Tales from the Pit, and beyond.

“Because after all this time, we learn that it’s always been about the gathering.” ~ joel

That is magic.

Greeting and salutations fellow readers. Take a walk if you will, and accompany me on my maiden voyage of article writing. Today (so long as you hang on to the end, no tl:dr here) we will be covering my time at eternal weekend/old school/and playing Lord of the Pit maindeck (without Breeding Pit!!.. 10 year old me would laugh at being sOOoo sub-optimal)

My foray into old school magic started simply enough. Ive always had a penchant for old cardboard and recently had been playing “1 v 1 CEDH” using Sheldon and co’s banned list. Using this particular banned list allowed me to accumulate singleton copies of several cards i could have only dreamed of owning back in my humble beginnings of 94′, and simply put, be degenerate with spikey plays.

At my current LGS (401 Games in Toronto, ON) friends Micah and Jeff would continually ask me about why I wasn’t playing old school, always talking about the upcoming Winter Blast and all the sweet tech they were running. After hearing about how the Winter Blast was….. such a blast (facepalm), I decided to eschew my beloved foiled/altered/signed EDH deck in favour of something smaller, more familiar, and as i found out, much more fun to play.

Having a ton of trade credit at my disposal would see me acquire everything my younger self could only dream of acquiring and more.

Commence belly flop into the rabbit hole…

The first iteration of my current deck was my own spin on Dead Guy Ale, powerless, Juzamless but unapologetically mine. Ive always loved the juxtaposition of good and evil being allies to shore up each others shortcomings.

So I tried using Juggernauts, The Abyss and Swords to Plowshares to seal the deal. It was a lesson in grind and just died to all things burn (and Atog, who in this instance was the control)

After some maneuvering and plenty of time in the think tank against my free will (the subway ride to work) I had an idea that seemed so crazy, SO OUTLANDISH!!… that it… just… might… WORK!!

My rationale:

The format has plenty of 4 power creatures (and the odd 5) bashing into each other over and over, trading, and dying to things like Psionic Balast. I decided that 4 power and 4 toughness… just wasn’t for me, not gonna cut it for the main stage of the deck.

So the pursuit continues. After looking at all creatures in the format (on deckedbuilder), I kept coming back to one card, THE one. Lord of the Pit… the card that is instantly recognizable as iconic yet something that pretty much nobody would play… right?… i mean.. 7/7.. cant be Terrored.. flys.. and tramples… for 7 mana… hmmm… (dies to Swords but ill take 7 life) cant be that bad once his tiny drawback is dealt with.

Its also is in my humble opinion, one of the most metal cards in magic the gathering ever! and placates the side of me that was once also a lord of the pit (mosh/slam pit)

So without further adeiu

“Have you ever danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight?”

Let’s give it a shot. After sleeving up a pile, i went to my buddy Joel’s for the gauntlet. It performed… pretty damn good! Much to my surprise the synergy of Preacher/Lord, Factories/Lord, Greater Realm/Lord, CoP:Black/Lord, Spirit Link/Lord… Spirit link must also be mentioned as an absolute house. On a Serendib, pretty legit. On a Lord, even better.

So with a week away to the Toronto event, THE FIRE BALL, hosted by none other then GeocitiesofBrass founder/Toronto Old Schooler, and Community ambassador, Jason. I decided that I would welcome the Lord as my one true Savior (even tracked down an emergency pair of Beta Lords) Eric much thanks! Card Kingdom! Screw your duties. I’m not bitter..sigh.. my wallet QQ’s

So, after much thought and a playlist of black metal (Darkthrone) … my deck was born with the name I coined as Blasphemer.

*Shudder…. sooo EEEEVILLL!

The deck performed admirably at the Fire Ball, using Jalum Tomes (which are now signed by Joel Mick after EW) to pitch the Lords and Resurrect them with… Resurrection (such a clean spell, doesn’t fold to Disenchant) Getting me into a top 8 position in a field of ~50, Dropping sets only to the Deck, and Mono Black Rack. Which ultimately was good for a finish of 7th overall. I felt this deck had promise.. and even cooler.. this was my brainchild.

signed by JLM himself

Some notable matchups for the day.

Shane: First match of the day. Two Shahrazads in our one… and only game lol. First time ever playing a sub game/2nd subgame. It was a real inception moment. Glad I had my coffee. Super fun.

Dave: … CoP:Black and Greater Realm of Pres in the main… (I’ve apologized many times) and one more CoP in the side.. eep.. it’s OK, Dave seems to have forgiven me.. (except catching him several times giving me a dirty look at EW) hahah. Great Match.

Chris: Losing to “THE boring old DECK” is never fun, but our matchups were packed with laughs which made the inevitable more bearable. Also gleaned some very important knowledge in realizing my deck is soft to the abyss. Haha right on.

