Robots and chickens at the Jutland Ridge

It was time again!

Finally. Ever since this time of year last year, I have been looking forward to the yearly gathering of fellow wizards At The Mountains of Madness V!

Another epic journey and the Jutland Ridge with a gathering of around 50 wizards from near and far – and not least four members of Team Metageyser, ready for glory.

Jonas Bricher, the man behind the most cozy Old School tournament series in Denmark – probably the world!  – had once again invited the masses to go to the most beautiful site in Denmark: Dollerup Bakker. He had announced the tournament date back in January I think, and the tickets was released on May 1. They were sold out in five minutes! People have found out that this is the place to be…

I was lucky enough to get a hold of a ticket, so from the beginning of May until mid-June I tested…

The RobotChicken deck!

Yep, exactly…

Back in November last year I had the great pleasure of buying a playset of sweet tokens from Esben Bækkelund – Tetravites and Rukh. Last year I also bought some Ashnod’s Altar and I wanted to play those too. In other words, both tokens and Altars had to get a round in the fray – luckily the fit perfectly together, so I knew that RobotChickens was the way to go.

As you see it is not really a very subtle or very complex deck. It is very close to a UR Sage Robots deck. But with Ashnod’s Altar and Rukh Egg.

Obviously “the right” play would be to remove the Rukh Eggs and replace them with Copy Artifact and remove the Altar’s and a Fireball and replace them with Triskelions. And then shove in some more restricted cards from other colors. But that is not what I wanted to do.

The plan of the deck is to play a midrange flying aggro (but with a lot of ramp in the form of power and Vaults, so sometimes it was just aggro). The Ashnod’s Altars and more Fireballs than normally was to have a way to break (or burn down) stalemates and throw huge Fireballs directly at your opponent.

And then there is Sage of Lat-Nam to bind it all together and make sure you draw into more of all the great cards when needed. And to get rid of those Vaults once you’ve used them.

The deck plays a little like a machine kind of deck with a lot of possibilities to use cards for extra gains (for example sacrificing a Su-Chi after an attack, to play a Tetravus or whatever). I love these kinds of decks, where you have many different paths and where you are sometimes able to make a line of play that both surprises your opponent and wins you the game (or at least gets you ahead).

I actually designed the deck as a NoRestricted deck which had a lot of success at my playgroup. So much so, that I was almost thinking about playing it without restricted cards at the Mountains too. But decided not to. When I go to tournaments I am spikier. The NoRestricted version of the deck plays more lands, some Felwars and some books a long a bit more burn. I will present the entire list at some point.

The maindeck is very tight. I want to be able to do a lot of things, and that simply takes up a lot of space. One could replace the Sages with something else, but they really do A LOT of work in this deck. They got me out of several sticky situations simply by removing spent resources (again, Mana Vault but also Mishra’s Factory) or by ramping with Su-Chi. As we all know card advantage is king.

There are a lot of cards it would be great to find room for in the main. So I had a lot of candidates for the sideboard. I ended up with these 15 cards:

It could have been a whole host of other cards, not least Blue Elemental Blast and Copy Artifact. But also for example Blood Moon. I will not go much into the choices here, just acknowledge that the Control Magics were probably the worst cards in the side, even though the card in itself is crazy good. But for this deck, it is difficult to see a situation or a matchup where Control Magic is the most wanted card. You are often the aggro player and even if things has come to a halt, that is exactly what the Altar plan is for.

In my testing I did not change much, if anything in the maindeck. The sideboard got worked around some times, and could most certainly still need some work. And more testing against an actual field.

Team, roadtrip and goals for the day…

As you know, Old School Magic is about storytelling, and who wants to hear someone tell stories about how they won a lot of games and was hailed as the king of the hill?

Okay, I do. But this is not that kind of story. This is a story where we have our own goals that are way more attainable than actually winning anything.

The overarching one was to have a great time among great friends.

So of course, the day started out with a road trip of around two-and-a-half hours from Svendborg. Team Metageyser stood strong with four contestants: Yours Truly, Peter, Teis and Thomas

I was up around 6.30, so we were able to be off at around 8.

