I have to tell you that Saturday June 18 2022 was really one for the books! I mean damn. This was such a great day in all aspects of the word great, that it is hard finding the right words aside from… well… great. Funnily, it is even harder to keep the praise of this lonely day in the history of man short.
So brace yourself: this – my tournament report from the epic showdown at “At the Mountains of Madness IV” – will be long. Very long. But with a lot of pictures from throughout the day – and not just pictures of old cards, mind you – oh no! I have pictures of toasts, of a lake, of 40 men kneeling for one woman and lots more. But all that in due time, first we need to get one thing straight.
Before spending 2500-or-so words on how a roadtrip with some friends, a tournament in an extremely friendly atmosphere including grilled burgers and a couple of beers is really a great way to spend a day, I really want to shoot some shoutouts!
Shoutouts and general praise for great people!
First of all, the man responsible for it all, Jonas Brincher.
Jonas is solely responsible for the tournament series “At the Mountains of Madness”, and he is doing a really impressive job! As you may remember, I also participated in the tournament series back in 2020, but this time the day hit an even sweeter spot. This was simply a show of how to make people have a good time. He had apparently thought of it all. I was a bit sceptic when he announced, that we were to play 7 rounds (in 2020 we had to skip the 6th because of time-issues), but of course it all went to plan…
Not least thanks to Lise (and I guess to some extent Regin).
Lise was there mainly to make sure, that everyone had a good time, that lunch was ready when we were hungry (without having to stop the tournament for an hour or so) and to fetch us beer, if we asked politely. My deity! Every tournament should have its own Lise!
And then just a praise to all the participants. This was probably the tournament with the best general vibe, I have ever attended. Everyone was in a good mood and there was an atmosphere of casualness and friendly gathering. When some practicality (setting up tables, enrolling people, starting the grill or whatever) there was always someone to do the job. Everyone was determined to make it an epic gathering for all. Just. Great!
A team goes to town
So this was my first tournament as official member of a team. As far as I know, this was also the first official participation of the team I am on in any tournament.
So an announcement: I am – together with Peter, Thomas, The Other Thomas, Teis and Casper – a very proud member of team MetaGeyser.
Everyone except Casper was present at the Mountains, so we had a strong first showing of force!
Four of us (Thomas x2, Peter and I) roadtripped to the tournament; Every tournament should start out with a roadtrip! Lots of coffee, a couple of beers, rules clarifications, something to eat and a couple of changes to the weapon of choice…
So my team is actually a part of a clothing brand – MetaGeyser – but it is not my place to tell you more about this yet. More on this intriguing turn of events later, on a blog near you!
A bit of decktech
Okay, so – finally? – on to the tournament. Or at least the deck for starters.
I opted to play… Wait for it… Enchantress.
I know it may come as quite the shock. But I had to try it once more, and Jonas is one of the adamant Ladycharmers here in Denmark, so I thought I had to bring my Ladies to his tournament. What else?
As you see, this deck has a whole range of different things going on. It is, of course, an enchantress deck. But it is also a CandleFactory deck. And a Psychic Venom deck. And Icy Manipulators. Copy artifacts to bind it all together! It can play as a rather slow control deck, often as a midrange deck. And then sometimes as an aggro deck. Oh, and sometimes it almost feels like you are playing combo.
As should be clear by now, this is a very complicated deck, capable of doing a stupid amount of different things.
Why did I build this deck? Well, I started out with wanting to play Ladies and Candelabras (of which I borrowed one from Troels Bender Holm – still a king among men! Thank you!). I also wanted to play Venom. With those three cards in the pile, Icy Manipulator was a given, and then Copy Artifact was added. And then the deck was pretty much built. But the most important thing here: Verduran Enchantress, Psychic Venom, Copy Artifact, Icy Manipulator and Candelabra of Tawnos are five of my most favorite cards of all time in the format. Playing all of them at once, was simply something I had to do (even though it is very easy to make the deck better/higher tier).
