Shadowfist Tournament Report: GenCon 1997

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Home > Tournaments > Reports > GenCon 1997
[posted 16 Apr 2003; updated 13 Dec 2003]

Daedalus sponsored four tournaments at GenCon 1997. The winners were:

"National Championship" (multiplayer, constructed): Joshua Kronengold [decklist]

Final Brawl (multiplayer, constructed):

Joseph Livotte [decklist]

Sealed deck:

Yuit Sum Vong

Theme deck (multiplayer, constructed):

Mike Nickoloff [decklist]

Several reports for you from GenCon 1997, the last convention supported or attended by Daedalus. Special thanks to Andrew Davidson for his permission (by email, 11 Jan 2003) to republish his detailed reports and photos. Thanks Andrew!

GenCon 1997 report by Stefan Vincent, originally posted to the SoCal Shadowfist mailing list in August 1997.

GenCon 1997 Sealed Deck by Andrew Davidson. Originally posted to on Aug.8, 1997, use a newsreader or Google to read the original if you like.

GenCon 1997 Theme Deck by Andrew Davidson. Construced multiplayer event where at least 23 cards in your deck had to share a designator (what later came to be called "Comrades in Arms" format). Originally posted to on Aug.13, 1997, use a newsreader or Google to read the original if you like. Mike's winning decklist is here.

GenCon 1997 Final Brawl by Andrew Davidson. Constructed multiplayer event that was the last-chance qualifier for the National Championships. Originally posted to on Sep.16, 1997, use a newsreader or Google to read the original if you like.

GenCon 1997 National Championships by Andrew Davidson. Originally posted to on Oct.3, 1997, use a newsreader or Google to read the original if you like. Joshua's winning decklist is here.

GenCon 1997 report by Stefan Vincent

This report is based on a writeup I sent out to the Southern California Shadowfist mailing list in August 1997. I have added a bit to it, to put some of the comments in better context for those of you who weren't on the mailing list, and fill in some names I didn't know at the time, although Andrew's report is still much more complete in that regard :)

Got back from GenCon today with less than good news for everyone waiting for Throne Wars - it's not ready yet (I'm sure that shocks you). Jose had only a single proof run of the art, with no card text, on display at the Daedalus booth. For you Feng Shui players, he did have Thorns of the Lotus, and apparently Ronin Publishing has licensed the rights to do the Guiding Hand sourcebook "Blood of the Valiant" and plans to get it out by Christmas.

In the Theme Deck tournament on Friday, Matt Widmann played the challenging Guiding Hand/Dragons "Martial Artist" theme, Mike Nickoloff went with the Ascended Hood deck, and I played a mostly Thunder Knight deck (because, as you know, there's no limit to the number of Thunder Knights in your deck...). Lissa Sabia was busy trying to win the On The Edge "World Championship" and her final ran over the start time for the Theme tournament, but her Pledged deck made an appearance anyway - played by Jason Rownd, a local Milwaukee-an in need of a theme deck. There were about 15 people playing. The person running the tournament hadn't run one before, so it was a bit unorganized (he left before the final round so he could get into another game...) but despite that after three rounds of play Matt and I were eliminated and Mike was in the final against a Triumvirate deck played by Andrew Davidson of England and another deck I didn't see (we were already busy playing a game with some other Losers). Mike got the win with the help of Luis Camacho! Andrew also posted a tournament report to the newsgroup.

The Final Brawl Tournament on Saturday was better attended, with something around 24 people playing. Andrew Davidson ran this tournament, using "London Rules" with a point-based system for advancement. Mike was playing a Lotus/Dragon Bronze Sentinel deck, I was playing Hand/Monarchs Rigorous Discipline, and Matt was playing his all Dragons Smack Back Yak Attack deck (Marisol/ Yak Enforcer/ Final Brawl/ Booby Trap). Lissa was busy outside the con with her local cousins, so her Ascended deck went unused. Mike and I were eliminated, but Matt played the final against an Architects Dangerous Experiment deck and another deck that I didn't see. He was doing well until he forgot to cancel a DE with a Hacker, and then it all went downhill.... The vast majority of the decks were partial or full Dragons, with Architects running a close second (all of my games had at least one player doing the Dragons/Architects Vivisector + Golden Comeback thing). Very few Ascended players - only two or three decks using Ascended, and none of those pure Ascended. I was also surprised to see several 5-7 faction decks relying on Orange Senshi Chamber and Peacock Summit. Who knew?

