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Subject: 4/13/13 - New Mexico Regional rss

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Matt Dawkins
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So, after some convincing, I decided to carpool with a buddy (Adam) down to Albuquerque, New Mexico for their Regional tournament. I really enjoy Star Wars LCG, however I prefer Netrunner, so for me it has taken a backseat to Netrunner when it comes to both casual and league play around here. Going into the tournament, I had only played 15 games of Star Wars. I had only played Navy four times and Jedi twice. For the specific decks I brought to Regionals, I had played each only once.

Needless to say, I entered the competition with low expectations, just due to my lack of experience. My traveling mate is a player from Decipher's Star Wars CCG days and has been playing the LCG from day one.

We hit the road at 6am and make it to the store shortly after 11am. We register, turn in our deck lists, and grab a quick bite to eat across the street. We were told that the store (Twin Suns) has 8-10 regular Star Wars LCG players, however we start socializing with a few of the other players and quickly discover that hardly any of the store's regulars have shown up. The field is made up of 8 players when we get ready to start; the two of us from out of state, two from the area that are new to the store (funny story: one of which I taught to play when running LCG demos at GalaxyFest in the Springs two months ago), and four from the store's usual crowd.

The Field

Adam H - Rebel/Scum - My carpool buddy, most experienced and likely most skilled player in attendance
Joe W - Rebel/Sith - Experienced OCTGN player, no prior experience with in-person games
Leif M - Rebel/Navy - Inexperienced local player, just bought the game a couple weeks ago
Marlo A - Sith/Smuggler - Probably the most skilled local player, appeared to net deck from prior week's regionals
Matt D - Jedi/Navy - Me! Experienced LCG player, inexperienced Star Wars LCG player
Matt M - Tournament organizer and one of the more experienced local players
Rick W - Inexperienced local player, had no sleeves, had to purchase from store to play
Tom R - Inexperienced local player, I actually taught him how to play two months prior in the Springs

Round One

Though initially disappointed at driving so far to have so sparse a crowd, we perked up upon realization that with eight participants and eight playmats, everyone was going home with some goodies.

The TO said we would play four rounds of Swiss, with 65-minute rounds. The first random pairings were announced...

Match-Ups:
Matt D vs. Leif M
Adam H vs. Tom R
Marlo A vs. Matt M
Joe W vs. Rick W

I won the coin toss and elected to start with the Dark Side, pitting my Navy Troopers deck against Leif's Rebels first. The game had a briskly-paced casual game feel to it and helped me feel comfortable as the competition got underway. I was able to get several cheaper units out and quickly ran away with the game upon getting two Orbital Bombardments into play early. I won, destroying three objectives to Leif's zero.

The second game featured my Jedi deck against Leif's Navy deck. Leif's Navy focused on a wide variety of vehicles rather than Troopers like mine did. Despite no resource cards showing up the entire game, I did manage to get Luke out on turn one with Trust Your Feelings and a Guardian of Peace on turn two. Leif made the mistake of over-committing a couple turns in a row, where I managed to attack with Luke twice and have him available to defend, taking no damage in the process, courtesy of the protector. The game wrapped up with Leif's Death Star dial at 7, where I had destroyed three objectives to Leif's one.

We were the first match to finish up, so I got to check up and see how everyone else was doing. Adam's match was the next to finish, with Adam also getting the 4-0 sweep over his opponent. The other two matches were still going when time was called, though Joe won during the last turn to also get a 4-0 sweep. Marlo's game went to time giving him a 3-1 win.

Completion of Round One - Standings

04: Adam H
04: Joe W
04: Matt D
03: Marlo A
01: Matt M
00: Leif M
00: Rick W
00: Tom R

Round Two

Typical Swiss pairings, with me dropping to play Marlo.

Match-Ups:
Adam H (4) vs. Joe W (4)
Matt D (4) vs. Marlo A (3)
Matt M (1) vs. Rick W (0)
Leif M (0) vs. Tom R (0)

I won the toss again and elected to go first, leading off with the Dark Side yet again. Marlo was running the infamous Smuggler's Den deck which had swept the top four in almost every regional the weekend prior. I had noticed by this point that he seemed to be the best local player. He played very, very quickly, and his pace made me a bit nervous and fidgety. I managed to nab Han with an opening Take Your Prisoner and put a lot of units and resources on the table throughout the game, but he held me at bay with three Guardians for the first two turns, eventually dropping Luke and Yoda in. Despite bringing in Darth Vader and Orbital Bombardment, I could only destroy two of his objectives and get the dial to 11 before he destroyed my third objective.

