LOBSTERCON 2: Organizer’s Report

LOBSTERCON 2: The Quest for the Pearl Trident, an Old School Magic tournament hosted by New England Old School, was held on September 21, 2019 at the George Dilboy VFW Post 529 in Davis Square, Somerville, Massachusetts.

The field was 122 players representing 23 U.S. states and Canadian provinces, England, and The Netherlands. Old School player groups in attendance included Chicago’s Lords of the Pit, Montreal’s Tundra Wolves, the Quebec City Brew Crew, New York’s Sisters of the Flame, London’s Brothers of Fire, Old Order Old School of South Central Pennsylvania, Ottawa’s Capital Chaos, the Fellwar Stoners of DC/Northern VA, the Beasts of the Bay, the Emerald City Trolls, and the Knights of Thorn.

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Eight players remaining at X-0 wearing their ceremonial bibs.

Deck construction rules for the event followed the Atlantic B&R list, along with the reprint allowances for 93/94 championed by Eternal Central. The structure of the tournament was seven rounds of straight Swiss pairings, both as a function of available time at the venue and also to arrive at a clear “winner” of the event. There was no cut to Top 4 or Top 8; however, for the seventh and final round, the two X-0 players at Table 1 played a longer match (“3 out of 5” i.e. “first to 3 wins”), setting up a true “final match.” No match draws were allowed; draws were settled by Chaos Orb flips, in accordance with local customs.

Catering for the event was provided by local institution Kelly’s Roast Beef, which delivered a total of 83 lobster rolls and 41 bowls of clam chowder for players looking to enjoy a taste of New England during the short lunch break between rounds 3 and 4.

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We also had a dedicated cash bar offering a range of libations including a few New England-centric brews like Sam Adams, Narragansett, and Harpoon IPA.

CHARITY SUPPORT

The event was organized as a fundraiser for Room to Grow in Boston, a non-profit that provides vital services to economically disadvantaged parents and families in Greater Boston. Room to Grow focuses on serving families from just before their child’s birth through age three, supporting them with individualized parenting education and coaching, high-quality baby/toddler supplies, and specialty referrals to community resources to ensure that their children receive a healthy and secure start in life.

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All proceeds from LOBSTERCON ticket sales after expenses were donated directly to Room to Grow. In addition, attendees were invited to participate in a baby/toddler supply drive, in which items like clothing, books, toys, feeding supplies, car seats, etc. were donated to Room to Grow in-kind. We also conducted a raffle of unique Old School items, including sealed product, alters, books and comics, posters, and various other examples of early 90s Magic memorabilia, with 100% of the raffle ticket sales going directly to the charity as well.

All told, the players at LOBSTERCON donated baby/toddler items valued at $1,489, plus another $5,011 in cash generated from event ticket sales and the raffle, for a total of $6,500 in support for Room to Grow. This amount was more than double our total contribution from LOBSTERCON in 2018 ($3,116)! The generosity and kindness shown by the Old School Magic community absolutely shattered our expectations, which is saying quite a lot at this point. On behalf of Room to Grow and the families they serve, and from all of us at New England Old School, thank you!

GUEST ARTIST

We had the honor of working with Bryon “Mutt” Wackwitz for this event, and it was an absolute treat to have him with us at LOBSTERCON in-person. Mr. Wackwitz provided us with some sweet alters, including our top prize for the “most spicy” deck, and was on hand to do signatures, sketches, and alters for players throughout the course of the day. Having an artist from Magic’s earliest days in our midst was wonderful, and a great opportunity for the community to show our love and appreciation for the iconic contributions that Bryon Wackwitz made to the game in those early years, and for his very passionate and friendly engagement with the Magic fan base ever since.

 

 

We also had the pleasure of working with Jeff A. Menges / Skaircrow Graphics, who supported our event by signing and altering a stack of Merfolk of the Pearl Trident for the Top 8 and Spicy Top 8 prizes, along with providing our playmat and banner art. Our “Quest for the Pearl Trident” wouldn’t have worked without knowing exactly what the Pearl Trident was, so I asked Jeff to decide, and then he brought it to life! The result was an amazing take on the original art from 1993, with a certain crustacean decoration:

 

 

REFLECTIONS and GRATITUDE

I’m left sitting here in the aftermath of our Quest for the Pearl Trident, simply blown away by the raw enthusiasm, generosity, and spirit of the global Old School Magic community. To everyone who traveled hours to get here, who crossed oceans and continents and international boundaries, or at the very least, a couple of time zones or some bridges with expensive tolls: thank you for going to all of that trouble to be with us. And to our local club members: thank you for coming out in force, thanks for joining us in our efforts to be the best possible hosts, and thank you above all for representing the values of New England Old School. We really are living in the Golden Age of the contemporary Old School movement. Nobody knows what the future holds, but if 2019 represents the high-water mark for this Old School thing we’ve got going on, I think we can safely say we’ve managed to build something truly special and worth fighting for.

I did absolutely none of this alone. Huge thanks to our dedicated judge, Josh Frankel, who made the entire day run smoothly, and for his diligent enforcement of the “Don’t Be A Jagoff” REL. And to “the Josh on my left,” Josh Tingley, the best charity partner a Magic tournament organizer could ever possibly hope for: thanks to you and Room to Grow for giving our event a more noble purpose beyond just playing cards with our friends. Our charitable contributions wouldn’t have been what they were without the incredible outpouring of donations from all corners of the Old School world, so special thanks to Matt Viau, Mike Frantz, Jason Williams, Tino Galizio, Cam Wall, Nick Batista, Shaun Augeri, Ted Kwartler, Akos Czibere, Jason Schwartz, Jimmy and Jeff Johnson, Will Magrann, Matthew Fink of the Magical Hacks, the Brothers of Fire, the Knights of Thorn, Guillaume Soucy and the Quebec City Brew Crew, and Jason Jaco for contributing to the veritable mountain of swag, driving raffle ticket sales and merch purchases that put our fundraising all the way over the top this year.

