Maidstone Mega Weekend BYOS Report: Large Hadron Collider

For the BYOS tournament, I initially tried to build a mono Syndicate deck, but found that there were severe uniqueness problems involved in swarming with such a small character selection. Also, there were issues with hand size and losing board off initiative. To try and sort that out, I added in Spider Friends to get the concealed oversized Shanna and Zabu, and some weenies with Evasion. SF also allowed for ESU, which I hoped would stabilize my draw a little. The deck built to Aloysha Kravenoff on five, who’s a slightly more stable finsher than Carnage given that I can drop him on five off initiative and win on 6 if I happen to get evens and not be able to win on 4.

That was the theory anyway, but the deck remained highly unstable. I named it “Large Hadron Collider” because it either works and leads to some big breakthrough (see what I did there? Aha.) or goes disastrously wrong and creates an almighty self destructive explosion.

(I did have a much more stable Defenders/Underworld brickwallish build, but I decided it’d be more fun to play the gamble. And I was an Umar, a Blackheart, and a Death’s Embrace short of the ideal UW/Defenders build. I really like MTU for BYOS)

1x Doppelganger, Killer Clone

1x Speedball, Robert Baldwin

2x Zabu, Constant Companion

1x Frank Drake, Nightstalker

1xBlack Cat, Nine Lives

2x Night Thrasher, Dwayne Michael Taylor

2x Shanna The She Devil, Shanna O Hara Plunder

1x Blade, Nightstalker

3x Lizard, Voracious Predator

2x Vulture, Aerial Stalker

1x Slyde, Jalome Bleacher

1x Razorfist, Sociopathic Mercenary

1x Fusion, Markley

1x Trapster, Peter Petruski

1x Spider Slayer VX, Arachnid Hunter

3x Electro, Shock Jock

1x Answer, Aaron Nicholson

1x Swarm, Fritz Von Meyer

3x Aloysha Kravinoff, Son of Kraven

3x Empire State University

3x Ravencroft Institute

3x Spider Hunt

4x Legacy of Evil

1x Alien Symbiote, Unique

4x The Contract, Team Up

3x Justice is Served

4x Gotcha!

4x Demonic Association

2x Planet of the Symbiotes (Really wanted 4 of these, didn’t have them)

The numbers feel all wonky, but I’m really not sure how best to fix them. I’d like to think it’s possible to stabilize the build a little, but I’m not sure if it’s doable… I’ll be posting more in depth analyses of the two decks I played at the weekend later, and how I’d try and improve them (or in the case of Secret Avengers, how I’m going to convert it to Modern for Game ’08 –  it’s not going to be my first choice, but if some of the more ambitious ideas don’t pan out in the meantime, it will be the fallback)

And onto the matchups… A quick note to save me typing it multiple times – I was shockingly, disgustingly lucky with dice rolls and initiative choices for this tournament, never not getting odds. I like to think I could have done okay on evens, playing more conservatively early, dropping Kraven off initiative, and swarming out the oversized risky guys like Electro, Spider Slayer VX, Razorfist and such on six. But I never got to try it out, so we’ll never know.

Game 1: Felix (MUN Thunderbolts counters)

Game 1 was one of the expected catacylsmic implosions. Got a but of damage in early against his hidden field of Green Goblin and Black Widow, but as soon as Radioactive man hit and picked up some counters, it was going to go badly. Unable to play any pumps and faced with oversized countered-up T-bolts, the damage dried up completely on turn three, where I only did 7. On turn 4, it got even worse. I drew no characters, which led to a swift and terrible beating. Felix won comfortably on 28 endurance.

Game 2: Cameron (Green Lantern/ Emerald Enemies)

Cameron was one of the many young players who were playing on Sunday –  I have to give big credit to the Maidstone group for recruiting the young blood. Who says the game is dead?

Black Hand came down on turn two, which had me worried. This deck has trouble enough doing 50 damage before it kills itself, let alone more. I kept the pressure on to minimize the amount of willpower on the board. Turn three saw two breaking grounds to take out both my Ravencrofts. Luckily for me, Cameron didn’t draw Malvolio/Katma Tui for turns 4/5, instead only getting Rot Lop Fan on 4 and Malvolio on 5, leaving me with a much less formidable board to deal with. Still, I had to do 34 damage on my turn 5 initiative, because there was no way I was surviving a turn 6 off initiative. That turn 5 showed the full potential of this deck to deal damage, as I hit Spider Hunt and Kraven with a board of 4 characters, and two Legacy of Evils filled my hand with Demonic Associations. I was able to do a massive 42 damage in that attack step.

