It was finally time again! Another real-life, onsite, true tournament with real people, real cards and loads of real awesomeness.
November 12, I attended the (at least in a Danish context) legendary tournament series LIC. The fourth iteration of the series, based primarily on a very unhealthy intake of alcohol – and a genuinely great atmosphere! Besides me, some 75 Old Schoolers had signed up making this one of the biggest Old School tournaments in Denmark to date.
LIC stands for Long Island Crew, the name of the Danish OS team orchestrating the madness (there is a special price for being most drunk…). Maybe also Long Island Cup? – and if the mythology is correct, the name comes from one of the original pranksters of the team having invented a Long Island Ice tea machine. Yep, you read that right. The machine was to be found at the venue of some of the earlier LICs. At least, that is how legend has it (I did not want to check these facts, because legends are great! Facts are potentially rather boring).
Anyway, as is now customary, the day started with a roadtrip with two of my fellow team Metageyser Wednesday Wizards, Peter and The Other Thomas!
Choosing a deck
But before I got into the backseat of The Other Thomas’ car, said Saturday morning at around 8:00, I had to choose a deck. And that is not really a small thing these days. I haven’t had the opportunity to play a lot of Magic this fall, so choosing the correct deck for seven rounds of tournament Magic was important. I had to choose something I would really enjoy playing. It also had to be something that wasn’t too good and stood a too realistic chance to top8, as Peter had to be back in Svendborg 22.30, so we wouldn’t have time to play any top8-matches.
Well that really shouldn’t be a problem, if any of my latest tournament results is valid proof of anything (just read this and this…). I haven’t fared all too impressively the last couple of tournaments, I admit. I have, though – on the bright side – played different Enchantress brews!
Okay. This time I wanted to play something other than Enchantress. Just to see if it could be done…
I have for several years had a pet deck, containing basically all the direct burn in the format, and some restricted cards. With Howling Mines to refill the hand. I call it Howling Rug Burn:
Now this is something completely different from my normal grindy Enchantress builds. Very much completely different indeed. But it is fun.
A couple of words on this exact list (it differs from time to time, but around 55 or so of the cards are always in there).
I opted for the two Forks instead of the reasonable Fireball, Shatter or Red Elemental Blasts in that spot. But those are indeed flex spots. So may Storm Seeker #4 be and maybe also Ankh of Mishra #4 (and yes I know I have to upgrade my Ankhs to Beta copies, but damn those are expensive nowadays!).
Fork is just so much craziness in this deck. I really wanted to play it, and I figured if it was “just” a lightning bolt for RR, it would still deserve the spots. I was not let down.
The manabase is obviously very greedy with only 17 lands! I figured I might as well go completely balls-to-the-wall this time being the first time I was to play the deck in a tournament (that is also the reason why I brought the complete set of Storm Seeker). But the point also is that the deck can often play several rounds on only one red and one other source (of-color Mox for example…). The rather extensive artifact suite is actually sometimes enough to get another three rounds or so until you draw that extra land and start playing all the heavy hitters (Seeker and Psionic). Sometimes it is even enough to simply win the game. Do not underestimate the soft lock of Black Vise, Ankh of Mishra and Howling Mine.
I eschew Braingeyser because of the double UU requirement. But, again, Fork had to be in here!
It was difficult to build a meaningful sideboard, but I ended up with this:
Maybe not the most thought through sideboard, but I figured in most match-ups I wouldn’t actually need to board that much, because a lot of the field is surprised by the very aggressive lightning fast onslaught this deck is capable of fielding.
I figured my toughest matchup would be Arabian aggro or something along those lines. Maybe Atog or LionDib. But I am often faster than those. One problem, however, is that my deck is also a bit suicidal. Between City of Brass, Psionic Blast, Ankh of Mishra and the odd returned Chain Lightning the opponent doesn’t always have to turn his lions sideways that many times.
I was very unsure how a fight against a The Deck would go, so I opted for a rather big change in those matches, siding in Moon, Reb, Stone Rain and siding out Seeker, Pisonic and Fork.
Does this makes sense? Maybe, the change would make my deck very stax-ish, with a lot of hate on the opponents manabase. I dunno? I never encountered a The Deck, so I still have no clue. Suggestions are very welcome.
