"I won a draft and I liked it, the taste of victory is ecstatic
I won a draft just to try it, I hope my Teammates don't mind it
It felt so wrong, it felt so right, don't mean I'm in top 8 tonight
I won a draft and I liked it, I liked it"
I'm back! The 2012 season has started loud and clear and there is much to say and much to test. We already have our two top DMF devourers leading in the Player of the Year race; announced by Daily Metagame not so long ago. We also received a very well made new set called Crown of the Heavens in February, which brings a lot of fun to both Constructed and Limited play events. So what am I doing here today? I just returned from the sunny beaches of the Côte d'Azur and I'm going to share my experience with you.
Before I start talking about the weekend and the games that I performed I'd like to ponder a little about why DMF Cannes seemed so under populated. For a European player a DMF trip is a considerable investment. We all love the game, but to play and continue our hobby we need money. Most of the players, while planning a trip, account that they will bring some income back to their country. They are very conscious about the chances of success compared to the total cost of the trip. As far as DMF Cannes goes this variable was not very appealing for the general public. In Poland the opinion was that the Limited DMF is too random to actually invest the money for the trip. People wanted to focus more on Constructed play and to buy their cards from the new set while preparing for the incoming Realm Champs. I totally understand that point and I'm sad that we didn't have as many players as usual. On the other hand we had our judges coming and two of them passed the second level test successfully.
I myself had loads of fun and I didn't see anyone regretting that DMF. I'm even sure that many of our friends regret that they didn't make their trip there while reading our recent status updates on Facebook. So let's proceed to the meaty details!
I arrived in France on Thursday. I had a pretty nice flight too. The bus from the airport stopped directly in front of my hotel, which was a five minute walk from the tournament grounds. I was coming with one of our judges Kamil Niciecki, young pro Michal Uchman-Lach and one of the youngest WoW TCG players Hubert Morawski and his awesome dad.
While checking in we met the Bootcamp guys staying in the same place, so it already was a sign that something good is going to happen. On that same day I was privileged to play a sealed event with my friends from Germany using their German packs and yelling "Graben!!" each time we Delved. I even managed to make a couple of jedi mind tricks while playing and forcing my opponents to draw a card at my bidding (during their draw phase of course). That night was a hell lot of fun.
It's Friday, Friiidaaay and "The Squirrels"
The only positive thing about Team Problem not going to this event was the fact that I could finally play on a team with Jeffrey Verwoerd. We knew that we would play together in Cannes for some time, but we were still looking for a third player in February. Our first pick was Oliver Gehrmann as the European "A Question of Gluttony" Team would be a nice combination. Unfortunately Oli didn't want to have anything in common with my 1337 Limited skills, so he politely declined (he was actually already in a team with the Bootcamp guys). Our next pick was Mr. Jack Fejer who also is a common quest on Sean Batt's podcast, but Wessehad a different arrangement and ended up writing awesome event coverage instead. After Jack declined, everything went quiet for a couple of days till I got a message from Jeffrey "I think I found our teammate, Hans wants to play with us". It's never a bad thing to have a World Champion playing with you, so I gladly accepted and we were set to go.
The Squirrels always draw the Nuts!
When we got the pool, which was opened by my Italian friends we were in shock. Monster Hunter was so ridiculously strong that we could easily cut [Buldrug] from it and it didn't lose a thing! I was lucky enough to declare that I'd like to play monster before we got the boosters so it stayed with me. You can find the list below:
1 [Keeper Sharus]
2 [Jadefire Scout]
1 [Gilblin Hoarder]
1 [Faceless Sapper]
1 [Naz'jar Harpooner]
2 [Jadefire Trickster]
1 [Jadefire Rogue]
2 [Thrug the Hurler]
1 [Quick Trap]
1 [Monstrous Strike]
2 [Monstrous Mark]
1 [Monstrous Upheaval]
2 [Seeds of Their Demise]
2 [If You're Not Against Us…]
1 [The Culmination of Our Efforts]
As you can see the above list is outright bonkers. Getting [Monstrous Mark] on turn 4 and flipping at the same time was as easy as in a Constructed deck. I did a solid 5-0 with this deck and the only person that had nearly stolen a match from me was Jan Kulhanek from Czech Republic. The other two decks that we built were a Horde DK and Alliance Paladin. The DK was a pretty easy decision with lots of ghouls, [Dark Transformation], two [Death's Duo] and [Despair of Undeath]. On the other hand the Alliance deck made our heads hurt. In the end it was Hans who decided to go Paladin, using the small synergies with attachments to his advantage and winning more with skill than with the actual cards that we left him. Fortunately he didn't have to win anything as Jeffrey also went 5-0 with his deck ensuring us a win, but I'm sure that when needed we could count on him winning as he did some real crazy things with one of the weakest Limited decks I seen in a while.