We switched sides, putting my Jedi against his Sith. He had a turn one Palpatine, I had a turn one Luke. Luke never saw the light of day, buried under a pile of focus tokens. Part of this was my fault, as I forgot nearly every turn about Luke's reaction to remove a focus token at the beginning of Marlo's turn, and would have been able to pull myself out of that hole much sooner. Silly mistake stemming from lack of experience, ah well.

At this point, Marlo's pace went from blazing fast to a turtle-like crawl... I think he was playing for the time out, which would hand him the win 3-1, but he was a local player and I didn't want to call him out on it - particularly since I was playing slow myself due to pure inexperience. Nonetheless, that did rub me the wrong way with his drastic change of pace from one game to the next. Marlo had Heart of the Empire out, so I threw everything I had at it whenever I could, but it was rough going, as he had Palpatine and Vader out, and Luke was buried. I had Secret of Yavin 4 out, and redirected his 5-objective damage attack to it, which would have killed my other objective. I played Emergency Repairs on my turn to essentially negate his entire turn, then managed a successful attack with Obi-Wan to keep Palpatine exhausted on his next turn. Marlo swung back in with all except two of his units (one of them an exhausted Palpatine) after a redirect back to Yavin 4, dealing another 5 damage with no effect.

As I drew my cards, time was called, so I knew I just had until the end of my turn. Heart of the Empire had 7 damage on it, so I went in with Obi-Wan to finish it off. Marlo blocked with a unit with just one health left, and it came down to the edge battle. If I win it, I go on to win the game, if I lose it, the game goes to time and Marlo gets the win. I had five cards in hand... Heat of Battle, a card with one edge, two cards with two edge each, and Return of the Jedi (three edge). Because Obi-Wan was participating, Marlo had to play the first card face-up. I led with my throwaway one edge card, and Marlo did the same, and I played Heat of Battle, so I knew I had him at that point. If he didn't use Twist of Fate, his unit would die and I would get the extra unopposed damage necessary for the win. If he did use Twist of Fate, I had 7 edge for the next edge battle for a near-guaranteed win. As it turns out, he did have Twist in hand but didn't play it, and the Heat of Battle went off, leading to my destruction of Heart of the Empire and snatching victory from the jaws of timing out. With Marlo's Death Star dial at 8, I took the tiebreaker and the match, 3-2.

We were the only match to go to time, so when the tournament organizer offered to stop for lunch, I gladly accepted... not because I needed food, but because my head hurt and needed a break! During the break, I discovered that Adam got another 4-0 sweep, as did Leif, while Tom and Rick had a true draw 2-2.

Completion of Round Two - Standings
08: Adam H
07: Matt D
05: Marlo A
04: Joe W
04: Leif M
02: Rick W
02: Tom R
01: Matt M

Round Three

Now is where the Challonge software got a bit wonky. Adam and I should play against each other, while Marlo played Joe or Leif. Instead, Challonge kicked out something a bit different. After some discussion, Matt (TO) decided to stick with Challonge's quirkiness, which gave us...

Match-Ups:
Matt D (7) vs. Joe W (4)
Adam H (8) vs. Marlo A (5)
Leif M (4) vs. Tom R (2)
Matt M (1) vs. Rick (2)

Joe won the toss and elected to take Dark Side first. He was running a hybrid Sith/Navy deck with all the bigs (Palpatine, Vader, Tarkin, etc.) included. This ended up being, by far, my longest game of the tournament and we were pushing 45 minutes with a lot of back-and-forth, but I was clearly on the losing end for this first game. I began to fret about the time and wanted to move on to the second game as soon as possible. Joe had the Death Star dial at 10, with the balance on the Dark Side, during my turn. I put Yoda out, but couldn't do much else. I had only destroyed one objective up to this point and couldn't take another one out during my turn. I could commit Yoda to the force and prolong the game, but decided it was in my best interest to just move on. You can concede games, however it resets your dial/objective total to 0. So I passed without attacking or committing Yoda to the force, letting the dial hit 12 at the start of Joe's turn.

Joe had only managed to destroy one objective himself, and with my Troopers' track record thus far, I figured I had a good shot at taking the tiebreaker again if I could win.