Okay, so that’s the deck. Before I venture on to the rather shallow descriptions on how the games went, a couple of goals for the day are in order. I wanted to:
- Play around one and a half gazillion lightnings of different sorts
- Start a game, or hopefully a round, playing land and Lotus to then Storm Seeker my opponent for eight in his first draw…
- Win at least three matches (and optimally rank among the top half of the tournament attendees)
- Fork something really worthwhile
- Have heaps of fun (and beer)
Round 1 – Morten Andersen
I should mention, that this was an awesome tournament. Before pairings were called, a lot of relevant info was given, the price structure (including that insane “most drunk” thing, but also a lot of other stuff – not least an altered Invisibility for the runner up… Great humor those guys have). But the real praise of the tournament organizers and the other players will have to wait until I am done telling you how my playing went. I you primarily want to read about the great atmosphere and equally great people making said atmosphere, just scroll a couple of pages down.
Okay! So on to it. In the first round I was paired against Morten Andersen. Not a guy I know very well, but I have encountered him once or twice before – not least when he was score keeper at the Mountains of Madness 2.
But this time, the gloves were off!
And let me just say, they were off indeed! My first round consisted of a Black Vise and a Chain Lightning. Just to get things going. From there It was very fast with turn two Howling into turn three Ankh – and my soft lock was on in my very first game of the day!
Then I burned Morten for his last couple of life points with a Seeker.
Morten played what I believe was an unpowered UR Dib, Su-Chi deck with Counterspells and burn.
I boarded in three Blood Moon – out went two Fork and one Seeker.
Okay, so in game two Morten is very prepared. He Blue Elemental Blasts my Chain Lightning. I play a lot of power – Ancestral, Walk and so. I even play a lot of Ankhs, and end up being beaten down by a Serendib, with three unplayable Storm Seeker in hand. Morten ends the game at eight life.
On to game three, where I take out the three Blood Moons, as I realize it was a horrible plan against him. He was only on two colors, but I hadn’t figured that out after game one. In goes three Red Elemental Blast. Luckily.
I go turn one Library, Howling Mine. I Reb an Energy Flux at the right moment. Morten plays a Blood Moon! That was actually very annoying, seeing as he had also Artifact Blasted my Mox Emerald!
It comes down to him being on four life with a Dib in play. He plays a Su-Chi, something about this was a mistake, but I can’t remember what it was right now, maybe the fact that he tapped out, leaving me to play stuff. I have around ten thousand outs in my deck, as I just have to shoot him for three, and he has seven cards in hand. I draw a Black Vise and end my turn. Morten the succumbs to his Dib and my Black Vise for exacsies!
PHEW! That was very close – much closer than I would like, playing against an unpowered deck. But the game also showed me, that maybe the Blood Moon sideboard plan is not a very great plan at all.
Round 2 – Nicolai Rasmussen
On to Nicolai Rasmussen. Nicolai is one of the regulars at the Danish Old School scene, and he is a very skilled player. This day, he had opted to bring an unpowered Red-Green-White aggro beatdown deck with Giant Growths and Berserks.
This was about to become quite the race!
Or, actually not that much, as it turns out. In game one I Bolt Nicolai twice to the face, instead of shooting his monsters (if you, as a burn-player start shooting the opposing creatures, just concede). I then drew a hell of a lot of lands, and died miserably to beats from a Factory a Pixie, and Ape and some burn.
On to game two, where I was now joined by two Earthquakes instead of two Anks.
But alas, it didn’t help much. I am forced to use some of my burn to kill his critters, but I don’t have enough, and I don’t do anything else (other than draw a bunch of lands! How so, when I only play 17??!).
Nicolai kills me when he is still at 13 life!
Okay, it is way too early to be down about this – we are still in it!
Round 3 – Dennis Munksgaard
In round three I am up against Dennis, whom I have never met before. As always – and as I have come to expect – he was the perfect gentleman, and a really nice opponent. 10 out of 10, would recommend!
Except, maybe, for the fact, that he was also playing aggro. This time GW splash U for power.
In game one I never saw any green mana. I did, however, see three Storm Seeker and a Regrowth. Too bad. Elves, Pixies and Lions has a swift way to punish greed…
On to game two. In goes two Earthquake, out comes 2 Storm Seeker (as he was one to empty his hand fast – and he played both Llanowar elves and Birds of Paradise, so my soft lock was never really anything to go for).
I keep a no-lander. Yep, why waste spots in your opening seven on lands, when you can just flood the board with power? Three Moxes and an Ankh. “Go”. Next turn draw and play land then Seeker.
