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This was supposed to be an awesome podcast about the Lacie WizKids Tournament

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This is the saddest post I'll ever write, even though I'm quite please with how the story ends.

I was one of many excited Dice Master enthusiasts who could not wait for their regional tournament last weekend. Since my friend Ben and I planned to drive from Northern Idaho to Lacie, Washington to compete, I thought it would be a fantastic idea to record our thoughts on the tournament in the same fashion as the road trip edition of the Reserve Pool podcast. I packed my sophisticated portable recording equipment, and we started what would become an 800+ mile round trip adventure.

After a quick round of disc golf at Downriver in Spokane, we got back on the highway and had one of the best conversations about Dice Masters we ever had. We outlined our decks and expectations. Even though this was our first professional tournament, I made a bold prediction that Ben would definitely make top eight and I would probably end up there as well since I knew that his deck fared slightly better in a head-to-head match. Don't get me wrong: I thought I had a great shot of taking the whole tournament with my control deck and its secret weapon: House of Mystery. I thought this promo basic action card would be the key to my defense against all the Guy Gardner rush teams I expected to face. I specifically built my deck so that I only needed to purchase one die from each character, and I suspected this card would help me claim some wins. Though I still feared both Lantern Ring and Prismatic Spray, I knew I was going to be in for a fun but competitive day of play.

Ben and I ended up staying in Shelton Friday evening so we could play its excellent disc golf course before the tournament. It was such a perfect start to the morning, and it would provide some physical activity that I appreciated more as the Dice Masters tournament proceeded through the day. I expected nervous energy would result in a sleepless night, however I felt calm and ready to play.

We drove to Lacie and found the store. What a treat. I cannot think of a better place to host a gaming tournament. I agree with pk3217's account of the event: the premises were large and inviting and the staff eager to help. After filling out the paper work and listening to the rules, it was time to play.

If I had any nerves, they were quickly dispelled by the end of the first match. My control team starring the aforementioned House of Mystery and Distraction, Wonder Girl, Ring of Magnetism, Constantine, Storm, Professor X, Solomon Grundy, Jinzo and Blue-Eyes White Dragon get my opponent Zach at bay. He had some good cards, but I didn't detect any meta strategy in his deck construction, and this match would prove to be the only "easy" one of the day.

I won my first tournament match! I felt pretty excited. I knew my deck could win, but I was afraid that the control-heavy aspects of my build limited my ability to inflict damage quickly or consistently. I knew time would not be my friend, so it was good to get a victory under my belt without running out of time. I hoped my luck would continue in round 2.

It did not. I faced something I feared I would face: Lantern Ring. My opponent Jason from a fist-heavy lantern ring team that I could not control. I think I got him to Dwarf Wizard his own kobold once due to my Wonder Girl/Ring combo, so that was nifty. He also brought Crush Card Virus, so I took the opportunity to show him how awesome it worked with Solomon Grundy (a card he had never seen). I did a decent job of stalling the game, but in the end I could not stop his Iron Fist from activating the Lantern Ring when he attacked, so I lost my second-round match (though Jason gave me mad props for my deck; he was a cool guy so I didn't mind losing).

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Next I got to play John, aka the Retro-Matic Gamer, who I had never heard of because I don't generally watch Dice Masters videos unless they're previewing new sets (I'm a lurking reader, first and foremost). Ben later filled me in how he loves to watch his videos, and I might be tempted to check out a few after our enjoyable match-up. Once he saw my deck, he immediately said he hoped for a draw. He got his wish. He gets mad props for bringing a card I hoped I would see (even though I didn't have a way to stop it): Delayed Blast Fireball.

It was quite an enjoyable back and forth match, one I probably would have won if time was not an issue at Dice Masters tournaments. It is, so I took a 1-1-1 record going into the lunch break.

The lunch break gave me a time to enjoy a nice sushi lunch with Ben, who unsurprisingly to me boasted a 3-0 record at this point. I was now faced with a crucial decision: drop out of main event to play side events for Iron Fist card/dice, or continue my mission to make top 8. I knew it would be challenging, but in the end my competitive spirit triumphed over my desire to collect.

It's the best decision I made that weekend (good enough to make up for my one real bad decision I'll discuss later). The specific details are a little hazy (especially since I forgot to photograph one of the decks in the final three Swiss rounds), but I managed to go on a 3-0 run and qualify for the top 8 with some quality matches and play. My first match with Brian was a nail biter, but he made a fatal flaw when declaring blockers in our overtime match. He assigned his beefiest defender to Storm and tried to use Distraction to remove Jinzo. Unfortunately for him, he forgot about Ring/Wonder Girl, and the rules lawyer in me would not let him reassign blockers once he couldn't Distract Jinzo out of the field, so I swung for the win.

I faced Ethan next, took another match. Going into the final , I saw that exactly eight players had more points than I did (including Ben, who was no longer perfect but still in the hunt). I knew if I would won the last Swiss round I was bound for Top 8. I played my best match of the day against Jacob and claimed the victory. Ben also made top 8, so we both eagerly awaited our next matches.

