Recalling the Tron Wars

In Denmark we have a saying: “Forventningens glæde er altid den største.” I am unsure whether this is also a saying in the English language area, and it is a bit difficult to translate – especially the deeper meaning of it. Directly translated it would be something along the lines of “the joy of anticipation is always the greatest.”

And you know what? Time and time again this proverb or saying is disproved. Violently. And so also this Saturday when I was attending the Tron Wars 2.0 on almost the very top of Denmark, the old fishing capital, Hirtshals.

I booked my own calender to go so long ago, that I had almost forgotten. Actually I did not remember to register in time, but was allowed to participate anyways – because the OS community is great! My expectations or anticipation of the event was actually not that high. I mean, of course I was looking forward to going and playing against what I suspected would be a broad section of the Danish Old Schoolers who are always great company, but I had not really gotten into psyching myself about going. I had been too busy working since my summer vacation ended, and no one else from my team was about to go. I had almost stopped thinking about Magic, and I hadn’t even really decided what deck I was going to play, when I booked the ticket a week before showdown.

Only to the fault of myself, my expectations were actually a bit low.

But let me tell you, I was dead wrong. All the way.

The tournament – an outline to get into the feeling…

Because of course this turned out to be one hell of an event! Around 65 players had turned out on Saturday September 16, even though this was officially only the warm-up tournament to the real one going down on Sunday. I did not have the possibility to play the Sunday tournament, so warm-up was my jam.

Let me just say a few words about the event. It was hosted by the infamous Team Tron in a table tennis hall. I am normally not a fan of events being held in big halls, but this really worked greatly. It was of course spacious, but the organizers had made sure that it was not too spacious. You know the kind of event where there is just a lot of room all around, and you can almost get lost in the middle of nowhere, when trying to find your table. Moreover, there was also a cafeteria which made sure that food was plentiful and ready, when we were, and everything just worked smoothly.

I should, of course, have expected nothing less. The organizers were great people like Martin Storm, Henrik Storm and much beloved grandfather of Old School in Denmark (yeah-yeah someone may have played it as early as he did, but I don’t care) Simon Gauti “I-sleep-to-dubstep” Rokkjær. There was even live streaming featuring Kenan Lars Salvarli. What a great group it was (I hope I do not forget anyone).

And last, but certainly not least, the organizers had seen fit to install a small bar at one end of the room. Cold beer on tap, soda in the fridge, free selfserve coffee, toasts and the best part: A guy who was standing at the bar the entire day. I forgot to get his name, but let me just once again shout out all the praise I can, to the really great guys and damsels who are willing to spend a day or two, just to make sure that everyone else has a great time. You are the best.

The deck and goals for the day

Okay. As mentioned I had not really been thinking about deckchoices that much. I had a couple of decks I thought about playing, but because my head has been way too far away from thinking Magic for way too long, it was difficult. I did not really feel inspired.

But then I reminded myself that I had been working on a combo deck for several months this spring and summer. Maybe this should be the tournament where I actually tried putting my money where my mouth is, and play combo?

Of course it was.

I played these 75 cards:

This deck is something I have been testing on and off for more than a year, and especially at the beginning of this year. The focus of the deck – what it wants to achieve – is to make a giant Fireball to kill the opponent. Yep, not exactly rocket science, but the way it wants to achieve this is not something I have been able to find many other people try in Old School.

I know that comboing with Hurkyl’s Recall has been a thing since around 1995 or something, but I wanted to see if it is possible in a Swedish legal context.

So basically what I did was to shove all the artifacts that create more mana than they cost to play, into a pile. When I found out, that that was not really enough, I added a small package of CandleFlare. Finally I added three Copy Artifact because they can also generate more mana than they cost, if you have a Mana Vault in play. And then a bunch of broken stuff. And Howling Mines…

I will not tire you with a lot of explaining right now, I think I will write another post about the deck at some point, and what choices I made and why.

On paper – and in the picture above – this looks like a really strong pile. At least all the cards are very strong on their own. It is a pile that is capable of doing insanely degenerate things – aka building a huge pool of floating mana fast.

But in my testing within my playgroup the deck has not been very effective. This is probably due to a couple of things: First of all, it is a very challenging deck to play. There are often several possible lines to go, and the smallest mistake can sometimes mean the difference between winning comfortably or dying crying of shame; Second, my local playgroup does not play powered decks. This should maybe sound like a dream scenario for a deck like this, but it is actually – I think – not. Because in our local meta we play a lot of cards like Blood Moon, Energy Flux, Shatterstorm and the much dreaded Underworld Dreams. Cards that are all very, very tough against this deck, but also cards that you don’t meet too often on the more powered end of the tournament tables.

So that is the end I should try to stick to, I guess.

