Below is Grant Casleton's story about going to Eternal Weekend with the Lords of the Pit to play Old School with 117 other players. If you want to read more about the tournament and check out all the other decks you can find Eternal Central's Report here. /Gordon
Let me preface by saying my expectations for Eternal Weekend were non-existent. I have never been to Eternal Weekend, nor have I ever been to Pittsburgh. I am someone who doesn’t get excited for things until I have arrived at my destination. Even more so when there is a 7 ½ hour drive through cornfields and cow crap. Only until I saw “Welcome to Pittsburgh” is when I started to realized this was going to be a great weekend.
The trip and preparations
The drive was long but good conversation was had. The Burger King we stopped at in rural Ohio was a sight to be seen and we were only asked for change once. Luckily for us, they only lost one of our orders so it was a quick stop and then back on the highway. Driving through the hills of Western Pennsylvania while it’s dark was a little intimidating, but we eventually got there in one piece.
We checked into our AirBnB around 11pm and cracked a cold one. Once we figured out where the rest of the crew was, we hit the road. We pull up to the bar and it was a dingy little dive bar with neons in the windows and graffiti all over the doors. This was my kind of bar. One thing I didn’t know about Pittsburgh was that smoking inside was OK. A friend of mine lit up a smoke in the bar and I about smacked it out of his mouth.
Before I knew it we had pitchers of Yuengling and shots of Jameson were being given out like candy. After great conversation and a few sloppy games of Ping-Pong, we called it a night. I contemplated making my final deck check that night but realized I may have drank a little too much.
Thursday Morning was a little hazy and worse than expected. Luckily I had a Pedialyte in the fridge ready for me, which was probably the best play of my weekend. Carter was kind enough to buy some groceries for breakfast and cooked up some fantastic eggs and potatoes. We all agreed a good breakfast was needed with an anticipated long day of drinking.
After breakfast we prepared our final deck lists and headed over to the Omni William Penn Hotel. Although, our first Uber driver we called sideswiped a parked car, drove off and cancelled the ride, which got a chuckle from us standing in disbelief with what we just saw. Luckily the second Uber driver arrived in one piece and we loaded in.
Getting into the hall was a scene I will never forget. The drinking had already started and everyone was chatting and getting to know each other. After checking in it was time for Malort to be passed around to those who wanted to try the liqueur. The bottle I brought was finished before the second round even started and the fancy Swedish malort was finished shortly after.
I was playing a straightforward White Weenie deck. I figured I’d rather play something easy for 8 rounds than a deck that would make me think and make hard decisions. With Eternal Central rules, 4 Strip Mines are a must and I get access to the hottest tech from Fallen Empires. Order of Leitbur and Icatian Javelineers are two of the best cars in the deck.
I didn’t see a single Birds of Paradise through the whole day though, which was a bit surprising. Regardless, Icatian Javelineers still did work on some Savannah Lions throughout the day. Nothing feels better to T1 Javelineer with your opponent playing anything with 1 toughness and knowing it was about to get REKT.
White Weenie is straightforward enough where all you want to do is play your dudes and smash face. My deck is unpowered, although a Chaos Orb is always ready to flip in dire need. Playing this deck is nice because the only dead draw is going to be a basic Plains. Strip Mine will get your opponent off colored mana, Factory is a creature but also can cast your Serra Angel, and a creature or spell will make the game move forward.
I wish I had more Preachers to main deck but unfortunately only have 1 at the moment. Playing Thunder Spirit felt fine though because the damage I got over the top in a few games got me closer to victory. It felt like Thunder Spirit can be the backbreaker in mirror matches and having a Swords to Plowshares in hand to plow their fliers ended up the correct play.
I’ve done my best to recollect my 8 matches and the games that were played. I made it a point to get the names spelled correctly, but that’s as good as it gets. I’ve been drinking since 9am, Keg and Eggs was a necessity to starting Thursday off right.
Rd 1 - Jonathan Sparks Loss
Jon was on Grixis Control, a deck I’d love to build in the future. Game 1 was mine at hand with Strip Mines and Jon not able to find any land. Game 2 was a little more back and forth but Serendib Efreets + me not finding removal = me catching the beats. Game 3 was just as quick with Jon finding two Glooms and putting me way out of reach to casting my one drops.
Rd 2 - Phil Jankiewicz Win
This was probably my favorite round of the day. Phil was on R/W Weenie and all three games were grindy. A lot of back and forth with Crusade helping both parties make their dudes bigger. We had a lot of fun trading creatures, but in the end Thunder Spirit was the creature that put me over the edge. I got there in 3 games.
Rd 3 - Dair Grant Loss
Dair was on Turbo Stasis that I needed to be quick to beat. Unfortunately I was not and had my shit pushed in. I’ll be the first to admit I did not have a fun time playing against this deck. But I had a blast talking with Dair and getting to know him. We went to 3 games in this round but only because Strip Mine was the All-Star for me game 2.
