Henk and I wanted to visit an Old School tournament abroad for some time already but it just didn’t seem to work out. Fishliver last year was a month after we both became a father (Henk not for the 1st time) and Fishliver this year wasn’t going to work out either. While chatting with Megu, he dropped that he would visit an Old School tournament in Barcelona in July and invited us to come. Within Barcelona the “Liga Catalana de Old School (LCOS)” hosts a monthly tournament and the July edition would be a special “fishliver” edition with special prizes. We both love Barcelona, the weekend suited us and the stories and pictures on Facebook/Instagram/LCOS Website with all those beautiful playmats and posters made it an easy choice.
We left to Barcelona on Friday afternoon. The perfect time to drink some beers on the airport which continued with some red wine on the plane. A great hotel, not in the most crowded area of Barcelona but everything at walking distance. Some food and more wine during dinner made me feel pretty tired when we walked back to the hotel. This was supposed to be a weekend Barcelona playing cards, not hanging out in the expensive clubs or taking the tourist bus all across Barcelona. Sure, let’s play some games in the hotel lobby. I whooped Henk’s ass, won every game with my mono red and still needed to decide what to play on Sunday, the spicy mono red brew or the spiky Deadguy Ale on Steroids.
The bartender left at 23:00 but we could still order beer from the receptionist. When the receptionist walked into the hotel bar he saw Magic and started chanting “Magic, Magic” (in Spanish) because he used to play the game as well and got all excited. When we showed him with what cards we played he couldn’t believe his eyes, people are playing with these cards? Are you professionals? Is there a big tournament in Barcelona? Well, Yes, No & No. He was trying to remember the names of the cards he used to play with and sometimes had a hard time translating them to English but he definitely used to be a Magic Player. Around 01:00 he wasn’t allowed to serve us any longer so we had to figure out what we would do next…. Across the street there was a nice cocktail bar according to our receptionist and since we were still pretty thirsty that sounded like a safe plan. We walked in, ordered a drink, saw nothing was happening, walked out, ordered a cab to the marina were all nightclubs are located and partied in a way to crowded place till 04:00…. Yup, that was to be expected.
So on Saturday we would meet up with Nick who also took a flight from Holland to join the LCOS tournament after an invitation from Juan during Noobcon. This is really what Old School is about, meeting somebody and flying over a couple of months later to meet up and play some Magic. Breakfast would be crucial on surviving the rest of the day so after waking up late we walked 50 meters to the first place we saw serving breakfast. It looked healthy from the outside and after looking at the menu I figured out this was a really really healthy place, typically not the kind of food I need with a hangover. Well, I was wrong! I ordered the only thing on the menu with meat and enjoyed it till the last bite, I might have overeaten a little even.
We booked an hotel with a rooftop pool, because why not? So we changed clothes for a dip in the pool. Sure, a beer tastes great in the pool with the sun on your face. 5 hours later and a lot of beer we still didn’t meet up with Nick and agreed we would meet him around 21:00 to go for dinner with some of the LCOS crew. I opted for a little nap at 19:00 and before we knew it we woke up at 21:00 and figured we needed to give Nick a call. Tranquilo, Tranquilo, dinner is now at 22:30, Spanish dinner times you know?….. So we showered, took a cab to meet up with Nick and the LCOS crew to grab dinner. At 23:30 dinner started, nothing unusual in Spain but I was a little hungry 🙂 Antipasti, Pasta, Pizza and a big plate of deserts for 15 bucks each while talking Old School Magic, we must have travelled back in time? This evening we really promised ourselves not to go crazy because the tournament started at 10:00 and we were really planning on playing proper Magic.
We both didn’t feel like grabbing breakfast early, I wonder why, and figured out we could take a 30/40 minute walk to the venue since the temperature was still okay. When we arrived to the place I spotted that this Old School Venue didn’t had air-conditioning and while there was nothing wrong with me when I was walking, I got a sort of mild heart stroke due to the temperature inside. My body just couldn’t handle the heat for a couple of minutes, the alcohol during the weekend probably didn’t help either. After taking it easy and drinking some water I assembled my side-board for Deadguy Ale on Steroids on which I had pondered a bit during the walk. The idea was to playtest all weekend and come prepared, instead I threw 15 sideboard cards together and felt terrible.
Round 1 – Raul Roso aka Ros Atog
Raul is one of the great people behind LCOS. He was part of the LCOS crew which whom we had dinner the night before so a familiar face. His deck is called “grumpy deck” and consists out of a lot of direct damage (Bolt/Chain/Fireball) and ticking timebombs (Dreams/Copper Tablets). I lose the first match and sideboard out my Dark Rituals because I don’t want to get two for oned with the 8 Bolts he’s playing and also take out the Juzam’s because he plays Maze of Iths which makes my Juzam’s ticking timebombs, exactly the game he’s trying to play. I managed to take down the 2nd game and with a lucky Mind Twist also the 3rd game. Some tight games but happy I’ve survived the first round.
