Shadowfist Tournament Report: Kublacon 2004

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Home > Tournaments > Reports > Kublacon 2004
[posted 4 Jun 2004; updated 3 Jul 2004; links checked 25 Jun 2005]

Volunteers ran several tournaments at Kublacon 2004 (May 28-31 in Burlingame, CA). I'm not sure who actually organized the Shadowfist events, although Z-Man provided prize support - if you know, let me know :). The winners were announced by Eric Lui in the Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 4 Jun 2004. Read the original in the archive if you're a member.

Final Brawl (multiplayer, constructed): Jan Malina [decklist]
Who's the Big Man Now? (dueling, constructed): Tim "TWONG" Wong
Whirlpool of Blood (sealed): Erik Berg
Comrades in Arms (multiplayer, constructed, theme): Steve Valladolid
100 Names (multiplayer, constructed, 1-per-deck): Frank Trollman
Memory Reprocessing (multiplayer, constructed, Daedalus rules) Vince Wong

Two reports and some photos for you:

Kublacon 2004 report by Erik Berg.

Kublacon 2004 report by Max Hufnagel.

Kublacon 2004 photos from Miguel Hidalgo-Barnes

John Castellucci has posted some photos [, 25 Jun 2005] on his website, the Secret HQ.

Kublacon 2004 Report
by Erik Berg, 2 Jun 2004

Thursday night--
A few too many drinks with an old friend from college made this night less than productive for deck testing. The play of the night was when Eric Lui (referred to hereafter as SmartEric) guessed what I had in my hand when he said "Erik is just being drunk and belligerent". Yes, my hand was empty. Darren and SmartEric promise to move "some" furniture on their way over tomorrow morning before we carpool up.

30 minutes after I expect the foolios to show, I get a call to come down and help move bags. I misunderstand in the interest of defending the now-lukewarm omlette that I had already burned trying to keep warm for my carmates. Whatever. We get my bag and SmartEric's bag and what must have been every Shadowfist card ever shipped to Las Vegas into my car. We drag muffler leaving the driveway due to 2 large bags filled with Darren's cards.

An uneventful drive that started out with SmartEric and I haranguing Darren at every card choice for his Asc/Lot deck turns mysteriously quiet. SmartEric attempts to nap, yet I still hear shuffling. For another hour. Whereas before Darren asked about every card and what we expected to see, things are ominously quiet in the bag. We pass the aromatic horror of the giant stockyard on I5, SmartEric awakens, yet the shuffling continues. Darren says that he will cut "10 cards or so" when he gets to the Con.

We arrive at the con in plenty of time for 100 Names. I play a Hand/Lot Sword deck [decklist] that ended up being a lot of fun. However, 4 player games lead to multiple timeouts, which was anti-fun. First game I sit across from a Monarch Good Stuff/weapons deck, with a couple of other decks I can't recall for the life of me. Monarch player Queen's Wrath really slows us down, and Blanket of Darkness doesn't help the equation. We time out, but I get a goodly number of points from parasitic play with Shaolin Swordsman after I incorrectly calculate the math on an attack where I tutored for the right sword with Swords Unite but played it on the wrong character. Second round sees me facing Max with Ascended, Darren playing my Monarchs goodstuff/no weapons, and Timothy with Architects. I snag Max's Manchu Garrison in the early game to power my Orange Senshi Chamber and play my Temple of Celestial Mercy, just for good measure. I heard that hand size 11 was pretty good somewhere; probably from Scrye or something. Max stalls for 4 or 5 turns looking for a 3rd Asc resource, while Darren goes nutzy-kookoo with Monarch bombs like Fakhir al-Din. Max finds his 3rd resouce, drops Yen Song and another 6 fight stealther, and proceeds to attack then plays YEAR OF THE FREAKIN' SNAKE to go for the win after Timothy gets ganked into starting an auction with Max's Temple of the Angry Spirits for 6. Timothy had a hard time getting out of the site donor slot, but manages an amazing turn where he takes a site, kills a damaged Fakhir w/Black Ops Troopers, and takes a site from behind my damaged Jeuding Shelun v2 who had somehow learned the Righteous Heaven Stance with his Simon Draskovic. I won by taking a turned front row Kinoshita House, I believe. We had about 3 unique site auctions in the game. Game 3 is a misery where Jan's stealthy Ascended can't overcome the Monarch Weapon Goodstuff deck before time is called. I did make my favorite play of the tournament here, however, when the Monarch player attacked a beefy Shaolin Agent with an Ice Commandos who had Fire and Ice Swords. I tried to steal the Ice Sword with Shaolin Surprise so both bruisers killed each other, but it was Waterfall Sanctuary'd away. Not bad for 1 power expended.

