Booty is treasure — money, jewels, and the like — obtained by criminal means, especially plundering or pillaging. I wanted to go to Kumite and pillage some treasure for sure; I don’t really care about ‘spiking’ sooo much, but in this case, there was a title belt on the line. I was all set to run back my previous Kumite deck, ELM Deck (Eureka Lich Mirror) but got down on my self about being setup to win games vs. setup to maaaybbee win games (albeit with panache). Flashbacks to my Kumite II match with the illustrious host Paul Fiero (@DreadPirateTime) left me shell shocked. I wanted to bring a more powerful weapon to the fight for Booty. But I knew, regardless of the outcome, everyone wins at Kumite because EVERYONE goes home with a baller altered card to commemorate the event. So really, we all got BOOTY.
Check out the official organizer’s report here over at Music City Old School Blog.
Flipping through decks and my own idea pad, I came to Trick Deck. But with Fork! (and the Fork of Kher Ridges since, apparently I never actually sleeved up Fork before. This has since been rectified.) The unsigned cards are Chains of Mephistopheles, Fork, Twister, Regrowth and REB (12/75). The German REBs are to honor my middle school play mate Brian Ward, who lent me cards when I was first getting into Old School. Someday I hope to get to play OS in person with him. The original artist alters are the Balance, Wheel of Fortune, Ancestral Recall and Strip Mine.
I hooked up with Mr. Craig Winzer to drive out since I couldn’t spare the time for an overnight trip. I pulled into Cleveland around 8AM and Craig hopped in the car and we got on the way. We arrived at Grand River about half an hour before the event and promptly I put in an order for their fish sandwich, which came with a egg on top. Like a Royale or something. This came right before Round 1 and got scarfed like a Ninja Turtle on pizza.
Saw some Lords right by the entrance who were throwing down Middle School and, after dapping them up, we went to check in and pay up on our entry fees. The prize table had some crazy alters and a fully altered deck that was on the auction block for charity, just an incredible atmosphere. I looked good, I felt good and I was ready to throw down.
Please note, these match descriptions are all from my spotty notebook notes and the scorepad recollections so call me out if I mess up a description opponents.
Round 1 – Stephen Moore – Earthworm DJim
Round One I faced off against new member of the Ebon Hand, who as far as I had know I had not met, a cool AF dude named Stephen Moore.
So we got off to the races in the opening round, I didn’t keep track of my exact opening hands throughout the tournament but I did try to keep track of who went first and 2nd.G1: So I pulled out my trusty Rock, Paper, Scissors unglued cards (signed obviously) and offered him to decide via that method. He was down and I think he flipped rock on top of my scissors. So he went first. From the score pad, it looks like he Giant Growth’d + ‘zerked a Factory on turn three or four, took me to 9 and then attacked me for one to 8 at which point I was able to combo him out, taking him from 15 to 1, and passing with active Dreams/Mines.
G2: Fast loss is a loss and really demonstrated I think the power of Berserk plus Giant Growth. 20 -> 19 -> 9 -> 3 -> dead.
G3: A real nail biter, highlighting the extreme synergy for Sylvan Library and Howling Mine, making me really miss it in my deck. At one point Stephen was looking at 4!! cards and putting two back based on my active howling mine.
My mulligan to 6 was something bonkers but I don’t recall exactly. I think the picture shows something like, Land, Sol Ring -> Howling Mine, with his turn 1 being Land, Mox -> Sylvan Library. My turn 2 was something like Wheel -> DT -> Lotus -> Dreams. To his credit, Stephen showed no fear and I just had to try to hang on. Like a boss playa, he ripped into his deck every turn for 4 cards, taking 4 damage, trying to find the next creature and pump spell. Every turn, I expected to die to a flurry of Giant Mice on Ketamine (I love the flavor the Giant Growth / Berserk combo).
In the end, Trick Deck did the thing that so many combo decks do: kill the opponent on the literal turn before they die. Stephen took me to 2 and I was facing down a lethal board state. My howling mine rips provided a second Underworld Dreams along with a Braingeyser to kill on the spot.
2-1 Games, 1-0 Matches
Round 2 – Jason Burchett on Takklemaggot Fun Time
Round Two was another pairing vs. The Ebon Hand. I love these guys. Brian and Eric have SWOLLEN their crew due to their tireless evangelism, playing pickup games out and about and spreading the good word about old cardboard.
