Shadowfist Tournament Report: GenCon 2009

Home | Site Map | Card Lists and Database | Decks | Strategy Articles | Basics for Newbies | Player's Help | Tournament Stuff
FAQ | Sets and Collector's Info | Design Notes | Story | Fun Stuff | Online Play | Shadowfist Links | Artist Links

Home > Tournaments > Reports > GenCon 2009
[posted 17 Jan 2010; updated 10 June 2010]

Shadowfist Games ran a bunch of tournaments at GenCon 2009 in Indianapolis, August 13-16, 2009. Thanks to Daniel Griego for posting the winner's list on!

"World Championship" Final Brawl (multiplayer, constructed): John Merrill [decklist]

Exclusive Invitational (multiplayer, constructed)

Willow Palecek [decklist]

Who's the Big Man Now? (dueling, constructed):

James Deto [decklist]

Whirlpool of Blood (sealed, drafting):

David Kempe

Comrades in Arms (multiplayer, constructed, theme deck):

Daniel Griego [decklist]

The New Heroes (multiplayer, constructed, only Shadowfist Games cards allowed):

Jim Sensenbrenner [decklist]

Faction Wars (multiplayer, constructed, single faction):

Braz King [decklist]

Who Wants Some? (variant, convention-long): David Kempe

Two reports and two pictorials for you:

Photos from Braz King and more photos from Willow Palecek
Report from Jim Sensenbrenner
Report from Daniel Griego

GenCon 2009 report
by Jim Sensenbrenner

Originally posted to the Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 19 Aug 2009 by Jim Sensenbrenner. Republished with permission. If you're a member, read the original in the archives. Jim also posted a slightly improved version on his blog.

Gen Con 2009

End of June

I turn forty, and for a present my wife gives me a 4-Day badge to Gen Con. Awesome! Now I scramble for a place to stay, a ride, and what events I want to participate in. I send out some e-mails and find that Tony, an old college friend, still lives in the northern burbs of Indianapolis and is welcoming people to crash at his place for the con. Sweet I now have a room, and it's free. Driving, however, doesn't work out with anyone so I'll be doing this alone. I can handle this. It's only 6 hours by avoiding Chicago. Must remember to pack some music. For events, I sign up for the draft, the Final Brawl, and Faction Wars. I buy generic tickets to cover the other events if I decide to play in them. I want to play in the New Heroes if I can make it to the con on time. I'm ambivalent about dueling, and I don't want to be able to play in Comrades in Arms, as with any luck, I'll be in the Final Brawl finals at that time.

I set up some game times with Willow and the other Madison gamers to try some deck concepts. Willow is upset because just a couple days earlier she had shown me her deck lists for the two decks most likely to be played at the con. I tell her it was part of my master plan to beat her. MWAH-HA-HA-HA!!!

July and Early August

We get together and play some games. I decide on an Ascended/Purist deck for New Heroes. I had been thinking Hand, but I couldn't get past that the biggest Hand characters had only 6 Fighting. For the Final Brawl, I am waffling between a Manchu deck and a Hopping Vampire deck. Both have done well in three-player, but I question their ability to push through to win four-player games. Willow recommends the vampires. In the end I decide to build something complete new that has been rattling around in the back of my mind for awhile - Lotus Stealth. For CiA and Faction Wars, I will just play a deck from what I have available.

Dueling is a format that I rarely play, and when I do, it is not with a deck that is specifically for dueling. Willow and I ended up playing some duels at our last play test meeting. I was running a Swarm of Teeth / Donner Lake deck against her Punchy Hand deck that she was going to play in the Final Brawl. This one game inspired me to make an Architect dueling deck for Gen Con. I'm set for decks.

Thursday, August 13

I get up at 3:50am so I can get on the road before 4:30. With a six hour drive, 30 minutes for stops, and an hour time zone change, this should get me to Indianapolis with an hour to spare before the New Heroes event. Surprisingly, everything goes to plan and I'm walking up to the convention center right at noon. I panic briefly when I see the line of people wrapped half way around the block for registration. I'm told it's about a 2-hour line. Fortunately, it's for the poor souls who didn't preregister. I whip out my badge and walk quickly up to the booth for a badge holder and a bag of swag, and two minutes latter, I'm headed for the exhibitor hall.

