Hartfordfestivalen! Organizer’s Report

On April 6, 2019, New England Old School and Diamonds Mined co-hosted a multi-event Old School Magic “festival” in Greater Hartford, at Elks Lodge #1893 in Manchester, CT. Enthusiasts of antique cardboard traveled from eight states in the Northeastern U.S. to participate, along with mages hailing from Maryland, Ohio, Wyoming, and Serbia/parts unknown, who journeyed from even further afield.

48 players participated in the Old School 93/94 “main event,” which was abbreviated to four rounds of Swiss pairings to leave more room for activities. Decks were constructed using the Atlantic 93/94 B&R list. After these opening rounds, the action shifted to four different “breakout” side events, in which players could choose their own adventure: Old School Brawl, the Wizard’s Tournament format aka Alpha 40, Premodern, or an Old School draft featuring 4th Edition, Chronicles, and Fallen Empires.



This event was a Magic tournament named after a Magic tournament named after a music festival named after a small town in Sweden. “Hartfordfestivalen!” is a nod to the Arvika “Festival” Old School Magic tournament, held annually in Arvika, Sweden since 2015. That Old School gathering originally took its theme from Arvikafestivalen, a music festival that in its heyday brought the likes of Nine Inch Nails, New Order, The Cure, Motörhead, and Tool to a village of about 14,000 people in the Swedish countryside.

Our “mascot” card for the event was Deathgrip, with its shriveling heart in the clutches of a black mage, as a cheeky reference to an old nickname for Hartford, “the Heartbeat” of Connecticut. The artist behind Deathgrip, Anson Maddocks, was kind enough to produce a commissioned painting on the back of a Deathgrip artist proof; this re-imagining of Deathgrip was given out as a prize for the top combined finish through both the main and side events.


The “festival” format for the event was conceived as a celebration of various sub-formats that have been gaining traction among Old School playgroups in our neck of the woods. Even though Old School has a static pool of only 981 cards, the number of ways to play with these cards is practically limitless, and this past year especially has seen a proliferation of Old School Magic variants, not merely invented on paper but actually played and enjoyed in dining rooms and brew halls and game stores and Skype sessions alike. Our aim for this event was to have a platform to slightly “scale up” the experience of New England Old School’s smaller, more informal meet-ups in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, where players regularly bring their 93/94 decks but also bring Brawl or unsleeved ante or Ice Age 60 or Beasts Singleton or Premodern/Middle School or even just a small stack of their “Deckmaster cards” from August ’93. Our hope was that this tournament structure would also contribute to a more laid back feeling, with the shortened “main event” not even having a clear winner, discouraging spiking to some extent and providing seven-plus hours of “just playing some cards” with old friends, and hopefully some new friends, too.


This event was organized as a fundraiser for Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford. As the premier youth development organization in Hartford, BGC Hartford touches the lives of nearly one in every three children in Hartford Public Schools, serving more than 10,000 youth annually through programs focused on academic enrichment, character and leadership development, and healthy lifestyles.

All proceeds from Hartfordfestivalen! ticket sales after expenses were donated directly to BGC Hartford. We also conducted a raffle of unique Old School items which were donated by some of the players, including a Mox Jester playmat signed by Dan Frazier, 90s-era Duelist magazines, a Homelands comic book, a Collector’s Edition box, and a unique hand-painted border extension alter of Nicol Bolas, with 100% of the raffle ticket sales going directly to the charity as well.

All told, the players at Hartfordfestivalen! raised a total of more than $942 in support for Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford. The generosity and kindness shown by the Old School Magic community continues to impress and inspire, and we’re happy to continue in the tradition of charitable activity fostered by our fellow playgroups across the United States. On behalf of BGC Hartford and the youth and families they serve, and from all of us at New England Old School, thank you!


