The following is Daniel Walker’s World Championship deck list and tournament report found on the AEG forums.
**Note: This is the first time that an Unaligned Stronghold ever won Worlds. This is also the first and only time that Mantis has ever made the finals at Worlds.**
Played in the Thursday grinder, ended up going 3-3 drop. Made a change to the deck overnight, removing 2x Final Duty and replacing them with a 3rd Justly Earned Victory and a Ring of Water. Definitely the right choice. Showed up to the Friday Grinder, and pulled out a 5-2 record after my seventh round.
Round 1: Paul Ashman – Forgotten Temple oni
During ourplaytesting we never bothered to try out the mirror match, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I won the roll, and initially worried a bit about that, since the gold production off bamboo harvesters can be so clutch. Paul said that his testing had shown going first to be extremely favorable, and he ended up being correct about that. You’re able to put a lot more pressure on your opponent when you go first, and I was able to take out all of his provinces.
Round 2: Nick Jones – Seven Seas Port blitz
On his first turn Nick bought an expendable, 2 Mantis monkeys, and a Chiako. I dug for and found a caught unawares, and from then on was able to win thanks to Imperial Census and Crossing the Forbidden Sea landing on consecutive turns.
Round 3: Seth Mason – Utaku Meadows paragons
I don’t remember much of this game, other than Seth taking two turn 3 provinces, and I didn’t really have a chance to recover from that.
Round 4: Robert Almgren – Tetsu Kama Mura weenie blitz dueling
This was another game where my meta came up early. Census coupled with a lot of open kill allowed me to take provinces. Robert was running a lot of counter meta to stop events, but he didn’t find any of it at the right time.
Round 5: Peter – Scorpion Dishonor
I don’t really remember a lot about this game. I know that I used open kill, and I believe I resolved and used Kali-Ma to overload all of his defenses. He ended up getting me down to -10 honor when I won.
Round 6: Tan – Temples of Purity Enlightenment
Thankfully I had done some playtesting against Kyle Andersen’s enlightenment deck, so I had some idea of what to expect. He was able to get out both water and void pretty quickly, but I was twice able to stall him on getting Earth out, either removing my only unit from battle or forcing him to kill the unit before resolution to force him to waste changing paths calling for earth in two separate battles. He got Earth out a turn later, when I was attacking for the win. Tan played Master of Body with the hope that he would draw Fire in his focus pool. When it didn’t work, I moved on to the final round with one loss.
Round 7: David Winner – Last Step Castle honor
This game was a pretty one sided match. I brought out onis, used open kill to kill all of his people and Only Actions Speak to make sure he never got above 21 honor when I took his 4th province.
Record: 6-1 (2nd after swiss)
By the time they announced the pairing for the 5-2 elimination playoffs, the exhibition hall had already closed, so I sat around waiting for them to finish and the top 16 pairings to be announced. Then there was a misunderstanding between a couple of players and someone working the event, so my opponent had left the tournament area and had to be called back. A bit rough, but mistakes happen all the time.
Top 16 match: John Seals – Utaku Plains
The first game came down to John being an incredible person, and allowing me to take back a mistake I made. There was a turn where I attacked with a Raido and a Tsudo to even us up at 1 province each. He had already played one of the battle maiden/paragon counterattacks, so I was banking on him not having another one. He allowed me to take the province, I bought a Daku and said go. I had an Ageless Shrine unbowed and was planning on straightening my Tsudo, and using the Strike Quickly in my hand, along with Daku, in order to stop his attack. He passed as his open action, and in a fit of complete forgetfulness, I passed as well. I noticed my error before we had advanced fully into the attack phase and asked if he would allow me to use my Ageless Shrine. He thought about it for a few moments before allowing me to use the shrine. I ended up stopping his attack and killing his people off, and we moved on to game 2. I should mention that there was a turn 2 Caught Unawares/Kali-Ma in this game to even us both up at 2 provinces a piece at the end of my turn 2.
In game 2 he came out of the gates swinging and took provinces using cavalry and the unopposed force pump, before amassing a large army and beginning an honor crawl. I lost a few armies along the way before finally losing the last battle and moving on to the 3rd game.
