EC Old School at Eternal Weekend 2019

For quite a while, many of us have been planning to head down to Pittsburgh for Eternal Weekend. Eternal Weekend is an annual gathering in Pittsburgh where the Legacy and Vintage championships are held. It is also the home of what for the last few years has been the world’s largest annual Old School tournament, EC Old School at Eternal Weekend.

We finally got around to making some Toronto community shirts for the trip, although the production was on a bit of a compressed timeline. Here’s the design we used on the shirts.

Rabid Racoon

Since there were so many of us going (15-20 from Toronto!) and Pittsburgh is really not that far, we decided to do another road trip down to the tournament. The van ride was full of dumb jokes, as usual. We were using a navigation system that alerted on “disabled vehicle ahead”, which Brendan misinterpreted as a vehicle for disabled people. 

Many of us had Halloween commitments with friends or family so unfortunately we didn’t make it down in time to play in the Friday Vintage Championships tournament. Ah well, something to shoot for next year. 

Friday – Gettin’ There

We arrived on Friday around 3PM and checked into our AirBnB. It was kind of weird, as is tradition. It was a large old house on a hillside that ended up working fairly well for our purposes. There were four actual bedrooms, a couple of random alcoves and living rooms, one Magic kitchen and dining room, one eatin’ kitchen and dining room, as well as a “Brolarium” overlooking the river.

The Brolarium

We dropped off our bags and headed straight to the main venue to engage in some shopping. Pittsburgh is not the easiest city to navigate. There are large hills on both sides of the river, so sometimes you have to double back to increase or decrease your elevation and get to where you’re trying to go.

Once we got to the venue and trolled the booths, many deals were made. Most of us were able to put the finishing touches on our decks for Sunday. Some of the Toronto crew was set up in the venue vending some cards. When we arrived, it was evident that Trader Jay had a big day. He was having a nap in the booth. Nick was hustlin’.

After the shopping we picked up some beers. The Sea Quench Ale and the Hard Coffee were this trip’s favourites. We dropped the car off at the house and headed out to the Penn Brewery for the Old School meetup. Many games and some beers were had. Thanks to the Lords of the Pit for arranging!

After last call we headed back to the house for a round of Jason’s Old School cube. Only five of us managed to stay up to play and some key cards were buried so the decks were a little underpowered, but it was still a great nightcap.

Saturday – Hangin’ Out

Saturday morning a few of us attempted to make it to the venue to play in the 10:20 Old School Challenge. Despite our best efforts, we ended up arriving around 10 minutes too late to register. We compromised with some tacos from Condado, which were quite frankly exactly what we needed. There was some sort of tequila mimosa, coffee with bourbon, and some quite satisfying nachos and breakfast tacos.

The other half of the group decided that three days of solid Magic was maybe a little too much and set out to do a bit of Pittsburgh tourism. They had some breakfast at Double Wide Grill, and hit up the Andy Warhol museum. The palatial washrooms at the museum were worth the price of admission alone. After the museum the team hit up a Foot Locker, which was not what Brendan expected. He was quite disappointed.

We reconvened at the main event hall Saturday afternoon for more shopping and some Old School side events. Brendan bought a pack of Legends and was rewarded with a near mint Bronze Horse! I entered two side events, went 5-1 overall, and was able to upgrade my Gen Con playmat to the foil version from the prize wall. Brendan missed the window on getting some Atomic Pepperoni, and was heartbroken.

Some of the crew that was able to put decks together headed out to the Alpha 40 event. Owen and Jason participated in a four player free for all match with Stephen Menendian and Grant Dair. A lot of red and green decks were in the mix. The game ended when Menendian split a Fireball to take out Owen and Jason in one fell swoop. Editor’s note, this particular game actually happened at the OS event between rounds, but Alpha40 was definitely played at the taco bar.

Joel Mick was spotted at several points over the weekend and was challenging Alpha 40 players to matches vs. his Playtest 40 deck. At one point Owen lost a permanent to an original Chaos Orb, which doesn’t have an activation cost. You can’t get much more Old School than that.

I grabbed a few packs of Modern Horizons with the extra tickets won from the main event Old School side events. We headed back to the house to finalize our decks for the main event, play some test games, and play some mini masters with the Modern Horizons. We didn’t open anything good, but the games were fun.

Sunday – The Actual Event

Sunday morning arrived quite quickly. We woke up and headed out to the main Old School event. First of all, the venue was great. There was plenty of room for all 200 players, even with some added Elks in the mix that came down to watch the Football game. The food and drinks were tasty and cheap, and the staff was super helpful all day.

Jaco ran a tight enough ship and the games began around 11:30. I’m going to skip the round by round coverage this time, but I went 5-3 overall. The worst play I made all day was losing a game (and match) due to not fully understanding the card Orgg. Basically I attacked into it before pumping my Atog rather than after, which would have rendered the Atog unblockable by the Orgg, and would have hit for lethal. Ah well, lesson learned.

One of Tom’s rounds went to time and he had to engage in an Orb flipping contest. He hit a very impressive 36 chaos orb flips in a row, which makes me a little bit nervous about retaining the title at the next local tournament.

The Victory Flip

The crowd was great in general as we have maybe come to expect, but definitely still very much appreciate at Old School events. The worst thing I heard about that happened all day was someone taking a bit of a Hurloon Minatour in the men’s room around the 7th round, a commonly known side effect of partying too hard.

As soon as the last of us finished our 8th round matches, we immediately jumped in the van and began the long-ish drive home, during which I wrote this article. It was possibly a little too immediately, as we almost took off without Brendan. Our bad.

We learned some fun facts on the way home, mostly about Brendan’s poop being too bacterially diverse to donate. Border crossing was smooth as usual, thanks to us having a highly important American diplomat in the vehicle with us, and the border guard having played Magic himself “Once Upon a Time”. Overall, another excellent trip. I for one am already looking forward to the next one.

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