Italian Regionals 2013 Report
Sunday 26 May 14 cultists and a referee gathered in Ravenna for 2013 Italian regionals; a few of them were established players (like me or Exo), a few of them were complete newcomers (fun fact: with two complete 3x collections and a few sparse set you can build a lot of decks ), but all wanted to compete (as a new player told me: “If I do not see how players which are good at the game play, I’ll never learn”) and have fun. Anyway, I’d like to thank everyone involved.
We played 4 rounds of swiss followed by the top 4.
Nico vs Carioz -> Carioz
Bancomat vs exo -> exo
Leex vs giasbro -> giasbro
Gregory vs Gi -> Gi
avanteTemido vs Emme -> avanteTemido
Demon vs Deco -> Deco
Ray vs Arga -> Ray
Carioz vs giasbro -> Carioz
exo vs avanteTemido -> exo
Ray vs Deco -> Ray
Gi vs Leex -> Gi
Emme vs Arga -> Arga
Nico vs Demon -> Demon
Gregory vs Bancomat -> Bancomat
Ray vs Carioz -> Carioz
exo vs Gi -> exo
Arga vs avanteTemido -> avanteTemido
Bancomat vs giasbro -> Bancomat
Demon vs Gregory -> Gregory
Deco vs Nico -> Deco
Emme vs Leex -> Leex
Carioz vs exo -> exo
Gi vs avanteTemido -> Gi
Bancomat vs Deco -> Deco
Ray vs Leex -> Ray
giasbro vs Gregory -> giasbro
Demon vs Arga -> Arga
Emme vs Nico -> Nico
exo vs Gi -> exo
Carioz vs Ray -> Carioz
3rd place Final
Ray vs Gi -> Ray
exo vs Carioz -> Carioz
The factions played were:
Carioz: mono Shub-Nigurrath (list at the end of the post)
Exo: mono Shub-Nigurrath (from what I saw identical to my list)
Ray: mono Miskatonic (tons of evading events)
Gi: Cthulhu – Hastur (the one I played in previous regionals)
Deco: Cthulhu – Syndicate
Bancomat: Miskatonic – Hastur (see cardgamedb lists)
avanteTemido: Shub – Cthulhu Cthylla
giasbro: mono Agency
Arga: mono Cthulhu
Leex: Syndicate – Yog-Sothoth (skill lowering)
Gregory: mono Hastur
Nico: Agency - Hastur
Demon: mono Agency
Emme: Silver Twilight – Syndicate
The deck I played was:
2 Ghoulish Predator 2 Twilight Cannibal 3 Under the Porch 3 Burrowing Beneath 2 Hungry Dark Young 3 Rampaging Dark Young 2 Shub-Nigurrath 2 Y'Golonac 2 Nyarlathotep 3 Marcus Jamburg 2 Displaced Chthonian 2 Grasping Chthonian 3 Snow Graves 2 The Stone on the Peak 2 Ya-Te-Veo 3 Shocking Transfomation 3 The Three Bells 2 Nug 3 Feed Her Young 2 Master of the Myths 2 Black Dogs
A bit of the story on how this thing came to be: I’ve played and won 4 regional tourneys this month (France, Greece, Slovakia, Italy). In the beginning I settled for a *very* different deck (I think there were 3/50 cards in common with this one), which, to be honest, proved effective enough. However I realized it could have some problems with a subset of the decks I would be facing. The metagame, quite literally, forced me to change. Also I had the (right) hunch that some of the later tournaments would have allowed for The Key and the Gate, which would have allowed to use The Festival for resource ramping: in order to prepare for that I started dabbling in Shub resource ramp. This deck gave me the added bonus of doing some serious pre testing (yes, I am suggesting you to add The Festival in this: it really turbocharges it ). So, in a rush due to the upcoming tournaments I called my friend Graham and we started theorizing what could work. It was a bit of an hack job, as we needed to stretch the 50 cards in the deck to provide a bit of everything: beefy characters (the two ghouls and the Ancient Ones), resource acceleration (to survive rush decks), increased draws (Jamburg Porch), disruption toward discard pile strategies (Snow Graves and The Stone on the Peak), surprises (Black Dogs and Master of the Myths), support removal (which is critical right now), ability to rush in (Jamburg and Nyarlathotep) and recursion against mass removal (Shub-Nigurrath, Hungry Dark Young and Rampaging Dark Young).
Yes, that was a lot for a deck to ask, but I think this one achieves the right balance.
One of the keystones of this deck is the amount of “drawing” it has: despite being a Shub-Niggurath deck, it can really give you a sizable amount of cards in hand. Yeah, Feed Her Young gives you a card, but the big card drawing combo is Under the Porch and Marcus Jamburg. Starting from turn 2 you can, every turn, search for the most useful Shub-Nigurrath character you might want with the Porch, just to recur it with Jamburg. It’s plus one card per turn, and you get the come into play effect to boot (you need a support removed? Here comes the Grasping Chthonian. You want recursion? Go for the Hungry Dark Young.). This part is so critical that there are a number of card devoted to keep it going: Shocking Transformation is there to fish for Marcus Jamburg and Rampaging Dark Young just waits to trigger its response to pull it from the discard pile in case it gets removed.
By the way: I never had it at a tourney (the ones where it was allowed I didn’t have the Key and the Gate) but you can easily see how The Festival feeds into this build: it can easily search for the Under the Porch (yeah the lack of search for it was slightly bad as I was forced to mulligan a lot in order to get it into the starting hand, but The Festival directly solves it), not to mention enable some more destruction with the Ice Shaft.