Jason Burchett was on a deck that was, from what I saw, a Junk colors deck, with White Knights and Whirling Dervish deck, so double white double green. Afterward, he showed me the trick of the deck is Takklemaggot. 🙂
G1: After my mulligan to six, Jason started off. He did good standard work against me in game one, but was slow game one and I was able to take over and win on about turn five or six if I recall. Another game where I got to do some silly things, I was able to win on the back of casting a double Forked Time Walk with an active Howling Mine, into a Regrowth Timewalk, stacking up four turns, taking him from 13 to dead across those turns. So really cool game one, but his deck didn’t really get to do what it was supposed to do.
G2: After another mulligan to six, Jason started off again. What I saw a game two, looking again at small back and forth, it looks like he was able to get down a 1/1 and bashed, with me taking one point of damage per turn. I had a turn one Underworld Dreams but not much other action. On Turn 5 or so, I killed him in one turn with Wheel of Fortune into Winds of Change, going 15->8->1->pass the turn to win.
His deck just didn’t get to do what it was supposed to do, while mine did a lot of the things I came to do. The Disenchants that he needed never showed up. Another awesome opponent!
4-1 Games, 2-0 Matches
Round 3 – Adam Love on Ehrnam Geddon
G1: Round Three was against Music City homie Adam Love on Ehrnam Geddon, a good player who’s playing a good deck, one I fear because of the Armageddon. Rock, Paper, Scissors went my way here, so lead off. While I wasn’t sure exactly what he was playing, I put him on Armageddon kind of based on the cards I saw: Birds, Llanowar Elf, Savannahs. I didn’t know if he was powered or not, or if he had Counterspells or blue or what, but looks like he was not doing too much in game one. I was able to set up pretty quickly while keeping him off mana to cast Geddon. I was able to kill him across several turns, and he was never able to line up a good Disenchant. I did Wheel away the Armageddon at some point when he was one land off.
G2: He went first and I never touched him. His deck played exactly to script, disenchanting and destroying my plans, he just smashed me and continued to smash me.
G3: I got to go first again. Looks like he was chipping away and played some good power onto the board, ended up taking me to 11. Looks like I took him from 19 to dead in one turn. I don’t recall exactly how the combo went but that’s just the power of this deck, it’s comes out of nowhere and will kill you.
One of the things about this deck, and probably this was part of the line, is that after draw sevens, your ability to draw Winds of Change plus Red Source is increased with playing all four copies. Second of all, your mana base is much more heavily red, so you’re leaning red and you have 12 lands sources, plus Lotus and Mox, a total 14 sources for red. The number of times where I cracked Lotus for triple red in order to cast a Forked Winds of Change was not insignificant and I suspect that is how this game ended. I really like that aspect of this deck, if you have a land drop still and you’re going to cast a draw seven, you just hold up your land drop and you’re going to Wheel into red source plus the Winds of Change, you are gonna kill them.
6-2 Games, 3-0 Matches
Round 4 – Rob Mathews on White Deck
Round Four is where things went off the rails a bit. I was paired against Knight TAPlar Rob Matthews and as soon as I sniffed out what he was on I knew it was going to be a bad time for me (Goblin Voice: Something Baaad Happened).
G2: My ability to close things out in game two was just not good enough even though this game resulted in my “Best Combo Turn” prize.
On my Turn 2, I was able to cast a Forked Ancestral Recall and then Regrow Ancestral Recall. Ancestral Count: 3. After that, the game went on quite a bit longer than I’d have liked. After a long slog trading resources, I finally was able to find a Dreams, cast Timetwister, and finish it off with a Forked Ancestral Recall for the win! Ancestral Count: 5. I was pretty excited, even with Eric Limbacher happily heckling me, “Nice story Raj! Blah Blah, You cast Ancestral Recall , blah blah!”. Love you too Eric.
I definitely got to do what I went there to do so sure though! Some people’s idea of fun might not be casting Ancestral Recall five times in one game (who are these people??) but that’s definitely my idea of fun!
I was able to win the game but the round timer was ticking down with only a minute left as I did. So we decided to go immediately to flips, which I lost promptly on my first flip. I flipped orbs 2 other times in games that day and hit, so I was two for three on the day is not a bad percentage, but missing this one hurt a lot.
7-3 Games, 3-1 Matches
Round 5 – Jason Schwartz on GB Nether Weenie
Round 4 was played at Table 2 next to Pez and Jason at Table 1; I suspected I would face the loser of that matchup, which did come to pass. Round five was Jason Schwartz and from my eye corner glimpses, I knew this was gonna be another beat down, and not for the Good Guys.
G2. It could have been mono green, it wouldn’t have mattered except he actually did cast Nether Void in Game Two and that just destroyed me, totally shutting the door. He did it in a methodical, maniacal way, casting the cards he drew through Nether Void and building a board. I was not able to do anything.
7-5 Games, 3-2 Matches
Round 6, Lorien Elleman on 5C Restricted
My recent nemesis, dating back I would say to Lord’s Haus last year, extending through some killer middle school leagues hosted by LoTP, where I was able to steal some epic wins off of the format master. So my streak had to end eventually but the always fun games we played made me want to take this one down. For me, this was the championship against a very worthy opponent.
G1: I had not really scouted any of my friends, but also usually was done later than most. So I had no idea what this mastermind was on. Unfortunately for my foe, he had to start on 6 cards while I started with a full grip on the play. The game went super long. Notes look like Lorien led with lands that included a Factory that got in for 2 and was able to bash once on turn 3 or 4, putting me to 18.
I think Lorien did know what I was on but kind of forgot how to battle Trick Deck in the moment. So he tapped out on turn 4 or 5 for a Serra Angel, going to 19 off City of Brass. On my turn, I went bonkers. At one point, he quipped something like ‘Should I be counting Storm?’ as my spell count on that turn approached 10. From my notes, I cast Timetwister -> Something, Something, Regrowth Timetwister, cast Timetwister, play a bunch of fast mana, then Balance the Serra, finally cast Ancestral Recall on myself. Between shuffling for one of the Twisters, Lorien bolted my dome, putting me to 15.
At the very end of this sequence, I put an Underworld Dreams down via Dark Ritual mana that was floated between Timetwisters, but was unable to capitalize on it that turn and had to pass; the Dreams was dispatched during Lorien’s upkeep.
We draw cards and pass back and forth for a few turns. Finally, he smoothly lays down another Serra Angel and passes.
Nothing of note happened on my turn, but I was setting up for a big next turn. I passed, figuring I have two turns and expecting to kill him on my turn. Lorien attacked and took me down to 9 and then grinned. Post combat, he tapped out his mana and Fireballed my face to win Game 1.
G2: So we go to work in Game 2 after that super long first game, and of course I was on the play. No mulligans on either side. I don’t remember exactly but my notes and the life totals tell me that Lorien had mana and not much else going on. Attacking for 2 means he was swinging with his Factory for 6 turns. My notes say also “Forked Timewalk”; now I’m recalling I was setting up a lot and maybe this game I had two or three mines in play when I started going off. I remember forking a Mana Drain on an Underworld Dreams. So then, Forked Timewalk, draw a bunch of cards, and Lorien goes from 20->6 -> (I assume) dead all in one turn.
G3: Back to Lorien’s serve in the final game and we are running quite low on time. I’m ready to lose in flips again but Lorien is an efficient player who knows we are low on clock. So we shuffle up quickly and both like our 7. He opens on something like Land, Mox, Mox, Dib. I open on something like Dark Ritual, Land, Underworld Dreams. So I’m just gonna hang on and try to not die, hoping he doesn’t draw disenchants.
Score pad says he’s taking two damage per turn (Dreams plus Dib), while I’m taking 3. 17->14, he goes 18->16->13 as I land a Howling Mine in there finally. Next turn is turn 1 of Time. He takes 3 during his upkeep and draw steps, going to 10, and then attacks me to 11. Finally, he powers up a Fireball for 7, taking me to 4, and tapping out. I untap, rip two cards, asking for Timetwister…and flip it. Shuffle up and draw 7, taking Lorien to 3. My 7 has red source, Winds of Change, and that locks it up!
Probably the best match of the day, taking it all the way down to the wire and squeaking it out at the last possible second against a worthy foe/friend. What an amazing event!
9-6 Games, 4-2 Matches
Epilogue and Closing Thoughts
The event wrapped up with a flourish after 6 baller rounds of Knights TAPlar Old School. At Kumite, if you didn’t win the belt, then no one cares about your record or your placing. I did care though, if only because my kids were gonna ask me if I won, and I wanted to tell them I did well. They still think I’m awesome for now heh. So for those that might also care, I ended up 5th.
After the drive home from Kumite, I rested and chilled with Craig for a few minutes, I challenged him to duel with our Kumite decks. I actually didn’t know what he was on beyond Berserk, so we started to jam. Glad we didn’t get paired at the event because he would have rocked my world. Juggernaut -> 2x Berserk is GG. Basically he did that twice and I died in two games.
After that, we jammed some of his ice age sealed decks. This is just like, he opened some sealed decks 6 years ago and then just kept them together. So fun. I’m glad to have so many of these friends to share The Gathering with. Big ups to Ian Blank, Robert Vincent and anyone else I stole pictures from.
Until next year, may your Forked spells always resolve. -rajah