Earlier this month, Europe’s premier online card-trading platform MKM held the first event of its recently announced Europe-wide tournament series. From 10th to 12th of April over 200 players duked it out in what must have been the ideal place — The Eternal City of Rome!
Our Crew for Rome:
Felix “Phelix” Munch — 43Lands.dec (Legacy) // UR Delver (Vintage)
Marc “Pemmin” Vogt — Miracles (Legacy) // UB Control (Standard)
Julian “itsJulian” Knab — Miracles (Legacy) // MUD (Vintage)
At Rome itself we met many familiar faces from the German Legacy community, bringing the count from our Munich-Nuremberg area to about 15 people in attendance. Marc and I arrived on Thursday night by plane from Munich while Felix had teamed up with Michael Bonde for an earlier flight from Copenhagen. As with my previous report from Milan, I’m not focussing too much on the games but intend to provide a good report of my overall experience at the event, especially since this is a new tournament series and people are still not 100% familiar with it.
1. The Venue
2. Friday – Big Legacy Trial
3. Saturday – Legacy Main Event
4. Sunday – Vintage Main Event
5. The Players
6. The Judges
7. Going Forward
The tournament was held inside the 4-star Melia Hotel, just one train stop outside downtown Rome. The connection to the airport through public transportation was horrible though, so we ended up using a taxi for 40,- €. The Melia also offers a shuttle service, which only operates at certain hours and didn’t cover our arrival at 11pm.
First of all, having a tournament inside a hotel is an outstanding experience. No hassle with public transportation, forgetting something at home or finding a restaurant that was still open. Imagine moving from your breakfast straight to the tournament area in less than a minute — very much recommended and convenient!
The playing area was one of the hotel’s huge conference rooms and could have easily accommodated double the number of players. It took the organizer half a day to figure out that they should probably open the windows and provide some ventilation. Initially the air was some of the worst I had ever experienced at an event with several people leaving right after their match because of nausea. Once they opened the big doors to the outside that wasn’t an issue anymore, except for maybe the curtains blowing over your table if your were seated on the end of a table.
The hotel itself was pretty good and also offered a special rate to everyone associated with the MKM Series which was nice. In the end, we paid 46,- € per person per night including breakfast. Not too much on the cheap side but the overall value was pretty good. Except for the service which was pretty much miserable for a hotel of this category. First, the internet was not complimentary. Now I know that won’t shock a lot of my American audience but we live in 21st century Europe and most of our hotels offer free internet connections. The fact that we knew about this beforehand (we did) doesn’t change that charging for it is a really big no-go! When Felix asked them whether the computer stationed in the lobby where free to use for guests, he got a pretty spot-on reply by the receptionist: “Sir, nothing in this hotel is free.” Another big no-go was putting things we didn’t order on our invoice, which included several nights (we hadn’t booked) and city taxes (we had already paid before) as well as several uses of their shuttle service.
The shuttle service! As convenient as it sounds, it actually was a pain in the ass to deal with as they initially made it seem as if it was ready for any guest to use. When we tried to book the serivce in the morning for an evening ride, we were informed that any shuttle services must be booked on the previous day. Fair enough! So on the next day at about 6pm I tell the receptionist that I would like to book the shuttle for the next day, upon I am now informed that any shuttle service bookings must be made until 5pm on the previous day. We ended up never being able to use their shuttle — which of course didn’t prevent them from billing us for it several time. Felix later put it pretty well: “Nothing in this hotel is free — not even NOT using the shuttle service.”
I however wanna mention the very friendly service we experienced by some of the waiters. Because we were having dinner at the hotel on every night, they always recognized us and after 1-2 days also remembered certain food preferences. On my last night, where I stayed alone, I even got a double-up on the ice cream I ordered. Everything including a 20% discount that MKM had negotiated(?) for us.
