Hi folks – Chris here.
Our newly crowned Wizkid’s European Open 2019 Champion Peter Van Der Velde has prepared a wonderful treat for us and written up a tournament report describing his experience at the Modern Championship event.
Once again – the MoD want to wish Peter a massive congratulations on his win and thank him dearly for choosing the BritRollerSix to host his report. It was my tremendous pleasure to finally get to spend some time f2f with you Pete, you’re a class act and it was an exceptionally well deserved win.
I’ll hand over to Peter…
The most Mexican of stand-offs
So, I somehow managed to win the Wizkids European Open and I mainly have Chris to thank for it ;p All joking aside, I do have Chris and many others to thank. (you are quite welcome – Chris 😛 )
First and foremost, I would like to thank Peter Cernak; without him, this tournament wouldn’t have even happened. He’s worked 3 years to get Wizkids to do a European Championship and he’s supported the community so much that I sincerely feel that he deserves a medal. He’s also one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.
This guy is the real MVP
Second, I would like to thank Nick Wahle. I knew my competition would be playtesting with and bouncing things off of some great players, so I needed my own great player to bounce things off of. Luckily I had a great player to turn to in Nick. Due to circumstances, we didn’t get to do any playtesting, but he gave me some very useful feedback on my team ideas.
Third, I would like to thank Chris. First of all for all the podcasts and other content he creates, but also for being the main inspiration for my team build. I had already set my mind on playing Iceman at the WEO as I’ve always loved rare Nova and Iceman is even better, but Chris’s Iceman build was an eye-opener. He had been playing it in the weekly Dice Fights to great success and his addition of Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor made certain match-ups a lot more favourable, so this became the base for my team. Chris was also one of my main motivations for not playing Shriek, and it’s honestly very liberating to throw away that crutch. A crutch that is very fragile when Magic Missiles are around anyway.
Fourth, I would like to thank my friend Bart, one of the last active players here in the Netherlands, for the last-minute playtesting and for lending me an extra Iceman die and 2 extra Yellow Lantern Ring dice, which proved very useful.
Now on to the tournament!
I arrived in Bratislava on Thursday afternoon, went to my AirBnB and then straight to iHRYsko. Walking into iHRYsko felt like coming home and it was hard to believe that it had been more than a year since the last time I was here; it felt like it had only been a week or so. Chris and Spug arrived in the evening and we went out for some tasty burgers.
On Friday, I showed up at iHRYsko at 10 am, but not everyone had gotten the memo that we’d already be starting the Dice Masters fun at that time, so it was just Marcin from Poland and me. We ended up talking about Dice Masters a lot, Peter Cernak showed us a great place for lunch and we played a game from iHRYsko’s impressive games library. Later, we were joined by some other players and then it was time for the first major side event: Pauper. A lot has already been said about the format and I don’t have much to add. I went 1-2 and had some of the worst rolls of my life in the third match against Xavi from Spain. So far, so bad. After Pauper we split up for a couple of drafts. I ended up doing a The Mighty Thor draft and that went a lot better than Pauper.
Then on Saturday it was time for the main event. As I said, Chris’ build was the main inspiration for my own, but I had made some adjustments that turned out to be crucial. Chris’ build already had quite a bit of control, but I decided to add some more; I added Green Devil Mask because it is evil but my only chance against Atlantis teams, and Black Widow: Agent, mostly to improve my odds in the Iceman mirror, but also to stop things that deal 1 damage, which ended up being very relevant.
My first match was against Dídac from Spain. My heart sank a little when I saw Nova Corps Uniform on the other side of the table, but upon inspection it turned out to be the common and not the uncommon. I checked with Dídac if that was the version he had meant to play (how’s that for killer instinct, Chris? :p) and indeed it was. His plan was to attach it to common Yuan-Ti to deal me a bunch of unblockable damage. I went full aggro with Iceman in this match, getting as much damage in as quickly as I could, and it worked out pretty well.
