First off I want to say thanks to Chris and the TN group for hosting another awesome National tournament. The T1-2P was a total blast this year and finishing second feels like a great accomplishment. The field was stacked with great players from all over the country. I will post a deck list on the forum soon but will tell you I ran an angels and demons deck that I named “Spirit Thing”. The only human in the deck was Foreign Wives.
I decided to go this route for 3 specific reasons. One, the inherent protection from convert on defense. Two, the fact the most commonly played defenses use Balaam’s Disobedience and Stone of Thebez neither of which can effect angels. Angels also left me without fear of Unholy Writ, Magic Charms, Invoking Terror or the new The Serpent promo. The final reason was to use Gates of Hell, “Site Guard” Lost Soul and Madness to extend battles where all of my characters on defense got removed from play.
My biggest regret of the day was running Cherubim from FooF instead of Gathering Angel. I was running House Hold Idols (HHI) which I wanted active as much as possible and it kept Cherubim from doing anything for me.
Swiss rounds 7
Game 1 – I played Gerald Akina. 5-0
I don’t really know what Gerald was running. The game didn’t last too long as I had a pretty optimal draw and he seemed to have a rough one. We finished with approximately 33 minutes left in the round.
Game 2 – Westy running “Toss-sciples” built by Justin
As far as I know Justin had not lost a single game with it in testing and it was 11-0 before I played Westy. My add to battles locked his offense out and I was able to get through the defense without too much issue after underdecking Gomer. Final score was 5-2.
Game 3 – I played against Charles Johnson from the Hanover, PA play group.
Charles has gotten progressively better through the years. Thanks to an early Rain Becomes Dust I was unable to get very much speed rolling. I lost 4-5. Charles Genesis deck rolled me with a first rescue Angel of the Lord. Joseph Before Pharaoh got one against my The Thief that had tried to discard his Son of God from hand.
Charles was able to get off a preblock Obedience of Noah when I didn’t have Gates or Madness to add to the battle for one rescue. He used Reuben’s Torn Clothes preblock 2 times after it got recurred. That was enough for the win despite me getting to fall one away. I did gates 20 or so cards to get the “Two-liner” out to tap it giving me the chance to play Son of God and New Jerusalem to help my differential on my final turn. I was never able to get Gates or Madness to add to the battle since my characters were ignored for 2 rescues.
Game 4 – I played against Gabe Isbell
On the first turn Gabe had a strong rescue attempt with Phineas, Son of Eleazar but I had Prince of this World in my opening hand. He then played Eli’s Sound Advice to negate my character but I had Fiery Darts to discard Phineas. That turn set the tone of the game. Gabe was able to hold me off for a while with Death of Unrighteous, Suicidal Swine Stampede and Forgotten History but eventually I was able to get through and win 5-2.
Both of us costs ourselves playing Son of God and New Jerusalem too early in the game. I was still able to overcome my misplay. If I recall correctly Gates of Hell and Madness helped me stop Simeon (wa) Moses bands once or twice in that game. I ended up with 2 tapped “liners” in my in my Land of Bondage. If I had played Suicidal Swine Stampede to shuffle the “liners“, Gabe would have timed the game out at 4-2 because he could have then tapped his “3-liner” instead of giving me my 5th at time.
Game 5 – My opponent was Kye Murphy
We had mirror offense but he activated Covenant with Death (CWD) very early and I wasn’t sure I would have enough to get through his defense. With CWD up I couldn’t recur anything with Gabriel and my fight by the number angels being negated neutralized my offense. About half way through the game Kye turned down CWD to play Angelic Guidance and Wheel Within a Wheel on consecutive turns. The deactivation of CWD for two turns allowed me to use Gabriel to recur Live Coal and Eaten by Worms. That gave me enough offense to get through the defense. 5-1 (at this point in the tournament angels seemed like the right anti meta as most of the defenses had limited options to stop angels)
Game 6 – I played against Chris Egley
Chris is an underrated player who ended up taking 3rd place overall. I was able to win 5-1. Chris was running an interesting deck that included The Throne of David, Asahel, Ishmiah the Gibeonite, Ahimelech, Bravery of David, Foreign Sword and A Soldier’s Prayer for extra offensive support for The Throne of David. It didn’t make a difference in the game but he misplayed Unified Kingdom while I had Household Idols activated but the offense never actually threatened. I did offer up a draw 7 off a protected Wives block. He had already played FA and I had 4 souls in the LOR. I was trying to get him to draw a soul yet he didn’t. Eventually a soul came out and I was able to play Son of God to end the game.
Game 7 – Nathan Wagenknecht who was undefeated up to this point.
The Wagenknecht brothers are a force to be reckoned with as they continue to improve by playing each other. Household Idols came out early for me and kept him roped. I had the right cards at the right time including grapes when he gave me a Canaanite and chose the Canaanite with Ehud. Things rolled for me despite the fact that his deck was 6-0 heading into that game. The deck is an interesting hybrid of judges, red, and The Throne of David for lots of cannot be negated banding and wanting to add Ahimelech to battle for the return an Evil Character battle winning capability. Household Idols was proving to be very clutch against the top players in this year’s field. I was able to win 5-2.
Game 7 Concluded the Swiss rounds and I went in Top Cut as the top seed 18 points and a +21 differential
Top Cut Games are always intense and it was nice to have the room relatively cleared for the games. The pressure is high but sitting across from great players is always fun and it was excited to be back in Top Cut after I barely missed it last year.
Round 1 of Top Cut
I got matched up with Mitch Stewart. We play each other a lot online and Mitch always gives me a run for my money. It was nice to finally to get play him in person. Household Idols was again the go to card. My defense rolled and was able to handle his judges pretty quickly. After using Angelic Guidance to look at his hand my angels again were the right call. He had Balaam’s Disobedience and Stone of Thebez early and that was a good thing for me. Mitch was able to stop me twice with a cannot be negated Seized by Rioters off of Demetrius and Simon the Magician but I eventually stopped that and got through for a 5-2 win.
Round 2 Gabe Isbell 2nd time
The game ended in a 4-3 timeout win and it was an epic battle. Gates adding to battle again was huge for me. I made one error in the game when I used Shrine of Artemis to shuffle Madness back into my deck. Shrine is an idol and it allowed Gabe to use Worshipping Demons against The Strong Angel for a chump block that I didn’t have to give up. The timeout felt really bad despite the fact that I understand the rule. I am not sure if Gabe was going to get by me again for a 4th Lost Soul had there been time left. At that point who knows what would have happened in the game. I knew I had a chance to use Suicidal Swine Stampede to shuffle my souls but for the second time that day it would had given Gabe a “liner” back which he could have then tapped against me.
Round 3 – Finals against John Early 0-5
John rolled with his defensive heavy deck. Arrest in Gethsemane rolled my angels and I had 0 chance once it hit. It was clear with 30 minutes left that Watchful was going to get 5 rescues on consecutive turns so we called it. Had I played perfectly I may have been able to get Son of God and New Jerusalem off then he would have used Falling Away. I potentially could have got 1 soul but that was it.
I really want to congratulate John, he deserves it. He is a great guy. My friendship with him has grown tremendously these past 2 years and I couldn’t be happier for him. After being so close so many times, I was happy for John to put an exclamation point on his career. His deck was the best deck in the tournament in my opinion and his piloting is incredible.
Way to go John!
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