Shadowfist Tournament Report: Kublacon 2005

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Home > Tournaments > Reports > Kublacon 2005
[posted 7 Jun 2005; updated 20 Feb 2008]

Earl Miles organized several tournaments at Kublacon 2005 (May 27-30 in Burlingame, CA) with prize support from Z-Man. Earl, Jan Malina and Pete Bratach judged the events. The winners were announced by Jan Malina in the Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 2 Jun 2005. Read the original in the archive if you're a member.

Final Brawl (multiplayer, constructed): Allen Hege [decklist]
Whirlpool of Blood (sealed): Jan Malina
Array of Stunts (multiplayer, constructed, variant rules): Jan Malina
Memory Reprocessing (multiplayer, constructed, Daedalus rules) Erik Berg

Lots of reports for you:

Kublacon 2005 report by Erik Berg. Originally posted to Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups. If you're a member, you can read the original in the archive.

Kublacon 2005 report by Earl Miles. Originally (and still) posted on Earl's LiveJournal site.

Kublacon 2005 report by Jeff "Cavebear" Stroud. Originally posted to Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups. If you're a member, you can read the original in the archive.

Kublacon 2005 report by David Rakonitz. Originally posted to Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups. If you're a member, you can read the original in the archive.

John Castellucci also has a report [, 20 Feb 2008] on the home page of the Secret HQ.

Sorry, no photos here for this year. Robert sent them to Zev, who posted them on [link dead 20 Feb 2008] where they survived until the website was redone in 2006. Now they've disappeared...

Kublacon 2005 Report
by Erik Berg, 2 Jun 2005

Originally posted to the Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 2 Jun 2005 by Erik Berg. Republished with permission. If you're a member of the group, you can read the original in the archive.

The cloying hand of fog pulled at the corners of my eyes, "Eric won't be here for another hour, you can sleep a little more…sleep… sleep". I shook it off like I have to all the personifications of bad Star Trek villains. Lethe and Nepenthe, Poe can have you. Now was the time to build sandwiches!

After scuttling around and finally giving in to Diablo II for the 15 minutes before Eric Lui was to arrive, I get The Call. I always get The Call before cons. We've all had it. It starts off with "I hit a dog/my mother is sick/I'm hungover, I'll be X minutes late". I don't remember the exact reason, but I was able to build another demo deck in the mean time and level up my hireling. Here's to life's small victories.

We hit the road around 11 am and drove straight through. Granted, 6 hours isn't that far to drive, but the Imperial Valley in early summer isn't exactly interesting. A lot of Vs. talk, a lot of Shadowfist talk, and a lot of traffic analysis. SmartEric and I are very similar in that we analyze every minute aspect of life that comes into our purview. Even if we cannot effect a meaningful change or any change at all in the case of traffic and proper driving etiquette on I 5. Things get sluggish, yahoos make bad decisions that multiply like rabbits, and everyone reaps the stink. Strange forebodings of that evenings' event.

Array of Stunts was limited to 75 minute 4 player games. One out of 9 games ended on time. The nice part was that 2 of the 4 decks I built were in the finals. The bad part was that neither SmartEric nor I was piloting them. This is how we roll in SoCal, son. At least I brought a couple of bottles of red to bring the warm glow of southern Italy to the bellies of my fellow Shadowfisters. In the first round, John Castellucci carved up the board with Ascended goodness while Max played Monarch/Jammer to a slow start and my Lotus deck struggled to get off the ground without 5 Sunless Sea Ruins. In the second game, Quinn brought a 20-some odd card Mt. Erebus/Year of the Rat deck that imploded every game, but took 20 minutes to finish its first turn, so we all sat around waiting. He got stopped, and SmartEric came out guns ablaze with a slew of Purist students, Master Bowmen, and other assorted monkey trash in front of a Dragon Dojo. Lots of bodies crash into large sites, spot denial flew everywhere and everything ended relatively close to where it began. Jan won the event because he actually concluded a game on time in the catbird seat. At least we had fun, and decided that banning Sunless Sea Ruins was probably a good thing to do. We'll be trying this limitation at Darren NotCon.

A few casual games later, and Jan and I are ready to go get some grub. Being past 2 am, we go to the Video Café around the corner from his luxurious apartment. Nothing like an omelet so hot the cheese has melted back into its original shredded consistency and Star Wars Episode One. I knock back a tall frosty grapefruit juice and we're on our way back to the swing bachelor pad. After realizing that the bright levels can't be adjusted on the demolition derby game in his Dreamcast, we switched to Dead or Alive—full jiggle factor. Oh should I say giggle factor. Nothing like putting away half a bottle of Belvedere (excuse me, Grey Goose) and laughing at skirts fluttering over the ever-present air vents. Who fights at an H/VAC convention? After an hour, we switch to a watered-down version of Battle Royale in which you assemble a team of high school stereotype to do battle. Jan whips me with a combination of the Goth girl in a medical mask, the photog who apparently steals a little piece of my soul each time she snaps a picture, and the greaser/knife fighter who does more damage whipping me with his pompadour than with his switchblade. Such is life in Japanese import fighting games. "Reason" gets the better of us and we retire around 5 am.

