Québec, February 9
A gathering of the most peculiar nature surged upon Le Corail, Québec City, last Saturday. Indeed, twenty three captains of old school magic landed, ready to explore the shores of imagination under the Atlantic rules. Always on duty, yours truly set sail to the joint, grabbed some brew and joined the brawl. With some apprehension, I was ready to report about how sailors would navigate these uncharted seas since we had a mixed crew familiar to play Swedish on northern latitudes, and Eternal Central rules for the southern ones.
One must be aware that this new variant caused quite a stir when first introduced late in last December to the thriving underground community. Some saw the format’s salvation from the two aforementioned ruleset, advocating it would be the best of both worlds and even predicting the swedish format to follow the same restricted list in the years to come. I will not dare to adventure into these shallow waters and comment on these assumptions yet.
Wandering and listening to discussions on the tournament floor, I heard arguments propagating like ripples on a pond regarding the restriction of Strip Mine and the legality of Mishra’s Workshop. Nevertheless, the most tumultuous wave of discord formed around Hymn to Tourach, and even with the storm raging and tidal wave forming, many players dared to surf it.
As brackish to opponents as the black sorcery can be, it didn’t stop players from falling for the sheer titanic power of the discard spell. From the words heard here and there on the venue, Hymns to Tourach burst everywhere causing more havoc than a category 5 hurricane. A visibly shaken victim even confessed me that he suffered 3 times the trauma on turn one, scuttling his hopes of a victory deep down the Mariana Trench. Another briny fellow told me the black spell ditched his pair of Bolts to the bin, making way for an unanswered Hypnotic Specter later on.
An average game played during the event
Even though the oceans roamed with sharks, some smaller fish swam freely thanks to their advanced defense tactics. Take the example of a fisherman who took the bait and randomly pulled a pair Psychic Purges with a freshly cast Tourach, drowning himself immediately to zero life to his own bewilderment. Most seasoned sea dogs knows the tricks of the trade and can surely turn the tides when it comes to payback.
“I may not be as strong as I think, but I know many tricks and I have resolution.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
All day long I’ve been trawling, sneaking at games being played and chatting along with participants, and ended with a net full of random observations and anecdotes. Some highlights included a Falling Star flip which engulfed four green creatures in one fell swoop. Against all odds, the resilient green mage still maneuvered his way through victory. I also heard that Petra Sphinx won a game, which is a phenomenon as exceptional as recovering a ship lost to the Bermuda Triangle. Also worth of mention is another mate who dove to victory using a single land, thanks to a panoply of mana rocks, sinking his opponent to the Neptune Memorial Reef for his eternal rest, Land Tax still in hand. Finally, no breaking news here, but the torrent of cards drawn by an unchecked turn one Library of Alexandria still won games.
A lubber who wanted to remain anonymous admitted his deck was a total wreckage. Indeed, thinking it would be clever to grant Guardian Beast’s protection to Basalt Monolith, the idea rapidly washed ashore the island of failure when the seafarer realized that artifacts can’t be enchanted under the safeguard. Everything seemed to flow upstream for him as his own Blood Moons favored adversaries more often than himself due to a clunky manabase.
Deck’s desing team
Deck construction was also a topic hotter than a cloudless summer sun. Some observed that Moat is no longer causing the doldrums it used to do thanks to the throng of flying creatures overflowing under the current metagame. Another sailor discovered the perks of using Maze of Ith in his green aggro deck by keeping large creatures at bay and returning his threatened attackers to a safe harbor. At last, the most interesting strategy observed revolved around Stasis and Instill Energy built on a Verduran Enchantress shell. Here’s a pic of the previously mentioned deck into
This is either madness, or brilliance!
The event was over by seven thirty and at the term of six swiss rounds, Mishra and his four horsemen emerged triumphant. The cruise, fueled by Mishra’s Workshops and Factories, welcomed aboard a school of Su-Chis, a herd of Juggernauts, a flock of Tetravus and a band of Triskelions to lead the course through conquest. No one can deny the raw power of the deck given that the Workshops drifted openly in a sea of restricted Strip Mine.
At the end of day, I welcome the variety offered by the different old school formats in which I can express my creativity freely. I know people are reluctant to change and some even advocate for an unified old school format; but at which cost? Diversity among old school communities is an important feature of the culture, and I do feel like it’s good to shake the temple once in a while, if only to discover that it is already pretty solid.
♦ ♦ ♦
I highly recommend this alternative report of the event: https://callingfirstserendibs.wordpress.com/2019/02/26/atlantic-rules-at-le-corail-a-report/
Finally, what’s everyone here for, deck pics:
Guillaume S. (6-0)
Guillaume L. (3-3)