My second match was against Jozef, my first Iceman mirror. I had played against Jozef in the Global Escalation tournament for non-qualifiers at CE Nats last year, and he had caught me off guard with his promo Iron Fist, rendering my rare Nova and SR Batgirl significantly less effective. This year, the roles were reversed and I caught him off guard with Black Widow. Jozef had nobly opted not to play Shriek, but that did mean that the race wasn’t very fair from the start.
My third match was against Spug. Spug was running a slightly modified version of the winning Collector team that he had used at #notUKNats and I knew that I was in for a difficult time. Unfortunately, Spug had just played Chris in the previous round and playing 2 nearly identical teams in a row that were running Wonder Woman just wasn’t fun for him. In the end it came down to one turn where Spug rolled a Billy Club, a Danger Room and a Fist while having Collector active; he had a fifty/fifty shot at getting rid of my Wonder Woman and if he had succeeded, he would have killed me that turn. Luckily for me, Wonder Woman was very stubborn and stayed in the field. After that I could maintain control, although Songbird made my life pretty miserable. In the end I managed to win, but barely.
Next up was the Blorinator himself for another Iceman mirror. Another intimidating opponent, but I was already sure of top 8, so I could relax a bit. James had brought a very aggressive Iceman build, but we benefited equally from the Globals he had brought. Once again, Black Widow was a star, but most of this match was a Mexican stand-off; neither of us could afford to do much lest we open up a window for the other to do a lot of damage. BW tilted the balance in my favour, though, and I managed to snatch up a victory at the very last minute. This was the last round of Swiss and I was the only one that was on 4-0! I wouldn’t have dreamed of this at the start of the day.
After a small break we went on to play top 8. I faced Jozef again and the results were similar to our previous match, which meant I was going on to top 4 😀
After that it was the Global Escalation side event in which I scored a respectable 2-1-1, landing me in sixth place, if I recall correctly. Then a number of us went out for dinner, had a couple of beers and then went to bed. At least, that was the plan. Since I was staying just across the road from iHRYsko, I made the most minor of detours on my way to the airbnb to say hi to the players that were still there. Now, this is the moment that I would have probably blamed if I had ended up losing the next day; the players that were still there were Balázs and Peter from Hungary and they had brought some Palinka with them, and I decided to have one drink with them. One drink is rarely one drink, though, and before I knew it, it was 3 am and I had drunk maybe 5 shots of Palinka. This probably wasn’t a smart move, but it turned out pretty well for me. One of the reasons it may have not been the worst idea was that I already knew Balázs would be my opponent in top 4 the next day, and frankly I found him a little intimidating, but after sharing a couple of drinks, he wasn’t as intimidating, even though he’s still one of the greatest players out there. Another reason was that I felt much more relaxed the next day, though that may have just been the exhaustion.
Anyway, Sunday morning comes around and I’m in the frickin’ top 4 of the WEO, together with 3 of the greats. My match against Balázs was where Black Widow got to shine the brightest; she completely shut down Jubilee. Wonder Woman was super important too; she shut off Hope, Shriek and his Mimic ramp. On a fairly early turn, I had a level 3 Iceman and 3 Bolts while Balázs had an empty field and a Bishop coming up, so I decided to hit him hard while I had the chance, swinging in with Iceman and pinging him 3 times, taking Balázs down to 10. Once Bishop hit the field, it was difficult to get damage through, so I went for my Green Devil Mask. Once I managed to roll it through his Scarlet Witch, there was a pretty epic re-roll; his Bishop stayed, but about 4-5 Sidekicks and some other stuff went to used, messing his bag up something fierce. We went to time, but because we basically had each other locked down, I was ahead on life after turns, mainly because of the early Iceman swing, and I took the match. On to top 2! Is this real life?
Top 2 was a rematch against James. Another Mexican stand-off and an absolute chess match of a game. I think this was my fourth straight match to go to time and the make-or-break moment was in turn 4 of turns; James had KO’d my Iceman and I needed to roll him back with at least 4 bolts, and I did! I had won this wonderful tournament and I couldn’t be happier! After that we went straight into 10/10, but I couldn’t even think straight anymore, so that was a bit of a bust. I couldn’t care less at that point, though; I was basking in the afterglow of my greatest Dice Masters victory ever 🙂