Saturday greets me bright and harsh through the curtains of Jan's penthouse. I haven't slept enough to develop the hangover I'm due, so while Jan showers I take a snort and try my hand at the high school fighting game again. I win! Fatality! Is this what they mean by problem drinking? Well, if I don't tell Jan, then no one is the wiser…

We hit up Trader Joe's on the way to the con and I grab a salad in vain efforts to ward off scurvy. Naturally, wine was to follow as well. Oddly enough, this went untouched throughout the rest of the Con. Memory Reprocessing is on the menu and I have prepared a delicate salad of Dragons and Hand for my signature dish. I hope that it serves 20, as that is about what we had. It is the same deck I played at last year's Final Brawl, substituting an additional Whirlpool and a few alt power gen sites for the Proving Grounds. The BayFisters pack a goodly number of Whirlpools, so PG seemed like a poor choice. Iron Monkey, Ting Ting, and Steven Wu smash a lot of faces as my opponents continually choose to burn my front row Fortress of Shadows. Although Moebius Gardens would have been the clutch call for alt power gen, I swing in for the win in 3 out of the 4 games I was in. Most importantly, one of those wins came in the finals. Yeah me! I tell SmartEric that I don't want to win any other events except the draft. I will soon pay dearly for my hubris. Free play and demos are the order of the evening, to much delight. I played every deck I brought at least twice over the weekend, and had a great time doing so. Getting to play with Bay Area David, Max, Pete, Jan, John Castellucci, TWong, Quinn, DanO, Earl, SmartEric and fragments of their playgroups is always great fun. Getting to do so in a relaxed environment where I get to meet Michael Lasinski and Allen Hege from "back East" as Earl put it makes things even better. Max pretties up a lot of my "Monkey" cards, culminating with his joke du jour gracing a copy of Ba- BOOM!!! I even get him to draw some "monkey mud" in Shaolin Monkey's hand, ready for the besotting of a zookeeper or Buro agent. I hear a lot about how my wife is a really good 4 or 5 drop in Vs. I tell them the metagame has changed. I mumble that she is 7 drop Magneto and that I got stunned back in 1997 and never recovered. No one gets the reference, as it should be.

Jan, Pete, and I duck out around midnight to get our drink on at Trad'r Sam's. Pete splits off to go home and get a ride from AndreWu, saying he'll meet up with us at 12:30 or so. Jan and I get back, shake the nerd stink from our clothing (ok, so Jan shook me out over his balcony looking down on the antique fountain in his private courtyard), and I get my drinking pants on. I don't think I've seen Jan laugh so hard at one piece of physical comedy before. We get to the bar and I'm complaining about the cold like a little old woman. Some bink has obviously not been practicing her Drunken Monkey Fu as she sits passed out in the gutter with a friend watching over her. Said friend is in no shape to be doing so, as she plonks her purse down on the hood of a car, setting the alarm off. Non-plussed, she leans up against said car as the doorman tries to flag a cab with his razor line circlet of blue hair. He resorts to carrying drunk A with drunk B tottering after, and Jan and I go in. Two drunken jerks shout that I should have my ID checked again because I'm wearing red pants. I'll show them how to be a drunken jerk…

The Scorpion bowl comes without fanfare and the haggard bartender asks if we'd like "all the froofy stuff" around the rim. I answer by plunging the straw through the roof of my mouth. Mr. Smooth. Jan comments that we'd rather have her than the marginally womanish thing in ill-fitting jeans spilling liquor at the other serving station. I defer to his wisdom. The bar back begins slinging half- finished bottles of beer all around our seats, followed by cups with umbrellas falling out followed by sticky punch bowls. Jan glances over my shoulder to the 50-plus year old guy on my right, sipping a Miller Genuine Draft. He asks if that will be him at that age, and I note that he'll likely have a sword cane by that point to stab young bastards making fun of him.

Pete and AndreWu show up 45 minutes later. I was unclear as to the subtleties of their lateness, but I believe it involved a non- Shadowfist activities known as "trying to get a piece". I am unfamiliar with the practice. Must be a San Francisco thing. We get another scorpion bowl, and I'm feeling fine double time. Two distinctly unattractive Courtney Love troll dolls have made multiple lingering eye contacts with Jan and I at this point. And then it happens. Either the most flattering or degrading thing that I have not done to myself. Some guy grabs my ass. And by grab, I mean all four fingers into the crack, free swim style. Now I live in Hollywood. I have gay friends. I've been to gay bars. Where men are being bound, whipped, and having three way makeout sessions (I got in the bar for free, and some bands were playing). Where shirtless men wear black leather chaps over jeans, engineer boots, and facial hair that would make Ben Stiller jealous. I've never been touched. I guess I'm just man-pretty enough for San Francisco. The masher ducked into the bathroom and I was in such shock that I sort of babble out my recent violation. Last call is shortly after the pity smiles have died on my compatriots faces and we trudge over to the liquor store for chips and drinks. And since we aren't grime rappers, chips mean just that. Corn chips and canned nacho cheese sauce. I ask Pete what kind of cheese is not his. He has no idea, being more engrossed in finding the perfect tequila to go with his ginger ale. I belt out "Nacho cheese, bitch!" and I think the clerk is going to shoot us on principle. I decide to keep my jokes to myself for at leas the next few minutes.

Back to Jan's for the late arrivers to have a beer or three and play some high school fighting. Pete fails his save against sleep after an hour and I soon follow. Props to Jan for rolling my snoring carcass onto the couch. He didn't even steal the money in my wallet. Final Brawl gets underway on time after a well balanced breakfast of In'n'Out. No flirting for me this time, as it was a new location and apparently they didn't get the memo that I like homely, flat- chested Latinas. Or maybe Jan sent them that memo and they transferred them out of the area as a presumptive measure. Thanks buddy, I appreciate your faith in my taste…

I chose my straight Architect deck rich with aggressive goodness in the form of Uncontrolled Mutation, Information Warfare, Napalm Belcher, and Black Ops Team. Oh, and CHAR is still pretty good. 3 person games with 24 contestants means 4 rounds to the finals, so I chose consistency. Turns out I should have chosen life. First game is a blow out, as Steve V loses two sites in my bid for the win. BattleMatic is good, but spot removal hurts state-based decks a lot. Quinn struggles to get his deck going the entire game. Game two is lost in the haze of all the multiplayer we saw before, but I win. Game three is a blur of double DE, bomb, spot removal and losing sites to Lasinski's Monarch madness. I gambled early on an Imprison on Queen of the Darkness Pagoda after a Brain Fire had been drawn out. Brain Fire #2 sent CHAR back to my hand and I never recovered. Castellucci pulls more points than I do in the time out. So Max, Allen Hege and I sit down for another shot at the finals. I get out to a big start and blow it by getting greedy and Satellite Intelligence'ing Max's Yellow Senshi Chamber instead of just taking his front row, 4 body Whirlpool of Blood. Her mounts a weenie offensive on Allen's Ring of Gates, but another Final Brawl jumps out of Allen's hand and all of Max's characters join it in the smoked pile. Allen waltzes in for the win on my grave error that gimped Max. Maybe I really do hate max…