From there everything was fine. Burn featuring power is just ridiculous. I play a Twister to refill my hand with Lightning. Then finish him with an Earthquake.
Okay! Game three!
Apparently power is also ridiculous in aggro. Dennis schooled me in this very fact, as he played and Regrowthed his Ancestral Recall to some advantage.
He also suddenly plays Circle of Protection: Red, but even though my sideboard should probably contain at least one (probably two) copies of Tranquility, Cop:red isn’t necessarily that big a threat to me. And I get him down to one life, before he stabilizes (those two Ancestrals, remember?) and I run out of gas (again drawing a shitton of lands).
That was not at all how this was supposed to go. At least I seem to have been right in believing aggro could be trouble. Okay, at least now I was probably out of contention for top8, so the plan of going home in time for Peters DJ gig was still on!
Round 4 – Jakob Frey
But not yet, it wasn’t! We had not gone all the way to Jutland to win! We were there to play!!
And so I did. This round against Jakob Frey. Another one of those awesome dudes, I had never had the pleasure of playing against before. Glad I did this day.
Jakob had brought a beautiful Blue-Green-White midrange deck with Serendibs, Angels, Swords, Birds and of course a couple of Armageddon. It was really a very nice deck.
But I was not very nice to it.
I win the die roll, and continue to play my land, Lotus – “go”. “In the end of your draw I would like to cast a spell…”
BOOOM! I mean BOOOOOOOOM! Maybe even some “Shakalaka!”
Storm Seeker for eight in Jakobs first draw step of the round (noted for the goals of the day). He was flustered. Then played a Library of Alexandria. I got the turn and played Ancestral, Vise. He had to draw with his Library to find something (Disenchant) to get out of this onslaught. That meant getting four damage from the Vise. In my turn I played a Lightning Bolt and another Vise. Jakob died in his third upkeep!
That is the fastest I have ever killed anyone in a game of Old School Magic. And Jakob was the perfect opponent to do so against – even though, of course, such a nice guy as Jakob really didn’t deserve it, but he was very generous and patient in letting me celebrate the crazy Storm Seeker play.
Okay, on to game two where I had two less Howling Mines in the deck and two more Red Elemental Blast.
This was a bit more of an actual game of Magic cards, but not really. I go turn one Ankh, “Bolt your bird”. And from there my notes say “Bolt X 2, Twister, Vise, Chain, Psionic”. It was a fast game.
I am sorry, Jakob, but thank you for taking it like you did. It was a pleasure to play against you.
Round 5 – Steffen Pedersen
In it for round five. Against Steffen Pedersen even. Again a wall-to-wall great guy I enjoyed immensely playing against.
Steffen played monoblue Merfolks! That is so cool. There was some price for most Lord Kills, I believe, so he was going directly for it!
I start the game by playing turn one Black Vise and Howling Mine (loooooads of Moxen in this Wizards’ deck!). From there Steffen goes turn one Merfolk of the Pearl Trident. I play turn two Black Vise. In my turn three I play Time Walk with Fork! (Another goal!). Then I play Seeker for five and an Ankh just for the hell of it.
He dies to my two Black Vises in his third upkeep.
In goes three REB, two Earthquake and a single Hurricane. Out goes Four Ankh of Mishra and two Howling Mine.
Once again I keep a no-lander, but play Lotus, Mox Ruby into Vise and Mine. At some point I REB his Energy Flux but I never draw any lands, so he kills me easily and steadily with a couple of fish and a Dandan if my memory serves me! That is cool.
Game three is really not that interesting as Steffen screws on his lands, and I Strip and Orb away on those poor Islands. He never really gets to play anything. The only damage I get is from Forking a Psionic Blast and using a City of Brass when I put him out of his misery with a Lotus fueled Earthquake for nine.
YES! 3-2! This is way more like it.
Round 6 – Jesper Kjældgaard
Two rounds left, if play may cards correctly (literally) I have a shot at a positive score here!
In round six I met Jesper Kjældgaard. I have only played him once before, at the Mountains of Madness back in June. Back then he beat me with Lions, Black Vises and Factories and a well-timed Armageddon, to win the Orb Flip contest.
But now, the rubber band was on the other claw! Now it was time for me to get my sweet revenge…
And so I did. In two very short games. I didn’t even get to take a photo in this round. He mulligans twice game one, and plays an Ancestral. I play a Black Vise. And follow it up the coming turns with a plethora of direct damage spells. He gets to beat me somewhat with a Serendib, but it is not enough.
