How Johnny spiked the Knights of Thorn

Hi my name is HW-MTG and I’m a magic anonymous, I follow the routine, have read all articles on MG’s and Svante’s blogs,  have listened to all episodes of All tings considered and Flippin Orb at least once (yes some more than once) and am daily looking for new content.

I started playing somewhere around end of 94 start of 95, FE was in stores and 4th edition was coming out, I played up until about Visions/Weatherlight when I got other interests like most of the 18 year olds, besides that, I lost the fun with all the new cards. About 2 years ago my friend Richard told me that he started playing Magic again, there was a “new” format called old school and it was fun, like the old days, as a true ponzi master he lent me his deck and I was hooked immediately, the pyramid successfully expanded ;-).

Ok, so I wanted to built my own old school deck, but what to built? I didn’t had to think long or hard, one of my vivid memory of playing magic was the moment I joined a tournament in Amsterdam, I read about a new deck so gathered the cards I had to built it (no power, no duals) and actually managed to play the following 4 cards: birds, instill energy, kismet and stasis, my opponent went mental, he called a judge and I waas awarded the game because I played feldons cane, it made my day and I was ecstatic about it, I guess that moment I became a Johnny… 

Now that I knew I wanted to play Stasis is started buying all the cards needed for my mono blue turbo stasis, the non power first but quickly started procuring those as well, I played my first tournament after 4 months, this was also the knights of Thorn and even played against MG (great games MG). As I don’t like to play the same deck every time I started procuring more cards. Anyone who follows my Instagram can see I’m more of the Danny Friedman school of Magic, I just love prison and enchantments and barely have decks which make use of the attack step.

My first year was a lot of fun and I’ve played in lots of tournaments, with weird combo/prison decks. We are quite fortunate in the Netherlands, we have a community of about 65 people and about 8 tournaments in a year. Living in a country which is not bigger than 250 Kilometers, the tournaments are always within a 2 hour drive max. Because of this all our tournaments easily have 35+ attendees.

After spending 1,5 years in the 2-3/3-2 bracket with a 9th place at a tournament playing with my Land Equilibrium deck I told Richard 6 months ago I wanted to Top 8 once this year. I decided Stasis (or prison as a whole) (Remember this for later in the report) wasn’t strong enough and would build another deck for the Uthen Troll cup where I played Svante’s Atog list. Ironically enough I lost to 2 fish decks and didn’t make the cut. My last option was the 7th edition of The Knight of Thorn on the 14th of December was going to be my last chance. I started brewing in the Spike area.

First I built URb counter burn, this deck is so versatile and can almost do everything, go aggro or go control and having access to both blasts is great. I sleeved up the default built (like Stebbo played in the summer derby) and played it during our Monday meet ups. During our next meet-up Richard finally decided which deck he wanted to play, it was going to be mono red flare with 3 blood moons and 2 city in a bottle main. Needless to say this wasn’t the best match-up for my deck. Offcourse every deck has it’s nemesis and not may decks in the Dutch meta play a lot of BM’s or Cities main but still, I wanted to have access to white.

I started thinking about the decks I wanted to play, Lauter is a obvious choice but is played a lot, I wanted something else than Dibs and Lions, I decided to go for midrange with Serra’s and Dibs and hell if I’m playing those, what not add some moats to stop all those pesky lions, factories and su-chi’s. UWb Flyers it was. With only 8 days left before the tournament I started to look at different builds, had about 20 versions in Manastack and chatted for hours with Richard and Anne about the last slots in the SB. And finally it was the 14th and ended up with this build.

Because KoT is about 1,5 hours driving we agreed to gather at Haarlem train station at 08:30 from which Robert-Jan would drive us (Richard, Wouter and me) to the tournament. For one weird reason Richard decided that Friday the 13th was a great date to go on a berserk all night drinking frenzy so at 08:20 he shared this picture:

I can tell you he was in for a treat with the radio full on but after some deep fried Dutch cuisine at the gasstation he was feeling better. We arrive at the tournament and meet and greet everybody, I quickly go to our local dealer to upgrade my duals for less bleached ones (13/40 upgraded now):

We have a total of 47 participants, a total of 6 rounds + top 8 will be played, alright, game on, let’s aim for the top 8.  I haven’t taken notes and it’s almost a week later so I don’t have a lot of information but a small summary of the rounds below.