John Castellucci, Michael Lasinski, and Allen all square off for the title of West Coast champion. Monarch on Monarch violence resumes as Michael makes John's Wandering Heroes enormous, and Allen comes out smelling like seven roses. Well, more like Seven Masters holding seven roses brought to them by Big Bruiser and asking "Is That All You've Got?"

SmartEric, already a prince among men, got himself canonized for dropping from Final Brawl to go get us pizza. In Berkeley. 45 minutes away. Of course, he'll tell you he got hungry after his second bagel (timeout loss) of the tournament, but don't let him fool you. He drove for almost two hours and bought 6 pizzas for the whole crew. Good thing too, as we had 27 for draft. Joyce, Zev, and Paul all join us for the biggest draft I've ever been in.

My deck was an inconsistent powerhouse, fronted by 3x Inner Sanctum and 2x trade center and leading up to Imprison x2, Nerve Gas, Tortured Memories, Shi Zi Hui, Seven Evils, The Emperor, and Big Rig x2. Every other game I was able to get Inner Sanctum, Trade Center, and foundations after pitching some initial cards. Steve and Warren each ended the game with 1 FSS, and Allen and Paul each ended with 0. But it also made a poo poo on the table game two when I couldn't get a site until turn 4. The fourth game with Zev and Earl is a complicated dance between Zheng Yi Quan, Earl's massive site structure, and the inevitable King of the Fire Pagoda that Earl will drop at some point. I get low on power and characters, Zev gets beat down, and I let out a death rattle as I have to use my last denial card before earl smashes us into the Netherworld with burnination. I somehow got 3rd with 2 wins, but Jan was an easy 1st with a 4-0 record. He showed me his deck at the beginning of the tournament, unhappy with its bulk or lack of power. We cut Architect splash and whittled it down to 40 cards, culminating in 3x Simian Liberation Army and Ltd. BattleChimp. Ascended (big surprise) support and low resource requirements cinched it for him. Alphonso took 2nd and ended up with most of the prizes as Jan and I ceded our bounty as he is a newer player. I think DanO had the best deck, however, with Fox Pass and Blue Moon Club, plus Deathtrap which came out on Fax Pass in at least two games.

We played a great game of Bang afterwards which saw Dan Oden trying to gun down Warren "Invincible Fortress" Snider who was unlucky enough to draft with us after losing in the quarterfinals of the Warlord championship earlier in the evening. At least he got free pizza. We wrap up and go to bed at the sensible hour of 2 am. I'm asleep for less than 5 minutes when Jan's computer lefts out a loud "Bong!" and startles me awake. Okay, Jan, so I lied when I told you I was eating a delicious Hostess Chocodile on the couch and rolled over on it in my sleep.

Dueling was taken up by a handful of diehards, while I got in a great game with Allen "West Coast Champion" Hege, Pete the Stealth Nerd, and Smart Eric. Eric and I play nearly identical Lot/Dra Hood decks, Allen plays a Dragon KFC deck, and Pete plays his newly minted Unexpected Rescue deck. We play for almost two hours until Eric wins the auction on Tommy Hsu and runs roughshod over the table in a final attack for the win.

Dim Sum is a lot of fun, even if the gwai lo + Steve V table only gets half the service of Eric "The Emperor" Lui's table. Max has the opportunity to turn down various feet numerous times. Zev states "I just know what I like" after turning down the 10th dish to go by, to which I reply "You know what that's called, Zev? Picky." The food is good, if slow and infrequent, but it was great to get 15 people together for a meal nonetheless.

All thing New York is superior to are discussed, and Zev and Paul make the necessary rulings that reinforce that New York is in fact the center of the universe. In fact, the center of all universes. Cavebear and Rossney regale us with great stories until the talk shifts to international potty habits, and then it's like a tennis match between Cavebear and Steve. SmartEric and Earl and their table are getting massages and manicures, accepting honorary degrees and sipping champagne while a highly offended Chinese family glares at us and the servers try to pawn off cold meatballs and more feet on to our bill. SmartEric and I get ready to leave and he asks if I used the can after drinking all that tea. I say I'll be fine. I make it to the bathroom at the gas station on the corner. I do the honors driving home and 6 hours of traffic analysis and laughing at dorks who get pulled over ensues.

Big thanks to the entire crew of BayFisters. Special lurve to Allen, Joyce, and Michael from "back East" who came all the way out and showed some serious skills. Thanks to Pete, Earl, and Max for running events, and extra special thanks to max for the alternate art monkey cards. Ook ook! And thanks to Jan for putting up 5 out of town players and driving my sorry butt all over the place.

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Kublacon 2005 Report
by Earl Miles, 2 June 2005

Originally posted to Earl's LiveJournal on 2 June 2005. Republished with permission.


Not having had to drive through El Centro (heh), just Bay Area Rush Hour Traffic, I arrived at the Con around 5:30. I got to pick up my complimentary GM badge (Yay, thank you KublaCon) and the huge bag of Stuff that they give us, which this year included a full boxed game called Cargo. I've never heard of it so I assume it was remaindered, but maybe Wingnut is hoping we'll like it and buy all the rest of their products. Also a super thick issue of Dork Tower, which had some pretty good stuff in it. And the super thick KublaCon program, which is also full of good stuff. Or something.

