It’s been a while since I’ve picked up the pen! It’s embarrassing, actually, since I was very graciously handed the title of Best Blog in 2020 by Chris Mason (a good man indeed!) and my dear friend Mano (a bitter, bitter man) and possibly a handful of old-schools around the globe (the greatest and most generous community I’ve known). My excitement to receive this prestigious recognition was almost immediately crushed when Mano proclaimed the Quest for the Shark would never come to fruition since he was sure as shit never going to sign my Deep Water. I guess since the coronavirus continues to spike harder than Will Magrann and transmute quicker than Danny Friedman I have some time to sway him. If not, here’s a classic Sped saying that might sum up the situation.
Quite a bit has happened since my last post! My boy LePine got engaged! Was it for love? Was it because he knows we’ll give him Magic art for his wedding gift? Who knows, but a huge congratulations to a huge man with a huge heart!
Speaking of Magic art, I also took delivery of the commission I alluded to in the art episode of ATC. While I cracked my first packs in revised I really got addicted to the game around Rath Cycle, and had a full blown hard on for MTG during Urza’s block. When I look back at my junk rares box and see the evidence of the amount I’ve drafted Urza’s I sometimes wonder if I should have focused more on hanging out with girls or sharpening my Mario Kart skills. In any case, I also had quite a bit of constructed success in this block as well, mainly because I netdecked the Jar deck and mowed down a bunch of competition including a JSS qualifier win that led me to my one and only PT appearance (Chicago ’99 where I beat Ben Farkas I think round 1!). Jar is gas… the deck, the art, all of it. So when I reached out to Donato on a whim and he agreed to recreate it I had to jump on it. Because this painting was so much bigger than the original he told me he had way more room for activities and that I could add some additional elements in the Jar smoke. I landed on other pieces of the Jar deck, including Megrim (which was his original art) as well as Mox Diamond. Here’s the outcome:
Don’t worry, I’ll get to the Derby in a minute. We actually got some table top Magic in over the holidays! Too bad these dudes are the only dudes who’ve already signed the Deep Water. The games were fun nevertheless and dank-ass beers were consumed. Lemke busted out his infamous Turbo Hordes deck and did work! He ended up 6-2 in the Derby. Go Lemke!
Another moment of spice coming right up! Jamie unloads a turn 2 Seguir / Coumbajj Witches beatdown against a very powerful Forest, Go! play from me.
I don’t remember a whole lot about the evening, but photo evidence suggest I got my face smashed thoroughly.
And what would the holiday season be without special mail days? Package 1 came from Reindeer because he couldn’t stand to see me play my Revised Dibs one second longer.
Package 2 came from Turtleman simply because he is a good man. And thorough.
Whoops, wrong picture. Try this one.
Fuck me, I guess I’m pot-committed to talking about the derby at this point. OK, DFB is the man. Well done running the largest Old School tournament in the history of time. Also happy birthday and let’s let our wounds heal following this Bills loss. My opponents were great, power was cast, memories were made! I ended up playing a bastardized version of the Candle Flare deck I played in my very first Old School tournament (Eternal Weekend, 2018). I blame the changes on my friends. Spoiler alert, they spice-shamed me into cutting the Candles. Here’s the version I played in 2018, granted it was EC rules:
Note the Chronicles Recall (not even a troll back then) and Inferno as the 61st Spice Card. Not a great build at all, but plenty of fun and packed enough punch to start 5-0 and end 6-3. So I started to tune this up for the Derby and ended up with the build below.
This build is a little closer to a real deck. Candle is fun and can do some powerful stuff but at the end of the day it’s a spice card. 4 Factories is just a no-brainer, and when you commit to the 4 it’s hard to run the Channel. Sylvan isn’t really good enough anyway and when you’re committing to a Blood Moon plan it’s a pretty easy cut. Mirror is pretty bad without Mana Burn, unfortunately. Mirror should have been out and more Forks should have been in. I went 3-1 batch 1. It seems like every game in Old School Magic comes down to the wire if you’re playing on reasonably similar levels of casual. I could have easily gone 1-3 or 4-0. Batch 2 was a shit show! I lost my first 2 matches by razor thin margins and then I went on tilt. Not Magic tilt, of course. The kind of tilt that closed daycares and Covid screenings and quarantining and other aspects of being alive in 2021 will throw your way. Going 0-4 in batch 2 was the least of it. I couldn’t even schedule my final match with Olga Dushina, and once again, Olga, I apologize. But I’ll tell ya, if you’re going to go 0-4 in a batch you’d better be playing a fun deck. This deck is pretty fun but I wish I had done in right. Why was I trying to tune a Mana Flare deck? If you’re going to play Flares, Forks and Fireballs just jam your Channel, jam your Candles, jam your Inferno and send your opponent away muttering to himself when you blow up the board with Inferno. I’ll dust this off again and next time I’ll do it right. Until then, be safe out there and we’ll be sure to see each other across a table in 2021. Happy New Year!