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Rhyno

Gencon 2017: 3 WKOs and a whole lot of gaming

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I've seen several people on different forums and communities asking about how Gencon went, so I figured I would post my point of view on the experience as a whole. My name is Ryan, I'm from Baton Rouge Louisiana and I've been around the big dicemasters events for the last year and a half or so. This game has taken me across several states, and once, across the US border to Mexico. This was my first year at Gencon, although I've always wanted to make my way there. Overwhelming is a good word to begin to describe it having come from only going to Origins. Being in a building with 70,000 other like-minded people is an experience you rarely get outside of possibly college sports. When I decided to go, I got a double room, hoping to convince someone else to go with me and I was lucky enough to convince my good friend Gary Kondek from Indiana to drive down to the airport, pick me up and hang out with me for the weekend. Gary and I met at origins in 2016, along with several other guys in a draft pod that fired on the first day of the convention. Little did we know that would lead us to a friendship with a great group of guys, talking every day and looking out for each other.

Gencon Day 1 - Golden Age
Day 1 of Gencon started with Gary telling me I had to see the opening of the convention hall, as it was my first Gencon. This was certainly an experience that I can't sum up in words. We got to the hall an hour early to wait and the crowd was already massive.
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By the time the doors opened and the chants of "Do not run!" were over the entire hall was full, abuzz with energy as everyone penguin waddled (Do not run!) into the hall. With the first WKO being in Lucas Oil a good 10 minute walk away we made our way through the hall, made a quick stop at the wizkids booth and then set off for the stadium. As I've said before, I've played this game in several different states, and even in different countries at this point, but nothing quite compares to walking out onto the field of Lucas Oil Stadium and sitting down in the endzone to play dicemasters.
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I wasn't planning on doing this write-up so I unfortunately don't have an in-depth breakdown of the games or the teams that were played. For the golden age event, there were around 10 people. This was enough to get 2 people qualified for US Nationals. I've seen a lot of talk about the gencon event being the one that Wizkids was going to be looking towards for supporting Golden Age in the future. I'm not sure how indicative this event was, other than Bard is still king. The top 4 consisted of 3 bard teams, and 1 Hawk and Dove team (Piloted by Craig H from St. Lewis). At the end of the day, Keith (kmcgeejr) won the event with a version of Bard Buzzsaw, and Gary took second place with his own Bard variant.

Gencon Day 2 - Rainbow Draft
Day 2 saw the event I most anticipated, the rainbow draft WKO. I have always loved the format and enjoy everyone starting on a (mostly) same footing. There was a lot of hope and pleading to get Guardians of the Galaxy to draft, but we ended up drafting Batman. There were around 22 people in this event, which was great to see for the game as a whole. It was the largest non-National/worlds event I've been to. With every event being single elimination (more on this later) it went quite quickly. I made top 8 in this event and lost to Craig H, who I have to take a moment to call out, is a great guy. I truly enjoyed getting to play against him every time I did. At the end of the day this random nobody named JT ended up taking the win against Joel (of PDC fame). Since there were 3 qualifications up for grabs, this left a bit of ambiguity at the end of the day as to who ended up in 3rd place. It was frustrating as a player not knowing who had their qualifications, simply to know how things would pass down on the final day, alas they couldn't tell us.

Gencon Day 3 - Modern Age
Day 3 started much the same as the first two days with the exception that another friend of ours, Jin Kim, had finally made his way down to the convention. Once we had met up we set off for Lucas Oil. The modern event had 14 players, including a pretty wide range of teams. My first match of the day was against a guy from Kentucky who's name I can't quite remember. He was a kitchen table player who had unfortunately misunderstood the teambuilding rules for modern and thought he was only allowed to have a team from War of Light. We ended up playing and talking about the game and when all was said and done I had won, but between JT and I we loaded him up with several promos and extra cards/dice. Its always nice to see someone wanting to get in to the more competitive scene of dicemasters and we told him to try to make his way to Origins next year. If there are any kitchen table players out there wanting to play competitively, just make the jump, this is a great community that would love to have you.

At the end of the event, I had managed to make it to the top 2 and got my nationals qualification. My opponent, as fate would have it, was none other than the man I came to the convention with and had been staying in the same hotel room as every night, Gary Kondek. I beat him first game, but the next two went in his favor and he ended up taking home his first WKO victory. Big congratulations to Gary for that accomplishment, if I had to lose to anyone, I'm glad it was a friend.
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Final Thoughts
The only thing I could complain about was the single elimination system. I know why it was in place for Gencon, but it lead to some very odd situations. For the first 2 days, after the first round there would be an odd situation where a majority of the players would get a bye into top 8, and only a few people would have to play. On the first day, JT and I were the only two people to play in the second round of the event, with everyone else from the top 8 having received a bye. For the rainbow draft there were 5 byes, and 3 games, where again I had to play in the extra game. For the final day there were 14 so they gave two people a bye in round 1 and had the rest of us play to get to a top 8. Again, I know why it was in place for Gencon, but the system could use some work.

All told it was a great weekend, and I'm very glad I went. I want to thank everyone that put on the event, as well as all the guys from our team (Go #teamshorts!). Gary, Jin, JT, Randy, and everyone else that was at the event, new and old friends alike, it was great to see all of you, and I can't wait to do it again.
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