First! Underworld Dreaming to a Win in Hartford, blog by James Rosenblum

Tournament Report: Hartfordfestivalen 2019, blog by Andrew Oliva / Ready to Role

All Tings Considered, Episode 58, podcast interview



hartford main event standings.png

Alpha 40 Runner Up: Hart Prendergast — Many, Many Sinkholes

Alpha 40 Champion: Hunter Prendergast — The Vise

Premodern Runner Up: Jared Doucette — Goblins

Premodern Champion: John Grudzina — UW Landstill

Brawl Runner Up: James Rosenblum — Sol’Kanar

Brawl Champion: Michael Scheffenacker — Rubinia

Draft Runner Up: Brian Selden (3-0, pod winner, 6-2 in games)

Draft Winner: Ted Kwartler (3-0, pod winner, 6-1 in games)

Best Unpowered: Andrew Oliva — Erhnam Burn’Em


Keith Shaffer — “Howling Salve”

hm Keith Shaffer Howling Salve v2

Adam Merkado — “Ice Ice Maybe”

Merkado - _Ice, Ice, Maybe_

Scott Bradley — “Nether Void Something”

hm Scott Bradley Nether Void Something.jpeg

Levi Baumgardner — Tax + Tower + Djinns

hm Levi Baumgardner Djinn Tower.jpg

Matt Mucci — Diabolic Machine Tron

hm Matt Mucci Diabolical Tron.JPG

Andy Baquero — “Living Cyclone”

hm Andy Baquero Living Cyclone.jpeg

Shaun Augeri — Hell’s Caretaker Control (What is Dead May Never Die)

hm Shaun Augeri What is Dead.jpeg


(alphabetical order by first name)

Al Iemma – BW Dreams

hm al iemma bw dreams.jpg

Andrew Oliva — Erhnam Burn’Em

hm Andrew Oliva Erhnam BurnEm.jpg

Brett Attmore — Grixis Workshops

hm Brett Allan Grixis Workshops v2.jpeg

Brian Selden — BR Hymn Troll Disco

hm Brian Selden BlackRed_Troll.jpg

Chris Mason — Twiddlevault

hm Chris Mason Twiddlevault.jpeg

Chris McCubbin — “Sped Funhouse” aka Temple of Sped

hm Chris McCubbin Sped Funhouse aka Temple of Sped.jpg

Chuck Lignelli — “Nobody Wins”

hm Chuck Lignelli Nobody Wins.JPG

Dave Firth Bard — Zelyon Mono-Green Weenie

hm Dave Firth Bard Zelyon Mono-Green.jpg

David Baker — “5C Control” aka The Deck

hm David Baker 5C Control.jpg

Hart Prendergast — Jund Void Ponza

hm Hart Prendergast Jund Void Ponza.jpeg

Hunter Prendergast — UR Counterburn

hm Hunter Prendergast UR Counterburn.jpeg

James Lebak — URw Falcon Counterburn

hm James Lebak Falcon URw Counterburn.jpeg

James Rosenblum — Underworld Dreams Combo

hm James Rosenblum Underworld Dreams Combo.jpeg

Jared Doucette — “Fangel’s Omelette” aka Jund Reincarnation

hm Jared Doucette Fangels Omelette.jpeg

Jason Dorman — “Esper Gasoline” aka Deadguy Ale

hm Jason Dorman Esper Gasoline.jpg

Jason Morawski — Artifact Aggro

hm Jason Morawski Artifact Aggro.jpg

Jason Schwartz — “Bruise Bots” aka Ub Workshops

hm Jason Schwartz Bruise Bots.jpg

Jason Seaman — Grixis Disco

hm Jason Seaman MD.JPG

Jeff Grasso — “TrolLDiscard” aka BR Hymn Troll Disco

hm Jeff Grasso TrolLDiscard.jpeg

Jeff Johnson — Black Rack

hm Jeff Johnson Rack Discard.jpg

John Bocon — Underworld Dreams Combo

hm John Bocon Underworld Dreams Combo.jpg

John Grudzina — UW Workshops

hm John Grudzina UW Shops.jpg

Josh Langdon — Temple of Sped

hm Josh Langdon Temple of Sped.jpg

Justin Dale — White Weenie

hm Justin Dale White Weenie.jpg

Justin Iskra — “Temple of Doom” aka Esper Flyers

hm Justin Iskra Temple of Doom aka Esper Flyers.jpeg

Luke Zinnen — Twiddlevault

hm Luke Zinnen Twiddlevault.jpg

Manny Moutinho — Black Rack

hm Manny Moutinho Rack.JPG

Marc Flore — “Wild Angels” (Honorary Retroactive Spice Award)

