My colleague is right (I am not though, I am not actually skulking all year…). I do like December and the weeks and days leading up to Christmas. I don’t know why, but I do. It is not even that I am looking forward to some insane gifts – I never get any Magic cards and almost never any Lego! Nor that I have any special traditions or people I only see at the holidays. I just like the general vibe of December.

But then hits the actual holiday; when I am off work. That is not anything resembling holiday! From December 21 to December 26 my time was constantly monopolized by someone else. Of course my kids, but they are allowed to monopolize my time. The real problem, and what always makes the Christmas holidays less magical than the weeks leading up to them for me, is that there are so many adults around me that seem to want something from me all the time. My parents, my wife, my father-in-law…

I guess it is the season. I guess it is just “family”. I guess it is called growing up and taking or getting responsibility. I guess I should not complain. Or, rather, I know I should not complain. But I must say that after a week of that, there is only one thing to get me back in my game of mental surplus…

Gaming with friends!

Yes, you may have guessed it already. But the one thing, to make me forget all of the little things that have been nagging me for the last week; the one certain reset button that turns me back into a somewhat resourceful father and spouse is the gathering of some friends to have a great time, drink beer, eat stupidly unhealthy junk and play Magic.

Luckily some of my closest and oldest buddies had the exact same urge, and we managed to gather in my house yesterday, December 28. Let me just recommend December 28 as a day for not eating swine and not having much to do with your extended family!

The Ballrubs crew joined me, Robin and CM, so we were actually able to make the same showdown as back in October. But that was not to be. It is Christmas time and all, so a gloves-off competitive showdown was not in the plans. No. We were to try out my much fabled – but not yet tested – Premodern draft cube.

And what a day it was. We convened at around midday for a quick lunch. Then out to stock up on beer and candy and then on with it!

We were six drafters, and one of the really great things about a cube, is that you can draft as many cards as you want, until you run out. So we decided to draft four “boosters” of 15 cards each. Being a relatively powered (albeit Premodern) cube, drafting 60 cards was also enough to make sure, we could built some rather strong decks. And that we did.

The drafting experience was great. It does not seem like the cube has any major flaws or weaknesses, although we agreed before starting, that it would probably be best to add the original duals, to make sure we had just a bit more fixing. That was a great idea.

I ended up drafting a quite strong white green goodstuff deck with a strong undercurrent of token production. Exalted Angel, Swords to Plowshares, Mother of Runes, Serra Angel, Kjeldoran Outpost, Sacred Mesa and Miraris’ Wake to mention the most interesting.

Trolle drafted an insane reanimator, Sneak Attack, Elvish Piper deck with a lot going on. Deranged Hermit, Survival, Squee, Sneak, Birds of Paradise, Natural Order, Recurring Nightmare. It was really cool.

CM was strangely the only one going into blue, which meant he had quite the pile. He ended up building a blue White control deck with a lot of permission. Treachery, Control Magic, Wrath of God, Counterspell, Propaganda. So much loveliness!

Turn three morphed Exalted Angel with Mother of Runes protection? Count me in!

Sigurd does not have a lot of experience with this era of Magic, but drafted a rather punishing red black land destruction deck. Dark Ritual, Hypnotic Specter, Lightning Bolt, Siege-Gang Commander, Flametongue Kavu.

Robin opened Earthcraft in his first pack, and then proceeded to find Squirrel Nest. He built a rather evil black green midrange combo deck around that. Spiritmonger, Wild Mongrel, Nekrataal, Rancor, Overrun…

And finally Prag drafted a really cool and original deck where he managed to get a lot of things working. It was a red white stax deck, and he had all the cards! Smokestack, Tangle Wire, Winter Orb, Wildfire, Masticore! But the really cool thing was that he made it work together with cards like Armageddon, Akroma’s Vengeance, Pyrostatic Pillar and some shadow beaters. Damn it was a cool deck.

Trolle in the back checking some rulings on his insane pile. He had to give in to Prags strong stax plan.

Anyway, we made a small tournament that ended really strangely. Prag went 3-0, I was 2-1 and the rest was 1-2. Prag and I took our decks for a final spin at a “final” where I managed to best him in three very varied games that took around an hour and a half.

My DEITY! That was a great way to spend a day!

After this, we resorted to playing Canadian Highlander (still a rather crazy format!) and commander (possibly even more of a crazy format). It was glorious. Only Sigurd and CM went home during the day/night so Prag, Trolle, Robin and I kept going until after midnight! I know! I mean we are pushing 40 after all…

That is it. It really is all there is to say. Today I have had way more patience with my kids, way more affection for my wife and way more feeling of holiday.

Amazing what 12 hours of hanging out with friends can do for the holiday spirit.

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