Brass Man I – 20 May 2017
Nine UK Old School Magic players descended upon the Craft Beer Company pub in central London last weekend to enjoy playing some classic cards and sampling the wide range of great beers on offer.
The tournament was instituted by myself and Markus Lundqvist, who suggested Brass Man as a prize and (inspired by the Swedish Giant Sharks) a handicap for the winner, as Brass Man winners must play their Brass Men in their 75 cards for all future Brass Man tournaments!
I took my UR Counterburn deck, which had previously won COPcon1, although since then Serendib Djinn had been removed for a fourth Flying Man, and the sideboard reworked, as well as some pimping out with Alpha Psionic Blasts and a couple of Unlimited Volcanic Islands.
Round 1 – Richard Stebbing (The Deck)
Richard is a familiar face at Old School tournaments, and his fearsome build of the classic The Deck is always a challenge to face. Richard’s mulligan in Game 1 gave me a glimmer of hope, and with his mana base of 3 City of Brass clearly as much on my payroll as his, I ended up winning. Game 2 was my turn to mulligan, and when my turn 1 Sol Ring was disenchanted I was unable to play threats quickly enough to trouble Richard, who soon drew his way to too many cards to overturn. Game 3 was a little weird, as Richard drew only 1 land (a Tundra) that got strip mined, so he was operating on just moxen and fellwar stones, whilst I had a surfeit of land but struggled for damage with Greater Realm of Preservation hampering my burn. The game descended into a topdeck war of extremely swingy proportions, as my Braingeyser for 5 and Ancestral Recall put me 6 cards ahead, only for Richard to cast Balance as a 10-for-1, destroying all 8 of my lands, plus Flying Men, plus a card discarded! However, with 2 lands still in hand and Richard still mana-screwed I was able to recover first and win 2-1 in the nick of time before he could re-establish control.
Round 2 – Tom Cadden (Blue/Black/White midrange)
Landlord Tom Cadden not only reserved two big upstairs tables for us but made his Old School debut in the tournament as well! After a bye in Round 1 I had the honour of playing Tom in his first ever two games. Alas both games unfortunately weren’t that close as Tom got badly manascrewed; my strip mining land and Shattering moxen not helping matters. A friendly game afterwards proved much the most fun, with me still winning but down on 5 life. The match highlight was arguably Tom casting Mind Twist for my whole hand of 5 cards with a Revised Mind Twist he had bought from me for £3 at the start of play; the fact it was countered probably summed up the match. Tom’s post-game observation that the absence of fetchlands means Old School decks need more mana sources than Vintage was shrewd, and he duly enjoyed more success in the subsequent rounds having added a couple.
Round 3 – Ben Twitchen (U/W midrange)
A recent n00bcon attendee and another UK Old School stalwart, Ben is another customer who has earned a healthy respect when his name appears in the pairings. Not so much U/W skies as U/W midrange, his deck had Savannah Lions and White Knight joining the fray alongside Serra Angel. Game 1 was a highly cagey affair with every threat on both sides answered promptly, including (to my great satisfaction after missing last time I played Ben) the destruction of his Serendib Efreet with Chaos Orb. In Game 2 I always seemed to have the upper hand, but thanks to Ben’s Ivory Tower it still seemed to take an age for me to turn the card advantage of Library of Alexandria into a game win – my Psionic Blast taking him from 4 to 0 being his 18th life change of the game.
Round 4 – Markus Lundqvist (Trick)
The match against my event co-host proved easier than I might have expected, with Markus digging frantically for threats in game 1 (I think we had Timetwister, Wheel of Fortune and Winds of Change!) without ever getting one to stick, whilst a dodgy keep in game 2 rather handed me the match. A fun practice game afterwards finished in real Old School style when on 4 life I stole Markus’s Juzam Djinn with Control Magic, only for the egg to end up back on my face as he bolted me down to 1 and I lost to the Djinn in my own upkeep.
Round 5 – Karl Hagan (Red deck wins, splashing Black and White)
Our decks were so aggressive that we actually had time to play four games, although I won the official two 2-0. Hampered somewhat by never seeing Ankh of Mishra in the match, Karl managed to get plenty of damage in with Ball Lightning and Black Vise, but was not quite quick enough to beat the UR Counterburn in either game, although we did go 1-1 in the practice games afterwards.
So with a 5-0-0 match record (and 10-1-0 in games) I was the clear winner, with Ben second on 12 points and Markus in third, very narrowly indeed on tie-breakers ahead of Tom in 4th. A satisfying victory, and one well worth the albatross of having to pack Brass Man in my deck next time.
Six of us stayed on after the official tournament to crack open my Old School cube for its fourth outing, where after some classic old school drafting (including severe overdrafting of black and underdrafting of red by the pod) Ben Twitchen emerged as the 3-0 victor. His reaction to “opening” a pack that included two Moxen, Shivan Dragon, Serra Angel, StP and Fireball was a sight to behold.
Ben's Old School booster "god pack"
The winning Old School cube deck
All in all, an excellent day was had by all, and with further events in the calendar in London and Edinburgh, a UK summer of Old School promises much to look forward to.
Black Vise unrestricted - the inevitable turn-one aftermath!