I played in three events this year- the Whirlpool of Blood on Thursday, the Faction Wars (also Thursday), and the Final Brawl on Saturday. I wanted to play in maybe one more event, like the Comrades in Arms, but the events I did play in took quite a bit out of me.
I didn’t take too many notes this year. Usually, all I write down is the names and factions of my opponents, and the rest usually comes back to me, but I omitted even that this year, and many of the games seem to run together. So you won’t get my usual play summary.
Whirlpool of Blood was fun. I suspect I still have things to figure out about drafting in Shadowfist, or that Shadowfist isn’t particularly balanced for draft, or both. Jammers seemed to dominate the tables I was at, given access to denial (Safety Third!), and Dark Future has lots and lots of Jammers cards. I was drafting Syndicate and Ascended from fairly early on, having gotten two Shadowy Mentors and some big Syndicate Hitters, but the Dark Future packs didn’t provide much in the way of cards for either faction (to be expected for Syndicate), except an Ursus. I drafted Hand as a third backup faction, and ended up going Ascended-Hand, because there just weren’t enough Syndicate cards in the deck to make it work.
In Faction Wars, I played the Ascended deck I played at Plattecon, and Tim played my exploding Destroyer deck. He had some foundation problems. (I played it in a friendly game after the tournament, and experienced clumping too, so I suspect he wasn’t shuffling well enough.) First round I drew my Queen of the Ice Pagoda and realized I was playing an illegal deck. They just made me redraw. After that round, I swapping her out for a Rainmaker Floyd I had drafted, which seemed like a crummy pick, but he actually won me a game later with his toughness, so I can’t complain too hard.
I got second place in one of those events, but I couldn’t tell you which one.
Now the Final Brawl, that’s an event. We had a pretty good turnout. I was playing my Dragons & Monarchs deck that I had been tuning, that relies on Brawl + Blood Lust/Ice Blessing to get quick power, then a quick hitter, then a quick burn. It is really fast. Most of the games were 3 player, and I tended to be a steam roller. I had a bad draw my first game and lost, but did fairly well for losing. The second game was against Jim Pai and Daniel Greico (both of whom I would meet in the finals), Jim with a Lot/Pur deck and Daniel with an Architect deck heavy on tech cards. Memorable Play: I have a Ting Ting (with a Fortune of the Turtle) and Golden Gunman out. GG is attacking for the win. Daniel drops a Neutron Bomb to kill Golden Gunman (and as it happens, only the Golden Gunman). I Golden Comeback him and attack again for the win. My third game was very fast, and very dominated by me.
(Now an aside- we cut to Finals, and other people played One Hundred Names. I lent my Architect 100 names deck to Braz, who went on to take second place.)
Finals were four player, and it turns out my deck is good in four player, but not as fast as it is in three player. Very interesting, very tense game. There was lots of burning for victory. By the end we all had three sites burned for victory. At one point, I had three hitters in play (QotIP, Ting Ting, and the Golden Gunman)… and no sites. I was kicking some ass, but Daniel dropped a Neutron Bomb and they all went away. Still, my deck has a whole lot of power generation, so one more Golden Comeback, and I’d be back in the game.
Late in the game, things seemed stalemated. Daniel had a hitter and a site, but there weren’t too many targets on the table. Jim and I had basically no cards in play. (I had a Book of Wrath). I think Jim was mostly out of it, but I had plenty of deck left, and was digging for the cards I needed. The player to my left (sorry, I forgot your name), was down to two cards. He was playing Jammers, and had a Bouncing the Rubble that was getting lots of use.
I drew a site- I believe it was Temple of Celestial Mercy, but it might have been another seven body site- and played it, putting me at 4. I ended my turn, and told the next player- that I just wanted the power, and he could have it if he wasn’t going for the win. (He was at three burned.)
Instead, he chose to go for the win. He discarded, drawing cards, making this his last turn. He was digging for a Scramble Suit, but it wasn’t actually in those last cards- either it was toasted, or he had taken it out of the deck. Whoops! He ended up looking to go for one of Daniel’s sites, and was stopped, and his deck was toasted.
Now it was just Daniel, me, and Jim and I had an undefended site out, and Daniel had a big hitter. So Daniel won. But I got second- because I had Never Surrender.
See, I wasn’t lying about playing that site just for the power- but it wasn’t just for the one power. I was hoping that someone would burn it for Victory, and I’d be able to play my Never Surrender and my Avenging Thunder, putting me at Victory conditions, and able to freely drop a hitter and win given the board situation, or drop a site and win if all the other sites went away.
But that’s not how it happened.
Congrats to Daniel Griego, and anyone else who made it to the finals! It was a two and a half hour game that was packed with tension. It was great, Shadowfist at its finest.