In the interest of time, we skipped the finals and Frank of Team Rocket won on points. We played some casual games and collected Zev for the trip back to Jan's parents' apartment house, where bountiful carbs awaited our hunger, but we just went to sleep.

I wake up early for no good reason, do some yoga like a SoCal dork, and go out on the deck. The apartment is 3rd story on the foot of a hill overlooking Golden Gate park down what I assume is the Market St district into the bay itself, probably a good 225 degrees. Beautiful. So gorgeous, in fact, that I think of blowing off CiA to go for a walk and eat at all sorts of places. I heard that Steve V won that one. Darren had already one-up'd me however, insisting that Jan take us to good Dim Sum. We go, we feast, and even SmartEric is better than nonplussed over the quality. He also makes Darren and I look like the smelly white barbarians we are, but keeps us from the utter shame of mixing salty with sweet. We head back to the Con for about 5 hours of pick-up games before Final Brawl. Darren reveals that he is playing Underworld Gateway.dec. A collective shudder and sigh go up from the rest of us.

The draft was weaksauce due to no Dragons or Jammers, but I got 2 good splashes: Sinister Priest, Vassals of the Lotus, Eunuch Underling + Tortured Memories and Test Subjects, Beta Beast, PubOrd Officer + Arcanotechnician + Nerve Gas. I gank all the Monarch foundations I can from the get go, dabbling in Jammers to no avail. By Shaolin Showdown, the netherworld is my oyster as I'm getting 4th pick Mouth of the Fire Righteous. In 7 Masters I pick up a Sir Gawain, Blanket of Darkness, Book of Wrath, 2 Ice Swords, Jaguar Warriors, and 2 Thunder Captains that don't even make the cut to go with my 20+ other Monarch cards. The matches were not even close, except for the time out with Steve V and Zev that featured K House with adjacent Haunted Forest + Old Man Wu for Steve, Orange Sage, Yellow Senshi Chamber and White Disciple for Zev, and Skin & Darkness Zealot, Ice Shaman, Obsidian Eye, Book of Wrath, and Blanket of Darkness for me. The consistency of 20 Monarchs in a 43 card deck just won out over the course of time.

Steve, Max, Jan, and Jan's friend Pete went out for what realistically should have been a couple of drinks. But when last call hit, Jan & Steve each ordered a giant frothing bowl of liquor. We Hoover'd it up so fast I nearly got brain freeze, and began babbling about my wife being "a really good 4 or 5 drop in Marvel" (tcg) and demonstrating drunken monkey kung fu. Steve thought that we should spar, but cooler heads prevailed (wow, I never thought I'd refer to Max as a "cooler head"). Jan and I stumbled back to his place to play Dreamcast, only to figure out that we were in no shape to navigate Japanese-language menus after 20 minutes of trying. Jan was a real peach and brought out his rats who proceeded to crawl all over me. I care not for rodents, and the swirling maelstrom of booze in my gut didn't really help the situation either. I vaguely remember him schooling me at Dead or Alive because we couldn't figure out how to block.

I was still inebriated from the previous evening, so I decided it was a good idea to wake Jan up at 9 am. He disagreed, but I insisted. After trundling around his neighborhood looking for food, we went to In-n-Out where I proceeded to make an ass of myself by pulling a middle school stunt and hitting on the counter girl for Jan. I do not make a good proxy. She did not call. And I missed Firestorm for this? At least the Final Brawl was scheduled for 2.