Playing with two other VIP guys was fantastic. We quickly agreed on things and shared ideas. We were also helping each other during our matches. Kudos to Hans for accepting the worst deck from the three, I hope that [Keeper Sharus] you got for that will serve you well.
Happy with my winnings from the Team event I found my pod, which featured Anssi Alkio himself. I opened [Shroud of the High Priest], but instead of going Priest I got so much Warlock goodness that in the end I was playing wicked Demons instead of decking out my opponents. My only problem was that I tried to force a Monster deck, but ended up playing Horde due to the lack of green allies. The games were really weird and I soon ended up in the final against Anssi's Rogue; winning my previous matches only by pure luck. The previous European Champion easily owned me by stealing my [Grimnar] with his [Vendetta] in two out of three games. I managed to score one small win, when I started with a good tempo. Overall the draft was really enjoyable and everyone had fun.
Saturday – The main event
I opened a decent pool with a Priest cloak again and I would probably play Priest, but unfortunately and not surprisingly we had a swap. I got a real tough pile of cards back featuring [Skullchewer], [Cenarius, Lord of the Forest], and [Boundless Rage].
This is what I been playing in the end:
Hero: [Jak the Bilgewater Bruiser]
Master Hero: 1
1 [Cenarius, Lord of the Forest]
1 [Vizo Arctwister]
1 [Deathsmasher Mogdar]
1 [Baxtan, Herald of the Flame]
1 [Ian Lanstrick]
1 [Kromdar, Herald of War]
1 [Jadefire Satyr]
1 [Daroka Venomfist]
1 [Naz'jar Harpooner]
1 [Gilblin Bully]
1 [Gilblin Hoarder]
1 [Keeper Balos]
1 [Prazo Whiptrick]
1 [Boundless Rage]
1 [Essence of War]
1 [Bottled Mind]
1 [Bottled Cunning]
1 [Blessing of the Old God]
2 [Seeds of Their Demise]
2 [If You're Not Against Us...]
2 [Rescue the Earthspeaker!]
My other open classes were Druid with two [Mark of Goldrinn] and Death Knight with [Skullchewer] plus an awesome flip. I really went with the preference as I always wanted to be able to Empower [Kromdar, Herald of War] but I also think I overvalued [Boundless Rage]. My initial strategy was to win on tempo and it actually worked, but didn't work enough times. Putting [Cenarius, Lord of the Forest] in was also a mistake as with a fast deck as he was mostly a dead card in hand. I was siding him out every second game. The deck was on curve, but didn't have an edge or anything that could help me push for the win. There were some small synergies present that won me a couple of small games, but in the end I was mostly overwhelmed.
The cards that I faced on the other side of the fence were [Yertle] Round 1, [Sorrow's End] Round 2, [Shroud of the High Priest] Round 4 and [Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest] Round 7. With all due respect to my opponents, as their decks were well built, those cards helped them to get an edge and steal the games from me. An exception is the Priest's cloak as I didn't see the Shroud coming in the last game and stupidly drew one card too many only to be decked out like a boss by Pete.
It was a hard experience and I struggled with every game, but I was really excited to get as much as possible from this deck. Again I had fun playing even with a little chance to win to get to the top 16. The best game was against Jan Milian, a friend from Slovakia who is mainly judging. Finally I had a chance to meet him in a duel and he trampled me mercilessly with his Monster Death Knight.
The evening draft didn't going my way as well. I didn't see an obvious Paladin deck rotating on our pod and just let Remi Lacorre get all the goodies, while I settled with a weak Priest deck. Remi showed me how a real attachment draft deck should work in the first round, smashing me with a 2-0 score. I decided to drop and get some rest before the next day as it was getting very late.
Sunday – An early bird catches the loot.
I barely made it for the Pet Collection tournament. It required an enormous amount of willpower to leave my bed at the hotel on that Sunday morning. Good for me though as I made it, and the day proved to be even more awesome than Friday.
It was my first time playing this kind of a tournament and I can really recommend it to anyone. Best of one 2-pack is a fun format and creates many synergies that you won't get in a regular Limited play. In the first game I opened [Throne of the Tides] and [Vendetta]. Knowing my rares I was confident to win that game, but then my opponent played a [Sorrow's End]! I was so shocked that yet again I had to face the deadly weapon that I nearly lost my composure. Fortunately I'm not the one to easily go on tilt, so I quickly reassigned my strategy to the new circumstances. I was lucky enough to get a shuffling quest, which helped me to reuse my [Vendetta] to a tremendous advantage.
Next game I faced Gábor Kőrös and this time the rare that I got was [Fungal Growth]. I managed to stabilize my board and get the Growth online, which started producing 5/5 Behemoths from turn 6-7. This sealed the second round for me; the only one left was the final.
