Shadowfist Tournament Report: GenCon SoCal 2003
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[posted 6 Jan 2004; updated 10 Jan 2004]
The first GenCon Southern California (SoCal) was held in December 2003 in Anaheim, California. Z-Man sponsored a bunch of tournaments there:
|Final Brawl (multiplayer, constructed):||Jan Malina [decklist]|
|Who's the Big Man Now? (dueling, constructed):||Erik Berg [decklist]|
Whirlpool of Blood (sealed, drafting):
Comrades in Arms (multiplayer, constructed, theme deck):
Array of Stunts (multiplayer, constructed, variant):
Jan Malina [decklist]
|Who Wants Some? (sealed, convention-long):||Jan Malina|
Thanks to Eric Lui for providing the list of winners. (original message posted to Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 15 Dec 2003. Members can read the message in the archive.)
Two reports and a pictorial so far, thanks to Andrew, Erik, Robert and Eric!
GenCon SoCal 2003 Array of Stunts report by Andrew Davidson. This report was originally posted to Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 16 December 2003. Members can read the message in the archive.
GenCon SoCal 2003 report by Erik Berg. Originally posted here :)
GenCon SoCal 2003 pictorial photos by Robert Stetler via Eric Lui.
This report was originally posted to Yahoogroups on 16 Dec 2003 by Andrew Davidson. Republished with permission.
The Array of Stunts format is intended to allow players to enjoy the excess of a big budget action movie - lots of locations, stars, extras, stunts, effects and big explosions. The detailed rules are listed below [moved here] but the key features are that each player starts with 8 feng shui sites, 8 power and wins by getting to 16 feng shui sites.
At Gencon SoCal, I scheduled this for Sunday morning which is usually a quiet time at US conventions. So, to help launch the format here in Hollywood and attract players, the prize was original Shadowfist art, painted and attractively mounted by the con's artist guest of honour - April Lee.
The two keenest players, Jeremy Stamer and Jan Malina were ready for action when I arrived after my usual big breakfast. I wasn't going to let this event turn into a duel and so went to the booth where Eric Lui kindly agreed to join in too. With the agreement of these players, I decided to play too and so we had the perfect number - four expert players. As the event was scheduled to run for four hours, we agreed to make full use of this time and play until we got a result or the time slot expired.
The format needs a lot of space to lay out the sites. We were able to use a good long table which had been cut out from the general array and I laid this in lavish style - green baize cloth, BAM/POW special-effect counters and poker chips to track each player's score. We even had appropriate sound effects from the nearby X-Box gaming - gunfire, action music and explosions.
We started by bidding power for seats. The bids were:
2 - Andrew
1 - Jeremy
1 - Eric
0 - Jan
I had been expecting higher bids and was pleased to go first so cheaply. Jeremy won the flip for second place over Eric and so we were off. Now, as the first player, I deployed my initial sites. I hadn't been planning to play and so considered my options. Initially I thought of choosing lots of unique sites like Fox Pass but then decided against - I didn't want to get into an early auction. So, my choice was:
Front Row Back Row --------- -------- Turtle Island Coral Reef Turtle Island Heaven's Peak Turtle Island Smiling Heaven Lake Mourning Tree Family Estate Peacock Summit Shaolin Sanctuary Family Estate
This used up all my starting power but generated 11 power on my first turn. I spent this on another Coral Reef (which only cost 3 power) and some foundation characters.
The other players told me their starting choices after the game and they were:
Front Row Back Row --------- -------- Tangram Alley Proving Ground Inner Sanctum Dragon Dojo Cave Network Shaolin Sanctuary Cave Network Hall of Portals Hallowed Earth House on the Hill Ominous Swamp
Front Row Back Row --------- -------- Nine Dragon Temple Whirlpool of Blood Stone Dolmens Ring of Gates Coral Reef Desolate Ridge Diamond Beach Gambling House Drug Lab
Front Row Back Row --------- -------- Sunless Sea Ruins Whirlpool of Blood Sunless Sea Ruins Whirlpool of Blood Sunless Sea Ruins Abominable Lab Sunless Sea Ruins Shaolin Sanctuary Sunless Sea Ruins Orange Senshi Chamber Peacock Summit
Jeremy made the early running with the Leaping Tiger Troupe - superleap and two more cards when they entered play. These were backed up with the Peking Opera Troupe - lots of acrobats.
Eric came on strong with the King of Thunder and his Armies of the Monarchs but Jan took down the King with Nerve Gas and I Realpoliticked his edge.
Jan's first big hitter was the Queen of the Ice Pagoda but she and all the rest soon vanished when I dropped a bomb. Jeremy then got back into the game fast with Golden Comeback and Is That All You Got? and he was constantly in the lead during the middle game with about 12 sites.
Jan had a large hand bonus from his sites and so became the target for my discard effects - I was playing a Spin Doctored Tickertape deck and so had lots of these. I even played Jan's own card and used it against him - that must have smarted.
