by Terence Jason “Snooty” Dorman a.k.a. the Goatee of Great Justice
Gen Con 2012 officially kicked off yesterday and it has already been an extremely exciting weekend for The Spoils. While Will, Ken, and company have only held a couple of events so far, the booth/tournament area has been crowded with people interested in checking out this exciting game.
Last night featured the first of the official tournaments of the weekend, the Second Edition Sealed Deck tournament. This event was expected to be exciting due to the amazing prizes on the line (primarily the free entries and first round byes) and it certainly delivered.
I didn’t originally intend to play in this event as I am, first and foremost, a constructed player. I’ve never been terribly good at Sealed or Draft events, and only just recently started taking them seriously as I’m hoping to do well in the World of Warcraft TCG World Championships this year. As such, I went into this event with mixed feelings as, although I have gotten much better at WoW Limited, I was fairly certain very few of those skills would transfer over to Spoils limited.
The event drew 20 players, which was extremely exciting for the first major event of the weekend. In attendance were six members of Team Hopper (myself, Dan Sotelo, Matt “Moxless” Kucklinca, Nick “Lowercase” “Nicky Poo” Dorman, Ricky Hahn, and Joe Yackel), as well as last year’s National Constructed Champion, Vince Chaun. Also attending were Gen Con regulars Chris Carney, Amber Goate (that is how Will spelled your name so if it is wrong please comment and I will correct this), Ashley Miller, and Mike Shumaker, all players who come to Gen Con specifically to play Spoils. It was great to see them all again and I was certainly glad there were so many familiar faces.
Due to time constraints, the event was run without a deck-swap, meaning players were able to crack their five packs and begin building their decks immediately. I did just that and was rather happy with my pool, which is as follows:
12 Man Brunch of Doom
Ectological Hazard Suit
Horsemajig of the Apocalypse – Famine
Manifold Quasi-Modal Steamwork
Martial Arts Trainee
Humiliating Torture Apprataus
The Thought Process and Final Deck
I was very happy to see that I got a rather even distribution of the trades. Second Edition can be a bit wonky with the collation, so anytime you get an even spread is a cause for celebration. I was also splendidly surprised by how well my Banker pool turned out considering, after opening three packs, I only had three Banker cards.
The first thing I noticed was that there was no way I could get away with running only two trades. Three trades was the norm back in the days of First Edition, but two trade decks are certainly viable in Second Edition due to collation issues. I was absolutely fine with having to run three trades as it is what i am used to in Sealed, so there were no worries there.
My first impressions of the trades was that I couldn’t ignore Rogue and could easily cast aside Gearsmith. After that, I noticed that Warlord and Banker had a good amount of kill cards spread between them, so combining them with Rogue would give me maximum removal. Also, the characters found in these three trades build themselves towards a beat down deck, which is generally my strategy in sealed events.
I also want to note that, while I liked the Arcanist pool, I didn’t think it had strong enough characters to warrant playing Arcanist just for its tactics.
After throwing the piles of Banker, Rogue, and Warlord together, the first issue was figuring out which resources I’d start and how deep I wanted to go into the other two trades. I ultimately decided that I would start two Rage and ignore the Torture Apparatus, making it so that I could play every Warlord card in my deck from turn one onward. This would allow me to drop a turn two Scout if needed, which I feel is always a strong play.
I ended up running eleven resources in the deck, which is about average for my style. I went with six Greed and five Rogue to counteract the extra threshold requirement for Armored Keep. I probably should have cut that card (as my final deck ended up at 47 instead of the optimal 45) but I just couldn’t pass up the idea of playing it to save myself the game and win on the following turn. For the record, I fully understand that this line of thinking makes for bad decisions (such as being two cards over minimum), but sometimes I just can’t help myself.
I should also mention that my greatest weakness as a Limited player is my inability to cut cards. As a player who favors constructed, and one who tries to have answers for everything possible, I can usually find an excuse to run a card in my deck even if it isn’t the optimal strategy. You can see the evidence of this in my decision to hold on to Armored Keep, which definitely could have been cut.