Teis has shown his incredible skills when it comes to brewing coffee. The night before departure he asked “I will make cold brew for all, but would you also like something warm?” I decided to test him a bit and wrote that I would appreciate a flat white. He responded “No problem”. Nice. He even made something I think is exactly a flat white. I am not too sure what that actually is. But the coffee was really great!

During the road trip we had to pick up legendary old schooler Henning “Has-Opened-Actual-Alpha-Power-In-Actual-Alpha-Boosters” Østergaard in Odense. That did not exactly go to plan as every mean of public transportation shat all over our plans, but we ended up managing to actually find each other, and then there was no looking back!

In the car, we drank coffee and talked shit etcetera, but we also made a plan or at least a team goal for the day: No team Metageyser member was to end up in the bottom five of the tournament. It may not seem like a very ambitious goal – and it is not – but remember that I am the only one playing full power. It makes a whole lot of difference.

My goals for the day was these:

  • Win at least three out of seven matches
  • Play a Fireball x=15 or more (off of Altar)
  • Use all of my tokens at the same time (three Rukhs, three Tetravites)
  • Animate and Altar-sacrifice a Factory Worker for that extra crucial mana
  • Attack and do damage with a Chicken (Rukh Bird) (they are SO often killed before they get to do any damage!)
  • Sacrifce an egg to play an egg
  • Bolt one of my own eggs

I love playing decks where you can make these kinds of cool goals.

Wizarding like there was no tomorrow

We were almost afraid not to make it in time, because of the catastrophic setup of failing public transport in Odense. But to no avail. Of course we were there in great time. Having half an hour until the beginning of the first round.

As tradition foretells Henning had to build a deck then and there, but that was also managed!

Then Jonas laid the grounds for the day: welcome drinks, seven rounds, beers in the fridge… Nice.

I was the designated driver for the return drive, so the last part was not relevant for me, but the first two were. I love this tournament series!

As expected the room was full of great guys and Lise – never forget Lise! Lise was there to have a great time herself, but she also insisted on making the day even better for all of us. She made us toasts in the lunch break after round two, and she was even available for some between-the-rounds playing (where we split two games – in one game she humiliated me with her The Rack and Disrupting Scepter. Nice deck, nice deck indeed).

As I have mentioned before; every tournament should definitely have its own Lise!

Okay – we all know, this was a sweet, sweet gathering! But now, on to the serious part.

Round 1: Nikolaj Thor

I start against a new friend: Nikolaj Thor. I have not met him before, and he was playing non-powered. He was, though, not exactly there to roll over. He played a really cool TaxEdge control deck splash green for Sylvan Library.

But I almost didn’t get to experience any of that in the first game. I lead with Sol Ring, Ruby land into turn two Rukh Egg that I Bolt right away (in his end turn). (One goal already down! But it was also an easy one)

He promptly plays a Maze of Ith. I play Library of Alexandria with only four cards in hand, but one of them was Geyser. I play Tetravus and mentions that his only out now, is probably Balance. Which he then draws and slams. Ouch.

Time Walk and Braingeyser for five gets me right back into the game, and when I am also able to play Timetwister into Ancestral Recall, I am soon able to finish him with a Fireball for four.

I saw almost none of his deck. He only played Plains, a Taiga, Maze, Library of Leng and Land Tax. I knew I was up against something probably TaxEdge control, but the Taiga threw me a little off.

I ended up bringing three Shatters into the fight, and removing three Ashnod’s Altar.

In game two he leads with turn one Ivory Tower, turn two Ivory Tower. I play turn two Su-Chi, turn three Sage, but the Su-Chi is disenchanted before I am even able to sacrifice it myself.

I manage to get a Chicken online, and it actually hurts Nikolaj! YES another goal fulfilled right there. But his two towers keeps him in the game for a long time. I play three Tetravus to end the game faster, but then a Balance clears the board again.

It is a long slow game, where I am able to ignore his Land Tax and primarily play off of my Mana Vaults and Sol Ring.

