Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Tournament Report -n00bcon X, 30 March 2018 - by Brother Ben

Another report from the recent N00bcon X, this time by Brother Ben

N00bcon X, the World Championships and pinnacle of Old School. Just the name of the event causes me to recall stumbling across Magnus' blog, and life changing forever.

Modern and Legacy staples being converted into ABU duals and moxen. The delight of building the decks we dreamed of in our youth. The relief of turning our backs on brats squealing "juuudge!".  The end of huge unfriendly tournaments under the strip lights.

In their place, camaraderie and relaxed play in pubs with great players who share our values. I was fortunate enough to make the semi-final this year, and this is my report.

Last year I took a relaxed approach to preparations and brought a kooky Millstone deck featuring Land Tax.  I packed a switcheroo sideboard to bring in fourteen creatures including Dakkon Blackblade, Angry Mob, Lady Evangelina, Knights of Thorn, Preacher, and White Knights. I went 3/4, met some great people, enjoyed great beers, and watched a thrilling final. This year I took a version of The Deck with 1 Abyss, 3 books, Spell Blast and 1 Serra. I was helped by Josh (who represented Spain and came close to top 8 himself) and Brother Stebbo who persuaded me to ditch a few lingering pet cards.

Better than a Clockwork Avian
The Alpha-only Wizards' Tournament event was the perfect aperitif. I expected a room filled with Grizzly Bears, Hill Giants, Craw Wurms, and Drudge Skeletons. But instead, this was a showcase of some amazing Alpha goodies.

The pairings system was genius: find another player and find a table. My Tim / Fungusaur deck got lucky against a round 1 Plague Rats/ Hyppies deck, but after that I was outclassed by Time Vaults, Lotuses, Shivans, and so many Sol Rings! A great event and so good to see these cards being played.

Tim in the graveyard leaving a rather meek Fungusaur

Next day, the main event started with a beer at the bar with the Brothers of Fire, a chance to catch up with old friends from last year, and to make new ones.

Brothers Of Fire unite!
I drew round 1 and then hit a hot streak with my deck behaving well enough to go 5.1.1. and make the top 8. It was a truly international field as I enjoyed games against players from Spain, Italy, Sweden, and more. I was impressed all weekend with the Italians in particular and would like to make it to Fishliver Oil to play them again.

One example of great sportsmanship - my opponent declared his own Chaos Orb flips invalid twice. The same guy gave me the benefit of the doubt over a Mana Drain. The true spirit of N00bcon.

My quarter final opponent was robbed. Game 1 I lucked out with a Library on the draw. Game 2 I lucked out with land, Mox, Lotus, and a Mind Twist. I don't advocate banning Library or Twist, but I do like the 'gentlemen's rule' of setting them aside.

I have played a lot of pros over the years, but the semi-final was my first game against Olle. In game 1 it was my turn to get rolled over by an unanswered Library. The second game was a watershed moment for me. He outplayed me, patiently holding back 2 Serendib Efreets on 6 mana, to preserve the ability to double counter. I learned a lot from that game.

That left time for a lot more beer at the bar and an epic ante game with a new American friend.

Thanks again to Magnus for organising, and to everyone who made the weekend so special.

(l-r: Brother Markus, Brother Stebbo, Brother Scott, Brother Jonas, Brother Ben (author))
The other magical side of N00bcon: the Swedish mystic pizza!

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