Raging Bull Series: 2023 Coverage & Results

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Lots of rambling

After the Raging Bull event last year, I was completely lost for inspiration and even had doubts about organizing a fifth edition. The venue for Raging Bull is more or less fixed since it’s nearly impossible to find an affordable location in the middle of Amsterdam. This means that the capacity, start and end time are predetermined, and I have to work within the limitations of the venue. Additionally, the venue is open to the general public on both days, and since there is no rental fee, there’s not so much I can demand. The main event is set up perfectly with 64 players, 6 rounds of Swiss, and a top 8, so there’s little to think about in that regard. However, the Friday schedule allows for some flexibility, as in the previous two live editions, we only had a casual meet-up. So, I thought, why not host a small tournament like many other events do?

I quickly decided that it would be a Two-Headed Giant event. I played a couple of Two-Headed Giant games during our A40L gathering and loved the format. The Brothers’ Highlander format was a somewhat random choice, and I actually believed I was the first to combine the two. Little did I know that this format had already been played at Viennageddon 2022. Nevertheless, the brewing aspect of it was undoubtedly the best part. Unfortunately, some people only started building their decks a day or two before the event (shame on them). Nonetheless, I witnessed some great games, although we only played 4 rounds of Best-of-1, so there weren’t many matches to begin with. The gathering on Friday was incredibly enjoyable, as everyone had quirky decks, and playing a single match in 70 minutes allowed for plenty of time for socializing and drinking. We had 14 teams, and Jordan and Aland emerged as the winners, making for a fantastic start to the weekend. Interestingly, Aland has now won 2 out of 2 Two-Headed Giant Brothers’ Highlander events. You can’t make this stuff up.

While Friday is laid-back and casual, Saturday is where the real action happens. As a tournament organizer, I faced a real challenge due to the limited capacity and my own desire for having many international guests. At the beginning of the year, all 64 spots were already filled, and I had issued invites to more people than I had capacity for. After discussing with the venue, I initially increased the capacity to 70, and eventually settled on 76. However, the capacity issue is not just about space and chairs. When the number of players exceeds 72, it becomes difficult to determine a clear-cut top 8 when multiple players have a 5-1 record. While this may not be the worst situation if known in advance, personally, I’m not a fan of it. What matters more to me is that “bigger” doesn’t necessarily mean “better.” In larger tournaments, people often tend to stick with those they already know. Fortunately, by now, most of the community members have already met each other at many other events, but I still prefer to keep it “relatively” small. I’m not even sure if 76 players align with the limits I have in mind, but in the end, it all worked out. Disappointing those who would like to participate remains the toughest part of organizing a semi-invitational event. It will likely be an even greater struggle next year.

As we all agree, Magic, and especially Old School Magic, is largely about “The Gathering.” The longer you’ve been in the scene and the more people you meet, the less important the actual game seems to become. Having some fun on the side during tournaments is always welcome, although it can be challenging in terms of time management. You don’t want to over-organize things, as some people simply come to play cards and have a drink with others. Therefore, I was uncertain about having a raffle this year, but I was absolutely certain about another edition of Angry Mob.

Angry Mob is nothing more than a game of “guess the card.” Anyone who wants to participate lines up, and two players step forward. The goal is to guess the card the fastest, and the winner gets to keep the card and goes back to the end of the line. I give hints one by one, and all the cards used are from The Dark set. Some people are incredibly skilled at this game. Last year, Joep emerged as the champion, and this year he came really close once again. However, Frank claimed the victory in the finals against Joep, and judging by the smile on his face, he was thrilled about it. While Angry Mob may not be for everyone, I personally loved it. Unfortunately, we only had time for one round, but I will definitely organize it again next year!

Finally, the Raffle found its place in the schedule as well. I was fortunate to have some remaining Raging Bull merchandise from last year, including 3 hoodies and 2 beer glasses. In addition, I stumbled upon some empty Old School Booster packs, and added a generous gift of a sealed Fallen Empires pack given by Gwen. The surprises continued as Martin kindly presented me with a fantastic 3D printed Triskelion Life counter, and The Fishliver crew contributed a substantial pack of their own merchandise.

Prior to the tournament, Juan went above and beyond by creating Raging Bull stickers. He also helped with the design of the Raging Bull patches which resulted in a fantastic outcome. Dyan once again volunteered to capture fantastic photos throughout the day. His portrait shots are simply amazing and add an extra touch to the event. Additionally, just like last year, he took charge of setting up the livestream, going above and beyond by investing in even more equipment to beautifully illuminate the entire venue. Timmy got all excited again and dedicated his day to live-streaming, with my support whenever possible.

To top it all off, Evert, Jaap, Herman, Bob, Wouter, Florian, Robbertjan, and Henk contributed in various other aspects of the event, which proved to be incredibly valuable to me. The generosity and support from everyone involved demonstrates the fantastic community we have. Inspiration doesn’t always have to come from within, it is often handed to you by others.