After some rebuilding after the Balance, and Nikolaj still not finding anything to finish me nor enough Maze to keep my beaters at bay, I am able to finally pulp him.

Nikolaj’s deck was cool, but against a lot of power, most is uphill, and even though he did draw his Balance in both games, his deck was simply not too keen on actually playing Magic against me.

But it was some good games, and was always afraid that he would be able to stabilize and overtake the game. Especially game two.

1-0 and already with two goals done!

Round 2: Mikkel Ib

I am up against Mikkel Ib. Another player I have not had the pleasure to play against before.

In game one, Mikkel starts with turn one Black Vise. I go Ruby, Jet, Vault, Land, Egg. Turn two Su-Chi. Mikkel plays another Vise but doesn’t do much else. He tries to build a fort behind a Maze (which was a surprise to me because of the Vises) and then slams a Moat! At this point I was rather unsure what exactly I was up against. I manage to play Sage, Factory and Altar, and finish the game with a Fireball x=15. Yes! Another goal (my goals may have been too easy?).

I only saw Black Vise, Moat, Maze and lands. Not sure what more I should expect. I board in two Shatter and take out one Altar and one Su-Chi.

Game two is a bit longer. Mikkel leads with Land, Vise, Lotus, Twister! I did not get a great hand, but neither a catastrophe. This time I am not able to ignore the Vise like game one. I takes me all the way down to 12 because the hand I got was rather slow with few lands and no power. I get to play a Vault an Altar a couple of Sages, but I get almost no lands.

Mikkel, on the other hand, is on a roll! He plays Disenchant on my Altar, another Vise, Wall of Swords! And Howling mine! I love his deck. It was some kind of Blue White flying goodstuff. Very great indeed. Hats off to playing Howling Mine.

Anyway. Mikkel controls the game, and I succumb to a Serra Angel after having double Bolted his Wall of Swords and Fireballed the first angel.

Great game.

Game three is strange. If I read my notes correctly I kept a hand able to play a Tetravus round one. Lotus, Land, Vault, Tetravus. Niiiiice. He starts the game with land, Swords to Plowshares. Right. This is a game of me with three cards in hand and 24 life. Not the best route to victory…

Mikkel continues to play an Orb, which I am able to Shatter before he has mana to use it. I play a Sage that does some work throughout the game. Mikkel plays power – Ancestral, Library. But also Vise. I did not really draw much relevant. I land another Tetravus, but to no avail, as it is disenchanted instantly. And then Mikkel plays another piece of power: Timetwister. Into two more Vises – four in all. That did me in by a lot.


Those were some really great games. I actually really like Black Vise as it forces you to play a different game once it is there. I also just really loved the deck Mikkel had assembled for the day (and he also took it all the way to top8).


Round 3: Hans (I forgot to write his last name – sorry!)

Hans plays monogreen. I don’t think I have played against him before, but I have talked to him and seen his cool deck several times before at the Mountains of Madness. It is not a “normal” monogreen aggro deck, but rather kind of a Mud deck, playing a lot of artifacts and land destruction. I think he only plays 15 lands.

He starts game one with turn one Scavenger Folk. Which is – as always – rather annoying.

I go turn one Sol Ring, Mana Vault, to be able to play a Rukh Egg turn two (I think he scavenged my Ring). In turn three I somehow get to play a Tetravus which is able to beat him down to seven, after it was split into several smaller fliers. I also get a Rukh to beat him, and I make a mistake by attacking him with all my creatures. In his turn he is able to hit me for exactly the eight life I had left. Giant Growth and combat math once again became my nemesis!

Darn it! I should have just kept one blocker at bay, and I would have survived.

I exchange one Fireball for one Earthquake.

In game two I do something that I am ashamed off. I keep a great hand and go land, Lotus, Wheel into Emerald, Vault, Su-Chi. That seemed like something I should seek pardon for at the UN. Especially because the Wheel forced Hans to throw away a decent hand, and keep seven cards of which he could play none. So that is what he did for a couple of rounds, and when he finally found a land it was way too late. My turn two was a Rukh, Turn three was a Su-Chi and then I ended it in turn four, I think, with two Lightning Bolt.

