LobsterCon 2021

Here comes the deluge of 6 month old tournament reports. A couple of years ago when I won n00bCoM and started this blog it didn’t take much to fire up a post. I had so many jokes Team Sped had beaten to death over the years, but most of which the world had not yet heard in any context. Now, for whatever reason, it seems like it takes some crazy stroke of inspiration to post, or in this case return to a 6 month old draft. Maybe I’m just out of jokes. But Svante’s recent post in which he unloaded all the happenings of the last 6 months was my inspiration because, well, I just thought it was funny we had a tournament report brewing for the past half a year and we’re just getting around to publishing it. So thank you, Svante, here comes my long-overdue ramblings from an event where I collected the most signatures in one shot to date. Here goes…

We were somewhere around Tree House brewery, on the outskirts of Boston, when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like should we have waited until we got to the miser’s house before we ate those gummies? Too late now…

We had just stopped at the dispensary in Lee, MA and needed to drive about 60 minutes out of our way to pick up a couple racks of Tree House dank, perhaps meet up with some old school misers. When you’re with Adam Lemke you know driving a straight shot to the bro house where 14 dudes are waiting to run a 16 man BD is not an option if there’s a tier zero brewery anywhere remotely on the way. This is a guy who once drove 5 hours out of the way for tier 2 dank on the way from Syracuse, NY to Jamie’s bachelor party in Atlantic City. We’re pretty sure he drove through Rhode Island at some point.

That’s some dank ass shit!
Don, Andy, Katz, Jeff, Lemke, Frantz, Levi, Jason

We were of course on the way to Lobstercon. More specifically it was Friday afternoon and we were on the way to the old school bro house for pre-tournament shenanigans. I was packing a bunch of old school decks, pre-modern decks, a Rath/Saga block battle box, the alpha-cut powered cube, my trade binder, 50 or so dank ass beers and a brown paper bag full of edibles. I was ready for just about anything. We pulled up front at about 4PM and unloaded the goods. I had only met about half the house in person prior to that so we barged in the door and tried to muster up a few social skills to meet new people. Edibles and my upbringing as a gamer (not to mention the Twilight Zone-esqe scene of a dozen or so old school magicians jamming some sort of Star Wars cube) made that a little difficult, so I decided to abort and head back out to attempt to park by big gas guzzling fucking truck on the cobblestone streets of Boston built for horse and buggy 400 years ago. An hour later I walked back in the front door, shook some hands, hugged some bros and tried to make a little eye contact. We then whipped out our cubes.

There were no fewer that a dozen cubes available in the bro house that weekend. I had 2 in hand and the rest we’ve gone through at length on ATC 178, but to be sure this was a house of dudes who cared deeply about a finely curated, carefully packaged limited format. I was perhaps more impressed with the presentation of each cube than the cube itself, which is saying a lot. It’s well documented that prior to each Sped Weekend, Mano and family will randomize the BD and carefully seal 15 cards in cellophane wrappers to maximize our time and enjoyment. This process is fucking child’s play compared to Cliff’s Old Bordered cube in it’s Dex box with some sort of high-grade plastic sleeves for each of the 15 card individually partitioned packs. At this point given the ample passage of time, lack of sleep and probable chemical imbalance from Seth’s infamous Nerds Rope I can’t possibly give you a coherent recap of anything cube related other than saying the whole experience of nonstop cubing was heavenly. This pic, which is definitely from the BD, is the only photo evidence I have and proof I was pretty gone since drafting any combination of B and U is surely a recipe for an 0-X record.

Gearhulk + Expunge = Meh

Quick aside, the ability to balance one’s chemicals is hotly debated in the Sped world. It’s actually bordering being a title these days. For those of you who don’t know, titles are of the utmost importance to a Sped are not to be taken lightly. Titles include things like Best Magic, Best Kart and Best Golf. This list I recently offered up on the Sped Discord is actually a fairly accurate representation of the current Best Balance Chemicals standings. You could arguably swap a couple of Speds within the top tier and bottom tier Chemical Balancers, or debate whether the use of one substance vs. multiple substances precludes one from being on this list at all, but for the most part here these are the standings after 25 years of data.

The more titles you have, the greater your ability to trump an argument or make rules that govern a Sped Weekend. One time, before we spent all our time Broken Drafting, we actually had 3 limited formats we cared about: BD, the current limited block, and Mano’s Cube. If you were Best all these formats you literally had unspeakable powers to do whatever you wanted. Any rule, any request… anything was yours. It was like the One Ring. Only one person won this Triforce: his name is Mano.

About a month before LobsterCon, Mano, Lemke and I stared to share some brews on the Discord. True to Old School times we agreed to play the same list come LobsterCon.

Lemke: I have a tight fucking list! Crushed it in CamJam with Orcish Captain, Unstable Mutation and Primordial Ooze!!!

Jeff: I think I only have Chronicles Ooze…

Mano: Guys! Guys!!! Do we want to win this thing or no?

Lemke: Obv! That’s why I posted this list. It’s tight!!

After much debate we landed on the list below. I’m not sure that it ever had a name, but as I sit here writing this I’m going to call it 12 Burn Cronenberg. Six months after the tournament it looks to me like what eXistenZ-era David Cronenberg would do with a tight 12 burn list once he got full funding from some unsuspecting misers to create the list.

In theory 12 burn plus restricted cards plus literally anything should be good enough to win, and I suppose in practice this was all true. I went 4-3, I think Mano did as well and I believe Lemke went 5-2 with an outside shot at winning the whole thing. But this deck was not fun and I think we all regretted our deck choice all day. There was not a lot of play to it at all. It wasn’t spicy enough to be spicy and it wasn’t tight enough to be competitive. It was definitely not eXistenZ or Videodrome. It was more like Naked Lunch: the unadaptable adaptation.

Our deck choice aside, DFB put on a first-class event, as usual. The hangs were so great before, during and after the main event. If I have one regret, it’s not my deck choice. I regret not getting Dave’s presentation of whatever he presented to Mano for his Lobstercon 2018 win on video. If you were there, you know what I’m talking about. If you were not, let me just tell you that Dave speaks eloquently at all times… even when he’s ready to rip your fucking head off with his bare hands. It was hands down my favorite moment of all time in the Old School community and therefore I had to commemorate it in a fitting way.

I can’t wait to meet a bunch of you who I’ve never met in person in a month. From what I can tell this Lobstercon 2022 is going to be another epic event. Please travel safe, diversify your bonds and balance your chemicals.

Cliff: Bringer of candy, maker of coffee.

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