Amsterdam met bloed, zweet, en tranen

The year has been kind of slow tournament-wise. Only Arvika and n00bfest but now I go into the period where I'm going to Lobstercon and the second inaugural the open in the upcoming month. But first the story about wonderful days in Amsterdam.

Raging Bull and Amsterdam has been on my bucket list for a long time, ever since I first learned to know Nick in Arvika a couple of years ago, I wanted to visit Amsterdam and other places in the Netherlands, sadly it's only been one visit so far. Richard have been arguing on the Internet for a couple of years now about Juzam Djinn, I spent this Easter at the same hotel as the Dutch guys and pretty much hung out 24/7 with them. I even earned around 70% Dutch status from Mayor Demmer this Easter and now it's time to try to go the distance!

The only thing that has bugged me with Amsterdam is the price going there. Travelling to Amsterdam Friday-Sunday and staying at a single hotel room in May is not cheap. But what makes up for it is great company, cold beer, sun and of course some Magic. I saved some money by flying at 14.10 on Friday from Gothenburg as the tournament started 19.30. As usual no one else from Gothenburg travelled with me :)

Airport beer. No comments.

I arrived in Amsterdam little over an hour late, but as the Netherlands has a working public transportation system it was no problem to get from Schiphol to my hotel. The hotel (MEININGER Hotel Amsterdam City West) was also a youth hostel sporting pool tables, air hockey, pinball machines and a communal kitchen which brought back some memories from earlier trips made. The room had the size of a shoebox, but private bathroom, working AC and a decent bed is all that I ask for. Took a quick shower, bought some snacks for the room, and got on a tram that took around ten minutes and stopped like 2 minutes walk from 2 Klaveren. Cheap and easy public transportation is so nice when you feel like you are in a hurry. 2 Klaveren is a gaming café with board games and it's the same as it was in the nineties when it apparently was an OG Magic place in Amsterdam.

Shoebox room, 195 euro per night

Arriving at the site which already had a lot of people there, bro hugs and beers were offered in an instant. I was lucky to get asked by Jordan to play in my team for the 2HG Brothers Highlander unified event. I think of the participants (14 teams) Jordan has by far played most of the format and I think I easily clocked in at second place playtime-wise. I had built a WB controllish deck for Easter, and I wanted to play this at the event. Jordan said he could play any two colors but G, UR is of course a strong combination.

My part of the Dr Boyle/Åland crew

The main idea of our decks was that I played all the removal, fliers, and utility creatures you could in BW. Jordan played most mana sinks (like Jayemdae Tome, Aladdin's Ring), all counterspells and all burn. My deck got cards like Chaos Orb and Rocket Launcher because of Argivian Archaeologist and Guardian Beast. I also had the Candelabra to capitalize on Jordans burn and mana sinks. We also agreed that you play over 40 mana-producing lands and at max two colors.

Raccoon looking for trash

I usually don't feel confident going into a tournament (after n00bcon 2013) but this was a time I felt very confident. Solid decks, good deck building strategy and not being too greedy. Our wins came from playing end of turn Inferno into Earthquake for 6 (2hg so both spells deal 12 damage each), forking our opponents Hurricane for 4 to deal lethal damage and untapping Jordans Mountains with Candelabra to pump Shivan for lethal damage. The tournament had no top 4 or anything and we were the only undefeated team at 4-0. The prize was a Channel and a Fireball, one card for each head. Also got an invite to n00bfest!

Happy winners (photo by Richard)

I guess we were around 50 people at 2 Klaveren with only 28 people playing in the tournament. Well, Magic is the worst part of Magic trips anyway. After the tournament there were some celebratory Tequila drinks and party until the place closed around 1AM. I stayed outside talking with Reindeer for a while waiting for an Uber and a bridge opening (who the hell sails sailboats at 1AM in the middle of Amsterdam?!). After getting a ride back home and the taxi driver dropping me off at some random place, I found my way back to my hotel. Packed up my stuff and got some good five and a half hours sleep.

Winner cards for 2HG

On Saturday I started by drinking a Heineken (got to get above 70% Dutch, right?) and going to the site. When I arrived only three players were at 2 Klaveren. I enjoyed some beer and cigarettes in the sun (normal cigarettes, being allowed to drink and smoke at the same time outside a bar is not a thing in Sweden anymore). People started to show up and the bro-hugging commenced. Lorenzo came from Belgium without a guaranteed spot in the tournament. Having failed to find some good salt licorice for him I was lucky to find a 500-gram bag Panda Salt Licorice at Gothenburg airport. Always look out for your salty licorice bros!

