My journey to the Cincinatti regional began in Panama City Panama. (work had sent me to panama for a business development trip) After an airline delay in Panama, I landed in Houston and did an OJ Simpson sprint through Customs and Immigration to catch my flight to Knoxville. After making record time through the airport, my flight to knoxville was delayed.
I finally arrive in Knoxville an hour later then planned. (11:30 pm) Tony met me at the airport and we drove 3.5 hours to Lexington where we met the rest of the meta. Arriving at 3 am.
Saturday morning we woke bright and early and ready to play. While not completely rested, I had been playing my deck for several weeks so I felt comfortable with the cards and the interactions within the deck.
Overall I felt pretty confident although I was concerned about Greyjoy choke. The deck could beat it, but choke was defintely the hardest match up. To counter choke, I made a last minute plot change adding forgotten plans to potentially counter a fear of winter. (I would later come to regret this decision).
We arrived at the store with about 5 minitues to spare. Tony found his last card for his deck and he began to sleeve his cards as we pulled into the parking lot. A last minute dash to the front, pay the registration fee, scratch together a deck list and we were off.
My Deck: Stark Wildlings - All 3 agendas.
Round 1 - Lannister PBTT. Bill. From our conversations I learned that Bill was a relatively new player to the game. A great guy and part of the local Cinci meta. He had a pretty decent flop which included a Golden Tooth Mines. I was able to steel the mines with a direct assault first round. It was downhill for Bill from there and a victory for me 1 - 0.
Round 2 - GreyJoy Choke. Wade Freemen. Wade is a metamate and I was quite apprehensive about this matchup. I was familiar in general terms with what he had in his deck and I was fearful of both fear of winter and Baelor Blacktyde. Wade was able to make it winter right of the bat, but I had a good set up and first round marshalling ending up with 2 guard at riverruns, a frozen outpost and a free man wilding (sp intentional) on the board. I believe Wade flopped fear of winter first turn, to my at the gates. In any case I was able to survive through the first turn with decent board position. My guards and Frozen outpost insured I did not lose a Military for the first couple of turns and stabalized my hand. The choke was still going strong, limiting what I could play and when I misplayed my Outwit he was able to valar the next turn. While ahead the whole time, I never felt confident until I reached 19 power and was able to kneel mance for the win. Overall good match. However Wade was in my head the entire game when it came to plot decisions. I never was able to make the right call for outwit or forgotten plans (something that would plague me the entire day). 2 - 0.
Round 3 - GreyJoy Maesters. Casey. My next opponent is former world champion and creator of bandit lord aka Newly Made Lord. My initial hand is awful and my mulligan is not much better. I seem to have all of my high cost cards in my hand. Casey is able to get The Spurr and a white raven out first turn, which provides just enough choke to keep my 3 and 4 cost cards in my hand. I'm unable to marshall characters and Casey just marches his way to victory. 2 - 1.
at this point we have a lunch break. Overall my deck has been performing fairly well although i'm concerned about my inability to time plot choices (outwit and forgotten plans).
Round 4 - Mikey Cinci meta? playing Bara Alliance with Lannister.
This match up my deck really clicked. First round I had a No Quarter and Die by the Sword in my hand with a Randly Tarly on the board. I flop at the Gates to Get Luwin. During Marshalling Mickey promptly places a Milk of the Poppy on Luwin. I did not have a frozen solid in hand, but I did have Meera in shadows. I brought her out in Challenges, blanked the Milk of the Poppy,won an intrigued with Luwin and was able to pull a Price of War. This let me pull a "Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma'am" With Tarly. I won a Military killed one with claim, one with No Quarter, One with Die by the Sword, and wiped out 2 locations with Price of War. Pretty deadly. This is also the only game I was able to time the outwit correctly when he attempted to Valar. 3 - 1
Round 5. Bara Maesters. Luigi. It was great to see Luigi again. I remembered him from Gencon. I don't remember much about the match up other then He forgot to trigger Margery Tyrell to blank characters a few times when his cards came out of shadows. 4 - 1
This brought us to the top 8. I ended up being seated number 4.
Matchup 1 - Stark Winter . Mike. Cinci meta. I was concerned about this matchup as I was fearful of some of the same tricks (No qtr, die by the sword etc etc). As Mike indicated in his tourney report, I thought I had pulled Outwit to play when I tried to cancel his Time for ravens, but what I actually flopped was retaliation :-). Good game. Great guy. Victory to Stark Wildlings.
Matchup 2 - Greyjoy Maesters. Casey. Due to my performance against Casey in the Swiss, I figured this was the end of line for me. I was actually ok with that, because it would put me in the top 4 and guarantee me a game mat (which I've been trying to win for 2 years :-) ). This match up though, my deck did to Casey what he did to me during the swiss. I still was unable to time the valar/outwit correctly but I drew into all of my location reducers early and choke was never a problem.
On to the championship match. I was facing Kenny with a Targ/Greg's Agenda. I was actually farily confident going into this matchup as I had played this matchup several times in preparation for the tournament and felt pretty confident in my decks ability to make it through the burn. Three things hurt me in this game. 1. A rule by decree which cost me 5 or 6 cards. 2. My decision to discard one of my wildling hordes (keeping 1 in hand) for the rule by decree and 3. That Meraxes warship. I guess let me add 4 my inability to draw a price of war to deal with kenny's locations.
I was able to get to 15 power before Kenny gained complete control, but by this time I had lost Mance, Val and all 3 hordes so I knew it was not looking good. In the end Kenny won. I think something like 15 - 10. Great matchup. Great game.
Overall I had a blast. Thanks to the Cinci meta for hosting a great event. Thanks to the store owner for an awesome venue and thanks to the 24 players who made it up to Cinci!