Shadowfist Tournament Report: Smackdown in Jacktown 2007
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> Smackdown in Jacktown 2007
[posted 11 Feb 2008; updated 14 Feb 2008]
The 4th annual Smackdown in Jacktown tournament was held in Jackson, Michigan, on November 10, 2007.
John Merrill won the multiplayer tournament, returning the honors to the USA after two years in Canada. The dueling tournament was left unsettled in a classic reservoir dogs situation - James P. beat Charles, Charles beat James D., and James D. beat James P.
Results and comments from John Merrill
Report from Braz King
Photos from John Merrill
Originally published in the Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 14 November 2007. Weirdly, it does not show up in the Yahoogroups archive. Republished with permission, corrected Charles Soong to Kel McKay in the finals list.
The 4th Annual Smackdown in Jacktown was a great success!
We had 31 attendees with 16 participating in the Great Lakes Championship Final Brawl. 4 groups of 4 player games playing 3 rounds yielded a finals table consisting of Tim Linden, Jeff (Cavebear) Stroud, Kel McKay, and myself (John Merrill). Being the only American in the final it was up to me to restore the Smackdown title to it's homeland after 2 years of Canadian domination. After a grueling final which saw Brain Fires being tossed around like devalued US dollars at a strip club near the border (there were 3 Monarch players!) my Cassandra was able to take Kel's Fortress of Shadow for the win. It was a great game which saw lots of Monarchs come and go (Cavebear's 14 fight and growing White Ninja was a badass) with everyone having a chance to win at some point.
Big thanks go out to Greg Zimmerman for running the tournament, George Davis (owner of the awesome Allplay venue) for being a great host, the Canadian contingent (Tim, Cavebear, Charles, Kel, and Braz) for making the long journey and Neal Jesse and his crew coming up from Ohio to join the fun. Last but not least, the Jacktown regulars and former Battleground members who made the trip from all over Michigan.
So mark your calendars for next November and join us for the 5th Annual Smackdown in Jacktown!
[writeup by John Merrill]
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Originally published in the Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 20 November 2007. If you're a member, read the original in the archive. Republished with permission.
Just wanted to express the appreciation of the Toronto players (The 401G Squad!) for a great time in Jackson, Michigan two weeks ago. John and Greg ran a fun tournament and it was great to see John walk away with a win after quite a few finals appearances over the last few years, both at the Smackdown, the Canadian Championship, Origins, GenCon, etc.
It was great to play with the Michigan boys, including the notable web-presence we knows as James_P, and also the Bowling Green/Toledo gang, of whom Neal Jesse is probably best known here on the forum.
As usual, the Shadowfist community is full of interesting, friendly people and I enjoyed the socializing very much.
Note to self- Full on brute force duelling decks are in the decline. After losing the duelling final to Joshua Kronengold's insanity-causing, torturous maze of a deck, Ugliness, at GenCon, I found the strongest decks in Michigan to be of a similar variety - slow building but impossible to smash into smithereens.
James P's Archie Soldier deck combines Diamond Beach for the small attackers and Imprisoned for the biggies. If you have event protection then he has City Square and Fox Pass to move damage and attackers around as needed, mostly to his wide, wide collection of Battleground Sites. He plays few characters so you can't even win by killing them off - he runs mainly with Grunts and Assault Squads backed by Colonel Reiger to boost the attacker to 10+ fighting. Its one of those decks that you think you can just smash but the harder you hit it the more it beats you with cost efficiency. I don't think I saw a card in the deck that cost more than 2 and most of them cost 1 or 0.
The other notable Jackson duelling deck is a 7M deck and sorry, but I forget the player's name. He's been working on this deck for a while - I played him two years ago and he was running a version of the same deck. Essentially is it Angry Temple (and other big, hard-to-take sites), Wudang Mountain, Beneficent Tao, Unexpected Rescue, Wing of the Crane, KunLun Clan Assault, Monkey Fools the Tiger, Balanced Harmonies and various 7M hitters. The challenge with this deck is that it doesn't need characters to defend itself and unless you take a site in a single attack, it ends up a wasted attack. The site ends up healed or the damage gets moved around or you get intercepted 'unexpectedly' on the followup. The player tends to build up his sites without fear of them being taken, generate loads of power from his site structure, gets hitters out for near free and in the mean time the opponent is playing out his deck and getting nowhere.
Both of these decks can be defeated, but my point is that the straight-forward beatdown deck that I prefer (i.e, when in a duel, shoot for the heart and keep on shooting) isn't cutting it in this era of the complex, maddeningly sorcerous decks. :^) Time to get Byzantine!
Otherwise, the Final Brawl tournament was a lot of fun. Good play all around and a wide variety of decks though the surprise to me was the dominance of the Four Monarchs. Most 4 player games had 1 or 2 Monarch players in it and the final table included 3 Monarch decks. I was running my "The Ice Women Cometh" deck, though I spell the last word differently when I'm not posting on a PG forum. :^) I was in the zone and did just fine and was near the top in points for the first three rounds but once again in the final game, knowing the time out was near I failed to play a FSS and instead held 2 power for a Discerning Fire in case somebody else had time to go for the win. Which they didn't. So I finished the last qualifying round with 2 power in my pool and was one FSS short of making the final. I have done this at least five times in major tournaments - missed the final by not playing a FSS in the third round on my last turn. I'll learn. :^) But the good news is that Kel McKay would have been bumped if I had played that Site and this is the only big tournament outside of Canada that Kel goes to so I was happy for him.
In fact at the end of Round 3 the five Toronto players were all in the top 6 in points - that was a good feeling for our local group.
The final was typical John Merrill nightmare - him and three Canadians. :^) I was playing casual games during the final but kept glancing over and it seemed that everyone was fighting hard and there was a lot of back and forth. Kel (taking my place in more ways than one) 'cracked' first and went hard on the attack when he knew there was too much denial to win but at least he smashed the gridlock and the game opened up (and ended soon). I had hoped Kel would win at that point because I like it best when the person who refuses to participate in the waxy character buildup standoff ends up rewarded with the win, but unfortunately very often victory goes to the most conservative, not the most aggressive.
Extra special thanks to Neal Jesse for quoting Durkheim in casual conversation, to Greg for his organizational skills, humour, and showing his balls, and to John Merrill for putting the Canadians up at his place, finding the perfect restaurant with cute waitresses (and a bartender that managed to mix a decent Stinger), for showing us the Merrill observatory (no joke - John Merrill senior actually built a functioning observatory on their property) and for taking us out in the Michigan woods to fire off some awesome handguns.
A totally amazing weekend and I am grateful to our organizers and hosts!
[writeup by Braz King]
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