Hello everyone! I have finally returned from Stockholm and promised a report from the whole thing. So without further ado, let’s begin our journey to Sweden!
Our journey begins from Friday at 9 o’clock in the morning. I wake up in pure dizziness and after some time of random groaning and cursing I manage to get my stuff packed up and head for the airport. Me and my buddies hop in the same train and pretty much arrive to the airport alive and well. At the security checkpoint I get stopped since foils always seem to get their attention. I explain some story about playing cards and shiny fronts and talk myself out of the trouble. Piece of advice for anyone in Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Go to the Oak Barrel bar, although it’s overpriced (like in any airport), they serve great selection of beer and ciders! We do the usual “grab beers and play mtg” part there.
After the mandatory drinks we hop into the plane, the flight was literally 50 minutes and we realized that we are in Stockholm! You can always count on Norwegian to get you anywhere without problems.
From the airport we simply grabbed a taxi since our hotel and the site was so damn far away. Quickly dropped our stuff to the hotel and walked to the site since it was literally right next to it. Thanks to my buddy Matti for checking it out for us. We stayed at Best Western Royal Star hotel, highly recommended if you are planning a visit to Stockholm!
The site was at the Stockholm International Fairs and the site was really well setup. I didn’t find any foils for my Storm deck unfortunately, but no worries. There is always Highlander and Legacy to pimp out!
After burning my money for shiny cards I headed to the last chance trials to hunt for byes. Now it was 4 rounds of single elimination. My first (and last) trial went like so:
Round 1, (Hardened Scales Affinity)
I went to look at the pairings and…DingDing against my Finnish friend! Of course, we sit down and laugh like really? This again, well time to play.
Game 1 was actually surprisingly long. He gets a fast Walking Ballista so my creatures are out of the question. But I do survive long enough to end of turn Gifts Ungiven. Finding Desperate Ritual, Pyretic Ritual, Noxious Revival and Manamorphose. Since I already had Grapeshot and Past In Flames+multiple Rituals in hand, it didn’t matter 1 bit what he gave me. I untap and cast my spells into big Past In Flames and kill him.
Game 3 he keeps a greedy 7 with Damping Sphere but has only Inkmoth Nexus+Mox Opal as castable spells. He never finds the 2 land to cast his cards and I kill him without any resistance. He shakes hands, and wishes good luck for the last 3 rounds. 1-0
Round 2, (8Rack)
Sigh, have I already said how much I hate playing against 8rack? Well now I have.
Game 2 We grind like true champions, he takes away my stuff and lands a Liliana. But I do manage to peel Empty The Warrens for 6 goblins. They take down Liliana and I start to pile in the damage when he is in top deck mode. Now he did have 2 Racks in play but once again lucky me drawing 4 lands in row and he can’t take them from my hand with his topdecked Inquisition and Thoughtseize and my gobbos get the job done! 2-0
That matchup was horrendous, don’t get me wrong, I just happened to get there this time.
Round 3, (Bant Spirits)
Not so many players left at this point, I look at the pairings and another Finnish friend! How nice, a good friend of mine who I face almost every week but I had no clue what he was playing.
Game 1 He opens up with Breeding Pool Mausoleum Wanderer. Well now I knew what jig was up. This game he just had everything, Path my creature, fast clock and Spell Queller. Thanks I’m done for this game.
Game 3 was a super intense matchup since it all ended on my bluff in turn 2. He mulls to 6 and opens with Noble Hierarch. I play Serum Visions scry goes top. He play Mausoleum and Aether Vial, Noble hits for 1. My turn, play land. Cast Pyretic Ritual? My buddy goes super deep and in the tank, my hand was full of cards and he thinks about using his Mausoleum Wanderer to stop it. After some time..”Hmm resolves”! Then play another Pyretic, “Ok”. Manamorphose into Grapeshot killing his entire board. Now the look on his face goes from bad to worse since I land Ritual, Ritual, Empty The Warrens for 14 go! He draws the card, plays Geist Of Saint Traft and pass. I attack and pass, he draws and extends the hand! Right after he said “I guess I should’ve used my Mausoleum Wanderer, thought you bluffed”. 3-0
Round 4, (UW Control)
We get taken to the finals table and there I realize I’m facing Alex Wahlquist, Swedish player who has been in the Swedish World Magic Cup team. “Gulp”.
We sit down, shake hands and get ready to duke it out for the byes. Now I just want to say that Alex was perhaps the nicest magic player I’ve ever faced so if you are reading this, kudos to you man. Good inspiration for us all and I inspired to be as good as you are 1 day!