Now, being me, I immediately forgot I was running the Array of Stunts, and thought Pete was. This is in part due to an earlier phone conversation with Pete wherein he was asking me all sorts of questions about the format, and somehow I got it in my head it was because he was judging. But, no, I just have the memory of an etch-a-sketch, and I'd been doing a lot of shaking that week. More on my memory lapses on Saturday.

The Array of Stunts got started more or less on time, with 12 players: Tim Wong, John Castellucci, Erik Berg, Max Hufnagel, Paul Myers, Jan Malina, Pete Bratach, Cavebear, Steve Valladolid, Quyen Lam, Eric Lui and Warren Snider. I was seriously rooting for Quyen's deck, but otherwise I really don't like this format, so I cut it to 2 rounds plus a championship. As someone on the shadowfist forum mentioned, Jan won simply because he managed to win a game without timing out, and that was basically due to a perfect draw.

I don't like this format, and unless people nail a notice to my forehead demanding it, I don't think I'll include it in the schedule next year. We can put it at GenCon SoCal if people really want it, and once a year is plenty.

After the game there was much friendly play, and the rest fades into a blur. I think I may've mentioned something about memory lapse earlier, but I don't remember that either.

I do remember trying not to fall asleep while I drove home.


I woke up before the alarm and slipped out of bed before my wife woke up. Neither of us have any idea how this happened. The future wouldn't be this way. It gave me time to finish the unfinished work on the Feng Shui characters, though. This was a good thing.

Due to memory lapses that I think I mentioned earlier, I get the time wrong. Luckily, I'm not actually running the Memory Reprocessing. Unluckily, I actually passed this bad information on to Max. Worse, Max got stuck parking. I got kind of lucky on the whole parking thing, and made it right at 11, only an hour late! Luckily (again) everyone there was good natured, being as it was a Saturday morning and there were plenty of people to just do friendly games with.

The Memory Reprocessing ended up being run by Jan, which is who I expected to run it in the beginning, but who had declined to do so. Then did it anyway. Ahh.

The Memory Reprocessing had 12 players, which turned to 13 in round 2 apparently: Dan Oden, David Rakonitz, Michael Lasinski, Geoff Conn, Jeff Stroud, Eric Lui, Paul Myers, Steve Valladolid, Erik Berg, Max Hufnagel, Tim Wong, Earl Miles and Quyen Lam.

I ran the same deck I ran the year before, and the year before it stalled terribly and didn't do much. This year it actually did more, but that was only because I finally got The Hungry out and no one killed it. Hooray for fragile, broken combos. Boo for me not having time to do a real deck for the tournament. Erik Berg won. I think he kicked my ass pretty hardcore in this one last year, too. Erik Berg is my nemesis. I'd say it's Jan but I'm not quite good enough to rate Jan. And maybe I'm being really nice to myself to list Berg as my nemesis. But then again, maybe not.

After the Memory Reprocessing, which I didn't end up having to bail on early, I went to run my Feng Shui game. I posted character descriptions in an earlier posting, so I won't repeat them here; I ended up with a full 8, when it started to look as though I was only going to have 5. The game was a psychotic mix of characters shooting other characters, characters shooting bombs, the inability to share information amongst each other, and 2 sets of RPers who, I think, had very different views on what they wanted out of that kind of game. Some parts of the game were very satisfying, some parts left me quite wanting. I knew almost everyone in the game except for one person, who turned out to be a fantastic player. In true fashion, I failed to remember his name, so he will forever be known to me as "that guy who played Ash."

We did have one of the best moments in Feng Shui I've ever had.

The characters -- or at least, the remains of them (after Cavebear failed to defuse a bomb with a gun, failed the resulting death check, and the Inquisitor failed his healing roll, all sequentially) trace the people they're looking for to their secret lair. The people they were looking for were the Jammer Napalm Addicts. They all go into the cave, and Ash steps forward, intent upon negotatiating.

"Who the hell are you," asks Budda's Napalm, their leader.

Jubilantly, he answers, "I'm Ash!"

"Of COURSE you are!" And Budda's Napalm proceeds to hose down the entire group with his trademark weapon of choice. Perhaps wisely, they had the fire djinn of the group make them immune to fire, so what then resulted was a freaky combat in which all characters were basically fire elementals. That part was most fun.

Also, I broke, and needed a minute to get the tears out of my eyes. Yes, I'm easy to break.

It was great to get to play with [info]lurkingowl and Van Horn (Does he have an LJ?) and I hope to play more with him someday. Perhaps it was just because he picked my favorite of the 10 characters I put together, but he did a fantastic job with it, and truly did it justice.

That evening, we had a friendly play block; I missed half of it, because I had to go get some dinner. I met my lovely wife at City Pub, and then I brought a bunch of burgers back for other people who were playing. One person showed up for the demo stuff, (and he later turned up in Storm Trooper gear) and got in a game or two with Pete. I think I may've played some other games, but that's all a blur. Fading, fading. If somebody mentions some details of the games I'm sure I'll remember them.

Then I drove home. At least, I assume so. I don't remember that part.


Sunday I beat the alarm by 2 minutes, and managed to turn it off before it woke Lynette. Sadly she woke when I got up, and so she got up too, though it was hardly necessary. I beat feet and made it in time to run the Brawl, which I actually got started on time.

We had 22 players, and I was amazed. I had no idea that the later Draft would actually end up with more players, which I find even more amazing, and at the same time extremely wonderful.

The players: Allen Hege, Michael Lasinski, John Meyer, Quyen Lam, Robert Stetler, Jan Malina, Erik Berg, Steve Valladolid, Randall M! Gee, Geoff Conn, Daniel Lugo, Jeff "Cavebear/Lucky Flounder/Failed Bomb Defuser" Stroud, David Rakonitz, Dan Oden, Michael Stadermann, John Castellucci, Eric Lui, Alfonso Lopez, Paul Myers, Tim Wong, Pete Bratach and (catch breath) Max Hufnagel.

