Well, a combination of work stress and home life stress, as well as a failure to pay my ISP, has kept me from writing an article recently. Normally I wouldn't fell that bad about it but, unfortunately, this article is being written as the Gen Con PEZ tourney is going on. I'm sure that the lessons learned at Origins and the deck lists would have proved helpful especially with the evolution of Pros-Tides into the even nastier Frozen Tides. I'm sorry for thos who had to wait.
Before I get to the article there is one more important message for everyone. Gamefest Milwaukee will be held at the Midwest Convention Center, right where Gen Con was, August 1st through the Third. Although Gamefest was held last year, this is the first real year for this convention. There are great special guests including Gary Gygax, Jolly Blackburn, Brian Jelke, Matt Forbeck (my personal favorite), and more. There are a ton of great events especially for Magic, like a Grand Prix Qualifer, and LotR and just a lot going on. Make an effort to be there if you can.
Even better, there will be a PEZ Tournament on Sunday starting at 10:00. I hope some of you will be able to make it!
Well, here is the low down on Origins. First, the Con was great - I worked for Zipwhaa, the company that makes one of the best non-collectible card games around: Management Material. This is about the only game that I could demo for 8 hours a day and not get tired of. Plus, they had their new IT edition. It was particularly cool because word got out at the con and industry names that I have looked up to for years were frequent visitors at the booth.
Anyway, the PEZ tournament was a bit hard on me. Round 1, I lost mostly due to consistent mana screw. Round 2, I lost because of some play errors. Round 3, I conceded in the final game because my opponent still had an outside chance in the tourney. Round 4, I won because I got the bye. Many lessons were learned and I have lots of fire for future articles but that is for the future. I was redeemed, however, because my friend Nick Sayner took second place with a deck identical to mine. Seeing as this was his first Tournament ever he gets props!
1st Place - Chris Morling playing Frozen Tide (Blue Combo)
Well, Chris apparently will have an article up on cardshark.com very soon where he discusses the deck in detail as well as some minor improvements. Even so, this deck is simply amazing. Going with Brain Freeze as the win condition eliminates 90% of the answers that worked against Pros-Tides. The deck is much harder to counter while it remains at least as consistent. Other than Counters and Discard, the only answer that seems to work is Gaea's Blessing. This is unfortunate since including the Blessing eats up an uncommon slot. Oh yeah, in the new version of Chris' deck there is an answer to the Blessing as well. Look for some components of this deck, probably High Tide or Frantic Search, to be up for restricting or banning soon.
2nd Place - Nick Sayner playing Coffer King (Mono-Black Control)
IIRC, this version of Coffer King is only 1 card different than the version I have posted in a previous article. You will hear a lot more about why Nick was successful with the deck and why I wasn't. Since you will hear a lot more about the deck in future articles I will let you get on to the next deck.
Top 4 - Paul Phillips playing Umm . . . Sure (Aggro/Control)
While there are some choices I don't particularly favor I really like the strong recursion element in the deck. This is a great sample build of Aggro/Control and Paul certainly did the deck justice. I can't say again how much I like the Recover and Unearth.
Top 4 - Ian Port playing Cleric Hokey-Pokey (White Weenie)
Again there are some personal changes I would make, especially in the Uncommon Slots, but this is a strong example of White Weenie and it proved to be quick and powerful in the tournament.
Top 8 - Matthew Crowfoot playing Elvish Unity
Well, I am trying to convince Matt to come to Gamefest Milwaukee and I hope he can make it because he is a lot of fun and has a great personality. Note the Gaea's Blessing in his SB, this was a result of playtesting against Chris' Frozen Tides. Unfortunately he hit Nick and Pestilence just eats up elves. It was great to see this deck, the first of 2 elf decks. This theme can be very strong and I think Green may be looking to breakout as a stronger color than ever in PEZ.
Top 8 - Eric Anderson playing Not-so-Peasant Elves (Elvish Unity)
Proof that elves are good. I particularly like the Taunting Elf in this build.
Top 8 - Marcus Anderson playing Stupid Burn Deck
Although I didn't get a chance to talk to Marcus after the tournament, I am willing to bet that the strong anti-White sideboard was a big help in the Origins field. Other than that, this is classic SRB (Stupid Red Burn).
Top 8 - Roger Stillwell playing Look Ma No Hands (Black Discard)
Yeah discard!!! Against a number of top decks like SRB, Coffer King, and Frozen Tides discard is insanely strong. I'm glad that Roger was able to break into the top 8 with this good example of a great deck.
A Final Word
Well, I will write more about Origins soon. If you e-mailed me, be aware that I missed about 10 days worth of mail because my hotmail account filled up. Also, don't forget to put PEZ in the title. See you all soon, and for all those who beat me at Gen Con I just want to say I appreciated all the smiles and laughs as I went down in flames :)
Jason Chapman -
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