 

The main Event

76 players, 6 rounds plus a top 8, with a deadline to finish it all by 22:00. I’m not sure if the closing time of the venue or FloVo’s participation adds more time pressure, but fortunately, I value punctuality myself as well. As usual announcements took a bit longer than expected. There was one error with Tolaria during the initial pairing, but we quickly resolved it and got the tournament started. Despite having 38 matches each round, we managed to avoid significant time losses throughout the tournament. The rounds progressed smoothly and the beautiful weather outside enticed many players to order drinks and gather outside for chit-chat and to soak up the sun. Throughout the day, luck certainly plays a role but focus is equally important, especially among the top players. In the final round, only two players were guaranteed a spot in the top 8, creating an exciting tension for those players fighting for their win-and-in.

Rob achieved the impressive feat of going 6-0, joining the ranks of those who have experienced the “curse.” The top 8 lineup consisted of Svante, Jordan, Robbertjan, Geert, Koen, Thomas, and Frenk, creating a wonderful mix of international players and local heroes. Geert’s first-ever Old School tournament participation, playing 1 of my favorite classics ErhnamBurn’em, together making the T8 with his brother Rob was really a fantastic story. It was also great to see Robbertjan and Koen secure back-to-back RBS top 8 finishes, while Svante continued to add the RBS T8 to his already impressive list of accomplishments. Jordan’s consistent performance from the previous day carried over, and Thomas showcased his prowess by making the top 8 with his Chains deck. Frenk, despite losing in the first round against Svante, went on to win all subsequent matches, resulting in some great stories for those who made it to the top 8.

Before proceeding to the Top 8 matches, some prizes were already distributed. At Raging Bull, the best player using “The Deck” always receives a revised Grizzly Bear as a nod to Raging Bull’s flavor text, “the Bulls have more fun.” Nick had already won this prize twice, but since he couldn’t attend this year, the opportunity was up for grabs. Will Magrann, all the way from the USA, and FloVo from Germany decided to play The Deck. Unfortunately, it wasn’t their day as they finished 18th and 31st, with FloVo ultimately taking home the coveted prize! Imagine traveling from the USA, bringing The Deck, and missing out on the Grizzly Bear, only to realize that you had to finish within the top 17 to claim it!

The Fishliver Crew generously provided four Beta Grizzly Bears for the 9th place finisher because, as they say, “the T8 has more fun.” Antti was the unlucky 9th place finisher, but he couldn’t help but smile. The spice prize has become increasingly challenging to distribute. Firstly, more people are spiking the tournament due to the growth of their collections. Secondly, we’ve seen almost everything by now. Nevertheless, a Wood Elemental was up for grabs, and we had to award it to someone. In the middle of the day, Benja shouted, “Castle, I got a Castle Timmy!” It was clear we had a¬† winner so Benja claimed the spice prize!

A few months before the tournament, I purchased two original artist sketches on authentic MTG card backs: one Chaos Orb and one Demonic Tutor. The Chaos Orb was reserved for the 1st place winner, but I had different plans for the Tutor. Raffling it off was one option, but awarding it to the player finishing 38th seemed just as random as a raffle. Trygve got lucky and immediately asked if he could actually play it next year. Fortunately, at Raging Bull, we allow such sketches to be played as long as you also own an original copy as well!

Last but not least, the Demmer challenge. Erwin finished 55th out of 61 players last year, and during a chat, he mentioned that he needed some encouragement to perform better this year. I pondered over it for a week or two and decided to do the opposite. I gathered a 4th Edition, Revised, Unlimited, Beta & Alpha Dwarven Warriors and would award these to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th player who bested him. If a 6th player would get the best of him, I would have bought a Summer Edition on the spot but lucky for me that wasn’t needed. To encourage Demmer a bit himself as well, if he would go 6-0 he would receive all the cards as well. His 3/3 finish got me off the hook pretty cheap ūüėČ

While we already had some great matches on the stream during the day, the Top 8 was a fantastic selection of decks and players. Since we don’t stream the top tables during the day, the undefeated player during the Swiss rounds always plays on the stream in the quarterfinals. Rob had to battle Frenk in some intense games, with the games ending 2-1 in favor of Rob. Robbertjan, Thomas, and Koen also made it to the semifinals. Out of the four remaining players, three were playing Deadguy Ale on Steroids, with a total of 11 Juzams. Since Thomas was playing Chains, we streamed his match against Koen in the semifinals. While Koen emerged victorious, Robbertjan won against Rob.