Seven rounds of hard thinking
Okay, on to the actual playing of cards. It was hard. But a lot of fun…
After I had enrolled everyone in the tournament organizer software, we were ready for round one. I was up against an old acquaintance…
Round 1 – Villads Møller
I have played Villads a couple of times before – always a treat, but he has not showed up with the same deck each time, so I had no idea, what I was up against.
But that changed fast.
Even though I have the dream tournament start of playing a Library of Alexandria on my very first turn, he shows no mercy and strips after it only drew me one card. So sad. After that he plays his own Library, an Ancestral, a Serendib Efreet and a Time Walk. And then another Efreet.
It was too much for my very slow deck to handle, even though I resolved both Icy, Leech and a Candelabra… When he also started burning me to a crisp it was very over. Oh darn!
Sideboard: Out with four Damsels and five snakes (I left one Leech in). In came three Counterspell, four Ivory Tower and two Unsommon. I had to try and stop his crazy onslaught and gain some life!
And it worked!
Game two was much more to my liking. I established a pretty impenetrable boardposition with a Tower, lots of Icy’s, Mazes and Factories.
Game three was saddeningly fast. He goes first turn Black Vise and Scryb Sprites. It is very much downhill for me from there. He then played Library and Ancestrall. And three Lightning Bolts and a Psionic Blast. No fair.
But as always, Villads was the perfect gentleman, and a joy to play against. He practically excused for killing me so bluntly.
He had built quite the cool deck, but it was also pretty much the exact deck I would assemble, if I was to build something to kill my deck…
Round 2 – Karsten Korsgaard
I have never played against Karsten before. This is one of the best reasons to go to tournaments – to meet and play against new people. As you should expect, Karsten was a very friendly guy.
What was difficult to expect, though, was his insane weapon of choice.
I had no idea, at least.
So in game one, I just tried to do, what I like to do. I played an Enchantress, some Candelabras – you know, tried to get in the mood – a couple of snakes, or three, joined the party as well as two Icy’s. In short: You see why I was very satisfied. I ended up putting two snakes on one of his lands, tapped it, untapped it, then tapped it again. This is the exact reason why I love this deck!
During all my durdling with the ladies, the snakes, the Mazes and myself, Karsten played some different cards, amongst those: Jalum Tome, Hypnotic Specter and ALL HALLOWS EVE! YEAH. His deck was fantastic.
On to game two. I am not sure what I boarded between the first two games. But in game two Karsten is rather evil. Just look at this:
Yep. That was difficult to get back from – even with a lot of Mazes and a Candelabra. He animated a Colossus from Sardia! And he played a Blood Moon…
In goes three Blue Elemental Blast, three Counterspells (these were also in, in game two) and two Unsummon. Out goes four Ladies, two Leeches and two Venoms.
Game three was really not that great a game. I pretty much fizzled. Karsten on the other hand!? Juzam, Hypnotic, Blood Moon, Shivan Dragon – SHIVAN DRAGON AGAIN! This game was such a blast. There was at least two very interesting games, and Karstens deck seemed like so much fun, I could hardly believe. Karsten apparently also liked my deck – at least I overheard him talking to several other people afterwards, about how cool our games had been, and about how much he’d enjoyed being killed by Psychic Venom…
Round 3 – Christian Christensen
Christian is another one of those new acquaintances… I had never met him before. I think he remembers me – or at least game one against me…
I did the ugly. I think I played 10-12 pieces of power in this game. Three of them Time Walk. I also played two Icy Manipulators and a lot of Copy Artifacts. He never really got going with his Red-Green-Blue goodstuff aggro deck. I killed while still at 16 life.
I took out one Psychic Venom and one Transmute Artifact. In came two Blue Elemental Blasts.
Game two is rather uneventful. I played a bit less power. Christian unfortunately doesn’t do much. From round one I have an active Maze and Candelabra. At some point I BeB his Shivan Dragon. We both play Braingeysers, but I get out on top, and kill him while still at 10 life. At the end I could even play Recall for a used Mana Drain. Just to rub it in.
GREAT! A win. 1-2 Now we’re talking…
Round 4 – Jesper Kjældgaard
Up against Jesper Kjældgaard. Another completely new encounter. I have bought some cards from him in the past I think, but I have never talked to him in person before.
