Sorry I'm late in getting this report out. On Saturday May 19th we hosted the only Canadian Invasion Regional in Calgary Alberta at a giant store called "The Sentry Box", which is a Calgary gaming institution: FFG coverage of the store if you want any more info on that.
Some background: We are a somewhat small group, most times we get 5 at our weekly meetings, but we have gotten up to 8 when the interested parties come out of the woodwork. Growing our group has been our main priority, since through growth we can each get better. We figured a regional would get our 8 normal people out of on a Saturday and would draw in other gamers from around the city / province. Towards this end we tried to advertise as much as we could: emailing game stores in Edmonton (another large city, 3 hours drive away), smaller cities around Calgary, and other stores within Calgary. We advertised on as many forums as we could, and short of driving out to all the other possible venues we could recruit players from, I really think we did all we could to make it known that there would be a regional tournament in Calgary that day. Our efforts were rewarded by 5 players showing up to the tournament. I will rant about that elsewhere, but here I am just going to tell you the facts. So five players.
The field break-down was an Orc rush deck that is quite fun played by our newest member, a Dwarf Reclaiming the Fallen deck that may or may not be the classic archetype of that build, two Dark Elf decks that both focused on negative power/hit points (in different ways) and a tactic-heavy High Elf deck with lots of cheap characters (!). The High Elf player (Rzarectz on these forums) went to great difficulty to try and conceal that he was going to play this deck before the tourney, going so far as to borrow the HE cards he needed from me for this deck, as well as the cards needed to make a fairly typical Verena deck. This kind of chicanery is obviously unacceptable and I vowed to destroy him with extreme prejudice at the tournament!!!
With 5 of us the Swiss was a bit strange, but my first game (DE) was against the Orc Rush deck (Ken), and I managed to kill off his weenie units with Offering to Hekarti and bleed cards out of his hand with a few Caught the Scents. When my deck worked it was very much a negative play experience, and Ken was pretty down after this round. Then I was up against WWaSP and his Dwarf deck, where the Dark Elves pulled through as WWaSP couldn't seem to get to a board state he needed to execute the Reclaiming the Fallen - Dwarf Ranger combo he was gunning for. I was cruising, thinking about the hilarious controversy that would occur when the TO wins the tournament! My next match was against Rza's HE deck, which had been beaten by WWaSP in round one. I was obviously so in the zone that I couldn't lose! But I did, twice, and he took the match. I was able to drag one of our games out and take a win, but he finished the next two quite quickly and also wins the Noble Warrior award for not calling me on an accidental misdraw that could have given him the game by DQ. More on his deck in a bit.
So anyway, after the Swiss I was second and faced the other DE deck (piloted by Bill) in the semi-final (Top 4 with only 5 players.) The other semi was between Ken's Orc Rush and Rza's 4th ranked HE deck. The DE civil war was fairly one-sided with my power lockdown from Withering Hex going perfectly with his turn one Slave Pen. It was almost a mirror match, but where he included cards like Monster of the Deep and Scions of Misery for their totally annoying control-type aspects, I included cards like Sacrifice to Khaine and Vile Sorceress for their short-run harassment abilities. These games were won in the opening gambits but took a long time to finish, I was on my way to face Rza in the finals with his HE deck.
As I wrote that sentence I almost felt the collective incredulity of the FFG Invasion forum. A HE deck making it to any sort of final? What the hell? Surely, the decks that were being piloted by the other players were completely home-grown, low-quality, garbage! The other players must have been one step above functioning vegetables to allow such an obviously handicapped race get even one win! There wasn't a Verena deck / Chaos control / Call the Brayherd rush / proper Reclaiming the Fallen / whatever else deck is popular, so this tournament was totally bogus! All I will say to that collection of background noise is that we made the best attempt we could to draw out players and people are free to play whatever they want. No one showed up with Verena, for example, but I don't think that takes away from the fact that Rza made a cool deck, played it well, and deserved the wins he got with that deck. The meta was very underdeveloped. Next time maybe you should get your ass to the Calgary regional tournament and win it with one of the decks du jour, until then, just accept that the Elves were going to settle it in the final.
So I sat down against Rza who had been doing nothing but improve throughout the day. His play got better after his initial loss and he seemed to remember all the cool stuff his deck did. I can't remember if it was in the finals or our previous faceoff, but his deck was the kind of thing where I made one misplay and the differential that resulted from that incident was so great the game was put out of reach. He was playing a deck that put lots of spells into his hand with a turn one Valorous Mage to the Quest Zone and then a bunch of first turn cards to build up resources (h/t to the Louisville guys for that term). In fact, Rza stuck to the plan of "Unless I get 2 power down on turn one I will mulligan", which resulted in uncannily awesome second draws with all the gods of the Asur behind him. When he had a hand full of cards he could undo all my DE tricks with cards like Asuryan's Cleansing (which at one point eliminated a Soul Stealer of mine while I had a perfectly good Caught the Scent I should have played), Shield of Saphery, Illthimar Arrows to keep my units honest, and most annoyingly, Illyriel who would make growth difficult.
Our first final round game resulted in a fairly exciting battle. To be honest with you, I can't remember what happened, but I do remember having no real combos on the board (he kept removing my units on Offering to Hekarti) while I struggled to control his rapid growth, when he dropped a Descendant of Indraugnir to hang out with Illyriel in the battlefield, which led to me conceding. Despite my deck's two goals of unit control & hand limitation, I could not keep up with his rate of growth. This was evidenced most painfully in the second game of the finals when he dropped down something like 4 or 5 power on his first turn which included two Warpstone Excavations! This led to Bill reciting his mantra "Warpstone Excavation should be limited, it is just too devastating to drop down two power for free on turn one." There is definitely a case to be made for either side of that argument, but until that happens, the good-start-via-warpstones is a possible and insane part of the meta. Anyway, after a few more turns Rza has tons of cards and resources, which led to him canceling my units and supports at will, or just killing them, so I conceded after 3 turns as I knew I had no knockout punch, my deck was all about control and I just could not control the ridiculous amount of stuff he threw down.
With that win, a High Elf deck won the only Canadian regional tournament, which led to the outrageous crowning of Rza as the Canadian champion of Warhammer Invasion! Many laughed at this laughable idea, so we went to the bar across the street to drown our sorrows and celebrate our victories!
Final Thoughts: Sure, I really wish that there were more than five damn people at the tournament, if for nothing else to cover the monetary loss of hosting such a tournament, but it was really fun to play in a formalized Invasion tournament with some real stakes. It also made us appreciate our casual games more, as card tournaments are stressful! We decided we will try to have quarterly tournaments of different formats (I'd love to have a highlander tournament analogous to the Magic ones) with small-potatoes prizes. Also, now that he is Canadian champion, Rza should probably by three of each card to keep up his legitimacy