Monday, November 12, 2018

Eternal Weekend 2018 Old School

I'm on my way home to Missouri from Eternal Weekend slightly hung over, with a slightly heavier bag, a lighter wallet, a belly full of tacos and a full heart. Seriously though, Condado in downtown Pittsburgh is my favorite taco joint in the continental 48 I've had so far, I highly recommend it. Every year I'm around the people in this community, I grow more confident that I'm a part of the best community in Magic and probably any community of nerds. We had a record breaking turnout once again, with 181 ballers in the Elk Lodge in Pittsburgh chugging on $2.50 Yuenglings and literally cleaning them out of chicken 'planks'.

I had the privilege of meeting some of the Beasts of the Bay and Lords of the Pit via an invite to a small gathering at Hemingway's, a sports bar in downtown Pittsburgh. Being new, somewhat anxious, and surrounded by college students screaming at TV's, I opted out of adding a Contract from Below (replacing ante with shots for yourself and your opponent) to my deck to control the amount of alcohol I consumed that night, but enjoyed a cheap IPA and some above average bar food. I knew I was with my people as a wrap exploded in my peripheral and saw everyone put a fry on top of all their sandwiches. Connecting with a couple of the Lords beyond the game itself, playing matches, and enjoying an un-punched sandwich made for a good night to break in Bayou Lightning.

I sold my Mox Ruby to buy a set of Lorwyn foil Thoughtseize and get my Legacy Storm list back to level 100, so I had an empty slot, which became a sentimental Birds of Paradise, gifted to me by an old friend as the second Magic card I've ever owned. This bird made some appearances all weekend and actually claimed a life in the last round of the Eternal Central event!

Erhnam Djinn is one of my favorite creatures in this format, so I bought a set of Italian fbb I found for a reasonable price at the event hall, which unfortunately inspired a change in me after I stared at them for a while. I went a little nuts, opting to un-Swedish-ify my deck. I have no regrets. I love black borders too much, and the prices for Unlimited cards is a little silly right now, so I was fortunate enough to make the necessary changes and actually come out ahead financially. It's a small change in tone from my last post, but that's part of being human, right? Growth and change is a part of our existence, it should be celebrated.
I waited a couple days on this while the Beta DT arrived <3

The last fbb's will be in the mail in a few weeks time, bumping out the Japanese 4th for Italian 3rd (I like when it says 1994), and I'll upgrade to Beta Berserk in time (hmu if you want to make a trade happen <3). The Moxen and Orb will probably be white bordered forever. Overall a wild transformation in just one weekend!

So I'm in love with this deck, which is good because I sold a small pile of red duals for the Bayous (so worth it). Mono Swamps is dope, but Erhnam Djinn speaks to my heart, and our first date was this tournament, I think it's going well so far. We ended 4-5, which I think was serendipitous.

Round 1 vs Mark Lepine on Grixis Troll Disco - L
- Mark was a pleasant opponent, albeit of few words during our match, giving the impression of a competitively minded opponent. He dispaches me quickly leaving up his mana perfectly every turn of both games so I can never kill any of his trolls while they pull me under a bridge and eat me.

Round 2 vs Kyle Teagan on Deadguy Ale - W
- Kyle, like Mark, was pleasant enough, but also quiet and also had an aura of more competitive pursuit while playing our games. We played some tight games with lots of Hymn to Tourach and a turn 1 Sengir Vampire from me closing out our last game.

Round 3 vs Greg Kotscharjan on UWR Control - L
- Greg and I met at Hemingway's, I felt less tense playing against someone I met before the match started. His deck was powerful, Spirit Linking my Erhnams and then stealing them with preacher was quite the beating. He took all my fun away game 1 when I double Giant Growth and Berserk an Erhnam to attack for a clean 20 on turn 4, as he had the Spell Blast for my Berserk.

Round 4 vs Justin Waller on BW Island Sanctuary Robert Westergard on Mono White - W
- Justin and one of his friends wanted to go watch their mutual friend play the Vintage top 8, understandably. Since they left in a pair, there was another player without an opponent. Rob sat down and we had a very raucous match, signing his Discord channel name on my Deep Spawn and awarding me some casino dice for my victory.