Round 1 – Evert

Evert is well known in the community, he’s great player with multiple top 8’s on his name, including winning the Hill giant cup in the Netherlands. This will be a tough match. Fortunately for me he’s in a similar state as Richard and maybe this can give me an edge. Evert is on a RUB control midrange built which he has been playing since fish liver cup. I open with an ancestral, play an early Serendib and follow it up with a moat which stops his Su-Chi and answer all other threats he poses. Game 2 I open with a library on the draw which quite quickly helps me to get a book and moat online and Evert just can’t keep up with the card advantage.

1-0 (2-0)

Round 2 – Marten

Marten is also a regular top 8-er in the Netherlands. He has a beautiful collection with some great alters. He is also known for his 4c good stuff and including some spice, in this case I get to see a Rubina Soulsinger in one of the games. Game one is very tight, we both get Serra’s, and we both can answer them till I get a dib and serra online and kill his creatures. I top deck a demonic tutor and tutor for time walk, he already sees it and concedes. Game 2 he has more answers than me and he wins. Time for game 3, Marten opens with lotus, land, mox and casts timetwiser, nice one. I don’t like my new hand and Marten takes the lead. Fortunately a couple of turns later I manage to mind twist his whole had away, land a Moat and win with a Serra.

2-0 (4-1)

It’s time for lunch and we break for an hour. After lunch Mari (The organiser) and the lord of Fallen Empires Florian von Bredow reveal another Scryings card, Ishan Shade, great addition for the mono black players. I really like Scryings and am looking forward to more revealings.

Round 3 -Thijs

Thijs normally plays green with Giant Slugs and other spicy stuff but this time he has a more aggressive green, white deck. We both have the same sleeves and deck box, what a coincidence. I have a sick opening had, I play mox Perl, sol ring, tundra and T1 Dib. Thijs plays an elf and says go. I drop another land and play a Serra, this game is over quite quickly and we go to game 2.

Game 2 is different, Thijs plays elves, pixies and pendlehaven and does quite some damage. I manage to land a moat and serra and ride this to victory.

3-0 (6-1)

T2 board state

Round 4 – Robert-Jan

We’re doing well, both Robert-Jan and me are 3-0 from our group and we fearing that we have to play each other. And indeed, the parings are announced we are playing each other. We play tested the Monday before the tournament and I believe I won 8-2 or something like that, so my chances are good, he plays dead-guy on steroids, the same deck Richard played to multiple top 8’s and even won the tournament in Barcelona with.

I start with a land and lotus and pass turn. Robert-Jan opens with swamp, ritual into dreams. Fortunately I expected this and sac the lotus to counter the dreams. Unfortunately he follows up with Juzams and hippies and I’m nowhere. Game 2, I sideboard in the cop black and the towers and we are off. Game 2 is similar to G1 where he kills me with 2 dreams on the table and a hippie emptying my hand.

3-1 (6-3)

Round 5 – Tim

I get to play Tim, he’s a great guy who have joined our community after playing the raging bull cup. He’s on mono green which can be though due to the high speed. He starts and very soon I see my life total slinking. Fortunately I draw a Moat, this card is the hero of the day for me. I cast it and hear Tim sigh, he has no answer to Moat, I get a dib online with only 7 life left, 7 turns to kill Tim (i have a StP in hand) 6 turns should do it and it works as planned.

I only sideboard the WoG in and quite quickly get a moat online. Tim never finds his tranquillity and I win with a Serra.

4-1 (8-3)

Round 6 – Florian

I never know what I need to get into the Top-8 so I assumed 5-1 would definitely get me there, I only need to win this one. My opponent is someone I’ve played before in the Summer derby, Florian. He wins the dice roll and opens with library. I play my own library and passes turn, he plays strip mine and shoots the lib, I quickly draw a card and what do you know, a strip mine. So T2 we are even again. Florian is on Robots and we go back and forth, I disenchant some bots, mind twist his hand away and mana drain a trisk which fuels my Braingeyser for 6 cards. I win this game. Yes! 1-0 just one more for the top 8. Game 2 and 3 are just mental, he mind twist me both games, and plays multiple trisks which he copies and when I finally find my Moat, he just shoots me to death.

