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WKO Results - Springfield, MO

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Springfield, MO WKO
Meta-Games Unlimited
12 November 2016
18 Players
5 Rounds Swiss, 30 min matches best of one
Cut to top 8, 50 min matches best of three

My team:;3x136bff

With the release of Rip Hunter’s Chalkboard global in GAF, I was interested in exploring the limits of “reactionary” control. If I ran predominantly 3 cost and below control cards, I could theoretically figure out my opponent’s next buy and pop out the appropriate control next turn. Bard is an easy win condition for that sort of team, and I was heavily inspired by the UK Nats team in @whisperni ’s statistics on win rates ( and The UK Nats team consistently does well going second, and I believe that is primarily due to Imprisoned. I hypothesized that Rip Hunter’s Chalkboard global would improve that consistency if you built around it. For instance, I can CBG + Gnome Ranger on a regular turn, but I can't do that with Breaker. Forum discussions revealed strategies for getting a four-cost to hit the board on turn 2, which necessitates either Polymorph or Transfer Power. Here's where I went off the deep end for this WKO lol: I made an Excel spreadsheet that simulated the first two turns with possible rolls and rerolls so I could experimentally determine probabilities of my turn 1 and turn 2 buys.

Prior to the FTA rule change, I had been running Captain America: The First Avenger in Elf Thief’s place as I was worried about Vicious Struggle teams. Going second, if PXG and Red Dragon are both on the board, Polymorph gives you a 50% chance of getting Oracle or Captain America out on Turn 2, whereas Transfer Power only gives a 29% chance under the same conditions. However, Polymorph cannot give a Turn 2 four-cost without Red Dragon on the board. Full statistics are below. Reroll logic is aggressive here; rolling everything that isn't a specific need and risking sidekicks to get the specific energy needed gives the best success rates. I ended up deciding that Polymorph shined exactly when I'd need it most, and that its late game uses fit the team a bit better (thanks to @BenSaidScott and @pk2317 for being sounding boards for my analysis paralysis).

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With the rule change, I dropped Captain America for Elf Thief, banking on a meta call that VS would be less consistent and Oracle could hold the fort (see @whisperni ’s articles and @pk2317 ’s tournament report Another contributor was the new statistics on going first - my original first buy of CBG + Constantine had dropped to an appalling 43% chance (20 samples)! As well, CBG + Elf Thief has a surprising 90% chance going second (20 samples) (this phenomenon is explained simply by considering flipping two coins - you have a 50% chance of getting one heads and one tails, but only a 25% chance of two heads. CBG and Constantine both require shields). Running both lets me hedge my bets a bit, and gives me impressive consistency on catching up after going second.

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The ideal strategy is pretty straightforward: figure out which couple of control cards will let you hold the board, grab Imprisoned and Bard, and try to roll a couple sidekicks along the way. Of course, things never go quite that smoothly.

Swiss Game 1 with Tim P.
I went first.

Tim ran a Mask Ring team with a Bard as a backup win condition. He said he usually tries to read the team across the table and figure out whether Bard or Ring will work best. Note the lack of PXG - that ended up being a surprising theme for the day. Antihero does work against a team like mine and he wisely went for that first. I missed energy I needed early and had to go Polymorph as a backup using his Red Dragon global. I was able to restabilize and moved into my characters and Imprisoned. Unfortunately he had a misplay and forgot to make me reroll Imprisoned. I captured his field and swung for lethal.


Swiss Game 2 with Miles G.
I went second.

Miles ran a Bard control team with a lot of similar choices to mine, but some interesting variations as well. Notably he used fabricate to keep his characters out of the field so I couldn't Imprisoned them. I was able to buy Imprisoned early just for the threat and roll it for energy each turn until he ran out of golems, at which point I rolled it for the action face and swung the next turn.


Swiss Game 3 with Ben C.
I went second.

Ben brought the Canadian Nats team (Bard Buzzsaw/Golem Flood) with a couple of changes for personal preference. I saw Mr. Fantastic global across the table at the beginning, noted its effect on Imprisoned, and then promptly forgot about it due to my horrendous rolls this game. On the critical turn, I Imprisoned his field and spent the bolt that could have saved me when he taunted a sidekick through. He got his field back and swung for lethal.


Swiss Game 4 with Mark H.
I went first.

Mark brought an intimidating team of win conditions. I hadn't playtested against this type of team much and was a little shaken after my last misplay. He went for the guy rush first and got me to 15 life, but I was able to stabilize and swing for lethal.

As an aside, there was an unfortunate mix up between Mark H’s and Mark P’s records and they recorded the victor of their Swiss Game 2 backwards. This had the unfortunate effect that I probably should have played Mark P here, who I played in Top 8. It also may have resulted in one of our local guys knocking another local guy out of Top 8. Despite the mispairings, Meta Games Unlimited did their best to make it right, basing top 8 on the corrected records and offering condolence prizes.