Eric played Derek Han - a good star for this movie as he was the only character to survive the next bomb. I took control of him with a Shadowy Mentor and made a strong surge with Year of the Rat, Laughter of the Wind and Wind on the Mountain. But these expensive cards ran down my power stocks faster than I was generating it and so I found myself burning for power rather than victory - I needed to keep lots of power in hand to deny Jan and Jeremy who were within striking range of victory now.
Jeremy came very close to winning but Jan had enough denial to stop him. Jan was then threatening with Xiaoyang Yun but Eric sensibly launched an attack to take her out. But, on the next round, Xiaoyang Yun appeared again and Jan's peacock deck gave her all the resources she needed to shut down our event denial. I had the only denial site - a City Square - and with few interceptors available, Jan was able to win.
The game had taken about 2.5 hours but this time had just flown by as the format had delivered non-stop action, as hoped for. The players seemed to have enjoyed themselves and Jan said that it had been more fun than he had been expecting. But, of course, it's always fun to win and Jan had been doing plenty of that during the convention - this was his fifth tournament victory. The art prize was thus quite appropriate - Ultimate Mastery! After presenting this, we went to talk to April to show her what had become of her work and get some advice about framing and hanging.
Jan's winning deck is below [moved here], followed by the rules for the format. My deck was Ascended/Hand/Architect - lots of card cycling and discard effects. Jeremy's deck was Hand/Dragon - acrobats. And Eric's deck was Monarch/Ascended/Hand - a composite made from two separate decks: Armies of the Monarchs plus big Hand hitters.
Thanks to those who played and watched this event. I may well run it again - perhaps next at Kublacon in 2004.
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My decks are built, I've discussed them with Eric Lui who has more or less given me no input so I know they are decent, and I'm just killing time. Eric comes over to spend the night so we can get an early start, and we play a game or two of Fist with my Return of the Queen. Taryn reminds us that the Simpsons are more important than cards, and we retire afterwards. Visions of Jan's face contorted into a rictus of fury haunt my dreams.
Eric & I show up early, run into Darren, and start roping people into Who Wants Some. I screwed around all day, checking out the Cyberpunk CCG (meh), L5R reign of Blood sealed pre-release (I suck at that game), and playing a lot of Who Wants Some. That night we played Comrade in Arms, and I built a Dark Traveler/Wrath of the Monarchs Netherworld designator deck.
First round, I was matched up against Lui playing Pledged, Barwick playing Gardeners, and Andy of the infamous "I'll draw 25 cards and not see a Fung Shui site" Abomination deck. My first push came off of an Ice Queen who got Gassed going for site #3, and it took me a while to rebuild. I got out 2 The Hungry and was attracting a lot of attention until my deck stalled and I couldn't draw a second threat to go with my 8 fighting Dark Traveler. Fire Assassins helped on defense and in clearing the way for me to attack w/Dark Travelers, but I needed another character that could attack sites to start moving again. I'm pretty sure Barwick won that one with Billy Chao or something equally good. Big cards in that game were Official Harrassment and a never ending stream of Gas and Imprison from Andy.
Game two was a blur after I smoked 3 of my own sites denying attacks. Dark Travelers backed up with Whirlpool and Turtle Beach wrapped things up from there. I finished in time to see Jan play a 6 cost Discerning Fire to absolutely wreck a Hood deck. Ouch.
Games three and four were decided on Jan having better cards in his Fire deck and ways to get them out. Both games saw old Fire King, old Ice Queen, Mouth of the Fire Righteous, and big Discerning Fires. His 4 Brain Fire beat my 3 and his 4-5 Snowblind beat my 2. I kept Barwick from winning the whole thing by playing Snowfall on his winning attack in game 4, and Jan quickly won after I failed to draw enough juice to go after him. My Sibling Rivalry killed one of Jan's royal Monarchs each game, but it wasn't enough. Unfortunately, this was the game Andy didn't get to play in. Jan's play of the game was Snowblinding his own Queen on an attack to prevent my Turtle Beach from imploding, allowing Mouth of the Fire Righteous to take the site. I did notice one mistake--Jan could have Discerning Fire'd my Dark Traveler and Barwick's Iron Monkey and won earlier, but maybe he was just toying with us...
Jan, Darren, Eric and I went out for Chinese at 1 that morning on the way home, and were treated to some awesome San Gabriel Valley culture. We then proceed to complain about playtest cards until 3:30 in efforts to get me to shut up about not liking L5R.
