KublaCon 2014

As I write this KublaCon is wrapping up.  Interesting thing about travel is, while it prevents me from doing some things, it gives me opportunities for some other things.  So, before I get to KublaCon, just comment on V:TES Tuesday night.

I have been traveling to Virginia for work, so I got together with the DC players for V:TES Tuesday.  We played a couple of games, five and four.  Pete was my prey both games.  Robert my predator.  Joe my grandpredator and Eric my grandprey in game one.

Robert (!Nos combat) -> Ian (Obf/Ser/Tha anarch) -> Pete (borrowed Ravnos) -> Eric (Nos titled combat) -> Joe (Kiasyd)

I got a quick Heart of the City, so it seemed like a real stealth bleed deck.  Never got beaten up in combat even though Robert was playing Ani/Pot combat.  I Golconda-ed Robert’s Calebos, which was enough to keep him in the game even with Dominate stealth bleed behind him.  Robert did beat down Eric a lot after Joe got ousted and we called the game after Pete was ousted and Eric had no game left.

Pete (!Toreador Palla Grande) -> Joe (Dolphin Black & friends) -> Robert (as above) -> Ian (Descent into Destruction)

I got a lot of combat cards early and put out Channel 10 to be able to block some stuff.  Dolphin and Rodolfo bled until they got beaten down.  Pete bled with Presence and kept reducing my one bleeds from all of my DOM dudes with Greta.  Eventually Pete ousted.  I Foreshadowing Destructioned three times to oust him.  I did not get beaten up in the endgame, with my prey being extremely low on pool due to being bled earlier.

So, I flew back late Friday, meaning both missing Friday of the con and not exactly moving quick Saturday morning.  I still got to the con in plenty of time before my noon Shadowfist tournament, as I had planned, as I intended to hit my favorite Chinese place in Millbrae.  It actually opened an hour later than it said on their menu, but everything worked timingwise.

Shadowfist Classic

Seven players for the tournament, so two rounds of 3/4 and a final.

Miguel (Moonlight Knights) -> Jason (Hand) -> Jeremy (borrowed Senoritas) -> Ian (Syndicate)

Let me first say that pretty much all of my games over the weekend were typical Shadowfist games.  Tons of bids for victories, tons of stoppage.

Miguel is the player I play against the most, so I knew both his deck and Jeremy’s, though Jeremy’s seemed better tuned than when I played against it previously.  Miguel’s deck was all about Butterfly Knights gaining two power from Moonlight Raid, with other support stuff.  I never got much sense of what Jason’s deck was trying to do.  Jeremy got out his Senoritas with Tommy Guns but hadn’t quite figured out all of the synergies.

I had an extremely smooth start.  I got out Song, The Little Dragon at some point, which was great against being shot by guns (course, with his special, when is he not great?).  Everyone except Jason were threats.  One thing about Shadowfist is that it’s much harder for me to remember all of the details, a lot of that is probably because I know V:TES so much better so events resonate more, but I think it also has to do with how many more crazy moments can happen in the much swingier game that is Shadowfist.

Senoritas got dealt with.  Miguel’s combos didn’t go off particularly well.  The Hand helped with stoppage with Blade Palm and especially Wing of the Crane.  As the third threat, I had just enough to push through a victory.

We also had to check with Earl on how Influence works in the game, which I should have known better as that’s the Syndicate’s thing, even if it is bad.

So, this was my first tournament ever.  I had no idea how scoring was done.  I found out burning for victory was worth more than just having played sites and that FS Sites were worth points, so I got into a mindset of burning for victory even though all of my decks plan to burn for power for much of the game.

Steve (Architect sacrifice) -> Ian -> Jeremy

I may not be remembering who went first correctly.  It’s so much less important in Shadowfist than in V:TES.

Steve just had too much removal that went my way.  Imprison and Nerve Gas are harsh, and I think he played both Neutron Bombs.  I kept expecting him to wreck Jeremy as guns are kind of bad when the character with them gets taken out, but a lot of removal went my way.  We all did stuff and Steve eventually won.  I did get out two Zero-G Sumo in this game and other cards I didn’t get out in the first game, so I was amused.

