Hark! A Tournament.

Behind the scenes here at geocitiesofbrass, along with working to foster and nurture a thriving Toronto Old School/MTGUnderground community, we’ve been working towards something a little larger.  At last night’s Monday Meetup, we debuted our plans for the first ever Winter Blast!  What is a Winter Blast? you might ask.  Well, it’s basically a day for Old School players from all around to get together, have a tournament, do some silly side events, buy and trade cards, and raise some money for charity.

So, without further ado, http://thewinterblast.ca or you can click on the Winter Blast 2019 link above.   We hope to see a bunch of our regulars and ideally get some new faces out, and maybe even entice some out of towners to come and jam with us.  It’s scheduled as an all day Saturday sort of thing, but it won’t be difficult to organize some casual side events for Friday/Sunday somewhere in town as well.

Invading the Bay

Note, I’m terrible at remembering peoples’ names, and even though I went into this night with the intent of taking loads of pictures and writing down names for each match, well, neither of those really happened.  The entire night happened so quickly that taking out my notebook didn’t even cross my mind.  I’m also certain that I’m missing at least one match in here, but again, I can’t recall what it was.

I’m fortunate enough in life that I was able to take the summer to spend time with my kiddos and to free up my wife’s time a bit more to focus on her business.  It was fantastic, but it had to end eventually.  Job hunting began in early September, resulting in a company wanting to fly me out to their office in San Francisco towards the end of that month.  I was excited for the job opportunity as well as the possibility of meeting up with the iconic Beasts of the Bay while out that direction.  Well, it didn’t work out on that trip, but it turns out that I got the job and was flown down again in October to do some training, and this time, I made it out for one of the Beasts’ regular Monday night meetups.  Was not disappointed.

I prepared for the trip mostly by contacting folks on twitter to get a good idea of the lay of the land.  Elliot offered me a ride from SF to the bar, but since Monday was literally my first day of work, I was unsure of when I’d realistically get out of the office, so I opted to take CalTrain up and grab a ride share to the bar.  As luck would have it, Dave Firth Bard, aka DFB, was also in town for the week, meaning that I got to meet a lot of rad people that night.  I arrived at the bar around 7:30pm, a bit later than I’d have preferred, but the site that greeted me made it all worthwhile.  There were ~20 people playing Old School!  I got to chatting with some of the regulars and learned that 20 is almost guaranteed and that they have meets that have over 30 people fairly often.  This made me very happy.

Anyhow, I arrived and was quickly ushered to a table where a game just finished, pulled out a deck and got down to it.  I decided to start the night out with my Candleflare deck, which fared poorly.  In one match I was taken down by a Primordial Ooze, in a Juxtapose deck, where I never saw a Juxtapose played in 3+ games! note that this deck went on to place in top 10 most creative at Eternal Weekend! I did manage to get one win in, because my opponent got greedy w/ Sylvan Library, bringing his life down a bit, and the combination of [/c]Mana Drain[/c]ing him, then getting to untap and cast a Fireball for lethal was pretty great. Very fun chatting with the other players and seeing so much nice old cardboard being played.  Next up I played against DFB’s Spice Rack variant.  Holy shit, that deck is so fast and difficult to handle.  I decided to switch over to my Wolf Tribe deck to try and get under him, which came closer to working, but I still went 0-3, iirc.  Fascinating to see how that deck plays out though.  We all know how good Hippies are, but when combined w/ The Rack, Disrupting Scepter, and of course Hymn, this just gets away from you.  Despite being crushed multiple times, I very much enjoyed the games and the company.  During every game, there’d be a couple people taking breaks who would come over, introduce themselves, talk about cool tech, and generally be welcoming and inviting.

I still had some time before my ride back to SF was leaving, meaning that I of course found a new opponent.  He was on a ponza/zoo list that was omg brutal.  In one game he got two Strip Mine‘s and two Ice Storm‘s AND a Mind Twist at me in rapid succession.  Despite my Wolves curving out at 2, I couldn’t get anything to stick.  I believe that I won one game out of three by going wide enough with Wolves to chip him to death.

After that, Elliot was kind enough to drive me back to SF. Well, actually, we were so engrossed in conversation that by the time they asked where I was staying, we’d passed the exit, so we ended up near his place and me just catching BART back to the hotel.  The alone time on transit gave me plenty of time to process just how much of a fun night it had been.  Sweet cards, some awesome swag, fun games, but the thing that really hit me was how welcoming, friendly, and eager folks were.  I’ve been to a few MtG events in my day, and finding pick up games is usually an awkward process of trying to initiate conversation, hoping they play the same format as you, and hopefully at a similar tier.  Not here. Show up, people greeted me and basically forced me into games.  Now that I think about it though, I played someone before I played the Juxtapose deck, and it involved a Spirit Linked Guardian Beast, but I can’t recall anything else about that matchup, but here’s a pic of it.

I also was given some lovely swag by the Beasts as well as DFB, once again cementing just how awesome the Old School community really is.

If You Play Your Cards Right

Last night, Monday 5 October, a group of strangers (well, some friends as well) met up at Bar With No Name here in Toronto to play with 25 year old cardboard.  Leading up to it, I was worried that people wouldn’t show up or that too many people would show up for the space.  We were lucky in that the bar was pretty quiet when we arrived, so we were able to carve out five tables for the ten of us to play.

I arrived to see my friend Chris already hanging out with a fellow old schooler, Joel, so I joined them and chatted for a few.  The few became more, and it soon became evident that it was time to claim our tables, order some food and drinks, and get things going.  In total, we had 9 players and a spectator, with 3 of them being total strangers who heard about it via DaveFirthBard‘s Reddit grooming, posting in FaceBook groups and of course twitter, whilst the others were from my regular playgroup.   I have to say that having your friends show up for you and be present when you’re expanding beyond the usual comfort zone is pretty amazing and went a long way towards making it such a good night.  Unfortunately, I only had the chance to play against one of the new people, who builds mostly Swedish legal decks, so they were gorgeous.  A UW flyers list, complete with Alpha Serra Angels (!) and a Moat, which caught it’s demise on camera.

Retribution came swiftly though as I believe I lost all of these matches and then faced off against his Atog deck, where I recall being hit in the face multiple times by Orcish Mechanics hurling artifacts at me.  They are quite reactionary, those Orcs.

snap keep!

We basically closed out the bar, meaning we played for fiveish hours and I’m pretty sure we treated the bar staff pretty well while we were at it.  It wasn’t all games though as a lot of us voiced opinions on when we can do it again, how often, where at, what rules, etc.  It seemed like Monday nights were pretty decent for most people (sorry Joel’s board game night!), so we’re going to go with every other Monday, 8:30 pm, Bar With No Name, until we outgrow their space.

I want to thank all of you who came out, shared trade binders, waxed nostalgic on old cards, and contributed to figuring out what we want to do up here in the North.  A huge thanks goes out to Joel for literally giving me the playmat from under his cards, and not just any playmat.  Pictured w/ a beautiful Sorcerous Queen I picked up in exchange for the Strip Mine.

And finally, here are a couple of other pics from the night:

getting down to business

 
Atog on Atog

 
Seems decent

 
Flyers! Why’s it always gotta be flyers?

 

PS: Next meetup will be 19 Nov, 8:30pm at The Bar With No Name as shown on our new calendar page!