“A room full of people enjoying the same thing they love, that’s what I did it for…”
DadBodCon 2022 was a gathering of father figures from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Spain that came together the first weekend in March to spell-sling Old School Magic: the Gathering. A total of sixty-one players registered to battle seven rounds. Some came for glory, some for the beer and camaraderie, some got to sit down to their very first Old School tournament. All contributed to the thriving Old School community by showing up that day.
“That’s called real life, things happen…”
Preparation started shortly after the initial spark of interest in hosting a tournament caught fire. In August of 2021 I casually scored an invite to the Dwarven Warriors Cup, hosted in the epicenter of Dutch Old School Magic, Voorthuizen. Without superlatives or exaggeration, that was easily the best day of Magic I’ve had by a long shot. The game itself is great, but the people who enjoy it together makes it a thing of excellence.
Shortly after the two-day hangover I began looking around for venues to host my own gig. There were few criteria, but each one was important; food, beer, space to game. Utrecht, being its best self, had plenty to offer. The first place that came to mind was the venue where lots of the National Championships and Pro Tour Qualifiers were hosted years ago. It ticked all the boxes of the above-mentioned criteria, with the added nostalgia factor. It was settled, there was no need to look any further.
From the first announcement there was palpable interest in the tournament. We were just coming off of a summer of things re-opening after a series of restrictions and lockdowns thanks to Covid-19, everyone wanted to have something to look forward to and a live tournament was hard to top.
A day of Old School is more than enough to make people happy, but this event needed to exceed expectations. Being a casual format, fun was the goal, but what could be done to level that up? There were attempts to create a new sub-format within Old School. The first ideas thrown around revolved around adding one specific card to the format. Scryings was already done, and at this point already kind of snowed over. After the first format announcement being that DadBodCon would be Scryings, there was noted interest in good ol’ Swedish Old School. It wasn’t a hard decision to switch back to Swedish OS, but there was that little extra still missing.
Revisiting the inkling to add one card to the player’s deck was short lived. After reaching out to other players with the idea, it was quickly taken off the burner because the format would be fairly broken. Personally, I would have been stoked to add Cursed Scroll into Mono Red, as an example, or Wasteland for that matter. But that would also mean that TwiddleVault gets Voltaic Key, or The Deck gets Force of Will. That idea quickly killed itself.
At this point in the X-Point series was starting to take off, props to Louis de Nijs for actually designing a proper spin off format! As a creative type I enjoyed the challenge, yet knew when to throw in the towel. If the format was too difficult to build in a healthy and balanced way, then I could better tinker with the structure of the tournament. One observation I’ve had was that as a tournament goes on, people drop when they are out of contention. So, in order to get more people playing throughout the whole day, I came to the conclusion to cut the elimination rounds all together and make it a structure of seven rounds, no top 8, and standings would decide who won. This structure afforded the opportunity to come up with prizes to share to a wider range of players instead of those who go straight to the top.
The Spikes would get their fill with a prize structure for the Top 4 standings. The Johnny’s and Timmy’s would be rewarded with creativity prizes and I made an effort to reward those who filled out the Bottom 4; an Ashnod’s Coupon worth a drink on my tab at the next live tournament where we see each other!
The creativity prizes were pretty easy to put together on a conceptual level. Starting with the Spice Prize, the initiative to give players a chance to express themselves with their cards would be rewarded with a custom designed playmat. Because beer is an integral part of the Old School community, the Best Drinker Award was a stack of beer coasters with the Earth Elemental and DadBodCon logo printed on the front.
On top of the prizes, it was a fun challenge to provide every player with a little something just for signing up that day. Buttons were an obvious include, those jackets and backpacks don’t bedazzle themselves. Thanks to some generous players in the community, and my Secret Santa (still don’t know who you are!) I was able to collect 70+ Revised edition Earth Elementals to adorn with a custom made DadBodCon stamp.
After a few conversations with the dealer who’d be available during the tournament to buy, sell and trade, we hashed out an idea to offer Old School repacks. A few would go to the Top 4 prize support, and the rest would be available for purchase. We came to the conclusion that a profit-based model wouldn’t benefit the community much. The decision was made to sell repacks for 25euro with at least 30euro in value. Some packs were worth more like 50euro, and a very few were more like 100euro. We decided to give back to the community through offering positive value repacks full of Old School cards. It was a pleasure to spend a half day sorting through the history of the game and taking the time to put together a few dozen repacks that would go on to help people build more Swedish legal Old School decks. We developed a good working formula and a structured way to get the work done.