Triple S

For the main event I was considering playing Twiddle Vault. I played Twiddle Vault in two online tournaments and went with a 4-4 record. I lost twice to Martin Purrios monoblack deck with him doing around two damage with Underworld Dreams and killing me with Nettling Imps over the course of two matches. I didn't feel confident bringing it to Raging Bull. I have been playing too many bolts lately so I went back to Stebbo's good old "Triple S" deck. I like this midrange deck and it allows for a lot of fun games. I also got to play all four alters I got this Easter in the main deck. I think the deck is extremely solid and I only did some small tweaks to the sideboard (Holy Light).

Pre-tournemant announcements

As usual I'm not going to go into the details but this is my results, opponents and their decks for the day.

R1: 2-1 vs Gideon Evers (5c midrange)
R2: 2-0 vs Robbie van Bakel (Ehrnamgeddon)
R3: 1-2 vs Antti Turtiainen (DFB Green)
R4: 2-1 vs Resti Gonzales (Lauterish with Black Vise after board)
R5: 2-0 vs Juan López (RW Aggro)
R6: 0-2 vs Koen Haak (Juzam Midrange)

Round 1 basement

Outside hangs between rounds (photo by Evert)

So another x-2 again (like in Groningen 2022, n00bcon 2022, Winc0n 2022, Arvika 2023 and n00bfest 2023). Well, I'm fairly consistent going top 16 in these big events. I'm not sad losing against Koen but being a bit salty keeping 3 lands in both games, not drawing any more lands and him Sinkholing me twice in both games. But you know what they say? Sucks to suck! I didn't watch any games in the top 8 but sadly both good friends Jordan and Landgraf lost their quarter finals.

Last round tables 1-3

So now we are back to the 70% being Dutch. I obviously don't speak the language but there was a mission for me this event. I had been given a playlist to practice on before the event (Richard telling me this was really serious). I was of course nervous when they wanted me to join them in the basement. But with the support of Mayor Demmer, what could go wrong? Richard opened a package and told me I could not touch it. Then I had to stand in a ring, answer some questions and sing those amazing songs with Richard, Henk, Demmer, Wilfred, Chefke and Wander while Dy took out his camera. I somehow managed to pass the tests and got my flag! #oneofus

Dutch inauguration (photo by Henk)

After that some celebratory beer, 2 klaveren closed and went across the street to some bar. I stayed there for a couple of hours, chatting with the Norwegians and others. Having been up and about from 8am until 1am I just went home to my hotel and got a good night's sleep and had an enormous breakfast Sunday morning. 

Beer on the roof of Nemo science museum

My plans for the Sunday were open, tickets were sold out to the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. I got some advice from a good Discord friend of going to Nemo science museum. I took a train to the centraal and went for an hour walk around the water walking to Nemo, also they had a rooftop restaurant where I could get some beer. I think Nemo is mostly aimed for kids, but I had an amazing time learning about building, the human body, DNA and weird animals.

Some interesting stuff at Nemo

Never been in Amsterdam I went for a long walk around the city while waiting to meet up Will and Landgraf. I had to walk through De Wallen (mostly known as Red Light District). I'm not usually prude but this place is one of the weirdest places I've seen in my whole life. Basically, walking around in alleys next to families with children while women standing in windows with the minimal amount of items that could be considered clothing trying to wave people in. And added to that the amount of sex shops, coffee shops and bars makes this the most decadent place I've ever seen. I didn't spend a single euro on any goods and services in this area.

Excellent Indian food

After walking for a couple of hours more I just went to a bar waiting for Will and Landgraf. We found an excellent Nepalese restaurant where I had some of the best Indian food ever. Also, nice to catch up some more with friends in a calmer and smaller setting. If you ever are in the area of Rijksmuseum and want food, go to Sherpa restaurant. Some more walking and waved of Will at the Centraal. Two hours at Schiphol hunting stroopwafel and talking OS and music with Landgraf. At least there was no delay for me on the way home, but I still got home around 1AM and had a meeting at the office 9AM.

Dinner and walking company (photo by Landgraf)

Wonderful days were had in Amsterdam, and I like these 48 hours trips where you get to meet so many wonderful people, do so much and basically don't waste any time at all. Even the Magic was good! I got so much swag this time, seven patches for my second kutte is a new record. And added to that stickers, key chains, trike arms, coasters, and the Dutch flag. We are indeed blessed having this community of friends from all over the world. Can't wait for Lobstercon and hope to see a lot of you good people there!

Seven patches!? new record

Some other swag I got, my first trike arms from sexy beast Purrio!

Winner card from Friday and my own "participation" card

My new bedroom window