• The Tales of Beedle the Bard...or how I won the NJ WKO

    Hello all. The NJ WKO held at Highlander Games in Boonton, NJ, kicked off this weekend. There were 17 people participating so it was 4 rounds of Swiss before breaking down into a top 8. The top 3 finishers would qualify for Nationals. Thanks to that 1 extra bonus 17th player for giving us the push to make it 3 finishers.

    Amazingly enough there were no Vicious Struggle teams at all and while there were a good deal of Bard teams present, myself included, there were a lot more out of the box teams than I was expecting as well. Being that Highlander Games is my home FLGS I did go in kinda guessing that there would be very little Vicious Struggle (it’s almost never played around here for some reason) and planned my team accordingly.

    I didn’t take pictures of the teams, so most of this is from memory. If I screw something up, I apologize in advance.

    So let’s start with my team. I tested 3 different teams. A Mask Ring Team that was very similar to the team pk2317 ran, although without Dormammu and PXG instead of Rip Hunter. A Bard Speed team with Miri, Morphing Jar and Ring Global. And a Bard Control team. In the end, after playtesting, I decided to go with the Bard Control as I knew the team very well having played it in other events and I felt it performed the best out of the 3. The team in full was:

    Half-Elf Bard – Master Lords’ Alliance x2
    Elf Thief – Lesser Harper x4
    Dwarf Wizard – Paragon Zhentarim x2
    Clay Golem – Greater Construct x4
    Scarecrow – Legion of Doom x2
    Oracle – Master Investigator x2
    Constantine – Hellblazer x3
    Professor X – Trainer x1

    My first opponent was Rich and his team was very close to mine (Bard, D-Wiz, Elf Thief) but he also had Professor Zoom – Inescapable Fate and Gorilla Grodd – Force of Mind. I won the roll to go first and this game was fairly straight forward. I managed to get my elf thieves out and mess with his ramp and he had some really horrible rolls. At one point he rolled a D-Wiz and fielded it with nothing on the board and that let me get my Scarecrow out without fear of it being blanked. Once that happened I managed to lock him down until I could Bard for the win.

    Record 1-0

    My second opponent was Jazz and he was playing a Beholder, Front Line, Imprisoned team. This was the game of bad rolls. For the first 3 or 4 turns we could roll nothing but sidekicks. I think between the two of us we must have fielded at least 7 by turn 3. The difference was, they didn’t necessarily hurt me as much as they messed with Jazz. At one point it came down to me rolling my Bard and Cloudkill. I missed. The next turn Jazz had a chance to win if he could have just rolled a mask and it didn’t happen and then finally on my next turn I hit the Bard Cloudkill combo and swung in for the win.

    Record 2-0

    Round three I met up with Chris. Chris and I have a history of playing against each other in either WKOs or constructed tournaments and he really has my number. Out of maybe 10-15 times playing each other I’ve won 2 or 3. We have very similar playstyles and I knew what I was in for as Chris’ team is almost identical to mine except for him bringing Magic Missile instead of Cloudkill and Hulk – Green Goliath instead of Scarecrow. I went first this time and actually was doing really well and then at one point all I needed was a Polymorph to roll and I had game. Alas, the dice did not work in my favor and next turn Chris managed to Hulk my field and swing for the win. Argh.

    Record 2-1

    The final round I ended up pairing with my friend Bill whose team I knew really well. We had spent hours playtesting for this WKO against each other and we both knew what to expect. I had even made suggestions to his team which he took and ended up regretting ever mentioning them. Bill was running a unique Front Line, Beholder – Greater Aberration team with Ring of Magnetism – Monster Attraction and Black Canary – Sonic Cry. I suggested he also bring Wasp rare for global hate and Scarecrow Legion for Bard hate which he did. The premise being to get Beholder out to move Ring of Magnetism and Front Line to prep and then after getting them both to roll, buy a Black Canary and make whatever you played Ring of Magnetism on unblockable and therefore all your other characters are now unblockable since nothing can be blocked until the first unblockable character is dealt with. Unfortunately Bill could not get anything going this game at all. He didn’t PXG as much as he probably should have, choosing instead to forgo ramp for characters, but in the end the ones that did roll were too small to get past my Scarecrow and without D-Wiz or anyway to deal with the Scarecrow I managed to lock down the board for the win. I did mention to Bill that he should have probably went for Wasp and PXGed a bunch more.

    Record 3-1. Into the top 8.

    I ended up going into the Top 8 as the number 2 seed behind Chris who was the only 4-0 at that point. Once the pairings were announced, lo and behold I sit down across from Bill again who also made the top 8. What a difference a game makes. This time he bought Wasp ASAP and started forcing me to hurt myself to ramp. Then came the mistake. I made a mistake about Black Canary and how she would work and unfortunately Bill agreed with me instead of calling over a judge. After Bill played his Ring of Magnetism on a level 1 Clay Golem, he bought Black Canary forgoing his ramp in an effort to win the game. I polymorph globaled one of my characters down and his golem up to level 2 thinking that it would no longer be unblockable. He agreed with me, and we played on and I ended up winning the next turn since he blew his ramp, but unfortunately I was wrong. His Golem would still be unblockable and by all intents and purposes Bill should have won this match. I apologize for this missed ruling and lesson learned. Next time, when in ANY doubt, call a judge. That being said, I did end up winning and moved on to top 4 although it should be with an asterisk by my name.

    This round I matched up with Stephen who also ran a Bard team but had Ronin – Between Employers. This game came down to rolls. I got them and Stephen didn’t. He couldn’t field a character to save his life and in the end I literally had Bard plus a wall of about 12 characters that just swung in for the kill. Sometimes you just get lucky and this was my lucky game. Onto the Top 2.

    For the finals I matched up again with Chris. Chris, for those of you that don’t know, won 3 WKOs last season. That being said I was ecstatic to make the top 2. I had the prizes I wanted and was guaranteed a qualification for Nationals. Regardless of the outcome, I pretty much felt like the mission was accomplished. This game began very similar to our last match and we kept on building small walls of control characters until the one point where I managed to roll a polymorph at the most opportune possible time. Chris is known for PXGing to the point of burning his bag and taking damage repeatedly in a match and I saw an opening where he only had one mask in reserve which is very rare. I managed to Poly in an Oracle, breaking his ramp and from then it was just a point of setting up for the kill which came for me 2 turns later.

    All in all it was an awesome event and it was really interesting to see the teams that were brought that were outside the Meta. From a Tsarina Blitz team, to a Flying Sidekicks (I know…it used to be meta), to a Crossover Ring team, there were creative and interesting teams all over the place. I do have to apologize one more time to Bill as I do feel really bad about making the mistake and I really shouldn’t have won and got super lucky that I did.
    This article was originally published in blog: The Tales of Beedle the Bard...or how I won the NJ WKO started by Gogonjdevil