Game 5: Shared Turf War
Seamus vs. Lilith
Game Type: Tournament
This would be the 4th tournament in which the Swiss pairing system had put me and Jo to face each other in the final round. We'd previously crossed swords at Leeds (her Lilith killed my Seamus), Stockport (my Seamus killed her Viktorias) and Leeds again (my Pandora killed her Lilith). Jo needed this to settle 2011 at two-all.
I wanted another try at using Insignificant spam so chose my Seamus list. With hindsight, I would have done better with Pandora, and this tournament wasn't really the place for experimenting with different tactics. Jo's Lilith crew included two Lelu, one Lilitu, one Young Nephilim and two Desperate Mercs.
Although I'd saved breakthrough for this Strategy, I had very little in the way of other useful Schemes left so chose Steal Relic, hoping that I'd be able to nip in with Seamus and nab it before pulling him out. Jo took Bodyguard and Grudge.
On my left side, Madame Sybelle and the linked Grave Spirit went up against a Lelu, while on my right side I planned to hold up the other Nephilim twins by throwing a dog at them and hoping Bête could work some magic. Seamus and the Belles shored up my center, face to face with Lilith, the Young and the Mercs.
Fearful of the damage potential of the Mercs and the fact that the Young probably was looking to Grow asap, I made them the focus and killed all 3 in the first two turns for no losses. I threw the Canine at the twins on my right, but Bête Noire proved no match for Lelu and Lilitu, who also lured in a Grudged Belle to beat up. A complete lack of high cards in my hand on the turn after Bête appeared meant her fate was sealed.
Sybelle was outclassed by the Lelu she faced, only managing to damage it slightly before falling to poison, and Seamus ended up on his own, face to face with Lilith.
With all my other VPs looking untenable, I wanted to at least get my hands on the Relic, but with a higher Soulstone pool, Lilith was able to hang onto it and eventually beat Seamus into the ground. In the final turn, Lilith chased down and killed my last Belle who had made it into the Neverborn deployment zone for breakthrough. The game ended a complete massacre and an 8-0 victory to Jo.
Looking back, I played this game terribly (not to take anything away from Jo who did all the right things), and it highlighted to me a lot of the things I'm doing wrong in playing this game, in particular, my poor choices when it comes to picking my fights. This match in particular has given me the impetus to stick with Seamus as my main competitive master in 2012 and to really get the most out of him, and the measure of that will be whether he performs well next time I take him to a competitive event. Watch out Lilith, that's two deaths he owes you now!
Following the 5th Round and after lunch (Maelstrom Games provided a very nice toad in the hole), the top four winners had a playoff to decide the overall winner. From what I've heard, the four games played between Adam (magicpockets), Ian (Calmdown), Ant (Stryder) and Craig (ukrocky) were a smackdown of epic proportions. Knowing that watching these games would be a valuable learning opportunity, I had intended to watch them play out and see the top players at work, but I was offered a game of Puppet Wars which I've wanted to have a try of for a while, so I ended up missing the finals. A four-player Puppet fight kicked off, all of us complete noobs to the game, with Dave (Clousseau) talking us through how it all worked.
3 hours later and with our Puppet Wars game only half way through while the finalists had played 2 full games of Malifaux, we called it at the end of the afternoon. I may post my thoughts on the game in a future post, but in summary: lots of fun, but probably not £80 worth of fun.
That was the end of a fantastic weekend (thanks again to Jo for putting it together), and probably the best tournament I've been to so far. I'm not especially hopeful that I'll be in the top 16 this time next year, but the incentive of another weekend like that one definitely gives me something to strive for!