LOBSTERCON 2022, a two-day Old School and Premodern Magic: The Gathering event in Greater Boston, was held on May 13-14, 2022.
And we went big: a total of somewhere around 180 players from all over the U.S. and Canada, plus Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, England, and Chile. 111 players in the Premodern main event. 144 players for the Old School main. 128 lobster rolls. 69 large pizzas. 149 baby/toddler clothing items, six top-of-the-line infant car seats, five pairs of toddler shoes, and 148 toys / play supplies, all donated to low-income families in and around Boston. $10,528 in total cash and in-kind support provided to Room to Grow.
The vibe was undeniable. This was a group of like-minded folks traveling from far and wide to see old friends, finally put faces to names (and Discord handles), and play some cards, sure, but overall just celebrate community-driven Magic and mainline some fresh nostalgia. As usual, Paul DeSilva captured the scene using the most period-appropriate of media devices:
There were hundreds of stories, many of them shown in glimpses above and in the photo galleries and content links below, but here are some brief highlights: New to LOBSTERCON this year, Premodern was incorporated into the weekend in major way, with the first-ever North American Premodern Championship held in the event hall on Friday. We had three different 90s-era Magic artists in our midst: Ken Meyer Jr., Jeff Laubenstein, and Bryon Wackwitz. Mitch of MG Alters also joined us, paintbrushes in hand. Vendors representing Tales of Adventure Games, Deal Me In Games, and the team of Mitja and Rodney were on site to provide our attendees with opportunities to buy, sell, and trade. Hell, we even had Gordon Andersson in the house streaming the Old School main event on Saturday. Cubes were fired, very real ante cards were won and lost. And, at the end of the second day, Ryan Rudolph took home the Lobster Boomerang, claiming first place with a “Big Skies” UW deck featuring no fewer than 4x Mahamoti Djinn.
And finally, I suppose, this being 2022, a few quick words on Covid mitigation: every single attendee was fully vaccinated, and everyone was asked to get tested (either PCR or antigen/rapid test) in the days leading up to the event. As of May 23–nine days after the end of the main events–we have had only one (1) report of a player testing positive for Covid, out of around 190 total attendees. There is no perfect blueprint for running an event like this in the pandemic era. But as long as people commit to taking reasonable precautions and looking out for one another, it’s pretty clear that our little niche circuit of player-driven formats and events is up and running once again. And that’s a beautiful thing.
CHARITABLE ACTIVITY and GRATITUDE
Giving back to our community remains a focus for New England Old School, and charitable contribution is part-and-parcel of the Old School Magic experience. Our designated non-profit beneficiary for the LOBSTERCON series is Room to Grow, an organization to which NEOS has donated annually for the last several years.
Our club conducted a baby/toddler supply drive using a curated wish list put together by Room to Grow staff, representing current needs for clothing, feeding supplies, books, toys, and other items at their Boston program location. Don Perrien reprised his role as a champion and cheerleader for the drive, guaranteeing his appearance in a lobster costume if certain donation thresholds were met. (And they were, indeed, met.) We also held two raffles to benefit the charity, and auctioned off two pieces of original artwork created by Jeff Laubenstein and Ken Meyer Jr. to commemorate the event. The Old School and Premodern communities came up clutch, donating a wide range of alters, memorabilia, and curiosities for raffle entrants to chase.
Adding up the value of our in-kind baby/toddler item donations, revenue generated by the raffles and art auctions, and a modest operating surplus from entry fees paid by the players, I’m thrilled to report that we raised $10,528 for Room to Grow. To everyone who donated alters or swag, contributed supplies for the drive, or otherwise showed up and chipped in to help make this possible: thank you!
LOBSTERCON is the product of countless hours and passion invested by so many members of the Old School and Premodern communities. Gratitude is due, first and foremost, to the planning committee at New England Old School — Jared Doucette, Chris Mason, and Scott Bradley. Huge thanks to our dedicated “staff” and volunteers, including Brooks and Judge Deen (shout out to LobsterJudge Josh, in absentia, for that connection), and to our 2022 Homarid Warriors: Don Perrien, James Lebak, Xanadude, Mike Harris, Meredith, Mike Heup, Mrs. Heup, JC Saavedra, Robin Lundh, Mitja Held, Patrick Howse, and everyone else, too numerous to keep track of, who spontaneously dove in to pick up the slack on some task or another throughout the weekend. And to our raffle and auction prize donors: Jeff Laubenstein, Ken Meyer Jr., Mitch (MG Alters), Stefano Cecatiello (Sono Alterato), Flint Espil, Roland Chang, Mario Murr (@Merhans), Akos Czibere, Justin Iskra, Adam Merkado, Jason Koresko, Shawn Sullivan, Shaun Augeri, Slanfan, Andy Blaufarb, Judge Deen, and anyone else I might have accidentally omitted here — you made this fundraiser a success, and it would have been literally impossible for us to make this amount of impact in the lives of economically disadvantaged families in Greater Boston without you giving so freely of your time and energy. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
THAT PLAYLIST FROM SATURDAY
By popular demand, Brooks’ playlist:
BLOGS / PODCASTS / VIDEO COVERAGE
All Tings Considered, Episode 198 – Lobstercon? – Olle, Svante, and Flint
Olly Reid World Tour – Olle Råde, End of turn, draw a card
WakWakMtG – Twitch stream VOD [Available until May 27 2022]
TOP 21 DECK PHOTOS (X-2 or better)
21st Place: Parker Bowab
20th Place: Duncan Purves
19th Place: Don Perrien (SEE ALSO: the SPICE AWARDS)
18th Place: Joel Bowers
17th Place: Dominic Beaudry
16th Place: Tino Galizio
15th Place: Paul DeSilva
14th Place: Matt Marmorato
13th Place: Brian Selden
12th Place: Will Parshall
11th Place: Pez Unholy
10th Place: Ryan Keach
9th Place: Michael Simpson
8th Place: Sébastien Dubé
7th Place: Jelani Johnson
6th Place: Dennis Spiegel
5th Place: David Merriam
4th Place: Tom Swindell
3rd Place: Andrés Hojman
2nd Place: Svante Landgraf
1st Place: Ryan Rudolph
Scott Bradley — “Smoke on the Water” SPICE HONORABLE MENTION
Derrick Boyce — “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” STYLE HONORABLE MENTION
Yanick Blanchet — “The JunkYard” SPICE TOP 6
Don Perrien — “Boiling Lobsters” SPICE TOP 6; 19th OVERALL
Jacob Brotherton — “Equilibrium” SPICE TOP 6
Tim Atwood — “Psychic Hotline” SPICE TOP 6
John Cocco — “Tropical Starburst” SPICE TOP 6
Jared Milller — “Legionnaire Disco” SPICE TOP 6
ALL DECK PHOTOS
(Gallery alphabetical by first name)