An early start for Iain, Mark and I. The only hot drink venue open when we reached Milton Keynes was Subway. I won’t mention which flavour syrup Iain had in his latte, but he did nothing to deflate his hipster image 🙂
We checked in and got our participation swag (set of 8 alt art champions, including Yoritomo, keyfob with team name which will make a nice first player token, clan dual role card). Iain was running Lion, Mark, Phoenix, and I was running Unicorn.
The original plan had been for a traditional swiss-style event but, with 12 teams, that would have made for a very short event. The organisers changed it so that the teams were split into two groups of six, and each group played round robin, against every other team in the group, following by top two from each playing off in semis and finals. At the start of each round, team captains tossed a coin, and the winner chose a player from each side to face off. Then the losing captain did the same, and finally the remaining players paired off.
Teams knew the main clan for each player, so some strategising went on in the run up to the event. As team captain for Muppet Dojo, I had already decided that my main aim was to try and avoid mirror matches where possible.
First opponents were LfauxR (Dragon – Phoenix – Unicorn). Mark managed a win, but Iain and I lost our games. I wish I could remember more about the games, but they became a bit of a blur.
Next up was Da flash gitz (Dragon – Phoenix – Unicorn). Not even Mark could manage the win this round. Oh well, there was a Nando’s nearby for our lunchbreak. Was it cheeky? I’ll let you decide.
Full of chicken and carbs, we headed back for round three, against Samurai Pizza Cats (Crab – Lion – Phoenix). I actually remember the pairings for this one. Iain (Lion), was playing their Crab, Mark (Phoenix) had the only mirror of the day, IIRC, and I (Unicorn) faced Lion. Iain won his matchup. When I saw Mark had managed to Cloud his opponent’s Tadaka, whilst his own was loaded with fate, I knew he had it in the bag. But long before they reached that point, I had been run into the ground by Lion honour. He got his god hand. Toturi, Honoured Blade, Way of the Chrysanthemum. Before I could blink, he was on 26 honour, and we were shaking hands. By his own admission, he rarely gets the combo off, and only has a 15% win rate. Fastest Lion win of the day (and his only win). I just never saw it coming, probably because nobody locally runs this kind of deck. But a win for the round, so we went and collected more role cards.
Round four was against A UK Legend and 2 Tall Tales (Dragon – Scorpion – Unicorn). Again, I remember a little from my game. A very tense affair against Scorpion, with small conflicts, and we went to time. My opponent was ahead on points, but not the five she needed to force the win. I had two Cavalry Reserves in hand, and the fate in hand and on rings to play them both, which carried me over the line. My first win against Scorpion in months. More role cards for Muppet Dojo!
Our final round was against Rokugan Nine-Nine (Dragon – Scorpion – Unicorn), who were in the running to make the final elimination stage. They finished us off in short order IIRC.
Iain and I both finished 1-4, Mark 3-2, so 5-10 on the day, and 2-3 in rounds. That placed us fourth of six in our group, and ninth from twelve overall. No more swag but we’ll be back next year if we can!
Iain, Mark and I rounded off the day with an enlightenment game, using the same decks we’d used all day, so not at all optimal for multiplayer. A few treaties, managed to break my own, losing some honour in the process, but once most of the rings had concentrated around Iain, I was able to swoop in with a single Keeper Initiate and steal the win.
Big thanks to Iain and Mark for a great pair of tourney buddies, Mark for driving, all the people we played against, for making this a really fun, not too serious day, and of course, the organisers without whom none of this would have happened.