2018 93/94 Winter Derby final roundup

Written by Ron Saikowski, January 24, 2018

Well the results are in and the Derby has come to an end for me. With a record of 3-4, I didn't do that bad all things considered. After each game, I took a minute to record the match and ask my opponent about their deck. Let's take a brief look at what I faced in each round and how I fared. Spoiler Alert: Not that great.

Playing in the Derby has really made me take a look at the type of deck I want to play. I talked about getting rid of Stasis from my deck a while ago and culling those proverbial elephants you may have in your deck as well. That change came about from the first online tournament I played in last November. This tournament has pushed me further still.

Round One
First Opponent (0-2)
This was my first time seeing this type of deck. A red/black deck based around Nevinyrral's Disk with creatures that regenerate. I'd never seen this mechanism before. He had complete control when it came to clearing the board and still keeping his creatures in play.

I couldn't keep up with it... my creatures obviously don't regenerate and that proved to be a slight problem for me. As soon as I would get enough resources out on the board, he'd swipe it clear. I managed to stop his attempt once, but he knew how to execute the move with precision. A Wheel of Fortune cast by him at the right moment secured victory for him as I unfortunately drew a hand that offered me nothing.

Second Opponent (1-2)
Kird Apes everywhere! A red/green deck with a splash of blue. As fast as I could get rid of them, they kept popping up. A never-ending barrel of monkeys. This is my only match that I managed to squeak out a win in one of my games for Round One. I think it was because I managed to Mind Twist him at an opportune time and buy myself a little breathing room.

All three of these games went down to the wire with both of us hanging on for dear life. In the end though, the Apes prevailed.

Third Opponent (0-2)
My toughest match in Round One. Without exaggeration, it was like bringing a knife to a gunfight. I was unprepared and outclassed. A black/red/blue deck with control and direct damage. Out of the two games we played, I drew a grand total of ONE creature the whole time. ONE. Can someone please tell me how that works? It's not like I don't have a half dozen in my deck. This deck also relied on the disk/regenerating creature principle as well.

Round Two
Fourth Opponent (0-2)
A powerful blue/white/green deck with big creatures, removal and Spirit Link. I held on as long as I could, but couldn't keep up. The Spirit Link is what really did me in though. My opponent gaining life at the speed I was losing it.... there was no coming back. It was the first time I'd seen any Serra Angels other than the ones I have.

Fifth Opponent (2-0)
For the first time in the tournament, my luck had turned around. Playing against a powerful black deck that put two Underworld Dreams into play almost immediately in the first game set the tone right out the gate. I talk about how powerful Underworld Dreams really are here.

A decision to play Mind Twist saved me from certain death as my opponent held the very cards he needed to end it within a turn. That play bought me enough time to press the attack before the ever mounting damage from the dreams ended it all for me.

The second game saw my opponent struggling to get his deck going and get out any of his Juzams. My win came more form a lack of resources on his part more than it came from me outplaying him.

Sixth Opponent (2-0)
I'd faced this person before (that match can be read about here) and I knew I was in for a fight. Fortunately I drew all the right cards at all the right times and was able to answer her play for play. This combined with her deliberate choice to play a newly built, underpowered deck constructed more around a theme than power gave me enough of an advantage this match.

Had she been able to pull off her theme of powering up a creature that gets through during an attack with Berserk, I suspect she would have made short work of me with no trouble at all.

Seventh Opponent (2-0)
My final opponent wielded a crazy fast blue/red burn deck. Right out the gate I was taking damage left and right. I may have even started one game with 14 life instead of the normal 20. Based around Mind Bomb and Bolts, it was a tough fight from the first turn on. Luckily I drew enough countermeasures to keep the damage in check while I got a few creatures into play. Both games came down to the wire with one seeing me swords a creature under my control just to stay alive at 1 point of life.

The most incredible play came in game two when my opponent Timetwisted to refill his hand. A great play since he was holding no cards and I was struggling to make something work on the board with no real mana yet. The potential for him to run the game was right there. Unfortunately, in the Timetwist, I managed to draw enough additional mana and my Mind Twist to make him drop 5 of his cards on my following turn.

What did I learn from the tournament?
Besides how much I love playing Old School? Lots.
Is it really that exciting? Yes.

Obviously I didn't make the top 8 cut. No surprise there. There are some amazing players out there. I finished with a record of 3-4. Not too bad for my first time playing in anything like this. I like to think I helped push a number of people to the top with my record.

I have some work to do on my deck. I want to change out a few things and try some new stuff. I'm starting to get back into the pace of the game and paying attention to the right things at the right time in order to minimize unnecessary mistakes on my part.

I'll have a handful of posts coming out in the next few weeks as a result of the things I've learned that I want to share with everyone. Maybe I'll get to use my Vigilance Maze of Ith in the next tournament.

Until then, I'd like to say thanks to all those involved in putting this together and running it. I'm sure the workload is crazy and I truly appreciate all that's done to make things like this possible. I'm already looking forward to the next one.

We'll see if I can do a little better next time.

Related Reading:
2018 Winter Derby Roundup

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IMAGE: WotC Ice Storm altered by Glendoar Alters. All other cards WotC.
KEYWORDS: Old School Magic, 2018 Winter Derby, 93/94, online