Arvika Festival VIII

November-February is some of the slowest months in old school. Events are few and it's basically three months without any live tournaments. The start of the old school year has been the Arvika Festival for many years and the crew have been putting up some solid events. That I was very excited for this event is an understatement.

The shark swam back to Arvika

I visited Arvika for the first time the autumn of the 2018 and I managed to win that one and got a shark that time, I haven't missed a tournament in Arvika since then. I have started to love the Arvika community; the small city is very similar to Mariehamn on Åland where I grew up. I guess this city has the highest concentration of old school players per capita in the World. Traditionally all tournaments have been arranged in a small place outside of the city but this time they settled for the Scandic conference area. This time the start time was also settled for noon instead of 5 PM, which is great as the tournaments tend to drag out. Around 125 players were preregistered which is bigger than all earlier Arvika tournaments (the festival is usually 50-60 people, and the old Scandinavian championship was around 80 people).

The cards for vigo, a good friend of mine

I had committed to help a friend of mine with a deck, so we had to settle for decks that worked with my card pool. I have extras of a lot of cards (like Mind Twist, Wheel of Fortune, Demonic Tutor, City of Brass, Library of Alexandria, Chaos Orb etc). My friend has power but no Timetwister so this time the Timetwister, Volcanic Islands, Serendib Efreets and Savannah Lions were the scarce cards. We settled on vigo playing UR Counterburn in the style of Svante from last n00bcon.

Solid lunch

I travelled alone from Gothenburg early Friday morning as I wanted to meet up with some people on Friday afternoon. Had a 90-minute wait for train in Kil so I decided to try out the food. Found myself a solid lunch schnitzel and with no breakfast that felt good. Arrived in Arvika on time and got checked in at my hotel. As usual I choose Clarion even though the tournament was at Scandic. Clarion has a dinner buffet included in the fee for the room. I watched Pefken and BJeagle play some premodern games. 

Hotel room view

There was nothing specifically planned for Friday evening, so I joined the Brits and the American and some others when they went to O'Learys for their dinner. I was already stuffed from eating the buffet with Pefken but there is always room for a couple of beers. Some of the guys decided to play bowling for ante but I went back to Scandic to play some games of 7pt Singleton and meet up with old friends. I must say, the atmosphere in Scandic was AMAZING. People were playing vintage cube, some other cube, 7pt singleton, Ante40K, Swedish OS and Premodern. Everyone seemed to have a blast. Also, one of the most underrated things in tournaments; sound proofing. The tournament area had drapes all around it, a mat on the floor and some sound proofing in the roof. This is one of the worst things for me as the sound really makes me just want to drink more to avoid the terrible sound bouncing around. When the guy bought some soft drinks at 1AM mixing them with Kraken I decided to make an early exit to be fit for the long day ahead.

Terrible picture of some of the best people in the world

My deck for the main event was a slightly modified version of Stebbo's world championship winning deck. As I didn't have any Volcanic Islands available to me this was one of the few readily available options and I really love the deck. I played it twice before with a combined record of 11-2. The changes I made is adding a second Divine Offering main by cutting a Disenchant. In the sideboard I wanted a Wrath of God as a meta call against a lot of people playing Swedish reprint policy, the Spirit Link is also a card to buy time against creature decks and do a big life point swing against burn. I have no idea why I added a Flash Counter, I never brought it in. The real weakness of this deck is the mana base, often you want turn 1 Savannah Lions and having UU by turn 2, that isn't possible most of the time. Also, several times I ended up having two Plains as my only colored sources. But there isn't a deck without a weakness.

Triple S, SSS or stebbo.dec

As usual I'm not going into details about the games but I did fairly well, sadly losing the last two rounds to the eventual winner and the guy who borrowed most of the cards for his deck from me.