I actually kind of missed what happened in those games. It's not because I wasn't watching, but because my brain doesn't work quite that way; I'd go and look at the games, and I'd see snapshots of what was going on, but not participating there was no impetus to impart any of what I saw to memory, so by the time I moved to the next game, I'd completely forgotten what had gone on in the one before it. Did I mention that my memory kind of sucks? I don't remember if I did or not...

I do find it ironic that Allen Hege, who is from out east (Chicago is east, dammit. Denver is West and Chicago is East. This I decree) and Michael Lasinski (Indiana, I think?) are #1 and #2 in the West Coast Championship. Allen Hege gets a bye at GenCon.

We played 4 full rounds and a championship round, and I had a pretty decent time, despite the usual handfull of people normally not partaking in the tournaments and giving me friendly play while I judge actually being in the tournaments.

Eric Lui cut out early and Geoff Conn ended up taking his place. Now, the reason Eric cut out early is that he is foolish enough to drive all the way to Berkeley, pick up the best pizza the bay area has to offer and bring it back for us, gratis, accepting only our everlasting gratitude for this selfless sacrifice. And oh, did my stomach so appreciate that. Zachary's pizza is the only pizza in the area that I know of that the Chicagoans I know consider acceptable, and indeed occasionally better than the good pizza back home. I have yet to find a New York equivalent out here, and most agree that it's pretty much impossible due to the water. But I digress. Eric Lui deserves much thanks.

Then there was the Draft. This is the event that Pete was actually supposed to run, and indeed he did run. It was here that I realized something: Pete doesn't shout very well. I briefly tried repeating what he said so people could hear it, but that made things worse. So to figure out which of the 8 tables any given game was at took a while.

I thought my draft went really well, until I started putting a deck together. Then I realized I had fewer monarch resources than I thought I had, and ended up cutting most of the good monarch stuff I drafted, except for the Blood Lust and the King of the Fire Pagoda. I had plenty of Jammer resources, but not quite enough of the really good Jammer cards. I did get a Scrounging, but I almost never managed to draw it. I did get a Payback time, which I got about 50% of the time. I did pretty well in any game that didn't involve Jan Malina.

Jan, you see, picked up 2 Temple of Angry Spirits, 2 Big Rigs, and some stealthy ascended guys. He told us his deck was not good, but he made amazing, simply amazing use of the cards he had. Also, he successfully convinced me not to attack him when I absolutely should have, and it completely gave him the game. I admit my weakness, and I vow to be stronger, and spend more points resisting Jan's Jedi Mind Tricks in the future.

Because I had to play Jan twice, that put me at 2/2. Had I not gotten matched against Jan, I am fairly confident I would've gone 3/1 and been in the top 3. Alas, alack, and all that.

Players in the Draft: Paul Myers, Daniel Lugo, Dan Oden, Alfonso Lopez, Robert Stetler, Michael Lasinski, Robert Rossney, Robert Klemic, Max Hufnagel, Jeff "Cavebear" Stroud, David Rakonitz, Randall M! Gee, Earl Miles, Michael Stadermann, Jan Malina, Erik Berg, Warren Snider, Steve Valladolid, Miquel Hidalgo-Barnes (didn't even manage to say hi to him!) Tim Wong, John Castellucci, Quyen Lam, Allen Hege, Eric Lui, Zev, Joyce Hege, and Paul Gerardi. Whew. Jan swept that one, 4 and 0.

I think we played some more friendly games or something, then I went home.


Monday, there was supposed to be dueling. Of course, I scheduled it for 10am on Monday, which is a crazy time to schedule any event, really. Not that many people would've showed up for anything. But there it was, the duel. Eventually about half a dozen people showed up who kinda sorta wanted to duel, but nobody wanted to very dramatically, and we ended up doing friendly play.

We then went to Dim Sum. My table got everything. Erik Berg's table got the dregs. There are two reasons for this. #1) I have learned the secret to getting service at that particular dim sum place. It requires being very aggressive. If you see something you want -- even if it's across the room -- you make sure they know it. Of course, I also have the advantage of knowing what I want, which few if any at the other table did. The other reason was ethnicity. We at least had one person at the table who blended in with the patrons at the restaurant, they did not. As usual, Eric Lui was gracious and took items to their table from time to time.

That dim sum place is quite good, though not as good as I remember it. There's a few things they do very well. Pork buns, for example, are far better there than at my local place. But many things are much better down here. Also, at Dynasty, the place in San Jose I go to, they treat you like kings and you don't have to scream for them to come bring you food. In fact, you are more likely to push them away to make them STOP bringing you food already. Table's full! Come back later!

Then there was a last few rounds of friendly play, including that incredibly long game with Jan, David R and Geoff that got some mention on the forum. Jan was playing a fire deck, making great use of the king of the fire pagoda. I had my big demon deck out, which makes use of, well, big demons and the obsidian eye. David R had a nice dragon recursion deck, with all the best dragon hitters, and Geoff was playing a darkness/sacrifice deck, which I've found to be a pretty decent deck but suffers a bit from lack of punch-through.

The game stalled. No one was willing to break the balance of power, because the first person to twitch was going to be the one to go down. In fact, it sort of happened that way; I got tired of it, and had a plan. I unloaded on Jan. Of course, he discerning fire'd me into oblivion, which Geoff brain fired, and Jan brain fired right back. Poof, there went Desolation and Seven Evils. This would be the second time that we would see Discerning Fire / Brain Fire / Brain Fire / bye bye big demons! that game.

In any case, once I broke the balance of power things moved a little, but not really quite enough. Jan was going to deck when we picked everything up to go to dim sum. So actually I've now misremembered and gotten this out of order. Such as it is.

