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Champion's Report (or Why a First Round Loss Really is Good)
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Author:  Echo [ Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Champion's Report (or Why a First Round Loss Really is Good)

Ok, this is long, so feel free to skip parts. I'd like everyone to read the bottom section, though.

For anyone who doesn't know, here is a link to my squad: http://www.bloomilk.com/Squad/Details/90749

This year's Gencon was even better for me than last year's (something I didn't think was possible) for lots of reasons. Obviously the championship win was one of them. So here's my low-down on how Saturday and Sunday went for me. I'm sure there is a lot from the games that I'm missing, and some stuff that I downright mis-remember, but I'll do my best to recollect the key parts of the games

Round 1 vs. James W. James was playing Rebel Push with VAR and HPU, along with Crix and 2 ERCs, Princess Leia, Han Smuggler, etc. A squad with some similar elements as mine, but one that plays very very differently. He won map roll so we played on his Bespin map, and I set up on the inside (preferred to getting pushed into a ton of pits :P ). Round 1 was mostly just positioning, with him not giving me any shots. Round 2 (or 3, I'm not sure) the combat started in the top maintenance tunnel. I had my ERCs and Han up there with Luke doing some levitating to get Han around to get some shots. My Han gets an early shot from Leia against James' Crix to kill him, but Crix made his Evade save. At one point he gets his Leia to kill a Mouse Droid I had blocking for Han in the tunnel and grant a shot to an ERC with cunning; I was able to evade the first shot but not the second, so Han takes 30 damage. I retaliate next round by moving my ERC all the way to the right side of the tunnel to base an un-activated Han and used Leia to give the ERC shots. First one hits for 40, roll a 1 on the Twin attack; the ERC quickly dies. My other ERC manages to get a Cunning Twin on his HPU to get 30 damage though, but then I lose that ERC too. Things aren't looking good and I'm getting desperate, so I retreat with Han a bit so he doesn't die and I run Luke to base his VAR and hope for miracles. I win init with Recon and use Luke to attack VAR with Cunning. First shot... CRIT! 60 damage. Second attack misses, so I re-roll and hit for another 40. I move Luke away and James takes the AoO with VAR and hits, giving Luke a Djem So. I roll a 20 on the Djem so save, so now I need an 11 to kill VAR and possibly win the game (this would be the last round and I don't believe he'd be able to earn enough points to catch back up with me). I roll a 10. Luke moves away, VAR gets a massive Push 5 to kill 2 Mice, Rieekan, Madine, and Han, and I concede.

Round 2 I played against a NR squad that I was personally very familiar with; it was the squad I used in the Regionals: Kyle Katarn, Mara Jade, Ganner, Dash, Jagged, etc. I don't remember exactly who my opponent was (I'm bad with faces and worse with names), but it actually might have been Wes (who I played in the semi-finals). I win map roll and we play on my Throne Room and he set up on the left side, so I set up in the bottom right. Anyway, I get Round 1 shots on Ganner with Han, but Han misses his own shot but hits with Leia's shot to put 50 damage on him. The tone of this game was really set by missing Ganner a LOT. He moved his Mara Jade through the top hall to go try to assassinate my commanders. I manage to take out Dash with an ERC, and after firing way too many shots on Ganner enough finally connect to bring him down. I leave Dodonna in the back with a wall of Mouse Droids between him and Mara, and as soon as Mara gets too close to Dodonna I run him and Lobot into the Throne Room and lock the back door. He moves Mara down and I open the door, then move Leia within 6 of Mara to take a shot and hit for 20 damage; Han takes his shot to put 50 on her, then hits with his other shot to kill Mara. After that I manage to kill Kyle for the 3 point win. 1-1 with 3 points at this point.

Round 3 I played against an Imperial squad with Arica, 2 Storm Commandos, Thrawn, Nyna Calixte, Ozzel, and like 9 Gran Raiders. I won map again and played on Throne Room, and he set up on the right with me on the left. Early I got an ERC based on Arica so that next round he would have to either use her immediately or lose her. Unfortunately he rolled a crit when he shot the ERC, killing him. Then he made a positioning error with Nyna letting me Levitate Han to get a no-cover shot on her. After that I traded my second ERC for one of his Storm Commandos (he thought he would have the lockout option after killing both ERCs because he had an R7, but he had forgotten about Lobot who hadn't been doing much other than staying safe in the corner of the map). After killing a bunch of Grans I was finally able to kill Arica and get 2 points.

