After all the fun we had on Saturday of the Championship, I almost forgot there was even a tournament the next day. This was the most important event of the weekend for most people. It was the reason everyone fought so hard in the KMC's and traveled all the way out to Texas. The Winter Championship puts the best of the best against each other and they have to face off until only one person remains and becomes the new Kaijudo Champion. Since I won the Summer Championship, I was invited to play in this tournament as well. I was looking to keep my title and secure my invite to the next Summer Championship in 2014.
Invasion Earth came out just two weeks before this tournament so players, including myself, were scrambling to get all the cards they needed and testing out every deck to find out which one gave them the best shot at winning. It was very difficult to build a deck you were comfortable with in such a small time frame. After a lot of testing I decided to go with LWDF Dragons. I decided to go with this because I saw many people using aggressive decks like LWN Tempo and felt this gave me the better match up against that deck. Here is the deck I used.[ccDeck="Main Deck"]3 Lyra, the Blazing Sun:3 Lux:2 Andromeda of the Citadel:2 Cassiopeia Starborn:3 Stormspark Blast:3 Nix: 3 Crystal Memory: 3 Aqua Strider:2 Piercing Judgment:1 Reverberate:2 Infernus The Immolator:3 Herald of Infernus:1 Infernus the Awakened:3 Jump Jets:2 Shadeblaze the Corruptor:2 Umbra:2 Mesmerize:3 Terror Pit:2 Bone Blades[/ccDeck]
You may notice a lot of weird choices I made such as, 1 Reverberate, I Infernus the Awakened, 3 Jump Jets, etc. I am going to go through each card I feel is significant and why I chose to run that many of them.
Cassiopeia Starborn: People have mixed feelings on this card. Some think it costs too much and is unplayable, others view it as another Squillace Scourge and believe it is one of the best cards in the game. I believe it is a really good card. In some situations this is better than Andromeda and Squillace Scourge. It completely shuts down your opponent and allows you to either do an extra attack on them or a potential board wipe. I chose to use 2 because it is something I want to use consistently and have the option of using in twice in one game or at least know if I put in mana I still would have one left.
Reverberate: This is one of the best cards in Invasion Earth. I only used 1 because I did not expect to play a lot of control decks in the tournament, but if I did I had this to win the game. When I play against control, I normally try to use Crystal Memory on turn 5 to search for this card. Once I play this card and draw 5 cards control has a really hard time winning because of the hand advantage I have against them. This card won me at least 3 games by itself in the tournament.
Infernus The Immolator vs Infernus the Awakened: I chose to use 2 Immolator and 1 Awakened because of how usable they each really are. I like Immolator because not only is it really good against Haven, but sometimes it is great against tempo decks. The fact that I can wipe out a total of 8000 vs 4000 of 1 creature is a big deal. Awakened is great, but if they already have a handful of creatures on board when you play him, he might as well be a Tatsurion the Unchained. I did however use 1 because if I was able to control my opponents battle zone, I can play him and completely lock down my opponent.
Jump Jets: This is the whole reason I used Dragons. I used this card to win many of my games. I expected to see a lot of tempo, little
creature aggressive decks, and I wanted to make sure I always had Herald of Infernus and Jump Jets every time. This was the MVP of the deck. Many times I used it with creatures like Cassiopeia and Awakened for the extra push. It is also really good to combo it with cards like Lyra. This is by far the best card in the whole deck.
Shadeblaze the Corruptor: When Heretic Prince Var-rakka came out it seemed like people shoved the guy to the side, but in my opinion its still better. He is really good in the mirror match because he can banish a bird then attack over a tapped Dragon. You can also do cool plays with Herald of Infernus. I really enjoy using this guy and throwing people off because they have not seen him in a while.
Mesmerize: I used this to help me in the control match up and decks using Blinder Beetle Prime. It helped me discard their Reverberate if they had it and got rid of big threats like Prime and Kalima. I only used 2 because, once again I thought it was going to be a very aggressive meta in the tournament.