Game 2 I once again jam a Baral on turn 2, Alex Paths it, but I actually don’t have 3rd land and got a second Baral in hand so no worries. Alex plays Azcanta and passes. I use Gigadrowse to get his mana tapped at his end step. I land Baral, bunch of mana into Grapeshot+make 18 goblins and pass. Alex says “Terminus?” draws…and extends the hand! His hand was full of Negates but no sweepers. We laugh, make some jokes and he wishes me luck for the main event tomorrow, I do the same. Thanks for the games dude!
So holy crap, first trial and I had earned my byes! I was on cloud nine literally. Just smiled the rest of the evening. We just went to hotel since the evening was getting pretty late to get some sleep for the big event.
Now I would’ve slept some extra hours but couldn’t really sleep since excitement so I woke up as the others did, got some breakfast (which was amazing btw) and headed to the site. Now having 2 byes meant I could just scout all day and watch on as rounds went by. Now it was finally round 3 and my time to switch the Storm on!
Saturday Main Event
Round 3, UW Control
Or at least I think it was UW. But super weird build. I just cantrip around while he plays Celestial Colonnade and lands Wall Of Omens. Haven’t seen that card in a while. I don’t want to expose my only reducer to a potential Path so I decide to wait. Turn 3 he offers Flickerwisp, hmm Remand that? I didn’t have Gifts but I went multiple Rituals, Manamorphose, Past In Flames and had Grapeshot+Unsubstantiate in hand. Play out everything and Grape Unsub Grape again for kill.
Second game was basically the same except he mulls to 6 but does have Rest In Peace. Now I get to land my creature, play bunch of Rituals, Manamorphoses and Pieces for double Grapeshot and he’s dead. 3-0
Round 4, KCI
Game 1, well he opens with Buried Ruin into Chromatic Star. I play Serum Visions and we both kinda know what we are facing now. Well to spare you from the pain, he had Mox Opal to kill me on turn 3, after 15 mins of going off I’ve seen enough.
Game 3 was the stupidest game I’ve ever played honestly. We both keep a land heavy reactive hand (Remands for me, Negates for him). I do get my Baral into play and we spent our counters stopping each others KCI/Gifts Ungiven. Now then he tries to go off but doesn’t have the loop and after 15 minutes of single game mode he fizzles and passes. Well I guess it was worth it to not concede. I find Past In Flames but can’t find anything to kill my opponent so I fizzle also 😀 After this little show we end up in top deck mode and somehow I really don’t know how my opponent doesn’t find anything and on extra turns 3 I top deck Gifts and go off. We shake hands and conclude that this game was stupid but still fun. 4-0
Round 5, Bant Spirits
Now there was a LOT of Bant Spirits in this tournament so was surprised that this was my first time facing it in the main event.
Game 1 I get to start with a Sleight Of Hand, he plays Noble Hierarch. I play Baral and he sighs “Storm”. He plays Selfless Spirit and Vial. I cast Desperate Ritual, he sacks Mausoleum for it, I pay and go off regardless.
Game 2 he has nothing on turn 1, Rest In Peace and followed that up with Geist Of Saint Traft. I play Baral, bunch of fast mana into Gifts with 5 cards in my hand. Getting Pyretic, Manamorphose, Empty The Warrens and Grapeshot. Now here he makes a critical error with giving me Ritual and Grapeshot? Okay, Bolt you and show 2 Grapeshots from hand and he has seen enough. Now my plan was that he would give me Pyretic Ritual and Manamorphose, I had multiple Cantrips+Pieces in my hand so I would go off that route but hey, when you get Grapeshot straight to hand, much easier.
At this point I’m 5-0 and at the top of the standings, knowing I only need a single win to lockup my day 2. Deep breath and here we go.
Round 6, Jund
At this point we are in the top tables with all pros so I was feeling bit nervous but confident.
Game 1 He opens with Raging Ravine so the deck mystery was solved very quickly. Thankfully he doesn’t have any discard spells to strip my hand away, he does have Scavenging Ooze and keeps green mana open. I play Gifts Ungiven on his end step. Getting Grapeshot, Past In Flames, Pyretic Ritual, Manamorphose. I already had a creature out, he gives me Pyretic+Manamorphose. I was sure he would eat my Past In Flames but nope, he let’s me untap. I cast my stuff and flashback Past In Flames, he eats Grapeshot and Gifts away, well I have Grapeshot in hand so killing him was fairly simply from this point. Not sure why he didn’t remove the Past In Flames when he had the chance but hey winning feels good.
