Ivory Cup IV Retrospective

The fourth Ivory Cup is over and left are just the memories, and the videos! Yes, two weeks ago we organized the playset edition of Ivory Cup, Stockholms first annual tournament following the likes like n00bcon, BSK and Arvikafestivalen. This year 29 brave souls showed up to play, which I believe is the same amount as last year and also a number we are very happy with as we don’t really promote it.

Old School has grown so large since the first cup and there are tournaments all over the world all the time. When we started the cup this wasn’t the case and we saw a part of the year where there were no tournaments, especially not in Sweden. Today you could play an old school tournament at least every month if you travel a bit (just as Jason Schwartz!) and it also seems every tournament try to make it cooler than the next in some way. The Ivory Cup however, will stay the same with non of that extra spice, except for our beer list.

We play at a community hall in the outskirts of Stockholm (a whoopin’ 15 min by metro from the central station) where we sell beers and have a couple of moderate prices. That’s it. Still, for some reason people from outside of Sweden travel here and we are deeply honored by that. So a big thanks to Åland, Brother Karl, Brother Stebbo, Constantine, Anya, Timo, Jason and Mitja who made it so that we had more guests from outside of Sweden than swedes outside of Stockholm (Arvika, Gbg and more, what’s up?). With that said, a special thanks to Kalle who both travelled from the other side of the country to play and painted an amazing price for us!

For the international guests and the ones who found a link on the tournaments webpage and asked me about it we also held a special invitational tournament the day before. A singleton tournament without all the bannings most people do. A fun format to play every now and again, but not really a format. If you want to read more about that, check out Svantes report from the event.

But now let’s talk about what you probably here for, the decks and the videos!

I’m actually not going to say much more than here are the top 8 decklists and under them you will find video coverage. We didn’t stream the cup this year, but we did however record a feature match every round. And as it is not much fun to watch a match with no sound Gordon, Seb and Paddan sat down to drink a lot of beer and do commentary (that’s why it has taken some time to get it up).

Without further ado, here it is!

Decks:


Videos:

The above is a playlist with all 5 rounds+top8.

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

Brewing the CandleFactroy

I promised you guys a small post about my brew CandleFactory so here it is. I’ll go through the idea I had, my testing and what I found works and not.

(You can find the tournament report and introduction to the deck here.)

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So many fun interactions

The Idea

So, the idea for the deck is quite simple and it started with me liking Candelabra of Tawnos and buying a second one. The plan was to build something with Mana Flare but I began having fun with a stupid Lands deck instead. That didn’t work out and I put aside the Candelabras and instead focused on re-brewing my Field of Dreams deck (Kevin Costner.dec) and while brewing on that one I dug up my seldom used Copy Artifacts. That’s when it hit me, one of my favorite things to do with Copy Artifact is to copy an activated Mishra’s Factory (you then end up with an UN-activated Mishra’s Factory that is an Land Enchantment) and as Factory is good with Candle that might be something worth playing.

version 0.1

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The idea struck me about an hour before my friend Johan Råberg was going to come over for a couple of games so I just put together something rough to test against him in that hour. As Factories, Copy Artifacts and Candelabras is far from a complete deck I quickly decided to also put in my absolut favorite combo in the format Guardian Beast + Chaos Orb. And if you want that combo you should probably have some Transmute Artifact to be able to find the restricted Orb. And if you have Transmute and Guardian Beast you should also play some fun artifacts to get and protect so I added Icy Manipulator, Jayemdae Tome, Su-Chi, Triskelion and some junk I don’t remember. Of course I also added a couple of Maze of Ith as they are amazing with Candelabra. Add a bunch of mana and restricted cards and you have my first version.

After some goldfishing though I felt it was a little boring to use the Candelabra for only Factory and Library of Alexandria (now, that’s a thing of beauty!) so I actually added 2 Fireball and 1 Mana Flare just for the sake of it.

