July 1, 2007

The Spoils: Tournament of Lament

5:48 AM, Tournament Day: Our four-month old Doberman puppy, Sadie (say dee), wakes up and begins scratching at our bed side. Groggily, I wake up and let her out to do her normal morning duties. Upon returning inside, I lay down on the couch and Sadie joins me for a nap.

7:30 AM: I awake to the horrid sound of Sadie throwing up all over our carpet. It is the first time she has ever thrown up and it is not pretty. A quick run for paper towels, Simple Solution, and a shout down the hallway for my wife, and the mess is easily contained. Thirty minutes later, and I'm crawling back into my bed; its the wife's turn to watch the puppy.

10:26 AM:
I awake in terror. The tournament starts at 11 AM! I take a fast shower and give the wife a kiss on the way out. It is only a fifteen minute drive to my local game store, Reality Check Games.

11:03 AM: I make it just in time, but I seem to have forgotten something. I quickly ask the judge, Ripark Golen, if the tournament is Sealed, like the last Invitational tournament. "No, constructed." he informs me. This is when my heart sank, because halfway to the store I realized that I walked out of my house without my hat, Spring Limited Championships Top 4 playmat, and worst of all, my carefully prepared deck of cards!

Fortunately not all was lost. The judge, being a good friend, just so happened to have a deck of cards available for me to play with. Ironically, it is the one and only deck that has ever won against my deck in the store. Unfortunately, that was months ago and neither deck had been updated for the new First Edition: Part 2 mini-expansion. So, there I sat, with a borrowed "Node deck" and no chance at taking home a decent prize. But why play games if you can't just have fun?

New goal: have fun.

11:45 AM: Deck registration is complete. The tournament begins.

(o-o) Round 1 vs. Mark

In an ironic twist, I end up paired with the judge's brother, Mark. The irony doesn't end there as Mark is playing a near copy of the deck I had intended to bring. Mark played a Rogue/Arcanist deck featuring massive token built creatures and Rogue control. With my lack of experience with my borrowed deck and an unlucky draw, I went down fairly quick.

(0-1) Round 2 vs. Bin

Bin was playing a Banker deck. It probably had more to it, but I went down relatively fast. Two early game beaters, that I could not answer, combined with Banker's ability to manipulate my board presence ended the match very quickly. In a casual follow up game, I faired a bit better, but didn't do much better.

Interestingly enough, Bin commented about my blog. Always nice to be noticed for something. According to Bin, I play far too many games. In reality, I just pretend I play a lot of games.

(0-2) Round 3 vs. Joey

Joey was fun to play against. He was playing a super combo deck that was purely built to delay the game until the inevitable last turn after time has been called. I was up early, but made a mistake and didn't attack his multiple Ministry of other Smaller Ministries.

We dragged out doing nothing until time was called. Joey then informed me that he was going to win on his turn. Something I truly did not believe remotely possible, and still to this moment don't truly understand. Essentially it was an infinitely looping combo that could repeatedly do four damage to my faction.

Unfortunately, had I let it go until I was dead, the combo would have taken well over thirty minutes to complete. Something, in most tournament games, that would not be allowed. Regardless of whether the combo is working towards a finite end, time needs to be considered and players should consciously build decks with that in mind. In my limited tournament experience I've seen situations as this almost always called as slow play as it is not fair to the player sitting opposite. The player should be given the choice to end the combo early or risk being given a loss for the round.

I am not here to call Joey out. Honestly, it was a good play. He caught me red handed gearing up for my own big turn. However, with the amount of time being taken, I strongly believe the game should of been declared a draw. I stopped the combo halfway through and conceded, but it easily would have taken another ten or more minutes to complete.

Joey, if you end up reading this, I am curious to get a rundown of the combo again. Once again, I think you played great and am not calling you out as a slow player. Just sharing my opinion on timed matches.

(0-3) Round 4 - Bye! My wife timed stopping by perfectly, and brought me a much needed sandwich. This also gave me one win technically, and a chance not to finish in last place!

(1-3) Round 5 vs. Lindsay

Lindsay is the judge's wife and a good friend. So, the outcome of this match still makes me feel guilty. Lindsay was playing an updated version of her Warlord deck that I've played against several times before. I had a good draw and got out to an early lead. Without any answers, she went down on life early. A mistake on an attack, and I secured the win.

Unfortunately, I knocked Lindsay out of a Top 8 finish and put us both down into 10th and 11th place. With her two wins (no bye) she finished ahead of me. After our match, I handed her my borrowed deck to return to her husband, and wished her well.

Final Win/Loss: 2-3 11th place

In the end, I was very disappointed in myself. After my matches, I strongly believe I could of made a run for top four with my own deck. Sadly, the real world doesn't have a reset button.