Hans told me, he felt violated. I understand why. Sorry Hans…

On to the important nailbiter of game three.

I play a lot of cards turn one, Emerald, Vault, Lotus and a Rukh. Turn two I play a Tetravus. Hans gets back into it with a Hurricane for four, removing all my attackers, but also going down to a dangerously low three life. Which I am able to depart him from with a Fireball.

My deck really did not want Hans to have a great time in the last two games!


Round 4: Brian Dam

At this point it was getting so hot in the room, we were playing in, that I was actually melting. It was very unpleasant and really way too hot. It wasn’t even because I was dehydrated it was just way to warm to do anything resembling activities. My mood was declining rather fast. So was my ability to think and play.

But it was on against Brian Dam. Another player I am pretty certain I haven’t met before. At least I am sure I have not played against him before.

I start, I keep a shaky hand with two lands, a Timetwister, a Fireball, two Altars and a Tetravus – he mulligans. As should I. But I hate to mulligan. And it was not a complete disaster. Only… I drew no more mana for almost the entire game.

I get to play a Vault and a Rukh Egg, but it is not enough against his Ivory Tower, Sylvan Library, ICE STORM!, Power Sink and Mahamothi Djinn. What a great deck Brian was playing! That was really to my liking, even though he roughed me quite hard.

I boarded out three Sage and in came three Red Elemental Blast.

I game two I play an Ancestral I round one – always nice. Except in this case I get nothing. I play a Factory that soon crumbles but otherwise my game is not strong. Luckily neither is Brians. He plays a land destruction game of Ice Storm and Strip Mine along with the Crumble on the Factory, but my “bad” Ancestral is suddenly my savior, as I keep playing lands and at some point also get to play both a Su-Chi a Tetravus and an Egg (which is Blue Blasted, unfortunately). I win through Brians Maze of Ith.

In game three I am very close to a literal tilt. The heat was really getting to me at this point, and I was almost delirious. I was also bad at playing Magic. At one point I activate my Factory and attack with it. Brian asks “You attack with that?” and I go “Yeah, might as well get a couple of points of damage through.” Then he activates his Factory and block mine, pumping his own… Right.

After this I did not do much. At one point Brian finds his Mahamoth to put me out of my misery.

Even though I was as close to tilting, as I think I have ever been in an Old School match, I talked a bit to Brian about his really cool deck. It was Blue Green control with Ivory Towers a lot of Couterspells (and Power Sink!), Sylvan Library, Mahamothi to finish things and not least three Drop of Honey. Such a great, cool deck. Brian also made it to top8.

I had to get myself together to even get a positive record now!


Round 5: Samuel Thiesen

Another new friend! It always surprises me how many new people I get to meet at these gatherings. Of course it shouldn’t, but we were only around 50 people and this exact tournament series is very much a gathering of players who know each other.

Anyway, I was up against Samuel Thiesen and I had no clue what to expect.

I get to go second in the first game, where I keep another shaky hand (I REALLY hate muliganing).  I forgot to write the hand down, but it featured a lot of Sages. But also some fast mana (and food for said Sages) in the form of Vault and Mox.

I play some cards. Samuel does so too, but nothing but Swamps to begin with. I play Su-Chi and Rukh Egg sac the Egg to make a bird. Then Samuel plays a Nevinyrral’s Disk! He breaks it as fast as he can and continues on to play Bad Moon and Underworld Dreams as well as a Howling Mine. But unfortunately for Samuel it is too late as I get to assemble an Altar along with a Su-Chi, two Sages and a Chicken. Enough to fireball his remaining 13 life away.

Underworld dreams can be a real problem for me, if he is also able to hold his fort. I boarded in one Mana Drain and two Counterspells. I thought I could live without the Sages.

