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jacquesblondes

WKO Results, Bratislava, Slovakia 19/11/16

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Bard is a nasty piece of work. Oracle/Thief/Wizard/Hellblazer is a pretty oppressive control combo, and Imprisoned is a bit of a pig, too (as is Cloudkill, incidentally). The bottom line is, I played them because I wanted to win something, after my rather dismal performance in the last WKO. I can't say that I regret it, but I do feel a little bit dirty

The Autumn WKO in Bratislava, Slovakia, was played in the ever-awesome ihrysko on 19th November. There were 14 players - turnout was lower than expected, partly due to the fact that there was an unfortunate timing clash with the Vienna Comic Con, just 60km away, and partly because some regulars were not keen on playing against a bunch of bards. But those 14 came from far and wide - neighbouring Hungary (200km), second city Kosice (400km) and even Israel, over 3000km away.

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Despite the lower turnout (or perhaps because of it) the atmosphere was great, and even I (not exactly Mr Social) managed to have a lot of really nice chats. We had four rounds of swiss (40 minutes + 5 turns), followed by a cut to the top 8. The top 8 and top 4 matches were also 40+5, due to time constraints, with ties broken by life remaining. The final was a 50 min best of three match. This made for a long, but manageable day (10:00-19:00, with breaks), and Peter Cernak of ihrysko kept everything moving with his usual panache and a stream of shiny OPs and other participation prizes.


Teams

Predictably, the Bard Machine dominated, beating out a sprinkling of mask ring teams and a selection of more creative teams (featuring OP Apocalypse, Rare Bizarro, Wind Rider and FUS Beholder, amongst others):

http://dm.retrobox.eu/?view&cards=4x...3x25jl;3x26asm (Jezko, Top 8)

http://dm.retrobox.eu/?view&cards=2x...x137bff;3x25jl (Prochi, Top 8)

All the top four had bard+imprisoned, heavily influenced by Michaela Kubas Springfield WKO team and Ben Said Scotts UK Nats team. Well, I know mine was, and Im assuming the others were In fact, all four shared a core of six characters and one BAC - DWiz, Hellblazer, Elf Thief, Oracle, Bard, Breaker and Imprisoned:

http://dm.retrobox.eu/?view&cards=3x...x13ygo;3x28uxm

1st: Vlado (SK) Core + Resurrection, Morphing Jar: Canopic Jar, Batgirl: Commishs Daughter (don't think he bought it)

2nd: Balazs (HU) Core + Polymorph, BEWD, Rare Mr Mxyzptlk (not sure if he bought it)

3rd: James (me!) (UK/SK) Core + Polymorph, Rip Hunter's, Uncommon Clay Golem

4th: Peter (HU) Core + Magic Missile, PXG, Bane (taunt global)

Interestingly, only one of the top 4 (and very few others) had PXG - ramp came from Resurrection, BEWD, Rip Hunter and/or your opponent


Games

I played 4 games in Swiss and I think they were all against Bard, and three of them were mirror matches against the eventual 1st, 2nd and 4th places. Pretty gruelling. I came out 2:2 (beaten by Vlado and Balazs) and was happy to make the cut to the final 8. I beat a mask ring team in the last 8 - he bought two of my Imprisoned dice, but was kind enough to leave me one, and I was able to stay out of jail by knocking out my characters using his bewd, or by fabricating golems.

In the top 4, I again played a mirror match against Vlado, who again made excellent use of my Rip Hunters Chalkboard. We played the Imprisoned cat-and-mouse game for a good 40 minutes without finding lethal. At one point, I imprisoned his field, and thought I had him, but it turned out I could do only 18 damage, and if Id swung (releasing his dice), hed likely have wiped me out next turn, as he had a few more characters coming through.

There are a few ways to deal with Imprisoned - buy them all or KO your fielded dice, as mentioned above, or have characters with high fielding costs, or use a taunt global, or field Breaker/Oni/Gnome Ranger. This last, incidentally, is all well and good, if your opponent doesnt have Hellblazer fielded, because then youll need to field Breaker and Wizard at the same time *sigh*.

But there is one way of keeping your dice from being locked up which didnt occur to me... attack unblocked! Being somewhat cannier than I, Vlado had, during our semi-final, sent a couple of attacks into my empty field. So, when we went to turns, I realised (a little late in the day, but, in my defence, I hadnt eaten since breakfast) that if the stalemate remained, I would lose on life (11-20).

On the fourth of five turns, we both had more or less lethal fields with 4 or 5 characters. I had five dice in my bag - Polymorph, Imprisoned, Clay Golem and two sidekicks. I just needed to draw and roll the Imprisoned - (4/5)*(3/4)=60%, decent odds, right? But it was not to be - the one die that remained in my bag at the end of the day was a pink Imprisoned die. Since I had no way of doing 10 damage, Vlado had won, and deservedly so. Hed been such a gentleman to play against that I almost didnt mind

Vlado went on to beat Balazs in the final, and I played Peter for 3rd/4th (happily, the Fellowship was won by Benny, one of the long-travelling Israeli guys). By the end of the day, Id played 7 games, six of which were bard control vs bard control, and five of which were Imprisoned vs Imprisoned. I was shattered! Id had an awesome time, played some great games, met a lot of nice people and won a bunch of nice shiny foils And I was definitely ready to get back to my wife and daughter (a big DM fan)

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Thoughts

I enjoyed all the games I played. Bard control is quite fun in its way - the games were tactical and chess-like, and seldom a foregone conclusion. Also, the new first turn rule seems to help nerf uninteractive T3/4 kills, like VS, Front Line and maybe Bard Rush, which is a relief. Im not sure it makes such a difference to longer games like Imprisoned vs Imprisoned (or maybe it was the lack of PXG...), but it does seem to give the person who wins the toss/roll a genuine decision to make about whether to go first. You dont really want to start Bard control with 2 fists and a sidekick!

But as fun as it was, there was clearly a lack of variety in the top 4. Those teams (independently put together in three different places) had six cards in common, so it might seem unfair to single one out. You see where this is going Surely, banning/errata-ing the bard would help to inject more creativity into teams, at least in terms of win conditions? This, in turn, might entice back to the game those people who have been turned off by the bardiness. And, on a personal note, it would alleviate the conflict I feel between wanting to win and not wanting to bard. Or maybe I just need to be confident and imaginative enough to turn my back on the bard. I will keep trying.

In the end, though, it was just really nice to play so much Dice Masters! I live in Kosice, the second city of Slovakia, and drove 400km to the event, dragging my long-suffering wife and daughter with me (though they did enjoy IKEA). It seems like DM has been falling apart a bit in Kosice lately (in terms of attendance), and it was tough to get in much practice before the tournament (Im a little nervous about playing online). But I've returned home more determined than ever to help keep the community together, because I really do love this game!

Special thanks to Peter for the event, Shaman for the company, Michaela Kuba for the advice, Dano and Izzy for the practice, and Dagmar for the patience.

Comments

  1. userofdoom's Avatar
    Really nice of summing up, but only one thing. Ive met with guys with same opinion as quoted: I played them because I wanted to win something, ...I can't say that I regret it, but I do feel a little bit dirty Why saying it? Youve played it, so it is no excuse Im just posting this becouse as we played our WKO everybody was like Aah I have to play bard becouse everybody plays it, but thats not true in fact. You can make your own single not mainstream build and still win This type of I m sorry I am playing frontline or others very same looking excuses really messed up with our local group, so just this. Anyway, really nice blog mister
  2. Gogonjdevil's Avatar
    Awesome read. Congrats. I thought driving 45 minutes was a hike...3000km is amazing commitment!!
  3. jacquesblondes's Avatar
    Glad you liked it I'm not trying to excuse my bardage, exactly, more to explain how I feel, I guess because I think others might feel the same conflict. There were really good players at the tournament who were braver than me and didn't bring bard or imprisoned. Unfortunately, those players lost. To the bard.
  4. userofdoom's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jacquesblondes
    Glad you liked it I'm not trying to excuse my bardage, exactly, more to explain how I feel, I guess because I think others might feel the same conflict. There were really good players at the tournament who were braver than me and didn't bring bard or imprisoned. Unfortunately, those players lost. To the bard.
    I was playing only one from that usual cards, DWIZ and only that Ive pulled him out before tournament begin and was playing with yugioh/DC smash up Ive literally made on my train route to WKO and Ii was second only becouse that wizkids system. Only thing to play against bard, as Ive learned is to buy opponents either Cloudkill or Poly and there is still chance to win against, even with ****ty cards
  5. jacquesblondes's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by userofdoom
    I was playing only one from that usual cards, DWIZ and only that Ive pulled him out before tournament begin and was playing with yugioh/DC smash up Ive literally made on my train route to WKO and Ii was second only becouse that wizkids system. Only thing to play against bard, as Ive learned is to buy opponents either Cloudkill or Poly and there is still chance to win against, even with ****ty cards
    He can surely be beaten, but, as I was travelling for 5 hours to the tournament (which was 7 hours in the end, due to a hold-up) for the second time this year, I rather wanted to optimize my chances of doing better than last time. And short of coming up with the new hotness myself (which would've been great), Bard control seemed a good bet - less horrid than a T3K, but still in with a good chance. In the end, I think it was the right call, but I wish that either a) the meta was a little less bardy or b) I had the time and testing partners to come up with something new, different and awesome Maybe next year!
  6. Drakolich's Avatar
    Great write up! Great choice of team too considering you guys have different time limit rules there.