With various prizes and the repacks in tote, the deck pics started rolling in. They were requested a head of time so that I had room to judge regarding the Spice Award. That was a difficult decision to make, but in the end, it came down to just a hand full of decks from Rob Koopman, Koos Cramer with Enchantress, Thomas Meddens with Timmy’s Elementals. Those of you who took the time to put together a sweet deck pic, I saw you and I enjoyed every one! This was the difficult part, so many great decks to choose from but only one could be a winner. Rob Koopman was that winner with a build centered around his favorite card; Old Man of the Sea.
The cursory glance affords a view of a few cards that don’t see much play, yet the more one looks into it the spicier it gets. With Sorceress Queen and Isle of Wak-Wak making most all creatures 0 power, they get stolen by Old Man and regain their power at the end of the turn. The point is to steal everything, keep ahead in cards thanks to the Blue Power and win by beating the opponent with their own creatures. It has flavor, a story-driven strategy and a mix of the best and most beautiful cards in the game. Here follows a short explanation from Rob in his own words.
‘The Old Man and his Queen swore off the bottle’
A way too complicated deck title to hint to City in a Bottle, a card which auto-wins against this deck, and a little reference to the state of mind so many of us are in after a nice Old School tournament!
I’ve been wanting to make a deck based around Sorceress Queen and Old Man of the Sea for quite a while now. I’ve been collecting cards to make it as functional and as pretty as I could.
Islands of Wak-Wak were the first card to add since it functions as a Queen for flyers. Paralyze was a much-needed addition because not only does this deck auto-lose vs creature-less decks, it also gets overrun quite easily by Aggro. Diamond Valleys were added as the main sacrifice outlet and some much needed life-gain.
Aside from the basic idea and shell around it I decided to add as many one-offs that would both have a synergy with the deck idea and be pretty. Lord of the Pit is terrible, but it’s probably the coolest Beta card I own, plus it sacrifices creatures, so in he goes! I also decided to add as many Anson Maddocks one-offs (on top of the playset of Paralyze) because I’ve been collecting Anson cards since I was a kid and there’s just too many cards that fit in this deck.
To me the challenge is to try to make a terrible deck idea work…to a degree.
The sun dawns on March 5th, everything necessary for the tournament was already packed up. We get there and set up, re-test the pairings software and a feeling of contentment settles in as the first group of players rolls in to register. After waiting on the last few to arrive the first pairings were printed off. The feeling of contentment dissipated into dread as the round’s pairings were incomplete and multiple people were registered more than once.
“It’s a simple system that I’ve used since the mid 90’s…”
The source of the few italicized quotes is Jaap Brouwer, former Level 5 Judge and Dutch TO extraordinaire. Fortunately for me he took me under his wing and was ready to help with organizing DadBodCon since its first announcement. Jaap, you already know how thankful I am, so those of you reading this need to appreciate how important it is to surround yourself with cool and collected people like The Judge With The Big Hands. After the second hiccup in posting the pairings, I quickly shifted gears to put all players on the manual pairings system after printing out all the slips. In the end it worked out beautifully because everyone had ample time to go for a smoke or get their second beer of the day before round one started at 10:40.
The first delay put the round ending right at lunch time, where we all went downstairs to enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet. From then on, each round flowed on and shortly after 19:00 we had the results in for the last match of play. The Bottom Four got their drink IOU’s, the winner of the Best Drinker Award wasn’t even around for the speech, befitting of the prize and following a trend set early on in the day. He was downstairs ordering a round, so it was another rather easy decision to make; Erwin “Demmi” Demmer took that prize home. Our DadBodCon champion and mustache aficionado Jeff “Chefke” de Nijs took down the whole tournament with a clean 7-0 piloting Four Color Mono-Black.
A blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while, so here’s to you Chefke! A well-deserved trophy card, a Beta Earth Elemental signed by all players, and a goatee of mayonnaise from the Greek restaurant where we ate afterwards are more than enough to show your spell slinging skills!
A word of thanks goes back out to those who helped with organization, especially my wife Nicky and son Max who joined me that Saturday. They finally got to see what it is that I do when I go gaming for a day, and now it’s easy for them to see why Old School is the best format of Magic: the Gathering. A huge thanks to Wijnand of PowerNegen (CardMarket.com) for his time and effort putting together the Mystery Boosters. Last but not least, a thanks goes out to all the players involved and especially those who couldn’t make it due to real life getting in the way. What a community we have!