After Johan came and we played some magic the deck actually worked better than expected and I got to win against Johan both with Mana Flare, Candle+Factory, copying Su-Chi/Triskelions and Beast combo. The problem was however that it was super vulnerable to Armageddon so I wanted counterspells. That’s how the red package went out. It was mostly just cute anyway.

The week after

I didn’t think much about the deck after that until Johan once again came over for some games the day before the tournament Alphaspelen 3. Then I actually tried some new builds and decided to play it at the tournament. The reason however, was mostly because when he went home I went to sleep so I didn’t have the time to build a new deck. I actually didn’t even build a sideboard and just took 15 good cards right before leaving for the tournament.

But let’s rewind to the day before the tournament. As said before I had removed the red Mana Flare package for Couterspells and that was what I tried this evening to much success. The last thing I changed was to remove red completely and instead put in white. The reason I still had red was to have Red Elemental Blast against Energy Flux. But I decided white was better because of being able to also Disenchant Underworld Dreams, this is a slow deck after all.

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Which one should I choose?

tournament findings

As I’ve already done a tournament report that is not what I’m going to do here. Instead I’m going to write about a couple of findings from playing the deck.

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  1. Copying one of my three threats was something I did more than I expected and it was great having that choice to be able to win quickly when needed. This also protected the Guardian Beasts for a late game combo, as the opponent used removal on my other threats. Don’t know what the right number of threats are though.
  2. The Reconstruction is nice but sometimes it just get stuck in your hand. Don’t know if I should cut it or not (I probably should, but I love it!).
  3. Having more than one Candle in play can be amazing but the deck becomes real mana hungry when you want to activate a couple of Factories and also untap them a couple of times. I now own a third one but I think two is the right number with Transmute and Copy Artifact.
  4. Copying Icy Manipulator was fun and I quite often did it and won by using Icy as mana denial. I would love to play more Icy Manipulators to actually have this is one of the main plans.
  5. Two Guardian Beast seemed like the right number, sometimes they block small critters, sometimes they allow you to combo and sometimes they just protect stuff as they were designed to do.
  6. It’s always nice with a counterspell in hand to protect the combo or against Armageddon but as the deck mostly plays out like a tap out control deck I think three is enough.
  7. The split between Mana Vault and Fellwar Stone is something I’m not sure about. Mana Vault is amazing as we play a lot of 4-drops and with Transmute you can get rid of it as well. Therefore, I would like more. But as Factory and Candle is so mana intensive we also need a steady source of mana, like Fellwar. I’ll probably continue to play a split.

 

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sideboard findings

  1. I liked being able to board in more Beasts, maybe I even would want one more. Mostly against creature decks with Swords to Plowshares. Against those decks my creature plan is so much worse than theirs so it’s really good to be able to combo in the late game. It also gives us two more good blockers.

  2. The Disrupting Scepter was just there because I had no idea what to put in the sideboard.

  3. The Ivory Towers should probably be cut as we are a tap out control deck and want to play our cards instead of keeping them i our hand as you can do with Swords and Counterspell.

  4. A COP: Red should be a good inclusion because sometimes you can get in control but still have a long way to go before you can kill the opponent. If he or she plays burn that is a big problem with only three counterspells.

  5. Against control decks, and maybe also combo decks, one more counterspell would be nice to have access to in the sideboard.

  6. Sure, we play Guardian Beast but one City in a Bottle could be nice as a Transmute target against Arabian aggro and more.

 

 

Brewing

Actually I haven’t played much more with the deck so I don’t have many more findings to write about. I have however brewed and thought about it a bit to see what different directions you could go with the deck.

I’ve narrowed my ideas down to four main builds but keep in mind these are all just rough sketches.

CandleBeast

This is the version I played at the tournament. Skipping the red, skipping going aggro, and playing the Guardian Beast combo. There is however a couple of ways to build this as well. I’ve looked into playing the beast in the sideboard and The Abyss main, or the other way around. Mostly to have different game plans depending on the matchup. But I haven’t gotten this to work yet. But sure, with The Abyss main you become really good against creature decks and against control I think the combo is the best.

