At the bottom of the glass – 4 lessons from a loser

Today we have a blog post from Flippin' Orbs host Seb Celia where he tells us about 4 very special cards that he has had the "honor" of winning during the last couple of years. Each card comes with its own stories and lessons that have made Seb a wiser man, and a better player, or at least we hope so.  /Gordon


Lesson I

Lesson II

Lesson III

Lesson IV

Lesson I – The Rag Man

The dark side of the moon

It’s a card right? I mean, you win when you play it … sometimes. Blood Moon is a deceptive card though, it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling but you are a blind fool. And a deception that elevates us is dearer than a host of low truths. Let’s lay down some of those truths.

I sometimes use Fog as an example of a deceptive card that lets you really remember winning. You won that one time when all the stars aligned and, clearly, should’ve died that very turn if it were not for this and that. It does not, however, remind you of all the times you sat with the card in your hand, doing nothing. Cards need to do things for you to win, we could probably agree on that right? I think in many ways Blood Moon qualifies here. Sometimes it just flat out kills all opponents’ upcoming plays. Other times they have a Fellwar Stone when you decided to play with plains in your Blood Moon deck. Other times you slam it when you have an opening around counterspells and whatnots but strand a bunch of your own cards in hand due to playing three colors in your Blood Moon deck.

So for the tournament where I won the Rag Man (A price given out to last place in all our tournaments, Ed.) I played a Blood Moon deck with Savannah Lions, splashing for blue power (because I am not a peasant by position, nor by nature). To make a long story short, it did not go well. I even met a Merfolk deck where my Blood Moons just did everything that is close to nothing.

 

Lesson II – Sorrows Path

(Put the lime in the) coconut

I did not plan claiming all these trophies, to aquire them you have to be ready to be beaten a lot, like a lot a lot. But it’s also a bit like in that Fight Club scene where they are told by Tyler Durden to go out and get beaten up by complete strangers. It’s not as easy as it seems. I claimed this little gem by coming 5th place just out of range for the top4. I actually won the Sorrows Path in the raffle just before the top4 and it seemed fitting to say the least. Råberg signed it when he beat me in the win and in. Anyway, I played this:

Arabian Aggro is a great deck. Recently we have seen a lot of creature based decks popping up and in that meta, you probably win playing Swords over Lightning bolts but hey, I feel that if you put a lion and a gorilla in a cage fight… the monkey will beat the shit out of the cat. I did try playing three sylvan in the sideboard in this event because I had seen “Farsan” go unbeaten in the swiss at n00bcon, and he won against like, at least two-three The Decks (including mine) with them, as a sort of Ancestrals. But they did not serve me that well, and I don’t like that card as much as other people do. I think I had control a bit too much in mind building my deck and let that be a lesson to you all, you probably will never meet the decks you plan to meet anyhow.

Seb's Arabian Aggro

Lesson III – The Fallen

What a wonderful world

So, if you play Eureka, you lose. At least that’s what LSV says, but let’s not delve too much into what’s good or bad with the deck in general. I did some very sweet plays and that’s what you want, slinging the most badass creatures in the game, like playing a turn one Lord of the Pit. There got to be some kind of achievement unlock just doing that, right? I had a real blast the whole tournament … but I lost. I like the possibility to ramp out big dudes and to be able to live the magical christmas land from time to time playing eureka. Unload your hand, slam Concordant Crossroad and hitting for a ton. Moat is a problem though… and a bunch of other crap are problematic too, but who the fuck cares when all you want is to win more, rather than win?

(The Fallen was also the price for a last place finish, Ed. )

 "So you say my Library might be too slow?"

"So you say my Library might be too slow?"

 

Lesson IV – Blaze of Glory

Where is my mind

Seb's n00bcon deck - The Machinegun

I can’t really complain that much about coming 9th place in this year’s n00bcon. The deck felt solid, I got mind twisted three times in the games that I lost that eventually put me outside of competition and that is a crappy feeling. I remember when I played against Olle Råde for the win and in and had a Library in my starting seven. “This is the first time I get to play library turn one!” I declared. Olle mind twisted me the following turn for a bunch. The bigger picture of the whole tournament for me was a bunch of really fun games and I try to keep that in mind going forward.

