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Worlds 2016 Day One: Swiss

day-1

Unlike last year, we got to play in the FFG Event Center! However, I’ll admit that after having judged the Conquest Swiss in the Radisson… the event held in the side event space was way nicer (though maybe it’s because we were the only event in the space so we could spread out). But everyone was really excited to play this year. I think even more than last year and the year before, the passion for this game surprised even me. While we may be few in number, our dedication is exceptional! I knew that no matter who I went up against, the competition would be fierce and I’d have to fight my way to the Top 16. I certainly did so, but it was a long and difficult climb.

I came to the event expecting a lot of Scum and a lot of Sith, with a smattering of Navy, but I was wrong. Navy Fortress is still alive and well and was all over the tournament space. While that might have made my anti-Scum Jubba Bird Tech worse, it actually didn’t because the games where I got the Jubba Birds they did work. To recap, here were my decklists:

Toolbox Jedi

  • 2x A Hero’s Trial
  • 2x May the Force Be With You
  • 1x A Journey To Dagobah
  • 1x The Flight of the Crow
  • 1x The Forgotten Masters
  • 1x Journey Through the Swamp
  • 1x Watchers in the Wasteland
  • 1x A Hero’s Beginning

Aggro Scum

  • 2x Heartless Tactics
  • 1x Lucrative Contracts
  • 1x Out of the Mists
  • 1x The Findsman’s Intuition
  • 1x The Hutt’s Menagerie
  • 1x The Spice Trade
  • 1x “No Disintegrations”
  • 1x The Hunters
  • 1x I Don’t Like You Either

In the first round I went up against Roy Engenbachen, a gentleman from Norway who played well and reminded me how difficult Navy could be. We split dark side, with my Scum deck removing each threat he deployed exactly as it was supposed to and attacking into the open board with impunity until he was dead. When I played the light side, I was forced to play conservatively because his turn one was a Stormtrooper Assault Team and his turn two was a Grand Admiral Thrawn. I didn’t see any Owens or Dagobah Training Grounds basically the entire game (though he didn’t see any resources either) but that meant I couldn’t get through the double threat of Thrawn/Assault Team until his board had plenty of other defenders and the dial inevitably reached 12.

Next I went up against Brian Ruptash of the First Planet Podcast, and while I was able to sweep him, it was largely due to a misplay on his end as the dark side player when he got too greedy about taking out one of my objectives and leaving himself open to a timely Moldy Crow. I started as Scum and easily out-raced the Rebels (I had Heartless Tactics… he didn’t), but as usual I had to play carefully as Jedi to dodge his Force Hunters until I was able to create an opening and punch through it. He was able to push the dial up to 10 before I stole the win out from under him, so it was hardly a decisive victory.

In the games against Mark Kramer I took out his light side deck pretty effectively but lost to the Imperial Navy by the tiniest margin. His turn-one Yoda set up an early defense but when Containment Field hit he was forced to fight, leaving him exhausted when Zuckuss & 4-LOM arrived to capture him. Everything he played after that to stabilize fell to Springing the Ambush and Captured while I blew up his objectives and won the game.

On the light side, I learned how valuable an opening hand of Dagobah Training Ground, R2-D2, Ruusan Colonist can be when there’s also a Luke’s Lightsaber in it. Sounds pretty bad, right? Well my following turn was Owen, Luke, attack, My Ally is the Force and I immediately reset his board. Major props to Mark, though, because despite being obviously on the verge of tilting out he managed to scrape together a couple dead objectives throughout the game as I walked over him, and when his final turn came I foolishly destroyed his 1-health Chimaera during his refresh (with Luke’s Lightsaber) and he turned the tables by deploying Yularen and a new Chimaera to destroy the third objective and win the game. I definitely learned my lesson from that one (destroy uniques in conflict), though he was quick to point out that he needed to topdeck both Chimaera and Yularen to win that, as either one alone wouldn’t have been enough.

After taking a break and grabbing some cheap food with a couple of the other players, I went up against Ryan Koch and went 0-1-1. In the first game (as I always random’ed into playing Scum first), I played the deck the way I thought I was supposed to play the deck: attack. Unfortunately there was a turn when I wiped out his defenders and did exactly that, forgetting that my already-committed Dengar would have been better served as a blocker and Force Hound considering he had the Force and he had Against All Odds. I can take a hit from a Spark deck with only a chud, right? Wrong. The amount of damage he dealt that turn set me back so far that I was scrambling to not die outright and fell to his swarm. He didn’t even have Spark.

My Jedi game against Ryan was even crazier. We both agreed that were it not for the time limit I would have won, but he had a swarm of big scary Sithspawn units with lots of guns, meaning if I made a wrong move and got one of my mains dead it was game over. Even worse, while I could tactics-lock those big scary Terentateks, my epic My Ally is the Force swing didn’t kill them (they’re immune to Force events) and he ended up with three on the board at one point, meaning I never had an opening to go blow up his objectives. I was whittling him down pretty effectively, but there was no way to make sure the game ended in time without legitimately losing. Fortunately the extra point from the tie worked in my favor, but it was a grueling game. Thanks to a Nudj I think the game lasted 9 or 10 rounds?

Round six put me up against MasterJedi Adam Howland, and because I didn’t win any games in the previous round I needed to sweep both him and my next opponent. The pressure was on. First, I was put up against a Spark deck that didn’t flop Spark, so while the first couple attacks were somewhat risky my units ended up being simply better than his and I was able to close out by nuking three objectives. The following game was defined by our first turns: He had a Gladiator, I had Yoda and some support. I put the Force on lockdown and moved to get his units out of the way so that my turn 3 Moldy Crow hit three objectives over the next few turns, doing more than enough blast damage to win the game. In what other games have you seen the Moldy Crow deal 13 objective damage? He did throw a few damage back at me, but by the end of the game I had Moldy Crow, Red Five, Yoda… plenty of blast.

I’d made it this far, so I just needed to close the next two games to advance. Paired against a good friend Scott Armstrong (also of the First Planet Podcast), we concluded that if we split, neither of us made the cut, but if one of us swept, we were guaranteed a spot. As usual we randomly decided who would play what, and we random’ed into me playing my Scum deck and he playing his Sleuths. Wait, Sleuths? At 19 points? Scott had figured out the Sleuth deck and while I wasn’t too worried… man I needed to be. In an exceptionally close game where my turn-one Malakili/Bubo had to face down a Well-Paid Leebo (unit), Sleuth Scout, and Stolen AT-ST, and then my turn two Zuckuss/4-LOM were added to a board that also acquired another Well-Paid Stolen AT-ST, two Stolen Speeder Bikes, and a free Undercover Operative. While I managed to keep the Sleuths on the back foot long enough to win, it was a horribly difficult game that relied on using tactics icons on Stolen AT-STs after they’d already hit me for 3-4 damage (so they wouldn’t refresh) and which a single wrong move could have cost me everything. By the time the game was over, it was 11:15 and we were both so drained from the 11 games we’d already played that Scott conceded the final game, both so we could call it a night and so he wouldn’t keep me out of the cut.

What a day! For most of it I was actually certain that I wouldn’t make the cut this year, considering I didn’t test nearly as much as I needed to, but thanks to some good luck and some careful playing I was able to pull it out. Next up… the Top Cut!

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