I sit down for round 1 with Timothy playing Paper Trail/Dirty Tricks, Jan playing 82 Mooks [decklist], and Steve V. playing his Monarch Battleground deck. The long and the short of it was that Steve jumped out early, got beat down a bit, I sniped a few sites, and Jan developed an unassailable position on the board. Timothy got taken out of the game when he Dirty Tricks'd w/2 Paper Trails on the board and Jan Thunder of Thunder'd in response, also snaging an Enemy of My Enemy. Jan won with a couple of CHARs swinging for Timothy's last site.

Round 2 sees me face Randall McGee!, Quinn (I think?), and Earl Miles. Earl goes nuts after Quinn Pinball Hall's the table clean. I think Earl burned 2 sites for victory and 1 for power by turn 6. Unfortunately for him, he sent Titanium Johnson into the Fortress of Shadow and I gained 5. My Iron Monkey redistributed Earl's new found wealth and smoked his Bomb Factory, and Golden Gunman served me up one of Quinn's sites, I believe. Randall sought to take me down with White Ninja, but Heat of Battle made it ok for him to take my site--I didn't mind too much. Quinn sought to get out of his site donor position, but didn't draw much, and I Blade Palm'd Earl's Titanium Johnson while he had 1 site, 1 power, and 3 BfV. He wasn't able to get back in the game after that, and a rag-tag army of Blue Monks and Reluctant Heros lead by the Golden Gunman took the last site after I lay down my 4th.

Round 3 was back to play with Jan, Lugo playing 7 Masters, and I gent whose name escapes me playing Fire/Hand Chi who never got off the ground. Jan went 5 or 6 turns before seeing an Arch resource, and the other two players couldn't make more than 2 power a turn, so I jumped up to 2 sites and a BfV w/Gunman, a Blue Monk set to Martial, and Iron Monkey, only to get savagely beaten down. Jan used the least amount of power in the drubbing, made good use of CHAR vs. a Fire deck, and served up steaming 4 Mountains Fist lovin' followed by Wandering Swordsman for another hash mark in the W column.

I snuck into the finals at 1-2 due to a lot of game points and a timeout victory keeping a couple of other players down the line on MP. Naturally, I sit next to Jan again, with Kwan (sp?) and Dan Oden, playing Arch/Asc Soldiers and Arch/Asc Reascended, respectively. 2 1/2 hours later, Jan handily walks away with the brass ring. All four of us were within striking distance of the win at one time or another, but no one posed a serious threat to Jan. He dropped a Napalm Belcher about 90 minutes into the game, and proceeded to wreck Dan with it. Kwan Bull Market'd at least twice, keeping Dan alive, but the fire-breathing Abomination kept grinding the board down. Eventually, Dan swings for Jan with Serket and 2 CHAR, so Jan chump blocks with a bunch of weenies and then Ariel Bombardment's Dan into the Stone Age, and not the sexy Clan of the Cave Bear Stone Age either. There were two specific incidents that lost me the game--I had to Confucian a 4 Mountains Fist that would have given Jan the win, and I Confucian'd a Dangerous Experiment that would have failed Iron Monkey's attack on a Proving Ground and kept him from stealing 3 power. Jan kept a straigt face throughout the entirety of the 45 seconds it took me to make that decision and then played 2 Hackers in response. He cracked a smile after that. Without an answer to the questions Jan would be asking, like Uncontrolled Mutation on his Steven Wu to overcome Golden Gunman, I kept losing power trying to stay at 1 site and 2 BfV.

All in all, the Final Brawl was a very good game of Fist, with a lot of back and forth and interesting cards like Total War and Ariel Bombardment.