I love playing Atog decks. The main problem with Atog is that you really only need one, that’s true for a bunch of cards, like the ones I’ve mentioned earlier (Blood moon and Sylvan Library). But you need to make it stick which means you have to bait out a counter or two and/or keep it around. The reason why I think small creatures are, and have been good lately is that all the control decks skimp with their removal. Right now, in the age of lions, I’m playing at least 2 bolts with my 4 swords in my The Deck because those small lifepoints add up. U/R has like 8 creatures, and 4 of them are Flying Men. They are really, really good. Especially if they bait out swords so you can slam your Serendibs. And even though you might feel that the Lions get smashed by Mishras, white has both Disenchant and Swords so those factories have to dodge a lot to stay alive

The n00bcon X Decks

After n00bcon was over this year I set out to try to collect all the decks from the tournament so we could publish them for everyones enjoyment. I wasn't able to get a picture of every single deck, but except for a single player I at least got the deck name or a list. So here are 121 of the 122 decks played at n00bcon X.

The number is how many match points the pilot got in the swiss, but they are not in order after tie breakers. If you click on a deck you can also see notes on some of them as a couple of cards can differ from the picture and actual deck played. 

Thank you all for helping me doing this!

/Gordon

Videos from n00bcon X - The World Championship!

So we did a stream from this years n00bcon and of course we wanted to share it for those who wasn't able to see it live. Sorry to say that due to an unstable internet connection some portions of the stream were lost. But here you have most of the tournament and interviews.

Here below you can find the playlist with all six videos in order.

The "action" starts at around 0.56.30 in.

Let’s all just have a good time!

Daniel "Paddan" Sunhedes amazing LoA and Timetwister proxies.

By: Grant Casleton

This is written in mind that I only play Eternal Central rules and will never play Swedish rules. That isn’t because I don’t like the rules, I just won’t ever be in a position to use those rules. Whether it be me not being in Sweden/Europe, or I just plain don’t have enough cards.

I am very happy where Old School is at currently. The current banned and restricted list is simple and I don’t believe it needs any tooling. There is conversation that usually comes up every other week that I’m very tired of having to hear or listen to. I don’t give a shit about Strip Mine, nor do I give a rats ass about Mishra’s Factory. Let me say that again, for those of you who want to keep wasting your breath on this subject. I don’t give a shit about Strip Mine, nor do I give a rats ass about Mishra’s Factory.

Library of Alexandria is another whole story but I like to play mine and I like to draw cards. I’ve won because of LoA and I’ve lost because of it too. Half the time I’m not playing it because I need three red sources and a green to kill you before that LoA takes over the game. Not saying it’s the best way, but it’s unexpected and it’s fun!

Do I understand why you want to argue blue in the face? Sure. Do I care about your stupid opinion? No. After playing this game for about 10 years, I’ve realised that Magic players are an opinionated group. I actually found that out at the first FNM I went to when a grown ass man argued with me and got upset over a simple rule. Take this article for instance. It’s just my shitty hot take on something that I care about. Having a good time.

I started playing Old School because it would give me an excuse to play outside of a formal shop and have some adult beverages. The rules of gathering are quite simple compared to meeting in a shop, paying a fee, playing timed rounds, and hoping to win some sweet prize packs. I can take that $10, buy a Chicago Handshake, and get the ball rolling (hopefully with a Berserk to follow). I’ve not had this much fun playing Magic since I’ve started and that’s saying something.

So when I log onto Twitter or whatever other Social Media site I like to kill time with, I’d rather not see people petitioning to get things changed. Especially when things are already pretty good and just don’t need to be changed. I am playing this game because it’s fun and I don’t care what I win. Do I want to win and do well? Of course, I would assume everyone wants to do well. But that isn’t why I’m driving 8 hours to a city I’ve never been to just to sling some cardboard.

If you want to change some rules while playing at your kitchen table, do it. That’s what has made this game what it is since its inception. You can play by the rules, or make your own and still have a good time. But you wanting something changed for everyone is selfish and stupid.