Dueling got bumped to Saturday night after Final Brawl, and the Battle of the Bands tournament I ran that night was over in time for me to jump in the Whirlpool of Blood. Steve V showed up after battling traffic for way too long and we both got raw sealed product and 10 minutes to build. My deck was a mishmash of garbage, worse than my Who Wants Some deck, but I did pull Eastern King and Secret HQ. In the first round, Steve and I got whipped. I was forced to play my Might of the Elephant as a foundation, which may have had something to do with it. In game two, I played a Secret Lab as my only foundation. The game was quickly over. Game 3 was actually a lot of fun, as Steve and I faced off against Darren. Steve fell behind in power generation, and lost his mojo when he sent his whole army to attack my Eastern King, allowing Darren to finish him off without expending too much effort. I wasn't able to mount a threat against Darren and he sealed the deal by Reburing me into the Stone Age. O.G. Gao Zhang then started clearing the table.
That night saw us introducing Jan to the glory of Del Taco's 49c soft taco, only to return to the Jade Palace of the Lui Clan where a sumptuous feast of cold shrimp pasta had been left for us by Eric's mom. Naturally, I was full of cheap Del Taco by that point, and everyone let me know how good it was.
Final Brawl: I brought my Fortress of Shadow Dra/Hand deck, and won both the 3 player games I got matched up in. Game one saw me in between a Thunder Knight deck and a Dragon deck with plenty of Brawls. I played this one very tight, barely denying the Dragon player's bid for the win with Secrets of Shaolin on either a Brawl or Open a Can of Whupass. Ting Ting + Blood of the Valiant figured heavily into this game.
Game Two: The Eternal Spanking. Lots of back and forth after I Blade Palm Stamer's Ting Ting w/Claw of the Dragon and proceed to play my own. Jan is just sitting back, waiting to steal something with Peasant Leader. Robert is building a small army of Demons, and getting his Tortured Memories Confucian'd. We're running out of time, and I screw up by trying to win a turn sonner than I want to, sending Iron Monkey after Stamer's naked 1 body site, with Ting Ting & Golden Comeback in reserve. Stamer ITAYG? A Good Ol' Boys to block the Monkey whereas I expected Brawl or another Booby Trap. I send Ting Ting off (foolishly) to kill Ten Thousand Agonies, and then Golden Comeback only to have it Confucian'd by Jan with his 4th event cancellation of the game. I gambled poorly by not taking the 1 body site and lost. Jan drops Hung Hei Kuan, invalidating my weenie advantage, and rolls for the win on the 1 body site. Grr.
Game Three: I beat the snot out of Barwick and the Dragon player from round one (sorry I forgot your name). Proving Ground, Heat of Battle, Violet Med all lead up to a quick Sun Chen who proceeds to BfV, and then play a site, win next turn. Not a very satisfying win, but I'll take it to get back to the main table.
Game Four: This is exactly why I can't justify spending money on a plane ticket and a hotel room for a summer Con. I drew 3 resource providers, and ended the game with them in the smoked pile along with 3 of my sites BfP. That was about it. I drew 30 cards in the brief game, and didn't see anything useful. Robert had a pretty weak draw, and Marty sent Steven Wu after easier targets that Jan three times, almost winning himself. Jan masters the situation with a Blue Monk set to Robert's Demons, and waltzes in for the win again. Rather anti-climactic, but a good tournament over all.
Whose The Big Man Now?: I played my relatively tested and tuned Netherworld Return deck to maximal effect.
Game one: Jason w/Dragons. Queen of the Darkness Pagoda comes out early thanks to a Dragon Graveyard, Secret HQ, Darkness Priestess start. Dragon Graveyard makes me an extra point of power somewhere in there, and the Queen starts canceling the Dragons ticket. Transmogrification saw to Shotguns not being too effective, although a dude in a Stolen Police Car did take one of my sites, but he got Avenging Thunder'd. I think we ended the game with me having used 2 Netherworld Returns and Jason having no resources. Zino the Greek helped see to that as well. Sorry Jason.
Game two: I got out a quick Ice Queen and Old Thunder King backed up with Zino, Barwick's deck rolled over.
Game Three: Marty played Eric's Pledged dueler from our Proving Ground league as a loaner. We went back and forth, and he got Oliver Chen to hit once--too bad I already had Ice Queen in my hand. I Dragon Graveyard'd 3 of his Covert Ops, and Brain Fire'd a 4th (note: he was using a Limited version of the card that says "target player"--we screwed up and only found out after the game). I think he Suicide Mission'd one of my royals, but the efficiency of Netherworld Return and Zino the Greek overwhelmed his lack of comeback. I think I ended the game with 8 sites in play, most of them seized.
Eric game me a ride over to my mother-in-law's house where I picked up my wife. She said "you don't smell too much like a nerd" and I smiled. If only she knew.
In retrospect, the Con was cool, if a little empty. A little bird told me that GenCon SoCal was considered successful, and will be back next year with a little less space to help retailers. Unfortunately, it will be in December again. I would recommend that anyone within 6 hours driving distance try to make it, as some of us are local enough to commute to the Con, and would be willing to put you up. We had a turnout of 20 for Final Brawl, 16 for Comrade in Arms, and 12 for Whirlpool of Blood, a little lighter than we were hoping. That means you should come and give us Californians our comeuppance.
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