4-2 (9-5)

Ok so now I’m a bit tensed, are my tie breakers good enough? Robert-jan is 2nd, Florian is 3rd, I have a good resistance. Mari comes up to me and tell me I finished 9th, apparently Richard told Mari that I doubted 4-2 would be enough so asked him to mindfuck me. It turns out I finished 7th, finally goal achieved!

Quarter finalsRobert-Jan

Not again, we are paired up, none of us want to kick the other out but we have to play. G1 goes different than the other time I have counters and disenchants every time he plays a threat, my dibs en Serra remain unanswered and I ride both games to victory.

5-2 (11-5)

Semi Finals – Simon

Simon is a player from Belgium, the Belgiums are regular visitors of the Dutch tournaments and we try to vist theirs as well. Simon just kicked Florian out in the quarter finals and I have played him before, he is a good player. Simon is on midrange control, with burn. We play a tight game 1 but again my Moat saves me and I manage to win game 1. I sideboard the same as against all control decks that day, dibs out Elemental blasts in and play the control game. Game 2 I land an early book and eventually find a Serra which get StP-ed. Simon is behind and needs to work against my card advantage so he casts a timetwister, I get a brilliant hand, this must be my lucky day but apparently Simon’s hand wasn’t that good. He casts a Wheel and is say buy to my hand, I did get a mind twist with counter backup, I manage to resolve the twist for his whole hand and win the game from there.

6-2 (13-5)

I look at the other table, Tim entered the Top 8 because someone dropped and he managed to get to the semi finals. The game is still running which surprises me as the games with Simon weren’t the fastest. I go to grab a beer and watch their game, Tim is playing against Thilo who is playing Stasis (see, I told you to remember it). It’s 1-1 and the game goes on, in the meanwhile I’m fully pumped, this would the ultimate Karma, playing no Stasis because I wanted to make top-8 and then to face it in the finals… Thilo mages to win in a nail biter of a game. So it’s me against mono blue (splashing red for MB Blood Moon) Stasis, a deck I’m all to familiar with.

I’m happy with the outcome, game 1 I will have a shitload of dead cards (Moats, Dibs, StP) but after sideboarding I should be highly favoured.

Finals – Thilo

Game 1, Thilo begins and I have a hand with a Dib, I know I can’t play it once the Stasis hits the table it will kill me. I get a Serra on the table and get Thilo down to 8 but he plays 2 vises, a copy artefact and puts down a stasis, with 3 mines on the table this almost instantly kills me and I loose the game.

I take the dibs, moats and stop’s out and board in 6 blasts the divine offering, and the 2 towers. I begin and have complete control over the game, I disenchant and counter everything, I know you should get the mines but I reckoned they give me more useful cards than him and once I land 2 Serra’s I easily win.

So far we are 1 hour in, damn Stasis players with their grindy games ;-). Game 3 goes quite similar and Thilo is taking 6 turns in row of his time vaults and twiddles and I easily sit back wait with a counter in my hand. Finally he passes the turn back, we are another 50 minutes in now almost a total of 2 hours, fortunately I’m used to long grindy games. I ask him about the size of his library because he had 3 mines out so must have drawn at least 34 cards in those last turns, it turns out he has 7 cards left. I start smiling and think, let’s go out with a bang, I cast ancestral recall, recall it and cast it again, leaving him with 1 card in his deck and me with 2 counter spells in hand. I pass turn and he looks at me in disbelieve and shakes my hand. Great games Thilo.

So that’s it, I came for Top 8 and am now 1 of the 7 Knight of Thorn in the Netherlands! It was great, Moat is a life saver and the deck felt really steady. The city wasn’t used and I wouldn’t play it again.

Now I’m back on my new mission for 2020, get top 8 with a prison deck 😉

Thanks for reading all!


Author: HW-MTG

I started playing somewhere around end of 94 start of 95, FE was in stores and 4th edition was coming out, I played up until about Visions/Weatherlight when I got other interests like most of the 18 year olds, besides that, I lost the fun with all the new cards. About 2 years ago my friend Richard told me that he started playing Magic again, there was a “new” format called old school and it was fun, like the old days, as a true ponzi master he lent me his deck and I was hooked immediately, the pyramid successfully expanded ;-). I'm also the organizer of the monthly Online Oldschool League

2 thoughts on “How Johnny spiked the Knights of Thorn

    1. Thanks Edwin, it sure was. Like i mentioned we are quite lucky to have about 60 active players in a country which is smaller than an American city, we always have a great turn up.

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