LOBSTERCON 2: The Quest for the Pearl Trident, an Old School Magic tournament hosted by New England Old School, was held on September 21, 2019 at the George Dilboy VFW Post 529 in Davis Square, Somerville, Massachusetts.
The field was 122 players representing 23 U.S. states and Canadian provinces, England, and The Netherlands. Old School player groups in attendance included Chicago’s Lords of the Pit, Montreal’s Tundra Wolves, the Quebec City Brew Crew, New York’s Sisters of the Flame, London’s Brothers of Fire, Old Order Old School of South Central Pennsylvania, Ottawa’s Capital Chaos, the Fellwar Stoners of DC/Northern VA, the Beasts of the Bay, the Emerald City Trolls, and the Knights of Thorn.
Deck construction rules for the event followed the Atlantic B&R list, along with the reprint allowances for 93/94 championed by Eternal Central. The structure of the tournament was seven rounds of straight Swiss pairings, both as a function of available time at the venue and also to arrive at a clear “winner” of the event. There was no cut to Top 4 or Top 8; however, for the seventh and final round, the two X-0 players at Table 1 played a longer match (“3 out of 5” i.e. “first to 3 wins”), setting up a true “final match.” No match draws were allowed; draws were settled by Chaos Orb flips, in accordance with local customs.
Catering for the event was provided by local institution Kelly’s Roast Beef, which delivered a total of 83 lobster rolls and 41 bowls of clam chowder for players looking to enjoy a taste of New England during the short lunch break between rounds 3 and 4.
We also had a dedicated cash bar offering a range of libations including a few New England-centric brews like Sam Adams, Narragansett, and Harpoon IPA.
The event was organized as a fundraiser for Room to Grow in Boston, a non-profit that provides vital services to economically disadvantaged parents and families in Greater Boston. Room to Grow focuses on serving families from just before their child’s birth through age three, supporting them with individualized parenting education and coaching, high-quality baby/toddler supplies, and specialty referrals to community resources to ensure that their children receive a healthy and secure start in life.
All proceeds from LOBSTERCON ticket sales after expenses were donated directly to Room to Grow. In addition, attendees were invited to participate in a baby/toddler supply drive, in which items like clothing, books, toys, feeding supplies, car seats, etc. were donated to Room to Grow in-kind. We also conducted a raffle of unique Old School items, including sealed product, alters, books and comics, posters, and various other examples of early 90s Magic memorabilia, with 100% of the raffle ticket sales going directly to the charity as well.
All told, the players at LOBSTERCON donated baby/toddler items valued at $1,489, plus another $5,011 in cash generated from event ticket sales and the raffle, for a total of $6,500 in support for Room to Grow. This amount was more than double our total contribution from LOBSTERCON in 2018 ($3,116)! The generosity and kindness shown by the Old School Magic community absolutely shattered our expectations, which is saying quite a lot at this point. On behalf of Room to Grow and the families they serve, and from all of us at New England Old School, thank you!
We had the honor of working with Bryon “Mutt” Wackwitz for this event, and it was an absolute treat to have him with us at LOBSTERCON in-person. Mr. Wackwitz provided us with some sweet alters, including our top prize for the “most spicy” deck, and was on hand to do signatures, sketches, and alters for players throughout the course of the day. Having an artist from Magic’s earliest days in our midst was wonderful, and a great opportunity for the community to show our love and appreciation for the iconic contributions that Bryon Wackwitz made to the game in those early years, and for his very passionate and friendly engagement with the Magic fan base ever since.
We also had the pleasure of working with Jeff A. Menges / Skaircrow Graphics, who supported our event by signing and altering a stack of Merfolk of the Pearl Trident for the Top 8 and Spicy Top 8 prizes, along with providing our playmat and banner art. Our “Quest for the Pearl Trident” wouldn’t have worked without knowing exactly what the Pearl Trident was, so I asked Jeff to decide, and then he brought it to life! The result was an amazing take on the original art from 1993, with a certain crustacean decoration:
REFLECTIONS and GRATITUDE
I’m left sitting here in the aftermath of our Quest for the Pearl Trident, simply blown away by the raw enthusiasm, generosity, and spirit of the global Old School Magic community. To everyone who traveled hours to get here, who crossed oceans and continents and international boundaries, or at the very least, a couple of time zones or some bridges with expensive tolls: thank you for going to all of that trouble to be with us. And to our local club members: thank you for coming out in force, thanks for joining us in our efforts to be the best possible hosts, and thank you above all for representing the values of New England Old School. We really are living in the Golden Age of the contemporary Old School movement. Nobody knows what the future holds, but if 2019 represents the high-water mark for this Old School thing we’ve got going on, I think we can safely say we’ve managed to build something truly special and worth fighting for.