Now that I talked about the important parts of my deck, I am going to go through each round and tell you who I played and what went on in each game to the best of my ability.
Round 1 Dave Butler LWD Tempo
I have not seen much of this recently because many people have jumped on to LWN tempo. I was able to pull of Herald of Infernus and Jump Jets game 1 and play an Immolator off it and win the game in the next couple turns. In game 2, he had a tapped Cyber Scamp and a tapped Screeching Scaradorbale, to my 0 Shields. I was able to play Shadeblaze to banish the scamp and then attack over the Screeching, followed by an Andromeda next turn and took the game from there.
Round 2 Ricky Gross 5 Civ Corrupted Midrange
This was unfortunate for me because I played in a 3 round constructed tournament the day before just to make sure the deck was the way I liked it and he was my opponent in the first round of that tournament. So he had a good idea of what I was playing but luckily Dragons have a great match up against Corrupted. I do not really remember what happened in this round but I was able to win. After the match I joked around with Ricky saying I was going to play Carl next round because that is who I played after him in the constructed tournament Saturday.
I could not believe I actually had to play Carl in the next round. I guess that is what I get for trying out a deck a day before the tournament. I do not remember game 1 but I think he got his progression and I did not have any answers for it. Game 2 He had a Lyra, Seneschal, and a General Finbarr he just played to bounce back an Aqua Strider and I had 2 shields, Herald of Infernus, and a Lyra. He double broke with Lyra, I got a Terror Pit and Crystal Memory. I used Terror Pit to Banish the Seneschal, his last attacker, and with memory I got Piercing Judgment. Next turn I used Piercing to bounce his Lyra and tap his Finbarr. I then played 2 Aqua Strider. I attacked over his Finbarr with my Herald and played Andromeda. I then broke 2 of his shields with Lyra and Ended my turn. He played Keeper of Laws and Rusulka to bounce my Herald back and ended his turn. I drew another Herald So I just replayed Herald. I decided to break the last 3 shields because I was afraid of Stormspark because I have not seen one (at the time I did not know he didn't use any.) So I still had Andromeda, 2 Shields and 2 Aqua Striders to his Rusulka and Laws and 0 shields, I was feeling pretty confident. Next turn he plays a Rain-Cloud Kraken and Blinder Beetle Prime, he taps one Strider when it entered the battle zone and another when he attacked with it. He broke my last 2 shields, I had a Bone Blades but that was not enough to stop him from attacking with the Keeper of Laws and I lost.
Round 4 Justin (Denver Kaijudo) LWN Corrupted Tempo
I got to play against another corrupted deck. I really do not remember what happened this round but I think it was the usually favorable match up of Dragons over Corrupted. Sorry Justin!
I was pretty scared going into the match because I know Kalima can be a tough match up for dragons. Game 1 went about as bad as it could have. I had turn 2 Lux, he had turn 3 Snake Trap, I had turn 3 Nix, he had turn 4 Bone Blades. All I remember was on turn 5 I had a Herald in the Battle Zone, 5 Mana, and no cards in hand. I just started attacking and almost gave up all hope. I drew a Lyra when I had 6 mana, played it and kept attacking, next turn I drew another Lyra, played it and kept attacking. After the 2nd Lyra and him having no shield blasts, I won game 1. I was super surprised because I got extremely lucky by drawing back to back Lyra and him having 0 Shield Blast.
Game 2 was drawn out to the very late game, I had 10 mana and no cards in a hand and he was slowly building up his field to swing in for game in one turn. I just kept putting everything into mana because he used a lot of discard and I wanted to get to 10, that way I can draw Crystal Memory and use it to get Reverberate. That eventually happened and I drew 5 cards with it. Since I had so many cards in hand, he decided it was time to go in. He broke all my shields and ended his turn. I played Lux and Cassiopeia and tapped down all his creatures. He only had 1 shield left so I was hoping to attack for game next turn. He played Piercing Judgment to bounce one of his blockers back and tapped my Lux, he replayed a blocker and used Snake Trap to banish my Lux. Next turn I played Lux, another Cassiopiea to keep everything down and Jump Jets on my Cassiopeia. I broke his last shield and then attacked for game with my other one!