Round 4 I play Mel, who was running NR with Kyle, Mara, Ganner, and Wedge. He wins map and chooses Bespin, I set up on the outside. I get some early shots on Wedge, and after a couple failed evades he goes down. Now that I've gotten rid of the evade I Levitate Han into a room with Mara and Kyle and throw 90 damage on Mara, then protect Han with Mouse Droids. He wins init and kills one of my ERCs, I react by killing Mara. He is then able to move Ganner up and Levitate Kyle deep into my territory, with a lot of options on where to go. He decides to go for Leia/Crix/my remaining ERC. I manage to kill Ganner and then eventually take Kyle down. Han runs deep with my R7s to hunt down Lobot to get the 3 point win. I get into the room with Lobot, time is called, Han takes his shot... and rolls a 1. I can't kill Lobot so I get the 2 point win. I'm now 3-1 with 7 points.

Round 5 I play against Rebels with Luke RC, Ferus, Han Smuggler, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca Rebel Hero. We play on Ravaged Base, but I believe he won the map roll and just picked my map, but I could be remembering that wrong. I get early shots on Chewbacca and a failed evade gets some damage on him. I make good use of Madine's disruptive to get through the Evade to kill Chewie, and then get Ferus down to 60. I activate 2 and move an ERC up to base Ferus using Cunning and put 0 damage on him, then activate Leia to give more shots to the ERC and only hit with the first shot so Ferus is at 20 instead of dead. Ferus reacts by using Lightsaber Precision, but rolling a 1, and double attacking and rolling a 2, so the ERC lives. Next round Ferus moves and uses Dark Temptation on someone (I think he got to Madine) but rollled another 1 on the attack and a 20 on the DT save. I go to kill Ferus with Han, and again miss (we both had awful, awful luck this game), so he gets to levitate Ferus out and deny me the 27 points. He moves in with Han and Leia but I manage to kill them both and get another 2 point win. 4-1 now but with just 9 points.

Round 6 I know I need a 3 point win or I'm not in the Top 8. I play against Skybuck and win map roll, so we are playing on Throne Room. He sets up on the left, I set up on the right. This is also the only Swiss game that I didn't bring in 10 Mouse Droids, instead I got the Human Bodyguard, R7, and one Mouse. I'm excited that my last game is against Skybuck, because I know exactly how to deal with that squad. I set up my "phalanx" with the bodyguard in the middle of Luke, Han, Leia, Obi Spirit, Madine, and Mice. He runs in and out with Yobuck, but I do some damage with AoOs, and he doesn't put Yobuck quite far enough back so I'm able to finish him off with Han and Leia. Next he runs in Skywalker to do some damage, I believe he killed an ERC. Between Han, Leia, Luke, and my remaining ERC, Skywalker goes down. Next round I win init and he goes first, and moves an injured Panaka to try to block me from getting to an injured Dash. I'm still able to activate 2 and move an ERC adjacent to Dash and give shots from Leia to hit Dash. The first shot hits and Panaka takes it and dies, the second shot also hits and Dash dies. I get the 3 point win I needed and finish 5-1 with 12 points! I'm Top 8 bound!

On to the Quarterfinals! I'm playing Aaron, who is running Skybuck. Again, I'm confident that I can deal with the squad, but I know that Aaron is an excellent player so I wasn't taking a single thing for granted. Also, I won Rock Paper Scissors against him outside Hooters the night before, clearly foreshadowing a win today. He wins map roll and picks his Ravaged Base, so I set up on the outside. Round 1 is just positioning for both of us, I spend it creating the phalanx again. Round 2 action starts and he goes deep with Yobuck, spreading a lot of damage around (including a crit to get one of my ERCs to just 10 HP) and killing all my mice, as well as Lobot. I manage to get 30 damage on him with AoOs. Now Han sticks 40 on Yobuck, Leia crits for another 40, and Han hits again for 50, killing Yobuck. Round 3 he tows Anakin up to do some damage (I believe he killed an ERC, don't remember what else) and I'm able to react to put damage on Anakin. I get Anakin down low (20 HP I believe), but he makes 3 out of 3 life-saving Lightsaber Defense saves. Finally I take Anakin down. The next round is the final one, I'm out-activating him by a lot and I'm up by 25 or so points and I've got a Bodyguard with Han. With just Dash I deny him the chance to get Opportunist so he isn't able to kill anything else and I get the win.

At this point I'm pretty excited. Not only have I made the top 8, but I won my first game there, and it was against an incredibly good player. I feel like I can take on the world, but manage to calm myself and get focused for my semi-final game.