Game two is a bit more of a game than game one. I play some moxes but not much else. At some point I think I counter one of his Disks but I have no pressure. He gets down a Sengir Vampire and a Bad Moon (so NICE!), which proves difficult for me. I Wheel into absolutely nothing but mana and a single Tetravus, which is underwhelming against Samuels mighty Vampire and two evil 3/3 Black Knights!

Okay. At this point I felt that I really had to win. It was still warm, but I was almost through the worst of it, but if I lost this round I would not be pleased. Not because Samuel did not deserve to win, and often I find that monoblack (or in this case monoblack splash red for Wheel of Fortune) decks are often very strong and fierce contenders. But if I lost this one, I would almost consider dropping. Almost.

But I didn’t! Lose, that is. Game three was actually rather cool. I kept a hand of Jet, Ruby, Sol Ring, Factory, Chaos Orb, Tetravus and Braingeyser. It was of course risky, but I was on the play and I figured his only out against an early Tetravus (he was more or less powerless, at least I saw no moxen) would be a Sengir, a Disk or an Orb. A Disk would really wreck me, but as he was not to break it before his turn five at the earliest, he would basically be within Bolt range at that point.

So he leads with Dark Ritual… Royal Assassin! What?!?

Well, I did not account for that. That made my plan some rounds slower I must admit. I play the Tetravus in my second round. He plays a Hypnotic. I find a Fireball to kill both his creatures, and then the Tetravus plan is on.

Even though he played a couple of Black Knights, he never found an answer for the 4/4 artifact flier (he had a Terror in hand, but alas) and the Tetravus ran the distance.

Phew. I must admit that when that Assassin hit the board instead of the much feared Underworld Dreams, my head stood very still for a couple of seconds.

Great games!

3-2 (another goal completed!)

Round 6: Anders Herold

Okay. Now the tilting risk was diminished by several degrees. So was the temperature and I even had some time to go get an ice cream. That always helps.

And then; Another one! I have never played against Anders before – he is relatively new to Old School. He is also the lucky guy who won the giveaway CE Mox Pearl at LIC 4.0 back in November.

I wonder if he was also lucky in games…

I knew he was playing a midrange white weenie deck as I had watched him play earlier in the tournament. I had my hopes up, because I would be able to Bolt most of his creatures and then have the bigger ones on the battlefield. Also power…

Even though this hand had no threats I snap kept it. I was to go first. I played my cards and passed. Anders had muliganned to five – not exactly strengthening his chances. He plays a Mesa Pegasus in his turn two which is fine by me. He then tries to play a Blessing on it, which prompts a Lightning Bolt.
Then I play an Egg and hatch a Chicken.

This exact Chicken hits Anders five times for a win. YAY! That was really a goal achieved. I had attacked and dealt damage with Chickens earlier this tournament but this one just flew solo all the way.

I boarded out an altar and a Sage, I think. And took in an Earthquake and a Control Magic.

In game two Anders leads with a Black Vise. And I even had a LOA in my starting hand! No fair! I play a Pearl which is promptly disenchanted. That was probably a mistake, but I guess he was trying to hit me as hard as possible with his Vise. I just have so many dangerous artifacts.

I play a host of them: Altar, Su-Chi, Tetravus. And even though Anders plays Crusade along Serra Angel, White Knight and Savannah Lions, I am able to hold my fort until I can throw a Fireball for 20 at Anders (I had dealt some damage before, unfortunately, but it was still nice.).

It is a part of this story that Anders only drew one removal spell in the two game: a single Disenchant. Not one Swords to Plowshares or Balance or any other was present. That made my day a lot easier.


4-2 and on to the last round.

Round 7: Henning Østergaard

Finally up against a guy I know. I even shared a car with him the same morning. I know Henning is on (a fastly built) black green ramping Djinn deck with Erhnams, Juzams a lot of elves and Giant Growths and Berserks. He also had some power in there. I was not sure where this would go – I figured it could go both ways, but a Juzam Djinn is just a frightening adversary – especially a really strong and really angry one.

I get to start.