For those paying attention, Robbertjan knocked out two brothers from the Top 8 in a single tournament. The Koen vs. Robbertjan finals was a rematch of last year’s quarterfinals, which Koen won¬† without “steroids” at that time, just with Deadguy Ale, while Robbertjan was playing BB-8. This time, the decks were similar but not identical, as Koen opted to include Wheel of Fortune and drop Dark Rituals, the power and Achilles’ heel of Deadguy Ale.

Unfortunately, the finals were decided in just two games, as Robbertjan faced mana screw, partly due to his own choices and the inherent randomness of the game itself. Koen’s MtG-playing girlfriend couldn’t be happier, as Koen immediately declared that he wouldn’t be able to surpass this achievement next year. Consequently, he announced that he would give his girlfriend the opportunity to play while he stayed at home watching their child next year. If that doesn’t show how great of a champion we have this year I don’t know what does! It raises the question if she is also allowed to wear the Raging Bull ring, maybe Koen should look for something else on her finger?

While Dyan packed all his stuff, outside there was still a big bunch of people talking and drinking. When the venue closed, we walked accross the street for some more drinks but eventually we had to say our farewells. It was a fantastic weekend with a awesome group of people. I really can’t wait for next year, although I first need a little bit of inspiration.

Livestream

Timmy made some great video’s again, you can watch all episode’s using this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsGeV_wxUkUaSpW8rjiVXczBvLC_NO4om
Round 1: Still to be released
Round 2: Still to be released
Round 3: Still to be released
Round 4: Still to be released
Round 5: Still to be released
Round 6: Still to be released
1/4 Finals: Still to be released
1/2 Finals: Still to be released
Finals: Still to be released

Full replay of the commented livestream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsF3JU2ruA0

Photo’s

Check out a selection of the photo’s made by Dyan here: https://www.geschotendoordy.nl/raging-bull-series/2023

Tournament Reports

Amsterdam met bloed, zweet, en tranen by Aland: https://blog.aginamist.net/2023/05/amsterdam-met-bloed-zweet-en-tranen.html
Report from Raging Bull 2023 by Svante: https://endofturndrawacard.wordpress.com/2023/05/31/raging-bull-2023/

Pairings & Results

Round 1:

Round 2:

Round 3:

Round 4:

Round 5

Round 6:

Top 8:

Final Standings:

Participants & Archetypes

ResultNameArchetypeUnpowered
1Koen HaakDeadguy Ale on Extra Steroids
2Robbertjan SuwerinkDeadguy Ale on Steroids
3Rob van DijckDeadguy Ale on Other Steroids
4Thomas NilsenChains of Mephistopheles
5Svante LandgrafFantasy Zoo
6Jordan BoyleLauterish
7Geert van DijckErnham Burn'em
8Frenk van der MeijRobots UWb
9Antti TurtiainenMono Green
10Marten Buhler5c Mono Red
11Old Men ArjenUWb Skies
12Mikael JohanssonUWb Stebbo
13Gideon Evers5c Good Stuff
14Wander NottingGu Weenie Berserk
15Juan LópezPink WeenieY
16Lukas BaumRGb Malte Weenie
17Ole RustadRoboReka UBg
18Florian Von BredowThe Deck
19Chris SchusterBR Aggro
20Ron DijkstraReanimator
21Robbie van BakelErhnamGeddon
22Old Men TimMono Green
23MariRobots URb
24Jaap BReanimator
25Leon van den OordBR Void
26AlphamannetjeErhnam on Ice
27Alex RuttenUWb Stebbo
28Andrea SevesoPentaZooY
29Jordi G√°lvezMono Red Mechanics
30Cristian HouwelingRobots UBR
31WheelThe Deck
32Erwin DemmerDeadguy Ale on Steroids
33Leo BruderBruderBots
34Meddling MaxeRobots Ub
35Joep MeddensErhnam on Ice
36Wouter MaasDeadguy AleY
37Hunter PrendergastUR Goblins
38Trygve √ėrjansenRUG Zoo
39Francesco DelfinoUWbr Skies
40BenjaWB PestilenceY
41Evert Visser4c Good Stuff
42Lluís CortèsErhnamGeddon
43Roy NeijlandBRu AggroTroll
44Martin PurrioMono BlackY
45Bob van der LindenI'm blue dabedeedabedow
46Marco ZucchuRobots UBR
47Jeff de NijsUWb Control
48HW-MTGBB-8
49Koos CramerUWb Field of Dreams
50Edo HoksbergenUWb Coreset Control
51Vicente Romero GironBR AggroTroll
52Ben BlackBorderedMono Red Lightning
53Audun D√łsslandURb
54Florian van der MoolenMono GreenY
55Emiel van DaeleProject M
56Wouter BoendermakerMono GreenY
57Resti Gonz√°lezLauter
58Stijn MenkehorstMono Black
59Slutting SpigDFB Green
60Steven DeckersUBw Midrange
61Peter BonthuisRWubg RoboTog
62Anies van TolUW Control
63Robert MeijboomDeadguy AleY
64Pasi SavolainenTrollDisco RB
65√ėyvind Skattum VestengGU Berserk
66Frank Van de Lustgraaf5c Good Stuff
67Michael SchroersRG RukhValleyY
68Sa√ļl Ibarra Corretg√©Mono RedY
69Richard BoonstraMono GreenY
70Old Man FredPink Weenie TaxEdgeY
71Wilfred DoornikUR CounterBurn
72ReindeerRoboTrolls UWR
73Herman DjinnUR CounterBurn
74Domenico ChionettiUW TaxTower Skies
75NethershadowGbr AggroY
76Edwin SchaapMono Black

