by Terence Jason Dorman, former Patron Draft Champion
Since my deck was absolutely horrible and I scrubbed out of the National Constructed Championships, I decided to try to defend my Patron Booze Draft title and signed up for the midnight event. Since Booze Drafts usually bring out the new players who are intrigued by the possibility of winning liquor, I was the lone veteran in a tournament of twelve relatively new players.
The other eleven players in the event ranged from people who had tried Spoils a few times to players who have not only never played The Spoils but have never drafted any CCG/TCG before. Needless to say, those of us who stuck around for the Booze draft were in for a long night.
The Draft took a considerable amount of time due to the fact that Will and I had to give a quick overview of the rules of The Spoils while also teaching many of the players how to draft a card game. It started out very slowly but, thankfully, the players started to catch on and by the time we hit our second pack we were rolling along.
Since most of these players were new, I had the fortune of being able to draft a really solid deck. Sadly, my deck was discarded by the Gen Con staff while Will and I were cleaning up the tournament area/booth that night, so I don’t have a list of what I drafted/played. I can tell you, though, that I drafted a Rogue/Warlord deck that had an insane amount of kill cards. It was a Seed block draft so you can imagine how many kill cards I managed to come across in a field of new players.
Since a large portion of the event was new players, Will and I decided to run a demo period in which we helped them organize their pools to make decks. Thankfully, other players who hung around (such as Joe Yackel, Nick Dorman, and Ricky Hahn) were on hand to help us assist these new players with their decks.
After deck building was complete, Will and I gathered the players so they could play against each other in demo games that I would preside over. I basically ran all of them through five or six turns while answering any questions they all had about gameplay, rules, cards, and strategy. After those turns we let them play for a little while longer on their own so they could try to take the reins for themselves, but I was still on hand to answer any questions they had.
Once a half hour of our “demo session” was complete, we got underway with the event.
Round One vs. Trish (Banker/Warlord)
I have to apologize because the results sheet for this event was lost shortly after it wrapped up and I completely forgot to print another one before leaving the convention on Sunday. As such, I may not have the last names for some of my opponents, so if you played me then please comment so I can update the article.
Anyways, Trish was a seasoned Magic player who jumped to the booze draft as she heard about The Spoils while walking the convention floor. She grasped the basic flow of the game very quickly and jumped to an early influence lead with a great rush.
The problem she had, however, was that she tried to sustain her rush by drawing cards at the start of her turn. I’ve seen a lot of new players do this, especially Magic players, and it is one of the first habits that I try to break when teaching new players. Trish had herself locked in to six resources, which is a decent number as it provides options, but she fell way too far behind me.
Her rush eventually fell flat because she couldn’t keep putting threats on the board and I was able to take control. She then drew into quite a few resources in a row when trying to mount her defense, which pretty much tipped the game in my favor.
Round Two vs. Mike Yeager (Gearsmith)
Mike was sitting to my right during the draft and we had a great time talking about the game and cracking jokes. If I was taking the draft more seriously I probably would have realized that he had a really solid deck, but instead I walked right into the game with no real thought at all as to how he drafted.
It turned out that he drafted a really solid Gearsmith gear deck. Mike was one of the two players in the draft who had played some Spoils before and it showed. The problem with his deck, though, was that it was very inconsistent. In this game, he had no early pressure and I was pumping through to his faction for tons of damage.
If I hadn’t made a major play mistake late in the game then it is certain that I would have won but sadly that wasn’t the case. He had Fleet Golem in play on all its own and attached a Runic Armor to him. Had I been paying more attention, or maybe a little more awake, I would have realized that he had the threshold to trigger the extra bonus stats. Had I known that, I would have responded and killed the Golem when he attempted to attach it.
Instead, he swung with the Golem and I attempted to block. I had a bunch of removal in hand, along with a speed 3 character who was hitting the Golem first, but Mike’s hand was loaded with buffs. I ended up being one damage shy of killing the Golem and it killed my blocker. The end result of this battle was that he had a big Golem, I wasted all my removal for nothing, and I had one less character than I had when I started.
He dropped a Velocious Golem on his next turn and the pressure from that and the Fleet Golem was really hard to handle. I blocked the damage, but it cost me my remaining characters and left me digging for answers. I didn’t find any and Mike took me down a peg.
For the record, this goes to show A) what a lack of sleep can do to your play and B) how costly one play mistake could be. Had this been a bigger event I would have kicked myself, but this being a Booze draft I laughed it off and congratulated Mike on his win.
Round Three vs. Alfonse (Arcanist/Warlord)
Alfonse was this really funny and cool Italian guy with an awesome mustache. I always give mad props to people with cool and well groomed facial hair and this dude definitely deserved the props.
Our game was pretty back and forth for quite a while but changed quickly when I found a handful of my removal tactics. They gave me significant board advantage and Alfonse started to have a tough time handling my attacks. He then informed me that all he was drawing was resources, which didn’t help his defense. After a few turns of drawing resource I was able to take his influence down to zero without too much of a problem.
After the game we took a moment to look through his deck and it was clear he had far too many resources. Dan Sotelo and I sat down with him for the remainder of the round and ran him through the basics of drafting and deck building and we were excited to hear that he would come back for the Booze Draft on Saturday night.
Finals vs. Mike Yeager (Gearsmith)
Due to tiebreakers and a lot of drops (it was 4 am at this point), I was paired against Mike again for the finals and my chance to defend my title as Patron Champion.
Sadly for me, though, my repeat performance was not to be. Although I had a much better idea of what Mike’s deck did, my mulligan was not my friend as I drew into a hand that had a curve that was far too high. Mike, however, appeared to draw his rush hand and put me on the defensive immediately.
While I had good characters in my deck, they weren’t strong enough to handle the Fleet Golem he had with a 3p1c D00dm4k3r on it. He also had quite a few Elitism icons to make that D00dm4k3r worth its money and it was kind of surprising I lasted as long as I did. It eventually ended, though, and my dreams of being a repeat champion ended with it.
Winner and New Patron Champion: Mike Yeager!
Booze Drafts are awesome! Although I didn’t get back to my hotel until 6 am because of this draft (and helping Will break down the booth and transport the materials to his hotel room), I was really excited to come back the next night and try to win the Bottle of Grey Goose.
I’d also like to thank Will for giving me a consolation second place prize. To make me feel better about losing my crown, Will presented me with a 1/8th fluid ounce bottle of Tabasco sauce. I intend to put it in his food sometime in the future when he isn’t looking. Don’t tell him, though.
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