It’s that time of the year again, time to post the Calgary Invasion Regional report!
This year we have had some real success getting new players into Invasion. At least three people have come out of the woodwork on various occasions to come to our game nights or events who did not play in our last Regional, and presumably THEY all have friends, so the turnout for this regional was expected to be higher than the five who came last year. But you know how it goes, and deadlines become real and effort needs to be expended, people dropped for various reasons: illness, work, ridiculous trips to concerts in other countries, and so on. It became clear that in Calgary we are forever destined to have five participants at all Invasion tournaments, ever. So we did, and it was very fun despite the small turnout. We also ordered pizza, also a nice change from last year’s foodless affair.
So let’s break down the field:
ME: Dark Elf End Times deck. The list will be posted soon, but basically it sucks to lose to because one minute you’re sitting there in good shape, the next all your units are dead and I’m attacking for 15+ damage. Restricted: Temple of Spite.
WWaSP: Dark Elf discard deck using Crone Hellebron. This is a very slick deck he’s been playing for a while with a particular focus on resource denial. I think he has slowly turned it in that direction from a previous secondary focus on hand destruction, but I might be making things up. Restricted: Temple of Spite.
Bill: Empire deck with lots of knights and knight-based things like Chapterhouse Stables. Restricted: Roderick’s Raiders.
Ken: Dwarf Slayers with lots of suicide actions. Capable of a rush or a prolonged pitched battle, I like this deck a lot (I made it) and I think it was fun to play. Restricted: Reclaiming the Fallen.
Lee: High Elf “Tower of Power” deck with 62 cards in it. Lee is getting back into the game after a prolonged hiatus and is a really nice guy. He didn’t have time to do much tweaking so he tossed this bad boy together and it was intimidating due to its size. I felt inadequate next to it.
Due to such low numbers, we elected to play a round robin format so everyone gets at least four games with no cut-away. I know that some people get weird about not having a cut-away round, but we’ve done it in the past with a low number of players and resolved that to be dumb. But whatever, preferences.
First up I was against Bill’s knights in the first round. Bill had played against my End Times deck two weeks before and it made him sad. This round was also very sad, as I got very favourable draws in both of our games. My deck did exactly what it is supposed to do, and Bill was unlucky with not flipping any Osterknact Elites when End Times came up. This match set the tone for the tournament, since we ended two games in something crazy like 20 minutes, so Bill had to time lament my evil ways, furthering my reputation and seeding fear amongst the other players.
Also in the first round was a ridiculous battle between WWaSP and Ken. First game went to WWaSP, then the second game took forever and ended with WWaSP decking himself. The final game started with approximately 10 minutes left in the round. When I called time I gave them each one more turn, and Ken managed to burn a second zone for the win. Discard decks in tournaments are tough to manage with the tie-break rules, and this win was a key for Ken.
In round two I played Ken who was coming off the marathon match. The first game was a complete disaster: I cycled the first End Times off the top of my deck with Temple of Spite to kill a Walking Sacrifice as I was digging for End Times. The second End Times went down in a desperate Bathe in the Cauldron on myself. The final End Times was one card off the bottom of my deck. By the time I got there, I was done, two zones burning. I thought “Maybe this was a terrible mistake, maybe End Times is just too damn unreliable, maybe it’s me…” and so on. Then we played two more games that I won quite efficiently, so I stopped thinking those loser thoughts! I actually learned to be less aggressive in digging for End Times which helped me in the next match.
In round three I played Lee and the Tower of Power. In the first game we had a very quick round, I drew End Times and Bathe in the Cauldron in my first hand, so it ended on turn four or so. The second game was loooong. I couldn’t get cards into my discard very fast, and Lee ended up rushing with some small HE units and pumped them up with Charge of the Silver Helms! I had one zone burning and 6 HP left on another before I hit End Times. This was one of two painful examples during the day of how devastating End Times can be. I think he hit between two and four units in his top ten cards, I hit eight and three of them were Wight Lords. Three freaking Wight Lords, so that basically wiped his battlefield of Illyriel, the Swordsmasters, and a Spearhost. That swing was too much to bounce back from, and since my other damaged zone was my buffed up Battlefield, that game went out of reach. Lee was great, he just laughed and swore when my three Wight Lords were played.
In round four I played WWaSP and his Dark Elf deck. He was in a position to seize second place if he beat me, possibly even first depending on how the last round went down afterwards. Our first round was not great, I had two End Times in my hand at the start and played a first turn Temple of Spite. That was able to knock off some of his smaller units that he would put on the Pleasure Cults I put into his battlefield. He also played Bathe in the Cauldron on me! He was hoping to burn off some End Times, but I would mulligan if I didn’t have one against a DE deck anyway, so it didn’t work well. I ended up getting a very quick End Times and won. The second game was the second painful example of how End Times games can play out: WWaSP had probably the greatest start he could have asked for: On his turn he played a Chillsea Watchtower and a Temple of Spite. In my Kingdom phase he played Hate, then he played Call of the Kraken, discarded something, and put a Dark Elf Infiltrator into play to steal my last two resources. He must have played some other card too, because he spent his whole hand to get into that sweet position and I basically skipped a turn due to having zero resources. Then I got some supports out, managed to discard a few cards, and he played Bathe in the Cauldron on me again. I was so surpised I said “On me?” when he said he would play Bathe in the Cauldron. So I ditched the top 5 cards, played End Times, and the rout was on. He actually got two Toxic Hydras of his own on that End Times, but the differential was still too devastating.
In the fifth round I had the bye, so I sat there like an undefeated titan among men, watching the others fight, and it struck me: No one had fun playing against the End Times deck, but they seemed to be enjoying the typical back-and-forth of Invasion when they played each other. Ken came second with his Dwarf slayers through a combination of devastating blasts of damage and sneaky My Life for the Hold! plays. When I played Ken I got a Bloodthirster off of End Times, so My Life for the Hold! did nothing. Lee tied with Ken using his horde of HE units, but against End Times it still wasn’t enough (even though I was scared he might have High Elf’s Disdain, he didn’t have it when he needed it). Bill had, at one point, almost every knight in his deck in his battlefield and Balthasar Gelt with something ridiculous like 6 experience, but against End Times that deck did basically nothing. WWaSP had the greatest start in history, and it still didn’t work. So while I won the whole regional on the back of this swingy card and its devastating effect, I reflected that I don’t think the card is a very good one for the game. I’m not sure if it will be banned or restricted, hell, maybe it isn’t that good in reality if I were to play a different field, but it sure does suck to lose to.
The prizes were really great, the store (The Sentry Box in Calgary, amazing store) gave us $50 in gift cards for third and fourth place. The kit had mugs for first and second, and last place got his mat. Then we all got Regionals mats and the capital board cards, so everyone was very happy with the swag.
When I got home I dropped the trophy and it broke. I glued it back together, but I was horrified that after having to give everyone an NPE at the tournament I would then end up losing the only thing that made all their suffering worth it!