Game 2 is exactly what Jund does, discard, good creatures, powerful sideboard cards and solid disruption. Couldn’t get anything going through Damping Sphere+Liliana Of The Veil and I die without much resistance.
Game 3 was a super close race but he has some discard and ways to kill all my creatures, and it didn’t help that I was stuck on 2 lands even after cantrips. He had no hate cards but Scavenging Ooze was working on my graveyard and he also had 2 sweepers for my Empty The Warrens so in the end he just gets there and I have to extend the hand. Now he was a super nice guy so no hard feelings. 5-1
Round 7, Grixis Death’s Shadow
I look at the pairings and I’m up against Mattia Rizzi, Italian Gold level pro. I had no clue what he was playing though. We shuffle and present the decks when Rizzi immediately calls a judge. Claiming that I looked at his cards while shuffling. Now I agree on the fact that if you shuffle and look at the deck in the right way you can know what you are playing against and that is a HUGE edge. Now at this point it’s my word against his, we had a judge and the head judge Riccardo Tessitori come there, but like I said. It was my word against his and Ricardo concluded that there was no evidence so I just get a heads up to shuffle more carefully and life goes on. I will still say that I didn’t see any cards in his deck nor was that my intention. Cheating is a bullshit thing in Magic and I don’t expect it from me or anyone else. Now I don’t know if Rizzi was just trying to angleshoot, but I wish that we all let this thing be, it has been dealt with and I don’t wish any grudges.
Game 1 he rips my hand away with discard and lands a quick Gurmag Angler. But he gives me 1 turn when he doesn’t have Stubborn Denial open, I had Baral and 2 lands, 2 Rituals in my hand. I top deck Gifts Ungiven and kill him. He curses and scoops in tilt.
Game 3 I get discarded, Surgicaled and quick clocked. Now I felt that Rizzi was a bit shady here since he Surgicaled my Serum Visions away, he looked at my deck for over 5 minutes and moved many of my cards in different positions in the deck. Not sure if he was stacking my deck, and I know I should’ve called a judge at that point. Lesson learned I guess. Nevertheless I lose this matchup, but I do shake his hands although I don’t like the way a pro player handled this whole situation. 5-2
Round 8, Boggles
Last round and my last chance to make it day 2.
Game 1 he leads with Temple Garden into Gladecover Scout. Well my hand is a turn 3 kill already so. He almost gets me dead but not quite before I go off easily.
Game 3 He opens with 2 Leyline Of Sanctitys, Gaddock Teeg AND Rest In Peace. I manage to kill the Teeg with Abrade and do have Baral. But I just pricked, drawing all the Barals and Rituals and his slow clock eventually gets me dead. I feel disappointment and anger, but I’ll shake his hand, wish him good luck, he says sorry for having to eliminate me.
I remember just sitting at the table and all my buddies trying to cheer me up. But all I can honestly think was just tilt and frustration. I walk to my hotel and go to sleep. There is really nothing to write from that night since my thoughts were just blurred and I was trying to get myself back together.
We wake up like normal and after morning routines head to the site to chill and burn time before we head back home. I actually played 1 Modern Double Up event, did 2-1, beating BUG Infect and Burn (Swan Song was MVP). Then lost to UW control in finals. Got tons of prize tix and opened some Dominaria to cheer me up.
Later at the night we headed to the airport. Now SAS is a company you don’t want to fly with, our flight was late over 1 hour and we had a stop in Turku?? Like in case some don’t know, Turku is further than Helsinki. So we fly there, and then there’s some stupid issues with the plane so we get to wait even more. Well played SAS.
Now after hours and hours we finally get to Helsinki, the clock was so late that the trains don’t even go anymore, so we wait for a bus to get downtown. At this point my buddies go to their own ways. Thanks for awesome company guys! But wait..more troubles incoming!
At the train station it’s roughly 3 o’clock at night. And then I realize that no trains are going in over 2 hours so I gotta pay the overpriced taxi. Eventually I make it home, throw my stuff somewhere and just dragged myself to bed for deserved rest.
Well this GP was different from others that’s for sure. It definitely was a heartbreak to start so strong and then the carpet was just yanked from me. But it’s Magic, after few days I realized that hey, next time I’ll be more firm with the judge calls and also make sure to do everything I can to improve my aspects also. So all good and I’ll be sure to go again!
Now regarding my decklist, it felt amazing. I got to utilize all my cards one way or the other. So I’ll keep running the same 75 for sure!
Until next time Stormers!