Hey everybody! I’m back, fresh from the WGP in Houston Texas. While the event didn’t quite go how I planned (winning a slot on the US nation team), I still did reasonably well. However, for flying all the way from Ohio, I had quite high expectations…
First, let’s talk a bit about the event in general.
Being the final event that would qualify desirable hopefuls a chance to go to Worlds in Japan next month, we knew this was going to be a big event. Pre-Registration sold out almost two weeks before the event even took place! A whopping 347 players showed up to Force some Will with as much might as they could muster. And while there were rumors that the tournament organizers would only admit 100 on-site registrants, they found the room (in the venue and in their hearts) to make sure none were turned away. Cyberlord Games, Alter Reality Games, and the US Force of Will support staff did a wonderful job with the small amount of people working at their disposal. Yes, some of the rounds ran a bit long, but this is only the sixth large scale FoW tournament on this continent. It will take some growing pains to get everything running as smooth as is desired. Shout out to the Doubletree on Airport Blvd as well for being so accommodating.
Alright, I guess it would help if I told you all what I ended up running at the event.
Yes it is boring. Yes it is what EVERYONE played. Except they didn’t! Only 101 out of 347 people decided to start with Bahamut as their Ruler. That’s not even 30%. Now, when we count all the Melgis, Cain and even Bloody Snow White, we get a much more dominant figure. All of these decks are essentially just aggressive Fire Regalia based decks, which puts them all in the same boat in my opinion. Not to mention, every deck in the top eight of the event had Bahamut somewhere in their 65. But still, most people expected upwards of 50-60% of people playing Bahamut and it wasn’t nearly that much!
I ended up running the following Fire/Light list, which was inspired by my friend Leon Chu:
J-Ruler: Falltgold, the Dragoon//Bahamut, the Dragon King
4 Hunter in Black Forest
4 Guinevere, the Jealous Queen
4 Rukh Egg
3 Perceval, the Seeker of Holy Grail
1 Apostle of Cain
1 Black Goat
4 Lancelot, the Knight of Mad Demon
4 Cthuga, the Living Flame
2 Crime and Punishment
2 Duel of Truth
4 Laevateinn, the Demon Sword
3 Excalibur, the God’s Sword
4 Magic Stone of Heat Ray
1 Little Red, the Pure Stone
5 Magic Stone of Flame
4 Split Heaven and Earth
3 Bullet of Envy
3 Flame King’s Shout
2 Susanowo, the Ten-Fist Sword
1 Apostle of Creation//Cain, the Traitor of Gods
Now, Bahamut is boring and certainly overplayed. But if your goal is to win the tournament, then certainly no one can fault you for playing the deck. The purpose of adding white was to have access to more Regalia than anyone else. Perceval is an All-Star. He finds your best card. He protects your Ruler. He replaces himself when cast (finding another card to put in your hand), keeping you even or ahead in card advantage. The only problem is that he is tricky to keep in your opening hand since you only have a 40% chance to flip a Light stone in this deck (No, you are never naming Light with Little Red). But that’s fine, he’s worth a slight amount of inconsistency, and is certainly better than the 3 Apostle of Cain you would likely run in his place.
The cards I was particularly unhappy with were the Black Goat, the Crime and Punishments and almost all of the sideboard. Split Heaven was played since it’s a house against control decks (never played one). Flame King’s Shout was there for Banzai Grimm and if anyone was playing the new and awesome Alice’s World deck (played Grimm once). In fact, the only card that really impressed me was Bullet of Envy. This is a card that could single handedly “win the die roll” for you. It is meant to be boarded in when on the draw versus the mirror match. Allowing you to use a Hunter or Cthuga to single-handedly take out a Bahamut. Obviously, they will just banish their Regalia or another resonator, but the tempo gain effectively puts you back on the play instead of the draw.
Since I kept some reasonable looking notes during my matches, I figured it would be appropriate to entertain you with a summary of how my rounds went during the day. Soooooo, here we go!
I lost the die roll
We both start on Hunters and knock each other down to 3700. On turn two I’m able to flip Bahamut and with the help of some Regalia, get Raul down to 1900. Over the next three turns, while I have no Resonators, Raul casts a Gwiber, the White Dragon each turn. Bahamut is able to eat these Gwibers and eventually get Raul down to 500. However, each turn Raul is slightly advancing his board, and I have to pray he doesn’t peel a Banzai Attack to just end me. On the final turn Raul gets and plays an 1800/1800 Tinkerbell and passes the turn with a single card in hand. I attack with Bahamut into a Gwiber free board and he casts his last spell, Duel of Truth fighting his Tinkerbell with my Bahamut. I cast the card I drew for the turn in response, Thunder, taking Raul from 500 to dead!
At this point I’m thinking, “Wow, today is going to be a lot tougher than I thought”
Raul starts the second game the same way he started the first, playing a Hunter and attacking me down to 3700. I have a slow start with a Rukh Egg and am holding onto Susanowo and a couple Thunders. Raul goes for the turn two sequence of Little Red, the Hope of Millennia into Granny by the Fireplace. I still can’t find Laevateinn and just play out a Lancelot and pass the turn. On Raul’s third turn, he just searches for a Tinkerbell and plays it out as a 600/600. Since Raul didn’t make a really good play on his turn I assume he has either Banzai Attack or his own Susanowo in his hand waiting for a bigger board or me to flip my Bahamut. This slow pace continues until Raul summons his fifth stone and casts a Gwiber for five whole will! I jump for joy and slam my Susanowo on the field, murdering his Gwiber and hitting him for 1200. Raul tries to retaliate with another Gwiber, but unfortunately for him I had a second Susanowo waiting in the wings to destroy him.
