The Return of Big Events



On June 3, my friends and I returned to play paper Magic in a big three day event, and it was glorious!

The event was the 4 Seasons Tournament in Bologna. I convinced my friend Javier Dominguez and our mutual friend Marco to come over from Spain and Sweden since we haven’t seen each other since pre-Covid and they agreed! I was very excited!

On top of that, I organized with four other friends from my area to travel together and stay together at a nice hotel near the location.

I was excited to return to the hotel-play Magic-eat at restaurant life, aka the GP life!

Friday

The trip started Friday morning. I skipped my weekly stream because I had bigger plans that day: Team Trios in Bologna with Javier and Marcos!

The event was Team Unified Modern, Legacy and Vintage, and I was the Modern seat. My deck of choice was Four-Color Vivien Combo, a deck that Javier and I developed together and we would be playing the following day in the Modern Main event.

Marcos was playing Cephalid Breakfast, a combo deck that he and Javier would play on Sunday and Javier was playing his take on Temur in Vintage, with four Collector Ouphe and two Energy Flux in the main deck!

Deck

2 Arid Mesa
4 Arbor Elf
1 Breeding Pool
3 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker
3 Felidar Guardian
2 Flooded Strand
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Jetmir's Garden
2 Karmic Guide
1 Snow-Covered Island
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Oath of Nissa
4 Omnath, Locus of Creation
3 Planebound Accomplice
4 Prismatic Ending
4 Renegade Rallier
1 Sacred Foundry
2 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Snow-Covered Plains
4 Solitude
1 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
4 Teferi, Time Raveler
1 Temple Garden
4 Utopia Sprawl
4 Vivien on the Hunt
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Wrenn and Six

Sideboard

1 Chandra, Awakened Inferno
4 Endurance
4 Flusterstorm
2 Force of Vigor
2 Knight of Autumn
1 Veil of Summer
1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

We had 57 teams - that meant 171 people playing Magic on a Friday morning! Paper Magic is back!

The event started great. We had a nice 3-0 start and I was cruising with my deck, winning every round, even getting through a game loss for deck registration error (I changed a land in my mana base before the beginning of the event but forgot to update it on the list that I had printed the day before).

We then picked up a tough loss the next round to the Spanish Team of Rodrigo Togores and two other great players. My game was crucially important since Javier had won and Marcos lost. It was up to me to carry the team.

It was Game 3 when I was firmly ahead with Omnath, Locus of Creation in play and Solitude and Yorion, Sky Nomad in hand. I felt invincible. On my turn I decide not to combo off with Vivien on the Hunt and respect my opponent’s one card in hand to be Spell Pierce, so I pass the turn, sure to win the game the following turn.

My opponent’s top deck said otherwise as he played a Hushbringer out of the sideboard of his Hammer Time deck. Hushbringer not only shuts off my Felidar Guardian and my combo, it also can’t be killed by Solitude.

I thought I still had the board state and would have won in the fair way, except my opponent followed the Hushbringer up with a Colossus Hammer that, together with Sigarda’s Aid, meant that I was staring at a 11/12 flying lifelink creature that also shut off my deck.

I lost the game, the match and my team lost the round. We were at 3-1.

I felt responsible for that loss but Magic has taught me to not take losses too hard, especially when there’s still a chance to redeem and Top 8!

We won the next round and were able to draw into Top 8 at 4-1-1!

In Top 8, we got paired against a team from Turin. We were on the draw and that really messed up my Game 1, since I had a turn four kill with Planebound Accomplice and Vivien on the Hunt, but my opponent on Hardened Scales killed me first on his turn four with a lethal Walking Ballista powered by Arcbound Ravager and Hardened Scales.

In the meanwhile, Javier also had lost and that meant that the tournament was over for us. Still, it was a great start to a journey that ended up with a nice dinner at the 4 Seasons location with ravioli burro e salvia, costarelle con patate arrosto e tiramisù! Needless to say that my Spanish friends loved it. Who doesn’t love Italian cuisine!?

Saturday

On Saturday, the main event was Modern, and it also happened to be a huge event with 285 players! That meant nine rounds of Swiss on a hot day in a crowded place!

I was once again rocking my Vivien Combo, especially confident after my strong finish the day before.

I started strong with a 3-0, meeting nice opponents and having some good games on a crowded and hot day of the Italian summer.

Then in Round 4, I made a classic mistake that will haunt your dreams for days and weeks.

I was up against a Restore Balance, Greater Gargadon, Crashing Footfalls and As Foretold deck, one of those decks that you play against once every two years. You don’t know what cards might be in your opponent deck.

It was Game 3 and I was firmly ahead, with Wrenn and Six and Teferi, Time Raveler out as well as the combo lined out to kill my opponent the following turn. I was at seven life and decided to fetch down to six to return the fetchland to my hand with Wrenn and Six. I did that for no reason; my hand already had enough land drops. I didn’t need to do that.

My opponent, who never cast a single Lightning Bolt the whole match, proceeded to draw for turn and point two Lightning Bolts at my face that won him the match.