Well, before sticking to anything, I just want to show you my goals for the day:

  • Win by recalling enough mana rocks to make a huge Fireball, WITHOUT the use of Mana Flare
  • Win with robots beatdown (the transformational sideboard)
  • Channel Fireball…
  • Use Hurkyl’s Recall offensively, optimally as a response to Wheel of Fortune or Timetwister
  • Use Fork offensively (on a card played by the opponent)
  • Win at least three out of seven rounds

Round 1: Regin Glob

I will try to make rather short descriptions of my rounds, I probably won’t succeed…

In the very first round I was up against notorious deck brewer and all-around good-guy Regin Glob. I have never played against Regin in a competitive setting before, so I was very excited when I saw his name.

It turns out he played Stasis. That got me somewhat less excited…

Regin goes first. Immediately when I get my turn, I start playing power (turn one Timetwister). Regin then Twists me for three. And continues to play an In the Eye of Chaos! Greatness!

I then Geyser myself for six. What a format! We both play Howling Mines, so we get to see a lot of cards. A small recommendation: play Howling Mine! Your games will be so much more fun, as both you and your opponent get to see a lot more cards…

Okay, at a decisive moment I am at five life, and Regin has a Black Vise in play. I have six cards in hand. Regin Ancestrals me for possibly lethal. In response to the Black Vise trigger I Hurkyl’s Recall his board, to take only four damage going to one, and then continuing on to Fireball him for 28! That was the closest possible call, I think.

I don’t board a lot.

Game two is a bit non-eventful from my side. Regin, on the other hand, plays Library, Ancestral, Time Vault and then three Twiddles. I get a turn. Try to Fireball, get BEB’ed.

In game three I am the one with the Library. And the Sol Ring. And the two Howling Mines. We have a counter war on his Stasis. He gets it through, I get to Recall (the card Recall from Legends) for my REB. In one of his endsteps where he is completely tapped out, I manage to REB his Stasis to untap and Fireball Fork for the win.

1-0 and what a great start to a tournament! Great company, a lot of cards drawn and played, so much power!

Round 2: Johnny (I forgot to write last names for several of my opponents)

The really short story is, that Johnny is a great guy to play against. But he was also evil.

In two short games he obliterates me with some kind of Blue-Black-Red aggro control ish thingy. I am a bit uncertain if he was playing an archetype or he had brewed the deliciousness himself.

Anyway, in both games I was quickly under a brutal siege from Hypnotic Specters and Sengir Vampires. He also twisted my hand away in game one. And even though almost all cards in my deck are as beautiful as they are extremely powerful, as the above picture clearly states, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a Ball of fire…

As I mentioned, luckily he was a great guy!


Round 3: Daniel Ewald

I have read about Daniel around the interwebs. Quite starstruck I was. And I believe I was also a bit of an idiot to be around because for some reason I simply did not quite understand what he said when he spoke Norwegian, even though I really should be able to. I do apologise.

Anyway. It was a couple of really great games. Or three actually.

In game one I go Ruby, Sol, Mine. Then Daniel plays Underworld Dreams – one of the worst cards my deck can face. A Juzam lands the round after that, and it is pretty much over after that, even though I actually get to a point where I have the chance to go off, but I don’t draw my Fireball.

In game two I have boarded in my Robot plan. I keep a rather risky hand with only one land but a Sapphire and a Sol ring. But the land is a Workshop. I try to go to town with turn one Su-Chi (eats a Sword that I was a bit surprised still was in the deck, but I guess I hadn’t shown much of my decks plan in the first game), turn two Su-Chi (eats a Disenchant). Then I slow down a bit, but find myself some Triskelions. Daniel plays a lot of removal in the forms of Disenchants, Sinkholes and Mind Twist for four.

In the end I am almost overwhelming him, when he decides he has to play a Balance. It was probably the most insane Balance I had seen at that point – it was of course the correct play, but it really also hit Daniel hard! I think he discarded three cards and destroyed three lands. But he also got rid of my threats.

I did, however, manage to draw a Fireball to relieve him of his remaining three life.

Game three was over pretty quickly. Unfortunately I did not manage to stop his threats and removal in time, and even though I did dispatch of his first Juzam, the second made very short work of me.

Especially game o


Round 4: Hans

In round four I am up against Hans. I owe Hans from the last time we played against one another…

Hans is still on his really cool mono green stax stompy deck.

In game one my deck is very good to me. I play turn one Library into turn two Howling Mine. Hans plays Black Vise and Winter Orb, which hampers me a lot, but he is unable to apply pressure and in the end it is really only a question of my finding the correct way to the win, after I Hurkyl all his artifacts.

Game two is another story. I play Ruby, Ancestral in my first turn, and believes everything is dandy. But it is not. From there on I simply do nothing. Even though I try to play a couple of Mines, I never get anywhere. I draw cards than can produce mana or be Forks. Never a Fireball.

Game three is the same story. Again I draw a lot of cards. And I even have quite some time to assemble something useful, but alas. If I never see a Fireball, my deck cannot do anything relevant.

Hans gets his sweet, sweet revenge, and I feel a bit better from our last encounter.