I won the die roll
This match ended up being on camera, so you can find it on www.twitch.tv/forceofwillus if you would like to watch the play-by-play. To summarize, game one I had double Laevateinn, Excalibur, Rukh Egg, Thunder and just went YOLO on turn one. He went from 4000 to 2600 to 1200 to scoop.
Game two was much more interesting and highlights an unfortunate mistake many inexperienced players make. Scott sided into Melgis, the Flame King//Melgis, the One Charmed by the Demon Sword, and was leading the second game the entire time. He had me at 1000 to his 2400 and was in a significant board advantage. I was waiting for him to attack with his Melgis, I would make a futile block with my Guinevere and we would be on to game three. Instead Scott decided to take care of both my Resonators first and then attack into clear board. My last two cards were an extra Laevateinn and a Crime and Punishment, taking out his Melgis before it could attack from a position of seeming doom. Scott was back on one stone, but still had a Lancelot and another Resonator, but was so affected by what I had just done and his mistake, that he decided to just scoop there and shake my hand. Now there is almost no chance I win that game still even after his mishap. But he was just so caught up in his own mistake that he didn’t want to play anymore. Earned or not, we were two and oooooooooo baby!
I lost the die roll
Paul and I shared very similar draws, with one small exception. I had a Laevateinn and he never drew one. This made losing the die roll very minimal, just like Paul’s final life total.
For the second game, Paul comes flying out the games with Rukh Egg into double Cthuga, and I start my turn with 75% of my health. Next turn I take another 1500 and it’s quickly on to game three.
This would my second time in three rounds that I got to go YOLO on turn one. With Laev, Laev, Excal, Guinevere, and Cthuga in my opener I attack poor Paul down to 2100 before he even takes his first turn. Next turn I get another 1200 in, dropping him to 900 leaving an Excalibur up just in case he can deal with my Bahamut. Turns out he couldn’t and extended the hand. (Yea, Yea, Regalia are real fair).
I won the die roll
It is really unfortunate how much winning the die roll matters. But when people are attacking for 1000-1400 on turn two, it ends up being quite the deal breaker. We play a close game one that just ends up going my way since I am the one attacking and Roger is left being the one to trade but is always left one step behind.
Roger goes first for the second game and ends up getting me all the way down to 400, which is a real shame because on one of his turns he actually forgot to use his two Regalia before his ready phase! This actually happened tons of times during the day, people just wouldn’t activate their Regalia during their draw phase and missed many points of damage. Anyway, when I am at 400, and Paul is at 4000 the following happens. Hunter + Bullet of Envy gets in for 1100, Perceval gets in for 200, Cthuga banishes the Bulleted Hunter, grabs a Bullet of Envy himself and gets in for 1300, and finally my Bahamut with Laevateinn (activation, banish Cthuga, activation) gets in for 1400. And Viola, 4000 to 0 real quick like! Had my opponent played just a smidge better, in many different ways, he would have been moving us to a game three, but he left just enough of an opening for me to count to 4000.
I won the die roll
Turn one I played Rukh Egg, banished to Cthuga, searched up another Rukh Egg, and took Luis to 3500. Luis decided to be a tad more explosive. Luis plays Laev, banishes an extra Laev, plays Hunter and attacks me to 3700, activates Laev, J-Activates Bahamut to get another 1200 in AND kill my Cthuga, then banishes ANOTHER LAEV and plays Apostle of Cain for another 500, dropping me to 2000. Wow. But this is usually a foolish line of play on the draw, mostly because being behind a turn AND a stone is usually too much to overcome if Bahamut is answered. As planned, I get to run my next turn Bahamut into his, leaving him with no stones and having to take his whole next turn just to call a stone. This is where I make my first big misplay of the event. At this point, being behind in life total, but ahead in cards and stones, I should have made a defensive Bahamut and just used Resonators to finish Luis off. Instead I got greedy and thought I could finish the game with Bahamut and Resonators and leave up a Thunder in case he drew anything. Luis played well and didn’t attack with the Hunter that he drew, instantly J-Activating and getting in another 1200 damage. This put me too far behind, and unable to finish off Luis before I fell to burn and Swiftness Resonators.
Unfortunately the next two games, were just classic “If Bahamut goes first it almost always wins, games”.
And just like that, I was on the bubble, one loss away from top eight elimination. When in a situation like this, you just have to keep your cool. Mistakes happen. Losses happen. Sometimes your own fault and sometimes not. It doesn’t matter. You take the tournament one game at a time. One play at a time. Don’t lose your head, don’t panic, just do your thing and play the best you can.
And now for the next round!
Unfortunately (fortunately) you are all going to have to tune in to the next article to get the final four rounds of this event. Yes, that’s right, this is a cliffhanger ending. OoooOOOooo, so very exciting!
Join me next time to hear about how I take my manage to wiggle my way into 10th place, end up doing top 8 coverage with the likes of Chas Tanner and Alter Reality’s own Nick Curtis, and especially how I see the future of competitive Force of Will shaping up.
Thanks for Reading,