Rd 4 - Winston Wood Win
This is the part of the day where my notes start dwindling as the beer kept flowing. This was another prison deck and I wasn’t very happy to see that again after the last round. G1 I was able to get in fast damage and get there before the lock actually happened. I remember Land Tax filling my hand G2 and getting annihilated. (photo of the lands) G3 was a bit more grindy but I was able to overwhelm with creatures and finish Winston off.
Rd 5 - Jimmy McCarthy Loss
Jimmy and I talked more shit to each other than actually played Magic. I would have prefered to just talk and share a beer instead of lose to this man. The deck I have him on is “Green White Bullshit” and I lost in 2. So Jimmy if you’re reading this, go screw yourself.
Rd 6 - Nam Trann Loss
This was probably the quickest round of the day for me. Nam was on “The Deck” and we didn’t play much Magic. The Abyss was brutal and I couldn’t find a Disenchant. After a T2 Abyss game 2, I scooped em up and went to go have another beer. And Nam I want to apologize again if I came off salty, because I was. But, nonetheless, you beat me fair and square and it was still good to meet a new face and I hope your weekend was a good one.
Rd 7 - Matt Haan Win
I’ve played Matt at the last three events I’ve attended. He’s soft spoken, a great player, and an even nicer person. He was playing, at least what I called, B/R Orgg. It was a spicy brew that seemed like a blast to play. If I remember correctly we went to 3 games and I eventually got there. Next time we play I want you to raise your voice and yell at me. You’re too nice.
RD 8 - Ryan Crouch Win
Ryan was playing Mono-Red Goblins and that deck has been becoming super popular. Goblin Grenade has always been a favorite of mine since I last played it in standard (Scars of Mirrodin.) Although only playing 2 games they were a bunch of fun. Game 2 I boarded in a Wall of Swords because who can actually beat that card. After the game ended, he told me he maindecks Goblin Digging Team and it was the next card up. I wish I would have known because I would have allowed him to make that play.
I was 68th place which I believe means 4-4 but a lot of alcohol was consumed so who knows. All that matter is that I had a good time meeting new people and slinging some cards. I want to thank everyone I met that weekend because I couldn’t imagined it been any better of a party.
After the hectic exit of the hotel, a few LotP and I headed back home to drop our stuff. The crew were all pretty hungry and we ended up at Emporio at Sienna Mercato. The whole premiss of this place was meatballs and the sauce they put on them. I walked in and Dom was drinking scotch with about $300 worth of meatballs at the table. After dinner we headed to Sharp Edge for a nightcap and then hit the hay.
Pamela’s was on the menu for breakfast that Friday morning. It was down in the Strip District where Tyler and I met Dom for a little breakfast. I got the Hash and Eggs and it was everything I needed that morning to soak up the day before.
After breakfast we headed to the convention center and I got a whole bunch of cards signed, sold my Legacy deck and picked up an UNL Ruby. It was a long few hours of cutting deals and even getting in a game or two on the hallway floor.
We had a scheduled Contract from Below meetup that night and we needed a little time to relax. After “relaxing” and putting back a few, we packed up our Contract decks and headed to Peppis sub shop. This was your classic Italian Sub shop and it hit the spot for an early dinner.
The meetup ended up taking place at the Southern Tier Brew Pub with a great outdoor seating area. The weather was perfect and with no breeze, we played outside.
And for those of you who haven’t been explained how we play Contract From Below in Chicago, let me explain. When casting Contract, instead of the Ante card, the caster must buy a beer or shot for their opponent. The card is powerful when it comes to playing it, but also when it comes to drinking. Matt was able to Fork a Contract right before I arrived, but luckily this photo exists.
Prizes were given out to every participant and if you and anyone else wanted the same prize, you flipped for it. I’ve come to realize Chaos Orb flipping should become a national sport and is the best way to settle any grievances you may have with someone. If I remember correctly we were flipping at 2 feet heights as well.
After drinking way too much our Saturday got crazier and the night went on. Those details I’m leaving out but it was a night that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It seemed like everyone was in rare form. And if someone gives you money, you put it in your damn mouth!
At the end of this weekend I want to give a huge shoutout to all the Lords and friendly new faces I met. I wouldn’t be playing this game if it weren’t for the crew we have in Chicago. Please see below for some more photos and thanks for reading.
All in all, it was a weekend that I will never forget. I have never had this much fun playing MtG and I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t get into this format. Below are some other photos that I and others took of the weekend, This will be my yearly trip to sling cards, drink booze and have a good time.
FOR THE LORDS
PS. I also want to give a big thank you to Jaco for putting this together. This wouldn’t have been possible without him putting in the work to find a venue and run in the event. This was the biggest tournament I’ve ever participated in and Jaco made it a breeze with how well he ran it.