Origins Game Fair 2019 is in the books and we’d like to say THANK YOU to everyone that came out play WoW TCG, stopped by our tables to chat / observe, and to everyone at home that kept an eye on our socials and followed the event from afar! While we mostly figured out the power issue for our stream setup after GAMA denied us access to electricity, we weren’t able to establish a good enough internet connection to get a live stream going. Hopefully as we continue to run events at these conventions and get more history with their events coordinators, they will allow us access to more facilities like power and extra table space!
Friday Cube Draft
We didn’t get a lot of people reaching out for casual or play test games, but we had a solid number signed up for both our events over the weekend. Saturday was Core, a format that’s fun but best enjoyed in periodic doses, and Friday was the Cube Draft which I think everyone was excited about! When the clock struck two on Friday afternoon we had 12 players settled in to draft the massive 16 player Reborn Cube. Speaking of which, and sorry this wasn’t available in advance, here’s the list we used.
We don’t claim it to be perfect by any means, but when facilitating 16 players with a single Cube there are a lot of card considerations that get very close once you get past the staples. And at the end of the day Cubes are subjective: one part functionality, one part preference. Another thing to note about our Cube is that outside of heroes it’s comprised entirely of proxies. There’s three major reasons for this:
1) We don’t want to make participants, often strangers, responsible for handling expensive cards.
2) We don’t want to risk having expensive cards stolen or tempt people, often strangers, to do so.
3) Actually maybe we really just had two reasons.
A lot of us have our personal Cubes that we fuel with our own collections and play with friends. But when dealing with the public we want to think the best and prepare for the worst.
Anyway, so we used proxies. Something our GM Chris Waits explained and that many people noticed is that not all WoW TCG proxies are created equal. Sure, everything was legible on our cards if you have fair eyesight. But in the Reborn Cube we do have discrepancies in image quality because many of the images came from The WoW TCG Scan Project while others came from whatever the next best source was - which was always much, much worse. So I’ll use this moment to say it again now halfway through the year: Our goal is 2019 Scan Project complete! And we need your help if we’re going to do it! You can find more info by clicking the banner below.
Once Chris was done explaining the Cube, our two 6-man pods ventured into the unknown as we began cracking (hopefully not literally) our first packs. I can’t speak for the other pod, but my pod had some odd things going on. We had one player quickly identify all the good Druid and Hunter class cards wheeling and try to force Jasani, Shrine Keeper. The problem for this individual was that the player to his left took a second pick Pygmy Pyramid (though later ended up Alliance) and the player to his right had Monster on his mind as well (and stuck with it). In an unknown group of drafters, I tend to avoid Horde a little because I assume it is everyone’s favorite faction. But with three people exploring #TeamGreen and another pledged early on to the Alliance, I saw Brok Bloodcaller and Thrall, Warchief of the Horde circle back to me in the first pack where I had taken neutral allies or powerful Priest class cards. In a later pack I got a Broderick Langforth third or fourth pick and even saw an Archdruid Fandral Staghelm two or three picks into the same pack but I had to pass it on to some lottery winner. Wild.
After we finished the draft, miraculously, everyone was able to build coherent decks. I don’t recall anyone mentioning that they had to use fully dead cards and a lot of people seemed optimistic about how their deck turned out. In a WoW TCG Cube Draft, if you don’t have enough cards to build a legal deck for the faction / class combination desired, you can put any cards into your deck to reach the 30-card threshold, they are just considered literally blank and can only be placed as a face down resource. And that can definitely happen, but we all managed to dodge it that day.
So after four grueling best two-out-of-three rounds we had crowned our top four players. They were the following:
Patrick Broadway, Rohashu Zealot of the Sun featuring a smattering of midrange Horde and Paladin cards.