Mono Black Rack: Sometimes you leave the house for the day, and step in a pile of HYMN!.. but hey.. Hymn Happens. Usually more than once. Not complaining. HYMNS GONNA HYMN. Nuff’ said.

After the event:

-1 Resurrection.

Found myself hardcasting the Lord after stabilization many times. When it happened Resurrection was a house. I just don’t want it in my opening hand.

-1 Greater Realm of Preservation

The activation for my deck was actually an issue. Always wished I had a CoP:Black, it just didnt perform as expected.

This amazingly smooth event combined with the fact that luck was on my side after winning a raffle for a Bone Shaman print (Spending $50 on tickets and subsequently stuffing probably 50 of 52 total tickets in the cup) was a sign.

“Trust in the Lord and yee shall see our spirits linked… also attack for 7, gain 7”
~Tom 3:16

Flash forward to Eternal Weekend..

The weeks leading up to it were filled with an electricity that can only be described as excited antica……..

pation… deciding to run my current iteration of “The My Deck” was something I settled on after its showing at The Fire Ball. Putting together some funds I found myself tweaking and changing direction. Still on the Lord, but his castle needs a Moat.

Eventually I settled into a list for EW’s main event after frantically running around the trade floor and negotiating for 2 days. Once the deck was complete.. instead of playtesting I decided that drafting Jason’s Ice Age old school cube was too good to pass up. After picking The Abyss, Nether Void, In the Eye of Chaos, and a Tabernacle, my wincon of Aladdin’s Ring was realized. Not before my realization however, that World Enchantments are a thing and had a 20 year brain fart. Plan was rotten.

So the morning of Jaco’s old school event I was the first one up at our air bnb.. and decided that NO. My configuration needed to be changed. Relegating my Hymns to the sideboard which proved to be a gross error in judgement. Let this be a lesson to anyone.. never…EVER!!!… tweak your deck until you’ve finished your glass of coffee.. and never EVEEER!!!… move Hymns from the main… EVER!!!!!

With that being said the day went well all tings considered. Taking down my first two matches.

One against a gentleman who use a full deck of playtest cards, my jaw was unhinged, and the second match against a really great guy who was also on the Reanimator plan. Bazaaring non-stop until he hit an All Hallow’s Eve. Only to realize after removing the first of two All Hallow’s Eve counters, and Mind Twisting me.. that I also had an All Hallow’s Eve in my grip. The WTF reaction was priceless. Shoutout to the Columbus Kobolds. Great games.

Then… the rounds were posted… and I went to… the basement…

And got promptly destroyed by The Deck piloted by a gentleman named Johnathan. He was running The Hive as a wincon first game, then sided in Guardian Beasts whilst I sided out my plows… after casting his G beast via a Lotus while he was on a lonely Scrubland, he proceeded to cast a Chaos Orb.. and flip out.

This led to my conclusion… Downstairs bad? Upstairs good. Not in a standings sense of course, but merely from a “we aren’t in Kansas anymore” sense.

Back upstairs I faced a really cool Titania’s song control deck that had 5 Howling Mines in play (copy artifact) and 0…0 Relic Barriers. Thanks Charles for allowing me to draw 6 a turn and for then promptly crushing me thereafter.

There were many other matches of note, Mark who was on a badass Ehrnamgeddon list that cast several geddons while dealing with any threat I put down. We eventually had to orb flip our way out of the trenches we dug, and ended up flipping 39 times. I was declared the victor and felt like one until an early morning playback in the back seat of our van showed my chaos orb flipping 180 turn 3. So I let Mark know that he was the actual Victor and thanked him again for some awesome games and flips.

My spirits however were lifted when my buddy Eric sent us a message saying I won 15th most creative for this:

Blasphemer at Eternal Weekend
winning this!

This list will be changing for the upcoming Winter Blast here in Toronto.. and Hymns will again be in the main (WTF was i thinking..)

New cards of note that I added for EW:

2nd Serra Angel, 2 Moat, Time Walk, Mox Sapphire, All Hallow’s Eve. All did work. All stay. Moat good.

As this article shambles to its conclusion I leave you with this final thought. That the weekend and all of the insane experiences that I had with my friends (Top 3 jobs, Legends pack, deals, calculater, feet, bruegger’s bagels, lords of the pit, Condado taco, diplomatic passport, robert evans, diplomat, glasses.dec, vests are for winners, own brand, lab coat, haunted le croix… the list goes on..) was one of the best weekends in my life and was a perfect example of an amazing experience being the sum equal to all of its parts.

And of course……

After all this time, it’s still all about the gathering.

Thanks for reading

Tl:dr EW was a blast, lifetime memories were made.