The Map Room is hallowed ground for Lords; a meeting place for crew members, a place to bring the out-of-towners on Sunday mornings for casual games over a Bloody Mary or perhaps a damn fine cup of coffee, black as midnight on a moonless night. Coming in right on the heels of our beloved Fall Brawl at DMen, the official return to in-person events amidst the ongoing pandemic, Map Room would play host to 10 Lords and associates for a format so wretched that only our very own Lord Sanders could have created it.
What is Eternal Chaos?
Eternal Chaos is the brainchild of our South Side ambassador, likely originating somewhere deep within his noggin between his encyclopedic horror movie knowledge and gnarly Old School tech. Deck construction derives from traditional 93/94 Old School, but with the added twist of Booster Tutor, a joke card originally from Unhinged now-turned format centerpiece. With no sideboards allowed, players are tasked with opening booster packs (any unopened pack of Magic cards that has the word “booster” on it) to make adjustments to their deck, either between games or during games with the aid of Tutor. Each match resets the booster stockpile, providing an element of unpredictability into each game and washing away major bombs like Karn, the Great Creator or classic tech like Gorilla Shaman finding its way into a modern frame. Through five rounds of almost-Swiss (but really just find a dude with a similar enough record), players battled it out with booster packs at the ready for some exciting and unpredictable Magic.
As is Lords tradition, December marked the culmination of our toy drive, this year appropriately going to South Side organization Kids Korna, an incredible group working with at-risk youth to find success on their path to adulthood in their communities, with goals of expanding their outreach to further their after school programs, violence prevention, and job training.
Berserks & Blue Cards
Deck construction amongst the 10 players seemed to predominantly pull in two different directions. Classic deck archetypes with reliable creature packages like Geddon and Berserk found their way to the tables and merely used Booster Tutor as a way of supplementing the original game plan. Format patriarch Sanders pulled an impressive 3-0-Drop with his aggressive BG “Juice Special,” featuring a full playset of Berserks and a Concordant Crossroads to really drive his matches (and himself) home early. I had the pleasure of battling against Lord Piquard’s BoosterGeddon in Round 3, where Ernies swarmed the board on both sides. While a timely Boomerang bought me an early game, our match was ultimately decided by a slew of Lightning Bolts to my dome. Dan, gentlemanly as he is, is still a ruthless red mage at heart.
Format newcomer and bonafide The Rack aficionado Ben Jones came to his first Lords event armed with his iteration of Mono Black, perfectly lending itself to the Booster Tutors slotted in at the start of the day. I matched up with Ben in Round 2, where he wasted no time in showing me that he came prepared to completely obliterate my hand with Hippies and Hymns, and took me down handily in our first game. In the end, a Berserking Serendib with the help of a Strixhaven Bird Cleric helped me bounce back to take the match.
When Tormod’s Crypt is safely stowed away in binders, Lord Moss brings out his Bazaars, and his impressive 4-1 Reanimator run proved to be an excellent return to form. Having your choice of virtually any nasty creature you could want when you’re just going to bring it back from the graveyard seems tempting enough on its own, but Moss’ most putrid play of the day saw him using Karn, the Great Creator to Wish for cards from “outside the game” via his Middle School MUD deck and taking down his opponent (Lord Tim Baran) with a reanimated Phyrexian Colossus and Voltaic Key combo.
On the other side of the table were control, value, and “good stuff” decks, lined with a handful of restricted blue cards to find and protect the cards pulled from Tutoring. Fellwar Stones and Cities of Brass were in nearly every deck, providing near perfect manabases for the sick pulls hidden away in boosters. In an effort to take my lumps early, I found my way over to Lord Ellemen’s table in Round 1. A few weeks prior, Lorien had graciously donated me a set of Booster Tutors to test Eternal Chaos in this very same bar. As a thank you to him, I Tutored out Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner and took seven turns with a Time Vault in our first game. Naturally, upon our rematch, I was met with a turn one Mind Twist for my entire hand. In classic Lorien fashion, I died at the hands of Angels including a double-striking, life-linking, modern-bordered menace.
Sitting between the two camps were Lords Baran and Walker, playing the long-game with some high-costed big creatures, plenty of restricted cards, and a miser’s Fork in each stew. Based on my matches with the two of them, I felt like our collective goal was to cast as many Booster Tutors as possible, Recalling, Regrowthing, and Timetwistering them back several times throughout our matches. Michael seemed to embrace his Tutored cards the most of all of my opponents, first by picking from a 35-card theme booster, and then subsequently beating me down with token-generating dragons and stealing my booster bombs with a timely Control Magic. While Tim’s choices were slightly more tame across our games, eventually leading to some decisive Orb flips, I have to pay respects to any man who not only casts Avoid Fate successfully in a game but then Regrowths it to continue to protect his threats.
While my day ended at 2-3, Eternal Chaos proved to be an incredibly entertaining format that brought back the joy of cracking packs with friends in a way I had not been able to experience in many years. The sterility of sitting and opening an entire booster box in search of value washed away as I shared laughs with great friends, built a massive stockpile of a Tutoring stack each match, gorged on banana pepper and mushroom pizza between rounds, and watched as new-age powerhouse cards combined and clashed with the format I have found a home in these past several years.