By: Andy Baquero
On November 16th, the Sisters of the Flame organized another tournament in Northern New Jersey. Bloomfield was our meeting ground, just 25 minutes from NYC. Twenty-two mages came out to sling their spells for a good cause. In organizing the tournament, we wanted to spice it up a little and decided to include Homelands in the card pool. Although not historically the most powerful set, it does bring some interesting cards and tribes into the mix. Merchant scroll was obviously restricted but all else was fair game. We forced people to play 3 cards in their main deck and 5 cards in their total 75. My hope was not to force but rather to nudge people to come out of their safety zones, explore new interactions and brew some new decks.
Our charity for the event was Long island Crisis Center. They provide 24/7, free, high quality, confidential and non-judgmental programs and services to support and empower people at critical times in their lives. They are a not-for-profit agency, established in 1971, that has been helping victims of depression and their families through difficult times. Ultimately, we raised $300 dollars for their cause!
The venue was a local bar called Brookdale Tavern and Kitchen, located in Bloomfield, New Jersey. They have regularly hosted our casual games but this was our first tournament. The staff was incredibly helpful and accommodating.
This was my first experience organizing a tournament and, though it required a lot of work, I was so happy to see everyone having a good time. With many old faces, and some new, I am grateful for the Twenty-two people who were able to make it out to play. I also learned that this event was the first old school tournament for one couple who, by random chance, lived just down the road! While speaking to them I was amazed that they even heard about the event, but thanks to social media they were able to register and made it out. As incredible as it may sound, I realize that there are people out there that love to play the game and have yet to hear about old school and the wonderful community it has fostered over the past few years. I look forward to growing this community even more, and now have more local players to play my off-the-wall decks against!
The prize pool was great. Everyone brought a nice mix of cards to sign and draft. As additional prize support, I made “survival packs”. These packs were to be given to the five most powerful mages on the day. Each pack was labeled with a color and filled with mystery spells that would help them on their future adventures. The first-place player would go first and pick a survival pack in addition to choosing a card from the card pool. This process would continue with the second through fifth place finishers. After that the remaining community cards would be chosen.
It was fun to see many players trying new things with the new Homelands cards. Below are pictures of all the decks and who piloted them. There were definitely some spicy brews in the mix, but local Sister of the Flame, Sammy Haghour, kept the title of Most Creative in Jersey with his take on Minotaur Tribal.
Matt Marmorato — 1st Place
Jeff Folinus — 2nd Place
Ben Katz — 3rd Place
Ian Roncoroni — 4th Place
Matthew Gazda — 5th Place
Sammy Haghour (MOST CREATIVE)
After five rounds of play, prizes were distributed and Matt Marmorato was the only undefeated mage left claiming the Fall Ball Championship title.
I was sad to see the tournament come to an end but fortunately Sister Philip brought his cube so we could keep the party train rolling into the night. I drafted a mono black weenie deck that was solid but it would seem that Matt would continue his dominance into the draft and remain undefeated there as well on the back of a nasty Blue Red deck. His Alpha Orcish Artillery ran over my weenies in the finals with ease.
It would appear that everyone had a great time. I’m looking forward to our next event at Magicfest NJ. Hopefully, I will see even more new faces. Until next time guys… THANK YOU ALL!