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First I faced off against the affable Charlie Cates, who actually was good friends with my wife and knew that I originally wanted to name my child Hamburger Touchdown if it was a boy (the universe wisely gave me a girl). He kept saying my deck was going to kick his deck's butt, and game one proved he had a point (though I wouldn't call it a butt kicking, I did manage to control the field and eventually claim victory). The tables turned in the second game, however. Perhaps bolstered by over confidence, I did not pursue a Jinzo purchase as early as I did in our first match up. This proved to be a poor decision, as demonstrated one of the coolest combos I had ever seen to whittle me down. He'd used PXG to ramp, placed Johnny Storm in the field and kept using Parallex to reroll his fielded and unfielded kobolds and sidekicks. He asked I give a shout out to Diane Mohsen, who played a similar deck to his in the Orlando regional event. To his credit, he never claimed damage for fielded character dice that he rerolled as characters, but he still managed some impressive damage statistics after two or three rounds. Suddenly it looked like I was going to take a loss, and I did.

We entered a tiebreak match in which we each would have three turns. Top 4 suddenly seemed like a long shot, as my deck does not feature early muscle. Luck was on my side, though, as I rolled four sidekicks on my second turn, fielded them all and hit him for 4. He didn't get any characters fielded during his second turn, and I managed to field two sidekicks on my last turn and leave three question marks in my reserve pool. I hit for 2 more points and waited to see if he would draw his Johnny Storm. He did not. Even if he had, it would have been hard to over 6 damage and 3 distractions, which meant I had just earned a trip to the Top 4. Ben, who was seated next to me in this round, had some unfortunate rolls and his tournament ended.

My tournament was about to get a lot better. My Top 4 opponent dropped from the tournament, which meant I was granted an automatic berth in the Finals. I checked out the other two semi-finalists' decks, and I was pretty optimistic about my chances to win since neither had ways to disrupt my control. I was crowning myself champion in my head already.

Unfortunately for me, Dice Masters is built on both skill and luck, and my luck would run out in the Finals. Naturally, it would run out on camera for the whole world to see. I don't want to take anything away from the eventual champion Michael Plumb, who brought a punishing deck and sound strategy (his House of Mystery was Nova, and boy did it bring damage). My sure win fizzled when key elements of my control failed me early in the game, and I had nothing to stop his beefy Hulk or Nova.

I didn't mind losing as much as the sloppy play on my part. As you may have read in many posts on a similar topic, it can be quite mentally exhausting playing Dice Masters all day. Although I feel I played a solid game throughout the day, I made several loopy mistakes. I tried to buy Jinzo during an Attack Phase. I forgot to remove both our Jinzos when I rolled House of Mystery. The worst mistake occurred in the second game, where Michael tried to use Magic Missile to ping one of his characters. I forgot I had Wonder Girl/Ring in effect, but a spectator brought it to our attention. I let him take back the move since I didn't catch the original error.

That would prove to be my downfall, though the ending would be quite exciting. Time expired in Game 2 with him up 1-0. He had 20 life and I had 2. On the final turn of the game, I swung with all my characters and Storm, and to my shock and surprise, it completely cleared his field. I managed to inflict 19 damage. And though I was now "winning" 2-1, the match was scored a draw and Michael earned his victory and the championship. I'm scared to watch the video to see if I had an energy to Polymorph.

Ben and I left shortly after the match and resumed recording our thoughts for a tournament podcast. I was most surprised I had not played against one Guy Gardner deck, though House of Mystery still proved to be one of my most powerful weapons. We got home at 3:45 a.m., and one of the most exciting days I've ever had had come to a close. The WizKids Open was an amazing experience, and I was so happy to do so well in my first official tournament.

Which makes what I'm about to say so frustrating. I'm a journalism instructor, which means that the fancy technological equipment I have on my person belongs to the college where I work. It failed to catch my attention that one of my students had changed the settings of our audio recorder into a recording studio, which meant the attached microphone was deactivated. The next day I woke up to edit what amounted to three hours of recorded silence.


Updated 03-02-2016 at 06:18 PM by Mactavius

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  1. Randy's Avatar
    Awesome recap of the event. So sorry to hear that you lost the audio... that happened during my first attempt at recording an old podcast with Dave and Evan. The kind of mistake you definitely learn to check for next time.
  2. IsaacBV's Avatar
    Great write up!
  3. Jwannabe's Avatar
    Congrats on youR first showing! Not too shabby! I've also used house of mystery to annoy my buddy and his guy gardner team to death. It's pretty comical!
  4. Mactavius's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jwannabe
    Congrats on youR first showing! Not too shabby! I've also used house of mystery to annoy my buddy and his guy gardner team to death. It's pretty comical!
    It is a real nifty card, especially if you build a team that only needs one copy of each die. I was sad I didn't see any Guy Gardner decks because I was so prepared to ruin some rush team plans.