I do remember my last 2 or 3 games of the day. I remember these because I actually won them, and it's not often I pull off good wins with Steve V at the table. I was pleased

And then I went home, and I took my beautiful wife out to a very nice birthday dinner, but that's another story!

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Kublacon 2005 Report
by Jeff "Cavebear" Stroud, 6 Jun 2005

Originally posted to the Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 6 Jun 2004 by Jeff "Cavebear" Stroud. Republished with permission. If you're a member of the group, you can read the original in the archive.

Hello Everybody,

Cavebear here. It took me a while to catch up with life after getting back from KublaCon in San Francisco, as I made a six-day trip out of it, but here are some of the things I remember:

I brought plenty of cards but not many clothes. As a result people didn't get to see me in a different shirt-tie-shorts combination every day. I did remember to bring a razor, however, so the other players could actually see my face. I'm not sure that being bathed and well- groomed helped me win any games, so next con I'll experiment with the opposite.

The customs officials wouldn't let me pass with a hip flask that was full or mostly full, so I had to chug more than half the contents (mostly Jagermeister with some Rye) before they decided that it wasn't poison or explosive or whatever.

Showing up a day early and hanging out with Jan, Steve V, Zev, and Paul was a good idea. Not only was it lots of fun, it helped me overcome the three timezone difference between Toronto and San Francisco.

On opening day, con mascot Kublai Khan came around and I had my picture taken with his huge cloaked arm around my shoulders. If the picture comes out it can go next to the picture of Braz sitting on my lap at Origins. I decided to play Reascended for Array of Stunts and edited my deck. Local tech addict Paul Myers supplied me with a couple of Secret Labs, as I don't use them normally (What I mean is that I don't normally use them in my Reascended deck, not that I'm not normal). The Array of Stunts is pretty zany. I eked out some sort of timed out win and moved to the head table for round 2. I was using 5 Rust Gardens in my front row. This strategy worked in all three games, as it encouraged people to look elsewhere for free sites, such as the many Sunless Sea Ruins that don't fight back.

Jan went first. I went second. Jan won on turn 2, with a pair of Buddhist Monks and a pair of Da Boys out early, before any of us got our decks rolling. I did manage to get out two copies of my degenerate card for this format, Enemy of my Enemy, and was drawing lots of cards. I ended up second on points and got to play at the Jan table again in round 3.

Once again I sat to the right of Jan, but this time his deck took longer to get strong and he had to work his way back up after being knocked down by the rest of us. The game timed out with Allen (I think- -may have been Steve or John C) in first followed by me and then Jan, but Jan's brutal round 2 victory left him in first overall and congratulations are in order, because with a 75 minute time limit I didn't think any games would be won outright. For my efforts I received third prize, a little yellow KublaiCon pin, while Jan added to his art collection.

The event for Saturday morning was Memory Reprocessing. I figured we'd see lots of Pocket Demons and Violet Meditation, just like back home, so I played a 7M build of my Dragon deck, to see if I could abuse the Occult Kung Fu/Old Uncle/Ting Ting/Golden Gunman's Gambit combo. Answer: Yes I could, and it's nice, but it didn't actually win me any games.

I got a little trigger happy with Final Brawls and Kunlun Clan Assaults and showed poor judgement, although it was lots of fun.

Saturday night featured the event called "Friendly Play", and it featured a five-hour game with Dan Oden, Alfonso, and Paul G that kept me laughing and laughing. Both Dan and I were playing with Rapid Response Team and we churned through our decks blowing up characters at a steady rate. Paul was using Fortuitous Chi on Buddhist Monks to protect himself from the full arsenal of Neutron Bombs, Nerve Gas, Aerial Bombardment, and Fire in the Sky, but Black Ops Teams and the need to protect his sites prevented him from getting a lock. Eventually Dan allowed himself to run out of cards and it didn't look like either Alfonse or myself would be able to get by Paul's interceptors before running out of cards ourselves. I was down to three cards in my deck and was waiting for my next turn to make my futile push for the win, when Alfonse decided to attack me first. A little yellow KublaCon pin was at stake for the victor, that I was keen to have, and I told Alfonse this. In retrospect I should have kept my mouth shut, because this opened a big can of worms when he offered to let me have the pin if I let him win the game. I was ready to do that, as we had been playing close to five hours by this point, but Paul produced a little blue KublaiCon pin and said "Only dealers get these pins..." At this Alfonse cried blue murder, as he didn't have any way to up the stakes. I was starving at this point and would gladly have rolled over and played dead for someone offering me a sub or something, but he was cash-strapped. So Paul and I stopped Alfonse, and then it turned out that I had just enough to take a site for the win before I lost. I'm glad that it wasn't an official tournament game, where 'collusion' would no doubt have been invoked and the lot of us disqualified (except Dan. He would have been the winner although he had already lost.) But it was the funniest game I played all weekend.

Somehow I missed out on the drinking that night and prepared a three faction Dragon/Seven Masters/Jammer deck for the Final Brawl. The deck ended up containing none of the actual masters, however, as I had somehow lost the container of cards with most all my 7M rares.

Note: It never did turn up, so if anybody finds themselves in possession of an unexpected lot of 7M rares, please think of me.

The deck didn't quite work and I soon found myself at the lowest table, but I had put the cards into spiffy new sleeves with art on the back so I didn't lose any self-esteem.

Then we had the draft. There were so many people that we were actually short some Red Wedding. I drafted some excellent cards and had a very nice deck. Unfortunately most people seemed to have drafted excellent cards and had lots of good stuff, including Zev, who had to put up with being unjustly ridiculed. I was hoping to get a chance to play with the Z-Man himself, but no, not this time...