The last game was again a totally different story. I missed turn 1 and turn 2 drops, but I was able to recover the game around turn 5 thanks to [Poison the Well] and [Faithful Heal]. It was an amazing play as it looked like I was doing nothing and getting insignificant allies on board at one time, then next time I was the one pushing for the win.
I won the whole event and got [Robotic Homing Chicken] loot, but not only that. During that final round there was a [Kiting] loot randomly given to players and by fate it got to me, which is actually hilarious as the random prize was worth more than the 1st place prize!
The only thing left for the day was the final draft.
I ended up on a short pod with a couple of good players. We had Christian Pffeifer, Anssi Alkio and Gábor Kőrös, which raised the bar a bit and made the draft more challenging. I had a couple of good cards passed to me on second and third pick as well as I opened some good commons. My final pool ended up as a very fast tempo deck with Harmonize. I went Hunter mostly due to [Grumdak, Herald of the Hunt] and [Essence for Aggression]. I was basically open for any class, but didn't have anything that would force me into playing something else. The final list looked as follows:
Hero: [Master Sniper Simon McKey]
1 [Thrug the Hurler]
1 [Stonebranch, Ancient of War]
1 [Gilblin Plunderer]
1 [Gilblin Bully]
1 [Revenant of Neptulon]
1 [Sira'kess Tide Priestess]
1 [Frimzy Fuzzbum]
2 [Jaema, Herald of the Light]
1 [Tharal Wildbreeze]
1 [Braeo Darkpaw]
1 [Hadrack the Devoted]
1 [Davius, Herald of Nature]
1 [Grug the Bonecrusher]
1 [Wendy Anne]
1 [Keeper Balos]
1 [Laetho Moonbranch]
1 [Kalam Blacksteel]
1 [Grumdak, Herald of the Hunt]
1 [Face of Fear]
1 [Essence of Aggression]
1 [Quick Trap]
1 [Big Cauldron of Battle]
1 [Waters of Elune]
1 [Seeds of Their Demise]
1 [Waking the Beast]
2 [Rescue the Earthspeaker!]
I never managed to even play the [Big Cauldron of Battle], which is an interesting card when you already have board position. The other fun fact was that I got [Hadrack the Devoted] as late as 6th pick. And of course I had "the" [Davius, Herald of Nature].
Davius itself lead to a very funny story over the weekend, which Oliver Gehrmann highlights during the latest A question of Gluttony podcast. I took the card mostly because I wanted to try it and because Anssi played it on Friday's draft when we met in the final. I was very pessimistic then with regards to this card and was totally diminishing its quality. I would never say that Davius is a good card, but in the current booster setup he is not that bad. When you have both [Tharal Wildbreeze] and [Keeper Balos], even when not playing a Druid class he will mostly hit his Empower effect. Where Davius itself is not a card above the curve, a 7/7 ogre for six that you will play on turn 4 definitely is. I used him a couple of times during that draft and this one resource made a huge difference when combined with Harmonize. Going first I was able to get ahead quicker and using him while on draw I was able to catch up and steal tempo. It was all backed up with the composition of my deck, but I was still impressed on how he played.
The first person to feel the power of Anssi's powerful Empower druid was Anssi himself!! He faced me as my Round 1 opponent. It was a quick match, which ended up with my Enrage guys dominating the field twice.
Then my next game was against Christian. When I finally played Davius, Herald of Nature I was like "Ok...What does this card do?" and I started to read the card to ensure that I knew exactly what will happen. This provoked lots of laughs and only underlined my not so 1337 drafting skills.
My last game was against Oscar Socia Rafael sporting a Horde Priest. The games were very fast and when he employed a deck-out shroud to kill me I managed to finish him off just in time with a blind Enrage hit from [Torr'nag]. Shouting "Like a Boss!".
This draft finish sprang one of the most epic moments I had in my DMF history. Oliver "soulwarrior" Gehrmann, who was spectating, stood up and announced loudly that I won a draft. The whole room got crazy and everybody started clapping. People were coming to us and asking if it was really true. Jan Kulhanek even took a picture of me and the scoreboard when everything was official. I hope that Stuart Wright won't get mad at me for stealing some of his splendor from that day.
Epic community is epic, as I recently stated on my Facebook page. This year has started with a bang! We just got a lot of good and fun to play cards for both Limited and Constructed and more goodies are on their way. I really enjoyed playing all those Limited events and meeting with all the friends again. Now I can focus on my Constructed play to be able to defend the title of a Realm Champion in April. I wish you all good luck with the testing and I'll see you in the future events.
On the final note there will be a big international tournament in Poznań called MazuCon. Many people from Europe have already decided to visit as it's a perfect way to test your decks and draft before the RCs. I will be there and I hope to share a report with you after that.
Till next time.
-Marcin "Gnimsh" Filipowicz