TaKtiX: Jeremiah Uselton

Malexin has been playing CCGs for a long time. At GenCon Indy 2004 he slew the Warlord Madusan Lord Raath. Since then he has been involved in promoting standards of play within the Warlord community, working as a commentator, tournament organiser and occasional ambassador.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Getting Ready for Origins

Origins is a kind of a small big con. Its has the small con feel as the atmoshpere is very, very laid back. But its got the big con size. Everything usually goes pretty smoothly at Origins and the pace is very laid back. I'm looking forward to the trip with one exception, the flight to Columbus because Chris Aven booked a early morning departure from OKC, the type of flight that only insomniacs willingly book. Oh well, live, learn, die and forget it all, but remember to never book a flight before six AM if you can avoid it.

What to do at Origins if you're a warlord players.

If you're new to the warlord con scene, know that everyone is really pretty easy to get along with and that if you just be yourself and be outgoing you'll have a great time. Origins is a place where sleep is a crutch, you can sleep when you get back home. Here's a list of what you need to know in the way of non-AEG warlord related events.

Thursday 8-9PM, Warlord Player Gathering (for those 21 and Older) at the Bar On Two. This event is brought to you by the Order of the Doomed Liver.

Friday starting between 7 and 8 PM, Midnight Madness charity tournament, $20.00 entry fee, net proceeds go to charity. The Format is open (Smoke 'em if you've got 'em). Top prizes for Top CE legal deck, Top of Factions, Top Highlander and Top EE Legal deck. This tournament will have some of the best prize support of the weekend

Saturday is for Strategic. Strategic is planned to start around 7 to 7:30 PM on Saturday.

Food, The best place to get food at origins is the North Market, there's a ton of variety. However, I'll tell you where you want to eat. There's a little deli just to the right of the main entrance into the north market. The guy who runs it makes amazing sandwiches. If you see me, you know I'll be eating a Roast beef and Genoa Salami Sandwich w/ Swiss Cheese (Fontinella cheese if he has it available) on Rye.

Anyway, if you make it out to origins, come say hello.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tournament Advice Part IV: The 5P Maxim

I'm going to begin this post with a little bit of history about myself and my introduction to the 5P Maxim.

The 5P Maxim is something I was introduced to in little league baseball. The baseball league I played in held most all of its games at a centralized complex surrounded by a few baseball fields. Because of the schedule of the league almost every team could be found at the complex on any given game night. As one of the players on the team that had a good understanding of the strategy behind the game of baseball, myself along with several other players would often be found watching our league opponents and scouting them for future games, all at the behest of our coach. By the time playoffs rolled around we'd compiled a composite batting order, hitting tendancies, fielding tendancies and a bunch of other useful information on our opponents. We ended up winning the league that year, and a lot of our success had to do with our advanced preparation.

The 5P Maxim can simply be restated as Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. When preparing for a tournament take this one piece of advice to heart, because more often than not it will save you a lot of trouble during the tournament. At its heart this maxim signifies that the prepared succeed and the ill-prepared will falter.

Now onto the meat and potatoes, or rather how the 5P Maxim applies to warlord. Sit and watch some of the better players of the game long enough and you'll come to the stark realization that they instinctively know what's in their opponent's deck, without having prior knowledge. They'll successfully navigate through the actions their opponents are taking to prevent them from winning, as if they knew they were coming. Why is this? Because they did know exactly what their opponent needed to do to defeat them.

It all starts weeks before your tournament. As a player you have to sit down and objectively evaluate the current meta-game. Often times for faction loyalists this will mean abandoning your faction temporarily while you at least familiarize yourself with the actual playstyle of another faction. You'll notice that the best players rarely play the same deck in back to back tournament because they'll stay ahead of the curve by switching decks. Take Jay Rosenberg for example he's played in four different conquest events this year placing 5th, 1st, 1st and 1st. He's done so with 4 different decks, in an era when dwarves typically aren't regarded as being at the height of the power curve. Those placings came with Nitesh Imaran, Tavis Jape, Priam Ironsoul and Durin Kortouched respectively. What you'll see is that as a player Jay and other top notch players are able to evaluate the meta-game and take advantage of what the average player will be playing. What this part of preparation does is give you a familiarity with the meta-game and what to expect during both the swiss rounds and the elim rounds.

The next step of this is applying the preparation to the deck you decide to play. There's a certain amount of meta for the environment that a deck can afford to run without losing efficiency, although this depends on the warlord and the prevalence of discard for effect mechanics in your deck. You'll often notice that in top player's decks a bad hand is an extreme rarity, this is because the deck has been playtested through and through and is probably boardering on its efficient frontier of possible results give the deck construction restrictions. The player has tuned the deck so much that the range of average hands is over a much wider region of possible draws than most of their opponent's decks. All this results in a deck that provides a close to possible, the same results game after game, with as little intereference from the opponent as possible.

So take this in mind when preparing for your next tournament,

Good Gaming,


Thursday, June 08, 2006

On the Topic of Public Decklists

Throughout the history of Warlord there has been quite the arguement about whether the top placing decks at major tournamnets should be made public knowledge. I'm of the opinion that these decks should be made public and have typically posted my tournament decks as part of a tournament report. There are arguements made by those who oppose the posting of the placing decks. However, those arguements tend to end up grouped together in the same old hat arguement of "I made this deck, its my deck and I'm not going to share it because its mine". While all well and good the players pushing that view point need to step back and realize that "their" deck is nothing more than a collection of cards that are part of the public domain and that its also really easy to reconstruct winning decklists of just by the name of the warlord used, which is often published.

Inevitablely the meta-game will shift between one tournament and the next because of the influence of past tournaments, often meaning that what is good at one tournament often won't be good at the next. This in turn means that the deck you won or placed with at the last tournament, you know the one you're so proud of, most likely isn't the one you'll be playing at the next event. There are also arguements that you can be beaten by your own deck if you are not careful, this is incrediblely unlikely as most net deckers won't have the experience to successfully pilot a deck through the field. If you get beat by an experienced player using the same deck as you, stop an realize that in all likelyhood he didn't net deck it and that its probably his deck.

What the posting of placing decklists does do is provide an excellent reference point for new and inexperienced players to use when building decks. This promotes activity in the secondary market especially amongst chase rares. A healthy secondary market is a good indicator of a strong game that will continue to survive. I bet some of you are thinking, wait did he just advocate net decking, why yes, yes I did. You see if people are net decking its a indication of growth within the game because net deckers are usually new players, growth is good, growth means we get to play longer and have a better supported game. Most new players will stop net decking once they have a good grasp of the rules and tournament scene, because there is satisfaction of building and winning with your own deck.

The main point for public posting of placing decklists is that the better informed the player base is the stronger the game will become. By using the tools the internet grants us, the players can take responsibility for the dissemination of information to the masses and help make the game stronger.