It's a re-match against the NR. I win map roll and he sets up on the right side, so I'm on the left. Round 1 I don't get any shots so I just set up and use my Mouse Droids to block the 3-square-wide hallway. Round 2 he moves Kyle into the center room with the obvious intent of using Grenades on one of my bigger blockades of Mice (he could have gotten the Grenades on 6 Mice total), so I activate 2 and move the Mice at the middle of the group towards Kyle, so he wouldn't be able to hit more than 2 of them with Grenades. He goes ahead and throws the 'nades and kills the 2 Mice I ran up towards him, and moves Kyle up to the top of the room. I out-activate some more, then levitate Han out to throw some damage on Kyle before I run him back to safety. Next round I run an ERC up to get no-cover shots on a 70 HP Kyle (who was 7 squares away, just out of disruptive range) and activate Leia to give the ERC 2 shots. Both hit, dead Kyle. Wes gets Mara in there to assault and kill the ERC, but the damage has been done. A round or two later, though, I make a huge mistake and leave a spot open for him to levitate Mara into right around all my pieces. He uses assault and kills both an ERC and Leia. Han gets his shot on Mara for 40, then Luke hits her twice, and she uses her last FP to block, but fails. He wins init but is only able to attack twice, so Mara puts 60 damage on Han. Han retaliates by killing Mara and moving away. Now that Han only has 10 HP left, though, Ganner comes in and uses Push to kill him. Luke goes to put some damage on Ganner. It doesn't take long for me to take Ganner out, and by that time I had also killed everything he had other than Dash, so with my 6 rounds of gambit that Gha had been collecting all game I get to the point total and win.

Oh man, the championship game! I'm happy to hear that it's me and Brandon playing, I'm really excited for him that he has gotten this far. But that doesn't mean I'll be going easy on him, haha.

Brandon has 18 (or something like that) activations with Lobot, and I bring in the 10 Mouse Droids for a total of 25. This is the most important part of the game; that I out-activate him by 7. We both have Throne Room as our map, and he wins map roll so I get to pick side, so I take the left side. Round 1 was a lot (a LOT) of careful positioning by both of us. Round 2, though, stuff starts going down. He moves Jarael up and after out-activating I levitate Han out to take a shot on her. The shot provided by Leia gets evaded away, but Han's own shot connects and does 40 damage. I move Han back into the room on his own turn. Round 3 is more positioning, but he moves Ozzel up to try to get me to kill him. I move an ERC to try to shoot Jarael before I realize that there's no way for me to see her without seeing Ozzel and having to shoot him. I've seen this move a thousand times (trying to get me to kill Ozzel), so instead of attacking I just spin the ERC I had activated and override a door shut. More positioning, he moves a Brute up who I try to kill with Gha, but I miss. He swaps Vader in for that Brute, and Jarael moves to kill Gha damage Gha, allowing me to take more shots on her. I end up killing Jarael, but lose Gha to a Brute. Round 4 begins. I move a mouse droid so he has to spend a force point and move 7 spaces to base Luke, but he does so with Vader and uses Lightsaber Assault. First attack... a 1! Next 3 shots hit, and I make all the Djem So saves and hit each attack, including a crit! I activate Luke and stick another 20 damage on Vader, who is down to 30 HP. I move Han up and shoot at Vader, and miss. Now Leia moves to shoot at him... Another miss! At this point I really don't register exactly what is happening, I'm just making moves. Leia gives her shot to Han.. a hit! Vader's dead, and the game is over. Brandon shakes my hand, and I sit back and smile big and realize what just happened.

Everyone claps, Tim drapes the Stormtrooper and crossbones flag on my back, and I shake a LOT of hands. I can't quit smiling, and can't really believe that I just won. I get excited high-fives and hugs from my fellow Atlantians. Deri comes to me with the green t-shirt and puts it on me (well, he gives it to me and I put it on myself, since I'm taller than him). Bill starts handing the trophies to the other top 8 finishers, and finally calls my name. I move through the crowd around the table, shaking more hands as I go. I remember getting a big hug from James as he tells me he's happy for me. Lou hands me the 1st place trophy and gives me a hug, then we get a picture together. After that we get a couple pictures with all of the top 8, with me smiling in the center of them.

Now I'm writing this Tuesday afternoon, and I'm just now really realizing that I won it. I'm seeing my name mentioned on the boards and getting congratulations, the squad which I posted on Bloo Milk a few weeks ago and got no comments or ratings now has a 9.86 rating and a bunch of comments. Honestly, I didn't go into it this year expecting to do nearly this well. My main goal was to get no more than 2 losses, and hopefully improve on how I did last year (16th). Maybe get into the top 8, but I didn't really get my hopes up about that. I don't even feel entirely deserving of being the champion, it just seems like a week ago it was this far-off goal. There's a lot of people I want to thank who were influential in getting me to the top in one way or another:

Dean: Obviously, without Dean, there wouldn't have even been a championship this year. Thank you for all your hard work on getting everything together for this and managing not only Gamers and our Gencon events but the entire future of the game. You have taken on a massive responsibility and are doing a great job with it. Everyone who played even a single SWM event at Gencon owes you their gratitude for giving them that chance, because without you, it wouldn't have happened.