Game 3: Adam (MUN Crime Lords)

Missed my one and got hit in the face by purple clad ninjas. It’s never a good sign when I take the first damage with this deck. Adam curved out with Viper and MODOC Squad. I edged ahead on damage on turn three but faltered on 4 when he dropped Scientist Supreme on 4 and used Hunt for Nitro to move her visible. Which I though was pretty damn cool. Handing out reinforcement to all is pretty underwhelming when it ultimately drags your guys into the hidden and leaves your face open, but it’s a whole lot better when she’s visible. Given my current obsession with MUN Crime Lords, I really want to try and abuse that somehow. (Red Skull with Cosmic Cube to search for a 1x of Hunt? Maybe…) Going into five he dropped Red Skull. With me on 17 I couldn’t afford to not win this turn, and Adam was on 30 with a lot of reinforcement. I nuked my row with Fusion to draw into a Spider Hunt, which I promptly played to enable me to get off another two Legacy of Evils (Any time I saw one, I saw another, it seems) which netted me a hand with enough characters to spend all my points, 3 Demonic Associations and 3 Gotcha’s. A flurry of pumps and blowing up resources for burn later, I managed to get Adam down to exactly 0 while sitting on 7 endurance. That was very very close indeed. LHC is proving to be a real gambler’s deck, with my wins coming mostly from sheer bloody jam off the Turn 5 legacy of evil draws. Attack steps are also highly maths heavy because I can’t afford to miscount damage at all or mess up my attacks.

Game 4: Gary (MVL Juggernaut/Magneto Legend)

Lesson learned from yesterday: Do not forget about the existence of Insignificant Threat. Exercise extreme caution when swinging up curve into Brotherhood.

I got a good draw this game, hitting someone random (Fusion?) on 1 and Electro on two to Gary’s empty board, allowing me to get in some extra damage which would prove to be vital. On turn four I used the contract for +4 attack and a Demonic Association to get stunbacks on both Magneto and Juggernaut, but that left me dangerously low going into 5. But given that I just plain have to win on 5 anyway, I figured I should take the risk. In this game, the random inclusion of Speedball vindicated itself. Who woulda thunk? Speedball and Electro team attacked into Juggernaut (5 drop), meaning when the Insignificant Threat came out I could prevent it stunning Electro. Magneto couldn’t help either thanks to me having a a couple of one drops on the field preventing him from popping Electro. This allowed Kraven to swing down into Magneto for enough damage to put Gary at -2 with an empty board.

Game 5 Matt (DOR Titans)

I knew this wasn’t going to easy. I’d have to be lucky and he’d have to be unlucky. Alas, I missed 1 again and got hit in the face by Pantha. Got in some okay damage on turns 3, but turn 4 saw Terra and Roy on the board together. He depleted my board a bit on 4. I made a big mistake in using the Contract aggressively to try and stop Roy going off – it ate into my endurace far more than the attacks from the guys he exhausted to Roy would have.  Going into 5, Matt was on a comfortable 33. It would have been hard even if I didn’t have to go through Roy and Terra, but with those two to deal with it really was never going to happen. Out of combat stuns on Electro and Vulture took away my beefiest attacks, and I conceded when I realised I’d barely be able to do 15 damage with what was left.

Matt went on to win, with an undefeated record.

Game 6 Jack (Check/VU)

Here came another deck implosion. At the start of turn three, I had only Blade, Night Thrasher, and Frank Drake. On turn two, he had a fated up Dr Pyscho. Then , fated up visible Ahmed – I made a play error here by failing to use Blade to lock down Ahmed in response to the transfer. Though I doubt it would have helped. Bizarro came down on 4, and my topdecking skills completely abandoned me. I had Kraven, Electro, and a couple of 1 drops but another double Legacy of Evil only pulled one usable pump and now-useless Spider Hunts. I again messed up by not using Ravencroft before drawing, so both activations hit Spider Hunt.

Dumb errors cost me whatever tiny sliver of possibility remained that I would pull out the game.

I finished 7th this time, getting another small handful gallery packs. The prizes for the weekend were really quite awesome (I really wanted that Silver Surfer Zombie T-shirt.) Going 50/50 on wins and losses wasn’t really all that surprising, given the nature of the deck. Not only is it highly unstable, but it has a pretty bad matchup against anything with oversized behinds (if the have oversized fronts too like in Check/VU and T-Bolts, it doesn’t help either) and a complete nightmare against anything that can out of combat stun you. And I doubt I would have fared well if I ran into the Spider Man deck that was floating around in the same bracket as me for a round or two. I was considering abandoning the deck the night before, but given that I’d sated my competitive streak the day before, I was plenty happy to play the wacky highly explosive/implosive (if that isn’t a word, it should be) deck that would either kill you or kill me on turn 5. The inclusion of the Spider Friends didn’t really help – ESU was only ever used twice, and I never seemed to draw into Shanna or Zabu (The numbers of each character in this deck are definately not right, but I can’t get my head around how to make them right) . But it did rekindle my love of Syndicate, and has me determined to build something that works with them. At some point on Sunday I was discussing the possibility of a Syndicate/Secret Avengers deck, replacing and rallying to improve consistency. The fact that the Big Three is also an attack pump doesn’t suck either.

(Which leads me tangentially to give a mention to the Lost Hemisphere’s Summer of Love. I’ve picked Psycho Reservists as the deck to win, based on equal parts careful thought, gut instinct, and “Hey, I was thinking that too, it must be awesome”. In case we’ve fallen into Bizarro World and you’re for some reason reading this but don’t read Lost Hemisphere, go look now, because Summer of Love is a totally completely genius idea. And if any of the Dublin people are reading this, I really want to run something like this at some point. Just think of the jank!)

In conclusion… The weekend was fantastic. Good people, good games, good prizes.  (The roast dinner looked damn good too, shame about my rapidly dwindling financial resources.) I’m looking forward to returning to the UK for some form of Vs event, either the next Maidstone weekend or Game ’08.

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~ by Anthony on August 11, 2008.

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