Despite all this, though, this is how my deck turned out after a period of deliberation:
Rage x2 (Starting)
Martial Arts Trainee
Round One vs. Joe Yackel (Banker/Rogue/Warlord)
It was unfortunate that I got paired against a fellow member of Team Hopper in round one, but the number of us in the tournament dictated that this was bound to happen eventually.
Yackel and I were playing similar decks in terms of trades but his certainly favored bigger, beefier characters. The game started pretty standard with us exchanging a few points of influence here and there as we jockeyed for board position. He eventually got to a point in which he had two Mau Toughs and a Moneychanger in play, which is a very imposing board, but it was countered by a handful of 4 and 5 speed characters on my side.
Neither of us were willing to make the first move as I don’t think either of us were sure who would come out on top if battles were to ensue. He had life but I had speed, and neither of us were willing to part with the characters we had on board in order to find out who would win the fights.
It eventually got to a point in which each of us had five or six characters in play and neither of us was willing to make a move. This all changed, however, when he dropped a Forcible Depredator and started rifling cards out of my deck. At the time, I was stalling to dig through my deck for a Snake Eyes as I had a Flaming Barduse in my hand, allowing me to deal with at least one of the Mau Toughs or the Union Leader that had since hit the table.
The game really started in earnest when I found the Snake Eyes (which, thankfully, did not get milled by the Depredator or the Card Counter he played, although that gentleman took out two of my kill cards). With the Snake Eyes in hand I dropped my Jewelry on the Union Leader (which incapacitated him for the entire game), used the Barduse on the Card Counter and a Mau Tough, Snake Eyes’d the Mau Tough, and Scrag’d the other one (as he finally had 5 cards in his discard pile). In this one instant I had shifted the game state heavily in my favor, giving me a three or four character advantage over him, and all of my characters (at the time) were faster and stronger.
A problem arised, however, when he used the Depradator enough to rid me of my deck completely. All I had left was the characters on board and about eight cards in hand, and I had to use all of this to get through for about 15 influence while he still had a hand and probably 20 cards in deck.
Through calculated attacking in parties and the few bits of removal left in my hand, I was able to put him in a position where he had to drop characters just to have chump blockers. Thankfully, I had an influence lead on him throughout the whole game, so I was able to attack at will as his potential counterattack (which would decrease his number of blockers for my following turn) was not threatening enough to shift the life totals considerably.
The game eventually ended when I had too many characters on board compared to his blockers and he couldn’t seem to find anymore characters from his deck to stop the onslaught.
Round Two vs. Ashley Miller (Arcanist/Rogue)
Being the former Judge of Great Justice, I had the pleasure of judging dozens of events that Ashley participated in over the past two years but never had the opportunity to play her myself. Round Two finally made it possible and we had a pretty exciting game.
She had a stronger opening than me, dropping Rogue characters that I didn’t have much of an answer for due to their speed. Eventually I got a Hasty Sarcophyle into play, however, and that put the brakes on her attack.
Over the next few turns I sacrificed some board position and influence to build up my resources and hand as I noticed that she was committing to her rush and using her Faction trigger to draw cards at the start of turn rather than building resources.
Looking back on it, this decision is what ultimately won me the game as, once I got started, Ashley was having a hard time on defense. Her characters were great for the rush, but eventually I had bigger and faster characters that she couldn’t defend against optimally. She had to take some damage to keep her characters alive, evening the influence totals.
Unfortunately for her, the characters she drew into next were Covert ones. While this helped her get some points of damage through, it did nothing for her on defense when I was able to pick off her non-Covert characters with kill cards. At this point I was doing much more damage than her per turn, and her lack of resources made it difficult for her to mount a defense.
The game was over a few turns later as my damage output was just too high for her to stop.
Round 3 vs. Jesse Fisher (Banker/Rogue)
At this point in the tournament, my fellow members of Team Hopper were beginning to accuse me of cheating. Everyone, including non-Hopper players, know my reputation as a bad Limited player, so the fact that I was 2-0 was causing a bit of a ruckus.
Jesse, who was also 2-0, got in on the ribbing as our game was starting up. We then decided that, regardless of who won the game, that person would submit to the label of “cheater” as we both agreed that neither of us should ever be 3-0.
