Before diving into my particular experience playing in the Cup 2, I first want to give some shoutouts. The primary thank you being for Patrick Burt of Capital Chaos for handling nearly all of the logistics for this event; from registration to deck pic collecting to fantastic spreadsheets, all the way towards live-streaming the final remarks and prizes. Additional thanks to all of the Canadian organizers for helping make the second version of this a rousing success. We also had DFB as a guest judge for the spice bracket, so thank you for assisting your neighbors across the border. And of course, everyone who played, donated, spread the word, helped out, and overall help to make this feel special, and raising $1234 for charity! You can also read another report of the event here.
Personally, I had a lot of difficulty coming up with a Spice plan for this event. My initial plan was to get a Lands Matter sort of deck working, like an Old School version of Legacy Lands, but just couldn’t get there. That lead me to a path of wanting to build around Consecrate Land and maybe Pyramids while spamming Armageddon, based on a deck played in December by Andrew Donutboy at the Slammvitational, but it seemed to be too Spiky for Spice and I definitely didn’t want to be in the Spike bracket. At the last minute, I got the idea of looking at various cycles in the early sets to see what I could come up with while also representing each of the Boreal legal expansions. Obviously Wards and CoPs would skew the deck heavily towards white, something I was very much against, as I wanted each color to have equal representation, landing me on the following:
- The Moxes. This one is very obvious, so not going to really say anything about it, other than I chose to run three fakes alongside my two Unlimiteds, rather than using my CE ones, because it makes for a better deck picture.
- The Boons. Again, these are very well known, and although their utility varies greatly, I enjoyed drawing them, and every one of them did work throughout the event.
- Artifact Boons. I love that Fallen Empires recreated the Boons as artifacts, while also powering them down, almost to the point of being unplayable. The color fixing from Implements of Sacrifice was handy in a few matches, and the others created some fun combat maths.
- Duals. This is basically a requirement for a five color deck to work, and it allowed me to show off my ten Unlimited duals, which are just so damn vibrant.
- Legendary lands. I initially skipped these in favor of the most common cycle, basics, but while thinking about sideboards (something I hate!), I remembered these, and they had to go in.
- Fallen Empires sac lands. I know they are not “good” but they are very nostalgic, have interesting art, and the red frames are just cool looking. A favorite play of mine is sacrificing Ruins of Trokair for WW to cast Balance.
- Efreets. This is the last true cycle in the deck, and I chose this over Djinns for two reasons. First, I own four of five of the Djinns (the Ydwen is a fake, the Serendib is French FBB), and second, the drawbacks of the Efreets are easier to handle. Sacrificing lands to a Serendib Djinn did not seem possible in this at all.
- Gold Legends. This “cycle” was almost the Elder Dragons, which I eschewed for being too difficult to cast, and then was to be the “flavor text Legendary Creatures“, which each have references to the Legendary Lands in their text, but I ran into the difficulty of Bartel Runeaxe and Jacques le Vert both being out for signing (alongside Vaevictus Asmadi) meaning I had to improvise. I substituted in Xira Arien and Johan so that I could draw cards and grant my creatures Vigilance.
- 1CMC creatures. Antiquities and The Dark are both lacking in five card cycles, leading me to improvise. I had meant to grab iconic 1/1s for one, and really wanted Kird Ape as the red one, but it turns out that in Antiquities, the only 1/1 for one is Goblin Artisans, so, here we are. Vampire Bats were also a mistake as they are not 1/1, and should likely have been Initiates of the Ebon Hand and white would then get Clergy of the Holy Nimbus, but what are ya gonna do?
- 2CMC ABU Sorceries. This one is a real stretch. I noticed that Regrowth, Demonic Tutor, Time Walk, and Balance were all similar by being Sorceries with 1C as their casting cost, but red was missing in the cycle. Initially I thought Fireball somewhat fits the bill, as it can be cast for 1R. That didn’t sit right with me, so I chose Shatter instead, which is an Instant, but it fits the casting cost better.
- 0-4CMC ABU Artifacts. Let’s face it, ABU has some amazing artifacts, and in a five color Old School Deck, being able to reliably cast something is important. I knew I wanted Chaos Orb and Sol Ring, which meant I either start with Black Lotus or end with The Hive at 5CMC. The Forcefield was almost a Disrupting Scepter, but I like the former more.
- The ten basic lands. These are my sideboard, in case of Blood Moon, and as I mentioned, I hate sideboarding.
- The honorable mention here is a City of Brass because I was concerned with getting the correct mana when I need it. Turns out that this deck is loaded with mana, and I prob should not have included it.
How did this deck perform? It performed great along the fun axis, while not so great along the functional axis. I had a perfect record of 0-5, with every round being 0-2, but by golly, I played every round and enjoyed myself. I really should have thought at least a little bit about wincons though. Sure the Efreets and some of the Legends are beaters, but the fact of the matter is that there just aren’t enough threats, nor is there enough removal. Which, if I’m being completely honest, is 100% a jason deck from childhood, just with more colors.
I apologize for not having more details of exactly what happened during my rounds, but I did want to show off the decks of my opponents as there’s some really cool stuff.
Jason Keays [Ottawa]
This was the first deck I encountered, a unique black weenie build, that straight wrecked me. Jason was able to Unsummon all of my blockers and I never really stood a chance. I loved seeing Bad Moon and Erg Raiders because it’s classic early Magic and felt so pure. Brought up memories of my youth, when my friend Chad ran a 200+ card mono-black deck and we had an arms race around black and white knights in order to guarantee we’d each draw some of our respective knights whenever we played.
John Roszell [Oshawa]
John and I played immediately following my match with Jason, and these played out entirely differently. In both games, I was able to stick Angus Mackenzie and completely stall out the board until I eventually decked myself. These were hella grindy matches, but because of that, John was able to pull off all of the combos in his deck and create some utterly ridiculous board states. Standouts here was seeing Khabal Ghoul get massive from all of the sacrificing going on. Plus, check out those beautiful playtest cards 😉
Yanick Blanchet [Quebec City]
Game one, turn one Mind Bomb really set the tone for this match up. Yanick and I have played in just about every online event I’ve participated in, and he never fails to deliver on the spice. He got the full engine online and was able to continuously recycle Triskelion and generate mana via Priest of Yawgmoth, using the Trikes to machine gun down all of my creatures, and eventually just swing in for the win. I personally think that Clockwork Avian is low key an underrated card in the format, and seeing three of them in play brought much joy. Always a pleasure to chat and play against this opponent.
Philippe Arcand [Quebec City]
Round four had me facing off against another graveyard deck that played differently from Yanick’s. Having played around in both the Rukh Egg and the Khabal Ghoul spaces, while also enjoying myself some artifacts, I had a good idea of what to expect from this behemoth. The creature base was extremely consistent, but what I like the most is the two-ofs in here. It’s not all in on Shops or Bazaar, instead choosing to split the difference and function quite well as a Shops deck, while also utilizing Hell’s Caretaker to make it into a Reanimator deck as well. Again, this deck was given the opportunity to shine and do everything it wanted to, which meant a lot of Rukhs flying around.
Cameron Wolber [Vancouver]
Finally, I was able to schedule and play my last round, and it was a doozy! This white deck has one specific card that just made my day, and that’s Angelic Voices. I’ve wanted to brew in that realm for some time, and this deck delivered. Being able to buff Cam’s artifact creatures, using Transmogrant to turn creatures into artifacts while also buffing them, and recurring Aeliopile via Archaeologist. Damn, so rad.
Once again, thank you to all my opponents and everyone who made this cross Canada tournament a success. Not gonna lie though, I really miss playing in person.