Another part worth mentioning is the support removal: we know how critical is it in the current environment. As such, you should carefully choose the best available: Grasping Chthonian and Displaced Chthonian are a given, since the amount of search for them in the deck makes them readily available when needed, but the third slot is where the crucial choice stands. Burrowing Beneath or Thunder in the East? At first sight the choice seems easy: Thunder draws you a card and costs 1 less, so it’s three Thunders right away, right? Well, that is what I thought until my friend Graham talked me through the correct application. The supports you really want to remove are those you need to remove *right now* (Ice Shaft, Dimensional Rift, Under the Porch, you know the list ). For them, Thunder in the East is a dead card. The opponent gets to trigger them and you sit there unable to do anything. So I borrowed a page from Cannon (Chris Long, the Mentor to Vaughn) article (I think you might still find it somewhere) and went with the immediate effect of Burrowing Beneath.
The tourney itself
Round 1: vs Nicole “Nico” Agency – Hastur.
While Agency Hastur might have been all the rage during the beginning of the LCG era, this faction combination doesn’t cut it in the current meta. I have to give Nicole props for playing really well for a beginner and for giving me troubles with the best events this factions have (an untimely Power Drain on Jamburg nearly ruined my plans), but in the end my deck proved solid enough.
Round 2: vs Gianluca “giasbro” Santopietro Agency
If I could count on having more experience than the opponent in the previous match, this time I was clearly outmatched in the experience department. You see, Gianluca was the person who introduced me to the game back in 2007-08. He has always been a devoted Agency player and knows the ins and outs of the faction really well. He came out of the gates real fast with a Transient fuelled Agent Clarkstone, and the following cost reduced Government characters… but the sacrifice of the transient resource would come back to haunt him later. I dug in, used the superior toughness of my deck to survive the initial onslaught and slowly but surely started to recover ground, all meanwhile the resource acceleration made it possible to begin fielding Ancient Ones. It was a brutal slugfest but in the end the sparse investigation icons (Jamburg and Nyarlathotep) and the abundance of terror allowed me to win.
Round 3 vs Francesco “Ray” Villani Miskatonic University
The third round in a tourney like this becomes a bit of a gateway: if you win it you have the near certainty of getting into the top 4 no matter the result of the last match; if you don’t then during the last game you have to be lucky of getting a good pairing (for the opponent tier) and to win. Now, Ray was unbeaten so far and was using a brand new shining and Seekers of Knowledge powered mono Miskatonic deck.
I expected a lot of draw and some “bad struggles” evasion (Daring Bùjù, Zero Visibility, Chess Prodigy), and I wasn’t wrong. I knew I had to match his card drawing to stay in the game and I had to make him walk through as many bad struggles as possible (terror and combat). I was lucky in getting the Under the Porch and Marcus combination in my starting hand, not to mention a Twilight Cannibal. It was a really defensive game, where I had to trade space (his success tokens) for time (enough turns of Porch Jamburg to give me all the options I needed to beat him). At some point he was 2-0, but my field presence was growing, my hand was still full while he was buring through cards like mad just to avoid the struggles. In the make it or break it turn he played Flux Stabilizer, Professor Rice and committed his whole army in order to win the last story. I used Burrowing Beneath on the Flux. Dropped Master of the Myths and managed to deny him success. The following turn a timely Nyarlathotep allowed me to steal the story for the 2-1 (and making his efforts void). From that point on he couldn’t recover.
Round 4 vs Giacomo “exo” Santopietro mono Shub
I was pretty at ease this round. No matter the result we both would have gotten into the top 4, so we played pretty relaxed. From what I saw he was using the same deck I was (later I verified and that was true to a 6 cards difference). He won the coin toss and went second. Smart move as he would have gotten one card more than me, and, in such a tight matchup it might have meant winning or losing. Again it was pretty simple. By turn 4 we were both top decking. And that single card drawn during turn 1 was a character, which meant he had a character more than me on the field. Which in turn was enough to maintain icons and skill superiority throughout the game. Not much to say, he had more bodies, more skill and more icons than me: his victory was a foregone conclusion.
Semi-final vs Francesco “Ray” Villani (again)
Now it’s the point where the tournament becomes anti-climatic. You are basically facing the same decks you met in the previous rounds and the games really look the same. To be honest I suspect he drew a little worse than during turn 3, as I was able to get to the “turning point” much faster. Again, walking through so many terror and combat struggles, backed up by the never ending draw of Jamburg Porch really puts a strain to what mono Miskatonic is capable of. Still, props to Ray for bringing an underused faction to such a high place.
Meanwhile on the other table exo was slaughtering a rough copy of the Cthulhu – Hastur deck that I was using before this one. I felt very relieved of having dropped it for mono Shub.
Final vs Giacomo “exo” Santopietro (again)
Do you remember the part where I told you all of the matches look the same in the top 4?
Same thing happened here, except this time it was me winning the coin toss and going second. Now it wouldn’t be fun to write: like in the fourth round except in reverse, but that’s actually what it happened. I maintained one more char on the board than he did, had slightly more terror, skill and combat. Anticlimatic? Yeah. Difficult? That too, as I had to constantly keep the advantage I got.
In conclusion: I am very happy of the change I made to the list, without it I wouldn’t have been able to win as many tourneys as I did. As an addendum I have to thank all the French, Belgian (I am not forgetting you FredHot), Greek and Slovak players, which tolerated my presence at their tourneys and allowed me to get a better grasp of the metagame.
If I were to change anything to this list, I would drop the 2 Ya-Te-Veo for 2 more Ghouls; of course I cannot wait to play it with The Festival, as I think it enhances it immensely.
I would like to thank Graham Hill for all the help he gave me building the deck before this one, and for helping me changing into this as soon as the meta proved too harsh.
Last but not least thanks to all the players (and the referee) in the Italian regional: both newbies and veterans, you made it an incredible experience.