Round 1: 2-1 versus Erland Petersen (Mono Black)

Round 2: 2-1 versus Björn Jonnie Myrbacka (UWB Guardian Beast)

Round 3: 2-0 versus Trygve Orjansen (Ehrnam on Ice)

Round 4: 2-0 versus Steen (Skynet)

Round 5: 2-1 versus Luring (Big Blue)

Round 6: 0-2 versus Olle Råde (UR Counterburn)

Round 7: 0-2 versus vigo (UR Counterburn)

View of the second room, sadly did not take a picture of the "spike room"

Mid-tournament we had a dinner buffet, and this was amazing. The food was exactly what I wanted (potatoes, two types of meat and sauce). My stomach is used to a big breakfast and a big dinner and no other food during these long tournaments. The tournament dragged out a bit because after round 5 the tournament software crashed. This really didn't matter to me at all as I was going to stay there until we basically got thrown out anyway but to some it might have been annoying. Got in a couple of extra beers and hung out with some of my favourite people, a win in my book!

Drew Tucker and AS Alters doing some amazing art

I also have made the decision to alter some of my cards. I have been "against" alters in a way but no I just feel like personalizing my cards. As I'm going to do some of my favourite album arts as alters, I will just try to do restricted spells and not cards that are in play to avoid confusion. I already talked to Anders before and he liked my idea, so I gave him a Demonic Tutor, Mind Twist and Braingeyser. I want them altered as the following album covers (Bathory "Yellow Goat", Opeth Still Life and Porcupine Tree In Absentia). I still need to think about some ideas for Wheel of Fortune, Regrowth, Balance and Mana Drain.

The cards I'm getting altered

Drew Tucker was also just an amazing guy, had loads of laughs with him. The funniest one being him writing down Reindeers quote "The dildo of consequences never comes lubed".

Sometimes enough is enough and you need to rest

Felipe and Will in the semi final

Olle Råde won the event by going 10-0 with his UR Counterburn he has been endbossing people with longer than most people have been playing old school. Next time, the shark is yours Will. My good friend Erkka borrowed four Bayou from me and played his DFB Green deck to a 5-2 record and finishing best unpowered deck winning a Legends booster he opened on stream.

Will and Olle in the finals (picture by DFB)

I went to bed around 5 AM and woke up around 09.30 AM. I had gotten a message that my train was cancelled, and I didn't really know what to do. While I was eating breakfast Simon from Varberg showed up and I asked him if they had any room in a car. As 3-time shark winner Elof missed because of sickness Sehl had room in his car for me when Simon called him. There was only one problem and that was the handbrake had locked the left wheel of his car. They tried with hot water and a blow-dryer if it was broken but nothing worked. But the hotel manager came with a steel hammer and some piece of iron so Sehl could just pound the brakes until it got loose, I don't know anything about cars but something brute force is the way.

Sehl hammering the brakes

I got home around 2 PM and decided to take a couple of hours sleep. I then unpacked and took care of my phat loot from this tournament. I'm a big fan of having people sign a card for me when I go to tournaments, they serve as great memories from past events and are fun to play in your decks. I had six cards from my cube signed by Drew Tucker. Shane was kind to give me a Lords of the pit grocery bag, Erkka gave me two bottles of Jaloviina for me borrowing him Bayous (we drank one of them). Simon gave me some sick swag from the Falling Stars. Also got an Exodus booster from vigo which is the last for my booster collection (one of every draft booster from Fallen Empires until today).

I really got enough signatures on this one not getting it from everyone

Drew Tucker has some really amazing art outside of the obvious like Dandan and Bottle

Will put these to great use

I had very high expectations for this event, and everything considered the event even exceeded those high expectations. Although great the Arvika tournaments usually have three issues for me: late start, no big dinner and terrible sound proofing. This time the crew spearheaded by David Strandberg managed to fix all my "complaints". Also having a shark again makes the tournament more international. I really hope that Arvika continues to have a shark and we use the same setup and location next year as well. But hats off to the Arvika crew for running this amazing thing for us to experience.

It's only five weeks until n00bfest and I hope to meet you all there so welcome to Gothenburg everyone!