The "National Championships" tournament on Sunday had 12 players; the four of us from LA, Andrew and Yuit Sum Vong from England, two folk from Florida, and 3 folk from New York (the other guy I didn't play; I think he was from New York too but I'm probably wrong). Matt was playing Smack Back Yak again, I still had the Monarchs/Hand going, Lissa was playing her no-rares Ascended deck, and Mike was now playing an Architects Dangerous Experiment deck of his own. Matt won his first two games solidly. Lissa lost her first two games. I lost my first and won the second, and Mike had also won a game. In the third round, all four of us were seated together—since Matt was in front of the tournament at that point (no one else had two wins), we worked him hard. Lissa won that game. Meanwhile, one of the New York folk (Josh Kronengold, playing straight Dragons) had won a game and gotten another win according to tiebreaker rules when time was called, and a second (Jan, playing another Peacock Summit deck) had gotten two wins in tiebreaker. The fourth place was a dead tie between me and Lissa. Steve Fritz was running the tournament for Jose; he suggested we play a five-player game for the final. Instead, Lissa and I elected to bow out and let only those folk who had two wins play a three-player game. Matt had a bad starting draw, and says that Jan attacked him in a very odd play that damaged his Drug Lab, which allowed Josh to easily seize the Lab on the next turn and quickly build to an unstoppable position. Matt can tell you all about it in glorious detail... So the final result was Josh first, Jan second, Matt third, Lissa fourth, me fifth, and Mike seventh. Prizes? Well, sort of. The winners got some Netherworld and Limited Ed. boosters. Josh also got a copy of Feng Shui autographed by John Woo. Nothing like the nifty solid metal Ascended medallion from last year...

We also confirmed that the Chapter 11 bankruptcy rumors about Daedalus are true; Jose has filed for protection from creditors and will continue operations in the meantime. What that means for Throne Wars, I don't know...

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GenCon 1997 Sealed Deck tournament report by Andrew Davidson

Originally posted to on 8 Aug 1997. Republished with permission.

The event was ably organised by Tom Luongo. It was in a semi-swiss style to ensure a four player final - a pure double-elimination event could have resulted in an awkward two-player conclusion.

Each player started with a sealed starter - I got a dream starter with lots of sites and Sacred Heart Hospital/City Square as the rares - worth playing just for those alone. After going through that, the players were grouped into 5/6 for a Flashpoint Booster draft - take a card and pass the rest to your left. This was very interesting - I eventually ended up with

2 Flying Windmill Kick
1 Scrappy Kid
1 Plasma Trooper
1 Alchemist's Lair
1 Portal Jockey
1 Bzzzt
1 Disinformation Packet

and used all except the Jockey and the Lair. These cards definitely gave one the punch-through needed for Sealed Deck - I particularly liked the Plasma Trooper/FWK/Hospital combo.

I won the tie-break semi-final against Ken Kurpiel, Tim Gereau and Dan Deerwester to see who took the last spot in the final. The finalists were:

Andrew Davidson
Brad Dubord
Ron Kilby
Yuit Sum Vong

I made an early attempt to steal a win with an Instrument of the Hand and a concealed Flying Windmill Kick but this was prudently shot down by the others. After that the game locked up - I had a hand full of big events but no characters while the other three massed armies of foundation characters. Ron eventually broke the logjam and opened up the game. After a bit more skirmishing, Yuit made a big play for the win with a massed assault. All her weenies were taken out by interceptors and her big hitters - the two $10,000 Men - were taken out by City Square and Robust Feng Shui. Things looked bad but, in her typical style, Yuit paused for effect and then brought out her ace in the hole - the independent Gorilla Fighter. She had been hoarding him for some time - aggressive discarding is a mistake in Sealed Deck - and he now did the business for her - taking Ron's Mountain Retreat for the win.

