Saturday I played in that thing in the subject line of this post, at Eternal Games in Warren, MI. I carpooled with Max and Tim from my meta, arriving about 10 minutes before they opened. Once they did, I picked up what turned out to be the only copy of Kala Ghoda left in the store. Lucky me. I loaned a few of them to Ryan S. since I hadn’t planned on slotting any of them in my current decks.
The decks I brought were Jinteki PE and Keyhole MaxX. I’ve really been enjoying learning to pilot the PE deck. I wasn’t sold on MaxX, but I just couldn’t come up with a post-MWL runner deck that really grabbed my interest.
For round 1 I got matched with Bryce from my meta. I last played against him in a GNK in September, where we took turns flatlining each other in about 10 minutes. This time he rolled right over me with Noise and pre-MWL EtF Foodcoatshop. Against Noise, I would have killed him by scoring out Philotic on my next turn, but he managed to steal it for the win. Against EtF he just outscored me. I managed 4 points, and should have run HQ harder.
Getting swept in the first round tilted me right away, despite my determination not to be, because it was clear that he had improved a lot since the GNK, and I hadn’t. After that round, I listened to Steve J. talk about how “being college students, they (Steve, Bryce, etc.) just sat around and tested decks against each other all day.” There’s no way I could get that kind of practice, so that took some of the self-pressure off. I hadn’t practiced nearly as much as I could have, so it wasn’t reasonable to expect to do all that well. That, plus getting past the “first tournament jitters”, helped un-tilt me. I also reminded myself that I was here because I loved playing the game, not because I had to prove something to anyone. My only goal was to not finish dead last.
My round 2 games against Ed F. were pretty straightforward. His Sunny ran face first into a loaded Project Junebug for the kill, and his pre-MWL Spark Agency ran me over with the Astrotrain. Nothing memorable there.
Things got more interesting in round 3 vs. Chris V., also from the Ann Arbor meta, where I had my first of two epic (for me) moments. Our first game was MaxX vs. his Chronos Protocol, and neither of us could make much headway. With ten minutes left in the round, each of us only had two points. He had Wraparounds in front of both R&D and his scoring remote, and he’d scored a Chronos Project a few turns before, removing half my deck from the game and taking my only Corroder with it. Eater could get me in, but I couldn’t steal anything. My Faust was nowhere in sight. Earlier I had Keyholed a Medical Breakthrough into Archives and let it sit there, so there were two points just waiting for me to take them. After another useless turn I decided, “Fuck this. If I’m playing MaxX, I’m going to PLAY MAXX.”
I popped my last DDoS, Amped Up, and ran screaming into HQ for some Wanton Destruction. I blew four cards out of his hand, saving my last click for the Archives run. +6 points for the win! However, we finished with three minutes remaining, so the second game didn’t get played.
We stopped for a 40-minute food break, but by the time Boston Market finally made my sandwich I only had time to eat half of it before the next round.
Ordering food was…strange. For the past three hours, I had been utterly consumed by hyperfocus, and coming out of it was like rising slowly up from the depths. Something as mundane as ordering a sandwich felt slightly unreal, and I almost had trouble speaking. It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was definitely noticeable.
Getting back into it for round 4 was just as difficult, and for the first couple of turns I just stared at Wade’s cards thinking, “I have no idea what to do. I can’t remember how to play my deck.”
Fortunately, it all came back to me pretty quickly, but not quickly enough. He was playing a MaxX deck that was, card-for-card except for Faust, identical to mine, and he played it much better. Almost immediately my inside voice screamed, “SCORE OUT!”, but I second-guessed it, thinking maybe I could get the kill. I should have listened to it, because he ended up Keyholing all the points into Archives, then running it for the win.
My turn with MaxX against his EtF wasn’t nearly as decisive: we were 0-0 until time ran out. With my very last turn, I loaded up my hand with Faust fuel and ran his triple-iced remote, breaking through with my very last card to score two points. A timed win is still a win.
The last round of Swiss was against Andrew W. and his pre-MWL NEH. All aboard the Astrotrain!
I hate that deck…SO…MUCH…it-it- the f – it – flam – flames. Flames, on the side of my face…
Then I went up against his Pre-MWL Prepaid Kate. After a lot of effort, two brain damage, more Snares than I can count, and a badly-timed Chairman Hiro rez, I finally set up a Punitive Counterstrike – Neural EMP x2 kill. I could have done it two turns sooner by scoring out my Philotic Entanglement against his three agendas, but by then my brain was so fried I completely forgot about the extra damage from my ID ability.
Final score for the day: 4-5-1
Strength of Schedule: 1.76
Extended Strength of Schedule: 2.00133
I finished 26th out of 34, accomplishing my goal of not finishing last, got an alt art Jackson, and, despite the initial tilt, had a great time. Despite a problem with the tournament software at first, Eternal Games ran a great event. The Ann Arbor meta had 5 players in the top 8, with Ryan S. taking 2nd place.
It must have been my Kala Ghoda cards.