I went to sleep plotting to get sweet revenge for my lacklustre Sunday performance by impressing everybody with my (gasp) Purist duelling deck. Monday morning they had a flea market and I scored a vintage Freedom in the Galaxy for $5 and a true bargoon: Naval War for $1. Feeling greatly satisfied, I swung by the booth and discovered that I had unknowingly insulted one of the dealers near the Z-Man table by disparaging his roleplaying product. I made amends by buying a random book from his partner and headed for the Shadowfist action.

Either three days of sleep deprivation or three nights of alcohol poisoning was at work, or both, but nobody seemed really up for the duelling action and casual play was decided upon. This gave me a chance to socialise a bit and have some fun.

I'd like to thank Jan, for putting me up for the weekend, Earl, for running most of the events in his usual calm fashion, Eric Lui, for sleeping on the couch and letting me have the bed, Dan, for driving me to Oakland, Max, for promising to come up with a newer, better nickname for me to use next time, Zev, Paul G, and Allen, for crossing the timezones to be at the con, Steve, for enjoying food as much as I do, Erik Berg, for the wine, Paul M, for lending me cards, Alfonso, for making me laugh myself silly, and everybody else who was kind to me.

Enjoyed myself at the con. Then I went and visited an old friend in Oakland and crashed on his floor. Flew back to Canada without incident. One customs guy got mad at me for holding my declaration in my teeth; I told him that that was why it was a good thing he was wearing rubber gloves. In retrospect I guess I'm lucky he didn't decide to give me a complimentary body cavity search; I often forget that these beings have no sense of humour.

See you soon. You as is 'All y'all' (thanks to Paul G for teaching me how to use y'all properly).

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Kublacon 2005 Report
by David Rakonitz, 10 Jun 2005

Originally posted to the Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 10 Jun 2004 by David Rakonitz. Republished with permission. If you're a member of the group, you can read the original in the archive.

Hi Everyone,

Here is my report of Kublacon 2005. I had a great time at Kublacon, although my Shadowfist playing was ragged at times. A special thanks to Eric Lui for securing and buying the pizzas on Sunday night. That was great! I'd also like to thank Jan Malina, Earl Miles and Pete Bratach for running the three tournaments that I participated in.

Now, time for the day-by-day report.


Friday is easy to summarize. I wasn't at Kublacon. I had to work a little later than usual, and I've no interest in the Array of Stunts format. I would have far preferred seeing a Comrades in Arms tournament on the roster instead.


Well, my first tournament was Memory Reprocessing in which all the old rules from Daedalus are dusted off, put into play and potentially abused in a multiplayer format. I didn't have any time to prepare a specific deck for this format so I used my Verminous Black Hand deck, which Scott Lanterman helped me build. Verminous Black Hand is a variant of Steve Valladolid's Black Hand deck. While the deck was ready to go, it had been awhile since I played it. This didn't help matters.

In the first round, I was up against Cavebear's 7 Masters/Dragon deck, Tim Wong's Demon/Designator/Sword deck, and Steve Valladolid's peacock deck. This game had both low points and high points. Low points included failing to make a try for the win when I could have and being unable to exploit a successful use of the Hungry. As a high point, I got repeated use out of Verminous Rain followed by reloads. Verminous Rain cancelled a Temple of Angry Spirits and a 9DT. It smoked a mildly damaged Peacock Summit and a badly damaged Jade Valley, which I should have tried to take but failed to because of a mental lapse. With Cavebear playing Dragons and armed with Final Brawls, there is no guarantee that the effort would have worked, but I should have tried. The game got called on time, and Steve won that round. I had, no doubt, illusory hopes of making a serious play for the win on my turn, which was coming up, but the clock had stopped.

In round two, I faced Paul Myers' Asc/Monarch Axe and Ladder deck which had Thunder Squires graduating to Butterfly Knights on a regular basis, Quyen Lam's 7M deck, and Geoff's Dragon deck which used Curio Shops as defensive Feng Shui sites and various Dragon States in particular Running Out of Time. I may have gotten the name of that state wrong. In any case, Geoff would use Waterfall Sanctuaries to get rid of the offending state after it had served its purpose. It was a fun combo. In this game, I got bit by my efforts to reload Verminous Rain. Although there were a fair number of cards in my smoked pile, the reload toasted my Underworld Tracker which might have been able to stop Paul's bid for victory. That is the way it goes. Quyen gave an informal seminar on wringing every bit of denial out of the table before stepping in with his own trickery to foil an attack.

As befits a format called Memory Reprocessing, my memory of the rest of the tournament is foggy. I remember in the final round that Tim's designator deck stalled badly, and he resorted to giving non-useful designators to a number of characters. My Underworld Tracker got labelled a "fool" at least once. In that round, Tim's deck didn't bring out a single Purist Sorceror. I'm guessing that they were present in force, but I never saw them. I was able to win that round. It was probably because Tim mocked the Underworld Tracker.

I didn't see any decks that really capitalized on the rules quirks of Daedalus. Pocket Demons and Violet Meditations were very popular. In one round with Dan Oden, we avoided an auction for Fox Pass because Fox Pass is Limited under the Daedalus regime, not Unique. What was Daedalus thinking?

After the tournament, I played a number of casual games. Steve Valladolid demonstrated a number of his highly competitive decks: There was his General Fung/battleground deck, the Lotus/Peasant Leader deck and his 7 Masters/Market Square deck. These are fearsome decks. Miquel at one point played a Netherworld return - royalty deck and got both a King of the Thunder Pagoda out along with the Queen of the Ice Pagoda. I believe that Eric Berg played Jammers at least once because I remember Ba-Boom clearing the board. I mostly played my Dragon Wu Bin/CWA deck, which still needs a fair amount of tuning. I also remember Miquel playing a Code Red and dropping three BuroMil Grunts in response to an attack. That was quite neat. I've occasionally placed Code Red in my architect decks, but I've never got it to work for me.