Yuit was a very worthy winner with four straight wins - no-one else came close to this record. Details of her winning deck follow.


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GenCon 1997 Theme Deck tournament report by Andrew Davidson

Originally posted to on 13 Aug 1997. Republished with permission.

After the Sealed Deck tournament on day 1 of Gencon, the Theme Deck tournament took place on day 2. The extra construction rule for this was that each deck had to contain at least 23 cards with a common designator. Some folk had the idea that Netherworld was not a valid designator for this purpose but this was not so. The players and their themes were:

Andrew Davidson Netherworld/Triumvirate
Charlotte Henkle Abomination
Dan Deerwester Demon
David Deerwester Shaolin
Jason Rownd Pledged
Jeff Stolt Thunder
Joshua Kronengold Netherworld
Ken Kurpiel Fire
Kevin Masterson Thunder
Kirk O'Brien Cop
Matt Widmann Martial
Michael Nickoloff Hood
Stefan Vincent Thunder
Yuit Sum Vong Fire

Half the decks were predominantly Four Monarchs and Thunder was the most popular theme. Monarchs are certainly a good choice for a theme tournament - they can use both Discerning Fire and the best counter to it - Brain Fire. The trouble is that Monarch decks are mostly Denial/Soldiers/State-tricks and without the Dragons' Final Brawls or Architects' Neutron Bombs, the Monarch-rich games tended to stalemate.

This gave the organiser, Ron Kilby, a problem as the tournament format was double-elimination. The time-limit tie-breaks which had been announced were: first - burnt-for-victory, second - feng shui sites. The additional Daedalus tie-breaks were unfamiliar to most of the players and so Ron ruled that they would not be used to break tied-games. The result was that an extra round was required to get enough eliminations to determine the final.

My Triumvirate deck was a 166 card monster - deliberately chosen as a foreign curiosity to entertain the natives. I even added a few extra cards before the first game to general amusement. The first game broke well for me though and first a Queen and then a King stomped all over the others to give me a quick win. I held my own in the games that followed and so made the cut for the final.

The finalists were:

Andrew Davidson Toccata & Fugue: Royal Trumps
Michael Nickoloff West-side Story
Ken Kurpiel (Fire)

Unfortunately, I didn't get a listing of Ken's deck but the other two are listed here. I can guess what Ken's deck is like though, as Yuit was playing a Fire deck too. The great thing about a Fire deck is that you can play:

5 Brain Fire
5 Discerning Fire
5 Shattering Fire

as the bulk of your theme cards and none of these are vulnerable to Discerning Fire as they are all events.

I was worried that a three-player game might be too fast for me but everyone seemed to start slowly and it was Ken who bore the brunt of the early skirmishing. My site structure developed well and as we reached the middle game I had eight sites, including a Fox Pass, Whirlpool and Turtle Beach and four edges - Molten Heart, Soul Maze, Counterfeit Heart and Art of War. Generating 10 power a turn, things were looking good for me as I was able to fend off the many attacks on my extended power base.

Ken made a big play with the Queen of Darkness but neglected to notice my Soul Maze and she came to an unhappy end as my Darkness Priestess toasted her. Unfortunately this meant that Ken had shot his bolt and I had to cope with Mike's horde of Hoods by myself. Mike made a great play with We Know Where You Live which put a stack of damage on me, gave him 4 power and allowed him to recce my hand. Knowing that I had a Killing Rain in hand was vital as I was holding this to take out my damaged front-row Whirlpool which had been the target of many attacks. After I used up my denial sites on his early attacks, he then brought out Luis Camacho (9 fighting) who went unerringly for my turned Fox Pass to win.

In the post-mortem, we found that Ken had a Discerning Fire in hand but with, only 1 power, was unable to play it. I had a pair of Queens coming up next turn and would have been able to play them both. Ah, what might have been ...

Still, there is no question that the best man won as both Ken and I made slips while Mike seemed very cool and deadly. I'm not so sure about his deck - I have never thought too much of the Hoods - but one can't argue with success.

So, congratulations to Mike. Thanks too to Ron Kilby for running the event and to Daedalus for sponsoring it.


