Enter our heroes.
I'd already planned to travel down to London for the day to see friends and chill while slinging some cardboard. Being neither lean nor mean, I'd got my perfect deck picked out, a "Mirrorball" deck that uses lots of mana ramp in the form of moxen, Fellwar Stones, Mana Flare, etc. to power out a huge Fireball/Disintegrate/Earthquake/Hurricane to end the game. I’d done well with it at our recent Lords of Atlantic series finale and wanted to represent my group well at this event.
On this occasion however, my wife informed me that she had a training day of her own on the Saturday and I would need to be on daughter duty. That's fine, I thought. She can play Magic, and even has her own mono-white Old School deck. It's a little more midrange than some builds, but she has got rather proficient with it.
On our way down on the motorway we stopped off for a break and came across this little pub. Thinking it could be a sign, we stopped for a photo...
|The Hope and Champion…|
When pairings were eventually called there was a little surprise at Ruth's involvement. She was drawn against Andrew Tucker - the Queen Bee of local playgroup The Hive. (I have no idea whether or not he calls himself this but having come up with the pun I intend to use it!).
Ruth took a quick Game 1 with an aggressive start before Andrew came back to nick Game 2. A long series of combo turns from myself against Brother Markus meant that I didn't manage to see her clinch an inaugural victory in competitive play against a strong opponent. Had I gotten another turn off Markus I would’ve had the match in the bag, but, alas, he recurred Time Walk over and over to end up the victor against me.
Ruth then had the chance to avenge my defeat to Brother Markus. He knew better than to underestimate her, having lost to her 2-0 before when she was at the tender age of just 3 and a half!
Turn 1, Game 1, this happens:
The best was saved for the end of the decider, as Markus miscalculated his mana and life total, Psionic Blasting Ruth’s creature to leave himself at one, with one untapped land and an Icy Manipulator for Ruth’s solitary creature. No takesie backsies Markus!
2-0, 4-2. My baby’s on a roll!
I came up against my team-mate from the World Cup in Round 2, George Garner, who was readying himself for his first n00bcon experience. I never quite clicked into gear in either of our two games and missed the chance to send him a lethal Channel Fireball. Instead, I split it between his two creatures and I died shortly afterwards to his own Fireball. I was given the bye for Round 3 and decided to drop so that I could support my daughter properly.
At this point I was starting to feel a little worried as she sometimes can lack stamina after a few games. However, when I looked down at the table in her third match against Brother Ben and saw his The Abyss against a collection of White Knights on a Crusade, my fears proved unfounded. Some Disenchants and Swords to Plowshares from Ben saw him "stabilise", or at least pass the turn expecting to see another, at 3 life with just a White Knight on board, having just blown up the Crusade she'd played the previous turn.
I turned to Jason standing next to me. "Watch her peel another Crusade here for the win".
She draws for the turn, grins gleefully, slams the Crusade and turns her Knight sideways.
Game 2 was tougher for her, and she lost to a flying army of Serendibs and Serras. However, she stabilised in Game 3, sticking a Serra Angel, suiting it up with a Divine Transformation, and beating down with an 8/8 angel!
Round 4 saw the last two undefeated players face off as she took on Bryan Mueller, who was also on an aggressive deck.
The first game followed a similar play pattern to the previous rounds as she curved out perfectly. Topping out with a 5/5 flyer is sweet, and multiple punts of not quite lethal burn spells at crusaded creatures didn't help Brian's cause. However, he recovered to take Game 2, taking the final match went to a decider.
Ruth got off to a great start on the back of a good mulligan decision and top-decked like a boss. I cringed at the missed opportunities for factories to get in for damage but it ultimately didn't matter. We had our clean sweep anyway and, quite probably, the youngest ever Old School tournament victor!
The rest of the field made a big fuss of her victory and she loved every minute of it. A Serra Angel was produced and signed by all attendees for her, including SIX of this year's n00bcon invitees. Having beaten three of them, she had proven her Old School mettle.
I certainly got some stick when We Are The Champions came on, though it was sweet music to my ears listening to my daughter enjoy the game I love so much.
Good luck to all the Brothers and the rest of the team heading out to Gothenburg later this month.