I didn't stay very late on Saturday because I wanted to be reasonably alert for the Final Brawl on Sunday.


I brought a 7M/Hand deck to the Final Brawl. Unfortunately, the deck can be a bit slow, and these were 3 player games. While I could have played Verminous Black Hand again, I was curious to see how my deck would do, and I didn't have a good tournament level backup deck available.

In the first round, I faced Allen Hege's conquering Dragon/7M deck which used the mighty combo of ITAYG and Red Bat plus Big Bruisers and also Alfonso's Dragon/ReAscended Deck. I was playing catch up for that entire round. Allen locked in a Secret Headquarters and followed it up with a Foxpass. It didn't help when I miscalculated Red Bat's fighting score and hung a damaged Turtle Beach out to dry. My alternate power generating cards mostly hid, and Allen won the game despite furious opposition from Alfonso and a few Hand tricks from myself. At one point, Alfonso was able to get out both Steven Wu and the ReAscended Shark character, but it just wasn't enough to stop the juggurnaut.

In the second round, I confronted another ReAscended Deck and an Architect/Lotus deck. I managed to win that round, but I don't remember the details.

In the third round, there was Max's Hand/Ascended (Shaolin Surprise) Deck and Michael Stadermann's Fire/Chi/Darkness deck. This was my favorite tournament game because everyone was in the game. There were some fun plays. Michael Discerning Fired two of Max's Shadowy Mentors. I got Carmen Zhou into play and Rigorous Disciplined her ability on to Monsoon for pretty good effect. Of course, Monsoon got taken off the board quite quickly, but it was amusing while it lasted. Max had a Temple of Angry Spirits in his front row. I declared a Peasant Revolt and threw his newly enlightened horde of 1 cost characters at the offending site. My shot at victory got derailed when I failed to draw a Feng Shui site, and Max took the victory.

The fourth round was a disaster for me. Quyen played a 7M/Bloody Horde deck which made good use of Occult Kung Fu and Wu Dang Monk. Pete Bratach played a Dragon deck. My deck stalled horribly. Quyen activated a Cave Network, got out a Proving Ground, and basically ran us over.

We then played a fun game. Quyen played the same deck. Pete played a Purist deck using the TFT Purist cards, and I played the same deck. After a slug fest, I was able to win with Red Bat and Shi Ho Kuai. Both of whom had about 10 Fighting each. Having Pete play a Chi Detachment on Red Bat really hurt, but the Shield of Pure Cheese eventually allowed me to fish out some "state hate" to deal with it.

After eating some of the great pizza that Eric Lui bought for the group, I braced myself for the Draft. I'm still quite inexperienced with the Draft format. On the one hand, I need to draft cards which can make a good deck, but I'm also buying these cards, so it is a chance for me to secure cards that I either don't have or don't have enough of. Those two often opposing impulses impair my limited drafting skills. I ultimately settled upon a Dragon/Architect deck.

At one point, during the Draft, the L5R folks who were also conducting a tournament let out a cheer. While we weren't situated as close to the L5R players as last year, we were in the same space. There were a lot of L5R players, and when they cheer, it's loud. At one point, Allen Hege led the Shadowfist players in a counter cheer to good effect.

In the first round of the draft, I faced again Cavebear and Randall M! Gee. Cavebear was playing an Ascended Deck that got its tech from somewhere. I think Architect. Randall played a straight Dragon deck. This was my second favorite tournament game, even though I ultimately got pounded. I got out a Redeemed Assassin and made a couple of attacks to win the game. I just couldn't do it. The sites were too large, even after I boosted the Assassin with Colonel Griffith! Eight damage was not enough to take those Inner Sanctums and Grizzly Peaks. I lost the Colonel when Cavebear played Master of Disguise on a Cabinet Minister and won the auction. Argh! The Colonel had retired. Let the military get into politics and look what happens. Worse, the Colonel used his military connections to get a Fusion Rifle and a Hover Tank. It was funny, even though it didn't help me. When time was just about to be called, there was a tie. I tried to win on points by making a desparate attack with the Redeemed Assasin aided by a Sacred Heart Hospital. The pounding began. Randall played a Last Stand, which I had never seen played before and had to read the card to see just what it did. When I tried to heal the assassin with Sacred Heart Hospital, Cavebear flattened it with a Roar of the Beast! Yow! There went the tie.

Rounds two and three saw me just getting pounded. In Round two, my deck couldn't keep up. I tried to play an IKTV Report and the Secret of Shaolin suppressed the free press. Boo! When I tried to Burn for Power in a desparate effort to get back in the game, I got bit. It was not my game. In Round 3, my deck basically hid the Architect Resources so that the only two Imprisons in my deck were stranded in my hand. The deck stalled and that was that.

In Round 4, the deck decided to do something and pretend it was a real deck. That game I won.

By the end of the tournament, it was Midnight, and I headed home. At home, I made a couple of last adjustments to my dueling deck and went to sleep.


As you know from other summaries, the Dueling Tournament got cancelled on the grounds that most people preferred casual multiplayer. I was in a lengthy game with Jan Malina, Earl Miles, and Geoff Conn about which much has already been written on the boards. It was a long game. A number of formidible big hitters made the scene, such as Desolation, the Mother of Corruption, the King of the Fire Pagoda, and the Golden Gunman. Ultimately, the game got called on account of dim sum.

I couldn't join the large group going for dim sum because I had some commitments to be elsewhere which were fast approaching.

It was interesting to see the 7 Masters make such a strong appearance this year. Red Bat and ITAYG is a classic combination, but I didn't see it last year. There was a lot of Redirection Effects in the games that I played in which made Petroglyphs a very important site.

So, that concludes my Kublacon. It was great to see everyone at Kublacon, and I'm looking forward to next year. If I've mixed some Shadowfist games up, I apologize; I played a lot of Shadowfist over the weekend.

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