After wandering around a bit, I head to the CCG area, where I would spend most of the next three and half days. Here I meet Daniel Griego, Braz King, Peter "Red" Trudell, and others whom I have only known through e-mails and the discussion groups. I pull out my New Heroes deck "Same as the Old Boss", and people comment on the Revised (3rd) edition Magic box it's stored in. I'm expecting to see Jammers, Syndicate, Lotus, and Monarchs and am not disappointed. The only surprise was one Dragon deck. When the dust settles five rounds later, I've won my first Gen Con constructed Shadowfist event! I tried taking some notes as to the game play, but looking at them now, they are nearly worthless.

After that, I played some Who Wants Some Games with various people while the invitational tournament was played. Congratulations to Willow who won by defeating some of the best Shadowfist players in the world [decklist]. I left the convention hall around midnight. Ninety minutes and much cursing later, I finally found my way to Tony's house for the night. Damn Mapquest! Future trips only took thirty minutes like they were supposed to.

Friday August 14

After a few hours sleep, I rode back to the con with Jason, a friend from college, and one of his friends. Jason was going early for a 12-hour Civilization event, so I had some time to kill before the Whirlpool of Blood. I went to the Rio Grande room and demoed Dominion. Seemed like a fun game, with a lot of replay value, but it went so fast I did not get a good grasp on strategy.

I show up for Whirlpool ready to have some fun. There are 16(?) players. We draft in groups of 4. The card stock is one booster each of CS, SSG, TFT, 7M, DF, N2, TW, and FP. As soon as I see the card pool I decide to go mono Lotus if possible. I remember a sick mono Lotus deck Jan Malina drafted at my first Gen Con playing Shadowfist. Most of it came from Throne Wars, and I hope to have similar luck. I don't get close to Jan's deck, but I'm not disappointed. My hitters include: Kong Jun She, Evil Twin, Bloody Herd, Huichen Kan, and Reverend Adam Wither. It's a little light, but with a Twelve Thousand Skulls, and a Demon Tank, I think I can build a hitter. I also throw in a Plasma Trooper and a Rebel Consumer for extra beef. It turned out that the support characters: Purist Sorcerer and Yuen Sheng were key to winning. Yuen Sheng stopped the denial to allow my winning attacks to get through, and Purist Sorcerer grabbed control of a Plasma Trooper to get the Fighting needed. I win my first two rounds. At some point in here, Braz has started to call me The Beast, because of the smackdown I've been handing out. The third round, I play against Willow for the first time at the con. The third player has not played in a long time and it shows. I take the first site and am feeling overconfident. I seize it thinking the game will be over soon. Either I will win, or Willow will and I'll have enough points to win the event. Turns out I was wrong. Willow ends up winning the game and knocks me down far enough that I come in second to David Kempe for the tournament by 1 game point. Stupid me!

A quick dinner break, then it's time for dueling. I have no expectations going into this other than to try to learn more about dueling. I have my Architect denial deck. There are eight players. Everyone will play everyone else and the top four will go into a single elimination final. Surprisingly, I win my first 4 games, including beating Daniel Griego's Origins winning dueling deck. Then I meet the stiff competition and drop the last three games. It turns out that I get the number four seed to the finals. The other three finalists are all the players who defeated me in the round robin. I am tired (dueling is mentally exhausting for me) and sitting down to face the number one seed: Cavebear. We had just played in the round robin, and he had beaten me soundly with a Buffalo Soldier / Outlaw Bikers / Battle-matic deck. I feel like conceding before the game starts, but that would not be good form. Surprisingly all the luck is flowing my way, and I win! Holy Crap! I'm in the final!

