Kaijudo Winter Champs, and the Power of Megaria

corey gWelcome, Kaijudo duelists, to my first ever article here on Alter Reality Games. For those who don't know me, my name is Corey Gaudreau. I'm a former Magic player turned Kaijudo player from the Boston area. Back in October, I qualified for the Kaijudo Winter Championships in Texas, and let me tell you, it was a weekend that I won't soon forget.

Leading up to Texas, I tested locally with Team PEACH member Dave Pendergrass who was also qualified. The two of us got our invites to Texas with LWD Tempo variants, however we felt that we wanted to explore the rest of the meta game, and see if there were any other decks we were interested in playing. One large difference between Winter Champs and Summer Champs back in Seattle is the introduction of an entirely new set added to the format just a few weeks before the tournament itself.

bottle of wishesAlso, just a small other detail, [ccProd]Bottle of Wishes[/ccProd] would not be legal for the tournament or any other sanctioned play in the future. Alright, so maybe that is a pretty big detail, as [ccProd]Bottle of Wishes[/ccProd] was among the most played cards in successful KMC decks this season.

A quick side note, I cannot begin to explain the importance of play testing in preparation for an event. With how much the game is growing, and the rate at which players are improving their skills, the best way to gain an edge against the best players in the game is to be more prepared. That means playing the deck you plan on playing against multiple match ups, as well as understanding the ins and outs of your deck against the predicted field.

After a few weeks of trying out a couple different decks, Dave and I decided that the Kalima deck we developed was the strongest in testing against the majority of the decks we played against it. The deck itself was sort of a culmination of a number of different ideas that lead to the success of Kalima decks towards the end of season 2 of KMCs. Below is the list that both Dave and I played in Texas.

[ccDeck="Main Deck"]3 Grudge Weaver
1 Dark Return
2 Scaradorable of Gloom Hollow
2 Snake Trap
2 Toxic Fog
3 Mesmerize
3 Bone Blades
2 Screeching Scaradorable
3 Ripper Reaper
3 Megaria the Deceiver
3 Terror Pit
3 Mark of Kalima
3 Queen Kalima
2 Lyra, the Blazing Sun
3 Andromeda of the Citadel
2 Stingwing
1 Mad Watcher
3 Spire Puppet
2 Panic and Disorder
2 Serpens, the Spirit Shifter[/ccDeck]
250px-Andromeda_of_the_Citadel_(6DSI)This was the list that, coming into Texas, Dave and I were prepared to play. You'll notice there are 5 cards that are non-darkness; 3 [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd], as well as 2 [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd]. The way the meta game currently stands, I believe that there are two cards that affect the board in a way that no other card can come close to doing, and Andromeda is one of them (the other card being [ccProd]General Finbarr[/ccProd]). The payoff of playing a card like Andromeda in a deck like this certainly outweighs the negative synergy with cards like [ccProd]Mark of Kalima[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Queen Kalima[/ccProd]. The deck also felt like it needed some help bridging from the early game to the late game, and Lyra is one of the best cards in doing that. Also, we felt that there weren't enough ways to tape creatures in the deck in order to kill off smaller creatures with our larger creatures, which made Lyra and [ccProd]Panic and Disorder[/ccProd] welcomed additions to the deck.
The very first card I wanted to test from Invasion Earth in the Kalima decks was [ccProd]Megaria the Deceiver[/ccProd]. It must have been the first or second game of testing the deck I played Megaria on turn 7, and got a [ccProd]Queen Kalima[/ccProd] and wiped Dave's board of dragons. It was from that moment that I realized that this was the card I wanted to be playing in Texas. There were varying opinions of Megaria from her very release, which actually made me believe that she would be under the radar going into the Championships.
Dave and I arrived in Texas early Friday morning last weekend, and it was later that very night that, for the first time, I began to question the deck I was playing. Dave and I were rooming with his team mates, Carl Reddish and Christian Van Hoose. CVH had also come up with a Kalima deck, but a LWD deck that included [ccProd]Reverberate[/ccProd] from Invasion Earth. We played a few games and [ccProd]Reverberate[/ccProd] was a complete blow out. Since our Kalima deck really wasn't built to try to break shields early, [ccProd]Reverberate[/ccProd] drew CVH 5 cards almost every time on turn 6. A strategy that involves trying to run your opponent out of resources with cards like [ccProd]Mesmerize[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Spire Puppet[/ccProd] does not want to see a 'Draw 5' effect to erase all of the hard work it had done. This feels very similar to playing a rush deck and seeing an Andromeda hit the field from your opponent.
250px-Mesmerize_(7CLA)Dave and I spent the next 24 hours or so deciding if we had possibly made a bad decision going into the event, but after seeing the number of LWN tempo and Megabug decks succeeding in the LCQ events made us feel like we should stick to our guns, as we felt very comfortable with that match up along with Dragons and Rush. We figured [ccProd]Mesmerize[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Spire Puppet[/ccProd] to get rid of [ccProd]Reverberate[/ccProd]s would be enough, and we actually weren't sure how many people would be playing [ccProd]Reverberate[/ccProd] in the Kalima decks other than CVH and Spencer Swan.
I'm not a huge fan of long, detailed tournament reports, but I'll throw out some details of the event.

My first round was actually a camera feature match against Vu Nguyen, which can be found at http://www.twitch.tv/wizards_kaijudo/b/482611892 at around 9:00. This is pretty typical how the deck plays out against decks similar to what Vu was playing, and made me feel pretty good going into the next few rounds.

I also played against a number of other great players on the day, including Preston Brimage who top 8'd the event, Phillip Rose, JD Bower, Mark Woodin who got 9th in the event, and Ryan Bishop (whom I played terribly against. Ryan if you read this, I'm sorry for the sloppy play!). I did end up going 3-3 in the event, losing to Preston's very grindy LDN deck that was basically an un-winnable match up, a Kalima mirror to Mark Woodin who was playing [ccProd]Reverberate[/ccProd], and Ryan Bishop's control deck as well. However, Dave Pendergrass top 8'd the event with the same exact deck, losing to the eventual champion Bobby Brake.

Megaria the Deceiver[ccProd]Megaria the Deceiver[/ccProd] did a lot of very powerful things on the weekend, including one round for Dave against Richard Zapp in which Dave played Megaria, got another Megaria into play, and the 2nd Megaria got a Queen Kalima into play! Not even the retired Bottle of Wishes was capable of such a powerful turn! I definitely believe that Megaria will continue to see play in Kalima decks in the future, as she does a great job and dictating the mid game due to her being a 7000 power creature, and either netting you a spell into your hand or getting another creature into play.

Going forward with Kalima decks, I believe that Mark Woodin or CVH's builds were very good, including [ccProd]Reverberate[/ccProd] in their decks, but I believe the deck Dave and I played with only darkness and light are still very good. I'm sure one of both of those two will be writing about the decks they played (and lucky for you, they both write for ARG as well!).

My favorite part of the entire weekend, though, came after the finals in which Bobby Brake beat Carl Miciotto to become the repeat Kaijudo Champion. Team PEACH was about to walk over with Carl Reddish to do a team interview when I was called over to help them with "a very important team announcement". I had such a great time with Dave, CVH, both of the Carls, Gorby, and Spencer over the weekend. We had a lot in common, and really just meshed well. It turns out that the members of Team PEACH wanted to bring me on to their team! To have a group of such incredible players and really fun guys to take you in and want you to be a part of their already established, very successful team is such an honor. All I could say was "yes", and after much rejoicing and welcoming, we walked over for a post-championship interview.

The future is very bright for Kaijudo, not just for myself and my new-found friends and team, but for everyone involved. Wizards is doing a number of great things for us players to make this game as great as it can be, as well as Alter Reality Games with their Circuit Series and content from amazing players right on this very website.

One very fun thing in honor of my first article on ARG is we are going to be giving away a FREE [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd]! In order to enter this raffle, all you have to do is comment below here on the website itself. Silly one-word comments won't count! Your comment either needs to be either what you thought about my article, some feedback about the Kalima deck Dave and I ran, letting me know what you would like to see out of articles on ARG in the future, or something along those lines! The winner will be chosen one week from when this article goes live, and the Andromeda will be shipped for free to the winner!

Props: Team PEACH in its entirety for bringing me onto their team and being the coolest group of guys, ARG for supporting this game we all love, and Wizards for continuing to do everything they can for us players.

Slops: Texas for being colder than Boston this weekend, and Denny's... self-explanatory.

Until next time guys - PEACH!

Corey Gaudreau is a Kaijudo player and member of Team PEACH, with notable finishes such as 2nd place at KMC RI in season 2, top 4 at the ARG Circuit Series in Worcester, MA, as well as 3rd place at the first sanctioned Kaijudo tournament at Pax East in 2012.

Corey Gaudreau
Corey Gaudreau is a former Magic player turned Kaijudo player, and a member of Team PEACH. He competed in the first Winter Kaijudo Championships in 2013, and is known for his deckbuilding prowess.
Corey Gaudreau

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