It’s That Time Of The Year Again…

Every spring and autumn most of the European Legacy population heads south towards the Lombardy’s capital city Milan. Soon going into its 10th year, Ovinogeddon has long become one of our continent’s main Eternal fixtures. We often like to think of the duality of the Bazaar of Moxen in France and the Ovinogeddon in Italy as the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia of European Legacy and Vintage, where no matter if you win, just being there is already well worth the experience!

Our Crew for Ovinogeddon Spring:

Felix “Phelix” Munch — 43 Lands.dec
Anton “Enton” Karlinski — Miracles
Julian “itsJulian” Knab — Miracles
Christian “Reuschel” Reuschel — Deathblade
Christian “Staubsauger” Sanktjohanser — Gold Digger
Philipp “Einherjer” Schönegger — Miracles
Vincent “Waldmensch” Vega — ANT
Tomáš “Koplinchen” Vlček — Miracles
Can “Django” Weidemeier — RGW Aggro Loam

Luckily I was able to rent an apartment right next to the tournament site. Our host originally listed his place for a maximum capacity of 6 people but after talking to him and informing him about the basic “Eat-Sleep-Play” lifecycle of a tournament player’s weekend, he happily agreed to setup a couple more impromptu beds. The place ended up somewhat crowded but the only 30 second walk to the event easily made up for it!

Content:

1. The Venue
2. Friday – Big Legacy Trial
3. Saturday – Legacy Main Event
4. Sunday – Vintage Main Event
5. Extra Lands
6. Going Forward

The Venue

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The Main Event Area at Ovinogeddon

As usual the tournament was held in the legendary Casa dei Giochi (“House of Games”) in the northern parts of Milan. What is so cool and unique about that place is that it is a pretty big house, full of board and other games where people usually come to play after work. You will often find people playing chess, Go and different tabletop warhammer-esque games deep into the late night hours. Even though it doesn’t offer the sheer beauty of the Bazaar of Moxen venue, it is still very much one of the most legendary tournament sites of Eternal Magic.

One should mention that unlike in October, when we saw nearly 500 people compete in the Legacy Main Event, there was easily enough space and nobody had to play outside. The tournaments themselves were run very smoothly and provided a great experience for everyone playing in it. I think this is important to point out since Ovinogeddon had developed somewhat of a bad reputation for huge delays and misorganisation. This year was just great and after talking to the main orga Stinfo, I have no reason to believe that this would be different for any future tournaments in Milan.

Friday — Big Legacy Trial

Just like in Rome a couple of weeks before, I decided to sleeve up what I and many others believe to be the strongest deck in Legacy right now. There was some general disagreement between Philipp, Tomáš and Angelo about the exact configuration of the maindeck, so we all ended up playing slightly different lists over the weekend. Most of it came down to these questions:

– 3 or 4 Force of Will in the maindeck?
– 1 or 2 Counterspells in the maindeck?
– 0-2 Red Elemental Blasts in the maindeck?
– 0-2 Rest in Peace in the sideboard?

Since the pros and cons of these decisions are very well known, it’s mostly up to what one predicts the meta to look like. Angelo for example was quite afraid of Dredge and really wanted to player a number of Rest in Peaces whereas Philipp for example was happy with Relic of Progenitus which also provides an edge in the mirror by eating up your opponent’s graveyard, thus weaking his Dig Through Times.

This is what I ended up registering:

 

Mea Culpa

Creatures (3)
Snapcaster Mage

Instants (15)
Brainstorm
Swords to Plowshares
Force of Will
Dig Through Time
Counterspell

Sorceries (11)
Ponder
Terminus
Entreat the Angels
Council’s Judgement

Artifacts (4)
Sensei’s Divining Top

Enchantments (4)
Counterbalance

Planeswalkers (2)
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Lands (21)
Island
Flooded Strand
Misty Rainforest
Tundra
Volcanic Island
Plains
Arid Mesa

Sideboard: (15)
Vendilion Clique
Flusterstorm
Pyroblast
Rest in Peace
Counterspell
Disenchant
Council’s Judgement
Engineered Explosives

Looking back at it now, putting Red Blasts into your main would have definitely been the corect choice; the same holds true for going to 4 Force of Wills in the main. The metagame was just teeming with Miracles and OmniTell, Legacy’s current public enemies #1 & #2. Having access to additional copies of those cards, especially in the maindeck can provide a huge edge and would have helped me a lot in fighting them.