Game 3 was a bit of a knock down drag out fight. We both came out swinging at provinces pretty quickly. I noticed in Game 2 that he didn’t have a lot of to do when his hand was emptied out, so I put myself into a lot of battles to try and wear down his resources as much as I could, sacrificing people in order to accomplish this goal. Finally all of the battle actions in my deck and on my people were able to overcome his tricks, and when I killed his army he extended the hand.
Saturday night I had a ticket to participate in True Dungeon with the Seattle crew, but decided my time would be better spent resting up, so I was in bed by midnight and asleep by one.
Top 8 Match: Paul Kalhorn – Forgotten Temple Oni
Sadly I don’t remember too well what happened during this match. At one point Paul had 3 provinces to my 1, and I somehow battled back to victory. A large part of that victory was definitely the Dark Naga’s ability to protect himself from dying. Paul did say after the match that he forgot to use an Inexorable Defeat during his limited phase to destroy my forest of shinomen region, which allowed me to survive a naval kill action and win the battle.
The first game took a lot longer than I had realized, 5 or 6 turns into game 2 the head judge came over to tell us that time had been called on our round of 8 match. Using the modified Palmer rule, because I won game 1, I won the match.
Top 4 Match: Eoin Burke – KyudenHida Exp. Crab Scouts
I started off game 1 buying a single spider cultist, and flushing everything away to the discard pile. Eoin got what seemed to be a pretty decent start and was off and running while I tried to stabilize, buying a border village and 1 oni on turn two. As the game kept advancing I began to run afoul of hunting the daughters to get rid of my people, and just couldn’t overcome the resource stall of only buying 1 holding on turn one.
Sadly I don’t remember games 2 and 3 as well as I perhaps could. I know that in both of them I relied on my boxable event meta and Wrath of Kali-Ma to bring home the victory.
Finals: Nick Jones – Seven Seas Port scout blitz rematch
Game one I was able to completely shut down Nick’s blitzing attack with Caught Unawares, and then build up to take all of his provinces by buying onis and using Wrath of Kali-Ma.
Game two Nick had a pretty amazing start, buying 4 personalities on turn 1. On my turn 1 I used my Experienced Border Keep to dig 3 cards, hoping for a caught unawares, but finding only a Settling The Homeless. Moved to dynasty, bought a border village and spider cultist, and then drew my card for the turn, luck-sacking into a Caught Unawares. I played the Caught to bow two of Nicks guys, drawing into a second caught unawares, but I decide to save that one and let Nick make his attack so I can try and run his hand out of gas. He uses his experienced border keep to dig 3 cards, attacks with his two guys, and double border ambushes, but doesn’t have any answer for the Settling. After that it was just a matter of producing large onis and winning attrition battles and Nick extended his hand.
Final Record in the Main Event: 13-3
Per Andrew Ornatov’s request, I chose someone related to M’rika to become the Imperial Governor of the Second City. He was kind enough to send me to the convention and put me up in a hotel room, so that was a small price to pay for that kind of hospitality. Also, as he did send me to the tournament and helped me with design and testing of the deck please be sure to direct all your anger at him and not me.
Props: All the members of Team Marike’s House for a great showing, with everyone making it into the top 16.
My apologies to anyone whose names I got incorrect or forgot.
All of the expensive oni (Arugai/Akuma/Ekichu/etc): We found that these guys were just too expensive, and too difficult to protect. The Dark Naga’s built-in protection ability is the main reason that he was kept in the final version.
Scouting Far Afield: This was in the deck when it was first made, but we discovered that bowing or killing off your own oni almost always helped the opponent more than it helped you, so we felt the need to cut it.
Straight Outta Compton, initially designed and named by the Ornatov.
# Dynasty (41)
# Fate (40)
3 A Yojimbo’s Duty
3 Caught Unawares
2 Claw and Shell
1 Creating Order
3 Impossible Force
3 Inexorable Defeat
3 Justly Earned Victory
3 Only Actions Speak
2 Plagued Terrain
2 Rise of the Dark Naga
3 Settling the Homeless
2 Strike Quickly
3 Superior Mobility
1 Ultimate Sacrifice
2 Unpredictable Strategy