Round 2 – Megu
So Megu was the reason I’m in Barcelona so it feels great to actual play against him. At Raging Bull Megu was playing Deadguy Ale on Steroids and we had playtested a little the day before the tournament. Also today he has brought Deadguy Ale so we have a real mirror match on our hands. After losing the 1st game I again sideboard out some of my Juzam’s since Megu is also playing with Spirit Link which makes my Juzam’s ticking timebombs again. The third game is a real thriller in which I get ahead with a Juzam in play but he Spirit Links it as expected which means I’m slowly dying. After a well-timed disenchant my Juzam is just fast enough to kill Megu before I’m dead. I’m actually on 1 life when megu dies, which means that with a Juzam in play I would have been dead the next turn. Going LWW twice feels kind of awesome but all of these games have been very close so far.
Round 3 – Edu
Edu is on The Deck and has won the LCOS tournament several times, not necessarily playing The Deck. I’ve really been waiting to play against The Deck since I don’t think it’s a bad match-up at all for me. Sure, The Deck is the best deck out there in the Swedish meta but my Underworld Dreams and Energy Fluxes in the sideboard are doing a great job on their own. When putting the deck together originally I wanted a deck which could win a tournament, so being able to take on The Deck is crucial.
In game 1 I start very explosive and I’m in control when he plays a Mirror Universe. I’m on 17 and he’s on 8 and I got 5 damage on the board. I decide not to attack, he swaps during his turn but I remain to be in control with just 1 Mishra slowly killing him. Since I only need 1 more turn I’m not casting my Juzam because I’m pretty low after the Mirror. With Edu having 1 card in hand I figured nothing could kill me but boy I was wrong. He draws a Tutor, searches for a Black Lotus which gives him enough mana for a Fireball +2. I do have a STP at hand but my Mishra is only 2 power which means not casting my Juzam was a major mistake and costs me the game.
Game 2 is a real bizarre game. I think we both see every restricted card in the game, Ancestrals, Twists, LoAs, Balance, Tutors, Regrowth, basically everything. Edu even takes a huge Braingeyser but I still manage to win because he doesn’t get to draw enough creature removal and I chip away his life.
Game 3 I again have control and when he’s on 6 due to Mishra damage I get to Tutor. Trying to get some card advantage I search for a Ancestral which brings me nothing while a simple Mishra would have been the obvious choice since after he destroys the 1 in play he gets to counter everything else. You can’t counter a Mishra, damn why didn’t I think about this earlier?
It kind of sucks that I give away the win twice but all people make mistakes. What I am happy about is how well my deck did in 3 games against The Deck. I never felt uncomfortable and when playing against The Deck I remove my Dark Ritual and just try to play more control myself as well. Sure it’s really a tiny sample size but I actually think this is one of the big reasons why this deck can compete in the top.
Round 4 – David
I need to win this game to have a chance for T8 and see that I’m playing against Troll Disco after the 1st turn. I love this deck but luckily I’m playing with white which is Troll Disco’s worst enemy. In R1 I start with Land/Mox/Ritual Juzam which is devastating for Troll Disco. Game #2 is almost as fast while I sideboarded out my Dark Rituals again.
Round 5 – Luis
This last match I don’t remember much off, probably because I was really focussed trying to make it T8. Looking back at the deckpic I remember drawing almost all answers most of the time which makes life easy. It’s a great deck for sure which shows that the difference between making the T8 or not was really close. The competition in Barcelona was really good and this match with Luis was tight like many others.
Quarter-final – Juan
This was probably the best game of the day and to make it even better, it’s on YouTube! If you don’t want any spoilers please first watch the games but that first game was really awesome. In the end of the first game Juan is left with 1 mana after casting a TimeTwister when I’m on 3. His outs are: 8 Bolts, Black Lotus + Blast/FB and Black Vises help him as well. He’s pretty unlucky and goes: Land, Sol Ring, Black Vise, Fireball for 1 leaving me at 2. I of course have 7 cards at hand and have 1 black mana open to be able to cast: Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual meaning I’m only getting 1 damage from the Vise and I’m able to finish him off during my turn.
Game 2 he starts with a brutal Black Vise while I have the slowest hand ever. I even have to Tutor a Black Lotus in order to cast a Black Knight so I can stop a Mishra from doing more damage and the Vise from hurting me even more. On to game 3.
I actually had boarded in COP: Red but it were mainly blue spells which did the most damage. How brilliant is Psychic Purge when I’m playing Hippies? Mind Bomb and obviously Psionic Blast. Again a game in which I’ve boarded out Dark Rituals and Juzam’s since I can’t have ticking timebombs in my deck against so much direct damage. Underworld Dreams again does most of the work, I love this card! It was actually the first card I put in the deck when I started brewing.
