A Quick Post For RJ's Sake (Little Cup Tournament results from my FLGS)
by, 08-29-2015 at 03:13 PM (1547 Views)
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Being posted a day late no less, because playing dicemasters until 10pm and then getting up at 4am to work for 9 hours isn't very healthy., so I spent yesterday afternoon and evening passed out asleep. This is a semi-results and semi-format review post, so I'll put that out there before you read on. I'm also 100% sure that this is about to become the most hated thing I've ever posted, but that tends to happen whenever someone has an opinion on the internet. I'll state this right now: I DO NOT necessarily think the format is bad, per se. I think it needs more time to be fleshed with a larger cardpool and more viable strategies. ALSO please, please take note that the vast majority of my playerbase (6 out of the 8 attendees, if you include myself and TheRoyalFalcon) actually had a blast that night, and would love to do it again. The only reason TheRoyalFalcon didn't have a ton of fun is because he wanted to play the surefire win team to secure some promos, which I can understand. I think almost everyone on this site has played something fast and mean before because they wanted to win a prize on a particular day, and I would be inclined to disbelieve most people who told me otherwise.
Anyways, I'll start with some background. The week before this, I was overworked and decided to be a little lazy, playing this monstrosity at locals. Let's just say some people weren't entirely amused by it because of how many rare and expensive cards the team piles together, so they asked if we could do a little cup tournament. I was a little uneasy for personal reasons which will become apparent later but, as the organizer, I quickly did a round table "yes or no" with all of the regulars, and decided that the next week would be a little cup tournament with a single improvement to the rules, which everyone agreed on. Alternate art versions of common cards would be allowed for play (Examples, the Professor X alt art, Beast Alt art, Harley Quinn Alt art) because they're too cool to not be allowed to mess around with.
Anyways, on the way home, I was asked a bit about the format since I did have a limited but working knowledge of it. I wanted to leave as much room for creativity as possible so the only person I told about my personal thoughts and opinions on the format was TheRoyalFalcon, who actually ended up piloting the team I told him about, with a minor modification.
This is where I have to skip town or get burnt at the stake by an angry mob. I personally believe that there are only 3-4 competitively viable builds within the format. You can argue that it will improve, which I'm sure it will because it is mainly a cardpool size problem, but at the time of writing (29/08/15) I personally believe that these are what you have to play if you want to win:
Overcrush/Aggro with wolverine/giant man
I want people to face some facts. Regardless of how much you like your pet team (such as Justice League or Villains in my case), The Avengers have a vastly superior pool of cards to choose from and exploit. TheRoyalFalcon and I spent a lot of time testing the viability of different strategies, even ones posted here on this website, and the Avengers destroyed them every time. While some people who agree with me here would incorrectly cite Hulk: Jade Giant as the problem here, I would quickly point out that Hulk does not gain significant advantage from an Avengers based team when you consider that he is usually fielded with the use of a polymorph. Rather, I would point the finger at a Mr. Nick Fury: Mr. Anger for giving an insane amount of snowballing advantage to avengers based teams.
At a 2-cost Shield Character, Mr. Anger allows any and all avengers characters to be fielded for free. All of those powerful common characters like Giant Man, Wasp, Captain America and Captain Marvel, who normally have a high TFC to offset the power of their abilities, are now completely free to field, whenever you want. Mr. Anger himself is a TFC 2 character with a free side, boasting a large 3, 4 or even 5 defense based on which side he is rolled on, making him difficult for other early game characters to take him off the board, provided he even bothers to block. Other teams have to worry about energy manipulation and spending wisely, whereas the avengers do not have to pay fielding costs and instead have plenty of energy to purchase bigger characters earlier or use plenty of globals later. This one card that can be bought during the early turns offers such a disproportionate amount of advantage to avengers based strategies in every single area of quadrant theory than any other card in the format does for anything else.
Granted, there are ways to deal with it, such as using a taunt global like Mr. Fantastic or Phoenix, but they have their own drawbacks, and the inclusion of human paladin to outright negate your ability to take him off the board with them. Prismatic spray works nicely as well, so they aren't unbeatable, but they are a significant threat.
This is basically where my problem with the Little Cup Format comes into view. Other teams or gimmicks work just fine when you are playing casually with your friends. However, when you dangle a carrot on a stick in front of people, like rare and expensive prize cards, they will tend to want to play whatever is "the best thing". You can counter this argument by saying that Constructed and even draft (yes, draft) suffer from the same problem. That's a fair point. However, the cardpool is much larger in full constructed, and as Dean showed all of the complainers, there is still plenty of room for innovation and new ideas. This is not necessarily an issue with little cup, but by the IP support and size of the cardpool.
Before I move on to the tournament results, I want to stress that you are not obligated to take this opinion as 100% fact, nor should you let it detract from your enjoyment of the format. If you love it and want to play it, go for it! If it ever becomes big enough to warrant them, I'd be more than happy to run monthly or even weekly Little Cup Events. I will have a problem with people who have nothing better to do than flame because they can't respect someone else's ideas. If you have something to say, be a civil person and leave a comment.
I was about to end my post, but I realized that people will want to know what I played. I often come under fire for owning a lot of good cards and having access to stronger strategies, so I decided not to play an avengers or wolverine overcrush strategy and instead went with a more casual Justice League Team. I wanted to make sure someone else would win so my points here would not be undermined by being "the nationals guy that isn't JT".
Since I was busy with some admin stuff and was not actually very active during my games, I have no pictures and can only give a basic rundown of how the tournament went. To put it simply:
The prediction I gave to TheRoyalFalcon that avengers would dominate and destroy everything was made reality.
Matchups went as expected
Nothing new or particularly innovative was played
Anyways, the teams that were played were: Results:
Avengers Avengers: 1st
Avengers Namor: 2nd
Dragons Avengers: 3rd
Justice League Dragons: 4th
Justice League Justice League: 5th
Ultron/Ultron Drone Burn Ultron Drones: 6th
Bolt Burn Justice League: 7th
Namor Turbo Bolt burn: 8th
(If I made a mistake, please let me know with a PM and I'll fix it up. Prizing was rushed out, so trying to remember results from memory as best as I can)
I do want to shout out to Sylvain, who will never read this but deserves credit for running the gauntlet and doing well with his huge attack Namor Strategy. While it was something I saw coming, few were prepared for it. He has definitely grown as a player and deserves his place. As you can see, 8 people came out and they really had a great time. While we're back to constructed and draft for now, it is certainly possible that Gamebreakers in Ottawa will see more Little Cup events as time goes on.
My personal verdict on the format: Enjoyable overall, but needs a lot more cards and viable strategies before I would consider playing it more seriously.
My Playerbase's Verdict Lots of fun and they would love to do it again, but not as much as constructed or the once a month draft.
JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE