Alive 2022 - Archon
Tournament Report by Sérgio Santos (sdsantos)
J. I. Parker, Dama del Ácido (a.k.a. Dama)
Deck I opened at the start of the year, on a discounted Spanish Worlds Collide display. I had around 50 games with it on TCO Competitive, with a 57% win rate.
I always came back to it because it's fun to play. Amber control in 3 houses, 2 different cards for artifact control, random discards and disruption. Plus, two awesome leaders, Zenzizenzizenzic and Lord Invidius, for good turn 1 plays.
Round 1 - Win
Don't remember much. I believe I used Poltergeist on the Lash. Never was able to build much board, and there was little board control against Dama, which just raced ahead. Did pull off Martyr's end I believe, but not for much amber, and there was house overlap for the Free Markets.
Round 2 - Win
Bittersweet game against my KFPT team mate, that had travelled with me to Florence.
We had practiced against each other, so we knew the matchup well. I was able to win most games. Dama's disruption usually slows down this deck rush just enough, and I usually can take out the Curia Saurus to clear the board safely. I'm glad I brought artifact control.
At the tournament the game felt a bit odd on my end. I wasn't able to chain my gangs with their chains. The game was tied most of the way, although I never felt I was losing its grasp. But Broken Forest can really burst some times.
Unfortunately, to make matters worse, the game went to time between turns. Alberto had already forged his second key, so we considered that the time ended on his turn. I had passed with 2 keys and check with 8 amber. He would be able to take me off check with a big shadows turn, but I had the dis hand to counter back and win the game.
Round 3 - Win
Zenzi stayed on the board quite some time, and the opponent has to waste turns to keep my board in check. I was able to catch the Ritual of Tognath and a Mark of Dis with a Infurnace. I also remember using Poltergeist on the Obsidian Forge to kill my Titan Guardian and draw cards. Again the houses overlap limited the Free Markets burst. Not much amber control meant as long as I kept ahead, the game was mine.
Fun side-note: we replayed this matchup on the Triad side-event the next day and I lost. Two strong Mark of Dis plays that I should have known better to avoid, and not seeing my Infurnaces made the difference.
Round 4 - Loss
An early very effective Control the Weak slowed me down and allowed their first key to be forged. And then the opponent was able to see my hand with plenty of amber control, and avoided making amber for the following turns, until being able to burst in untamed and use key charge, leaving me again with nothing to steel.
I did hold on to one Infurnace, making them lose the 6 amber for the third key check, and was able to crawl back into the game and forge my second key eventually.
But a huge burst in the end, after my opponent was able to redraw the only Dust Pixie left, and with the Nature's Call yet to be played, left my opponent at 11 with no way for me to take him off check.
Round 5 - Win
This GenKaKa deck is definitely scary, but fortunately its engine never really started.
Early a Binate Rupture was played to go from 2 to 4 amber, but fortunately for me I had amber control from my starting hand that I was waiting to use. I was able to kill 2 Titan Librarian when they entered the board, and my opponent was unlucky enough to play Wild Wormhole into Key Charge.
From then on, I was able to manage the board and the their amber. Martian Generosity was never played. I just rushed ahead knowing there was no amber control on the other side. Near the end the Nepenthe Seed was used to recur the Mimicry for Information Exchange, as a last ditch effort.
Round 6 - Win
Facing another COTA rush, fortunately I had no idea what SAS it was. 😅
Started with Zenzi and it stayed for the whole game, which allowed Dama to control the game. I was able to kill the Mothers as they entered the board. I discarded Key Charge and a Hunting Witch.
Interdimensional Graft was played when I had 8 amber but I was already ahead one key. So I just kept the pressure to win the game.
Top Cut (Bo3)
TOP 8 - Win (2-0)
(Simone Feo aka morfeo)
This was the first big board I had to face. Plenty of creatures with a decent size and some taunts. Board control is not Dama's speciality. Plus, anti-steal (Odoac the Patrician) is also a worry, since all 3 houses can steal amber.
Fortunately I was able to control the board most of the 2 matches. Groupthing Tank put in a lot of work, and there was also low creature control on the opponent's side. To prepare the combo Senator Shrix + Tribute + Imperial Forge also required clearing his own board. One time I left the Tantadlin alive to makes things difficult, which required using a Phalanx Strike before pulling off the combo.
Simone was able to forge once with Imperial Forge on each game, but couldn't keep up with my board and amber generation. I remember in one game I had my Lord Invidius on the center, a stolen Zenzi on one flank, and a stolen Eldest Bear on the other flank.
TOP 4 - Win (2-0)
(Alfredo Maffi aka maffone)
Did I already said i was glad I brought artifact control? Memory Chip, Quixxle Stone, Transporter Platform and Fangtooth Cavern.
First game the memory chip stayed for too long until I eventually I used Hocked it. But it started threatening the Data Forge. Again my first concern was clearing the opponent's board while building my own. The Quixxle came late but at a stage when Dama was ok with not playing many creatures, so I left the Quixxle and instead used Poltergeist on the Platform to bounce an Infurnace. I had enough amber control to keep my opponent off the second key, while pressuring with my amber until the win.
On the second game the Quixxle came earlier, but I already had some board to use, mainly E'e on the Fringes. I did take out the Quixxle after a couple of turns with Hock, to be able to burst out in shadows. And I used Poltergeist to take out the Hologrammophone, the card that was keeping their Edie in play against the Cavern, their last amber control remaining.
Final - Loss (0-2)
(Edoardo De Matteis aka Eccoedo)
After I won the semi-final, other players started warning me about this deck. It is quite well known in Italy, and for a good reason. Both games were a slaughter.
First game, I play first turn Lord Indivius. Eccoedo replies with Mark of Dis and Imp-losion. I play E and discard a card to purge the Mark of Dis, feeling not too bad. And then I watched a 10 amber burst in logos, almost cycling the entire deck. My opponent went to check all turns, and I couldn't prevent it most of the times.
Second game, again I play first turn Lord Invidius. The reply was again imp-losion but at least without Mark of Dis. The logos burst wasn't as big this time, but I still couldn't keep up. I wasn't able to build a meaningful board while responding to the constant amber checks. I did not see Zenzi, only went to check once, while the board on the other side was increasing. Took a few more turns, but this game also ended quickly.
Overall, I was definitely delightfully surprised with the TOP2 result against such tough competition. I had brought a relatively low-SAS deck that I opened myself, with a slightly above-average win rate on TCO Competitive. But it seems it is a deck that deals with the meta around the tournament, more rush decks with lower amber and board control. And I probably was lucky with the matchups I faced until the end.
Special thanks to Alberto (AEtherpt) that traveled with me to Florence, and cheered me on during the tournament, even when I wasn't quite believing what was happening. And thanks to Team GG for continuing to organize what is currently the best in-person Keyforge tournament in Europe.