Round 5 vs Brian Bogdon on Deadguy Ale - L
- Brian's deck is very similar to mine. For better or worse, the games were decided by Juzam being a more powerful card than my budget Sengir Vampires. Swords to Plowshares and Disenchant are also an absolute beating while being Hymned into the dirt.

Round 6 vs Eric DoCouto on Deadguy Ale - L
- Eric was pleasant, however the games went identically as the previous round. Somewhat disappointing, but these are legal cards, and I won't yuck anyone's yum. If they're having a good time, I'm happy, I just don't personally care for splashing for 'goodstuff' options, Giant Growth is way more fun to me than Lightning Bolt or Swords to Plowshares.

Round 7 vs Jeff West on The Deck - L
- This was my first experience with The Deck.This thing is nuts. I feel like I had a strong draw, and in our games he drew poorly, and it just didn't matter. The sheer amount of cards he drew and the quality of each individual card dispatched me systematically. I conceded the first game for the sake of time, I was completely locked out by a full grip, an Abyss, and what probably would have been a 30 minute turn sequence while a Mishra's Factory was located to make me pay my union dues.

Round 8 vs Jonathan Brummer on UR Candleflare - W
- Unfortunately, this was one of those matches where Hymn to Tourach stuck a straw in the Capri Sun pouch of fun we were having. In our 2 games, I casted 8 Hymn to Tourach against a critical mass combo deck, and was in such a commanding state, didn't feel the need to use any of the 3 Strip Mine I had in play.

Round 9 vs Andy Baquero on UW Illusionary Mask - W
-Andy was a delightful opponent showing me pictures of previous matches where his opponents did cool stuff and I knew I was fighting someone like myself. We had an epic couple of games where I was Balanced to 3 lands, 3 cards in hand, and lost an Erhnam and a Hippie. 2 turn cycles later I had 2 Sengir Vampire and another Erhnam in play, the draws worked in my favor. Our game 1 was decided by the Giant Growth on my attacking Birds of Paradise while he was at 3 life. Exactsies!

Overall a mediocre performance, but the games were fun, and my opponents were mostly pleasant. I played against some more serious opponents in the first couple of rounds, but the rule of 'after round 3 you are exactly where you want to be' rule rang true this event, I was comfortably in the bottom of the middle (the fun zone) and remember playing all of my rounds this year! Last year involved me blacking out, sobering up, and getting hung over during the OS event at Eternal Weekend, I won all of my matches while blacked out, so that must speak for something. Shout out to my friend Josh for correcting me at that event; someone who asked I told I was 1-3, however I was apparently 3-3 at that moment.

I'll continue working on the details of getting an Old School event for Springfield MO in the coming spring to benefit a local charity. I'm waiting for a few legal things to fall into place so the Dreamers can host the event at our local shop in Springfield instead of relocating to a venue outside of our city, as it would defeat the purpose. Stay tuned in for those things.

I'll close this article with a final stat. I went 0-2 on Chaos Orb flips sober, and 2-0 on Orb flips while tipsy or worse. The ongoing joke with my fellow Dreamers is that I don't miss Orbs while drunk, I'm staying consistent in that regard.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Identity and Aesthetic

Eternal Weekend 2018 is just around the corner. Just 1 week before, in true 'me' fashion, the deck I have played for months and tuned into a well-oiled machine does not even remotely appeal to me anymore. I feel that the reasons are interesting though, when I sit down and think about it.

This started as Jund because I have Jund Moxes and 12 Jund duals, why not, right? Turns out Bayou Lightning...without the Lightning... is also powerful. But here's the thing.

Chronicles Erhnam Djinns
4th Ed Sylvan Libraries
Revised Duals
FBB City of Brass

For some reason, these cards not being the 'correct' set makes me not want to play the deck. And why? The cards are legal, some are even 'pimp' to folks out there; having black borders is hip with the youths, after all.

They just don't excite me, which is the antithesis of this format. Playing cards just because they're powerful is not how I want to play Old School. I've played 'good stuff' decks for years of competitive Magic, it's just not the definition of 'fun' for me. I used to think I was a spike and that winning was my source of fun, but after winning a reasonable amount and still feeling stagnant, I realized that having fun was the missing piece.