James Deto's Seven Masters deck beat Kempe's Project Apocalypse deck in the other half of the semi-finals. So James and I square off. His deck preys on opponents making impulsive attacks. My deck only attacks when necessary. Unfortunately, he also has a lot of healing effects, and once Li Mao hits the board with immunity to Architect events, I'm in trouble. I am reduced to playing site destruction and trying to hold him off until he decks. It works for a while, but not nearly long enough. James wins the title. Congratulations. Second place is far better than I expected.

So I leave the con with my friends and get back out to the 'burbs in time for the midnight brat cookout Tony is putting on. I see Homey and Aber are there with some other people. We stay up past 2:00 eating, drinking, and reminiscing. At that point, I go to bed. Tony, Jason, Kevin, and John stay up to play a new game "Word on the Street".

Saturday, August 15

I head down to the con alone, as everyone else is still asleep. This is the big day, the World Championship Final Brawl. I've been psyching myself up for this for a long time. I feel that since Willow was able to make it to the finals the last two years (and win it once), I should have a chance to make it to the finals if I play well. I'm playing my new Lotus Stealth deck. First round against James Deto and Daniel Griego starts OK. I get lots of magic resources and Reverend Adam Wither comes out with a Lunar Sword. Daniel convinces James that Wither has to go at all costs. James commits everything to the cause and looses all of his characters because of it. This leaves an open board for Daniel, who plays the Ivory Goddess, and takes a site of mine for the win. I worry that the Reverend might be problematic. If he continues to draw this much hate, I'm in trouble. The second round was very fast. All characters were turned, Reverend Wither was on the board again. He attacked an unrevealed site, which was an Eagle Mountain. I played my fourth site, LaGrange Four, and attacked again for the win. Third round, I played Willow and Chris Tucker. I jumped to a quick lead and was able to win even though Willow almost failed my final attack by convincing me to attack Chris rather than her. I have no recollection now of the fourth round, but I did not win. This left me in fifth place and just missing the finals. Oh well.

Now I'll play in the Comrades in Arms. I decide to play a fun deck for this. I'm burned out being ultracompetitive. I pull out my 100 Demons deck. It is a CiA & 100 Names deck. I think I end up with one win and one time out win, but it is fun anyway. The most memorable event during the tournament is the fire alarm half way through. The whole building has to be evacuated for about a half hour. It turns out one of the pizza ovens had caught on fire. After the event, I find Homey, drive him to his hotel, and go back to Tony's.. Its an early night and I'm in bed by 1:00.

Sunday, August 16

Last day of the con and all I have on the schedule is Faction Wars. I pack up my stuff and head to the con. I still have to pick my deck for this event. I consider my ReAscended deck, my Manchu deck, or even the Lotus Stealth deck I played in the Final Brawl. When I get there, there will be 10 players for this. My Manchu deck works well in three-player and does not usually take a lot of effort to run, so I'll go with this. First round, I end up in the four-player game. It goes to time. Stupid Jammer site destruction. I miss being able to play a FSS on my turn by about 10 seconds, which would have tied me for the lead. Oh well. Second round, I end up in the four-player game again. This again goes to time, but this time, I do tie for the win. I am really hating Jammers at this point. The third round I am finally in a three player game, but it is with Red and James. Red is playing a Jammer deck that destroys its own sites, and James is playing his 7 Masters dueling deck. Here are two decks that are really hard to effectively attack, and I have my hyperaggressive Manchu deck. I get a suboptimum start and decide I have to throw everything out there if I want a chance. If I fail, at least this game will not go to time. I fail. I also stop Red from taking my LaGrange Four because it looks like he could go for the win if he seizes it and attacks again. His second attack was likely to fail because James had denial in his hand, so I should have let him take. James then plays a site and superleaps Li Mao at LaGrange Four and takes it for the win. Sorry, Red. At this point, I'm burned out and am facing the 6 hour drive home. I check with Daniel. There is no way I can place in this event with one round left. So I ask if it would be OK to bow out. He approves. I say my goodbyes, hit the dealer room quickly, and then drive off into the sunset on the way home to Wisconsin. And if I never see another Cyborg Mermaid driving a Steam-Powered Tricycle, it will be too soon.