Swiss Game 5 with Matt H.
I went second.

Matt is an STL local guy with us who started playing in July (and he made top 4 just short of four months later!). This wasn't exactly a great match up for us because I helped build his team and did a lot of playtesting with him, so we've been able to field strip each other's teams for about 3 weeks by now. With neither of us bringing PXG and both running rather oppressive teams, this was a long, arduous game. Since we were both so familiar with each other's teams, though, we were able to have a fun, low-key time over the top of that game. We hit time, but I was able to swing for lethal on Turn 0.


Top 8 cut:
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Top 8 Game with Mark P.
I went first Game 1 and second Game 2.

Mark brought a Flying Sidekicks team featuring Foot Ninja and Toad: Tongue Lashing. I was a little worried because I hadn't really playtested against Flying Sidekicks at all, and knew I wasn't as well prepared to deal with them. Fortunately, Dwarf Wizard and Constantine did work while I grabbed Imprisoned and I was able to swing for lethal.

The second game, Mark was able to get me to 8 life with Foot Ninjas that I couldn't stop, and I was starting to sweat before I could stabilize and swing for lethal.

Top 4:
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Top 4 Game with Matt H.
I went second Games 1 and 3.
The other Top 4 Game was Ben C. and Miles G.

I faced Matt again, nominally a bit more serious this time. The first game of three, I'd missed my Imprisoned roll, so I bought another Imprisoned die to maximize my chances after the bag refill. I drew both, rolled an action face on one and energy on the other. I attempted to move forward with my turn, but completely forgot Matt had Antihero out. He forced me to reroll the Imprisoned die and I couldn't make lethal any other way. He was able to swing for lethal the next turn, but I was able to pull a JT - Matt forgot to pass priority before initiating the attack step, so I got to enjoy the look on his face while I got the judge’s attention. The whole next two games he passed priority twice to be silly, lol.

I don't have any notes for the next two games; I think we both made a couple of misplays, but we were a little concerned on time since we weren't running PXG. There was one turn where I miscounted his dice and named Dwarf Wizard with Hellblazer and left no spare energy, where he could have drawn Polymorph and Bard and poly’d in a Professor Zoom. I lucked out and won the next two games and advanced to Top 2.

Top 2:
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Top 2 Game with Ben C.
I went second Games 1 and 3.

Facing off against Ben again, I was a little worried, since he was my only loss in swiss. Being worried seems to be a thing for me lol. My rolls were much, much better though. I played my normal game, but Ben’s team was just too fast the first game.

The second game started out much like the first, but the rolls worked out for an early Bard buy for me as I tried to speed up. We were both PXGing aggressively and taking a lot of bag burn. He fabricated to grab a Golem to hit the magical “two characters, a Bard, and a couple sidekicks” that seems to be the sweet spot for Bard, but left his field open except for one sole Elf Thief. I had a level two Elf Thief and a sidekick in the field and was rolling 7 sidekicks, a Bard, and two burn generics. On the roll I hit four sidekick characters and a level two Bard. All the sudden all the time I spent playing Bard Blitz came flooding back to me and I rerolled and parallaxed until I was out of energy to get two more sidekicks. My field was 7 sidekicks, Elf Thief, and Bard. He magic missiled one sidekick, but I still had lethal and took Game 2.

Remembering how to play a Bard team with PXG and Parallax on the field again (finally, it took me long enough), the third game was uneventful and I won via conventional Bard strategies for the overall event win!

Overall, I was very pleased with my team. In hindsight, the only time I bought Cold Gun was a misplay and I'd probably consider swapping it out for e.g. Ronin. I was very surprised to see so few teams running PXG; we had locally hypothesized more people would be running it because the first turn rule change makes some of the alternate ramp engines a little odd. Maybe everyone else thought the same, or figured that if they went first and whiffed, then it wouldn't be that different than going second under the old rules.

I won 5 times going first, won 5 times going second, and lost three times going second. Notably I went second in Game 1 for Top 4 and Top 2. Most of the players agreed we were very happy with how fair the new first turn rules felt.

Special thanks to Meta Games Unlimited for being great hosts. The OP prizes flowed freely and we all had fun playing side events after the main tournament. I even played a Heroclix Battle Royale with Miles, Bob, and Mark P - great group of guys, and we had a good set of packs. Mark pulled a super rare T-Rex with a gun that was pretty cool, and Bob pulled a chase rare spiderman. I'd definitely travel for a tournament there again.


  1. pk2317's Avatar
    Congratulations! Glad I was able to help a little!