Sunday, 5 February 2012

Realm Qualifier - Escape Games, Coventry [04/02/2012]

Yesterday I travelled to my final Core Realm Qualifier of the season, at Escape Games, in Coventry. I don't think it's been open all that long, but in the last few months have started running WoWTCG events and have a small but enthusiastic group of locals there. Unfortuantely only one of those locals turned up for the qualifier, but hefty representation from Shrewsbury and Worcester, along with a cameo appearance from Ray Fong meant a turnout of 15, five rounds with a cut to top 4.

I played the same Grand Crusader list as detailed in my last post (yawn) and hit a 4-1 finish, losing round three to Ida Rønbeck, playing Ramp Shaman. We'd been discussing her deck a little over the past week, I'd been making a few suggestions on cards she could play and after a week of testing she told me off for trying to sabotage her deck, before completely crushing me - I failed to make enough protectors, she made Erunak on an empty board and then the following turn made a Blazing Elemental Totem before hitting me for 20, which was exactsies. It was an interesting gamble - if I'd had a Mazu'kon available then I could have happily eaten Erunak and gained the upper hand, but I, er, didn't.

In the previous rounds I'd played Ray Fong (Horde DK) and Dean Nicholas (near as dammit a mirror match; he played two Kazbaz at the expense of a Rosalyne and Telor); Round 4 saw me against another Grand Crusader deck with a difference, Liam Stanway, playing Drax Felfuse Dragons Grand Crusader Where Have All My Cards Gone. He'd been at table 1 on the previous game and saw him make a T3 Drax, then drop four dragons on T4, hitting for ten with a potential follow up of another ten if they lived another turn. Scary stuff.

Luckily for me I weathered the storm with the aid of a GirdleBronze Warden and a Bottle, and despite making Drax on three separate occasions, a lack of Girdle for Liam pretty much sealed it.

4-1 is the barrier to guaranteed top 4, and in the final round I faced off against Burnsy, the tournament's only 4-0. He was also playing Ramp Shaman, and after having something of a non-hand against Ida I was pretty dismayed to mulligan a Grand Crusader + Guys hand (not necessarily a good hand against a class that can kill the Crusader) into something that had no real play until turn three.

Thankfully, he didn't have the Hammer. Before the game I'd been talking about the match I had with Alex Crow in Chesterfield - how if one player doesn't gain a huge advantage at the start of the game it can be a really good match, and this one didn't disappoint despite the slow start. Burnsy's T3 was a Jex'ali, which hardly seemed ideal for a deck that wants to play five-drops by this stage. We spent a few turns not making a great deal, before I eventually found a Girdle, then a Citadel, and was able to start drawing cards. By this point we were at the dangerous number of resources, and the Mazu'kons started flowing - neither of us had taken the opposing hero over five damage but eventually Zudzos, Cairnes and Mazu'kons started flowing and once the dust settled, I was facing down a Mazu'kon and two tokens, having faced a shock Malfurion earlier in the game that I found the Mazu'kon for one turn too late.

A little maths later and I managed to clear out the two tokens, and figured that I could survive with a few health to spare at the expense of being at the mercy of the top of my deck for ways to stop myself dying in the future. I got lucky; a couple of protectors off the top and I stabilised at 25 damage. This wasn't the end though - off the top of Burnsy's deck was his fourth Mazu'kon, followed by a Gnash (which was his third of the game, if I recall), followed by a Zudzo, taking me to 28.

Alecia Hall in my next three cards took me back down to 25, and when Burnsy drew a quest off the top I was able to dump a bunch of shit on the board, and a second quest off the top gave me enough time to close the game out unopposed. There were eight cards remaining in my deck.

The top 4 was called - Dean and myself playing near-identical Grand Crusader builds, Ida and Burnsy playing surprisingly different Hammer Shaman decks. I was top after Swiss, and faced Dean once again - having been lucky with Sava'gins and good at avoiding having my Girdle killed in the previous encounter, I was hoping for a repeat.

I kept a hand of two Girdles, a Citadel, two Righteous Cleanse and two Obsidian Drudge - something of a non-hand, but everything I needed to go right ahead and kill my opponent's girdle and draw into something actually threatening. Everything went according to plan for a while, I drew a ton of cards and popped two of  his Girdles, but he had three. Foolishly I'd rowed an Obsidian Drudge, as I ended up with three in hand at one point. I had the remaining three of my own Girdles in hand too, which wasn't ideal.

Once we'd done fannying around with that, Dean took the advantage, laying a Cairne and a Mazu'kon. "Censure?" I offered, laying a Mazu'kon of my own, attacking his Mazu'kon. Censure it was.

My hand was pretty damn good - the same two Righteous Cleanse from my opening hand, two Mazu'kons and three Cairnes. Drawing a bunch of cards, I dropped a Grand Crusader and some protectors, then the following turn, the same Mazu'kon from earlier. It was Censured once again, and then a third time the very next turn. To our surprise, time was then called, I took twelve to the face having failed to make any real headway on the board, and despite having enough resources to play both Mazu'kons, couldn't deal enough damage to win and couldn't draw enough cards to heal enough off my hero - the damage totals being 23 on me and five on Dean. I drew up to ten cards in hand in case I'd forgotten something, but despite staring at enough cards to comfortably take control of the game given an extra five minutes, I was out of outs and sent Dean into the final.

Ida had beaten Burnsy in the other semi-final, and went on to decisively insert Erunak into Dean's face in the final.

Disappointed not to at least make the final but big ups to Dean and Ida for closing everyone else out of the final, and to Kenny for running a tight ship with the tournament!


Getting to Escape Games by car: Follow signs for City Centre, get on the inner ring road (the big thing with tons of flyovers) and exit at Junction 7, following signs for Ikea. Park at one of the many car parks near Ikea.

The store is in the City Arcade, which if you're standing at the main entrance to Ikea is just over the road to your right a little bit. Next door to Escape Games is an excellent American shop called 4th of July which sells tons of things that are very bad for you.

Get in touch with the store on 024 7663 1186.

1 comment:

  1. I liked the bit where you mentioned Liam Stanway. He sounds like a pretty awesome person.