Friday – Big Legacy Trial
You know the feeling when you’re with someone else again after breaking up a long-term relationship? This is kind of how I felt when I registered not Elves but Miracles to this event. Ever since the summer of 2013 I had registered Elves in every single major (and probably 98% of minor) events I played. Sitting down and not starting your decklist with 4 copies of Deathrite Shaman felt so wrong, I almost decided to write the decklist on the night before so nobody would be able to witness my crime…
3 Snapcaster Mage
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Force of Will
2 Dig Through Time
2 Entreat the Angels
1 Council’s Judgement
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Flooded Strand
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Volcanic Island
2 Arid Mesa
3 Vendilion Clique
2 Rest in Peace
1 Force of Will
1 Council’s Judgement
1 Engineered Explosives
After quickly scrubbing out of the Modern event (desptie beating the guy who ended up going to the finals in the first round) I happily registered for the “Big Legacy Trial” in the afternoon. Problem was, even though I really wish we could run each and every tournament without any Byes, it still leaves a bad taste in your mouth when it is only announced on short-notice that the “Trial” will not be awarding any of them. We were never told why they made this change and whether it will also be the same for future events. The TO promised to make up for this by increasing the prize pool of the event and hand out “awesome prizes” as they put it. More about those later…
Round 1 — Nic Fit – 2:0 – WIN
Round 2 — 12 Post – 1:1:1 – DRAW
Round 3 — Miracles – 2:1 – WIN
Round 4 — UB Tezzerator – 1:1 – DRAW
Round 5 — BURG Delver – 2:1 – WIN (Tomas Mar)
Round 6 — Opponent didn’t show up, even though winner would Top8
Result: 4 Wins, 0 Losses, 2 Draws
The event was kinda cool and in pretty much every round I ended up playing against people who really knew what they were doing. In the second round I managed to race 12 Post in our first game. Until the midgame I was able to Counterbalance most of his setup spells which often led to insane stacks of him trying his best to eventually resolve one of his Crop Rotations. Once we got into hardcast Eldrazi territory, I was able to to still buy 2 more turns by going for some Swords+Terminus action on his Kozileks and Ulamogs to break through his Karakas. On his very last turn of the game he tried to cast Emrakul upon which I reminded him that he had only 14 available.
So…Top8. It was already getting somewhat late and since there were no Byes to earn, everybody really just wanted to split. What needs mentioning though is that what the TO offered really wasn’t very exciting at all as we all just received 18 booster packs. With 48 players in the tournament at a entry fee of 15,- € leaves them with 720,- € to work with. I don’t see that matching up too well against the 144 booster packs they gave out even when you factor in that they also paid out a negligible amount to the Top16. Pretty big boooh on that and I really hope MKM will learn from the failure that was the prize structure of this event.
Saturday – Legacy Main Event
For the Legacy Main Event I made no changes to the list I had gotten from Philipp, which you already found above. The only real thing in question was Angelo Cadei’s suggested switch of the 4th Force of Will with the 2nd Counterspell from the sideboard. This doesn’t really feel like a permanent change and I already reverted back to the 4th Force of Will. With the current strong showings of OmniTell, I would definitely advise to do run with that configuration.
Round 1 — RG Lands 0:2 LOSS
Round 2 — Pox 1:2 LOSS
Round 3 — Burn 2:1 WIN
Round 4 — Burn 2:0 WIN
Round 5 — Nic Fit 2:1 WIN
Round 6 — GW Maverick 0:1 LOSS
Round 7 — I don’t remember 2:0 WIN
Round 8 — Infect 2:0 WIN
Result: 5 Wins, 3 Losses
Yeah, that was not the kind of result I came to this tournament for. My tournament started with my Lands opponent quickly locking me out of both game2 and 3 with Choke, Sphere of Resistance as well as Rishadan Port. It’s kinda funny because you would think that your way out of this is to just play lands and pass the turn until you are able to cast something meaningful. The Rishadan Ports however make it so that you really don’t want to play any Islands as they would be just be immediately locked away. Even Fetchlands can be awkward as you either try to find a Plains with them or eventually end up having them Port’ed + Wastelanded. Well, I didn’t get there.
Against Pox I once again easily won the first game, only to be blown out by double Memoricide (on Entreat the Angels and Jace) + double Ensnaring Bridge. Having already spent some Council’s Judgement on other troublesome permanents such as Liliana and Chains of Mephistopheles, this left me without ANY way of killing my opponent anymore. Kinda funny, actually. The rest of the tournament was rather uneventful. My Nic Fit opponent from the Trial got his rematch against me but still didn’t get there. My Burn opponents missed more Eidolon of the Greal Revel triggers than they actually remembered, but fortunately “only” my first Burn opponent later freaked out about it.
