This past Saturday the New England Old School crowd finally had another Old School tournament. It was long awaited and it was tons of fun. It had been roughly six months since we organized something on this scale. And everything turned out perfect. The pub, the parking situation, the people, the city; Boston treated us well.
Most of the crowd lives in or around Boston but a couple people came up from Connecticut and Chris Mason and I met up in Manchester, New Hampshire and drove down together. On Friday there were only about five confirmed people that were going to show up but by the time Saturday morning rolled around we got lucky and had a bunch of last minute confirmations. A total of thirteen people showed up with one extra guy coming in halfway through.
So Chris and I met up at the parking lot in front of Double Midnight Comics and made our way down. We left around 10:45 am to make it to Barlow’s by 12:30 when the tournament started. Distance wise, Boston is technically only about forty or so minutes from Manchester but you have to account for traffic which Boston, like any city, has loads of. The other thing you have to account for is parking. Boston has about one parking spot for every one hundred people that want a spot.
Chris came to a meet up at Granfanally’s sometime in December or January but I didn’t get a chance to talk to him. So I was really meeting him for the first time during the carpool and he’s a cool guy. We talked about Old School Magic and related things on the way down.
Traffic flowed quite nicely actually and we didn’t get stuck in traffic for too long. We also got super lucky with parking. Across the street from Barlow’s was a huge parking lot. The closest spot was also open. I’m pretty sure the god of Boston Parking used his powers to get us that spot because parking like that doesn’t happen in Boston. It was also about fifteen degrees that day so the great parking spot was extra-appreciated.
We went in a ordered drinks and hung out with some of the other early mages. A couple of us played some games while waiting for the event to start. I played against Franz, a guy from Connecticut. I remembered him from the GP Providence Old School meet up back in October in which I’m pretty sure he placed second or third. For this casual game I pulled out my mono green. I don’t remember what he played for a deck. I just remember using my Ifh-Biff’s “Hurricane” ability to take out his Hypnotic Specter.
Around that time I realized that I had forgotten to add some Warp Artifacts to the sideboard in the mono black deck that I was going to use for the event. When I mentioned it, Franz whipped out a couple of Warp Artifacts for me to use. Pretty lucky. I ended up using them at one point and they got some significant damage in over the course of four or five turns. Not too shabby.
In round one I was paired up against Christian Arcand from Quebec City in Canada. He was in town for PAX East. He played a pretty cool Ubw Transmute Artifact type deck. In the first game, I was having trouble drawing anything good really. Eventually I got a Juzam out but he Swords’d it right away – the common fate of Juzam. I lost that one. Game two had me win at 28 life. I don’t really remember how that happened, but I’m pretty sure it was from Drain Lifes and some Swordsing of my creatures. In game 3 we got close to having to go to sudden death with an Orb flip but I secured the victory in time. After playing Old School for almost a year. I still haven’t flipped an Orb yet. Probably because I still don’t own one. Soon enough.
Round 2 had me paired against Michael Howard from Cambridge who I played against in Providence last October. He had an awesome and pretty unique three color deck with some Icatian Towns, Keldon Warlords, Thallids, and even a Jaques Le Vert! The deck has the potential to produce a bunch of tokens which then transfer into power and toughness for the Keldon Warlords. I ended up winning in two games which I believe I won mostly due to my Sinkholes. Sinkholes are so powerful when you get them early in a game. Unfortunately, Michael didn’t have any dual lands or Cities of Brass so the Sinkholes were extra rough on a three color deck. I wish I had had my Cities on me. I would have let him use them for the tournament.
In round 3 I found myself paired against Dave Firth Bard. He has a pretty cool Brw deck that can be really tough to beat due to his Sedge Trolls. I played against this deck on Skype one night when I was testing out the mono-green deck which I could not seem to beat. I thought maybe I’d have a better chance against it with my mono black but no dice. He beat me in two games. In the first game I wasn’t drawing sufficient land and after he Mind Twisted me it was over. He kept attacking with the Trolls. Even if I had played a Terror they could just regenerate. (EDIT: I now know that Sedge Trolls cannot regenerate from Terror because of “bury.”) The Trolls got me in game 2 as well. It really makes me want to splash red into my mono-black just for some Sedge Trolls. I’ve already ordered four Revised Trolls to experiment with. I think I’m going to throw in some Uthden Trolls as well and go for the Troll Disco.
In round 4 I played against Duncan Devlin which he won in two games. In the first game he got a Guardian Beast and a Chaos Orb out early on. I knew this one would be a struggle. Indeed it was. Any threat I brought out was destroyed by continuous Orb flips. It was actually pretty awesome that he was able to use his Chaos Orb that much. The second game is a blur in my memory. I just remember that he won it. I’ve played against him with this deck in the past at Granfanally’s and it’s often a struggle to beat. I have won against it with the mono black, but I typically don’t.
After four rounds the tournament was concluded. Franz ended up coming in first place which won him a Maze of Ith signed by all of us. The rest of us picked from the other cards in the order of our ranking. I had my eye on the Winter Blast. Everyone else seemed to have their eye on a certain card as well and fortunately no one wanted the same card as anyone else. I swiped the Winter Blast and I’ve already added it to my mono-green deck. Winter Blast never crossed my mind when building the mono green but after seeing it, I thought that it could be a usable card. I think it’ll be fun to have a card with everyone’s signature in a deck as well – even if the card doesn’t end up being super effective.
Soon after, Chris and I headed back. He asked if I was okay with him stopping in the north end at Mike’s Pastries. He had to pick up a few things for a family party that was happening the day after. I was fine with it. And it was right nearby where we were. For those of you who don’t know, Mike’s Pastries is a pretty famous spot for cannolis and other Italian desserts. It’s famous in New England at least. The north end of Boston is a pretty cool section with a bunch of really good Italian restaurants. I’m pretty sure it was populated by actual Italians at one point. In 2017 I’m not sure how truly Italian the north end really is but everything in that area seems to be really good at least. Though I have no Italian blood in me, I love Italian food as if I did.
Chris mentioned he going to pick up something extra at Mike’s for his wife for some brownie points. “Genius!” I thought. I decided I would do the same for my girlfriend.
When we got to the north end, it was busy as was expected and about a thousand people were looking for parking spots. We didn’t find even one. We decided I would run in and get what Chris needed and he could circle around and I’d hop in the car after. I walked into Mike’s and about a minute later Chris walked up next to me in line.
“Check out the spot I got,” he said as he pointed out the front window. Unbelievable! Right in front of Mike’s Pastries! At that moment I realized that the god of Boston Parking was undoubtedly real and he was working overtime for Chris and I. If it were 1000 B.C.E. I would certainly have sacrificed many rams in gratitude.
Stay tuned for another point of view from this tournament. Chris Mason is currently working on his write up which I will publish here. When he asked me about doing a write up, I was super happy. I like to collaborate with other people when possible on here for different content. Writing reports are pretty fun and I think they’re pretty fun to read as well. Three out of four people Chris played against were different than I so it’ll be good. I can’t wait to read what he writes. He’s in the process of collecting all the deck pics at the moment so you’ll see all the decks on his post.