Memory Reprocessing picked up quickly after the final, and once again I sat to Earl's left. Timothy played a Reinvig/Feast of Souls deck, Lugo played a Destroyer/Hopping Vampires/The Hungry deck, and Earl played a near siteless version of Lugo's deck with Hand for Violet Med and control. I played a near siteless 7 Masters deck [decklist]. I got out an early Ghost Wind after turn 3 Monsoon + Solar Sword took a site. Ghost Wind made some power off of the extra Kunlun Clan Assaults I was drawing until Earl out-tech'd Bill Gates by playing Fox Outfoxed on Ghost Wind. He made something like 6 power off me while Ghost Wind still lived. Solar Sword bounced around with Shaolin Surprise, and then came back onto Ghost Wind. I got to a good position after a lucky double Kunlun Clan Assault, and dropped Wu Man Kai, who cancelled a character, and then Earl's The Hungry when he BfV'd. Wu Man served for the win after Fortune of the Turtle saved one of my guys from a Tortured Memories. Round 2 was forverer and a day as I played Quinn's Rebecca Dupress/Five Fingers of Death, SmartEric's Old Man Wu/Wasting Curse, and Randall Mc!Gee's Trade Center/Bronze Sentinel. I looked the threat the whole game, as I keep beating on SmartEric as he has 4 sites, while Quinn struggles for resources and then playable cards, and Randall slowly builds to lay and play w/3 BfV. I make an attack for the win, fail, Quinn and Eric don't do anything about Randall's 6+ weenies, and Randall slides in for a well-planned victory.

Round Three sees me sit to Vince's right, with Randall across and Quinn to my right. I jump out to an early lead w/Monsoon + Solar Sword (3 for 3 in the games here). I have about 6 power in my pool, the student foundation + Solar Sword, and a student, Solar Sword, Wing of the Crane, Monkey Fools the Tiger, and the 4th site I need for the win in my hand. I discard the student, draw no characters or KC Assault, and go for the win again a naked front row Whirlpool with only 2 Hackers to stop me. They both intercept and I proceed to Wing of the Crane--wait I ONLY HAVE 2 CHI RESOURCES! I let my pud die and never get back in the game as no one plays enough events for me to get a free Red Bat + Fortune of the Turtle. Vince wins handily after 3 Iron and Silk on his Hung Hei Kwan in 3 turns to clean a lot of fighting off the table. And he was concerned about not having enough hitters in the deck (well, he did discard 3 and Leung Mui had already gone to the smoked pile). In other news, Vince pulled off Robbing the Kong in his second game, and almost pulled it off again, but someone Confucian'd it the second time.

Eric had picked up a casual game that ended up lasting for 2 hours, so the rest of us watched Darren run The Role Playing Game. The game itself was mildly amusing, but Darren was so funny that I thought I would need medical assistance or at least some amyl nitrate to stop laughing so hard. By this point we had also accumulated a good 2 boxes of Ophidian, so the threat of Ophidian draft (before reading the rules) was tossed around.

I didn't build a dueling deck, so I jumped in to be the 4th in the tournament, only to see the ranks swell to 10 in the first round. Tim Wong and David "BriarHobbit" were the only real contenders, with Maze of Stairs/Dragon.dec against Battlematic/Bikers.dec. After a very long series of games, Tim won out from what I hear. Eric and I had already left, come back after getting onto the San Mateo bridge to give Jan his keys, and left again before they finished.

All in all, this was the most fun I've ever had playing cards. The competition is good in the Bay Area, and the players were by and large a lot nicer and more interesting than myself, so I could do nothing but enjoy my time there. Big thanks to Jan for putting us up, Earl & Eric for running some events, and Zev for the awesome power counters and prize support.

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Kublacon 2004 Report, parts 1 and 2
by Max Hufnagel, 28 Jun - 2 Jul 2004

Originally posted to the Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 28 Jun 2004 (pt.1) and 2 July 2004 (pt.2) by Max Hufnagel. Republished with permission. If you're a member of the group, you can read the originals in the archive for pt.1 and pt.2.

It's Friday afternoon when I walk into the lobby of the Burlingame Hyatt Regency. KublaCon is being held on the first floor of the hotel, and some kind of marketing event / sales recruitment drive / pyramid scheme conference is being held on the second floor, up the dual escalators, past the fake looking but actually real potted plants. Tense businesspeople in dark blue suits make their way past hordes of frenetic gamers in black gamer t-shirts, each group eying the other with barely-concealed disdain and horrified revulsion. After buying a weekend pass to the convention, I make my way to the Dealers' Room and to the Shadowfist booth. As expected, Zev Shlasinger is there. As owner of Z-Man games, it's where one would expect to see him, so it isn't surprising. What is surprising is his greeting.