The match against Maverick was quite entertaining even though I should have probably scooped much earlier. The thing was that at some point I realized that if I scooped this game, there would be a pretty decent change that I would not have enough time to finish the second game — let alone the match. So I pretty much committed to just playing game1 for my ~20% chance of still getting there even though it looked grim. If you’re wondering what the problem in the game was: my opponent was running 4 Equipments; on top of the expected Jitte and Batterskull, he also had Sword of Fire and Ice as well as Sword of Feast and Famine. I was eventually able to get great mileage out of my single maindeck Council’s Judgement and managed to remove Fire and Ice + Batterskull. However, due to the good pressure he put on and the Jitte counters he assembled early on, my emergency-Angels had to actually stay back on defense for quite a while until he eventually even forced me into Terminus. In the end he was even able to grind out my second Entreat as well, which put the game down to killing him with the single Snapcaster Mage I had left in the deck. Through some crazy maneuvers I was eventually able to temporarily create a game state that potentially allowed me to even attack for the win. However, this only gave him a chance to use his two Swords to Plowshares that he must have been holding for an eternity, and it got him there. Just as I scooped up my cards, time was called.
I ended up short of the money this time. My friend Lukas Maurer, who’s one of the reasons I started playing Elves in the first place made Top8 with our green little friends so I was super happy for him! You can check out the rest of the Top8 over here.
Sunday – Vintage Main Event
I decided playing Richard Lessman’s MUD list that he used to Top8 the Milano Eternal with a couple of weeks earlier. The only adjustment he told me to make was to cut a Revoker for the Mana Vault to smooth out the mana. Here’s what I reigstered on Sunday morning:
4 Lodestone Golem
4 Kuldotha Forgemaster
3 Phyrexian Metamorph
3 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Sundering Titan
1 Steel Hellkite
4 Thorn of Amethyst
4 Tangle Wire
4 Chalice of the Void
3 Sphere of Resistance
1 Sol Ring
1 Black Lotus
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Vault
4 Mishra’s Workshop
4 Mishra’s Factory
4 Ancient Tomb
1 Strip Mine
1 Tolarian Academy
4 Grafdigger’s Cage
3 Wurmcoil Engine
3 Relic of Progenitus
1 Sphere of Resistance
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
A healthy 71 players thought slamming Black Lotus on turn1 was much more fun than the GW Devotion mirror in Standard (64 players) which felt like a quite good turnout for the event. Here’s how my tournament played out:
Round 1 — UWr Mentor 2:0 WIN
Round 2 — UWr Mentor 1:1:1 DRAW
Round 3 — Gush Storm 0:2 LOSS
Round 4 — MUD 0:2 LOSS
Round 5 — Goblins 2:0 WIN
Round 6 — Doomsday 2:0 WIN
Round 7 — UWr Mentor 2:1 WIN
Result: 4 Wins, 2 Losses, 1 Draw
In the end I didn’t Top16 because of my abyssmal tiebreakers, which only lead me to a 19th place and 50,- € in MKM credit. The tournament itself was rather uneventful but a stunning display of the power of MUD to me. This was the first time I ever played the infamous “Panzer” as we Germans call it and boy did my opponents sometimes not get to play the game. A lot of games went basically like this:
It was a bit unfortunate to loss the third round to Gush Storm which should be one of the better matchups. Unfortunately things didn’t really work out in the first game when all Kuldotha Forgemaster could come up with was Sundering Titan which ran right into Gush, followed by Fastbond into the win. For the second game I told myself to not keep a hand without a turn 1 sphere. Once I had mulliganed to 6 I broke the promise I made to myself and kept a hand that would produce a turn1 Chalice@1 followed by a Lodestone Golem on turn2. Quite ok for a mulligan to 6 you would think. The problem? “Quite ok” really doesn’t cut it in Vintage in the long run. I got a friendly reminder of that when my opponent went turn1 Trygon Predator with Lotus and 2 Moxen. I made a comment that I should have rather set the Chalice to 0, to which he just showed me the Repeal he had drawn for his turn. GG, Sir.
A word on Forgemaster: of course this was my first ever tournament with the deck, but Siege Mastodon was easily the worst card in my entire deck. Most of the time I would much rather just add additional spheres to the board to make sure none of my opponent’s hate cards will ever blow me out. I don’t know how people generally play this game, but Phyrexian Metamorph copied either Sphere of Resistance or Thorn of Amethyst about 90% of times. You might call that a playstyle preference but I think people who would think that are probably just bullshitting themselves — Spheres are incredibly strong and I really don’t want anything on top of that except for dudes to eventually murder my opponent; something like Phyrexian Revoker, which also happens to shutdown any Moxen is a great addition for that strategy — a 5 mana 3/5 that doesn’t really do anything super exciting, not so much.