Eric and I are really good friends and we play all the time. He was the only person I tested with for the Summer Championships. I was upset we had to play because that meant 1 of us was going to get knocked out of top 8. Game 1 I used Crystal Memory turn 5 to get Reverberate. Eric knows that is what I always do and he played Blinder Beetle Prime to tap down my Lux and instead of banishing my Lux, he decided to break 2 shields because he figured I was going to get that many cards anyway, might as well have less shields. I was able to play another Lux and Lyra next turn and take control of the game from there. I was able to break a shield with Lux, attack into Prime with Lyra, and banish the Lux I just attacked with to save my Lyra. It went downhill for Eric after that and I was able to win.
Game 2 Once again I had Reverberate in my hand on turn 5, eager to play it on turn 6. I know Eric used Maddening Whispers in his deck so I kept a Mesmerize in my hand to use on turn 4 to discard it if he had it. I used Mesmerize and he showed me that he had 2 Maddening Whispers in his hand and my heart sank. I discarded a Lyra and he played Whispers next turn, discarding the only 2 cards in my hand including Reverberate. Next turn I just drew put that card in mana and passed. He drew his own Reverberate and used it and proceeded to destroy me from there. He had 6 cards to my nothing and could not keep up.
Game 3 I do not really remember much but I was able to pull off a Reverberate in late game to help me stabilize. It got down to him having an Archon and me having a Lyra and a Nix I believe. I played another Lyra to tap down his Archon and then used Jump Jets and attack with both my Lyra's for game.
Top 8 Dave Pendergrass LD Kalima
I was not looking forward to playing against another Kalima deck but both games I was able to get my Reverberate off and he drew poorly, his only play one game was 3 Spire Puppet. I was able to win pretty quickly, I do not remember much about it.
Noah is a very good player and makes all the right moves. He played around Herald and Jump Jets perfectly all 3 games. Game 1 I felt like I had pretty good control with Andromeda and a few other creatures. He has 1 card in his hand he has been holding on to. I am afraid it is a Squillace Scourge he could use to go for game so I use Mesmerize, it was a King Neptas. The next turn he draws the Squillace Scourge and breaks all m shields and I do not have any removal or blcokers so he wins game 1. I got a little upset because that was the same way he won game 3 of top 8 and did not want that to happen to me again.
Game 2 was the exact same situation I was in with Carl round 3. He had a Lyra, Lost Patrol and Finbarr he just played I believe. He double broke with Lyra, I got a Terror Pit and Crystal Memory. Used Terror pit to banish the Lost Patrol and Memory and I searched for Jump Jets. Next turn I was able to play Infernus the Awakened to banish the Finbarr and then Jump Jets to give it fast attack and attack over the Lyra. I took control from there and was able to stabilize and win.
Game 3 I do not remember the beginning but it ended with me having a Andromeda with 2 Shields. He played Squillace to discard my hand. Eventually he drew another Squillace and broke my last 2 shields. If I did not have removal or a blocker, I would have lost the same way I did game 1. I luckily had Crystal Memory in my shields and used it to get Cassiopeia. I played her and kept both his Squillaces tapped down. I was able to banish them both the following turn and win from there.
Finals Carl Miciotto LWN Tempo
Oh great, I get to play against the only person who beat me in swiss in the finals. Game 1 I was able to Mesmerize the Prime out of his hand and by turn 5 he had 0 cards in his hand and only a Sword Horn in the battle zone. I was able to get a Piercing Judgment and Terror Pit from my first 2 shields he broke and just took control of the game. Game 2 Carl could not get the early aggression that he needed to win and we took it to late game and I was able to out pace him with my dragons and win. I am glad I played against Carl in the finals and would have been just as happy if he won.
I had a great time at the Winter Championship. It is still hard to believe that I am a two time Champion. I am just playing the game I love and having as much fun as I can doing it. I hope this inspires you and shows that if you put your mind to something and dedication to it, anything is possible.