My first sealed deck tournament

Last Sunday I headed down to Myth Games with HappyDD for a L5R: Before the Dawn (BtD) release tournament. Each competitor got a starter and three boosters to construct a 30/30 deck. Because BtD only includes starters for Crab, Lion, and Phoenix, I wasn’t able to play as my usual Scorpion clan and decided on the Lion starter. I played a total of 6 games. The first four games were qualifiers and I won 3 of them.

My first game was against a new guy playing Phoenix. It was his fifth game of L5R ever so I had an advantage. I destroyed his four provinces on turn 5. My second game was against a player with a similar level of experience to myself, also playing Lion. I ended up with a better combination of Followers and Personalities in turns 2 and 3 so he was unable to fend off my attacks and he conceded on turn 5 with two provinces and a totally outnumbered defense force remaining.

Game three was a long and slow one, against another very very new player who was also playing Lion. We went over the allotted time limit and only got to turn 3! Most of this was because the player had a very limited idea of how the game worked and I spent much of the game explaining and re-explaining things… and even offering advice. Now, normally I wouldn’t do this in a tournament but it was fairly casual to begin with and the more people playing L5R the better so there’s nothing to gain from being kind and helpful. Something that sort of annoyed me was that many of her ultimate decisions where in fact, instructions from third parties who were giving her advice. It didn’t bother me at the time but I’ll get back to this later. She conceded as I had a superior force on the table and had taken a province. On to game four against one of the more experienced players at the event, who was playing Phoenix. I was pretty brain dead after game three and ended up making some absolutely retarded mistakes early on. Additionally, I used both Border Keep actions on turn one and still got a poor showing of cards. I conceded a loss on this game because by the time I got going, he had amassed a superior defense and I had no chance of stopping him before he would win with honor. So, with 3 wins and 1 loss, I qualified for the top 4.

Much to my surprise, the lady who I’d beaten in game three also made the top 4. This didn’t sit well a few people because she got there through no skill of her own. I over heard someone mention that since it was the finals she would not be receiving anymore advice, only rules clarification. I decided that was reasonable enough and proceeded to play my first game of the finals against her. I pulled off a win because I had superior draw but it could easily have gone the other way. However, she continued to receive advice from third parties for the entirety of the game. I was irritated by in the interest of not putting off a new player, I didn’t bring anything up. I wish I wasn’t frustrated about the whole thing (and I’m only mildly irritated) because she is a new player but it just isn’t fair to the rest of the competitors. I do believe that small/casual tournaments should be open to people who are there to learn but the finals should be left for the people who are there to compete. When this sort of thing happens, the player should drop or at least be persuaded to drop out and let the next person in. Anyway, that’s the last of my rant on this, I don’t want it to come across as a huge issue but I’ve got to tell it like it is.

The final game was against the Phoenix player from my fourth game. He got some bad dynasty flips early on and I got fairly decent ones (a reversal of our first game). It was very close in the end and he just barely managed to fend off my attack on his last two provinces. This crippled my forces enough to require a couple of turns recovery in order to launch another effective assault and he ended up winning with honor in the process.

All in all, it was a fun event, and I’m quite happy with my placing. Despite everyone being on a relatively level playing field in a sealed deck environment there is such an immense technical aspect to the game that relative experience plays a very significant role in overall performance. To that end, I feel even better about placing second because it shows that I’m growing much more familiar with the game.

HappyDD lost two games due to, in both our opinions, poor ‘out of time’ game resolutions (I can’t think of the proper terminology for that right now). One was against the lady playing Lion and the other was against the Phoenix player I faced in game one. Both of the wins went to his opponents after discussion by the judge and players who where helping/playing the game for them, but the reasoning behind the decisions was rather flawed imo and should have at least come down to a die roll. There will be retribution for his mighty Crab clan yet!

I read yesterday that the next booster set (coming in September) will have a Scorpion starter in it, along with Dragon and Mantis. I’m already excited to play a sealed deck game for that release!!

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One Response to My first sealed deck tournament

  1. HappyDD says:

    For the record, the Phoenix player you were playing against defeated me fair and square, so props to him for that. There was another, less experienced, player that I had that issue with. Anyway, I really like the sealed deck tournament format because it allows players like us to be on a level playing field with the vets with 10 years of experience as far as card library goes.

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