I don’t give a shit how many aggro decks made the top 8. It means literally nothing to me. I care if my opponent has a good time playing me and leaves thinking “that was fun”. I’ve been Strip Mined into oblivion on many occasions and I fully understand that it is just the double edged sword that is Old School.

American or Swedish

Comparing the rules of Swedish Legal to Eternal Central is also completely asinine. I’m quite glad it’s a little different and it’s give us information to contrast what both metas have going on. Don’t shit on something you’ve not tried.

I am also proud of the fact that the Lords of the Pit have held many fundraising tournaments. Being able to conjoin helping out others AND being able to play a game I love. It makes me proud to know the crew in Chicago and everyone else who’s travelled states away to give money and compete.

This is a rambly piece of me trying to understand why people want to complain about such a fun game and format. The fact that this has grown organically since its inception in Sweden so many years ago really says something about it.

Finally, I just ask that you people stop complaining. Enjoy what you have. Chain Lightning isn’t worth restricting and neither is City in a Bottle. Strip Mine and Mishra’s Factory are fine and you need to sack up and just deal with it. If you don’t like them, jam Armageddon in your deck and have a go. Or better yet, play Stone Rain and Ice Storm, and see how far that gets you.

Tron part 2

So, it’s time for part two of my adventure with Tron in old school. Last time I wrote about my initial thoughts about the problems with Tron so let’s start with a short recap.

And if  you haven't read the first part you can find it here.

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The Recap

The big problem is that Tron takes 12 slots and if you add all the other “must include” mana sources it ends up taking almost all the mana source slots without giving you the ability to play colored spells. And as Tron is unreliable you can’t play over the top expensive spells, so the big question is why we should try to assemble tron instead of just playing Fellwar and Mana Vaults which is much more consistent? I ended up thinking Fireball was the way to go to try make a tron deck viable. The reason for this is that Fireball can be good both with and without Tron assembled. Now let’s see how that has gone.

The mana

So, I started by building a deck with waaay to many mana sources as I wanted to play 12 Urza lands, 5 Moxen, Lotus, Sol Ring, Library of Alexandria, Strip Mine, Mishra's Workshop and 4 Mishra’s Factory. After that I needed to add colored sources for my idea to work, that’s when it started to get a little crazy. I started trying to add just 6 sources to have a total of 7 with the mox. I knew that was actually way too few, but with a total of 32 sources that was already at least 2 more sources than I wanted. I decided to go for 4 Volcanic Island and 2 City of Brass so I also could play blue power and not only a couple of Fireballs. I goldfished a bit and as I thought, it was unplayable. I added two more City of Brass and played a whooping 34 mana sources which of course isn’t a good solution. As I wasn’t planning on playing that many colored spells and most of them were late game spells, 9 sources were actually ok. Not good, but ok.

To bring down the total count I did the unthinkable, I cut all four Mishra’s Factory. Maybe not the best idea but let us leave the mana base like this for now and look at how the deck actually could look like. Usually I’d start there but as the mana base is the foundation of this deck and also it’s biggest problem, I needed to start there for this particular brew.

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So much mana

The idea

So how do we continue this build? My first idea was to try to draw a lot of cards so we could assemble Tron. The cards I tried out were Jalum Tome, Jayemdae Tome and also Sindbad. Sindbad seemed like a good choice as lands are what we want. Maybe then we also could play with more mana sources as mentioned above? I even tried adding Sylvan Library for the Sindbads to work better and give me more chances to draw the Urza lands. But no, that didn’t work at all. The deck didn’t do anything as the lands and card draw took up most slots. And I still weren’t able to assemble Tron that often. So this idea was a no go.

Maybe I could ad Millstones to combo with Sylvan? Then I could also maybe play Field of Dreams... but then I have no use of Tron anymore.

My next plan was to completely skip thinking about assembling Tron and just play a Su-Chi, Triskelion, Fireballs and power. The thing about this idea is that I probably needs Mana Vault or Fellwar Stone for ramping into those creatures. But as said many times before, there isn’t space for more mana sources. But I couldn’t come up with a better idea so I went with this.

The cards

So let’s talk about the card choices of my rough sketch.