We then managed to combine our desires to both not be labeled cheaters but also not be 2-1 as our game went to an unintentional draw.
To say this game was harrowing for both of us would be an understatement. It had so much back and forth and intrigue involved that it is difficult for me to remember exactly how the match played out. I do remember the highlights, though, so I’ll spell them out.
- Jesse’s Beatrix Winterbottom basically allowed him to draw his entire deck as I found an answer for it far too late.
- I made the completely bonehead play of attacking with my Repo Man into his Faction while he had a Samuel Gristwalter (Sammy Bones) in play. Needless to say, he did not block and I depleted a character for no reason.
- Board control shifted when I attacked with a Martial Arts Trainee and partnered him with a bigger and better Martial Artist thanks to a well timed Catastrophic Betrayal on my part.
- For those wondering, I killed the Martial Artist by playing an Unexpected Boobysnake at “tactic speed.” Jesse and I agreed that the Boobysnake was extremely Unexpected.
- Jesse actually used Randolph von Macovawitz Spitoon III, Ltd to draw cards, sometimes discarding resources and other times destroying ones he had in play.
- I now know the power of Randolph von Macovawitz Spitoon III, Ltd in Limited.
- Both of us finished the game with no cards in our deck and very few in our hands.
- There were many, MANY, tricks played during battles. I think it is safe to say that we both won an equal number of battles due to these tricks.
- Card Counter is my worst enemy. This was the second game in a row in which a Card Counter milled two of my kill cards right off the top.
After all these highlights (and probably more that I’m forgetting, so if you read this Jesse, please comment with more!) the game went to time and ultimately ended in a draw. Neither of us were labeled cheaters.
Round 4 vs. Brendan Stone (Rogue/Warlord)
Brendan was a player from back in the First Edition days, so these cards were certainly within his element as far as play goes. I hadn’t had a chance to see him play at all earlier in the tournament so I really had no idea what he was doing. He, however, watched the last ten or so minutes of my draw with Jesse, so he had a very good idea of what was in my deck.
This ultimately worked against him, however, as I think it caused him to make sub-optimal plays. I dropped a Bloodcurdling Bulldozer on turn one (I went first) and he passed his first turn to draw a card. Bulldozer then hit for two and I followed up with a Scout. He then dropped a Hidden Sniper on his turn two, picking off the Bulldozer.
My turn three saw me swing through with the Scout and pass turn so I could react on his turn and/or drop a resource/draw a card. He ended up passing his turn and leaving the Hidden Sniper untapped.
This led me to believe he had a Snake Eyes in his hand as, otherwise, I couldn’t understand the play. I even mentioned this to him as I attacked anyway. He then revealed to me that he wasn’t going to waste a Snake Eyes on my Scout as he knew I had better cards in my deck and wanted to save it. This could have been a bluff or maybe it was really his strategy. Regardless, he took three damage and I dropped a Callow Liegeman to continue the pressure.
From here out the game was all me as he never killed the Scout (leading me to believe the Snake Eyes comment was really a bluff) and I applied more pressure with a Hasty Sarcophyle and a couple of kill cards to pick off his chump blockers. He also revealed that he drew three resources in his past five draws, so that pretty much sealed his fate.
Round 5 vs. Matt “Moxless” Kucklinca (I have no idea)
Matt and I were the top two places at the time (to my knowledge) and elected to draw into the Top 8. Instead of playing our match out we simply de-sleeved our deck to get ready for the draft and played some Ascension.
Record: 3-0-2 (Definitely the first sealed event in which I had no losses).
The Top 8 Draft
If people think I am a bad Sealed player, I am an even worse drafter. This is certainly evidenced by how my deck ended up (see below.
I was seated third in the pod, between the #2 seed, Jesse, and the #4 seed, my brother Nick “Lowercase” Dorman. My brother is a strong Limited player (in fact, he is basically the opposite of me in terms of Constructed and Limited skills), so I knew I wouldn’t be getting much help from his side during the second pack. Having never drafted with Jesse before, I had no idea what kind of stuff he would be sending me, but at this point I’m just happy to be in the Top 8.
