We have a Special Guest Post today from Phillip Ball, winner of the UK Nationals weekend qualifier that took place on 5th May at Fanboy 3 in Manchester.
I’ll leave you in Phil’s capable hands – Enjoy!
So the day had finally come. I’d been excited to actually get to use my Avengers team list in a competitive tournament for a while and with the banning of Bard I felt it had the potential to do rather well. Every time I had previously planned to use it I found myself lending it to. less experienced player to us as it is an easy team to play. Alas, Friday was still not my day. When we arrived we found out there were 7 of us. With 5 people wanting to qualify, that wasn’t going to end well, so two older players agreed to play borrowing my ‘Starter only’ deck and, you guessed it, my Avengers. So I had to use a deck I built to learn how to beat, never wanting to truly play. In fact, I’d played with it probably a max of 3 games before this tournament. The team I chose looked like this:
- The Front Line
- Morphing Jar – Canopic Jar x4
- Constantine – Hellblazer x4
- Elf Thief – Lesser Harper x4
- Beholder – Master Aberration x4
- Rip Hunter’s Chalkboard – Only Zarara can reach the POINT x1
- Parallax – Source of Terror x1
- Professor x – Recruiting young Mutants x1
- Blue Eyes White Dragon – Monstrous Dragon x1
As you can see; a pretty straightforward Beholder team (boo hiss!), something I had never intended to actually run. To make matters worse, only 1 person I saw that day wasn’t running End of Days or The Oppression Begins, so I knew today wasn’t going to be a fun day.
Round 1 vs Philip Moss (Dante)
- End of Days
- Escape Incarceration
- Thousand Dragon: Noxious Nostril Gust
- Captain Cold’s Cold Gun: Frozen Firearm
- S.T.A.R Labs: Guided Development
- Flying car: Flyby
- Human Paladin: lesser Emerald Enclave
- Renet Tilley: 79th Dimension of Null-Time
- Multiple Man: Pile On
- X-23: Blades of Rage
First thing I notice is End of Days, and I sighed knowing it began. Game 1 I messed around a bit not knowing how I was gonna do this, Eventually deciding to buy Blue-Eyes for additional ramp/Antiramp by ko’ing 2 of my Elf Thief per turn. Eventually I bought my Imprisoned and built up a board state for a full 20 damage. Game 2 was pretty much the same except I knew my victory path and pushed to it faster and cleaner.
Current Score – 1 win
Round 2 vs Matthew Haley
- Big Entrance
- Green Goblin: Gobby
- Foot Ninja: Shredders Army
- Natalia Romanova: Black Widow and Thor of Earth 23223
- Ronin: Between Employers
- Dwarf Wizard: Paragon Zhentarim
- Blue Eyes White Dragon: Monstrous Dragon
- Merlyn: League of Assassins
- Lantern Ring: Limited Only By Imagination
My first Ring team of the weekend (first of…too many). I notice rather quickly that Matt has no End of Days or The Oppression Begins. I’m feeling pretty confident. Then I look at his globals. Merlyn is rather helpful to me. Helps me ramp sooner. Game 1 was pretty eventless, nothing spectacular happened, both just building up as would be expected, around turn 4 I pop the Beholder combo after a few Parallax rerolls.
Game 2 is much more back and forth. I was down to 3 hp on a “must win” turn thanks to a couple of well played turns from Matthew using his Gobby fielding and Lantern Ring. Thankfully, I survived by rolling perfectly to be able to Beholder combo the following turn. Looking back, had he not attacked with Gobby the turn before, I wouldn’t have pulled it off due to having 3 total fielding cost before Gobby’s attack. After this game, we had about 20 minutes of time left so Matt and I sat and discussed some possible upgrades to help him on future days. Including changing Big Entrance for End of Days for Beholder teams and Invulnerability for Horn of the Unicorn as a more damaging variant.
Current Score – 2 Wins
Round 3 vs Gareth Thomason
- End of Days
- Blink Transmutation
- Oracle: Master Investigator
- Parallax: Source of Terror
- Lantern Ring: Limited Only by Imagination
- Elf Thief: Lesser Harper
- Morphing Jar: Canopic Jar
- Professor X: Recruiting Young Mutants
- Clayface: The Terror
- Mr Fantastic: The Invincible Man
What can I say; a massive shout out to Gareth is important here. We played a total of 4 matches over the entire weekend. 4 of the best matches I have ever had, and also the most draining, and closest. Over the course of this 4 game odyssey I came to the conclusion Gareth and I are perfectly equal in play. All of our games since we first played have been very tight and this weekends couldn’t have been tighter. We both Won 1 match each, and Tied the other 2 1-1.
So let’s dive into this match, this one was more close and stressful than anything. Neither of us wanted to make a mistake. Both building up cautiously, I wasn’t sure how to get around his team knowing he was a very skilled player. Game 1 I lost, pretty hard, I learned though, just a little too slow. Gareth managed to build up what he needed for victory faster. If I remember correctly game 1 was over in the first 15 minutes.