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GenCon 1997 Final Brawl (Last-Chance Qualifier) report by Andrew Davidson

Originally posted to on 16 Sep 1997. Republished with permission.


After the Sealed Deck tournament on Day 1 and the Theme deck tournament on Day 2, the action stepped up with a Final Brawl tournament on Day 3. It was my honour to be running this event and the first task was to shepherd all the players to the area for the event - you needed the program book's errata sheet to find the right location - just like a game. Still, despite this, we had a good turnout of 28 players - the biggest Shadowfist tournament I've ever attended.

This event was the final qualifier for the Nationals and so it was important to have a good ranking system for the players. After some thought, I used a swiss-style system which has worked well at all-day events back in the UK. Each game was worth 1 point per player plus 1 point for a win inside the distance. This meant that a standard 4-player win was worth 5 points to the winner and the losers got nothing. If the game was timed-out, then the points would be split between the leader(s) as assessed by the formula: feng shui sites + (2 * burnt for victory). E.g. a game might be scored:

Feng shui
Tie-break points
Tourney points















Note that fractional points are dropped - 4 into 3 gives 1 point each.

The benefits of this system are:

I allowed a time-limit of about 75 minutes per game and when time was up, play stopped immediately - no final showers of killing rain or orbital lasers. This time limit seemed about right - 20 out of 25 games finished inside the distance.

The overall winner was the person with the most points. I wanted to avoid repeat match-ups and so winners were separated until the final round when the scoreless players were out of contention. The four rounds went as follows. The number at the start of each line is the points scored by the winning player.

Round 1

2: Lance Guth &
2: Blair Lafferty beat Michael Nickeloff, Jim Ericson
5: Damon Schereck beat Robert Roberts, Kirk O'Brien, Charlotte Henkle
5: Joseph Livotte beat Ray Brown, Kevin Masterson, Stefan Vincent
5: Ken Kurpiel beat Janifer Cheng, Dan Deerwester, David Deerwester
5: Matt Widmann beat Brian Carty, Brett King, Jeff Williamson
4: Robert McNulty beat Matt Miller, John Rogers
5: Yuit Vong beat Michael Jackson, Danny Cruz, Jason Rownd

Round 2

5: Damon Schereck beat Danny Cruz, Michael Nickoloff, Brett King
5: Jeff Williams beat Blair Lafferty, Charlotte Henkle, Jason Rownd
5: John Rogers beat Dan Deerwester, Yuit Vong, Stefan Vincent
5: Joseph Livote beat Michael Jackson, Robert Roberts, Brian Carty
5: Lance Guth beat Janifer Cheng, Kevin Masterson, Robert McNulty
5: Matt Miller beat Ray Brown, Kirk O'Brien, Ken Kurpiel
5: Matt Widmann beat David Deerwester, Jim Ericson, David Mitchell

Round 3

5: Brett King beat Dan Deerwester, Robert Roberts, Matt Miller
5: Stefan Vincent beat Jeff Williams, Lance Guth, Michael Jackson
2: Ray Brown &
2: Yuit Vong beat Janifer Cheng, Jim Ericson
4: Jason Rownd beat David Deerwester, Robert McNulty,Damon Schereck
4: Brian Carty beat Ken Kurpiel, Michael Nickoloff
5: Matt Widmann beat John Rogers, Kevin Masterson, Charlotte Henkle
5: Joseph Livote beat Kirk O'Brien, Danny Cruz, Blair Lafferty

Round 4

4: Joseph Livotte beat Matt Widmann, Damon Scheckel
5: Robert McNulty beat Brett King, Jeff Williams, John Rogers
4: Ken Kurpiel beat Yuit Vong, Lance Guth, Ray Brown
4: Brian Carty beat Matt Miller, Jason Rownd, Stefan Vincent

It's a shame that two of the games in the final round went to the time limit and so were decided by the tie-break. I did allow 80 minutes for this round but I think the players were especially cautious at this stage.

The top table was a three player game. Two of the players were undefeated - Joseph Livotte and Matt Widmann. I have full details of both of their decks and they are published in accompanying articles. Unfortunately, I didn't get a close look at Damon Schereck's deck but it appeared to be a very tight DE deck - to my London eye it seemed to have hardly any cards in it. I didn't see much of the action - the game seemed to be over fairly quickly and so must have been a straightforward, brutal affair. The only detail I recall was some banter about Joseph's use of Bzzzt! This is not often seen and Matt didn't realise until too late that he could Hack this card. I'm not sure that this was significant though - perhaps one of the participants can tell us more. [Joseph's deck list is here]

The overall standard of play seemed to be quite high - there were very few questions about the rules. There were a couple of inexperienced players who exclaimed that they had learnt a lot about the game and they seemed fairly happy with the experience.

At the end I was mainly concerned to get details of all the players and their decks and the results are presented in this final scoreboard (use fixed pitch to view this). The Dragons were easily the most popular faction. They and the Architects nearly monopolised the qualifying decks. Various players took note of this for the following day... 

Scoreboard & decks

Joseph Livotte 5 5 5 4 = 19 ..F.... Trinity
Matt Widmann 5 5 5 0 = 15 .D..... Smack Back, Yak Attack
Damon Schereck 5 5 0 0 = 10 ..F.... Dangerous Experiment
Ken Kurpiel 5 0 0 4 = 9 .D..... Independence
Robert McNulty 4 0 0 5 = 9 .D...J.  
Brian Carty 0 0 4 4 = 8 .DF.... Godzilla + ITT degree
Lance Guth 2 5 0 0 = 7 .DF....  
Yuit Sum Vong 5 0 2 0 = 7 .DF.... Butch
- - - - qualifying threshold - - - -
Brett King 0 0 5 0 = 5 .D.H... Drunken Style
Jeff Williamson 0 5 0 0 = 5 ADFHLJM XY Gambit
John Rogers 0 5 0 0 = 5 .D....M  
Matt Miller 0 5 0 0 = 5 ADFHLJM Feast of Souls
Stefan Vincent 0 0 5 0 = 5 ...H..M Displaced Chicks
Jason Rownd 0 0 4 0 = 4 ..F...M  
Blair Lafferty 2 0 0 - = 2 ..FH... Chi
Ray Brown 0 0 2 0 = 2 ADFHLJM Supercomputer
Charlotte Henkle 0 0 0 - = 0 AD.....  
Danny Cruz 0 0 0 - = 0 A..H...  
Dan Deerwester 0 0 0 - = 0 .D..... Comrade in Arms
David Deerwester 0 0 0 - = 0 ...H...  
David Mitchell 0 0 - - = 0 ..F....  
Janifer Cheng 0 0 0 - = 0 .DFHLJM Melting Pot
Jim Ericson 0 0 0 - = 0 .D..... Guns
Kevin Masterson 0 0 0 - = 0 .D..L..  
Kirkpatrick O'Brien 0 0 0 - = 0 .D.H... Drunken Stance
Michael Jackson 0 0 0 - = 0 ....L.. Assassins
Michael Nickoloff 0 0 0 - = 0 .D..L.. Bronze Sentinel
Robert T. Roberts 0 0 0 - = 0 .D..... John Woo's a Wuss!

Faction popularity
14 Dragon
8 Architects of the Flesh
6 Guiding Hand
4 Peacock (all factions)
3 Four Monarchs
2 Ascended
2 Eaters of Lotus
1 Jammers

So, congratulations to Joseph and the other high ranking players. Thanks to Daedalus for their support - Joseph was particularly pleased to get a Ting Ting miniature as a trophy. And thanks too to all the other players for supporting the event - better luck next year.

So, at this stage, the tourney score was one each to London, LA and NYC - which city would triumph on the final day ...?


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GenCon 1997 National Championship report by Andrew Davidson

Originally posted to on 3 Oct 1997. Republished with permission.


The last day of Gencon brought the highlight of the 1997 Shadowfist season - the US National tournament. The qualification requirement made for a lower number of participants than on the previous day - 12 players. To control these top players, the event was officiated by top umpire, Steve Fritz - the organiser of regular events at Neutral Ground and so used to controlling the most ornery of prima donnas. Talking of which, there was a rumour that Dennis Heffernan would be appearing for this event on the last day. Unfortunately, this was not to be but there were several others to carry the flag for the East Coast.