Decklists to follow. [decklists linked above - ed.]

The Beast

back to top

GenCon 2009 report
by Daniel Griego

Originally posted to the Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 21 Aug 2009 by Daniel Griego. Republished with permission. If you're a member, read the original in the archives.

Many thanks to Jim for his report! Here's a supplemental one.

The first event of the convention was the reasonably well-attended New Heroes tournament featuring nine competitors playing three-player games. Time was certainly on our side for this event, as we managed to whip through four rounds with more than two hours left in the schedule block. Pushing into a fifth swiss round and no final, top points went to Jim Sensenbrenner [decklist], who would go on be called "The Beast" for the remainder of the convention. I took second place and James Deto earned third.

With New Heroes ending almost an hour early, the nine redoubtable players of the Exclusive Invitational took a dinner break and regrouped at 8:00 pm for the first-ever Tournament of Champions (there are a number of working titles for this event, we'll be settled on one for sure by next year). Nine warriors came, but only one walked away from the three preliminary rounds and one final that kept every up past midnight. To Willow Palecek went the spoils (and a spiffy new plaque!) [decklist]. Peter Trudell and Peter Shah made up the other two finalists.

Friday morning started off at 10 am with the Whirlpool of Blood event. For the first time in years, the draft featured eight packs of unique sets; that is, no duplicates of any given expansion. The sets included Critical Shift, Shurikens and Six Guns, Two-Fisted Tales, Seven Masters, Dark Future, Netherworld 2, Throne War and Flashpoint. With the highest turnout of any Shadowfist event for the weekend, this tournament brought together 16 players in awesome drafting glory. Veteran draft winner David Kempe took home top honors, along with an uncut sheet of cards. Jim Sensenbrenner, after narrowly missing the lead in points, placed second and I placed third.

The World Championship Dueling Tournament was next and as usual, tensions ran high. Future conventions would do well to consider eliminating this event for the sake of players with heart conditions. With eight players competing, we engaged in a round-robin format of seven rounds wherein all players play all other players. Following the prelims, Cavebear, Jim Sensenbrenner, David Kempe and James Deto threw down in two rounds of finals. When the dust settled, James Deto emerged victorious [decklist] with Jim Sensenbrenner earning another runner-up placement. James played a reactionary Seven Masters deck and Jim played an Architect speed deck chock full of character elimination.

The following morning, the World Championship Final Brawl kicked off with an awesome 15 players. Despite three-player games, the four preliminary rounds went the limit in time consumption. After a short break, the top four players went on to the traditional, final epic game. Some hours later, John Merrill triumphed over Michael Lasinski, Peter Shah and Joey Ferreira. John won with a refined Monarch deck he's been honing for ages into a lethal weapon of destruction. [decklist]

The Comrades in Arms tournament started shortly after the Final Brawl Final (there must be a better way to say that), but after roughly 80,000 hours of playing Shadowfist, the four finalists from the Final Brawl bowed out of the evening event. Despite losing these great players, we still had 12 amazing players for Comrades in Arms. The four-round swiss tournament ended with my only event win of the convention with a Monarch/Hand "Secret" deck. Fellow Texan Jon Wengler placed second and James Deto took third.

The final event of the weekend was the much anticipated "Faction Wars," wherein the winning faction will play a significant role in the next storyline. James Deto and his Seven Masters were on the fast track for an unexpected critical shift, but Braz King and his Guiding Hand had a last-minute change of heart and snatched up a new power in the world, along with the tournament win! Joey Ferreira rounded out the top three.

The weekend-long "Who Wants Some?" had a wonderful revival with an outstanding 13 players signed up throughout the convention. The player with the most wins took home an uncut card sheet. [David Kempe - ed.]

It was a great convention and many great faces, old and new, were around to throw down. Many thanks to all players who made it out for GenCon 2009! We're looking forward to another great year of tournaments and events as Shadowfist continues to grow!

Daniel Griego
Inner Kingdom Games

back to top

Legal Stuff | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | About Me | Contact Me