You wanna know the best thing Kuldotha Forgemaster did during the tournament? It got stolen by my opponent’s Dack Fayden, just to search up his Blightsteel Colossus for the rub ins. For future events, I’ll be super happy to drop it for the 4th Sphere of Resistance, the 4th Phyrexian Revoker and other goodies.
A big thanks goes out to Jan “Zuzy” Zuskač who allowed me to borrow the entire deck. He’s one of the driving forces behind European Vintage and organizes several tournaments to promote the format. The biggest one of them is the bi-annual “Prague Eternal” he established last year. If you’re anywhere around central Europe by mid June (12th – 14th), make sure to make your way to Prague, one of most beautiful and exciting cities in the world!
I am quoting myself from the Facebook post I made at the end of tournament:
I have never played in a tournament with as many Game Rule Violations as in Rome. People don’t speak English, don’t know how their cards work (Flusterstorm your Mox) and miss an insane amount of triggers that they later still want to happen. I’m having a great time as usual but at some point it’s really wearing me down emotionaly to always be “that guy” when my opponent thinks we’re playing on a kitchen table.
Especially when it comes to Eidolon of the Great Revel triggers. people are always so incredibly careless and just let you resolve any spell you want before eventually pointing to it at the end of your turn. Sometimes they don’t even make it trigger for the removal spell you point at it. Another good story comes from Felix when during the later rounds of the Vintage event he faced a very nice but highly inattentive player. The guy had Chalice@1 on the table. Because of his “history” of missing triggers left and right while also trying to Flusterstorm artifacts, Felix did the only right thing: he called over a judge and asked him to please watch the game for the next 30 seconds. The judge agreed and Felix casted Preordain which opponent verbally agreed on. About 5 to 10 seconds into the resolution he eventually pointed towards his Chalice. The judge confirmed that he had already missed his trigger and a situation that could have been pretty messed up (He Said/She Said) was easily handled.I’m pointing Felix’ situation out to give you an idea how loose a lot of the players were. How confident must you be in your opponent missing the Chalice trigger on the very next spell you are going to cast to openly call a judge (which by itself should have set off the opponent’s alarm clocks) right before? That confident!
The judging was overall nothing to complain about and I feel everytime I called a judge I got a decent ruling — with one exception. It ended up not mattering at all, but that should not stop me from pointing it out to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again. During one of the rounds my opponent was late. When the start of the round was announced I immediately called a judge who informed me that I would have to wait an additional 5 minutes before my opponent (should he ever show up; he didn’t) would receive a Game Loss. I told him that the correct ruling would be an immediate Game Loss, which the judge disagreed with. When I insisted, he just rolled his eyes and stepped back from the table. At this point I should have probably called the Head Judge to verify but the guys on the next table told me that it was their friend and he had to leave the tournament (even though we were playing for Top8, so I guess he had good reasons).
I still want point out that the judging was pretty good despite the huge amounts of infractions and generally less competitive attitude of a lot of players. Especially the Head Judge (who’s name I sadly can’t remember right now) did a great job and always made sure that both players would not only understand his ruling but also the guiding principles of why it was fair. Great job, I really hope to see him back in charge at pretty much all the Italian Eternal events. He was also a huge Vintage addict, so props to him!
Overall I really enjoyed the experience I had in Rome. Meeting my friends from all over Europe and having a great time with them is one of the top reasons while I enjoy the grinding lifestyle that Magic has to over. Right now I’m really looking forward to Ovinogeddon in Milan (Italy) from 1st to 3rd of May. With the hiatus the Bazaar of Moxen is currently on, Ovinogeddon will be Europe’s largest non-GP Legacy event of the year with a lot of great players from all over the continent in attendance. At this point I’m not sure whether I will be playing Miracles or OmniTell. While Miracles has given me a win percentage of 72% in the 64 matches I played ever since picking it up earlier this month, OmniTell has even better statistics to offer. Right now my spreadsheet shows a 76% win percentage the 26 matches played this week. In the end that’s just numbers though and you’d bet your ass people will be well prepared for for both Miracles and OmniTell, following it’s great performance at GP Kyoto. Show Time will tell.
PS: I’m submitting this long overdue report at 4:20am in the morning, so please bear with me if you find any stupid mistakes. I’ll be happy to correct them once I wake up! 😉