Earl won both of his games, I believe, so we three winners played the finals.

Earl (Monkeys with Hand) -> Steve -> Ian

Around and around we went.  Only one Neutron Bomb.  Song strong but not so strong when he gets Imprisoned.  I tried to play around removal.  I used Data Mining and Salvage a bunch to keep having enough power.  I almost pushed through with a Street Doc for the win, but he got redirected, which I defeated with Hyper Alloy Blade only to forget I was attacking a Waterfall Sanctuary.  Synchronic Beam Emitter would have been great for my last bid for victory, except Earl Confucian Stabilityed it away.

Steve ran out of characters, with his last being Char who got smoked in my last bid for victory.  Earl mopped up when Steve decked as I had no power to deal with a bunch of Gorilla Fighters.  I came in second, which was amusing.  It would have, of course, been more amusing to win in my first tournament playing a format I don’t really have the cards for with a deck I had never played, but the best player won, a good sign.

I debated between a t-shirt and a Revelations deck.  While I could really use the latter for my collection, there’s no reason I can’t get those at any time, so I went with the t-shirt.

I really enjoyed my first tournament experience.  I enjoyed my deck.  I was always a threat to win and only was really out of a game in the finals when Steve was eliminated and after maybe three bids for victory.

Next up was my V:TES event.  We got five players for two games.  Tom and Kat, who missed the previous year, made it this year.

Michael (Night Moves Deflection) -> Jeff (borrowed Descent into Destruction) -> Tom (Tremere vote) -> Ian (Ravnos block fight with Edged Illusion) -> Kat (Lasombra vote/bleed)

Kat and Michael allowed Tom’s Muaziz to become a prince.  Tom helped Kat do vote damage to Michael and me for a while.  Jeff never seemed to have the right cards at the right time, though he had a turn where maybe he could have ousted Tom and he might have survived longer if he bounced backwards one of Kat’s bleeds that made its way around to him.  I got out a bunch of dork Ravnos but didn’t really have much to do.  I Draba-ed and Ignis Fatuused some to slow people down, but all I could do forward was contain Kat.  Michael ousted Jeff.  Tom ousted me when I lacked one more wake to survive at 1 pool.  Time ran out.

Ian (Toreador) -> Michael (Salubri/!Trem/Tupdog) -> Tom (1/2 Brujah) -> Kat (as above) -> Geoff (borrowed Obf/Ser/Tha)

I had a lot of bleed, which comes from playing a modified precon rather than my usual decks.  I pushed through Michael eventually.  Kat came out hard on Geoff but got ousted fast by Tom’s Dominate and Presence bleeds.  Geoff hung on.

I gave Geoff four pool when he played Extremis Boon, but he couldn’t stabilize, losing combats to the Brujah.  I got slowed down, but my Rafael, Epikasta, and Thomas De Lutrius never went down, and The Rack gave me recovery.  I Sniper Rifled Tom’s guys away for the 3/2 win.

Based on tournament points, Tom had the best night, so he won the event.

I drove home.

Sunday

Took two naps in the morning to try to deal with sleep deprivation and/or jet lag.  I got into the con around 2PM.  Earl and I talked a bit while he sorted his Modern cards, then we played a couple of games of Star Realms, the space combat deckbuilding game.  I like it far more than Dominion and other card games of that ilk.  While I didn’t feel like my strategies were all that subtle, there were more interesting things going on than in most Dominion games – actually, it was probably because the game felt interactive unlike most Dominion play.  There was very much a “if I don’t take you out this turn, you take me out on your turn” feature to it, which reminded me of why Ultimate Combat! tends to be so fun.

Modern tournament happened, with only four players.

Steve (Jammers) -> Jason (Lotus) -> Ian (Lotus) -> Earl (Lotus)

Yeah.  Many bids for victory.  Many Lotus character steal/kill to stop them.  Two Underworld Coronations got played, with mine tossed as I forgot what one-shot meant.  I believe a monkey token was one of the recipients of Underworld Coronation.  Ba-BOOM! also helped nuke the table.  I made a terrible decision to attack with only an Abysmal Wyrm in play and blow Insidious Plans for cards only to draw a bunch of sites and crap like Imps to try to finish a site off.  My next memorable mistake was burning for victory when burning for power would have set me up much better for victory the next turn.  Jason stole a Simian Sanctuary to generate some monkeys.

