The Old School MeetUp group that I started had its first meet up recently. It went really well. There was a total of three people, including myself. This guy Jared, who I actually met through the blog, came up from Boston to play. And my friend Nick, who I’ve known since grade school also came.
I’ve already planned the next MeetUp for the beginning of November which I’m excited about. I’m hoping to get an Old School community up and running in the area. We’ll see if it takes off. I’m going to keep planning events and I think more people will eventually join. Even if there’s only five or so people in a dedicated group, I’d consider that a success.
We met up at the Taphouse which is a bar/restaurant in Hooksett, New Hampshire for 7 pm. Jared, being from Boston, got there around 6 to beat the traffic. Traffic – that’s the tough thing about big cities. The distance from here to Boston isn’t far but traffic has the potential to turn the 45 or so minute drive to over 2 hours. I felt bad that he had to wait around for an hour but he killed the time by getting dinner at the bar.
I talked a big game about my Halloween decks last week and I didn’t even bring them to the MeetUp. I brought my Dead Guy Ale and Blue decks instead. This was the first time for me playing Magic out in public and against someone I didn’t know so I wanted to be at least somewhat competitive. I’ve never even played at Friday Night Magic. About 98% of the games I’ve played have been against Nick who typically uses one of my decks and my brother who plays modern big creature decks. So I was a little nervous for the first couple of games. I got my ass handed to me the majority of the time. I think I only won one of five or so games I played. It was great though anyways because it was a lot of fun and I learned how to play a little better.
By the way, if you’re into obscure horror films check out Nick’s Instagram. Every October he watches a horror film every day and writes about it. Previously he did a blog each year but this year he’s doing it through Instagram. Definitely check it out. It’s awesome.
I showed up before Nick so Jared and I ordered some beers and played a couple games in the meantime. I played my Dead Guy Ale which up to this point, typically wins (though it’s only against my own decks and modern decks!) I was a little nervous to see how’d I’d do. I’ve learned a lot of theory since following a bunch of Old School Magic guys on Instagram but I have very little real world experience with the said theory. So this night was a first for many things.
Jared played an ErhnamGeddon deck and it totally crushed me. It was good though because I saw some new things. I saw the power of Land Tax, Moxen, and I witnessed my first Chaos Orb flip! I should have recorded it to post here…or at least for memories sake. Eventually he switched to a white weenie deck. I didn’t think to get pictures of his decks and I’m kicking myself for it now. Next time I’ll get pictures…
Being a little nervous I accidentally played some illegal casts. One of them was a Disenchant with a Swamp and a Factory. Fortunately Jared caught it and said, “how did you do that?” I looked down at my mana and realized I had no Plains or City of Brass or anything providing white mana. “Damn,” I said not really knowing what to say. I started sweating a little hoping I wouldn’t make such a stupid mistake again. I had just met Jared, he probably thought I was trying cheat! Oh well, I paid more attention and tried to loosen up a bit and fortunately it didn’t happen again after that. I thought about the Old School event at GP Providence coming up which I’ll certainly be a little nervous for.
I think the best part of the night was witnessing the power of the Moxen. The games that Jared got his Mox Emerald and Pearl out, he was always 2 or 3 turns ahead of me while I was trying to keep up. That gave him the upper hand. The Moxen mixed with the Land Tax really gave him incredible power. One of the games he had a Land Tax and a Sylvan Library out. I never thought about those two working together until I saw the power it gave. The Land Tax adding the ability to shuffle the library was awesome. I think it actually ended up being more powerful than a Library of Alexandria. Of course though, the combo requires two cards and they both have casting costs where Library of Alexandria has no casting cost, can’t be countered, and doesn’t require a combo. Still, it was awesome.
When Nick showed up he used my blue aggro deck and played against Jared. I took a break and watched them play while I shot a couple of pictures. It’s interesting to me to see other people play my own decks. It’s a reminder that there isn’t just one way to play a deck. And also that there are ways that are better than others. Both Nick and Jared are seasoned veterans when it comes to Magic compared to me. They both conversed about their MTG pasts for a while.
Funny to think that my MTG past can be summed up very easily: Collected cards in 94/95; Learned how to play (somewhat) when my brother and I got Portal starter sets in ’97 or ’98; played occasionally at lunch Freshman year of high school with a terrible deck; fast forward to 2013-2015 where I played occasionally against my brother and friends with a mishmash of mediocre cards and virtually lost every game; got into Old School and finally learned a thing a or two about the game.
That being said, both Nick and Jared understand the game at a much deeper and theoretical level than me and can play any deck better than I can. This is why it was interesting to watch Nick play my blue deck. They played two or three games and Nick won one of them! As I’ve mentioned before, I own no Power yet. The closest thing I have to any type of Power is Library of Alexandria which I’ve heard is included in the hypothetical Power Ten. Regardless, I’ve got to pick up a Mox at some point.
My thinking has been I would put off buying any of the Power Nine for as long as possible because of the prices. For the price of even an Unlimited Mox you can get a few Juzams or something. Why buy a Mox when you can get multiple really powerful cards for same price? Well, I learned the answer from playing against Jared: you buy a single Mox instead of multiple powerful cards because a single Mox is more powerful than multiple cheaper cards.
I think it might be time to buy a Mox.
I was planning to buy more Juzams, or a Beta Mind Twist, or Beta Demonic Tutor or even replacing my Revised Balance with a black bordered Balance before spending money on a Mox. I think now it might be better to just wait and buy a Mox or two for the speed it gives. Even if I have great cards in a deck, it will probably lose if it’s slower than other decks.
Another issue I had with my deck was mana availability. The Dead Guy Ale, being two colors, sometimes I have white cards in my hand with no white mana to cast them or black cards with no black mana. This doesn’t happen every time but it happened the first few games I played at the MeetUp. This doesn’t necessarily get fixed with Moxen but the Moxen can help. When I got home I promptly ordered three more Cities of Brass to try to fix this. I have one AN City and was planning to eventually buy three more. I felt I needed them as soon as possible to fix the mana issue so I bought Chronicles Cities for the time being.
I’ve made a couple of Mox proxies for the deck for the MeetUps while waiting until I buy real ones. I have a couple of paint pens and tried it out. I think they look pretty good. I’m excited to try them out and see how it will ramp up the deck! They definitely look cool but they don’t hold a candle to the real thing. The real ones are certainly great looking and great cards, but they’re also a piece of Magic history and there’s value in that – especially if you’re into Old School.
I’m definitely excited to see where this Old School group goes. It’s a small three person group but I’m confident it will grow over time if I’m consistent with planning these little events. I learned a lot about playing the game with just this one MeetUp so I’m looking forward to learning a lot more!
Next Week: Will-O’-The-Wisps and where you can find some in real life.