"Hey, Max!" Zev calls out when he sees me across the room, "I brought a whole bunch of yellow paper with me this year - I'm ready for them this time!"

Wondering what he's talking about, I shout back, "Hiya Zev! Who are you ready for this time?"

"Those disgraceful excuses for Green Lanterns they have here," he replies as I approach.

We shake hands. To him, I say, "That's good, Zev. Good. You'll get them this time, I'm sure." To myself, I think, "Poor bastard. The stress of running Z-Man Games has finally broken him."

Fortunately, within a few moments, we're surrounded by a pack of Shadowfist players. Zev excitedly shows off his fancy new Shadowfist Power counters - beautiful, 3-inch, faction symbol engraved, rotating disks. He tells everyone present that Shadowfist Power counters will be for sale at some point, but that he's giving this set away as tournament prizes. Thankfully, he doesn't say anything more about yellow paper or Green Lanterns, and I don 't ask.

Between the laughs, jabs, and semi-clever banter, before I know it four hours are gone, and the 100 Names tournament is about to start.

100 Names Tournament, Game 1: I'm facing Jan Malina, Steve Valladolid, and Darren Miguez. Jan is the best and highest rated Shadowfist player in the world. Steve held the World Championship title two years running, and is the second best Shadowfist player in the world. Darren is the 5th highest rated Shadowfist player, and holds the top Monkey title, having taken it from me earlier this year.

This may be a tough game for me.

From the start, it's a "serious" game - while we're all talking, joking, and having a great time, we're being very strict. For example, once I declare a target for an Event, I'm stuck with that target, even if I realize (or someone points out) a better target. We all hold to this, a gentlebeings' agreement, and while the game progresses no one seems to have a clear advantage over anyone else. Until.

Darren declares an attack against Steve, and turns the Characters that are attacking. Somehow, Jan and Steve then persuade Darren to take back this declaration. He unturns the turned, attacking Characters, and declares an attack against me instead!

Jan (or was it Steve?) goes on to win the game.

Willing Slave
Asc Asc Asc Asc Asc 5

Target player willingly allows you to make a decision for him. Play at no cost and with no resource conditions if your name is Steve Valladolid or Jan Malina. Not a One-Shot if your name is Steve Valladolid or Jan Malina

Game 2: I'm playing against the insidious Erik Berg and some of his flunkies. Not really, but I have no idea who else was there. Sorry!

After an epic four-way battle of wits, I win the game. How? By playing Year of the Snake. Yes, I'm that good.

But Jan is better.

Word comes down from the game Jan is in. Someone was going to attack him, but Jan bribed him with Power, saying, "Don't attack me, and I'll play Bull Market". The other guy didn't attack, and Jan kept his word. Then Jan won.

As the games are winding down, Eric Lui starts talking about the wonderful Dim Sum he's going to have tomorrow for brunch with Erik Berg and Jan. I tell him that all my experiences with Dim Sum have been distressful. Every time I've had Dim Sum, all they've brought around on their little carts have been feet. No matter what restaurant I go to, no matter how many little carts are circling with supposedly delicious food, all the carts that reach my table have feet, feet, and only feet. Chicken feet. Duck feet. More chicken feet. Feet, feet, feet.

Eric Lui says it must be something I'm doing wrong, then talks more of how great Dim Sum is going to be tomorrow. Dim Sum. Dim Sum. Dim Sum.

He doesn't invite me to go along with them for any of this fantastic Dim Sum.

Later, Steve Valladolid and I are talking.

Me: "Apparently, Eric Lui, Berg, and Jan are going to Dim Sum tomorrow."

Steve: "Hmm. I was not invited to Dim Sum."

Me: "Eric said they were going, and how great it was going to be, but didn't invite me, either."

Steve: "I hate them."

Me: "Me, too."

Dim Sum
Lot Lot 2

Turn subject Site to put a delicious Dim Sum counter on it. Sacrifice
2 Dim Sum :: gain 1 Power. Not playable by Max or Steve.

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