The Gen Con 10k.
By James Norris
Immediately after Thorigins our team, like many, were concerned for the state of VS. The overpowering nature of Thor had allured many players to play him in the event. We, as players, were partly to blame – he was the first big spoiler in the set and it gave people plenty of time to grow enamored with him. Sure, we tested other decks; but we kept circling back to the God of Thunder. I talked to several good players throughout the course of the day and many told me the same thing. Still, it was hard to argue that Thor wasn’t powerful. However, his “domination” of the event was partially due to the sheer numbers of the deck.
Leading up to Gen Con many thought Thor would still be prominent, because the Monsters Unleashed MCs left us wanting more. However, we see that something else happened – players across the country started rolling up their sleeves and actually got to work. I was impressed with the many different ways players attacked this game (and I literally mean DIFFERENT – Kingpin?!?). More on that later.
So what happend? Some believe that it was a complete backlash towards Thor, people did not want to play mirror matches and were instead looking to go anti-Thor. Others believe that Monsters Unleashed provided enough tools to move the needle on some other decks. Another possibility is that people had time to really expound on ideas they had before Origins, this time with a new vigor.
Well my friends, I think these are all right. I feel like these all formed a perfect storm leading to Gen Con.
The Top 8
I know what you’re thinking – this guy is telling me that the meta was diverse, but this deck was half the Top 8? It is true that the MC accounted for half of the Top 8, but the decks were not the same. Three of them were all in on Spook/Deadpool, but each had their own flare to the deck. I hope these guys will write/record something detailing their process and testing because the deck was really interesting. Our team obviously became thoroughly acquainted with it as Joe Keaveny had to test against it the night before Top 8. We were intrigued and impressed with the ability to snatch games out of nowhere. Joe K’s deck was a different design, meant more for the long game. We were certainly open to using Deadpool to close out a game, however it just wasn’t the focus of the deck. We will discuss this more down the road, but for now understand that they are separate decks.
Warrant Officer Ripley
John Tatta and the DMG crew rocked this David Leader design, as Leader continues to put his deckbuilding on display at Gen Con (for proof of his prowess check out every Gen Con Top 8). John has wrote a great piece about the deck and the event, I suggest you check it out. The deck was there in force with their team looking to capitalize on a Thor heavy field. John took it to 2nd place, and they had a few other members just outside the Top 8. Kudos to the new, expanded DMG team as they incorporated some great players.
Holy cow, what can I say? Oh yeah, I said it earlier – these guys found a totally different way to go about defeating their opponents. The deck quickly became the chatter of the tournament as people were excited about this “crazy combo”. Several judges were called to explain the interactions and intricacies. As with the WO deck, I would recommend going straight to the source as Jon Phillips has a deck tech available on YouTube that can explain it all. We all have to tip our caps to these guys for showing us something new and innovative.
Although there with 20 in the field, making Thor the most played MC, the results were not in favor for this deck. Ryan Millhollin came through with a tweaked version of Thor that played aggressively while being on the defense. The evolution to this version gave him the tools to overcome some of the hate in the meta and capitalize on the mirror. Thor cannot be disregarded, he will still have to be respected. Congratulations to Ryan for his Top 8 finish!
Sort of like David Leader and Joe K, Anthony Calabrese is no stranger to Gen Con Top 8’s. Last year it was with his Dragon deck, this year he was reviving his Sister Grimm from Origins 2016. We played a few games with this deck as well in case Joe came up against it in Top 8, and it has some really great interactions. Pixie/Sing into Black Bolt with some LOOONNNGGG plot twists feels like you’re cheating. It was too bad Anthony had a bad matchup in Top 8 and had another event to get to because I really enjoy watching him play. I applaud you man, keep up the great work.
The 10k itself was great, as usual. Chad Daniel and his team did a great job of keeping the event moving and working to efficiently resolve any player questions and issues. I wish I had all of their names so that we could give them due credit but maybe we can convince Chad to give them a shout out. The Upper Deck area was great to play in, and we found ourselves gathering there many times even when we weren’t playing VS. Also, a HUGE thanks has to go out to Mark Shaunessy and the team at UDE for supporting this game with great events. If you ever see Mark in person at an event, please make sure meet him and thank him for what he does.
Yes, Gen Con turned 50 this year and it was massive. The excitement level was high and the crowds were big. We had a blast! I haven’t talked to anyone who didn’t have good time. If you are a tabletop gamer, you have to love this place. We had two first timers come with us this year, and I am sure they will both be back. There is so much to do and I am already looking forward to next year. I plan on writing another article detailing out my non-VS Gen Con experience, including games I demoed, etc. But for now, the takeaway is this: Gen Con is amazing! Do whatever you have to do to get there next year. Start saving now if you have to, putting away $5 here and there instead of getting another beer at the bar or hitting Starbucks. I hope to see you there.
As great as this event was, we still have some issues to address. It is a really long time until we have events again. We have to find a way to keep the excitement level up. The GloboGym team is currently trying to put a fall tournament together for the New Jersey area. If you can make it, I really encourage you to do so. We as a community have to prove to UDE and game stores that we are willing to show up for events if they will support them. We will need more events than just Origins and Gen Con to keep this game alive. If you live in an area with a good scene consider yourself lucky, don’t take it for granted and keep working on developing your community.
Therein lies my challenge to everyone. I want everyone that plays this game to teach it to one new person. It’s not hard – maybe it’s someone you go to school with, work with, or play other games with – it makes no difference. Just find someone that has an interest and show them the game. Maybe you can setup a day at your local shop and demo the game to several people. I would never lay down a challenge without backing it up though. I am going to accept my own challenge but I am also going to put my money where my mouth is. I will sponsor 4 new players at Origins 2018; if a player come to next year’s event for the first time, I will cover their entry to the 10k. We will figure out a way to select the 4, but the important thing is I want more players. I challenge us to get next year’s attendance back above 100, and I know that we can do it.
Thanks to anyone who’s read this far, I appreciate it. Thanks to the VS community.