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Into the Garbage Chute - Kingdom Con Regional 2013Star Wars Into the Garbage Chute TinyGrimes
This week I'm going to provide a tournament report for the first ever Star Wars LCG regional tournament including my decklist and some reasoning behind the choices of the objectives chosen. I must begin with yet another apology it was a long day followed by another long day of a Game of Thrones regional so my tourney report will not be as detailed as they normally are.
I didn't have time for intense testing before the event. However, our league gave me the opportunity to test the new Hoth cards in a few games and I was able to squeeze in about 10 games on OCTGN trying out different incarnations of my Sith deck.
The Smuggler's Den - LS
Smugglers and Spies (Core)
Total Objective Sets: 10
2x A Hero's Journey (Core 1-1)
Questionable Contacts (Core 15-1)
The Secret of Yavin 4 (Core 5-1)
In You Must Go (Core 2-1)
A Message from Beyond (The Desolation of Hoth 37-1)
Old Ben's Spirit (The Desolation of Hoth 37-2)
Old Ben's Spirit (The Desolation of Hoth 37-3)
Weapon Mastery (The Desolation of Hoth 37-4)
Calm (The Desolation of Hoth 37-5)
Heat of Battle (The Desolation of Hoth 37-6)
This was a pretty easy deck to put together. The old build of "The Smuggler's Den" was very successful during core set play and consisted of 2 Yoda, 2 Luke, 2 Han, 2 Obi, 2 Protectors. However, with the release of Desolation of Hoth I could not resist adding in the resiliency of A Message from Beyond. Old Ben's Spirit is simply a phenomenal card in a beat stick deck. This card fixed all my problems. Force Lightning no longer was the terrifying equalizer that it once was. I didn't have to wait for protectors to actually do stuff. Not to mention the objective A Message from Beyond allows for cool tricks like cycling the Spirit for eternal life. Basically adding 2 copies of this was a no brainer. I ran a few test runs and it worked great. However, Ben told me he had a game where he drew very few characters. I brushed this off and kept using it. However, 2 nights before the event I played a friend on OCTGN and in 5 turns and 25 cards I drew exactly 3 characters and none were good. Now that was frightening. I decided to put in one copy of Obi Wan's pod for 1 copy of Message. However, I started thinking about that. All I am getting is one terrible card and 1 Obi Wan whom I never really was happy to draw. So I took Obi back out and went with the deck that had been dominating. In fact in testing I had never lost with it other than the one anomaly in which I drew 0 characters.
What I liked most about this deck is its versatility. When playing Rebel decks I found they were great for tournament play except there was only one way to play them, win fast or go home. The Smuggler's Den is great for my play style because I get to react to my opponent and the board. If my opponent puts very little down turn 1, I can be very aggressive. If I draw into a big character, I can drop him down and go to work. Even if I only draw a chud with the right enhancements, I can do some early damage. If my opponent puts down a bunch of stuff, then I can start building my board and wait for my moment. With all the Jedi tricks I can usually stall for a few turns before the pressure starts building and I'm forced to make some moves. My thought going into the tournament was that this was the best deck in this limited card pool meta. It certainly played well for me on the day and I was thankfully able to avoid those games in which I draw no characters. Also, the deck performed just how it was supposed to. In some games I was aggressive and in others, like the finals, I had to bide my time a bit.
The Hoth Lockdown - DS
Imperial Navy (Core)
Total Objective Sets: 10
2x Fall of the Jedi (Core 19-1)
The Emperor's Web (Core 23-1)
The Killing Cold (The Desolation of Hoth 40-1)
Icetromper (The Desolation of Hoth 40-2)
Icetromper (The Desolation of Hoth 40-3)
Fear (The Desolation of Hoth 40-4)
The Desolation of Hoth (The Desolation of Hoth 40-5)
Twist of Fate (The Desolation of Hoth 40-6)
Wampa (The Desolation of Hoth 42-2)
Wampa (The Desolation of Hoth 42-3)
Succumb to the Cold! (The Desolation of Hoth 42-4)
Succumb to the Cold! (The Desolation of Hoth 42-5)
Battle of Hoth (The Desolation of Hoth 42-6)
Counsel of the Sith (Core 20-1)
Imperial Command (Core 26-1)
This deck was much more difficult to make. Out of the core set I was playing 2 Vader, 2 palp, 2 Motti, 2 Cruel Interrogations, and 2 Counsel. The deck was effective, but I found it just didn't have quite enough control for Jedi and Rebel decks having 3 and 4 mains. Also, while it spit out a ton of resources, that's about all it did. Having only 4 mains in the deck and then all terrible characters was just not getting it done with the influx of a new Rebel main and the dominant position The Smuggler's Den was taking in our meta and online.