Bill, Deri, Aaron, Trevor, and many other top level players: I'm not sure how much you guys realize it, but you are very much looked up to by the community. You guys are the best at this game, and your presence on the forums guides players old and new alike to become better players. I know that when I first started playing competitively I would hang on to every word any of you would say and glean any sort of knowledge I could from it to improve my own play. If you guys weren't around and as vocal on the boards as you are about how and what you play, I know I wouldn't be half the player that I am.

James and Lou: When the regionals started last year and I heard that Atlanta was getting to host one, I was excited. I would get to play in a regional! The thought of traveling to one wasn't even something I considered. Then you guys showed up and stole our Gencon badge. :lol: I remember you guys encouraged not just me but all of the Atlanta players to look beyond our local borders and at national play. When I heard Lou say that I was good and should go to Gencon to play, it was the first time I really considered that maybe I did have the stuff to compete nationally. If you guys hadn't come down to Atlanta, we probably would not have gone to Kentucky to play, and probably wouldn't have gone to Gencon, either. Which brings me to my next group...

The Owensboro Crew: Just like how James and Lou first got me thinking about actually traveling to play SWM, you guys confirmed it was a good idea. Meeting everyone in Owensboro last year and creating those bonds was awesome, and really got me thinking on a national level. I got 2nd place in Owensboro that year, which made me realize that I wasn't necessarily just a good local player, but I really AM good at this.

Greg, Graham, David, Nathan, and everyone else from Atlanta: You guys deserve just as much credit for my win as I do. If I didn't get the chance to play against some of the best players around on a regular basis I would have never gotten better at the game. Like iron sharpens iron, losing to you guys makes me a better player. When I make a squad and it gets torn apart locally, I learn how to improve it. I'm able to bounce ideas off of you guys. I'm so incredibly proud of how we all did at Gencon this year, and how we regularly do on a national basis. We are one of the newer SWM playgroups, but we compete on a high level on a regular basis. We are the only group to have gotten 2 guys into the top 8 this year. Again, if it weren't the massive amount of skill you guys have that I'm able to practice against week after week, both in person and on Vassal, there's no way I could have done this.

Chuck: If it weren't for you none of the above would be happening. About 2 years ago I found my old SWM stuff (I had a few pieces from RS/CS/RotS and played with a few friends in high school, but nothing even approaching competitive play), and decided to get on the WotC boards to see the status of the game. I was happy to see that it was still doing well, and noticed a post on there asking about players in the Kennesaw, GA area. That's just a few miles north of me, so I sent Nivuahc (a name I had no clue how to pronounce at the time) a PM. We decided to meet at a local LGS which I regularly visited to buy comic books from. He came with his two sons and we played a game or two. I was excited to have met new people to play, as I hadn't really had many true gamer friends since I moved to college. He invited me to his house and was incredibly friendly, and Atlanta Star Wars Gamers was born. If he hadn't posted on the boards looking for players, if he hadn't been so accepting, if he hadn't donated hours and hours of his time to cultivate our group, no one would even be talking about Atlanta in terms of SWM. We all owe it to you.

Thank you to the rest of the community. The SWM community is what is keeping the game alive, and is what has always kept the game strong. I can't wait to see everyone again in a year!

Author:  buttcabbge [ Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Champion's Report (or Why a First Round Loss Really is Good)

Thanks for the great write-up--it's really cool to hear how the champion's path through the tournament went. Congrats on a great tourney!

Author:  thereisnotry [ Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Champion's Report (or Why a First Round Loss Really is Good)

Congrats Dan! You definitely were underestimating yourself when you doubted that you were ready for national competition (and the MI guys were right to say so). You were good last year, and you've only gotten better. Three cheers for Atlanta!! :DSBoom: :DSBoom: :DSBoom:

Author:  Lou [ Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Champion's Report (or Why a First Round Loss Really is Good)

Good shot kid. But now the hard part you have to try to be the first back to back champ lol. Really enjoy it because it is not easy to win one of these. Your friends from Olivet. :saber:

Author:  fingersandteeth [ Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Champion's Report (or Why a First Round Loss Really is Good)

Awesome write up Daniel!

Many congrats once again :D.

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