30 Mana sources

These are described and pictured above. (Forgot the Workshop in the picture)

7 Restricted cards

Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, Timetwister, Recall, Braingeyser, Wheel of Fortune and Chaos Orb. Not much to say about these cards are there? They are good and if you have them, you should play them.

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5 X-spells

I have no idea why I went for 5 but it seemed like a good number to start on. It should mean that we will draw at least two X-spells each game and as the plan is to burn out the opponent it seemed good. Some playtesting is required to really decide what number is the best. By the way, I went for 4 Fireball and 1 Disintegrate as I love the ability to split up the Fireball.

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12 Creatures

I started by adding a playset of all the good artifact creatures in the format; Juggernaut, Su-Chi and Triskelion. There are other playable creatures like Dragon Engine and Tetravus but I wanted to try with just the best first and see if I need more after some playtesting. Dragon Engine would be cool as it becomes quite dangerous with Tron assembled but it’s not a great card.

wakwak-4360.jpg

6 Flex slots

This is the part that is least thought through but I started out with 2 Jayemdae Tome, 1 Jalum Tome, 1 Disrupting Scepter and 2 Candelabra of Tawnos. But this quickly changed quite a bit. The Candelabra is only good with Tron as I removed the Factories so those got cut. Too many tomes and the scepter made it hard to activate them all without Tron so I cut the scepter and the Jalum Tome. I could probably add a third Jayemdae Tome but I actually don’t own one more. That left me with 4 slots and I that’s when I realized I didn’t have any removal or protection from flying creatures so I added two Maze of Ith. The other two slots became Copy Artifacts as I do play a couple of blue sources. I’m not sure how reliable it is to cast them early so I don’t know if they are any good. But I’ll try for now. Another card that could be added is Icy Manipulator as it can be a little bit of everything; removal, wincon (with City of Brass), mana denial or you could use it to tap down blockers. But with so many 4-drops I’ll test the Copy Artifacts for now. Maybe we could also splash black for Demonic and Mind Twist as we are playing 5 sources of black mana?

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The play

So just what is the plan of the deck as it looks right now? The threats are almost the same as in the classic blue red artifact aggro deck but the plan is quite different. That deck uses Mana Vault to power out an early threat and then can copy it with Copy Artifact to put on massive amounts of pressure early on. This deck however, doesn’t have any Mana Vaults and also play 4 more 4-drop creatures, so the plan is a little bit different. We sacrifice the early game with the plan to put out one threat every turn from turn 3 (we should be able to draw one mox) and onwards. That’s is the reason we play so many creatures and maybe even should play more. I also count the Jayemdae Tome as a threat as it will take over the game if it stays in play.

If the opponent is able to deal with the constant stream of threats we have our late game plan which consists of turning the opponent to ashes with a ball o fire. The longer the game goes on, the greater chance of assembling Tron to be able to cast Fireballs for 10+ damage. That’s why I decided to go with 5 X-spells as drawing two probably should close out the game if it goes long.

The big problem here is of course artifact hate and aggressive decks that kill us before we can get our plan rolling. We are however playing both red and blue which gives us access to BEB and REB against opposing burn, Energy Flux, Serendib Efreets, Shatterstorm and things like that. Also if we decide not to play Copy Artifact we only play 5 blue spells and maybe can think about playing Blood Moon in the sideboard if we think that would be more powerful than the Tron plan in some matchups.

The end

I haven’t yet tested the deck so this is just theory crafting right now but as I see it the above plan is at least in theory viable. Maybe the deck isn’t good and maybe it’s just better to play a more solid mana base with more ramp in the form of Fellwar Stone and also Mishra’s Factory. But who knows, maybe Tron kan steal a couple of games here and there and therefore is worth it.

I’ll sleeve it up and test is, tune it and come back with a part three I think. But we should not expect any miracles from this deck is my gut feeling.

PS. 

This post was written at the same time as the first post and I have since gotten more ideas on how to build Tron in old school. But this was my first thought process on how to make it viable. The only other viable idea I have heard of is making a Parfait style mono brown deck that can utilize the card draw to draw tron. That is a good idea as those decks often want to plat lots of cards in the same turn and therefore can use the mana and still play relatively inexpensive stuff for when you don't assemble Tron. Maybe I'll write more about that one in the future!