Thanks to Bryon “Mutt” Wackwitz for traveling from Philadelphia to be with us and work non-stop all day on alters and signatures. Thanks to Jeff Menges for helping me realize my fever dreams of the Pearl Trident and bring it all to life. Thanks to our vendors — Michelle, Mike, Rodney, and their teams for being there to provide so much additional value to the players throughout the day.

And thank you, truly, to the Homarid Warriors, guys like Jared Doucette, Chris Mason, Stephen Hartford, Will Magrann, Xanadude, Paul Kovalov, Andrew Coppellotti, James Lebak, Scott Coughlin, Mitja Held, and everyone else who helped in the run-up to the day, everyone who was there early to help set up, who stayed late to tear down, or just gave me a boost or a hand whenever I needed it. Seriously, thank you. Thank you.

 

BLOGS / PODCASTS / VIDEO COVERAGE

All Tings Considered, Episode 84: LionTog at LOBSTERCON — Rich Shay

Adventures in Crustacean Tricking — Shawn Sullivan, Emerald City Trolls

a period correct, 35mm photo report — Ryan Rudolph, aka @mtgcuriosities

Yanick Blanchet / Quebec Brew Crew

Andrew Callaghan / Old Order Old School

Mark Jonovich

Andrew Oliva / Ready to Role

 

PHOTO GALLERY: MAIN EVENT

 

 

PHOTO GALLERY: SIDE EVENTS

 

 

FINAL STANDINGS

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(click through for complete standings)

SPICE AWARDS

14th Most Spicy: Stephen Preston, “Green Walkers”pepper

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13th Most Spicy: Matt Mucci, Coin Flip Tribalpepper

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12th Most Spicy: Chris McCubbin, All Hallow’s Eureka Lobsterspepper

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11th Most Spicy: Nick Batista, Pro-Red Inferno “Burn the Non-Believers”pepper

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10th Most Spicy: Guillaume Soucy, Candelsurgepepper

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9th Most Spicy: Daniel Paulsen, Stasis Wombat Enchantresspepper

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8th Most Spicy: Adam Merkado, Enchantment Recursion/Distresspepper

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7th Most Spicy: Yves Larochelle, Eureka Lichpepper

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6th Most Spicy: Andy Baquero, Instill Hordespepper

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5th Most Spicy: Andrew Oliva, Jandor’s Saddledemonspepper

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4th Most Spicy: Don Perrien, The Highlander “The Spirit of Connor MacLeod”pepper

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3rd Most Spicy: Luke Zinnen, Blight Skull Recursionpepper

0spice 03 luke zinnen blight recursion.jpg

 

2nd Most Spicy: Jason Beaupre, Consecrate Maze Control “Ron Jeremy AKA Big White Deck”pepper

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Top Spicy Prize: Marc Flore, Elephant Discopepper

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TOP 8 by FINISH

8th Place: Ben Katz

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7th Place: Rich Shay

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6th Place: Willma Grann*

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5th Place: Jeff Grasso

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4th Place: Danny Friedman

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3rd Place: Paul DeSilva

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2nd Place: Shawn Sullivan

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1st Place: Ben Wagnon

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ALL DECK PHOTOS

(alphabetical order by first name)

Akos Czibere

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Andrew Callaghan

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Andrew Coppellotti

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Andrew Fellows

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Andrew Mattus

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Andrew Walker

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Blake Burkholder

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Brett Attmore

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Brian Fay

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Brian Selden

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Bryan Manolakos

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Carl Bjornstad

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Carter Petray

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Christian Arcand

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Christopher Mason

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Christopher Skidmore

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Daniel Kelly

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Dave Dupont

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Dave Firth Bard

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David Baker

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Derek Stafford

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Dillon Barfield

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Eli Dionne

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Francois R Derbas Thibodeau

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Gary Steffens

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Geoff Willard

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Greg Titcomb

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Jackie Kenty

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James Duncan

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James Johnson

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James Lebak

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James Rosenblum

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James Slowikowski

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Jared Doucette

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Jared Miller

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Jason Caron

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Jason Dorman

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Jason Jaco

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Jason Morawski

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Jason Schwartz

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Jeff Anand

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Jeffrey Johnson

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Jelani Johnson

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Jessy Pouliot

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Jimmy Cooney

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Joe Baddeley

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John Gehling

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John Longo

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Jonas Twitchen

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Justin Dale

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Justin Iskra

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Kristin O’Malley

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Laurence Boulanger

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Lawrence Greene

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Levi Baumgardner

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Mackenzie Greene

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Mari Steinhage

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Mark Jonovitch

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Martin Pogorzelski

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Matt Asente

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Matt Marmorato

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Matt O’Brien

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Matthew Eschert

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Matthew Messa

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Micah McOwen

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Michael Frantz

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Michael Scheffenacker

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Michael-Sean Morgan

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Mike Wood

Mike Wood

 

Nate Jones

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Nicky Scars

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Paul Kovalov

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Paul Paloglou

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Pete Lankering

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Philip Dituri

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Richard Stebbing

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Rob Quimby

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Ryan Gresco

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Ryan Rudolph

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Ryan Williams

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Santino Galizio

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Scott Bradley

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Sebastien Dube

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Stephen Hartford

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Ted Kwartler

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Timothy McMath

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Travis Turner

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Will Parshall

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William Self

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Yan Desmeules

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Yanick Blanchet

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2019 Old School Magic Summer Derby Results and Deck Photos

REPORT of RESULTS

The 3rd annual Summer Derby is in the books! This year’s event saw 144 participants, representing 14 countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States) spread across 10 different time zones. Over the span of six weeks, we played roughly 550 matches of Old School Magic via webcam.

The 2019 Summer Derby was conducted under the Atlantic 93/94 B&R list, allowing the full range of original art/old card frame re-prints (Revised, 4th/Chronicles, CE/IE, FBB/FWB, etc.). As with past Derby series events, our esteemed international sparkling cardboard celebration had no entry fee and no prize support, so the stakes were simply glory and bragging rights for the winner.