Aesthetic matters to me, not necessarily even the border, the concept of 'Swedish legal' aesthetically really revs my engine. I'm a lower middle class guy living in the Midwest on pretty thin margins. Beta is unattainable for me, so Unlimited is about the top end of where I can reach; but even just Unlimited, the darker colors, the lengthy rules text, how it just looks old... Somehow 4th edition and Unlimited were just a few short years apart, but feel a decade apart, aesthetically.

Eternal Weekend, especially the Old School tournament, is the chance for me to meet a lot of the awesome people in this community, jam some games, and enjoy some pumpkin-y brews while doing it. Twitter isn't enough, people are what make this game great. Why should I worry so much about whether or not my Erhnam Djinns are from Arabian Nights or not? I probably shouldn't.

So, ending my tangent, what exactly do I want to do instead of Jund-em-out? 'What brought me into this format?' was a question I asked myself during this process.

  • The players. Everyone has a blast and is so welcoming. As a member of the LGBT+ community, the supply of spaces where I am unconditionally welcomed in is fewer than you'd imagine, and the feeling of brotherhood over a card game that was a coping mechanism for chronic depression and bullying in my early life is a perfect source of good energy.

  • The ideology. Tournaments that financially help the underprivileged, as a person whom lived more than a few years of his life in need, resonates deeply with me. If humans were to cease to exist on the planet, the only good thing we produce that would disappear with us, is the phenomenon of people being good and kind to each other. Making the world a better place while playing my favorite game? Perfect.

  • The game. Magic is the best game in the world, unfortunately current design is literally ignoring the stuff that makes the game great. The non existence of the color pie, planeswalkers, creatures with 4 spells on them, and the dilution of other eternal formats with poor design atop poor design has made me lose that love I had playing Legacy. I still love Storm, and I'll play it forever, but Old School has stolen my heart for the game.


  • Dark Ritual. My favorite card in the game by a large margin. Everything about it, every artwork, every format it's legal in, the decks I get to play it in, it just is magic to me. As well as knights and dragons and everything else that is old school magic. My first magic deck gifted by a friend had a revised White Knight in it; the artwork will always be iconic to me. The same goes for Black Knight, which I found almost immediately after.

You see where this is going.

The first time I saw mono black, I knew I wanted to play old school. Nothing else mattered really. I found out about the rest of the format later, I saw this deck and wanted to play it immediately. Dark Ritual into Hypnotic Specter is like winning on turn 1 anyway. 

I'm beside myself with excitement for Eternal Weekend. Please come tell me hello if you read this, I look forward to making new friends and relying on Hymn to Tourach to carry my drunk ass to a 50% win rate one way or another.

Who else likes ink? My project that predates my love for Old School is very near completion, and I'm excited to run it into a very hostile field for the Legacy portion of Eternal Weekend.

Told you I was a Dark Ritual junkie.

Friday, August 31, 2018

A New Dream

Welcome to my first post! My name is Ryan, I expect some of my fellow Dreamers will post on this blog from time to time, but I'm the nerd that got way too pumped and made this blog, so I'll probably be the most frequent poster here.

This will be a repository for tournament reports, Old School musings, and the occasional announcement for an event here, which will also be on my Twitter and probably Facebook if it doesn't make me angry by existing.

I'm putting together our first charity event to benefit a local domestic abuse shelter, and got some on-theme prize cards for entry.

Writing some rad shit on those shields will be fun.

Another Dreamer is a VIP member of a local bar, the 417 Taphouse, here's to hoping they'll let us use their back room for debauchery and throwing Chaos Orbs at each other.

I've been thinking about getting our little private Facebook group of a team off the ground for a bit, it's wild to be accepted into the fold so quickly after deciding I was done sitting on my hands and waiting for things to happen.

Years of competitive play, and I feel like this little pip is one of my most cherished accomplishments. Community>>>tournament results.

Sorry this blog layout is ugly, I promise I'll fix it soon <3

- Ryan