Everyone had lots to do.  Steve eventually won when everyone was finally spent in terms of character removal/steal.  I really enjoy Lotus, at least in Modern where they get lots of character control, but I’m not as thrilled when being on the receiving end of character control.  No one really messed with me all game, which should have been a huge advantage, but it was really just a matter of who could push through at the right time.

Earl (slight changes) -> Ian (Ascended horde) -> Jason -> Steve

I changed decks to make things less monotonous.  An early Bull Market on my part accelerated Jason and me to where we were early threats to win.  Steve and Earl had to fend stuff off for ages.  Steve never got going.  Earl got enough power that my awful horde of crap like Wolf Clan Hunters was contained.  Lots of stoppage.  Earl plays Reggie Mortis and uses him to get back Xin Ji Yang.  I Shadowy Mentor some stuff that doesn’t really gain me a whole lot, though I make some bids for victory.

Actually, my deck wasn’t a real deck.  I was using it for playtesting, so it had a bunch of weird card choices, and I really dislike spending four for Shadowy Mentor.  Maybe it’s a Modern thing, but I don’t expect to keep my stolen dude for very long, if at all.

Jason -> Steve -> Ian (Cop Bruisers) -> Earl

I changed yet again.  I had plenty of power early on and got out a quick Big Bruiser and Cop on the Edge.  Steve also did really well early.

Typical Shadowfist – I played “Is That All You Got?” to get back Junkyard Boys only to see one of my two Junkyard Boys get Briberyed away to smoke the other.  I think there was a Death of a 1,000 Cuts at some point on a Junkyard Boys as well.  Big Bruiser kept getting Briberyed.  Came back a couple of times.  My two Cops on the Edge eventually bit it but not to Discerning Fire, which is what I expected.

FS Sites were scary to play as, I believe, Jason burned for victory three times and Steve was a constant threat for something like play and take.  I was a constant threat until we got to the end and I couldn’t draw a Golden Comeback to have meaningful fighting in play.  Steve didn’t have much fighting in the end and Jason “we need your removal” got decked, leaving Earl to clean up with the usual Reggie stuff.

Steve got second in the tournament.  I got third and ended with the Revelations deck I most coveted.

We had all of the usual craziness of needing to kill 1 Fighting dudes and sometimes double digit bids for victory getting stopped.

I do think the game can be a tad frustrating with just how often bids for victory get stopped, but is the alternative better?

While V:TES was being played with one of my decks, we continued to play Shadowfist.

We had one game, the last, where Earl had the Queen of the Ice Pagoda, I had Beaumains, Jason had Cyborg Mermaid, Steve had Primus and Chaos Spirit, and none of had Feng Shui Sites in play.  Twice in the endgame (which lasted forever) we collectively had zero sites in play.  At one point, Earl had 10 power and no cards in play … I had 13 power (6 from Avenging Thunder on Queen of the Ice Pagoda, Earl’s only resource providing character) and like Beaumains in play.  Jason thought it was funny when I had no cards in play and said, “It’s go time!”  I had finally drawn a Fire Dancer to get the one magic resource I needed to drop double Fire Horse.  Steve finally won the game with Cognitive Spirit and two Chaos Spirits in play and the Queen of the Ice Pagoda unable to block.  My remaining Fire Horse got Shattering Fired for five to not Mobility stop them.

We had another game where Jason just ripped through us with Reentry Squads and I ended the game with 8+ power and never giving Jade Fox (who is terrible) a sword.

1:40AM or so and I drove home.

This con was amusing in that all I did was play cards the whole time I was at the con.  Two CCGs and one, the other sort of deckbuilding card game (we need a good name for these to differentiate from CCGs – I’ll have to see if there is one).

Thanks to Earl for running the Shadowfist events.  It was, after all, my main reason for deciding on KublaCon instead of a LA con.  Great to see people I knew and game with some of them.  I didn’t do a lot, but I did enough and got some rest to counteract the lack of sleep.

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