I did absolutely none of this alone. Huge thanks to our dedicated judge, Josh Frankel, who made the entire day run smoothly, and for his diligent enforcement of the “Don’t Be A Jagoff” REL. And to “the Josh on my left,” Josh Tingley, the best charity partner a Magic tournament organizer could ever possibly hope for: thanks to you and Room to Grow for giving our event a more noble purpose beyond just playing cards with our friends. Our charitable contributions wouldn’t have been what they were without the incredible outpouring of donations from all corners of the Old School world, so special thanks to Matt Viau, Mike Frantz, Jason Williams, Tino Galizio, Cam Wall, Nick Batista, Shaun Augeri, Ted Kwartler, Akos Czibere, Jason Schwartz, Jimmy and Jeff Johnson, Will Magrann, Matthew Fink of the Magical Hacks, the Brothers of Fire, the Knights of Thorn, Guillaume Soucy and the Quebec City Brew Crew, and Jason Jaco for contributing to the veritable mountain of swag, driving raffle ticket sales and merch purchases that put our fundraising all the way over the top this year.
Thanks to Bryon “Mutt” Wackwitz for traveling from Philadelphia to be with us and work non-stop all day on alters and signatures. Thanks to Jeff Menges for helping me realize my fever dreams of the Pearl Trident and bring it all to life. Thanks to our vendors — Michelle, Mike, Rodney, and their teams for being there to provide so much additional value to the players throughout the day.
And thank you, truly, to the Homarid Warriors, guys like Jared Doucette, Chris Mason, Stephen Hartford, Will Magrann, Xanadude, Paul Kovalov, Andrew Coppellotti, James Lebak, Scott Coughlin, Mitja Held, and everyone else who helped in the run-up to the day, everyone who was there early to help set up, who stayed late to tear down, or just gave me a boost or a hand whenever I needed it. Seriously, thank you. Thank you.
BLOGS / PODCASTS / VIDEO COVERAGE
Adventures in Crustacean Tricking — Shawn Sullivan, Emerald City Trolls
PHOTO GALLERY: MAIN EVENT
PHOTO GALLERY: SIDE EVENTS
14th Most Spicy: Stephen Preston, “Green Walkers”
13th Most Spicy: Matt Mucci, Coin Flip Tribal
12th Most Spicy: Chris McCubbin, All Hallow’s Eureka Lobsters
11th Most Spicy: Nick Batista, Pro-Red Inferno “Burn the Non-Believers”
10th Most Spicy: Guillaume Soucy, Candelsurge
9th Most Spicy: Daniel Paulsen, Stasis Wombat Enchantress
8th Most Spicy: Adam Merkado, Enchantment Recursion/Distress
7th Most Spicy: Yves Larochelle, Eureka Lich
6th Most Spicy: Andy Baquero, Instill Hordes
5th Most Spicy: Andrew Oliva, Jandor’s Saddledemons
4th Most Spicy: Don Perrien, The Highlander “The Spirit of Connor MacLeod”
3rd Most Spicy: Luke Zinnen, Blight Skull Recursion
2nd Most Spicy: Jason Beaupre, Consecrate Maze Control “Ron Jeremy AKA Big White Deck”
Top Spicy Prize: Marc Flore, Elephant Disco
TOP 8 by FINISH
8th Place: Ben Katz
7th Place: Rich Shay
6th Place: Willma Grann*
5th Place: Jeff Grasso
4th Place: Danny Friedman
3rd Place: Paul DeSilva
2nd Place: Shawn Sullivan
1st Place: Ben Wagnon
ALL DECK PHOTOS
(alphabetical order by first name)
Dave Firth Bard
Francois R Derbas Thibodeau