the dawn of time 2018, mages from across the world have assisted the Old Men of the Sea in the Quest for the Pearl Trident. This year was no exception. Less than a week ago, 122 brave souls departed on a journey to Lobstercon II in search of charitable donations and esoteric fame amongst a sub-sub-sub nerd culture. I have not returned from my quest empty-handed, but instead full of swag, stories, and songs of the friends I made and lost along the way.
(As a side note, you probably didn’t notice that I haven’t written anything in awhile. That’s because I was focusing on playing more and talking less. Great news everyone! I had a wonderful two months off of writing and I now have a backlog of Knowledge Vaults, low-effort memes, and Brawl deck techs for nobody other than myself to read. I look forward to clogging your notifications icon.)
conweek began with the Tuesday night Red Sox v. Giants game at Fenway Park with Brothers of Fire Stebbo, Jonas, Joey (@brothersoffire), DFB & Fam (@dfirthbard), and the hard-working Jared, who runs the OLD SCHOOL 93-94 MTG Webcam Player Community monthly tournaments. Simply put: I was among royalty.
The next night, Wednesday, at New England Old School’s biweekly Moogy’s meet, I bailed because I’m a tired bitch. From the photos, it looked like there was a good turnout for the LOBSTERCON Claw Sharpening at Moogy‘s and, consequently, my claws were quite dull come Saturday.
On Friday, at approximately 6:45, I arrived to the Friday Night Welcome Shindig at Adventure Pub at the same time as Sisters of the Flame Blake, Paul (@8bit_mtg), Adam. After erroneously escorting the Sisters through the wrong door and crashing what appeared to be a private family event, we eventually made it inside. Having been my first time at Adventure Pub, I revelled in the thematic decorations and attire, complete with a private room hid by a velvet curtain which appeared to be some sort of private D&D session. Immediately, I struck up a conversation with Luke, who told me that we were expecting about thirty attendees. I looked around and it appeared to me that we had already reached that number. As the night went on, that number grew to the point where what I would deem a fairly sizeable room was shoulder-to-shoulder with both might and magic.
Despite the overwhelming turnout, I was able to get in some games against Greg (@oldschoolmtg), Brother Jonas, and of course a game of Brawl against Derek (@dankpancakes). However, there would be plenty of Magic played the next day, so I spent most of the night socializing with the faces that I usually only have the opportunity to talk with through a computer screen. I was also able make a low-key drug deal with Scott B. for my first ever Chaos Orb and obtained one of the Moss Monsters that were being handed out to commemorate the event.
THE MAIDEN VOYAGE…
Mere moments before the doors opened, my lovely girlfriend was kind enough to drop me off before borrowing my car to run errands while I played a children’s card game with drunk adults. I was able to quickly locate remaining two members of the Band of the Falcon, Jason D. and Pete L., fellow members of NEOS and my teammates from Mobstercon.
To my delight, I was greeted by DFB and James L. (@jameslebak) was handed an NEOS sticker, a MotPT pin, and an event-stamped Homarid which is a custom akin to piercing your ears, wearing eye-patches, parrots, and peg legs. James was kind enough to take my Brawl-themed donation to the prize pool, which had been purchased from Jason W. (“thewarden 49354” on Discord) several months ago for this very purpose.
The next step was to find Chris “Mase,” the “NEOS Juggernaut.” We had arranged a rendezvous: I would pay him some dubloons in exchange for his knowledge of the landscape and the two Mana Vaults that I needed to complete my adventuring gear. Shortly thereafter, I purchased some raffle tickets from Jared, a commemorative Jeff Menges play mat, and made idle chit-chat with our judge and charity partner, The Joshes.
Now, unless you’ve been living under a Basalt Monolith, you’ve heard of the #vegasgate fiasco that was Channel Fireball’s MagicFest Vegas Old School “Championship,” during which
the champion’s a finalist’s deck photo did not match the deck that he played. Well, as a final homage to the fleeting news story, I shouted “FREE DONUTS!” and set down three dozen of these bad boys:
Special shout outs to Shawn S. of the Emerald City Trolls and Mark J., who both mentioned the meme in their respective tournament reports. After setting down the rations, somebody gave me a sealed pack of WCW wrestling trading cards, which I am trying my hardest not to open so that we can play “Blind Rip” at the next event.
You may remember that I wrote about the Brawl deck that I entered into last year’s Lobstercon. Having set a tradition for myself to Spice at Lobstercons, this year would be no exception:
Having grown up a Black mage, it was unsettling that I had yet to play Black in any “competitive” Old School setting. At Lobstercon II, that would change. In order to reach peek nostalgia, I chose to build a mono Black deck. However, there would be none of this Distress, or Rack, or Dreams, or whatever. This deck was going satisfy my most insatiable urge: undercosted big creatures with horrible drawbacks.
The namesake and portmanteau consists of Yawgmoth Demon and Jandor’s Saddlebags. Every turn, instead of sacrificing an artifact, you can simply take two damage and then pay (3) to untap the demon. In a pinch, the bags could also be sacrificed to the demon. I also had a playset of Italian Colossus of Sardia (Collossuses? Collosi?), which fit the theme of the deck.
Another cheeky play is that the Factories double as early-game stall/damage and then can tap to activate themselves into an Artifact before being sacrificed to the demon.
I’m most proud of the addition of Paralyze. They double as early-game stall/removal and, as we learned at Mobstercon against Team Suck-It Mike, I could Paralyze my demon or colossus to essentially give it the following activated ability:
“(4): Untap enchanted creature. Activate this ability only during your upkeep.”
