I started playing Old School in January this year, and it’s been a blast so far. The Toronto community has held two awesome events, but Eternal Weekend 2019 would be my first time playing OS outside the Great White North.
I’ve been playing and refining my Troll Disco list since I started Old School, and have become pretty comfortable with running the deck. At the Toronto Fire Ball in September I made the mistake of cutting Glooms from my sideboard, and considering my 2 losses at that event were to white decks, I wouldn’t be making that mistake again.
And because Sedge Trolls were the reason I got into Old School, there’s no way I’m not running them for Eternal Weekend.
Round 1 vs Brian (UBR Dreams)
Brian is a fellow Toronto player with some sweet looking decks, and it was a bit of a buzzkill that us two local players had to get paired up in a 200+ player tournament. In G1 he blitzed me with a quick Juzam followed by a pair of Serendibs, and it didn’t help much that I whiffed a Chaos Orb flip in an especially embarrassing fashion. (I should have done Orb-flipping warmups before the event!)
G2 and G3 I boarded in my Red Elemental Blasts for the Serendibs and drew unreasonably well every game, perfectly answering Brian’s threats and winning on the backs of Hymns, Trolls and Factories. We both knew I had luck on my side, but I wasn’t going to complain.
Round 2 vs Aaron (Temple of Sped)
Traveling from LA, Aaron had a fully Alpha/Beta and beautiful UWR Temple deck, and each game was a back and forth slugfest. Before the match he mentioned he was deciding between Temple and Disco Troll for the event. At some point I’d love to build Temple.
In G1 I didn’t take much pressure in the beginning aside from a single Savannah Lions, but I did take 6 damage off of one hard-working City of Brass. Aaron later cast a Timetwister to reload his hand, but it also gave me enough juice to Mind Twist for 5 on my turn, and with Aaron hellbent, a Sedge Troll carried me to the win.
After boarding in my Glooms, none of them showed up in G2 when Aaron started out of the gate with Lions and plenty of burn. I couldn’t catch up and was finished by a Psi Blast.
G3 I was forced to mull to 5 but drew into an Ancestral early on to reload my hand. After some back and forth exchanges Aaron casts Timetwister again, giving me a very lucky hand containing triple Lightning Bolts to close out the match.
Round 3 vs Walker (Abyss Control)
Walker drove up from North Carolina in a posse of over a dozen people for the event, which was awesome to hear.
G1 I had to start on 5 cards and in the first 2 turns Walker emptied his hand of mana rocks and Moxen, cast an Abyss and dropped a Factory to apply his lockdown strategy. Without much more pressure though, I had time to draw into answers for his Factories, drop my own Factories and finish with burn.
G2 was a one sided affair as I believe Walker had to mulligan, and didn’t have answers for any of my threats.
Round 4 vs Will (UR Atog)
I’d briefly heard about Will Magrann through Old School podcasts, but I knew he’d be a tough opponent to beat. He was, however, very friendly and answered a lot of my Old School noob questions.
G1 I kept a reasonable but unpowered hand, and it proved to be my undoing as Will fired off a Black Vise and multiple bolts, winning without me making a relevant play. I boarded in a mix of Blue and Red Elemental Blasts.
G2 was just as one-sided, as I tried to stabilize against 2 Vises and more burn. All in all, the match probably took less than 15 minutes.
Will offered to play a third game for fun and I was able to take away a win to soothe my ego. Casting Demonic Tutor for a Red Blast to kill a Serendib felt really good and is a play I’d take 9/10 times against aggro decks with Dibs.
Will would later go on to win the whole event, so I didn’t feel too bad about being starched by the best.
Round 5 vs Carlos (Mono R Goblins)
Carlos is originally from Brazil and came over from Vancouver with a couple friends. Before the match we chatted about Canadian weather.
G1 Carlos was a little stuck on mana and I was able to amass a decent board of creatures to aggro him out. I boarded in my Blue Blasts.
G2 and G3 I was destroyed by Blood Moons and the incessant plinking of Goblins with burn to finish me off. Apparently 1/1s are good enough if your opponent can’t cast any spells! I was afraid of facing a Blood Moon deck at this tournament, and my fears were fully realized here.
I also made the mistake of sending a Chain Lightning back to him in G3, as I needed the life more than he did and I made the decision on instinct.
Additionally, I boarded out my third Disk instead of bringing in the fourth, which I did because I was afraid of a fast start by the Goblins deck, combined with the high potential of getting the Disk Shattered. Lack of life gain hurts in matchups like these, and I’ll have to think about it more.
Round 6 vs Derek (Temple of Sped)
Partially because I am a lightweight, I have a tradition of starting drinking at an Old School event only after two straight losses. With my double-loss booze trigger activated, I soldiered on with a light buzz.
Derek was a fellow Ontarian and the second Temple deck I’d be facing today. G1 was a slug fest between our creatures but I was able to grind out the win, with a highlight being able to strand his Serendib with a Maze until I could drop a Sengir to match it in the air. G2 I couldn’t answer a Serendib beatdown and lost fairly quickly. G3 I stuck a Gloom and that’s all she wrote. I thought for sure I would lose this match but I surprised myself.
Gloom is quite good.
Round 7 vs Jamie (Storm Seeker Burn)
It is either an honour or a tragedy that I’m being paired up with some renowned players. Again, I’ve heard Jamie Parke’s name before, but only in the context that he’d be a tough opponent. In G1 I wasn’t sure what Jamie was on as he mostly recycled Timetwisters to build up his mana while his pre-Twister Hurkyl’s Recall ensured I was severely behind on mana while stacked with a full hand. Then he fired off two Storm Seekers in a row and finished me off with burn.
G2 I had to deal with a Vise and more burn, but with the help of a Hymn or two and a timely Disk I luckily stabilized at 3 life and won with Troll beatdown.
G3 was much less interactive as I had to face down his triple sideboarded Serendib Efreets.
It is always interesting to watch and play against more experienced opponents, and being able to take a game was a bit of a confidence booster regardless of the loss.
Round 8 vs Summer (BW Deadguy Ale)
Summer would be my last opponent of the day. She was on Deadguy Ale, the bane of my existence at the Fire Ball in Toronto last September. I hoped I’d do a bit better against this deck this time around.
In G1 I was double Sinkholed but was able to hold off a Juzam with a Maze until a Sedge Troll arrived. More troops followed and I was able to win on the ground.
G2 was a short affair as I stuck an early Gloom and the untouchable Trolls were able to seal the win.
Final record: 5-3
This event was my first experience with international Old School. I was hoping for a winning record at this event and I was reasonably satisfied with my result. I expected a bit of a softer field (as in a variety of spike and spice) but all of my opponents and their decks were solid, especially Will and Jamie. I did make a few glaring mistakes here and there, but I think I did as well as I could have, given my experience level in the format.
Gloom was a house at this event, and was responsible for multiple wins. Red Elemental Blasts were stellar at killing Serendib Efreets.
I may replace a couple Underground Seas with Swamps to make myself a bit less vulnerable to Blood Moon, but it’s still a hard card for me to deal with.
The Psionic Blasts and Terrors in the sideboard weren’t really useful, so I may replace them with more artifact hate like Shatters/Shatterstorms or Energy Fluxes for Workshop decks (which I luckily didn’t face that day).
A weakness of the deck is that without power in the opening hand, there aren’t many turn 1 plays. It would be good to have some play variety to match opponents’ powered starts. I may have to look at this more in the future.
Thanks for reading!
(To read about the Toronto crew’s Eternal Weekend experience, check out my buddy Joel’s write up here!)