The first week the Hoth cards were out I had looked over Killing Cold and dismissed it as a later in the cycle objective set and noted that Shadows of the Ice would only be good with Hoth objectives. As such I passed on them. But Neil (3rd in the regional) built a much different deck than mine that featured those 2 pods and I got to see them in action. They worked much better than I had thought they would. So I decided to start testing them. I went through about every incarnation of decks eventually settling on 2 Vader, 2 Palp, 1 Imperial Vader, 3 Hoth Pods, and 2 Motti. However, as I tested a bit more I realized how ridiculous the Ice Tromper was against Jedi when paired with a character with a tactics icon. In fact, in a game on OCTGN against Agnos, he mentioned that the Ice Tromper single handedly won the game, this wasn't the first time this had happened, and that it was almost unfair to have him out with Palpatine. This got me thinking what was the most tactics icons I could pack into the deck. So I moved the deck to max tactics icons taking out the 2 Motti pods for 2 Interrogation pods. However, this left me in a position with too few resources. After a bit more tweaking I went with the list you see above.
I decided to leave in 1 copy of Motti because his is the best resource pod in the game and Motti is flat amazing against Jedi. It's really hard to lock down Palpatine long term with Motti on the table. I added council of the Sith in for 1 Motti pod to add another potential tactics icon and add the chance for more draw while keeping 2 resource cards. If I was going to play this as a control deck I wanted max draw. I had very limited time for testing so I'm still intrigued by the idea of pulling the other Motti pod for a second copy of council of the Sith and will be trying this out in league play this week. In a control deck draw wins games. Not to mention the affiliation card can be switched to Sith which will be great from a resource matching perspective.
I added 1 Cruel Interrogations pod for the multiple tactics icons and hand control. I really rally really wanted to add 2 copies but there just was not room since the pod has 0 resources in it.
I was not happy to remove the new Imperial Vader pod but it no longer fit with the premise of the deck. Imperial Suppression is amazing for cancelling a well timed deflection or counter-stroke and Vader is an amazing closer, but in the end the pod just didn't add enough. It has no tactics icons and its resource chud just isn't efficient enough for this deck.
This deck is basically built to beat both Rebels and Jedi. Against Rebels you really want to find your Wampas early. Those guys are way undercosted and totally shut down Rebel decks. There is nothing worse than swinging in with Home One against a lone Wampa, losing edge, Heat of Battle, and seeing the Wampa swipe Home One down from the sky. That actually happens quite often. Also between all the tactics icons and Succumbed, it's easy to lock down one of the vehicles while killing the other 2 big ones. The Ice Tromper is useless so you should be discarding him in this matchup unless you are fearing that random Ackbar. Palpatine as usual completely dominates this matchup. The Rebels should never be able to win edge against this deck if played well. This means while they may knock out an early objective, don't panic, you should be able to control them soon.
Against Jedi, the Ice Trompers are ridiculous. You have 4 in the deck and with the tactics icons you shouldn't have too much trouble keeping those pesky Jedi in check. It's not too tough to bury Han under a pile of focus tokens. With your Ice Trompers around, Yoda does nothing if he cannot win the edge battle, which is quite difficult to do against Sith. Luke is probably the biggest threat so kill him if you are able. Easier said then done of course.
So, with my decks in hand and limited testing done, it was time for the first regional of the season. Kingdom Con is a growing annual convention in San Diego and every year it hosts FFG regionals. This year was no exception and it was hosting AGOT, Netrunner, and Star Wars. The problem is with three regionals on the same weekend someone had to take the Friday slot. Unfortunately, that was us. We thought we would still draw about 20, as our playgroup in LA is around that number and a number of San Diego guys play as well. However, I took a headcount on Thursday and realized that due to weddings, car trouble, and other real world issues we might have a much smaller turnout than expected.
Friday rolled around and indeed we did have a small turnout. We only got 9 for the event and learned a valuable lesson. Don't hold major events on Fridays! Big props do go to Ryan for coming out to the event from Northern California. Ryan is a long time friend and bought cards for the first time the day of the event. But we had been playing on OCTGN so he was pretty well informed. Even bigger props go out to Brian Herold for coming out from Alabama. Brian I'm so sorry the event was so small. I feel terrible about that, but we were thrilled to have you. Brian is a championship caliber player from the Star Wars CCG (yes the game is being kept alive by a dedicated staff and player base) so it was great to have him in the field.
We were brought our regional kit and noticed something odd. Hmm, it says X-wing?? Sure enough when we opened we found all kinds of great X-Wing swag. Thankfully FFG stepped up big time and over nighted us the correct kit. So note to everyone hosting a regional check your kit ahead of time!
The event started and with 9 players someone was getting a bye. Ben started the pairings and I jinxed myself with some statement like I better not get that bye Ben. Of course I got the bye and drove 2 hours to sit out the first round. But I suppose that's a lot better than someone flying across the country to sit out the first round. Another important note for all the potential TOs out there, there is nothing in the rules about how byes are handled?!?! We gave out 3 points for a bye thinking that was the standard win points. 4 seemed like too many and 2 was too few since you got crushed by the terrible SOS. By the way this was determined before I got the bye, just in case any of you were ready to call shenanigans.
Round 2 - 4 pt win - John Barber
Round 2 started and I was paired with John Barber who had gotten a full 4 point win. John won our league and is a high quality player. I was pretty worried that if I lost these games with my null SOS from my bye I would already be out of the top 4. Fortunately, I was able to sweep the victory from John to move into a good position going into the last round. I remember almost nothing from these games and I'm hoping John will post on here with details that I can edit into this report. Sorry John it's not you, it's me.
Round 3 - 4 pt win - Greg
I have played Greg many times in league play and he plays SW like Thrones, balls to the wall. In thrones he loves Baratheon and in SW he loves Navy and Rebels. Personally, I don't like these two decks because they tend to be all or nothing and I hate piloting those types of decks. However, I'm terrified of playing against them because when they get the all there isn't a whole lot you can do. Both games were hard fought victories that went many rounds. I don't remember much else about these games. However, I do remember lucking out and flopping Cruel Interrogation and grabbing his Home One. In fact, on the day I flopped it in all 4 games and nabbed Yoda and 2 Home Ones. I only struck out in the finals getting the worst card in the Jedi deck ... Shi-Cho training. Talk about how hot and cold this game can be at times.
With 11 points I was in the final 4. Neil and Brian tied with 9 points and there was a tie at 6 between Greg and Jeff. Greg won the tiebreaker and we were paired again. Greg was not thrilled with this matchup as we had just played and I had swept both games. But we played our rematch.
I opted to play LS first and got a great first hand with Han and a protector. A first turn Han against Navy is very very hard to deal with and Han dominated the game to a fairly quick victory with the dial at 7.
So that meant for game 2 I only had to get the dial to 8. The game was fairly close and I think I would have gotten the dial to 12 but that is never a certainty against those darn Rebels as they can drop a lot of stuff every turn. However, I did get the dial to 8 and at that point Greg conceded the match.
Greg played well on the day and playing him in 4 straight matches was certainly grueling, now it was off to the finals.
The other final 4 match was between Neil from our local meta who I've come to think of as a good friend over the last few months and Brian Herold a top flight Star Wars CCG player, who flew across the country and whom I've known for years. So to be honest I had no idea who to root for. When I realized Brian had won his match I knew I would be in for a tough match. One of the keys I've found for succeeding in high pressure tournament finals is how often you've been there before. During last year's tournament season I made a final 4 and a final during regional season, and made the top 16 at Gencon, and in each I was a bit nervous. But this time around I used that experience and wasn't nervous. However, I also knew Brian wouldn't be nervous as he has played in many more big games than I have from his experience with the Star Wars CCG.
Brian won the toss and elected to use LS. This was a tough game that came down to draws. I believe he got a fairly early Han Solo going. I was able to control him to a degree. But he was getting a fair amount of damage through. The critical moment as my memory tells me was when the dial was at 7 and it was my turn. Han had 1 focus on him and so did another chud and I had Palpatine and not a lot else. Now I had a choice. I could choose not attack with Palpatine and have a chance to tactics Han and whatever guy he put down next turn by defending. But this meant I would have to win edge and hope he didn't get cool tricks like Trust Your Feelings along with whatever character he drew. The other choice was to attack with Palpatine and bury Han. In the end I decided that he was bound to draw a big character soon and that I was going to lose the game for sure. Since this was my one chance to knock out an objective I should take it for tiebreaking purposes. So I attacked with Palpatine, buried Han and the chud, and prayed for a miracle. So, the game all came down to Brian's draw. He drew no major characters and I was able to then quickly close out the game. We each ended up destroying 2 objectives which gave me a pretty big lead going into the final game.
Brian started out really strong. He put out something like 3 Ice Trompers and other good control characters while I was forced to do ridiculous things like put out a Guardian of the Peace with a light saber on her just to push through a bit of early damage. My friends after the game said they kept walking by and my body language and board position told them Brian was going to beat me soundly. I hope Brian can fill in some details from here because I'm not entirely sure how I won this game. I'm pretty sure I dropped a Han and Yoda with enhancements. Han whittled down some characters and the Yoda forced him to burn some Trompers. I cannot remember if he was not able to find a Palpatine or if I was able to handle him with Han. What I do remember is the protectors and tricks kept me in this game until I found the big characters. This is usually how "The Smuggler's Den" works, but in this game it looked like it might not work. The most interesting part of the game was the fact that Brian started Boba's affiliation card. The whole game I was waiting for him to make an appearance but he never did. I tried to focus my energy on taking out his resource chuds with tricks like deflection and Han so I wouldn't see Palpatine or Boba + armor. I'm hoping Brian writes a report so I can see his thoughts on using Boba. When the game ended I am pretty sure I had all 3 objectives down and he had 0. I could be wrong there though, he might have gotten 1 down.
So the day was finally over and I had won the first SW regional of the season. We were all disappointed by the size of the field, but it was a fun day nonetheless.
I ran pretty hot. This game can often come down to draws. In my final 4 match against Greg I drew very well. My Jedi deck never crapped out on me throughout the day. My biggest fear was drawing no characters with it and that never happened. The closest I came to that scenario was in the finals for the first few rounds, but then the deck got it's act together and started giving me the guys I needed at the 11th hour. Somehow I was able to sweep every match and go undefeated on the day. This is especially rare in this game and really is a testament to my decks running well. In our league tournament almost every match was a split.
We had a great, if small, field. The players in the field have a ton of games under their belt from our league and are all quality players and good guys. We had two local San Diego guys show up for the event and it was great meeting them. Thanks for coming Jeff and the other great San Diego guy! Also I still can't believe Brian Herold flew in the event, I feel like we Swindled him there, but it was great having him and seeing him make the finals. It will be pretty cool if Brian is one of the elite players in both Star Wars card games so I certainly wish him luck in his future regionals.
Props to FFG for stepping up and getting us our kit. Also props to how great the kit was. The playmat looks great and the coin is amazing. I was joking that the coin is so heavy if you were to flip it high enough it would break any table in half. Also the trophy is really nice looking. Since it looks so classy, my wife didn't make me immediately hide it in a closet!
Thanks to everyone I tested with before the event. Special thanks go out to the SoCal meta. Our weekly meetings have made us all better players. Thanks to all the people who contributed in our discussions on the Smuggler's Den Podcast Facebook page. There was a lot of great deck discussion there in the last few weeks. Thanks to everyone who played me on OCTGN and let me cram in some last minute testing of my DS deck as I was frantically trying to decide what the last 3 pods would be. Scott and Agnos I'm looking your way here, along with everyone else.
Finally, good luck to everyone during regional season. I look forward to reading your tournament reports and I hope to see everyone at worlds in November!