It does not add (4) to the Colossus’s nine-cost ability.
The Mazes of Ith also double as early-game removal and an untap engine when correctly used.
Finally, a card that I have found no particular use for until now, Onulet, was included as early-game stall, life gain, and because it can be sacrificed to the demon. Fun fact: Onulet is an anagram of Soul Net, which is also a bad card that has a similar effect.
Sprinkle in some fast mana and a couple priests to pray to the demon and the lost city of Atlantis was in my sight.
Round 1 – Michael-Sean M. (@theoreobro) on Pink Weenie
From the moment this match began, it was very competitive. Just kidding. Our match started with Michael-Sean playing creatures and burn spells while I essentially played Land, Go Solitaire. Once I had obtained the ability to create seven mana, and still had not played a damn non-Land, non-Artifact, Michael-Sean keenly Strip Mined one of my lands. This was enough to keep me off of the ability to Dark Ritual into a Colossus of Sardia for most of the game. However, I did eventually hardcast the colossus, and attack for nine, before falling victim to two damage by land and two damage by sea. Fortunately, in the very first game of the day, the deck worked exactly as designed!
It’s safe to say that the remainder of the match went poorly for me once he realized what my game plan was. After the first round, I struck up a conversation with legendary Magic: the Gathering artist Bryon Wackwitz. I had him sign my two Urborgs, to which he responded “Two dollars! Two dollars!” Instantly, I responded “He’s skiing on one ski! …and there’s something following them…”
We had a laugh and he gave me a sic Urborg Remastered business card, which I had him sign and is now in my Uncle Istvan Brawl deck. Having quoted a 1987 movie with the artist of a 1993 children’s card game, I was officially a kid again.
Round 2 – Eli D. on Goblins
Eli was in attendance with his uncle and was borrowing DFB’s unpowered Goblin deck. Notably, in game one, I resolved an early Yawgmoth Demon and punched Eli down to six. Moments, before delivering the killing blow, Eli cunningly Shattered my last remaining artifact, tapping down my demon and damaging me in the process. I never drew another artifact and Eli chipped and burned me down as I slowly fell victim to my own hubris. Bravo!
Round 3 – Andrew M. on Big Red
Speaking of Urborgs, Andrew resolved a Blood Moon against me, which locked me out of the BB that I needed to cast anything useful. At one point, I have three colossuses in play against Andrew’s three Maze of Iths. I remarked that (i) the colossuses are not legendary, which means that the good people of Sardia kept rebuilding these things after they animated and walked away and (ii) apparently the maze that Lord Ith built around The Conclave of Mages was tall enough to prevent the colossuses from simply stepping over or at least seeing which way was out.
In between rounds three and four was the lunch break. We played one game of Fallen Empires “Blind Rip,” but nobody appeared to be very interested in guessing the names of cards from what is unanimously considered the best expansion ever printed. Oh well, I still have twenty-three more packs for the next time. Does anybody want to draft? I also picked up one of the last remaining “Factory Cut” token packs that Will MaGrann was hawking and even cracked the chase rare Rukh misprint. This was also my opportunity to snag one of the Gentleman’s pins that Mitja was distributing on Christian R.’s behalf.
Round 4 – Albert I. on ???
At this point, I was basically on Fun Autopilot, meaning that, despite the fact that I was Stone Cold Sober, I was just fucking around and having a laugh with everybody that I met at Tables 50+ Albert, I’m sorry that I forgot what deck you were playing, but I recall having a fucking blast. It was also around this time that Stephen H. handed out the NEOS
Delif’s Cones Black Lotuses.
Round 5 – Derek Stafford on W/U Invisibility Flyers
Rematch! Last year, Derek and I played to the following result:
This time, it ended like this:
See you for our best-two-out-of-three at Lobstercon III, Derek!
Round 6 – Kristin O. on Erhnam & Burn ‘Em
Despite being a Black Mage at heart, most of my Old School “success” has been on the back of R/G Zoo. You might remember that, earlier this year, I wrote about when Jason M. gave me two signed Erhnam Djinns at Hartfordfestivalen.
Well, it’s time that they shed good fortune on another player. Through teary-eyes, I wished my djinns farewell and gave them to Kristin. So long, Space Cowboy…
Round 7 – Brian F. on Erhnam & Burn ‘Em
Sorry, Brian! I would have saved you one of the Erhnams if I knew that I was going to play back-to-back games against R/G players! Afterwards, we chatted and I learned that he grew up in, and still has family in, a town of which I am considering to relocate. It was nice to get a townie’s perspective.
My delightful concoction was enough to make the Spice Top 8, outclassing 117 other mages as 5th Spiciest. A huge thanks to Andrew C. who, prior to leaving, submitted my deck photo for me while my phone was on the fritz. Also, my apologies to Adam Merkado who I confused with Adam Mancuso. Will MaGrann won my comics. I hope that he learned a lot about Aladdin, the City in a Bottle, Guardian Beasts, and the like.
Lobsterweek concluded with dinner at Sacco’s Bowl Haven Flatbread. The atmosphere was cool with the school cafeteria-style bench tables that reminded me of playing Magic in middle school, which thankfully overshadowed the service and food. Thank you to whoever picked up the tab!
At this point, the words “thank you” are insufficient to fully convey how lucky and proud I feel to be a member of this community. I hope you enjoyed the read, but actual constructive information regarding the event can be found in DFB’s Organizer Report which also conveniently links to every other report written about the event. I urge you to support those members of the community and read their musings as well! With that, I’ll leave you with the only group photo that I took during the event: