|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 25 August 2011|
The Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game World Championship Tournament at Gen Con 2011 was an amazing success, and after some close and well fought matches, Tom Capor claimed his third consecutive championship title. Today, we’re pleased to present the first part of Tom’s two-part tournament recap. Thanks, Tom!
It’s that time again – The Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game World Championship at Gen Con! The game has changed a lot over the past year. A new faction (Silver Twilight), a new lead designer (Damon Stone), and a new format (best of one with a mulligan) along with a lot of new cards meant this was going to be a tournament like no other!
My weapon of choice this year: Steps of Insanity. It’s simple, effective and intimidating. All the cards in the deck either solve a problem or make it so the problem can be solved. It’s a control a deck centered around the machine gun combo of Somnabulant Dreamer and The Seventy Steps.
3x The Mage Known as Magnus
3x Diseased Sewer Rats
3x Somnambulant Dreamer
3x Dangerous Inmate
3x Deep One Rising
3x Deep One Stowaway
3x Demon Lover
3x Dreamlands Fanatic
2x Victoria Glasser
2x Crazed Arsonist
2x The Terror of the Tides
3x The Seventy Steps
3x Infernal Obession
3x Y'ha-nthlei Statue
2x The Cavern of Flame
2x Arkham Asylum
2x Snow Graves
3x Deep One Assault
2x Sacrifical Offerings
Going into the tournament, I expected rush, recursion, and tactical decks. So I built this deck to face that challenge. I expected very few Ancient Ones. I expected Agency, Yog, and Hastur. I was wrong! Very, very wrong.
The perennials were in full force, but we had a slew of new faces to welcome. There was a ton of mono-Cthulhu, a few more that split Cthulhu, some Yog and Yog split, a single mono-Agency and a couple of Agency splits. Aside from the amount of green floating around, the most surprising thing to me was that I was the only one fielding Hatsur. Not quite sure how that happened, but talk about a major turn-around from last year!
Swiss was rather fun this year. In round one, I got to play Kip (again…), one of the perennials I mentioned earlier. He’s always dangerous and easily one of the game’s better players. You may not know it, but Kip and I share this rather uncommon link; if we’re in a tournament we must play each other at least once. Kip was running a Yog/Shub recursion-type deck focusing on tricking Yog-sothoth into play. Things got off to a rather slow start, but a timely Snow Graves froze Kip’s discard pile which practically shut off his deck. Kip had specifically splashed Shub to answer this very problem, but luck was not on his side. By the time his answer arrived, I was simply too far ahead on success token and field presence for his Ancient One to cause much of a problem. I walked away with a 3-0 victory.
Round two was against a new comer, Donald Bachman. Don was sporting a really solid Agency/Yog deck, but to his dismay this is exactly the kind of deck I was planning on seeing at the tournament. Even worse for him was that my deck decided to run like a dream. With Arkham Asylum, The Seventy Steps, Demon Lover and the Somnabulant Dreamer along with his Flying Pulps being infernally obsessed, Don faced the full wrath of my deck. He put up the best fight he could, but I was just too tuned against his strategy so I won three stories to zero.
Round three was against another new comer, Geordie Alexander and his mono-Cthulhu deck. A quick side note: This round was rather memorable for many reasons. First was that this is a prime example of how someone who doesn’t own every card ever released can still compete. Second, this round was quickly dubbed as the ‘couples round.‘ While Geordie and I faced off our girlfriends Kristie (his) and Kaitlin (mine) also faced off in the first “women only match” in Capor-recorded Cthulhu history!
Anyway, Geordie was going to be no easy match. His deck was full of icons, high skill characters, and toughness. The combination of the three would make this a rather difficult matchup. However, having those three meant that he was going to be slow… very slow. Luckily I opened up with fast hand and once I had enough characters under the steps I was able to tactically overpower him while all his guys ended up doing was entering play exhausted. I took a step back this round as Georide was able to snatch up a story giving me a 3-1 victory. Also, for those interested, Kaitlin also won her match as well with a Yog/Miskatonic Cursed Skull control deck.
Round four was against 2007 world champion Jim Black. Jim was running a mono-Cthulhu deck full of Ancient Ones. Facing Geordie last round gave me a clear understanding of what I needed to do: Be fast and use the steps to keep him on his heels. This was working out great until I made a huge mistake of playing too many Diseased Sewer Rats as they were soon lost to In the Wake of the Sleeper. This proved to be rather crippling and I needed them to be fodder to face off against the eventual Ancient Ones that were soon to arrive... and arrive they did. I was able to sneak in two stories, but the first Ancient One was Yig. Lacking the combat icons to inflict damage in combat and lacking a Demon Lover to wound him. Yig provided a solid defense.
We traded blows for a few turns, but it was all for naught as Cthulhu himself showed up! Beginning on Jim’s next turn I was going to be forced to sacrifice two characters per turn. Since I was now top-decking… I was in serious trouble. I needed a big draw to get the last few tokens I needed to win (Demon Lover to get rid of Yig and an Infernal Obsession to steal a non-Ancient One). Sadly… I pulled a Snow Graves and my only other copy of Arkham Asylum. Which of course was definitely not what I was hoping for as now I was fighting against a clock; I would need to draw two characters a turn just to keep up! This didn’t happen either, and Jim was simply able to overpower me. I lose 2-3.
The Cut to the Top Four
1st seed Jim Black vs 4th seed Ulrich Hergl
2nd seed Chris Pastore vs 3rd seed Tom Capor
After the final four were announced, I immediately had flashbacks of last year when I had to face my weakest match-up several times in order to defend my title. Luckily I had a breather this year against mono-Cthulhu, but if I managed to get past Chris I was guaranteed to face my worst match up in the field from either Ulrich or Jim as their decks were really similar. What little confidence I had left after my round 4 loss was now gone as I figured I most likely had the weakest deck in the top 4.
Chris is a Regional Champion; he has been on the bubble for making the top four for the past two years, and he’s a fanatic Miskatonic player. However, Chris was bringing out the big guns this year and was rocking an amazing mono-Agency deck. Normally I’d be happy about facing Agency due to their slew of two skill characters that made easy pickings for my Somnabulant Dreamers, but while Chris did have a few, he was focused more on the champion cards and the slew of unique Agency characters. Another problem when facing mono-Agency was going to be Catastrophic Explosion, as most of my characters had lower skill than his.
With all that in mind… we headed in. I got off a strong start, but Chris did something that he most likely regrets. He led off, and repeated several times the use of the Local Sheriff as a transient resource. This was great the first (and possibly second) time as he was able to get Magnus and few other three-cost cards in very early. However, as I was building up my domains and playing more daunting threats, Chris found himself to be far behind the curve. Chris was sitting on a few resources, even fewer cards in play, and a ton of cards sitting in his hand while I had a moderate hand with perfect resources, and a dominating field presence which allowed me to muscle past what defenses he could play netting me the win and trip back to the finals and a chance at a third title.
Check back tomorrow when Tom concludes his recap by recounting every tense moment of his final match!
Based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and his literary circle, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game takes two players deep into the Cthulhu Mythos where investigators clash with the Ancient Ones and Elder Gods for the fate of the world. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Asylum Pack expansions to the core game.
Great write-up man, was a blast to play with you all and I hope to make it next year... with more cards :).
Yes, too much transient is a bad thing! And I know better (when it's not the final four!) I have to say that I felt a bit intimidated playing Tom in the finals. Don't get me wrong - Tom is a great guy and I enjoy playing cards with him! But in the final four I knew what I was up against and I could visually see him becoming more focused and concentrated. I could feel as the pressure was on his play improve and mine degrade. That's why he has won 3 years in a row! An excellent player.
Thanks for an exciting report!
Using the Local Sheriff one (or several) time(s) too many is a mistake I made in my last tournament, too.
It's a gamble that can grant you an early win but more often it puts you too far behind to have a chance if the game takes longer to finish.
Good read, looking forward to the follow up.
Nice write-up Tom!