Juan’s deck is really awesome, just look at the creatures he’s playing! He boarded them all out after Game 1 which I didn’t suspect at all so my Swords to Plowshares were only useful against his Mishra’s. What a great bunch of spicy cards!
Semi-final – Ferran
Ferran usually plays Legacy but I have the feeling he really likes the Old School vibe. It’s his 1st Old School tournament and he plays a deck called “Quicksilver”. I’m completely in the zone trying to play my best Magic so it means I don’t remember much of it. I do remember making a mistake casting a Hypnotic Specter when he’s almost dead and say “Fuck” right when it hits the table. He’s okay with me taking it back so that’s certainly in the Old School spirit but when taking it back he’s death on the next turn so that doesn’t really seem like an option to me. We play it out as it did and I manage to win regardless, on to the finals!
Finals – Edu
Edu plays Raul in the semi’s and I’m not even sure which deck I would prefer to play against. While I lost against Edu I had the feeling I was more in control vs Edu then I was against Raul since Raul has so much direct damage. However The Deck remains the The Deck and it doesn’t need to apply early pressure at all. As I’ve seen in the previous games, 1 late Fireball is more than enough to win.
Game 1 we both start with a LoA. You can watch it again on YouTube but in both games it doesn’t show the first 1/2 turns. Another reason why I love this deck, my 6 (Strip, Chaos Orb, Sinkhole’s) LoA killers against his 2. Although he did manage to catch a Strip Mine as well. My creatures just put too much early pressure and I manage to win the 1st game.
I board in 9 SB cards because I don’t need Dark Rituals, Juzam’s and can leave out 1 Swords since he only plays Mishra’s although might have Serra’s as well. The 2nd game I start with 5 mana sources of which 1 is a strip mine. He starts with LoA just like in game 1 but again it’s not a problem. Luckily I draw my LoA in T2 and can slowly start building an advantage, just what The Deck normally likes to do. He manages to destroy a lot of stuff I put on the board but the card advantage is just to much. While playing I did figure that a Balance would be devasting as it would wipe out most of the board, my card advantage and my ability to use LoA. He manages to Tutor it so he might be able to pull off a huge comeback but having 2 Underworld Dreams in play was sufficient after all.
Winning feels great! It was definitely a bucket list thing since I love competitive play and I don’t think it hurts the “play to have fun” attitude that much. Deadguy Ale on Steroids proved itself (again). When I build the deck for the Raging Bull Series (Robbertjan played it) I had the feeling this could be a winner. Robbertjan made T8 and Megu won RBS with the same deck. During the LCOS tournament I had multiple games which I won with only 1 life to go. Games were definitely close which means I could have easily lost a couple of more matches. It makes sense that this deck has more variance then “The Deck” but it fits my style a lot more. I can play Juzam’s all day long in Old School although I think the Underworld Dreams are the cornerstone of this deck
Before the tournament I doubted a lot if I should take out Dark Ritual from the main. Dark Ritual Hippie/Dreams can put a lot of pressure on your opponent but it can also easily result in a 2 for 1. A Dark Ritual is also not that useful later in a game. Therefor I do believe the deck might be better without it, even when I won some games just because I was able to put on a lot of early pressure. Juzam’s can be so devastating but the 1 damage each turn also results in a lot of close games, especially when your opponent plays Maze of Ith. Having 4 alternative creatures in your sideboard is a must and is also awesome for playing mind games in game 2/3 with people who think that City in a Bottle wrecks this deck. While it’s definitely a good card against this deck, knowing when your opponent will board it really helps you avoid serious problems. The 3 City of Brass and 1 LoA remaining aren’t that big of a problem. The biggest question going forward might be finding 4 good cards to replace the Dark Rituals, although I guess 1 has to be a swamp at minimum.
The LCOS crew is truly an awesome crew. What Juan did for Nick, Henk and myself all weekend was out of control. I can’t thank the whole crew enough for this weekend, Raul, Juan, Edu and all the others thank you for the awesome time and great games. If you just look at all the prizes I was able to take home you grasp an idea of what kind of atmosphere there is. I mean, how often do you win a handmade wooden Ali from Caro, a Spanish Arnold Schwarzenegger DVD and a beautiful Counterspell Patch? On top of that I was lucky enough to take 2 of Megu’s prizes home, the altered Fishliver Oil and Dragon Engine lithography.
Muchos gracias, Vuelvo enseguida!
Raul and Juan always put the T8 on YouTube, if you want to watch these videos please subscribe to the LCOS YouTube Channel.
Quarter-final – Richard vs Juan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRxDETPRS0M
Semi-Final – Edu vs Raul: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqMI9aratcw
Final – Edu vs Richard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPuhfO6ptgU