We decamped to rural Illinois, to a building reminiscent of the Great Northern from Twin Peaks. We're in paradise. There’s been a day of carousing, singing, reconnecting. Hugs, handshakes, karaoke. Now it is tournament day. The Lords of the Pit are wearing their cuts, backpatches menacing, the originators of a now worldwide trend. The out-of-towners played side games to stay sharp.
It's the finals of first Middle School Lords League. Greg Kotscharjan and Lorien Elleman made it through all three trimesters to the top four, and here there are squaring off for all the glory. Greg just lost game one of match one. (More on this "match one" business below...)
I proudly fly the Red/White banner as often as possible in 93/94, but often in the heavy guns department. Maindeck Blood Moon, Earthquake, Nevinyrral’s Disk. I like the answers broad and all encompassing. For this event, I shed the big answers in favor of an archetype I hadn’t explored much: full-fledged aggro.
I am somewhat jaded by big Old School events like Eternal Weekend. At a pub or a small tournament, I’m happy to run unpowered aggro against spicy Arboria builds. But when 200 people sign up to compete against each other, the guys at the top are always going to be, as Lord Moss would say, cutthroat sweathog grinders. And because I enjoy winning, I’m going to be on a try-hard list, wallowing around in the shit, sweating with all those hogs.
June 1995. Ice Age is released, about seven months after the disappointing Fallen Empires. Today that gap doesn't seem so long -- the next year's wait for Alliances would be even longer. But for a youngster who'd first picked up the cards in the summer of 1994, those seven months of waiting represented more than half the time I'd played MTG. Today I'm glad for the delay, which kept me buying Revised packs long enough to complete my set of duals. Still, Ice Age is a set for which I have a history of waiting.
The following is a report replete with unimportant ramblings, minutia over the last three cards in the 76, stories of punts, and of course moments of immense skill (read: luck). More than anything, it is the reminiscing of Gathering with good friends over a shared niche hobby. Indeed, it is the Gathering that the Lords of the Pit provide over all else that makes this thing special.
In my preteen to middle teenage years I lived for Gaming Saturdays. The inconvenience of weekdays with their homework deadlines, nagging teachers and social minefields melted away Friday nights before the anticipation of a Saturday. This was the mid-1990s...
It’s summer in Chicago. With temps finding the mid-80s, the Lords of the Pit assembled on a sunny afternoon on the first of June to celebrate Old School MTG jank in this, the first iteration of Solocon, a Singleton-themed event. I hopped off the 77 bus and walked down Rockwell past a complex of semi-ruinous warehouses nestled alongside the Chicago River. Our battleground was at Metropolitan Brewing’s taproom, a lovely, hidden gem of a riverside space in this upcoming part of Avondale. Several kayakers paddled past and I hoped for their sake that their shots were up-to-date as Chicago’s arterial waterway is famously toxic. We Gathered our full complement of ballers, 21 on this day, and fired at half past noon.
The Knights TAPlar of Jackson, MI recently held Kumite! II, their second annual Old School MTG event, on April 13, 2019. One of the event organizers, Paul Fiero, provided a report as well as retrospective on fostering MTG community. Many Lords of the Pit traveled to battle at Kumite! II and we are happy to share his thoughts...