In the wee early hours of a sunny saturday morning, Team Belgium hit the road to participate in the Dutch qualifier tournament for the 2011 EC. The venue was De Korenbeurs, the usual place for the Utrecht tournaments. It's amazing how some hot food and a fresh beer can motivate you to play another round
I brought along Lutz & Friends to try to qualify. There where 20 players in total and we played three preliminary rounds plus a final.
Rene (Istharri vote)
Pieter (piper War Ghoul)
Peter (Nakhthorheb) - travelling 200km together and then ending up as predator-prey
I had a perfect opening hand: 2 Zillah's Valley, 2 villein, 1 information highway. This meant that I had Lutz on the table, in the same round as Pieter threw in the first Ghoul. The cards I replaced were for the valleys and the highway were: majesty, entrancement, banishment.
The majesty was enough to evade the first War Ghoul rush. In my own turn I banished the little Tzimisce (which halted the deck for at least one round). The turn after that, I entranced the War Ghoul. I was now in a comfortable position and also had Dmitra in play. I could now recoup the blood from one War Ghoul rush, while still hurting my prey with Lutz his special.
I kept hitting my predator and grand predator at the same time with Neonate Breaches. Villein and Voter cap helped me to bring out Undele: now I could get majesty and Neonate Breach back in my hand every turn.
Peter died in the process, and I was just in time to oust Sahan before he could steal my stolen War Ghoul. This is where I got greedy and decided to go for the table sweep. I managed to oust Rene easily, but that meant I had to let go some pressure off my predator. I finally ran out of majesty (for now) so Pieter managed to torporize a famed Dmitra. In the next turn I passed one more KRC on him, voter capped, discard. I got 3 majesties instead. Pieter then played Frontal Assault in a last attempt to take me down. I survived all his rushes, had 2 ready minions left so he died from his own Frontal Assault.
result: 5vp for me
lesson learned: being greedy does pay off
Rene (Ishtarri vote)
Johan (Fakir al Sidi)
Bram (Mary Ann and her ventrues)
This was not such a good game for me. An early pentex on Lutz took me out of the game very early. My predator got a bit angry because he suspected collusion when Bram removed the Pentex. None of us ever stood a chance against Bram's ventrue bloat machine: whatever he couldn't handle, he deflected.
result: 5vp for Bram
lesson learend: boo for Pentex
Ralf (Rock Cats)
So finally it came to happen: Lutz got contested. We had already seen each other's deck in the previous rounds and knew that we had the exact same crypt. We both knew that Lutz would be contested. Not bringing him out would be just playing KRC with 9-caps, and half of the deck not playable by the other minions. I found myself of the comfortable side of the contest, not having my second minion rushed by Ralf's Rock Cats. I managed to Villein enough from Dmitra to regain some of the pool damage Izaak was still doing to me with Stavros.
Then suddenly Izaak came close to being ousted by a Govern-bleed that got deflected. He got pretty pissed off by that, but Ralf didn't care and ousted him in his next turn.
In my turn I got Lutz back: hurray! It felt as if the game was finally beginning for me. I was able to do one good vote with Lutz, before he got Pentexed by Sahan. I now could sit and watch how my prey and new predator dealed to split the table. I still managed to golconda Lutz, but that was just delaying the inevitable. The Cats pushed Dmitra in torpor, which resulted in Dmitra being graverobbed around the table, and Sahan abusing her special to fuel Muaziz.
result: 2 for Ralf, 2 for Sahan
lesson learned: Muaziz is a girl, contesting Lutz is not so horrible as it sounds, Lutz likes going on a date with Pentex
The table sweep from round one was enough to put me in the finals as 4th seed.
Pieter (piper War Ghoul)
Paul (stick men)
Bram (Mary Ann)
The seating could have been worse for me. Having dealt with the War Ghouls before, I felt at ease with the task of ousting it. I hadn't seen Jelmer's deck before, but I let his bleeds for one through, as I could threaten him with a Neonate Breach whenever I wanted. Being in the second place, meant that would not be able to bring out Lutz anytime early, so I started of with Dmitra. I kept voting against the Ghouls, regaining enough with voter caps and villein to bring out Lutz at last. Pieter never went forward during the whole game. He took a blast start, but no War Ghouls showed up before round 5. Bram ousted Jelmer with a nasty Parity Shift that Paul forgot to block. Another bleed for 3 and the Sisters where out of the game. I did not draw enough stealth to get past the War Ghouls + Unmasking, so I spent a turn or two majesty-ing myself through the War Ghoul's rushes. Paul had already bled Bram for 12 in the round before Jelmer was ousted, and did that trick again later. Bram was ousted.
It looked bad for me then: Dmitra was already gone, Stavros was also in torpor. I had enough stealth for Lutz to pass a political action, but no pool damaging votes. And then I top-decked Reins of Power to replace the Wider View in the master phase. The vote passed: Pieter was ousted, but Paul also gained a decent amount of pool from my vote. During my discard phase I forgot to use the Wider View to gain pool. Not that that would have helped. Paul Pentexed Lutz (because he could) and then bled me for 16.
Result: 3 vp for Paul, 1 vp for Bram, 1 vp for me
lesson learned: Do not forget about Wider View. It is the new edge when it comes to forgetting things.
Conclusion: Team Belgium had a lot of fun at this tournament. As usual, at least one of us made it to the finals in Utrecht.
(note: although I write about 'Team Belgium', we did not play as a team in any way, because that would be just stupid and very unfun)