I felt pretty bad at that moment. I don’t mind losing matches of Magic at tournaments, but when I’m so firmly ahead, I shouldn’t be giving my opponent any window to get me. I left that window open and my opponent snuck in - good for him!

I got back on track at 5-1, but then took a lethal loss against a Yorion, Sky Nomad, Bring to Light and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle deck. Once again I lost a game that I had the tools to win, and I want to share how.

It was Game 1 when I went to cast Planebound Accomplice into Vivien on the Hunt. I also had Renegade Rallier in play so when I did Vivien’s +2, I was safely going to get a Felidar Guardian. My opponent, who was fully tapped out, started asking questions about how Vivien works, and my experience made me think he had Solitude in hand. So instead of going straight for the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker kill with Felidar Guardian, I took a safer route and got Solitude to kill his Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and passed the turn, looking to naturally grind them down with my planeswalker.

My opponent took his turn and played an Omnath, Locus of Creation that I once again exiled by tutoring up another Solitude with Vivien on the Hunt. But my opponent wasn’t as graceful as me and went for a second copy Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and a couple of fetchlands that, with the Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle in play, meant he was able to destroy my planeswalker and all my creatures.

I ended up losing the game and my opponent confessed to me that he had Solitude on turn four when I was going to combo. It was a good read by me, but the only white card he had was Omnath, Locus of Creation, so when he cast it the following turn, he wasn’t able to stop my combo anymore!

I ended the event at 7-2, not good for anything since I finished 20th and only the Top 16 was receiving prizes. I was nonetheless happy to have put up another solid performance, losing only a few games that were all in my hands to win.

I was satisfied with my deck and eager to make it better and better in the next few weeks.

The night once again finished with a fantastic meal at an Italian restaurant, Il Mulino Bruciato.

We got there pretty late and we ordered a fantastic type of pasta called balanzoni, a typical raviolo from Bologna stuffed with mortadella and with a sauce of mascarpone and sausage - delightful!

Everyone loved it! Can’t wait to go back there!

Sunday

On Sunday, the main event was Legacy, and that’s the most hyped up event at the 4 Seasons.

393 people showed up on Sunday morning, an unbelievable number of people that signified to me that people were craving Magic tournaments, especially with eternal formats!

It was once again nine rounds and it was once again a super hot and very long day!

My weapon of choice was Mono-Blue Artifacts! I had played the deck a couple of times on stream and a friend of mine was very excited about it.

I personally didn’t have high hopes on the deck. I chose to play mostly because I wanted to use my Mox Opal and Lotus Petal Masterpieces that I haven’t been able to use for years..

I love buying cards and I love playing with premium versions of them. I could have obviously sleeved up an Izzet Delver deck, showing off my foil Mercadian Masques Brainstorm and FBB Volcanic Islands, but I wanted to play something new, something sweet… Kappa Cannoneer will do it!

Deck

1 Aether Spellbomb
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
4 Force of Will
2 Island
3 Kappa Cannoneer
4 Lotus Petal
4 Mishra's Bauble
4 Mox Opal
2 Otawara, Soaring City
4 Sai, Master Thopterist
4 Seat of the Synod
1 Shadowspear
3 Thought Monitor
4 Thoughtcast
4 Urza's Bauble
4 Urza's Saga
2 Brazen Borrower
3 Dismember
1 Faerie Macabre
2 Flusterstorm
4 Force of Negation
1 Pithing Needle
2 Tormod's Crypt

The deck was fire. I didn’t lose a match the whole day and barely lost two games! Unbelievable!

I found myself at 7-0, able to draw twice into the Top 8 alongside my friend Javier Dominguez. I then won the Quarterfinals vs Thomas Mar on stream before we split the Top 4.

I defeated multiple UR Delver and multiple Ad Nauseam Tendrils decks. While the ANT matchup felt like a breeze and a walk in the park, the matchup against UR Delver was much harder and I was lucky enough to dodge Meltdown in every single of my sideboard games.

In most of my games versus Delver, I ended up at one or two life, one Ancient Tomb activation away from death! Scary!

Overall, a fantastic weekend ended, a weekend where I met a ton of Magic fans, shook a lot of hands, took a lot of selfies and also won a lot of matches of Magic! I went 19-4 across three days - what an unbelievable score!

This time, no dinner with friends. When the tournament was over on Sunday, I said goodbye to Javier and Marco and walked to Emanuele’s car. My Italian friends and I drove back home, ready to start a new work day on Monday, knowing that the first of the many big events passed and that big Magic tournament was back after COVID cooled them down for two years.

Autor: Andrea Mengucci

Magic the Gathering, Member of Team CFB UltimateGuard

Andrea first learned Magic as a kid back in 2004 at probably one of the most peculiar places to find Magic: the beach. In his expansive Magic career, Andrea’s proudest moment in Magic was winning the 2015 Magic World Cup, representing his beloved homeland of Italy and marks, in his words, his first big achievement in Magic. Learn more about Andrea.