So I was up in Boston last weekend for The Association of Writing Professionals annual conference and by time Friday rolled around, I was absolutely done with the highfalutin, not-interested-in-you-because-you-write-genre-fiction attitude I had gotten through out the day. So I hopped on the 1 Bus and headed over to Cambridge to get in some FNM and testing for DC this weekend at Pandemonium. (Yes, I left a writing convention to go play Magic, crown me king of the dorks now). Getting over there was a bit rough. The streets were clogged with slush and every intersection from the bus stop brought with it another chilly plunge, still I soldiered on–though I arrived late and got a match loss.
Which turned out to not be all that terrible. I got to watch two guys play Android: Netrunner, based on a long lost CCG designed by Richard “always designing things” Garfield which in turn was based heavily on Cyberpunk 2020 a setting very similar to Shadowrun. The asymmetrical deck system had some interesting aspects that I think will help with my own “Dungeon Crawler”. One player plays as a Megacorp, whose goal is to advance agendas. The other player is a runner or hacker and their goal is to break in and steal information. Corps and runners each have their own pool of cards and decks are built from them–which means no mirror matches of Bant Control on Bant Control. While the series is more of a board game format now, with ll you need in one box, there’s still a deck building aspect and, as Fantasy Flight does, there are plans for regular expansions–one of which is up for pre0-order now.
After they wrapped up, there was still time left in the round so I talked with the judge, an L1 named Amelia, about the store and how Fridays normally went. With Pandemonium being only one of a few card shops in the Boston metro area, the game room is consistently packed, that night there were about 100 people there. Not surprisingly, most people drafted, but there was a good number of standard players. What stuck me as odd was that she didn’t have any help, unlike our store where nearly half of the players are at least rules advisers, Amelia is the only judge at the store. She said it was because few players wanted to consistently to give up their Friday night play time to help out and that’s kind of sad. Beyond Friday, we talked about other events that she runs including Casual Sunday, where she has players draft the Store Cube, all the way up to PTQs which are typically held at a nearby hotel. At the point the round was over so she posted pairings.
I sat down across from a guy with flaming red hair, I believe his name was Andrew. We chatted for a bit while shuffling and I won the roll and went first. Two turns in, I literally squeed. We were both playing RUG. The first game was a steam roll in my favor and we went to board–which is when the problems happened. See, my RUG build is low range aggro-control, his was midrange full-control. He got a card drawing engine online and though the second game was close, he pulled ahead with a timely ‘tusk followed by Zagana. Game three was a bit of a misplay on my part, I kept a hand of Strangleroot, Boar, two lands, and three charms. At which point I drew nothing but land. Even so, the game came down to 5-7 before his Deadbridge pushed through with a wolf run.
Match two was against Grixis Delver, but it too wasn’t like any build I had seen previously. The deck hammered me down game one with dual Falkenrath Aristocrats. Game two my deck went off like an explosion and I won in five turns. The highlight of which was a stack war over my Quirion Dryad who ended up a 6/6 by time all was said and done. Game three was super close, but he got another ‘risto online and I didn’t have answers.
The last match of the night was against a guy named Jared who was running Grixis Control. Unfortunately for him, Strangleroot and Pyreheart ruined his sweepers and both games went to me in quick succession with a solid beat down.
1-3 might seem bad, but I feel like more of the games would have gone in my favor had I not played poorly. The deck still needs some tweaking, but I feel like it’s in a good spot. More testing tonight and we’ll see!