Shadowfist Deck: Irrational Exuberance by Alex Bergmann

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Home > Decks > Decks: Irrational Exuberance (finalist at the 2005 National Championships, Part 2, at DexCon 8)
[posted 8 Aug 2005]

Originally posted to the Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 28 July 2005 by Alex Bergmann. Republished with permission. If you're a member of the group, you can read the original in the archive.

Alex Bergmann made it to the finals of the 2005 National Championships, Part 2, at DexCon 8 with this deck.


This deck snuck into the finals. It won only one of its four swiss style rounds in the preliminaries -- but other than the top 3 decks, no other deck did any better. Since the scoring awarded 1 point for a loss in a game which didn't time out and 0 points for a loss in a game which did (to encourage speedy play, apparently), this deck had a natural advantage: the Bull Market makes sure everyone gets into the game quickly. Accordingly, I earned a point in each of the other three games, and slid into the finals with a whopping 7 points.

However, if it hadn't been for a key misplay on my part, I'd have taken the final -- but more on that in the full report once I've put it together. For now, the decklist:

Irrational Exuberance v.6/2005
by Alex Bergmann (56 cards)

   3 Student of the Bear
   4 Pledged, The
   5 Test Subjects
   2 Loyalty Officer  (VERY useful; probably should have 1 more instead of Plasma Trooper)
   1 Plasma Trooper
   3 Arcanotechnician (Key!)
   1 Jeroen Becker (Here for hand size)
   1 Rapid Response Team (Here to refill my hand and occasionally useful 
                          as spot unexpected defense on other players' turns)
   1 Tunneler Drone  (Cancels those pesky sites when it attacks)
   1 Athena (Hand size; hitter in late game)
   1 Serket (With the power I generate, pretty much ignores interceptors)

   1 Arcanowave Pulse
   4 Neutron Bomb (Win preventers or play on your turn to clear a path for your hitter)
   5 Bull Market
   1 Realpolitik
   1 Secret Pact (Have yet to use this for power....)

   5 Sucker Rounds
   1 Shadowy Mentor (An anti-combo with Neutron Bomb; should leave the 
                     deck, and was not helpful in the tournament)
   1 MegaTank (expensive, but nice combo with Neutron Bomb; however, 
               unwise to play unless target is backed up by a Festival Circle)

   1 Supercomputer (card draw advantage)

   Non-Feng Shui SITES:
   3 Family Estate (I find my deck uses its power hungrily, so I added one of these, 
                    then regretted it in the final when all I needed was a character
                    in order to go for the win, and drew one of these instead. *sigh*)

   Feng Shui SITES:
   2 Cataract Gorge (In the past, a weakness of the deck was lack of Independence. 
                     In this tournament, these were of no use: all of the other sites 
                     made key plays at various points.)
   2 Festival Circle
   1 Hot Springs
   1 Petroglyphs
   1 Ring of Gates (more for offense than defense)
   2 Temple of Celestial Mercy
   1 Waterfall Sanctuary

I'm quite happy with this deck -- the first time I enter nationals, I end up in 3rd place with two legitimate shots at the win. The first was short: I played a site and said: "I just want to say I was in the national finals and made an attack for the win." Alex Poger thereupon smilingly Blade Palmed the site I had just played right back into my hand.... *sigh*.

Two things put this deck over the top: 1) it's designed to spend a lot of power, while most other decks aren't [this hurt me early on in the finals against Bruce, given the size of the hitters in his deck, because I had played him in an earlier round and knew an early Bull Market would only help him out], and 2) it has several cards which increase hand size, plus good recursion -- often key to getting the right combo or drawing another Bull Market. Since you give a ton of power to everyone in the game, it's a high-risk, high-reward strategy: if you mess it up, you can really suffer!

The key to getting rolling: pitch cards aggressively in the early game so you can get the three Ascended resources you need in order to play a Bull Market. Also, knowing *when* to play a Bull Market is key. It's usually just before your turn, but it can do wonders at other times, for example keeping a wounded Test Subject with Sucker Rounds from smoking as the player to your left spends power [timing is tricky on this], or giving opponents the power they need to use some stoppage against someone else (I love this, because they can't use it against me later!) And of course, the kicker is Sucker Rounds, which nobody expects....

Arcanowave Pulse is in the deck because a Secrets of Shaolin or Confucian Stability on a Sucker Round or, especially, a Bull Market just wreck this deck. In extremis, you can play the Pulse to stop a Wind on the Mountain or wayward Iron Monkey (especially if he's after the player to your left, whose power is important for your Sucker Rounds) -- and often draw the Confucian anyway. One thing's for certain: Hand players certainly won't expect you to have the card! (In a larger version of the deck, I play Abominable Wave and Cry of the Forgotten Ancestor as well; sure wish I had had those in the final!).

[writeup by Alex Bergmann]

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