Game 2, however, went to 2 minutes before time. I was buying my basic actions to slow him down, and then bought The FrontLine to push the damage through. It was, however, down to a series of Parallax rolls this was possible. I managed to pull it back just in time to draw the score up at 1-1. Then we are informed after 1-1 we have two minutes. We both agree on a draw, knowing that neither of us will secure a victory within the remaining time/turns. After the match, I was very glad it was over and glad for a few moments break.
Current Score – 2 wins 1 Draw
Then came the top 4 cut. The 4 people to make it to the next round were, in what I believe to be order at the time; Gareth Thomason, Myself, Andrew Nielson and Charlotte Snowdon. This was the point we knew who had secured Qualifications to Sundays National Championships too. Myself and Gareth had already achieved qualification, so it then dropped to Andrew Nielson, Charlotte Snowdon and Edwin Crofts.
The top 4 was divided up as Gareth vs Charlotte and Myself vs Andrew Nielson
Semi Finals vs Andrew Nielson
Now we had reached 8pm and everyone was tired. I must apologise as I remember very little of this match. And barely remember the game. By this point I was on auto pilot mode.
- The Oppression Begins
- Venom: Angelo Fortunato
- Scarecrow: Legion of Doom
- Captain America: Super Soldier
- Gorilla Grodd: Force of Mind
- Constantine: Hellblazer
- Kobold: Greater Humanoid
- Morphing Jar: Canopic Jar
- Dwarf Wizard: Paragon Zhentarim
What I do remember about this match was I was able to Imprioned a lot of his important things including enough sidekicks to make the game very tough for him, and pushing through for the victory with a The Front Line turn. This was yet another team where I couldn’t use the Beholder combo.
Game 2 I remember Andrew buying 2 of my Imprisoned and I was very worried but none of them coming up the way Andrew needed which allowed me to push through for a 2-0.
After this game I walked around a little shocked I had made it to a finals, I have a long history of choking in the first round after cut. Then it dawned on me, no matter what happened between Charlotte and Gareth, I was going vs Mask Ring, again.
Finals vs Gareth Thomason
So this game was literally a repeat of the final round of Swiss, except I was totally drained and I went into the game expecting to lose. I distinctly remember a comment from Gareth saying perhaps he’d learned how to push through. Which wouldn’t have surprised me at all.
So we go into the game. And he wins the roll off and makes me go first, I thank him, not realizing it’s all part of his plan. I make my usual starter turn; Rip Hunter an Elf Thief. His first turn, he rolls 4 energy with no masks, so naturally I expect a reroll. Instead. He goes for my Imprisoned. At which point I realize his plan. Turn 2 I had to buy one to make sure I got one, and his turn 2 he purchased my last. I thought, “I’m in some trouble here”. Then something hits me, I’m not running my normal team, for the last year my normal team only “hit” when you hit for the win. So game 1 I bought my The Front Line and had that 1 copy of Imprisoned. I built up rather quickly thanks to a combination of both of our globals and had 16 damage on the board including the front line, so I imprisoned his 1 oracle, and hit him for 16, letting everything go through to used. Thinking if I do It, I just need to hold off until I can do 4 damage to him. I managed to hold off until I refilled my bag, I drew out my imprisoned, The Front line, 1 sidekick and 1 elf thief, with 4 sidekicks in prep. So I knew I had to go for it. Imprisoned rolled first time, but then no other character faces or Front line. So I had to reroll a few times using Parralax, i knew this was my 1 opportunity. And on my last possible roll after I’d already managed to roll 1 sidekick. My front line rolls. At which point I know it’s done.
We quickly move to game 2 and another comment I remember from Gareth as we both had a chuckle was, this time I need to play my team I think. I respond with a comment about my imprisoned being safe. Game 2 was very similar to the first besides the Imprisoned being bought, I only bought 1 and used the same tactic 2 hits to game, and I think I just built up faster, dice constantly went my way from drawing to rolling and just seemed to not go Gareths at all.
At the moment I win, I couldn’t actually believe it. Gareth and I sit and chat for a while about it. It was an amazing and draining game (and still only game 2 of our 4 game over the weekend).
On a closing note I’d like to thank everyone I played all weekend for a weekend of games. A few personal favorite games would be any of the Odyssey vs Gareth, my game vs Ben, (first time I’ve ever managed to take a constructed game off him), My draw with Joseph, My game vs Andy England, and finally my very close game vs Michael Power. Overall it was an amazing but very tiring weekend. My main goal going in was to improve on my 15th place finish last year. Which I managed to do finishing top 8 this year.
One final shout out to Dave of Fan Boy 3 for running the weekends events and hosting in all the chaos.
Thanks Phil for contributing some insight into the additional qualifier on our big weekend National event.
Next post coming down the pipeline, and the one you’ve all been waiting for, will be a re-Cap of the National on Sunday by our very own, new National Champion 2017: Andy England.
Come back soon for that…