Pairings were released in two batches over the month of July, with all participants asked to schedule and play eight individual matches in about four weeks. After the batches were completed, we cut to Top 16 and played out a single-elimination bracket. The Summer Derby Finals were played on August 7th, and featured two Americans, Pez Unholy (UBR Workshops) versus Jared Doucette (Spice Rack).

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A pivotal Balance cast by Jared in game 2 of the finals. Click through for the VOD, produced and archived by Andrew Walker.

After all was said and done, Jared Doucette took the match 3-1, and was named the Summer Derby Champion for 2019! Congratulations to Jared, to all of the Top 16 finalists, and thank you, again, to all of the players who participated. Special thanks must also go out to the inimitable Antonio Rodríguez for designing our new Derby series logo and Summer Derby banner, and Mattias “Slanfan” Berggren for developing a bespoke “batch pairings” tool for use in tournaments of this format, making it much, much easier to process the results of several hundred matches behind the curtain. The Derby series has become a fun semiannual celebration for the international Old School Magic scene, and these contributions and the cooperation of all of the players goes a long way toward making it possible.

For anyone interested in future events, or just trying out webcam Old School Magic for the first time, please consider joining our online community of players! People are always looking for pick-up games in our Facebook group and in the #down-to-play channel on the Old School Discord.

PLAYER REPORTS and COVERAGE

The Spice Files: Summer Derby — Beasts of the Bay

Beating the Atlantic Sea — Christian Reinhard, Urborg Buffet

Summer Derby 2019 — Jon Dittert, Pups McGee

Summer Derby results — Jay Peine, Kitchen Table Old School

All Tings Considered Episode 77: Pez Unholy

STANDINGS AFTER BATCH PAIRINGS

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TOP 16 DECK PHOTOS

9-16th Place: Daniel Anschutz (14)

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9-16th Place: Michael Angelo Russo (12)

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9-16th Place: Chris McCubbin (11)

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9-16th Place: Michael Scheffenacker (10)

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9-16th Place: Jason Collins (8)

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9-16th Place: Christian Reinhard (4)

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9-16th Place: Antoine Rottiers (2)

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9-16th Place: Jeff Liu (1)

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5-8th Place: Koos Cramer (13)

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5-8th Place: Christian Lieb (9)

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5-8th Place: Jason Dorman (7)

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5-8th Place: Jesse Laidlaw (3)

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3-4th Place: Richard Stebbing (6)

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3-4th Place: Arnaud Aubert (5)

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2nd Place: Pez Unholy (15)

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1st Place: Jared Doucette (16)

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ALL DECK PHOTOS

(alphabetical order by first name)

Adam Merkado

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Akos Czibere

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Alex Smyk

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Alexander Pick

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Alexander Tsukanov

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Alistair Ingram

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Andrew Oliva

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Andrew Walker

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Andy Roman

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Anne Joldersma

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Ash Anabtawi — Enchantress Toolbox pepper

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Aurélien Théry

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Ben Black

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Ben Katz

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Ben Revell

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Benjamin Burke

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Brian Limbacher — Eureka, It’s A Field of Honey pepper

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Bryan Manolakos — Mono U Tempo pepper

000 Bryan Manolakos - Mono U Tempo

 

Cam Wall

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Cedric Jarkovsky

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Charles Klein

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Chris Adcock

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Chris Mason

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Christoph Rabenseifner

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Cliff Mathieson — Requiem for a Dream pepper

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Cory Hanson

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Craig Winzer

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Daniel Yann Franzén — Demonic Void pepper

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Dave Firth Bard

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Dominic Dotterrer

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Edwin Tracy

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Erik Olstad

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Evan Hofmann — BG Deep Shadow Void pepper

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Evan Smith

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Florian von Bredow

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Gabriel Farkas

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Galen Lemei

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Gerard Siatkowski

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Greg Titcomb — Wurmshops pepper

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Henk Willemse

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Jacob Braun

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James Lebak

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James Rosenblum

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Jared Miller

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Jason Bain

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Jay Peine

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JC Saavedra

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Jeff Dehnhardt

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Jeff Grasso

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Jeff Watkins

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Jeff White

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Jeremy Hazard

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Joe Schacher

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Johan Råberg

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John Paul McNulty

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Jon Dittert

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Jon Tschida

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Jonathan Laws

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Jordan Boyle

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Justin Flynn

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Justin Iskra

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Laurence Boulanger

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Levi Baumgardner

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Luke Zinnen

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Malte Lukas Baum

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Marc Flore — Nevinyrral’s Chaos Launcher pepper

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Mark Jonovitch

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Mark Price

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Martin Purrio

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Mathias Helmbold

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Matt Guido

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Matt Mucci — TronBond pepper

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Matthew Simon

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Mattias Berggren

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Michael Schroers

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Mike Dunshee

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Mike VanDyke

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Nick Cramer

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Olga Dushina

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Olof Robertsson

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P.J. Melies

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Park Cofield

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Patrick Harfouche

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Patrick Howse

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Patrick Quinn

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Paul DeSilva

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Paul Fiero — Sleight Force pepper

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Paul Kovalov

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Peter Fryland

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Peter Monten

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Quinn Maurmann

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Rajah James

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Randy Buehler

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Rémi Ouellette

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Rich Bourque

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Robert Wyatt

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Ron Dijkstra

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Ryan Crouch

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Ryan Gresco

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Ryan Keach

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Ryan Rudolph

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Ryan Working

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Seth Roncoroni

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Shane Chiasson

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Shaun Augeri — Les Revenant pepper

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Shawn Sullivan

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Stan Sterkendries

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Tapan Lockwood — Can’t Bolt This pepper

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Taylor Quail

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Thilo Herzog

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Thomas Ribet

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Tim Moran

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Tim Stutzer — Eggy Pop pepper

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Tino Galizio

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Tobias Mieth

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Tyler Daykin

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Viacheslav Ivanov

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Wilhelm Sahlberg

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Will Larson

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Will Magrann

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NEOS Monthly: Season 1 Top 8!

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Starting in February of this year, I began hosting a series of monthly tournaments online through the New England Old School (NEOS) Facebook group. The purpose of these monthly tournaments was to build the NEOS community and get people playing games with a little bit of structure and competition. It is difficult to do a straight Swiss style tournament in an online setting, so I decided to do it with Groups, much like the FIFA World Cup. Groups, usually with six people in each, were randomly assigned and everyone would play everyone in the group for a best-of-three match using the Atlantic Old School Magic Rules and B&R. I figured that this way I could set up the groups, everyone would know who they are playing, and can schedule their matches accordingly. The first tiebreaker in any situation was the head-to-head match-up, and with everyone in a group playing everyone else, that made things pretty easy to figure out. Eventually, a winner of the group would come out on top, and that person would advance to the knockout stage, again just like the World Cup.

I came up with a point system where even if you did not win the group, consistency and participation were valued. So, every time you won a match in the group stage, you got a point. An additional point is awarded once you complete all of your group stage matches. I wanted to encourage people to play all of the matches. Playing the matches is important, as that interaction with each other helps build community. Plus, it is playing Magic, which is of course a lot of fun. Additional points were awarded if you won the group, and every victory in the knockout stage was awarded an additional point as well. Finally, the Champion of the month would win three points, and the runner-up was awarded one bonus point. Typically, the Champion would run the table and end up with 12 points in a single month (5-0 in the group stage is 5 points, a bonus point for completing all matches makes 6, bonus point for group champion is 7, then the 1 point for each Top 8 victory prior to the finals and 3 points for winning the finals). I would then record all these points for everyone in a spreadsheet, and after five months of competition, the points were tallied, so finally… we have a Top 8 for the Season 1 of the NEOS Monthly Online Tournament Series!

Here are the players, beginning with 8th place:

8th Place: Dave Firth Bard — 26 Points, 1x Top 8, May Champion

A name we all recognize as a pillar of this 93/94 format and true friend to all. Dave came into this monthly series with a very specific goal and limitation. Dave wanted to run nothing but budget-friendly, usually completely mono-colored decks that could be made for the approximate cost of a competitive deck in Standard ($200-$250). The cards he actually played with might have cost more, as Dave certainly has an affinity for dark round Alpha corners, but there would be a cheaper option available if someone wanted to make a similar deck. This is quite the brewing restriction, as it meant he played no power, no duals, and no Chaos Orb in any of the five months of competition. This was a true challenge and his consistency every month was bolstered by a breakout month in May where he swept away the competition in an undefeated month and took down the Gold Star.

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Name: DFB
Age: 36 (aka “squarely in the demographic”)
Hometown: Albany, New York
Occupation: nonprofit fundraiser
Started playing Magic story: March, 1995, Boy Scout trip to Boston. The barracks at the Charlestown Navy Yard. A group of five or six boys, all sitting on the floor in a big circle, one glorious multiplayer free-for-all game. I saw a Frozen Shade with like eight or nine +1/+1 counters piled onto it, and I was hooked from that point on.
Favorite card: Pendelhaven
Favorite art: Repentant Blacksmith
Magic accomplishments: No bona fides outside of old school, I have never played a sanctioned constructed event in my life. LOBSTERCON Top 8, NEOS Monthly winner (May 2019), but most proud of killing some dudes with Channel + Fireball at the original Wizard’s Tournament in 2018.
Crazy/fun Magic story: Some recency bias at work here but I lost a game to Power Monolith last night despite casting Energy Flux turn 1 on the play, on his turn 2 he puts down a second Island, goes Lotus, Monolith, tap both Islands for Power Artifact, use combo to cast Rocket Launcher. My next turn, I fail to rip a Disenchant, on his turn 3 upkeep I’m dead! This is why we play Old School.
Why Old School MTG? Looks like I just answered this question! Also, the people and the hangs. And weirdly, the evolution of the meta in contemporary Old School, which is a funny thing to say when talking about a static card pool, but it’s true.
Anything else you want to say about yourself? It’s an honor and a privilege to volunteer as an organizer for the Old School community 🙂

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7th Place: Jeff Grasso — 28 Points, 3x Top 8, March Runner-Up

Jeff Grasso has been a staple of the New England Old School scene since the very early days of its founding in 2016. He was a consistent performer every month with his patented RB Troll Disco Ponza builds, which combined the best of what the chaotic dark arts have to offer. Jeff is a man known for his love of all things Old School Magic. He even got into the holiday spirit with his deck photo in the shape of a heart for Valentine’s day.

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Name: Jeff Grasso
Age: 37
Hometown: Torrington, CT
Occupation: Project Manager
Started playing Magic story: I first was introduced to Magic at Boy Scout Summer camp in 1995. I was 13 years old. I remember the first card I saw was a Force of Nature, and something about it just drew me in. I watched a couple of scouts play and was curious about the game. I bought some cards after that and a couple of my friends and I started playing and was hooked since.
Favorite card: So many good choices for this one. Ancestral Recall because it’s one of best (if not the best) cards in the game. Chaos Orb because it’s the best removal in the format. Library of Alexandria because the card advantage it provides can just win games on its own. Erhnam Djinn because Erhnamgeddon is probably my favorite deck. It’s hard to pick just one 🙂 But if I had to, my favorite would probably be the Chaos Orb. It’s so versatile and fits in every deck.
Favorite art: Shivan Dragon. So iconic.
Magic accomplishments: Top 8 in Summer Derby 2017. Top 8 in Summer Derby 2018. Top 8 in 3 NEOS monthly events between Feb-June 2019. Played against 1998 World Champ Brian Selden at Hartfordfestivalen (and lost) but better for the experience. If we are talking outside of old school, I placed 23rd out of 115+ people at TMD 18 or “The Waterbury” Vintage tournament. I narrowly missed a Top 8 in Return to Ravnica sealed PTQ. Won several FNM events in years past. Outside of tournament results, a major Magic accomplishment for me is turning a lot of my newer cards into more old school cards. This has been one of the best moves I made, not only from a financial standpoint, but from a playability standpoint.
Crazy/fun Magic story: I think a lot of us who started at a similar time probably have similar stories, but I recall buying Revised dual lands for $7-10 each. I would pick up playsets for $400 or less. My Unlimited/Beta power cost me between $200-300 each. Beta dual lands were $50. I only picked up Savannah’s and wish I splashed blue back then lol. I recall trading a Beta Serra Angel for a Mishra’s Workshop. They were worth the same then and I needed another Shop, so we were both happy. That deal is heavily one-sided now.
For an actual story, when I started playing Magic, I started with whatever I could pick up and didn’t even play correctly by the rules. When Mirage came out, I fell in love with the card Maro. For those of you that don’t know Maro, it has power and toughness equal to the number of cards in your hand. I eventually built a deck with this guy, Erhnams, Serras, Armageddons, etc. It was MaroGeddon, very similar to ErhnamGeddon. Fast-forward to December 3, 2016. This was my first foray into Old School. For this, my first old school deck was ErhnamGeddon. It felt so similar to playing back in those days. Erhnam Djinn is still one of my favorite cards. I know green is likely the weakest color in old school, but a quick Erhnam/Serra followed up by a Geddon can definitely win some games.
Why Old School MTG? Once I started playing old school, I knew it was the format for me. I was getting bored by the new cards and the constant new mechanics, planeswalkers, etc. The cost to keep up with Standard was just too much with the amount of sets that are produced and the rotation schedule. I played a bit of other formats and nothing ever really stuck as something I wanted to play long-term. I do still enjoy casual games with my buddy who hasn’t gotten into old school yet. (I’m still trying to convince him.) So, we play with newer cards mostly. It is still fun because I’m still playing Magic, but it just doesn’t feel the same. But old school on the other hand! The card pool never changes, there is no rotation, the art is infinitely better, the mechanics are simple yet enjoyable, there is plenty of space to brew decks and it’s a format that brings you back to those early days of magic. What’s not to like?
Anything else you want to say about yourself? Aside from playing old school, I also play Alpha 40 and Brawl. I am an avid collector as well. I have many old school complete sets and playsets of cards to build decks with. I would like to put together an old school cube at some point. I also collect misprints and other MTG memorabilia.
I also enjoy playing golf and spending time with my wife and 2 kids.
Thanks to Jared for running these monthly events! They are a blast to play in and I enjoy the gameplay and conversations that they bring. I look forward to playing more.

 

6th Place: Paul DeSilva — 28 Points, 3x Top 8, February Runner-Up

Paul DeSilva has grown up a quite a bit since this picture was taken, but as you can clearly see, slinging cardboard has been a part of this man since he was a level 1 mage. The proud owner of a recently-completed set of Alpha has performed admirably this season. Paul is a proud ambassador of the format and leader of the Sisters of the Flame from NYC (sweet playmat btw) who loves to get spicy every once in a while, as he ran a very cool Old School + Vanguard event in New York recently.

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Name: Paul DeSilva
Age: 32
Hometown: Portland, OR
Occupation: Animator
Started playing Magic story: I started in Revised, or at least that was my first pack and I distinctly remember opening the wrapper and seeing Howl from Beyond and thinking “This is my first Magic card. I shall remember this forever.” When I found Old School, my old shoebox collection was a lot of junky Revised, FE, Homelands, and Alliances.
Favorite card: Birds of Paradise!
Favorite art: Underground Sea
Magic accomplishments: I just finished an Alpha set! But my proudest accomplishments would probably be starting the Sisters of the Flame because they are my favorite boys and getting to go to n00bcon 11.
Crazy/fun Magic story: I got paired against Jon Finkel at MobsterCon and actually won a game. Almost pooped my damn pantalones.
Why Old School MTG? Community, Nostalgia, Art, Mechanics, Aesthetics, Art Direction, Balance, Non-Rotation, Camaraderie, Power, the Shores of Imagination, and beer DUH
Anything else you want to say about yourself? Hmmm, I just got to shoot Debbie Harry on 16mm film! 🙂

 

5th Place: Alex Smyk — 29 Points, 2x Top 8, February Champion

Alex was our first monthly Champion and is a proud member of the #mtgdads (if that’s not a hashtag, then it should be) who finds ways to squeeze in his passion for the arcane spells of Old School Magic with all the love and responsibility of fatherhood. Alex had the NEOS brew masters and mathematicians abuzz in April, when he smashed the group stage with a magnificent 14 “land” RG Aggro Stompy list. I look forward to seeing how else Alex can defy our expectations of deck construction and show us more of what is possible.

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Name: Alex Smyk
Age: 33
Hometown: Princeton, NJ
Occupation: Sysadmin
Started playing Magic story: Watched a few kids play Magic in elementary school, they were attacking and blocking with creatures. I thought they looked so cool. Later that day, I watched a kid open a booster pack, in the rare slot was a Force of Nature. My eyes went wide. The rest is history.
Favorite card: Baron Sengir
Favorite art: My answer will be different on any given day, but I’m a HUGE Drew Tucker fan.
Magic accomplishments: Aside from being the first person to come up with the killer combo of Lord of the Pit and The Hive? Winning the first NEOS Monthly Tournament!
Crazy/fun Magic story: I lived with my aunt and uncle for around 2 years in Atlanta, GA. It was for work. They didn’t know what Magic was exactly, but they’d always ask me how everything went when I got back from local tournaments/FNMs. After a few months of this, my uncle asked me who I was performing for on Friday night… he literally thought I was doing magic, like pulling rabbits out of hats and stuff.
Why Old School MTG? I’m nostalgic for the more generic or loosely explained lore, cards, and artwork. We didn’t know everything back then; the universe was more left to the imagination. We had to fill the gaps in ourselves. If there were back story to the characters, it was not easy to find. Who was Dakkon Blackblade? No idea, but we all imagined all kinds of stories and lore about where this badass came from.
Anything else you want to say about yourself? I’m a Homelands aficionado. This format needs Ishan’s Shade and Autumn Willow!

 

 

4th Place: Christian Reinhard — 29 Points, 4x Top 8

Christian is the Swiss ambassador to NEOS, and he has been a powerful competitor each month. Christian leads the pack with four Top 8 appearances in five months, and clearly loves to spice as much as spike. Christian is a force in the scene globally as a tournament organizer and competitor. A co-founder of the Old School Gentleman’s club, he has made it his goal to put aside Mind Twist and Library of Alexandria from most of his deck lists. While a few of his Top 8 decks do have Library, you will not find a single Mind Twist in any of his 75s.

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3rd Place: John Grudzina — 32 Points, 3x Top 8, April Champion

John missed the first month of competition, but still smashed enough faces to finish in the top 3 for the season. John was a noted skilled pilot of the Deck until his hands fell upon the great power that Mishra unleased in his Workshops. His splash for white and the criminally underplayed Jalum Tome have come to be the glue that holds “Grudzina Shops” together. John is a tactical and calm player that is always near the top of any leaderboard.

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Name: John Grudzina
Age: 32
Hometown: Princeton, NJ
Occupation: Quant Analyst and Trader
How did you start playing Magic? Fall of ’99 was kind of playing Pokemon CCG, owner of the store suggested MTG because it is a better game.
Favorite Card: Ancestral Recall
Favorite Art: Rebecca Guay’s work
Magic Accomplishments: 3rd NYSE Open 1, 2nd Legacy Champs 2014, Top 8 Vintage Champs 2015, 12th Noobcon X
Good Magic story? For the NYSE, Legacy, and Vintage finishes above, I built my decks the night before and R1G1 was my first game playing those decks.
Why Play Old School MTG? I play Old School since it’s like Vintage, I can play the busted cards.

 

The top two finishers in the season actually ended up with the same number of points after five months of competition. I was trying to figure out the best way to crown a Champion and break the tie, and it dawned on me that head-to-head has been the way it’s been done all season, so it will be used here as well. Both of these top performers are skilled pilots and good sports. A fine pair to top the leaderboard:

2nd Place: Jason Seaman — 35 Points, 2x Top 8, March Champion, April Runner-Up

Jason is a busy man from NH that still finds ways to squeeze in as much Magic as possible. His trusty Trolls and Disks are never far from his side. You always know you are in for a battle when you see him seated across from you, as he almost never falls for the trick or the trap and knows how to leverage his position to his advantage every time. I am glad he is a part of this community, and I suspect he will popping Disks on his way to more Top 8s in the future.

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Name: Jason Seaman
Age: 36
Hometown: NH
Occupation: Miracle Worker, i.e. AgMechanic/Farmer
Started playing Magic story: Friend got a couple starters for his birthday and everyone was hooked.
Favorite card: Icy Manipulator
Favorite art: Plateau (Revised)
Magic accomplishments: Not really. Fun?
Crazy/fun Magic story: My cards sat out in a barn for years with childhood crud under a leaky roof and only survived by chance.
Why Old School MTG? Nostalgia. Closed number of sets appeals, don’t have the time to keep up with constant new sets.

 

 

1st Place: Michael Scheffenacker — 35 Points, 3x Top 8, May Runner-Up, June Runner-Up

The Chef has cooked and brewed his way to the top Michelin star rating for the first season of the NEOS Monthly Online Tournament Series. Chef packed a different punch each month and found success every time. I think it is fair to say he has won more games of Magic this season than his beloved Orioles probably will win baseball games for the rest of the year (sorry, cheap shot I know ;)). Mike likes to try to “break” cards and show their true power in his brewing and deck building. He is a more than worthy champion and a great gentleman of the game.

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Name: Michael Scheffenacker
Age: 38
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Occupation: Real Estate Developer
Started playing Magic story: I started playing Magic as a kid in 1995. My first Starter Deck had Shivan Dragon and Demonic Tutor, so I started with a black red deck. I remember trading all my Pogs for Magic Cards. I didn’t start playing tournament Magic until a couple years later, when Exodus was released.
Favorite card: Psionic Blast
Favorite art: Psionic Blast
Old School Magic accomplishments: Top 8s: Winter Derby 2018-19 (Finals), SCGCON 2018, EW 2017, Eternal Extravaganza 2017 (Win), GP Las Vegas 2017 (Win), bunch of local event wins.
Why Old School MTG: I started playing Old School when a buddy of mine thought the restriction of Mana Drain was crazy as it was “just a Counterspell.” I had never played the format, but I put together a 4x Mana Drain deck and we held a tournament at my buddy’s house, where I was determined to prove that the card was too good. I didn’t lose a game and took down the event. After the event we all agreed that Mana Drain was too good. I stopped playing the format until Black Vice was unrestricted and looked at the format with fresh eyes and put together an Atog/Dibs deck with paper proxies, and I had it in my bag for about a year. I would play against friends at Vintage events between rounds, then in 2017 in GP Vegas I played in my first public Old School event, after acquiring a Chaos Orb. After that I have been playing in as many events as I can.

 

 

And there we have it: the Elite 8 of the first season of the NEOS Monthly Online Tournament Series. I will be starting the new season in August, and I post sign ups on the NEOS Facebook page. They max out each month at 48 people on a first-come first-served basis. It has been a pleasure and an honor running these events every month, and I look forward to continuing this for a long time. I appreciate everyone’s sportsmanship and commitment to the event every month, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have. Cheers.

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Hartfordfestivalen! Organizer’s Report

On April 6, 2019, New England Old School and Diamonds Mined co-hosted a multi-event Old School Magic “festival” in Greater Hartford, at Elks Lodge #1893 in Manchester, CT. Enthusiasts of antique cardboard traveled from eight states in the Northeastern U.S. to participate, along with mages hailing from Maryland, Ohio, Wyoming, and Serbia/parts unknown, who journeyed from even further afield.

48 players participated in the Old School 93/94 “main event,” which was abbreviated to four rounds of Swiss pairings to leave more room for activities. Decks were constructed using the Atlantic 93/94 B&R list. After these opening rounds, the action shifted to four different “breakout” side events, in which players could choose their own adventure: Old School Brawl, the Wizard’s Tournament format aka Alpha 40, Premodern, or an Old School draft featuring 4th Edition, Chronicles, and Fallen Empires.

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INSPIRATION

This event was a Magic tournament named after a Magic tournament named after a music festival named after a small town in Sweden. “Hartfordfestivalen!” is a nod to the Arvika “Festival” Old School Magic tournament, held annually in Arvika, Sweden since 2015. That Old School gathering originally took its theme from Arvikafestivalen, a music festival that in its heyday brought the likes of Nine Inch Nails, New Order, The Cure, Motörhead, and Tool to a village of about 14,000 people in the Swedish countryside.

Our “mascot” card for the event was Deathgrip, with its shriveling heart in the clutches of a black mage, as a cheeky reference to an old nickname for Hartford, “the Heartbeat” of Connecticut. The artist behind Deathgrip, Anson Maddocks, was kind enough to produce a commissioned painting on the back of a Deathgrip artist proof; this re-imagining of Deathgrip was given out as a prize for the top combined finish through both the main and side events.

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The “festival” format for the event was conceived as a celebration of various sub-formats that have been gaining traction among Old School playgroups in our neck of the woods. Even though Old School has a static pool of only 981 cards, the number of ways to play with these cards is practically limitless, and this past year especially has seen a proliferation of Old School Magic variants, not merely invented on paper but actually played and enjoyed in dining rooms and brew halls and game stores and Skype sessions alike. Our aim for this event was to have a platform to slightly “scale up” the experience of New England Old School’s smaller, more informal meet-ups in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, where players regularly bring their 93/94 decks but also bring Brawl or unsleeved ante or Ice Age 60 or Beasts Singleton or Premodern/Middle School or even just a small stack of their “Deckmaster cards” from August ’93. Our hope was that this tournament structure would also contribute to a more laid back feeling, with the shortened “main event” not even having a clear winner, discouraging spiking to some extent and providing seven-plus hours of “just playing some cards” with old friends, and hopefully some new friends, too.

CHARITY SUPPORT

This event was organized as a fundraiser for Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford. As the premier youth development organization in Hartford, BGC Hartford touches the lives of nearly one in every three children in Hartford Public Schools, serving more than 10,000 youth annually through programs focused on academic enrichment, character and leadership development, and healthy lifestyles.

All proceeds from Hartfordfestivalen! ticket sales after expenses were donated directly to BGC Hartford. We also conducted a raffle of unique Old School items which were donated by some of the players, including a Mox Jester playmat signed by Dan Frazier, 90s-era Duelist magazines, a Homelands comic book, a Collector’s Edition box, and a unique hand-painted border extension alter of Nicol Bolas, with 100% of the raffle ticket sales going directly to the charity as well.

All told, the players at Hartfordfestivalen! raised a total of more than $942 in support for Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford. The generosity and kindness shown by the Old School Magic community continues to impress and inspire, and we’re happy to continue in the tradition of charitable activity fostered by our fellow playgroups across the United States. On behalf of BGC Hartford and the youth and families they serve, and from all of us at New England Old School, thank you!

PODCASTS / WRITTEN COVERAGE

First! Underworld Dreaming to a Win in Hartford, blog by James Rosenblum

Tournament Report: Hartfordfestivalen 2019, blog by Andrew Oliva / Ready to Role

All Tings Considered, Episode 58, podcast interview

PHOTO GALLERY

MAIN EVENT STANDINGS and SIDE EVENT TOP FINISHERS

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Alpha 40 Runner Up: Hart Prendergast — Many, Many Sinkholes

Alpha 40 Champion: Hunter Prendergast — The Vise

Premodern Runner Up: Jared Doucette — Goblins

Premodern Champion: John Grudzina — UW Landstill

Brawl Runner Up: James Rosenblum — Sol’Kanar

Brawl Champion: Michael Scheffenacker — Rubinia

Draft Runner Up: Brian Selden (3-0, pod winner, 6-2 in games)

Draft Winner: Ted Kwartler (3-0, pod winner, 6-1 in games)

Best Unpowered: Andrew Oliva — Erhnam Burn’Em

SPICE AWARDS

Keith Shaffer — “Howling Salve”

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Adam Merkado — “Ice Ice Maybe”

Merkado - _Ice, Ice, Maybe_

Scott Bradley — “Nether Void Something”

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Levi Baumgardner — Tax + Tower + Djinns

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Matt Mucci — Diabolic Machine Tron

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Andy Baquero — “Living Cyclone”

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Shaun Augeri — Hell’s Caretaker Control (What is Dead May Never Die)

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ALL DECK PHOTOS: 93/94

(alphabetical order by first name)

Al Iemma – BW Dreams

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Andrew Oliva — Erhnam Burn’Em

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Brett Attmore — Grixis Workshops

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Brian Selden — BR Hymn Troll Disco

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Chris Mason — Twiddlevault

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Chris McCubbin — “Sped Funhouse” aka Temple of Sped

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Chuck Lignelli — “Nobody Wins”

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Dave Firth Bard — Zelyon Mono-Green Weenie

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David Baker — “5C Control” aka The Deck

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Hart Prendergast — Jund Void Ponza

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Hunter Prendergast — UR Counterburn

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James Lebak — URw Falcon Counterburn

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James Rosenblum — Underworld Dreams Combo

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Jared Doucette — “Fangel’s Omelette” aka Jund Reincarnation

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Jason Dorman — “Esper Gasoline” aka Deadguy Ale

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Jason Morawski — Artifact Aggro

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Jason Schwartz — “Bruise Bots” aka Ub Workshops

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Jason Seaman — Grixis Disco

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Jeff Grasso — “TrolLDiscard” aka BR Hymn Troll Disco

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Jeff Johnson — Black Rack

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John Bocon — Underworld Dreams Combo

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John Grudzina — UW Workshops

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Josh Langdon — Temple of Sped

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Justin Dale — White Weenie

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Justin Iskra — “Temple of Doom” aka Esper Flyers

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Luke Zinnen — Twiddlevault

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Manny Moutinho — Black Rack

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Marc Flore — “Wild Angels” (Honorary Retroactive Spice Award)

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Matt Asente — Revised Mono-Black

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Michael Scheffenacker — Temple of Sped

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Mike Frantz — BRW Nether Void Ponza

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Nathaniel Houle — Esper Control

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Nils Erickson — “4C Troll Catalina Mixer”

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Paul DeSilva — “5C Goodstuff”

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Paul Kovalov — Power Monolith

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Phil Pellerzi — RG Ponza

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Robin Lundh — “Not Very Arabian Aggro”

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Seth Roncoroni — Temple of Sped

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Ted Kwartler — “Salt and Pepper” aka WB Midrange

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Tim Moran — Temple of Sped

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Travis Turner — Pink Weenie

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DECK PHOTOS: ALPHA 40

Dave Firth Bard — RG Berserk

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Jason Schwartz — “Copy My Juggernaut”

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Jeff Grasso — BR

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Nils Erickson — “Alpha 41”

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Tim Moran — RG

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DECK PHOTOS: BRAWL

Andrew Oliva — Rubinia

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Brett Attmore — Sol’Kanar

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Chuck Lignelli — UB Bolas

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James Rosenblum — Sol’Kanar

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Jason Dorman — Chromium

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Justin Iskra — Blackblade

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Michael Scheffenacker — Rubinia

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Shaun Augeri — “Craster’s Keep” aka Uncle Istvan

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DECK PHOTOS: PREMODERN

Adam Merkado — PandeStifleNaughtBurst

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Jared Doucette — Goblins

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Jason Morawski — Tinker

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John Grudzina — UW Standstill

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Justin Dale — CounterRebels

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Matt Mucci — Kill

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Robin Lundh — The Rock

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DECK PHOTOS: DRAFT

(Feel free to send yours in if you took a photo of your finished draft deck!)

Chris Mason — RG

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James Lebak — Bant

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Luke Zinnen — “To Do: Cut Lands, Add Spells”

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Mike Frantz: “Ahhhh! The smell of new Magic cards!” (Before)

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Mike Frantz — Goblins (After)

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2019 Old School Magic Winter Derby Results and Deck Photos

REPORT of RESULTS

The 3rd annual Winter Derby is in the books! This year’s event saw 142 participants, representing 14 countries (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States) spread across nine different time zones. Over the span of six weeks, we played roughly 525 matches of Old School Magic via webcam.

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“Round of 16” action: Florian with a commanding board presence vs Christian

The Winter Derby is conducted under the Swedish 93/94 B&R list, allowing the full range of original art/old card frame re-prints (Revised, Chronicles, CE/IE, FBB/FWB, etc.), an approach that has become very common for online play internationally. And the stakes? Mostly just glory and bragging rights, along with an invitation to n00bcon 11 for the winner.

Pairings were released in two batches over the month of January, with all participants asked to schedule and play eight individual matches in about four weeks. After the batches were completed, we cut to Top 16 and played out a single-elimination bracket. The Winter Derby Finals were played on February 8th, and featured an American, Michael Scheffenacker (4C Swedish Atog feat. Su-Chi) versus Richard Stebbing (UR Counterburn) of the UK’s Brothers of Fire.

winterderby finals twister in game 2
A climactic Timetwister near the end of Game 2 of the Winter Derby Finals. The match was recorded with commentary; click through for the full VOD.

After all was said and done, Richard Stebbing was named the Winter Derby Champion for 2019, and received the n00bcon invitation! Congratulations to Richard, to all of the Top 16 finalists, and thank you, again, to all of the players who participated. Together, you’ve helped to make the semiannual Derby series a recurring celebration of the international Old School Magic community.

(Does this sound like fun? Join our online community of Old School Magic webcam players, where we post looking for pick-up games in our Facebook group and in the #down-to-play channel on the Old School Discord!)

STANDINGS AFTER BATCH PAIRINGS

winter derby 2019 final standings.png

TOP 16 DECK PHOTOS

9-16th Place: Markus Lundqvist (16)

wd16 markus

9-16th Place: Rich Shay (15)

wd15 rich shay

9-16th Place: John Tschida (14)

wd14 tschida

9-16th Place: Paul DeSilva (12)

wd12 desilva

9-16th Place: Elias Gröndal (11)

wd11 elias

9-16th Place: Guillaume Denoix (9)

wd09 guillaume

9-16th Place: Pez Unholy (7)

wd07 pez

9-16th Place: Christian Reinhard (4)

wd04 christian reinhard

5-8th Place: Florian von Bredow (13)

wd13 florian

5-8th Place: Ben Twitchen (3)

wd03 ben twitchen

5-8th Place: Ed Arneson (2)

wd02 arneson

5-8th Place: Svante Landgraf (1)

wd01 svante

3-4th Place: Laurence Boulanger (6)

wd06 laurence

3-4th Place: Tobias Mieth (5)

wd05 tobias mieth

2nd Place: Michael Scheffenacker (10)

wd10 scheff

1st Place: Richard Stebbing (8)

wd08 stebbo

 

ALL DECK PHOTOS

(alphabetical order by first name)

Aaron Palaian

19wd aaron palaian.jpg

Adam Merkado-Weiss

19wd adam weiss.jpeg

Aleksandar Gonzalez

19wd aleksandar gonzalez.jpg

Alexander Pick

19wd alexander pick.png

Alistair Ingram

19wd alistair ingram.jpg

Andreas Rosén

19wd andreas rosen.jpeg

Andrew Oliva