In the semi-finals Blake beat Chris and Nathan beat Patrick. Then Blake and Nathan squared off in a long slug fest where Nathan wondered every turn: “Is Blake finally not going to trigger Deathcharger this turn!?” The answer to Nathan’s pondering was no. No, Blake had a never-ending supply of face-up resources to trigger his Deathcharger and won in a hilarious final turn that is worth a quick recap:
Blake had two resources open at this point, a Deathcharger, and an Edge Oblivion at 4 counters. He placed a quest, giving Timmo Shadestep -3 health this turn. He activated Blackrock Spire to exhaust his remaining three resources putting Skullchewer the Relentless up to 13 ATK. He attacked with the Orc token. He attacked with his hero. And then he attacked with Skullchewer for just a little over lethal out of absolutely nowhere! And just like that, Blake was able to raise the Illidan trophy, grab a hundred dollars worth of loots, and claim the title of Origins Reborn Cube Draft 2019 Champion!
Saturday Core Event
Worth mentioning is that Origins Game Fair is an excellent convention, but also a smaller one. It has roughly 16% the attendance of the larger Midwestern convention GenCon for reference. The fact that we pulled a whopping 12 players for WoW TCG our first year at Origins is truly amazing. What else is amazing? Every single person that played in the Cube Draft had so much fun they showed back up for the Core event the next day with the exception of a player that was hotel-bound with food poisoning.
Core is a strange beast full of meat and potatoes from Block 6 and then racial themes from Block 7 with the exciting final set Reign of Fire introducing a number of cards that probably weren’t playtested enough as the designers bid farewell to the game. The rounds are fast and the best-of-one format means the events are shorter which is a bit of a relief if you’re playing in WoW TCG events on back-to-back days. Dinner is a distinct possibility on a day with a Core event.
So with our sickly friend absent, 11 players showed up to battle it out in the Core format for the Loque playmats, loots, and epic Deathwing Trophy. The field was:
Woodrow Hood - Archimonde the Defiler - Midrange / Control
Phil Stacy - Joleera - Midrange / Control
Nathan Cole - Mogdar the Frozenheart - Last Relic Control
John Mundy - Deathbringer Ko’rush - Yogg-Saron Combo / Control
Robert Cutler - Rohashu, Zealot of the Sun - Grand Crusader Aggro
Jordyn McKinney - Sylvanas Windrunner - Night Elves Midrange
Frank Adams - Edwin Vancleef - Strikeout
Chris Waits - Augh - Boundless Rage Combo / Midrange
Tyler Tomaszewski - Drazul the Molten - Frostbolt Volley Midrange
Blake Mandalis - Ghoulmaster Kalisa - Midrange
Patrick Broadway - Barador, Wildhammer Timewalker - Doomhammer Midrange
So pretty typical for the Reborn Circuit so far where the Core format is concerned. Not a ton of aggro decks. Nathan makes his third appearance playing Mogdar, Phil and Patrick stick to their decks from Reborn Louisville, the rest of the field has a mix of mostly meta decks on the medium to slower side of things.
After five quick rounds we had our top 4 established. It was Woodrow Hood playing a Fire and Brimstone Archimonde the Defiler garbage pile, Phil Stacy alongside his love affair Joleera, Nathan the Frozenheart surprising everyone with his hero choice of Mogdar Cole yet again, and Frank Adams who was looking to stab people with the hero version of Edwin (did somebody tell Frank that Edwin Vancleef was a really good card and he got things mixed up somehow?). Jokes aside, this was an interesting group of decks and opponents to be left in the competition.
