Thursday, 20 October 2011

Chesterfield Nationals Qualifier, 10/2011

I found this in my list of unpublished posts - so I'm publishing it!


The group over at Chesterfield have been playing for a while, but today was their first sanctioned tournament, after spending a while getting everything in gear. It was a combined Nationals Qualifier and Brewfest Worldbreaker Block Draft, and it attracted 14 players - including Tino from up Leeds way who has been in hibernation for a while, alongside someone else I thought I recognised but now am not so sure...

Anyway, this was likely to be the last bit of draft practice I'd get before Nationals, so after we were randomly assigned our seats in a pod of 8 and a pod of 6, we got underway.

My Worldbreaker pack contained a Rolan Phoenix and not a great deal else - the quests were bad, there were no good dragons and no particularly exciting allies, so I resigned myself to picking the rare and seeing what else came around. Over the next couple of picks I obtained a couple of quests, grabbed a 1/4 protector for 2, and then all of a sudden was passed a Tesla.

Pulling this face: O_o I picked it, followed by a Blast Trap, another Tesla (!), another Blast Trap and a Steady Shot, finishing off the draft picking a couple of boring-looking allies. I passed a Ruby Enforcer over the second Blast Trap which felt like a bit of a mistake but at this point I wanted to completely shut Hunter off for the rest of the pack.

My second pack was... well, the rare was totally useless - War Party Hitching Post. I quickly shipped it off and in the absence of any good quests whatsoever in this set (and no Donatello - sad face) picked a Bound Vortex, of all things. The rest of the pack was quite uneventful, largely picking solid allies and getting passed a Cobra Shot fourth pick, signaling that Hunter was wide open, later confirmed by wheeling two Arcane Shots.

Twilight was the big pack. With a pretty solid curve after the first two packs the aim was to grab a big ally or two, and most importantly, a weapon (I'd picked a Terina Calin earlier in the draft but hadn't seen a Stakethrower). Staring back at me when I opened the pack was a Twilight Citadel.

Well, I'm not passing that. I hoped to wheel the Cinder and/or Favour of the Hunt, picked a Volatile Thunderstick early (and wondered whether first-picking that Timriv I had in my second pack could have put me into the Horde), wheeled a second, wheeled a Cinder, got both the Favour and the Cinder from my opening pack, and wound up with well over 40 playable cards. Cutting was a nightmare, but I ended up with the following. Spot the deliberate mistake:

Sideboard goodies: another Blast Trap, Arcane Shot, Steady Shot and Obsidian Drudge

That's right - I played Rolan Phoenix, but declined to play Huntsman Gorwal. Who is a Worgen. Derp

[More importantly it occurred to me after the tournament that my deck was actually illegal - Amaria Kelsur is Survival specced, and Master Marksman is a Marksmanship Talent. It made very little difference in the end as I didn't SEE Master Marksman once, let alone play it - but that could have been a costly mistake. It's not as relevant now Throne of the Tides is out, but if you ever find yourself playing old limited formats, DOUBLE CHECK YOUR TALENTS]

It seemed I picked all the three drops as I had about twelve before cutting, but was pretty satisfied with how the deck looked once I'd put everything together. It wasn't particularly flashy but I figured it would be powerful enough to help me win a game or two.

Round 1, vs Dan - playing Horde Druid

The first game was over pretty quickly - I won the roll, and after no action on either of our first turns, I landed a Cinder, my opponent only had a Rejuvenation, and I proceeded to five him to the face several times, killing his allies with Bound Vortex tokens. The second game took a bit more fighting to get through but with a Cinder on turn two again I managed to keep control of the board for a while with the dragonhawk's free ping, before cashing it in against a larger ally and dropping an Erama on an otherwise empty board, who finished the job quickly. [1-0]

Round 2, vs Jake, playing Alliance Mage

Mage is a pretty under-represented class in this block so I was wondering what awesome stuff had put him into that class, and a bunch of stall abilities and a Corrupted Egg Shell seemed like pretty good reasons to me. Thankfully the Egg was late to the party the first time round, and by the time he was able to pop it I simply ignored the new dragons and attacked for fatal, before commencing to sideboard in some serious egg hate - Steady Shot, along with extra copies of Obsidian Drudge and Arcane Shot.

This time the egg came out on four, but I was prepared, with a turn five Volatile Thunderstick to keep the egg count low. I could never quite kill all of the shells due to the hero protection and a Gardos Gravefang turning up for duty, but when I played a Steady Shot on top of the gun and the slowly-appreciating bunch of allies on my side of the field, Jake cracked the egg and introduced my face to his new friend.

It took a steady shot, a gunshot and two allies to finish the egg off, but Jake had used most of his cards trying to keep the egg alive and was drawing dead against my ally a turn. [2-0]

Round 3, vs Chris playing Alliance Warlock

"I don't know how to play this game", he told me earlier - "but I opened a Jhuunash and thought it seemed good". The deck seemed to largely be "Angry Men with Aberration" and after no first turn play from me, I was suddenly on 14 damage out of nowhere having struggled to clear the board. Some Trousers came down shortly after, and I dropped a protector on turn 6 in anticipation of the Twisted Infernal, which sure enough appeared shortly after, and I eventually swarmed him to death.

The sideboard offered me a second Blast Trap for the Infernal, and my opening hand gave me a curve ending on a turn 5 Thunderstick. A misplay from my opponent (casting Selora targeting Windspeaker Nuvu, forgetting that it gives +1 ATK) helped me clear the board slightly easier, and despite an Obsidian Drudge spoiling the gun party, there were a couple of turns of no action as my opponent held a Twisted Infernal without enough resources to play it, nor anything to sacrifice to it. [3-0]

Tino 3-0'd the other pod and we compared notes. He had been paired down so was quite confident he was only going to take the runner-up position, and he wasn't wrong... so for better or worse, I took down my third Brewfest of three entered, and probably used up all my draft luck that I wanted for Nationals.

Likely silence again until after Nationals now - good luck to everyone who is going and be sure to come and say hi if you see me. I'm the tall guy whose hair fell out.

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