    One of the big reasons we dismissed a pxg less bard toolkit team and decided to play a little heavier agro was our 30 min games kept going to time. Here and from what I've been reading at many other locations the time limit is 30 minutes and not 40 minutes and many of the games we did in practice just kept ending in ties. We also do best of 3 50 minute rounds for everything in the top 8 cut so this makes the team even harder to bring as you'll probably just go to time a lot and since the team is a control team it's hard to get in some life damage incase it goes to time.

    However since you guys only had a best of 3 in the finals and 40 minute rounds that changes everything, it makes sense you guys saw so many bard toolkit teams there.

    Congratz on 3rd and I know you said you were hesitant to play online but if you ever want to try a game please feel free to send me a private message and we can schedule something. (We could even just do a talking session first to get to know each other if that would make it easier on you.)
  7. jacquesblondes's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Drakolich
    Great write up! Great choice of team too considering you guys have different time limit rules there.

    One of the big reasons we dismissed a pxg less bard toolkit team and decided to play a little heavier agro was our 30 min games kept going to time. Here and from what I've been reading at many other locations the time limit is 30 minutes and not 40 minutes and many of the games we did in practice just kept ending in ties. We also do best of 3 50 minute rounds for everything in the top 8 cut so this makes the team even harder to bring as you'll probably just go to time a lot and since the team is a control team it's hard to get in some life damage incase it goes to time.

    However since you guys only had a best of 3 in the finals and 40 minute rounds that changes everything, it makes sense you guys saw so many bard toolkit teams there.

    Congratz on 3rd and I know you said you were hesitant to play online but if you ever want to try a game please feel free to send me a private message and we can schedule something. (We could even just do a talking session first to get to know each other if that would make it easier on you.)
    Thank you! Funnily enough, my final four game was the only one I had that went to turns, and the final was over with time to spare (2 games, I think) in spite of only having 50 minutes for both. Maybe there was just enough ramp on the table, as there was always at least one of rip/rez/bewd plus the occasional pxg. And thanks for the offer - I'd like that! Will definitely PM
  8. TrueMisterSix's Avatar
    Hey man, great read.

    Really great to hear about other European communities and I'm stoked to hear you all had a good time.
  9. The0retico's Avatar
    Thank you for the blog - I was really looking forward t o that tournament, unfortunately, I couldn't attend:/.
  10. jacquesblondes's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TrueMisterSix
    Hey man, great read.

    Really great to hear about other European communities and I'm stoked to hear you all had a good time.
    Thanks! Maybe I'll get to play when I'm in the UK one day. I'm originally from Widnes, and I think there's a DM group in Stockport?
    EDIT: Judging from your blog, that's actually your local
    Updated 11-22-2016 at 03:27 PM by jacquesblondes
  11. jacquesblondes's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The0retico
    Thank you for the blog - I was really looking forward t o that tournament, unfortunately, I couldn't attend:/.
    Thank you, Gabriel. Sorry you couldn't make it - I was wondering where you were. Hope to see you next time!