Paradise on I-495: A Tournament Report

Being into Old School Magic for a while now I’ve watched as the value of many cards grew to larger numbers. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. First off, it’s bad if you’re trying to slowly acquire cards you need and it’s also bad for people who don’t have any Old School cards yet. Fortunately, Revised, Fourth Edition, and Chronicles have not changed in value much. The good thing about rising prices is that it means more people are desiring them. This was evident recently as we had the largest gathering of Old School mages in the history of New England. There were a total of 17 people which put us at five rounds of swiss. One guy even came by boat.

juzam x4
Finished the playset! Achievement unlocked.

We met up in Marlborough, MA right off I-495 at the Best Western hotel bar. The event was planned around the fact that Greg, aka the famous @oldschoolmtg from Instagram, was there for the Lego convention happening at the nearby convention center. It was great to finally meet him in person. The event was organized by Dave Firth Bard who, at this point, seems to be the main organizer of the bigger New England events. Of course, it turned out to be a great tournament. So a big thank you goes out to him.

Saw this in a binder.

After we waited in the restaurant for everyone to gather many of us played some games and got drinks. There was a large empty area off to the side of the restaurant which the wait staff set up some tables for us. It was perfect. Once that was set up and everyone was there, we jammed.

Like I typically use, I brought my mono black deck to this tournament. This time however, I had a complete playset of Juzam Djinns so I was pumped to play the deck.

The deck I piloted. Despite my strong opinion of running four maindeck Terrors, they worked against me the whole day.

Round 1. 2-0.
In round one I was paired against a guy named Ryan who borrowed someone’s deck for the tournament. He played a pretty awesome merfolk tribal deck that had cards like Conch Horn. He wasn’t really able to get the deck going in either game. On my side, I got super lucky with my draws. In the first game I got a Juzam out on turn two I think. A couple turns later I got a second one out. Between two Juzams and not much defending them the game was over pretty quickly.


In game two I got a couple Black Knights out in the first few turns and soon after I summoned a Hypnotic Specter. Then I Tutored for a Juzam and was able to secure the victory.  I always feel bad when my deck performs flawlessly and the opponent has trouble drawing anything useful. I always feel like I don’t deserve to celebrate too much. But hey, it happens to all of us. And it would happen to me in later rounds. I didn’t get a deck pic from Ryan unfortunately.

Round 2. 0-2.
In round two I was paired up against Scott, one of the New England regulars. He played a pretty awesome B/U Guardian Beast deck with a few heavy hitters, artifacts, and some control. In the first game I got a Juzam out right away and pummeled and thought I was about to win for sure. Scott brought out a Mirror Universe. I didn’t have anything in my hand to prevent the inevitable life switch. After the life switch he was able to get a few points of damage in and secure the win against me. God, I want to buy a Mirror Universe so bad now.

Guardian Beast/Chaos Orb was something I was up against all day.
socct bradley u:b
Scott’s deck.

Game two I also got an early Juzam out but Scott was able to keep it at bay with a Maze of Ith and then he kept it tapped with an extra icy Icy Manipulator. He also got the crazy Guardian Beast and Chaos Orb combo out pretty early and successfully flipped on everything I brought out. He kept the Juzam out so I would continue taking the one point of damage per turn but not be able to use it. Pretty smooth move. He won that game too. I had brought in some Warp Artifacts from my sideboard which I was excited about. I love that card for some reason. I got a few points of damage in early on but Scott was able to destroy it.

Round 3. 0-2. 
Round 3 was against a guy named Heart from Connecticut. Hart’s deck was awesome beacause just about every that could be Alpha was Alpha. Very pimp. In the first game his first play was Swamp and Stone-Throwing Devils. At this point I realized my Terrors would most likely be useless. In a few turns he had two Alpha Bad Moons out on the board which was followed by some Black Knights, Hypnotic Specters, and a Juzam. Playing mono black as well, the Bad Moons gave both of us the +1/+1 benefit. His deck was much quicker than mine was though and I was having trouble drawing anything useful in both games. Throughout the first game I drew all four Terrors which sat in my hand as dead draws. 

Very pimp.

Even though I sideboarded out the Terrors, the second game went pretty similar except I just kept drawing Swamps. Hart was able to play pretty much exactly what he played in the first game.

After two quick games we still had a lot of time in the round so we continued playing and talked about cards. I pulled out the mono green to play instead since we were now off the record. I expected to lose with the mono green which is exactly what happened but I like playing the deck even if I lose. It was still pretty cool to see his deck work though. It was a pretty simple mono black which seemed to have a focus on mana curve rather than the typical mid-range mono black, like mine, which is so commonly played. An early version of my mono black deck had some Devils. I sort of forgot about them until he summoned a few. I might throw them back in for kicks. The art is pretty awesome.

Round 4. 2-1.
Round four lasted a little longer than the previous rounds since we went to three games. I played against a super awesome Elephant deck piloted by a guy named James. I’ve wanted to build an elephant deck for a few months but I never ended up spending the money on needed cards. It was really cool to see the deck in action.


james lebak elephants
James’ deck

At this point I was eating and drinking and didn’t take down as many notes as I did from the previous rounds so I don’t remember all the details. I’m pretty sure he won the first game pretty quickly. I do remember that in the next two games I was able to get early Juzams out which is usually a good omen. I also brought in a couple Glooms from my sideboard. I got one out early in one of the games but in a few turns it didn’t seem to make much of a difference anymore as James was able to play his white cards.

A chair that also is a table

Round 5. 1-2.
Round five also went to three games and I was again trying to defend myself against a Guardian Beast and Chaos Orb onslaught from Duncan. The first game, however, was quick. He wasn’t able to draw much of anything and I was able to get some decent plays. Both game two and three he drew a Chaos Orb and the Guardian Beast. Fortunately he had quite a few Orb misses but still didn’t prevent him from winning.

Duncan’s deck
More Chaos Orbs.

After round five the tournament had concluded. Dave called off the names in order of ranking to go up pick out a signed prize card. By the time I went up to get mine there were still a handful of decent cards. I first saw the Sorrow’s Path and thought that should be the one to grab. But I quickly saw the Mijae Djinn and thought that it could be fun to throw one into a mono red deck. As I went to grab it, I noticed there was an Alpha Fog. Once I noticed it, I knew that had to be the one. I grabbed it and it’s now in the mono green deck sporting the signatures of all the participants.

Pretty sweet prize.

Top 4 decks.

First place: Brian Johnson.

brian johnson b:r deck


Second Place: Chris Danis.

chris danis u:r deck


Third place: Ben Wagnon.



Fourth place: Scott Bradley.

socct bradley u:b

More Pictures!


Photo credit: Dave Firth Bard (pulled from Facebook)


Photo credit: Dave Firth Bard (pulled from Facebook)

6 thoughts on “Paradise on I-495: A Tournament Report

  1. Very nice write-up! Those Glooms may not have seemed impactful to you but I do remember staring at a handful of white cards I couldn’t cast at several points in the game.


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