Here’s how my tournament went:

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Big Legacy Trial – Standings after Swiss

Round 1 — Infect  2:0 WIN
Round 2 — Oops All Spells  1:2 LOSS
Round 3 — 42 Lands.dec  2:1 WIN (vs Felix Munch)
Round 4 OmniTell 1:2 LOSS
Round 5 Elves  2:0 WIN (Sebastian Bartl)
Round 6 — ANT 2:0 WIN
Result: 4-2

Even though I didn’t Top8 the Trial I felt overall ok with the performance of the deck. It was kinda unfortunate that I received a game loss for an incorrect decklist against Oops All Spells in the second round; Reuschel and I arrived in Milan the morning of the tournament and were rushing from the airport to the venue, only arriving 10 minutes short of the first round, which lead me to miscount my decklist and forget 2 Entreat the Angels…but that’s fine, the card is just stupid anyways. Even though I wasn’t able to sideboard for our “second” game I was still able to emerge victorious by just countering his Undercity Informer when my opponent went all-in on the first turn. In the third game he mulliganned to five, then cast Dark Ritual off Chrome Mox, which left him with 2 cards. It felt a bite weird especially since he had seen(!) my Force of Will with an earlier Gitaxian Probe. I convinced myself that this was just a desperate move on his part where he hoped I would just screw up and counter his Ritual, allowing him to at least have the out of topdecking something relevant. Guess what, I actually DID screw up. I let the Dark Ritual resolve which allowed him to pitch Simian Spirit Guide and cast Empty the Warrens for 8 tokens. Even though I am well aware of the Belcher plan, this move totally blindsided me. Since I had sided out all Terminus, my only out left was Engineered Explosives which I couldn’t find in time.

My later loss to OmniTell came courtesy of Defense Grid. Miracles right now doesn’t feel very well equipped to really handle the card as most of it’s countermagic can’t hit it while it’s removal is quite mana intensive and taps you our on your own turn, thus weakening the power of Red Elemental Blast, Flusterstorm and Counterspell. It’s pretty much a lose/lose situation for the Miracles player once Defense Grid even just hits the stack! I was still able to steal a game with Vendilion Clique and felt pretty comfortable in the third game. In the crucial turn my opponent tapped out for Show and Tell after Ponder, which I happily Flusterstormed thinking that victory would be mine. Little did I know that he had stockpiled enough Force of Wills and Pact of Negations to hardcounter each of my Flusterstorm copies…oh well.

I ended up in 11th place. None of the 4-2’s made it into Top8 though, so no need to blame tie breakers.

Satuday — Legacy Main Event

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Philipp’s main (and only) course: potatoes with some mushrooms on top.

After having some questionable food the day before, a lot of our players actually suffered from some form of food poisoning. I woke up in the middle of the night to what sounded like an animal being slaughtered in our bathroom. After listening closely I realized it was just one of our players constantly throwing up. We later received reports of other players having the same experience. Maybe it was because of the incredibly overpriced food we had on the night before? Looking for a traditional Italian pizza place, my mobile phone guided us into an award-winning osteria near the event site. What Tripadvisor didn’t tell us though is that the special feature of this place was their tendency of serving only about 1/4 of a full meal, making everyone of us grab 1-2 Döner Kebaps on our way home.

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Look at the glory that is my 14,- € hamburger.

For the main event I made no changes to my list from the previous day. I considered adjusting some things, especially moving some number of Red Blasts to the mine but ultimately decided against it. There was a lot of last-minute changes going on amongst the Miracles players and I didn’t really want to hop on and play with a configuration I hadn’t been familiar with. I also still had some believe in people just playing “random” decks in big events, so I’d rather player an overall well-rounded deck than something too metagamed. I was wrong. People are clearly adjusting to what they are seeing and it seems the only really non-blue worthwile decks around are Elves and Death & Taxes. Like I mentioned above, putting Red Blasts into your maindeck seems to definitely be the right choice right now. I will probably do that in GP Lille if nothing special happens up until then.

Here’s how my tournament went:

Round 1 — RG Lands  2:0 WIN
Round 2 — GW Death & Taxes 1:2 – LOSS (vs Marius Hausmann)
Round 3 — Elves  2:0 WIN
Round 4 OmniTell — 0:2 LOSS
Round 5 — Grixis Pyromancer — 2:0 WIN
Round 6 — Deathblade  1:2 LOSS
Round 7 — Elves  2:0 WIN
Round 8 — Sneak Show 0:2 LOSS
Result: 4-4

A result of 4-4 felt abyssmal but I also didn’t really care all too much about the tournament anymore once I had collected my second loss. Unlike Elves, I really don’t enjoy playing Miracles all that much. It’s still cool to figure out the correct line and try to outsmart your opponent, but it’s decisions are very narrow. What do I mean by that? Unlike most other decks, Miracles mostly operates on the tactical level without any big long-term strategical switches that one has to make. I consider awarness of the strategical direction a game is heading down the most challenging and also rewarding set of skills on Constructed Magic and thus always feel like the deck isn’t giving me “enough” when I play it. Sure, it’s still the strongest deck and I will probably continue to play it until it gets banned hopefully soon…but playing it just feels somewhat shallow, numb and uninteresting.

