But Martin Lindström is sitting across from me, playing flawlessly like an alien machine from the future, not one hair on his head out of position, perfectly relaxed in his sharp shirt. Looks like a Bond villain, as somebody commented. The Deck versus my Eyetog deck. He just beat Bryan Manolakos on the exact same 75 as me in the semis. And this will be my downfall: I do my usual sideboarding against The Deck, removing City in a Bottle and Chain Lightnings for Serendibs and Glooms among other things, not realizing that Martin, knowing about the dib plan (not least since I probably told him about it way earlier in the day), will have 4 REBs postboard. No dib did any damage for me. It’s 4.20, the finals of n00bcon is starting, and around 6 a.m., Martin is holding his second shark and I’m left with a 2-3 loss.
There’s also the embarrassing moment where Martin is on the play, going island, ancestral in my upkeep, to which I play library, mox, draw a card. Martin tells me I have 6 cards in hand, which is correct. I could have tried to take it back, of course, and as he told me over lunch the next day, Martin would have allowed it, but I didn’t want to do that. Not least because I did the exact same to my round 1 opponent earlier, but also because I believe in letting mistakes get punished. It is also very likely this didn’t matter, as the next time it was my turn, Martin had played out 4-5 artifact mana sources, drawn a bunch of more cards and stripped my library.
Most of the games of the finals (all of which is available on video once Gordon finishes cutting it) were about one of us doing broken things. Once I balanced away 6 cards; once I played ancestral and gloom turn 1; Martin played a bunch of ancestrals and moxes. My hands weren’t great and I maybe should have mulliganed more (think I kept at 6 of chain, bolt, psiblast, shatter, 2 lands g1, which is debatable).
Anyway. This is the deck that won the World Championship at N00bcon:
It was a very deserved victory, even though I think I’m a favorite in the matchup, especially being on the play because of finishing higher in the swiss. But this is Martin’s second Giant Shark, the only one winning more than one in the modern era of large shark tournaments, and I’m pretty sure he was the best player in the room. Congrats again, my friend.
Martin’s list is also perfect, of course. Or at least close to it (disregarding all those disgusting white-bordered cards). I still like mirror a lot, and would probably run it over copy artifact, but maindeck reb and divine offering were very good ideas, definitely better than abyss. I guess you could still argue about maindeck angels or not. We’ll see.
Myself, I played this, co-designed with Will Magrann and Bryan Manolakos who ran the same 75:
In the semis I faced latest Shark-winner Mikael “Åland” Johansson. He’s on this UR atog list:
I don’t agree with a number of choices here, mostly playing 0 city and thus no black, which just lowers the power level too much. And I have felt copy artifact is too weak against aggro where you don’t want to copy vise and ankh and rather have the time to copy su-chi or factory. But it’s an otherwise interesting take on atog, going down the su-chi route. The games aren’t that interesting, though. I draw better and have a more powerful deck. My 4 shatters are also insane in the matchup.
In the quarterfinals I’m playing the third shark-holder of the top 8, reigning world champion Alban Lauter playing his signature deck, mostly having some added energy fluxes in the board as the only real change. That somewhat fucks up our board plans as we didn’t plan on taking in REB before, but i adjust to that and start playing. And even though losing preboard (I think), I just gloom Alban really hard postboard. His deck does play a few mana sources too few so some mana troubles should be expected, especially when I start killing his moxes.
The last round of the swiss is a bit sad. I have to face old-timer GaJol, playing a sweet Underworld Dreams control deck with white removal and not a lot of combo elements. He started 5-0, before facing first Mano, then me on the exact same list, and the matchup is horrible for him. He can never beat a Blood Moon postboard, and he’s generally slow and weak to our burn plan as well as our artifacts, and also gloom. I am very very happy about making the top 8, and the match was played on camera, but GaJol really should have gotten there too.
Round 6 is a really good one, from my side at least. I face triple shark Elof, who’s actually playing The Deck instead of some interesting brew, something I appreciate (he has some sharks due to playing 4 mana drains back in the antediluvian times). We’ve had some discussions about the status of Mishra’s Factory in the format, and continue it while shuffling. Then I proceed to beat the crap out of Elof with my factories, after doing dirty power things to him. I win in about 15 minutes and feel suddenly invincible.
Round 5 was a bit anticlimactic. I face Constantine Prishvitsin, and I expect him to be on the BG unpowered deck he’s been playing the past few years. Instead, he’s on Twiddlevault. Which is good for me since that matchup is impossible for me to lose. He can’t ever let me draw off of howlings, he can’t combo off if I have an ankh in play, and to top that off I have the 4 shatters to disrupt him. His only out is basically doing insane power things, and he doesn’t.
Round 4 is the real squeezer. Time to start winning. I play Marten Buhler. In game 1, I get mind twisted I think, not getting much going, and the board state is this in the end:
And I never see a bottle. I am feeling sad and despairing, shuffling up. But then I do burn him out in game 2, and despite having seen one basic island and a lot of red cards, decide to moon him in game 3, which succeeds, although i miss some damage by not sacrificing some bad artifacts to an atog before they got hit by an unexpected shatterstorm. (It does show I didn’t take any real notes, right? I didn’t want to concentrate on anything else but the playing. Not preparing for a long or detailed report, not even taking hardly any photos.) I still didn’t even know what he’s playing; he showed it to me afterwards, and it was indeed a sweet pile.
In round 3, being 2-0, I’m feeling okay, even more so when I see I’m playing Jordan Boyle, who’s the pilot of a mono-blue Merfolk deck that Will lost to in round 1. But then I proceed to draw very few bottles if any, losing to dandan. Jordan did ancestral and time walk a bunch, and I did draw 0 lands off of a twister, so I think the variance was not on my side, but he’s a really nice guy and a really good player, and deserved the win. Also incredibly impressive to finish the swiss in 2nd place with what is essentially a budget deck. I am feeling quite down, though. I’m 2-1, Will is 1-2 and basically dead. Mano is 3-0 with our list and the only real hope. Olle is 2-1 or 1-2 with dibatog. Just not feeling so good. I get a beer and will at least try to grind it out.
Round 2 I play against Hannes. I try to remember what he’s usually playing, and settle on something white (who doesn’t, right?), which is obviously wrong when he goes swamp, swamp, black knight, hypnotic, juzam, something like sengir, not showing any non-black lands. Unfortunately, that curve is quite slow when I answer his first two threats with bolts and I think the juzam with a bottle, all the way getting in some damage with a factory or atog or vise or something. Game 2 is more interesting, as it turns out Hannes is in fact on the blue splash as well, playing an energy flux that would have destroyed me had I not already played a turn 1 or 2 atog. Instead, it gets in for a bunch of damage, and he’s not never really in the game at all.
Round 1. This is it. It’s all starting. What we’ve been brewing for, for such a long time. I’m uncharacteristically nervous, something I almost never am in magic anymore. I guess I usually just don’t care. Now I do. I play against Anton Glans, which I’ve done many times in the past; and just as usual, he’s running UW Skies. I guess it functions just like Lauter, just with better mana, and boarding out lions for moats sometimes. We go back and forth a lot, me losing game 2 to Anton drawing 4 swords for my atogs and dibs. Then, in game 3, it’s very close, me getting him down to 2 life with burn and vises, but now he’s at 4 cards exactly. I play an ankh but he has stabilized as I’m empty and I believe he has a lion. Then he plays a land, at which point I point to my ankh. I kind of feel bad, but also not, since this is n00bcon and I want to win, and he clearly just missed it. But not bad enough to suggest him to take it back. Had he wanted to, it would have been a completely different situation. It turns out he had 3 angels in hand, and would have killed me in 3 turns, so my odds of drawing burn (or power, etc) in those turns was great, but by no means guaranteed. Phew.
Well. I think this is where I stop: where it all started that day. The stories you will have to find elsewhere. So much is happening at a N00bCon weekend that it’s almost impossible to cover it all. The origin of the list and its possible future will be covered in depth at an upcoming All Tings Considered for sure. I will just conclude with thanking everybody, which in itself is a very hard thing to do: Bryan Manolakos and (especially) Will Magrann for the work we all put in on the list we played, Olle Råde for the hangs and the input on the dibatog list I almost played, Martin Lindström for being a stellar player, a gentleman as well as a Bond villain as everybody needs a nemesis (and also winning basically every other tournament he played during the weekend, in Vintage and Premodern, if I’m not mistaken), Magnus De Laval for putting it all together, Gordon Andersson for the stream and the karaoke performance, Dave Firth Bard and the rest of the crew (you know who you are), and all my other friends I see way too rarely. Love you all.
(Up next time: even more of chronological instability as we’re jumping back to the Danish Old School tournament a few weeks ago.)