Here were the seats:
Seed #1 – Matt “Moxless” Kucklinca
Seed #2 – Jesse Fisher
Seed #3 – The Most Handsome Spoils player in the world, me
Seed #4 – Nick “Louder and Faster” Dorman
Seed #5 – Vince Chuan
Seed #6 – Dan Sotelo (my eventual opponent)
Seed #7 – Mike Shumaker
Seed #8 – Vivian Chan
Pool and Cuts
Cards in italics are the cards I cut to make my final 45 card deck. The number next to each trade is the amount that ended up in the final deck.
Elitism x3 (2 starting)
Emphatic Ecto Manipulator
Senior Research Assistant
Guardforce Alpha Prime 31f
Micromajig Shipping Container
Manifold Quasi-Modal Steamwork x2
T Force 5 Megabrutemajig
Exploding Sock Puppet
Martial Arts Trainee
Impeccable Timing x2
Catastrophic Betrayal x2
Grand Theft All
Poisoned Blade x2
Top 8 vs. Dan Sotelo (Banker/Warlord)
It was certainly sad to see that I would be playing against a member of Team Hopper in the Top 8 but four of us made it so the math was against us, and that isn’t counting Vince and Vivian, who are kind of Charter members.
The game started innocently enough with the two of us doing a little damage here and there. Problems arose for me quickly, however, when he dropped a Mau Tough. As you can see, I can’t easily handle characters with 5+ life as Impeccable Timing does nothing too them. I basically needed a Poisoned Blade or Jacque’s Trap as quickly as possible to diffuse the situation.
I found the Poisoned Blade I was looking for and quickly attached it to my Martial Artist, hoping that this would deter his assault. I was also praying that it would kill one of his characters (as he had since dropped an Arena Quarter Finalist) as that would allow me to pick up a big character of my own due to the Catastrophic Betrayal I was holding on to since turn one.
Oh, before I forget. I dropped a Card Counter on turn one (as I had the Betrayal in hand) and won the coin toss. Dan, being the pro he is, milled three resources from the top of his deck, completely denying me any satisfaction.
Unfortunately for me, Dan had a Blow Up in hand and neutralized my Martial Artist. He then broke through for massive damage, putting me all the way down to four influence. He then dropped an Overinsured Figurehead, meaning my Martial Artist and Senior Research Assistant were all alone in defending against a Figurehead, Quarter Finalist, and Mau Tough all on their own.
I managed to stabilize a bit by drawing enough characters to be substantial blockers. I also managed to drop a Mercenary’s Creed on the Figurehead in hopes of somehow killing him to draw two cards. At the very least I was preventing him from attacking, and at the time that was enough.
Dan then shifted his gameplay strategy to simply drawing a lot of cards and building a lot of resources. Having seen a Siege Machine pass me in the draft I had a strong feeling he was digging for that, or a possible Bask Bile (I never saw one, but that didn’t mean it couldn’t be there).
His characters were big enough that I could never go on the offensive as A) I couldn’t win the battles to begin with and B) it would leave me with too few blockers when I was at only 4 influence remaining. This was disappointing as I knew he was digging for the Siege Machine win but couldn’t really do anything about it.
As you can imagine, I didn’t do anything about it and Dan drew the Siege Machine for the win, knocking me out of the tournament.
Overall I was extremely happy with my performance as this was the first Sealed Event I Top 8′ed in a number of years. I definitely still need to learn how to draft, but that is another story for another day.
1st – Dan Sotelo
2nd – Vince Chuan
3rd – Matt “Moxless” Kucklinca
4th – Mike Shumaker
5th – Jesse Fisher
6th – Terence Jason “Snooty” Dorman, the Goatee of Great Justice
7th – Nick “Lowercase” “Nicky-poo” Dorman
8th – Vivian Chan
9th – Joe Yackel
10th – Brendan Stone
11th – Jesper Nilson
12th – Matt Davis
13th – Ricky Hahn
14th – Ashley Miller
15th – Carolyn Thielke
16th – Amber Goate
17th – Chris Carney
18th – Ryan Erichsen
19th – Karlie Roush
20th – Jesse Fogher
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