But yeah, it’s not only that. I also missplayed. I couldn’t really do all too much about my losses to OmniTell and Sneak Show (Quicken into Show and Tell, eeeeeh), but my loss to Marius’ anti-Miracles deck eventually came down to me not doing what is known as the “Top Trick”. This involves stacking an activation of Sensei’s Divining Top before you respond by flipping it in order to maybe put something else on top. You should just always do it this way whenever you have spare mana even though it requires some discipline. I ended up not doing it this way and ended up in a situation where I was alway 1 mana short of casting a lethal Entreat the Angels because of Thalia. Had I put SDT second from the Top and kept Entreat the Angels on Top, I could have just naturally drawn the Entreat and ended up in a very favorable position. I didn’t. Because I was lazy and already felt somewhat mentally exhausted. More about that later (“Going Forward”). On the other hand Marius had built this deck to just crush Miracles; featuring 4 Chokes, 2 maindeck Gaddock Teegs and more hate in the sideboard, it would have been pretty cool to still beat him though 🙂

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On my way to Durban, South Africa via Dubai

In Round 6 I lost to Deathblade even though I really shouldn’t have. I was already up 1-0 and casting my game winning Entreat the Angels with Force of Will in hand. My opponent only had a single card in hand and was desperately behind in the game. I figured that the only card I really cared about would have been Flusterstorm. So I cast Entreat for the full amount….wait, what?! Even though I had correctly assessed the situation, I just decided to not care and make the wrong play. He of course ended up having the Flusterstorm and was thus able to turn the game and eventually the entire match around. This was kinda sad since I didn’t even need the full amount of angels. Had I even left 1 mana untapped I could have even Force of Will’ed one copy and paid for the other.This is the kind of mental fatigue that I have been suffering from a lot lately. I feel it’s mainly due to how stressful my job can be at times and the insane amount of travelling I had been doing lately. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about: last Tuesday my boss informed me that I would need to fly to South Africa and represent our hotel at the trade fair. This involves a lot of organisation, not to mention about 30h+ spent on airplanes between Munich, Dubai and Durban. I both love and hate this aspect about my job; it’s mostly love but sometimes you really feel that you are also paying a price for that lifestyle…

Sunday — Vintage Main Event

Here’s what I played in the Vintage main event. Yes, it looks “interesting”. For more info, see below.

 

MUD

Creatures (11)
Lodestone Golem
Phyrexian Revoker
Karn, Silver Golem
Wurmcoil Engine

Artifacts (30)
Smokestack
Tangle Wire
Chalice of the Void
Sphere of Resistance
Crucible of Worlds
Thorn of Amethyst
Sol Ring
Black Lotus
Mana Crypt
Mox Emerald
Mox Jet
Mox Pearl
Mox Ruby
Mox Sapphire
Trinisphere
Lands (19)
Mishra’s Workshop
Mishra’s Factory
Ancient Tomb
Wasteland
Strip Mine
Tolarian Academy
Buried Ruin

Sideboard: (15)
Grafdigger’s Cage
Dismember
Ghost Quarter
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
Wurmcoil Engine
Expedition Map
Pithing Needle
Karakas
Batterskull

Round 1 — Jace Control2:1 WIN
Round 2 5c Mentor — 1:2 LOSS (vs Anton Karlinski)
Round 3 — UWr Mentor1:2 LOSS
Round 4 — UWr Mentor — 0:2 LOSS
DROP
Result: 1-3 DROP

Nothing to see here, move along. No seriously, I think I made a terrible deck choice for this tournament. Seeing how much I liked playing Workshop two weeks before in Rome, I decided to give it another try in Milan. I got the latest Stax list from Vintage mastermind Niels Thiim that he used to Top8 MKM Rome. I was kinda hyped to play with 4 Smokestack and 3 Crucible but after some playtesting on the night before, I ended up with a score of 2-12 vs UWr Mentor…preboard! That night I sent a couple messages Niels’ way asking for help. He agreed that it’s pretty bad and suggested adding a number of Wurmcoil Engines to the deck. I think that Wurmspiralmaschine is a great card for that matchup but ended up not being enough. The entire Smokestack + Crucible plan is awesome against most deck that don’t happen to generate 2-3 permanents every turn anyways. Nils and I agreed that the correct way to approach the matchup is to attack their mana as Mentors happen to be quite hungry for that. The problem though is that if you can’t get down an early Tangle Wire or Wurmcoil, the Mentor will just quickly kill you before you even get the chance to leverage your mana denial plan.

Our last night's dinner with the Italians
Our last night’s dinner with the Italians

I ended up dropping after losing to a nice guy who randomly played a copy of Tendrils of Agony in his UWbr Mentor deck just because he really liked the card and didn’t want to play without it. I was quite surprised when he end-of-turn discarded it in game1 during a Tangle Wire softlock. It even prompted me to do some incorrect sideboarding; so even though he never ended up casting it, it still provided him with some value. After dropping I tried to fire a Legacy 8man in which I wanted to play Elves, but it didn’t come together. Instead I played about 10 games against Marius’ GW Death & Taxes, which ended 10-1 in my favor 🙂

After the tournament, Tomáš and I went for dinner with Angelo, Stinfo and a friend of of them (who’s name I unfortunately don’t remember). We went to a small Italian pizza place they recommended. Upon entering I realized that this was the place I had been trying to rediscover ever since eating with some of my friends 4 years ago! Great success! 🙂 We talked a lot about the history of Ovinogeddon and what they

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Now THIS is what I’m talking about!

have planned for the future. Stinfo is the main man behind the tournament and was able to provide some great insight into the things you have to deal with to successfully establish and host a tournament of this size. It’s nice, relaxed dinners like this that make up at least 50% of the great experience that is an international tournaments where you meet your friends from all over the world. I’m really looking forward to the next Ovinogeddon in autmn that will also consitute their 10th anniversary as a tournament
series. If you can somehow make it, you really should go — and I promise, I will show you this great pizza place! 🙂

Extra Lands

The judging staff was mostly excellent. I already talked a lot about how I feel most judges in Italy are doing a great job during my MKM Rome report. Just one thing: it really happens a lot at Ovino that people accidentally play extra lands. Especially in Vintage where you have long Yawgmoth’s Will fuelled turns where someone often ends up playing an additional land out of his graveyard. I have pointed this out on several occassions with judges even watching. Everyone quickly agrees that it was an extra land and the game state is backed up. However, and this is my point here: I have yet to see a single warning issued for this infraction. Especially as a spectator I don’t wanna be the guy asking the judge to hand out a warning even though I feel that it’s really wrong to let people get away with not even a caution. I have no doubt that neither of the extra lands I saw played were played on purpose, but that doesn’t mean that there should be some punishment for it.

Going Forward

To be honest, I really don’t enjoy the current situation of Legacy. I’ve been pretty outspoken about how much I want to see Miracles burned into the ground or at least brought back to an acceptable power level. I will continue to play the deck but might also try some other decks; right now I’m most interested in Lejay’s Shardless BUG list that he and Tristan have been crushing European events with this year. But this leads me to another thing that has been bothering me this year: time. As I mentioned earlier, I feel somewhat stressed. Between my job, travelling and streaming, there is little extra time to sometimes just relax or do other things. Ever since I recovered from my knee injuries in 2013, I always wanted to get back to exercising at least twice a week like I used to before. I’m a firm believer in mens sana in corpore sano and can tell that I am not playing a lot of these tournaments optimally due to not feeling 100% healthy right now (see my matches vs Deathblade or GW Death & Taxes in Legacy). I’m not sure how I will proceed from here, but maybe I will have to cut down on at least 1 day of streaming a week. I’m also not as keen on attending our local Legacy events on Saturdays anymore right now as one of them involves about 3-4h of travelling thus pretty much eating up your entire day.

We will see. I really wanna do well at GP Lille and I know that I gotta change some things to get back in both mental as well as physical shape. After all, we’re renting this beauty of a castle for Team EuroSwag and I really don’t wanna disgrace it with non-Day2-worthy results… 🙂

Team EuroSwag's home during GP Lille
Team EuroSwag’s home during GP Lille

That’s it for today! I hope to see you guys at either Prague Eternal in June, GP Copenhagen or GP Lille! I’m still working on maybe attending GP Utrecht but if I do, it will probably just be on short notice!

-Julian

What do you think? Comment below.