1-3 – okay, at this point I was souring a bit. The deck often lost to itself, even when it was almost non-hated upon. I had to start winning something soon-ish.

Round 5: Jonas Brincher

The Mountains of Madness man himself! Jonas Brincher! What an honour it was to be paired against him. I have never played against Jonas before, but he is at the very top of friendly people in the Danish OS community, and I was looking forward to our match. I had seen his deck in action, because we were sitting next to each other in round one, and I thought I had a pretty decent chance as he was playing a really great looking BW midrange deck.

I was wrong.

In the first game he starts with a Library and then plays a Mind Twist on me, followed by some Lion-Knight-Angel beats. Again, my deck decides to only draw mana sources, which is not exactly enough.

In game two I am on the Robot plan – I was really doubting what to do after the board, and it may have been a mistake not to keep the combo in. He has so much removal for robots – especially after boarding if he hasn’t removed his Swords, that maybe I should have opted for a Mana Flare win instead.

Anyways I actually win game two through Triskelion beats. Through the game I Geyser myself for a combined nine cards, play three Triskelions and a Copy artifact. Jonas did not draw a lot of his removal – that made it considerably easier.

But in game three he shows me who is boss. A Lion with two Factories is enough of a beatdown, that I never get to do anything.

1-4… Damnit!

Round 6: Kurt

Up against Kurt at the very bottom of the tables, I have to admit. But what does that matter? The mood is always better when you are at table 30…

Anyways I had seen Kurts deck in action earlier in the day, and had fallen in love instantly. It was a truly old school deck with cards like Raise Dead and Drudge Skeleton in the prime spots. It really looked like a deck from my schoolyard experience. It was very cool.

But unfortunately it is also a bit slow. And I played a lot of power(ful cards). In game one I play some artifacts and at 17 life I play Channel Fireball for the win.

Game two is somewhat more close, because my deck insists on being very stupid, even though I play multiple Mines. Kurt has both Disenchants and Artifact Blast (which surprised me a lot!), and at one point I have to Fireball two Drudge Skeletons to make sure his pressure evaporates. I have Flare in play but am just shy of enough mana. The second Fireball in hand, ready to do something broken in the next turn. He goes on to simply tap out and burn me for seven with his own Fireball, which also surprised me, but luckily didn’t kill me!

I manage to find a Fork and burn him for a Forked Fireball x=15.


Round 7: Morten Hald

Morten Hald is, as I have written elsewhere, a King among men. When I called him that back in 2020 I did not know how right I was, but Morten really is a great guy who builds really cool decks!

And that is why I did not feel very comfortable to start the game playing three moxes, a Time Walk and a Howling mine in my first turn. I turn two I twist him for four. Ouch.

From there I proceed to with relative ease. It was a completely insane game! He got to play a Walking Dead and a Bad Moon, so I knew he was playing mono black something. I also saw a Cyclopean Tomb, so I had basically no real idea about what to expect.

In the second game Morten start with Swamp, Mox Jet, Dark Ritual, and I fear for the coming of the almighty Juzam. He then slams a Murk Dwellers! What!? I had to read the card. I must admit I may have scoffed a bit about it. Four rounds later the Dwellers had killed me under their Bad Moon. Well, you live and you learn!

Game three is another relatively insane game. Morten tries twice to get an Underworld Dreams to stick. The first one I Chaos Orb, the next I counter. I had a lot of cards in hand, you see, as I had played a Forked Ancestral Recall on myself in my round two. Basically drawing the rest of the moxen and a couple of Hurkyls’ Recall. So. Much. Power.

The game ends when I have all five moxes in play along with a Mana Vault. I play three Hurkyl’s Recall to make enough mana to burn Morten dead.


This may not have been an entirely great experience for Morten, but he was very nice about, and even praised my deck design. “Likewise!” I said. He said that he was just thrilled about the Murk Dwellers kill. It is not difficult to understand why. That was one of the greatest things the entire day, probably only competing with the fireballing of two Drudge Skeletons.

Wrapping things up

Anyway, I ended up 3-4 which is not exactly impressive, but I am very okay with it.

I also ended up achieving most of my goals, but unfortunately I almost never drew my Wheel of Fortune nor my Timetwister the entire day, so I never got a chance to Hurkyl’s Recall in response.

This was one of the first times I have ever played combo in an Old School tournament. It is not the last, though. And I think this deck has some potential – even though it definitely needs another Fireball, and probably also some more revamping. It seems to be able to be fast enough to battle aggro decks, and resilient enough to at least fight midrange and control decks. I will definitely work more on it.

But for now, thanks to all! Especially the crew behind the event, it was really a great experience. But also, of course, to all my opponents. For some reason it still strikes me how great you all are!

And now I am back to the joy of anticipation – and that is a big joy these days, because I already have two more Magic events in the horizon! In October I will be playing Canlander and draft (possibly of my just/almost-build Premodern Draft cube!) against some of my best friends. And in mid-November I will be attending the LIC 5.0.

Oh! The joy of anticipation!

Until next time!

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