Jesper played a nasty Red-White-Blue aggro-burn-Atog deck. Not exactly my cup of tea, I must say. Or at least, not exactly what I would like to be facing.
But in game one, I am all the boss! I play a lot of defensive spells and lands. I manage to keep a Lady alive for a turn or two (those Lightning Bolts were after her!) and draw a bit of cards. I play Icy’s – he plays factories and Atog. I make his factories venomous…
And I manage to squeeze a win out just in time (with the help of a topdecked Time Walk and a Recall fetching it right back – phew)!
Again the ladies must go out. Along with the six snakes – I opt for the complete control with three Blue Elemental Blast, three Crumble and four Ivory Tower.
But it is not enough…
Even though I lead with turn one Sol Ring, Maze, Candelabra, he overwhelms me with Black Vise, Atog and Lions. Just before I stabilize, he is able to Fireball me for exacsies.
On to the exciting game three! Oh it is on now!
This becomes a long one, and a nailbiter. After the first manic, deadly onslaught from small critters and burn, I manage to turn the tables at 13 life points. From there on, my life only goes up. At one point I begin damaging him with my factories, I am simply not fast enough. In the extra five rounds after time was called, I play a Time Walk and I was so close to being able to kill him, but in his last extra round, he plays Wheel of Fortune and draws… ARMAGEDDON! Nooooooooo.
I loose the Orb flip contest horribly…
1-3. This is not exactly going like it was supposed to.
Round 5 – Anders Lehmann
In round five I was up against yet another guy I hadn’t met before. Anders Lehmann.
Anders was on monoblack. It is not a deck I have played against often. I don’t know why, but it very rarely shows in my playgroup nor in the tournaments I have played.
Game one was a bit of non-game. I drew almost only mana – loads moxes and lands. Not my kind of a great time… Anyway, I Mana Drain Anders’ Su-Chi, but die to his double Underworld Dreams. Such a great card; so difficult to have a decent plan against when playing UG!
I board out four Enchantresses and six Snakes! In comes three Counterspell, four Ivory Tower, two Unsummon and one Crumble.
Game two is, on the other hand, exactly my kind of fun. I play some Ivory Towers and a lot of Power – not least the three Time Walks. I had it all, and Anders succumbs to my factory beats.
On to the last game, I had to win something soon.
But it was not to be this one, unfortunately. Even though I get a good start with some lifegain, an Unsummon on his Hippie and a general feel of taking over the game. A Nevinyrral’s Disk is really not what I want to see. He blows it. I try to find my way back. He finds another Disk. Blows it. I die to his factory beats. Oh the Irony…
Round 6 – Kristian Førland
Kristian greets me with a praise about my cards. That is nice. I have never met him before, but he is one of The Other Thomas’ old friends. And Thomas has apparently talked about me.
He then goes on to slaughter me so fast, that I didn’t even get to take a photograph. And my notes are just a bunch of numbers rapidly declining. On his list of actions I have “Moon, Lion, Troll, Serra” and “Lion, Moon, Black Vise x3”. Well, that was fast!
We leave the table and go on to start the grill instead. We have to have something to eat, and for some strange reason we are the first table to finish…
Round 7 – Teis
Okay, going into the final round being 1-5 in games, one can always hope that at least your team is doing better. Well, my opponent for this match – on the very last table of the tournament – was Teis. We were not exactly dominating this thing…
In the first game, Teis mulligans twice. Ouch. I then play a Psychic Venom on his first and only land for the first three turns. Then he finally plays another land, which I strip. This game is very much characterized by the fact that Teis’ deck didn’t really want to play anymore, and mine did. I played through a Blood Moon like it wasn’t even there, and at the end, I had more Psychic Venoms in play, than Teis had lands…
I board out two Leech and one Maze of Ith. In goes three Blue Elemental Blast.
And they were fine. In game two I counter his second turn Blood Moon (after turn one Black Vise).