Sure enough, a Trooper onslaught ensued and I pulled out the game win while destroying three of Joe's objectives and he only destroyed one, which gave me yet another tiebreaker and 3-2 match win.

Leif, content with his guaranteed Top 8 playmat, conceded his match to Tom and withdrew from the remainder of the tournament. Matt M swept Rick. Adam and Marlo tied with Adam losing the tiebreaker, dropping Adam into a tie with me for first.

Completion of Round Three - Standings
10: Adam H
10: Matt D
08: Marlo A
06: Joe W
06: Tom R
05: Matt M
04: Leif M
02: Rick W

Round Four

At this point, some of the locals seemed rather discouraged, while others were quite good sports - but regardless, they all seemed to give up on their chances and most dropped from the tournament. That was a bit disappointing... my reason for traveling down there was to experience a competitive event and have fun playing a game I enjoy with others, even if I was in last with no potential for climbing higher, I can't see myself dropping from the final round like that. Of course, those guys didn't spend 10+ hours on the road that day to get there either. Anyway, so Rick, Leif, Marlo, and Matt M all dropped, while Joe and Tom played for fun, and Adam and I sat down for the what was now the championship match.

Just like the last round, the first game went very long, with my Jedi against his Sith deck (with Boba and Hoth thrown in). He kept my board locked down the entire match, getting the dial to 12 while I only destroyed one objective. Still, he had destroyed none of my objectives, so I knew I had a chance with my Trooper deck.

The second game pit my Troopers against his Rebel deck, and as you might imagine, was quite the bloodbath. He managed to keep the dial from ticking up and my only chance in the long run was going to be a sudden flurry of destroyed objectives. Unfortunately, 2 x The Rebel Fleet objectives ruined my day, allowing me to only take out one objective at a time with no vehicle units as my disposal. Eventually, Adam finished me off with a Rebel Assault to take the title.

So, I finished 2nd place and took home a few prizes... =)





My Light Side Deck List
Affiliation: Jedi
A Hero's Journey x 2
In You Must Go x 2
Forgotten Heroes x 1
The Secret of Yavin 4 x 2
Last Minute Rescue x 1
A Message From Beyond x 2

My Dark Side Deck List
Affiliation: Imperial Navy
Imperial Command x 2
The Ultimate Power x 2
Death and Despayre x 1
Take Them Prisoner x 2
Corporate Exploitation x 1
Lord Vader's Command x 2
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Ryan Hanson
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Awesome write-up, thanks a lot for taking the time.

I'm planning to attend the local Star Wars regional tourney in June, my first tourney ever for any game. The Tournament Organizer is planning 60 minute rounds and I'm quite nervous about the time factor; your comments about Marlo slowing the game down on purpose don't make me feel any better. Perhaps FFG should have pushed for 70 minute rounds as a minimum? Or would that just drag?
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Matt Dawkins
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Hansolo88 wrote:
Awesome write-up, thanks a lot for taking the time.

I'm planning to attend the local Star Wars regional tourney in June, my first tourney ever for any game. The Tournament Organizer is planning 60 minute rounds and I'm quite nervous about the time factor; your comments about Marlo slowing the game down on purpose don't make me feel any better. Perhaps FFG should have pushed for 70 minute rounds as a minimum? Or would that just drag?


Thanks for the response, feel free to check out my blog for more write-ups. I had not competed in any tournament before either until this year, and now I've competed in four different tournaments in the past three months, two of which were official Regional events, and one of which I was the Tournament Organizer for. It's been a blast, and I'm sure you'll have a great time when yours comes up.

I don't believe I mentioned it in this write-up, but the Twin Suns tournament organizer elected to go with 65-minute rounds for the New Mexico Regional. I believe FFG recommends 70-minute rounds and allows Tournament Organizers to adjust this 10 minutes in either direction, so rounds of 60-80 minutes are certainly legal - if not highly recommended. Me personally, I would prefer to stick with 70 minute rounds for Star Wars. I don't believe the New Mexico tournament would have had any games go to time with an additional five minutes, and frankly, I would have embraced the extra down time for the matches that finished up early.

That said... Especially for larger events with 5-6 rounds of Swiss play followed by 2-3 rounds of single elimination; I can certainly understand the necessary flexibility for organizers to be allowed to adjust and fit within their venue's time constraints.

THAT said... if competitors find it advantageous to try and stall games out with 65/70 minute rounds and don't have any moral qualms about doing so, I would reckon they'd do it with 60/80 minute rounds as well.
 
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