A miserable drizzle greeted the Lords of the Pit as we made our way to DMen’s Krampus-themed back room for our third annual “Chaos” event to close out 2023. While the year was a tad quiet for the club in terms of the absolute number of meetups held, the fact that we had 14 ballers engaged for this, our most degenerate subvariant “format,” shows that good (bad?) ideas never die.
For Holly Jolly K-OS, the Lords collected donations in care of The Ark Initiative, a street-level meal program operating one Saturday per month at the Wilson Red Line. The Lords generously raised $469 for Ark, which will translate into nearly 220 meals served.
The 2021 Chaos event featured Booster Tutor alone. For 2022 we added both Opening Ceremony and Summon the Pack (only later coming to grips with the latter’s unbridled brokenness, discussed below). For our latest, 2023 edition of Chaos we 1UP’d the “crackin’ boosties” cards with the addition of the venerable Contract From Below, a club favorite for many years now. Contract would be played via “pack ante” rules.
In keeping with the tradition established at Chaos’22, the “winner” of our meetup was determined by qty. of packs cracked. Last year it was Lord David Velasco, who cracked 16 packs over the afternoon. Fueled by an increased understanding of Opening Ceremony and Summon the Pack, Lord Brandon Adams cruised past the previous record enroute to a staggering 26 packs opened in four rounds of play! Adams’ 4C pile centered around big mana ramp (Dark Rit & Mana Vault) plus Fastbond to speed into OC and StP and tear through packs at a frightening pace. Not only was Adams’ strategy effective for conspicuous consumption, it was the field’s sole 4-0 list. Resplendent in his Chaos Orb-themed sweater, Brandon took home the top prize, a glorious LOTP-themed Opening Ceremony alter (arranged by Lord Scat-Man). Excelsior!
Chaos’23 was the swan song for Summon the Pack as unrestricted. At future meetups, the Lords will play this utterly broken card as a one-of. Why? It’s essentially an eight mana “win the game” card: once a player can resolve it, he almost always puts lethal power on the board. Consider also the combination of StP with certain specialty themed or commander-specific boosters where the power level of the creatures hitting the tabletop is uncanny for us old school mages. Not only that, but the relative value of numerous ETB triggers pays off even if an opponent manages a Balance or Wrath. With StP unrestricted, most games are a race to cast it, and most games have the same ending. A restricted StP will still allow for some occasional fun hi-variance brokenness without being quite as format-warping.
Meanwhile, Opening Ceremony feels safe as a four-of in Chaos. While certainly powerful, it’s far from being the game-ending elbow drop that StP is. OC is also a fun “mini puzzle” within the game as its caster considers how best to make use of the mana and the cards within the cracked pack. It’s not exactly the swiftest card to play, but then we also went with more or less untimed rounds and just played one less round to allow more time for the drawn-out games. Lastly, Contract From Below was a fine addition for those looking for even more gambling degeneracy. Not every attendee had it this day, but a proposal for 2024 would offer an award to whomever nets the most anted packs won.
In other nuttiness news, Lord Brandon Sanders’ epic pull of a #236/500 Mox Amber Schematic from a pack of The Brothers War smashed a club record for most valuable card cracked. Lord Sanders intends to harvest the Mox for EV on eBay.
Following the cellophane-wrapped afternoon, a handful of Lords decamped to the nearby Bucket of Blood to browse LPs and sci-fi/fantasy paperbacks. From there we wandered our separate ways into the rainy Saturday…
Happy Holidays from the Lords of the Pit!