View Full Version : Vespera won something again! Actually my first tournament report

01-21-2013, 05:55 PM
I beat up some kids by playing Vespera last Saturday! I played a Fire version, hastily reassembled the night prior. My choice was largely informed by my love of damage reduction foundations in Vespera – in this case, ShadoWar and Paid to Protect. Shadowar was actually much more awkward than I had hoped, but Pay to Play was absolutely amazing.

Round 1 vs Tim Keefe, Order Sophitia
Tim punished me severely in game 1 for disregarding the power of Toughest in the Universe, and slew me in a fairly uneventful game 2. I learned some subtle lessons of sequencing and told him, “See you in the finals.” Prophetic!

Round 2 vs Ryan Field, Fire Kyo (foil)
Ryan's deck has evolved slightly from its original version as what I call a “Cleave deck” – a deck that simply plays cards with good looking numbers on them that don't have a great deal of linear synergy, alongside basic speed/damage pumps, and tries to nickle you out over a couple attacks. I like Cleave decks, but I don't think they're really good. Now, it's a fairly powerful Dragon Lifter attack deck that gives Kyo a very threatening late game. Our first game was a 41 minute affair of mental arithmetic and foundations, culminating in two full turns of violence. I don't recall all details, and a partial recounting will just be confusing; but after some poor sequencing and decisions on Kalahntra/Paralyzing Touch targets he pushes a Dragon Lifter down my throat with foundations to spare. I ask him to play quickly in game 2, don't even touch my sideboard, and manage to zip through 5 or 6 turns and kill him a few moments after time is called.

Round 3 vs Alex, Evil Kaden
Alex is the storeowner at Mind Games and our host for the day, and we lent him a deck so he could prevent our tournament from having a bye. I probably annoyed him by asking him “Have you been having fun?” “Do you like the deck?” “Isn't this fun?” like 50000 times during and after our games... Kaden is a fun and IMO remarkably powerful deck, but it relies on a lot of intuitive guessing related to when to attack, acceptable levels of risk, and non-obvious interactions like Hungry for Battle + Dread Pirate. Alex admitted that he felt like he misplayed basically constantly, and after two fast games I finally picked up a match win.

Round 4 vs scooped since diversity :(
This round I was paired against Daniel Crompwell, a player from Oneida who I first met at the first-ever NY Circuit stop back in 2011. He took a hiatus for school (I think) and came back packing roughly the same Fire Mitsurugi deck that gave him (among other things) a top 4 finish at the Rochester PTC summer 2011. Unfortunately, the deck we brewed up for Sean also fronted Mitsurugi, and Sean came out ahead in their mirror match in round 3 – so Dan could not possibly beat him on diversity. He announced he was conceding the last round before we even sat down, and left soon after.

Round of 8 vs Rich, Allahra
Without Torn Hero, and forced to play lower foundation counts to accommodate the pieces of Omniel, the Angels have a hard time dealing with Stun. Rich didn't have a lot of cards that stacked up well against me specifically, so our games felt fairly one-sided. Sorry big guy :(

Round of 4 vs Sean, Mitsurugi
A few days before the event, we realized that Paralyzing Touch and Grasping Widow are both mid attacks. And I really love me a deck that can sandbag into Vespera – just ask Mike Lowe – since she completely roflstomps unprepared players and some archetypes. So we constructed a variant on Fire Reversals that starts game 1 as Mitsurugi and has the option to sprout 6 extra legs in case it feels threatened. Our games were close and exciting, although Sean's draws were frustratingly one-dimensional. In each game, he had to attack on turn 2 into my Kalahntra, and I successfully blocked+reversaled to put him further behind.

In game 1, there was also the interesting choice on said turn 2 when I had the choice of Sting Kick or Paralyzing Touch for that reversal, with only my character ready. I chose Sting Kick and was immediately rewarded by flipping a 3, letting me pass the check and still ruin Sean's life. I knew I was going to be very well off if I passed ANY reversal here – free damage, free momentum, and up a foundation – so I don't think I'd ever play Paralyzing Touch here, but I'm curious if anyone would have chosen that play.

However, Sean radically outdrew me on foundations afterward. And unlike when you play against Vespera, a big wall of gray with Mitsurugi present doesn't promise an hour of misery – it threatens a completely unstoppable skullcrushing. I poked him once or twice, thinking and was reminded that Paralyzing Touches still hurt even without either symbol-specific Enhance. and on what felt like the last possible turn I put together P Touch – Sting Kick (puts him at 12) – Grasping Widow, with as much Stun and speed pump as I could afford to use, and Sting Kick / Kalahntra / Brooding adding damage... he flips a 4 on his block, failing it by 1 and dying on the slimmest of margins.

In game 2 Sean's draw did not improve after turn 2, and I felt like I won much more comfortably. We talked briefly about if he would want to side into Vespera for the true mirror, and we agreed that it seemed bad – Mitsurugi asks for different foundations than Vespera, and cannot play Moon, so he's giving up what relative advantage he does have (Mitsurugi's insane damage output) to be a clear underdog in a mirror match. Now that I type out the reasoning, it's actually possible that it could be correct to switch there – but only if he thinks his odds as Mitsurugi are catastrophically low and improve to maybe 75-25 in the psuedomirror.

Round of 2 vs Tim Keefe (called shot!)
I can't do justice to this deck or these games. Sorry :( You can see the deck in the Deck Building forums, and I'll give a basic outline of the functions here too. It's an Order Stun deck that uses Sophitia's Enhances to completely dominate the speed game, both offensively and defensively. It does not kill quickly or particularly easy, but Sophie's E commit 1 is remarkably effective at screwing up casual pokes (the kind I like to play) and scoring uncontested hits over several turns will lead to a win sooner or later. The power of Turn Thruster and Toughest in the Universe also give it some big, if conditional, burst damage output. In these games I did a better job playing around Sophitia's abilities (they are dramatically better than I thought) and also drew a lot of Moons / Grasping Widows early to put Tim behind on life. Amusingly, because of Pommel Smash and huge speed bonuses/Fortress Frame, I didn't get a chance to use any of Vespera's abilities in these games. Maybe I should have had a Mitsurugi in my sideboard?

I plan to post the list tomorrow (when I have the deck in front of me); my deck was 68 cards, plus 8 in the board, and I have to give some credit to the wisdom of Scott Gaines (his list and the discussion on it (http://forums.jascogames.com/forums/showthread.php?8292-Why-are-you-looking-at-the-URL)) and Birch (namely pointing out that Left 4 Dead is completely insane and deserves all that stupid rider text restricting it to Grasping Widow decks, but also the observation that speed pumps are very good right now). I feel like the deck built itself to a large extent -- I knew I wanted to play Left 4 Dead and all the accompaniment, I knew I wanted to play 4 Touch 4 Widow 4 Moon, I knew I wanted foundations with difficulties less than 2, etc. But I'm sure there's some percentage points to be gained from correctly building the deck somewhere, so maybe I can steal some more insight from you all.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate any comments or feedback.

01-21-2013, 06:11 PM
Not really much of a surprise for Vespera to win an event in this meta but congrats regardless :)

01-21-2013, 07:33 PM
At least it looks like you kinda had to earn it, I mean you got into top 8 from actually winning only 1 match, lol. Not to say you wouldn't have beat the Rugi, I just find it humorous.

01-21-2013, 09:38 PM
Yeah >_> 14 player tournaments are kinda weird. I mean, I went 9-3 in games on the day