hm Marc Flore Wild Angels.jpg


Matt Asente — Revised Mono-Black

hm Matt Asente Mono-Black.jpeg

Michael Scheffenacker — Temple of Sped

hm Michael Scheffenacker Temple of Sped.jpeg

Mike Frantz — BRW Nether Void Ponza

hm Mike Frantz Nether Void.jpg

Nathaniel Houle — Esper Control

hm Nathaniel Houle Esper Control.jpg

Nils Erickson — “4C Troll Catalina Mixer”

hm Nils Erickson 4C Troll Catalina Mixer.jpeg

Paul DeSilva — “5C Goodstuff”

hm Paul DeSilva 5C Goodstuff.jpeg

Paul Kovalov — Power Monolith

hm Paul Kovalov Power Monolith.jpg

Phil Pellerzi — RG Ponza

hm phil pellerzi old school ponza.jpg

Robin Lundh — “Not Very Arabian Aggro”

hm Robin Lundh Not Very Arabian Aggro.jpg

Seth Roncoroni — Temple of Sped

hm Seth Roncoroni Temple of Sped.jpeg

Ted Kwartler — “Salt and Pepper” aka WB Midrange

hm Ted Kwartler Salt and Pepper.jpeg

Tim Moran — Temple of Sped

hm Tim Moran.jpg

Travis Turner — Pink Weenie

hm Travis Turner Pink Weenie.jpeg


Dave Firth Bard — RG Berserk

dfb wt2 juggernaut berserk.jpg

Jason Schwartz — “Copy My Juggernaut”

ha Jason Schwartz Copy Juggernaut.jpg

Jeff Grasso — BR


Nils Erickson — “Alpha 41”

ha Nils Erickson Alpha 41.jpeg

Tim Moran — RG



Andrew Oliva — Rubinia

hb Andrew Oliva Rubinia.jpg

Brett Attmore — Sol’Kanar

hb Brett Allan SolKanar.jpeg

Chuck Lignelli — UB Bolas

hb Chuck Lignelli UB Bolas.JPG

James Rosenblum — Sol’Kanar

hb James Rosenblum SolKanar.jpeg

Jason Dorman — Chromium

hb Jason Dorman Chromium.jpg

Justin Iskra — Blackblade

hb Justin Iskra Blackblade.jpeg

Michael Scheffenacker — Rubinia

hb Michael Scheffenacker Rubinia.jpeg

Shaun Augeri — “Craster’s Keep” aka Uncle Istvan

hb Shaun Augeri Uncle Istvan.jpeg


Adam Merkado — PandeStifleNaughtBurst

Merkado - _PandeStifleNaughtBurst_.png

Jared Doucette — Goblins

hp Jared Doucette Goblins.jpeg

Jason Morawski — Tinker

hp Jason Morawski Tinker.jpg

John Grudzina — UW Standstill

hp John Grudzina UW Standstill.jpg

Justin Dale — CounterRebels

hp Justin Dale CounterRebels.jpg

Matt Mucci — Kill

hp Matt Mucci Kill.jpg

Robin Lundh — The Rock

hp Robin Lundh The Rock.jpg


(Feel free to send yours in if you took a photo of your finished draft deck!)

Chris Mason — RG

hd chris mason draft deck

James Lebak — Bant

hd James Lebak.jpg

Luke Zinnen — “To Do: Cut Lands, Add Spells”

hd Luke Zinnen draft.jpg

Mike Frantz: “Ahhhh! The smell of new Magic cards!” (Before)

hd Mike Frantz draft.jpg

Mike Frantz — Goblins (After)

hd Mike Frantz.jpg




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