I have no idea how I boarded. I am also unsure what he was playing – definitely something with Serendibs and power… See, this was a point in time where, even though I had no hopes for the trophy for most drunk, an amount of beer and rum-and-cokes had entered my body (the bartender had told me a very clever life hack a couple of hours earlier: when buying a rum-and-coke, you were responsible for pouring the rum yourself. And then just grab a coke somewhere. And it cost the same as just buying a coke… That is the kind of bar I like!)
Game two looked somewhat similar to game one. Only faster. My notes says “Turn 1, 2XVise, turn 2 Wheel, draws 3 X Lightning, Fork and Psionic”. Not a close one – Jesper draws six lands on the Wheel and can’t get rid of them.
Round 7 – Kristian Ringkjær
You see, it was on! Kristian is an old friend and former colleague of mine. He is also the author of this great piece of tournament report. But Saturday, November 12, the gloves were definitely off.
My notes are very strange here. Game one it states: “2akk, +1, +2, Seeker, Psionic”. But apparently it was enough:
Kristian was on some kind of burning-attacking-tax-edge-thingy. I felt it had a lot of angles from where to attack me. In game one he played both two Lions and two Lightnings. Frightening!
I board in two Earthquakes, and take out two Ankhs.
In game two I mana screw. Or I have three Moxen (again!) but no access to red mana. That is not what this deck wants. I even sit there with a Fork laughing at me in my hand. No fair. It gets down to me trying to Storm Seeker Kristian to death, when he instead responds with double Lightning bolt to kill me
Okay – glad we took the before-boxer-shot – it is very much on!
Game three was a nail-biter. I was always worried that he might bolt me to death out of nowhere. But on five life, I manage to Storm Seeker him for his exact amount of remaining life!
5-2 YES! That is a very positive record.
Phat loot and rounding things off
Wow. Loads of words up there huh? If you have just scrolled past all of that, to come here to hear more about the awesomeness that was LIC 4.0, let me indulge you:
I ended up achieving all my goals for the day, and the deck performed better than I had hoped for! I can just say, that there are a lot of decks/players out there, who are very surprised by Storm Seeker, and just by the general massive onslaught of fiery doom I drew upon them from the very get-go.
But more importantly, there was a raffle, benefiting kids. There was an Orb Flip station. There was awesome altered prices for best non-powered, most combined creature power in the deck (I think Kristians brother Kenneth Ringkjær won with 124!, he played what looked like an awesome reanimator deck), most spicy (Bjørn Michelsen with a deck containing the evergreen combo of Gaeas Liege+Instill Energy… Spicy enough to burn my tongue, even though I never played against him). There was even an entirely random give-away of an International Edition Mox Pearl, sponsored by the very cool guys at Tier1Mtg!
And there was a team-quiz, where the teams could, well, team up and answer some really difficult questions on Magic Lore and history. Team Metageyser won an Unlimited Sol Ring when we were able to answer a question on what was wrong in the printing of Elvish Archers in Alpha (The Other Thomas got the Sol Ring for gas for the roadtrip).
And there was pizza. And toasts throughout the day. Also a bar, with some very liberal rules for pouring.
All in all it was simply a great experience.
I got a lot of loot from the great guys at Tier1Mtg who even had a little stand at the event (I had put all my extra modern-framed cards in a big box, to trade away for something useful). But I will show these new treasures in an upcoming mailday post.
The one thing I do want to show was these:
Wooden Tetravite and Bird tokens for Tetravus and Rukh Egg. These are awesome. They are made by Esben Bækkelund Jensen, and he agreed I mentioned his name here, even though it probably means he will now get filthily wealthy from all your orders for a playset of these beauties.
So for now, just a major shout out to the great guys behind LIC 4.0. If I remember correctly the primary culprits involved were the brothers Fryland (Peter and Morten), Allan Linderup Smed (check out his page, with additional info on LIC here) and the aforementioned Esben Bækkelund. Thanks a lot for a great day guys!
Okay, finally I just want to mention one more thing. Peter Berthel Jensen. Peter had eschewed playing the tournament, to instead be in charge of the kitchen. This meant that he was out there making toasts for 75 grown men an entire Saturday. He also handled the pizza delivery, and was simply an outstanding and very central part of making this a great day.