I then go on to make a crazy amount of copied factories and finally draw a Candelabra and some Mazes, so I am able to go through his defenses and make my own. I beat Teis very much. I am sorry…
YEAH! Maybe not exactly what one could call a great record, but 2-5 is better than 0-7 I guess…
After the seventh round we had great grilled burgers. A great time were had…
And then came the announcement of the top8(s). There was – as is custom in the Madness Mountains – two top8’s: The normal one and the Spicy one. Seeing as the tournament organizer to a large extent had encouraged spicy builds, I was very excited to see how the contenders in the spicy top8 would be found. They were by popular vote. And my opponent from round two, Karsten, was very adamant in his recommendation of my deck, so I got a spot. Thank you Karsten!
Spicy quarters – Jens Kjær Christensen
So I had another game to attend. Great!
This was against Jens Kjær Christensen. One of those guys I have seen interact on our forums so many times (he often sells cards), but I had never really had a conversation, nor a game with him. The only thing I knew, was that he was playing a really beautiful and greatly spiced Eureka deck.
This was a looooong round! My match notes are all over the place, and they cannot in any way live up to the intenseness and the overall extremely great game this was. And I cannot really write it either. It was probably one of the craziest most nail-biting Old School matches of the Northern Hemisphere in 2022 (okay, it probably wasn’t, but it was just everything one could ever ask for).
In game one Jens leads with Elves, Mox and a couple of Birds, making my early Venom look a bit stupid. I play a Leech that actually fetches me some life. I make a lot of factories and play three Maze of Ith. I pound Jens to 8 Life and I almost have him, when he suddenly plays Rubinia Soulsinger! And a Diamond Valley! I love his deck.
Soon after that he plays a Eureka. His board now has a Sol-Kanar, Nicol Bolas and a Force of Nature, and he has Orbed on of my Maze. I can’t come back from that.
I side out one Enchantress, two Leech and find my three Counterspells!
Game two was maybe even more absolute bonkers than game one. I lead with turn one Enchantress. That is always very nice! She draws me 5-6 cards in the game. I play all kinds of great cards. Jens is more lukewarm in his approach. I beat him with my factories. He plays a Diamond Valley but it is of little use.
Almost out of the blue – well not exactly, but it is very difficult for the opponent (and me) to figure out sometimes – I slam him for 11 damage with my three factories. He goes to two. Even if sending his Force to the Valley to mine Diamonds, he is done for.
In game three, we upped the craziness another notch. This was one of the best games I have ever played, and it just kept on going. It is very difficult to explain, but among other things it entailed:
A surprise Winter Orb (which I had the counter for). Two Psychic Venoms on one City of Brass – and an active Icy Manipulator! Three or four resolved Timetwisters. A very surprising Mirror Universe that suddenly changed my life from 20 to 8! Almost getting the Skull of Orm-Copy Artifact-Chaos Orb engine going, but having both my Copy Artifact Red blasted (and then shuffled away with one of the Timetwisters). A Rubinia Soulsinger holding the fort almost all by herself.
At the end I have secured a relatively stable board position with some Maze, a lot of Icy’s and factories and so on. I can safely hit Jens for two with some factory shenanigans each turn, and he is on five. If I don’t care to lose a single I would be able to kill him in my next turn.
Then Jens manages to find and play a Eureka. Out comes a Nicol Bolas and a Force of Nature. And a SWORD OF THE AGES! It was such an epic final move. According to Jens, the Sword was his only out to all my Mazes, and his only way to win the game. What a fantastic match this was!
I told you this was not going to be a short scribble. But I hope you see how much fun I had. Even though I did an abysmal job. Luckily I had told my team, that I would probably not do that great in the tournament. And I didn’t. That’s a win, I guess?`
Anyway the rest of the team was with my in the lower brackets, so next time our goal is to get at least one member in the best half of the field.
For the deck, I have to say that it was so much fun. If I had played it some more, and actually trained with it, it could probably have won at least one round more. And the Orb Flip loose had nothing to do with the deck.
As should also be very clear, the deck would of course be better without the Verdurdan Enchantress and Psychic Venoms, and with some more Counterspells and probably Ivory Towers and some black cards (restricted and The Abyss). But that is not for now. This day, I played with Enchantresses, and as always, they were a blast when they worked…
I also bought myself a new card:
Before heading home in style: