Unfortunately, because I had built the deck at 2 a.m. the morning of the tournament, the deck was a sub optimal mess missing key cards and running singletons. Consequently, I finished 1-3, but I did get to Channel-Disintegrate someone for twenty on-camera:
A color combination that can answer any type of permanent, especially artifacts.
Fast: in terms of both a low mana curve and ability to close out games. I needed a deck that could win before a Disk, Wrath, The Abyss, etc. could go off. This meant one-mana, two-power creatures (Kird Ape, a Scryb Sprites with a Pendelhaven) and 12x one-mana:three-damage “Burn” spells (Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, and Giant Growth).
Disintegrate for Sedge Trolls, anything with more than three toughness, and as a finisher.
Three Erhnams and no Mana Rocks. If I didn’t draw one, I didn’t care. Whenever I drew two, I either died before I could cast either of them or won before I could cast the second one.
Two Mishra’s Factories. Kird Ape is a 2/3 whether you have a Forest, Taiga, or a Pendelhaven, but not when you only have a Mishra’s Factory.
Rarely did I need to destroy an artifact at Instant-speed. Detonate was a clear replacement for Shatter in a deck that needed to squeeze every last bit of damage out of every card that I drew.
Consistency. For one day, the deck splashed Black with Elves of Deep Shadow, Badlands, and Bayou just to run Demonic Tutor as a second Channel and to run Gloom in the sideboard. It was cheeky, but I didn’t want a Channel/Fireball combo deck. I wanted a deck that gave my opponent one choice: being pummeled to death by woodland creatures or being burned alive by spells.
In the week leading up to Hartfordfestivalen, I removed the Channel, Fireball, Black Vices, Fire Sprites (which were actually pretty decent), and an Erhnam and returned to ELD’s Time Vault to sort through his bulk box for a fourth Giant Growth (and thirty Pestilence Rats) and to barter for a second Detonate, a third and fourth Chain Lightning, and a second Taiga. Additionally, I messaged Diamonds Mined and asked if they could bring two Pendelhavens to Hartford. They replied immediately, but that they only had one left in stock. Upon my arrival, I donated a relic of yore to the prize pool, and submitted my deck photo:
i.Round One against Keith Shaffer on “Howling Salve”
In game one, I dealt the final point of damage to him by Detonating a Black Vise that never dealt any damage to me. In game two, he managed to get his Island Sanctuary out, but that doesn’t stop Scryb Sprites. Even worse, his two Howling Mines were just filling my hand with Burn. After the match, he signed my Scavenger Folk, which had beat him senseless, and I signed one of his insanely large collection of CE Phantasmal Forces. I finished my beer while we chatted about his family, board games and how to improve his deck with his limited carpool. I grabbed a second drink, this time a spiked seltzer, before the second round. Keith would go on to win the Spice Award. Congratulations, Keith!
1-0 (2-0) (one pint of beer)
ii.Round Two against Jason Morawski on “Artifact Aggro”
In game one, my first-turn play of City of Brass-into-Kird Ape looked pretty bad against his turn two City in a Bottle ( which I later learned was a one-of 😦 ). This color-screwed me off of my handful of Red cards while I desperately tried to fend off Juggernauts by topdecking Green creatures. Game two, I put up a better fight. I managed to pump out a turn-three Erhnam which was met with a City in a Bottle. At least this time, it was a 1:1. I managed to get him down to one before he stabilized with two Petravus. On the win-or-lose turn, I spun the Wheel of Fortune, hoping for a handful of Burn. Out of seven, I drew one. One of his seven was a Mana Drain. Despite the loss, the deck felt very competitive considering his explosive starts and gorilla poaching. After the match, he signed the Kird Ape as an apology to nature and very generously gave me his Ken Meyer-signed copies of Erhnam Djinn and Kird Ape. They went right into my deck and proved to be lucky charms. While in line for beer #3, at like 1:30 p.m., we were informed by barstaff that the combination of fifty nerds and The Elks Club had proven too much for them to handle and that they had run out of clean pint glasses. While the dishwashers were working overtime, they were selling mugs for the same price as a pint and, even better, would honor refills of the mug for the remainder of the night.
1-1 (2-2) (one pint, one spiked seltzer)
iii.Round Three against Manny Moutinho on ”Black Rack”
Going into this event, I felt really confident against Mono Black. I have 2/3 Flyers, fifteen Burn spells, and six sources of artifact removal. After sideboarding, it looked even better. I genuinely don’t remember how I won the first game, but the second game was drawing attention. I had resolved my Miser’s Lifeforce against him, but he had responded with an unanswered Library of Alexandria. Despite countering one of his two spells per turn, he was able to amass a handful of cards and pump out twice as many threats as I could answer. On the final turn, I tapped out to Lifeforce a Hippie which gave him the all-clear to Drain Life me to death. Game three was a lot closer than I wanted it to be. At his end step, it was time to do some Beer Math. It was six-all. He had a Hippie, two The Racks, and a tapped Disrupting Scepter out. I had a Scavenger Folk, a 3/3 Whirling Dervish, and one card in hand (a land). At the end of his turn, I sacrificed the Scavenger Folk to destroy one of The Racks, so that I would only go down to four instead of two. The extra damage from attacking with the Scavenger Folk would only put him down to two instead of three. I needed Burn, artifact removal, or a Scryb Sprites and I needed it right now. Otherwise, I would take two from the Hippie, discard down to zero cards, and die to The Rack. I drew a Bolt, attacked with the Dervish and showed him the Bolt. We chatted for a bit afterwards but I forgot to have him sign a card. Time to refill my mug.
2-1 (4-3) (one pint, one scryb spiked, one bug of meer, and a partridge in a pear tree)
iv.Drink Round Four against Robin Lundh on what I thought was URGb Zoo, but later learned was named “Not Very Arabian Aggro”
Robin is hilarious and we had an absolute blast. I was holding back tears from laughing the entire match. Because of this (or beer), I don’t remember how I won the first game. At the start of game two, I was color-screwed. Robin tapped six mana in an attempt to Mind Twist me for five, but accidentally put a Control Magic on the table. After he picked it back up and showed me the Mind Twist, I showed him my handful of uncastable Red cards. To thank him for discarding my handful of garbage, I Strip Mined his Underground Sea, the only source of Blue mana that he would see all game. I eventually recovered from the Mind Twist and he ended the game by showing me his handful of Blue cards and signing the same Kird Ape that Jason had signed earlier in the day.
3-1 (6-3), which was good enough for 12th/48 and the award for Highest Unpowered.
At the conclusion of the main event, Mike of Diamonds Mined informed me that he had bought a Pendelhaven off of somebody, which I bought, so I now have three Pendelhavens. Once I replace the two Cities of Brass with two Taigas, I’m ready to call my Unpowered Erhnam and Burn ‘Em deck “optimal.” I’ll be testing out sideboard cards for the foreseeable future and I hope to keep my streak going in the Online NEOS Online April Monthly (Tournament Report to follow).
Old School 93/94 on a Budget: Erhnam & Burn ‘Em ($40 USD)
Prior to attending Hartfordfestivalen, I had every intention of writing an article titled Old School on a Budget ($40): Ehrnam & Burn ‘Em, although I’m not sure if I ever could have gotten it down to $40. Having just discussed pretty much everything that would have gone into that article, please enjoy the following $100 decklist, which is just two Taigas, two City of Brass, and a Wheel of Fortune shy of the deck that I ran at the event:
I ended up 2-1, winning close matches against Dakkon Blackblade and Abu Ja’far, but then completely failing to put up any kind of a fight in the mirror match to the winner of the Brawl event, Michael Scheffenacker. I also completely failed to remember the Free Mulligan Rule that was available in the Brawl event. Afterwards, we compared decklists and awaited the final results of the tournament.
After I accidentally ruined a game of Homelands Blind Rip by singing Bruce Springsteen’s 1980 hit “Hungry Mist“, I was awarded the very thing that I had sworn to destroy, and it is likely now my most prized Magic-related possession:
Congratulations to James Rosenblum and thank you DFB, Jared Doucette, Jason Dorman, Shaun Augeri (who gave everyone a sic Old Man of the Sea-stamped wax seal), NEOS Online March Monthly Finalist Jeff Grasso, Matt Mucci, Scott Bradley, James Lebak, Luke Zinnen, and everyone and anyone else who helped plan, run, or participated in the event which helped New England Old School raise almost a grand for the Boys & Girls Club of Hartford. It was an honor to fight along your sides.