The Abyss Aggro

This build skips the beats and instead plays The Abyss, as it is amazing with Maze of Ith. It also adds a couple of more artifact creatures to go with the Abyss and it’s probably the best version. It is however also the most boring build as you more often than not loose track of the main idea, copying factories and using Candelabra. And you also loose the beast combo. In this build I've also decided to cut Counterspell and Transmute Artifact as there is no combo to tutor for or protect. Lastly I also switched to playing 4 Mana Vault instead of a split between Fellwars and Vaults as this deck wants to ramp out a creature quick and copy it.

The Abyss Control

You can do the same as in the above build but instead of more creatures add more Icy Manipulator to become more of a tap out control. In this build the copy factory plan is still valid and good. I like this quite a bit as it does everything I want, except comboing with Guardian Beast. I also added more books and cut a Transmute Artifact as I don’t need to find the combo.

Light the Candle 

This is the first version I tried, the one that splashes red for Mana Flare and a couple of Fireballs. I don’t think this will be even close to as good as the other builds but it’s absolutely the version that will give you the most varied game play, as you have so many different game plans in the same deck. It makes the Candles even better but without a Fireball in hand you don’t want to play Mana Flare so it’s a bit clunky. That’s why I only play one. The cards to cut is harder though. You want Counterspell to protect one of your two combos but there isn’t much else to cut. Maybe the artifact creatures, but then you really need to draw a factory for your Copy Artifacts to do anything.

That’s all my thoughts for now. I will continue to brew on this for a while and test different things, but I wanted to share my initial thoughts about the deck. I lean towards playing either the Icy control with The Abyss or a more opted version of what I played last time. The Abyss version is probably the one which is most true to my initial idea of copying Factory and hitting hard with Candelabra of Tawnos. But then again, the beast combo is just so fun.

/Gordon

Decklists from Alphaspelen 3

This will be the shortest post yet and mainly consist of images as I thought people would like to see what decks were played yesterday at the tournament Alphaspelen 3. So here they are in order of placement in the tournament.

I'm also working on a tournament report that will come up later this week and also an in-depth article about my deck with a couple of different variations built on the same theme. But you will probably need to wait a week or two for that one.

/Gordon

Ps. Thanks to Magnus Engdal who made it possible to photograph every participants deck.

Time Vault in Field of Dreams

Could Time Vault actually be good in this deck?

Could Time Vault actually be good in this deck?

One of my absolute favorite decks in old school is the not often seen Field of Dreams deck. Here in Stockholm we most often call it Kevin Costner after the movie Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner (thank you Per for coming up with that name!).

You can read more about the deck in the archetype section (here) but the main plan is to survive long enough until you can get both Field of Dreams and a Millstone on the table. After that you mill your opponent every time they have a card you don’t want them to draw on the top of their library. Two well proven strategies is to give them all mana or no mana (yes, this deck is pure evil (and yes, I like parenthesis)).

I’ve played this deck a few times before but never in a big tournament so I was thinking of taking this to the next big event in Sweden. Therefore, yesterday I once again sleeved it up and took it to our monthly pub gathering. This time with a new “super secret” tech, Time Vault.

This is the deck right now. Except for the Timetwister which I now have cut.

The plan with Time Vault was to help when you’ve got the lock in. Sometimes you only have one Millstone and if you mill away a good spell and two cards down there is another good spell you can be in trouble. Even with two Millstones this can happen so my plan was to use Time Vault to minimise the risk of the opponent drawing something good. So when I know the opponent is just going to draw a land or something else that doesn’t matter I let him take another turn and untap my Time Vault. Then if I’m in a spot later on when I’ve milled him but he still has a good card on top I can take another turn and another shot at it. It’s also quite good when you want to use all your mana for a Braingeyser or if you want to attack with Mishras but then have mana up for a Counterspell and some milling.

It worked a lot better than expected and with Field of Dreams the Time Vault actually became a good card, even without Millstone.

/Gordon