Decklists

1 – Koen Haak – Deadguy Ale on Extra Steroids
2 – Robbertjan Suwerink – Deadguy Ale on Steroids
3 – Rob van Dijck – Deadguy Ale on Other Steroids
4 – Thomas Nilsen – Chains of Mephistopheles
5 – Svante Landgraf – Fantasy Zoo
6 – Jordan Boyle – Lauterish
7- Geert van Dijck – Ernham Burn’em
8 – Frenk van der Meij – Robots UWb
9 – Antti Turtiainen – Mono Green
10 – Marten Buhler – 5c Mono Red
11 – Old Men Arjen – UWb Skies
12 – Mikael Johansson – UWb Stebbo
13 – Gideon Evers – 5c Good Stuff
14 – Wander Notting – Gu Weenie Berserk
15 РJuan López РPink Weenie
16 – Lukas Baum – RGb Malte Weenie
17 – Ole Rustad – RoboReka UBg
18 – Florian Von Bredow – The Deck
19 – Chris Schuster – BR Aggro
20 – Ron Dijkstra – Reanimator
21 – Robbie van Bakel – ErhnamGeddon
22 – Old Men Tim – Mono Green
23 – Mari – Robots URb
24 – Jaap B – Reanimator
25 – Leon van den Oord – BR Void
26 – Alphamannetje – Erhnam on Ice
27 – Alex Rutten – UWb Stebbo
28 – Andrea Seveso – PentaZoo
29 – Jordi G√°lvez – Mono Red Mechanics
30 – Cristian Houweling – Robots UBR
31 – Wheel – The Deck
32 – Erwin Demmer – Deadguy Ale on Steroids
33 – Leo Bruder – BruderBots
34 – Meddling Maxe – Robots Ub
35 – Joep Meddens – Erhnam on Ice
36 – Wouter Maas – Deadguy Ale
37 – Hunter Prendergast – UR Goblins
38 – Trygve √ėrjansen – RUG Zoo
39 – Francesco Delfino – UWbr Skies
40 – Benja – WB Pestilence
41 – Evert Visser – 4c Good Stuff
42 РLluís Cortès РErhnamGeddon
43 – Roy Neijland – BRu AggroTroll
44 – Martin Purrio – Mono Black
45 – Bob van der Linden – I’m blue dabedeedabedow
46 – Marco Zucchu – Robots UBR
47 – Jeff de Nijs – UWb Control
48 – HW-MTG – BB-8
49 – Koos Cramer – UWb Field of Dreams
50 – Edo Hoksbergen – UWb Coreset Control
51 – Vicente Romero Giron – BR AggroTroll
52 – Ben BlackBordered – Mono Red Lightning
53 – Audun D√łssland – URb
54 – Florian van der Moolen – Mono Green
55 – Emiel van Daele – Project M
56 – Wouter Boendermaker – Mono Green
57 – Resti Gonz√°lez – Lauter
58 – Stijn Menkehorst – Mono Black
59 – Slutting Spig – DFB Green
60 – Steven Deckers – UBw Midrange
61 – Peter Bonthuis – RWubg RoboTog
62 – Anies van Tol – UW Control
63 – Robert Meijboom – Deadguy Ale
64 – Pasi Savolainen – TrollDisco RB
65 – √ėyvind Skattum Vesteng – GU Berserk
66 – Frank Van de Lustgraaf – 5c Good Stuff
67 – Michael Schroers – RG RukhValley
68 – Sa√ļl Ibarra Corretg√© – Mono Red
69 – Richard Boonstra – Mono Green
70 – Old Man Fred – Pink Weenie TaxEdge
71 – Wilfred Doornik – UR CounterBurn
72 – Reindeer – RoboTrolls UWR
73 – Herman Djinn – UR CounterBurn
74 – Domenico Chionetti – UW TaxTower Skies
75 – Nethershadow – Gbr Aggro
76 – Edwin Schaap – Mono Black

Event Pictures

Author: TaGMoM

Started playing in 1995 when Ice Age was launched and quit playing in 1999 since I didn't like the fast rotation of cards. When I heard about Old School Magic in 2017 I returned to the scene and now I'm spending way to much time on Magic, loving it all the way!

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