I don’t do much but play a Sage in my turn two. Henning builds his board with several Elves, a Bird of Paradise a Sylvan Library a LOA and other stuff. He plays both Ancestral and Timetwister while I do not much. I was stuck with three Rukh Eggs in hand when he Twisted. I drew seven blanks but got to beat him down to 13. He then uses Sylvan to draw a couple of extra cards. I knew I had to do something soon, because he didn’t need a lot of Berserks and Giant Growths to kill me. I use my Sage to blow up a Su-Chi to play a Braingeyser for six in an effort to find something to kill him. I am at 17 life when he plays three Giant Growth and two Berserk on his Llanowar Elves to hit me for 40 trambling damage. Ouch!

Game two is faster. I only have City of Brass to help me play spells at the beginning but things get better. I play an Altar and a Rukh to play another Rukh (Goals-goals-goals). Henning plays Sylvan, Time Walk and Juzam. I get him to ten life with the help of my Chicken. I was very scared of the Juzam, when it occurred to me, that I could sac my Chicken to play a Su-Chi and then animate my own Factory to sac it along with the Su-Chi to make a Fireball for exacsies! YES it mattered that Factory could make another mana when it animated itself. Another goal well accomplished.

An on to game three of round seven we went. What a tournament it had been already. It is always a great pleasure to play against Henning, but now the rubberband was on the other claw. I wanted to win this.

He goes turn one Scryb Sprites.

I play a vault and an Ancestral. I Bolted his Scryb when I had the chance (those Giant Strengthed, Berserked sprites are not to play with!). He then plays a Juzam which I am able to Chaos Orb away. Then I play a Tetravus which is problematic for Henning. Even though he Time Walks and plays and Ifh-Biff Efreet that kills the Tetravus, I am ahead in cards and manage to squeeze in a win sacking two Su-Chis a Sage and a Chicken to make a giant Fireball. What a great way to end this tournament.

Henning – being the masterbrewer he is – also fell in love with Ashnod’s Altar right there. He really liked the machine I had going for me.

5-2 a great finish for me.

And enough for…

Rounding things up

Yep. Only two people in the room had more than 15 points, but I was not among the lucky six 5-2’ers to join the top8. The two guys I lost to were. I placed ninth. Well. It is still more than I expected and I was really happy with my deck, my opponents and the tournament in general. Even though it was a bit too hot for me for a couple of rounds.

I must say that the deck really surprised me. I know it is by no means a spicy deck (even though a couple of people in the room nominated me to play the Spice finals, I did not think I qualified), but I am still a bit surprised as to how well it functioned. If you switch out Tetravus for Triskelion and Eggs for Copy artifact and you throw a couple of Altars out to play more colors and restricted cards, you are basically at a Red Blue Sage robots deck.

But that is boring. This deck, on the other hand is not. And can I just say this: Mana Vaults are insane! Especially when you also play Sage of Lat-Nam. That old dude made a lot of work for me this Saturday.

And then we have the flying monstrosities. Tetravus is a really strong card. Especially in a sea of Maze of Ith. Rukh Egg is not a really strong card, but a 4/4 flyer is absolutely nothing to scoff at, and as long as you have a decent plan to hatch those eggs, I highly recommend playing them.

Peter also played Rukh Eggs. His deck, on the other hand, most certainly qualified for the Spice Top4. Unfortunately he lost his match. Even though his cool Egg-Hatchery is centered around the card Sacrifice and Animate Dead. Oh wow he did some crazy stuff – for example Sacrifice an Egg to play another and the Animate Dead the first one. Next round Chain Lightning both of them. So cool.

But maybe it needs a little tweaking. At least Peter did not manage to get out of the bottom five. Neither did Teis. But both of them had great fun and made people around them laugh. I think that is Team Metageysers claim to fame: We try our best to be good company.

So did Jonas Brincher who once again outdid himself and created an insanely great tournament. And so did everyone else in the room that day. Thank you so much for another great experience with a lot of new stories. There is at least one story more from this day I will use some words on here at some point.

But until then! Behold my ante winnings of the day (I always ask people to sign the cards I win from them. Unfortunately I both won and lost a Mana Flare – my favorite card!)

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