The participants and their decks were:

Andrew Davidson London, UK A.FH... Tickertape
Brian Carty ? .D.H... ?
Danny Cruz New York A..H... You'll be sorry...
Janifer Cheng New York .DFHLJM Melting Pot
Joseph Livotte New York ..F.... Trinity
Joshua Kronengold New York .D..... Walk Softly
Lissa Sabia Los Angeles A...... I'm Huge
Matt Widmann Los Angeles .D..... Smack Back,Yak Attack
Michael Nickoloff Los Angeles ..F.L.. Dangerous Experiment
Stefan Vincent Los Angeles ...H..M Displaced Chicks
Tom Luongo Gainesville, FL ...H.J. ?
Yuit Sum Vong London, UK .DF.... Butch

Faction popularity
4 Dragon
4 Architects of the Flesh
4 Guiding Hand
3 Ascended
1 All factions (aka Peacock)
1 Eaters of Lotus
1 Four Monarchs
1 Jammers

Being the last day, time was short and Steve set a limit of 45 minutes for each game. This was rather tight and several games were timed out and decided by a tie-break. The rules used for these were those published by Daedalus (version 1.0) - the first tie-break was feng shui sites + feng shui sites burnt for victory. The tie-break system was also used to determine places in each game but, happily, these were not needed to establish the finalists.

The Architects had been very popular and successful on the previous day, besting the Dragons in the final. There seemed to be a reaction against them in consequence and they were shot on sight, e.g. when Stefan used the Displaced to toast my Architect resource. This is one reason that the previous day's undefeated winner, Joseph, did not win a game - perhaps he should have changed deck.

The results of the first three rounds were:

Round 1

Joshua Kronengold beat Andrew Davidson, Stefan Vincent, Brian Carty
Janifer Cheng beat Yuit Sum Vong, Lissa Sabia, Mike Nickoloff
Matt Widmann beat Danny Cruz, Tom Luongo, Joseph Livotte

Round 2

Stefan Vincent beat Lissa Sabia, Joseph Livotte, Andrew Davidson
Matt Widmann beat Janifer Cheng, Joshua Kronengold, Yuit Sum Vong
Mike Nickoloff beat Tom Luongo, Brian Carty, Danny Cruz

Round 3

Joshua Kronengold beat Tom Luongo, Yuit Sum Vong, Andrew Davidson
Lissa Sabia beat Stefan Vincent, Mike Nickoloff, Matt Widmann
Janifer Cheng beat Danny Cruz, Joseph Livotte, Brian Carty

The three double-winners then fought a final. A full listing of each of their decks accompanies this article [Joshua's deck is here, Matt's is here, and Janifer's is here]. Unfortunately, I missed the start of the final game (licking my wounds and checking my notes) and so didn't see the key play which, as I understand it, was Joshua taking a Drug Lab from Matt while Janifer, to Matt's fury, did not interfere. When I started watching, the game was already decided - Joshua had about five sites and at least one big character - outmatching the other two players combined. His deck is fast and, having established a dominant position, the winning attack came soon. This very rapid victory was somewhat anti-climactic but, like they say, speed kills.


Joshua Kronengold beat Janifer Cheng, Matt Widmann

Joshua Kronengold, winner of GenCon 1997 Shadowfist National Championship. Photo by Andrew Davidson.Joshua's prize for winning this event was a 1st edition of Feng Shui signed by John Woo. The real prize, though, is earning the right to swagger as The Man for a year. Congratulations to Joshua and his home town, New York. I attach a jpeg photo of Joshua in his Artful Dodger hat, displaying his MVP - Ting Ting, of course.

Commiserations to the others, especially Matt Widmann. His record over the last two days was very impressive - five wins in eight games - and it must have been very galling to come away without a trophy.

Thanks to Steve for running the event and to Daedalus for their sponsorship. And thanks to all those who took part - you were all great competitors and sports. Finally, a special mention for Stefan Vincent whose good-natured and witty banter kept myself and others entertained throughout.


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