In the semi-finals Nathan and Woodrow totally botched a card text and were left at the mercy of a judge ruling for what would decide their match. Late into their game Woodrow had Miniature Voodoo Mask locking down Nathan’s Hammer of Atonement and had removed Nathan’s Ulthok and Valeeras from his deck. He played one last Ulthok looking to get rid of the final win condition Nathan had available in Thrall the Earth-Warder and ripped a copy from Nathan’s hand and deck. The issue with this? Read Commander Ulthok carefully (or just plainly as apparently we weren’t able to):
Yeah, Thrall the Earth-Warder isn’t exactly a card you can legally name with Commander Ulthok. Womp. So several turns after this had happened, Nathan comes to his senses as he sees all of his win conditions neutered / gone and grabs Ulthok and reads it again for the first time. “Wait, you can’t name master heroes!” “Oh dear… JUDGE!” Now, if this had been ruled in my favor, I do believe I would have scooped on the spot. I did not deserve to win this game. But our judge ruling went as follows (and is admittedly a pretty casual one): Put one Thrall back into your hand and shuffle the other back into your deck. In a stricter environment it would probably have been, “You both get a warning, game is too far along, play on.” But in this case Nathan was able to play his Thrall and dispatched me a few turns later as it should have been. All is right with the world.
While this was happening, just down the table, Frank and Phil were engaged in a Rogue mirror that finished without a hitch. In the end, Joleera just had too much horse power and Edwin didn’t get the Maimgor’s Bite finish online before he had to face down Daedak, Aggra, and Mazu’kon. And so we had a Joleera vs. Mogdar finals!
Despite the Bo1 Core Format, the finals are always Bo3 and so Phil and Nathan settled in for a potentially long card battle. They posture and trade resources in game one, but Phil is slow and Nathan gets Legacy of the Horde online followed by revealing double Will from Beyond off of a Terror of the Tides. There’s no clock present for Nathan yet, but Phil still knows this one has drug out beyond a place he can win and scoops up his cards.
Game 2 Phil comes out swinging and disrupting all at the same time. Helplessness grabs Despair of Winter, Aggra on Assault 4, Untargetable and Mazu’kon put too much pressure over the course of two turns on the Ogre Death Knight Shaman. To everyone’s surprise, Joleera steals a game. But it was a fluke right?
Game three goes a bit longer than the second with Joleera trying to establish the same winning board state from the previous game. He gets Aggra on Untargetable, Assault 4 and Mazu’kon out. But Nathan has The Last Relic of Argus and Hammer of Atonement and is ripping through his deck looking for something to stem the bleeding like Legacy of the Horde or Despair of Winter. In the end he isn’t able to out-heal the 14 damage per turn dished out by the Orc and Troll Shaman allies. And Phil clutches game three!
Worth noting is that Nathan was in the finals of both events on Origins weekend! And while he didn’t take home the Deathwing or Illidan trophy, he does have a lot of Reborn Circuit Points coming his way!
Into the Mists
The other thing we had going on all weekend was spoilers for the upcoming set Into the Mists. The way this worked was everyone interested got an oversized card stock (at least that’s how the print shop described the material) image with this on the front:
On the back was a new card image from the set. We had people trading and sharing and everyone seemed generally positive about what they were seeing and happy to get a free shirt / deck box / sticker set / playmat. All was right in the universe until it came time to randomize for the drawing to see who got the Japanese Edwin Vancleef. We had thirteen entries and so I pulled up a notepad on my phone and wrote down everybody’s name, doubling up on the people that shared multiple times. Then, I turned to Patrick Broadway and told him to pick a number 1 through 13. “Oh, uh, seven,” he says. What’s his number? SEVEN.
I don’t know how he could have cheated having not seen my phone, BUT IT’S STILL FISHY! Anyway, congratulations to Patrick on his newly acquired Edwin and thanks to everyone that participated in our silly and fun way of getting some spoilers in circulation!
That’s all for today. Again, thanks to everyone that turned up at Origins Game Fair 2019 to play WoW TCG! In the words of House Greyjoy: WHAT IS DEAD MAY NEVER DIE!
Let’s do this again next year! In the mean time, numbers are already looking great for GenCon so consider signing up for some of our events there and adding to the fun! I don’t think I’ve publicly mentioned much or anything about GenCon prize support. I don’t guess now is the right time or place but I’ll leave a couple of very subtle clues: